Tuesday, February 10, 2015

P.S. "I didn't even know I liked poached eggs until I met you."

Sometimes it's quite a struggle for me to balance the things I "have to do" and the "things I enjoy doing" from day to day. It's not that I don't like being a mom and staying home to care for my family. It is quite a blessing and privilege in my life to be able to do so. But I do struggle with days in a row where the routine-ness of it adds up and it can make me weary. Making meals, cleaning up, starting laundry, folding laundry and keeping tabs on kids' homework isn't always a thrill day in and day out. Especially so in the long winter months here in Michigan.
So I find myself very thankful to have my hobby and outlet in scrapbooking. I am on two different design teams {both Maya Road and Cocoa Daisy} and it is truly the creativity that I crave that keeps my spirits up at times. I wonder if my kids or anyone will care to look back on some of the photos, stories and things I've made years from now, but even if they don't I know that it has been fun for me. Just as some people sit and watch sports on tv or paint or do crossword puzzles or work out. Whatever it is that fills a certain point of happiness inside of you I think is an important part of life.
Even if it means you document things like how much you appreciate breakfast with your husband on occasion. =)
I am actually getting excited to do lots of picture-taking and memory-making when I get to join Chip for a weekend in Palm Springs, next week. He will be out there for some golf adventures, and I am meeting up with him to round out his week. The warmth and sunshine are high on my list of "things I think I will love about Palm Springs"! I know there will be some relaxation, good food, fun memories and hopefully some great scrap pages when I get home from the trip too!
I'll be sure to post some pictures of our trip- both on FB and Instagram too. So if you don't already connect with me in those places, feel free to send me a request!
I hope my phone has room for all the photos I plan to take!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Love notes.

Hello February and fresh starts! I love new beginnings and today is what I have termed it a "grace day" at my house because it's Monday and school was cancelled due to weather conditions here in Michigan. Instead of snowing, blowing and sub-zero temps, we instead have blue skies and sunshine! So it is simply a good day to relax, kick back, stay in pj's {we do that a lot in the winter around here!} and just enjoy this unexpected break in life.
To that end, I have decided that it was the perfect time to jump back on to my laptop and share a tiny bit of my heart. Okay. Maybe a bit more than just my heart, as I am feeling mixed emotions about sharing these photos and thoughts behind them. I think this month of February is a wonderful backdrop for me to post "love notes" to my kids and this blog has always been a spot for me to get things down and out and saved in a spot for future reference.
As much as I want to express my thought and heart toward my kids {my girls especially} I sort of believe that this is a message that others might need to hear too. If you can see past the images- which I didn't realize had so much to 'say' when I ordered prints of these photos, then maybe the true message can start to settle in.
I have been self-conscious about my body, shape, size and flaws since as long as I can recall, and yet even so I think there is such worthwhile lessons in embracing ourselves- just as we are and as God created us to be. He never makes mistakes or messes up- certainly not on people whom He loves so much! That is the heart of this scrap layout and if my kids realize I love them just as they are...then how much more must God love them too!
I am so humbled and blessed to be able to stand in front of a camera, snap a few photos and then be brave in sharing the struggle and beauty that comes from learning to love it all. He loves us in spite of all we will never be- none of us can measure up to perfection- and yet we are loved in spite of our failures, flaws, insecurities, pride, and His grace covers it all so that in His eyes we ARE perfectly whole because of who He is! His love never ceases to amaze me. His grace has changed me from inside-out and I hope that His love will be the one thing my kids seek more than anything else this world has to offer. There is nothing greater than knowing God's love firsthand. It is the greatest love of all!
The world tells us that things or being a certain size of having financial security or a job or spouse or house or degree or adventure or happiness or any other number of things will fill us up. But the truth is only God's love and grace can be enough to fill us with true peace, contentment, and assurance of Hope. To that end I pray that I will be a tool for Him to shine that message to my kids and anyone else who has ears and open heart to receive that message. He is Love and all we ever need!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Nine years later.

