Thursday, August 27, 2009

small changes

I have been making some changes, and I have to say in less than week I am feeling so much better. First and foremost, I completely banned fast food. Within a short distance of my home, there is an Arbys, Braums, McDonalds, Burger King, Long John Silvers, Wendy's, and a Taco Bell. I may be forgetting one or two. Isn't that ridiculous? I'm a sucker for french fries and Burger King's hershey pie. I have been paying attention to portions. I have been cooking dinners. I have been snacking on fruit. When I was dying to have something sweet, I ate one reeses cup and gave the other to Brooklyn. They are rich and do the trick! I have been parking farther away, and taking long walks with Charlie. Today I walked over three miles, and I really enjoyed it. Charlie just loves riding along in the stroller. She just takes it all in. In the next few days I will be making an effort to drink more water, that isn't something I am very good at. 

Tonight I am signing Brooklyn up for girl scouts. I was a brownie for a while, and I loved it. She starts dance class next week and saturday soccer in September. The week starts filling up so quickly. I make sure and really talk to her about the things she is involved in. I want to make sure she really wants to try the activities. We are trying a more serious dance academy, (not a crazy serious) and I look forward to watching her learn. The girl just loves to move, and so does Charlie for that matter!

Our lives are filling up quickly, and I don't mind. I love taking Brooklyn to school every day and being there to pick her up. I love being available so that she can get involved. I love packing her lunch and those extra tight hugs goodbye in the morning. I love spending the day with Charlotte doing simple things like walking, going to the grocery store, picking up the kitchen, snuggling, dancing... these things make me so happy. Being a stay-at-home mom brings me joy. 

We are off to pick up my girlie...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

big town school, beginning of getting healthy

Brooklyn loves kindergarten, but we all knew she would. One thing I never thought about was all the one on one time I would have with Charlotte. It is really nice to spend time with just her. She has pretty much always had to share me with Brooklyn, and being with her reminds me a lot of the time I had when it was just Brooklie and I. 

I had always thought I would move to a smaller community before Brooklyn started Kindergarten. And in the way that most plans go, I didn't. But for a big town, I am loving her school! It is in a residential area, and you wouldn't even know it was there if you weren't in the neighborhood. It is an old little school, and it just has a special way of greeting you when you walk in the front doors. The classes are small, mostly neighborhood kids. (there are about 30 kindergarten kids total) There is school soccer, t-ball, basketball, skating parties, reading parties, etc. and I am so excited for the ways Brooklyn can get involved. She is signed up for soccer, so I am sure there will be some interesting pictures to post! Our big town school feels a lot like a small town school. I am thankful.

I also planned to lose weight this summer, and ironically I gained weight! I am not feeling very good about it. I am making changes and being realistic about what I need to do. So there might be some weight loss/learning to love exercise/learning to change my relationship with food posts. You girls don't mind, right? Today, I parked a few blocks away and we walked to school. Then I pushed Charlie in the stroller and walked for an hour just throughout the neighborhood. It is such a pretty neighborhood! Next time I will take pictures. I am certain you can always find God on an early morning walk. 

I will be journaling my food, in an effort to force myself to practice self-discipline and be more intentional about the way I feed my body. I look forward to creating some healthy recipes to share with y'all. I really do believe that being healthy can be fun. I am setting out to do just that!

(Now, do I dare share my actual weight with you all?)

I have some cleaning to do, so I'm off to put on a pot of coffee! (...while listening to the mix CD my new BFF made for me!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


My Dear Baby Girl,

Today was your first day of kindergarten. It took a while to get you out of bed. You wanted oatmeal for breakfast instead of bacon and eggs. You wore a purple shirt. Purple is currently your favorite color. I did your hair and you picked a yellow dragonfly barrette. You were very ready for your first day of school. We special ordered the backpack you picked, complete with your name embroidered on the front. You picked a disney princess lunchbox. Last night I made your lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cantaloupe from Aunt Martha's garden, dried apricots (you love these), grapes, juice, goldfish and oreos. Austin said it was enough lunch for two days. I wrote you a note on  your napkin. I hope somebody reads it for you.

