With Grace

Setting Goals for the Final Month

January 10, 2017

When the clock struck midnight, I already knew what I wanted my goals for the year to be. I had thought long and hard about how I would set them up to be less tedious goals and more specific to a year of growth and changes. Setting monthly goals has changed alot for me in the past few months. Instead of focusing on every single little task that I "NEED" to accomplish, I have been trying to instead write goals that are meaningful to the goals I want to accomplish for that month. It takes it from being a "must do" to an "I want to complete that". I am all about checking things off my lists so this has been a change for me, but when I focus on key words that aren't as specific, I find I get more done...as weird as that may sound. 

So when I set my goals in December, I knew there were a few ares that I needed to focus on as we were finishing up Christmas shopping and celebrating. Here is how I did on my list:  

Declutter. Thanks to a garage sale with friends, I cleaned out so much unneeded things from our house. Each closet I started to clean out, I literally couldn't believe I owned half the things in there. It felt nice to declutter and I made a tiny amount of money so that works. 
Read. You can read my review of First Comes Love here. It was a quick read but one that I think I enjoyed. 
Volunteer. I got to enjoy some time at our local library and the nursing home last month. 
Create. For create, I think working in our baby girl's room 
Organize. Thanks to sweet friends, I was able to organize boxes and boxes of clothes that were given to us. I have them seperated by size currently in a big tub. Any moms out there that want to share their organizing/storing clothes secrets? Would love to know what sizes you put away and what sizes you leave out. 
Celebrate. We celebrated M's graduation from a 9 week school he was attending for work. It was such a neat experience and I am so stinking proud of him for taking on a new challenge at work. Christmas was a great celebration with family and an exciting reminder of how different next Christmas will be. 

January's Goal List: The baby edition (because we are less than a month away from having a sweet baby girl) 

Be Present. This is the last month that M and I will spend as just a party of 2. This realization is sad, exciting, scary, and overwhelming. The change is coming for a great reason but it also makes me realize how much I need to focus on our relationship before we add our sweet girl to our list. 
Complete. There are quite a few things that I need to complete before baby girl arrives so I'm working on slowly focusing my energy on completing each task as I get to it. 
Learn. There is so much thinking, learning, and growing that comes in preparation to add a sweet baby to the mix of a family so I'm trying to do as much learning as possible. Any tips for what you read or watched when you were preparing for your little bundle of joy mommas?
Be Thankful. Although I tried to battle it, the amazing people in our life have set up 3 different baby showers to spoil us at. I am making it my goal to understand that this is something that people want to do for us and to have all thank you notes written and sent before Adi makes her arrival into our life (and I loose all desire to do anything but stare at her all day).  

I hope you all have had an amazing start to your January. I'm looking forward to working towards these goals and seeing what the end of the month has in store for us. Happy Tuesday friends. I hope your day is amazing. 

Precious Weekends

January 9, 2017

There seems to be more and more moments lately that I take a look around me, and see how blessed I am by this precious life that I am living. The little moments mean more to me than ever before and the big moments just make my heart want to burst with happiness. I'm sure it's partly because I know that big changes are coming but I also think it's because I'm able to slow down enough to see the wonderful things that each day brings. This weekend was definitely a reminder of how close we are to a huge but precious change and how lucky we are to be surrounded by people that are going to love and support us along this new journey. 

I haven't quite decided if "nesting" is going to be one of those pregnancy things that my body/mind totally skips over as we near our date to meet our sweet girl. I'm a pretty organized person in general but I do find myself getting into little kicks of doing random cleaning. I most definitely cleaned our entire fridge...like shelves cleaned off and then hand washed and organized drawers all over our house. I don't know if it is because I was feeling lazy but because it really needed it but non the less, it is complete. Afterwards, I felt I owed myself a quick shopping trip so off to target and hobby lobby I went. I snagged this sweet letter from Hobby Lobby for Adilynn's "guest book" for the showers we are having. I have to admit that it turned out pretty precious. 
My sweet momma and sister came to town later Saturday evening and we not only enjoyed each others company but they put me to work in Adi's room, hanging things up and arranging it how I want it. I'm a bit indecisive (that's a big understatement) and so I had set things up but needed my sister to say yes or no before I put holes all over the freshly painted walls. I can't wait to get around to taking pictures so I can show it all off but for now, 

On Sunday, my sweet friends in the town I live in hosted our first baby shower and it was nothing short of amazing. I kept trying to talk them out of it because I literally hate feeling like the center of attention and I didn't want people to feel obligated to come to the shower, but alas, I am so thankful to them for talking me into it. It was really amazing to look around in the middle of the shower and see these sweet women who have all impacted my life as friends, mommies, mentors, and family celebrating such a fun new journey that is about to begin. I feel so blessed and honored that they spent their day spoiling our sweet girl and left feeling even more thankful than I already am for friends who have become like family in my new hometown. Here are just a few pictures that I will cherish forever. 
 I'm looking forward to a busy but great week ahead including a shower at my campus, volunteer hours, a swim meet, and then our last shower over the weekend. I hope you each have an great week. 

