Three 31


Kamden’s First Haircut

Let the season of firsts begin … Kamden got his hair cut yesterday!

I took him to Cool Cuts 4 Kids in Fort Worth and I’m glad we splurged for his first haircut. The salon is definitely designed for young children with bright colors, lots of toys, and TVs at each station. Speaking of chairs, they have miniature toy cars for children to sit in while getting their hair cut. It’s such a great concept. The employees are SAINTS in my opinion and have the patience of Job for this job. When we walked in the door, I almost walked back out because of the noise. Every child in a chair was screaming or crying at the top of their lungs. Kamden, not missing a beat, walked right in and started playing with the toy trucks and train set. We waited less than a minute before Miss Mary took us to her chair, which was a taxi cab toy car. Kamden loved turning the steering wheel!


The kid beside us was throwing a holy fit and was so loud I could barely hear myself think. I don’t know how long they had been there before we arrived, but he was still screaming when we left. Thank you, God, for a chill child.


“Hey Mom, can I take this car home?!”


Miss Mary did a fabulous job cutting Kamden’s hair. His hair is like mine – thick and very curly. She cut quite a bit off, especially on top and in the back.


Getting a haircut is a big deal, of course Kirsten had to join us! Her sister, Britton, missed out because she’s at a debate tournament in Waco.


I cannot get enough of my child’s curls.



Thank you, Miss Mary, for a positive first haircut experience and taking care of our Mini Man!

*Cool Cuts 4 Kids make your child’s first haircut experience a special one. To remember the milestone, you’ll receive a commemorative certificate, small bag to keep a lock of hair, and a magnetic frame for a picture. Visit their website to find a location near you!

*This is not a paid endorsement. If my child or I have a pleasant experience someplace, I consider it my Mom Duty to share with others. You’re welcome.


First Day of School // JUMPS Toddler 1 Room

Kamden has officially started pre-school. One of the perks of being at church so often, serving on teams, and leading small group classes is having access to the building so I can take pictures of Kamden’s classroom when it’s empty and quiet. Believe me, this scene doesn’t happen often.



Kamden has his own cubby and shelf for his backpack and water bottle. His nap mat is too large and has to be kept in the corner. Don’t hate.



Kamden is one of the “lambs” in Miss Tara’s room. Kamden loves animals so he’s a big fan of the bulletin board decorations in his classroom as well as the hallway, where a life-size Noah’s Ark is painted on the wall.


I don’t know if this makes me THAT Mom or not, but I’m either sentimental for starting this tradition or setting our kid up for failure. Probably both. Anyway, I bought Kamden this white t-shirt that’s huge on him now but he’ll eventually grow into it. I used fabric markers to write “Class of 2032” on the front but, of course, in the picture it reads “ass of 032.” Sorry, kid. If he doesn’t graduate high school in 2032, we’re both going to look foolish.




OK, first day of school. I knew I was going overboard on Kamden’s lunch but I don’t want my kid to be hungry and he can be a picky. For his first school lunch in his brand new YumBox, I packed blueberries, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and raisins, plus Cheerios, rotisserie chicken, mini corn dog muffins, and mac-n-cheese cups. This is truly a meal fit for a prince but Kamden, being cantankerous, ate about 1.048236% of it.


Daddy took the day off so we could take Kamden to his first day of school. After we dropped Kamden off, Mommy and Daddy went to the gun range for a day date.

“Have a good first day, kid. See you at 2:30!”


After two weeks of school, Kamden has done extremely well adjusting to the new schedule on Tuesday and Thursday. We were very concerned about his nap habits but he’s adjusted like a champ and sleeps at church/school without issue. He’s also eating better, but I’m not stressing to create a Pinterest-worthy lunch for him two days a week either. The kid won’t starve, he’ll be alright.

We love J.U.M.P.S.!


