recommendations · Uncategorized

Loose Curls and NuMe Love

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I have always struggled with getting my hair to curl. It either does super tight and obnoxious curls, or they go flat withing minutes. That could be caused by the use of my mom’s curling iron. I’m not insulting my mama. Nobody get upset. Her curling iron has been around as long as I am. She gave it to me because she didn’t use it anymore. Want to know something about old curling irons? They start RIPPING your hair out. Little strands were getting caught and yanked out of my head. Ouch. Plus, it took FOREVER to curl my thick head of hair.
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Enter The NuMe curling wand. I purchased the classic 32 MM wand when someone was offering it for a special deal. If you follow that link, you will get $30 off of your purchase. Hot dog! (It’s also a referral link, but I have no idea what my reward is, so consider yourself warned.) It only took a few days for my curling wand to arrive.

It gets super hot quickly (seriously, I burned my thumb pretty badly) and it took the same amount of time as straightening my hair takes. I love that it does big and loose curls. The picture above was after several hours, and with a lot of wind and mommin’ happening. The best part of all? Not a single hair was ripped off of my head! The cord is really long and sturdy, which is great because you don’t have to worry about getting a short in it.
Here is what all came with my curling wand:
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I’m sorry, glove, I will never laugh at you again.
Another bonus, they sent me a coupon for $50 off of any item. That’s a ridiculously good deal! Someone “borrowed” my blow drier over a year ago. Let’s just say that I haven’t seen it since then. I’ve been putting off buying a new one. Now that I live across the country from the thief (ha!) I am guessing it is long gone. I am thinking a blow drier will be coming my way soon.

Leanne Barlow did a really great tutorial on how she uses her NuMe wand. Definitely check it out because her hair is FABULOUS.

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Let me know if you decide to spring for a curling wand! I want to know if you love it as much as I do!!

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encouragement · Uncategorized

Goals Update

How are you doing with your goals? Have you set any?

I set a few more specific goals after writing this post.
-Drink 40 oz of water per day. (Yes, the recommended is much more, but 40 is GOOD for me.)
-exercise 5 times a week; mix up cardio and strength
– healthy meal replacement shake for lunch each day
– No snacking after 8 PM
– eat REAL food

I did really great my first week. I met every goal. Then, I was plagued by the stomach flu. I guess that counts as meeting my goals minus the actual eating and drinking..  I was trying to recover from that and i let it all go down the tubes.
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Water: I have been drinking more water. I bought this 32 ounce mason jar from Hobby Lobby to go with my MBC bamboo lid (you need the wide mouth for this one). If I put away two of these a day, I will surpass my goal. I like a little lime flavor in my water. Some of my other favorites are peach and mint. I cannot stand plain water. Gross.

Exercise: I have been trying to focus more on strengthening my core for now. I haven’t jumped back into running yet. We are still trying to get Scott’s work schedule figured out so that I can know when the best times to go are. It’s easier to have set days and that accountability. But, you need a strong core to avoid injury doing any sport. I doubt I’ll ever see my abs again, but if I can feel them that would be great. 😉 I haven’t done it as often as I planned, but I am getting there. Every journey starts with a single step.. or something like that.

Meal Replacement: The shake I bought ended up not agreeing with me. It was leaving my stomach in severe pain and I felt really hungry until dinner, even blending it with fruit. So, I have a new one that will be coming soon. Until that happens, I am trying to eat light, but filling, lunches.

No snacking after 8: This one is turning out to be tough. On Wednesdays, we leave at 4:30 for church. I pack dinner for the girls, but want to actually sit and enjoy a meal with my husband. We don’t get home until nearly 9, so I have been eating dinner late every Wednesday. I’m thinking we will just get creative with salad instead of loading ourselves down right before bed. On Wednesday’s, we eat salad.

Real food: This one is going well now that we are all able to eat. Healthy foods have always been a passion of mine. I don’t really have a sweet tooth; I struggle with a salt tooth. Is that even a thing? But, if you don’t buy the junk, you won’t eat the junk. It’s not that hard.

