Field Notes: 9/11-17

My week last week started around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning with Shepherd waking me up crying because his throat and tummy hurt and he had a fever. Bless his little heart, if someone within a hundred miles has strep throat, he's going to get it. He's just a magnet for it. If I'm being completely honest though, if my kids are going to be sick, I'd rather them have strep because it's so treatable and the meds work so fast! I kept Shepherd home on Tuesday too, but I honestly think he would have been fine to be back in school. 

Monday is when the ever-dreaded Hurricane Irma made her way up Florida. I think we on the Gulf Coast were all really thankful she did in fact turn north, all-the-while feeling for our Florida friends. This hurricane really stressed me OUT. Professionally, I was so worried about the damage to Disney and spent a good portion of the weekend leading up to the hurricane re-working client trips to avoid the hurricane. But also, just the waiting for something that I had absolutely no control over was terrible and made me really anxious. I spent a good portion of my week coming down off the stress of it. It seems so ridiculous typing it out but I was stressed. I am so so thankful that the damage ended up not being as bad as anticipated! Disney World was closed for only their sixth time in history. They closed down for Sunday and Monday but were able to be back open for Rope Drop on Tuesday morning. 

The only good thing to come out of Irma was the weather on the Gulf Coast. It has been the most lovely Fall preview. Archer and I have spent a good portion of our weekdays outside. He's been playing with his trucks and I've been working on the front porch. Also, every day after school I've been able to send the kids outside to play and run out their energy outside without dying of a heat stroke. Why is it this year, that my kids have soooo much energy after school instead of the typical being wiped out?? Well, this Mama is so thankful to be able to send them outside to play more! 

At my DNA group this week, we talked about going through a book together in addition to our church-wide Genesis reading. I offered several suggestions and the girls all decided on Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. I've heard such good things about it and I'm really looking forward to digging into it!

We've been trucking along with Potty Training. Archer has done AWESOME overall. He initiates often and has about a 70% success rate overall right now. (Which is so much better than ANY other Wiley kid). Our biggest hurdle with him right now is that he cannot pull his undies up and down by himself. Any tips on how to teach this skill? Comment or send me an email, I'll take any tips!! Check back later for a more in-depth potty training post.

I've been in kind of a funk this week. I don't know if it was the stress from the hurricane or just kind of being in a doldrums season, but I've just been kind of down. I did a lot of praying and a lot of talking out loud to Kyle (bless him all the blessings....he is so patient with me!!) and Cassie. I was reminded that I need to focus on what's in front of me (do the next thing....) and how very important it is to prioritize self-care. I know I don't naturally prioritize it so I have to be very intentional about building in life-giving pockets of space in my week. 

As part of that self-care, Kyle suggested to me that some of my physical stuff (fatigue and headaches) he really thinks are due to not being well-hydrated. And of course he was right. He even traded Yeti cups with me so I can have the bigger one and drink more water. I've been doing better the past couple of days and of course havn't had a headache and have had more energy. [insert eye roll emoji here]. If only water tasted like Coke it wouldn't be such a struggle!  

For City Group this week we had a hot dog bar. Guess who forgot to put the buns on the list? This girl. So we had a low-carb hot dog bar this week, complete with chili and cheese and no buns. It still tasted good anyway. We hung out outside and talked about Genesis and our favorite musical artists of all-time. (Mine is Celine. Without question.) (My all-time favorites list would include: Shane and Shane, Vampire Weekend, and Dave Barnes). 

On Thursday for date night, we picked up Wingstop and watched Project Runway. This season of PR has both Kyle and I laughing out loud. The twins man, the twins. It's all I'm going to say so I don't spoil it, but it is an entertaining season indeed. Indeed. 

On Friday I went to the library to stock up on books for the kids for the week. Now that all three kids are officially readers, my book bag is significantly heavier! I'm so very proud of my kids and their reading lately. The boys have definitely caught "the bug". They are so excited about being able to be independent readers. The main books I check out for them are the Easy Readers and First Readers. Our library has a whole section for these books which makes it really easy for me to be able to find them easily. 

And then there's my LK. I texted with her teacher some on Friday to find out where she's testing to try and find her some books on her reading level. She tested quite high for her age and we have the same problem of trying to find books on her reading level to challenge her without too mature of content. TAKE ALL SUGGESTIONS for good book suggestions for her in the sixth to eighth grade reading levels without too mature of content. PLEASE PLEASE comment or send me an email with your ideas! She likes all genres. 

