Refresh Summit: Virtual 

In August we had the first ever virtual Refresh Summit. It was designed to give people a taste of Refresh for free. You could watch from the comfort of your own home and have friends join you, if possible. I was doing the social media, so I created these fun graphics to post as we all followed along live!

I’m proud of my work on these graphics. I almost feel like a graphic designer, which I never thought I would say (Matt’s the designer of our family, I’m the crafter! lol). I also threw together some graphics of the little nuggets of wisdom that we learned from the summit. Each woman had so many awesome things to share, it was wonderful to see it all come together into one unified summit.

 While the video is no longer available to view, you should definitely consider coming to Refresh Summit: South in a couple weeks. We still have a few spots left AND we have day passes available if you’re in the area. Check out the website for more info!! I’m so excited to head out, I can barely contain it!

Insta-Update 2015

Oh, hey, look! More Instagram pics thatI I forgot to post back in February… And because I use this blog to document my life… I’m still gonna publish this now. hahaha


Top: completing the Run Riverside Challenge, family Disney day for the New Year. 

Bottom: our little family, making a blanket rack. 


Top: Friday running group, the family with Miss Daisy, my biggest fan. 

Middle: #faithrunsredlands, cuddling pups, expo time with Lisa. 

Bottom: babysitting Jacks, visiting my man, gym selfie. 


Top: Lori!, cuzzo selfies, NorCal FFW meetup. 

Middle: running selfie, FFW meetup in San Diego, Superbowl Sunday. 

Bottom: running buddies, new mug rack, Sarah’s baby shower. 

and I feel much better having updated this! Thank you all for joining me! 


I had every intention of writing this post last week… And yeah it just didn’t happen. We’re gonna be lucky if I actually get this posted today (10/5). [Sidenote: I finished this today, 10/6 on my phone and then the app crashed, so I’m starting over. Le Sigh.] September was awesome. Matthew started medic school, I ran my first half marathon, and we sort of started to get into the swing of things with our new routine. October though, October is gonna be crazy!! I have two weekends away and Matts school get harder each week. He also has a trauma conference (fun)! IMG_7177

First things first, which is actually the last thing to happen this month. Refresh Summit South. I am so excited for this year’s retreat. We’ve been planning for the last year and I’m just ready to go. I’m ready to go serve God and these awesome women that He’s bringing to the summit. I’m excited for zumba and worship and the workshops. And I’m really excited to see the ladies that I met last year and love dearly, and meet the new ladies! Oh I’m getting so overjoyed just typing about it!

IMG_5388Also, I will be going to see Ellen! What?!! Yup! My girl Faithy got tickets and asked if I wanted to go and I jumped at the opportunity. [Last time I said take your sister and then they BOTH won washers and dryers. Sad!!] I’m super excited for the show, but also to spend a day with my good friend. I guess I am a quality time person after all!

This month also includes a getaway with 24/7 Commitment. Twelve ladies and I will be sneaking away to a GORGEOUS home in Ojai for some R & R. This is much needed after I spent last month wrapping up my first project for 24/7 Commitment. [Yes, that’s right, I’m not working part time as a virtual assistant / project manager for 24/7. Yes, I still work my full time job. Yes, that does make me a little crazy!!] I was the recipe testing / editing coordinator for the Eat Like a Firefighter cookbook. It was the perfect project for me to start with there, and I’m super proud of it. I can’t wait for you to get a copy. But I digress, the fun part is the getaway. It’s filled with relaxing by the fire, pampering, and maybe even some late night board games. Ahhh I’m feeling relaxed already!


There are so many other posts in my drafts folder right now.  From various coffee dates to Refresh Summit Virtual to Choose Joy to my Birthday (6 months ago!). But for now I’m just excited to share my excitement about this month with you!! What are you excited for this month?

Christmas 2014

Last year we had one jam packed December. Now that it’s almost Christmas again (ok not really, but we’re definitely closer to Christmas 2015 than Christmas 2014), I thought it was high time to share the post with instagram pics that I started last year… you’re welcome. I feel so much better getting these posts out of my drafts folder!