I don’t intend for this to be me bragging, because I seriously am not doing so great. I want this to be accountability. If you see me eating something bad, smack it out of my hand. No, not really. I would appreciate some encouragement to exercise. that is the hardest part for me. That first step out the door, or the first plank is the hardest. I just don’t want to. I see the mess around the house and feel like I should be taking care of it instead. I need my girls to see me making my health a priority. I want them to live a healthy lifestyle, too, and that starts with me.

home · Uncategorized

Mini Makeover

Our bedroom has been in need of some serious TLC. When we lived in Michigan, our bedroom was in the basement. We literally only drug ourselves down the stairs when we were ready to go to sleep. It got neglected because we hated the room. Because we have had three babies, our comforter was old, stained, and had holes all over it. There was even permanent marker on it from one of the girls.

I have said for years that I want our bedroom to be a retreat for Scott and I. The rest of the house is covered in toys and kid stuff; we need one space that is all US. Our bedroom is now right off the main living space. We see it more often and it is off-limits to the kids. We decided to give it a mini-makeover. The furniture is still the same. It is beat up from three moves, but it is ours and tells a story.
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I hate that our bed has to be off-center from the window. It drives me nuts! Ahh cramped apartment living. 😉

We finally bought new bedding to make our room a retreat. I love grey. It is a such a calm and relaxing color. I have been eyeing this quilt from Nordstrom’s for MONTHS; maybe longer. It is just a basic dark grey quilt, but the little pom poms around the edge are such a fun detail!  Since the bedroom is OURS, not just mine, I have never wanted to do a super girly theme. This quilt is the perfect blend of masculine and feminine.

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I searched for the perfect pillow shams. I wanted something that was visually interesting since the quilt is grey and our curtains are grey. When I found these at Urban Outfitters, I know they would be a winner.

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The color is not at all what is in the picture online. In fact, it looks nothing like in this picture either. I contacted Urban Outfitters about it. They sent new shams, since I was sent “maize” instead of mustard. I got maize again, so apparently when they say “mustard” on the website, they main “maize”. It’s a dull color, and I am not sure if they are going to stick around. UO gave me a 10% refund, but I still might send them back again. I put them on to see what they look like out of the package. I love the tassels, but I just am not sure.

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I found our throw at Dillard’s on super-clearance. I love this one, but definitely need to learn how to make it on my own. HA! I love that you can put a monogram on this one. I am cheesy, but even after 7+ years of marriage, I love items with our monogram or names on them.

We spent more money than we typically spend on anything for our bedding. However, we wanted to be sure it would last. The comforter that we had before was from Khols and immediately started falling apart. I love quilts like this because you can throw them in the washer and dryer (on delicate) and they will stay strong. Our bedroom finally feels like a space that we want to be in. I think that as parents, we too often neglect our marriage. The kids and their many demands come first, and our spouse gets whatever is left 0ver at the end of the day. I am so grateful to now have a bedroom that I never want to leave. It brings me joy to walk into.

I still would like to purchase some throw pillows to add some more dimension and texture. I just haven’t found any that I like in a low price-range. I really like this one a lot. It would add an extra pop of color(s) and I love the pattern. This is also really beautiful, but unrealistic for us! Could this one from Target be pulled off? I really love it! This would work also. Basically, almost anything MudhutTM would work.

If you find anything, let me know. 😉

**Edit: I am returning the “mustard” shams. I left them sitting there all day to see how I would like them. With the natural light, they are tolerable. Once it’s dark out, they look.. well, they look like a breastfed newborn’s diaper.. gross. If I am spending THAT much money on something, I have to love it 100%. The beauty of free returns! 

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What I’m Reading

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I love to read. I do not make time to read as often as I should. I thought that I would share what books I am currently, and going to start, reading.

1.Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full- Gloria Furman I wrote a little bit about this book on Wednesday. It is a small book, so it should be easy to read. I think that it is too easy to push our relationship with Jesus aside because we get caught up in cleaning, making meals, giving baths, cleaning some more, etc. I love being reminded of what my focus needs to be.

