Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What's In A Name?

With lots of discussion and prayer, and with Caleb's blessing I have decided that it's time to jump in with both feet and officially start a cookie (maybe cupcakes too) business. Ever since I became a stay at home mom, I've had an itch to still be able to contribute (however small that contribution may be) financially to our family. Caleb and I have had many discussions on what I could do that wouldn't interrupt our family time and dynamics and would still allow for life to continue mostly as is. Many ideas have been thrown around, and I may look into more ideas once the kids are in school (several years from now), but right now the cookie idea is looking to be a perfect fit. Really, the idea took off before I even knew what hit me.

Over the past year or so I have been playing with recipes and had a lot of fun making and decorating cookies and cupcakes. It started with the ladybug cookies that I made for Ellie and Reagan's 3rd birthday. I simply had fun making them and got lots of compliments on them at the party.
Sorry this picture really isn't great.
These were my first attempts to make decorated sugar cookies and I've gotten much better since. :)
Then, when we were planning Olivia's (my cousin's now wife) wedding shower, my mom didn't want to pay the expensive price tag for cupcakes. I asked my family if they would trust me to do my best and make the cupcakes myself. Again, I just had so much fun searching for recipes and making and decorating the cupcakes.

Then, about a month after that, my mother-in-law asked me if she could hire me to bake sugar cookies for her BIG 60th birthday party. She wanted the same cookies that I made for Ellie's 3rd birthday-except she wanted daisies instead of ladybugs. Of course I was more than happy to do this and told her I would not quote her a price and that she could just pay me whatever she felt comfortable paying me. She was so sweet to support this idea I had been playing with.

After her party, I posted these pictures of the cookies and before I knew it, I had 40 something "likes" on facebook, several very sweet and supportive comments, and someone asking if they could order some cookies for an upcoming party. I was beyond thrilled! It helps to be surrounded by so many loving and encouraging people.

So now here I am a few weeks later and I've decided that maybe God is leading me to jump in and do this thing. I don't know how successful it will be, but it's something I enjoy and every little bit helps.

So, here's where you come in. I need a name for this new adventure/ business of mine. Do you have any ideas? Once I have a name, I'm going to see if my oh so talented sister Jenn will help me design a website and get this thing officially up and running.

Here are some ideas that have already been thrown out. You can vote on any of these, or I would love to hear if you have any new ideas.

Christine's Sweet Treats
How Sweet It Is
Christine's Confections
Cookies and Cakes By Chris
For The Love Of Sugar
Colorado Sugar Creations

You get the idea. Please Help. Thanks all,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Something To Smile About

I figured it was time to lighten things up on this ol' blog of mine. :)Caleb's brother Nate and his wife Amanda are just starting up their own photography business. I'd share their website with you, but I haven't been given permission just yet*. Nate and Amanda spent most of their time during our vacation in San Diego behind their new, beautiful camera. Caleb and I teased them that it was like having the paparazzi around. Ha!

Nate and Amanda are both very artsy and quite talented and I believe they will have a lot of success with their photography. Recently, they sent us their favorites of the photos they took in San Diego. I could not believe how many great smiles they caught of my two sweet babes.

I LOVE these photos (and these faces and smiles). I think Nate and Amanda did a great job at capturing Ellie and Ethan's personalities. I wish I was as carefree, full of life and joy as these two are. I had to share my favorite photos on here. Enjoy!

Can you see how much these two love spending time with their daddy? And vice versa?

Enjoying the hot tub. If you ask Ellie, it was her favorite thing about going on vacation.
An afternoon at Balboa Park and riding the carousel.
This is so Ethan. He always begs to be outside. :)
And last but not least, a day on the beach. These are my FAVORITE!

 Thank you Nate and Amanda! I will cherish these photos for years to come. We wish you the best of luck with your photography business.

*I was just given permission to share Nate and Amanda's photography site. Check them out at TheShalomImaginative.com.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Heavy Heart

My heart feels heavy. For so many reasons. My sister Jenn has a similar post explaining everything, but I wanted to share my thoughts on all that has happened this summer too.Colorado has endured a lot this summer. First there were the fires that seemed to keep popping up and showing no sign of slowing or stopping. Now today, we all woke up to sad and disturbing news that a sick man had open fired on innocent people sitting in a movie theater just watching a movie.

You never forget days like today. I remember where I was when I heard the news of the Columbine shootings when I was in high school. I remember where I was and how I heard about the news of the twin towers on 9-11.

