Wednesday, August 31, 2011

in the mail lately...

I had been dying to order something from House 8810, and I finally couldn't resist any longer. 

You know they are doing it right when you are almost as excited about  the wrapping as the item itself.

And look what the packing slip came in...a fabric manilla folder...nice touch right?!

My first item...a carpenter's!

And now for my main item...

Matryoshka doll stacking drinking for each girl.  
Doesn't get much cuter then this.  
House 8810, you've got another huge fan.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

20 months?

No... you can't be 20 months.  Because that would mean in only 4 months you will be 2 years old.  And that just can't be.  Because 2 is a toddler, and not a baby.  And you are my baby.  The baby that always wants mommy.  The baby that wants to be held more than let down.  The baby that hides behind my legs.  The baby that cuddles with her milk and blankie.  The baby that still goes in the nursery at church.  The baby I don't mind changing...even the stinkers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Amy and Skyla June
I am beyond blessed to have such an amazing sister...beyond blessed to have her live only 20 minutes from me...beyond blessed to spend many mornings talking, sipping coffee, and watching all our girlies play...beyond blessed to share the journey of motherhood with her.  She recently posted this on her blog (which you must check out) and I had to share it with you...

After reading and seeing various quotes and blogs from my mommy friends on the book Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, I decided to read it myself and see what it was all about. Just the fact that a mother and a daughter wrote a book about parenting together grabbed my attention from the start. This happened about the same time I had my second daughter, so I was somewhat (ok all the way) sleep deprived, and at somewhat (ok all the way) at a loss of how to love two children at the same time with patience and grace.

With both of these things going on, I was blown away. There were definitely points that I was floored and humbled as a mom. First, floored that God in His graciousness has even allowed me to be a mom, and second humbled that I had been thinking I knew what I was doing as that mom. And then I started to notice my language and attitude in the way I parent.

So much of the way I talk is “I, I,I” and the way I talk to my daughters is “you, you , you”. This is where I started to slowly (and continue to very slowly) realize what grace is and is not. Grace is a free gift from God (Eph 2:8). Free, as in no cost. There is nothing I can do as a mom that is “good” There is nothing that my little girls can do that is “good” (Rom 3:12). That is without Jesus.

This is liberating news as a mom, and freeing news as a child. Fitzpatrick says in her book, “The good news of God’s grace is meant to permeate and transform every relationship we have, including our relationship with our children. All the typical ways we construct to get things done and get others to do our bidding are simply obliterated by a gospel message that tells us that we are all both radically sinful and radically loved. At the deepest level of what we do as parents, we should hear the heartbeat of a loving, grace giving Father who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters.”

This is the message that my children need to hear from me daily, not the message that if they dont do “good” i will be disappointed with them. I want my children to care far more about what God thinks, than what I think (1 Cor 10:31). I don’t want my children to “behave” just to make me happy. I don’t want my children to have the idea that they are chalking up points with me, or God.

In our home, Adina (our almost 4 year old) has been memorizing the 10 commandments. And while it is very cute that she knows them all and can recite them when asked, what we want her to know more than just what the laws are is that none of us obey them perfectly (Js 2:10), ever, except Jesus (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 1:22). And even though we will never obey them perfectly, Jesus still loves us.

Fitzpatrick says, “Even though our children cannot and will not obey God’s law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they cant love God or others this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.” 
It is a popular idea in our culture that children just need to have good self esteem. That little girls are princesses and little boys are warriors and need to be told all the time that they are “good” little girls and boys. Children long to be told that they were good during the day, or as my daughter puts it when she is about to be disciplined “I promise Ill be a good girl”.

