Wednesday, June 27, 2012

a mist

There are times where I feel things around me much heavier than normal. I've talked about this before. And how I sometimes wonder if maybe it's 'too much.' Like I should be able to go on with life and my search of finding the right nail polish that doesn't chip in 2 days,and let that be my biggest issue. I should just let the heavier things get pushed aside. I should just not be so serious and deep about things. I should just ignore these deeper things that start stirring in me. Because no one else will understand. No one else with get it.

That's where my thoughts go sometimes. And so I become really quiet. I sort of retract in a way, because there is so much going on in my heart and my mind and I don't know how to express it or let it out. So I don't.

I scroll through instagram and twitter and down the line of my google reader. I skim through posts about outfits and crafts and DIY's. I ignore the stirring. The pushing. The heavy. I turn on the tv and sit through an hour of sister wives, completely confused and totally wondering how one wife wouldn't want to punch the other in the face.

I try to ignore. Because everyone else seems to be. Everyone else seems to live this life that is so carefree and easy. And I should be able to too.

But the only problem is. I can't.

I think life can be really light and easy at times. And I am all about the super light and easy.

But I can't ignore the heavier things either. The way my heart hurts when I hear someone has lost a baby. Or the realty that hits when someone passes away in a car accident suddenly. Those things hit me and they stay with me.

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

I keep thinking about how fragile life is. How if we could grasp just how fragile it is, we would live it so very differently. I have felt so overwhelmed by this thought lately that I didn't know what to do with it all. I literally just wanted to curl up on my sofa and watch episodes of the Kardashians and pretend that that is what life is really like.

But it's not.
There is so much we can be doing. So much hurt we can help heal. So much love we can offer. Compassion to lend and hope to tell about.

I guess I'm just feeling it all so heavy right now, and I just don't have the energy to write about anything else. I hope you will forgive me.

And if you run into me at Target standing in front of the Essie nail polish display wondering if I should go with light pink, or a lighter pink, feel free to give me your suggestion, but also don't be afraid to talk to me about what is really on your heart. Those things deep inside that you think no one else will understand. Because I will. And I hope you will do the same for me here too

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday


"The human tendency to regret yesterday and reach for tomorrow is alarming when considering all that God has planned for today."
Judah Smith


bits of splendor monday




I loved reading through your posts from last week...
I am trying these cookies out asap,
want to steal these girls for an afternoon, to play with mine. 
Was totally impressed and inspired by how Mary celebrated her husband on Fathers Day
and really loved this post about choosing joy.

How did you find a bit of splendor this week? 
Grab a button, link it up and share!

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Sidenote: I try to respond to every comment you sweet people leave me! Make sure your profile is linked up to your email or leave me your email address in the comment.  I also respond in the comment thread sometimes, so check back there too!





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Giving it up

We got hit with the sickies these last couple of days. Fortunately it came and left pretty quick, but when it came it wasn't fun.
It was hard as a mom to see it hit each kid right after the other. Mia woke up 2 days ago with it {vomiting and low fever} She slept a lot and woke up yesterday 100% better.
Then Bella got hit with it late yesterday morning. She slept it off and woke up yesterday evening 100% better. Then Asher started complaining of a stomach ache and got hit with it yesterday evening.

It really did happen just like that. One right after the other in the matter of 2 days.
And then, just as we got Asher feeling better. It hit me. Hard. I was in bed from about 6pm yesterday to this morning. I remember thinking that I didn't have time to be sick...isn't that every mom's first thought when we start feeling sick? I had so much on my mind, and so many things I needed to do. 

But something happened in the middle of it all, that spoke to me loud and clear. For right where I am. And I guess it was just another way God reminded me of something He's been telling me over and over again lately.

It was late, Asher was still awake. B was outside watering the grass. I was in the bath because baths are my go-to when I'm not feeling good. I got out and as I did, Asher came in to ask me something. I got this huge wave of nausea and started to get really sick. 

I heard Asher talking to someone around the corner, just outside the bathroom, but couldn't hear what he was saying. I did hear "mom" a few times though, and assumed Brandon had come back in the house and he was talking to him.

But when I was done and stepped out of the bathroom, Asher came from around the corner  and said "Feel better? I was praying for you. Did you hear me?"

The very first and only thing Asher knew to do for me was pray. And let me tell you, he was having a full on conversation with God.

I have to be honest, my very first instinct when one of my kids gets sick, or when something happens in my life, isn't always to pray first.  It should be, but instead, it's sometimes "what can I do to make this better." "how can I fix this"

But the reality is, and what I am always reminding myself of is, it's not my job to fix things. And I don't know about you, but thats hard to swallow for me.
It's not my job to control whatever happens to my kids, or to control how things happen in my life.
Isn't control the root of it all, really? We think we have it. We want to have it.
But we don't and it can be so hard to realize that.

