The Mom Quilt- Sharing My Personal Story of Loss & Hope

When my friend Jodi from Meaningful Mama asked me if I’d be interested in sharing my story of loosing Zoe in a book they were compiling for Moms, I was hesitant at first. I had actually never written my account of the day Zoe went to be with Jesus. It had played over and over in my head but I had never allowed myself the time to actually write out the account and fully reflect on that painful day. When she shared that it was going to be a collection of stories to encourage and bring Hope to other Moms, and 100% of the proceeds would be given to The Mercy House in Kenya founded by Kristen Welch of We Are The Family, to help dig a well, I knew it was the perfect time open my heart and allow God to use the story He has been writing in our lives. 

The Mom Quilt is an amazing collection of 60 stories from moms of all walks of life; the pages of this book are sure to inspire and encourage you in your own story of motherhood.


After hours of work and many women pouring out their hearts in written word, “The Mom Quilt” is compiled and ready for your purchase. The eBook will be based on donation, with a minimum donation of $9.99. If you want to give more than $9.99, please change the number in your shopping cart.


100% of the money from purchases of the book will be going towards building a water well in Kenya for the Mercy House. Currently, water is trucked in from miles away. It is costly in time and money and we would love to take away that stress and expense from the ministry so they are freed up to focus in other areas.


Photo Credit: The Mercy House 


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Less Than One Month To Go!


It’s crazy to think that one month from now (assuming there are no complications) we are going to be in Cuenca! While we have enjoyed the last couple of months, getting ready and taking care of things before leaving, it’s hard to believe that there is so little time left, and seemingly a ton of stuff left to do!  We have had many people ask us how things are going and what we have been up to recently; we decided to share with you what we have been up to, what is left, and how you can support us.

The House: Over the past month we have been working on getting the house ready to rent. While we are sad to leave the beautiful home that God has blessed us with, we are praying that it will be a blessing to the family that moves in after we leave. They will be moving into a neighborhood of people who care for each other and desire to journey through life together while seeking God. We are going to miss them, but we are excited to hear how they will be a blessing to our renters. Of course, we still have to do touch ups here and there and some drywall and flooring. God has truly provided for us in an incredible way.

Visas: In a sense, we are working on getting ready for two separate visas. We will be going down on a six-month tourist visa and apply for a professional visa when we get there. The goal is to have all the documents that we need translated, authorized, notarized and any other -izations we will need. This task seems daunting (Click HERE to read more…)


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Carnival Magic- The Ending to a Great Week!

On Sunday, the Carnival Magic docked in Galveston to end our cruise. It was an exciting and fun filled week. To say that the Magic is a fun ship would be an understatement. The last two days at sea we were able to relax and enjoy the leisure time we had as we made our way back to Galveston. We enjoyed swimming, lounging around the pool, watching Frozen on the big screen, and so much more. The only disappointment was that the wind was too strong for me to be able to do the sky ropes course that my husband got to do last year when we spend a few hours aboard the Magic. Check out our Instagram feed for even more fun pictures of our last few days at sea!

carnival magic slides

For us, the best parts about the Carnival Magic weren’t just the fun activities that we did or the different ports that we visited. The best part about cruising with Carnival is the staff. The people that were there to make our cruise enjoyable went above and beyond what we expected. Everyone that we had multiple interactions with made an effort to learn our names and remember our preferences. They did everything they could to accommodate what we needed. The rest of this post I want to tell you about a few of the great people that served us.

family pic

Igor is from Serbia and has been working for Carnival for 7 or 8 years. He was our head server for our evening meals in the dining room. His service was impeccable and always timely. Our boys loved seeing him each night and even were excited to see him when we decided to have breakfast their in the dining room. He would always hug them and play with them as they would come in each night. Big Brother said the last night that he was going to miss Igor, and the other server, Putra.

igor pic

Putra helped Igor each night with the dinner service. Putra is from Bali, Indonesia and has a daughter the same age as our youngest boy. Little Brother was so excited when Putra made a pirate gun for him from two napkins. Each night he would wait for dessert so that he could play with the pirate gun that Putra made each night and wear the pirate hat that accompanied the gun. We even got a chance to video Putra showing us how to make the pirate gun.

putra pic

putra pics2

Like Putra, Suardika is also from Bali. His youngest is the same age as Big Brother. He was in charge of our cabin. Each night the boys were excited to see what Suardika had created with towel characters. Then the boys would each choose which animal they would have on their bed with them. We also videoed Suardika making a towel monkey. This was Suardika’s last cruise before taking a couple of months off to be with his family.

suadika pic

Igor was sharing with us that it’s not uncommon for some of the workers on the ship to work 6 or 7 months at a time going 11 to 12 hours a day. Despite what, for many of us would be very long work, they were genuinely cheerful with their service. We made an effort to get to know them and it genuinely felt like we were saying good bye to friends when we left. I hope that they get the recognition they deserve for their hard word. We were truly blessed by their service. Thank you for that!


