4.29.2013

The Reunion!

BRACE YOURSELF!!! This might be my longest post ever! There is so much to tell you about our trip to Dallas. First, we love Dallas- what a cool city!
I will start by telling you about our adventure getting to Dallas- (for those of you who did not see my post about our time at the White House- HERE it is). Our flight was supposed to leave at 6:45pm- we arrived at the airport at 5:00pm (feeling very relaxed and free since this was the first time flying without the girls in 5 YEARS!), we went to check in and realized that Dave did not have his Driver's license. We might have been able to get on the flight with additional screening, but we could not go to any event in Dallas without it (security with the Presidents)- so Dave ran to the car to look for it and before I knew it he was driving 40 minutes home to see if it was at the house. Leaving me with 4 carry on bags and the boarding passes, etc.. He arrived home and found his license (PRAISE GOD) and headed 40 minutes back to the airport- he called me on the road and suddenly his car broke down on the highway. At this point, I changed his ticket but I decided to stay on the 6:45pm flight because we had to claim our tickets to the dedication by 10:00pm. SO, Dave called my mom and a tow truck from the side of the highway- my mom had our 3 girls in the bath and threw them in the car to come get him. Mom and the tow truck arrived at the same time and he was on his way to the airport again. I was sitting at the gate and kept watching for the plane to arrive, around 6:45pm it finally arrived - so we were obviously delayed. I called Dave when the A's started boarding (we were B's) and asked where he was- he was just pulling up to the airport- I told him to RUN!!! I ran (with 4 huge bags) to the security line and asked the security agent if he could help me! I told him that I had Dave's boarding pass and all of the carry on bags- he ran to the end of the line and pulled Dave through (while I ran back to the gate to board and warn the agent that he was coming)- Dave got through security and walked on the plane as the door was closing!!! PRAISE GOD! Few lessons learned a) it is an advantage to have a small airport 2) the security guards aren't all A-holes c) God cares and provides all of the time d) check for your driver's license before getting to the airport- finally d) fear, worry, whining, complaining, anger, etc..cannot change the situation (as my dad says, "It is what it is")- Trust, prayer, faith and action can!!!
MOVING ON!!! Here are some pics:

{My chicks- reunited! So excited to see these girls- from left to right: Kate (my intern, roommate's sister, candlelighter in my wedding, friend), Molly (roommate, maid of honor, friend), Ashley (worked with us at the White House, darling friend, former roommate of Katy), Katy (hired me at the WH, bridesmaid, and awesome friend!)}

{The 4 of us spent a LOT of time together- these two set up our engagement for Dave}

{Dave and I at the dedication event- it was so much fun to go back and reunite with all of the people who were with us from the start!}

{What a line up of speakers- once in a lifetime!}

 {Our lunch reunion- Abel, who worked with us at The White House- would love that he is the only man in this pic!}

{Our buddies John and Tracy- John was a groomsman in our wedding and Tracy worked with us. I laughed so hard I about wet my pants with these two! Love them!}

{The afternoon (Thursday) after the dedication we had a Bush/Cheney reunion BBQ and The President, VP and Mrs. Bush came and spoke and worked the room- truly funny and charming!}

{Dave and I at the reunion BBQ}

{Office of Public Liaison reunion! I LOVE these people!}

{This was a big moment for Dave (talking with VP Cheney), so I had to paparazzi the moment and snap a picture! I told him I sacrificed my moment for his picture, hahaa :)}

{This is the crew who went out Friday night to celebrate Luke (in the middle) we had the limo (behind us) so we had to document it! We went to THE MOST HORRIBLE place recommended by the concierge, called "Dicks Last Resort"- their whole deal is they are mean to people and hang bras on the wall- UMMMM, horrible! We left and ended up having a blast!}

{The tour of the Bush center- it was AMAZING!!!!! Truly amazing! This is Dave and I in the "Oval Office" I love that they allow you to sit everywhere and touch everything- it is great! (not quite sure what I am doing with my hand in this picture!)}