Matthew working Thanksgiving day and Christmas Eve last year. It actually worked out because the family celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday (with siblings who had just moved back) and I got to hop around for turkey day! I did a turkey trot with friends and then ventured over to my family’s Thanksgiving party. I was going to visit the station, but they were crazy busy and didn’t really celebrate. I made up for that in December though, because Matthew kept getting overtime at the station nearest our house. I visited for dinner a couple times, brought my cousin so she could see the station (and we got to stay and go on the parade with Santa!), and then had Christmas Eve dinner with the crew. We also went to my parents for a few days after Christmas, and then they came down here for New Year’s festivities and a Disneyland day or two. Lots of fun! Now, my top 4 pics from the holiday season…


Top: Ornament Exchange at Faithy’s, Soul Sisters Christmas Dinner
Bottom: Our Family Christmas Photo (outtake), Visiting the station on Christmas Eve


Top: Cousin photoshooot, Girls Hallmark Movie & Cocktail Night, Parade with the Fam
Middle: Last Year / This Year, Antlers on Pups, Wine Tasting (while Matt took a test haha)
Bottom: Sister Cookie Baking, Santa Fun Run, Holiday Picture Kisses


Top: Christmas Morning in the Bay, Cousin Brunch in the City, Nadalets on Christmas Day
Middle: Christmas Dinner at the Bonns, Christmas Morning, Day after Christmas Run
Bottom: Lounging at my Parental’s, Friends since Junior High, Sisters with Jacks


Top: Daddy & Me at Brewcakes, Midnight!, Visiting my Twinsie in the Bay
Middle: New Year’s Day workout, Checking out Drake’s Brewery, Girls’ Night Out
Bottom: New Year’s PhotoBooth, PhotoBooth Round 2, Cousin Photoshoot in the Bay


Top: Christmas Eve, Soul Sisters Necklaces, Alex & I with Santa
Middle: Selfies on the Couch, Paint Afternoon with Al, Matt & I with Station 23’s Santa
Bottom: Alex & I during the Parade, Cuzzo Pics, Finished Artwork

It was so fun having Alex stay with us for awhile during the holiday season. We had a fun cousin’s date and then she got to tour the station (like I said above). The holidays truly are about who you spend them with, and this year was one filled with lots of fantastic time with good friends and family. I’m almost ready for this year. Except not really, because then we would miss pumpkin spice fall. And I haven’t made anyone’s gifts yet! haha


Funny funny story. Sometimes I prepare posts with Instagram updates and then never follow through and post. Like this one. Which is a draft from September 2014. Hahaha I thought about just tossing it an starting over, since fitness is so different for me now, but I realized this is part of my journey. So we shall go from early 2014 to present. Ready?


About two years ago I joined a gym for the first time ever. That way I could work out with Heather and Bobbi at Fitness 19. At the time, that was the best fitness decision that I could have made. I spent most of 2013 / 2014 running and doing Bobbi’s shreds. That was also about the same time that Bobbi and I opened up Refresh Attire (September 2013). I made a decision that to wear workout clothes, I had to legitimately workout, not just wear them around the house with yoga pants. So I started doing HIIT workouts and fell in love with running. 2014 was definitely my running year. I think I ran 7 or 8 races and loved the 10k. The 10k is my race, it’s just long enough to be a challenge but not so long as to frustrate and annoy me with training (which I say as I am training for a half in 5 weeks).


I also did a lot of swimming over the summers of 2013 and 2014. Matt did work on a local pool, and so I had free access (which I miss!!). Occasionally I worked out with Matt and dragged and carried hose. That is brutal! Basically I was just trying to get moving and be healthy, and go against my lack of desire to workout. The pictures below were my favorite workout pics from 2014. Running with the pups was fun, but definitely a challenge (and I’ve gotten better with that since I got a waistbelt to attach their leash too).


