Tuesday, December 22, 2009

for the teachers

We had some fun last week getting the kids' teachers gifts ready.

They were quick, easy and budget friendly. And green. (Bonus!)
I let the kids choose jars from the "jar drawer." Then we glued a votive candle into the bottom of said jar. Tied some bits and bobs from the sewing box around the neck of the jar. Added a jingle bell, and voila!

Monday, December 21, 2009

the most wonderful time

We had our own little family Christmas celebration yesterday.

The day began as any other Sunday. The baby woke up. I pretended to be asleep. Trying to wait out my husband...who would wake up and get the baby? (I totally rock at pretending to be asleep.) Daddy went to get the baby and then downstairs to start the coffee. I descended as soon as I was sure my cup of coffee had been doctored with cream and was waiting for me by my chair.

We visited, coffee in hand, while the baby cruised around the furniture. The big kids woke up. Excited. They remembered that it was The Day. Present opening day.

Now every Sunday, I sit around too long. Yesterday was no different. Once I realized the timewas getting away from me, I ran around like a crabby chicken with its head chopped off. Ironing clothes for everyone. Mentally going through my wardrobe trying to figure out what I had to wear. What was clean? What wouldn't need ironing? Do I still own black tights?

We managed to get out the door without too much fuss and about 3 minutes to spare.

Church was nice.

We came home and I started to prepare our meal. The big kids helped watch the baby. Daddy shoveled the driveway. I asked my girl to help set the table. At one point, she had hopped up on the counter to reach some fancy glassware. She hopped off without looking and landed on the baby.

And I. freaked. out.

"Get up to your rooms," I hollered to the bigs. Feeling a tantrum of epic proportions about to erupt. Out of me.

I picked up the baby (not exactly still a baby, but unless and until I have another, he owns the title) and snuggled him. He was fine. I called outside for Daddy to come in. He took a turn at snuggling, while I went upstairs to apologize.

My girl had hidden herself in her closet. She is so tenderhearted and was completely forlorn. My son had been sitting on his bed pontificating. Loudly. I called to both of them. We talked. I said I was sorry for the way I reacted and that the baby was just fine.

We resumed all preparations.

Ate our meal: Chicken Kiev, mashed potatoes, The Green Bean Casserole, scalloped corn, stuffing.

Cleaned up the kitchen.

Opened presents.

Unpackaged toys.

Played Battleship and Connect Four.

The boys went for a coyote drive. The girls played more Connect Four. The baby napped.

A lovely time was had by all.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Each morning I bring the big kids to school, come home, put the baby down for a nap, make beds, start laundry, wash breakfast dishes, vacuum.

Every morning, it's the same. There is something about a freshly vacuumed floor that makes me feel calm.

This morning was no different. I got all my stuff accomplished, and soon it was time to go and pick up my boy from preschool. On the drive home, a horrible choir of noise burst forth from the back of my vehicle. I'm not certain, but one or more of my ears may have bled as a result.

We walked into our freshly vacuumed home.



Silence....for 1.7 seconds. Someone wanted a cookie. Her name was me. Me got a cookie. But then I had to share. I gave everyone a cookie. I was trying to purchase quiet with baked goods. It worked!

I sat in the silence. It was beautiful.

Then I looked around. Crumbs. Everywhere.

And so it begins again.

The cycle of my life begins and ends with a vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

mandatory break

My computer died last week. A slow, painful, viral death. Fortunately for me, my brother-in-law is a computer surgeon...and works computer miracles.

I was forced to go several days without access to the outside world. It was painful at first. And oh so revealing. I can't tell you how many times I mindlessly walked to the computer thinking I'd quickly check my bank statement, or look up a recipe, or look at my inbox, or turn on Pandora, or stream Speed Racer from Hulu. I'm addicted. And I didn't even know it.

I had to come up with other things to fill my time. Things like;

Playing Memory with my boy. (Who, by the way, "wasted" me every time. And I was actually TRYING.)

And baking Christmas cookies with my girl.

And having wild dance gymnastics on the kitchen counters. My kids can boogie.

So, while it was a painful mandatory break in the beginning, it turned out to be a blessing. I didn't realize just how much time I waste poking around on the computer. I've given myself some limits. I might have to take some drastic measures.

Facebook, you might just have to go if I'm ever going to have a chance at toasting that smug little Memory Champion.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Crazy

On my way home from dropping the kids off at school this morning, I drove past a city park. The frost was clinging to the weeds in the field. Such beauty.

I pulled into the lot, and sat there for a long while.

Taking it all in...

Lately, I've been wrestling with myself. With my thoughts. With a little part of myself I've named "The Crazy." The Crazy changes its focus often. Sometimes The Crazy is worried about kidnappers. Sometimes mice. Sometimes lice. Sometimes cancer.

The worries are always real things. But the intensity with which I focus on them does not equal the odds of their occurrence.

I've been praying about The Crazy. I'm recognizing a pattern. When I pray about my fears, I'm always bargaining with God. "So if you promise to never give us lice, I will promise to always be obedient." (Or something to that effect.)

As if I can manipulate Him. Which I know that I can't. But I still can't shake those contingent prayers. "My life is Yours. But PLEASE don't let my kids get cancer." Somewhere along the way, I connected total obedience to horrible trials and tribulations. And because I am a control freak of nature, I try to bargain with the trials and tribulations that may or may not befall me. "You can have my arms amputated as long as my children stay safe from sexual predators."

(I am feeling REALLY exposed right now....but am hoping that someone will be blessed by The Crazy. So here's some more...)

