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31 March 2011

Project 52 | Sickly | Week 13

Motherhood is


because as cute as they are, those sweet little hands are germ magnets.
and you can bet I'm gonna catch whatever he does, 
usually right about the time he finally gets his energy back.

This is what my week looked like... LOTS of water, hot tea and teaspoonfuls of chopped raw garlic!! Daddy got the cold first from work, and passed it onto the bitty, who passed it on to me. They are both doing better, but mommy is still working on recovering.

I now have a daily habit of 1tsp of raw garlic to help boost my immune system and fight off colds and such. I have several friends who SWEAR by garlic (check out here and here for more information), and it certainly seems to have helped kick my cold faster (without any medications!)

I gave in a put up a temporary baby gate to the kitchen, which kept the bitty contained in the playroom so I could lay on the couch and watch him. I also temporarily activated the magnetic locks on the kitchen cabinets (that usually stay unlocked) so he couldn't get into them. And since we don't do TV in this house, a few new library books helped keep him entertained!

Normally, I don't believe in baby proofing or blocking kids off from areas because I think it's better to actually parent them and teach them what to touch and not touch. (Exception of course for the immediately dangerous things- like chemicals.) But that means bring with them constantly and interacting, correcting, and redirecting. Which is quite a bit of work with a 15 mo old and with this cold eeking out all my energy, I decided a few days of passive parenting wouldn't hurt! 

What are your secrets for surviving a cold with a very active toddler??

26 March 2011

Tears and Encouragement | Refined in Him

Tonight, as I sat with another woman who has been coping with loss for many years, I was reminded of the power of like-minded friends. If you surround yourself with positive people, people who truly believe and have overcome trials and hard times, you will prevail. But if you surround yourself with pessimism and anger, you will stumble.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17

As she and I sat and talked for hours about pregnancies, our babies, our losses, the blessing of our living children; as we cried together, ranted, and laughed; I felt encouraged. I felt lifted up and blessed. Every word and tear was a relief, and as we shared our failings and our struggles, we were able to find words of encouragement and truth for one another.

It's so amazing to me to see the Lord's hand in my life in such a visible way. People are put into your life when you need them, to support, inspire and encourage you. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to talk to so many women in the past few months who, despite their struggles and losses, are able to be positive and loving. They are not defined by their struggles, but rather are refined by them. Shaped into stronger, more loving, passionate, supportive women. 

Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

As our conversation wound down, it turned to the gratefulness we have for our living children, and for the time we had with our lost babies. We both agreed that ultimately, the biggest lesson in struggles and loss is to be grateful for every day. We wanted to tell every person we knew to be grateful for the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, to be grateful when you put your child in time-out, to be grateful when your teenager yells I hate you. To be grateful for every moment. Or to as least try.  

Because life has only one guarantee; if you trust in the Lord your God, he will welcome you into Eternal life with Him. Nothing else is for sure. Nothing else is deserved. We are blessed to be His children, and we should live every day grateful for the blessings and trials He give us.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:2-8

So will you let your life DEFINE you? Or will you let it REFINE you into the person the Lord is calling you to be?

I am not defined by my struggles or losses. They will always be a part of who I am, I carry them in my heart. They have and will continue to impact my life, but I am determined to be better for them, to grow, to overcome. And with His help, someday, I will perfect in Him.


25 March 2011

Project 52 | Research | Week 12

Motherhood is


and growing and learning.

and as soon as you think you've finally got them figured out,

they go and grow up on you...

Yes, I've read every one of those completely. (Not to mention the 10 I have sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read!)

I made a decision while we were pregnant with Jarvis that I was going to try to parent proactively. I wasn't going to wait until a situation arose to reactively parent. I was going to research and be prepared and think through potential issues and goals. I am NOT a perfect parent, and I never will be, but I do like to think that I am doing at least a few things right. 

I had a stranger comment on my 14 month-old's good behavior, and how he listens to my directions. And as I started to attribute it partially to his calm nature, she made a point to say that she noticed I paid careful attention to him and was good about calmly redirecting him. To say I felt blessed by that compliment is an understatement. We as mother's see our children's behavior as a direct result of our choices. And while we should always remember that children are children and will misbehave, even with the best of parenting choices, it is nice to hear that some of your hard work is paying off.

I truly believe that our choices as parents will determine the adults that our children become, and I try to make every little decision with that in mind. 