Really, Christ is the only good one. Our children are not innately good (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:3). And telling them they are over and over again only reaffirms that they don’t really have a need for grace. Children are not good, but they are loved. If they truly start to believe this, Jesus’ love and grace will start to change their little hearts. With Jesus grace and love as the basis of a child's motivation, the actions are so much sweeter.
In our home we have started to back off from the “good” language and encourage our daughter to rely on Jesus to help her. It is really amazing what happens. Just simple things like, “Jesus is helping you to be so loving to your sister today” to “I think you should pray and ask Jesus to give you more patience with your mommy.”

There is Something about even a 3 year old positioning herself to prayer that softens her heart almost instantly (sometimes are harder than others, of course) and enables her to have a different and more loving outlook on whatever the situation at hand may be. Talking a lot about grace starts to foster a place where a child can be honest in dealing with their heart and be open to letting Jesus help them. And this is where our children can start to get a glimpse of what God’s grace is.

There are day to day things that our children need, like sleep, food, care, protection, and of course some rules set up to create an atmosphere where these things can take place. But what they need most of all is the gospel of grace.
What they need most of all is the gospel of grace.
Some parents may think that parenting with grace is just a different way of saying that you are giving your child a free pass to figure things out on their own and hopefully that will be Jesus in the end. But really, parenting by grace is just the opposite.

Fitzpatrick writes, “Giving grace to children is an exercise of faith and faith is always more difficult than works. It flows out of humility, a character trait that none of us comes by naturally. That's why most people miss it and why works, not faith, is the stumbling block at the cross. You are not slacking off when you tell them of his dazzling love. You are doing the hardest thing.”

My encouragement to you who are parents, and you who are going to be someday is to excite your children about the cross of Christ. Talk about Jesus a lot in your home. Encourage your children to run to Jesus and receive His grace when they may be flourishing and when they may be failing. And the amazing thing about all of this is that as a parent, we get to be amazed as well. Because God’s grace never runs up. There is more than enough for our babies and for us.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Thursday, August 25, 2011

pottery revelation...the finale

Remember this?  You were probably wondering what ever came of those unfired lumps of clay.  Well, after only 4 months, we were finally able to track them down.  My friend and fellow potter Eli, is taking off on a long and permanent journey to her new home in Japan and just couldn't bear to leave without seeing the fruits of her labor.  And because she is such a good friend, she left hers in my care while she is in Japan (you do remember me saying its a permanent move right?)  She practically left them on my doorstep wrapped in a newspaper like forgotten little orphans.  I don't blame her considering hers weighed nearly as much as a forgotten orphan and would've had to go in her carry on... her only carry on... for 14 hours... at her feet no doubt.
 mine- think Anthro is hiring designers?

 hers- the two ton mug? vase? pencil holder?

ours-neither of us will take credit for them- believe me they look waaaay worse in person- 
the camera works wonders

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

those eyes

Honestly, those eyes!  How could I possibly refuse her...
one more Barney Video
one more bag of fruit snacks
one more sippie cup of milk (yes, the bottle is ancient history by now!)
one more reading of Goodnight Moon before bed
one more minute of playing in big sisters' car seats
one more pickle (that was her request right before bedtime tonight)
one more baby doll from the toy aisle
one more push in the swing
one more glance out the window for a passing plane
one more hug and kiss goodnight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Down a sunny dirt road...

My girls are on a real Berenstain Bears kick lately.  We've gone through our collection multiple times this week.  These are the classics I grew up reading and I love sharing them with the girls.  I have noticed however (as has Brett), that there is quite a misconstrued view of a father's role in the family in many of these books.  It seems as though Papa Bear is always playing a shouting, immature, "dumb dad" role (much like the majority of sitcoms these days).  Mama Bear is always the smarter, wiser, more self-controlled leader of the family, mending all the mistakes Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear make.  Kinda makes you think Jan Berenstein may have had the final edit in this series... But we'll continue to enjoy them anyway, making a point to tell our girls that our Daddy is just as wise, smart, and self-controlled as their Mama ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


When I was little, my mom was either living in the land of Holly Hobby (which was the theme for my 7th birthday by the way) or the land of Little House on the Prairie (was it Wisconsin? Kansas?).  I don't know if everyone else's moms were putting bonnets on them, but she couldn't get enough of the bonnets for my sister and me.
 bonnet at 5 months

 bonnet at 7 months

bonnet at 12 months

  And look what she brought over this of the collection- over 30 years old mind you, hand made, and still in great shape.  After putting it on Leighton, I realized that they are actually great for sun protection on the face, and pretty cute too (especially that vintage print).  But I do expect an intervention from my true friends when I have the girls in pinafores and button up boots and calling me "Ma".

