Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Oscars - Favorite Dresses!

Number one, I did it. I watched the entire entirely too long awards show as I do every year. This year it seemed even longer than usual don't you agree? I feel like I deserve an award for getting through it! Regardless, I'm committed, so I'll watch come what may. But more importantly, I watched the red carpet coverage. My go-to coverage is Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic on E!. This year, I think they got slighted! Usually Ryan has a plush set up with some space and he gets every big name. This year was like a circus down on the ground! It was fast, it was chaotic, and I think some big people were missed. Just to make sure I didn't miss a dress - I've done my homework.

This year, I'd like to commend myself for actually writing this blog post (third annual!) while being dressed in something other than sweats! The first year I was pregnant and last year I had a six-month old - thus the sweats. Tonight, I sit here with not-so-fresh makeup but I am in a lilac blazer that I love. So that's a personal plus.

On to the dresses! My favorites this year were clear-cut. No internal disputes or conflict. The only thing I can say is that some of the pictures just don't do them justice so click on the pictures to see them as large as possible. Off we go to my favorite frocks of the night!

In no particular order:

1. Jessica Chastain

This is one dress that I just don't think still shots do justice towards. She looked ahhhhhmazing. The shimmering pale bronze of this dress on her skin was killer. And I am a sucker for a great red lip. She was the first big dress I saw on the red carpet and it was hard for me to not keep comparing people back to her! Loved the hair, loved the make-up, loved the jewelry.

2. Jennifer Lawrence

I believe 'wow' was my response to this number. The shape and silhouette this creamy number creates is gorgeous to me. I love how understated she went with jewelry (the reverse necklace!) and make-up in order to let the shape of the dress be the big statement. Other than the fact that this beauty literally caused her to fall up the stairs as she accepted her Oscar for best actress - it was one of my top top top looks of the night!

3. Naomi Watts

This dress is a show-stopper if you ask me! There was nothing else like it on the red carpet and it fit her like a glove. It had the cool edge but man alive she looked so gorgeous. The deep metallic gray was so perfect with her hair and eyes. I just thought she was stunning.

4. Amanda Seyfried

Take my word for it, this picture does not begin to do this dress justice! On screen you could see the lilac under color more clearly and the shimmery gold detail on top just sparkled. Frankly, this was probably my favorite of the night! It was Alexander McQueen cool, still ultra-feminine and it was so beautiful because of its delicate color and design. If I could take any dress home - this would be it for me!

5. Halle Berry


6. Charlize Theron

These particular dresses on these two women were winners. In both cases I think the structure of the gowns on their bodies was the best asset of each dress. And their super short hair just accentuates the strength of the dresses. Both looks were so sexy and strong and a bit more on the masculine side - which can be so great when done right.

and finally...........


Not her red carpet dress. Pink number was blah. But her dress when the cast was performing on stage was amazing! Obviously a girl's gotta have some height to pull that off but I thought it was such a unique cut and it looked beautiful. I loved the sparkle. I loved the neckline with her cropped hair. Why didn't she wear this dress on the red carpet???

Since it was a dress not worn on the red carpet - the best I could come up with was a youtube video of the performance. Right here. Anne comes in just after 40 was one of the best moments of the night so I suggest watching the entire three and a half minutes if you have the time!

What did you think???? I wonder if you had some favorites that I didn't include on my list? I just love seeing the dresses each February. There's just something about a beautiful dress that stirs the deepest feminine parts of my heart. They inspire beauty in me and that's a good thing.

Happy Monday!!!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Movie Review: Safe Haven

This year, our Valentine's date was one of my favorites. We scrapped the fancy dinner and opted for a bucket of popcorn (we wished we'd gotten the jumbo bucket when was all was said and done! LOL) and a movie on Valentine's Day night. It was so fun! The theater was packed because we saw Safe Haven on opening night and that made it all the more fun. It reminded me of my college years - going to see Ocean's Eleven on opening night in a packed theater of loud college kids. That dates me - I know!

