Monday, September 15, 2014

Judah || My Lion Turns 3










You are wild and wonderful!!! My lion-hearted baby - roaring and marching to the beat of your
own drum since the day you were born. There are not enough words in the English language to tell you
how greatly I love you. I'm glad God chose you for me - and me for you. (birth story)

I didn't know how much I was going to enjoy having you and your brother, Zay, so close together, but
God knew. Best surprise of our lives (miracle story). You two are inseparable. Mistaken for twins by
the public eye multiple times a week - you are the peanut butter to Isaiah's jam - so it makes sense.
I pray you always have each other.

You are strong-willed, determined, friendly, out-going - making friends wherever you go - smiling all
the while. You have a knack for memorization, a magnet for disaster, and the cutest, little "man" voice
that makes me laugh. But when you reeeeeeally want something you use this tiny, manipulative, baby
voice that none of us can resist. You'd think it would get old. But no.

Your name means "PRAISED - FIERY ONE"... and I think it's fitting.

I can't believe you are THREE today. You still seem so "baby" to me. But you like to remind me on
a daily basis that you are NOT the baby - and that the REAL baby is inside my belly button. I'm glad
God gave us all this time with you as our "little one" - it is ALWAYS a JOY to be with you, learn
from you, watch you grow!!!

I love you so much.
Happy Birthday, J-baby XO


- momma





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Friday, September 12, 2014

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread




I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when we slide a pan of this zucchini bread mix into the oven.
The cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg and maple syrup - it smells like fall! I usually end up burning the
tips of my fingers as I try to "gingerly" slide a piece out of the pan well before it has cooled - so
that I can slather on some grassfed butter and celebrate Thanksgiving in my heart!

I always make two loaves - because the first one is mainly just for sampling purposes of course.
Actually, this bread freezes well (3-4 weeks) and I like to have a loaf or two in the freezer...
to make me and my family happy!!!

______________________________________________

Preheat over to 350 and grease two bread pans //

Mix together:

2 C. finely shredded (drained if needed) zucchini
1/2 C. melted butter (coconut or sunflower oil works well too)
1 C. sugar (or 1 1/2 C. pure maple syrup)
4 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

Then slowly add:

3 C. all-purpose GLUTEN-FREE flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)

Combine all ingredients well, pour into bread pans, and bake for 45-50 minutes.







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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Girls' Night Out || Arbonne + Tapas + Sangria

Last week, my sister, Nellie, came to town and brought all of her "Arbonne-ness" with her!
I knew we were going to be pampered, but I didn't know that I was going to like it so much that
I was going to sniff the towels we used from that night for many days after because they smell like
all of that "pure + safe + beneficial" wonder! And now you are never going to look at me
the same way again. I also made a Christmas wish list like a freakin' 6 year old.

I'm thinking I should get out more.

I've raved about Arbonne before, and I'll do it again. If you haven't tried their products - we can't
be friends. Ok, that was harsh, and I don't mean it - but you guys!!! It's some good stuff.

It was seriously so much fun to experience Arbonne with some dear friends of mine! At one point headbands were passed out and I felt like I was in Junior High again - wishing everyone could just spend
the night and stay up til 3 in the morning talking about NSYNC, lip gloss, and our latest crushes!!! Sigh.

Girls' Night Out - let's do it again, ladies!!!

P.S. If you need a great consultant or just want to chat about options, opportunities, or how you can
make your towels smell divine = talk to Nellie!!! E-mail: nellie.simoneau@gmail.com || Facebook

Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson on Grooveshark









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Monday, September 8, 2014

InStyle with the Bump || Dark + Floral

"This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, InStyle,
Vogue, and Elle, but all opinions are my own." #pmedia #inspirefallfashion // full disclosure

_____________________________________________________

I believe that "fashion" is for all. It's a natural, creative desire within us that radiates forth - bursting
into sequenced pumps or classic flats, layers of cotton or ruffles in satin, boot cuts or skinnies forever.
We all have our own unique style and drive and I believe it is to be CELEBRATED!

I am currently a 36 weeks pregnant hot mess.

Confession: the other day I seriously texted my husband, "I want to be so cute, but I just feel so
big and large and round!"
- with some very sad emoticons for all-intensive, visual purposes. I think we as
women, myself included - right smack in the front of the line, can be so critical of ourselves when we
could be taking all that God-given, beautiful, radiate energy and using it to ROCK what we've got!

