Monday, February 28

Gifts 46-60

The way salt and pepper compliment each other and the food they season. Natural markets like Henry's that provide a place to buy nutritious and natural foods that I feel confident about giving to my family. Watching my kids play pretend, pirates, dragons and princesses, having 
tea and building castles. I love watching their imaginations unfold before my eyes. The opportunity to teach lessons to my children and the blessing it is to me to watch them absorb and live what I teach them. Watching my kids talking to each other, getting to know one another and truly caring about what they have to say. Vanilla yogurt piled high with fresh berries, both tart and sweet. Son's rosy cheeks when he climbs out of bed after nap time. Phone calls from Hubby at work, in the middle of the day, just to say hello. The beautiful orange peel, shiny and glistening when the light from the kitchen window hits it. Lullabies to soothe my sweet babies into slumber. Handmade Blankets, knit by loving hands, warm and soft and comforting. Warm popcorn, freshly popped with a sprinkle of salt. Almond milk, cold and delicious. 

Thursday, February 24

Daughter's room

So daughter has been begging and pleading with me for a "new room." I am finally entertaining the idea. So she and I looked at ideas online tonight for over an hour so I could get a good idea what type of room she had in mind. I was completely anticipating polka dots, princesses, fairies, Hello Kitty, butterflies, etc. You know, bright colors, bling everywhere hot pink and neon purple. Nope. She kept saying that the bold colored rooms were too bright. When we stumbled upon the next couple photos she just about lost her marbles as she oogled the screen. "Those are the most perfect rooms...Oh please, that is so pretty!" She even would take things and leave things in a picture: "I like that lamp with that bed and that wall with that curtain..." Oh my goodness people. What am I working with here?!

Anyway, check out what daughter has in mind for her room redo:

This one is her number one favorite. She kept pointing to pictures of beds with metal frames, particularly old ones. SO CUTE!

And she adores the color of the walls here along with the pretty netting about the bed and the glam slipcovered chair.

Emma's sassy vintage room, Sweet shabby chic roses accented with funky cheetah print make this room sweet and sassy! Vintage touches and a diamond painted wall with tiny roses create a combination of visual interest and a design that will grow with this little gal., handmade lampshade!, Girls' Rooms Design
She loves this lamp

By golly, my little one has fabulous taste! I would love my own room to be the way she seems to be envisioning! I will be looking forward to getting more ideas for this project :)

Wednesday, February 23

Once upon a time, Five Years Ago...

There lived a girl. Yes, a girl.

Today Hubby and I are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary. I always see these posts and thought I'd post a tribute to us also. Five years ago today, I married my best friend and we've had three kids, two dogs, a few fish, a snake or two, a turtle, we bought our first home and our first minivan. And we've had 1,825 days of love, laughter and bliss that I would not trade or give away or change or slightly alter or do anything to because each and every moment was perfect and spent with my best friend, soul mate and lover.

Mm-kay. That's it. And they lived happily ever after, the end.

Well, that's nice in theory and kudos to all of you who have experienced marriage and family life in this way. That's fantastic and amazing and you are a great example for others to follow.

In reality, mine and Hubby's story goes a little differently. Well, one part is still the same. He was and still is, my best friend, lover and soul mate. I knew that then, and I know it more today. But the bliss and perfection part is far from the truth.

Five years ago today, I was a girl. A scared girl. A pregnant, scared girl. I was getting ready to marry a man I knew I loved, but I was unsure that I was ready for married and family life. Check out this picture of me at our wedding:

I know, right?! RELAX!
We got married at the MGM Grand in Vegas. I was five months pregnant with daughter. I was just a girl. I wasn't scared to be with Hubby for the rest of my life, I wasn't even scared to make that promise. I was scared to start the rest of my life! I was scared at the endless possibilities of ways that we could totally mess up this whole thing, not to mention our unborn daughter's life! I was scared to meld our families together. I was scared to disappoint. I was scared to miss my goals and dreams. I was scared that I'd never be able to "do life" the way I wanted to. I was scared to be so in love that I was willing to take this leap.

