Monday, December 12, 2011

Lil Pea

This is the frame i bought from Lil Pea to go over Whitney's Bed:) 

Hey ladies! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and getting all their shopping in. I wanted to tell you all about this awesome online store that a friend of mine started about a year ago.

I was over at her house doing a photo shoot of her beautiful newborn and was noticing all the unique fantastic decorations and baby gifts she had all over her house. I asked her where she got everything and found out that she was selling it all at her website!

Her business is called Lil Pea and her website is . Some of the items she has are things i have seen before and other are so unique. It's a perfect place to buy shower gift!

I love supporting other moms so i thought i would spread the word! Also check out her facebook page and "like" it so you are always up to date with the latest items and sales.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Merry Christmas???

This is what i found in my daughters backpack this afternoon when she got home from pre school. I love it. It made me start thinking should Merry Christmas be insulting???

This time of year is such an important one for Christians. It signifies the birth of our savor Jesus Christ. All you mamas out there can imagine how Miss Mary was feeling right about now. Very fat, hot and very ready to get this baby out. What a job she had, not only was she giving birth (and for those ladies who have done it naturally you know the pain she was in), but she was birthing the son of God. What an honor and privilege. I couldn't imagine..... As a Christina it's one of the most important days in our religion.

So why is saying Merry Christmas, politically incorrect? I honestly have no problem with any other religion. I have friends of every race and color and on holidays that are important to their faith I find it respectful to honor them. Not with everyone, but with a lot of people Christmas or any Christian holiday for that matter does not get shown the same respect. It makes me sad.

I feel like there is this movement in the United States. The thought seems to be that if they take away all the things that have to do with God or Jesus then maybe it will go away??? Fortunately for us, that will never happen. It bothers me a lot that they can't talk about it in school and that companies like Lowes call Christmas Trees, Holiday Trees.

I do know that no matter what the government, school or people take away, whether it be the lights, songs, the word God, the phrase Merry Christmas, it will never really dissapear. It's just makes me sad that the world can't let everyone enjoy their own faith and traditions. It makes me sad the my girls have to grow up in a world that is so overly consumed with what others are doing and celebrating that they can't even see the beauty in the religion.

Have you ever studied the Jewish religion? If you haven't i recommend you do! Their traditions are old and so beautiful! In the Orthodox sector of the religion the only thing that matters is religion itself. Their center is GOD. They work hard in school and honor their parents. It's so fascinating. It's amazing.

Every religion has something to offer. People shouldn't be offended by the joys of other religons. Other holidays aren't the negatives in this world. There are so many other things to worry about (the hungry, the homeless, the unemployment rate, the uneducated or undereducated children, the injustices done to people everyday) in this world. Passing someone by on the street that happens to say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah should make you smile (its a happy gesture).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Am Thankful For My Road

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. I love getting together with my family. I love feeling thankful! I never need a holiday to be thankful. I feel thankful every day of my life. I am abundantly thankful for God, my children, family, health, jobs, love and everything else i have been given.

When i was thinking about it this year i decided that what i'm most thankful for is the doors that have been slammed in my face and the other doors that have been opened wide. I am thankful that i can let go and be happy with who I am. I am so thankful for this road that i have traveled down and so look forward to the road already out there in front of me.

Brad and i were talking about it the other day and came to the conclusion that our relationship has gone through more in 5 years of marriage then most have in 70. I am so thankful that our marriage is a solid one! I am thankful for all the good and bad that has happened and i am even more happy to have all that awful badness is out of our lives forever! Our family is so much better without it.

This thanksgiving was a special one on the Gierke side. The newest member of the family, Jordan Richard (our nephew) was introduced to one of his great grandmothers. It is actually her first great grandson. I won't go into all the detail, but God certainly played a  huge role in his birth and all the puzzle pieces that connected his precious life and his mommy's life to ours. The Gierke family is overjoyed to have such a wonderful women join the family. This family is so filled with love and is such a rock in our lives. We just adore all of them!

