Joy under the tree

Marvin had been unusually tired the week leading up to Christmas. Thinking it was just busier than normal at work or something, I dismissed it until one night I woke up and he was missing from our bed. I went looking and found him outside, working on something in the garage!
I asked him about it the next morning and he only smiled and said, "You'll see".

We didn't celebrate Christmas when I was a child. My parents belonged to an unusual religious sect and celebrating any holidays, Christian or otherwise was strictly forbidden. Even though we started celebrating Christmas when I was in high school, it was never truly "magical" until I had kids. On Christmas mornings now, Adult Shelly suddenly disappears and Marvin has one extra kid on his hands!
He always goes the extra mile to make sure there are surprises galore for me, saying he wants to make up for my missing out as a child.

Thursday morning, there was the mysterious garage project, about the size of a large ottoman, with wheels peeking out, parked beside the tree wearing snowman wrapping paper. As the boys sorted through their presents (very few this year, in keeping with the economic crisis), they and I realized that the large, wheeled "thingy" was marked for them, not me! They asked to open it right away and I chimed in because I was dying to see what it was that kept Marvin in the garage in the middle of the night for a week!

As they ripped off the paper, I saw what it was. In complete disbelief at the craftsmanship and creativity, I whispered to Marvin, "Did you build that?" and burst into tears. He had built the boys the most beautiful Lego table I've ever seen. More like a chest, it had a top covered with the Lego platforms, finished trim work, a deep storage drawer on gliders, and casters for portability. He had purchased bulk Lego lots on eBay and filled up the drawer, complete with a stocked tackle box for little extras (hats, swords, wheels, etc.)

Later, out of earshot of the boys, I asked him why he hadn't let me in on the surprise. "My favorite part of Christmas", he told me, "is seeing the light in your eyes. I wanted you to be surprised, too!"

I'm tearing up again, writing this. This man I've been blessed with is so selfless, humble, and loves me more than I'll ever imagine. Except for the grace of God, I'm truly undeserving of all this richness in my life.

We like to say, "Oh, Christmas isn't about the gifts, it's about family." Well, here's a bit of blunt honesty: it IS about the gifts. It's about taking time out of our hectic lives to acknowledge the most incredible gift we've all been given, a Savior to bear the weight of our sins. It's about spending our time thinking of others, what we can choose give them that will bless them in a unique way. It's about giving our children the opportunity to participate in the biggest, most important birthday party ever, and about teaching them how to give to others. Giving our Lord praise for His gift and giving our love to our loved ones.



Wordless Wednesday


Joyful Souls

Ever wonder exactly why it is that Christmas time seems to evoke smiles from even the grumpiest clerk at the DMV? Why is it that people are more likely to leave a generous tip and say, "Oh, but it's Christmas!" How come suddenly everyone wants to give new toys to parentless children and donate funds to local churches that they've never attended?

I was driving my kids somewhere (when am I not doing that?) a couple of days ago and was enjoying the festive feeling around me, smiling to myself, when this realization crept into my heart. Even if we are skeptical, at best, about the virgin birth of our Savior, our souls can't hide from the shining truth that is on the front lawn of every neighborhood church during this time of year.

That tiny baby in a manger, our mighty God willingly becoming helpless, Jesus incarnate, here to save the sinful human race. The truth of the unfathomable sacrifice the Father made of His Son, giving the One to save us all.

I like to think that every year on Christmas, heaven's windows and doors burst wide open, the Son's face shines on each and every one of us, faithless or faithful, sinner or saved, and we all get a special opportunity to do something significant, something that would seem impossible during the other 11 "ordinary" months of the year.

Won't you take this opportunity during the greatest celebration on earth to reach out to someone else? Give a little extra in the offering at church, donate something brand new to a local thrift shop, serve food at a shelter on Christmas Day, or simply bow your head in prayer for those less fortunate.

May your families find the peace, joy, and grace of our Savior.
Marvin, Shelly, Alec, Benji, and Ava

Handmade pt. 3

Here's the final throw I made from that cheap, $40 haul I made at the Salvation Army. I bought all the sweaters I found in the right colorways, and these just happened to all go together. I probably could have used a couple more for this one, but it's pretty big as it is. This is now at Brittany's house keeping her and her babies warm. Britt, when you read this would you count how many sweaters are in it and leave a comment? As usual, I forgot to count and don't remember...
Someday I'll get around to making myself one...can't wait!


