30 January 2011

Grandparent's visit

The kids took a picture of dad at the top of the Bump n' Grind.

Playing with rocks.

Gracie, following a fellow hiker.

Daddy & Faith.

Playing Old Maid with Halmoni.

Cuddles.

Silly faces with Hapajee.

My dad working on dinner.

A crab feast!

Before my parents arrived on Saturday morning, Morgan and the girls set off to do the Bump 'n Grind, a nearby hiking trail. I got to spend a rare hour or so by myself. :) The Bump 'n Grind is a 2 mile hike but it's considered to be a moderate to strenuous trail with an elevation gain of about 1,000 ft. We weren't sure if the girls would be able to make it the whole way but low and behold, they did! They completed it AND loved it! Between the 3 of them,
they even managed to get a few pictures.

My parents loved our new home and enjoyed spending time with us. They also brought lots of yummy goodies, including a CRAB FEAST for dinner. The girls weren't too impressed but I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it.

Thanks for a nice visit, mom & dad!

27 January 2011

Rolled Fabric Flowers

Here are the first few I made...

Oh, and then I added one more!

I took an existing headband that the girls never wore and added some white flowers to it.

To say that I've been feeling inspired lately would be an understatement. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not thinking about or doing something that pertains to the holidays, escrow, packing or moving! :) So far, I'm loving this stage in our life. I know it's a temporary one but one that we're learning lots from. We're in a really good place.

My inspiration has come from the areas of faith, food, parenting, and the arts. I love it!

Ok, so I mentioned before how I had found a new toy, my glue gun. I was also looking for a short and sweet craft project. That's right... I jumped on the rolled fabric flower bandwagon. It seems like these little gems are everywhere right now.

I don't have a tutorial to show you but you can find them easily online. They are actually really simple to make and super inexpensive. It takes me about 10 minutes to complete one, start to finish. I love the immediate gratification it gives. I also love that vintage, girlie look. I never spend too much money on hair accessories for the girls so this is perfect for me. I turned a ho-hum headband into something that was different and cute. Oh, the endless possiblities with these little flowers... lapel pins, hat pins, cute little wristlets, accents to your scarf, purse, or my personal favorite, gifts to share!

Whaddya know? With the right attitude (and expectation) I CAN be crafty! ;)

Here are my lovely hair models...

~Gracie~

~Faith~

Super Duper Sweet & Cute! The flowers, too. :)

25 January 2011

a visit from friends

Playing dress up with Viv.

Levi.

Grace & Hailey enjoying lunch... Grilled ham & cheese paninis- Yum!

Hailey and her 3 kids came over for a visit today. Her new son, Ivan slept for most of the time while the rest of the kids had fun playing together. Hailey and I got to catch up and talk a little homeschool. I think Levi had the most fun going up and down the stairs!

So nice to share our new home with friends. We enjoyed every minute of it!

24 January 2011

Valentine Rosette Wreath

One of the blogs I like to follow, Our Best Bites (typically a really good food blog with pretty pictures) recently posted a Valentine's Day craft. For the record, I'm craft challenged. Something about crafts makes me anxious. I think I have this pre-conceived notion that there are precise steps in which I must follow. Trust me, I'm no good with directions. Just ask my husband.

In fact, crafting is much like how I feel about baking. I know I'm probably wrong to a certain extent and with proper effort and a good attitude, crafting can be productive, fulfilling and even fun! However, time is something I don't have.

They made it look easy... I was drawn to this particular craft because of the simple yet elegant look of the wreath. Besides, I didn't own one piece of Valentine's Day decor. Yup, I WAS INSPIRED!

Oh, and I'm sure it didn't help that I can now walk to Michael's from my new house. Did I mention that I've been there 3x's in the last week? Sigh...

4.5 hours. That's how long it took me to get this wreath done. I bought the materials on Saturday. I started on Sunday night at 8:30. Once I started sizing and cutting the felt, I began to realize that this was no quick project! I plopped myself on the couch while Morgan caught up on his golf. Despite having a 4:00 a.m. wake up call, he helped me roll the rosettes 'til 11:00 p.m.
Now that's love. :)


Rolling, rolling, rolling...
Gluing, gluing, gluing...
At 11:30 I called it quits. The wreath was about 2/3 done. I finally finished after working on it this afternoon. Although I'm quite happy with the results, I'm also soberly reminded of why I don't do crafts. I just don't have the time or patience. In this particular case, I just set myself up with unrealistic expectations. I know, a rookie move. I don't like leaving things undone so when I can't get something finished in a decent amount of time, I tend to lose interest and spunk. What can I say? I bit off more than I was willing to chew.

Lesson learned.

