one year ago {my last cleft kiss}

one year ago today, we kissed emery's beautiful cleft one last time.
actually, i kissed her lovely original lips at least 1,000 times that day...and cried and cried and cried knowing we would never see her again as she was designed by her Creator.
it's a day burned into my memory and it was a while before she looked like herself again. a while before i didn't feel sharp pains of sorrow, missing her precious tri-lips.
but then one day, she looked like her old self. the new lips didn't look new...they just looked like my emery.  and she smiled...just like she used to, with her whole self.
and now, one year later, i still wish to kiss her creative lippies one more time. and just when i start gazing back at old pictures, she runs by and screams something about "tickle me!!" with brothers in hot pursuit. her cute little words echo through the house and her happy sassy self keeps us all on our toes. she learned how to whistle last month, drinks easily from a straw and actually loves doctors...all things that didn't exist one year ago.
the jury is still out in my mind as to whether or not God created her with surgery in mind. i like to think He creates with purpose and the idea of changing something He made so beautiful has always bothered me deeply. but He also created her with the ability to thrive and captivate and love every bit of life. she has made a deep impact on the world around her and cleft or not, she is incredible and beautiful and made perfectly.
surgery posts found here


as a kid, i learned the art of chopping, loading and stacking wood. my family grew up with saturday work days. every. saturday. there were times that we rolled our eyes or whined. but for the most part, it was actually fun. hard work isn't really work when you are in it together and siblings make light what would otherwise feel heavy. those memories are some of my favorites of childhood, not only because we had fun together, but because it taught me the value of hard work. a quality that i am so thankful for.
it is among the best things i can pass onto my kids. 
as we loaded and stacked truckloads of wood with my dad this weekend, i smiled to see the boys cheerfully schlepping and piling firewood. i love passing on a part of my childhood to the boys. i love seeing their sweet attitudes and knowing they are learning one of the hardest lessons in life, without even realizing it.


heartbroken {life is not a guarantee}

i awake to find his little self curled up next to mine. he finds his way into the middle of mommy and daddy sometime during the night...every night. his head finds my pillow and he sleeps peacefully knowing we are close by.

it's my favorite thing to wake up to in the morning. his long lashes still snoozing and his sweet sleepy self wanting kisses and hugs when he wakes up.

but today, i lay here with him, sobbing.
my heart literally hurts.
our reality could have been different today. our world could have stopped. i could have been the one running desperately to school to fine my baby gone.

i'm utterly heartbroken for moms and dads waking today in the horrible reality of what yesterday meant. praying that God can make Himself known today in the hearts of so many people broken. dear Lord, comfort. in ways that can only be explained as You. and please, oh please, teach me to better treasure these little loves while they are still in my arms.

life is not a guarantee. my children are not actually my own. hold them loosely dear friends and cherish the little moments.


today. it was beautifully bad.

today was one of those challenging days. the ones that drive me to drink extra coffee and hug little kids when i really feel like screaming at them. we survived, but barely. looking back at these photos makes me love that there are always beautiful moments...even on days like today.

teacher gifts {DIY simple mini-terrarium}

one of my favorite things to make is gifts for friends and family. i enjoy making cards and handmade items and finding ways to use items i already have on hand. i also have certain craft requirements. some may call it economical...or maybe i'm just cheap :)

with christmas approaching, i wanted to make a little special something for the incredible teachers and professionals that work with my kids. they give above and beyond. nothing i can give will express the gratitude i have...but i love making a little something to say a bit of thank you. 

i've been loving mini terrariums. i keep seeing luscious succulents and cacti and other creative additions in beautiful jars and glass containers. i had dreams of buying these little hanging glass bubble balls online and making terrarium christmas ornaments.
(photo source here - this blog has so many incredible designs!!)

i need a minimum of 6 gifts. my budget for this craft is $30. total. yikes.
the glass bubble balls are cute, but at $9+ each plus shipping in addition to the lovely succulent plants is far out of the budget.

so i hunted for plants and jars that would fit in my 6 for $30 gift budget. i originally thought i would use recycled spaghetti/food jars. and i still might if i make these again, but i had these little jars sitting around from a few years ago. they were just right. i added rocks at the bottom to soak up water (from the kids rock box...hope they don't notice :)

as for the plants...well, i have no idea what i'm doing with plants. these were small and $3 each. perfect.

and added some of my scraps...

nothing earth shattering or amazing. but within my price range. and that makes them awesome :)


scrap-happy-habbit {my fabric obsession}

looking back at pictures from yesterday, i realized how much i love seeing used up fabric scraps. the latest appearance is on our dining room chairs...

i've always been scrappy.  but after a few years of etsy sales, my scrap-happy-habit morphed into a slight obsession. etsy sales gave me all kinds of reasons to buy fabric. the expensive kind that i wouldn't have purchased otherwise...i saved every last beautiful scrap. (it's not considered hoarding if you use it for crafts, right??)
since my etsy days are over for now, (heaven help me. i don't have time to take a shower, write the blog post i am currently writing or change the laundry. etsy was the first to go) i've needed to painfully pair down the farbic collection that i love so much. using up happy scraps on random projects seems like the best way to use it up. it makes me feel all sorts of accomplished.

i've been using my hoarded stash for banners lately. little random pieces go a long way, and i'm the queen of free handing letters and speedily sewing like a crazy lady.  these banners are one of the easiest projects if you don't get bogged down with perfection. i'm all about fast projects and this is one that can be tedious if you let it. cut those babies out and sew them on. plain and simple.