Friday, August 19, 2011

brought to you by the letter...

This blog post is brought to you by the letter...

A particularly busy week filled with...

PTF- President no less...I'm afraid this may end up sucking some of my blog time (as well as all my other time), but am really excited to see where it goes this year

Photoshop, Picassa,and Picnik- trying to make a dang PTF flyer of course (I have so much to learn!)

Parent night- meet the teacher, sit in tiny first grade chairs, check out the classwork- pretty sure its gonna be a great year

Purple cards- the ultimate in behavior charts for first grade- and Brooklyn already has 3! A world record I'm sure

P90X-okay, so maybe its not the full 90, but we've all got to start somewhere right?  Somewhere for us (Brett and me) has been implementing the diet plan and upping exercise- which means we are supposed to be doing the incredibly cheezy videos together... in a 5x6 foot space...when we scoot the couch back...we' ll see...

postpartum pooch- yes, it has been 20 months since Leighton was born and I'm still dealing with a bit of residual in the mid section, hence the P90

power bars and protein shakes (to trick myself into thinking I'm eating candy and ice cream)

parting with Brooklyn and playing with only a pair of pretty princesses

power walks to parks and playgrounds for playdates

I'm plain petered out I tell you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Grader

Looking at these makes me she's grown!

Today was the big day..and she handled it beautifully...
found her clothes and excitedly got ready for the day
found her line
found  her kindergarten girlfriends
found her teacher
found her desk
found herself getting the only purple card in class (huge deal here folks- including a prize!)
found herself loving first grade already

Monday, August 15, 2011

inspired by...

If you've spent any time browsing Pinterest, (come on now, don't deny the hours of your life it has consumed) you've most likely seen this...

so very lovely isn't it?

And if you are one of the thousands of fans of Ashley Ann, you may have also seen this...

again, so lovely

Well, I was inspired by these to create a little something similar for our home.  Most of the time I'm on my own in my hair-brained ideas, but I actually employed Brett for part of this one (I may be skilled at the electric sander and power drill, but I'm still a bit wary of the power saw!)  I picked up the wood from Home Depot (in the garden center of all places, apparently its some sort of landscape wood).  Perfectly thin and weathered and less than 2 bucks for an 8 foot piece.  My skill saw man cut it into 6 pieces and used a scrap to glue them together on the back.  I painstakingly cut out all the letters (someday maybe lucky enough to get one of those high fallotin' cutters) and mod-podged them on.  

A nice little reminder of what who the real priorities in my home are.

Friday, August 12, 2011

officially over

Well folks, our first ever summer vacation has come to an end.  Come Monday morning , its back to 6am wake up calls, lunch packing, uniform dressing (which I love) fixing hair and breakfast (which I don't really love), and trying to make the one stoplight on the way to school (yes, I know we should be walking but that stoplight is at the top of a pretty steep hill, wimpy I know).  I think this summer went by just as fast as I remember them going by for me.  We had so much fun having Brooklyn home and were able to check off  almost everything on our bucket list.  So here's to a new start and first grade!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

sweet success

One summer when I was five or six, my grandma was just as determined as I was to catch the ice cream truck in our neighborhood.  Determined enough to run for blocks and blocks in the Arizona heat, waving our arms, screaming for him to stop.  But, to no avail.  He got away, and were relegated to a single scoop from Thrifty's (a much cheaper treat by the way...15 cent cones back then!).