Dear Aylan

When Husband got home from work last night, he asked if I had seen or heard news reports of the Syrian toddler boy found on the Turkish shoreline. I had not so Husband gave me brief details and warned not to go looking for more. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open a browser window without seeing his unforgettable picture.

I’ll never forget his red shirt, blue shorts, and black shoes. I can’t get the image of his little body face down at the water’s edge out of my mind. When I saw the picture, I didn’t have to ask Husband if it was the one. I already knew.

I immediately started crying. Even now, in the early morning hours of a new day, I’m still crying.

I’m crying for the little boy who lived a too short life filled with more pain and anguish than I will ever know. I’m crying for the boy’s mother and older brother who also perished. I’m crying for the father who is grieving the death of his wife and two young children.

I admit my tears are selfish. I didn’t sleep well last night. Husband doesn’t know that I held his hand for a while as he slept or that I watched Kamden on the monitor just to see his chest rise and fall with each breath. I am grateful for my family every day, but events like this remind me that every minute is precious.

I’m crying because I’m angry – I see a problem and I don’t know how to fix it.

I’m crying because I’m frustrated with people who lack compassion and make poor decisions.

I’m crying because I don’t understand why bad things happen – loved ones are diagnosed with cancer, babies are born prematurely, earthquakes hit, couples battle infertility, wars rage, and a toddler washes up on the shore of a beach resort.

I’m crying because I’m scared of the world in which to raise my son – violence against a person for the color of their skin, ethnicity, religious views, or because they’re wearing a badge and uniform; inappropriate relations between educators and students; access to drugs and alcohol; bullying; celebrity influence; and the worship of idols instead of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Aylan, sweet boy, I am so sorry for the pain you endured on earth but I know you are nestled warm and tight in the arms of Jesus. Now, go rest high on that mountain that is He!


Resolution Update // August 2015

Eight down; four to go.


Lose 20% of my body weight
Take advantage of health coach provided by insurance – Spoke to a health coach on August 25 and scheduled another session in September.
Eat breakfast every day
Take a daily multivitamin
Exercise four days a week
Work out with a personal trainer
Drink 150 ounces of water every day
Complete a juice cleanse
Complete a 90-day challenge
Eliminate something from my diet each month (i.e. sweets, fried foods, sugar, fast food, etc.)
January – Rough start at the beginning of the month, but I’ve managed to stay away from excess sugar for two and a half weeks. Small steps.
February – I avoided tomatoes like the plague.
March – Still avoiding tomatoes.
April – No tomatoes.
May – No tomatoes.
June – I don’t remember the last time I ate an actual tomato but I have had tomato-based products a couple of times: pizza sauce, barbeque sauce, and ketchup.
July – Tomatoes are back, at least a little bit, and I’ve not reacted.
August – nothing eliminated

Be showered and in bed by 10:30 every night
Learn more about and use essential oils
Find a skincare routine that works for me – Four days into trying the “Simple” skincare line (cleansing water and scrub) and “Pepta-Bright” serum my complexion has significantly cleared, especially on my jawline.
Participate in a “new-to-me” group exercise class January 9 – tried a 60-minute cycling class, January 24 – tried INSANITY, January 28 – Zumba with Miss Ivy
Schedule annual appointments with OB-Gyno, eye doctor, and dentist January 16 – comprehensive eye exam; January 19 – purchased eyeglasses at Warby Parker; January 20 – teeth cleaned; January 21 – cavity filled (booo!); August 27 – teeth cleaned (all is well)


Create a blog post calendar … and use it!
Attend a blog conference
Attend a creative writing workshop
Publish a blog post every day for a month SUCCESS – I posted every day in the month of June. Check out 30 Days of Manna.
Publish a “how to” post
Publish an original recipe
Continue the weekly FINISH THIS link up FAILURE – I did not make it 100 weeks. I think I stopped at #73. Whatever the number, this link up was beginning to be a burden, lacked direction and creativity, and I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year to eliminate things in life that were not satisfying and/or joyful. I’m grateful to the participants, and I apologize for not noticing them sooner about it’s elimination, but my Wednesdays are improving already – despite it being one of my busiest days of the week!
Start a blog series January 5 – Monday Musings began; January 24 – weekly meal plan with menu/recipes
Meet five bloggers in person
Host a sponsored giveaway
Host a bloggers’ watch party for 50 Shades of Gray February 13
Continue writing for MOMquery 
Continue writing for Sweet Jesus Girls


