the quiet + what motherhood means to me.

I took a little unplanned break from writing.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  At first I thought it might be bad, but then I just decided to roll with it.  I realized it was a theme in my life — needing a break, needing to retreat, and just be quiet and just be.  So I took a little time.  I’m sure it had something to do with Gabriel.  I’m sure it had something to do with his birthday coming up.


But there have been so many things I’ve been wanting to share with you all.  Now I’m sure I’ve forgotten them 🙂  but I have lots of updates to do from weight loss attempts, exercise, healthy eating, to being organized, and to Gabriel’s birthday yesterday.



Today I am sharing on the Knoxville Moms Blog a little pre-Mother’s Day post.  I wrote about what being a mom means to me.  Head over there and let me know in the comments what being a mom means to you!


Jack and mommy.adventures.jpg

frozen {not the movie}.

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do or feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start.  So you just don’t start?  I do this.  It’s kind of classic in my book.  I spent so much time in college stressing about tests, papers, projects and thinking about how I was going to do them and how I needed to do them, but I would be so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t just start.  I do this in my life now, too.  It definitely doesn’t look the same now.  But it’s the same thing.


My Granny used to tell me that I was like my dad.  She said when he was in pharmacy school he would spend more time worrying about his tests than studying for them.  She told me I was the same and to stop worrying and just get to studying.  I miss her.  She could tell you straight up how it was and you’d just want to hug her and tell her thanks for the advice.


So I was kind of frozen last week.  And not because we were busy watching the movie.  By the end of the week I really felt like I lacked direction and focus.  It was nice to have a week that was more restful, especially after the buildup of the first Project Gabriel support meeting, but by the end of the week I was just frustrated.


So this week I am going to get up and do something, instead of sitting frozen and overwhelmed.  There were many things I wanted to blog about last week, but I just didn’t get to it.  So this week I want to share with you several things including all about our first Project Gabriel support group meeting, and my weight loss journey, which has been full of ups and downs but mostly ups.  And I don’t mean emotional ups, I mean poundage ups.  Yeah, it’s not been awesome.  But the exercise has.  Excited to talk about it.  I also have some organizing stuff to share.  Y’all, I have been crazy organizing.  I love having a place in my home for everything.  Tommy’s either got to love it or he’s either driven completely crazy by this point.  Probably the latter.  But who doesn’t love a more organized home.


Hope your week is off to a great start today and that your Easter was beautiful.

happy Easter.

Easter has felt very different to me last year and this year.  It is more personal and I’m so much more thankful for what it means now more than ever before.  Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection not only have saved us from our sin, for which I am so in need and so grateful, but it also means that Christ defeated death.  And because of that, this isn’t where it ends with our baby.


Gabriels grave Easter 2014


Because of God’s love for us, because of Christ’s victory over the grave, we will see our son again.  Grieving parents, or anyone in this world, could not ask for more hope than that!



Happy Easter!  I pray you know how loved you are by God’s deep love for us and by Jesus’ death on the cross for us.  He is not dead, but He is risen!



thursday is the new weekend.

In college Thursday kicked off the weekend.  Although I frequently had important classes and exams on Fridays then, and I’m certainly not in college now.  However, Thursdays are my weekend now.  During outage season Tommy’s day off is on Thursdays, so it is our weekend day now and Saturday and Sunday are feeling quite similar to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you get the picture.


In honor of my new “weekend”, here are some good reads for the day:


Some awesome meals to fix and freeze.  Or just fix.


I mentioned these yesterday and for a light, fun read they are perfect!Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn  and  The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life


I always need to learn more about listening.  Not my best quality.  This is an awesome article about listening.


Wise words about loving our husbands well.  Such words of wisdom.




It’s a beautiful day in East Tennessee.  Clear, sunny skies, perfectly windy, and 75 degrees.  We are going to go enjoy this perfect weather!


a few fun facts about today.

1.  This kid is amazing.

JT dinner




2.  It snowed today.  Snowed.  For real.  It’s March 25th and I live in Tennessee, and it snowed today.  This time next week it will be April, and it snowed today.  Having trouble wrapping my mind around this one.




3.  We get to have some pretty sweet dinner dates while Tommy is working.  Tonight we ran out to grab some Chick-fil-A and came back home to eat it.  We sat at the table enjoying each other’s company and talking to one another.  I had been quiet for a few minutes eating, and he looked up at me and said “I want to talk, mommy.”  He’s so precious.


