Don’t forget to hug the ones you love tonight. -Justine
How is it December already?! Life has been busy, and as it always is in December, it will remain that way for a while. Luckily I’ve had a good start on the kids’ Christmas presents. And I’m very happy to have L’s little doll quilt finished.
I must say, it was delightful to pick through my stash and select all of the prettiest, girliest fabrics I could find.
And I had just enough of this lovely scalloped lace to adorn the top edge. It was in a bag of lace and trim I received years ago from my mother-in-law, and I’m so glad I finally have a special enough project to use it on.
I’m dying to give L her doll crib right now - I know she’ll love it and use it a lot! But alas, I’ll have to wait until Christmas. Besides, it still needs to be sanded and painted.
All in all the quilt was a pretty quick and straightforward project… All the satisfaction of quilting, yet only a fraction of the time and frustration!
I realize that it’s crooked and imperfect - but I’ve resigned to the fact that I’ll never be a straight quilter. And I think quilts can get away with imperfection. It’s called “charm”, right? ;)
Sometimes I have very strong opinions about things I probably have no business having an opinion about. Like how I firmly believe in my children sharing a room… when I grew up having a room to myself all my life. (Yay for being the only girl!)
It started in the condo as a necessity - 2 babies, 2 grown-ups, 2 bedrooms. You do the math.
The nursery in our old condo.
But since we’ve moved into our temporary abode (affectionately known as “The Pink House”), and as we plan our farmhouse, there are at least three bedrooms - yet we still keep the kids together in one room.
Am I a sucker for punishment? Sometimes… namely nap time. (Though sometimes Little M naps in our bed so that they don’t spend the first hour of nap time laughing, reading, singing, and eventually crying together.) But I really do enjoy it. There’s something about having all my babies together. And they really enjoy being together. Some nights we’ve even found that Little M has climbed into Little L’s crib to sleep. Part of it is my “it’s good for kids to learn to share” mentality, and part of it is some idyllic notion I have of a Peter Pan-style nursery with all the kids sharing a room, their beds in a row.
And not to mention, once we get them a set of matching twin beds it’ll be so wonderfully symmetrical. ;)
So here are a few more shared bedrooms that I love…
Photograph from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child 2012
(Design by Abby Manchesky of M. Interiors, via A Delightful Design)
Did you grow up sharing a bedroom? What was your experience like? Any tips or advice?
Our summer was pretty crazy with selling and moving, etc. But somewhere in there we threw together birthday parties for our wonderful kiddos. (Full disclosure: we had M’s birthday over a month late because his birthday fell right when we were moving. But he’s three - he doesn’t care.)
Now I’m not someone who goes crazy over birthday parties. I want to do something special and fun for the child. I want the family to have fun (right now our kids only have family - grandparents, aunts, uncles and great grandparents attend. Since we have SO much family here there’s not really room for friends yet). But I’m not into killing myself over a party OR spending a ton of money OR feeling competitive over giving the best party. Let’s just state that right now.
(I always coordinate my kids’ clothes with the colour scheme or theme… is that weird?)
But as I was preparing for L’s party back in July I was thinking of Little M’s first birthday - what a hectic, harried, stressful experience that was for me! I wanted to do a million things and felt like I could barely do the basics. For Baby L’s party I was feeling much more calm. Perhaps my expectations were a bit lower, or more realistic. But I also think I’ve learned a few things. I’m no veteran, but I thought I could share some ideas in regards to decorating. With that though, I want to stress:
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, AND WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU.
I am not a baker. And I discovered last year when making Little M’s tractor cake, that icing is not my artistic medium of choice. As I tried in vain to get the not-quite-red-enough icing gobbed all over the [second] tractor-shaped cake I’d baked, I muttered “Only DQ ice cream cakes from now on.”
