What i'm loving

Tuesday, July 18

This last month has flown by! There's been the good, the bad, and the ugly at our house. The good of course being our sweet girl Avonlea...oh how she just delights us. The bad...we've had a few leaks at our house and are still dealing with the flooding from May (these are the times you are so thankful you pay for the dang insurance! ha). And then there's the ugly...Kevin and I got food poisoning and let's just say it was not pretty! And also, as you can see from my blog, Photobucket decided to change their policies on 3rd party hosting, so my blog is a mess. However..it's getting fixed, so hopefully soon it will be back to it's clean format:)

BUT...i've so enjoyed slowing down and noticing so many lovely things in our lives. Most of my favorite things going on are the sweet people i'm with and the relationships forming. But apart from people here's a bit of a round-up of what i'm loving this past month...

Breath Study

My sweet friend Adrienne recommended this study to me, and a girlfriend and I are going through it together this summer. I've so enjoyed it. I've never prayed through the psalms before, and it's been delightful. Each day there is a psalm to read through, and then respond by writing your own prayer inspired by it. God has revealed snippets from His word that have encouraged me so much in the way I needed that day. It's also really different than anything i've done...totally recommend it:) {and it's gorgeous, which is always inspiring!} Looking to go through more of the Bible Studies at Life Lived Beautifully! 

I recently stumbled across an amazing artist named Deann. Her art is incredibly gorgeous...layer upon layer of color and beauty. Currently she's got a line of florals, ballerina's (which I would love for a little girl's bedroom!) and iconic churches. Seriously some beautiful eye candy! 

I'm not sure I can even express how much I adore this recipe! Seeing as i've already made it 4 times since I found it, i'd say it's a total winner. So easy, so yummy, and most ingredients I have on hand....just need to pick up some fresh chicken and asparagus! The sauce though...so so flavorful! Make it and you'll thank me...well, you'll actually thank The Saucy Kitchen:) 

The Crown

I know i'm late to the game on this one, but holy moly! The writing and acting in this show is unbelievable. And it's incredibly fascinating getting a glimpse into the royal family and the tensions that existed between being an individual and being "the crown". I also loved learning more about Winston Churchill. The scene where he's getting his portrait painted and him and the painter are sharing their lives with each other was brilliant. I have to admit that I did watch the first episode almost a year ago and wasn't impressed, so it wasn't until a few days ago that I decided to give it another go. And i'm so glad I did...it only gets better and better.

Compton Coffee House

So...some friends of one of my friends are opening a coffee shop in Compton (in Los Angeles County). I cannot tell you how passionate I am about seeing people live missionally wherever God calls them. This couple has been called to live and love in Compton, and their desire is to open the only independent coffee house in the whole city. As they put it "In the end, community is the goal; coffee is the method." Here's a brief snippet of their goal
"We live and work here in the City of Compton. As of now there is not an independent Coffeehouse in the city. This is not because residents don't want one; currently our neighbors leave the city to catch up with a friend, work, or study. While there are a couple of big chain coffeehouses, there are few local alternatives for those who want ethically sourced, sustainably produced, organic options. In addition to creating a place to grab a cup of coffee or a snack, we want to facilitate community enrichment, like poetry and art nights or panels to discuss relevant issues, all while staffing with a local workforce that is paid a dignified wage."  
Think about how much you love your local coffee shop...can you imagine if you didn't have access to one? I know how much I LOVE the coffee culture of hanging out, reading, meeting friends, and just feeling inspired by drinking something yummy and having a relaxing space to be at. That's a pretty neat gift to give to someone else:) They are currently raising money to start their shop, so you can see their campaign and give here!  

"Hello" Doormat

Kevin and I went to Home Depot this weekend to get some supplies for a project we're working on. I always love Home Depot because it means we are DIYing together, but I've never really bought anything to accessorize with there. I happened to notice this doormat and instantly fell in love. I've been seeing these cute doormats all over the internet, but for SO expensive. Well, hello and thank you Home Depot! I brought this little baby home for $6.99! Woo Hoo!

Sally Clarkson Podcasts

I adore Sally Clarkson! If you haven't read her books, then get on it. They are inspiring, refreshing, life-giving, and so so challenging in an inspirational way. Whenever I'm cooking dinner, I put a podcast of hers on. It gives me something to think about and figuratively chew on. You can see her blog and listen to her podcasts here.  This one above on manners was fascinating...she had some great ideas for how to creatively teach your kids appropriate ways to behave:)

Books Books and more Books! 
I'm loving using the time I spend nursing to read all the books i've been wanting to! I hope to do a post on the books i've read as there has been some fun ones. Stay tuned! What are YOU reading? I need some new titles!!

