Tuesday, July 15, 2014

little things: a long time coming

The last time I published was in May. There are many excuses. But here I am, anyway, with good news!

There will be another little one added to our family in mid-January! We got to see our tiny baby just last week via ultrasound, and six weeks earlier saw his or her strong, beating heart. What a blessing and an answer to our prayers. God is good to us!

The baby will be about 25 months younger than Joshua, which I think sounds just about perfect. They'll get to grow up together, play together, and have each other to lean on as they go through life.

I'm praying for strength, peace, and grace to be a good mommy to the two little blessings that we've been given!

I do think I could now do a list of the little things, don't you? 

1. Our tiny baby with wiggly hands and feet, and a strong heartbeat
2. My Joshua giving me kisses and picking flowers for me when we're outside
3. Having the opportunity this past June to teach at summer music school again
4. Being able to be there for a friend as she adjusts to her newest little one
5. Sharing maternity clothes with friends
6. Already being past the nausea and food aversions, and feeling more energetic
7. The blessing of peace in place of my fear for this pregnancy
8. The conversations Brad and I have already had about possible names for our littlest
9. Quiet evenings and nights of unbroken sleep, thanks to a certain newly sleeping-through-the-night toddler
10. Being blessed in so many ways because God is good. He is holy, sovereign, and in control. That he has his glory and his purpose in mind, even in the most difficult of times. That he hears our hearts' cries and holds us in every moment.

I may someday share about the depth of pain and struggle that we've been through, but for now, it's enough to know that God is faithful, that he is present, and that we are held in his hands no matter the circumstance.

I am so thankful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A children's song

I sing to my son all day long. Sometimes they're songs I know from my childhood, sometimes hymns, sometimes songs I make up. We listen to so much music. Classical plays in his bedroom. Anything on Daddy's iPod in the living room. Pandora everywhere else. I like to think that he's constantly in his own personal music education classroom.

That said, some of these songs I learned in my childhood have lyrics that I'm not sure I want my son to internalize.

One little, two little, three little...Indians? Um... I replace that with "children" or something similar, but it doesn't quite work at the end of the song. Sing it through. You'll know what I mean. "Ten little happy boys" might work as the last line.

Anyway, the song that stands out in my mind is a classic - "Jesus Loves the Little Children."All the children of the world. So far, so good. It's the third line that bugs me. "Red and yellow, black and white" just doesn't work anymore, if it ever did. People take offense to being labeled with a color. Besides, I'm not white. My skin is light peach. Or tan. With freckles. And blue veins and red-flushed cheeks.

So I changed the words. Here's the original if you want to reference it. The first verse here is not entirely mine - I'm pretty sure it shows up in the blue Covenant Hymnal, but Hymnary doesn't have that information. However, I did make up a second verse.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Every color, every race
They are covered by his grace
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Every country, everywhere
Jesus hears their every prayer
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

I'm working on coming up with a third verse, but it might be a while before I get it just right. I'll just keep singing to my baby. He doesn't mind.

What do you think? Any songs you know from childhood that should be revamped for today's kids?

Friday, May 2, 2014

short sleeves for spring

My mother-in-law loves to dote on her grandson. This makes me a happy momma, indeed!

Last week, we stopped in at a local children's resale shop, and she picked up a haul of great deals for Joshua to enjoy this spring and summer! A couple pairs of shorts, a Fisher Price bubble mower, and their everyday 10 onesies for $10 deal.

Four of the onesies happened to be long sleeved, and that's not so suitable for spring, right? But I had an idea...

...and I made them into short sleeved onesies!

You may remember that I wrote a silly little lament for my sewing machine. The machine is still out of commission, but a good friend of mine let me borrow her (new in the box!) machine for my little project. So generous! It was a dream to sew on such an easy-to-use, smooth machine. Everything went so perfectly. Thank you, Dena!

I cut off the sleeve at the length I wanted the finished sleeve to be. I used an existing short sleeved shirt of Joshua's to be sure it was a good length.

Then, I cut off the original shirt sleeve cuffs, turned them inside out, and fitted them over the newly-shortened sleeve so that the raw edges lined up.

Lastly, I stretched the fabric out and sewed straight-line stitches to reattach the "new" sleeve cuffs. Turned them back to the right side, trimmed threads, and there we go!
Cute? I think so! I'm pleased and happy to have some "new" play clothes for my little boy! Thanks, "Grandma!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Oh, yes.

If you know me, you know that for dessert to be dessert, it must have one key ingredient:


Pie is great. I like cake, for sure. Cookies are delicious. But if given a choice (unless it's Grandma Landin's pie with sugar on top), I will choose the one with chocolate. Every time. Except for when it's Grandma's pie.

That said, these peanut butter cookies have just been elevated from breakfasty-kind-of-cookie to Dessert-Cookie.

The hubby loves oatmeal cookies.

The son loves peanut butter.

I love chocolate.

These cookies are a win.

And? I didn't even tweak the recipe. Not one bit. And I let Joshie stand next to me on chair the whole time and "help" me. The recipe was that easy. It was our rainy day activity. The blah-day remedy. The "fill up a half hour so my son doesn't fall apart because of teething pain" diversion.

What recipe, you ask?

