Finding My Style – A New Beginning

This post needs a little intro.

The last time I really felt confident about my personal style was when I was in college, about 5 years ago.
Since then, I’ve gotten married and had three kids. A lot has changed for me in a relatively short time. I am in a very different phase of life, and my college-student-style no longer works for me now as a mom-of-three-littles.
So, yesterday, I took my sister shopping with me to figure out my sizes (I have never actually shopped in women’s and didn’t know what size I am!) and get a better idea of what my style is.

After our trip, we decided two things:

  1. My style has definitely changed to something more “grown up”
  2. It’s still a work in progress!

I have a better idea of what I like, what is out there, and what fits me, but I haven’t really nailed it down yet. Maybe I never will, but that’s fine with me, because that keeps me from settling and pushes me to keep being creative.

I am not a big shopper, but I love a great sale, and there are some really good ones going on right now, including the Nordstrom’s Annual Sale coming up next week!

Here’s what I found that I liked:

First up, Francesca’s (which is having an online only sale of 30% off full-priced items site wide, and is having their semi-annual sale. You can really get some good deals on clearance items with this sale.)
This is my sister’s go-to store, so this was her pick to start us off. She pick out this top and mini-skirt. She really wanted to see me in a jean skirt! I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The fact it’s a mini-skirt and I’m bending down to take care of my kids all the time is a big reason why this length is a no-no for me right now. The shirt, however, I loved! The style, the material, and the color were a yes for me.

Up next, Nordstrom! (Their Annual Sale is coming up next week!)
My aunt worked at Nordstrom for a long time, and I kind of grew up shopping here with my family, so it’s kind of a favorite of mine. I feel pretty comfortable browsing here, and I like a lot of what I see.
We found pants at Nordy’s. I’m a fan of cropped, green pants apparently! Love the style of both the cargo pants and the printed drawstring pants. They are a bit on the casual side, comfortable, and cute.
The shirt looks cute, but, for the record, it is partially see-through (which is why I was trying on the black) yet the material traps your body heat and within ten minutes I was uncomfortably hot!

Finally, was Loft. Whenever I pass this store, I love what I see. I’ve just never been brave enough to go in and really look around, like to was “too grown up” for me. Well, lesson learned, I’m grown up enough for it, and I loved what I found here! It was definitely motivating to see that they were having a huge sale, too. Extra 60% off sale items! Yes, please.

Clearly, red and polka dots were the winners at Loft. I liked the polka dot wrap skirt as soon as I saw it, and once I put it on, I was in love.
The shirt is also a wrap style, not too low cut, and the flared arms just won me over. Oh, and the polka dots and stripes together? Yes, yes, yes.

Okay, now for the shocker (well, shocker for me). The last time I wore flared pants I was a pre-teen, and I hated the style. It made me feel even more awkward and skinny, like a literal bell. Hated it.
So, when my sister picked out these bright red, cropped, wide legged pants for me to try on, I was super hesitant. I almost just said “no, forget it, not putting them on”, but I did it. You know what? I liked them!
They make me look taller (rather than skinnier), hug my form in a flattering way, and I even liked the bright red color on me. Now, go figure they are a best seller at Loft too.

Thanks sis for pushing me out of my comfort zone!

I learned a little about myself on this little sister shopping trip, too.
I learned:
I like to be creative with clothes.
I like to shop for myself.
I tend to like a more sophisticated style, but comfort is still of primary importance to me.
I like the way I look in red.
I am a size smaller than I thought.
I need to work on my mirror selfie game.

And I should even seek to dress for God’s glory.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Family Vacation – Big Bear Lake, CA

Mountains, forrest, lake, great weather, small town feel with (all the amenities), and family friendly to boot! I’m not even kidding. We just spent a week up in Big Bear Lake, California, and it was a blast.

First of all, I love spending time with my family. There is literally nothing I’d rather be doing. We are so blessed to have such a close family. My siblings and I are so close, both in age and in relationship. It’s really a blessing. This past week, it was so sweet to see my kids playing with their cousin, she’s not quite 1 yet, but she is walking and she followed them all around. They kept calling to her to “catch me!” and she’d laugh and toddle down the hall after them.
The range of properties available to rent out in Big Bear is amazing too. We were able to fit my entire side of family under one roof, and we weren’t on top of each other. From little cottages to three story cabins, they have it! We stayed in the lovely, Evergreen Manor and all four generations enjoyed the house. I asked around and our favorite thing about this home in particular was the space in the living rooms and kitchen. My son loved that everyone had their own room, and that he could go from room to room and spend time with each person every morning.

