Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's all fun and games til somebody pukes...

Hi guys. Here we are... spring break.  We partied with family and friends at the ice rink on Friday night to ring in Joe's 13th birthday, and then I woke up at about 4 am on Saturday to that awful dizzy feeling and stomach flu hit me full force, about ten minutes later.  I was hoping and praying I was the only one in the family, and just really run down from all the March activity.  (Which was probably very true.)  (I got hit with the worst stomach flu I've ever had last year during spring break and spent five days in bed because I was so weak I could barely move.)  My man graciously decided to take the hoodlums out for lunch and a movie so I could sleep, and it was one of those "I slept half the day away but thought it was five minutes" kinds of sleeps. 

Sadly, one of my little punkins who seemed perfectly fine all day Saturday, actually got suddenly very sick without warning, and threw up at the movie theatre!  Ugh.  And I wasn't there to help her and deal with it.  (Not to mention that I'm sure we just exposed half our city to the flu.) (Mom fail.) Apparently a very nice Canadian woman (or presumably Canadian since she was wearing a shirt that said CANADA on it) came rushing up to Ava in the theatre hallway (where she had just puked- bless her heart) and put her arm around Ava, asked which theatre her parents were in and assured her that she was going to be okay and that she would alert the family. Ava was so embarrassed but this lady was so sweet and helped get Adrain and Joe so they could take her home. Sometimes the kindness of strangers is staggering, and as a mama I sure appreciate that sort of thing, especially when I felt like I was on my deathbed about that same time! Man, I want to be like that when I see someone who just needs a little mama love.

Okay so anyway, we're praying like mad that the boys don't get it and it seems like maybe (hopefully?) it was just a 24 hour bug.  Joe had a flu shot and I never did get Ava's scheduled.  (Another mom-fail? I'm choosing to let that one go.)  On the bright side, I think this means I don't have to do my ab workout today, yes?
Here are a few shots from Friday night's festivities. The highlights were definitely the friends and family who came to celebrate Joe (and those that couldn't make it were missed!) The other highlights were the music they chose to play.  It was all eighties and early nineties music and my BFF Alli and I were so busy singing together we kind of ignored our kids at one point.  Ha!  Good times.  We also loved seeing the friends our son has chosen.  Such good kids. 

The low point was that one of the boys who came fell and hit his head on the ice and we had to call his parents to come pick him up.  My heart broke because he was crying and then of course embarrassed to be crying but in obvious pain.  I was so grateful that my Dad was there, being a former EMT.  He was checking this kid all out for concussions and that sort of thing and sitting with him, holding ice on his head, and just being a good grandpa.  I loved that.
 Gotta love a man skating with is daughter.
 My cute parents.
 "Bruiser Brodeur."  I told him that would have been his hockey name if he'd played as a kid!!  (He still insists that we're related distantly to the hockey great, Martin Brodeur, somewhere down the line.  Makes me laugh.)
 I had four little nieces skating all over the place.  Such cutie pies.
 My man... being a dad to some other kid.  (Side note, what is it, about watching your guy be a dad? Just amps up the hotness factor right there doesn't it?)
 I have to take a minute to talk about this one...  Out of all the people I know on this earth, I'd have to say that she has the sweetest heart I've ever come across.  See those cute beaded hoops she's sporting?  Yeah, she made a bunch of those and had me sell them in Instagram so we could donate all the profits to the Red Cross for the victims of the awful mudslide that happened here in Washington.  So many people lost their homes and loved ones.  It's been heartbreaking to hear the stories and she went to school and tried to start up a canned food drive there for that too. (They had one in the works so she can just help out or contribute.) (I loved watching some of you snap up her earrings and you totally blessed her heart.  I loved watching her write little thank you notes to each of you too!) She is precious and I can't wait to see the big things she will do with her life, out of that love for others.  It's contagious.

 My girl Alli, (@jewishmama on Instagram) and I hanging out (aka freezing our butts off!)  Love this lady.
And like I said on Instagram at the end of the night as he did his little solo birthday lap... That blur on the ice- Yeah, that's my teenager!  

Whahhh! (I survived.  And then I puked. The End.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making it party.

Okay peeps.  I've been posting "heavy" topics lately, so it's time to change gears a bit as I move into party mode.  And when I say party mode, let me clarify.  What I really mean when I say that is that my world is completely revolving around eleventy-hundred events right now, and I'm taking one task/event at at time as I roll through this wild and crazy Spring season.  ("Just to today."  Sometimes I want to throw something at that sign.)

