Lewes 2016



Few things in life heal me more than the view you see above. To some its very pretty; Your standard beach sand and fencing. To me and members of my family, it means we arrived at a place we’ve be journeying to long before I was born! So many memories to the right, left, and forward direction of this picture. For me, I got to experience my grandparent’s beautiful Lewes, Delaware beach house for my last summer as a….non-parent? Is their a word that seems less generic and strange for those who haven’t completely transitioned to parenthood yet? Maybe my pregnancy brain is cutting off all my good word usage. Anyways, the Mr. was hard at work and couldn’t attend without taking away time from the next big event in September. He thought it best that he have time in September for when our girl arrives as opposed to vacation for himself. Though I was initially disappointed at this, I came to thank God for a husband who thinks ahead to attend to the greatest need.


I’d rather not talk about how the trip was to get there. Haha! All you need to know is that I will never travel while 30 weeks pregnant again and never take United for as long as I live. Alas, after arriving with my mom in the wee hours of the morning, we were finally in our “hilariously blue” beach house as everyone was deeming it after my cousin so eloquently stated it. I was finally able to cross an item off my bucket list by residing in the “Bay-view” room (Upper left house corner with the balcony) for the first time! My mom was so gracious to allow me the whole bed and eventually the whole room (Hopefully not because of my snoring…lovely pregnancy symptom). Waking up to the view of the Bay was like waking up on a cruise ship. From the tip of your toes looking past the bed, all you can see is Bay and horizon with the rock wall creeping out from the right. Every morning I would look out from the balcony and take in the blast of sea air.


One of the most wonderful things about vacationing in this area is the sheer amount of activities you can dive into. Not only does our slot on the Bay allow us great access to all water sport craft, but a 10 minute bike ride from the beach house will take you straight into Cape Henlopen State Park. This park is drenched with World War history and every bike trail permeates pine scented delight. Another wonderful destination within a five minute biking distance from the beach house is the ferry terminal!


The ferry has enchanted me since my childhood and has added an element of nostalgia every time I hear its bellowing arrival horn travel on the breeze heard by all nearby neighborhoods. I only remember riding the ferry once when I was very little. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a full trip to Cape May where its route comes from, but it was still one of the greatest joys of my life! I’m sure my other family members and I can tell you we’ve lost count of how many ferries we’ve seen come in go in our lifetime. You can usually catch one coming in around sunset when the sun is about to kiss the rock wall behind it.


The optimal place to view the coming ferry or the sunset is right from the deck with every family member. There is something unspoken about gathering at sunset on the deck. It never has to be coordinated and no-one ever has to speak a word. It’s like the warmth of the moment draws us together to witness the end of an amazing day with yet another one of God’s masterpiece sunset canvas’. Not one is the same as the other.


My favorite morning activity at the beach house is getting out on that beach and walking, walking, walking. I admit, pregnancy put limits on my distance. I felt my feet ache to go back when my will was aching to move forward. It was hard to strike the right balance, but I eventually got a grip on my bodily limits. Occasionally, I would have a pack of lovely walking companions with me that kept my spirits high and distracted me from the ache in my feet.


When I really felt like going the extra mile by myself, the pier was my destination of choice. I’ve fished off this pier since I was a tiny thing. I remember my Grandpap teaching me how to tell the difference between a Blue Crab nibbling on my line as a opposed to curious fish checking out the bait. It was on this pier that my baby brother caught a 26″ flounder that looked half as big as he was at the time. Grandpap also taught us how to descale fish (Don’t knock it till you try it!).We learned so much just from fishing on the pier. Sadly, the fishing hasn’t been as rich in plunder as in years past, but just walking the pier itself is satisfaction enough.


When the wind is just right, the Bay will start to entice out the sailing crowd. I absolutely love watching others sail! However, I was never a huge fan of being on our sailboat at the beach house. I will usually only go with the seasoned sailors of our family if I go at all. I consider my mom to be one of those seasoned sailors. She seems to have a natural knack for feeling the wind and predicting the best course of action. Mike and my mom go sailing just about every time they’re there at the beach together. If I’m in the mood, I usually pull out my favorite beige kayak and chase the sailboat for pictures out on the water. Nothing beats watching the boat from the middle of the Bay!


Another gem located well within biking distance of the beach house is the quaint downtown area filled with good eats and vintage shops. One of my/our long standing traditions while visiting Lewes is to acquire the bounty of good food that seems to congregate at the downtown epicenter and all around it. For years my family has brought home ginormous sticky buns from the Lewes bake shop for breakfast. You can smell the cinnamon and caramel wafting through the kitchen as family members get them warm and gooey in the microwave again. This year, Grandpap did the honors off crossing off that item from my beach trip bucket list! Many thanks Grandpap! Another one of my favorite joints to eat at near the downtown area for a savory bite is Irish Eyes.


I believe that it was with my dear cousin Joy that we discovered an appetizer at Irish Eyes that we always make a point of getting whenever we visit. The crab dip is phenomenal here! No need to even purchase a meal alongside of it because it really does hold its own. Chunks and chunks of crab meat and cream sauce with melted cheese served in a hollowed out bread bowl alongside crisp tortillas seasoned with Old Bay. It literally makes you want to jump in the Bay to eat it! I was able to share this tradition with my mom and brother seeing as they had not ordered it before and it was well received.