So as fellow mothers, take the time to compliment your friend on her children, because she's probably been working hard at creating wonderful little adults, and she could always use encouragement. Even the most unruly, headstrong children (that can be hard to parent proactively) have moments of success, so be sure to point those out. She will appreciate it more than you can imagine!

What are your favorite parenting books?

Books pictured above:
Baby Bargains
Life on Planet Mom
Steady Days
Have a New Kid by Friday
The Five Love Languages of Children
The Well Versed Family
Bringing Up Boys
Baby's First Skills
The Wonder Weeks
Super Baby Food
Babywise II
Baby Sign Language Basics

18 March 2011

Project 52 | Colorful | Week 11

Motherhood is


because no matter how hard you try,

if there are sweet little feet pitter-pattering in your house,

there will be brightly colored and developmentally beneficial toys.

**at least in one room

Ugh, this picture makes it clear just how desperately I need to get those curtains finished!

16 March 2011

14.5 mos | An Update

First off, I want to say thank you for the amazing response I got from my post on Monkey's story. I was blown away by the thoughtful responses and the number of people who felt comfortable enough to share their past or current stories.

It has been a while since I did an update on our precious little boy, and boy has he changed!

He has continued signing and does an amazing job of communicating what he wants. The only hiccup is that he uses the sign 'more' as want. If he wants help with something or wants something, he signs more. We are working on signing help and please right now to change that around, ha!

And on the communication note, Jarvis is officially talking! He actually probably has been for a while, but I think we weren't noticing that he was trying, since the words are still not very clear. His first official word is ki-ca (kitty-cat). And in the past few days we have heard tuk (truck), che (diaper change), bu-be (blueberry), gogu (yogurt), a dah (all done), and possibly di-ka di-ka (tickle tickle). The more carefully we listen, the more we hear him trying! It's so exciting to be on the brink of talking!

 Mr Tool-man!

We LOVE our books!! He will grab a book, hand it to me, sit down and pat his lap to show me that he wants to sit in my lap and read. Once I sit down, he quickly backs up into my lap to read! I love that he loves his books! In particular, we love any book that is about trucks or cars and that has flaps to open and close.

We discovered 2 little teeth poking through on the top a few days ago, his 1yr molars. So far, I just see the top two, but I imagine the bottom two will show up in a few weeks! When the top two molars make it all the way through, he will 10 teeth total! Such a big boy!

Some of our good friends brought Jarvis a sled back from Minneapolis, and he LOVES it! He loves being outside and it always bummed when we have to come back in, but it's too cold to stay out too long! 

He is full on toddler now. His one speed is running and he loves climbing! Crazy boy keeps on climbing up on top of his play gym and standing up. Which is a wonderful skill, however he seems to think diving off the side is a good idea! He had his first spill this week, nothing major, but I am hoping he learned his lesson!

As far as eating goes, he is still a little food machine! He eats very well and loves his veggies, but especially he LOVES his fruit! He's up into 18 month clothing now. When we change his diaper, he helps put on his clothes. If he's holding a toy, he trades what hand it is in and pushes his arms through the arms. He also sticks his legs out straight and pushes his legs into his pants. But then again, he only does that if he's not having a giggle fit, because EVERY SINGLE inch of that boy is very very ticklish!! He will dive on the floor, roll over, and smile up at you, trying to get you to tickle and wrestle him! So much fun!

Check out this little foodie's belly, it's huge!

He loves music and dancing along with anything we put on. He now tries to 'spin' which means slowly turning around with his arms out to his sides. I think he must have seen one of his big friends doing it! One of his favorite songs is the 'itsy bitsy spider' with the hand motions, and he tries to do them along with us, putting his little first fingers with his thumbs.

And the final note- we have planned a trip back to Austin to see our family in April, please send me an email if you want to know the dates or want to get on the schedule! We have lots of people to see and can not wait for some warmer weather!

I think that's about it for now!

Hugs, C

13 March 2011

DIY | A Manly Play Kitchen

I believe toys shouldn't have gender roles. There's absolutely nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls or girls playing with legos. Did your husband change diapers, give bottles and  rock babies to sleep?? I know mine did! And can girls be architects when they grow up?? I know one of my good high school friends is an amazing one.

Imaginative play is one of the most stimulating types of play for children, and is essential for proper development. So some of the best toys you can get your toddler are ones that aren't limited to a specific use and allow them to create their own worlds.

This type of play is still a bit beyond Jarvis (some posts on types of developmental play in toddlers coming up soon!) but I like to be proactive. I've come across all sorts of DIY play kitchens on ohdeedoh, and wanted to make one of our own! We found an old entertainment center on a yardsale page and got right to work! 