Back to the city park: I sat there and prayed. "Lord, I want to be able to give myself completely to You. But I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what that will look like. Please don't let my kids get scabies."

UGH! I couldn't shut off that conditional trailing thought.

"Lord. Take away the worry. Come what may, just give me Jesus. Give me strength. Give me courage. Give me peace."

As I drove out of that parking lot, I think I might have run over Please don't let my house burn down and Help us to never get bed bugs.

And so far since, The Crazy has been pretty quiet. I'm glad. Because The Crazy almost completely eclipses The Joy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

because, sometimes, I'm a genius

Years ago, when my husband and I were first married, we lived in the same town as my Grandma Ruby. Many mornings I would stop by her house on my walk to work.

Grandma Ruby could knit and crochet like no body's business. One cold morning, I stopped in without mittens on my hands. When I stopped again on my way home, she handed me a pair of mittens (and a hat) that she had whipped up that afternoon.

While walking the rest of the way home with my new mittens warming my hands, I had a thought. A thought about my sisters and me and our future babies. Grandma Ruby was getting older, and I didn't like to think about it, but it occurred to me that she might not be able to meet all our babies. Her future great-grand babies. So the next day I asked her if she would be willing to make some baby blankets. I told her I'd love to have a blanket made by her to give to each one of my sisters for their first baby. She was very willing and so excited.

On my lunch break, I stopped by the Ben Franklin across the street and picked out the softest white yarn I could find. I dropped it off on my walk back home. I don't remember exactly how long it took her to complete the blankets. Maybe a week? Probably less. She made five. One for me and each of my sisters, and one for my sister-in-law, Kara. (She loved Kara, and wanted her to get in on the blanket action as well.) They were each different and wonderful. I carefully stored them, and waited patiently for the day when I would give them each away.

Grandma Ruby was only able to meet one of our babies. But each sister received a special Grandma Ruby blanket for the birth of her first baby.

On Saturday, I get to give away the last blanket lovingly made by my Grandma Ruby's hands. I know for certain she prayed for the baby that would receive this blanket. And for the mama that would place it over her sweet babe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

for Annie...

...we'll see if they work...
...if not, you know I don't mind cranking out more. :)
{the colors look a little off, it's a gloomy day, so I can't get a good shot without the flash.}

Saturday, November 21, 2009


We've been liking Father Knows Best on hulu.

(Wish they had more than the first season available. )

Friday, November 20, 2009

mass chaos

If someone were to happen upon my house right now, they might think we've been burgled.

The rocking chair is tipped on its side so the baby can't crawl into it, stand, and rock. (While laughing with delight.) There are chairs all over, as make-shift gates...since the gate I bought on Monday has already been broken. Toys mark a Hansel and Gretel-esque path through the chaos.

Tangible evidence of what I'm most thankful for this upcoming holiday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

high school baggage

I've been thinking. Which is something I haven't had the luxury of doing for a few months. When I'm on auto-pilot that part of my brain shuts itself off. Conservation. Or protection. Or something.

But the thinking began when I was doing my hair. I thought about trying something a little different. A little jazzy. But then I stopped and thought, "Wait a minute. Who do I think I am? I'm not someone with jazzy hair! What will people think? They will think, 'Who does she think she is? She's not someone with jazzy hair!'"

And so I didn't have jazzy hair. I let myself be defined by my own made up thoughts about other people's thoughts about who I am. (Did you follow that? Extend some grace, please. My thoughts have been shut off for a while, so they're a bit rusty.)

So then I thought about my thoughts. And about why I would care if people actually had those thoughts about my identity. (Thoughts thoughts thoughts....just trying to wear out that word. It looks strange if you type it out too many times.) I traced those feelings back to middle school. The time when you are tyring to figure out who you are. When all too often we let ourselves be defined by the people around us. We let them dictate what we look like. How we act. What we say.

Why do we do that?

Why did I do that?

Why am I still doing that?!

No more, my friends! No more!

There is only One that can define who I am. Only One that I am going to listen to. And, frankly, He doesn't care about my outward appearance. If I want jazzy hair, or no hair, or blue hair...He loves me just the same.

I might even become a hat person. A hat person that wears huge jewelry. A hat person that wears huge GLITTERY jewelry!

There is no stopping me now.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lamp ReVamp

I have an awkwardly shaped living room. In my awkwardly shaped living room, I have an angled sofa, with an ugly lamp behind it. The lamp was one we purchased for around $10 when we were first married. You know the kind; black with accents in brass and green glass? From the '90s? That kind. Some where along the way, I spray painted it all green. Not good. Not good at all.

Well, I got SO sick of that stupid lamp, that I began a nationwide search to replace it. However, I have exactly zero dollars to spend on a new lamp. And I don't steal. So, my options are pretty slim. And none. None options. But! I have an active imagination and too much time on my hands AND a glue gun. Plus I had all of these things:

I cut apart that old lamp shade and used the bottom ring. I smooshed it into an oval shape and stitched some fabric around it. I borrowed some wire from the garage for the bottom oval. Stitched the fabric to it, and slipped it all on top of the old lamp's original shade. It just rests there. To cover up my goofy stitching, I glued some red ribbon around the top, bottom and inside bottom of the new shade. Then I pulled some loose stitches up through to give it a little rouching.

It's not what I would go for if I had, say, $500 for my nationwide lamp search, but it works for today.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Off for a fun weekend

Praising the Lord for a good mother in law, and brother's in law that marry well! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


I saw a post by Elizabeth Esther a while back. She grew up in an abusive, legalistic, fundamentalist church. She was saying how when she was little, she thought she was going to go to hell because she loved her mom more than God.

