29 June 2009

awesome house.

an incredible home,
belonging to a fabulous designer...
i knew her house would be great!

See ya!

just some stuff.

Okay, so...

I ordered our pictures. And, I spent way too much money, but...I figure it like this, we had it (the money), we will probably not get family pictures again for a loooooooong time. It took nearly five years to get these. And, we didn't go to Disney this year, as previously planned. So, there you have it. I'm really only justifying it to myself. Because, frankly, it's nobody else's business...mom (and, no second mortgage was required)! :)

Also, I made a skirt over the weekend. For me! I really like it. Crystal over at Little Bit Funky posted one she had made, and I got to thinkin' that I could try, at the very least. Surprisingly, it worked out pretty fabulously considering it's about the 4th clothing item I've sewn. I even had to come up with my own pattern of sorts. Crystal's skirt is a lot cuter, and has happier, Amy Butler, fabrics. But, I will definitely be making myself some more. There is nothing like a skirt in the summertime!

Off to clean & sew!

26 June 2009

and........the rest.

I cannot post the slideshow directly, but I am going to post the link to our family photos in their entirety. They are stunning. Laura Siebert (here, here, and here) is a master at her craft. I already have my most favorites, I would be interested to know what yours are. Let me know, by number, in the comments below!

Have a great weekend!

25 June 2009

one more...

I just received one more photo to tickle
my tastebuds until all of the proofs are complete.

Enjoy...I know I did!

Ahhhh, I can't wait for all of them!

24 June 2009

Fondant: postive & negative (and, other party business).

So, I settled on a 'theme' for Betsy's big birthday #5! I didn't want anything to0 tacky, or too commercial, or just plain stoooooopid. I stumbled upon this lovely little paper website, Imprintables. I fell head over heels for their 'apple' birthday(see the invite here and the party here), but, I'll be honest, I didn't want to shell out the bucks for the invites. What's a girl to do? I know. Make my own! Using picnik.com, I whipped those puppies up in about 10 minutes, along with favor tags, thank yous, and return address labels. All feature that plump, green apple, and that beautiful green & turquoise damask. Love, love, love!

I have a whole 'apple' inspired menu...
mini ham & white cheddar with apple butter panini sandwiches
beer & cheddar fondue with sliced green apples & assorted breads
apple chips with caramel dip
apple lemonade
Jones Soda ~ green apple and blue bubble gum
cider ~ for the adults ;)
green candied apples for favors

And, what apple party would be complete without bobbing for apples? Who says that's a fall only acitivity?

Decor will include apple green and turquoise tissue poms hanging EVERYWHERE. I also think we will be doing a balloon release. Maybe I'll even make a pennant banner in coordinating fabrics. Hmmmm? I'm also going to make the birthday girl a pillow case dress out of some really cute fabrics I found on etsy...lime green faux bois and an apple print for a darling apple applique (say that three times fast). I can't wait to see it all come together!

I also, really, wanted to make the cake for this occasion. I have been wanting to try fondant for awhile, and thought this would be a good opportunity to do so. Let me stop here, and say that I, personally, think fondant tastes like poo. But, it is just so darn purdy! The clean, crisp look you get is unattainable with butter cream, and the sculptural things you can do with it are amazing. So, with this cake it's all about aesthetics over taste. Well, not entirely. The cake itself will be caramel apple with caramel butter cream. In fact, you need a nice layer of butter cream for the fondant to 'stick'. And, when you get a big, fat piece of fondant covered cake, you simply peel the fondant off like peeling an orange to get to the fruit. See? It's not all bad.

We will have prettiness AND goooooooood cake! The best of both worlds!

Did I mention how much I would LOVE to plan parties for a living? I 'heart' the details!

Party pics coming in August!

23 June 2009

Who says life comes with an easy button?

Jon & Kate...

need I say more?

I won't nitpick every detail about them, but it does make me think about a lot of things.

We are in a bad place as a society. I know this is a judgement call, but I think most of you will agree.

It seems that none of us can be bothered these days. It seems that our default is to take the easy way out. Not just with marriage, but most things. If we want something, but don't have the money, we charge it. If we decide we don't like our spouse, we file for divorce. If we think our kids are having trouble in school, we blame the teachers. If our children show the smallest of behavior problems, we drug them. If we feel the teeniest bit stressed, we run out and get a prescription. And, if it doesn't work, it's the pill's or the doctor's fault. So many people these days seem to turn to drugs and alcohol. Addictions seem out of control, divorce and bankruptcy seem to have skyrocketed. I am forced to ask myself, what do we think IS worth fighting for?

