Monograms: A solution.

22 02 2010

I don’t have to reiterate my feelings regarding excessive mongramming. I am not a big fan, but the matter of the fact is my little South Charlotte world is obsessed with them.  When shopping my favorite boutique (Goodwill) I often find cute little outfits that would have great re-use value if it weren’t for the pesky monogram on the front. Yesterday I found two pair of cute corduroy coveralls. Presumably they belonged to twins.

I’ve gotten pretty good at carefully removing the stitching with a sharp razor blade but sometimes I get overzealous and slice right through the fabric. Unfortunately that was case here. I’ve been in love with felt for the past few years and I had a bunch left over from Bennett’s nursery mural of the owls.

Bennett's Owls before he destroyed them

So here is my solution: felt cut outs with a simple whip stitch. No sewing machine (or experience necessary). Maybe I’ll put two strips of bacon on the other one. Anyone else have any ideas?

Five dollars for the outfits and pennies for the felt.


The things they think. The things they say.

18 02 2010

Bradley has been saying some of the funniest things recently and I find myself getting frustrated that I can’t remember them the next day. I need to do a better job of recording them…that was one of the primary goals of this blog after all.

Always our first born but not our baby anymore.

In many ways he has always been the most high maintenance of our three boys.  I’m sure part of that is just his nature but I can’t discount the fact that he’s the firstborn and spent almost three years as an only child. But…for the first time since he was born I’m experienceing a bit of relief from the constant talking, neediness and drama.  He actually dresses himself on a regular basis, occasionally eats what I serve him without complaining and he’s even learning to spend a little time on his own…contently. He’s growing up before my eyes and it’s so bittersweet.  He’s really turning into such a delightful little boy. I’m enjoying him so much that I sometimes prefer he spend his designated room time with me and I even decided to turn my Sunday afternoon out into a Mommy & Bradley date this past week. It did not go quite as I expected but it was fun nonetheless.

Never seen a fireman with a sword?

Bradley still enjoys dressing up everyday. He is usually a Knight/Pirate/King but recently he’s added some fireman gear to the mix and he tries to have as many swords, daggers and weapons attached to his person as possible. (I could call them all by their proper names since I am now an expert at identifying medieval weapons but I will spare you).

The product of a very long room time

I’m very excited that he has also expanded his interests to include Legos and crafts.  My Mother-in-law sent all of Joe’s old Legos for Bradley to add to his collection last week and he is in Lego heaven. He is particularly into the little characters and all their accessories (weapons)…it goes along with his imaginative play obsession.  Monday he actually spent 4 straight hours in his room playing with them.  He has NEVER stayed in his room that long during the day. I actually started to miss him.

heart crayons . a new craft desk . kitchen wall chalkboard . knight: iteration #68

Here are a few funny stories from the past week.

We ate at P F Changs on Valentines so I saved my fortune cookie for Bradley. I put it on his nightstand for him to see when he woke up.  The next morning I looked up the stairs and saw him sitting on the floor opening it up. I was curious if he would wonder where it came from.  Just then, he saw me and said, “Mommy thank you for my cookie. You left the receipt in it. Should I go put it on Daddy’s desk?” (Joe is a receipt nazi) Seriously how cute is that.  It was enough that he thought the fortune was a receipt but then to remember that we always save receipts and put them on Joe’s desk was hysterical to me.

The next day we were in the car listening to some annoying nursery rhyme music when Bradley piped up and reported that he was king of the brotherhood (we have recently been discussing the bond the boys will have as brothers and have described it as a brotherhood).  Then I said, “Ok, well then Bennett must be the Prince and Dexter, well…he’s still the baby.”  Bradley immediately rebutted, “he can’t be the prince. He has to be the court-jester.”

Then last night we were on our way home from Community Group and since he had just seen some snowman remains as we were getting in the car he had snow on the brain.  He is into quantification these days (guess that’s a developmental stage) so he asks, “Daddy.  Could you throw a snowball off the planet?.” Joe laughed and replied, “no, not that far.”  “Could you throw one from Charlotte to Asheville?”  (Asheville, California & Germany are his three geographical points of reference) “No not that far either,” said Joe ” What about over the house?” Bradley said, obviously disappointed with Joe. Joe said, “Maybe.” After thinking for a few minutes and feeling dissatisfied Bradley came back with, “What about Mr. Eric?” (Mr. Eric is our 6 foot 5 inch friend who is a fireman…according to Bradley he is next to God.)

Always a sword at his side

We are getting to know so much more about who this little boy is that God has given us and it is such a joy.  Some days I struggle with discouragement and I lack perspective. I wonder, “how will we ever…how will he ever…” but then I remember that we have a God who is bigger than all of that. A God who holds each of us in the palm of His hand. A God that delights in His children and longs to be with them.