Organize and back up my photos
Sell my current camera and upgrade to this one I’ve changed my mind and WANT this one.
Acquire a 85mm prime lens
Acquire a telephoto lens
Expand Three 31 Photography by scheduling at least 10 sessions Completed my first bridal portrait session on August 23 and, after making a really stupid rookie mistake in Lightroom and editing twice, the photos turned out really well. I hope the bride likes them just as much!
Take a Lightroom class
Join a camera or photography club January 19 – first meeting with Cleburne Photography Club


Refinanced our home mortgage for a lower interest rate February 11
Execute our living wills
Create a gallery wall in the living room
Hang a family picture above mantel/fireplace
Rearrange the living room furniture
Buy new comforter + bedding for guest room
Buy new side tables + lamps for master bedroom
Repaint the side table in Kamden’s room
Install new kitchen sink + granite countertops
Make our home more energy efficient
Have a technology-free weekend
Find a cleaning schedule … and use it!
Eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant
Try a new recipe every month
January – Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole Husband’s reaction was meh.
February – Blueberry Muffins
March – pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot
April – French Onion Chicken Noodle Bake Husband’s reaction was yum. He went back for seconds … and thirds. He has since renamed the dish “Chicken Scratch.”
May – ?
June – homemade granola bars
July – Peach Crumb Bars and Homemade Nutri-Grain Bars with Strawberry Jam
August – M&M Cookie Dough No-Churn Ice Cream

Make the perfect omelet
Host a dinner party with other couples/families
Host a “Friendsgiving”
Host a game night
Meal plan for a month … and stick to it!
Use the Crock Pot once a week for a month
January – used the CP three times (roast beef and pinto beans)
February – meatballs and homemade spaghetti sauce
March – roast beef and teriyaki pork tenderloin
April – pinto beans, roast (twice), and meatballs
May – roast beef
June – pinto beans
July – beef roast and vegetables
August – pinto beans and pork teriyaki

Save loose change and cash out at the end of the year
Purge the entire house and donate or toss things we don’t use
Have my car detailed inside and out
Sell my car and buy a used SUV or crew cab pickup truck


Find a Bible reading plan (such as this one) that works for me … and use it regularly!
Read and study Scripture regularly and more thoroughly
Seek opportunities to improve (i.e. parenting, photography, blog writing, etc.)
Have regular conversations with Lisa January 14 – the shenanigans have begun!
Create a new resume
Get a job with new resume
Join a professional organization and get involved in the local chapter
Finish The Story Bible study May 27
Lead a small group Bible study August 27 – Finished the 12-week study series, “12 Women of the Bible”
Read 12 books (one per month) 1. Being Christian – Rowan Williams; 2. Captivated By You (Book 4 of The Crossfire Series) – Sylvia Day; 3. Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim – Anne Barone; 4. Fighting Back With Joy – Margaret Feinberg; Grey – E.L. James
Keep a prayer journal August 21 – began a prayer journal
Keep a blessings/gratitude jar
Participate in a swap
Get my hair cut at the start of each season January 16 – hair cut; August 5 – hair cut
Have my eyebrows “threaded” by a professional
Get a facial/mani/pedi every other month


Create a 529 Savings Plan – January 30
Potty train (no more diapers) by second birthday
Continue weekly classes at The Little Gym  January 8 – Kamden was promoted to the “Birds” class (for kids 10-18 months);  May 21 – Kamden graduated from the Birds class and got promoted to Beast status. He still wears the medal around his neck. Kamden’s last class at TLG was August 24.
Enroll in Kinder-music
Schedule one play date a month An impromptu Mommy&Me play date with T + C at the playground!
Mommy + Me photo session for Mother’s Day SUCCESS – May 8



Plant a tree
Make a special craft or memento
Install book shelves in his bedroom
Read a book before bedtime every night Kamden’s favorites are Little Blue Truck and God Knows You.


