Christmas in July- Kickoff

Guess what time it almost is?! 

I am so excited about this week because I HEART CHRISTMAS! 

This week we'll be doing some Christmas crafts, baking, and planning. Cause who doesn't want to think about Christmas now?! Am I a little OCD since I already have our tree planned in my head? Yup, I hit the after Christmas sales last year and stocked up on things that were the colors that I had in mind. I can't even wait....

Life Update: June Part 2

The end of June is one of my favorite times of the year- besides Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and the early days of Spring, and the first of Fall.... I guess I love alot of the year. But I feel like June isn't too hot, we've settled well into summer, we're grilling out alot, and it's the perfect time to get some sun.

We finally got outside one evening and played with the glow-in-the-dark bubbles Nana sent. Luke had a blast:

He is still a train boy and on any given day my hallway looks like this:
What's even more impressive? 95% of his tracks are built by him with no assistance. He amazes me with some of the designs he builds.

We packed up and headed to the zoo one day last week. It was a surprise to Luke so of course our first stop was McD's:

WARNING..... if you're not a fan of reptiles (like yours truly) close your eyes as you scroll......



I warned you!
Every snake is better off dead in my opinion...

Other than that we've pretty much just been hanging around the house...

doing science experiments:
playing in the water:
with friends!
Terrible focus but great photo!
We're also grilling... alot!
Sweet girl had her first smile this month (she was just shy of 6 weeks old):
and we went swimming with our friends Andrew and Brittany!

We're still job hunting and excited about what July holds!


This post is a little late in coming- this happened last weekend, but I've been a busy lady- snuggling my baby, playing with little man... you know, the little things :)

We heart yard sales.

I mean where else can you put out a bunch of junk, people come TO you to take it away and give you money in exchange?

Since we are both home right now, we decided to extend our earnings to 2 days. Our goal for each day? $100. Pretty far fetched seeing as we didn't have much "big stuff".
We were solo with the kiddos Friday (my mom couldn't come until Saturday) so we had to balance the kids and run the sale. Luke MAY have watched an entire morning of Jake and the Neverland Pirates... but I'll never tell.

The morning didn't start off so hot. Emberly was up twice that night (of course- my night to sleep) and Sadie puked all over our bedroom floor (totally unlike her). Between balancing the kiddos and the sale I was back in the bedroom scrubbing puke. Notmyfavoritethingever.
But we met our goal ($124) for Friday and met some pretty awesome people! We chatted with some awesome neighbors, and it was overall a great day. Josh struck up a conversation with a lady who wanted to dig deeper in the Word. We had a bunch of books out to sell and she was asking him what she should read. They got into a conversation about a book she had just finished and highly suggested that Josh read it. Only problem? She couldn't remember the name. They exchanged phone numbers and the lady promised to call with the title/author.
An hour later the lady came BACK to the sale with the book in hand- she had run to Walmart and picked up Josh a copy. It was a pretty cool experience!
I don't consider myself a people person at ALL. I much prefer to keep to myself. But there's just something about striking up conversations with random strangers digging through your castaways that is just fun. I had a 20 minute conversation with a lady about cloth diapers/what brands we love/how cute they are. It was amazing.

Saturday we BARELY squeaked passed our goal. Our profit rang in at $100.65. But that's over $200 for JUNK sitting in our attic and in our shed.

Emberly was pretty content to just go along for the ride.
and Luke got stinky and sweaty playing outside...
Overall it was a very successful weekend! I never look forward to yard sales because they are ALOT of work, but honestly the more we do, the easier they get!

Check out how I made our signs (that are still holding up 5 yard sales later!).

High Five for Friday!

1. Today Josh is the big three-oh!
He is really trying to watch his weight so I refrained (for the time being) from making a cake/cupcakes. Instead I made him this cake:

Reese's are his alltime favorite candy. Root Beer is the ONE drink I will.not.drink so I thought it'd be special for him to have some, and I made the sharpie mug. It has the phonetic alphabet written on it. I plan to do a post later about how I sealed it and if it holds up or not.

