Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Top Ten

Here are ten favorite things from 2010. There might be some that I forgot, so don't sue me, which I suppose means this might not really be a "top ten" list but more of a "ten awesome things I could think of at the drop of a hat" list.

Oh goes.

1. My "Little Dresses for Africa" birthday party! To sum it up: I turned 33 (the same age as Jesus) and celebrated in what I thought was a big way, but actually turned into a much-bigger-than-I-dreamed way because we sent off 100 dresses. Picture 100 beautiful African girls all in a new dress. Seriously, the coolest. I'm already brainstorming about what we can do when I turn 34...

2. My little man's Halloween costume: it rocked. Especially if you're from T-Town, I think you'd agree.

3. My husband stayed HOME. We're not talking marital problems, peeps. I mean, he stopped traveling all the gosh-darn time for business. I cannot tell you what a world of difference it makes, having him home every day with us. What a blessing and a luxury in today's day and age, especially for our son. He gets so much quality time with his dad, and I am forever grateful and will never take that for granted.

4. Landing a job with Anthropologie: let's face it -- no matter what, a job is a JOB. (Especially when you are working retail during the holiday season -- not for the faint of heart, I tell ya'.) There are days I might not be crazy excited to go in to work, just like anybody else. But it's a pretty cool gig, and I've truly enjoyed making new friends, being constantly surrounded by inspiration, and of course, ye ole' employee discount. Not gonna lie.

5. Learning how to free-motion quilt: and my world's never been the same since.

6. Modern Quilt Guild: this spring our little city started up its own chapter of this national organization. What fun to make new friends that are all as nerdy as me (haha) and get just as excited to talk about fabric, quilting, patterns, etc. They get me. They really get me.

7. My church pianist gig: it had been 8 years since I was previously a church pianist, but I've been reminded this year how much I truly enjoy it. And I'd be lying if it didn't feel the teensiest bit like getting paid to go to church. Ha! (Don't get your panties in a wad. We'd go anyways. We always have. Just had to throw that one in a for a laugh.)

8. Kindergarten. Whoa. I still am in denial that my kid is no longer in preschool. But really, it's been nothing short of amazing to watch his little brain take off at warp speed. Just in the four months or so since he started, it's crazy how much he has learned. We are really, really proud of our little man.

9. Professional family portraits: it's been several years (at least three of four) since we've had our pictures taken by a professional. Several of my friends are professional photographers, and one of them offered up a deal too good to pass. We're really grateful to have these shots of the three of us, especially before my little man gets any bigger. {Sigh.}

10. Top Secret Family Things that I can't yet speak of, but that have been in the works this year. I'm thankful to walk this crazy journey through life with my husband, and we've really grown even closer this year through some new experiences. Just take my word for it...

Thanks for reading this little ol' blog of mine. It's nice to have a place to pen my thoughts, and I've really enjoyed these cyber-friendships that are a result of people actually reading what I have to say and choosing to like me anyway... ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh Mamacita!

Love this new-to-me Christmas classic!

The song is from the 1950's. Unfortunately, according to the video description, this adorable little guy lipsynching in the video and his mama passed away in a car accident a few years ago. What a blessing for the dad to have this darling video to remember him.

I dare you not to get this one stuck in your head. My little Hispanic cutie thinks this is his new favorite video...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, the cuteness...

...that is Harry and Sally.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Glimpses...

...from the scene at my house.

We enjoyed...

*a 19-pound bird
*fun paper squirrel party favors a-la-Martha-Stewart (free printables on her website) filled with hazelnut chocolates
*perfect cold and cloudy weather
*a new cranberry sauce recipe that uses Grand Marnier -- yum!
*parade watching, of course
*a wishbone that wouldn't break, only bend, so my aunt and I both end up with good luck, right?
*a roaring fire in the fireplace
*a little drama with the stupid bird that took FOREVER to finish roasting
*great time with family

How was yours?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Christmas Farm"

It's that time of year!

It's the time that my boy and I load up on Christmas reading material. There over 30 Christmas books in our bin by the fireplace for him to read and look through whenever he likes. These are the books that I have collected, most of which came from thrift stores. You should see me light up when I find a new $16 book for $1! Thrift stores are a treasure trove of new books if you know where to look.

But besides those books, we load up at the library as well. And yesterday we picked out a gem.

I'm definitely going to have to buy a copy of this one.

"Christmas Farm" by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Barry Root*

Oh, what a little gem of a book.

Charming illustrations and a fantastic little story about a lady who grows Christmas trees to sell. For my boy, who is currently into all things that can be counted, hearing page after page of how many seedlings survived yet another winter to grow taller, how many trees were bought, how old the neighbor boy was becoming -- this was a perfect book. I'm a book lover, it's no secret, but this little book just really seemed to tug at all of my heartstrings and really sang to me. If I could climb into the pages, believe me, the boy and I would!

Just thought I'd share, in case you have a little someone you'd like to read this one to. Or even if you don't, maybe you might enjoy it yourself. Be sure and check your local library to see if there's a copy you can borrow.

*image found here

Monday, November 29, 2010

Git yer jingle bells on.

Because I'm a professional pianist...

I thought you all might enjoy this little Christmas ditty by the fabulous Ferrante and Teicher. You've probably heard their other famous Christmas tunes of "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bells", but this one is a new favorite of mine, a fun Brazilian twist on Christmas.

Hope you're all getting in the spirit of the season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Today I have much to be thankful for...

