Subscribe: Oh Mandie ♥
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
back  brayden  day  days  don  family  gage  life  love  made  new  pretty  school  things  time  wonderful  year  years 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Oh Mandie ♥

Oh Mandie

Updated: 2018-04-10T14:39:50.921-04:00


The Happy Heart Journals


This place has gathered a whole heck of a lot of dust over the months (ahem, year+).  Sadly, life took over and somehow I lost sight of this space.  If this microphone is still on, I'd like to invite you all over to my new space at The Happy Heart Journals.  A fresh new site, with a fresh new perspective.  I sure hope you'll join me on this new adventure. 



Lots of tiny blessings this week that made a few very hard days very sweet and wonderful.  That's how life goes sometimes.  You have to look beyond the bad stuff the the very good.  It's in everything.  You just have to want to find and savor it. One little Gage, fresh from the shower.  Mommy made him into a mummy with his big fluffy towel and then we cuddled up on the couch together in our pajamas.  A wonderful ending to the day.10 and 1/2 years of marriage later and I still think that he hung the stars in the sky.  I love him.  And he's mighty handsome too!Some mornings you just need to drink mass amounts of coffee out of a really cheesy mug in order to feel human.  For me, this is how roughly 99% of my mornings start.Valentine's Day is making an appearance in our house, starting with a failed attempt at a cute banner and a make do and mend attempt that resulted in the new cute one hanging from my chalkboard.  This favorite verse of mine is fitting for a day all about love, don't you think?My Project Life album is progressing.  And I'm actually caught up with 2013, which is a pretty huge achievement for me.  Let's not even talk about my 2012 album. Vanilla yogurt mixed with some yummy peanut butter granola made by a sweet friend of mine.  I'm pretty sure this stuff is heaven on earth. Play along!Life Rearranged[...]

Twenty Below


Thank you friends, for your kind response to my last post.  I'm ok.  That's just how I deal with the emotions that depression brings.  I write to purge it all out of my system and it helps get rid or all of the negativity floating around inside of my head.

Anyways ... on to bigger and better things ...

It's mighty cold here in Pennsylvania.  There is snow on the ground and the boys both have a two hour delay to the start of their school day.  It's zero degrees outside right now with a windchill of negative twenty.  Brrr!!

Today is one of those days that I'm glad that we can all spend a lazy morning together snuggled up under blankets, in our warm pajamas.  I'm so thankful that we have a house with heat to keep my littles and I safe.

Sweet, unexpected, lazy mornings are the very best kind.



It's funny... I had a completely different blog post in the works for today about a completely different topic. But late last night (or rather very early this morning) as I was laying in bed and trying my very best to get some amount sleep, these words circled around in my brain on a loop until I eventually drifted off.  Remember when I said that I was going to turn this space into more of a journal and less of a traditional blog?  Things are about to get heavy.  If that's not for you, then please don't continue. **************************************************It baffles me that even though God is standing right beside me, shouting the truth into my ear through the loudest megaphone, that it's the quiet whispers of the devil that I hear, whose lies creep up slowly like smoke,  turning everything they cover black.  It tells me over and over again that I'm not good enough and that I never was and that I never will be.  I freely admit that I've spent the majority of my life here, covered in darkness, trying to find my way out.  I've been pretty open in the past with my struggles with depression and anxiety.  It's a pretty nasty disease that I fight with on a consistent basis.  It sucks, plain and simple.  At one time it even completely ruled my life.  Now I have a handle on it, mostly.  I say mostly because I feel like I've spent the past few months in a fog, quiet and withdrawn.  And to be perfectly honest it scares the hell out of me, because I know just how slippery of a slope it is and how very easy it can be to fall head first into that pit of utter despair.  But it's that one lie that I can't seem to shake.  The truth is, I don't have a lot of friends.  I have hundreds of acquaintances, most of whom who actually know my story, but only one or two close friends.  And that's ok, I love those good friends dearly.  I just hate that I have a hard time connecting with people.  I'm shy, awkward, and am not at all eloquent.  And until I'm completely comfortable with someone I usually keep to myself.  Unfortunately, I don't usually get the chance to become comfortable with most people because those quirks of mine don't exactly lend themselves to being included.  I'm 29 years old and sometimes I think it hurts just as much as it did when I was 13 to be left out, just in a different way.  It's not fun seeing pictures of the wonderful baby shower thrown for a friend that no one thought to invite you to.  It hurts to hear all about how wonderful the food was at the person you thought you made a connection withs birthday dinner.  And listing to people talk about the fun girls game night that everyone but you goes to is heartbreaking.  And it's downright insulting when the only time you are included is in an effort to sell you something from this person or that person's home business.  So I did what I do best.  I withdrew, retreated, tagged out, quit making an effort, whatever you want to call it.  I stopped finding joy in the things I used to love.  I've been nasty to my husband who has been nothing but amazing, I've stopped participating in groups that I'm involved with, I've stopped talking to people, and I've even gone as far as to stop going to church regularly.  And let me be the first to say that I know that it was not the right response.  I have these feelings of inadequacy that I've never been able to let go of.  I think I've always had them, from the time I was little to right this very second. And sometimes I can overcome them and sometimes I allow them to dictate how I feel and see things around me.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  And I know that God loves me just as I am.  But sometimes I can't fathom why that same love isn't always extended by others.  It honestly hurts my heart.And then that one lie snowballs into a million other [...]

