Friday, July 17, 2015

It's 99 degrees and I'm thinking about Christmas.

Sing on Mr. Crosby. "And may all your Christmases be white..."

It's not a major announcement or surprise to see this post from me, is it? :)
I made it alllll the way to July 17th this year before I started longing for cooler weather, the holiday season and wearing jeans. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for holding out this long - and actually, really enjoying summer. And truth be told, I still am. We've got plenty left and I'm in no rush. Bonfires and s'mores, walks on the beach (next month!), and iced caramel macchiato's are on my mind - along with these laid back mornings, quality sit down and read time, late bedtimes and all the summer fun things going on in our city. But. It's 99 degrees with a humidity percentage in the thousands and I'm thinking, just thinking, about Christmas today.

We all have our favorites. Autumn and winter are mine. We'll leave it at that.

My husband gets home from his trip in TWO days. I'm giddy just waiting for him. We've made it all the way almost with little to no problems. Though, I'll recap some unfortunates:
- It's hot. Wicked, wicked hot and uncomfortable. I'm slightly nervous to see the energy bill next month after all these days and nights of nonstop air conditioning.
- Tuesday night I had to take August into urgent care. She woke up from her nap and was in tears saying her ears hurt. She also had gunky eyes. So, at 6pm we dropped her sisters off at friends and went in. Did you know kids can get infected swimmers ears? And eyes? I know it now. She has both. Did you also know it's near impossible to rub medicine into a 4 years olds eyes? We need to rethink that one there, Docs. ;) Today she looks and is acting much better.
- I found a dead bird in my garage yesterday as I was setting back up for my two-weekend-long yard sale. I CANNOT handle that sorta thing. I may have sent out a plea for help on Facebook. One of our awesome deacons may have stopped by to rescue me.
- Today we discovered a massive wasps nest right above the front door. Awesome. So, instead of buying spray and dealing with it... we open the door and run as fast as we can to get into the van. It's a sight everyone enjoys, I'm sure. I'll continue on with this plan until my husband is home. Nature is not my favorite right now.
- The girls and I splurged tonight and bought an almost SIX dollar watermelon (with seeds) only to cut it open and discover its the weirdest and grossest melon we've ever tasted. It's pale pink and tastes like melon rind. What am I supposed to do about that!? And.... what am I supposed to do with this watermelon craving?!
- Last negative: My throat. I just ended my antibiotic prescription a few days ago and now my throat glands are swollen again. Discouraging. I try to ignore it. But honestly it's seriously bumming me out. Back to gargling AC vinegar and salt water. I dunno. If it doesn't relieve soon I might seek an ENT. Do adults use those?

Well then. That was entirely too grumpy sounding. Ultimately, we are doing so well and the days have really been great!

Back to Christmas in July. Much happier.
We are in Iowa this Christmas and I am SO excited to be home with my babies for that special time. The Pausley family is all flying/driving here and there will be reunions, birthdays, etc.
Here are a few ideas I'd like to do this holiday season:

Only, obviously, ours would say Pausley.

I reeeeeally want to do SO much handmade this year. Loving these gift tag ideas!

I already have the door. Just love this easy, natural, old-ish looking vignette.

I remember buying one of these in college for a fundraiser and thinking I want to make them when I have a family. It's time.
So, there ya have it. My cold-weather musings tonight.
Back to reality - the sun is going down and another nice n' warm day tomorrow. :) 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Body & Blessings

Brooklyn team, praying after their last meeting.
A big part of our world involves my husband traveling on various types of youth trips. During the "school season" the trips include weekend retreats, conferences, etc. and those are quick and wonderful little learning times. The summer, however, offers the lengthier trips and fuller weeks. At this point in the summer we've already gone through a week of VBS at our local church, a week of SOS (students offering service), a day trip to our local amusement park and several Wednesdays in a row of our summer study - hosted in our home.

