Monday, May 02, 2016

Motherhood and our Biggest Best News

Lake Louise, Banff
In a way I feel like I've lost my blogging voice, I've started multiple posts that I've tripped over getting the words out and then abandoned in the drafts folder. I've been wanting to start blogging again, yes about the little/unimportant stuff like meal planning and fashion and making a home but also because we have big stuff to talk about. We've discussed when is the right time to announce our big stuff and actually the time that we had decided on isn't here but I feel with Mothers Day approaching that there couldn't be a better time.

Dani's wedding.

Can I just say first that moms in general are awesome and I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the best. I could compose endless blog posts about my own mom (and I believe I have composed a few already) but she is strong and kind and really just kind of kicks butt at this mom thing having raised eight kids. Then there's my mother-in-law, I know there is a stupid idea that moms and daughters-in-law relationships are supposed to be filled with awkwardness and negative feelings but that's ridiculous and I don't feel it. That woman raised the man that I love and she did an awesome job because he's a good one and she loves my kids so well and I am so thankful for her. My four sisters have been such an awesome example of motherhood to me. Sure I mean watching them raise their kids but also because of our age difference they've all mom'd me at times and while I may have hated it at 6 I love it at 36.
Kendall and one big ol' belly

Momming is what I do, it's my thing. Growing up it's what I wanted to be more than anything (other than that period of time that I wanted to be a turtle but we're not going to talk about how weird that was). It's not always easy and honestly I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always great at it but it is who I am and there is no other thing that I would want to do.

First trip to the mountains this ski season. 
It's always been a goal of mine to love the stage they're in. I don't want to be the mom that weeps on her baby's first day of school (I get it though, I'm not judging those that do) I want to be the mom that is cheering for them, excited that they get to conquer that next thing. We may not have a crib in the house but man my kids have hit this awesome point where they can crack a pretty good joke and they can keep up with us (ok, I'll be honest, they can pass me) on the ski hill. I love each of the stages they're in but I admit I miss chunky thighs and cheeks and dimpled tiny hands grasping my finger. This is my life's work and although we decided after Jack that I would not be carrying any more babies in this body we knew that our hearts have so much room for more to love.

An email I received from Kate

Last spring Brian and I were in Boston for his business school reunion where we attended a lecture about living an extraordinary life. We've had so many conversations since then discussing what we think an extraordinary life looks like, when we're old looking back on our life what will have REALLY mattered and filled us? Those that know us know that Brian and I are a bit different in our personalities: talker vs thinker, creative vs logic driven…but I think it's important to note how we are the same in the ways that matter. Our faith - we love God, who has adopted us despite our flaws and our stubbornness and our selfishness. We also share a love of all things family, our time spent as a family makes our life extraordinary.

Parenting is hard. Yes, hard in the middle of the night wake ups and in that moment before your kid tosses his cookies and you're looking frantically around for something to catch it, all while KNOWING that your hands are all you have. Yes, hard in those ways but honestly those ways are NOTHING compared to the heart lessons that you strive to teach your kids, the constant worry over your own failure and the unceasing prayers that no matter what they grow up knowing Him and knowing your love is there all of the time no matter what. Although it's hard it's what we love and what we want to spend our time doing. So it was the extraordinary life lecture that led us to start more seriously discussing a topic that we have had since the beginning of our marriage.

It is with such great excitement that our family is announcing that we are growing by two sweet little feet. We can not wait to bring our newest sweet little lady home from China! We are adopting and we couldn't be happier.

We started the process before Christmas, we have completed our home study and are currently awaiting our immigration approval. Not a day goes by that we don't talk about her (50+ times) and we are praying for her, for this process and that God prepares us for her. We can hardly stand the wait.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In My Pocket

Is that a creepy title? I'm talking about the Pocket app anyway not my pants pocket 'cause that would just be weird.

It's not uncommon that I come across something on the internet that I want to come back to: an article I like, an image that inspires, list of links I don't have time to explore at that moment, a recipe I want to remember. Pinterest is the obvious solution for the visual images that I want to hang on to but the other stuff, what do you do with it. If I just try to remember to come back it just won't happen. I have three kids and the world's worst memory. In these situations I use the Pocket app. Generally I save to Pocket via my Feedly app (don't worry a Chick's list of Favorite apps is in the works) where there is a little 'pocket' icon that I just tap but you can also save from your browser, twitter, clipboard…then later when the kids are in bed and I'm sitting on the couch exhausted I can pull up the pocket app and browse all the things I had saved.