We can pray though. Prayer is what changes things.

I keep thinking about Asher and how the prayers of a little boy for his mom, were no doubt heard and answered. How sweet his voice must've sounded to the ears of Jesus.  There is so much power in our prayers. More than we could ever accomplish with our own hands. I'm constantly being reminded of this. It's what He is speaking so loud to me about right now. Giving it all up, to Him. 


Today is the start of a new reading plan for She Reads Truth.  I would encourage you to join us. 
It is "Living the Surrendered Life" on the You version app. Sounds pretty perfect for what God is speaking to me lately, how about you? 
I am committing myself to doing it and to joining them in writing and sharing our notes on instagram & twitter. If you would like to follow me in either of those places, my instagram name is @bitsofsplendor and @LauraCaddell on Twitter.  

Let me know if you are going to join and then leave me your handle names so I can follow you too!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Project Hope-- Here's What We Need!

Hi friends! I am really excited about this. I can't even tell you how much this project means to me. My heart, more than anything, is to spread God's hope and love as far as we can. These memory boxes may seem like a small thing, but personally speaking, I can tell you they aren't. 

Nothing or no item could ever replace holding your own baby in your arms, but instead of walking away empty handed, these memory boxes are something tangible to hold on to. Honoring and remember and recognizing these sweet babies that were lost.

So. Here is what we need from you to help make this happen...

As I said in my post before, our goal is to double the 50 boxes we made last year, to 100 this year. Each box is hand decorated and filled with donated items that are either hand made or donated. Each item is to serve as a memory for the baby, but also HOPE for the future.

With that in mind, our "theme" for these boxes is Hope.

This is the list of items that each box will get, and items we need donated:
 Whether you can donate 1, 5, 20 or 100 of the following items, each and every donation is needed and appreciated!

100 prints designed around the word Hope or any scripture verses about Hope...{i.e Jeremiah 29:11 or Hebrews 6:19} in size 4x6.

100 4x6 Frames for these prints. We didn't frame them last year, but I think that framing them would add value to them as well as make it easier on the family to put it out somewhere in there home as a constant reminder to always HOPE.

100 Hand Stamped charms with the word Hope.

100 Lovie bears like this one. Similiar type ones can be found at Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, Carters etc.  I would LOVE to know where Mia's in particular came from but there is no tag on it. It's a little bear with angel wings...if anyone for whatever reason has seen this somewhere PLEASE let me know! These were not something that Threads of Love typically put into their boxes so it is impossible to track down where it came from or from who. 

100 Kraft boxes. If you know of a company who could donate these, that would be great! Otherwise they can be purchased for 5$ each at Hobby Lobby.

100 Little booties and hats.  

100 little hair-lock bags {50 girls/50 boys} & tags. The tags will have the verse "Even the very hairs of your head are numbered" Matthew 10:30.

We can also use very small blankets or any other keepsake you might have in mind or can make. We had a very sweet girl and her husband make hanging wooden hearts for us last time and the people at Threads of Love loved them so much they found someone to make them for all of the memory boxes from now on! I love that!  

So please, feel free to use your imagination with these keepsake items. If you make something or know of an item that you think would be perfect, I would love for you talk to me about it! 

You can also donate monetarily. Any monetary donation will go toward the purchase of the kraft boxes as well as the craft supplies to decorate them and extra lovies that are still needed. There is a paypal link on my sidebar that you can use to donate. Just click the button that says "donate to project hope" and it will take you to paypal. Also, if you would like to donate to Threads of Love for caskets for babies of families who can't afford one, you can do so by specifying that in the notes when you donate. 

If you would like to donate any of the above items, please let me know by either leaving  a comment or emailing us at projecthope619@gmail.com and we will contact you back asap. My sweet friend Kaylee has offered to help me in this area and I am so thankful. She will be helping me organize the emails and answer questions, so that we know exactly where we are with donations!
All donations should be sent by August 19th. 

If you have a blog and would like to help spread the word,  Danielle has created this button for us to do just that! Just copy and paste the html and place the button wherever you would like on your blog. Those who click on it will be taken here to the Project Hope link.





project hope






To answer a question I have gotten more than a few times, YES, Project Hope will be expanding into other cities and states! I am just trying to figure out the logistics and details to that, but know that it is definitely where the Lord is leading! :)

Thank you so much, I can't wait to see what God does with this and pray you will join your heart with mine to see lives touched by his love and hope! 
If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

We had a really good day celebrating our daddy. 
He really is the best. Spoils us all.

I always say I could never truly have known what to look for in the perfect husband and father, if it weren't for my own. He set the bar pretty high, and when Brandon came along, I just knew I had found the one. I am so thankful to call him mine and ours.

