End of Summer Blues

I woke up this Monday with some sadness in my heart. I’ve realized I only have 2 more weeks left of my summer with the kids. Finn will be starting a 3K program on 9/3. And just like that our summer of fun is over.

I know I posted some pictures last week. But I thought it would be fun to have a list documented of all that was done this summer. It really is true that “the days are long but the years are short.” Time is flying by so I’m working hard to soak in every memory. I’m so thankful to be home with my kids full time.

This summer we made some awesome memories…

1. Selah took off walking. That was so fun to watch. I had been waiting months for her to to all take off. And sure enough towards the end of May she just walked. Days after she was already running. I’ve noticed she catches on to things very quickly!

2. Summer Field Trips – I’m part of a group that does summer field trips. They are planned by one of my best friends, Ashley. We went to the Suwannee Train Museum, INK Children’s Museum, Splash Pad, Bruster’s, Lowe’s, and Farmhouse in the City. We had a blast!

3. Friday Playgroup – We spent almost every Friday at the pool. A few Fridays we did something different. Once we did NP Mall and another time we went to the Atlanta Zoo. Loved my time with those moms and their kiddos!

4. Rest days – over the summer I plugged in one lazy day every week. On our rest days we stay in our pjs all day. We play games. We build forts. We have picnics. We watch movies. We do whatever we want!

5. School – even though its summer we still did some learning. Finn has continued practicing his name. And he’s got that down. He is also doing great sounding out words and recognizing letters. He will look at something and guess at what it says. So we are working on that! Both kids have learned a few verses. Even Selah can do all the hand motions.

6. Teething – Selah spent most of the summer teething. That was fun. Not at all fun! But as of a few weeks ago all her teeth are in except her 2 yr molars. So it will be nice to have a break on the teething thing.

7. We took several trips – we went to Gaitlinburg, TN as a family. That was a crazy but fun trip! The kids and I went to Ft. Walton Beach and had an awesome time. Gregory went to Haiti! And then right at the end of July I surprised Gregory with a trip to Winshape Retreat. We loved that place so much!

8. Chapters – at the end of June, I ended my chapter of working at North Point. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. I also started my own business. God closed a door but opened a new one. I did not want to ever leave North Point. But it was what was best for me and my family. I will forever miss that place and the friends I made in my 6 yrs there. My new business is called Kiwi Scripts. Basically I work a few hours a week writing. I do meal planning, local blog posts, and marketing copy for websites. If you need any of that – please let me know. I love what I’m doing! You can find out more here.

All in all this summer was full of tantrums, smiles, crying, laughing, time-outs, music playing, fort building, discipline, dancing, cookouts, napping, and plenty of memory making! I will end this summer smiling. I’m just so grateful to be home. God’s plan is ALWAYS better than your own!

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Saturday Stories – My 31st Birthday Weekend

Ok first of all, I have to give huge props to my amazing husband. I had the absolutely best birthday weekend. I want to document it. So here it goes!

FRIDAY

 I woke up to find a note of instructions. See picture below. I did all it said and found out that both kids were being picked up in a few hours and would be gone all weekend. Then I found out that I had an appt at 3:30 for a 2 hour spa treatment. Amazing! I really enjoyed the day.20130506-055534.jpg

After I got home from the spa, he told me to get ready to go out. Before we left – he asked me…do you want to live on the edge, go with the middle, or an ole reliable? I said “i’ll go with the middle.” So I scanned the QR code and it said sushi and movie date! Below is a picture of me with our dinner – lobster!


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SATURDAY

I woke up to find another three options of QR codes. I chose to live on the edge. It said that I was going to get my nose pierced. I decided to change my mind and scan again. Then I found out that my sweet hubs was taking me to breakfast then on a shopping spree. We had a great day just spending some great quality time together at the Mall of GA.

After that we headed home to rest. G said we had reservations at my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner at 7:00 pm. I was excited to wrap up the weekend with a yummy dinner. But when we arrived at dinner, I was surprised to find my best friends there! G is so sneaky! I had no idea! Below are some pictures from the surprise dinner party (Sad but I didn’t get a picture of me with Meriam)

20130506-055552.jpgHere’s my surprised face!!!

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Kristen and IIMG_20130505_055605The delicious Margarita drink!IMG_20130505_060525Ashley and IIMG_20130505_060911The whole crew (just missing Kristen and Meriam)IMG_20130505_061244Ashley and I

Sunday

To top it all off, we woke up and had a nice breakfast at Waffle House before picking up the kids. What a great weekend!

