Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Only Fear

Truth be told, I have only one fear in this life: that my children might lose sight of who they are. I'm not afraid of sickness, germs, or even death. I'm not afraid they'll make bad decisions or injure themselves in one way or another.  Because all of those things are bound to happen at one point or another and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. But losing sight of their identity does not have to be an inevitability. And I can do everything about it.

I can help them to know deep down in their souls that they are not their bad behavior. They simply made a bad choice. They are not someone's opinion of them. They are beautiful, strong and uniquely crafted individuals. They are not worthless. They are so incredibly worthy. {Jesus died for them!!} They are not lost or hopeless, for there is nothing too dirty and no crime unforgivable. They are not shameful, disgraceful or judged. They are free, redeemed and loved beyond imagination.

They are loved beyond imagination!! 

In the sobering reflection that follows the loss of a beautiful life cut short by its own will, my heart breaks to know that so many people believe the lies that others have spoken over them. That their perception of reality has so far strayed from actual reality that it is incomprehensible to anyone close to them. That they have let the opinions of others tell them who they are and that they hate this person others have created them to be. That they have lost sight of who they are. They have lost sight of their identity.

But I have the opportunity to foster my children's identities. To steward their identities. It's something I need to remind myself of daily, because in the moment of bad behavior it is so easy to equate the behavior with the child. {I wish I could take back the times I've told Burke he was a bad boy...} The truth is that he is a good boy who made a bad choice and the consequence must flow from that reality. His heart is so sweet and loving. He has such a generous and precious spirit. He is gentle and thoughtful. And these are the things I speak over him daily so that one day, if confronted with a contradictory perception, he'll know the truth about himself. He'll know who he is. His actions are a reflection of his perception of himself. So if he believes that he is loved, gentle and kind then he will act  in those ways. But if he believes that he is unloved and hopeless, then he will embark on a destructive path. So I pray that he'll be able to remove the lenses of contradictory perception that try to distort his view and leave him feeling hopeless and unloved. Because nothing scares me more than imagining my child believing the lie that he or she is alone, unloved, unworthy.

So I pray every day that I will be love to my children. To everyone around me. That I will speak identity and life over them and not death. I pray that they always know who they are. That they are loved beyond imagination.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Violet Laine: 4 Month Snapshot

Silly girl was too cool for school in this photo shoot. Her hands were way more cool than Mommy or her camera. She may be giving me the eyebrow, but those eyes...!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Letter to My Second Born

Dear Violet,

First of all, let me say thank you. I couldn't do this life without you. From the moment you were born, it seems as though you naturally settled into the role of a second born child. You are pleasant, content. You are patient and happy. You rarely complain when I hastily lay you down to wrangle your rambunctious brother or when you are forced to wait a few minutes more for a belly full of milk because your brother has to go potty {or says he does even when he doesn't because he knows he'll get Mommy's attention}. And, Violet, I am so indebted to you for this. Being a mommy is never easy, but you have made it as easy as possible. And I am so thankful.

And now I'd like to say sorry. I'm sorry for all of the times that you might feel like you're second best. Or that you don't get my undivided attention. Or that your needs aren't my priority. I'm sorry for the times that you have to wait because your brother's needs are more pressing. I never want you to feel this way. And since I'm a first born child, I don't know how you might feel. But please know that I'm sorry if you ever feel second best. I assure you, Violet, that you are not. Not even close.

Because, Violet, the truth is that I love you more than you can imagine {until maybe one day if you have babies of your own}. And you know what, sweetheart? Without your brother, I wouldn't know how to love you so well. Your brother taught me to love beyond my wildest imagination. And when I thought it would be impossible to love another human as much as I loved your brother, the moment you were born, my heart grew even bigger. I love you as if you're my first born, my only child. I love you as my second born. I love you. And I always will.

And also, please don't feel as though you have to be like your brother or do what he does. You are perfect just as you are. Unique and perfect. You're brother is smart and I have no doubt that you will be smart too. But if you don't know what a cow says when you're only 8 months old or speak in sentences before you're 2, that's okay. I want you to know that we are not comparing you to him. We just enjoy watching you grow and learn and develop and blossom at your own pace. On your own schedule. As you see fit. And we look forward to celebrating every new stage with you whenever you get there. So please don't ever believe the lie that we're disappointed in you because you're not doing what he's doing. That's rubbish. You just keep doing what you're doing. We take such delight in watching you grow and love you more every moment of every day.

