wet grass power slide

i have plans...as i always do...for our days events.
sometimes they are grand. sometimes they are practical. sometimes they are productive. sometimes they are boring.
today it was: post office. return at target. grocery store. home. lunch. nap.
yada yada. the same old thing.
find all the shoes and jackets. remember to bring the lovies and don't forget the grocery list. hurry and get in the car. wait i forgot my cell phone. oh and i forgot the grocery list. someone is whining because they dropped their favorite motorcycle. someone is upset because we aren't watching a movie in the car. we are in and out and in and out. sometimes i manage patience. sometimes i do not.

today, i was in the middle of trying to gather items to return, and gather things to take to the post office, and gather myself in such a way that i could disguise the fact i was still wearing what i slept in. so i sent the kids outside in their galoshes to play. after 15 minuets, i came out to find 2 boys flinging mud across the driveway, saying "look mommy, i'm only a little muddy. is it ok if i sit in the mulch and look for baby flower buds?" they were so crazy cute...trying so hard not to get muddy for our impending errand running, but wanting so desperatly to do a wet grass power slide.

honestly, i really wanted to get my errands run. we were dangerously close to 10:15, which means i was already pushing it to make 3 stops and get home in time for lunch.

i paused. "what if we skip our errands today, and just play in the mud???" i said with a smile.
the sounds of joy erupted. it was glorious. the mud flinging ensued. i brought out buckets of warm water and found their snow ball scoopers. enough said.

i'm not going to lie. i didn't really feel like having a mud day. it's such a giant pain to clean up muddy boy clothes. and it was misty/rain cold. and, well, i just didn't feel like exerting the energy required.

so i did what i always do when i need some oomph.
i started capturing their joy.
and it spreads.
kinda like muddy hand prints :)

seriously. little boys rock.
dirt. water. buckets = 2 hours of joy



an acronym that sounds like something teeny bopper texters are zapping back and forth...

but in my world, it means a HUGE step in our adoption progress...our Letter of Approval (shortened from the real name, which is Letter of Seeking Confirmation from Adopter = LOSCFA :) goodness. add in our I-800. I-800A. I-864W. Artical 16. DS-230. DS-1981. and the list goes on...the vast number of forms and form names that make no rational sense in the adoption process is mind boggling.

but this...the LOA. the text messaging name. it's my favorite.

you know why? because i have been dreading it. it's a HUGE step, but because of our living situation, we are still waiting on a second homeland security approval in order to return our signed LOA. i have been hoping and praying the homeland security would come in first. but is hasn't.
so now, i will pray for faith. for an added abundance of faith. faith that God has this under control. that we aren't behind. that we won't miss a single possible day without our daughter. that i can release my heart racing palpitations. that the earth rocking anxiety pains i am feeling will subside. that i can stop shaking with nervous anticipation.

this is a blabbering post...but i need to document it for me. for emery.
i'm coming for you sweetie.
your Father has not forgotten you.
i can't do anything to change this process.
i can't do anything more than i am doing.
i'm letting Him do the rest.
and i'll come for you right when i am supposed to.
my sweet sweetie pie.
today i cried a lot for you.
i cried because i don't have you.
and maybe you are crying because you don't have me.
soon and very soon...we can cry together...tears of joy at our family complete.
it is a day that will be sooner than i realize. yet still too far away.
LOA. Love of Adoption. because no matter how hard or difficult or confusing, it leads me to you. and i love it.


weekend project re-write and randomness.

i've been eye-balling little girl leg warmers for a year now...and finally etsy'd emery a few pairs...seriously, can they get any cuter?? perfect for early crawlers, which i'm sure emery will be getting a lot of practice after she comes home, and the perfect accent to a little sundress in the fall. yeesh, it will be a fun day when she's scooting around in these!

i had grand weekend plans...of which i still want to attempt. but i saved myself at least 4 hours of weekend pattern finagling when we happened upon old navy last wednesday...and found the gold mine of sales. 50% off sale racks...with an additional 40% off. insane. sun dresses and hoodies and comfy pants and mary jane shoes and sassy sweaters....$1.50. $2.25. $1.75. consignment shops can't come close to the end of season old navy. the next day, i used up some leftover $60 kohls cash from my mom that was ready to expire...and hit the mother load again, including a purple and gray winter jacket, 2 swimsuits, sundresses, leggings, adorable ruffle skirts with coordinating tops (to be appliqued in the near future) 4 pairs of shoes, jeans, hoodies, sweaters and a tutu. nuts i tell you, nuts!
clint also found the boys awesome comfy old navy pants for $2 and little boy winter jackets for next year for $2.50. $2.50 cents for a jacket???? incredible!

