Flash Back: New Year's Week

posted on: Friday, December 30, 2011

3 Years ago today, Sam and I were two long distance, dating love birds. These pics are from the first time he flew out to see me. It was so dreamy and it was also the last New Year's we spent together. Each year since then I've either been out of state in CA or he's been working. Can't wait to finally kiss him when the clock strikes twelve this year. Call my cheesy, I don't care. I'm getting my kiss. ;) SO much has happened since these pictures. It's been a whirlwind of love. Here's to the future and enjoying the moments in front of us.
Our very first picture ever taken together. 

Washing the dishes together, for a long distance couple is a cherished moment. haha.

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I can't wait to tell you about ours. It was amazing... :) What are you planning on doing for New Years? Are you going out? Staying in? 

Stockings Anyone?

posted on: Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yesterday was a long day of tidying up, rearranging furniture (which I do pretty frequently) and finishing the last bits of wrapping and crafting for Christmas. I pulled another all nighter, staying up way past 2am. How did I do that all the time when I was in school??? Ugh. My eyeballs feel like awfulness and I have slumber party stomach. Haha. BUT, the fruits of my labor were all worth it. I made super sweet and simple stockings for display and use. Most of the presents got a lovely repurposed wrapping. Check out my friend Jessie's blog post on being a Gift Giving Ninja! Click HERE. She's the one who got me started using old books and magazines for cards and wrappings. 

Then pretty much all of today was spent at our kid's Christmas party hosted by Jessie. It was amazing, crazy, loud, sweet and just out right precious. I have really amazing friends and I love them so SO much and I LOVE their kids. It was so much fun watching them open their little surprises, make a Christmas craft and spill cheese puffs everywhere. ;) Sam's folks and Grandparents come in town tomorrow so you can probably suppose that I'll be up late again. With that in mind,  you can comment on instagram or twitter to keep me company into the wee crafting hours of the night. ;)

said goodbye to these little beauties today...they went to sweet homes. :) 

Micah bean opening her present! Jessie created the SWEETEST gift ever with a  vintage suitcase filled with shoes, a little purse, dress hat, even a wallet with her own custom driver's license and laminated photos of all her little bff's! eeeee! 

an AMAZING gift from Jessie, a set of 4 vintage mugs, a sugar bowl and cream pitcher...they have yellow poppies! oh Jess, I KNOW how special this is! I LOVE them SOOOO much!!!! 

A Midnight Post.

posted on: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On our way to go on a date with our main man! Oh, notice my new favorite necklace? I've had that button for years and decided I wanted to wear it. The tangerine embroidery floss I chose has been my inspiration color lately. Isn't it lovely? Going on a date with no makeup, and a scarf to cover mega greasy hair, isn't my ideal image of a romantic night, but hey, I was in the car right? ;) 

Káel started it. 
My pretty friend Lauren got me this beeeeautiful mug for my bday. I so enjoyed sipping my coffee from it tonight. (I love sweet mugs btw)

Yes, it's almost midnight and YES, I am doing a big chunk of tomorrow's list tonight. And YES, I'm blogging about it right now. Who says you can only post your blogs in the morning? So much goodness happened tonight that I want to write while it's fresh and my mind is still for a sec. ;)

Sam took me out to eat, after work, at a super nice eatery. Káel was pretty much an angel, and afterwards we walked around my favorite mall. It was very holiday-ish. I'll admit it, I love being in the mall at Christmas time...as long as I'm not in a rush. I will say, I had a melt down right outside urban outfitters for about 10 min. All of a sudden my perfect date and shopping time was overwhelming and impossible, as I thought of all the things still on my list to do.What am I doing here?! I have sooooo much to do. No, grab the moment and enjoy this Jess. You won't remember that list 5 years from now but, you will remember this sweet, festive time with your boys.  Oh Jess, your sudden melty moments are laughable just hours later. Like I said, the drama didn't last long. With sweet smiles from Sam and a successful hit at the Gap...It was all better. ;) We knocked out THE LAST bit of present shopping! YAY!  I had a  big cup of strong coffee once we got home. And now I can't stop my motivation to conquer this messy bungalow. We have cozy, merry movies on while we work. It's fabulous! Hey, I even cleaned the bathtub and toilets you guys, and was happy about it. Ha. Impressive.