Suardika’s Towel Monkey Tutorial

Putra’s Pirate Gun

Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Day 5 on Carnival Magic

Isla Roatan was the third and final shore excursion day on our journey aboard the Carnival Magic. Like our stop in Belize, we decided to book an excursion that we found online in order for Little Brother to be able to participate. Again, we were not disappointed with the results!

roatan pics

Docking in Mahogany Bay was by far the most beautiful dock we’ve had a chance to see. The island of Roatan is a lush green island, and Carnival has made a considerable investment in the dock on the island. According to our tour guide, the dock is exclusively for Carnival’s use.
We decided to do the Pirate’s Zip n Dip from Pirates of the Carribean Canopy Tours. Pirates of the Carribean Canopy Tours had a guide pick us up from the port and drive us to their base station about 20 minutes away. The drive much like the port, was extremely beautiful. Similar to our tour in Belize, we were the only group on the tour at that time, which was very relaxing and afforded us flexibility on our time. The boys were excited about the two spider monkeys that were hanging out by the building (they were pets).


After getting all our equipment on, we hoped into the back of a safari type jeep (there were seats for all of us) and drove up to their highest zip line. From the top we could see both sides of the island and crystal blue water surrounding it; an incredible view.
The first zip line was the highest and longest, which was a great way to start. Little Brother was excited for the adventure while Big Brother was hesitant at first. After getting hooked in with Dad and a few tears of apprehension, he was off down the first cable. The look on his face when he arrived was priceless, he loved it!


Over the next 40 minutes, we went down nine different zip lines. By the third one Big Brother was asking to go by himself. Then the boys both got to go together, it was great seeing them go by themselves. Zip lining was by far a highlight of our entire trip!

ziplining 3

After the zip line, our driver Marvin (another great tour guide) drove us to Parrot Island Plantation for the ‘dip’ part of our tour. The drive down to the beach area was gorgeous. There were very few people and the swimming part of the beach was completely inclosed by a rock wall and fences to keep the kelp from floating into the swimming area. This made for a completely calm and relaxing swimming area. They also had kayaks for rent, which was exciting for the boys who spent a couple hours making dad paddle them around the water. (The only downside was that there were sand fleas that bit a few of us, and Little Brother got the brunt of them.)



Upon returning to the ship, the boys went up with Grandma and Grandpa for naps, while my husband and I went shopping in the port shops. Roatan was a wonderful and relaxing time, definitely a place we would all love to come back to stay.

Our evening ended quickly that night after dinner in the Southern Lights Dining Room as we were all exhausted from another great day!


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4 on Carnival Magic

In planning our Carnival Magic cruise excursions ahead of time, we noticed that there were not a lot of options for families with children 3 years old. Most of them were beach trips, which are nice, but having done that for Cozumel, we wanted to be a little more adventurous. So we looked online and booked a tour with Cave Tubing R Us. They seemed to have good reviews and we checked with them, Little Brother would be able go on the tour.

belize sign

Disembarking in Belize was definitely different than we had imagined. Instead of the dock, like we had in Cozumel. We anchored about five miles off shore, then we boarded tender boats that shuttled people back and forth from Belize City to the Carnival Magic and back. It was an interesting way to get ashore (I can’t imagine the logistics it takes to get that many people back and forth, but someone figured it out).

Once we got to shore we had to find our tour guide, Ralph. Interestingly enough, Ralph is actually of Mayan descent, but with a very American sounding name. In Belize, the official language is English, so that made communication very easy.

On our hour or so ride out to the national park, Ralph shared with us all about Belize, history, culture, nature, climate, and every question that we could ask. He was extremely knowledgeable, but share it with a humility that was very easy to talk with. We were so glad that we booked this tour.

belize cave tubing

While many of the other passengers were on large tour buses, we were the only ones in our tour group. That meant that we weren’t at the mercy of 50 or so other people, but rather that we were able to move at our own pace. (Anyone with kids knows the freedom that is had when you are not on other people’s schedules.)

Once we got to the national park, we had a half hour hike to get to the caves. It was a very pleasant hike with a lot of shade, but not a lot of hills. Along the way Ralph pointed out different plants, insects, and wildlife and share with us about them. The pauses to look at the different things we were seeing allowed the trip to not be so tedious and it also kept the boys from getting too tired.

