Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ruffled Feathers Unfurled!

The Littlest Twirl

Our wonderful friends in Texas have become the blessed parents to a VERY special little girl through the miracle of adoption this week! It is the answer to years and years of prayer by them and us for them to have a family of their own. The sweetness of God is so evident right now.
... And of course, I had to celebrate by making a skirt for her ... the littlest one I've ever made in fact! (It's a wee 3-6 mo. size) I call it Watermelon Twirl as the middle butterfly fabric is that yummy deep pink shade of watermelon that is THE sweetest treat! (Click on this or any other photo to enlarge.)

And as adoption seems to be surrounding our family, I thought I'd give you a peek at the skirt I gifted Miss Vivian with (see yesterday's post.) I still have this fabric available for this combination as well as for other combinations, so if you like it, give me a shout. It's going to look so cute with a pink shirt to tie in with the polka dot edging!!
Miss Vivi Dot

And I am SO excited to reveal this latest skirting. I call it Thankful Jubilee ... because it will be perfect for the Thanksgiving AND Christmas season. I fell in love with the fabric instantly!

Thankful Jubilee

It is a rich fabric of bountiful harvest and holiday hues, outlined throughout in a gorgeous gold embellishment. But my favorite part is the sheer fabric at the skirt edge ... it adds just the perfect touch of angelic whisper for your lil' cherib!

AND if you haven't checked this out yet, I am OFFICIALLY unfurling my skirt company online!!!
Please stop by my new blog Ruffled Feathers Company and enjoy the gallery of styles, a size guideline chart and to see many of the fabrics I have available. I would love to fulfill a skirt order for you. Just send me an email!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nolan's Heart

This summer I stopped at a garage sale. It was one of those drive-by impulse stops where I left Easton and Nolan in the car and literally ran in just for a peek ... hoping to side-step anything I didn't need, or more possibly what the boys didn't need but would probably find and would BEG for. (don't worry, the kids were in eye and ear shot at all times.)

I guess they take after me ... finding treasures in the least likely of places and garage sales ... ooo tempting ground! So sure enough amidst the masses of girly-girl things that I glanced at and moved on from ... I found two of the sweetest baby-dolls by the check out. Nobody was even giving them a second glance! I could hardly believe it as there were several little girls milling around after their moms who I thought for sure would glomp onto them in a heartbeat. But no ... I circled the tables a few times ... eyeing them from a far ... but not feeling like I had any business anywhere near them.

They were both unclothed and their sweet hair-dos were a mess but they had simply been loved on a bit. Nothing a little TLC couldn't fix! And can you believe they were only asking a dollar a piece?
One dollar.
100 pennies
A dinero
4 bits.
They are even cabbage patch kids! (I remember that people were literally dying over these when I was young!--which confirms 2 things, how insane people can become over material things and how old I am.) And here 2 sat at a garage sale, abandoned and nearly alone.
At least they had each other.

I considered which one to buy ... the brown haired one or the black haired one ... and then thought of why I would be buying them at all for goodness sake!
Having just served in the church nursery the week before it suddenly came to me that they didn't have any babies in there!  Ahhh, a reason to buy them!!! Sure, I suppose that I was on some level truly buying these for the church nursery. But let's be honest ... I bought them for myself.

So I nabbed 'em up for 2 bucks, headed back to the car and apologized to the boys that they didn't have anything good for boys just a couple of dolls for the church nursery. And I didn't even think twice about any of it. I started driving away and Nolan seriously started going a bit nutty. I just figured he was getting antsy and wanted out of the carseat ... but he finally blurted out "BABY!" in a painful aching voice, arms outstreatched in angst and he was adamant that he wanted those babies NOW.

Well, let me cut to the chase and just say we do not have any baby dolls in our home ... or kitchen stuff for that matter. Jeff is NOT a new wave dad who allows ANYTHING girly near his boys. (please giggle to yourself about the skirts that Nolan modeled awhile back ... that was out of sheer necessity and I've since remedied my need for a GIRL model and he didn't actually enjoy the modeling ... just pleasing mom.) I shuddered at the thought of how this was going to fly, but took courage that it would only be a passing moment soon forgotten by the afternoon and we'd all move on.
That was June. It's now late August.
And Nolan still daddy's his "babies."
Luckily, Jeff has only made a few comments about the continuing presence of the babies, wondering out loud occasionally, "WHEN are they exactly heading to the church?" And I have to say that Nolan is ALL boy ... so I'm not actually worried about this affection he is showing to the dolls ... but actually I see it as a positive thing in how he is role-playing as a daddy and nurturing someone smaller than him.

