Friday, February 26, 2010

Marla Taviano

Normally I don't use my blog platform to sing-and-dance about other blogs, but there are two blogs that I must share with you.

The first is Marla is a dear, dear friend, and she happens to be an author who is doing amazing things in the name of Jesus. She has a huge heart for ministering to women, and in addition to writing books, she speaks to groups of women about topics such as marriage, sex, and self-esteem. I want to highlight her blog because she is constantly giving her readers opportunities to buy her books (for pennies) in an effort to donate books and money to incredible causes such as missions in Cambodia and pregnancy help centers. Please consider Marla next time you need a book for a new bride or mom-to-be. You will not be disappointed.

The second blog that I want to highlight is I can't do this site justice, so I simply encourage you to check it out. In short, Marla (yes, the same Marla as above) is sharing a novel that she wrote, and she is doing so one post at a time (she just launched this site TODAY). But you can purchase the entire novel for a few bucks, and again, some of the money will go toward missions.

Marla is one of those women who doesn't make any moves until she receives direction from the Spirit. As you follow along on her blogs, you will find an honest and sincere woman who is making an impact during her time on this earth.

Marla and her girls with Baby Harper in August, 2009

Enjoy the blogs. You will be blessed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Over it?

I had my moment.

March, 2009

And now I'm over it.

At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm having a moment.

Maybe it's because he'll be two in just over a month. Maybe it's because he's beginning to use words like cartoon and potty. Or maybe it's because I'm fastly approaching the big 3-0 and the last three decades are flashing before my eyes.

But I'm having a moment.

A very tender WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY BOY moment.

So I have been spending night after night opening iPhoto and clicking through pictures. And clicking and clicking and choking up and clicking and tearing up and clicking and weeping all over my keyboard.

I hate that it's so flippin' cliche, but seriously, they grow up darn fast. If two years can fly by just like that then multiply that amount of time by eight and my baby is DRIVING. Don't tell me I'm overreacting. That's not helping me calm down.

Fine. Be that way.

Here. Here is my baby when he fit into outfits that covered him head-to-toe and were made of only one piece of fabric. Crap, now he picks out his own clothes (breathe, Ali, breathe).

And don't even get me started on my daughter. You might have to commit me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Handmade Invitations

A few months back, I had the privilege of making invitations for a dear friend's baby shower. The theme of the shower complimented her nursery, a theme that I would like to call, Classy Barnyard. Her nursery includes bedding, drapes, and decor featuring darling barnyard animals and fabrics in various colors of gingham. She doesn't know what she is having (a c-section is scheduled for early next week!) and her theme is perfect for a baby boy or baby girl.

For this project, I used red cardstock, yellow gingham paper, green gingham paper, red gingham ribbon, gluestick, tacky glue, scissors, and my cutting board.

Because I made 50 of these, I cut everything out ahead of time so that I could make an assembly line.
I cut 50 strips of ribbon that will later be tied into bows.

I cut out the red cardstock. This will be the bottom (or background) of the invitation.

I then cut out the green gingham paper. I cut this slightly smaller than the red so that when the green gingham is glued to the red cardstock, the red cardstock will border the green gingham.

I printed the invitation four times on the yellow gingham so that I could cut it four ways.

I then cut out the yellow gingham. Again, I cut the yellow gingham slightly smaller than the green gingham so that the green gingham borders the yellow gingham.

I lined up all the components of the invitation for the assembly line.

And then I found a little kid to help me bust through these.

We glued the yellow to the green and the green to the red.

He's one of those hardcore supervisor types.

But I will say, he's a gluestick pro.

He finally let me have a turn.

I then tied the ribbons into bows.

Simple and cute.

I cut the edges so that they're even.

And I used the tacky glue to tack on the bow.

And, voila!

A Classy Barnyard Baby Shower Invitation.

You could create this same effect with various colors/patterns/types of paper, etc.

Though cliche, the possibilities are endless (The little kid told me to type that. He's so bossy).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reflections of the way life used to be.

*Sidenote: I have strong audio memories of that song, Reflections. Seriously, I hear that song and I can see my parents watching China Beach while sitting on the couch. I couldn't tell you the first thing about the show, but I can hear the theme song playing in our living room on Strathburn Court.

Anywho, so I looked back at pictures of Mr. Henry from one year ago.

One year ago my son could frequently be found eating from the dog's bowl. It was a constant battle. The poor dog was often forced to eat outside because we didn't trust Henry around the dog food. I was constantly correcting Henry. Constantly removing him from the kitchen. Constantly barking at him, Stay away from the dog food.

And yet I look at those pictures and I miss it. I miss the dog food battle. I really do.

And this reflections of the way life used to be was exactly what I needed today. Last week was one of my hardest weeks as a mom. Two sick kids combined with a little boy who is testing my every last nerve. He is in the tantrum/meltdown stage. He breaks down constantly, for no good reason. All day long. I was exhausted and cranky. Scratch that. I was just plain ugly. Not to mention I'm honoring Lent for the first time in my life, and Satan has been attacking my home big time.

But I look at those pictures from a year ago, and I think, One day, I'm going to miss this current battle. I'm going to miss the tantrums. As crazy as that seems to me right now, I know that one day it will not be tantrums but something else weighing me down.

Lord, Please help me to embrace today. Now. This moment. With my precious babies. Thank you for giving me these beautiful blessings. And allow me to honor you even when I think, I just can't do this anymore. You and I both know that one day I'll be longing for an almost-two-year-old who throws himself on the floor and flails his body against the hardwood.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow never looked so good.

I look at these pictures and think, "I want to live in a snowy climate all year round."