Well, I'm going to go check off a few more things on my list! Less to do tomorrow. And you know, it's kinda fun to stay up late and wrap presents, clean the house and drink coffee. It makes me feel like I've got a secret...sssssshhhhhh. Don't tell anyone. ;) I have to grab these super festive moments and run with it when I can.


Merry Christmas!

Tirzah Photography

Only 5 days til it's Christmas you guys! Ah! My world is a swirly world of lists and to do's as the count down dwindles. We didn't get our xmas cards out until yesterday this year! haha. Today I stopped in the middle of the craziness, against my better judgement and took Káel to a play date with friends at a bouncy house place. I was feeling so bad about having non stop Mickey Mouse and Little Einstein feed going in my house so I could get things done. Poor little boy has been cooped up and needed to let out some energy. :) We had so much fun! He is completely worn out now and I'm getting to work!  Tonight I'm finishing the last of our presents, stockings and wrappings! Tomorrow is full on cleeeeeean the house day. ;) Didn't I just do that last week?

Merriest of Christmases to you and your family this year loves! I pray you enjoy every moment and are surrounded by more joy than you can handle! 

Peace and Love, 
Sam, Jess + Forest Káel

Sparkles and Christmas Time

posted on: Monday, December 19, 2011

We are spending Christmas at our house this year. Sam's side of the family is coming down and so it's put me in hostess mode...which you know I love. Did someone say party? Hmmm? It's bittersweet for me though because,  it will also be the first Christmas that I haven't been with my folks at all. But, I'm trying to count my blessings and be a cheerleader for myself to stay in the holiday spirit. I have to say, this year is my favorite as far as holiday decor goes. I have never been more pleased with my stitchings, and merry crafting! I need and want to take some pictures with my legit camera and do a proper tour, but if for some reason I don't get around to that, I wanted to share my instagram moments with you! :) 

No fireplace in our new little home means my lovely piano acts as mantle and music  piece. ;) 

That huge role of brown paper from my wedding has been drug out of the closet and put to good, stylish use for wrapping presents this year! yay for sewing paper! 

Fresh greens are my faaaaavorite! 

Cozy, cozy, cozy! Who wants to come over for hot chocolate!!??

Yes, I'm onboard the burlap craze. My mom got me started a couple of years back. I had found a bolt of this green burlap at the thrift store for $3 several months ago. So, I thought I'd make some rustic Christmas merriment for my couch! Gold metallic spray paint and cheap stencils from Forest boy's birthday....wallah! Pillow wonder. ;)
More of the same burlap, rope twine I already had, same stencils, same paint...a snip, snip here and a few stichings there-bam! Holiday bunting. Can I just keep these decorations up all year long please? 

My bargain/thrift obsession never fails me. 

I've had way too many fabulous ideas this season! 

Free People inspired stocking project. 

My tree skirt is raw burlap and heavy rope from Lowes. (Also from Káel's bday party.) I've probably spent $20 bucks this year on decor. Re-purposed goodness. 
I made this ornament when I was up in the mountains with my girlfriends a couple weeks ago. We had an ornament craft sesh that was SO much fun. This is what I came up with. I'd like to have some kind of tradition like that every year. Make ornaments with friends. Little memories on our tree. :) 

Yeah...I've mentioned it before, I'm kind of obsessed with metallic spray paint. I mean, it makes life so much more fun you guys! Why put a plain jar on my table, when I could have a festive GOLD one that took 2 min. to spray!? I love it. 

Those two books to the right of Forest boy have been my main source of color inspiration for my decor this year. An old ivory and gold hymnal along with a green, gold and rope color edition of Robin Hood. Little man has been enjoying all the lanterns I have out. He always brings them to me like he's found a treasure. ;)

Happy Christmas you lovelies! I hope you are enjoying this week before the big sparkly day with as little stress as possible. I'm certainly trying to. It's been rough at times, but you know, joy and stress are choices. I'm trying to choose joy. As I sign off, I am reminded of the one gazillion things I have left to do. haha.


