Noticing Your Older Kids

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I just really enjoy this kid! His personality is gentle but he has a fiery side to him. He is intelligent & curious & kind, so very kind.

A couple months after bringing Ezrah home he decided he wanted to be a baby "wike my brothers" so that meant he wanted a diaper again. He also started signing like Uriah instead of using his words & he just began to be naughty for the first time.

I realized I just needed to be patient with him and help him feel noticed. He has never needed much attention because his independent & introverted personality. So naturally I leave him to himself. Well he has started seeking negative attention & reverting back to baby ways because the babies surely get all the attention.

It has been a strong reminder that I have to live intentional.

A big boy is what we want, then a big boy we must see.
 Nathaniel & I started to give Noah "big boy privileges."  Staying up later than his brothers to hang with us, doing a Home Depot project with daddy, and going on walks with mama.

Gosh I love our time walking. I am discovering his personality without being distracted by tending to his brothers. He is so interesting & already his little mind has so many thoughts & ideas. It has been refreshing for me watching him dance in the summer rain, stop to play with ants, create an airplane out of leaves, & sit on the curb waving hi to passing cars. He even had a few people stop as his sweet smile lit up & he said with excitement, "hewwo, how are you, I'm Noah."

Maybe he isn't introverted after all. Maybe he just needs to be in an environment that allows him to thrive. I think that is what we all need, the right kind of attention & the right environment to flourish.

Noah has been accident free for one week today & I have to say this mamas heart is so excited. Not because he isn't in diapers, but because God so graciously used potty training to remind me to notice my beautiful 1st born. To tend to his needs distraction free.

Live intentional friends, the fruit you reap will be the most satisfying.

Xo Jalyssa

(Ridiculously cute Moacassins are from Freshly Picked & we are obsessed with them. Excellent quality)

A Letter to my 15 Year Old Self {10 years later}

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dear 15 year old me,
Hey girl, it's me... I mean you... 10 years later.
10 years more of your life lived, 10 years worth of crazy & beautiful experience, 10 more years of wisdom.

I want to tell you some things, some very important things. I know life right now is so strange & things seem confusing & scary. I know most of what is going on in your world makes no sense but tomorrow will be better. The day after that might suck but there is always better ones coming so always keep your head up.

Ok lets start with your friends, don't care too much what they think. Only a couple of them will still be your friends 10 years from now & the rest will seriously just be a high school memory. So all of the pressure to do what they are doing & be what they are being is silly. I promise you will be so glad you didn't give in.

Jalyssa, you are not fat, stop throwing up. It isn't going to make you more beautiful because you are so very beautiful. Your weight will be the least of your problems as the years go on & it will be so time consuming spending smooch time thinking about it. Girl I know everything around you tells you your looks matter most but let me tell you something, they really don't. Your health, your mental wellness, your personality, those things are most important so tend to them. Next time you go into that bathroom after dinner just stop, you are worth so much more than that.

Don't waste too much time on that boy. You are actually going to marry your best friend Nate & he is gong to treat you like a queen each & every day! I know, it seems weird, but what they say about boys in high school is true... They are shallow & don't really care about you. I promise you wont regret keeping your virginity so just brush off all the comments you get from people about it. Girl it will feel so great to know only your husband has known you that intimately so keep on pushing despite what people say to pressure you.

OK your parents are so great, they love you so much. Yea I know, you feel trapped because of how strict they are but one day you will be one of the only ones out of all your friends who doesn't have a world of bad experience. That purity that you carry because you "aren't ever allowed to do anything" will make you such a joyful & trusting person. So even though you feel like a square & like you're missing out I promise, you aren't. Enjoy time with your brothers & your baby sister, you won't be with them much longer.

 Oh yea, your siblings. One day you will realize they are thee best thing your parents ever gave you. All 6 of them are beautiful, unique, & great, so very great. Don't feel weird for wanting to spend time with them all the time even though your friends might not think its that cool. Love them, engage with them, appreciate them, in only 3 years you will actually move out and never live with them again. Being away from them will be one of the hardest things you will experience. 

Now I know right now you are so angry with God, you don't even really believe He exists. Ryan & auntie Lisa dying broke your heart in such a heavy way & you actually tried praying for them, a lot. It is hard & the sting of their deaths will sting for the rest of your life, but it wont break you. In just 2 years Jesus will ravish your heart & flip your entire world upside down. He will make you better, stronger, kinder. You will love people in a way you never knew possible. Just keep on believing. That brief stint of disbelief in God will make you contemplate really stupid things. 

I'm sorry to say this but you will experience so much more loss in the next 10 years. Some of the people you love the most will not be there on your 25th birthday but you will also have gained so much. You will have a husband who loves you more than his next breath. You will hold 3 beautiful, healthy, incredible sons in your arms. You will have traveled so much of the world, experienced different cultures, & most importantly, you will know the love & strength of Jesus.

Dear 15 year old me, I just want you to know that you have so much to look forward to,. You wouldn't even believe me if I told you how incredible your life will be. Absolutely none of it will be what you think, but all of it will be great. Although you will know so much heartache & so much loss over the next 10 years, God will be with you & His grace will cover you in a real way. You will be known by many for your joy & your infectious smile so please don't trade it for the attitude. You will really actually help people because of your choice to be different so stop caring that people think you are lame for not wanting to do what they are doing.

Stay strong beautiful girl, don't let anyone take your optimistic joy, keep loving people, cling to your family, & just believe in Jesus.

xoxo, your future self 

Boys, Boys, Boys

Monday, June 26, 2017

 Being a boy mom is so dope. I get to raise men!
 Men who will love & respect women...
Men who will be brave & courageous...
Men that will make a difference in a world where men are really just large boys.

Nathaniel & I knew we wanted boys from the moment we got married. Now there is the obvious fun stuff like wrestling, adventuring 24/7, not being grossed out by bugs, etc. I grew up with 5 brothers so I tend to love "boy" things & I just know I'd be a bomb boy mom!

 I prayed that God would give me a desire to have children & He gave me the name Noah. So I began to pray that just like He used Noah to reset things, He would do the same with my son. Use my son to break the patterns of the generations of men that came before him. I can see so much strength in my boy even though he's only 3. He has a way of just capturing your heart with his kind personality. He is a true 1st born & we adore him.
 As you can see the boys kept coming for us. Uriah James was our next blessing & he is so fiery. His name meaning the light & fire of God is so fitting. It is so exciting to think about all he will do for the Lord & for his generation with his bold personality. People always talk about how handsome he is but he isn't just beautiful on the outside, he is so amazing in so many ways.

 Ezrah, our sweet baby. We have so much joy in his presence. He is so peaceful & sweet. His name means helped by God & the craziest thing is, in this season of life we have needed God more than ever. When I feel so stressed & overwhelmed I grab my Ez & stare at his sweet face & every single time I feel peace. God truly uses him to help our family & I am so glad he is ours.

We are a family of boys & I am all about it! They are fun but they are also exhausting. I know that being a mom of men comes with so many responsibilities & I hope I make them proud. 

I hope they can one day say, "I want to marry someone like my mama." I hope.. so many hopes for my sons...

Ok can we talk about these outfit! I absolutely adore my boys in matching outfits and The Boy Box makes it so fun & easy to keep them coordinated. I also love supporting small businesses & this business was started up by a fellow boy mama so I am her #1 fan! 

Check them out & use code JALYSSA for 20% off your purchase! 

Making Moments + Jord Watch Giveaway

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Isn't it crazy how certain experiences can change your perspective, shift your mindset, redirect your thoughts. It is almost as if life experience upgrades your character.

Motherhood & marriage has upgraded my character & made me realize that these small moments are actually the biggest moments. So this summer I want to take time to just be with my kids & my husband. 

It's so easy to find them exhausting but I want to see them as fun. Life can be so repetitive but I am going to make it exciting. When there's a sweet moment that isn't posed or perfect, I'm still going to capture it. I guess I'm going to make my home a vacation spot this year. Where little kids can run wild, mom's can have all the coffee they want, and dad's can play hard as if they themselves, are little again.

I want to be intentional with my time, because is it such a precious thing.

I love a fun watch, don't you?
I have Partnered with Jord Wood Watches to giveaway $100 store credit so you can have one too.

I absolutely love the handcrafted wood, the beautiful design, and the stunning details of these handmade watches. 

I am wearing the Fankie in zebra & champagne & wearing it makes me think of the time put into creating it which reminds me how precious time truly is.

They have gorgeous women's watches that range in shape + size but are all stunning. 
Their men's watches are equally amazing & jaw dropping. 
Oh & their packaging is everything! This company really put in a lot of effort making sure their customers get the best, I can appreciate that.