more randomness. i'm full of random tonight :)
today we had plans to meet our oh-so-wonderful friends at the hands-on-house. we got a freak snow storm in the middle of the night and awoke to 5 inches of snow. i hate snow. my bald mini van tires make my hatred of driving in the snow even more evident. so we stayed home. we stayed in our pj's. much to my chagrin at the thought of missing out on a play date, we found new things amongst the same old things.
we spent the morning playing while i made lasagna for dinner. there's something about a table and blocks and any sort of game involving a ball that can entertain for longer than imaginable.

add sitting on said table, and you're sure to get some happy boys :)

then we spent 2 hours outside playing and sledding and crawling like foxes and eating snow food and burying snowball acorns. before i knew it, the snow was melting and we could have ventured out after all had i not been so snow squeamish.
we came inside and the boys crashed whilst watching word world. it was a long afternoon. they didn't nap. we did manage to do a little reading practice...we're working on small word endings: "at" and "an" and "it". amazing how fast kids pick things up. oh, and were're learning the presidents. we're up to polk. rowan sings the presidents song all day long. it's sad to admit i didn't know the order, nor could i name all of the presidents before we started learning them together. sad, very sad. 

we made up at least 7 more games involving balls and building blocks and plastic cups. we wrestled. at times we whined. we ate the most delicious lasagna i've ever made...this one really is as good as the reviews say.
and my hubby came home just in time to sample the tastiness, have a tickle fight with the kiddos, and run out the door for his 7pm basketball game.
i put the boys to bed early. we read the long books. we talked about our day and sang our favorite songs. they were asleep before i closed the door.

and now i sit. half watching modern family reruns (hilarious) and half blog stalking. man, it's been a while since i've taken time to scope blogs. i love catching the newest pics and stories and diy masterpieces. i get inspired and invigorated to design something new.

i threw these burp cloths together last week. i even used the fancy bubble minky on the reverse side. why not have something fancy to counteract the spit up and slobber they will surely encounter :)
i have so much leftover fabric from past orders, and i know i won't be sewing and selling as much in the future, so i might as well start using it up instead of hoarding it all.

i have a brilliant idea to use a square of each fabric from all of the Emery Lin Clutch Bag and make a big quilt for emery. i'm quite sure i won't be starting it for a while, but i'd love for her to have it as a visual reminder of the love that was showered over her before she was even born. maybe next year when things slow down. wayyyy down.

when i'm not running in 7 directions at the same time and then forgetting all together what the initial 6 directions were. my dear friend katie came over on monday. she got to see me in full tilt as we were trying to entertain kids, make lunch, feed granny, let the kids have fun juicing and play-doughing and making a large amount of enjoyable mess. i forgot i was unloading the dishwasher while i was forgetting to make tea for granny while i was forgetting i was in the middle of sweeping play dough all the while totally forgetting that i should just sit and be. we laughed at how we all seem to be in the same stage. the stage that makes it hard to stop and focus on any one thing.

i'm sure life isn't ever going to slow down. save for snow days and sunday afternoons and beach trips. savoring moments of slow will be few and far between unless i make a point to savor them. a calculated point to savor and put down texting and random emails...to stay up late and finish projects so i'm not running around in 7 directions during the day. so i can be in one direction. or, well, 3 directions...one for each kid :)

i have so many ideas of things to make. i've found new fabric that i love (it's a hoot, by momo), and everyday i have dreams of someday getting to decorate emery's room. i scour a lot of design sites and even though it's a long way off, maybe even a really long way off before i can design what's i my head, a girl can dream, right? in my head, she's playing. it's colorful, but not crazy. it's bright but muted. it's girly but not pink. it's practical and whimsical. there's a little wooden cafe with a fabric canopy and a small table and chairs. a dollhouse her daddy made. these and these dolls. a trail of matchbox cars that lead to her brothers racing under her art table and books and laughter, and a little girl who loves life. learning. loving. and then there's me. camera in hand, sipping coffee. stepping over a random assortment of playthings to capture just the right moment with all three of them in simultaneous play, but i get tackled. and then someone tackles someone else and the coffee gets set aside to get cold. the camera is shelved, and we play. and we laugh. we talk of life and Jesus and silliness and the heartfelt questions of life. dolls and cars and a mix of boy and girl worlds that mesh perfectly.
nothing is perfect, but everything is just as it should be.


my new obsession

starts out lovely.

