Friday, February 27, 2009

the big "d" (warning: ginormous post)

Every year, the church pays for David to go to a conference. This year, he chose a leadership conference at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX and Avery, Charlie, and I tagged along.

During the first few days of our trip, David went to the conference while I stayed at the hotel with Avery and Charlie.

I have to tell you, after a few hours of being cooped up in a room with a newborn and a 2 year old, I felt like a prisoner. In a really pretty prison. With soft bedding. And a maid. But prison none-the-less. The warden was a beast.

You may be thinking that I'm being a tad dramatic, but try listening to a two-year-old beg to eat the $12 Snickers in the mini bar for 3 hours at a time and tell me how dramatic I'm being then.

The combination of limited space and stir-craziness definitely inspired some creative playtime:

Thankfully, the "Beautiful Prison" included Room Service. For only one meeellion dollars, you too can have 4 pancakes and a container of yogurt.

Not just any kind of yogurt, but Activia yogurt. You know, the kind that "aids digestion". Digestion-aiding yogurt wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the fact that Avery's been wearing the last of the Dave Ramsey Diapers. Can we say, "impending catastrophe"?

On the last day of David's conference, we joined him to hear T.D. Jakes speak.

Avery was pretty pumped about going to the childcare room. Perhaps it's because the Kid's area at Fellowship looks like Disney World. For real.

The 4,000 seat sanctuary was totally packed, but guess who and ended up being our (totally adorable) ticket out of the dreaded "overflow room"? At a church like Fellowship, hanging out in the "Cry Room" was a little like having box seats to a basketball game. Not too shabby.

My Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and grandmother live in Dallas, so while we were in the area, we were able to spend some much needed catch-up time with them.

my Aunt Elaine

my cousin Erin, her baby Duke, and my other cousin Billy

Avery and my uncle - I love this picture of them. He's a big, tough, retired Marine Captain guy being a total goof-ball with my 2 year old. It makes me smile.

Mimi and Charlie

Avery loved seeing her "mimi" and totally fell in love with my cousin Billy. At one point she said, "Mommy. I like Billy. He's my favorite. He loves me.". So cute.

Just look at how TALL he is! Wowza! I felt like a midget little person.
Turns out everything really IS bigger in Texas. ;-)

While we were at my grandmother's house, I took a picture of Avery sitting on the "Green Stool". The "Green Stool" is the place that I watched my grandmother make every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner I can remember. I just love that Avery was able to sit on it while Mimi made a snack for her. It was a really special moment.

As an added bonus, we were able to spend time with my sweet friend Colin and her family while we were in Texas. I haven't seen Colin in over 7 years. That's right - 7 years. I can't even tell you how special it was to finally see her again. I love, love, love her.

Avery thought Colin's son Tyler was so cool. Colin's kiddos are TOO cute.

I just have to tell you how sweet my husband is. He totally went with Colin and the kiddos and I to The American Girl Store and Cafe. He let Colin and I "ooh and aah" over all the crazy-cute, sweetness and didn't complain once. He definitely scored some points for that.

Avery did some "oohing and ahhing" herself. I caught her looking at a book and saying, "I want..."

It seriously has to be some kind of terrible sin to leave The American Girl store empty handed, but that's what Colin and I did. Dave Ramsey would be proud.

Before we left, we stopped to take a picture there - if you look really closely, you will notice a little pair of shoes poking out between Colin and Avery. That's Tyler. He wasn't so much in the mood for a picture. He was a little trooper at the store, but I'm thinking that asking him to document the humiliation with a picture was more than he could take!

We had such a fun week in Dallas! If it weren't for the never-ending car ride from Hades, our weekend would have been perfect.

I won't go into details - but there was vomit involved.
Nuff said.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

David and his little Doppleganger (I told you I'd find a way to use that word).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

drama, drama, drama

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I'm seriously addicted to a certain soap opera (notice that I said only slightly).

I've been watching it since David and I moved back to our hometown 2 years ago. When we first moved back, we had a house in Ohio that we needed to sell. While waiting to decide whether we should sell it or rent it out, we lived with my mother-in-law.