Bradley, I love you so much. Being your Mommy is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s a taste of heaven.

My now.

16 02 2010

I’m glad to report that I’ve been spending a lot of time in the now.  I’ve been slack on work, projects, tasks, favors, emails and thank yous but it’s been worth it.  I owe many thanks to Lindsay and her faithfulness to remind me how quickly these sweet days will pass. If I could write like her this is what I’d say…please read her post “In the now” at the WhiteHouse.

Three Little Monkeys

Another Birthday.

12 02 2010

Yesterday was my birthday.

A panera pecan roll, not a paper cup and color.

I am 32 now and so grateful that I didn’t need the celebration this year.

Joe reminded me the night before…”tomorrow is your birthday.”

I wasn’t thinking about it. Not in an apathetic way. I ‘m just consumed by greater joys today.

However, I ended up having one the greatest birthdays ever.

I’ve learned that I am a longwinded blogger so let me practice brevity today.

How did she know those were my birthday colors this year?

For my birthday I was given the gift of some time alone, of being remembered, and being known.

I was given the gift of memories rehearsed, thoughtful words, and lessons learned (good lessons).

I gave myself comfort, space and color. Lots of it.

I felt loved by those near, those who are far and especially the the ones who are closer than near.

It was a special day because I stopped to consider how sacred a normal day is.

An unexpected bouquet at the end of the day.

Thin Places

8 02 2010

Joe & I are currently reading a great book called Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. It’s taking us a while to sift through all the content but I would highly recommend it no matter what stage of parenting you find yourself in. I would not say that it’s encouraging, but it’s so insightful and I’m so grateful to have these subjects brought to the forefront now, rather than later. We still have a way to go before completing it but already it has been a catalyst for lots of frustrating as well as fruit producing discussion in our marriage. We borrowed it from our Pastor, Mark Upton, after approaching him with some questions we had about the upcoming school decisions we face with the boys. We are discovering that we still have issues to work through in our own stories regarding school so I guess we ought to dive in now.

Anyway, all that to say that the Author who I have grown to love from a afar, Mary E. DeMuth, has released a personal memoir called Thin Places. Below is a brief description of the book. Also check out Emily’s thoughts about it over at ChattingAtTheSky. She’s also posted a trailer about the book and had the privilege to read the book before it’s release for review. I don’t think I’m ready to read it yet but I wanted to let all my reader friends know that it’s out there. I will read it before long. I think. I hope. Having children of my own makes facing realities like hers so much more difficult than ever before.

“In her moving spiritual memoir, Mary DeMuth traces the winding path of -thin places- in her life-places where she experienced longing and healing more intensely than before. As DeMuth writes, -Thin places are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where we might just catch a glimpse of eternity. They are aha moments, beautiful realizations, when the Son of God bursts through the hazy fog of our monotony and shines on us afresh.- From losing her earthly father to discovering a heavenly Father who never leaves, from singing Olivia Newton-John songs to the sky to worshiping God under a French sun, from surviving abuse as a latchkey kid to experiencing the joy of mothering three children, DeMuth-s story calls readers to a deeper understanding of their own story. With unusual spiritual wisdom, she looks for God in the past so that she might experience him more profoundly in the present. Her powerful words invite readers to know God in a new way-a God ready to break through any ordinary day or extraordinary pain and offer a glimpse of eternity.”

Check out Mary’s site when you have time or buy a copy at Amazon if you’re ready for the read.

An image.

5 02 2010

My new favorite Image. Sweet Baby Dexter. Thanks Jen Hunt.

What’s in an image and why are we so image obsessed? This is a conversation I’ve been having with myself for a long time. I feel like that’s how many of my blog posts come to fruition. Some things intrigue me so much that they won’t let my mind rest until I’ve come up with an answer (usually a personal theory) that satisfies me enough to move on.  I think that’s how we process things in order to establish a defined set of values and beliefs about subjects that tend toward the abstract.

So this is where the conversation started.  We had a photo shoot with Jen Hunt about a year and a half ago…just before Thanksgiving. It’s purpose was twofold…some family pictures for the house and a good Christmas card photo. I was over the top excited about getting the pictures back and checked her blog about every five minutes just in case she posted them before letting us know. I seriously spent the entire Thanksgiving vacation with my computer on my lap. The eagerness with which I awaited these photos made me wonder what the big deal was.  Certainly there was something deeper. Why did I want to look at images of US so badly? I felt vain….self-absorbed…but curious why.  Then I started thinking about how the same rings true with my clients. They love to see their names artistically expressed in a logo or graphic design or their family’s image on a Christmas card or a birth announcement.  I think it’s what makes monogramming and personalization all the rage. I have always made fun of that trend but then when Dexter was given a towel with his name on it, it turned from ordinary to special and I got it. (However I still think it’s wasteful to monogram or personalize everything).