Today is the day. Nine years of blogging later, and a whole lot has changed since then. As one would expect life to change in close to a decade. I am one of the most resistant-to-change-persons that I know of, but looking back on some of the blogposts and the stories and photos that I shared makes me grateful for change though too.
Nine years ago blogging was not all that popular. I had found a few blogs online that I liked to read as often as they were updated- mainly crafting, inspiration type blogs. With an occasional stop over to Dooce's blog, because honestly I liked her sarcasm and funny stories about her Avon-selling mom. But one day I decided to hit "create blog" and Nitty.Gritty. was born.
I knew I was going to write and post pictures about my family. That was a natural thing for me to do after keeping a journal for many years, and then after our loss of Teagan and Wyndham's ongoing healing and special needs I had come to write frequent emails and updates which I would send to family and friends. I figured blogging would be an easy way for those people to pop in and see what was going on in our lives and find out what needs we might have that they could add to their prayer list.
But not long after I started sharing pictures and stories I started receiving emails and comments from people I had never met. It was a neat thing to be connecting to people in cyberworld, and at times your stories and emails had me in tears at my laptop. There felt like something bigger going on. Something bigger than a blog.
I have never regretted sharing so much of our lives- the ups and downs and everything in between. In fact as I re-read some of the posts last week, I found myself so thankful that I had these things written down. I never would have remembered even half of the stuff posted on here! But the details are important and one day I am sure my kids will enjoy looking back and reading first-hand accounts of some of their childhood antics. I feel bad that in this season of my life I don't write or keep record of our day-to-day stories in more detail- although I am thankful for Facebook to post where I post way too many photos and snippets of our lives. It is a cool record of everything under the sun- including what we eat for dinner. Which basically documents how many times we eat waffles in a week. =)
When Nitty.Gritty. was started, I had two fewer kids. I wasn't on any design teams, nor did I own any 12x12 paper or Thickers. {My craft friends know what that means!} =) I didn't have any kids in theater productions or on swim or debate teams. I basically had more time in my life to write.
I appreciate that some people have stopped in here daily for years, and I wish I could have a cup of coffee and zucchini bread with each of you! You have made me want to be a better writer. One day that might happen yet!

Friday, September 12, 2014

This is the stuff we will want to look back on...

This guy.
Four years old.
Attending preschool 3 mornings a week.
Still not always using the potty when he is supposed to.
Wakes up totally grumpy.
Totally sweet.
But the sweet wears off usually by the time he has to go to the potty.
He sings when he plays games.
He plays games when he eats.
He eats like a puppy most of the time.
And he whines like a puppy when it's time for bed.
He loves playing tricks, and bugging his siblings and can't have Daddy leave for work without giving him a high-5, exploding knuckles, hug, kiss, pinky promise and arm bump.
His idiosyncrasies are almost too much to deal with in a given day.
Yet our days wouldn't be the same without them.
He can drive us all crazy, and then melt us all in the same two-minute time span.
He must have some hidden super power or something. Because with a single tight squeeze around your neck, you forgive him for all the little crazy and big things he's done and all he makes you feel is Love.
Oh, Teague.
What a guy.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A life interrupted.