That's when I got hooked. and I mean hooked.

I realize that my show is a little silly and TOTALLY unrealistic, but I watch it anyway.
Every. Day.

Don't anybody interrupt me while my "story" is on . Someone WILL get hurt.

I find it to be the perfect show to craft to. You don't have to be a genius to understand the plot (after I watch LOST, I feel like my brain could possibly explode). In fact, you don't even have to listen the whole time to keep up. It's perfect for the sleep-deprived multi-tasker.

The other day, while I was drying my hair (when ALL good ideas seem to come to me), I started thinking about all of the re-occurring themes of my show -and just for kicks, did a little number crunching.

You may be TOTALLY bored by this.
You probably ARE bored by this.
I, however, think it's fascinating and I can think of at least 2 people who will agree with me.
You know who you are.

This is what is what I came up with:

Deaths - 7
People are dying like CRAZY on this show. Not regular, old-age deaths, but crazy, horrible deaths: Sudden, dramatic, plot-twisting deaths.

You don't want to live in this town, people. Not at all.

Living in this town means you are likely to do something like fall off a cliff, become trapped in a collapsed building, imprisoned by your evil twin, or FROZEN IN A LAKE.

Births - 2
One baby was born to a woman in A COMA and one without an epidural in a LOG CABIN.

Did I mention that the second baby was born without an epidural?

Just before I started watching this show, another baby was born in an elevator.
I'm guessing no epidural there either.
The writers MUST be men.

Children who miraculously turned into teenagers overnight - 3

"Hi, welcome back from your super-long trip/ two-month long summer camp/ boarding school. You grew SO much while you were gone!"

Crazed psychos - 2
I know.
Just 2.
That one surprised me.

People who've had amnesia or memory loss - 3
Conveniently, all amnesia victims were restored to their original fabulousness after a few short weeks.

Dopplegangers - 3 (!)

Times I thought that I would have said the word "doppleganger" before 2 years ago - 0

My friends think that I made up the word "doppleganger". I didn't. It's a for-real word. It means "evil twin" or something...
Don't you just love it?

It may be tricky to find creative ways of incorporating it into my everyday life, but I plan on using it at least once a week from now on.

People who came back from the dead or returned from the grave in some way - 4
Yep. FOUR.
Most of these were people who appeared as visions or something random like that (Another very important reason why living in this town isn't such a good idea).

People hospitalized - 7+
Danger. Lots of danger. Grand-Scale danger.
Danger like fires, car crashes, falling off ladders, drunken driving, falling through frozen lakes, airplane crashes, pieces of large buildings landing on heads, facial burns from poison-laced facial creams, and so on...

Times one of the main characters was jailed - 7
People on my soap spend a lot of time in jail, but never seem to fill out their entire sentence. Hmmm.


When I was a little girl, soap operas were just about the dirtiest thing on T.V. Admitting that you watched a soap meant that you were guaranteed to receive more than one very disapproving look.

My addiction may cause some to think that I'm at best a little "spiritually delayed", but the way I see it - these days, soaps are way more tame than what you can see on a typical night of regular television. That being said, I still don't think I'm brave enough to call up my second grade sunday school teacher to tell her the news.

Nope. Definitely not that brave.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

she's just not that into you

Dear Dave,
I'm not sure that things are working out for us.

It's not you.
It's me.

Wait a second...Maybe it IS you.

Lately, It seems like I'm the one doing all the sacrificing while you're doing all the bossing around.
The relationship feels a little one-sided.

Since we've met, I find myself doing things I've never done before. I barely recognize myself.

The old me would never do things like this:

And spend hours reading blogs like these:

Deal Seeking Mom
(Who knew there were whole segments of people who LIVE to cut coupons? I'm speechless.)

I even switched to Cheap-o diapers. All for you.
Which makes THIS all your fault:

Where are YOU when it's time to change the diapers?
Sitting in your multi-million dollar house, no doubt.
Sitting in your multi-million dollar house, smoking Cuban cigars.
Sitting in your multi-million dollar house, smoking Cubans in a a leather swivel chair, behind a large desk.
Sitting in your multi-million dollar house, smoking Cubans in a leather swivel chair, behind a large desk, while stroking a white Persian cat and laughing maniacally.