Well, we got married, had a nice dinner and went on with life. Soon, that day in the chapel was just a memory, something that made us smile and laugh. It was our technical beginning, but did not feel that way. Hubby and I had already given our hearts and lives to one another long before that day in Vegas. That day was a marker, a milestone in our lives together. The day that we vowed in front of six people that we would love and support one another forever.

That's why this day is special to me. Not because of the memories that come flooding back when I sit down and look through our wedding album. We have eleven pictures in the album, so really, how much memory flooding can I expect? Not because it was such a picture perfect day and there were doves and violins and rows and rows of loved ones smiling. Not because we danced to our song or spent the next week in Tahiti. No, none of those things happened.

This day is special to me because five years ago today, I showed up to my wedding "slot" (we had twenty minutes and the other couples were already lined up for before and after us), scared and anxious, unsure of my future. I walked down a very short aisle, as a woman played a song that our dog had selected from a list the chapel emailed to us a few weeks earlier. It was barely the length of a hallway in my home and it felt like an eternity. The minister, or whatever he was, was cracking jokes with Hubby and I could barely make eye contact. When I finally did reach Hubby, we turned and faced each other (with instructions from Mr. funny guy aka minister) and he took my hands in his. He looked in my eyes and smiled and a little of my anxiety melted away.

This day is special because it marks five years that Hubby has been holding my hand as I have changed from a scared girl to a woman, wife and mother. I have a life to be envious of, a Hubby that loves me and holds me, protects me and helps me, guides me and calms me. He has calmed my fears and shown me a future together, one that I need not be fearful of. I am so thankful to married to this man, a man that loves me unconditionally, a man that presses on when life seems to come against us.

When I was unsure, he was confident. When I was anxious, he was calm. When I was afraid, he was not. When I felt I was walking this path alone, he took my hand and came beside me. He is my lover, best friend and soul mate, but also my strength and confidence.

Happy Anniversary Hubby

Monday, February 21

Easter Party

Easter is just around the I thought I'd feature an adorable kids' Easter party from Jessica at Party Love. So many gorgeous details, and of course the pastel colors are beautiful! A lot of these ideas would fit in nicely for a spring baby shower for either gender. You can see more of the party here.

all the filled eggs that were awaiting their hiding spots for the easter egg hunt ;)

my trusty wire tree ;) was perfect to hang eggs on!

i decided i would try making these cake pops from bakerella.
fun and festive and perfect for the kids favors :)

some of the drinks and goodies...i had a big punch bowl inside.

i found the cupcake pedestals at oriental

chocolate cake eggs

the kids made easter bags that were going to be used to collect their eggs in

ready...set...find the eggs!!  the kids were soo excited for the egg hunt!

i put a carrot in one of the eggs...and the person who found it got a big chocolate bunny :)  
later on there was egg dyeing 

Sunday, February 20


I am exploring the concept of gratitude while reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I've discovered so many incredible things, concepts that I have never taken so much time to ponder so deeply. None of it is groundbreaking, there are no new theories being discovered. In fact, it's really just simplifying the truth, narrowing the facts.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Being discontent is truly the grounds for our own misery. When we can look God in the face, when we are surrounded by His grace, gifts, glories each and every day and yet, somehow we say no. We tell Him that what He has offered us is not good enough and we would prefer to continue on our own, without His grace. We are discontent with the life He set before us and are positive that we are entitled to and deserve more. Yet, we spend ample moments of our fleeting lives, searching, wandering, silently pleading for what we want more of. We don't know. We course down several different paths, each leading us to darkness, loneliness, emptiness. We still want, no yearn for more. And because we believe that what God had for us was less than sufficient, we doubt His love for us. How could He truly love me and allow me to feel so hurt and aching? The truth is, He cannot force us to accept His gifts. They are there, we just have to let Him reveal them to us.
Truly, ingratitude is the beginning of all sin. Satan wanted more and persuaded Adam and Eve that they too were being slighted. And thus, the snowball continues. All the ugliness in our lives can be traced back to a moment or many of ingratitude and discontentment. We are empty, yearning to be full. We are angry and distrusting, hoping to feel love. We are weak and needing strength.