Gorgeous! And this is just what we saw on the drive up!

Second, this location is awesome. I love the mountains, and this lake is in the heart of a beautiful valley about 7000 feet above sea level, so it’s just perfect to me. While we were there, the hottest it got was maybe 76 degrees, and the low maybe around 38 at night. My husband and I were day dreaming about living up there! So beautiful.
But not just that, the town itself is so cute, and really has everything.

  • Coffee shops (nearly 10 of them, including 2 Starbucks, but I like to stick to the places were the locals go, like Moonridge Coffee Company)
  • Breakfast places (a place called Dank Donuts was a personal favorite)
  • Restaurants (we had some good Thai food, and followed the locals to a burger joint that always had a line out the door called Get the Burger)
  • Groceries (we stopped by the local Vons at least once a day)
  • Parks and playgrounds
  • Hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities (skiing and such in the wintertime)
  • Ice cream parlor! (skip the Ben and Jerry’s and head for the local store “North Pole Fudge Co.” with their own ice cream and fudge! Yummy!)

You get the picture, there’s a ton to do for the whole family!

I think our favorite thing we did all week was the boat tour around the lake. Over at the Pine Knot Marina, the offer a tour of Big Bear Lake on a paddle wheel boat called Miss Liberty. During the ride around the entire lake, the skipper tells you all about the activities along the shoreline, the history of the lake and the valley, and even points out some lake front properties belonging to celebrities (don’t worry though, the boat if far enough away that everyone still has their privacy).
While on our tour, we passed by the home of Noel Blanc, son of Mel Blanc who was the original voice of many beloved cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, and Barney Rubble. Noel Blanc was home as we passed by and came out on his deck with a mega phone! His father trained him to do the voices of all the characters he created, so Noel spoke to us like Bugs Bunny! He was super friendly, and turned out to be family friends of our boat’s skipper. Very cool! Really showed us the small town feel of this often popular resort town.

A close second for our favorite thing we did was visiting the Big Bear Alpine Zoo I’m an animal lover, and my kids, being so little, are big animal fans too. The zoo is all rescued animals, some are in the process of rehabilitation, others are permanently injured as to need human assistance for survival, or were found at such a young age that they never learned the skills necessary to be successfully released. It’s super cool!

We did tons of other family activities, too! Like game night after the littles were asleep, playing at the park, a water balloon fight, scavenger hunt, and a talent show! Ever seen Dan in Real Life? They do a family talent show in that movie and my family does it now, it’s super fun!

We want to go back during the wintertime! Although, I’m a little nervous doing snow with our kids so little. I’ve never done it before! Any tips, I’d welcome it!

How are you spending your summer? Hopefully surrounded by family doing fun, unique, “summer-only” kind of things!
Like boat tours with Bugs Bunny!

Special thank you to my family who helped me with all these pictures! I was usually holding a child and wasn’t able to get many pictures at all!

Soli Deo Gloria!

My go-to outfit

It’s been a wonderful weather around here!
Cloudy mornings, daily high ranging from 75-80 degrees, so so nice, especially for June in Southern California. This is really my favorite weather, particularly because I get to wear my favorite things:
jeans, cardigan, and flip flops.

Comfy mom-style to the max, am I right?!

But my absolute favorite about this style: My purse and shoes.

I’ve had these Rainbows for at least 5yrs (probably longer) and I love them. They are the most comfortable sandal I’ve ever had, I’ve yet to find a sandal that comes even close to their simplicity and comfort.

My The Sak crossbody purse is an all day, everyday, can hold everything, but doesn’t weigh a ton kind of purse. What’s not to love?

I tried in vain to find the exact style of my purse, I believe it’s a discontinued style. They do have lots of size and style options on The Sak site that I found. I personally like their leather bags best.


My shoes are another story. I’m a pretty traditional gal, so the rainbow sandals I have are the classic Single Layer Premier Leather with Arch Support and a Narrow Strap. It even says on their site: “If any sandal says Rainbow, this is it!”

Library Review: Why Read?

I just got my very own library card! Woot woot!
I had one years ago as a kid, but it’s easily been over a decade since I’ve perused the shelves of my local library for literary treasures, and now I have three kids who all love books (although the youngest mostly likes to chew on them).

