Celebrating Our Love Story

Today is our second wedding anniversary and I can’t believe that two whole years have already flown by. I remember the very moment we met and cherish the time my husband and I have been able to share with each other whilst looking forward to the many years we still have in this life. Here’s our love story.

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I met my husband back in April of 2012. During that season of my life I was barely hanging on by a thread, but no one other than my best friend knew it at the time. I was struggling at work, my longtime relationship had brutally ended, I found myself distant from God, and was making choices that weren’t healthy. I had tried, and failed, at online dating in attempts to block all of the emotions from being dumped and continued on a path of self-destruction. I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Due to the person I had become within just a few short months, I didn’t believe that I was worthy of love the way my husband has always loved me.

One night in April my girlfriend wanted me to get out of my funk and invited me to tag along to a going-away party that was in honor of one of our mutual friends who was soon deploying. We set off and arrived at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Old Town, Alexandria and made our way upstairs to meet our friends. I don’t know about you, but whenever I entered a room I always did a quick scan just to see who all was there. That’s when I noticed this cute dark-haired fella who was already seated at one of the tables engaged in conversation with another party-goer. I slowly made my way around the crowd, saying hello to everyone and grabbing a beer from the bar. I stuck close with my girlfriend and her boyfriend since I was a bit shy to talk to anyone else.

That’s when he first approached me.

I remember feeling the initial butterflies as he came up to us and introduced himself – asking who all we knew. He told me his name was Philip, turned out to be new to D.C., and only knew one other person there at the party – a woman whom he served with (also named Kelli) when he was deployed in Greenland. I was already intrigued with this man and was mentally kicking myself when he offered to buy me a drink and I already had one. I wanted a reason to keep talking with him, but didn’t want to appear too interested; not to mention my shyness beginning to get the better of me. So, he made his way around the group, striking up conversation with others as I kept to my little circle and mingled with others here and there. Philip then popped up again asking if he could refresh my drink and again I had to decline, hating that I had only managed to drink about a quarter of it during the time it took for him to come back around.

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After a little more time had passed, and having caught my interest in him, he came around a third time and instead of offering to buy me a drink, seeing that I was doing a poor job at drinking mine, he simply asked if I could walk with him to the bar since he had offered to get the next round for a few of the guys he had met that night. That I could do without looking desperate – even though at that point I wouldn’t have cared. I walked with him to the bar and he told me then that he just wanted to get me away from my friends so we could talk more. I smiled, feeling my cheeks get rosy. Was this guy flirting with me? I almost wanted to glance around just to make sure I was the one he was, in fact, talking to- I wasn’t the girl who got hit on at bars. Thankfully it wasn’t just my imagination and somewhere between needing ‘tits to get a drink’, many Snake Bites, and hours of conversation later, we shared our first kiss and he had asked me to take me out the next night.

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The very next (hungover) morning I drove him back to his place and that night he picked me up for our first official date. He let me choose the place so I picked Maggiano’s, a cute Italian restaurant that seemed fancy. Although he lived a good 40 minutes away, he was determined to do things right and insisted on picking me up at my place and actually take me out – he scoffed when I offered to meet him at the restaurant. I wasn’t used to feelings like these so soon let alone meeting a man for the first time who was an actual grown up. All night we talked as if we’d known each other in a past life, laughed, and truly enjoyed how easily we connected. He was such the gentleman and made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the room and continues to do so even four years later.

We were married on June 28, 2014 at The Wynn in Las Vegas in front of our dearest friends and family. It was five days of debauchery, laughter, and memories made with friends who have become family.

Flashing forward to our lives today we’ve accomplished a lot in this life together and I am so thankful that although he met me at a point in my life where I didn’t know which direction to move, he became my compass. I was just some girl in a bar and he was just some guy who managed to sweep me off my feet when I least expected it.

Cheers to many more years, my love.

kelly philip 4


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Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both

First comes love, then comes marriage…then, down the road and a couple years later when you’re somewhat financially stable and settled from your move across the country then take a vacation comes baby. Well, it at least worked out that way for us.