*a stress-free turkey roasting experience (no repeats of last year, thank goodness, although if you missed out on that story, you'll want to click over for a few good laughs at my expense)

*a husband who cheerfully hung curtains last night in two rooms even though he probably didn't feel like it

*an early morning wake-up call to get Tom the Turkey ready for lunch (also a blessing in disguise since I have to wake up very early the next two mornings for work)

*some quiet, uninterrupted, early morning sewing (since I was up anyway!)

*freezing cold and cloudy weather (my favorite for Thanksgiving!)

*a clean house

*Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!! (which I WILL attend in person someday)

*family coming over for the feast

...and of course, so very many more blessings as I could go on and on and on. The Lord's been good to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Still thankful...

Day 21:

I am thankful for my sewing machine.

Oh man, am I ever.

It is not fancy. It was about $300, maybe less, almost nine years ago (a combined b-day gift from my parents and my brand-new husband, mere weeks after we were married). It is not computerized. But it does exactly what I need it to, and it rarely gives me grief. You could say we are BFF's.

Thank you, little Huskystar 224. I {heart} you.

*image found here.

Day 22:

I am thankful for a wood-burning fireplace! Woohoo! It is supposed to be freeeeeezing here tomorrow, and I can't wait to have a fire in the fireplace to keep us nice and toasty. Our old house didn't have a wood-burning fireplace, so that's exciting for us.

Day 23:

I am thankful for my super-always-healthy kid. Seriously, we go to the doctor once a year for a checkup. That's it.

Day 24:

I am thankful for TURKEY BRINE!!! Heck yes, as we speak, my house officially smells like Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving, thanks to their expensive jar o' brine mix that I purchase every year (this is officially my fourth year of turkey roasting, folks!). Saves me time and effort and assures me that I will end up with a dripping, juicy bird. Gobble, gobble!

*I would've linked to the jar, but they sell out every year. I've gotten into the habit of purchasing my brine sometimes as early as Halloween to ensure that I have a jar. And while we're on the subject, I'm also thankful for Ziploc brand XL bags. For $6 a box, I can get four bags (lasting me four years) of the exact same size bag that Williams-Sonoma packages as their "brining bags". Williams-Sonoma, however, charges $16 for a set of two large and two small bags, which only last me two years. Thank you for the savings, Ziploc!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 20

Today I am thankful for gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets.

Say what you will about my home state, but there aren't too many other states that can surpass mine in beautiful sunsets.

This is an untouched photo of an amazing sunset we enjoyed in mid-October up north of T-Town.

I remember when I was in college the kids from other states and other countries constantly remarked about the sunsets. It's true. We enjoy the brightest oranges, the most vivid pinks and reds and luscious purples, and it seems like we enjoy them quite often.

How about you?

Are there beautiful sunsets all the time where you live?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 19

Today I am thankful -- VERY thankful -- for our local library system.

I've been a big fan of the library my whole life. Throughout my childhood, my parents took my brother and I to the big downtown library. I loved getting the parking ticket stamped, the giant (or at least, giant to me) reading room for story time, picking out videos and records (ah, back in the day), looking through the paintings (did you know our library used to have framed artwork you could check out, take home, and hang up on the wall?! I was never able to get my parents to agree to do it unfortunately), and the smell. Oh, the smell -- a smell of old and books and a pinch of imagination. Sometimes I go to the downtown branch simply because I love that wave of nostalgia that washes over me from entering the building and that first whiff of library.

As an adult, I've continued to be a library connoisseur. I am there at least once or twice a week, and it makes me feel good that my boy and I are on a first-name basis with the staff. Love that. I've dropped Netflix and avoided Redbox because the library is my main movie source. New music? Find it at the library. New books? You get the picture...

Anyway, this was a GREAT library week. See that stack on my nightstand?

No, really. Check it out. ALL of that crafty goodness.

I added up this stack to see what it would total me at my local Border's bookstore.

Borders = $186.36

My library = FREE

All of that FREE inspiration, just waiting on my nightstand to be devoured. Library, I HEART you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Did I say I was going to post something every day? Niiiiiiiiiiiice.

Looks like a messed that one up! I actually had some posts started but forgot to set them to publish. And I didn't even finish 'em anyway -- guess that would've helped? So here is another little catch-up post.

Day 13:

I am thankful for more TIME AT HOME to accomplish things around the house. After moving at the beginning of September, I was barely home for over a month, and we have lived in partial chaos that whole time. Unpacking and setting up the store at my new job only to come home to an unpacked house as well? A big ol' can of stressful, folks, that's what that is. So I am thankful for this free time I've been enjoying more of lately. (So this is the apology for no blog posts as of late, although I'm happy to report I've been accomplishing a lot with my time even if I haven't been posting.)

Day 14:

I am thankful for a new craft space. Sure, I have to share it with the laundry, but since that's one of the only chores I actually enjoy, I find it soothing to create next to the whir and hum of the washer and dryer. Plus, it smells nice, haha. And I have a great view because of all of the windows.

As you can see from the photo, I am using what used to be our kitchen island as my new worktable. Counter height workspace? LOVE that. I would like to get a new lamp for the table since the lighting at night is atrocious (no overhead light at all), but all in good time...

Day 15:

I am thankful for my quilting bees. This week I've been working on blocks for the other members, and it got me thinking about how the two quilting bees I participate in are partially responsible for teaching me lots of new quilting skills. Now I'm not intimidated anymore by some of those techniques.

This was the block I made for Jacquie, a tall order in my book since she is a bit well-known in the online quilting world, and I must admit, I was a bit intimidated about making her a block. She asked for mid-century modern house squares, and that's what she got! I really enjoyed churning this little one out. I hope she likes it.

