Thursday, August 2, 2018

He Will Refresh the Weary

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." 
Jeremiah 31:25

Do you ever feel like everything seems to come to a head all at once? Have you had one difficult, stressful thing happen and then right in the middle of trying to deal with that you're hit with another blow? And maybe even a 3rd or 4th? The ceiling is falling in on you and you just have to stand there and take it.

That's been my week.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Instant Pot Cheesecake!

I've only made a cheesecake one time before last night and it turned out less than stellar. Okay, it was pretty inedible. I don't really know what I did wrong, but it didn't taste good at. all.

After that experience I've been hesitant to try again, but I was looking for healthy dessert recipes recently and low carb cheesecakes kept popping up on my pinterest so I bought myself a new cheesecake pan and decided to try the recipe that used the instant pot - since my experience with the oven didn't turn out too well!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Home Sweet Home

Mark snapped this picture a couple weekends ago and I love it.

A small glimpse into our simple morning breakfast routine on the weekends. 

Reaghan is so excited that Lilly is big enough to sit at the table with her and 
sweetly invites her in the mornings to sit with her. 
{Lilly has not been cleared to eat oatmeal outside of her table yet though ;)}

Piper looks like she's lovingly watching her two charges, but she's definitely
 just hoping they drop some waffles for her to clean up.

My little Home Sweet Home.

 Easily my favorite picture of the summer.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Doyle Family Reunion {2018}

For years our extended family has gathered every 3 years in Ohio for a family reunion. When we were younger it was a blast! We looked forward to seeing cousins, aunts, great aunts/uncles and second cousins! (or is it first cousins once removed? I don't know.. that always confuses me, but you know - our parents cousins and their children!) My grandma is one of 13 children so this reunion included all of her siblings, their children, grandchildren and recently great grandchildren! There were 4 generations of family members gathering at one reunion, which sounds awesome... Except we had sort of gotten to the point where there were people there that we didn't really know any more. My grandma also moved to Virginia recently so connections in Ohio were lessening for most of my closer family members who were no longer making the trip north for the Reunion.

For the last 4 or 5 years my mom, her sisters and their kids {me and my cousins!} started talking about branching off and starting a smaller, Doyle reunion. This meant just my grandma's direct descendants. It took us a few years to get it going but we finally did it! I reached out to all of my cousins and aunts and uncles with a survey 2 years ago to get an idea of when and where most people would be able to come and then last year my aunt found the perfect place in Williamsburg, VA for us to hold it and we booked it! I had the honor of spear heading the event and I was so excited about the response from family members. We had 58 people come and only had a handful of people missing.

Monday, July 2, 2018

See Reaghan Grow {Dance Recital}

Father's Day weekend was a flurry of activity!
Friday night was a dress rehearsal for Reaghan and her cousin Brooklyn's first big ballet recital, and then Saturday was the actual recital! The girls have been looking forward to this for weeks - ever since they got their costumes at dance class! We've been excited to see them perform the dance we've taken them to class every Thursday to practice. ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Amazing Race {30th Birthday Edition}

Mark's 30th birthday is coming up this weekend, its on Father's Day actually, and unfortunately we have a super busy weekend with Reaghan's dance recital and rehearsal, waiting for Erin's baby (her due date is tomorrow!) and celebrating Fathers Day! Since it didn't seem doable to do a big party for him on his actual birthday I decided to do something fun to surprise him this past weekend.

I've been asking him for months if there was anything special he wanted to do for his milestone birthday and we tossed around a few ideas but couldn't settle on anything. He said he didn't want a big party. {Mark is is definitely more introverted and doesn't enjoy being the center of attention.} I was struggling because I wanted to do something special so I spent so many nights brain storming for ideas and that's when I came across a brilliant idea from The Dating Diva's website!

A DIY Amazing Race!

