Friday, October 28, 2011


If you ever thought that your big adventures end once you have kiddos, I'm here to prove you wrong my friends.
First, I must say that you probably have never had to change a super full, crappy diaper on a super squirrely child without being covered in it up to your elbows.
Or dealing with teething infants and NOT becoming an alcoholic in the process.
Now that's an adventure within itself.

But we've had plenty of other adventures around here lately...
There's been lots of horseback riding...
Running wild around the house...
Being the best peekaboo players this world has ever seen
And cleaning after hurricane Giada over and over and over again all day l o n g.
Yes. I'm exhausted.
Yes. I may have aged a couple to a few years since this teething business has started.
And no, I wouldn't give any of it away.
Ok, maybe I would give it away for one night so I could have an adult date night with my leading man...
And maybe, just maybe, one of those days this dream too, will come true.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Embrace the camera

Today is the day to embrace the camera.
But first, can I just say how amazing you guys are in my life?
Seriously, you full on rock the socks off my feet.
All of you who left comments and sweet emails from Tuesday's "Her Story" post made my heart SO full.
Like, 'Thank God for the pericardial sac or else that poor heart of mine would come out of my chest and explode" full.
Oh, and also, Courtney asked me to thank each and every one of you for your kind words.
So Thank you Thank you Thank you for being so supportive.

And now...
I'm embracing the camera with the Anderson Crew.
You know, where I actually step in front of it and make some memories with my first born...
Who as cute as she is, has been acting like she's a distant relative of Chucky lately.
Screaming and waking up at all hours of the night, skipping naps, and being a total crab monkey many a times.
It must be the curse of the teeth, 'cause if she's doing all that for pure entertainment I may just kill-over soon.
Still, another good reason to take pictures with her now.
When I'm old, and grey, and incontinent of both urine and stool, I'll pull my stack of pictures and kindly remind her of all my great suffering from her childhood days.
Then I'll proceed to inform her that it is now her turn.
It's never too soon to plan for your retirement folks. Never too soon.
But till then, we'll take each day one at a time and enjoy every single season our lives bring.
Sleepless nights, dirty diapers, large cups of non-decaf coffee in hands, big smiles on our faces, and hearts full of joy inclusive.
'Cause we're sappy like that.

I strongly recommend you embrace that camera and have a blast today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Her Story: Courtney

Well, hello there.
The series premier debut-day has finally arrived.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous when I first came up with this.
This idea has been formulating in my head for a while now...
However, putting it all together took a little bit of work and courage from both me and the other women willing to put their stories out there.
Initially this was going to be a 1month thing.
However I've got enough stories to last me at least a few months.
And that's when I decided that as long as women are willing to open their hearts and inspire others, I'm willing to share "Her Story."

{Feel Free to spread the word.
This will link to all future 'Her Story' posts.}d

My very first guest speaker is nothing short of fabulous.
This girl is one of my blog besties. As in, I feel like I could talk to her about anything. She's got a heart of gold, is gorgeous inside and out, and the love she has for her God and her family shines through everything she says and does.
It's uplifting really.
And I? Well I feel so very blessed to call her my friend.
With out further ado,
say 'Hello' to Courtney.


I was so honored when one of my BBF {Blogging Best Friends}Tatiana approached me to guest post on her series! I think this is such an amazing idea for other women out there to get encouragement and relate to others who may be have dealt with similar issues or problems in their past.

I really debated about what I wanted to write on here when Tatiana asked us to talk about what has helped to define, shape and grow as a person and possibly a story that can help other women. Of course, the story that I don’t like sharing popped instantly in my head but I’ve been keeping this one close to me since I started blogging over 2 years ago. I don’t like being open and vulnerable on the World Wide Web because you never know who is reading and/or judging as they read. However, I’ve been feeling convicted to share my story in the hopes of helping other women and Tatiana’s request came at a very opportune time. Coincidence? I think not.