To enter the giveaway click here. Oh & even if you don't win, I got you boo. Every person who enters will get $25 store credit so no one is forgotten.

Remember you guys, time is a gift... It is precious & non refundable so make the most of it. Don't sit around waiting for the "big" moments. Be a moment maker & capture them all.

xo Jalyssa


My sweet talented friend Megan captured these sweet photos of me & my baby boy just hanging out in her living room. If you are local you have to check her out!

Luxury Wooden Watch

It Takes Work (3 tips for a thriving marriage from newbies)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Someone once asked me, "Is your marriage really as good as it is on social media?" 

I didn't know this girl, she was just a random follower who was really wondering.. & rightfully so.

I told her yes, yes it actually was that good, maybe even a little better. This opened up a conversation about why marriage can work & it has been a conversation I have loved having with people ever since.

Is my marriage hard? Absolutely! Ab-so-freakin-lutely! Is that how you spell that?
Anyways, its hard. Its work. Its sometimes a mess.

Now I'd be lying if I said Nathaniel & I live on struggle street in our marriage. It wouldn't be honest of me to sit here & pretend we argue often, fight like crazy, or are often in conflict. We butt heads, but the arguments are few & far between. 
Don't roll your eyes & stop reading just yet... I want to share with you how we have learned & labored for this... I promise, it won't be a waste of your time.

Work... Anything worth while takes work... We hear that ALL THE TIME right?! 
Well hear it from me, it's true. I'm not sure I have ever met someone who is admirable that didnt have to work hard for what they have. If we didnt have to work hard for a good marriage we'd be, well bratty. We'd expect marriage to be pretty all the time & then the moment something isn't great, we'd crumble. But when we work for it, the strength runs deep.

Think about people who live a fit life. None of us are born in the gym. Eating kale & chia seeds is not usually your dream dessert. Then one day you choose to change your life. That first time you hit the gym is torture. the thought of a salad over a #1 from Chic Fil A makes you cringe. Then day 2 comes, it's hard but not as hard. As the days, weeks, & months go by these choices become like 1st nature. Now you love working out & sweating like crazy. You crave colorful fresh food. 
Do you think the hard work is gone? Not at all, you are still working. 
But as you reap the reward of your labor you see what it is worth & then the labor is something you love.
Now that work that was once hard is now like 1st nature. Oh believe me, it is still work, but it is a work you thoroughly enjoy.

Friends, that is marriage. It is truly a labor of love. 

Nathaniel & I had an excellent 1st year of marriage... No fights, no frustrations, it was like a year long honeymoon. Then we went into that 2nd year, got pregnant, moved back to the states, got a home, new friends, new job, new school... We started to see the not so pretty parts of each other. Now what that could have done it led to a not so pretty marriage. rather we looked to Jesus

So that is what I want to share with you, some of the steps we take to make this marriage work.. no, make this marriage thrive.

1. We seek mentorship. Premarital counseling should just be the 1st step but the counsel should never stop. We have mentors that we meet with individually & as a couple. They challenge us, teach us, encourage us, question us, & even whoop us if need be. Haha ok not literally but it feels like it sometimes. We adore their marriage & their hearts for God so we trust them.

2. We read, listen, & learn... constantly. There are incredible books about marriage out there. There are also some great books about what it means to be a woman or a man of God. Knowing who I am in Christ helps me to be a better wife & vise versa. We listen to sermons, ted talks, podcasts, etc. 
9 times out of 10 you will come into my house & hear some kind of teaching playing from my speaker, iPad, or tv. They aren't always on marriage specifically, but on respect, speaking kindly, how men think, self love, & so on. I am always wanting to learn & grow because I believe my marriage & us as individuals thrive this way. Nathaniel does the same while he drives, works, & so on.

3. We love God 1st. We have learned that without the presence of the very God who brought us together, we have absolutely nothing. When Jesus is made known, when we worship Him, when we lean on Him, love Him, look to Him, talk to Him... we really love each other more. Without the heart of God we are so quick to have friction because the imperfections of 2 humans combined is a recipe for hot mess. But when those 2 pitiful humans live in the love of Jesus, their unity is something to admire.