Her blog is one that I stumbled upon, and spent a whole bunch of time reading. It's hard to imagine some of what she grew up in, but some of it struck a chord with me. I was not raised in an abusive, legalistic, fundamentalist church. Thank God. But I think every church and every believer is in danger of becoming sidetracked. We can easily narrow our scope to include only the pieces and parts of Scripture that pertain to our pet issues.

There are many times I want to stand up in my own church and scream to my fellow congregates, "LOVE! What about the love??!!"

How many things would snap into focus if we would focus on loving? Not loving sin, but loving sinners?

Not being in love with myself, but being in love with Jesus?

And that's where the chord was struck reading Elizabeth's post. I remember when I was young feeling bad because I didn't love Jesus more than my parents. When I met my husband in high school, it seemed like I loved him more....and I felt guilty. I didn't worry about hell, but I knew that my love priority wasn't in the right order.

But how do you correct that?

How do you make your heart love?

I've been mulling this over for a while. And it's seems so simple. The real questions is, how can you love someone you don't know?

It's hard. But once you know what this person has done for you, once you begin spending some time with Him, and once you read His love letter to you....He corrects the order.

He makes your heart love.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

on a Saturday

Daddy took the big kids to the lake today...enjoying what might be the last warm autumn Saturday of the season.

Daddy brought a rod and tackle box.

My girl brought a sketch book and pencils.

My boy brought three plastic army guys.


I'm amazed at how perfectly it captures who they are right in this moment.


Mama and baby stayed home to nap. Which also speaks to the moment.


Happy Halloween. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, it was bound to happen.

My favorite lamp.


It's the icing on the cake of my {crappy} day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On a Tuesday

New paintings up in the shop....free shipping through October!

Brambleberry Grace on Etsy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

five o'clock shadow

My son's preschool teacher took me aside this morning when I dropped him off.

She said, "I wanted to tell you a cute story."


"Yesterday, I had him and Jack at a table practicing some letters when he started rubbing his chin."

He said, 'Yep, it's coming in.'

So I asked him if he was growing a beard.

'I need it to keep warm in the winter,' he explained.

Then he looked over at Jack. Carefully examining his chin. 'Hey, Jack. Yours is coming in, too!'


It made my day. That boy. I tell you what.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

eating crow

One day last week we left the house in a flurry.

Everyone was running behind. We got in the car. Buckled. The entire time I'm saying things like, "HUSTLE!" and "When mom says it's time to put coats on, that means it's time to put coats on!" (In cranky tones.)

We drop off my girl. I switch off the crank and say, "Have a great day, Peanut." With much sincerity, hoping to offset the horrible start to the day I've just given her.

Then it's off to preschool. (Where my boy plays and learns and eats Pepperidge Farm Goldfish all morning.)

We're just a few moments behind schedule. I don't like being behind schedule. I decide to make time by driving like a moron. I cut in front of another vehicle and feel really dumb about it. Especially when that vehicle follows me on the next two turns, and parks beside me in the preschool parking lot.

I try not to make eye contact, but can feel the weight of my rudeness hanging thick in the air.

She starts walking into the building, and we take our time. I am no longer in a hurry. I am embarrassed and want to crawl under my car.


This morning, as I am walking out of the school, I see The Lady walking towards me. We are about to cross paths when I feel the overwhelming urge to apologize.

I look her in the eyes, she remembers.

I say, "I have to tell you, the other day I was driving like a total jerk. I cut you off. I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

She says, "You did? Oh, that's okay!"

We both laugh a little and the air is cleared.

She turns back to me as I walk away and says, "You have a great day."


I need to apologize more often.

It feels really good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Autumn Day, She Went Home...

In honor of Kelly's sister.

A battle hard fought.

(Painting for benefit auction.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

the most delicious frosting in the history of the world

It was my husband's birthday on Sunday. I baked him this cake. (German chocolate from a box....which I felt guilty about. But I redeemed it with this frosting.)

I made the cake according to the directions on the box. Then when it came out of the oven, I poured a third of a can of sweetened condensed milk over it.

The frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese.
The rest of the sweetened condensed milk.
Three tablespoons butter.
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Whip all the above together until it's all fluffy and gorgeous.

(I topped it with toasted coconut--but it is wonderful without it)

I can't stop eating it this cake. It's so good. And so bad. But soooooooo goooooooood.

(I promise I'm almost done talking about food.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

it's too much

Too much.

I spent the early afternoon sifting through toys in the kids' rooms. I filled three Rubbermaid totes full of loot. Good loot. But loot they're not playing with anymore....loot that hogs up valuable real estate. My house is not large. But it's perfect for us. And there is only so much room for extras.

Even with three cubic tons of toys removed from bedrooms:

My girl has toys spilling out of the containers under her bed.

Her closet barely closes.

And there are a few large toys that sit out on her floor because there is no where for them to go. She still plays with them, and would notice if they went missing. Unfortunately.

My boys have toys spilling out from under their beds.

Their closet barely closes.

Their toy box isn't even close to closing.

How is this possible?!?! I go through things at least twice a year. People! What happens if you don't?! A&E 's Hoarders? (You can watch them online.)

Every time I "clean house", I get a budgy sort of claustrophobia. In fact, the house has needed a good go through for a few weeks but I've been paralyzed. Because it's just too much. It becomes hard to put laundry away. The excess takes over the world. And metastasizes to other cupboards and closets.

Today, though, I buckled down. I couldn't stand it any longer. My husband took the kids to the school and I purged. (This time with their blessing. With the promise of storing not donating. For now.)

It feels good.

For now.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

{seasonal} peanut butter cookies

My husband brought home a bag of candy corn a few days ago.

