Happy Birthday Brooklyn

My sweet Brooklyn turned 7 over the weekend.  I can't believe how big she is getting.  It's almost hard for me to remember her as a baby.  Anyone else feel that way with their kiddos?  I went up to her school on Friday and spent time with her at lunch and bought ice cream for all the kids in her class to help celebrate.  I love to watch her interact with her friends.

Brooklyn, I am so proud to be your mama.  You are becoming such a beautiful girl inside and out.  You love to read and you still love maps.  I don't think that will ever change.  You love to play with your hermit crab.  You take him out and let him crawl around on the floor and on your hand.  I have to remind you sometimes to put him back in his cage so he doesn't run loose.  You are learning to ride your bike without training wheels and you just completed your very first triathlon.  Soccer is starting and I cannot wait to watch you play.  Most importantly, I love your heart.  I love how you love Jesus and your desire to help others warms my heart. 

I love you to the moon and back sweet girl.  Mommy

Back to School

Where did the summer go?  Did anyone else feel like it flew?  I'm actually thrilled that Fall is on the way.  It's my favorite time of the year. 

I can't believe my babies started school.  Brooklyn actually started last Thursday and Sydney started today.  They are getting so big.  Brooklyn is so excited to be in first grade.  She loves to read and loves art and I am so thrilled to watch her grow.

I wasn't sure how Sydney would handle her first day of kindergarten in a brand new big school.  She surprised me when she just walked right into class.  She was a little shy, but she didn't cry.  Mommy on the other hand, shed a few tears.  I tried not to let her see because I didn't want it to make her sad.  She has such a sensitive heart.

Tonight when I put her to bed she told me she didn't want to go to school tomorrow.  She's a mama's girl through and through and I think she's having a hard time being away from me.  She's got a great teacher, Brooklyn's teacher from last year, so I know she's in good hands.  Praying she'll feel differently in the morning.

It hasn't really hit me yet that I'm a mom of grade schoolers.  What will I do with all of my free time? 

For starters, I will tackle my house.  It looks like a bomb went off.  I don't function well in a dirty, unorganized home.  It actually affects my mood.  I hate that.  Does that happen to anyone else, or is it just me? 

I'm actually excited to be on a schedule and get some routine back in my life.  I desperately need to start a new Bible study and get into a good workout routine.  My other goal is to get a good meal plan scheduled so I can have healthy and yummy dinners every night.  Cooking is not one of my strengths, nor something I enjoy.  Hopefully I can change that. 

Last but not least, I can't wait to blog more.  I am so far behind it's almost overwhelming.  It was all worth it though to be able to spend that time with my girls.

Has school started for you?  If not, enjoy the rest of your summer. 

3 Generations

I promise I will get my Dominican update posted soon.  The amount of pictures I took is a little overwhelming.  I'm trying to sort and edit a little every day. 

In the meantime, I'd thought I'd post about something very cool that I am excited about.  The Tennessean ran a story today on my family.  I haven't seen the newspaper yet, but Brian says we are on the front page.  I thought you all would like to take a peek at it.

Rachelle Darin, left, Krista Darin Lord, Marcia Darin and Stacy Darin Zepeda exercise together in Pinkerton Park.
Marcia, her daughters and granddaughters will do a triathlon in August. / Dipti Vaidya / The Tennessean

You can read the article here.  Thanks to my hubby for being the encouragement we all needed to get our little behinders off the couch on onto the pavement.  Love you baby.

Snapshots of the Dominican

We arrived home very late last night.  It was a full day of travel and we were all exhausted, but we had an amazing trip.  I have over 550 photos to prove it.  Here are just a few of the faces we saw along our journey.  I hope you enjoy them. More to come this weekend.

My hubby also wrote about the Dominican.  You can read about it here.

On a mission

It's 10:45 and I'm exhausted, in a good, hard work, kind of way. The girls and Brian are asleep and I'm writing on my iPhone in the dark. So this post will be brief. I wanted to thank you all so much for your prayers. They mean so much to us. I have tons of pictures from today but I'm just too tired to download them and we have to be up early to go back to Esperanza. I promise I will get some up tomorrow night. I'm dying to show you the faces of the sweet children we got to love on tonight. Sydney is so excited to see her two new best friends in the morning. I hate to see what happens when we have to say goodbye for good tomorrow. The kids loved all their gifts we gave them. It truly was like Christmas morning for them. Please be in prayer tomorrow as we feed the children and show the Jesus movie to them. Pray that many of the children will come to know the Lord as their personal Savior.

To Serve the Least of These

Tomorrow is the day.  A day we have been planning, for over a year.  Brian and I have a heart for missions.  We believe we are called to serve those less fortunate than ourselves.  We will soon get our chance to do just that.  The best part about it is that these two little girls will get to experience it all with us.

