questions i ask myself.

 why? why? why?
 why can't these moments last longer?
 why does hoho insist on eating everything?  including sand.
 why'd he have to get so big so fast?
 bluebirds or sparrows?  for the nest in the back of his head.
 will our baby grass in the backyard live?
 why do almost ALL of his jeans have holes in the knees? 
they were all NEW just a few short months ago. 
 why does he think that giving me this face will work?
 why doesn't his hearing work as well as the doctors say it should?
why does he love doing this?
why can't every day be 88 degrees? 
why can't doug have a three day weekend every weekend?
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the crud.

hoho enjoying yet another naughty moment.  see how much he loves it?  in his hand are one of his favorite things to drag out of the bathroom.  if he notices you heading to the bathroom, male or female, he will offer you one...

on another note.  i've had, what i refer to as my "romanian crud", since tuesday.  on a missions trip years ago, i got my very first sinus infection due to the smoke, smog and dust in the city and country that we were in...and every year since then...at least once a year i get this...my sinuses are swollen, my voice nearly gone and it takes me a good twenty minutes to get my head and nose fully functional in the morning...but...

i'll have you know that i have NOT skipped a day of the shred because of it. :) i did skip today, but only because i decided that if i was going to keep doing this, i would need a day "off" and sunday will be that day. :) i have started level three...you get the joy of "sore all over" all over again...
how are you doing with your shred?

and just because i love it...mod memento has done it again...i love this print...what a simple and wonderful statement...you can go buy your copy HERE.  

hope your weekend was lovely and you start the week thinking "yes, Jesus love me". 
:)


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a walk around the neighborhood...

(a current custom order)
as promised...a little link party.  a time for all you lurkers and old friends alike to say hi and leave a link to your blog...and i will do MY very best to get around to say hello to all of you. :)


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the weight of it.

as with anything, i guess, there comes a time when you have to sit down and do a real gain and loss analysis of what you are doing.  to really sit and contemplate whether the things that you gain through a venture are worth the things that you lose. 

recently i have had to do that with this blog.  i had no idea when i started this blog...three and a half years ago how far it would take me or how much it would grow me as a person. 

my original goal was to document the lives of my children.  to capture the day to day events that may not make it into the photo albums otherwise.  the little things...the crazy things...the fun and hard things.  

what it has turned into is SO much more than that.  
this is my journal.  my growth chart.  the documentation of my life as a mom, small business owner, wife, follower of Jesus, chef, organizer and every other aspect that makes up my crazy life.  

my policy is and always has been authenticity and transparency.  and i've learned that those qualities, if they aren't something that a person is used to can be tough to adjust to.  to me, there is no room in life for fluff or fake.  when i startd this blog, i wanted my kids to read about the real me...not the watered down, betty crocker, susy homemaker that i wish i could be.  some people, and they are totally entitled to their opinions and ways of doing things, prefer to have pretty blogs where they skim the surface and talk about surface things...topics that could be posted on ANY blog anywhere because there is no depth to what they are saying.  and some people need that, i suppose, and i get it. 

for me.  and this is just me.  there is much more power in empowering each other through the "me too".  sharing the good, the bad and the ugly gives others a chance to relate and unite under the flag of "thank goodness this is happening to someone else too". 

isn't it MUCH easier to approach someone you know has been or is broken too...than it is to approach someone who has an "i have it all together, look how pretty my life is" appearance? 

maybe it's just me...but the blogs i love the most are the ones with DEPTH, who share REAL life, who aren't afraid to talk about the tough, long road they are on with God...or who aren't afraid to talk about God for real...in any real way.  

what good does it do to say you are a Christian blogger and never ever talk about how you are learning to walk with Christ?   it's like calling yourself a chef and then teaching others to cook ramen noodles.  i think Jesus had something to say about being lukewarm. 

my favorite Christan bloggers are those who say "me too".  who let you in and share the struggle that it is to be a lover of Jesus.  because that is how it IS.  if following Jesus is easy...than either i am doing something wrong or a lot of people i come across just want it to look that way.

i say, communication is everything.