We ended Thanksgiving at my parents house. It was beautiful as always and the food and company was even better. Our girls just adore Mimi & Papa, we do too:) After dinner we took the whole crew over to our new house to show them all the construction and to try to piece together what our house is going to look like in a few weeks. Everyone loved it and were excited to see if finished. So are we:)

So this year i continue to be thankful for all the positive loving people that surround our lives. I have learned so much this year about everything. The road we are traveling down isn't always easy, but with some great travel partners it sure makes it exciting and totally worth the ride. I am thankful for my road!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Thats right we closed on our first house yesterday!

We ended up buying a charming foreclosure in a suburb just north of the city in a town i grew up in. For the past 4 years we have been renting a house here and when this sweet charmer of a house went on the market we jumped right on it! I was slightly shocked we got it actually. You see the house is in a much sought after school district, the curb appeal is quiet charming, the price was outstanding and there wasn't a ton of work that needs to go into it. We placed an offer in on a Thursday afternoon and it sat all weekend, finally on Tuesday morning we heard that they accepted our offer. That was 3 months ago! I feel so blessed that we go this house.

Last night we went in and celebrated, tore out all the carpet up the stairs and in the bedrooms, and replaced the locks. Today we have a contractor putting in canned lighting, tearing out part of a wall and the ceiling and then drywalling it. We have the floor guy coming tonight to refinish the floors and then the painters come. What i'm most excited about are my new appliances. The fridge i picked out is huge with french doors and the freezer on the bottom. I never in my life thought i would be excited about a fridge. Once the main construction is done we will have the downstairs painted and the cabinets put in.

I can not wait to actually move into our new house! I am not normally a patient person, but i have learned how to be very patient in the last few years. I am taking in all these exciting moments and not trying too hard to only want the finished project. It's all about the journey and i'm loving ours!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Joan Cleaver??? Not so much....

I will defiantly be the first to admit it...i do not like cooking! I love baking, but cooking is certainly not my forte. I don't know if it's the fact that cooking is usually a dinner time activity and by 5 o'clock my little princesses magically turn into little fire eating dragons, cute dragons, but dragons non the less. I despise this time of day:(

The other day i was thinking about dinner and talking (ok crying, complaining, agonizing over) to the smartest lady i know (my mom) and was trying to think of a great way to enjoy cooking while making healthy meals. We decided that i didn't particularly hate cooking, i just didn't have clever, creative ways to get it all done beforehand and then execute by 5pm.

Of course there is a part of me that imagines this beautiful scene of how I would always have dinner on the table and the kids would be dressed to the nines and it would all be so Joan Clever, lets be honest it's 2011 and most of us mamas have jobs and aren't sitting around all day thinking up the next fantastic meal. If you do get to enjoy this life, i would LOVE to hear your recipes:)

But if your in the same boat as me here is what i came up with...

Sunday i decided to come up with my menu for the week and then my grocery list (i am so that girl that goes to the store and just buys what i think we need with no rhyme or reason) of all the things i would make for the week ahead. I got to the store bought everything i needed, not just things i wanted and saved money. I stopped at Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Harrison Poultry. (for all of you readers in the Chicagoland area, you have to buy your poultry here. The farm is local and the poultry is as close to organic as you can get without the overpriced USDA stamp of approval. Inexpensive and absolutely delicious.)

I made most of my meals or parts of them on Sunday evening. Monday was meatloaf, bakes potato slices and a spinach salad with avocado, onion and carrots with a vinaigrette dressing. Tuesday was lasagna (such an easy and fast thing to make beforehand and put in the freezer or fridge), Wednesday was chicken tacos, Thursday was whole wheat organic pasta and tomato basil sauce and of course friday was pizza with a caesar salad.

I felt so accomplished by the end of the week and my darling husband loved every bite. So i guess i'm not a bad cook i just needed some inspiration from my mama and one of my GREAT friends Kelley (you should check her out at the Better Bitty Bite she's a nutritionist and amazing). Cooking actually isn't that bad is you are organized.

I will never be the next Joan Clever and i'm totally great with that. I like my ideas better.....

