Memphis, are you ready for us?

Let me start this long lost blog post with the fact that I have been in such a weird season with the Lord. Not bad, not hard, just weird. If I had to use a word to summerize where I’ve been, it’s just plain and simple “apathetic” I guess. Whenever you’re going through something difficult (early stages of marriage, financial insecurities, those first few months of being a new parent) it’s easy to be hardcore seeking the Lord. When things are just normal, and honestly so great, it’s different. Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly praising the Lord and taking things to Him and aware of His presence, it’s just been a weird little season and different than any other one I’ve found myself in before.

This past weekend, we were in Memphis. And I prayed beforehand that He would use our time there to refuel us and draw us closer to Himself. And he did. And it was sweet. We went to THE coolest wedding I’ve ever attended. I was surrounded by such a variety of God’s beautifully created people, we ate delicious food unlike any that I’ve had before, and we worshiped in a language I couldn’t even begin to repeat if I tried. I sat in a service where a room full of young and old people all heard the Gospel preached and applied to us in the most tangible way I personally know– the ceremony of marriage. My sisters watched Judson, which meant Josh and I both (at the same time!!!) were able to actually talk with other adults. We had sweet, encouraging, biblical conversations without our attention being halfway on a toddler running around trying to knock down the wedding cake. Side note, the weekend before we went to a wedding which was fancy and wonderful with said toddler and he tried all night long to attack the 6 tiered cake.

The entire weekend reminded us why we love Memphis so much. It reminded us how much we love the city, the people there, and of course the BBQ. At the same time, it made us sad and long to rush through this last little season of being in Lexington because we are just so dang ready to be back. Let me add for my Lexington friends, I’m not hating. Lex is great, it’s just not for us. The Lord has provided us an awesome church, new sweet friends, and even a really wonderful Chinese restaurant that’s better than any of the ones I went to in Memphis. But it doesn’t lessen our desire for our move back home. 

Of course, we had endless conversations this weekend over our plans for this upcoming season. Baby’s due in April and then we head to the beach in May for 3 months, oh yes I’m flying with two babies. Lounge for 3 months while Josh is on clinical and hit up Disney world a few weekends, oh yes I know it is so awesome. Well yeah, we are really unsure of what it looks like after that. Josh graduates in August and then has two weird months before his boards in Nov. where he needs to study and work some but he’ll only have a temp license which doesn’t work in TN. Living arrangements? Yeah who knows. Well, we want to buy a house but we have to wait until he passes his boards so we don’t know how long we’ll rent for or how any of it’ll work out. Or if we need to keep our townhouse in Lexington or just do storage in Memphis. Ohh no we don’t want to live with our parents for that long. Yeah my sister would let with us stay with her too but that’s a lot on her and us. Yada yada yada. The details were unknown yet we were doing our best to piece them together. 

Let me back up though because this isn’t a conversation we haven’t already had a hundred times. So we have known from day 1 that we are about to walk into some craziness. We knew a year ago whenever we picked the beach for Josh’s last clincal that it came with the risk of us getting pregnant. We have known that we didn’t want to live in Lexington after graduation so at some point we’d be making a pretty big move. We just didn’t know how anything would play out. Somehow, from the beginning, we have been praying the Lord would fill us with peace as we see His provision in it all. Josh is the world’s biggest planner while I am “faith based” often to a fault. He needs to write all it out with bullet points and I’m just in the background chanting “ohhh the Lord always works it out, just wait and let’s see how” evoking panic and stress in my poor husband. Ladies, this is not loving your man well. This is not encouraging him in how he’s created. But somewhere in there, we usually find a happy medium. 

Anywho, praise be to Jesus that he filled our mouths with these words, but our prayer every single night has been us begging the Lord to work out the details AND to show us His hand in what he’s doing at the same time. We have constantly surrendered it all to Him while simultaneously asking Him to allow us vision into His plan so that we are able to see how he’s working it out for His glory– no matter what it is that he’s doing. How sweet would it be for us, during a season of such unknown and insecurities, to be able to whole heartedly walk hand in hand with Him. Seems crazy right?

Flashback to our Memphis weekend. It’s done, we’re driving back, and Judson’s snoozing so we are chatting about how fun it all was and how ready we are to be back. We’re dreaming of the dinner parties, the friendships, the small groups. Just gotta have this baby, relax at the beach for a few months, graduate, and by then all the details will have fallen into place and somehow we will have ended up back down south. We don’t know much, but that much we “knew.” Right. 

Then we get a message saying that our free housing for the summer at the beach is no longer available for us. Well crap. Y’all know we are ballin on a budget and can’t afford double rent. The only way we were able to take this clinical was because we had free housing. Of course we were confused and disappointed and started to get a little bit stressed. These clinicals have been picked for almost a year now which means there’s nothing left in Lexington for sure. What does that even mean for us? We sure as heck can’t afford to go down to the beach still. 

We started chatting over the possible options, thinking through how it could all play out. We talked through our fears of why this was happening– was Elliot going to be born with some set of complications and the Lord was saving us from having to deal with that at the same time as we were supposed to leave for the beach? We were able to talk openly about our sin and misguided views of who God is– it’s hard not to see Him like a “mean father” punishing you or taking good things away from you in times of loss. We were able to pray and encourage one another to trust the Lord in this and wait to see what He’s working out for us. We knew it had reason and purpose, we knew it would play out better for us in the long run, we truly had such a sweet sense of trust and security in the Lord even though we were confused. 

At some point, we started thinking that maybe we could take this last rotation in Memphis. This would mean Josh could look for a job and even interview during the summer. This would mean we wouldn’t have to keep our house here in Lexington while traveling down to Memphis every week looking for a job and a house or paying double rent or paying for storage or whatever else crazy that we were going to have to work out during this transitional time period. This would mean that we’d get to be in Memphis 6 months sooner than we have been planning this whole time. Also, it would allow for Josh to learn the TN Physical Therapy ins and outs before he took his boards. The positive details just kept rolling in. Of course, it’s so hard not to make your own plans and try to fix it all yourself in these types of situations. You want to be wise and proactive, but not “play God” in it all. So we prayed. And asked some friends to pray and waited to see what Josh could find out the next day at school trying to have faith while not getting our hopes up or minds too set on our new plans. 

Thankfully, the PT folks at school were super nice and super understanding with us needing a clincal change. Apparently this happens more than you’d think. Since all the Lexington locations were full and because Josh needs an out of state rotation anyway, they were totally on board with setting up a Memphis clinical. They had a connection with a site and we just had to wait and see if they could still accept a student. 

And guess what you guys, they can!!!! Sooooooo as of right now (because hey man’s plans are always failing) we are set to take Josh’s last clincal in Memphis!

We. Are. Moving. To. Memphis. In. May.

Lord willing, that is! And we are pumped!! We are still so unsure of most of the details (like a place to rent so y’all keep your eyes open for us!!!) but like we’ve been praying from the beginning, we are seeing the Lord’s glory in His never ending provision. We are so thankful that He has opened our eyes to the details and allowed us to find peace in Him. I write this knowing that tomorrow everything could be so different. That’s hard for me. But I’m going to keep handing it over to the Lord and trusting Him. Which even that trust is because of Him. I know that without His Spirit in me, I’d be a crumbling mess of fear and anxiety.

