Saturday, February 14, 2015

january

So I vowed to get back on track with my blogging this year and so far have failed. Such is life, huh?!

Each year I do a family yearbook that includes pictures and short stories of what we did each month of that year. My kids love them, they want to look at it all the time and for me it makes me feel better about never printing pictures as a keepsake for my kids. Instead I print a book for us at home and one for each of them for their memory box to take with them as they move out of our home.

For some reason I've been thinking a lot about that time lately. That time when they will be old enough to move out of our home, continue their education, start their careers, and start their own families. How is that actually possible?! Sometimes it seems like those days will never come because the days can be so slow. And then I think about how quickly it will come, whether we're ready or not.

Each night we pray over our kids. Every night I pray a similar prayer. I always ask the Lord to bless them with kindness and love for others. That they will be patient and find true love. That they will follow their dreams and be whoever and do whatever they want to do. That they will love Jesus. And that God will be with us as we parent through the tough parts.

When I think about those desires and those requests I continually get stuck on one part "God be with us as we parent through the tough parts" I can get somewhat excited about those adult years to come. To think of my kids loving someone else like I love Jimmy, and like I love them is fantastic - of course I want that for them. And I look forward to those years with Jimmy when the stress of jobs, kids, and life clouds our time together is no longer. But when I think about parenting through the tough times, that's hard. It's hard to think of your children being disobedient in bigger ways than not picking up their room. It's hard to think of your children make poor choices. It's hard to think of your children giving into peer pressure. It's hard to think of your children not loving Jesus. It's hard to think of your children having sex or doing drugs. It's hard to think of your children being mean to others. Those things about break my heart. But then I think about God. I think about the difference that it makes for those of us parents that love God and make Jesus a part of our home, a part of our marriage, and a part of how we parent. That's a huge difference, a difference of eternal life or not really.

So when I pray those prayers over my children every night I need to be assured that Jesus hears them. I need to be assured that Jesus is preparing our hearts now for the trials ahead for our children and for us. I need to be assured that He will hold our hands as we navigate through those tough years. God assures us that this life will bring us hard times. So instead of praying for them not to happen I hope that I pray for the strength, guidance, and peace that I can endure them hand and hand with Jesus.

This is the verse we selected when Lily was dedicated and that we have prayed over both of our children every night since:

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, January 5, 2015

its been a long time!

So to say its been a while since I've blogged would be a HUGE understatement :) But this year a goal of mine is to get up to date on my blog and get back to blogging semi regularly! So here goes.....

Since my last post Twirl has been up and running for 8 months and it's been fantastic! It's been challenging of course as I've navigating through all the ins and outs of owning a business and learning lots along the way. I'm continual amazed that every time I think it's not going to be that good of a month or sales haven't been great we have a fantastic day or online sales pick up - it reminds me that God is good and faithful and that His hand is in this business. We have big goals for 2015 and hope that we continue to meet and serve new women along the way!

At home our kiddos are just growing and changing. I'm amazed at how fast Preston has grown into a toddler and it makes me really sad lots of times. We are praying for a third child and I trust that God will provide that in the right time but my heart longs for another baby to love and sometimes that makes having Preston grow so quickly even harder. Lily is in preschool and absolutely loves it - she has made new friends, learned how to write her name, learned new numbers and letters, and become quite the little artist. She still loves to sing and dance and put on a show for any and everyone that's willing to watch! She's also in dance this year at National Dance Academy where she goes once a week and her class is half tap, half ballet. She loves it and the small class has really allowed her to learn lots - it's so fun to watch her! As for Preston he is at home with me all the time and he is a ball of energy. He makes us laugh every single day and has the biggest smile of any 2 year old you've ever seen. He's definitely entered the terrible 2's and has begun to test our limits a little more each day. He loves all things boy - trucks, tractors, trains, books, wrestling, tackling, basketball and football - oh the fun!

Jimmy and I are going on a kid free trip to the Bahamas in just a few weeks and are definitely looking forward to that time alone, and warmer weather. We are looking forward to another year, a fresh start, and have some new "goals" that go along with that. So as a start to this year I thought I'd document our goals once again since it is a tradition of ours.

Family Goals

  • Be an active family
  • Spend one on one time with each of our kids by taking them on special outings at least every other month.
  • Take a trip to Colorado at least once this year
  • Take a family camping trip this summer
  • Take 2 kid free weekend trips away this year
  • Become involved in the church we choose
My Goals
  • Focus on me this year - fitness and weight loss
  • Grow my business by 25% this year
  • Be more intentional during my time at home with the kids
  • Give Jimmy uninterrupted time every day
  • Date Jimmy intentionally - meaning at least twice a month we have a date night with good meaningful conversation, figure out how I can better serve him, and grow spiritually with him this year.
So that's how we're starting the year this year. I feel like the underlying goal to everything I want to focus on and improve this year is intentional. I want to be more intentional in the relationships I'm in - my marriage, as a mom, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend. The relationships I have at this point in my life are meaningful and important to me and that takes time and investment. I know I can't be perfect but I know I can be better, and I know that with God's help and faithfulness I will grow this year, and I hope you do too!