Handmade pt. 2

Here's the promised pictures of the felted wool throw. It took a bit of planning to get the squares (or rectangles) to all match up, but overall wasn't too difficult of a project.
I think I used around 6 sweaters, using the front as one square, the back as one and then cutting the sleeves open and stitching them together to make a third square (or rectangle)
I did what I call a butt-joint (a borrowed carpentry term), and simply butted the edges together and zig-zag stitched them.
It's pictured in it's new home, my dear friend Sarah's house. Merry Christmas, girlie! Hope it keeps you toasty!

Another one in brights and stripes is on it's way for someone else...Hm mm, wonder who it is?
Oh, and Sarah, if you're reading this, could you count the sweaters in the throw and leave a comment so we'll know exactly how many I used?


It's messy in here!

Yep, my house is messy! I'm trying to do the work of about 5 people to get ready for Christmas. We host the family on Christmas Day, so I'm doing extra stuff, like lining valances for our office and filling picture frames.

As if any of that stuff is necessary to ensure the sucess of our meal!

I'm actually waaaay behind on planning for that meal. My menu looks like this:

Sweet Potatoes

Hmmm, not very complete or festive! It will come together, it always does, but in the meantime, I'm letting it get messy in here and trying not to care...(that's impossible but I'm working on it!)

Anyone have any Christmas food traditions to help inspire me?



Today the boys and I made felted wool wreaths. I bought wool sweaters from the thrift store (in the most awesome, vibrant colors, of course!). Then we felted them (wash in hot water with a little dish soap, dry in dryer on high), and I spent some time last night cutting them up into 2x2 inch squares using my handy dandy rotary cutter. I wouldn't recommend trying this with scissors, it would take FOREVER!
Today, I sat them down with the big box of felted squares and a yarn needle threaded with embroidery thread. It takes roughly 60 squares to make one wreath, you can fold the squares triangularly or just leave them flat. The triangle ones make a fluffier wreath and use less wool.
The boys are giving them to their Nana and Grandma and Alec is giving one to his teacher for a Christmas present.
Later, I'm going to be making a throw out of various shades of cream and caramel wool from recycled sweaters. (I'll post pics when it's finished)
(Oh, and for the record, all you thrifties out there- I shopped on the day that everything was 50%off and paid only $40 for 18 sweaters!)


Our tree is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. We wrap it with an inordinate amount of lights and use every ornament we have, so it glistens like a triangular jewel, dripping with color and shimmer.
My mother in law wraps the trunk of her tree with white lights and then the outside branches with colored lights and puts tinsel (stringy silver stuff) on it and her tree looks positively magical!

Colored lights, white lights, or both for you?


Wordless Wednesday

The Reason...


Happy Birthday to Ava's bestest buddy!
We love you, Ozzie!

Hop on over to 4LittleMen and wish Ozzie Nolan a wonderful day!

Reflections on the Potty

I stared at the package in my hand. There they were, all seven of them, each tightly rolled and nestled in a clear plastic bag with pink edges. If I looked closely, I could barely make out the faces of Belle and Cinderella smiling up at me.

"I'm so not ready for this!", I mentally shouted. As I pulled off the tape and unrolled the first pair of underwear, tears pooled. "I'm not ready to kiss her babyhood goodbye", I sniffed.

As I pulled off the tape and unrolled the second pair, I could hear the tires of her car squealing as she drove away to college (hopefully wearing underwear as modest as these).

On the third pair, I went and got some scissors and wondered if she'd have any poopy accidents while we were potty training. Cleaning up smashed poop out of tiny jeans or carseats is one of my favorite pastimes.

When I cut the tape and unrolled the fourth pair, I held them up, thought they looked a little big and idly wondered if they'd live up to the "no ride-up" promise stamped on their bag.

As I struggled to rip the tape off of the fifth pair, I suddenly realized that it had taken me what seemed like 10 minutes to partially open a package of toddler underwear, and hoped that the money we'd be saving on diapers would be worth the 10 minutes of frustration.