It’s so funny to look over it all and see that He has so graciously been answering our prayers all along. It’s truley just plain sweet to see Him actively loving and pursuing me, even in the midst of me being so apathic towards my relationship with Him. I can’t even begin to imagine (or remember) walking through life without the joy and comfort the Gospel brings. I am so thankful that I can end this post knowing that I serve a big God who loves me enough to work out these details even though my time here on this earth is limited. Even though I will spend eternity worshiping Him and probably never even thinking about Memphis BBQ, he keeps givings me sweet gifts in the here and now which allow me a glimpse into that future goodness and total fulfillment that I will only get through Him.

We have exciting news!!

Surprise surprise, it’s us crazy Days again. Yes we really did just announce our pregnancy when I’m only 6 weeks along on social media. I know we’re supposed to wait until after the first trimester, but we don’t want to wait any longer and here’s a glimpse into why not.

So I missed my period. Normal. And took a pregnancy test. Normal. Saw all those pink lines. Normal. Did a little dance, kissed Josh, and told Judson there was a baby in my belly button because that’s currently his favorite word ever. Still all semi-normal. Then, I went to the doctor for blood work and they told me my HCG (pregnancy hormones) levels were low and I’d need to do another blood test in a week to confirm the baby is still alive. Uh what?! Are you sure?! There was instantly a huge lump in my throat as a wave of anxiety swept over me. I’ve always been fearful of fertility issues but since we got pregnant with Judson so quickly I thought I was in the clear. To hear I have a baby but something might be wrong, that I might lose the baby, wasn’t something I wanted to accept. 

Not long after Judson was born it was fertility awareness month and my Facebook was flooded (in a good way) with educational posts about women’s health. I never knew miscarriages are as common as they have become. I had no clue there was such a large percentage of women struggling to get pregnant. I saw countless brave women sharing their stories and opening up about their personal loses. I even learned the term “Rainbow Baby” is given to children born after a Mom’s previous miscarriage (just as a rainbow follows a storm) and quickly realized I know a lot of people who have walked through this themselves. While I, of course, would never want to be in those shoes, my heart broke for these families and for whatever reason I felt a strong desire to be a voice for them. Maybe that looks like educating others on why tampons are the devil (post to come) and how all women should try out a Diva Cup, maybe it looks like sharing my story one day if I experience the loss of a baby, or maybe it’s just as simple as speaking up about a reality for so many women that is often swept under the rug. I don’t have all the answers but I want to be honest and open so that others don’t feel alone whenever they find themselves in this difficult spot. 

Okay, so it brings me back to this whole first trimester announcement thing we’re doing. When I was pregnant with Judson, my first midwife (in these exact words I’m sure because my memory is 100% flawless) told me, “I wouldn’t announce the pregnancy yet. The rate of miscarriage decreases significantly after 12 weeks so I always advise my patients to wait until then incase of one. You don’t want to have to explain it to others and deal with more pain from people knowing if that happens.” UH WHAT LADY?! Okay actually I can kind of get that. It’s hard. But that’s my point really, it’s hard! As women we need to know we’re not alone. You aren’t the only one to go through this and you need encouragement and love. You need support and a meal cooked for you and a movie with popcorn or a pint of ice cream. I feel like whenever we’re instructed to wait until the 2nd trimester, it leads to isolated women and partially invokes shame instead of support. Plus being pregnant (uhh and let’s be real, because you’re a woman) you are hormonal enough as is– the last thing you need is being told to pretty much wait and see if your baby is going to die before you start celebrating it’s life. 

This brings me right to another issue I have with the tradition of waiting to announce. No matter how many weeks along my baby is, it’s still a life I want to celebrate. And not just with my parents, but with everyone! Even you highschool people I never see but love to keep up with! I don’t want to allow my fear of the what ifs to rob me of joy. If the Lord decides my 6 week old is ready to spend eternity with Him, it doesn’t make the pain or the baby any less real than if it was 15 weeks along. As a culture we have a bad habit of making the lives of the unborn (and I’d argue to say kids in general) seem less important or less valuable than the lives of others. My heart breaks when I hear about abortions because I know the pain that mom is feeling as well as the pain that overall surrounds the loss of that baby’s life. It is a life. There is no disconnect here between life and death depending on the age of the baby regardless of what society tells us. Babies, 6 weeks along or at 42 weeks, are important and should be celebrated. And consequently, mourned if it’s that time. Even in the case of miscarriages, God still chose to breath life into them, forming them in their mother’s womb and even when limited, He knows the number of their days and has their name written in His Book of Life. For this reason, we are celebrating this life in my belly. 

Sadly, yes, I might miscarry tomorrow, or later on in this pregnancy or 2 years from now this baby might die from cancer. I probably sound morbid to you all, but The Bible is clear that we aren’t promised tomorrow. Therefore, I am going to chose faith and security in the Lord’s plan no matter how painful it might be in the moment of our stuggles. There is a time to weep and a time to dance. Today we dance. 

Please don’t think this is easy for me. I am a control freak by nature. I love to try and figure out the bigger picture and sometimes trick myself into thinking if I pray a certain way I can even manipulate the outcome of it all. Please know, I’ve spent many hours this week begging the Lord for our baby to live and for me to somehow find rest in Him no matter what the outcome and during the unknown. I couldn’t sleep at all a few nights because I was so anxious. I’m not perfect, it isn’t easy, but the Lord is so so faithful and I keep finding myself comforted in Him. Since writing this, we did get the blood work back and everything looks normal. Praise Jesus!! We have an ultrasound set up in a few weeks, and while I know these next days aren’t promised, I am choosing to rejoice and look forward to seeing this new little life in my belly. 

I understand not everyone would feel comfortable sharing these intimate details or struggles of their life. I think God has created us all with different strengths, weaknesses, and overall has just given us different personalities. So please know, if it’s too painful for you to talk about it, I get that! The point of this post is just to share how Josh and I personally feel, inviting others into a safe place, and spreading the word that if you experience the loss of a baby (or even just struggle with this fear), you’re not alone. You are so loved. That baby is so loved. And they’re hanging out in Heaven right now experiencing the glory of our Creator. In the light of pain and loss, that’s definitely something to find hope in and praise God over. We want our walk and our choices to be in hope not fear based, and this is just one more way the Lord is asking us to trust in Him.

Breakfast Hash

When I was pregnant with Judson all I could eat was bacon, fried eggs (in the bacon grease of course) and buttered toast. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Now I can’t do the butter, the eggs, or the deliciously healthy white bread but praise Jesus, Lord above, thankfully I can still eat bacon. And I do. In large amounts. I incorporate it into everything I can– soups, wraps, multiple dinners, and of course my all time favorite breakfast, hash. 

Hash is so great because it’s totally customizable to your taste. I’ve mentioned it before but thought I’d share in more detail as a post for you all! Depending on what I have in the fridge (or what I need to get rid of) my recipe might change up, but for the most part it is as follows. 


