Thursday, July 30, 2009

Northern California

where the girls are warm...
So I could be with my sweet baby, yeah.

We kept rockin' last night with Steve Miller Band!

The intimate concert was at the most beautiful venue, Wente Vineyards, one of the
country's oldest, family-operated wineries.

We started with dinner on the golf course that sits winding through the vineyards.

Next, a little wine tasting.

Not a bad seat in the house!

{is there any question who this girl comes from?!}

We also saw them 3 years ago (at a different winery!), when Camden was in my belly. This, though, was by far a better show! They rocked a jazzy, bluesy feel all night that was so unique.

Another great date night!

(thanks- AGAIN- to Amanda & Bobby!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer is...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hope Lives

Tonight, I stumbled across the following post from To Think is to Create. It has been an emotional roller coaster of a month for me, and I honestly wasn't planning on blogging the details. For just the same reasons Arianne shares in the first paragraph of her post, I sort of swept my feelings under the rug. But reading this brought such a sense of peace and comfort. And Blogland has come be a very comfortable place to be for me. I have learned so much about myself, about life, about faith, about hope. I have learned the stories of others and formed relationships with the most amazing people. Strangers I never would have connected with, but for this silly little blog. And so, I find comfort tonight in sharing this story. She may as well have been writing my story. I would have never found the words to express this so eloquently. I'm still trying to catch my breath, but now I feel some weight being lifted. And I feel hopeful.

***

'Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- and sings the tunes without the words- and never stops at all.'
-Emily Dickinson

I’ve been reluctant to write this post, not wanting to have to go “there”. Of course there are many things that I don’t share here on my blog, but there are also those things that hover over my soul and get in the way of me writing authentically until I free them from that nagging hover.

Even now as I sit here, staring at the screen, I don’t know where to begin. There are no words, yet I know I have to say them. Have to take steps forward, one at a time. This is one more.

A little over a month ago, I found out I was pregnant. It was a lovely surprise, and my husband and I were immediately enamored and excited and gushing about having 4 kids. Since this is not an announcement post, you can see where this is going…

For 10 days, I was pregnant again. An then just like that, I wasn’t. The miscarriage started when we were out of town, away from the comforts of home and the bed that I wanted to hide under.

I had absolutely no idea I could become so profoundly attached in just 10 short, beautiful days. Ten days is so much time, yet hardly the blink of an eye. Enough time to make plans and imagine life. To fall in love. Just enough time to grieve.

I tested early, and while I’d like to say if I hadn’t tested I wouldn’t have known — I can’t say that. I would have known. Physically, my body was sad and groaning and mourning as it lost the baby. My heart went from broken to numb to broken again.

This was such a hard thing for me, because this whole experience made me clam up and hide away and want to not let one drop of emotion seep out into the real world. In other words, the opposite of how I normally am. I only told a tiny amount of people, many of my good friends will be finding out as they read this now. I can only say that the “what should have been’s” were and are still, unbearable.

All the little things, like seeing sweet young babies, talking about others who are pregnant, everyone but me moving on and forgetting, even getting a pitch in my email that is towards pregnant women and thinking that should be me. The tiny stabs add up.

After all this, I do not despair. The pain is grief, and it’s just been 3 weeks since the loss. What has not been lost, is hope. This experience filled up my heart, overflowed it, then emptied it out so rapidly that my head is still spinning.

And we are so very grateful for
that butterfly, which was a moment for all of us as a family to say goodbye to what we had lost. It lingered enough to give us all love, and then slowly flew away.

Monday, July 27, 2009

All Natural

Here's a fun and free way to spend a nice, summer day.

First, take a nature hike in the morning. Give each kid a big bucket, and walk, (up and down the creek for us) collecting pine cones, cool rocks, branches, feathers, berries, etc.

Have a nature picnic for lunch (with goodies you packed up to bring along). Remind your kids of the impotance of eating the rainbow every single day (not this rainbow), and that the greatest fuel for your body is grown from the ground & best eaten raw.

Next, head home and re-energize with a nap.

Finally, have some fun and make good use of all of the collected items. Our ideas included making a nature collage on a piece of spare particle board we had laying around, and creating bird feeders by slapping some natural peanut butter & birdseed on the bigger pine cones, then hanging from the trees.

Good old-fashioned, all natural, (did I mention free?) FUN!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Do your eyes deceive you?

No!

I actually spent some time this weekend listing a few items in the shop. Wow!



Shocked?

Go shop now!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Movie Night in the Park

Our city puts on free family movie nights in the park every other week during the summer. They use a huge inflatable screen, big speakers, and have an old-fashioned popcorn machine ready to serve lots of eager kids.

Our kids love any opportunity to bring their sleeping bags and get cozy somewhere.

This week's feature was The Wizard of Oz; one of my favorite movies as a kid (and Kevin's least favorite... he's terrified of the wicked witch).

It's funny to watch childhood movies as an adult and notice things that went right over your head when you were little!


There's no place like home.

{Especially by 11 pm with 3 kids still awake at the
freezing, damp park!}

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

something for mom!

I think most of us spend lots more time creating for our kids or others, than we do for ourselves. Here are two simple projects, perfect for treating yourself. Crafty moms deserve a little handmade love, too!