So before I start this off, I’ll just briefly tell you that my name is Courtney from With Gratitude, I am a kinda-sorta- not really anymore, newlywed who has been married to the love of my life for almost 3 years. We don’t have kids – yet – but hopefully will be expanding our family pretty soon. =)

This is probably the most open I have EVER been on the internet so please excuse me if don’t know how to word this right, I have a hard time talking about this with my real life friends and family, let alone people I have never met. But here goes:

I’ve mentioned briefly on my own blog that my older sister suffered from Anorexia Nervosa when we were teenagers and she almost lost her life when she whittled down to a measly 58 pounds as a 15 year old. I talked about our family’s struggle through that time and the years of therapy and rehab we had to go through together to help her get to the other side of recovery. Her story is so meaningful and closely wrapped up in mine that I even chose my major of Psychology in high school so I too, could help other girls struggling with eating disorders when I was older.

It’s still so ironic when I think about that now.

I don’t want this to be a novel so I’ll try to shorten it to the highlights. Freshman year started and I began my first college semester living on campus with a roommate that was one of the tiniest/skinniest women known to mankind. I became overwhelmed with classes, living away from home for the first time, a relationship with my long term boyfriend that was slowly heading south and the combination of everything triggered a small change in my mind set.

I lost about 5 pounds the first few weeks walking miles around campus and basically hating the dorm food. And while I have always been on the thinner- healthier side and never really needed to lose weight, I started to like the way clothes looked on me more and things slowly went downhill from there.

The hard thing about this was I knew better. I had all the tools that anyone could ever possess for eating disorders. Therapy and education on that subject had been my life since I was 13. Hello, I was going to school to BECOME a therapist for girls with eating disorders! But it’s hard to look at yourself objectively when thoughts start creeping in and you slowly lose control.

I began to work out at the rec center – challenging myself to run further and further every day I went until I was up to 8 miles a day, I started very carefully watching what I ate and cutting out all sugar from my diet, my skinny-as-a-toothpick roommate started sharing her tips on how to stay thin and before I knew it, I had dropped below 100 pounds by the end of my first year.

My family and college boyfriend {and future husband} took notice right away but no amount of talking or persuading could make me see that I had fallen into the trap that SO many girls do every year. I had convinced myself I was just maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the funny thing is; I actually believed it. After all, I compared my eating habits to my sister’s anorexia and I was only 95 pounds, nowhere close to Allison’s 58 so it couldn’t be an eating disorder I was struggling with.

Things only got worse my sophomore year and fights with my boyfriend, Jeremy, increased as he pressured me to eat more which made me really anxious and put a lot of stress on us. Our relationship went from bad to worse and finally hit a breaking point when I broke up with him so I could “find myself” AKA “do whatever I wanted and not have him breathing down my neck trying to make me eat constantly.”

That break-up was when I hit rock bottom. I started going out, partying, doing things I knew I should NOT be doing and my “healthy lifestyle” went from limiting myself to small amounts of food to full on purging whenever I did eat. I lost another 5 pounds and got down to the low 90’s before I finally accepted what had happened to me after a couple of months.

After finally being truthful with myself, I was able to go to Jeremy and admit how bad my eating issues had gotten. We didn’t get back together right away. In fact, he made me come clean with my parents and even sat by my side as I told them that another one of their daughters was struggling with an eating disorder. He made me get treatment and helped me research the therapist that would work best for me. He would take me out to dinner after each session so we could sit and talk about what I was working through and other issues I was dealing with. We started going to Campus Crusade {a college Christian group} so we could both work on our spiritual walks.

It was one of the hardest but also the best thing we have ever gone through in our relationship together and it was a time I had never appreciated Jeremy more. I know that I never would have been able to get through that without him and it made me realize how much he cared for me in order to work so hard to see me get better. He was my best friend and support system and I learned what a truly amazing guy he was during that time. We both grew and learned more about ourselves and each other in those few months than the first years of dating. It was after going through it that I knew without a doubt he was the one I wanted to marry.