2. Longing for Paris- Sarah Mae I am a huge fan of Sarah Mae. A little over a year ago, I won a huge giveaway that she did right before Christmas. I was SO excited. As soon as this book came available for pre-order, I scooped it up. I have deep longings to still be “Ashley” the person aside from just Ashley the mom. I am still a woman who longs for art and adventure. Too often, I feel that I will only have those longings fulfilled by traveling or when my kids are grown. Adventure can happen right here where I am.
**be on the lookout for a Sarah Mae/Sally Clarkston book giveaway soon! 

3. Brave Mom- Sherry Surratt I received this book when I become the MOPS coordinator at our old church. I haven’t looked to deeply into it, but I love the title. Most of the time, I feel anything but brave.

4. Wheat Belly- William Davis, MD This one is sort of the oddball. I am huge into health and wellness. I TRY to eat REAL food. I try to do things the natural and organic way. Gluten and I do not get along. I do not have celiac disease, but my doctor told me to avoid it since it makes me feel so miserable. I cannot tell you how amazing the difference is when I eat and don’t eat gluten. It takes several weeks for gluten to get out of your body, so it takes a while to notice the true difference.  This books explains the science behind gluten and the effects that it has on your body.
booksLinks are all affiliate links. This post is not sponsored in any way.

What books are you reading right now?

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Worship and Motherhood

A friend from college recently asked me for my address. I wasn’t really sure why, but I gave it to her and didn’t really think much of it. About a week later, a small packaged arrived. It contained a very sweet and encouraging card that came at the perfect time. It also contained this book. I could NOT wait to dig in, but was only one week away from moving and had a to-do list a mile long. I packed it away where I could easily find it once we got to Oklahoma.  I finally pulled it out and started reading.

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“In the daily (and nightly) work of mothering, we’re given dozens of invitations to worship God as he reminds us of the hope we have because of his gospel… The ministry of the Holy Spirit includes bringing our subjective insecurities as mothers in line with the objective reality of our eternal security in Christ. As mothers, we need to train ourselves to focus on the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).”            –Gloria Furman

We are given dozens of invitations to worship. Oh, man. This stopped me in my tracks. But, motherhood is so mundane. Sure, it is full of blessings and joy, but the daily tasks are mundane. I said before that I was feeling weary. Oh, man, have I been weary. I have been questioning if I am even cut out for this stay-at-home mom business. What is God doing with me? Why can’t I have more opportunities to serve Him? I feel like I am doing NOTHING for Him.

Hold it right there, mamas. I know that I am not the only one feeling these things. Look at your children. Really, stop and look. God gave them to YOU. He choose YOU to be their mama. He choose you to lead them and train them and teach them about Him. Those hearts are your responsibility to guide towards Jesus. What better opportunity to serve Him?! We have a great responsibility and gift. We can affect eternity right here at home.

We have every opportunity to worship. I have a pile mountain of laundry on my chair. Praise God, my family has plenty of clothes to wear to keep them warm. I just did a pile of dishes this morning. Praise God, we have FOOD to fill our bellies and dishes to eat them on. I bathed my three little girls this morning. Praise God, we have CLEAN running water. Praise God, I have a functioning coffee maker and plenty of delicious creamer.

It is so easy to get caught up in how mundane and frustrating motherhood can be. I am the guiltiest of all right now. But, it is a gift. It is a beautiful, wonderful gift. That is not to say that every day will be rainbows and sunshine. Many days are difficult. Dig through the difficulty and remind yourself of what a gift God has given to you; to us!

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Uncategorized

Links from the sort-of living

Wow. What a weekend. Saturday started off with me feeling miserable. I didn’t really know why. Then, miserable turned into “I clearly have the stomach flu”. What fun! I was sick all Saturday and went to bed with a way too high fever. Scott ended up getting sick in the night. Sunday was his turn to spend in bed while I attempted to hold the fort down with zero energy or strength.