By the sixth pair, I was fuming and wondering what idiot decided that it was necessary to tape down the edge of a tiny little roll of cotton AND use a resealable, stiff plastic case for the package. As if.

I yanked open the seventh pair, threw them all into the washing machine and slammed the door.

Today I told Ava to be sure not to pee on her princesses. No accidents again, but she's napping with a diaper. My boys were really slow to get over the sleep-wetting thing, hopefully she won't follow suit.

I love potty training. Not.

Fresh cranberries, orange juice, some eggs, lotsa butter...AND whipped cream!
Interested? Click here for the recipe. I must warn you, though, it took me the ENTIRE day to make...


Heavenly Peace

Today was so peaceful. I think somehow knowing that we didn't have to face the "trauma" of another school day made us all happier.

Alec was his old, silly self again. He played kindly with Benji all morning and Benji, in turn, was kind to Ava. Around lunch time, Benji went to play with a friend and Alec and I spent time doing math and making Flubber while Ava slept.

Alec, Benji and Daddy are at a Cub Scouts meeting tonight at the local firehouse. No worries about getting home in time because tomorrow is a "school day", no stress for me to hurry and pack Alec's lunch to save time in the morning, no obsessive clock watching this morning or this afternoon to worry about drop off and pick up.

My hope is that all this peacefulness will trickle down and soothe Alec's nervous immune system, and calm his jittery nervous system. He did so well today when I asked him to do his math homework. He sat right down and finished it right away without jumping out of his seat the usual ten thousand times.
Today has made me think twice about homeschooling...

Any successful homeschooling mommas out there care to comment?

p.s. the best part of all of this was that I was calm enough to put Ava on the potty all day! She had NO ACCIDENTS! This is a first in our house, my boys peed all over the place! Please, God, let her be my easy one!


Crosswise and Crazy

Look closely, do you see a 7 year old's boxer-clad bottom? Alec's pants fell down while he was putting ornaments on our tree because his pants are STILL too big, even after I took the waist in about 2 inches!

I love December. I love our warm house full of twinkle lights, I love the smell of our Christmas tree, I love the cozy, quiet talks about baby Jesus, I love the excitement buzzing when the kids open their gifts, I love our Christmas Eve fondue tradition, and I love not being able to sleep that night because I'm as excited as a little kid!

I don't love the multitude of extras I've had to accomplish. So many that the laundry sits wrinkled on our bedroom floor, dirty dishes sit on our crumb-crusted counter, and the van feels like home.

After last weekend's flurry of a birthday, a train ride and an unexpected day out of town, I spent the week preparing for this weekend. We had a church group party, a work party, and another birthday party. I wouldn't say that I don't like to party, but, well, you get the picture!

On top of all the holiday hustle, we're taking Alec out of school starting tomorrow until school resumes in January. He's had health issues and academic issues and we're trying to give him enough time at home to fully recuperate so he can start fresh. We're hoping to eliminate the "not-feelin-well" variable so we can get to the bottom of the academic stuff.
I'm starting to see the many flaws in the traditional academic setting and it is reaffirming my desire to homeschool even more. That's a whole 'nother post for a 'nother time...

Now it's time for a silent night...


Trains and Terrific Traffic

We rode this train

Alec got bored

Ava got really bored

but Benji got REALLY excited when he saw Santa coming!

We've been wanting to take the kids on this train ride for a while and decided that this was finally the year. I'm not sure why an hour and a half drive to take a two hour train ride sounded fun, but we were all excited.

We somehow missed the turn onto the interstate in the town the train was in, so after taking back roads to get there we missed our 11:00 departure by 15 minutes. Arrrgh! They told us that our tickets would be good for the 2:00 departure. Oh sure, that's great; the kids won't be disppointed, we won't have spent $50 for nothing, etc. Except for the fact that I had planned on using the rest of the afternoon to make the food for Ava's party the next day and tidy up the house.

We killed the time letting the kids run wild in the toy section of the local WalMart, and then found a place to eat (a not so yummy) lunch. We made it to the train early enough to get a seat on the coach car that had very cushy seats and a bathroom (whooooopie!)

The two hour ride was, shall we say, comfortable and bland. The visit from Santa and his elf with a candy cane was the 30 second highlight of the trip.

