the cake monster.

We came. He saw. He devoured.

What do you get when you give a one-year-old free range to destroy a chocolate cake?
 See pictures for the answer. 

He started out very gently patting the cake wondering why mom and dad gave him something so big and then once he figured out they weren't going to take it away--he conquered that cake.

The funniest part was when he got to the second layer of frosting.  He looked up at us like "Wow, I really get more?!"

Going to a one-year-old's birthday party made me rediscover simple things: the wonderful taste of cake, how exciting presents and parties can be, and the joy of children books {he got The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle--beautiful illustrations, don't you think?}. Such a perfect little party.

Happy Last Day of April!

confession: i've always wanted to be a bride.

This is how long I've dreamed about being a bride. I think this picture was taken when I was about 7. Let me break down it down for you:

I wore that white play dress for probably two years straight in the summer. It had rips in the hem and a big stain on the side, but I didn't care...I was a bride. To me, it was a gown, in my imagination, it had a train and was made of satin + sparkles. I loved that dress so much I remember getting up in the morning in the summer and having my mom zip me into it. I wouldn't take it off again until I had to change into my pajamas at night {or when I would change into shorts to ride my bike around the block}.

I definitely had the details down. I even had my arm sticking out so that I can walk down the aisle with my dad {my aisle back then was a diagonal line in the living room}.  I think for those two summers I had maybe a dozen weddings. Some were simple, between me and my imagination, little made up weddings that I'd have when making my bed and using the blanket wrapped around me for a train. 

Others were more elaborate--for one, my sister printed out a program and also played piano as I walked down the "aisle". She would sit me next to the computer in the kitchen and we'd decide what font to use, what hymn we should sing, etc.  Another wedding of mine had a reception of Kool-aid and graham crackers downstairs after the ceremony. I went so far as requesting that everyone dress up in their finest clothes in order to witness my blessed event. {My dad even wore a tie, which I didn't realize back then, but that was a big deal--he's not a tie wearer.}

I remember once my father said he wanted to invite his friend, Steve. I, of course, was mortified thinking that a person outside my family would come into my little world and watch me get fake married. My dad even went as far as pretending like he was of the phone inviting him to the wedding {With me hollering in the background "Dad, hang up the phone!!"}.

I am ready to be a bride. I'm ready to wear the white dress and have my father walk me down the aisle to my future husband. I've been dreaming about the wedding, evidently since I was 7.  Some of the details have changed...like,

Instead of:

*Playing the piano, Laura will be the matron of honor proudly standing up front next to me.
*Being the pastor or best man {never the groom, heaven forbid}, Kyle will be playing the role of groomsman and brother of the bride...the only one who can fill that role.
*My living room, I'll be walking down the aisle of my church overwhelmed by the sight of all the people surrounding me and the sight of my groom.
*Kool-Aid and graham crackers, we'll be serving our guests an actual meal {chicken breast and beef medallions, to be exact}.
*a make-believe groom named Seth or Matt, I'll be marrying Chad. A man who I know is real and who will always fill our marriage with love.

My 8-year-old self thought that the wedding was the perfect day. The day I'd get to wear white, walk with my father, carry a bouquet of flowers. My 21-year-old self now knows that the wedding is just the beginning of our life together.  I can look past the one day and realize that we are building the foundation of our life as husband + wife.

P.S. The smile that is on that little 8-year-old's face will be just as big as the one I'll have two weeks from now--I will have all my teeth though:)


Dear UJ: 12 months ago...

{our first meeting}

Hey little boy,

That's what you are. Practically. You are no longer my sister's little peanut who loved curling up into a ball when you slept in my arms. You are one year old. Today. I know it's just another day to you, but to your family, it's an event. Our lives changed so much when you made your appearance. We love having you here in our world. You light up our faces and souls just by smiling and laughing with us. We love seeing you get bigger and seeing you discover your world.

I can't wait for your birthday party tonight...your mom knows how to be the perfect hostess.

I love you, UJammer!


wishlist: spring purse

I would like all three of these please.

Since that's not a possibility {no Daddy Warbucks living here, you know}, I'll say these are my inspiration for finding the perfect spring purse. I've been carrying around my boring {albeit practical} black winter purse, but now it's time for a change. I'm on a mission to find one that will work for spring and fall.

01. Flower Ruffle Purse in Sandy Brown from shop ruche
02. Bea Shoulder Bag from piperlime.com
03. Sailor Knot Bag from downeast basics

All three have the features I like--functional and pretty with the must-have handle length {they all look like they would hang just right} and the enclosure I'm looking for {I'm not a fan of the one-snap closure}.

on realizing.