After a hearty sea savory meal, it’s always a good idea to walk the historic streets of downtown to burn off the food and prevent scurvy….okay maybe a little dramatic, but walking is good so we did a bit of poking about and ended up at one of my favorite antique shops in the area. You can always tell a good antique shop from the way it smells when you walk in. Aged items and collections have a very distinct smell. If you walk in the door and don’t smell the age in every nook and cranny, it’s safe to say that you’re not amongst the real deal. Luckily for us, the comforting scent of years gone by blasted us into a state of reflection and curiosity.


As your adventures at Lewes have you popping in and out of the beach house, you might catch a glimpse of the tide completely high or completely low. I’ve always been a fan of low tide especially in the mornings. There is something about the unseen coming to light that peeks my curiosity and I find myself becoming a Bay bottom detective when the water recedes back to unveil another mystery for me to solve. “So this is what I stepped on yesterday”, I think to myself. I pull up a large brick and walk it over to our ever growing brick pile. You might be thinking, “Bricks in the Bay?….Explain.” The beach you now see had a very rich history in the fishing trade and looked a bit more like this…

Lewes at height of mehaden fishing

(Lewes, Delaware in its big fishing days. Cape Henlopen visible at the top)

My Grandparents could tell you a bunch about the old factory and how incredibly rich the Bay was with a fish called Menhaden. The fishing industry placed here reached its beaming brilliance from the 1950’s-1960’s. In 1964, it was reported that the Menhaden catch was at its most bountiful. However, the bounty didn’t last very long and soon the Menhaden fishing industry had collapsed all along the East Coast. As you can see, there were many buildings that had to be torn down after the collapse and not everything made it to the dumpster. I distinctly remember one year that one of my cousins actually found a doorknob while walking alongside the Bay. Some find it a bit unsettling to walk the Bay bottom not knowing what they’ll step on. I on the other hand, consider it like a treasure hunt. Although the Menhaden aren’t around these waters anymore, I still bump into an occasional fish friend.


No, I do not take pictures of dead fish. This little guy was actually alive! On one of my sandbar walks in the morning, I discovered this fish thinking it was dead. As I neared to get a closer look, this fish with its belly to the sky started swimming away from me on its back! I had never seen his before. I thought I’d try to help him out and turn him over after snapping a quick picture of his big black eye and metallic scales.


I quickly returned him to the water belly side down and waited for him to take off. He reluctantly rolled back over on his back and swam slowly against the tide away from me. It might be safe to assume that this was a bait fish on a hook somewhere that either got free or was released and because of whatever scenario he experienced, became disoriented or his equilibrium no longer functioned. Not the most thrilling of fish stories I’ve ever told but it still counts! Good luck little fish…most likely you’ve been eaten by now.


Soon its the end of another day. As the sun provides is last bright gleam on the water, you might see the occasional kayaker, sailboat, or paddle boarder drawn to sit in the middle of the gleam. What better way to share the last light of day than with your furry friend on the Bay. It’s the perfect ending for a fun packed day tomorrow.


(A Beach House Breakfast by Grandpap)


After fueling up on a well rounded breakfast, considering the weather, temperature, and other such important things, it’s time to prepare for one of my favorite water craft activities. It’s time for a boat ride on the Bay with my Grandparents! Not every boat ride is the same and not every boat ride beginning is “smooth sailing”. I cannot pride myself in being mechanically savvy like most people in my family. Handy? oh yes. I’m a DIY veteran and love construction. However, Jerry-Rigging the wiring under a boat console in 90 degree heat is not my strong suit. Knowing this makes me appreciate my Grandpap even more! Grandma and I stood over him hoping to give him some shade as he cut and rewired things under there but that’s as much as I believe we felt able to do in this circumstance. After diagnosing the problem, Grandpap was able to get the engine started and away we went!


A tour of the Bay is the perfect outing for a shutterbug like me. I love documenting things with my camera, but there is something really special about documenting the same boat route taken each time I’ve visited Lewes. Each year that I get to spend time at the beach house, I get to take pictures of the same objects over time and compare them to my past images and see history unfold. Even the slightest change is noticeable. I will never tire of taking pictures of the same thing. Our beautiful beach house and it’s chipper coat of paint, the boats tied up along the canal ready for their next adventure, and the people I get to share all of this with. The one item I will always be breath taken by is my favorite lighthouse.


Grandpap hardly has to ask anymore if he should get closer for a good picture because I ALWAYS want to photograph this lighthouse. The colors are so rich and the tattered rock wall adds a beautiful base to this gorgeous piece of architecture. I often imagine myself on the dock below photographing the lighthouse from my back with my lens straight up to the sky. I would walk up the stairs and capture the sea blast from past storms eating the paint. Then I would make my way to the top and circle around the light fixture capturing every single angle possible. It would be a an absolute dream!


My thankfulness journal has been poured into everyday from this trip and many things since. Gifts such as, “The Bay Breeze”, “Boardwalk Ski-ball Tradition”, “One-on-One time with Grandparents”, “Old Stories Told”, “Grandpap’s Jokes”, “Eating Every Meal Together”, “Reminders of Grace”, and so much more fill the pages of my little pink journal. I’m so glad that I took this 10 thousand gifts challenge before my trip to Lewes. It made my experience there SO MUCH RICHER. It has made my life upon returning so much better. Looking for these little moments and recognizing them as the true gifts they are from God really does change your perspective resulting in fulness of life. It makes the gift of giving His Son, grace, new daily mercies, and forgiveness (not earned or deserved by any means) more incredibly unfathomable and it shreds up the attitude of taking it for granted in the first place. It all starts with gratitude.