So what's in my Pocket now? Here's a fun collection for your browsing pleasure.

I pocketed this image, I'm currently on the lookout for cute cooler weather clothes. This outfit was found via Polyvore, a site that I occasionally use to make mood boards. I use mood boards for planning a room or for blogging. Here is a post where I used Polyvore to make a mood board of the Chicklet's Christmas Wish List.

I also saved a 6th Street Design School post giving home tours of two houses. I'm currently wanting to add a lot of color, maybe not as much color as is in this house but I thought that I could possibly use some of the ideas as inspiration.

Actually I don't love a lot of that house, the house that I'm really loving right now is nieniedialogues

The rug! The wall color! The wood plank above the fire place. The crisp white woodwork, sigh.

This is what I want, a bunch of fun colored pillows!

Also from her blog I pocketed this recipe. Which we tried and loved although we had a bit of a mixup as to what a "cube" of butter was. Turns out its a stick. In our confusion we added WAY less than called for but I would still totally recommend.

Speaking of recipes I also pocketed this from Life in Grace. We haven't made this one yet but yum.

I loved this photo on Apartment Therapy's post on displaying kids' artwork.

There are always a few tutorials in my pocket of things I want to make. HowAbout Orange has a tutorial for a cute wallet.

I also saved a link for this duffel pattern.

I'll leave you with one last picture, pocketed from Ali Edwards blog because other peoples work/create spaces always inspire me

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The Good

We went to the Folk Music Festival in town last weekend where the kindness of the Canadians was shown to us yet again. We drove down there with the kids thinking it was just a come and go, walk around festival but were shocked to see the admission booth and the price of $70 per ticket! It was late in the day and the festival was only going to last a couple more hours so ultimately we decided that we wouldn't get our money's worth and turned to go. A nice man chased us down to let us know that someone had donated tickets and asked if we would like to have them. I felt guilty for taking them, surely there was someone that had a greater need than us. This man was working the ticket booth and for some reason had chosen us to receive the tickets and we were surprised but grateful and it was such a nice break after being in the house all week.

The food trucks were all cool, lots of gluten free, local, healthy options. Recycling bins everywhere and instead of packaging and paper plates you "rented" a ceramic plate for $2 to use and then got some (or all?) of your money back when you returned it. Multiple stages were spread around and a cool kids area with balls, stilts, hula hoops….and a "town" made out of boxes and tons of paint for the kids to decorate. Kendall did surprisingly well with the stilts after a few attempts and some demonstrations by mom, ahem (sorry no pictures).

Afterwards we walked over to a local restaurant for a fun dinner.

The Bad and Ugly

Why? Why must the speed limit be SO slow?!? On my mental list of blog posts I plan to write is a post about what I've found to be different or interesting in Canada so far. One of those things is the always slow speed limit. It is seriously slow. Mostly people follow it too. And if a pedestrian steps up to the crosswalk everyone slams on the breaks. It's slow people. Early on Brian mentioned that we would have to be super cautious since it's not what we're used to. 

So today after taking all three kids to TWO different stores in areas of town that I'm totally unfamiliar with I was super frustrated to find that neither had lawn mowers. Cause, you know, taking three kids shopping for lawn mowers is super fun. I pulled out the GPS and programed and I set off. The kids weren't fighting (even though our car isn't here and they are currently in a rental all three sitting in the backseat elbow to elbow, knee to knee which never makes for an enjoyable ride. For anyone.) I don't even think the radio was on so I wasn't distracted, my phone was in the cup holder and I don't mean my hand. I was going 70 kph which is only 40 MILES PER HOUR on a regular street with traffic lights, not a neighborhood or residential street. When out of nowhere a man….a man in a police uniform stepped into the street, pointed at me and motioned me over. I am 34 years old. I have never gotten a ticket of any kind. I have been in one small fender bender with my best friend but that hardly even counts, right Jennie?!? Anyway, I'm an excellent driver no matter what Jennie or her Lexus bumper tells you. The officer was completely nice, asked if I was in a rental or was it just stolen (huh huh huh, you're a funny one). Welcome to Canada, here's your yellow slip of paper, give us some money. The stupid speed limit was 50 kph which translates to about 20 mph. Have you ever driven 20 mph? I think it requires you keep your foot on the brake. Anyway, it was bad. And ugly.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Chick's List and a Bit of a Rant

Favorite Scent: Luxe Linen candle. I bought mine at Nancy's in Pensacola, I've gone through two and need to order more. It's fantastic, you won't regret it. Apparently if you order it on Amazon in Canada it cost $57, I will not be doing that, geeze.

