Friday, December 31, 2010

Baby Growing Diaries #11

At 37 weeks, I’m running out of room in my own body.  I’m quite certain that this baby has run out of room as well.  I mean, there’s only so much space.  This could be a problem.   Also, I’m not on speaking terms with my bladder, because it’s just being oh, so ridiculous.  What’s the deal, bladder, do you think you run this joint?  Get over yourself. Oh, and I used to have ankles.  Thankfully, all of my toes are still on my feet and were not mistaken for Smokey link sausages at Christmas.  It’s good to have toes, as puffy as they may be. This also means that I don’t have any cannibals in my family and that is reassuring too.

Yesterday, my mom bought me a new shirt and cleaned my kitchen.  It was kind of like Christmas all over again.

And here’s the part where you get really jealous.  Tomorrow appears to be December 31 and I don’t know if you can handle the sheer greatness of my plans.  Are you ready?  I mean, really… are you ready?  Brace yourself.  We’re going to put the kiddo to bed at 7:30 and then spend the rest of the year, in cozy pajamas, watching a movie on the couch.  And by watching a movie, I mean, we’ll probably fall asleep by 9pm.  AMAZING, right?  I know, contain your jealousy.  The truth is this… there is nothing, nothing, not a single thing, that sounds better than sleep.  And secretly, while you pretend to be excited about wearing a cute dress to a party, drinking champagne (oh, what I’d do for a glass), and staying up super late… you wish you had a really good excuse to wear pajamas and go to sleep early too.

2011, here we come.


Thursday, December 30, 2010


This week is full of anticipation,

…as we look forward to  the arrival of a new year.

…as we countdown the last few weeks until the arrival of baby #2.

…and as we confidently wait for answers to a pretty big prayer.

Monday evening, Matt brought our only car to the shop.  The next day, we received the diagnosis.  I’m pretty sure the words, “new engine,” are the last ones you want to hear, especially when the cost of such a large repair is greater than the entire value of the car.  Many people would freak out and spend money they don’t have, but we can’t help but see this whole situation differently.

For years, this little car has been our source of transportation.  There were many days, we thought it wouldn’t last another trip, but somehow, it kept running, and we were always thankful.  We prayed that God would keep it working as long as He desired and that when that time came to an end, that He would provide another vehicle for our family.  Our entire lives have been a story full of His provisions and blessings and we feel like this is no exception.  We have countless examples of times when we were in need of answers much bigger than ourselves and we were blown away at God’s provision and timing.   Without question,  His was way better than anything we could ever make happen on our own.  It always is.

This week as we wait, we do so with an overwhelming peace, because it seems we have come to that time in our prayers, where we prepare to be amazed, once again.  We stand at the moment, when we face a problem bigger than us and our financial abilities.   But, we know that when we come to the end of what we can do, there is a greater power who is our provider and He is faithful. 

Truth be told, it would be really nice to just have a working vehicle parked outside, especially when baby girl could come at any time in the next few weeks, but if I have learned anything it is this…  all these details, all these needs, He knows and He has a plan.  And since, He’s a whole lot smarter than us and you know, the creator of the entire universe, I’m going to go ahead and trust Him.

Even in the waiting, our everyday needs have been met.  Matt is able to take the bus to work, even though it more than doubles his commute time.  My mom spent the day with us yesterday and brought us grocery shopping and to my weekly doctor’s appointment.  And if such a terrible thing were to happen and we ran out of coffee, Starbucks is approximately 1,000 ft. away from my front door.



Monday, December 27, 2010

a merry little Christmas.

What a lovely Christmas.

We slept in, enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee, and slowly opened our gifts.  This was the first year that H really got excited about all of the packages and of course, we had to open each toy immediately.  We spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, skyping with family, watching movies (When Harry Met Sally, anyone?), taking naps, playing, and enjoying our homemade seafood feast of salmon cakes and shrimp alfredo.  It was perfect, warm,  and cozy. I wouldn't change a thing.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve


Please don’t hate me as you read this, but while most of you are frantically checking off items on your to do lists and running last minute errands, I have  exactly no list.  Granted, I have to be mommy to a  little boy, make coffee, and take a nap, but I do that everyday.

Tomorrow, I’ll do an abridged cleaning of the house and prepare a few appetizers in anticipation of my family coming over for a night of laughter and feasting.  The rest of the weekend is ours, a magical holiday spent with my two favorite people in the whole world.  No stress, no drama, no travels.  This is the part where being 36 weeks pregnant rocks my world. 

Last night during the Christmas “Eve” church service, the room sparkled with the flickering lights of each candle being lit, while we softly sang, Silent Night.  The instruments and lights faded and only the voices remained as the beautiful melody filled the air and stilled our souls.  As we sang the story that changed our lives for all of eternity, the words were never more beautiful or meaningful.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

That’s what this Christmas is about to me.  Embracing the simplicity, the stillness, and the abundance of blessings that surround us.  Cherishing the weeks before our little family grows to four.  Loving this gift of being together, when time lately seems consumed by my husband’s two jobs.  Losing ourselves in this beautiful story that we get to be a part of each and every day, our story, one that would never be the same without Jesus and his birth.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve to all of you in whatever bliss or busyness you may find yourself. 


P.S.  Immediately following Silent Night, the band rocked the coolest auto-tune/drum machine version of Little Drummer Boy anyone has ever heard.  It was awesome.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