I like candy corn a little. I really really like them mixed with peanuts.

I don't have peanuts.

I do have peanut butter.

So I made these:

I cannot. stop. eating. them.

They are puffy and delicious. I pressed a single candy corn into each of them before baking, which totally melted the candy corn...but it left a sticky impression in which I placed another candy corn when I took them out of the oven. Candy corn, candy corn, candy corn.

If you need a little peanutliciousness in your life here's the recipe:

1 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter, melted, then cooled
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

(mixed all together, then add...)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
nice pinch of salt

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet, press in a candy corn. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes...take them out before they're completely done (so they're not crispy) and press in another candy corn.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

home, sweet

This is the house that I grew up in....it no longer exists in this form. My family moved to a different state the year before I got married, and the new owners changed it considerably.

I go back to our home town every now and again, and I'm so thankful that my old house doesn't look like this. It's one of those things you'd rather remember in your heart in your own way.

Right through that front door was the living room. With really tall ceilings. The room in which we put up our Christmas tree.

To the left, through a double door was the piano room. Off the piano room was a bathroom and a cedar closet. Through a little hall was the family room, and then the kitchen. There was a little back porch you could access from a glass door off the dining room, which was at the back end of the living room.

That front bedroom was my parents. It had a closet that we liked to play in. My youngest sister's room was next, her bed was lofted. And her windows were Cinderella style. My bedroom was next, and the coolest. My bed was built in, and high. With curtains I could pull to really close myself off from the world. Or my sisters. (Mostly my sisters.) The back bedroom was the biggest, with the highest ceiling. And was shared by my older and younger-middle sisters.

I can walk through every room, down every hall, each nook and cranny in my mind. I can run down the steps and skip the last 7 by using the railings. I can play the piano, pick the rhubarb, and not mow the lawn because I had mono--and an appendectomy.

I can see the neighbor's dog in the snow on the mountain. I can hear our stupid cocker spaniel howling. I can make a snow angel and hide in the best hide and seek spot on our block.

I can ride my bike.

I can sit by my warm vent in the winter not wanting to move.

I can walk to school.

And to The Store.

But only in my mind.

Which is where it counts, really.

etsy news...

Free shipping through the month of October...


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some days...

Some days you just want to park yourself right back in bed.

And some days, you want to re-do every single room in your house. That's my today.

Beware, my family.....things get awfully mixed up when Momma's got the creative bug.

An itch that must be scratched.....with paint and fabric and furniture......

Hopefully will have the after to this (embarrassing) before:

Taken months and months ago...and it's still not done. I picked the wallpaper off in a fit of excitement one night last spring. For now. The paint on the bottom was there when we moved in...the top was started once by me, until I got my hot little hands on some wallpaper. It's been papered and repapered twice in the five years we've been here. I liked the bedding (the fourth) at the time, but I don't really care for it anymore. I just can't seem to come up with one single piece for inspiration.

Until right this minute...I think I've been inspired. Will keep you posted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is it because they pay huge dues to a union that is heavily involved in politics?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

spelly ache

A few Fridays ago, I was called to come and collect my sick daughter from school. The nurse said she wasn't running a fever, but she was complaining of a tummy ache. When I got to the office, there she sat. Wearing her backpack. Lethargically slumped on a chair. She saw me. She perked up. And then unperked. Suspiciously.

We walked out to the car. I had her get in the front seat. She perked all the way back up. A little alarm bell went off in my head.

me: "What's going on? Do you feel like you have to spit up?"

her: "No."

me: "But your tummy hurts?"

her: "Yes."

me: "Are things going okay with your friends?"

her: "Yeah."

me: "You sure?"

her: "Oh, Yes. Yesterday we played on the playground and I got to be the mom and Susie was the puppy and Minnie was my daughter. And then Mckenzie was also my daughter. And then I was the puppy. And Minnie was the mom. And Mckenzie was aslo a puppy....."

Hmmm. No girl drama.

Spelling test. The first one of the year.

me: "How was your spelling test?"

her: "Um. We haven't done it yet."

me: "Huh. You worried about that?"

her: "Yeah. Last year, the teacher would tell us the words and then we would write them down. This year, they just give us a paper and we have to write them all. And they don't even tell us what they are."

me: "Did your teacher tell you that?"

her: "......no..."

me: "No teacher would give you a spelling test without first telling you the words. And if a teacher tried to give you a test in a way you didn't understand, mom and dad would talk with them and come up with a way that works for you."

her: looking at me....awaiting my next move

me: "Let's pray about it. Sometimes when a person is nervous, they will get a sore tummy. But it doesn't mean they are sick. It just means they are nervous. The only way to get it better is to take that spelling test."

We prayed. I walked her back in. We found her class on their way to the library. Her teacher asked if she was feeling better, and I told him she was a little nervous about the spelling test. He gave me an understanding nod. She joined her class with great trepidation and a near melt down halted only by a penetrating glance from her mother and the hand of her best friend.

me to her best friend: "She's feeling a little nervous. Do you think you could help her find a good book to take her mind off the spelling test?"

her best friend: "Yes! I know right where the High School Musical books are."


Crisis averted.

I knew that this was a very dangerous situation. I know that test anxiety is real. And I want my girl to know that I will always take care of her. I will believe her when she tells me she is sick. I just don't want to encourage tummy aches on test days.

I drove by the school at recess, just to see how things were going. She didn't see me. She was too busy not having a tummy ache.

The spelling test? A perfect score. And the teachers in second grade give spelling tests exactly like the teachers in first grade. Who would have thought?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blueberry Bagel Bites

This is the perfect Saturday morning breakfast.