For more amazing one of a kind recipes check out Caitlin and Sarah's blog at Two Sisters Two Suppers.
If anyone out there has some great recipes that i can add to my rotation i would LOVE to hear them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let Me Introduce, Jordan Richard Roark

 Meet my beautiful sister in law Brandie. I did her maternity photos two months back. How cute is she? Brandie is one of the strongest women i know:) She is rocked her delivery and now has the most amazing gift of all... 

 Drum roll please......

Now meet my new nephew Jordan Roark. This sweet baby boy was born on on October 7th same day as his great Grama Kay. His middle name Richard is after his grandfather and great grandfather that he wasn't able to meet. They would have both been proud to share their name with you.

Baby Jordan is the sweetest little boy. He makes the most amazing little noises. There is something so wonderful about being an Aunty. This is my husbands first nephew and he loves him like is his own. Our little girls can not get enough of baby Jordan and they can't ever seem to keep there hands off of him. Seriously, how can i blame them, neither can I:) 

Baby Jordan we are so happy you are finally here with us. You are so so loved and you will always be. The rest of your great big family can hardly wait to meet you! You are one special little boy!  

All The Cousins 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feel like somethings missing?

I have two baby girls, 3 in January and a 1.5 years old. They are the light of our lives! My most favorite part of the weekend is when they all jump into bed with us. I just look at them at disbelief that they are ours and we made them. Still blows my mind that we actually made them, i mean all i can say is miraculous.  That leads me to the actual reason of this blog posting.

I have noticed the last few weeks as they have jumped into bed that i am missing my 3rd, 4th, 5th child? I have this tugging at my heart that someone is missing and i feel like i am actually missing them. We are planning on have more children for sure. Olivia and Whitney came 16.5 months apart and that was really hard, so having another baby quickly was not on our agenda. But now that Whitney is 1.5 i feels like it's a natural progression to have baby number 3.

We just bought our first house and are closing on the 21st, we are going on two vacations before July and one of them is for a week, childless. I thought once we are moved in and vacation #2 in RI is over we can jump into baby making mode again. I have a feeling though my plans are not the same as Gods and he is going to give us another baby whenever he wants.

I do love thinking about it all though. The excitement of finding out, the awful sickness i get for the first 3 months (lets be honest, i never look forward to this), finding out the gender, naming the baby and then finally the big finale, delivery! I know most people HATE this part of birth, but i LOVE it. It makes me feel strong and empowered. It's truly amazing.

Quick side story: I ran into a women at work a few weeks ago and she was 3 days late. She was a first time mom and she was adorable. She was very scared and i probably talked to her for 30 minutes about how amazing it is, how empowering it is and what an amazing job she will do. She came back in two nights ago and told me how amazing it was and how she thought about me and how i empowered her. What??? I empowered someone by just expressing the love i have for childbirth. There truly is not a better compliment then that. I felt connected to her and I hardly knew her. My pre natal yoga instructor and best friend Dana did this for me. I was so happy to pass it on:)

So..... As I sit here writing this blog Brad is chasing the girls around the house in there pj's (Somewhere over the rainbow is playing on my computer), the baby has lost her shirt along the way, everyones laughing, screaming and the dogs are right behind them. It's amazing and i simply can't wait for the rest of our clan to join this beautiful world.

Do any of you ladies ever have the tugging at your heart? Would love to hear your thoughts....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hey all you awesome moms out there, how many of you love getting great deals? How many of you are familiar with Cafe Mom? If your not, jump on it's a fantastic site. 

Cafe Mom is currently the biggest mom website that our founders Andrew Shue and Michael Sanchez started 11 years ago. They just rolled out a new company called MOM.COM. The deals of the day are currently located in the Northern and Western suburbs of Chicago, Minneapolis suburbs, Boston Suburbs and New Jersey. Don't fret if your not located in any of those towns you can click on the nationwide deals and see what they are offering as well. is a daily deal that is targeted to moms. The idea is to bring local moms to local merchants to boost the local economy, genius right?!?! I thought so too and thats why i LOVE working for them. 