Dolls and Such

posted on: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hey loves, are you all gearing up for Christmas? :) I wanted to write and give you an update on my dollies. Honestly, I have had the hardest time being motivated this past month with losing our baby in the miscarriage and the emotional upheaval of it all. Normally, I would have just crammed and pushed past the deadline and made it happen, but not this time. I need to have quality of life in this very delicate time of my heart.  How many times on this blog have I said something is coming just to have it left open ended. Sorry guys. I'm realizing that I'm not the best manager of my time and when extra stresses come my way it is intensified.

Saying that, my dollie business IS something that is coming very soon and I have big plans for it.  I have a good amount already made and have tons more just waiting to have minor stitching and stuffings. But, for me to actually enjoy this Christmas I need to move the big opening of my store for after Christmas. I'm going to try and put the ones that are already made up on my etsy. But, I'm not sure if they could be shipped in time. I'm sorry for those of you who were hoping to get them for your kids by next week.

I'm VERY excited about my little creations and I LOVE making them. You will fall in love with them all when you see them! It's been kind of frustrating not being able to control the events in life, but a good thing that I've learned from time crunches and stresses is better time management for myself.

I hope you are having the loveliest time preparing for the holidays! I'm hoping to have a little Gatlyn Holiday House tour up in the next few days! :)

Thank you for understanding.


Tunes & Such: Andy Squyres

posted on: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My lovely friend, Anna posted this video of some friends of hers on her blog The Colorful Living Project last week. It couldn't have kissed my heart at a more perfect time.   One of my favorite lines is, "In winter I believe you, in springtime I see you..." tears well up in my eyes every time I hear them sing it.  The folks singing are Andy Squyres and his oldest daughter, which I think is pretty much the most precious thing. (I'm so looking forward to our kids singing with Sam and me.) As I woke up this morning and started playing this song for the countless time, I thought it might be nice to share it with you guys. :) You can find Andy's music on i-Tunes and follow him on twitter.

Thanks again for all the sweet Birthday wishes and your encouraging notes to us this past week, I've read everyone at least twice. <3 

I can't wait to share about my birthday weekend up in the mountains with y'all! It was magical! 

Hope you have lots of love and beauty in your day! I'm going to take up where we left off last night in decorating our little bungalow for Christmas! 

Happy Birthday!

posted on: Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's not often enough that a husband has the perfect excuse to hack his wife's account and post to her blog without her knowing it. 
This is one of those occasions. I want to give all of you wonderful readers out there a chance to wish a 'Happy Birthday' to the most beautiful woman I've ever met.

Jess is not only an amazing wife but also a phenomenal mother. And I'm incredibly blessed to be the man that gets to love her. :)

So... a big 25th 'Happy Birthday' to my girl.

Happy Birthday Jess! I love you.

Tears Are A Language

posted on: Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tears. Tears have been a language to me. A way for my heart to speak, when I don't know what to say or can't say. Even after they spill over my cheeks, running down my chest, I can feel the cold air of the room letting me feel the patterns they've left on my face. The skin on my face feels cold and tight, but there's some sort of comfort in that? Then, all of a sudden my face is warm again, more tears. 

Miscarriage has been one of the scariest of words to me. It's also a word that I never thought would be a part of my life story, but who ever thinks it will be?  

1 week late. 2 weeks late. 3 weeks late. I knew it. I knew my body felt different. I knew what "this" kind of "different" was. I was pregnant. Was I pregnant? Denial. My first set of thoughts were a mixture of "what the holy heck!!!??" a twinge of excitement, and Eeeee! Then, all out fear set in as I thought of the knitty gritty. I was in a tango of passionate, flip-flop emotions.

