...it's Monday again?!

This is how I feel about coming back to work after vacation....

Stay tuned to see pics from the vacay!!!


Judah's 1st Birthday Party: Brainstorming

Judah's first birthday will be in a just under 2 months and in order to keep my life simple and have plenty of time to create the party I'm envisioning, I'm starting the planning process early.  I've come up with a theme and have gathered mucho inspiration a la world wide web:

Vintage Carnival

Snippet and Ink made this mood board and did a fabulous job. The vibe it gives off is exactly what I'm going for- sans the fresh flowers and feminine touches.  I plan on bringing in masculine elements... it is my son's birthday after all:)  I'm pulling my colors directly from this, focusing on light blue, teal green, golden yellow and an orange-red.

As seen on Birthday Girl and photographed by The Winding Road

The outfit on the little boy in this photo is priceless.  I'm looking for a cute striped shirt for Jude to wear and want to give him a sort of "ringmaster" look. I love the pennants hanging from the ceiling and am hoping to have some adorning the dining room.

In order to save money, I plan on designing the invitations myself.  I was inspired by these gorgeous vintage invites done by Bier Designs.  I already have a design done but am not sure I am liking them that much.  Oh the woes of a designer.  ;)

Mustaches found at Carnival Creations

I plan on making some mustaches on a stick out of black construction paper and have a fun idea planned for them... you'll have to wait and see what it is.

There are so many ideas I could try to incorporate but I want the planning process to be enjoyable and not stressful.  In the end, I may hire out a few things I would normally attempt to DIY myself and I may nix a few ideas I originally had.  I want this to be a celebration of my baby to bring fun and joy to our lives; not take away from this special time because I get too caught up in the details.  Pray for me;)

As I type this, Jude is sitting on the floor playing adorable with his toys and books.  Life is so good right now.

So what do you think, do you have any ideas for me?  Do you like planning parties as much as I do?


where has the time gone?

my baby is turning into a preteen right before my eyes. i generally have a hard time grasping that she is getting older and won't stay my tiny, sweet shoosh forever.

so little. 3 months old.

during her first year, i would watch the calendar days and track every month. i would do a mini celebration on the 19th of every month and would make a point to remind brandon that "today is peyton's five month birthday!"...sigh....these days, the 19th comes and goes, and i find myself needing to calculate how old she is every so often. you know, so in case another old lady in the grocery store asks, i won't have to think so hard:)

brandon and i watch the show, "Parenthood" (tuesdays at 9pm on NBC) and it seems after every episode, we find ourselves thanking God that we still have a good decade (plus) before teenage angst enters our home. unfortunately, i fear that this day may be arriving sooner than we think.

let's discuss.

peyton has LOVED cell phones since she could pick one up in her own little, pudgy hands. i can forsee many arguments down the road about using waaaay too many minutes and "why can't i just have unlimited text like all my friends do???" yeeesh...

she has a thing about going into her room and then slamming the door in my face. true, at this point in time, this is a game. but i have a feeling there will be no smiles and giggles later on in life. (this could be after we confiscate her cell phone for going over the allotted minutes. sorry, peyton....it will teach you responsibility:))

miss P is already waving at boys. she also knows how to blow kisses....not a good combo. slightly flirtatious, no?

the proof is in the pudding. here are some prime examples to demonstrate my worries:

exhibit A- already asserting her individualism...and creativity?

exhibit B-the bracelets? uhg. let's wait a few years.
"like, talk to the hand..."

and lastly....

(disclaimer: before anyone calls DHS, please note that this was not open and we were in the middle of packing and moving out of our old place, so the box had found it's way to the floor. and anything on the floor is fair game to her:) i think i walked out of the kitchen for a minute and came back to this little stinker. we think she is too smart for her own good:))

who am i kidding? she's a great kid. i couldn't have asked for a better one. and she cute too:)

all you varsity moms out there, feel free to assure me that these behaviors are normal...because, 16 months later, sometimes i feel like i have no idea what i am doing. any other moms feel this way??? please share!


Straight from the Diary Itself

October 11th, 2007

Wow girls...
It's been five years since the last time we wrote in this book. I can't believe how much life has changed since then. You two are happily married, and I'm on my way (?!?!) Maggie is still with Brandon ("I want Brandon to be the one I marry"~Maggie....how funny), and Rach, look at where we've been and how thankful for where we are today.

