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!

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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.

Thum-thum.

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.

Thum-thum.

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.  

Thum-thum.

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.

Thum-thum.

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?  

Thum-thum.

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?

Thum-thum.

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.

April 3, 2014

Things I Love Thursday


1. Every spring I start wanting to drape things everywhere, waiting for summer's soft breeze to blow in through my windows. While we do have a ceiling fan, I am convinced I could rig something up all boho-like. And would you please notice the vintage head/foot boards? GAH.




2. I love these pillows. Image transfer onto fabric is relatively easy; I did it for a quilt I made for my mother a few years ago. These would be a very easy DIY.



3. Drapey again! Some may not appreciate the American flag as a curtain, but I am okay with a reproduction used in any proud way possible. The hide on the floor is soooooooooo awesome, too.



4. Spring is also the time I start wanting my houseplants to stop dying and start living. I love these glass hex plant holders.



5. Great ideas!



6. I know someone who has a peony shoulder tattoo on her mind. LOVE.



7. There are no words.



8. I love this tunic. Colorful and earthy.



9. This season's denim shorts are destroyed AND rolled. I love the look of the pockets hanging out. Trick is to do this with baggy shorts so that when you roll them up, your chica isn't actually hanging out. Shorts should definitely come down lower than your ladybits.



10. I should say this every day.



12. I adore these darling geo earrings. Such a pop of color.



13. Hand-dyed vintage couch... steal my heart, why don't ya?



14. Laura, you're killing me. That cardi is amazeballs.


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April 2, 2014

Weddennessday


Merry Weddennessday, Peeps.

OH. MY. LAWD. Did y’all know that Peeps are gluten free? They are absolutely NOT Paleo, but sometimes Mama is craving sweets one week a month if you get what I’m saying and one day for fun I scanned the damn Peeps package with my gluten-scanner-phone app and I cannot tell you how many I’ve eaten because you would publicly shame me. They are carbs. They are processed ooey, gooey worse-than-a-donut that I do not need. But OH. MY. LAWD. Peeps are gluten free. That was my announcement here. I lost track of myself for a moment. *STALE PEEPS ROCK*

Aside from the glut of Peeps over the past two weeks that I’m going to banish from my brains until next spring, I’m proud to tell you that it’s been almost 8 months that I've followed a gluten-free and Paleo lifestyle. Last night I made steak tips with vegetable stir fry and we licked our plates. Tonight, creamy tomato soup is on tap with an assortment of fruits and cheeses. This weekend, we’re having chicken wings and veggies while watching basketball finals. It’s all good in the neighborhood. The kids are adapting; we rarely make pasta anymore. Meat and veggies are we. I'm never going back.

Folks, I’ve got a tattoo in the making. It’s been in my head for about… oh, 3 years or so. I’ve been waiting for the right moment, the right materialization of the piece I can see in my mind. [I’m not a flash tattoo fan; I’d rather have a unique piece that is meaningful to my life.] Now that I know what I’d like and have some great inspiration photos for the artist to work from, I must select an artist. I’ve reached out to two strong candidates through email this week and have learned that (big shock) tattoo artists must generally not check their email. Tattooing is a form of artistic expression, so I imagine they are busy sketching and inking away instead of reading email – and that makes perfect sense to me. The point of this story is: tattoo artist not yet selected. Phone calls will commence this weekend.

As you may recall I already have 3 sparrows on my back that represent the kids. I want to add a 4th bird for Hayley. She’s reminded me about eleven times. I think this bird wants extended wings and it wants to sit on my right hip. While they’re at it, I’d like to have my original 3 birds touched up a bit. It is artwork after all. Mabel has been very interested in the whole business of tattooing. She’d like a horse tattoo when she grows up. “Or Jesus,” she said. Well then!

Okay, okay, I actually have 2 more tattoos in the making, but the 2nd one is very small and simple: a cross. I had originally intended to have ‘Yahweh’ in script on my ribcage. One day I will, perhaps. But in the meantime, I’d like a delicate cross.

Speaking of how Christ died so that we can live, my favorite holiday is approaching. Time to watch The Passion of The Christ soon and bawl my eyes out on the couch because God loved me – sinful, greedy, human ME – enough to withstand the pain and grief and agony of watching his only Son die for my life. And your life. And the lives of my children. His love and forgiveness is REAL. EVERY DAY.

At Christmastime someone asked me if we believe in Santa Claus at our house. We do not; we believe in celebrating Christ’s birth. So I’ll just say early on that we do not believe in the Easter Bunny either. In fact, we think the idea of watching for an imaginary bunny to leave candy and toys for kids completely distracts from the impact of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross that day.  Easter eggs became the traditional symbol of Easter because they represent the stone that was rolled away from Christ’s tomb. The empty shell represents the empty tomb of our Lord upon his reawakening, 3 days after he was crucified. We feel it is much more important for our children to learn the actual meaning of the entire Easter story instead of being spoiled by imaginary characters. Candy and toys and some dude dressed up as a white bunny rabbit at the mall just aren’t Jesus in our house. My blog, my soapbox.  I love you all no matter what you believe – but this is how we live our lives.