Our Story // Chapter 2


It's occurred to me that I've never really posted a detailed account of my life story, of how I grew up and of how I met and fell in love with my husband. Or rather that's what this blog is, perhaps, a work in progress where I can account for all of the events that have led up to who I am today. But there are things I don't want to forget, things that I can feel slipping as life moves forward. So I'm taking the time to record the details.  Chapter Two // Small Town Mind Going to school in Pennsylvania was like nothing I had ever known before.  In Virginia there were new students joining our classes all of the time, sometimes one or more a week.  On the flip side of that coin, people moved away fairly frequently as well.  In fact each class back then had a "Welcome Ambassador" for new students, someone to befriend them and show them around the school.  I was one 3 years in a row growing up.  In small town PA though, new people didn't typically move to the area, and if they did they were just starting a family, not coming along with one like we did.  The class sizes were extremely small compared to what I was used to and the kids in my new school had known one another since Kindergarten and had formed bonds that were many years in the making.  I was the new girl and was a bit of a spectacle, something a shy girl like me found very hard. I had a hard time making any real friends.  The section of town that we lived in was what I'll call prominent.  It had the biggest houses, the newest cars, and the nicest neighborhoods.  And most of the kids in the school district reflected that.  This was the very first time in my life that I ever remember feeling inferior.  Things that didn't matter to me were suddenly important in other's eyes and things that I never even thought to notice were blaringly obvious now.  My clothes didn't have name brand logos on them like everyone elses did. And my parents car wasn't a make and model of luxury.  My house was tiny and my sneakers were dirty from afternoons playing outside.  In a world of trips to the mall, expensive clothing, and 5 bedroom houses, I was officially an outsider.  I eventually made a few genuine friends and learned not to care about what I don't have and to be happy with what I do.  I learned more about myself as a person, thanks to my make do and mend attitude.  It was during this time that I fell in love with thrifting, sewing, and crafting.  I wouldn't say it was born out of necessity since my parents always supplied me with more than what I needed, but if I wanted something extra I had to figure out how to make that happen.  And I did.  ****************************************************Click here to read Our Story in order[...]

Most Loved Photos of 2012


2012 was a phenominal year.  It was filled with ups and downs and twists and turns.  We made memories and built dreams.  And I cannot wait to see what magic 2013 has up it's sleeve.  Because as long as we are all together, it's sure to be wonderful. Below are a few favorite photos I took as a part of 2012's Project Life albumHighlights: A new house, sweet kiddos, playtime *********************************************Highlights: chalkboard wall, Amish love, brothers, beautiful days, 100 days of school *********************************************Highlights: a new tattoo, sunshine filled days*********************************************Highlights: growing up, togetherness, scientifically speaking*********************************************Highlights: fresh veggies, 10 years********************************************* Highlights: gone fishin', brotherly love, adventures in quilting*********************************************Highlights: vacation, summertime fun, mile a day *********************************************Highlights: friends, outside days, slowing down********************************************* Highlights: minivan mom, 29, family, festivals *********************************************Highlights: cool weather, pumpkins patch visits*********************************************Highlights: 10 years old, hosting thanksgiving, first snow*********************************************Highlights: warm drinks/cold days, 6 years old, snow, love *********************************************[...]

