A Bucket Of Candy

Our little Byrdie went Trick or Treating last year but being so young it was a short experience. This year she is almost 2 and a half. We dressed up her up as Ponyo because it’s her favorite movie. My friend sewed her an amazing costume from scratch and she LOVED the whole experience of dressing up and going out. She was a little shy but bravely marched up to each house and said “trick or treating!” instead of “trick or treat”. Heart melt. It was adorable. She said thank you to each person then “let’s get another treat!”.

We have just recently moved to Florida and are brand new to this community. We went over to the friends who invited us because their neighborhood goes ALL out for Halloween. There the residents get really into decorations (some a little too scary for my taste) and alot of the neighbors sit out with their fire pit on the driveway handing out candy and socializing. Our friends did that too so after walking around a bit we went back to their house for chili and apple crisp. l had been sitting outside with my little girl’s bucket beside me and my husband’s costume on top of it. I went inside with her because it got cold and shortly after the candy ran out and everyone else came in. We forgot the bucket was sitting there full of candy. Even though it was only outside at most for ten minutes, and despite the fact that it was covered up – someone stole it! We were so upset and just felt sick. It was our fault for leaving it there and we felt awful. As waves of regret swept over me I kept thinking how disappointed she would be. We weren’t worried about the candy. Who possibly needs that much candy anyway? She loved that green bucket. It was a big piece of the Ponyo costume and story and she was so proud of it. Not only that it was the whole experience. How could we explain such a cruel trick.

In the grand scheme of things it would be quickly forgotten and with a global perspective it really wasn’t a big deal. But we are parents and our hearts hurt at even the smallest things when it comes to our little ones. Fortunately my sweet girl was having fun playing and didn’t realize what was going on. My husband took off running down the street to try to catch the person but it was too dark and too late. We just felt awful and couldn’t bear the thought of telling her.

At first she didn’t even notice. When we left the our friend’s house they gave her the basket they had with all their leftover candy in it and their grandsons (young kids around 8-10) all reached in their bags and gave her candy from their own haul. We had to stop them because they were actually giving too much and we felt bad. They were so kind.

So we got in the car and realized we could go get her another bucket from the Dollar Tree store if we could hurry and get there before they closed. As we drove she picked up on the fact that her bucket was missing and we sort of fumbled over our words and told her that it was lost but we are going to find it. Fortunately we found another one just like it. The cashier overheard us talking and asked what happened sowe told him the story. He said “That’s awful!” and expressed the frustration most anyone would at the story of a little two year old’s bucket of candy being stolen. He rang us up and said “Wait just one second” and picked up his cell phone. We overheard him calling to ask his mom if she still had candy and told her the story and said he was going to send us there. He then proceeded to give us the address and told us to go there she would take care of us. Now I realize it may seem a little strange to take these directions and go to a strangers house, but on the other hand isn’t that what Trick or Treat is? For some reason, we felt ok about it. Perhaps it was our urgent desire to rectify the situation for our little girl.

In the car Marlo started asking questions about the bucket like “why did we have to buy it”. So we had to break down and tell her what happened. We told her we still had to go to one more house. She didn’t skip a beat and was just excited she got to go to one more house. So we went and the older lady who lived there was so nice. For some reason barely anyone had come to their door and she had a huge, huge bowl of candy left. She literally filled Marlo’s bucket to the brim with candy. That child wound up with more candy than she lost. Much more.

We told her we have to forgive the person (as we reminded ourselves) so it was turned out to be a learning opportunity for us all. We couldn’t help thinking of the scripture about the sparrow. God cares about the sparrows and even my little Byrdie’s bucket of candy. He gave her back so much more than she lost.

It’s a story we’ll never forget.

Luke 12:6-7
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

i’m still here …


it’s been a whirlwind. in august i decided to go back to school. crazy. i must have been taking some kind of crazy pills that day. it really did all get decided in one day and then boom, after starting college …ahem… awhile ago i went back. i am taking digital photography and finally learning something i want to learn about. it’s every bit as hard as i thought it would be and more to take classes online and some in person, be a mom, be a wife, work part time from home and have a husband who is working two jobs and going to school full time.

it’s alot.

it’s just a season though and in march my husband starts student teaching and then he graduates in june. what a glorious day that will be. some kind of party is definitely in order i do believe. so we have a little girl now, no more baby, she’s a toddler 1 1/2 to be exact as of this week. she’s getting into everything. we found 5 gum wrappers on the floor yesterday after she had apparently decided to raid my purse and eat 5 pieces of sugar free gum. running around after her, doing my job and trying to squeeze in school and taking pictures whenever i can doesn’t leave room for much else like cleaning or writing here. i am doing some writing over here though, talking about going to school for photography and other stuff. i’m still here, i’m not giving up on this blog, i’m just trying to get through this season and learn all i can so we can go new places.