I would love to say that this story has a happy ending and I am now living a healthy lifestyle, not caring about my weight. But I would be lying if I told you that I don’t ever deal with eating issues anymore and that I love my body and my weight because none of that is true. I still find myself restricting calories when I’m not careful, working out far too much, being overly critical of my body and panicking when my jeans fit a little too tightly. It’s a work in progress for me and I think it might be something I always struggle with.

Am I better than I used to be? Thankfully, I can honestly answer that I am. I don’t purge at all anymore, I try to maintain a somewhat healthy weight {I could probably up that number on the scale a few pounds but one baby step at a time}, and I also try keep my working out to only a few days a week.

Jeremy has been my steady rock through all of these years and I don’t know where I would be without him. He’s the only one that can get me to see things for what they really are and the only one I listen to when he thinks my weight is getting too low or can see when I’m struggling more than usual.

There are times I have to remind myself that my self-worth is SO much more than my physical appearance. I’m a child of God, I’m married to a man that deserves the better side of me, I’m a sister to my three best friends, and I’m a want-to-be mom if God so chooses to bless us with a family someday.

I really felt compelled to share this story because although blogging has a lot of positives to it, I think we can sometimes do an injustice to other women who read our blogs. I know, for me at least, that I don’t like airing my dirty laundry for the world to see but I also don’t want to come off as having the perfect life because I don’t. I have insecurities, like everyone else out there, and sometimes I think it’s a good idea to just come out and say “Yes, I have a great life but it is FAR from perfect.” I hope that by sharing this story, it helped others to realize that life isn’t always how it’s portrayed or seen from an outside view and we all have things to work on and better ourselves with.

Thanks for hosting this Tatiana!

I can’t wait to read some of the other stories!


Isn't this girl and her journey so amazing?

How far she's come is a true testament to the strong woman that she is today, and my heart jumps with excitement for her.

Thank you so much Courtney for your vulnerability and for willing to share a piece of you with the rest of us.

PS: If YOU would like to share your story, shoot me an email at I would love to have you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A sneak-peek into our home

What do you know. It's Monday again.
I have this love-hate relationship with Mondays.
But that's for a different time and a different story.
However....For this story...
Well, for this story I'm just honoring some requests...
Well, kinda of...
About a year later, too.
But some say better late than never, right? Right.
A few of you have been asking to see inside our home.
'Cause you're nosy like that.
Or just total creeps.
I prefer to think the earlier one.
No worries. I am too.
I LOVE snooping into other people's homes and see how they decorate and personalize it.
So if you're like me and the many others...
Welcome to the freak club! I know you'll fit right in.

See, because only working part time and having a child kinda sucks the money out of your bank account...
And also because that tree in my back yard has not grown any money on it this year...
(I am now condemning it to eternal damnation. Worthless piece)
I have not been able to put all of my house affairs in order.
Which basically means it's not really ready for 'show and tell.'
Good news is?
I'm willing to show you little bits and pieces...
You know, just to satisfy your curiosity and make you beg for more.
So without further ado...

Here's parts of our living room...

Home randomness galore

And the right side of the dinning room... that's if you're staring at the window.
If you're not, then it would be your left side. Duh.
Some of the breakfast area. Don't you just love those curtains?
I only want to know if your answer is 'yes'.
And a little look into my freshly painted, very much unfinished, 'Around the world' themed, craft room.
So what say you?
Satisfied for now?
Hopefully I'll be able to put something together soonish and you'll be able to see an entire room... before another year passes by. Mmkei?
I hope you're making the best of this Monday and don'tcha forget to come back tomorrow for my guest post series premier!
You shall feel blessed. Can I get an Amen!

Friday, October 21, 2011

For Women by Women

Hey there.
Remember me?
The girl with the cute kid who has sarcasm running through her veins?
Yeah, that one.
I'm still here. Still breathing.
I know. I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last appearance either.
But I'm not gonna lie, work sucks the life and fun out of me.
It's like a flippin' leech.
So a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do, ya know.
Good news is?
I'm back again and you may hear a lot more from me.

