Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kohl's Convert

If you had asked me a few months ago if I liked or shopped at Kohl's I would have said, "Not really". Every time I had been in there in the last few years I couldn't find any good deals. Everything seemed so expensive! I had bought a few things there in the past but it was not on my top list of stores! Then I was sweetly given an amazing amount of gift cards for Kohl's. A church had a "Christmas" for us and a lot of what we were given was gift cards. I kept laughing as I opened yet another Kohl's gift card. I thought, "I guess I'll have to learn to like Kohl's!" Well, the first thing I did was sign up for the store e-mails. They sent me a $5 off coupon just for signing up! That got me started on the right foot with them. Then, as I started to watch the e-mails I noticed that there were cycles in which you could earn "Kohl's Cash". You could get $10 for every $50 you spend. Armed with my $5 coupon and my gift cards I decided to give it a try. My plan was to get as close to spending $105.00 as possible. I had a long list of things to look for (baby shower gifts, 4-5T clothes for my daughter, some Maternity basics, shoes, etc.) so it wasn't much of a problem. The good news was, however, that everything was on some kind of sale as well! Nothing I picked up was over $10, except a pair of shoes that I fell in love with and those were a whopping $15. Before I could get the to register though I was approached with yet another deal. Did I want to open a Kohl's charge card and save another 20% on everything? I explained that I planned to pay with gift cards and although I didn't mind applying, could I still use my gift cards with the 20% off today? She said that would be fine and started getting my information while I set about figuring out how to spend my extra $20 (20% off of my planned $100). I literally felt like one of those extreme couponers! When I got to the register I had done my math the best I could and just hoped everything would work out. I used the $5 off coupon for a couple of small things and paid about $1. Then I piled everything else on and watched my tally go up. My total after coupons and discounts? $101.00! And I walked away with $20 Kohl's cash to come back and spend the next week! Here's a few of the things I got:
Everything on the bed is from Kohl's (not all the same trip) except the pink dresses on the bottom left and right corners (which are form Target)
I was super excited to get some matching things for my two girls! Some of those clothes cost as little as $2.40! I also got 3 t shirts and 3 maternity undershirts for myself as well as those adorable new sandals, a pair of earings and a few gifts! Something else great? You can also use your Kohl's cash with other coupons and someone told me that they will even take expired Kohl's cash (although I'm a little afraid to try it). I guess you could say I'm a Kohl's fan now!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Style - 21 weeks

Thanks to cooler weather still here in PA, I got to enjoy my Mother's Day present from my mom (like she needed to get me anything, but we're gift givers in my family), a really pretty new scarf!
I've also been able to add a few more maternity basics to my wardrobe lately (thanks to some gift cards) and that has been nice!

Scarf - K-mart
Top- Target (maternity)
Tank - thrifted
Skirt - Christopher and Banks
Sandals - Payless
Watch - Target
Earrings (that are really cool which you probably can't see!) - Kohl's

Do you wear scarves year round?

Thursday, May 23, 2013


About a month ago, a crisis that had been building in my life finally came to a head. It had been building and growing for about 6 months and I thought I was dealing with it, but I wasn't, at least not the way God wanted me to. I was not truly giving it to Him. If you had asked me a few weeks before if I was a "worrier" I would have said "No! Worry is a sin!", and I truly believed that. It took a set of extenuating circumstances for God to bring out the truth to me.
Since my daughter turned a year, she really just stopped being interested in food. We stopped nursing at 13 months and she had started walking a week before her 1st birthday. She was so interested in her new abilities that it got to the point where she just stopped putting on weight. She just kept getting taller and skinnier. All around me were chubby babies with rolls of baby fat that seemed to love to eat and I had a 14 month old that had already lost all of her baby weight! To make things worse, every meal was such a struggle. We never knew what she wanted because it seemed to change on a daily basis. And what she did seem to like best usually had very little calories. It got so bad that our pediatrician sent us to see a nutritionist after her 15 month appointment. The nutritionist examined her and although she was in the bottom 1% for weight for children her age, she had a ton of energy and was still slowly growing taller so she did not diagnose her as "failure to thrive".
This is her at her birthday and then about 4 months later
After that we felt like terrible parents and we followed her advice the best we could. I struggled, especially while traveling, because it was so hard to get the things I needed for her. I could never count on a fridge or access to things she liked and that were good for her. I realized later that I was angry with God for putting me in this situation. Things seemed to be a little better when we were at home and that is where I wanted to be.

