Sunday, December 15, 2013


I'm just gonna go ahead and get this out there (like you all are not already aware): I am the worst blogger.

I sometimes (ok, often) dream of being one of those popular bloggers like Nat the Fat Rat (or Hey Natalie Jean as her blog is now titled) or Chris Loves Julia or Decor and the Dog, but then I think about the fact that I am terrible at keeping this blog updated. Also I'm rarely in project mode or house beautifying mode or any mode really that would be interesting to read about. Soooo scratch that off the bucket list.

Oh wait! Last month I did whip up this wee outfit for my little dear:


All it is is a 2T boys' shirt from Target clearance for $1.88! I literally just laid a onesie that had a fit I liked on top of the shirt, and sewed the sides and sleeves in to match it. The headband and scarf are from two old shirts of mine. The scarf requires no sewing (!), just cut off the bottom hem of a shirt, and then cut off however much you want (below the sleeves). Voila, instant baby infinity scarf. The headband was a little more complicated, but only slightly. Same premise as the scarf, but cut off three strips instead, sew the ends together, braid them, and sew the ends again. The tights were $5 from Target. (I've recently discovered the beauty of using thick tights as pants for my skinny-legged little gal.)

As I've mentioned before, my sewing skills reside somewhere between those of a kindergartener and a rabbit, approximately. BUT even I was able to make this! I am not exaggerating or being humble when I say that ANYONE can do it. Even your  mom! Probably your dog! I am improving a tiny bit though, such as I can usually sew in a straight line these days! I'm planning on making Gracie's Christmas dress the same way.

I just love me a well-dressed baby. Some folks would say "She's a baby, dress her like one!", but look, I only get to pick her clothes for a very short percentage of her life! She isn't always dressed that cute anyway. Often she looks like a straight up Oliver Twist ragamuffin. But I do love dressing her up and showing her off when I get the chance. And there are some strictly "baby" clothing items that I love, such as jumpers and PJs and of course there's not much better than a babe in nothin' but a onesie. But, I'm also all about baby skinny jeans and boots and pea coats.

Anywho. Oh, I got a job! I don't think I ever mentioned that officially. So there's this local magazine called Growing Up in the Valley and I write a few articles for it. It's not a ton of money, but I can do it from home, I'm good at it, and I'm getting back into the habit of having deadlines. It's good for me.

In other (sad) news, my parents had to put down the family dog a couple weeks ago. She had a chronic respiratory problem that made breathing difficult and she was basically slowly suffocating. It was awful. She would have been 11 in January.

Other than that, there's not much going on. Yet. But we are super excited for Gracie's first Christmas. We don't do Santa at all in our house, and we really want to instill in our kids that Christmas is not about the presents. The materialism that exists around this time of year makes me a little sick. A few weeks ago I was at the store in the layaway section picking up a diaper bag we'd ordered online, and I was in line behind this lady who had a shopping cart literally overflowing with toys that she was putting on layaway. I really am not meaning to judge her, because for all I know she was getting that stuff for Toys for Tots or maybe for a needy family who can't afford presents of their own. And it wasn't really about her in particular; the situation just got me thinking about what a waste it all is in general, really when you think about it, I mean like physically, bad-for-the-planet wasteful. And not this lady specifically, but just the materialism of society in general. I mean how long are those toys gonna last? How long is the kid gonna be interested in them? And how many thousands of parents are buying these cartfuls of cheap toys every single year? How many parents feel like they have to do that, like that's all Christmas is, stress and spending and rushing? I just started thinking about that and it made me sad.

Christmas is supposed to be about something so simple and so wonderful and so important, and yet somehow it's been twisted into this season that's all about getting and being busy and decorating and hosting and not much about Christ at all. It's so ridiculous and such a waste. So for starters, we've decided to only do four gifts a year: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. That way, I feel like a lot more thought goes into the gifts and isn't it so much more fun to give a gift you've worked hard on? Also, I want our kids to appreciate and really take care of what they do have, and for us, I think fewer presents will help out with that. Something else we want to make a tradition is doing some kind of service around the holidays, whether it's donating to a charity or ding-dong-ditching to a family in need or volunteering in some way.

Don't get me wrong! I have no problem with parties and fun traditions! If you dig those, do 'em. We have those too. (Though, does Santa really belong at a church party? I think not. But that's a post for another time.) I am just looking for ways for us as a family to draw closer to Christ this time of year, and I want to have traditions that are at least in some way applicable to His life. And I think Christmas can still be the most magical time of the year in doing so.

