Friday Favorites | vol 5

Friday Favorites | vol 5 | |

Happy Friday!

This week was pretty crazy…and oh, so tiring. Greyson has been dealing with diarrhea and threw up a couple times earlier in the week. Luckily we had his baby Zofran (from when he had a stomach bug in D.C.) to help curb the vomiting, but the diarrhea is ever so persistent. So, it’s been a lot of sleepy days, laundry, diaper changes, and a constant smell of poop in our home. I’ve had him on the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet to help, but nothing seems to be working. I’m afraid this will just have to run it’s course – poor guy. Nonetheless, Greyson is still just as smiley, bright, lovable, and curious as he’s always been.

Despite keeping up with Grey, here are a few of my favorites from the week!

One | Never Stop Wandering

This past weekend we took the train to Santa Barbara and went wine tasting. I love taking the train because 1) it’s convenient. The station is right down the street from our place and we don’t have to worry about driving, parking, or the traffic coming home. And 2) the views are absolutely beautiful. The husband captured this photo of Greyson up against the glass looking out to the ocean and my heartstrings just burst. A 45 minute ride with nothing but ocean passing you by is not too shabby of a way to travel.

Travel is in our blood. Whether it’s a day trip, over the weekend, or big trips across the country or internationally. I want Greyson to always have this sense of awe and to never stop wandering and discovering new places.

Two | Grilled Artichokes

Since learning how to use the grill on the complex and warmer weather heading our way, we’ve been kind of obsessed with grilling lately. It’s fun, gives the husband fire to play with, and food from the grill just tastes better. I found this recipe for grilled artichokes and I can’t wait to try them. We’ve had similar grilled artichokes from our favorite restaurant called The Hitching Post and is going to be a hard recipe to beat. But nonetheless I’m excited to try.

What are your favorite grilled recipes?

Three | Growing

As many of you know for the last few weeks I’ve been working my way through this book The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith and every chapter I feel as though I learn more and more about myself and how to relate to others. I know, deep, right?

Well, this week I read a chapter called Growth and it discusses the power of grief and how crippling experiencing trauma can be; that if we don’t have a sense of meaning in our lives we can lose sight of our greater purpose. Esfahani Smith introduces various people and shares their stories of crisis, trauma, and grief and how these same people, despite their circumstances, found a way to be resilient. Wow.

Reading this chapter dug up a lot of things I thought I made peace with, but actually inspired this post I wrote this week. It emotionally took me by surprise, but doesn’t God always work that way? After having a day or so to process and reflect, I have a much clearer understanding of the suffering we all experience at some point in our lives and how to cope with it.

Four | Adoption Auction

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Sarah from Tucker Up, but one of her most recent posts shares about a friend of hers who is battling infertility and after multiple failed IVF treatments they’ve decided to adopt. But anyone who has adopted or is currently going through the process, it’s expensive. So in support of her friend, Sarah is participating in an Adoption Auction where items from her Etsy print shop will be featured and those proceeds will be donated to her friend’s adoption fund.

Although I don’t know this family, or even Sarah, personally – I am a woman and a mother and much like Sarah, once I had Greyson I became much more empathetic towards women who struggle to have a family. I am happy to help in any way whether it’s to share this cause, send up a prayer, or donate I feel like it’s important to be a part of the story to help this family.

Five | Dating Your Spouse

When we first got pregnant I was doing a bunch of reading and amongst the top popular topics for new parents-to-be was this concept of continuing to date. At the time I was like, pssht we’ve got this. Flash forward a year and here we are…in this place where our identities have become more “mom” and “dad” and less of “wife” and “husband.” Although we’re working through this transition, these last few weeks we’ve been intentional about our time together and carving out a date night where it’s just the two of us. We are so blessed to have Greyson’s Nana be able to watch him so we have this precious time together as a couple. It’s a work in progress, but at least we’re being proactive about finding our groove in our marriage now that we’re parents.

I hope all of you have a beautiful weekend filled with family, love, and laughter! Not sure what we’ll be up to this weekend, but as long as I have a cold glass of rose and the sun is shining I’ll consider it a good weekend.


Linking up with Amanda, Erika, and Amy.

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How To Be A Friend In The Midst Of Grief

How To Be A Friend In The Midst Of Grief | |

“As much as we might wish, none of us will be able to go through life without some kind of suffering. That’s why it’s crucial for us to learn to suffer well.

-Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning

This week is Infertility Awareness Week and it’s a reminder of how there are hundreds of thousands of women who suffer silently due to their struggle to have a baby. I’ve come to realize that there are many women in my circle that have either had difficulty getting pregnant, staying pregnant, or have had the inexplicable pain of delivering still born. It’s a spectrum of sadness that I cannot even begin to understand myself or even fathom what one must feel when those tiresome months pass into years.

But as a friend, what can I do to offer support to these women? How can I be there for them without making them feel worse? And what exactly is the right thing to say? Is saying nothing at all the right thing?

Our good intentions

Grief is an interesting thing and it’s something I’ve dealt with personally after the loss of my sister and through my own miscarriage. Although my friends and husband’s family immediately surrounded me in love, I was cursed with the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty and a lack of understanding of why this was happening. And although I’ve been on the one side of grief, I can also recognize that I’ve fallen into the pitfall of not being the supportive friend or daughter by eclipsing another’s grief with my good intentions.

We all have them – those good intentions. But, unbeknownst to us our good intentioned-filled words can have a lasting negative impression on the very person we aimed to help or support. Most importantly I’ve learned that it comes down to the timing, what is said, and how one says it – and sometimes it’s not saying anything at all. When my sister passed, I wasn’t there for my mother the way she needed me because I was gripping with my own sense of grief. I wasn’t in a position at that time to be as supportive as I could have been. I lacked in timing and my words ultimately tore a person to pieces when she was already hanging on by a thread. And after that moment, and even through the years that have passed, I am constantly reminded by God that…

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4

However, there are many ways in which we can be supportive of someone who is experiencing grief whether it be over infertility, a loss of a pregnancy, child, or other loved one. We can all be there in some capacity for those working their way through their grief and God has given us a few provisions to help us along the way.

Listen, don’t speak.

This was a hard one for me because I so often feel as though when someone comes to me to talk they’re looking for a response. Sometimes, and probably most times, people who are in grief just need someone to listen to them. And if they’re not up for talking, just be in the room with them. Remind them with your presence that they’re not alone.

Ask what you can do for them.

You’re not a mind reader and it’s important to realize that everyone grieves differently. Some might like to reminisce, look through photos, or watch home movies. To have visitors or perhaps be alone. Whereas others don’t even want to talk – yet. Simply ask the person what they need from you in that moment and be ready that, over time, what they might need will change.

Ask what they need.

This moreso has to do with those little chores or things you can do of service for that person. Is it to go grocery shopping for them so they have food in the house, refill their gas tank, or simply just stay the night with them? Are there phone calls or emails you can send or reply to for them? These little tasks may be overwhelming to someone in grief so helping to take those off their hands may mean the world to them in that moment. It’s all about finding out how you can be of service in the moment.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
1 Peter 4:10

Remember them on Mother’s and Father’s Day

It’s easy to get caught up on the busyness of such holidays. But those who are grieving the loss of a child or who suffer from infertility, such holidays can be crushing for them. It doesn’t need to be a super-duper gesture, but simply calling or sending a card lets that person know you’re thinking of them meanwhile allowing them to process that day privately.

Support them in their decisions.

This was a huge one for me because as I was easing out of my grief, my mother was still within the throws of hers. It was, at times, frustrating but while I was busy being upset with her choices I missed out on recognizing that she’s allowed to be human. Sometimes as ‘Mom’ you’re thrown onto a pedestal to which you need to be the strong figure you’ve always been for your kids – and for us children it’s hard to remember in times of grief that Mom is human too.

I’ve learned since then that I needed to be supportive of her no matter what decision she made for herself or how she chose to move forward. I may not have understood it or agreed with it, but my place was to be by her side regardless. The same goes for anyone in grief when making a decision for themselves or their family.

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
James  2:13

 And the greatest of all these reminders is this…

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Colossians 3:12-15

For more resources on being supportive through grief: RESOLVE: National Infertility Association and Psychology Today: How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving are great places to start.
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Friday Favorites | Easter Weekend

It’s Easter weekend and in honor of our Lord and His miraculous ascension into heaven, I am sharing a few of my Easter favorites for celebrating such a season. How powerful is this that our God, the Creator of all, gave His son so that we may all experience eternal life with Him in heaven? This act of sacrifice both by God, and by Jesus, brings me down to my knees each and every year.