And how can I send away Nolan's babies? He will absolutely (and rightly) come unglued if someone else has them in the church nursery. He is such a good daddy to them ... believe me, he does NOT play with them like a girl ... but he shows them love and shows them life with a boy, taking them for rides in his truck, letting them drive his toy tractors and trying to get them to stand up and walk, bouncing them along by their ankle behind him before being dropped for the train or some cars.

Never once did he care that they didn't have neat clothes to fiddle with or that their hair was crazy wild!
But it was fun to tackle their hair dos. And not once did they complain or try to escape my brush like the boys tend to do.
And with a quick stop at the hair accessory aisle at the local Wmart and a snip of the factory installed rubber band that had gone awry. These beautiful girls were not hard to reclaim.

Nolan with his girls (before and after hair-dos)

And this weekend I was invited to a friend's Baby Shower for her newly adopted Chinese-born daughter. Our friends Ken and Keri, had been on the NSN waiting list since Easton was nearly a newborn ... Easton is now FIVE! Last Christmas their card announced that their hearts had been guided to the SN list and that their new daughter had been found in January. PRAISE GOD!
Un-be-knownest to us they had received their TA and were traveling to China exactly when we stopped at this garage sale and found these dolls in June.

I'm really only putting this together now as I type--but how neat to chuckle over that as you'll see why at the end of this post.  When my invitation for the baby shower made way for the bigger boys to go play hockey and enjoy stick time at the ice arena on a 90 degree HUMID afternoon with their dad, Nolan became my date to the shower. 
Probably NOT up his ally of fun-things he'd choose to do ...
He was a bit confused about it all I think ... I know he was hoping for water and lots of babies HA!

But imagine Nolan's joy when he discovered upon arrival to the shower this REAL LIVE sweet-pea!
Seriously. The hair-do could not be any closer to his babies' newly coifed pony-tails!
He walked in and gently petted Vivian's sticky-up pony tail! And exclaimed "BABY!"
And I knew EXACTLY what he meant when he looked at me with that familiar look of love!
Welcome Vivian!
You have a new fan in Nolan :-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

My E-man

Full of humor, deep of heart

E's Official photo with the sign
(again, taken the night BEFORE school to take the pressure off!)
Click to see this or any photo larger

His Locker (yes! even in Kdg!)

(again, taken a few days BEFORE school at the meet n' greet.)

This morning
(Brayden being a GREAT big brother and 
giving him some pointers on the way down to lane.) 

His first time on the regular bus route!

Cheesy Grin while in line
(okay, yes, I drove to the school to make sure he got there okay 
and was still in good spirits ... and to get some more photos.)

E leads his class into the first day of Kindergarten
(It's a really BIG class for our neck of the woods.) 

(tears of joy that we are SO blessed! 
And tears of sadness that you're growing up so quickly!) 

I'm reminded of something that continues to swirl in my head and my heart. 
I know that God has put the thought of SAVORING this time  there so I don't spend time wishing for the past or for the future., but to savor the present--even with the tears and some hurdles everyday--and to give thanks for so many blessings!!

Dad went into work late so he could watch the boys get off to school today--He was able to take this photo of us.
It is one of my all-time favs. It was not posed and E spontaneously put his head onto mine ... now if THAT wasn't hard to hold back some tears!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of Second Grade!

My Bray Guy

A Big Second Grader already!
(we took this picture the night before because 
the first day of school picture is a BIG deal to me ... 
and not so much for him. He humors me though.) 

At the end of our lane ... we waited this morning ...

and the bus came to take this boy ... into another school year!

Be brave, grow strong, crave knowledge,
lean on God ... 
(Yes me AND Brayden ... sniff, sob! Isn't this supposed to get EASIER??)

and if the boy who picked on him last year does it again ... 
I'm in momma bear mode and he better watch out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My favorite day ... 2 letters ...

And if our God is for us ... Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us ... Then who could ever stand against us?
If you haven't checked out the Blessings a Hundred Fold site today ... you REALLY should!
I can hardly contain myself ... look at the post below ... first sweet Samuel is matched with a forever family ... and today in my very next post The Rippee's have received their Pre-Approval. August has been a GRAND month in my book. I never could have imagined this!! God is SO COOL!

Our God is greater 
Our God is stronger
God  you are higher than any other ...

