a farewell letter

Thursday, December 10, 2015

in all my 30 years i count these 3 as my greatest blessings!

soooooo i'm 30.  today.  as of 7 something this am.  that's weird.  it seems like such a big milestone but honestly i'm a tad excited.  even weirder, i know.  i'm so grateful for my 20's.  gosh they were fun.  i'm not the same person i was going into this decade as i am leaving.  i'm still goofy and clumsy but i've matured (a little) and learned a whole lot.

20 brought college parties and laughs, 21 brought too much wine and some lessons about life, 22 brought the end of my college career, 23 brought my masters and a diamond ring, 24 brought the greatest commitment i'll ever make and the beginning of my life with my best friend, 25 brought a lot of "i'm sorrys and i love you's" as i navigated my way through marriage, 26 brought a new adventure in an old town and the greatest heartbreak i've ever endured, 27 brought my daughter and the greatest happiness i had ever known, 28 brought messy mama life and lots of grace (thanks god!), 29 brought my son and the greatest happiness i have ever known still (two babes = heart full) and now 30.  i don't know what 30 will bring.  but i'm ready.  and god is good.  so so good.

as i enter in to my 30's i feel refreshed.  so much life has happened these past 10 years and to think about all of the life that will happen in the next 10 excites and scares me to death.  i may have had my babies in my 20's but i get to raise them in my 30's.  and that is going to be fun.  all alongside the best person i know.

however, my 20's.  they were good.  so sweet.  i learned so much.  was humbled a lot.  my pride got hit a lot.  and i hope to leave some things behind as i join the 30 year old club.  i worried a lot about what people thought in my 20's.  was constantly trying to please everyone and do everything.  always worrying if i was enough, or doing enough.  yea, 20's - you can have all of that.  i know now i am enough because He is enough.  i pray my 30's are more intentional with my yes's and my no's.  i want to say yes to stuff that matters and no to the rest.  i want to say yes to people more.  people who need jesus, people who need food, people who need encouragement.  all people.  i want to say yes.  i want my children to say yes to people.  i want them to fight for those without a voice and because of that i want to do the same.

self-doubt.  if that can stay in my 20's that'd be great as well, although i have a feeling it will be a lifetime battle in some ways.  i spent way to much time in my 20's questioning myself.  questioning my decisions, my choices, my career, my interior design choices, my meal choice, my outfit of the day choice - it's exhausting!  i am absolutely indecisive and add that on top of lack of self-confidence and it. has. got. to. go.  jesus loves me.  that makes me enough.  motherhood has brought some confidence into my life too.  i mean i birthed humans.  two of them.  boom.

another thing that i am (sadly) leaving in my 20's is this blog.  for now at least.  i simply don't have the time i used to and am not the most organized, make-the-most-of-my-time person and this blog has fallen to the bottom of my list.  i am beyond grateful for the community it has brought these past 3 years and i have made friends that will be lifetime friends undoubtedly.  but when i started blogging, i vowed never to make this another thing on my to-do list - something i felt like i had to do.  so that is why i'm bowing out now.  i also have two precious souls and identities that i am entrusted to raise and the internet scares me a bit so there's that thrown into the mix and i've decided it's time to step back.  who know's if i'll pick up sometime in the future but for now, i'm saying farewell.  to every person who has commented, emailed, texted or messaged me after a post they enjoyed - thank you!  it means more than you will ever know.

side note:  i've tagged a bunch of amazing bloggers on my instagram post if you are looking for some blogs to follow pleaseeeee check that out because these woman are amazing.