this one is currently hanging on my wall...

and these little cuties were made as gifts for my sweet friend's baby shower. she is adopting 2 beautiful girls from Congo (they leave NEXT WEEK!! to bring them home!!!)

 for a recent christmas party, i used cute little scrappies for these cups...

and these crazy christmas-y little banners are currently strung throughout my house...

i completely forgot about a christmas party gift exchange last week, so i ridiculously stayed up until 2 am making this little apron. scraps save the day, once again. it's a shame they can't save me from my own procrastination :)

and now my crafting quota for the next few weeks has been used up. i think i need a few weeks to sit and fold the piles of laundry that have inevitably built up due to all my random scrap crafting.

how do real people do anything and still keep everything together?
i've yet to figure that one out :)


words that don't need to be said {her "it" factor}

she has a certain something.
a quality that you can't describe.

it must have something to do with such a long period of time relying on non-verbal communication.
she can draw you into a conversation without saying a word.

i love watching her bop around. pushing chairs or stools to reach up high. finagling scissors and glue sticks like a 5 year old. she knows her way around the ipad a little too well and has purchased apps all by herself on several occasions. itunes must love it when kids buy crazy apps.

she started talking recently. over the past 2 months, her vocabulary has exploded and she says new things every day. it's been incredible to hear her sweet voice and know more of what she wants and needs.

although, we still use our special language. the one that doesn't need words. she often tells me what she needs with only a glance.

it's been a sincere blessing to have a year without words.
yes, frustrating at times...but i see now what it gave us as a family and what it gave my relationship with her.
we have to work hard to understand each other. harder than if language had come instantly. and in that hard work, we found a special blessing of knowing each other in a way that doesn't need words.
a great many things can be said when no one's talking.

i really want to know what she will be when she's all grown up.
what will her determination and specificity produce in the future?
one thing's for sure...she knows what she wants and she does not give up. never. no matter what.
this can be a frustrating trait when the thing she wants is a candy cane before dinner :) and knowing the best way to harness her determination is tricky. but for the most part, it is an extremely positive trait. one that amazes me to see what she can accomplish.
i have a feeling she will do a great many things.


paper cone trees {the easiest project ever}

i'll be honest.
i have no time to make anything i see on pinterest.
i have no tolerance for projects taking more than 30 minuets.
no desire to create things that cost more to make than if i were to purchase it at a store.
so when i find something that i can make using what i already have on hand AND it takes 30 minuets or less?
i'm all over that.
cone trees are the latest project meeting all of my requirements.

LOVING my print from Recipe for Crazy! i splurged during her black friday sale and bought one of her lovely designs...i love supporting a talented stay at home mom :)

i've seen these trees made out of cereal boxes, but i happened to have old poster board laying around.

there are lots of tutorials online using all kinds of acorns and textiles that are really beautiful. i had spray paint, twine, fabric and doilies on hand. they worked just fine.

the boys were zipping around having a grand time torturing my trees.

it was the perfect project for them to join in, especially considering how much they love using glue guns.

(i've taught them the "end of the pen" attachment trick recently so they aren't as worried about getting burned).



the kids who won't stop hugging.

i had grand ideas to take the kids on an adventure. dress them in all sorts of coordinating outfits, dream up fun props (including dragging a vintage chair into the woods) and make an all-out-amazing photoshoot to use for our christmas cards.
and you know what? that will never happen. it's waaaay too much work.

what does happen?
throwing a quilt on the deck and gathering children from the sandbox with promises of fruit smoothies when pictures are done. one certain lady had just woken up from a nap. i forgot to redo her pony tales and she wasn't in an especially happy mood.

the most wonderful thing...
real life.

i could barley get them to look at the camera because they wouldn't stop hugging each other. quite possibly the best problem i've ever had.

i smile when i see these photos because they aren't the perfect photoshoot...
they are so much better.


the boys were gushing over sister (as they usually do when she wakes up from a nap). i can hear rowie saying "oh mom, shes just so cute today! where did you get this little dress?"
and foster saying, "here sissy, you go in the middle so we can both snuggle you. can i hold you? here you go sissy. sit right here with me. i'll hold you safe."
and on and on.

there are plenty of moments in life when they irritate each other and someone screams because someone hit them with a stray tennis ball. or someone got sand in their eyes because someone wouldn't stop flinging it.
capturing how they really feel about each other is a moment to cherish.

and p.s. she's so gorgeous. i can hardly stand it.



among the greatest of all creations {little boys}

they can make anything fun. an adventure. a moment to remember.
i love them so.



farm update & thank-you spinners

i'm very excited to report that we have nearly reached our goal of purchasing 2 farms! we are about $600 away from farm #2.
(we have decided to not purchase any christmas gifts this year, but instead help fund farms of animals through the organization 'World Vision.' each farm saves 10 families from hunger and provides 28 animals plus food and training to the families who will care for them. our goal is 2 farms = 20 families saved from hunger and 56 animals.)
 it has been an amazing experience to see letters from friends and family, both near and far, arriving in mail with incredible stories of the way God has been moving in their lives. my boys have poured over the letters and have been amazed each time another letter arrived. what an example of what God can do through 2 little kids.

it has been the best christmas ever, and it isn't even christmas yet!

we have ben thinking of creative ways to say thank-you to the sweet friends who have made sacrifices with us to fund the farms. i love how my boys really catch on to something and enjoy seeing it all the way through. they decided to make pinwheels and include pictures of the farm animals to send to each family who helped fund a farm.

goodness, i love the sweetness of these boys.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin