not waiting to wait

Now that it’s halfway through January, my blog reader is finally starting to slow down with all the new year’s resolutions and goals and various words people have chosen as their theme of 2015.

And I’m over here, still reflecting on advent.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the newness of January, and I’ve done my own share of goal setting and re-organizing for the new year. It’s just that I am still thinking about the end of 2014. Maybe it’s the fact that Luke still asks if we can celebrate advent every day, or just the general speed of life these days. Either way, I’m still processing.

I love the season of advent. I thrive on anticipation, always have. So advent is just right for my personality.

This year, advent didn’t go exactly how I’d hoped. A nasty (and long-lasting) stomach bug made its way through 3/4 of our family, spread out over three weeks. I received more etsy business than I’d really prepared for, which was awesome, but made for a busy month. Gracie has been teething/growth spurting/whatever-ing that has caused some sleep disruption. And Luke is three and a half (enough said).

Last year, advent was such a sweet time. I was in my last trimester of pregnancy, which brought with it lovely anticipation and a killer nesting instinct. I was so well prepared going into advent that I had plenty of time to enjoy the season awaiting the celebration of Christ’s birth.

This year? Not so much. Many times Ian and I made the dramatic comment, “I feel like our lives are out of control.” Because our home has been a bit chaotic. And with the sicknesses, we had to hunker down and stay home more than usual. Which means more mess. And despite my best efforts at creating big-movement opportunities (pillow jumping, anyone?), it means excess energy from our boy. Which results in frenzied activities like decorating and re-decorating the tree.

Look closely and you will spy a napkin, ribbon, a box, some bows, a library DVD, a stuffed animal and a baby bottle.

Look closely and you will spy a napkin, ribbon, a box, some bows, a library DVD, a stuffed animal and a baby bottle.

Or filling the pack-n-play up with random toys in the time it took me to slice our pizza. Not make it, justĀ slice it. (And yes, the pack-n-play emerged as a desperate attempt to corral the baby while I took a shower).

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Our chalkboard was definitely not pinterest-worthy by any means. I was usually a couple days late switching the week’s theme, it was written in a hurry, and usually covered in scribbles by the end of the day.

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We went through a family advent devotional that includes a Jesse tree with an ornament for each day. I had high hopes to create felt ornaments for Luke to unwrap every day and stick on his felt tree. I got through day 5.

I thrive in a neat and orderly environment. I don’t like to relax until everything is cleaned up. And yet, for this season of life, there is so much grace. So much.

Instead of waiting until I had everything nice and neat and prepared before celebrating advent, I was able to jump in and embrace what was there before me. Mugs of coffee gone cold long before I even got my first sip, bows and wrapping paper strewn about, stopping Gracie from her valiant attempts to reach the Christmas lights, reminding Luke for the millionth time to please be gentle with the ornaments – God found my heart in the midst of those chaotic moments and allowed me to anticipate his joy despite my own idea of what waiting and anticipation might look like.

Did it feel as magical as last year? No. But it was full and rich and beautiful in its own messy way. And Jesus’ birth? Not exactly a neat and orderly event either. I’m sure Mary had different ideas about where she wanted to bring him into the world, but once she held him in her arms, I doubt it mattered. And I felt a bit like that this year. Sure, the constant mess might have overwhelmed me, but if I looked up and saw the two little cuties I’ve been blessed with – a boy who memorized our scripture-based advent calendar and a baby girl so curious about everything around her – then my heart felt filled and grounded.

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it’s all going so fast

It’s so cliche – “They grow up so fast!” But the thing is that it’s true! Lately I’ve been feeling extra crazy in that I feel so sentimental about this season in our lives. I love having little kids. Yes, it’s hard and exhausting and some days you find yourself giving and giving until you feel like you have nothing left. But I love it, and I know we won’t be here forever.

We’re not sure if we will try to have more children beyond Luke and Grace, and while I know that however many God gives us will be enough, sometimes that’s a hard unknown for me to face. With both of my babies my body has gone on overload with happy hormones and I want ALL THE BABIES. Sometimes I will be reveling in this extreme joy and I will look over at Ian and declare “Babies forever! Babies always!”

I am lucky that the man does not run away.

Anyways.

Other than a glimpse into my crazy head, I have a whole bunch of photos to share. And maybe some tidbits about our life these days.

20140505_104514Yeah, that is how I spend a lot of my time – reading books about animals. Mostly wildcats these days. Did you know that female lions do the hunting but the male lions eat first? What is up with that!

IMG_7813He spends more time in just his undies than I’d care to admit. And he is 3! So crazy. Also: it looks like 3 may be kinda challenging. This kid keeps us on our toes, and I’m thankful that we can live in God’s grace every day.

IMG_7836For Mothers Day we went to Birch Bay State Park and explored the beach. Luke was not super keen on stopping for a photo.

20140615_111607For Fathers Day, we went out to breakfast and then stopped by the Marine Life Center. Such a good dad to choose to do something that Luke loves so much.

IMG_7850She is pretty much perfection in my books. She’s 6 months old tomorrow (sniff!), and when I came across this one from a couple months ago my heart just melted.