Thank you Grandpap and Grandma for hosting me and giving this summer 2016 rich memories to last me a lifetime! To my other blog readers, I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my trip in Lewes and hope you remember to look for the little gifts God gives you daily and praise Him for it! My next post will be sometime in the beginning of August when the nursery has been photographed completely to share on our Delightfully Downin Blog! Many Blessings!

All Is Grace,

The Mrs.



Travel & Renewal



(Bok Tower Gardens Lake Wales, Florida)

     Quite some time has passed between the last Delightfully Downin post and this one. Too much information has transpired to keep you engaged so I’ll keep my darting down bunny trails of memory and thought to a minimum. Late May I resigned my position at DMCS’s Early Education Center to acquire some much needed TLC and rest. I knew that this would put some financial strain on us as a family unit, but the Mr. also agreed that it would be good for me to “get out” so to speak and focus on our baby girl and visiting family before she arrives in September. The first adventure I planned for myself was returning to Fort Myers to spend some quality time with my family members and finally meet my little niece Ainsley Rose for the first time since her birth in December!


     The day I arrived at my old Floridian homestead was just like Christmas without all the decorations and presents. My family trickled in within 5 minutes apart from each other. First, the Weirich girls showed up and I got to hold “little A” and make her laugh as much as I possibly could while catching up with my sister on just about everything we could scrape out of our minds at the moment. Next, my brother arrived and in typical Mike fashion, worked on his laptop in the Great Room with us occasionally adding to our winding conversation as Maddy circled profusely looking for a spot to plop her enormous rear-end.


     One of the most incredible moments I encountered during our group piling on the floor of the Great Room was how much my niece Emma had grown! I remember seeing her walk through the door and feeling a ping of disbelief. I suppose living so far away and not seeing her as frequently makes the times we are together a bit shocking at first. I was amazed with her beauty and despite many claiming that she looks 100% Jonathan, for some reason I see so much of my sister in her both appearance and spirit. It was such a treasure learning about what she does in preschool and coaxing her to tell me who her friends are and what she does. It was also a treasure seeing how my brother in law handled her “3 year old tendencies” as I call them with so much patience, calmness, and gentleness! I had to tell my sister how impressed I was because it is NOT EASY. I’m not even at parent level yet and still had moments with my 3’s preschool class where I knew my tone crossed the line. I’m so excited to see how wonderful my nieces are going to grow up to be with such loving parents!


     As if things couldn’t get lovelier any quicker, Amanda soon strode in visiting me before her departure to Latvia on a missions trip with her husband and other members of their church. It started to feel like a family reunion and that we should start pulling out albums or pictures. Low and behold this feeling was satisfied as Amanda whipped out a bridal album that her mother in law put together for her from her wedding day! We all gathered around on the floor (Minus Mike) and started plowing through several pages remembering funny inside jokes, pointing out fake smiles, and reliving one of my most favorite events to date. Before we knew it, Mom strode in fresh off the work wagon and started plowing through the pictures herself adding her own perspective on being a guest there. I took a moment to visually encapsulate this moment before we all dispersed back into the grain of life. My heart was full.


     Speaking of fullness of heart, the next day was the occurrence of another event that will fill my heart eery time I remember it. My friend from high school, Justin Perry, was getting married! Justin is one of those people that I can honestly not remember knowing how or the exact moment we became friends and I love situations like that! He has a personality that is automatically friendly and you feel like you’ve known him for years because he is so graciously transparent and down to earth. I’ve only met Jessica a handful of times, but from those precious few times I saw such a radiant spirit! She has a gravitational pull and you find yourself so pleased to be in her presence. Seeing them together long before they were engaged you just KNEW it was special. Unfortunately, the Mr. could not accompany me to their wedding. However, this gave my mom and I the opportunity to road trip together and catch up a ton and spend some one on one time together. I was also so grateful to find out that I’d be sitting with people that feel like family who I also went to high school with. Thanks for that Perry’s!


     The ceremony was one of the most God glorifying events I had ever been to. Everything reflected back to God’s goodness, faithfulness, devotion, and power. When I get to attend weddings that God is the center of it’s almost like going to church! The spirit is there and you feel it heavily in the best way imaginable. Truth is spoken and conviction reverberates those who cling to the truth. Praise is given and worship from many grateful hearts ascends into the Heavens. Love covenants are made reminding us about how much more the Lord loves us than we could ever love each other; even our spouses. Seeing Jessica and her family so strong after losing her father was a testament of faith in Christ. It was so powerful that I’m sure if any stranger off the street walked in attended the ceremony that person would come out wanting to know God more.


     On a more superficial level, the wedding venue was decked out to the nines! Crystal everywhere your eye could see accented and reflected purple hues through billows of airy draped fabrics and added an element of romance and intimacy throughout the entire room. The food was FANTASTIC and the cake was spot on! Another special treat was watching and listening to the speeches from three of the bride and groom’s closest friends  and family. My favorite was Robbie’s speech (Yes, I’m probably biased because it’s my best friend’s husband). It wasn’t stuffed with fluff or overly gushing from the seams. It was simple, genuine, and had great touches of humor. You did great Robbie! Shakes and all. Even as a guest, this event seemed to happen all too fast and I was soon back in tow with my mom to a nearby hotel to crash for the night. We had big plans on our road trip back to Fort Myers to stop off at Bok Tower Gardens (The engagement site of my sister).