I found the tutorial by Rae for this Spring Ruffle Top on Lil Blue Boo. I went with the gathered front- rather than pleated- included the pockets option, and added rick rack trim. I love it and couldn't wait to wear it here! (Too bad my sweater covered it up most of the time!)

I made this fabric necklace about 5 minutes after reading this Joy's Hope post, using scraps from my quilt. The pattern is a little confusing (and I'm not alone), so I just made it work for me. Mine came out shorter, I found wood beads were better than styrofoam, and I thought a ribbon closure was the way to go.

Creativity is all about taking inspiration and adapting methods to best suit you!

Now go make something for yourself!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer is...

*I promise our kids own helmets.

Monday, July 20, 2009

girls' night!

Chloe & Ava's sleepover tonight consisted of
loud music, tons of giggling, pizza, and
RAINBOW CAKE.
{inspiration found here.}

1. Prepare 2 boxes of white cake mix, according to directions.
2. Divide evenly into sixths (mine each filled one pint glass).
3. Color with gels for vibrant colors, drops for lighter colors.
4. Bake layers, one at a time, about 12 minutes, and turn out onto racks until cool.
5. Use your favorite frosting (mine is whipped buttercream) to lightly frost between layers, crumb-coat, then finish off.
6. Top with rainbow sprinkles.

It doesn't get much better than this!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Don't blink.

Our date to the Kenny Chesney concert last night- an annual tradition- was a much needed break from a crazy week.

One of his last songs was Don't Blink, and- although I've heard it a million times- it seemed to have new meaning hearing it live, with Kevin by my side.

Don't blink. Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife.
Don't blink. Just might miss your babies growin' like mine did.
Turning into moms and dads; next thing you know your better half of fifty years is there in bed. And you're praying God takes you instead.
Trust me friend, one hundred years goes faster than you think.
So don't Blink.

It was an important reminder to slow it down and take every breath God gives you for what it's worth. And the perfect ending to our night out.

Amanda reported that Camden had a tough time at bedtime, so when we got home we scooped her up and put her in bed between us. This morning before I opened my eyes, I heard a little voice shriek with excitement, "Aaaahhh! You're home!"

Enjoy your family today.

{Thanks so much, Bobby & Amanda.}

Friday, July 17, 2009

the Emilys

Camden has a mild major obsession with hair. Since she began compulsively sucking her thumb, around 3 months old, a fistful of my hair in the other hand has come with it.
Cute at first.
Extremely annoying now that she's 2
{and nowhere near kicking the habit}.
As she gets older, the twists, pulls, and
damage to my scalp only gets worse!
When it got so bad that she wouldn't sleep without my (or Chloe's) hair in hand, we tried desperately to transfer the bond elsewhere:
Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbies, even real hair pieces!
NOTHING WORKED. Until...

Santa brought Emily to Chloe this past Christmas.
Chloe had big dreams for Emily.

But apparently, so did Camden.
Something else FINALLY worked! Camden loved Emily's hair!

Chloe was soooo patient as her pesky baby sister
wreaked havoc on her beloved doll.
Emily quickly became this:

Dreads and all.
No amount of hairdressing would make a difference
to this rat's nest!

Well, the Easter Bunny must've been impressed with
Chlo-bo's unselfishness, because guess what was left in her Easter basket?

Yep, a brand new Emily! Beautiful, fresh, shiny hair.

Leaving Stinky to have her way with Emily #1.

And Chloe to actually enjoy Emily #2.

Plus, my scalp's feeling a lot better these days.

{How do you like Emily #2's new scrappy quilt? Made from the scraps of the big daddy quilt, which still has yet to be finished. I wanted to practice binding.}

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer is...

softserve,

swimsuits,

and one sillysister.

Monday, July 13, 2009

healthier baking

Have you tried Bob's Red Mill products? "Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods produces more than 400 products, including a full line of certified gluten free products and an extensive line of certified organic products. With a wide variety of whole grain products, from flours and hot cereals to baking mixes and grains, Bob’s Red Mill has 'whole grain foods for every meal of the day'."

I especially like their grain blends, and meals (like flaxseed), but decided to give this 10 Grain Pancake & Waffle mix a try over the weekend, following a sleepover with the kids' cousin, Ryann {visiting for the summer from Flagstaff}. The pancake recipe on the package was so yummy- we added cinnamon- and we made fresh apricot maple syrup to top them. Perfect!

Thinking about Cookie Monday, I wondered if the mix could stand in for the dry ingredients in a basic choco chip cookie dough. Sure enough, the mix is made up of a flour blend, leavener, and sea salt (not just any flour blend: freshly milled wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, rye, triticale, oats, corn, barley, soy beans, brown rice, millet, and flaxseed).

So today, I whipped up a batch of whole grain chocolate chip cookies, substituting the dry ingredients with the 10 grain mix, and adding just a bit more baking soda. They came out thin, soft, crispy on the edges, and yummy! Give it a try. You will feel so much better substituting whole grain goodness for basic white (stripped of nutrition) flour!

Friday, July 10, 2009

FUN




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer is...

rolling down a grassy hill, over

and over

and over.