It is funny to see how we used to talk. We thought we were so mature then, but how much more we are now. Reading all of our sayings and inside jokes makes me smile, but some of them I can't remember what the "joke" was! Which that makes me kind of sad. We still hold true to being lifelong friends...this journal is truly amazing when you think of it. It documents so much of us and is testimony to God's work in ALL of our lives and our friendship. It reminds me of all our amazing moments and memories.

It's funny how life changes, because it was different then. We had stresses, but overall life was more simple. I'm interested to see what's in store for our lives...life was good then, now, and will be in the future but in all completely different ways.

But, despite life changing, there are a few things that remain the same...you two are two of those things. Not many people have a Maggie and Rachel in their lives. Thank you for all of the yesterdays, todays, and for the tomorrows...thank you for remaining the same.

♥I love you two♥

Love always,
Hannah Joyce

Happy 22nd Birthday, Beautiful Maggie!!!

Ahhh...does a heart good. :)


It's Friday!!

and I'm leaving tomorrow for Mexico folks! For ONE WHOLE WEEK!!
This is pretty much how I feel right about now...

I'll try to bring some sunshine back with me! :)



Do I not have the best friends in the entire world?  Gosh.

Between these two posts (one & two), all the other kind things they've said to me in my life, things they do for me all the time, ways these ladies have loved me and times we've shared, a girl could have no better friends. I know you probably don't care but I just have to shout from the rooftops how special Hannah and Maggie are to me.

I could talk for hours about how they've changed my life, which I'm sure you will hear as the posts go by, but for now, I mainly wanted them to know that their kind words mean a lot to me.  And if you think we talk about each other too much, then you have probably never laughed so hard you peed your pants, talked on the phone for 5 hours straight, rapped to Ja Rule in your bedroom, sobbed on your friend's shoulder over a boy, saw rings exchanged and bellies grow through the long and beautiful years of a best friendship.  I mean that's what life's about, right?

A little encouragement can mean so much in a world where girls compare and rip each other to pieces.  I still vividly remember the early stages of our friendship and totally not even believing how sweet my new friends were to me. I was used to the roller coaster ride of High School friendships and didn't know what to do when my friends loved me no matter what.  I look back at our year book entries to one another:

Excerpts from Hannah in 2001:
This year has been an awesome experience because it was with you.  I don't know what I would do without you Rach! You brighten up all my days and mend my heart when it's broken.  You are always willing to listen to me and are the best friend anyone could ever wish to have.  I am so lucky God brought you into my life.  He has something special planned for us... and I believe it's a forever lasting friendship.  I am always here for you, heck I would come over in the middle of the night if you needed me, just to be with you.  

Excerpts From Maggie in 2002:
My beautiful Angel. Oh Man- what to say?  I don't think you realize how much you've helped me grow this past year.  I look back and wonder how I ever made it through this crazy world without my Crazie Rachie;) You have always been ready for me to lay my problems on you.  You single-handedly have given me advice that I couldn't possibly thank you enough for. You, me, Han and Jesus are going to touch the world. I could fill up this whole yearbook with reasons why I love Rachel.Lauren.Larrison.  

I remember being so moved by those loving words. I share these today, not for my benefit but because I want you to see how beautiful my friends are.  Their hearts are some of the most wonderful in this whole world.  And I thank God for them and the way they have changed and loved me.

There truly are very few things in this life more wonderful than a special friendship. And I can say firsthand, when you find a friend this special, you just CAN'T let them go.  I love you, Hannah and Maggie. Forever.


juicy news

today is a special day for our very own wonder woman, rachel.

many of you may or may not know, that a few months back, rachel launched her own business via the world wide web. she created a website titled Des Moines Wedding Savvy as a resource for brides planning their wedding in the Des Moines area. as her site clearly states, DMWS is "Des Moines' most comprehensive vendor listing." a one stop shop, if you will, for brides (and grooms) to search for anything wedding related.

as a bride herself (almost five years ago?!), she found herself searching all over the map for the perfect vendors. finally, in early 2009, while helping our good friend plan her wedding, the idea of Des Moines Wedding Savvy was born. shortly after, rachel's son Judah was born:) so DMWS was put on the back burner for while, so rachel could find her footing as a mama.

but between feedings, diaper changes and nap times, the wheels in her brain were spinning. and if you know rachel, you know that she is one determined lady. the idea of Des Moines Wedding Savvy was not swallowed up by cloth diapers or spit up. in october of 2010, DMWS came into existence. since then, rachel has clocked in many hours researching, blogging and meeting with vendors. through the power of the internet, many local business owners have heard about rachel and her site, thus making today newsworthy!

