Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Year in Pictures

{Highlights: Polar Bear Swim and Lizzy's Birthday!}

{Highlights: The band held a benefit concert and funded the local food bank, Lizzy really started to run and walk everywhere!}

{Highlights: J and I did Insanity with great results! Spring started to show its colors.}

{Highlights: We completed our first 5k! It didn't go how I planned, but I finished. Also, J worked out of town almost the whole month, which was not a highlight, but certainly a big part of the month. I also had my first newborn photo shoot for Emily's son, and discovered I love it.}

{Highlights: Got to work the Compassion International table at a Newsboys/Kutless concert, where I snuck up to the stage like I was supposed to be there and got some AWESOME photos. Kaitlin and Jesse came for a visit--Kait and I got a night to drink instead of always being the DD's.}

{Highlights: My little brother graduated from high school, I learned how to make cobbler in mason jars, Justin planned a fantastic anniversary surprise!}

{Highlights: 4th of July food extravaganza. We also picked like 25 pounds of blueberries!}

{Highlights: We went to the lake house in Idaho and met up with Lisa & Lars in Portland (Lisa was my college roommate, but now lives in Norway) on the way! Hiked Table Rock the day before we all got the stomach flu, and finally learned how to do beautiful backlit photos thanks to a contest sponsored by Lee Jeans!}

{Highlights: Our hutch re-do, and painting our kitchen cabinets white.}

{Highlights: Lizzy started to want to dress herself, family day at the pumpkin patch, and Lizzy-the-Bumblebee for Halloween!}

{Highlights: The band went to Mt. Shasta, CA for a gig, I blogged about it and learned what a small world it is! It turns out that fellow blogger Cara @ Whimsy Smitten was actually living with the band's drummer Mike--he is her step-father-in-law! Also, Kait and Jesse came back for a visit before Jesse deployed...seeing them is a highlight, the fact that Jess is deployed again is NOT.}

{Highlights: All things Christmas, including a surprise new laptop! Thank goodness for a busy time of year--it helped keep my mind off our upcoming trip to Portland to deal with recently diagnosed skin cancer. All the joy that the holidays brought really felt like it redeemed the month!}

Overall, it was a great year. There was definitely more good than bad, and blessings abounded! Still, with all that's happened in December with the skin cancer, I'm a little nervous to think about all that 2012 could and will bring--here's hoping that this time next year, we'll be looking back and smiling at the fact that we couldn't have even imagined all the blessings that were in store!

See {2010} and {2009}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Top 5 Commercial Use Fonts

Here's a random question for you--if you've designed your own header, blog buttons, etc, do you have a commercial license to use any and all fonts involved? What about fonts used for free digital downloads or in your own Etsy shop?

Are you scratching your head right now?

If you're unfamiliar with how font licensing works, here's how it goes in a nutshell:
All fonts, digital scrapbook paper, stock photos, Photoshop actions (and much more) are typically licensed either for personal or commercial use. If they're licensed for personal use, you're being told that you can use them for exactly that--your own personal use. Not in your etsy shop. Not in blog designs for other people. Often times, the licensing agreement will say that the font/action/digital scrapbook paper/stock photo cannot be used for ANY commercial purpose, including free digital downloads, fliers for events and/or blog buttons.

In order to use any of these items for advertising purposes and especially for any circumstance that may earn you income, you generally need to make sure that you have a commercial license for using these items.

Yikes right? I don't know about you, but any number of my older blog layouts had fonts from here, there, and everywhere...and I didn't really have any idea whether I was legally allowed to use them or not (or even that it was an issue). However, over the past year I've been trying really hard to make sure that everything I use on this blog is legal (and ethical) for me to use. So, in looking at which fonts to transfer over from my old laptop to my new one, I realized that since I often didn't know whether a font was available for commercial use or not, I needed to start fresh, with only fonts that were free for commercial use.

Enter Font Squirrel (who I heard about from the wonderful John & Sherry at Young House Love awhile ago). I have no affiliation with Font Squirrel at all...other than the fact that I use them all the time now because they offer a HUGE selection of fonts that are all 100% free for commercial use.