Surprise Husband with a meaningful gift
Continue donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas January 5 – Donated 332 ounces. January 22 – My pumping days are officially over. You can read why here. As sad as I am, I was able to donated 3,650 ounces to the MMBNT.
Donate to a charity
Throw a surprise party for someone I attended a surprise birthday party on August 15, that counts, right?!
Attend a wedding
Attend a baby shower May 2.
Leave a 100% tip for excellent service
Volunteer at least five hours each month
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
Send a “just because” gift to someone August 30 – Mailed a copy of “12 Women of the Bible” study guide (including copious notes!) to Jenny.
Send 12 handwritten notes (one per month)
Send a care package to a soldier
Celebrate special milestones (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) with greeting cards


Go to Bova for a custom ring design consultation
Go to Bova and have my ring and earrings cleaned
Have a ladies’ night once a quarter
February 13 – dinner and movie
March 13 – breakfast with the Zachry’s (and Kamden too)
August 8 – dinner with moms

Attend a college sporting event
Attend a professional sport event
Invest in quality luggage … and use it!
Visit three museums January 6 – Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas; February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library; July 14 – second trip to the Perot Museum; August 14 – Dallas Aquarium with Kamden, Mom, and Aunt Georgia
Visit Ruthie in Austin
Visit Lisa in Virginia
Visit Jenny in North Dakota
Visit Jacqueline in Houston
Visit Heather in Houston
Visit Jen in Arizona
Visit a Presidential Museum February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library in Little Rock, Arkansas
Visit a popular landmark I’ve never seen before
Go to Lake Ouachita (Arkansas) with Husband’s family
Go to Fredericksburg, Texas
Go hunting
Play a round of golf April 10
Go to a drive-in movie
Shoot a bow-and-arrow
Compete in a shooting sport
Complete a fitness challenge
Go paddle boarding
Attend a cooking class
Attend a line dancing class at Billy Bob’s

And for good measure …

Read and study the Bible for 31 consecutive days following a specific reading plan. DONE!

Exercise 1,500 minutes in a month, or 75 minutes every week day, and avoid “bad for me” foods. FAIL!

Walk a minimum of 8,000 steps every day for 31 days (must wear pedometer). PARTIAL SUCCESS – I wore my pedometer every day but I did not get a minimum of 8K daily steps. But some days were better than others and there were even a few days where I walked in excess of 10K steps, so maybe I averaged 8K instead. I’ll try harder next month.

Walk 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. Begin the “Total Transformation” challenge at the gym. Exercise like it’s my job. Purchase a pair of cycling shoes with bike clips. The month of March was a resounding success at failing miserably. The only thing I accomplished from this list was purchasing a pair of cycle shoes with bike clips, which I thought I did this in March but it doesn’t really matter.

Submit five articles for SJM. Fail, I only submitted two. Exercise 2,000 minutes in 31 days. Fail.

Write four articles for SJM. FAIL – All of my writing efforts this month were focused on “30 Days of Manna.” Exercise 2,000 minutes in 30 days. Semi-Failure. I logged 1.505 minutes in June.

Write four articles for SJM. FAIL – I submitted one. Publish a weekly health update. SUCCESS! Log 2,000 minutes of exercise. MAJOR FAIL! Make reservations for a mini family vacation. FAIL.

Register for a 5K race. FAIL.

Meal plan for a week and submit two articles each to SJM and MomQuery.

