Monday, September 30, 2013

Talk to you Soon

I am officially on my way to Michigan.

No laundry. No dishes. No daily chores.

Just me and my family and a mini-van full of excitement.

We will only be gone for a couple of days but I plan on soaking up every. single. second.

Have a happy and blessed Monday, my friends.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: True

She kept her true self hidden behind the layers of self-doubt and discouraging ideas that over the years had convinced her that when discovered, she would not be enough.

Standing in the corner she watched as her fears swirled and danced and laughed through the center of the room, stealing her dream to wear a crown and be the princess that she had always longed to be. They taunted her from afar, whispering behind masks the familiar lies disguised as truths: smart, pretty, funny, brave, strong - you will never be enough.

The tears build at the corner of her eyes as the fears attempt to take hold at the center of her soul. She is shaken but she will not be broken and defeated by the voices, the fear. Breathing deep, she lifts her head high, straightens her crown, and allows her true-self to shine through.

A silence surrounds her as the fears that once danced and laughed scatter into dark corners, her voice echoes, strong and bold, through-out the room: I am enough.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's a Hard-Knock Life

I'm here to tell you today that life is not always easy. Sometimes even the smallest, most trivial things can drag us down.

Things like laundry and dishes and a dirty house. Things like your husband leaving his clothes piled on the floor and muddy boot prints across your newly mopped floor and paying more attention to his friends instead of you for an evening. Things like a teething baby and a defiant toddler and a mouthy teenager.

Life happens, and while life is what we all hope and wish for, sometimes life just feel like too much.

It's okay.

You are not alone. We all come to that point from time to time. We all have days that seemingly never end and moments where it all just feels extraordinarily overwhelming.

Breathe deep, pick up the pieces, and move on.

Tomorrow is a new day; a fresh start. You are not stuck in the mess of days that are just too much.

You are free.

Free to start over, free to make better decisions, free to apologize, free to ask for help, free to cry it out, free to smile and laugh and face each difficult day with your head held high.

Focus on the better days. Life is too short, too wonderful, to be spent in the corner crying about things that we cannot change.

Life is a celebration. 

Celebrate every moment, good and bad, for the lessons and blessings that they bring.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday: She

She falls from grace on a weekly, daily, hourly basis. With a deep sigh and a heavy heart, she pulls herself back into the presence of the only One who can take her broken mess and turn it back into the beautiful whole that He meant it to be.  Patiently she waits while He pieces the tiny parts back together, needle and thread working diligently as the healing washes over her time and time again. He whispers sweet words of love, deep and unending, encouragement, and hope as the arms that support the world wrap themselves around her, just her, and remind her that she is really this special. Tears of thankfulness and joy creep down her face as this grace overcomes all that she is.

She walks away with her head held high, ready to fight another week, day, hour. He knows that she will fall again, that she will fail again, that she will return to Him with the broken pieces, exhausted, tired, full of grief and regret, and yet He smiles at her as she walks away. He smiles because this is His daughter and He sees her heart and how it longs to please Him. He will mend and shape and allow her this love and grace as long as it takes because she is really this special, and He really loves her this much.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Potty Training - To Be or Not to Be?

Oh Henry, you are something son. I was all ready just to say that you weren't ready quite yet, throw your diapers on you, and move on today when you woke up, went straight to your potty and went pee.

Good job buddy!

You completely surprised me because yesterday, I was sure you were going to hurt yourself holding things in for so long. I watched you squirm and dance and downright refuse to pee on the potty to the point where you were standing in the middle of the kitchen practically shaking, holding a diaper in one hand (that I had refused to put on you), and pointing to your potty prize box with the other. When you could no longer hold it and started to pee on the floor, it upset you so much that you then proceeded to hold it again. You filled the sink with pee about 10 minutes later when I was giving you a bath and then didn't pee again until you had already fallen asleep and I finally put a diaper on you for bed. I had to change your diaper again because you absolutely soaked in within about 15 minutes.

I felt so bad but I also felt like we were at the edge of a break through. Clearly you know that it's not okay to pee in your pants or on the floor but you are just not excited about sitting on that potty.

We will see how today goes. I don't want to force you to do anything you're not quite ready for. I love you little man, and I'm so proud of the progress you have made so far. It's okay not to be ready yet, we have plenty of time to move on to this next stage, okay? I love you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do The Potty Dance

I have more days off this week than usual so I decided it would be a good time to start tackling potty training. We have day one under out belts and it's been...something. Henry has done fairly well, but I won't lie and say that it hasn't been exhausting. I've spent most of my day sitting on the floor next to him trying to convince him that it won't be excruciating to sit on the potty for just two more minutes or one more time.

