tour through blogland!

hi guys! if you are on the ‘tour through blogland’– welcome! i’m glad it led you here :) if you are a returning reader–thanks for coming back. it’s nice to feel like someone other than my mom is reading (love you mom!). either way, let me introduce myself to you a little better! hopefully you will like what you read, and you can introduce yourself to me! i love new friends…..and old friends… :)

what is a blog tour?

this tour through blogland is an awesome way for readers and writers to get to know each other! it’s a way for me to introduce myself to you, fill you  in on the happenings in my life, and give you suggestions on other amazing blogs i know you will love! i was nominated by my wonderful “insta-friend” tamara (you will find out more about her below!), and i am thrilled and honored to take part!

what am i working on?

currently i am working on motherhood. oh, you know, just trying to tackle that little thing called BEING A FREAKING MOM…for the first time! no big deal…i should have this figured out by next week sometime..

paul and i just adopted our first little girl, vivi, and we are blindly groping our way through the dark (quite literally during night feedings) trying to figure out our new roles as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. i am working on letting go of trivial things that take my focus off of viv….like laundry….or personal hygiene…. and savoring every second we have with our little babe.

i am also working on finishing up her nursery….. i’ve got a long way to go….. (wait.what?! i need a crib AND a crib mattress? shouldn’t this all come in the same box??!)

in addition to all things baby, i am finding my love again for healthy food and cooking, and i am nursing my newest addiction to the tv show ‘the blacklist.’ and you should too, it’s so good!

how does my work differ from others in it’s genre?

well…..i think my blog is different because i am not an, “(insert blog description here)” blog. it’s one part ‘mom blog’, one part ‘health and wellness’ blog, NO PARTS fashion blog, unless unwashed yoga pants are considered hip, and day old spit up is considered an accessory…..it’s an eclectic read here at T&H. i love to talk about healthy, holistic medicine (the kind that has helped me heal my ulcerative colitis), sharing yummy and healthy recipes, building our first home, decorating (or rather, wandering overwhelmed through ikea and homegoods trying to figure out “my style”…), and other various “here’s what happening in our life” posts……….however lately it has been all things adoption on the blog!

i have fallen. in. LOVE. with adoption. and i LOVE to talk about it. so, in addition to being one part “mom blog” i also blog about what it’s like to be one of TWO moms that love our girl (ie: viv’s birthmom), how to support our birth family, what our open adoption looks like, and what it means to embrace the transracial aspect of our newly formed family of 3. (again….groping blindly through life on these topics…..). i hope that no matter what you are looking for in a blog, you can find a little bit of it here. “all things to all people”, am i right? :)

…….i guess maybe this blog doesn’t differ too much from others…i just hope you like my spin on things and want to keep reading! :)

why do i write/create what i do:

this blog started because i wanted to start documenting my life in such a way that made me stop and realize all the amazing treasures i have. i wanted this to be a reminder to be thankful, a way to look back and see the faithfulness of God in our life, and now with our daughter, i want to have our adoption journey documented for her to read someday.

as a result, through my blog i have been able to connect with other people who are wanting to get healthy and heal their bodies naturally, prospective adoptive couples, amazing adoption-grown families, people building homes of their own, and so many many amazing bloggers who encourage me, motivate me, and inspire me in all the different facets of life.

so, i guess in short, i write to count my blessings, be blessed by others, and try to bless others myself. (hashtag: blessed.)

how does my writing/creating process work?

mmmmmm…….that’s a good question….as of right now, i blog “as the spirit moves” you might say. no rhyme or reason…some weeks i blog a few times….sometimes i take a month off…i am trying to be more consistent though… i have tons of post ideas rolling around in my head, and as soon as i feel like i have enough in there to write, i do. this is usually why my posts are unedited, raw, and sometimes rambling…. i just barf it all out there and hit “publish” !! i really do love to write, and i hope to get better at it someday :)

so, there’s a little bit about me! i hope you enjoyed it! thanks for reading, and i hope you come back again!

BUT WAIT! there’s more!

to continue your tour through blogland, check out these three amazing blogs! i love the honesty, creativity, humor, and insight these  blogs have to offer….plus the women have become some of my greatest ‘blogland’ friends! i KNOW you will enjoy these! (these bloggers will have their “tour through blogland” posts up next week, along with their recommendations!)