Working Mama

My little Byrdie turned one last week but I’ll tell you more about that later. For now I just wanted to say that I love my job. I love being a stay at home Mom and I am very blessed to have a little part time gig too. I work for Genre Creative – assisting on photo shoots, running our new photobooth The Soap Box, writing blogs, updating social media and whatever else my friend Robin needs help with. It can never be said enough … when you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. I love this job and having worked jobs I didn’t love by varying degrees I can truly say I that I am thankful from the bottom of my heart. Plus I am learning more about photography and I get to run a photobooth! I’ve come a long way since I wrote this. So between being a wife, mommy, work, my Etsy store and this blog … things are a quite busy! I will be posting here more often though so don’t give up on me. For today I leave with you a couple of fun pics from the photobooth at my little Byrdie’s birthday party.

Happy Mother’s Day

Today was my first Mother’s Day as a Mom.

It was such a special day and made even more so by my wonderful husband and family.

My life is so full.

I am so thankful.

wishes & hopes

i wish i could make the world stand still so every mother could gaze in awe at their little ones and breathe in every second of their babies little lives

i wish i could win the lottery and be like oprah for one day paying off debts for loved ones, buying my parents new homes, sending my brothers through college, taking all my friends on a dream vacation, helping people who have lost hope.

i wish i could go back in time and see my parents and my husband when they were kids. like a little tiny fly on the wall.

i wish there was a way i could live close to my family and my friends at the same time.

i wish i could take my camera around the world, taking pictures and finding stories.

i wish i could go back in time and visit with my grandpa one last time.

i hope that someday politics will stop dividing friends and loved ones.

i hope that one day it won’t be a luxury for mothers to be able to stay home with their children.

i hope that i can remember to be kind and loving at all times.

i hope that i can start eating more local foods.

i hope that someday i will live by the ocean.

i hope that you are encouraged today, that you will find some sunshine in your corner of the world, and realize you are loved.

Whatever is lovely…

Today I am just really thankful. So I thought I’d make a list here of things I’m thankful for. You see it’s been a long winter. A really long winter. Hard in many ways and some heavy loads to bear……but also a time when some really amazing things have happened. Today it rained. And rained. And rained. But somehow a ray or two of sun found it’s way through the clouds, not just the clouds in the sky but those in my mind. Today I was able to see clearly again through the clouds.

I am so very thankful for……….

My new job.
The fact that I get to stay home with my little Byrdie. I realize not every Mom has this luxury and I am intensely grateful and appreciative of every moment. It’s a miracle that I was able to have her and every inch of her is a gift.

My husband.
I could go on and on about him but that would be a whole post of it’s own. I am so proud of him for going back to school, getting great grades, working hard and being an amazing husband and father. What I would do without him I dare not even imagine. A good man is hard to find. Having waited till I was 32 to find him (if you don’t count the seven years we were friends), I know this all too well. I love him so much.

My family.
So much love. Each one dear in their own special way. A great big bunch of people that I couldn’t make it without. From my parents to my brothers and grandparents and in-laws to my friends that feel like family…I’m so thankful for everyone and for the life we get to share together.

I didn’t always have great friends. I know what it is like to be lonely. To sit alone in the lunchroom or with people who don’t include you or understand. For every one of those moments I cherish my sweet friends.

Spring cleaning.
I have a secret to tell you….I think I like to clean. Last friday my husband took our little girl out for some “father-daughter time” and I … got to clean. I cleaned like I haven’t since I was nesting last summer. It was a beautiful thing.

The Food Network and HGTV.
Lets just keep it real. If you are a Mom you will understand when I say that having a baby turns your world upside down. In a good way…but still…upside down. And then sideways and upside down again. So during the sleepless nights, the repetitive tasks, the days that seem to all melt together into one…you learn to really appreciate the things that haven’t changed. The stable things. Big things like your husband’s love and his hugs, calls and texts from your Mom or a good friend and yes little things like….television. The Food Network and HGTV and their constant stream of cheery, sunny programming. No Judge Judy or Judge Alex or soap operas for me. When I need a little escape I like to go to the channels where I can also learn a little something along the way.

The World Wide Web
In the days before the internet I bet it was alot more lonely and isolating to be a new mommy at home trying to figure things out. However these days with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, instant messaging, iPhones and email you are only a couple clicks away from a friendly word of encouragement, a hello from a long lost friend or something to inspire you.

Coca Cola.
The nectar of the South… You may get your zip from coffee and sometimes I do too but give me an ice cold Coca Cola and things instantly are looking up.

My husband keeps me laughing. My little girl is a morning baby and wakes up with a smile every single day and is quick to laugh and smile. Charlie Chaplin once said “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I agree.

My dishwasher.
Have you ever spent years washing dishes by hand only to finally get a dishwasher? Then you know my joy. If you don’t have one, unless you just happen to love washing dishes (I do know some folks that do) then I hope you get one soon too.

The Lord.
I have love for everyone but I don’t know how I could make it one day without Jesus.