     I had never been to the Bok Tower Gardens before. It was such a nice detour and great exercise walking around the grounds and enjoying some of God’s prettiest creations. We weren’t the only ones who had the same idea. There was somewhat of an massively enormous family group (100-150 persons) from India touring the grounds around the same time my mom and I were poking about. Thankfully the waiting time for our tour of the mansion wasn’t too bad, but just the sheer amount of people and children running around both with customary Indian clothes and some very “Americanized”taking pictures and chatting was enough to make it a funny memory for both my mom and I. Here are some of the pictures we captured that day on the grounds!

     Soon we were back on the road again searching for a place to eat. That in itself is a story all it’s own! Haha! One story you can probably ask my mom next time you see her. Anyways, it was back to Fort Myers to get prepared for my Floridian baby shower! My mom and my sister put so much effort into making it amazing and it certainly was! The food alone was superb! If you’ve never had my mom’s pulled pork and mozzarella pasta salad then you have not truly discovered what it means to have a happy tummy. It was so nice running into old friends and meeting a new one of my mom’s. Fellowship with people in general is something I greatly enjoy! Katy did an amazing job coming up with fun games to keep us on our toes and stretch some of us to get creative and out of our comfort zones. I just wanted to thank all of you ladies who came to bless my little one because in turn, you ended up blessing me all the more! Here are some moments my sister captured from the shower!




     Good times have come and gone but this is one I will hold dear to my heart. Lastly, on my list of things I felt I needed to hit on within this post, is a word found in it’s title; Renewal. This is where the crap hits the fan so to speak and I get real transparent about my/our current state of life. Way back when we first discovered I was pregnant and that first trimester did a horrible number on my health, we decided to leave Summitcreek church where we had helped serve and get the church launched. We firmly believed the Lord was taking us to another church within our area and we knew it by name. Long story short, It is not to be our home church. Heavily disappointed with not being able to find our church home, we stopped searching and started streaming from our previous home church First Assembly in Fort Myers, Florida. We know it’s just not the same as going and serving and fellowshipping with other believers and building accountability partners.


    Speaking only for myself, I personally started to feel disconnected from the Lord to the point where the streaming sermons stopped altogether and life went on without anything challenging, positive, and life altering going in. This started to effect my “joy”. I simply couldn’t find it and skirted around the real solution (Making God the center of my life again). I started trying to fill it up with things and material possessions trying to satiate the hunger for true joy. It was through my worldly discontentment and ingratitude that I become a bad steward of my finances and no longer trusted the Lord in providing in that faction of my life. This leads me to my point. As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, I resigned my job for the summer and this has put even more financial strain on us than I had initially anticipated. I planned on doing nanny jobs/babysitting/pet sitting to help out but apparently if you are competing with someone who isn’t pregnant for the same job, I guess a pregnant lady isn’t your first choice. Something I foolishly never took into account. LOTS of rejection and lots of guilt for not being able to help my husband provide transpired. I panicked and I panicked bad. What if scenarios swirled in my head and I believed every. single. one. My walk with God was so weak that I was being viciously attacked by the enemy on a consistent basis. It wasn’t until I returned from my Florida visit that my mother “laid it out for me” over the phone.  God wants me to learn something so badly and I keep running away. It was so bad that I didn’t even realize where the root of my problem started and I needed to do some serious work to get back to holding God’s hand.


     It’s funny where the Lord will find you sometimes. He found me recently in a Toyota of Des Moines service waiting room holding a book I received from my dear friend Manders and I finally cracked it open to reveal the answer I had been seeking about where the root of my issues began. The one word the rang through the author’s mind hit me like a ton of bricks. “Eucharisteo”. The Greek word for “Thanksgiving”. There were so many simply profound statements in this book that I could feel the words piercing my heart every time something God wanted to show me was read. I hope these encourage and challenge you as much as they have pierced me.

  • “The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God -even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer, and crucifixion-this prepares the way for God to show us his FULLEST salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from ALL sin that estranges us from Him.”
  • “We enter into fullness of life if our faith gives THANKS.”
  • “Jesus counts THANKSGIVING as integral in a faith that saves.”
  • ” Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks…in EVERYTHING.”
  • “All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no. Was it because I had never fully experienced the whole of my salvation? Had never lived out the fullest expression of my salvation in Christ? Because I wasn’t taking everything in my life and returning to Jesus, falling at His feet and thanking Him?…This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.”
  • “If we are dying of thirst, passively reading books about water quenches little; the only way to quench the parched mouth is to close the book and dip the hand into water and bring it to the lips. If we thirst we have to drink. We must DO something.”
  • “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” Erasmus said that, contemporary and admirer of Martin Luther.”
  • “Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”
  • “Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life-even the hard- is made up of minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the WHOLE. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.

What I found so interesting in this author’s study of Eucharisteo is that it ALWAYS precedes the miracle. She gives several references in her book. The last principle that really hits home for me is that Eucharisteo has to be LEARNED. Paul said it himself in the Bible when he wrote to the Philippians (4:11). He said, “I have LEARNED to be content with whatever I have.” We all know that in order to LEARN we need to PRACTICE and PRACTICE is the hardest part of LEARNING! Living the change out by hammering in new habits to drive out the old ones just as Martin Luther stated.