But enough about this. Let's get onto what I was really going to tell ya.
Which by the way, is WAY more exciting.
At least for me.
Remember when I was saying a few weeks ago that I'm planning on starting a guest post series?
No? Well I am.
It's going to be for women by women.
Strong, beautiful, courageous women who will be sharing little parts of their lives, hearts, and souls with the rest of us.
During this guest post series, those gorgeous ladies will talk about what has helped define and shape them.
What has helped them grow and transform into the person, the friend, the mom, the wife, the christian, etc, they are today.
And hopefully in the process, someone out there will feel inspired and get blessed by those stories.
The truth is, God has made us all beautiful in His image.
Unfortunately, at times, our brokeness gets the best of us, making it near to impossible to see past that hard wall that our hearts have callused over years of pain, guilt, and hurt.
Every single one of us has insecurities, and bruised souls, and maybe even a painful past that prevents us from moving forward.
But in His eyes?
Well, in His eyes we shine.
We are absolutely, undeniably, breath taking.
Regardless of what my yesterday has been..
Regardless of the ugly my heart has felt...
My past will not define me.
I am beautiful. I am loved.
You are beautiful and you are loved.
Today, tomorrow and always.
And that is the honest to God truth my friends.

Starting next Tuesday, once a week you'll get the privilege of reading what has helped define and grow, some beautiful ladies into the women they are today.
So come back and show them some love while feeling blessed in the process, will ya?

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30
Have a great weekend friends ~

PS: If YOU would like to share what has helped transform you into the woman you are today, shoot me an email at . I would love to share your story.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Few Things on a Friday

  • I can't really explain it, but when I have a morning cup o' Jo, with that good splash of hazelnut creamer, my whole day feels better. You know what I'm sayin'? I'm like Superwoman on steroids, yo. There is cleaning magically getting done, and food on the table, and clean laundry, and sometimes? Well, sometimes I even put the laundry back. BUT. In order for this miracle to happen, I need to have a good hr with just me, my coffee and a good tv show or my BHG magazine. No kid. Or husband. Just me. And for all that to take place would be a miracle in itself.
  • There are not many things that truly gross me out. Comes with being a nurse I guess. But seeing someone pull their own condom catheter off their pride and joy and then proceeding to suck on it, brings the dry heaving from the bottom of my stomach even in someone like me.
  • This week I cried when my patient decided he was going to stop his fight agains being a quadriplegic.
  • Little touches of fall make my heart giddy.
  • I have a bad obsession with burlap. Like bad bad. Almost anything I see, I like. Which only leads to needing to make. Do you know that burlap is messy and 10 month olds like to eat the 'leftovers'? And do you also know that burlap is really bad for your scissors? It dulls them to crap and you may as well use them to cut your leg hair in the spring after a whole winter of not shaving.
  • As sappy as this may sound, my daughter makes me a better person. I laugh more, care more, love more. See the world with new eyes, more. And she has ignited that 'better me' fire in my heart.
Have a gorgeous weekend friends

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkin Patch Edition

This last weekend the weather was glorious and had to be taken advantage of.
So we went to a pumpkin patch and lived the American dream.
We Loved it all.
AND... For once I'm going to let the pictures do all the talking. {GASP!}

Hope you all have a beautiful Wednesday, words or not.

Monday, October 10, 2011

10 Months

My sweetest Giada-bear,

We’re two short months away from your one year birthday. I’m sitting here, watching you grow right before my eyes and can’t believe that you’re almost a toddler. Every day that goes by, I’m amazed by how much stronger, wiser, and more beautiful you are. You’ve got such a witty personality not to mention you’re starting to be so funny. Your full on belly laughter is the best sound I have ever heard, and I just can’t help but fall in love with you a little more every time I hear it.

