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True Romance, True Love

It was one of those mornings. I crunched my way through the snow back to the house in frustration, knowing that my husband and girls were watching me as they drove away. I blew a cursory kiss at them and mumbled under my breath, “Yes please, please, all just go away.” I sighed as guilt washed over me. I was still harboring bitterness from the night before when I pulled a snowman ornament out of my daughter’s backpack that had been her show-and-tell object for the day. I had picked it out for her the previous Christmas and carefully wrote her name on it. That morning when she plucked it from the tree, I helped her wrap it delicately in a towel and warned her (in as nonchalant a tone as possible to sound like I was giving friendly advice more than a lecture) that the arms would break off easily. I almost knew it the moment the words came out of my mouth. I knew that the little guy wouldn’t make it home in one piece. For some reason, when I pulled it out of her backpack with one arm missing, this only made me angrier. Because I know my daughter, and I knew it hadn’t happened on accident. When confronted she confessed that she had to prove how NOT delicate his arms were and twisted one off, hours after I had mentioned it. I had yelled and sent her to bed without fixing things between us which laid heavily on me the whole night as I debated whether to wake her or wait until morning to work things out. In the end, I did neither. Instead in a very mature and nurturing way, I gave her the cold shoulder all morning. Good parenting 101. Fail.

My other daughter had climbed into the van for school and looked at me with all the pathetic puppy dog face she could muster and told me she had lost her gloves. Again. I told her to go in and look for them, which I also knew was a lost cause. Her idea of looking for things is to scan the walls and turn in a circle before pronouncing that she “just can’t find them”. So while my husband and I went on a hunt for her gloves, she turned circles and played with the cat. They never did show up and when I told her (admittedly thinking, This will show her), “Well, I guess you are just going to be cold today,” she responded with an apathetic, “Okay,” and a good old fashioned shrug of the shoulders. I wanted to scream, but instead, as my husband went to kiss me goodbye, I grazed his cheek with my lips and I could feel it bubbling up inside of me. Though that little voice cautioned me not to, the urge was just too great and I succumbed to temptation. The words tumbled out of my mouth in a hot, boiling stream of lava and I spewed, “Gosh, I am so sick of this. She twirls, Sam. TWIRLS! That’s how she looks for gloves, and the other one-well…she’s just her. Why does she have to defy me just for the sake of it? Why does she have to tear the arms off just because I told her to be careful? What is it that drives her to be so vindictive just because I told her to be careful?! I don’t want this. I don’t want to be this wife…this mom…I just nag and-” I was cut short by the look on his face; the one that said, “Yep. Heard it yesterday. Twice. And the day before that, and the day before that….”

So as the van drove away, I grumbled the whole way to the house with a “good riddance” in my heart for the people I love most in my life.

So many days I think,”How did this happen? When did I become this…..this…wife and mother?” When I dreamed of being a mom and wife, I pictured baked cookies and home-cooked meals, playing games and kissing boo-boos and being a lifelong friend to my husband. I didn’t picture explosions over broken Christmas ornaments and lost gloves. I didn’t picture my days being filled with “please find your socks”, “don’t put that in your mouth”, “didn’t I just ask you not to throw the cat?”, “work it out with your sister”, “if you say please”, “seriously? I just bought you those shoes! How do they have holes in the already,”, “I already answered that question six times! No, it is not time to go yet”, “no, this is my chocolate. I just gave you a cookie! Can’t anything in this house be just mine?! You broke three things of mine today. Can’t I just eat this chocolate in peace?”. I certainly didn’t picture my husband giving me that look. The one that says you have officially moved from being one love, his friend, his companion, his comfort to his wife.

I know that some of you will nod your heads in agreement while others might curse me for acting like “wife” is a four letter word (though technically, in my defense, it is) :). But I think you still know what I mean. The old ball and chain. The old hatchet. The old lady. I hate that look more than anything and I am married to the most patient man in the world and he can still give me that look, often accompanied by a sigh. It kills me a little every time. Literally every day of my life I ponder, I pray about, I worry about how I can be a better wife to my husband, a better mother to my children. Still, I come up short, which only frustrates me more and makes me have a shorter fuse and the cycle continues! As my family drove away, though I was grumbling, my heart was sinking. No matter how many times my poor husband had heard it, it didn’t make it any less true: I didn’t want this. I want them, but I don’t want this version of me.

By the time I had climbed the stairs to my bedroom to get ready for the day, I was no longer frustrated but defeated. I sat down to Facebook (of all things) and saw two separate articles posted by friends; one about marriage, the other about parenting-both cautionary tales to not take for granted your spouse or children no matter the conflicts that might arise. One had a happy ending, the other did not. I cried heartily reading both.

