Right Now I'm Loving...


This Baked Potato Soup I made last night. It was so delicious and super easy too. I thought it was a bit thin so I added another large potato. Next time I might try to add more cauliflower. I had the leftover for lunch and dinner so it's pretty safe to say this recipe is definitely a keeper!

All of the fun things my sweet girl is doing these days. She has become pretty independent recently and so...big. Yesterday I sat back and watched her as she stood up and dug through her toy basket. It's crazy to see her leaving the baby stage and heading for toddlerhood.

Today when she woke up from her nap she noticed her hippo from Mimi up on the shelf and wanted it down. She spent the next 20 minutes examining it.

And then it was time to show off more of her recently acquired skills:

I love every little thing about her!
I've met some really sweet people over the last few weeks and gotten to know some of my awesome neighbors a little bit better. It started happening literally the day after my post about being lonely. It just goes to show that God is listening and he really does answer prayers!

Some of my recent Pinterest finds:

Source: Kissesinpearls.tumblr  pinned by Lindsey 

Source: t, myself, and I pinned by Annie

Source: Polyvore pinned by Jessica

It's time for the weekend and we don't have any plans! Jesse has been busy with an inspection this week so it's been just E and me most nights. We're looking forward to just hanging out together and relaxing all weekend long.

What are you loving this week? Link up here.

Monday Rambling


- As they always do, the weekend flew by! Our houseguest left on Friday and we spent the rest of the weekend at the beach. We also had a barbecue and had a few people over to play games. It was so much fun and we stayed up way too late. Needless to say, I was super tired the next day. Emerson didn't care what time I went to bed- she was ready to get up and play. :)

-I find the whole subject of photography so overwhelming! I've been trying to learn as much as I can about it but I feel like there is just too much sometimes.  And don't even get me started on Photoshop and editing...oh my word! There are so many great resources and ideas out there and I get so easily sidetracked. I haven't successfully edited a single picture because I get started and then I see another tutorial that I want to read or action to install and I completely forget what I was doing in the first place.

-Now that I think about it, it's not just photography/editing that I struggle with. It's everything on my to-do list. I feel like I get nothing done because I don't stay focused on one task for more than 3 minutes. Have you ever read those If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books? Well that it exactly what I feel like half the time. When I start one thing it reminds me of another thing that I wanted to do and then that gets me going on something else and on and on until I have no idea why I'm even doing what I'm doing. I really need to figure out a way to keep my crazy brain on track so that Emerson's nap time is a bit more productive for me.

-On a sort-of related note- I had a few people ask about the peacock headband Emerson was wearing in her 9 month portraits. I bought it here. I actually ordered it for Emerson's newborn shoot but then she was born early and it didn't make it on time. I've been saving it because I knew it would look so cute on her when she got bigger.  Anyway- if you want one they sell the peacock feather spray at Hobby Lobby and it would be pretty easy to make your own for much cheaper.

-My neighbor was telling me about a workout program she's doing. It's called Brazil Butt Lift and it is supposed to be amazing for your lower body. I decided to borrow it and try it out. I found a hybrid plan for it and Chalean Extreme so I think that's what I'm going to do. I didn't start today but I'm hoping to start tomorrow. It requires 6 workouts a week. At this point I'm not sure if that will happen but I'm going to do my best... I will update and let you guys know how I like it. 

-The baby proofing has gone into high gear at our house. Emerson is moving fast so we are quickly realizing that some of it has to be taken care of ASAP. The baby gates for the stairs made it yesterday and we should have them installed in the next few days. If she is this curious as a crawler I can't imagine what it will be like she when she's walking. 

-We've been spending lots of time outside these last few days. Swinging, strolling, and playing in the grass seems to keep baby girl entertained and we are trying to enjoy the weather while it is still nice. I shudder just thinking about the HOT, HOT summer to come!

