Wednesday, October 28, 2015

As You Grow, Who Will You Be?

Do you know that feeling when your husband or significant other says or does something so awesome that it just blows you away? I feel that way a lot with my husband. God gave me someone that I know He was joyful about creating. Joseph really seeks the heart of God. And God is always faithful to pour into him. The thoughts he shared have had me thinking...
We are going to be first time parents in just four short months. I have a freak out about it once every few weeks. We are beyond excited but one small move and I am tripping out about how much I just do not know about being a good parent. We are at the point where we are devouring any and all information (okay, mainly me on birthing--eeek). But, above all the great and not so great parenting advice, there is God. Our Daddy God seated on the throne forever. And He knows it all. Even the little things and He knows the best way for Joe and I to parent and love our little girl and all of her future siblings to come.
A few nights ago, we were talking about our baby and parenting and God and everything in between. Joe was talking about how he often thinks and prays about who our girl will grow up to be. He was saying how he desires for her to be a woman who seeks God, who loves God truly, and who follows Him. We so want that. And then he went on to say when he was praying about all of this to God, he felt like God was saying,
"what kind of father would that woman of God have to have?"
 How awesome is that! I love when God really speaks to us. Straight to our hearts. So I think about that for myself. What kind of mom & dad would a baby who will one day be a little girl who will one day be a vulnerable teenager who will one day be a grown woman need to have in her life for her to be such a woman of God? Of course, not all the pressure is on us as parents because ultimately God is God and we can trust that. But, I really believe that God was wanting Joe and I to think about our own hearts. How are we seeking Him? How are we loving Him? How are we actively seeking the lost and loving the broken? What is our character like?
I am so much like my mom. She is hilarious and kind and gentle and selfless. Although I'm sure I have a ways to go in the selflessness department, I really believe that if she had been any different than who she is as a mom and a woman of God, then I wouldn't be the same Katie. I can see reflections of Joe's parents in him as well.. full of life and joy. Who we grow up around and who raises us really does have a lasting effect on who we are. What if our children were surrounded by Jesus-in-us?
What would happen if every single day as a parent, I seek the face of God. I yearn for Him. I sing His praises. I rely on Him to be my strength. I repent in front of my kids and ask for their forgiveness when I mess up. What would happen if I put my husband first, in front of my own children? What if I took seriously loving my neighbor and did everything in my power to serve those around me? What if I really followed Jesus into the hard places? Among the mess (because until heaven, there will always be mess), what if my life was characterized by how much I just loved Jesus Christ, my Savior?
What kind of children would I have?
I really believe that my own heart and the hearts of my children would look a little more like our Lord's heart. And that is what we desire.
I may not know the tricks of the trade when it comes to parenting, but if I know one thing about parenting my entire life, I know this...
When I put my entire trust and surrendered life in my Father's hands, I am putting my children there also. And He knows who they will be. And He desires for them to be His. God gave us a little girl whose hand we are appointed to hold and lead towards Jesus. In order to lead our children to Him, we must be following Jesus ourselves. The road is narrow and sparse. That road will have heartache and mess ups, and hurts and joys and triumph and pain, but no matter how we fail or do right as parents, that narrow road leads to Jesus. That's all we have to do as parents... Grab their hand and walk with them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Five Ways to Restore Your R+R


