Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We sincerely hope you enjoy every moment of this holiday and that your surrounded by the ones you love the most!

This year we are celebrating on Christmas Eve (today) because I work tomorrow. We woke up, opened presents with baby Marshall, had breakfast with my family, and in just a short time some of our friends will be coming over for lunch and Christmas Eve church.

This year, Marshall is really starting to enjoy the Christmas holiday. It’s his second Christmas, but last year he was too young to really know what the day was all about. This season, he has been enamored by the Christmas tree and constantly runs over to it, stares at it, and goes “WOW!” He opened presents this morning and actually enjoyed tearing the paper. We got him a motorized train set that actually jumps in the air and lands further down on the track….he is throughly enjoying it! His GiGi and Pops got him a  kids-sized work bench with little kid tools and he LOVES it. Nana and Gramps spoiled him with a water and sand table and some stuffed animals! Needless to say, he’s having a great Christmas!!

We are so looking forward to having our friends and family over for lunch. We’re making prime rib roast, sides, and dessert! Its going to be delicious. And whats best is we are going to be surround by the ones we love the most which is what matters most!

Our afternoon will be spent at church…celebrating the reason for the season. Christmas Eve service is my favorite church service of the year. And I am so looking forward to filling my soul with what matters most this season.

We enjoyed a visit with my cousins at the beginning of the month and we celebrated last weekend with my dads side of the family with good food, fun, and gingerbread house making. We sincerley miss our other family members that we can’t be with today and wish we could be with everyone, but we hope they know we love them and send our Christmas wishes.

Merry Christmas from us to you! Enjoy the day, make memories, and savor every second. Thanks for reading and spending time at Grace in the Middle.


Worthy of Worry.

A friend of mine recently posted something on her page that said “When we fear the future, we’re projecting ourselves into made up situations and picturing ourselves facing them…without God. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. Because he’s already there.” And it really got me thinking. How often do we worry about the future, when honestly, the future is already planned out? How often do we make something a big deal when it ends up not really being a big deal at all?

I know I’m guilty of worry. I am a “planner” and a “stresser” and definitely a “worrier.” I have been this way as long as I can remember. I have tried to plan my future out for years. In college, I had undergrad planned out, my first job planned out, and I tried to plan my marriage/baby timeline. Key word-TRIED. All in college. All before I knew Adam. Before Marshall was even a thought. Before I even graduated with the dang degree (LOL). And it’s not that I just had it planned out, it’s that I legit worried about it. I worried I wouldn’t find the perfect job. Wouldn’t get married. Wouldn’t have the babes. Etc. And as my friend said above, I put myself in made up situations and didn’t really add God into the equation. And I don’t mean for that to sound like I wasn’t praying for my success in nursing school and praying that God’s will be done in my life, but I consistently made up scenarios that at the time weren’t worth my worry and stress.

Here’s a little story for ya. I don’t know how many of yall know, but when I was in undergrad at Florida State, I quit my restaurant job and “did nursing school full time.” I was so excited to quit that job because it meant I was moving up in the world and was one step closer to graduation and being a pediatric nurse. So I threw myself into studying and tried to do everything I could to be the best. Well long story short, I ended up failing one of my classes my first semester. And the way Florida State structured things, I had to take a year off from nursing school and then start back over the next year. So there I was with a failing grade, out of nursing school, jobless because I had quit at the beginning of the semester, and I was leaving all my friends behind because I couldn’t continue in the program. After weeks of crying, I ultimately ended up realizing I had to go back to my restaurant job. A year off of school and bills to pay decided that for me. So as much as I felt like a failure and as much as I felt like I was taking steps backward, I went. And do you know what happened? I met my husband that very first day back. So the moral of this little story is that all my worry and stress about my first semester of nursing school wasn’t worth it, because in the end, God had the whole thing planned out. If I hadn’t failed, I wouldn’t have gone back to work, and I wouldn’t have met Adam. How crazy is that? And spoiler alert: I finished nursing school, kept my restaurant job, ended up getting promoted to manager, graduated with a high GPA, got my dream job in pediatrics, and “lived happily ever after.”

I think so often times we get wrapped up in too much worry and too much stress. We let ourselves imagine these crazy scenarios which aren’t even half as good as what God has planned for us. I know in this season of life that I am in, I have tried to “let go and let God” and just see how His plans work out. Because if I’ve learned one thing it’s that God’s plans are FAR better than mine. I couldn’t have imagined the amount of joy Adam and Marshall bring me. I couldn’t have imagined THIS life. So I challenge you to ask yourself when you’re going through a sticky situation or find yourself wrapped up in stress, is this worthy of my worry? And I challenge you to pray it through, ask for advice, reach out to a friend for comfort and help, and just rest in that fact that it all works out in the end. It really does. I promise you that.