And that’s OK. Why should I kill myself to make a fancy cake because that’s what I think a mom is supposed to do? This year for L’s party I made cupcakes. From a mix. And used store-bought icing that I tinted with food colouring. I jazzed them up with some rose-shaped candies. And done. They were pretty and tasty, and nobody cared about how I made them. Another year I probably will pick up an ice cream cake.
(You can see my Starburst rose tutorial here.)
Maybe to you it’s important to make a cake from scratch using organic spelt flour and agave nectar. All the power to you. Maybe you looooove all the fun icing tools and want to create a masterpiece storybook castle cake. Cool. Do it. But remember you’ll have to let go on some of the other details.
Decorating is my thing, though. I enjoy it. I have quite a bit of experience with event decorating (especially for kids) so I go for it. But I wouldn’t expect everyone else to go crazy over this too. And if it’s not your thing, then don’t think you have to go crazy just because of the insane stuff you saw on Pinterest, or at a neighbour’s party.
However, if you want a bit of help with decorating, here are some tips…
1. WORK FROM A THEME.
(I made a bunch of the paper rockets and strung some on a banner and taped up the others wherever we needed something.)
Particularly with kids, themes are great. They are a starting point for ideas. Micah’s party was very clearly Buzz Lightyear-themed (he wanted to include Dr. Gru and Minions too, but I did ask him to reign it in a bit and just stick to Buzz). Kids his age usually obsess over something, so a theme should be pretty easy to pick out. For L’s party the theme was more subtle - inspired by tea roses.
A theme can give you some direction:
- a colour scheme
- activity ideas
- menu ideas (for M’s party we had pizza, as in “Pizza Planet” from Toy Story, and for L’s we served Shirley Temple drinks, because they had all the right colours.)
- and it also gives you a search term when you’re googling or pinning party ideas.
2. ASK YOURSELF: WHAT WILL MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT FOR THE LEAST AMOUNT OF WORK/MONEY?
This one is huge. Consider - what will people see first? What will they see most? Will this detail be covered up once a room is full of people?
(You can customize your banner by cutting the letters out of paper and using scotch tape to attach them to a ribbon or string.)
You know what a fool proof answer is? Balloons. Every time. I used to joke when I ran our weekly kids club at church that all we had to do was add balloons and the kids would consider it a party. Seriously - some years for our wind-up or Christmas party I kept the schedule for the evening exactly the same and just added a snack and balloons and kids were SO stoked about the awesome party. Hah. Just make sure you have lots of balloons and stick to a colour scheme. Generally the more balloons, the bigger the impact. Simple.
But also consider other larger decorations like a banner, or garland, etc. They take up lots of visual space, are when the room is full and can reinforce the colour scheme. A brightly coloured table cloth also takes up a lot of visual space and communicates “Hey! I decorated!” A large banner or sign that is seen right when someone walks in says “Hello! This is the party!” Consider: how much visual space will this take up? and will it be seen when this room is full of people (eye-height or higher).
(I made this garland by taking the flowers off of dollar store fake flowers and connecting them with dots of glue from a glue gun.)
Getting caught up on tiny things like coasters, or decorations on the back of a chair, or decorating out-of-the-way spots (like the bathroom?) can be way too much labour for not enough impact.
An exception to this is if there’s a small detail that everyone will get to experience. For example, a great cake or cupcakes will be seen and experienced by everyone. Or a small treat bag that everyone goes home with will be remembered. For M’s party I was shaking my head at myself as I cut out paper and glued them to each individual drinking cup. Surely it would be a silly, disposable detail. But everyone has a drink at a party, right? Everyone got to pick if they wanted a Buzz cup or an alien cup, and it turned out to be a pretty big hit - noticed and enjoyed by all.
(I cut the pieces out of paper and used a glue stick and tape to attach to the outside of the cup. Make sure you leave room around the top of the cup so that people can drink out of it.)
3. STICK TO A COLOUR SCHEME.
This one connects to the last point. Repetition of 1-3 colours ties the decorations together and emphasizes what you’ve done. The eye will pick up on all of the things that match and create an overall impression of what’s been done. With L’s party it was the colour of tea roses: yellow, oranges, and warm soft pinks.
(The ombre rose votives in the top righthand picture were made by covering plain glass votive holders from the dollar store with multiple petal-shaped pieces of tissue paper. Just be sure that the petals don’t go over the lip of the glass, or they’ll be singed. Or start a fire. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
With M’s it was Buzz Lightyear’s colours: light green, purple, and white (with navy blue as a neutral background). Just matching your plates, napkins, balloons, or table cloths will look sharp and pulled together. If you don’t have one of those things matching, just use a neutral (like white) and downplay its impact.
This takes no DIY/crafty skills whatsoever. All you gotta’ do is match stuff up, and it looks sharp.
4. CREATE A FOCAL POINT.
Just like a living room needs a fireplace, or a credenza, or a large window or piece of art to build around, so too a party needs a main focus. This helps create the centre of the party, but also it concentrates your decorating so that its not spread all over the place. Logical focal points may include a table for all of the food and drinks, or a special chair for the birthday kid, or an existing focal point in your home (like a fireplace mantel.) Place a lot of your decorations in that main place and they’ll have bigger impact together (and draw attention away from less-decorated areas).
(The candy roses took the most work, so I made sure they were on display to be enjoyed!)
5. PICK ONE BIG PROJECT.
This one’s hard for me, because I end up with so many ideas. And sometimes I end up with a couple smaller projects too. But pick one main special thing to focus attention and energy on and then make sure everything else is simple, store-bought, or already owned so that you don’t have to slave over every detail.
If you have a project that will take a while (the cups at M’s party, or the Starburst roses at L’s) start a couple weeks ahead and store it so that you don’t even need to think about it right before the party (when you’ll need to be focusing on things like food prep or cleaning your house.)
You don’t have to DIY either - like I said, balloons and streamers go a LOOONG way.
6. DECORATE FOR THE DAY
For M’s party he “helped” me decorate the morning of his party and we had so much fun. The decorations for his party became part of his excitement. I think another time it would be fun to decorate the night before so that the child wakes up to a decorated house. That way your work is appreciated for more time and is done well in advance.
(My son asked for blueberry pie for his birthday)
7. DELEGATE AND SIMPLIFY
If you can, look to people around you for help pulling together a party. Maybe you have older children who would love to help create some of the decor. Maybe you have a friend who wouldn’t mind an evening of tying ribbons while you chat and drink coffee. Maybe there’s an aunty who bakes great cupcakes. Even consider the services of stores and businesses (for example we bought our pizzas from a grocery store - WAY cheaper. AND we discovered that if we put in our order a day ahead they’d also bake them for us in their large ovens and we just had to pick them up!)
One thing I’ve done that makes life simpler is having the party off site. We had M’s party last year on my parents’ deck. L’s party was at my inlaw’s house this year. This eliminates the need to have your house clean for party time! Maybe you don’t have family close by like I do, but consider having a party in a park where everyone can meet and you don’t need to ensure your toilet is scrubbed.
Any of you have some ideas of how to simplify/organize/have fun with children’s birthday parties?
a bare, hard floor
The only light
The yellow glow from the hallway
And the earnest efforts of the moon.
All blurred by my unexpected and unrelenting tears.
This was always a bright room.
It embraced the sunlight.
Its four walls seemed to delight in their task of holding precious little ones.
It was the most cheerful room.
Now. It is silent.
But I hear many things:
The sounds of such precious years
Oh the laughter of sweet small voices.
The giggles as we made tents, or tickled, or played peek-a-boo, or danced…
Read over and over again.
And then retold from the memory of a little boy.
We sung so many songs.
The sweet simple songs of Jesus that you would sing along to.
Over and over I sang you hymns to get you to sleep.
And of course there was “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my babies you’ll be.”
