Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy (belated) Birthday Exie Jo!

This is your mama's belated attempt to honor your sweet day. It was documented with photos, but not so much with words. Here are those words.

Sweet love. You turned one. It came and it went.

I didn't even think it was possible that my little one would be O N E!

I kept telling you that you officially couldn't be one until you weighed at least 20 lbs so we still have a few pounds to go.

Your nicknames are so fitting.

We call you "T9C" as in tee-nine-cee. Tiny.

"Lil' Britches Missy".

"Jo Jo" to match all of your other sister's nicknames.

One thing is for sure. You are adored in this house. The minute you make an appearance, you are swarmed by everyone that lives here.

We dote.
We sigh.
We "oooh".
And we "aww".
I guess with 3 other females in this house it just comes natural.

And your daddy the farmer, well you have him wrapped around your T9C finger.

You already have such a funny little personality. I can see your little "quirks" already like your wrinkle faced laugh. You pretty much live under my feet, in my lap, or in a sling. There isn't a thing that you won't eat. I just keep wondering where you are putting all of that food.

You are still crawling army-style. And walking is over-rated in your books. Who needs to walk when you have sisters and a mama who will carry or cart you everywhere? You are a real live baby doll.

More than anything, you are just sweet!

Exie Jo,

I pray that the Lord instills a craving and a passion within you that burns for Him alone (Psalm 63:8). I pray that you grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus as you grow older. I pray that faith will take root in your heart and grow and flourish. I pray that you are used to love others and that you act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before man bringing glory to Jesus.

We love you "T9C"! This past year has been joyful with you in our lives.


Friday, February 17, 2012

And just like that.....

she is fixing her own ponytail.

It literally happened overnight.

One day she is free roaming around the farm with tousled hair- except when we leave the farm. Then it's fixed.

The next day she stands in front of the mirror with brush in hand setting out to gather it up into a ponytail.

"Mama, I fixed my own hair today!" she exclaims with wide proud eyes coming out of the bathroom.

I only wished I could have seen her sweet hands hard at work tackling this.

How did my squishy baby turn into this precious ponytail fixing girl?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Recap

This Valentine's Day was so many adjectives.

Sweet. Memorable. Fun. Weird. Disasterous.

How can one day be described by all of those words? Life is just interesting like that.

One minute you can be fully engaged in the sweetest of moments and the next minute can be in the midst complete chaos. Maybe that's not your life, but it is certainly mine. There are 6 lovely variables living in this house that can fill up a day with both wonder and havoc. And we have not even entered into the teenage years yet- bless our souls!

Valentine's Day started off with a heart-shaped breakfast. We had eggs and sausage in the shapes of hearts and strawberries with chocolate yogurt. In regards to the yogurt, my kids proclaimed it indeed still "tasted like yogurt." I think they were secretly hoping it would have turned magically into ooey gooey melted chocolate. But, alas, it was homemade yogurt mixed with sucanat and cocoa powder.

This girl melts when you look at her. She is bashfully sweet. This happens to be one of my most favorite things about her.

 We all received rain boots for our Valentine's gifts.

 What girl doesn't like roses from their daddy?

We meandered around the farm in our rain boots because it was conveniently raining so we got to try them out.

The girls received "Secret Heart Messages" from the Farmer and I. They had a blast uncovering the hidden messages.

This is sweet Laney Rae uncovering her message that said,"When you giggle, I giggle." It's true. Her laugh is contagious.

 After lunch we went across the driveway to our cousin's house for a popcorn dance party. We got dressed up and got crunk. Their honey and I showed them what was up to the tunes of "Ice Ice Baby" and "You can't touch this." We laughed our heads off and left breathing hard- like a good dance party should do.

Here is the white chocolate popcorn buffet. Delish!

Crazy cousins! 

The toddler two!

Laney Rae cracking up at her cousin, Ashton.

The Farmer had deliveries on Valentine's Day so it was up to the girls and I to create our own memories for our Valentine's Day supper. Originally I was going to take the girls to the airport diner just down the road from us. I was bound and determined to see an elderly couple sitting on the same side of a booth sipping on a milkshake and discussing what track to play next on the jute box. This diner is precious and they wear real poodle skirts and some of them even skate.

It was a good thought while it lasted, but our bubbles got popped. The diner was closed.

Note to self: this is not a big city. It's a town. There is a difference and businesses can choose to be open whenever they dang well please. Call ahead of time always.

We ended up at our local favorite mexican food place. Let's just say homegirl right here had lost her ever loving mind bringing four girls to a restaurant by herself on Valentine's Day. We left with bumps, scratches, and a bite mark on the hand of my baby girl from a roaming toddler (not my toddler, mind you). Our meal was filled with screaming and tears. After an awkward moment with the owners, we left and I got to the car and exhaled a big sigh. This was not a good end to our day.