Christmas is HERE!

Merry Christmas!! Too soon? I know it’s still technically Thanksgiving weekend, but Christmas is in full swing over here! We have the lights up outside, the tree is up and decorated, and all the other Christmas décor is up and we’re ready to partttyyyy (said in my best “Bridesmaids” movie accent!) HAHA!

One of my favorite things to do every year is get a HUGE real live Christmas tree. I am OBSESSED with the Frasier Fir. OBSESSED. Growing up, my parents always took us to cut down our own Christmas tree and they were so beautiful but in my adult life I’ve always gotten the Frasier Firs. The last couple years I’ve been getting our tree right before Thanksgiving. I just love getting it earlier and enjoying it longer. So this year, I had been stalking Lowes for Christmas trees and every time I checked, they didn’t have him. So last weekend we were there to pick out paint colors for our master bedroom reno (coming to the blog later!), and I checked and they still didn’t have them. I left so disappointed because I had my heart SET on getting my tree that day. Well, we get all the way home and had forgot something we needed for the reno, so back to Lowes we went. And what would you know??!! THEY HAD THE CHRISTMAS TREES! So after I spent minutes squealing for joy (Christmas is a big deal in my world LOL), we went in to find our perfect tree. I tried to convince Adam to let me get a 12-footer, which he promptly said wouldn’t fit in our house, so we landed on the next size down. It is ginormous. It’s the biggest tree we’ve ever had, but it is absolutely stunning. We had to rearrange the living room for it to fit, but it’s amazing. We spent last night placing the ornaments one-by-one on the tree.  Even Marshall helped by handing me a hanger and an ornament one at a time. It was so cute. Last year he was too young to be into it, but this year he is soaking up every minute of it. Hopefully I pass on my love of Christmas to him!

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My dad built me this entry way table last year and around Christmas time. It transforms into the perfect place for all our Christmas decorations around this time year. It’s the perfect place to set up things like picture frames, snow globes, nativity sets, etc. Marshall has been eyeing it cautiously, but I think he knows he can’t touch it…hopefully. So far so good.

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We hung a couple garlands on our floating shelves to give them a festive feel. I found this door hanger last year at the hospital gift shop where I work and I love hanging it right here in the kitchen and the colors just match the other décor perfectly.

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Adam and I have had this Merry Christmas banner since our first Christmas together. It’s not really my favorite anymore, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it because of the sentimental value. This year, I hung it from our bar. Usually it’s in a different place every year, but this is where it landed this year.

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Adam and my dad hung the lights outside last weekend. We were the first ones on the street to have lights, but I’m so grateful that they hung them for me. I feel like it looks like a winter wonderland outside.

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I think that’s all of our decorations this year. Do you do a real tree or a fake one? What other special decorations do you have? I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas season and that you enjoy every minute of it!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours!! What are yall up to today/this weekend? We are in San Antonio at a cute little “Home Away” with my parents. My brother is in from Florida (only for a few days, but it is sooooo good to see him!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying the family time!

We initially decided to come to San Antonio because there’s a big Christmas parade tomorrow on the river walk! We are really excited to see it so we made plans to just spend the holiday down here. And my brother surprised us all a few weeks ago when he said he would be able to come!! We’ve been to San Antonio before, I was actually born here. I came back once when I was 15. Then Adam lived down here for a bit during training with the Army. Then Adam and I came back once to visit my brother-in-law while he was also in Army training. But this is the first time we’ve been able to stay a little bit and just enjoy the city.

This morning we woke up and had apple cinnamon pancakes and then enjoyed a nice stroll around the block. Marshall LOVED exploring this cute little neighborhood and loved waving to all the pups we passed on our walk. This neighborhood is full of old Craftsman style houses (my absolute FAV) so my dad and I talked all things construction and I dreamed-out-loud of one day having my own to purchase and fix up. The rest of our morning was spent going to the airport to pick up my brother (we surprised HIM by all being there—he was expecting only my dad). We are currently cooking and lounging waiting for dinner and the Cowboys game!

Being an adult and creating my own holiday traditions and memories is seriously so fun! I remember as a kid we always had a big dinner with my grandparents and cousins and then the day after Thanksgiving was always spent going to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree and then taking it home to decorate. We’d pull out all the Christmas décor and the house would slowly turn into a winter wonderland. We’d make chili and watch Christmas movies. Seriously some of the best memories I have as a kid! Not much has changed now that I’m an adult with my own house and family, BUT I have decided that I like to decorate my house for Christmas a little earlier than Thanksgiving. I’m by no means rushing Christmas or “forgetting Thanksgiving,” but I just love Christmas so much and love to enjoy my décor a little longer than just the end of November thru New Year’s. I also love the idea of having Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by the lights of my Christmas tree.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Do you decorate for Christmas before or after Thanksgiving? Do you do Black Friday shopping? We are thinking about going shopping this year. Were still undecided. But Target is having some REALLY good deals so we may venture out.

