the most special days {have bare feet}

there are a few days each year that are really special. the ones that feel wonderful all day long. usually, these days are spent outside on a warm, sunny day, with a slight breeze.
this type of day also involves kids playing and making toys out of strange things.
moms join in the play and then find a sunny patch of grass to sit and chat for a few precious moments.
they are the days that we don't go home when we should.
we push littles past their nap because we can't bare to waste any part of the day sleeping.
we eat crazy snacks and drink out of water bottles that may or may not have sand floating in the bottom.
bare feet run ramped and shirts are optional.

we had one of those days this week.
we met new friends at a favorite park...aptly named the "spiderweb" park because of its giant web tangle.

i always find myself at the top of its web at least once, and this day was no exception.
i bet the boys that i could get to the top of the web first. winner gets a handful of skittles.
over the years i have learned that little boys will climb higher, run faster, jump awesomer, when skittles are on the line.
they ate a lot of skittles that day :)

meanwhile, pretty little thang enjoyed a very large smoothie.

she's partial to anything served with a straw.

a year ago, i would have been carrying her everywhere at the park. holding her close to the ground and helping her pretend that she could "walk" up the stairs. she was terrified of slides and swings.

sometimes i forget what it was like a year ago...but today i remembered. and marveled at my pretty little thang.
she's a spunky one...and i wouldn't have it any other way.


my asian-american family {it's beautiful}

i'm always interested to know what people of emery's culture and ethnicity think about her and our family.
i'm fascinated, actually, by the uniqueness that is our ethnically blended family.

i've read a lot recently about the difficulty of raising a blended family, and there is a lot of negative out there. i'm not going to pretend there aren't challenges...i know there are...but i am going to choose focus on the positives. 

i love that our family is asian/american. i'm so proud of my daughter's heritage and i love knowing our family photos and genetics will always have her jet black hair and eyes. her perfect skin tone and her delicate figure.

but when it comes right down to it, i will be honest and say i am desperately seeking acceptance from the asian community...not just for our family, but for emery.  

i think about it often when we are at church or target or walking down the street. when i see someone of asian descent, it makes me smile all over...because we share something special. and i want the feeling to be mutual.

one of my favorite moments happened recently at ikea. 
a lovely asian lady came up to us and said how cute emery was.
"she looks just like my daughter!" she said with a sweet smile.
emery waved and gave her usual "hi-ya!" greeting, much to the kind lady's delight. 

it was a beautiful moment in light of my sensitivity to how emery is perceived. that lady could have just walked on by, but she chose to associate us with her and her family. i wanted to tackle her with a giant, tear-filled hug. but i didn't. i'm sure she appreciated my self control :)

i can't help but beam with joy when others see the delight that is emery.


my mom genes {emery's medical recap}

we were making breakfast on day 1 of a 2 day fast leading up to emery's endoscopy and colonoscopy. the boys were begging for waffles (their morning favorite) and emery was doing her usual morning bop around. asking for her bottle, following me around the kitchen, helping unload the dishes, chatting about this and that. 

how on earth do you make a 2 year old fast for TWO days?? gatorade, clear juice, jello and soup broth. for TWO days. and her beloved bottle? the one packed with extra calories and supplements, 250 calories a pop....wasn't on the list.

fasting is a nearly impossible task for any two year old...but when you add in emery's extreme reaction to hunger and her very specific food preferences (which don't include jello and soup broth), it's more like torture.

we have worked so hard over the past year to help her enjoy eating. to finish her plate. to try new food and eat at every meal. after all this progress, how i am supposed to deny her food? doctors may know best sometimes, but i don't see a doctor here helping me torture my child.

when it came right down to it, there wasn't really even a question.

i gave her waffles, heavy on butter and syrup that morning. with a tall glass of oj.
she never even knew fasting was on the menu that day, and i'm glad to keep it that way.

it was time to swoop in and whisk her away, no matter what the doctor orders.

i've decided that my girl needs a break.
a few months to be a kid.
we are done with all of the "lets rule everything out" procedures.

it's the kind of choice that finally felt right...all the way down to my mom genes.

i called that day and canceled the endoscopy and colonoscopy.

i've decided, when in doubt, my mom genes are usually right.

and that's the end of the medical recap. nothing has really changed with her weight, but she's happy and learning and growing in many other ways. we will continue to be followed by emery's nutritionist and GI doctor, but the scale on which i measure her doesn't include lbs. right now.

shakira says her hips don't lie...but i'm convinced that the scale does :)


target girls {my all-over smile}

every wednesday night, the boys go to awana.
while they love awana, it makes for a late night, ending at 8:45pm.
my husband has been traveling 3 days a week for a few months now. we are nearing the end of our sanity, and thankfully, he is nearing the end of his weekly travel schedule.
wednesday nights are in the middle of his travels, so while the boys awana, miss emery and i must entertain ourselves.
(entertain = make every attempt to stay awake and avoid the mega meltdown. you know, the one that an entire target full of shoppers can hear? all the way in sporting goods? yeah, little lady is an expert in the area of mega meltdown.)

the target across the street from awana seems to do the trick.
although it tests my strongest tactics to not fill my cart with purchases, a certain someone loves target as much as her mama.
she loves perusing the clothes and toys and just about anything.

she's partial to the diaper isle and water bottles.

