Is it possible that my closest relative is the Orca?

Because that is how I feel...ginormous...all over. And how. Doesn't help that at my last doctors appointment my doctor told me that "We should keep an eye on that..." in reference to the 9 pounds I had gained since I had seen him two weeks before...I felt like saying..."Well, if your scale wasn't weighted then we wouldn't have this problem...AND it was Christmas...and if I didn't have to wear jeans(we all know those are heavy...right?)!". I don't have a single shirt that completely covers my tummy...so I am always wearing extra long tank underneath. I am just dying to know where eight more weeks of baby is going to go...maybe I should ask an Orca?
Anyway...this is my new favorite thing for the day...totally inspired by the way too overpriced pottery barn catalog that came in the mail yesterday...cute little door hangers. :) I think I will list the two blank ones as is and give the buyer the option of adding a word...
...I'll also be adding a couple new tooth fairy huts to the shop...
I could just eat this one...it's too cute! :) There is a little pocket on the back for the newly lost tooth and a ribbon handle to hang it from the door so you don't have to be nearly as sneaky. :)

~*~
And to my father in law...next time you talk to your youngest son...you can say I told you so. Doug was playing ball in the house...and broke two things! You will be happy to know that the instant it happened, your grandson started yelling "Daddy, naughty...daddy, naughty"...over and over again. :)


Hope your are all having the most lovely of days! :) Any fun things going on for you this week?

xoxo
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the post in which you learn just how nerdy i am...

This photo makes my heart sing...the deepest...nerdiest part of me. And that is only the beginning. Part of my "getting ready for baby" quest has involved the obvious task of getting Moses ready for baby, too. I am trying daily to teach him more independence, give him more structure to his day, etc. I have been searching for some time for an answer to the question "What do I do with all of these toys?". We are a family that feels like Moses' toys shouldn't be hidden away...this is his home too, so he should be able to have as easy access to his things as Doug and I do to ours. So I have searched and searched for a solution...baskets-too brittle, canvas totes-too spendy, bookends that I wanted for his books-too expensive. I wanted something toddler proof and boy tough. Enter Lowe's. One of the loves of my life. :) Enter galvanized paint buckets. Around $7 each. :) Now we are talking.
Now just throwing toys into buckets was not enough for me...I needed order. So I whipped up some fabric and vinyl tags. :)
Took a photo of what belonged in each bucket...
...inserted a photo into a tag and attached to the right bucket. :)
Tada!! Function, orderly and cute!
And it doesn't look quite like we run a preschool here. :) While I was there I bought two galvanized tubs as well...filled with all of Moses' board books, they make perfect heavy duty bookends...PLUS Moses can easily put away most of his books. :) So far he treats the buckets like a game...if he finds a stray toy he runs to go figure out what bucket it belongs in.
~*~
This method also helps with another one of my favorite tricks for organizing/cleaning. I take 15-20minutes at a time, twice a day and "reset" the house. Just kind of run through the downstairs (usually my husband is asleep upstairs) and put everything back where it belongs, load the dishwasher, pick up stray toys, shoes, etc...and get the house ready for the next part of the day/morning. We usually make Moses help with this before he goes down for his nap and before he goes to bed for the night. That way I can wake up in the morning to a clean and clutter free house and THAT makes for a good start to my day.
What do you do to help get your day started right?
And here is one of my new items for the shop...granted I did not invent the altered clipboard...however I have yet to find ones like these on Etsy...or otherwise. :) They are sweet little clipboards that are also chalkboards...and I just LOVE them!! :) I have boy friendly designs that are great fun...(I think boys are a little neglected on Etsy)...
And of course there are super sweet girl ones too. :) Love, love! I think they are perfect for taking in the car, using in the stroller or just about anywhere. :)
And here is another reason to call me a nerd. I extended the tissue cozy idea to make a cozy for handi-wipes...aka antibacterial wipes...yes, I am THAT mom who likes to wipe a cart down before I plop my kid into it. :) So those are my two new ideas...and I love them. :)

Hope your day is good and that your week is off to a fresh start!
Don't forget the question:
What do you do to help get your day started right?

xoxo
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Two things...

Two things have been on my heart lately...one is this quote from Martin Luther:
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.

The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him,
his rage we can endure;
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

Seems kind of random, I know. But for some reason I keep coming back to it again and again.

The other thing that keeps running through my head is a story our pastor told before Christmas. There was a man with a wife and a daughter. The wife and daughter loved the Lord and had a relationship with Him. The husband took no offense to this and let them go on their merry way, believing as they choose to because he could see no harm in it. However, he could see no Earthly reason why a God that is SO great would ever lower himself to the level of man and come to Earth to save us...just didn't make any sense to him...so he did not believe and had no relationship with Jesus.
Just before Christmas the mother and daughter were headed out to the Christmas service and invited the father to go. He said no thanks, I'll be here when you get back. While the mother and daughter were away the father started to hear a thumping against the window...silence...then a thump...silence...then a thump. He eventually got up to check out what was going on. He went out onto his porch and witnessed a family of birds throwing themselves into the window...trying, in vain, to get to the warmth that was inside...repeatedly throwing themselves against the window...knowing no other way. The man knew he had to do something to help...it was bitterly cold out...so he thought for a bit...then ran to the barn, where it was much warmer inside and threw open the doors...turned on the lights and waited for the birds to come to their senses and fly over to take refuge in the warmth. The birds didn't get it...they kept throwing themselves at the window. The man tried over and over to shoo them in the direction of the barn...with no luck. Frustrated beyond belief the man thought to himself...if only I could become a bird...I could show them the way...and in that moment he understood why God had chosen to do the same.

Again, I am not entirely sure why each of these things keep playing in my head...I know that I am constantly struggling with feeling like I "deserve" the blessings in my life. I know I can't and aren't expected to earn them. I need Jesus to show me the way so that I am not constantly thumping myself against a glass that I will never get through on my own.

I am feeling like the Martin Luther quote is to remind me to forgive myself...the "one little word" that shall fell him is forgiveness. The way I know that it should be directed towards me is because I am not one who holds a grudge towards anyone but myself. I forgive and forget the hurts from others and move on...it requires too much energy to do otherwise...forgiving myself on the other hand...requires real work on my part...that I am usually OK with slacking on...

So I know this may be my most random post to date... :) That's OK right...I just needed to get it out there and process it a bit more...just want to get out of it what I am supposed to...maybe you see something there that I don't? Or maybe there is a tidbit for you in there?

I hope that your day is blessed and that your heart is full today!

I have that fun toy organization post, plus TWO brand NEW things to show you for the shop...tomorrow! :)

Until then...xoxo

P.S. In response to the yet unpublished anonymous comment...I think you may have misread my writings...I did not mean to imply that I never forgive myself...it just comes more easily to me to forgive others...forgiveness for myself comes, just at a slower pace. I think that comes from having to live with myself every day and not many others. :) I also did not mean to imply that I do not love myself. In actuality, I do love me...mostly because God loves me. Yes, I always want to improve and be better...be the best me I can be and there are days when that is easier than others. And as most everyone who knows me understands...authenticity is my favorite thing...and I strive for it daily. Due to some issues I have had in the past that started similarly to the anonymous comment...I am choosing not to publish it at this time...if you, anonymous, can email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com and assure me that you are not the person who started trouble before...I would be happy to publish. Hope you can understand. :)


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p.s.

as part of the whole house purge, doug and i went through our dvd collection...i now have around 40 dvd's available for purchase for $1 each plus shipping! some are not opened...includes lots of chick flicks, praise baby dvd collection and lots more. if you would like to see the complete list of dvd's available email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com (no spaces). :)

thanks! :) see you soon with a fun way to organize TOYS!

xoxo
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How to exploit your childs cuteness...

Step One:
Have a cute kid.
Step Two:
Print in BIG BOLD LETTERS a message you would like to send out to the masses...here we used "Thank You".
Step Three:
Place in a nice chunky frame-minus the glass to eliminate glare.
Step Four:
Bribe two year old with a skittle AND an encore playing of the latest Thomas episode. (yes only ONE skittle did the trick...how long am I going to get away with that?).
Step Five:
Snap away...takes LOTS of photos so that one is bound to be good.
Step Six:
Order as postcards and send out your thank yous for all your recently received goods. :)
Step Seven:
As a bonus this uses up all those extra holiday stamps that would be a little weird to appear on your birth announcements. :)
Just for the record, Moses thought this was an acceptable photo to use as well. :)
So. It is safe to say that my brain is on it's way out the door...several events have led to this realization...the most recent is that I spent ALL day yesterday thinking and knowing that it was Wednesday...thinking ALL day long that I would have ALL day Thursday to finish up all the little projects I wanted to get done for the shop and have them ready to list on Friday (a day that was two away). Imagine my surprise when I learned, too late in the day to do anything about it, that yesterday was actually Thursday. So there are still several projects to be done for the shop...oops. I did manage to squeeze in a few things...mostly to make myself feel less crazy.
~*~
I'll be adding the barrettes above to the shop here and there...there will be limited sets available so snap them up while you can. :)
And I just LOVE the Valentines Day version of the photo holders that I came up with...there is a pink dots version...
And a red dots version. Super, Super sweet and a perfect gift for so many...especially the grandmas I think...how sweet would these be hanging off a door knob or coat hook or anywhere really. :)
~*~
Ok, ready for my slightly crazy cleaning/organizing trick? I try to touch things as little as possible. Not really in an OCD sort of way but better...and way healthier. Say you have a cup of coffee in the morning...that cup gets left on the table...eventually moves to the counter...then the sink...and finally the dishwasher (where it should have been the whole time). I try to avoid those kinds of sequences as much as possible...in this case, just putting the cup in the dishwasher as soon as I was done. I also sort the mail by the trash can and throw out the junk immediately. I try my best to put things RIGHT back where they belong when I am done using them...because let's face it...the only person in my house who is going to put it away is me. :)

Do you have any slightly crazy cleaning tricks? Come on...you can share. :)

This photo is thanks to you in advance for sharing. ;)

Hope your household is as happy as mine today...Doug is in heaven that his Hokies won the bowl game last night. :) And if daddy is happy then Moses is happy too...that boy is following fast in his dad's love of sports...whenever he sees (what he thinks) is a touchdown being scored he yells "Touchdown Yankees!!!!". The right sentiment is there right?

Don't forget to answer the question of the day...
Do you have any slightly crazy cleaning tricks?

xoxo
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A non holiday?

New Year's has always been a sort of non-holiday to me...I don't drink and I don't make New Year's resolutions and I am usually in bed by 11pm at the latest...plus it takes me 'til June to consistently write the new year down instead of the previous one...basically always been that way...I kinda figure that with Jesus...everyday is a fresh new start. Isn't that nice? :)
~*~
This is the time of year that I start the dreaded tax process...gathering receipts from every envelope and crevice in the house...waiting patiently(or not so patiently) for the required forms to come in the mail...it's the only time of year that I kinda like numbers...to compare last year with this year...especially since I started Etsy. This year I feel especially hurried to get the taxes done...I want them done before baby comes...and there aren't so many weeks left...yikes!
Like I said...numbers are not my favorite...pretty new crafts, however...after I did my share of tax prep last night, I treated myself to making some of these...I have seen them around the web here and there in various forms and textures...most of them seemed too frilly for me...so I switched it up a bit and came up with these Funky versions...at the moment they are just pretty to look at...not sure what to do with them now. I thought about attaching a ponytail holder...what do you think? Any ideas?
Also been working on some pretty new towels...among other little projects here and there. I am basically slow as a snail these days and the couch is my favorite...I love any craft I can do from there. Today, while Doug is off I hope to get all the baby things OUT of the attic, get the Christmas things back IN the attic and get to working on a room for this baby that will be here before I know it! In the meantime I have have little house projects going on...the house purge continues and I love it. :)
~*~
Another one of my "tricks" is actually a motivational tool. Our family motto is "Do what you have to, so you can what you want to". I had it printed on a sign that hangs where we can see it often. I can't tell you how many times seeing that sign that has gotten me in gear to tackle the laundry or empty the dishwasher or some other mundane NON-fun task. Then, when I get to sit and do something for fun or crafty sake...I feel a lot less guilty. :) More tricks later...but 'til then...

Is there some trick you use to motivate yourself?
On the Moses front...he has been as enjoyable as ever...I swear some days I could just eat him up he is SO sweet! One of my favorite things to do is to listen in on him and Doug playing together...to hear my two best boys having fun together just makes the whole house warm and cozy. Last night was beat box lessons...complete with Moses learning the sounds to pretend he is scratching a record...only the cutest thing you have ever heard a two year old do. He also loves to play drums on the couch pillows while he dances...with probably more rhythm than his dad and I combined. :)

Hope that this year you face EACH day with a fresh new start! :)

Don't forget the question of the day:
Is there some trick you use to motivate yourself?

xoxo
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Bit by bit...

We are getting back into the swing of normal...seems we haven't seen much of that since summer...while I do love all of my Fall and Christmas decorating, baking, entertaining, etc...there is just something about getting back to the normal...you know? I have been working at resetting the house back to normal mode...all of the Christmas goodies are tucked away for next year...I have been purging the house of "extra"...admittedly one of my favorite things to do...Oh, and thinking about getting ready for a new baby...
~*~
I am often asked how I manage to keep such an organized home...I have many tricks up my sleeve you know? :) One is that I go through the house regularly...monthly and get rid of things we don't need or use. The less stuff you have the less time it takes to care for it. "Things" that live in our house must meet one of two criteria...1) Do I LOVE it? 2) Is it useful? If it doesn't meet one of those two I usually get rid of it(hello Goodwill)...I have not given up something that I regret to date. I don't often keep things because I might need it someday...an obvious exception are all of the baby things stored up in our attic...but those will be useful soon, won't they?
~*~
I'll share more of my tricks in later posts but for now, how about you? What do you do to keep organized?
I have also been crafty...as least as crafty as one can be sitting on their bottom...I have had a cold since Christmas Eve and have lots of extra aches and pains to go along with my "normal" pregnancy ailments. :) I swear this pregnancy is twice as hard on my body as the last one...the sweet little birds above are one of my favorite new things to hit the shop soon...
I am also smitten with my latest bunch of scraps from Lassie Girl...LOVE all of the yummy dots and new fabrics...and love that I can get my hands on some fabrics that I love without having to buy a yard of it.

Oh, and one more thing...if you are anything like me you will love this...want 1200 FREE prints? Go HERE and sign up for an account and you can get 50 free 4 by 6's and 50 free 5 by 7's per month!! :) Start the new year ahead of the game with already having your Christmas photos ordered! :) I had a friend who recently started using them and has no complaints. :)
P.S. If you sign up...use this link so I will get some additional free credits...you will too.
http://www.artscow.com/?Ref=520662

Don't forget my question of the day: What do you do to keep organized?
~*~

xoxo
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Do you?

If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I don't often post videos...this one however so powerful and perfect...each and every time I see/hear it...it brings me to tears and and gets me excited for the time that Jesus will come...I am so glad I know Him....

That's My King...Do You Know Him?

I hope you will take three minutes to watch this...I would love to hear your thoughts on it...
I guarantee it will refresh you and get you motivated to go and DO! :)

xoxo
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Christmas in our house...

Christmas for us started on the 23rd...when my honey informed me that he had the 23rd and the 24th off!!!!...that makes the most time off, for Christmas , that he has had since we have known each other...it was heavenly...
Christmas Eve...we enjoyed hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows with breakfast...
...and breakfast was yummy, gooey cinnamon rolls...
...there was just a tad of excitement in the air...I think for all Moses knew daddy had off work and tomorrow was Jesus birthday...
...after Moses went to bed we set up these lights...leading from his room down to the tree...a little Christmas critter leading the way on each step...
...one of my favorite parts of being a parent is playing Santa. :) We got everything ready and just right...
...This little guy was waiting outside of Moses' bedroom door so he could see him first thing!!
...Moses was thrilled to have such a greeting on Christmas morning (he is naked because the first thing he does every morning is run to use the potty). :) I thought the snowman would save him some dignity. :)
...after he was dressed and ready to go downstairs, his excitement bubbled over at all of the Christmas critters showing him the way...
...just wish I could bottle the emotions a child shows on Christmas morning...
...he opened a couple of little gifts...then we managed to talk him into having some breakfast. :)
...our Christmas morning breakfast is monkey bread...mmmmm....this was the first time Moses got to have some (after he finished his oatmeal)...
...it was just about gone by lunch time...
...then back to the gifts...I was amazed at how much time he took with each gift...we spent the rest of the morning playing and hanging out...
...then both of the boys had to nap (Doug had to work Christmas night)...then we had dinner (chicken francaise and homemade mac and cheese) and sang happy birthday to Jesus (led by Moses) and had birthday cake. :) So basically we spent Christmas time relaxing, spending time together, playing and laughing and doing whatever we wanted. :) I think it was my favorite Christmas to date...my favorite gift?...besides having Doug home for TWO DAYS...my favorite gift is that my honey is treating me to a prenatal massage!!! :) Makes me forget that I was sick for Christmas...but makes me remember that I have the best husband e.v.e.r. :)
After Doug went to work I ended the night like this... :) Smiling the whole time at having such a wonderful family...I hope your Christmas was just as blessed...I would love to hear about it. :)

xoxo
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Merry Christmas!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