On a positive note... I slowly began to fall in love with my wreath. I got lazy after a while so I made some of the rosettes bigger. I figured that way, I wouldn't have to make as many. :) At first, I hung it on our front door.


But later decided that this was an indoor piece. Something to be appreciated and admired for it's festive colors, it's romantic appeal, and it's perfectly charming imperfections.


I ended up hanging it above the door of my kitchen pantry. When the girls came down from their nap, they said, "Oh, Mom! I love it."
Yes, I am pleased with the end result and I do look forward to the day (soon enough) when I can do these kind of projects with my girls. Until then, not all is lost. I've discovered the wonderful world of GLUE GUNS. :) Who knew they were so useful? I've never owned one, up until Saturday. The key now is picking simple and quick projects that take no more than an hour or so.

Here's the actual tutorial on the Valentine's Rosette Wreath, if you're interested (and have lots of time).

23 January 2011

Our first week

Playing with playdoh.

Biking babes.

Making silly faces.

Pretending to have a flat and helping each other out.

Morgan with his own silly face.

Despite the fact that daddy was out of town on business for 2 days, the first week in our new home was supurb. We're all happily adjusting and settled in. The girls are enjoying the stairs as well as their new school/playroom.
I'm finding our new location to be extremely convenient to stores we like to frequent (perhaps a little too convenient!). The man of the house is simply happy that all his girls are happy. :)

With the weather warming up this past week, the girls spent lots of time in the backyard. We don't have a much of a backyard but what we do have is nice.
So far, Grandma & Grandpa have been over several times to visit. It's wonderful that they're so close. We even had them over for dinner on Friday night. Next week, we look forward to the start of many visits from friends as well as my parents.

We spent most of Saturday getting our garage organized and unpacking the last of our boxes. In the evening, Morgan and I went out on a date night. Goodness, it seems like forever since we've had the opportunity to go out, just the two of us. We went to dinner and a movie. It had been well over 2 years since we had been to the movies! We enjoyed our favorite (sushi, of course), and then saw The Fighter. Good flick. Good times. GOOD WEEK!

20 January 2011

Mustard seed

Our old keys as well as the gate and garage door openers were all handed over today. A letter was left on the kitchen counter, welcoming the new owners and praying that they too, would be blessed with cherished memories, just as we had, in that first home of ours. Today, escrow officially closed. It is finished.

Some people probably thought we were a bit premature in planning our move. Especially in this real estate market. With over 40 days left in escrow, we had found our rental and secured our deposit. In mid December, I even went so far as to mail out our "new address" along with our family Christmas photo. That was part of my frugal and practical side... you know, trying to save a stamp. :)

Even our realtor was a bit surprised last month when he received our Christmas card. He mentioned to Morgan that we must feel confident.

I'm not going to lie, every now and then, it felt a little touch and go. Some weeks, there were minor set-backs and glitches along the way. We'd have to work them out with the buyers, agents, and other folks who were involved in the process. But as each day and then each week passed, it seemed like we were slowly inching our way towards that illusive closing date.

In a prior post, I wrote that our confidence lies in God. Call me crazy but as soon as we got our (one and only) offer on Thanksgiving Day, I knew that we would somehow get here. Do offers often fall out of escrow for any number of reasons? Yeah, you bet. Especially those that last for more than 30 days. Ours was just shy of 60.

Even as we waited for all those months to receive an offer, I knew that God had a plan. It was just a matter of time before He brought us the right buyer. And in the process, He used that time to grow our faith and change our priorities- to make them His own.

I believe something magical happens when our priorities begin to align with God's. The wind begins to change and God does what He does best... work miracles behind the scenes. With one breath, He can whisper change into motion.

No, this was a gift. A gift that could only come from a mighty and gracious God. Therefore, in my heart, I just knew that this was all going to work out and that He would take care of all the details.

Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

"Everything is possible for him who believes." ~ Mark 9:23

And one of my favorite verses (our daughter, Faith was named after this verse), "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." ~ Hebrews 11:1

The bible challenges us to walk by faith, not by sight. I suppose that's what faith is all about; having the confidence of things hoped for; the unforeseen, the yet to come. The world says, "Seeing is believing" but God says, "Believing is seeing!"

So, here we are... at the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new. It's been a GREAT week so far. I can't wait to share with you everything I love about our new home, where we are in life, and what we've learned along the way...

Faith (as small as a mustard seed) CAN move mountains.

17 January 2011

Shining Star


So, what did we do on the last night before our move??

Daddy heated the pool to 87 degrees and we had a pizza party!

So thankful for all the wonderful memories we created on Shining Star Lane.

14 January 2011

Sold


One more night.