she's a silly creature.

so silly, in fact, that she gets more lively as the night goes on. more prone to giggles and scampering and hiding amongst the isles.


aside from occasionally being that mom (the one with a mega meltdown in her cart), our wednesday targeting is turning into a special night, just the two of us. she can show me all kinds of girly things without her brothers directing her path endlessly to the trucks and star wars items and legos.

i'm so infatuated with this little lady.
she makes every part of me smile.


room tour {emery's hodgepodge bedroom}

i suffer from an inability to stick with a theme.
what started as my obsession with Hoot by MoMo fabric, turned into a love for vintage pieces and a bit of asian flair. and, well, i don't really have a style. this room isn't perfect and i'm sure i'll never finish it. before long it will be rearranged for a big girl bed. i figured i might as well snap a few pictures before it changes.

to give you a starting point, the first 2 photos are from the day we closed on this house in april 2012 (a foreclosure)...and the third shows the state of emery's room while the rest of the house was being rehabbed for 8 weeks. i nearly cried when i came to the house and saw a table saw in the middle of her room.

those were L O N G days of hard work. i'm so very glad they are over :)

i am trying very hard to use only what we already have or items i can find free or on the cheap. it's been a fun challenge, and this room is a great example. i purchased 3 items in this room. can you guess which ones?

i have begun an obsession with painting furniture.
this little teal shelf was found on the side of the road on trash day.
i love trash day :)

it was dark brown and old. a few coats of primer and teal paint = love.

i will someday modge podge fabric on the top and sides...but for now, a little chevron quilt works just fine.

miss emery is quite obsessed with tea sets. this vintage set gets carried all over the house. it's a miracle we have any tea cups left.

 in fact, she is obsessed with just about anything. she is such a fantastic sponge of wonder and learning. there isn't anything that doesn't fascinate her...what a sweet little learner, she is!

this sweet vanity and mirror are my favorite. i found it for $30 at my favorite antique shop. i'm still deciding if i want to paint it or leave it shabby and natural. regardless, emery adores it.
she keeps all of her favorite things in the little drawers.
(ikea spice rack bookshelves)
every night, as i stand and rock emery to sleep, i stare at these doilies. i love them and hate them. i have rearranged them countless times. clearly they need rearranging again because they still bother me. maybe it's the odd open space? i had them spacey and drooping lower at one point, but a certain someone decided to pull down all the ones she could reach during her nap :)


old window makover {chalkboard calendar}

i've been all about quick projects as of late.
actually, i've been quite good at starting projects and not finishing them.

exhibit a:
my bedroom dresser. antique shop score for $30. a month ago i chalk painted it grey. (someday i'll write a about homemade furniture chalk paint, my new favorite obsession).

it looks awesome... but i haven't taken the time to wax it or put the repainted hardware back on.
so here it sits.
in my dining room.
when will it finally make its appearance in our bedroom? no idea.

i have at least 7 more similar mid-stage furniture pieces.
someday they will be finished.

but today, i found a little something that went from project zone to finished in under 2 hours. now that's a project i can get on board with.

my small white board calendar and i have been at odds with each other for quite some time.
i think she's irritatingly too small, and she thinks i can't color in the lines.
we are both right, i fear.

years ago, when my husband was a full-time carpenter, he saved me piles of beautiful old windows every time he rehabbed an old home. i have a slight obsession with them. although i have lots of ideas, i haven't gotten my act together enough to use any of them. so they sit in storage. 30 very sad, unused, adorable windows.

when my irritatingly small and sloppy white board calender and i had our worst month ever, i decided those huge windows would be my solution.

quickly scrub, let dry, lightly sand.
2x coats chalk paint, lightly sand again.

(ps. using a sponge brush is the ONLY way to go. no taping necessary)

(this is what the boys were doing while i was chalk painting.
unstacking the mountain of packing boxes destined for recycling day. yikes.)

add in a screw gun and a chalk pen, and my old calender does even come close to this awesomeness.
2 months at a glance and i'm in heaven.

before and after:

i still have more ideas that will someday happen.
i love this bedroom headboard (or even just as an accent wall)
i see these cold frames often at antique shops for growing herbs, etc. they can't be that hard to make...
don't tell my husband, but this is my real idea...
someday, when we have our farm and little plot of land, you will find him building me one of these...
the greenhouse will be built right beside the pottery studio he's going to build me :)
i have a kiln in storage right now, sitting right beside my pile of windows. they are both awaiting the day when they can can come out and play. 


daughters who are stubborn and headstrong {give thanks}

i found this print on the LWB website, and i love it so much. it's such a true statement of my daughter and so many other sweeties like her. God is using these girls to create great and powerful change in the world. it is a treasure to walk alongside of such courage and perseverance.

every photo i take of emery reminds me of that moment. that smile. her mood and her ability to brighten up a room. she is silly and funny and very headstrong. she has specific ideas about life, but is also moldable and teachable. i am constantly in awe of her loving and kind instincts to nurture and care for the people around her. she watches and notices everything.
looking back over her first weeks with us, i can see glimpses of who she was becoming...the girl she was created to be. the big personality that was waiting to emerge from such a little body.
this collage might drive you crazy (because it's not in order :) but i love it because she is the same little girl, even if her appearance (and crazy hair) change. God created her in a most spectacular way.


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