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mamahood round 2

Monday, October 12, 2015

if i'm being honest, the past three months are a blur.  a happy blur.  and a messy one.  being a mama of two is no joke.  i had some friends who told me it wasn't a big transition at all for them and that they eased into it, where others told me it rocked their world.  i think we fall somewhere in the middle but definitely leaning towards the latter.  it has been a big adjustment.  for everyone.  but that baby boy of mine?  he is the perfect addition to our family.  it's so amazing to me how God chooses each person in a family and it is so evident that matthew was our missing part.  he has the most laid back demeanor, completely unlike his sister as a baby.  he's the smiley-est baby of all times.  even mid-meltdown city, just flash him a smile and whisper his name and he's all ear-to-ear gummy grinning.  it's a contagious gummy grin i tell you.  and that big sister of his?  she melts my heart in all sorts of ways.  she's slowly taking to her brother and has just started taking it upon herself to show him all of her toys (this is HUGE people).  i want to break down in a puddle of mush when i think about how much she has grown up over the past three months too.  she has matured and learned and loved and screamed and cried it all out.  it has been so beautiful.  in the really hard moments i remind myself that georgia will never know a life without matthew.  she will never remember being the only baby.  and truthfully, i'm thankful for that.  every single night i pray for their relationship.  that they will love each other fiercely and speak truth and life to one another.  i pray they will have each other's back, especially in high school and middle school (hello awkward years!).  i pray when one is too weak to fight for something worth fighting for then the other will offer the nudge that is needed.

and then there's the mess that is me.  i'm definitely more laid back this time around.  like for real.  sometimes i wish i would have had this perspective more when georgia was so tiny but i also know that it is all part of the learning process.  the mama process.  i'm savoring a little more this time.  even those 2 am and 4 am cuddle fests when really, i want to be asleep!  but i'm still a worry monster at times (all the time) too.  so don't worry.  pyscho mama is still here.  although my relationship with google is much healthier this go round.  thank goodness!

and gosh my people.  my village.  my husband who works so hard for our family both at work and at home.  the selfless way he serves us and the way he loves my babies and me.  i just can't even.  and my mama.  oh my mama.  she deserves a break.  i mean she's already raised me and my sister.  but yet she shows up still and helps me do the messy, hard stuff with my babies.  these past 3 months would have been a bit horrendous without her.  and the host of of people.  the rest of my family, taking georgia for amazing playdates, my best friends, showing up with food (and wine!) and playing with my babies, my neighbors - gosh i am so humbled.  my mama best friends who indulge my 3 am text-a-thins because they are there too.  there have been so. many. times. that i have just started sobbing in the middle of the day both out of gratitude as well as heartbreak when i think of others who don't have the support system i do.  so consider this a PSA - help the mamas out.  whether a working mama, a stay at home mama, a single mama, and foster mama, a rich mama, a poor mama, a mama with lots of help or a mama with no help at all.  love them.  love them all.  encourage them and support them in any way you can.  they are doing hard work of raising the next generation.  that goes for the daddies too.  support and build each other up.  we need each other.

this was a bunch of mumbo jumbo for my first blog post in a million weeks.  but hey.  that's life.  and this is my life.  and i'm so happy these days.  so grateful too.  thank you god for these perfect little blessings.  and the messiness of this season of my life.  and tomorrow is my hubby's birthday which means... CAKE!

Date Night + Younique 3D Fiber Lashes

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

easiest application EVER

truly an awful picture but it's all we've got :)

Saturday night was our first date night since Mr. Matthew made his debut.  It was much needed!  We attended the Lowe Cape Fear Hospice Last Chance for White Pants Gala.  My sissy works for Hospice and helped with the event and she is good at what she does, I tell you what!  The chair, co-chair and committee all worked so hard and it was a beautiful event for an even more beautiful cause.    

While getting ready I had the privilege of trying out Younique's new 3D Fiber Lashes and I. Am. Obsessed.  They were SO EASY to apply (literally just like mascara) and added so much volume + length to my lashes.  I've always had decently long lashes but lately I have felt like they are becoming so thin!  I have tried coconut oil on them at night but never really give it long enough to see results.  Well, you don't have to wait for results with the 3D Fiber Lashes!  And it comes right off like mascara.  This tired mama needs all the help she can get and I will be a lifetime user of these bad boys.  Thanks so much to my friend Kim for letting me try them.  You can order them here and I promise you will fall in love too!

Lactation Boosting Protein Balls

Monday, August 31, 2015

Breastfeeding this time around has been totally different from my experience with Georgia.  Some good.  Some bad.  But all around just different.  However there has been one common thread - my supply.  It was an issue with G and continues to be an issue with M.  Luckily, Mrs. Patel's makes some amazing Chai Tea that helped a ton with G and continues to work it's magic this time around with M. And I've recently added the Munch Crunch to my daily menu and it is so yummy!  I made a version Emily Jesser's lactation balls and the recipe is below.  I eat one every morning with my breakfast and one before I got to bed.  I truly believe they help!  And they are delicious.  See below.

