Our Big News!

Our family is growing!!!!!

We are very excited to announce here that we are expecting baby #3!!!
This is something we have prayed for and wanted for quite some time and we could not be more thrilled! God is so good and His timing is always perfect! Our due date is July 20th!

Here is a first glimpse at our newest addition......

Baby Miculka ~ 9 1/2 weeks =)

This first trimester has been very difficult but i must say that i am so blessed with an amazing husband who has stepped up and been such a huge help! I don't know how i could do it without him!! Laundry, cooking, cleaning....you name it and he's doing it right now! {sorry ladies ~ he's all mine!!} So....that's what has been going on in our world for the last couple of months! I'm going to try my hardest to be better about blogging because i want to remember everything about this pregnancy and i sure miss all of my blog friends! (hopefully ya'll still remember me!)

Praying you all have a very merry, wonderful Christmas full of love and laughter and all that truly matters!


sister-friend & pretty piggies ~ the 7th

you know how there are girlfriends and then there are friends that are more like sisters that God blesses you with along your journey thru life?? the kind of girlfriend that always says the right thing. knows what your thinking without you saying a word. the kind that you can go weeks without talking to and then pick right back up like you just chatted hours earlier. the kind that you can truly share your heart with without any fear of judgement ~ the good, the bad, & the ugly. the friend that you know is praying for you without even having to ask. i could go on and on but i'm sure you get the idea!

i was blessed to spend this morning with one of those friends. we grabbed coffee at starbucks and then went and got pedicures. it was blissful! we are both in busy stages of life and don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, so it was a blessing to be able to catch up! and the pedicure was wonderful as always! i left her this morning with a refreshed perspective on struggles i'm facing, pretty piggies, and a smile in my heart ~ full of JOY!! i don't take for granted how blessed i am to have several of these sister-friends and all the joy they bring to my life!!


the 6th

the weather here in the florida panhandle has been slightly cooler the last week or so and it has been glorious. i mean...i never really thought that i would say temps in the low to mid 90's w/ only slight humidity would be glorious...but it has been! tonight, after dinner, we decided to enjoy that slightly better weather and went on a walk as a family! i've missed our walks this summer and it brings me so much joy that we were able to do that again! hopefully we will be able to enjoy our walks more and more over the next few weeks and months! here are a couple of pics i managed to get this evening!

{brayden was tired towards the end and asked for a piggy back ride!}

{LOVE them!}

oops...i'm behind!

so...i'm a few days behind on my joyful posts! this will be a quick bullet style catch up! but the thing is that even though i didn't post them, i chose my favorite thing that brought me joy each day. i love how having this joyful september blogging idea in the back of my mind each day really helps me to just constantly find joy. in everything! i think i want a joyful october, and november, and december...you get the idea!

joyful ~ the 4th

college football brought me joy on saturday! i love football ~ its a fun, energetic game to watch and it brings back so many great memories from my middle school & high school days!! you see...i grew up in a small texas town and well....my fall's revolved around football and i wouldn't change a thing about it! and what's even better?? seeing my 3 favorite guys lined up on the couch watching football together and knowing that my hubby's heart wanted to burst as he was living a dream! watching football w/ his sons (as in they are actually understanding the game and enjoying it!) ~ something he's looked forward to for so long!! all of that wraps up into one big package of joy!

joyful ~ the 5th

we hosted a big young married's get together at our home last night and it was a blast!! opening this home that God has blessed us with and hosting family, friends (new & old), church family....that brings me so much joy! a great time was had by all...there was tons of food, babies, a men vs. kids football game (i know...those big boys ought to be ashamed of themselves!!) ;), fellowship....just plain fun and packed with joy!

and today's joyful post will have to wait! its way too early to choose my favorite source of joy for the day!! =) and i'm hoping to blog about my trip to NYC w/ girlfriends back in march too!! i'm loving being back!! i pray you are all having a wonderful labor day holiday!