Reaching the spot in the river where we got in the inner tubes was welcomed, as well as the water temperature. I hate cold water so I was not looking forward to getting in the river, but it was actually very refreshing. Ralph clipped our inner tubes together so we looked like a train of six tubes. He then proceeded to guide us down the river and into the cave.

cave tubing, belize

We were provided with flashlights, which the boys were excited about and once we were in the cave, we were able to shine them wherever we wanted to look. Both boys spent most of the time shining their flashlights into the river.

To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. The whole experience was fascinating. We were able to see different stalagmite and stalactite formations, many of them which resembled different objects or animals. The whole time, while pushing us or pulling us, Ralph would share different facts or point out different formations that we should look at while floating by.

cave tubing(Apologizes for the fussy pictures, my camera was in a waterproof casing that got foggy in the cave.) 

When we reached the exit of the cave, we noticed that many of the tubers that had booked with the bigger groups had to climb up stairs with their tubes, we on the other hand had a leisurely float down river to the place where we began our hike. The boys (including dad) had the opportunity to swim and play in the river as well. We could not have asked for a more relaxing trip.

Getting back to the ship was simple and we made it back with plenty of time. We did not want to have to wait for the rush of people that would be coming at the last minute.

After getting a late lunch, we played cleaned up and went to the Magic’s Showtime Theater to catch an illusion act. The great thing about the cruise has been that we have been able to do so many different activities, like the illusion act that we were watching. The show as very entertaining, however half way through the show Little Brother looked up a dad and asked when the magic was going to start. I don’t think he was able to quite see all that was going on, yet he watched intently through the entire show.

After the show it was back to dinner with Igor (our server) and the rest of the amazing wait staff. As has been typical, the food was delicious, the servers were excellent. Perhaps the only downside is that we were given an 8:15 dinner time. While that is fine for the adults, the boys have been very tired at dinner and both nights, Big Brother has almost fallen asleep at the table.



(Big Brother eating shark, Little Brother and the waiter who made him a ‘pirate gun’ out of a napkin, and our nightly towel creature (a lobster). The workers here on Carnival Magic REALLY know how to entertain and bring FUN to just about everything!) 

All in all, it was another great day! If you would like more information about Cave Tubing R US, please click HERE!


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Day 3 on Carnival Magic


Cozumel was our first shore day of our Carnival Magic cruise. We woke up excited to go on our shore excursion, a Powered Catamaran trip to a Family Friendly Beach on Isla Pasión. We decided, since we were novice cruisers that our first excursion would be best done through Carnival. The upside to doing the cruise that way was that it was quick and easy. We also were part of a large group that went to the island, which meant that if the group was running behind, we weren’t going to be left behind. The only downside would be that there were a lot of people. It didn’t really bother us, but if you like to avoid crowds, this is not the excursion to go on.


Pulling up to the dock, we saw that there were two other cruise ships in port, the Carnival Triumph and another cruise ship. We had a little bit of time before we had to go to our excursion so we decided to walk around the upper part of the ship and see the views. They were beautiful, crystal blue water, beautiful scenery, and the impressive sight of three cruise ships all together (you really get a feel for their size when you have to walk on a dock in between two of them).


The boat ride to Isla Pasión was a smooth ride, and our guide Alex was great! He was laid back and very personable (he remembered many of the names of the guests having only spent a short amount of time getting to know them). The boys were excited because a couple of times on the ride they were able to see flying fish jump away from the boat. As we pulled up to the island we knew that it was going to be beautiful.
The water was crystal clear, the sand was white and clean. The boys were extremely excited to see the water toys that were inflated the water (a trampoline with inflatable slide and log attached to it, as well as two climbing walls with slides).

playing in the sand

The excursion included an all inclusive buffet with drinks included. The food wasn’t bad, but it was typical of what you might expect for an all inclusive package. When we first arrived the group from the Carnival Triumph was still on the island (they would leave, 200+ people, within 30 minutes of our arrival) so we decided to eat before finding a place to set up for the next few hours. After the group had left there was plenty of space for us to hang out.
My husband decided to rent some snorkel gear from the Water Activities hut (you could also rent kayaks and go on water-bikes as well). The guy was up front with him that there would be very little fish to see. Despite being warned, he went snorkeling anyway and was disappointed with the lack of fish to see. This was probably the only downside to the day, but by no means was it something that ruined the day.

cozumel isla pasión

The boys had fun swimming and climbing on the inflatable toys, as well as making cakes in the sand (why cakes and not castles is beyond me). Big Brother even made it to the top of one of the climbing walls, with strangers cheering him on after having watched him fall a couple of times.
Another great aspect about going with Carnival was that this excursion was advertised as a family excursion. Because of that, we felt that the atmosphere was more family friendly than what it could have been with an open bar excursion. Overall, it was a very pleasant day, both boys fell asleep on the boat ride back to the pier.