What do you guys think? Does your family have any good/fun Christ-centered traditions? I'm so open for ideas. And also, speaking of which, do you have any good/fun Christ-centered Easter traditions that don't involve jellybeans or baskets or bunnies? Unless you can tell me how jellybeans and baskets and bunnies tie in to the Resurrection. I haven't been able to think of much, but I could be missing something.

Eight Months

At the end of November, my baby turned 8 months. EIGHT MONTHS. For some reason that sounds decades older than 7 months. She's practically a year!

Eight months with this silly little goose in our lives. This month Gracie has developed a SERIOUS love for food. She devours anything you put in her mouth, screams her head off if you take too long on her next bite, and then stops immediately when the spoon touches her tongue. And I don't know where she puts it, but homegirl can PACK. IT. AWAY. She's still itty-bitty; some awesome things her tininess has been compared to include a snowflake, a toothpick, and a potato chip. She has become a huge mama's girl recently. If I am in sight, she has to be in my arms. And she's started giving kisses this month! I never thought I'd like it, but it is the cutest, slobberiest thing ever. She still doesn't crawl, but she can usually pull herself around where she wants to go. She rocks on her hands and knees a lot. Since sleep training at the beginning of this month, she is a sleeping CHAMP. I am so, so glad we decided to do it. Best decision ever! Everyone (especially Grace) is much happier. The past 2 weeks she has even slept through the night several times! She is not very flexible with her nap schedule, which makes church at 9 AM very difficult and not very enjoyable, but we do what we can. Still loves bath time like nobody's business and recently has turned into a wiggly, shrieking, laughing maniac after she gets out. Getting her into her PJs takes some serious team effort. We also do sign language with her and it seems like she's finally starting to try to sign back! I am so excited for her to start communicating with us and to know some of the things that go on in that fluffy little head. I feel like just in the past week or so she has matured exponentially. I don't know how to explain it; just the way she looks at things, how she watches me, the expressions she makes...I really feel like she understands most of what I say to her these days. Parenthood is amazing and wonderful and a never-ending learning experience.

Seven Months

So I've missed a few more months...surprise surprise. At the end of October, Gracie turned 7 months!

Seven months baby! This month Gracie has pretty much mastered the plop sit, and she's also started getting up on her knees and rocking. I am simultaneously excited and terrified for crawling, but right now she can kinda sorta drag herself and inchworm around. Homegirl is constantly moving and she especially kick kick kicks them skinny legs nonstop. (You may notice that the month sticker is actually Photoshopped on...that is because this was the only clear shot I could get of her.) She loves real food and will eagerly devour anything you put in her mouth. On the other hand, she hates sitting in a highchair so right now we're lap-feeding. She also got her first tooth this month! This week, we started a sleep training regime for real in hopes to get her in shape in time for our Floridian Thanksgiving...time will tell. It's been pretty easy so far. She LOVES to be outside and to hop around in her Johnny Jumper, and she's a pretty happy girl unless she's tired, and then she gets real unpleasant real quick. It should be noted that her onesie is the same one she's worn in all her other month pictures...size 0-3 months. Our petite little gal. These past 7 months have been a blast. Thanks for joining us, Gracie Girl!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nursery Reveal!

Yeah approximately six months later...I am finished with Gracie's room.

Let this be a lesson to all you pregnant ladies out there: if you don't finish the nursery while the babe's still cookin', you might as well forget about it until he or she is speaking in complete sentences. Once the baby is born, all projects sort of get tossed by the wayside as you struggle just to sleep and eat and change diapers and do some laundry. Basically you just focus on surviving. At least that's how it was for me. ;)

I am not a fan of puffy pink princessy things for girls. So when I stumbled upon this nursery on Pinterest, I fell in love:

You can see more pictures here.
It's not flashy, frilly, or in-your-face "HEY A GIRL SLEEPS HERE", but it still looks feminine enough to be a girl's room.

Anyway, here's my version of it:

It's not completely perfect (we are lacking curtains), but I am happy with it for the most part. And the best part? I spent hardly any money on it. ALL of the furniture (bookshelf, glider, dressers, crib) was house finds courtesy of my pops, who cleans out foreclosed properties. All of the art was either given to me as a gift or I made, except for the big purple flower canvas, which was a Ross find for $9.99 like two years ago. 