The drive home was a nightmare. What should have taken us just under an hour and a half, took us over three hours. We crept along at 35 miles an hour seeing nothing but tail lights, icy roads and police and ambulance flashers. We must have passed at least 6 police-attended accidents. I had lots of time to plan my attack on the messy house and lack of party food while I was trapped in the front seat!

I gotta say, though, Marvin really came through! We skipped church in the morning *gasp* and he spent the morning vaccuming, baking cookies, keeping Ava out of my hair, and directing the boys to pick up their stuff. Wow what a great husband! Thanks honey! Couldn't have done it without you!

Ava's party was great, we were ready in plenty of time, everyone had fun, and Ava was her usual silly self, yelling, "NEXT!" after she opened each present, and shouting, "Goodby, everyone!" as people left.

I can't believe she's two.
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smells like the 80's!

Ava (and the rest of us) spent the weekend sniffing the head of her Strawberry Shortcake baby that we got her for her birthday. That smell sure brings back memories. Like the one my huband had; he used to snatch his sister's S. Shortcake away and yell, "Strawberry Shortcake, Huckleberry Pie, throw them in the oven and say goodbye!"


Ok, I promised myself I wouldn't be back on here till Monday, but I just had to post about this:

My ***Very first review for Meeup*** (woo-hoo!) just went up over at my friend
Lacie's Peanut Butter and Pickles site

I'm so excited to have her promoting my carriers for Christmas!
She reviews fun, practical and affordable necessities for momma-hood.

Stop by and check it out, enter one of her giveaways, and get inspired for gift ideas for the mommy on your list.

Happy Birthday, Ava!

(I have no birth story to tell here; all my labors are scheduled and induced because I have such large babies. We just pack our bags and head off to the hospital like we're going on vacation or something. It's weird, and not something I think I could ever get used to)

I remember the morning I went in to have you, I was really excited. We had found out you were a girl, and I couldn't believe I was actually going to be the mother of a daughter. I was induced at around 10:00, and you were born at 2:30.

We laughed when we saw how big you were (my doctor said you'd be a tad smaller than the boys, but you were bigger), and we laughed when Alec saw you and said, "Mom, I'm afraid she's going to be Asian!" because of your dark hair and very dark eyes.

Your name means "full of praise" and that's how my heart has been since you were born. You are so beautiful and funny. There are no shortage of pictures of you with a huge smile on your face.

You love to give "huggys" and kisses to Alec, Benji and Daddy. You love me by imitating my every move. That's a lot to live up to, and sometimes I'm scared that you'll imitate my faults, too.

I know that I"m the perfect momma for you and you're the perfect little girl for me. I pray daily that God will give you a soft heart to love Him, listening ears to hear His wisdom, gentle hands to do His work, and quick feet to follow His direction.

I love you, Baby Grace! Happy 2nd Birthday!
Love, Mommy


Busy, busy, dreadfully busy...

...you've no idea what I have to do! (anyone with little ones who watch Veggie Tales will chuckle!)

I'm hopped up on Tylenol and Sudafed to help me ignore my cold while I:

decorate the house for Christmas, go to the post office to return a coat and some jeans, order our Christmas cards, plan the menu for Ava's birthday party on Sunday, make my grocery list, bake 4 dozen cookies for a fund raiser at church, wipe Ava and Benji's drippy noses, pick out, put up and decorate the Christmas tree, take a train ride with "Santa" and my kids, go caroling at a nursing home with our Cub Scout pack, bake cupcakes for Ava's party, throw Ava's party and clean up afterwards..oh, and I guess I'll have to fix breakfast, lunch and dinner several times in there...

See you all on Monday!


stuff and nonsense

Any one else ever get really, really stupid and cranky during that "special" time of the month? I'm enjoying my week of cotton-headed angst, complete with a toddler with a cold!

I'm freezing cold (another thing that I really enjoy during my "special" time), and sitting here staring down the P.I.L.E. of sewing waiting for me on my work table. A Meeup carrier for a review, three unlined valances for my office, a mound of red fleece for the curtains in the boys room, a naked pillow form that needs to be covered. OH, and I musn't forget the 4 H.U.G.E. rubbermaid containers sitting in the middle of the floor in the office containing the fluff and stuff that make it Christmas-y around here.