Many many tears.
Tears that well up and overcome me in moments like these - when I try to store up every single memory I can and treasure the incomprehensible gift of motherhood.
Tears of a distraught baby - hungry or cold, tired or scared - ones that had me up and running to meet the need and gently wrap you in my arms.
Tears of a distraught mother - brought to her knees in frustration, or worry, or simply not knowing the answer.
Oh, the prayers.
I am so glad there were prayers.
Prayers of that same distraught mother crying out to her all-knowing, trustworthy, loving God for help
Prayers of praise over these sweet children she was given.
Prayers entrusting those sweet children to a mighty God - for their salvation, for their character, for their protection, for their futures, for everything a mother hoped they would be.
Prayers of thanks from a dear little boy who learned to pray here:
“Thank you for Jesus can love us.”
And even where a baby girl said her first “amen” as her mommy prayed over her in her crib.
I think the prayers make this room the most special.
I hear questions asked, and “good night’s”, and “I love you’s”, and Bible stories, and conversations during nap time between a one-year-old and three-year-old…
This was a precious place.
So as I’m hear one last time I pray one more time
And I thank the Lord for providing for blessing for watching over for teaching
And I thank Him, because what made this room special is still with me.
And now I can go to a new home and kiss their sweet sleeping faces.
Good bye, Little Room.
Thank you for holding us.
Feels like the ole’ blog’s taken a couple knocks down on the priority list again. We’ve finally emerged from the craziness that is tax season and seeding (my husband is an accountant and a farmer). I’m so glad to have Sean back by my side. And I’ve been really pondering my direction as a blogger over the last little while - as readership has grown, how much do I share personally? What kind of format/content/topics should I have? Do I stay with Tumblr or try something else? Just a few of the things I’m still not sure about yet. But for now, I’ll share a bit of a life update:
For starters, we’re selling our condo. Very soon, hopefully. We hope to put it on the market by early July. But we’re not building our house yet. Wait, what? Yes, the plan is to order our house after harvest this year (praying for a good crop!). And in September we’ll be moving into a house owned by our church, and we’ll live there while our house is built. It’s a house that the church uses to host Sunday school classes, or house missionaries, interns, etc. Or staff members like me! We’re super grateful for the opportunity to do this, and especially so that we can sell our condo now (which we really feel is the right timing.)
That means we’re working away at getting our place ready to sell - purging, organizing, cleaning, touching up, and finishing those details that still aren’t done nearly 3 years later. The good news is I have some new corners of my home to finally show you. Bad news is, posting may be more sparse.
Back to the church house thing… (which is affectionately known as “The Pink House”, because it is a terrible salmon colour on the exterior) …One of the many reasons we’re so glad we’re living there is because the church is right across the street, and I’ll be going back to work starting in July. I’ll be working from home (but if “home” is right across the street from work, that’ll be sweet!) I’m partially super excited to work again - my job description will shift and I’ll be mostly working on curriculum development (writing, editing, recreating), and artistic things. It’s work I’ll really enjoy, and it will be an excellent creative outlet, and it’s work that my boss and I have longed to work on for years, but have never been able to with the week-to-week demands of ministry. I’m 100% sure it’s what I should be doing. But I’m partially nervous, too. It’s one more thing to throw into our week, and I’ll need to work very hard to keep our home reasonably organized. But when I went back to work after I had Little M we worked it out (though I should note my husband is especially gracious and laid back) and it was a really good thing for my family and for me. So I’m hoping for more of the same. And this time I’ll be working even less hours (a little bit more than 1/3 time.) I’m beyond blessed that my mother-in-law will be watching the kids twice a week while I work (so my kids get to go to the farm and have grandma time.) They’ll be loving it.
