Monday, March 31, 2014

dedicated boy (#3)

One of my earliest posts on this blog was when we had Isaiah dedicated. I realized as I wrote that post how much I loved writing about my boys, comparing their similarities and differences and documenting each stage of life. Now here we are two years later and we are dedicating our third little man :)
He is wearing the same vest as Drew and Isaiah wore for their dedications... I love little continuities like that :) (He's also wearing the same shirt that Isaiah wore and the same pants that Drew wore...)
 Happy little 5 month old man before we headed out to church that morning.

Shaun chose the verse that we used, and then my mom gave him a gift with the same verse written on the bag, not even knowing that we had chosen it as his theme verse. So cool.

My three little men.

Love this family photo.

Grandparents with baby boy. 

Daddy and Mommy with baby boy.
Jaden, you are so special to us. I cannot imagine life without you. I thank God daily that he chose to give you to us. My precious, sweet little joy. You are an incredibly baby. So happy, content and peaceful. You have filled our hearts and home up with love like we never imagined. We know that you have a healing anointing on your life... that you will bring emotional healing to many simply through relationship, and that you will bring physical healing as well through your walk with Jesus. We speak authority and confidence over you. That everywhere you go you will shift the atmosphere into one of peace, of calm in the storm, and that there will be power released from your very shadow. Sweet Jaden Saylor, these three words cannot possibly contain all my feeling for you, but they will have to do... I love you. More than you'll ever know, and with all of my heart. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On overcoming fear

I have been wanting to post on this subject for a long, long time now. But it is so very intimate and deep of a subject for me that it has remained floating in my head and never actually made it from there out through my fingertips until now. I have shared personally my experiences in this area with a select few, but the more I share the more I see the common thread of this being an issue for so many. It is time. Time for me to write. Time to see more set free.

I don't know exactly when fear became an issue for me. I remember being a little girl and having an irrational fear of our house catching on fire while I was asleep. I had a little box prepared of all the things I wanted to save if that would happen. My parents would pray with me at night so I could fall asleep. But this is really one of the only things I remember having intense amounts of fear about as a child. I honestly don't remember much fear at all as a teenager. Then I got married. Then I became a mom. And fear began to all but consume me.

I don't know about you, but the mere thought of anything happening to one of my babies used to send me spiraling into a vortex of anxiety where I literally felt like I might suffocate. I shed many real tears over things that were not real circumstances. And I believed a lie. I believed that this made me a better mother. I believed that it was only proof of me caring so deeply. I didn't realize how it was affecting me and torturing me.

Then I had a vision. In my mind I was picturing our living room. I heard our front doorbell ring. When I opened the door there was a man standing on our front porch. He said that he was going to come in and eat dinner at our table and when he was finished he was going to kill me and our whole family. I immediately slammed and locked the door in his face. End the vision. The Lord then told me that the man on the porch was Fear. And that that's what fear does. It comes in and feasts on all that you have, then destroys you. And then he told me that it can't come in without my permission. Just like in my vision, I have the choice to slam the door on fear. It can't enter without my consent. And suddenly the lie was exposed. That idea that my fear and emotion was making me a good mother? So not true. Fear was crippling. It was draining. It was exhausting. It was robbing the joy from the moment I was actually living in. It was borrowing worry that may never be mine.

Fast forward a bit further. Have you ever heard the Bible verse "Perfect love casts out fear" ? It clicked for me. If I know the perfect love of my Father, then fear has no place in my life. They CANNOT co-exist. Fear takes you down a road in one direction, perfect love takes you down a road in the opposite direction. You can't walk in the knowledge of the perfect love of Jesus and walk in fear at the same time. If you know and believe that God works all things together for your good, and if you know and believe that you can trust your Savior no matter what may happen in your life, then you do not need to be afraid of the unknowns of your future. I don't know about you, but resting in love feels SO much better to me than panicking in fear.

So that all sounds good, but how can you put this into practice in your life? This is what the Lord showed me. When something comes into my mind and I feel myself begin to react to it emotionally, I ask myself this question: Is what I am thinking about a current reality? If the answer is no, then I refuse to think about it any further. I literally picture myself kicking Fear out my front door and slamming it behind him. Sometimes I don't feel strong enough to do it myself, and I ask Jesus to slam the door for me. (Don't forget to twist that deadbolt too!)