The author was able to start the “hammering” process by taking on a challenge of naming one thousand gifts she was grateful for and writing them down daily. This slowly began to change her heart and transition her into fullness of life with her walk in Christ and gave her the ability to walk through extremely terrifying and disappointing circumstances with TRUE JOY.

I believe that my ingratitude and discontentment in life came from not reflecting Eucharisteo back to my Lord and Savior. I am taking the challenge as of this post publishing. Because Eucharisteo directly links to faith in the Lord,  I am firmly believing that my faith will renew as a result of attacking the old behaviors with new ones. I shared this with you to encourage you and also to put my imperfection out in the open as a means to empower others to speak up about their struggles and seek wisdom and counsel. Just because someone doesn’t air their dirty laundry doesn’t mean it’s not there stinking up the closet and needing to be dealt with. Haha! We all fall short. Remember that. May God help us with our disbelief. Please keep your Delightfully Downin family in your prayers as we seek out our home church and refocus our center! Thank you!

What lies ahead for me this week is a visit to my Grandparents at their beach house in Lewes, Delaware! It’s my last travel adventure for quite some time. I will keep you posted on baby girl Downin and look forward to sharing her nursery sneak peek with you all in early August on the blog. We love you all and Thank you for all your prayer support and encouragement!

Until Then,

~ The Mrs.


Pregnant Pause


(Captured at a mere six weeks)

Photo on 1-23-16 at 3.44 PM #2

Sincerest apologies for the “Pregnant Pause” in my blogging but in my defense..I am … Pregnant and was experiencing the severe joys of worshiping the porcelain pot amongst other nasties. I thought now that my body is seemingly content at the moment it would most opportune to document everything you’ve missed since my last light-hearted post in the form of Q&A. The questions below are all things that I’ve been asked by several people.

Seven long weeks ago the Mr. & I discovered we were expecting and that I was four weeks along.

Q1: Did you have a feeling you were pregnant?

A: Absolutely not! Some of my friends claim they knew immediately with a maternal 6th sense. I clearly did not have that. In fact, The Mr. was the one who egged me on to take a test because he claimed to have noticed significant change in moods….frequently.

Q2: What was your initial reaction? What was his?

A: My initial reaction to watching that plus sign appear on the P-stick was PANIC, fear, overwhelm, and anxiousness. I can’t even begin to tell you how scared and childlike I became in that initial moment as if I was 10 years old, single, and knocked up with no support. I remember walking out of the bathroom with my hands physically shaking as I told Thomas the news. His reaction was perfect. A calm knowingness from his accurate suspicions and an endearing hug and smile with the words “I’m scared to Kell.” We are both very happy that we have 9 months to adjust to the idea of parenthood at this point in our lives. God’s timing trumps ALL and that’s the only thing that matters.

Q3: What symptoms did you experience? 

A: ALL OF THEM….and then some. Severe fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, dizziness, breaking out like a pre-teener, constipation, heartburn, increased salivation, congestion, no hunger or thirst, and not to mention the lovely fever and respiratory infection I caught from my preschool students. Now that I’m entering my second trimester, many of these things have become a thing of the past and only pop up occasionally. PRAISE GOD.

Q4: Will you find out the gender?

A: Yes! I’m too much of a planner not to (even though not every ultra sound is 100% accurate). The scheduled date for my US is May 5 and we plan to reveal the gender to family and friends soon after. Keep an eye out!

Q5: Do you have names picked out already?

A: Yes and No. We immediately knew what we wanted to name our girl if God graced us with one, but we haven’t really invested time yet for looking into boy names we would both like. It WILL happen eventually and our goal is to at least have 3 boy names we favor on the table and then choose from there after delivery if God graces us with a boy. We’re waiting till the baby comes to release the (boy/girl) name to everyone and only a handful of people know the ones we’ve picked thus far and their personal significance.

Q6: Any weird/insane cravings?

A: In terms of weird, I needed to throw gummy bears into my cereal a few days ago. If we are talking intense cravings that’s easier to think of. STRAWBERRIES. I literally went a whole day eating strawberries and making strawberry smoothies for myself. It is the only smell that makes me literally drool. I would usually buy the sliced and frozen ones and pop one into my mouth to stave off my nausea. I also crave granny smith apples daily which also helped me through my nausea and getting some liquids in me. On a less healthier note, french fries taste even better while pregnant….moderation.

Q7: What was your first appointment like?

A: Nerve-wracking. However, my amazing mother in law was right there by my side through it all. At 8 weeks I was able to see my baby up on the screen through a trans-vaginal ultrasound (yes, it is as uncomfortable as it sounds) and hear my baby’s heartbeat. When I heard the heartbeat my eyes started leaking as well as my mother in law’s. “It just makes it real” we both uttered at the same time as we looked on to see all the little formations and explanations from my absolutely STELLAR OB. Dr. Danielle Snyder was the best referral I have ever gotten from a friend. (Thanks Valerie!) Hearing the heartbeat out loud felt like listening to worship music. It felt like each little beat was praising God for it’s own existence and it was a powerful encouragement to me to keep trusting in God and how he designed my body for this purpose.

Q8: Why did you announce so early?


Q9: Are you planning to take pain medication during labor?

A: I really want to stay as natural as possible. Not knowing what to expect is hard for me because let me tell you…menstrual pain alone had me blacking out sometimes. However, I have faith that the Lord will give both Thomas and I wisdom and clarity on all matters we just aren’t certain about yet.