Anyway - My couch still smells like pee.
Now I have to haul out the one-million-pound steam cleaner to de-funk it.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Lesson Learned: It's not really a bargain if you have to use TWICE the number cheap-o diapers to prevent leakage.

And ANOTHER thing, I don't know if I can ever forgive you for bringing this EVIL contraption into my life:

You can't fool me: It's just a fancy way to disguise the shackles of the "envelope system".

ALL of my "Blow Money" is gone. It's not even half-way through the month yet. I'm not really sure how that's your fault, but I'm going to go ahead and blame you for that too.

It's all been tough, but the biggest blow was definitely The Great Credit Card Massacre.
It was an event that still haunts my dreams.

Here's the deal: I'm willing to give you another shot because you make my husband a very happy man.

You've wooed him with your smooth talk of "spreadsheets" and "retirement plans", "savings accounts" and "budgets".
Before I knew what was happening, I was watching my husband drink the paid-for-in-cash-with-money-from-a-neatly-stored-envelope-kool-aid and there was NOTHING I could do to stop him.

You're a slick one, Dave. Very slick.

I'll stick with you for my David's sake, but I have to tell you:You're seriously getting on my nerves.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

a few more valentine's day goodies

I made these bird magnets for Avery's preschool teachers. I TOTALLY copied them from Glitter and Bliss. They were so fun to make.
I found this great Ebay store with every kind of wooden cut out imaginable. It's insane. I got a dozen birds for just a few dollars. They make great little "happies" to give away!

Nothin' new here either: these $1 Spot Target Mailboxes are all over Bloggy Land. I'm going to use them for Avery and Charlie's Valentine's Day goodies.

Cupid came from Hobby Lobby. I papered and fancied him up a bit.

The "X and O" and "Love" are from a Making Memories chipboard kit that my friend Maribeth graciously donated it to me. The XO was stacked like the "Love", but I decided that it would make a nice banner instead, so I performed a little surgery with the exacto knife. If you look closely at the paper on the "love" sign, you'll notice that the paper is the sweetest little vintage valentine theme.

I'm done!
Now - on to Easter!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

hair today, gone tomorrow.

I waited for a year for Avery's beautiful hair to fill in.
Once it did, I was thrilled to discover curls. Sweet little ringlets.
They were to die for.

Notice that I said "were" in PAST tense.

Avery has two very significant coping mechanisms:
One of them is sucking her thumb.
The other is twirling her hair.

This summer, Avery started twirling her hair with more frequency and greater intensity.
She twirled her hair so tightly, that knots formed where her beautiful ringlets were.
Horrible knots.
HUGE knots.
Sticky, toddler-crust-coated knots.
LOTS of knots.

I tried many, many tactics to keep her curls from knotting up: sprays, conditioners, shampoos, brushes - you name it.
Nothing worked.
The twirling continued and I spent many, many hours picking the evil knots out of her hair.

Despite my best efforts, the scissors were used MORE THAN ONCE on her beautiful, beautiful curls.

The scissors got rid of the knots...AND the curls.

I had to chop away so much of her hair that I finally took her to my hair stylist to see if she would trim it keep the dreaded MULLET from forming.

I spent the 80's sporting a mullet.
I can't pass that humiliation on to the next generation.
It just ain't right.

The thing is, Avery's not picky about the hair she twirls. Any hair will do.

Even Charlie has fallen victim to Avery's habit.
It's out of control.

Over the last couple of weeks, David and I have been trying our hardest to re-train her not to twirl her hair.
We remind her no less than 20 times a day (and NO that's not an exaggeration, kris, maribeth, and jennifer).
When she's with us, she does a great job keeping her hair "knot free".
When she's in her bed, however, this is what happens:

Darn it.

As a last ditch effort to save the curls Avery has left, I've decided to call for reinforcements:

Dora's definitely taking one for the team. God bless her.

