Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Things For Everyone

There are two things that I have loved recently.  So much so, that when I think about them, I want to give them to all my friends.  If I could buy them in bulk and pass them out to my girls, then I would.  

The first is no surprise if you've read this blog for a few months: blue mason jar soap dispenser.  Some of my friends started a cult following of all things blue mason jar, so much so that I finally checked on Etsy to see if soap dispenser jars were available.  Oh, there are plenty of options.  They are so fun and something about them make the homemaker, girly, lover of vintage, parts of me smile.

That blue-so hot right now.
That old part-so hot right now.
That re-purposed to something practical-oh, so hot right now.

{picture from HERE

My other present that I would rain upon my friends-a book.  Some of my friends, no, make that most of my friends are probably sick of hearing about it.  The book is called: Grace for the Good Girl, Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life.

{picture from HERE}

There is so much that I could say about this book, but it's going to come out all swirled together and hard to understand.  If you want to hear the author talk about it, then go here.

As a Christian woman who has walked with the Lord for a long time, I can have a hard time thinking that I'm a sinner and I need saving.

I love rules-I love to follow them.
I love lists and checking things off the list.
I love to be right.
I love to be needed and to help.

What I don't love is coming to the realization that I do all those things for the wrong reason.  I do those things for me and how they make me look to other people.  

This book helped me see that I'm pretty messed up on the inside.  I get competitive, I get controlling, and I just get ugly.  It also helped me to realize that the Lord has already taken care of all that junk and He loves me more than I know.  I'm getting to know that grace and love.

Part of me hates to share this much of my personal stuff through my blog.  (Maybe that's why I paired the serious book with the fun mason jar...insert thoughts here.)  However personal it is to share with people that I know and don't know, I'm putting it out there because I think there are a lot of women who would enjoy this book.  For those women like me who try hard, like to appear good, and don't let Jesus' grace step into the heart, treat yourself to this book.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Year John Saved Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving eve we got the call from my dad.  He was too sick to cook-which he had offered to do most of.  Oh yikes.  I called John and asked if he felt overwhelmed by this and he said that he wasn't at all.  Daniel went to get the almost defrosted Turkey, and John went to Walmart for the rest.  He went after work and after climbing with Joseph-somewhere in the neighborhood of 10pm.  A holiday eve is never the time to go to Walmart.  We did it once before and things were ugly.  

He came home and prepped the pie crust and did that brine thing to the turkey.  Next morning, he got up early and finished the pie and got the turkey going.  After things got going, we went to our city's biggest race of the year.  My brothers have been running it since their high school days, trying to win first place, but coming in top 5 or so. 

This year, Daniel got 2nd place and Joseph got 10th or something like that.  I don't pay attention after the 5th spot.

On top of saving Thanksgiving, we also had to tend to Burl.  He was possibly the sickest that he's ever been.  The night before, he slept in our bed so we could keep an eye on him.  He had more snot and more congestion that I thought anyone could ever have.  Constant coughing, wiping of the nose, and a bit of whimpering.  It was pitiful and I think my brothers were ready to take him to the emergency room.  The cool air at the race and over 2,00o people to watch helped him a bit, but we eventually took him back home and got things started again.  The boys showed up later and were put to work.

Here's the thing about brothers:  they don't really get what it's like for a girl to have a baby.   Neither one knows what a contraction is-the closest they got was "doesn't it have something to do with your ovaries, no, your uterus?"  {Is it weird that I just wrote those words?  Might be weird, but I know it was funny!  Ha!}  Even though I have about the easiest recovery that I know of, it's still recovery.  So, instead of hoping that they'll just step in and help, knowing what to do and expecting them to be sensitive, I just boss them around.  Joseph-you're making mashed potatoes, Daniel-you've got the dressing.

In between nursing Fern and tending to sick Burl, I was able to get pictures of Joseph cooking.  He picked up his knife skills from these guys and tossed in the potatoes only to find that the boiling water splashes back.

