Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday randomness

I love posting on this blog. I do. But when I get busy, obviously it falls way down on my list of priorities. And then I feel guilty, like it's just something else I've failed to keep up with (not unlike laundry, cleaning out the fridge and windexing windows). Crazy, I know.

Needless to say, things have been fairly busy around here. I'm afraid it's going to keep up at this same pace for a while, even though each day I find myself wondering what I can delete off my to-do list in order to simplify a little more.

I know it's before Thanksgiving, but I've already started decorating for Christmas. Partly my own doing, partly my kids'. They are so excited about the holidays and have spent most of today playing Manger with my Fontanini set. Things I've overheard have been cracking me up. Such as "Jack, Buzz and Woody do NOT belong at the manger." "Hey, momma, can Woody jump off this manger and land in Texas?" "Whoops, sorry Jordan Ann, I dropped the angels. That's okay, Jack, angels always forgive." Listening to them play is one of my most favorite parts of putting out the 9,000 rubbermaid tubs of decorations I have.

Grant has just been toddling around in the middle of it all in his own little world. He was quite unhappy when I had to toss him into the pack&play when I dropped and shattered an ornament. After a quick vacuum and clean up, he was back to his normal, cheerful self.

I'm wearing a Christmas party tshirt from my freshman year of college. It was a ChiO/Tri Delta date party, one that I easily nicknamed my "funnest night in college." When JA noticed that it said "1995" on it, she said, "wow mom, it's old!" Why, then, do I feel like it was just yesterday?

From the midst of Christmas decoration chaos, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Harry Connick singing in the background, I hope you have a very happy thanksgiving! And hopefully I won't be putting up the decorations next year before Halloween! :)

PS: Just as I was about to publish this post, they came running in saying "Jesus has poop." Hmmm, something I've never considered until this point in my life. I love their imaginations, but I think I'll need to go have a little conversation about what's appropriate and what is not as they play manger, don't you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Sweet Monday

After a great night of celebrating Grant's birthday with our family (pics will come later this week), our Monday wasn't quite what I expected it to be. There was fever, vomit and lots of laundry. I spent the afternoon at the doctor's office with a very sick baby and a sure case of strep. Bless his heart, can't he catch a break? He got his first penicillan shot today and spent most of the day asleep in my arms. Now that he's asleep in his crib, perhaps I can get to the things I gladly set aside today to rock and hold a dear baby. Although I'm behind on my "to do list", it was wonderful spending the day offering comfort, holding and loving a little one. This is just the type of day I know I'll miss years from now.

As I rocked, rubbed my baby's soft hair and quietly sang, I meditated on this verse. Oh, how I love it. I had the joy of the perfect mental image of how our Heavenly Father cares and comforts us.

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

I pray that if your heart is anxious, or if you feel like you need an extra dose of TLC, that you will allow the Lord to comfort you. I pray you will sense the peace that passes all understanding that He delights in you, quiets you with his love and rejoices over you. We all need to remember how loved and treasured with are in His sight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Catch Up {Part 1 - Sewing}

Since so much has been going on since I abandoned this blog back in the spring, I am thinking about trying to play a little bit of catch up each Thursday.


One thing that's been keeping me busy is sewing and smocking. Oh, how I love it. When the sweet ladies at the sewing store ask if there's anything else I need, I wish for some "time in a bottle." So, back in the spring, I posted about getting ready for Easter outfits. I loved, loved, loved how these turned out. JA has asked for another dress just like hers in blue or purple or both ("whatever you think would be best, mommy.") No pressure, right?

I learned so much making that dress. These patterns never look that hard in the store! Never in my life have I taken out so many seams making two rows of "grow tucks" at the ruffle. I ended up getting a full history lesson on the purpose of adding tucks to a dress (I'll spare you the details) as I read online and watched on YouTube how to make them correctly. Although, as I was ironing it that morning and looking at it all again, I still don't think I did it right. You can't tell, can you?

Here's the final result of that stack of fabric in that earlier post.

Since Easter, I have made several more dresses, bubble suits and johnjohns. Even a pair of cowboy pants for a preschool roundup for the most excited 4-year old there! I may or may not have pictures of all these projects, but if I do, are you interested? If so, I'll post. Otherwise, I'll move on to Catch Up {Part 2}.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Picture of Grace

In Jordan Ann's first grade Sunday school class, they recently talked about grace. She came home with a perfect definition: "grace is getting something you don't deserve." We talked about it several times afterwards and I was amazed at how easily she was grasping this concept, which for many of us, is so hard!