We are all guilty of taking the shortest route from point A to point B. It may be small things that seem inconsequential, but, I think, if done enough, it becomes a pattern in all areas of our lives.

We also seem to be a very deserving culture. We deserve to 'get away'. We deserve exotic vacations yearly. We deserve a day at the spa. We deserve a new designer bag, or pair of jeans. We deserve to walk away and start a 'new chapter' of our lives. Says who? What ever happened to good, old fashioned humility. The idea that we are deserving of nothing, other than what is given to us through hard work and the grace of God. My grandparents had 8 kids on a fireman's salary. They were happy to be able to feed their children good meals, and be able to send them to Catholic schools. There weren't vacations, or music lessons, or fancy toys, or Happy Meals for everyone, or credit cards, or new clothes at every turn. They worked for what they had, and they were happy. My mom, and all of her siblings grew up to be fine adults with good hearts.

What's worse is we are all more interested in the state of the Gosselin's relationship and their parenting skells, than our own. (I know, I know, I'm writing a whole post about this, aren't I? But, you know what I'm getting at.) How about worrying about OUR spouse, OUR kids, OUR parenting? Or, major current events that matter; Iran, train crashes, North Korea?

But, hey, I'm just sayin'.

21 June 2009


That's my dad. He is awesome. For lots of reasons. One of my favorites is because he knows when to shut his mouth. The thing with my dad is, you know what he's thinking, what his opinion is, what he would like you to do, but he doesn't drill it at you every chance he gets. I am an adult, who has a mortgage, and a husband, and kids, and pets, all of which I take care of without his assistance. He recognizes that, and lets me make my own decisions, mistake or not. Often times, you can't even read if he's disappointed in what you decided. He just lets it ride. This is nice.

Growing up, he was always a present father. He went on the occasional field trip, all of the volleyball & softball games, was always eager to help with history projects. He was also a concerned father. "Who will you be with, when will you get there, what parents will be there?". He also showed his concern by being the one to ground you when you broke the rules. One time, I took my car out before I got my license, and when I opened up the garage door to sneak it back, he was standing in the middle of the garage (true story). DANG IT! Looking back on it, it's all of that kind of stuff that shows me how much he cares.

He is also strong, and brave, a true patriot. He's even pretty cute. He has given my sister and me a phenomenal example of what a husband should be. Self-sacrificing, willing to compromise, respectful, loving, not afraid to stand their ground if need be. He told us what to seek out in a partner without saying a word on the subject. Leading by example...my dad is really good at this. Sure, he has a short wick and a low tolerance for ignorance in almost any form, but he is good, he is true, he is mine.

I have never doubted my father's love for me. He doesn't say it often, but I really don't need to hear it because I know.

So... I'm thinkin', he must be doing something right.

Love you, Dad!

We love our daddys!

See y'all Monday!

20 June 2009

Treats for daddy.

photo bakerella

We will be attempting to make these today. We shall see...

Hope everyone has a great weekend and an even better father's day!


17 June 2009

Lots to learn.

image by Thomas Northcut

Am I the only one?

Because if I am, I will feel like a bigger sack 0'crap then I already do.

I have difficulties letting go, and letting God. I know in my heart of hearts that He will take over whatever I give over to Him, but it's hard sometimes.

Holy banana crackers, I am such a control freak.

Isn't it Psalms 46:10..."Be still, and know that I am God..."?

It's the 'be still' part that I have the problem with.

Puh-leez, tell me I'm not alone in this. I need your support.

Thank you.


On a completely different note, I have started trying to learn to sew. Like REALLY sew. Clothes, quilts, totes, aprons. Lots of stuff. Let's just say that it could be going significantly worse. Here's what I've come up with so far...

And, some cute applique...I'm getting a lot better at this.

Feedback is appreciated!

16 June 2009

Love in the rain.

image by orangeacid

I first saw you on a hot summer day in the park. So, I went over to to you, and asked you if you wanted to play. And, so, we became best friends, and now, we're all grown up. So, we went on a date to your favorite restaurant. And, I asked if you wanted to have lunch here tomorrow, and you said, "Yes, be here at 12:00.". So, I waited for you, but then you came and said that there's someone else. And, so, you walked away.