What are you loving this summer? I'd love to hear your round-up!! xoxo

Our annual santa cruz beach vacation

Tuesday, July 11

If you've been around here long enough, you'll remember that every June, my whole mom's side of the family piles into a beach house in Santa Cruz. It's one of my most beloved traditions! You can see last years Santa Cruz post here (murder mystery dinner included, haha!)

Since having a baby, I've rarely taken my camera out. But if I do, it's to take pictures of Avonlea. Soooo, that pretty much sums up why Avonlea is in every single picture below, haha! It sure was fun to bring her on her first vacation. She LOVED being outside, was mesmerized by the water, and wasn't quite sure about the sand.

A very fun part of this trip was meeting Rebecca from the blog Caravan Sonnet. We've connected via blogging for years now, and when she found out she'd be in California for an appointment, she made the trek to our beach house. It was SUCH a delight spending the afternoon with her. I love sitting with people who laugh a lot, and she sure lit up the room!

It was so fun seeing my entire family love on our sweet girl...it takes a village, right? Hope your week is off to a great start! much love...

Need your help...where should we go in Oregon?

Wednesday, July 5

Hi friends! Wow nelly, it's been a whole month since i've written. We spent a lovely week at the beach in Santa Cruz, and Avonlea and I have been visiting people and enjoying summer. Not to mention we've been dealing with our house flooding and our book cases having to be ripped out! womp womp, haha! That's life, right?

But..we are planning our first real vacation since Avie girl was born, and are thinking of going to Oregon. Probably start in Portland and then go to Astoria, Cannon Beach, and somewhere else on the coast. I would LOVE your suggestions...

where to stay?
what to eat?
what to do?

Know anyone that lives there? Do you live there? Hook me up!! Kevin and I have never explored Oregon and are really excited to do so! We'd love a locals perspective on things:)

Hope you all are enjoying summer and staying cool!! Thanks for the help xoxo

two months with our Avie Girl

Tuesday, June 13

This peach.
Can you even handle the cuteness?
That double chin!
Those eyes!
That little button nose!
I know... i'm bias:)

She is an absolute joy. Even when she's having a meltdown in the evening I find her little lip quiver adorable. I don't think I was expecting to have so much fun with a newborn.

She's two months now, and I can't believe it! Every morning I put her up on my legs and we play and she laughs and I just melt. She's so interactive for such a little babe. It's amazing how their brans are taking so much in now as they figure out the world. She's a happy girl in her swing and will often fall asleep in it (hooray swing!), and loves being held outward so she can see the world. She is obsessed with staring at fans (when we're inside) and trees (when we are outside). She's been smiling up a storm, and recently started chuckling (which might be the cutes thing ever! however only Kevin has been able to make her laugh, which is sweet). She does NOT like her carseat (i'm hoping that's short-lived!) or being too hot or too cold. She sleeps and eats very well, which we are throwing up all the praise hands for! PTL!

In other news, we've had one of those "when it rains it pours" kind of months. Our house flooded from a malfunction in the washing machine, and now we are in the throes of working with our insurance to replace the floors/walls/bookcases/vanities, etc. Kevin also came down with norovirus, so he couldn't hold Avonlea for a while which was killing him. On top of all that our AC broke and it's been blazing hot here, so that's pretty much what i've been dealing with the last few weeks (flooding, throwing up and sweating... haha!)  Honestly though, I don't even care. I feel like having a baby helps you put things in perspective. The fact that Avonlea is healthy and happy makes me so grateful:)

I've been learning so much spiritually. I hope I can put into words some of the growth i've been having in a blog post, but seeing how little time I have to blog/write we'll see! (How do you mama bloggers do it? At the end of the day I just want to fall into my bed, ha!)

How are all of you?? I miss the community, and hopefully can start getting back on the ol' blog train!! Enjoy this sweet girl, I hope you have an amazing day! xoxo

How I turned my positive Group B Strep diagnosis into a negative

Wednesday, May 31

 I had no idea what Group B Strep was until I was about 37 weeks pregnant and being tested for it. As I'm a very healthy eater and healthy person in general, I didn't think much of it, and assumed I would be negative. Wrong! My next appointment, as the nurse brought me into the room, she casually mentioned I tested positive. WHAT?!?! I hadn't even sat down yet when she broke the news, and I wanted to burst into tears (and immediately go on google and figure out what the heck Group B Strep was, ha!).

According to the American Pregnancy Association "Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. Women who test positive for GBS are said to be colonized. A mother can pass GBS to her baby during delivery."