Day 16:

I am thankful for our cars. I know, seems like a funny one to mention, but keep in mind we don't have new cars. In a world where most of my friends and family seem to be sporting fancy newer pimped-out rides, I'm grateful for our cars. One is almost 14 years old, and the other is almost 8 years old, and both are still running with no issues. I'm thankful for no car payments and no relationship with a mechanic since our cars never need anything other than basic oil changes and occasional tuneups (and new tires every so often). They get us where we need to go. Thanks, cars! (And way to go, Toyota. We {heart} Toyota.)

Day 17:

I am thankful for the gorgeousness around me -- fall here in T-Town is beautiful this year! So many vibrant colors everywhere you look! And I will tell you the truth -- every single beautiful tree I see really does point me straight to God and His amazing creations. I love that each tree has been a good reminder for me to thank Him for the beauty we are enjoying.

I snapped these pics just the other day from my front porch. Such beautiful colors on my own street.

Day 18:

I am thankful for accomplishments! Like I mentioned in Day 13, I've gotten a few projects crossed off the list (finally). Check out my little guy's bedroom. It's finally done, and I am really happy with it. (Well, minus the lack of bedskirt. Must find bedskirt ASAP.) For a tiny little space, I think it is so darling! I was going for a hodgepodge of "classic little boy room", and I think it looks pretty good.

I worked completely with what we already had:

*the iron bed (there's also another) had been stored in the garage
*the paintings above the bed are all from our Guatemala pick-up trip to bring our son home, and he's pretty proud of those "Gualamala" pictures above him
*the "N" used to be gold and sat in my closet for years, and since my son's actual first name starts with an "N", it's appropriate (he goes by his middle name)
*the denim curtains were in the playroom in our old house -- I simply chopped them off to make them a bit shorter
*the sheer curtains were in the guest room in our old house, and since I put the labor into those suckers, they came with us (I made them years ago from Ikea curtain panels that I cut down and pinch-pleated, a true labor of love)
*the pennant flags on the windows are partially from my father-in-law (the school ones) and the travel pennants I had bought a year ago at an antique shop and saved for a good project; I simply stitched them together using embroidery floss in the corners, and stitched black ribbons at the ends to tie them up to the curtain rods
*the spinning colored disco ball was bought for $10 by my husband at an antique mall, and it is probably one of my boy's favorite things in the room (it is an exciting night when he has earned the right to fall asleep with the colors spinning around the room!)
*the armoire was previously holding our electronic equipment for the TV in our other house, and it now serves as a second closet space

Hmmmmm, now what will I be thankful for tomorrow?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12

Today I am thankful for...

my friends.

And to be more specific for this post:

my Bunco* friends.

I am thankful for this Motley Crue, rag-tag bunch that we are.

When my husband and I first moved back to my hometown (six-and-a-half years ago), it was a strange feeling for me. I was moving back to everything familiar, and yet, I didn't know too many people. Not very many of my friends still lived here, so it was the same typical story of moving to a new place and having to make new friends. A friend of mine invited me to her Bunco group, and the rest was history.

I didn't know any of these girls to start out (except for the one who invited me). We all lived on opposite sides of the city, and we all came from different walks of life, schools, churches, etc. But the one thing we did all have in common was God. And that was enough to gel us as a group. And over the course of six years, these girls have become more and more important to me, especially since they've walked through life with me. When times were rough -- my grandparents and dad passing away, all of the adoption drama, etc. -- these girls were such a stronghold for me. You name it -- we've walked through it as a group, supporting each other through so much good and the occasional bad. So now, six years later, we've got history. The type of history that truly binds friends together.

In that span of six years, our group has grown, shrunk (down to where we would meet and go to the movies if we didn't have enough people to play), and grown again. We now have a bit more order as far as scheduling a year in advance for who will be the hostess every month, but we still are nice and laidback, not requiring substitutes if you are gone (playing with ghosts), etc. The themes of each month seem to have gotten more and more creative as well, and we have so much fun together. We may only see each other once a month, but that is once a month I never want to miss.

I love my Bunco girls.

For your viewing pleasure, here are pics from last night's tea-party themed Bunco. Sooooooo much fun to get dressed up. And believe it or not, I think this was my very first real tea party to attend (other than the ones with stuffed animals as a kid, haha). There was great food, lots of teas to sample with special German sugar to add in, and we each got to take home our own cup and saucer. In fact, it was so much fun that half of us didn't even roll the dice and just enjoyed catching up on life, haha. What a fun evening!

*Side note: which is the true spelling -- Bunco or B-u-n-k-o? Drives me crazy every time I write it because I was always a spelling champ and not knowing the true way to spell something drives me nuts. The Internet search wasn't conclusive as I found it spelled both ways. Grr....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Halloween wore me out.

This fall has been exhausting.

My blog has been suffering.

But I'm never too tired to be thankful and show it.

So let's do a little catch-up, shall we?

For November, I will join in and post something I'm thankful for each day. Since today is already the 11th (oops), I've got a BIG list to write today...

Day ONE:

I am thankful for a roof over my head. Whether or not I own that roof doesn't matter. Whether or not that roof is my dream roof doesn't matter. As I found out in September, the Lord's plans for us were so much bigger than what I had dreamed up -- silly me, thinking I could control everything. Thank you, Lord, for the roof over our heads that we absolutely love.

Day TWO:

I am thankful for a job. Err, three jobs. Especially in an economy where this is harder and harder to find. With lots of friends (and relatives) on the prowl for employment, I feel very thankful. And this third job, the dream Anthropologie job, where I thought it would be mostly for the discount that I was working? Again, the Lord is good to me. I've not been spending my paychecks after all, and they've in fact helped pay the bills, taking pressure off of my husband and allowing us to save more.