I gotta tell you - I thought introducing Dora was a genius idea.
Sadly, it seems that Dora is a poor substitute for Avery's own curls.
She'll twirl Dora's hair, but not with the same intensity or excitement that she twirls her own.

Pray for me, my sisters and brothers.
I need it.
This is going to be a long process.

Evidently, vanity won't kick in for a couple more years...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

letter to 20 year old me

Dear Jennifer,
It's me. Your 31 (almost 32) year-old counterpart.
The wife.
The mom.
The teacher.

Yep, Teacher.
Don't waist your time switching majors. It won't be worth it. IN FACT, if you switch majors now, you will have to take a STUPID Intro to Theatre class that you will get a "C" in for nada.

While I'm dishing out the advice, here are some more helpful hints for you:

1. I know you've had your heart broken recently. I know it hurts. I know it hurts so bad you think you'll never get over it. But you will.

2. Know that You DON'T have impossibly high standards for a guy. One day you'll meet someone who meets every one of them. Seriously. Even the the little details that you didn't think you'd find in someone. It's pretty cool.

3. If a cop asks you out on a date, don't reschedule or try to get out of it. You'll like him.

4. Study. Study. Study.
Please study. I know it's hard to concentrate right now, but if you stop obsessing over boys, you'll be able to do it.

5. Graduate as soon as you can. You are going to LOVE teaching and wish that you had more time to do it. In fact, go ahead and start working on your Masters while your parents are still footing the bill. Student Loans stink.

6. In a few years, you won't remember the names of half of the people you went to college with partied with. It's crazy... Like they never existed. What you WILL need is a degree. Put down the beer and head over to the library. NOW.

7. Put down the tweezers too. Eyebrows are a good thing.

8. Save your money. As much as you can.

9. Pay cash upfront for your car so you can save your money for other things... things like pretty flowers for your wedding. If you don't, you'll have to go with a cheap-o florist and be really sad. Really sad.

10. Certain people will try to tell you that pink isn't an acceptable bridesmaid gown color. Don't listen. Have that pink wedding.

11. "The Rachel" won't always be a cute hairstyle and "Friends" will come to an end. You will go on with life. The world won't implode.

12. Spend all the time you can with your grandparents. Ask your grandmother to teach you how to make those cute little booties she knits.

13. You may think that you look cute in that little black skirt you have in your closet...and you do. But it's TOO SHORT. Don't wear it to church, Genius. In fact, don't wear it at all.

One more thing... It's a biggie.
You won't have a baby until you're 29. It sounds old, huh? It's NOT. The thing is, getting pregnant won't be easy for you. It will seem like everyone in the world is having a baby before you do. It will seem unfair. Especially when your younger sister has three babies before you have your first. It will be really hard and you'll cry a lot. Just remember that God's timing is perfect. He knows the desires of your heart. Keep trusting His goodness. It's worth the wait.

Remember that God's grace is bigger than any mistake you've made in your past. Let go of those feelings of guilt. They aren't from Him. It takes us a long time to learn that lesson. Years. Save us the tears and start letting those guilty feelings go now. You are loved.
You are treasured.
You are a child of God.
Nothing you can do will make Him love you more.
Nothing you can do will make Him love you less.

Keep it real, girl!

*want to read more letters? go to Beth's blog: Not a Bow in Sight and join in the fun!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

great attitude award

Misty from All Because I Fell in Love gave me this award:

The Great Attitude/Spirit of Gratitude Award

Now it's my turn to pass it along!


Here are the guidelines...

Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE!
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

kerry@colored with memories
emily@ the two girlies
jen @ cannot make this stuff up
maribeth @ pigtails and pjs
sonya @ balentine bliss
colin@smith family scoop
ashley@the world of adam
jodie @ the perkins girls
jackie@our moments, our memories
ari@ life of matt and ari
wendi@everyday miracles
Sarah@Tales from Oakbriar Farm

I love you, girls!

Friday, February 6, 2009

oh, honestly!

Kerry from Colored with Memories gave me this LOVELY award.

I like it.
If there's one thing I'd like to believe that I am, it's honest.
Sometimes, (wait - make that MANY times) too honest.
And as long as I'm being totally honest, what I call "honesty" is nothing but plain 'ol foot-in-mouth disease.