And those kiddos? Growing like weeds. Baby L’s almost a year, which blows my mind. And Little M is becoming a young man before my eyes. Ha ha! They’re hilarious, and adorable, and amazing, and frustrating, and exhausting, and delightful, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Baby L’s a speedy little crawler, stands on her own, and is SO close to walking. She has a fistful of words: Dada, Bi-Bubba (Big Brother), Babu (Baby), Puh-puh (Puppy), Uh-oh, and of course “Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma” when she’s whining or crying. ;) She loves music and instruments, and grooves to anything… including the music in her head sometimes. She’s nearly fearless. And is in love with puppies, dolls, and stuffed animals (and may have a crush on Buzz Lightyear). She’s starting to play by herself for longer stretches now - “reading” books, driving cars, or playing with a musical toy like the Leapfrog piano or guitars. She’s more and more outgoing and curious with people, and LOVES to make people laugh. She has a twinkle in her eye, and a coy little smile when she’s being funny.. She adores her Big Brother (he has always been the one who can get her to laugh the easiest). And she’s shown a fierce independence and fiery spirit in the last few months. Uh oh. I have no idea where she got that. ;)
Little M is in the thick of “terrible two’s”, but I’d call it the “turbulent two’s” - in an insanely short amount of time he’ll have us laughing, then gritting our teeth, then smiling in adoration. He is so active - loving all sports and games (even inventing his own). His temper is quick and hot (hmmm… think I know where he got that, unfortunately), but he has a wonderfully tender side as well - gently hugging his sister and telling her she’s beautiful, or carefully cradling a doll being a “daddy”. He’s very good at encouraging - cheering for Lucy when she does something new, or telling us “Good job!” or saying my dress is pretty. He can at times be very stoic and serious. Or try to act very grown up, telling people he goes to school, and rides dirt bikes, or laughing at whatever the adults are laughing at. Other times he is delightfully silly - making faces and dancing around or making up crazy words or speaking in funny voices. He’s sharp. He is keen on learning and proudly names letters he sees and sings the alphabet, retells the stories in books he gladly gathers at the library, and we’ve begun learning some Bible memory verses because his memory is pretty darn good. (I know that because he’s got lines from his favourite shows memorized…) And his Daddy is his hero. If Daddy does it, he should too. He’s told me Daddy’s his “best friend”, his “favourite soccer player”, and that when he’s gone he “misses him SO much.”
So. That’s mostly where I’m at. And as I finish writing this I realize again just how incredibly blessed I am. Thanks for reading and following this blog. Hopefully there will be plenty of good things for you this summer.
I love Easter. To me, I think creating our own Easter traditions with my children may be more important than Christmas traditions. Part of it is a faith thing, for sure. I want the message of Easter to resonate in my children’s hearts. I want them to rejoice at the arrival of King Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I want them to feel the sorrow of the cross on Good Friday. I want them to marvel and delight in the power of the Great Overcomer on Easter Sunday, and praise our risen Lord! But I also just love the celebration of Spring, new life, and the end of Winter that Easter brings too. There are many things I’d love to do with my kids to celebrate Easter in the years to come, but I don’t want to “wait until they’re older” either.
Little M and I have been reading in his storybook Bible the stories of Easter week, and learning a couple new songs. And this week we decorated eggs. There is no way that this could not be a gong show with a toddler. (Unless maybe you have girls. I don’t know.)
I considered draining the raw egg from the shells so the the eggs wouldn’t be wasted, but knew they’d be too fragile to be handled. So I hard boiled them. You can’t really see it in the picture, but those things are shattered and cracked and pretty gross.
Last year, when he was one, we just dyed them. This year I wanted something easy to make them more interesting so we used mini rubber bands to create some criss-crossed lines.
They turned out pretty well, and Little M was SO excited. He wants to make more. And we just may, considering I had to throw these out today during his nap because he’s manhandled them so many times. Ah well. Good Easter memories made.