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Font Squirrel fonts of the moment: 

Seriously guys....if you don't use fonts with a commercial license already, think about it! Sure, you probably won't get caught for using a font without a commercial license in your blog header, but it's just good practice, and one less thing to think about or worry about down the line!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BQOTD: Are you inked?

Today's Burning Question of the Day: Do you have any tattoos? If so, what and where? If not, why not?

Personally, I've always loved the look of tattoos, and would secretly love to be pretty heavily tattooed like some of the girls featured on Tattoo Tuesday over on Sometimes Sweet...I think the half sleeves are more often beautiful than not, but I'm not sure that I'm cool enough confident enough to be able to pull it off!

Justin and I have both talked about getting lizard tattoos for Lizzy (if you're scratching your head at this, we used to call Lizzy "Lizard" before she was born, and still occasionally do). Right now, this is what I have bookmarked:

Something like this where two lizards form a heart, but smaller, and maybe on my inner arms/wrists.

So why not? For one, tattoos are expensive! They definitely fall into the "extravagant" category for us. Also, I always seem to think about it in the summer, but really should get tattooed in the winter to avoid the sun contact, at least initially. Lastly, I've actually looked through the portfolios of most of the local tattoo artists (there aren't many), and I just didn't love any of their portfolios, so I'm not sure that I'd want to be tattooed by them, you know?

But what about you?!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snippets & Photos

-Today, I'm updating my blog from the most amazing, incredible new laptop. Seriously. Justin, my parents, and my sister all went in on the laptop for Christmas, and I was just so surprised and blessed that there are hardly even words to describe it. The CPU is supposed to be super, super fast, and so I'm excited to try it out eventually for editing photos--I'm sure it will be MUCH faster than my old laptop!

-My parents also gave us a wireless Blue-Ray player, and we set it up yesterday, along with the Netflix free trial so that we could stream movies and stuff to the TV. Our internet connection sometimes seems a little slow, but it still feels so luxurious to be able to watch almost anything at the click of a button. One thing I don't have a handle on yet--what is the Instant Queue? Can't you basically watch everything that pops up on the TV instantly? Does it just load it all up for you so you don't get any loading/buffering?

-Photo Time!

My side of the family after our annual Christmas Eve dinner.




Me and my sister. Don't we look alike?! ;)

Our sweet girl woke up screaming at 4am Christmas morning. I'm not sure if she was confused about where we were, or just excited. But she was UP. My parents are usually up by 5am, so we headed to the kitchen not that long after. Lizzy was thrilled to get a "mocha" in a coffee cup like everyone else. She also loved the egg milk (aka egg nog).


Justin got decked out in Perry-the-Platypus stuff!

Christmas Day
We headed back to our house around 11am. Lizzy was out like a light...thank goodness.

Then we headed to Justin's parents house for Christmas dinner. Payton and Logan also were decked out in Perry gear--clearly, Perry is a big hit in both sides of our family!

We had a great time at Justin's parents house too--it's always a crazy, busy, fun Christmas!

Yesterday, we mostly just hung out at home. I wanted to take our tree down, but that didn't happen. Oh well! Lizzy had a blast playing with some of her new toys, and it was pretty hilarious to see how she used them. For example, one of her aunts and uncles got her a Little Tikes car. She pushed it right in front of the TV, and created her very own drive-in!


I hope you guys had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

BQOTD--Beating A Dead Horse (aka A Santa Post)

I've seen about 100 blog posts this week with people taking what I think of in my head as a "Santa Stance"--explaining why they choose to do the whole Santa thing (or not). So, on one hand, I recognize that you all are probably feeling totally over this topic. But on the other hand, I just couldn't resist having this be my burning question of the day...I find the whole "Santa Debates" fascinating.

So, today's Burning Question of the Day is:

If you celebrate Christmas, do you/will you incorporate Santa into your Christmas traditions? If so, in what capacity? If not, why not?

(PS- If you've already posted about this on your blog, please feel free just to link us back there).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 2

Fear is sneaky.

It comes in unexpected places.

Like, the book that I have been on the waiting list for at the library for months, only to finally receive and realize that it's about a mother with cancer, who I'm getting the impression will die.