That Time I Fell Off The Wagon (AKA Fitness Friday)


the blessed life

How did I do this week?
French fries, chocolate, and chips, OH MY! I'm sure you can tell by my title that this week didn't go so well. My goal was to cut out all processed food. Unfortunately I think I did the exact opposite and ate way too much junk! I said I would list everything I ate that was processed and I think it would honestly be easier for me to list the foods that weren't processed. That's pretty sad, isn't it? I also did horribly at logging my food this week and skipped the last 3 days!  I guess we all have weeks that are better than others so my plan is to move on and start fresh tomorrow. I learned over the last few days that I feel SO much better when I am eating well and that junk food does not give me the energy I need but I did have fun eating some pretty yummy food too so that definitely counts for something! I know for sure that it's okay to have junk but only in moderation.

Workouts: I completed the same workout 3 times this week:

Sunday- 3 mile run, Lean Arms Pyramid, Perfect 10 Legs
Tuesday-3 mile run, Lean Arms Pyramid, Perfect 10 Legs
Friday- 3 mile run, Lean Arms Pyramid, Perfect 10 Legs

I did only get 3 workouts in but I'm happy that I ran a little more this week and I loved the workouts I got from Pinterest. I was pretty sore after I did them the first day. I'm telling you- those wall sits are killer! Hopefully next week I'll be able to run even more and complete 4 workouts instead of just 3.

Weight Loss: None. Somehow I stayed the same and I am very thankful for that! Like I said before, I am really, really trying not to focus too much on weight. I think it's so much better for me to pay attention to  how my clothes are fitting and how I feel, rather than a number! It's easy to get discouraged when my weight fluctuates throughout the week and I've noticed that it can really change my mood when it is something that is not even that important in the grand scheme of things. Can anyone else relate to this?

Goal for Next Week: Do 3 sets of planks for 60 seconds each every day. I seriously despise planks and I'm terrible at them so this will be a challenging goal. I'm also aiming to log my food/calories every day on My Fitness Pal. I originally said I would probably skip one day a week but over the last few weeks it went from 1 day to 3. I think I need to be strict again this week to get back on track and then I'll add some cheat days back in. :)

How did you do with your fitness goals this week? Link up with Cait here.

Midweek Randoms


- Thank you all for your sweet words about our darling girl. It is definitely hard to believe that she is 9 months old! Sometimes I do get sad that she is growing up so fast but then I remind myself how much fun it is to see her do all of these neat new things. It really is such a fun age!

-Speaking of 9 months old, I had originally planned on taking E to get 9 month portraits made but at the last minute I decided to do them myself. That's right, Emerson now has her very own personal mamarazzi! :) Obviously I am no professional and I have so much to learn, but I'm pretty excited about how they turned out. I'm still working on editing them, but here is a sneak peak.

Once I'm done editing, be prepared for picture overload! :)

-We had a friend come into town yesterday. She was with us in Africa and one of the sweet girls who threw me a little surprise baby shower. I haven't seen her in almost a year so I'm pretty excited!

-It's been fun to have so many visitors over the last few months. It's neat to be able to show everyone around and to have an excuse to go out to eat and shop. :)

- On the same note, I don't think the diet is going to fare so well this week. It's really hard to find healthy choices at a lot of the restaurants. It's also not really as fun! Oh well- you only live once, right? :)

-I'm also thinking my workout schedule might suffer just a little bit. I mean honestly- if I have to choose between relaxing on the beach or running in the gym- the beach is going to win out for sure. Especially this week...

- I have recently discovered a Starbucks just 5 minutes from our house. I haven't yet decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

- Tonight we plan on hanging out at home. We will probably play some games or watch a movie. I have The Help and Breaking Dawn on standby. :) We'll see if E will cooperate for movie night...