We picked some gems on our first outing to the local library, but I have to say, my kids’ tastes in books differ wildly from my own. Maybe they take after Daddy? Maybe they are just little? Who knows!

Here are the favorites from our first trip:

These were the instant favorites. Cute and funny! Both kids loved the Mo Willems book, my daughter loved the Olivia book, and my son loved Goose Needs A Hug.
These were the crowd pleasers. Everyone liked something about these two books, even baby Kristie!
This was by far the kids favorite book! They almost had it memorized by the time it was due! We even looked up videos of the real life sounds these animals make.

I love good books, I love to read, and I love to learn. Good books are a great step to having life long readers, and life long learners. My son is just learning the beginnings of letter sounds and that when you put those letter sounds together, you get words! He thinks it’s fascinating.

I don’t just think reading is important because I’m a mom, nor because I’m a teacher at heart (I did major in education). As a Christian, reading is crucial. Jesus is called The Word in John chapter 1. God has communicated through a book, the Bible. Reading is, quite literally, life and death.

My kids are just figuring out this truth. They see how our family prioritizes reading God’s Word most of all. They see me read my Bible everyday. We take the time to read The Big Picture Story Bible at dinner. We have Bible verses written out that we read and memorize together.

It’s important.

Read for God’s Glory, friends. Even when your reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? for the fiftieth time that day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Soli Deo Gloria

A godly friend, like Paul

The women’s bible study at my church is going through Philippians right now, using Melissa Kruger’s book In All Things. It’s been such a blessing to have this reminder to rejoice in the Lord Jesus no matter what.

Why? Because he is greater, he is worthy, he is worth it, he is with us, he is the reason and the end of all things, he is good.

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

– “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Fredrick M. Lehman (1917)

I read though the entire book of Philippians just to refresh myself of the whole context of the book, even as we study it verse by verse. As I read, I was receiving texts from two girls. I pray for both these girls on a regular basis, and with their texts in my mind this verse of Philippians really popped out at me:

“Therefore. my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” 
Philippians 4:1

Do you have friends you think of like this? Do you have friends who think of you in this way? Through out this little letter, Paul’s language shows that he really loved and cared for these people. 

It’s so interesting to note what Paul’s love for these people calls him to do, because it is so different from what the world says a true friend does. Paul encourages this church to stand firm in what they have believed about Jesus (that he is the only way of salvation), love one another, and rejoices even in their suffering.

Do we do this for our friends? Do we spur them on? Or do we pander them when they grumble? Do we actually talk with our friends about Jesus, about good theology, even in a casual way? Or do we “save” those conversations for the formal church setting?

Are we investing in the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we allowing others to invest in us?

These are tough questions! They require messiness, uncomfortable conversations, personal sacrifice, and more! That’s hard friend, but that is what Jesus did for us (and more!), and that is what we, as believers, are called to. 

Let us, in the confidence we have in our savior Jesus Christ, Rejoice! Standing firm, united in love, and growing ever more like Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria!

When the rain comes

These few months of “winter” here in southern California have proven to be a struggle for me and my kids. Between cold viruses and rainy days, we have been inside more than I would like.

Looking to Valentine’s day, I see more rain on the way, and I am super tempted to pout and complain.

Again? Really? Lord, do you know how hard it is to have three kids 3 and under in a two bedroom apartment? And now we can’t even go outside? I just know they are going to act out.

I’m tempted to not believe that God is good.
I’m tempted to not believe that God is sovereignly providing for me.
I’m tempted to not believe that God’s grace.
But! God is good. God is sovereignly providing. God is abundantly gracious!

Our Rainy/Valentine’s Day Plan:

1. “Mommy, let’s make a sheep.” My son has been asking this for a week, and I have been putting it off. He knows all the materials we need, I already checked, and we have all of them.

Sheep craft – materials:

  • Sheet of paper
  • Cotton balls
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Markers

2. I received an email from Education.com asking if I would be interested in sharing a Valentine’s day word tracer worksheet on my blog.

Here’s a note from those at Education.com :

Celebrate friendship all month long as you practice your writing skills with this Valentine word tracer. The fun can continue at Education.com with more learning activities.

Education.com has a ton of resources and ideas on Pinterest as well!

God provides! Usually in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.

