Lazy morning inspiration

9 02 2010

This morning I’m in bed with a knee injury and a sore throat. In a few minutes, I will get up, shower and take the boys to meet a friend for coffee. But for now, I’m sitting in bed, searching the blogosphere for cool, random ideas. Check these out:

Creative daddy blogger Made By Joel builds modern doll house and playhouse.

For more inspiration, beautiful valentines from Design Mom. This year, we’re giving out Lego Puzzle Valentines ($3 at Target). But I would love to make these.

And then the zillions of beautiful, brilliant ideas on Etsy. How I adore Etsy!

Here are a few recent finds by hopejohnson, sarahlizzytish and forevermorecreations.

Shopping anyone? Time to get out of bed…


Where did my husband put my chocolate…

2 02 2010

And where did I leave my brain?


Life has become so crazy in the last few weeks. Just when we thought things were going to settle down…

Last month I wrote a blog post about the beginning of my business, Grow Family Nutrition. Two weeks ago, I went to Colorado for a long weekend of training with Dr. Sears. It’s official: I am a Dr. Sears Certified LEAN Coach. Since the training, I’ve been working on the nuts and bolts of starting a business.

Did I mention that nuts and bolts are little? That they can easily get lost? And that with my mommy brain I am not sure how I can keep track of everything?

On top of starting the business, we are looking for a new renter for our basement apartment. We just signed Asher up for kingergarten and we’re looking for a preschool for Micah. We’re still trying to set up a budget for 2010 (woops, is it February already?). It’s the middle of ski season. Whie I love skiing, weekly ski lessons mean that every week we pack all the children and a zillion pounds of gear into the minivan…

Oh yeah, minivan. Did I mention we sold the subaru and bought a minivan?

So we pack everything into the minivan and go up to the mountains. Typically we pack the ski bags on Friday. We get everyone full of healthy food, dressed in long underwear and into the van by 8 am. At 9 am, we’re up at Alpental. We get all the warm ski clothes on and then get Asher to his lessons by 9:30, hopefully without too much complaining. Mark and I take turns watching Zephan while Micah skis with Did Dad, and if we’re lucky we each take a run or two. Then lunch and repeat for afternoon lessons. Then throw everyone in the van to drive back down the hill. Usually we go to community group and eventually make it back home around 7 pm. Then we begin to unpack all the gear. By the following Tuesday, the gear has been washed but it’s hanging all over the laundry room. So on Wednesday I repack the bags. Only to repeat again on Friday.

And then two of the three boys are sick and cranky.

And Zephaniah is now the messiest eater I’ve ever seen. He delights in smushing peanut butter into his hear. Squishing butternut squash between his fingers. Throwing plates of food across the room. Putting bowls on his head. So I am constantly cleaning the kitchen floor.

Did I mention Asher had his first parent teacher conference last week?

And now I can’t find the dark chocolate bar I opened last night. Where did Mark put my chocolate…

Carrots, broccoli and peas, oh my!

11 01 2010

Over the last year or two, Mark and I have prayed about how God would have us provide an education to our children. After much consideration, we are planning on sending our kids to a Classical Christian school. In order to do this, we will need me to go back to work part time to help pay for tuition.

 To that end, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what would be the best stewardship of my time and our family’s resources. I’ve thought about returning to grad school to become a teacher or a nurse. I’ve thought about returning to my pre-kid world of marketing and public relations. I’ve even thought about trying to launch an store selling handmade baby products.

As a Christian wife and mommy, however, my top priorities must continue to be my relationship with Jesus, my husband and my children. As I’ve researched what would be involved with each of these paths, I have felt like the cost would be too great for our family. Several months ago, as I was praying about what God would have us do to educate our kids – and stressing about the cost of private school – I very clearly felt like God was telling me to be at peace and to trust him. If private school was his plan, he would provide. That’s that.

A few weeks passed and I stumbled on the Dr. Sears LEAN Kids program. Dr. Sears is a well-known pediatrician and author of dozens of books about childrearing. He has created a new program called LEAN Kids designed to help families feed their children well. The program aims not to just treat or prevent childhood obesity, but also to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for kids of all shapes and sizes.

In two weeks, I will be going to Denver, Colorado to become a Dr. Sears Certified LEAN Coach. As a LEAN Coach, I will be able to teach several classes, including a LEAN Kids for parents of children ages 3-12 and a LEAN Expectations for pregnant moms. I will also be able to do Pantry Makeovers, helping families learn how to shop, cook, eat and live more healthfully.

Although it is a little daunting to launch a business when I am a busy mom of three, I am excited about this opportunity – not just to provide for our children’s education, but also to help other families live healthier. I have always had a passion for healthy nutrition and this feels like a natural fit for my skills and experience. I enjoy teaching and encouraging others.

As a mom, I know the impact I have on my children everyday, whether I am grocery shopping, cooking dinner, going to the gym or cuddling up to read them a book. I know that as moms and dads, we all worry whether or not we are feeding our kids the right stuff. We also worry about whether we are setting a good example. And so I am excited to have some tools to be able to teach other parents how nourish their families, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

Three boys in one bedroom

8 01 2010

Right now our family lives in a big suburban house, but we still dream about what it would be like to live in a smaller space in a city. If we were to ever live somewhere like New York or London – or even downtown Bellevue – we would need to have all three boys share a bedroom.

Even in this house where we have plenty of extra space, the older boys ask when their baby brother can move in to their room. So the plan is to eventually put Asher, Micah and Zephan in one bedroom.

To that end, I am always looking for creative ideas.

Room and Board, one of my very favorite furniture stores, has several cool bunk beds that could accomodate three children. The Moda bunk bed can have a trundle under the bottom bunk. The Loft bed and trundle are crafted from natural steel. I like these because they look sturdy and masculine. Although this is only two beds, I wonder if they could made a high loft as well? Beautifully made furniture, if a little expensive.