In 2015 I changed my fitness focus. I decided to try Muay Thai. It was something I always secretly wanted to do, but never told anyone. I thought it was badass, and I wanted to be badass! So we hired our friend as my personal trainer and I got to work. I never knew how much I would LOVE it! Seriously, I now look forward to workouts. Crazy, right? I train with him every two weeks, and do strength training (hello lifting!) 3-4 days a week.


I still ran a lot in the beginning of the year (because my friend Faith and I were training for the run through Redlands, which I finished under 30 minutes, a total PR for me, by like 4 minutes)! Running with her was fun, but then it got hot and I started boxing and I just flipped. I still like running, but I no longer crave it. Racing doesn’t seem as exciting to me (again, maybe because I’m staring that half in the face), at least not as exciting as boxing. I did do a 10k with my sisters on Memorial Day though, and even though I had not really trained, I did really well and had fun. I got a PR of 1:07:18 (2 min faster than the Mission Inn 10k).


Switching from lifting at home to the gym was daunting for me. I had lifted at the gym before, but only up to 12 lb dumbbells on the other side of the gym. I never ventured into the machines / free weights and felt like it was all roid ragers over there and I would be a piece of meat. Oh how silly I am. I tried out the Y (it is closer to home and it was awesome), but then went back to Fitness 19 and have had awesome workouts there ever since. People were friendly and have answered questions that I have. It’s been about a month since I’ve been heavy lifting and I am still loving it. And I don’t feel like a piece of meat. 😉


That about brings us up to date. Currently Matt and a friend are trying to convince me to crossfit. I haven’t given them an answer yet. But I will say that we worked the crossfit games for Qalo and I was totally in awe of what those athletes can do! For now I will keep fighting and running and doing what I love!


Oh yeah! Matt and I started an ab challenge in June. Most improved abs / definition by the end of August wins. I really should have picked a prize, because I think I’m well on my way to winning. The pics below are my before pics (from February, before I started boxing) and progress pics from a couple of weeks ago. I can definitely see more muscles (yay!) and some teeny tiny abs. I am seriously in awe. I’ve never had a six pack before (other than beer) and I’m proud of myself for working so hard. We have 25 days left, so it’s time to tighten in that diet and those workouts!


So that’s where I’m at today with my fitness journey. I’ve come a long way from the girl who hated to workout and would prefer sitting on the couch and crocheting (although don’t get me wrong, I still love that)! What’s your favorite workout these days?

Father’s Day 

Mothers day can be a challenge for those with infertility because we feel left out. Like there’s something wrong with us because we can’t be what we so desperately desire, a mother. Father’s Day brings on a whole different set of emotions for me. I feel like a failure. Like it is my fault that my husband can’t be a dad and my parents can’t be grandparents. They would all be awesome in those roles, but for some reason they haven’t been able to become those yet. And it breaks my heart to see them hurting. I cried for a good thirty minutes in the bath on Sunday. Broken because those I love do not get to fully experience something they were made for too. That’s the heart for others that I have, breaking down a little bit. 

Yet God provided glimpses of Him for me in that moment. Reminders that though they are not yet fathers or grandfathers, their time will come. And they are waiting patiently too, and not blaming me. That his promises are true, whether I’m wallowing or joyful. He gave me sweet words from my Mom. That she’s so happy to see Matthew and I growing stronger in our relationship as we wait. And I see that’s true! We have been given such a precious gift of extra time to work through some junk and solidify our relationship. He gave me words from my dad, that he has no greater joy than good relationships with his kids. That, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4. Amen, right? And God gave me a husband who loved me from afar (darn fire!), even though today was tough for him too. Also, I was reminded that we do parent many of those around us, whether friends or family or our little pups! 

God also gave me an awesome analogy, through my Mom. Each day that we have in our marriage before kids is like depositing into a saving account. Then when life gets a little crazy and you’re running in a million directions with those kids you wanted so badly, you are able to withdraw. I actually really love this analogy. And I know it’s taken Matthew and I a bit to figure out how to deposit. And right now we’re in a season of heavy investing. I feel like we’re at such a more solid place than if we had kids four years ago like I wanted. Yet it also scares me a bit, because what does God have in store for us with so much deposited? Haha I am so excited to see where our story is going, but a little nervous too! 

