Puppets

February 28, 2013

This month Stephanie picked our project and while it was a bit time consuming the results were adorable. We made a set of Old MacDonald puppets with the free patterns found here.. I used the patterns for the main body parts, the ears, and few of the other things I couldn’t very well free hand like the cow spots and feathers. I have a few tips for this if you want them e-mail me or leave a comment I don’t want to bore everyone with the details. I followed her ideas with a few minor touches of my own, here is how mine turned out.

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This is my 3rd solo sewing project so I am very much a beginner, anyone can sew these. I think my favorite one is the horse and the one I would like to change is the sheep. The most important thing is Ellery thinks they are pretty awesome!

I am Such a Bachelor

February 27, 2013

When Andrew goes out of town I turn into a complete bachelor. I absolutely clean the house for Andrew, if I lived alone I would have a very dirty house! He was gone only last night and somehow our house basically exploded and I had no motivation to clean it up. I promise that by the time Andrew walks in the door tonight it will look like this never happened. I just had to chuckle as I walked around the house tonight so I took some pictures so you could see what my unstaged life looks like. I stepped over that sippy couple no less than 5 times before picking it up. In my defense I did have small group and when I came home I re-caulked our bathroom for the inspection. But truth be told I really hate to clean!

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Could This Actually Happen?

February 26, 2013

That’s what I asked our realtor Saturday when she stopped by to help us complete our paperwork. We decided we would put our house on the Market March 1st. We wanted to get our roof done and finish painting the back of the house. Saturday at 1:00 we had a showing, their realtor wanted to show them before it went on the market. She had stopped by earlier in the week with another client who decided to pass, but she thought this couple would love the house. We left the house and said a quick prayer, “Lord, if this is the couple meant for our house please let them love it and buy it today.” We went about our day and honestly had no expectations. At one point I’m sure we joked about how cool it would be if we were done selling our house before it even began, but had no serious hopes, we knew in order to sell it before it went on the market we would have to get a full price offer. Around 4:00 on Saturday we got a text from our realtor saying they wanted to put in an offer. Still with low expectations we were cautiously optimistic and we went through the process of getting all our ducks in a row with paperwork and utility reports. Our realtor came over, picked up the paperwork and got all the official stuff going. Sunday evening Andrew and I were sitting around hanging out and I happened to check my e-mail, we got the offer, it was good and with a couple minor tweaks our house went under contract yesterday. Our closing date is 42 days from today!! For those of you math challenged, like myself, that’s April 9th. Yes, you read that right, we sold our house before it even went on the market. We still obviously have some things that need to happen before it all totally goes through, but we are excited and moving forward. The inspection is later this week, a few of our windows are being replaced and the appraisal has to be completed, but we can’t wait for all of that to choose our next house so we are in official house hunting mode. We appreciate all your prayers, friends, we know this whole process is not because of what we have done, but because of what God is doing. We could use a few more from you so here is what we need specific prayer for over the coming weeks.

– That the inspection would come back fairly clean, there is no way it’ll be spotless, but we are praying for a good report.
– That the house would appraise for the purchase price, I don’t know why, but this part has always stressed me out, I guess because I can’t do anything to fix this.
– That all the financing goes through in a timely manner, for us and for them.
– That we feel at peace with whatever house we get. We have a house picked out that we are both thrilled with, but ultimately we want to be in the right location for God’s plans and I don’t want our love of this house to cloud our judgement.
– And probably my biggest stress right now, that the move will be smooth. I’m not kidding when I say we have 3X the amount of stuff that we did when we moved here. We are packing and loading ourselves and it has stressed me out since day one! We have a gigantic couch that I am not sure how we will fit in a truck with all our boxes.

We met the buyers last night and I am so much more ready to hand over the house. They are a sweet newlywed couple and they seem so excited to live here. Makes it feel more like I’m giving someone a gift of a home instead of feeling like I’m just leaving one behind.

Now you know if I’m a little sporadic in my posting I’m either packing or purging!

Good for the Soul

February 23, 2013

I decided against my better judgement that I would take a little staycation this week. I know in the next week or so our life is going to get busy and I’m just not going to have the time to enjoy a quiet morning or afternoon reading in bed. We have a showing tomorrow (our house is not even on the market yet), our roof gets installed Monday and we are hoping to complete the exterior painting and get this house officially on the market as soon as possible! So I took the last two days and spent Ellery’s naps laying in bed reading the book When God Winks at You. My mom got it for me for Christmas and has been raving about it so I decided I would give it a try. It’s a book with a bunch of short stories about how coincidence is really God reminding you that He knows you and loves you. There are some really fantastic, surprising and inspiring stories in it. It’s been really good for my soul, I’m feeling very refreshed and cared for by God as I have been recalling stories in my life where I feel he has “winked at me or my family.” One story that comes to mind that is very relevant to our place in life right now is the story of my grandfather’s house.

