Tuesday, November 4, 2014

sugar and spice round 2

Ryleigh has been adamant from the beginning that this baby growing in my belly was going to be a brother. It was hilarious because she would not even entertain the possibility that it could be a girl. She was so sure that I admit she had me convinced...So as I lay looking up at the screen marveling at baby Kingma #2 waiting anxiously for the tech to tell us if Ry was right, I couldn't help but think....what would I do if it's a boy? I wouldn't have a clue, but just like everyone I'd learn. 

A couple of seconds later we found out that Ryleigh would have a sister and a huge smile came across my face, followed by sigh of relief. Mainly because we've done the girl thing...and an attitude of "we got this" came over me. I'm a very impatient person so now that we know, I can plan and the wheels are certainly spinning! 

We're thrilled to add another princess to the Kingma family in late March or early April...if she's anything like her sister, she'll make her debut on her own terms:) 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

secrets out

When Jason and I decided to start having the conversation about adding to our family we both had to sit back and laugh a little...laugh because this was the first time we were having this type of conversation and we already had a two year old.

We'd only been married two short months when I found out I was pregnant with Ryleigh. Shock is the first word that comes to mind...then I admittedly took my precious time processing what was happening to me and didn't really feel much of a connection until the night I felt her kick me from deep inside. At that moment, I feel in love, and I've been falling even more in love with her every minute of each day. 

Round two has been completely different...emotionally and physically. Emotionally, I'm a roller coaster. Excitement mixed with fear, and feeling anxious more than I ever have. Worrying more than I ever thought possible...which is quite irritating I must say. Physically, I'm just whipped. Tired all the time, feeling pretty sick, and getting sick a lot of the time too. Aside from the anxiety and sickness I'm so so excited for this baby to get here and add that much more joy and chaos to our little family. 

If it's a girl, we got this. If it's a boy, it'll be that much more of an adventure. If Ryleigh has her way, she'll have a brother to spoil and tease. We ask her daily what the baby will be and every day she says it'll be a boy. She won't even entertain the thought that it could be a girl. So sure is she. We'll see if she's right on November 3rd! 

We are so thankful for all of the well wishes and congratulations. It's an overwhelming, but pretty amazing ride we're on. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

a birthday letter

My Ryleigh, 
At this time three years ago I was pretty comfortable in my hospital room waiting for you to turn just a little bit more in my tummy so that you could make your entrance into the world safely. It's amazing to think back to those last few hours when it was just your daddy and I...fast forward to today and I cannot imagine my life without you in it. 

You have taught me so much more than I ever expected to learn about myself. You've taught me about love and how easy it is to open my heart and love unconditionally throughout every moment of the day. You've taught me how to be patient even when I don't feel I have an ounce of patience left in me. You've taught me how to laugh harder than I ever thought possible, and you've taught me just how vulnerable I can be, need to be, want to be. You have taught me what it means to be truly thankful, and not take for granted that I was given the most precious gift from God, and that is to be your mama.

You are an incredibly smart, silly, extremely persistent, highly animated, and very stubborn bolt of energy that makes our world so much brighter. You talk with your hands just like I do, and you've the the same dance moves like your daddy. You have an insatiable appetite for learning, and you want to know everything about the world around you. You are very interested in purses, chap stick, and you cannot get enough cocoa wheat's. Your favorite question is "why?" You love hiding daddy's gum around the house. You love to help mommy do laundry, and you love dance lessons. 

Some days I don't think it's possible to love you more, but then I do. You are the best thing I've ever done, and I am so proud of you and how you are growing up. God sure did bless us three years ago. 
Happy Birthday Ryleigh Anne. We love you so much! 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

things I pray you'll be

In my 31 years on this earth I've done a lot. I've tested boundaries, pushed myself outside my comfort zone, and cried my way through some pretty tough times. I've loved and lost, laughed and screamed, been the crazy one, the entitled one,  the lonely one, and at times the happiest one. In all of that beautiful messiness I came through it better than the day before. 

There are a long list of things I want Ryleigh to experience and learn from just as I have, and there are so  many things I pray that she'll be/do having come out the other side of every situation good or bad. 

