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ChristianCome Follow Me — 2 min read

Mary and Joseph’s Family Culture — Luke 2:39-52

Usually when you read or think about Luke 2 and Matthew 2, you read the Christmas story and stop before you get to the end of the chapter. This week, I really enjoyed focusing more on those last verses of the chapters this time.

In the last dozen scriptures of Luke 2, we actually have a deeper peek into the family culture that Mary and Joseph cultivated in their home than what originally seems. As a young mom in the beginning stages of motherhood, this idea of fostering certain values into our family dynamic has been on my mind a lot.

As I establish patterns, routines, and traditions for our household, especially ones that will teach my children to walk uprightly before the Lord, I desire to help them have a deeper connection with God, relationship their Redeemer, and with the Holy Ghost.

For Jesus as a child, His greatest influences were His mother, father, and God. I felt the depth of the responsibility the moment after Hazel, my oldest, was born. It can feel overwhelming, but knowing that I hold influence and power beside my loving, hard-working spouse as well as even more loving and hard-working Heavenly Parents gives me the confidence that as a team, we can raise these children the way towards peace and eternal happiness.

We as parents have the opportunity to co-create who our child will be with the Divine.

So what are is this family culture we find in the scriptures?

ChristianCome Follow Me — 4 min read

It Seemed Good to Me Also

As I begin the year of studying the New Testament, I want to stop and sit in the first few verses of the Gospel of Luke. There is a lot we can learn from this small introduction to his book.

In the first 4 verses, he begins by explaining how many have undertaken to write out an account of the things that are currently believed and trusted sources. However, Luke continues, “it seemed good to me also,” to write his story and his perspective with the carefully constructed investigations he gathered and put into order from the beginning of his own belief journey.

We don’t know much of Luke’s history, but it’s obvious that there were already many books written about Jesus that were well-loved and believed among the community of believers (there could have easily been even more accounts written than the ones that have been found, preserved, and accepted as canon today). So why write another one? I’m sure Luke had many doubts and it would have taken a lot of courage to feel worthy to write one next to Jesus’ actual apostles.

Just think of the tragedy it would be if if he had let the doubts from the adversary sneak in and we didn’t have the Gospel of Luke today! We would miss out on so many stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, especially ones that include and celebrate women: their amazing testimonies and their key part of God’s plan.

There are many parables that we only have because of Luke. Think if we didn’t have the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and many others! How misfortunate if we didn’t have the contribution of the beautiful details of the Passion of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as on the Way of the Cross.

You can tell that Luke is an investigator, a detective, a journalist. He wants as many details as he can find. He searches and questions and seeks the answers. He doesn’t rely on just what other people have told him to believe. He seeks answers of his own. That is a great quality we can emulate as we become seekers of our own faith journey and testimony of Christ. And once he found that perfect understanding, he desired to share it with those around him.

Obviously, since Luke is the writer of the book of Acts (making him the writer of 25% of the New Testament), he had a talent in journalism and writing, and took that God-given talent and put it to use for His kingdom.

Whether we feel talented in writing or not, these first few verses are a great reminder that it will only benefit ourselves and others if we write, so “that thou mightest know the certainty of those things” and bear our own testimony of the Great and Wonderful Savior.

So this is what I’m doing for this year. I want to write out the things that I learn throughout the year, what stands out to me in my studies, and create another witness to what I think my fellow “friend of God” might come to know the certainty of through my own journey.

JournalMotherhood — 2 min read

James is Two

Our sweet easy-going boy is now two. He is my cuddle buddy and I can’t help but smile when he wants his mama first thing waking up in the morning or naps. Saying he is a happy child is an understatement. He gets comments by strangers at parks for his smile and radiant happiness. It is just who he is and we love the light he brings to our family. He lets Hazel play with his new toys, blow out his candles, and flirts with all the adults around him. He is our jolly, dancing, zestful boy.

These past two years have been bliss and right now his vocabulary is booming, and his toddler accent is the most adorable thing. He will probably always be our buzz boy because he’s got a sweaty head and is at least 4 degrees warmer than anyone else I know. His dimple is always out and watching him eat with a fork by himself is one of my favorite pastimes. Especially when he catches me and gives me a little smirk. Can’t imagine our family without him!