Our Story // Chapter 1


It's occurred to me that I've never really posted a detailed account of my life story, of how I grew up and of how I met and fell in love with my husband. Or rather that's what this blog is, perhaps, a work in progress where I can account for all of the events that have led up to who I am today. But there are things I don't want to forget, things that I can feel slipping as life moves forward. So I'm taking the time to record the details. Chapter One // More Than EnoughGrowing up, I always had more than enough.  We had dinner on the table every night, new clothes for the beginning of every school year, cable television.  It wasn't until we moved from Va Beach, Va, when I was around 10 years old, to the mountains of Pennsylvania, that I noticed that something was different.  Where we lived in Virginia was wonderful and I have so many fond and cherished memories of growing up there. I loved spending long days outside riding my bike around our apartment complex, or playing volleyball with my Dad and my cousin out in the street, using a speed bump as our makeshift net.  No one cared about the clothes that you wore or what kind of car your parents drove when they picked you up from school.  None of that mattered there.  I was a happy kid. Not long after my Grandmother's death my parents decided that were done with city living and that they wanted to reconnect with family up in PA, where both of them are from.  For an entire Summer our things sat in storage as we traveled back and forth between VA and PA, trying to find a house for our family and work for my Dad.  I won't sugar coat it, it was hard being a kid without anywhere to really call home for 3 months.  My parents, little brothers (I had two at the time, a third to come later on), and I slept on couches, floors, and air mattresses at different family members houses.  At one point we stayed in a motel for a week, and at another we stayed at a campground in a tent for awhile.  But we made it through.  My dad found us a nice little house to live in and when he couldn't find a job in his profession in the small PA town we moved to, he started his own business from the ground up.  Eventually we settled in to our new place in the world.  Our house was tiny, only two bedrooms.  My parents got one and my brothers shared the other.  The house had a pretty large basement though, and with the help of some of m uncles, my Dad build me a wall and sectioned off part of it to transform it into a bedroom for me.  I was ecstatic.  I had my own space, set apart from everyone elses that offered a small bit of privacy.  It was pretty much a pre-teen dream come true.  And I made that space my very own too, plastering pictures across the walls and hanging my scrunci collection up (don't hate, it was the 90's!).  I practically lived in that basement room, I loved it so.  When school started I assumed I would blend right in.  I don't think I could have been more wrong.[...]

Balance // My One Little Word for 2013


If you are unfamiliar with the concept of picking one little word to guide you throughout the year, start here.If you happened to read my post yesterday, than my one little word for 2013 won't be that much of a surprise.  Balance is something that I have been severely lacking over the past bits of my life and is something that I think I desperately need to restore.This is my first year actually choosing a word to represent myself.  For some reason it always seemed too lofty of a goal, or maybe it was too stifling, being limited to just that one word.  Or maybe it was a complete cop-out because I just wasn't ready.  2013 is the year that I turn 30.  It's the year that I finally get serious about my health.  It's the year that we take more control over our finances and start budgeting, It's the year that I say goodbye to MOPS, a ministry that's been a huge part of my life for the last 3 years.  It's the year that we grow a garden in our backyard.  It's the year that I spend more time outdoors.  It's the year that I say Hello to everything good. It's the year that I won't bite off more than I can chew.And I'm ready for it all and then some.  But it's also the year where I will still work a full time job.  I will still be a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.  I will still have ups and downs and I'm pretty certain that there will still be days where I struggle.  But with balance, I can grow into someone different, someone who handles the seasons of life better.  A lot of stretching needs to take place before I can get to that place.  And that's what this year is all about.I want 2013 to be about recognizing that I get to choose. I get to decide how I am going to react to the big things and the little things and all the medium things that will come up over the course of a year. I can choose which battles are going to be worth the fight and I can choose which things are worthwhile enough to devote my time to.  I can say no to things, and that's ok. I can walk the line without teetering over one side or the other.In the face of all the adjustments, love, growing pains, newness and oldness scheduled for 2013, I choose to have balance.  [...]



One of the pitfalls of having an introverted personality is that I've developed a keen eye to my surroundings.  And sometimes the world around me isn't such a magical place.  Sometimes it's down right ugly, filled with hurting people.  I should know, for a long time I was one of them.

One of the greatest joys of being saved by grace is that I no longer wallow in my pain and suffering.  Instead I want to counter the ugly with beauty and light until it is so bright that it shines right through me, onward and upward, radiating God's love for me out of every single fiber of my being.

I live for the small moments.

I want to pick wildflowers from my backyard and soak up the summer sunshine.  I want to wake up every single morning to two sweet little boys climbing into bed with me and rousing with good morning snuggles.  I want to sit down with a favorite book and a hot mug full of coffee.  I want to sit on the back porch with my husband and count the stars in the sky; never making a wish because what we have is already a dream come true.

I want to find whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, anything that is excellent or praiseworthy and I want to completely immerse myself in those things.

Life is tricky.  And it's hard to navigate through all of its twists and turns. And on my journey through it I want to grab ahold of every last morsel of its sweetness and try my best to remember that the Light of the World is a steady and constant thing.  It's not set on dimmer switch.  He blazes. Always.