First let me say, I am not a Nicholas Sparks reader. Not against it - I just haven't read his books. So I had no point of reference for the story line of Safe Haven. I'm pretty sure if you read the book you would say there's no way the movie could be as good as the book. Buuuuuut... this movie has grown on me the more I think about it! Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed it in the moment too. But it's been a week and I kind of wish I could go see it again tonight :).

It's just a really sweet story. Widower dad meets young woman fleeing an abusive relationship. The abusive relationship element brings more of an intensity to the story than I was prepared for! Sorry for the fingernail marks in your hand Zion!

Here's what I loved about the movie: It was fairly clean in terms of language and sexual content. Mind you I said fairly (i.e. it only happens occasionally; it's not a movie that is laced with language and sex). The story is just so sweet. Sometimes I get tired of all of the complex/weird/artistic romantic story lines and this one is just a plain old sweet love story. The kind you can get lost in and truly root for the characters. And hey - there were some inspirational make-out scenes if I do say so! You know the kind: you walk away wanting to be all that you can be in that way! LOL.

Things you may not like: The development of the story was a tad shallow. Things seemed to happen fast and at times, the story wasn't given enough time to develop the way it could have.

Having said that - it brings me back to a simple, sweet (with some very intense moments!) love story.

And you know, I have a quota of those that I just truly need to meet. I'm looking forward to another month or so when this hits the dolla theater - because I'll be there!

Love y'all,

PS....we all know that Sunday is Oscar Sunday right??? I am prepping these little typing fingers for my third annual Oscar's Top Dresses. AHHHHHH I CAN'T WAIT!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Liam, You 18-Monther, You!

You, my boy, are quite the person! I can't believe I've known you on the outside world for a year and a half. Sometimes it feels like I just blinked my eyes and this happened - other times, it seems like you've been here and I've known you forever.

I must say, being a year and a half into the journey called motherhood feels good! I feel more grounded in my role (at least for the time being lol!) and we've found a good groove of life.

So let's see here. What will I want to remember about this time of your life when we look back...oh where to start? :)

You are, developmentally, right on track. You weighed 23lbs and 13oz and were 32 3/4in long at your 18-month check up. That puts you in the 10-25% for weight and the 50-75% for height. A little skinnier than average and a little taller than average. P.S. Lord, if you'd like to make that my new assignment in life You'll get no complaints from me!!!

People still say you look just like your daddy. And I don't dispute it - I still love hearing that. But I look into your face and see myself there too - it's our little secret.

You had been babbling and using a few words for quite a few months but at 17 months language started to explode out of you! It seems like you add a new word to your collection every day or two. Perhaps that is mommy-exaggeration but oh well! But you know what I love? You still call balloons and balls boombooms. I don't try to correct it because it's one of my favorite things you say. Only in the last week have you added the word 'no' to your vocabulary. It was inevitable right?? Right now you have over 30 words you say and I'm thinking you're on your way to being quite the verbal little person. No surprise there though given your parents!

(Very serious tooth-brushing-buddies, you and Katherine had such a good time together on our visit!)

About three weeks ago you shifted to calling us mommy and daddy instead of mama and dada. I thought that was interesting because I never encouraged that. Pretty cute coming out of your little mouth now though.

You are getting more into books these days! Your attention span is definitely increasing. Now it's common for you to sit in my lap and have me read most of a book to you. Some of your recent favorites have been 'Moo, Baa, La La La', Baby Einsteins 'First Words', Baby Einsteins 'First Letters', and 'Goodnight Moon.'

(Charlotte Lee read you a book showing just how big a girl she was and you approved)

One of my very favorite moments in our day is when you want to hold hands with me as we walk from one end of the house to the other end (not that it's that big - but for little legs it's a journey). My heart swells holding your chubby hand. Sometimes you hop or try to run while we walk hand in hand and we both laugh. You have a happy heart!