Then, on a rainy day, I in my sweater with my hands in my pockets, and my hood on my head, walking down the sidewalk...and you were standing there with your boyfriend. Then, I ran into you. Then, I waved. Then, I walked on, but you ran and said that you loved me. And, so, we lived happily ever after.

Happily ever after.

-composed by Jake W. Grebe II, age 8 June 10th, 2009


15 June 2009

Where there was doubt...there is none, now.

The following is a comment/question that was posed to Sarah of Clover Lane, and her poetic answer. I know, after reading this, that more children are in our future (sorry, Mom & Jill). I am not sure when, but it will come. Someday.

I've read your blog for some time now and have never left a comment. Today hit home!! I am three months pregnant with number 4 - not quite planned. :) My biggest worry is that I'm 38, and my kids are 7,9,and 11! I haven't even told my girls that I'm pregnant yet. Can you post a blog just for me telling me how wonderful it is and that you're not losing your mind? We know what a blessing it is, but we're having a hard time with how different our lives will be!!
TammyBirmingham, AL

Dear Tammy,
Thank you for reading my blog. And thank you for "making" me write this post. I hope I didn't sound too discouraging or negative in that last post. Sometimes I get melancholy for the younger days...the kids being younger and maybe me too? Kind of selfish and vain. Sometimes it gets the best of me.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! You will NOT lose your mind. Babies are awesome. And it goes so fast. You probably already know that.

You will enjoy this baby SO much. But, you will not be sitting in a rocking chair in a quiet room, looking like a Pottery Barn Kids ad. Instead, depending on the demeanor of your baby, you will either be constantly wearing an extra appendange on your body in form of a baby-filled sling, or be adding C batteries to your grocery list every week for your Graco swing. You will not be pondering over what a cute outfit to dress the baby in today, instead you will be grabbing what is clean from the laundry basket. As that baby gets older, you will not be sitting on the floor for hours watching him or her stack blocks and thinking 'what a genius'. They will explore their world without someone constantly breathing down their back, which turns out to be a better way anyways.

You will have to relearn some things. I had completely forgotten how impossible it is to give an infant a bath and of course, you will have a whole new set of instructions from the nurses on umbilical cord care. They apparently change that every year or so. The immunizations are all different too...like they added 75 more. But you are 38. You are not afraid to speak your mind. Even if it pisses some people off. Take advantage of your confidence. You earned it.

You might not feel like there is enough hours in the day to get all that you need finished. Although you will reassure your kids that there is enough love to go all around, as you lay in bed at night, (usually with a baby attached to you), you will tear up, because you will feel like maybe there is, in fact, not enough love to pass around. You will think of who you didn't hug today, or if you said anything but 'Don't do this, Do that, Can you please'. It will eat you up sometimes, usually when you are going on 4 hours of broken sleep. Your mind can play tricks on you and anxiety will fill in the empty spots. Don't do that to yourself. That friend I talked about yesterday? I asked her once, when she was adopting her seventh, if she ever felt like she didn't have enough to go around. And she said, "I concentrate on what I DO give my kids, not on what I don't." Good advice. Take it. Full tummies, warm bed. Start there.

You will have some harried moments, but remember those moments...sometimes there will be nothing you can do about them, and other times you will have to think, "What can I do to change this...it's not working for us." I remember once complaining and complaining about this travel soccer I had my daughter in. Her friends would convince her every year to try out and then she'd beg me to let her. My husband always thought it was a good idea, too, as she was pretty decent at it. But it was ME who had to drag all these kids around, nursing the baby in the middle of a cornfield in the hot sun, not watching a minute of anything, being crabby all the way there and back, all of us hungry and thirsty, the baby fussy. It ended up my daughter didn't really like soccer that much, but just didn't know how to resist the friend-pressure. Some of my lowest points of parenting occured because of that stress. Don't do that to yourself. Get rid of all that extra crap, and just stick with the important stuff. If you don't know what the important stuff is, I can reassure you that it's not 2nd grade football skills training, or travel dance competitions. These were all invented by people with much less children than you have now, and for many other reasons I won't go into here. My point is this: Don't fight this adjustment. Accept that you will have to make changes, but let me reassure you, that you will ask yourself, "Why didn't we do this sooner?" You will grow closer as a family and less stressed as a mother. Embrace the old-fashioned values of a big family. A swing, some grass, and a good book is all kids need in the entertainment department. It would be more than the majority of kids in the world have. (Always keep in mind 'global' parenting and 'historic' parenting...they make the expectations place on us laughable.)

