Sunday, October 31, 2010

(neutral) Frames

The frames shown below are some of my favorites so far.  Why?  Why because they are neutral, of course.  Now you know I love bright colors.  I do.  But the truth is that neutral feels comfortable to me.  And, my absolute fave is Powder Blue, so I loved these frames JT made for a local gift boutique.  :)  Enjoy!  And, as always, if you have any questions just ask.












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Our Newest Vendor!

We are truly so excited about our newest vendor!  We now carry frames in one of my favorite gift boutiques!


Hope on over to their blog and check them out!  They have the cutest gifts in town.  Well, in our town at least.  ;)

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

This Week's Faves

Praying for things you shouldn't pray for :: by Jon :: Stuff Christians Like
The post I could TOTALLY relate to.  Does that make me mean?  Ha!  I've said it before and I'll say it again - Jon is HILARIOUS!  The part about a kid being born double fisting sharpies with a love for hallway walls and toddler graffiti.  Made Diet Coke come out of my nose.

What Every Mom Needs To Know After A Bad Day :: by Kat :: Passionate Homemaking
The post I needed to hear.  Or read

for the love of a picture book :: by Sara :: August Fields
Great children's books!  Some I've never heard of, but want to purchase for my kids.

Introducing: The Simple Blogging E-book :: by Rachel :: Small Notebook, for a simple home
Pretty cool.  I would love to learn how to blog while not letting if effect other parts of life and finding balance.  It's only $8. 

What are the best fabrics and finishes to use with kids :: by Kristen :: 6th Street Design School
The post that taught me a lot and was read a the perfect time --- when I'm thinking about kid's rooms.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Surgery Was A Success!

Thanks for all the comments and prayers.  We are all fine, including my little Buddy.  :)  He is resting at the moment an probably will be all afternoon.  He hasn't complained much, but he is on a lot of meds.  :)  

In case you missed, his tonsils had become an issue because they were big and causing him breathing problems at night.  The doctor could not see his adenoids until he was taking them out, but said they were the biggest adenoids he had ever seen!  My poor baby!  No wonder he couldn't breathe good at night!  Or, during the day for that matter.  This will help him a great deal.  Or so we're told!  I'm glad to have it over with and I'm so proud of him.

I did ok.  Only crying a little when they took him away from me to do the surgery and once when we got home.  We are all doing fine now.  :)

Thanks again and hope y'all have a great weekend!  This week, I read some WONDERFUL posts that I can't wait to share with you tomorrow.  I'm working on linking them all up for you!

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Today's Red Letters + Tonsils

What are your tonsils really for anyway?

Today, my little Buddy will have his removed.  We have to be at the hospital in 40 minutes.  He can't have his milk as soon as he wakes.  I feel this will  be the worst part of any of it for him.  :(

If you think about it, please say a prayer for him (and ME!).  And, thanks for all your comments and prayers already.

"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can't be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation."

Romans 8:38-39

Now, I'm off to drink some coffee.  Oh yes I did say that.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Word to live by this Wednesday ~ "Don't curse what God's already blessed you with"

"Don't curse what God's already blessed you with"
~check out lady at gas station

A few mornings ago, I woke up feeling very bitter, angry, confused and hurt.  I was just done.  I had experienced a huge over load of 'cluster stress'.  Have you ever heard of cluster stress?  I hadn't either until a nice, Christian man recently taught me that is what John Taylor and I are experiencing.  It's when a lot of stressful things are happening in your life at one time.  They just all seem to pile on top of each other.  I think it's safe to say that we are in cluster stress over load!  Let me just let it all hang out for a moment and give you a glimpse of the clusters......

By 8:30 am I was facing the following:
- a one year old that seemed to be getting sick
- a 3 year old that has had a runny nose for going on 3 months now and is having his tonsils removed this Friday
- a need to find a brick mason in Birmingham to fix the crack in the brick on our house (you know, the house that's been for sale for over 2 years)
- a need to find time to call the pre-op nurse at the hospital to register my 3 year old for his upcoming surgery
- a need to pray for my son's upcoming surgery
- a need to find time to call our home owner's insurance company in Birmingham since we just got a letter stating they will not insure us starting next month since we are not living in the house
- a conference call that informed my husband that the company he works for is laying off again this winter and will be laying off 25% of the sales force.....here we go again.....maybe......
- a preschool saying my child could not stay at school because the health department came by and his shot records were missing a shot.....a shot he got when he was 1 day old.....in the hospital....in Birmingham!  And, when I called his old Dr. in Birmingham, I was told they couldn't have that record to me until Friday! 

