April 23, 2014

Weddennessday: Today Is The Day

I am in a twist today. Excited anxious over new things.

Favorite snack/breakfast/midnight craving? Fresh fruit, a wedge of cheese, and almonds. Still.

My mother needs to know how much I love gouda cheese in my adult life because I think it may be her fault. If someone were to tell her that last weekend I taught Hayley how to pronounce ‘gouda’ in German, it would not be a lie. I’m not sure if I’m proud or mortified, but yes. That happened. And she loved the gouda (both of the girls do). It’s the best cheese evah.

Speaking of love – my deliciously awesome stepdaughter ate raw mushrooms on Easter Sunday for fun. It simply occurred to her that they might actually be yummy, so she went for it. She hasn’t turned back since.

You may have noticed that I have been Pinning, like, a superfluous amount of tattoo images recently. And if you looked in my recent Amazon cart, you would have seen both temporary tattoos and a Coppertone tattoo sunblock tube. Yes, yes, I am planning a new tattoo. After months of research, drawings, and interviewing 3 different local artists (you bet your ass; it’s permanent!), I finally have a plan. I’ve selected an artist! He’s young, but his artwork and skill are beautiful. He actually listened to what I wanted instead of telling me how I should do it instead, which was a huge improvement after meeting with the first guy. Bryon met him [total trip because my husband is a tattoo virgin and was hilarious to watch walking around the tattoo shop] and gave his approval as well. If you’re curious, the temporary tattoos are to check placement and to make sure I’m really ready to tattoo myself again. Just me being me, overplanning.

The house is slowly but surely getting finished. I’m so excited to report that Bryon and I worked on the woodwork and doors for the basement last week. Like, for hours. We sanded and primed the doorframes and doors for 3 rooms. And guess what?!  IT’S WHITE  *maniacal laugh* !

I recently saw a midcentury modern credenza on our local vintage store’s Facebook page and within 18 minutes, we were off to check it out. Sadly, the quality was poor. She was a no-go. I’m not giving up hope. I’d like two of them: one for the living room, under the television – and one for the family room. They are the perfect storage solution and sooooooo much character. If I had 100 rooms, I’d collect vintage, midcentury modern credenzas. Amen.

So this morning as I drove into work, Lincoln Brewster’s Today Is The Day came on the radio. I sang and bee-bopped along until I realized that a few years ago and on the exact same stretch of road, Lulu and I sang Today Is The Day with the radio on the way to my wedding. The sky looked amazing as I stared up into it and thanked my God for being so cool. Today must be the day for something great!

I think It is finally spring. We have predictions for weather in the 50s next week but make no mistake, spring has sprung. The skinny blades of green grass are poking up through the lawn. The fish are finally spawning, too. It’s been late this year. But the handful of 70+ degree days we’ve had have been so good for our souls. Outside grilling, bike riding, and little pink faces on the kids mean the weather is finally turning the corner. The kids leave for summer with dad in just four weeks.

Drinking 2-3 liters of water a day wreaks havoc on my bathroom schedule, but I can feel the difference in my body. Water is good!

I am dreaming of sand beneath my toes, the crackle of a campfire, and the chill of the breeze on my sunkissed skin. Knowing our weather, spring will likely be short. We’ll be at 100 degrees in no time. I’m ready! Bring it.

April 22, 2014

Mini Vacay and Happy Birthday

Every April, my most important dude has a birthday. This year we celebrated a few days early on a night that we had Hales. We went to dinner and everyone presented Dad with their homemade cards (and one storebought that included Kiki and Bo.) He loved them.

Hayley brought a photo of Grandpa Larry in Heaven holding her as a baby.  He loved that, too.

We had his favorite angel food cake on Thursday.

Then we spent a couple of days at home for the Easter holiday as well and decided to call it a mini vacation. We filled the days with umpteen chores and lists of things we both wanted to get done, but we also had a lot of fun.

The weather was gorgeous.

We made time for fishing, which was fun even though we didn't catch anything. I got to wear my boots and my husband breathed slowly and smiled a lot at me.

There were Peep s'mores on the bonfire and hunting games, too. There was even camping in the living room (more to come on that).

There were 16 tense minutes and then Eric Church tickets.