Monday, May 19, 2014

twirl

Doing a little catch up this week and realized I hadn't written about Twirl since our first open house and the "official" announcement of that venue. Well a lot has changed since then!

We now have a store front on Main St in my hometown and my heart is overflowing with gratitude, joy & thankfulness! I literally can not believe I am a business owner and that my dream of owning my own boutique is actually my reality!

A little background - my mom and I started Twirl as a business that we were going to use to sell via open houses and Facebook. We'd been talking about our own store for a long time and finally felt some doors were opened for us to do this. Shortly after that we had the opportunity at a fantastic retail space and decided to go for! This was of course after in depth number crunching, endless conversations with husbands, and lots and lots of prayers.

So here we are - we officially opened on May 1st and haven't looked back since. We have literally been blown away by the welcoming we've received from downtown, from friends that have stopped in, from friends that haven't yet had a chance to stop in but have assured us they've been praying, from our families endless support and encouragement, and for the new friends we've made that have stopped in the last few weeks! We continue to hear positive comments from those that come to shop and we are so so encouraged by that.

We feel such a strong sense of belonging and purpose through this adventure and I know in my heart that it's exactly what I needed in my life! I feel like I am challenging myself, learning so many new things, loving my time with my kids now more than ever, and so appreciative of my mom and her willingness to learn and take this on when she could have just stayed in a job for a few more years before retirement. 

Logisitically things are coming together as well - we have hired a summer nanny that will come to our house just twice a week, which will allow me an office day at home in Ankeny and a working day at the store. We have hired a few additional women to work at the store which will free up mom and I's Saturdays as well. My hope for Saturday's is that it will be 1-2 a month once we get going a little more - allowing me to maintain that time with my precious family. 

So yes things are good with the business. I feel like it's slowing down a bit from all the start up craziness and we're getting into a routine of ordering, buying, responsibilities, budgeting, and all that fun stuff!

So to those that have been praying - thank you! God is good and God is faithful! I have seen Him work so clearly in my life a handful of times and this is definitely another one of those times. I know that He will bless us for being people that aren't afraid to share our hearts, conduct our business in a way that's honoring to Him, and constantly look for opportunities to help others.

our very first piece of inventory

loading the car for the first time

our last open house

Add caption

painting day at the store

chicago ikea run

chicago

the fashion show at our first market!


putting together mannequins


our exterior sign going up!


inside the store








back room

display window

Friday, May 16, 2014

lily is 3!

My gracious it has been a long time since I've actually had time to sit down and write about what's been going on with us. We've been BUSY!n Good busy but just busy and life just continues to pass us by.

But before I write a few posts catching up on other things I need to reflect on my sweet little girl's 3rd birthday! On the 10th of this month our little Lily May turned 3! While sometimes that's hard to believe, most times she seems older to me, and it seems she's been in our lives forever! She really is such a joyful little girl that has changed my heart in so many different ways.

We celebrated this year a little differently than the big parties I enjoy throwing at home. Since her birthday was on Saturday and we just had opened Twirl the week before, we decided to do a family only party in Cedar Falls at the dreaded Chuck E Cheese. I really wasn't looking forward to it but knew it was the best decision this year with everything else going on. None the less, it was great!

We spent some one-on-one time with Lily that morning/afternoon by taking her out for breakfast together, then Lily and I went to the nail salon and she had her fingers and toe nails painted for the very first time (at a salon)!, then Jimmy took the kiddos back to Grandma and Grandpa Grovers for the afternoon before her party at Chuck E Cheese.

We invited grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to join us for dinner and fun at Chuck E Cheese that night and they had a blast! The kids never stopped running and giggling - it was so cute! Lily even got into the ticket blaster machine - which I couldn't believe. We had a Doc McStuffins theme this year because that's one of Lily's favorite cartoons. So we had a Doc McStuffins cake, name cards, and party bags and it turned out great.

For her birthday Lily got tons of dress up dresses and accessories and she is obsessed! Literally every morning she puts on a different outfit and enjoys it so much. We got her a trunk for her dress up things, some dress up accessories, her own little make up kit, and some Doc McStuffins stuff as well.