Mix 2 TBS of Munch Crunch, 2 TBS of Chia sees + 1 scoop of protein powder (I used a packet of Shakeology Chocolate but you can use anything!).  Then add 2 TBS Honey and 4 TBS of Peanut Butter/Almond Butter/Nutella (I used Vanilla Almond Butter in this batch - AMAZE!).  Mix everything well and divide into about 12 small balls.  Enjoy :)

what i'm reading these days

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

this picture was taken in 2012 on our trip to antigua.  i pretend i'm reading on this porch from time to time ;)

I've been reading through some really good books lately in my (lack-of) spare time ;) and I wanted to share.  All are super easy reads so I pick up one of them before bed usually and log 10 or so minutes and that's all it takes.  If you are interested in any of them email me and if you are first, I'll mail you my copy since I'm finished.  Otherwise the links are below too!

1.  Mom Enough - This was recommended by a friend and it is a series of blog posts.  Super easy read.  Super encouraging.  And yes, super convicting at times.  Most recently, these words by Tim Keller spoke to me in chapter 23, "Jesus must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive your heart, than your idol.  That is what will replace your counterfeit gods.  If you uproot the idol and fail to 'plant' the love of Christ in it's place, the idol will grow back."  I love this.  Jesus has slowly been revealing some idols in my life and they come in the form of approval of other moms, a "well-behaved" toddler and kids that are never sick.  I'm learning to turn away from those and fill those holes with Jesus.  Link to buy book here.

2.  Moms on Call Series -  I bought all 3 books after a friend recommended these as well.  While I don't agree with everything in the book as far as methods go (especially in the early ages), it is a great read and I love that the authors are believers.  As a mama, I think there is a fine line between information overload and gathering different resources.  In my opinion, this is a good resource though.  I am LOVING the toddler book right now and think they make some excellent points on discipline and my parenting mindset.  Link to buy books here.

3.  French Kids Eat Everything - I read this one last summer as Georgia was starting to really get into all kinds of solid foods.  I love the author's experiences (make you laugh and cry kinda thing) and I love her practical advice.  I've always wanted to raise a kid that tried all kinds of foods and enjoyed vegetables as much as she enjoyed ice cream (well, almost as much!).  Since the beginning Matt and I have both tried to make Georgia a version of what we eat instead of making her own meal of "kid food," (I mean, ain't nobody got time for that anyway!).  I never make her eat anything she doesn't want to eat, but I always encourage her to at least try it.  And if she doesn't like roasted asparagus with salt and pepper than maybe next time I'll try a different method or seasoning (I've found I can usually get her to eat anything cooked in soy sauce!  ha!).  We are not enforcers of the clean plate club at our house either.  I want her to decide when she is full and when she is still hungry.  One thing very early on I decided was that the dinner table was not going to be my battle field either.  I want it to be a place we all look forward to coming to.  I have the BEST memories as a kid of spaghetti dinners around the table with my family and I crave those memories for my children too.  Sounds rosy and peachy right?  Needless to say, this is something we are working towards and sometimes mealtime goes great and others it's a disaster!  But like everything in toddler life, we are working on it.  And this book is GREAT!  Link to buy book here.

4.  Write the Word - This isn't really a book per say, but it leads me to the best book in the world - the Bible!  It's simple and gives you freedom in your quiet time - two things that are essential right now for this tired, scatter-brained mama.  I usually do it while I pump early in the morning before the kiddos are awake.  The journaling part usually looks like a written out prayer, bullet points or a verse written over and over that really spoke to me.  Link to buy book here.

Next on my reading list:
Out of the Spin Cycle
Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood
Boys should be Boys
Make it Happen

What are you reading?  Any books I should add to my list?


updates on life around these parts

Thursday, August 13, 2015

my babies

Hi there!  It's me, Denise :)  I'm still alive and I still have a blog - just a lot of happenings going on around here ya know?  Soooo I have a one month old son!  What?!?!  He's the sweetest, cuddliest and most relaxed little man there ever was.  He's got a pair of lungs on him now, don't get me wrong.  But he's purely delicious I tell ya.  And a decent sleeper these days (thank you jesus!).  I also have a 2 year old!  What again?!?!  She's spunky, hilarious and so so loving.  They are mostly responsible for my lack of blogging, but hey!  Cuddles over computers. Always.