I am telling you, if anyone else in this house gets this bug again, I may just sell everything and find a new place to live. I don’t know what more I can do. I still feel crummy today from not actually getting to recover. Harper has a slight fever today, and Addison has a terrible cough, so basically I want to cry. I am so worn down.

But, Easter is coming.. I can’t sleep all day like some people, so I have had some time to browse Pinterest and all of the other websites for cute Easter things. Valentine’s Day was a bust, so I am moving on..

My girls would probably love these bunny pajamas. Mostly because they are wearing crowns. 😉

Addison is really into stamps right now, and this could be a lot of fun for all three girls! I also really love this. I am not a huge fan of giving my kids tons of candy. I want to start good habits for them now. They get occasional treats, but too much sugar isn’t good for anyone, and I do mostly non-candy items.

I should also note that we don’t do the Easter bunny. I grew up doing the Easter bunny, Santa, etc. I loved it… holidays were so fun. I just have never felt right about teaching the girls any of it. “Tooth Fairy Mommy” left Chloe two quarters for her front tooth getting kicked out yesterday. (Yes, her sister KICKED her tooth out..) I don’t look down on anyone who does teach their kids about these things. I just know that we have to do what we feel is right for our family. We still make holidays magical and fun. Judge away.. actually, don’t.

Since we are in a MUCH warmer climate this year, our Easter Sunday clothing will be very different. Usually we are finding warm shoes, sweaters, and thick tights with dresses. Our church requests non-chocolate candy for their egg hunt because the chocolate MELTED last year. What?! I am loving these jelly shoes. I remember them from my childhood. I also remember blisters, but maybe they have made leaps and bounds in preventing that?

The recipe for these has disappeared, but they are so adorable!!

How was your Valentine’s Weekend? I hope that you felt very loved!

recommendations · Uncategorized

Blushing

I am OBSESSED with the soft petal-pinks right now.. and forever. They are super subtle and feminine without being bubblegummy. Is that even a word? It is also the perfect color for Valentine’s Day. I am going to dump all of my favorite blush-colored links below so that you can indulge yourself, too.

I got this portfolio envelop at Target several months ago. It is a collaboration done with Blue Sky. If you love planners and cute desk accessories, definitely check them out. I am a paper-and-pen kind of girl. I love to WRITE down my ideas, to-do lists, and thoughts instead of storing them on a computer, tablet, or phone. This fits into my tote  perfectly, and is cute enough to carry on it’s own. I hate when the edges of my notebooks get messed up. That is probably ridiculous and silly, but I am so thankful that I can slide my notebook into something and throw it in my purse.

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I have been dying to find the perfect pink shade of nail polish for years. I wish that I was kidding, but I really have been on the HUNT. Pinky Promise by Sally Hansen delivered my dream. It is the PERFECT color. I love this polish because it does last longer than the usual. You don’t HAVE to use the gel topcoat, but it definitely helps. The dry time on it seems to be longer than usual, just to give you a fair warning.

I have written about my love of Nickel & Suede before. I haven’t bit the bullet and bought anything yet, but am hoping my obnoxious hints to Scott came through. HA! Right now, they have blush colored earrings (on sale!) this month.

This bag from Fawn Design is also stunning. Unfortunately, they have sold out of their blush color. The bags are completely lovely in the other colors available. This Petunia Pickle Bottom bag is borderline bubblegum, but still very cute.

This Pinterest Board also colors all clothing that is blush. It makes me swoon. I love the shape of this jacket. Now that I live in a warmer climate, I need to find a good jacket that will stand the test of time and go with almost anything. This v-neck tee is also pretty perfect.

What colors are you drawn to this season? For fall and winter, I was drawn to all things wine and mustard colored.

