my happy easter people {and my new outlook on heaven}

we do eggs and candy and family lunch.
some of the best times of life are had when we all get together. people eating and talking and laughing and kids running and playing and eating way too much candy while their parents are destracted.
but this easter, i've been more deeply aware of Christ's sacrifice.
inspired as never before to inspire my kids to know that Jesus is more than just a man. more than the easter bunny. more than they could ever ask or imagine.
we've been talking about heaven a lot these days.
sparked by the book our small group is reading together, (Heaven by Randy Alcorn), i have been mesmerized by the realness of heaven in a way that i never even considered in the past.
if there is any book you should read right now (aside from the bible) it is THIS book.
i'll be honest and say that before starting "Heaven" i didn't think much about heaven. i didn't try not to think on it, but it just wasn't a place that was particularly interesting, but i didn't know why. besides knowing we would finally meet our Savior, i worried we would be floating around in a totally unfamiliar place. maybe somewhere in the clouds with angels singing and we would sit around together unsure of what we should be doing. i knew heaven would be wonderful, but there was no visual image in my mind to attach it to.
and the though of eternity? completely and wholeheartedly terrified me.
a heaven that never ends. never. ever. no end.
(insert brain spinning. hot flashes. panic)
i've realized now that satan need not make us think heaven isn't real, he need only to make it seem undesirable and boring.
think of every cartoon with an angel holding a harp or any images you've seen of heaven.
do they look fun? exciting? mesmerizing?
i can't think of any.
but mr. alcorn explains in great depth (with Scripture to back it up) that God's original plan of the Garden of Eden, a phenomenal place of unimaginable creatures and creation and perfect relationship with God has not been abandoned.
when the bible talks about God creating a NEW EARTH, perhaps it really is a NEW earth!! filled with similar wonders and amazing creations as we now know...but our current version is just a minuscule reflection of what the New Earth will be like.
 and we will walk and talk and eat and explore and play and work just for the pure joy of working because our bodies will be physical bodies!
perhaps all of the incredible places on earth that i will never get to see with my own eyes will finally be accessible with a glorious eternity to explore and adventure with my Creator.
how incredible!
praise God, He made a way long ago. long before sin came and corrupted every crevice of the universe. He planned to save what He created and make it all new again.
i'm not doing the book justice because there is so much more. 
i can surely promise that the first 3 chapters will have you hooked to read more.
i continually remind myself that i can't do anything to save myself.
i'm a saver.
i save junk. i save baby hamsters. i want to save my children from all kinds of grief and heartache.
but i can't save myself.
the ugliness of me is still there no matter what i change.
no matter how hard i try to save.
i'm so thankful that easter means i don't have to fail at my own saving.


my beautiful and wild

at some point in the night, he finds his way in. he snuggles close to daddy and i smile when i wake up and find him somewhere in the middle of us. my sweet little boy won't be little much longer. oh how i cherish these days dearly.

another sleepy one...

she finds my pillow or my arm or holds my hand... and stays close by through the night. for years i dreamed of this. waited endlessly to have her snuggling in my arms. no matter how exhausted i am, it's a blessing to feel the weight of her littleness against me. the calm she finds in sleeping close to me.
she won't be little for long....she's gaining confidence by the second.
these days travel fast and I'm not letting them go by without capturing in my heart just how beautiful and wild and fantastic they really are.


Mrs. Cutie the Replacement {and her 5 or 6 babies}

our intuition was correct.
Mrs. Cutie the Replacement was indeed pregnant.
3 days after bringing her home, Mrs. Cutie gave birth to 5 babies.
i took the advice of friends, commenter's and google very seriously and have been leaving Mrs. Cutie and her babies alone. except for my slightly nervous peeking and piling heaps of food in her cage, cutie lives in quiet solitude...in my bedroom, of all places.

i'll be honest. i've been hating on Mrs. Cutie.
i was quite convinced that she had eaten some or all of her babies at one point or another. she would be all ravenous and crazy and hovering and the babies were squealing and i literally wanted to throw Mrs. Cutie out the window.

but i left her alone (while scowling angily at her)

and lo and behold, today, i discovered that there weren't 5 babies at all.
there are 6!!
and they are getting big and look like they have hair growing...and yet still look a bit like aliens without eyes.

any idea if i'm out of the woods yet as far as the cannibalism is concerned? we are going to continue to keep our distance for another 2 weeks...and the boys have been so amazing and haven't bothered her at all. but i'm going to freak out if she eats them now.

so this is me.
googling "how to prevent chinese dwarf hamsters from eating their babies" and chopping tiny bites of eggs and carrots and damp whole wheat bread.

