Archive for the ‘living’ Category

Snow Day Project – Birthday Banner!

I’ll admit– I’m both sad and excited for my little Bluebelle to turn one.

I’ll also admit that I feel a little like a bad mama.  I don’t write her monthly letters or anything like that.  I don’t plan on making a huge production for her first birthday. I’m sometimes afraid that she got a defective Mama. Ha. I think of it, but I don’t get to it.  I’m just good to keep up with her baby book!

Even though her first birthday will mainly be family (and a few friends), I want it to be chock full of love and simplicity. I’m still trying to decide if I’ll make her cake or not, and I want her decorations to be homemade and reusable (for both financial and eco-friendly reasons).  I also just love how homemade things look!

I stumbled upon See Mommy Sew’s website while searching for a way to make a birthday banner for my Bluebelle and fell in love with the simplicity of this project.  I thought you might want to make one, too!

Yes, I’m aware that her birthday is 2 months away, but since we’re moving and everything else is going on, I wanted to complete this project before we moved!

Supplies needed:
Fabric (use what you have.  If you want to buy one of those packs of 5 18″x21″ rectangles of fabric, one pack will do quite nicely.)
Bias tape (I used single fold narrow.  I think mine was 8 yards, but I had excess left over.)
Felt (if you make 3×4 inch letters, you’ll need 2 -3 of the swatches)
Sewing machine
Thread
Scissors
Template (shown)

I bought way too much fabric, but I’m planning to use the striped fabric in some other projects, so it’s not a loss. 🙂

I began by making a template (I used cardboard from a notebook).  I used SMS’s measurements and I made a 4×9 triangle to use on the fold.

You’ll need 26 triangles (front and back) to write “Happy Birthday.”  I made 30 because I was on a roll. Oops.
I’ll just add them to the “Happy” part of the banner.

I then cut out the letters in felt.  I made 3×4 inch blocks and then I freehanded the letters out of that.  It helped me keep the letters consistent.

Then I mapped out my colors and letters to get an idea of what it would look like.

Then I sewed the felt letters onto the triangle. I started with an applique stitch, but I quickly realized I would STILL be sewing.  I’ll save that for one of baby girl’s clothes!  So, I just used a zig zag stitch for a little pizzazz! (You could use a straight stitch if you wanted.)

 

Then, I sewed the triangles’ front and backs wrong sides together.  Yes, I know this creates a raw edge, but I like it.  I may go back and pink the edges, but my pinking shears are MIA and I’ll have to buy a new pair if this is what I want to do. I also wanted my fronts and backs to be different from each other.

Then, I pinned the finished pennants to the bias tape.  I didn’t do anything special with the tape.  Actually, I’m sure you could even use ribbon or something if you would rather.  I just laid the tape on top, pinned it, and started sewing with a wide zig zag stitch.

When that’s done, you’re done!  Super easy!

I can’t wait to use this again and again! Hopefully, I can find some other projects to add to the birthday festivities!

Enjoy! Let me know if you make one too!

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Life Update

Shh! Stay quiet. It’s 6:36 am and I’m afraid the baby will wake up any minute now.  I’d like this next hour to myself if it’s possible.

Stillwater.

It’s getting closer. Yikes!

Not to say that we aren’t ready.  We are. We are so ready.  The fact that we are moving again (no matter how inevitable) is still daunting.  We have truly loved living with family these last 14 months.  Todd and Grandpa working in the yard together — taking trips and spending time together.  Hanging out in the sewing room with Grandma … learning how to sew and make anything. Sitting in Grandpa’s “office” (two chairs under a large shade tree) with the baby.  Grandpa coming over to “check on that baby” no less than twice a day.  Having my Grandma there at all times. You see, she really helped raise me and I rely on her more that my own mom.

This will truly be a time that will be treasured by us.  They’re not sure they want us to leave.  There’s a little part of me that wishes I could freeze time as well.

We still have a lot to do for Stillwater as well.  Pack (yuck!), find a house, set a moving date.  We do have a washer/dryer, table and chairs, and possibly a recliner! Such a blessing.

Starbucks.

Todd has taken to Starbucks like a duck to water.  He gets to make gourmet coffee drinks all day, be super cheerful to customers, and caffeinate himself. (I know, caffeinate is not a real word, but it should be.) His first day on the job, he came home quite anxious and panicked about the job.  Then he told me that he had 6 shots of espresso. Ha. No wonder he’s panicky!

Now that he’s adjusted to the caffeine rush, he’s loving it.  I think that this job was pretty much made for him.

The baby.