Preaching to myself: life is too short to not embrace the fashionista within!

From size 0 to plus - from tiny to voluptuous - from petite to tall - from maternity to post partum -
raise your glasses... because the Fall fashion magazines are dripping with ideas for YOU. Yes, you!


I ran to Target (because I ALWAYS run to Target!) and picked up the September issues of
InStyle and Elle. Fun fact, right now if you buy any two (InStyle, Elle or Vogue) fashion magazines
through September 13th, 2014 you get a $5 Target gift card
. Um - that's a pumpkin spice latte on your
way out the door! Read and sip, my friends - read. and. sip!

All the dark colors paired with floral immediately caught my eye! *Swoon*
So this Fall I'm going vintage-classy and I'm taking "the bump" with me!!!





black stretch turtle neck // Target (similar)
floral skirt // Carol Anderson
moccasin flats // Nine West
slouch hat // American Eagle
rings // Target

Be encouraged, be inspired, be who you were created to be and dress accordingly! There are lots
of beautiful ideas out there (hey thanks - InStyle, Elle, Vogue!), so I'm going to highly recommend that
you start at Target and get that PSL with your $5 gift card on the way out the door!!!

InStyle || TWITTER + FACEBOOK + INSTAGRAM











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Friday, September 5, 2014

Bosom Friends in a Homosexual Culture


The other day my husband's buddy was texting me details about this "guys' movie night" they were
planning, and I told this friend that it was ALL I could do to not make some stupid "man date"
comment. He baited me though. Told me that he moved a "love seat" to his basement, and the
next thing I knew I was texting back, "leave room for the Holy Spirit!"

*face palm*

It's strange, that even I, as a well-formed, pretty secure Christian, have trouble separating myself
from a culture that promotes and supports homosexual behavior. It's like I am weirded-out or something
by the idea of a man (or woman) having an intimate, obviously non-homosexual, relationship with
another man (woman). I feel like my own brain has been tapped and warped
- with the ideas of true, deep friendship being distorted.

Because obviously girls can't be friends with girls without something funny going on.

Makes me a little crazy. Culture, you will NOT have your way with me.
Because I am a woman who believes in the "Davids & Jonathans" of this world.

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved
him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe
he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt."

- 1 Samuel 18:1-4

My husband and I were talking recently about how important, even needed, it is for us to have rich
friendships with people of the same sex. We seem to have this innate need, desire, to be loved, affirmed,
supported, cheered-on by members that share our gender.

I think we all know as women that "You look great!" - coming from a man means a lot,
but those words coming from a woman that we admire, look up to, trust... mean a whole lot more.

Having someone that understands OUR world so intimately (manhood, womanhood, fatherhood,
motherhood) to hold our hand, our heart, as we finish this journey here on earth is a priceless craving
that is beautiful when satisfied.

I didn't think anything of it growing up. I have three sisters and we always played with each others'
hair, rubbed each others' backs, cuddled in each others' beds. We held hands, got ready in the same
bathroom, and just LIVED, as if it were normal - a rich, intimate experience with each other.

Now, I find myself walking through the mall with my sister and wonder if people think we are
a "couple" having a baby together or something. Once again, *face palm*.

I swear I'm not twelve.

Recently one of my best friends from college came to visit me and it did my heart SO MUCH GOOD!
Truly a kindred spirit, another sister, another intimate experience in a same-sex relationship that
enriches my life, makes me a better woman. The world might smirk and suggest that there is "more"
going on than meets the eye, but that's only because it doesn't remember and wants to distort
the beauty of intimacy found when man meets man or woman meets woman.


Makes sense though. So often the most beautiful, noble, natural ideas that God has instilled,
created for us to enjoy and live out here in our human experience are mutilated and propagated with
a twisted agenda. And we all become a little uncomfortable. Which is why I probably make stupid
"man date" comments - even when I KNOW the TRUTH and WANT my own husband to have
"David and Jonathan" experiences!!! Heck, I want (need!) the female version of that!

I am a woman who believes in the "Anne Shirleys and Diana Barrys" of this world."

"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."
- L.M. Montgomery

So I'm reminding myself to LIVE in this world, but NOT be of it.
The world can take it's skewed ideology and stupid "man date" jokes and just... you know.