I am thankful for a financial overhaul over the past year. And saving. And spending less. Which, in case you were wondering, feels very, very freeing. Who needs a houseful of crap anyway? ;)


I am thankful for my husband. A support, an encourager, spontaneous, full of fun, hilarious, just the right amount of nerdy (can't compete with my own personal amount of nerdiness), an extremely hands-on dad (er, Papa, that's what we call 'em in our house), a protector, a provider, and best friend. To top it all off, he puts up with me. True love.


I am thankful for my pets. They provide unconditional love (well, as long as we feed them, I suppose), and it is the best thing to walk in the door after work and find lots of wagging tails and purring bellies happy to see me. If owning a pet makes a person live longer, well, I'd say my family is set! Six animals to love us every single day.

(Harry, on the right, and Sally, on the left)

(the Italian greyhounds demonstrating a true "dogpile" - Romeo on the bottom, Tex and Minnie Pearl on the top; and sorry for no pic of our fourth dog, Mazi)

Day SIX:

I am thankful for my boy. I could go on and on about how he is the greatest kid I know, and although, yes, I'm his mama and a tad biased, I actually know several people who would back me up on this. He's kind and oh-so-compassionate, well-behaved, grateful, respectful to adults, caring to our pets, and almost always obedient. He's funny, a fantastic healthy eater, he's gorgeous (sorry, but he is, and oh, those dimples), and he loves to hear about Jesus and Bible stories. Throw in just a handful of mischief and naughtiness, and you've got yourself an awesome kid. What more could a mama ask for?

(the little man and I, Halloween 2009)


I am thankful for 2010. This probably sounds like a strange thing to be grateful for, but at the beginning of the year, I was praying that 2010 would be a nice, quiet year -- no big changes, everything just chucking along like clockwork. Boy, was I wrong, and boy, did we ever get the opposite. This has been a crazy year for us, full of lots of surprising changes, lots of attacks on our little family from Satan (sorry, if you think I'm weird for typing it, but I know it's true), and just nothing like we expected it to be. But you know what? These changes have ended up being just what we needed (duh, I know, God always knows better than I), and it's ending up being a great year after all. So, thanks for 2010.


I am thankful for more radio and less TV. Ha! But it's true. I'm down to just a very few select shows I watch, and with the radio on more often, I've been getting more accomplished and just feeling more balanced in general. Don't get me wrong, it's really more me listening to the radio than my guys, but it's been great for me not to feel so zapped from the boob tube. And I'm proud to say that my five-year-old only watches about 30 minutes of TV a few days a week. Yay for less TV! Although this is not to say that I could live WITHOUT the TV quite yet. Nope, not ready for that.


I am thankful for kindergarten. My boy has a great teacher, a little classroom filled with new friends and diversity (for which I am very thankful), and he has learned so much in just a few short months already. He went from counting to 10 to counting to 100, recognizing and writing every single one of his letters, and starting to spell and read. He loves the cafeteria food and cafeteria ladies, calls the principal "Mrs. President", and eats a good breakfast with his classmates every morning. And thank goodness for "green faces" ("green faces" = good behavior) every day. Er, most every day. So far, so GREAT.

(my guys walking to school the first morning of kindergarten 2010)

Day TEN:

I am thankful for double chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. Oh, heavens. So grateful that I have already made two big batches of them this season (most of which may or may not have gone to my own thighs). And I'm sure I will be making them again before the Christmas season starts, especially since I've already got the ingredients in my pantry for two more batches. I just can't help it.


I am thankful for veterans. I have a brother-in-law in the Army. My dad was in the Army. And I have several friends that are veterans. It seems so cliche to say I am thankful for them today, but I really am, and I've been thinking about the sacrifices of all of the veterans a lot lately. My boy is currently into all things "Army mans" (and has been for over a year), and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, these days his answer is consistently "an Army man". So I've also been a good mom and watching a some of the military channel on TV with him as well, and it has been a great reminder of what a sacrifice each of these soldiers make for the rest of us. We've taught him to go up to military that we might see in public and say "thank you". And let me tell you -- for a mama that rarely tears up, that's a surefire way to get the teary eyes, to see your little man proudly walk up and tell a serviceman or woman thank you for serving and "keeping us safe"!

(my son's birthday cake from April 2010 -- it was a little "Army mans" party with the family, of course!)

On a lighter note, I am also soooooooooo thankful for not having to go in to work today! I called in and got the green light for a day off. And I vow to make this day a productive one, so with that being said -- see ya' tomorrow...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boo to You!

Happy Halloween, my friends!
(and a Happy Reformation Day to you as well, thanks to the reminder from the Prairie Home Companion broadcast this afternoon...)

Let me just say, I'm lovin' this Halloween season!

Here is my boy dressed in all his Halloween finery...

You may not recognize this costume if you're not from around these parts, but if you know anything about our little neck o' the woods, you might get it. My boy is dressed up as the Golden Driller statue, a Tulsa icon. You can read all about this iconic giant here.

The pants and workboots are from Wal-Mart; the shirt is from our local Goodwill thrift store (it was a woman's shirt that my mom and I completely deconstructed to make a new shirt from, impressive!); the belt was also from Goodwill and I made a new buckle for it out of a glitter gold foam sheet glued to a piece of wood and then cut out black foam letters that I stuck on the top; the hardhat is from our friends B.J. and Lauren that I spraypainted (gold, of course), the kids' work gloves are from Atwoods, and the oil derrick is painted on a piece of wood from Home Depot. I actually had the guy at Home Depot cut the big plank into that long piece and two short pieces, one at the top and one at the bottom for a base and a place for my boy to rest his hand on the top. There is also a drawer handle drilled into the back so he can pick it up and move it as it trick or treats.