Oh and speaking of my babies... breastfeeding y'all!  The struggle is real.  I've had to work really hard to get my supply up and recently came down with mastitis only to watch it drop again.  But we are on the mend and building that supply back up for my little chunkster thanks to the help of my amazinggggg lactation nurse.  She's the best.  If you're in Wilmington and need one, let me know because Lindsay is the bees knees!  And also thanks to my sweeeeeet breastfeeding support group/ aka sarah tucker!  this post was so so helpful and poor sarah has had to endure my breastfeeding text questions 24/7.

We are also in the process of getting our house ready to put on the market.  That's right, I am going to try and sell my house while living with two in diapers.  Prayers appreciated.  We also bought a lot to build a new house with Matthew was 2 weeks old.  So hey!  Like I said, lots going on around here.

I am wayyyyy behind on thank you notes.  If you have sent a meal or a gift, I promise I am forever grateful for your kindness and there is a note coming!  And once those are finished, on to the Birth Announcements!

I received these amazing 3D Fiber Lashes in the mail and I cannot wait to play with them this weekend!  Anything to help this mama look more awake is much appreciated.

On that note, I reaaaaallllly need to get out of my yoga pants.  It's been almost 5 weeks since the babe and I just can't. take. them. off.  I have been shopping the Anthropolgie sale though and just picked up this (great for nursing too!) and this and this cute top!

Which leads me to another shopping point.  Have y'all ever heard of Coco and Ginger?!?!  I die.  No really.  I found them on instagram and am in love with each of their pieces.  Completely in love.  I usually don't spend that much on Georgia's clothes but I am going to have to splurge and get her something for next summer from that line.  Maybe for Christmas?  I'm in love with everything they make.  I want it in my size too please!

And then my last shopping point.  (disclaimer - I've been pregnant and haven't bought clothes in a long time!  I didn't really buy any maternity clothes either because I wore what I had from Georgia's pregnancy.  So there!  That is my excuse for this shopping nonsense.)  Back to my last point.  I want some boots!  For fall!  I'm deciding between these and these (in the grey suede).  Thoughts?

OK - both babies are sleeping so I mist shower and put on real clothes before the hubby comes home.  I. Can. Do. It.

PS - Promise to have Matthew's one month post up next week!


my 2 year old!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A week ago the baby that made me a mommy turn TWO!  I don't know where time goes, honestly.  There was no big shindig this year but I made SURE my little lady felt special.  She had one request this year - a Big Bird cake.  Considering she didn't even have a sugar cake last year I felt it only necessary to get her very own 8 inch Big Bird cake.  She didn't leave much for the rest of us (likely we had cupcakes too!).  We celebrated at home on Thursday night (the birthday night) and then headed to my parents' house Saturday for more spoiling and more celebrating.  Sunday night my in-laws stopped by for even more birthday surprises.  Spoiled rotten and loved unconditionally... I'd say it was a good birthday!

**PS - I appologize for the quality of these iPhone photos but a 2 week old + sleepy mama = I tried my best ok?

newborn photos with Jennifer Simpson

Friday, July 31, 2015

**All photos taken by the talented Jennifer of Jennifer Simpson Photography.

When Matthew was one week old, my little family of four had the pleasure of visiting Jennifer Simpson's new studio here in Wilmington for a little photo sesh.  Jennifer is theeee sweetest and she made Georgia immediately feel right at home (I mean she had gold fish and toys on hand!  win win!).  Not to mention is she talented!  My little toddler was quite the handful during this hour and a half and I was honestly wondering if she got ANY good shots... until I saw them!  I was in awe.  Thank you Jennifer for capturing our family as we welcome baby Matthew.  We will cherish this photos forever!

**Side note: we had originally planned on doing hospital photos with Jennifer but when the big sister showed up that morning she was a bit fragile and I knew pictures were not going to work out.  I called and rescheduled right then and she could not have been more understanding and accommodating.  Thank you so much Jenny, you are a gem and I cannot wait to work with you again soon!

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