Simple 1st Birthday

We celebrated Cecilia’s 1st Birthday on March 20th.

We had a low key, simple 1st birthday celebration with our family.

Wrapped Presents

The boys picked out presents for her. We colored on our art paper to make colorful wrapping paper and they helped me wrap her presents. It was fun watching their excitement for sister as we colored and wrapped.
Opening Presents

We kept the decorations simple and made two pink, purple and white paper chains. One hung behind her high chair and the other was between our living room and kitchen. Making the paper chain was a fun art project. We also blew up several pink balloons and all 3 kids enjoyed playing with those.

After lunch, the boys were ready to give her presents and they helped her open all of them.
Reading Birthday Book

Weston was so excited about her new book that he started ‘reading’ it to her immediately. Birthday Presents

This year, her gifts were ‘need, wear, read.’

Summer pajamas were a need. (Her brothers picked these out!)

She can wear her new sandals all summer. (These are soft soled Robeez.)

She can read this touch and feel board book, Just Like Mommy. (And, it’s fun that the author of this book’s name is Cecilia!)

Birthday MuffinWe took the birthday girl out to dinner at a local barbecue restaurant. This girl LOVES barbeque and her daddy loves that she does.

When we got home from dinner we lit her candle, sang happy birthday and let her eat a soaked sourdough applesauce muffin. She loved the muffin and it was fun watching her eat the entire thing!

Our celebration was simple, but it was a wonderful way to celebrate one year of our sweet baby girl. It’s crazy to think that a year has already passed since she was born but it’s been one amazing year with our darling little daughter!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Attitude makes all the Difference

Two weeks ago, my husband was gone for 5 days.

To be completely honest, I was dreading this trip since he told me about it several months before.

When you have 3 kids under 5 years old, the thought of doing it alone isn’t exactly exciting.

I’ve learned that my attitude makes all the difference in all things. During the weeks leading up to his trip, I stopped dreading it and started planning what we would do with our days.

I wrote out a big list of things we could do that would be fun. Included on my list was go out for lunch, go shopping for baby sister a birthday present, go to the library and get lots of books and watch movies..

Instead of just having the mindset of simply surviving while daddy was gone, I wanted to enjoy these 5 days with my children and make some memories.

The first day he was gone, we ran a few errands, stopped in my favorite local resale store and went to the library. We came home, read library books, snuggled up and watched a movie. It was a fun day! After finishing our movie, Weston was very calm and quiet which is a sign of sickness for him. Sure enough, he had a fever.

Sick Weston

So now not only is my husband is gone and I am alone with 3 kids but one child is sick.

I put Weston in bed early and my plan was to get Cecilia down around 8 and spend a little bit of quality time with Paxton before turning in myself.

I nursed Cecilia and tried to put her down twice between 8 and 10:15 before she finally let me walk out of her room without screaming. At this point, I get Paxton ready for bed (he’s a little grumpy because the baby interrupted our l time). I go check on Weston who is moaning and seems very uncomfortable. And, I finally start getting ready for bed myself when I hear the baby crying again.

Her crying, my sick Weston and pouting Paxton makes me want to cry and give up.

I felt so torn as to whose needs I needed to meet first.

I wanted to call my husband and say, ‘You have to come home. You cannot leave me, this isn’t fair. I have sick children and I am all alone.’ (I didn’t call him, but I did send a few text messages about the situation because I needed some encouragement.)

His encouragement, coupled with prayer helped my attitude.

Sleeping Cecilia

I tried to soothe her back to sleep. I was unsuccessful and then her crying shifted to unconsolable screaming which lasted for 45 minutes until I propped my knees up, placed her in a sitting position, rubbed her head and whispered ‘shh…’ I sat like that for probably another 30 minutes, too afraid to move for fear of waking her up, before I finally realized it was after midnight, I was tired and had a full day alone with 3 little ones ahead of me the next day!

The next day, I sent my husband this message “Honestly, the hardest night of parenting with a sick little one and an unconsolable, clingy baby.”

It was a rough night but I knew that just because we had one hard night, didn’t mean the rest of the days were going to be awful. I examined my attitude and started fresh with the new day.

Thursday we had a lazy day. We stayed in our pajamas most of the day since Weston was still feeling bad and we had nowhere to go. We watched The Jungle Book and Monsters Inc, read books and played with Legos.

Friday morning we headed to town for a few fun errands. We bought baby sister a birthday present, had lunch at Chick-fil-A, bought some party supplies for Paxton’s birthday party (which he is super excited about) and spent time looking at toys. When we arrived home Papaw David was here. The boys were super excited to see him and so was Cecilia. By later Friday evening, Paxton was running a fever and slowing down too.

Saturday morning, Paxton woke up feeling much better but sweet little Cecilia was running the fever. I fixed breakfast while Papaw held Cecilia. Papaw played with the boys all morning and left early afternoon. We also had a surprise visit from Papaw OB and Nana (the boys great grandparents). When they left, we watched another movie and then had dinner and a calm evening.

Sunday we went to church, played outside all afternoon and then the boys went to AWANA that evening. After AWANA, I got them tucked into bed and John David was home by midnight!

