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Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Marriage, Sprinkles | 1 comment

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Dave, today is your birthday,

but the joy is all mine,

I’m so excited to celebrate you,

and of course drink some wine.

Sure, it is your special day,

but I’m the one filled with glee,

Because when I count my blessings,

You’re at the top of my list, you see.

You are always helping,

Your servants heart is like no other,

You are the best father to our kids,

And you make me a better mother.

You don’t wait to be asked,

You give when there’s a need,

You love our family so well,

I’m so thankful to follow your lead.

When you see something wrong,

You’re quick to make it right,

In a world that can feel dark,

You’re such a positive light.

I can picture Gram & BD,

Up in Heaven cheering out loud,

Watching you overcome obstacles,

While thinking, “I’ve never been more proud!”

This year has been tough,

But you have kept on going,

You push through the difficulties,

Even when your pace is slowing.

That’s why you’re my hero,

Because you never ever quit,

You run your race with determination,

Not content to give-up and just sit.

I remember when I first saw you,

I thought you were so hot!

I knew you were different,

But I had no idea the gold I had caught.

I’m so thankful that you, my love,

Are my happily ever after.

I’m so glad I get to cry with you,

And share so much laughter.

You surpass my dreams,

You’re patient, forgiving and kind,

When God made you,

It’s like he had me in mind.

I’m wishing you a year filled with great golf,

Complete with the very best caddie,

Happy birthday, my sweet man,

I’m so glad you’re my baby daddy!

I love you, Dave! Happy happy birthday! You keep me sane when I’m drowning in motherhood and for that, I’m forever indebted to you. xoxo

 

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Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Marriage, Motherhood, Serious Stuff | 0 comments

Living with Purpose when the Pages of Your Planner are Full

I love a good to-do list. I’m task-oriented and I love checking things off the pages of my planner as I go throughout my day. But sometimes my to-do list actually keeps me from doing the things that really matter.

live_on_purpose1

Last week in my Bible Study lecture, the speaker said this…

“When we forget our identity, our life becomes all about tasks and fails to be about purpose.” 

Those words really convicted me because all too often, I find myself preoccupied with tasks and as a result, distracted from my purpose. Let me paint you a little picture of what this looks like for me:

Atlas will come ask me if I will play ball with him and I’ll tell him I can’t right now because I’m folding the laundry. Then later he will ask me again, and I’ll say, “In a minute, I’m prepping dinner.” And then that night I tell him we can play tomorrow and I go to bed feeling like I accomplished a lot on my to-do list, but I missed so many God-given opportunities in the process.

Sometimes, my identity can get lost while I’m switching out all the different hats I wear everyday. Since I serve as the mom, the chef, the maid, the dog walker and the doer-of-all-the-laundry I like to refer to myself as the COO of our family. It is my job to ensure things in our house run smoothly. But that’s my job…not my purpose.

mom_style

The reality is, anybody could do my job. Sometimes I actually think a monkey could probably do the job better than me. But my purpose is unique, and consequently far more important. I feel like my purpose is to point my children to Jesus. While I can try my hardest to ensure things in our house run smoothly, there’s no way I can ensure life will run smoothly for Atlas & Andi Rose. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee them the opposite. Life is filled with bumps, accidents and pitfalls and while my job today is to protect my children, my purpose is to prepare them for the sometimes bumpy rollercoaster that is called ‘life.’ If I teach my kids to look both ways before walking out into the street, I’ve done a part of my job. However, if I teach them to walk in truth, I’m fulfilling part of my purpose. But if I’m going to teach my kids those kind of lessons then I’ve got to be connected with them and I’m realizing that those connections take root when I slow down long enough to spend time with my children. But time spent playing ball with Atlas isn’t something I typically pencil in the calendar, which is absurd because shouldn’t I be strategic about making time for the things that align with my purpose?