Motherhood — 2 min read

Climb High My Little Girl

I have always strived to be a calm parent, even before I had kids. The kind of mother that doesn’t jump up in reaction to a seemingly small, skinned knee. A mother who is not reactionary, but is responsive. I’ve read books about it that probably engrained this into my personality even more than it already was (this one and this one are two of my absolute favorite).

From these books, and my little experience, I am always observing out of the corner of my eye when my kids are exploring. But I give them their space to make their own decisions and take their own risks. If they have a short fall that I can tell they are not seriously hurt, I watch in my peripheral vision how they react. I check to see: what are they going do, how do they feel about this. But I do not give them eye contact and I try to keep my expression as neutral as possible. Wait why? Because once they see me watching and read my face, it allows them to think “Mom is really focused in on me, this means it’s a really big deal so I’m gonna cry about it”. If it does hurt and is a big deal, they are going to cry no matter if I am looking at them or not. But most of the time, I see them look right at me, I give them no reaction, and they stand back up and continue playing.

Motherhood — 2 min read

The “Back Up” Puppy

I open the package and even before I take off the vacuum-sealed bag, I can tell that this second puppy will never pass as the real stuffed Roczen. As a type-A planner, I buy a back-up before I even need it, for the potential dreadful day that he might get lost. But more so, I relish the day I will get to gift her this new fluffy puppy when she has her first baby of her own.

I place them side by side and it is quite humorous. OG Roczen’s hair is completely matted and the white fur is more of a gray brown. The beard hair is supposed to be fluffy but it has no softness to it at all. His eyes are scraped badly and there is a tiny bundle of hairs on the side of one cheek that are permanently straight. I catch Hazel twirling this tiny spot between her two fingers anytime she is holding him during a calm moment. He is her comfort and companion. They are ride-and-die friends in car rides and playgrounds and everything in-between. And until just recently, it was the end of the world when he needed a “bath” in the washer. Today though, she came running down the stairs dramatically lamented about the chocolate she had gotten on Roczen just a few seconds ago and how he desperately needed a bath right away. Which is how I am even holding him, next to his much younger and cleaner twin, since Roczen is always always by her side at night.

I store the new puppy in a container for future keeping and place little Roczen at the foot of her door. A happy delightful surprise when she wakes up. But let’s be honest, even if I didn’t do that, it would be the first thing she would ask for in the morning: Puppy Roczen.

Sunshine Mats for your Front Door

Who doesn’t want more sunshine in their home? I love that it represents the light that is within our home and we can hopefully shine that light out to the community and world outside of our home! I found the best mats full of happy sunlight, which do you like best?

1 | I have this at the foot of my front door and I absolutely love it. It doesn’t fall apart like other doormats.
2 | I love this sturdy material and stylization of the rays on this mat.
3 | This rug is reversible — enough said!
4 | I love the color scheme of this rug and the corner position reminds me of children’s drawings.
5 | Colors and sun shape on point for this mat!
6 | Isn’t this one just a beautiful gauze sun rug for a nursery?
7 | I love this bath mat, the shape, the short square sun rays, so great!
8 | This arch crochet rug is more subtle of a sun but it’s still there.
9 | If you want a standard coconut coir doormat, this cute sun one is for you!

BabyFamily — 1 min read

Dear James | Half a Year

Our sweet baby James is now six months old. And I thought Hazel’s first six months was the fastest of my life. I feel like I blinked and James is sitting up and eating food.

James joining our family was as smooth as it could have ever been. Hazel adores him and so do we. He is now sleeping through the night and loves to feed himself his own bottles. Literally the easiest baby in the whole world.

We have so much love for this chunky, smiley baby. He is the perfect addition to our family and such a shining light in our lives. He’ll be sitting in his carseat and you’ll glance in his direction and he will burst into squeals out of excitement for attention.

James, I can’t wait to see your personality shine even more as you grown and become the amazing boy I know you will be. You are so loved!