I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. I still remember the day you were born and how wonderful it felt to finally hold you in my arms. You have always been a petite little thing, when you started walking you looked too tiny to be walking. You have, from the beginning, had the brightest smile. Your rich brown eyes have a sparkle, baby. I used to try and put your hair in piggies because I couldn't wait to do your hair. They would be nothing more then little pieces of hair, but you looked so cute!  You and I would snuggle every night from the time you were born until you were in your threes. You pretty much slept with me throughout that time. You loved gardening with me, and you really love painting. You love to be in the kitchen with me, and we wear aprons and I always find little jobs you can do. You are a great "stirrer" and microwave button pusher. These are all things I don't want to forget about your first five years. You love being girly, and you love being tough and getting dirty. I can barely keep you and Charlotte out of my make-up and jewelry, and out of the puddles and dirt. You were practically dancing from birth. I took you to dance classes at the YMCA when you were one, and you loved the music. We also took tumble tots, and you were so confident in what you were doing that people would ask what classes you had taken before. You later joined the dance academy at YMCA and then the MGM Studio of Dance. You love to dance, and it seems to come so naturally to you. I hope it stays with you.

Yesterday you got your kindergarten shots. You were AMAZING! You had to get three, and you didn't shed one tear! You just sat on my lap and held my hands. The nurses asked if you were nervous and you just said, "No, I'm happy!" and then followed instructions. You just closed your eyes and then it was over. The nurses were so impressed with you. You were all smiles and they gave you extra stickers. As we left, one of the nurses said, "You have such sweet kids," and she was right.

You are the best big sister. I can tell Charlie misses you today. She, your dad, Austin and I all took you to your first day this morning. We took lots of pictures. Your teacher is Mrs. A and she has a bird in class. You went strait to the bird. You love animals, well, all creatures really. (Ask me about the slugs sometime.) Your classroom has a loft playhouse with a little kitchen and I was wishing I could stay and play with you.

I didn't cry until I left your school. Austin took the morning off and we went to breakfast. He could tell I was having a hard time, and he offered the quiet reassurance I needed. My friends Emily and Melissa called to check on me. I know it will be alright. But I miss you. I am so glad that I stayed home with you as much as I could these first five years. I know that being at school is better for you, you are such a social butterfly and you just light up when you play with friends. You are learning so rapidly right now, I know that school will be challenging and fun for you. I am sad to say goodbye to these baby years. I am sad because I know from here on out, you will just grow on up. I wish I could always be with you, always be there to protect you and comfort you. I know it's time to let go some. Last night as I was tucking you in, I asked if I could just hug you for a while. You hugged me tightly. I started crying. I told you sometimes it's hard for mamas when their babies grow up. You wiped off my tears. You said, "Mom, all kids have to grow up," and then you said, "I just love you so much. You're my best Mama."

Austin said, "You'll always be her baby."

You said, "Yep!"

I asked you, "Will you still snuggle me when you grow up?"

"Of course, Mom!"

"You promise?" I asked...

"I promise! Even when I'm I teenager."

I hope so sunshine. I hope we snuggle for always. I love you so much. I am so very proud of you. You are so special and I love you past the moon. I couldn't possibly love you any more. You and your sister are my everything, and I thank God for you every single day. I can't wait to see what this kindergarten year holds. I know it will be and adventure!

Remember your manners, be nice to everyone, and always say your prayers. And no fart jokes!!!

I love you baby girl.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Slow Cooker Triberry Cobbler

Last night was Emily and Brian's engagement party! It was such a good evening, and it made me happy to see her so happy! There was a feast of food, (I am still dreaming about Emily's ham. It was ohmygraciousgood!) and I brought a cobbler as requested by the lovely couple.