My friend and Co worker Sarina & her hubby Josh

Last thursday night was our Premier party and we were able to invite fellow moms, customers and friends. It was fabulous. It was held at a beautiful home in Lake Forest with pink martinis, wine and delicious h'orderves from Food Love Caterers. There was photographers, media and big time mom bloggers. Jackie was one of the bloggers i really enjoyed talking to, check out her blog and then check out what she wrote up about us. Her blog is genius, fun and very informative. My co worker, Sarina and i were interviewed by the patch, i have to say it was pretty exciting. Our fantastic husbands came and were excellent sports, Brad even work a pink striped shirt (he is always supporting me in the cutest ways). I can't imagine it was too hard for them, they were in house full of beautiful women, how bad could that have been?!?!? We all got dressed up mingled and had a pretty exciting night. Most importantly it was a great start to this new and exciting company filled with some pretty fantastic people! 

I have to be honest, i feel pretty lucky to be involved in such a great company with so many great men and women. It's a very exciting time at and i am happy to be a part of it:) 

Our Founder Andrew Shue 

My fantastic girlfriends who came and helped support

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Back.....

Hi Mommy bloggers out there. I have been so out of touch for so long. I have a lot going on, but have decided to get back into my blogging. Whats been happening in my little corner of the world might you ask?


We have just bought our first house and are closing on the 21st, we are remodeling our new kitchen and a lot of the house, I recently started a new job with a company called (more about this amazing company tomorrow), my photography company has really taken off, bible study is so intense this season, but i love it and feel like i am growing so much, i have been spending some great quality time with my family and amazing friends. Blogging has clearly not been on the forefront, but i'm getting back to it:)

So ladies has this season of your life been particularly busy? Are you able to fit in family, friends, jobs, blogging and God? Man its a full menu:) This is a short entry, but hey it's a start:)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Union Pier, Michigan

There is nothing like getting away with two amazing girlfriends to refresh and renew a girls sole!

Last weekend two of my girlfriends and I went on a mini vacation about 2.5 hours away. We were on the other side of Lake Michigan walking the sandy beaches (cue the awesome "Welcome to Michigan" music and Tim Allen's voice) everything that commercial says is true. It's beautiful, calming and the air was crisp and cool. It was a perfect fall vacation!

We went out to dinner, drank wine, sat by the fire, read, shopped, went to a farmers market, went to the beach, walked, talked talked talked, went through Michigan wine country and visited a winery call The Round Barn (if you get a chance to get to Michigan, New Buffalo area i would highly recommend going there. It's beautiful and a lot of fun). It was so strange not having a baby tugging at your chest or a schedule to follow. It was insightful and so refreshing. It was GOD filled.

Girl time has not always been a priority in my life. I mean in the last couple years i have been pretty busy and strangely enough thats when i have met both of these beautiful God filled ladies. Both were friends of friends. I am so thankful God has brought them into my life. I think for me it makes me a better mom and wife when i have time away. Actually this has been the first time for me since my girls have been born. I've gone away with my husband, but have never left them all for two nights.  I know i'm blessed, but between all the hustle and bustle of everyday life i sometimes i can take it for granted. It's a great feeling looking at them all from the outside, it makes you appreciate your precious little and big gifts even more.

A BIG shout out to my awesome husband who managed the girls, back to back swimming lessons, bed time, breakfast time, naps and church, all by himself! He's my number one fan and couldn't wait for me to get home:) I couldn't wait to see him he is amazing and he's amazing for me:) "More then words"

This weekend really allowed me to relax and just run on "me" time! So important! I really feel rested relaxed and refreshed! I forgot how that felt (as i am writing this Whitney is whining and trying to crawl on the couch, grabbing at my pants) nothing like getting thrown right back in, but i wouldn't have it any other way!

Take a girls weekend if you can ladies, it's exactly what the doctor ordered!


Pictures by Kelley Demas Photography and random lovely people that saw us trying to take our own pictures:) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Kindle

I am so excited. My hubby surprised me with a Kindle. I have wanted one for a while and just never got it for myself. Well.... it came in the mail today and i LOVE it! Now all i have to do it find some awesome books to start reading. Do any of you lovely bloggers out there have any great book recommendations? Please please please send some my way:) Happing reading!  