20140521_102729Animals. Everywhere, all the time. Luke has a growing collection of animals that he plays with all.the.time. He seems to think we could still use more. “But we need more female lions for the pride!”

20140521_120157Uh, yeah. I am in babywearing heaven. Gracie is often in the Moby wrap or Ergo carrier, snuggled close to me as we go about our day. And that look on my face is one that often precedes “babies forever!” declarations.

20140603_135802Speaking of babywearing, this is us at work. I work in the office one day a week, and the babe accompanies me – still trying to get her to pull her own weight around there.

IMG_7856I laughed so hard when I came upon this photo. Don’t even remember it happening.

IMG_7857I think this was the shot I was going for originally.

IMG_7871Daddy-daughter time. It’s hard to come by these days – Luke would be glued to Ian’s side if he could, so he gets most of daddy’s attention these days.

IMG_3144I was actually trying to recreate this photo of Luke. I bet they weighed about the same amount, even though Luke was only 2.5 months and Gracie was 4 months!

IMG_7874My mom recently gave me some of my old baby clothes. LOVE. Awkward baby photo? Even better.

IMG_7884We decided to get a membership for myself and Luke to the Woodland Park Zoo this year, and so far we’ve made it down three times. It’s a lot of excitement for Luke to take in, but he does pretty well and we’ve enjoyed our visits a lot.

IMG_8002Seriously. Stop the cuteness already.

IMG_8005I see lots of sibling shenanigans in my future. Gracie thinks everything Luke does is hilarious.

IMG_8044I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to give the kid something that was on fire, but somehow we all stayed safe.

IMG_8100Summer snacks on the patio. We’ve loved the warm weather lately.

IMG_8107Summertime naps are pretty great.

Well, I think that’s all. Not a lot of big things happening over here, just lots of small stuff all the time. It’s pretty great.

5 minute diy fall wreath and a shop giveaway

5 minute DIY fall wreathI have been all over the place with fall decorating this year. I wanted to bring fall into our house early, since I think we may decorate for Christmas earlier than usual (so we can take it down earlier than usual, before baby #2 makes her appearance). But the weather has been so bright and sunny and warm that I just didn’t feel ready to bust out all my fall decorations. So I’ve been adding autumn touches here and there over the last couple weeks, and on Sunday I decided to bust out a little autumn wreath. Sorry for the super lame lighting, but the urge to craft struck before there was any good natural light.

Step 1: grab your supplies – a wreath of whatever style/size you choose, some natural colored coffee filters, and some floral wire.

5 minute DIY fall wreath

Step 2: scrunch a coffee filter to form a flower-like shape, and secure the bottom/base of it by winding some floral wire around it and the wreath.

5 minute DIY fall wreath

Step 3: continue adding coffee filter flowers until you have desired amount (my wreath was small – about 5 inches, so I went with three).

5 minute DIY fall wreath

Step 4: depending on the size of your wreath, the flowers may seem kind of mammoth, like mine. So trim them down so they look right.

5 minute DIY fall wreath

Step 5: embellish! Use some colored twine or yarn to wrap around the top for hanging, and then add whatever little fall tidbits you have. I went with some sweet wooden beads my mother-in-law gave to me when she was cleaning out her closet (70s craft stash = my heaven), but you could do anything – more colored twine wrapped around the wreath, a little fabric bunting, a string of pine cones, some burlap bunting – it’s up to you!

5 minute DIY fall wreath

There you go – a quick little touch of autumn for your home!

Other fun news: Ashley over at Crazy.Simple.Love is hosting a giveaway for one of my mini buntings!

It warms my little heart to see my products used to create a cozy home for people, and Ashley came up with some super fun ways to decorate with my mini buntings. And not only does she do an awesome job at creating a great space for her family (she has 4 super cute kiddos!), but she loves Jesus and is all about sharing encouraging words with others. So check out her blog and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a mini bunting garland of your choice!

happy october and mini buntings galore

Mmm, the arrival of fall! Pumpkin muffins, cozy blankets, comfy boots and dark, quiet mornings. Really, I love each change of season – it seems like a breath of fresh air.

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Not a lot is new around our home, we’ve just been adjusting to more of a fall routine. Luke is kind of obsessed with Noah’s ark, so we spend a lot of time playing Noah’s ark, reading various versions of the story, singing songs about the ark, and speculating about what animals might have gotten on the ark first. I don’t know why I don’t have a picture of any of this, I feel like I spend at least half my day talking about this subject.

We are gearing up to rearrange Luke’s room and get him settled into a toddler bed before little sister moves into his room in a few months. I’m excited for him to have a slightly different space, and I’m hoping it will kick-start some nesting instincts so that I can start preparing for baby’s arrival. I’ve been feeling great, growing bigger and I spend at least a few minutes every day in complete awe and thankfulness that our family is going to be growing soon!

In other news, I just added a bunch of fun new mini buntings to my etsy shop!

I just love these little mini buntings, and fall mornings are the perfect time to work on them. My party mini buntings have been pretty popular, so I’m hoping some of these fun fall garlands will find their way into some good homes.