{OH, just kickin' it in the Oval Office!}

{This was my favorite picture at the center- she is stunning!}

{Not sure how you can disagree with this! (P.S. DO NOT SEND ME HATE MAIL!!!}

{Two beams from the World Trade Center- that section literally brought us all to tears. Again, they let you touch all of it}

{Amen!}

{Dave and I with "41" and "43"}

{This was our favorite part- the "Decision Points" room- so cool! They let you make decisions on some of the major things President Bush had to decide-such a great idea and execution!}

{First trip (of more than 24 hours) in 5 Years- we did get a moment of a date, haha! We loved Dallas and loved getting good mexican food!}


There you go- it was AMAZING and bittersweet! Our journey with the Bush/Cheney team is at an end. There will never be another occasion where we all gather up in those massive numbers- it is such a bummer, but we truly have life long friends and are excited to watch where everyone ends up! We were single kids right out of college when we started at the White House, we are now parents who have been married for 9 years! I am forever grateful for our time in DC with such awesome people!

4.22.2013

A BIG Reunion Week!

This is such an exciting week! For those of you who do not know, Dave and I met while working at the White House in 2002. The Lord provided us with that amazing opportunity and it was a time we will never forget. I look back and I am so blessed by the life experiences we were able to have while in DC and especially at the White House. SO, this week we get to go to the ribbon cutting celebration/reunion for the George W. Bush Center (his Presidential library)! All of the living Presidents will be there, so that will be neat. The most exciting part is, we get to see all of our friends who we experienced that awesome moment of time with and catch up on TOO MANY years away from them! SO, I thought I would give you a TINY snapshot at our time in DC- that was before IPhones, so a lot of the pictures were GASP..printed and scanned on the computer!!! I also need to discuss some fashion choices with you throughout this post (I also have a bit of hair ADD you will notice!)

{Dave and I in front of the White House- Can I point out my horrible necklace choice? I believe I took a silver necklace and attached one of those detachable flowers from my "hollywould" shoes and thought that was a good idea? goodness!}

{Dave and I both worked in offices under Karl Rove- some people would have chosen a suit for an occasion like this- apparently I thought a pink button down would be a great idea!}

{I am a big fan!}

{Secretary Powell happened to be in the office during my picture with Secretary Rice- so..ok! :)}

{Secretary Evans- we all loved him- and he happened to be one of my FAVORITE friend's uncle- bonus! Again, not sure about the turtleneck choice...but ok!}

{Dave with the President- Dave is the kind of person who believes politicians can truly make a difference and impact the country for good- he loves all of it!}
{My parents came to visit a lot- here we are with a cherry blossom tree on the balcony}

{My roommate Molly (left) and her sister/my sweet adopted sister Kate- thank goodness Kate came to intern for me while I was planning the wedding- I think she was better at my job than I was, so my boss didn't mind me being off in a cloud! I am SO stinkin' excited to see these two!!!}

{AWWW love these guys- cant wait to see them! These were my co-workers- Katy (front left) hired me and was one of my bridesmaids- she will be getting a MAJOR squeeze since I haven't seen her in 8 years!!!!!}

{More fun friends I cant wait to see- (try not to lose me with all of my different hair colors!)}

{Our Christmas Party picture with Vice President and Mrs. Cheney- notice how we were color coordinated!}

 {One of our pictures with President and Mrs. Bush- Mrs. Bush is stunning always!}

{This is before President Bush left on Marine One- it was always fun to bring people to those events!}

{Ok- I have a choice here..I could tell you how highly important this brief was to the President- OR...I could be honest! I did get to brief the President once, it was for a celebrity photo op and he was basically saying to me "why are you in here?" and I was trying to brief him very professionally and he just said "well, bring him in". BUT..isn't this a cool photo! Haahaa}
 {This is in my little apartment in NYC when Dave dropped me off after 2 WEEKS of marriage! I moved to NYC to do the convention and he stayed in DC to do the President's reelection campaign. I am pretty sure I was crying my eyes out after this picture!}

{But...all worth it! This was the victory speech after the 2004 election!}

I can hardly wait to jump on that plane and see everyone and catch up on years of being away! I have never been to a high school reunion (nor will I ever go- long story!) But this reunion...I wouldn't miss it! I am SURE you will receive a serious recap after our week- I will try to take some fun pics! That is everything you ever wanted to know about that I am sure!!!