I'm pretty darn excited about this costume!

While we're on the subject of Halloween, here are the "punkins" on our porch:

I used the idea from the October issue of Country Living Magazine. I had trouble downloading the images and then enlarging them to the right size, so I just eyeballed 'em and drew them on myself as best I could. Then I painted them black, carved out all of the windows, and we've been lighting them up at night. Pretty darn cute! And the paint seems to be keeping the critters from gnawing on them, so that's a double win in my book.

I also decorated our mantel for Halloween and forgot to post a picture until now:

We're off to a fun "trunk or treat" event followed by our annual family Halloween get-together and trick or treating. Hope you all enjoy a great evening with your own little spooks as well!

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Music Monday...

As if The Secret Sisters' debut album wasn't enough to make this music-loving gal happy, check out these two Christmas albums that just came out from two of my favorites...

the Indigo Girls!!!

Hello, Indigo Girls + Christmas music = AWESOME. (Or at least it should be awesome, I'll have to give the album a listen and let you know.) And, of course, listening to the Indigo Girls brings back hilarious memories of the concert a couple of years ago where my girls and I found ourselves in a sea of lady love. I'll never forget that concert! I couldn't leave until I heard them play my absolute favorite, "Galileo"...

And how 'bout those Puppini Sisters!!!

Oh, I expect great things from this Christmas album. GREAT things!

And then a new album from Brooke Fraser?

Seriously, I FINALLY have reason to spend my iTunes gift card from my birthday (hello, it's been a dry five months musically for me, nothing to buy on iTunes in awhile)...

Any new tunes rockin' your world lately?

Download, Baby, Download.

My Fall Music Mix is a bit overdue, but never fear, it is in the works. And you can bet your bottom dollar that these lovelies will be a part of it...

Have you checked out The Secret Sisters yet?

Seriously. I'm in love with their whole package -- looks, undeniable talent, backstory, the whole works!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wacky Wednesday, indeed!

What a crazy and fun day. First, the earthquake.

Then, an email from my girl Michelle telling me I won something.

Say what????

Something fabulous. Fab. U. Lous.

I clicked over to one of my absolute favorite and most inspiring blogs -- Grosgrain. (If you haven't checked out Kathleen's amazing creations, you've been missing out. Girlfriend's got more talent in her little pinkie than ol' Martha Stewart's got craft supplies and Chow-Chows. Seriously. I've been a longtime fan.)

Sure enough, there's my name! I won the Reporter Frock Giveaway!!!

Kids, I cannot wait to wear this. It's funny because I've been drooling over the dresses at Anthropologie that look like blouse and skirt combinations, and that is just what I won. An utterly gorgeous and one-of-a-kind frock. I can't wait to wear it, especially to work! And just knowing it was made by such talent -- that makes it extra awesome.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Kathleen!!!


That's the magnitude of the earthquake that struck my state this morning.


Most of my friends and family didn't feel it. But I sure did. And let me just say, experiencing an earthquake wasn't exactly something I wanted to be able to say I've experienced in this lifetime. But now I can check that off the list!

I was upstairs in my son's room, putting a new lightbulb in his lamp, when the whole room started shaking and the bed was creaking like crazy. It lasted maybe about three seconds or so, although, of course, when you're experiencing something like that it feels like a lot longer. My husband was mowing outside in the backyard, and I remember thinking, man, why is he ramming the lawnmower against the side of the house??? I ran outside to ask him if he felt it. He looked at me like I was crazy, but he noticed that a neighbor's house alarm had just gone off seconds before. Sure enough, when I jumped on Facebook, other statuses were reporting the same, so I knew I wasn't crazy.

It rattled me so badly (literally) that my legs felt woozy for a good hour afterwards.

Let me just say this:

I'll take tornadoes any day of the week over earthquakes. Any day.

Here's hoping for a quieter rest of the day...

Hypnotized and Mesmerized this song.

Holy beautiful.

If there is any song that could encapsulate my feelings right now about life and how fast it flies through our fingers and how much I love my beautiful boy and wish he could stay little forever,


Oh, how this is that song.

Lately I've been feeling so much nostalgia and bittersweet feelings about how quickly that little man of mine is growing. Kindergarten is in full swing, he's learning to read, and a few tears fell the other day when I was folding the laundry and noticed one of his little shirts with a "size 7" tag in it. How could he be growing up so fast? There isn't enough time in the world for me and little him. I even made it a point to burn the memory in my mind this morning of walking hand-in-hand with him down the leaf-covered sidewalk to the front door of the school when I dropped him off. Of knowing that he might not always want to walk hand-in-hand with me in public, kiss my goodbye in plain view of his friends, be so little with his giant backpack strapped on. Oh, how I wish I could freeze these moments in time.

Read these gorgeous lyrics while you listen to the video:


Mindy Gledhill
© 2010 Blue Morph Music (BMI)

Little boy, when you speak
I can't help but kiss your cheeks
I love the way you grab my hands
And tell me all about your plans

Rocket high, comets fly
You and I could take a ride
And fly away to Neverland
And give our best to Peter Pan

When you reach for the stars
Don't forget who you are
And please don't turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life's an hourglass
Life's an hourglass

Stories read, prayer is said
Close your eyes sleepyhead
While angels linger in your dreams
And hold you in their feathered wings
Just like you, I was small
Not that long ago at all
I wish you all the happiness
That God gives freely if you ask


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bad blogger, bad blogger.