with all of that being said.  there is a cost that comes with it.  
i've learned the hard way that people feel free to let you know terrible you are.  people have said things to me that i know they would never say to my face.  they lay out a list of issues they have with me and back them up with fictional things about me.  and you know what...even false words hurt.  

but over time i have learned...to take these criticisms to the people i trust and say "show me the truth in them"...and i have learned, in general, things said in secret rarely have truth in them.  and more often than not...the "issue" they have with you is really an issue they have with themselves.  

and that is the cost of having an open blog.  and for some reason...the ugly weighs more

BUT the gain is beautiful.  the gain is most likely you.  you darling and wonderful people who choose to love me and learn with me and grow with me.  i have met and befriended people that i never would have met any other way.  God has used this blog in ways i never imagined...i've been able to help others in ways i've never thought possible...i've been given friendships and new skills and encouragement when i need it.  i've been able to contribute to my family finances.  it's been a crazy web of blessings that i never could have woven without this blog.  i can't count the times that just at the perfect moment...an email shows up...or a package at my door...or a comment..all because of people who know me through this blog.  and on top of all of that...i HAVE documented the lives of my children and that to me is priceless.     

and even though the ugly weighs more...the beautiful is so much more plentiful that most times i don't even notice the ugly.  imagine a pebble in a bag of rice...you notice it at first but eventually, with a little shake, the rice covers over it.   

and i can handle a little shake here and there. 

(come back later for a link up post where you can leave a link to your blog and we can visit each other. :) )

xo
 
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random. random. random.

 do you see this kid? the sheer joy in his eyes when he does naughty.  
that's a look that says "that WAS as awesome as i hoped it would be".  

what you can't tell is that egg is in his hair, on his face and up and down his arms.  or that his brother watched in silence while he did this...or that BOTH parents were in the room while he managed this latest shenanigan.  good thing he is .01% more cute than naughty.   
this is my latest crafty conquest.
i started by learning this free pattern from roxycraft. 

then nearly talked myself into buying a whole book based on these little amigurumi figures...but had a light bulb moment instead...i realized that if i learned a basic body pattern i could add the details myself to make any animal i could want...so i started with this guy. :) i just realized that he has no ears...oops...

some answers from this post
--i am doing jillian micheal's 30 day shred. 
--yes, for days one through four you will need assistance getting up from the toilet, or going up or down stairs or doing anything quickly.  good luck washing your hair.  but that will dissolve (for the most part) by day five. 
--i am still on level one.  i tried level two at day 11 but found it to be too high impact for me. 
--i try to get it done first thing in the morning.  after coffee.  before shower.  it takes 27 minutes.  at approximately 8min and 57seconds into it every. single. day. i have to resist the urge to break down in tears.  really.  i don't know what the heck that is about but all of my emotions converge at 8m 57s and i have to push through. 

thank you for your encouragement in this area. :) 
your kind comments make my day and you really do keep me from quitting. :) 

stay tuned for my next post...where things got ugly because of my last post but 
you talked me out of quitting this blogging thing all together without even knowing it because you guys are awesome like that.  

we'll have a mclinky too so i can come visit you all...it's been too long since we've done one.  :)

xo
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the rest of the story.


so, as you know, we've been on a ride for months now.  starting back in September or so we began the road that we hope will take us home...and here we are months later...pretty much on the same stretch of road...we keep getting flat tires it seems.    
for the most part, i've been hush about the details because i felt like i just couldn't share it all.  if you have been here a while you've been with me through all the emotional ups and downs.  for a while now, we thought that something pretty amazing was happening for us.  at the moment, it looks like that door may be closing...but for all we know that is temporary or not.  we just don't know. 

so even though the ending is not what we were hoping for (yet?)...i'll share some of the ups and downs..see if you can keep up. 