Besides that great gift, you will be giving your older children the gift of independence. Trust me, it was time anyways. They will learn some lessons and be better for it. If you don't have time to check for homework and they didn't either, they will learn it's their responsibility. They might have to hear the word 'no' more often, if driving across town to play at a friends house for two hours doesn't work with the baby's nap. They will have to take care of themselves more, and be doted on less. You will kick yourself for not doing some of this earlier, and be surprised at how much you were holding them back from some really necessary lessons and experiences. Count yourself lucky...some parents wait till NEVER. It doesn't turn out so good 20 years later.

Now I'll get to the best part of all. Your older children with that baby... your heart will explode with the amount of love and tenderness they will show. Get them involved right away. They will be your salvation in terms of managing this large plate you have in front of you. When they think you are not aware of their prescence, tell your husband how much you noticed so-and-so loves their baby sister or brother, and how much help they give. They will step up to the task unbelievably. Teach them how to hold the baby, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper (wet, or course). Have them run and get a fresh outfit, and don't cringe at the color combo. Who cares. When the baby gets older, they are the best entertainers. You will never have to occupy that baby's time. Set him out in the family room in his jumpy seat and the hoopla will get him good and tired. Don't ever feel guilty for asking them for help. Give them new responsibilites. Ask one of them to make lunch, even if it's just peanut butter on Ritz. They will love to do it for you if you thank them so much and brag about them. Don't say "the baby", say OUR baby. The gift you are giving them is priceless. They are learning how to care for your grandchildren. That is truly awesome and worth any inconveniece or adjustment that this little surprise threw your way.

One more thing. With my older three, I couldn't wait to "the next". The next stage, the next word, the next tooth... With this little guy, you will do the opposite. You will bawl at every stage. Be prepared. You are not crazy. It's completely normal. Birthdays are the worse. Have tissues handy.


14 June 2009


The first week of June, my family went to Trout Lodge. It is located in Potosi, MO. It's only about an hour away from St.Louis. It's also part of the YMCA, so it's built on those terrific YMCA values. It is such a great place, and we love it. We've been going there for 5 years, now. I highly recommend it. It's like summer camp for families. There's swimming, archery, campfire sing-a-longs, biking, horse-back riding, ping pong, kayaking, sailboats, tons of food. It's great!
Here's to summer!

12 June 2009

the mouth.

Lately, the oldest, Jake, has got sass. Not common, garden variety sass, but what SHOULD be "teenage, angst filled, alone in the world, I'm soooo misunderstood, plus it makes me look cool" sass. Here is an example:

upon waking up in the morning
Jake: I'm hungry
me: Can you hold on? I need to change Betsy's diaper.
Jake: I'm hungry, NOW! (exit by stomping off to bedroom and slamming door)
me: (internal dialogue) Wowza! Well, alrighty then!
later, Jake enters from bedroom and sits at kitchen table smuggly
Jake: (sigh)
Jake: (sigh, again)
me: Can I help you with something?
Jake: Donuts!
me: Um, could you ask nicely and with a little bit more respect? (internal dialogue) I mean, geez, kid...I did take the time to MAKE the donuts. How a about a 'please'!)
Jake: Whatever! (exit by stomping off to bedroom and slamming door)


Okay, so, he just turned 8. So, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is this all about? All I said was good morning. And, that is what ensued. And, it just keeps getting worse. Someone help, PUH-LEEZ! I don't think I am going to be a very good tween/teen mommy. If this is making me nuts, what will I do then? The worst part is, it gets turned on and off so quick, I'm never sure what to expect. Most of the time, he is a GREAT kid. Terrific, even! But, this...I don't know about all this. Seriously.


11 June 2009

Sneak peak.

The wonderful Mrs. Laura Siebert, of Eyesmiles Photograpy
gave us a 'sneak peak' of our family photos from this past Saturday.
There are no words to describe how they make me feel.
But, I'll try.
They are wonderful, amazing, phenomenal.
Let's just say that there were tears.
Lots of tears.


10 June 2009

Rant. (Hey, it's been awhile!)

Everyone has a story. Everyone has crosses to bear. A set of circumstances that make them the people that they are. People in their lives that have influenced them. A set of genes that may have predisposed them to certain behaviors.