My Uncle passed away in January of 2005, as soon as he died my grandmother confessed that she was sick. Come to find out she was really sick and died of surgery complications on February 28, 2005. On March 1st my mom looked out the window and saw that our neighbors directly across the street put their house on the market that morning. She called my dad and my grandfather purchased the house that very day. He was living in Florida at the time and definitely needed to move close and did not want to live with us so this worked out perfectly. My mom talked to our neighbors and they said they planned to put the house on the market in February, but something had told them to wait until March 1st.

When I start feeling stressed about the process of selling our house I remember that God knows how this whole thing is going to work out and we just need to finish our list and relax!

It’s Just a House

February 22, 2013

That’s what I tell myself every single day. Every morning I wake up and tell myself it’s just a house, but my words have not taken root in my heart yet. It’s just our first house, our first big purchase as a married couple, we haven’t even purchased a car together. It happened to just be the house that met all our wants list, the perfect compromise of a house. I knew it was ours before we walked into the house. It’s just the house that we spent countless hours working on, I would guess we are somewhere over the thousand hour mark. It’s just the house we brought our first bundle of joy home to. I know it’s “just a house,” but to us it’s our home. I know we will have a home again, it took me a year to feel at home in this house, so I’m hoping it takes less time in the next one.  I am not quite prepared for the criticism that comes with selling a house.  Our next door neighbors told us it was the most demoralizing time of their lives, great that’s just what I need!  Despite these feelings we are still really excited about this move and I look forward to showing you pictures of our new house whenever we find it and buy it.  My sweet friend Shanyn took these beautiful pictures of our house.  If you live in the Austin Area she is awesome to work with.  I would recommend to never try selling your house without professional pictures, trust me we have been looking at a lot of houses.

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Ellery’s room

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Guest bathroom

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Kitchen and hearth room

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Looking out from the kitchen

Family room

Family room

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom, looking into bathroom

Master bedroom, looking into bathroom

Master bathroom

Master bathroom

Hearth room

Hearth room

Back yard

Back yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Month Letter

February 19, 2013

My child Ellery Wynn,

I’m not sure when it happened, but you are no longer a baby. I really wasn’t prepared for this, I mean one day you needed me for nourishment, comfort, thirst quenching, entertainment and the next day you are holding a cup, drinking on your own, eating veggies, reaching for what you want to play with and entertaining yourself. You even feed yourself with a spoon which i seriously thought wouldn’t happen for another 6 months. Then you sprouted teeth and this mama’s heart could hardly handle that change. I thought I would really dislike this phase. I thought until you could walk you would be a blob, I was so incredibly wrong. I am loving every minute of this, ok almost every minute, the teething screaming wasn’t fun for any of us! I catch people saying all the time, “I can’t wait until she/he does _______.” They don’t mean anything bad by this, but I’ve decided I will try not to feel this way, I will try to live each day enjoying the present. I won’t lie, I will not miss you soaking through my shirts and slobbering all over my hands, but I know this is just a phase and it’ll be over before I know it, or in a couple years when you have all your teeth. You started taking real baths this month, you lay in the water and kick your legs non stop for like ten minutes, I think you will enjoy swim lessons this summer. One of my favorite new developments this month is you take two naps now instead of three, it gives us a lot more freedom to leave the house and run errands. You sit up like a pro, love to ride in the cart at stores, and eating out is fun with you sitting in the high chair and eating your puffs. Your first word was Mama and I happened to actually catch it on video, you said Dada for dad when he got home from work that same day. I caved and let you watch your first DVD this month, oh my word it was the sweetest thing, you laughed and talked through the whole thing! You are starting to gain greater independence this month, but at the same time want me more than ever. I’m trying to strike a good balance of letting you explore on your own and constantly being in your line of vision. I’m so glad I get to be your mom!

Love you forever,
Mama

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Baby Clothes

February 19, 2013

From the very beginning we basically decided to not spend money on Ellery unless we absolutely had to. For the most part we haven’t bought anything except the absolute necessities like wipes and food (more on that in another post, we make it from scratch and it’s so easy!) I have bought a handful of things for her to wear to fill in the size gaps, either hugely discounted, second hand or a special dress for a holiday. We have been hugely blessed with friends and family letting us borrow items or gifting us hand me downs. I would say 60% of Ellery’s clothes are used and the others are gifts from family and friends. Your baby DOES NOT CARE what they wear, Ellery’s #1 goal with clothes is comfort. So far this year I haven’t purchased anything for Ellery besides a few necessities that I purchased with her Christmas money from Nana like washcloths and socks. We’ll see how long I can keep this going, I think I have enough clothes to last her until her 1st birthday in July, then her clothes supply seriously diminishes.

I was fortunate to watch a friend with 3 kids raise her little ones. Her little girl wore the same outfit every Monday when i was there, and that’s when I realized you only really need about 10 outfits, 14 at the most, per size. Mostly comfy clothes and two to three cute outfits for church or outings. I have a tiny bin for each age of clothing and if it doesn’t fit in that bin it gets donated to someone else to enjoy. So far the bins are newborn, 0-3, 3, & 3-6, then I have one unisex bin for foodies, swaddles and anything a boy could wear like white tees. I put the clothes in the bin that the clothes fit like, not the size on the tag. For example carters 3 month pants are tiny so they are in the 0-3 bin, not the 3. As the sizes increase the bin size will too, but I’m hoping the tiny bins work through the first year, I like uniformity. For footie pajamas I have 4 or 5 for each size and have her wear them at least two nights in a row unless they are dirty. Not sure if that’s gross, but I wear my pajamas more than once, and she doesn’t really sweat.