That night was our first dining experience in the Southern Lights Dining room. It was fantastic! Igor, our server, was excellent and made us feel like he had known us all cruise long. The food was delicious and when dessert was served, the wait staff proceeded to entertain the dining room with a dance followed by one of the servers singing two songs (his voice was a beautiful rich tenor voice, not a karaoke style rendition of songs).
After such a long day, we were all tired and Big Brother almost fell asleep at dinner! It was a great day.


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 on Carnival Magic

As we awoke on our first morning at sea on the Carnival Magic, “Where are we?” were the first words out of Big Brother’s mouth when he woke up this morning. Little Brother chimed in, “Are we in Louisiana?” (still thinking of our road trip from earlier in the Summer). With no land in sight, we turned on our television to find that we were still in the Gulf of Mexico.

location pic

Our day started with a delicious breakfast. The Lido Marketplace is an easy breakfast option for families, especially when the lines for the dining rooms get long. There is something for everyone from the large continental breakfast buffet.

After breakfast, we checked the boys into Camp Carnival, which was so smooth because we had registered them online before boarding. While they were busy playing games and activities, my husband and I enjoyed some time in the adults only Serenity area. It was nice to be able to relax and soak up some sun, read a book, and just soak in some quiet time.

Lunch was a quick lunch, again at the Lido Marketplace, where everyone opted for something different. Big Brother decided to have pizza, dad opted for a turkey wrap from the deli, while I went for the Mongolian Grill. (Having so many options makes lunches quick and easy.)
After lunch, all the boys went down for naps while I enjoyed some time back up in the Serenity area with my mom. The area is very breezy and because it was so pleasant, I didn’t realize how much sun I got, maybe a little more than what I had planned for the first full day.


After naps, we enjoyed the water slides some more and got cleaned up for supper. The great thing about Camp Carnival is that they serve dinner. While my husband and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Prime Steakhouse with my parents, the boys were eating spaghetti and meatballs, fruit, and cupcakes for dessert.


Following dinner they got their faces painted and made crowns as the theme for Camp Carnival tonight was Prince and Princesses. Big Brother even won a medal for ‘Best Dancer’; impressive right!? 😉 After dinner, we picked up the boys and headed to the sports deck for a round of miniature golf.


To finish off the night, we got back to our room to find an entire zoo of towel animals! The boys were so excited and tried to move all of them onto their beds to sleep with them. Each boy slept with a few different towel animals on their beds. Then, just after brushing our teeth and getting the boys calmed into their beds, we heard a knock on the door, and much to our surprise we were greeted by two plates of cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. So much for bedtime… but hey we are on vacation! What a fun ending to our first full day at sea!


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 on Carnival Magic

We arrived Sunday morning, early enough to be able to unload and park without having to feel rushed. The day that we boarded, there were two cruise ships in port at Galveston, the Carnival Magic and another cruise ship. That meant that there were between 4,000 and 5,000 people exiting each ship and the same amount boarding.  While things are set up well in the Galveston port, anytime you have between 16,000 and 20,000 people coming and going you are going to have to wait. Thankfully, we were able to board quickly and smoothly.

Upon boarding, our room was ready right away and we were able to get settled (our bags were delivered later and we unpacked then). There were so many different options available for lunch which was perfect because we were all hungry!

collage 1

After lunch we had fun exploring the ship; with two kids we wanted to get our bearings and be ready for the safety briefing before going swimming. Little Brother tipped over in the middle of the safety briefing and fell fast asleep.

Later, the boys enjoyed the water slides and water playground while we took in some sun. After a little more swimming, we enjoyed a leisurely dinner at the buffet. (All the food has been delicious so far, and it’s a good thing the ship is so large so we can get exercise in-between meals!)

By the time we were done with dinner, we were wiped out. Bedtime came early and my husband and I were glad for it! We wanted to get some rest to be ready for our first day at sea.


