Saturday, November 26, 2016

Decorating Shift: 3 Favorite Things

"Ok, I start to see it now. What's the name of your look that you're changing to? Whatever it is, your house is starting to feel that way." -Rena, one of the teenagers who comes over for small group and occasional babysitting. She mourned the end of my baby blue/burlap combo but respected my decision for the switch. Obviously, we only focus on big, important subjects at small group. 

I made a new little spot in the living room with a few favorite things: 
1. fun shaped mirrors from Urban Outfitters (a new favorite resource)

2. Our photo books that I made last year and will continue to make!

Last Christmas, I invested a lot of time in pictures. I pruned each year, double backed up everything, and made a photo book for each year. Artifact Uprising is the first company that meets my expectations. Matte print. Pick my own layout. Prints to the ends. And the prices are extremely reasonable. I'm sure there's a fancier way to say all that, but I don't have time for fancy lingo. These books are good y'all! My family has enjoyed looking at them all year long! 

3. My faux tapestry/mop art. I bought a $5 mop from Walmart and got a stick from the yard, then I delayed dinner prep one night and made this. I've added some braids and twists since them, but it's pretty basic. The kids think it's the coolest thing that I've ever made-and we even made a tiny one for the Barbie house. 

It's only a tip of the hat to my new look but it's still a notable shift. I'm hoping to add some wall baskets eventually. It's such fun to make any progress from images in my head to my actual home. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Captured Moment

Fern truly is an outstanding older sister. I've watched her engage Ridge to meet him where he is in the most sweet and endearing affections. She is kind, patient, fun, and loving when she plays with him. It's the sweetest relationship. 

Their new thing is that they crawl in his bed, pull up a blanket, grab some books, and she "reads" to him. He looks at the pictures, pays attentions, and stays there for a while. 

I caught them again the other day and dashed to get my camera. They didn't seem to notice that I was there, so I was able to sit and snap away. It was the sweetest capture. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


My favorite gift to give my children right now is empty time to play and roam. Their rooms. Our house. A campsite. Our yard. I love to give them time and space to fill on their own. 

My best and strongest memories of my childhood were filling the empty time that I was given. On Sunday afternoons my parents would nap while Joseph and I were left to ourselves. We loved to pack up stuff, take it outside, and turn one of our tiny porches into a ship. We loved pretend-boating. 

I'm sure there is some science behind the benefits of children filling their own time, because my brother has told me about them. I'm not down on the science-I do it because it's fun and it's cool. (Plus, with Burl in school five days a week, I know that he needs his unstructured, unplanned time to be Burl.)

Burl, Fern, and Ridge are all at the ages and abilities where I can trust them outside. After school, we might grab a snack or change clothes, then we head to the front yard or back yard to play. Right now, I pretty much plop myself down in a chair and supervise from behind a book. Third trimester ain't kickball and frisbees...

Playing outside has become a rarity in our neighborhood, and we're on the hunt for friends who are free to play too. It's not that easy these days because everyone's schedules seem full. (We're known as the ones with "kids always playing in the front yard," like it's something unique.) I read my favorite parenting article ever recently about letting kids play. This was my childhood minus the adult-curated backyard. We made our own playgrounds. I pulled out my first teeth trying to pull a big wheel on top of my neighbors' treehouse. We moved our trampoline all over our yard to find places to jump off of. And yes, we even got on the roof (my brothers more than me). How we survived with no broken bones is always our wonder... 

It wasn't that my parents RAISED us that way, like it was a conscience decision. It's just what we did. I often wonder about my involvement with my children's play. Sometimes I think I might hold them back in the name of safety, but not letting them develop can be more dangerous. 

We will continue to play outside, while I overthink things once again. Am I too involved? Am I not involved enough? It's one of my favorite things to do with them, and they are actually each other's best playmates. Watching their worlds unfold to themselves is a sweet delight.


These pictures were taken a month ago. 
Outside play currently looks different due to heavy smoke from forest fires

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Battlefield Cures

A couple weeks ago we were plagued with the stomach bug and lost all of our dignity. That's rough, but especially rough being pregnant. Woe is me. 

One of the downsides of being that sick is how isolating it is. When we are too sick to play but well enough to feel stir crazy, we use our secret weapon. We take a drive through the Chickamauga Battlefield, mainly in search of deer. This time did not disappoint: we saw two deer fighting:

It was the perfect little break to our stomach bug madness.