Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girls, Gum, and Hair

Yeah. You read that right. I've got a little lady that decided to submerge some gum in her hair. It was especially upsetting because this is the very same girl that decided grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting extremely close to her head was a fun thing to do. Eek!! It took nearly two years to get all her hair back to the same length. She was completely short for a while, then we started to let it grow a little bit longer and once we got it to a certain length we just trimmed all the rest while that previously cut hair slowly caught up. It was very sad for me because she was the only one born with a full head of hair and the only one who had beautiful long hair at a young age. Maybe she takes it for granted but this child can and will cause havoc, especially when it comes to her hair. (Did I mention she cut her hair twice before she finally learned her lesson?! Sigh...she's a stubborn one.) 

Anyway, tonight was just another night in what I can only imagine will be a long line of hair troubles for this one. 

So this is how it all started. Cecilia was playing with her sisters with a mouth full of bubble gum. I suggested that she spit it out. She thought that didn't sound like fun. Let me clarify that I didn't tell her she had to. I actually just said she might find it smarter to get rid of the gum. In hindsight, I should have told her and not given her the choice but...

So anyway, she didn't get the gum stuck in her hair while running around with her sisters. Rather, she managed to get it all stuck in her hair in about 15 seconds while sitting on the couch. Yes, sitting on the couch is quite wild what with all the...I don't know...sitting...still...and calmly. However it was accomplished, the deed was done. 

I just put my hands over my face and said, "I can't do this!" In a near sob. Then I pulled myself together and said I would NOT cut her hair and I would put the effort in to getting it out. So...I started the preparation while dad worked on getting all the rest of the gum off her hands. It was EVERYWHERE!!

I have tried a few methods over the years (I do have two older daughters after all) but found that peanut butter or ice didn't really work. So here is what to do if you find yourself in a similar predicament. 

(Don't be fooled by that sweet look, she's a trouble maker.) 
So. I started by gently pulling away any hair that wasn't already entangled and put it up. We don't want to add to that clump if at all possible. 

To keep her clothes from getting oily and creating more work for myself I just grabbed a rag and put it over her shoulder. Then I got a small bowl and poured a decent amount of olive oil in it. I knew I needed to get the area pretty covered and thought it would be easier to dip that chunk in and let it set for a minute rather than trying another method. I also kept my hands a little cleaner...at least for a while. Lol 

The next step is to just dunk the hair and gum in the bowl of olive oil. Let it set for a minute. You want that oil to work its way through. 

The next step is to just gently start pulling away the hair and the gum. I also had a paper towel that I put the gum on after removal. If you feel a lot of resistance from the hair, it's not quite ready to come out. Soak in oil some more and try again. I was very surprised at how easily I was able to get the gum removed. After getting some of the bigger chunks of hair out I decided to start pulling out the gum and it came out pretty easily. 

After getting all I could see (or at least reasonably pull out) I used a fine toothed comb to work out the rest of the sticky pieces. You know, those little black combs that we used to get with every school picture we had taken. Those horrible, unrealistic combs that only people with short, fine, hair use? Or men? Yep. It actually has a use now! They are super cheap at the stores. I would suggest you buy a few and keep them around for different uses. Anyway, after combing through her hair several times (and after working through some of the knots in her hair) all the gum was successfully removed! This is what was taken from her hair. 
There is a bit of hair that comes out with it but it is waaaay better than cutting it out. And honestly, some of the hair is from knots in her hair, not just the gum. 

That's it. All done. And all this took me only about 5-10 minutes. Not too bad!

So next time you start to see clumps of hair stuck in a strange colored mass don't fear. You don't need to envision either bald spots or large amounts of time wasted. Just be liberal in the oil and you will have it all out in no time. 

Good luck parents. If this hasn't happened to you yet, it will. And if it doesn't? NO FAIR!!!

Happy Creations~

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Birthday!!

So it's a little late in the day for some of us but...I'm finally posting a web based Happy Birthday to my little princess! I cannot believe that it was 6 years ago that you came into this world and surprised us by being all girl! We were so expecting to have a boy. Imagine our surprise and joy at having another daughter for us and a sister for your big sis. You were absolutely or groups at birth and have only gotten more so as you have grown. 

You lead with emotions which can be a struggle at times but can also be the most blessed of ways to see the world. We cannot imagine a single day without your smile and your love. 

