Notes to My Younger Self

2019, Family, Home, Joy, Marriage, Parenting

I wish I could go back, 10 maybe 15 years, for a lot of reasons, and teach myself a few lessons for the road ahead.

Pray more. For others. Pray for people that hurt you. Mentally, emotionally, intently, unintentionally. Just pray.

You don’t have to pretend to agree with anyone. You are entitled to your opinion. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude. We all have differences. That doesn’t make it wrong. As long as your opinions or beliefs are not hurting someone, have them. Own them. Be proud of them.

You will go through pain in life that you never could expect. Don’t close your heart from it and also don’t be ashamed of it. We all go through pain. Some people’s pain we see; we know. Others, we often have no clue. But I know when my pain is the most raw, the last thing I need is someone to treat me like I don’t matter. That’s the worst. So don’t do it to others.

You really will find a whole new level of love when you have children. I could write a book on the things I’ve learned about love and pain since I turned 30. Be ready for the love – and heartache, that comes with parenthood.

When you do become a mom, your heart will change. You will find your focus hones in on little faces that remind you so much of yourself, but also have their own personalities, that couldn’t make you prouder.

Just like you may not be someone’s “cup of tea” your children may not be either. This hurts and is so hard to let settle. Maybe don’t let it settle? But, also don’t let it eat you alive. Protect them. Be in their corner. Be their biggest cheerleader. Love them. Tell them – even if they say “you told me that already, mom.” Tell them again. There will come a day when they need all that love and need to remember how much you said it to them.

Even in your 30’s – adults can be mean. They will be mean. All that “stuff” doesn’t stop because you left high school. And you know what, sometimes, it hurts more than you think it should. No matter what you do, you can’t change people. You can however tell them they hurt you and then, walk away. You will feel better.

Stop apologizing. I am not telling you to be oblivious, but if you genuinely know what you’re doing is right, do it. And don’t apologize.

Your parents won’t agree with everything you do in life. And they will tell you that. But, the moment you make your own decision and tell them your “why” they will see that their hard work paid off. That you listened to them, even when they thought you weren’t. And even if you fail, you are still ready to own it. This only happens 1% of the time. Be ready for it when it does.

Give someone a pep talk (even if it’s yourself). Tell them what they’re doing right. Write them a card – just because. Recognize their “give” so they don’t miss it to.

Friends will change. Your circle will evolve, grow, shrink, look really different. This is not a bad thing. All that stuff I said above? It changes who you are and who you will need and want around you. Pick your tribe, circle, framily based on your heart – not on others and not on society. You will be so thankful for that later.

Don’t be afraid to guard your family. This may seem odd, but let me explain. Your children need someone to stick up for them, until they can do it on their own. If they can do it on their own. Be their voice when they need you to be. And don’t let bring you down. Secondly, guard your marriage and/or your relationships. This is hard. It often takes a backseat to your children and it should, but that does not mean it should sit on the sidelines for 18 years while your children grow. It also doesn’t mean that it’s ok for people to take advantage of your vulnerability or weakness. That is just plain wrong.

Pray. Didn’t I mention that before? Pray at night. Pray in the morning. Pray in the shower. Pray on your way to work. Pray with your kids. Pray with your spouse. Pray, more than just when things are bad. You will see a difference in your outlook on life when you pray.

Listen. You don’t always need to respond to something or someone. Sometimes we just need to listen.

And just when you think your heart couldn’t get any bigger – it will. Adulthood brings a lot of emotions and experiences, but it can also bring more growth. Don’t be afraid to grow.

You know the song “Momma said there’d be days like this?” Yea, there are a lot of them. But, there’s also a lot of good.

Find it. Be it. Spread it. Give it. Teach it. Acknowledge it.