Loaded with Carbohydrates.

Your kids will eat it. You will eat it. And then you will lick the pan.

(But you don't have to tell anyone about that last bit.)

: : : : : : : : :

4 oz neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Melt above ingredients together and toss with

8 miniature blueberry bagels (or 4 large) cut into bite sized pieces

Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes

(Very tasty with strong black coffee.)

Granny's Birds: A Series

This one is:

"You Mustn't Walk on the South Side"

Friday, October 2, 2009


It's my dad's birthday today. Happy birthday, Dad!

I'm sitting here having a moment. Time is marching right along, and I'm locked in a train of thought that is wigging. me. out.

I remember when my dad was my age.

I remember when my grandfather was my dad's age.

I remember, like it was yesterday, being my daughter's age.




Wednesday, September 30, 2009

. . . ... .. . . .. ...

Having one of those days....those poor, poor pitiful me days.

The ones where you feel like a super loser. Where you can't shake your mind from all the stupid things you've ever done....and then feel embarrassed about all the embarrassing things you've ever done.

Where you replay conversations in your mind, emphasizing all the parts that make you look a fool.

When you look about your home and see only the projects that you want to complete...you look in the mirror and see only the things you wish to change....look at your situation and see what it isn't.

Where nothing seems to go quite right. And even though you recognize the familiar turns of this road well travelled, you can't exactly snap yourself back around.

But then you remember Who's you are. And you remember what you have. And you start to see the glass half full beginning to refill....

.....and you bake a pan of blondies and the sun comes out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

sleeping....a little less


Last night wasn't so hot:

Baby sleeping by 7:30pm.

Baby awake at 11:11pm. (My eleven's were up. That's for you, Dad.)

Baby back to sleep with nuk + blankie.

Baby awake again at 1:30am.

Baby still awake at 3:00am.

Baby finally back to sleep at 3:20am.

Mommy still awake until 4:20am.

Baby awake for the day at 5:45am.

Daddy awake for the day at 5:45am.

Little Debby Snack Cakes for breakfast.

Monday, September 28, 2009

sleeping...a little more

Last night was the third in our sleep training adventure. It went pretty well. Babe went to bed at 7:30 pm and woke up for the first time at around 11:30 pm. I fed him and put him back to sleep. He woke up again at 3:00 am. I gave him his nuk and his blankie, and laid him back down. He cried. For about 20 minutes. And then he went back to sleep. Until 7:00 am.

I think I would be dancing on the counter tops if someone (who shall remain nameless--but is the man that I married 11 years and a few weeks ago) inadvertently made DECAFFEINATED coffee this morning.

I am dragging.....but glad....with a headache....and hope.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

sleep training

Friends, I'm tired. Very tired. And I'm tired of feeling tired. My reserves are being depleted faster than they are being built. Friday night, I decided it was high time to teach my (not so) tiny baby to sleep. With our first baby, we were co-sleepers. Not on purpose, but by accident. And out of necessity. She had us so trained. But a body can only run on fumes for so long. So, I bought a book. "Sleeping Through the night." (It had me at "Sleeping.")

The process laid out in the book involves a bit of crying. Both by the baby and the mommy. But the end result is sleep for all....so by cost analysis, and the greater good of the apartment complex we were living in, we went for it.

The plan was simple. You put your baby to bed. Baby cries. You go in every minute, then two, then five, then ten....whatever works for you...you say a calming word, touch a loving touch, then you leave. And crying ensues, and you do it all over again. (In a nutshell.)


It goes against every fiber of your being to listen to your baby cry. You will cry. Your husband will be crabby. You might need to buy some cookies, chips and peanut M & Ms to get you through.

The book says that the first night is rough. The second night is rougher. The third night gets better, and the subsequent nights even more so. With our first, she cried for 45 minutes on night one. The second night, she cried for an hour and a half. The third night, she cried for over an hour. She kept this up for almost two weeks. BUT, Amazing Grace, she finally started sleeping.

Our second baby slept with us until he was about 6 or 7 months. Then he slept (poorly) in his crib for another 4 or 5 months. Then we started sleep training. And the first night he cried for about 30 minutes, the second night 60....by the third he had it down, and was sleeping almost through the night. I am just fine with almost.

This third baby....he slept next to me in his bassinet until he was 6 months old, and 5 pounds over the weight limit. (I know. I know! But, he wasn't pulling himself up yet or anything...just a big chub of unmotivated snuggle bunny.) I moved him to his crib, and things have been going pretty well. And by pretty well, I mean that he wakes up about 6 times every night. So, not so well.

On Friday last, my parent's took my older two to their place for the weekend. We seized the opportunity to train. The first night went okay. Last night was craptacular. But I am not discouraged. Tonight is another night.....he'll either catch on, or give me a serious run for my money.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

a re-cap

So Refest.....

Refest was a bit of a flop. While I managed to sell a few pieces, there just weren't enough people in attendence to really make it worthwhile. There were seven girlfriends with stuff to sell in our little booth. Which was nice...in that, no one had to make a ton of things by themselves. We each took shifts manning the booths, making the time spent behind the tables much more enjoyable. The day itself was lovely. Warm with a nice September breeze. The other artisans were really fun. And there was a coffee and donut booth right across from us. None of us sold much, but it was fun none-the-less.

And now we all have a supply of goods to fill up our Etsy shops.

Speaking of...you have GOT to see this one. These are AMAZING. You will wonder how you have lived so long without one. Please.

See for yourself.

Locust St.

Friday, September 18, 2009

the gallery

More of me and less of you.

That is the theme of my decor, as of late.