Breakfast Potato Hash

  • Sweet potatoes (or whatever potatoes you like) 
  • Bacon 
  • Brussel sprouts 
  • Peppers 
  • Onion
  • Chopped garlic 

Preheat oven to 350. Wash, peel, and chop the potatoes. We usually use around 3 but it makes for lots of left overs. Wash and halve the Brussel sprouts. I usually just eyeball the amount, but this week I paid attention for you guys and saw that I used roughly half a bag of them. Toss both veggies together in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake in the oven while you make the rest of the dish. I’ve tried making hash a hundred different ways, and the trick is to bake the potatoes seperately and mix into the skillet later. Every other way, they were either soggy or too hard, so trust me, it makes a huge difference. 

In a cast iron, chop the bacon and sauté. I literally just use scissors and cut the strips into smaller pieces. I wouldn’t admit it if it were true, but it’s possible I used the entire package of bacon for this batch. While the bacon cooks, chop the onion and peppers as well as the garlic. You can used whatever color peppers you like–we usually use two peppers, so one green and one yellow, red, or orange to mix things up. After the bacon is mostly cooked, add onions and peppers to the skillet. When they’re done cooking add in the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. I use a crap ton of garlic because we hate vampires, but just like the amount of bacon, you can customize based off your personal preference! 

Grab the veggies out of the oven and mix them into the skillet. Check your potatoes to make sure they’re done and if not pop the whole dish back into the oven. If you’re impatient like me, go ahead and enjoy!

Josh likes eggs in his hash so I just take some of the hash and put it into a smaller cast iron, crack his eggs right on top, and pop it into the oven until the eggs are done! Once again, whether you like them runny or well done, you can customize based off your own preference! 

This is our go to Saturday morning breakfast because of the time it takes to prep and I totally look forward to it all week! Also, because my health is very important to me, I drizzle some maple syrup (don’t worry, it’s organic) on top of my serving. Yummmm. I love sweet and salty mixed so it’s breakfast perfection. 

Another variation we like is Mexican style with chorizo and green onions! I use regular potatoes for this instead of sweet potatoes, and if you’re crazier then I am allowed to be, drop a dollop of daisy (sour cream) on top with some shredded cheese and finish off with salsa! 

I feel the need to end this with my biggest rule in life. Breakfast isn’t just for mornings! And with that in mind, I have decided we are having different variations of hash for dinner every night this week now. Yum. 

Happy Birthday Judson

We’ve had a crazy last month but I wanted to share the fun of Judson’s 1 year celebrations with you all! If you have kids, you know at a year old they don’t care what you do for their birthday! But I love celebrating so why the heck not! 

It is nuts that I’ve been a mom for a year. I can’t believe Judson is already barking like a puppy, wearing 18m clothes, and eating full plates of food. It’s so weird y’all!! Wasn’t it just yesterday that he smiled for the first time?! Or last week that he said started saying “Mama” and pointing things out?! Every single day I am reminded of how blessed we are as a little family and I am constantly brought to my knees praising God for his goodness. 

Our first family photo

In this past year, Josh and I have learned so much about God’s love for us as His children. Each year we plan to write a little letter for our kids on their birthdays and as I was trying to muster up the right words for this first one, I was completely awestruck at how much God has grown my view of Himself over the past 12 months.

Before Judson was born, we knew he would be a blessing that we praised God for daily. We knew we’d love him and want everything good for him, but being on this side of mommyhood, it’s honestly all indescribable. Judson poops and I’m so stinking proud of him! He “reads” his puppy book aka barks at the pictures of the dogs, and I cry because I am amazed at how quickly he’s learning. He nurses 100 times in one night and I’m reminded of his dependency on me. God is so woven into all of these tiny little moments. I love to just think about how my Heavenly Father is even more proud of me, how He loves to watch me seek Him, and I often find myself pondering over the fact that He has created me to be fully dependent on him just like a child. The parallels are everywhere. I love the moments when it’s so clear why God loves us and kids and families and all of it. I love being able to see so clearly why he’s called us to be fruitful and multiply. Judson teaches us so much about God, ourselves, our sin, our marriage, you name it. 

So clearly we have a lot to celebrate and we wanted to do just that. When we started planning his birthday we knew we wanted something chill and simple. Just a fun day for our special babe to be loved on, a chance to have our family and friends together to hang out, and a party to praise God over Judson’s life. We made the 8 hour drive down to my parents house for the weekend and everyone else joined us there on Saturday for his party.

Personally, I’m not really a big fan of themes. I spent way too many hours (I hate to admit) on Pinterest trying to find cute decor without it seeming over the top. Finally, I settled on a “theme-less” idea. But really, the theme was Judson. Which I mean what better than a Judson theme for his own party! Plus my kid is really cute so any excuse to plaster his face all around, I’ll take it. 

First things first, what would baby wear?! I had an idea in my head but couldn’t find anything on Etsy or in a million FB groups to match it. Finally I found an awesome and so sweet lady on Etsy (click to find her shop) that customized his birthday shirt! She was so great to work with and super quick! She even sent me extra fabric that I used for his highchair banner and embroidered a matching “1” for the sign as well. I wanted matching bubble shorts and set off to FB to find someone to make them for me. For whatever reason, I can’t find her FB page to tag, but I have her email if anyone is interested in her products! She contacted Stephanie from Etsy who let her know exactly where to find matching fabric and wahlaaa, magic! Sweet babe had an adorable and comfy first birthday outfit! We put sunsans on Judson’s feet for a total of 30 seconds before he was like heck naw take these suckers off and went barefoot. Hey, we were in Arkansas. 

My wonderful stepmom took care of all the food and just put me in charge of decor! She did some delicious appetizers, catered in BBQ, and had sweets for dessert. I wanted to keep it simple and fun, so went with blue, green, organge, and yellow as the color scheme. The invitation I found on Etsy was my inspiration for the entire party. After more creeping, I found a party where someone made a face banner and had face cupcake toppers and I ran with it!

The invite was a mix between her two available styles listed on the Etsy page for her shop. She was super easy to work with and also quick! I love using Etsy because you can support small businesses, get personalized products, and it’s all so quick! We decided to be green and did email invites this year! Because it was such a small party, we didn’t really need to even send them out but I loved them so much we had to! 

I DIY’d all the decorations the week before the party. At that point I was praising Jesus I decided to keep things simple because if not, I would have been super overwhelmed. I haven’t uploaded pictures from my fancy camera yet (because I’m busy aka lazy) so I’ll share what I have from other people’s posts! The most time consuming part was trying to decide which faces to use for everything. I settled on 8 different faces, cropped and sized them to half a page for the banner and then made the same faces smaller for the cupcake toppers. Organized them and had them printed on card stock at Fedex. After I cut them all out, I used colored carstock for the party hats, tissue paper for the fringe, and little Pom Pom balls for the tops of the hats! I taped the mini heads to candles and the big heads to a ribbon to use as a banner. 

I also made some tissue paper tassles to hang as banners too. These are always super easy and cheap to have on hand. I wasn’t exactly sure where everything would be layed out for the party at my parent’s house so I knew these would work wherever and make things more festive.