Q10: Where do you plan on delivering?

A: I plan on delivering at Mercy Medical Center in Downtown Des Moines

Q11: Will you be a stay at home mom?

A: I am a very strong advocate for staying at home to build and nurture my child. Take no offense to what I am about to write because it is only the opinion of one human (me). I’ve worked in the childcare profession ever since I was 16 and had been exposed to several different children with various backgrounds of either being in daycare since they were infants or staying at home with their mom till they hit kindergarten. I saw major differences that reflect heavily on my decision. Yes, it is a blessing to work and to have places that you feel safe leaving your child at with exceptional care but it PALES in comparison to the impact you can have on your own child. I desire to go back to teaching once my baby enters kindergarten or even half day preschool for short lessons. I am already hired as a substitute teacher for the Des Moines Public School District and can make my own hours if need be for extra cash flow.

Q12: What’s the hardest thing about being pregnant?

A: It’s different for everyone but the hardest thing for me is being away from my intermediate family. I was never really a “home-body” per say. Do I love my family? HECK YAH! but I knew I wasn’t destined to live in the same state forever. However, pregnancy has triggered very strong emotions and I end up missing my family members to the point of tears. Hormones…whatcha gonna do?


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about what’s been going on and what we have in the works. I have a few things I wanted to touch on before wrapping up this post. A lot of loss has been surrounding our friends and family lately. Today I learned that one of my sweetest coworkers husband passed unexpectedly at age 30 leaving 3 children and his wife to grieve. If you would lift up this family in prayer daily I would so greatly appreciate it. Also, my sister in law and her husband lost a very close member of their family and could use prayer for their family as well. Remember how precious life is and to not take the small joys for granted. Thank God for his new mercies daily and cultivate a heart of gratitude. That’s my  self challenge and my challenge to others who take it to heart. Many blessings!

Till Next Post,

The Mrs. & Peanut 🙂






Accidental Chicken Marinade


IMG_1402Well, it’s not often where I feel like being a “scientist” in the kitchen. I usually have a game plan and stick to it except on those blue moons. The day I came up with this chicken marinade I was literally trying to see if I had it in me to diverge from my own former recipes successfully. I would like to think that this marinade is super fantastic because my husband raved about it (Very rare due to his pessimistic taste buds. Love you still babe!)  So the real test will be up to you and how you vibe with bold flavor. Not everything in this recipe is hand picked from a vine or anything. More of like a nice combination of ingredients you most definitely already have in your home. So without further due, please enjoy a little Downin kitchen science experiment.IMG_1400First, grab a bowl to mix the good stuff in. Add half a teaspoon of rosemary.


Next, add half a teaspoon of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.

SHOUT OUT! : I had never used this before but had seen it in the grocery store many times. It wasn’t until I took on a mentorship during my education program that my mentor teacher raved about it and even brought in some gumbo one day and had me shake some on. LOVE this stuff. Literally good on everything.


Next, add half a teaspoon of Weber Salt Free Chicken Seasoning. This stuff is also “da bomb” all by itself, but for the sake of just experimenting I added it to the flavor fray.


Next, add one tablespoon of Olive Oil.


Finally, add 1/4 cup of Lemon Juice.


Mix it all together and pour it into a ziplock bag. Just add your chicken breasts (2-4), zip the bag, and refrigerate for three hours. I usually cook my chicken in a pan with this marinade but I’m sure baking it would do the trick also. Hope you enjoy if you choose to use this little accidental chicken marinade!



~The Mrs.




Decked Out Downin Style


IMG_2150Happy December and “Merry Christmas ya’ filthy animals!” I’d be surprised if anybody didn’t recognize that quote from such an iconic December flick. It’s nice to have a sit and write about life to all you lovely people. I never really got the time to touch base on our Thanksgiving festivities so I think I’ll throw a few highlights your way from November as well!


Thanksgiving 2015 was a sweet one. It was my first Thanksgiving away from home and I was super determined to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner to prove to myself I could one day host my own at our home. We were very blessed to spend our Thanksgiving day at the main Downin residence where aromas filled the air with the sweet promise of a full stomach in every whiff. Thomas was quite determined to carve his first turkey after swearing “I saw how to do it on Rachael Ray’s show okay guys!” Entertaining was probably the most accurate term for the actual carving and as you can see, it was the main even for many sarcastic jokes layer on about how Thomas didn’t pay attention to Rachael.


After a very bountiful and grateful day of Thanksgiving, Black Friday was the day of my intrepid full Thanksgiving dinner challenge just for the Mr. and I. I thought of no better recipe to start with than the pumpkin pie. This was my very first time baking pumpkin pie and I was so pleased when I saw Thomas keep slicing off another piece throughout the evening. Thanksgiving came with a lot of first time dishes for me such as the main event: The Bird.


Let me tell you friends, I’ve roasted many chickens in my life but in the moment that didn’t matter. I was so eager to get it popped in the oven that I forgot to take out the bag o’ crap hidden in the cavity. I only remembered 10 minutes into the turkey being exposed in the oven and after a good hand wash, I definitely had a “face palm” moment.


Nevertheless, I moved on from my embarrassing moment and continued to make studding, potatoes, green been casserole, cornbread casserole, gravy, and heat up the corn. The verdict you ask? Just look below.