Juice, a Des Moines Register affiliate, will be featuring Des Moines Wedding Savvy in their annual wedding guide and will be out on news stands today! rachel has worked her little buns off for opportunities such as this and definitely deserves to be recognized! not only does she blog for Des Moines Wedding Savvy and The Wonder Woman Diaries, but she also keeps up with her personal family blog too. not to mention all the other normal wife and mom duties. talk about wonder woman:)

so even if you have already walked down the aisle and aren't in need of any bridal information, still check out www.desmoinesweddingsavvy.com and you can marvel at all of rachel's hard work. and maybe pass the word along to a bride that you know:)

go here to view the Juice article. scroll down to see rach's gorgeous mug:)



How about a trip down memory lane?!

The three of us and the others in our group of friends in high school were infamous for making up words or using strange words (usually some part of an inside joke of ours). Our weird language provided a lot of joy and laughter throughout the years, but there is one word that sticks out above all the rest. Shoosh.

What in the world is shoosh, you ask? Well....let me start from the beginning. One of our friends in high school had the cutest little sister who we got a kick out of talking to. We bonded with her through her cute way of saying things, such as calling a "spoon" a "poon". At one point she was trying to say "shoes" and "shoosh" came out. After we finally figured out what she was referring to we laughed so hard and I am pretty sure right then and there declared that she was a shoosh. It was such a catchy word. So, ultimately a baby or a child is a shoosh (the epitome of shoosh actually), but anything "cute" or "little" may be declared one as well.

Take a look at some prime examples of shoosh!

Oliver (or Ollie...my nephew)

Peyton (Maggie's princess)

Sullivan (or Sully....my nephew)

Annalee (one of our good friends, Shawne's, sweet baby girl)

Judah (Rachel's lil' prince)

Hurley (our puppy)

aww...was he ever this little?!

Although we don't say it as much now as we did it will forever be a part of our vocabulary. We introduced it to many people we've encountered throughout the years and it's even traveled with us and become a word our friends from around the world use! In fact, a dear friend of mine from the Domincan Republic wrote me a letter several years after we met and used shoosh in it. Another friend I went on a mission trip with wrote to me when we parted ways and said "remember that there will always be an Asian shoosh praying for you". How precious that word has evolved, simply because it has become a term of endearment for us! I'm pretty sure our husbands have been called a shoosh their fair share of times :)

So, now if you ever hear us use this word you'll know what we're talking about. And take it as a compliment if we're referring to you when we use it!

I'm out, shooshstas!

P.S. Do you have any unique words in your vocabulary?


Why ONE New Year's resolution is all I need...

A few months ago, I checked out the book The Power of Simple Prayer by Joyce Meyer from the library. At that time, I was feeling a tug to be a woman who prayed more and I wanted to find a book that could help me in this area of my faith. Sadly, the renew option on my account reached its limit and I had to return it today BUT I loved it so much I bought one to keep:)

This book is full of so.much.good info on prayer.

As soon as I started reading Simple Prayer, I realized it was JUST what I needed. Every chapter is full of awesome encouragement-- it's hard NOT to pray after you read this book. I'd never realized all the lies I was believing about prayer; like that you don't have to sit for 3 hours everyday in solitary confinement praying to be good enough for God (not that I literally thought this, but you get what I mean). You don't have to talk in fancy language, have all your "stuff" together before you pray or tip-toe around what you REALLY want to talk to God about.

