Writer’s Block

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When I can’t write…

When words fail me…

When it feels like my emotions are running through my veins at a crazy pace in every direction, and they have no outlet whatsoever…

When the writer’s block is at all time peak…

I find myself creating.

That’s how I tick. I have to be making something. Like homemade pizza. Or snapping pictures. Maybe something fun like chalk paint for Bubby. Or something completely horrible, but tasty like Nutella cookies.

But I miss writing. Writing is setting my soul free. It allows me to feel my soul EXHALE. And something about it makes every inch of me ready for another day of this thing called life.

Big things happen. Little things. Moments that make my heart ache with so much curiosity and wonder. Yet words fail me. A lot lately, it seems. So I turn to other things to express what my soul just can’t bear inside.

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I think a lot about God being an artist. Being surrounded by so much beauty in Florida last week – the water, the sunset, the impeccable grains of sugary sand, the sea creatures that found themselves at our feet that week… it amazes me. What a great God.

Last week I checked facebook or instagram, I can’t remember which now. But I saw Diana’s update on her precious newborn son (she has lost twins in the past few years, in case you don’t follow her blog or know her), at the time she said he was taking a turn for the worst. That same day, only a few hours later my husband got a text message that a co-worker had been murdered. Twenty-five. Leaving behind young children. It felt so wrong to be vacationing. Enjoying life, when someone else is living through hell. Or dying a completely senseless death.

*sigh*

There just aren’t words sometimes. Only tears. Silent prayers that feel like they hit a brass ceiling or soaking the ground beneath us.

When my feet hit the water for the first time last week, it was at dusk. Jenna instantly came to my mind. I meet her at the beach. I have always loved the beach, but since losing Jenna, it is my heart’s desire to be by the water permanently someday. I feel close to her there. Watching the waves crash, collide and retreat back into the sea help me process the waves of grief. I thought a lot about our eldest girl. I pictured her in the back seat with our precious babies. I so wished I could see her interact with her new baby sister. Bubby is so in love with Evelyn. He just swoons over everything she does. He calls her ‘gorgeous’ and refers to her as ‘my baby’. He lets her play with his favorite toys (now that is love!).

I can only imagine what Jenna would have thought of Evelyn.

I just missed writing tonight… and I’m a blubbering mess now. It’s ridiculous. Sometimes I just forget how much I really miss our Jenna. I think about her every single day, but somedays the ache is too strong to keep inside.

But I am also desperately thankful at the same time.

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Just Because

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Sometimes I hold you, just because.

Just because it won’t always be this way.

You’ll grow up, spread your own wings and the way life works you’ll be so busy. The way I’m busy with life and I don’t see my mom every single day.

It hurts my heart to think of you leaving this house. But I hope you know you always have a home here. Sure, someday you’ll grow up and chase your own dreams and I pray you’ll use your God-given talents in some extraordinary way. And I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. But all the while I will know that someday, like today, we knew it was coming.

So there are many, many times I just hold you. Smile at you. Play with you. Ask you the same questions over and over, because they’re the ones that you can answer and we can hold conversations that I know you won’t remember, but I will.

Like the time you told me you saw two angels outside our window on the way home last Wednesday.

Or the time you told me you saw Jesus in our closet.

Or the time you asked me about Daddy’s work.

Or the many times you’ve told me about you starting school in September. (I love the way you say “September”, by the way!)

Or the time you talked to me about your monster trucks.

And I chase you around the house, or tickle you or make some crazy face just to see your smile.

I don’t feel worthy to be your mom.

I find myself reaching in desperate measures these days for wisdom, patience, and rest.

And each time I get frustrated at myself, I can hear God whisper that all I really have to do is ask. Just ask.

So today, all I can think of to do, is hold you. Just because.

Life won’t always be this simple.

Shine on.

Shine on my dear boy. You light up my world.

Without even the skip of a beat, or a flicker of retreat… here you are. So grown up.

Adoring your baby sister. Filling each day with so many questions. Some new ones. Some questions I hear everyday. Some questions that make me scratch my head. Some that make me so, so proud to be your mom.

And as each day passes, it just never seems like we do enough in a day. At the end of each day I hug you so tight, and can’t kiss your sweet cheeks enough. I cannot imagine this life without your light in our lives.

