Monday, February 19, 2018

We Moved (half way across the country)!

We had some unexpected changes just a few weeks into 2018....we found ourselves packing up and moving 2000 miles away to the Chicago area!

A little background: After graduating college and getting married in 2009, we packed up our things from Illinois and drove a big budget truck (pulling our car) to California to settle down and begin our life there. After a few years of living in CA, we decided that it was probably not where we wanted to settle and raise a family so we talked about eventually moving after Manny's brother graduated high school in 2016. Well life happened and we found ourselves still in CA after 2016 with plans to leave maybe 4 or so years later.  Since we began to talk about moving out of California someday, we have considered quite a few different places, but Illinois was never really one of them.

2017: I would like to say I have lived happily in California just loving life, but the reality is I complained A LOT!...just ask Manny. However, our last few years in California God was really working in my heart, and I was really starting to enjoy it and find the positives in a place where I saw a lot of negatives. I still wanted to move but felt content and ready to make the most of it. The last few years we found a church 2 miles down the street that we really loved, we made great friends, and we just enjoyed life in Southern CA. 

Now looking back on 2017 I am so thankful for my change of attitude and our making the most of southern CA life because we lived it up!...not even knowing that it was our last year there. We went to the beach a lot more, we got annual passes to Disneyland and spent a lot of time there (one of Manny's favorite childhood memories so he loved sharing it with our kids), we found fun local things to do, Manny did a lot of fun stuff with his brothers, we did a lot with friends, and my family visited so we did all the Disneyland/Beach/San Diego things with them too. 

2018: When the new year came Manny and I started talking about plans for 2018- our goals, vacations, and some other things we wanted to do this year. We also discussed living in California a few more years so Manny could gain more experience at work and then we would start to look elsewhere. We were content, comfortable, and settling in for a few more years.

Well surprise!....our plans were not God's plans and things quickly changed a few weeks later. There were some changes at Manny's work and his job ended in the middle of January, our lease was about to be up (we thankfully had not signed on for another year-although we had planned to), and God made it pretty evident that it was time to move. Manny and I looked at each other and said Chicago?! Most of my family live in Illinois, and since my parents and sister live in the Chicago area (close to where we went to college), we felt like it was the best place for us to go. 

 We were scared/excited/shocked/sad/happy and experienced just about every emotion. We were sad to tell Manny's family we were leaving (and sad to leave them), sad to leave our friends, and sad to leave a great church. BUT we were also excited!...excited to live by my family, excited to reconnect with friends back in IL, and excited for a new adventure!

We moved two weeks to the day we decided on Chicago, and God has been so faithful to us. Details came together better than we could have every imagined, we had support from all of our family and friends, and we felt such a peace about moving back to Illinois.

At the beginning of 2018, I had told Manny I was kind of bored and ready for an adventure. Well I  had no idea the adventure that God had planned for us a few weeks later.  It was a chaotic and crazy time filled with a lot of uncertainty, but in the midst of it all, Manny and I experienced such peace about moving our family. We also really put into practice trusting God's plan for our life. We rested in knowing that HE sees the big picture and is working in all the details. And HE is! One of my favorite texts we received during our transition was  "The Lord's way of growing us, His timing and direction in our lives is perfect." And it is so true! Even though these weren't our initial plans or timing, they were God's, and we have experienced more joy and excitement than we could have imagined.

So here we are now in the Chicago area. Our kids have turned from beach babes to snow bunnies. Manny is starting a new and challenging job that he is excited about. We are part of a great church, involved in a small group, making up for lost time with the fam bam, doing lots of fun cousin stuff, catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, and settling into life back in the Midwest! It's good to be home :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How We Wednesday: Taking Care of Myself

Happy Wednesday! Today, I am linking up with Shay and Erika for How We Wednesday and am talking about how I take care of myself. It didn't take me long after becoming a mom to realize that I have to make myself a priority in order for all of us to function well. It's really in everyone's best interest that I take care of myself :) Now that I am being intentional to take care of myself, I look back at times in high school, college, pre kids and working full time and wish that I had done some of these things instead of running around like crazy all.the.time. 

So here are some ways that I take care of myself!....

