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The Year Without A Blog

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It hasn’t quite been a year, but it has been more than six months. For me, that’s pretty close. Time sort of jumbles together every now and then, and I find myself already making Holiday plans in the middle of everyone else’s St. Patrick’s Day planning {Seriously, everything on Pinterest right now is green with rainbows.}

Anyway, a lot has happened while I was away. Most of those things would not have been possible without stepping away from the blog for a brief time. That brief time got longer without my realizing it, until last week when I truly could not remember when I’d last reached out to my readers. Today, I decided to remedy that, and it’s as good a day as any. Better than most, I suppose, because I come bearing good news…

We’re having a baby!

This is one of the things that probably wouldn’t have happened without my taking a step back and deciding where to put my focus. I made a constant conscious effort to spend more time with Hubby. Not just when a mommy and daddy really love each other… but just being together. Going places. Snuggling on the couch to watch TV. This was also a good chance for me to stop “keeping score” on who is the Give and who is the Take. It was a two-fold problem: I was keeping tabs of my giving {which is not the way to give} and I was grumpy for my not taking {which doesn’t even make sense}. Once I pushed aside whatever ugly-little-monster that was, things got a lot more pleasant around the house. For all of us. We’ve even cleaned off the kitchen table to start eating together as a family instead of from TV trays in the living room. We’re not the Cleaver’s, but I also wouldn’t want to be…

Back to the pregnancy bit. I’m 12 weeks today, and I’m very excited for September when I get to see the little booger who’s been giving mommy such a tough time. I’m not going to unload a bunch of pregnancy complaints, because I’m really trying not to be “that mom” but I will say that the first time was a cake walk, and this is feeling a little more like being the underdog in a WWE cage match. We already knew going into it that this would be our last, and I have to say… the way things are going, I’m not inclined to change my mind on that.

We’ve been making slow-but-steady strides at clearing out the nursery. My parents took some furniture for us. Hubby Dearest relocated this bookshelf into the living room, where he de-ironing boarded it. It now holds board games, photo albums, vinyl records, and the record player. There are several more pieces that need a new home, but I’ve got some ideas. Once we decide what stays and what goes, I’ve got stripes to paint! I’m leaving the room that gorgeous yellow that I painted last year {for one, I love it & for two, painting over it would be a nightmare} and adding grey & white stripes to the wall where the crib will be. For a girl, just the yellow, white, & grey. For a boy, I’ll be adding touches of navy blue to the mix. I saw an adorable plaid with all the colors in a Pottery Barn catalog, so I’m hoping I can still find it when the time comes.

That basically sums it up. I took a blog break to do stuff. I did stuff. I’m still doing stuff, and I now have a lot more to do. Posts are likely to be sporadic, at best, but I have a few things coming up that I want to be sure to share. Until next time…

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Busy Busy as a Bee

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I’ve had a lot on my to-do list as of late. But, luckily, I’ve also been making steady strides toward checking that list off.

Special Kids Race

Check.

It was cold. Really cold. So my goal of less than 45:00 for the 5K went out the window somewhere near the 1-mile marker. I made it in 47:29, which is 2:36 faster than last year… overall, I’m happy. Anyone interested in being inspired should check out Special Kids Inc. They are truly a fantastic group of people.

Garage

Check. {kinda}

Mom & I finally finished my work table. We also hi-jacked two small cabinets that were being utilized as catch-all’s, and will be most likely storing sewing related, umm… clutter-junk. I’m really excited to have at least something completed in the mess I’ve made in the garage. Weather permitting, I will have a major purge party this Wednesday and Thursday. This needs to extend to my room upstairs, too… but let’s not do anything rash. I have 3 shelving units of garage stuff that needs to be condensed and organized. Once I’ve finished with that, I can give everything a thorough scrubbing and decide where my craft goodies can be stored.

Feeling Fat

Check-in-progress.