One of my other favorite parts of the day is when Daddy comes home - for many reasons LOL! But you love to stand at the front window and call out 'Daaaaaaaaddy!' We make sure to wait to start the watching game until you only have a few minutes left before Daddy rolls in! Throughout the day you'll look at the window and say 'Daddy?'. So precious. Then when you see Daddy pull up - you run to the garage door and stand totally still waiting for it to open. The second it opens - you're off! Running in the opposite direction enticing him to chase you. You laugh so hard! We still pray with Daddy before he goes to work and you put your hand on his chest as we pray and then say 'men!' I'm so in love with your very sweet heart Liam.

(Best friends and cousins, you and YaYa own that bottom step at Mimi and B.Bo's like it's the best fort imaginable)

Even though you have quite a few words - you're still utilizing a lot of babble. You'll stick your pointer finger in the air and give me a long diatribe then nod your head and toddle off. We have the best conversations :).

You're definitely developing independence! The newest thing is that when you're in the shopping cart, you want only your hands on the bar to 'push push push.' Mine are supposed to be nowhere near the pushing bar. I try to explain to you that it simply doesn't work that way but you have a different perspective.

You generally sleep 11-12 hours a night and although you have made the transition to one nap a day - nap length is all over the place. Sometimes an hour and a half and sometimes two and a half hours...I'm guessing it will get more consistent given time.

I truly love spending my days with you. You're full of joy, funny, sweet, and smart. I think every mama must feel that way about her baby! As more time passes, I feel so honored to get to be your mama. It's such a blessing to get to walk this road and I don't take it for granted.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mommyworld: The Honor of the Shadow

At one and a half - Liam is at such a fun stage. I'm still trying to hold off pegging his personality because so much of what he does is developmental BUT I'm fairly certain that I don't have an introvert on my hands. He's always right by side. If I leave the room - within seconds he toddles/runs as fast as his legs will take him to find me. All the while calling "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," and on and on from there. We work on independent play time :).

Along with just wanting to be my side - he's hit the stage where He is hyper-aware of what I'm doing and whether or not he can do either the exact same thing or something like it. If I'm pushing a button - where's his button to push? If I'm stirring on the stove - where's his spoon to stir with? If I'm grinding coffee beans - get him up in my arms asap to push the button himself.

Oh what a dynamic of life my little shadow is! Now you and I both know that there are moments with the shadow that are enough to make you want to pull a hair or two out. Like when I just want one bite of chocolate to get me through the next hour. And I want it alone and I want it to myself. Or when I just want to escape to bathroom to put on my make-up at super-charged speed for five minutes so that little hands aren't 'helping.' Or when I'd like to brush my teeth in the dark so that little eyes won't also want to take the brush straight from my mouth to his mouth. :)

But this morning - my shadow did something that brought it all into perspective. We were together in worship and I had him on my hip. The Lord was stirring my heart so deeply and my eyes were closed and my free hand was stretched up in love. And then I remembered the boy on my hip and glanced down only to see his eyes intently on me with his precious arm and chubby little hand stretched high in the air just like mine. What a high honor and a true calling.

You know, as life becomes more and more adult, it's so easy to lose the innocence of joy and child-like enjoyment of God. Because frankly - we've experienced the pain of life and the reality that God's love doesn't mean we walk without nitty-gritty-face-in-the-dirt at times moments. You and I both know what it feels like and often times - those experiences bring with them something we don't talk about very openly - disappointment in God. Sometimes we don't even realize that feeling is there until years later. Or it's so subconscious that it affects us in indirect ways. But have you ever noticed that the words 'on fire' are generally applied to teenagers and young adults? The easy path of adulthood is to put the disappointment in a box - pack it away - and live with as much peace with God as you can muster. Still loving God, just a tad removed, a bit further away where emotional safety is easier to come by. Less naive, more familiar with reality.

Oh my friend. The Big D. Disappointment is the silent killer of our wild love and precious intimacy with the true God of the universe Who created us with acute intention.

And now - there are little shadows watching our every move and even the attitudes of our hearts.