{Happy Earth Day to you! I love that little ones are already learning how cool it is to grow a garden.}

Over the past couple weeks, so much has been going on. You know the drill: wedding planning, school, car shopping, packing.  All these events have lead me to realize some things.
I've realized:

:a v-6 engine will give you more acceleration, but not very good gas mileage. Chad and I are deep into car shopping and compare everything to what Edmunds says or the Kelly Blue Book Value is. {Oh, all this car talk...} The car that is the front runner at the moment is a Ford Escape--it has everything we need at a price that is appealing, but it's a Ford. Ford's have never tickled my fancy in the past, but we'll see.

:I only get to see my kindergartners 4 more times before I graduate. Will soak up every minute of those 16 hours. I will miss walking down the hall like a mama duck leading all her babies.

:this time last year my sister was still pregnant. Now, I get to look forward to UJ's first birthday party next Wednesday. I can't believe how fast a year of life can go.

:speaking of birthdays, it's my older bro's birthday today! 28 Birthday wishes go out to him.

:the reruns of Gilmore Girls on ABC Family is getting to one of my favorite episodes, They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They? (I like watching those GG ladies when I'm doing homework or cleaning: my alone time.) This is the one with the dance marathon--the beginning of Jess + Rory.

Today, I'm conquering the wedding to-do list before it conquers me. I've got to go to Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabrics {I'm surprised we're not on a first name basis yet} and get paper, gift bags, and ribbon.

And would it be so terrible if I used a Target gift card that I got from a bridal shower to buy shampoo and conditioner? I hope not.

photo source


hopping on the bandwagon

Allow me to introduce said bandwagon I'm hopping on: 30 Rock.

With the help on Instant netflix {seriously, a great investment}, I started watching 30 Rock and I haven't stopped. I know that I'll be the only one in our house who will watch it {Chad has a disdain for Alec Baldwin}, but at least I will be able to watch and enjoy. It's the perfect thing to have on when I'm cleaning, or doing art projects for kindergarten. Plus, I think Kenneth is hilarious.  

30 Rock also gives me a chance to watch Tracy Morgan, a.k.a. Brian Fellow. Laura showed me a video of Brian Fellow's Safari Planet a couple years ago, and we laughed so hard when it was on. Haven't seen it? Below is a SNL segment featuring Mr. Fellow courtesy of hulu:

Thanks for brightening up my day, Netflix!


5.15: jane's salsa and sandy's jam.

Today, I thought I'd share one of the parts of the reception that I'm looking forward to the most. The favors are so special to me because they are something that is meaningful and truly took so much effort to produce. My mom and Chad's mom made their signature foods: my mom made her strawberry jam, and Chad's mom made her medium salsa.

I love the idea of giving our guests something homemade--something that truly comes for our hearts. I've had my mom's jam for the past 15+ years of my life and it is so so delicious. Jane, too, was amazing by buying all the ingredients in order to make the freshest salsa {seriously, she went to the farmer's market and picked out everything}. I've got some very prime examples of how wives should act when I look at these two women.

I put the finishing touches on the little 4 ounce jars by putting our colors {pink + orange} on the top of them and trimming them up with my mother's pinking shears. I never knew the power of pinking shears until project wedding came about. They are the perfect scissors for people like me who rush through projects--they just have a way of correcting those little mistakes. The good thing about the favors is that they are done. Totally. Now they are just sitting on the dining room table, waiting to be brought out to the reception site.

We're cooking now, though. All that's left is getting our marriage license, wrap the wedding party gifts, contact the baker, ... we'll get it all done. 25 days left!


5.15: can there really only be 30 days left?

That's it. There's only 30 days left in my Knot countdown. It's gotten to the point where I want the wedding to just be here. All the gifts I have for my bridesmaids--I want them to have. All the paper lanterns I have sitting in a box--I want them to be hung up. All the things still on the list--I want them checked off.

But, there are still bridal shower thank-yous to be written, fabric to be cut, jelly beans to be bought, programs to be made, schedules to be created, dress fittings to attend,...among other little tasks. 

Honestly, I would be ready to get married to Chad in two days if I had to. No, I wouldn't have my dress or his suit, no people but our families would be there, we'd be eating at my in-laws house....but I'd be okay with that.

Past brides, how did you get through these last 30 days with your sanity, patience, and focus?


onto the week...

{oh my, could she be more gorgeous?! source}

I do believe that ms. Audrey here was one of the pioneers of the dark eye + nude lip combo trend I've been reading so much about in this month's glamour magazine. Will attempt to master the look.

I have so much to look forward to this week I can barely stand it.

On 4/12-4/17's schedule:

*After class tonight, Chad and I are going car shopping. Since we can't drive my parent's car anymore, we're going to look for a SUV-ish car today...wish us luck!

