29 November 2011

The Write Stuff

Here's a video James made of Bubby writing away this weekend.


I'm still amazed that Noble just wrote his name out of the blue last week--trust me when I say that teaching him to write was NOT on my radar!  Sure, we've been talking about the letters in his name forever...I was happy he'd mastered that.  Just goes to show what kids are learning when we think they're "just playing," right, girls?  :)

28 November 2011

Silly Boy

This is his, "silly, stupid old Girl" look.

And I love him anyway.

Or, more importantly, he loves ME anyway.

27 November 2011

Creative Christmas

When I think of Christmas, I think of the month leading up to Christmas...

...Advent activities (and this year, making our new Advent calendar!)
...spending a month immersed in reminders of what Christmas is really about, and celebrating His birth
...and wrapping gifts
...and receiving Christmas cards
...decorating the house,
...inside and out,
...and the tree
...wrapping books for the knuckleheads to unwrap each day
...watching them decorate their own Christmas trees (guess who's called the pink one this year?!)
...time with friends and family
...Christmas lights
...Christmas traditions
...looking for Taylor the elf each day
...watching Christmas movies
...listening to Christmas songs (especially the ones Kayci plays on the piano!)
...telling stories of Christmases past
...sharing family stories and traditions with Kayci and Noble
...hearing stories about when Daddy was little, and their family traditions
...there's so much to love about this season.

Now that we're back home and Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready for the Christmas season.  But I refuse to be rushed into it...we'll do it one day at a time, and we'll enjoy each day as it comes.  I'm hesitant to let go of the anticipation that comes with Thanksgiving...I'm not in any hurry to get the tree or decorate the house (partially because our house is still TRASHED from Thanksgiving preparations and fun).  I want to hold on to this feeling of something awesome heading our way.

Something awesome is heading our way, and my prayer is that we'll all enjoy the ride this holiday season.  We have so many blessings, so much to be thankful for.  I don't want to lose focus...especially during this season, I want my family to keep first things first:  faith, family and friends.

And I want to keep first things first, too, and not get bogged down in our busy schedule.  Keep me accountable, friends!

22 November 2011

More shirts!

Here are some of the shirts I've done this week...I have had a BLAST!!

This one was inspired by Rachel's pin, and it's the only one I printed (instead of using vinyl). Love it!!!

Jennifer saw Noble's Bearkat orange shirt and thought it would be fun in Preston's school colors. I was more than happy to make one for our Godson!

We were unable to attend the twins' party a few weeks ago, so these were overdue. My first Christmas shirts!

Mandy had the idea for these a while back, and I had so much fun with them! I added the onesie, based on the cute one that's floating around Pinterest. :)

Okay, a little brag and a little inspiration: Noble wrote his name for the first time...surprised the CRAP out of me!

I bought these cute vintage-y ringer tees for the knuckleheads but I wasn't sure what to do with them. Truthfully, both kiddos have Christmas tees already, but I couldn't pass up that soft cotton. I was watching Noble write this morning, and it totally came to me...luckily, I hadn't taken the other shirts to the press, yet! I'm sorry, guys, but these make be laugh!

I have one more group to share, but we'll all have to be patient!

Saying Goodbye to Grandma

10 days ago, Grandma Curtis passed away.  It's been hard saying goodbye to her, even though we kinda knew it was coming.  Part of what makes it hard is that we were planning to have Thanksgiving with her this year...the first time this branch of the family has shared that meal in over 20 years.  It's kind of a big deal.  And even though I'm happy for Grandma, and so grateful that she's no longer tired or in pain, I'm sad for us because our family has lost an amazing person.  For someone so small, she was larger than life. The stories she told...and what's crazy is, they were mostly true.  Grandma's life, from start to finish, was one big adventure.  One of the reasons I loved her is that she loved James, unconditionally, and was probably his biggest fan--every child needs to be loved like that.  There's so much I could say about Grandma.  She was a mess, she was fun, she was thoughtful and kind...she loved our kids and never failed to ask about them, or me, or James, depending on who she was talking to.  She wasn't self-centered, even when she probably had the right to be.  A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to have Grandma visit for a long November weekend, which was the most time I ever spent with her all at once.  We had fun, but the best part was just talking to her.  Grandma and I were so very different--she's way more fun and adventurous than I am!--but we had a love of family in common.