 

Kelly Bee! 

My name is Kelly and a write at a blog called Kelly Bee, named after what my mom has called me my entire life. I write about my life, the things and people I love, and the things I am passionate about. My husband and I just adopted our first child after struggling 10 years of infertility.  I love adoption and how it has changed my life. I have a loving Heavenly Father who has made it all possible.   I share openly and sometimes I can be a bit silly. I love the friends that blogging has brought to my door. 

 

My So Called Glamorous Life!  

*Lisa Owen is a writer and blogger at My So Called Glamorous Life: The Adventures of a Domestic Engineer (www.mysocalledglamlife.com) and she has been a featured blogger on Blogher.com, Project Underblog, and in the supplemental materials for The Princess Problem (available at Rebecca Hains.com). She is a mother/step-mother in a blended family with five children ages 6 to 23.  Lisa has a B.S. in Journalism from Southern Illinois University and spent 15 years working as a corporate/transactional paralegal for law firms and corporations before becoming a SAHM and pursuing her passion for writing.

 

 

Adoption Mama Blog! 

Tamara writes at Adoption Mama Blog as well as Hosts Adoption Swap Box. She shares stories and thoughts on Adoption, her Faith in Jesus Christ, Parenthood, Home Decor & whatever else comes to her heart. Tamara just celebrated her 10th year of marriage with her husband Mark, they are parents of two beautiful boys who entered their family through adoption. Tamara & Mark are once again waiting to adopt their third child & share this most recent adoption journey on the blog as well. Adoption Mama Blog is full of Faith, Honesty, Encouragement, Love & Laughter. Come check it out!

mother’s day, marathons, and other monumental moments

this past weekend we visited family in fargo, and pauly ran in his very first half marathon! i was SO proud of him, as i am sure you have seen on my instagram account :) plus being able to celebrate mother’s day with both of our moms was the capper to a truly great weekend!

 

tonight, we have our very first homestudy! i am nervous, and excited, and ready and not ready, all at the same time! pray for us, will you? we are hoping for a great connection with our social worker, no delays in paperwork, and that our study would get written quickly. after this stage we are officially ready to be ‘out there’ (ie: ready to be picked). i’ll be sure to keep you updated, and many pics on instagram for sure, so be sure to follow me there if you haven’t already!

also, as you’ve seen on IG, i got my first mother’s day cards this weekend! my mom, sissiebear, and pauly all gave me cards to celebrate my ‘soon-to-be’ mommyhood. honestly, i felt so blessed. i had girlfriends texting me that day as well, and i cannot even BEGIN to tell you guys what that means to me. the fact that people are excited for us and are anticipating the arrival as much as we are is indescribable. i have heard girlfriends talk about how amazing it is to see other people love your kids, but to see other people love our kids they have never met is….beyond words…thank you all so much. and to all those encouraging us through IG and other blogs…you guys are amazing. we feel so blessed to have such a great village of people supporting us!

 

alright! off to keep cleaning! :) wish us luck tonight!!

here’s the highlight reel from the weekend, in no particular order! happy monday everyone!

 

 

 

 

i loved celebrating my sissie’s first mother’s day! she is an UNBELIEVABLE mother…such a natural. evan ADORES her. as do we all. this is us celebrating the day with a song….and our microphones :) 

 

free pizza after the race?! worth it!

 

everyone in this pic ran the marathon….except me…..aaaaaaand i’m okay with that :) 

this looks like he’s saying “no pictures!” but he’s really high-fiving me after the race :) he ran it with an 8 min 42 sec pace! 1:53 for his time! hashtag: studmuffin.

ooooo la la

as you may have noticed, my blog has a new ‘do!   thanks to the TREMENDOUS and GENEROUS talents of my brother-in-law kyle and my dear friend megan, treasure & heart got a facelift! what do you think?? personally, i love it…. i may be biased though…. :)

so BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE NOW! i cannot guarantee that all my followers were transferred over to this site, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date on all things, house, food, daily life, and adoption in plergville!!

and i really can’t say a big enough thank you to kyle and megan. they worked HOURS on this for me out of the pure gold that lines their lion sized hearts. it is a huge blessing to me and i am so so grateful.