Thoughts of camping have taken over our summer plans, yo. We want to work on the basement woodwork while the kids are back east with their dad, but we also want to RELAX this summer. Work is stressful and crazy for both of us, so relaxation is in order. Our friend has a cabin on a lake an hour away and we often jet ski and swim there. It is tranquil and peaceful. Sunny and quiet. Perfect. In addition to hitting the lake, Bryon and I want to camp in The Hills together. We dream of zipping ourselves into one big sleeping bag and making eggs and bacon over the fire for breakfast. I dream of sitting with my husband while there is zero cellular reception. I can’t wait.

I really must go to the grocery soon. I’m out of my most favorite breakfast items: turkey sticks, almonds, cheese squares, and blackberries.

A friend of mine recently posted a fabulous article on Facebook on the most destructive lies about nutrition. It was so poignant, I immediately shared it. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-11-most-destructive-nutrition-lies-ever-told-2013-11.  Read it, Guys!

Oh! Let’s talk about dry shampoo for a sec, can we? I’d been loyal to Suave Professionals dry shampoo until I happened upon Batiste at Ulta one day. I’ve read great things about it and for $5, I was willing to try it. Folks, it is AWESOME. It works just as great as the Suave but the consistency is FAR better. I cannot feel any grit of cornstarch on my scalp whatsoever. My hair is silky and doesn’t feel like a wig after 5 days, which does kind of happen with Suave dry shampoo sometimes. It’s worth it, but not my favorite feeling. With Batiste there is NO grit and no wig feel. My hair smells awesome and feels ever better. I’m a lifer now.



April 1, 2014

Spring, I Insist

I am really trying to will spring to miraculously arrive in Da Plains. Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees at lunchtime, but it was below 20 by dinner. Same day! We had both a tornado and a blizzard warning at once; I didn't even know that was possible.

One of the ways I'm trying to rush the season in is by dreaming about fun things to do as a family and with my husband - things like fishing and camping and concert-going. Finally finishing the woodwork in the basement. Bohemian schtuff. With this comes 'stuff' that I want to make and do for relaxin'.

Free People is one of my favorite websites, but I don't often buy from them unless they are having some super sale because their prices are like 'whoa.' But I've found they are a GREAT inspiration for handmade.

Check it: this tank top is begging me to make it out of one of Bryon's white tees. It's as simple as chopping the arms and neck in a narrower shape.




In my mind, this breezy tank top also looks handmade from a thrifted 2XL tee. Those tend to be plenty long enough for tunic length. Dye and rubber bands, anyone?




Hales and I are going to tie dye some duds in the back yard. I've decided.

I plan on using lots of this, this summer. Ahem.




I happen to have *just scored* a pair of black Hunter wellies on eBay this week. They've been worn 3 times and were so cheap that I can't tell you for fear you'll hate me. I am happily high-fiving myself over this one. These are my new fishin' boots. Perfect with jean shorts and a vintage tee or bikini top.




I also need a new pair of sandals this year because my flip flops flopped their last flip last summer. Perhaps these?




I've been looking to score a baseball cap for the longest time. I want juuuuuuuust the right one because once I put it on, I won't be taking it off very often outside of work. I need to find it before we start going to the lake every weekend.




Oh, vintage tees. I love you.




Lots of sunglass wearing whilst laying in the sun at the lake and listening to Dierks.




Some clog wearin'.



Come on, Spring!

March 28, 2014

A New Paleo Post

I still get LOTS of questions and emails about Paleo. I know a lot of people are curious - ask away!

Recently I read something about "the dangers of Paleo" that I found humorous. The food companies seem so worried that people will stop buying their muffins and donuts and fake crap that they want to scare the public. It's so sad! Anyway, the article said that the dangers of Paleo include constipation from heavy protein and lack of grains (impossible if you're eating veggies, which is the paramount staple of Paleo and FIBER to begin with), the expense (moderately true if you don't watch for sales but hardly a 'danger'), and a warning that this is a trend, like the Atkins diet. Oh really?

Are vegetables, nuts, fruits, and lean meats going to be disappearing anytime soon?  Nah.

A paleolithic diet is not trendy. It requires a lot of discipline. IT'S A LIFESTYLE based on eliminating fake and processed foods, and eliminating grains that your body hates to process anyway. It's the preferred diet for numerous people with health concerns for a reason. It's what everyone ate before the food industry was established and started hydrogenating, enriching, germinating, and pesticiding everything in its path - hardly a trend. And people that follow the diet are substantially healthier. Leaner.

This way of eating makes me believe in humanity again; it makes me grateful for the way God made the earth and the plants and the animals. It has changed the way I take care of my body and of my family. It makes me pause before I hand my child super sour gummy worms, you know? What am I putting into my kid's body? Is it safe? Is it the best choice I could be making? We take that responsibility very seriously and now that I know more about nutrition, it's been a wake up call. I am humbled, is what I'm saying.

So read on if you're curious.

Here are some new things I've discovered and love.



Baked butternut squash french fries!



Roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. I can't wait to make this on the grill this summer!



Sriracha maple pumpkin seeds



Toasted coconut bars




Sweet potato, apple, avocado salad




Stuffed portobello mushrooms




Cocoa banana almond smoothies




Peanut butter chocolate coconut macaroons



Crustless spinach mushroom feta quiche



Chopped chicken salad with cashews and mango


Grilled zucchini nachos (minus the black beans)




Kids Paleo lunches, from OurPaleoLife


Since I'm not an offical expert, here is more on the Paleo diet from Michelle from NomNomPaleo >> What Is Paleo?

Eat well, Peeps!



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