This called for a crying session on my back porch, one evening, in the middle of the maybes and might- bes. I let the fears gush out, that had piled high during my pregnancy with Káel and his birth. (I had a really emotional and stressful pregnancy with Kael and one heck of a labor experience. If you aren't familiar with it, you can go and read about it here and here.) Only Jesus and the little night critters in our woods were listening. Sam was inside. I had snapped at him, which was another clue that my body was out of kilter. Not the hormones again! I'm just starting to feel normal! The swing I was laying on had damp cushions from the rain that we'd had earlier in the day. My shirt was slowly starting to feel cold and wet. I didn't care. This was real and I had to address my heart. After the last sob ebbed, I looked up and watched the tops of the trees rock back and forth. The sound of their leaves were soothing, like the sound of the ocean. I felt a wave of comfort. Jesus was calming and kissing my soul. It was a really beautiful time of healing for my heart that I'll treasure forever. It was ok if I was pregnant.  I got up from my porch swing, ready to do this, still freaked out, but ready. Samuel was as supportive as ever.  I was holding my breath.  

A few days later, 2 faint lines on 2 separate pee sticks, confirmed what what my body had been telling me. I was pregnant. Sam was so excited. I cried a few tears with one of my best friends as the reality hit me. Then, we switched into gear with a snap. Samuel started telling me names that he liked. I started envisioning a wee baby and a sibling for Forest boy. We were ready to have another baby and it was amazing. That same day, I saw a few of my closest girl friends and I blurted out the news. Squeals erupted! We planned on telling our family at Thanksgiving, as we all sat around the table telling each other what we were thankful for. I even posted a fake "Aunt Flo" status on Facebook to throw my family off. I felt like this time around was going to be so redemptive and lovely. I was so sure. 

"Dear Little Darling, 

Today I found out that you are here. I told a few of  my closest friends about you. Your Daddy is so excited and so am I. I was afraid at first. But now, I'm SO excited. One day we will laugh together about today. I already feel your goodness and the beauty that's inside of you. I love you. 


I went to bed and smelled the most awful smelling discharge. I thought it was strange but, just brushed it off as a pregnancy thing. Sam and I had sparkles in our eyes and I made myself close the name book and go to sleep. I was going to call my midwife tomorrow. She was going to be so excited. I woke up the next morning and there was blood, lots of it. I ran to the bathroom and started crying. Samuel was trying to figure out how to help me. What does this mean? Maybe I was never pregnant? The lines were really faint, right? No, my heart was already committed to this. I had taken 2 tests. There was no easy out. I called my sweet midwives and an agonizing week of 50/50's and maybes began. Apparently 50% of women bleed in their pregnancy and they are fine. My midwife told me that it was most likely my body moving the embryo out of my body. But, she said that I could come in for an expensive blood test to confirm or wait a few days.

 I tried to convince myself that I wasn't pregnant at all. It would be easier to deal with. This couldn't be happening to me, could it? But my body and so many other things were telling me that wasn't the case. This was happening. The torture of finding a place to put my emotions was awful. Do I mourn?  Do I hope? How can you do both at the same time and still function? I wrote this during that week, "The heart leans into hope with a fierceness, even when it's afraid of it." I was terrified of hoping because, what if my baby was already gone and I would have to go through the initial pain all over again? What if I don't hope and write it all off and there's a baby in there needing some love and help? But like I wrote, my heart is geared to hope. So, I waited and tried to embrace being vulnerable. But, oh this torturous limbo.

"I'm laying here, bleeding and with every cramp, a shockwave of sadness hits my heart...I was so excited and so sure about you and the future moments I was going to have with you. The limbo is the worst. Maybe you'll be fine, maybe my body will keep rejecting you. I'm sorry. I've tried to sleep. I'm afraid to change my pad because I'm afraid to see 'tissue' which would be you. Please no." 

Being vulnerable is a beautiful, ugly and terrifying place to be. It feels like weakness. It is. It feels like you're left unprotected, open to any and every hurtful thing. Which, you are. For me, embracing being vulnerable is the only way my heart can heal and grow. If I'm in denial and I wall off (which I am very good at doing) my heart can't thrive, live or heal. It stunts me. I embraced being sad. Even in the unknowing.  Jesus would have to be something for my heart that I couldn't be for myself, and I wasn't about to try.