Remember the intended beauty. Seek the intended beauty. Live the intended beauty.

Long live, bosom friends.













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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

35 Weeks || Boy or Girl?!


I first felt this baby kick on April 27th, 2014 - the day that John Paul II was canonized.
It was a Sunday, we were at Church, and I just knew that it must be a BOY.
"John Paul" is totally our boy name. It's probably a sign.

Last week we were at the park with our kids and this little, stranger boy named Matthew was swinging
next to me on the swing. He told me that I had a GIFT FROM GOD in my tummy, that he thought it was
a GIRL, and that we should name her "Lily." I was like, "Whaaaaa was that?" Creepy, prophet
kid or no?! "Bella Jane" is totally our girl name and it means "beautiful gift from God". The name
"Lily" was definitely in the running - so his comment got my attention and made me think twice.
It's probably a sign.

Then I went in to see my chiropractor and he asked about what names we had picked out. And you
want to know what he said?! He said his middle name was Matthew and that HIS mother named him
after Pope John Paul II! Shut the front door. It's probably a sign.

And then there are all the random strangers who are always so delighted to hear that we do NOT
know the baby's gender
. You'd think people would just say "congrats" and continue their way down the
grocery store aisle, but no. They stop, smile, start searching their brain for that one wives' tale that
they SWEAR by so that they can apply it to my situation. "If you are more round it is a GIRL!"

Funny. The last person I ran into said "If you are more round it is a BOY!"

Wives' tales - like a serious game of Telephone gone bad.

Honestly, I don't put any weight into any of it. I just think it is EXCITING! And we, especially me as
the pregnant one, are so excited that we are in the home stretch (both literally and physically!).

5 more weeks, baby. Who are you!?

The other night, as I was tucking my boys in bed - orchestrating, listening, "amen-ing" through
their innocent bedtime prayers - I had a moment. A "this is all so real, and baby number 3 is
really happening
!" moment. We so longed for this baby- the chance to welcome another little one
into our hearts and home - and next month we are going to kiss the face of that sweet gift!

I can't even wrap my mind around it really. I know I'm pregnant and all - boy, do I know it! But it is
all still so surreal. I'm here washing baby clothes, buying wipes and lotion, stocking up on nursing pads
and diapers, and it STILL seems dream-like. Like I'm playing house or something.


Isaiah and Judah have been taking turns sleeping in the baby crib every night.
Nathan and I keep "oooo-ing and awwwww-ing" over them like we've never been parents before
or something. It's pathetically beautiful, folks. We are so THOSE parents.

I took the boys out to buy a new book to read to the baby over the next couple of weeks and in the
hospital when they come to visit for the first time. I think I'm getting a little teary-eyed thinking
about it all now. Shhheeesh.

5 more weeks. Cast your vote. Boy or girl?
Try not to think about the "signs" I received (LOL). I know it's tempting.










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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Year We Weren't Going to Homeschool



The other day my Judah was adamant about going to REAL school.
He said, and I quote, "YOU stay home and be homeschooled, MOM!"

We weren't going to homeschool this year.

My plan was just to continue with our normal routine - nothing organized. Just life as we
live it - unorganized, spontaneous, raw - doing all the "pre-school" things without calling it "pre-k".
A wild and romantic approach to learning disguised in the every day activities.

But every perfect stranger we have run into in the past two weeks has eagerly asked my children,
"SO DID YOU START SCHOOL?!?!?!" My kids would just look at them with blank stares and respond
with something off subject and random like, "Hi, my name is Isaiah. I'm four."

My husband and I, being second generation homeschooling parents, both have just felt that
"there is time". MORE than enough time to get everything, all the grades, all the homework, done.
So why rush, especially with our boys, into starting anything organized? We believe that the homeschool
classroom is NOT to mirror the mainstream classroom (in regards to time frame and structure),
but to be a space that can grow, bend, create, fail, move forward, fall back, cry,
celebrate with our children - at their own pace.

I didn't think it was time, but my children said otherwise.

They decided to set the pace. And they decided to do it THIS year.



So we have begun. Sooner than I imagined we would. It's a lot of "play" with purpose -
sorting, stacking, talking about colors, shapes, and the ABCs. A good friend was so generous to lend
us lots of fun, Montessori-like classroom learning tools that we are devouring. With our brains. We are
reading a lot, listening to audio books in the car, memorizing Scripture, tearing through those Kumon
early-learning workbooks, watching really educational things on Netflix...

like Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Ha.