september through present day...
  -(sept) we suddenly feel like we are overwhelming ready to go home (blacksburg).   it's a serious longing to be HOME.  where our friends are, where our church is, where our family is.  
it's where we feel we are supposed to be. 
-we start to seriously pray for our house to sell.  
doug prays for someone to come in off the streets to buy it. 
-doug pokes around at work and somehow finds out that there will be an opening in a store near where we want to live (doug is a target exec).  we get majorly excited...thinking, "WOW God is moving fast and is going to take us home and it will be awesome"
-then HEARTBREAK.  the job goes to someone else.  my husband gets to see a lot of the ugly cry. 
-we eventually pull ourselves together and resolve to follow God wherever He decides to send us.  even if WE don't get it or want it.  we KNEW that God's plan IS best.  even if we don't understand it.  
-eventually doug is offered another position in a town close enough that he can commute (culpeper).  we begin to embrace this new road.  to a NEW place.  a change to get us AWAY from charlottesville.  
-in the meantime, we've talked to a realtor who basically tells us that if we insist on selling our home at a number WE are comfortable with, then we have to pay him a $1,500 listing fee.  WHATEVER! it was EASY to let that door close. 
-in the mean-meantime, shortly after this realtor meeting, one of doug's coworkers, out of the blue (or off the street!!) shows a huge interest in buying our house.  for a number that makes us and him happy.  -the position from culpeper falls through.  once again, the ugly cry.  i hate this place.  i want to leave and at this point i will go anywhere God wants to send us...even if i still want to go HOME. 
-doug is offered another position.  in a city that will depend on us selling this house.  we once again, work towards going where God is sending us.  dare i say, we get excited.  
-the person that is trying to buy our house is told that they would qualify for a loan once they have been in their position for 12 months.  that would be in july.  boo!  
-buyer offers to rent our home until then with a rent to own contract!! yay! 
-doug loses the chance for the winchester position.  but we are OK with it because somehow we know that God has a better plan.  are we getting better at this obedience thing?     
-buyer can't get their child in the childcare that they want until august...meaning they can't move until then.  boo!
-i offer to provide childcare for them until august.  yay!
we would move to a house with a month to month lease. 
but to date we have not been able to get together to discuss this option.  so we aren't sure what will happen with this...so maybe this door is closing...or maybe it is not.  we have left it in their hands. 

there are a lot of reasons that i stopped talking about all of this on my blog.  a lot of it had to do with the feedback i was getting from all over via email or comment.  i've been accused of giving up.  of not trying.  of being a whiner.  i've been told that my expectations are too high for this side of heaven.  i've been told that i must be crazy because cville is awesome.  i've been told that i am ungrateful.  i've been told that I am the problem.
 
i gave up talking about it openly here because i have already been emotionally crazy sensitive because of everything and i didn't need the berating of people who don't know and love me.   

the only people i've felt safe talking about any and all of this with is my husband, my best friend and my pastor.  not the pastor at the church we currently attend (the one who is a good guy but has introduced himself to me three times) but MY pastor who has been pastoring us from afar at HOME. 
(with that said, our current pastor is not a bad guy, we enjoy his sermons, and our current church but we have a longing for the standards that were set for years by our home church and pastor...notably big shoes to fill...it's hard to go from having a pastor that knows everything about you to where we are now).

these last few months have been hard.  really, really hard.  it's been lonely and long as people have walked away from us because we've been messy.  we have been shown the people who really love us (mess and all), both here in cville and everywhere.  

we've learned that God is the only one who will never let us down. 

i've learned that my heart is so enmeshed with His that to deny Him would truly end my life.  

i am learning to trust His plan more everyday.  

i am trusting that it is His dream for us to MOVE home because the "want" to do so is stronger than anything else we have ever wanted.  
i've learned that my husband still loves me even after many days in a row of seeing the "ugly cry".

i am learning to live in the day.  learning.  

i am learning to count my blessings.  daily.

i am learning that my timing is not His.  
i am learning that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways higher than my ways. 

so that is the rest of the story...at least up until 9:12pm on march 27, 2011.

we don't know anymore than we did in september but we ARE better followers of Christ because of it.  we pray more than ever...we talk to Him more than ever...we cherish our TRUE friends more than ever.   God has used this time to sift out the "flakers" in our life.

i still break out the ugly cry once a week.  to the joy of my husband. 

but i would like to think that it's due more to growing pains of the spiritual sort than to not getting what i think is best. 

xo

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don't poke fun.