One Year in Our Home

2017, Family, Home, Lifestyle

Today marks one year of being home owners. That’s crazy. I think about this time last year and we were so excited for so many things. I remember sitting in the car with Dan at Howard Hanna’s office after we “signed our life away” and holding this ring of keys and thinking about what was in store for us. Our families thought we were crazy – buying a home and having a baby, within 10 days of each other, and then 6 days later moving. Nah, it’ll be a piece of cake.

I was watering the plants out front last night and Dan was cutting the grass in the back yard. Luke was eating a popsicle on the front porch. I looked around thinking I don’t think I’ll ever leave here. Sure, when people purchase a house for the first time I’m sure they think “it’s just a starter.” But this house holds so many things in just the 365 days of it being ours. This is the only place Toby ever called home. This is a neighborhood that we were strangers to, but neighbors opened their arms and hearts to us at the most devastating moment in our life. These are strangers, that became friends and say to us “we know there’s an angel just for Kelvington Drive.”

You know how people say things happen for a reason? I believe it. I believe before we could even imagine it, this is where we were supposed to be. I believe over the two years (our agent Linda Weithorn is probably nodding her head somewhere while all of you are gasping) of looking and thinking “is it the right time?” the deals that fell through and the details that didn’t align with what we wanted for our family, it was all for a reason.

I have this piece of artwork downstairs in our house that says “May our home always be too small to hold all our friends.” The last year has proven that it is that and beyond – and for that, I’m so grateful.

Thank you to everyone that has visited us in our first year here. We look forward to opening our door (and porch) to many more friends throughout the summer and beyond.

There’s a lot of things that are questionable to me anymore, but this purchase we made a year ago is not one of them.

When I come home at night, it feels right. It feels like home.

Here are a few photos from our first days in our home. ❤


Easter Morning in Heaven 

2017, faith, Family, grief, Home, Joy, loss, Lucas, Marriage, Toby

Last Sunday as we sat in church for Palm Sunday mass, I was overcome with emotion thinking of what Heaven would be like for Easter and what beautiful sites Toby would see this week. 

Can you imagine, seeing Jesus’ face on Easter morning? I cannot, but the thought of my beautiful son having the honor to be in His presence this morning, it takes my breath away. 

We were gifted a tree in rememberence of Toby in the fall and planted it in our front yard. It has grown a few inches through the winter and the past few weeks the buds have been forming. Yesterday, a few of them bloomed. I thought it was so fitting that the flowers on his tree first bloomed during Easter week. These magnolia flowers, with maroon, pink and white on their petals are simply beautiful and to me are a glimpse from Toby of the beauty of Heaven. 

This is Luke’s third Easter and each year I’ve enjoyed buying him a cute tie for his Easter outfit. I cried shopping this year because I wished I was buying two ties. I should have just bought two, and I was mad when I got home that I didn’t. When I was pulling Luke’s Easter basket out of the closet I found his tie from his first easter, so I took that out for Toby. 

We had bought Luke a basket with his initial on it for his first easter. This year I grabbed a small basket from Target for Toby, but when I was putting them together last night, I was again regretting not having one made that was special for Toby. I remembered that I had fabric I had found through the winter, but had not used yet. It matched the basket I had for him, so we improvised and made him his own. Fox and all. 

Yesterday while walking back from the park, Luke picked a dandilion and immediately said “Toby’s really going to love to see this.” We looked down at him, smiling. Yes, he will, buddy. He loves to see you playing and having fun. 

Our one son is not here and my heart breaks daily to see his sweet face and smile with him. We try to do things to make him a part of everything that we do and fully present in those special days and moments. I can’t imagine not including him in all these moments. Maybe, in a way, they comfort our hearts. But my hope is that he can see us and smile at what we are doing for him. 

With Luke being sick this weekend, he was up before the sun again today. But, sitting in the living room, with only the tv on this morning, I was able to watch the sun rise outside our window. It rose through the two houses across the street, but more beautifully, from where I was sitting, it was directly above Toby’s tree in the front yard. 

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was truly beautiful. Another sign of Easter Sunday. 