We got the outside decorations put up over the weekend, and I'm going gung-ho on the indoor ones, trying to get them finished before Ava's birthday party on Sunday. Shouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that I can't seem to stop wiping Ava's nose or changing my er, well, you-know-what, long enough to even crack the lids on those tubs.

Don't get me wrong, this is N.O.T. a "poor-me" post...just tryin' to keep it real!

Anyone else out there throwing twinkle lights and tinsel at everything right now?


Ava and the Cupcake


Thursday's Treasures

:: my Lord and Savior, who loves me unconditionally

:: my husband, who also loves me unconditionally

:: the privilege of being the mommy to three amazing children

:: i have a roof over my head and the money to pay the heating bill

:: i can see the blue sky, touch my husbands hand, smell bread baking in my oven, taste salty tears on my lips, hear the laughter of my children

:: my parents and my husband's parents, who share the wisdom that only comes with years

:: my brother, who is finally home

:: my dear friends, new and old, who walk beside me in this fascinating journey of womanhood

What are your treasures today?


Wordless Wednesday

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Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines (and fasten your seatbelts)!

If anyone likes to read about stressful, real life, keep reading. For those of you who will have an increased heart rate or a headache at the mere mention of the "s-word", click on the red X at the top right corner of your screen and read someone else's blog. . .

Since this is Thanksgiving week, also known as Grocery Store Madness, I decided that I needed to get all my shopping done yesterday. I took Alec to school, Ava to my mom's house, and Benji with me. My goal was: return to Carter's, local health food store, grocery store, fabric store, my weekly stop at the Goodwill, a craft store, and the BMV to get my driver's license renewed. All by noon-ish so I could rush back home and get Ava down for her nap. Hm mm, sounds a little impossible, huh! Hey, "Dream Big!", right?

Ok, here we go. . .

Part One:

First stop, BMV. Pull in and realize that they only accept checks or cash and I have neither. Drive to nearest ATM and back to BMV. Overhear the next customer in line being told that they now do accept a credit card (OOOOOH, dang it! wasted gas and time), but it was an extra $6 charge (Whew! it was worth it...)

With new, ugly driver's license tucked safely in my wallet, make the 20 min. drive to the health food store. Purchase a 5lb, $11 bag of spelt flour, some vegan bakery goodies, organic lettuce, and various other checking account-draining items, get to the car and realize why I'm not feeling too great; it's almost lunch time.

Consume two, large, and very tasty cookies from my grocery bags and some coffee-flavored soy milk (ugh!) during the 20 min. drive back, and proceed to make my second attempt to return some clothing at the Carter's store (the first time I went, it was a Sunday morning and they weren't open yet). Back to the car in record time because their computer system had just crashed and they weren't able to do the return...third time's the charm? I think I'll wait a while till I try it again!

It's actually after 11:00 now...panic, call my mom to make sure Ava isn't climbing the blinds or hiding in the bathtub, speed through the parking lot to fabric store. Browse quickly, looking for simple, easily adaptable pattern for toddler jumper, more fabrics for Meeup, and buttons for another project. At the checkout, Benji is falling down on the floor, very loudly claiming that his legs are breaking. Not wanting to look like a mom in-a-hurry-who-knows-that-her-4 year old-is-just-being-dramatic, I carry him out of the store with a glazed over smile pasted on my face.

Realize that it is nearly noon. Panic again. Speed to mom's to pick up Ava, a simple task that took over 30 minutes. Arrive home around 1:30. Ava in bed for a nap, Benji on the couch for quiet time with a movie, I unload the van while trying to figure out how I"m going to make it to the grocery before Grocery Store Madness hits and I have to defend myself with hurled grapefruits as I fight for the last bag of cranberries.


Part Two: (anyone got a headache or a case of the jitters yet? go ahead and click on that red X if you need to, I promise I won't be mad!)

Thinkin' fast, I decide that if I pack snacks and dinner for the kids and I and we leave at 3:30, we can make it to the craft store, the grocery store, and Walmart and be back by 6:30 to get Alec ready for his Cub Scouts meeting.