Do y'all remember that I'm going to have a teenager when I wake up in the morning tomorrow?  We're getting ready to leave town for spring break next week. ("Camping." (cabin-ish type camping)  How I got talked into this I do not know.) (Proof positive that I will follow my man anywhere.) (Also proof positive that my man knows when I need to get away from "it all.") Then, after spring break, we've got Easter and more birthdays, so I've got a million lists going and party items strung out in various forms of preparedness all over the place.  It's very festive around here to say the least.

Joe is having his party at an indoor ice skating rink and I'd love to tell you that it's because I am truly the most fun mama on the planet... but I'd be lying.  The real reason is that I'm too tired to clean my bathrooms and sweep my floor (true story) and I don't want to invite people over because then I'd feel like I should actually do something about it.  Ha!  Anyway, because we'll be gone, I'm not going too crazy on party decor for him and besides, he keeps telling me that boys don't really care for that sort of thing.  (However, his eyes lit up when he walked in after school and saw that I'd hung a party banner up for him so there you go.) So, regardless of his claims, I am splashing a bit of fun color around to festivize the place in his honor and I'm planning on using this same banner in a few weeks for Ava's rainbow themed party.  (You won't want to miss it.)
Joe always requests the same thing, and... dare I say it... it's boring.  Carrot cake cupcakes every single year since the kid was two.  This year, I used some of the most FUN rainbow sprinkles from my girl Ashley's shop, Fancy That Loved.  (By the way, she hooked me up with a party box.  I won't even go into the crazy excitement that possessed this house when that box landed on my doorstep.  We're talking stripey straws in rainbow colors, wood spoons, sprinkles, treat bags, daisy cut mason jar lids... you name it, we got it.  We are now officially decked out for party season and I promise to share tons more from Ashley's shop when it's Ava's time to celebrate because she happens to care very much about party decor, thankyouverymuch! )
 Okay so do you remember from previous years, that we've got a wake-up tradition in this house, on birthdays?  I always put a cupcake on a plate, plunk a candle in it, and everyone in the house walks into the birthday person's room singing happy birthday.  (And the birthday person always pretends to be asleep and totally surprised by this event, event though I know for a fact they've been awake for hours, waiting for the rest of us to get up and get our acts together, and get that dang candle lit.) Well anyway, this year I found a place that makes giant doughnuts.  My boy loves doughnuts almost more than life itself, so I bought him one for his birthday wake-up.
And um.. I think it's bigger than the plate.   
I wanted to share this super easy tissue paper garland.  I followed this tutorial and have now decided that I'd like to have a career as a tissue paper artist.  Is there even such a thing?  Ha!  It was really fun and easy. 

Joe helped me put coke and gum into little goody bags and now everything's done and he's measured himself and is an inch and a half away from being my height.  Which I don't like at all.  So tomorrow I wake up to a teenager. 

I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be. If you have any sage words of wisdom, I'll take 'em.  And you might want to pray that I don't fall and break my tail-bone on the ice tomorrow night.  It's been a long time since I've gone ice skating!!  Ha!

Fancy That Loved's etsy shop

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My heart... and a watercolor placecard DIY

Okay guys.  I read all your words, your emails, your comments.  I honestly didn't write my last post to get anyone to reassure me, but somehow so many of you decided to do that anyway... I can't even tell you what it did for my heart.

I was on the phone with a close friend last week trying to process this place I find myself, all out.  Life, blogging, relationships, big life questions.  As we talked she pressed me. She didn't accept the, "Oh let's not talk about it, it's depressing" comment that I tossed her way.  She said, "No.  Tell me.  I'm listening so start from the top."   I finally shared things with her that I've not been comfortable sharing with anyone but Adrain for ages, and it suddenly occurred to me that I had been feeling invisible.  I won't go into it too much, but I'd been feeling invisible in life as a mom as I couldn't seem to break through a child's heart on a certain topic and it's wrapping me up in worry.  Invisible as a wife, as my man and I were approaching some specific things in different ways, invisible in most of my friendships because I've been going through this dark pit-like place for so long that I've unintentionally isolated myself from them because I hate being that burden-type friend, invisible in other areas that I won't dive into but on the whole, I've just been in this weird place where I wondered if anyone really saw me anymore or cared what I thought, did, said, etc.  (Aka- pitty party.)