He's been waking up completely dry after sleeping all night and at nap times, so we started our morning first thing on the potty. He went first thing and was so excited to flush it down and rinse out the bowl. About 45 minutes later we tried again and he went again. I was so proud of him and so happy that we had such a great start. The rest of the day was challenging. I managed to get him to go twice more before nap time with two accidents. He never once told me he had to go, but I started to pick up on a few little ques that told me he needed to. I put a diaper on him for a nap and he immediately filled it with number 2, I think he was holding it. After his nap, he woke up dry once again. I put him on the potty and he didn't go. I let him run around naked for about 15 minutes and then I put him on it again, and again, he didn't go. I put his underwear on him and he helped me start dinner. I noticed he was squirming quite a bit so I put him on the potty and STILL he wouldn't go! Five minutes later I noticed that his underwear were a little wet but not soaked. I changed him and put him back on the potty, again, no luck. Not even two minutes later I noticed that his new underwear were just a little wet again. It was frustrating because then dinner was done and it was time to eat. I put him on the potty, he didn't go, and threw a diaper on him so we could eat in peace. I think he is holding it and then just going enough to where the training pants aren't soaked and uncomfortable, but still wet.

I'm afraid this is going to be quite the challenge.

Tomorrow we are going to my grandmother's which is almost an hour drive. I'm hoping I can get him to go right before we leave, throw a towel in his car seat, and see how he does in the car. If he wets himself, maybe it will do him good to have to sit in it for a few minutes until I can stop and change him so he can really feel how uncomfortable it is. Who knows?!

Wish me luck as we embark on this journey! Does anyone have any tips or tricks to help the process along?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Mercy



I've spent a good deal of my day thinking about the word 'mercy' and what it means to me. I've sat and thought about the amazing grace that is mercy and the hope that is mercy and the love that is mercy and the forgiveness that is mercy, and still, I can't seem to gather my thoughts and type words (even for five minutes) that would give mercy the credit that mercy deserves.

My life would be an endless hole of despair and doubt and every other bad and negative thing that your mind could imagine without mercy.

Mercy is second, third, fourth chances.
Mercy is hope when hope is seemingly impossible to be found.
Mercy is endless love, the kind of love that has no limits or expectations or doubt.
Mainly, mercy is completely and utterly undeserving, given freely and without expectations in receiving anything back.

Mercy may be one of the only true and selfless and love-filled action, thing, feeling, that exists in this world.

This is mercy to me and still, I feel as if I've let mercy down. When I think of the mercy that has been granted on my life, my soul, I am simply left speechless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve Years

I am not a New Yorker and I did not know anyone personally who was lost on that tragic day 12 years ago today. But I do know that when those towers were attacked, and later fell, our nation changed forever and every single one of us were affected in some way.

Every year I read the same thing, over and over: 'never forget, honor your first responders today, remember those lost...'

I agree.

But today I want to take a chance to remind you all that with war there is great tragedy and great victory and we have reason to celebrate.

We can celebrate life.
We can celebrate the ending of a war.
We can celebrate the good in the world.
We can celebrate acceptance despite of race or religion.
We can celebrate mercy and forgiveness.
We can celebrate unity.
We can celebrate those who volunteer: their lives, their time, their talents.
We can celebrate the greater good.
We can celebrate the GREAT United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.

This song is one of my absolute favorites: we cannot be silenced.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It Happens

There are times when we let anger get the best of us.

We scream. We yell. We let words flow from our mouth that seconds later we wish to take back. We leave. We stay silent. We tuck it deep inside where it eventually boils over. We hit, or kick, or throw. We throw dirty looks. We talk behind backs. We hold grudges.

We forgive.

I'm here to tell you that it happens to all of us. It happens to me. It happens to your mothers, to your neighbors, to your best friends, to the woman up the block who always has it together: it happens.

Anger has caused the worst misfortunes, some of which most would find inexcusable and unforgivable. But we are only human and when our emotions, our anger, brings out the very worst of us, we have the choice to move past it.

We can ask for forgiveness. We can mend the brokenness between friends, siblings, husband and wife, mothers and fathers, and even complete strangers.

We are not bound by anger.

We have the choice to breathe deep when the rage starts in our soul and to simply walk away, let it go, let your anger vanish before dealing with the situation. It took me a long time to figure that out. Growing up with anger as the keystone, the foundation, of everything I knew.

There is HOPE.

A whispered prayer, a quiet room, a pillow to yell into, a friend on the other end of the telephone, the knowledge that it happens. Don't let a small mistake destroy you, my friend. You are worth so much more than the torture that is so easily found within ourselves when we allow ourselves to believe that our mistakes define us. You are more.