Although this was primarily my project, hubby helped out quite a bit with some of the woodworking! Thanks, hubby!

Sink, stove, fridge/freezer on the left and oven to the right, pantry around on the left side.

missing the doors and shelves (sorry, bad iphone picture)                  

 painting the magnetic layers on the doors and then the chalkboard paint
(the smaller door was on the entertainment center to begin with, the longer door we cut from plywood to fit)
(sorry, bad iphone picture)

Added a hardy board backing to the whole thing, wood glued the shelves in, the 'countertop' is covered and ready for painting
(Do you like how we turned our front mud-room into a paint booth??? It's too cold to paint in the garage!)

Blue finished, painted the countertop and backsplash, then covered in a poly layer for protection. (sorry, bad iphone picture!)

And onto the details.... It cost us about $150, which ended up being more because I decided to outfit it with some cute acessories. The basic entertainment center, paint, trim, and necessary accessories ran about $80, then the cute orange accents and other add ons cost a bit more! But it is still well under the $300- $500 you would pay for most wooden kitchens of this size! One of our good friends made a trip to Ikea in Minneapolis (8 hours away!) and took my list of supplies with them, THANKS VanDycks!!

The burners are silicone coasters from Ikea and the knobs are pulls from Ikea as well. The orange spoon rest is from a local kitchen store. The pots and pans sets and all the metal tools are from a Target Christmas sale set. We added wooden trim along the painted counter to simulate a backsplash.

Towel rack and hooks from Ikea.

Freezer and refigerator are all stocked! Both the doors are magnetic chalkboards. The hinges are reused from the original center and the pull handles are from Ikea.

The oven door was original to the center, although we added a new hinge at the bottom. Hubby cut a hole in the center and we added a piece of plexiglass. The handle and baking set are from Ikea, the towel from a local kitchen store. We have plans to add an 'oven rack' but are having trouble finding a metal rack thin enough... I will update once we figure that out!

The towel rack along the front is Ikea and the towels and measuring cups are from a local kitchen store. I have not be able to find a basket to fit this bottom shelf, so I have plans to make a fabric one myself, I'll update when I get it done!

The faucet is a garage hook from Ikea and the knobs are from there too. The sink is a little metal bowl that removes so he can play with water for real. The utensil holder we already had and the orange utensils are from a local kitchen store.

The side shelves we turned into a pantry. It's somewhat bare right now, but thanks to a great-grandma, there are some wooden pantry boxes headed this way. I also have two small wire baskets in the mail for pantry storage. The broom is from Hobby Lobby.

So that's about it!! We are super proud of it and hope that Jarvis enjoys it for many years to come.


Forgot to add this adorable picture of the bit helping daddy work!

itty bitty crafts | labels

I have been in the process of revamping my business. Reworking product and price lists. Finding ways to streamline and be efficient. I'm trying to bring it back to what I enjoy and be reasonable about what I have time for. Since being Jarvis' mommy is my first priority!

Part of this business make-over are these adorable little labels that I can now add to all my products!

I have quite a few of these... 300 to be exact, haha.... time to get sewing!!

And this one cracked me up.... someone thought these looked like the PERFECT toy!

More business info coming soon, restructuring is almost completely done!

For now, check out my facebook page.

12 March 2011

This is the stuff | Inspired

Heard this song again on the radio the other day, definitely spoke to me again, so I decided to share it.

I lost my keys in the great unknown
And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

45 in a 35
Sirens and fines while I'm running behind

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff
Someone save me
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
And I've gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

11 March 2011

Project 52 | Changing | Week 10

Motherhood is



because they get bigger every single day.

And I can't help but get teary eyed

when I pack away another bucket of too-small clothes.

We are officially out of 12 months clothes, and onto 18 months ones. He's changing every single day. He's running like crazy, climbing and exploring. He understands most of what I say now, and tries so hard to ask for what he wants. He gets so excited when I understand.

And as wonderful as it is to see him grow and change and develop, I can't help but miss the little baby, just a bit. 

10 March 2011

Monkey | Grief and Hope

I've had this post written for a while. I debated on it and prayed on it and thought about it non-stop. 

And then a friend in a similar situation told me, "If I can help even one person, then sharing was worth it." I had been feeling that in my heart, but sometimes it's hard to find the words.

On Christmas Day 2010, we found out we were expecting again. 