We would love your prayers.

1. For safety as we fly and safety as we drive through the Dominican Republic.  I've heard our van doesn't have seat belts.  Yikes!

2. Good health for all of us.  The dizziness has been really bad lately and I am just praying for some good days while we are there.

3. Most importantly, please pray for the hearts of the kids we will be ministering to.  We will be showing the Jesus Movie to them in Spanish.  My prayer is that many kids and adults, will come to know the Lord.

Thank you for coming on this journey with us.  You can follow our trip on Twitter @kristalord and @premierebrian or here on my blog.  

If you want to learn more about the organization we are going with or to sponsor a child, please visit Servants Heart Ministries.

Heat Wave

Y'all it's hot in Nashville.  We broke a record on Friday with high of 109 degrees.  It hasn't been that hot in Nashville ever since July 1952.   So what does one do when it is that hot outside?

We go camping of course.  The girls have been bugging us for months and we finally caved.  We went to Costco and got a pop up tent, which sets it self up in less than 10 seconds.  It's awesome.  The girls can both fit in it and it was under $30.  Total score.  Then it folds up flat for storage.

Ok, so they camped in the living room.  That still counts, right?  They had a blast.  Of course, a good camp out is not complete without S'mores.  We made oven S'mores.

Sydney helped me make these and I have to say, they were delish.  Just like the real thing and oh so easy to make.  Here are the directions:

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Arrange mini marshmallow on graham crackers.
Put chocolate chips on top of marshmallows.
Stick in the oven on broil and take them out when the marshmallows turn brown.

Enjoy with your kiddos and imagine you are camping under the stars and listening to the crickets.

Finally, I saw this picture on Facebook and had to include it in my post, since I am talking about how stinkin hot it is here.  I saw this and it put the heat into perspective for me.

Oh Lord forgive me for complaining about the heat.  It is nothing compared to what our men and women have to endure on the front lines.  Please protect and guide them as they fight for our freedom. Amen.

Have Flip Flops, Will Travel

Last weekends basement sale was a huge success.  We raised almost $400.  Thank you to all of our sweet friends and family who stopped by and bought lemonade, cupcakes, jewelry and artwork created all by the kids.  The money raised will help buy the backpacks we need for about 100 kids.  We will also use some of the money to help buy snacks for the kids when we show them the "Jesus Movie".  Some of these children have probably never seen a movie and a movie that could forever change their lives, is even better.  Would you please be praying for the hearts of these sweet kids that need to hear that there is a God who loves them deeply?

We have been overwhelmed by the donations coming in.  To date, we have collected 132 pairs of flip flops, 107 boxes of crayons and we are now moving on to collecting childrens sunglasses.  We are in need of 100 pairs of sunglasses to put in each of the backpacks.  If you'd like to donate, please let me know. 

We are getting excited, but there is still so much to be done.  The girls have been at camp all week from 9-3 so I've tried to use that time wisely to prepare for our trip.

Is anyone else going on a mission trip this summer?  If so, I'd love to hear about it.

Four girls on a mission

These girls are on a mission, literally.  We leave for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic next month.  We were super busy today doing this.

We have collected about 100 flipflops and crayons in the last week.  The girls are so excited.  We will be distributing backpacks to over 100 kids through an organization called Servants Hearts Ministry.  SHM, is a child sponsorship program in the Dominican Republic.  We sponsor a 3 year old little boy named Michael.

How sweet is that face?  I can't wait to meet him and hug his neck.

We would covet your prayers as we embark on our first mission trip as a family.  Please pray for our safety and for the girls hearts as they experience for the first time, children living in extreme poverty.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will give them a love for these children and a heart for the orphans and the widows. (James 1:27)

I will be blogging from the trip and can't wait to show you how God is using us to care for His children.  Please pray how you can be involved in furthing His kingdom through Servants Heart Ministry.  Thank you.

New Post......Finally

So, you know you haven't blogged in long time when you can't remember your password to sign into Blogger and then when you finally get in, Blogger has a new look.  Fantastic!

If I have any readers left, thank you for hanging in there with me.  We've had alot going on and frankly, I just lost my desire to blog.  Then I started feeling guilty because I hadn't been recording all these wonderful things that were happening with my girls and our family.  I hope to blog more in depth about all of these events, but for now, here is a recap.

My sweet baby turned 5.

She graduated from Preschool.

Brooklyn had her artwork on display at the prestigious Frist Center in Nashville.

I turned 40.

I became an aunt again to a beautiful nephew named Canaan.

So here is hoping I can blog more frequently because I never want to forgot all the wonderful things God is doing in our lives.  Even in the midst of the dessert, I am reminded that God is Good!!