Coming to this place in my life has been a journey over the last three years... I haven't shared until now because I struggled with one part of this... I couldn't figure out why if I battled fear and won it kept coming back. I felt like I failed. I felt like I had nothing to offer because clearly what I thought the Lord showed me wasn't working if it didn't go away and stay away. But then I had this last piece of this revelation: It's not a once and done battle. This may sound discouraging, but it shouldn't be. The more times you are successful in guarding the doors of your mind against it's attack, the easier it becomes to recognize it and the easier it is to win. Fear may come back again and again, but you don't have to allow it to control you. (I finally had this last little revelation as I battled fear BIG TIME on my drive into the e.r. with Drew right after he had his second seizure in the beginning of February, afebrile that time. I was driving in the middle of the night and in an ice storm no less.)

Here's one more thing that has helped me in this journey:
The verse "In everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace that passes understand will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Making a list of all the things you are thankful for is a huge help. Make it when you are in a good state of mind, (not currently battling fear) and keep it close. When fear comes knocking just pull out your list. It switches your mindset from fear mode to trust mode. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind."

One last thing... May I suggest to you that Love, Peace, and Joy are some of the greatest weapons we possess? They may sound passive, wimpy even, to some. They are the opposite. They are active, aggressive, protective, the guardians of our minds and hearts. It is Love that CASTS OUT. And it is Peace that GUARDS. The Joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH. But that may be another post for another day. :)

Maybe I sound crazy to you. If so, good, maybe that means fear is not an issue in your life. But maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. And if that's you, then I hope me risking sounding crazy will help you, even just a little.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Just so you all know....

I originally started my blog as an online journal, a way to record life, write down my thoughts quickly, etc. I had no idea if anyone would actually read it or not. It is still amazing to me that any of you do.

But can I just say that my original intentions for why I write have become so much more than they were in the beginning.

I have always had a heart for women, specifically to encourage and relate in a way that brings all glory to God. Growing up, being a big sister was my most favorite role in life. I adopted my sister Randi's friends as extra little sisters, and some of the best memories I have are doing all their hair and makeup for dances, hanging out with them during sleepovers, and girl talk. As I've gotten older and entered into new experiences like marriage and motherhood I've found that it makes me come alive and brings energy and passion to my heart to share life and advice and God moments with other mothers/wives/friends etc. Staying home with my babies is right where the Lord has me in this season and absolutely non-negotiable for me, which makes it hard to get out and interact with others. But I feel like my blog has become the way that I am able to connect with other women and share my heart and in return hear theirs as well.

I apologize ahead of time if the typos and incorrect grammar or punctuation on here drive you crazy (believe it or not I actually love English!) I just write like I talk and I don't have time to proofread and correct everything before I hit publish. Just know that you mean so much to me. Some of you I know, some of you I still don't, but that's ok. You have become my inspiration and motivation to write. The messages I've received over the past few months about how a specific blog post spoke to someone's heart totally reduce me to tears. I am a mess, do you know that?? I hope you do.. I hope this place is real enough that you get that I'm an emotional, learn-as-I-go, don't have it all together girl. But the reason I cry when I hear that something spoke to you is because it's just not me. It's all Jesus. I don't know what I'm going to say half the time when I open up a new window and begin to type. And the fact that my ramblings and broken self can be used in spite of me just completely humbles and breaks me and makes me worship my creator all the more. You all are amazing. And I am so, so thankful for you.