Life, Vacation Parts 2 and 3, and Other Things of Vital Importance


I'd say that I'm sorry for my unintentional break from blogging, but the truth is that I'm not.  I could even come up with a bunch of reasons to excuse my absence, but I'll spare you all.  Plain and simple, I've been spending time with my family lately, enjoying the Summertime.  And it's been wonderful.  Things here are slow, even though we've been so busy.  It's funny how that works.  Perhaps it's the season.  I'm working full time now and beginning to get into the planning stages of MOPS beginning next month.  Mike is also busy with work, his well loved schedule changing slightly and throwing all of our days off just a twinge. Brayden and Gage are both, albeit grudgingly, gearing up for school season to start again. The lazy days are winding down, but they are no less full. That's Summer for you though.  Anyways, even though our vacation was over two and a half weeks ago... or something like that (everything melts together in the Summer) we are still reliving all of the fun we had and smiling over it.  After our beach adventure to Ocean City, MD we road tripped it back to Pennsylvania for a visit to the Eastern side of the state.  We started in Hershey, where all things chocolate and yummy are made.  We roamed the charming little town, ate at a Fudruckers (so fun!), took a tour of the Chocolate Factory, and spent the day in Hershey Park.  Oh and we ate chocolate.  Because heaven knows I love Reese Cups!After spending a few days in Hershey we drove over to Strasburg, PA where they have a wonderful old time train station filled with working steam engine pulled trains.  Needless to say Gage, my all things train obsessed child, was in his glory.  We spent the morning at the station looking at wonderfully old trains before we took a ride of our own through Amish country in an open air coach (no windows = awesome). It was the perfect last day to our road trip style vacation.  We took it easy, got our Amish on (if you're new around here, then you probably don't know that I have an unhealthy love and obsession for all things Amish), ate some good eats, and made our way back home. Until next time, folks.  Please, don't be a stranger.[...]

Vacation 2012 - Part One


This Summer is moving right along and it's not stopping for anyone or anything.  Is it just me, or do the weeks of Summer move at a faster pace.  Those "lazy days" turn into a blur, but it's a blur of family, friends, sunshine, and laughter so I don't fret over it. Last week our little family went on a much needed vacation.  Mike and I have both been mega stressed lately and it was extremely nice to load up our new minivan (yep, I'm a minivan mom now ... holla!) and just drive away from everyone and everything for a few days of uninterrupted fun.We started our trip in Ocean City, Maryland laying on the beach and splashing in the ocean.  We stayed at the upper end of the shore, away from the hotbed of tourist traps.  The boys built sandcastles and jumped over breaking waves.  We got our seafood on and played a heated game of mini golf.  We got sand in our hair and sun kissed cheeks.  It was glorious.(All of these pics are 100% unedited.  I'm far too lazy for all of that right now, being still in vacation mode and all.)[...]

Giving it to God


I've had this post written a thousand and one times in my head and before I knew it it's been something like a month since I've last checked in here.  I've having a hard time organizing my thoughts and I knew I couldn't post anything else until I got this out, I just never anticipated that it would take so long.  I apologize for my absence.In March of 2011 I cornered my husband.  Around that time I had been feeling very strongly that God was calling us to expand our family.  I had been dropping little hints here and there for months, telling Mike that I wanted to have another baby but I was always met with some resistance.  That day in March though, we sat down for hours and really discussed it.  While Mike was slightly apprehensive about having another little one, it was because I had two fairly rough pregnancies with both Brayden and Gage and he was worried about me.  Aside from that, we were both on the same page and we both decided that it would be best to go with a Give it to God approach.  If it was meant for us to have another baby, God would take care of it.  That way there would be no planning or stressing on our part.Soon my IUD was removed and we were on our way.  I secretly imagined us getting pregnant right away, rocking a new little baby to sleep at night, decorating a nursery.  I would browse etsy and totsy for hours, looking at all of the sweet little baby things and picturing them in our home, on our baby.Weeks turned into months.  Months turned into a year.  And so on. I didn't understand why things didn't move in the direction I was at this point so desperate for. We never had any sort of problem getting pregnant with either Brayden or Gage. I was emotional and angry. All around me friends were announcing their pregnancies, MOPs moms were rocking their newborns or showing off their beautiful round bellies, and I was being invited to showers to celebrate new little lives. My kids were getting older and I was stuggling see how a new baby would even now fit in our family dynamic thanks to the passing of time.After my IUD was removed I had some strange side effects, the worst being a complete loss of having a monthly cycle.  And while many women would consider this a blessing, when you're trying to get pregnant it's a nightmare.  Even though I never officially got a period we were told by the doctor to go ahead and try for a baby.  And because I didn't have a regular monthly indicator to tell me whether or not I was pregnant, I found myself buying over the counter tests every few weeks like clockwork.  Months and months and months of negative results were gut wrenching and heartbreaking.  Each time I would spend the few minutes that it takes the test to work in prayer, pleading for this time to be the one with the positive result. But I never got it. I started to fall into a fairly deep depression. In that time I had consulted my doctors office who had me seeing a practitioner.  On the first visit she told me everything was fine and we should just keep trying.  On the second visit she told me perhaps I was "too overweight to have a baby and that I should lose some weight first and then try again".  I left the office in tears that day, feeling like an enormous fool.One afternoon I had apparently reached my breaking point.  Mike was at work and both Brayden and Gage were at school.  I was in the kitchen listening to KLOVE (Christian Radio) and cleaning.  I remember what happened next quite clearly, and it's something that I think I'll always in some way, shape, or form carry with me.  A story came on about a mom delivering her b[...]