E is 9 Months Old


Dear Emerson,

 Every month I struggle as I write these letters because it is practically impossible for me to put into words what you mean to me. Although you have only been with us for a short nine months, it's hard to remember what life was like before we had you. I do know for sure that it wasn't nearly as full of joy as it is now. You have brought a peace and contentment to our lives that could never be matched and just when I think I can't love you anymore than I already do, my heart expands with a thousand times more love for you. Your smile is the sweetest I've ever seen, your laugh is infectious, and you are an absolute joy to be around. There are times that I look at you and I just can't believe that you are mine. You are the most precious gift I have ever received and I am so thankful that God has trusted me to be your Mommy. I know I am not perfect but I promise you that I will do my very best for you all the days of my life. Thank you for begin so patient with me when I smother you with thousands of kisses and take endless amounts of pictures. They say that it is our job to teach our children but I have learned so much more from you than I could ever teach you.

I love you to the moon and back precious girl!!


We had to find a new location for your monthly pictures because you kept trying to crawl right off of your white chair! Crazy girl!

9 Month Stats:

Length- 28 inches (65th percentile)
Weight- 18 lbs (35th percentile)

You are wearing 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothes and Size 3 diapers. You nurse about every 4 hours and you are eating 3 meals a day and sometimes an afternoon snack. You love having oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt for breakfast. You have tried lots of new foods this month including pasta, eggs, strawberries, kiwi, freeze dried fruit, and cheese. There really isn't much that you don't like but your absolute favorite is still sweet potato. You are getting very good hand control and love to eat finger foods- especially Cheerios, puffs, cheese, and yogurt bites. You still love water and would drink it all day long if I would let you.

You have developed so many new skills this month! On January 29th you pulled yourself up in your crib for the first time. You were so proud of yourself but then you didn't know how to get back down.

Since then, you have become an expert at pulling up and you love to pull up on everything! Momma can't leave you alone for a second these days because you are all over everything. You are able to cruise around the coffee table and you have even gone from the coffee table to the couch a few times.

You still love to play at your musical table. It's definitely one of your favorite toys.

When you are ready to get down from standing, you just let go and fall down. It's pretty cute!

You are able to walk behind your push toy but you like for Mommy or Daddy to be right there next to you.

Your favorite things to play with are things that you are NOT supposed to play with. Shoes, remotes, cords, and cell phones top the list.

You are getting very fast at crawling on your hands and knees but you still occasionally do the low crawl.You love to crawl over to your books and pull them all off of the shelf.

You also love crawling between the furniture- especially the dining room table. You've gotten a few bumps and bruises along the way but you're a tough little girl.

You have 4 adorable little teeth- 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top. You have 2 more coming in right now but you have done surprisingly well with teething. You have had 2 nights of rough sleep but other than that you have been the same sweet baby.  You love to grind your new teeth together and you constantly have your fingers in your mouth.

You are starting to get a bit more shy with strangers. You will look at them and then turn and bury your face in my chest. You are also starting to push them away when they try to touch you. Mommy likes this because it keeps so many people from touching you all the time.

You said your first word in context: bye bye. You also wave when you say bye-bye. You love to wave hi to people too and will wave at everyone as we are walking through the store. You have successfully mastered the sign for milk and will use it when you want some! You also recognize the sign for more, eat, out, water, Mommy and Daddy. You haven't repeated any of them back to us yet but you do move your hands a lot when I sign to you so I know you understand that you can "talk" with your hands.

You moved to your big girl car seat and you seem to love it. You fall asleep almost every time we go somewhere so I think it must be pretty comfy.

I can't decide if you are a Mommy's girl or a Daddy's girl. You love cuddling with Momma but boy do you love your Daddy too. Your whole face lights up when he gets home from work and you two love being silly together. You also love waking him up in the morning. If he is still sleeping after you eat, you roll over and start yelling at him and climbing all over him. It's the most adorable thing I've ever seen. I guess for now we will say that you are a Momma's and Daddy's girl! :)

Happy 9 Months Princess!