happy hump day people! i’m heading out to enjoy this AWESOME SUNSHINE!! (by sitting at starbucks….but close to a window! that counts as the great outdoors in my book…and let’s get real: it’s like mid 30’s outside…)

 

blurred lines

so, although ‘mount paperwork’ still looms in the background, (or maybe i should say, because ‘mount paperwork’ looms in the background..) i have been doing a bunch of fun things in life ie: procrastinating! i got a manicure, finished up some decorating around the house, had friends over for dinner, and met girlfriends for lunch on saturday.  (side note: we ate at the world street kitchen and it was cuuuuuuhhhhh—razy delish. i tried their ‘bangkok burrito’ and it is, as my friend lury says, ‘the stuff dreams are made of..’ great atmosphere, awesome menu, friendly staff…if you’ve never been, i highly recommend you get on that.)

anyway, while we were waiting for our food to come, we started talking about very typical girly things…the first of which was weight/how we feel about how we look. it was the usual “ugh..i’m having one of those days…i just feel blah…” followed by a chorus of “me too’s”, “totally’s”, and “you look great. i need a major makeover!”

i’ve been thinking about the ideas of body image and self esteem a lot since then…this self destructive talk is really so ingrained in (especially) women, and it’s starting to make me sad…mostly because there are very few moments it seems, for most women, where we are really loving ourselves.

the other day i took out my contacts before bed, and for a few seconds while my vision was blurry i just stared at myself in the mirror. staring, or should i say scrutinizing, myself in the mirror is fairly common place (unfortunately), but this time was different. without my contacts i couldn’t see every line, bump, or stretch mark. i couldn’t make out my crooked front tooth, lower belly pooch that needs toning, eyebrows that need tweezing, and roots that badly need touching up.  all i could see was the fuzzy outline of my body, and in that moment i thought “hmmm. it’s not that bad…” and this was huge for me. (sad to say that’s considered a really nice thing i say about myself..). as hard as it is to admit, even in my most dolled up, glamorous moments (of which there are few!), i can still only see my flaws. and so much of what i do to myself in terms of workouts, diet, highlighting, waxing, tweezing, plucking, dressing up, and making up is not because i love who i am, but rather because i don’t. i am doing all this work to try to make the world deem me ‘acceptable’, but the reality is even if the world does, i don’t. i’m starting to recognize the reasons behind some of my choices, and it scares me a little.

thinking about going into motherhood, and especially thinking about having girls, i want so badly for my children to not just feel loved and accepted from us, but also to love and accept themselves. how do i teach that? how do i instill values into my kids when i don’t show i value the same things? i don’t have all the answers….it’s just kinda got me thinking…. and don’t worry, i am not walking around self hating all the time….at least no more than the average girl :)

my friend laura has made it a point in life to always let girls know when they look nice, have a cute outfit on, or have a bright smile. even if they are total strangers. i’ve been thinking about starting to do this too. how nice would it be if we women started lifting each other up, encouraging each other, and started taking a little of that pressure off?? the reality is no one is judging me as harshly as i am judging myself. everyone else is seeing me, at least partially, with blurry vision.  (thank you God!) :)

any good advice or thoughts on this? how have you taught your kids about self acceptance/positive self esteem?

getting my pride jiggled out

for the past week i have been doing a detox/cleanse. no sugar, no gluten, no dairy. it’s as fun as it sounds. the problem is that i feel awesome. i’m sleeping better and waking up earlier with a TON more energy. it’s a real pickle. to be healthy and feel awesome and sleep like a baby..or eat peanut butter m&m’s with reckless abandon….honestly i have no idea what i will choose when this detox is over. (haha let’s pretend i am actually considering not eating m&m’s ever again..)

anyway, a few days ago i decided that in addition to taxing my system with a 14 day detox, now would also be a good time to start a rigorous training program for a half marathon. it should be noted i am not currently, nor do i plan to be, signed up for any races. i just thought, “meh. why not? since i’m on a health kick….what could go wrong?” (have we talked about my “all things to the extreme” personality?…)

so needless to say, my body didn’t like it, and i JACKED UP my knees in the process. so much so, the pain has been waking me up in the middle of night. achey, tight, sore…not fun. worried that i did permanent damage in my over zealousness, i made an appointment with my chiropractor to check it out.