I used patterned scrapbook paper and the same Pom Poms to make real sized party hats for the guests too! Judson had a special hat I ordered off Amazon which was adorable even though he had no interest in keeping it on his head. 

I got the cutest balloons from Muddy’s when we were there last month, but I forgot them (of course) so just hit up Walmart that morning for balloons and colorful flowers. I also wanted to show off the collection of Judson’s monthly pictures, so I threw together (literally it’s so uneven my OCD side is hurting) a picture wreath to hang above his baby book that we used to sign in. We had little bags of candy as party favors here as well. 

My stepmom had a blow up ball pit from my brother when he was little. Judson loved it! He could crawl in and out and throw the balls with everyone including my parents dog, Rosco. She also got him a bubble machine which of course he adored! So that he could unwrap it himself, she cut the bottom out of a gift bag and set it over the machine. All he had to do was lift it up and bam, present! I thought that was so clever! 

Speaking of gifts, I saw in a FB group where one mom had everyone take turns holding the babe to open the gift they brought with him. This way, everyone gets some one on one time with the birthday boy and it’s a great photo opportunity. I was worried Judson wouldn’t like being passed around, but he was so blinded by all the fun of tissue paper and attention, he loved it. He wracked up some great mommy approved stuff as well! He brought home lots of books, a play kitchen along with tons of play kitchen accessories, a million puppy themed gifts including a blanket, book with matching lovey, and giant puppy chair. He hasn’t stopped banging his pots and pans or shaking his new maracas since! 

​Another fun touch to his party was all of our Judson themed shirts! I did however forget to tell Ashleigh about this and she was left out, I’m the worst! Everyone else had shirts made to match their relationship with the boog! It was really fun to see all the different sayings and how the shirts matched up with everyone’s personalities! I can honestly say, I couldn’t even pick a favorite they were all so good! 

The last aspect of his party I want to share with you guys is his cake! So traditionally, we use the first birthday to introduce sugary, gluten (and oh so delicious) death cakes to our babes. While you all know I have a soft spot for baked goods, I’m really trying hard to make better choices for the boog than I sometimes make for myself! Plus we’ve been super slow to introduce foods to Judson because of his intolerances so we just didn’t feel safe or comfortable at all doing a traditional smash cake. Instead, we went with watermelon! 

Judson could probably eat an entire melon himself, but I cut it down to baby cake size, tossed a Target “Happy Birthday” banner on top, and called it a day! I personally thought it was just as cute as a smash cake and I loved not having to stress about the effects of it on my babe! No sugar induced coma or tantrums after his party, just a much needed swim! 

It was such a fun weekend spent with family celebrating Judson! For his actual birthday, Josh and I celebrated back home with a watermelon cupcake (complete with avocado icing), a balloon, and a new pet fish! We spent all day Saturday in Cinncinatti at the Aquarium and the Children’s Museum. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Lexington so we plan to go back frequently and put our memberships to good use. We finished the day off with dinner at our favorite local Indian restaurant and came home tired, but happy. 

Judson is such a sweet and happy little soul and I am so thankful to be his mom. I hope God has planned many more years celebrating him and can’t wait to watch him grow up. I have a friend who hates to see moms say “stop growing up” to their babies as they get older. She expressed that it upsets her because the alternative is not getting to see your baby grow up, which is a sad reality for so many. So here I am, fighting the urge to wish away his growth and instead choosing to soak in every moment I have with him, no matter how hard of a stage it is. I’ll squeeze Judson extra tight and give him 102 kisses because when he’s 17 he probably won’t like that anymore! 

When you just need to rant

On the cusps of some Facebook comments that started out as friendly, encouraging and educational but quickly escalated into dramatics over, surprise surprise, mom topics, I want to take the time for a public service announcement (because apparently some people care THAT much about me ?)  I mean isn’t that the point of having a blog too? I get to force my opinions on others and talk about myself all that I want?!

“Why is jasmin so outspoken over mom and baby topics?” you ask. Well if you know me at all, I’m just generally an outspoken person. It’s difficult for me to understand why people are surprised that I share my opinion so openly via social media on such controversial topics, that is unless you’ve never had a conversation with me before. I love honesty. I love openness. These two things, along with my love for babies and moms, are why I regularly share not only my opinion on these topics, but also my struggles in them. As one of the first people my age to get pregnant and to be making parental choices, I hope to love my friends well and give them a real life picture of what parenting looks like so that one day when they find themselves in my shoes, they know they’re not alone. So that they find themselves semi-prepared. 

I understand not everyone is going to care about putting Christ first in their family. Even though I love breastfeeding and the benefits are incomparable, I know I will have friends that chose to formula feed. I have friends that will never put a baby in their bed and that’s totally fine. I’m sure I’ll have friends that don’t even have babies and couldn’t care less about this stuff! But here’s the thing, I hope that if a mom has a question about tongue ties, her freaking nipples, or simply about starting solids, that they will reach out to me. (Which let me add happens!) I want to be someone that moms can turn to if they’re uneasy about vaccines or if they’re desperate for sleep and all that works is bed sharing. I want to be a safe haven for these things because us moms get so much crap and judgement from every angle, which is hard enough without the constant need to impress the world around us. 

We have gotten into the habit of abusing moms by putting unrealistic expectations on them and then wondering why they’re struggling with postpartum depression. You’re not allowed to do any thing that is against the norm and you’re definitely not allowed to advocate for them! I have had countless people share a story, only to start it with “don’t judge me but.” HA lady, if you even knew. Don’t judge you for not wanting to have sex with your husband? Ding ding, it’s normal! Let’s talk about it! Don’t judge you for napping with your daughter instead of doing the laundry?! Please look in my closet. Don’t judge you for bathing with your son instead of putting him in the sink?! This is a nightly routine for us my friend! 

I don’t have all the answers. And what’s right for me, might not be right for you. You might have a child who’s more independent than Judson so baby wearing might not be the answer for you. But  it was a lifesaver for me so I don’t want to feel like sharing that is bad. Let’s agree or let’s dont, but either way we can still be friends or at least not be discredited as a parent. 

Look yall, I’m the furthest thing from perfect. The furthest. I put Judson in a car seat incorrectly as a newborn and thank you Jesus we didn’t crash on the way home from the hospital. Even when you do follow the rules, bad things can still happen. I followed the normal vaccine schedule just like I was “supposed to” and I know the majority of my friends will do that as well. That doesn’t change the fact that I still hope and pray that no one ever has their child stop breathing after that doctors visit. My kid is one trip to the Zoo short of jumping into the lions den because he thinks Daniel is a cool BIble Story. The list goes on and on, and if you have talked to me in the last year or at least follow my blog, you know where I’ve fallen short, the choices Josh and I have struggled through, and the sweet grace that Jesus keeps giving us. 

But please know, I care about you. I care about your families and the future babies. I care about your anxiety and your insecurities and the struggles that come with raising a child. That is why I use my role as a mom and silly ole Facebook as a platform. To educate others from my mistakes. To help parents. To do my part in encouraging moms and dads. To be a voice for babies when they can’t speak up yet. 