Fitness Friday Week 6


the blessed life

How did I do this week?
My goal this week was to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day. I did great with this with the exception of Valentine's Day. I ate a bunch of junk that day, didn't track my calories, and probably didn't get all 5 servings of fruits and veggies. I blame it all on those darn cookies! ;)

Workouts This Week:
Sunday- Turbo Fire HIIT 25,  The Perfect 10 Lean Legs Workout (x2), One Mile Run

Monday- TurboFire Sculpt 30 and Turbo Fire Burn 30
Friday- Jari Love Get Ripped 1000

I'm bummed that I only got 3 workouts in this week and I only ran one mile, but I'm trying to remind myself that it's way better than what I was doing just a month ago. Right now I'm trying to find the best time of day to workout. I've been waiting until Jesse gets home so he can watch Emerson but that pushes back our dinner and Emerson's bedtime, so it's really not the best. Today I did my workout during Emerson's morning nap but she woke up before I was done and it was a struggle to keep her entertained while I finished. Looks like I might need to bust out the jogging stroller again....

Weight Loss?
I stayed the same this week, which is fine by me! I haven't done my measurements again since we started but I need to. Maybe next week...

Goal for Next Week:
No processed food. I know that it's probably not very realistic for me to expect to meet this goal 100 percent. After all, there are times that convenience foods are the only option if I want to eat. So I am going to try to really limit processed foods this week but I don't honestly expect to go completely without.  I do plan on keeping track of everything though and I'll post it all here next week. I think it will be interesting to see just how much processed food I am actually eating!

It's Her Party


This is the post I've been avoiding for the last few weeks because- well- I just don't want to face it. My baby will be one in just a little over 3 months!! Although I usually procrastinate on a lot of things, this is one thing that I don't want to put off until the last minute- even if it is hard on my tender Momma heart. I'm not planning on going over the top but I do want my baby girl's first birthday to be special, just like she is. I'm also planning on doing as much DIY as possible so I need to make a decision and get started. We all know how fast time flies!

I've been pinning ideas for a while now and along the way I've found a few themes that I think are really cute. (All pictures are linked to their original source in the title)

But last week I started looking a little more seriously and I fell in love with three themes.

If we went with this one we could do lots of bright colors and fun decorations. I'm sure we could come up with an adorable outfit for her to wear. Plus I just love "Onederland." I think it is such a cute idea and it would make for a very fun party!

This theme is perfect for this picture-obsessed Momma! Plus the time really has gone by in a flash...and I think we could do lots of fun things with this theme.

This is one is very sentimental to me and so fitting for our sweet girl. I sing this song to her all the time, I have the necklace that matches, and she really is my little sunshine. If we went with this theme I think I would do yellow and pink with a little splash of orange, just like these pictures. The colors are beautiful and perfect for a sweet little girl and I found an invitation that I am in love with!

And no matter what theme I choose, here are just a few of the ideas that I want to incorporate somehow.

And, of course, an adorable outfit!

So- what you guys think? Which of the last three themes do you like best? Most importantly, which theme is most fitting for our little princess?

This Week's Loves


1. My husband. He is so caring and thoughtful and does so many little things throughout the week to show me how much he cares for Emerson and me. It's the little things like bringing me coffee in bed and putting gas in the car so I don't have to that make me a happy wife. :) Love you babe!

2. My precious girl. She had such a fun day playing but she was so worn out she fell asleep right in the middle of her dinner.

3. Technology. Over the last few days we've been able to talk to Nana, Mimi, Gigi, and Mandy. I seriously don't know what we would do without Skype and FaceTime.

4. My Camera. It has allowed me to capture so many amazing moments over the last year. I'm so thankful for every single picture that I've taken and I love looking back at them!

5. Cookies.  I made these soft sugar cookies yesterday for Jesse for Valentine's Day. I honestly think it was the first time I've had success with sugar cookies and cookie cutters. They were super simple and SO delicious. If you like Lofthouse cookies then you have to try this recipe. (I can't believe I didn't take a picture of one of my few baking successes!)

6. My Latest Pinterest Finds.

7. The fun times I've had this week with Emerson and new friends...

What you loving this week? Link up here.

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