i don’t love the chiropractor. i always feel nervous about accidentally farting in his face, so i tense my body to the point where it’s difficult for him to work on me. i giggle nervously when he wraps his arms around me from the back, and then let out an awkward, loud, forced breath “HA” when he cracks my back….followed by more embarrassed, nervous giggling. and i just don’t love the sounds he forces out of my joints….it’s unnerving….oh, and did i mention my chiropractor is tiny? and by tiny i mean, if he were a house up for sale, he would be described as “charming” or “quaint”…….little. he’s little. at least compared to my 5’9 frame…i just feel gargantuan next to him. and he’s in incredible shape…so…..yeah…….

when i arrived this time, my palms were already sweaty with nervous anticipation. he asked me to follow him back to the room, and i settled in on the table. i explained to him my knee issues and he asked me to lay back and raise my right leg off the table. he wanted to do some muscle testing to see if i was overcompensating in one area, causing strain on my knees. he would press down on my leg and i would try to keep my leg in the air. now, the sight of seeing him try to press my leg down was, honestly, comical. i swear at one point his entire body was off the floor hanging onto my leg. he then asked me to flip onto my stomach and he would try to realign my hips by, what i can only describe as, dropping the table out from under me a short ways, over and over. so here i lay, derriere heavenward, and my tiny chiropractor leaning over me. ten times he drops the table, and ten times i feel my butt jiggle hard down to my knees. i don’t even have time to tense my butt muscles in hopes of redeeming some pride and before the next drop would come. KA-BOOM. KA-BOOM. KA-BOOM. jiggle…jiggle….jiggle…..

by the end we were both profusely sweating. me of embarrassment, and he from what was, apparently, a incredible cardiovascular workout. as he tried to catch his breath he explained “i think…..(heavy sigh..) that your knees….(sharp inhale)….are okay….(exhale)….there’s just some scar tissue built up….(sharp inhale)….causing some inflammation…..(exhale…..)

i stared wide eyed back at him, horrified at how exhausted he looked……okay doc. got it. now get me the H out of here.

so there you have it. pride gone. and i am now VERY aware of muscle groups that “need work”. *cough* my A$$.

in other news, I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. and it makes me want to workout……but for risk of needing another chiropractic visit, i will refrain until the detox is over. only 7 more days……

ally mcbeal made me late for church

here’s the deal: it’s been a long time since i’ve sat down and really just….blogged….. i have been posting recipes and home projects, but when i created this blog i did so as an outlet for my personal self too; a place to document my life, my struggles, my triumphs…. and i feel like i’ve kinda gotten away from some of these topics…………i think i’ve figured out why, and this is where ally mcbeal comes in…

a while back pauly and i signed up for netflix, and since then have been enjoying a wide variety of movies, tv shows, and documentaries. i find it comforting, honestly, to have some ‘back ground noise’ on during the days when i’m home, and i tell myself i will multitask with shows and laundry, or making meals, or cleaning the bathrooms….

the problem, however, is my addictive personality. see, i can’t just watch a show, or one movie. just like i can’t occasionally drink a diet coke, or buy a starbucks latte once in a while.  if i am going to do, i’m going to do it.  and since tightening up my diet, i have discovered this unfavorable phenomenon over and over in my life. i realized it first with food, and now am finding it to be true with tv watching. i just can’t stop. oh, and as far as multitasking goes….let’s just say i could tell you ‘frasier’s’ entire life story…or write it in the grime on the bathroom counter……i have learned that the only way for me to overcome something negative is to cut it out of my life. (i’m a wee bit all or nothing, can you tell?)

so, the other day i had a conversation with pauly that went like this:

me: i have to tell you something, but it’s embarrassing so don’t laugh

pauly: *laughs, cautiously* okay….

me: i mean, you can laugh, i would, but just know that that will probably also hurt my feelings…

pauly: okay. i won’t laugh

me: *sigh* no…now…..i just…i’m making this weird. laugh. it’s fine.

pauly: *sigh* why don’t you just tell me, and i will decide to laugh or not…

me: okay. that sounds good. *beat…* *beat…* i think i’m addicted to tv….