Back cover

This book changed my life and my perspective on prayer. It got me wanting to pray all the time for everyone. And it got me really close to my friend, the Post It Note:

See, I told you I loved this book. I don't think I've EVER even come CLOSE to that many notes in a book. :)

God has impacted my prayer life in a big way. I have been challenged to take my prayers to the next level-- to be bold and to pray often throughout my day and to shift the focus of my prayers from myself to others. Prayer is not about a boring doldrum of half-hearted requests of God. It's about a vibrant, active & exciting conversation with a loving Father. I have more joy and peace when I pray and it sets the tone for my entire day. Plus, God hears my prayers and has done, and will continue to do, amazing things with them.

John 16:23-24 
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

I've always believed in prayer, I've seen it do amazing things in my life. But I'm truly sad to say that despite these amazing outcomes, I still wasn’t putting enough of my heart into prayer. So many times, I would feel at a dead end, or lost about what to do and prayer was my last resort. Why am I like that when I know the incredible weapon we have in prayer? Now, I understand more than ever the impact even one prayer can make. No other force in the universe is more powerful than God and we can access all his power when we simply pray. It's an incredible feeling.

So, all of this reading and growing was happening around the end of the year when everyone starts thinking about their New Year's resolutions. I could name many resolutions for 2011 about being more patient, finding more time to enjoy myself and living healthier this year but those things wouldn't even come close to what God would have for these areas of my life without prayer. All the times I think to myself, "I wish there was something I could do to help that person", or "how am I going to get out of this mess", or "God, what are you asking me to do here?!" can be answered if I would simply pray. 

Like I said, I've loved and believed in prayer and have seen it change me, do beautiful things in my life and help the live's of those around me.  Now though, I understand it in a whole new way.  I am excited to see how God "meets me" this year and how He chooses to use my prayers for His glory.  I am so thankful He is a God that loves us no matter what and waits expectantly to listen to our prayers.


honor, courage and commitment

one area of my life that i feel could reach others is that fact that i am a military wife! well, not technically...more like a military girlfriend-turned-wife..but who's counting? my husband is no longer active or overseas, but once a Marine, always a Marine...am i right?

i can relate to those thousands and thousands of wives out there, who have no idea when or IF they will ever see their man again. they keep their cell phone glued to their hand at all times of the day and night, anxiously waiting for a call that typically only lasts a few minutes, but gives them the strength to keep functioning the rest of the week. and then, being reunited after a year, they remain strong, continuing to pick up the pieces of a man that may look the same, but has seen and heard and experienced an incredible amount of pain. something inside of him is different. he flinches at certain noises. he has a hard time with war scenes. his dreams are filled with images of war, that he has to re-live every night as he sleeps. he is forever changed. those wives will never fully understand, but they are left with the most important jobs. listening. loving. supporting.

i can relate to those wives...i am one of those wives.

while much of this blog will be about daily life news, (kids, homes, friendships..) sometimes my life involves post traumatic stress disorder, shrapnel wounds or unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. thankfully, brandon and i have a wonderful support system with our friends and family, and ultimately rely on God with any struggles we come across. my hope for this blog is that i could speak to many women who may find themselves in similar circumstances.

and can i just say what an honor it is to boast that MY husband fought for our freedom? i am proud to say that he's mine...war wounds and all:)

hope this post wasn't too much of a downer, but more like a peek into my life.
thanks for listening...


the january blues

does anyone else have an extreme dislike for january? or is that just me? i have never liked this month and have always found myself feeling bored, depressed and definitely not diggin' the weather. i think that this hatred stems back from my school days, being that january was always the month that school started again and spring break seemed like light years away.
so i have decided to take things into my own hands and instead of feeling mopey and sad for the next three weeks, i am going to make a concentrated effort to relish in the moment of playing with my favorite, little girl or snuggling up on the couch with my hubby.
so if you come and visit (and please do!) and i am balled up on the couch, wishing away this wretched month, just remind me of my new plan.
i'm happy to embrace this new challenge to makeover january, BUT....can't a girl wish for july??


Pretty Little Liars......?

I really don't watch a lot of t.v. You will usually find Eric and I watching shows we've recorded such as Seinfield, I shouldn't be Alive, or Extreme Home Makeover. In fact, we've even put our Netflix account on hold because our money was wasting away as we let our dvds we ordered just sit unopened somewhere in a pile. What's wrong with us?! How can you not have time to watch t.v. in the winter?! Last winter we zipped through a ton of dvds from Netflix. Weird.