I recently stumbled on the blog of a family that moved from Colorado to New York, where they are living in a 1,200 square foot 2 bedroom apartment. The family of six has three boys and one girl. The dad chopped up 2 ikea bunk beds to make a modern triple high bunk bed. With thre desks along the other wall (and presumably storage somewhere nearby), they fit three boys in a small bedroom.  What a brilliant idea:


This next one is my favorite! Check out this post from Apartment Therapy’s Small Kids, Big Color contest last year. This incredibly creative family built two Ikea Kura beds on a custom platform. The rolling drawers under the bed provide storage for toys. Not to mention room for four kids to sleep! And play! 

Notice how they built a side table in the corner between the beds to have a space for a light. And the curtains that make the bottom bunks feel like a fort. I am guessing you could set this up for around $1,000 including mattresses and bedding if you found the Kura beds on Craigslist. Not to mention, this whole bed would fit in a corner of a room that was just 8.5′ by 10′. I am totally inspired!

Love it, hate it

5 01 2010

I have a complicated relationship with sewing.

I love being creative, but I hate messes. Sewing is wonderfully creative, but woefully messy. There is nothing that bugs me more than the little tiny bits of fabric fuzz that get stuck in the carpet despite my best attempts with my crazy powerful vacuum to clean up.

I like sewing because I enjoy making beautiful things. The problem is, at least half of the projects I start – and most of the projects I dream up – are stuck in sewing limbo.

This morning I went through my sewing stuff. I reoganized everything so that it tidy. Buttons, thread, bobbins, pins, needles, scissors, tools, elastic, cording, webbing, bias tape, ribbon: everything has it’s place.

I also looked through my unfinished projects. This may have been a mistake, as now I feel guilty for not finishing everything. I went through the pile and then put almost everything in a big bin in the back of the closet. Most of it will have to wait. I am going to finish a few sewing projects and then give myself a nice long break.

Here’s the short list that hopefully can be finished in January:

  1. Fleece long underwear, hats and neckwarmers for the family
  2. Make curtains for the kitchen, loft and master bedroom/bathroom
  3. Hem jeans

That’s it. That is all I will do this month.

But there is a long list of other projects I would like to do if I had time. It is really hard for me to put everything else in the back of the closet and just walk away. But I am going to do this. I need to do this…

Top ten things I want to do this year

2 01 2010

In lieu of New Years Resolutions, a list of the Top ten things I want to do in 2010:

10. Buy more unique, handmade things on Etsy or from local boutiques instead of big companies

9. Run a half marathon in less than 2 hours

8. Finish my current sewing projects – and then take a long break from sewing

7. Read twelve books

6. Drink less coffee and more water and eat more fruits and vegetables

5. Finish an Olympic distance triathlon in less than 3 hours

4. Start a business to do family nutrition education and coaching

3. Let the house be messy so I can spend more time playing with my children

2. Date my husband more often

1. Grow in spending time with the Lord

Goodbye 2009

31 12 2009

I don’t know if I have ever been so thankful to say goodbye to a year.

The last few years of our lives have been full of trials. Four years ago, we were newly pregnant with a child whom I miscarried soon therafter. Three years ago, I was on bed rest, just five months pregnant with our second son Micah who was later born prematurely. Two years ago, we were in the middle of building a new home while our old home sat unsold on the market. One year ago, we were just home from the hospital after our youngest son was born two months early.

We groan and are burdened. 2 Corinthians 5:4

As I look for words to describe our year, I cannot think of anything that more fully captures the heaviness of this season. Though it was a blessing to finally be together as a family, the first few months of last year were difficult. Recovering from being pregnant four times in as many years was exhausting. Our children were struggling with the stress our family had been through. Although Mark and I had survived the months of bed rest and hospitalization with Zephan, the fear, worry and grief hit us like a  truck after everything was supposed to be back to normal.

As the spring arrived, we began to feel more alive. I began to train for my first triathlon and Mark began cycling to work. We were regaining strength and energy. Asher, Micah and Zephan were growing in many ways. After a sweet family vacation in Hawaii, we felt refreshed and exited about the future.

Over the summer, however, the burden returned. Although I cannot get into the specifics online, we went through a situation where some people whom we had considered friends became  harsh and judgmental about our family. They lied about our character and wrongly accused us of sin. We discovered that many people in our lives had been gossiping about us. For a season, we were more or less kicked out of Christian community. We felt broken and isolated. We were angry and confused too.

As we went into the fall, it seemed like everything around us was broken. People we loved were hurting and lost. I was struck as never before by the weight of poverty, injustice and sin in the world.  I grieved as I watched four friends bury their babies. I cried as I read about AIDS in Africa and as I looked at the faces of children orphaned by poverty and disease. I felt numb as I watched previously happy marriages end in divorce. I wept as I felt so alone in the midst of this, wondering why God’s people were so busy trying to look good while children were dying and marriages were falling apart and people were lost…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 16-18

Do you need these words as much as I do?

God’s promises are clear. God is a compassionate Father who comforts his children. God is merciful. We are not crushed, in despair, abandoned or destroyed. No matter our outward circumstances, we do not lose heart. As heavy as life feels, glory weighs more. What we can see is temporary, but God is eternal.

This has been a hard year. My life has truly felt heavy, but glory weighs more. My light and momentary troubles are acheiving for me an eternal glory that outweighs them all.

Friends and family, as I say goodbye to 2009, I want to leave you with one final question:

Do you know Jesus?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 3:17-21

Jesus died for your sin so that you could be reconciled to God. I implore you: be reconciled to God.