Joyful ~ the 3rd

My hot lover boy....oh i mean...my hubby was off work today and it was so much fun to spend the day together! We didn't do anything special ~ dropped the boys at school, went to the case lot sale at the commissary {which for my non-military readers means stood in line to score deals on various items in bulk!}, paid the rent {yes it was late..don't judge! ;)}, did yard work....you know...we did everyday life. but we did it together and doing any task with him by my side is just better. funner. somehow easier. its one of the best parts about marriage in my opinion ~ to have someone to just do life with who actually makes everyday more enJOYable! today my hubby and our nothing special but special to me day was a huge source of JOY!!

and ps...i'd love to hear from y'all! tell me one thing that brings you joy. it can be anything!


Joyful ~ the 2nd!

There are several things about this picture that bring me joy!

*my girlfriends bring me so much joy! i know i share alot here about how much the friendships god has blessed me with mean to me. these girls {along w/ a few who couldn't be there!} are a sure source of joy in my life!

*2 of these girls are pregnant w/ babies we have all been praying for....JOY! so much JOY in that!!

*right before taking this picture, we were all drinking coffee and chatting and those are two things that each bring me joy! combine the the two and its like a joyful jackpot! ;)


Joyful Sept. ~ Day 1

today i was overcome w/ joy during brayden's dinner blessing. the part that plastered a smile on my face went a little something like this....

"and ummm, pwease make it a wonderful food. amen."

geez i love that kid! and his big brother! i had to seriously try not to giggle uncontrollably and i sure hope he thought it was a wonderful food! =)

Joyful September

i'm back! the last 6 months have been full of trial and struggle for our family and my energy & focus needed to be elsewhere for a while! but you know what?! there has been so much growth, joy and love in the midst of all we have been facing and for that i am grateful! and i'm excited to be back to blogging!!

my friend ginger, who blogs over at the small moments, shared that she is going to spend the month of september being more intentional about focusing on the joyful things in her life. and each day she will share in some form or another one thing that brought her joy that day. and she invited anyone who so desired, to join in! i have learned more in the last 6 months than i could ever begin to share here but one of those things is that no matter what life throws your way, there is always joy to be found. there is always good mixed in with the bad and if i choose to focus on the joy, the good, than it makes all the difference in the world in my everyday! so i am joining in on joyful september with ginger! i hope you enjoy my joys this month!! =)

ps...i will also be back tracking a little to share some of the life that has happened while i've been away from blogging!

pps...y'all know i love my reality tv....is anyone watching big brother?!?! thoughts??


Girlfriends & Goodbyes

thursdays are my only weekday that i don't work out. {mostly, anyway} because on thursday mornings? i have a standing date w/my girlfriends. we all meet at a local coffee shop and spend a couple of hours chatting, sharing our hearts, encouraging, laughing, and just being real. real women, wives, mommies, sisters in christ! girlfriends are such a cherished blessing!

but goodbyes?? they aren't so fun. unfortunately, as a military wife they are all too common. one of the absolute hardest parts of this lifestyle. i am thankful that God continues to bless me with the ability to open up and let new friends in, knowing from the start that our time together will be short. it isn't always easy and at times everything in me wants to close and protect my heart, but then i would miss the beauty these friendships bring to my life!

Jen~ you have been such a blessing and i know that our friendship does not end here, even though our physical time together does. I will miss your smile, your laugh, your energy and the sparkle in your eye! The way you share your heart and are such an encouragement to me ~ always there to listen, to pray, to give the BEST hugs! You live big, you love big and i love you! Praying God's best for you as you guys continue on your adventure!! {let brandon know i'll miss not talking to him at the gym! ;)} you are already so missed....


helping hands

i have quite the little 4 yr old helper on my hands.
brayden loves to help me in the kitchen!
that stinkin' sweet little voice....

"momma, can i stir stir?"

"i wanna do it myself momma!"

