Inspiration Deck Swap!

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So, lately, I’ve been into art. I’ll reflect more sometime on my history with art, but for now, I’ll just say that I’m “into art” these days, meaning:

  • I’m creating almost every day (even if it’s as simple as writing the schedule on the board in a funky way for my after school program)
  • I’m learning about art by reading books and blogs.
  • I’m being inspired to create more and more art!

So, the other day when I was “surfing the web” (does anybody actually use that term anymore? Ha!), I came across a blog detailing a mail swap (http://www.insearchofdessert.com/?p=6391). In short, participants re-purpose a deck of cards into their own mini artwork complete with some kind of inspirational quote on it. Then, the organizer will create an inspiration deck for each of the participants with 52 others’ artwork! SO cool! I finished my deck a couple weeks ago, and I was a little sad to have to let go of some of the cards, so I took pictures. I might have to do a deck for myself to keep, and I’d also like to find another mail swap that I can join. I’ve loved the process, and I haven’t even received my deck in the mail yet!

Here were some of the cards I made:

Hooray for inspiration!

4 months!

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I feel like I have a million ideas of things to blog about, but I never end up sitting down to actually write the posts. I’ve given up trying to blog several times a week, and I figure if nothing else, I can keep a record of Carter’s growth.

Happy 4 month birthday, Carter!

When I talk to my friend Pam, she asks, “What cute thing is Carter doing now?”  I almost always have something new to report. So, here’s an update on Carter as a 4 month old:

  • His laughs, which used to always end in crying, now stand alone as pure laughter!
  • He has successfully found a way to pee through any type of diaper we put him in. This is frustrating because our cloth diapers were working so well, and now all of a sudden, he leaks through both types of cloth diapers we have AND through our stash of disposables. I’m not quite sure yet what the problem is, so I don’t know how to fix it.
  • He is less content in his bouncy seat and swing.
  • He loves to be held (nothing new there!). It’s hard to get anything done, but our baby carriers have come in handy!
  • He’s had his first trip to the library, seen his first train whiz by, touched snow for the first time, and completed his first community service project!
  • He’s constantly making bubbles, but he rarely spits up (thank you, Jesus!).
  • He’s more tolerable of tummy time. It helps when we get down on his level.
  • He smiles A LOT! Yay! We love this and will do anything for a smile!
  • His eating and sleeping habits have been inconsistent lately. We had been giving him 6 ounce bottles at every feeding, but now he doesn’t regularly finish those, so we start with 4 ounces.
  • He just discovered his feet! He can’t quite get them in his mouth yet, but he still grabs onto them. And he shoves his whole fist or several fingers into his mouth.
  • He’s been making this noise that we refer to as “the grandpa moan”. It’s hilarious! I hope we can catch it on video.
  • He got to move up to the “bigger babies” room in KidsQuest Junior (our church’s children’s ministry). It’s weird that he’s not the littlest one anymore. So long, 0-3 month room!

 

Carter’s 3 month pictures!

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Lucas’ parents have a spot in their basement affectionately known as “The Wall”. It’s where there are rows of pictures of their 3 sons at certain increments (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months). The grandchildren have also been added (Carter is number 4). It was finally time for Carter to make his appearance on The Wall, so, partly because we are creative and partly because we are low on money, we decided to set up our own photo shoot for Carter’s 3 month pictures.

And…it turned out great! I am by no means a professional photographer and I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do have what a lot of professional photographers don’t have — lots and lots of time. For the past two weeks, I’ve had numerous opportunities to take Carter’s pictures in the comfort of our home. If he was fussy, I could wait for a better time. And…unlimited outfit changes! I’ll write more later about some creative ideas from our at-home, unprofessional photo shoot.

Without further ado, here’s…Carter!

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I have more I’ll show later…

I would feel better if…

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Lately, I’ve been experiencing a bit of the blahs. I don’t know what my deal is, but I keep thinking that I’ll feel better if…(fill in the blank), but even when I do those things, I still feel unsettled. Here’s my ever-growing list of things that I think will make me feel better.

  • if I could get more sleep (but then when I do get more sleep, I sleep in and then am rushed getting ready)
  • if I could be early to work (but when I am, I am no more productive than if I arrive right on time)
  • if I could be more productive at work (but even when I am productive, I feel like there are so many MORE fun things to do the next day!)
  • if I could slow down and take a breather during my lunch time (but my brain doesn’t stop, and I become more flustered)
  • if I could spend more time with friends (but when I do, I still feel unaccomplished at the end of the day)

And I realize, like a women’s retreat speaker said years ago, that this could be a sign that I’m “thirsty”. Jesus alone can satisfy this restlessness, this mind-racing, this always-needing-to-do-something-more. And even though it’s hard to find the time to sit down and quiet my mind to BE with Him, it’s what my soul is longing for.

And, with a day off work tomorrow, maybe I’ll be able to do just that!

Carter is 14 weeks old!

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14 weeks! Wow!

I had originally wanted to keep track of Carter’s month-by-month process, but at 3 1/2 months, I guess I’m a little behind. Plus, I don’t really know what I should be writing about!