Favorite Book: I read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty while we were at the beach last week. A bump on her head causes her to forgot the last ten years of her life…and it's completely different then she remembers. I felt like it was a good reminder how all the little things/comments we make now add up over the years to create big changes. I recently started another of this author's books "The Hypnotist's Love Story" and I'm not nearly as impressed.

Favorite Blog: I love to read blogs, they're great for inspiration in parenting, relationships, creativity, fashion, fitness, home decorating, meal planning….I actually don't currently have a favorite. I feel like all my favorites have either stopped blogging recently (hmmm, sound familiar? So annoying.) or maybe they've somehow fallen off of my feed? I need some recommendations. A few that enjoy right now are: 71toes, Design Mom, and Jones Design Company. What are your current favorites? I need to add to my blog roll.

Favorite spot in my house right now:
My office. I missed having a main level office in the last house. I LOVED my space in the last house but having an office on the main level means that I use it a LOT more. Maybe that's why I'm blogging again.

There is not yet a single room where everything is exactly how I want it but I love having this space carved out. I'm debating cork board behind my desktop, I already think that it's too cluttered as is so I'm leaning towards no. I have plans to streamline the built ins with all matching storage baskets or boxes instead of the mismatch that I have now. I picked up a couple of things: an Ikea cart that I've wanted since it was released (4 years ago?) and some fresh flowers to sit in Granny's old blue Ball jar. I plan to do a new home tour, maybe a post of each room and talk about what I've done and what I have left to do in each space. I fear that the "have left to do" list is long, bah.

A break from the favorites list for some honesty. We're struggling to love this house. It's a perfectly good house with some nice features, it's a rental and it's just not US. This move happened really really quickly. Job offer kind of out of nowhere, house sold in nine days, a very short trip up to house hunt, a tricky rental market and not a whole lot of help in the search. We ended up feeling like we didn't really have any other option. Honestly, I feel a bit like a jerk to mention it. I've been reminded in more ways than one that this is a fine house and so many would feel blessed to have it (and I do). It is a blessing, it's a nice house, it's a good house. It's just that the last two houses we lived in both tugged on my heart strings in numerous ways and I'm trying to fall in love with something else when it doesn't come naturally. I think I need to pick up The Nesters Book which I hear is about loving the house you're with.

We have really great plans that involve traveling and exploring and lots of fun (yay, lots of blog material) but, home is kind of my thing. You know how many men are defined by their career? Defined might not be the best word but I think you all know what I mean. Anyway, I feel so much of me is our home. Like I said, our house and home life is what I've always been passionate about…I wouldn't say I'm struggling over it but it is just important to me. Right now I would say that I'm excited about the possibilities and I'm researching ways to make it more us. I'll be spending a lot of chilly days snuggled in this house and I want to feel comfortable, to feel at home.

Well that Chick's List took a tangent. Another favorite right now is this blog. You remember that book about the difference between women and men…Mars/Venus? I never read it actually but I remember it said that men use 7,000 words a day and women use 20,000 a day. (Although in our case I would say it's closer to 3,000 and 60,000, ha). Well, I'm not using my words since I haven't actually left the house enough to meet anyone and I don't think me telling my kids to "stop bossing your sibling around" and "Waffle, drop it" 7,500 times actually adds up for me so I'm glad to get my words out here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

They Were With Me

Since moving here I've written 1000 blog posts in my head. Today, I decided was the day,  I logged in and dusted off the ol' blog and found this half written draft from last summer that I never published. I loved it because it had moments that I never want to forget so I finished it to post. Here you go, it's been over a year and I'm finally posting….a post that I wrote over a year ago, ha. Baby steps.

I am a stay-at-home mom. I realize there is a big debate about what is "right" staying home vs working. I don't really buy into that whole debate, I think what is right for us may not necessarily be what is right for the next person. But me, I'm a stay-at-home mom and it's what I have wanted from the beginning. Not the beginning of motherhood but the beginning of well, as long as I remember.

My husband has this incredible drive. Actually, it's one of the (many) things that attracted me to him. He has this incredible passion for business and professional growth. He's also crazy good at what he does.

Me, I have NEVER been career oriented but I have always had a passion for what I do and I'm pretty darn good at it too. It's important to me that my house runs well: clean, organized with good food and well rounded kids. But this summer there was more.