Right now we're smack dab in the middle of a LONG trip week. It's day 5 that my husband has been gone and its no wonder I was feeling like an emotional train wreck last night when I went to bed. {But, I'm also blaming a certain sappy, sad, Netflix movie. WHY do we subject ourselves to those things?! }
My husband and a team of teens and leaders are in Brooklyn, NY and they'll be back on Sunday night. I miss him. Not just the security of having my man in the house, and not just his help with the children or his work around the house.... I miss him. It's truly amazing how God can bring two people together and turn them into one! My life and days really do feel incomplete without him in them. I'm so thankful for the opportunities that he has to travel and learn and serve - and I'm thankful that it's not every week. :)

But let me share with you just some of the ways the Lord has really shown me this week how much he cares for us in so many little tangible ways. I'm always blown away and so thankful.

- Sunday after church a lady stopped by and handed me a gift card to Wendy's. She mentioned how she knew she wouldn't have had time to make us a meal (which I wasn't even expecting) so here was our meal. We ended up using it that night! Such a treat to my girls and I!
- Prior to Wendy's we spent the afternoon in our friends beautiful pool. This is also such a treat for us! We are so thankful for friends who give up their family time to open up their home and pool to us. My girls were thrilled and it made our otherwise difficult Sunday evening much more pleasant.
- Yesterday one of our sweet teen girls watched my girls for a few hours so I could get grocery shopping done alone - something I've vowed to do from now on. When I shot her a text to say I was heading home she encouraged me to do something else because they were "just fine" there. :) Music to a momma's ears!
- A friend teaching me how to air up my van tires after trying to do it herself.
- Our precious Sr pastors wife dropped off ice cream and pb M&M's. She loves me!
- Encouraging check up texts and facebook messages
- A cell group of ladies who share scripture and challenging thoughts - keeps me focused!
- Air conditioning. It's HOT here and I believe I'd be losing my mind without this "extra".
- Kids who love nap time and bed time. Yep. I have amazing kids.
- Netflix. This is an extra we budget in each month (it's $7.99) and it has been wonderful on the really hot days this week to pick a fun family movie and just veg it.
- Coffee. I'm tired.

Every time my husband goes away I get a first hand look at the Body of Christ and how it was made to build up and encourage the other members. These are all blessings that I cherish. And some of them may seem silly, but, each one meets us where we are and what we needed this week.
I'll close this out with a special blessing from today.

Today was Cow Appreciation day at Chick-fil-a and the rules are simple: Dress up like a cow and get free food. I've never done it before because honestly it seems like a load of work - long lines, making costumes, taking 3 kids to fast food ALONE, etc. But we did it and it was totally worth it. We got 5 free complete meals and the girls were able to jump around the play place afterward. Wow, amazing time and such a blessing to score some yummy free food. Not to mention that it broke up our middle of the week!
We are so thankful for the body and the many blessings the Lord shows us! Here's to a fantastic rest of our long week... 5 more days :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Stuff of Summer

Hello from 1st Street! We are in the fullest part of our summer and enjoying every day, or at least, trying to. All my lists of projects have taken the back burner to the rest of life - and raising my three girls has really taken ALL my time. It's all good. We've gone through VBS week at church, a youth service trip here locally, a trip to Omaha to visit family (and the amazing zoo!), lots of days at the park and splash pads, etc. and I was able to jump into a ladies bible study on Wednesday nights. This weekend my husband leaves for Brooklyn, NY for 9 days and then at the end of the month we'll head north to camp in Michigan!

So many great memories have been made. Today I'll just share a taste of our fun!

At the end of June I celebrated my 33rd birthday over dinner and a Matt Kearney concert downtown. Such a great date with my guy! Now that I'm 33 I've found TWO gray hairs and notice more and more my squinty smile lines around my eyes. WHAT?! So soon?! :)

The girls started their summer workbooks last week - it was time. Our weekly routine has been going pretty good, but we are starting to have some fighting and fussing. Enter school books and somehow they magical soothe their brains. 

The Fourth of July was great this year! We went to a parade and spent the evening with friends watching fireworks. 