I just started the 30 Day Shred. I hurt. A lot. It’s a good hurt. I’m finally doing something {besides whining } about the way I feel. My clothes don’t fit right. My “girls” don’t sit right. I can’t play with my son without needing a literal breather after just 15 minutes or so. And thank you, American Dream, for conditioning my self-worth to be based on my physical aspects. As much as I want to tell myself that I am more than a pretty face or a dress size… it still makes me feel like crud to realize I’m getting older & the things I took for granted are slipping away. I know that I will never, ever, ever squeeze into a size 2 again. I’m fine with that. Really. What I’m not fine with is the fact that just a year ago I was able to {comfortably}  wear a size 4, and I have now had to throw out that size 4 because my thighs rubbed a hole in the inseam. The easy solution is to throw in the towel and buy bigger clothes. The harder, but more rewarding, solution is to work hard and get healthy. I really am doing this more for health than vanity. There are a lot of scary things out there for people who let their health get away from them. While, yes, I’m getting older… I’m still too young to just not do something about it.

Right. So now to “The List” {Dun Dun Duuun!}

Tea Party – After school lets out. Several DIY tutorials. Lots of fun for the kids & us.

Home Décor – More DIY tutorials. I’m really excited because the two projects I’m currently working on were practically free.

Crochet – I’m slightly overwhelmed with projects, but there’s an end in sight! And some fun, nerdy projects I’m going to start after these are done.

Prayer Squares – My church’s ladies ministry is going to start making lap quilts for the sick and recovering members of the congregation. I’m really looking forward to this endeavor, and hoping it will bring some unity to our group. Can I ask for prayers for our group leader Linda as she follows God’s call in her life?

Purge – There are a lot of things in our house that have outlived their usefulness. We need to do a major purge from one end to the other. I say “we” but it will likely be “me” and that’s perfectly fine with me.

Doctor Who – A little nerdy fun. I started watching the show a few weeks ago on Netflix. I’m somewhere in Season 4, and really really excited {I need to find a new word. I get “excited” a lot… } to get caught up to the current season. It’s fun. Not sure why I never got into it before. I always wrote it off as being “very British” and maybe it is, and maybe that’s why I like it… Hubby Dearest & I tend to fall into a TV rut where all we watch are crime dramas. They are rather predictable after a while. The Doctor is a lot of things, but predictable is not one of them.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Hubby Dearest bought it for me on Amazon for next to nothing, after a friend of mine threatened to revoke my Nerd Card for not having read it. It should be in my mailbox soon. I’m excited! {See! There it is again!}

And so, in closing, I wish everyone the very best of luck with their own Lists. Time to tackle a few more bits of mine. Do what you love!

Thank you for today, Lord {3-16}

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 photo irishfiligree_zpsa5719743.jpgI was just sitting here at my desk worrying. {It’s what I do.}  It’s March 16th, which means we’re more than halfway through the month. I am part of a Crochet Along group, and every month we tackle a different project. This month, we’re making an Irish Filigree Necklace. It’s gorgeous… and as intimidating as a rabid dog with a rusty switchblade in a dark alley. I do chunky yarn things. This… this is not chunky. This is thread. {also, this is a stock image, what mine should look like in the end} Barely thicker than dental floss… and I really enjoy it. I’m still scared, and glad I am up to date on my tetanus shot… but it’s been a nice challenge. The other challenges I’m worrying with right now are

    • Tea party we’re throwing for my nieces and nephews just because we needed an excuse as adults to have a playful tea party we thought it would be fun for the kids. Each of my sisters and I have been given a task to prep for the party. The sister who went to culinary school was given snack duties {no-brainer}, the sister with older kids was given the responsibility of a dress up trunk {her daughter is 7, so she already has a good start}, and my youngest sister & I are going to be providing decorations {we’re the “make it pretty” type}. Again, I’m really excited, and really enjoy it… but it’s a challenge.

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  • Finishing the garage. My labor of love has become more labor than love… I really wish I had a day that Hubby Dearest & I could take off and do a major purge. I started doing a small purge on my own, and re-organizing things to suit me. Well, Hubby informed me the other day that I’ve moved things without telling him & now he doesn’t know where his things are. Which is true… but the channel lock pliers he was looking for so hard, were laying on the table in plain sight beside his toolbox. Just sayin’. There’s a lot to be moved from my room inside to my “new” room in the garage. Which brings me to my next challenge…
  • Baby stuff. We’re still toying with the idea of when to actually start trying for a second Little. The first Little is excited. I’m somewhat indifferent. {When God says “Here, have a baby” we’ll get it ready-or-not. Until then, why stress.}  And Hubby doesn’t know from one day to the next. But I intend to prepare as if we’ll have one by this time next year, and that means a lot of work between now and then.