This month you’ve been so busy clapping your little heart out, improving your butt dancing skills, climbing stairs at the speed of light, walking around furniture like a marathon runner, and ‘talking’ my ears off. I have a feeling that you will be one of those nonstop talking kids who asks ‘Why mommy?’ a billion times a day. But for now, you’re mostly sticking to your blabbering. You do say ‘momma’ and ‘dada’ a lot, but other than that there’s lots and lots of blabbering. Since you’re learning two languages at once, I think it will take you a longer time to actually learn how to speak. But that’s ok. You’ve got your own timing, and whenever you’re ready it will be great.

{I couldn't get any normal shots of her. She won't stay still to save her life.}

Your favorite two songs are still ‘Ten little Ducks’ and ‘If you’re happy and you know it.” The first one has magical powers to calm you down, and the second one makes you happy even when you’re not feeling like it. You’re only favorite show is “Olivia” and whenever it comes on, you are glued to the TV for the first 5minutes of it, with the theme song being your favorite part.

For some reason, you’re going backwards on your night sleeping cycle, and it’s driving me bonkers. You have started waking up at all kinds of crazy hours of the night, demanding food. Hopefully you’ll go back to sleeping your full 12hrs soon, so your daddy and I can have our sanity back.

{Big nose-scrunching, spastic child}

You’re still a really good eater, Little Love, even though you prefer table foods a lot more than your bottle nowadays. Unless, of course, it’s in the middle of the night.

You’re also one of the busiest bodies I have ever seen. You love getting into everything, your favorites being emptying the diaper bag and the clothes hamper. I end up cleaning the messes you make 10 times a day. But just know, sweet baby, that you’re worth every sacrifice.

You’re wonderful beyond my wildest dreams, and I still love you to the moon and back.

Forever yours,


Friday, October 7, 2011

A Few Things on a Friday

  • I have never been a huge pumpkin fan until a couple of years ago. Now, as soon as 'fall time' is mentioned, I raid the closest grocery store and get stacks of pumpkin puree like it's canned gold. From September until Thanksgiving, everything from pumpkin spiced lattes, to pumpkin cookies, cheesecake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin soup... you name it, it's being made. By the time December comes around, it's coming out of our ears, and we don't want to hear the word 'pumpkin' for at least another year. But right now I'm in the middle of the magic, and it's on baby! Ya hear me? It's on!
  • The fact that my body is NOT my body still, bothers me. I still have a few pounds to lose to get to my pre pregnancy weight. But this is not even the main issue. My problem is in the fact that there are things in places they are not supposed to be. Loose things. Things that are somehow magically supposed to go the heck back to where they were before my baby. Is she worth it all? You better believe it. Still, I'm beyond annoyed with the fact that my pre-prego clothes don't fit me the same way. Yes, I know the lack of exercise and the sweets eating is not helping my case of the fats, but still, that does not mean that I'm less annoyed.
  • I can't believe that my baby girl is going to be 1 yo in just two stinkin' months. ONE YEAR OLD! Hold on a second as I get my hyperventilating paper bag. My head cannot wrap itself around that idea yet. And after running with the 'pink lemonade' party theme for an entire year, I changed my mind last month. I'm quite excited about the whole thing. I hope it turns out amazing because she deserves nothing less.
  • Next month will be one year since we've moved into our house. While I'm beyond grateful for the fact that we have a home, I cannot believe how empty and undecorated this place still is. It drives me insane on a daily basis, but I feel like my hands are totally tied since none of my backyard trees have grown any money on them this year. The shame. Bills, food, and other responsibilities get priority over decorating one's home I guess. You know, I've discovered that growing up can be a real drag at times.
  • I got inspired by Danielle to make a difference through project LOVE146. Child sex trafficking is such a horrifying and outrageous act. I am getting all my ducks in a row now and hopefully will be able to put together a church fundraiser next month. It takes a village to make a difference. Get involved.
On that note, I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Surfacing my inner Martha