Gone Fishin'


Last week was an all out crazy one.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire Summer is going to be that way though, honestly.  And that's ok.  That's kind of what the dog days are about.  But I have happy little kiddos with sweet sun kissed skin, so I'm smiling.Highlights from the last few days have included:Vacation Bible School for the boys, playing taxi cab to and from for momLunch date with a friendA mountain of laundry that had seriously overtaken my houseA new wonky work schedule with more hours that I'm trying to make the best out ofTown celebration with food and gamesA doctor appointment and a trip down to the hospital lab for blood workAttempting to find time to go grocery shoppingPark Day for Father's Day complete with a picnic, swimming, and fishing. Evening Playground visit (complete with a buddy in tow)I'm tired y'all!  But I'm so happy too.  I live for this time of the year.[...]

Back in the Habit


Sometime around February, you know when you're snowed in, and the cold weather it getting to you, and you just need to find something productive to do because if you don't you just might go bananas, I began to get the nagging feeling of wanting to play around with making jewelry again.

Only around here in February it was actually in the high 60's and low 70's and we were outside playing and soaking up the strange Winter sunshine. (Funny because it's only been in the 50's here for the past few days, in June!) But still, the want was there.

So I did what any other gal in my predicament would do ... I busted out all of my beads and findings, ordered a whole bunch more, and promptly forgot all about my desire to get back into jewelry making while all of my supplies collected dust on my desk.

4 months later I'm oh so slowly getting back into it and I'm falling in love with the process all over again. And even slower than that, I'm adding things to my long neglected etsy shop.

So yeah, I'm back in the jewelry making business again. For now.

Favorite May Photo


I don't often enter photo challenges because, well, I don't really consider myself a photographer.  I have a fancy camera, but truthfully I almost never pick it up anymore, not when I always have my iPhone on me.  That and I really only take pictures of my kids and considering the subject matter I just might be a bit biased. 

But I just so happened to have my Canon out the other day and captured a new favorite of little mister Gage, all sun kissed, squinty eyed, and smiling away.  This is easily my favorite photo from May.  

Adventures in Quilting


I haven't blogged about my latest crafty project yet ... which I completed over a week ago.  I'm a slacker, I know this.You see I have a notorious habit of starting a new project (and not just any old project, it's usually a massive undertaking of some kind) before I finish whatever it is that I'm currently working on.  I like to call if Craft ADD.  After trying and trying and trying some more to get a halfway decent photo of the four of us with my Canon on the tripod I gave up and declared that we would be having our family photos professionally taken.  I mean, as wonderful as the family shots we did manage to capture are (a blurry Mike trying to get into the shot before the timer goes off, a kid or two with a finger up their nose, and multiple double chins) it's not exactly something I want to send out on our Christmas cards this year.I immediately started thinking about how I could make our photos more personal.  A quilt!  We can all sit on a quilt!  Unfortunately none of the previous one's I've made were big enough to fit all four of us on. Neither was the one I was putting together out of found vintage sheets. So a month before our scheduled photo session I decided to make a new, massive quilt.I had grand plans for this quilt, complete with a pre-determined design.  But because I actually had a time limit with my project that kind of all went out the window.  I can't be too upset though because if it wasn't for that time limit there is a good chance that this project would be one of those ones that takes me forever to finish.Materials: California Girl by Moda JellyrollBlue Flower fabric from Joann'sGreen fabric used to make the binding from Hobby LobbyEven though this quilt ended up quite a bit more simple than I had originally planned I still think that it maybe one of the most cherished projects ever.  The colors and patterns are just plain old amazing, plus it's a project that I set out to complete in a certain period of time and I actually did it.  That is feat all in it's own. I can't wait to have our family pictures taken sitting atop this beautiful blanket.Of course I attempted to photograph my quilt on a super windy day.  Thankfully my husband and mother in law stepped in to attempt to hold it down so that the wind didn't carry it off.  Despite the hands and feet in the pictures, you get the idea.I still can't believe that I managed to fit this thing through my machine.  It's huge, fitting a full sized bed comfortably.  Unfortunately we don't have a full sized bed in our house so it's new home will be on the back of my couch.It's not crooked, I promise!  It's hanging on a clothesline and was too heavy so we had to find a stick to prop the line up.The back of the quilt.  I used a pretty found vintage sheet that I picked up from a thrift store for a dollar.  It's couldn't be more perfect. And that, my dear friends, is my quilting adventure!Linking up:[...]