A few days later, behavior around here was less than desirable, to say the least. I had pretty much had enough. Clips had been moved, toys confiscated, etc. My last straw is telling them that they would be going to bed with no story. Jack doesn't like that, but JA really doesn't like missing her story at bedtime. So, for the rest of the afternoon, their behavior was so much more pleasant. It was if two different children moved into my house! I was loving it!

When bedtime came around, I wanted to positively reinforce how they had been acting. So I read them a story. They sat quietly and listened, almost scared to remind me that I was reading them a story when I had earlier told them they wouldn't be getting one. As I was putting Jack to bed, JA went to my desk and started working on something. She proudly presented me with a drawing. She went on to tell me that it was a picture of "grace". Confused, I asked her to explain. She told me that she and Jack didn't deserve that story and that since I read one anyway, I was showing grace. I was again, amazed at her grasp of this concept.

Today, I have been reminded yet again. I haven't been worthy of very much grace. It's been a hard day. Yet, through it all, His grace showers down on me and my children. I have had one of those "crying mommy meltdowns" and my dear children continue to love me anyway. It's been their turn to show me the grace.


2 Corinthians 12:9

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

praise the Lord and scripture memory

A quick post today...

If you have seen my dear baby in the past two months or so, you may have noticed a red spot just below his left eye. It's been growing and growing, so we were referred to a dermatologist for her opinion on what to do with it. We went today, she easily identified it as a pyogenic granuloma (say that three times fast!) and offered to take care of it for us.

Oh how this day was prayed for. It was just one of those things I was anxious about in a subtle way. I trusted it would all go well, but we're dealing with my baby's baby face here! Really, the thought of someone cutting on him that close to his eye made my heart beat fast. I prayed specifically for a peace to come over me that when I met this doctor , I would feel comfortable and cared for. When this sweet lady came into the room, her voice was so precious and gentle, Grant just laid his head back and listened to her. He was so still and let her look closely as his face and he just smiled. I immediately felt comfortable and cared for. Thank you, Lord for answering a mommy's earnest prayer.

A team of two nurses and the doctor oversaw the removal of his red spot. Amazingly, Grant laid still in my lap as I rubbed his hands and the nurses played peekaboo in between shots, a scalpel and silver nitrate. Through it all, he never made a peep. Oh my, praise the Lord, he's such a dear baby!

As I sat still, holding my child, helpless and trusting a team of sweet strangers, the only thing that came to mind was a series of scriptures I have been working on with Jordan Ann . I began reciting these verses in my mind, over and over and over. What a peace came over me! Praise the Lord for these verses.

Psalm 56:3 - "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."

After the first peekaboo and he smiled up at the nurses, Psalm 100 - "Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs..."

And when it was all over, Isaiah 43:1 - "Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name, you are mine." Interesting, if you know about the delivery I experienced almost exactly one year ago with this precious child, Isaiah 43:1 is the verse I meditated on as I was being wheeled into surgery and the unknown. Coincidence? No. Not when I am trusting a God like mine.

So, praise the Lord with me today. He continues to shower his blessings down in so many ways. I wanted to share this story, so that through it you could take time to count yours. Leave a comment and tell me how you have been blessed today.

Monday, October 31, 2011


let's try this again. you'd think we were still celebrating the royal wedding with the lack of posting around here these days. wish we were. what a wonderful that day was with my little girl. we enjoyed every bit of it. i'll have to write another post entirely about what that day did for my heart. i'll work on that...

a dear friend gave me a book for my birthday that she had been reading, which i was wanting to. she tied a gold glitter bow on it and surprised me with it. what a treasure it has become. when i read this paragraph, i thought to myself, "this is why i haven't written on my blog recently." so i thought i'd share it with you as a "re-introduction" of sorts.

"The world I live in is loud and blurring and toilets plug and I get speeding tickets and the dog gets sick all over the back step and I forget everything and these six kids lean hard into me all day to teach and raise and lead and I fail hard and there are real souls that are at stake and how long do I really have to figure out how to live full of grace, full of joy - before these six beautiful children fly the coop and my mothering days fold up quiet? How do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral?"

y'all. this has been my life for the summer and into the fall. but aren't her words such a beautiful way to express it? while i don't have the six kids she mentions, all the other references address everything i have been thinking, attempting, praying, living.

so that's where i've been. trying to create the dome of an everyday cathedral. what an honor and a delight.

you must read this book. it's called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. she writes a beautiful blog, A Holy Experience, as well, which is where i first "met" her.