I might be teasing about them, but they are actually a big help with Burl.  They love him fiercely and can make even a sick day fun with a rowdy game of slide across the floor in the laundry basket.  He loves them back.  We're pretty sure that he said "Jovah" and "Nanul" this weekend, being the first names he's said besides Mama and Dada.  

The next day we went to John's parents house.  When we pulled into the driveway and got Burl out of the car it was something like releasing a wild bull into the arena.  Six cousins, things on wheels, and a swing with John.  It was very exciting.  

John introduced Burl to the swing: a piece of wood about 6x12 inches.  It saw so much action that it broke that day-no worries.  John, Granddaddy, and Burl went to the shed and drilled another hole for another swing.  Granddaddy's shed is close to man-cave, which is close to utopia for Burl.  

On Fern watch, she lost her umbilical cord, making her ready for a little bath.  As long as she was exposed to the warm water, sista' loved her spa treatment.  Nothing like a bath to make newborn skin look all-rashy.  Oh, but look at that hair.  Fluffy and RED!  Can't wait to brush it-they sit still like a barbie doll for that, right?  

Now that Thanksgiving is passed, we're looking at December.  We're talking schedules and trees and presents for Burl.  We like Jesus too-he's kind of a big deal when it comes to Christmas.  This thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the slow pace a newborn requires.  Slow. Pace.  Words to live by.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Quilt For Fern

Burl's quilt was not the first quilt that I made.  Before I made his, I made one for Fern.

 I'm one of those people that is really picky about clothes and decorations and things like that.  I can find something I like, but it is usually WAY out of my budget.  We could say that I have expensive taste, but that makes me sounds fancier than I really am.  As if.  

When it was time to get a room ready for a girl, I looked for bedding.  I soon decided that I would make something for her.  Truth is, she doesn't need a full quilt this early, but something inside of me needed her to have one.

Once again, I found inspiration from Serena and Lily-particularly this quilt.  I loved the layers of flowers, but I wanted something more random. 

With extra fabric from the aqua bed skirt, I made a huge aqua flower like this one.  Then, I added some white jersey flowers like I did when I made this shirt.  (Looking at it now, I wish I would have done more flowers-cause we can never have too many flowers!)

For the back, I used the wrong side of a sheet that someone had given me.  The aqua blue of those flowers matched the aqua in the flower perfectly.  Serendipity at its finest.

After three times of ripping it apart, a desperate call to Julie, 4,000 trips to the craft store, I finally got it together.  At night, when I put her in her crib, cover her up with something I made, my nurture alarm goes off, and I feel like a mom who can finally keep her babies warm.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Burl's Quilt

For each of her five children, Julie has made a quilt.  We're talking high quality stuff.  It's not a task to her.  It's not overwhelming.  It's just her way of loving her babies.  She tried to explain to me that it made her feel motherly.  I read something like that at Soule Mama.

It never really clicked in my head until it turned cold.  Burl's been in a toddler bed for quite a while now. (He was moved there after he fell out of his crib when he was 13 months old.)  He's been using those little baby blankets we received at his baby showers.  Eventually they were just big enough to cover him if he didn't move.  At all.  The whole night.  

For the month of October, I felt like an awful mother.  I would go to bed and worry that he wasn't warm enough, that he was going to be cold, sleeping there in his almost-big-boy-bed.  Keeping the babies warm is a mother's duty and I felt like I was failing.  Then, I did something about it.  

Julie told me how to make a quilt and I made the easiest quilt possible.  No designs.  No patchwork.  Just colors that I wanted for him.  Some might recognize it from here-and that's exactly where I gathered my inspiration, aka, copied it.

The first night that it was on his bed was the first night I went to sleep NOT worrying about him.  It was also the same night that I went into labor with Fern.  It's like my body wouldn't let me bring another baby into the world until I took care of the first one.  Hmm.