When I think about the culture we live in, I would venture to say most of us are blinded by busyness. Between the pages of our crazy calendars and being saturated with social media, we rarely get a free minute to think about our purpose. Time isn’t free anymore. I’m never going to be given a free minute. I must intentionally carve out free time if I wish to have it. But it is in that free time where I find I’m more empathetic to my children and to the needs of other people around me – because that’s when I have time to consider my purpose.

I think this concept also applies to my role as a wife. My job is to care for my husband and the home he provides us. My purpose is to love him well, bring him good, cherish his heart and build a legacy with him for our children. But I can get so preoccupied with doing his laundry and washing his dishes that I forget my bigger purpose requires me to leave dirty dishes in the sink sometimes and just sit with him and lend him my ear after he’s had a long day.

I hope this post encourages you, just like the lecture in my Bible Study last week encouraged me. My OCD heart is so satisfied going to bed at night when I feel like I’ve accomplished all the things, but my soul is satisfied only when I feel like I’ve accomplished the most important things…and I have to remind myself daily that those ‘things’ aren’t always written in the pages of my planner.

***

Outfit Details

This is for those of you who are like, “Um, I don’t even have kids and who the heck still writes in a planner when you have an i-phone…I just wanted to know where your scarf was from.” I got you too, girl. 😉

dress_up

Sweater via Shop Dress Up// Blanket Scarf (mine is from last year, but the one I linked looks almost identical) // White Pants (can’t stop wearing these because they are SO comfy) // Booties are old, but similar ones are here and here //Clutch

Happy Hump Day, Friends!

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Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Marriage | 14 comments

My 5 Marriage Tips

It’s been a quick minute since Dave has made a debut on the blog. Dave takes most of the pictures for CnC, so he’s usually the man behind the camera.

marriage_tips

Today, I wanted to do a special blog post on marriage. I certainly don’t feel qualified to write a how-to book on relationships, but I do feel very fortunate to be in a happy and loving marriage. The reason my marriage is such a happy one is because Dave & I work to keep it that way (Dave probably works harder than I do because I’m more difficult). Before I met Dave, I was in a relationship that totally crashed and burned. As painful as that time in my life was, looking back I realize I learned a lot from the failures in that relationship (both failures of my own and of the other party). So, I certainly haven’t always gotten it right and as a result I want to ensure this post doesn’t come across as ‘preachy.’ I’m simply sharing what works for Dave & me in our home (which is a post a few people have asked for). 🙂