I’m sure that I don’t always come off that way. I get pissed off just like the best of you when I see bad information being shared or a mom getting attacked for breastfeeding in public. I still have my own sin The Lord is revealing to me. I still have my own crazy hormones that make me fiestier certain days of the month. I am still breastfeeding my child so I get really hangry at times. It happens. There are definitely times I should hold my tongue (or thumbs) instead of trying to enlighten others. But guess what, you’re not perfect either! I doubt you parent perfectly, or are a flawless boyfriend, or make straight 100’s on every test you’ve ever taken. So instead of texting people (my friends who love to screen shot and show me your comments) to bad mouth how we raise OUR son, you have two options. It’s that simple. Keep following my posts and be open minded that there are many different roads to walk down as a parent, or scroll right up there and unfriend me. Because just as I wouldn’t sensor myself face to face with you over coffee, I feel no need to hide nor defend the choices I make. 

Thank you so much to those of you who are loving and kind and encouraging. Thank you for the messages I get that say thanks for speaking up and saying these things. Thank you for letting me know that I showed you a different perspective or for feeling safe enough to ask me about blisters you have from nursing. Days like today when I’m frustrated and discouraged, I try to focus on how the Lord has used my words and remind myself that even with my imperfections, he uses me. 

If you’re not a parent yet, please know you ARE allowed to have an opinion. I encourage you to research and think through how you’d handle things if or when you have a baby, BUT don’t be as prideful as I was to think I had all the answers. As we get close to Judson turning one year, it’s so crazy for me to look at where I am. I mean right now even, I’m laying in the bed with my baby sleeping next to me. I thought for sure I’d be spending this time cleaning my perfectly organized house while he napped in his flawless nursery alone. I see no end to nursing in sight, when before I had him I was convinced I would stop at 1 year. I even thought anything after that was gross! My kid can’t get vaccines? I thought he would have died from the chickenpox by now. Yall. Please know pride is a real sin. Control is a real sin. We cannot plan out every detail, choice, and scenario. You do not know how you will handle all these things! You don’t know your baby nor their personality or what they will need. Be open minded. For your own sake and for the sake of those around you, please. Don’t mistake my advice as telling you that your thoughts are worthless, because that’s just not true. Your thoughts matter, just as much as mine or the next persons, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket when you don’t even own a chicken yet. That’s a stretch but pretend it makes sense. 

It’s easy for me to not care what people think. Given my tough skin, my childhood and just the path I’ve walked, it comes easy. I totally get its not the case for everyone else. Since being a mom, I’ve heard way too many stories of alienated parents, hiding their choices and feeling bad for living the way they do. How many of us have fought for the marginalized? What’s your thing? Abortions? Religion? Gender identity? Maybe mommyhood fits in there for some people. I guess I’m done ranting because I feel better now. Maybe this post is solely for myself and my comfort. I’m cool if that’s the case, but I’ll choose to believe The Lord is using it. I started this blog because I felt Him asking me to share my voice and to speak up, so even days when it’s discouraging, I think it’s even more of a reason to write. 

Short and sweet, really really sweet

It’s a dessert recipe so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be punny.

Judson has been loving pears and we snatched up a huge organic bag of them on sale at Costco this weekend. It was way more pears than we anticipated. So after lots of baby food prep, I still needed a good use for the extra ones. Enter an excuse to make dessert. Plus it’s the weekend and it’s not a weekend without dessert, everyone knows that. 

I introduce to you to my favorite new dessert. Baked pears with ice cream. I’m having it for breakfast this morning too so really it’s a win win recipe. Judge away, readers, judge away. Pinterest was full of baked pear recipes so I can’t credit anyone with a tag but the ice cream is based of  THIS fav one I’ve used before. 

I simply cut the pears in half and used a tablespoon to scoop out the core. Sprinkled with cinnamon and lightly covered them with maple syrup. Popped them in the oven at 375 for around 45 minutes. At this point they were close to done so I poured some coconut sugar baked pecans on top (these were left over from the last time I made the pecan pie ice cream) and started the ice cream. After it was done, I pulled out the pears and the were soft without being too squishy– perfection.

Thanks again snapchat

These could totally be eaten as is, but tell me something that isn’t better with ice cream on top? The pecan pie ice cream was the first recipe I tried after I got my maker for Mother’s Day and is to date, still my favorite. The orginal recipe is good but I don’t know how to follow directions so I’ve changed things up a bit. Take the same creative liberty I do when making ice cream and feel free to add more or less as the good Lord leads. 

Maple Ice Cream 

  • 1 cup homemade almond milk 
  • 3 cans refrigerated coconut milk (only using the cream from the top, it might take overnight to it to form)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (could use all coconut) 
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/2 tablespoon black strap molasses
  • Splash of vanilla extract 

Heat the almond milk on the stove but only enough to dissolve in the sugars. Remove the sugary milk goodness from the heat and wisk in the rest of the ingredients, leaving the coconut cream for last. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and wait with more anticipation than you’ll have for the birth of first born son. It’s that good. You could also just freeze it for a couple hours if you don’t have an ice cream maker. 

We like the sweetness and don’t mind the small amount of brown sugar added in, but I have made it before with only coconut sugar and just added in the candied pecans at the end. I promise it was still delicious. If I was giving it to Judson, I’d just leave out the refined sugar and feel guilt-free! 

There ya have it! I’d totally call this dessert healthy and it fulfilled my cravings for pie that I’ve been wanting ever since I saw someone else post a delicious looking ice cream topped goodness to Instagram. 

I can pretend that Josh and I split this

Judson decided to nap before church so I didn’t get pears for breakfast but I will add, they were even better today after lunch. The ice cream had hardened up from sitting in the freezer over night so it melted next to the hot pears but not too quickly this time. Yum. Now I can nap peacefully, while visions of sugar pears dance in my head. 

Jesus, name above all names.

Our little munchkin, tiny baby is 11 months old today. I really have no clue how we got here. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we found out I was pregnant?! It honestly seems even further back thinking about the day Judson was born. I’ve watched him triple in size, learn how to mimic words and sounds, and now he’s even about to start walking. People said it would fly by and they weren’t lying. One question we get asked all the time, is why we chose the name Judson. We love sharing his name sake with folks so here’s how we decided on it.

Josh, Jasmin, and Judson Duggar. You’ve seen us. There was a show all about us but it got cancelled because our family is just too scandalous. Really though, I love the Duggars. And that was my biggest hold up whenever Josh told me that he wanted to continue on this “J. Mark” tradition with our first born son. Plus now our other kids will be the odd ones out because I refuse to do more J names. Thankfully though, we want to have like 6 kiddos (with some fostering and adoption in there as well yay) so I think they’ll live through it. It would be different if it was all J names and then one lonely Bob. 

But yes, so Josh said baby boy needed a J name and I become the pickiest person in the world. We had a strong conviction to be wise in naming our children. Throughout the Bible, names are given such importance. Angels are sent to fathers telling them specifically what to name their children, God gives new names to people as they are redeemed, and the power and character of God is shown by the use of different names for himself throughout the Bible. Names give purpose and meaning to the lives in which they’re displayed, and often times point to the plans God has for His children. 