It's been nuts around here, ya'll.

I'm just now coming up to the surface for some air, so maybe I can scrounge up a lil' blog post for you real soon. Until then, get out and enjoy the bee-yoo-ti-ful fall weather. It's gorgeous 'round here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just checking in...

Another oh-so-exciting Friday night in which my husband and I crash from exhaustion whilst our five-year-old prances around the room with unbelievable exuberance and unending energy, and we pray that bedtime will soon come.


Just keepin' it real, folks. It's been a looooooooooong week.

A looooooooooooong week justifies bullet points for the weary and worn out, so here you go:

*I clocked in 44.5 hours of work this week between my three jobs.

*Next week holds the possibility of anywhere between 34.5 & 48.5 hours.

*This doesn't count the endless hours of any mothering duties. ;)

*My hours included lots of manual labor helping set up the store.

*This meant my feet were downright burning at the end of every work day from standing all day long.

*But I am loving it. Truly. And meeting so many great people.

*Today all of my Anthro-working dreams were fulfilled when I was paid to hand-embroider items (for decoration in store displays) all day long.

*Serious dream come true.

*Which also meant I got to sit instead of stand all day.

*But the sitting was on the very hard wooden floors so I'm not sure it really counts as a victory in that department because my rear was very numb at several points during the day.

*Our old house is finally on the market. Hurrah!

*Our new house is still not fully unpacked. Boo.

*In fact, the TV is still not hooked up. Double-boo. Project Runway on the Internet for me tonight, I guess.

*On the flip side, this means we have gotten a lot accomplished with no boob-tube to plop ourselves down in front of to waste time.

*We got a new mattress, so we were finally able to spend the night on a queen-sized bed after several weeks sharing a full. (This comes after our entire marriage thus far was spent in a giant king-sized bed. So you can imagine there was much rejoicing when the queen mattress arrived.)

*My mom and I were the ones to actually get the box spring up the stairs. It barely made it within about an inch. Thank goodness.

*My little guy enjoyed his second week of all "green faces" on his behavior chart at school. That's always awesome news.

*He also is one sticker away from completely filling up his "30 Nights of Dry Pull-Ups" chart on his wall. When it is filled he gets to pick out a new Star Wars Lego set. Anticipation is high 'round our house. Can he do it? Will tomorrow be the day he and Papa get to go to the store? Very exciting, folks!

But the biggest and best part of this week?

My little guy is learning to read.

As in, SERIOUSLY learning to read!

Sounding out simple three-to-four-letter words, one sound at a time, so excited that it is his new obsession, trying to read every single second of the day.

There are no words to tell you how very excited and proud we are.

A great week, indeed.

(Ah yes, the absence of pictures in my blog posts is duly noted. I will continue to search for my camera cord...)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More words.


So many of you are demanding more than just a two-word explanation of my last post. Dang!

Really, it's been a crazy, but great couple of weeks. Although I guess we might have startled quite a few real-life family and friends with our somewhat "fly-by-night" method to our madness. The thing is -- it just all happened so darn fast that we had no time to call and announce and explain and all of that. And honestly, since the move was such a lightning fast operation, it was actually kind of nice to keep it to ourselves and get moved before telling everyone and dealing with all of the questions.

So here's the skinny for all you Nosey Nellie's out there, haha:

Earlier this year in the spring, we put our house on the market. At the time, that was the decision we thought we needed to make -- to sell our money-guzzling house and get ourselves in better financial straits. For the last few years, we've been Dave Ramsey-ing it up with the best of 'em -- paying off debts, plunking over cash for EVERY last thing, and really changing our financial habits. It's been a great transformation for us. I feel like we could be on a commercial to sell some Dave Ramsey! And the house was the last big hurrah for us that we were going to hand back over and really be able to fast-forward our saving money by doing so. (Not that I was really happy about doing so, letting go of the house, that is. Nosirree. I was not a willing participant, to say the least. And the windows of opportunity weren't exactly flying open for us like we would have liked them to. It was a very confusing place to be for us.)

Then the doors all slammed in our face. There were a lot of factors up in the air that were changing, and it was clearly determined that this was not the path we were supposed to go down right then. We wouldn't be needing to sell our house after all. Lots of hallelujahs went up from this ol' gal -- anyone that knows me knows how very much I loved my house. It was my "forever house" -- as in "you can just go ahead and bury me in the backyard 'cause I ain't going nowheres".

Fast-forward through a beautiful summer full of lots of fun and amazing adventures. We enjoyed our pool for the hot months and simply continued down our path of Dave Ramsey bliss. Until about a month ago.

The winds began changing again. (You know, kind of Mary Poppin-esque, like how she said when the winds shifted or whatever it would be time to leave.) It became quite clear to us that staying in our house was not going to work out like we thought it was after all, at least not enough for us to stay in it and still move forward financially the way we wanted to. It was clear as day -- we* needed to move and let go. Our beautiful house was the one thing standing between us and a financially beautiful future.

*Um, yeah, I use the term "we" very loosely. When I say "we", I actually mean "me", since my sweet and patient husband had already long come to this conclusion and was having to deal with a very stubborn and uncooperative wife. Yeah, not so proud of this about myself.

For this control freak, personally this was a big thing. That meant once and for all loosening my death grip on my beloved house. For the longest time I had been holding tight with white knuckles (who am I kidding, my knuckles are always snowy white, haha), telling God that I had a better idea of how we could stay in our house for the long haul, how He really needed to rethink His plan and get on my wagon with me. 'Cause it's kind of an ugly truth about my generation. We've got an ugly case of the "me's" going on. Somehow my generation has become jaded in thinking we all need grander houses than our parents had, stainless steel-this and granite-that, remodeled this and remodeled that, and oh, by the way, we want it all now.