She’s incredible.  Really incredible.  She’s a very happy and social baby. The doctor was amazed at her 9 month checkup that she wasn’t screamy and mad.  We went through a short separation anxiety, but she’s adjusted beautifully (even though she still prefers Mama).  She’s into everything.  If she sees it, she wants it.  We have this table in the living room that she walks around (hanging on) and she clears everything off of it.  I put something in the center of it yesterday and she was really mad that she couldn’t get to it.  She kept going around and around the table and then she would squawk at me in frustration! It made me laugh! She’s not really talking yet… her favorite “words” are DaDa and Behbeh (Baby).  She’s cruising the furniture but crawling is where she’s fastest, so she’s not interested in fully walking just yet.  She is standing on her own more and more though! Gosh, I love her.

This mama.

Eh, you know. Same ol, same ol.

I’m just trying to be a better person. Trying to enjoy more, stress less.  My goals for this year include: meal planning, save a ton on money with coupons, find a home church in Stillwater, join a Bible study/mom’s group, be awesome.

Hope you have a great week!

The Next Chapter: I love me some coffee.

I had a lot of titles for this post, so this post is also known as:
“Finally, a WIN.”, “Some really good news for this family.”, “No longer homeless (an No Longer Nameless reference)”, “Guess what? We’re moving!”, “Just Call him Daddy Starbucks,” and “I thought about putting the entire blog in the subject line but then I realized that there’s not a lot of room there so I guess I will use the body of the blog to post my good news.”

Ah, so now you know.

Here is the good news that I referenced earlier last week: MY SUPER-AWESOME, ROCKSTAR HUSBAND GOT A NEW JOB!!

Yes. That’s right.

Here is our new timeline of the last 18 months:
July 2009: found out we were pregnant
August: lost my job in N. Texas
September/October: moved into renthouse from Hades
November: moved to Oklahoma
December 2009 – Feb 2010: Lived in the family camper
March: Traded places with my fabulous grandparents and moved in the house while they took the camper.
April: Our little girl was born!
May-November: Applied to a bajillion churches and jobs.
December: Got an offer from Starbucks to be a store manager in Stillwater!!

**insert major squeal of joy**

Yes, this means that we are staying in Oklahoma, which is a little sad for our Texas roots, but we will be in a fabulous little town with the perfect distance between both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. This is a big step in Todd’s management career, and we will be in a college town, so we will be able to minister to college students and pretend that we’re still that cool. 😉

There are still a LOT of logistics to work out, and we will not be moving until after training is completed (beginning of March). We are very excited to be moving to Stilly.

I knew I loved coffee!!!

Another bonus: Todd is going to smell SOOOO good… and maybe I’ll be able to flirt my way into some free *Bucks!

Seriously, though. Thank you for all your prayers and more. You’ll never fully know how much it has meant to us. It’s very hard to stay happy and hopeful when you’re struggling for so long. I know that it’s a really short time in the scheme of things, but 18 months seems like 18 years when you’re in the thick of it.

Please, keep us in your prayers. We now have to find a washer/dryer, some furniture, and more before the move. We also have to find a place to live and we have to begin the sad process of taking the Texas off of our vehicles. 😦

Again, thank you.

So, I guess it’s time to start up the moving van!

the must-have friends list.

So, as I was driving to Norman at 6:45 this morning, I was thinking about buying a headband. I know what you’re thinking… such deep thoughts, April! Ha. Really, though.  I was thinking about buying a headband, one of those cute embellished ones. 

So, what was my next course of action?  Contact my friend Andrea for advice.

Andrea is one of those people who are always, always, ALWAYS classy.  Seriously.  I’ve thought she was classy since we were 6 and she gave me a Sanrio stationary kit for my birthday.  She is always stylish – the right blend of classic style with a trendy twist.  Seriously.  She’s the kind of girl that I wish I was.  She’s funny, sincere, trustworthy, and I never EVER have to worry about whether she will be honest with me.  She’s the girl that I ask for fashion advice.  

Example: Todd, Andrea and I are at Old Navy and Todd tries on an ugly, puffy, orange vest.

Todd: Doesn’t this make me look McFly?
Andrea: McNo.

She will let me know if jeans tucked into my boots make me look like a OU sorority girl wannabe, or if the flower in my hair makes me look like Billie Holiday or a 5 year old.

I thought to myself this morning: everyone needs this kind of friend.  Then I thought, I really have a great group of must-have friends.  So, I have compiled a little list of a FEW of the wonderful friends I have (this is not comprehensive, it’s just an overview)… types of people I consider a must-have friend.