While we are all celebrating, singing hymns at mass today, or praying in our homes, there are many empty chairs around our tables. Those that have just left their families and those that have been gone for some time, but are missed just as much. Our hearts ache for them to be here, but remember, they are at the table with Him today. They get to see His face first this morning. Wow, can you even imagine what a beautiful sight that must be? 

He is not here. For He is risen, as He said. –Matthew 28:6

Wishing you and your families a beautiful, healthy, and blessed Easter holiday. 


The Stern Family 

Katie, Dan, Lucas & Toby 

On This Journey – A perspective on paths, purpose, and worth

2017, Family, grief, Home, Lifestyle, loss, Parenting, Toby

Let me tell you a story.

I’ve been very lucky in my professional career. I have worked for some great companies that opened doors to even greater opportunities to advance my career in the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. I’ve had ups and downs over the past decade, but there was one constant – my network through the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).

Starting out in the AEC industry, SMPS became my anchor. It provided a place for continual education, an avenue to learn how to connect with technical staff, how to think beyond the proverbial “marketing” box and take chances by way of volunteer positions and committee involvement. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I was volunteering for, but I knew that if I could help anyone at the dawn of their careers in the AEC industry, by connecting companies, brands, people, mentors with mentees, then it made it all worth it.

When I think about my career plan, it, like the rest of my life, has thrown me some of the biggest curve balls. Some good, some bad. From my very first years of working in the “real world” I’ve had goals that I wanted to achieve. Many of those are still “in progress” and for me that’s ok. Some of my goals may not seem like achievements for others. And that’s okay too. We all have different perceptions. Different dreams. Which leads me to this.

I think it’s good to have a bucket list – for both your personal and professional life. Most of us don’t have an opportunity to check things off those lists every year. For those of you that do, that’s amazing and you’re my hero. I like to keep my bucket list in places where I can see them, especially my professional list. It’s just for me, in a sense. And I’m a firm believer that you’re more likely to get something done if it’s written down. It’s like you’re being held accountable. (Post-it notes are great for this – or even the notepad in your phone so it’s on all your devices).

I want to share one of my bucket list items with you, because I think the outcome of it is a good lesson about life.

SMPS offers regional conferences across the country where you can have the benefits of a national conference on a regional level. After attending a few of these it was something I wanted to be a part of, by way of the planning committee. So I added it to my bucket list.

In early 2015 I was offered the opportunity to help bring the Heartland Regional Conference to Pittsburgh. SMPS Pittsburgh had never hosted a regional conference and the team I had the joy of working with, compiled our city’s nomination, and it was an amazing collaborative effort.

Pittsburgh was named the host city for the Heartland Region’s 2017 Conference.

In the fall of 2015, another offer by two amazing and seasoned Marketing and Business Development professionals within our industry offered me the seat to be the Chair of the Programs Committee for the conference. This is one of those opportunities that makes your stomach turn with excitement and nervousness. But it’s what I wanted and what an opportunity it was. And the clock was ticking. We had under 18 months to plan a 3-day educational program for 200+ individuals.

At that time, my husband and I had found out that we were expecting our second child and my delivery was on the doorstep of the summer of 2016. As usual, things fell into place and with a rock-star co-chair and the support of an amazing committee and lots of planning, the schedule was coming together and milestones were being met.

Our second son, Toby was born May 27, 2016. I was very lucky to enjoy the summer home with my entire family and was anticipating getting back into work mid-August and jumping back into Program planning in the thick of everything coming together.

I was back to work for 14 days when my family’s world was brought to a stop. Toby died in his sleep, the afternoon of Wednesday, August 24.

I have always been a planner. Life does not stop for the unimaginable. Even though, in the midst of shock and grief, it seems to.

I stepped down from my role as Co-Chair in October. I needed to focus on being with my family. I needed to learn to walk again, with a very empty heart.