It's hard letting go of Grandma, and we already miss her.  James wrote a beautiful note about her if you've got a few minutes.  Yesterday at the service he read it, and I was struck once again by what an amazing man he's grown to be.  I give Grandma and Granddaddy lots of credit for the man he is, and I'm forever grateful to them for that.

21 November 2011

Tatertots and Jello is giving away a Cameo!

Y'all know there's a new Silhouette, right?  This one cuts 12" (mine only cuts 9") and it's supposed to be quieter and all kinds of better.  I would love, love to win one...and you can, too!  Head over to Tatertots and Jello and she's got tons of ways you can win!  Good luck--I do hope one of us wins!  Of course, I'm pulling for ME...but I'd be happy for you, too.  I guess.

What are you waiting for?  Go enter!!

20 November 2011

Cooper's ABCs

One more post on Cooper's shower gifts...Mandy fell in love with this alphabet wall
and wanted to have a personalized one for Cooper's room. 
 I got to choose my 2 letters, and I immediately knew I wanted C for cars and Z for zebra.  I had fun!

C is for Cooper

Mandy's baby shower was last week, but I was unable to attend.  I had a little fun with Cooper's onesies--I saw these cute tie monthly stickers on the BabySmiles Etsy shop a while back and was waiting for just the right little guy.  By the way, I love, love BabySmiles--I think I'll be buying my stickers from them exclusively from now on (and nope, she didn't pay me to say that!).  But, if you DO buy from her and you send her pics of your baby in her stickers to use in her shop, she'll give you a discount.  Cool, huh--we all want to show off our kiddos!

But back to Cooper.  I've been saving a Harry & David tin for a year...I just knew the right gift would come along.  I had to do a little work to cover up the MooseMunch logos, but luckily James helped out (a lot.  Like, he did the graphic for me.  Love him!).

Here's the finished product...I had a lot of fun.  I realized too late that I only distressed the big graphic on the top of the tin, and not the little ones around the sides.  Whoops!  

Hope Mandy and Shane like them as much as I do.  I've still got a little more to do for this family, but I'll show you after they see it!  :)

18 November 2011

A Fresh Look at an Old Favorite

I woke up this morning with this song in my head.  (Note:  I woke up 52 minutes ago--I'm teaching online this month which means that Friday mornings are grading mornings.  Yet here I am, not *quite* grading, yet.)  After I finished my quiet time, I flipped open my Bible to this verse because the song was still running through my head.

There was a reason this was running through my head.  Have you read the REST of this paragraph?  It starts out with Paul thanking the church for their concern for him, and for showing it.  (Interesting that he adds that, no?)  And then it goes on...

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  
Philippians 4: 11-13 (NIV)

This has been such a struggle for me the past few months.  I *say* I am content, I *think* I am content...but then what I say and do proves otherwise.  I feel so sorry for my Boy, because the deeper I get into the "For Women Only" Bible study, the more I am aware of the mixed signals I am sending to him and how damaging that can be.  (Thanks for loving me through it, Boy-o.)  I am forever saying, I love our home, even if it's small.  Or something like that.  True contentment:  I love my home.  (I DO!--I am coming to think that this is a bad habit, adding a "but" to the end of a happiness/contentment statement...lest anyone think I'm too happy or think my life is "perfect."  But maybe that's another post.)

And another one:  We've learned to live within our means.  (Great.)  But I almost always chase that statement with another about how our means are a small house and old cars.  (Ouch.)

And the one that's really sticking in my craw:  I am CONSTANTLY complaining about my car.  It's got what I consider to be a LOT of cosmetic damage.  And we keep choosing to do other things with our money--it really doesn't make sense to fix it, and I *know* this.  So why do I keep complaining?  Why am I embarrassed, when I ought to go back to being grateful that I get to drive exactly the car I want...I love my car!  I don't love the dents and dings and broken bumper and big pink scratch (vandalism...really??)...but I love my car, and I'm so grateful to have a reliable vehicle that takes me/us SO MANY PLACES.  I live 80 miles from work, for goodness sake--it's a good car.

I'm not sure what's going on with me this fall, but I'm really struggling with contentment and selfishness.  And it's almost worse that I'm hyperaware of it, because then I get grumpy with myself and I know that makes me not a lot of fun to be around.

But through it all, my Boy remains, and loves me anyway.

That reminds me of Someone else, who gives me so much grace and loves me despite my sin and selfishness.