Asher made him something special while he was gone with my sister last week. A print with words of all the things that remind him of Dad.


Gatorade, Funny, Pastor, Golf, Spurs, Heart of Praise {the name of our church} and "best dad."
It was super special. Asher was so proud of it and B got a little choked up reading it.

We celebrated with a day of church, lunch, an ice cream party and some pool time.

I attempted to snap just one good picture at the end of the day. Literally walking in the front door tonight. It was with my iphone, they were blurry. Not one of them came out perfectly but I decided I was ok with it. I mean this is "us" right now. I would have loved to snap a perfect picture with them all smiling big, but it just didn't happen. Part of letting go of perfect, right?

This one was my favorite. It was about the 12th picture and Mia was not having it. So I yelled "Cookie!" to get her attention. This is her signing for "more" {aka give me a cookie NOW} and looking very confused as to why there were no actual cookies in sight.
 It cracks.me.up. Doesn't she look like she's saying "quit playin and put a cookie in my hand, now."

The kids are all tucked in now and B and I have a pizza on the way, cookies in the oven and a movie on demand. That's right, mom and dad know how to party.

How was your Fathers Day?

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I want to start trying something different for these Monday posts. I'd like to feature YOU. So each week I'm going to pick one post from those linked up and feature it the following week. 

What are some other ways you'd like to see relationships cultivated and others encouraged through this blog? If you have ideas, I'd love to hear them!




bits of splendor monday








Thursday, June 14, 2012

12 Things I've Learned About Running

*I am so so excited about all of the emails I've received from those of you who want to help with Project Hope. I can't even begin to tell you what it means to me to know that others can see my heart for this and want to join us. I am working on returning emails and you should be hearing from me in the next couple of days!* 

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I started running a little over 2 months ago. My first run was on April 10th and I've been going about 4 times a week since then. I still don't consider myself a pro by any means. But, since I started sharing about my running journey here for accountability, and also to help inspire others who wanted to start running,  I thought it'd be fun to share some things I've learned in these last couple of months.

Remember I literally started at running like not at all. Even when I did run in years past, before kids, I never full on ran. I would walk/run. Which don't get me wrong is still hard, but it's not what my personal goal was. I wanted to be the girl who put on her running shoes, and just ran for miles.

I didn't go about "training" in the typical way. But my personality is not a patient kind. So something like the couch to 5k wasn't for me. I wanted to go a little faster than that, but that might not be right for everyone. You have to find whats right for you.

I reached my 3 mile goal, in 3 weeks, by starting at 1 mile the first week and upping it another each week. Once I got to 3 miles my goal was to better my time and get comfortable there. Which I have done in these last few weeks. I am to the point now where 3 miles, is easily done and now I'm challenging myself to go further each time. I am averaging 3 1/2 miles right now and aiming to get to 4 soon. I'd like to be doing 4-5 miles when training for the half marathon starts in August.

All that to say, I truly believe anyone can be a runner. Everyone says {including myself at one point} that they wish they could be a runner, but it's just not "in them." I don't believe that. It just takes determination, hard work, and will. If you have that, then you can be a runner too! 

Here are 12 Things I've learned about running and how to improve as one. 

1. Drink lots of water. Either the day before, if you are a morning runner, or through out the day if you are an evening runner like myself. Hydration is important.

2. Take it easy. Don't just take off running like you "got this." Start out slow and steady to warm up and at a quarter mile, I speed up. Not sprinting. Just a good pace where I'm challenged but not exhausting myself to where I can't finish my goal. I made that mistake on my first week and quickly learned it's pointless.

3. Pay attention to how you are running. If you aren't running properly, you will get soar neck, arms, shin splints and possibly injure yourself. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. I had to say it.


                                                                                                 Source: thehealthychange.tumblr.com


4. Get yourself some running clothes. Take it from the girl who went from yoga capris to nike running shorts. Your life will never be the same. And get the shorts that have the built in briefs... One last thing to think about is all I'm sayin. Target and Old Navy have some cute running shorts also. Feeling cute while you run is not a bad thing, I actually think it motivates me more. I also just got some Nike Lunarswift 3's, and last night was my first run with them. I really liked them, but just remember you will never feel 100% comfortable while running. Your feet, calves, abs, butt--might hurt. But thats a good thing! It means your body is working, not that you aren't wearing the right shoes. However, if you are having pain in your arch, or getting shin splints then you might need to be professionally fitted for some shoes.