There are a few shows though that we (or I guess...me) have to make sure to watch or record to watch for another time. Two of which are currently on at the EXACT same time (praise the Lord for DVR!) Umm....The Bachelor (*blush*) and Pretty Little Liars (*blush*). I know, I know...but they're so....addicting!


 I became hooked on Pretty Little Liars when it aired this summer. Summers are when Eric puts in the hours, so at times I find myself watching more tv out of boredom. I saw the previews for the premiere of the show, and I thought, "hey why not?!" and from the first episode I was hooked. I don't know...I just want to know who the heck "A" is!! Please tell me I am not alone in this lol. Each episode keeps you on the edge of your seat...throwing in a bunch of surprises! If you are at all interested in watching it you definitely need to watch the first season otherwise you will be way confused. I couldn't even remember from the first season to the second everything that happened and who people were!

Apparently it's based on the books? Maybe I should try them...I am sure they are for teenagers though and not women in their twenties! :) I've given into the fact that I just need to admit I love it and try not to be ashamed of it! A big part of me will always be a little/teenage girl at heart :) I will always love the cheesy romance books, movies, shows, and Taylor Swift songs. Sorry...you just can't help it when a heart resonates!

Another perk to the show is the great music they play! I have discovered some great songs and artists from the show. Playlists for each episode are listed on the ABC Family website. Isn't it just great when shows introduce you to new music you love?

P.S. What shows are you ashamedly  (or unashamedly) hooked on? Please share! Maybe they will become my next obsession :)


Calling all readers...

Do you have something you think you could share with the world??

We're looking for people who have something interesting to share with our readers.  A few ideas to inspire you:

Crafts ideas
Cool finds
Interesting places you've traveled
Fun things in Des Moines
Products you love
Fashion tips

We'd love to feature you (or your small business or blog) on The Wonder Woman Diaries with a guest post. We are open to anything the average woman might be interested in.  Email thewonderwomandiaries@gmail.com with your ideas!

These are a few of my favorite things...

I have recently come across some hair products that I am loving and when I use them, I think, "I want to tell everyone about this".  So since, everyone at least 2 people read this blog, I thought I would share my favorite things with you, in case they'll help your life as much as they've helped mine!

#1 Pantene Sleek and Shine for hair you want to sleek-erize--$3-7

Since I started using Pantene shampoo and conditioner a few years ago, I have loved it.  My hair always feels so smooth and nice after I use the conditioner.  Recently, they came out with a more individualized product line and I got a sample of it in the mail.  Well, their marketing campaign worked for me because I was immediately hooked and went out to buy the shampoo and conditioner AS SOON as my sample was nearing empty.

What I like about it: My hair is medium-weight and naturally very wavy and frizzy.  With this shampoo, my hair is even smoother than it was with the original shampoo I was using. Now, once I blow-dry my hair, my locks are so smooth, straightening is a breeze.

#2 Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Straightener for when you want stick-straight hair--$30

Last week, the Revlon straightener I had for years went kaput.  I remember when I first got that $20 bundle-of-joy that it was so hot and worked way better than my $60 Hot Tools straighter ever dreamed of.  The Revlon served me well, or so I thought.  I went back to the store to replace it with the same appliance and they weren't making the same model anymore.  I picked up one I thought would be similar and it barely heated up to straighten my wavy hair.  That's when I realized, heat matters. I was annoyed and took it back to the store. I picked up a different brand that promised to get REALLY hot.  And it was AWESOME!

What I like about it: It heats up to a whopping 446 degrees so my hair has NEVER been this straight.  Thankfully, hair doesn't have nerve-endings:)  It's quick to heat up (15 secs) and does exactly what I want.  I have always been one that gets frustrated when doing my hair because of the natural wave and lack of cooperation but this straightener whips it into shape like never before.  This is my FAVORITE product on this list.  If your relationship with the straightener in you life is so-so, go out and get this one, you WON'T be disappointed.

#3 Sleek and Shine by Sexy Hair Concepts for when you want shine-- $18

I've used this product for years now and love it.  Though, I don't have to use it as much with my new straightener and conditioner.  It's a styling aid that helps your hair straighten and adds shine.

