Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ten smile tuesday

1. having daddy home...after LOTS of long overtime hours, we were all thrilled to have daddy home with us for the weekend. elizabeth was especially thrilled to help daddy sift wheat for milling and bread baking...how precious it is to see how they love one another so!

2. the sound of elizabeth's voice belting out the words to "mighty to save" (from last weeks smiles!)...we were at a prayer and worship night at church sunday and sang this song. she was thrilled...and as for me...well, needless to say, i had tears streaming down my face as i listened to her tender little voice worshipping Jesus.

3. F...for flowers and frogs...F for friends, like the kind we had over for dinner friday night...F for fun...a week filled with it! :)

4. all these groceries for just $10...seriously! gotta love kroger and catalina coupons...we are stocked on granola bars and soup for quite awhile to come (and air fresheners too!).

5. sunday afternoon naps...its been quite awhile since i've snuggled in for a nap, but boy did it feel great! :)

6. papasan fun. in an ongoing attempt to organize and de-clutter we decided to get rid of the papasan in our bedroom, and when the girls discovered it downstairs--waiting to be hauled away--they had a blast goofing around it in. definitely some photo-worthy moments!

7. these little feet taking some steps. just yesterday kate gathered the courage to really give walking a try (shes taken a few steps before but not consistently or stably)...she's taking 5 or 6 steps at a time and really starting to balance. it is so amazing to see her gather confidence...and, of course, to see that HUGE grin and hear the belly laugh when she successfully makes it to her target! :)

8. laundry folding "help"...let me tell you, these two are the best helpers EVER! :) (how is it that elizabeth can successfully get daddy's big ol' socks on her legs AND arms but never seem to get her own on when we're in a hurry!?)

9. sights like this...elizabeth's future profession...clowning! the socks and shoes really make the outfit...dontcha think!?

10. the cute little things elizabeth utters all the time these days. yesterday we were putting "choo-choo" stickers on her birthday invitations (yep...figured out what we are doing!), and she kept calling the conductor the train pastor. "mommy...lets put the train pastor on this one." "elizabeth, he is the conductor...remember when the train drives by and we wave at the conductor?" "nope, he is the pastor, mommy." apparently anyone in a suit must be a pastor.

11. one last smile...since i missed marking the day (which was actually saturday!)...it was 5 years ago saturday that mike asked me to be his wife...after a lovely day of walking on the canal, picnicking, and hanging in the park (and being "followed" by his photographer friend ALL day...i was quite oblivious to the fact...definitely blinded by love!--and, of course, now i can't find the file with the actual proposal picture...but this is us later in the day)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

drumroll, please....

....and the winner is....Nancy M. over at Southern Blessings! Thanks to all who entered my little contest, visited my little shop (I have added more items and have more blankets--girlie fabrics--that will be added soon), and left such loving and encouraging comments. I wish I could give away a set of coasters to each and every one of you...but alas....

Nancy...could you e-mail me (theyakmom AT yahoo.com) with your address info. Also let me know what color ink you would like (black or brown) and what initial you would like for the monogram. Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the plunge...

well...i did it....finally. i just finished listing my first item in my etsy shop! after i published the listing and starting looking through others, of course i got all nervous (not sure why...since it really isn't like i'm risking anything)....perhaps my item description should have been better...what if i was too high in price (even though i decided to go with free shipping)....what if...what if...what if! ironically...my first item listed was the coasters (because of you all and your fab response to my pictures last week--thanks for the love!). i think that was less pressure than starting with sewing items...

anyway...i did it. aGatoraMonkeyandaPug is now open for business! stop by...visit...pass the word along. anyone need some coasters!?!? ;) click here to go to my little shop....with its one lonely item! more coming soon...i promise!

and...as promised...i am going to do a giveaway in honor of this occasion. it will be my very FIRST giveaway. i'm giving away one set of coasters...you pick the ink color and the monogram.

how do you enter? i'm glad you asked. leave a comment on this blog post...and please, if you have a blog would you be kind enough to mention my giveaway and coasters on your blog--linking back to this post...although, even if you don't do this, i'll still let you enter...i suppose (i guess i'm nice like that!). if you don't have a blog you can still enter...just be sure to leave me an e-mail address or some form of contact info (unless you know i already have that info!). the giveaway will close sunday night at 8:00 p.m., and i will draw a winner at random, and announce the name by monday morning.

three great giveaways

i ran across these three great giveaways...just wanted to pass them along to you, my dear blog-land friends!

the giveaways are all over at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls...who is celebrating her 100th post

*pumpkin spice scented Keystone candle set (mmm...i can almost smell it now...i LOVE pumpkin spice scents...and lattes as well!) go here to enter.