Mark and I Loooooooove the Amazing Race. If we could pick any reality show to be on that would be it. We amuse ourselves watching the show and laughing about which one of us would be better at the challenges or if there are any that we know we'd totally fail at. Anyways, when I saw the idea for a DIY Amazing Race date night I knew it would be perfect to adapt to a party AND I knew I wanted it to be a surprise.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

OBX Beach Week

Last week was our annual beach week with Mark's family in the OBX. We usually "rent" a condo that my mother in law's boss owns and gives to her for free once a year but this year it was booked before he could set aside the week for her. We were bummed at first {because a free house on the beach is awesome!} but it was a blessing in disguise. Last year we started talking about eventually needing to rent a bigger house since the girls were getting bigger and this forced us to make the change this year! We were able to rent a beautiful house on the beach for a decent price since the week before Memorial Day is still "off season" and it was worth paying the money! The girls had their own rooms, there was a pool and a hot tub, and direct access to the beach.

We had a fun week but it started off a little rocky. Lilly ran a temperature of 105.3 that landed us in the ER because she wasn't responding to me very well. Thankfully after 3 hours in the hospital they determined it was just a virus and to alternate Motrin and Tylenol. She missed out on the first 2 beach days as Mark and I took turns staying in with her but she lived it up the rest of the week! Thankfully none of the other girls caught what she had!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Woodland Baby Shower

It was my great honor to throw my big sister Erin a baby shower for her first and long awaited babe! She had been dreaming about a soft, woodland baby shower so that is what her best friend Amber and I teamed up to give her a couple of weekends ago.

Amber had relatives that live in a gated community and so had a access to a beautiful clubhouse that they were happy to let us use. I was grateful to be able to host it in a larger space because we planned to invite several family and friends that have prayed for Erin along her infertility journey... not to mention it took so much pressure off that I would've felt trying to make my house perfect and pretty for a large party. ; )

Sunday, May 13, 2018

I See You Now {a Mother's Day post}

I'm in my 4th year of motherhood, celebrating my 4th Mothers Day, and I feel so blessed. I am so grateful for my 2 healthy girls. But do you know what I become increasingly more grateful for with each new phase of motherhood that I encounter? My mom.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

6 Year Anniversary

If only my 15 year old self knew she was going to end up with the guy, it would've saved a whole lot of teenage heart ache ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Little Ballerina

We are almost through our first year of dance with this girl!
When we started last fall I wasn't sure if she would like going in to class by herself every week or even going up on stage for the recitals but her independence has really blossomed over the course of taking dance. She is so excited to go to dance every week and she's always beaming from ear to ear at the end of every class as she rushes out to meet me in the waiting room. She's usually exclaiming something along the lines of "Mommy! Mommy! I got to be the leader today! Oh, and I got a sticker!" 

She did a winter "showcase" recital before last Christmas, but this June recital is the real deal!
She got her costume today and it couldn't fit her personality any more perfectly.
Pink, sparkly and a tiara for the head piece! Being a princess is her favorite. 

I can't wait to see her perform in just a few weeks. We got a sneak peak of their recital dance and she gets to lead her class around the stage in the cutest toddler tippy toe walk ever.

Now I just need to practice my dance mom skills... I need to keep that tutu hanging upside down so it stays fluffy I gotta learn how to do a bun that will stay on top of her head! I'd totally recruit her Aunt Nin Nin to do it for me like she did for the winter showcase but her recital is 2 days after Erin's due date... So Nin Nin will probably be pre-occupied. We're totally going to have a lesson with her sometime soon! : )

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

See Lilly Grow {15 months}

This little one had her 15 month check up today! 
She is healthy as can be and lit up the Dr.s office with her silly antics.
She has lost quite a bit of chunk over the last few months but no one is worried.
35th percentile for weight, 22nd for height but her head has steadily stayed in the 55th percentile for her entire 15 months of life. {it's gotta be that smart brain}