The emotions I experienced in that moment were overwhelming and conflicting. When you've lost a baby before, all the innocence of pregnancy is torn away. You know that that little stick doesn't guarantee that you will hold a living, breathing, crying, beautiful baby in 9 months. 

We were completely and unequivocally thrilled. We can only imagine the blessings more children would bring and want that desperately. But I was also completely and utterly terrified. My hubby is so very positive, so trusting. So we decided early on to try be excited, to try and not let the fear be overwhelming. Our little Monkey was very loved and desperately wanted. 

Three weeks later, I went for my first ultrasound and things did not look normal. However, I was sent home with a glimmer of hope and told to come back. 

A week later, some progress made a definitive diagnosis still uncertain. 

Two more long weeks, waiting, hoping, grieving. Clinging onto the tiniest spark of hope. Just waiting. 

The final ultrasound confirmed what we suspected, so we decided to wait it out and miscarry naturally. I needed to know for sure, I needed my body to tell me definitely.

At almost 12 weeks, we lost our Monkey.

I am sure some people will wonder why I am sharing this. Why I have decided to let people know now, after the fact. And to be honest, my feelings on keeping pregnancies secret at all is very complicated. Sharing while in the midst of pain isn't helpful for me, I need to process and deal on my own.

But sharing now... well it means I might be able to help someone. To give just one person some hope and some understanding. To connect with so many other women who face infertility or loss. I'm not sharing for attention, or to make people feel sorry for me. I'm sharing because there were amazing women who stepped up to help me, and I want to pass that on to other women in need.

I have been in a situation twice this month to talk to mother's who have recently lost their babies. I feel so passionately that we, as women, should support one another. Encourage, lift up, cry with, just be women together.

So here I am sharing my story. I'm here. To talk. To scream. To pray. To rant. To agree with all the feelings that you aren't willing to admit to others, but that I promise you I have felt and still do feel.

In case you don't know, we experienced 2 years of infertility before fertility drugs helped conceive our first son, Jarvis. We lost our second son, Job, at 20 weeks, for unknown reasons. We lost Monkey at 12 weeks to a blighted ovum.

I've experienced so much more than I would ever wish on someone, but also so much less than so many others face.

Ultimately, it just makes me so very grateful for Jarvis. For the miracle and blessing that is him. He is amazing and I strive to cherish every single day we have with him. No matter what, I have him, and I am so blessed to be his mother, and if that's all I ever get... it's enough. He's more than enough.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

08 March 2011

this much [14 mos]

My little big boy is a big eater. As in, he probably eats more than I do on any given day. And he eats the good stuff too- me, well, still working on that!

He's only awake for 9 hours total (after naps and nighttime sleep), and nearly half of that, a good 4 hours a day, is spent with him in the high chair stuffing his face. An hour for breakfast, 30 min for snack, and hour for lunch, 30 min for another snack, and an hour for dinner. He spends the entire time CONTINUOUSLY eating. non. stop. eating. I love it.

So I thought it was appropriate that this month's this much project should be of him in the high chair. So during his afternoon snack today (whole wheat, salt-free rice cakes with all natural peanut butter), I snapped a few of us.

He thought the whole process was a blast, adorable boy...

Just can't believe how big he's getting....

Planning a 'milestones' update later this week! Check back!

linking up with styleberry blog in her *this much* project.

04 March 2011

stumbling blocks

It seems like this 'season' in my life is going to be a very long, very hard one. It seems like I am surrounded by the stumbling blocks of loss.

I got the call this morning that one of our precious moms from my MOPS group was facing one of the hardest situations ever. She went in this morning to be induced with her baby boy and they were unable to find a heartbeat.

I spent several hours up at the hospital with them, doing what I could, trying to find the words to comfort them, all the while knowing it didn't matter what I said. Praying that something would give them hope, some comfort. But knowing nothing would.

A sweet, precious, innocent baby boy was born sleeping this afternoon. And though I am rejoicing that he is perfectly loved in his Savior's arms, I am so very broken for two amazing parents who's arms are achingly empty tonight.

So please pray for them, and their older son. They are making decisions and facing a world so foreign and painful. Facing something no parent should have to endure.

As I sat there in the room where I delivered Job, and watched them cry and beg and ask why, I can't help but feel every bit of the pain again. It will never go away. I am changed forever. I am broken. I am better for having had Job. And I pray that I can somehow be the hand of God for someone when life seems so very bleak.

I can't imagine heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
That Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know.

Sleep peacefully sweet boy, you are missed.