All of a sudden six months have passed and really, if anyone is still stopping by at all that is a small miracle in and of itself for this blog. First of all, my apologies for NOT posting and sharing or at least putting up a graphic that says, "Nitty.Gritty.Out.To.Lunch." or something to indicate that I was still here. Just not "here".
I can tell you in the past several months there has been a lot of living going on in our life and family. So much so that I don't find or make time to blog like I want to or should. There has been a couple of birthdays. And preschool graduation. There was a new puppy...and a lot of fun and cute pictures with our sweet goldendoodle, Hazel. And then there was the tough decision to find her a new home after a week of Wyndham having such high anxiety over a puppy that she literally wouldn't eat. So Hazel got a new home. There were tears and life lessons and I could practically write a whole book on just that week in our life alone! Maybe one day I'll write that story.
In addition to puppy days there were days at the beach. And riding the one cent pony at the grocery store. There was a week of camp. And grandparents here from Michigan. There was Coke Float Day and maybe you got in on that with is- even if it was a virtual celebration. I could probably write a book about how Coke Float Day has evolved and become almost a summer holiday all its own. There have been parades and pool days and more days spent by the pool. There have been a couple of day trips to Chicago and days recovering from those days- which means catching up on laundry and sleeping in as late as we can.
Our summer has been full in so many ways. From fresh local produce- our favorites are the jumbo blueberries, cherries and peaches to gourmet cupcakes and walks to the park. There have been lots of days that felt like fall and only a handful that we needed to turn the A/C on- which is rare for where we live. There have been new friendships formed and new experiences- including Brock finishing driving school and getting his permit. There has been so much and yet really we have just so enjoyed "doing nothing" for nearly three full months. It has been a wonderful summer and we have one week left to enjoy it to the fullest.
So with all of that going on behind the scenes of Nitty.Gritty. it's no wonder there has been a quiet lull on this blog. But something else has happened. Something that stirred in me and brings me back to my laptop to click away and put my thoughts down in this place.
It's a book called, "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker. Maybe you have heard of her and/or her book. It is in easy to spot places like Barnes & Noble and you can pick up a copy right here online at Amazon too. I don't know Jen. I have heard her speak briefly at a weekend conference via satellite. But after reading this book I feel like I know a big part of her heart. She writes this book so authentically and candidly. I actually laughed outloud at times and that's not normally how I read books. I cruised through this book in a matter of two days- which also speaks to the readability of it. The way and they why she wrote this book so resonated with me and that is what made me want to dust off this blog and write again.
If you have followed Nitty.Gritty. for any length of time then you know full well that Chip and I have lived a life that was interrupted one Sunday during brunch. We recently marked thirteen years since that day happened and we are still learning lessons and living in light of so much of the events of that tragedy. I can't help but shake the feeling all these years later that there must be a big purpose or point to the pain and hurt behind our interruption. Knowing just how much God loves and cares and acts out of goodness and justice simply doesn't add up to the amount of pain and hurt we have endured. But we KNOW He is in it and over it all. So we have hung on and clung to His promise of faithfulness to us- even when we can't see or understand His ways in all the twists and turns at times.
Some of what Jen writes in this book touched on the parts of me where I still sense such a deep longing or where I just want to see the senseless parts of life make sense. She reminded me in sharing her own life journey that God CAN be trusted in all of it- to the point where we can literally pick up and start new again if we are putting all our trust in Him for what comes next.
We have been in places like that- even with our last two moves when we didn't know where we were going or what we were doing next. But God knew. And sometimes I think He leaves us hanging without a clue as to the next step to test us and see if we are willing to get out of the boat and follow Him. Not just with our words and rhetoric. But with our whole hearts and selves. It's easy to give money, or to raise a hand or nod approvingly to the sermon being preached in church. It's a whole other thing to get up and actually respond and do something. Especially something radical.
I have wrestled and prayed a lot since reading "Interrupted". It's one thing to read the book, but another thing to be moved. It's one thing to read the Bible, to know it, to study it, to love it, to lean on it, to believe in it, to turn to it, to memorize it and study it and share it. It's another thing to let it so penetrate your heart and mind that you are different each and every day because of the truth in its pages.
I have wondered and questioned why things have happened in our lives the way that they have- especially in regards to the move to Minnesota and back. It hasn't made sense in my practical and structure-loving mind. I have asked God to show me how or why or what to do as a result of this. I have opened my heart and soul for Him to use me- use our whole family here in any way that He feels led to do so. Sometimes I have felt like I missed the calling when I was single and more able to pack up and serve Him in Africa. Being a SAHM {stuck-at-home-mom as I refer to myself many times =) }in a mostly middle-class white America feels like a box- a very blessed and wonderful box, but a box just the same. I have wondered how God could use me or why He would need me here. This part of Jen's book made sense to me and makes me realize that no matter where we live or who we are or what we have to offer, God can use it all and He wants too. As long as we are willing to say 'yes' when our life gets interrupted.
"We have the privilege of serving Jesus Himself every time we feed a hungry belly, each moment we give dignity to someone who has none left, when we acknowledge the value of a convict because he [or she] (I added that pronoun) is a human being, when we share our extreme excess with those who have nothing, when we love the forsaken and remember the forgotten. Jesus is there."
                                                                        *     *     *     *
I still can't say that I fully understand or ever will fully understand how God wills, moves or works. But I am willing to open my heart to His ways and be moved as a result in every little or big way that I sense His call in my life. I am willing to be interrupted, inconvenienced, embarrassed, put on the spot, broken, and uncomfortable for the sake of His glory and kingdom. Not because I am worthy or great. But because of what He did for me on the cross. It's the least I can offer back to Him.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ready for spring...