You definitely are a princess that is full of grace and love, more so than even than Cinderella. We love you and hope you have a fabulous birthday! You certainly deserve it. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Busy, Buddies, and Bruises

We have had such fun being so busy with our dear friends from Michigan. They are off visiting with other friends but we are so excited to have them back in a few days. It was such a joy to see our kiddos playing together. And Little Miss Princess has found a new bff in their little girl. And their little girl has a huge love for Little G. 

Little G is turning one in less time than I'd like to admit. And she was having quite the rough week. I think she has a teething problem and has struggled to be her normal happy self. I am hoping that pain is ending soon and we can have our little girl back but in the meantime she was getting lots of love from our guests...including her "one day husband" who is just a month or so younger. These two wee ones have their ups and downs but so do my husband and I so I figured that's normal. Wink wink...

Little Miss Princess just loved getting to rule the coop a bit and have a friend around that just adores her. Even though big sis has still been 'encouraging' everyone in proper play etiquette it seems Little Miss was the girl to be. That has made her chest stick out a little further and she has been such a happy girl. You just can't beat seeing that. 

After our friends left today we had a rough night including Little Miss getting her finger stuck in the door and pulling it out!! Ouch!!! She came in screaming with blood pouring out her poor teeny finger! I sprang into action supermom style and managed to heal what once was broken (spirit wise), but she will be feeling the physical pain of that one for a while. Sigh...I felt awful since I was the one that asked she shut the door to the van. Even though it is something she has done a hundred times without incident I will probably be holding off on that request for a long time to come. A little medicine and some tlc made the evening settle into a calm. I'm praying for lots of healing throughout the night. 

As far as LMPs upcoming birthday and gift? Well, we'll have to take a reprieve from the updates since I may have to come up with a plan b (on both the gift and the party), but I need to get back to it so in the meantime, 

Happy Creations~

(PS-there will be pics to come but today...just words)

Monday, August 17, 2015

1 Row Forward...3 Rows Back

Sometimes in new projects there is a little give and take. This is the case with this project...sigh...

This is going to be completely epic when it's done...maybe not for everyone out there but for me, to complete this project in a short time, is totally impressive. I hope Little Miss Princess appreciates it cause it is not without its downsides. 

All was going well and I was making steady progress but had to take a night off. When I got back to it 2 nights ago I noticed after one row that my numbers weren't looking quite right. Just on one side and I scoured and scoured the piece but didn't see any errors. So, knowing I was tired, I decided to set it aside. I reviewed it again last night and again could not find any errors so I pressed on...that was my first mistake. After completing just a row and a half I finally found the error. 
See how that lavender is sticking on top of the black row? Yeah...that's not supposed to be that way. Somewhere along the way I added too many of something, but I'm not sure what yet.
Do you see that trio of black? Yeah, that's not supposed to be there either. So...My best solution at this point is to take out the rows and do it again. Yes...that stinks but the image is off and if I continue going it will make the whole image wonky. So...I am writing this to avoid taking out all that hard work! 

Well it had to be done so I took all the work out (three rows plus an extra because of an accidental issue during the process-insert sigh here) and redid the rows. I'm so glad I did. The graphgan looks a lot better and there are no issues to deal with. Well...there is one I saw but it is pretty far back and is something I can cover up so I'm not redoing that far back. 

At any rate, I guess that's crafting. Sometimes you get through the whole thing without a hitch, other times you make a mistake but just cover it or turn it into part of the design, and then there's times like these where you have to pull it all out and try again. Hey, it could have been worse. I could have had to start over. 

More updates on my project soon. 

Happy Creations~

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fun, Friends, and Graphgans

Today has been a fabulous day! Church, followed by a cat nap, a few errands with a friend, and a visit with some friends from out of town. It does not get better than this. Seeing new babies and having our kids play together is completely epic. The last time we were together was years ago. That. Is. Crazy!! Here's a pic of the kids 4 years ago and today. The time has really flown. How wonderful to have this time together! We can't wait for our sleepover!!

Now that the excitement has settled down and the girls are all in bed resting peacefully, I have time to work in the graphgan. Here's my current progress and the mess I'm creating doing it.
(And yes, those are all attached to the current graphgan so it can be quite a mess!) I have a small goal tonight of about 4 rows. Fingers crossed. 