The best not-my-husband guy friend: Curtis. We might as well have been twins.  We are carbon copies of each other.  He’s one of my husbands’ dear friends, so he can shoot it straight with me and we can gripe to one another Platonically. 

The sweet, April-stop-freaking-out friend:  Erin. This girl is more of my compliment.  She is an optimist, and always SUPER kind and funny and fun. 

The Couple/people who are in your same stage of life friends:  We have a few of those.  Erin and Curtis (see above), John and Azlynn. You need these.  Trust me.  Otherwise, you’ll feel all alone.

The couple a little ahead of you/call for advice friends:  You need these too.  They keep you from freaking out. We are lucky enough to have a few of these too, but Marcus and Tricia come to mind.  Gosh, I LOVED living next door to them.  They were the best.

The faithful, I’ve-got-your-back-no-matter-what friend: This person is the one that you know would be willing to sit in jail beside you. 😉 (Not that I’m advocating jail… I just mean that this person is with you no matter what.)  Nichole.  We share secrets and I know that I can always count on her.  She’s the one who threw me a fantastic baby shower, was there for everything for my wedding even though she lived hours away, and I know that we’ll always been friends even though we don’t live close.

My social justice/political friends: Curtis.  Joel.  These guys push me to think for myself and force me to stay up to date on the issues.  You need these people.  Trust me, the world is a better place with a little less ignorance. 🙂

My online friends:  I can’t begin to list these friends because I have developed quite a few since I have been homebound (aka – a mom), but these are women and men who I haven’t seen in person in years or ever, but I love being a part of their written lives.  Many of them are listed to the right of this post. 🙂

My friends who are family: These people are always a must-have.  Again, I’m not naming any names here, but it’s a crucial part of my life.  You know who you are.

This may have been a bit of a boring post to you, but I was thinking of how thankful I am for these people.  I’m sure I missed some, but this is a general idea.  How about you?  Do you have friends that are must-haves?

Quick update – news and the Advent season

Okay, I know I don’t complete your life when I post a new update, and I’m like a dog with a bone when I have something on my mind.  Yes, I just referred to myself as a dog.  I’m not really a dog.  I’m just determined.  When I can’t post something about it, I have just about nothing else to say.  (Unless I end up with something that eclipses it long enough for me to stop dwelling on it.)

I can’t tell you all the details that are going on in our lives right now, but I am hoping I can share some really cool news with you very soon!*

Please, keep us in your prayers.  We really appreciate it.

On another note, I am trying to focus on the Advent season.  If you are into it and you have the Bible on your iTouch or iPhone (by You Version), there is an Advent reading guide for this month.  It’s bueno. 

If you don’t have it, I really like to read the first part of Jesus: the One and Only, by Beth Moore. 

If you don’t have that, you don’t want to read literature written by a woman (shame on you), you can read Luke.  It’s my favorite telling in the Gospels. FYI- only Matthew and Luke have the birth of Jesus in their book.  Matthew is focused on describing the paternal lineage/link to David. Luke, being written from a Gentile’s perspective is my favorite.  Mark just gets to the “meat” of the Gospel message and John is very different from the first 3 (he removes the “Messianic secret” if you want to get into more detail), so they don’t have the birth story.

Anyway.  Hope you enjoy.  Also, if you have any Advent readings you think I should partake of, please let me know! 

Blessings!

*Oh, and the cool news is NOT that I’m pregnant.  Get that? I’m NOT pregnant. Just in case you think that might be the news.  Geez, people, let us get a little on our feet and our first out of diapers. 😉

Tales of the walking dead — or the sleeping awake.

Mothers with full-time jobs – I salute you.

I think that being a SAHM** (Stay At Home Mom) is hard.  Seriously, backbreakingly, hard.  That said, I think that being a working mom is freakingly, crazy, hard.  Now, let me say this: BEING A PARENT IS AHH!!! HARD.

**Let me give a little shout out to one of my BFF’s for being a SAHD.  He works his tookus off — juggling a 4 month old, a bajillion pound dog with a personality the size of Texas, completing his masters, and job hunting for when his masters is completed.  So, while I use the word “Mom” in this post, I am speaking for all parents, cause this crap (sometimes literally)  is hard.

I am “working” now as a childcare provider (I use quotations because it is both fun and a job, and many people wouldn’t consider it a job.  Although it SO is.) and I am loving it, but I have never been this tired in my life.  I am up at 5:30, out of the house by 6:45, and I am home somewhere between 4-6 pm, roughly 4 days a week.  