Or the episode of The Closer two weeks ago--which Justin and I sat down to watch eager for some relief after finding out that the diagnosis was in fact skin cancer, only to realize that a major sub-story in that particular episode was Brenda's father being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

It's in writing my monthly Letter to Lizzy, and the brief thought that appeared out of nowhere, "I wonder if I started doing these because I would die when Lizzy is young. I wonder if these will be the only thing she remembers me by."

Or, it's in having a stomach ache, and wondering if I ate something that didn't agree with me, or if the cancer is just more advanced than they knew.

The trouble is, that once that fear is can be hard to banish. But sometime last week, I decided that my fear is just not going to encroach on the joy that this time of year brings. I just will not allow myself to linger on it. Thankfully, I can usually count on sleep to help, and to feel calm when I wake. Immersing myself in fiction also helps. Consequently, I'm doing a lot more sleeping and reading than cleaning house or making dinner lately. Our house is a disaster, but the trade-off (my mental health) has been well worth it.

Also, last week, my dermatologist spent over a half an hour on the phone, answering every question and concern that I had. Thank GOD for her. I remember finishing the conversation with her, and just feeling confident and at peace...but how quickly that confidence can be shaken! Even later that same day, I found myself worrying and doubting again. I wrote my questions and her answers down while we were speaking, but I'm the type of person that learns by writing. So, I'm going to type up some of my questions and her answers here, just so that the knowledge can sink even further into my bones and my soul. Also, I hope it will answer some of the questions that have been asked by all of you!

Me: As far as going to Portland for the surgery, was it just that the local doctor doesn't handle this type of skin cancer and/or that the hospital there was just more familiar with it? Not necessarily that it is a bad type of cancer, but just that it needed to be addressed quickly?
Dr: A little of both--the local doctor couldn't get you in until March, and it just can't wait that long. Also, the local doctor wanted you to have the procedure in Portland because DFSP is sometimes an iceberg--it can be bigger than you might think initially. I've actually seen cases of huge DFSP tumors quite often because I trained at Mayo Clinic, and sometimes it can be no big deal, but you never know for sure until you get in there.

Me: Is there any reason to worry or suspect that I may have more of these DFSP's elsewhere?
Dr: No. These come singly. I've never seen a case with more than one at once. Occasionally, they may come back right where they were, but not in groupings.

Me: Because of the small size, is it your guess that it was caught early?
Dr: What I could feel felt small. What I cut out felt about the size of a lima bean. I didn't feel more beneath that that seemed like DFSP, but it can occasionally send out tendrils, and the cancer cells were close to the edges of what I cut out, which is why we need to do the Moh's procedure, to make sure it is all gone.

Me: Are there any follow-ups to make sure that the clear margins were achieved with the Moh's procedure?
Dr: You'll come back every 4-6 months for several years. I have had a patient who had a recurrence of DFSP--she I could both feel it right away in her skin exam. You can usually see or feel recurrences. Moh's procedure gives the best protection against recurrence.

Me: So just to confirm, the prognosis is good?
Dr: Yes, as long as it is taken care of quickly.

Me: Before we found out about the DFSP, we had been talking about possibly having more kids. That's off the table for now, but would you be able to let us know when that's something that we could start discussing again?
Dr: As far as I'm concerned, you could be trying now. I don't think there would be any reason to worry if you became pregnant--it wouldn't affect your treatment, and the DFSP wouldn't affect a pregnancy.

The pregnancy talk is still tabled for the moment--I would just feel better waiting for now. At least until Portland is done. But, my doctor's comments that she would have no problem okaying us to start trying is helpful to me in putting this all into context. She must really consider the prognosis to be good if she was ready to okay trying to conceive.

Thank you guys so much for your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. It means so much.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snippets + Giveaway Winner

-Justin and I got to go on a real "date" on Saturday night to his annual company Christmas party. Sorry for the crappy cell phone photo, but it was all we got! I had been stressing out a bit that morning about what to wear to the party, but in a stroke of perfect timing, Lisa had sent an early Christmas present that arrived that afternoon, which just happened to include a dress and beautiful necklace! Lizzy stayed with Ryan and Renee, and they texted us about 9 to tell us that she was asleep, and if we wanted, we could just pick her up in the morning. So we did. And she did fine. I'm glad we did that--it'll be one less thing for me to worry about when we go up to Portland next month.