If you have been waiting to donate to help the Rippee's fund their adoption now is the time to act. --The cattle God owns on a thousand hills? Let's bring 'em home. -- Get entered in the give-away TODAY! Click HERE! for a refresher on the GRAND prize list and an outline of how to get entered. 
Did you see the prize list? WOW is an understatement.
The give-away closes Sept. 10th--LESS than one month away! 

Our God is healer
Awesome in power.
Our God ... our God .

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Samuel: God Heard (the happy ending)

I prayed for this child,
and the LORD
has granted me
what I asked of Him.
--1 Samuel 1:27

It is my deep blessing to have prayed over and for this child.
In November of last year ... I prayed that God was preparing his very special family.
And amazingly ... at that very moment ... he was!

God is in the details.
What a joy to know that he has a mom and dad who will hold him soon. I cannot wait to find out more as it unfolds about his forever family and this next chapter in his life!

Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Cutest School Supplies

Yesterday afternoon I gathered the young'uns up after Brayden's golf practice and started the dreaded school-supply shopping. Dreaded not by them so much as me ... because it should be so much more fun than it always ends up being.

And so as not to disappoint, I scheduled doing this trip right at Nolan's naptime ... and as expected, as soon as he saw that red Target shopping cart he darted into a sprint, me trailing after him like a flag in the wind. Luckily, he zigged when he should have zagged and he ended up swooped into that comfy-cart where he promptly melted into a pile of crying tears begging to be released from that "Stuck" seatbelt. Ahhh, being a mom ... it's not easy.

But never mind the cries of my wee-one in one ear. I had the downloaded school supply list in hand and the boys were leading my cart like a pack of snow-sledding dogs through the aisles of other moms and kids. We were scooping up tablets and pink erasers, boxes of crayons, Kleenex, pencils, markers, binders and Clorox wipes. (The thought of the Clorox wipes made my stomach turn as I remembered the all too fresh memories of past school years of tummy aches and long nights with sick kids not all that long ago. Ug.) Germs. Kids. School. I made sure to get a huge spray bottle of Lysol for the homefront and some germ-x for the kiddos too.

BUT, amidst the meltdown of Nolan at the cart-area  and the dwindling enthusiasm of my older two boys I found something for ... ME!

Have you seen the new Gwen Stefani Collection (I really sound like I know who Gwen Stefani is don't I) at Target? The HaraJuku Collection is the sweetest! Apparently they are not at all Target stores or online yet ... and just between you and me ... I am hoping that I can scoop a few up in the dollar aisle in a few months. (I love a bargain.) I crumbled immediately spending way too much time in front of the end cap according to Brayden & Easton.

I was able to walk away with 2 small notebooks ... even though I really wanted the $8 notepad, the file folio, some, folders and the ring binder ... as if I might be going back to school myself and needing some cool things to deck out my backpack. (hint, hint Jeff for my upcoming Birthday?? Here's an idea!)

But a cool idea DID cross my mind and I can't wait to see if it will pan out. After the school supplies but before the trip to Famous Footwear for new tennies for the boys was  a list of 400 cards that I needed to get ... remember I had 3 antsy boys under the age of 8 with me. The two older ones at this point were picking on each other, laying on their tummies trying to find "lost-treasures" like pennies and size tags, errant m&ms and goodness knows what else under the displays and Nolan was still melting like goo, crying in the front of the cart. You saw us didn't you?!

Ack. Of  course no cards seemed to fit the bill ... I grabbed a few generic ones for the graduations I missed in June (oh my!) and thought maybe I could write a nice note for the Thank you cards I already had on hand ... and then I got a BRIGHT idea for the birthday card on my list that was going to be belated too--why not incorporate one of these nifty HaraJuku notebooks INTO the card I was looking for?! (We'll see if it works out, but the idea sure seems neat.) So if you're having a birthday tomorrow, August 5th ... you may find this soon in your mailbox.

Happy Birthday! 
I'll be mailing this soon ... enjoy your special day! 

I hope she enjoys the useful aspect of this card as well as the smoochkin on it! It seemed like a good solution to a downward spiraling situation with my shopping crew and my indecisiveness on which tablet to buy. Oh yes, and we did make it over to get the kids their shoes ... 30 pairs a piece later. WHEW! We finally found a pair each that fit nicely (now I'm praying that they last a good 4-6 months.)
Many Blessings! And happy school shopping.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Two and Twenty Year Reunion

(second grade)

I had my first class reunion this weekend since graduating from high school OVER twenty years ago.