A Long Weekend


This weekend was a crazy beautiful long and very full one.  It was completely filled with small and special moments that made me smile and recognize just how blessed I am.  I woke up today sorry to see the past few days gone, but full of love and laughter because of them.  And really, isn't that what's life about in the long run?On Friday Mike and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  It blows my mind not only that we've been together for so long but just that so much time has passed.  I remember very vividly my Dad telling a much younger me to hold on to my days because once I had a family of my own they would fly by me.  I'm finding out just how right he was.  The past 10 years have been nothing short of magical.  That's not to say that we haven't had bumps in the road because there have been many, more that I can honestly recount.  But I've chosen to focus on the good rather than dwell on the bad.  And I'm proud to say that I've spent the past decade married to an amazing guy.  We celebrated right were we started, New York City.  (10 years ago, the two of us broke newlyweds spent our honeymoon exploring the city)We came home from our trip to spend Monday soaking wet in out backyard having a picnic.  We slipped and slided, launched water balloons at one another, danced around in the kiddie pool, and squirted each other with water guns.  It was a fantastic way to beat the 90 degree heat.  And then we ate and ate and ate.  The weekend ended with two boys passed out cold in their beds and Mike snoring away on the couch.  I took a nap earlier thanks to sheer exhaustion so I relaxed in a quiet house, surrounded by bubbles.Yes, life is sweet.  And I'm so thankful for it.[...]



What we did this week:Working on this pretty project.  I absolutely do not need yet another hobby, but I can't seem to resist embroidery.  It also didn't hurt that I was able to pick up something like 30 hoops in all different sizes for something like $7.00 at Goodwill.  Score!Beautiful days full on sunshine is skirt weather according to me.  This beauty was actually another Goodwill score.  It makes me feel like a little girl again every time I wear a skirt.  Especially when a breeze comes along and makes it flutter in the wind.  Magical.Yummy Asparagus.  Good Eats!  Tossed in a little olive oil and grilled.  So good.After a roap trip to Target (the closest one to us is about an hour away.  How lame is that?!?) the hubs and I stopped into Chipotle.  Best burrito I've ever eaten in my entire life.  Have you ever been?This little monkey made a cute ladybug hat out of a paper bowl.  And then wore it around all day long.  I could die from the overload of cuteness.Watermelon.  One of the best parts of the summer hands down.  The colors.  That pretty vintage Pyrex bowl of mine.  What's not to love?After two long months of sewing, I finally FINALLY finished my quilt.  It's huge and I'm in love with it.  I'll have to devote an entire post to it.  Sometime next week. Another wonderful week full of love, good eats, sunshine, and laughter.  Linking up![...]



What we did this week: We made these amazing S'mores Cookies thanks to a cupboard full of left over supplies from a recent backyard campfire.  As far as cookies go, they were pretty darn magical.  And I don't really like chocolate, so that's saying something.  Plus they just look fun, don't they?Two silly little boys munching on burgers and fries and cracking open peanuts at Five Guys.  Any night that this momma doesn't have to cook dinner is a good night, but being out with these guys makes it that much better.  It's the little moments.Hello Max!  I never officially posted about our newest furry friend.  This little guy wandered into a friend of mines garage looking for love.  Unfortunately there were allergy issues.  She couldn't bear to take him to the humane society and with a face like that who can blame her.  So Mr. Max came home with us because when it comes to animals I'm a big ol' softie.  And yes, I now have two cats named Max and Ruby.  If you're a momma you'll see the pure awesome-ness of this.These wild beauties have been popping up all over parts of my backyard.  I don't know exactly what they are, but they sure are pretty.After what I've been referring to as The Pre-k Travesty of 2012 we started transitioning Gage to homeschooling.  So far it's been more wonderful than I an even begin to express.  And getting to spend all day with this little guy again is pretty fantastic too.A happy army of gifts for an amazing group of women on the MOPS Creative Activities Team, whom I was so blessed to be able to hang out with and lead this year. Inside was individual lemonade packets and a lemon shaped notepad.  Thanks for the idea, Pinterest! Twins!  I got to babysit these two sweet little girls yesterday.  Two time's the fun!It was a wonderful, and very full week.  We're enjoying the sunny skies and family fun time over here.  Linking up!! [...]