So I follow you around unapologetically throughout the day with camera in tow, or my phone camera in my pocket.

And there are times that I just don’t. But when I do, I find myself a bit sentimental looking back through the seconds of our lives together embossed on this digital screen.

And at the end of the day there are pieces of you basically everywhere. Toys, and shoes. Socks and crumbs. Books and monster trucks. Cups with half-eaten apples and puddles of water or milk that spilled onto the end table in our living room table from a leaky sippy cup.

Many days you spend your evenings in your own little world, making out your own adventures in our backyard. I watch with a close eye as I prepare dinner, and sister is often “helping” me, enjoying babywearing time in the ergo as the kitchen fills with the summer’s warm tide and onions and garlic choking up the smell of the scented candles burning in the background. I step out for a moment or two, to watch you inconspicuously. I love to watch you play. But I like to watch without you seeing me, because its then that I can capture your true nature. Your enamor with the outdoors and the discovery you are making in the small rocks, or dirt. Sometimes you spot a ladybug. Or a grasshopper. Or a walking stick.

Sometimes you watch your smitten mama and you smile and run toward me. You always ask me to ‘stay outside’. And then you point down to my spot on our porch where the concrete meets the lawn, and I let my bare feet rest onto the long grass. I’ll rest Evie on my lap to watch you play too. We really need to get lawn furniture. But even sitting right there, on the ground I soak up this moment. I almost always look up at the clouds. We talk about the clouds a lot lately. You have so many questions. I love your curiosity. And your ability to retain the information is amazing.

The other day, it must have been about five in the afternoon. We were outside and the sky was still so blue. You pointed up and wanted me to know you found the moon. “It’s beautiful.” you said.

My goodness child. Do you know what you do to me?

You make this world such a beautiful place.

The way you love your sister.

The way you want to hold my hand still, while you drink your milk after nap time.

The way you make silly jokes and understand laughter and your daddy’s humor.

The way you love life, and hate bed time.

The way you talk about Jesus and the angels.

The way you swoon over your sister and call her words like ‘gorgeous’ and ‘precious’.

The way you are always thinking about your friends, even when they are not around.

Just you.

Shine on, dear boy.

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linking up here + here

Letting Go

I have never been a fan of letting go. For one thing I’m kind of a self-admitted control freak. And two, I hate goodbyes. Goodbyes always involve some level of heart ache.

Today’s been hard. I’m not entirely sure why either. My son is getting to an age where his will is showing through, and I teeter on the fence of wondering what is acting out, what is the cry for attention and what is his need to explore and become who he is. Growing at the rate that he must be growing mentally, it must be overwhelming at the least. I think about this a lot. I wonder how my children soak in information, so much of it, every day. From new words at the farmer’s market, to new ideas as we pass things on the side of the road, to learning about the moon, the stars, Heaven, Jesus’ disciples, blueberries, dump trucks, numbers and letters. So much information that you and I might take for granted.

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I wonder how this all plays into his emotions. I realize the further I go into this mommy thing, the less I know. I feel like I write that, or at least think it once a week.

I find myself on my knees more these days. Mercy. I need it. As each night closes, my heart collapses in exhaustion. One day, down. Almost like a goal is to be met, but no sooner does that thought pass, that I cringe. One day has passed. Never to be lived again. Did I stare into his big brown eyes enough? Did I play cars with him like he wanted me to? Does he know that no matter how difficult this day was, that I want nothing but his happiness?

I wouldn’t trade this life for any other. The hard things pale in comparison to the joys. Surely I know that.

But letting go, my goodness. Letting go. Asking for help. Admitting that my super mom cape is looking a little tattered these days. It’s humbling to say the least.

I’m making huge, huge changes in my work load this week. Asking for help with the magazine, saying no on projects I just can’t follow through with through my design work. Saying ‘no’ is hard stuff.

But sometimes letting go is the only choice left. And something tells me that letting go is much more fulfilling than fighting for dear life to what you think you might be holding onto…

psalms // promise

Coffee Date

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If I had the chance to sneak out of my house for a quick cup of coffee, I would throw on some comfy flip flops, tie my hair in a loose bun and grab my keys before my husband could change his mind about watching the kids for me. Honestly, he’s really good about it. But I hate leaving them more than I have to, so my guilt would be playing tug-of-war with my need for a little space to think.