And then in a fortunate turn of events, even the wall paint (#618 Robin's Nest by Benjamin Moore) ended up being free! Basically I placed an order for the paint through and scheduled to pick it up at our local True Value hardware store in a few hours. When I got the "your order is ready" email from them we drove out there...only to find out they had no idea what we were talking about. Their store apparently wasn't even equipped to handle online orders yet! They thought maybe I made the mistake and had it sent to the OTHER True Value on the opposite side of town. I assured them that wasn't the case and I even showed them the email that had THEIR address as the pickup location. I have no idea why Benjamin Moore would have even listed their store as an option if they weren't equipped to fulfill online orders yet... So the employee called the other store just to see, and sure enough they didn't have my order either. So probably my order was sent into an alternate dimension or maybe someone somewhere got a free can of Robin's Nest paint. ANYWAY, they offered to just mix me up another can right there free of charge. When I got home I wrote a disgruntled email to Benjamin Moore, and they ended up refunding my money. So that's the story of how I got a $52 gallon of paint for free!

The only other things I spent money on were the changing pad and cover ($18), the three frames above it ($12 total), the trashcan we use as a diaper pail ($14; we cloth-diaper) and the fabric to make cushion covers for the glider ($10) which used to look like this:

Sixty-four bucks for a cute little Gracie room. Not bad.

(The walls look a little lime-y in a lot of these pictures...also the quality is pretty crappy. I didn't realize how bad they were until I put them on the computer! But I didn't feel like retaking them, so here they are.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Six Months

Gracie turned half a year old on September 30th! We started solids with her this month, meaning we stick her in her high chair, throw some steamed veggies or fruit or toast on her tray, and let her have at it. At first she didn't know what to think, but now she loves it and her favorite foods so far are toast (MAN that girl loves toast), broccoli, and peaches. She LOVES dogs, seriously nothing makes her laugh harder than a dog acting crazy. She still rolls everywhere, but now she's realized that it actually gets her places and she rolls with more intent. She's getting better at sitting up, too. Though she spent the first half of her life in the 80-90th percentile for everything, she has dropped to the 30s for weight in the past couple months. She loves walks and being outside in general, and homegirl still goes crazy for bath time. My skinny, petite baby girl is just the world. Happy half birthday Gracie!

This is such a typical Grace face it kills me. Those lips!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Five Months

Typical Grace face.
Fist bump y'all, I'm five months.

Five-month-old Gracie is straight up cray. She rolls everywhere and still constantly tries to sit up. She found her toes this month! She has also FINALLY started sleeping better again and is for the most part on a schedule. When she smiles, she does this thing where she crunches up and turns away shyly, which is so cute but also makes it hard to get a picture of her grins. She is crazy about the dogs and often shrieks with laughter when she sees them. She is completely mesmerized by screens, which worries me a little but I guess is probably natural (what kind of world do we live in where toddlers can navigate our phones as well as we can? It's crazy to me). Bath time is still her favorite, she literally starts laughing and squealing and flapping her arms as soon as we lay her on the bathroom rug to undress her. She also loves to go on walks, read books, and be around other kids. Still refuses a pacifier like nobody's business. We found one (Nuk) that she tolerates occasionally, but most of the time she spits it right out and gets mad if you keep trying to put it in her mouth. Oh well. We love her to the moon and back, this girl

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love Will Set Your Soul on Fire

Motherhood is a strange thing.

I spend my days doing mostly the same things, in the same order. Wake up, feed Gracie, change her, get her dressed, take care of the dogs, put Gracie down for a nap, try to get a shower before she wakes up, rinse and repeat. Laundry and vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms and dishes and dinner are thrown in every couple days, oh and I can't forget to eat, being a milk machine and all!

If I let myself, it's easy to get lost in the drudgery of it. I've been struggling with feeling fulfilled lately, like what I do is menial and what difference am I really making in the world? Then I stumbled across this quote on Facebook this week and it made me cry. (Although I pretty much cry at the drop of a hat these days.)


And then I remember that I am doing more than just staying home all day and cleaning up after another person and trying to fit in a shower when she's sleeping. I am raising a human being, a future member of society, a child of God. And I am responsible for teaching her how to treat others kindly and to forgive and to serve and to make good choices. And if that doesn't just matter, then I have no idea what does.