"can i spread momma?" {he love pb&j!}

and my reply? {most of the time...}
"yes monkey! come help momma!"
and while it takes a little longer and may not be as pretty or perfect as i may like,
i know that all too soon i will miss those sweet little requests to help.
that sweet little voice that melts my heart every time!


Catch Up {bullet style}

Not even really sure where the last two weeks went other than to say they FLEW by!! We've been staying pretty busy with day to day "stuff" and by the time the evening rolls around and i have an opportunity to blog, i just haven't felt very inspired. please tell me i'm not the only one who gets this way?!?

here's a quick update~bullet style!

  • colby had a skating birthday party for one his classmates and we all got to go! brayden even got to skate for the first time!

{colby & friends @ the birthday party!}

{hubby trying to help brayden skate for the 1st time!}

  • our small group had a not so small super bowl party! we had a great time!

  • hubby was nominated for sailor of the quarter!! i am so incredibly proud of him!! he gives his best ALL the time and never expects any sort of recognition for it. BUT....as his wife it is such a blessing to see his hard work recognized! he went before the board last week, but we haven't heard yet if he was selected!

  • the small group that i lead for military wives at our church has started back up after a long holiday hiatus! i'm so blessed by each of the ladies in the group and i missed seeing them each week!

  • last friday, pensacola shut down because of a chance of snow. i guess i kind of get why, but seriously it was comical! the military bases and schools shut down which meant i had all of my guys home with me! and just take a guess at how much snow we had?!? ZERO! ha! but we had a great time as a family on our non snowing snow day! =)

  • hubby and i were blessed to be able to attend a marriage conference at our church on friday night and saturday morning! i am firm believer that no matter how great or not great your marriage is, these conferences are such a blessing if you go into it with a heart to hear what God has for you! we really enjoyed it and even got to go to dinner together before the session on friday night!

our good friends seth and ryan hung out with the boys so we could go and they ALL had a great time! apparently seth went to walmart and bought something like 50 nerf darts and they had a BIG nerf fight! i'm still finding darts! ;)

  • and last but certainly not least, i have added 32.58 miles to my total since i last posted!! quickly approaching the 100 mile mark!!

so. life is crazy and busy but so so blessed!! i am looking forward to mops and a scrapbooking night with friends this week and relaxing w/ my 3 favorite guys this weekend!! oh yeah, and finding more time/inspiration to blog! ;)




seriously y'all?!? that is a huge accomplishment for me. HUGE! and it feels so stinkin' good!! it wasn't always easy, but this 500 miles in 2010 challenge has been a huge motivator for me! i can't wait to push myself this month, and next month, and the month after that and see how many miles i can rack up! and see my waistline shrink as i go!! ;)

and i was thinking the other day about when i hit my all time low. when i stepped on the scale and i had hit that number that i just never dreamed i would. it was a year ago....january 2009. today i am so excited to share that i am 40lbs lighter than i was then!!!! 40lbs!! and just for the record, since i actually got serious about weight loss and decided to change my life, i have lost 23lbs. slow and steady and i LOVE it!!

and because he's hot and we're hot together and posting without pictures just isn't as fun, i thought i would share a picture of me and my hubby that colby took yesterday! enjoy! =)



the weather today? gorgeous! windows open, sunny, breezy, gorgeous! {a little chilly, but since its january i looked past it} ;) as i am quite sure we all do, i had alot on my "to do" list for the day, and i was busy busy checking things off.

but then i heard two sweet little voices ~ "momma, can we explore out there?!?" (pointing to the front yard) i could have very easily explained that i had alot to get done and sweetly asked if they would mind exploring in the back yard instead. but i didn't. i stopped what i was doing, put my "to do" list on hold and went outside with them. no cell phone, no laptop, no notepad w/ a to do list staring me in the face. just me and these two incredible little peoples i'm so blessed to enjoy each day! we had a blast! they explored, ran, giggled and i soaked up every second of being in the moment with them. it was bliss.