Now, there are many variations on cobbler. I went with the old standby, Paula Deen. I modified her recipe a bit, and it was delicious. It didn't take long for it to disappear. The nice thing about this cobbler was that it was a slow cooker cobbler, which makes it ideal for keeping warm and potlucks.

Slow Cooker Triberry Cobbler

1 - 12 oz pkg. frozen blueberries
1 - 12 oz pkg. frozen raspberries
1 - 12 oz pkg. frozen blackberries
1 c  sugar
1/2 c  baking mix

2 1/4 c  baking mix
1/4 c  sugar
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 c  milk
2 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 c sugar

***Spray your crockpot generously with nonstick cooking spray. This is important.***
In a large mixing bowl, combine berries, sugar, and baking mix. Stir to coat the berries. (The baking mix acts as the thickening agent.) I used a cup of sugar and the recipe was still a bit tart, which is how I like it. Add more or less sugar to your preferred taste. (I didn't know, so I will just note that baking mix is found near the flour. I used Pioneer Brand buttermilk biscuit and baking mix. 
Dump your berry mixture in the crockpot.
Now, in a separate large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 c baking mix, 1/4 c sugar, the melted butter (just zap in the microwave for 33 sec.),  and the 1/2 c milk. You can stir with a spoon or combine with your hands until you get that lumpy doughy texture. Make sure everything is mixed together but don't over do it. Just drop clumps on top of the berries. Be sure your clumps aren't too thick. (If you have thick balls of dough in some places the topping won't cook evenly and you will wind up with some doughy parts when other parts are done. So just try to make the dropped topping a uniform thickness.) Next combine the 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 c sugar and let your daughter sprinkle it all over the topping. This is an important part.
Cook on high four 3-4 hours. 

Serve with your favorite vanilla icecream!

Really, this is a yummy *simple* cobbler and everyone loved it. I even had some recipe requests. Of course I referred them to Paula...

Two more days till Brooklyn starts Kindergarten. I am very very very sad.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Charlotte's room

Here was Charlie's changing table/dresser before:
dresser before

and after:


I wanted to take some pictures of her room because a big girl room is just around the corner. And also, I featured her room on the thrifted sisters blog.
That swivel glider/rocker has seen a lot of use. I would encourage any new mom to have one. 


Charlotte's nursery is almost completely second hand. I found her pottery barn kids crib with mattress at a garage sale for $100!

This is my favorite part of her room:

The little green sweater belonged to my dad when he was a baby. I think I might take Charlotte's pictures in that little yellow dress from the 1940's. 

Brooklyn starts kindergarten on Wednesday. I am sad.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

to share or not to share?

(source unknown)

I have been cleaning all day and doing laundry. I have TONS of clothes bagged for the garage sale. I am mostly getting rid of lots of baby/toddler clothes. It will be so good to be rid of stuff
Speaking of stuff, I am about due for an incredible find. I haven't found any wow items this summer. 
Lately I have been looking out for organizational items- unique containers and wire baskets. I am slowly gathering office organizer type things. Have you noticed how expensive things like this are at target? Its nuts! Like, tooth brush holders and soap dishes. $7.99 for a soap dish? Are you crazy?
So, I am back to an old dilemma. My house has three upstairs bedrooms and two downstairs. The girls and I each have our own rooms upstairs. One of the downstairs rooms is a playroom. The other is pretty shabby and I currently use it for storage. I need an office/creative room. I could put together something downstairs, but it wouldn't be closed off in any way and there would be very little natural light. I could use a smaller room upstairs, but it would mean the girls sharing a bedroom. Brooklyn is all about sharing with Charlotte, and I think it would be just fine. But it seems silly to live in a 5 bedroom home and have the girls share a room. I'm sure it builds character and sister bond... but geesh...
The plan, once I finish with organizing and cleaning upstairs, is to start on projects. Long overdue projects. But what do I do about a creative space?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Lately I have been feeling so lucky to have my mom. Our relationship is unique, genuine, and real. In high school I told her the truth about most everything. As a kid she would throw me on a horse to train it. When I got bucked off she would give me a minute and then tell me to get back on. If I didn't want to, she would make me. I may have been scared at the time, but I always felt proud of myself. And I wasn't afraid of much. I remember her telling me many times to be nice to everyone and that I should be a friend to everyone. When I would bring home a report card with all A's and B, I remember she would grill me about my B. She wanted to know why I didn't have an A. I would feel so mad at her, but now I get it. She knew my potential. She was challenging me. I have since learned that number one most powerful thing in parenting is expectations. My mom and I knew how to forgive each other. We knew how to say sorry. We still do.