weekend shower

{Sister-in-laws, me, baby sister, mom, Hudson}
This past weekend, my sister-in-laws planned a little baby shower for me and  baby.  I love how simple and relaxed it was. Every detail was perfect from having the event at a closed-to-the-public coffee shop to the delicious drinks and treats.  So cozy and fun.  It ended up just being family, being the weekend before Christmas people are busy busy, but it was actually perfect.  I loved sitting on the oversized brown couches and  just talking about all things baby with my sisters, mom, and aunt.  My son spent the afternoon mooching sweet snacks from all of his aunties and his Gigi, consuming the most sugar he’s ever had in his lifetime.
My mom brought a box of old baby clothes from when we were all  young and as we went through each piece there were tons of stories and laughs.  Naturally, I informed her that vintage baby clothes are in and ended up bringing the box home.
I loved all the gifts, the cute outfits and the much needed practical items, they were all perfect, but I think we were all blown away by my mom’s gift.  Growing up, I remember my mom used to sew all sorts of things from patches on our jeans to costumes, but it’s been years since her last project. For the past few months, she kept telling me she was making a blanket for her first Granddaughter, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the final results.
This wasn’t just another blanket to throw in the pile along with the others, it is one that we will keep and cherish forever.
One side is knit in the softest cream colored yarn.
The other side is done in this lovely grey fabric with cute little pink birds,   She said it reminded her of one of my paintings, which made me love it even more.
She had an “H” embroidered in the corner there is a sweet little tag that reads, handmade with love by G, for Gigi. I love the pink satin binding and ruffles around the edge too.
Isn’t is so special?  I just can’t get over the amount of time and thought that was put into making this beautiful blanket.  I’m sure she will love it just as much as we do.  Thanks Mom.
And thanks to my sisters for a wonderful afternoon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

two year olds are a whole bunch of silly.

Kids are silly.  You know when they do something and you want to laugh so badly, but don’t as to not encourage them?  I feel like all of a sudden these moments are happening every single moment of the day.  For example…
Yesterday out of nowhere, H started shaking his pointer finger at me and  said very seriously in a high pitched voice, “No. No. No.”  Occasionally, he’ll start doing something he knows he shouldn’t and he’ll say to himself, “No. No. No.” However, this never stops him from whatever sort of trouble he is doing. Weird.
The other day when he was supposed to be sleeping, I went into his room to inform him that he needed to take a nap.  He went and stood behind the organizer that hangs from his bedroom door and hid.  Obviously, I could see him and his little legs peeking out from underneath, but somewhere in his mind, he thought his invisibility would get him out a nap. Every once in a while, he peeked his head out to see if I was still there waiting for him… I was.
Sometimes when we tell him to pick up his toys, he closes his eyes and pretends he is sleeping, by making “shhhh shhhh shhh” sounds.  We can’t help but laugh and he peeks one eye open, smiles, and then 'goes back to sleep.’  We still make him pick up his toys.
And right now…
Instead of napping, he’s sliding his alphabet cards under his door and into the hallway, one by one.  I can hear each one being pushed across the floor.  I wonder when he will run out?
That kid, he’s something. 

snail mail

Let’s pretend that you open the mailbox and reach in to find a small stack of letters and advertisements.  Among, the collection of bills and last minute attempts to spend more money, you have two or three Christmas cards from people you love.
You rush inside and sit down to sort through the cards, reading the return addresses to decide which one you want to open first.    Obviously, you open the one from us, immediately.  It looks like this…
You turn it around and break open the seal, perfectly, of course.
You quickly reach in to pull out the card, but you pause, as that déjà vu feeling begins to set in…
Total déjà vu.  Overwhelming déjà vu. You think to yourself, “I got this card last year, what’s the deal? Is this a joke?  This must be a mistake.”
To further investigate you, open the card to read:
The warmest sentiments you’ve seen all year, I know. Is your heart so full of warm fuzzies that you want to explode?
The reason this card looks familiar is because you DID get it in the mail last Christmas.  I won a giveaway for 100 cards from Minted but I didn’t use them all.  So now, I have about 30 of them just sitting in a box, what’s a girl to do? 
I could send them out again, with a message that reads, “This is us, just 1.5 years ago. Merry Christmas.” or “Remembering 2009, Merry Christmas 2010.”   But, I won’t.  I could have ordered new cards with an updated photo of us and sent them out, but frankly, that sounded like a big project. These days naps always sound better than big projects.
So, don’t be sad, but no new Christmas card from us this year.  Just think about all the trees I saved.  Being green is so trendy.
But, mostly it has to do with my desire to take more naps, don’t be fooled.  Naps trump everything.
Merry Christmas week everyone!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

instructions for this weekend

Hi lovelies,

It’s the weekend before Christmas! This morning, a certain two-year-old has some special tips on how to have the most perfect winter weekend.  Enjoy!IMG_5850IMG_5845

1.  Eat lots of Christmas cookies.


2.  Spend lots of time in your new cozy pajamas.


4. Make a colossal mess.


5. Get bundled up and play in the snow.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas bookworms

As promised, here is a fun and easy gift idea for those cute little babies in your life.  I was inspired by Jessica’s, Sew a snake post.  So, I made these little toys for my niece and nephew.  I realize, it’s not quite Christmas, but they can’t read and I’m pretty sure they don’t use computers yet, so they’ll never know.

Introducing, Christmas bookworms…



  For a fun little boy, I made this one out of scraps of fabric.  I cut the pieces to be mostly the same sizes, except for a few thinner ones, for variety.  I sewed them all together in a long strip, then folded it in half (the wrong side out), sewing it almost the entire way, but leaving it unfinished to turn right side out and stuff.  I double hand stitched the mouth to close it off. (This is important with babies, because they are tough little buggers and can destroy anything.)  I used small pieces of felt for the eyes and I’m going to add felt glasses, where you see the outline (with marker.)


For a sweet baby girl, I made this one out of a  multi-colored scarf, that I’ve had for years.  It was even easier since it was already one piece, so I just folded it in half, sewed it up most of the way, turned it right side out and stuffed it.  I also added a cute little bow..  The eyes and mouth I did the same as the one above.  I was just thinking you could also use a cute pair of knee-high socks too.   I’m pretty sure this one is longer than my two month old niece, but I think this worm is durable enough to withstand the loving of a baby.

We picked up some fun little board books to finish off the gift, because what bookworm is complete without a book?

There are tons of variations possible with this idea, so go ahead and have fun. 


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

baby growing diaries #10

When you are pregnant, you might hear this…

“ Get plenty of rest.  Sleep while you can, because after the baby comes...”

It seems to me, what we have here is another case of those “well-intentioned” people, who are clearly not waking up 3-5 times every night, because they took one sip of water and have to use the bathroom AGAIN or because finding a comfortable sleeping position is an all out mind-body-spirit activity that takes every ounce of your focus.  No, these people heartlessly spew out these statements from their well rested mouths and non-aching bodies, because in their delusional minds, you only start to lose sleep after baby arrives. 