This Sunday we had a unique opportunity to attend an old fashioned car show where my husband preached. Afterward it was all funnel cakes & Sky rides! 

There is still so much summer left to live and we are thankful for that. :)
But I need to secretly admit that this odd 75 degree day made me smile to think that Autumn is next.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some Summer: Life updates and summer projects

Helllllloooooo friends! Are you still out there? {grin} This poor little blog is so neglected. I do think of it often, and it seems there is always something to write about...but, the time! The time, my friends, it just isn't there. There is too much life to live right now.

But, all is calm tonight. I have a sleeping baby and two little girls enjoying a new game (together!), and a hubby who is out evangelizing. This unexpected me time caught me off guard, but I'll run with it.

Summer time is moving right along. We've already been through a week of vacation bible school and a week of SOS (students offering service) with our teens. Two major summer events - done! Coming up next is the start of our summer study series on Wednesday nights here at the Pausley home, a trip to Brooklyn for our missions team, and ending the summer with our annual trip to Lake Ann. Ah, it goes too quickly!

We celebrated the life of our beautiful Jane this month as she turned ONE. Yes, I cried. Yes, I still get a little weepy when I realize my last baby (more than likely) is one year old. She was a champ with her first cake - dove in face first and all. :) I love that baby!
She's just about as cute as they come and is into everything. Although she is not walking, she somehow manages to get around this house at the speed of sound. Her favorite locales currently are: the toilet, the fridge, the dishwasher, climbing down off of the deck into the yard, and attempting to get out the front glass door. How have I not found more gray hairs yet?! She's an amazing gift. I'm treasuring these last few weeks of bottle time in the mornings and bedtimes and the fact that she actually snuggles in for them. I am really going to miss having a baby around. {sob} Can't even continue this part of the post. Moving on...

The big girls are in the summer time grove. Sleepovers in the basement, later bedtimes, parks and splash pads, going on walks, etc. We are loving it. I need to admit though - all my planning and structure is GREAT, and helpful, but many days we end up tossing the routine and just doing what works. They are flexible and I'm grateful.

I have two half finished projects sitting around per my usual habit and my husbands dread. The old ugly chair fabric has been stripped and the old desk has been half painted. Ha!
I'm looking for just the right fabric for the chair. This beauty will go up in my bedroom with my newly painted desk, for my own little "office space". Having my main work desk in the front room of our home is not working out. And as much as I love having my bills spill over on the floor as guests walk in... eh, not really.

The color is "Pot of Cream" by Behr - paint and primer, of course. The desk is in good shape structurally speaking, but has all sorts of scratches and flaws (which I like!). The primer fills in the scratches and keeps it looking rustic/shabby, but clean!
I found some drawer lining contact paper at the Dollar Tree and threw that on the insides of drawers. I'm not really a black/white style girl, but it works until I find something I really love.

Also, let's take a minute and appreciate the baby gate suspended from the stair rail in the background, please.

Good grief. Keepin' it real! 

Another coat to go and then I'll rough it up.
I'm looking forward to having my own little place upstairs to journal, pay bills, think. :)

I hope your summers are going well. Maybe I'll get to share more fun things here soon.
Have a great week!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

.:Days and moments:.

My precious August Hope turned 4 last week. It still seems a little impossible to me that my little girl is four, but it's true. We had a special family party for her and the celebration was sweet.
She is one of my sweetest blessings. I could go on and on about her kind spirit, gentleness, the way she lavishes love and affection on me and her servants spirit. My middle girl is a gift. I'm so thankful to the Lord for giving her to me. When we asked her what kind of birthday she wanted her response was : "pink". No characters or details, just pink. So, pink it was! I whipped up a quick table cloth, make raspberry cream cheese frosted cupcakes and pink candies. Easy. Her only real request was to have birthday cake Oreo's at her party. :)

Her big birthday gift was her FIRST bike! She has spent the last few days trying it out, cleaning it, etc. But her favorite thing right now is pretending she's fixing it up. I gave her a few random tools and she spends so much time on the deck "working on it". It's adorable.