The hard part today was having to try and find words for my very inquisitive 3 year old Ellie as she asked why I was glued to the TV and looking so worried. It was very hard for me when she said "Mommy, you said there are no REAL bad guys!" (she was referring to how I try to take away her fears after watching a movie with a "bad guy"). I hated trying to explain to her that yes, there is some real evil in this world. Of course I explained that God is bigger and that he watches out for and protects us, even in times like this. Still, I hate that I even had to have that conversation with her.
My heart breaks for all of those affected, and we'll be praying for the victims, their families, the emergency personnel and Dr's and nurses.

Then there's the matter of my personal loved ones. Nobody I know personally was affected by the shootings. I'm just referring to some real, hard issues going on with those I love right now. My grandma and her health is a huge heartache right now. My aunt and uncle that know they have very limited time (days or weeks at the most) with my uncle's mom. Close family and friends that have been praying, trying and praying and trying some more to start their families, to hold a baby of their own in their arms. A heartache I know all too well from when we walked our own infertility journey. I hurt for these women in my life. I know I can't say or do anything to make their pain go away. I can only pray for them.

Caleb introduced this song to me years ago. It reminds me of how God holds us even in the midst of asking him where he is. I hope this song brings comfort to anyone that may need it right now. To my loved ones, I hope I can be there for you in any way you may need me.

I keep going back to this bible verse that just happened to be the verse on my calendar at home for the month of July:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you... Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Thank you Lord for your peace. I don't know how I'd make it through this life without the hope we have in you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Time To Grieve and A Time To Dance

I know this post is old news for anyone that follows my sisters on any type of social media. I just had to share my thoughts on all that has happened since the last time I post for my own sake.
July 6th was a tough day. It's my mom's birthday, and we were supposed to celebrate her birthday in some way. Instead, early in the morning I got a call from mom saying that she was headed to the hospital with her siblings because Grandma Nancy had fallen out of her bed overnight. Sure, I was a bit worried, but not at all prepared for the news that would unravel throughout the day.

Grandma had test after test run and each phone call got worse than the one before. First we were told that Grandma had suffered a stroke. Then, it was a series of strokes. Then, we were told that she had suffered a heart attack on top of the strokes. As if all of that wasn't enough to sort out, we got a call from my mom late in the afternoon saying that they had found cancer. After a few more tests the Dr's confirmed that Grandma's cancer was lung cancer and had already spread to her lymph nodes, her spine, and throughout the body. It's stage 4.

This terrible day happened exactly 1 week before my cousin Daniel's wedding. Our family spent all of last week spending as much time at the hospital as possible and trying to help our Aunt (Daniel's mom) with any wedding details.

As if all of this wasn't already hard, Caleb was gone on a trip with his volleyball team. Being a single parent last week kept me busy and distracted, which in a way was nice, but I also felt like I didn't really get to grieve and have a good cry until Caleb came home.

Last week was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. We were heartbroken and grief stricken over Grandma's news, but were also excited for Daniel and Olivia's wedding.

My sister Jenn posted this verse as her fb status right before the wedding;
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die...
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4

It was ironic that we were celebrating, crying, laughing, grieving and dancing all at the same time. The wedding was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and I hope to post more about it soon. At the same time, it was painfully obvious that Grandma was missing. :(

Now that the wedding is over we are back to every day life. We don't know how long we have with Grandma, but I hope to make as many beautiful memories and spend as much time with her as I can. We could use your prayers.

Grandma Nancy and me on my wedding day. July 2005

Friday, July 6, 2012

Our 4th-A Busy, Fun Day!

We had a very fun and very busy 4th of July!

The day started early for what we thought was just a family brunch on my side of the family. It turned out to be a surprise engagement celebration for my cousin Ryan! He had just proposed early in the morning. She said YES and you could see how happy the two of them are. :) We're so thrilled for Ryan and Lorin and you can tell they are absolutely head over heels in love for each other. This engagement happened just 9 days before my cousin Daniel marries the love of his life, Olivia. Holy cow, that's a lot of wedding planning. :) We couldn't be more happy for everyone!

After the engagement celebration, we headed to Caleb's parents. They put on a 4th of July fair at the trailer park where they live and serve the Lord and the people that live there. (I'll need to explain this ministry on here soon). Our kids has an absolute blast! They enjoyed a jump castle and blow up slide, a fishing station, a bowling station, a basketball/ football station, a cupcake walk, and much, much more.

Unfortunately it was extremely HOT (in a few of these photos you can see rosy cheeks on Ellie and Ethan). Due to the heat and the fact that Ethan was desperate for a nap, we only lasted at the fair for about an hour. Still, it was a really fun time.

After the fair we headed home for some nap/ rest time and cleaned our house for guests. Caleb and I decided to host a little get together this year due to the fact that we live in one of the few towns that decided to do fireworks this year. It's been an extremely dry and hot summer already and most of Colorado is at high risk for more fires.