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭ESV‬

Besides the fact that the Duggars really have snatched up so many biblical J-names, we were still at a loss. We wanted something with purpose and meaning that wasn’t overly popular, without it being super weird at the same time. Josh was a trooper and recommended so many options that I shot down within an instant. “Ew, no. I babysat a kid with that name who was so mean.” “No Josh, gah what are you trying to raise a serial killer?!” “Josh, no we aren’t naming our child after you!!” My pregnancy hormones made me a super loving and patient person who was totally welcomingto all of his ideas. Thankfully, The Lord answered our prayers and revealed the perfect name to us.

While I was pregnant we made a lot of trips back and forth from Lexington to the Memphis area. We often used this time to listen to sermons and during one trip were catching up on a series from Fellowship. I think Bryan Lorrits preached this specific Sunday, but in it he mentioned a man named Adoniram Judson. The story he shared was relatively short and quick in the overall scheme of the sermon. We would go on later to research more about him but pretty much, Adoniram Judson grew up in a Christian household but went off to college and moved away from the Lord. He had a friend that played a big role in this rebellion that he later, unknowingly at the time, semi-witnessed the death of. The Lord used this experience to draw Judson back to himself and he goes on to be the first missionary from the United States. How’s that for a life!

HERE is a sermon by John Piper that uses Judson’s life story of “Suffering and Success” on the Cost of Missions, specifically about his impact in Burma. There is also a link to a small free e-book before the text of the sermon that is a nice little read on him as well. But seriously y’all, read up on this man. He loved Jesus so much. His life is such an example of open hands. There is also a really sweet letter (somewhere on the inter web) that he wrote to his first wife’s Father, asking for her hand in marriage. He was just a really cool dude. 

Judson. A J-name with a gospel background that’s different without being super ‘out there.’ It’s easy to spell (sounds a little bit too much like Justin we now know) but we loved it! And what a fun way to share our hearts for the lost world by telling people where our son’s name comes from. 

The summer before we got married, I spent 8 weeks in Southeast Asia experiencing a brokenness of the lost world unlike anything else in my life. I had been on shorter trips as a child, but nothing was like what I experienced as a believer that summer living in a sea of unreached people, seeing it all firsthand. My heart will always be wrecked for the nations after this trip. Josh did that same trip two summers before me, so he also has all the feels for missions based off his experiences. I know the Lord had his hand in us getting married and is definitely glorified in our days full of school, parenting, and just our overall life here in the states, but I really do think I’d be living overseas had marriage not been the next step after getting back that summer. We are super excited to take trips as a family one day and can’t wait to see The Lord use mission work to shape our kids.

Josh and I were life-chatting a couple weeks ago and realized that we both have been praying specifically for Judson’s future and his heart for missions a lot here recently. I am a huge believer that the Lord aligns your prayers with his desires so I’m super excited to see years from now (Lord willing) the path he has set out for baby boog. How cool would it be to walk in the footsteps as his namesake, giving his all for our Savior, bringing His name to the lost world. I know his salvation isn’t promised, but what an even better reason to pray for his heart endlessly and beg God to use his life for His glory. 

I’m going through Acts with the “She Reads Truth” summer devotional plan. TODAY’S reading  was titled “Good News for the Gentiles.” Good news indeed. News that needs to be shared. News that God promises will be taken to the ends of the Earth. And news that my ears were open to hear because someone shared it with me. It’s been difficult to be in a season where school is non stop and even small trips over seas aren’t feasible. Luckily, we have endless friends that are giving up the ordinary and spending their days in other countries, building relationships and sharing this Good News worldwide.

I’ve heard it said “There are senders and there are goers.” And I totally agree. If you look in the New Testament, Paul relied on those back at home for the support that would enable him to be the one traveling fulltime sharing the Gospel. We are so blessed to be in a stage of life right now where we can have our hand in the gospel being shared, as senders. Would we love to be the goers? Yes!! Will we be goers again someday? We think so, we pray so. But we trust The Lord to know each of His children play a different role in His plan. And that’s what’s so beautiful about the body and it’s giftings. The fact that God doesn’t need us yet still invites us to be apart of His story. Prayers, money, being the one who actually spends time somewhere else. Whatever it is, the Lord is asking you to be apart of His story reaching the lost.

I have a specical place in my heart for overseas work. I sometimes get so disgusted with our lives here in America. I pridefully think I am better than “all the lukewarm people” who just claim Christ to make themselves feel better. But y’all. That was me. My entire life, I claimed Christianty without even a hint of a relationship with Christ. Who better than to share this good news with boring ole Americans than myself?! What better of an example can my life be than for the truth of the gospel?! Don’t forget, whether you’re in Africa or Arkansas, your life is a witness to Christ. You have countless opportunities to share his good news everyday. Be it how you study for tests, the way you manage your money, or your relationship with a boyfriend, whatever choices you’re making– they point to your view of Christ. I pray my words and my life look different because of the impact Christ’s death has had on my heart. 

So there you have it. Baby Judson is growing up and taking the story of Jesus worldwide!! Man, I sure hope so. But that desire makes me so so thankful for a faithful God that holds my sweet son in His hands. It makes me thankful that I can rest in the Lord and his sovereignty. Praise Jesus that I’m not the one who is trying to sew together the details of his life, manifesting his passions, or lending out traits and giftings. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses that was in today’s reading. 

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 

The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 

Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭52:7-10‬ ‭ESV‬

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

While we were Memphis last week, I ate a vegan cupcake at Muddy’s. Yes, yes it has terrible, awful, no good, dirty, rotten gluten but I wanted to see if Judson could tolerate it (and I really just wanted a freaking cupcake!!!). I know he reacts to egg and dairy, but I cut gluten without trialling it to help heal our guts since it’s really hard on everyone’s body. Well, we will never know how he did because I went on to eat donuts, half of Josh’s peice of cheesecake, and then had Chic-fil-a two days in a row. I’m such an all or nothing person!! I was like “humm well I’ve already ruined it, might as well keep on destroying my life!!” This. Is. So. Untrue. Moderation is key, or so I’m told. I have this issue with self control or just with sin in general. I’ll have a super whiney day full of complaining and just keep on until I’ve exhausted all the negativity I can. Or when Josh and I were dating and struggling with sexual sin, we said more times than I want to admit, “Well we’ve already messed up, why fight it?” 

As far as sin goes, I addressed this is an earlier blog post, but we are called to keep fighting the good fight, to keep seeking God’s glory in our actions, and to put off our old sinful selves. This is hard, but thankfully as believers, we have the Holy Spirit living within us enabling this. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, allows us to put our selfish desires second and elevate God’s glory over our wants. 

As far as food goes, I need to get my mindset right and understand that a little “bad” is worse then giving up and eating a whole cake in one sitting. Also I’m dealing with huge mommy guilt because he did react, of course,  to the minimal dairy and eggs (and who knows about the gluten) so I’m beating myself up over my selfishness.  