A Mother's Day


I'm still messing around with how things are looking around here.  Please bare with me.I'm pretty sure that this Mother's Day was one of the most relaxed and wonderful that I've ever had.  The past few weeks have been hectic and uber-stressful.  Yesterday was a nice break from that.The boys let me sleep in, eventually jumping on me and covering me is smooches as a wake up call.  In bed, with my eyes still thick with sleep I was thrust two cards from two little boys and some wonderful gifts.  The boys picked me some lovely wildflowers and gave me a personalized mom snow globe and Mike gave me Stephanie Nielson's book, which I had been searching for forever.  (Small town living has it's drawbacks occasionally.  Every single time I went to our one and only book store that book was sold out and I just hadn't gotten around to ordering it on Amazon yet)We spent the day outside gathered around a fire and cooking on the grill.  Gage and I gathered pine cones to make bird feeders with until he got bored and scurried off to play in the dirt with his trucks.  Brayden and I tossed a ball back and forth for awhile and eventually Gage came back over and joined in.  A glorious and easy-going day indeed.Brayden threw Gage the ball and his little five year arms just couldn't get high enough to catch it and over his head it soared, landing further down in the yard.  Of course Gage went after it, eager to try and put as much power as his brother had into his toss back.  But little Gage tripped and fell on some rocks from his dump truck dig site and skinned his knees up.  Daddy stepped in to take our places in the game of catch with Brayden and a teary eyed Gage and I walked into the house to cleaned up.As wonderful as all of the above was, I will remember this part of Mother's Day and it's simple sweetness forever.  I held my little boy in my arms as he struggled with whether it was ok to cry or not as he transitions from small to big.  I told him it was ok to let it out because no one will ever love his as much as his mommy loves him.  I whispered in his ear that mommy hugs are magical and make everything better, even skinned knees.  And then I took Gage into the bathroom and gave him a bath to wash the dirt from an afternoon of playing away.  I dried him off and stuck a Spongebob band-aid on him and made his good as new.  Soon a band-aid won't make him feel better and soon a hug from mom won't solve all of life's little problems.  I know that because I've had the joy of watching Brayden grow into a strong and capable young boy.  But yesterday and those quiet moments and whispers of love I'll cherish forever. [...]

Cultivating the Spirit of a Five Year Old


This year was the first year that I have put Gage into any long term school setting.  He was 4 years old when he started pre-k in the fall and up until then he was home with me 24/7.  Gage is a very friendly and social little boy.  He's also as smart as can be, reading tons and tons of words at only 4 years old, knowing his address and phone number, and being able to speak, write and count quite well.  I had no doubt that he would thrive, both socially and academically. Gage adores school.  He loves to learn new things, has a million friends, and is just a generally happy little boy.  He is able to breeze through his school work with time to spare, and often uses that time to try and help his friends with their work.  He's excited about learning, and likes to share that excitement with those around him.  Unfortunately, Gage gets in trouble a lot in school.  And when I say a lot I mean almost every single day.  In fact there has only been a handful of days where he has came home from school without a negative note.  And to date he has never ever received a kind note or a word of encouragement. (He has a daily behavior chart that gets sent home with him daily that records the teachers remarks)I'm not saying that my kid is a perfect little boy, because he's not.  At times in school he's up and out of his seat when he shouldn't be.  And sometimes he doesn't raise his hand when he answers a question.  And when the class has 20 minutes to do a worksheet that he can do in 5 he gets bored and fidgets.Because of that love for learning that Gage has, and maybe a bit of my own personal desire to give him the best head start that he could possibly get, I kept him in his school, hoping and praying that he would soon begin to thrive behaviorally.But he is a little boy, only 5 years old.  And rather than break his spirit day in and day out by pegging him as the "bad kid" I want my son to be consistently encouraged and taught life skills in a positive environment.  I'm him mom, it's my duty to advocate for him.  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  Ephesians 4:29I often wonder why the expectations that kids in his age group have to meet are so high when they are still so little.  They should be learning, playing, exploring, and using their imaginations.  They should know that they are loved unconditionally.  They should be shown examples of kindness and devoted leadership.  They should feel safe at school.  They should be encouraged to per sue their interests in a productive way.  They should be shown that the world around them is absolutely magical.Today, after yet another round of discouragement from his teacher, I withdrew Gage from pre-k.  He'll have a fresh start next Fall with a new teacher in Kindergarten.  But for now I'm stepping in and trying to undo the damage that was already done to his spirit.  Because my son is not bad.  He is not a troublemaker.  He is not disrespectful.  And his is not any other label.  He is Gage and he is amazing.  We are all amazing.  And we should be told that every single day.  And I plan to do just that.So in case you haven't heard it yet today:YOU ARE AMAZING[...]