*Any Amazon link is an affiliate link. Your cost does not change, but should you decide to purchase an item, I would get a small percentage. All other links are provided for your viewing pleasure only. I do not receive any compensation.

encouragement · relationship · Uncategorized

Ours is my favorite

Scott and I met in 2003 (May 14th to be exact). I had just turned 15 years old. The day I met him was the day that a student in my high school had died in a tragic car accident. I didn’t know Wayne very well, but I was deeply affected by this tragedy. I wanted to be as close to my friends as possible. It was the first time that I realized that I was not invincible. Youth does not cause you to be exempt from death. I went to church with my best friend, Meredith that day. Scott was a part of her youth group. I thought he was cute, obviously. We kept sticking a piece of duct tape to each other. It was silly and dumb, but we were YOUNG..and probably a little stupid. A month later, June 11, 2003, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and I Just keep thinking about this amazing man that I am married to. He puts up with my emotions, which are often all over the place. He loves me unconditionally. He makes me coffee and takes the chip bag from me when I say that I need to stop eating them. He goes out of his way to make me happy. He works so hard every day to take care of our family.

I think that I fall deeper and deeper in love with him every day. He is just incredible. I thought I’d share a small visual history of our nearly 13 years together.

Remember, we met in HIGH SCHOOL, pictures were really low quality, and photo editing was “super cool”. 
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Scott Pullen, I love you more than words are capable of expressing.

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.” 

encouragement · Uncategorized

The first day..

When New Year’s rolled around, I didn’t really set any goals for myself. I had no idea where we would be, what we would be doing, etc. It’s difficult to goal set when your life has been flipped upside-down. Quite honestly, I was feeling completely discouraged and just did not care.

Now, I am feeling a little more settled, so I am thinking about where I want to be by the end of the year. Just because it is not January 1st does not mean that it’s too late to set some goals for the new year. That’s the beauty of a new day, hour, or minute. You can stop. Reset. Start over. It’s never too late.
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One of the main goals that I have been thinking about is my health. I have let it go completely. Heart disease runs in the family.. based on a technicality, it took me down at birth. I have heart disease. I have lived with it every day and only discovered it nearly two years ago. I have a PFO, which means I have a small hole in the upper chambers of my heart. It is really not a big deal, but it is a form of heart disease. Boo. However, I will continue fighting because I refuse to let it win. I also have chronic thyroid disease. At any point, my thyroid could just give out and stop working. Weight will become a problem, along with many other things.

My weight has been on my mind a lot. No, a number on a scale DOES NOT define you. Someone at my weight could be perfectly healthy. I am not. I am 5′ 8″. I weighed 145 shortly before getting pregnant the first time. I wanted to be closer to 135, as that is the ideal weight for my height. I weighed 135 when I got married and it was a weight that felt and looked really healthy for me.

Fast forward to now. I don’t have any muscle mass, because I have let it all go. I now weigh 165 pounds. Yes, I am sharing all of this for the world to see. I am embarrassed by it, but I want to be real. If I was strong, 5′ 8″, and 165 pounds, it wouldn’t bother me. But, I am not. I am unhealthy. I carry most of my weight in my lower half; hips, thighs, love handles, rear end. My “fat pants” have become so tight that I am in extreme pain when wearing them. Two weeks after I had Harper, I weighed in at 165 pounds, just to give you an idea of why this is so discouraging to me; and no I am not pregnant.

All of this boredom to say, it is time to set some goals.

It is time to work out- at least 5 days a week. I am not an early riser, and my evenings with my husband are sacred. So, I will be making use of baby weight. No, really. Harper is my weight. She loves to be around me when I am doing something. So, I used her as a weight. She thought it was hilarious, and I was able to get in a good workout; especially for day one. Once it warms up some more, I will take up running again, but probably on the weekends only. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be my run days. We live in a nice town, and it is nice to know that I won’t feel afraid to go out for a run (slow jog).

Next up: lunch. Scott used to come home for lunch every day, but that won’t be happening anymore. It is too easy for me to skip meals when he is away. Depriving your body is never good. Often, it has the opposite effect and causes your body to store more fat when you DO eat. Not good. I am going to drink HEALTHY meal replacement shakes for lunches. I will get the nutrition my body needs without eating the easy garbage that is terrible for it.