I was snapping these pictures right before nap time. I tried to grab a picture of Burl sitting and smiling, nicely, on the new quilt.  Well, that didn't happen.  Burl doesn't get sleepy-he gets wild the more tired he gets.  Wild he was.  Eventually, he got under the covers and let me take a picture of him.

And, finally, "he got under his covers," because I did what I was suppose to do.  I kept him warm.
Now, we're both resting easy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Everyday Occasions

I love it when holiday decorations are out of the box but still fit with the theme of the holiday.
Some people like traditional, some people like 100% uniqueness, but for me, I like that sweet spot in between.  I like unexpected, but not to the point that it turns its back on what we've always known.  I like a new take on what has always been.

For example, the Christmas green and red becomes sage and soft brown in my house, because that's how we like it.  Some people can't live without the red and the green and that's ok.  Some people go for hot pink and turquoise and that's ok too.  For us, we go with something in between. Something softer.  Something different.

When I came across the picture above on a blog, I was in love.  Blue and white pumpkins-I think they were made just for me.  With a few orange ones in there, it's oh-so-perfect.  It almost has me thinking about decorating my table-but since my mom and I are the only ones who would notice, I might not.

Whether I decorate a holiday table or not, I'll still enjoy thinking about it.  One way I'll do that is by frequenting this new blog: Everyday Occasions.  Her pictures are perfect, her style is wonderful, and she is always posting beautiful things!  Go there now and check out an array of pages:

Her Home
Her Life

The Essentials page is my favorite!  It's a list of products that she loves and she considers must-haves.  Anyone who has "household stationary" on that list is pretty awesome to me!

There ya go-yet another new blog to enjoy.  For me, I might gather inspiration from her site.  Or, with a newborn, I might just enjoy the pictures and wait for another year to copy what I see.  Either way, I'm going to enjoy the view from here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Yesterday Fern had her eyes open for quite a while.
I propped her on the couch and started snapping away.

I'm not sure how obvious it is in the pictures, but this girl is going to have red hair!  Her eyelashes and eyebrows prove it, if nothing else.  I'm so excited about this!  The name Fern wasn't official until I saw her-I wanted her to have red hair with a name like Fern.  For as long as we've talked about children, John and I have always imagined red-headed baby girl named Fern.  And here she is.

I'm always taking pictures and trying to record as many moments as I can.  As the unofficial, somewhat annoying, photographer for the family, I'm absent in the natural moments.  I try to create those natural, special moments, hit the self timer, run to be in the shot, only to realize it's blurry or off-centered or I zoomed in way to close-or just very UNnatural. 

Just recently, I gave up.  I gave up on creating those perfect, "natural" moments and went for the posed ones.  The ones where I'm posing for the camera, hoping everything works out.  It might not be a direct record of the special time I was going for, but it will still stand as a reminder.  

It will remind me of the time we were playing and having fun and I paused for a few pictures.
It will remind me what life was like with babies.
It will remind me of having them home with me.

The picture above.  Well, I was hoping she would be looking at the camera, flashing an accidental smile.  Instead, she's totally distracted by her hand.  At first, I thought this picture was a failure, but I couldn't stop looking at it.  She's so cute, she's so small, and she's so real!!!  Quickly, I feel in love with this, posted it as my facebook profile pic, and showed John as soon as he got home.

This is a memory made.  This is my moment captured.  Now, this picture will serve as a reminder of a floppy little thing that I had to prop up while she tried to chew on her hand.  I won't be able to fit my hands all the way around her tiny little body for long.  And I think that I'm going to have to print this out and frame it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fern Sleeps, Burl Plays

With a lot of downtime this past week, Burl has had his fair share of playing at home.  It's a bit more than he's used to.  He's a goer like I am-loves seeing people, loves going places, etc.  Because of his love for all things people, I thought that all this house time would be hard for him and for me.