My mom is my best friend in a way that I don't quite know how to describe. She gets me. And I know so many daughters who can't stand their moms, who would rather live states apart, who hide who they really are from them. I'm just feeling lucky. I like that I feel safe to be me with my mom. I like who she is, apart from just my mom. My mom's support and encouragement have brought me here, to this place I am in today. I am thankful.

Now if it were up to me, I would totally live next door to my mom! Sadly, she will be retiring soon enough to the next state over. I don't know what I will do then...

One of my fondest memories with my mom is when she took me on a trip to New York City. Trips to major cities were nothing new for us, as I had been on several business trips with her. But this trip was different. No work. Just us. And at Christmas time, when NYC becomes something greater than itself. We walked everywhere. We stuck out like sore thumbs, two country girls taking on the big city. The women there were so trendy, so hip. I was much more a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. And even in that beautiful, grand city, it almost felt like it was just my mom and I. For a few days, New York City belonged to us. We played in the make-up in Sephora. We stood in amazement before the store windows. We fell in love met an Irish boy on a carriage ride through Central Park who made me laugh so much my cheeks hurt. We took our time through the American Girl store and FAO Shwartz and wished that we could bring it all back for Brooklyn and Nicco. We drank hot chocolate on a ferry ride that was almost cold, and plotted to hook the tour guide up with my Grammy. The tree at the plaza wasn't as big as we thought it looked on television. The ice skating rink with its Christmasy skaters was like a dream. Times square was awesome and overwhelming. We saw Phantom of the Opera and it was beautiful. The stores were incredible at Christmas time but we spent hardly any money shopping. We ate great food. We laughed a lot. We stayed up way too late talking. I soaked up as much of my mom as I possibly could. I loved that she was stuck on a plane with me, both on our way and coming home. And when it came time to say goodbye, I cried. I cried and cried. It would be so wonderful to have memories bottled, like on Harry Potter. Just poor them out and relive them again...

My mom and I love New York City, which is kinda funny to me. I mean, what's not to love? But given that we both love trees and grass and country open spaces... I find it funny that when we both fantasize about our next trip we always talk of going back to New York. I'm thinking we will go back- hopefully many times, and with my girls along. New York belongs to my mom and I. It is our city. In New York, we are two in millions. We are swimming in a sea of people with nothing to do except take it all in. I will be forever grateful to New York City.

I am hoping we might get to go this fall. We have been in winter and spring. Oh, can you imagine Central park in fall? We both have some flight credit to use up... And I will have a little bit of money. I would love to treat her to a trip! 
(Now this is top secret- but I have been taking notes from blog friends of all the best places to go in NYC from food to shopping to flea markets...)

I am very very lucky indeed. Maybe blessed is more like it. 

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This is the first weekend that I have ever let Austin take Charlotte all weekend.  Brooklyn stays with Brandon every other weekend, and I thought I would get a routine going for them both. But Charlie is my baby. And I remember it being hard with Brooklyn. Yesterday, I felt refreshed and renewed... I had coffee with Vanessa and we talked from 9 -1 pm! I completely enjoyed every minute, and I was so glad that I could do it without my kids. It was so nice to shut off mom mode, and just be

By the evening, I missed Charlotte terribly. I went to a concert of a band that I love to see play. But I felt homesick for Charlotte and I didn't really want to be there. There I was, in my fabulous thrifted dress and cowgirl boots, perfect make-up, curly hair, and in the company of best friends, and I didn't want to be there! What was wrong with me? A night out with girlfriends and I want to go get my baby and go home?