My goodness.  I want to go back and delete all of that.  But I won't because I have to be raw and real right now as I process things.  It's what I've always given you anyway.  You're obviously here and reading because you can handle it, and I love you so much for that, you can never know.  Besides, we don't really get anywhere by pretending we're okay when we're not, right?  I'm not okay.  My heart is heavy.  It won't always be, but it is right now.  

The point is this.  It's so easy to say that life is messy. But just saying the words, "life is messy" is still such a tidy little phrase isn't it?  It doesn't begin to shed light on the way the "messy" actually feels. And when life actually gets good and messy on you, you can't believe how much it hurts, and how much it drains you and how non-tidy the living of it actually is!  It touches things you didn't plan on it touching and it's messyness spreads and infects things. You reel from the shock of it. You grasp anything that seems like it might be stable as the world spins.  In the end you're just sucked into it and there is only one hope.  God, and His promise of rescue.  

You reached out to me, and I guess I needed that so I thank you, though the words pale in comparison to what is in my heart right now.  You are being my in-the-flesh lifeline.  So many of you shared bits of your own messy stories with me and shared how God had used this space at one time or another to encourage you on your journey.  I don't claim any credit but I'm grateful that when I'm in a messy place, God still speaks freely and it touches us all in the many places of messy life we all find ourselves.   We're in this together, and we'll come out of it together.

The Rescuer is real and the Rescue is coming. 

 "He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."
Psalm 40:2
 That said, I've got the cutest idea to share today, and I'd like to end on that note. Ava and I are working like mad to plan cute table settings and party decorations for all of our upcoming events. (And boy do we have a lot of upcoming events.)  I am roping her in as my right-hand helper and I'm learning something about motherhood that I might have forgotten on more than one occasion.  

Letting go of doing it all myself and making anything look "perfect" makes everything so much more fun.
This fun project is for simple, stamped, watercolor place card tags.  I can't wait to use them in a few weeks at our Seder dinner/Easter! 
 We began by slicing up some watercolor paper in the size we wanted.  (She had the giggles when I was shooting this photo.)
 Then we swiped each center with water.  Next, we chose colors in the blue and green ranges and smeared it however we wanted it to look on the pre-wetted cards. 

They didn't take long to dry, but as soon as they were, we started stamping out the names of our family members with black ink.  
 They are wonky, and imperfect and at first Ava was a bit tentative about making mistakes.  Then I said, "Hey these are just for fun, and they don't have to be perfect, just look at mommy's!"  (Mine looked awful.) She laughed and then we just had fun making them all unique. 

 By the end of this project, we were covered in watercolor paints and ink splotches as we shared little letter stamps, but we'd had so much fun doing this together!  I love having a helper.  And I love the sweet time we get to spend crafting together, making memories.
To be honest, I don't think you can really mess this up and those are the best kind of projects in my opinion.  Just put the color on anyway you like, and stamp it however it comes out! The imperfections make them better.   
Can't wait to show you how we plan to use these!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Rescuer is real... and the Rescue is coming.

That title.  Did you catch it?

"The Rescuer is real... and the Rescue is coming."  

I don't know where I was when I heard those words, and frankly, I don't remember who I heard them from.  All I know is that I sent myself an email from my phone with nothing but those words because they were a lifeline, tossed at my head as I was plunging under a particular storm wave.

This week I was considering quitting blogging.  I periodically feel this way but this time was different.  Several friends in the blog world have taken extended vacations away from social media for various reasons and they've survived.  Their lives have continued.  The world kept spinning without them blogging about it.

Anyway, I'd been hit pretty hard by somethings that I won't share here, and I just thought, "Maybe my time at this platform is finished."  It might be coming closer to a close... I don't really know yet.  I'm holding it open-handedly to God and letting Him make that call as I've said yes to other opportunities this year that have begun to fill my schedule up and leave less and less space for blogging about life at this site.  What I do know is this;  As long as He gives me something, and presses it firmly into my heart with that ever-familiar, "blog this right now... don't think, just let My words flow and hit publish," I'll do it.  

So here I sit.

I stumbled upon those rescuer words in my saved emails, and I felt the slam of the "blogthisrightnow" feeling.  I don't know who needs to hear this more than I do right now.  But I'm betting that "blogthisrightnow" feeling wasn't only for myself.