I admire my marriage, in fact, it is my favorite marriage. I wouldn't rather have what anyone else has. This work is beautiful because through it I see how Jesus was able to choose the cross. He saw the bigger picture which made the suffering minimal in comparison to the glory that awaited. 
We see the bigger picture, the generations, the fruit... It is something worth working for.

xoxo, Jalyssa

(below are links to some of our favorite books)

There are more books I could recommend but these have been so great. Please email or message me if you wanna chat about marriage.

When a Man Loves a Woman

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"When a man loves a woman
Can't keep his mind on nothin' else
He'd trade the world
For a good thing he's found
If she is bad, he can't see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend

If he puts her down"

You guys remember this song? It has always been one of my favorites & reminds me of how much my Nathaniel loves me. When a man loves a woman he would... well he would sacrifice. 

His comfort, his pleasures, his time... He'd give it up for the woman he loves.

Marriage has been a true test of love, sacrificial, selfless love. We have only been married 5 years but have been through so much. Living out of the country, a few different apartments/houses, 3 beautiful children, losing over a dozen people close to us, and the list goes on. 

Nathaniel has known me thin & heavy. He has experienced me as a working wife & a stay at home mom. He has held my hand as I pushed out babies & held my head as I almost died. He has come home to a spotless house & hot meal but also to a filthy house & an overwhelmed wife.

When a man loves a woman, he'd trade the world for a good thing he's found. 

You see, the reason I love these lyrics is they tell me that Nathaniel loving me is a sure thing. In our culture & generation we are led to believe in superficial love. A love that can end, a love that can mistreat, a love that can fade, a love that we do not deserve. 

We are daughters of a King & our men here on earth should treat us as such. They should make us feel worthy, beautiful, desired, & like royalty. 
I have been so loved by my man & I know this is a love not many will know in an entire lifetime so I do not take it for granted.

Nathaniel, thank you for loving me through it all. Thank you for seeing me as beautiful, always. Thank you for sharing the pain of life with me. It is easy to walk through the pretty things together but the hard things... Thats where love is shown. 

& even when you struggle to love me, even when things are hard & loving each other is more work than fun, I am grateful it is you. Gosh we are a hot mess, but a beautiful mess because of Jesus.

One thing I have learned about marriage is the cost of love. Love without cost is superficial, but sacrificial love is deep. I have learned that when you love with depth you will never stop going deeper. That is what keeps marriage exciting. 

I don't want to live in the shallow end of love but I want to sink deep with you Nathaniel. I didn't know it was possible to love you more than that day we said "I do" but here I am... 
More in love with you than ever before. Gosh that makes me excited for the years ahead. 

xoxo Jalyssa
(p.s. Nathaniel is making fun of how I pose for pictures, hater)

I Celebrate You

Monday, May 29, 2017

Today is seriously my favorite day! 
My beloved, my best friend, my baby daddy, my king, my soulmate was born! 

Nathaniel, I hear stories of your birth... a premature twin, tiny yet strong. You never stopped being strong my love. You are so very strong.

In your short life you have experienced so much suffering, so much loss, so much struggle, & the list goes on. 
Yet here you are, standing tall, so brave, so courageous, so faithful.

Nathaniel your love for God challenges me & your love for people calls me to action.

Your ability to father our sons reminds me of 
the reality of a Father... 
a Father in heaven so good & so able. A Father so able to call a young man to be a present & loving father although he Himself was fatherless. Now I see the work of God as a Father in a whole new beautiful way.

You work so hard papi, so very hard, Serving as a United States Airman means you are always on the clock. Then you choose to pursue your degrees so that you can grow & show your sons something. Yet you are still so present, so involved, so available. I hope our boys are like you.

Oh goodness don't get me started on my adoration for you as my husband. As a matter of fact, I'll save that for my next post ;-)

Nathaniel, Happy birthday. I celebrate you with true gratitude. Im grateful God has given you another year. 
I look forward to the years to come. 
Thank you for choosing me to grow old with, I'm all in.

Uncle Nathan! You too are wonderful. I am so so glad my boys have an uncle like you. An uncle who is the definition of strong. The way you overcome is inspiring. The way you look your disability in the eye & say "you can't stop me" brings me to tears. The way you conquer adversity gives me hope. The way you love is beautiful. Thank you for loving my sweet little family with all of you. We will never forget all that you do for us. 
You are so loved.

My twins, I love you both, I celebrate your lives, I cherish your presence, & I adore you. Your names mean "the gift of God". That is exactly what you guys are!
Happy Birthday!