So that's why I do this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Life lately

It's spring time in our house, and now it's starting to feel a little like spring outside too. My daffodils are poking through the dirt and the snow is slushy and melting fast, and inside our house we have fresh flowers and some color and a few new little house plants adding green and life. Oh and my seedlings for my garden are started and sitting in my kitchen window sill. :)

Isaiah is so into puzzles lately. He memorizes them and then puts them together over and over. At two and a half I am really shocked at how he can put whole puzzles together by himself. He's also using the potty a ton now. I still haven't started "potty training" him... (I don't really do "potty training" like I've seen it done elsewhere...) We just talk about it, he's watched elmo's potty time, and he sees Drew doing it... And he just naturally wants to. I don't put him in under wear I just let him tell me when he wants to use it. He pretty much uses the potty every morning and night and is starting to do number 2 in there by choice whenever he can. The other night Shaun walked by the bathroom and Isaiah had taken his pants and diaper off and was sitting on his elmo potty singing to himself... The best part of it was that it was a worship song called "intimacy", so in between grunts Isaiah was singing his little heart out saying "I was made, I was made, I was made for intimacy...." Oh my word, this boy has made me laugh from the day he was born. He says all his "ck" sounds like "t's" so "Come Quick!!" is "TUM TWICK!" and he's always says "I sink so" and "Emme See!" Love his little twists in his speech.

My Drew bug... his favorite song right now is by Rend Collective called Build Your Kindgom Here and he always asks me to play it when we're in the car. Then he sings the chorus at the top of his lungs. He asked us to bring his tricycle inside for him and one of his favorite things to do right now is jump on his bike and just pedal around and around our kitchen island. He looks like such a little boy now... We're getting ready to sign him up for swimming lessons this summer and pre-school in the fall. I can hardly handle this. Seriously, time is just going too fast. I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel though as he does more and more for himself. At four and a half he dresses himself, puts on his own socks and shoes and jacket, buckles himself into his car seat, tries to wash his own hair in the tub, gets food for himself from the pantry or fridge, and loves to help me with anything in the kitchen. It is awesome to have him able to take care of himself some now. He is so loving and gentle with Jaden, and has such a sweet sensitive heart. He can be stubborn though too, and he is definitely my little warrior. :)

Jaden, my little nugget :) He is still infatuated with his hands and now sucks and chews on his fingers all the time. He is working on awesome abs and loves to do "crunches" where he lays on his back and then lifts his neck and head as high as he can til his face turns red... It cracks me up. For about the last month now he has been taking these glorious 3 to 4 hour long naps in the middle of each day. I actually can't wait for him to wake up because I miss him so bad by the end of them. I still swaddle him to sleep at night and for his naps and I think that helps a ton. The kiddopotamus wraps work so well for him. At night he wakes up about twice to nurse, for about 5 minutes, then I lay him back in his bassinet. He has become the worlds easiest baby this last month or so. He's seriously so content and even if he is crying all you have to do is pick him up and he's happy again. He's starting to hold toys and rattles and tries to grab my food sometimes. It's so funny watching babies try to get something in slow motion and without the development of depth perception yet. It takes great concentration and a lot of time just to grab something that's sitting right in front of their face. Like pouncing on prey that's not trying to run away. He's had a little applesauce from a spoon once so far and seemed to really like it. His blonde hair is really filling in and he rolls over to his belly really easily. He has the most adorable little belly laugh when you tickle him and he makes new sounds almost daily. Besides his cooing and gurgling he's said "b" and "g" sounds too. 

Shaun got a juicer for Christmas and he's been juicing once or twice a week. Drew and Isaiah love to help him make it and have declared it their favorite juice. So far what we've found we like best is a couple apples, one lime, one orange and some spinach and carrots. And those adorable juice glasses? I got them on my last girls day with my mom and sister at a cute country store. Love them. 

We go through several dozen eggs a week in this house.... We typically hard boil about a dozen at a time and that lasts us about 3 or 4 days. Such an easy breakfast too when all you have to do is peel an egg and make toast. We buy our free range grass fed eggs from local farms and are so glad we've made this switch. My other breakfast staples are smoothies (made from raw milk, organic vanilla yogurt and a banana) and grapefruits. I just found a ten lb bag of them for $3 at a discount grocery store and they are delicious!!

My boys... love this ragamuffin snuggly picture of them all :) 

We're getting ready to paint our living room so I took a few last photos of it before we paint. 

And I'm 27 now. Here's littlest man on my birthday. My little fox :) 

Me and my main guy on my 27th. 