One. More. Month

January 6, 2017

After a quick but slow week back to work from an awesome Christmas break, I'm excited that it is already Friday. I feel like my life is measured in how many weeks I have left before Adi makes her debut so each week's ending a tad bittersweet. Today's 5 on Friday is definitely baby related in all ways, probably because the fact that she is going to be here in less than a month (we hope). It's funny that you have 9 months to plan all of these things and then in the last month you realize how much you didn't get done in the previous 8 months. Oops. 

1. Our first baby shower is this weekend. I am so blessed by amazing friends who are throwing Adilynn her first shower. I have to admit that I'm terrible at being the center of attention and the thought of sitting there opening gifts in front of people makes my heart skip a beat just thinking about it, but it's exciting that we have people who want to celebrate our sweet baby girl's upcoming arrival. I am hoping my dress still fits but.... I'm not going there until Sunday. 
2. Crafting. I actually get to sleep in this weekend but I'm hoping to accomplish a few things to get closer to being ready for our stay at the hospital and bringing our sweet girl home. So the picture below is what I'm hoping to create for our room at the hospital. I already printed out cute little letters but need to figure out how to wrap the "H" the way that they did in the picture.  I have an H that is wrapped like this but it's wrapped in tan and it won't match her room if I keep it tan. Any tips or ideas for how to make this as simple as possible? I'm not very crafty. 
3. Bassinet cover search. I am on the search for a cover for the bassinet that my grandmother gave to me. It is the same bassinet that my mom and aunt slept in, along with my sister, brother, cousin, and I did too. I can just picture it sitting next to our bed at night with a pretty little cover on it but can't seem to find a cover that suits my fancy. Do you have any favorite etsy shops that you would recommend? 
4. Maternity photos. I'm hoping to sneak in a few maternity pictures this weekend. I go back and forth on what I want from them. Part of me sees myself out in a big field in a dress right at sunset, while another part sees this perfect spot on the beach as the sun is setting behind me. I don't want to over do it because we all know these pictures will end up posted on my blog and no where else but I know that I want them for the memories of how awesome my body is for all that it accomplished. 

5. Hospital bag packing tips. I see pictures pop up in my pinterest feed pretty often about what moms say you should pack in your hospital bag but all of them contradict the other. So far, I have lounge pants, nursing tops, bras that have breast pad inserts, and the inserts for breast feeding bras. I'll add in my toiletry bag as time gets closer but it's ready minus a few things that I need daily now. I am hoping that I get to experience breast feeding but feel at peace with the fact that my body and baby will do what it needs to in those moments. Adilynn's bag officially has bows and a cute little swaddle. That being said, I know that I need to add more so help a blogger out friends! FILL MY BAG! 
Happy Friday friends. I hope your weekend is as amazing and relaxing as you wish it to be. If you have some time, give me some of your tips for hospital bag packing, bassinet cover buying, and letter wrapping techniques. I need you! 

2016 | A Year of Growth

January 3, 2017

There are moments when I think back to 2016 and I don't even know where to begin. As I said yesterday in my post about my hopes for 2017, it was a year of highlights, lessons learned, and growth. It's interesting how much can stay the same in a year, yet how much things can change. I have no doubt that I am not the same person who celebrated New Year's Eve with friends in 2015 and will without a doubt not be the same person who celebrated New Year's Eve December 31, 2016. 

A few key highlights come to mind when I think of this past year. From family time, to welcoming our sweet nephew, spending time with friends, and taking on a new coaching adventure, this year was definitely not a boring one. And although all these little memories made this year what it was, learning we were going to have a baby girl and our trip to New Mexico definitely stand out when I think of all the excitement that 2016 brought with it. 

Pregnancy. 

Learning that we were going to become parents was a pretty surreal feeling. It's amazing how quickly things change once you hear the confirmation of such an exciting, scary new adventure. Being able to spend 2016 preparing for our sweet little girl has been nothing short of amazing. I love how much closer it has brought M and I and how much excitement it has brought to our life.

Trip to Red River

M and I had a trip planned to Mexico to get away and relax but as soon as we found out that we had a little friend on the way, we had to cancel our trip due to the Zika virus that put the fear of life in every pregnant woman around (or maybe it was just me). So we ended up deciding last minute to go to the first place we ever went together as a couple. I absolutely love Red River in the summer and was happy to go there to celebrate this new adventure and our 4th wedding anniversary. 