I do understand that kids do need clothes and lots of other things like strollers, bathtubs, etc. If you live in the Champaign-Urbana area I think All Things Kids is awesome. There is also a great place by the Walmart in Savoy and Frogs and Fairies in Urbana, I have also had great luck on the 50 cent rack at Transitions in Lincoln Square Mall. Then of course One Week Boutique is supposed to be awesome, I however have never been around for that.

This post is to encourage you to not only minimize the amount of clothes you have for your kiddos, but also minimize your spending. Next time you are tempted to buy your kid that really cute outfit and you think, does she/he really need this? The answer is likely no, but they probably will someday need to go to college, it’s never too early to start saving!!

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And when you are clearing out your closets, if you find yourself getting ready to donate size 12-24 month girl clothes we are accepting donations! *wink*

A Pinterest Valentine

February 18, 2013

Friends, you will be proud of me, I decided it was time to start celebrating Valentine’s Day. It was the first time since meeting my husband that I really planned stuff. Thanks to Pinterest I was inspired to make a special meal and a garland for the table. I got him some gifts too, but not Pinterest related so I’ll just stay on topic.

I made Spinach Artichoke Pasta for dinner, delicious, it made way to much! So half the recipe, or you can reheat it, it tasted great the next day.

Dessert was a bust! It was not sweet at all and I will never make them again, but at least I tried. There was no recipe, only a picture, so I guessed, clearly I guessed wrong!

I used this idea for the table garland, but used red and pink card stock, took me only about 20 minutes to make and I used stuff I had lying around so I then didn’t feel bad throwing it away the next day!

I dressed Ellery in Valentine’s Day attire and I even wore Red and Pink, whoa!! My mom was in town and we had a family lunch and then a nice evening at home, my brother even came over and spent the night. I hope you felt loved!

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Coming Your Way

February 16, 2013

Congratulations Gabe, puppets coming your way, just in time for your little lady to entertain the new babe!! Ellery loves hers, hope your family enjoys them too.

Marriage

February 14, 2013

First came love…

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Then came marriage…

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Then came our baby in a baby carriage…

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A couple weeks ago one of my Facebook friends posted a status saying,{paraphrased} despite what you see on the Internet through social media no ones’s marriage is perfect. I’ve thought about this a lot. Yes I was fully aware that my or anyone else’s marriage is flawed. Marriage is the union of two flawed people. However what I do love about social media is that it is one of the few places that people do talk so positively about their spouses. We need more positive spouse talk. We are bombarded with the media telling us marriage is the death of happiness or having kids is awful. Have you ever been in a group of women and one person says something negative about her husband? It’s like she opened the floodgates and the complaints start rolling out of everyone’s mouths. Positive talk leads to positive feelings. When you start highlighting the things in your mate that are good, you begin to see them as good, so I say publicly affirm all you want!

Are there things that I would change about my husband? You betcha, and I’m sure he could tell you a thing or two that he’d like to fix in me, but we’ve both grown to a place of acceptance. In our early married days I treated everyday as an opportunity to air my grievances. If Andrew did something I didn’t like or did something in a way that was different from “my way” I would tell him. Then one day it occurred to me, Andrew was a person before me. He lived alone for many years, he washed his own clothes, cleaned his own dishes and ,gasp, he even cooked for himself!! He doesn’t need me, he wants me. So then I began trying to be someone I would want to live with.

Enter our sweet Ellery, I realized before I had her that I like to control things and I often think my way is THE way. I decided before I had her that despite how I felt I was going to start leaving Ellery at least a couple hours a week with Andrew. Dads play different, they play rough, they are loud, they like to rile up the babe as we are getting ready for bed and I decided the last thing I wanted to do was destroy his “dadness” so I leave them alone. He plays however he wants, he puts her to bed and I come home refreshed from my time alone, it’s a win win. I think our marriage has actually gotten better with a baby because for the first time I actually have a very tangible way of communicating that I trust and respect him. And from what I’ve gathered, Andrew couldn’t give a rip about being loved, and saying “I respect you” is kind of weird!

It’s true, no marriage is perfect, but I believe whole heartedly that every marriage can get better if both people want it to. It’ll take work, patience, understanding, compromise, communication, putting their needs above yours, love, respect, and a huge heaping spoonful of grace, but it can get better. And remember next time you go to bash your husband, ultimately you are criticizing your taste in men, you did choose him after all.

{And before I get a nasty gram, yes I know there are circumstances out there that don’t fit into this pretty little box. If you are in a relationship that is a hazard to your health I obviously would never advise you to stay and put you or your children in danger}