Oh sweet girl. I am so thankful for you and I love each and every moment we have together.
But, now can we freeze time?! The days are long but the years are so short. As with every birthday, I found myself stealing away now and again with teary eyes. Kissing her goodnight was emotional and while I truly rejoice that my children are healthy and growing... something hurts my heart as they get older and grow up.

Happy birthday August!

Speaking of growing up. I'm really preparing my heart for what comes next...
My (last) baby turns one next month.
 I can't even...
I waited my whole life to be a wife and mommy, and now I have these sad feelings about the fact that my baby days are wrapping up. Now, I know Miss Jane is still a baby and will be for awhile. But it seems like these days and moments are just flying by and it's more then my heart can bear. What will I do with my life once there is no longer a baby in the house? {sigh} I suppose many momma's go through such emotions.

Today Jane tried for the first time to hold her own bottle. I kinda wanted to stop her - but, that's our ultimate job, right? Training them to grow up. So I just locked eyes with her and we chatted during bottle time. She's such a perky little girl. I love her. How on earth am I so blessed three times over?!

We are gearing up for summer here and our first born finishes kindergarten on Tuesday. I'm praying and asking the Lord to give us a phenomenal summer together - really hoping the planning pays off! I would love your input on how you transitioned your school aged (in school) kids to a summer routine. I need some connection time with my first born and I think a summer together is just the ticket.

Life goes on around here. Our busy season of student ministry and life eases into a little more relaxed summer schedule. Time. We'll have more time to pour in and more time to slow down and just be. There are trips and plans mixed in - but I'm working hard at making sure we enjoy the days.
Yesterday I noticed this Cardinal nest in my front yard bush. THREE baby cardinals are coming!
It's little things like this that lately just cause my heart to soar. The Lord has put so much beauty around us and I just want to drink it up!

Tonight I was able to do just that - drink it in. The girls were in bed, the sun was setting and the deck was calling my name. Is there anything better then a warm spring night on the deck with a cup of coffee? I submit there is not. Listening to the birds get their families settled, watching the setting sun, and the general buzz of our neighborhood was so soothing to my melancholy heart. Sometimes I just crave those quiet moments whispering prayers and being thankful. It's good for the soul.

Days and moments, friends. That's what we have. Enjoy yours.
Blessings until next time. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Big Sky Wanted

I'm so thankful to live in Iowa. It's been mentioned before but I'll say it again - God was so kind to bring us here {almost} 6 years ago. The seasons change, there's enough city vs. country, and I am content as could be. We live just outside of the Des Moines metro in a small suburban township - all my neighbors are either retired or my parents age. It's quiet. Lawns are kept, back yard gardens are tended, and people keep to themselves but actually do care about their neighbors. It's not uncommon for me to see one neighbor getting another neighbors mail, or pulling their trash bins back to the house. Right at this minute I'm watching two neighbor men have a conversation... in MY front yard. And it's normal. Come winter it's normal to see people shoveling driveways not their own. We've been the recipient of that several times!

All this to say I genuinely feel content, I'm not the personality to see places in books and magazines and think "man, I have GOT to go there." Until... this weekend. And now that I've seen the pictures and they've seared into my brain, I can't get the Big Sky out of my mind. I blame this book: "Big Sky Cooking" by Meredith Brokaw.
I had an hour to myself this weekend so I took a whirl through our library. Without fail I end up in the cookbook aisle and feel overwhelmed and yet weirdly excited at all of the options! The title caught my eye and one glance inside won me over.

Montana. This cabin. The rocking chairs. The plains behind it! That old rickety fence. Isn't that beautiful?
I could picture myself, coffee in hand, early in the morning watching the wild animals run through the hillside. It's fun to dream isn't it?

And then there was this picture. I'm not a cowgirl, though I do enjoy a horseback ride. But look at those mountains! Easily, I could become a cowgirl if it included strolls through these meadows with those mountains in the back drop.

