June 29, 2017

A Very Merry (Cousin) Unbirthday Party

A few weeks ago my sister and her little family came to visit us from Ohio for the week. This was the first time since our youngest two were born that we had all been together. I came up with the idea to throw a little "birthday party" for all the cousins together since we don't get to celebrate on their actual birthdays together throughout the year. So I rounded up all the colorful party decor I could find around the house to throw together and bought some cake mix to celebrate the event. Luckily they're all young enough that a bunch of sugary cake is the best present they could receive. 

We watched and danced to a snippet of Alice in Wonderland's unbirthday song and sang happy birthday to each one of them. With all the girliness that goes on in our house on a daily basis, it was a sweet time to have my nephews bring a little bit of boy into the mix. (We're still praying for that boy of ours ;)). I loved getting to watch my girls play and engage with their cousins, like they've known each other since they were born.  It's little things like this that make being a mom the best gift of all, watching their relationships develop and grow with each other among all the laughter and playfulness. Loved getting to spend time with all SIX of these kiddos together (all 3 and under!) haha!

June 7, 2017

Dear Daughters- May

I captured these pictures while we were on our trip in Vegas at the beginning of May. It was our first family trip we had taken away in a while. Being out of our normal everyday routine and on vacation forced us to just be a family playing together. It brought out a newness in seeing the girls playfulness come alive and I loved every second. Taking trips away is something I highly recommend to do, even if its just down the road 20 minutes at a nearby hotel. There's always something fresh that comes from being away together and I think is just what our souls need every once in a while.

Dear Raleigh, 

Oh how fun it was being with you and watching you on our trip away. Your excitement for every little thing made it that much more exciting for me too. You were brave and adventurous and so...grown up. You would've spent the whole day being in the water if we let you. You made friends playing in the pool and invited them in to play with you and your sisters. It showed me how caring you are of others and love to let others be a part of the fun you're having too. I pray this only grows and matures in you more and more. You were silly and kind and imaginative and made the best time out of every little thing we did. Like building sand castles with Jaelynn, filling buckets and dumping them over and over again with Joci, helping Sage learn how to "swim" around in the water and being up for anything we were going to do. I love watching you grow up. I love watching how you learn and teach and play. You give me fresh eyes to see the best in our surroundings. I'd go anywhere with you!

Dear Joci, 

That smile! It can light up a room. And the giggle that usually follows can't help but make everyone join in. I'm learning how to love you better. There are some pretty strong differences between us, and I think thats a good thing. You are causing me to pay more attention to the things that may be hard for me to deal with. You are helping me understand that even though someone may see things differently than me, they are just as much important and valuable as anyone else. And usually, they have a legitimate need that is worthy of nurturing too. Watching you around the sand and water was just like this. You were careful and shy at first, but once you warmed up and engaged in the fun you were pure delight. You laughed and screamed with joy. And even though you wanted to do things your own way on your own timing, you still were able to play alongside your sisters and create fun in the moment. I love to be with you. I'm learning to see things in and through you that can easily go missed if I don't pay attention to the details of your heart. I'm seeing that even through our differences there are pieces that are so endearing and beautiful. And I wouldn't want to miss that for the world. 

Dear Jaelynn, 

I'm learning how your adventurous spirit comes alive more and more whenever we go away on vacation. And gosh is it a breath of fresh air to be around. You were like a whole new person in the water...in the best way. I didn't think your smile could get any bigger and brighter, but somehow it did. You made everyone around you have so much more fun because of your ability to laugh and enjoy everything. You brought others into the fun with you and gently helped your little sister learn how to enjoy the sand and water too. You are helping me enjoy being present in the moment and not letting the little things pass by. You are easily able to notice when someone is alone or needs help and quickly draw close to them to make them feel better. You do this for me daily and I find so much joy just being in your presence. 

Dear Sage, 

The past couple months your quiet and content personality has turned into hilariously feisty and bold. You came alive on this trip in the best ways. We're seeing how brave you are in going after things without caution or care (something I think you get from your dadda). You took on swimming like a pro, not being afraid of the unknown. You tried new things with laughter, making us realize you might be the most adventurous one in the family so far. I can't wait to see how much more your character will unfold as you get older. I imagine we're in for a lot more fun and amusement than you've already given us. 

I love you all...more than life itself. 


June 2, 2017

Las Vegas Getaway

We packed up the car and took a trip to Las Vegas a couple weeks ago with our little family. Vegas wasn’t on my radar for places to visit, but we found a free stay at a new resort to take time share tour so we jumped on the deal and planned a little getaway. The resort was just a couple miles down the road from the downtown strip, so it didn’t feel too “vegasy” being where we were. We did a few touristy things like visiting the M&M factory and watched the water show at the Bellagio, but after a couple hours of walking through the crowds with four little ones, we decided just staying at the resort was enough fun for us.

There’s something about getting away together that is so refreshing and bonding. This trip sure made me see a side of the girls come out that was so fun to watch. They were playful and free and so much fun! The resort had a small beach and lazy river on property, which they couldn’t get enough of. It was such a gift to be able to relax while watching them play and laugh together.