And finally, I just want to say that I'm better now. An expert--no. But your brother was our experiment, our trial-and-error child. And while I'm a pretty laid back person, as you'll come to learn, I realize {now that I have you} just how much more laid back I am the second time around. I always want to be a hands-on mom, darling. I never want to be sidelined from you or your activities. But I know that you need room to grow, explore and develop. And so if it ever seems as though I'm somehow not worried enough about you or involved enough in something you may be doing, please know that I am simply giving you the room you need to grow. To develop naturally and without me hovering over you dictating your next move.

I will mess up. I'll make mistakes for sure. Nothing in this life can ever be guaranteed--at least not those things involving the human heart, mind and soul. But in all that I do, I promise, Violet, that I love you. Unconditionally and incomprehensibly so.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spirits Are High

This weather has been amazing!!! Our spirits are high and dinner most nights isn't served til bedtime because we have one little boy who demands to be outside. We had a wonderful weekend enjoying the warmer weather {our week so far has been great too} and I went overboard on photos since I'm {finally} learning to use the manual mode on my camera. It's been fun to see my photos improve and I hope that they'll continue to get better and better. Anyway, enjoy the photos of our weekend. Aren't those kiddos about the cutest you've ever seen? ;)

Friday, April 5, 2013


It's Friday. It's warm outside. The sun is shining. And for the first time since Violet was born, we got to play outside. {my soul is whooping and hollering right now!} Seriously, the poor girl had to wait over 3 months to get her pretty face in the sun. But she loved it.

Oh my soul needed this day. And so did Burke's. He's an outdoor kind of guy--at his happiest when free to roam and explore.

All of the winter tension faded the instant we set foot outside this morning. It's beautiful out and the forecast shows more beautiful days ahead. I hope you get out and enjoy this weekend! I know we will.

Oh, and if you haven't checked out Bloglovin yet, you really should. It's amazing! And if you're already there, I hope you'll add my blog to your reading list. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, April 1, 2013

Violet's Easter Dress, Failed Sibling Photo Shoot & An Epic Cake

I was determined to make Violet a dress for Easter. Truth be told, I was determined to make Violet a dress. Easter was just a good excuse and gave me a deadline {a necessity in my crazy toddler-drama-filled life}. I had a vision in my head of what it would look like. And I had some pretty fabric just waiting to be used. But I had never made a dress before...let alone designed one. So, it was time to see whether the image in my head could be brought to life. And happily, it didn't turn out too shabby.

I drew out my pattern using one of Violet's dresses as a size guide. I decided that since it was my first dress I'd keep it simple. So no sleeves. Plus, I knew she'd be wearing a sweater over top, so sleeves were really unnecessary. {Here is a really great tutorial on designing your own dress} 

I love the vintage feel of the material. I know--not traditional Easter hues but I do have a thing for nonconforming. In hindsight, I could have purchased some red bias tape and made my life a little easier. But I wanted to get the project finished and so I made my own bias tape {although I didn't really cut it on the bias like you're supposed to...but it worked for me and I don't think anyone is the wiser just looking at the dress}.

I have a huge obsession with granny squares right now and so I decided to whip one up to add to her dress for a unique little touch. I like the texture it adds to the dress. She likes the way it tastes.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Definitely happy that it fits her! And she looks happy wearing it! I decided to whip up a matching headband for her too with some of the thread I used for the granny square. I used this tutorial to make the no-sew flower--super quick and easy! 

I tried to get some pictures of my little Easter bunnies together, but that was a fail. Burke is a super uncooperative photo subject and will not pose for anything. {I had to bribe him with gummy treats just to get the few unruly photos I did get} This is why we pay Ken Bruggeman to take our photos. Somehow, he is capable of making an uncooperative subject look like a seasoned model.

And when you ask this silly toddler to show you his Easter smile, this is what you get. {I laugh every time}

Adorable. Irresistible. Devilsh and handsome. Oh my, he's a wonderful handful!

And then there's this cake...

If you like lemon, cheesecake, cake, and fluffy homemade cream cheese icing, then you better get your tush in the kitchen and whip this up for your next event. Seriously, a cheesecake stuffed cake is pretty much the most amazing idea ever. I couldn't find Meyer lemons, so I used regular lemons. And it was delicious. So incredibly delicious. Oh, and I'd recommend making a 10" cheesecake instead of 9" so that you can have a bowl full of cheesecake scraps to stash in your fridge for later.

Try it. You'll love it!

Hope you had a happy Easter! How did you spend the day?