What a myth.  What a lie. What nonsense.  Today, I put an end to this falsehood.

Here’s the truth.  It’s been months since I’ve slept through the night and I’m not happy about it.  Trips to the bathroom are endless.  Finding a comfortable sleeping position is nearly impossible, without losing my breath and waking up my husband.   At least twice a week, I give up and take a bath at 3 or 5 AM because I know that is my only change of easing my aching body and hoping to catch a few more hours of precious sleep.  It is a waste, I tell you. A waste of perfectly good sleep-filled nights.  Now, some other cliché slinging individual might tell you that it is nature’s way of preparing your body for the times you’ll wake up at night with baby, but you know how I feel about those clichés. 

Truthfully, nothing can prepare you for what is coming, not even these little tricks that your body tries to throw your way.  You just do it.  You’re tired, you’re exhausted, and you’re never sure what day it is or the last time you showered, but who cares, you have the cutest baby in the world and there’s coffee- there is always coffee.  You just find the super human ability to function and care for your little one(s), along with everything else that must be done.  The rest of the world fades into a blur, kind of like those trippy scenes from Across the Universe, which is a wonderful film. 

So, I ask, is it really necessary to spend these last few months before your child arrives waking up incessantly?  NO WAY.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to be able to fall asleep and rest peacefully until the morning comes?  YES.  Are you tired of these tricky little antics from your body?  YES.  Pregnant women of the world unite!

Hmmm… this is getting crazy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send a message, loud and clear to my body.

Hey you, listen up.  I do not need to practice losing sleep. Nor do I want to practice losing sleep.  And if I must lose sleep, it should be for a  good reason, not because of my bladder’s inability to handle a tap dancing baby in utero or because soreness has taken over my life.  Frankly, I’d much rather have to wake up to care for my child instead of  losing sleep over all this other nonsense. So, stop it already.

There, I feel better. Also, the retaining water business is making me feel like giant marshmallow.

And to all of you, “sleep when you can, because when the baby comes” people…  you now know the truth…. and the truth will set you free from sharing clichés with all of the mamas and mamas to be.  We don’t need clichés, we just want sleep.

And on that note, it’s nap time.


34.5 weeks today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

little notes for a Monday morning

Dear Minnesota,  thank you for letting us be a part of one of the biggest blizzards in ages.  We have now figured out why we moved here, so that one day, when we write our memoires there can be a chapter called, we survived a Minnesota winter.  Well, actually that is yet to be determined.

I managed to spend the entire day inside watching movies, sewing and entertaining a crazy two year old, as you pelted us with 17 inches of snow.  But now I have a slight problem, there is this foreign mark in front of the temperatures.  It looks like this (-) and frankly, I find it unacceptable.  Last night in attempt to ward of the effects of going stir-crazy, we went Christmas shopping.  It was 2 degrees, as in 1, 2.  I was positive the end of the world was near, as every fiber of my being nearly froze.  The snow I can handle, the sub-zero temps I can not.  I am not a polar bear.  Please leave now.




Dear wondering minds,

Last week I posted about my inspiration board.  There were a few questions.  I have answers.  IMG_5861

I covered a large piece of foam with this fabric, using a hot glue gun, you could use a small staple gun too.   It’s currently covered with pictures from recent Anthropologie catalogues, because they have the most inspiring and beautiful images.  Let me know if you have more questions.




Dear Readers,

Now I have a question for you.  What do you find to be the best way to respond to comments?  Do you respond on your post?  As a reader, do you return to the post that you commented on to look for a response?  This has always perplexed me and I wish it to end. Thanks for your help!




Dear Momma Friends,

I’d love to hear your thoughts on those cute little sleep sheep. (I actually prefer this giraffe.)  I’m thinking about getting one this time, but I’m curious...  What are the best ones?  What are the pros and cons?  Where can I find the best prices?  I didn’t have one with Hudson, but now we have a noisy two year old and the world’s loudest walkers/stompers living upstairs.  I think it might be beneficial to a sleeping baby and whatever sanity that will remain.  Thanks.



And that concludes today’s letters.  I have the cutest gift idea for the little ones in your life, that I will be sharing later.  I know it’s not quite Christmas, but I don’t think my little nephew or niece can read.  Happy Monday.


Friday, December 10, 2010

may your days be merry and bright


Christmas is two weeks away.  The rest of the world might be bustling along the city sidewalks and such, but I’m pretty much  in hibernation mode.  Being a thousand weeks pregnant finding something appealing to wear is just as exhausting as the idea of bundling up and leaving the house.  Plus, it’s like a bazillion degrees freezing and that’s no place for the likes of me.

Considering that Christmas is one month before Harper’s arrival, we aren’t traveling anywhere this year. I have to admit, that I really love this.  As in, my heart jumps for joy at the idea of waking up in my own home on Christmas with not a single place to go.  We have always traveled to one place or the other for holidays, and while seeing family is great, it can be so very exhausting.   I mean, have you ever been house guests with a two year old, nothing relaxing about that.  Nothing.

Being that this will be our last Christmas as a family of three, I can’t think of anything better than spending the entire holiday with just us, soaking in those moments before our lives change forever.  There will be baking and Christmas movies.  There will be cozy fires and lights on the tree.  There will be coffee and this breakfast casserole.  There will be gifts and stockings, and a the sweetest two year old to make it all so much fun.   We’ll prepare a small feast with crab cakes as the main attraction.  We’ll read the Christmas story and pretend that Hudson is paying attention.  And all of that sounds absolutely perfect to me.  Just perfect.

What about you friends,  what are your plans for the holidays?  What are you most excited about this year?


P.S.  In the breakfast casserole, I use sausage instead of bacon and tater tots in place of hash browns.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thursday + the well.

Ten days ago, we launched our campaign with Charity: Water to build a well in a developing country. 
So far, we’ve raised $125 out of the $5,000.  We have quite a ways to go, but I believe it can be done.
One well will provide clean drinking water for an entire village for twenty years.
We have 80 days left to reach our goal.  Truthfully, we can’t do it alone, but together it’s more than possible.
If you’re interested in learning more or making a donation, you’ll find everything you need to know here.