Lily has grown so much this past year. She is such a smart little girl knowing her ABCs, her colors, most her shapes, how to spell her name, how to dress herself, and how to count to 20! She loves to play dress up, watch cartoons, color, dance to music, and sing lots of songs she knows as well as ones she makes up :) Her favorite foods are green beans, broccoli, chicken, chicken nuggets, pizza, and cookies! She loves to play with Preston and is such a sweet and kind big sister.

When I say she changed my life I really do mean that. She has taught me more than she will ever know (until she has her own kids someday). My love for her is immeasurable and she is adored by so many!

Our prayer for her every night is that she would continue to grow strong and healthy, that she would be kind to others, that she would learn to love Jesus for her own someday, and that she will always know how much her mommy, daddy and Jesus love her!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made my sweet angel - happy 3rd birthday Lily May!


trying out her new makeup

some of the ladies at the party

all her chuck e cheese gear on

in the ticket blaster


blowing out her candles

happy birthday my sweet girl!



Friday, March 21, 2014

18 months

Just a week or so ago our little guy turned 18 months. He is officially a toddler, no longer a baby, but still in so many ways seems like my baby. 

He is challenging and sweet, tender hearted yet sassy, aggressive yet timid, and so many other things. He officially walked at 14 months but now he runs all over the place doing his very best to keep up with his big sister. They really have turned into quite the playmates and it just melts my heart to see them interact in that way. 

He has almost all his teeth including the one year molars, and just waiting on a few more in the front to pop through. He'd been an awesome teether until these last few, we didn't even know when he was teething before but now you can definitely tell!

This for me is always such a hard age of them not really being able to tell you what they want but becoming frustrated so they whine, which makes you get irritated and less patient, and then frustrated, and so it goes. But overall Preston's communication skills are doing great. He knows most all animals and their sounds, he knows and point out most parts of his body (or yours!), he definitely knows the difference and verbalizes the difference between yes and no, he knows most all the member of our family that he sees on a semi-regular basis, and so much more. He just recently began forming 2 word sentences and repeating everything we say - fun fun!

He loves to wrestle and roll around on the floor with daddy when he gets home from work, crawling on my lap to snuggle with a book he's brought me, play Emo games on the iPad, and sing along with a few songs he now knows when I sing to him. 

He really is just such a light to my heart and to our family. There are so many days when things are challenging and all I need is a little squeeze or a slobbery kiss all over my face from him to know that things are really great. This little boy has my heart in a special special way and I just know that he will do great things in his life.

Happy 18 months my adored little buddy!

Here's some pictures from the last 6 months:








video

And of course a little video of him signing with me that just melts my heart - excuse the annoying singing of myself :)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

life lately

Seems blogging has been on the back burner lately as our life is just easy and good. We're actually enjoying these cold days indoors, quiet mornings reading books, drawing on the easel, painting, playing with play dough, dancing to loud music, and making food color potions. Our routine often leaves our kiddos in their PJs until noon, which seems to be just fine with them :)

I am working on getting myself up hours before them to get my workouts in, get laundry started, start my day with devotion, and that seems to just give things a better start in our home. When I have some time to myself first thing opposed to be awaken by a crying toddler or one pulling on my arm at the side of the bed, things are just better. And it seems I'm finally getting that, you know, it just took 12 months or so!

I find myself looking for pre preschool learning activities to fill my one-on-one time with Lily while Preston takes his morning nap, and I'm amazed at the things she knows. Of course I'm particle to thinking my child is a genius but seriously - she knows a lot for a 2 year old! Things like spelling and writing her name, her ABCs, counting to 20, all her colors and most of her shapes - I think she got her daddy's brains! It's unreal to think she's old enough to start preschool this fall, that's still a conversation in our house as to whether or not she's going but that she could is crazy! She loves loves music, dancing, and singing - oh my child, she is a free spirit!

And then there's Preston, be still my heart, seriously. That boy just does something special to this mama's heart. He is pure joy. He literally smiles and it tugs my heart, every time. His sweet little giggles and gentle hugs make me so sad that he's growing so fast! He's learning lots of words, he's starting to play alone with Lily, he carries his blankies everywhere, and he will eat whenever you're offering! He still naps twice a day and is so easy to lay down - he literally walks into his room with a paci and blankie when I tell him it's nap time - Lily was never that easy to get to sleep!

And then there's me. I love my days with these sweet kiddos. They are fun to be with, of course stressful at times but lots of fun, for the most part. I am cautious of the time I spend with them because I hear so many friends that are in that next stage, school age, that tell me how fast it really goes! So I try really hard to leave my phone where I'm not so I'm not tempted to check it all the time, turn the TV off for the majority of the time they're awake, and get on the floor and play with my kids. And then during their nap time I work like a chicken with its head cut off - switching laundry, prepping for dinner, making grocery and to-do lists, and doing things for Twirl!