When it rains or snows, even when we doubt, even when we disobey, God is still good, sovereign, gracious, and steadfastly faithful to love us.
God is the perfect Valentine.
Sounds a little cheesy, but it is in essence true!
God not only loves perfectly, God is love.

Be reminded of this sweet truth, friends, as I remind my own heart.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Anxiety, the gospel, and potty training

Today is Day One of potty training for me and my son. He’s 3 and 1/2. He’s plenty ready, but I’m a nervous wreck.

Why am I so anxious about potty training? I have 3 kids: a 3-and-1/2-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 2-month-old. All are (obviously) in diapers. You’d think I’d be ecstatic about getting one if them out of diapers!
But I’m not.
I’ve been dragging my feet.
I’m forcing myself to do this.

You wouldn’t guess it looking at me! (Unless you’re my mom, or my hubby, or my sister ๐Ÿ˜‰) I grew up performing, so I know how to “fake it ’til you make it”! On the outside: I’m excited, motivated, encouraging, and confident. All for my son’s sake!

On the inside: I’m nervous that I’ll fail. I’m afraid my son will have a bad experience, and be upset with me. I’m sad my baby is growing up! I’m also excited my baby is growing up! (The inner turmoil of a mom, right?!)

He’s my only son (so far ๐Ÿ˜‰). He’s my first born. He’s the spitting image of my husband. I’m in a constant struggle between wanting him to become a grown, godly man, just like his daddy, and wanting to hold him forever. ๐Ÿ’œ

I think he’s barely a year old in this, maybe not even a year yet! Oh, be still my heart!

Potty training is just bringing all my anxieties and fears to the surface, I think. They were there the whole time, but didn’t have a chance to really show themselves. The heat is bearing down now!

I see my heart’s tendency, to be anxious, so today I am clinging (with all my might) to God’s grace, because I need it!

These are the Truths I am holding fast to:

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:13

This should be the theme verse for all of babyhood and toddlerhood. So much of parenting at this stage is preparing ourselves for intense action! Midnight feedings, continual diaper changes, tantrums, potty training… the list goes on. These are all activities that require immediate action and continual readiness to jump right in! I love that this verse points to the future, to what is ultimate: Christ’s return, when all things will be made right. I need this reminder when I’m in the thick of things with my little ones. Especially today with our new adventure in potty training.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

This is my go-to verse in my current stage of life. What a comfort this verse is! The promises here are so rich!

  • God’s love is steadfast.
  • God mercy is renewed for us each dawn.
  • God’s mercy is never ending.
  • God is always faithful.

These promises also highlight the reality that we are broken people and are none of these things.

  • Our love is fickle and short lived.
  • Our patience wears thin, and we are harsh rather than merciful.
  • Our mercy ends, or fails to even show up.
  • Our short term memory, and frail frame make us a faithless people.

BUT GOD!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved-“
Ephesians 2:4-5

I am holding fast to the gospel!

Mommies need the gospel. We need it in our hearts and minds everyday. It’s incredibly practical! Because it puts every diaper change into perspective.

Let me say it again, not just for you, reader, but mostly for my own heart:

The Good News that we are sinners saved from punishment and death through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, paying an eternal debt to an eternal God that we cannot pay, and saved to life “together with Christ” as Ephesians puts it, now in this earthly life by the ministry of the Spirit, and forever for eternity in heaven through Jesus with God the Father, makes the mundane tasks of each day not just worth it, but I am also able to glorify God in them because his Spirit enables me to serve others and God rather than my sinful self.

Read that again. and again. and again.

Remind yourself (and myself) everyday of this reality, believer. This is your reality. This is your life. This is why you can say “no” to being anxious, and “yes” to trusting in God in all things.

But before you or I begin to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, or wash our face and put on the make-up of self-righteousness, let’s take a look at Scripture verses that tell us how we say “no” to anxiety, and “yes” to trusting God.

1. God is, powerfully, at work in us

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6

2. God has given us instructions

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man [or woman] of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

3. God has given us a family. Don’t go it alone.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-26

Reading to his 2-month-old baby sister. He loves his sisters sooooo much!

Let me conclude with this:
I am anxious about potty training. It is a challenge!
Parenting is hard! Having three kids as young and as close in age as I do, IS HARD!
But! God is in control. God is good. God is faithful. And, God is with me.

Deep breath.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.”
Psalm 28:7

Soli Deo Gloria