But from our family to yours, we hope you have a great day and that your surrounded by ones you love. Make the memories and enjoy every second! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Our thanksgiving spread

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This sweet little boy and his waves

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My little fam bam


Grace in the Middle.

Hello there. Welcome to the blog, Grace in the Middle. I am a twenty-something Army wife, momma, pediatric nurse, health and fitness enthusiest, and lover of all things pretty. I am so glad YOU are here and you’re spending time reading this blog post. I don’t believe you’re here by accident and I’m so happy you “stopped by.”

This blog was an idea that came to me earlier in the year and I’ve spent the last few months praying over it and dreaming that it would become a space that encourages people, a space where you can connect with another momma/wife (because I KNOW life in those roles can be the absolute best thing in the world but can also be very challenging), a place where you can laugh, cry, smile, and ultimately just be encouraged. So, let me tell you a little bit more about myself and this blog. I hope you enjoy!

My name is Ariel. I am 27 and currently living in Fort Hood, Texas. I’ve been a wife to my handsome hubs Adam for almost four years (how time has gone that fast, I have NO idea). We have one little boy, Marshall, who is almost TWO (again with the time thing….). We have absolutely loved being parents and Marshall is such a welcomed surprise addition to our lives and we wouldn’t change anything at all. We live in Fort Hood, Texas and will be here for a little while longer….at least that’s what the Army tells us…. but you can never be too sure about that! I’m a pediatric nurse and I absolutely love working with my little kiddos. A lot of people ask me how I can be a pediatric nurse and how I can stomach seeing sick kids, but it is honestly the most rewarding job. Kids are so resilient. They WANT to get better. They are so easy to love. And it’s the absolute best feeling to see them walk out of the hospital all happy and healthy. Sure, there are definite hard times and I have shed my share of tears, but the good outweighs the bad and I honestly cannot imagine working in any other specialty. And that’s exactly why I’ve gone back to school to get my Masters in nursing. Ill ultimately become a Nurse Practitioner at the end of this program and I can’t wait to do my part in helping take care of the sweet little kiddos of Texas. In addition to alllllllll that (haha), I am a health and fitness junkie. I’ve lost thirty pounds this year and I’m still at it. My mission is to make my health and the health of my family a priority while also helping other girls/guys if they need help. I love strength workouts and I love pushing myself to limits I didn’t know was possible. I also love to develop clean healthy recipes while also being able to satisfy my husband’s junk-food-craving appetite (can anyone else relate?).

Grace in the Middle was the title that came to me when I took a pause for a second and evaluated where I was at in my life. It hit me real hard a few months ago that I felt like I was always running to the next thing. When we get married…when we have a baby…. when I graduate…. when we move…. when we have a second baby…. when we buy a house…. etc. And while none of those things are bad in any way, I just think as a culture we are always trying to get to the next thing and kind of forget the “middle” part. And if we are being honest, I think we could agree that it’s the “middle” that’s full of the good stuff. The memories. The laughter. The sleepless nights. The delicious recipes. The fabulous adventures. The good stuff. But I’ve also realized that today’s culture is full of judgement, ridicule, impossible standards, and feeling of “maybe your just not good enough.” Those feelings really hit me when I became a mom. Somehow in the midst of all the new mommy bliss, I felt subjected to judgment, mom shaming, doubt that I wasn’t doing everything right, feelings of wondering if I was enough, and the ultimate goal of striving for perfection-which we all know doesn’t exist. And so, I found myself thinking…. if only I could give myself some grace. Some grace to be okay right here in the middle of raising a toddler who is very strong willed and has a mind of his own. Some grace to not have it all together in the midst of working and going to grad school. Some grace not to have a perfectly clean house 24/7. Some grace to allow my body to bounce back slowly after birth with the realization that I just grew a miracle. And while my body may be imperfect now, I sure do have a perfect little blessing to love every day for the rest of my life. So, it was in this head space that I came up with the idea for Grace in the Middle. Life is too perfect these days and I think we are all in the midst of the “middle” and we should allow ourselves some grace and be able to help others around us struggling with the same things.

So, I hope this space encourages you. It will be an outlet for me to share what’s going on in our little corner of the world and to connect with others who feel the same way. I hope you come back as more content is posted. My hope is that this blog becomes a safe space for people who feel like they just need to let loose for a minute and find some grace. If you’re a wife/momma, if you’re into fitness/nutrition, if you’re into adventure, decorating your home, and/or making memories, I think this is the place for YOU! I’m so glad that you stopped by. Leave a comment below introducing yourself. I can’t wait to “meet” ya!