*This Tuesday will be brought to you by Glee. I'm trying so hard to give Glee top priority in the house, but LOST is on that night as well, and I don't think I'll be able to convince Chad to watch Glee instead {there's always online...}

*Thursday brings us to the 30 day mark of the wedding countdown. We're very much looking forward to having the countdown be at 0.

*I'm also that much closer to graduating...the weeks ahead will be filled to the brim with papers, plans, projects, due dates, and evaluations.

Can't wait to fill you all in on the details!


on the calendar.

May 7th: Iron Man 2     Babies
May 14th: Robin Hood
June 18th: Toy Story 3

December 22nd: The Green Hornet

I'm no movie buff, but here are some flicks coming out later this year that I'm getting excited about.  It's funny how three of them are based on books that I've already read {yea, for original thoughts... j.k.} but it still makes me happy to know that I have 8 dates with Chad already lined up. I don't know if he'll see Babies with me though, since I'll probably be squealing {I'm a girl, it's what we do}.

The other nice thing about this list...only 3 fall in the pre-married state of us. I don't know if I've ever been so excited to go see Twilight! {Would it be totally dorky if at the ticket booth I said, "My husband and I would like tickets to Eclipse"....it's okay, you don't have to answer.}

Any exciting movies I've left off the list?



While driving home from work/school today, I was pleasantly surprised to hear this song come up on the cd player: Vivaldi's 'Spring'.

Have you ever had a song move you so much that you are a little sad when it ends? That's what happened to me today when I was listening to Spring. I wasn't going to dare and turn it off, so I let it go on until the last chord was played. It was just me, in the truck, sunglasses on, and smiling.

It was so powerful in that moment...the sun was shining, the wind was coming in through the window.  While it was going on, I was paying more attention to the detailed buds on the trees and the way the breeze sounded. Yes, I did also have a teacher moment that led me to write up a mental lesson plan involving the song + having my kids dance around with scarves.

It's truly a wondrous world we live in. Today, in that moment, I counted my blessings.

P.S. Here's another song that makes me feel good.

rejoicing in the sunshine

If we had no rain, the sunshine would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. -- Charlotte Bronte

This quote has been on my mind so much today. Let's just say there has been some rain in my life and now God's pouring in the sunshine. It's hard for me, when faced with a problem, to not try to fix it. I analyze it, write up and pro/con list and plan the words that I think should be said. I do my best to say what I think a person needs to hear. 
What I fail to do is to give up control and let God take care of it. The sunshine poured into my soul last night when God led me to realize that He's in control of me and all people and that He has the plan. I was finally able to get spiritual rest {Jesus says "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest"}.

The problem with other people's problems is that I become really wrapped up in figuring out a solution. I become absorbed in thinking about how my actions should help bring out the solution.  I have begun to realize that my present is what I need to be thinking about. My present with Chad, how I can be a good wife and woman for him. On May 15th, I will be promising myself to him and our marriage. That commitment is my number 1 priority. When other people's problem get into that relationship, my attention is not solely on my relationship with Chad and my faith in Christ. No longer will that be the case with the most recent spritual problem that has come into my life. It's drained too much time and energy from my faith and my soon-to-be marriage. It's dragged me down to a point where I think about the problem/finding a solution instead of letting God solve it when He deems appropriate. 

So with this new realization that God will handle any and all problems I have taken this to heart and will do my best to make it a reality in my life every single day:

This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.


I know that my Redeemer lives
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead
He lives, my ever-living Head.


i'm living in a pink and orange world.

Wow. For the past couple months, my world has been covered in pink and orange. Everything I look for whether it be online or at the fabric store has been pink and orange. {It's a good thing that I like these colors, otherwise the whole wedding experience would be a drag...} 

A couple weeks ago I started getting flutters in my chest everytime I thought about the wedding day...those flutters have not gone away. It seems like every time I go into our church I'm thinking about the wedding. When I'm walking and going to a pew, I'm thinking about walking down the aisle to Chad while 'Sheep May Safely Graze' is playing in the background.

With 44 days until our wedding, things are coming up more and more quickly. Take next week's to-do's for instance: final pre-marriage meeting with our pastor, taste testing and deciding on a menu, ordering the alcohol for the reception, finishing shower thank-you notes, emailing our photographer, ordering our paper lanterns, and attending my bridal shower/bachelorette party. 

Quite the to-do list, but whenever I think about it, I am just always reminded of something Chad said: We don't have to get everything done at once...  Such wise words, Mr. H.

the birthday boy.

{my guy circa 1985}

It's Chad's birthday today! I'm so amazed that I get to spend every day with this guy and soon I'll be his Mrs.  Tonight we're going to all hang out and play trivia {Chad's game of choice} and then this weekend will be all about celebration!  Here's to you, love...

P.S. You're the settler :)


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