Sure, this was frustrating.  But, I was hurt and confused by something I found out.  Something that was brought to my attention from someone very close to me.  Something that bothered them.  This info really turned my world upside down.  I had a hopeless feeling and I just wanted to throw my hands up and give up.  I was done.

So, I did what any cluster-stressed-out woman would do.  I headed right to the near by gas station to get a healthy fruit shake Krispy Kreme doughnut.....or two.  On the way there, I remember saying a prayer.  It was if I was having a conversation with God......

"Ok God, I know you have a plan, but I don't know what to do next.  I really don't this time.  I just want to give up.  No, I do give up.  I just give up.  I can't live like this anymore.  I want my little family to be normal again.  I need you to speak to me.  I hate what's going on right now.  I'm so unhappy with my circumstances and our situation.  Nothing is right.  Everything is wrong.  It's not supposed to be this way!!  How will I go on with everything so sucky like this????  I wish this were this way and that were that way....why can't you just give us a break!?!?"

Walked in.  Got my KK.  Walked up to check out counter.  There was a woman and man working the cash register and they were in the middle of a conversation when I walked up, with their backs turned to me.  Just moments after I asked God to speak to me and calm these feelings, the woman turns to help me (still talking to the man, but looking right at me) and says:

"You can't curse what God's already blessed you with"

I don't think I need to say anything else.  That spoke to me on SO many levels.  You just have no idea.  I know I don't go into a lot of detail about my relationships on this blog, but we all know relationships are hard.  Especially in the midst of a million, zillion cluster stresses.  We are both (John Taylor and I) guilty of cursing what God has already blessed us with.  How about you?

**PS, there is a new post after this one, too, needing your advice!**

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gift, Blog & Prayer Request

I wanted to get something really wonderful for John Taylor for his birthday.  In case you haven't noticed, we've had a stressful year!  Really, a stressful two years!  I knew that just what we needed was a weekend away together.  Alone.  But, how could I make it happen.  Well, if you want something bad enough, you find a way.  I know I always have lots of Christmas photo sessions, so I knew I'd have extra spending money there.  And, it's amazing how much money you can make on Craig's List if you clean out your closets!  Little did John Taylor know that I've been cleaning out all our closets like a mad women for a special reason! 

You probably remember me mentioning how bad we want to visit Charleston.  Well......I knew we'd never plan a trip there any time soon because due to finances, so I took matters into my own hands.  So, we're going to.......


I typed up a little booklet for him with pictures and everything.  He was SO surprised and so excited!  I haven't surprised him like that in a long time.  Here is a photo of the resort:



We are planning to go the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the dates may have to change due to babysitter arrangements.  I got us the "Romance Package" which includes rose petals on our bed linens every night with Champagne, a dinner for two at their signature steak house, a hour long massage at their spa and a few other things!  So excited.  We really need this and I'm so glad we're going to make it happen.  I've been doing a lot of research and emailing (thank you, Charleston blog friends!) on the city and we plan to venture out and explore ourselves.  We are even going on a carriage ride through historic Charleston!


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Changing gears, I have a few things to ask your advice about (and I'll write a more detailed a post about this in the furture).  I've had a few concerns about iBlog --- The name of it and the header.  I designed the header and created it to look just like an iPhone ad.  I'm not sure if I used the exact same font as apple, but it's close.  And the phone part is the exact same look.  I have not been contacted by anyone from apple, but I'm a little concerned about it after getting these emails!  They (apple) and iPhone have a blog, too.  It's called iBlog....naturally.  I'm not sure the legal terms, but I do not want to do anything wrong and of course I never meant to from the start!  I also do not want to end up in a situation like Darby!  According to my sitemeter, a lot of people come to iBlog that are searching for apple's iBlog and I sure don't want someone to write them.  It would all go down hill from there!  I really don't know what to do!  Change the name?  Change header?  Change the name but still include the words "i" and "blog"?  Leave it like it is and stop worrying about it?  Please, give me advice!  The blog title I originally wanted was taken at the time, but now it's avaliable!  But, it is a TOTALLY different name and I really don't know if I want that big of a change.......  Give me your thoughts, please. 