She's growing so fast and I feel like every day she does something that makes me go "I want to write that down! I want to remember her she is as a toddler!" So I thought I'd do a little update with all that Lilly is up to at 15 months old. 
  • She can say 15 words - Mama, Dada, Sissy, Lilly, Piper, PopPop, NinNin {Aunt Erin}, Hi, Bye, Eat Eat, Ni-Ni {night night}, Wa-Wa {water}, More, Oh Oh {uh-oh}, Wow, 
  • She loves to run around the couch with sissy and spin in the living room until she falls over.
  • She loves sissy's favorite baby doll. {Reaghan is sweet enough to share most of the time!} She feeds her, puts her in the crib, pushes her in a stroller
  • One of her favorite toys is the play car she got for Christmas. Its one of the few toys that occupy her attention for more than 5 minutes.
  • I'm surprised she isn't more of a chunker because she LOVES food. Almost any kind. Her favorites include pasta, cheese, yogurt, grapes, and gold fish! The few things she's not huge on are banana's, sandwich bread, and deli meat.
  • She's curious, adventurous and pretty fearless. She climbs on the outer rails of the stairs, thinks gravity doesn't apply to her and that she can walk right off the couch or bed, tries to climb out of her crib and pack n play. {Reaghan never even attempted!} Loves to climb in and out of Reaghan's little chairs. She will walk away from us without a second thought in a store or at a park. {I appreciate her bravery, but this is a serious offense! We are teaching her that this is not okay.}
  • She is feisty and loud. Screams, yells, screeches when she's mad and also randomly when we are in the car or if people are having a conversation that she thinks she should be a part of.
  • She is a social butterfly and loves to smile at friends and strangers alike. She is constantly making friends in all the stores waving and saying hi to anyone who makes eye contact with her. 
  • Her smile and laugh are contagious and her teeth are spaced far apart giving her to the goofiest, sweetest grin.
  • She is slowly losing interest in nursing. It used to be the thing she LIVED for, especially first thing in the morning, but just in the last week or so she hasn't been as needy.
  • She takes the best 3 hour naps and sleeps 12 hours every night. She is a breeze to put to sleep now. A little nursing, a little prayer and then she sits up and points to her crib wanting to be put to sleep. {tonight was the first night that she actually didn't finish nursing... I'm just going to go cry now.}
  • She LOVES her pacifier. 
  • She's sporty. She can put a ball on a tee and wack it off with a baseball bat. Her form just needs a little work. *wink* She likes when daddy helps her put the basketball in the hoop. 
  • She gives the BEST hugs around the neck and the sweetest open mouth kisses and makes a cute "maaa" sound when blowing kisses. 
Gosh. This kid. I love her so much. I could go on and on about her. She hits the ground running every morning. I can't take my eyes off of her for seconds because she does things like sneak an orange crayon in the dishwasher that turns all the dishes orange! She plays hard and she loves hard. Everything she does has an intensity to it. Sometimes it exhausts me and other times it brings me the greatest joy. We speak life over her every night and pray that her boldness, bravery, fierceness and extroverted self would be brought under the Lordship of Christ and used for His glory as she grows. We pray for our diligence and patience as we grow her up. I'm so thankful for ALL of her.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Sunday

We had such a busy Easter season leading up to the holiday since we were involved in our church's ALIVE drama that I was a little worried the day of was going to be hectic as well. The play we were in had a performance Friday evening and 2 on Saturday, so we were at church all day Saturday which didn't leave me with a whole lot of time to prepare the things we were supposed to bring to our family get together's, prepare our church clothes, and stuff the girls Easter baskets. Not to mention try to keep our house somewhat in order from all of our running around.

Mark and I were up late Saturday night after we got home getting everything together. I did indulge in some late night brownie batter spoon licking to help keep me energized. : ) I planned to get up early the next morning too so I could shower and get myself ready for church before we did breakfast and Easter baskets. Usually Sunday morning breakfasts are quick and easy, but on special occasions I like to make time to eat a fun, memorable breakfast. (These came out of a can, so memorable can still be easy!)

Anyways, I snoozed my alarm clock and woke up an hour later than planned! Ugh! I'm really thankful God got a hold me of me in the shower in the middle of my grogginess, and changed my pouting about the morning being off to a bad start to remembering the importance of the day. A less than stellar house, or breakfast, or even time to do my hair just right {cause you know, Easter pictures!} was absolutely NOT what we were celebrating today. Thank you Jesus for that grace that kicked me in the pants!  I let go of some things, prepared my heart to worship a RISEN king and enjoyed my little family. We even had time to do a surprise Easter Egg hunt that one of our neighbors left in our yard the night before for the girls!

I've said it before and I'll say it every year, Easter Sunday at church is my favorite. The excited celebration is something I wish I could carry every week of the year. We celebrated at church with family, spent lunch and the early afternoon at my parents house and then went to Mark's parents that evening. We colored eggs, did an Easter egg hunt for the girls {and one for the adults with a few $20 bills hidden around! Thanks mom and dad!} and shared delicious food.