My first package headed to Nancy's Haute Affairs

This summer they were with me and witnessed some cool things. This summer I approached a local store with some of my creations. It wasn't exactly planned. I was in a small shop that had a style that I liked and I felt my product would mesh well with. I had ONE of my keychains with me…the one on my own keys, it needed washed but whatever. I also had THREE of my kids (Chicklets?) in tow. I approached the owner, gave an unprepared spiel and showed her my dirty keychain. So business like, right? How could she resist? Regardless, she wanted to see more. The next week I brought a whole slew of my stuff and of course my three Chicklets and what happened next changed the way they saw me. She gushed. She gushed to me and that was nice. But she gushed to my kids about my talent and my amazing eye and my skill…she pointed stuff out to them and they listened eagerly. Then they sat in my office and worked on their own stuff and they watched me work while I began to fill order after order.

Paper Chick keychains at Nancy's Haute Affairs in Pensacola

When I wasn't creating Paper Chick stuff I started to play a little with mixed media. One day, while we were playing outside with our neighborhood friends I brought some out to show my girlfriends and they gushed (of course they did because they were some of the coolest, sweetest women that I've ever met). A month later one of them asked to buy one of my pieces, she then proceeded to have it framed professionally and display it in her house. Before she hung it on the nail she brought it to our door and said to my kids, "Look what your mom made, isn't it amazing? I love it…."

Yes, I'm a dork. I took a picture. It meant that much to me that she would brag to my kids.

They started to brag to people that their mom was an artist. They're braggers but it's usually over Brian, they tell people he's famous because he was Oklahoma's Most Admired CEO. Note, they now tell people that he's president of Canada, ha! But now they were bragging about me this time and it wasn't about me being the best cookie baker (break and bake cookies, it's so sad).

In her Kindergarten class my daughter discussed occupations and community helpers this year. Many of the students offered up what their parents did and apparently Kate raised her hand and informed her class that her mom was a maker. I like that, I'll take it.

I'm still a stay-at-home mom. I sell Paper Chick stuff to two stores sporadically. I never really focused on the etsy store because as soon as I would make something it would sell locally so I was never able to fill the shop. I'll do it again…maybe this winter while I suffer craft my way through our first Canadian winter. I wouldn't change a thing, I stay at home with them, I do it well. But now they know I'm more than a mom. I create things that people like and appreciate, they've seen me walk in a store, unselfconsciously and pitch my stuff off the cuff. They've watched me work, I worked hard, they've fallen asleep to the sound of my sewing machine countless nights.

What's most important to me is that they know I'm here when they get home, they know I clean this house and I cook their meals. I bandage their scrapes and wash their dirty feet in the bathtub. But now they know… I'm also a maker.

Order #1 ready for delivery to local shop

Order #2 ready for delivery to local shop

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Day of Yes

I find that as a parent I'm sometimes quick to say no. I don't even fully listen to the question before I'm distractedly shutting the idea down. That's not how I want to be as a parent and that's certainly not how I want my kids to remember their childhood.

Kendall had her 8th birthday the other day. She was so sweet, she told me that she wanted a family day. After swim lessons the girls and I headed to our local art museum. It worked our perfectly because they were having their Springfest that day with free snow cones, and a TON of activities for kids.
Once the girls heard that snow cones were being offered they were on a mission to find them. The grounds were gorgeous, Kendall kept saying, "I can't believe this used to be someones house!!"

We attempted a little Georgia O'Keefe painting. Our museum has a great children's program. The second Saturday of every month you take a little box (that they supply) and they will stock it with new art supplies, mark that you attended that month and have various art projects for them to do. Love it!

Art Cars were also there so the girls constructed cars out of cardboard boxes. The other kids were all painting theirs but we had dinner plans following the museum and in two seconds Kate's car had already blown against one of her hair buns (big orange hair) so we opted to just paint them at home.
Kendall's motorcycle

We left the museum and soon passed a big park, of course the girls begged to stop...I said yes. I admit that my goal is usually to get from point A to point B but it was the "Day of Yes" so we turned around and found the parking lot and I am SO glad we did. The girls didn't even want to swing they wanted to run and cartwheel and explore the various paths, bridges and waterfalls. We had so much fun.

I was always in the rear, trying to catch up.
We crossed this little rock path. It doesn't look very scary in the picture but it was, I assure you. That last step (closest in the picture) was actually pretty far and I was holding my new camera, yikes!