 first of all.  posting these photos is something WAY out of my comfort zone...i don't tend to be a vain person but I am SO proud and pleased with the results of the shred thus far.  i'm on day 15 today so i thought i would share a progress photo.  i don't have a before photo so you will have to take my word that everything i point out is new/bigger/smaller/better.  okay? everything i have pointed out in the photo above was either not there or VERY squishy.
and maybe you think my results aren't impressive...that's ok too.  i'm in love with them. :)
areas of improvement:
thinner waist
thinner thighs with more muscle/less jiggle
i can see stomach muscles trying to peek through!
way less muffin top!!
very nice toning in my arms and upper body.
i have more energy and feel WAY better (who knew that was true?)
i haven't lost any weight but like i said...i don't have much to lose BUT i can tell that my mushy, squishy parts ARE being swapped out for lean and tone parts and that is ok by me. 
i am doing this with a partner who has lost 22lbs to date doing this. 
i have not changed my diet too much but since starting this 
i WANT to eat better and snack less and eat better things. 
so there it is.  my most vulnerable post to date. :) i am so happy to hear from those of you doing this with me.  i am ENCOURAGED by you all NOT to quit even though i WANT to each and every day.
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funny boy.

moses nearly got kissed by a girl on the playground yesterday.  
after being mortified that we saw it we asked him...

us: moses, why did that girl want to kiss you?
moses: because she loved me.  but i don't love her.
us: maybe she thought you were cute.
moses: i'm not cute.  hoho is cute.  i'm smart.
she tried to kiss me and i yelled and ran away. 
and then she turned into a frog.

we will be ok with this stance on girls and kissing for many years. :)

p.s.  i added the answers to the previous post in the comment section of that post.
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crafty IQ



 so i got to cleaning out my sewing table drawer this morning...and realized that i have a random assortment of crafty tools...some, i am sure i wouldn't be able to identify if i just stumbled upon them...so here's a little game for you...see how many you can ID...they are all independent of one another...all found in any craft store. :)
 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7

i'll hold off publishing the comments until the next time i post to tell you what they are. :) 
happy crafty geek monday!
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sunday sweetness.

 i finished up another sweet little baby blanket in my own round pattern...i added some flowers and a scalloped border to this one...i'm in love with these...they are very stress relieving to make as i tune out to watch a movie...i can't wait to see a photo of someones sweet baby curled up in one of these blankets...
this one is a little more petite in size than the last two...it's in the shop now if you want it to be your baby that makes me smile by being wrapped up in it. :)

i finished day TEN of the shred this morning!!!  i am SO SO excited.  i really FEEL stronger and better and more tone.  i also tried on my new bathing suits last night and really SEE a difference.  I have lost any weight BUT keep in mind that i didn't have a bunch to lose in the first place and really feel like i am just swapping out my post baby squish for lean muscle.  my husband says he can see a difference...and really, his eyes are all i care about outside of mine anyway. 

in the "life altering news" category...i honestly can't believe that we are starting another week with no news on the news we are waiting for.  we are waiting to hear about big things...and you WOULD think that after months and months of waiting that i would be much better at it.  instead...i am just getting better at KNOWING that God is still working, even when i can't see/hear/feel Him.  

i keep telling doug that i feel like i am living on a diet of crumbs, teeny, tiny bits of encouragement that show things are moving...and why that CAN be sustaining at times...when the flow stops it is just hard to push through.  i NEED encouragement.  so as we step into a new week...i pray hard for news AND to still know that God is working even though i can't see or feel it.  make sense? 

how do you sustain yourself when you can't feel/see/hear Him?
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the mother of invention.

 so i mentioned that we moved aaron to a toddler bed ON his second birthday.  
his no fear tumbles out of his crib made it necessary. 
well...the second night in it he fell out.  
i went to his room and found him asleep on the floor...he stayed asleep as i picked him up and put him back in his bed. 
the next day i managed to figure out how to make a full size bed rail work for this little bed and that worked well for a while. 
until...he started using that railing as a balance beam.  for real. 
so i took it off and thought for sure he would "get" it now and not fall out of the bed. 
i thought wrong.
 clearly he needed something...just enough to keep him in, but enough to let him get out safely.
because he fell out again. 
 it also needed to be something that would NOT let him practice his parkour.
 this is what i came up with...it's basically a very sturdy canvas bed rail...with pockets.
 i used sturdy ties because i thought they would be stronger than buttons or velcro or anything else i could think of....
i added pockets on each side to hold books or some of the million and one animals he insists on sleeping with.