I know this holiday has left many other women feeling the same way. And I know I once told Matt, “why don’t you go marry someone else who can give you babies.” And you know what he told me? Nope. He said God put us together as man and wife and we are going to figure this out. I pray for the other women who have felt this way, who feel like they are letting down their husbands. Do not blame yourself. When you said your vows, it was for better or for worse. This may be something you have to figure out a little more in the worse, but you will. You can conquer this together. Lean into your husband like I lean into my Matt, let him hold you and comfort you. 



I posted this Sunday and wished Matthew a Happy Furrther’s Day, because even tho he won’t let me call him Dad in reference to the pups (which, fine, valid point, they do not know where their dads are 😂😂), we are still learning parenting skills with them.

And I did celebrate my dad on Sunday. Because I was raised by an awesome God fearing man, who loves me and my brother and my Matthew so much. I don’t want my momentary sorrow to take away from that. 

Does Father’s Day bring up any emotions for you?

Flame Fest 2015

Where to begin? Well, first off let’s celebrate the fact that I’m starting this post mere days after arriving home, not weeks or months. I debated waiting for the professional pictures to arrive, but realized I would just use that as an excuse to drag my feet and this post would never be written. So here it is, in all it’s glory, with my lovely iPhone pictures (and probably a few that friends sent me and I’m sorry if I’m not crediting). I do have a couple of sneak peeks from the photographer, I’ll make sure to credit him for those.

Flame Fest. This was our second year attending, but the third year of the event. It’s really hard to describe what it is in words. In the simplest terms, it is a marriage retreat for firefighters and their wives (or husbands, as we do have some female fire fighters in the group) put on by Fire Fighter Wife. In more complex terms, it is a time when I get to see my friends that I have been communicating online with for the past 3 years. It is a time for men who value marriage and family as well as, or more than, their career to connect. It is a time for marriages to be strengthened through workshops and activities (like the touch a truck competition). It is a time for brothers from across the country to meet and immediately get each other, though different, they have common ground. It is a time to laugh. It is a time to cry. And it is a time to leave with stronger friendships than you could have imagined, and text conversations keeping them going.

We left on Wednesday morning, bright and early (4 am!). But it was worth it because we got to meet up with one of our favorite couples for the long drive from Columbus to West Virginia. We also met up with another family who we spent time with last year. Dinner with them was the perfect way to start the trip, because truly this weekend was about relationships.

Photo Jun 04, 9 48 28 AM

We came in a day early because I had meetings. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I am an advisor for Fire Fighter Wife. It was an honor to be asked last fall, and this time with the other advisors really make me feel like an integral part of the team and our dream. That three hours left me more energized and excited than I could have ever imagined. It was the perfect way to start the retreat. Later that day we had a captains meeting (Matt jokes about how I made captain before him, and he’s not surprised. hehe). It was fun to see all the ladies who pour so much time and energy into the sisterhood. Who share the same goals of wanting to see marriages thrive. Afterwards, Matthew and I went on a run, which was supposed to be quick but ended up being almost four miles because of a few wrong turns. It was great though. The perfect time for us to connect and I was able to debrief about my meeting.

Photo Jun 04, 12 53 56 PM

The captains sent their love to the ladies back home!

That night we were put into “crews” at dinner and we came up with a name and slogan. I loved having assigned seating, because it made us branch out and meet new couples. Plus Matthew got to show off his mad art skills and we laughed a lot with our Twerkin Chaplain! Later that evening we spent time with a large group of people in lawn chairs outside our rooms (we were in “Suites” that were really like little eight condos outside). It was fabulous to connect with friends old and new over hard cider and wine and brewskis (everyone had a different preference) and laugh. Boy did we laugh. I need to laugh more, and this trip definitely reminded me of that!