Oh and those are my new Steve Madden aviators that I got for $5.... They were originally $60, marked down to $30, then the lady who ran the sunglass hut at Macy's had left for the day and no one else knew how to take the sensor off, so they let me pay, then mailed them to me the next day along with a $25 gift card to Macy's for the inconvenience of it... (That's the same shopping trip I got a dress that rang up at $0 on... and they just let me have it for that instead of trying to figure out why it rang up wrong. So fun! )

Right before blowing out my candles. Believe it or not Jaden is actually on my lap too you just can't see him behind Drew. 
So for my birthday Shaun took off work and I told him I wanted to start the day off with a shower all by myself in the bathroom, then go to Cracker barrel for brunch, then go pick out paint colors for our living room at Lowe's, then take a nap in the afternoon, then go to my parents' for dinner. And I also told him the day before a few conversation topics I wanted to talk about before we went to bed that night. (Side note: I used to think that an ideal "date day" would be for him to plan it all out for me without me telling him what I wanted to do even if I already knew, and then hoping he'd guess right. Way too much pressure on us both. He loves it if I just tell him what I'd like to do and he's more than happy to make it all happen.) 
So besides Isaiah being a bit out of sorts at Cracker Barrel and throwing his plate across the table, and then having a meltdown at the exit of Lowe's, and then nap time not going quite how I envisioned it, it was a great day :) My parents went all out and their kitchen was a happening place when we got there for dinner. My dad made the best fried chicken ever and this amazing new coleslaw recipe with a sweet cilantro-ey vinaigrette type sauce and my mom made homemade mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce and a salad and got a reeses ice cream pie for dessert... It was delish. I felt so loved and 27 is truly off to a great start. 

And that's all the randomness I have time for today. :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jaden's Nautical Nursery

Jaden is 4 months old and I am finally "done" his nautical nursery. (As much as you are ever done a room...) All except for putting a few more pictures into frames, and the pictures are on their way in the mail as I type... so if I was a little more patient I'd wait and show you his room after I had the pictures. But... I'm not. So here you go: 

Of course with Jaden having the middle name Saylor and having left over decorations from Isaiah's nautical first birthday party it was really inevitable for his room to go the nautical direction. The first picture on the left is what you see before you go into his room. I made the hallway a little prettier with some fun black and white candid photos of the boys in mis-matched silver frames and put our pretty wicker hamper out where everyone can see it :) The picture on the right is looking through the door into the nursery. 

Close up of the painted cork boards and... what's that? The ironing board? Yes. Because I don't like trying to get it in and out of a closet. And it has a pretty blue striped cover. And it's out of the way and fits just fine right here. K, enough on the ironing board. I love that newborn photo of Jaden and I attached the tag that my friend Salena had made for the gift she gave me when he was born with his name on it. I plan on adding a few more things to his cork board as he grows... Remember, rooms are never really "done" :) 

So if you're standing with the ironing board to your left this is what you see when you look into the room. From here I will go clockwise and show you each corner and a close up of details in each corner. (Is anyone else out there like me and you like to know where things are in relation to each other if you're getting a room tour online??) 

Rocking Chair corner: 
The quilt on the rocking chair was handmade by my Aunt Kathleen for Drew when he was born. I just love how pretty it is and it's nice to have an extra blanket nearby especially if it's cold at night when nursing baby back to sleep. We used this little rocking chair spot a ton when Jaden first came home before I started just letting him nurse in bed with me at night. It still gets use during the day and is also a nice place to have if we have anyone else over who has a small child and needs a private spot to take care of their baby. I keep extra diapers in the blue hamper. The palm tree plant is my favorite... I think every room needs at least one plant. And that fan back there is for white noise of course... The bunting above the closet was made for Isaiah's first birthday party.

This shelf was here when this was Isaiah's room, but I originally got it from target and used it as a teeny tiny "mantle" of sorts in our apartment right after we got married. It still has little holes in the bottom of it where I screwed in hooks to hang our stockings from on our first Christmas together. I just personalized it for Jaden a bit and put a maternity photo from my pregnancy with him in the frame on the left. Ignore the photos of someone else's children in the frame on the right.... that's the one that photos are in the mail to fill any day now :) But can I just say that the white frame is so adorable, it was a Christmas gift to Jaden from my cousin's wife. It has a little blue sail boat on it and it says "You sailed into our hearts" on it. Love.