DIY chandelier {pom-poms + hoops)

every once in a while, i get ideas in my brain that actually work out like i envisioned them. amongst my walls peppered in nail holes of projects gone by, i find a few ideas that i love. this is one of them.

emery's crib wall before...

and the new chandelier...

i thrifted a vintage lampshade and covered it in scraps. it was looking plain so i added pom-pom garland. still looking too plain, so i added the fabric hoops that were meant for the other wall in her room.
and voila. love.

my original idea involved stringing my vintage bulb lights inside the chandelier, but the strand was huge and green and looked strange. then i found battery lights on amazon (for $2), but they were literally florescent blue. i'm not sure why they were so blue...maybe it was the LED?
at any rate, it is a non-functioning chandelier :) but who really cares, right?

and for fun, i just had to show the array of craziness that my daughter insists on sleeping with at night. a total of...6 blankets, 11 dolls, 5 lovies and 3 pillows. and let me tell you, if one is missing?? she KNOWS. :)

(and yes i took them all out and folded them. it's the first thing i've folded in a week, i can assure you :)

we are all kinds of crazy about sleep around here. we do anything and everything for it...and if my gal wants 11 dolls to fall asleep? by all means, she will have 11 dolls. we're crazy, i tell ya.


Mr. Cutie Weldon {the hampster drama unfolds}

so last week, i found a hamster cage at the Goodwill for $6. next door to the Goodwill is a pet shop. when i saw the cage, i knew the only sensible thing to do was surprise my kids with a hamster. my rowan (5yo) loves creatures of all kinds. i think the obsession is more than kids typically have with creatures.
when he was 2, we lived near a pond infested with frogs and he literally carried a frog around all.day.long. sometimes in his hand. sometimes in his pocket. sometimes at the dinner table.

if an earth worm washes up on the sidewalk, he must be rescued. but prior to his departure back in the dirt, he simply must be made a habitat in a shoebox for at least 3 days. think of how many earthworms get washed ashore. that's how many habitats we have made. and heaven forbid we use a worm as fishing bait. no way. not in this house, partner.

last summer, he rescued a one legged cricket and carried him everywhere. the grocery store. school. the bathroom. he would sing to him, and believe it or not, the cricket would sing back.

i love his tender heart. his love for caring for others around him. his love for snuggling with me and the time he needs to calm down when something upsets him. i love that i find him on my pillow in the middle of the night, sleeping peacefully. his precious spirit. his tender soul. he feels and understands deeply.
and he can dance like nobody's business.

so when i told him he could pick out a hamster, his little world erupted with joy.
meet Mr. Cutie Weldon. a chinese dwarf hamster.

rowan carried Cutie Weldon and talked to him and sang to him nearly all day, every day for a week.
but every time foster (6yo) picked him up, Cutie Weldon would attack and bite him repeatedly. either foster tasted really good, or really bad. regardless,  Mr. Cutie the Ferocious had to go. we exchanged him for a new, preferably peaceful, replacement.

meet Mr. Cutie the Replacement. a kind, sweet, docile hamster.

when we got home, we noticed some clear differences in "his" anatomy. in fact, we discovered that "he" was very clearly a SHE and was quickly renamed MRS. Cutie the Replacement.

upon further inspection, we noticed her belly bulging out on either side... and her "baby feeding areas" are quite pronounced. yes, it seems that MRS. Cutie the Replacement is pregnant. my little people are giddy with excitement and are checking constantly to make the birth announcement.

honestly, i'm not a hamster/small rodent fan. but the thought of my kids getting to see little baby hamster's born? somehow, i love the idea.
if you are in the mood for a hamster, garage sale a cage and stop by next month...we will most likely have a few hamsters to go around.

** update:

i posted this on instagram earlier today and a few friends were kind enough to warn me that hamsters often eat their babies!! i had no idea, and i'm terrified that MRS. Cutie the Replacement will go all cannibalistic and add trauma to our hamster drama. i'm going to have to warn my littles for fear that they witness such atrocities without preparation. perhaps it's the circle of life?

if any of them happen to survive their mother's voracious appetite, we might just get to see the miracle of birth. although at this point, i'm hoping MRS. Cutie the Replacement keeps her manners about her so i don't have to replace her with a hamster eating snake :)


untangling our day

a quiet evening and a pile of old, broken jewelry.
our day felt like my tangled pile....in serious need of some repair.
as I rocked one exhausted and sad baby to sleep, her tears reminded me of how much we really just need time together.
time to talk things out and time to be heard.
time to help each other untangle what a hard day has done.
untangling takes time and long-standing patience, but sometimes you end up creating something brand new from that once tangled mess.
and the long day is worth it.
the tears dry with my kisses, and a little voice knows it is heard and loved.
oh how I treasure the time it takes to get through the tangles.