marriage

  1. Water the Relationship: Now that Dave & I have 2 small kids at home, it is so easy to lose each other in the midst of all the chaos. We obviously aren’t in a season where we can swing a date night each week, but we can find time to pause in the middle of the craziness and focus on each other. We find little ways to frequently pour into each other and I find that those little deposits we make truly do help our relationship grow. Dave is really great at this.
  2. Be Quick to Offer Forgiveness: Dave & I don’t argue very often, but obviously disagreements are inevitable when you live with someone. I’m such a girl, so I’m usually the one to ‘get my feelings hurt.’ However, God has really been challenging me this year to not be so easily offended (because, um hello! Jesus wasn’t, so why should I be?). One of my favorite quotes on forgiveness actually came from a book I read this summer called, “The Traveler’s Gift.” It said, “Forgiveness costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to all and used by few. The unmistakeable truth about forgiveness is that it is not a reward that must be earned; forgiveness is a gift to be given.” Sometimes the sweetest gift I can give both my husband and myself is forgiveness.
  3. Make Home a Place You Both Want to Be: One of my sweet friends said this to me one time and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. He said, “When you make a home that you and your spouse both want to come home to at the end of the day, you know you’re doing something right.” How true is that? I’m pretty OCD so I used to be FREAKY about keeping the house clean. I hate clutter. I hate dust. I love a freshly made bed with 32 throw pillows on it. You know the type, right? I realize I’m ridiculous and I also realized I was making Dave crazy because I was always trying to keep the house immaculate. Now, this is an issue we have both had to compromise on because just like the man has to live in peace, I have to live with some sanity. However, I came to terms with the fact years ago that it was more important for Dave to love being home than it was for me to love having a perfectly pristine home (& now we have 2 babies, so that dream of a perfectly pristine home is down there with my dreams of being best friends with Kelly Ripa). I didn’t want a husband who stayed at work until 8pm and found every excuse to avoid coming home. I wanted Dave to want to come home, which meant I had to help create an environment that welcomed him. And he’s done the same for me. The last 2 times Dave has traveled, he has come home a day early because he said he just wanted to be home. When he arrives home from work, I try to always greet him with a smile and a kiss and typically I have music playing so that the vibe in our house is a fun and upbeat one. (Now some days, he does come home and I’m like, ‘Here are the kids – I’m going for a run, good luck. Don’t touch me. They are monsters today. Peace out.) ← Real life family
  4. Don’t Keep Score: Dave & I are competitive and all about keeping score in a game, but when it comes to our marriage we don’t ever keep score. Because in that scenario, everyone is a loser. I don’t do 50% of the housework in hopes that Dave will do the other 50%. I strive to do 100% of the things that I’m able to do and Dave plays by the same rules. I don’t say things like, “I’ve changed all the dirty diapers all week, so since it is Saturday and you’re home you are going to change them all.” If I see a situation that I can handle, I handle it. And Dave doesn’t say, “I took the trash out yesterday, so tonight you can do it.” If he sees a need, he’s quick to meet it. This applies with bigger issues too. Sometimes it is easy for me to think, “I compromised on this issue last time, so it’s time for him to give now.” But that’s just another version of me keeping score and that game never ends well. This principle has gotten so much easier with time and practice for me. I strive to give 100% no matter what I feel Dave’s output is (and luckily, I’m married to a man who strives to give 110% in all he does).
  5. Assume the Best: This tip is simple, but so helpful. I always try to give Dave the benefit of the doubt. I give him credit and assume the best about him, as a husband and a father. So for example, if Dave has to work late one night, I don’t hate on him when he gets home. I assume that he would probably rather be at home, just like I would rather have him home, but he is hardworking and he takes his job as the provider of our home very seriously. Or if I see him on his phone during dinner, I assume that he is tending to a matter that is urgent rather than freaking out about him breaking our ‘no phones at the table’ rule. Dave will sometimes ask me to do things for him during the day (like pick up the dry cleaning or proofread a document) and there have been plenty of times that I have failed him because I got too preoccupied with those 2 tiny humans we made. But Dave gives me so much grace and he will say things like, “Babe, don’t worry about it. You’re busy and you’ve got a lot on your plate. I know you would have done it if you had time.” I think assuming the best about somebody not only makes them want to be better, but it also avoids a lot of unnecessary arguments.

Bonus Tip

There’s a Wrong Way to Be Right: There are times when I know I am in the ‘right’ in a disagreement, but there is a wrong way to be right. If I’m right with the wrong attitude, then I’m wrong. I think the secret to a successful marriage can be summed up in 1 word: Humility.

Phil 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.”  

I know what you’re thinking. If I could sum up the success in 1 word, then why the heck did I just write this lengthy post?!

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Posted by on Sep 9, 2016 in Family Fun, Girly Things, Marriage | 5 comments

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This week was a good one in our house, thanks to healthy kids and 2 nights out with just Dave! On Tuesday, Dave & I met with a small group of people from our church and then on Thursday we got to attend a special event in Buckhead together. It has been weeks (months?) since I’ve had any kid-free time with Dave, so 2 nights with just him this week felt extra special. (Huge shoutout to my sister for babysitting our munchkins both nights.)