I had to laugh at the things that are worrying me. My most immediate concern is a children’s tea party… I’m going to have to chalk this up to Awesome Life Problems. I don’t have to worry about my next meal, because it’s in the fridge. My worst health concern currently is worrying about the allergies that will hit when spring comes {yea, not allergies I have right now, but ones that will be here later} And while our finances have seen better days, we still have food, shelter, central heat & air, and Directv with DVR… which brings us to the title of this post.

Thank you for today, Lord.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a really bad habit of forgetting how good I really have it. I get so caught up in the “wants” of life that I overlook what I need. I cannot think of a single need God has not met for me and then some. My physical needs, spiritual needs, intellectual needs… Yes, I’ve become well aware that God likes to keep my brain on its toes {if brains had toes… } and He likes to see me succeed where I once failed. He has given me so much, and I deserve none of it.

Now that my worries are out well at ease, I will face my biggest challenge. Sleep. Goodnight, readers. Sleep well.

Re-Fueling

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I have several plans for my blog this year. Hopefully, I will write them all down soon so I can remember them all. I just bought my very first DSLR!!! and I’m hoping to play with utilize it for a more “put together” feel on my blog and on my etsy shop. Let’s be honest, there’s only so much you can do with a camera phone. Appearances are important, and I’m going to be tackling lots of eye sores for a while. Some on the blog, and some in my life. One of these sores… is my social life. It’s not a huge priority to me right now, but my friend and I were talking about our lack of other friends. While he can count his list of friends {family doesn’t count} on one hand, I topped him because I can count mine on one finger. He’s it. I have my husband, my sisters, and my mom… but he’s the only person outside my family that I count as being a friend. Maybe I could re-assign some of my acquaintances as friends, but a friend has a very high-ranking in my terms and not many people meet that standard. Instead of lowering my standards to fill a “friend quota” I think I will just make myself more available to a higher quality of persons with whom I can become friends. I’m going to do this in bloggyland as well. I plan to join {and maybe even host} more linky parties. They really are a great way to “meet” like-minded people, and see what inspiring things they’re doing.

I mentioned the image quality issue previously, but there’s also a product quality issue. I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for a bit {I’ve sort of already started, hence several weeks between posts} to spend some quality time making & doing some quality things. I need to get a few things done so I can come back with gusto and say:

Behold that which I have created!

Only in my own, slightly more reserved, way of saying it. The point is, it’s hard to blog about the stuff in your life if there’s a… deficit, I suppose… of stuff actually in your life. So, I’m gonna go do stuff, and make stuff, and plan stuff, and try stuff, and then I’ll be back to share it all with you.

Please excuse me a moment while I try to remember what else I had to say. Oh, yea! Eye sores. My house is a big one. Like really big. Like the stuff of “Yo mama” jokes, big. So I’m going to do something about that. Actually, a lot of somethings. My house is cluttered, and dirty, and not at all cohesive, and there’s a tiny part of me that would love to just move and start over… but we still owe a lot of money for the place, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I live, houses are sitting on the market for a long, long, long time. So I’ll just fix what I’ve got. Kidding aside, we’ve been very blessed with a wonderful home, and I have plenty to work with… it’s just going to take work.

I’ve been busy taking baby steps here and there, and have found help along the way. I’ve got posts planned for some good Before & After bits. Hopefully, It won’t take too long to get things in order & share them with all of you. February is going to be a BIG month for doing stuff. I’m moving my craft room into the garage to make room in my current craft room for a second baby {should the Mr. and I come to an agreement on whether or not we’re having said second baby} and that means the garage has to be completely cleaned out. I’ll be sure there are lots of Before’s of that transformation so everyone gets the full grasp of this endeavor.