5. Get over feeling insecure about how you look running. Put your music on and focus on your run. Not the people watering their grass or the girl running like a gazelle next to you. The sooner you can get past your insecurities the sooner you will reach your goals. As soon as you hit that goal of running for a mile straight, or 3 miles straight, or you cut your time by a minute--whatever it is... All those insecurities will get kicked to the curb. Promise. Be proud of yourself, be confident, focus and just run.
One of my biggest insecurities has always been my legs. But running has helped boost my confidence in them and even though they are far from where I'd like them to be, I love that they are becoming stronger because of running.

6. Don't stop. Put your goal in your mind and don't stop. Don't even let your mind go there. I don't let myself walk, but thats just me. I had to learn early on that I couldn't even give myself the option. Like "oh I will just stop for a second, or walk for a second" because as soon as those thoughts entered my brain, I lost focus and most likely did stop. I am big on focus. I have to stay in the zone. Do whatever you have to do to stay there and don't let your mind take a break, cause soon your body will follow.  Trust me when I say that when you stop and go again, it is harder on you. Mentally and physically. So don't. I mean don't faint or anything, know your limits people. But also know you are stronger than you think you are.


7. Find your right time of day. For me I love to go in the evenings. I like to go just before the sun goes down. It is a beautiful time of the day to me.  I love it. But you might be a morning person, go for it. But try out different times and see when it's best for you. Don't try noon when it's 100degress out. that would just be plain crazy, trust me.

8. Use this time. This ties into #6 and focusing your thoughts. Being the mom of 3, I don't have too many chance to just let my mind wander. Unless I'm in the shower, and even then it's questionable that I won't get interrupted. So let this be that time. Sometimes I make my to-do lists in my head, or I like to "write" in my head too. I know that sounds strange, but I write in my head a lot.
Also, you know how at night, you lay in bed processing through the day and thinking about what you have to do the next day? Use your running time to do that. I promise it will leave you more relaxed and at peace. I like to pray and reflect and just process...let my mind wander. And instead of laying in bed awake, tossing and turning, I fall right to sleep now.

                                                                                                Source:  via Laura on Pinterest


9. Make sure you are fueling yourself properly. Don't think you can eat chikfila chicken nuggets and french fries 30minutes before you go. Eat moderately healthy, don't obsess. Think of eating as a way to fuel your body to be healthy and perform well. Don't diet. Please don't diet. I hate the word diet. Just eat in moderation.  I love a lot of healthy food that is good for me, and I don't look at eating healthy as a "must" but a "want." It helps to change your perspective about it. And shoot give yourself some ice cream if you want it. Don't deprive, and don't obsess. That's my two cents. I have lost 6 lbs since I started running, and I would like to lose 5-7 more, but it is not my focus. My focus is improving my runs and giving myself the tools to do well.

I like to eat a banana 30 minutes before I go and I drink this gatorade prime drink. It's got carbs and b12 vitamins and you drink it 15 minutes before you head out. I love it.

10. Try new routes. Don't do the same 'ol run every time you go because you will get bored fast. I started running further away from my house so that I *had* to run back to get home. This helps you up your mileage if/when you are trying to start going further. For example if your goal is 3 miles, then run 1.5 miles in one direction and then run back when you reach that point.
11. Get yourself an app on your phone, or some other snazzy watch that tells you how far you have gone and what your pace is. There is a couple, but I use the nike gps app and love it.

 Never say never ya'll

12. Get some good music. I have found two pandora stations I like.  Depending on my mood, I like to switch between Justin Beiber's {don't knock it till you try it!} because it's got all of the latest fun songs with a ton of different artists. {HOWEVER be warned that I have had to skip a few songs just cause they were, as Asher would say "inappropriate.'} And I also like Elevation Worship station.

Again, I still don't have it all figured out but these are just some things I've learned so far. 
Do you have anything to add? What works for you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Project Hope: "Now's the Time"

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, then you are familiar with Project Hope. If you aren't, and would like to know more about it, I would love for you to! You can start by clicking the Project Hope button on the side of my blog over there ---> and scroll to the first post to catch up.
Or simply click here to read this post in particular for the heart behind this project.

The dream for Project Hope was born on the very night, we lost our sweet girl Faith Marie at nearly 23 weeks. In a dark hospital room I held onto a box handed to me by one of the nurses. I picked up a little pink bear with angel wings out of the box, and right then I knew that one day, I would give that bear to my next daughter. It was hope. In my hands.

Mia was born and months later, I would hold her and rock her in my arms with that little angel bear and each time I did, the Lord whispered into my heart about all of the other moms out there, who needed to know this same kind of hope. Who needed to know that there was a God who loved them and had a plan and a future for them and that saying goodbye to their sweet babies was not the end. There is hope.



I wanted to be able to minister to these women in some way, so I searched out the organization that donates these boxes to the hospital and found out about Threads of Love. This is a nation wide ministry that reaches out to many families in numerous ways including those who have lost a baby. These memory boxes are based completely off donations and hand decorated by volunteers as well.