I don't know about you, but I am determined that my children will not lead me in wildness towards God. They will not remind me of years gone by when my heart was trusting, loving and passionate towards the God of life. I WILL stir in them their destinies in the Lord and they will learn passion from me. Lord, give me grace to live with such love and give me divine help to deal with disappointments so that they are cut off from standing between me and You.

My friend Miranda posted this picture on Facebook tonight. She and her daughter went to Haiti last summer on missions. This picture was taken without Miranda knowing it. Until she saw it she did not know that Brelee was a few feet behind her standing just like her mama imitating the exact stance of worship she saw before her.

What an honor my mama friends! What a calling!

Obviously, getting our babies to physically worship just as we worship is not the goal. But it so beautifully illustrates that their little hearts are watching.

My blog-friend Megan once wrote this and it comes back to me again and again:

"We've chosen this life of changing diapers, watching your waistline expand to accommodate a growing nugget, and being on the never ending rotation of meals and baths. Because the truth is we've been entrusted with royalty, every parent has been. We've got babies to raise up so that when their little feet hit the ground, the enemy's heart trembles with fear."

Yes and amen mama-friends, future-mamas, and just anyone else! Our calling is high, it's important, and their destinies are worthy of our determined pursuit of receiving as much love from Him as we can possibly contain. These little shadows are precious gifts. The good news is that He does not come to condemn us! He has the perfect path to walk you through any disappointments that may lurk in your heart. He already has the solution ready - just ask. And then ask again because sometimes it's a process. But be encouraged because you and I were both made for this!

Love y'all,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bite Size Bible Study: LET Peace

It's been way too long since I've done a Bite Size Bible Study!!! In case you haven't read one before - and you probably haven't since it's been so long - here's a recap. These are just small focused thoughts from Jesus for you to grab onto. It's not intended to replace time with the Lord but instead to provide one bite for our distracted minds to ponder. One bite for our spirits to let take root. Sometimes all my brain can retain is one bite!

So here we go! This one has been rolling around in my heart so let's make it short and to the point. Ha! We'll attempt it.

Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."

Huh. Hmmmmmm. Excuse me did you say let the peace? As in me? Oh my.

Let's be honest - here's what I would like to see happen - please observe exhibit A: I am having one of those days. You know the ones. I feel pulled in a million directions. Nothing I seem to start gets the chance to be finished. Everyone needs something. Whatever happened to that goal to work out three times this week? Oh yes - the stomach bug. There simply seems to be no chance to settle, to focus, to accomplish. AND I FEEL LIKE YELLING!!!!!!!!! So what would I like here? Why, I'd like peace to come and literally boll me over. I'd like peace to come and supernaturally close my mouth when it's on the brink of pointless venting. And yes, peace, I'd like you to invade my brain. Go ahead - invade it. YOU try taking those thoughts captive! You look at my list of things to do and determine which ones are most important. You go ahead and do your thang peace sister!

Well friends, you know how successful that has been! LOL. Not very.

And so we come back to Colossians 3. LET the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. I find myself realizing that I pray for peace for my friends a lot. I ask God to give my husband peace. I implore the Lord to bring peace to my heart on days like this. But perhaps that's not really the right request? If I really believe that Jesus - fully Himself - now lives inside of me, that I hold His precious presence in my very being - then Peace already resides in me. He holds camp in my heart. And I guess that means that it's my choice to indeed let the peace of Christ rule in my heart. To let it rule. To let it win. To let it have its way in my thoughts and how I view that illusive to-do list.

So today I'm choosing to step aside. To say 'Jesus You are peace that passes my understanding. You ARE peace in the storm. You are the Prince of Peace. So I'm going to remember that You're fully You inside of me today. I don't need to intercede for fifteen minutes to get peace. I just need to step aside and you'll do your thing.' Ahhhhhhh that makes me want to take a deep breath.

So let's take a deep breath of His peace together.

Here's Colossians 3:15 from the Amplified to give it a little more juice:

"And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]."

Love y'all,