You are more than the anger.
You are more than the regret.
You are more than the hurt.

You are worth forgiveness. You are beautiful. You are needed. You are loved.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Happy Everything!

As we move through the journey of life, it seems as if the older we get, the more we understand and can appreciate our true selves. We choose to celebrate our quirks, the things that make us tick, and the things that make us a completely unique individual. No longer do we hide, or pretend, to be someone we are not...and that makes me happy.

I am a true believer in celebrating life and doing what makes YOU happy despite all other circumstances. For me, I love to create, to make something new out of something simple. I love to plan and have parties. I love to make a HUGE deal out of any and all milestones. I believe in celebrating myself and my family and my friend at any all and all times that I can.

If that makes me strange...well, I don't care!

Saturday, September 07, 2013



I want to remember this night years later when we're telling you all about the first time you called your precious puppies by name. You'll think we're just your crazy parents, I'm sure, bragging and lighting up as we reminisce about your cute little voice and how you could get SO close to saying Cohen, but not quite there with Mason. You've been saying 'doggie' for weeks now. It was actually one of your first real words and we know that's because you share a special bond with those two pups of ours. Well, of yours. You stole their hearts the day that they met you.

You've been saying all sorts of words lately and you've been saying a lot of things that Mama and Daddy can't quite make out either. I expect to turn around one of these days and you'll just be talking off our ears. I am so excited to watch you grow and learn.

So what all are you saying now, 2 months after your 2nd birthday when we could barely get you to say a word?


Those are your favorites and you draw out the vowels so it's more like dooooogie, coooookie, daaaaaddy. It's so cute.

Yellow - Mammal was trying to teach you colors and that was the only one that stuck with you.

Bye and Bye Bye

Co-wee (Cohen)
Mi-mi (Mason)

Mum (I should quit trying to get you to call me Mama and just let you call me Mum, I suppose.)


You said Layla a few times and a handful of other words we've only gotten you to say once or twice.

This list is your favorites though, the ones you will say fairly often. The one word you haven't started using that I am SO glad about? NO. Let's hope that one stays far away for awhile.

I love you so much, little bit, and I am so proud of you.

Stay my baby forever?


Explore, Little Bit, Explore

Friday, September 06, 2013

Spoiled Sweet?

This week has been...something. I don't know what's gotten into everyone around me, but EVERYONE is surprising me with sweet gifts and gestures. It's been one blessed week for this Mama.

It started with my husband deciding that he was going to get rid of his Cadillac and (finally) buy me a mini-van. I've been asking for a mini-van since before Henry was even born. I'm not a sporty person (obviously) so I see no need to trade the style of an SUV for the size and room of a mini-van. If you know me, you know I pack around pretty much everything and my car just hasn't been cutting it for awhile. I need more room, plus this allows us as a family to travel in a little more comfort. Hello nap-time on the backseat!

I hate that it's silver, but I LOVE everything else about it. It has the flip-down dvd player in the back and a SIX disc CD changer. I'm going to be in heaven. (And yes, I still prefer to listen to CDs.)

Then my best-friend surprised me by ordering one of my custom headbands. On top of supporting my crafty adventures, she also surprised me in telling me that she's going to be in town this weekend. I CAN'T WAIT! Mama could really use some girl time.

Then last night I invited my mother-in-law to dinner and she surprised me with this new mug. I LOVE IT! My obsession with owls makes me SO easy to shop for, but to be surprised, mid-week, for no reason with this little gem really made my night. It's even my current favorite color: teal. I enjoyed my morning tea in it first thing this morning.

As if my night wasn't already night, then my husband came home and surprised me with this:

This cute bird house is made from wood from the Eldean bridge which had to have a few renovations done back in 2006. This is Jeremy and I's 'spot'. He took me down below the bridge by the river to propose to me and we took wedding photos there on the cold December morning that we were married, and when we left the hospital with Henry, we drove through the bridge on our way home. He is seriously the sweetest, most sentimental person I know. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband!

I hope you all had a great, short week! I'm looking forward to the weekend. I have to work tonight and tomorrow, but Sunday I'm off for our family reunion!

And because I'm feeling all mushy, here's a few of our wedding photos from the bridge!

Five Minute Friday: Red

I don't even particularly like the color red, but when I think about my home and my life and my precious memories, it seems like red plays a prominent part of it all.

My first car was red. My prom dress - red. We were engaged beneath a little red bridge and had wedding photos taken there too. There were red poinsettias that I hadn't placed there on the alter as we exchanged vows. Red walls in our first apartment and a red truck that my husband loved to drive. Even now, five years from those 'first' reds, some of my favorite things in our home are red: the old sled that hangs on the wall with the red wreath and now the birdhouse that my husband bought me just yesterday, built from that same red wood from the bridge where we were engaged. Even our favorite sport's team is the Red's.