So what does God desire for us? In 1 Corinthians 2:7, we see that God's desire and purpose for us is and always has been to bring us to our FULL glory. Isn't that what we are all striving for, in one way or another? And the most incredible thing about His plan, His gift for us, is that it is a free one. We do not have to owe Him anything. He wants to give us grace if we but just accept it. And not just once, but He desires to constantly fill us! An active verb....continually filling, an act of filling. We are not just filled with grace, but are always being filled with grace! Should we choose to accept the gift.
Once we accept this gift, we will be able to live our lives with grace and joy overflowing! However, it requires trust. Trusting in Him in times of sorrow and pain as well as peace and sunshine. Knowing, or rather accepting, that we cannot and do not understand the mysteries of yesterday, today or tomorrow, but that He does. That is difficult and requires incredible faith.

Where do we find this faith, trust that stems from contentment and gratitude?
I'm learning that this comes from being able to recognize God's graces in my mundane, every day life. That is where the list of gifts comes in. I will continue to journal about my discoveries and what God is revealing to me through his word and the book, One Thousand Gifts. Stay tuned! :)

Saturday, February 19

Gifts 30-45

Smooth and creamy white mochas, with the steam curling up and over the brim of the cup. A clean car thanks to a thoughtful hubby. Big, white, fluffy clouds against a crisp blue backdrop, providing a stunning canvas for the day to unfold. Tasty and convenient samples to keep the kids wiggles at bay in Costco. ;) A kind and helpful friend, lending her skill as a nurse to remove son's sutures. Safety scissors to ease my worry a little without stifling my kids' creativity. Bakery items from the day old rack and a chest freezer to keep them in, one way we try to make what we've been given stretch. The quiet and silly baby babbles as my baby learns to talk. The cute, yet dangerous, rows of itty bitty white teeth peering behind those perfect pink lips when my baby flashes his sweet smile. The construction paper that lines the walls of our playroom, boasting the drawings of my children, a glimpse at the world through their eyes. Thank you cards, a symbol of gratitude. The high-pitched and contagious baby giggles that bubble up from deep in his little baby belly, spilling out and sharing happiness with everyone fortunate enough to hear. Love those giggles. 

Thank you Lord for your gifts to me...I'm in awe that you allow me the pleasure, the opportunity, just the chance, to wake up each morning and open my eyes to what gifts you have for me. 
What have I done to deserve these blessings? 
There are so many, yet I know that there are even more that I have not allowed you to show me. 
Help me to see your gifts in every moment, every circumstance, so that I may experience your joy

Sweet smelling

Daughter was helping me when I was bathing baby the other day. We took him out and dried him off, tickling his chubby little toes and nuzzling his nose. It was such a nice little moment. As I started to put lotion on him, he got cranky and started fussing and trying to squirm away.  
Daughter said "You have to have lotion, it makes you smell so good! Like a sweet little baby!"  
Then she looks at me and says "I love how he smells after you put lotion on him and when he doesn't have lotion, he smells like strawberries." 
There you have it folks, my baby smells like a strawberry. :)

Friday, February 18

Awesome dude

Me: (finishing bedtime prayers with daughter) "Alright, pretty girl, bed time. Lay down, what song should I sing tonight?"
Daughter: "Twinkle twinkle."
Me: "No way! You hate that song! (winking because we sing this song twice every night for the past two years) "Twinkle twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.
Good night, lovey."
Daughter: "That was awesome dude."
Me: You're awesome, dude."

Awesome ;-)


I'm posting a rerun today. It's a post I wrote almost two years ago and just reread. And it actually helped encourage me today and remind me of the insight the Lord gave me then and reminded me of today. 