Date night was definitely my favorite thing from the week!

date-night

Atlas photobombing us in his underwear is my favorite part of this photo

And here are a few other things I’m loving…

Bare Minerals Oil Obsessed Cleansing Oil 

Bare Minerals Cleansing Oil

Apparently I’m not alone in my love for this Bare Mineral’s cleansing oil because it is backordered on Nordstrom’s site until October! I just realized that when I went to link it up here. Anyways, I’m almost through my 2nd bottle of this stuff and it is the jam. It does an incredible job of taking off my make-up, the smell is fabulous and it is reasonably priced. I was nervous to use ‘oil’ on my face, but it hasn’t made me break out at all. If you’re searching for a good face wash, I recommend this one. I only use it in the evenings, but it takes off my make-up better than any other cleanser I’ve tried.

Final Days of Summer

summer-daze

I took the kids to the pool this week and it was so lovely because everyone is back in school, so it was just us hanging out. It is so much less stressful juggling both kids at the pool when there aren’t 25 other kids running around too. I’m ready to trade my pineapples for pumpkins and my swimsuit for slouchy sweaters, but these final days of summer aren’t going to waste. We are trying to go to the pool when we can (assuming we stay healthy), stay up a bit later, eat a few extra ice-cream cones and soak up some final rays of sunshine.

Olly Restful Sleep Vitamins

Olly Restful Sleep

I picked these vitamins up at Target a few weeks ago because I’ve been having some trouble drifting off to sleep at night. My mind just races and despite how exhausted I am, I can’t seem to relax lately and I find myself wide awake at midnight. These restful sleep vitamins have been amazing though! I actually just took one and I’m seriously trying not to fall asleep at my computer right now. If this post is filled with typos, I actually blame these vitamins. I don’t take them every night, but on the nights I do take them I can tell a difference in how quickly I fall asleep. I also bought these vitamins for my hair/skin/nails and I love the taste, but it is too early to tell if I think they are actually working.

The Traveler’s Gift 

the-travelers-gift

I’m a little over halfway through this book called The Traveler’s Gift and I am LOVING it (read that in Oprah’s voice for full effect, please). Ya’ll, seriously. Order this book. It will be the best $9 you spend all month long. My mom gave it to me and her book recommendations are always spot on. It is comprised of 7 lessons for personal success from 7 influential people in history such as, Abe Lincoln, Christopher Columbus and Anne Frank. I’m not one for ‘self-help’ books (although I’m not sure why – Lord knows I need all the help I can get), but this book is rooted in a fiction story that makes it an interesting read. It has made me laugh out loud and tear up. Also, the author’s name is Andy Andrews so that’s cool (because my daughter’s name is Andi Andrews). I’ll leave you with this quote from the book that I can’t get out of my head…

“Most people fail at whatever they attempt because of an undecided heart. Should I? Should I not? Go forward? Go back? Success requires the emotional balance of a committed heart. When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.”

And on that note, I’m dropping the mic and walking away….

But just for the weekend. I’ll be back Monday! 🙂 Thanks for reading this week, friends! I hope your weekend is a great one.

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Marriage, Motherhood, Serious Stuff | 2 comments

Stopping for Maintenance

In the evenings, Dave & I usually load the kids in the double stroller and leash Ob & Marley up for a walk around our neighborhood.

double_jogger

We still love Ob & Marley in an unhealthy way, and I obsess over them getting enough exercise and attention. Our evening walks not only serve as a great outing for the dogs, but it allows the kids to get some fresh air before bed and if the kids are good (that’s a big ole’ IF), it allows Dave & I 30 or 45 minutes to chat about our day. (If the kids aren’t good, we walk in silence while I hand out snacks, pick up dropped pacifiers, tell silly stories and threaten things like no iPad for the rest of eternity.)