{image: source}

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

bedding for baby: a preview

  It turns out that a certain baby will have bedding in her crib after all.
I have vowed to only share sneak peeks until the whole project is finished, because I’m cruel and love keeping people in suspense. IMG_5884Here’s my progress report. The quilt is completed.  I need to add ties to the bumper and finish the ends.  I’ve yet to start or buy fabric for the crib skirt, but that’s not going to be to hard and in my opinion is still very optional.  Oh, and I’m buying sheets, because that part sounded really boring to make.  And yes, that is how I decide things.  
I really love how it’s all coming together and can’t wait to show you the finished product. 
Oh… p.s. In case you were wondering,  it’s still winter and it’s absolutely freezing, actually below freezing.  Am I the only one who thinks that a full month of winter is a bit excessive? If I listen carefully, I can hear warmer lands beckoning.  If you listen carefully you’ll hear it too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Crafternoon

On Sunday afternoon I did something that most would find crazy.  Even now, I can think of a few friends who upon reading this would be sent into a nervous panicky state.   I went to someone’s house (whom I had never met) to drink coffee and eat cookies, to make Christmas crafts with a bunch of other girls that I didn’t know.  I sure did.

Frankly, it was the best decision ever. 

I’ve been following Jessica’s blog for a while, learning about wonderful, hidden treasures in the twin cities (thank you) and finding inspiration in her creativity.  So, when she posted that she was throwing this event called, Christmas Crafternoon, I didn’t even hesitate to RSVP.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I just knew it would be amazing.

It was the perfect afternoon.  Her house was simply charming and delightful, just like her and her little family.  The coffee and cookies were delicious.  I met some new friends, we talked about creativity, blogging, cooking, Etsy, Christmas, and more.  It was wonderful to be around people who have so many shared interests.   It’s not always easy to meet people  when moving to a new city, much less people who like the same to do the same things, so this was like a breath of fresh air… and not like the frigid air of winter that is maybe here to stay forever.  PS.  It’s freezing.


{yarn wreath with felt flowers)

Stations were set up around the house and each was stocked with supplies for different projects, such as:  cake/cookies stands, yarn wreaths, felt flowers, paper garlands, and gift tags.



{paper garland hanging from my inspiration board}



  {vintage cookie & cake stand}

  I’ve especially been wanting to make some of these and after finding out that it’s just about the easiest thing one could ever do, I can’t wait to make more.

 These cookies were made by Naphtali for the swap and there were absolutely my favorite.  I took some home and they have been the perfect companion to my coffee for the past few days.

You can see more of the pictures here, as you fall in love with Jessica’s cute house.  Also, if you need any more fun blogs to add to your list of reading, check out this one and this one and this one, too.

Definitely a wonderful way to spend a cold, winter afternoon.  Thanks so much to Jessica for putting it all together.

Monday, December 6, 2010

evergreen branches dripping with sweet memories

Growing up, I remember decorating the Christmas tree with my family every year.  Sometimes, we’d just have to go out into the woods behind the house and chop it down, but on occasion, the tree would come home to us, tied on top of the car.  No matter how it came to us, it was always real and smelled of sweet pine.
My dad would string the lights and the rest of us would cover the tree in all of our favorite ornaments.  I’m sad to say that I do remember a few years when those musical, twinkling, dancing blue lights hung from the branches, but I blame the ‘90s.  Beyond those crazy little things, I know we had colored lights, large and small, and white ones too.  I didn’t know better then, but now I’d have some objections. 
But the best part was all the ornaments, with a family of five kids, you can guarantee that a majority of them were Sunday school projects and naturally, these beauties wouldn’t win any contests, but that didn’t matter because we made them.  Each of us had certain ones that WE had to put on the tree, every year, it was serious ordeal.  Then there was a mix of ornaments that my mom thought were pretty, you know, the kind of  things that moms think are pretty… but no one else does,  we never fought over those.  However, no ornaments were rejected on our wonderful eclectic tree covered in years of memories.  That’s the way we liked it.
Looking back, I can say that my white felt dove from Sunday school was probably a bit disfigured and the macaroni angels that started looking haggard and worn after a few years, but I still loved them all.  I loved the stories and memories that covered our tree every Christmas season.  It was perfect.
And then one year came the heresy of all heresies, brace yourself, it gets bad.  My parents came home from Lowes with some supplies for another  project around the house and something else that can only be described as a terribly, impulsive purchase.
A white artificial Christmas tree. 
It gets worse.
Along with that “tree” were boxes and boxes of bulbs, strings of beads, ribbons, and glass ornaments that were ALL iridescent and purple.  All of them.  White tree. Purple lights and perfectly matching, obnoxiously matching ornaments. 
We were outraged.  I mean, outraged.  Who buys a fake tree?  Don’t you know trees are green, not white?  Why do we need matching ornaments? What about all of the ones that we made and love?  How could you do this to us?  Don’t you love us?  What kind of Christmas will this be with your new fake matching tree?  What do you mean there’s no Santa?  You ruined Christmas.
I can’t be sure, but it probably went down something like that.  But, they thought it was pretty and I guess pretty was more important than ruining Christmas forever.
I like to think that we were super convincing because even after bringing that monstrosity into our home, we still got a real tree and covered it with our beautiful creations of felt and glued together, glittery noodles.   Their “tree” went in the family room downstairs, while our tree reigned victoriously upstairs for all to see.  I think we even insisted that gifts be opened around our tree too, but I might be making that part up, it’s all a bit hazy.
I even remember at some point the moment that our dear mother broke our hearts by saying that our childhood ornaments weren’t ever really as pretty as her new purple ones.  Perhaps, she thought we were old enough to handle such a cruel and damaging statement, but she was wrong and every year I remind her of this wound when I see that fake, all- matching tree.  I suppose one day, I should let it go, but I can’t say I see that happening any time soon. Besides, it’s kind of fun to bring up every single year. 
Oh, how our childhood affects us so.
My husband never had a real tree growing up, but he quickly agreed that we would be  a real tree family.  I sure picked a good one.  For the first three years of our marriage, we bought a small tree and only added a handful of new ornaments each Christmas.  This year, we bought our first big tree and it's covered with a collection of beautiful and random pieces.  I write the year on each one, so that one day we’ll look back and remember the ornaments we bought for our first Christmas or the ones that H helped pick out when he was two.  Each year, we find at least one photo frame ornament to capture that time in our lives, our family just as it was.  2007 shows just the two of us, our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs.  In 2008, there were 3.  Next Christmas, our little frame will contain a picture of four.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the volumes that will spill from those branches in twenty years.
I guess what I’m saying is that I love my real tree that smells of decadent pine and covers the floor in hundreds of little green needles.  I love how our tree says something about our family, with Santa riding on trains and sailboats, shiny silver snowflakes, Starbucks ornaments, and even a funny little bird in a striped red and grey hat.  And this year, you’ll find the ornament that H chose, a wooden zebra sitting at the very top of the tree, at first as a joke, but after a while it was clear that would be his home for the Christmas of 2010.  Each treasure hanging from the branches is more than ornament, it’s a memory and a celebration of our little family and to me that is what makes Christmas so magical.
So what about you?  We don’t all have to be the same.  What does your Christmas tree say about you?  Real or fake?  All matching? A color scheme? Covered in vintage, eclectic ornaments? Ribbons? White lights or colored?  Whatever the case, what do you love most about it?  What makes your tree so special and so magical to you?


