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!!