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Mind + Body Transformation: Weeks 9

Weekly Update

Thank goodness for accountability partners asking about weekly updates. I mistakenly scheduled this post for the year 2019. I guess two days late is better than four years, right?!

Weight on August 29, 2015 // 258

Last week’s wins:

  • Kamden started preschool and did incredibly well.
  • Husband and I had a “date day” on Kamden’s first day of school that included an outing at the gun range and lunch.
  • Instead of going to the gym Friday, Kamden and I had a Mommy+Me date with friends at the playground in the park.
  • Completed the 12-week women’s study at church

Last week’s struggles:

  • Only one day at the gym
  • Allergies/sinuses bothering me

Pounds Lost:

  • One – back to 258.

Goals for the week ahead:

  • Exercise every weekday
  • Increase water consumption

5K Practice:

  • No miles or minutes completed this week on the treadmill.


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Mind + Body Transformation: Weeks 7 + 8

Weekly Update

I hate that I missed Week 7 because of laziness but it was a total loss and I’m beyond frustrated and disappointed in myself. Last week (week 8) was better, I spent valuable quality time with family (my mom and aunt were visiting from Kentucky) but, health wise, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Weight on August 21 2015 // 259

Last week’s wins:

  • Family time
  • Went to the gym twice and I’m still sore from the 100+ squats
  • Started a prayer journal

Last week’s struggles:

  • Laziness and portion control
  • Comparison stole my joy for a day

Pounds Lost:

  • None – I’m back to 259.

Goals for the week ahead:

  • Exercise four days
  • Increase water consumption
  • Did I mention that Kamden starts pre-school (two days a week) next Tuesday?!

5K Practice:

  • August 17, 2015 – I walked/jogged for a whole hour and completed 4+ miles.



Prepping for Pre-School // Nap-N-Style

Yesterday I shared with you all the cool gadgets and accessories in Kamden’s lunch box and today I’m sharing the essentials he’ll need to be stylish and comfortable at pre-school. Food takes precedence, what does that say about my priorities?! Before I share these nap-n-style items, let me preface this post by saying 1) Kamden is an only child and just a tiiiiiiiiiny bit spoiled; and 2) it’s fun to splurge on a few quality items while raiding the clearance racks for others.


Nap Mat // Okay, let’s get the big item – literally and figuratively – out of the way. Yes, this nap mat cost $115 and it’s too large for my toddler child. But, when Husband said he wanted our child to nap in luxury, I felt it was Motherly Duty to make sure Kamden would be as comfortable as possible while snoozing on the floor of his classroom. At 58-inches-long, we fully anticipate Kamden using this nap mat through college ( #kidding #notreally ) to ensure we get our money’s worth. With three-inches of foam padding and an attached blanket and pillow, this is obviously the crème de la crème of nap maps. Be jealous, peasants, be jealous! (We can’t be the only extravagant parents in the world because this particular nap mat is currently out of stock.)

Tops + Shorts // I went into Target for toilet paper and a birthday card and walked out with no toilet paper, three cards, and some clothes from the clearance racks. I had to return the next day for toilet paper though because we were down to one roll in the entire house.

Sperry Boat Shoes // I love every pair of Sperry’s I have ever owned and wanted Kamden to have a pair too. But I delayed buying him a pair until he got older and I knew he’d actually wear them on a regular basis. The Velcro closure is an absolute must.

Backpack // This classic seersucker backpack is a tribute to our Southern roots and proof that we monogram everything! I’ve recently stopped carrying my big, bulky diaper bag because this backpack is so much more convenient and lighter.

Because I’m a sucker for school supplies and I love the smell and feel of new pens and notebooks, I bought myself this Happy Planner. I needed a new calendar anyway and decided to splurge on this colorful version. It’s not an EC planner (if you know who/what EC is, you’ll understand) but it’s good enough for me. Like Bible Journaling, illustrated planning is becoming more popular.

If you or your kids are headed back to school soon, what are some must-have items?


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