I am incredibly, incredibly blessed.  And I pray this season of discontent passes soon.  Like, today.  Maybe now that it's out there I'll move past it...I find that keeping it inside just makes it worse.

So we'll see, right?

How 'bout you?  Content or not so much?  Do your actions match your words, or are you a big ol' hypocrite like me?

17 November 2011

It's not you, it's me.

Dear Blog,

I know I've been a little distant.  I've got lots on my mind, and I just can't get my thoughts organized enough to write.

Wait, no.  I owe you more than that.

Blog, there's someone else.

Someone I can just click on for a few minutes of mindless entertainment.

I don't even have to DO anything.

I feel the same way about this new one as I did about you a few years ago...I can't get enough of it.  When I'm not looking at it, I'm thinking about it.

I DO still love you, Blog.  You've been there for me through thick and thin, and I've got big plans for us.  Don't give up on me.

By the way, if you need me, I'll be on Pinterest.


14 November 2011

at a loss

for the first time in a while, I'm at a loss for words.

and there you have it.

10 November 2011

Three :)

Today was our conference with Noble's 3-year old teacher.  As parent conferences go, it wasn't anything spectacular...we like his teacher and his school very much, and are grateful for his progress.  More than that, though, we're grateful for his happiness--he LOVES school.  It was nice to hear that he's where he needs to be as far as his academics (even though he totally played possum on a couple of the assessments!).  I guess I just still can't believe how big he's getting.  Our boy is THREE.  Closer to four, if you're counting.  Time is just flying...

08 November 2011

A First

Until yesterday, I had never held a loaded gun in my life.  I can't say that anymore...and I can't wait to do it again!  Target practice was fun; just not sure I would enjoy shooting at a deer or a rabbit or a bird.  :)  And I totally had beginners luck--my first 5 shots with a .22 hit 4 targets.  (It was downhill from there, lest the boys think I'm bragging!)

07 November 2011

From Halloween to Harvest

Have I mentioned how much I love living with a photographer?  :)  I love it.  I do.

So, last week I was all, hey, take some pictures of the Halloween decorations before we put it all away. Kayci really helped this year and I wanted to kind of document it for her.  It occurred to me a while back that someday our kids will be able to read these entries and it will be a journal for them.  I always kind of had that in the back of my mind with our family blog...but this, my personal journal, will give her such insight into what was important to me way back when.  Wow, no pressure, right?

If you're reading this, future Bitty, please also remember that the floor wasn't clean enough to eat off of the day Daddy took these pictures, and it's not much cleaner now.  In case you were wondering why the house seems cleaner in the pictures than you remember.  

That tray is from Grandma Clarkson, and my Mom made the runner for the kids this year (it's candy corn printed fabric...Noble's favorite!)

That's Uncle Thurman.  We've had him since I was in 3rd grade.  Kinda crazy, right?

Banana bread the next day, don't worry.

I heart my Silhouette.  And my Bitty's imagination!

Maybe we went a bit overboard with the spider webs...

And did I mention the bats?

This was a fun group project...Noble's favorite things, my favorite new Halloween shape (ghosts!), and Kayci's hard work.  Bitty, we'll lie and tell everyone Noble made the random ghosty with the two mouths, 'kay?  He's 3, they'll totally believe it.

I didn't have a fun Halloween dish towel, but I had a flour sack towel and a little inspiration.  Voila!

Oh, yeah.  And in the midst of changing out Halloween to Harvest, we also switched our summer clothes for winter clothes.  And yep, a week later those tubs are still sitting there, but now they're full of summer clothes ready to go into storage instead of winter clothes ready to go into closets.  That's progress, right?  The joys of living in a small space...

Okay, so there's a method to my madness.  For Halloween this year, we ONLY put up Halloween stuff and left the Harvest-y decor in storage for a bit longer.  Our house is tiny, and one extra thing or one thing out of place makes a huge difference.  So, we had lots of fun with Halloween...but if we had gone all out with the Harvest, too, then our house would have been WAY decorated from October 1st to January 1st.  Too much for too long!  So, this year I decided we'd de-clutter in November so we're ready for our Christmas clutter and fun.  We kept it simple.

Okay, as simple as we keep anything fun.  I know.  I heard it.

James brought a "Mexican pumpkin" home from the valley.  I haven't a clue what makes it different, but it feels more like a gourd than a pumpkin.  Hmm.