Our Room– We are in a five person room on the first floor. There are three single beds (two that might be considered ‘top bunks’ and one convertible couch) and one queen sized bed. We have two bathrooms- one with a bathtub/shower and sink, and the other with a toilet, shower, and sink. This setup is fantastic for a family with 2-3 children. Having two showers and sinks has been great for getting everyone showered and cleaned up quickly! We also have a television, mini bar (which can be locked or restocked without alcohol), and there are shampoo and soap dispensers in each shower. There are also four closets which easily store all of our clothes and shoes allowing us to store our suitcases neatly under the bed. The best part- the window. We have an incredibly close view of the ocean!


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product & Event Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Preparing and Packing for Your Carnival Cruise

Timing is everything. We often hear this said and believe it to be true, but I can’t express how true this statement is when it comes to our Carnival Cruise vacation this Summer. We needed a fun, relaxing vacation together as a family and were excited my parents decided to join us! Unfortunately, after loosing our Zoe this May, our five person cabin is only housing the four of us- my husband, myself, and our two boys. 

Planning our cruise has given us something to look forward to on rough days and something to plan together the past couple of months. Planning and preparing for a cruise has not only been a fun way to get everyone excited about going on a cruise, but it has also allowed us much more time to play  once we got aboard because all the ‘work’ was done! And who doesn’t want more time to play!?


Here are a few tips for planning/preparing ahead of time: 

1. Register everyone in your party, and all of your passports online

2. Set up Excursions a month before your sail date

3. Pre-register your children for Camp Carnival online

4. Set up any spa treatments and meals at specialty restaurants (onboard, etc. steakhouse) ahead of time

5. Follow other Carnival Cruisers and learn from their vacations at #cruisingcarnival #carnival #carnival(name of your ship)

6. Print of all your travel paperwork as well as bag tags.

bags pic

7. Label all of your luggage ahead of time with the bag tags you printed off.

8. Pack a carry-on with a change of clothes and/or swimwear depending on which you wear as you board. We were glad that our room was ready to go, but knowing that we could immediately go up and swim was a nice option; the boys were chomping at the bit to get in the pool.

A Few of Our ‘Specialty’ Packing Recommendations: 

1. Sea sickness bands

2. Motion Sickness Medicine

3. Waterproof Camera Bags

4. Walkie Talkies


5. Sunscreen

6. After Sun Lotion

7. Backpack for Port Excursions

8. Water shoes (for excursions and pool decking)

packing items

There are probably many other things that could be added to the list, but I just wanted to share with you some of the things that we’ve learned so far having just begun our cruising adventure. We have been so pleased with the accommodations that we have on the Carnival Magic. For a family in our situation, we could not have asked for a more fitting situation.

Check back each day as we give a recap of our adventure! What other suggestions do you have that helped your cruise be smooth sailing?


Disclosure: Our family received a cruise through Carnival in return for our family’s review and sharing of our trip. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Posted in Product Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Note to My Blogger Friends…

A year ago, I was fighting all day nausea and fatigue as I finished the first trimester of pregnancy with Zoe. I was struggling to post 2-3 times a week and was so dissapointed that I couldn’t ‘keep up’ with blogging. I had worked so hard for two years to get Cheerios and Lattes to where it was and couldn’t just let it fall apart. It was at that time that I took a two week break and really prayed about my priorities and where blogging fit into the picture, as Cheerios and Lattes was only a glimpse of who I really am.

Cheerios and Lattes has been such a blessing for our family and allowed us opportunities and provided financially for us in ways we never expected, however I felt God was taking away my passion for it and really challenged me to slow down and be able to accept being able to do less (for those of you who are type A bloggers know exactly how hard that can be).

family pic

Now today, a year later, I look back and reflect on that decision, and I realize how truly grateful I am that I neglected my blog not my family.

Neglecting my blog allowed me more time with my two boys, my husband, and Zoe. I was able to spend more time in face-to-face relationships, I had more time to take pictures of my kids (not just food and projects), more time to read, more time to learn, and more time to play.

Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging, crafting, cooking, and sharing, but I love the memories I made with my family this past year even more. I love that I live with no regrets on how I spent my time during Zoe’s short three months with our family.

Blogger friends, do you want to know the craziest part!? My ‘stats’ have barely changed since I took a break. That shows me that those ‘standards’ I held myself to of posting 5-6 times a week during my focused blogging time really didn’t need to be so demanding. Sometimes we make things TOO hard. Sometimes we forget what is most important. Sometimes we need to neglect our blogs…

I am excited to announce that I will be ‘coming back’ to blogging again here at Cheerios and Lattes, but will let you know that my posting will not be as consistent as it once was, nor will continue to host a regular weekly link party. Instead, I will blog when I have the time… 🙂 You will also be able to find me here. See you around, and thank you again for all your prayers and support the past couple of months!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 11 Comments