(fresh pinapple chunks, 4 carrots, 1/4 apple, a pinch of sprouts, a small spinach bunch, a small kale bunch, 2 small oranges)

gets a little frothy.

cute help is necessary.

taste testing is also necessary.

looking a little suspect.

needs some zest

tastes deceivingly delicious.


you're 3. and you're amazing.

my little birthday buddy. you amaze me everyday.
your little sayings. your smiles. your little personality that isn't so little anymore.
it's wonderful and delightful.
you are ever charming and adventurous in your own way.
each day with you is full of smiles, and laughter and dive bomb jumping competitions.
you love all snacks. popcorn. cheese curls. doritos. ice cream. cupcakes. cookies of all kinds. starbursts. green lollypops. oreos.
if it is sweet or salty or unhealthy, you love it.
oh, and you love raspberries and blueberries and strawberries and grapes and yogart sleeves.
it takes you and hour to finish your dinner, but only 3 seconds flat to down a bowl of cheetos.

you're not a fan of being cold...and sledding isn't your favorite activity. you don't like cheese, and you start gagging if you see food stuck on the side of someone else's face.

you love sand and mud and running full tilt down a sloping hill. you love tire swings and lightening bugs and petting kitties.

you don't like realizing your hands are covered in sand or mud and you usually fall flat out on your face when you run full tilt...often because you are constantly running whilst looking backwards at me with a cheecky grin :)

you almost always forget to say the "s" at the start of a word. we often talk like you because we think it's so cute. my favorites are "nake" and "nack" and "now" and "leep" and "pecial" (just add an s and they make sense :)
you are quick to hug and snuggle.
quick to giggle and give an over the shoulder flashy smile.
you are always quick to freak out if/when your brother does a sneak attack and steals one of your toys.
you have been known to wake up from your naps quite grumpy...but i must say, i love that i'm the one who can sooth you. i love our long moments of hugs, with your lovie on my shoulder, and your arm around my neck. you tell me often " i love you soooo much mommy."

you and foster love to play with your buddies and stuffed animals. you gather them all up with your blankets and often pretend you are going to china to adopt them all. you carry them ever so sweetly and feed them and play with them and wrap them in blankets and help them fall asleep. you kiss them and bring them toys and treats. they are always your sister. you and foster rotate being the big brother or the daddy or the uncle. you and foster were meant to love your sweet sister...because you already do. you don't even need to meet her to love her. you have both caught the fire that is the love of adoption...it is so beautiful to watch it happening right before my eyes. adoption isn't just for the child who is being adopted...clint and i aren't the only ones who are adopting...you are adopting as well...and you do it effortlessly. i'm awed and amazed by your unconditional, unquestioning love. it's breathtaking.

you feel deep empathy for anyone in pain. you learn songs with extreme quickness and you memorize in a flash. you love music and balls and cars and animals. your lovie is still the ultimate companion for you in new situations, or when falling asleep, or playing, or riding in the car, or playing trains, or making a snow fort, or high jumping off of the bed...at all times, your lovie is with you. i dread the day that i would loose it, or we would leave it somewhere. if you could take it in the bath, you would. if you could surgically attach it to your head and wear lovie head all day long, you would.
you don't forget anything. you memorize the names and faces of people you've only met once. you recall information about them months later. it's amazing.
your brain moves much faster than your mouth will allow. you often have so much to say, that "um, um, um, um, um, um, um...." is all that will come out...and you make the most precious "clicking" noise with your mouth as you gather you thoughts. i always try to catch it on video, but your candid moments are always at the most adorable times, and somehow i am never camera ready. i fear one day you'll stop doing it, and i'll miss your precious "um's" and "clicks" terribly.

you are an amazing brother. you and foster are ever companions. compadres. friends. you sing and giggle and tickle and wrestle. you argue and forgive and argue and forgive. you hug and share and follow and lead. you speak with kindness, and pretend to be doctors and helicopter drivers and train engineers and sailors and rock climbers and adventurous thrill seekers. i love hiding and listening to your play. i am so thankful you are so close in age...the 18 month separation is closing in quickly...the gap isn't so large these days. you're best buddies and miss each other terribly when you are apart.