now that we've gotten all this out in the open, here's another little piece of goodness that has inspired me recently. take a few minutes and read this blog, created by Edie at Life In Grace. she lost her house in a fire a few days before Christmas last year. since then, she has become such an inspiration, but with her posts this month about rebuilding your house and heart, oh my... you have to read it. soak it up. i just wish i knew her in real life so we could visit over coffee.

so that's it for now. i'll be back soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Extravaganza

Here's to the Royal Wedding! I'm letting JA stay home from school tomorrow (it's just kindergarten, right?) for a Royal Wedding Extravaganza, complete with royal activities planned for the entire day. I made her an invitation that she will receive tomorrow morning. Then she has a coupon book with tickets that she can cash in throughout the day for eight different royal activities. She doesn't know exactly what I've got planned, but she knows something is going to happen. She just keeps skipping through the house asking for hints. I love that she is as excited as I am. (Of course, I realize that I encourage that excitement just a tad.)

Here's our list of activities and a link to the source of some of the royal fun!

  • Baking scones

  • Decorating a wedding cake

  • Decorating fancy lady hats

  • Coloring royal wedding sheets

  • Doing royal pedicures

  • Writing and illustrating a wedding book

  • Creating wedding bouquets

  • Coloring and cutting out paper dolls

Not one who misses a thing, JAtold me she wanted me to wake her up in the middle of the night so she could watch all the TV coverage of the wedding. Love that! So she and I will get a super early start in the morning. Maybe I should go to bed now?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Morning In Numbers

4:53 – time on the clock when the alarm went off
4 – number of deer I saw while leaving my house
25 – mph I had to go when I followed the slowest car on the planet . . . at 5am
28 – commercials I saw while on the treadmill
120 – crunches on the ball
5 - pound dumbells
6 – “good mornings” from strangers
17 – seconds for a microwave pancake for JA
2 – cereals for Jack
6 – ounces of formula for Grant
10 – kisses from my husband
139:17-18 – a sweet reminder of God’s thoughts of me

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I
to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Psalm 139:17-18

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psalm for Today

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25:4-5
While I think on these precious verses today, I have the privilege to enjoy this adorable face. What blessings abound!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Year Old Theology

The other day, Jack and I were in the car on our way to preschool. He had been singing his little heart out about Daniel in the lion's den.

After the song was over, he said, "Mommy, I wish I was in the bible."

Me: "Really? Who would you be like?"

Jack: "I'd want to be Daniel. Wait, no, I wouldn't want to be in that lion's den. I'd be afraid."

Me: "Well, I bet Daniel was afraid, too. But you know what? God was there with him and he'd be there with you, too."

Jack: "Nuh-uh. God wouldn't be there with me in person!"

Me: "You don't think so? Why not?"

Jack: "Momma, God lives in my heart."

I didn't have a response. Other than to wipe the tear from the corner of my eye.

I'm reading a book, "The Ministry of Motherhood" right now. It's one of those books that is reaching in and touching my heart with each chapter. Topics such as discovering your own calling as a mother using the acronym GIFTS --- the five gifts you give your children. This book has entered my life at the perfect time, as I have been seeking answers and direction on reaching the hearts of my children.

The Lord knows that I often need reinforcement and affirmation regularly. He graciously and lavishly pours it into my life just when I need it most. That conversation in the car between a boy and his mommy? I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Jack and his three-year-old theology to reinforce what I am reading, seeking, and praying. Right there driving down the road, He spoke. And I was listening.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting ready for Easter

I've been working fast and furious to get ready for Easter outfits. JA's dress is finished and Grant's outfit will be cut out shortly. We're going with pink and blue for each of them. Poor Jack, he's wearing shorts, polo and a vest. No more cutesy outfits for that 100% boy. {snif... sniff}

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Summer Smocking

I'm getting started on smocking for Grant's summer clothes. I just finished a new pattern, Jeffrey from Children's Corner and had to quickly make a second outfit so I wouldn't forget what I learned the first time around. These are the first outfits I've made with a smocked insert in a john john pattern. It was easier than I was expecting it to be, once I got started on the project.

The light blue geometric john john was the first outfit I made, with a smocking design I came up with when my original plan to smock baby ducks didn't fit onto the insert correctly. There is always Plan B in sewing at my house!

The monkey john john was project #2. (I didn't add the socks on the monkey as the smocking plate shows, I liked them better plain.) I am pleased with how they turned out - it was the first time I made my own piping and used snaps to close the crotch. (I've used buttonholes in the past or just used a finished seam for Jack's outfits after he was potty trained.)

Both outfits are 6 months and are fully lined. Honestly, it blows my mind when I see these finished outfits! I never would have thought a couple years ago that I would be able to sew, smock or put something together like this. If I can do it, so can you!!