This is my gallerylivingroom.

But wait! There's more.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've been busy. Making these.

For this weekend.
I'm really hoping that I can sell at least a few of them, because they are taking over my home.
And not just these.....I've been painting other stuff too...I'll show you my living room tomorrow.
I feel like I'm slowly turning my home into my own little gallery. It's a bit silly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

his famous apple crisp

We started a tradition a few weeks ago. It's working well.

Tuesdays, my girl makes dinner. My boy makes dessert.

Dinner tonight is cornbread and acorn squash with butter and maple syrup.

Dessert is my son's "famous apple crisp." (Self named.)

I let them take control over as many aspects as they are able. I encourage them to tweak recipes to make them their own. They both delight in "secret ingredients." (Usually vanilla extract or a blend of spices.)

The apple crisp was pulled out of the oven a bit before it could really get golden, only because the chef called it done. The apples are perfectly tender, and the smell is fantastic. He has only allowed one tiny nibble to test...patience is our virtue in the waiting.

Monday, September 14, 2009


A lot of years ago, this really hot guy asked me to a movie.

I wasn't sixteen (15 years, 8 months) and old enough to officially date yet by my parent's standards. But I told him 'yes' anyhow.

He came by to pick me up, and I hollered to my mom, "I'm going to the movies with Amy." And left in a flourish of excitement and Aussie hairspray.

As time went on, I watched this hot guy play hockey. And football. And baseball. Oh, the baseball.....I watched so much baseball. (Baseball had the best uniforms.)

When I close my eyes, I can still see him in my mind's eye. After the game. Walking from the dugout towards the stands, where I would wait for him. He has this walk...

Saturday marks eleven years since the day we wed.

If I could go back and relive it exactly as it has been, I would.

I'm so lucky.

The moral of this story:

Always lie to your parents.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

apple red Betty

One of these will go to my Aunt Betty.....only I'm not quite certain which one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

still remembering

(a repost of last years entry on this date)

On Friday, September 7th, 2001, I was on my way to an evening design class. The road I was on had a series of synchronized lights...the kind where you could get through all of them if you pushed it, just a little. The car in front of me was getting us through them...we were nearly at the end of the set, when the last one turned yellow. The gal in front of me stepped it up, and so did I. I reached down to grab something out of my back pack and looked up. She was hammering her breaks. I hammered, too. But it was too late. The roads were just a little wet, and I rear ended her.

I got out of the car in a panic. Was she okay? She was okay. I was a wreck. I was crying. I felt horrible. Her lovely car had one little schmick in her bumper. My neon was a crumpled up mess. I called my dad, who was also, conveniently, my insurance agent. He arrived. The police arrived. My husband arrived. I couldn't stop crying.

The poor sweet lady I ran into was so lovely and gracious. She reassured me that everything would be just fine. It was so bizarre. When all was said and done, my husband drove me to my class. My neon went to the shop. The nice lady drove herself home, with my insurance information. The police gave me a ticket, because insult and injury go hand in hand.

The next morning, I woke up very stiff. And emotional. I was about to grab a handful of Advil, when it occurred to me that something else was rather amiss. I took a test. It had two lines.

I did not take the Advil.

The rest of the weekend went by with me in a state of shock and a state of shock.

That next Tuesday, I said goodbye to my husband as he left for his daily college routine. I was getting ready for classes in the same way I always did...breakfast at the coffee table while watching Good Morning America. A plane hit the World Trade Center. Watching in disbelief, a second plane hit.

What is going on?

What is going on?

I watched until I had to leave to get to class. On the drive over, the radio spoke about the Pentagon. All the pieces were beginning to come together.

I parked my husband's truck in my parking lot, and began the 7 block trek to the Apparel, Textile, and Interior Design building. Something hot began to pinch my arm. A bee. I was being stung by a bee. It made me angry. I stepped out of character and squished it with my hand.

I ruined my car. We were having a baby. Something horrible was happening in our Country. I got stung by a bee.

I made it to class, and there were only 2 other people that showed up. Everyone was moving around really slowly. Televisions all around campus were tuned into live coverage.

I went to grab a coffee. Brought it back to the studio, and decided to work on my project. As I rendered the office space I had been working on, life felt very different. What am I doing? An Interior Designer? How do we change the world? What kind of world is this to be bringing a baby into? My arm hurts, stupid bee. What do we all do now?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

in the name of full disclosure...

....yesterday I fell off the wagon and into four packages of Little Debbie Nutty Bars. At 320 calories per package.

Um, the good news is that I ate a delicious salad for lunch.

And, that as I was sneakily opening the last package of nutty bars after washing up the noon dishes, I was smacked with the reality of what I was doing. So I called to my kids and gave them each a half and sent them out to play.

It's a bumpy ride on this road to healthy living.

I should get a seat belt.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

tree no. 3

For a girlfriend's new office.

Monday, August 31, 2009


I'm doing a few pieces for a green living event in town. Some girlfriends and I are pooling our creative resources, and each pitching in a few pieces for a "green baby" booth.

My contributions will be these. The frames are made by my husband out of 2 x 4s rescued from a building before it was torn down in the name of redevelopment. The fabric stretched over them are a mix of random scraps from my stash as well as repurposed old linens...table cloths, bedding, and curtains.

Inspiration found here.

I started by sketching out animal shapes, cutting the sketches as templates, then either tracing the template on the fabric and painting it, or cutting out the fabric and stitching it on the canvas.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


My husband is cleaning and reglazing the windows today.

I'm trying to wrap up a few paintings that have been in the works. Sometimes, just before I feel finished with one of them, I go a bit mad and squirt a glob of paint all over the canvas and start all over again...