Hm mm, it's like I've temporarily left my body and am not remembering all the nightmarish times I've tried to leave the house with all three kids after 4:00.

Plunging ahead into the deep, dark hole of temper tantrums I've dug for myself, I WAKE Ava UP FROM HER NAP (yes, people, I've actually gone crazy by this point) and load everyone, already protesting into the car.

At the craft store, I stuff Ava into the sling, and sprint down the isles with the boys trying to keep up. All is well until we get about 20 feet from the check out. Tantrum #1, not Ava (surprise!), but Alec, who is hoarding a new toy car from Benji. Upon me forcing him to give Benji the car until we get to the next stop, Alec launches into a monotone monologue about how it's not fair that Benji gets the car, and Benji always gets all the cool stuff (right, since Benji is our favorite child, after all!)

You know that Wah-wah-wah voice of the mom on the Peanuts cartoons? I listened to that as I loaded everyone back in to the van, drove to the next parking lot, unloaded everyone, stuffed Ava back into the sling, and headed into Walmart. Oh, no, wait...I listened to that all the way through Walmart and back into the parking lot while Ava threw tantrum #2, screaming in my ear and trying to flip herself backwards out of the sling.

I'm sure we looked like a circus on wheels. . .

By this time it was 6:00, and I just gave up on beating Grocery Store Madness. I headed home, defeated, and put Ava and Benji to bed while Marvin and Alec went to Cub Scouts. After staying up till after midnight watching The Phantom of the Opera at a friends house, I finally crashed at around 1:00 am.


Part Three: (need directions to that red X yet?)

For some reason I made the brilliant decision to attempt that grocery store run this morning. Pooh-poohing the fact that I was helping a friend with something around 10:00, and another friend at around 4:00, I raced to get everyone ready and out the door before school. After dropping Alec and two friends off at school late, I dashed over to Kroger for 5 items.

It'll be quick, I told myself. The kids will be fine, I'll just let them ride in one of the car-carts and inform them ahead of time that there will be no pinching, biting or hitting (must have forgotten that they are 4 and 2). Within 30 seconds of entering the store, Ava was in full-blown tantrum mode. Shunning the very unwieldy car-cart for something a little easier to maneuver with one hand, I tucked my flailing toddler under my arm, pasted an I've-got-this-under-control smile on my face and prayed fervently that she would not kick anybody.


I will not bore you with the tedium of the rest of the day. I will say, however, that I am beyond exhausted. The past two weeks have been much like the past two days, and I'm in desperate need of a break. I actually (very very very briefly) entertained the thought this afternoon of palming my red-hot stove burner so that my 2nd degree burns would give me a legitimate reason to sign out for a while!

Strangely, though, I'm not at all depressed. Despite the busyness, I crave the cozy closeness that we create here during the holiday season. This is my favorite time of year.


If anyone laughed out loud or got a headache while reading this, please leave a comment! Or, of course, any of you who would like to boast that they have never ever had a day like this and that their kids most definitely do not throw tantrums in public places, you all can feel free to comment, also!


Surely this picture will sell some!

Alec spotted a size xSmall pouch laying on my work table and wanted to give it a try! Ava got the giggles as big brother toted her around the house for a few minutes.
If you love this one, visit Meeup and place your order!
(Mocca with earth solid, $40)


The girl's got skillz!

"LOOK. . .mommy! Bubbles coming!"

Oh, and lest any of you should think I've actually given my child "real" milk, it's actually raw goat's milk. Anyone curious as to why?


Hello? Hello?

Ok. So yesterday 26 people visited here, yet nary a comment. . .I'd love to know who you are! All you lurkers, come out, come out! I'd really like to get to know you and visit your space. . .
c'mon. . .please!!??


A stitch in time. . .

~busy working on the winter collection for Meeup

~having trouble locating fabrics that are exactly what I want

~hoping to take advantage of the gift-giving season approaching

~experimenting with fine-wale corduroy and flannel (cozy!)

~stop by and check it out:: refer a friend, or buy a gift!
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(no) Thursday's Treasures

No treasures today. I had a, um, shall we say "challenging" morning, and am ready for a rest!

I did find some really nice pants, shirts, a sweater, and a Columbia fleece jacket for Alec next fall when I went on my weekly trip to our local Goodwill on Tuesday.