Some days are just more stressful than others. But if I am intentional about my actions, even those bad days can end up to be great ones. Here are a few ways I like to restore my rest + relaxation. Enjoy and Happy Fall y'all!
1. Start Your Morning Off Right // Instead of turning to social media or checking emails while you're still in bed (which I am so guilty of), thank God for the day and ask Him to guide your steps so that the day will not be wasted. Pour  yourself a mug full of hot mint tea or a nice cup of coffee. Spend some time in prayer and thanksgiving. Read a Psalm or two. Turn on Pandora. Go for a walk. All of these simple things make my morning special and end up turning my day into a great one all because of my perspective.
2. Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa // Sometimes, I like to shut the bathroom door and turn on the shower for a minute before getting in. It turns my bathroom into a sauna and really helps my muscles relax. I love lighting a candle 30 minutes before as well. If you're a bath kind of gal, throw 5-10 green tea bags into your hot bath water. It'll detox your body and I think it smells great!  Lately, I've been battling a cold and this always helps to clear out my head. I love listening to worship music while I get ready for the day. It helps me stay focused on Him, which in return keeps me in peace and joy.
3. Breath Out the Stress // Some days, I can get overwhelmed quickly. Whether you're a student, have a job, or are a stay at home mom, circumstances really try to steal your joy making it hard to be relaxed and happy during the day. But you don't have to let your circumstances effect your mood! It's definitely possible to stay at peace. I know that I can't do it on my own so in those tense or frustrating moments, I simply go to God. After going to God, it helps me calm down, knowing that He is in control and He is taking care of me. It's nice to sit down for a minute and turn your attention to someone else. Write a letter to your friend in another state, call your family, text that friend who is going through something, tell your husband how much you love him, hug your child... all of these things help so much!
4. Unplug for the Evening // In a culture where we have everything at our fingertips, it's nice to just put it all away for an evening or two. Putting away phones, laptops, tablets, television, and other things that get in the way of our most important relationships can do so much good for our minds and our souls. Getting out in God's nature is so vital for me. It really clears my mind and helps me to be grateful for what this life is really all about. Sometimes the simple life is the stress-less life.
5. Smell the Flowers // As you're brushing your teeth and getting ready for bed, try a new facial out. I love mixing honey and brown sugar as a sweet treat for my face. After crawling into bed, dab some lavender oil on your pillow and on the bottoms of your feet. This will help you sleep oh so good. I used to do it every night for a year before getting pregnant. I slept deeper and woke up more refreshed!
Do you have any secrets for your own R&R? I would love to hear them!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Christmas {Card} Countdown!
I adore Christmas. For us, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. It's the time of the year that we get to see all of our huge family spread over the state. It's just magical. I love advent and all things glorifying & remembering the newborn King that came to save two thousand years ago and still reigns King over all today. So for me, it's never too early to start thinking Christmas. I already want to put the tree up + last night, we watched Elf!
Christmas card shopping always gets me into the holiday spirit. I could have chosen 100 cards from but I decided on five of my favorites to showcase. I am definitely getting cards out next year since we will have a +1 in our family! But I also think it would be fun to send out a photo of the last year of just us too! What do you think? I think the last two are my favorite!

Is Christmas card sending a tradition in your family?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Baby Bump at the Beach!

Last week, my hubby and I spent a lovely long seven days with my family and some of his family in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. I'm still trying to get used to this 40-50 degree Tennessee weather. It was a perfect 80 degrees all week, the sand was cool and white, and dolphins welcomed us each morning and every afternoon from our balcony.
 It was a perfect vacation.
Of course, I brought my camera! We updated our family photos the last night we were there (which I will share later on) and one evening, we even snapped some impromptu bump photos that turned out both equally amazing and hilarious. You will see below ;) Being a photographer, I keep my "baby" with me at all times and I cannot wait to capture our real baby's big and little moments once February comes. But until then, bump photos for days!

(I reserve all rights to this photos)
Do you vacation with your family? Is it as fun as it was for us?
dress // h&m $15
necklace // forever21 $7 
background weirdos // family, priceless

Friday, October 9, 2015

A joyful home // one room challenge!

I wrote earlier in the week about how I am preparing to declutter and organize my home once and for all before baby enters the world. We have many projects that we cannot wait to start on and get done but it can be so overwhelming! I found out through Elise's blog that there is a One Room Challenge going on this fall! I knew I had to jump right in!
I'm starting with our office, which is the WORST room in the house by a long shot. It will eventually be the baby's room come February so we have a task on our hands. The office is our "catch all" room. Every piece of our camping equipment is in this tiny room along with two side tables, a huge desk, a book shelf, and all of my books, papers, and camera equipment. It's one of two rooms that don't get used often (the other being the guest room which is clean as a whistle).
It's scary, y'all. But for the sake of motivation and seeing an awesome change, here are the BEFORE photos: 
And this is how we want it to look in less than 5 months:
If it's a boy...
If it's a girl...

We can't wait to get this room in order + reveal baby's nursery soon! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gender Reveal Party Inspiration

We are planning our gender reveal for the end of this month! Our theme is a mix of fall/bonfire/pumpkin/outdoor. We're going to have pumpkin treats + candied apples. And then will go outside for the reveal (blue or pink smoke bombs!) as we enjoy some s'mores around the fire.. a fall dream come true!  I can't wait! I am finding tons of inspiration and ideas on Pinterest and I thought I would share some of my favorite things!
What are your gender reveal party ideas? How would you reveal?


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pregnancy Update // 20 Weeks!


Week 16-20

How far along: almost 20 weeks! as of today, I'm 19w3d

Size of Baby: banana! baby is 9 oz as of today! Heartbeat was 144 :)

 (I am becoming the queen of bathroom preggo selfies)

Symptoms: I have fully recovered from my virus and dehydration spell. I have a slight cough but no more throwing up! I am going to start weaning myself off of my nausea medicine soon!