This summer, (30 some years later...ahem) we set out to find our own ice cream truck.  Last week we had one failed attempt.  No running or chasing involved, just ambling through the neighborhood trying to pinpoint the location of the fading tune while not letting the girls get too discouraged., we got him.  I heard the familiar music, charged downstairs, grabbed a wad of cash and ordered Brooklyn to, "Don't let him get away!"  I let the ice cream man know, "We've been waiting all summer for this."  Brookyn informed me she had been waiting her whole life for this. Success, sweet success. 

PS-of course they chose the most freakish looking treats- for the gumballs no doubt.  What is it about gumballs in ice cream that kids can't resist? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

paper dolls

 Meet Betsy and Barbara McCall...

view their adorable wardrobes...

get them ready for a big party...

send them off in vintage style.

I guess Barbie dolls may have been what knocked paper dolls off their stands.  They just aren't treasured or played with like they used to be.  I picture little girls in the 50's and 60's spreading out the wardrobes and gently bending the tabs to dress their fragile dolls in outfits they dreamed about wearing themselves.  Yes, unfortunately paper dolls may have fallen by the wayside over the years, but what little girl can't resist these adorable paper dolls?  And you can download a ton of these Besty McCall dolls for FREE (the downloading is free, but the printer ink may cost you a small fortune).  

Anyway, this weekend we ran out our printer ink making dolls and dresses for the girls to play with.  These are the ones Brooklyn chose (and cut out all by herself!). Pretty cute right?  I have no pictures to post of Ellie's because of all the mutilation and amputation that occurred to her dolls.  What do I expect considering this is the same girl who earlier that day brought me a legless Ken doll and said, "Mommy I forgot to play gentle again, and broke his legs off."? Maybe its actually rough and tumble four-year-olds who knocked paper dolls off their stands.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Depending on Him

When I read something like this, I realize that if God wants us to depend on Him when it comes to raising our children, it should be no surprise that we encounter challenging situations where we have no resources of our own.  He desires to draw us close to Himself and to deepen our reliance on, and trust in Him.  And it is most often the challenges in life that accomplish these goals in our lives.  And quite honestly, my kids are my biggest challenge most of the time.  So when as the challenges arise (from the minute my eyes open in the morning, and on through the day-and night!), I need to see them as opportunities for me to rely more completely on the Lord.  Opportunities to turn to Him first, instead of a parenting book or a friend's advice.  To receive from Him the resources I really need...wisdom...guidance...patience...gentleness...self

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Went from this to this.  In only a few hours.  Gotta love what spray paint can do.  Give an old dresser a new look and get rid of the musty Ocean Beach smell.  You would only know what I mean if you've ever lived in OB.  How can every single house smell that way?  My guess is mold + ocean air + lots of weird pets + street people + partying college kids.  Not a good mix I tell you, not a good mix.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bye Bye Baba

I've known for a while that I need to wean Leighton from the bottle.  I just haven't wanted to do it...yet.  Partly because she's my last baby, but mostly because I expect it to be a challenge.  Anyway, she has gotten super attached to it in the last month or so, asking for her "baba" almost every hour.  Tired, hungry, grouchy, bored...she needs her baba.  Well, today was the breaking point when I saw this...

She literally bit a chunk out of the nipple- she needed her milk that bad I guess, and the slow flow nipple was holding her back.  Of course I discovered this as it flowed out all over her car seat.  So, to put it in her words, "baba broken".  And I saw it as my perfect opportunity to kick the beloved baba to the curb. 

Doesn't she looked thrilled about the idea. 
I'm expecting this to be a loooooooooong week.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First Recital

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This busy bee's buzzin over to...

Super, super, super excited about spending my Saturday morning here...
with one of by absolute best-est  friends ever.
Come on and join us-we'll be there early!
(and it's free this time- minus all the hundreds of dollars you'll want to drop when you get there!)