I also found an adorable shirt from Children's Place for Ava with a stylized felt and corduroy squirrel on the front. I would have taken her picture in it for my post today, but she covered herself in hair gel about an hour after I put it on her. . .*sigh*


Wordless Wednesday


This weekend we. . .

. . .did a whole lot of nothin'!

Marvin came home in the early afternoon on Friday and I left to do some errands and shopping WITHOUT MY KIDS!!!! Oh yeah. It was nice.

He and the kids met me later and we ate (for only $23) at Chipotle. Then we headed to Macy's where I allowed Ava to try on 4 or 5 very sparkly, very twirly, holiday dresses. After donning each one, she would run out of the fitting room, say "LOOK Daddy!" (she's still working on sentences) spin around in circles and then yell, " 'nother one!" and head back to the room. Despite the "oooh-ing" and "ahhh-ing" from the male half of our family, we didn't purchase a dress. The average price was $72, not something I'm willing to fork over for a one-time wear.

On Saturday we just sat around. It was really strange to not have plans or have a big project to work on. I did take Ava to the store before her nap, where she threw one of the biggest public tantrums she's had to date. At the checkout, she squirmed out of her stroller and laid down on the floor. As I finished paying and smiling cheerfully at the onlookers, she rolled side to side, kicking and screaming. It was lovely.

On Sunday after church we ran errands together (which, strangely, is one of my favorite things to do...). Ava took a late nap while Marvin and Alec had a cub scouts outing and Benji and I did some more nothin'. Marvin and I wrapped up the weekend with a movie and left-over birthday cake last night.

Aaaaaah! Nothin' like a weekend of nothin' to send me into a busy week, totally relaxed. . .


Yes, I know this is narcissistic, but



Here's the rules:

*post a picture of something you found for free or bought at a yard sale, flea market, or thrift shop

*if you've given it a makeover, post before and after pictures

*if it's clothing, post the brand and the price you paid for it so we can oooh and aaaah over the fantastic deal you got

*link your post to mine

Go Thrifting!
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Thursday's Treasures

This mammoth, octagonal wall clock (it measures about 30"x30") was a find by my hubby at our local flea market. Similar clocks new retail for around $100, this one was $10!
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Wordless Wednesday (with a few)

This little cutie is me at 3 yrs. old, sittin' on my parents groovy floral couch. Check out the wood paneling! Anyone else have one of those record players? It's called The Music Box, from Fisher Price, and they're selling on ebay for around $50! Wish my parents had kept ours!
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Does anyone use Picasa 3 and Blogger together? I do, and for some reason today Picasa won't let me upload pictures to my blog. When I click on the "Blog This" icon, it sends me to a screen that says "you don't have any blogs associated with your account". eeeek! Not sure what to do...anyone know?


Um. . .

nothing exciting. . .

~marvin is off today, we're taking out all the window air-conditioners (we have no central air) and putting up our storm windows

~I stood in the rain and cold for an hour yesterday with Ava and Benji so I could watch Alec and his group of cubscouts march in our Veteran's Day parade

~progress is slow on Ava's Christmas dress. I think I've finalized the design, but for some reason I'm dragging my feet on making the muslin pattern. Still can't decide if I want to use velvet or not

~it's sunny today, but VERY cold. We need to finish raking up the leaves in the front yard

~we only have one window in our bedroom; I washed it today inside and out and our room is brighter and sunnier! (it's been a little too long since I did that)

~we celebrated my birthday over the weekend. One party here with my parents, one party at my MIL's house with my SIL's and nephew and niece. My real birthday is this Friday. Marvin won't be home for it, he's going hunting

~alec got glasses, but he's only a tad farsighted. He only needs them for homework and computer time. He looks really cute in them, like a little scientest


It's finally ready!
Check out my new website and select a new pouch carrier for yourself or a friend
~ Gift giving season is coming! ~
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Wow! I"m better today and so is Marvin! That truly was a bug of the 24-hour variety. I'd probably be up and at 'em today except for the tantrum that Ava threw in the middle of the night. I heard kicking and screaming at about 12:00 and hurried up to see what was wrong. Thinking she may be just stuck in covers or something, I was quite surprised to see her just thrashing around and screaming; having quite an enormous tantrum in her sleep!