I have to remind myself that. A lot. Too often, (but, lately, not as much...thank goodness), I get wrapped up in my own junk. This blinds me to other people's junk which then causes you to judge and not cut any slack to those that need lots o'slack. See?

Betsy has changed my life. (Here she goes again!) I will never, ever, ever be the same person. Good? Bad? I'm not sure, yet. Given the average life span, the wound is still fresh, and I am really unable to determine how this will all end up. I have to tell myself that if a child like Miss Bets was given to someone else, the wound may have just grazed their skin. Still, others may have been cut much more profoundly than I.

I know many of you think all I do is whine about the negative in this situation. And, if you only know me through this blog, you are undoubtedly correct. This is my therapy. The place I CAN whine about it. All of it! Life. If all I did was tell you how great my kids are (they are), or how in love with my husband I am (a ton), or how great our lil' house is (it's pretty fantastic), or how God has abundantly blessed my life in ways too numerous to count (He has), then you would be bored and where's the fun in that?

With an ounce of perspective, it's not bad at all. Betsy is happy, silly, loving, smart, cute, awesome, and generally one of the coolest (okay, THE coolest) kids I've known. But some days I can't find perspective. Even an ounce. I look everywhere...the fridge, cracks of the couch, under my pillow. Nothin'. These are the days that I sink. I sink in that hole in my chest that I am not sure will ever be filled, and I mourn. I cry for the girl that could have been. The girl with the promise of the world at her feet with no limits in sight. I sob for the little girl before me. The one that works 5 gagillion times harder to execute the simplest of tasks. The girl that cannot utter the words I know that are in her mind. The words she desperately wants to shout. Even if they are, "Mom, you stink. Get over it!".

And, yes, sometimes I weep for myself. For the life I thought I would have had. The retirement that my husband and I would share. Sans kids. The loss of a life where our children, all of them, would no longer depend on us for their basic wants and needs.

Here's the irony, Betsy doesn't need the tears. This is MY problem. Not hers. She is perfectly and utterly content living the life that our gracious God has laid before her. She seems to know her purpose. I can handle the stares from strangers in Target, the snubbing she sometimes gets from other kids at school (sometimes even her own siblings and cousins), the dirty words used to describe kiddos like Betsy, because when I look at her, she smiles. That's it. That smile seems to say all of the words she's ever wanted to say.

Did I mention she smile a lot?

Seriously, my kids ARE freakin' awesome!
Vacay pics coming soon...

09 June 2009

The transformation and somethin' sweet.

Seriously. Can you believe it? You could actually roller skate down there. It is fantastic. I'm lovin' the curtains I made to cover all of our storage containers. They were super easy. $8 flat sheets from Wal-Mart (did I ever tell you I HATE Wal-Mart?), an eyelet kit, some thick wire/cable, some hooks, and voila! The other cool part is we left some space between the curtains and the shelves, so, now, the kids can even use the curtains for "performances" or whatever else lil' kids can come up while employing the use of floor to ceiling draperies. Sha-weet, huh? Geez, I feel so much better!

PS make this...
pound cake
chocolate reddi-whip
melted nutella drizzled over the top

See Ya!

08 June 2009

Niecy Nash WILL be proud.

As many of you know, Niecy Nash is the hostess of The Style Network's Clean House show. She has noooooo tolerance for clutter or pack rats, piles, collections, junk or basically, everything that is in our basement storage room. Now, let me preface what you are about to see with a disclaimer that I am EXTREMELY clean when it comes to the spaces we live in. Not the spaces that are used for utility purposes. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you this is true. Please do not judge me based on the following horrifying images.

Shocking...I know. Yesterday, Jake and I began the daunting task of cleaning house. It is time, and with the basement redo coming up, it only makes sense. Let me tell you how liberating it is to throw stuff away! Freedom, I tell you, freedom! It is really coming along. By tonight, I'm thinking it will be complete. I feel like calling Niecy to come over and roller skate down there with me. Ha!

Progress, thus far:

Hopefully, I will have completed after pictures by tonight. We'll see...

PS The boys' room clinched 4th place in ohdeedoh.com's 'cooler, smaller contest'. Here's what gets me fired up about it. The voting button had a 'glitch' as their IT guy called it. Because of this glitch there were lots of people who could not cast their vote. However, they still call the contest legit. Hmmmmmmm...I don't think so. Whatev!

Keep on cleanin'!