4.18.2013

10 Truths To Teach My Children

Well, this is another one of those posts that I write when I have something on my mind..something beyond nail polish and dogs! haahaa  
It seems like every place I look, people are trying to water down the Bible and make "religion" work for them and their agenda.  I notice this a lot online, some of the blogs with the largest amount of "followers" are serving up a message of- watered down "god" with a side of love. I get it, many people were raised in churches that made them feel judged, where they found people who were not authentic, where church was boring and stale. I get that we live in a society where we don't want to offend anyone and where we want to make everyone comfortable. I simply just do not believe that you can pinch out the parts of the Bible that you find warm and comfy and leave the rest to the idea that man wrote the Bible, so it is flawed. I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and each and every word in that divine book has a purpose- comfy or not. I dream of a passionate, unapologetic generation of people filled with the Holy Spirit who are intentionally raising our children to be fearless followers of the all-loving, all-powerful, adventurous, exciting, AUTHENTIC God Almighty! It is our JOB to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6) Here are a few things I plan on teaching my girls DAILY that I know as truth. They are based on my years of studying the Bible and walking with the Lord- I have SO much to learn and I am excited and expectant for God to teach me and grow me in His truth. I pray for wisdom, insight and an eternal perspective for all of us!

10 Truths to Pass on to my Children:
1. To know a truly AUTHENTIC follower of Jesus Christ filled with the Holy Spirit is totally different than knowing a religious church-goer. (beware of the Pharisees)

2. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) NO ONE has all of the answers on this earth and everyone is flawed- if you want a truly divine and flawless relationship- Jesus is IT!

3. We are becoming a generation that is lukewarm, I know one thing for certain- I do not want to be spit out of God Almighty's mouth! "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16) 

4. The Bible is the only book that you can passionately study for a lifetime and learn something new EVERY TIME you open it- that is because it is divine and God-breathed! "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16) Notice how it says ALL SCRIPTURE- not "the scriptures you find comfy and inspiring"

5. It took me a long time to learn this...Christianity is not about "getting to heaven". I spent a lot of years trying to make sure I was in good standings with God to make sure my "ticket to Heaven" was still booked. I didn't want to go to hell..that was for sure! Feeling guilty when I missed church, feeling guilty when I didn't have a quiet time, feeling guilty when I popped "Bone Thugs and Harmony" in my CD player. As I have grown in my faith, I realized that it is not about Heaven and Hell. When I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior I was marked "in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit" (a) and I do not see anything in scripture that says he will take His spirit away- quite the opposite. So, once we have that settled, we are free to live in RELATIONSHIP with God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. It is fun, exciting, hopeful, freeing, loving, never disappoints, never abandons, never hurts- we are able to experience a glimpse of heaven on earth by walking in relationship with Him and our family of believers. Sure, there are jacked up members of the family- but the head of our family is FLAWLESS! (just to clarify- when you are walking in relationship with Him you love him with your mind, your time, etc... and you no longer need/want those things that made you feel guilt (church is a blast, quiet time is fuel, and music is worship)- if you are in true relationship He takes over everything- or that is the goal! Losing your salvation isn't really even an issue if your focus is on Jesus Christ and living your life according to His example (John 3:16)!) 

6. It's not about us...It is about God- period. God did not create us to gain glory- we were created to give God glory- “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. (Isaiah 42: 8) There is freedom when you realize that life does not revolve around you..serving God is freedom from self and it is a blast to serve with the creator of the Universe- spoiler...He always wins..."I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

7. You want freedom? True freedom? God is freedom. The "rules" in the Bible are all stated so that we can live in freedom from the bondage of this world- from ourselves. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1) "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (b) To walk with God is freedom from fear, guilt, insecurity, pride, etc.. To know that God has a plan for you (Jer 29:11), He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4), He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:8) , He will direct your path (Prov 3:6), He is with you wherever you go (Josh 1:9), He loved you enough to DIE for you- there is nothing that is out of his jurisdiction- all we have to do is trust and obey- that is a lot easier than worry or fear! The Bible says "Do Not Fear" 365 times- that is one for every day! (not an accident!)

8. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18) Enough Said! 

9. It IS about love, God IS love- but out of our love for God we obey His commands and allow him to take over every part of our lives- dying to our flesh (c) and humbling ourselves before our creator. "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4: 7-12)

10. We are not supposed to look like the world- we are not supposed to blend in- we are to be transformed looking more like our savior than the world. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2) It might not always feel comfortable- it might not always make us popular- it might not always win us elections- but it is worth it. 


Here are two quotes from Jesus Christ himself:
"He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)


 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before God’s angels. But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels." (Luke 12:8-9) 


In conclusion, I know with all of my heart that if we continue to press in to the Lord and seek Him and His will we will see truth and we will pass that on to our children. If we are diligent to spend time with Him and study His word, he will reveal himself to us in EXCITING ways! Please join me in praying for those who have been given great influence- that we would not be lukewarm but passionately seeking God and passing that on to the next generation. When I see those blog posts that give me a pit in my stomach, I want to turn to prayer for them- for them to realize their influence and to use it for the Glory of God Himself- because that IS what it is all about! Thanks for hangin' with me on this one! 


Scripture mentioned from above:
(a) "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."(Ephesians 1:11-14)
(b) "Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." ( 2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
(c) "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:12-13)

4.15.2013

Reunited!

When Dave and I were first married we could hardly wait to get a dog! The moment we closed on our first home in Alexandria, VA we went to "look" at dogs- and of course purchased one- a 1/2 Lab, 1/2 Golden named Walker. He was my first child- imagine all of the energy I put into my girls and know that Walker received ALL of that energy as a puppy! He grew to be 98lbs but was my baby. He rode in my car with me everywhere, I worked from home so we would walk and lunch and play, etc.. We moved to AZ a few months later and were convinced that Walker needed a buddy (if anyone tries to tell you that two dogs are easier than one- IGNORE THEM!).  SO, we purchased a Golden Retriever named Jefferson. I had Walker and Jeffrey (AKA "the boys") together for a year before Ellie came. I purchased "Prepare your dog for babies" cd's and books, we watched Cesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) on TV and Video- "the boys" and I were fully ready for the baby. I purchased organic dog food for them, we would have puppy play dates, dog training classes, fun trips to the doggie boutique for special toys and "bully sticks", puppy pops at the local Custard store- you name it! I loved my boys! Ellie and Jeffrey had a special bond- they would just lay together and play together- he is a sweet boy and she remembers him and talks about him often (all of her stuffed dogs are named Jeffrey). Walker really just liked me! When I was 7 months pregnant with Izzy (Ellie was almost 2) we decided to move to Kansas City and for Dave to go to Law School (that is a whole different "post") but in order to stay with my parents during the transition (and ended up being longer than the transition- again, another post)- the "dog children" had to go. I literally cried about giving them away for 3 years- if I am being honest I still cry about it on the occasion when I see a picture of Walker- don't judge- he was my first born, haahaa! Long story short- we gave Walker to our fabulous friends who have 5 precious kids to love him and Jeffrey went to live with our other precious friends who have 4 kids to love him- one in particular, Shelby, is like Jeffrey's soul mate! That is the only way I felt better- they were with the best families! Fast forward 4 years- Jeffrey's family is in St. Louis and preparing for a move, 2 weddings and they are finishing Seminary- they have a LOT going on! They needed someone to dogsit Jeffrey for 3 weeks, so guess who offered? Of course we did! The girls have been SO excited and Dave has been ecstatic! I am not quite sure my little heart can take it- but I am trying not to get attached- I keep telling myself I am DOGsitting, I am DOGsitting! So...here you go- some pics of our houseguest! P.S. My #1 advice I give engaged/newly married couples (besides God at the center of your marriage, of course) is- DO NOT GET A DOG, hahaa! Now that I have kids I think- why did we tie ourselves and our money into dogs when we could have been so free!!! I always have to learn the hard way!