i'm just going to pretend it hasn't been a month since i last wrote. pretend that i'm here all the time. ever writing. ever coming up with brilliant things to say.
no, scratch that.

pretend you and your kids came over to play. paper star wars airplanes and balls and paint splatters are wizzing by. someone is running down the stairs wearing the top half of spider man and the bottom half of a karate uniform. someone is snatching the pumpkin bread on the table before we even get a bite, and someone else is making a baby giggle by throwing cheerios in the air and failing to catch them in their mouth.
that's more normal. pretending that wouldn't be far from the truth. you and i could sit and attempt to talk whilst the children find all sorts of messy things to occupy themselves. i'll pretend not to care about the mess (when inside i'm dying to sweep the floor. i'm a freak about dirty floors...but since mine are rarely clean, everyday i try to get over it :)
let's just pretend it spring. and the breeze is delightfully warm. shoes are kicked aside and the kids are playing in the hose as we sip lemonade in-between trips to gather snacks and paraphernalia.

and that would be more like normal around here.

i often feel like i'm outrageously busy doing a whole lot of things that don't really have anything to show for at the end of the day. with the school pickups and drop offs and the daily therapy sessions, life has been a blurr of late.
except for those moments each day...the moments when i catch someone feeling a bit sad. we snuggle on the couch for a bit and talk through their hurt feelings or their worries. it's those moments that last. not the endless snack trays or the immense quantities of toys that are strewn about within 5 minuets of being cleaned up.
the long talks we have before bed or driving to and fro in the car. the stories they devour from my childhood or the silly tickle fights and projects we conspire together. the deep spiritual questions of life and death. those are the things i will look back and miss someday. in fact, the days when i am drenched in selfishness checking email, or texting about this or that, i already miss out on those moments of awesome. and it's heartbreaking.
i have days or weeks of feeling bogged. exhausted. uninspired.
and i've realized that it's in those moments that God is purposeful about getting my attention.
i often find my worth in what other people think of me. in feedback or comments or assumed opinions. it's a dangerous slope to put ones value in because it's unpredictable and sometimes harsh or quiet. but i do it everyday, and it's a way of viewing myself that i want to change. if my self worth isn't gauged in the way my Creator values me - measured in the truth of how He sees me, then every other measurement will make me feel lousy and wanting.
lots of self change happening around here.

and then there's blogging.
does anyone else find blogging to be a soul soother? i could write for days.
alas, i worry that i've lost my art. my inspiration. perhaps i'll take a month and try to get back into a groove. i'm sure there's something in there that needs to be said, if only i can find it.

this fancy little thang has been bopping around life as usual.

she's talking so much lately, and we literally watch her pronounciation improving daily. she never ceases to amaze me with what she knows and the capacity she has to learn and grow. if i'm being honest, she's quite a sassy little thing, as well. all that sass and determination is a quality i cherish in her, but the sass is a lot louder now that it has words to go along with it. good gracious, she's such a fighter i worry that i'm not quite brave enough to take her on!

i have recently unlocked some secrets to emery and they have helped us both to understand each other better. i'll share those soon, hoping that others who have strong willed and delightfully sassy kids can benefit.

can i ask what other parents do when their kids scream "no!!!" back at them? you know, the one  with a defiant foot stomp, arms crossed and an angry face? my boys never screamed back at me in this way. maybe i dodged a bullet earlier on, but i'm surely gaining it back ten fold.
i'd love to know some techniques from other parents of kids from "hard places" (as opposed to bio kids, as i believe different techniques are necessary).

** update: loved this comment from MarthaB! thanks girl!
"Oh the "no!" we know it all too well around here lately. DD only does it in public as she knows it is going to get a reaction either from me or other shoppers who look to see where the remarkably loud noise is coming from and in her little world any reaction is better than none at all. What I have found works best for us is taking her to a quieter place in whatever store we are in, I get her on my lap and ask what is upsetting her and once she has my undivided attention she tends to calm down. We will take a few minutes, in fact it just happened yesterday in WM and after the first no we had a snuggle session on the floor of the junior's dept. for about 10 minutes which ended in some kisses from her and the rest of the trip went fine. Next we will work on not even going there with the "nos", I am attending Empowered to Connect in April and am hoping to come away with some ideas!"
MarthaB, i've been loving Empowered to Connect! i heard Amy Monroe speak last month and she was incredible!!!!

....more to come soon, poor little lost blog.


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