Friday, December 3, 2010

baby growing diaries #9

If you were an insect lurking in the corner of my living room, here are some random conversations that you might have heard in the past few days. 
Scene #1  Me going from the hallway to the living room, walking in between the yellow chair and my desk.
Me:  Is this chair further back than usual?
Husband:  No, I don’t think so, you’re probably just feeling larger than normal.
I pretended to be upset for two seconds, but he was right, large is the name of the game.
Scene #2 Sitting on the couch last night, feeling the most uncomfortable ever and in a bit of a ridiculous mood.
Me:  Babe, I don’t know, I don’t remember feeling this uncomfortable last time.
Husband: Well, you just blocked that part out of your memory, because you were. I remember.
Me:  No, I don’t think so, this is definitely worse.
Husband:  Because you have a two year old that wants to jump and climb on you all day long.  Just wait until you have a whole houseful of kids running around.
Me: Yeah, we should talk about that, because I’m pretty sure that I’m not interested in a whole houseful coming out of here.  (hand gestures involved.)  I’m don’t know how many more times I can do all of this. (more gestures).
Husband:  (Laughing.)  Well, now is certainly not the time to talk about having more kids.  I know better than that.  Well wait until she comes and she’s so cute and you forget the hard stuff all over again.  After a while, you’ll tell me you want another one.
Me:  Yeah, I don’t know.
Husband: You will.
Me: Maybe. 
Husband: You will.
Me: Probably.
He’s probably right again… maybe.
Go ahead and laugh.  That’s the point. Please feel free to share any amazing things your husband has send to you while pregnant, because they’ll make me laugh and forget how uncomfortable I just might be.
and by uncomfortable, I meant glowing  and radiant, excited, and getting plenty of rest, of course.
33 weeks today.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2 of my favorite things.

Coldplay + Coffee.

1. Check out this brand new song from my friends, Coldplay.  Well, technically, we’ve never met, but I’m quite certain we could be friends.  I just know it.

Christmas Lights- Coldplay

2.  Today, as part of Starbucks’ 12 days of sharing, you can buy 1 pound of Christmas Blend coffee (my favorite) and get one free.  If you don’t know, that’s pretty much $14 of free coffee.  In my house, this means we won’t have to buy coffee for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.  Don’t judge the addiction, appreciate and respect.  I mean, don’t you use a one pound of coffee a week?

*Not every location is participating, so double check first.

So, there you have it.  Two of my favorite things.  Just for you.

Oh… and don’t forget about our well project, read more here.

Happy day.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

from the pages…

“Do you live near the river? I hope so, because people who live near running water are much nicer than those who don’t.  I’d be mean as a scorpion if I lived inland.”
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I just finished reading this month’s book club suggestion and I must say, I loved it so much more than The English Patient, which I didn’t love at all (AT ALL).  I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages and I was not disappointed.
It’s written completely in letters, which I just adore and it’s full of charming characters and captivating stories.
I highly recommend you light a fire, make a cup of cocoa and start reading it right away.
What great books have you been reading?

Monday, November 29, 2010

on marveling.

Did you read Eat Pray Love?  I have to confess that I read most of it on various Barnes & Noble trips with a tasty latte in hand.  Sometimes, I don’t want to buy books, because I’d rather buy coffee, so on occasion, I read books that way.   Am I the only one?
I really enjoyed the book and how it inspired so many people.   I find great value in a piece of writing that moves the reader from getting lost in the pages to action.  When I heard that the book was being turned into a movie, I was excited, because I do love Julia Roberts, but I was also skeptical, because most of the time movies tend to lack the true qualities of the book.  In my opinion, Eat Pray Love was another example of this.
I watched it over the holiday weekend and while I enjoyed Julia and the beautiful scenes from all her travels,  it felt flat to me.  It was like icing on cake.  Icing is delicious, but you don’t really get the full potential of icing unless it’s on a  cake.  It’s the combination of the cake & icing that makes each part taste the best.  Occasionally, a spoonful of icing is just the ticket, but an entire story or movie of just icing is less than ideal, missing the substance of the cake.
In the entire film, there was only one line that stuck with me past the rolling credits.   Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) finds herself feeling empty and uninspired in her life.  She stands in her friend’s office and declares,
“I want to go somewhere where I can marvel at something. I don’t have anything to marvel at here.” 
I mean, yes,  I want to travel, like you wouldn’t believe.  I want to see the wonders of the world, but what is it that makes us think we have to go somewhere else to marvel at something?  What beauty is all around us that we are missing, because we have our eyes closed, thinking that beauty is only found elsewhere.  If you live your life just waiting for the right moment to marvel, you’ll miss an entire existence of things worthy of awe.
On the screen I saw someone whose life has fallen apart and become unrecognizable.  She evaluated her world and found nothing worthy of marveling.  My heart broke knowing that so many people would relate.  But, rather than feeling empty and a great desire to pack my suitcase, I felt a rich contentment as images flashed through my mind, one after another. 
Because, I marvel everyday.
at this…
and this…
and this too…
and especially this.
While that is enough goodness for one’s heart to burst open, there’s more marveling in…
The way the colors splash across the sky at sunset| the first taste of coffee every morning and afternoon| feeling my sweet baby moving inside of me | the glory that overwhelms as you stand before the ocean | dear friends | holiday cheer | laughing with my brothers and sisters | a perfectly written sentence | the magical sound of a violin | thunderstorms | softly falling snowflakes | mountains | inspiring people | garden fresh tomatoes | knowing that we don’t need to have all the answers | reveling in the mystery and wonder of God… and so much more.
To many people, my life would be simply and ordinary.  I don’t even have a passport to fill with stamps from my inspiring travels.  But truthfully, I’d rather have an everyday life full of marveling  than the occasional bit of wonder.
Maybe you need to board a plane to find what your missing or perhaps, what you’re looking for is right in front of you.  I hope you find it.
Have you marveled lately?