We are still finding our rhythm, our groove. But I'm convinced that running to Starbucks is a good
intro to Social Studies for the mind of an (almost) 3 and 4 year old. So we're going with it.


Here are a few resources that
I am loving this year... SO FAR!

KUMON
MONTESSORI
CHARLOTTE MASON
FIVE IN A ROW














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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'm Not Another "Mommy Hair Cut"


I can barely remember it anymore - as my life is now a haze of breastfeeding, potty training,
cutting food into animal shapes, and rescuing my children from imaginary "funny faces" (for real) -
but I know there was a time before "momma" - a time where I existed as

just me.

I love being a mother. I've said it before, and I'll sing it for you again (you must imagine
my karaoke voice): THIS is the best decision, adventure of MY LIFE, and every day that I wake up
to their sweet, begging-for-breakfast faces, I thank the good Lord that He chose me for them.
And them for me. "Folgers in your cup" has got nothing on that!

A couple weekends ago I went to visit my mom for her birthday. Just me. I left Nathan and the kids
at home to fair on leftovers and attend Mass on their own. One minute my husband's telling me,

"I don't know how single dudes with kids do it! I can't get anything done!"
and the next: "The kids were PERFECT in church!"

Yea I don't know, but at point he moaned: "Come home!"
I think it was just to make me feel wanted. Not sure. Where was I?!

While visiting my mom, my dad asked me, "So do you feel free?" I knew immediately what he
meant. "Free" because I didn't have the kids - the spouse - the responsibility. Of course, yes, but
I feel free all the time. And THANKFUL that I know to take full advantage of every opportunity to be
fully alive in other areas of my life that bring me so much joy! Thankful for a husband who encourages
me to spread my wings and fly in all the different directions, pursuing my latest passions and interests.

It all points HOME for me.

For as long as I can remember, I've had this slight, nothing major, aversion to such terms as
"mommy hair cut", "Moms' Night Out", "mom van", "mommy guilt" etc. Oh I'm guilty
of trying to use them - nonchalantly and all - like the cool kids. Everyone uses terms like that and it
seems so natural. And don't worry, if you've invited me to a "Moms' Night Out" or told me about your
latest "mommy hair cut", I hold no judgment or ill-feeling towards you. I'm just saying.

But before all of this - I was just Brittany.

And I still am.

Of course I am a mom. Forever. But I am also a woman, wife, sister, daughter, friend, gardener,
blogger, adventure seeker, coffee drinker, mentor, ministry leader, listener, educator, Instagram addict!

So I get my hair cut to reflect my inner rockstar, I drive a minivan because I love all the features,
I go out with the girls (who happen to mostly be moms), I never feel guilty about indulging in the
moment, and I wear yoga pants because I want to... not because it is the uniform of moms everywhere.

I believe with my whole heart that in BEING all of this
- being what makes me Brittany -
truly makes me a better mom in the end.

I guess I have just been living the decision to not let one path define all of me.
Mainly because I want to fully live it ALL - all the time. We have one life, right?
No time for back burners.

God made each of us with so many different, unique talents and interests...
Yes, we are "mom", but who else are we?!









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Thursday, August 21, 2014

When Your Spouse Changes

Nathan grabbed a pad of paper and asked me to follow him.
Like an annoying 8 year old I kept asking, "Yea, but what's the paper for?"

"You'll see," he said with a grin.


I think part of the beauty of the human experience is change. From the simple to the complex, we are
not confined to those scrunchy socks we wore in the 90's or the insecure, out-spoken, wild, *insert
adjective* image of ourselves that we are convinced is true. Time, experience, influences have their
way with us, and year after year we morph again and again, in butterfly-like glory.
Stagnancy seems near impossible. We change.

He slowly ripped out two pieces of paper and handed one to me.

"We are both going to write down 5 ways that we have seen each other
CHANGE since we got married,"
he told me.

My eyes grew wide and I laughed at him; suddenly uncomfortable that I was about to be examined
so closely - fearful that he would see the changes that I don't even want to look at myself.
But I knew it was a good idea, kind of wishing I had come up with it myself, and began to write.