Monday, August 22, 2011

My baby girl....

Is starting pre school in just two weeks! I can not believe that we are at this point. She is starting with a bunch of her cute little boyfriends and girlfriends and i can't help but get emotional about it. She is going to go out into this world and have a life of her own, she is going to make a difference and change peoples lives, i just don't want her to go yet. 

I know it's only pre school, but everyone says, your going to blink and it will be college. Its like the snowball effect, once you hit that first day of school the days fly by and before you know it your sending her off to college. Ok, well maybe not that fast. I am also so excited for her. I am excited she is going to meet new people and figure out how to maneuver in her own little world. I just love that thought of that. 

Olivia is going to a nursery school called Mustard Seed. It's an adorable little Christian school down the street from our house. All the kids in our neighborhood have gone there. The teacher is actually a friend of Brads and mine from College. She is amazing and so kind. I know she will be in good hands!

The one problem we are running into is making it to the potty to poop. She is a master at going pee pee, but the poo poo not so much. So in the next two weeks we will be working on that. She has to be potty trained before she goes. I know she can do it! 

It still shocks me that she is going to school this fall. I am so excited to meet all the moms in our class and make more friends. I am so excited for this next chapter in Olivia's life:) 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Your can't run for a while....

Words that a runner never wants to hear! I started having some problems with my IT Band a few weeks before the half marathon. I was determined to run anyways. I saw my knee specialist and he told me it looked like my IT band. He said, "rest it until the race and if you feel good enough to run it, then go ahead." I was determined. This was a goal of mine since i gave birth to my second daughter. I figured if i could have a baby totally naturally then i could do anything. Let me tell you, a little IT Band pain was not going to stop me. So i did the race and ran decently, but now my IT Band is bothering me more then ever.

I went to my Internist today, (i love her by the way. She is maybe two years older then me, has kids my kids age and is a big runner. We have a ton in common. She actually said to me today "let me know when you plan on #3 because we most likely will do that at the same time". She is the best. She understands all the stresses of working, raising children, stress, house hunting and everyday life. She is amazing.) she checked out my leg and sure enough, she had the same issue after running the half last year. She told me i HAD to stop running if i ever wanted my running career to continue. AHHHHH Running is one of my passions, not to mention it makes me feel amazing, strong and full of energy. She went on to tell me i need to ice it twice a day and use a roller. I am determined to have this fixed!

On another note she did say i could spin, do my weight classes and anything else that doesn't involve running. Still there is nothing like running. So i am kind of sad about it. I am looking at it as a way of cross training and getting other muscles strong so that when i do get to run again i will be faster and stronger!

Faster and stronger, i like that!  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rock and Roll

This last weekend i completed my first of many half marathons. It was the Chicago Rock and Roll Half! It ROCKED to say the least. It was absolutely perfect out. The weather started off 66 and cloudy. You have to understand that was my biggest fear signing up for this race. August in Chicago is usually very hot and very humid. We had clouds, sun, rain, sun and more rain as we crossed the finish line. It was amazing, hard, exciting, emotional and exhilarating! I felt strong!

My darling husband came down with his bike and met me at 4 different miles. Mile 3,7,12 and the finish line. He was an all star.   i started feeling tired i turned the corner and there he was. It gave me strength just to see his smile. My dad came down and biked as well, he was at mile 6, 12 and the finish line. Finally my amazing friend Meg came and cheered me on at mile 5 and then at mile 12.5 she jumped in and ran with me about a quarter of a mile. She was amazing. Then there was the man who was there cheering me on through the whole run in my head and in my heart. I saw him at every turn! He kept my head in the game and kept me light on my feet. I felt like every mile i crossed i thanked God for giving me the endurance and strength to be able to accomplish all of my goals! I LOVE YOU ALL! The support really helped get me to the finish line.