In fact, because our school was SO small (I was in a class of 37 ... 4 of whom were foreign exchange students,) that the reunion organizers decided to incorporate SIX graduation years (three on each side of ours) which just so happened to span the exact distance between me and my 2 siblings! And that was very nice since it seems that most of the classes all kinda hung out together as a group, not so much separated by graduating years, but more by interests (sports, band, college prep classes etc.)

But funny thing is ... walking into that room at the reunion, looking around, I thought I must be in the wrong place for sure, 'cuz these people were all much too old to be in our class!
Oh my, they should have had a mirror at the end of the check-in table for those like ME living in denial.  :-0
But everyone looked good--just an older version of that 17/18 year old that I remembered and for some reason I hadn't quite believed would age over time.
(seventh grade)

I gotta say though ... even I had my reservations about going. I wasn't sure if there would be anyone there whom might want to talk and what would Jeff think when he met my country-small-school-roots? Not that I have anything to hide ... but really ... I flashed back to the wall-flower days at school dances and computer science class before computers were something in everyday life ... and then by the time I called over 8 babysitters and got no reply from 4 to the messages I had left, and a "sorry I already have plans from the other 4--Those fears of seeing a class of people I really didn't have much in common with 20+ years ago grew quite quickly, and thoughts of not going seemed better and better.

(ninth grade--year of the BAD perm)

BUT I'm really not holding out for another one of these reunions to happen before I'm sixty! I mean, it's taken 22 years to organize this one. So I thought I'd better not chicken out.  I called my mom who was so sweet to watch the boys and took a deep breath ... and we went. And I'm glad I did  ... it went well, it was good to see so many people ... kinda like long, long, lost cousins from far away or something. Jeff chit-chatted with people ... it wasn't totally awkward. Funny thing was ... a good share of the people didn't have a clue--not an iota!-- who I was without me telling them.
The had a blank look when I would walk up with a "Hello!"... and a sheepish grin ...
and that pause that had to be followed by ... "I'm sorry, I can't seem to place you with a name" ... feeling a little guilty since I knew them, but they didn't know me.
And as I stumbled through my maiden name that I haven't used in 10 years which suddenly seemed strangely awkward when tagged in front of my married last name while standing there with my husband. (Who just smiled and nodded chuckling probably in his head when I told him while we were dating that I'd never change my last name for someone else. Oh he just knew that wasn't true didn't he.)
(Junior Year--finally contacts!)

All the times during middle and high school when I was so worried about what people might think ... quite honestly, I don't think they were thinking anything at all! (They were probably busy being concerned about what everyone else was thinking of them.) They didn't really know me ... in fact I don't think they really ever SAW me. And they certainly didn't hear me, because I was quiet as a mouse back then ... okay, I'm still quiet. But I will speak out when I have something to say.

It was just funny to kinda be back at square one with everyone. And with more years away from each other than we had spent together in our early years, life has filled each of us with good and bad experiences, mellowing attitudes and cliques and it was just fun to chat with folks and kinda, sorta get a clue on where they are now. It was good to chat and swap photos of kids and realize that we all had a few reservations about being there and what people might wonder about how we have and haven't changed over the years. But how glad we were that the other had chosen to come.

(Senior photo)

It's made me really think about the heart a lot lately and how God sees our hearts and not what's just visible on the outside. When Jeff has seen my photos while growing up, he's commented jokingly about it's a good thing we didn't meet earlier in our lives (okay, I'm going to admit ... I was a late bloomer ... and he's probably right, he would have had to dig pretty deep to find ME.)

But hearing that hurts regardless, because I know the same girl in the photos with the BIG hoot-owl glasses and the poofy 80's hair, who waited a long time as a wallflower at the school dances and prayed deeply that God would send some nice boys into her life (isn't that funny now that my house is FULL of boys?!) has the same exact heart as the one he fell in love with. --I'm also thinking that my parents and grandparents were pretty darn smart to keep me a bit sheltered from life and not in any hurry to get to the next stage too fast. I don't think I really wore make-up until my Jr. prom! But that's gonna be a whole 'nother post.) 

But, I guess, that heart is not exactly the same. It's been broken a few times and hurt more than I can count and it's been stretched a bunch and poured into more than I deserve too. God uses so many times and situations in our lives to mold character ... deep character ... for things that are not yet seen or even dreamed of.
So I'm reminded to dig deep in myself and others and to look a lot deeper too at the situations and people around me. It's so easy to get caught up in the now and the way things LOOK through the eyes of today ... but it's so much more rewarding and wise to see them from a bit further back and with a deeper heart.
(sixth grade ... top row, second from right, plaid shirt and short hair)

(July 31, 2010)

The family

The family