Most importantly, I am going to drink more water. I HATE water. I have been infusing it lately so that I can tolerate it more. I like lime or mint in my water the most, but peach is also really delicious. I literally NEVER used to drink water. So, I am starting off with a realistic goal. I want to start off drinking at least 40 ounces a day. That is huge for me, and my body will thank me.

Around this time last year I was starting a food overhaul and eating the autoimmune protocol because of my health. I lost 18 pounds by eating REAL food, drinking water, and never working out. It can be done. I cannot eat that strict of a diet, as the cost became astronomical. But, the best way to take care of your body is to eat real food, drink water, and be active.

I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be thinner, obviously, but I want to be strong and healthy. I want to feel good about who I am, and knowing that I am doing the best for this temple that God has given me.

Are you keeping your goals for the new year? Have you set any? Now is the time!

**Edit to add: The Dirty Thirty is my favorite quick and effective workout to do at home. No DVDs or fancy equipment needed. Scroll down until you see the image that says “The Dirty Thirty”.

Uncategorized

Stomach Flu and Grass Fires

I had every intention of doing a “home” tour today. I wrestled with doubt about it for a while. We are in an apartment. It is small. We have mis-matched furniture that has been beat up from the move. But, this is my reality. We don’t have a big and beautiful home full of perfectly matching furniture and accessories. We’ve worked hard for what we do have, even though it is all now scratched, dented, and broken. We’ve also been given some furniture, so nothing really matches in our bedroom or the living room. Our home is full of love and laughter (and screams) though, and that is worthy of sharing.

I will give a little tour of our place, but it is still chaos. This past week has felt like a nightmare and dream all at once. We are so excited to finally be here and see what God does. However, we have also had the stomach flu go through 3 out of 5 members of our family. Harper and I are the only ones who avoided it. Saturday, Scott and Chloe were sick all day, so I was pretty much going it alone while caring for Addi and Harper. All while doing 5 million loads of laundry. Don’t you feel bad for me? Kidding. It’s mom life. 😉 Needless to say, I don’t feel anywhere near “done” with unpacking. Hopefully next week I will be ready to show you around. I ended up missing my first Sunday with our new church family. Chloe had a fever Saturday night, so we kept our germs at home to avoid spreading it.

Yesterday, we also had a fire at our complex. None of the buildings were affected, but it freaked me out a lot. We were piling in the van and saw (and heard) power lines sparking, and then two of the lines fell to the ground. Scott got out of the car and called 9-1-1 because lines on the ground is dangerous. He disappeared and I saw people start running and tons of smoke… then small flames that quickly grew into huge flames. I started yelling for Scott because everyone that I could see was running except for him. The flames came really close to the car port and I started getting the girls out of the car so that we would be ready to run if it caught fire. The neighbors appeared with buckets and started dousing the flames.

Scott came moseying around the corner with a grin on his face like nothing happened and I hadn’t been panicked about his well-being. I have never wanted to choke him so much in my life.. There apparently was another fire from the other line that he had been helping to put out. Two fire trucks appeared and a couple of the firemen started joking about how everyone was going to be scrambling to find a TV. It was 30 mins. before kick-off. The fires were all put out and everyone and everything was fine, other than the grass.
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The weather was beautiful. Once we knew everything was fine, we got back in the van and headed for a local park to get some fresh air. That had been our intent all along. We figured that we couldn’t do any harm walking at a park with what was left of our germs.

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We climbed this big tower. Do you see Addi up there?! She climbed up the stairs lightening fast.. Scott is down on the bottom looking up at her telling her to wait right there for him.

Scott and I both hate heights.. a lot! But, we have both determined to push our fears aside for the sake of experience. We don’t want our girls to be afraid because mommy and daddy are. But, we hung on for dear life while up there. ha! The sun was setting and it was just incredible.
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I love it here. It has been a rough first week, but I know that it will be great once we get some rest and more settled. I can’t wait to share more!!