Hello March 1st! I would like to think that it signals the onset of spring, but we are getting more snow even now as I write this blog post. We had a couple of inches over night last night, so between the accumulation of new snow and the cold temperature {today was right around 20 degrees here in west Michigan} it doesn't seem all that hopeful for an early spring. But they do say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, so we are perfectly on course to do that!
March 1st also brings the opportunity for anyone who wants to get a Cocoa Daisy kit, add-ons or Day In The Life kit the chance to do so. This month's Grey Street kit has been a big hit with the subscribers and we as a design team all loved it too! The greens, gray and splashes of other colors make it fun and definitely get you wanting spring even more so!
I loved scrapping the page about Teagan's rainboots and the sweet memories they bring to my mind- even all these years later. March is Teagan's birthday month and so those memories are even more vivid as we prepare to mark another birthday without her here on earth with us- but never far from our hearts and minds! She will always be such a colorful, cherished part of my memories and I am glad that her stories can still find their way onto my scrap pages.
I loved scrapping Teague's newborn baby picture too. There is something so amazing wrapped up in the hopes and dreams of a new baby. Teague is quite a handful now, than he was all tiny and sleeping in that photo, but I still have huge dreams and hopes for all of my kids! I am sure that never changes- even as they grow and change themselves. Here's to a bright future, a new beginning with the onset of spring...and hopefully sunshine to start melting all the snow!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Memories...old and new.

I love getting to re-live memories as I scrapbook and create pages and mini books each month. This month Cocoa Daisy's reveal night is earlier than usual- it's happening tomorrow, the 26th due to the short month of February. So here are a couple of sneak peeks of Grey Street to tide you over until the full reveal tomorrow. This kit has some fun pops of green and yellow and of course, gray. I have enjoyed documenting moments and stories that still impact me years after they have happened. Small details, but so big in the scheme of stories I don't want to soon forget. And even better to capture on page and pass along as the years go by.
They fly by so fast!
Proof of that is Brock's 15th birthday last week. He ended up getting a snow day and school cancelled last Tuesday. But the weather turned sunny and nice and so our whole family went out to a Japanese steakhouse and to the Lego Movie to celebrate such a big day. It was fun to have an unexpected "family day" to mark the occasion. There was a morning homemade latte to kick off Brock turning 15 and homemade vanilla bean cheesecake to round out the day. We all feel so blessed to be a part of Brock's life. He has been a great kid and a truly nice-guy as a teen too! The best of both worlds for our family and I am pretty sure he is turning into a pretty great young man right before our eyes as well. We are glad for all the moments and years we have had with him, and I hope to scrapbook more of them as the years go on. Yay for living the memories and capturing them on page too. =)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Beyond the fluff of Valentine's...