I couldn't get her out of her bed, so I just watched her to make sure she wouldn't hurt herself. As I was talking to her trying to wake her up and calm her down, I noticed that her sleeper was once again filled with diarrhea.

After a while, we gave up on trying to get her to calm down and it took both of us to wrestle her out of her sleeper and into the shower. It was funny and not so funny at the same time. It was like watching Marvin try to stuff an angry eel into a tube sock (tee-hee!), but I actually started crying because she was so upset and we couldn't understand what she was saying and she was flipping around and around in the slippery shower and I was afraid she'd hit her head or Marvin would drop her.

She probably cried in a full-blown tantrum for over 15 min. Then she suddenly stopped. We let her snuggle in our bed for a while and all ended up falling asleep.

Whew! I'm awfully tired today, heading off to a warm shower and nap...

Has anyone else had a toddler with sleep-tantrums? Is that even a word?



I'm sick today. So is Marvin. Ava shared her stomach virus with us, isn't she a sweetie! I felt sick last night, and after spending the midnight hours showering Ava (twice!) to clean off her sleeper-filling diarrhea, Marvin has succumbed.

It's time to retreat to the couch with a bowl and a pillow over my eyes. I told Alec he was in charge of the kitchen, to which he responded with a huge grin. The grin faded considerably when I informed him that that also meant he'd have to clean up after himself and his two siblings.

Benji's in a TV coma, still in his PJ's, Alec is rolling around the floor with Ava, the Wiggles are singing in the background and I'm heading off to the bathroom (again!).


This is what I told my boys this morning regarding the election: "People make mistakes, God doesn't!"

A friend sent me this verse in an email and it is relevant now more than ever:
Isaiah 14:24; 26-27a, "The Lord Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?"

As we mull over the devastating (or not, depending on your moral values) consequences of the choice our nation made yesterday, let us not forget that indeed, our mighty, sovereign Lord is ultimately who we serve. He is never swayed from His plan and never stumbles over our hasty decisions and mindless mistakes.

My resolve is that much stronger to live in today, cherishing each sweet moment with my children and gently guiding them towards their Saviour.

Wordless Wednesday

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Sea Creatures

If we could see fear, I'd imagine it would look something like an octopus. My octopus rides on my neck with many of it's tentacles over my eyes to block out the truth, and some of it's tentacles on my head to edit my imagination.

I've struggled with the fear octopus for many years. It grew more tentacles and became more difficult to pry off when I had children. I've recently addressed the issue to a group of moms and received several confessions in return by women who had their own octopuses.

It seems to me that the caretakers of life are the ones who are most vulnerable to this sea-creature of the mind. For me, the fear results from my seeming need to control the environment around my children and husband. It is my instinct as a mother and indeed sometimes vital to orchestrate the details of their daily routine.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required" Luke 12:48. We, who have been given the amazing, enormous task of nurturing life, will be required to then turn it over, completely, no strings attached, to the Creator of that life.

I don't know about you, but I'm afraid to let go! It's not natural, it hurts, and I always imagine the worst. Well, it's not ME imagining that stuff, it's my octopus blocking my vision from the truth that my Creator is sovereign. It's my octopus editing my imagination to see Alec getting beat up on the playground instead of Alec befriending the bully. To see Marvin in his newly-wrecked car on the side of the road instead of him walking in the door to kiss me after work.

If we could see our Creator in this context, I imagine He'd look something like the Coast Guard, coming at our octopus, striking it down and freeing our hearts and minds. There is liberty in letting go, freedom in "falling into trust" with our Saviour.

I let go today. I sent Alec off with clean clothes, clean hair, and a smile on his face to a unique adventure. A rare opportunity to see "behind the scenes" at an air force base, and afterwards to a production by the local children's theater. He went with his best friends, their Papa and Jesus. Not with me. I can't wait to hear how much fun he had.


Here are the rules again:

~post a picture of something you've found for free, or bought at a thrift shop, garage sale or flea market

~if you've given it a makeover, post before and after pictures

~if it's clothing, post the brand and price you paid so we can oooh and aaah over the fantastic bargain you got

~link your post to mine

~go thrifting!

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