Make sure I get some "ME" time every day (or almost every day). I function so much better if I have unplugged and can spend time ALONE. I know others who feel refreshed and function better if they are with people, but for me, I have to have some time alone. This can be a number of different things (which I will list below) but the number one thing is to spend time doing my daily devotions. I journal (very therapeutic for me! plus I love to look back on it), read a devotional, list three things I am thankful for, and pray. 

Take a bath. I love taking a bath at the end of the day to help me relax, detox, and unwind before bed. I always add 1/2 cup epsom salt, 1 Tablespoon of baking soda, and a few drops of essential oils. I really try to be screen free if it's before bed so I almost always read a book while I relax in the bath! 

Do things I love. This should be a given but life can get busy so I really try to make a conscious effort to plan and follow through doing things I love- traveling, doing activities with my kids, getting together with girlfriends, exploring new places etc. For example, Manny and I try to do something at least once a month as a family whether that's going to Disneyland, some type of museum or play place, the beach, or visiting San Diego (about an hour away). When we are visiting new places (out of state) whether it be for business or vacation, we try and find fun and local things to do and see. It's this kind of stuff that really rejuvenates me. 

Health and Wellness. I have really tried to make working out daily, eating healthy (that one I have failed at miserably lately, but I am trying!), drinking lots of water, and taking care of my skin/hair etc a priority the last few years (again why hadn't I started all of this years ago?!). Working out/eating healthy/drinking water is pretty self- explanatory but I used to not be so good about taking care of my myself as far as my hair, skin etc. Things like getting my hair cut regularly, getting a manicure or pedicure every once in awhile, having my eyebrows threaded, and having a good skin care routine just make me feel better so they have become a priority. Plus then I also get ME time! #winwin

I'm not always busy. I can remember a time (hello college and after marriage but before kids) where I was busy all.the.time. I ran from thing to thing, didn't have much time for anyone, and trying to schedule things pretty much didn't happen because I was always busy. Since having kids, I've really slowed down our schedule and it is the BEST! We have lots of downtime. We aren't stressed out running from thing to thing. We aren't over scheduled. We can do things spontaneosly. We are usually available to get together with friends and family. And it is glorious! I'm not stressed, run down, or sad because I can't get everything done but instead feel pretty relaxed and fulfilled by doing things that really matter.

So those are some of the ways that I take care of myself! What about you?! What are some ways that you take care of yourself??! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! Today, I am sharing a little bit of what life has been like lately....or more like the beginning few weeks in January because I am just getting caught up :)

January is one of my favorite months living in California because it is usually a mix of a little rain and lots of sunshine. While everywhere else seems to be freezing cold and getting dumped on, we are enjoying life outdoors and soaking up the sunshine.

During the rain, we did things like...
visit the puppies at the mall

eating 100 snacks/meals a day...if I had a dime for every time I heard "nak" or "hungry eat", I would be pretty rich :)

and lots of snuggles during movies

We enjoyed a nice day at Disneyland midweek in the middle of January. The weather was perfect, and we got to see lots of characters!

 Minnie Mouse ALWAYS has to be our first stop or a certain someone is pretty cranky....

Madden walks around saying "hey woody" all day long so getting to meet Woody was perfect.

 the sun was a little bright!

Gabs loved meeting Elsa and Anna. Anna is her favorite :)

And lucky us....Olaf and Christof were there too...

We had our annual New Years Eve sleepover with Manny's grandma. We always love having her over and the kids love love love grandma eppie.

I've been trying to do a little homeschool preschool thing with Gabriella. Homeschool is NOT my gift, but we go with it for now because we need a little structure, and I'm not ready for her to go to school!

Our normal activities resumed-bible study, dance, speech therapy...and it was nice to be back into a routine.

And we went over to a friend's house one day to see their new puppy. Both of my kids were in LOVE!

At of the end of the month, Gabriella is officially 3 1/2. She loves anything Disney princess, Little Einsteins, stuffed animals (her current favorite is called doggy puppy and she has one in every size-4 total I think?!), Dance, and going to speech therapy ("peach" as she calls it). She insists on wearing a tutu everyday or picking out her "so CUTE" (aka clothes). Gabriella is a pretty picky eater but I can't complain to much because she loves her fruit and vegetables and will ALWAYS eat those! She is a sweet girl and has turned into my little shadow.

