Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Night Before She Turns Two

I just put my one year old Ellie girl to bed. Tomorrow morning, when she wakes up, she will by my two year old Ellie girl. TWO. How did we get here?

I'm not going to lie, I've been an emotional mess tonight. It started during bath time, and then got worse during PJ time and then really culminated during books and prayers. I was full on crying.

And I'm happy. Of course I'm happy. She has been so much fun recently and I know the fun will continue to increase, as will the cuteness. But TWO is such a big girl. Two is not a baby.

Two will bring more words, more opinions, and more questions. Two will bring dressing herself. Two will bring potty training (LORD, HELP ME JESUS). I can not imagine sticking that little bitty girl on a potty. SHE WILL FALL IN. I just can't even. Two will bring more foods to try and love (Name it and claim it, people.) Two will be goodbye to the pacifier, which we should have done long ago, but it never leaves her bed so she's never using it throughout the day or in public. And also, I'm not ready yet. Two will maybe bring a big girl bed. Two will get rid of the high chair. It's all her sweet little baby things.

I know I'm making this super sappy and dramatic when it doesn't need to be. This is exciting! A celebration! Tomorrow she will wake up to find a play kitchen in our living room. I can't wait to see her face. She has no concept of what her birthday means so she is going to wake up thinking it's a normal day and it's just going to be all kinds of epic.

And oh, do I love her. I miss her when she's not with me.

She loves to sing. She requests specific songs for me to sing or to play on my iPhone. She loves to dance and will ask for music to dance to. "Dancin? I dancin? Songs, Mommy? Songs? I dancin?"

She loves to learn. She can count to ten and she knows all of her colors. She knows all the animal sounds. She loves to repeat things.... even things you don't want her to repeat. Oops.

She makes me crazy, but she's made me grow up. She's brought to my life a level of discipline and responsibility that I've never had before. She's ridded me of my selfishness (mostly) (I still have my moments) and taught me what it means to put another's needs before your own. She puts everything in perspective... cause when my day is going badly and I feel miserable, I just look at her and feel immensely and overwhelmingly blessed. So blessed that I feel like I could never, ever deserve this kind of gift. And I stop whatever I'm doing in that very moment and I thank Jesus for her.

One of the things that I've always prayed for Ellie is that she would be a delight to all who come to know her. I pray that she would bring happiness and joy to people. And so far, I feel like my prayers have been answered exceedingly and abundantly. She IS joy. She is so full of light and love and I pray so fiercely that that never, ever goes away.

Today is July 15, 2014. I wrote a blog on July 15, 2012... titled "The Last Day Without Her". I wrote it the day we went to the hospital, knowing she would be born the very next day. And I read it now and I weep... because I really just had no idea. I had no earthly idea.

Ellie, a few minutes old, July 16, 2012
Her first birthday party

Swimming in June
Playing with friends in July!
Happy Birthday, my sweet Ellie girl. I love you to the moon and back.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Chairs

The dining room is the very first room you see when you walk into my home.

And it's fine. It's pretty. But it's really boring. And there's a lack of color and I just have never loved it.

About a year ago I finally painted the white walls green and that really made a difference. But the white(ish) carpet and the white(ish) chair cushions still left me wanting more.

So, I went to JoAnn's, picked out a fabric, borrowed a staple gun from a girlfriend and called my mom. Cause she's done this before. And I rarely can take on a household project without my mom there to help guide the way.

This project was relatively easy once I mastered the art of using a power drill. I unscrewed and screwed the cushions from the chairs while my mom stapled the fabric onto the seat cushions.

Et, voila!




















Before (white), after (green and blue)

It really brightened up the room and gave it a more modern feel. At some point, I will probably refinish the dining room furniture, but that is a bigger fish to fry. A fish that I have no time or patience for right now.

I have some leftover fabric and am trying to decide what I want to make with it.... table runner? Pillows? The possibilities are endless!

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

And These Are a Few of My Current Favorite Things

It's a hot, rainy summer night, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to sit down and write something. However, my creative juices just aren't flowing at the end of this very long day, so instead I'll just share a list of some things I'm loving right now!

1. My new pillows and curtains! I found the curtains from the Threshold line at Target, and the pillows were a combination of Target and TJ Maxx. 




