Happy Crafting~

A bit behind

Holy cow people! I can't believe how far behind I got on posting!!! To be honest, I've been busy with tons of things, the graphgan is just one of them. But, I am determined to make up for my lost time since I know my following is huge and you are all wondering what in the world happened. So...let's start with little Miss Princess.  

This is one of my favorite pics of these two girls. This is Big Sis and Little Miss in 2012. Can you believe either one of them was ever this small? Such cutie pa-tooties!!! 
Here is one of Cecilia just because she was so stinking adorable in this pic. 
These were taken at my friends house during Easter that year. What fun we had!

I am planning on posting a few more things later today but in the meantime, here's a little gem of my littlest Princess. I can't believe I am going to have a 1 year old on my hands in just a few mere weeks. Where has the time gone?!
This adorable picture is from April this year. She has a whole head full of teeth now! But those brief moments when she had just a few teeth were fun. I just love little kids with only a few teeth in their heads. They look soooo adorable!!

In other news...I'm still plugging away at the graphgan and have high hopes for a completed one in time for Little Miss Princesses birthday. Wish me luck. And in the meantime,

Happy Creations~

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blast from the past

It's hard to believe our Little Miss Princess will be 6 at the end of the month. Here's a little glimpse into our lives about 6 years ago. Big sis was soooo in love with her and still enjoys to pick on her a bit. Not much to say about this one other than...I'm still so in love with both of these girls. LMP was about 1 month here and big sis was 2 and a half.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crafting Graphgans

As you all know by now, or should if you are following this blog at all, my Little Miss Princess is turning 6 at the end of the month. You may have also determined that I like my crafts. I would venture to say I love my crafts. So for Little Miss Princesses birthday I have decided to try a new craft I have only recently found out about but have become obsessed with trying. I have searched and searched for the right pattern to use, and trust me. This was no easy feat for my very particular princess and while I didn't find what I wanted initially, I believe I have hit the jackpot on the image I did find. Nothing but the best for my girl on her big day. It's going to be epic...as long as there are no issues. 

The problem is, I am hoping to create a c2c (corner to corner) Graphgan-and I have never done this before. Now, c2c afghans are nothing new, although they are new to me. But the c2c Graphgan is kind of up and coming, or at least it seems to me it is. What you do is find a graphed image, anything will work from peeler patterns to cross stitch patterns. I did look for and through many different images but finally chose one to purchase on etsy. The biggest problem with the image was it was a little too tall and not wide enough. Because of the image I was able to cut some off the top and just add some columns to the sides this making it approximately what I want...well hopefully. There was definitely some work to get the columns on the side-I had to do this by hand...it took a little time. Those boxes were super small!!
But alas, I did finish the boring part and finally...finally got to starting this thing. I'm excited and nervous all at once. Lots of "new" for a project I should have done in just a few weeks all while keeping it secret. I'm not gonna lie, the big projects are challenging for me and a quick timeline is either going to make me or break me. So, let's get our fingers crossed and the bedtimes steady cause mamma's got some work to do...after hours. 

Here we go!!

Happy Creations~

Rowing and Riding

So I have to admit something...I forgot to post yesterday. Well, I didn't totally forget but we had Uncle JT visiting for just a brief layover (he's a pilot) and we haven't seen him for a while so our time was filled with that. After dropping him back at the airport on Saturday we did a couple of fun errands, headed home, and played. We had such a full day I did not have time to write. So today...we are getting a double dose of Little Miss Princess.

So...to start our day we slept in a little bit since Daddy and Uncle JT were up late with a late arrival in town. Then we quickly packed up and headed to a little spot on the water. We had sooo much fun. Uncle JT made all the girls' day by taking each one out on the kayak and letting them paddle. I'm so impressed with all the girls' ability to take control of the kayak. They probably do better than me!! (Of course, you probably guessed I mean the three older girls and not the wee one because seriously...Little G is only 11 months! And if you really thought Little G was out there rowing the kayak you must either believe that we have a child prodigy who belongs in the record books or you are just plain crazy. -hehehe-)

So anyway, the three older girls did so well out there on the river but I found myself totally surprised at Little Miss's clear talent. She just loves all things water and this was another joy for her. I can't believe how grown up she is getting!! What a cutie!!

Then to top off an awesome day already, Little Miss Orincess started to check off another thing from her list. Learning to ride a two wheeler!! She is still practicing but she is getting there. A few more days and she'll be rockin' and rollin' (pun intended). Check her out!! 

