Favorite Things

I’m loving more things already!

I love so many things right now I felt like I needed to hurry up and make a list before I forgot!

1-QALO rings. So we took a vacation to the Florida gulf in April and I ACCIDENTALLY lost Dans wedding band on the beach. Oops. We ended up buying him a QALO ring for a couple reasons. One: super cheap ~$30 and two: safer. As the Director of a climbing gym he was constantly having to take his ring off in case he injured his finger. Now he can keep it on all the time since this ring can be clipped with scissors if necessary! Double win! Of course I wanted in on the fun so I got a few stacking rings for when I’m being outdoorsy or traveling. His is plain gray. He’s loving it!

I ended up losing some weight this summer and these rings are falling off. I got this ring off Amazon from Enso Ring. It was a fraction of the price and is holding up great!
2-This Jewelry box! I was on the hunt for a jewelry box because I hate clutter and was SO over my jewelry tree and other random holders. I found this awesome box that you can hang on the wall or over the door. It can also lock! I love it and I love that I can see my jewelry and also get rid of my over-the-door mirror that is so noisy.

3-Outdoor Storage Bench. Are you sensing a theme?? Our porch was becoming cluttered with adirondack chairs and our front closet was packed to the brim with outdoor toys. Enter: the storage bench. It took Dan MAYBE twenty minutes to put together. Now our porch and our closet are both way more organized and manageable. And I don’t have to schlep the never ending bubbles in and out of thehouse. 

4-pretty much the only thing that Lillian plays with every single day is dress-ups. A family member gifted her this dress up rack and it is darling! Bonus is that Judah loves pulling all of the clothes off of the rack and so I can watch a war in front of my very eyes whenever I want!

5- I’m someone who needs to write out a thank you card while I’m thinking about it or it will go on my long “to-do” list and get lost. A few of my besties SPOILED me on my 30th birthday and I wanted to get thank you gifts immediately while I was still on cloud nine from spending the night away from my kids. So I went online to Walgreens and had these made THE SAME DAY. I think they turned out adorable and now we have a memory on our fridges of my birthday celebration! You can also change out the picture if you want at a later time. 

6- I did a fitness challenge this summer and part of it was to consume two protein shakes a day. I finally met a protein shake I love. It took four tries! I wanted it to be chocolatey and delicious, Is that so hard?? Well I am happy! It tastes like I’m drinking chocolate milk. Dymatize iso 100!

7-Warby Parker. My niece scratched my cornea a few months ago and it’s taking forever to heal. I wasn’t quick about going to the doctor for the first time in my life and my vision has been affected. So I was out to find some distance glasses. A few people suggested Warby Parker. They have a program where they send you five pairs of glasses for free. Then you send them back and pick what you want. There’s no catch! If you don’t want any of them, you don’t keep any. I got my first batch and didn’t like any of them. We’re lucky enough to have a Warby Parker in Baltimore so I went downtown and picked out a pair. When I got them in the mail I hated them! So I’m on my second box now. They have free exchanges and returns for 30 days. Here’s an example of one of the pairs I could end up with.

That’s all for now!! Happy last full week of Summer vacation!


Time’s Up! Six Week Challenge is Complete

Warning that this post is a bit long!

So I finished my last weigh in of my competition. You may remember that at the beginning of this challenge I had to choose to either lose 5% of my body fat or 20 lbs. I chose 20 lbs. I kind of regret that!

I have never weight lifted before in my life beyond high school gym class. Truly it was totally foreign to me so I really had no clue how my body would respond. I think if I hadn’t gone to the gym I would have lost the 20 lbs pretty easily. But that would’ve been lame. The whole point is to get healthy not to like my number on the scale! So I worked by butt off (technically up 😂) and I’m so shocked but I have some muscles! There are areas of firmness! Truly I am so excited by the way the gym has transformed my body.

Ok time for the numbers:

Weight lost-15.3 lbs.

Body fat percentage lost-3.5

Inches lost-6! (I took measurements of my right arm, my bust, the largest part of my tummy, my hips, my right thigh. This number is the sum of the total inches lost from those areas.)


