Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm still blogging, but I have moved!!!

Hi, friends!  I have realized that every now and then people will still visit here {and I'm so glad}, but it's been a minute since I last posted.

Well, I wanted to tell you that I'm still blogging!  Just in a new space...

I would love to have you so click over and join us!

See you there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Can I?

Do you mind?

I know it's been forever, but...would you care if I just acted like we've been chatting for hours and never skipped a beat?

I just need to get stuff out, you know?  Stuff that's building and I don't know where it's going or what's happening really but to my heart it's feels big.  And it seems to be big on lots of hearts around me...bloggers I read, friends, pastors, authors....I see threads all over the place that look slightly different from one another, but....I'm thinking God is knitting together some kind of big, wonderful, fuzzy blanket with it all.  Except it's the uncomfortable, take-you-on-a-magic-carpet-ride-drop-you-in-the-middle-of-no-where-and-then-wrap-you-back-up-again kind.

I'll back up a little.  This summer I read 7.   It wasn't revelational in that it was a brand new message I had never heard before.  It was more like the biggest spoon ever that stirred an already bubbling pot.  I won't tell you everything about it, but I would encourage you to read it.  (If video recaps are more your thing, Jen is doing that here.)

I've been restless for awhile...years.  I don't know why exactly, but if you were to talk to me about adoption or giving to the poor or going overseas to love orphans or downsizing to give it all away to those that really need it for more than 5 mins, I would cry on any given day.  And I'm not an easy crier.

Sure, we've talked about adoption.  A lot.   We dream about having all this money to give away,  We used to be convinced that we would be living overseas right now.  We went into teaching to have the summers off to do missions trips.  We want to give and be givers as a way of life.

But then life happened, you know?  And here we are.  We live in a neighborhood, go to church, see our families, had 3 kids, teach middle schoolers, started a business.  We don't live extravagantly by any means.  Heck, we haven't owned a car made in the 21st century ever.   Our budget is very tight and we have to be really careful.  But we have a lot.  And we are so distracted by all the moving parts that just keep life going.  I feel pretty sure you know what I'm talking about.

So, I don't know what's going on, but if the Lord has someone else say the word "coasting" to me, I might faint.  He's speaking very clearly to my heart that He doesn't want us to just coast.  That message is everywhere.  The message of excess is everywhere.  The message of true fasting and praying before Him is everywhere.  The message of having a heart that's in tune with His heart is everywhere.  And if I put my ear to the ground, I hear hoof beats...and lots of them.  There is this haunting feeling in my chest that He's bringing change to our little family.  But it's bigger than that. This restlessness and conviction feels widespread and people are changing their lives...have you noticed that?  They are downsizing and living with less.  They are adopting.  They are giving away what they have.  They are caring for the poor.  They are loving their neighbor.  They are serving when it's hard.  They are returning to the Word and examining their lives honestly.  They are responding to Him calling.  They are becoming more available. They are finding a richer life.  They are opening their hearts.  He's going in.

I want in on that.

The tension is between what I think that looks like and where I actually am.  I struggle with that a lot.  I don't feel set up to live radically the way I thought I would in college.  Life feels very ordinary.  Yet He brought me to this place.

For now, there are a few little tugs that I'm just going to be obedient and act on.  The Lord has brought a few little opportunities to my shop that I'm cautiously excited about, but nothing big.  I'm learning to just respond to the need put before me.  They seem small and insignificant sometimes.  Certainly doesn't seem life changing for anyone, but...I'm not God so I guess I don't get to write the blueprint on this life, huh?

Loving this precious nugget so much these days:

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.
 Let the wicked forsake their ways     
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, 
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.

 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,    
 so are my ways higher than your ways   
 and my thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55: 6-9)

"If my people who are called by my name 
humble themselves, 
and pray and seek my face 
and turn from their wicked ways, 
then I will hear from heaven 
and will forgive their sin 
and heal their land."
(2 Chron. 7:14)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kindergarten Jitters

So, it's been a little while, eh?  Is your heart fonder towards me?  Some stuff has happened since my last blog (like I had a baby) and there's so much I could say, but this post isn't really from me.

My mom, a kindergarten teacher of 26 years, and I were talking on vacation this summer about Isaiah starting school this year.  We've had approximately one bajillion conversations about this recently and I think I have surprised both of us with my level of neurosis surrounding the matter.  Since a number of my friends are in the same boat, I asked her if she would mind writing a few notes on getting know, if I were to ever blog again.

We got home from vacation and there it was.  A polished document in my email complete with titles, headers, bold print, etc.  I mean, it's clear where I got all my great grammar.  (You're supposed to be agreeing with me.)  So here are a few pointers from my beloved mom who is never, ever, not ever wrong, but please understand that these are simply her suggestions based on her (pretty vast) experience.  I have not consistently done everything that she wrote, but I will tell you like she tells will be fine, honey.