From the park we met the boys at Kendall's restaurant of choice (Outback, it's ALWAYS Outback) where we said yes to dinner and dessert. She ended dinner with her head on the table. I was all smiling and proud of myself for completely wearing her out until.....she came home and got sick. Not a great ending to the day but until that point it was the perfect day. A day of yes.

This girl...
This girl is a sweet one. 
The worrier. The other day when we thought Kate had a bean stuck up her nose (don't ask, just don't even ask) Kendall was WAY more worried than Kate. 
The shadow. She wants to be right next to wherever I am. Right next to me and talking. She will turn down play dates if it means she can hang out with me. The other day Kate went to our friends house and Kendall sat next to me, sewed, and talked NON STOP about the house on HGTV. She's my girl, that one.
The compassionate one. If anyone is hurt she is the one checking on them. The other day we were talking about an area of the world that didn't know about Jesus. She got so excited and immediately said, "We can teach them!!!"

I love her and can't wait to see what's in store for her.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Little Stuff

Tonight the three kids and I spent some time in my office. While I worked on getting some stuff organized Kendall and Kate sprawled out on the floor with old scrapbooks and laughed at pictures and read funny stories or cute quotes from the days of their babyhood. Gosh it has me sentimental, I get so caught up in living life with three kids that I fear I've dropped the ball on recording our life with three kids and I seriously cherish having all those moments stored. I found a page with the words of an old blog post on it,

It cracks me up how our two girls just will not walk anywhere. Kate runs and Kendall gallops. Even getting into bed tonight, Kendall went over to her closet to hang something on the doorknob and then gallops back to bed. Wouldn't we all look ridiculous if we did that now? I think the next time I get groceries I'm going to gallop down the aisles. When does that stop? One day out of the blue I'll realize that they are walking and it will make me sad. I want to bottle up every little moment because I don't know which one will be it's last, the last time she gallops to bed, the last time she says "bless yous" instead of 'sneezes,' the last time Kate goes to throw her dirty clothes in the hamper before bath time but forgets to take off her socks (hilarious I tell you, she does it almostevery single time, do you know how funny it is to see a little two year old streaking through your house with her socks on?!). Here's that word again: balance. I'm having a hard time between not wanting them to get another day older and not being able to wait until they are able to experience all that comes with growing up...that first 2 wheeler bike ride, that first lost tooth, that freedom from driving the first time...). I want both to bottle them up and watch them experience life, I think that is why I work so hard to preserve each memory by either blogging about it or taking a picture or making a scrapbook page about it. So that when they are grown and on their own I can relive these days. No matter how much I strive to enjoy the moment I know that I'll have regrets, don't all moms? I'll wish I hadn't cleaned this or that, wish I hadn't stopped to blog about something but instead just spent that time sniffing their sweet little girl hair smells and stealing their little girl snuggles. You just have to find that balance I guess, that ever elusive balance.

Gosh that hits home. Here we sit, just two short years later and both girls are riding a two wheeler, Kendall has lost four of her tiny baby teeth and we have another little one in the house. Just as I predicted the mommy regret has already creeped in. Do I spend enough time, am I already forgetting too much, are we doing it right, what will they remember? Will it be me sitting on the floor and playing Sleeping Queens, Brian spending a Saturday morning with them running errands and picking out special treats or are they going to remember those times that I regret: my distracted, "uh huh" to their chatter or his business dinners and trips that takes him away.

That's another advantage to this blog and the pages holding our memories, it makes ME remember. Not just the time that has passed but also remember the times I want to create now. I want time spent looking into their big eyes while they share the little stuff because when they know I listen to the little stuff they'll come to me with the big stuff. I'm reminded that one day I want to look back at this time of my life and know that I made those moments count. Because it's only been two years but Kendall doesn't gallop home from the bus stop like she once galloped to her bed at night and Kate never forgets to take off her socks before getting into the bath at night. It's gone. Those days are passed. But they're still there, on the blog page and clear in my memory. Instead now I'll cherish the joy one little girl gets from creating play-doh cakes, and a bigger girl's stories of what is happening at school. Now I have Jack to supply more memories, like his begging for, "hot nummies" (hot yummy food) or his invitation for me to come to his house (the space under the stairs). You better believe that I accept those invitations, I duck my head and I crawl into an awkward position and soak it in because one day I'll turn around and realize that he doesn't play under the stair anymore and I'll miss it.