*honeybee gardens make-up set--go here to enter

*and finally...my favorite. ribbie clippies. go here to enter

good luck! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ten smile tuesday...

its been another week packed full of blog-worthy moments...and yet not a moment for sitting down and sharing. bear with me as i condense it into this one "highlight" post. i must admit that its been a week where God is humbling and stretching me. a week of long overtime hours for mike...meaning extra long days with the girls. a week of fiery, nasty diaper rash for kate...one day i went through somewhere around 14 poopy diapers (YIKES!)...which, of course, equals fussiness for kate...and that helpless feeling for me. oh how i longed to simply take the discomfort away...to fix it for her...and yet, i couldn't. and yet, it was also a week of simple moments spent together with the girls...curling up with elizabeth to watch a movie on a rainy day...sharing in giggles and cheesy grins with kate....story time, creative time, expeditions out of the house when we simply couldn't take it anymore. there was quality time with good friends...a freezer full of applesauce...and so much more. tis' the season...laughter one moment....frustration the next...a season for stretching and growing...a season in life that reminds me all the more that i cannot do it in my own strength....a season for learning to fully trust in the strength of the Lord.

i feel the urge to leave a disclaimer, as i have on occasion in the past. as a woman, a wife, and a mom i struggle and fight against that pressure to look and act like it is all "together"...i struggle so much with that pressure we so often place on one another as women...to have our ducks in a row (or at least present the illusion that we do). often i want to simply plea for "realness"....i long that as women we would simply share in real life...the struggles...the battles....the ugliness of our own hearts....that we might encourage one another in truth. and then i come to my blog...and i very often finding myself sharing the moments when it all seems to be together...only the good and not the 8 "tough" hours that came before the "smile" snapshot. please know...i do not intend for my ten smiles to be something i "hide behind"...but this has truly become a blessed time of the week for me. i find it makes me focus on what is good and true, what is noble and praiseworthy in the midst of sometimes overwhelming "mama moments". this is one way for me to give God the glory for His goodness...to reflect on all that i have to be thankful for. but please know...my life is messy. i struggle with "snarling" at my husband and children. some mornings i struggle to get out of bed...much less do anything productive. i struggle with my appearance...so often feeling trapped by the world's view of perfection or beauty. i struggle with the longing to be in the "in" crowd...in real life and blog-land...to please the people around me and find worth in their eyes instead of in my Savior. so please know that these ten smiles are only a piece of the puzzle...just one snapshot into the reality of our family and life. and know that if you come here...if you read these, i long that we can join together on this journey of life...as we grow in being the women, wives, and mothers God has called us to be.

1. easter egg hunting. okay...i have to admit, this was initially an act of desperation....after kate's 8th dirty diaper of the day (around noon!), day three of daddy's overtime, and a bored out of her gourd elizabeth (ie...whiny!) i spotted a bag of easter eggs in the closet and a lightbulb flashed in my head...E week...easter egg hunt...outside...this would definitely mean "happiness" (for at least an hour or so!)...and it most definitely was one of the hit activities of the week!

2. enjoying the outdoors...both our own backyard and the park. the weather most of the week was perfect for playing outside. kate has decided she LOVES slides...both trying to climb up them and going down. getting outside was definitely a good change of scenery for ALL of us!

3. discovering some fabulous recipes at a year of crockpotting. last week i made the cheedar, bacon chicken and the barbeque chicken and cornbread (pictured)....both were fabulous, and oh so easy (and frugal!). it tasted even better served in the wonderful bowls my sister made...you really should check out her etsy store "lazy dog pottery"....but really, every time i use the dishes she gave us as a wedding present...i do smile.

4. rain. seriously we haven't had rain for SO long...so it was a welcome sound on the roof and windows...greening up our parched grass...and a great excuse for curling up under a blanket to watch a movie.

5. the third annual apple day with our dear friends nathan and jill (and brennan too!). elizabeth was thrilled to be old enough to help crank out the sauce this year. and we were all thrilled by the 53 bags of applesauce filling our freezer for the coming months...YUM! (and apple butter too!).

as for kate...well, she just loved lovin' on brennan...patting him, bouncing him, trying to do "under-doggies" with the jumper...seriously, she is our wild woman!

6. the arrival of our grain mill and four 5 gallon buckets of fresh whole wheat. bring on the milling and baking!

7. sunday afternoon movie time. elizabeth snuggled up on one end of the couch and mommy was snuggled at the other, and we watched "the piglet movie" together. precious moments.

8. this face...needless to say, she didn't stay snuggled and still during the movie! she preferred to roam from place to place, occasionally popping up to snuggle with us for a bit!

9. fishies! its F week around our house...so we are doing lots of talking about frogs and fish and friends and flowers and footprints and on and on...elizabeth was really digging these fish magnets. i must be honest...so was i. as you can probably tell, a couple of them were mommy's creations. have i mentioned how much i love having a particular time set aside for "school" and crafting with libs...and she is definitely loving it. my struggle is often keeping in perspective that she isn't even three yet...and having reasonable expectations...ie. keeping it fun, not organized and perfect.