Fast forward to the beginning of April. The Heartland Regional Conference (HRC) commenced and brought nearly 230 AEC professionals into Pittsburgh. Feedback from attendees over the 3-day event was nothing but positive and the speakers were amazing. Sitting in the audience, watching veteran SMPS members welcome first-time HRC attendees was amazing. I’m sure you can ask any fellow SMPS’er and they will tell you, these conferences, whether regional or national, can put the fire back in your career and give a creative boost, just when it’s needed.

It was an honor to be involved in the beginning steps of bringing HRC to Pittsburgh. I was given a ‘thank you’ from the co-chairs and when I opened it, it had a lot of connection, pulled at a lot of strings that hadn’t been touched for a few months.

Pittsburgh Picture

Artwork by: Nevin Robinson

We spend a lot of our life thinking we constantly need to achieve things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to move forward in your career. It challenges us. Makes us think differently. Brings new friends into our path. Teaches us things. But I also think we can lose sight of a lot.

My husband and I love Pittsburgh. Sure, we love the beach and the mountains too, but Pittsburgh will always be home. We love raising our family here. We love working here. Our two-year old, Lucas, loves the sports teams. This is the only city Toby ever knew. I can’t imagine not being here.

This ‘thank you’ holds much more for me. The rivers of Pittsburgh. The Point. The view.

My journey changed dramatically eight months ago. I stepped to the bank and let a boat go by that I really wanted to be on. One surrounded with people that I admired and that supported me. I feel like I was placed back in the water in a kayak, alone. Life said “Here. Figure it out.”

My first thought when I looked at this picture was, “This is Toby’s view of Pittsburgh.”

I am not the person I was eight months ago, but that does not mean my life is any less. It does not mean my achievements aren’t worth as much as anyone else’s. It just means they are different. For someone that is a “doer” this is something I am working on learning to accept. And it is hard.

Sometimes we don’t achieve what’s on our bucket list. Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we achieve things that have far greater meaning to our lives, right at that moment or much later in life. Sometimes people judge, say we failed, and it hurts. Sometimes doors open at the wrong times and we have to close them and move on. These are things that we don’t have control of. This is life. It’s hard to navigate and sometimes even harder to accept.

I have added one thing to my bucket list since August 24, 2016 – to live my life in honor of our son, Toby. To make a difference in his name. Maybe that will happen with the help of my professional career, maybe it won’t.

Take it easy on your journey, professional or personal. Be ready for curveballs. Be ready for the unimaginable. If you need to stop somewhere and take a break, it’s okay.

But, one tip. Be ready to ask life to leave you a paddle.

Bringing Home Baby

Family, Home, Joy, Lucas, Toby

As I first time mom, I remember wondering if I should be reading every book and taking every piece of advice that anyone had to offer. The pressure is a little overwhelming, isn’t it?

The new post on Pittsburgh Moms Blog talks about my scenario for bringing both boys home from the hospital. To say the least, it’s night and day.

Bringing Home Baby 

All the Love

2017, faith, Family, Home, Parenting

To the new mom who is running on two hours of sleep; no shower in a few days; same clothes you slept in from the day before; three week old baby asleep on your shoulder and the living room in front of you a mess from toys your two-year old has been playing with – I’m praying for you.

To the new foster mom in line at the store. Your cart not only filled high with food, clothes, winter jackets, hats and gloves, diapers, formula, soap and juice, but the two little girls that you just opened your home and heart to – I’m praying for you.

To the women in line at the pharmacy, holding a pregnancy test, your stomach in knots because you don’t want to go through the heartbreak of yet another miscarriage but yet you want a positive test; to be able to carry a healthy baby full term; and finally hold your child in your arms – I’m praying for you.

To the grandmother who has raised a family, watched her children marry and now have families and children of their own. Who have silently grieved while being strong for your daughters and sons as they have endured miscarriages, deaths of children, infertility and continual longing – I am praying for you.