2. The Flip Belt. Like I've mentioned before, I have been running lately. And I hate running with stuff in my hands or in my pockets. This black, elastic belt is not cumbersome at all and can hold your phone and your ID or whatever you need, plus I can still plug my headphones in! Plus, there is the added bonus of not feeling like you're wearing a fanny pack. 

3. Lately, when Ellie is told to do something that she finds undesirable, she will comply but will also say "Ohhhhhhhhh, Gosh!" while doing it. Cracks me up every time. 

4. This video: IT. IS. AMAZING.

5. Chasing God by Angie Smith. I CAN NOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ENOUGH. Full of truth and humor and encouragement. My kind of book!

And that's all she wrote for tonight, folks :)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

The 6th of July

Well, it's 2 days after the 4th of July and people still insist on blowing up fireworks in residential neighborhoods. I AM JUST THRILLED ABOUT THIS.

If I really wanted to, I could spend this entire blog post sharing my opinions about people choosing to celebrate the 4th of July on the 6th of July at 9 o'clock in the evening. However, I'm pretty sure you could guess what my feelings are on that particular subject. So I'm going to spare you from the complaining and the venting and just tell you that these people need to shut it down, pronto. The mamas on this block are about to come out with an attitude.

Honestly, we had a wonderful, restful, fun 4 day weekend. Grant's company generously gave their employees Thursday AND Friday off. We usually travel on long weekends so it was a nice break to spend several days at home. Thursday we went to a fantastic party at our friends' house and Ellie slept in a pack and play and we stayed out waaaaay past our bedtime. But it was awesome. Friday was the 4th and we spent a lot of the day getting projects done around the house. Ellie spent her time feeding her babies.





















On Friday night, we met up with my parents who were keeping our niece and nephew and headed up to the club to enjoy their Independence Day festivities. Unfortunately, that fun was short lived as a there was a big storm a'brewin' and we had to call it a night pretty early. That didn't stop Ellie from playing some excellent golf shots.






















We still had a blast! Saturday Grant spent his day fishing off the coast with my brother-in-law, Jeremy, while Ellie and I enjoyed a pool party and some BBQ with some friends. It was really quite a rainy holiday weekend around here but we have been able to enjoy some outside time in between the squalls.

We had a great morning at church and also took a family trip to Whole Foods this afternoon to pick up some yummy goodness. Grant cooked himself a kabob on the grill and a turkey burger for me. And now I'm sitting here watching a show about antiques while I breathe deeply and try not to go outside and go all Angry-Mom on these neighborhood hooligans who feel that this is a good time and place to explode some artillery shells. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.



Monday, June 30, 2014

See Ya Later, June

Today is June 30th. Tomorrow it will be July. We've made it through half of the year, folks. How is that possible? Things are moving ever so quickly in 2014.

And now that we are entering July, I am in full-speed planning mode for Ellie's 2nd birthday party. We are going to have a small family party here at the house. The theme? Bubble Guppies, of course! As if I had any other option. And, since we do live in Houston, the party will be in the evening. Cause no one wants to pretend to be happy and enjoying the occasion when it's 112 degrees outside with a 95% humidity level. We just aren't doing it around here. The later the party, the better.

I've been scouring Pinterest and there is no shortage of ideas. Some of them are little bit too crafty for me. Some people love a good DIY project, but I am not one of those people. I like things that look crafty but have already been assembled by someone that has a greater eye for detail than I do. Etsy to the rescue!

As I have been typing this, I have just now realized that I need to figure out what I'm going to do about a cake. Seriously, it just hit me. Birthday parties need cakes or cupcakes or something and I have yet to consider that.

Oops.

In other news, I got a haircut this morning. As a result, I would like to go to as many places and see as many people as possible today since it will never look this cute again. Some people are really good at styling hair. That ain't me.

Anyways, July is upon us and there is so much to look forward to. Ellie's 2nd birthday (as previously mentioned), a road trip to Dallas to see some sweet friends, and Houston Project, our church's mission trip to our city.

All of this will likely be happening in extreme heat. Cause it's Houston. And I can't walk from my front door to my car without needing to change shirts due to sweat stains. Every time we walk out the door, Ellie says "It's hot!"

Yes, baby. It's hot. It will continue to be hot for the foreseeable future. I'm sorry to break it to you, little darling, but this is your new normal.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why VBS Matters

I went every year. We did VBS every single summer. I was there in the weeks before VBS, the week of VBS, and the weeks after VBS. My mom was always heavily involved and on the leadership team each year, so I had a front row seat in watching the whole thing come together.