To Have and To Hold-11 years and counting

On Saturday, Brian and I celebrated 11 years of marriage.  Brian surprised me with a night away.  He arranged for my parents to watch the girls Friday night and Saturday morning.  Thanks mom and dad. 

I was told to pack a bag and that was all I knew, so I was delighted when we pulled up here:

I have always wanted to stay at The Hermitage Hotel.  It is over 100 years old and is the only 5 star hotel in Tennessee.  It did not disappoint.  Their attention to detail is incredible. 

We were told that the woodworking in this ballroom was the same that was used on the Titanic.  Pretty neat.

I kept staring at the ceilings.  They were absolutely beautiful.  I could have hung out in the lobby all day.

We had dinner at the Oak Bar.  It was divine.  Seriously, I can't wait to go back.  Brian had a double stacker hamburger that was to die for.  I snuck a bite and it was so yummy.  Mine was really good too.

After dinner we went back upstairs to get ready to see "Titanic, The Musical" across the street at TPAC.  When I walked into the room, there were rose petals on the floor, candles lit and chocolates and champagne.  There was even music playing on the tv.  This is one classy hotel.  Everything is top notch.  Guys take note.  This is a great place to take your wife.  You can thank me later.

Our hotel room:

I may or may not of taken an hour long bath while watching Guiliana Rancic's True Hollywood Story.

Breakfast at Capitol Grille was included in our package Brian bought.  It too, did not disappoint.  I had a Belgian waffle and Brian had the Tennessee "Jack" Egg Sandwich.  Our waiter told us that the Food Network named it best breakfast sandwich in Tennessee.

If you are ever in Nashville, you must stop by for the dining.  If you can stay the night, even better.

Thank you my love for such a fun getaway.  I love you and am blessed to be your wife.

84 sticks of butter

I've officially lost 84 sticks of butter. That's a whole heck of alot. If you are having trouble calculating how many pounds, I'll help ya out. I've lost 21 pounds. Yippee. It's crazy how the body works. One week I had 0 weight loss and the next week I was down 4 lbs. I love being back in the 160's, but not enough to stay there for long. I've got a big birthday coming up in a few weeks and I'd love to hit 159. That's my new goal. We will see.

We are enjoying our spring break and I've got some tips for eating healthy on the road. It can be done with a little planning. I'll be blogging about that a little later but I will leave you with this tip for a healthy breakfast. McDonald's, yes you heard me right, has a wonderful oatmeal with raisins and apples. My girls love their pancakes but since I'm trying not to eat gluten right now it is so difficult to find something healthy to eat without gluten. Thankfully I've found this oatmeal and since you can always find a McD's, it's a great option.

I will say this, it is the only food item on their menu you will find me endorsing. My kids are not allowed to eat any meat products or French fries from McD's and they'll be the first to tell you that. I've trained them well. :)

What fun things do you have planned over Spring Break?

Beyond Words Designs

I mentioned my new friend Stephanie a few weeks ago, after meeting her at Blissdom.  We instantly connected.  We both know the heart wrenching loss of a baby.  When she was 24 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, she was told her unborn daughter wouldn't likely make it to the third trimester, let alone go full term. You can read Amelia's story here.   

Stephanie is an amazing artist and she has turned her pain and grief into a ministry to bless others.  When I met her at Blissdom, Stephanie gave me this necklace.  I love it.  In fact, Sydney has taken a liking to it as well and wants to wear it all the time.

She has a brand new shop on her blog.  It's filled with beautiful necklaces and paintings.  This is another one of my favorites.  It's entitled "Gone Too Soon".

"Reaching Out" would be beautiful hung in a delivery room, don't you think?  This painting celebrates the beauty of pregnancy and bringing forth life.

She also donates her Art Cards to hospitals for their memory boxes they give to grieving families after they have lost a baby.  If you know of a hospital that would love to include some of her artwork, please contact steph@beyondwordsdesigns.com  I know that I was so glad that I received a box for both of my babies when I left the hospital.  It was something tangible I could hold on to. 

If you know someone who is pregnant, Stephanie's art would make an amazing shower gift.  She is offering free shipping and a special surprise gift on all of her necklaces if you order before April 30th.  It would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift.  There are so many great prints it will be hard to choose. 

We have a winner!

I apologize that this is a day late.  I was super busy yesterday with this precious little girl.  She turned five and we had 13 little girls over at the house to celebrate her birthday, Fancy Nancy style.

I had my helpers pick a winner.  Watch the video to see who won.

If you are the winner, please email me your address at hopeinthewaiting@gmail.com  Congrats!!  Thank you again to the wonderful people at Simple Human.  Check out their amazing products online or at your local Bed, Bath and Beyond.