Hubby: So excited and so happy! He is the most supportive husband and dad ever! We have loved spending time together lately talking about our sweet little cutie pie.

Total weight gain: I'm still stuck at -2 lbs. But doctor says it's okay as long as baby continues to grow which baby has been doing great at that praise God! I was worried since I have been sick the entire time. But He is the Great Physician!!!!!

Maternity clothes: 2 tanks + a bellaband. I can't fit into any of my jeans and my sleep shirts are too tight so it's Joe's shirts from now on.. yay!

Stretch marks: None on my stomach yet!!

Sleep: horrible! I get up to pee at least 5 times a night now and am always tossing and turning.

Best moment of this week: Seeing our baby this morning! It was an amazing surreal moment. We were both estatic. Joe and I held hands while we watched our little baby with it's long legs and arms enjoy being cozy. I think baby K has my nose, hehe :) Baby was sucking it's thumb the entire time which I thought was just the sweetest thing ever. I couldn't stop yipping for joy!


Miss anything: Not much just being able to bend down without it hurting, haha.

Movement: Definitely at night and in the mornings now! :)
Food cravings: Still anything salty or savory. I'm always wanting spaghettios!!!! I still don't crave any sweets which makes me think boy if those old wives tales are true.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Strong odors still make me a little queasy but not as bad. :)

Have you started to show yet: Yes, I feel like it's just one big basketball! Although in this outfit, you can't even tell!

(another church bathroom selfie, insert laugh cry face)

Gender: ;) we will announce after the gender reveal! But EVERYONE says boy! Who knows!!

Happy or moody most of the time: I have been super happy almost 24/7. I thought I was going to cry a few days ago in some store, I can't remember, but I held it together, haha. I'm so chill and relaxed which is not normal. And I'm always singing. happy, happy!

Looking forward to: GENDER REVEAL PARTY in two weeks!


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Joyful Home // The Beginnings
This month, I have loved learning new ways to free my home of clutter once and for all. I hate clutter. It honestly stresses me out. But sometimes, I never know where to start when it comes to organizing and cleaning my home! We live in a 1,600+ sq. ft. home with three bedrooms and an open living space. Overall, I wouldn't say that my home is overly cluttered but it definitely does get cluttered during the week. My hubby and I have been looking at homes with more space and more acreage for the future since our family will be expanding in February. I realized that I'm just not content with our home. But I want to be. Oh, I'm so thankful for it. It's a wonderful home in a perfect little neighborhood. But I've lived in the mindset for two years that "we may move out so I'm not going to put 100% of my time and energy into making our house a home completely."  I hate that that has been my mindset on and off since we have lived here. I desire to be content, at peace, and joyful about my home. It's such a blessing and I don't want to take it for granted! And lately, I have changed my "temporary living" attitude.
 I want our home to be cozy, welcoming, not stressful to my husband and I, and a place of relaxation before the baby comes. I want a truly joyful home. We have so far to go. We still have no furniture in our bedroom besides a broken goodwill bachelor-pad dresser. I have a few photos on the wall but it's not finished. We need more storage and need to get rid of less crap that we don't use. I want both our wardrobes to spark joy and be small enough to find something we love to wear quickly and easily. I don't need 15 tank tops and Lord knows I can't fit into my jeans at this season in life. Our kitchen isn't that big so storage in this room is definitely limited. Ideally, I would love a coffee bar but I am too lazy to create one. I want to redecorate our guest bathroom. These are just a few things I want to accomplish before we add another live to this home. I am decided to document the process on this blog! I think it will be a fun motivator to get our home in the shape we want and love.
So far, I have read a bit of the "magic book", The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In it, Marie Kondo shares her AWESOME secrets of creating clutter-free joyful spaces. She is a genius, y'all. I follow her on Facebook and am also a part of an awesome group through Facebook called "minimalism + motherhood". They're super helpful when it comes to the journey of creating a home you love that is clean and clutter-free. It's fun!
First, we are going to go through each room and tidy up. (Right now we are working on the garage.) Then, I'm going to deep clean and purge each room, getting rid of everything we don't need, haven't used lately, or have multiples of. When I'm finished, I hope to go into each room and breath a sigh of relief instead of stress like I do now. One thing that I love in the book is she says to keep anything that sparks joy. This helps get rid of things that "I may use one day". I can't remember if it was in the book or not, but someone said that "one day" means never so get rid of it. I love that!
I can not wait to declutter my life once and for all and hopefully share some tips and tricks of what I'm learning along the way!
Remember to like + follow Hot Tea and the Empty Seat on Facebook for some embarrassing before photos + some exciting after photos of our de-cluttering adventure!