It hit me today- like a slap in the face, kick in the pants, load of bricks dropped from above hit me. I am a mom to two toddlers! Hmmm... My first reaction was a smile that stretched my cheeks far higher than I normally allow. Then, as a I sat in my very hot car in front of the grocery store, I felt a tiny bit of fear creep over me. Just a touch, like a nervous feeling you get when you are driving somewhere unfamiliar, worried you may become lost. I asked myself if I knew what I was doing, if I was ready for the road that lay ahead. The answer was a decibel breaking, glaring "NO!"
I don't know what I'm doing!! I don't think I have prepared myself for what's ahead. Then again how could I?
I grew up with one torturous younger sister who I spent more time fighting with than teaching anything. My parents tried to constantly teach me that I was an example to her, more by default than passionate drive on my part. But really, how much did I take that to heart when most of the time she was pelting me?! I was always thinking "She's got it figured out without my help, thank you!" 

I babysat a lot, but most of my kids were angels and the few trouble children I did have all went to bed on time!

I even took one of those family living classes in high school where you carry around a mechanical doll that eats, needs to be changed and cries at twenty minute intervals in the middle of the night (I wish my kids were that predictable). However, my very small, privately funded school couldn't fork over the bucks for the real dolls and therefore we just brought stuffed animals from home. This was a very poor lesson in family living, seeing as mine stayed the night in the trunk of my Pontiac Sunfire each night and was shoved deep in my locker during school. Once I got to Family living class, I pulled out Fluffy (renamed Becky for this particular exercise) and cradled her sweetly for the 45 minutes I was required to be a parent to the tattered pink bunny.

The twenty-something toddlers in my Sunday school class didn't count either; they loved me, but who doesn't love the blonde lady that comes once a week to sing, do crafts, tell you a story and give you a tasty snack?

So as you can see, my resume going into this job of motherhood was beyond less than sufficient. It was pathetic. 
Nothing prepared me for the experiences that are now my every day life.
There are so many ups and downs, it rivals the coasters at six flags! Some days my kids are just sweet as daisies and others they are as prickly as hubby's cactus collection (whole other blog topic, the man has a strange fondness for painful xerophytes).

For example, almost every night when I put my daughter to bed she thanks me for EVERYTHING that we did, made, ate or anything that day. She will thank me for breakfast, and exactly what she ate; she thanks me for playing cars with her, finding a ladybug, brushing her hair, giving her water, taking her potty or going bye bye to see friends- you get the idea. She is so incredibly tender and darling so often and when she goes through her thankful list, I just absolutely melt to the floor like a Hershey's in the sun.

However, then there are times when she is just so awful- hellish, almost! The other day we went to lunch with some friends and she was victimizing every child there. She couldn't stop her flagrant screeching, hitting, glowering and doing some sort of angry hand gesture towards the other kids that very closely resembled spell casting gestures. Scary. These are moments when I just wonder how in the world she can be so mean??

And now, as my son is getting a bit older, I am already seeing the roller coaster with him. He also has moments where he is just as calm, collected and convivial as Buddha himself. Then there are the moments where he is squawking like the crows in an abandoned park; he has even started to throw himself down on the ground and turn on the flood of tears when he doesn't get what he wants! What gives?