That night when we got home we finished our Holy Week readings and calendar with Reaghan. I'm so glad we did this with her this year. She retained so much information about the weeks events and even still will hear songs on the radio like "Come to the Table" and will tell me... "Mom! this is the song about Jesus when he washed his disciples feet and said 'this is my body' and 'this is my blood!'" I'm always amazed at how much she actually remembers! It's motivation for me to keep feeding her growing mind and spirit and conviction to keep me praying for the wisdom and grace to show my girls their need for a Savior and their mom's need for Him too. The weight of that feels heavy sometimes, I'm so afraid I'll mess it up! But that's kind of the thing isn't it? It's not all on me and His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses thanks to the cross! Thanks to the resurrection! Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Holy Week

Happy Palm Sunday! We are having a lot of fun this Easter season so far! Our church is putting on an Easter drama portraying the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and we are participating as a family. Mark is playing the drums for the live band and the girls and I are participating in the crowd scenes.

In the recent months God has pressed upon my heart to begin preparing for conversations about salvation with Reaghan. She is only 3 and I know her understanding of sin and salvation are limited, but even so, I've been looking for resources and tips on explaining salvation to her. I am so glad that God began preparing me before I knew why! He knew what was coming in Reaghan's heart because she has expressed a lot of questions and thoughts the last several weeks since we've been practicing for the play... "Why is Jesus on the cross?" "Why are they hurting him?" "That makes me sad." "I wish he was okay." "How will Jesus come out of the tomb if the rock is there?"  These have lead to sweet discussions introducing my girl to the concept of Salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection.

To keep her thoughts turned towards Jesus this week we decided to add something interactive during our nightly bible reading. We usually read out of the Jesus Storybook bible during our morning "school" routine and another children's bible in the evenings, but I found a Holy Week reading schedule using the Jesus Storybook Bible from Erin over at Home with the Boys so we are going to use that for our nightly family bible readings this week. We made a Holy Week calendar to go with it so after each reading Reaghan can glue paper cut outs or draw a picture that corresponds with the event in the story. I'm totally being lazy right now and just snapped a picture of it while sitting on the couch writing this post, but here it as after our first reading tonight! (I found the original inspiration here from pinterest... this blogger is longer blogging but her site is still up for reference.)

Reaghan loved it and is anticipating how we will fill each square. I love that when I showed her the biggest square for Easter and asked her if she remembered what happened on that day she answered, "That's when Jesus comes alive again!" We are going to keep it on our fireplace this week so it is front and center!

I have a lot of Easter Printables saved on my Pinterest Board for Reaghan to color and complete this week during our school hour to help build her anticipation for Easter. I love using Pinterest as a resource for these types of things! I really want to cultivate a spirit of excitement for Easter in our home that is similar to that at Christmas time!

How do you celebrate Holy Week? I'd love more ideas!

Monday, March 19, 2018

ShamrockOn 2018

Sunday I ran the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon in Virginia Beach.

I love to run this race (2015, 2016) whenever I can because it is
 so close and its my favorite distance to run!

It was my first race after having Lilly. I took more than 6 months off from running after she was born last year because of experiencing a pelvic organ prolapse following her birth. I went through physical therapy and gave myself plenty of time to heal before running again last fall. When I did I kept my mileage low, 3 miles max, but I finally decided in January that I was ready to start increasing my mileage again! So on a whim, I registered for the 1/2 Marathon. It probably wasn't the smartest idea because it only gave me a few weeks to progress from 3 miles to 13... but it worked out fine! Other than being really sore the day after.. I knew I wasn't going to run my fastest race ever, but I did finish better than I expected, 2 hours and 7 minutes, so I was really happy with it.
(A similar time that I was really excited to achieve back in 2012)  

Here is my race day taken from my Instagram stories:

I finished the half feeling pretty good.
I have lofty goals to keep up my mileage this year and, Lord willing, complete another full marathon this fall and then a 30 mile race on my 30th birthday in December!
(Doesn't that sound like a great way to ring in my 30's?!? I think it will make my birthday memorable, if nothing else!)
It's grand and feels a little intimidating right now thinking about it, but I've done a full before so I know it is possible for me!
I am praying that I can stay healthy and diligent this year to meet these goals!