What I would love to write in this space today is how dreamy and sappy it is to be celebrating Valentine's Day with my true love. Who doesn't want the perfect love story at some point in their life?! Especially on Valentine's Day. But the truth and reality in this great big world of ours- even on Valentine's Day- or maybe especially so on Valentine's Day!- is that true love isn't as pretty and sweet as the cards, flowers, dark chocolates and fairytales that consume this holiday would like us all to believe. Those things are great. They are awesome and special even! They do say, "I love you" and they can certainly communicate what is in one's heart. I am not writing off dark chocolate sea-salt caramels wrapped up with a bow ever! But I am sharing my own heart and thoughts about what I have learned love to be. And I can tell you, it's not all rosy and chocolates.
In fact the deepest, most pure love that I have ever experienced in my 41 years of life most often has been shown to me not in the form of a tangible gift at all. It hasn't been showered on me when life has been it's prettiest. It has been in some of the deepest, darkest pits of life that I have felt loved, supported, cherished and comforted. The times when I look back in my life and know that love was holding me are times when flowers and chocolates would have failed, and even felt offensive as a gift of love. It strikes me as interesting that when I have needed love and care the most in my life that the most thoughtful, most meaningful gesture of love has been simply having someone sit next to me and weep with me, or hold me close and cry with me.
Love has shown itself faithful and true to me in an embrace at the airport in Chicago standing next to baggage claim.
It has stood by me as we sang, "It is well with my soul" as we said good-bye to Teagan at her memorial services.
Love has lifted me when I felt I couldn't bring myself to say, "I forgive you". Love was wrapped around me when I claimed that truth and it helped set my heart free.
Love was there when I cried out and wept over a load of fresh, warm whites to fold and found myself unable to breathe. It whispered to my heart, "look to the Heavens and trust me for your very breath".
Love has wrapped its tiny newborn finger around mine and made me believe in joy and Hope in this world again.
It has gotten up with me in the middle of the night, too many times to count, and helped give a shower or start a load of laundry and held a sick child.
Love has walked in the door and placed take-out on the counter. Too many times to count that as well. =)
It has scrapped the snow off the windshield and started the vehicle so that the inside was warm for travel.
Love tells me to "text him a grocery list" and says "no problem" when I say thank you for doing that errand/chore for our family again. And again. And again.
True love has shown me that it's not a tiny box wrapped with a big bow at precisely the right moment in time that reveals the heart, but the way it grins and smiles and says, "you look beautiful" even after a sleepless night or a ruthless day spent just trying to keep my head above water. Love looks at me when I am at my worst and says, "There is nobody in the whole world I would rather be next to at this moment in time, except you."
Love has dared to say that it would be easier for us to be apart, but it is far better to hang on and trudge forward together. Love has believed in the future of us even when the present has looked dim, and the questions outnumber the answers in life.
Love has said, "I'm sorry...I messed up...and I'm trying." It has allowed me to say the very same things.
Love has seen the ugly side of me. More than once. And yet it stands by my side to this very day.
Love has taught me so many things about God, others and myself.
It has been poured out to me in unexpected people, places and things. It has been undeserved, unmerited, and unleashed to me since as far back as I can remember.
Love has changed me, saved me, redeemed me, and it makes me want to be a better me. Not just today. Not because of flowers. Or chocolate or any other thing that can be bought or sold.
True love comes from the heart, comes from Above, and comes in such subtle ways that I sometimes miss seeing just how beautiful it is.
Today- this Valentine's Day- seems as fitting a day as ever for me to pause and look back and say thanks. To all the Love I have been given in this life. I am humbled, grateful, and my heart is overflowing with gratitude for such love. I only hope I can shower some of my love and gratitude back to God, to Chip who has showered me with so much and still gives me all these years, and to my family, friends and strangers too. One of my favorite things about true love is that it never runs out, gets old, dries up or falls short. It can be given and shared and it only grows from there!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Color Swatch...

I have been having a blast scrapping and making things with Cocoa Daisy's Color Swatch kit. It is available for purchase now! If you are a new 6-month subscriber, you can get 40% off your first kit...such a great deal! This kit is bold and colorful, but there is so much in it and on the reverse sides that you can tone it down and go for some subdued projects if you like those too. So many options and loads of fun! Now that is a winning kit for sure!
I am also making some Valentine cards with my scraps right now, so if you leave me a comment and tell me one thing that you are loving in or about your life right now, I will choose someone to mail a card to. Just leave an email in your comment so that I can send you a note and get your mailing address in return if you're the lucky winner of some happy mail! Here's to lots of love, color and happiness all month long! Happy February, everyone!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Letting your light shine.

