[top 10] things going on in my life lately

it’s been a while! much has happened & changed in my life over the last 9-10 months, so i thought a top 10 list would be an easy way to catch up with ya’ll.

10. i had another kid.

so, i planned to post regularly on here starting last september, & then i got pregnant. i had no idea how tired i would be this time around. we’re talking epic fatigue. and that’s coming from someone who has a chronic fatigue condition! anyways, we welcomed maya lizbon casteel into the world & our lives on april 11, 2016. she’s a super chill, easy baby, & we kinda like her.

maya lizbon

maya lizbon


9. my father-in-law has cancer.

this is the sad news in our family. he had prostate & kidney cancer a couple years ago, & surgery plus radiation were thankfully enough to take care of those. however, his recent scans showed mets in the lungs, brain, & bones. fortunately, there are hopeful treatments for each location, & we are full of hope that he will be with us for a long time yet. still, cancer has a way of making your perspective & priorities change.


8. we found a church to go to, for now.

we spent 2015 looking for a new church to attend with little success until september. we finally happened upon a community that meets our needs & wants pretty well. we made a commitment at the beginning of this year to attend this church regularly this year & see if it’s the place we want to settle [i.e. do the whole membership thing].


7. we returned to our old church for the first time.

leaving a church is a hard thing. shaun & i have done it twice, & both times rank in the top 5 hardest things/times of my life. returning to your old church to visit can be nearly as difficult. but i’ve found it also offers a much-needed sense of peace & closure. we just visited for the first time to attend the graduating seniors celebration. the last of our youth group is graduating this year, so we wanted to be sure we were there. and it was a perfect evening of catching up with old friends, family.


6. our last kids are graduating.

did i mention that the last of our youth group is graduating this year? cue the tears, & pass the tissues. the kids who were in 6th grad when we took up leadership of the youth ministry for a brief year & a half are now seniors, very shortly to be graduates. my, how time flies. we are so proud of the young adults they have become, of all they have accomplished, of all the potential they are going to be fulfilling in the coming days. it’s bittersweet.

with our graduating girls

with our graduating girls


5. i’m prepping for a whole30 in june.¬†

i have to admit, i didn’t do such a great job eating healthfully during this last pregnancy. i was a slave to my lack of appetite & my cravings. most of the time, i didn’t eat or i ate junk. fortunately, i didn’t gain a ton of weight, but i definitely feel the need to reset my habits & get back to healthfulness. my favorite way to reset is doing a round of whole30, so for the month of june, i’ll be following the program. it takes a lot of work upfront, menu planning & food prep, so i’ve been immersed in that lately.


4. i’m prepping for camp in july.

every summer, i work at a summer camp for teens, the same one i grew up going to. this year is going to be a very different year for me. it’s the first time in seven years that shaun won’t be going with me. it’s the first time in 19 years that my sister won’t be there with me. it’s the first time in 10+ years that i won’t be counseling in the cabins. it’s the first time ever that i’ll be teaching with someone other than my sister. and it’s the first time i’ll be going with a kiddo in tow. [well, i have gone with both bianca & richie, but they were teens, not babies, so it doesn’t really count!] prepping for camp this year is looking very different, too. mostly, i’m trying to plan how i’m going to travel solo with two kids, a 2-year-old & a 2-month-old, what i need to pack to survive a week at camp with a baby, & how my participation will look. some time in the coming month, we’ll get teaching assignments, & then i’ll be working on that with my co-teacher.


3. we’re hardcore working on the casa.

in preparation for a new baby & then a summer staying home with baby & toddler, house projects have consumed our to do lists & time. i have been on a decluttering kick which has lately attacked my clothing closet & art/craft supplies. my latest achievement has been turning the office into a half-office-half-playroom so i can work while the girls play [aka roo plays & maya sleeps]. right now as i type this, roo is busy coloring at her own little table. it’s amazing how much STUFF a house can accumulate, & i’m tired of all the junk. we’re trying to embrace minimalism more & more. this summer will continue my ruthless rampage, & i hope to tackle the basement. yikes.


2. i’m doing “summer school” with roo.

as a former preschool teacher, i can’t help myself. i have to use these days home with my toddler in formative, educational ways. so i developed a color-of-the-week curriculum to do with her this summer. this week is “rainbow week.” we’re starting with an overview of all the colors, going to the zoo, & painting rainbows. a lot of the activities i have prepared for her are ones she can do during independent play while i write or work around the house or take care of maya. but there are activities & learning time every day where she gets focused one-on-one time with me. she’s used to having structure & instruction from being in daycare, so i think it’s important to continue that during the summer months. plus, it’s fun for both of us!


1. we’re celebrating our 13th anniversary.

today actually! poor shaun has put up with me with calm kindness & humor all these years, so it is certainly worthy of celebration. we’ll go out with the girls tonight so i don’t have to make dinner, but we’ll celebrate just the two of us later this month.

us, circa 2008

us, circa 2008


i guess that’s the big stuff. feel free to catch me up on how you’re doing, too! maya’s crying, so time for me to sign off, but i’ll be back again soon. promise.

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