Ways to Prepare For the First Days of Kindergarten

Kindergarten jitters are normal and each child responds differently. There may be a range of emotions. Here are some suggestions to make this transition time smoother.

Address fears:
What if no one likes me? Review how to make introductions: “Hi, my name is Joe. What is yours?” Demonstrate how to make small talk at recess or lunch time using stuffed toys or dolls. Talk about taking turns and sharing.

Talk about how teachers are nice; they’ve chosen to work with little ones because they love them. Emphasize how your child can trust the teacher and talk to her about fears or concerns. (Remember that rumors are reports without facts to confirm the truth) One person’s dreaded teacher can be another’s favorite. Remain open-minded and model respect by not discussing her in front of your child.

What if you don’t pick me up on time? Explain how he will arrive and go home from school. Prepare him for the routines of arriving and leaving school whether his mode of transportation is car, bus, daycare van, or walking with parent.

What if I have to go to the bathroom? Assure your child he will have bathroom times in school. Discuss what to do if he needs to use the restroom in class: raise hand to ask permission. Make sure your child can get into and out of clothes quickly during bathroom time. Buttons, snaps should be easy to fasten for him. Make sure he knows to always flush and wash hands. Your child’s teacher will most likely ask for an extra change of clothes including underwear and socks in a labeled plastic zipper bag in case of accidents.

Practice some regular school routines such as: raising hand to speak, walking in line (with a “hand on the hip and a finger on the lip.” Always face the front of the line watching the person ahead of you so that you know when to walk and when to stop. Remember: “No talk, no touch” the 2 “T” rules.) Talk about staying in his seat unless he has permission to leave. Don’t worry if he doesn’t “get” it. We go over and over this during the first few days of school.

What if I get hungry? Discuss the school cafeteria and how everyone sits together and eats lunch together every day. Usually we eat quietly for the first 10 minutes and then can talk quietly to our neighbor when we are finished. Discuss eating quickly as we only have about 20 minutes. Try eating lunch @ 11-12 without snacking before. You may need to taper snacks to accomplish this. Rehearse lunch time. Some juice packs have straws. Teach your child how to open it. Practice opening other lunch items together. Reassure him that his teacher will help when he cannot open items himself.

Ask your child what questions he may have about starting school.

Review cutting with scissors; coloring with crayons; naming colors, shapes, numbers and letters he may already know (although it is not an expectation).

Shopping for school may help to generate excitement for school. Allow him to make some choices. Think about purchasing clothes (especially jackets, pants and shoes) that are kid-friendly. Can your child easily put on or remove it (especially during bathroom time)? Buy Velcro closures while you are teaching your child to tie his shoes. ***Label all jackets, sweaters, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. with your child’s name!

Make sure your child goes to your school’s open house. Take a little tour. Look for the cafeteria, bathrooms, and playground. Practice walking to class. Help your child familiarize himself with his new classroom. Find the classroom bathroom, etc.

2 weeks ahead—ease into new routine of awaking at time needed for school, eating healthy breakfast. (Studies show children who eat breakfast do better in school.) Go through routines of getting ready. Teach your child what he needs to do independently to get ready quickly (getting dressed, making bed, etc.) Allowing your child to make choices (clothes, food, and school supplies) will help independent skills to increase. Making clothes and even food decisions the night before may make a more relaxed morning. Where will your child put his backpack every day after school? Where/when will he do his daily homework? Be sure to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading together.

Sometimes the first few days are difficult for parents and children to separate. There may be tears of both sides. Check yourself. Your worries and feelings of anxiety will transfer to him. Take care he doesn’t overhear you talking about your concerns. Modeling confidence and a positive attitude will help your child. Prepare your child by telling him ahead how you will say good bye. A quick firm but loving good-bye is the best way to go. Comfort him and tell him the next time you will see him. Reassure him that you will pick him up on time. Teachers are nearby to comfort with hugs and kind words. Leaving a small picture of your family may help to comfort your child. Leave brief love notes in his lunch box.

Your child will be hungry and tired when arriving home. Provide a snack and some down time.

My personal request: Many times a child will go home and relate happenings at school. That’s great and I certainly encourage that. Just remember this is coming from a 5-year-old perspective. He may not relay it exactly as it occurred. I am not saying your child is lying (although they will try to deceive us on occasion, much to our chagrin); however, it may be a difference in perception. Please give your teacher the benefit of explaining her standpoint if you have concerns about what your child says. Do not assume the worst. I usually tell parents that I will believe half students say about them if they will believe half of what they say about me. :)

Note: I welcome new and better ideas, suggestions, or questions. Feel free to email me at . I promise to respond.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Welp. We've moved the boys into the playroom/now-their-bedroom, but their sleep arrangements are very temporary (the full bed they were sleeping in is being converted back into a crib). Right now they are are sleeping in a tent filled with blankets and pillows. It's the one they sleep in at Grammie's house and she was kind enough to let us use it for awhile. They are absolutely thrilled.