-We took Lizzy to see Santa at the library yesterday. She went right up to him and said, "Hi Santa! Ho, ho Christmas! Happy birthday baby Jesus! I love cookies!" Santa and Mrs. Claus asked how old she was, and were very surprised that she wasn't two yet. Santa said that she has a "tremendous command of the English language." It made me smile.

-We also went to look at Christmas lights last night. I've mentioned before that Lizzy is still usually rear-facing, but we turned her around to forward facing just to go look at the lights. And I've gotta say--I'm excited to turn her around for real...she was so much more interactive with us in the car. She LOVED the lights. It was so much fun to hear her sing "Joy to the World" at the top of her lungs as we were looking.


Here's an interesting tidbit--the house above was listed for sale in Sept 2010 for $548,500. It sold in November for $359,500. Ouch. Looks like the real estate market here in Oregon is still hurting!




- Megan posted about this today on Facebook, and it is such an awesome deal (I bought one for when we go to Portland) that I thought I'd share. If you go to and enter the code TodayRestaurant, you can get a $500 gift card to for $30. It's sponsored by the Today Show, and is up on their website as well.

-The winner of the Love Came Down Giveaway is:

Congrats! Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dare to Have Traditions

Dare to DIY

Have you checked out the Dare to DIY feature over at NewlyWoodwards? Kim does an amazing job showcasing all sorts of different DIY things for the holidays, from cookies to decor. I had wanted to participate more often this year, but just wasn't able to between not having internet and everything else that's been going on. But this week? I was not going to miss. It's my favorite--Dare to Have Traditions.

My family has always joked about me and traditions. I think one year on Christmas morning, my dad picked up doughnuts at the store. The next year, when we didn't have doughnuts, I was appalled, saying, "But it's tradition!" And that's so true for me--if it happens once and I enjoy it, it's tradition!

So, here are a few of the Christmas traditions in our family:

The Christmas Pickle:

You can read more about the Christmas Pickle {here}, but essentially, we leave a pickle ornament out for Santa to hide, and whoever finds it first on Christmas morning gets an extra present from Santa (usually candy). A few weeks ago, I was telling Lizzy that her dad or her uncle Kevin usually are the ones who find the pickle. Now, every morning she'll get up, see the pickle on our tree, and yell "No Kevin! Lizzy's turn for pickle!"

Advent Books:


This is something new we've started, but I'd like it to become tradition! This year, we wrapped up 25 Christmas books (actually, we had 30, so we wrapped up 30 and started a little early), and Lizzy gets to open one each night. It's just a fun and inexpensive thing to do as a family.

Christmas Lights:


Justin doesn't actually know that this is going to be a tradition yet, but I would  really like it to! There's a street about 15 minutes away from us that gets TOTALLY decked out with lights. Last year, on a night that we had a hard time getting Lizzy to go to sleep, we drove through while listening to Christmas music. I'd love to continue the tradition this year, but we'll see.

Christmas Eve- Christmas Day:

For the past 10 or 11 years, my family has gotten dressed up and gone to a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve at the same local restaurant. It is one of my favorite traditions by far, and I'm so glad that we've continued going since Justin and I have been married and Lizzy was born, even though it often keeps Lizzy up FAR past her bedtime and sometimes it's hard to do the fancy restaurant thing with a toddler.

{last year}


I know a lot of people think that it's kind of odd to go out to eat on Christmas Eve, but we don't typically go out to nice dinners, so it's a big treat for our family to get dressed up, and then not only go out to eat, but order drinks, appetizers, and desserts in addition to dinner! There's just this extra kindness and excitement in the air as we all slow down from the hustle and bustle and eat dinner together. 

After dinner, we usually spend the night at my parents' house and then open Christmas presents there with them in the morning (and we usually just take our stockings over). At some point, we head back to our house to open presents from each other and then relax a bit. Lizzy keeps asking me if we're going to have birthday cake for Jesus, so I might do a little something like that to do while we're at home too. This year, we've started doing four presents for Lizzy--something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, and something to read. Our family does do presents from Santa, and we hadn't really discussed the Santa gift as in the context of the four presents, so this year, one of those will probably just be her Santa present, and we'll reevaluate next year.