I knew right away that I wanted to partner with them and collect boxes and items to be donated. Including little lovie bears like the one I was given. This in particular was special to me because it represented a future. Something that would be a memory of our sweet Faith Marie, that could also be given to our future baby.

I had no idea how to start or where to even begin to try, but I did. I wrote this post one night just after rocking Mia and feeling that familiar tug in my heart to start something. To do something. To take the step.

I was amazed and am still amazed at how God worked through this project. So many of you, and so many people I will never meet, or even get to thank, reached out and wanted to help. We had businesses and vendors, friends and family come together from all over to donate to the project. Our goal was to have enough items and monetary donations to create 50 boxes for an organization called Threads of Love. We worked with the Sarah chapter here in San Antonio, and were able to purchase, decorate and fill 50 boxes including 50 lovie bears, that were then distributed through Threads of Love to hospitals around San Antonio, and then given to moms and families who had lost a baby.

Now months after our first project, I am feeling that same tugging in my heart. I want to do even more and even greater. My heart aches for moms who sit in a dark hospital room, searching for something to look to, or a hope to hold on to. I would love nothing more than to walk into each room, wrap my arms around them and tell them it it's going to be ok. That there is hope and there is a future and a God that loves them.

Thats where Project Hope comes in. I have such a heavy burden for this and I pray that Project Hope and everything it represents always points to Jesus and Him alone. I believe He's given us all a platform and an influence. I am always amazed and blessed by how God has connected me to so many amazing, amazing people through this blog.

Once again, I find myself at a place of having no idea where to start. But I know I can take the first step. And that is what this is. I don't have all the details worked out. I don't have a team of people to bounce ideas off of {although that would be awesome!} I just have a heart that really really wants to love on other moms who have lost a baby.



So, my goal is to create 100 memory boxes for Project Hope.
That means:
100 craft boxes purchased. 
-Craft Supplies to decorate 100 boxes
-Items from vendors and businesses for 100 boxes {a list of these items will come soon}
-100 lovies/bears
 Like last time, we will have an event here in San Antonio where whoever would like to, can come together and decorate the boxes. This was one of the biggest ministries that came out of Project Hope. Not only for the women who received the boxes, but also those who decorated them. The date and details for this will be determined very soon.


On top of the 100 boxes, I would love to be able to raise funds for caskets for babies of families who can't afford one. When I visited Threads of Love and got a tour of the facility, something that struck me hard were these tiny, but gorgeous wooden caskets. Just a few of them though. And when I asked about them, I found out they were for babies of families who can not afford a casket. There have been some desperate situations of a family wanting so badly to bury there baby and honor their life, but couldn't afford a casket and had to use a styrofoam ice chest.

 

That broke my heart. And I knew that when we began this next Project Hope I wanted to add this to our goal. A sweet man, here in San Antonio makes these caskets. He doesn't ask to be paid, but just 20$ for supplies. I can't tell you how beautifully detailed these caskets are. So the option to donate toward a casket will also be given. I will have a paypal linked from my blog where you can donate and specifically state where you would like the funds to go.  Wedding gowns can also be donated for these caskets, as that is what they use to line them.



I'm trying really hard to lay out some the details without being overwhelming so this is just the beginning. I just wanted to "introduce" the project to you and then hear from you. Any questions that you might have, or suggestions to offer, please contact me.

I also need help with the graphics side of it all, because I'm clueless. Sweet Casey was so generous to help me last time, and I couldn't thank her enough.
I have a few new ideas and would love to work with someone to come up with a logo that we will use on all letterheads etc. including a blog button for those who want to help spread the word.

My heart is to give hope to as many moms and families as we can. And I need your help. Bloggers, business owners, handmade shop owners, anyone and everyone with a heart to do the same. Let's put our hearts and minds together and see where God takes this :)


 "Now's the time for us to rise, and carry hope and let love shine...
show this world that mercy is alive" 
Now's the time for us to rise, and carry hope to hopeless eyes...
-The Church, Elevation Church

Here is what I am looking for specifically.
-A committee to help with planning the craft event {local would be great because I would love to get together for planning meetings}
-Etsy shop, business owners, or handmade shops that would like to donate an item for the memory boxes.
-Etsy Shop, Business owners or handmade shops who like to donate items for door prizes at the craft event.
-Monetary Donations toward the purchase of the boxes, craft supplies, or the caskets.
-100 Lovies/Bears
-Bloggers who would like to place a button on your blog for the duration of the project and possibly posting about it to help spread the word.
-Someone with graphics design skills who can help with the buttons and logo. 
-Anyone and everyone with a heart to help spread hope.
***all business and shop owners will be included with links in a blog post as well shout outs on twitter***

Project Hope will officially begin June 19th and run through August 19th. 