I may have shared this story in years past here on Nitty.Gritty. But it's a good one, and this photo recently showed up in my FaceBook feed and so it just seemed fitting to share it and the story that came to my mind right away when I saw it. This picture is of Teagan and her friend, Jess, taken on a  day that they had a playdate at our house. Now, you can probably tell just by looking at this picture that these two little girls loved to play, be loud, laugh and enjoy just being little girls! We knew Jess from our local church. It was one of the places that we made some lifelong friends when we lived in Gaylord. Church was one of the places that practically "felt like home" for us- in part because of the great friendships we did for with so many people there, but also because we spent a lot of time there- besides the usual Sunday morning church services.
Jess and Teagan didn't just love to play and laugh and have fun when they had playdates at home. But they loved to be loud and have fun at church together too. Sometimes that felt appropriate- like during game time in the gym, or while singing and learning funny songs during Vacation Bible School. I loved and appreciated the good times these girls, and lots of other young friends of theirs shared in church.
But one Sunday morning stands out in my mind when I see this picture of Teagan and Jess. The new auditorium had recently been built and was the new worship sanctuary for Sunday mornings and other large events/gatherings. It seats about 1,100 people and let's just say that there was a lot of time and money invested in that big, new auditorium.
This particular Sunday morning the girls had connected at church during Sunday School, and they were still happily hanging out as the morning services ended and the parents gathered their children or just talked and fellowshipped together before it was time to part. The girls chose this Sunday morning to go running up and down the large aisles of the new worship center. But they didn't stop there. They ventured up on stage and were running and laughing and playing behind the big curtain and by the podium as well. When I realized that Teagan was a part of the noise and rambunctious behavior in the auditorium I gave Chip "the look" to go get her immediately and put a stop to her wild antics. I watched the girls run and laugh even more for a minute or two as they realized they were 'caught' and were being called to bring their fun and games to a halt.
Their response to Chip when he ushered them down from the stage was that "they were just playing and having fun!" Of course they were! But I could feel the 'eyes' of other church goers on them and on us as parents that made it feel anything but "fun".
On the ride home from church that day Teagan got a little lecture on "how to act in church". We reminded her that the sanctuary was "God's house" and that she should be careful of how loud and wild she was in that place from now on. She seemed to understand, and yet she was still grinning and told us how much she loved playing with Jess and her others friends at church too.
I could never have imagined on the ride home from church that day that it would only be a matter of months later that I would be standing in that very auditorium honoring and remembering Teagan's life at her memorial service. I remember that day so clearly as well. How my heart was so shattered and how my mind was still trying to come to grips with the reality that I would never see her laugh or run or dance and twirl on this earth ever again. I could hardly believe that we were sharing stories and pictures of her life in remembrance of her- because to me she was still so full of life and joy and I wasn't prepared to let any of that go!
And yet Chip and I stood hand-in-hand with our hearts broken and wounded and clueless as to how it all happened and more so, how God was going to mend the brokenness that we felt to the very core of our hearts. I pictured Teagan running and laughing in the very place that hundreds of flowers now served as a reminder that she was gone. Her smiling picture on the memorial alter made my heart ache more. I wanted to turn back time to the day she ran and laughed so loudly that I sent Chip rushing down the aisle to scoop her up and halt her fun. I wanted to turn back time and do it all over again.
Only this time I would have wanted to hug her and tell her how happy I was that she was simply being who God made her to be. I wanted to turn back the days and watch her twinkle and shine on that stage with her friend, Jess, as only two little girls can in the midst of their play. I wanted to look on their joy and grasp how it was one of the purest forms of worship in that space that day. Their actions may not have been perfectly in line with what other church-goers or Chip or I had in mind for them in that new auditorium. But in retrospect, and certainly in light of the reality we faced at Teagan's service, their actions were in perfect accord to how God wants us to come to Him with our hearts and lives. He wants us to come as little children. Not caring about what others think or even how we see ourselves. He wants us to come to Him in worship, recognizing who He is, and putting all of our self aside. True worship is singing, dancing, praying, sacrificing, embracing all of who GOD is, and truly being humble in spirit and simply being who God created us to be. There is nothing we can bring to His alter that He doesn't already 'own' or have access too...except our hearts. He wants our hearts to be poured out to Him as our love offering. We can come "too loud, too wild, too clueless" as to who He is, and yet He accepts us as we are simply because we come. He just wants our hearts. Plain and simple.
I am so glad to know that Teagan invited Jesus into her heart and life just the day before she died. She knew that Jesus died on the cross for her sin, and truly the most important thing that anyone can do, who understands who God is, is to give their heart to Him by asking forgiveness of their sin and inviting Him into their life. God does the rest. I miss the mark far too often when it comes to living the simple way that God wants us to live. He wants us to shine for Him, lean on Him, shout for Him, share our joys and sorrows and everything in between for Him, and just be who He created us to be. Nothing more. Nothing less. It seems so simple. And it is. Even a child can get it and live out their days letting their life shine for Him. I am so glad I had a front row seat to Teagan's life. Especially on the day she ran through the auditorium in response to just being who God made her to be.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Snowed in. Again!