seems to be working great.  no more falling out of the bed, he can get out safely and no more parkour in his bed. 

if only that would fix all of his naughty.  yesterday he had to learn the hard way that having light bulbs in your room is a privilege NOT a right. 

in other news...i have completed day eight of the shred!! once again, this is HUGE for me.  and i feel GREAT.  as crazy as it sounds, i feel like i can start to feel the body of my 20's (pre-kids) coming back to me...i have more energy and TONS more endurance.  how are you doing?

in other other news...we still have a LOT of question marks for our future.  house, job, life, etc.  i would appreciate your continued prayers...overall i seem to be much better at "handling things" but at the same time my hopes are SOARING once more...i know that God is good and He is going to work it all out...and if it's not all worked out...then He's not done. 

happy friday to you!
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and this...

is the reason why we have a child lock on our fridge.  
and probably why we are on our second one.

this child takes mischief to a whole new level.
but look at how much he enjoys it. 

xo
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make this for dinner.

 this is one of my new favorite go-to meals.  
the best part is that it is finished in a matter of minutes...and it's super tasty. 
i call them french dip sandwiches...but there may be a different name for them out there. 

all you need is:
a 1-1 1/2lb roast
one packet of french onion soup mix
one can of beef broth

a loaf of french bread
mozzarella cheese 
(i used a shredded mozz/provolone blend)
 put the broth and soup mix in your crock pot...stir it around to mix it up. 
add your roast, put on the lid, set the crock pot on high and walk away for 6-8 hours.
yessss...i love having dinner technically done before lunch, right?
 30 minutes before you are ready to eat take the roast out of the crock pot and shred or slice it.
i cut mine in thirds and was able to put a third away for dinner the next day.
keep the broth in the pot on low for now.
 slice your french bread in half length wise and pile on the meat and cheese.
 wrap it all in foil and put it in a 325 oven for 25 minutes.
 get it out of the oven and slice it into individual sandwiches...i make mine about 2in wide each. 
serve with a couple of sides...i did corn and a big salad. put some of the "juice"  or au jus from the crock pot into little bowls to dip the sandwiches in...

with just the two of us eating these there were not only leftover sandwiches for lunch but the next day but i was able to use the other third of the roast...add some mashed potatoes and rolls and dinner was a cinch the next day too!

i'll be making these for years i'm sure. :)

in other news.  i just finished day six of the shred.  and i am happy to report that i am almost over all of the soreness...i can move freely and i was able to do more the the entire workout than i have been able to do to date.  

results i have seen so far:  increased endurance, more shapely arms and more firmness in my middle...especially the love handle area. :) 

i had started with 10lb weights but today i did it with 5lb ones and it seemed like a much better fit for me. :) 

and is it just me or do you expect her to say different things everyday...even if it is the same dvd...no?  just me?  ok...that's cool.  

how are you doing?  i am thrilled that SO many of you are suffering working hard along with me. :)

xo
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just so you know...

i just finished up day four of the shred!  i am super proud of myself...and am already seeing results!!

i know that some of you more athletic types are thinking..."big deal, it's been four days, what a wuss".  

yes, i am a wuss.  four days in a row of exercise that is kicking my booty is big for me.  
allow me to present some evidence.  

article number one: these are my "athletic shoes".  i wear them any time i am going to exercise or do anything remotely athletic.  i have dutifully worn them each and every time they were deemed appropriate.  aren't they in great shape?  no stains, minimal scuffs, 100% tread on the bottom. 

know what's wrong with this photo?  i bought them in 1997!!!  
they are 14 years old and in excellent shape.  i could lend them out without fear of embarrassment on their condition or smell.  need i say more?

article number two:  in high school i ALWAYS offered to sweep the gym floor in lieu of participating in class.  always. 

so you see...it IS a big deal to me. :) it IS getting easier and I am finding it less and less necessary to concentrate hard on my walking to avoid looking like a clobbering camel due to muscle pain.