If you would like to help or have any questions, you can email me at projecthope619@gmail.com, or leave your info in the comments below and I will be contacting you shortly.
A list for the items needed and other details such as dates will be coming soon!

Every single bit of help and support is treasured beyond words!  

Much Love.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

Saturday afternoon I took Asher to do some clothes shopping. I swear that boy is growing like a weed. I really feel like I just bought him clothes and they are already shrinking on him.
It was a good excuse to go do something just he and I. I had so much fun with him. He just does something to my heart that one.

You know when we found out I was pregnant for the first time, I for sure thought it would be a girl. I don't know why, I just always imagined myself as a mom to girls. And when the Dr. told us it was a boy, I almost didn't believe him.

But then Asher came. 100% completely, totally all boy. Changed my life. Made me a mom. Taught me so much. Grabbed my heart tight while doing it. And now, I could never imagine not having a boy.

He's growing fast for sure, but I look at him and he's still my sweet little boy. The one who made me mama first. I try not to wish for the past...to want him to stop growing or hope time would slow. Cause I know growing up is a precious part of life and it's a gift to watch and be a apart of.  Still never makes it easy though.

He does this thing where he runs full speed ahead toward me and wraps his arms around me as tight as he can and says "thats how much I love you."
The older he gets, the stronger the hugs get too. Sometimes I cringe when I see him coming because I know he is about to basically body slam me. But I don't want him to stop. It melts my heart every single time.

Saturday was a really simple day of running from one store to the next, but it was honestly one of my favorite memories with him. I try to spend one on one time with each of our kids, because I feel like they need that from both B and I. You can totally see how they thrive on that.
 
He kept grabbing my hand and he has lots of questions. Always does, but I got to actually listen and answer each one. I love to hear the things that go on in his head. He is really funny. And he is getting to the point where he catches all the things that little kids don't. Which can be really funny, but also a good reminder to B and I that we have to watch what we say around him ;) He really cracks me up though. He is also very sweet and very aware and very protective.

We walked into a dressing room so I could try on some pants. We were shopping for him, yes, but I got a little sidetracked...I told him to watch the door. He noticed it didn't have an actual lock on it and this was majorly concerning to him. At first he stood there with his foot sticking out. Making sure people knew someone was in there. The idea of someone walking in on his mom changing was way too much for him so he decided it was better if he just stood outside guarding the door instead.

I had to grab this picture. It was too precious of a memory for me. He really is so much like his dad in this way. So protective.  I love it. It is no wonder he's got my heart like he does, when he is so much like his dad.

This part of being a mom, is one of my favorites. Those simple days that become the ones you talk about years later. This will be one of them.

How did you find a bit of splendor in your week? 
Grab a button and share it with us! 

{Project Hope post is going up tomorrow!!}


bits of splendor monday









Thursday, June 7, 2012

Super Mom

it has felt like total chaos over here the last couple of days.
even now as I attempt to string some quick words together my kids are running circles around me.
one is chasing the other and mia is tagging behind them, laughing uncontrollably and pretending to know what is going on.

i was battling this chaos at first. wanting order and tidiness and organization and some routine.
at the end of the first day of asher being officially home for summer,  i told brandon "i just need to find a new routine, i've gotten so used to having just bella and mia home, but now we need to find a new one."

boys are so different then girls. the dynamic around the house goes from quiet play and pretend, crowns and baby dolls....to running and wrestling and screaming and jumping off of anything that is at least 2 ft off the ground. doesn't matter that that might be his little sisters dainty doll house.

i had all these plans and expectations and ideas in my head for what our days would look like...
i kept trying so hard to bring back the quiet, the routine, the order.
only to find myself more worn out then i have been in a very long time.
feeling like a failed mommy.
don't you hate when we put that on ourselves?
this idea of "super mom".... it bugs me. do i think im a good mom? heck yes. do i have good days and some even better days, only to have a bad one too? yep.
we're all human. not super.
i feel like that term gives a built in comparison, of being better than other more "average" moms. and i just don't think it's realistic when it comes to motherhood. i think we are all good moms trying to let the better days outweigh the bad ones and we should encourage that in one another rather than seek out this super mom title.

in the middle of motherhood, im also just a girl. who loves to run, loves small windows of quiet, and reading a good book, and walking around target alone. a girl who loves to create and improve and love. putting on some worship music and packaging orders.... that is my idea of me time. i enjoy it and i love it.


but ive found it hard to find the time lately.
i fully believe in being present and giving your kids your time and attention and focus and talking and listening and just plain loving.
but what about the bits of time we steal for ourselves. for the things that keep us going. like running and creating. should we feel guilty for that time?
i don't think so.