{some sort of chase and crash game?? they loved it!}

{colby workin' his photo takin' magic}

{exploring. atleast colby is! brayden is patiently waiting till his bestest brother is ready to move on!}

{brayden showing off his mad pre school handwriting skillz}

i could just drink in this weather! my favorite! love the sunshine, fresh air, breeze.....everything about it! and i'm holding on to hope that i have MONTHS of it before i face the hell that is a florida summer! ;)



I had the privilege of attending the Becoming Women's Conference, hosted by our womens ministry, from thursday thru saturday. and i had planned in my head to post all about what i took away from the conference and how great it was and all that. but there just aren't words. it was beyond great. if i could sum my weekend up in one word it would be POWERFUL. simply put, it was life changing. for me. and for several of my girlfriends. and no doubt for many of the women who were there. we had over 350 women in attendance and we praised and we worshipped like i never have before! our savior's presence was undeniable. i am so grateful to serve an awesome, powerful, intentional God. one who loves ME! just as i am. to be a daughter of THE King. two messages stirred my heart. one on hope and one on finding my identity in christ. i have so much to process still. SO MUCH. So much of His word to dig into! like i said, there just aren't words! maybe as i work thru it all and process it i will share more. but for now, i did manage to snap a couple of pictures!

small group girlfriends!

Ashlee, Me, Mari, Jen, & Kristi

yes, i know i'm looking rough in this one! it was an emotional last session and i was tired! this is Jeannie aka my "spiritual mama"!

i walked away from this conference refreshed, challenged, changed. and that, i'm confident, was His plan! i am so blessed to be in the company of such real, transparent sisters in christ! so blessed!



one of my favorite things to do is to look back at old pictures! to remember the boys at various ages, to see john and i at different stages, to relive the memories captured! i can get lost for hours in old photo albums or on my photobucket account! so i've decided that from time to time i am going to allow myself some time to take a trip down memory lane, and then share some favorites that i come across here! these are some that made me smile today!

the boys @ Colby's preschool graduation

Brayden @ his 1st birthday party!

this was the day john got home from his 1st deployment!

Colby's 1st day of kindergarden!

oh.my.goodness. looking back at these just plasters a perma grin on my face! i love it! and seeing brayden's wrist rolls makes me wonder why i haven't had another baby yet! ;) i think my next rewind post will be scanned pictures from high school!! so fun!


my thoughts on....

The Bachelor!

{april, you may just be the only person who even reads these and i'm okay with that! i love that you and i see eye to eye! =) } and if anyone else watches, speak up!! i'd love to "chat" bachelor with ya!

i suppose i will just start with the first one on one date w/ vienna. this girl has rubbed me the wrong way from the start. she seems very abrasive and rude and self centered, which is pretty much opposite of what jake has said he's looking for. for the first few minutes of their date she almost started to win me over but it just didn't happen. i don't think she is ready for what jake is looking for and i am just not a fan at all. and then the cherry on top was her interrupting elisabeth's one on one time when she already had a rose. ugh!

and then the group date. oh my! i first have to give kudos to all of the girls for getting up there and doing that! i just don't know that i would have been able to do it!! but then the after party begins. ha! these after "parties" always end up being a nightmare on this show!!

~michelle was looney......like CRAZY. And i have a new found respect for jake because i truly never would have imagined him putting his foot down and calling her bluff the way he did! glad she is gone and glad to see that side of jake!!

~so happy that tenley told him about her past and opened up to him last night. and i love the way he just embraced it and respected her that much more for it. she is a sweet heart, i would love to see a one on one date for them next week!

~corrie is cute but i still don't really know what i think of her and jake together. i was glad to see ali get to spend some time with him and see that the connection still seemed to be there, although i think the girls really needed to lay off the vienna talk. corrie's comedy act put enough of a hint in his ear about who vienna is at the house away from jake, and the girls needed to quit bringing it up!

and then there was the one on one date with ella! although i don't think i would want my son to meet someone that early on, it was a really sweet date. jake really seemed to enjoy ella's little boy and there seemed to be a sweet chemistry between them! ella grew on me last night and i just don't think that jake would have given her a rose if he wasn't really feeling something!

i'm looking forward to seeing the road trip on next week's episode and seeing what the drama at the rose ceremony is all about! no doubt it will be "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever"! haha! what did y'all think of last night's episode??