So, for now, I hope you are all out there doing what you love & finding inspiration to do more of it. I shall return…

Then She Was Hooked…

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I’m supposed to be cleaning. I didn’t make it very far, but I did at least clean up our breakfast dishes. That just leaves… everything else. But I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks now. So here it is {finally}

In high school, I decided I wanted to learn how to crochet. Well, at the ripe old age of 17 or 18, I didn’t have the patience for it… or any concept of gauge. I still have the “scarf” I started & I have a craft/inspiration project waiting for it.
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When I found this, I was attempting to clean my craft room {the new nursery} and all progress was halted. In the box where I found this, I also found my “I Taught Myself To Crochet” kit… and a partial skein of yarn. Nothing else was accomplished that day… except that I re-learned how to crochet, and went to the store to buy some pretty yarn. When I got back, I hit Pinterest {if anything productive was going to happen the rest of the day, now any chance was shot} and found this amazing scarf pattern from Jenn Ozkan. It works a half double crochet the length of the scarf for a ribbed look that you would get from knitting. The scarf was eventually dubbed “The Scarf That Never Ends” because the project felt like it took forever. My younger sister had her baby, and my older sister and I were sitting together “yarning”… I looked at her work, then at mine, then back at hers… well, poo! I’m doing it wrong. I don’t know how else to explain it, but there was NO slack in my work. I held everything tightly, and as a result I got very stiff, dense results. So  “The Scarf That Never Ends” got a little longer… because I pulled the entire thing and started over.

Luckily, I had been working half double crochets for so long it was like muscle memory. I focused on keeping my stitches loose and soft, and was able to make the same scarf with a skein and a half versus needing a third skein. I added a little fringe to the ends and put it on…. {face-palm }it was too short. My mom just happened to be with me, and she bought it as a Christmas gift for my 7-year old niece. I also made her a matching hat {that I didn’t take a picture of}

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Back to the craft store for more yarn… I have fallen deeply in love with Lion Brand Homespun Yarns. They’re extremely soft, chunky, and the colors are mind blowing! Take a look!

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I’m working on several scarves and other goodies for the {long neglected}etsy shop. That’s another resolution, in conjunction with getting my craft area moved to the garage & in some semblance of order, I need to get the stuff I’ve made out of totes & onto the interwebs. Now, I leave you with a cuteness factor of 11! My partner in crime…

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A Quilt for My {not a} Baby – Part 1

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I’ve been saying for a little over 2 years now that I want to make a quilt for my little bud. Well, since hubby dearest & I now agree that we will indeed try for a second child {this was an epic battle, btw} I have decided I need to make bud’s quilt before said baby arrives. I am going to use mostly blue and green, but possibly red and yellow should the notion strike me. The next dilemma was finding a pattern that doesn’t scream TWO-YEAR OLD so that he can continue to use it well into his youth {let’s be real, I’m probably only ever making him one quilt}so I began my search several weeks ago. Today, I found it…

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Thank you sooo much to Helping Little Hands for the idea. I played around with some pieces of paper until I got the pattern down. Once again, I was over thinking the whole thing. It’s actually going to be rather simple. Time consuming, but simple. Here’s the gist of it:

You will start out with a square. Cut the square into 3 equal strips. {I plan to use a 15 x 15 square, so each strip will be 5″ wide.}

From the center strip, you will cut 2 small pieces from either end. I think 1/4 of the strip would be reasonable, but I am still playing with the pattern.

The layout may be better shown in a picture.

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If you look at the black pieces, the two “male” ends of the piece were cut from the center piece. Each “puzzle piece” will alternate directions, and will be interlocked. And then I hit a wall trying to figure out how they did it. I looked and looked… and looked. I kept seeing the puzzle piece as a whole instead of looking at it from a quilting perspective. Guess what?! It’s a bunch of squares!

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It’s going to be crucial that I lay everything out before I piece together a single square, but that’s all it is! I can’t wait to get started! Unfortunately, It will be at least January before I can have a go at it, because the holidays just wipe me out.

Thank you for today, Lord {Nov 10}

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Thank you for today, Lord, and this dear husband of mine.

We may not have a lot of things, but we have just enough most of the time.

Thank you for his patience, limited as it may be,

Because I’ve lived with myself long enough to know how trying I can be.

He loves me when I’m at my worst, with projects strung all about.

He’ll say, “Umm, sweetie… focus please, and knock a few of these out.”

There’s so little time together, but all-in-all we make do.

A kiss, a hug, a shoulder rub, and wrestling with a toddler, too.

We take each moment as it comes, and enjoy it when we can.

So thank you, Lord, for every day of forever with this man.
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