I've also had to implement new rules for library book care. I keep our giant library bag in a chair in the corner of my kitchen. They are allowed to get one book at a time and must return it to the bag when they are finished or they want a different bag. School library books is the same rule except keeping it in their backpacks instead. There are just too many books to keep up with now so I told them that I really needed their help and diligence to keep up with them all. We'll see how long it lasts and how much money I end up spending on lost or damaged books. 

Something shocking happened in our house on Friday. I opened a box of pull-ups for Archer and inside the box they give you a plastic collectors plate with Mator on it. Well, I was so excited and handed it to Archer and he said "truck!". I have failed my two year old. How in the world in this Disney family is he older than two and half and not know who Lightening McQueen and Mator are?!!! Well we fixed that problem REAL QUICK by watching Cars for movie night tonight. He now knows their names and won't forget them ;). 

Also on Friday, Kyle introduced the boys to trading cards. They got some pokemon cards and also some football cards. He even got out his baseball and football cards that he collected growing up to show them! Shepherd is of course, completely obsessed with them now. I loved it because it felt like such a boy thing to do!

Kyle and I had a wedding on Saturday night and we decided to take advantage of having a sitter and turn it into a date night. So after the wedding ceremony we left and went to a local restaurant called "Fuego". I think we finally found good Mexican food in Mobile. That guacamole was maybe the best I've ever had. Just amazing. But what was even better was just getting to have some face-to-face time with Kyle. So thankful that we had the chance to do that before he leaves for his next trip to Thailand. 

And yesterday was such a good morning, worshiping with South City. We were on a chapter in Genesis that is awkward and racy and full of God's people screwing up and Him still continuing to redeem and work his plan through His imperfect people. It was the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38 and you guys, I can't get over how amazing it is to see Tamar's name in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1). So powerful. 

I ended the weekend with a fun Girl's Craft night! Each lady brought her own craft to work on, and of course there were snacks! I made a cute pair of earrings!

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Friday Favorites

Happy happy Friday! We did it, friends, made it through another week! I'm excited about Pizza Movie night with my family tonight and getting to go on a date with my man tomorrow night! In the meantime, today I'm bringing you more favorites!!! Starting with my favorite.....
Ok, so I don't know about yall, but I have totally jumped into the podcast fan club. What took me so long? Serial is the first I listened to, along with millions of other Americans, and it completely sucked me in! But it took me a while to find other things I liked. This past year I have found some though that are just awesome! These are my favorites:

In the Christian Living/Encouragement/Girlfriend Category:

And in the True Crime Genre, these are my favorites! Some of these I have had full-on, "OH MY GOSH" moments.... Up and Vanished anyone???!! If you have thoughts on it, email me or message me, I want to hear your thoughts!

(Mom Struggling Well isn't true crime, it's just how the picture fell)

Ok, so I know this is kind of funny and looks pretty ridiculous (right up my alley!), but I'm sharing this with you because this is one of the first things I have found that really helps my Rosacea!! I get really red cheeks and really sometime all over redness with little tiny pimples and not much makes it go away. Using this light mask has significantly helped me and reduced all of that redness by at least 50%, which is pretty significant in the Rosacea field. Also, it just makes my skin really really smooth. The ratings and reviews reflect similar experiences, so if you're at all interested in trying it I think it's worth the money to try it. You can get your own here (pssssttt... it's about $5 cheaper here on Amazon that in the stores in Target, fyi) (aff link): 

Another beauty product recommendation for you today! Since I've gotten older my eyelashes have also gotten older and smaller and wimpier.... boo! And I don't really like paying a lot of money for stuff like mascara (I'd rather save my money for Disney). So I typically use drug store brands unless I find a great deal at Ulta. For the longest time I have used Almay's Triple Coat Mascara and still highly recommend it, but I found one that just barely topped it for me..... Maybellines Falsies! I saw my friend Emily post about it so I tried it and LOVED it! It works so well, and I especially love the wand on it! It's so great and you should try it! Order here (aff link):

I've been looking forward to the release of this book since I first heard about it. Jen Hatmaker is a favorite of mine because when she writes, she "speaks" like she is across the table at a favorite coffee shop hanging out like girlfriends. It's my favorite way to read a book and I SWEAR we'd be fast friends if we knew each other for reals. 

So, I actually won a giveaway for a free copy of the book and a really cool "Moxie" necklace from the "whowaitwalmart" Instagram page (PS, if you don't follow them, you're missing out!). 

I finally got my book in the mail and yall.... it is so so good. I cry approximately 7 times in each chapter and laugh double that amount. Like true belly laugh. It's so good and it's for every woman. So if you're a woman and don't own it yet, go buy it here (aff link):

I'm linking up with some favorite blogs of mine to bring you this Friday Favorites post: Momfessionals, Grace and Love, and A Little Bit of Everything!