Not Me!

I have seen Not Me! Monday posts on other blogs for a while now. and i laugh every time. usually because i can relate in some shape or form to the things shared in these posts. and given the craziness in my life right now, i figured a Not Me! Monday post was just what i needed to remember how trivial all the hiccups in my life truly are. and to remind myself how humorous my self proclaimed short comings are! So here we go....

i most certainly do not still have all of my christmas decorations up. and i didn't plan to take them down today and then not do it. nope, not me!

and i absolutely did not spend an entire day over the weekend laying around reading Breaking Dawn and ignoring most of my wifely and motherly duties. of course i didn't!

and i sure didn't feed my family nothing but fat and grease filled fast food for every meal one day last week because i had no groceries. nope. you guessed it...not me!

and last but not least, we DID NOT skip church on sunday because that would mean missing kick off of the cowboys game! not me! {just to be completely disappointed in the outcome of the game.}

how about you?!? any "not me's" to share?? it really is quite liberating to just put it out there and chuckle! for more Not Me! Monday fun head over to MckMama's blog and check out all the other posts that are linked!! Happy Monday!


500 Miles in 2010

i mentioned in a previous post that on sept. 28th, 2009 i began a journey. one filled with alot of ups and downs. one that has forced me to face habits and bad decisions and make some BIG changes. it is my weight loss journey. but more than that it is my journey to a healthy lifestyle!

i've spent years making every excuse in the book. i've tried diets and started working out so that i could lose __ pounds before this event or that trip. i've played the pity card....why can so many others eat what they want and not gain?!? why me?? and then? i woke up and realized it was all a huge waste of time. only one person could change my lifestyle. and that was me! and it didn't matter what anyone else does or doesn't do. i needed to make BIG changes and do it for me! so i did!

to kick off this new year, laura and erin challenged each other to a race. first one to run 500 miles in 2010 won serious bragging rights! then they decided to open it to others and now? there are over 50 people competing! and i am one of them!!! it has been so incredibly motivating! when i want to stop running or hop off the elliptical, i push a little more because of this challenge! i don't dream that i will win. in the world of runners, i am a newborn! for real! but i do know that i will run MORE than 500 miles in 2010 and my goal is to beat my own weekly total the next week! last week i got 9.5 miles in. this week? 13.6 miles so far!!! and i am excited to watch that number go up each week! and to make it even sweeter, laura and erin started a blog where there will be workout tips, recipes, etc. posted thru the week and then weekly results will posted there as well!! its a huge challenge but i'm excited for it!!

500 miles in 2010?? me?? DAMN RIGHT!! and then some! BRING IT!! =)


Holy Drama Batman!!!

Wow. the bachelor is back in full force!!! i wasn't totally sure what i would think of jake being the bachelor. he seemed sweet at some times last season but at others it seemed very forced and fake, which i didn't like at all. for the most part i am liking him so far. there were a couple of things he said and did in the first episode that were cheesy but i tend to think that the producers have some pull in what is said and how certain things play out!

with all of that said...lets dig in, shall we?!? the premiere was quite possibly one of the cheesiest that the bachelor/ette has EVER come up with! i had quite a few good laughs at some of the things they showed and the way the girls came out of the limo's! i don't think for one second that any girl thought of bringing a peacock feather on her own. maybe i'm wrong, but i seriously doubt it! and that is just one example, but whatever~moving on!

there were a couple of girls that i liked the first night. there were alot of them that i did not think were very good fits AT ALL and still feel as though there are a few more easy ones to weed out before it gets really good!