Good thing we had plenty of other sweet moments to look back upon and be thankful for this day that is meant to honor those in your life that you love.

However the lovely or mishmash my day turns out to be, there is not any other five people on this earth that I wouldn't want to be in every part of these moments.

God's word does not say that love is E A S Y. I'd venture to say that love (real love) is downright hard sometimes.

His word says that L O V E is....

doesn't envy
doesn't boast
isn't proud
doesn't dishonor
isn't self-seeking
isn't easily angered
doesn't keep records of wrongs
delights in truth
always protects
always trusts
always hopes
always perseveres
and N E V E R   F A I L S!  

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, January 20, 2012

Natural elements nativity.....

Two craft posts in a row....I promise this is not normal in my life.

And further more, this craft post has nothing to do with me making anything.

This post is so last Christmas, but my Christmas tree still happens to be up. So there. I have a competition with myself to see who can leave their tree up the longest and I always win.

For one of our Christmas Advent activities, we set out to make a Nativity scene out of mostly natural elements from around the farm and around the house.

Our girls were still struggling to grasp the characters of the very first Christmas. We had asked the littles one too many times "Who was Jesus' mother?" and got the answer "EVE!" one too many times.

I was all gung-ho until about 15 minutes into this and realized,"This is going to be way too tedious! We'll be here all night long!" And the girls were not feeling the nativity love.


But, you CAN easily see who was feeling the love. Busted!

Jason is a pro at anything tedious. He thrives at doing things that are meticulous. There have been so many times in our 11 years of marriage that I take on something detail oriented and about 15 minutes into the project and me throwing in the towel and giving up, he comes in and totally takes over to finish- this is one of his sweet gifts to me.

This was definitely not the family activity that we had in mind. What I got out of this deal was a bonafide nativity heirloom made by my man. There were several times that he said,"I'm having so much fun doing this!!" This made it even better.

I think he did an amazing job. I love that I have an acorn Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. I have pecan wise men. My shepherds have cute little almond feet. The sheep are made of cotton.  We used twine, jute, burlap, wood, moss, and pine cones. He exceeded and blew my expectations out of the water when he started building an actual stable. I was just hoping for some nativity peeps. It's just perfect!

I plan on leaving it out year around to tree on the other hand has got to go in due time. We'll see if it makes it until Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tye Die Tees with Sharpies

Does the sound of that title scare you?

Don't let it. I promise. You will not find a complicated craft around these parts.

I can appreciate a good craft with the best of them. I'm just not a fan of crafts that are tedious or drawn out for hours or (even worse) days.

I'm all about quick results. And so are my girls. We like instant gratification when it comes to making stuff.

If it requires more more than a few basic instructions AND complicated supplies, it gets nixed rather quickly (there goes about 95% of my craft options, right??).

My other criteria for a good craft is that it usually has to be something the girls can do with me. My girls are craft leaches. If they even think their mama is up to making something, they won't let me out of their sight. I love embrace this in them. "If you can't beat them, join them."

Now, I will say that since this craft had Sharpies involved, we waited until the littles were napping. The very word "Sharpie" evokes such fear and trembling in my 2 year old. We've had a few casualties with our little "destroyer of leather furniture". If she even so much as sees a stray Sharpie on the ground (we have a very specific home for them in this house), she will run it immediately to me as if she is holding a knife. It very much is a forbidden weapon to her. And she has "killed" many things with Sharpies.

This craft was inspired by this post on the blog "The Art Girl Jackie".

It was so simple and we had a blast doing it!

Have you every wondered what to do with a basic stained white tee?? They would be so great to re-purpose for this craft.

Laney Rae getting her craft on. 

Kaylyn getting her craft on.


I found some of our ugly white shirts that had seen better days.
A boatload of Sharpies
Rubbing Alcohol
Plastic Cup
(The link above shows a bedazzled embellishment of some sort...we went for simple. That's our thing. But, by all means bedazzle if you want to.)

I'm not going to copy the exact instructions here since I pretty much did exactly what Mrs. Jackie did. So head on over there for specific instructions.

They took us all but 30 minutes to make. And it was really neat watching the colors transform.

By the end of it all, I was glad that we did this craft. That doesn't happen very often. All I can say is
S I M P L E and cute!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Moments Captured, not Silhouettes

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

G.K. Chesterton, Collected Poetry Pt. 1

I set out to snap some photos of the girls for a Christmas project. The photographer in me wanted to feel defeat. But, the mama in me fought through and found delight in what had been captured.

Although this was a failed craft and I didn't get the images I thought I needed, I walked away with something much more. Something I now like even better. Moments of pure sweetness. 

A back sugar from sister.

A photo of the little being held by the other little because she just had to be near. 

The little one. You could forget her sitting still since her world is all discover and only stillness when she sleeps. 

Those curls. Look at those curls.

And this look because “Why am I supposed to turn my head sideways and not smile?” 