Courtney and Jeremy, my parents, Caleb's parents and our friends Mike and Elissa and their kidsan came over a BBQ. We set out the kiddie pool and the water slide for the kids. You got to love kids, even though they had their swimsuits on earlier, they decided to spend most of the time in the pool after they'd gotten their clothes back on. Oh well, you can see from the pictures they had a ton of fun.
After dinner, we enjoyed some ice cream cones (thanks to these adorable cones that Courtney and Jeremy made) and some popsicles.

When it started getting dark, our friends David and Becky came over. We put Ethan to bed and the rest of us got on the roof of our house to enjoy the fireworks. I had never seen the firework show put on by our small little town before. I have to say, they did a great job! In the end it was a fun, full day and we all slept well that night. :)

This next week is going to be crazy for me since Caleb is out of town with his volleyball team and I'm on my own with the kids preparing for Daniel's wedding. Hopefully the craziness will just make the days that Caleb is gone go by faster.

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July week too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

Once again I find that I have gone far too long in between blog posts. What can I say? It's summer and we've been crazy busy!

First of all, I have to mention that today Caleb and I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary! Yay us!! I won't say that our marriage is perfect. In fact, in some ways this was a growing/ stretching year for us. Adding Ethan to the family brought on some stress (and with that some fighting). However, I can honestly say that I love Caleb more today than I did 7 years ago. He is still my best friend and the person that I tell everything too. I would marry him again in a second! And to be honest, we've had a lot of fun making up for all of those little fights. ;) We are going to our favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot tonight and I can't wait!

This past weekend I had a wonderful time going with my Saturday morning bible study group (and even some more friends and family) to a Beth Moore conference in Colorado Springs. We had a group of about 14 women. Honestly, I hesitated to go this year and I am SO glad I went! It was an amazing time! The conference almost didn't happen due to the fire that was burning in Colorado Springs. Thankfully, the decision was made to still have the conference and God took full advantage of that time. I think many people heard the Holy Spirit through Beth's words.

Of course I had fun enjoying great worship and some girl time, but more than that I was really spiritually refreshed and I heard God speak to me about several things going on in my life.

The overall theme was about finishing the work God has laid out for us. Although the overall theme didn't hit me personally, some of her key points did.

One of the things she talked about was about new beginnings and finishes to certain seasons in our lives. She talked more about the end (or finish) of tough seasons. This really resonated with me. Lately my faith has been a little ho-hum. I'm not struggling on a serious level at all, I just haven't felt God's presence as strongly as I usually do. I've spent countless hours praying for some friends and family that are struggling with various things, and I have yet to see any of these prayers answered. I'm not angry or upset but I have found myself asking God where he is in these situations. This past weekend I really sensed that God was and is near to not only me, but that he's also very much in control of each of these situations I've been praying for. I feel like my season of feeling spiritually dry is over. I also very clearly heard God tell me that these tough seasons for those I love are coming to an end too. Very cool!

Another key point she made was that "You're not completing if you're competing". Ouch! I won't go into too much detail about this because you never know who's reading, but I was seriously convicted on this one! For months I have been subconsciously competing with another believer. God spoke clearly to me on this one and basically told me to cut it out and deal with it. Beth even went a step further and challenged us to not only stop competing with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to cheer them on. This won't always be easy, but I'm going to work on this.

It was a wonderful weekend and I am SO glad I went! Here's a few photos from the weekend that I stole from my friend Becky.

Speaking of growing in my faith, I don't know if I mentioned this on the blog or not yet, but Caleb and I recently left the church that we both grew up in to find a church closer to our home and community. The decision was very bittersweet as we love the church we left very much. We continue to love this church and the people in it.

But, that being said, we are beginning to get attached to our new church and we are loving it! The sermon on Sunday was SO good! I'm excited to see what God has in store for us as a family and also as individuals here.

These next week are going to be fun and full. We have lots of people and places to visit on the 4th, both of our moms celebrate their birthdays this week, and then the countdown will begin for my cousin's wedding. I'm very excited!

Also, we just got some professional photos back from our trip to San Diego. My sister-in-law Amanda has a friend named Andrew Ruiz that is a professional photographer and lives in SD. He did a great job! I can't wait to share more but here's just a few of my favorites:

About Me

My Photo
I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

Husband, Caleb
Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our 1st Miracle

Our 1st Miracle
Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

Our 2nd Miracle

Our 2nd Miracle
Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

Our 3rd Miracle

Our 3rd Miracle
Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.


We fight one day and then the next day we're fine. We're always loud and crazy when we get together. We're very passionate. We've been through it all together, lots of ups and downs. We're eachother's biggest supporters.


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