To the mother who is now caring for her own mother. A women who adored her family and yet today no longer remembers who they are or who is caring for her, but loves you anyway and smiles as you brush her hair or sing her a song – I’m praying for you.

To the women who has done everything possible to conceive; ate all the right things; taken every pill or shot they’ve prescribed; prayed 1,000 times over and yet nothing is working and you feel like you’re body is failing you; preventing you from being the mom you always wanted to be; from your husband becoming a father; your parents a grandparent – I’m praying for you. 

To the grandmother who is now raising her grandchildren, for whatever the circumstance may be. Who has opened her home to the laughter and tears, long nights and fights over what everyone wants for dinner, but goes to be each evening thanking God for these little blessings – I’m praying for you.

To the stay-at-home mom who would give anything for a night out, even if that just meant a trip to Target and a coffee on your own. Who was up before her family to finish laundry and pack lunches and who will have toys, books, craft supplies and dinner to clean up after bath time tonight – I am praying for you.

To the working mom whose alarm went off at 5am so you could get a workout in before the rest of your family was awake, worked a 8-5 day and only stopped to go to the bathroom once and whose lunch consisted of a pack of crackers and a diet coke. Who is on pick-up for daycare this week and would give anything for her email to stop while she’s watching just one episode of Mickey Mouse with her toddler before bedtime – I’m praying for you.

For the parents who have one child in the hospital and one, or more, child(en) at home. Who haven’t been in the same room with each other for weeks because they are focused on making sure each child is taken care of and feels like everything is going to be ok. Who take shifts sleeping and working, just to pay the medical bills and buy groceries, and sometimes don’t know what day of the week it is – I’m praying for you.

To the father holding the weight of the world on your shoulders so that your wife and children do not have to bear it. Finding all the right things to say when someone asks “how are you?”; defending and protecting your family with every ounce of strength you have that when you hit your knees to pray, all that comes are tears – I’m praying for you. 

To the women and men who teach and care for our children while their parents are at work each day. Who comfort them when they are sick or skinned their knee playing outside. Who discipline them, even when you don’t want to, and show them how to share and pray. Who high-five them when they ace their spelling or math test and say “wait till you tell Mom & Dad” – I’m praying for you.

To the mother and father who’s weekly routine involves multiple visits to the cemetery, either before or after work, because you’ve suffered the loss of one or more children. Who spend time each week telling your children about what you wish you were doing with them, here on Earth, instead of them watching you from Heaven – I’m praying for you.

To anyone that reads this and can relate to any of these circumstances, I admire your ability to do it every day. I have seen each of you over the past few months and if it wasn’t for the death of my son, Toby, which caused me to look at life in a different way, I may not have seen you, or recognized how hard you are trying. I admire the patience you have, your ability to face each day and your dedication to those that depend on you. I wish you grace and peace for whatever road you are on. I know that you want the children in your lives to feel important and loved. And no matter what anyone says, they DO and that’s because of YOU. You do it best. You love them best and the exact way that they need to be loved.

I am praying for each of you this month because I have seen you and you’ve made an impact on my life, without knowing it, and how I look at every situation. Know that someone is praying for you and wishing that, if even for one moment of your day, you can see yourself and think “I am brave” or “I am doing my best.” 

You do not feel it at all, I know. I’m right there with you. But you are. You are brave, and you are wise, and I hope you feel loved.

I found this leaf on the ground yesterday morning as I dropped Luke off. A little sign from our angel, Toby.

Week 1: Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Review

Cooking, Family, Food, Home, Lifestyle

This is our first time trying Blue Apron and a chance to see how well it works for our family versus the normal weekly grocery shopping and (very last minute) dinner choice. For those of you that share in our curiosity of “is it worth it?” here’s your chance to read about our experience and see if you’d like to give it a go.

Blue Apron Week One Meal Box

We had the 3 meals per week for two people, which is priced at $59.99. I was able to preview my menu, switch out meals, and pick the day for our delivery. I received an email the day before our delivery telling me our box was on the way and it arrived on time. I also downloaded the app to my phone (I highly recommend).