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Big thanks to Abba and Papi for keeping the secret from me and for taking good care of the kiddos for the weekend!

Maniac Monday – Focus

God. Relationships. Marriage. Parenting. Friends. Job.

The list could go on forever. We all have a lot of things to balance. When you add in problems the list is quite overwhelming. It could swallow you up.

So what do we do?

The answer is simple. We focus. Focus on the One who has all the answers. Focus on the One who truly understands you because He made you. That is always such a source of encouragement to me.

As you start your week, I’d love you to read these verses. They really knocked me down this past weekend.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
—2 Corinthians 4:16–18

I pray that you will be encouraged like I was. The answer we all are looking for is focus. We just need to focus on Jesus.

Maniac Monday – Crazy!

Wow – I am really finding it hard to find time to blog these days.

So I’m here for a short minute to document some things.

Life is busy. To keep myself sane, I have three rules…

1- I use eatathomecooks.com for my meal plans and it comes with a grocery list. This little gem saves me so much time and the food is delicious!

2- I don’t have more than 3 nights outside of the home (this includes weekends). During the week, I don’t plan more than 4 activities. This allows for one rest day in the week.

3- I always get up with the hubs at 5:45 during the week. This allows me to have some alone time before kids get up. I will get about 15 with G and around 30-45 with God. Then I spend the last few minutes getting myself dressed for the day.

And that’s it. Those 3 rules for myself have helped me tremendously. And they may change with time – I’m still learning!

What about you? I’d love to hear some other ideas on how you manage life!

Husbands

As you know, I’m in a mom’s group that meets every other week. This year we are focusing on “Thriving, Not Surviving.” Thriving in all areas – as a mom, as a woman, and as a wife. I really enjoyed the session we had on husbands so I thought I’d share my two big takeaways.

The first thing was these questions to ponder on…

  1. Are you respecting your husband?
  2. Does your husband come first? (before kids, chores, tasks, sleep, etc)
  3. Do you pray for your husband on a regular basis

And the second practical advice was ways to keep your husband first…

  1. Ask your husband what he wants for dinner.
  2. Keep date nights regular 
  3. Ask your husband what’s important to him (1 or 2 things) and then make sure you work to do those things.

From talking with the ladies around my table – we found that most of the time we take things too personal. And if we shut our husband down a lot then over time he will stop talking to us. We can’t speak to him like he’s a child. He’s our partner, our teammate, and our best friend.

I hope this is an encouragement to you as well. Biggest thing to remember – our husbands were the most important before kids and they should still be the most important after we have kids. The best gift you can give your children is a Godly marriage.

Picture taken on our wedding day May 20, 2006
Picture taken on Natasha’s (sister) wedding day May 7, 2011

Live. Love. Laugh

Live. Love. Laugh.

I have always loved that motto. But I feel like it really describes my marriage. We do life together. We love fully. And most importantly we laugh. And laugh a lot.

This Friday, May 20th, 2011 – we will celebrate 5 years of marriage. And add that to our 3 years of dating and we have been together a total of 8 years. 

The truth is – my husband is my best friend. He is always there for me. He is an amazing leader for our family. And I’m blessed that God put us together so early in life. His love for me is just as its described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

As we get to the 5 year mark, I wanted to list my top 10 most favorite things about marrying Gregory. In no particular order.

10. I love how silly we can be around each other.

 9. I love that coming in to the Walkup family I was given a HUGE love and appreciate for Puerto Rican food. Where would I be without my Goya Adobo and Olive Oil???

8. I love what an amazing person Gregory is. Thank you Abba and Papi for raising such a wonderful son!

 7. So happy that I gained a sister by marrying Gregory!

 6. I love that I turned a cat lover into a dog lover. Savannah was our first baby!

 5. I got a mini-Gregory when Finn was born. 🙂

4. Happy to share in life’s triumphs with my best friend – G running a full marathon and us running a half marathon together.  We just keep crossing off items on our bucket list!

 3. I’m so grateful to have a husband who really enjoys yard work. This is my favorite part in our yard – in the back, it’s a trail leading to a tree he planted when Finn was born.

 2. Pictures with Jason Pendley. Forever grateful to him for capturing such wonderful memories of my family! I love the little family God has given me. And yes, I would like more children if God blesses us with them.

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 1. Most of all, I just love sharing life with an incredible person. I am so blessed. Happy 5 years my love! Praying God continues to use us to minister & show Christ’s love to others. We are here for others to see Christ in us-Amen!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8