The doctor told me it was no big deal and that I would need to be put on antibiotics during labor, and those antibiotics would also enter the baby's blood stream. Now, as someone who doesn't have the greatest track record with antibiotics (I had to take them for years for a different health issue, and they pretty much stripped me of all my good gut flora, which led to other complications), I wasn't too excited about me or the baby being on them.

So...I stared researching to see if there was a way I could rid myself of GBS naturally. Turns out there are lots of great resources on the internet of women who have followed a protocol, and have reversed the positive diagnosis. I thought "it's worth a try, right?".

Long story short, after 2 weeks of following the protocol to a T, I was retested. And when I got the results back, I was negative! Hooray! I was so excited:) Both my doctor and nurse were pretty surprised, and my doctor allowed me to labor with no antibiotics!

What did I have to do for this protocol? Well, I actually followed the protocol that I found on the Wellness Mama blog. You can read her post regarding GBS here.  (Thanks Katie!) Essentially, here is what she recommends:

- 2,000 mg of Vitamin C in divided doses each day
- Consume 2 cloves of raw garlic each day by finely mincing them and drinking them down with water
- Consume at least 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil daily for its antibacterial/antiviral properties
- Use a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse vaginally each day
- Take 6+ probiotic capsules a day
- Consume large amounts of fermented foods and drinks (I bought fermented pickles and fermented cabbage at my local natural food store!)
- You ready for this one? It was definitely the most weird, but anecdotal evidence supports that this is very effective.  Insert a garlic clove vaginally at night. (The Wellness Mama said she just did it once, but I did it every single night of those 2 weeks!)

I also ate SUPER healthy, and didn't eat ANY sugar. Sugar can just help bacteria grow, so I eliminated that bad boy from my diet. 

I can't say it was easy...it wasn't. I dreamed of ice cream and my favorite tea latte with tons of steamed honey...just ask Kevin. About 5 times a day I reminded him of the foods I wanted to eat after Avonlea was born, haha! 

But...I can say it was totally worth it! Not only did eating super healthy and following this protocol kill the GBS, but it also gave Avonlea some really good nutrients while in the womb! (I kinda wonder if she'll love or hate garlic, we'll see...haha!). 

I don't share this to stir up controversy. If you are GBS positive and feel comfortable taking the antibiotics, then go for it. This post is to encourage those of you who don't feel comfortable with it to know that there are ways to get rid of it and avoid the antibiotics! I'm not a doctor, so this isn't medical advice, just encouragement of something that really helped me! 

I hope this is helpful. Have any of you tried this?? 

In other news, Avonlea has been the biggest blessing in my life. I just love this girl. She's 8 weeks now, which blows my mind! I live for those sweet smiles:) Hopefully i'll share more pictures soon!! Have a great week! xoxo 

Avonlea's Nursery Tour

Tuesday, May 16

Avonlea's nursery was an absolute joy to put together. As I began to dream about how to fill the empty space, the words that came to mind for her room were simple, sweet, airy and joyful. I envisioned this space being a place where God was glorified through the every day tasks of caring and loving and changing diapers:) 

Being on a total eucalyptus kick this past year, I knew for certain I wanted a huge eucalyptus wreath over her crib. That's what I started with. And then little by little things fell in place. I felt drawn to raw wood, eucalyptus, baskets, and a touch of pink:) 

As the eucalyptus green color was incorporated into the room, I really wanted a vintage green chalkboard. I scoured the internet and just couldn't find one that worked. So I decided to make my own. I got hardboard at Home Depot and painted it (clary sage is the color). I found some scrap wood and Kev and I nailed it together to make a frame. It was easier than I imagined. I really wanted a quote that magnified the Lord, and found this one…a line from the Common Book of prayer, or what we know as the  Gloria in excelsis Deo. I got chills the first time I read it, how awesome our Lord is! I want Avonlea to grow up knowing how loved she is by God, and how she can worship him in awe and wonder.  

Avonlea's middle name is Grace. As I was praying over what encouraging words I wanted hung in her room, the Lord gave me this verse in John 1:6… "for from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace". My talented friend Melody kindly penned this verse and it encourages me each time I glance at it.

Avonlea's name comes from Anne of Green Gables, and of course the following book Anne of Avonlea. In Anne of Avonlea, Anne befriends a woman who is very difficult to love (as she's had a very hard childhood which has made her bitter). Anne looks past her mean exterior and invites her home to Green Gables where she is welcomed with open arms by Marilla and Rachel. I'm always touched by this scene, and pray that our sweet Avonlea would invite people into an environment of gentleness and grace. 