But it's not a bed.

{Manny insisted on being in every one of the pictures I took.}

Yesterday, I sat on the floor in there for a long time and just kinda looked around. It's a small room and there's a lot of stuff crammed in it. I'm not happy with it (shocking!) and keep thinking that there's a better way to set it up.

{a glimpse from the door}

A few things that need to happen in there to make it more functional:

  • New paint. The bright green was from Isaiah's jungle themed nursery 5 years ago. Yuck. I'm thinking a soft gray.
  • Take down all nursery shelves and decor. Yep. 5 years old.
  • A bed. Preferably bunk beds. We have a set from my parent's house, but I thinking more and more that they are too big and will completely overwhelm the room...which is not hard to do.
  • Some vertical storage. Maybe either a 5 shelf bookcase with bins at the bottom to corral things, hanging shelves or a mountable cabinet of some sort. I want to be able to store things out of a little boy's reach. :)
  • Possibly move all the boys clothes out of the dresser and into the closet so we can free up some much needed floor space...but then, we would possibly need some more storage options for non-clothing items now stored in the closet.

    {said dresser. a hot mess.}

{here's our current toy storage area from Ikea. we really like it.}

I think this is the bed we're leaning towards. It's $199 at Ikea and I just found it on craigslist for $110 including a cute canopy. We might go for it.

The downside is that we lose under-bed storage. The upside is that it's super compact.
A few more options from our friendly neighborhood Ikea (we like cheap and efficient around here)...

{for easy closet organization. $3.00}

{A $2 wall shelf?!}
{cute and inexpensive brackets}

{a wall mounted storage center that uses bins like our toy storage}

{I love this pack of 3 baskets.
Especially hanging from wall hook
and at $5 for all 3.}
{and speaking of wall hooks...aren't these cute?
they are also rubber so there are no sharp edges and are
$2 a pop.
every little boy needs a place to hang his cape.}

{a darling basket for all the stuffed toys I thought
I would never have as a mom of boys. $5.}

{a big basket option though I think I like this more
for the nursery. $20}

Some of my inspiration....

I love that they're using the Ikea bed.

So nice and neat.

They almost have me convinced that a little boy's closet could actually look like this.

Not a huge room but they seem to make good use of storage space. I might need to get that pillow. :)

I just love so much about this. Check out that curtain rod.

I've shared this picture before, but I really like the idea of them having a place to be creative.

Within reason.

I love this option for storing books. I mean, they're spice racks for crying out loud!

Now an interesting idea! Not sure I would be able to maintain sanity trying to keep it looking neat though. You give me much to think about, Pinterest.

Another great use of vertical storage.

More spice racks for storage... on the side of a dresser. I don't know who thought of this but I want to kiss them on the mouth.

I mean, seriously! This is one of the coolest kid rooms I've ever seen. That momma is BA and her son should bring her flowers every day of his life.

This one stops my heart a little.

And there we have it. I can't even let myself think too much about decor until I can figure out how this little space is going to function. I can almost see it though....almost.

So, here's the most important part of this whole post cause I need fresh eyes and a lot of help, people: what would you do?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinterest Project: Mini Garden in a Crate

About a month ago, Josh brought clementines home from Food Lion in this crate. I was more excited about the crate than clementines. I LOVE crates, but just never could justify the prices I was seeing in stores.

Now that I had a couple of these beauties, I set out for some ideas on how to repurpose them. Here's the one I settled on....

The blogger from the pin decided to plant paper whites, but I was dreaming of my garden and decided that this is where I would start my seeds and maybe start a little indoor herb garden.

I still can't believe how easy this was. Here's what I did:

I lined the bottom with a plastic bag...

Put some rocks in the bottom for drainage...

I trimmed the excess plastic and tucked the sides of the bag down where you can't see it as well....then filled the crate with Miracle Gro organic garden soil. I love that stuff!

The only thing left to do was decide which seeds I wanted to start with....

I decided on parsley, basil, romaine, spinach and swiss chard. I let the seeds soak for about 48 hours in water. I only meant to let them soak overnight, but you know how it is sometimes, you forget everything. :)

So, when I finally planted the seeds, the romaine seeds had already sprouted and it only took about a day for the little green baby leaves to pop up out of the soil. Love that!

I couldn't find my popsicle sticks I would normally use to label the seeds so I just settled on pieces of paper taped to the back of the crate.... not going for perfection here.

The crate lives on a floating shelf in our kitchen right by a sliding glass door that gets tons of light. I think the seedlings are very happy there.