He loves you that much! Merry Christmas to you! :)
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My wish for you....

So the last couple of days I have been reading the story of Christmas according to Luke. I am sure that many of you have read or listened to it a million times...we all know the great story and how it unfolded so many years ago...last night I lay awake thinking about how it could have all not happened...at least not the way that we know it...it could have all not happened that way if Mary and Joseph had let their humanness get in the way.

Think about it...a virgin birth? Finding out that your virgin fiance is pregnant? Seeing angels? None of that could have gone over well with those who did not experience it first hand...and it was all probably a lot to swallow if you were Mary or Joseph. I imagine moments where they had to feel a bit crazy, don't you think? I know I would in their shoes...crazy, scared, nervous, anxious, terrified of it being true...or not being true...It all sounds like a story too good or too out there to be true...but somehow...through their faith in God, Mary and Joseph moved forward to follow God's plan to bring His Son to the Earth. And of course God knew it would happen that way the whole time...He always knows. :)
Then I got to thinking about how many times in our lives we miss great moments...or what could have been great moments...because we allowed our humanness to get in the way? I am sure I have missed countless moments because I was too afraid of being called crazy, I was scared, nervous, anxious, terrified of it being true...or not being true. You know? Moments where I can look back and regretfully know that God wanted to use me...and I failed. And of course God knew it would happen that way the whole time...but when the next moment comes I always feel a little more sure, more trusting and God never fails to use me then...and those are the moments I remember most.

So my Christmas wish for you, and me, is that every day we let our humanness get less and less in the way...What if God has a Mary moment in store for us? I mean, Mary was an ordinary girl that had an extraordinary thing happen to her...what's to say that God doesn't have something grand planned for us...hidden among the every day?
God, after all, loves all of us as though there were only one of us, right?

I hope that makes sense to someone and not just me.
But even if it is just me, I am OK with that because I want to be ready if a grand moment comes my way. :)

Off to make a birthday cake for a Savior.
Love, Crystal :)
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Tree tour! :)

Every Christmas tree tells a story...whether all of your ornaments must match or you have ones that are years and years old...I like to think of our Christmas tree as a kind of scrapbook of our lives...there is no rhyme or reason to our tree...it's just full of things we love or things that hold a special meaning...like...
...in this photo you can see our new train ornament (Moses inspired) and a flamingo ornament to document our trip to Florida this past winter...we try to collect ornaments throughout the year to commemorate special things we did that year...
...some of them celebrate heritage, like the Norway flags...some are just cute, like the little tree...
...here is Moses' ornament from last year...he was obsessed with the Grinch...
...some show our school pride like my RU stocking...
...or the Hokie bird tucked back there...the turtle is from the trip to the beach where Doug proposed. :)
...some show our interests...Starbucks anyone?
...another one that is just cute...
...some are an obvious reminder...Target has been good to us...
...another recent interest for Moses...this is his ornament from this year...
...Moses first Christmas...and the only photo with Santa ever and since...albeit a creepy Santa...
...some are reminders of sweet friends...
...and sweet boys...that is little Doug on the left and Moses last year on the right...
...some remind us of family members...I made these last year out of Doug's grandmothers old cookie tins...
...like my little "wooden" shoes from my trip to Holland that year?...
...and there is a little Crystal too...apparently Santa phobias run in the family...
...my recent favorites are the ones that Moses "makes" in his little MOPS classes or Sunday school...something about an innocent little child making a baby Jesus Christmas craft just melts my heart...and manages to put everything in perspective...

Well that's our tree...or at least most of it...I would love to see yours too...be sure to leave a link or comment so I can come and visit. :)

Three more sleeps!!!! :)
xoxo
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