Henry loves the color red. Perhaps all this time, all this red, was just preparing me to have this perfect little boy who loves his red blanket, red ball, red tractor, red Mickey shirt...and I love him, little red nose and cheeks.

I suppose red isn't so bad after-all, and like all things, eventually I think I could come to love it.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Bee Happy

The house next door to us is empty and the owners have been (slowly) remodeling. They tore an addition down a few weeks ago and found this happy little bee family and their hive.

I had to get a few photos. I love how diligently honey bees work...and they don't sting, so that's a major plus!

This little bumble found it's way in front of my lens as well. I guess he was jealous of all the attention the other bees were getting.

Poor Bumble.

I grew the most beautiful array of sunflowers this year and I think they were a major source of pollen for the bees. Every flower was full of little bees working away.

Except for this one, which had a single lonely Bumble.

Poor Bumble.

I was lucky enough to have a conversation and lovely visit from this pretty blue butterfly too. He's a bit of a show off though, he kept flaunting those gorgeous wings and colors for the camera. I bet I took 20 photos of him alone.

I love spending time in my backyard, taking in the sights and the smells and the beautiful sunshine as it's setting in the west. As simple as it is, it's one of my favorite places to be.

Wouldn't you know that one of my favorite places and one of my favorite things could be turned into a gorgeous color board. I may have to do our bedroom in these colors. I just love them.

Just a reminder...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Fly with the Angels

Today I am asking that my blog friends say a little prayer for a family that I know and grew up with (and lived right next door to). One of their daughters lost her daughter last night after a long battle with a brain abnormality. She was 3 years old and her name was Amberlynn. She spent most of her life in and out of hospitals, only learned to walk long enough to become too weak to ever walk again, and missed all of those play-dates, days at the park, and careless fun that you think about when having a child. This family truly believes that Amber is in a better place, that she has earned her wings, and that she is happier than what she ever was here on earth. I had the pleasure of photographing Amber twice in her lifetime, and I am so glad that I did. Go fly with the angels, Amberlynn.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


I've been working on some crafty things to sell for this fall and these are the first things that I've finished: rolled flower headbands!

Sizes 0-18 months are all $5.00, sizes 2t-adult are $8.00.

I just love them!! I wish I had a girl to put them on! In the meantime, I did catch Henry trying this one on:

Isn't he cute?

Keep in touch as I have bib necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even boot embellishments planned for later in the season. 

Hellloooo Fall!

A Horrible Night

There are some things that I need to work on in my life, to better myself and to better the life of those who are around me. One of my biggest struggles is dealing with a toddler in the middle of the night.

I didn't have issues dealing with a newborn or even a 'baby'. But once I became accustomed to just waking up long enough to move him from the crib to the bed (which happens every night) I really have no patience for a screaming fit at 2 a.m. With that being said, I will admit that last night was HORRIBLE.

I don't know what got into Henry at 2 a.m. but after I put him in bed with us, he couldn't get comfortable and instead decided to scream and kick and carry on until I finally coaxed him to sleep. No biggie except that he was laying on my arm and after an hour it was dead asleep and dying for some relief, so I carefully moved him over and rolled over so I could get some sleep myself. Within a half-hour he was screaming and kicking again so again, I coaxed him to sleep. Repeat about 3 times and by 4:30 I was exhausted, frustrated and wanting nothing more than to get some quality shut-eye. The last time that I finally rolled over and fell back to sleep, he woke up, took a big handful of my hair and pulled as hard as he could. Talk about a wake-up call! It just made him so mad that I had rolled over and he was no longer sleeping on my tired, achy arm.

You can imagine MY frustrations as well.

At this point I had to wake up Jeremy and ask him to do something with him before I lost my cool. I am really not a happy camper in the middle of the night to start with and this was just the icing on the (very exhausted) cake. If this Mama needs ONE thing, it's sleep.

Now that I've had a little bit of sleep and can look back on the night's events, I get so frustrated with myself for not having more patience. It's hard some times to be a mother, but even when the going gets tough, I want to be the kind of mother whose kids will look back and know that I tried my very best.

P.S. - What color combinations are you LOVING for this fall? I've got some super cute craft ideas in the making and I need some color inspiration!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Craigslist Joe

Jeremy and I watched the documentary 'Craigslist Joe' on Netflix last night and it's been floating around in my mind ever since.

Specifically this: It seems like those who are willing to help others who are less fortunate are actually less fortunate than the majority of others themselves.

If that's true, then I always hope to be a little less fortunate in order to be a little more compassionate.