My dear baby girl,
Consider this your first valentine. A love letter from me to you. Today you spent the day sick with a terrible cold - a pitiful puddle of coughing and snot after a long night of crying. Not the best day. But you know, sometimes that’s just how Valentines goes. Not according to plan. Not the ideal. And that’s OK. Don’t put extravagant expectations on this or on any day, or those who are around you on these days. Instead, aim to give love thoughtfully and joyfully to others every day.
Not that you can’t enjoy this day either. Some Valentines days will be lovely. Eat sweets. Wear red and pink. Make valentines cards. Enjoy it regardless of your age, your relationship status, or how near or far you are from those you love.
And as far as romantic love goes, there are so many things I want to tell you. But for today know these things:
1. Your relationship status has zero bearing on your worth, beauty, and desirability. You are magnificently made by God, and whether you have a date or not does not change that. On those Valentines days (or any days) when you’re “alone”, don’t be down on yourself, or question your value. Instead look to be kind and caring, and love-giving to others, and rest in the love of God that is always enough.
2. There are still good men. Great men, in fact. I know, I married one. Unfortunately our world does a whole lot to tear men down, stumble them, trip them up, or tell them the wrong things about what it means to “be a man”. And so good men may be rare. But if the Lord plans to bring you a good man, I’m praying for him and you should too until you meet him. This means a few things:
-Don’t give up on the idea of finding your true love, of marriage that lasts and excels, of a truly deep and beautiful relationship. If this is God’s will for you, He surely will bring this to you in His timing. Wait for it. Everything’s always better when done God’s way.
-Don’t settle for less the great. Don’t seek the arms of a man who’s not willing to lay down his life for you. Don’t give your heart to a man whose heart does not fully belong to God. Don’t spend your time on someone who does not want what is the best for you, love who God made you, and who is not determined to do his very best for you.
-Be a great woman. Be the kind of girl that a great man would long to give everything up for. Give your heart wholly to your Heavenly Father first. Live life with vibrancy and bravery. Serve others with compassion and joy. Use your gifts, and your beauty, and your intellect to your fullest capacity with humility and wisdom. Present yourself to everyone with respect and dignity. Pray hard for those in your life. Trust the Lord with any and every thing.
3. You are loved more than you will ever know. You are loved by me. And you’ll only know the extent of this love if one day you become a mother too. I never knew love like this was possible. My heart aches with the swelling weight of this love. You are the most beautiful person I’ve ever met. I long to see you grow, and live, and love, and succeed, and trust wholeheartedly in the strong arms of God. I think you’ll never quite know how much I love you. And my love is but a fraction of the love God has for you. Love enough to give his own Son to die. Love that knows every part of your body and soul that He intricately and masterfully created. Love that waits for you to run to Him with everything you have and all you are. A love that is too deep, and wide, and long, and great to ever understand. Never forget that.
Happy Valentines Day, Baby Girl.
I had a day earlier this week when, for some reason, everything seemed a little clearer. Every time I dressed my baby in soft, clean clothes, or wrapped her in a warm blanket, or laid my children down on their cozy beds, or fed them nutritious food, and gave them clean water to drink, or spent time with them, or bathed them, or felt the warmth of our home, or prayed for my husband working hard to provide for us - I was so aware of what a precious gift these things were. I felt that each thing was like I was holding gold. I realized how incredibly rich I am. To be able to give my children all of these riches is a great honour. And I was so grateful to the Lord who gave them to me. And I was aware of children who do not have these things or who do not have someone to give them. Not because the Lord loves those children any less - certainly not. His heart loves them (and my children) more than they could ever ask or imagine. But in a my world of the day-by-day mom stuff that can become so all-encompassing, narrowly-focused, and at times overwhelming He allowed me to see beyond. Partly, for His praise and glory for the gracious gifts He’s given me. And partly to remind me to see with His eyes, and pray and care for children (and mothers) who don’t have the sweet gifts of clothing, or food, or home.