I pray that she'll accept when she's wrong, and take accountability for her actions. 
I pray that she'll seek out and befriend the child in the corner when no one else is noticing. 
I pray that she'll speak her mind in a courteous and respectful way to those around her. 
I pray that she'll dream big, bigger, biggest. 
I pray that she'll never stop learning about the world around her and all God has to offer. 
I pray that she'll  grow in her relationship with God, and know His love for her is unfailing.
I pray that she'll not concern herself with the material things of this life. 
I pray that she'll find her own path, and know that we will support her through it. 
I pray that she'll come through adversity with a strength that endures long after each trial. 
I pray that she'll forgive easily as God forgives. 
I pray that she'll fall in love and experience the love I feel everyday in my marriage. 
I pray that one day she'll have and love a child and come to understand just how much I love her. 

As for me...

I pray I have the strength as her mom to help guide her in the way God would have her go. Many roads in life are bumpy, with twists and turns, and oftentimes dead ends, but I know that with God's faithfulness, our encouragement, and her sweet heart, we can navigate the way together making it one heck of a ride. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

spring cleaning

Spring is often a time when people clean house. Literally. For me this spring has been about cleaning house, but not in the filling up the donation boxes or dusting the cobwebs kind of way (although these are on the to-do list). It's been more about life balance and peace of mind. 

When Jason and I first found out we were pregnant with Ryleigh we had many talks about how our do what we want when we want life as a twosome would be altered and how we thought we'd handle it. (I laugh now because most every conversation was pretty rose colored and sunshiney...naive at best) Some days I felt like everything would change and I'd be on the verge of a emotional breakdown, and other days I felt that it'd be easy just to bring her wherever, whenever we wanted. Well, I'll tell you honestly it's been 50/50. It depends on the day, on her attitude, and on our patience level most times. 

With that said, we've prided ourselves on really focusing on Ryleigh adding joy to our life and not altering it as I'd originally thought while she was rolling around in my belly. We want to do the things we would normally do with the addition of this vibrant, very opinionated, and silly personality that is Ryleigh bug. I admit not all phases have been my favorite (14-18 months being the least) but the phase she's in now is the best by far. She narrates the world with such an innocent perspective, and I'm pretty jealous most times. She's stubborn, defiant, and way too smart for someone who has only been on this earth for 2.5 years. 

Before I get too off topic with a rambling post about how awesome she is I better get back to the point...cleaning house. I've been trying to ask myself tough questions this spring. Am I raising a good, God-fearing child? Am I pouring into my marriage as much as I should? Am I being the best I can be while I'm at work? Am I being intentional about family? Am I being the kind of friend I need to be to those I call friends? Am I pursuing the God that gives me grace daily? Am I doing all that I can, to be all that I can for everyone I love? 

I'm a constant work in progress, and I find that the idea of balance is the first thing on my mind when my feet hit the floor in the morning. Balance in that it's ok not to be at the top of my game ALL the time. That it's ok to be honest that life isn't pretty all the time like instagram can make it seem. That it's ok to enter a time of the unknown and be hopeful instead of having all of the answers. I need to let myself off the hook more than I have been or else the devil can sneak in and let chaos ensue. I need to forgive myself as he forgives me. I need to count on Him and look to Him when these questions consume me. After all, He is the only one that knows my true heart, and with that comes peace of mind. 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. - Matthew 6: 33-34

Monday, March 24, 2014

terrible twos : blessing and a curse

Sometimes I feel like everyone is always looking for the next best thing. When you get into your dream school people ask what you want to do with your life...when you meet "the one" people ask when you think you'll get engaged...when you get married they ask when you'll have your first child...and sometimes they even ask when you think you'll have your second child...even when you're holding your newborn... in the hospital not 24 hours after they've arrived...silly, but insanely true. 

Why are we always in such a rush? Why can't we just enjoy the moment and the moments to come after each big step we take into life? 

I ask these questions because I'm in a period of reflection right now. I'm trying to enjoy this phase in life and sometimes it's hard because I find myself wishing for a new day, or a new phase, or a new...well anything when it comes to dealing with my toddler. The terrible twos are in full force in our house and it's an unstoppable force that neither Jason and I were prepared for. I know we aren't the only couple to ever have a two year old so I know I'm not special in this, but whining and writing about it is therapeutic, so here I am. 

I'm not going to write a post about every present day shenanigan, but I will admit I've failed as a parent more times than I'd like to admit within the past month. I've failed Ryleigh, and I've failed myself. I've cried, and I've yelled. I've hidden in the bathroom, and after she's in bed I've had many a ounce of sauvignon blanc. I've read blogs, read books, and listened to parents and friends, prayed endlessly...devouring answers to keep control of myself and be the best mom I can be. 