JournalMotherhood — 2 min read

The Most Perfect Little Seat

You grabbed your dirty boots and found what seemed to you the most perfect seat to slowly and deliberately put them on. Usually I would holler at you to get off the dishwasher door but this time I stood still and watched. One foot pointed, twisted, and slid in. Weight shifted and the other boot glided on. You have put on your boots many a time but this time stopped me in my tracks as I wondered when that little spot will no longer be the perfect seat. When you will no longer fit in those boots that were purchased when you weren’t even walking. You stood up, noticed me snapping a photo, and walked off with a cute “bye!” to the door as if you could reach the handle, leave the house, and were going out for an errand. Once you realized I would refuse to let you outside pantless, whining ensued. The moment was gone but the magic was still there, locked forever inside this little photo. I crave after those magic moments when I can so clearly see God’s glorious work and love surrounding me. If I look for them, I find one every single day.

What was your magic moment today that stopped you in your tracks for just a split second? Go write it down.

Cutest Modern Play Mats

Practical, durable and beautiful mats. These materials are easy to wipe clean which is a necessity with children.

1 | This foldable play mat is simple and would work in any home.
2 | I love the playmats from Toddle Kind, they are expandable so you can make them any size and create your own patterns, yet they still aren’t in your face crazy.
3 | I just love this blue color from Wander and Roam. Although it isn’t foldable or can be taken apart, it looks pretty and comfortable.
4 | Another foldable playmat but this one has the cutest gradient of colors. for a fun pop in a playroom.
5 | Gathre mats are a great playmat. Although they aren’t all padded, it still works great. I love this town one in a modern style!
6 | Yay mats have very cute and modern designs for the foam attach kind of mats!
7 | Although this mat is the most expensive, it looks like Cream Haus mats have the best quality and would stand the beating of kids for years and years!
8 | The House of Noa has tons of play mats and other mats to find just the right color and design for your home!
9 | I love when a product has more than one function and this mat from Ruggish is double-sided with a track on one for those littles that love to sit right at your feet during cooking time.

JournalMotherhood — 2 min read

Our Quarantine in Photos

I think we can all agree that this quarantine has been a weird time for all of us. Ryan and I are grateful that little has changed in our own family and we don’t take that for granted. Being stuck at home and not having things like playdates or museums or zoo can make these days go dreadfully long, especially with a busy one-year-old. But I know I will miss these slow days so I wanted to capture some moments of our little home life with just the three of us.

I will look back on these photos and remember: the pure pride in her face when she sits in her big girl chair for meals and watching her turn from a baby into a toddler right in front of our eyes. The curiosity that leads her to all corners of the house, leaving tiny handprints like little breadcrumbs (or actual breadcrumbs) creating a line from one place to the next. The bond that has blossomed between her and her dad. He can get the best and silliest grins and giggles and she will always choose his lap (and his water bottle). I will continue to find the tender mercies during this pandemic and I hope you find them in your own lives too.

Gift GuidesHolidays — 3 min read

Beautiful Stocking Stuffers

Now that I have a little of my own, I realized I need to start thinking about stocking stuffers. I want to find things that won’t go into the trash or donate pile by 6 months and something that I thought was as beautiful as much as they are functional. Here are a few items I love:

1 | These first word cards are so beautiful. Hazel loves little cards to hold so I know she’ll love these.
2 | A game that doesn’t count as screen-time but is just as fun. Win win!
3 | These dress me notepads are so cute and gives kids the ability to imagine and draw up whatever they’d like!
4 | This spinning snack case has a button that spins the options which gives it a fun twist to offering new food options.
5 | These little barrettes are perfect for any unicorn or rainbow girl.
6 | Magna Tiles are a big hit and these mini cube ones are a nice compact version to take with you on the go.
7 | Of course, I just have to get this dentist set, right?
8 | A super cute magnet case to explore and create all kinds of fun faces.
9 | The cutest little pizza set.

BabyLetters to my Child — 2 min read

Dear Hazel | Half a Year

Our little Hazel Sue is six months old. Half a year! It’s been the fastest six months of my entire life, I can’t believe how much she has grown and changed. I’ve been with her this whole time and it really has happened in front of my eyes.