So then a few months later as an icebreaker at a social gathering I was asked “what is your most valuable possession”.  Now I do love my Panton chairs and my Grandmother’s diamond holds special value but I’d move on quite easily if either were lost. What I could never let go of are the pictures of my kids and family. Yes they represent memories but there is more to it. While photos enhance the detail of my recollection, I have the memories regardless of them. My Dad once told me that he would find my Mom staring at us while we slept at night…and when she wasn’t looking at us she was looking at pictures of us. He joked that she was a childolater. Now I am one too….seriously could look at their pictures all day long. Especially the ones that Hope & Jen take. Makes me understand why we’ve cycled through so many iconoclastic periods in our history.

This is where I end up. Perhaps when I look at my children I see reflections of myself. I don’t think it’s altogether unholy because God created us in His image and I feel confident the delight He experiences when looking at us is far greater than anything I could imagine.  I feel like that’s where the dignity comes in. What greater honor could there be than to be created in the image of the God of the universe?  So unless we have some really twisted idea about who we are (as I imagine many celebrities do) I think it’s ok to feel a sense of pride…to be dignified when we see our name or our image represented in a positive way. If we look to that alone to tell us who we are then we’re in trouble but I think otherwise it’s pretty innocent.  So I’m off to look at more pictures of Sweet Baby Dexter over at Jen Hunt Photography. (I’ll explain what’s going on in my kitchen in another post)

So much to catch up on.

2 02 2010

I’m hoping that if I do a decent job of recording the important events that take place this year my “Year in Review” of 2010 won’t be so long. I’d love to replace the novel I wrote for 2009 with a short recap for 2010.

Each year, just as soon as we settle down from the holidays and get back into a normal routine, we hit birthdaypalooza.  Between January 14th and February 4th we celebrate 16 birthdays of close friends and family.  It is seriously crazy.  I have had birthday cake almost everyday for the past two weeks and my clothes are beginning to hold me accountable for the calories I’ve consumed. My regular jeans have had enough and insisted that I put on my “transitional” ones this morning : (

Bennett...our tough little guy who could stay outside in the cold all day

So Joe turned 31 on the 31st. How fun is that?  I remember turning 11 on the 11th and what a thrill that was.  He was excited too…guess I’ve rubbed off on him.  Last year he struggled with the big three-o but this year he is embracing the fact that life is truly at it’s best.  Our surprise dinner plans were thwarted by the inclement weather but we’ll do a make up this coming weekend.

Such a pretty cake. Pretty nasty, that is.

Bennett turned 2 on the 29th. I had plans to make a cake with a box mix and then have fun decorating it with Bradley as an afternoon activity.  Getting to the store seemed like too much of a challenge that day so i found a recipe online. I don’t bake so I didn’t know about making cakes from scratch.  won’t do that again.  It looked ok but even the kids didn’t eat very much. I think substituting gluten-free flour was a bad idea.  So I bet you’re wondering why there are three holes in the cake.  Let’s just say I have too many things going on in my brain.  I thought all day that he was turning three and I obsessed about the design of the cake, the color of the icing, the platter it would be on, the font I would use, the color of the candles and how they would match my new chairs. Then when Bradley asked the obvious, “Mommy why are there 3 holes even though Bennett is 2?” I felt so stupid. Who forgets how old their children are…on their birthdays? I tried to redeem myself by just giving him two of the cake plugs on his own little plate.  That night we enjoyed a simple pizza and birthday cake dinner with family and Bennett in his Christmas PJs. While I wanted a cute picture of him in a solid colored shirt, Joe reminded me that documenting our reality is more important that a pretty picture.  This picture will remind me of the month Bennett refused to wear clothes. Love that sweet boy.

PJs...good. Blowing out candles...good. Cake...not so good. Thomas...excellent.

Bennett also had his inaugural ER visit this morning.  He and Dexter had well visits scheduled for this morning but sometime in the middle of the night Bennett woke up coughing like a seal and struggling to breath.  We made it through the night but by the morning it was getting scary.  His well visit turned into a sick visit and a trip to the ER.  I was gently scolded for not taking him in during the night but I’ll know from now on what to watch for.  About an hour and a half after he received a steroid shot he was doing much better and we were able to return home.

They have an innate love for animals. Too bad.

Last, we have continued to enjoy cardboard box creations. We even started building houses for our mechanical animals. Now if we could all live under one roof or play in one box without fighting we’d be set!

Wonder how long this entertainment will last?