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5 Truths You Need To Know About Having A Second Baby

It's that time again, the BFBN Swap Day. Today I'm so honored to have Christine Keys guest blogging today. Christine is the newest member of the Babywise Blog Network and if you haven't visited her site yet, well you should. It is BEAUTIFUL with well thought-out, well written blog articles all about motherhood. Here's the link to her site:

In the meantime, you can find me at The Journey of Parenthood Blog. This month I'm sharing one of my favorite tools to have in your toolbox when you are parenting a toddler.

If you'd like more info about the Babywise Friendly Blog Network, you can check that out here: Getting to know the BFBN.

I'm not sure there's a mother on this earth who hasn't harboured fears about the arrival of a second child. That first child changes your world and flips everything on its head. Something in you wants another baby but at the same time you feel like you're already at capacity and can't imagine being capable of giving, caring, and loving any more than you already do. And then there's your precious firstborn. How can you have another child without taking away from them? Rest easy, mama. You are not alone in your thoughts and fears, but let me put you at ease by sharing 5 truths you need to know about having a second baby.
*this post contains affiliate links

1) You Will Be Capable of Caring For Them Both

Becky Thompson once shared something that really stuck with me. In response to the question, "does it get easier?" she said:
What did she mean? Well, parenthood doesn't get easier but you learn to adapt and grow. God gives you grace, and you become stronger. I remember wondering many times while I was pregnant with my second child how on earth I was going to be capable of caring for both my children. The truth is, you just are. Sure, its a little rocky at first but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. I also remember the first time my parents took my son for the weekend after my daughter was born. Looking after just one baby all of a sudden seemed SO easy when just a few weeks previous to that, one child seemed all I could handle. It won't be without challenge, but you can do it.

2) You Will Sleep Again

If your first child isn't the best sleeper then I can understand why the thought of having a second makes you want to go take a nap right now. Yes, you will lose some sleep, but it won't be forever, or even for long if you're willing to work towards establishing healthy sleep habits with your little ones. We've worked towards that goal since day one with both our children and it has been so beneficial for everyone. Now at almost 11 months postpartum with my second child, we all get a full night's sleep. It has been that way since my daughter was around 3/4 months. It can be done, I promise. :) We've used a modified version of Babywise and Moms on Call and have had great success!

3) Your Eldest Will Not Be Neglected

Before my daughter arrived I was so worried that my son would feel neglected once his little sister was on the scene. He was only 18 months old when she was born and I had always stayed at home with him. Neglect really needs to be defined here though. Yes, your eldest child will for sure have times when he/she can't have exactly what they want or need right at that very second but that doesn't qualify neglect. No, instead they will begin to learn the important lesson of patience. Instant gratification is a dangerous thing that has developed in the modern world. Of course, I'm not talking about genuine time-sensitive needs. Although there will be times when both your children seem to NEED you at the exact same moment, you will learn to prioritize. If you're concerned about your older child feeling left out and that they might be struggling to adjust, then quality time is a really powerful tool in rectifying that. You can find more tips regarding this in THIS post that I wrote addressing toddler jealousy.

4) You Don't Have to 'Lose' Yourself

I've come to realize that it isn't motherhood itself that leads women to 'lose themselves'. It is the busyness of life. It is the result of never stopping to take care of yourself. However, motherhood does lend itself to this simply due to the nature of the job. So, be aware and proactive. Treat yourself kindly and extend grace to everyone. Figure out some way so that you can have time to just breathe and relax. Learn what makes you feel fulfilled and then pencil some time in to work on that. Postpartum struggles are not uncommon but they can lead to much more challenging things like postpartum depression if they're not dealt with appropriately.

5) You Will Have Enough Love For Both of Them

This. This is the number one thing that constantly crossed my mind when preparing for the birth of my daughter. How on EARTH could I possibly love a second child without taking love away from my first? How could I love someone that I hadn't even met yet as much as I already loved my son? Well, here's the truth, mama:
This is something you're just going to have to trust me on. There is no describing or explaining it fully. It just happens. You hold that baby in your arms while your older child snuggles into your side and your heart will feel like it could explode with all the love you feel. Your love grows. It just does. And it is one of the most wonderful and inexplicable things I have ever had the privilege to experience.

Mamas of two or more, what things did you worry about when expecting subsequent children. Now that we've got two, I will say that the thought of having a third is not nearly so scary...except that we'll officially be outnumbered, ha!

Christine Keys          
Motherhood & Parenting Blogger

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What's In My Bag!

I'm linking up with the Momfessionals blog for a little Show and Tell Tuesday action. Today's post is.... What's in my bag!