The effects of this food have been more than noticeable for both Josh and myself, plus baby boog. We have been super grumpy. Sleepy and just dragging around. Judson has nursed all night long. My stomach hurts. Josh’s stomach hurts. My arms have a rash on them. Judson’s nose is runny and his cheeks are flushed. I’ll spare the details on his dirty diapers. And I can’t stop thinking about floury goodness!!!!

Sooooo here we are. Crashing from our drug high, dreaming about our next hit. Except no. We’re detoxing our bods and staying far away from the sugary, gluten death trap my body is craving so badly. Because I’m nursing I can’t do much detoxing, but we are all taking regular Epsom salt/baking soda baths and upping our probiotics, fresh foods, and water intake. Overall, this weekend of craziness has reminded us how much healthier we feel when we eat real foods and has given us the encouragement we needed to keep on with our healthy diet choices. We already knew we felt better since we made these changes, but there is no denying it after the yuck we’ve been feeling this week. 

But. This. Morning. I could NOT get muffins out of my mind. You guys know I’ve had a really rough time with using gluten free flour mixes. Probably because I’m so dang picky, but I have hated every cupcake, waffle, pancake, or muffin I’ve tried to make using the stuff. The only things that have passed my test have been naan and dumplings. Which both are literally just flour, water, and seasonings so whoopdee doo. Luckily, I gave in yesterday and bought a huge bag of almond flour from Costco. I think it was like $15 (which is a lot when you’re a poor girl) but in comparison to the price at health food stores, it’s a steal. I have tried to make my own almond flour after making almond milk a couple times, but it’s a mess so I always give up. Maybe post little, tiny baby days it’ll be easier. I set off to Pinterest where I found this awesome recipe for some blueberry lemon muffins and they did not disappoint. I plan to creep this blog more because I loved the name of it and it totally hit home with where I’m at right now. 

THESE tasty muffins are dairy, egg, and gluten free. Almond flour is used instead of a regular flour or a gluten free 1:1 replacement mix. I’m also not a huge fan of coconut flour so I was steering clear of those recipes too for this morning. It uses chia seeds to replace the eggs by mixing 3 tablespoons of seeds with 9 tablespoons of water. I’ve seen this recommended before as an egg replacement, but this was my first time trying it. We love our chia seeds so I was excited to see how these turned out. It only uses honey as a sweetner instead of refined sugars along with a little vanilla extract and lemon juice for flavoring. I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh and they worked wonderfully, not even squishy like I’ve seen happen in other recipes. 

Here’s a picture where I pretend I only ate two muffins, and that I used a plate

Okay okay, so these turned out delicious and I totally recommend making them right this moment! I think the Lord is trying to humble me or something because last night I dropped and shattered a plate then this morning I dropped the pan in the oven losing a few muffins. But whatever, I just ate a few bites off the floor to keep from being wasteful and called it a good try. I was worried they wouldn’t be sweet enough and almost made a little sugary crumble for the top, but I’m glad I didn’t because they don’t even need it! 

Hope you guys enjoy and have better luck pulling them out of the oven then I did! 

What’s happening? Da na na na…

Isn’t that an old rap song or something?….

So how about a little life update from the Day’s?? Guess what?? We’re…. Not pregnant! I feel like you guys clicked on here just to see if that’s what I had to say. Figured I’d clear the air early on incase that’s all you’re interested in! I will admit it though, I’ve got huge baby fever these days. I blame it on Target and their perfect, adorable little flowery summer dresses. Secretly, I’m hoping for a girl next time, even though I really love being a “boy mom.” Judson is still nursing every couple hours though, so science says it’ll be a little bit before we get another blessing. Until then, patience my friends, patience. 

But really, what’s up with us?? I haven’t blogged in a bit and my phone is out of space so that means less pictures on FB. I’m sure you guys are distraught, longing to know! I kid. 

Josh is in his last week of his clinical at St. Joseph Hosptial where he’s been doing his acute care rotation. It’s been 8-5 pretty much everyday which has meant less time hanging with the dada before bedtime (cue the waterworks). Judson must have missed him so much because he has been waking up at 530 every morning just so we can hang with Josh before work. It’s a bit early but I like that he’s giving us a little more time together as a fam. It’s finally starting to get warm here in Lexington, which thankfully means family walks after dinner. I’ve become obsessed with these peach flavored Izzy juice drink thingamajigs. Y’all they are so good and the real reason I take the walks. Things have been pretty normal and boring around here this semester but it’s been great. We’re looking forward to a little break before Josh starts summer classes in a couple weeks. 

Judson refused to smile because he was mad at Josh for not sharing the Izzy with me

Judson is an adult. He’s almost ready to drive. Really though, he is walking holding onto things so we think in no time he’ll be running around playing soccer. He loves dancing and listening to music and is so cute shaking his booty, clapping his hands. It’s nuts how interactive he’s become. It’s like he’s a real human now! Sometimes he gets really fussy and mad,  and then we realize he’s dancing and just wants music 
Oh to speak baby language. His favorite song is JT’s new one “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” It’s our favorite too. He also loves Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and that “I can’t feel my face” song. We usually spend a few hours a day dancing away to these on repeat. Go checkout our Spotify playlist if you ever need some good jams to dance to. It’s been annoying not having a backyard to play in because we all really enjoy being outside, but we’ve made do with a blow up pool on the back deck and often take 3 walks a day. There are a lot of community pools here in Lexington and today we are venturing to one with some mom friends for a swim play date! 

It is possible he’s licking a dirty spoon

So like I said, Josh has a week off before starting summer session (yay!!) and we will be traveling back home this weekend! We are excited to spend some time with family in Jackson, eat tasty Memphis food, and finally see my sister’s new house! I’m not sure of all the plans, but if you want to hang out, shoot me a text! We are going to the zoo on Monday and then Tuesday we plan to do breakfast/lunch in Memphis before heading back to Lexington for the rest of the week! I can’t believe it’s already time to be saying this, but early July we will be in Jonesboro to celebrate Judson’s birthday. How is it already so soon?! Craziness. Because we will be in Jonesboro for that, we aren’t making it all the way there this weekend.

The first Birthday party thing is a weird one. I like don’t know who to invite because I don’t want people to feel obligated to come, yet I don’t want to leave people out that want to celebrate with us! Sooooo, if you do want to come, let me know and I’ll give you the details! Is that tacky of me? Gimme grace. It’s going to be fun and chill, a backyard BBQ at my parents house! Even though I refuse to accept that this tiny little baby is already almost one. Nope, can’t be!

Speaking of time flying by, in the fall Josh starts his last year of PT school. Here’s where the news is my friends! In the program, students are required to go out of state for at least 1 of the 4 clinicals. Whenever you have a baby, they allow you first pick on Lexington placements because they understand the added responsibility that comes along with having family. Thankfully we were able to do every other clinical here in town while some students have traveled for all of theirs. This was a huge blessing for us! Pause for a praise Jesus moment. If you all remember this time last year, we took our babymoon in Florida at Josh’s family beach condo. It’s in the Clearwater area (like 15 minutes from there) and totally beautiful. Welllllllll we have decided that for Josh’s last clinical (12 weeks this time next summer) we are going to live down there! There are a couple clinics in that same area, but he will probably be working in St. Petersburg. This is a new option this year and totally a blessing straight from above. As you can imagine, we are really excited. Josh’s family has graciously allowed us to stay there again, which is great because paying double rent somewhere would have been impossible. After that clinical we will head back to Lex for graduation and then Josh will take his boards. He can work during this time on a temp license but only in KY while he studies for his tests and then we are free to move! 