There are moments when I find myself wanting to pound my head against the wall out of pure disgruntlement. Case in point, the other day while I was cleaning up around the house, I had gathered my small rugs to shake outside. I set them in a pile on the front sidewalk and went inside to get one other rug. I had just washed them all after son's birthday and they are those ones that are braided yarn and cotton, so you don't wash them often because they fall apart easily in the wash. Anyway, daughter was "helping" me and ran outside in front of me. As I was slipping my shoes back on, she stood right on top of the pile of clean-but-dusty rugs and peed!!
AGGGHHHH! I totally flipped! Something so silly, when thrown on top of a very long and somewhat vexing week, just sent me in to "no turning back, completely lost my marbles land." Thank heavens Hubby walked in right at that moment and I had only gotten so far as to take daughter to the bathroom to clean up. I went upstairs and cooled down, only to start crying thinking about how silly that situation was that got me so angry.
Why was I reacting this way? Why can't I handle this stuff? I am a mom, I should be the glowing source of perfect responses, precise answers and all motherly knowledge, right? It couldn't be further from the truth. Sometimes I feel I am trying to scale a mountain with flip flops on (which is not very unrealistic to think about, I do everything in flip flops). I feel like I am just reaching and grasping, struggling to hold on to any sort of control that I can.
Perhaps that is where my feelings of defeat begin; I have yet to accept that I don't have the answers because I have never done this before. I don't have control; I have two toddlers, and I have never had two toddlers before. Tomorrow I will experience things I have never experienced before. Daughter will ask me something I have yet to answer and say things fresh to my ears. Son may say a new word, he did today! He will walk a little more steady and be a bit more attentive to the world around him. Perhaps we will experience a tantrum of new proportions or in a different public place with an uncontaminated audience. And rather than beating myself up, wondering why I am so frustrated, why I am not reacting the way that mom in the Parents article says to react, or why my kids are behaving the way they are in the first place, I am going to remind myself that this IS my first rodeo. This is new and fresh, waiting for me to take it, mold it, and shape it into the experiences that are becoming my life story.
Perhaps I should remember that God gave me my children, so who better to ask for help than their Maker? I should spend more time on my knees with my head bowed, than wracking my brain wondering where I have gone wrong and trouncing myself for not knowing how to fix everything.
In order for me to be able to enter this new phase of my life with two toddlers, I must learn to accept that God believes that I can do this and do it well, or He wouldn't have entrusted these precious little lives to my care. What a humbling thought, God believes in ME! Wow, and why don't I remember that each and every day when my children cling to me in unfamiliar situations or look to me before running to play with friends. My children believe in ME! Why is it so very difficult to believe in myself? I think that if I remind myself of that and accept that I will fail and I will learn from those failures and get back up and try to do better next time, I will make it through my toddler years, my school years, and everything else God has planned for me as the tot mom I have become. 

Thursday, February 17

Gifts 14-29

Today God gave me a lot of gifts:

Bubbles so that I could watch my kids and their friends laugh and play, marveling at the delicate bubbles riding on the breeze.  Friendship to cherish; another person to talk, laugh and be silent with...someone to like me for me and help me to see God's other gifts around me. Honesty to be able to speak the truth with those in my life and to receive the truth in return. Laughter, the melody of life. Makeup, revealing a creative side and a fun confidence. Rain to purify God's creation, washing away the dust and grime. Storm clouds tumbling over the hills and spilling into the valleys, making the air moist and cool, hiding the sun, yet exclaiming God's majesty. Hand-me-downs and the simple generosity and wisdom of them; sharing and reusing something rather than putting it to waste; and the only profit gained is gratitude. How lovely. Candles which fill our home with a warm and welcoming scent and cast their soothing glow across the walls. Scents, sometimes homey and comforting like warm vanilla cake and others light and clean like crisp pine and balsam wood. Whipped cream and Strawberries; a perfect balance of sweet and juicy from the berry and smooth and fluffy from the cream. Perfection. Lunch a splendid break in the middle of the day and a great time to sit and rest for a moment. Lunch is even better when prepared for or by a friend. :)
Soft knit Sweaters and the Cool weather, permitting me to wear them, keeping me warm and comfortable. My baby's cry, calling for me, assured that I will meet his needs and comfort him, drying his tears and holding him close. 

Wednesday, February 16

Vintage Toy Baby Shower

My great friend, Jessica, over at party love, designed and hosted this amazing baby shower with another friend for me last year. It was so darling! Feast your eyes! You can see more at her awesome party blog

for one of the games i did a guess how many blocks are in the jar (instead of the usual candy, etc).

i found this old bucket at an antique store as well...and i loved how so many things i found are it was perfect for the alphabet/number magnets.

i hung a bunch of lanterns over the center island where the food was served

i created a clothesline...i had found this collection at crazy 8 months ago.  i thought a slinky would make for a more appropriate clothesline. ;) haha.


cracker jacks for favors

a banner i made

i loved creating little sayings out of blocks around the house

i put together a toy tree.

the cupcakes :)

they were able to customize them for me.  i loved this detail.


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