With that being said, here are a few of my Easter Friday favorites 😉

One | Nelle’s Cool Whip Easter Eggs


Having a toddler around the same age as Nelle’s helps me find inspiration for creating fun memories that both Greyson and us, the parents, can equally enjoy. I just love her idea of using Cool Whip and food coloring for her son to decorate his Easter eggs. Adorable (messy, but really what toddler activity isn’t?!) and easy for a child to do. You can check out her tutorial over at her blog, Simply Love.

Two | Easter Baskets for Babies


This year Greyson is a touch too young to understand an Easter Egg Hunt (perhaps next year?) so we haven’t done much in the Easter basket department. However, I’m keeping an eye on what exactly a mom is to put inside a basket for a toddler and when I found this list I found it to be quite helpful! I love the idea of placing a book, some treats, and maybe a couple of toys.

Are you making an Easter basket for your kids? How do you change them up every year?

Three | Passion of the Christ


I know…it’s a bit serious for Easter weekend, right? Where things should be everything pastel, brunch with bottomless mimosas, Easter eggs, bunny photos, and family, right? Well, it is all of those things but for me (and much like at Christmastime) it’s important to recognize the purpose of this holiday and teach to Greyson as he grows up about the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us on Good Friday leading up to Easter Sunday.

Obviously Passion will not be a family movie night choice considering the graphic violence that’s portrayed, but for me it’s almost a little tradition I have. I always watch it around Good Friday as a reminder of what Jesus willingly endured all for his love of humanity despite our sinful nature. It’s a tough film to watch for sure, but a necessary one to truly understand the words written about his betrayal, crucifixion, and ascension in Matthew 26-27.

Four | The Easter Bunny

Back to the lighthearted stuff…

And speaking of the Easter Bunny…

Greyson had his first encounter with the Easter Bunny yesterday and we were both curious to see how this would play out. Standing in line he was very curious; crouching down to see under the barrier, babbling to him and even giving him a wave. All seemed well. Until we had him sit in his lap and he just wasn’t having it. We did, however, walk away with a pretty awesome photo and keepsake.

Five | Strawberry Citrus Easter Punch


You all know I couldn’t escape this post without a little brunch cocktail inspiration, now could I? Jessica’s citrus punch looks absolutely refreshing and is so easy to pull together (and possibly something that’ll impress your friends and family) using champagne and a splash of brandy as your booze with club soda. The rest is fruit juice such as strawberries, pineapple, and orange, blood orange soda, and serve over ice and fruit slices for garnish! This will definitely be a fun summer staple for sure this year!

I hope you all find yourselves with a relaxing weekend with friends and family close by. This weekend is an important one for us Christians and I pray that each of you have a blessed evening and Easter Sunday!

10 Songs to Sing at Easter and Why | Hillsong

Linking up with Amanda, Amy, and Erika

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Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 11

c/o Toki Lee Photography

A little late in getting this out on Monday, but you know…#momlife.

There are a few times when it’s necessary to invest in something that you probably wouldn’t otherwise. And one of those times are your family photos.

This past year I was able to finally wear the husband down in terms of getting a professional photographer for family photos to be used for our Christmas cards back in November. I took to none other than Yelp to try and find a local photographer and Toki Lee immediately popped up. She had amongst the highest reviews, positive comments, and looking through her portfolio she was able to capture the best photos for her clients. I knew in that moment I’ve found the one.

I would love to consider her our official family photographer as she’s quickly become my go-to for any future photos. I love how she makes us comfortable, gives us direction, but also allows us to act natural and candid as a family. Not to mention, I admire her personal story as a breast cancer survivor and the meaning she finds in what she does as a photographer.

So, when Greyson turned one we were so excited to have our follow-up beach photo session booked and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. That morning the sun was out, not too many people were on the beach, and the waves weren’t terribly large. We decided that San Buenaventura State Beach, which is just a mile or so from our home at Ventura Beach, would be the perfect location for our shoot.

Here are just a few of the amazing shots Toki captured of Greyson!

c/o Toki Lee Photography

c/o Toki Lee Photography

c/o Toki Lee Photography

c/o Toki Lee Photography

c/o Toki Lee Photography

I’m a firm believer that every family should have at least one good set of photos taken by a professional. It takes the pressure off of you, it’s super convenient, and in the process you get to know one more person – and you’ll have photos you’ll treasure for years to come.

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