I have mastered optimizing that 1-2 hours of alone time during the afternoon, that's for sure! And now of course my oldest seems to be phasing out of her naps - ugh! But honestly nap time for me is busy and it's when I get most of my work done. I love sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee and working on my to-do list for a new business! Twirl has been a God send for me and I am so thankful for the opportunity to do it and work with my mom at the same time. It's absolutely fulfilling a dream for me and offering me something to challenge my mind and utilize so many of my skills, I am loving it!

And lastly there's Jimmy. His work has not slowed down much but he seems to be prioritizing differently. This past year was a hard one for us so we made some decisions to do things differently this next year. He's consistently been coming home earlier and communicating with me about when he is leaving or when he may be a little late. We are ending each night together instead of doing our own thing, no matter if we go to bed at the same time or not we are spending time in prayer at the end of the day and I can already tell the difference. He is my #1 and I'm learning how to put him before my kids, and sometimes that's hard for mom's. But he's there, he will always be there, and he's the man that loves loves loves me no matter what.

So my heart is full. My marriage is in a fantastic place with hopes for our best year yet! My kiddos are healthy, happy, and fun! I have a business that is growing and finally figuring out how to have some time to myself, yet enjoying being with my kids every day! Times aren't always like this and that's why I wanted to write a reflection of where I'm at for now. Life and health is a blessing and I am really realizing that it's all about how you look at things or how you choose to change that really reflects the life you will live.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

its a new year

I love this time every year. A refreshed outlook on life as one year comes to a close and another new year trails in behind it. Blame it on my corporate work experience but I've always been one that believes in goals. For me its a tangible way to see something, do it, and feel good about accomplishing it. So ever since Jimmy and I have been together we take some time during this week to document our goals for the year. These goals have evolved and changed from our time of singleness to newly married, to new parents, and now a young family.  We create family goals, marriage goals, and individual goals. And this year business goals were added to my list - wahoo!

Now I know that the gyms are bombarded with extra people, the health section of the grocery store is completed wiped out, more people begin each day in prayer, and more families vow to end each day around the dining room table for dinner instead of the living room. And sadly for most this lasts just a few weeks or months, and then things begin to fizzle and we resort back to old habits. But I'd argue that setting goals as a family and posting them in a place that is seen daily offers that extra reminder, and incentive to stay on track. I type out our goals and hang them inside our pantry door, a place that is opened and closed several times a day and seen by everyone. Now granted 2 of the 4 members of our family can't read yet but luckily the 2 that can are the ones that make changes happen anyways :)

So I'd challenge you to really spend some time reflecting on this past year - what was good, what was not so good, what was a struggle, what was a triumph? I make our next year's family calendar during this week as well and I love looking back through all the pictures from the year. It's crazy how quickly you can forget about a little trip you took, or a special day at home together that was just fun, or how quickly your kids change in just a years time! When I reflected on this year it honestly was a year or struggle for me. I felt discontent during the first part of the year having moved to a new place, left my job in the corporate world to stay home full time, had another baby, ate when I was bored, worked out less than ever, felt lonely because my husband worked long hours, bought too many new things, and the list goes on and on. But when I began to look at that list and feel pity I thought about the year differently. I thought about the new business my mom and I started, I thought about all the milestones my son has achieved in the first full year of his life, I thought about the incredible blessing it is to be the one seeing my children's daily lives, and I was quickly reminded that God's blessings always always outweigh the hardships. That life is completely about the attitude you take and so for me this year is going to be a year of change. A change in perspective, attitude, forgiveness, grace, and growth and I can't wait! Cheers to 2014!

Here's some of our family goals and my goals for the year:

  • End each day in prayer together.
  • Spend more one on one time with each of the kids by taking one child on a special outing, dinner, lunch, etc. each month.
  • Take away the pacifiers.
  • Be an active family.
  • Enjoy our time as a family in the evenings more by not using our phones or iPad during the time between dinner and the kids bedtime.
  • Have a kid free weekend away.
  • Take 2-3 family weekend getaways.
  • Take a family vacation with the Davis family.
  • Volunteer in the church nursery at least twice.

Jenna
  • Show Jimmy more grace on days when he has to stay late at the office, make home be the place he wants to come home to and me the person he wants to be around most.
  • Take a 30th birthday trip with girls.
  • Strive to achieve weight loss and fitness goals.
  • Focus on my marriage relationship goals to make this the best year of our marriage.
  • Start each day with devotion and prayer.