The left overs were plenty and enjoyed the week long. I felt quite accomplished having jumped over the timing of cooking it all together to be done at precisely the time I meant it to. I am now ready to host a future Thanksgiving Holiday! I owe it all to my mom making me help when I was little to actually watching her work her magic and wanting to help so that I could pass on our favorites. Thus ended our November 2015 chapter.


December never disappoints with it’s bustling persona and endless eventing. The house is officially decked out with all the Christmas trimmings and we were both so pleased to actually have a fireplace on which to hang our stockings this year especially with a beautiful Iowa snowfall in the background!. So in regular holiday fashion, let me take you on a photographic tour of the nest decked out Downin Style. But first, Snow!


I don’t think Diesel was quite happy with snow during his first prance through it. In fact, the minute his paws touched it he darted back up the stairs towards the sliding glass door trying to get inside. What a chicken! Just in case you don’t believe a dog with such a tough name would run away from something so simple, heres the photographic evidence.


Obviously, our little wimp needed some encouragement from his dad. The Mr. darted back and forth through the snow egging Diesel on and eventually Diesels instinct to chase  and race over rode his fear of snow! I also ended up getting him a puffer vest made for dogs and now he lives to be in the cold.


Alrighty then, enough snow for now! Lets show you the Christmas getup we have going on at our place now of days!


Among the the need to deck the halls, was the excitement of all the December events to come! The first of these events was something I will never ever forget. I got to experience my first preschool Christmas program and watch my kids get up there and be stars! It was the first time I was also able and willing to get a little dressed up myself.


My favorite comments regarding the portrayal of me above were:

Student Boy: Why’d you paint your eyes?

Me: Because it’s so much fun!

Student Boy: I want to paint MY eyes!

After my students got over the shock of me wearing makeup and wearing high heels, we ushered them in to the gymnasium unto the risers and sat on the ground to give them the motions for moral support. Nothing made me more proud or was as entertaining as watching them perform in front of bleachers full of people. They really stepped it from from practicing in the room then doing the real gig. For some it was too overwhelming and tears flowed as eyes searched for familiar faces. All too quickly the program ended and it was time for the next December event: Dreamteam Christmas Party


For those of you not familiar with out church Summitcreek, the Dreamteam is a collaboration of the most lovely hearted people you could ever imagine. All serving to bring glory to God and spread light to the lost in the roles they’ve been placed. This was definitely a special fellowship time and therefore the attention to every detail was just beautiful and eye-drawing! The first ever Summitcreek Dreamteam Christmas party was held at the Simpson barn and as you can see, the halls were decked out to the nines. IMG_2282


It was a real treat during the busy week to spend some time with our church family and honor those who sacrifice so much of their time to build up the body of Christ. After our whimsical night of Christmas partying, programming, and whatnot, it was back to the grind of work and in my case, trying to get healthy enough to keep working till the break. Unfortunately, strep, pink-eye, fever, and stomach bug have been attacking my poor little babies at the preschool and it was only a matter of time before my body took a hit. A fever of 101.6 and a trip to the doctors was in my cards this week but thankfully the strep test I took was negative. However, I’ve never had such a painful time swallowing as I do with this current virus. I’m still battling to break the fever. It rears it’s ugly head when I least expect it and sometimes I even think its gone and then it spikes up again. Needless to say, I’d be so grateful if you’d keep me in your prayers and my class for that matter. One of my students has a double ear infection and another one has been battling a fever at home of 103 degrees since the beginning of the week. Anyways, we hope you enjoy this heart warming holiday season with your families and never forget how AMAZING the life of a small babe in Bethlehem changed our lives forever eternally!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2016!

~ The Mrs., The Mr., & the furry one



The Peterson Adventures



Very few things in life top witnessing your best friend of nearly over a decade embody the role of a bride and dance till the sun goes down with her God appointed husband. The tales of my positive  adventure witnessing the Peterson wedding also came with a week worth of fever, ear infection, and the beginnings of strep. I wasn’t able to hang out with everyone which broke my heart but I needed to set limits. However, as you might have guessed, I survived! Florida heat was a beast that week topping off in the 90’s some days. Nevertheless, the good times kept rolling and an amazing union still happened.


If your name is Emily Penberthy, you might not want to read this post because it’s about to get real sappy real quick! For those of you who don’t mind  a gooey sentimental tribute to the first Peterson Adventure, please move your eyes to the right………..Here we go!


I met Amanda Penberthy (affectionately known as Manders) during our ninth grade year at Evangelical Christian School in our choir elective. Our friendship has undergone just about anything you can imagine happening within ten years of emerging into the adult world. We geeked out over boy bands (Hawk Nelson), “Almost” made it to Italy, composed a musical (with my sister Katy) because we were bored and clearly knew that in adult life another opportunity to do so would not present itself again, made it through our awkward phases, learned to depend on each other, learned to point each other to Christ first, rebuked one another when needed, suffered loss and rejoiced in gain, tripped (Amanda) too many times to count, talked about our dream weddings,

IMG_1586 danced in the rain at Disney World, took so many photos of ourselves that we’re sure to live on long after we’re gone, listened to my dad rant about the “new guys” he’d found for us, dated one too many Presbyterians ;), watched each other graduate, watched each other become brides, and watched each other grow up into who we are right this minute. This emergence into being rather grown up is so rough without a dear friend. I am so grateful and moved when I relive the past moments and see how we’ve never let change effect the strength of our relationship.



