Wednesday, August 27, 2014

- the gift of space - (under the stairs clubhouse)

We are so grateful for our home and the memories we continue to create here.  We are grateful for the opportunity and ability to make it our own.

We recently created a cozy little clubhouse under the stairs in our basement for the girls to hang out in and read/play.  They adore the space and so do we!  We don't have a before picture, but imagine an unfinished basement with exposed wood and concrete floors.  It's amazing what a little white paint can do to brighten up a dark space.  It's also amazing how much larger the space seems.  Here it is....

- we previously stored all of our gift wrap items under here, but this is such a better use of space -

- the rule was we weren't allowed to purchase anything for decorating, so we got creative with leftover paint, carpet remnants, fabric, fake flowers, etc -

- plenty of space; though snug, mommy and daddy can fit inside as well-

- they love using flashlights to keep it lit -
-they prefer to have the space to themselves and shut the doors! -
We just love listening to their little voices and can't wait to unwrap the gift of fun, creativity and conversation that flows from this space!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

- the gift of ballet -

We enrolled the girls in their first tap and ballet class this summer.  They loved it and we adored watching them grow, learn and meet new friends.  Mommy met some new friends too!  I took a bit of video during the summer session; they are both heart melting and hilarious to watch!  

- they love to practice and name the moves: plie -
-tippy toes -

- Big Miss is not afraid to take center stage -
- this picture just makes our hearts gush; it perfectly portrays the big sister that Lilah is -
So many times during each class Big Miss would put her hand on Little Miss' back, motion for Little Miss to watch the teacher, encourage Little Miss with words or thumbs up and hug Little Miss while Little Miss was all like "get off of me"! 
- little sister a little timid about her upcoming solo performance clinging to big sis -

Here is a small snippet of the girls in action!

Friday, August 15, 2014

- In Love with Ordinary -

Ordinary days are often our favorite!  We enjoy simply staying home.  We enjoy making ordinary memories during mundane everyday moments.  We've just entered a bit of a slow down after an extraordinarily busy summer and it feels amazing!  Here is a bit of what we've been enjoying lately...

Free range crafting!  Big Miss has been really into fabrics lately.  She has made clothing for her dolls, blankets, fabric books and more.  She wants to sew, but for now settles with fabric and glue sticks.  Glue sticks, by the way, happen to hold much better than one would think! 


There has been a gradual transfer of responsibility in our house.  We want to instill in our children a hard work ethic, a desire to contribute, and an appreciation for the work that is being done around and for us.  We've made a conscious effort to teach the girls ways in which they can contribute (folding washcloths/handtowels, unloading the dishwasher, sweeping, making beds, dusting, etc).  Sometimes the girls are eager to help and sometimes they are not.  As adults it's far easier to just do the tasks ourselves quickly and neatly, but we rest in the knowledge that seeds of responsibility planted today will someday bear fruit.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The girls LOVE candlelight dinners!  Big Miss suggested we play restaurant, so we worked together and made place cards so we could surprise daddy with a fun fancy dinner when he came home from work! 
We've also enjoyed some fun summer meals.  The girls like to be involved in cooking; they often pull up a chair, stir, and taste test!  I admittedly don't enjoy meal planning or cooking, but when I have a fun new recipe with fresh ingredients and two little sidekicks it becomes a bit more appealing!  We are grateful to be able to stock our fridge and pantry with healthy foods so we can nourish and fuel our bodies.
- chicken pesto broccoli pizza -
-salmon in a sesame oil marinade...yum -
- brussel sprout crab experiment that turned out pretty well -

- because faces make food disappear -
- popped watermelon in the blender and whalah 100% fruit popsicles -

- she is her daddy's mini -
I've committed to less structure and more spontaneity this summer before we start our homeschool routine in the Fall.  It goes against about every OCD, type A bone in my body, but we are managing ;)  It has been fun to engage more fully in the girls interests and let them lead the way in play and learning.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be with our girls daily and to get to know them so intricately. They are so, so different in the way they play and interact, the way they react, the way they need to be nurtured.  Big Miss prefers quiet table activities, Little Miss prefers loud boisterous moving activities.  Big Miss' love language is words of affirmation, Little Miss' love language is physical touch (my baby is still a snugglebug-heck yeah!).  Big Miss is a people pleaser-she tends to obey more and responds well when disciplined.  Little Miss moves to the beat of her own drum-she does not feel the need to obey or people please-she screams and kicks when she doesn't get her way.  Big Miss is sensitive and particular.  Little Miss is free spirited and inquisitive.  Big Miss is giving.  Little Miss is compassionate.  They are so different, but together such an amazing pair.  They both love fiercely!
- I was going to sell this tricycle and all of a sudden she became interested again....she rides it everyday -
- she meticulously cares for the fairy garden making sure the pond is full, pebble walkway is in place, rearranges and admires -
- they love these, but SO many balls...cleanup almost always results in "I just can't do it, there are too many mom!" -
- oh you know, just drinking from the sprinkler -

- we did do a few mommy planned activities -


- monkey see, monkey do -
- this girl loves to paint and she isn't fooled by the non-messy watercolor distraction...she wants the real stuff.  the messy globby, sure to get in her hair and on her shirt stuff -
- her castle -

- she creates dollhouses everywhere, just like her momma used to -
- batter up -
- I dig her style -
- she was reading to her sister, but then mommy and her camera became the audience -

The girls eagerly await daddy's arrival home from work! They talk about daddy's work being important and how much they miss him almost daily.  They plan what they want to tell daddy about their day and what they want to do with daddy when he gets home.  They make him presents (pictures) and then wrap them in paper covered with gobs of glue (impossible to open) and run up to him giddy with excitement for him to open them and tell them how much he loves them.  He gets trampled daily the minute he walks through the door.  Mommy always get the first kiss and then the girls get theirs.  They talk about the day their husbands (sometimes they say bride, but we know what they mean) will give them the first kiss and their kids will have to wait their turn...for this we pray.  I adore and admire the way The Mr. comes home after a hard day of work and selflessly digs in, whether it be pitching in with dinner, giving horseyback rides to rambunctious littles, or teaching them new skills.  He is patient and giving and it's certainly not taken for granted. 

- Lilah wanting to be with her daddy every minute he is home following him as he mows the yard, she needed headphones (aka earmuffs) just like daddy -
- Lilah asked to build a bed for her cat..her stuffed animal cat.  Daddy likes to teach his girls about his hobbies, so he was happy to compy -

- teaching the girls how to blow bubbles with chewing gum -

 In our kitchen we have hanging a quote written by William Martin that reads, "Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.  Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness.  Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.  Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.  Show them how to cry when pets and people die.  Show them the infinite pleasures in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them.  the extraordinary will take care of itself." 

In essence this is a gift we want to provide for our children; for ourselves.  We want to embrace moments in each ordinary day.  So often people; ourselves included, are so busy striving for the next thing, that the gift of today becomes merely a stepping stone to what we think awaits.  We are often longing for something, pushing off something until we complete that goal, drudging through each day living for the weekend, waiting for this busy-tiring season to pass, waiting wishing hoping longing instead of embracing the here and now that has been purposely laid out for us by God.  He planned for us to be right where we are at each moment...we have the choice to declare those moments gifts or to merely keep on stepping right through to that which we are waiting.  We've already wasted too many precious moments treading the murky waters of discontentment and longing.  We've committed to try our very best to find wonder and to marvel in ordinary moments. We've committed to receive ordinary and mundane as a gift!