My husband and I, from the very beginning, were very open with each other about family and our desire to have children – eventually. We looked forward to the day when we would become parents and couldn’t wait for that next season of our lives together. Now, as we parent our three month old and sit in reflection of it all, our marriage has changed a bit – as to be expected and a tad unavoidable. Not so much in a bad way, but just different, and we find ourselves in a new circumstance in our union.

Speaking for myself, I have found I am quite picky about how to care for our son (you know, I have my way of doing things), new things annoy me that never bothered me before, and after spending all day at home with a now teething son, my patience has dropped significantly and find myself in need of a drink by 1pm when the baby goes down for his routine nap. Lucky man, my husband is when he walks through the door.

However, there’s a way to preserve the relationship you have as a wife and mother that leaves room for yourself too…

It IS possible to maintain both your identity as a mother and wife. Here are a few ways I’ve been able to stay sane within the first three months of being a mom.

Keeping my husband my #2.

Not number one? Hear me out.

One of the biggest worries my husband had right before Baby G arrived home was that I would give my son more attention than him – that he would be bumped to the bottom of the totem pole in our family. However, that couldn’t be further than the truth. My belief is simply that God comes first, my husband second, and my child(ren) third. Keeping that in mind has allowed my husband and I’s relationship to become stronger even having Baby G around. Having God first allows His word and teachings to guide my life (and relationships), which affects who I am as a woman and wife to my husband, and thus a reflective living example onto our son.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

I’ve personally seen how strained a relationship can become when one partner, typically the mother, becomes more affectionate or wrapped up in their child over their spouse. I love my son so much and I would love nothing more than to dedicate all of my waking hours to him, but there are other people and responsibilities that demand my affections and time as well. Learning to balance baby and my husband have proven to keep our relationship as strong as ever and (hopefully) keeping my husband feeling loved and attended to.

Continued time for each other.

Time is precious even if we didn’t have kids and now that we have Baby G it’s vital that we make sure to spend quality time with each other. These days our time is divided up between my husband and his work, taking care of our Murphy (our pup), and caring for the baby. That leaves just a smidge of time for each other and it’s so important we make the effort to resume our relationship even with the addition of the baby. We’ve gone wine tasting, to happy hour, dinner, and enjoy snuggling up to an episode of Game of Thrones – all with baby in tow (follow our adventures on Instagram). To us, that’s our new normal and I’m thankful I have a husband who stretches himself to make time for his needs as well as the needs of his family.

“In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.”
Acts 24:3

Making time for intimacy.

Oh, sex. Getting back on this proverbial horse was a difficult one for me – not because I didn’t miss being intimate with my husband, but for what sex would be like after healing from childbirth. Things shifted bit down there, breastfeeding makes things interesting, and it was is definitely painful, but to be able to connect with my husband again in that way just makes me feel so much more in love with him even amidst the diapers, spit-up and tiresome nights. Never mind the scent of breast milk that lingers between my boobs #justsaying – nonetheless, it’s intimacy that keeps us grounded as husband and wife.

Besides, you know your husband deep down can’t wait for this day either and talking with him about your feelings on the subject definitely alleviates any kind of pressure or self-consciousness going in. Just because your doctor may give you the go-ahead after 6 weeks doesn’t mean you’re ready – I know I wasn’t. However, discussing how I was feeling and making sure to affirm my husband in other ways kept our bond strong and made those more intimate nights special – even if they only come around once every month or so 😉

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”
1 Corinthians 7:3 NLT

Which brings us to…

Talking it out.

Having a baby can definitely make or break a relationship due to the newfound stress, sleepless nights, and new roles in which each person plays. I have always prided our relationship on my husband and I’s ability to talk and discuss what’s on our mind, even if the conversations are uncomfortable or deal with hurt feelings. But, ensuring we’re both on the same page about the baby helps us discuss what’s on our minds even if it’s about my husband’s habit of throwing soiled diapers on the floor when changing the baby instead of the Diaper Genie, which is this innovative little contraption that is designed just for soiled diapers. But, you know.