This has been quite a winter all over the nation and world, I believe. We are in the midst of another 'arctic blast' here in Michigan and on our 3rd consecutive snow day...with a weekend in between. So the days all sort of blur together, but we are cozy, warm and we love staying in jammies all day long. Last week's days off were added fun since Grandma Genie {my  mom} was in town staying with the kids and I while Chip was in Orlando for the PGA merchandise show. The unexpected time the kids got to spend with her and the low-key schedule compared to getting ready and doing school drop-offs and pick-ups was nice for all of us! We played games, had Ava's room painted {pale pink}, baked and ate good food, sang songs and hymns, watched funny DIY shows and a couple of movies, ate popcorn and just all-around had a great time enjoying Grandma at our house. We were sad to see her go, but happy for my dad, since we know how much he was missing having her around too!
I didn't get much scrapping time in, and had actually planned to do quite a bit while she was here. But the time spent doing other stuff just filled up my craft free time. Still, I am so excited to share peeks of the layouts I made with the next Cocoa Daisy kit for February...called Color Swatch! It is one of my favorites! I received the paper add-on as well as the Paint Chip add-on kit and it is a wonderful mix of items for crafting. I have plans to make some Valentine's a am hoping to make a couple of other little projects too. The pinks and fun watercolor/paint patterns and designs add some charm and whimsy to each project. Tomorrow night is the big reveal for this kit, so join us over at the message board and see for yourself! If you sign up for a subscription there is a special 40% discount for your first kit right now. And trust me, when you get snowed in with a box of Cocoa Daisy goodies, it's a wonderful thing! Stay warm and safe everyone, and have fun crafting!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Not always "out with the old".


Hello to 2014 and a whole new year ahead of us, right?! As much as I don't like getting older, I do love the fresh start of a new year. Yes, I know that every morning is another new day, but a whole new year just feels big and the way it gets celebrated is a big deal sometimes too. It is nice to be able to look ahead and feel like there are endless possibilities, new dreams, adventures and joys to be discovered. I am ready for all of that and more.
Having just turned 41 a week and a half ago I am fully aware that there are things that need to be changed in me, moments that need to be grasped and savored, and some things that simply need to be accepted. I titled this not always out with the old, because the truth is old and used and the past can all be truly wonderful things too! I find that some of my quirks and old habits aren't so bad...they are simply "who I am", including things like embracing a trend like loving antlers and not letting that fade even after a year or more. My "birthday moose" arrived in the mail and it was the perfect timing for me to scrap a page about it with the first Cocoa Daisy kit of the year~ Blueprint. I loved everything about this kit and had so much fun making my pages and little mini book to be filled in as this month goes on. This kit and add-ons are now available for purchase and I can tell you that if you have thought about getting a monthly subscription, Cocoa Daisy is the place to get yours. The kits seem to get better and better, and I'm not even sure how that can happen! I just know I love to get my box of goodies in the mail and have never been disappointed, ever!
I am hoping to 'celebrate' the everyday even more than I have done in the past. Somedays it is easy to do that, and some days it is quite a chore! Last night, for New Year's Eve I was ready to sit home with our 6 kids as Chip worked the event hosted at his golf club. I knew if I went I would have to scramble to do extra things at home so that I could safely and happily leave the kids together while I tried to sneak away for a couple of hours. {Brock is 14 now and once the littlest guys were in jammies and tucked in bed I knew it wouldn't be too hard a job for him to hang out.} I knew Chip would be busy making sure everything was going smoothly and so I would end up 'alone' at times and honestly I don't know too many members of the club all that well yet. I also haven't had any reason to dress up and so I was dragging my feet about going to the party for all those reasons and more. I am the queen of making excuses to stay home. Just ask Chip. =)
Instead, at about 9pm I decided I was going to make it happen and at least go to the party for a short while. I had 2 choices of dresses and put this one on first. I figured it would be better to be overdressed than underdressed for a New Year's party. I was just surprised and happy that the dress still fit! I wore it twice back in 2001. For those who have followed this blog forever, you know that that was 4 babies ago for me...so it's practically a miracle that this dress still fits me! I could have used some different shoes, and I actually ended up shoveling snow in this dress and heels. But the night turned out to be a fun escape from my usual nightly routine and even though my feet are a bit sore from late-night dancing, it was good to spend time together with Chip- even if he was "working".
Between antlers and scrapping and wearing an old dress, I am feeling good about what this new year holds. We went through so much change the past few years that it feels exciting to just settle down a bit more and see what a year can hold when there {hopefully} won't be changes and transitions in houses and schools and jobs. I have to say there is something wonderful about things staying the same too. Especially when you realize how good it is. Here's to 2014 and everything it holds- old, new and maybe another night out dancing before the year's end too! =)