And yes, she was wearing a softball helmet for part of the time because she couldn't find her bike helmet and she's crafty like that...she must take after her mother!! (Wait...that could be a bad thing.) 

So today's post is a double whammy with LMP just rockin' that growing up thing. What next, driving? Seriously...slow down already!!!

Happy Creations~

Friday, August 7, 2015

Shoelaces and Bunny Ears

Today, Little Miss Princess learned to tie her shoelaces!

But, let's rewind. 

LMP is on the move when it comes to growing up. She can't wait to "catch up" with her big sis in every way, even age (and yes, I've tried to convince her that she will love being the younger sis one day but for now that's no fun). 

Well, I noticed that her shoes were wearing out. And by "I noticed" I mean that Little Miss bugged me and bugged me and bugged me until I finally looked at  the shoes that were "falling apart". Let's just say they really were. Oops. Bad mom moment but if that's the worst I do I think we're good. Let's face it...that won't be the worst. But back to the point at hand. 

Her shoes were falling apart. I mean parts of the shoe weren't even connected any longer and toes were coming out of holes  that were more prevalent than mice going through Swiss cheese. So...after a few busy weeks we finally decided to look for some shoes for her. It was on a whim and I'm happy to say that we found some awesome looking shoes for an even more awesome price (under $8)!! The one downside? They were tie shoes. Hmmm...well that's not much of a downside in my eyes. I told her it was time she learned to tie shoes cause I wasn't looking around for a different pair that had Velcro. 

And obviously...there's no time like the present!

So we bought those and today in the car her big sister showed her a couple of tricks and after only a couple tries...she had it down!!! Yay!! (I miss being the one to show her how but love that her big sister is so sweet to do so.)

Thank you bunny ears! Woot woot!!! What a lucky family we are to have such a sweet, determined little girl. I just love her to pieces!! 

Tie own shoelaces...check. Bring it on 6!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Independence and Accessories

We went to the zoo earlier in the week. Actually we went to the zoo years ago when baby number one was still the one and only, but that isn't the point here. The reason for this post is twofold. One, I am posting every day a little something about Little Miss Princess before she turns 6. And two, I am making a tutorial as well. See. I can multi-post. (I think I just made up a new word here!! --squeal-- New words are awesome and I'm so good at creating them.)

Anyway, I was at the zoo....and on our way out waaaaay long ago we went through the gift shop-as they want you to. I found perhaps the coolest thing in the world. A lion water bottle holder that carries the bottle like a purse. Cue lights from above. See, in my mind this meant no more whining about needing a drink and stopping to grab it from the stroller or being stuck carrying it around. What?!?!! How had I not thought of that before!!??! I mean, seriously!! So of course I bought it. 

Let's jump ahead about 6 years or so and about 3 kids later and you will see that this is all coming together...finally. I have often thought since that time that I should have bought about 50 of those guys. The one we have is sought after, fought over, lost, found, dirtied, and cleaned and I still have never found another one. Really?!?!! 

Well, you know what they say. If you can't find it, make it! (Does no one say that? Well I do. And I do a LOT-just ask my husband.) So a few years ago I searched and found some ideas for crocheting one. I never did. That night I decided I would. It took me a few days to complete because I have 4 kids and about a million other things to do and the only time I get to crafts is usually when the girls are all asleep. In reality this only takes a few hours start to finish...especialy if you don't add anything to it. Alas, I couldn't just leave it empty so I decided to add a bow.  Here is th finished product.. (Sorry about the horrible photography. I was frantically trying to get the kids into bed with a fussy baby in my arms...but you get the point.)

Now, there are no real instructions for me to write out for you since I am using a free pattern I found on line. The major difference is that I chose to add some bling to it for my girls' individual personalities. But it is still super cute without those too.

I chose to basically follow the instructions from Little House in Colorado. Here is the link to her Crochet Water Bottle  I did make just a few adjustments. The strap was the perfect width but I hate working with chain stitches so I went ahead and did a SCFC (single crochet foundation chain). This has been a lifesaver for me. I can't imagine doing foundation rows any other way since I started this a few years ago. The other change I made was to shorten the length of the strap because I was making it for my littles. I ended up making a few different lengths and finally settled on 110 SC. However, now that it is complete and I see it on Little Miss Princess it seems too long. Well, only when there is a water bottle in it. LOL  I think the next one I make I will probably go to 90 or 100 SC.