But I’d take the opportunity and run as fast as I could to the nearest Starbucks and eagerly wait to see you.

I’d order something delicious and fattening.

I’d open up Instagram while the barista makes my drink, and gawk over the photos of prettiest beach in Florida or laugh out loud because I caught a glimpse of Angie’s Kate doing something completely awesome in the rain.

I’d squeal inside as I saw you pulling up, because even though I’m almost thirty I feel like a kid inside. I still get excited about friends. And hanging out. And laughing at ourselves and oftentimes other people…!

I’d tell you over my cup of iced coffee with a mountain of whip cream on top, that my heart is so happy that July is here. I’ve felt a movement in my soul for the past few weeks.

There are times when I have seriously questioned if there was really a God. Short lived moments, but honest nonetheless. Yet when I know my heart is searching and feeling so far away from anything spiritual, I can feel him there. I can see him in my children. I can hear him speaking. Softly. And more each day.

It encourages my heart. That even though I’ve had my own version of ‘hell and back’, he still wants to be in this mess. Maybe someday he’ll show me how to pick up all these pieces too, without injuring more parts of my soul.

I’d tell you that Bubby’s baby phase is gone… and has been for a while. But just lately I am really seeing his boyhood taking over. The way he is forming sentences… pronouncing ‘big’ words… asking questions.

I’d laugh as I told you that he asked me if we could take Jesus some cookies yesterday. He pleaded and pleaded to ‘go see Jesus’ and used the cookies as his final plea. I did the best I could to explain things that I wonder how much he really knows (more than I think, I’m sure!).

I’d tell you that Evie reached six months and that I can hardly wait to start really planning her birthday party. Yes, I am thinking ahead. I’d tell you that Pete turned down my idea to rent ponies for pony rides… but that I’m going to still check prices. Dream big, right? ;)

I’d tell you in all seriousness that even though at first having a little girl in our world again was extremely bittersweet, that today life is the sweet side of bittersweet. I think about what the three of them would have been like together… a lot. It makes me so happy. And sad. I remember growing up always wanting a big sister… and to think that Evie did… does… yet at the same time she doesn’t. That kind of breaks my heart.

I’d tell you that the other night I cried for the first time in what feels like forever. We were at the drive-in of all places. Evie was snoozing away, Bubby was watching Monsters U, and I looked up. I guess the movie wasn’t really all that, but the experience of the drive-in… priceless. Movie under a starlight sky? Yes. Please. But anyway, I looked up, and the quote about the stars being the love of our lost ones to show us how happy they are… it crossed my mind. Tears rolled off my face. I think they were happy and sad tears. I love thinking about Jenna being happy. Even though I never imagined I would want to be happy again in this life after we buried her… God has given us so much that fills our hearts. And happiness lives here. Happiness found it’s way back into our world, more than we ever dreamed. To think of her being happy… it’s a beautiful thought to say the least.

I’d tell you that I started my very two last designs. And that I am so ready to plunge head first into new things for the shop. I’d tell you that I am obsessed with gold spray paint, glitter and newspaper for projects.

I’d tell you that we need to go swimming soon, because it’s like a hundred and four degrees outside. And we could both probably use a little more sun? :)

I’d ask about you. Your dreams. Your heart. Your babies. Your world.

And I’d hope that we could do this again soon, soon, soon.

Evie

linking up here today.

After Naptime

When her naptimes are over, and we hear her through the monitors waking up, Joseph usually stops whatever he might be doing if he is in ear shot and say “Mama, she wake up!”

He watches me eagerly to follow my footsteps into her room. He loves this part of the day, and I love that we get to experience this sweetness more than once in a day too. He loves calling her “gorgeous” and “precious”. He’ll even say,”Mama, I love her.” I promise there are twinkles in his eyes when he talks about her. Every time.

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These are the Golden Days

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My heart is so full.

These babies. They have absolutely no idea how much they fill my heart with the most undeserving and unbelievable love and joy.

linking up here

One Day

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One day I’m going to miss this.

The changing diapers.

Wiping runny noses.

Playing ‘clean up’ fifteen times a day.

The nights that involve six hours of broken sleep.

Hearing Bubby talk about how he wants Daddy on this new schedule.