you love telling me secrets. you love whispering close in my ear. you hold my face ever so tenderly and whisper softly. you are finally able to be without me or daddy when you are at church or at our thursday morning school. it took nearly 2.5 years, but you are becoming more and more confident in who you are, and knowing we will come back for you. after any length of absence, i am greeted with a high-flying-mid-air leaping hug, kiss, and "mommy i miss you!"

you are a boy full of life. flirty and quiet. loud LOUD and L O U D. we always call you the charmer, because you can make anyone smile. even grumpy old ladies at the grocery store, or teenage girls that you flirt effortlessly with.
you make my life a delight. i cherish my moments with you all day long.
thank you for being my amazing rowie-doeski.
i love you more than the blog world could ever express...so i'll tell you everyday, all day...even when you are sleeping at night, i whisper it before i go to bed...i love you, i love you, i love you.


state of the union

i've drafted 5 posts as of late, but as soon as they are hot off the press, they feel quickly out of date.
it's as if life is changing and moving and twisting and churning up newness that i can scarcely pull together any thoughts that are actually relevant.

i realized i haven't put a single entry in my kids baby books in over 2 years. other than this blog, there is nothing about them documented. nothing. yikes.
i've been working on a photo-journal book of their first years of life on mixbook.com, or at least i was working on it...i took a peek yesterday. it's been 10 months since i last attempted to glance at it. it was round about 10 months ago that our life events started a journey that brought us to this point.
we moved out of our house exactly 10 months ago. count them. 10 months. yowza. when did that happen? we drive by every now and again. i loved it not because it was particularly pretty, because it wasn't. the walls were as thin as sheets, the heater was about the die, the spare room for Emery was like a screened in porch, and there were wackado crazy bugs that lived mysteriously under the walls in the downstairs bathroom. but it was where i brought rowan home from the hospital. it's where both of my kids learned to walk and talk and grow into who they will be for the rest of their lives. it's where we cooked and cleaned and worked hard to make it home. the boys ask every time if we can go in. but since we can't, we sit in the parking lot. we tell stories of how we wrote on chalk on the walkway. made snow mountains taller than the bushes in front. and try to spot remnants of sand leftover from the sandbox clint build for us. they miss it. a lot. they've stopped asking about the things we have in storage. now it's just a fact. "oh, that's in the barn, mom. we'll get it someday...you know, when we move into our house."

so now we find ourselves. 10 months later. so thankful for family who has welcomed us into their home with open arms. graciousness and in a spirit of love and generosity. what would we ever do without them??

i won't go into the stuff i never want to re-live. the job changes. the unemployment. the fact that we don't have any home-buying prospects on the horizon.
the state of our union doesn't include those things. although, it's churned out of a mix of everything we encounter, the majority shines in the triumph that only comes from God's Providence.
from a God who will go to great lengths to bring us to a place where we can fully see Him in all places. there is no denying it. God is at the center. but, of course...He was there, all along. i misplace Him. i trust more in the illusion of job security. in the bank statement of our savings account. in our house being perfectly decorated and what it says about me if it's not...or it's small. or if we don't have a house at all. in how i dress and if i'm wearing new clothes or not.

the state of our union gets caught and snagged on so many things.
it becomes ensnared and sometimes there doesn't seem to be a way out...and all of the sudden we don't want out because our mis-stepped union...our illusions...they become our new state. and it's comfortable.
i've been there. comfortable.

but the past 10 months??
my state of union has changed. uncomfortable isn't a bad thing, but i didn't know that before. i've been forced to learn it. a learning i will always be grateful for. 
my attitude has ventured south of miserable many-a-time during these 10 months.
i've learned i can endure nothing. but that God can endure everything. He doesn't feel stress. He doesn't focus with tunnel vision, unaware of what is coming. His vision is all knowing. all encompassing. all everything all at once. and He still has the patience to deal with me and my tunnel and my pewney view of life. the state of my union which isn't so stately.

where i'm going with this post??
...i haven't a clue.
how's that for forethought?  :)
but i know i'm moving toward the state of my heart. my soul.
it's been changed.

i have a feeling. an innate knowing of the brimming future.  perhaps the past 10 months have been difficult. perhaps they've been very difficult. more than what i thought i could bare on many occasions.

no matter what the next 10 months. 10 years. 10 generations may bring. it's the same God at the center. anything that is remotely wonderful...anything that is good and pure and beautiful...it's God who is at the center.