A little later, we head over to Justin's parents house, where we open presents with all of his sisters, brother, and kiddos. The adults draw names for a gift exchange, and everyone gets small presents for the kids. It's such a fun and LOUD time, even though it might be a little harder this year since one of the nieces will be with her dad for the first time on Christmas. It's good for her to be able to spend time with him, but we will still miss her! Later, we have a huge Christmas dinner. It's always so much fun.

We are so blessed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Read Outlander. Now.

{Don't you wish you knew where you could actually buy it for $3.99?!}

A little over a year ago, several people recommended that I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (not to be confused with the terrible movie or not-at-all-terrible vehicle by the same name). I immediately dismissed the suggestion because (a) I don't usually like sci-fi, time traveling stuff, (b) I don't usually love that period of historical fiction, and (c) I REALLY don't enjoy romance novels.

I know, I'm picky when it come to books.

Anyway, much to my surprise, Outlander kept being recommended to me, even by people whose taste in books I totally trusted. And so, sometime last winter, I requested the first book of the Outlander series from the library. And I have to admit--I spent much of the first book wondering 'what were they thinking?!' There was much of the book that I didn't agree with, or was just plain difficult to read. But somehow, by the end, I found myself loving it. Loving.

And then I requested the second book. And the third. And the fourth. And so on, all the way up to the last book that's been released (the seventh), and I'm desperately awaiting the next book to be released.

It's a little bit difficult to explain what's so infectious about these books, but I'm not sure I've come across anyone who didn't like at least the first one. I think it has something to do with the fact that Gabaldon creates characters that you genuinely come to care about--I know this is probably going to sound totally wackadoodle, but even now (a good six months since I read the last book), I sometimes find myself thinking "Oh, that's something Jamie would say," or "I wonder what Jamie would do?" And let's just be honest--I'm not usually into romance novels, but these were pretty hot. 

Jamie and Claire felt like real people to me. Friends, even. And, I miss them.

  (This quote is attributed to Paul Sweeney)

 I know some people (like my husband) can re-read books over and over again. Not me. I can count on one hand the number of fiction books that I've re-read in my life. In fact, there are four--To Kill A Mockingbird, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 1984, and Outlander. And of those, NEVER before have I come across a book that I love so much that I'll just pick it up and read a random passage. But I find myself doing that often with Outlander. In fact, I'm considering re-reading the entire stinking series. That's how much I loved it.

I know they're big books, but they FLY by. And if you're not sure that you're ready to commit to reading seven books, know that you could stop after the third book (Voyager), and it would feel like you were at a point of resolution.  Seriously, if you love to read, you have to give this series a shot. 

Have you read it yet? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I had a complete ugly-cry breakdown on Tuesday afternoon. I was at a birthday breakfast for two of my sisters-in-law Tuesday morning when I got a call that the local surgeon does not handle this type of skin cancer and that I would have to go to Portland for the procedure (it's scheduled for January 6th).

It felt like nothing was going right...and if nothing was going right now, how could it possibly be okay in the end?! I freaked.

I think that one of the things that was helping me stay relatively calm was being able to tell myself that it was just a basic in-office procedure that could be done here locally, and no big deal. I'd be home in my own bed that night. But then when I was told it had to be in Portland, suddenly we were talking cancer centers, big teaching hospitals, making arrangements to leave Lizzy overnight (which we haven't done yet), arranging for Justin to get time off work--unpaid, as his work no longer gives vacation or sick time. It meant being given info for patient advocates, The American Cancer Society, and places that give assistance for medical-related travel expenses. It meant calling places and saying, "Hi, I'm Meredith, and I have an extremely unusual form of skin cancer and I need to _______." It meant letters from my dermatologist, which she said were meant not to freak me out but to allow for maximum assistance from some local nonprofits that assist with out of town medical expenses (though, I'm not sure I should read the letters at all, because I have no doubt that they will, indeed, just freak me out). It just felt like it became so much bigger in a matter of minutes, if that makes any sense.

[I can see now that since this is a rare form of skin cancer, it's probably better that I'm in a larger city, with a larger hospital, and doctors who have more experience with looking at this specific type of cancer, since the key part of the procedure is making sure that none of the cancer cells remain. I didn't see it then though!]