Madden is officially 1 1/2 years old now. He is starting to say more words, and he is on the go most of the day. His new thing is to climb onto everything- Gabriella didnt know it was possible to climb on to the table until she saw Madden do it one day...noooooo haha! Madden loves Disney Cars and spends most of his day driving them around and carrying them all over the house. He is a major daddy's boy.

That's a little bit of our January :) We had some other changes, but those are a blog post for another day! 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Books (January 2018)

Happy Monday! I took an unexpected break from blogging the past couple weeks (that's a post for another day!), but I am back! Today I am sharing the books I read in January...

I read four books this month... one were just ok and the other three were pretty good. I am also working through a 365 day devotional this year that I included at the end of this post because it is so good.

 here is my January reading...

Truly Madly Guilty was my first book of the year and honestly it was just ok. A few people recommended this to me and I have some friends who loved it so maybe it was just me?! The story revolves around three couples who are at a barbeque together and something happens so the chapters jump back and forth between the couples, the day of the barbeque etc. I was just trying to get through it to find out what happened at the barbeque and then didn't really care that much for it.

I was excited to read Into the Water because I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train (by the same author). While I definitely liked reading Into the Water, I think I had set my expectations a little to high because of the twists in The Girl on the Train, so I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the book is really good and there were some twists, I just liked The Girl on the Train better. Also, this book has A LOT of characters so I'd say for the first half or so of the book, I would have to stop and try to remember who this person was, as each chapter is someone else's perspective.

I always love a Mary Higgins Clark book and Every Breath You Takedid not disappoint. This book is about a cold case that is reopened where a woman had fallen to her death from the top of a museum. Just like all of Mary Higgins Clark's books, this book is an easy and interesting read. The chapters are short and there are always a few twists. It kept me guessing until the end. If you want a good (and light) mystery, check this one out!

I couldn't put The Marriage Lie down! This book is about a woman who's husband ends up on a flight that crashes. He wasn't supposed to be on the flight so the book navigates through the wife losing a husband and finding out who her husband really was. There are lots of twists, and I couldn't wait to keep reading. My only complaint is that I feel like it kind of ended, and I wished I had a little more information or it was extended a little farther. Still a good read though!

God's Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs is such a great devotional, and I am loving it so far. If you are looking for a devotional for 2018, check this one out!

That's it for January! I'm always looking for suggestions so what are you reading?!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! It feels like it's been the first "normal" week we've had in awhile now that my hubby is back to work and some of our activities have started up again. It's been nice to be back into a routine and have things like speech therapy and bible study to be at during the week. We go a little stir crazy at home :)

As always, I am linking up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea to share my favorites this week.

My parents gave God's Wisdom for Navigating Life to each of my siblings and our spouses for Christmas, and I am loving it. It is definitely a favorite part of my morning routine reading the day's entry and reflecting on God's wisdom for my life. 

Yellow flowers are always a favorite of mine, and I picked these up at Sprouts the other day while we were grocery shopping. Another favorite of mine is the vase they are in (I think it is actually a candle holder) from Hobby Lobby that says "Home is Where Our Story Begins". LOVE

My favorite little guy is 18 months old now and on the go all the time. It's been fun to really see his personality and little opinions come out. He is currently into Disney Cars and he plays with his cars all day long. He loves to be outside, bug his sister, and eat. But oh the picky eating has begun. Give him all the meat and carbs, but he won't touch fruits and vegetables to save his life.  I even try to outsmart him and sneak them into things....and he just picks around them. #HELP

One of my favorite things about him right now is that he likes everything to be in it's place so he is always picking up and putting things away. It comes in handy most of the time except for when I have something next to me (like a box of kleenex) and he takes it to put it back on the counter. :)

So I recently discovered Kirlands (where have I been?!) and it is one of my favorite places to walk around and browse. It's small (at least the one by us is) but their stuff is so cute! I picked up this sign for my kitchen. I love anything that says "Gather"! 

One of my favorite things to do is set goals for myself and to have something to work towards. On Wednesday, I talked about my goals for 2018 here and how I plan to accomplish them this year! 

Well that's a wrap for this week. We have another low key weekend, and I am looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing. In fact, I think that's how almost all of our weekends in January look so far :) Have a great weekend! 

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