P.S. I apologize for chomping gum on the video.  I didn't realize it until I watched it back and I couldn't do it over.  Oops.  Lesson learned.

Spring Cleaning: Laundry Room

The last room we are going to organize in this series is the laundry room.  I organized and redecorated my laundry room at the end of last year, so I am not going to have any before pictures unfortunately.   

There are so many great organizational items for the laundry room these days.  I'm going to show you a few of my favorites.

The white accordion clothes hanger you can get at Bed, Bath and Beyond or the Container Store.  I love that it folds flat against the wall when I'm not using it.  I hand alot of Brian's cycling clothes I don't want to dry in the dryer.  The coat hook I use for items that need to be repaired or ironed. Tip 1: Use your wall space.

The ironing board and iron wall organizer I have had for years.  It's great, except I had to buy a new iron and my new iron is too big for the holder.  :(  I also have a space under the sink where I can store things if need be.  I added the skirt (a table cloth from Target) to add some color and hide anything I wanted to put underneath it.

This cart fits perfectly in between my washer and dryer.  I love it.  You can find it at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well.  It's on wheels so it's easy to move.  Once again you can see my love for glass containers.  I have all of my soap in see through containers so I know when I am running low. Tip 2: Put all of your detergent and other cleaning supplies in glass or plastic containers.
One last tip and it's an important one.  Make sure you clean out your lint trap every time you
dry a load of clothes.  Once a year I pull the dryer out and clean the hose out at the back of the dryer.  If you never clean it out, you are at risk of a fire starting.  I've been thinking about getting a Lint Lizard to help me with this task.  Do any of you own one of these?  If you do, please let me know how you like it.  It's also available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
I believe a laundry room can be pretty and functional.  Let's face it, you spend alot of time washing clothes, you might as well enjoy it.

You have one more day to enter to win the Simple Human automatic soap dispenser.

Don't forget to check out Broccoli Cupcake's blog for her homemade detergents and other green solutions for the laundry room.

Spring Cleaning:Organizing your Bathroom

We are half way through our series and today we are going to take on the master bathroom, but this will work in any and all of your bathrooms.  Here are the supplies you will need.

In our bathroom there are two narrow closets.  They are kind of a waste of space, but they are there so junk starts to pile up.  This is my closet in the bathroom.

And this is Brian's closet.

Then I tackled the drawers and the space under the sink.

I then brought everything out into our bedroom and laid it on the floor.

Step 1: Look through your medications, make up, etc for expiration dates.  I had quite a bit of stuff that had expired and needed to be thrown out.  Remember don't flush meds down the toilet.  They get into our waterways and pollute the water.  You can take them into most pharmacies and they will dispose of them for you.

Step 2: Put like items in their own bins.  I already had bins, but if you are starting from scratch you will need to make a list of the bins, along with their sizes, on the pad of paper I showed you at the top.

Step 3: Label the bins.  You can use a label maker if you have one or purchase stick on labels if you prefer.

Step 4: Now is a great time to go through your towels and see which ones need to be retired.  If they are still in good shape, you can donate them to a local homeless shelter.

After Photos:

I have a bin for cold meds, first aid, travel size items and dental supplies.  The travel size container is a new one for me, but I think it's going to come in handy.  It will save me a ton of time not having to run to the store the night before a trip for something I need.

I like to stock up on shampoo and conditioner when it's on sale.

I ended up with 2 grocery bags of trash and recycling and a small box of items to donate.  I bought Qtips and toothpaste in bulk at Costco so I decided to donate some of them to our local homeless shelter.  I mean who really needs 600 Qtips anyway.

I have no idea why a Nintendo DS was in our bathroom closet. Ha.  I guess you never know what may turn up.  This obviously needed to go elsewhere in the house.

GIVE AWAY ALERT:  I'm excited to announce that the great folks from Simple Human have agreed to give away one of their sensor pumps.  You may have seen my trashcan in yesterday's post of my pantry.  I love Simple Human products. 

 I was given this sensor pump at Blissdom this year and I absolutely love it.  We use it in our main bathroom and it rocks.  I had a glass soap dispenser that I loved, but it always got clogged.  It was awful.  Soap would be all over the sink and the girls would have trouble getting the soap out.  I brought this pump home and the girls love washing their hands now.

You have 3 chances to win.
1. Go like simplehuman on Facebook.
2. Follow @simplehuman on Twitter
3. Leave a comment on my blog as to where you would use the sensor pump if you won.

I will pick a winner at random on Saturday.  Good luck!

Don't forget to check out Calie's blog to see her green cleaning products and how she used them to get her bathroom sparkling clean.  I know I can't wait to try some of her recipes.

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