Washing these littles fingers and toes in the bath tub.

Holding their hands and feeling them grab my finger with their fists.

Finding monster trucks in the sheets, or cherrios and crackers in the couch cushions.

Watching Evie back away from the bottle to talk and babble softly for a few moments and then return to eating.

The way she calms down and snuggles in my arms.

The way they need me. I’m going to miss it.

I already feel this sense of urgency, and that time is swallowing us up much too quickly. In a few days Evie will be five months. It feels only like yesterday we were bringing her precious self home to us. It makes me wonder if I am doing enough. Taking enough pictures and videos. It makes me wonder how much time I spend looking them directly in the eyes, and drinking them in as much as possible.

She smiles, and lights up our world. She laughs too. She looks for her brother when she hears him talking.

He talks to her about his cars and trucks. Showing her the car as he talks and talks, fully trusting she isn’t missing a beat of it. She struggles to hold her head up high, but she is so eager to watch him. Listen to him. Watching them bond over trucks and cars, baby talk and afternoon snacks… it’s just beautiful.

That they are my babies. Their mommy. The one that is so needed by them.

I’m going to miss this one day.

But today, my goodness, today… I might be tired, but I am so incredibly blessed.

When Inspiration is Scarce and Life is Full

Sometimes life is so full.

Full of laundry piles, sick babies, dirty dishes, grocery runs, bills, emails, bad hair days.

Life gets full.

I have always felt like a part of me is a writer. Not to be confused with the writer that writes best-selling novels and travels the world on the publisher’s dime. But one who craves to write because it is like breathing to her. It’s not always clear, it’s not always methodical. And it is definitely not always profitable, but it is life sustaining. It helps me process life.

Life has been full.

My heart has been full, but words have been scarce… not quite sure how to come here and express it all. Me and my son fell terribly sick on Wednesday (crazy Texas weather!), emails and orders fell the wayside, and the rest of this week has been catch up.

And while some inspiring words escape me, I am actually okay admitting that today, this whole week actually has sort of been like limbo to me.

Waiting. Hoping. Believing.

That while life can just be so full of the mundane… there is inspiration all around.

And I will wait for it.

Hope for it.

Believe it.

It really is all around.

Just yesterday I was flipping through my instagram pictures and I rested on this photo for a while, and I seriously wanted to bawl. No matter how many sweet moments he fills my life with, it just never seems like they last long enough. If I could but bottle this time up forever… as I lay these precious babies down each night my heart breaks a little, knowing that one more day has passed in the lives of their ‘littleness’.

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I was getting sick as my little man was starting to feel better on Wednesday and I was lying on the couch, covered up. In the middle of his playtime in the living room where we spend most of our days, Bubby walked over to me, and put his hand gently over my head and said,”It’s okay sweetheart. I’m going to take you to the doctor.”

I almost just cried writing that out.

Love like this.

Well, I think that it plenty inspiration for now.

Life may be full, but it sure can be oh, so sweet.

This Mess

messIMG_1174 IMG_1176 IMG_1179 IMG_1182 IMG_1189 IMG_1191 On a typical day, this is what my living room floor looks like.

Dump trucks, stuffed animals and books scattered all over our worn out carpet. Rubbed out spots on the floor, from peanut butter or ice cream.

Laundry covering the smaller sofa. I can hardly keep up these days. I think I’ve given up actually, and I’m okay with it really.

That saying about having a messy home, but happy kids… it’s kind of true.

The other day I was spending some time on the living room floor with my babies. My world. The mess of a typical day surrounded us. All I could think of was how happy I am to have the chance to clean this up.

Because there is only a mess where there is LIFE.

My son’s days are spent tirelessly, effortlessly sorting through games, toys and books. Dragging mud pies through our kitchen, and not-so-accidentally tossing play dough off the kitchen table, making semi-permanent red and blue stains throughout our kitchen floor.

I look forward to seeing what Evelyn will choose to do. What her mess will look like.

Sure there are days, where life can just feel chaotic and tiring. But this mess… the never-ending task of putting the dump truck back, re-shelving the books, vacuuming the nabisco crackers off the carpet for the hundredth time in a week… it’s something I’ll never be able to do for Jenna. I often wonder what her mess would look like had she lived. What books and toys I would be looking forward to storing away, to someday pass down to her own kids. What toys would have been her favorite.