I mean, seriously, he just makes snowy weather seem absolutely heavenly.

Granted I type this while sitting in my heated house on my cozy couch under a warm blanket.

Ask me tomorrow when I'm trying to scrape the ice off my car windows with two snot-nosed kids in tow nearly slipping on my butt as I attempt to get us all in the car.

What about you, how are you dealing with the snow?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Non-Maternal Instincts

I originally posted this in November, 2008. Though the post begins by addressing the holiday season, I thought it was the perfect post for this uneventful-week-in-February as both my children have RSV.

Blegh humbug.

Nonmaternal Instinct

Get out your kleenex (and if you're like me, it's probably tucked in your sleeve).

'Tis the season for over-liquoring the eggnog, singing nonsensical carols, making out underneath the mistletoe, sitting on old guys' laps in the middle of the mall, re-gifting bubble bath and perfume, and surviving the snottiest nose in the animal kingdom - my son's.

It seems that when any normal person catches a cold the worst of it is evidenced by a rudolph-colored sniffer, half-flaked away because it's been kleenexed raw. But when my son catches a cold, it appears as if Mount Vesuvius erupted all over his face.

It starts with his nose. His baby schnoz is filled with flourescent-colored boogies partially hanging out of his putrid-yellow encrusted nostrils. From there, two long streams of thick snot run from his nose onto his lip at just the right spot for a good lick-up (and lick-up he does - Eww!). Occasionally he rubs his nose causing the yellow, green and brown medley to be smeared across his upper lip and cheeks and chin. From afar he looks like he should be starring in a gruesome horror flick - Watch out for Baby Loogie and A Nightmare on Plegm Street.

And because the runny, snotty mess usually lasts an entire week (if we're lucky), his tiny button nose (now hidden beneath a week's worth of crusty phlegm) begins to collect dust, dirt, and other substances usually only found inside a vacuum bag. No joke - just yesterday I yanked a couple of dog hairs that were embedded in the snot scab attached to my son's snout.

And because our little germ magnet can't figure out how to make his coughing and hacking effective, nothing ever actually comes up. Rather he lives in a permanent state of raspy breathing making him sound like a mini Darth Vader.

And this all comes just months after all the pediatricians and specialists and researchers and media got together and banned the crap out of cold medicine of any sort for children big and small. So my dear little snot bucket is left to drown in his own goo. Poor kid. He's startin' to make the dog on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation seem healthy (coincidentally, I think that dog's name is Snots).

Dear God who so generously gave us each a sniffer for breathing and sniffing and picking,

Please give my son his health back (thus giving me my sanity back). He didn't do anything to deserve this. If anything, it was might fault. I probably didn't wash my hands enough or sanitize his toys enough or keep him living in a bubble long enough. My precious little baby simply wants to breath again without having to draw oxygen from the coral reef barrier surrounding his air passage.

And as you work on clearing up his itsy bitsy honker (How do you do it? A snot-sucking vacuum? A boogie-blowing power washer? I'd love to know your secret as my son's snotty nose is one for the record books), I'll finish another load of laundry full of clothes, both mine and his, that have fallen victim to my son's snot rockets when no kleenex was in reach (hence why I now always keep one tucked in my sleeve).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

25 years between them.

Sunday was my daughter's six month birthday.

And though she's been in my life for six whole months, I still can't believe she's mine.

In honor of her "birthday," my sister surprised Harper with a doll (thanks, MoMo). And not just any doll, a Rainbow Brite! Y'all, Rainbow Brite!

I have fond memories of my Rainbow Brite (specifically my colorform set). Though I remember a rounder, less-Barbie-like Rainbow Brite, I'm still filled with nostalgia as I look at this colorful, eclectic, and vibrant character.

And don't Harper & Rainbow Brite make cute friends? Can you believe there are 25 years between them? Rainbow Brite's got it goin' on.

What childhood character do you hope to share with your children?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aching for Mardi Gras

Three years ago I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was my fifth Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and I PRAY that it was not my last.

I love Mardi Gras in New Orleans. LOVE it. Everything about it.

I love the city. There is no place quite like New Orleans.

I love the anticipation of the next parade.

I love the white masks.

I love watching a less-than-sober individual stumble off a float in the hopes of finding a bathroom. Good luck with that.

I love scoring an enormous, light-up, colorful set of beads with a ten-pound medallion hanging from it. In any other setting, this would merely be plastic junk. But at Mardi Gras, the plastic-y-er, the better.

I love the lack of rules and inhibitions. It's nearly impossible to get arrested at Mardi Gras. I haven't tried, but I have SEEN IT ALL. And while I've witnessed some ridiculous debauchery, I've never seen anyone actually get arrested.

I love the casino buffet and bathrooms.

I love waking up to streets lined with broken beads, beer cans, and pop-up chairs. As crazy as this sounds, the trash-filled morning-after sights of Mardi Gras are part of its beautiful atmosphere.

I love beignets and cafe au lait. Heck, I love all the food.

I love watching small children perched atop a ladder in hopes of catching the best loot.

I love it all.

Here I am guarding our goods. Bags and bags and bags full of sacred beads and stuffed animals and cups and coins.

These are my people. Oh, how I miss these people. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Louisiana friends. This picture nearly brings me to tears, I miss them all so much.

This is B-Money (right) with a stranger. Best-friending all strangers is just a part of Mardi Gras. B-Money is brilliant at making new best friends.

One of the HUNDREDS of floats. "Throw me some beads, Mister!"

Don't ask me what is going on in this picture. It's Mardi Gras. Which means nothing makes sense. And I love it.

Honey, when can we go back? Let's take the kids next year, K?!

Mardi Gras, I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.

Let's meet again soon.