We had survived and enjoyed 5 days without daddy!

My attitude makes all the difference.

If I would have continued my feelings of dread in the days leading up to the trip, I would have went into these days with a bad attitude which would have rubbed off on my children, made my husband feel guilty for leaving and made me miserable.

Keeping a positive attitude even during sleepless nights with a baby and sick children made these 5 days with my husband away good days. We were able to make some memories, my husband was able to enjoy his trip and I learned there is so much truth to the saying, ‘when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.’

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links that help support this site.

natural birth control

A few years ago, I shared that I was not comfortable with any mainstream methods of birth control. Researching natural methods of child spacing led me to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM).

FAM is completely natural, no artificial hormones go into your body.

The Basics of FAM:

The two main components for following FAM are taking your temperature and observing your cervical fluid.

At the same time each morning, before you do anything, take your waking/basal body temperature (BBT). Once you have taken your temperature, record it on your chart.

Each morning, my alarm goes off at 6:30 am and I immediately put my thermometer in my mouth. Once it beeps, I take it out, read the temperature and record it using my Kindara app. 

The second component is observing your cervical fluid. Cervical fluid can basically be categorized as dry, sticky, creamy or slippery/egg white. It is recommended to check your cervical fluid 3 times a day, including the morning and night.

I observe my cervical fluid throughout the day and record the ‘findings’ each evening on my chart. 

Charting plays a key factor in FAM, if you are properly recording your temperatures and cervical fluid classifications, then you will know when you are approaching ovulation and when you ovulate. This knowledge is informative both as birth control or if you are trying to achieve pregnancy.

You cannot simply rely on charting your temperature or observing cervical fluid, it is necessary to observe both of those factors to get an accurate picture of where your body is in your cycle. There are also general guidelines to follow regarding the times it is ‘safe’ to have intercourse if you’re using FAM as birth control that are too complicated to go into here. (They are detailed in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility which I highly recommend you read if you are interested in FAM.)

This is just a brief overview of the basics, don’t use this information alone to try to naturally avoid pregnancy. 

Supplies for Practicing FAM:

I keep up with my cycle by using the FREE app Kindara. This app makes keeping up with my cycle so easy – in fact, there is an alarm built in to the app that wakes me each morning!

And, Kindara is releasing a new thermometer this spring – WINK by Kindara.

Wink will accurately record your BBT and sync automatically with the Kindara app.

So, the app will wake me, I’ll take my temperature with WINK and it will sync my temperature with my chart. I’m so excited about having this new fertility tool!

The Economics of FAM:

For under $100, you can purchase all the tools needed to keep track of your cycles and avoid pregnancy. That’s a one time cost, unlike the recurring expenses of hormonal birth control. And, when you’re ready to achieve pregnancy, you are already aware of your cycles and when you ovulate!

And, right now you can receive $10 off Wink by using this link:

Note: This post is not shared as medical advice, just sharing basics of FAM, about Kindara and WINK. If you have an interest in following these methods, you need to educate yourself on the matter. 

*This is not a sponsored post, Kindara just makes FAM so easy for me and I’m so excited about the convenience of WINK! This post does contain affiliate links.


Waiting for the Dream

We have a dream to own a small farm.

John David and I both were raised on family farms, we met through the FFA and we both have a BS in Agriculture. Agriculture is just a part of who we are.  When we were first married, we often talked about our dream to live and raise our family on a small farm.

Last spring, we started pursuing the dream after finding a house, barn and 7 acres. After much prayer and thought, we realized that wasn’t the best move for our family at that time.

Even though we knew it wasn’t the right time last spring, the dream was still there.

At the beginning of this year, we came across another small farm with a barn and 20 acres. We loved the setting, the house was about 1,700 square feet which would give us a little more room for our family to grow, it was set off the road and was mostly fenced and perfect for livestock.

We felt like the timing was right and submitted an offer. That offer was flat out refused, the owner wouldn’t even counter.

A few weeks later, the seller dropped his agent and started the ‘for sale by owner’ process. We went back to look at the house and met the owner. We felt like this house, land and location was a great fit for our family so we decided to put our home on the market.

Our hope and prayer was that our home would sell quickly and that we could reach a pricing agreement with the seller and move to the farm by spring.

We’ve had a little bit of interest in our home but no serious inquires or offers.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve sensed a need to just wait.

After a conversation we had about feeling like this might not be the right time, while doing my morning Bible study in Psalms, I came across this verse:

“Wait for the Lord;

be courageous and let your heart be strong.

Wait for the Lord.’

Psalm 27:14

We are in a season of waiting. We’re waiting for the dream of owning a small farm.

We are uncertain about how long the wait may be. It may be weeks, it may be months or it could take years. While waiting is not the answer we wanted, we know that we are where we are for a reason. We may not fully understand exactly why we are still in the waiting process but we know there is purpose in the waiting.

We also are content where we are. Yes, the desire to have a farm is still alive but we are living on an acre with plenty of room to grow things! Instead of being complacent because we hope to move soon, we’re starting our garden and getting excited about this growing season. And, if our wait ends up only being a few more months, the new owners of this home will hopefully be blessed by an abundant harvest!