This punkin head with her pooched lips and her messy big girl bun. 

And the eldest. Such a sweetie. Sitting so straight and tall. 

I would have missed all of this if I would have entered into this moment with clinched fists and my mind made up just so. 

"Wherever you are, be all there." Jim Elliot

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Look, New Post, New Perspective

I'm back! Like, really really back.

I took a much needed break from blogging and reading them (mostly). My google reader is going haywire I'm sure. I haven't checked that thing in ages. Six months to be exact.

The break from blogging gave me a little bit of a new perspective and
F R E E D O M. I was really at odds with blogging in general. 

Can I be honest? This whole "mommy blogger" movement creeps me out a little. It just does.

I wanted so badly to believe that blogging was a good way to connect with other women and learn from one another. I do feel like this can be the case. I still have blogs that I adore reading whether it be because it's thought provoking, witty, inspiring, or just pretty to look at.

But, I feel blogging has potential, and maybe already has, to turn into a way for stay-at-home mommy's to have an audience of some sort- you know, besides the audience of little people and husband living with them. I mean, women surely got by in past decades without blogging about their child's poop and uploading a picture within minutes of it happening for the whole world to see right? Did they have the need to dissect with their words the latest and newest (sarcasm should be noted) craze of cleaning with baking soda?

Frankly, I just didn't want to be a part of fighting this battle in my own heart of needing an audience outside of my home or be a part of "feeding" into that for someone else. I know it's presumptuous on my part to assume that I would be doing that for someone else. But, let's be honest. It does feel good for any human to hear accolades of how awesome we are because we (fill in the blank) or can do (fill in the blank).

On the flip side of this, I would hear comments of women who would read blogs and walk away feeling discontent because they don't feel like they are doing enough like a certain super mom blogger or because they're not as creative as this blog mommy or because their home doesn't look like this mom who homeschools and runs a photography business all at the same time.

Is that paragraph up there all one sentence? I really need to work on my writing skillz!

Back to the point.

We can all agree that seeing what goes up in a post on a blog (or even facebook) is not an entirely accurate picture of someones life. Right? Behind the staged photos or the funny stories or hard posts about trials there is sometimes much much more going on. Sometimes it is what it is.

And I wouldn't even go so far as to saying that bloggers even have an obligation to be bare bones real in all areas of their lives and fully disclose everything with mostly complete strangers who aren't in close community with them. Some may choose to do this and that is their choice. Others may want to pick and choose what they want their readers to know about them. I don't think it's a black and white issue. But, I've heard from other women out there who like different bloggers because they are "real". There are blogs that I love for the "real" factor too. However, I believe it is hard to get an accurate "real" picture of someone based solely off of their words and the photos they choose to post. That's all I'm saying.

I think the thing to embrace here is for those of us who choose to be a part of blogging is to extend grace towards one another AND to ourselves. We shouldn't read blogs and leave with the feelings of discontentment or that we're lame losers because we don't do (fill in the blank) in our homes, with our families, or in our kitchens. We must know that we are only seeing a glimpse of someones life and what they want you to know. Not the entire story. Playing games of comparison with other women who you really don't know entirely and accurately is harmful and a waste of our time.

I got tired of reading blogs (mine included) in which the author starts off after not posting for days (gasp!) by apologizing profusely for their lack of posts and how they were so so sorry. Why apologize? Why did I feel I needed to apologize? Was it because the blog quickly became all about the audience rather than the content? Most likely for me, this was the case.

I'm choosing to blog without obligations. This blog is about the things I love, celebrate, and what I want to write about. There pressure is off. I don't want to fit any molds or keep up with any trends. Most likely you'll find things in written form about my Savior, farm life,  my girls, the farmer of my dreams, simplicity (or trying to achieve it), foodie stuff, hippy stuff, and whatever else I find joy in.

I'm not terribly well-written, but it is something I do enjoy and hope to practice. I've wanted to be a journal keeping kind of gal, but sitting down with a pencil is just not my thing. I can crank things out much quicker by typing. 

One of the things I noticed about being gone so long from blogging is that I didn't document these precious little girls' and our family's lives well. I missed that. I missed putting into words how wonderful they are, pausing to document and capture, and delighting in that.

There is something truly special about taking a thought and putting it into words to weave a story. Writing makes you dig deep and pick exactly just the right word to express the sentiment you are feeling- and the Thesaurus is always helpful too!

Thanks for popping by our little neck of the interwebz. I'm not perfect. I DO want to be as real as possible. But, there is always a pile of laundry behind the scenes of any photo taken in our home. This is for dang sure! Heck, I may even post photos of the real live insanity.

And one day in the near future when I have my act together enough (will that day every come??) these blog posts will be put into a printed book for my girls to have for years to come. In the meanwhile, I'm just glad I can hit "save" and it's done.

I'll leave you with a snapshot from yesterday of my girls playing together smiling and happily...a rare moment.