JT smile


So I told him to smile so I could take his picture, which he did.  Then he quickly changed to this:

JT silly face

happy monday, last week, + the weekend.

It’s Monday and today is the start of a new, short season in our lives.  Tommy goes on shift work for awhile starting today, so we will be adjusting to a new schedule.  This week will be different learning that new routine, but we’re up for the challenge.


The weekend was… interesting.  I started potty training on Friday and we continued through the weekend.  Friday was rough.  I kept texting my friend, Megan, who is basically a potty training pro, asking her if everything was normal.  It didn’t help that Thursday night was rough for Jack for some reason, so he and I were both tired on Friday.  But he did really well, and I think he learned quickly!  Just in the moment, it felt pretty hard on Friday.  Especially when he was crying that he didn’t want to sit on the potty after we had been doing it  Ohh… the joys.  But seriously, he is awesome, and I’m so proud of how well he did!  He’s doing great, but we are definitely still working on it.


I’m thankful that the things that have hung over my head for awhile with regards to him becoming a big boy are getting crossed off, and I’m so so proud of Jack for doing so well with getting rid of the pacis and potty training.  Whew.  Can we get a lot of ice cream now to celebrate??  Maybe a nice Carribean trip?  Potty training and paci dropping deserve that, right?



And last week.  Whew.  It was a crazy, busy week.  But a beautiful week.  I felt so honored to get to spread the word about Trisomy 18 Awareness Day, and I am so thankful to Jessi at Naptime Diaries for allowing me to share my story on her blog last Tuesday.  I’m also thankful that Natalie at Knoxville Moms Blog has been so encouraging about me sharing my story over there, too.  I wrote about our G and hope on Jessi’s blog last Tuesday.  And then I got to share some about T18 on the Knoxville Moms Blog.


My big news of the week was the announcement of Project Gabriel.  Man, I was blown away by the support.  I’m so thankful and so blessed by the encouragement and positive feedback we have gotten.  I am also so hopeful that this little project can meet some needs and spread some love.  Thank you so much for supporting us!  If you haven’t like our page on Facebook yet, would you go do that?  Click here and it will take you to the page.  Thank you so much!


Wednesday I had a reporter filming my closet for a piece on organization and getting rid of stuff, and Thursday it aired.  I wasn’t nervous to be on there because I love cleaning and organizing and getting rid of stuff.  So that was all fine with me, but I was definitely nervous about my closet being filmed.  My house is not TV ready.  But she was so sweet and it went well.  And now that I have broadcasted that I have 40 hangers, I have some serious accountability!


I hope you’ve had a nice Monday!

how i changed up cleaning + why it works really well for our family.

I love having a clean house.  I’m not awesome at cleaning.  The older I get and the longer I’ve done this stay-at-home mom thing, the more I get into a groove and figure out the systems that work for our family and those that don’t.  The same is true when it comes to cleaning products.  I have learned since Tommy and I got married what products I like and what I do not.  And I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of money and time trying things I thought would be awesome, and they just weren’t.

So when my friend, Amber talked to me about trying Shaklee cleaning products, I was ready to take her word for it and see how it worked for our family.  Amber and I went through our Dietetic Internship program together — doing almost every rotation as partners.  I definitely trust her recommendations and think she is a fantastic dietitian.  We started our first jobs as RDs at the same hospital, so we have worked together a lot.  Amber has been a pediatric dietitian for over 3 years now and was a college athlete at Penn State, so any time I have a question about sports nutrition or pediatric nutrition Amber is my go-to RD.

I had never heard of Shaklee before I met Amber, so here are some of the highlights she shared with me to teach me about the company and their products.  Shaklee’s Get Clean products give a safe, powerful, green, and smart clean.  They are nontoxic, have no harsh fumes, and very importantly to me are hypoallergenic!  They are good for the earth, limit waste, and are an easy choice for any one.  I was concerned these products would be more expensive, but because they come in a concentrated solution and you just use a little bit of them in each bottle you make, they are actually quite a bit cheaper.