Those flowers down below might be my next victim.

We'll see.

tree no. 4 & red flowers

Today is Daddy's day to make lunch. Which means burgers from A & W.

It's going to be a good day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

the skinny on the chubby

I thought I'd share some practical information about losing the weight.

As I mentioned before, it all started with prayer. Lots of prayer.

Then a group of girlfriends joined together to form a team for a community weight loss challenge. We earned points for daily exercise. We also earned points if we ate at least three vegetables and two fruits a day.

What I've found about myself, is that it doesn't matter one iota how much I work out. (As far as weight loss goes.) It is ALL about what I do or do not consume.

For breakfast everyday, I would have a gigantic cup of coffee. I usually have creamer in it, and limit my creamer use to the morning only. (Unless I'm at a girlfriend's house for coffee---then all bets are off.) Mornings are also the time of day where I can pretty much eat whatever...like, sometimes I would eat a cookie for breakfast. Or left overs from the night before. (I'll get to that.)

Lunch was all about avocados. I would cut an avocado in half, and then cut it up and smear it on a toasted bagel with slices of red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers. The avocado kept well in the fridge, in a container - with the pit left in...which keeps it from turning brown and gross looking. It was helpful for me to cut up all the veggies before-hand and keep them in the fridge. I get lazy in a big hurry, so if it's always a lot of work, I lose interest and quit.

For an afternoon snack, I'd eat either a banana or an apple.

Dinnertime is tricky for me. I had to use what I knew about myself to my advantage. Things I know about myself:

I really like lasagna. If I make lasagna, I have no "off" button. I never get full.
I really like pizza. If I make pizza, I have no "off" button. I never get full.
I really like pasta. If I make pasta, I have no "off" button. I never get full.

Do you see a pattern?

So did I.

I knew I would save myself a lot (in the way of self control) if I didn't make any of those things. To make things easier on myself, I got out my Tupperware That's A Bowl. I'd buy a head of ice burg (nearly no nutritional value) lettuce, a head of romaine lettuce, and a bag of spinach. I would cut them all up and toss them in the bowl to eat for the next several days. When the bowl would empty, I would fill it again. Sometimes, to mix things up, I'd toss in a bag of broccoli slaw. Or shredded carrots. Or shredded cabbage.

The dangerous thing about salad is the dressing. You can totally ruin yourself, calorie wise, with too much dressing. I found that I liked my salad just fine without dressing, if I gave the lettuces a quick rinse under water and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I topped the whole thing with the other half of my avocado from lunch, a few cubes of pepper jack cheese, some small bits of red onion, and sometimes jalapeno peppers from a pickle-type-jar. As long as the lettuce was still a little damp from the rinsing, it didn't matter that it wasn't smothered in dressing.

Each night, I would make something else for my family, but nothing from my list of loves. It wasn't a hassle, since I'd have to fix them something any way...and mine was really easy to throw together since everything was already ready to go. If what they were eating looked really good, I'd tell myself if I still wanted some, I could eat it for breakfast. (When my system has a better handle on that "off" switch.)

For a snack before bed, I would eat either a banana or an apple. (Which ever one I didn't eat as a snack between lunch an dinner.)

Another thing I know about myself is that I'm a snacker. I'm not always hungry, but I'm always fidgety. And need "something." I found, that if I had a delicious decaf coffee to drink, it took away my urge for "something." So, I'd put on a pot of coffee after lunch and sip at it all afternoon and into the night if I needed.

At least once a week, I'd go out to Applebee's for a late night appetizer. Those nights, I'd order what ever I wanted. (Boneless Buffalo Wings, with classic sauce and blue cheese dressing to dip it in.) So, while I was pretty strict with myself at meal times, I allowed myself to have fun and be normal.....knowing that if this was a new lifestyle, my lifestyle needed to allow for mom's night outs.

Those are all the practical things.


A huge component for me was my mind set. I'm mental.


I had to get my game face on. I knew that night would be rough. That the first night would be bad. I knew this because every night for the last 9 nears was the night before I was going to start. Do you do that? Have a good day, and then night comes, and the wheels fall off and you think, "Tomorrow is going to be The. Day." Every tomorrow. But! Tomorrow never comes. NEVER. It had to be TODAY. Today is The. Day.

So I made up my mind. I would tell myself that I knew it would be tricky. But I had to get over it. (Jesus comes in very handy here.) I'd give myself things to do at night. I'd fold laundry. While watching "The Biggest Loser." Do you know how hard it is to eat a snack while watching "The Biggest Loser"? It is very hard. I'd do laundry or take a bath, and sometimes I'd put myself to bed early.

The first night was hard. HARD. (I felt pathetic.) But I got through it. (It feels pathetic to write that.) And you know what? I felt SO POWERFUL the next morning. The second night was hard. And I got through that as well. And I felt even more powerful.

Every morning I would step on the scale, and it only took a few days before the numbers started creeping down. Each week, a few more pounds would come off, and talk about motivation! After a month, I was able to fit into clothes that I hadn't worn in a long time. After two months, I needed new clothes. After three months, I tapered off the salads at dinner. My stomach had reset. I've been maintaining a slower weight loss now for a few months, and haven't really had to think too much about it.

I'm trying not to lose my head. I know how easily I can fall into old habits. But even then, I recognize what I'm doing, and get my act together for a few days, and find that rhythm again.

What I know now, is that this needs to be a lifestyle. I can either enjoy everything in moderation and feel good. Or, I can enjoy everything in a gluttonous binge and feel yucky. And I know how easy it would be to slide down that slippery slope, and be right back where I was. But! The good news is, that if that were to happen, all it would take is a few good weeks of self control to get back on track.