One day may come when I do not have all these things. Does that make the Lord any less good? Certainly not:
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
And if I lack any or all of these material things one day I can still find reasons to praise the Lord. For these things will all pass away, but He is my Sustainer, my Provider, my Saviour, and my Strength. And He is enough. He is greater than gold.
But for now, I hope I can live in thankfulness, recognizing how rich I am, and using each piece of gold for his glory.
Hokey Dinah. Who even says that anymore? Well, me, apparently. And my two-year-old son. Because whenever I open up a particularly gruesome diaper of his he exclaims, “Hokey Dinah!”, because I guess I’ve said that on those occasions. Wow, starting out with digression. Bad sign. Run away, peeps, this could get all rabbit-traily.
So I’ll try to hit the main point now: Hokey dinah - life is suddenly feeling crazy busy. And I have had no time to update my own blog, or read blogs, or do any of that fun stuff. In fact, I haven’t even been scrolling through the pretty stuff on my Tumblr dashboard. Boo.
I’m not sure what happened exactly. Summer was so pretty low key (well, “I just had a baby” low key). And fall snuck up on us with gorgeous weather and a whole bunch of commitments on the schedule. Plus my beautiful baby girl is growing up and needing a bit more from me. And my son’s been on this new sibling/terrible twos/battle for independence thing that is requiring a lot of me. And… I don’t know what else. All that to say: “Sorry, Dudes, the blog’s been neglected, and probably will be many more times to come.” I do feel bad. But not that bad, cuz let’s face it, I do this for free.
And in the midst of it all I’m really needing to assess what my priorities are. My main purpose is clear right now - to serve and bless my family; to build my marriage and raise my children for God’s glory. But what should I do beyond that? Because there are a lot of things I want to do. Some things I’m obligated to do. Some things I wish I’d never volunteered to do. And a bunch of other things, too. But what has God planned for me to do? I don’t have any answers right now - it’s hard to think through such deep life questions on such little sleep and personal time. But I do know the blogging’s taking a slide, and that’s OK for now.
I have managed to chip away at a few things around the home on the good days:
Remember my DIY lamp? It looked cool in pink, but wasn’t working in my space. So I repainted it in Krylon’s brushed nickel finish (which is actually a much warmer metal tone than nickel, I think), and used a lampshade I’d recovered in blue linen a while ago. I’m quite smitten with how it looks.
I finally got around to painting our dining room sideboard. I tried to sell this thing online a long time ago, but the “buyer” never showed up (seriously, people.) So I opted to keep it, paint it, and now I just need to add new hardware. I don’t love the piece, but it’s solid, and a good size for the space. And now it’s not a garish honey colour, so that’s nice.
I picked up this pretty white platter at Value Village. And I love it. It reminds me of ironstone, though I don’t know if it actually is. I try very hard to not purchase things that are for our future farmhouse, but this is one of those things.
And I picked up another Louis chair! Back when I recovered the first one I purchased enough fabric for two in hopes that I’d find a second one. So I’m looking forward to redoing this one to match, and creating the double welt cord for both.
I have some other projects in process, and some others on the to-do lis, but I’ll share them when I’m done.
And the most important projects? A whole lotta’ this pretty thing:
And a whole buncha’ this handsome one:
And those are the projects that make my home the most beautiful.
Life with two kiddos is equal parts crazy and delightful. I’m loving it. And my days are full of feeding, playing, teaching, snuggling, disciplining, rocking, burping (not myself), diapering, and maybe tidying up after it all. It doesn’t leave much time for projects, but I’ve managed to squeeze a few in. And one in particular was reeeally easy and quick.
In our teeny tiny galley kitchen one side has a strange bulky wall that’s kind of awkward. But for as long as we’ve been here I’ve thought it would be a great spot for a chalkboard wall - a place to jot lists of “to-do’s” and groceries. I’d searched for a while for chalkboard paint, and only ever found spray paint - not something I want to use indoors.
So finally I decided to try the Martha method - a simple recipe for chalkboard paint from Martha Stewart Living.