I typically push the stroller and Dave holds the dogs’ leashes.

double stroller

I definitely have the harder job – especially now that we live in Georgia, also known as the land of the giant hills, but I don’t mind it because I like the extra workout. But a few weeks ago, our walks were just getting so dang hard on me. I was struggling through our nightly walks and our stroller just felt heavier than usual. One night, I finally stopped dead in my tracks, put the break on the stroller, looked at Dave & said, “Give me the leashes. I can’t push this stroller anymore. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I cannot push this thing one more step – I’m seriously dying. Either I’m getting weaker or they are getting heavier, but we’ve got to switch jobs. You push.” Dave told me I was probably just not used to the heat, handed me the leashes and went to push the stroller. He took 3 steps, stopped, put the break on the stroller and bent down to examine the wheels. He started laughing and said, “Ashley – the tires are flat. No wonder you’re dying – these tires need air. When was the last time you checked them?” I was immediately relieved to learn that the problem wasn’t me, but the stroller. I also gently reminded Dave that checking the tire pressure on any of our vehicles would definitely be considered his job, not mine. 🙄

After we got home, Dave put air in the tires and I couldn’t believe the difference I felt in our next walk. I wasn’t dying – the stroller moved with relative ease and as a result I enjoyed our walk so much more!

That whole little saga, got me thinking…how many times do I do that same thing in life? How many times do I trudge through life, struggling beyond words because I don’t stop for maintenance? How many times do I try to just push through the difficulties, without stopping to really assess what the root of the difficulty actually is? Instead of pushing a stroller with a flat tire, I push through life with a fatigued spirit.

It took Dave less than 10 minutes to fix the problem and put air in the tires that day, and often times I feel like it is the same way in my daily life. Sometimes just taking a few minutes to read my Bible, or a good book, or pray, journal or sip some tea and eat some cookie dough during the kids’ nap time is all it takes for me to feel a little lighter throughout the rest of the day. But I have a tendency to get in these habits where I just work, work, work until eventually I’m like, “Daaaaang, this feels hard. I’m so tired. I can’t push through anymore. Someone else push.” My soul needs maintenance and when I stop for regular tune-ups, I find that I run so much better.

evening stroll

Outfit Details: Sports Bra/Running Shorts (on sale and so comfy)/Shoes (Back in stock)/Stroller

Can anybody out there relate?

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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Marriage, Trips | 2 comments

Chateau Elan Resort

On Sunday night, Dave & I left our babies with my sweet mama and drove a little over an hour to stay at Chateau Elan, a beautiful resort and winery located outside of Atlanta.

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

Dave got invited to a fundraising event there for his work and I decided to tag along because I’ve been following the resort on Instagram for a while now and I really wanted to check it out in person. The fundraising event was for a YMCA camp program that Dave has been telling me about for months (literally), so I was also super excited to go learn more about something that Dave is so passionate about.

On Sunday night we got to hear several people speak about how this particular YMCA summer camp program changed either their life or the life of their child that attended. By the time the event was over I was ready to enroll Atlas and Andi Rose. Just have to get them out of diapers first…

After the event was over, we headed out for dinner at a delicious Irish restaurant on property before returning to our hotel room to call it a night.

Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold on Saturday so that fouled up our get-away plans a bit. Instead of hiking and hanging by the pool on Monday, I lounged around inside with a magazine and lots of cold meds.

Sick Vacation

I did venture over to the spa for a quick facial and then I returned to my comfy hotel bed to rest while Dave golfed. Once Dave was done golfing, we did a bit of exploring but not too much since I was feeling all feverish and gross.

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

The resort was so beautiful – I’m already dying to go back when we can stay longer and really enjoy it. I think it would be a gorgeous place to visit in the fall.

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan

It is definitely the perfect place for couples to go – between the spa, the pool, the winery and the hiking trails there isn’t a shortage of things to do – but I also think it would be a fun family vacation spot too. I would like to take Atlas and Andi Rose for a long weekend – let them swim in the pool, run around the property, go on some family hikes and order room service at night. I was also told it was super close to the Mall of Georgia, so if you like shopping then you wouldn’t be far from that.

I wish I could recap more, like how good the food was or how great the fitness classes were, but I couldn’t taste a single thing while we were there and I was way too congested to work out.

But time away with the hubs is still time away, so I’ll take it! 🙂 Dave was a real trooper – I’m pretty sure I blew my nose 6,194 times during our trip and he didn’t complain about it once.

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