Yipes. Thank goodness God has a great sense of humor. Like I could really know better than Him!

This time around, though, I knew that God wanted me to let go. Not just halfway, not just one hand, not just loosen my grip, but let completely go both hands with a willing heart. Dang, that's hard sometimes.

And slowly............and reluctantly................but finally willingly -- I did.

We decided the best path for us would be to find a house to lease for a while, until we figured out exactly what we wanted, what would fit best in our new financial map, and most importantly, to aggressively save even more money over the course of the lease. So we started looking. And it was a little depressing because there weren't many houses in the area we wanted to stay in and for the price we wanted, etc. But I told myself to buck up, get over my selfish nature and just plaster a smile on my face no matter what we found or where we landed. Right when I did that, something popped up on good ol' Craigslist.

The house description was really too good to be true so I was skeptical, but regardless I told my husband to call and jump on it. Unfortunately someone had already beaten us to the punch, but the friend of the owner of the house said he'd show it to us anyway, even though the person before us already told him they wanted it. Thank goodness. We made a new friend, and he ended up recommending us as tenants. Within 36 hours, the house was ours.

So here we sat, only a week or so into this huge decision (that we hadn't told anyone about) with a new house already found, vacant and ready to move in.

Sheesh. I was still getting used to the fact that we really were going to put our house on the market, and here we were with a new house ready to go. I braced myself for the fact that probably within 30-60 days we'd be moving.

Yeah right.

The house wasn't the only quick deal God had in store for us. My husband had called around only to find most movers were booked for several weeks out, but then a last-minute cancellation happened. Oh yeah, not kidding. My husband called me at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon (just four days after learning the house would be ours) to tell me the movers would be there the next morning at 8am.

Hello, we hadn't packed a single thing.

Heck, I hadn't even cleaned my house in a week.

Not to mention we hadn't even really told anybody!

Long story short, we made the decision, found a new place, and moved all within about two weeks.


So so crazy.

Did I mention how crazy it's all been?

But God is so good. I cannot say it enough.

I don't know how to explain it, the fact that I was so very much on the other end of the spectrum emotionally -- upset, mad, not wanting to let go of my house, not excited about all of the unknowns, and definitely not trusting of the big picture I couldn't see -- but the very second I knew I needed to change my heart and attitude and give it up like God was asking, and not just give it all up, mind you, but give it all up and accept with a grateful heart whatever the future held, best-case scenario down to worst-case scenario, be ready to accept any of it before it happened, control-freak issues pushed far to the side -- yes, the very second I resolved all of that in my thick little head, God pushed the fast-forward button on laying it all out for us, clear as day.

New place to live -- check.
Getting moved in -- check.
Loving the new place and actually not even missing the old? -- check.
(Now that was an unexpected bonus blessing I certainly hadn't counted on. Seriously, I looooooooooove our new place. And I promise to do a picture post soon -- you know, after I locate my external hard drive in the sea of boxes so I can actually attach pictures.)

To sum it up -- I thought I had a good idea of what I knew for sure would make me happy if only God would follow MY plan, but He taught me that if I would just hand the reins over to Him, He had way better things planned for me than I could have come up with myself!

Am I the only dense person out there? Poor God has to sure thump me on the head to get me to see things sometimes.

So that, folks, is the skinny. Just a reluctant ol' gal in Oklahoma, slowly learning to change her heart, and thanking God for the journey and lessons learned along the way.

We've still got boxes to unpack and put away, the old house to finish emptying and clean to get ready for sale, and the sale itself. But I'm confident that God will order our steps the rest of the way, just as He's already done. And this time, goshdarnit, I'm not going to speak up and try and tell Him how it should be done! ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two words.

(Let's play.

Shall we?)

We moved.

No joke.

Different house.

Happened fast.

Crazy fast.

Big surprise!

Not planned.

God planned.

Thank goodness.

Boxes everywhere.

No Internet,

all week,

until today (yay!).

Waaaaaaaaaaay behind.

Messy (old) house.

Messy (new) house.

More packing.

Still. {Blech.}

New house
new kindergartener
new job
other stuff


some stress.

Oh well.

Life's good.

Real good.

New house


no pool (yay!)

big yard

less bathrooms

(ha ha)

new furniture

(bedroom furniture

too big

for stairs)

warm & cozy

cul-de-sac -- hooray!

wood-burning fireplace

first-floor utility (yay!)

quiet street.

That's it.

I'm done.

Need nap...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The wind is a-changin'...

Fall always seems to bring about change, and with fall approaching (come on, hurry up now, get rid of these nasty hot temperatures, please) there are many big changes comin' round in our little household.

One of those changes I just found out about on Friday. I'm still a little bit in shock, but super excited.

I am officially an Anthro girl.

I rarely talk about fashion on here, but it's something I really enjoy. Don't get me wrong, some days I don't try at all and look like poo on a stick, haha, but most of the time I love mixing and matching it up and trying out fun new outfits. Anthropologie has been a big part of that for me. I have shopped there since 2003 (I think), and thanks to some serious sale-shopping at other Anthropologie stores around the country, I've been able to slowly build up my closet full of fun finds. And now I will be an official part of the team for the new store in our little city. But like I said, I am still in shock about landing a job there. I'm sure there were loads of applications. At the last-minute, I zigzag stitched up the side and bottom of my resume in bright pink thread in the hopes that it might make it stand out a bit from the rest. And I wore my cactus cowboy boots with an Anthro ensemble in the hopes that it might show my quirky and proud Oklahoma roots. And then I kept it all a secret because I had no clue if it would all pan out.