Ali was a standout for me week one and continues to be after last night! she is cute, seems sweet and down to earth, and they seemed to have great chemistry. unfortunately, given the history of the show i doubt she will be one of the final girls because she is getting so much air time early on! i could always be wrong!

Elisabeth was another standout for me week one. she is beautiful, confident and seemed very likeable. i do still kinda like her after last night but i'm on the fence now! i respect values and holding to them. however. she came on that show knowing that he was going to be dating other girls at the same time. to hold out on kissing him this early on? great. to tell him not to kiss you until you are the last girl standing and then bat your eyes at him and ask him over and over if he wants to kiss you? get real. that was all about playing games and had nothing to do with her "values". i'm not going to sit here and judge what values she believes in and holds ~ not my place. but! that whole not kissing thing sure seemed to be about playing games and i thought it was ridiculous!

Tenley was the other girl that stood out to me the first night! She is so cute and sweet and innocent. but i'm not so sure that she is ready to be in another relationship yet and certainly not sure about dating in this type of scenario. i hope i'm wrong cause i don't want to see her get her heart broken but it seems like maybe she hasn't completely moved on from the hurt of her past. i hope they get to spend some time together next week and that she opens up and tells him about her past and see how things go from there for them!

and then there's the whole rozlyn "scandal". i DO believe that there was a relationship between her and the staff member. i think that her reaction last night made that clear. i don't, however, think that it was all that they are trying to make it out to be. they use "inappropriate relationship" knowing the conclusion that everyone will jump to. i think it is completely unfair to judge the girl based solely on what was shown and said last night. they made the right decision to end her time on the show, but i don't think it warrants all the ugly judgements being made about her.

all in all i think this is going to prove to be a great season and give us lots to chat about!! both chris harrison and jake blog each week so you can check those out here and here if you would like! can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts!! i've missed bachelor chats!! =)

ps...check this out!!! i just found this link today and i think its a fun idea! what are your thoughts??


Christmas Recap {finally!}

Our Christmas was joy filled and exciting and relaxing and such a blessing! We kept it simple and just enjoyed being together and reflecting on Christ's love for us! We had John's parents here with us, and the boys were over the moon to have their Culka and Papa Culka here spoiling them! ;)

We started the festivities off by baking cookies & decorating them...

{colby's creations}

{ brayden's masterpieces}

Then the boys each got to open their 1 special Christmas Eve gift...

{blankets made by yours truly} {w/some help! ;)}

after that we all snuggled up to watch a christmas movie...

{grandma culka and her boys}

and of course before tucking the munchkins in we had to leave milk, cookies, & carrots for Santa and his reindeer! =)

Oh my...looks like Santa came!! And even lost a little something in the fireplace..oops! ;)

Christmas morning came EARLY. As in Brayden (our typical early to rise child but we held on to hope that maybe he would sleep in a little..) was up at 5:30! The boys loved all of their gifts and we had so much fun watching them open all of them!

{opening their gifts from each other}

{our silly boy, colby}

{brayden. yes, he uses that sweet lil face to get his way!}

The rest of our time with Culka and Papa Culka was spent relaxing and just enjoying our time together!

Papa Culka and Brayden spent alot of time putting puzzles together, which is one of Bray's favorite things to do!

and Culka and Colby played alot of games, which Colby loves!!

New Year's Eve wasn't the big fun we had originally planned because i was sick, but we did enjoy our evening! Being on the couch not feeling well gave me lots of time to reflect and to thank God for each and every struggle, trial, loss, tear, smile, memory made, lesson learned in 2009. It was a year of alot of ups and downs but He was right there every step of the way. Loving me, extending grace, giving peace and rest that only He could and teaching me thru it all. 2010 will be a fabulous year. It holds so much hope for joy, growth, love, and memories waiting to be made! I'm excited....can't wait to see what each day holds! I pray peace, love and growth for each of you this year ~ i look forward to sharing the perfectly imperfect madness that is the Miculka's with all of you thru this year!!