Amanda couldn’t have looked lovelier in her blush colored gown beaming happiness you could see radiating off her the entire time. Every little detail was perfect. I think one of the most wonderful things about attending the Peterson wedding was the fact that everything about their wedding reflected their personalities so effortlessly.



So many times you’ll see brides and even grooms get tangled up in their planning because they want it to be overly extravagant due to the fact of it being only a day or do something completely set apart from what they usually prefer. Though those weddings are still great and perfectly fine, it’s just not the same as attending one where you see the details and think to yourself “This is SO them.” Plus, having my sister perform the ceremony music was an added bonus 🙂


The second most wonderful thing about attending the Peterson wedding was reuniting with some of the most wonderful people I have known and loved for most of my young adult life. I also had the immense pleasure of meeting so many new people that were apart of Amanda and Josh’s life. I consider it such a blessing to know that whoever Amanda seems to befriend, they pour so much into her life and are people I find myself loving in return!




Everywhere I turned I could see people from all different parts of Amanda’s journey since I’ve known her. People from college, roomies, church friends, co-workers, even our past high-school teachers played a part in her big day. It just got me thinking about how much more wonderful Heaven is going to be when we are in the midst of our loved ones but in the presence of the Lord!


Speaking of loved ones, I was blessed to be able to see my brother Michael again after a long lapse of time and be able to stay at my parents for the remainder of the week as I recovered from the wedding and from my major sicknesses. I finally got to see the Weirichs’ new homestead and little Emmy’s room. Although I hate Florida heat, it didn’t stop me from enjoying time with my family like when we braved the heat to get lunch at the farmers market.


Anyways, back to the wedding! Before I could even blink again, Manders became a Peterson, we danced the night away, ate cake, toasted to the many good years ahead, and then in the still, quiet, aftermath of the Peterson’s backyard I whispered to God, “You are faithful” and it was as if the Lord whispered back “Till the end.”


So there it is in a nutshell. Happily ever Peterson!


Next on the Delightfully Downin post list:

The Mrs.’ Marinade Recipe

Till Next Time!

~The Mrs.






October Highlights & Downin Updates



I’ve got to say that the later half of October was both fun and eventful in so many different ways! Most of you know that the Mr. and I recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary on October 26. Money is a bit tight right now, so we decided to have a staycation and visit the Jordan Creek Mall for some shopping and eating at all our favorite restaurants. At the end of the day, we went out to a cute place in Johnston called “Flix Brewhouse” for full service dinner and a movie (Pan) all from our movie chairs!


This was our second time going to see a movie and eat dinner and each time we were blown away by the excellently prepared meals, extensive menu, and house brews. It’s definitely something a bit more special as opposed to attending a regular flick. IMG_1510Another wonderful highlight to the month of October was a first home visit from my parents! It was a short weekend visit chalked full of as much “Iowan” activities that the Mr. and I could think of. The first stop we made after picking the rents up from the airport was to “Which Which” for some grub. This sandwich shop was just recently built and 10 minutes away from our home! You would never want to eat subway ever again people. Fortunately, my parents shared the same sentiment about what they ordered.


Our next full group activity was taking my parents to the downtown Des Moines farmers market. While there, we explored every avenue taking in the sights and smells, but also looking everywhere for a jacket for dad who was braving the 50 degree weather without one. I think the highlight of the market was definitely the live music from hipster banjo player, saxophonist, and old married hymn singers.

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After perusing the farmers market, Thomas drove us all to visit Wildwood Ranch, one of Iowa’s oldest covered bridges, and to John Wayne’s birthplace in Winterset, Iowa. It was so cool to share these special places with my parents and see them enjoy it as much as we do. All too soon it was over and we sent the rents back to their tropical homestead with new memories in hand. However, it won’t be too long until I see them again because my best friend Manders is tying the knot on November 8th! I will be in Florida from the 5th-12th.IMG_1488IMG_1483 IMG_1485 IMG_1486 IMG_1487 IMG_1489 IMG_1490 IMG_1491 IMG_1494 IMG_1501The updates on the Downin home front are few but all positive! Recently, my classroom changed it’s dynamic drastically with the help of some strong parental decisions. My class is now manageable and I’m starting to develop closer bonds with my students. I finally have the mindset of “I can survive teaching preschool” and “I can do this”. I’m starting to prowl the Iowa education website for elementary positions for next year. I would greatly appreciate your support through prayer.

The Mr. continues to work his fanny off being the best bank teller he can be and providing for our little family. HE is thinking about getting a second dog so Diesel can have a buddy. We were thinking about getting a pure bred dapple colored Dachshund but we are going to check out the rescues and humane societies around town first to see if we can score another winner like Diesel.

Diesel continues to be adorable, cute, gassy, and spastically entertaining. He has adapted to our new state, home, and weather exceedingly well! IMG_1540IMG_1538(HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM DIESEL THE ELEPHANT)

Here’s some of what’s in store in our blog cue!

  •  The Mrs. Blackened Chicken Marinade Recipe


  •  Product Reviews (Makeup & Handheld Steamer)


  • Amanda & Josh’s November Wedding Highlights

Kelly and Thomas234

Keep tuned for some other things in between! Hope you continue to be delighted with Delightfully Downin!

Till Next Post,

The Mrs.


My Preschool Saying of the Month

“Working in Preschool is like herding cats that just rolled in nip”