Every year around this time I get a little more, umm, 'domesticated' if you will.
I get this fire under my butt that I need to outdo Martha in all aspects of my home and life.
It starts out strong and lasts for a couple of months until right after Christmas when I go into hibernation from all the holiday exhaustion.
And then I get all kinds of not so nice, 'Screw Martha,' thoughts.
But I'm nowhere near there yet.
Actually, this year I have totally outdid myself.
I've been wreath making...
And canning?
Peach jarring and apple saucing the heck out of it.
I guess with my sidekick by my side I can do anything.
{Oh, and excuse my awful, super domesticated self.
I'm just giving you a good example of what happens when you don't have Martha's hair and makeup team to work on you while you're busy playing house and being all super mom and wife wannabe .}
But the biggest miracle of them all has happened this month.
Ready for it?
I am by a long shot, the absolute most horrendous baker there is.
Cupcake liners and baking pans cringe and cry when I walk near by.
So I baked.
This is how you know I must have bumped my head at some point in time.
AND... my final project was not burned.
But actually pretty freaking fingers lickable, eat every last crumb, hide the leftovers from the husband, good.
I have found the most PERFECT fall desert ladies.
And the best part is that I'm sharing it with you.
It all started out with this cookie recipe that LeAnna has so graciously opened my eyes to.
But then I needed to make the perfect frosting partner for those cookies.
Reason being... they are very much cake like in texture.
I don't share my secrets very often, but I shall do it today, so pay very good attention.
This frosting will forever change your life.
For this life changing intervention you'll need:
1package soft cream cheese
1 cup soft butter
1cup powdered sugar
rum extract
vanilla extract.

Start out by blending the butter and cream cheese until all mixed.
Next comes the most important part of this whole process. Your Rum extract. This stuff is the absolute bomb! You skip this part and you're forever lost. You may as well stop now, throw the entire thing away and watch lifetime movies because you'll never really live again.
So for the love, throw about a cap (c.a 1tsp) of rum in the cream cheese/ butter mixture along side with 1tsp vanilla. Now mix it.
Then add about 1tsp of cinnamon. Or whatever looks good to you. I don't really ever measure. And now you know why I suck at backing. Also add your powdered sugar gradually as you mix the whole thing.
Once it's all mixed, stick your finger in the frosting.
Now put it in your mouth.
Right about now is the time your life will never be the same.
But wait! There's more!
Cut your big girl cookies in half and spread a generous amount of this life changing spread on one (or both sides).
And I mean GENEROUS amount.
Let's face it, you're already eating a TON of sugar, butter, and cream cheese.
Having an extra spoon won't make that big of a dip in your calorie count.
But it will make a world of different to your soul.
Sandwich this baby up, and take a good healthy bite out of it.
The BEST fall dessert that has ever visited the inside of my mouth!
You won't be able to stop at eating just one.
That's a promise.
Have a sweet Wednesday friends.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Starting Fall the right way

There's something about fall that makes me feel like everything is going to be right in the world.
At least the beginning of it, when the weather is still nice.
You know, before all the rain makes my backyard look like I could raise alligators in that mud swamp...
And also before the temps go so low, that spending 20 minutes outdoors feel like there is a very good chance I'll be peeing icicles next time.
But back to the good times...
For me, fall is the beginning of holiday, heart warming, family bonding, memory making time.

This fall we started it out right by visiting a nearby orchard and picking some apples.
Delicious, organic, at times worm filled apples.
But it's about the memories and the good times, darn it.
And there were plenty of both being made, so it's all good.
I want us to make plenty of those 'family time' memories.
I want Giada and her future siblings to have lots of good times to look back at once they are older and ready to leave my nest.

Because I'm well aware that this time we have with her will fly by...
So I can't take a day of it for granted.
And I know there are plenty of good days coming ahead, because

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never
come to an end; they are new every morning.."

- Lamentations 3:22-23
And that's a promise my friends.

Have yourselves a great Monday lovelies.


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