grateful thursday!

because doing this on Monday wasn’t an option… and somehow, it’s already Thursday! As usual, I am overly blessed and happy to focus on that instead of all the things that stress me out!

First of all, I’m grateful for all the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. I appreciate our country and the freedom and opportunities that can be so easily taken for granted.

Caleb’s first time at the big pool! He loved it!

Amy’s Bachelorette Party! Grateful for this group of women and how we worked together to make it fun!

No bachelorette party is complete until the pimp cups are used! Got the flutes from Party City and the stickers from JoAnn’s…happy sipping!

Best burger and potato salad ever! Yes, that is an english muffin instead of a bun…highly recommend!


parenting: using an “I” message

Before having Caleb, I had a list of things I would “never do” when I became a mother. I would never let him sleep in our bed, give him dessert before dinner, let him cry for 45 minutes… And well, I had no idea. Before having a kid, I was the perfect mother! And now…now, I do my best. And that is faaaarrrr from perfect. But there are a few things I hope I don’t go back on (granted, I know I will make mistakes sometimes). I want him to feel loved, respected, and valued. I will do my darnedest to never shame him or make him feel small.

I really enjoy this by Dr. Michael Popkin called “Active Parenting Now.” I highly recommend this book for many reasons. One big reason is that it advocates for the parent’s authority, but teaches how to do that while still respecting your child. Plus, it works!

I’ll do a few posts with concepts from this book. This one is on using “I” messages. {By the way, this works in other relationships, too!}

It’s appropriate to use an “I” message when a polite request has failed to change behavior in your child (or spouse).

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Name the behavior or situation you want changed. It’s important to avoid shaming your child. Make sure you separate the “deed from the doer” (or the “sin from the sinner”). Example: “I have a problem with your leaving dirty dishes on the coffee table.”
  2. Say how you feel about the situation. Without raising your voice this lets your child know that the problem is serious to you. Usually anger is a secondary emotion and underneath it is fear, hurt or helplessness. Try to identify the primary emotion underneath anger…it is less threating. Example: “I feel taken advantage of…”
  3. State your reason. A simple explanation can go a long way. Example: “…because I have to spend time and energy cleaning up after you.”
  4. Say what you want done. You’ve already made a polite request. Since that failed you must let your child know exactly what you want done. Example: “I would like you to bring your dirty dishes to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher when you leave the living room.”

Making “I” messages stronger:

  1. Get agreement. Example: “I have problem with…Will you do that?”
  2. Establish a time frame. Example: “…when you are finished.”

If this doesn’t work, logical consequences and disciplining are necessary. Stay tuned for tips on my next post!

grateful monday!

Is time in fast forward? I can’t believe another week has gone by! I am blessed beyond what I could ever deserve. I love starting the week reminding myself of that fact!

Melissa! She invited Caleb right up to check out what she was doing…he was fascinated!

Time with very dear friends! We went to see a play to support our friend, Gwen and enjoyed some much needed community! I love this picture!

A husband who still thinks I look beautiful even after being scalped at the hairdresser!

lovely flowers and sweet cards for Mother’s Day!

a fun time with the family at Ikea! We had fun dreaming up ideas for his new playroom!

having fun planning Caleb’s first birthday party!

You turn! What are you grateful for in the past week?

the secret to giving women gifts

This post is for all the confused men out there! The men who are paralyzed with terror as they wander aimlessly down the aisle having absolutely no idea what to buy for their women (whether that woman be your wife, mom, or daughter). Yes, you. And please know that you are not alone.

Early in our marriage, my husband bought me a bra for my birthday (because he knew I needed one, good idea…right?). No. Not exactly my idea of a romantic gift! Let your woman buy her own undergarments. He has come a long way since then. Nowadays, my husband is good at giving gifts. The reason he’s good is because he learned the secret. Are you ready? And here it is…

Women want to feel special, loved, and appreciated. If you put thought and effort into a gift, you are communicating that she is worth your time and effort.

You are communicating that she is loved and appreciated.

And that’s all we really want.


  • Write something in the card!
  • Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes carry lovely flowers if you can’t afford the flower shop!
  • Listen! did she mention her nails looking awful? buy her a gift certificate for a mani and pedi. her back’s hurting? make a coupon book with massages and/or a gift certificate to the spa. Did she mention liking something at the store, catalogue, commerical? go back and get it (within reason and your budget, of course!)
  • Ask her close friends or family for help or advice.
  • Surprise her by taking a day off unexpectedly and plan a date doing something she likes.
  • Breakfast in bed is an oldie, but a goodie.
  • Make a photo album. This one is especially good for moms! Shutterfly has great personalized gifts that you can make and order online.


  • My friend Lynn got a lovely gift for her birthday from her husband, Mark. Now Mark (who has never baked a day in his life!) managed to bake a cake, conceal it, and bring it to their small group and surprise her with a song and cake for everyone. This gift was special because he put effort, time, and thought into making Lynn feel important and special on her birthday! See? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your wife feel loved!
  • And now for my chance to brag on my husband, Josh. For our 4 year wedding anniversary, he bought me a lovely eternal ribbon cross from James Avery. Not only is it beautiful, but I mentioned liking the cross a while ago when we received a catalogue in the mail. Now, that’s listening! And I felt very special.

    eternal ribbon cross ring

    James Avery has many meaningful pieces, I highly recommend them!

grateful monday

It’s Monday! Another week to celebrate and focus on what I have, instead of what I don’t. So, here’s what I’m grateful for this week:

Celebrating Miss Cora Jane’s first birthday!

my dear friend, Dana!

This child. He makes my spirit soar and my heart melt.

Hooded towels. There isn’t anything cuter than a wet baby wrapped in a hooded towel!

Dr. Seuss! and the amazing man reading Dr. Seuss!

Publix Premium Parmesan and Roasted Garlic Dressing (so yummy!) on a deliciously fresh summer salad.

Your turn! What are you grateful for?