Annnnnd there was a lot of underwear in the ceiling fan. But that is what mini vacation is for - catching up on all of your favorite things. We had cuddles with all of the kids and spent time with family. We cooked a lot and worked until we were smelly together. Cleaned carpets! Thrifted. We even painted the woodwork in the basement and I did a canvas art project!  I'm telling you, it was good and it was productive.

My husband actually slept through the night when work worries eased and he relaxed. We slept with the windows open and my fingers all knotted in his chest hair; that might have been my favorite part.

Makes me appreciate my favorite dude even more. Happy birthday, Baby.

April 21, 2014

Legos: Everything Is Awesome

After the Lego space station, Hayley was eager to keep the momentum going.

She helped Daddy pick out two new Lego sets to build, both from the Lego Movie. There was Unikitty, yo! She was mostly concerned with WildStyle, though.

We allowed her to surprise her siblings with the new building blocks when we got home. Trevor isn't the legomaniac he used to be, so he drifted away to go watch movies downstairs. But the other 2 were squealing!

There were so many parts to build, they each grabbed a booklet and got to work. And in Andy's room, of course!

Even Mabel has learned how to follow the directions; the little booklets make it so easy!

Such a colorful mess. Unikitty and Snail were top on Mabel's list.

And Hayley immediately grabbed up WildStyle and Emmett.

Andrew worked on the ice cream truck at his desk.

Hayley used the table.

I guess you could say we are addicted to Legos up in here. We even surprised the kids over Easter weekend with the new Lego Movie video game.

Everything is awesome!

April 18, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

1. Oh hell yes.  Love this feminine arm piece.

2. This looks like my next concert hair, Folks. 

3. Have I mentioned how much I love menswear? 

4. Such a beautiful quilt. Wow. 

5. Cookie dough greek yogurt! Just add 1 tbsp. of creamy peanut butter, 1 tsp. of honey, 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. of miniature chocolate chips and a dash of sea salt.

6. These jars are simply painted from the inside. Such a super easy DIY. 

7. Darling.

8. Vintage ripped flares might be my new favorite. 

9. I have a little one who loves beads and crafts. I remember making these as a kid myself. Might need to teach her the way. 

10. Back to piercings. This is a conch helix. I'm strongly considering. For real because, why not?

11. One day I'd like to do some professional photography. Not modeling necessarily. But I want this image and I want to wear that beautiful headdress. 

12. Dream porch!

All images are pinned for sources.

April 15, 2014

Moo's Bracelets

Her siblings have been looming rubber bracelets for months. Trevor gave it up quickly; it just wasn't something he was into doing for long. But Andrew and Hayley are looming aficionados. They loom for hours - inside, outside, in the car. Legos and looming, that's #2 and #3 for ya. They have multiple methods and they test and race each other all the time. We love that they share hobbies!

But this one. This little pip is far more mature than her 5 years and she has looked on with longing eyes. She wants to be big like them. She wants to be included. At first they tried showing her how to loom with her fingers because they didn't want to share their looms. She practiced, but gave up. It just wasn't the same as using the tools, man.

Then they allowed her to occasionally borrow their single loom tool, which she took to like... well, faster than the two of them, honestly. She was so eager to be like them that she was a looming fiend. Probably because her fingers are smaller than everyone else's. She made dozens of bracelets, took them out, and made them again.

Then something happened as Mabel conquered looming. She stopped caring that her two siblings had a super special secret looming meeting without her in it. She also didn't seem to care that they used a big loom while she still had the tiny tool they'd cast aside. She loomed alone, with joy in her heart. She loomed with her stuffed horse, Lucy. She loomed with Clover the bunny. She loomed in the kitchen while we made dinner and when invited, she'd loom in Andy's room with the two of them. But she did it, all on her own.

And then one day when Daddy and I were in Michael's (yes, that happens), he grabbed a full looming kit and put it in our basket. "For Mabel," he said.

There was never more joy in a child's eyes than when she received that surprise looming kit and pink rubber bands. Oh. My. We didn't see her for hours that day.

She's gone through (and lost) several bags of rubber bands since then. She does make a mess, but I almost don't care because she's doing this creative thing all on her own.