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On another note, I wanted to ask for your prayers.  Our 3 year old son is having his tonsils removed on Friday morning.  He hasn't been sick because of them, but they are big and are causing some breathing problems at night.  I've been so worried about him, watching him sleep!  We would have never noticed this had we not been sleeping so close to him while on vacation.  Basically, his air ways are being abstructed and it's almost like he's struggling to get his next breath!  It seems and sounds a lot worse than it is.  The ENT said that he hears that story all the time --- the family goes on vacation and notices this for the first time!  Anyway, I'm sort of stressed out about it.  He's so young and I know he won't fully understand what's going on.  Plus, him being put to sleep scares me.  Thanks for your prayers!  I'll be sure to update you.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

& Designs (outdoor chairs + table)

John Taylor is going to be doing quite a bit of custom work for our friend, Kim.  She and her hubby are in the process of building a new house.  John Taylor is doing some work that will be inside their house, but first he built something for the outside!  Kim's husband, Kevin, and JT share the same birthday!  Cool huh?  She surprised Kevin with some tall Adirondack chairs and a matching table.  She set them on the front porch of their house that's being built and surprised him.  The best part was, Kevin told her the day before his birthday that he thought it would be so cool to have some Adirondack chairs on the front porch.  Little did he know.......








These were taken in front of our house.  Hopefully I can get some in front of their house once it's finished!  They are staining the front door the same color.  So pretty!  Love them!  And, I love that they are taller than most Adirondack chairs.  Sort-of "life guard" style.


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Thirty Two

This past Friday, John Taylor turned 32.  He wanted to celebrate not by going somewhere, but staying at home.  He wanted to get a good bottle of wine, sit out on the porch (kidless), smoke a cigar, and cook himself a steak.  So, that's what we did.  Sorry, I actually did not take any pictures during our time together.  Just wanted to focus on us.  But, I do have pictures to share.  Yes. I. Do.  :)  Enjoy!

First, we have John Taylor on his first birthday:
He's eating powdered donuts.  He loved those as a baby.  He called them "pong pongs".  Don't ask.  His  mom has no idea why!

Jump way ahead, here he is.  Learning how to be a man:
Seems he learned from the best.

He has always been such a hard worker.  What can I say....

I just have to share this picture.  His Sigma Chi composite picture.  Mississippi State University.  1997.
This was before we met, but when I first met him I LOVED this picture.  Still do.  ;)

This picture was taken about 5 months before we met.  Just thought it was funny.

 This was taken right after we met.  We were in Tampa visiting his parents and I rode along while he played golf.  One of his favorite past times.....

Speaking of favorite past times, John Taylor LOVES to go back packing and camping.  One year he went with my brother and his son and this is one of my favorite pictures ever:
(JT is on the far left)

Here are a few more from that day:


Ok, that was pre kids.  This was too.  Our wedding day.
Ha!  Priceless.

He always was quite the ladies man......
(by the way, that's my pregnant sister kissing him on the cheek!)

Jump ahead.  Just moments after becoming a father for the first time:
Sharing the news with family that we had just had a baby BOY!

A couple of years later with his baby boy.  Not such a baby anymore, but loves his Daddy.

And I've never seen a baby capture a man's heart like this baby girl has her Daddy's......

Oh, and I can't forget about his other baby girl.....


I really have no story behind the picture below.  It is just one of my all time fave pictures of John Taylor.  It is not great quality and I tried to fix the red eye (making him now look somewhat like an alien), but I love it.  I just do.  It captures a real John Taylor laugh.  When he truly thinks something is funny, he slaps his hands like so and I caught a picture.  I love it.  I love him.