Note to self:  when making dishtowels, DON'T decorate the whole flour sack.  You have to fold it, dummy.

Look, it's a thankful tree--we actually did it!  The kids had a blast making it, and they enjoy writing on their tags (okay, leaves) each day.  So glad we went through with it!

My Mom made this a couple of years ago--I love it.  It's a great reminder.  When we hung it up, Noble asked what the letters said.  When I told him, "give thanks," he said, "oh...because it's Thanksgiving.  And November!"  Yep.  He's listening, after all.

My NEW favorite autumn decoration--I framed the cover and James' picture.  :)

Melissa, remember I bought a few of these and you gave me yours so I'd have enough?  Have I mentioned how much I miss you guys?  We are due for a weekend SOON.

What it's all about, right?

I wonder how many hand turkeys we actually own?

A runner Mom made for me a couple of years ago.  I have a nice dish that I normally keep gourds, veggies, etc. in...but we can't find it.  James said, "didn't we break that?"  I was all, "um, NO...WE didn't.  If you did, you're in big trouble, buddy!"

Ah, yes...back to the joys of a tiny house.  You run out of spaces.  I wonder why I bought these last year--there's nowhere to put them, but they make me smile!

It's important to me to really LIVE and ENJOY every day and celebrate the big and little things that make life worth living.  Decorating and doing things like this with my family make me happy...and even though it's frivolous, to me, it's necessary.  Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, not just gotten through.  If you're still reading, thanks for sticking around.  I want to see pictures of YOUR house, now!  

06 November 2011

A Cookie for Me?!

The other day, I saw the new Silhouette Advent Calendar.  I put the link on facebook, thinking maybe some friends and I could have a craft day and make some.  No bites...I didn't think anything of it and went on about my business.  

Fast forward to yesterday.  We went to my Mom's house to spend the night; Noble and I hung out with Grandma while Daddy and Kayci went to see Taylor Swift.  When we got there, I noticed that there was an envelope with my name on it, but I didn't really think of it.  My Mom told me to open it, and it was a card.  It took me a minute to figure out that it was a birthday card (it was unexpected since it's like, 6? weeks til my birthday).  As it turns out, my Mom, who rarely gets on facebook, logged in the other day to look at some of Jame's pictures, and she saw my post.  So she ordered an Advent Calendar for me for my birthday!  I am so freakin' excited...this is right up there with the Silhouette they got me for my birthday last year!

The thing is, now I have to get to decide what I want it to look like (you cut the drawers out of cardstock, so it's completely personalized).  I've enjoyed seeing all the different designs on Pinterest and the various blogs this week...but it's hard to pick just one.  

And here's the other part of it:  when we were first married, I bought our Christmas stockings, runner, a quilt, and tree skirt at Macy's.  It's all very late 90s, with the navy/maroon/cream kinda countryish snowman theme.  The truth is, navy and maroon are my LEAST favorite colors.  I don't DO cream--I like WHITE.  For Christmas, I like brights--true red and white, green, some turquoise-y blue and a little pink and yellow...think vintage Christmas.  So every year when we get the stuff out, I'm glad to see it because it represents that first year and making our first apartment a home, and just blending all of our Christmas traditions together.  The stuff does make me happy...but the colors?  Not so much.  Don't tell them, but I'm over the snowmen, too!  

So, now we're at a crossroads.  Another project that's been on the back burner is a Christmas banner for our doorway.  I didn't want one that matched our Christmas linens, but I also didn't want one in the colors I like because it so would NOT have matched.  Does anyone else think about this stupid stuff, really??

Anyway, all I can think about now is, it's time:  time to bring bright colors back into our Christmas.  If we switch colors, that means we can use our old kitsch-y felt stockings, too, and make some grandparents happy.  

Sigh.  It's like we talked about before...giving me this Advent Calendar is like giving the mouse a cookie.  If you give me a new Advent Calendar, I'm going to want a banner to match.  And if I get a new banner, I'll want a new runner.  And if I get a new runner, I'll want different stockings.  And if I get different stockings, I'll want a new tree skirt.  And if I get a new tree skirt...

It'll be interesting to see if I do it all (correction:  if I get it organized for MOM to do it all, since I don't sew).  Or maybe we'll leave well enough alone for now.  I can't wait to see what happens!