I quickly got a big, exciting box in the mail from Shaklee and have probably never been so excited to clean.  I started using the all-purpose cleaner and liked it a lot.  I was amazed at how little of the cleaning solution was needed to make a bottle of all-purpose cleaner.  Then I used it to clean a lot of my house.  My kitchen counters, cabinets, appliances.  It works great on everything.  

shaklee box



I didn’t get the Basic G — which is their germicide — in my initial shipment because I just wanted to try out the all-purpose stuff, but as soon as I realized how much I liked the all-purpose cleaner, I knew I was going to want the Basic G, too.  I’ve always been bothered by the smell and the fumes that come from typical cleaning products, particularly bathroom cleaners.  In fact, it is an irritant for my lungs — making me wheeze at times.  I had childhood asthma, which I pretty much outgrew except for a few things that are irritants — including cleaning products.  Even more important than that, I realized after I had Jack that I didn’t want him to be around those strong smells.  I figured if it could irritate my lungs as an adult, surely it wasn’t good for tiny baby lungs.  In addition to that, I could never clean while Jack was around because I worried about him being around the cleaners.  Now that I have started using Shaklee cleaners, I don’t have to worry about that!


Shaklee Get Clean

After Amber sent me the Shaklee products, the next time I needed to clean the bathrooms, I used the all-purpose cleaner and loved that I did it while Jack was at home and awake and he could come in to the bathrooms and talk to me and “help” me.  It was really nice to not have to worry about him being around it.  I actually placed an order with her for the Basic G because I am so impressed with the products I got and look forward to having a safe germicide to use in my home.



Shaklee Scour off

Amber told me this scour off [pictured above] was her favorite product by far before I even got the stuff.  I was so surprised when I opened it to see this bright color and that it smelled so good and so natural.   I texted her right away to see what was in it.  She told me cherry pits!  Awesome.  I tried it on my stove to get that burnt on junk off, and it really did work!  It was amazing how clean and shiny it left my cooktop looking.  It was also really easy to clean with.  I didn’t have to give my arm a massive workout scrubbing stuff off — it just came right off.


Stove grime

This is what the paper towel looked like after just 30 seconds of using the scour off.  I had even cleaned off my stovetop before using the scour off, so it was clean except for the burnt on stuff.  Pretty impressive.


Personally, my favorite things about these cleaning products are that I can clean with my child around without having to worry about it.  I don’t need to wear gloves or open windows, and I can use them on just about any surface so I don’t have to have a separate cleaner for every thing.

And for my friends who are pregnant, Amber recommends taking the Shaklee prenatal vitamin, which she personally uses.  Hearing her talk about the artificial ingredients and dyes in a lot of multivitamins made me kind of cringe.

I am definitely a fan of the Shaklee cleaning products and will be using them in our home from now on.  I feel really good about that.  Shaklee offers other categories in addition to cleaning products, but I have not tried any of them.  As a dietitian I’m all about getting nutrients from food, but Amber, especially as a fellow RD, is really good about saying which things are good to supplement based on an individual’s needs and diet.


Amber says that Shaklee is running a special through the end of the month.  All qualifying orders placed by March 31st will receive a free membership, 15% off the order, and a free meal replacement shake [a $60 value!].


If you have questions or want to learn more about Shaklee, you can find all kinds of information on Amber’s website here.  You can also reach her by email at  She would love to help you find cleaning products that work well for you and your family or with any other interests you may have.



**These Shaklee Get Clean products were given to me but all writing and opinions are my own!

my video on local news + happy 1st day of spring.

This morning I was on local news WVLT Channel 8 talking about cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of stuff.  It falls right in line with mine and Becca’s hashtag of #healthyandorganized2014!  Here is the video of this morning’s segment.  Pardon my awkwardness 🙂


Just click the link below to see the video of the segment that showed on the morning news today.


Next week I am going to post about the 40 Hanger Project, which is what I talked about on this segment.


This has been a busy week around here.  It’s spring break around these parts, so I thought we would be bored crazy but we’ve had a lot going on so that’s not the case.  Plus, I realized pretty early on this week that we were going to need some solid plans to make it through the week without a lot of TV or driving each other up the wall.

Monday we watched Frozen [which we have seen well over a dozen times now, and I’m totally ok watching it, too, because it really is great].  Tuesday we watched Frozen again.  Maybe more than once :/  I’m not a perfect mom.  But we also got out and did stuff those days.  We spent most of the day getting things done, running errands, and visiting people.  Tuesday was wild.  Crazy busy day.  I had packed it full from morning to evening — very, very late evening.  We did a lot of fun things and some business-type things, and it was great.  I also got to share about T18 and our story on the Knoxville Moms Blog on Tuesday.  Head over there and check out my post about  all of that that I wrote for KMB.