For starters.... my bag itself. It is one of my favorite purses or bags ever. I got it from Target last year and I love it so much. Unfortunately, they don't have in in stores or online anymore so I can't tell you how to get your own. 

But isn't she a beauty? I love all the details of the strap and the weaving and the tassel. Also, it's giant so it can hold the whole world. On the way home from Thailand, I used it as my only carry-on and packed my backpack in my suitcase because it was soooo much easier. 

This post actually catches me at a good purse time! I've been keeping it fairly organized since I got home from Thailand. (I won't lie to you.... I did throw away some receipts and trash before I took the picture though...)

So I've got my $2 sunglasses from Target.... big and fat ones, my favorites.

The M&Ms are for rewards for Archer for going potty when we are away from the house.

And of course, #boymom, I've got an action figure and a truck to help keep the two year old occupied when needed. 

The grey polka dot zip pouch is for holding my feminine toiletries .... a girl's gotta be prepared.

My pocket Bible

and I typically have a current book in my bag. Right now I'm reading "Of Mess and Moxie" by Jen Hatmaker.... It's amazing and you should get your own here: (aff link) >>>> Of Mess And Moxie<<<<

In my turquoise and gold zipper pouch I keep a little notebook, pens and headphones.

Yes, I have seasick bands in my purse.... because you never know when you're going to be on the water. Or I just have them in there from when I did a travel agent tour a couple weeks ago on a Carnival Cruise ship. 

I have a Caroline Cobb CD that Fun Jen just sent me that I keep forgetting to put in my car but I'm super excited about. 

And a random pink golf pencil.

And finally, I have my wrist wallet. I love this so much. I got it in Thailand and I don't know how I've ever lived without one. I love it because it can hold all the essentials (cards, id, phone, and an extra set of earphones) so I can just grab it when I don't need the giant bag. 

 Also, not pictured because I'm working on a separate post for this, but I recently started bullet journaling and I've been keeping it in my bag too!More to come about that!

So there you go! That's what's in my bag! 

Read my past Show and Tell Posts:

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Thailand 2017, Part 3

(Psssst.... If you missed the first parts you can catch up here: Part 1 and Part 2)

Monday was one of my favorite days of our trip because I was able to see first-hand what Kyle and the teams he leads gets to be a part of. In a way, it made me feel really close to him and get to be a part of the big-picture of the mission of Lifevesting.

We spent the majority of Monday working in a local elementary school with a team from the church at Nong Nae. The church and Lifevesting teams host ESL camps for the children. The night before, we had a planning meeting with Gift and Dui at our hotel. I asked Dui and Gift to share with us why this is such a big deal and how ESL can actually help further the work of the Gospel in this area. They talked about how for a long time, while being Christian is legal it is very unpopular. Christians do not have a good reputation in the community and because of this they weren't given very many open doors in the community and it has squelched interest in the community. BUT once teams started expressing willingness to work in the schools with their children, they started to see quite a change. Doors are being opened and this ESL work is literally changing this communities view of Christianity.

We spent the first part of the morning singing songs and going over some basic English. I loved that the songs we were teaching them literally were them learning the words "God is love." 

 After that, we broke into smaller groups and each had something different that we worked on. My group was "opposites". I had flash cards and we played a game to learn the opposite words. 

 We took a break for lunch back at the church building (where again amazing women had prepared a feast for us.... there was not a meal we did not feast!). And after lunch we went back to school. We finished up our groups and then there was some large group teaching time about culture but using the correct English terms. They ended the afternoon with some sports games with the kids.

(my name in Thai)

It was a very full and fulfilling day and we wore ourselves out loving on those kids. Any love we did.... every minute of it. I just kept thinking, this right here is good solid Gospel work. So thankful to get to be a part of it. 

We went back to our resort to shower and rest before going to dinner. For dinner we went to a restaurant that was new to even Gift and Dui. It was kind of a "hip" restaurant and the food was very artsy.

(This is our, "We're tired and jet-lagged faces")

(my pineapple slushy was amazing! and can you see that fruit in the background?)

After dinner we went by 7 Eleven for some snacks and laundry detergent to wash our clothes in the sink. Some of us also got Tiger Balm because it is so so cheap there. In fact, if you are ever in Thailand you should stock up because of how much more it costs in America.

Ha! Of course I found this book at the 7 Eleven.

Such a great day to be a part of on our trip.

This trip to Thailand was with Lifevesting International. LVI is a missions organization committed to helping National pastors move the Gospel forward all over the world by resourcing them with discipleship training, boots on the ground ministry and short term trips, and relationship building. We would love for you to be a part of it with us! To join our monthly email list, email me at To find out more information about how you can partner with us and support this ministry, you can email me or visit the website at

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