So far, we're doing great.  I'm loving my time at home more than I ever have and he's enjoying playing with everything he can get his hands on.  It's so fun to watch him play, and it's so much fun to play with him.  When Fern is sleeping, in her crib or in the moby wrap, I get to play with him.

The temperatures were perfect this morning for some time outside.  Lucky for Burl, we let the yard get overgrown, the brush pile up, and scrap pieces of wood from pallet projects laying around for him to really enjoy himself.  

A little bit later, Fern hits the sack, flashes an accidental smile and Burl and I get our play on some more.

We watch the squirrels, we tickle, we play with tools, and 

I set the self timer on the camera to take some pictures of my little Buddy.

And even though I look tired, I have no make-up on and the ugly metal window frame is in the picture, I love it!  

This Week's Menu

Like I said earlier this week, we are being blessed by our loving community with three meals a week.  So, I'm not planning much when it comes to dinner.  However, I'm still making some things.  

We're watching a lot of TV these days (doesn't that sound just dreamy?!?)  and one of the things that came on one of the thirteen channels we have was Cook's Country Kitchen.  John loves this show, and I'm learning why.  They take a recipe, and try out all the ways to make it perfect.  On Saturday, they made Tomato Mac and Cheese, which I hope to make as well this week.
Go HERE to see how they did it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

{Right Now}

Right now I am...

{enjoying} the slow pace a newborn brings to the house
{cuddling} two babies at one time
{redefining} what a good night's sleep is
{welcoming} loving friends and family to meet baby Fern
{playing} with all sorts of new toys-mainly tools-brought for Burl
{learning} a new baby wrap
{receiving} meals 3 times a week by a loving community 
{knowing} what's coming by using this website
{welcoming} a whole new person into our home and lives

This post inspired by SouleMama's Right Now Moments

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pallet Projects

Not too long ago, I posted about my discovery and new found love for pallets.  Pallets can be found several places for free, then repurposed for beautiful, new lives!  I was warned about the chemicals that they used to treat them.  I talked to my husband.  We looked it up.  We're ok with them.  There is a bit of controversy out there, so we all have to figure out where we stand before we do this ourselves.  (Find good pallet posts here and here.)

It wasn't long until I got my hands on a pallet and got to work.  I made two wall bookshelves-each a different size.  One went into Fern's room, which is almost complete, and one is TBD.  It's painted white.  It's cute.  But most of all, it was free.  Holla!

We also used some leftover scraps to make this coatrack.  I've been needing a little rack by the door for a while now, but just haven't made it happen.  On our way to the car to go to Home Depot, I mentioned to John the scraps that were leftover from the shelves.   As seen, they worked pretty well.  

John calls it Charlie Brown's coat rack, but I think it's just perfect.  A couple hooks.  A little shelf.  Botta-bing, botta-boom.  Free solutions to a few decorating needs.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlotte Fern

There are so many things to say.  So many emotions.  I want to share them all.

For now, all I can say is that I am totally OVERWHELMED by love.  On Sunday, Fern was born and I can't believe how the Lord has blessed us with 

love for her
love for Burl
love from friends and family.

We're feeling overwhelmed by his many blessings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Waiting on #2, Remembering #1

We're in limbo.  We're waiting.  We're antsy.  We have no idea when baby #2 is going to make her appearance.  During my appointment on Wednesday, my doctor did something to try and help this baby make her appearance.  I was given an 80% chance to go into labor within 48 hours.  Pretty good odds.  Well, those 48 hours have come and gone and no baby.  Yet.

While Burl's down for his nap, I'm scanning through some pictures of his first weeks.  It makes me eager to hold him when he wakes up; it makes me highly anticipate having another one; and strangely enough it calms me down.  

Number 2 will come on her own sweet time.  This pregnancy is coming to an end.  The fun will continue on.  Right now, I'm not making to many plans.  I'm watching a bit more TV.  I'm texting my brothers random things throughout the day (with little to no response). I'm trying to stay busy with small activities.  This will happen.  Eventually.  Until then...we're just hanging out.

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