Because of the nature of where I received the call about having to go up to Portland, it also meant explaining the whole situation over and over again, which was a little hard for me. I know it was simply because my friends and family care about me and wanted to know what was going on. But saying it out loud is still hard. I don't like to breakdown in public, and I don't always trust my emotions with this yet. Then, over the course of the day, a few well-intentioned people voiced concerns and statements like, "How do they know that this cancer isn't everywhere already?" I can understand the heart behind those statements, but at the time, they just freaked me out even more.

And I feel kind of crappy even mentioning this, but I was also overwhelmed with offers to help--cooking meals, watching Lizzy, everything. Normally, this would definitely be a good thing, but I was already so overloaded with information that it just didn't feel like the good kind of overwhelmed at the time. I felt like I couldn't make any decision at all, and the idea of possibly hurting anyone's feelings by saying 'Thanks, but we've already got that covered,' just sent me over the top. Like I said, I feel a little terrible for even writing this, because obviously having more help than needed is a great problem to have, and I'm so thankful for my family and friends. I'm at the point now where I *truly* appreciate all the offers to help...and to all my friends and family--I'm sorry if I didn't seem to be appreciative at the time. I was just overwhelmed with information at that point, and didn't know how to handle it all.

And then on the way home, I felt like every song on the radio was of the I-can't-wait-to-be-in-heaven variety, and I found myself shouting "No! I DO NOT want to be in heaven right now!!' at inanimate objects in the car. I'm sure Lizzy must have thought I'd lost my marbles.

In a way, I guess I had.

I called Justin and told him that I was bringing him Taco Bell for lunch. The day called for fake nacho cheese, you know? Justin is a wise man and sweet husband, and said okay even though he had packed himself a lunch, and it wasn't exactly in the budget. Once I got there, I cried so hard I fogged up all the windows. Asking silly questions that felt so big in my mind at the time, like 'I thought we'd have Lizzy's birthday party that weekend--when will we have it now and what if I don't feel up to throwing a party?'

Justin was great. He listened. And then he laid out a plan for what we'll do--which was exactly what I needed at a time. I needed someone to delegate for me. He told me about the quiet car ride we'll have with adult music. That it can be a fun(ish) weekend away instead of just a trip for the procedure. Maybe I'll even be able to convince him to eat at Cafe Yumm ;)

Then, I went home and had an afternoon in my pajamas browsing Pinterest (thank you Dad for the router that makes Pinterest browsing possible!).

I say all this because I think it's important to be clear that however the last few posts may have come across, I'm not without worry or fear about all this. The worry and fear come sneaking up, especially at night. However, the worries don't feel as all-consuming as they have. I'm trying not to dwell on them as I have in the past--I'm trying to nip them in the bud. Pray about them. Surrender them. And then move past them. But let me be clear--I don't do it right all the time. Not even close.

I'm doing okay again now. Feeling more positive, but a little frustrated to not know more--the nurse from Portland acknowledged that this is often the case with patients who have the more rare forms of skin cancer because their local dermatologist often doesn't know a ton about it other than that the patient needs to be referred to Portland. And since we're out of town, we don't sit down and talk with the doctor ahead of time--that all happens on the day of the surgery (though she did assure me that I can always call if I have more questions). For now though, sometimes it's a little hard to balance what my dermatologist has told me (essentially that this is NOT a big deal) with some of the stories and info that I initially read online. Does my doctor really know what she's talking about? But then again, how do I even know that the stories I initially read online are accurate and/or reflective of my situation?

It's a little hard, sometimes. Everyone tells me that they are sure that I'll be fine...but they were all also sure that it wasn't cancer in the first place, so...

No. I need to stop thinking that way. It's a logical fallacy, and I know it. Don't ask me which one, because it's been far too long since I've taken AP Comp.

I think I've also decided that I'm going to try to limit writing about this on the blog to no more than once a week, if at all possible. I'm kind of tired of writing about it, just as I'm sure you're all tired of reading about it. I know that sometimes I'll need to get things out and just vent, but I also don't want my blog to become a place where I can drown myself in worries and obsessive thoughts. I need a balance. And, I need to force myself to do and write about other things too.