For the bow, I was going to work up a pattern I've used before but I found this one and thought it was the perfect bow to add for Little Miss Princess. I found the pattern here: Crochet Bow
I did make a few changes to the pattern in the attempt to not have to weave in any ends but it actually made it more complicated. If I were to do it again, I would follow her pattern exactly. The instructions are pretty easy to follow.

So now that you've seen the finished product you might be asking, How does this fit in with Little Miss Princess? Well, it's that she loves loves loves an accessory. She takes anything that will go on her shoulder, in her hair, on her wrist, or around her neck. And this water bottle holder was no exception. She's been wearing it around with nothing in it. She did comment that she could now carry my water bottle for me! We'll see. I am going to start a few more to make the other girls happy as well. No more whining...or fighting...well for the water bottle holder at least. For now...

Any questions, just let me know. In the meantime...

Happy Creations!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Little Miss as a Little Baby

I'm not sure if Little Miss Princess was just more calm or we were or it was a combination of the two but things seemed a bit easier when we welcomed our second little lady to the crew. Well, the first few weeks were rough but that had nothing to do with LMP and that is another story for another day. 

We simply could not believe this little baby was another girl. We just didn't think it was possible to have more than one girl in our family (4 girls in we are still shocked). This sweet picture is of Daddy and LMP at just one month old. Daddy and baby catching some zzz's. For some reason I always manage to get a lot of pics of that...just a random thought, take that where you may. :)
Oh to have this little girl in my arms again. She doesn't fit quite so well anymore! It is almost unbelievable that nearly 6 years has gone by. Such a sweet moment!

Happy Creations~

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Girls and Homeschool

As Little Miss Princess nears her big 6th bday, I find myself wondering where in the world the time has gone. We were out today picking up some of those last minute homeschool items to start our school year and I realize I'm in complete awe that my LMP is going to be in 1st grade!!! Wow...the time has flown.

About three years ago a friend of mine took our family pics when we were visiting our hometown. This was just one of the amazing pics that she got. (Go visit Tara Diver Photography on Facebook to see some of her other amazing work.)

At that time, I couldn't have even imagined that we would be here teaching not one, not two, but three of our beautiful girls this year! I mean, wow. But having the privilege of being home every single day with these 4 beauties is more than any mom could ask for. There are moments I want to run from it all but then I get to see this amazing smile and I'm so glad to be present for al the good and the bad. My darling husband and I have been called to teach our kids ourselves and while that is not always an easy task it is the most rewarding thing anyone can ask for. And LMP is a challenge at times but she also makes learning so fun! She is always so happy when that light bulb clicks on. I tell ya, it's a sight to see.

So now that I have the majority of the books needed for homeschooling my girls this year, I get to enjoy the last precious weeks of summer, watching my girls play, and smile, and laugh, and grow (in the midst of finishing up the lesson planning). What a wonderful life we lead.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Little Miss Princess is quite the fancy girl. She loves all things beautiful; pretty dresses, painted nails or Jamberry wraps, and anything hair related. Today I was using my awesome Jamberry Ruby nail polish and she just had to have hers painted as well. So, LMP and her big sis both got their nails prettied up. This is just one in a long list of examples that shows how much she loves the pretty princess stuff. 

She's also the very first one on the mud and dirt. She's also usually the first one to freak out over something small. She's a dichotomy. Go figure. 😀

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Little Late

Oops...I am a little late getting this post out tonight. I made a commitment to post something about Little Miss Princess every day until her sixth bday...I think I'm getting off to a rough start. In my defense it has been a long day. Anyway...

This is from just a few days ago while camping at Trillium Lake. What a fun time we had. The water was chilly but the day was hot so the combo was perfect. LMP was a fish as usual. She loves the water just like her daddy. Too bad he wasn't able to be with us. I love how much alike they are and yet how totally individual this little gem of a girl is. I couldn't be more excited to see what she will one day become. But for now...I mean seriously...how adorable is this little lady?! I could just squeeze her!!! Oh wait...I do. And that makes me so lucky. 😀

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Out with the Old

In with the...6!

So, wow. Does anyone else just feel like summer is flying by about as fast as a jet plane? I sure do. We have truly been making every moment count. It started with our family creating a summer bucket list and the littles have been having such a fun time trying to hit all the big things on the list. For instance, one of our items was going camping 3 times this summer. We just got back from our 2nd trip but this time it was just me, the girls, and our pooch. This was a little crazy and I couldn't have done it without my sister and her mom. But...I digress.