ive been very blessed with my business, even more recently, and for just a minute in the midst of this chaos i thought maybe i needed to let something go. maybe something needed to give. do i really need to take 30-45 minutes to go for a run? is that selfish?
is my business improving the lives of our family? is it taking away or is it adding?

realistically the answer is yes. not long ago i prayed for something that would allow me to stay home with my kids and also add value into the life of our family. and quickly i remembered my own words. that this balance we all seek---maybe it doesn't exist.
rhythm and seasons. those exist.
and right now is a busy one. a chaotic one. a really good, crazy one with 3 little munchkins chasing each other and me stealing bits of time in between to do my own thing.
and thats ok.
it's ok.

see i think these lessons and revelations are what makes us better moms. learning and growing and always striving. giving our kids "us"... just being fully present when we are with them. our time. us, thats all they want.
Elaborate craft times, or hours of pretend play, or fun summer days at the pool....  those are all well and good, but they have nothing to do with super.

and at the end of the day when your little girls wraps her arms around you and says "your the best mom ever"...you realize that it's all grace.
that HE is the super. He is the one who fills us at the end of the day when we feel like we failed.He wakes us up in the morning with new mercies and He says, hey it's a new day--it's not going to be perfect, or in order or routine, but it's going to be a good one, and if you let me help you, if you take me in to your day and embrace the chaos---it'll be a good one too. a really good one.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

The kids have been with their mimi and papa at the beach for the last few days and we just got them back this afternoon. Feels so good to know my 3 little chickies are back in one place and tucked into their beds. Mia stayed home with us but she kept asking for them every time she woke up from a nap or in the mornings. Having our 'AshUH' and 'Lella' back just makes everything right again.


Seeing the 3 of them together just does something to my heart.


Not that B and I didn't enjoy the "time off." We got to spend a lot of time together because B worked from home for most of the week. We also took the opportunity to get a ton of projects done around the house while they were away.  All of the ones that have been looming in my head to do. If I were pregnant I would say this is nesting, but I'm not so I'm not sure what this is.

I cleaned out all of their closets and got summer clothes hung and put in drawers.
Rearranged their rooms and deep cleaned them {cause you know when you start moving furniture you are going to find some random things under those beds and a whole lot of who knows what}

I also totally cleaned out our laundry room and did a ton of laundry. We were blessed big time with a new washer and dryer. Our old one was smaller and couldn't take too many clothes at a time. The dryer had to be restarted on average, about 4 times to fully dry the clothes. So needless to say we needed a new set. The very day we were blessed with them out of nowhere, I had just thought to myself how much of my time is sucked up by laundry and that we needed to buy a new set asap.
These new ones are like bliss. Really who knew washing clothes could make a girl so happy.

One of the biggest projects I also got done was organizing my work space where I make all of the Splendor jewelry and package all of the orders. I needed to get it in better "working" order to make keeping track of stock easier, and  packaging and shipping more efficient. I'm going to take pictures here soon and do a little post on it. That room, particularly my little space has become one of my favorites in our house.


I also shipped out a lot of orders including the ones from the Peony necklace sale I posted on my facebook and instagram. If you aren't following me in either of those places, you might want to so you don't miss out on special promotions and discounts. I promise this is not an effort to gain followers because I could care less about gaining followers just for the sake of numbers, BUT if you want to catch a deal, that's where you'll find it, is all I'm saying.
Also, a quick note--if you pre- ordered the Vintage Cream Bloom necklace, I got all of the supplies in and will be working hard to get them all made and shipped out in the next couple of days!

And what else? Oh! One of B's biggest projects was power washing and painting our back patio. A certain wife of his sort of ruined it with spray paint. Don't even start judging me and my spray painted patio. Some might call this art.

Just not this guy.....Don't let the face fool you he wasn't that annoyed with me ;)


We added some new cushions to our chairs, got a firepit for s'mores in the summer and cozy fires in the winter, and painted the patio a terra cotta. It looks so much better out there already. I'm working on some hanging mason jar lights to put up also.


One last thing. I am jumping in with "She Reads Truth." Have you heard about it? Basically it's a huge group of women reading the word each day along with a devotional called Soul Detox. Then writing what God is speaking to you about it and sharing it. Mainly through twitter or instagram. I believe this is day 19.  You can download the You Version App on your iphone, and get the Soul Detox reading. I have done a few of the readings here and there but hadn't fully committed. Till now! I'm going to add it to my Jesus Calling devotional for each day and really commit to writing out what God is speaking to me each day. If you'd like to join, you should! Do it with me! And if you already are, let me know!

Also, can you make it a point to check back here in the next week? I will be posting some news about Project Hope!!

Hope your week was a good one. Can't wait to read about it! Grab a button and tell us how you found your bit of splendor. If you are wondering what Bits of Splendor Monday is all about, be sure to read this!