Grace is the light of my life. I feel proud to bursting when people smile at us in the grocery store or comment on her hair or notice her big blue eyes. Just the other day one of our friends said to me, "She is so cute I don't know how you stand it! I mean she is really precious."

That little profile kills me. Slays me dead!
I mean I made that! I grew her in my belly and I brought her into the world and my body alone is what kept her alive all those months. My body alone is still what's keeping her alive. It really is amazing to me. I never get tired of hearing her laugh or watching her figure this world out. I could kiss her for days. And she is mine, and I get to keep her forever, even when she's grown and married and a mama herself and not really mine at all anymore, she will still be mine. Always.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Four Months

Four-month-old Gracie is a hoot! She talks, holds and examines things, and is a rolling machine. She constantly tries to sit up when she's lying down or in her car seat; I'm telling you homegirl is gonna have abs of steel. She has started noticing the dogs and thinks they are hilarious. She even reaches for them occasionally. Nursing is her favorite thing in the world and she would probably stay latched on all day if I let her. Sadly, it doesn't look like she's going to be a super chunk, but we love her anyway. ;) She is generally smiley and happy but recently her long sleeps at night have disappeared (nooooo!). She recognizes her parents and constantly has eyes on her mama. Every stage is my new favorite and the older she gets, the more I like her. This kid is just the bee's knees.

I can hardly believe that just 4 months ago, this was my baby:

I told my little brother in an email last week that the older Grace gets, the more I enjoy her. I'm so excited for when I can have conversations with her. I want to be able to answer her questions and listen to her opinions and watch her learn about the world and come to know God. What will her favorite color be? Will she be an animal-lover like her mama? I hope she is as confident as her daddy and believes in herself and loves herself and knows that she makes a difference, that the world is changed because she was born, that her parents are better people because she exists. But also I hope she realizes that happiness comes from serving others, and I hope she learns to reach outside of herself and share her light with others.

Often when I'm nursing her, I will notice she has stopped sucking, and I'll glance down to find her staring up at me with the sweetest look on her face. She will usually smile and then it turns into a game and she laughs and laughs. She knows me. She really knows who I am and when someone else is holding her or she's lying on the ground, her eyes never leave me, and when she sees me looking at her she will immediately burst into that dimpled, gummy grin and it just melts me. I have no idea what I've done to deserve such complete, innocent adoration from her. I will probably wonder all my life. My heart is full. She is so perfect.

I know eventually I will long for these days, when I can hold her all I want and kiss her little piglet neck and smell her sweet baby skin. She is just such a miracle.

This beautiful blanket was crocheted by my grandmother. No, she did not know the color of the nursery walls when she made it. Now that's what I call inspiration.

Witness an attempt at sitting up in the far right photo...

A 4-month photoshoot...she was NOT having it. That photo on the right was the closest smile I got.

Time is racing, flying by, I swear I gave birth to her yesterday. And yet at the same time it feels like she's been with us forever. And I guess really, she has. She's been here all along.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Three Months

Gracie is a cooing, laughing machine. She finally rolled over and found her hands this month! She reaches for things and is just barely starting to grab. Also, she constantly holds her hands in the above position, clasped together. It looks so earnest and adorable. She loves bath time, being outside, and her crocheted rainbow. She also loves being read to and she laughs when we laugh, which is adorable. For about a week and a half she was sleeping through the night, but now she's back to getting up at least twice. What a tease. Still refuses to take a pacifier, which I'm grateful for but at the same time it makes it hard when she's inconsolable in public. (Because the only thing that gets her to stop? The Boob, of course.) Her hair is getting so long but it still sticks straight up. I feel like the longer it gets, the crazier it gets. I'm pretty sure her eyes are staying blue. She is pretty dang stinkin' cute and we loooove her.

And now for a few outtakes from her 3-month photoshoot and some random other pictures. Gosh my kid is cute.

Christian holding Sadie back. She will lick Gracie like there's no tomorrow!

"I'm not doin' anything just layin' here..."


My heart! That hair!

Poop, perhaps?

Blue Steel

Kids look so ridiculous in Bumbos, haha.

The first time she slept through the night. *tear* Sadly, it didn't last long. (Don't worry, I am this close to being done with the nursery and then I'll give you a tour!)

Just loungin' while I hang pictures in her room. Also please notice the baggy brown grandpa pants.

What do you mean, "indoctrination"? ;)