Photo Jun 04, 9 31 21 PM

the Dancin’ Chaplains

Photo Jun 05, 5 39 17 AM

The next day Matthew and I joined 555 Fitness for a little workout. 7 am was really early after our 2 am bedtime, but the workout was totally worth it! It was a partner workout called “343,” in honor of the fallen firefighters in 9/11. Between you and your partner you split 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats, and 43 burpees, with a little run in the middle of each set. Nothing super crazy, but a great way to start the day and get our blood flowing. It was also fun watching the couples workout together. The guys were super encouraging of their wives.

Photo Jun 05, 5 04 23 AM

The rest of that day was filled with speakers and workshops. Dan and Lori shared their story, what makes their marriage work, and where FireFighter Wife came from. I always love hearing from them and seeing their passion. Chief Bobby Halton shared about his time in the fire service and what it means to be a firefighter wife. Rhett Fleitz and Willie Wines spoke about PTSD and suicide and how to help your brother. It was well done and reminded us of the changes that need to happen in the culture of the fire department. There was a marriage panel with couples from the group that shared what their marriages really look like and how to help them thrive in the fire service. The afternoon we had a couple of breakout sessions. First we had a massage workshop, which gave us hands on experience in giving each other a back massage. It was fantastic. Secondly we heard from some of the guys with NFFF (National Fallen Firefighters Foundation) about planning for a LODD, not the most pleasant topic, but definitely something we need to think about.

Photo Jun 05, 8 19 39 AM Photo Jun 05, 8 33 06 AM Photo Jun 05, 8 21 26 AM

That night was the ball. Oh the ball. Last year I opted for formal, so this year I decided to go semi-formal. That and I never found the formal dress that I pictured in my mind. haha I love any occasion to dress up, especially when all of my friends are looking so fly! This years ball was a recommitment ceremony as well. A bunch of the couples had the joy of renewing their vows, and they exchanged new Qalo rings. We got Qalo rings too (yay for the thin red line ones)!! I loved taking both selfies and formal pictures with my friends, as well as dancing the night away. We sat with our #calipartycrew, had a no cell phone rule at our table, and laughed a lot!

Photo Jun 05, 3 47 06 PM

The lovely advisors, all dressed up!

Photo Jun 05, 3 27 56 PM

Photo Jun 06, 8 14 55 AM

We are under that arm taking a picture. haha

Photo Jun 05, 7 13 51 PM

Mandatory bathroom selfie

Photo Jun 05, 4 21 11 PM

These two, Katelyn & Sean, have become fast friends. We are at similar places in our lives / careers, and they are just awesome. So glad we finally met!

Photo Jun 05, 8 24 05 PM

With Dan and Lori, after the ball wound down!

the #calipartycrew lookin fly!

Photo Jun 05, 4 27 25 PM

with the Fleitz’ and the Bevers’ who we spent some quality time with last year

After the ball wound down, we headed to the fire pit to continue the party. Comfy clothes mandatory. :) more laughs and jokes ensured. I’m pretty sure we stayed up until 2 am again, which made out 9 am workout pretty brutal! 

Photo Jun 06, 7 52 43 AM

The workout was fun, but Matthew and I both got stung by bees, and that was not fun! We survived though! Haha The rest of Saturday was filled with free time and then Touch a Truck. The California Girls sent sunglasses for our picnic that day. They were the perfect little touch of Cali for everyone. We decided to go through the activities (forcible entry, wall breach, and going up in the bucket) together as California girls. We had a blast. Then there was a couples competition (forcible entry,  wall breach, and running and then spray the hose) for time. Matthew and I were the first and only team to finish under a minute. I was amazed. I mean, I knew I was getting stronger, but I seriously doubt my own skills. I was sure everyone would be faster and work harder than us. The feeling of victory when we finished was amazing, especially once we heard our time. It was awesome working together with Matthew to conquer something. We need to do that more often! 

Photo Jun 06, 4 43 26 PM

This photo taken by the Beves


Giving a little encouragement to my girl Katelyn. Photo by Adam Schierberg Photography

Photo Jun 06, 11 21 10 AM

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Photo Jun 07, 11 49 23 AM

Photo Jun 07, 11 46 03 AM

Willie (aka THE Iron Fireman) wanted a picture of me in his gear. I was honored to use it!