I am a deep romantic at heart. Someone told me not too long ago that romantics can truly enjoy life sometimes and feel things deeply, but they can also be disappointed easily by unmet expectations. It is my romantic side that measures the roundness of Evie’s face and how she has changed and studies her ears because they have changed the least since she was a baby. My romantic side caresses Nora’s cheek and recounts to her stories of when she was a baby and how I used to hold her closely and stay up with her at night. My romantic side leaves notes in my husband’s office with little doodles or puts surprises in his truck to find on a hard day. But sometimes, when I am caught up in those moments, the girls don’t want to be bothered with my stories and Sam might be too busy to thank me for the notes.There is nothing more crushing sometimes than being on a plateau and being ripped down by carelessness, thoughtlessness. I am disappointed and I pull away. I might try again, but find myself disappointed again. I am forgotten, I am taken for granted, I am ignored. I think this is a curse of a lot of moms and I don’t think I’m alone.

But today, as I was reminded again, romance can be found in the lonlieness, in the disappointment. Love and relationships are never easy. Isn’t there something romantic about a difficult relationship? Isn’t there something sweet about muddling through a difficult time in life together and coming out the other side stronger, more committed? Who wants to watch a movie where a couple gets together in the first five minutes? Isn’t that boring? Even when my children push me away, I know there is something in them that just needs me to pull them back; to love on them a little harder.

When I first started dating my husband, I fell hard and fast. I fell in love with him through snail mail!! Being in love was easy. Love, true love, takes work. Love is choosing to kiss a scraped knee, even after I have been ignored, given attitude, harassed. Love is choosing to make a home-cooked meal after I was forgotten. True romance is still leaving little notes in the girls’ lunchboxes with little pictures and notes so they know I love them after they have broken ornaments and lost gloves. Love is getting up in the middle of the night to soothe away nightmares and clean up vomit. Love is cooling a warm forehead with a wet rag. Romance is forcing yourself to wrap your arms tightly around someone who has said hurtful things and choosing to forgive them. Romance is running someone else a bath when you want nothing more than to soak in it yourself and soothe away the aches and exhaustion of the day. Love is staying up into the wee hours of the morning to work through painful words or misunderstandings and grasping for reconciliation in the dark. True romance is a hot cup of tea for a sore throat or a look of encouragement across the room when you feel all eyes on you. Love is cleaning up a mess so someone else doesn’t have to.

Love is messy. Love is dirty. Love is painful; and there is something so romantic about the melancholy, lonely, day to day struggles to keep your family and marriage together.

True love is taking a beating when you did nothing wrong for those you love as your own; true love is teaching, mentoring, comforting and loving those you know will soon abandon you in your greatest moment of need when you have never asked anything of them; true love is crying out for a different plan but still choosing sacrifice for the deep, grueling love and salvation of others; true love is nailing my sins to a cross, cold, splintered and bloody and finishing it all on the darkest day in history just so that I might have life everlasting.

I love, because God first loved me, and I know better than anybody that that ain’t easy. So I will love and find the true romance in paying off a debt that can never fully be repaid. Love is grueling, painful, sacrificial-love is tough. And I think that is pretty darn romantic.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 8:13

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DIY Easy Picture Frames

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This is one of those posts again that seem a little silly for me to even be giving a tutorial about because these are so ridiculously easy to make, but….well, here we are.

I was shopping for a friend for her wedding shower, and I had this big idea to put together this cute little package of goodies for her to decorate her home with. I started, of course, by stalking her on Pinterest to find out what her style was. Though this might seem a little creepy, it is incredibly effective when trying to pick out the perfect gift for someone.

Anyway, on my quest to finding such aforementioned items, I hunted for cute and affordable picture frames. This friend is super trendy. She always looks like she just stepped out of a magazine, so I wanted to find her something that would fit her style. I did. I found this adorable chevron picture frame that was classy, but still looked a little rough around the edges to give it that shabby chic charm. It was a 4×6 (perfect) and…what?!!! Fifteen dollars!! Have I mentioned before how cheap I am? I could have gotten her the picture frame, but I couldn’t afford to add much else to it. So instead, I grabbed two white frames, $5 each, one a 4×6, the other 8×11. I headed home, got out my Sharpies, only second to Duct Tape in their versatility, and went to work.  My husband so wisely looked at me and said, “You’re doing that freehand?” Yep, was my confident reply.  How hard is it to do a chevron pattern?? Well, apparently for someone like me working at 10 o’clock at night, it’s no small feat.  I hated the way it looked, which was completely uneven and I was sure she wouldn’t like it either. So, my original DIY list looked like this:

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then quickly changed to this:

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Instead of Sharpie, I decided to go with decoupaging instead. I had this darling paper called, “The Sweetest Thing” that I picked up from Micheal’s to wallpaper my girls’ room and thought it would be perfect for this project. So here’s what I used:

*2 white picture frames

*glue (for decoupage-so much cheaper than Mod Podge!)