But that is not where God had called me to be.

Things got better and then they got worse and then better and then worse again. It seemed to go in cycles a bit. We eventually got more used to the way things were (though her not eating continued to gnaw at me) and learned a few "tricks" that kept us from losing our minds. I tried to suppress it, but for me, worry for my daughter was an ever present thing that was sucking the joy out of my life.

Then we come to a month ago. Our daughter had taken a turn for the better and had actually seemed to take an interest in eating again. The right circumstances around a meal really made a difference though. We were at the end of one of our longest trips (10 weeks!) and had started a very busy conference. Not only was the conference busy, but they had childcare for our daughter every day of it. We were not with her for much of the day and they were to feed her several meals. This made me nervous because she never eats a meal for anyone but us it seems, and because she had not done well the last time we left her in childcare for several hours. Well, as the days went by, sure enough, without one of us there she wasn't eating and had missed several meals. Her sleep schedule was off and that wasn't helping things either. On Saturday morning I was supposed to give a brief testimony at the Ladies Meeting. When we woke up that morning, our daughter was just not herself and we could not get her to eat. I was really struggling at that point and had no idea how I was possibly going to be able to speak with a clear conscience. I knew I had to deal with my worry or it was going to become a major stumbling block in my life. There was a continental breakfast at the church that morning and when we got there we hoped some of the sweets at least would tempt our daughter. No such luck. I couldn't take it anymore. I left her with my husband and just got out of there. I kept walking until I found some place secluded and just broke down and sobbed. I poured out my heart to God. I took all of my worry and anger and frustration and just laid it at His feet. And then it hit me. He knew exactly where I was. He knew what my circumstances were and that I would have no control over them and He chose to give them to me anyways. Now the question was, "Did I trust Him?" Did I truly believe that He loved my daughter more than I did.

That is when, like Samuel's mother, I gave her back to Him. And our new baby. And my husband. And myself.

I can't tell you that things got better overnight. It turns out that she had contacted a bug of some kind and by the time we got her "home" (someone's house we were staying at) she had a fever that kept us both out of church the next morning as well. But when I struggled to go back to worrying, I remembered that I shouldn't, I couldn't. Worry was like a cancer in me, slowly eating me up and I couldn't go back there again. With time, it got easier and our daughter got better. Then, to our delight, she picked right back up where she left off and started eating again. Watching the change that has come over her eating habits is amazing! Lesson learned. Worry is not worth it! I am glad God chose to teach me this in a small way and hope I won't need to visit that lesson again any time soon!

Here is my life verse (ironically):
Is. 26:3 - Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.

My sweet husband and beautiful girl who is starting to get some "chub back in those cheeks" as we like to say!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day Matching

This year I was lucky enough to go to our church's Mothers Day Banquet with 4 generations of my family. It was me and my daughter, my Mom and Nana.
It was special because my Nana can't get out much any more and because it will probably be our last Mothers Day as we plan to be in Costa Rica by this time next year. As you can see, my Mom and Nana and I like to match. In fact we've been doing it for quite some time. Here is a look into matching outfits of the past!
The first year we did this was for a table decorating contest. Each table for the banquet was given to a team to decorate however they wanted. It was really a cool idea. I found these shirts for like $2 each so we decorated ourselves as well, and thus a tradition was born!
We got my daughter in on it for Christmas this past year. Her mouth looks funny because she had the chicken pox. Can't wait to get matching dresses for my two girls in the future!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's a . . . !

This time around we decided to do something different to find out the gender of our 2nd child. I was inspired by one of my best friends Alex Marie (check out her awesome blog!). She is due with her first baby just a day apart from me! She and her husband had a gender reveal party to let their family know what they were having. They invited everyone over to their house for fun and snacks and then gave everyone a cupcake. We all ate them as the same time and inside was icing that was blue for a sweet baby boy! I knew that I did not have time to plan something like that but that we could at least do cupcakes. On Sunday I put in an order for 6 cupcakes and let them know that I would be coming by with an icing filling color the next day. On Monday we had our ultrasound but asked the tech not to let us know the gender yet. Instead, I had a slip for her to fill out that I gave to the bakery after the appointment. They already had the cupcakes ready and so it only took a few minutes to finish them up. That evening we had dinner with my parents and for dessert, found out what our baby was!
This is me in shock as it was the complete opposite of what I was expecting!
Here's a closer look. We're having another girl!