What I like about it: It makes straightening my hair faster and better.  My hair is smooth and shiny and it doesn't smell like Aquanet.

#4 The Tease Brush for when you want a big lift-- $5

A few weeks back, I saw this brush on Iowa Girl Eats and put it in the back of my mind to pick up sometime.  After I straighten my hair, it's usually too smooth to tease very well.  I may start out with a little lift but it falls in under an hour.  I was at Sally's picking up some shears to fix my husbands disaster of a haircut (long story), when I saw this and I snatched it up right away.

What I like about it: It teases my hair easily without buckets of hairspray and it lasts all day.  For the first time, I have a little height without having to buy a Bump-It.

#5 More Big Curls Conair Rollers for when you want a quick curl--$30
I picked these rollers up a few Christmases ago and have used them regularly ever since.  When I am in a hurry, I can easily blow-dry my hair, throw it up in rollers and continue getting ready while the heat sets my hair.  

What I like about it: I take them out, do a little hair-flip and suddenly, it looked like I spent all day on my hair when it was actually easier than straightening.  The curls are big and modern and flow nicely.  Also, the curlers don't burn my hand because of the felt layer around the outside.

I have used Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play hairspray for several years now but am open to new suggestions if anyone has any.  I like it but I don't think I LOVE it. For now, what are your favorite hair products AND do you have any products I should think about adding to a follow-up make-up/body product post?


show me some sass

as promised, i will post a picture of our new and improved kitchen.

but first, let's talk details.

a few months back, while searching for our perfect home, we came across many ugly kitchens. not just ugly....hideous. we're talkin' an aray of baby blue cabinets, strange layouts (a laundry area in the kitchen?!?!) and more than enough faux for a lifetime. i've never seen so much faux brick. i know this is some people's aesthetic, but it sure ain't mine. :)

when it came to buying a home, we didn't want a lot of renovations looming over us once those keys were handed over. we purposely bought in a neighborhood where the schools were good, but it also happened to be at the top of our price range, which equals no pricey kitchen renos in the near (or far) future. priorities, people.
thankfully, we found a home with a brand new kitchen! the cabinets, flooring, appliances and counter tops were all updated in the last few years. score! the downer was that we felt like we stepped into a country cottage. lucky for us, paint is a very cost efficient way to completely transform a room.  and new years eve, that's exactly what we did.

i LOVE how it turned out. exactly how i was envisioning. i had a hard time narrowing down which color to choose, but in the end, i went with my gut and choose "Sassy Green". and it sure has sass:)
the color is very similar to the bridesmaid's dresses in my wedding and is almost exactly the same color of peyton's room in the house that we brought her home to. what can i say? i have a weakness for it.

sorry i didn't get a better before shot. i get too anxious and excited for the transformation and forget to document. i will work on that as i slowly and surely decorate my new house. go here if you want to see some shots of the old kitchen. don't say i didn't warn ya:)

tell me what you think!! do you like? do you have any amazing paint transformations? any scary ones? please share.


no longer M.I.A

i just wanted to tune in and apoligize for my absense over the past few weeks. let me tell you....it's been a crazy couple of weeks:) han and rach have filled in for me and i am so thankful! between moving, christmas, and lack of internet for a week, blogging has gotten pushed to the bottom of my never ending "to-do" list.

my first order of business to address is: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! i have a feeling that a lot of my blog posts will be centered around new home-ish topics, since i have immersed myself in some serious room redecorating lately.

brandon and i (and my mom, for a few hours) spent the better part of new years weekend painting the three main rooms in our house. we rang in the new year by moving furnature, frog taping the death out of our kitchen and removing about a hundred outlet covers. thankfully, little miss P was having fun up north for the weekend at grandma's house, otherwise, our three room overhaul would not have been as successful.

here is a little sneak peak of what was on the outs:

blue heart wallpaper? no thanks.

pastel blue paint and birdhouse decals. again....pass.

blue gingham curtains. now stashed in a goodwill box.
can you blame us for doing a little dance once all that was gone?? i know, i know...many people love this style, but brandon and i just don't share that love. come back tomorrow for a new and improved kitchen.

you'll be green with envy:)