I will say that in the midst of all the chaos, hiding, reading, and mounts of frustration there have been many blessings too. I am learning so much more about myself than I have ever wanted to. My insecurities as a woman, wife, and mom are shoved in my face daily, but instead of defeat, I feel accomplishment in the small things. Remaining calm when Ryleigh is in a mess on the floor carrying on because she wanted her milk in a specific color cup, or she wants to wear the popsicle jammies instead of the elephants. Keeping a smile on my face (and words in my mouth) when I've heard "I do it all myself mom" for the 15th time, or picked up the last of the raisins she's chucked on the floor in retaliation of bath time. In all of these moments, I see the blessing that she is because she's a little bit of Jason, and she's a lot of me, and it's beautiful as much as its frustrating. She's this amazingly curious little person that is just bursting at the seams to know what this world is all about...what it has to offer...and all she wants to do is be a part of it all. 

Along with the bad, comes the best parts of what this parenting gig is all about. It's hard, and I'm know it will get harder with each added birthday candle, but I'll keep on learning, smiling, hiding, praying, reading, and enjoying every single minute. After all, she's only two once. 

Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

cry, laugh, listen, and pray

We've all heard it..."be kind to everyone, for everyone is facing a battle all their own" or something to that affect. I'm guilty of going about my day forgetting this. I'm guilty of taking my blessings for granted. Most days I go through the motions. On days like last Thursday I'm rocked to the core when bad news follows bad news to people I hold dear and there is nothing I can do or say to stop it or make it better. 

The only thing to do in these moments is cry, laugh through memory, listen, and pray.

We all deal with sad and uncomfortable things differently. I'm a crier. A sobbing wet hot mess of a crier. I'm also someone who laughs in uncomfortable silence....most times grasping for something, anything that can make the person on the other end of that phone call laugh with me...hearing the air that leaves their mouth that I know is forming a smile however small heals my heart just the slightest bit. I pray that it's doing the same to theirs. 

I'm also someone who will try to listen. I've done lots of grumbling in my day and have had amazing people in my life willing to listen to my baggage. How lucky I am. As I get older I've come to appreciate the endless amounts of hours that friends and family have lent me their ear...set aside judgement...hugged me when I didn't want it, or just sat with me in a silence that was a little less scary not having to sit alone. 

Finally, I'm someone that prays. I haven't always been this person, and I believe I was left hurting even more because I wasn't praying. When I wasn't praying I wasn't close to God. Looking back I know that this was why the hurt, the darkness, and the worry never left me as soon as I wanted it to. There was a deep void that I was always trying to fill with everything except the one thing that I needed. A relationship with Him. 

The day after Thursday was a new day, a better day, and I know even through the hurt...we can cry, laugh, listen, and pray. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

3 years

Three years ago today I was anxious and excited to get laced up in my wedding dress, and make a lifetime promise to my very best friend. The emotions I felt that day came rushing back to me this morning and I'm so glad that I can call upon them so easily. I'm so grateful for what the day became, and thankful for the love and support everyone so graciously showed us.

As a little girl you dream of the dress, the flowers, and the bling, but as a woman I just dreamed of him. The man that loved ever inch of me. Every flaw. Every day. The man that makes me a better person. A better woman, a better wife, and now a better parent.

This journey we are on is incredible. Even in the midst of every day normalcy, he's mine, and I am his, and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

Happy Anniversary Jason. I love you with my whole heart.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

small reminders

Sometimes when I find myself in the middle of a pretty normal week.. bouncing within the structured work day, surrounded by the same people, laughing at something Ryleigh did, devouring the delicious dinner Jason made me, or snuggling into our bed... I have to stop and remember just how truly blessed I am.

Normal is good. Normal is my happy place.

I've talked about Cold Tangerines, by my fav Shauna Niequist before, and will always recommend it to everyone. I came across this today and it really spoke to me and what I'm feeling right now.

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

where did the summer go?