*scrapbook paper

*foam brush

Okay, so I know this is probably pretty self explanatory, but this is how it was done: I started by taking the glass and backing off to be able to wrap the paper smoothly around the edges.  Then I cut strips of paper the length of each side and then some so it could wrap around the edges and be tucked around the side and glued to the back.  I cut diagonal slits in inside corners of the paper so they could be fold neatly around the inside edges. I started gluing my paper down, edge by edge, then I covered the whole thing with a layer of glue, then let it dry and did another layer. My first attempted side looked like this:

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And here are the final products. Pretty easy, right? All in all these took me about a half hour to make both of them. Not too bad!

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I think she liked ’em.

xo

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Time to reevaluate…

I have had my Etsy shop on “vacation mode” for about a month now trying to catch up on orders I have in. I specialize in custom quilts, and though ten orders might not really sound like a lot, when they take about three months to make, it takes up a lot of time….and time is money. I am really no business woman. It’s all very overwhelming and confusing to me sometimes. So, I have been pondering whether I should cut back on taking customs orders in general, or just offer simpler patterns and quilts of a much smaller size, like baby quilts or throw size quilts, or if I should do away with quilts in general! I do a lot of custom guest book quilts for baby showers or weddings, and have done family tree quilts as well. So, here are some pictures of what I have made and some things I have currently for sale. I could use some serious feedback or any advice anyone might have in making a more profitable business, and if any of my items stands out to them! Thanks!

Superman Baby Tag Blanket1. Superman sensory blanket.2.Guest book tree quilt 3.Patriotic quilt4. Baby pinwheel quilt 5.Custom baby shower quest book quilt 6.Charlotte’s Web book purse 7. Custom team quilt
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DIY Sock Monkey Slippers

I saw these adorable sock monkey slippers in a few stores, and I thought to myself “I think I can totally do that.” My motto is “Anything can be accomplished with a glue gun.” So, I bought a pair of wool, knee length socks  with the red band at the top(I got them at a discount store, but just today I saw a pair at the dollar store), and some cream and red felt, and got to work!   First of all, to get started, in addition to the socks and felt, you will need some buttons for eyes, embroidery thread for stitching, a glue gun, old sweaters or fleece for the bottom of the slippers and the ears, and an old pair of flip flops. The flip flops can be exchanged for thick foam if you don’t have a pair you want to part with. The flip flops are for the bottoms of the slippers. You could probably leave them out if you wanted to, but they make these more like slippers and less like just a pair of socks. 🙂 To start, cut the straps off of your flip flops, and cut enough fabric from your sweater or fleece to fit over the bottom of the shoes.  Wrap the fabric around the soles of the shoes, and glue into place with hot glue.  Press down so that the glue is squished and doesn’t dry hard and lumpy and poke into your feet when you wear the slippers. Once the fabric is attached to the bottom of the slippers, glue the sock onto the top of the shoe. I also added a few stitches just to ensure that the fabrics would not separate from each other during use. Next, cut a watermelon shaped mouth out of the red fabric. Make sure to measure the width of your sock so it fits nicely on the top of the sock.  Cut a rectangle out of the cream colored fabric the width of the sock and just about an inch and a half wide. Use embroidery floss to stitch the mouth and nose and to attach them to the socks.  The nice thing about these are, that if your stitching isn’t perfect, it just adds to the charm. For the nostrils, wrap the thread around the end of your needle and then push the needle into the fabric, leaving the “ball” intact.  Glue the “eyes” on or sew them on if you prefer. I like to take shortcuts when possible. Cut lightbulb shaped ears out of gray fleece, sweater, or felt.  Attach them to side with glue or sewing. To add traction to the bottom of your slippers, use your glue gun to put dots on the bottom. Mine still look a little “hairy” but at least it’s on the bottom.;)And, that’s IT! This really only takes an hour or so! This is great for a last minute Christmas gift or just for yourself! Oh yeah-and lastly, wear them loud and proud!