I love being home with my girls. And sometimes it just takes a weekend apart to appreciate it all the more. One of my most favorite things of all, is peeking in their rooms at night and seeing them fast asleep and then crawling into my own soft warm bed... propping up the pillows, reading by my lamp light, with a cold diet pepsi or a hot coffee on my nightstand. The house is quiet. My quilt is perfect. I am alone and I love it. I spend time with God until my eyes get heavy. There isn't anything better than knowing your babies are safe and fast asleep just a few steps down the hall. In the moments of quiet I have snuggled in my bed, I absolutely love that I am not married. I love that time I have alone with God. I love taking up the whole bed while I sleep. But most of all, I love that I am learning to love exactly where I am in my life. (Years ago nights were when I felt the loneliest.)

Now, I have a whole slew of things that it would be great to have a husband for... that's another post.

We have kindergarten shots tomorrow. (And Charlotte is getting some too.) I am not looking forward to it. I have been telling Brooklyn that it hurts, but only for a minute. I told her if she could be brave that we would go pick out a toy. Stinkin kindergarten shots. Yuck!

I can't wait for my girls to come home.

Friday, August 7, 2009

neither here nor there

This post will be rather random, but you all don't mind right? First off, do I not have the prettiest little girl? She is so beautiful... but I might be a little biased. This picture is fairly old, but she looks so grown up! She is such a perfect mix of her dad and I. She is soft hearted and compassionate and lovey like me. She is comfortable being the center of attention- like her dad. She isn't stubborn like me. She loves animals more than anything else, except her sister. She is equal parts tomboy and girlie girl. She is silly and goofy like Austin- those two are peas in a pod. They went on a date yesterday to dinner and a movie. She left my little lady and came home a raging goof ball, too giggly for sleep. Before her date, she walked up to me (I told her she could pick out her outfit...)
(Brooklyn walks up in a fluttery shirt and too short jeans, with little high heeled sandals. Her eyes have eyeshadow, her lips glossed, and I can smell her perfume before she even enters the room...)
So mom, how do I look?
You look very pretty! (I open my mouth to tell her that she should probably wear different shoes, and wipe off her make-up... she interrupts-)
Mom, Don't ruin it! Okay?
(I smile) Okay. You look perfect!
She says she needs some jewelry, so I fix her up. Austin arrives. He tells her she is beautiful and I can see in her face that she believes him. When she comes home she asks me when she can go on a real date... 
Not for a very very very very long time.
When I am a teenager?
Aww, come on mama...
She laughs at me. I don't even want to think about it! You have read it here before, but I am preparing myself now for my daughters to hate me from years 13-18. I'm okay with it. Chances are, I will let her date when she is a teenager. (At LEAST 16...) But for now, I like Austin dates. He opens all her doors and tells her that on dates boys should always open doors, and use good manners and put their napkins in their laps and pay for things. He lets her order whatever she wants, so her dinner on Thurs. consisted of pancakes and popcorn and soda. I don't mind. I am thankful for Brandon (Brooklyn's dad) and Austin and the roles they play in her life. They both love her to pieces and treat her like a princess. It really is pretty special.

I have decorating on the brain. I didn't accomplish near enough this summer. The above picture is from la madone. I hope you all have found this blog. It is one of my favorites and its as close to Europe as I will get... for a while anyway. Isn't this room lovely?

I think I might name my home, as so many bloggers have. It is very special and deserves a special title. I will have to think on it for a spell.

I am meeting a new friend for coffee in the morning, and I am excited! Her name is Vanessa and I have a feeling we'll have lots to talk about. I am learning more and more, that I need women in my life. Especially women who share my faith. So I have been fishing for friends. Sounds silly, but you just have to put yourself out there! (For some reason I have a hard time establishing intimate relationships with women, which is something I want to change.)