The summer absolutely flew. From June to the present there was a whole lotta wedding showering, baby showering, working, wedding attending X 5, bachelorette party dancing, cottage going, lake Michigan-ing, pooling, Mission-tripping, and most recently lots of birthday celebrating and of course Go Blue-ing:)

I  love September for so many reasons. First, and most importantly both of the loves of my life were born in this great month. Second, I love everything fall. Leaves changing color, Michigan football, hot apple cider, pumpkins, honeycrisp apples, boots, sweaters, campfires, and the cool air that hits my cheeks when I'm out for a run.

Our Ryleigh bug turned 2 a week ago! I have a 2 year old. Even saying that out loud seems crazy to me. She's so fun, and silly, and smart, and sassy, and  I could just eat her up! She is talking more and more everyday and loves to sing to us. There is a lot of laughter in our house in large part to her curious nature and very bossy spirit. We're taking the good with the bad on the terrible two front. We've moved on from biting (thank goodness) but now she's pinching and hitting when she gets frustrated. Consistency has been key with the discipline and we're confident and hopeful that she'll move on from this phase soon. She's pretty lean and tall just like her daddy. 96th percentile for height so we could have a volleyball player in our future. She loves itsy-bitsy spider, Bubble Guppies, yogurt covered raisins, and doing anything and everything outdoors. I think my most favorite thing she does right now is praying with us before she goes to bed. Jason started praying with her months ago and she almost has the whole darn thing memorized. It's pretty adorable.

From one love to another, yesterday was Jason's birthday! I helped him ease in to 32 with a Glen Rice basketball jersey. I'm pretty sure he liked it:) Another year down, and only more exciting things on the horizon. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing partner in life.

October will bring with it some more small adventures...to be continued!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

finding the right fit

When I wake up in the morning and see Jason laying beside me, I'm grateful for him, for our marriage, and the peace and calm I feel. When I see Ryleigh my heart is full. She is the best thing I've ever done, and I'm completely in love with her and the little person she is growing into. These two are my first loves, the best jobs I have...being a wife, and a mommy.

I'm thankful. So thankful.

The third job I have is also something that I love, and I'm so happy that I've been blessed with the opportunity to work for such a great company. I work for Choice Schools Associates and MiChoice, a school management company that works at the pleasure of each of our Academy Board of Directors to implement the ultimate goals of the Board. Our goal is to help each student reach their true educational potential.

I work in Human Resources as an Employee Relations Specialist. My job is to ensure that each school is in compliance with state and federal law, that I'm a resource for each employee for any need that might have, and I am supporting the Board Liaison, HR Generalist, and Chief Personnel Officer in all Human Resources duties and projects for our schools. Jack of all trades am I, and with the growth of our company so is the growth of responsibility. I absolutely love it. I love the challenge, I love the constant growth, and most of all the people. We have a wonderful team of people willing to give it their all to succeed in every professional and educational way possible.

Having three jobs sure is busy, but so very worth it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

what would it look like?

Simple yet powerful. I love this for so many reasons. We're all guilty of judging when we shouldn't judge. Instead of seeking to love and understand one side of a many sided story we stereotype, assume, jump to conclusions we're comfortable with, and often times run. We let so called rules, politics, and society govern what we think instead of thinking for ourselves.
What would our world look like if we just loved our neighbors like ourselves? If we didn't judge, and listened with an open heart? If we stood up for those who can't stand up for themselves? If we ventured to see every part of the story instead of just seeing what we want to see, and hearing what we want to hear? If we saw things from a different point of view? If we were real and let the mess of life be beautiful because that's what it is....
What would it look like if we didn't hate what we don't understand?

Friday, May 31, 2013


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts... and today I am praying this promise more than ever. For myself, and for the grieving family and friends of Peggy Pittman.

Miss Peggy was one of Ryleigh's caregivers at our first daycare. Sweet, patient, kind, quiet, and so wonderful with all of the children. When I made the decision to go back to work, it was hard, but my anxiety was calmed when I knew I was leaving Ryleigh with Peggy. She took to Ryleigh and vice versa. She was with our little bug every day for the first year of her life and we are so blessed by this. The trust that was formed will forever be something I'm so grateful for. The love I have for this woman is so very special and I will never forget her and how she was a true sign of Gods love for everyone around her. Her life was cut short because she was trying to help someone else, and that speaks so loudly to the person she was.

My heart just breaks for her family. She leaves behind an adoring husband, two beautiful daughters, and an adorable grandson. I pray that in this difficult time, they have the comfort of knowing that she is in a place where there is no pain, no suffering. A place where she can wait for them, and a place that I am sure she is happy to be. As hard as that is to hear when all we want to do is have the person here with us selfishly, I feel that it should also be a comfort. I hope in time it will be.