Week 1 Blue Apron Box Produce

First up: Beef Tacos & Radish Salsa


The meal card for each meal that came in the box was helpful for pulling all the ingredients out, but after opening the app and reading some of the tips/reviews – I found that the steps and directions within the app were much easier to follow and didn’t have you doing “unneeded” prep. The Prep Time was 15 mins and the Cook Time said 25-35. I set my stopwatch on my phone to see how evenly this matched. (we’ll come back to that later)

I like that the portion sizes were perfect for two (Luke ate something else for dinner); we didn’t have leftovers or a lot of waste after preparing the meal. The beef was already sliced and ready to be seasoned, which was extremely helpful.

There was a lot of prep involved in making these and each step took a good bit of time. The sweet potato wedges were really good and we’ll definitely be making those again – also, portion size with just using one potato – perfect.

Overall, I’d give it a 6 out of 10 for ease of cooking – the time frame was definitely off. It took me an hour and 10 minutes from start to plating the meal. I’d much prefer something that was a little closer to 30 minutes to prepare and was glad that we had something else for Luke because he’d never last that long waiting for dinner on a weeknight. The other negative was the amount of dishes I had after making this – it was a bit over the top.

Next up, West African Peanut Chicken with Sautéed Kale and Rice. For this recipe I went right for the app directions and had read the tips earlier in the day, prior to dinner prep. We’ve never made sautéed kale before. It cooked fairly easily, but it wasn’t our favorite. I also combined some steps, which I think helped minimize the cook time. I’ve found that a staple of Blue Apron meals is to use the fond left in the pan in the following steps, which does help with the taste and spice. This was in every recipe this week. Also, the sauce for this – there’s a lot leftover, so we used it for our rice but ended up throwing a good bit of it away.

Blue Apron West African Peanut Chicken

Prep and cook time were about 50 minutes for this one – Blue Apron estimated 60mins+. The chicken cuts were a very good size and portion was actually a little more than I wanted for the rice and kale.

Lastly, we had Orange & Mirni-Glazed Cod with Warm Barley and Broccoli Salad. This dish was our favorite of the week. The cod was frozen when it arrived, but stayed fresh all week and were both decent size portions. Again, I used the app immediately and this meal was probably the most quickly prepared in comparison to the other two from the week.

Blue Apron Meal 3 Orange and Mirin-Glazed Cod

The use of the Cara Cara Orange in this recipe was great and to our surprise the barley and broccoli salad was super easy to make and had great flavor. I did think the portion size on this one was a little large because the barley was very filling, so we did have some leftovers.

This meal was also very colorful when it was done, with everything that was mixed in. There were not as many dishes to clean up as the other two and cooking time was around 40 minutes – Blue Apron estimated 50mins on the card, so fairly close.

All in all, we enjoyed our first week of meals. The convenience of not having to go to the grocery store or worry if we had every ingredient in the house to make the meal was a time-saver. The recipes this first week seem pretty accessible for beginner cooks or those looking to shake up their weeknight meals for themselves for their family. I also feel like Blue Apron is good for the winter because local produce isn’t as abundant and the produce in these meals were very fresh. One thing that I did find surprising was that the carb intake on each of these meals was super high. As a diabetic and someone that counts carbs at each meal for insulin dosage through my insulin pump, I was a little disappointed that there were so many carbs per serving. Each meal was over 50g of carbs per serving.

From the kids perspective, I think if you had children that were older – maybe 5 and up – they would enjoy helping cook. There’s a lot of prep work with each meal, mixing, washing, cutting, etc. For Luke, who’s only 2, it just wasn’t feasible. Also, I went onto the app mid-way through the week and switched up our pre-packed box for this next week, looking for some recipes that maybe Luke would like to try and also some with side dishes that were a little more what we like to eat. Very convenient to be able to do that each week.