Not only is the recipe super simple, but it allows you to customize the colour aaand if you use environmentally friendly paint (like I did) this stuff’s a lot nicer than the nasty chemically chalkboard paints out there.
I mixed up the recommended 1 cup of latex paint to two tablespoons of unsanded tile grout (which I found at Home Depot). Some of the commenters on the website complained that the mixture was too thick and gloppy. I mixed mine with a small whisk to ensure the powdery grout didn’t clump up.
I found it thick, but useable. I used a brush (as opposed to a foam roller like the instructions said), which I found useful to feather out any lumps in the paint. (Though going over it with a foam roller may give a smoother finish, if you want to try that.) I also think the mixture became thicker the longer it sat.
I decided to do two coats since the instructions said to sand the wall once it dried. However the sanding began to take the paint off spots of my old bumpy walls. So I touched up those spots and skipped the sanding.
Before I knew it I was doodling all over the wall. It comes clean easily with a damp cloth, and looks great. I was surprised to find that the chalkboard wall is slightly darker than the remaining walls (all painted with Newburyport Blue from Benjamin Moore, btw) - which I’m OK with.
And as soon as a certain someone discovered Mommy drawing on the walls he joined in with fervour. Before I knew it he was even making requests. (“Mommy, draw tractor. Right ‘der.”)
This project was super easy and yielded great results. Even my husband stated: “Hey, that actually looks pretty cool!” I’ll take that. :)
Sometimes when you’re a mom you get no sleep. And by sometimes, I mean all the time (at least in my experience so far). Well, you usually get some sleep - just not the amount you used to get, or want to have, or is medically recommended. And then sometimes you really get no sleep. Luckily Baby L’s been a bit better than her big brother was, and allows me more sleep than he did. But she’s a baby. And babies can’t feed themselves, work out their own gas, turn over, take off a blanket when too hot, and sometimes (my babies, anyways) can’t even fall asleep on their own. So. That sucks. And I have to do it for her. And last night was one of those nights where she needed a whole bunch of all of that.
Last week I had one of those nights too. Plus she continued her fussiness all day. Plus her big brother decided to be way overtired and put up a legendary rebellion against nap time, eating, house rules, and all things “mommy”. And I had no wits about me (due to lack of sleep) to handle this well. This resulted in all of us crying. Numerous times. And a messy house. And no supper made. And Daddy coming home early. (What a good Daddy. Have I bragged about him lately? Because he’s AH-mazing.) Luckily the day was saved. In thanks to Daddy.
And also thanks to a dear friend who took me for a smoothie and sat on a sunny park bench with me while we poured out our hearts to each other. I cried more - but good tears this time. And I was reminded once again how good it is to have hope. As we shared with each other we also reminded each other of our Good God who will see us through and provide what we need for today and tomorrow. We also spent time praying together. And we moved on - not just having vented raw emotion, but also being encouraged, strengthened, and determined to go forward for His glory. What a blessing. And I learned that I will need to be intentional, especially when sleep is sparse, to live for His glory for my children’s benefit.
And today? As the wee morning hours rolled along towards daybreak and I realized sleep would not be a part of my near future, I braced myself. I resolved not to flounder in hopeless frustration. I prayed that God would strengthen me. Help me think clearly. Help me look beyond myself. Help me love my children with patience. Teach with gentleness. And focus on what matters. I knew I needed to intentionally work hard today to be compassionate.
So. At the end of the day: the house is still a mess. Sean took us out for supper, because nothing was ready. The “To-Do” list was not even glanced at. But I did spend time praying with my children. I did make time to play. I did snuggle, and hug, and kiss whenever needed. I was able to be silly. I did (endlessly!) hold a tired and sick baby girl. I did have a dance party with a silly little boy. They did eat. They did nap. We did sit in the sunshine. We did read some books. And so, I guess today was a success after all.
Now. Enough blogging. I’d better get to bed!