We were both so quiet, so serious - smiling to ourselves occasionally - nodding our heads.

The words we penned were ones of glory, achievement, growth. Written applause laced with
gratitude - we've grown, we've changed - and we were celebrating each other.

I think the pessimist in me was afraid my husband was going to write down, "My wife's stomach now
resembles more of a road map - more stretch marks than ever!"
But, no. Ha! The conversation went
well beyond the "5 ways" - leading us both to examine and share what we saw about ourselves too.

It was raw, honest, funny, endearing...
made me love my spouse all the more.


Honestly, even though I think change is beautiful, I'm not a big fan of the idea in general. I prefer
routine, boring, the predictable ebb and flow of day to day life with the people I love. Perhaps that is
why I was uncomfortable at first with the idea of writing it all down. Fearful that it would make me
anxious or sad that time has had its way with us.

I know that the years will hold changes that we love and changes that weigh heavy on our hearts,
but today... today is good. And in writing down the "5 ways" we found much joy - relishing in the
words of encouragement and affirmation we had for each other.

Change is inevitable. I hope we (and you!) find much to celebrate throughout the years!

Go grab a pad of paper?



_________________________________________
The Lily Field doesn't end here... praise the Lord!!!
FACEBOOK. || INSTAGRAM. || TWITTER.
Follow on Bloglovin



























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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Childrenisms

Drama drama drama. I don't care who says what - boys are just as dramatic, if not worse,
than girls. I mean seriously, the other day Isaiah skinned his knee ever-so-slightly at the splash pad
and absolutely refused to be consoled or coaxed into playing in the water. FOR AN HOUR.
I texted my husband to tell him about my cheerful afternoon with our 4 year old,

and he responds with: "poor kid."

Poor kid?! Poor momma. This kind of drama could drive a parent to drink.
And I'm not talking about sparkling grape juice from a sippy cup either.

Judah, our almost 3 year old, goes back and forth between using a tiny, baby voice and a
man voice. And when I say "man voice" - think post puberty. It's deep and usually accompanied
with a bloated chest and hands on the hips. I'd love to know his source of inspiration.

Not too long ago he was giving Nathan the fake cry with a heavy side of the "boo boo" lip.
Nathan just shook his head and gave him the "boo boo" lip right back...

Judah: "Is that what we do when people are SAD!?!"
Nathan:
Judah: "NO!!! It's NOT!"

I love these moments in our history of being parents. Nathan and I just looked at each other
knowing that we were both trying our hardest not to burst into hysterical laughter at the
antics of this child. Solidarity, folks. Parenthood is where it's at.


Me: "Guys, don't put the play-doh in your mouth. It has wheat in it."
Judah: "Whaaaaa?! You mean it's not gluten-free?!"

Isaiah: "Mom, we're just drinking the paint water."
Me: "WHAT?! NO! That's disgusting."
Judah: "But we liiiiiiike it!"
Me:

Nathan: "What's up my peeps!?"
Judah: "I am NOT a pee pee."
Nathan: "No, I said PEEPS."
Judah: "Oh. I'm still not a pee."
Nathan: "Buddy. Peeps - like PEOPLE!"
Judah: "Well, I am a boy."


Judah, holding up a puzzle piece, quizzing Isaiah...
"What's this one, buddy?"
Isaiah: "Um. A coxapuss?"
Me: "We need to practice saying OCTOPUS. Right now.

Isaiah: "When you die, will mom be a mermaid?"
Nathan: "No. No, she will be a widow."
Isaiah: "Ooooooh that's right. Not a mermaid?"


Judah: "Is it taco night?"
Me: "No, it's gyro night - we're having lamb."
Judah: "Like, Mary had a wittle wamb?"
Me: "Yea."
Judah: "Like, I'm Jesus' wittle wamb?"
Me: "Oh boy."
Hashtag: how vegetarians are made.


Here's a little conversation I had with my 3 year old niece...
Zoey: "Aunt Birdy, is there poop in your belly?"
Brittany: "No, that would be a baby."

Me: "Guys, we're leaving. I need to swing by Starbucks and get some mint tea."
Isaiah: "And I want a decaf."
Me:
Isaiah: "But I love decaf, mom!"


Judah: "When I grow up and become a monkey..."
Nathan:
Judah: "Yea, I'm going to be a monkey."










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