Long before I ever had kids I knew that family vacations were going to be a priority for us. I’m drawn to traveling and adventure and long for my kids to flourish in the experiences travel brings. This trip was short but so so sweet and made me dream of  more travel days ahead for us, especially as these desert temps start to rise!  Can’t wait to plan out next adventure.

May 15, 2017

Dear Daughters (April)

How is it already MAY!!?! I'm slacking on getting these posts in before the month is over, but welcome to my life of raising 4 littles. The day I took these photos we spent it playing at the Children's museum together before our annual pass ran out. Its been one of my favorite things that we've gotten to do as a family this past year, watching them explore and learn and thrive in playfulness being there. Definitely well worth the money and something I'd recommend for you mamas with little ones. I'm already missing it.

Dear Raleigh, 

You have grown up more than I'd like to admit this past month. You wake up in the morning and its like you changed over night. As much as I don't want to think about you getting older, I must admit it brings me the most joy to see who you you are becoming. You gave me the sweetest birthday spending it with you and your sisters at the museum, playing. laughing and watching you be you! You  have the best sense of finding fun in anything you're doing and I love being a part of any fun you're having. You are the greatest gift I could ever want. 

  Dear Jocilynn, 

I've seen your maturity start to come through this month. Its so hard for you to let go of the littlest things you get your mind wrapped around, but you're learning to see whats more important in the moment like treating others with kindness or giving your sisters a chance to enjoy something too. Its been a battle for us for sure, but I see how much you're choosing to trust me and your daddy in learning these things and it makes my heart ache with pride and adoration for you. You are teaching me so much through this and I see how incredible you are becoming in your strong-willed, sensitive and sweet personality. I love watching you. 

Dear Jaelynn, 

Oh sweet Jaelynn! I didn't think your smile could get any brighter, but somehow it has. Your laughter and joy are a contagious gift to anyone thats around you. You are learning so much and try to help others learn it with you. This month I've seen so much of how the things that used to be such a fight for us are diminishing because of how much you're growing up. Like learning to use your words gently and kindly and using the "dramatic" side of you for fun instead of trying to get your way. I can tell already how much of a little leader you are. People are naturally drawn to you. I'm constantly becoming better because of you and I will choose to learn from you and follow your example all of my days.

Dear Sage, 

My Sagey-girl. Watching you this month has been the greatest delight. Now that you're keeping up with your sisters on foot, there's no stopping you. It's already so evident how much you love to have fun and play and make others laugh. You admire your sisters with the sweetest adoration, mimicking their moves, or "singing" along with them. You make us want to have more and more kids! You bring so much laughter and silliness and play to our days, I can't imagine not having a fourth girl in the mix of things. You're a perfect fit in every way and I love you more than I can say. 

I love you all more than life itself. 

April 27, 2017

Chalkboard Process

I'm gearing up for another exciting weekend at Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market. There you'll find me selling all my paper goods and original hand lettered chalk boards designed to make your home happy and pretty. A question I often get asked is if these chalk boards are stenciled or free handed and how it is I create these pieces so I thought I'd share a bit here about my process. 

The process for me starts by finding the right frame. I search high and low for good quality frames that have a uniqueness about them, whether its a small detail in the carvings, or the color of the wood, or an odd shape you wouldn't normally see. The fun part about this is the repurposing of these frames and making something seemingly ugly turn into something beautiful. 

Once I have a pile of frames to start working with, its a little bit of labor and love to get these to a quality thats no longer an eye sore. A lot of taking them a part, sanding out the flaws, giving them fresh coats of paint then sanding them down again to give them the rustic elegant feel I'm going for. I also like to stick to a color scheme so its appealing as you look at everything as a whole. Too many off colors can be kind of distracting in my opinion. So for this spring market I went for a lot of the neautral soft colors to go with the feel of the season. 

Next, is the sizing and cutting of the actual chalkboards all done by my amazing husband, thankfully! I get these mostly from home good stores or sometimes cut raw wood and paint black chalk paint on top. 

Since I was in jr. high I've loved to collect quotes. I kept a quote book all throughout college and still have piles of paper and notes on my phone of quotes that have inspired me. When the frames are done and the chalk boards are in, this is where the most fun happens for me! And to answer the much asked question from above, all of my work is free handed, no stencils whatsoever. 

Most of the time I start with paper and pencil sketching out ideas and designing a few quotes to see how I want to lay it out. Other times, I'll pick up a frame and just go for it by sketching it out with chalk first, playing with different lettering and ideas.

After I lay it all out on the chalk board and like the design, I use Posca chalk paint pens (my favorite) to draw everything on permanently. The paint from these pens flows really well, giving a rich opaque quality that I love. Once the piece is finished up I spray each piece with a clear matte varnish to seal everything in. 

So there you have it. Each piece is thoughtfully hand made from start to finish, created to last and bring beauty to your home. I love that I get to call this my job and that there are people out there that are being touched by and loving my work. 

If you're in town this weekend be sure to come by Westworld of Scottsdale and find me at booth 129 to grab one of these for yourself!