Okay y’all. We know we’ve always said the plan is to move back to Memphis. Buttttttt, we uhhhh really uhhh want…to live (like all the time) by a beach. Why not?! As much as we love Memphis, everytime we go on vacation, we leave talking about how we wished it was fulltime. Our only hesitancy is family and friends, but being in Lexington during school has shown us how things can work being away from y’all and has really given us the freedom to flirt with living away after school. We had a couple weeks where we were really trying to make Hawaii work, but with our student loans, it’ll be a hot minute before we can afford that beach life. In the meantime, we are praying over our choices and thinking through where and what a beachy future would look like for us. I have this feeling that after spending next summer down there, we will never want to leave the area. But who the heck knows. We have so much freedom with Josh’s job (praising The Lord for this too) because the market for PT’s is great nationwide, making things weirder and harder when trying to decide what the future looks like. 

Will you guys join us in praying for this? We’d love that. Ask the Lord to grow our hearts for a place, show us vision for an area, direct us to a location with need for Christ and a great biblical community for us and a family. I mean after spending a summer in China and then moving here literally knowing no one or anything about this place, we feel confident that we will be able to adapt wherever we go. It’s been cool to realize the freedom we have in Christ to make plans like this. 

This post has been much shorter than my usual ones (and brought to you by a sleeping babe), so hopefully I didn’t lose as many of you guys as I normally do towards the end of these things. As always, thanks for keeping up with us! It’s been a huge adjustment being away from our friends and family these past 2 years, but more than anything it has shown us how blessed we are to have so many great people in our lives. We don’t always do a good job of texting and keeping up, especially now that we have little babe on the move 24/7, so thanks for loving us well and giving us grace!

Datebox Review 

In college, I had the rule that if someone asked me out on a date, I said yes. I mean why not? I’m not going to lie to you, my biggest factor in this rule was a free meal. What’s the harm really–one date can either be the start of something but if not you feel pretty, and hopefully full from being wined and dined. 

When Josh and I started dating, boy did he try to woo me. Picnics at sunset on the river, concerts, fully mapped out competitions and games with winners rights to truth or dare, nights at my favorite restaurants, and trips for ice cream or cupcakes afterward. Ladies, we have it made. 

Now, fast forward to our new little family here in Lexington. We are living on student loans with a baby nursling. Dating looks way different. Wonderful, but different. If we did things like a lot of other families do, we could hire a sitter for the night and go out. $30 on a sitter plus $30 on dinner (minimum) and before we know it, we have spent $60 and all we’ve had time to do was eat. Doing this once a week, we would have spent enough money to pay electricity bill for the month and then some. On a student’s budget, it’s just not wise. Plus baby boog doesn’t want a bottle (and I am A-okay with that) so we like to keep him close and do fun things alongside little man so that he’s happy and nurtured as well! 

So what does date night look like for us in this season? Sometimes it’s making brownies and watching a movie. Other times, it’s a game of chess (that I always lose) or a trip to the park. Usually our dates are during the day on the weekend because we want to be outside. We might go for a walk at the park, take a bike ride, or if I’m trying to love him really well, have a little game of HORSE shooting some hoops. It looks different than everyone’s typical idea of a date, but because it is a priority to us, we always set aside special time each week to keep “dating” each other. Josh has always been really creative at coming up with things for us to do, but lately we’ve been pretty boring and have been keeping things simple. 

Josh has a PT school friend who recommended DateBox to us a few months ago after he and his fiancé recieved one as a Christmas gift. We forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when I saw on FB that Jefferson Bethke had a discount code for your first one. Since we hadn’t dipped into our date night budget at all for the month, we ordered one and impatiently waited weeks for it to arrive! I think I signed up right after that month had been shipped out, so we had to wait longer than I wanted for it to get here. 

But it finally did last week! We opened it up and laughed so hard. DIY ice cream. Y’all I got an icecream maker for Mother’s Day. So we cheated a little and used that instead of shaking with rock salt and ice, but still, it was so fun and such a cute idea of how to spend time together. We used coconut milk because of our no dairy needs and I topped with only the included gluten/dairy free toppings like gummy bears and sprinkles, but Josh was in heaven with the included fudge and PB cup goodies. I forgot to take a picture but thankfully I snapchatted the fun! 

While we ate our ice cream, we played the card game that was included. It was a series of questions and you made bets on each other’s responses. It was titled “I bet I know you better.” Clever. And y’all, I killed it. I was slightly offended at how badly Josh did but still happy to win! My favorite question was one where I had to compare Josh’s lips to fruit. I chose a cherry (duh sweet, smooth, the perfect color) but he guessed that I said bananas. Why? Oh just because mouths are the shape of bananas. Hahaha I died and laughed way too hard over such a weird question. 

Also included in this month’s box, was a CD of dance lessons. Our favorite pastime with the baby these days has been dance parties so once again this was totally perfect for us. Josh is super shy and won’t ever let me video the adorableness BUTTTTT he has no choice now because this month there is a competition via social media! You upload a video with a hashtag and the winners get some pretty awesome prices. This means you all get to see our cuteness very soon. Make sure you share and like our video so that momma and daddy can win a prize! 

The included CD has seperate lessons for 3 different dance styles. I will say that we are much better at free styling, but it’s been fun learning the techniques they teach in the lessons. Josh has only stepped on my foot a million times so far, but I have hope for our video. 

They also created a date night playlist on Spotify and slipped in a sweet little pamphlet written by Craig Gross from Stronger Marriages.  He shared wisdom and tips for couples and although we have been married for under two years, it was cool to read over and think through what we are doing already to encourage a healthy marraige. I loved the advice he gave and the practical ways to apply them.  The insert was titled “Pursue” and his three thoughts were on engaging your partner’s interests, doing something together, and dreaming new dreams together. I totally agree that putting these ideas into practice will lead to a deeper and stronger relationship together so it was cool to see that added in alongside the activities. 

We did this first month as a trial to see if it was worth the money and it definitely is. You could split this one box into 3 or more weekends if you just did one activity a week. We got our first box off with the promo code “Bethke” so it was only $22.47. I’m not sure if the code still works, but even full price, I think it’s totally worth the dollhairs. 

Head over to DateBox to sign up! If you are dating or engaged, it’s easy to make things like this a priority, but don’t forget to keep pursuing each other in marraige. I look forward all week to spending our special time that we set aside for me and Josh together. I know that I can love Judson better and be a nicer mom whenever my relationship with Josh is given attention. It’s similar to my relationship with Christ and Josh too. If I’m not pursing Christ and spending time with him, I can’t love Josh well. I’ll quickly find myself burnt out and apathetic to everything around me. I need Jesus to love Josh, and I need Jesus plus Josh to love Judson. Amen. And date box helped with that this week!