Happy fall everyone!

entering into summer

Things are in full summer mode in our house now (well, except the weather, which is drizzly and overcast today). We’ve been busy working and playing outside, keeping up with Luke, and embracing summertime fun.

IMG_6589We added another raised vegetable bed and a couple wine barrels to our garden so we have more veggies this year. As always, we probably started a little later than we should have, so hopefully everything still works out okay. Luke loved using the new garden bed as his own personal play space for a couple days. Then he helped Ian plant seeds, which he loved. Almost every time we are outside he “plants seeds!” by moving around dirt or whatnot with his shovel. He will also walk around the yard asking what different plants are called – definitely his father’s son.

IMG_6597_2The kiddo also takes after his dad in his love for smoothies. He’s also mastered a pretty awesome “cheese” face.

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And he turned 2! We had a family bbq at my parent’s house, which worked out well since they are on the south side of the Skagit River bridge, which wasn’t fixed at the time, and Ian’s family all lives south of there. Luke loved seeing all his family, getting lots of attention, food, and some great play time with his older cousin Isabel.

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On Fathers Day we headed over to a local berry farm for their Strawberry Festival. We enjoyed free strawberry sundaes and Luke enjoyed a few turns on the tractor train. He is kind of obsessed with driving lately – he recently realized that he always has to sit in the back seat of the car, and now every trip involves his loud protests to “drive!” or at least sit in the “front!” Well, this little tractor train was perfect – if you ask him about it, he usually says “drive!” It may have been the best day of his life so far.

It is so fun to see his personality emerge. The minute we got out of the car and he saw the train, he hustled over to it and wanted to get on. So in he went, and a minute later he was headed out into a field with a bunch of kids he didn’t know and a man driving a tractor to who knows where. We waved as he rounded the corner and he was just happy as a clam, even though he probably had no real idea of where he was going. I had to laugh, because I was the exact opposite as a child – I would have had to watch the train go around at least five times or more, so I would know what would happen. And if there were too many other kids I didn’t know, I probably would have had no part in it. To Luke, it’s all an adventure and every kid is a potential friend. It’s been awesome to get to parent this brave, extroverted little guy.

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A few days later we headed out to another berry farm to pick strawberries. We picked 18 lbs of yummy berry goodness – well, I use the term “we” pretty loosely. I picked a couple pounds while Luke ate a few, then I spent the rest of the time running around with Luke while Ian picked, we all had a great time. We spent the next few nights putting up 17 pints of jam and a few pints of strawberry syrup. Luke got pretty creative in finding ways to nab a berry or two…

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So that’s what we’ve been up to lately! I hope your summer is off to a great start as well!

diy cupcake liner flowers

DIY Cupcake Liner Flowers

I figured I’m really overdue in posting about my crafting endeavors, so I thought I’d share about these sweet little flowers I made last Saturday.

I love having fresh flowers in the house, but we’re still months away from any cutting flowers growing in our garden. When I came upon some cute yellow polka dot cupcake liners for $1, I decided I could make my own flowers to brighten up our dining room.

This whole project probably took about 15 minutes, and it was started and finished while Luke was coloring and playing with stickers, so I was kind of figuring it out on the fly and using what I could easily grab.

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Supplies:

  • cupcake liners
  • felt (or fabric/paper and drinking straws)
  • glue
  • floral wire
  • scissors

IMG_6391The first step is to take two liners. Flip one inside out – so the pretty part is on the inside – and stick it in the other one. It gives it a double-sided look and some fullness.

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Then just pinch the middle together to form a point.

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For the felt, I just used some triangle shaped scraps I had (like I said, I was working fast!). They were about 7 inches tall, and the bottom edge was about 3 inches wide. They made for pretty short flowers, so I’d cut a taller triangle if I was actually cutting out a piece – at least 10 inches. You could also use other fabric or scrapbook paper, you’d just need to wrap it around something like a drinking straw. The felt is thick enough that it forms a good stem simply by wrapping around itself.

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Okay, so take the narrow tip of your felt and wrap it around the point of your cupcake liners. It might be super helpful to have something like a glue gun, but I made it work. Make sure you grab enough of the liners to get a good hold on it, then tightly wrap the floral wire around both the felt and the liners. Don’t worry too much if your liners are getting a little wrinkled, because they’ll unfold and cover that part up.

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Once you’ve gotten it started, just keep twisting the wire around the stem, and keep twisting the felt around itself.

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The stem will get thicker as you work downwards, since it’s cut in a triangle shape. The wire makes it sturdy but bendable.

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Now it’s time for the center. Take another cupcake liner and squish it into another point.

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Unfold the base flower that’s already attached to the stem and add a dab of glue (again, hot glue would be super helpful). I just squished and pinched until it felt secure.

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Unfurl and primp and do what you need to do to make it look pretty! Make a few more and you have a sweet little bouquet that won’t go bad in a few days!

You could totally try making all kinds of flowers – I stuck with the one inner bloom because I thought they looked a bit like daffodils. But you could fill them out more and try all sorts of variations!

IMG_6403Makes me excited for spring.

Speaking of spring, I’ve added a few spring-y things to my etsy shop, like this fun mini bunting garland.

The bright colors just cheer me up.

Happy flower making!

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