{Walker (left) and Jeffrey (right) when we first brought Jeffrey home}

{There is nothing cuter than a Golden puppy! This is Jeffrey..probably hiding from Walker, who liked to throw him across the room!}

{The girls LOVE Jeffrey- they are watching TV with him here}

{Izzy and Jeffrey}

{They have been using the Furminator on him every day!}

{For some reason they think cleaning up his paw marks is fun- fabulous for me!}

{In Love}


So, that is what we are up to- I am guarding my heart and telling the girls WE ARE NOT GETTING A DOG!!!! I am reminded of all of the reasons why I am glad we DO NOT have a dog- hair, vet bills, finding a place for them when we travel, potty in the rain, etc.. But, we are certainly having fun!


4.08.2013

12 Great Mom Links!

I have read so many fun articles lately (and found so many fun "links")! I know the internet can get a little overwhelming for a mom- Pinterest is telling me to say 40 things to my girls every night, read 104 books to them before they are age 5, people are telling me I am a great mom for scheduling my girls, people are telling me I should go to jail for scheduling my girls, there are millions of "pins" telling me how to make holidays more crafty and extravagant, apparently I should be using coconut oil for...everything, my children need a green smoothie, red smoothie and orange smoothie every day, and on and on! As crazy and overwhelming as it all is- I think we are blessed to be raising our kids with such a fun community of moms across the world. There are so many wise women writing GOOD STUFF on the internet and I thought I would share some of my new favorite articles/links with you! If you have favorites- share away!

12 Great Mom Links:
1. In Defense of the iPhone Mom
2. 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out- HILARIOUS!!
3. Reasons my Son is Crying- this is great!
4. The girls love this..so do I: Flash Mob
5. My friend Jai wrote this- On Being a Mom - love it!
6. What to Say and Do for Young Moms 
7. This article Sadness and Madness is great about Rick Warren's son- perfect- Pray for their family!
8. 10 Parenting Rules to Live By - this is nice and simple!
9. 7 Things to Pray for Your Children
10. Babble Best Toys of 2013
11. 50 Parenting Ideas You Wont Regret
12. 7 Things We Must Tell Them (girls)

Finally, I have no idea where this came from (Pinterest) but it is a great reminder!





4.04.2013

DIY Nails//Go-to Nail Polish Colors!

I am a DIYer on my nails- I LOVE a good mani/pedi but the thought of paying $25 (or more) for a manicure and looking down at a chipped nail 24 hours later makes me crazy! I have tried acrylics, gels, you name it, but I am just a fan of natural, painted nails! SO, I do my nails, they aren't perfect but I do love to have painted nails. Here are a couple of my favorite products for my nails (in order of when I use them in my "mani process"- I have tried A LOT of products, but if you have any you like- let me know..always looking for something new:

{First, I have tried a lot of different removers- I don't think the remover matters a lot- I tried this "removal process" I found on Pinterest- it seems to be genius for a lot of people based on the "re-pins" I did not love it for me- I had little cotton ball pieces everywhere and it was just too involved- I like to remove the polish and buff off any discoloration- but check it out...might be great for you! Then I clip my nails- I like them short and "manageable"- no stabbing the children with the nails please! Then I file them- short and square. For a few insecure years I hated my hands- now I am just fine with the "large digits" God gave me- 1) I can always buy the sample size ring without sizing and 2) they are large enough to stack MANY rings on one finger..so that is good news! So here they are world, haahaa}


Moving on-
{I like Creative Cuticle Remover I like to use this and push back my cuticles with a Cuticle Tool, I also use a cuticle clipper to get any "strays"}




 {Chip Skip- I think this REALLY helps- right after I "buff" I put this on- I notice a difference}



{I think all base coats are pretty much equal, as long as you use one. Right now I am using Revlon Colorstay Base coat}

{I let that dry, then I put on my color- Of course I love Chanel polish- they always have the best colors. I also love Essie colors. My #1 favorite is Essie Ballet Slippers tied with Essie Muchi Muchi}

{Finally, I use Essie "Good to Go"- I have tried a million Top coats- this is the best I have used}
Here are all of my go-to colors:

PINKS:
OPI La Paz-Itively Hot (this has been my go-to toe color for years

Nudes/Neutrals:

Red/Coral:

Gray:

Dark:





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