I think I have Big Sky fever. 
The recipes in here are even better. It covers everything from simple recipes like Jalapeno Corn bread and pork tenderloin to the natives of that land, Chokecherry Jelly and Elk Pepper Steaks. I could go for some Elk!

I'm really looking forward to reading every single page. Aside from beautiful pictures and yummy recipes this cookbook also has personal reflections of the people living there, and the sweet story of how Tom and Meredith Brokaw made their way to Montana to live. You might recognize the name Tom Brokaw from the evening news.

Big Sky.
Ah, it just sounds wonderful doesn't it?

I'm also going to recommend two more cookbooks I found while at the library. Think Big Sky, but move south to Oklahoma for the first one. Yep, Miss Ree. :)

This isn't a new one by any means but I haven't read it yet. Sure enough it's full of great ideas and delicious recipes. And of course... amazing pictures of their cattle ranch under the Oklahoma sky. It is not helping with my Big Sky fever ;)

And the last one for today - she writes from under a sky obviously... only, not one I'm particularly fond of. Jessica Seinfeld's second cookbook is just as creative and cute as her first. There are a ton of good ideas for yummy ways to make healthy foods! This NYC momma has great quick ideas!

So there you have it. My weekend reading pile.
What are you dreaming about today? And, if you've ever been to Montana or Oklahoma - what did you love the most? Big Sky wanted!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

More fun with plates

It's the end of a busy Thursday and my eyes are tired. Maybe it's the weird spring weather or our current level of crazy or something else totally unrelated... but, I'm tired. I wake up tired, feel tired during the day, and fall asleep tired. Repeat. Needless to say, I'm ready for a nice weekend - and what a coincidence that it's Mothers Day weekend!

Many of you were able to see my dining room redo post a few days back. I had such a great time gathering things to make that room a little more lovely. I still have one empty wall but until something comes to mind that I can really commit to - I'm leaving it alone. In the meantime, I've been having a little more fun with plates. Tonight I'll share a quick little project I threw together for our high school banquet last weekend.

.:DIY mini-cake stands:.

First up, do some shopping. I found all of my plates in one rushed trip to Goodwill, all scattered throughout the dish section. I wanted a little variety and it worked out.

Then swing into your local Dollar Tree or even that same Goodwill store. I can always find these candle holders at The Dollar Tree. Consistently. Once you get everything home - give it all a good wash. I didn't run things through the dishwasher this time (no time!), but normally I would. In my opinion it helps glue and paint stick better when all the dust and whatnot is cleaned off.

Then, you'll want to notice your leetle baby who is always by your side trying to grab anything she can get her grubby hands on supporting you. I LOVE this little munchie crunchie faced baby. Love!

Once you've paused to smooch her baby cheeks 49,847 times... get back to work.

Glue the candle holders to the backs of the plates, flip upside down and let dry. I used hot glue this time which DID NOT hold well. Normally I would use Gorilla Glue or something glass specific. But, I was short on time and the hot glue worked for exactly the amount of time I needed it to - 1 night. :)

I suppose the ok-ness of the hot glue is that I can just peel it off and start fresh with something else.
Once the glue has dried its time to take those puppies to the garage and do some spray painting!

I chose to use a chalkboard spray paint because it's what I had on hand. It ended up being a great choice and the matte finish was perfect! This is the brand I used - very happy with it. {and make sure to get one of those spray things - unless you enjoy stained hands for days...}

The painting can be tedious as you have to wait until one side is dry to do the other, etc. I'd say this step took me about an hour or so with the waiting times in between coats. It was super warm this day so it helped to dry faster.

Once they are dry - voila! DIY mini-cake stands. I love the different patterns and how they turned out. The matte paint looked awesome.
This was an inexpensive and easy way to glam up a high school end of the year banquet. :) You could really do any color combination and use any kind of plates or candle holders. Endless options!

I topped them with white pillar candles and they made lovely little centerpieces. Of course I didn't get any pictures of the actual event or the tables... but snagged this shot from hubby's phone.
You can get the idea. :) Congrats class of 2015!