2. We are on the brink of putting our house on the market- which means I have to find us a storage unit ASAP. Since we have no idea where we'll move, a storage unit is a must to make this house feel as big as possible. And then I think of packing and I get cold and clammy. Yikes!

3. I am thankful for such a happy baby! Seriously, she is the best. And although Luke has been showing out/acting up, he is ALWAYS so sweet and gentle with her. It really does melt my heart.

4. The third jeep window broke this week. Not the actual window, just the motor for the automatic windows. The rear passenger broke last year and the rear driver a couple months ago. We had it fixed the first time and then Josh fixed it the second time. Now the driver motor went out (which is the window I use the most) so we ordered the part on amazon again and he's installing it now- oyyyy. Thankful for a patient husband.

5. I just finished read "The Chance" by Karen Kingsbury. Oh my- if you haven't already, GET YOUR HANDS ALL OVER IT!! It was a great book!

Rainy Season

It's time for an update on things. Ready for brutal honesty?

Right now we're in the rainy season. That season that has us soaked right through everything we've ever known- all that's familiar. 

At this point in life, we don't know the future. We have no idea where we'll be living in 6 months. Where we'll celebrate Christmas. What school will Luke start Kindergarten at. Will we be living with my parents, in an apartment, or buying another home? Will I be able to stay home with the kids? Where will we go to church? We have absolutely no idea what God has in store. 

The funny thing? None of us do. You don't have to be in our situation to know this. It doesn't matter how safe life feels today- none of us know what tomorrow will hold. If this season of life has taught me anything it's this.

We get comfortable in our job, our life, our church. We find our worth in our paychecks and who we associate with. When all that is pulled out from under you it makes you question where you're focused. Is it to just get by? To pay the next bill? To say that I've done this or accomplished that? or is it on what really matters? Things that will last beyond the here and now. You know- eternal things.  

And when you're living through the rainy season you have a lot of time to think; time to reflect on what's really important. Spending time with my family. Not just being present- but really focusing on them. Sitting on the floor and playing trains. Talking over dinner (even when little man talks so much it takes him 30 minutes longer than everyone else to finish). There will come a day when I will beg him to talk to me. To disconnect from technology when I'm holding a bottle. Playing with tiny toes instead of catching up on the news or responding to the last text message. One day those toes will be in places I wish I could go. Filling water squirters and having a war in the backyard even though I don't really want my clothes soaked through. We may not have a yard wherever we move. Listening to laughter, drying tears, and assuring little minds that shadows won't come out when he closes his eyes. 

I'll be the line leader and admit that this is my first real rainy season. 

As I look back at life I realize that I mostly saw change as a bad thing. Most of my childhood was changeless. I lived in the same house my whole life (the same house my parents still live in). My dad worked at the same job (the job that he still wakes up for at 5:30am everyday). We went to the same church, until that church grew a new church- and even there many of my friends were my "nursery" buddies. I always saw change as a sign of weakness; as circumstances you couldn't control. And if you can't control those circumstances, then surely you're doing something wrong.

But that isn't it at all. 

The second a baby is born, it's growing and aging. It would be abnormal if we didn't change. Success is measured by change. Moving up in school-eventually graduating; achieving promotions. Sometimes we want time to move quickly; other times we wish it to stand still, but it never will. I didn't realize until this season that change isn't always bad. 

Many times it's necessary, we just have to change our perspective. 

When many people see the rainy season as a negative season I am choosing to see it positively. I need this time to grow, time to reflect. A time to be uncomfortable and to break away from complacency... 

...because the glass really is half full. 

We have our health and our faith. We have been blessed beyond anything we could ask or imagine. We have a roof over our heads and food in our fridge. We have each other.