Is it bad when more than one of your friends compares you to this girl?


So as recipient of this award, I'm supposed to list 10 honest things about myself. After that, I'll pass the award on to 5 bloggers I deem deserving of the coveted Honest Scrap award.

Here goes:
1. I hate mornings. Must kill mornings.

2. My first Cabbage Patch doll was named Aretha. I don't remember her middle name... It was probably something completely strange and random like Valencia. Anyway - I renamed her Cynthia. I thought "Cynthia" was the most perfect name in the world. Cynthia Valencia...It has a nice ring to it, don't 'cha think?

3. Doing laundry makes me physically ill.

4. My husband and i have been on staff at 3 church plants. Our current Church Home is NOT a church plant. We've been there 2 years now and just LOVE it. It's the first non-church plant that we've ever been a part of. It's kind of nice to not have to fold up chairs at the end of every service, raise financial support, or go door-to-door with flyers. Church planting is a LOT of work. We'd do it again if God wanted us to, but we are enjoying the break!

5. I hate English Peas. Yuck. Barf. Gross. Nasty.

6. I have a serious aversion to listening to voice mail. If you leave me a voice mail, you can pretty much count on not getting a phone call back. It really stresses me out to see that little envelope pop up on my phone. There's probably some emotionally gut-wrenching, deep-seated psychological reason for it. I can't afford a Psychoanalyist visit because DAVE RAMSEY IS THE DEVIL, so I guess we'll never know why I do it. I'll respond to a text all day long, but only listen to my voicemail like 2ce a month.

7. I'm the oldest of 5 kids and am 14 years older than my youngest sister. She's graduating from High School this year. It makes me feel really old. When I'm around her, I trick myself into thinking that I'm 18 again. A really dorky 18-year-old. With 2 kids. And a mortgage.

8. I have never balanced my checkbook. Ever. Dave Ramsey would come over to my house just to slap me if he heard that. Because he's mean. Did I mention that he is THE DEVIL?

9. I buy trunk show clothing for my kids and Target clothes for myself. I kill myself scraping money together to do it, but it's kind of my hobby... a very expensive hobby.

10. I drink wayyy too much Diet Coke. Especially Diet Cokes from Sonic.

I read lots of different kinds of blogs.
There are my real-life friend's blogs, randomly discovered mommy blogs, craft blogs, home decorating blogs, preschool craft blogs, and shopping blogs on my google reader.

Aside from my real-life friend's blogs, my favorite blogs to read are blogs of people I've never met in real life, yet feel connected to because of the similarities that our lives have. Especially those whose husbands are in ministry like mine.

They make me laugh, they inspire me, they encourage me, and they help me keep on truckin' through life in church ministry. Thank you, ladies, for keeping it real: for not being afraid to be who God created you to be. For not conforming to unrealistic standards. For being HONEST.

So - here's an award for my special sisters who are living honestly in the middle of "battlefield church":
rachel @ in his hands: our adoption journey
cassandra@ tripping around the sun
sarah@ life in the parsonage
misty@all because i fell in love

Thursday, February 5, 2009

valentine decor

I'm so excited about my latest vintage finds! I recently bought a few vintage Valentines on Ebay and then a few more at a local antique store.

As I opened one of the valentine cards I purchased, I discovered an adorable little handmade/handwritten card tucked inside the package.It says:

Birds and Flowers all agree
that you are just the one for me

I love that the valentines are addressed to and from girls named "Pauline", "Doris", and "Eunice".

Can't you just see them now? Sweet little girls in their bobby socks and saddle oxfords choosing just the right card for their BFF? Oh...

While I was at the Antique store searching for Valentine cards, I found some great old skeleton keys to use with my decoupaged/papered hearts. I'm obsessed with vintage keys these days. I especially love the ones with rusty, old patina to them.

Looking at those keys makes me wonder who owned them and the doors they opened...Once upon a time...

There's something so romantic and interesting about Vintage things, don't you think?

Don't you just loooove Valentine's Day?
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