Hazel joining our family has been such a seamless transition. She’s so easy to love. Even during those late night feeds and diaper changes, I just adore her little self. She is pretty consistently sleeping through the night now which I will happily accept though!

We have so much love for this tiny, beautiful baby we brought into this world. Ryan and I often say, I can’t believe she’s ours! She’s straight from heaven and such a light in our lives. She is easy to get a smile and giggle out of.

Hazel, I can’t wait to witness you grow and change and become everything you’re going to become. You bring such beauty and wonder to our lives little girl.

BabyJournal — 1 min read

Moments I want to Remember | March 2019

Getting our first real smiles this month!

The mixture of sweat and breastmilk after hours of nap cuddles.

The stinkiest of toots I’ve ever smelled from a child ha!

Arched back stretches and big long yawns.

The softest chubbiest cheeks.

Cutest little baby snores.

Cuddles while binge watching Marvel movies in chronological order.

The most hilarious moans and grunts while eating. Especially after a bottle of formula or a long nap!

BabyLetters to my Child — 2 min read

Dear Baby | Trimester Three

We are at the final countdown! To us you are no longer “baby” but have a name. We are so excited to meet you and find out what you look like and who you are.

This trimester has had it’s aches and pains but overall it has been pretty easy. It is definitely a waiting game though; I feel bad for spending so much time sitting on the couch watching TV and sleeping in but I know this will be the last time in a very long time I will get to do that.

Dad likes to talk to you through my belly and you love to sit perfectly still when he tries to feel your kicks. You are a hiccuper and I’ll feel you hiccup almost 4 times a day. Whenever I start to worry and get anxious you seem to move or kick me as if you are trying to tell me to calm down, that you’re just fine.

I think because we waited three long years and have had so much time to dream and prepare for you, we can enter this season with our eyes open and be ready for such a colossal change. We are patiently/impatiently waiting for you to join our family!

Love, Mom

BabyLetters to my Child — 2 min read

Dear Baby | Trimester Two

As we get closer and closer to meeting you, I keep thinking about who you will be. Will you be an artist like me or a smartie like your dad? Will you have my dimples or his bright blue eyes? I hope you get his spunk for life and his ability to make everyone around him laugh and smile. You sure do love to kick so I think we’ll have our hands full! We found out this trimester that you are a girl and I already know you’ll have daddy wrapped around your finger.

We received so much love this trimester with two baby showers and tons of gifts for you. Dad was so excited that he set up your crib and surprised me when I returned home! He loves that you have a lot of swan items and I already know you’re going to be a daddy’s girl for sure.

It has been amazing to see my body grow and change to home your growing body. It’s a little weird to see the scale hit numbers I never have before and my belly button slowly disappear but I’ve been waiting for you for so long and I am really loving being pregnant! I have had it so easy and am grateful for a smooth pregnancy so far. We are so excited to meet you very soon!

Love, Mom

BabyLetters to my Child — 2 min read

Dear Baby | Trimester One

I have always imagined myself writing a letter to my child and it’s finally happening! I can’t even tell you how much we’ve been longing to have you join our family little one. You are so loved and so many people are rooting for you to join our family too. All the years of waiting for you will feel like nothing, I know it.

I’m not gonna lie, I have been anxious this whole trimester. Not sure if this is the real deal, if I will get to hold you in my arms or if you’ll slip through just like last time. Once we made it past 9 weeks and every time I checked my doppler and heard your strong heartbeat I felt better and better. I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I didn’t take many pictures, kept your ultrasound hidden in our drawer, and we didn’t announce to anyone until 10 weeks (which felt like forever!). But I feel confident you’re here to stay.

I just can’t wait to meet you, do all these things I’ve been waiting for since I was barely a teenager. We think you are a girl but we will be happy either way! It was so exciting to finally announce to the world that we were expecting, you have so many people that love you but no one loves you more than your dad and I. Weird to write out dad like that like it’s nothing. We are excited to bond more with you the next couple months and meet you in no time.

Love, Mom