I remember going up to the church foyer and watching my mom paint the backdrop each year. There were four big canvases that would line up right next to each other to make the backdrop of the set for the skits. She'd paint a white primer on top of last year's backdrop and then use the overhead projector to trace the pencil lines onto the canvasses. This was a yearly ritual. I remember over the years the canvasses became so thick with paint after all the layers of paint from each year's backdrop. 

Sonseeker Safari. Son Country Farm. Every year had a theme. And it always had the word "Son". The writers of the VBS curriculum really got a kick out of that same play on words every year. 

Mom was in the skits and also did the puppet show (Rosie and Rusty) (Mom was Rosie) (Jonathan's mom was Rusty) (We got to watch them practice) and Lindsee's mom usually did Opening Assembly. 

It really was just the most fun week of the whole summer. We would be up at the church at the crack of dawn while all the moms set up. And we'd stay late and eat lunch together while they took everything down. 

We had craft time and music time and snack time and I still remember some of the songs to this very day. And maybe even some of the hand motions. And I remember some of the t-shirt designs too. It was all about the t-shirt, y'all. 

One year, on the last day of VBS, we stayed quite late as our parents took everything down and somehow about 20 of us kids got into a giant water fight outside. It involved a hose and about 100 plastic cups and pouring water over each other's heads. We were soaked through our clothes and I remember thinking we were going to get in so much trouble. But we were outside, we were staying out of the way, and our parents just let us go for it. And it was pretty much one of the highlights of my childhood. 

What I am trying to say is, I have SO MANY MEMORIES of VBS. This week, as I've been serving at VBS at my church, all those memories have been coming back to the surface. And no, I'm not nearly as involved or in charge as my mom was... I just am one of the teachers in a classroom of about 18 amazing 4 and 5 year olds. 

They are absolutely precious kids. Each one has a story. Each one has a personality and a future.  And they are learning the songs. Learning the stories. Learning their memory verse. Making awesome crafts. Captivated by the stories of missionaries living across the world. Bringing their little handful of quarters for the Sudanese mission. Making friends. 

Every morning this week I have had to wake up my sweet Ellie girl. Get her dressed. Rush out the door. She eats breakfast in the car. I drop her off in her own little VBS room where she has her own music time and story time and craft time.

This is me and my Ellie in her very first VBS shirt.
























She comes up to my classroom with me at the end of the day while we clean up and say goodbye to all our kiddos. And then we drive home. 

And she sits in that backseat and sings the songs. Sings them loud. Songs I haven't taught her. Songs she's learning at VBS. 

"I'm gonna CLAP CLAP CLAP my hands cause God is so good! STOMP STOMP STOMP my feet cause God is so good!"

She claps and she stomps and she sings and it fills me to the brim with the greatest joy. 

Cause we are making memories. And maybe, just maybe, when she's about to be 30... maybe she'll bring her own little girl to VBS at their church. And maybe she'll drive and think about all the songs and the verses and the memories she made when her mommy took her to VBS every year. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This Week Is Not the Boss of Me

Let me tell you what's about to happen here.

I am going to make a plan, Buster. This week is trying to intimidate me with all of the items on the to-do lists and the meetings and the empty refrigerator and the errands that need to be run. But I refuse to be intimidated.

Groceries need to be acquired.

Gifts need to be purchased for birthday people.

VBS supplies need to collect themselves and get sorted by the days they are needed.

Meetings need to be attended.

Meals need to be cooked.

Running needs to happen.

Our Bible study group needs to meet here.

A toddler needs to be fed, bathed, clothed, played with and read to. On a daily basis.

I'll say it again: I refuse to be intimidated.

Sure, on other weeks you might find me panicking and pulling the covers over my head. And probably stress eating some carbohydrates like it was my job.

But I've got a plan of attack:

Step 1: Unpack suitcases from this weekend and start laundry immediately. I'm not gonna let those bags sit on my bedroom floor and stare at me all week. (Task complete)

Step 2: Unload dishwasher (Task complete)

Step 3: Clean kitchen, living room, and bathroom (Task complete)

Step 4: Sit down with laptop, calendar, notepad, and VBS Supply list

Step 5: Meal plan for the week and make grocery list

And that's just for tonight.

I am about to take this week by the horns and show it who's boss.

BOOM.