Her mess looks a lot different than I imagined it would. But it’s a mess nonetheless. A mess that I look forward to picking up and sorting through each day. The art, the cards, the canvases, the emails, the connecting with other bereaved moms… all remnants of the life she lived.

There is only a mess where there has once been life.

Conversations With My Rainbow Baby

Sometimes she whispers.

Sometimes she’s far.

And it’s almost like it never happened. It’s easier for grief to be so close it hurts. Isn’t that so backwards though?

In the beginning it was unimagineable to think that I’d have to carry this pain for the rest of my life. And now that ebb and flow of life has gifted us with some amazing, amazing new memories and times, the raw place of grief is a rare place my heart visits.

It’s easier to celebrate her with tears. And I use the word ‘easier’ because I can’t think of another way to describe it. It’s a terrible word to pair with grief actually, but I hope you get the idea. Tears are visible. They let the world know I have not ‘moved on’, and I have not forgotten. They strangely make me feel close to her again.

The remembrance ceremony was more emotional than I imagined I would be, but the hospital did an immaculate job at making it such a special time for newly bereaved parents. The nurses even hand painted rocks for the babies! That, I think, was my favorite part. Well they also had a harpist (harp player?) present, which was magical. That might have been my favorite. Either way, every part of the ceremony was carefully thought out.

And I cried, during the speech, after the speech… but since then, I feel that sadness leaving for now. It’s almost a sense of relief. An allowance to breathe this most bittersweet week of the year for me. Maybe this is just what happens when you’ve reached the four year mark from holding the baby you never imagined you’d lose?

Maybe I’m in denial?

Or maybe, just maybe… I am ready to truly celebrate her with everything I’ve got. I honestly don’t know. I suppose this week will tell. As the kiddos get older, I don’t want them to always associate Jenna with tears and sadness, because she is more than a sad something that happened. She was a miracle. She was a fighter. She continues to be such an inspiration. And she is their big sister… who lives with the Jesus Joseph is learning so much about these days.

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Lately it’s not uncommon for Joseph to mention Jenna in conversation. It usually goes something like this. A short conversation, but a treasure nonetheless.

I’ll be in Evie’s room, changing her diaper, with Bubby close behind me. He sees two big brown, cardboard boxes opened enough to see part of colorful odds and ends – toys to him.

“Mama, this Evie’s?” pointing at the white pony stuffed animal, resting on top of one of the boxes.

“No buddy, that’s Jenna’s”.

He looks down at the pony, a little confused, but eager to know more.

“Jenna’s your BIG sister…” I glance back at him, wondering if he might understand this a little better now that he knows what a sister is.

“Where’s Jenna?” so not a question I was ready for.

Without hesitating I blurted out,”she’s in Heaven Buddy.” breathing now, relieved I got those words out without a blubbering mess. “With Jesus.” I added, thinking he might actually understand it better.

“Jesus alive!!” He didn’t even blink. Thank God for his Sunday school teacher who planted this beautiful seed in his heart.

“Yes Buddy, Jesus is alive.”

If his little heart can believe in his childlike faith that Jesus is in fact alive, then knowing his sister lives there too, I suppose it can’t always be sad when we bring her up. Because if he is alive, then she lives too. And what a beautiful hope.

The Moments You Live For

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Watching your son. Doing this. On his own. Enjoying it, and believing that his mower is making as big a difference as his daddy’s – because – you know – it is! He’s so proud. He smiles shyly at you when you try to take the picture, but then turns his sweaty red face back the task, eager to join daddy again.

I held him tonight, as he fell asleep. This rarely happens these days. He usually falls asleep on his own in his big boy bed. But lately it’s not until I hold him that I realize I don’t have a baby boy any more. He’s so grown up. He no longer feels like a squishy, chubby baby in my arms. Not even a borderline-chubby toddler. He’s a boy.

I think something about holding another baby in my arms really confirmed this for me. That, and I’ve been in major denial about him growing up. It’s all happening too fast. (He turns THREE in two Fridays!)

I have to admit, that when Pete asked me to come over because he wanted to show me something I was a little annoyed. I thought to myself, “Really? I’m nearly done! and Evie’s actually letting me get this done…” I think I was in the middle of washing the never-ending pile of dishes. But when he walked back over to the lawn mower, and motioned with a backwards nod of his head to watch Bubby, I melted into a puddle.