10. our neighborhood hot-dog social last night. so fun to walk down and meet some neighbors...not to mention not have to cook dinner...and it was a nice diversion from daddy being at work. don't you love kate's new "cheese" for the camera...seriously, you pull a camera out and this little peanut gets the biggest cheese face ever...of course, just when elizabeth is learning to smile without the crazed cheesiness. i think the reality of getting a "non-cheese" photo of the two of them together is definitely a few years off! (which is okay with me...i kind of like the "cheese"!).

in other fun....we were able to meet daddy for lunch at costco after Bible study this morning...always a treat. and tonight mike and i are starting a class at church on the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp...and we are quite excited about it. i've also found moments here or there to finish up some crafty projects...including an apron with this fabric--which i simply adore (incidentally, it was the perfect fabric for apple day as well!)...even better, i have plenty left-over to make some kind of dress or shirt for the girls.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ten smile tuesday

apparently it wouldn't be ten smile tuesday around here without a million and one pictures! i tried and tried but just couldn't pare them down more than this. though it isn't that much easier per say, i think they girls are both at such fun stages...so many fabulous moments to giggle, savor and share in together. here is the weekly slice of our little life.

1. "Great God Who Saves" by Laura Story....my current fav cd (current meaning, well...today...and surely for some time to give). my friend jamie just passed a copy on to me...you really should go here and have a listen.

2. coasters...i've been working on some of these for MOPS speaker gifts...and some to add to my etsy shop (i promise that someday soon i'll actually put something up for sale...really!...and when that day comes i'm even planning a giveaway on my blog...someday!)

3. MOPS. our year of MOPS started thursday. so great to get back into the swing of things....catch up with moms i haven't seen since last year...meet new moms (and babes!)....enjoy a fab brunch....see the fruits of our planning. good stuff.

4. an impromptu afternoon with mike's parents. we ended up meeting them downtown for a saturday afternoon lunch and then strolled on over to the zoo. it was a gorgeous day to be outside; we even sat outside for lunch. (and this day out led to one pooped kate and one goofy elizabeth on the ride home)

5. the start of "E" week...and what better to kick it off except that "E is for Elephant"...and Elizabeth, of course! elizabeth had a blast helping with the lacing and gluing of this critter.

6. E also stands for eclairs....we whipped up a batch of these puppies yesterday afternoon....a treat for daddy (who is working lots of overtime) to take to work to share with his co-workers. "aunt" jamie and elizabeth worked hard to pipe the filling into the pastries while kate, alex, and mugho looked on waiting for scraps! these were delish...(of course jamie and i had to test them before sending them out the door...and i did send some home with jamie as well....)

7. bargains. you all know i love a good buy...even better when it involves shoes....and even better when they are super cute shoes in just the right size for elizabeth's growing feet. i picked these puppies up for $2.50 at kohls on sunday night....they were the only pair left and just happened to be just right for libs....who proceeded to tote her box around the store as proud as a peacock!

8. those shoes were just perfect for elizabeth's ever expanding bike-riding skills. seriously, i feel like in a matter of days she's riding like a champ all by herself...steering to stay out of the grass and everything.

9. jackets and jeans. i must admit that i am more than slightly ready for fall...for jeans and long sleeves...for autumn leaves and cool breezes....applesauce making and pumpkin patch visits. when i heard the weather report for today and the temp this morning was in the 50s i was thrilled to bust out the cutie jackets GG bought the girls. elizabeth was thrilled that it had a "hat"...and kate, well, she was just enthralled by trying to peek her hands out of the sleeves. i know she is super blurry in the first pic...but i just LOVE elizabeth smile and had to include it. as for the jeans part...there's just something about little ones in jean. i think kate is fascinated by her legs being covered, as she just keeps running her hands over the fabric again and again!

10. a girl and her mugho pug....i was sitting on the floor reading a story to kate, and when i glanced up this was what i saw (so, of course, after savoring the sight for a moment...and almost crying at the sweetness of it...i grabbed my camera). you can't see it through the window, but they're watching the train pass by...and you can't hear it, but elizabeth is launched into a full scale intense conversation with mugho. in fact, she is telling him all about the lyrics to "mighty to save" (from smile #1)..."mugho...my God can move a mountain. my God is mighty to save. mugho, Jesus conquered the grave...yes, He conquered the grave." precious moments to cherish...makes the frustrating moments worth it all (because yes, though i am not mentioning them in my "smiles" we do have plenty of those around the yak house!).

oh how i could go on...our lovely walk last night...a bridal shower for my dear friend lora...rain landing on our parched lawn...an organized hallway linen closet....the grain mill and fresh, farm grown whole wheat headed our way...my hard working hubby....friends....oh how blessed we are.

but i leave you with this wild and crazy reality...see this face and these feet....can you believe that this sweet little girl turns three in less than a month!? craziness i tell you! i'm so up in the air about her birthday...she is old enough to get it...old enough to have requested a "choo choo birthday party"...and yet i'm still not sure what we will be doing. with an upcoming wedding, crazy work schedules, family out of town (with their own schedules) i'm just not sure when to do something or what to do...but oh how i long to have a celebration for sweet libs....how i long for her to have a day filled with hugs and kisses...balloons and cards....shiny paper and bows....and so i will keep thinking and planning. any ideas!?