Maintaining your communication is so important, but it’s also in how you communicate too. Being up with the baby at night or during the day can cause a new mom to be stressed out by the time dad gets home from work. Words can be said and tones can become snappy, but try to keep in mind the day your husband may have had and how excited he is to be home with his family – just to clock into another full time job: parenting.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Learning to let go of control.

This one is important for me as the mother. I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day called The Beginning of Life and there’s a portion of the film in which new dads comment about having a baby and their care-taking dynamic versus that of their wives. They talk about how they are less likely to help out with certain things because their wives do it a certain way and they’d just rather let them do it. Not because they don’t want to participate in caring for their child, but because they perceive they won’t “do it the right way.” The irony is we all know there is no real right way to care for a baby.

Allow husbands and fathers to figure out this parenting thing on their own with little intervention from us moms.    

It’s no secret that I definitely have a way of caring and doing things for Baby G that differs from my husband’s and I just need to learn to let him care for our son – no matter what form that may look like (see diaper story above). I am guilty of trying to have him conform to how I do things, but the fact of the matter is I don’t want my husband to feel inadequate or feel like he needs to get my approval on how to do things as a father. Because after all, I do need his help and am grateful for his role in Greyson’s life.

Parenthood, especially as new parents, is a journey and one in which can switch from exhausting to exciting as quickly as your little one’s temperament. Just remember that you and your spouse are on the same team and if you can survive infancy you’re all set for toddlerhood and beyond. Just keep these few things in mind as your cross the threshold together…I’ll let you know how it goes for us 😉

Until then, any words of wisdom for maintaining your sense of self as a mother and wife to share?


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5 Easy DIY Rental Upgrades

I have yet to be a homeowner and I cannot wait for the day because I find extreme satisfaction in renovating, decorating, and finding new ways to organize my home. Living in a rental doesn’t allow much in the way of renovating beyond paint so I find myself having to get pretty crafty in order to achieve a home I most desire. The apartment we’re living in now was built in the 70s and some of the original charm can still be found – and something I so badly would love to rip out and replace! But, considering I can’t, I have found a few ways I can easily upgrade this rental that is budget friendly and instantly adds a personal touch!

It doesn’t take much to make simple, yet transformative, upgrades to your rental. Here are 5 easy ways you can upgrade your rental to reflect your personal home style!

*Always keep in mind that before starting any project in a rental be sure to gain approval from your management and/or look over your lease agreement.

Instant Granite & Backsplash.

Image Source: Lesli Devito for Domino

I just love the look of granite and to find out that it’s possible to achieve this same look not only on a budget, but that’s perfect for apartment dwellers like us just made my heart skip a beat. Instant granite is similar to contact paper and simply adheres to any surface. I love this option because you can transform any countertop with minimal effort and money. It’s also something that is easily removed with a hair dryer.

*Keep in mind it is like a sticker so be cautious of hot items on countertops or just normal wear and tear when used in a kitchen or bathroom.

Image Source: Jen of Paint By The Light Blog

Backsplash is also an easy way to add some depth and design to your kitchen or bathroom, but living in a rental I can’t apply the real thing. So, insert some peel-and-stick backsplash to instantly create the same look and can be easily removed when it’s time to move out. Backsplash looks gorgeous no matter if it’s in your kitchen or added to your bathroom and there’s so many options in terms of design and color.

Replace Cabinet Knobs & Fixtures

Image Source: onekingslane.com

A super easy DIY fix for any cabinetry whether it’s in your bathroom or kitchen is simply replacing the knobs you moved in with, with fun new ones! You can easily upgrade furniture pieces too with a simple replacement of knobs and other fixtures likes faucets and shower heads. The nice part about this is that you get to keep what you invest in – just swap the new with the old when it’s time to move.