the giveaway revealed

A while ago, I had a little giveaway on the blog, just for fun, to say thank you for reading all my ramblings and tales.  The winner actually lives nearby and so I was able to give it to her in person when she came over for coffee and scones last week.  It was a wonderful.  I miss so very much having friends over for coffee, it’s definitely one of my favorite things in all the world.  Moving to a new city and making new friends is a bit complicated, which is a certain negative of adulthood.  However, I was so happy to have Lori over for honest-to-goodness conversation.    I could use more of that in my life.
Here is a snapshot of the giveaway package.
It included some vintage jewelry, a small jar of vintage buttons, an 8 x 10 print of Silent Song, 2 of each postcard in my shop, Porch Swing and Coffee Love, and a handful of random thank-you notes from my very large box of cards.
I had so much fun putting the package together, I just might do it again soon.

P.S.  DOn't forget use the code 'BuyHandmade' and receive 20 percent off your order in my shop!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a quick and easy sewing project

Oh, hi.  Remember me? I have a bunch of projects and posts to share.  Our Thanksgiving was perfect and somehow I didn’t take a single picture, probably because I was too stuffed full of delicious food.  But, you know, there was feasting, family, football, fun games, and more feasting… and on top of all of that goodness, I found something cute in  my closet that still fit… a true Thanksgiving miracle.  And that was our holiday.  How was yours?

Last week, on a snowy Sunday afternoon, I made a nursing cover following this tutorial from Prudent Baby.  I’m quite certain nothing could be easier to make and I finally used my Hanging Cages fabric that I bought months ago.

IMG_5786IMG_5787         It took less than an hour to complete and cost about $9, mostly for the fabric.  In stores, nursing covers can cost around $30, which is a little bit on the crazy side of things.

If you’re even decent on a sewing machine, this would make a great gift for any of the new mamas that you might know.


Ok, more fun things coming up soon…


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shop news

IMG_5783    IMG_5773

1. These two scarves are available in the shop, ready to ship.

2.  From now until December 1st, use the coupon code ‘BuyHandmade’ at the checkout and receive 20% off your order, of items in shop.  *This does not apply to custom orders.

3. I only have 6 more openings for custom scarf orders, so contact me soon, if you are interested.

4.   Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Lavell’s Cheesecake Pie

This morning, I’m thankful for a husband who ventures out in the treacherous cold to work long hours, so that the rest of us can stay inside, all warm and cozy.  He also made oatmeal raisin cookies yesterday while watching his football games, because he’s the best.

Thanksgiving week is here and I think it’s one of the best weeks ever, because high on the list of all the things I love in my life, is Thanksgiving dinner.  Man, am I glad those pilgrims and Indians got together to eat.

After college, my friends and I created Friends’ Thanksgiving, we’d all travel to one location and spend the whole weekend together feasting, drinking and discussing coffee, and laughing.  One of my lovely (OCD)  friends, her name  is similar to Erica, would make menus and place cards for the table  and long before November there would be e-mails about planning committees for the event. I’m not lying.  Sadly, this couldn’t last forever, we  started getting married, having kids, no money, and those silly families of ours got greedy feeling like we were supposed to spend holidays with them… how absurd.  Truth be told, if I had my way, I’d spend all my Thanksgivings with them… and now there would be five husbands (three named Matt) and four little boys, age 3 and under, running around… I think it would be marvelous.

Also,  Thanksgiving reminds me of the few years we spent in Tennessee.  We couldn’t travel far for the weekend, because Matt worked in retail and I guess there’s a big shopping day, which required him to be there.  So, we spent those Thanksgivings with our Tennessee family at Lavell’s.   Lavell owns the barn where we got married and I dare say, she is one of the most amazing people in all of the world.  I could probably write a novel about how much we love her and so could everyone she knows.  It’s also quite possible that she is one of the best cooks on the face of this earth.

She’s the kind of person who upon entering her home, you feel like you belong there and you never want to leave.  Her hugs are magic and she is really the warmest person I know.  I mean, literally, her hands are ALWAYS warm.  And now after writing this, I miss her.  Anyways, she would feed anyone who walked through her door, as long as you called her first, to let her know you were coming… and Thanksgiving was no exception.

Among all the masterpiece dishes she would make, she also whipped up a couple simple things, one of them being, what she called Cheesecake pie.  I don’t know if she actually made up the recipe or not, but as far as I’m concerned, she did.  Last year, Matt’s sister and her family came to spend Thanksgiving with us and I made it for them.  They loved it.  They have since asked me for the recipe about four times and I think I’ve given it to them about four times, but that’s ok, they have lots of kids, making it hard to remember things.  Now with Thanksgiving only days away, taunting us with its merriment, she asked me to send the recipe and I just thought I’d share it with anyone who wanted to enjoy it.

If you are the type of person who likes exact measurements, I’m sorry, because I’ve never seen this recipe written down. Deal with it.  It’s so easy and delicious.  It’s the cheesecake for people who don’t want to spend the time making cheesecake.

Lavell’s Cheesecake Pie

1- store bought graham cracker crust or make your own

2- 8 0z packages of cream cheese, room temperature.

1- 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (or as my sister calls it, confederate sugar)

1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 can of fruit filling (I use blueberry or cherry, but you can use whatever.)