I'm actively waiting for a rescue.  In fact, if you want to know the truth of it, am desperate for one in three specific areas of my life right now.  Desperate is the best word I can find to describe it.  In that desperation (and often, in the pit...) I forget that a rescue is indeed coming and I begin to mentally doubt that maybe it's not.  Maybe my paltry troubles are too insignificant to gain the attention of an almighty God watching over a plane that nobody in the world seems to be able to locate. Or maybe my small issues that feel so all-encompassing in my little world, pale in comparison to the family who just lost a loved one in a helicopter crash in downtown Seattle.

If I really believe that though...that God is only capable of handling or caring about the huge issues out there, then my God is pretty small.  

If He is who I believe He is, and is as mighty as I claim to know He is, then I am not beneath His notice, nor are the issues I deal with.  I am in the palm of His hand and He sees my aching heart, my complaints are near to His ear, and my tears are on His fingertip.  It takes me a few steps outside my front door to see His work and the vastness of all He has created, and I am reminded of this truth-  The God who created everything is aware of me. 

And He is aware of you too my friend. 

The Rescuer is real.  And the Rescue is coming.  

Don't lose heart.  Don't quit.  Don't lose faith.  Cling fast.  He is real.  If that message is for you somehow, in some capacity, let it sink in, because this is coming from Him, through my keyboard.  I claim no ownership of His words.  Repeat it over and over again... "The Rescuer is real and the Rescue is coming."  

Believe it friend.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New things... for a bit of spring cheer!!

I am dying for Spring people.  Spring break is two weeks away for us, and it can not come soon enough in my opinion.  You know what I need right now?  A good cup of tea and a chat about LIFE with you. (Above are the pics of the blooming tea my mama keeps giving Ava and I.  They are so fun!  I don't know where she gets them but I'm going to have to get some more.  You put them in hot water and they bloom into a flower!  So yummy too.)

Anyway, it was an incredibly fun weekend, but also one of our more challenging ones as well.  I kind of hate that they go hand in hand sometimes and I totally don't mean to be a downer, but eh, it's real life and some days are like that. We had company all weekend which was lovely, and we left town and celebrated a sister in law's birthday.  I got sick from what I like to call "snuck-in-gluten" and yesterday was no fun while I dealt with that... then we dealt with a crazy kid issue that continues to come up again and again, (seriously?) and I'm not gonna lie, it spun the remainder of my weekend right down the drain.  Parenting=not for the faint of heart. My man and I fought about it and then I spent most of the day today just crying. What?! 

And it's supposed to be St. Patrick's day and all celebratory and stuff! 

 Anyway I needed some cheer to lighten my heart, so I listed my favorite photos as prints and wrapped canvases, spent some time back in bed praying through stuff, and rested, and got the crock pot going with corned beef and cabbage for everyone tonight.  After a pot of cheery blooming tea I'm almost as good as new.... almost.  Some days just have to run their course, yes? 
If you, like me, have need of some spring cheer to spread around your house, here's what I've got for you! (Not sure if you remember these wild daisies from last summer... my man pulled over to the side of the road so I could hop out and snap this photo.  It cheers up something deep inside my soul.  (Click here to shop)
 I got a bunch of requests for this one after a previous post the other day.  This was from our garden last summer.  It's truly gorgeous, blown up- all softy and fluttery petals with a nice crisp focus in the center of the bloom.  I ordered a smaller canvas of this one just for our home, to hang in our guest room/office space and I'll be sure to share once it's hung. (click here to shop.)
My all time favorite.  This is from a little outbuilding that they call the "goat barn" on the property where my man grew up as a little boy.  He had countless adventures alongside his trusty Irish wolfhound pup, named Buster.  His grandma (who's technically not his real grandma) lives there now and I've taken way too many shots of my kids standing in front of it.  It's truly a magnificent, chippy, turquoise wonder, and if this barn ever falls down and they ditch this door, I'll be first in line to salvage it. Just saying.(Click here to shop)
My beloved vintage typewriter.  I've loved sending off the other images of this baby into your homes, but now I am offering the first full frame shot of it.  We took this photo, sitting on my picnic table with Adrain and Ava holding white boards up behind it and the rain literally started as my last photo was snapped.  True story.  Oh and Ava wasn't wearing shoes.  It's like... early March and 40 degrees but hey, why wear shoes outside?  Kids.  Ha! (Click here to shop.)

All images are available as either photo prints or as wrapped canvases.  So, that's all I've got today...I hope everyone has a lovely St. Patrick's day.  I can't wait for some corned beef and cabbage! Did you do anything fun for this holiday?!

Oh and I'm sharing my favorite tips on photographing your kids, here today!  Would love for you to pop in and say HI!