Wordless Wednesday


Brayden Andrew


God never ever ceases to blow me away.  Just yesterday I spent the entire day feeling inadequate and as though I was running a rat race and there was no piece of cheese at the end of my box.  But I found rest in His word and I started over and I did so with a smile.  It may have taken every effort to put that smile on my face, but I did it just the same.Today I was rewarded.Let's talk about this guy right here.Brayden is a thinker.  He always has been.  When he was little he would always carry around a notebook with him in which he would draw out very calculated and often very outlandish experiments that he made up that he would one day like to do.  Can an elephant dive from a high dive into a swimming pool?Could humans create a new planet in our solar system that is life stable and send people to live there if Earth becomes over populated?What exactly is Styrofoam made out of and why is it so light?We must have a hundred "journals" around the house full of Brayden's questions and drawings.  He's a smart kid.  In fact he's a very smart kid.He is also a social kid and an emotional kid.  He's easily distracted because he has so many friends and interests and not enough time in the day to devote to everything.  And he feels thing harder than some other boys his age would.  He takes things to heart.Brayden is and always was a straight A student.  On Tuesday, however, he brought home a progress report from school saying that he had a C in math.  I immediately scheduled a conference with his teacher.  No big deal.  If there was something that he wasn't understanding I just wanted more information on the material so that he and I could work on it at home.  Unfortunately his math troubles (and as consequence his devastation and worry over it) compounded with all of my other issues left me feeling as if I had somehow failed my son.  How did I not notice that he was struggling in this subject?I walking into that school today with the mindset of a parent determined not to see her child lacking in anything.  I walked out as a parent who couldn't be more proud (and who was maybe kicking herself a little for getting so worked up in the first place without having actually having a conversation with the teacher).Brayden is not struggling with math after all.  He is struggling with boredom and a tendency to rush through his work, which results in careless mistakes.  He knows the material backwards and forwards.  He just doesn't check his work on tests because the call of whatever book he has tucked away in his desk is there.  His teacher told me that he is by far one of the brightest students she has ever had and that he is a massive encouragement to the other students in the class.Brayden's star is shinning so brightly, there's no limit to how high he can fly.Yesterday I was a wreck, worried that my baby was struggling and that I wasn't doing all that I could to intercede for him.Today I had one of that rare moments that truly validates that I am, in fact, a good mother.  Tomorrow, Brayden will start the evaluation process for testing into his schools gifted program. [...]

Earthly Treasures


I have a confession to make.Most days it feels as though I am floundering my way though life. I am a mother of two strong willed children.  Brayden and I are in a constant battle over talking back to his father and I.  Gage is extremely social, so much so that sometimes he's disruptive at school.I am the wife to a man who I don't always have patience for.  I expect too much out of Mike a lot of the time and when he doesn't live up to those expectations I get frustrated with him.My clean laundry is unfolded and in a mountain in the middle of my living room floor, where it has been for three days now.I haven't actually cooked a meal for dinner since Friday. I start a million projects at a time and take my sweet time finishing them when I really should be focused on other things. (case in point my Project Life album and the new quilt I'm sewing)I'm part of a leadership team in MOPS and more often than not I feel like the weakest link in the chain, as in perhaps my faith isn't strong enough to be there, or my self assurance is lacking in the extreme and maybe I'm not the best person to be in the position that I'm in. I've also alienated so many friends as a result of my depression and anxiety that I'm leery of making any new ones for fear that they too will leave. And I've all but abandoned this blog and any friends I've made through it. A lot of the time I feel like a girl who is still struggling to find her place in the sun.  I admit that I coveted the picture perfect family, with two kids who were always respectful and mild mannered.  I wanted the neat and tidy house and to prance around like Donna Reed in a skirt and heels with an apron around my waist cooking three course meals for my doting husband.  I wanted the popular blog who a million people subscribe to, all because they thought that the things I have to say have some sort of merit.   And I wanted the life long girlfriends that I can laugh and cry with fifty years from now.I've had a pretty nasty habit of collecting earthly treasures and comparisons of the people and things around me.  But let's be real for a minute here.  Say I had all of that stuff.  Say that my life was picture perfect.  What would it truly get me?  Happiness?  Contentment?  Fulfillment?  The answer is nothing.  It would get me absolutely nothing.  I can't take any of it with me when I die.  And holding on to the wish of having it all has prevented me from seeing what is truly important.  I'm striving to be the absolute best mother that I can be.  We have our hills to climb, but God loves me anyways.I'm trying so hard to be the wife that I was designed to be for my husband.  It's a work in progress, but God has never left my side.My house is messy and I start projects without finishing them.  But God still wants to come inside.I'm self deprecating, but with God at my side I'm (albeit slowly) learning that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.   For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Every single day is a battle.  And every single day that I wake up I am choosing[...]

Often Times


Often times I'm blown away and just how much my boys have grown up. 

And often times I like to walk just a step or two behind so that I can count three of the best blessings of this life as they are right in front of me.