As chance would have it... I ran into her at the grocery store a couple of days ago. She gave me a big hug, and the first thing she asked me about was Ryleigh. She had a huge smile on her face as I was giving her some updates, and we both agreed that we should get together soon. I was able to meet her daughter Amanda, she was very sweet, and had a kind smile just like her mother. I wished them well and went on my way...I never would have thought that would be the last time I'd see her.

When something so unexpected happens a fresh perspective is unveiled. Life is short. The unimaginable can happen, and I don't want to take anything for granted. Hug your loved ones tight, and tell them you love them. Forgive and let go. Move forward and be grateful for each sunrise and sunset. Count every single blessing, and never let yourself get comfortable.

Peggy was a true angel here on earth, and I pray that she is with her creator and smiling because of it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ryleigh the roller coaster

Twenty months is a roller coaster. Ryleigh is up and down by the minute and we're just along for the ride. She's adorable even when she's pouting during a time out. She's stubborn, persistent, and knows what she wants when she wants it, and wants it now. I don't think we'll ever be able to accommodate her demands fast enough, but I'm glad she keeps us on our toes.

She's growing tall, and her vocabulary is insane. We just stare at her in amazement at all of the things she's saying and how she's beginning to put all of the words together in order to tell us what she wants, or what she's doing, wants to do, or did. Some of our favorites are:

"I did it mamadaddy" (She often puts us together as if we're one word)
"Milk, please, have it" (She really emphasizes the "have it" and uses this with just about everything else she says, it's pretty funny)
"Daddy/Mama are you?" (She asks this as she is looking right at us and when we respond she belly laughs, it's the cutest!)

She is a little sponge and repeating EVERYTHING. So we have to be very intentional about what we're saying, careful about some of the things we say, and listen more intently when she's trying to say something new. Jason seems to speak Ryleigh better than I do:)

She's busy. Very busy. Always running, always dancing, and always wants to go outside and "fwing" She is transitioning to the older toddler room at daycare and we're thrilled because it has seemed to really help with her biting episodes. Yes, our child was "the biter" in the classroom. The teachers expressed their concern that she was getting bored too easily and needed new/more stimulation so with the transition in full effect we're hoping that she takes to the new teachers and kids and we can put the biting behind us.

Things she used to love have become less than desirable. She used to love bath time, not right now. She used to love certain foods, and now she throws a fit if what I put down in front of her is not what she is asking for. (Sorry, Ry, I'm not feeding you ice cream for breakfast!) So sometimes we just have to try, try again until she'll eat something we deem worthy. So one night it was oatmeal with raisins for the main course, followed by a brat with ketchup for dessert. Yum.

Some new things we've done recently are a visit to the John Ball Zoo, dingy rides in South Haven, bike rides, and watercolor painting (which inevitably led to face painting thanks to Daddy) 

We're excited to see what else the summer will bring!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

This mother's day was a great one. We spent time with our moms. We were able to tell them how much we love and appreciate them...how special they are to us, how special they are to Ryleigh, and how we are who we are today because of them.

Jason helped Ryleigh pick out the perfect gift for me. A brand new bike with a helmet to match. I am so excited! It's perfect and I know we'll have so much fun as a family this summer because of this gift. Thank you my loves, from the bottom of my heart.

I also had the weekend to reflect on my role as a mom. I've learned so much about myself in the past year and I believe Ryleigh has made all the difference. When I become impatient I think of her and what she thinks when she watches my reaction to things. Even when I fail, I know she still loves me. I try to respond to things differently...thinking before I speak, breathing before I explode. Everything in her best interest is priority, period. I'm more emotional, but in a different way. I cry more when I'm happy these days. When she does something new like count to 10, or the first time I heard her say "I love you mama." My heart is so happy when I see her with all of her grandparents and how they all light up when they are around her and vice versa. Watching her and Jason makes me melt over and over again. She's a daddy's girl through and through. I'm so proud of this little girl that God has blessed us with and so excited for everything to come...the good, the better, the bad, and even the ugly.

Being a mom is spectacular, and hard...beautiful and incredibly worth it.

I learned from the best. Thank you Mom, for always being there through it all. For still being here, and for being my very best friend. I love you.