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar, starting with 1 cup and little by little,  add  more, until the mix is to your sweetness liking. (This means, stick your finger in and taste it).  Add vanilla extract. 

Spread the mixture into your pie crust and pour can of fruit filling on top.  Cover and chill for about an hour.  You could leave the filling on the side and let people add it themselves, if they don’t all like the toppings, but I prefer to add it. 



It’s so easy and people will marvel and wonder how you made this.  You’re welcome.

P.S.  This year, I’m trying this new recipe for Cranberry Cheesecake.

What are you making?  What is the one dish you wouldn’t want to miss on Thanksgiving?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Baby growing diaries #8 Bad vs. Good Questions

This morning, I wrote a long, extremely sarcastic post about silly questions to ask pregnant ladies.  I didn’t post it, but I felt better.  I do that often, writing helps me feel better and let’s me whine a little bit, even if I don’t share it with the entire modern world.  I’m still feeling rather uncomfortable today, but I just took a nap and I feel a little more like sunshine than earlier.   Now, I  think it would be funny to share a milder version of those same thoughts. 

During my baby growing posts, I often write about the things people feel compelled to say to those who are with child.  Maybe, I hope that by sharing my feelings I can change the world or maybe I just want to make you laugh.  I think it’s both.  I never want to complain much other than to a select number of people, because I know there are many people who wish they had the chance to complain about being pregnant, and I never want to take this gift for granted…  I just want to put my spin on it all, because I write, that’s what I do. So, with that being said…

Here are a few bad questions to ask your local pregnant mama.

1.  How are you feeling?  Chances are if you’re asked this in your third trimester, what you want to say is, “Pretty much, pick any part of my body and assume that it is sore and uncomfortable.”  But, I think the people really just want to hear is this, “Oh, me, I’m glowing and radiant.”  Go ahead, give them them one of those answers and report back to me.

2. Are you excited?  This one is beyond me.  I mean, OF COURSE. YES. HELLO.  You’ve been thinking about meeting this little baby for months and months, maybe even years.  Excited doesn’t even cut it.  Pick a better question.

3.  Are you ready?  Well, at this point, that’s irrelevant.  That’s a question to ask prior to…you know, procreating.   I mean, one of these days… that baby is coming out and you’re going to be ready or you’re going to have do a really good job of pretending that you are.  I tend to believe most people do the pretending bit, but isn’t most of parenting a learn as you go sort of gig?  Ready or not… here they come.

4.  Are you getting plenty of rest?  If this is your first child, maybe you can answer yes, maybe.  BUT, if you’re growing #2 or #3 or more… this is the silliest question of all time.  I mean, do people think that just because you are pregnant your other children automatically become the low maintenance types, who only need watering once a day, like chia pets?  Really.  And furthermore, whoever writes those chapters in the pregnancy books about not lifting anything heavy must have had feathers for children.


See, terrible questions.  Now, let me share some questions that would be much better to ask.

  1. When would you like to take a nap?
  2. When can I come over and clean your bathroom?
  3. What can I make you for dinner?
  4. When can I come play with your toddler, so that you can rest or run errands or shower or sleep?
  5. Can I wash your dishes?
  6. Can I scrub your fridge or discover where that putrid smell is coming from in your kitchen?
  7. Can I bring you some tiramisu?
  8. What kind of cookies does your husband like?
  9. What kind of latte can I pick up for you?
  10. How often would you like a massage?

Those are good questions, very good ones.  They are magical, life-altering, beautiful questions that would make anyone’s day.

And now I’m finished.

31 weeks today.  Glowing and radiant.  Excited. Ready.  Getting loads and loads of rest… in case you wondered.

Happy weekend.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

I decided. I ordered. It has arrived.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that shortly after finding out we were having a baby girl, as in that afternoon... I started my search for the perfect fabric for her bedding.  With H, we bought a set that we fell in love with from one of those major chain stores that sells children’s bedding, its initials are PB.  Anyways, no regrets in that decision, but this time around, there just wasn’t a new set that captured my heart in quite the same way and I decided that I would just have to make my own. 
Have I ever done this before? No.  But sometimes, you have to knit your first scarf, paint your first painting, and sew your first crib bedding… you know what I mean?
So, I began the search and a great dilemma lurked over my life.  I couldn’t decide.  I fell in love with too many prints, to the point of frustration.  Then I remembered one of the mottos  I know to be true in my life.  When you see it, you’ll know.   I mean, it worked for my husband, why not fabric? 
I narrowed down my options, which I shared with you here.  I loved all your comments, but truthfully, my heart and mind has already decided before finishing  that post.  I remember using the following words to describe one particular set, “the colors and patterns delight my artistic soul.”    This should have been a major clue, because when something truly delights my soul… it’s a keeper.  Did you guess that?
Well, it’s here.  Le tissu est arrivé. I chose fabrics from the new line Matisse,  by Alexander Henry, but it has arrived and I’m confident that I have made the right decision.IMG_5754
the fabric
(L to R) Still Life in Dove, Amelie in Dove, Anja in Dove, Color Stripes in Dove
This little cutie is always around, for some reason.  We’ve decided to keep him… and we’re collecting H’s.
Back to the fabric, I’m so excited to start. I hope to gather the rest of my supplies soon and I will keep you updated on this super project.  Any tips are welcome.  My goal is to finish in the next nine weeks, because after that I suspect that most of the creative energy will be sucked out of me by that whole newborn-waking-up-all-night-long gig.  Yikes.  Are we really doing that whole bit over again?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010



An unedited stream of consciousness post.  On purpose.

It has not particularly been a horrible day, but I can tell that I did not prepare my soul for a morning with a needy two year old.  I am certain that I have not had my fill of the Lord’s strength and his blessings of love and patience.  And my little boy, he could tell also, which is no doubt part of the cause for his moodiness.

He’s good at sensing things and when I feel frustrated and overwhelmed, he knows and he doesn’t like that, so he’s extra clingy which in return pushes me further over the edge.  Because, I just want space and peace and quiet and I don’t want him jumping all over me and wanting attention.  I want to be selfish, because that is how I’m feeling.  He wants his mommy to be happy and present and fun.

It was a bad combination.