I've seen where people have painted their crates and stenciled "Herbs" across the front (here's a really cute one). You could also do a coat of chalkboard paint and write on it....tons of options here. I just happened to like the crate the way it is. Maybe I'll do something like that later, but right now I am absolutely craving bright color. :)

Aren't they cute? Now, if I could just tell them all apart, we'd be in good shape! ;)

A Little Progress....

I'm pretty sure I'm moving into the more, um.....stationary....part of my pregnancy. At 32 weeks, it now requires noticeable effort to get up and down and do a lot of standing and walking, etc. Don't I sound sad?

So there's a reason things are moving so slowly on getting ready for this little girl....or anything else for that matter. However, I did make a little progress on her closet. As I've said before, a big to-do item was to move all of Manny's clothes and shoes out of that closet and into the other closet that he will now share with Isaiah.

Here's what the nursery closet looked like before (please excuse all the blur):

{Top hanging rack/shelf....what little baby girl doesn't need
a very old and poorly made trumpet?}

{what you see when you look to the left. My wedding dress,
luggage, a changing pad, little pants and onesie for Zoe}

{Lots of storage drawers for pants, socks, underwear,
pajamas, misc shoes that don't fit...}

{To the right: more shelves filled with more shoes in
an upcoming size, sheets and bedding, randomness}

And what surprises does one find when rummaging in the back of a closet that never gets cleaned?

One's husband's childhood Teddy Ruxpin, Grubby the Worm and all the various tapes and books that go with them. Did anyone else have those? His parents were cool parents. :)

Anyway, so I went through Manny's clothes and shoes (he had SO much thanks to hand-me-downs) and packed up anything that I didn't absolutely love. I filled up a huge bin. That was a beautiful feeling. I also went through Isaiah's and edited it down too.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. I was putting Manny's clothes into the closet and dresser that formally only housed Isaiah's things and realized all fit! And there was room left over! That was one of the things I was most worried about, but having a revelation that children just don't need 20+ shirts was such a gift and I feel so much better about how we're going to make all this work.

We're just going to live with less and it's SO freeing!!!

Moving's Zoe's closet now....
{Sigh. All those little hangers just waiting for
baby girl clothes. Makes me kinda giddy. I'm not sure what
I'm going to do with those fabric covered
canvases I've had forever. I just thought they looked
cute there for the moment. That shelf will actually hold
her laundry basket.}

{To the right: bedding, blankets and things waiting
to dress her crib. I didn't take a pic of what's to the left, but
I cleaned it out and now it just has my wedding dress, Josh's Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby
and our suitcase. There's room now to store more stuff if we need to.}

{Cute little plush hangers.}

{All the empty drawers that will be so useful
since the room is too small for a dresser. Still not sure what to do
with that shoe organizer.}

Anyway, so there's our little bit of progress. I'm so ready to tackle the rest of her room now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're Getting Ready!

I have all these topics running around in my head to write about eventually, but right now I find myself only able to focus on one thing....getting ready for this baby girl.

My absolute favorite OB in the whole wide world told me Tuesday that he is going to have to travel unexpectedly on the day we were scheduled for my c section. So now Zoe's eviction deadline is one day closer...April 19th. Aaaaaaaah!!!

I am in the process of moving the boys clothes into the playroom (their new bedroom) so we can start setting up the nursery. You can read about some of my house goals here, but I thought today I would just post a little more inspiration I have for her room (not that it will actually look like these pictures). :) For some reason, this helps me clear my head a little.

I will start by saying that I am not frou-frou. A pepto-bismol room is not what I'm going for. I'm finding myself drawn to a neutral background with lots of brightly colored accents. And, of course, I always love a touch of handmade and vintage thrown in.

{Prepare for sensory overload...}

I love yellow! I'm planning to paint her changing table a beautiful, buttery shade of happiness. :)

Our nursery is tiny and this one is not, but I love all the little accents.

This picture is one of my favs because it shows what we're working with...a dark wood crib and yellow changing table.

Oh how I love a little vintage!

Look at that turquoise chandelier!

Rick-rack in the dresser/changing still my heart.

And inspiration for some of the smaller details....

Fabric poms. So full and lush. I'm hoping I have the energy to make a couple.

This is a definite for her room. Thankfully, I have tons of fabrics and have already bought the embroidery hoops. :)

I read the instructions for this mobile and am pretty sure I can do it with some shortcuts (like hot glue and no sewing). So happy and cute.

The next 3 are from a NC artist and I am completely smitten with her work. She's super affordable, a fellow etsy-ian and her pieces are just so darn whimsical and happy. I plan to frame one of these for Zoe's room and I hope to get another one for our kitchen. These are my 3 favs for the nursery.

Ladies and Gentlemen....Katie Daisy.

I'll be sure to post updates on her room as we make more progress, but if you have any ideas for me, do share!

{Linked with New Nostalgia}