See rainy seasons bring more than erosion, malaria, and food shortages. The rainy season brings fresh water. Vegetation thrives. Air quality improves. So I'll take a deep breath.  

We're not going to wait for the storm to pass. If we sit around waiting, we'll be wasting time. So I'll pray. I'll pray for direction and healing. Direction for the next step on this journey. I'll journal and document this season. A season that I'll look back on in the years to come and remember what the Lord brought us through. This is our Red Sea. Our wilderness journey. When the Israelites didn't know how they would cross, He created a dry path. When they were wandering, hungry in the desert, He provided manna every morning. When they felt lost He guided them with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. The cloud protected them from the scorching sun and the fire kept them warm and allowed them to see even on the darkest nights.

We won't stay indoors because it's raining- we'll take this chance to dance in the rain. To let it overwhelm our senses and drench us through to our bones. 
So as I take a deep breath and smell the fresh fallen rain I will choose to be thankful. Giving thanks doesn't come naturally in uncertainty. 

I'll choose to be thankful on days that I wake up and I don't feel thankful. Days that are all running together. Days where I wake up hoping Josh will receive a phone call and go to sleep realizing that today was just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. No new news. 

Rainy seasons don't disappear overnight. The only thing we can do to change our situation is to take the next right step. To be obedient and to trust. 

The "T" word. 

That doesn't mean to keep going and doing what we're doing and hope we'll catch a break along the way. It means to totally rely on the Lord for our next breath. To trust that He'll light our way. To believe Him when He says "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him." (Proverbs 30:5) The New American Standard Version uses the word refuge. To take refuge in something means to be safe and sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble. What a promise to remember!!!

If this post was totally confusing you may want to check out this post

Photo credit: {2} {3}

Life Update: June Part 1

I mentioned here that I was going to start these life updates twice a month because once a week seemed too frequent. BUT I feel like so much has happened in 2 weeks, that maybe I'll go back to weekly updates- who knows!

We've been to Marietta twice in the past 2 weeks (and we made a third trip to Gwinnett to sell Josh's truck). It was a whirlwind with a newborn, but giving Luke some time to blow off some steam was a great idea!

Most people know that Josh is job searching right now so our days are filled with filling out online applications, making connections, and praying for an interview! Excited for the future!

Luke had his first dentist appointment. All his teeth checked out perfectly and he was really excited about his blue and orange toothbrush!
Nana sent a care package filled with goodies. One of Luke's favorite (besides the cookies of course) were matching daddy/Luke water guns (and the Thomas swimsuit).
So they had a water fight!
We had really severe weather one night (there was a tornado near my parents house in Marietta) and this was the sky afterward. I refrained from posting one on FB but I thought this was too pretty to not show!

We were completely dressed and ready for Church this past Sunday when Luke walked up to me and said his shirt was wet... I was like ok?! He said "look" and in the living room there was a huge pile of puke :( Poor baby didn't feel good. So we spent the day at home. Thankfully he was only sick twice and was completely recovered after his afternoon nap!

My 2 boogers are the love of my life!! I can't wait to watch them grow up together (except I can- because I want time to slow down!). 

Printing Birth Announcements

was a major headache!

I decided to try my hand at taking Emberly's newborn pictures, figuring our photoshop, and making birth announcements. It really wasn't too difficult.

Then I had to print them. I've been warned about Wal-mart's quality issues, but I figured I'd give it a try. If you don't remember I boycotted going to Wal-mart back in January because of some issues we had (terrible customer service) and it's amazing how much money we have saved (not to mention a little sanity too).

I broke my rule and stepped foot in there to pick up one 9 cent picture. The second I saw it I knew it printed too dark. (the one on the right was the original I had printed). See the shadow over her left eye (our right)?
I know I could have immediately returned it and received my 9 cents back- but I thought maybe it would make a good post about living and learning... maybe they tried to win me over with flattery- they wrote in huge letter "COPYRIGHT" over the front of the envelope. I guess they thought they were professional pictures. Notsomuch.