Photo Jun 06, 11 26 06 AM

That night we had a barbecue and then more time by the fire. More sweet time with precious friends. And lots and lots of laughs. Also I somehow got roped into singing amazing grace, accompanied by a guitar and banjo. I was way off key for the first verse, but then found my groove. I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but it really was the perfect way to end the evening. 

That next morning was full of more goodbyes and lots of pictures. I was so blessed to connect with women whom I love so deeply but hadn’t met in real life yet. It was hard to leave, but I know the connections run deep. We caught the four hour ride back to Columbus with Dan and Lori and it was perfect. We were able to discuss the weekend as well as our future.

Photo Jun 07, 12 59 12 PM

Matthew and I left more connected than we have been in a very long time. We were able to get away and just talk. We made new friends that encouraged and refreshed us; and are at the same stage of life so we can challenge and comisterate with each other. I feel like we left a big weight behind when we got on the plane in California. A weight that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. I’m so glad. It’s been a bit of a challenging season. I know that this next year won’t be easy (paramedic school, anyone?), but I feel like we are at a much better place going into it. In short, I’m so blessed to be a part of FireFighter Wife and that we were able to experience this together. Oh, and the guys were so excited that they started the 24/7 Commitment Honor Guard to continue encouraging one another in their career and their marriage, just like Fire Fighter Wife does (24/7 Commitment is the newly formed non-profit that runs Fire Fighter Wife).

And guess what? Next year we are having a retreat in California, so many of you who couldn’t come because of costs can join us! Will you come to the California retreat next year? How about if we change the name so it doesn’t sound so… well…. yah. 😉

Uncle Matt 

This post is pretty raw, so bear with me. Mmmkay. Thanks! I’m adding lots of pictures because they are happy and fun. And I’m sappy and emotional. But still hopeful and joyful, please know that. I try to wrap it up with a pretty bow at the end. I’m not sure if I do, but dang if I tried!!

Let me start by saying I love my nephew. He is the most adorable kiddo ever and I love spending time with him. But it hasn’t always been easy for me. I remember finding out his Momma was pregnant and I was excited for her, but it was also really hard for me. At that time we had been trying for a few years to get pregnant to no avail, and now she had that positive test that stuck. I remember talking to God and asking what’s wrong with me that I don’t get to be a Mom yet. God showed me that me being an auntie had nothing to do with me being a mother. Nothing would change this precious time for my wonderful sis in love or for us and our nephew. Once I realized that, it made it easier. God showed me that right now I get to love on my nephew, that Matthew does too. That he gets to be extra adored by us because we do not have any children yet. What a lucky little man, right?

But sometimes it is still hard. I’ve watched Matthew blossom into an amazing uncle with little J. Matthew never really held kids before. I mean he kinda treated little ones like they would explode and would stay five feet away. It was funny. With J, it’s never been like that. He picked him up from the first time he met him and loves holding him now. Watching them interact is so sweet. J is now at the fun toddler stage and loves making faces and dancing with Uncle Matt. They had a blast at my party, although Jackson was NOT a fan of the fake mustache! At one point I looked over and both Matthew and Jackson were giggling hard. Why? Because Matthew was holding him and letting him splash in the fountain, and Jackson was getting them both wet. It was adorable!

Every once in awhile tho, a little twinge of sadness hits me. Matthew will be an amazing dad. I’m watching him interact with J and just know it’s a preview of what’s to come. It makes me sad that I haven’t been able to give him a kiddo yet. It’s something that I can see in both of our eyes. Tender love, but a little sadness that it still isn’t our time yet. It’s something that is hard to describe. It’s something I don’t really talk about. I don’t want anyone to feel bad. It’s not their fault. You know? And it’s not that I don’t want them spending time together. I love it. I laugh at the way they play games and chase each other around the house. I don’t want to take away from the goodness of that. But it’s just that. A dichotomy. Goodness and sadness. Joy and a little weeping. But that’s how life is.