Im going to reflect a bit about the entire experience. WSA was awesome!!! One of the owners, Josh, is a friend of mine from high school and his honesty about the program really sold me. I think because I know him I also trusted that he wasn’t being a used car salesman. I am so clueless in this fitness arena and he was super patient with me as I asked allll of the possible questions. Here are some things I loved about WSA

  • The coaches were super knowledgeable. As I said, I’m clueless so they really stuck near me to make sure I had excellent form in everything I did. My hubs was nervous I’d injure myself but I never did!
  • I did 1000 things I’ve never done before. It is so fun to be challenged and to leave drenched in sweat every single time.
  • Nobody is screaming at you. I had this preconceived notion that the coaches would be yelling at me to hurry up. Or worse that I’d be the last at everything and I’d hold everyone up as I did every last push-up. Nobody was standing around watching me be slow! Everything is done in cycles so you’re doing your own thing.
  • They were really great at modifying. I am TERRIFIED of box jumps. I have visions of falling face first onto the wooden box and chipping all my teeth or crushing my cheek bone or something. So coaches let me jump on stacked weights. One day I was having very localized pain in my abdomen so Josh altered the workout so I could still be successful. They don’t want you to die!
  • All of the other gym goers were kind and helpful. No mean girls! Or guys.
  • The schedule was perfect for our family. I went to the 6:30am class as much as I could and it worked really great for me to get it in before our day began.

I just loved it. I’m going to post weekly with updates on how it’s going after the competition.

I am so surprised to say this but I miss two things. It’s not cake or chocolate, pasta or cheese. Egg yolks and decent tasting coffee! I’m adding them back in immediately!


One Week Out!

I weigh in in exactly one week! I’ve lost 12 pounds and 3% body fat so far.

This week I started eating less carbs because I wanted to win the challenge. Then my body got angry! I was super nauseous, had dizzy spells and was overall not a happy camper.

So I decided health over winning and added them back in and even added a little. I felt wayyyy better. It was a good lesson for me to care more about my health than winning. So I still lost one pound but I probably won’t win the challenge. Totally okay with that!

I’ll give a final update in a week!

Thanks for all of the kind words of support!

We’re all getting fit!

For Katie the Warrior

The Eye Gaze Device! It’s Here!

Super quick update: we have an eye gaze device!!!

It’s in Katie’s room and is in the very beginning stages of being set up. If you’re not familiar with an eye gaze device, essentially she will use her eye gaze as a mouse. Everything she looks at on the screen will be voiced. She will be able to say things like “I have pain in my back” and “I love you” and “please call Ephram!”. It’s pretty incredible! As she becomes more comfortable with the device more options will be added. Some people use wifi to connect them to home appliances, social media, FaceTime etc. We’re so very excited to start witnessing katie gain back some control of her life!

An enormous THANK YOU is in order. A few months ago I spoke at church about where we are a year after Katie’s brain injury. At the end I shared two things we’d love to purchase for Katie, an eye gaze device and a wheelchair. In such a short time we were able to purchase an eye gaze device for her and we are SO thankful. If you still wanted to donate toward the motorized wheelchair and/or expenses Dan and I have incurred watching the kiddos (buying a new van to fit all the kids, trying to take the kids out to fun places, taking them to lunch, etc!) we would love that! You can just send money via PayPal to forkatiethewarrior@gmail.com. Put in the notes section if it’s for the wheelchair, an outing, etc.

Again THANK YOU! We are incredibly humbled to feel like this verse is being lived out among our community.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


The Challenge That Won’t Quit

Ok folks, 11 days to go.

I’ve learned some big things over the past couple weeks.

  1. I have just as much fun on vacation (and in life) if I’m eating well and working out. I don’t know about you but I feel better when I’m consistently doing those two things! So I truly did not miss the ice cream and pizza on vacation.
  2. I’m enjoying the taste of food more. I never loved sweet potatoes but now I can’t get enough of them! I think my taste buds have begun appreciating natural sweetness and other flavors and it’s making me enjoy my (plain) food more. This excludes egg whites. I still gag eating them.
  3. There’s a huge difference between going on a diet and changing your diet AND exercising. I’ve lost weight before but still didn’t look awesome. Even when I was 20 I was “skinny fat” meaning super thin but that was just good genes (WHERE DID THEY GO?!?! Oh they must have left when my 10lb 2oz baby Judah arrived) But now everything is getting firm and I love that! I’d take strong and a bigger number on the scale over “skinny fat” any day!
  4. I realized the other day I haven’t had a single stomach ache. I usually have them pretty frequently! But then I had some brussel sprouts and I was in some pain! My body was probably blinded by the gluten and dairy I was always eating with them and didn’t know which way was up. Now I’m sure, Brussels don’t like me.