Those that know me know that I’m not a chef. The new recipes we do try are often suggestions from friends or family (and a lot of time prepared by my husband). But I did find this to be therapeutic for me throughout the week. It gave me a chance to unwind a bit, reflect on my week, brainstorm on blog topics, listen to some music and make a good meal.

There were quite a few tips on the app that were helpful and I ended up following versus what was written on the recipe card, so if you’re cooking with Blue Apron – definitely download this app (Hint: preparing the corn tortillas in meal one).

Also, something I learned through the app – there’s no commitment. If you are booked for the weeknights or out of town, you can simply go into the app (or sign in online) and skip your Blue Apron delivery to another week. No problem, no penalties.

We have 3 more weeks of deliveries and have to say, for someone that isn’t an enthusiastic cooker, I’m looking forward to trying next week’s meals and seeing how they are and if the cook time minimizes.

This could be a great housewarming gift or birthday gift for someone who likes to cook, or even a great at-home-date idea. And like I said before, trying this in the winter time is great because of the fresh produce they send in the boxes and is not likely to find around here without paying an arm and a leg.

That being said, I’ve been given “2 free meals” to give away to a friend. If you’re interested in trying Blue Apron, comment below and I’ll be picking two individuals early next week to receive these meals. Please place your email in the comments as well so I can send the invite over to you.

If you’ve tried Blue Apron (or any other packaged meal service), I’d love to hear what you think and why you are or aren’t a fan! And, if you’re a parent and have found meals through Blue Apron that your kids like to eat and/or help cook – please let me know those too. Would love to try a few of those for Luke while we’re giving this service a shot.

Be on the look-out for my review of Week 2. Happy Cooking!

*This post is not sponsored in any way.

Our 2017 Jar of Joy

2017, faith, Family, Home, Joy, Toby

We decided we needed to do something to brighten our days, since we’ve been in a bit of a funk since the New Year began. We have created a “Joy Jar” for our house. Some people say “happiness” or “blessings” but since we lost a huge part of our hearts and family, nearly 5 months ago, that didn’t seem to fit.

Our goal is to write down 1 thing a week that has brought us joy – a moment, an experience, a thought, a person, something we said to someone that was positive or brought a smile, or something we got to eat (this is more for Luke, but I’m sure we can all relate).

2017 Joy Jar & writing station

Im hopeful that with the accumulation of these we can start to physically see some of the joy that is present in our life. My constant prayer is that we can start to see and experience again the beauty that we are blessed with every day.

Who’s with us? We’d love to see and hear how you or your families experience joy or what brings you joy during each day. If you want, please share with us. We can all help each other be more aware of what is in our lives.

Find joy in your journey. No matter what path you are on. Embrace it. Count it. Write it down. Share it.


​Ps – I created my first Instagram video talking about our Joy Jar. Yikes! How scary to see and hear yourself. I may need to test out some of those wonderful filters.

We Bought A House!

Family, Home


This past Tuesday we closed on our first home! Yup, we made the big leap, while standing on the doorstep of welcoming our second little boy, and purchased a new-to-us home!

We spent the last year and a half (yes, you read that correctly) looking at houses but were never able to find “the one.” When January came we said “till the last week of March” – if we didn’t find anything by then, we were waiting until the fall. Low and behold, on March 28 we submitted our offer in a multi-bid situation and it was accepted.

We’ve spent the past few weeks packing as much as we could where we’re currently living, and well knowing that once the baby arrives I will be of no help at all – which is quite possibly driving me more insane than getting ready to give birth.

We are so excited for this to be our family’s home and to finally be able to make things “ours” where we are living. The neighborhood is fantastic and we have a yard! Murry and Theo are going to be in heaven and the back deck is amazing. It’s everything we’ve been looking so long to find and standing on the front porch, it already feels like home. I can’t wait to see all the memories that we make raising our boys in this home.

Ok, I’m going to go look at paint colors and pin 1,000 decorating ideas.