Oh, and I have bangs now. I'm still getting used to them. We'll see...

love and peace

Thursday, August 6, 2009

beautiful boys

I thought I would share a few favorites from my last photo session. Aren't these boys the cutest? I'm a sucker for cheeky smiles of two teeth and hawks on little boys, so these two pretty much melted my heart...




I have been working on my website when I find time. It has been a little crazy lately! Brooklyn is officially enrolled for kindergarten... (tears) I think I have my next semester squared away. I have more bills then I can pay. My car keeps dying on me. My phone works half the time. My house is still messy, but not as messy as it was. My mom and grandma have been helping me chase this silly photography dream, and I am grateful. Money is so tight right now, I can't decide if I want to head full force into a photography business, just having faith that it will provide- or if I want to find a job. Either way, I have to do something. And honestly I am afraid of failing. 

And you know, more than this is a "fear" thing, it's a trust thing. Do I jump in fully expecting that God will provide? Do I believe that God really has given me a gift? Do I feel confident that what I have to offer can hang with the overly saturated market I'm in? Nope. The thoughts fall more along these lines: 
Why would this work out for me? It seems too good to be true...
What if I am mediocre? What if people see my website and my portfolio and think its"okay"?
What if people think my prices are too high? or too low to take me seriously?
What if I have invested all this money for nothing?

and then there is that much more quiet voice that politely waits its turn...

What if you are great?
What if you get to do something you love for a living?
What if your work makes a difference?
What if you get to travel and take pictures?
What if this is the beginning of a dream come true?

So I pray. Alright God... is this back to the trust thing?

I did not create you to have a spirit of fear...
All things are possible through Christ who strengthens you...
The plans I have for you are for good...
Be still, Child, and know that I am God...
Trust in me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...
Have I not always provided for you?
Love me, believe in me, TRUST me...

Thank goodness His voice is the loudest!

There are so many exciting things I can't wait to share with you all...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

beautiful day

This morning we headed to market.
on our way to market

farmers market
Where we bought a Kansas grown peach...

Kansas grown Peaches

and made friends with Lady...
making friends

and a baby bunny that was surely worth more than $10!
baby bunny

We also took time to smell the flowers...
farmers market flowers

and dance to music.

and admire jewelry...

and a pretty orange bicycle...
bike envy

and a beautiful statue.
I feel ya sister

We bought treats for Winston.
dog treats

And fell on the brick road, left with a goose egg and no choice but to eat the peach.
Kansas grown peaches are magical, I should tell you.
goose egg and a peach!

We stopped in at Nanny's Niche. Oh the goodness we found...

nanny's niche
We decided to wait for the Q, and I noticed Brooklyn's shoes were on the wrong feet...
waiting on the Q, shoe's on the wrong feet

and Charlie's were too small.
its a good thing there's holes in her sandals!

There's our ride!!!
there's our ride!
The best view of downtown Wichita is from a trolley.
trolley ride
We waved at our home away from home... The Value Center!
(where that pretty little linen dress with purple roses came from...$2.98!)
Value Center! WOOP WOOP!!

We stopped by my favorite Saturday shopping spot. Klassic Line Vintage...
I fell in love with the dress in the window. And it was my size. And the perfect shade of green.
And $69.
I was sad to leave it there, but there are little shoes to be bought... and diapers and such.
I need this vintage dress!

Vintage hats make me happy.
lovely hats

Vintage jewels make me happy too.
vintage jewel perfection
Turn-of-the-century dresses make me happier still. 
(I really need that blue one. They do have lay-away. :o)

turn of the century vintage- i'll take all of them!

Surely there must be a place like this in heaven...
klassic line vintage

and warm peach cobbler with icecream. There must be cobbler parfaits in heaven.
peach cobbler parfait

Today, I went looking for joy and I found it.


And it doesn't get much better than this.