This one. Half brown sugar, half granulated. Butter. Peanut butter. (or "buttah-buttah," as my son calls it) Vanilla. Flour. Baking soda. Salt. Quick oats. CHOCOLATE CHIPS.

I love when a recipe has all simple, everyday ingredients but turns out so deliciously. Mmmm. Nobody ruin my bliss by telling me about empty calories, processed sugar, blah blah blah. I'll go running tomorrow. No, for real. I will. After I eat another cookie.

Go make these! Now. Go.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

play dough, for real

Yesterday, I felt like super mom. Made dinner in the crock pot, swept floors, played with baby, made homemade play dough. Today? Let's just roll with it and let it be what it is!

I used this recipe for play dough, and found it to be good. I didn't have quite enough cream of tartar, but it still turned out well! Smooth, soft, squishy, and almost exactly like the brand name stuff. It does have a bit of a salty, grainy texture, but that didn't bother me. Also, if it gets wet, the food coloring starts to bleed onto hands. But I can live with that! It also made A LOT of play dough - I split it into fourths and put away 3/4 of the dough in separate containers for another day.

Joshua loved it!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

thrifty Thursday

I love thrifting. It's thrilling to me to find something I've been needing for so much less that it would cost from its original store.

Lately, Brad has been needing jeans to wear to work. His office recently switched over  to more casual dress, and he hasn't worn a pair of khakis to work in ages! His jeans collection was starting to be a bit threadbare, and one of his last good pairs ripped all the way up the leg. Dire situation, indeed.

My mission upon entering thrift stores, then, has been first, to find jeans for Brad, second, to find clothes for my ever-growing toddler, and third, to find a couple nice pieces  for myself, since my post-pregnancy shape is so different.

Today was a triple win. Hooray!

Not one, but THREE pairs of pants for Brad:
One pair of Levi's (about $58 new), one pair of brand new, with tags, Old Navy jeans ($29.50), and a pair of Banana Republic jeans ($89!?!) for a grand total of $35.

A likely brand new baby Gap thermal (white with navy stripes) for my sweet little boy:
(Similar one $19.95) for $0.75. Boom, baby.
And a cute sweater and skirt for me! The skirt is old, from Old Navy. Probably about 2006? Let's imagine that it was probably about $15. The sweater doesn't have a tag, but it looks like it could be Old Navy, as well. I'll imagine that it was likely $20 new. Both items came to $6.50 total.

So the grand total is about $42.  It would have been about $222 new. I paid about 19% of the original price of these items.

I. Love. Thrifting.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Like play-doh

It's said that the sense of smell is one of our greatest memory triggers. I remember Nanny when I smell her laundry detergent on a vintage sheet that has been tucked away for years. Lavender hand soap reminds me of the first time I visited Brad's parents' home as his brand-new girlfriend. I hear the laughs of my dorm-mates when I encounter the same scent that lingered in those halls. Cracklign wood fires bring to mind memories of childhood campfires in the woods behind my parents' home, and cookouts at the church in the fall. Even the smell of dead flies (ha!) reminds me of the fly-strewn practice room that houses my favorite piano at college.

Touch and texture remind me of things, too. Play-doh, that smooth to crumbly feeling that smells just like...play-doh? You know! And the plastic tub. The dough that's molded over and over and shaped and stretched and cut and extruded and smooshed back into the container with three different colors mixed in for another day. (Happy run-on sentence to you. You're welcome.)

Lately, I feel like play-doh. Familiar, soft, playful. Sometimes a little crumbly. Not perfect. Molded again and again and definitely not what I used to be. Still good, but not what I used to be. And my heart is so much softer than the first day I let God use me, the first time I let him have control of my life.

Life is full of beautiful blessings. Days that turn out perfectly, a loving family, a comfortable home, a beautiful, boisterous baby boy. But there is so much pain, too. I can't share all my pain here, yet, maybe never, but know that if you're hurting, I will cry with you.

There is a family in Buffalo, NY whose preschooler, Ben, has been diagnosed with a tumor, a cancer that has given him mere weeks to live. Ben is a twin. And the middle child in a perfect little family. They love God. They believe, they trust. But the end of Ben's life appears to be imminent. I know that God can redeem this situation somehow, but it seems that there will be tears. And mourning. And grief. And many whys with no answers that satisfy. His mother keeps saying "but God." But God could intervene.

He has, and He will. God is sovereign. He gives generously, and takes away. We may never know why on this side of eternity, but we can trust Him because He loves us.

Even so, I'm crying for little Ben and his family tonight. I'm crying because my heart resonates with the pain of loss, and of aching for ones I've loved. Because I know the peace that passes understanding, and his name is Jesus. He is the only hope for our hurting souls, and the only answer to the death, destruction, and pain in this world. He is the only one, who by his own strength overcame the grave, and who gives us a future and a hope in heaven. He has made the way for us to become children of God, and to live with Him through eternity.

I'm taking comfort in that tonight. Even though I feel like I'm crumbling. Bits of me smashed up with other bits that I didn't think belonged. But I'll be rolled out and shaped and formed each day of my life and one day, become exactly what my Father planned for me all along. The pain, the sorrow, the joys, the blessings, the longings, the dreams fulfilled - they will all be worth it. They will come together as part of His glorious plan and I will be perfectly content, rejoicing in Him.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!