I truly believe the best prescription for feeling down is thankfulness. There is always, always something to be thankful for. Even if it is just the air you breathe you can always thank God for something. Your very life is a gift. You are a miracle.

Philippians 4:4-8 (New International Version, ©2011)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The Big Announcement

One week from today my little Byrdie will be 12 weeks old. One week from today is also the day I would be going back to work….if I were going back to work. That’s the big announcement. I have decided to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don’t have to tell you that it’s a huge decision to go from two incomes down to one.

So that’s the big announcement and here’s the big question…….how are we going to do it? When I started this blog I wanted to write about how to live a beautiful life without spending alot of money. Now here is my chance to really live it out. We are broke. I mean really broke. However, I am not afraid! I know this is the best choice for me and our family and I trust that God is guiding our steps and He will provide. I also know we have to be really smart about this and do our part.

So here we go. This is our new adventure. How do you go from two incomes to one with a new baby and still live a beautiful life. That’s the challenge and I want to document it here. So where do I begin?

Let me just say that I fully realize we have some advantages. First of all we live in the United States and for that we are blessed with alot of resources. Second of all we were able to save up some money while we were both working so we have that going for us. Another advantage is apart from school loans we have no debt (and let me tell you we worked hard to get to that place). Let’s get really practical. Earlier this year I was able to purchase a small freezer full of organic, grass fed beef from a local farmer.

How are we going to make this work? Did I mention my husband is working full time and going to school full time to become a teacher? Did I mention that very soon his class schedule will require him to quit his job and work part time? Did I mention that we will then have to figure out health insurance and go down to 1/4 of our original income? My husband has about a year of school left and then student teaching before he can become a teacher.

This is going to get interesting.

So in addition to the other things I’ve already mentioned in other posts, this blog is about our new adventure. Here’s a couple things we are doing. The first thing I did was apply for WIC. That process is a whole other post for another day! I am clipping coupons and trying to figure out how some women get $200 worth of groceries for $40! I’m also looking for something I can do from home to make some extra money. Who knows maybe enough people will read my blog that I can sell some advertising. (Please?!?!) I’m cooking at home and we don’t go out to eat nonstop like we used to (DINK!). I also still have plans for my Etsy store and for my photography. So there are things on the horizon.

It’s a new day. I believe very strongly in working hard and paying bills on time, we are just adjusting the way we do that these days.

How do you wait for a baby?

I’m not sure what you are supposed to do while you are waiting for a baby to arrive, but here is what we are doing. We are enjoying this time. It’s like the calm before the storm; but I don’t mean that in a negative way. I mean it in the best, most peaceful and contented way. Am I the most comfortable I’ve ever been in my life…no. Do I feel horrible…no. I am content. This is such a sweet time to spend with my husband, enjoying this time where it’s just the two of us while being so excited that we can not wait for our baby girl to arrive. It’s so sweet and I hope we’ll always remember it. This baby girl is so wanted and prayed for and a miracle in so many ways. She is born out of and into love and will never have to lack for people in her life to love her.

Summer is such a sweet time to wait for a baby. I’m trying to soak up as much of the sun and simple pleasures that I can. Here are some of my favorites of this summer of waiting:

Sunshine (naturally)

Looking out at my patio with the little yellow table and chairs, red geranium and herbs

Taco Trucks, Taco Trucks and more Taco Trucks!If you live in Columbus click here for more info on where to find them!

Mexican Ice Cream at the Taco Trucks! (see pic) This weekend we tried Strawberry and Coconut! Light and refreshing with chunks of ice! The perfect summer treat.

Swimming Pools

Spending time with friends in swimming pools, in backyards, and around fire pits and grills

Grilled Corn on the Cob and Asparagus

Watermelon and Strawberries and fruits of all kinds!

Holding hands with my sweetheart

Working on the nursery together

Looking at our old baby pictures and wondering what the baby will look like…

Cleaning the car and apartment and making it sparkle and shine

Picking out tiny little baby clothes

Making my limeade spritzers (half club soda/half Simply Limeade) and drinking to my hearts content…

Cuco’s…The Rusa…Quesadillas…Barbacoa…Taqueria Tacos!

Flip Flops

Seeing our friend’s sweet babies enjoy the swimming pool, splashing around in joy…

Taking photos (I want to take more)

Spontaneous trips to get Ice Cream

Seeing as many movies as we can in the nice, cold air conditioned movie theater

Crushed Ice

Sweet expectant messages from friends wondering if baby has come yet

Sun kissed skin and hair

Ice Cold Coca Cola in a bottle (preferably the Mexican kind)

Lightning Bugs

Long days of sunshine that last till almost 10pm

Homemade popcorn made on the stove

Journaling and praying for this unborn baby

Plans to take a photo of the baby every day for the first year of her life (and yes, I plan to post them here)

Love. Most of all these days are full of love. Not to mention thankfulness, new found freedoms, sweet memories, hopeful thoughts and then some more love. We are so very blessed.