When i got home my babies ran right up to me and my little Olivia said, "mommy great runner" she is just too cute. Honestly i was in a lot of pain on Monday, but today i feel awesome! I can't wait to run the next one. Dare i try for the 20 mile pre marathon race in September. I know if i do that, then the marathon is unavoidable. It makes me nervous even writing that down. Will see how i feel and what these new Brooks will do for my running. Brad got some great pictures below.

Oh yeah, my time was 2:23 with my two long bathroom breaks it was 2:10. My watch said i ran just under 10 min miles. I was pretty happy with that!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's amazing how they are always watching...

Today i sat down to do my Beth Moore Study, Breaking Free (second time doing the study, i recommend it to everyone) the particular day i was studying couldn't have come at a more perfect moment in my life. Beth gave a little excerpt from a book she had just read called, It's Always Something, by Gilda Radner. 

"When I was little, my nurse Dibby's cousin had a dog, just a mutt, and the dog was pregnant.  I don't know how long dogs are pregnant, but she was due to have her puppies in about a week.  She was out in the yard one day and got in the way of the lawn mower and her two hind legs got cut off.  They rushed her to the vet and he said, 'I can sew her up, or you can put her to sleep in you want, bu the puppies are okay.  She'll be able to deliver the puppies.'
Dibby's cousin said, 'Keep her alive.'
So the vet sewed up her backside and over the next week the dog learned to walk.  She didn't spend any time worrying, she just learned to walk by taking two steps in the front and flipping  up her backside, and then taking two steps and flipping up her backside again.  She gave birth to six little puppies, all in perfect health.  She nursed them and then weaned them.  And when they learned to walk, they all walked like her."

I mean how crazy it is to think that your little ones are soaking up EVERYTHING your saying and doing. Always following you around to get the "right" cues on how to act in the crazy world. It literally made me cry reading this. It just solidified the way i want my girls to grow up and in order for that to happen i am going to have to change a few things in my own life. They aren't massive changes, but defiantly necessary ones. 

So happy after the morning i had today that this is what God, literally placed in front of my face. Thank you for the reality check:) 

I want my girls to learn from example. To always give and not expect anything in return. To volunteer your time and enjoy it. I help others always. To love unconditionally. To always have a heart for God. I want them to be prepared for this world in the best way possible, and thats exactly what i intend to give them! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Its Official...

Wanted to share in the excitement with all of you. My business is official. The forms are filled out, the business have come in, the website is done Kathryn Hastings Photography my Facebook fan page has been created, check me out and "like" me:) and i have a new blog address specifically for the business,

I. AM. So. EXCITED! I wanted to share all of this with my wonderful blogger world of friends! If your in the Chicagoland area and like what you see, give me a call and we set up a date:) I can't wait for this business to just take off.

I wanted to thank my awesome husband for pushing me to start this with the amazing confidence, love, motivation and determination he instils in me. I love you, your my rock!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The BIG 30

Yesterday was my birthday and i turned 30! YEAH! What a great day it was. I woke up at 4:45am to go for a run with my friend Kelley, remember we are in Chicago and its a sweaty 103 degrees here. So at 5am it was probably only 85 degrees with 100 percent humidity, you can guess we didn't run the whole time. When i got back i walked my dogs and went to breakfast with Brad and the girls. Olivia gave me two cards, one from her and Whit and the other from Brad. The girls card was hand made and was as sweet as could be. Brad's card was so exciting. It had a trip for two to CO in October! I was so excited i could hardly stand it! 4 night away from everything. I can't wait!

When we got home i had a sitter come and watch the girls so i could get my licensees renewed, seriously they make you renew it at 30 and charge you $30 to do it. Oh the state of Illinois how i do love your scandalous money sucking ways. I got home fed the girls lunch and then we all napped for 2.5 hours, heavenly! I got up and Brad got home early, so a girlfriend and i went to get pedicures. They were amazing. We got home and set up for a small BBQ we were having with a couple friends. It was so nice to be able to hang out with everyone and spend some quality time with the people i love.

I was exhausted by 930 and we hit the sack!

It was a great 30th birthday. My hubby and i are hitting the town Saturday night for dinner, i can't wait!
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