Here’s what Carter’s up to these days…

  • He smiles a lot! As long as he’s not screaming, he’ll usually smile back when we smile at him.
  • He’s getting big! I know I’ll be saying this the next 20+ years, but I’m amazed at how much he is growing, filling out, and becoming heavier!
  • He still loves looking at the walls, lights, and artwork.
  • He likes sitting on my lap while I play the piano. Sometimes, I’ll move his hands to play simple melodies like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. He seems to like this, too, but the best part is when he “sings” along. I know he’s not really singing, but it’s like he’s trying to learn how to sing along.
  • He doesn’t hate tummy time anymore. Let me rephrase that — he doesn’t hate tummy time when Lucas lies on the floor next to him and works with him. He still hates being plopped on the floor most of the time.
  • Lucas and I are super goofy around him. The poor kid has some crazy parents! We routinely make fools of ourselves by making funny faces, making up silly rhymes and songs, dancing around the kitchen…
  • He’s sleeping in the crib! We’ve been switching between the crib and the bassinet/rock and play the past several weeks, but now we’re to the crib every night. He also recently outgrew the miracle blanket that we’ve been swaddling him in since he was born (it’s “one size fits all” up until 14 weeks, and he just turned 14 weeks on Sunday!). Instead of swaddling him, we place him on a blanket and wrap the blanket around his arms and tuck it under him (does that make sense?). Otherwise, he wakes himself up with a swat to the face.

I thought he would look a lot bigger than his picture from last month, but I can’t tell much difference between the pictures.

He sure FEELS bigger than he did a month ago!

Love squeezin’ those cheeks!

Reflecting on Valentine’s Day…

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Valentine’s Days of the Past…

One of my first Valentine memories was from second grade. I don’t have many early memories, but I distinctly remember two things from that year. Our class party involved a game where you had to pop a balloon. Inside the balloon was a slip of paper, and you had to do what it said. Someone’s slip of paper said “Kiss someone” (she didn’t do it), and I remember being shocked that that was even an option.  The other memorable part of that party was when a guy in my class named Mark gave me a special present — a plastic heart necklace. He had never expressed any interest in me, so I was surprised to receive the gift from him. Nothing materialized after that — no little childhood romance or anything — but it sure did make me feel special on that day.

Fast forward many moons. I was single for every single Valentine’s Day until I was 26. Was I bitter? Not at all! I’ve always LOVED Valentine’s Day — relationship or not. I would always dress up in a combination of red and pink (sometimes even for the whole WEEK!), and I enjoyed making, signing, giving, and receiving Valentines. In high school, my friend Penny and I decided to celebrate our singleness by eating together at Applebee’s and sharing a yummy blondie brownie. It was a great “tradition” until the next year when she was no longer single. Ah well…

Valentine’s Days of the Present…

Lucas is very thoughtful and romantic, but he prefers to show his love throughout the year and not on some overly-commercialized holiday. This year, things are a little tricky with a 3 month old. Our Valentine’s Day was low-key — our night consisted of our usual routine of dinner and Biggest Loser. Hopefully, we’ll get to have a Valentine’s date soon.  Lucas did give me a very creative and thoughtful gift, though. I had been wanting a simple painting of a shepherd to hang in Carter’s bedroom. Well, Lucas went over the top with this painting:

I love it! And yes, there are 99 sheep (one is lost, just like in the Luke 15 story from the Bible).

Valentine’s Days of the Future…

I look forward to creating fun Valentine traditions for our family. I can’t wait to make the day special for Carter (and our other kids who follow) — including heart-shaped food and fun crafts! I hope Carter enjoys artsy projects. I want our kids to see Valentine’s Day as a Day of Love and not a day to make you feel left out if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Hooray for holidays!

And so it begins…

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I’ve dabbled with writing a blog for awhile now. I’ve followed several family-update-type blogs, and I always enjoy finding out the latest of my friends and acquaintances, especially when it comes to adoption, missions, photography, and parenting. And recently, I’ve discovered many incredible blogs about play-based learning, homeschooling, crafting, parenting, and teaching. As an educator, program director, and new parent, I found myself drawn to all these wonderful ideas and philosophies (and Pinterest only added to my generation of ideas!). Still, when it comes to writing my own blog, I had two main concerns:

  • Who would read it?
  • What would I say?

As far as who would read it, I’m not too concerned anymore. I love to write and reflect (I have about 5 different types of journals that I update regularly). So, ultimately, I’m writing for myself — for my own processing and memory-preserving. I’m also writing for people like my mom who know me and who might be interested in my day-to-day affairs. And, eventually perhaps other mom/teacher/program director/artist people out there might see an idea I’ve tried that they’d like to try as well.

And when it comes to what I’d say, I’m not worried about that, either. One of the first things WordPress told me to was to focus my blog. All of my journals are so focused (prayer journal, poetry notebook, record of daily activities at work, art journal, ongoing letter to my son, gratitude journal, …) that I’d like this outlet to be non-compartmentalized. I might become more focused as time goes on as I realize what I most like to blog about. But for now, my posts could be about any of the following:

  • things I’ve tried with my afterschool program kids that worked well (or totally bombed)
  • crafty things I’ve done
  • entries from my art journal
  • poems I’ve written that I’d actually like to share
  • insights I’m gaining about marriage and family life
  • inspirations from other wonderful blogs out there
  • recipes I’ve tried
  • my journey of transformation as a beloved daughter of the Most High God
  • the growth and development of my son (and other future children!)
  • (perhaps!) our potential journey into adoption and/or foster care
  • and other random eclectic mishmash :-)

Come along for the ride as we share the adventure together!