This is what we live for.

Not the clean dishes, the shiny floors, the tidy living room…

We live for the moments that make you want to cry buckets of tears, because how on earth did I get so lucky? How is he really mine? Ours?

The moments that make you want to cry happy, jubilant, life-loving tears.

**update! I’m writing for the first time on The MOB Society today! Check it out here!

A Letter to My Littles

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Dear Joseph + Evelyn,

It seems like this year it just doesn’t stop. The world is a hurting place, and you have to wonder how much more sadness can be born into such a small world. I feel helpless thinking about the world you will know.

A lot of people say that all these disasters and wars mean that God is coming back soon. I hope.

Times like this you long for Heaven. You remember what really matters. And you question if you’re spending your smallest minutes in the absolute best way possible. Are you wasting any time?

Times like today, when someone in this world decides to hurt innocent people, create confusion, death and terror, and wreck lives forever… I want you to do a few things…

I want you to look for the brave people running towards the chaos, helping the helpless and putting their own lives on the line. Heroes inspire humanity. They put hope on the front lines, when you are being bombarded with chaos.

Look away from the television. Turn off the radio. Put down your phone or electronic device. All of which have the power to feed your fear.

Embrace your time.

I thought about the moms and dads at the event. The ones with littles. Hot tears poured down my face, thinking it could be us next time. Bubby, you’re old enough now to know when I’m sad. You asked me why I was crying. You started to become sad too. The last thing I wanted to do was strike fear into you. I soon after shut off the television. It was just too much. The same clips were playing over and over.

It makes me tremble to think that a day could come where my arms might not be enough protection for you. When you’re big and grown, and even in just a few years you’ll start school.

But if I’ve learned anything from the disasters that seem to have no end it’s this.

There are some people who thrive off of my fear. They live for it, and sacrifice others to die for it. I won’t let them win. Am I afraid? Yes. I think in times of crisis, it’s impossible not to be… even a little. But in all this knowingness of my lack of control… of anything really… makes me want to squeeze life that much more.

Live boldly. In the face of fear.

Live purposefully. Honoring our heroes, and the lives lost much too soon.

Live trusting again. Your Grandma reminded me of these words today… and hearing them felt like a warm blanket had just been wrapped around me on a dark, cold wintery night.

Let not your heart be troubled…

John 14:1a

sunday school paperToday of all days you found your Sunday school paper from Easter Sunday. One paper had a cut out of Jesus’ tomb and a rock pinned over it, so you could slide it back and forth and another paper had a picture of Jesus with a light shining behind him. You must have been paying attention that day because all day you were saying “Jesus alive!”, “Jesus alive!”. Only a few hours later my facebook feed would be buzzing with stories of this explosion in Boston. You kept saying it throughout the entire day too. Jesus is alive. Thank you for that much needed reminder…

easter weekend.

Lately on weekends I am finding it easier to close the laptop. Unwind, as much as possible. This past weekend I sort of celebrated having my living room ‘redone’. I made curtains out of $12 wal-mart queen size sheets, painted a chalkboard wall in our kitchen and made our own family photo wall collage on the same wall that our T.V. hangs on. I feel like Martha Stewart on steroids, only I am exhausted! I’d die a happy woman if I never saw another gallon of paint again! But I’m loving the white walls!

Needless to say, I needed the four day weekend I gave myself:)

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Evelyn turned three months last week and I honestly don’t know how we got from there to here. So fast.

Easter Sunday it hailed and we barely got the egg hunt done in time, but we did! Bubby was more interested in popping open the eggs to snag the chocolate, instead of trying to gather as many eggs as possible.

And then he discovered confetti eggs…

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eshakti contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me if they could send me a dress, to share their awesomeness with you!!! I was so excited to look through all their super cute, and modest style dresses. They are HARD to find in stores today. Anyhoo… you can customize the dress to your size AND taste. For example, for the dress I chose,  I customized the length, and could have customized the neck line and sleeves. It has POCKETS… and it was fuchsia… and it had birds… so yea… it was basically PERFECTION. :)

be sure to use discount code FRANSMS to save 20% off your purchase // shop here

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