Baby, I love you.  I know I already wished you a happy birthday, but not in front of all of blog land.  So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Happy 32nd!  Here are 32 reasons why I love you:

1. you make me laugh
2. you have a sexy smile and dimple
3. you care about things a great deal, big and small
4. you are a Christian
5. you are a family guy
6. you are so gentle and loving with our children
7. you love to snuggle with your daughter in bed
8. you tell me and the kids you love us often
9. you feel the same way I do about all the big, important things in life
10. you have strong faith
11. you have strong, solid morals
12. you are a man of value
13. you are a man of dependability
14. you are honest
15. you have so much respect for me
16. you never say hurtful things to me
17. you try to understand me, even when I'm not being very understandable
18. you are a man of God
19. you pray for us
20. you take us to church
21. you cook dinner for us every night
22. you give your son a bath every night
23. you are there every night when it's time for the kids to go to bed
24. you play with us
25. you make time for us
26. you are very talented
27. you pay attention to detail
28. you have a great, healthy body
29. you let me take lots of pictures
30. you work hard
31. you work really, REALLY hard for us
32. you give us a great life and make lots of sacrifices for us

(I'm working on a post about my gift to John Taylor)
:)

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

a few unrelated things

Business.
John Taylor has been busy, busy, busy making frames.  He has also done some custom stuff lately.  I'm super excited about the adirondack chairs and matching table he's building for my friend, Kim.  They are done now, just drying.  I will be sure to posts pics of them soon.
Home.
I'm an all or nothing kind of girl.  It seems there is never any room for gray in my life.  It's either black or white.  All or nothing.  I said that already.  If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it the right way.  This pours on over into my home.  It's funny because I consider myself a pretty neat person.  But, I can't just clean a little along the way. I have to set time aside to clean and I mean CLEAN.  So, sometimes my house gets messy and I don't "pick up" because I'm waiting until I can really clean.  I know, crazy.  I've mentioned before that  I feel like we're stuck in transition mode being in this rental house (which is a GREAT house, by the way).  But, I don't feel like it's ours even though we have lived her for over a year!  I have not decorated or anything because I wasn't going to do that if it was only temporary.  Plus, if I can't do EVERYTHING like I want it, then I wasn't going to do anything at all.  Therefore, I did nothing.  Seriously, the computer desk was in the dining room.  Our dining room furniture is non-existent.  Our "play room" was in the sun room.  No pictures on the walls.  Half, no, over half of our furniture is not ours.  It's been given to us by family members.  And the list could go on.  I decided the other day that it's about time I made our house a home.  About time I made it more functional for us.  Time to make it some-what personal, even if it meant using the stuff I had and not buying anything new.  My taste used to be mustard yellow, olive green, burnt orange, brown tones.  Not anymore.  I really would like everything to be super neutral and white slip covered.  I decided to use what I have and make it work.  I'm working on it and I feel SO much better about this house now.  I will have to take some pics and show you what I've done by using ONLY what I have. 

Life.
Crazy.  As always.  Plus, the fact that I've started re-arranging furniture does not help with my sanity.  Stuff is everywhere and the kids look puzzled every time they wake up from a nap and the rooms are all flip flopped!  Potty training.  Dealing with a 3 year old bully at preschool.  He pushes and hits.  I'm about to come out of my skin when I see him doing this! 

Love.
Celebrating my hubby's 32nd birthday tomorrow!  So excited to give him his gift.  Hope he likes it.  I sure do.  Can't wait to share details with you. 

Totally random.
I went to Walmart to get Pull-Ups.  Walmart has two entrances --- one says "Food Center" and one says "Always Less" or something like that.  I knew the diapers were on the food center side, but I parked "less" side because I wasn't there to buy food.  For some reason, I can't go in that side unless I'm there to buy groceries.  So, I went in the Less side and walked all the way back down to the food side.  I started to realize this is weird.  I realized this when I walked up to the door to go in.  There are two doors.  One says "Enter" and one says "Exit".  They both open when you walk in front of them, it doesn't matter if you're inside or outside.  I don't really know why they have an enter and exit door when they open no matter if you're entering or exiting.  I walked in front of the exit door first, but I didn't go in when it opened.  Why?  That would have been easier than walking to the "enter" door.  But, I wasn't exiting, so I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't.  What's wrong with me? 

Ok, if you're even still reading.....hope you have a great weekend!  I plan to spend the day with the hubs tomorrow and will share birthday details on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PS.....

Forgot.  Wanted to say two things.