Now I just can't wait to dress him up in these sweet summer clothes!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome, March

We had a mini-celebration yesterday to welcome the first day of March. While the kids were at school, I had an uncontrollable urge to bake something. So I made cupcakes and let the kids decorate them for their after-school snack. They were beyond excited to see what our afternoon activity was!

I think they'll remember the first day of March for a while.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow and Grace

{{{Thoughts from a recent entry in my journal, dated February 10, 2011.}}}

What a lovely morning! There is snow outside and the house is peaceful. Big kids are off to school and Grant is snoring softly across the room, still in his carseat. I have a warm cup of coffee right here and a napkin with snickerdoodles I made last night for Wes. I found my favorite winter music and it's playing now -- Winterscapes by the London Symphony Orchestra. It's a Hallmark CD and I've no idea where I got it, but I've had it for years. I remember listening to it during snow while in Seattle.

In fact, it's seems like that night in January 2001 was a turning point, an eye-opening night for me. I loved having this music to comfort me as I was there alone. Amazing how music has a way of transporting you to another place. Years ago.

But I remember those gold mugs I had and I'm sure I had hot chocolate or something like that that night. Those long blinds that opened to my sweet little patio with the beginnings of a potted herb garden. I grew not much more than thyme then. That burgundy, pink and green love seat. Tapestry. That huge framed print over my tiny mantle with the pretty girls -- it matched that love seat perfectly. Where is that print now? Who knows? Funny how something huge like a framed picture is missing but a tiny CD in a cardboard case is right in its place. It's what has taken me on this rabbit trail of thoughts. I still love the music, though! The first song "Snowbound" is my very favorite. I've been skipping through the CD and yes, #1 is the best song.

Looking out my window this morning is different than looking out onto that little patio ten years ago. Today I see my life. Hope. Love. Creativity. Acceptance. Growth. Experience. Joy. Ten years ago, I was in such a different place. There was definitely joy because of my relationship with Jesus. But other things crowded my thoughts, squeezing the joy into a tiny corner. Doubt. Questions. Homesickness. Lonliness. Desire to be creative. Seeking abundance. Wishing for true acceptance.

Looking back, I see such a changed girl. I was hurting, but didn't even realize I was. I wanted more, but didn't know what I wanted or where I wanted it. Scanning the ten years in between, I can easily identify such grace lovingly covering me by my heavenly Father. There is no doubt in my mind that while I was sorting through all the natural transitions of my twenties, God was holding me tightly in his sweet grip of grace. I continued to seek Him and His direction and ten years later, the descriptions of what I see and feel on a lovely snow day are miles apart from what they once were. Ten years from now -- twenty years from now-- when my little girl is sorting out her position in life, my sincerest prayer is that she would sense the sweet hand of her Father guiding her in his grace. Amazing. His grace is amazing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Lesson on Being Still

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

Be still. Still. Be. Still. Be still. Each time I write it, it looks more and more strange. Wrong. Almost as strange and wrong as it feels to actually be still. In today's society, so much emphasis (and recognition!) is placed on going and doing and accomplishing...fill in the blank. So to be still in contrary to what has been taught and reinforced since childhood.

Throw in motherhood and the concept of being still is nearly impossible. Nevermind more than one child who constantly "needs" something -- a milk refill, a shoe tied, a light turned on, a kleenex, a blanket, a bandaid, a hug, a snack, help buckling a seatbelt, help finding Buzz, no not that Buzz, the other Buzz, help writing numbers, help catching a ladybug. There are so many "needs" to tend to on a daily basis, 24 hours a day!

But what do they really need? How can their mommy really meet their needs? By being still. Showing them how to be still. And know God. To "be still and know that I am God."

Yes, I still have to meet their physical need, but more importantly, I need to show a living example of how to be still. Balance. Settle down. Set limits. Establish healthy boundaries. Quiet. Calm. Order. Peace.

"Be still and know that I am God." Be still. Be. Still. This is my charge. I believe that God has placed my physical limitations on my life so that I will slow down and be still. This verse is brought to mind each day, throughout the day, and I believe without a doubt that God is at work through it. Be still. Carly, be still. Know me. Know that I am God. I am your God.

God is teaching me a big lesson now. I don't want to miss it. So, I am choosing to stop. To listen. To settle. To be quiet. To find balance. To be still. Be. Still.

"Be still and know that I am God." -- Psalm 46:10

Monday, January 3, 2011

Three Little Noses

A precious moment at our house this afternoon.