Occasionally, she still needs help. Usually her big loom gets turned upside down by accident or she grabs the wrong band. She is so eager to create and do it on her own like a big girl. Unlike the others, she doesn't scream or cry or throw a fit when she messes something up. She merely grits her teeth and stays the course. She lets the 'want' push her forward.

Right now she's learning how to double and triple loom. Instead of asking Andy and Hayley to show her how to do it, she reads the directions (mostly by-)herself. What took Andy a few weeks, she will have down by Friday. That's just how she is.

This looming thing is Mabel in a nutshell. In true Mabel fashion, she picked herself up by the bootstraps and promptly kicked ass at the very thing someone told her she couldn't do. She's decided she's not bothered by what other people think. Haters gonna hate. Friends gonna friend. Be joyful regardless.

That's my girl.

April 14, 2014

One Step Closer to College

Mabes ripped her top tooth out. Never seen a kid so excited to bleed. But she's growing up too quickly. She'll be driving soon.

And married.

She's all full of gumption, this one. She got into trouble at school Friday because it was 80 degrees and she decided to cool off in the water fountain after recess. Seemed logical to her, I reckon. She cleaned up the water drips from her face and hair and neck, but the teacher wasn't very fond of gumption anyway.

I like gumption, myself.

Incidentally, this one got invited into bed with us last night to watch Harry Potter. It was a whole moment. She wasn't feeling great and Daddy wasn't tired yet, so when she wandered up, he asked her to cuddle in the middle. Possibly because she's all gap-toothed and darling and her hair was standing on end when she asked.

Kid couldn't get any cuter, I swear. This will become problematic in her teen years.

April 10, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

1. I may have a slight English bulldog obsession just now.

2. Love, love, love this unique and vintage-inspired invitation.

3. Repaired jeans seem to be all the rage right now. I'm loving it. Before for a DIYer who accidentally chopped too far. Ha.

4. Be still my ever loving heart. Black and white in the shape of kitties?

5. Love this outfit. Hard. Like wow.

6. I have this kimono. I passed out when I saw it, ordered it, and then passed out again. I have worn it five times and I'm not sorry.

7. Erin Wasson, please stop being so awesome because I can't take it. Love the rolled, destroyed denim with the sloppy tee and blazer.

8. Glitter eye is my favorite now.

9. Mary, you're killing it, girl. The skirt and the tee are awesome.

10. I'm desperately trying to choose sandals this summer and ... maybe these?

11. Love this bedroom. Clean and neutral with pops of color.

12. Gorgeous earrings.

13. Perfect above a bed or couch!

All images are Pinned for sources.

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April 9, 2014

Weddennessday: The Power of Home Depot

For whatever reason – be it hormones or the Holy Spirit – I was feeling quite the other night. As I prepared for bed I looked in the bathroom mirror and decided that I simply hadn’t felt my husband enough that day. I genuinely missed him, though he’d been right there. In fact, we went to Home Depot together and I chased him around with pipe insulation. We also stopped and picked out fishing lures and had a fishing lure lesson right next to umpteen old men. We’d giggled and held hands, too. Perhaps it was because of all of that closeness that I yearned for more of it before the day ended.    

So I wandered to bed and sat down beside his stretched-out body. I softly put my hand on his leg. He took his earbuds out and as I started to tell him what was on my mind, the tears spilled out.

When my husband looks at me with his strong eyebrows and kind eyes and beardy face, I get all smooshy inside and everything in my heart falls out of my face. Mouth, eyes, all of it.   

He told me that he had fun picking out lures with his wife. Then he spun around upside down in the bed and laid his head on my lap, wrapping his arms around me. He didn’t know exactly what to say but there was tremendous support in that silence. More tears fell out.

He smiled and offered to pray before bedtime, like he usually does. I placed my hand in his and when he drew it close to his chest, I could feel the thum-thum of his heart beneath it. I twisted around to lay my head there while he prayed. My hair spilled over his shoulder and I could feel him breathing out the words, “Thank you for this day. Please continue to love and bless us,” and I cried. The connection was so strong and the love was too much to hold in, I guess.


I still feel so immeasurably grateful. I am so blessed that he picks me up off of the floor when I’m a snotty, hormonal, girl mess.   