Wednesday morning I did the shoot for the news segment.  Guys, I am fairly confident that I am not the best person to have someone come film their closet.  Seriously.  My closet is nothing special, but I did get rid of A LOT of clothes, and it feels awesome.  I will share more details on my big closet clean out next week.


And today is the first day of spring.  It has been overcast all week and today the sun in shining!  So brightly.  It just feels like spring now.  Hopefully we can get some outside time in today.  Especially since as I write this Jack is jumping up and down on the couch.  Boys.


Spring is here

Happy first day of spring!  I hope it’s beautiful wherever you are.

have a happy weekend.

I took the day off of writing yesterday.  Busy day running errands.  Dropping off birth certificates and death certificates.  Researching medicines.  Trying to get a little work done.  Today has been slower paced.  I have to balance my days like that.  I often believe I can do it all, when the reality is that I can’t and no one can.  I hated that I didn’t blog yesterday so much that I dreamed about it last night.  Someone was scolding me for skipping a day.  So weird.

As I’ve shared before I have had some health problems in the last year.  I have not felt well in over a year, but once I wasn’t pregnant and I still didn’t feel any better, I knew something was wrong.  Several doctors told me it was just stress.  But I knew something was wrong.  I missed my people at the OB’s office.  I wanted them to see me, but they said no.  Apparently you have to be pregnant.  So the doctors I saw wrote me off as a young woman stress case.  But then I started going to a new doctor.  An amazing doctor and friend of ours from our Bible study.  And right away he gave me an autoimmune diagnosis.  I am so thankful for him and his wife.  They are wise, kind, and so supportive.  God was definitely taking care of us by putting them in our lives.

Then nearly a month ago I saw a rheumatologist for the first time.  And she is fantastic.  She really listens to me, cares about me, and takes my symptoms seriously.  She got me started on some treatment right away until we hit a big bump in the road when some lab work came back.  My treatment for my autoimmune diseases is on hold while I start antibiotic therapy for a bacteria I apparently have.  I’m not contagious or anything but have a very long road ahead of medication and treatment.  It will be fine, but truth is I am bummed and know that any long course antibiotic therapy has consequences.  And it will set my autoimmune treatment back by 2-3 months, so that’s also disappointing.  And we all know that anytime someone says “it will be fine” they are saying it because they really don’t feel fine about it, right?

But I just keep reminding myself that I am generally healthy and there are so many people fighting something threatening their life every day.  I am thankful for the days I have and that I am able to live life each day and take care of my people fairly well, even if it isn’t as much as I used to be able to do.


In news outside of my own health — I’ve been working on some exciting stuff lately.  And I’m very excited to share it soon! Cannot wait.  In other news, we got a new computer last weekend, and it is awesome.  Finally went with the MacBook and I am obsessed with it.  My old computer was an almost 5 year old netbook that we didn’t expect to last a year, much less 5.  So it served us well, but it got to the point where it took me 2 hours to get a simple blog post with 2 pictures done and I couldn’t do any documents, web pages, downloads, or printing.  So I’m living in luxury now.  And I can no longer use the excuse that my computer stinks.


JT is rocking life.  He is so much fun these days.  He’s always been my little buddy, but now he really is.  He is a little conversationalist.  And these days he isn’t just repeating what we say, but he’s also coming up with his own things to say, which is both awesome and hilarious.  He says the sweetest things from his sweet little heart, like “God made me happy, Mommy.”  And he says the funniest things too like “Don’t pee on your bed, Daddy.”  He also appears to be a little bossy.  I would say I don’t know where that comes from, but who am I kidding?  I think we all know he’s like me in that.  He is seriously the sweetest kid and is really enjoying being around friends, the kids in his class at parents’ day out, family, acquaintances — he’s a people person.  He’s also really into dance parties.


To wrap up this random post, here are some random pictures from the past few weeks.


Grandfather and familyFebruary 23rd was my grandparents’ anniversary.  They would have been married 63 years.  It is amazing to have such an example in our lives of long lasting marriages.  My Grandfather and Granny were married for 62 years and 8 months.  So on their anniversary, Grandfather took a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers to the cemetery.



holding handsHe asked me “Mommy, can I hold your hand?”  Be still my heart.


Jack at airportWe picked Tommy up from the airport last week.  This was Jack’s reaction when he saw Tommy walking towards us.  Goodness he’s precious.  What a welcome home!


I hope you have a great weekend!