I've gotten several emails from some of you who have decided to do this with me...that makes me so happy!! yay us!!!

tell me why you aren't doing it?
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thanks to you. :)

thanks to all you lovely people who have encouraged my 30 day shred challenge.  i'm happy to report that i did day two this morning...and i plan on getting day three done before church in the morning.  if you are thinking of trying it...start now!  we can encourage each other!  i got a little extra motivation (on top of all of you) from googling "30 day shred results" and scanning the pages for body types similar to mine...enough motivation for me!  and really, if i can do it, anyone can.  i promise that i hate exercise more than you and i plan on pushing through twice over before going to Florida in may. 

i currently can't raise my arms to wash my hair...but i'm sure that's a temporary condition.

join me? 
if you follow my facebook page you have seen this cute shirt...i have gotten lots of emails asking for one but at the moment i am not taking orders for them, this was for a family member, BUT...i am willing to put together a few DIY kits for you to do them...the kit would contain no-sew iron on backing with letters pre-traced on, squares of fabric, two buttons and embroidery floss.  
you just iron the backing onto the fabric, cut out the letters, peel the paper, iron onto your shirt. 
the only sewing you would have to do is to sew on the buttons.  the kit will be $5 with $1.50 shipping.  you can put it on any shirt, tote, pillow, etc. 

email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com if you would like a kit...can also be made for big brother, little brother, little sister, etc. 
i've also been having a lot of fun with a couple of these orders...i never get tired of these happy, happy pieces of art. :)

hope your weekend is a happy one!
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omg. who am i?

um...so, i hate exercise.  
like really hate.  
mostly because i have zero coordination.
i took a class once at a local rec center...kept to the back of the class and still managed to be the center of the instructors attention.  he seemed to enjoy my dysfunction.
that was at least six years ago.  since then the only exercise i get is long walks in nice weather and bending over to fetch the things that have fallen under the couch.

but somehow i have managed to talk myself into this.  30 day shred. 

cause lately something has stirred in me.  i can't get the thought of turning 32 this year OUT of my head.  how in the world am i turning thirty two? 

so there is that part.  and the other part is stress.  i need somewhere to channel it. 

and i am counting the days to our Florida trip. 

and i don't want to look good "for having two kids"...i'm not overweight...just eh.  
i'd prefer wow.  just saying.  is that lame?

and the stress.  yeah.  there is that.  
i treated myself to new swim suits as motivation. 
(from Lime Ricki). 

i just finished my first day.  oh. my. word.  killmenow. 
i thought my heart was going to stop.  
and i kind of hate jillian right now. 
but i'm trying not to take it personally.  

have you done it?  are you awesome now? please feel free to cheer me on. :) 

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20 minute crafter: fabric covered photo mat

i had this adorable print from modmemento and just knew it needed a frame and mat with a little spunk...i bought the frame ($5 from micheals) and it came with a BLAND off white mat...i thought for a minute and came up with this fun and funky alternative...and the the best part is that i had everything on hand...you just may too...
you will need:
a mat
a piece of fabric a couple inches taller and wider than your mat
heat and bond no-sew variety.
iron
cut your piece of fabric a bit bigger than your mat...i used about an inch on each side...do the same thing with your heat and bond...iron the heat and bond onto the back of your fabric and peel off the paper backing...
center your mat under the fabric and cery carefully use your iron to tack the fabric in place...be sure to not go crazy or you will iron your fabric onto your ironing board...at this point you are just trying to hold it in place...
flip over...cut a triangle off of each corner...fold in and iron in place...like wrapping a gift...
once you get the outside finished...cut out the center rectangle of your fabric...be sure to stay an inch or so away from the edge...cut from the corner of the fabric to the corner of your mat...fold in each as before and iron down...
this photo shows a little better what i meant by cutting to the corner.  fold each side in and iron flat...when done with that you can turn it over and iron the front flat down...
add your print and pop it in a frame...unique and colorful cuteness. :) 

sorry the photos aren't super...we are having a dreary wet day here with minimal sun...i'll answer any questions in the comments. :) 


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