the conversation continued from there..(pauly didn’t laugh….too much…) and i told him that i am really struggling now finding the motivation or desire to do anything with my ‘spare time’ other than watch my latest tv series….which is ally mcbeal as of late….and i know it may sound silly but it’s really true. i haven’t really felt like blogging, i’m not getting the house organized like i really want to, and i really was late for our bible study on monday night because i just had to see how season 1 of ally mcbeal ended. there are so many better things to fill my time with, and i knew i needed to cut the ties and be done with netflix for a while.

so that night after our talk, pauly cancelled our netflix account. and i honestly had to tell myself “well..it will just be for a while..just to break this habit…i’ll be back…it won’t be forever….” literally like a drug addict. because honestly, it really was an addiction. i felt like it was starting to affect my mental functioning. and i don’t want to feel the need to count frasier crane, ally mcbeal, and adrian monk among my ‘close friends’.

so there you have it……..a little dramatic? oh, probably. but that’s my life. and i think only good things will come of this…so check back soon to see what amazing things i am filling my time with now! (insert pictures of me napping, open mouthed on the couch: here.)

netlflix

word

self doubt

there are some days when i really don’t know if i will be a good mom. **not fishing for compliments….but if you want to egregiously compliment me in the comments, i mean…that’s okay….** really though, somedays teaching preschool kicks my butt. conflict resolution at every turn, boogers, poop, glitter, and spilled snacks somehow mysteriously find their way onto my clothes, and by the end of the day i don’t care if i ever hear my own name ever again. and it’s in these moments when i think, ‘yikes….this is kinda like motherhood…..dang.  those b&*^@#s are legit! this is hard-freaking-work! i just don’t know if i have what it takes!’ …………aaaaaaand then proceed to drown my anxiety in some form of chocolate-dipped-fudge-covered…anything….

i think i have been pondering these things in my heart (cough:christmas mother reference..) more lately because pauly and i are about to embark on our adoption journey this next year. (i plan to write much more about this when the time comes) for some reason, (probably has something to do with my new nephew), i am really considering how our life will change when we have kids, and how hard day-in-day-out-never-get-a-break parenthood really is. i know we can and will do it and do it well, but man…self doubt…it’s tricky….

so, to all you parents out there in the thick of it, i stand and slow clap in your honor. well done doing 10 times what i do without getting paid! keep up the good work. and remember: you, like me i suppose, are really good at your job…. even on the tough days.

okay off to talk to some more food about this…and then take a nap.

sleepyleah

life lately: the pursuit of gratitude

besides building our house, traveling, having company, working, and trying to hang with friends, here is what’s been happening :) (you can pretty much bet on the fact that most of these pics will be of food. let’s be honest..)

but before that, here are some random thoughts that i have been pondering…so go with me….*ahem* i really want to try to incorporate more true gratitude into my thinking/living/writing… i am hoping these ‘life updates’ serve as that gentle reminder of all the good in my life, and that i carry that recognition throughout my day. i want to always be looking for places to be thankful and grateful.

listen. i KNOW it’s super annoying to see people who constantly post like…random trees with #blessed on them, but if i step outside my ULTRA cynical self, there is something to be said about finding beauty and thankfulness in the small things. the normal, every day, and otherwise mundane. i feel like it is so easy (too easy) for me to find something in each day that i wish would’ve gone better. and that’s fine and real and honest, i understand….but i want to have more moments of reflecting on the good, rather than the frustrating.

at this point, it is going to take me being very intentional about being positive and grateful for those thoughts to win out…. because here’s the thing: i can list right now 100 things to be thankful for…but that’s not what i am going for….instead i want to cultivate a grateful attitude in life. i want that gratefulness to come from deep down.

so. not sure what else to say about that…gotta think more about it….but right now i’m at a coffee shop and the two guys next to me are having an interesting convo about the merits of Buddhism and i want to eavesdrop. :)

happy tuesday!

 we found a new pizza place by our new house. it's DANGEROUSLY good.

we found a new pizza place by our new house. it’s DANGEROUSLY good…the easiest place for me to be grateful is with food.

me and my friends working on projects

me and my friends working on projects. thankful for the help :)

i think we can all be thankful for this picture...sweet tyson...ugh! that face!!

i think we can all be thankful for this picture…sweet tyson…ugh! that face!!

life lately

here’s what been happening lately…besides the house :)

oh! and i just signed up for stitchfix! it’s kinda like birch box, but for clothes and accessories!  here’s the link! i was introduced to this site courtesy of a great blog i follow: espressoandcream.com. here is her story with stitchfix, if you want to know more!