Tomorrow? I'm writing about Outlander :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Letter to Lizzy- Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three Months


Dear Lizzy Girl,

I can hardly believe that you're almost two. I know that I say that I can hardly believe how old you are every month, but this time feels especially crazy.

You are wearing a combo of 24 month and 2T clothes. I still don't think you've quite hit 30 lbs yet. You're still rear-facing in your car seat, except on certain occasions when we have to go somewhere in your dad's truck--and when you *do* get to forward face, you love it. You always request that we "rock out" with you. On a couple of occasions, you've thrown major tantrums, because you want to see a pink (or blue, or white) car next to us. We've tried to explain that we don't have any control over the other cars on the road, but I don't think you're quite getting that yet!

You continue to say hilarious things almost every day. For example, the other night you were doing an Advent craft with Papa Gary that involved coloring on a board. He had been telling you and all the other kids all about the board, what was going to be written on it, what it meant, etc. Anyway, when you decided that you were done coloring, you ran around the corner with the board over your head and yelled, "Mama! I'm board!" which, of course sounded like "I'm bored!" and got a huge reaction, so now you say 'I'm board/bored' often.

You've also continued to talk about babies a TON, and want one in mama's belly very badly. the other night you said, "Pray baby in mama's belly. Blue hat." I tried to explain to you that mom is a little sick right now and needs to be better before I can have a baby in my belly, but you just looked at me very sternly and said, "I pray baby."

Lately, you haven't been playing with a lot of your toys, but you have been really into coloring. When I'm coloring with you, you'll often take a crayon of your own, scribble right on top of what I'm coloring, and say, "Here. There you go!"

You're not completely potty trained yet, but you're getting there. You're asking more and more often to sit on the toilet, and are having pretty good success with actually going as well. I could probably do a better job of letting you wear real underwear around the house, but things have just been kind of crazy lately! Maybe we'll tackle it a bit more in the next couple of weeks. I'm not worried about it!

I love you sweet girl, and I always will!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love Came Down: (In)spired Deals Review & Giveaway!

Yesterday was shaping up to be a really bad day.

Let's just be real here--getting a call that I have skin cancer (I still can't really believe that I'm even typing that) was not the highlight of my year, even in light of the fact that I have experienced a remarkable amount of peace about the whole situation or the fact that the prognosis is incredible. It's still just not a great experience.

Within an hour of receiving the call from the dermatologist, the FedEx man knocked on my door...with a huge box from DaySpring and (in)courage. Words cannot even begin to describe what a blessing it was to me that this box arrived at the precise moment it did. For the blessing of a gentle reminder that love came down, for me.

Inside, was the absolutely stunning Star Tea Light Holder:


I could probably write paragraphs upon paragraphs about the understated, simple beauty of this tea light holder, but I think the pictures can probably do it more justice than I could.

First side:

Second Side:

Really, could the stain be any more perfect? It's the perfect distressed, reclaimed wood look.
And if that weren't enough, they tossed in some coffee mugs, also from the Love Came Down line.


Really, there are just no words to adequately describe this gift that I have been given--these visual reminders that God is with me, always. Even now, even through this. It is a tremendous blessing to me to be able to have these ever-present reminders to see daily, early each morning as I shuffle to the kitchen to start my day with coffee.

Even better? DaySpring and (in)courage are allowing me to bless one of you with a $20 shop credit. And guys, there are some amazing things on clearance over at the DaySpring shop. Like these:

Bless This Home Wall Art-$15

Everyday Joy Gift Set-$19.99

Jesus is the Gift Platter- $6.25

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday December 20th at 7am PST. For the love of all things good, please make sure that there's an email address attached to the account you use to enter, or that you leave some way for me to contact you in the event that you win! Good luck!

Fine Print and Disclosure Statement: The winner will have seven days to respond to my email. If I haven't heard back within seven calendar days, I'll pick a new winner. Winner will be responsible for paying their own postage. In addition, the coupon code will not activate unless the total in the cart meets or exceeds $20. I received both the Star Tea Light Holder and the mugs at no cost to me, for the purpose of review. I was not compensated for the review itself, and all opinions are my own, as always.

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