Plus, I thought it would be possible to balance the checkbook and pay bills while he was awake, which I obviously knew better… but I thought why not.  And then the bank statement just never seems to match completely to my register and that frustrates me.  I realize math is not my strong point, so I recalculate and still the numbers don’t match.  It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  I sure didn’t need to add that to my already exhausted self, but I had a few bills to pay today and it had to be done.  No one likes paying bills, but I’m so thankful that we can pay ours and on time, and for a husband who works two jobs, so I don’t complain. 

The bills were paid and the checkbook was balanced to the best of my ability, still why don’t the numbers match.  The bank statement says we have a little more, my register says less.  I tend to go on the safe side and say less… but just for once… I’d really like those numbers to match.  And then I’m again thankful that there are positive numbers in the checkbook and I’m not wondering how will the bills get paid.  But in my humanity,  in a moment of weakness, the little boy wants juice and not milk and throws his cup.  There’s no reason for my overly irritated response, because no response would be better. But out of me pours shortness and less than patience.

He willingly goes to his room for a nap, but wants to play and stand on the bed.  He doesn’t respond well to spanking, because he doesn’t like tension and harshness.  He’s a sensitive spirit and I’m sure that he will be a tool used for me to be aware of my own attitude and actions.   

And now he naps or at least is playing very quietly in his bed and my hunger screams because I waited too long to eat and I just want to pull my hair out, not because everything is wrong, but because I hate the way I feel inside.  I’m empty and tired and selfish and grumpy.  I feel irritated and consider a rare thought, that maybe today I would prefer to not be a stay at home mom.  Maybe today, I would prefer to be surrounded with adults who have hopefully a greater sense of reason than  2 year old.  But I know those thoughts are just the frustration and I don’t dwell on them. 

Part of me just wants to take a nap, to cry and sleep and that is all.  Part of me is just itching for the moment when my very tired husband comes home to say, I NEED A BREAK.  But even in the midst of my swarming thoughts and dramatic emotions I know the real problem.  I’ve neglected the source, my source of life, of strength, of hope, of power, of patience, of love, and without that source, all this junk that I’m feeling will never go away.    I know better than to neglect it and I don’t even have a good excuse.  I know that waiting for me in His ever-open arms is all the love and strength that I need.  I know that through Him I am capable of being a better mommy today and always.  I know that through Him, I can not just consider my own desires, but set aside my selfishness for a tired, hardworking husband… who more than anything doesn’t need to walk in the door to a wife who is empty and in need of rescue. 

I eat my lunch emotionally and sit in the silence trying to drink it in as fast as possible.  But I feel like I’m not really getting air.  I just need this.  Right now.  And I feel sorry and frustrated for myself. Me. Me. Me.  And then through the halls, I hear a door slam and another cruel and unloving argument from the downstairs neighbors.  I hear angry jests and brokenness all the way from downstairs into my own home.  The desperation in their voices and the malicious exchanges are not resolved and another door slams.

And in that moment, I close my eyes and actually begin to feel like the air is making its way in, filling me, calming me… and allowing the chaos to settle and a great assurance comes rushing into my soul.  I stop and a few tears trickle down my cheek and I release my shoulders and burdens to the heavens and softly say,

Thank you for my life.

In that brief moment, after I say a quick prayer for the broken and loud neighbors, clarity fills me once again. 

My life is beautiful.  My husband is amazing.  My little boy is a dream.  I love staying home with him.  I am so grateful that I have a checkbook to balance and can pay my bills on time.  I am so happy that my life is not filled with strife, anger, hurt, and pain.  I am beyond blessed that I have a marriage that honors God and a husband is who a kind, patient, and loving man of God.  I am so fortunate that our home is not filled with stress and tension and that our little boy can be raised in a safe, happy, home where perfect love casts out fear and because of that, he can be whole.  I may be tired, but I’m not the only one.  I knew better than to balance the checkbook while he was awake and would want my attention.  I know he prefers juice to milk, this is nothing new, why should it frustrate me.  And I know better than to wait too long to eat because I am an ever worse version of myself when hungry.  I know that all the frustrations, the building angst, the exhaustion can be released and I can trade them all in for love, peace, patience, and joy.  I know that all I have to do is ask, to bask in his presence, to shut off the rest of the world and just be.  I know I can find the strength I need in his truth and love, as his spirit washes over my own selfishness.  All I have to do is ask.

Because, he’s been here the whole time, watching me irrationally try to run on empty, waiting for me to remember that I don’t need to do it on my own and that I really just need him.

I stop again to breathe in the truth that I know and release the foolishness that I have created.  Then, I let these words bring life into my soul.

He loves us, oh how he loves us.  Oh, how he loves.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creativity is doing.

I have this friend.  I’ve seen her grow and become this amazing individual in the past few years, who is creating a wonderful, healthy, and meaningful life for her family.  It’s beautiful to watch this unfold and I’m honored to call her a friend.

The other day she wrote a short and simple blog post, that has stayed with me since reading…  I don’t think she’ll mind if I share.

Every time I find myself losing time browsing the endless number of crafty blogs out there I wind up coming back to this one thought:

Creativity is not discovered in reading about someone else’s creativity.

It is found by DOING.
So I’m going to go do.

I love this, because it’s so true.  I’ve been thinking more about why I share my projects and ideas on this blog and it is not to say, “Hey, look at me, look at me!”  There are plenty of talented folks out there.   I do so because I want you to believe that you are creative and that you are capable.  I want to inspire you to pursue your wildest whimsies and deepest dreams.  And I don’t really want it to have anything to do with me, because it’s not about me.  It’s about living and dreaming and doing and trying and discovering who you are and what you love.  It’s about realizing that you have something great within you to offer the world and it’s just waiting to be released.  Perhaps, it’s been quieted by responsibilities or criticism from others, but it’s still there…  Can you feel it?  Do you believe it?

It might be a miniscule flicker at the end of a long, dark tunnel or it could be roaring within you like a great howling wind. 

Whatever it is, I hope you find it.  I hope you cherish and nurture it.  And most of all… do something with it.  Something great.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

I love that you read my blog, I really, really do, but I hope that you go beyond just reading about creativity and immerse yourself in creating, because there is nothing that inspires me more than seeing someone begin to believe in their own creative potential. 

I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.