Vinyl Floor Coverings

Image Source: Kerra Huerta via Apartment Therapy

In the bathroom we not only have those ugly sliding doors that look like they haven’t been replaced in years, but we also have some pretty ugly tile to pair with it. The tile is an ugly color and the grout just makes the whole thing difficult to keep clean. I love this idea of covering it all up with  vinyl flooring, which will give my bathroom a fresh look and make it so much easier to keep clean.

Command Velcro On Mirrors

Image Source: Shanty 2 Chic

I hate that in rentals, especially in our older apartment, there’s no design whatsoever when it comes to bathrooms let alone any other room in the house. We have a large mirror in our bathroom and one way to spruce it up is by adding a simple trim around the edges using Command velcro strips! It’s perfectly temporary and leaves no damage when it’s time to take them down. This takes a bit more prep in terms of cutting the trim or staining it if you wanted a color other than white, but the outcome looks amazing and definitely worth the work you put into it. Another option is using square corners so you can skip the trimming. It’s just fascinating the transformation of just adding trim to a mirror.

Just these five things alone can make any rental feel a bit more cozy and reflect your personal style and tastes in the process. The best part is that each of these ideas are fairly inexpensive, easy to apply or install, and a snap to remove when it’s time to move out. Who says you can’t enjoy your rental the way it was meant to be?

What are some of the ways you’ve upgraded  (or would like to update) your rental? Any other tips or tricks to share?


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Greyson James: 3 Month Update

This month was filled with all new experiences both for Greyson and my husband and I. The major new event that took place was beginning to allow him to ‘cry it out’ as a means to sleep train him at bedtime. I am happy to announce that it has been working wonders and since doing it consistently he only cries for about 2 cycles before he’s so tired he drifts to sleep on his own. I’ve also begun notice a little more independence in him, which may or may not be associated with allowing him to soothe himself at night. He’s content for longer periods of time in his crib alone during the day and even when he wakes up it’s cute to catch him talking to himself.

Another milestone quickly approaching this month is teething. I’m surprised that by three months he’s already showing the signs: fussiness, drooling, fingers constantly in the mouth, etc. He’s just a bit more fussy during the day and needs some extra TLC from mom despite doing so well sleeping at night and being more independent. Any tips or tricks for this new mom on teething would be greatly appreciated!

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Date: June 10, 2016

Nicknames: Chub-Chub, Mr. Chubs, My Love, Chunky Monkey, Greyson-baby.

Sleeping: has been so great these last few weeks! I’m sleeping, on average, about 6-7 hours and only sometimes need a diaper change in the middle of the night. I’m starting to get used to my new crib (no longer in the bedside bassinet), too!

Discovered: myself in the mirror! I’m still not sure what I’m looking at, but I love smiling at Mommy. I’m also becoming really good at using my hands to grasp and hold things! I am beginning to realize that I can actually control these things!

Went: to Mommy’s school to meet her 1st grade class and visit her teacher friends, wine tasting (I feel like this will be common for Mommy and Daddy), and many walks outside and along the Ventura Pier. I also went to Ojai for the first time and can’t wait to play on the awesome playground that was just put in!

Health Scare: Mommy noticed fluid building up under my skin on the back of my head near my soft spot, but we went to the doctor and got an ultrasound and I’m okay. (*the ultrasound showed nothing serious (sub-dermal hematoma) and that the swelling has completely gone away!).

Enjoys: my Wubbanub, nibbling on my hands, drooling, being held and bounced around, looking at everything and everyone, walks outside especially at trees, reading books with bright colors, and sleeping on Daddy’s chest. I also like watching Mommy do her workouts in the living room – she’s so funny looking!

Hates: being put down, strapped in the car seat, stop signs (or when the car isn’t moving), tummy time, and when my Wubbanub falls out of my mouth. I also don’t like this teething thing – it makes me extra fussy to Mommy.

Learning: to hold onto things like my pacifier and hold myself up during tummy time! I am also learning how to soothe myself at bedtime.




Greyson James: 1 Month Update

Greyson James: 2 Month Update


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A Lifestyle Blog By Kelly Daniel