Weeks completed-4
Pounds lost- 11

I may have only lost a pound this week but I lost 1.5% of body fat. I feel like that’s a lot!


Week 3

No clue what I’m talking about? I’m doing a fitness challenge. You can read about that here!

Week three made me sad! We left for vacation on Tuesday and even though I’ve followed the food plan super strictly and have completed the at-home workouts, I don’t feel like the pounds are coming off! I don’t have a scale here so who knows. I’m looking forward to getting back into the gym Monday morning and weighing in. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised! Good news is-my bathing suit and clothes are definitely fitting looser. So something’s changing! I can’t believe I’m half way done!

Here is what pretty much all of my meals looked like this week.

For Katie the Warrior

Facing Demons

A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine was camped in labor and delivery for a few days before having her sweet baby at 34 weeks. She was lonely and anxious and if there’s anything I’m good at it this point, it’s sitting in hospitals. So I texted my friend as I was getting into my car to visit and asked where she was.

I knew she was at the University of Maryland where my sister spent about six weeks last year in a coma. For some reason it didn’t make its way through my skull that I may have lots of feelings. Surely it wouldn’t be the same building, UMD is enormous. So I got her text immediately, oh in the building on Greene. Seventh floor.


Golly that sounds familiar, the seventh floor is where the neuro ICU is. Where I spent six weeks taking the trek to visit my sister. Where I cried and prayed and begged God to wake her up from a coma. Where He didn’t wake her up. Where the doctor in the room with all the windows told us global brain damage and “she’s not going to wake up”. Hrm. THAT seventh floor on Greene.

I took a few shaky deep breaths. Gazed at my “warrior” tat on my wrist in Kate’s handwriting. I chanted “I can do hard things” ten times out loud like a lunatic, alone in my minivan. I quickly texted a few in my tribe while I waited at he stop sign at the end of my street (shhh I was essentially pulled over!). Then down I went to the familiar trek downtown.

I went in the same parking garage. I remembered the smells and the feelings and the heat from the underground garage. As I left the garage and gazed at the tall building on Greene I instinctively started praying like I had SO many times before. This time for strength, that I wouldn’t be a sobbing mess by the time I got to my friends room, and for boldness. I decided on my drive down I was going to walk into the neuro icu and ask for our favorite nurse.

In I walked, smiled at the same doorman/security ish guy to the sign-in desk then to the elevators. By this time I was shaky. Up, up, up in the scary glass elevator shaft. The door opened and I forced myself out. I took a deep breath and pushed the doorbell. They let me in and then told me she wasn’t there. I left our favorite nurse a note with my email and asked her to connect if she wanted an update.

Meanwhile, it was time to get my act together. I found my way through the maze to my friend. I sat there listening and talking. My friend was nervous. She lost her second baby 15 months prior and there was some fear in that space. We get deep quick whenever we chat, bonded by intense pain and sorrow. Totally different but so much the same. We talked about how our families have only been one of a bazillion that have walked through the doors of this world-renowned hospital. We knew God as good on all the days before it was our people in those hospital beds. We were certain He was good when it was someone else’s sister clinging to life and someone else’s baby who stopped kicking too soon in his moms tummy. Somehow once it’s our people we question goodness and faithfulness. Not right but so very true. Anyway we talked over the sounds of some poor soul a few beds away puking her guts out. My friend made it to the delivery room, brought her perfect baby home, a happy ending for this chapter of her story.

So I made it. I lived through the elevators and the smells and the parking garage heat. I made it back onto 83 and home in time for church. Praying the whole way for every person in a bed in that hospital that didn’t have loved ones at their feet begging God for
mercy and grace.

Fast forward a few weeks. I got an email from that favorite nurse! We emailed back and forth a few times. I gave her a reasonable update of the last year and Katie’s successes and our sadness at her not being home. In a moment of boldness I asked her if Kate was doing better than she thought she would. Here’s her response:

Thank God I went to visit my friend even though it was hard. Thank God I left a note. Thank God she had a nurse that cared enough to respond. It’s been a slow month or so. We constantly teeter between wondering if kate has plateaued. Then she blows us away with three new things.

Today I’m finding comfort that God has the last word. If I’m stuck in thinking “this is IT?” I’m given a voice saying that she’s doing great.

Praying friends out there-please pray for more progress! More connection, more healing, less pain.