What exactly do I mean by "in with the 6"? Well...it's August 1st, y'all. That means it's the first day of the month my 2nd daughter was born! So, in honor of her I will be counting down the days with pics and/or stories of my darling daughter. Little Miss Princess is turning 6!!! What?!?!

And not to negate her upcoming birthday but her littlest sis will be turning 1!!!! Double What?!?!?!?! So partway through the month I'll be adding in a few little what-nots about her too since her big day is coming up early in September.

For our first little walk down memory lane I present to you, Little Miss Princess just a couple years ago. I can't believe how much she's grown since then...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just a thought

In the midst of cleaning, and reorganizing rooms, and sorting through items I took a little break to feed the baby and the older girls. The girls finished up and headed to work while I was sitting with Gretchen. As I stared at this beautiful girl who was, at that moment, thinking of sleep with droopy eyes, rosy cheeks, a full belly, and a comforting snuggle my heart just ached. Tears filled my eyes as I wondered at how I could be so lucky to have been given this littlest gift to care for. 

She popped up about then with a giant, sleepy grin ready to explore the world for as long as I would let her before taking her to bed. Holding on to the couch with one hand standing on wobbly legs taking tender steps to curious parts of this enormous world (really just the small living room in a simple home), she enthusiastically began her trek. Her smile that lights up not just her whole being but our entire home and everyone she comes in contact with. Her sisters, completely enamored with her even after 10 months, look for reasons to come, smile, and play waiting for that giant glow of happiness that they provided for their littlest sister-a glow that radiates through Gretchen into those around her. I watch as each of her older sisters puff up with joy and pride and turn around heading back to the mundane job they are working on.

I can't express how much we all feel so blessed to have "little G" in our midst each and every day. 

These simple words cannot truly express those awesome feelings but I hope it gives just a glimpse into us. Just a glimpse into one of my thoughts on a regular, boring day in summer. 

Happy creations,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reflecting on Cinderella

We finally went to see the live action Cinderella movie with my daughters over the weekend. We love going to see movies in the theater. It is something my husband and I loved to do pre-kids. Nowadays we go a lot less and tend to go mostly to the cheap theater. (It's the same great theater experience but much less money.) This was a movie that was high on our "to see in the theater" list.

So we finally saw the movie and I adored it. And so did my girls.

As most of my readers know, our family is overrun by the female persuasion. My husband went with us to see this very feminine movie with not just me and his 4 daughters but also with another lovely lady added to the mix (a friend of my oldest). While my husband was, let's just say less than thrilled to be hitting the theater for this movie, he put a smile on his face and proudly entered that little room and selflessly helped 6 ladies pile into a row, help me get everyone situated, popcorn passed out, drinks sorted, seats arranged, baby settled, and popcorn refilled (the last two probably more of a joy to escape for just a moment). Once we had all settled and were watching the story unfold I stole a few looks at the row of little ladies I had in my midst and the strong man that was leading the crew.

Honestly, my darling husband would have likely picked any movie to see other than this one or even skipped going altogether except for one thing. That "thing" has him by the heart. It is our second daughter, Sophia. See, this is her favorite movie to watch at home (the Disney cartoon version) and when she found out there would be a live action version she was just floored. Our Sophia is quite the princess. She is always wearing dresses, loves having her hair done, changes outfits during the day to best suit the events of the moment (though I obviously don't like this), loves heels and make-up (which she only gets to wear during playtime), and everything to do with being a princess. She also loves when I get dressed up in "pretty clothes" and she always asks if she can pick out my earrings and if I'm going to wear lipstick (which is apparently the end all be all of the make up world). Her love for the movie is no surprise and her desire to see every single rendition of it is no surprise either.

Sheer excitement cannot even describe how excited she was when I told her we were going...finally. Sophia did not know that her daddy was having second and third and fourth thoughts about going. I was okay with him taking a pass, but he knew how much it would mean to be there for his daughter and so he went. And it wasn't just Sophia he was doing this for. All his girls were excited to see the movie, except maybe the baby. And all three of our girls were just so thrilled to be there...with both parents in tow.