Happy Monday!




bits of splendor monday







Friday, June 1, 2012

Bella's 4th Birthday Party


  

This year, Bella wanted a Strawberry Shortcake theme for her 4th birthday party. She had very definite ideas and was very much apart of helping me with what she could. We went with the more vintage Strawberry Shortcake and I had to improvise a lot because there it is very hard to find anything strawberry shortcake related in birthday decor out there. So we printed off her image and put it in frames for the tables to try to add her in as much as possible.


The first thing I purchased were these strawberry crates from Shop Sweet Lulu. I have to admit that I'd been waiting for the perfect excuse to buy them and this was it. I also bought the pink paper straws for the drinks, from here as well.

My friend gave me a bunch of red paper straws that I used as the "sticks" for the pinwheels. The pinwheels were made out of paper I mostly found at Michaels but I found the strawberry paper at Joanns. I put them in mason jars for the center of the tables. I made them with this tutorial. 


We had the party at our neighborhood park. The weather ended up being perfect. No humidity, nice and cool. But the wind was a little stronger than normal which made keeping the pinwheels in place pretty interesting. I ended up putting a bunch of these strawberry candies I found at the dollar store at the bottom of the jars to keep them from falling over. The table cloths were white lace plastic ones at Walmart for 1.50. They are super cute! {my sister in law found them for one of the baby showers we gave}

The banner was made with doilies, twine and more scrap book paper. I just traced the letters off my computer screen and then cut them out. I used the phrase "Life is Sweet" to tie into the strawberry shortcake theme. And because I'm a sucker for words and phrases. You probably know this by now.



The main table was set with lots of treats. Strawberry red vines, pink chocolate covered pretzels and huge pink and white marshmallows in glass jars. I got the metal scoops and chalk board vinyl at World Market a while ago. They were labeled but the writing kept getting erased from little hands. After re-writing it once, I just let it go....There were a few things that I would have liked to "perfect" but it just didn't happen and I was so ok with that. I wanted to enjoy Bella and not stress over things no one else would ever notice!



I bought the stuff to make these topiaries for Bella's room a long time ago and finally decided to get a move on them since I thought I could use them on her treat table. I got all of the supplies at the dollar store except the little wooden dowels I got at Michaels. Oh and the little lace planters they are in are from IKEA.



My friend Monica {aka the cake pop queen round these parts} made strawberry cake pops! They were perfect! She initially had them on sticks but I took them off and put them in the crates instead. They disappeared pretty quick. She did an amazing job on them.
We also had Peanut Butter and Strawberry jelly sandwiches, strawberries and cool whip and strawberry cupcakes with pink icing.




The treat table also had a chalkboard on it {that I was supposed to write Happy Birthday on, oops!}and a fabric banner I made. I found strawberry shortcake fabric at Walmart! Our Walmart recently brought back their craft/fabric department and gave me a reason to ever have to go there. Besides spray paint. The fabric was super cheap too. I got the strawberry shortcake one, a red gingham one and green. I just cut them into strips and tied them to twine.


 

We kept the food easy with hot dogs, chips, dip and pasta salad that I made using a quick recipe my friend Ashley gave me. We bought all of the food at Sams and it was very affordable!



Drinks were strawberry lemonade, strawberry milk {milk bottles also from Shop Sweet Lulu} and strawberry capri suns.



On the gift table, I had a chalkboard with the phrase "Life is Sweet, Grab a Treat."



B made these little tags using a Strawberry Shortcake image from google and we tied them on to little bakery bags with twine. I made strawberry cake mix cookies, with cream cheese icing in the middle and each person took one home. These things are so good and so easy! Just use cake mix, 1/4 of oil and 2 eggs and bake for 10 minutes. So yummy. The tags said "Thank you for making my day so special, Love Bella"






The thing I loved most about Bella's party is that pretty much all of her favorite people were there. Neighbor friends, church friends, family.... She was so happy and loved every bit of it. She told me her friend told her it was the best birthday party she'd ever been to. Now, I don't care if that is the truth or not, the look on Bella's face when she told me that and how much she loved it herself was THE best.



She got a special birthday flowers from our Nana and pretty much thought they were the greatest thing ever.


Also? We had random, extra {ehem} neighbor kids show up for the party too. Which is great because that is pretty much us right now. We have neighbor kids at our house all hours of the day...Sitting on our front porch shootin the breaze like no big deal. So it wouldn't be right if they didn't show up to Bella's party too ;)



I absolutely love celebrating our kids on their special days. I think there is always a reason to celebrate.....big things, little things...but the day God blessed us with our precious gifts?...Pretty sure there is no greater reason to celebrate.

P.S Because I know this will get asked--all cake plates were from Costco :)