One more night in our home before all our belongings are packed into a moving truck tomorrow morning. Despite the 56 day escrow (as well as a couple of minor yet inconsequential snags along the way), we are finally set to close escrow.

We are excited.

It's a New Year and a new chapter in our lives!

This is definitely one of those times where I will gratefully look back on this process and know without a doubt, God's divine handprints were all over it, from the very beginning.

Do you have times in your life where you can clearly see God's goodness and work played out in every detail?

Times like these are pivitol reminders for me.

Situations where I can recall God's favor and faithfulness through times of trial and perseverance. Moments where I KNOW we are going in the right direction, simply because we have sought out His desires for us.

These are confident times.

Our confidence stems from nothing we have done- but rather by the grace of God's great love for us.

There is no better feeling than to go confidently in the way of the Lord.

I live for moments like this.

Today, amidst the last stage of packing, I am gratefully soaking it all in...

Thank you, Lord for working out every detail.

(Especially the ones in our hearts)

You are so good.

05 January 2011

I dare you to pray this



I first saw this video from Pastor and Author Francis Chan a few months ago and to be quite honest, at the time, I wasn't comfortable about praying this prayer for my family. It was a challenge that left me feeling uneasy and vulnerable. So, what did I do? I inadvertently filed it away as, "Yeah, maybe one day." Well, wouldn't you know it? Earlier this week, I stumbled across it again, and this time, my heart and spirit were ready.

I came to the conclusion that any prayer that challenges us to be in a state of full reliance and dependence on God, (rather than anything we can accomplish of material worth), is simply a declaration of reverence and faith for the One whose provisions never fail.

Think about it? In the same way, if our children asked us to give them only what they need and nothing more, wouldn't we as parents be pleased with their contented and trusting hearts?

Oh, how I love the word of God and how it challenges us and grows us to spiritual maturity. I can't think of a better way to begin the New Year.

So, how about it? What are you praying for this New Year?

And are you willing to pray this prayer?

"Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." ~Proverbs 30:7-9

10 days

10 more days 'til we officially move. I've been packing a few boxes everyday to make the task seem a little less daunting. In fact, our new landlord was kind enough to give us the keys to the new house on Jan. 1st, without charging us rent until the 15th. We've already made a few trips to the new house and even managed to unpack most of my kitchen.
Feels good! It also feels good to be downsizing a bit. We're losing about 400 sq. ft. with our new home but we're also gaining an upstairs and an extra bedroom that we wanted for a school/playroom. Hooray for no more school supplies left out on the kitchen counters! Our living area will be a bit smaller but truthfully, I'm also looking forward to the closeness this promotes within a family. All in all, there are so many positives about this move.

I love the fact that we're still close to our friends, family and community. Morgan will save about 20 min. on his commute to work and actually, we're right in the center of the valley, making things super convenient. We're also only 5 mins. away from Grandma and Grandpa's.

Most of all, I'm joyfully embracing the fact that we're back to being renters for a while. Does that sound odd? There's so much more simplicity and freedom in renting. We realize that selling our home for the price we did was a God send. We sold it for the exact amount we needed to pay off the loan. Many of the homes in our same community were selling for well over 100K less than ours. As the real estate market continues to decline, we know we're extremely blessed to have sold our home at all. And the best part- to be able to walk away, knowing we fulfilled our obligation to the bank, as well as being debt free. In this economy, that's what I call Simplicity and Freedom.

Emotionally, how do I feel about leaving our beautiful home after 4+ years, full of such personal detail and wonderful, cherished memories? I'm actually totally fine with it. Now, if you would've asked me this at the being of 2010, I probably would've been a bit sad and uncomfortable about selling but God has gently been working on changing our priorities this past year. It's been quite the journey thus far and we're not done yet. Morgan and I are really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives and all that God has in store for us in 2011. He has always provided us with everything we need, and then some.
As always, I've enjoyed learning some valuable lessons through this process of trusting and surrendering. Maybe I'll even share some of them with you soon... Until then, it's time to get packin'!

02 January 2011

Happy tears

The other night, while putting the girls to bed, I experienced a sweet moment that I just wanted to savor and put in a time capsule. This was Grace's prayer...

Grace: "Lord, thank you for this wonderful day. Thank you for making us. Thank you for my mom, my dad and sis. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Help us not to sin anymore and when we do, thank you for forgiving us. We love you, Lord.
In Jesus' name I pray, amen."

Afterwards, I immediately hear her sniffle, followed by a wipe of her eye.

I say, "What's the matter, honey?"

She says, "Oh, it's just happy tears."

(Insert the melting of mommy's heart here)

Yes, it's true, mommy has cried lots of happy tears this past year, too...

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