I figured that maybe it was just that store's machine that had some wonky ink toner issue so I decided to order 35 prints online and have them shipped to the house. Total spent? Around $2.50. Not bad.

Except I opened the package and realized that they cut off the "s" in inches... Yep- you can insert a major eyeroll combined with some "arghhhhhhh-ing".
At this point I was just frustrated (again, I know that I could have returned them), but I was already a month late getting these sent out, and honestly I just didn't care THAT much.

Here's the original dark one without the cut off letter to prove that this was their error not mine:
I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of returns... and waiting for more that could also potentially be messed up some other way. I did really like how the one on the left printed... they are much brighter and true to how the picture looked on my computer- if only the "s" wasn't cut off!
You get what you pay for I guess and this was a lesson I learned! For the same order online Walgrees wanted 3xs that- but maybe they would have printed correctly... oh well.

Shut the front door...

I painted both front doors last summer. Yes, I went bold. I think the curb appeal tells others that we don't take ourselves too seriously. Who doesn't love a bright blue door? It reminds me of a sprinkle in a Zaxby's birthday cake milkshake (fingers crossed they have those again this summer).

I also painted the back of the carport door white (it was already white, but it didn't clean very well). The coat of white paint makes wiping dirt and grime (puppy nose prints) easy peasy.

Next up was to paint the back of the front door. It was still a dark almost navy blue. Here's the best picture I could find- ignore the "after" on the picture. (just a warning- it's REALLY hard to take pictures of this door since it lets in so much light. All my pictures turn out super dark. Or my camera forces me to use the flash which is what I did in the last few pictures).
Although there's a trend with painting interior doors black, in a 1,400 square foot ranch this seems like a horrible decision. Maybe if we had 10 foot ceilings...

The blue door never really bothered me. But I figured white would only make this corner feel bigger. So armed with a 2 inch angled brush, a foam roller and some interior semi-gloss white paint (Moonrise by Behr) I went to town.

Here's one coat (I told you the pictures were dark):
and 3-4 coats later we have this:
and 5-6 coats later we had this!

Ta-da! It took me about six 15 minute increments to complete. I used the brush first to get in all the places my roller wouldn't go, then I rolled, then let it dry and I went back to repeat the process again. I did have to take the door off it's hinges to get into the corner. It's funny how your eyes take a while to adjust to something new. Every time I walk by I notice how much larger the corner feels! Yet the blue never bothered me... it's just better now!

Emberly Grace- 1 month

You are 1 month old today. I can't even believe how fast this month has flown. The days are completely running together and the lack of sleep has my head and eyes constantly aching. But that's ok- because you are perfect and totally worth the lack of sleep.

Today you weigh 10lbs 8oz. You are up almost 3lbs from birth. Way to go girlie! You eat around the clock (about 7 times a day) about 4 oz. each feeding.
You have fallen into a pretty good sleep, eat, play pattern. You sleep more than anything else at this point and sometimes I sit and just watch you sleep. I watch your little eyes roll back in your head because you are so content. It's priceless.

You have been struggling to get rid of your baby acne. It's been around for about 2 weeks. It doesn't seem to bother you so it doesn't bother me.
Your brother Luke loves you SO much. He is always very concerned when you cry and he does his best to help. Alot of times he'll pop your paci in to make you feel better. He's such a great big brother. It makes my heart happy when he says "Ohhhh baby girl" and "Shhhh princess".

You haven't really been interested in anything other than being held. You don't have a favorite toy yet. You do however LOVE sleeping on your belly. We tried swaddling you like your big brother (who was swaddled until 5 months) and you want nothing to do with it. I'm thinking you're a belly sleeper just like your momma.

You've been on 2 road trips to Lulu and Pop's house this month and you've been to South Carolina. You also have facetimed with your Nana and G-pa and Uncle Jason.

Time please slow down. I want to soak up these precious days with you sweet girl!!