Yesterday, I fell asleep with my daughter at 6:30 pm on the twin bed in her room.  I was in bed myself at 8:30 pm (after Glee! of course).  I washed one load of laundry.  I ate some chips and ice cream because I couldn’t form enough of a mind to actually prepare something healthy and balanced. 

I’ve totally began to cheat on my “super mom” goal.  I haven’t made baby food in weeks.  Our laundry is sitting on the couch and there are dishes in the sink.  I’ve been taking shortcuts with meals, bathtime, etc, and I haven’t baked or cooked since Thanksgiving.  It’s all I can do to keep up!

I think that being a parent is totally awesome, and totally doable — but life gets in the way.  It’s so messy.  Isn’t that life?

I am wishing that I would have taken more than 3 pictures in the last month, and I’m hoping I can still clean my house and get some Christmas baking in before December 25.  If I don’t though, that’s okay.

I have officially joined the group of the walking dead – or the sleeping awake.  Parents who are out of the house all day long … I salute you.  I don’t know how you can work all day and then clean/cook/live until 11 pm.

So, as a SAHM, who has turned into a workingish mom, I pledge to lose my (slight and silent) smug demeanor that thinks that I am doing the “best thing ever” by staying at home.  I never thought that working was BAD, mind you, I just thought that I am being the best by staying at home.  I still think it’s important, and it will hurt if I have to be separated from my girl, but I know that as a parent you just have to do what you have to do.

Come on and admit it – if you aren’t a little bit like that, you know someone who is.

We’re all walking dead.  Let’s zombie around together in harmony.

Why I’m believing in Santa – 2010 edition

Below is a post I made in December 2007.  So much has changed in my life in these last 3 years, but I think that this post still holds much truth to me.  Obviously, I don’t work in a church anymore, but I am trying to embrace the Advent season. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being my hope.

The magic of the holidays are here. The stores glisten in shade of red and green, music plays on every corner, and Santa’s throne is constructed in every shopping mall and department store. There’s a festivity in the local churches, although it’s a significantly different sounding message. The churches are preparing to celebrate the birth of one bouncing, bubbly, baby boy. A boy named Jesus, who came to take away the sins of the world. Once a year, we are allowed and encouraged to breathe in the mystery of the Christmas story. People crack open their leather-bound dusty Bibles to revisit the tale of the child in the manger and the magi with their three gifts.

It is my favorite story.

I can’t help but be transformed by that starlit sky and the ungainly movements of a virgin swollen with child. My favorite tale of it is told in the book of Luke, in the New Testament. “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Imagine a girl, no more than a child herself, carrying the salvation of the world in her womb. Picture the first time she felt Jesus’ feet fluttering in her womb. Imagine the overwhelming love she held deep inside. Everything in her life was extreme and confusing at that time. She was a young girl who had never been with a man, yet she’s due to have a child. A girl surrounded by imminent scandal. How did she deal with her family? What about her skeptical beau Joseph? Did anyone doubt her? The only woman she had to talk to was her elderly, formerly barren, now pregnant, cousin, Elizabeth. Surely, she must have felt at times that it was only her and her baby. I imagine she whispered her love for Him many times. Mary didn’t have the normal anxiety of a new mother; she was in charge of the Savior of the world. Imagine the pressure!

Working in a church allows me to dwell on this wonderful truth, but it also keeps me from truly enjoying it as well. Nothing’s so simple anymore. It seems like Christmastime is about having the best program a church can produce. I believe this is standard for the majority of churches and Christian subculture in America. Also, as a Christian, I hear others who criticize our Santa Claus-embracing counterparts. “It’s materialistic,” They miss the Reason for the Season,” “Santa’s not Jesus,” and much more is said this time of year. Are we as Christians any less materialistic? The majority are not.

In regards to Santa—I agree that he doesn’t belong in the church at Christmas. People can potentially miss the central message, and then the Christmas season is done entirely in vain. Separately from the Church—I still believe in Santa. I love to imagine his gingerbread-style mansion in the snowy tundra. I love the joyful faces of the elves and the flying reindeer. I imagine a sparkly aura around the North Pole. It is a place of selfless giving and joyful hope. Isn’t that what Christians are trying to promote? Santa encourages children to behave and sends little minds into a fanciful whirlwind of their imaginations. Let the little children imagine! Give them hope. Sing songs of “Joy to the World” as well as “Here comes Santa Claus.”

The reason we do this is because we are teaching children to use their imaginations. We’re teaching them to believe. We are giving them a happy place to retreat in the inner recesses of their minds and to dream wonderful dreams. Children need their dreams. I need my dreams. Taking that away makes the world a more difficult place to live in, and the world is difficult enough.

That’s why I still believe in Santa.