While I laid there on his chest, I was overcome. I held my breath, closed my eyes, and tried to soak in every ounce of detail while he prayed for us. Every breath, every noise. The feel of his chest rising and falling against my cheek. The damp, tear-stained tee shirt beneath my face. His warm hand firmly holding mine, and even the bristles on his chin that tickled my hair as he spoke. I wanted to burn it all into my brain and remember it forever.


More tears spilled out when I realized that one day, one of us will be gone and we won’t be able to pray together on earth anymore.  


I cried as I imagined my life without Bryon in it. I wanted to lay there forever and feel his unique heartbeat, hear him draw breath in and out, in and out.  

Every decision in my life led me to his arms, I thought. Every choice, every movement. Every hurdle I’d crossed and every prayer I prayed led me to him, by way of our God Almighty. It was all worth it to lay in his arms and be loved by his heart. He took so long to find.


I want more days of chasing him around in the hardware store until his cheeks turn pink. There isn’t enough time on earth to show him how much love there is inside of my heart.  But, oh I can try.

Do I hug him enough? Do I tell him often enough that he makes me truly happy? Does he know in his bones that he is an amazing husband, provider, and father?  


Does he know how he’s changed my life and made me better?

Do I show him that I appreciate him for exactly who he is, grumpy days and all?

Am I praying the right prayers for my husband?


I prayed with him, thanking God for my family and His awesome love for me. I asked forgiveness for my sins and asked God to help me appreciate even the smallest moments of joy. When Bryon finished praying I didn’t want to move away. I was soaking him in.

You know, I didn’t know it would be like this. I didn’t know that the love would feel so powerful and deep sometimes that it overflows my heart and comes out of my eyes. I didn’t know that I would give of myself so deeply that I am changed for the better, forever.  

When I sat up, we smiled. He gave me a kiss and brushed my hair back from my face. I wiped my nose on the sleeve of my sweatshirt because I'm classy like that.

The truth is, we don't have forever. We just have to make the most of the time we have and take advantage of opportunities to love on each other. To play and laugh and go to the hardware store together. 

For whatever reason it all hit me at once. I guess it was the power of the Home Depot. 

Barf if you must. 

April 7, 2014

A Lego Space Odyssey

As a parent of multiple children you realize that you must reach each one of them individually in order to have an impact on their lives. Every child learns differently and listens differently. Every child has different signs of affection and a different 'love language.'

The other night, Bryon arrived home from work exhausted. There was not time for weight lifting in the basement to relax and there wasn't a game on television to watch for unwinding. It was too slippery outside to run. He was a work zombie. Mabel and Trevor were otherwise occupied and so when Andrew arrived in the kitchen, he asked Bryon to help him work on a space station.

My husband was intrigued by Andrew's level of engineering detail and wandered into the kitchen.

Within moments, they drew up a plan for expansion, which included boosters, turrets, and a laboratory.

The building went on for hours.

The smile on Andrew's face was priceless. Watching my husband fully-relaxed and engaged in Andrew's imagination? Also priceless.

They laughed at one another and had fun and I stayed completely out of it, except to sneak-capture these photos. Andrew talked about his breakup with a girlfriend [he's not bothered]. Bryon told Andrew about the machinery he had to fix that day.

There was much quality time.

There we turret and gunfire noises from both of them. Lots of, "Oh! Let's use this! Use this! OOOH! COOL!" Also, Bryon made a space toilet and was very proud.

I haven't seen my husband so relaxed in weeks. I have prayed for peaceful, playful moments like this a lot lately and I am beyond grateful for it.

When they were finished for the evening, Bryon left the diagram for Hayley and Andrew was excited to make a plan of execution for her next visit. When she arrived the following day, Dad gave her a guided tour of the new space facility. The quality time from the night before bled right over into those moments as well, as she gasped and giggled at what Daddy had started and left for her to finish. There was lots of hugging. She asked him questions about the aliens in the lab and the satellites on both ends of the station. Within an hour, she and Andrew had the whole thing reworked and it had been properly Hayley-fied. It was awesome.

A week after the space odyssey, Hayley helped her dad pick out new lego sets. Stay tuned for photos!

Apparently legos are a key to quality time, yo.