People have asked how I handle all (ok really not all but thanks to facebook it seems like a lot) of my friends getting pregnant and having kids while I’m left in the dust. Honestly there is a great and amazing peace that comes from God. He fills up those sad days with laughter, so that pain is just a twinge. And I watch my friends transition naturally into the role of parents and I see their kids blossom. I love spending time with other families. Meeting new babies. Playing with kiddos. Even changing diapers. I don’t want my pain to take away from their joy. Or from my joy for them. I can say that I am truly happy when my friends have kids. I don’t feel left in the dust because they include me in their lives. It’s the same with our nephew. I love him to pieces and am so grateful to have him nearby. It’s funny to see him act when we come into the room, he starts dancing when he sees Matthew and says cheese when he sees me (because he know’s we’re gonna take a selfie).




I wish I had some glorious conclusion after all of that word vomit and the cute pictures. But I don’t. haha Maybe it’s National Infertility Awareness Week that has this on my mind, maybe just lots of time with family recently. I dunno. Lets try this….

I love watching Matthew be uncle. It is truly a delight. But part of me is a little sad that he’s not dad yet. All in good timing, though! I know it will happen someday soon, and then not only will our son have two loving parents and aunts and uncles, but an older cousin to tell him or her all the secrets of life. How awesome is that??!!

7th Anniversary Staycation

I still find it hard to believe that my Matthew and I have been married for seven years. Seven! Everyone says “oh you’ll hit the 7 year itch” or “this will be your worst year,” but I really doubt that. We’ve worked through some tough crap over the last few years and I finally feel like we are on the same page (or at least reading the same chapter)! I’m learning what respect actually means, and he’s learning to speak in love. It’s a beautiful thing, Marriage, when it’s going well. However that takes hard work!

We have had some fun anniversary celebrations over the years. Some years we were able to getaway for the weekend (with our fifth anniversary being almost a week heading up the coast), and some years we just got out to dinner. I had fun looking back over the years while I made that collage above. This year’s anniversary kinda snuck up on us. Matthew somehow had the weekend off, so we had a staycation.


First, Matthew gave me a qalo ring. I love wearing it when he’s on duty. It reminds me to be praying for him and the guys he works with. He’s had his for awhile and loves it. The company is pretty awesome, their customer service is beyond amazing, and they just came out with a sweet thin red line ring for firefighters. Awesome.

I digress. For our staycation, we were able to use Matt’s aunt’s cabin in big bear for one night. It was the perfect place to getaway and unplug. Oh and we had some amazing food and drinks at the new brewery in big bear!

We also got to check out the fire pits that my company put in a couple years ago! It’s cool seeing the whole project (we redid the entire downtown street / sidewalks) come to fruition and be used by so many. Plus it still looks beautiful!

The next day was full of surprises. Matthew had planned an awesome evening for us, complete with sweet notes that were clues to the evening. We had dinner at Café Sevilla (which was sweet because we went there on our 4th anniversary (smack dab in the middle of academy when a dinner was all we had time for) and shared some tapas. Then we saw Kathleen Madigan. I was so impressed that he had thought up such a fun and creative date. We also walked around downtown Riverside before the show.

Sunday was our actual anniversary. I had a race (my first 5k under 30 minutes) and then we celebrated with friends over breakfast. We also raised a glass of prosecco (my dad just gave us a new bottle from the same winery in Italy that we had at our wedding, Marsuret) and congratulated ourselves on seven years!

 Here’s to our first seven years, and many many more. Survive and thrive, my love!

Candida Diet Check In

After successfully finishing the 21 Day Sugar Detox a few weeks ago, I transitioned to the candida diet. It’s a bit modified (I still let in the occasional green apple or green tipped banana), but yet stricter than the sugar detox. I’ve tried to get rid of a lot of the acidic things that I was eating, so coffee, tea, tomatoes, and the like are out. It was wonderful having coffee during the sugar detox, and I dreaded giving it up. Probably moreso than wine. So I let myself have one cup of coffee a week (that’s the modification part). And I’m doing well with that. As with the wine, it wasn’t as hard to give up as I thought.