I kept bleeding, having to keep an eye out for tissue. I kept trying not to hope but, at the same time not to loose hope. How the heck does that even work?  I don't know. Up and down, back and forth, I felt like my heart was on the rack, being pulled in two extremes. I'd be at the sink doing dishes, and tears would start pouring down my face. I didn't even know how in the world to pray. My tears were my heart praying, only what He knew I needed to say. I started feeling stressed that maybe I had caused all this because I was freaked out at the thought of being pregnant again. My mom told me that if that were the case, half of the people alive right now, wouldn't be. It kind of made me giggle. 

After several days, my bleeding pretty much stopped although the cramping continued. It was all so weird. I took a digital test and "not pregnant" showed up. I thought I would be ok. I mean, it's not like I was 20 weeks pregnant or something. No, the heart is an amazing thing and mine had bonded with this baby or the idea of this baby, lightening fast. The little face that I had started to picture, was gone. I had blocked some of my heart from emotion and, my strongest wall couldn't hold it back now. The next couple of days were the roughest. I still had cramping and some pregnancy symptoms. It was like a cruel joke. Out of the blue, heavy, silent and sometimes loud wails started to buckle me over. This is a different kind of sadness. I don't really have a grid for this. Those closest to me were and are a dream, encouraging me to take as long as I need to process and heal, however I need to. This is a journal entry the day I had taken the last test that showed negative. 

"I was sobbing really hard today, after I took another test. As I sat there, tears dripping from my face, non-stop, Káel walks over to me and lovingly started patting my leg with his little hand. Just like I pat his back after he's fallen and I hold him. He did this 3 different times. Comfort is precious and beautiful." 

In the backdrop of my mind, there's one part of my heart that has worried people won't know what to say to me, or will be awkward around me if they know what's been going on behind the doors of my heart. Quite honestly, I've felt awkward around me through this. But you know what, this is life. We were made for relationships and we walk through life together in all it's awesomeness and in all it's suckiness. Then another part of my brain thinks my pain is over dramatized. Which, apparently, I'm learning, is a pretty common feeling for women who experience loss, early on in their pregnancy. 

Is there beauty in this?  I can't see it in every moment. But, being real is beautiful. And for me, being heartbroken is real.  I can truly say, as I'm still processing everything, that beautifulness has and is coming from this experience. It's awful, but now my heart can more understand others who have experienced loss, in a way that I would never have been able to fully empathize with or relate to. I've got a gapping hole inside my heart. Who'd have thought something so brief and small, could leave that large of wanting. But, for every emotion of pain that I've felt and feel, there is a tangible promise and reality of love and goodness that I am embracing and throwing myself into. Grace.

Now I know that my heart can be excited about having another baby without fear or hesitation. 

The past couple of months, I've been reading the book "1000 Gifts" which has been a life line of good to my soul and even giving my heart the cush for this confusing time. The author says at one point in the book that everything is grace. It is. Everything is grace, the good, the pain, the beauty, the awful, the bearable, even the unknown. Even in the middle of all this crap, I look around and I see so much wonderful. So much love. So much grace. My son and his thriving sweetness, good Lord! My husband and his heavenly devotion and encouragement, my family, my amazing community and the friends of my heart that are as constant and bright as stars. So much beauty, so much new life, and that makes me happy. I've purposed my heart to not live in an unrealistic dream land through all of this though. If I need to feel sad, that's ok. Loving the good doesn't mean I don't acknowledging the hurt. I can mourn and process all the emotion of not understanding and letting go while seeing the kisses blow my way.

"Well little darling, you were like a small breeze. You came and went. But, you created a storm of love in my heart. This has been so hard. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't get to hold you and kiss your face. Maybe I will one day? I love you my wee little Windland. Goodbye. -Momma"

I wrote this blog not knowing if I'd ever press the publish button. I wrote it mostly just for my heart to process some thoughts and emotions. This is me being real, kind of raw and it's me being vulnerable. So, There are so many things in life I don't understand. This is one of a million of them. I have so many questions. "God is always good, and I am always loved." I believe this. I know this. (quote from 1000 Gifts)  I heard someone say recently that "There can be no music without tension." Unless a string is wound tight with tension the bow can't release the melodies. Unless there is tension, the fingers can't pluck out the notes. That right there has been on repeat in my mind. It doesn't explain anything really, but in a way it comforts me. This is my tension in life right now. I'm listening to hear the music.