Below: The beautiful engraved wood with Jaden's name and birth stats on it from our friends Meghan and Joel. So, so special. 

Corner number two: 
It's maybe not ideal for the layout of the room and with how small it is to have a bed and a crib set up in there. But the gorgeous four poster twin bed was being moved out of the room next door to make space for the double bed that Drew and Isaiah share and it was either a.) take it to the basement or b.) move it to the room next door. Now maybe part of our decision was based on the fact that it was easier... But I also really like having a guest bed upstairs. My mom used it the night she slept here when I went into labor with Jaden, and my sister in law used it when she spent the night here to help me during my crazy fiasco week.  We will also use it to lay one of the boys on if they fall asleep in the car on the way home so we can turn the light on in their room to get the other one ready for bed... Anyway it's just nice to have an extra bed even if it makes the room a little crowded. 
The white quilt on it is just a down duvet insert from target, $20. The two decorative pillows were extras from me and Shaun's room, the patchwork one was again, made by my Aunt Kathleen as a wedding gift to us. I love handmade items! The blanket on the foot of the bed is from Homegoods and I loved the texture. It's been used in several photo shoots already :)
The sail boat above the bed was made with sticks from the backyard, scraps of cloth, hot glue and twine. (A really fun project to make with little boys too. It sailed around our kitchen table a ton before it ended up on the wall...) 

Corner number 3: 

The crib corner! This crib was given to us by my parents when we were expecting Drew and I love it. It can convert into a double bed someday if we would need it to... It doesn't get a whole lot of use at night as Jaden is still in the bassinet in our room but he loves to lay in here during the day sometimes now. The letters above his crib were a gift when he was born from friends from our church, the Riehls, and I am quite fond of them :) 

With each of our boys Shaun's Grandma has let me pick out fabric for her to make a quilt for them. I have had so much fun choosing materials, and looked so forward to seeing the finished product. Drew's is pale blue with white polka dots, Isaiah's is a brown and white patchwork, and Jaden's is a nautical map of the world. The reverse side of Jaden's is blue with tiny white anchors all over it. These quilts are one of the most treasured things that we own for each of our boys. I love how special they are, and that they were handmade by our boys' Great Grandma. Each of them sleep with their quilts every night and call them their "special blankets." Definitely a keepsake that means a lot to us. 

Corner number 4: 

This is the changing table corner. When I was pregnant with Isaiah we needed another dresser so we took this one that wasn't being used and had a broken drawer from Shaun's parents' basement and restained it and fixed the drawer. The wooden trash bin is from my parents' old house. The changing pad and cover are the same ones we've had since Drew. 

For organization I used a cute black basket that held a gift to Drew from our friends the Hartmans at my baby shower for him. It holds our container of homemade wipes, desitin, baby powder, etc. Then there are these two burlap covered shoeboxes that are perfect for separating Isaiah's diapers from Jaden's. The lamp is vintage from Shaun's great aunt when she was selling things before moving out of her house. And the video baby monitor has been amazing to have this time around. (THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!!!) 

The gallery wall is maybe the thing I am most proud of doing in his room. I spent 80 cents total on it. The bunting was, again, a decoration from Isaiah's first birthday party. The two sail boats were also made from sticks from the backyard, scrap fabric, hot glue and twine. The center one is framed in a black frame we found in a garage that was being cleaned out. The anchor print and swim in the sea print were free printables I found online and to actually have them printed was 40 cents each... that's what I spent the money on. The frames were ones I already had that I painted white with leftover paint from our basement. The rocking horse print hung in Shaun's nursery when he was a baby. I painted that frame white also. 

Here are close ups of each piece: 

One more look at the whole room, this time taken standing in front of the window. 

Well thanks for taking a look at our nursery, it was so fun pulling pieces from different phases of our life together and then using the beautiful gifts we were given for Jaden's arrival to create a room that is sweet and cozy and welcoming for him. While we didn't paint the walls or change out light fixtures or replace the flooring or do anything major to the room it feels special and thought out and just right to us. I love that sometimes you can take what you have and add some creativity to it and essentially spend next to nothing on a space that you love and feel proud of.