Of course each year comes with lessons learned, either from good experiences or not so good experiences. In my case, it was definitely a combination of both. I feel lucky that through the good, the bad, the not so fun, and the exciting, I took different things away from each and was able to grow as a person, friend, family member, and professional. I feel like life is sometimes a constant learning experience. We never stop learning and finding things that we want to make changes to or that we are proud of ourselves for. I am hoping in 2017, I find more positives than negatives and can be proud of who I grow to be. Specific lessons learned definitely were about marriage and me as a person. 

Marriage. 

I learned a lot about the wife that I was and the wife that I wanted to be this past year. I look back and am not always proud of the time I wasted not being present with M or putting him on the back burner while I did other things. But ultimately, I'm thankful that those are lessons that I learned so that I can focus this year on putting him first, praying more for our marriage, and being a great wife while also balancing being a new momma. I feel as though great things are in store for our little family in 2017.

Personal.

The growth I have felt this past year has been huge compared to what I have felt in years past. I felt for a while that I was stagnate in my growth as a person. Things were changing around me but I just conformed to whatever I needed to survive. This past year, I feel I spent some real time on myself and it paid off by teaching me that I have alot to work on as a person but there are some good qualities in there also. I hope that 2017 will allow me to showcase those good qualities while slowly growing out of the not so good sides that I know can show up in different situations. 

I am thankful for all that this year brought and taught me. There is no doubt about that. It's funny how day by day, you think nothing changes, yet when you look back and start reflecting, each moment has truly changed the path or direction you are heading in a way that may not make sense until you turn around to look at where you came from and look back ahead to see how far you have come. Happy 2017 friends. Here's to an amazing new year full of endless possibilities and adventures that are awaiting you on your path. 

Helene in Between

Here's To 2017

January 2, 2017

2017. A part of me can hardly believe that 2016 has already come and gone. 2016 was definitely a year of lessons learned, memories made, and obstacles over come. There were highs and there were lows, as with every other year I'm sure. I learned a lot about myself as a person, wife, professional, and family member and I know there are a lot of improvements needed during this new season we are in. 

2016 brought lessons on humility, respect, honesty, and vulnerability. Lessons I never would have thought of brought me to where I am today and I am so thankful for those trials and what they each taught me. There is always room for improvement and reevaluating certain areas of our life. Although I know this can and probably should happen daily, weekly, or monthly, it's nice to feel like you have a fresh start; a new beginning per say, when the clock strikes midnight and the year is officially over. So with 2017 comes areas that need some addressing. 

Communication 

I have learned a lot about my communication style this past year. When it comes to conflict, I am definitely one to avoid it at all costs and will let things fester until it all comes to a head at the worst possible moment. Thankfully, I am at least aware of this quality and have been taking steps to work on it to avoid the eruption. Along with actually communicating my needs, frustrations, happiness, and moods, I know that I need to work on actually communicating with the people in my life. It's so easy to just think that people are doing well, rather than making a quick phone call, sending a text or email, or even sending a little card to let them know I'm thinking about them. I want to get better in my communication skills and actually communicate. 

Simplify

Sim-pli-fy: V. Make something simpler or easy to do or understand. With our sweet baby girl coming along, I want to ensure that I simplify our life so that it is easy to adjust to a new life with her and focus our attention on being the best parents that we can as she enters this world. There are going to be changes that rock our world and what we thought we knew but my hope is that we can adjust to a simpler lifestyle. 

Thankful

Taking the time to reflect on all of the things in our life that we have to be thankful for is going to be a huge priority for me. I know that this year is going to come with challenges of its own that will push me further and harder than I have ever thought possible, but in those moments, I want to be able to be thankful that I have those worries or troubles. I always find myself wondering around November why I wait until then to realize how much I have to be thankful for. So this year, I'm making it my goal to stop and be thankful more often. Maybe that means I need to start my Thankful Thursday posts back up.... 

Growth

There is always room for growth in so many different areas of our life but I feel as though this growth is going to be represented in so many different ways this year. I am excited to see the growth of our family, the growth within my marriage, the growth of myself as a person, mom, wife, family member, friend, and professional, and the growth of my mindset in the upcoming months. 

Focus

I want family to be my focus. I know what you are thinking... focusing on your family should always have been a priority...but hear me out. I adore my family but I have let other things come between my being able to focus solely on them when they need it or at least give them the attention that they deserve. I know that adding Adilynn to our family will definitely help with this but with that, I want to focus on my marriage also. Trying to keep our baby girl happy and healthy will be it's own feat but I want to continue to focus on being happy with myself and within my marriage. 

I hope that you each have a great start to your 2017. Do you have any resolutions or words that you feel like will represent your take on 2017 or are you just excited for a new year to continue enjoying life? I would love to hear about what you are doing different or the same in this new year. 

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