I adore Rifle paper company, and wanted to incorporate some of their prints into Avonlea's nursery. My  lovely mother sewed this adorable quilt for Avonlea using 4 different Rifle fabrics. As a child my own Nonnie made me a blanket and I had it until after college when it was so loved it shred into tatters and had to be thrown away. I know Avonlea will cherish this blanket from her Nonnie:) I also used the Rifle letters above to spell out JOY. Doesn't it just evoke a smile? 

My mother is a very talented sewer, so besides stitching the beautiful quilt, she also made these doily buntings for the windows. I think it adds the perfect whimsical touch:) 

One of my favorite parts of the room is the shiplap wall! Being cheap, its not real shiplap but instead its plywood from Home Depot that we had stripped. Our dear friends came over one day in January and helped put it up. I loved how it turned out!!

If you're curious where I acquired certain items in the nursery, I've tried to make a list below! 

- Crib: Ikea Snigler Crib (this one is non-toxic and got GREAT reviews!) 
- Glider Chair: This is actually the Jenny Lund chair from Ikea (we found it on craiglist for super cheap, 
                       and then just bought a new cover for it). We followed this tutorial to make it into a glider. 
                       We took off the feet, bought a glider on amazon, and then Kevin attached the glider to 
                       the chair and Voila! It was perfect. 
- Rug: Braided Wool Rug from Rugs USA. I love this online store. This is the second rug i've bought 
           from them and i've been really impressed. They have amazing coupons (so get on their mailing 
           list). I got this during one of their crazy sales, and it was a fraction of what it costs normally!   
         Wool is evidently supposed to be a healthier option as it's a natural fiber, as opposed to synthetic. 
- Large Eucalyptus Wreath: Made by my cousin who is an incredible florist! 
- Small Eucalyptus Wreath: A gift from my sisters from a local boutique here in town 
- Blanket Ladder: I made this using a very easy diy tutorial (found here). If I could make it, so can you! 
- Dresser: Ikea Hemnes Dresser. I made it look a little more unique by adding hanging brass knobs to it. 
               I found them on amazon for super cheap here. 
- Bunting: We found lace doilies at yard sales and my mom sewed them into a bunting. 
- Chalkboard: I made it with hardboard and painted it Clary Sage, then framed it in raw wood. Lauren  
                   lettered the quote onto the board. You can see her lovely shop here. 
- "Fullness of Grace" Print and "Avonlea Grace" Print: Both done by my beautiful friend Melody. 
- Side table, lamp, stool, and bookcase: Yards Sales and Craiglist!! Gotta love good deals, right? 
- Non-toxic organic Crib Mattress: Naturepedics  It was really important for me to have a non-toxic crib 
                                                    mattress, as my baby's face will be on this for long stretches of time  
                                                    over the next few years. I splurged and think it's worth it! 
- Non-toxic organic crib sheets: Magnolia Oh MY GOODNESS these crib sheets are amazing. So soft 
                                               and a great fit on the mattress, plus organic and GOTS certified!! 
- Non-toxic changing pad: Oeuf 
- Organic changing pad cover: Burts Bees 
- Frames: Aaron Brother's (They always have a 50% off coupon online, so make sure you print that!) 
- Book Shelves: These are actually spice racks from Ikea haha! 
- Lace Curtains: IKEA 

Did I forget anything? Hope this was helpful!! Thanks for letting me share with you:) 

A father and a daughter

Monday, May 1

A loving father is a gift. I look back on my childhood and have the warmest memories with my dad. His faith and how he walked that out, with patience and grace and good humor and tenderness, stole my heart in a special way. I know God's love in a deeper way because of my dad.

So of course when I watch Kevin with Avonlea it feels my heart so deep with gratitude that our girl will walk through life with a man who will love her and guide her and teach her in the best ways possible this side of heaven. Right now as I write this, Avonlea is laying on Kevin's chest as they both lay sound asleep on the couch. It makes me smile. There is a tenderness and a sweet security about this scene.

These moments I snapped were totally candid, as Kevin previously gave her a bath and then was soothing her from that traumatic experience, haha. She hates being cold (just like her mama), so Kevin was working on warming her up after the bath. I helped with the bath, and then had to jump to grab my camera as the warm fuzzes were all over the place with this dad and daughter! I wanted to capture the moments:)

I hope you all have a beautiful week. I put a little sneak peak of Avonlea's room at the end, and hope to share pics of that either later this week or next. I'm really excited to show you, as it was a labor of love! Hope your week is off to a great start. My sweet Emmy Lou is driving into town to visit me today (and snuggle Avie), and I can't wait for her visit. Happy day friends!
 *The yellow peplum top is from here, and the tribal embroidered jacket is from here*