It is the little things like this that my husband does that shows us the love he has for us, that makes all of us feel a little like Cinderella (on the 'happily-ever-after' part of the story). Even something as simple as taking a deep breath, hiding his aversion, and showing excitement for another very girly movie. Don't get me wrong, the man can be maddening. I would never try to say that he doesn't have his moments of pure insanity, we all do. But he definitely is one of the good ones. So good that he doesn't really have a clue how good even though I try to tell him and show him daily. He's always striving to be better, do better. No prince could give more.

To so many my life may not seem like a fairy-tale. We have a small house. Not a I'm-being-modest-our-house-is-really-2500 sq ft or larger house. We have a 1,000 sq ft house. We may not move from this house. Ever. And that's okay. We have a small house and small plot of land that that bank gladly accepts our payments for. We live on less than most people at our stage of life. We rarely take vacations. We rarely go out to dinner. We have debts that sometimes feel so overwhelming we want to give up. In these respects, it sure doesn't seem like happily ever after. But when you really look at my life, when you take the magnifying glass to it...gosh. There is so much more.

What we do have is a happy marriage. Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes we get annoyed. Sometimes we fight, but we always love. We always forgive. We always laugh.

We have a beautiful family that God has so graciously given to our care. Four incredibly individual daughters that keep us on our toes. That are full of challenges and will continue to push their parents to the brink of sanity (or maybe well beyond). But that also make us smile constantly, laugh unceasingly, and make us proud to be parents.

We have family that loves us. They may not always 'get' us but they love us. They respect us. They support us.

We have friends. Friends that are always there for us. That help us grow.

We live in an epically beautiful place. Seriously, we do. And we have all we need. Maybe not all we want all the time, but we always have all we need.

So here I was, watching this movie, crying at the sad parts, the sappy parts, the happy parts (cause I'm a girl and that's what I do) and all the time reflecting on what it meant to be Cinderella. I sure do feel like her sometimes, most of the time.

A while ago I was talking with someone close to me about how much Sophia loved "Cinderella." She told me she'd loved this movie as a child too but she was disappointed when she got older. She was worried that Sophia (and likewise all my girls) would feel that same disappointment. She said that no one ever told her that this was not how real life was. That real life was hard and often did not work out in a neat little bow. She said she felt cheated when she realized that not every girl meets her Prince Charming. That 'happily ever after' was not real.

I paused and thought about what she said and then my story flashed through my mind and I said with a smile, "Well, it is real for her because it's real for her parents. She sees it in them every day. I did meet Prince Charming and I married him."

Here's to happily ever after.

Happy Creations~

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tax Season is Almost Over!

As the tax season winds to an end, I found myself reflecting on what's really important. As a homeowner with 4 kids we obviously get a bit back on our taxes. We are getting more than we thought and so are able to pay down some debt but really, is it ever enough?

Probably not.

We are still strapped for cash, still living on a budget, still finding ways to make ends meet. We are like so many of you. As a stay at home mom I have always looked for ways to make something...anything to help lighten the burden. I just recently started as an Independent Consultant with Jamberry (and I really love it). Even so, I am not sure I have the time to devote to it to make the kind of money I would like. And yet...even when I just think there is no way we will ever have enough money, I am reminded of some important lessons.

1. Money is not evil, but the love of money is. So we try to make sure money is not what we strive for. Instead, we strive for contentment and the peace that comes with knowing we are responsibly handling our finances.

2. The only thing that really matters is people, specifically family and friends. We make a real effort to be with our family and friends because they are what truly brings us happiness.

3. Children are a blessing from God. What could be better than the precious gifts that God has given us? If you ask me, nothing. I am so lucky to have 4 beautiful daughters and I would feel the same way if we had one or 6 or any number. I just feel so lucky that God has given us a wonderful family. Even when finances get tight, our children don't seem bothered by it and our children are not the cause. We get creative and find things to do that either don't cost anything at all or have a very minimal cost.

There are many, many more things to be grateful for and many more lessons to remember. But these three seem pretty high up there for me. When I get down about money I just look at my little baby and revel in her smiles. Or I play Sudoku with my 8 year old. Maybe it's coloring with my (almost) 4 year old, or doing hair and playing dress up with my 5 year old. No matter what it is, these things make me see things a little more clearly and focus a little less on the things that really don't matter. After all, when I am at the end of my life I would like to look back and see a life full of love and family and friends. I don't want to regret spending too much time on work and stress and  chasing money cause none of that really matters.

Happy Crafting,