But yay for it panning out! I'm very excited.

Of course, this recent development should help in distracting me from the fact that I am now the mama of a KINDERGARTENER.


When did this happen?!

I know it sounds crazy, but I am seriously having a hard time wrapping my mind about this idea. It just cannot be true! And for this usually-not-your-typical-emotional-girl, the last few weeks I've felt a bit more emotional than normal. My baby is growing up. Dang.

It really does seem like yesterday that we arrived at the airport to our own little "welcome home" party with that chubby, cutest-thing-you've-ever-seen little 11-month-old guy. And if it's already gone this fast, it'll practically be tomorrow when I'm handing over the car keys and ordering his cap and gown.


Can't someone just hit the "PAUSE" button for me, pretty please?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free-motion Series: Quilt #5

Okay. I don't like to play favorites.

Really, I don't.

But I might, just might have a new favorite.

This baby quilt might be my favorite, and I might have been a leetle bit sad to pack it up and mail it off across the ocean yesterday.

But not really since it is going to my super-awesome brand spankin' new 1-week-old little nephew (nephew #7; I also have 2 nieces). And I think his parents are really going to like it.

Want to see?

I thought so...

(Click on the pictures to see the details!)

Here's the front:

Here's the back:

Here's a teensy part of the hand-embroidered label I made.

I can't show it all to you because I doubt his new proud parents would want all of that info on the world-wide-web for everyone to see, but you can see a part of it. Basically it said:

This "Castle Peeps" quilt
was lovingly made for
_________ _____________ ___________
______ ___ 2010
______________, _______________
by his aunt, Valerie ___________
in ___________, ___________

It took me several doggone hours to stitch that up by hand. I listened to a Sunday afternoon's worth of NPR and had a towel handy to wipe my super sweaty hands. (That's a story for another day, my sweaty hand issues. I can rust needles with the best of 'em!) But I'm so glad I made the label because it is crazy cute, and that nephew is going to have a reminder of how much he's loved by his crazy auntie.

The free pattern for the quilt, "Villagers Rejoice!", was found here. The fabric line is from the new "Castle Peeps" by Lizzy House. You can find it for sale in lots of different places online, but I got mine for 35% off! Score! I switched it up only a teeny bit and made the outside borders all white (Kona white) because I personally liked the simplified look of it and how it showed off the castle on the front better. I also made sure to try and position one of the flags to look like it was coming straight out of the top of the castle tower peak. It looks that way on the original pattern picture, but there is no reminder to try and do this in the actual pattern instructions.

I had told my sister-in-law and brother-in-law that I wanted to make them a baby quilt and sent them lots of links for several different fabric ideas. They had mentioned liking the "Castle Peeps" fabrics, but I never got a full confirmation. When it went 35% off (a rarity for relatively new fabric) I made the executive decision to order it. They were being surprised by the gender of the baby, so I forged ahead with the yellow and green combo, but I have to admit I was secretly excited when a boy popped out because I think this looks a teeny bit more boyish than girlish, although it would work for either. And the fact that he was born in a land of real-life castles? Too cool. They'll have this baby quilt as a small reminder of that. My brother-in-law is a military man so they may not be there for more than a few years, but what a gorgeous and amazing experience to get to live in such a neat place across the globe.

Once again, I chose stippling for this quilt with white thread, not wanting the quilting to take anything away from the pattern. I had NO puckers on the back (yay!), but I still had a couple of places where the fabric got a little bunched up. Darn it if I can't figure out how to avoid that problem completely! But when I washed it all up and threw it in the dryer to get it all nice and crinkly, the bunching became invisible.

So now I am a happy peeps myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Over yonder...

Last Friday I spent the day over yonder in Oklahoma City with my boy, my mom, my sister-in-law and three of my nephews. We had a great time as usual, and this time my sister-in-law had the brilliant idea to get a babysitter for the afternoon so she, my mom, and I could go for a visit to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. There was an exhibit we wanted to see which was fantastic -- all about Hollywood and fashions from the movies ("Sketch to Screen: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design"). Since I am a huge fan of shows like Project Runway, I knew this would be a great exhibit.

I would love to show you pictures of it, but unfortunately the security guards roaming at will were going to have none of that. So I have no pictures. Trust me, there were some cool costumes to be seen, from Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat to Elle's pink suit in Legally Blonde (hello, tiny!) to Superman's famous tight suit. Some of the costumes were insane, like a 1930's or so Marie Antoinette costume that weighed umpteen pounds, was covered in hand-sewn beads and sequins, and was literally six feet wide across the bottom. I was astounded at the workmanship on some of these costumes.

I was, however, able to take pictures in another wing of the museum where the Dale Chihuly works are.

If you don't know Dale Chihuly, you've been missing out. Gorgeous stuff. I first learned about him up in Tacoma, Washington at the glass museum there, and I've been a fan ever since. That museum was my first taste of glassblowing since they have a working studio on site, and it's one of the reasons I was inspired to make a date two years ago for my husband and I to try it out here in Tulsa. (I highly recommend it; you can read up on our experience here.) One of these days I hope to see one of Chihuly's exhibits where his glass sculptures are featured in outdoor gardens.

Enjoy the pictures...

And what would a good visit be without bringing something homemade? My little three-year-old nephew wanted his own nap mat and cover just like his bigger brother will have at kindergarten, so, being the good auntie that I am, I obliged and made him something his little horse-loving-self would love...