wristlet clutch bag photo tutorial

if you have a sewing machine, or one you can borrow...but you're not sure where to start...start with this.
i will never claim to know everything about sewing, but i know how to make stuff up :) and search google for hours to figure something out. not to mention a love hate relationship with my seam ripper :)

you'll end up with something you can actually use or give as a gift...or as a fun little tote bag for your kids. and you'll learn how to sew straight, put in a zipper, make a wristlet, and how to do those fun little corners at the bottom of real handbags at target. :)

i made these with the boys last week...they choose their own fabric and zipper color...they got to press the "gas" and make the sewing machine go, and i let them choose different stitch settings...they loved it, and have carried these little bags all around the house. adorable.
and who says little boys don't need handbags? :)

oh, and check out what i found inside when i snapped these photos this evening...
the red car bag is rowies, and the tree bag is fosters...
i love to see what they find special on that particular day!

p.s. if you make it through my worlds-longest-photo-tutorial, :)  i'd love to see a pic of your bag!!!


marble run

after seeing this on Made By Joel, i have been collecting boxes and containers....even trecking to our mounds of boxes in storage to find a bag of marbles...and i have been waiting for this...our morning project. it was oh-so-worth it. loads of fun, and loads of marbles all over the house. rolling foot injuries aside, it's one that we will pull out again on a rainy day for a sure fire hour of fun.

i'm on the lookout for more projects that involve reclying items we already have on hand.
they have proved to be the best kind. oh, and their free :)


minty playdough

i must be the last mom on earth to have never made homemade play dough. i was convinced it was a giant mess making project (which it is) and i was sure i didn't have all of the ingredients (2 1/2 cups of salt? say what?). this week, we plunged forth and used the mounds of flour and salt as counting practice...as well as drops of food coloring...1 boy chose blue, 1 boy chose green.

after a 1/2 hour of super human stirring strength was mustered, all of the sudden, it appeared.
perfectly play-dough-ish and hideously pale blue-green. i was envisioning a lovely tone of blue or bright green...something fun and vivid. pasty teal was not what i had in mind.

i flopped in on the table, and immediately heard: "OH MOM! it's so BEAUTIFUL! it's mint chocolate chip play dough!!" foster exclaimed with gusto.

geeze. my attitude stinks.

i joined in his excitement and promptly scooped each a large bowl of "ice cream" to play with.

we made volcanoes and cars and snakes and cupcakes. it was awesome.

i got dinner prepped amidst the play, and we snuck by the perrilous 4-5pm hour without complaint.

it was devine.
thank you playdough.
i don't mind your mess or your salt heavy recipe. you are delightful. we might just make some strawberry swirl next week. 


skype granny

there's a lot of things my granny can't quite manage these days...but one things for sure: my granny can skype.
she looks in with awe as her friends from home miraculously appear on the screen. a woman who has never been up with technology, who feels much more comfortable plucking chicken feathers than plotting away on a keyboard, can't quite grasp the concepts of the modern age. forget cell phones and laptops, we struggle daily to help her understand how to change the channel on the TV.
yesterday, we skyped with her sister Teece, who gave a rundown of the news from Butler. the birthday countdown for various family members and they compared notes on the weather...which is always hilarious because even though my granny can look outside and see there is 8 inches of snow on the ground, she always says "it's 40 degrees and sunny here! i'm so glad i'm not back home in all the snow!"

it's frightening to see her mind fail her. a mind and a whit that have always been alive and well, have taken a toll greater than i have experienced first hand. i've heard people talk of watching loved ones transverse Alzheimer's, but to see it in front of you...day after day...to see what sticks in her mind and oh-so-much that does not...it's heartbreaking. and honestly, a little frustrating at times...like when she forgot that rowan was a boy and called him a "beautiful little girl" for a month straight...finally i cut his long blonde hair off :) which seemed to help.
we bathe her, and feed her, and count it an honor to serve a woman who served her family for so many years. a woman who's self worth is the lowest on the rung...who sees herself as the last that should be successful, worthy, praised...as having no place in today's world...who longs for the day when she will meet Jesus in person. if only she knew her worth. if only she thought more of her value in our family. if only i could glimpse her back in the day...witty and sassy...running amuck with her brothers and sisters...making homemade potato chips and doughnuts from scratch...planting gardens and washing mounds of laundry by hand. 60 years ago, we would be the same age. she would be scampering after children and praising God for the little things like flour and sugar to cook with. i have a lot to learn from her. her humbleness. her witty banter. her ability to count it all as God's blessings on her life.

today i made her a grilled cheese, yogurt and a glass of red wine.
my sassy granny. it's a honor to serve you.


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