 

so, here’s our life lately….or at least some of it! :)

haha! ashur got ahold of my phone again! check out these faces!

haha! ashur got ahold of my phone again! check out these selfies!

 

 

ashur2 ashur3

taking a walk at preschool on thursday...love my job

taking a walk at preschool on thursday…love my job

these two and their bro-mance...

these two and their bro-mance…

paulholdjustin

allieari

my cousin allie was here from nyc and she and her niece performed some dance numbers for us. it was pure, adorable, bliss.

my cousin allie was here from nyc and she and her niece performed some dance numbers for us. it was pure, adorable, bliss.

a little blog......a little breakfast club....not a bad friday night.
a little blog……a little breakfast club….not a bad friday night.

 

a night in (my head).

i have realized, when left to my own devices in life (ie: a day off..) i will binge watch tv episodes on netflix, eat frozen m&m’s, and, most importantly, not workout. i guess it’s a good thing we are not independently wealthy…..i clearly need purpose..

pauly is traveling tonight just until tomorrow so i have an entire evening of nothing ahead of me, and honestly, i am so excited about it. sometimes a girly night of painting my nails, watching rom-com’s, and eating….well…..eating, is just what the doctor ordered.

so instead of being even remotely productive, i am going to post random pictures and thoughts for today….meaning, i will leave this post open for the remainder of the day, and see what thoughts pop out of my absolutely enormous melon shaped little head and onto this page. this should be good….or totally stupid…we’ll see…..

random thoughts:

“wow…this show is terrible…..okay one more to see if it gets better……..” (7 shows in at this point…..it didn’t get better fyi….)

“i think i want to be independently wealthy…..”

“i’m bored…….so glad we are not independently wealthy…i need to work…..”

“ooooo….online shopping……..”

“ugh…i should workout…wedding in CA soon……”

*chomp chomp chomp chomp* me mowing through frozen m&m’s……

“i wish my blog would spontaneously become famous……”

“why isn’t bridget jones’s diary on netflix??”

“i love my wedding ring……”

*singing* “i love la croix! i love la croix! thank you lord! i love la croix!”

“i miss pauly….”

“google search: jessica biel workout regimen……………nope. not happening….”

“where did i put those m&m’s??….”

*click click* “facebook”

*click click* “instagram”

*click click* “twitter”

*click click* “gmail”

*click click* “facebook”

*click click* “instagram”

*click click* “twitter”

*click click* “gmail”

“okay i need to clean…..”

“man i love apple tv…”

we were recently taken out to sushi by this awesome guy and his wife. better known as our uncle and aunt. that is a 'boat load' of sushi! ba-dum-bum.

we were recently taken out to sushi by this awesome guy and his wife. better known as our uncle and aunt. that is a ‘boat load’ of sushi! ba-dum-bum.

*click click* “facebook”

*click click* “instagram”

*click click* “twitter”

*click click* “gmail”

little tyse eating dinner. i could stare at him all day...

little tys eating dinner. i could stare at him all day…

oh summer....how do i love thee...let me count the ways: i love thee for thoust (?...sure..) warm weather, thine (yeah, i think that's right...) hot air balloons, and especially thouest (...dangit...) lovely evening walks.....

oh summer….how do i love thee…let me count the ways: i love thee for thoust (?…sure..) warm weather, thine (yeah, i think that’s right…) hot air balloons, and especially thouest (…dangit…) lovely evening walks…..

got my hair done up real good. i think i got all the cable channels plus HBO with all this foil on my head...

got my hair done up real good. i think i got all the cable channels plus HBO with all this foil on my head…

have you tried these on?! sperry's....*sigh....they are so comfortable! i bought these for myself for my birthday. happy birthday to me.

have you tried these on?! sperry top-siders…*sigh….they are so comfortable! and i feel like they go with everything…or maybe i just choose to wear them with everything! i bought these for myself for my birthday. happy birthday to me.

okay, hopefully that was thoroughly entertaining for you all.