And honestly, all it really takes is one day. One moment, making that decision to change.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

on Jesus and being chubby...




To preface...or not to preface.....that is the question.

This feels entirely too personal, and yet, I have been praying that this--the 'this' being the blog--would be what it is supposed to be. I have no idea what it is supposed to be. Mostly mental regurgitation on my keyboard that becomes public knowledge once I hit "publish." But that someone somewhere somehow would read these humble words and be changed, even a little...mostly that these words would tell you "THIS LADY LOVES JESUS!" Even when I'm writing something like: "I'm going a little more crazy every day." You know....that you could see Jesus between the lines.

I really have no purpose writing one of these here blogs. I started for my parents. And for me. And now, a whole three extra people read it every day. Hello, three readers!

But now that it's out there, and that I've been trying to be obedient in my living, I've been trying to give everything over in obedience. That said, these words I'm puking through my fingers are included in that obedience.

I realize that this likely makes no sense. But! That has not stopped me before, and it won't stop me today!

Any way.....

Last night, I was looking through pictures.

(Oh, those lots of words before that last sentence was the pre-preface. Next follows the REAL preface.)

So, last night, I was looking through pictures. Of me.


Well. Here's the thing...my entire twentieth decade was spent chubby. The fluctuation swung from "normal" to "just-had-a-baby" to "just-had-a-baby-three-years-ago-but-have-been-eating-like-there's-gonna-be-a-food-shortage-tomorrow-morning."

I wasn't really thrilled about it all, but my husband really didn't care and I love food, so why fix what isn't broken? Right? Except, if you've ever been chubby, you know that it isn't really any fun. Especially when you think things like "if I wear a turtle neck, my double chin can hide inside it."

Well, when my thirtieth birthday was looming around the corner, I thought to myself, "Self?! What is wrong with you?! You are not happy. What is your deal?"

So, I decided it was T.I.M.E. to get my act together. And then I got pregnant.

Which is normally a time of Arby's mozzarella cheese sticks and all things nacho for me. I knew that I needed a new approach. So I prayed. A lot. And Jesus gave me avocados.

And so that pregnancy went by with a good deal of weight gain, but nowhere NEAR the weight gain of the previous two. And once the baby was born, and the miracle weight loss that occurs right afterwards came and took away the pregnancy weight, I thought, NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY.

And I prayed some more.

Jesus! I need you. I need you to come and shut my open mouth. I prayed and prayed and prayed.

And He came. And when I would be digging in the cupboard for a little snacky snack, He would whisper, "You sure you want that, my love?" And I would say, "Yes, Jesus. I want fifty thousand Doritos." And Jesus would say, "Just checking. You wanted help. And I am giving it to you. Gently. Don't make me break your jaw."

(Just kidding on the breaking jaw.)

So that's how it went. It was all Jesus. Not me.

See the really sad thing is that the only way I knew how to lose weight was in my own strength. Which is really crappy. And unhealthy. It takes the form of an ugly eating disorder that I became acquainted with after high school. And then again after my first was born, and I started working. I know and knew that it not only wasn't healthy, but that it can't and couldn't work. So I resigned to give it up. And did. And had total control over it. And refused (R.E.F.U.S.E.D.) to go there ever again. So in some strange way, my chubbiness was a personal badge of honor over an eating disorder....but who wants to wear a chubby badge?


This wasn't supposed to be depressing.

I hope it's not depressing.

Where was I?


Jesus stepped in, and gave me more avocados. He gave me will power. He whispered sweet nothings to me when I poked around my kitchen looking for food when I wasn't hungry.

And now...I'm not skinny. I'm not even thin. But I'm not chubby. I've lost 75 pounds from the day I delivered my sweet baby to yesterday.

The problem is that I'm having a hard time seeing it.

So last night, I was looking at pictures.

I have THE MOST AWFUL picture of myself. Taken right after my third was born. I look as though I have a shell fish allergy and have just finished dining at Red Lobster. Swollen. Puffy.



I took out my camera, and set it up on the counter. I set the timer and sat in a chair just in front of it, and took a picture of myself. I had the same maternity shirt on as I did in that Red Lobster picture.

I put the two pictures on my screen side by side.

And I could see it.

I'm tempted to put the pictures up so you can see just what Jesus can do.

But someone I went to high school with might see it. And then I would have to die.

Not really.

But sort of.

I'll pray about it.

Because, if Jesus wants me to....obedience you know.


Did I write this for you? Why did I write this? I'm feeling all naked and alone.....but praying that if I was supposed to write this, that you were supposed to read it, and that you might see Jesus between the lines.

He can save you from something even greater than chubbiness.

If you need to know more about that, this is a good place to start. Or you can email me....I am not the most articulate person to discuss these things with, but He said He'd give the words....so please feel free to ask.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


More paintings.
I sold all the others in route to the store that was going to sell them for me.
(You have no idea how crazy that feels. That people would pay actual money to hang something I painted on their wall.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I heard the best analogy in a sermon a while ago.

About cups.

And spilling.

Imagining that we are the cups. What happens when we get bumped?

When a cup gets bumped, its contents spill out.

When we get bumped, our contents spill out.


I was thinking on that concept. What spills out of me when I'm bumped? Love? Kindness? Grace? Mercy?

When my children rub on that last nerve....what is spilling out all over them? Is it a gentle balm? Or hot scalding annoyance?


Have you ever been scalded?

I don't want to do that to the souls of my children.


I'm praying that from here on out, I spill only balm.

Thursday, August 13, 2009