This diet is more of a spiritual walk for me. As I continue the diet for five more weeks, I realize it is more and more about obedience. It’s about saying yes to what God told me to do, even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else. But it’s also about grace. Like the other day I ate some lunchmeat from Panera (I deconstructed the sandwich and made it into a salad). A couple of bites in, I realized that the lunchmeat had to have sugar, but I hadn’t thought about it before. So I just let it go. No sense beating myself up, just need to be smarter next time. And on a recent trip to Five Guys I ordered fries to go with my lettuce wrapped burger. And I felt like crap after. My thought was “oh they use peanut oil, not soy, it’s healthy,” forgetting that a) I’m avoiding peanuts (they can have higher rates of mold and apparently I don’t process them well) and b) fries are still not healthy (I’ve been avoiding potatoes for the last 6 weeks). Oh well.  Lesson learned. And no, they weren’t worth it. The steak with butter on Valentine’s Day though, totally worth it. Well, mostly worth it. Digestive issues aren’t fun. :(


Valentine’s day was a bit challenging. Everyone had candy (my favorite) and coffee (favorite two), or so it seemed. We also hadn’t communicated well and ended up spending the night in, which is fine. I made steak with garlic compound butter which was amazing, but like I said, not really worth it. And I found a root vegetable grill pack from fresh & easy that had no sugar or butter in the seasonings (it’s a miracle!!) but they never really cooked through and we were unimpressed. :( Oh well. At least I had some really good wine.


It has been fun finding new things that I can eat though. We made crispy waffles with almond and arrowroot flour the other day. They would definitely be better with a little maple, but they were still amazing. And I found a hot drink for the mornings that I can have, teecinno. It’s an herbal blend that’s supposed to taste like coffee. It doesn’t. But it’s good, well, it’s an acquired taste that I now think is good! I describe it as a mix of coffee and tea. I’ve jazzed it up with coconut milk and cinnamon though, and that’s tasty. Today I added pumpkin pie spice. Yum yum! Matthew also found a recipe for coconut + almond flour pancakes to make my heart shaped waffles on Valentine’s Day. And last night I made a lemon ginger chicken that was amazing!


Packing for a road trip was a bit challenging, but really just took some extra time. I was super excited to find sunflower seeds without sugar (which is hard to do!) and made some crackers and assorted nuts (some raw, some roasted). Jerky has also been super helpful. I feel like I am more in the flow of things now, so I don’t need constant snacks like I did on the sugar detox. Although it is always good to have something healthy that I can reach for. Which is something I should apply long after this candida diet!


This past week I have hit the middle point “why the heck am I doing this” mood. I got overwhelmed and frustrated by my (apparent) lack of choices and the seemingly pointless reason for doing this. I had wine on Valentine’s day, and it was good, but I had built it up too much in my head. And then my thought process was why not just bring it back? Why not just quit now? Who cares? I had to go back over my original posts, remember why I am doing this. And really, five more weeks is NOTHING in the span of my life! So I’m back on track now. Not that I wasn’t before, I was just getting frustrated. And I am remembering just how many options I do have. So many healthy things I can pick up and eat!


I had wanted to try these banana pecan macaroons for a couple weeks. Forgetting (this happens a lot haha) that pecans sometimes make my mouth itchy (see what I’m doing there, not believing its an allergy hahaha). So we made them and they were delicious, but definitely left me feeling a little off. Not super sick or anything, just kinda like I ate what I shouldn’t have. So pecans are sadly back on the no list. Sigh. At least I know now.


I’ve started getting into a solid workout routine. I’m taking some supplements to help me with energy for that (it’s carbs that process in a way as to help with the blood sugar regulation. I don’t really understand the science but trust it), and overall I feel really good. My digestion is great, my skin feels amazing (and my hubby says it looks good too!), and my energy is back. I feel good. Working out regularly has been awesome. I have some new training goals, so it’s nice to have those to focus on! Six and a half weeks down, four and a half to go! hard to believe I’m well past the middle point!