1.  Thank you for all the sweet comment on our vacation post.  Made my day!  We had a great time.  As for Doodles' swim suits.  I'm ashamed to admit that I packed her not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 swim suits for her first beach trip!  SHE'S ONLY 1!!!!!  But, in my defense, I only bought one of them.  And it was from Target.  On clearance.  For $3.99.  We were fortunate enough to get 6 bins full of clothes from my sister (who has two daughters) and my sister-in-law (who has one daughter).  We knew exactly what we were doing --- we waited until after our sister's had girls and and then had a daughter.  We happen to have sister's with adorable fashion taste, sisters who knew the importance of dressing their daughter's wonderfully, even if it meant spending a pretty penny sometimes.  In other words, we got lots of REALLY nice clothes.  I've only bought two things for Doodles.  Seriously.

2.  Wanted to clear up.  When my friend, Kim, wrote a guest post for me, I introduced her by saying she had given birth two hours earlier and then wrote a guest post for me.  Not really, you guys!  I was being extreme.....as always.  I assure you she did not pop a baby out, write a blog post and then nurse her third born for the first time ever.  Just wanted to let y'all know that.  :)

Now, go read my post.  It's under this one.  I just posted it!

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Anxiety: How Christians Handle It

I got this email from my Pastor the other day.  I'm so glad he sent it out to everyone.  It really impacted me and of course came to me at just the right time.....just when I needed to read it.  I started thinking though.....lately, if I would have gotten this email at any moment of any day of any week of any month, it would have been the right moment.  ;)  So helpful.  Wanted to spread the helpfulness.

This is from John Piper. I thought this was so helpful that I wanted to share it with everyone. - Hunter



When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).


When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).


When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).


When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).


When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).


When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approvedness, and approvedness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).


When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).


When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9–11).


When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a little family vacay

For those of you that are not in the south, going to the beach means going to the Gulf.  The beaches of South Walton are where we like to visit.  The beaches along 30A, in particular.  The beaches along 30A were voted the whitest sand in the world.  Don't know when, I've just heard that before.  If you're not familiar, but would like to check it out to maybe take a little vacation there one day --- link is HERE.  We actually stayed in Grayton Beach.  It was our first time to stay there, we usually stay in Seagrove.  It's a little slice of paradise, right here in the south.  There are many people who enjoy our beaches from places other than the south.  Notice I said "our" beaches.  I've gotten better.  I used to say "my".  I lived down there during the summer in college.  And for some reason I thought since I walked them every day (and sometimes night) and for a short while called myself a "local", they were somewhat mine.

Ookie dookie.  Moving right along to our pictures.....

I took this picture sitting on the beach one day.  Doesn't it look like we're on some tropical island?  Seriously, the water looked the same in the Bahamas on my honeymoon!

Every day we (and when I say we, I really mean John Taylor) would haul all our gear to the beach.  A big pop up tent, pak-n-play, cooler, beach towels, beach bag full of snacks and sunscreen, beach chairs, camera, video camera, and most importantly - toys.

 I really don't know why though.  All he'd do all day was this:

and this:

and this:

The view was pretty beautiful, no matter where I was......



One morning we saw a couple unload a bunch of stuff.  The lady got on a surf board and the man got out in the water with a net.  We started seeing all kinds of fish jumping out of the water.  A group gathered and she pointed down in the water.  There was a shark eating morning breakfast!  I stayed pretty close to shore, but JT went out and little bit and said he saw it!

The kids had a blast and were very tired every night when we got in.  Even the Doodlebug liked the sand and water!  I caught her in the act!  Juuuuust about to put some sand in her mouth.  :)

John Taylor was there.  See.

I promise, I was there, too.  It's kind-of sad.  I'm hardly ever in any pictures because I'm always taking them.  But, once I saw my legs in a swim suit, I was ok with it.  Let's re-visit this picture, shall we:
Bless her.  She gets her legs from me.

Sunset is my favorite time on the beach.  It seems everyone is packing to go inside and get ready for dinner, but we just stay right where we are......
I thought it was time I add Doodles feet to my header, too.  :)



 This picture was taken at Watercolor.  We walked around one night before dinner.

 I tried to get a picture of the kids all dressed up.  I thought maybe I could use it for our Christmas card.  Wrong!  All they did was this:

I can't wait to go back.  

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