Dear Diary

Guess what?  I have a new trick!  I take the big chairs in the kitchen and — well, I have to go under the table to get them out — but I push them out and then I can walk around the house!  And I don’t need Mommy or Daddy to hold my hand, because I can do it myself!

Cept sometimes I get stuck and the chair won’t go, so I push harder and then it tips over a little… Mommy always catches it.  And she laughs sometimes too, I don’t know why though.  She says she thinks it’s funny that I want to push a big chair around instead of just walking by myself, with no anything.  But I don’t want to do that yet, so I’m not going to.

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I can push it all around the house, and then if I get stuck somewhere sometimes I walk around it and play with the wall or door.  And then sometimes I tell Mommy to come help me get un-stuck so I can keep walking.

It’s so much fun.  And it makes a loud noise, too.  And this is part of why I didn’t write yesterday, cuz I was having too much fun.  Well, then I wasn’t having any fun cuz yesterday was a bad day.  Almost the whole day.  But maybe I can still make you smile today?  :)

Sincerely,

Me

Introducing: Baby Crib Sheets!

Happy Saturday!  I’ve launched a new product in my shop — baby crib sheets!

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As I’ve written in the past, I love creating a home with purpose.  A place with meaning in the little and big things.  And, as you know, my current season in life includes a sweet little babycakes.  Sometimes I lay him in his crib after a simple, easy morning and he sleeps without a fuss.  Other times, I lay him down and pick him up and lay him down and pick him up and we fuss and argue and fight sleep — phew!

In the easy moments and the rough moments, I wanted to have a visual reminder to bring me back to what’s really important.  It’s one thing to remind myself mentally, but actually seeing a physical reminder is sometimes more impactful.

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So, I put together one of these sheets and loved it.  I’d walk into the bedroom and it would make me smile.  In the middle of the night, with only the streetlight peeking through the shades, it would remind me that I wasn’t up with him for nothing.  He was and is a gift, no matter how exhausted I am.

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I’ve made some for the shop because I’d love for them to have the same impact on you that they had on me.  I’d love if they brought a smile to your face and gave your heart a gentle reminder that what you’re doing is worthwhile, and that your sweet little bundle is God’s gift to you.

Visit my shop (www.aoriginals.com) to see them.  I have a limited number available now but if there’s interest I’ll gladly make more.  :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Rough Nights & a Conviction

Every morning Levi and I have a routine.  It flexes, of course, but it goes something like this: wake up, nurse, play; breakfast around 7:00, more playtime, nurse and nap around 9:00.

Since there’s better light in the room at 9:00 versus 5:30 (he’s an early bird), I try to spend that nursing time reading my Bible and praying.  Finding time during the day for reading and focused prayer can be so hard!  But it makes such a difference if I do it.

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Side note — if you don’t like straining your neck or trying to balance your Bible somewhere, try a music stand!  It works so well!

Yesterday morning I was especially tired.  Levi had been up a few times during the night, and I was frustrated and discouraged that my once-perfectly-sleeping baby was now a waker-upper.  I really love my sleep.  REALLY love my sleep.  I had gotten angry with him during the night and was harsh and unsympathetic; maybe in part due to the fact that I couldn’t walk straight by the third time getting up.  Regardless, I went back to bed hating how I’d acted with him.

When I had my quiet time yesterday morning, I read through Proverbs 14 and had to pause at verse 29:

“He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly.”

I realized that was 100% applicable to the night I’d just had.  Slow to wrath?  Um nope, I was definitely quick to get angry.  I impulsively acted out of anger and frustration and treated my little boy like I shouldn’t have.

Oof.

I thought some more.  Being slow to wrath means having great understanding… why?  Because it’s not just jumping to conclusions and assuming I know everything about the situation.  It’s taking a step back and realizing I may not have all the pieces — was Levi awake and unhappy because he had a full diaper and didn’t want to sleep?  Maybe, but maybe there was more.  Maybe his belly was empty, or hurting.  Maybe his gums were sore from new teeth.

If I had taken a few deep breaths as I walked around with him and tried to understand, I may not have acted out of anger.

I texted Josh on his break and shared the verse and my conviction; we promised to start fresh.  If Levi got up that night, we’d breathe and ask God to help us understand.  To be slow to wrath.

He did get up last night, and we both had the opportunity to put the verse into practice.  It was a bit of a struggle after an hour of trying to put Levi back down, but it was a much better night that the previous one.

Just like in the Veggie Tales song, God’s way is the best way!  It was still a rough night, but I don’t have to look back with regret for my actions.  We made it through much better.  Are there any points in your life right now that this verse could be applied to?  You may or may not be up with a little one at night, but maybe at work? home? school? driving around?

Think about it, and have a wonderful Wednesday.  :)

Dear Diary

I felt really good today.  I don’t think I’ve felt like this for a long time.  Cuz I think Mommy told you that I was sick, and it was not fun at all and I was sick for a long time.  But then I got better and guess what?  I slept all night last night!

When I woke up I was ready to play — well, after I got to eat.  Food is my favorite thing.  But after I ate I got to jump on Daddy and snuggle with him and Mommy.  And then Mommy and I played when Daddy went to work, and we read books and I got to turn the pages.

I made a discovery too: I can make really loud noises!  My mouth can usually make noises but today I made them even louder and it was so much fun.  And when Mommy gave me lunch I made the loud noises and waved my arms around all over, and I was so happy I couldn’t stop.  Mommy was laughing and I don’t think she knew what to do cuz maybe I surprised her.  After lunch she put me in my saucer and I was so happy I didn’t even care, I just played and made noises and chewed on my book.  She was happy cuz she got to clean all the floors before she let me out.

At dinner I had to show Daddy my new noises, and wave my arms for him too.  He watched me and laughed and then Mommy kept blowing on her finger like she wanted me to stop or something.  She’d go, “shhhhhhhh Levi” but I didn’t want to stop.  And Daddy thought it was funny, so I couldn’t stop if it made him laugh.

Now I’m playing with Daddy and he gave me his phone with music, because I like to push it around the house and sing too.  Then Mommy is going to make me go to bed, but I don’t think I want to yet.  I maybe will make loud noises again and surprise her.  Hmm.

Sincerely,

Me

Serving With the Little Things

Ever feel like you’re not serving outside your own four walls?  Many stay-at-home moms know the feeling too well; and maybe many of you with other situations/jobs also know it.  You see the same people day in and day out and you serve them, as you should.  Yet sometimes the itch is intense to go beyond and reach out.

There’s importance and value in both.  Caring for and nurturing your own family is priority, and it’s an honor.  Reaching beyond your four walls is also a way of following Jesus’ command to love your neighbor and live a life of service.

Last week I was feeling especially stuck and desperately wanted to be of help to someone outside our family.  I was off to go grocery shopping and didn’t have time to look up soup kitchens or other volunteer events — and really, some volunteer opportunities don’t fit with our schedule right now.  But there had to be something.

I prayed on the way out the door for God to give me ways to serve, even if they were inconsistent and random.  Ways to serve other people and love them.  And, for eyes to see those opportunities (they certainly don’t always look like I think they will!).

As I was pushing Levi and the cart down the grocery store isles, I came to a stop at the end of one.  An elderly lady was sitting in her motorized cart, looking like she was about to attempt standing up.  I took a few more steps, waiting to see what she was going to do.  She tried to stand and I leaned closer — “Can I help you reach something?”

She looked at me a bit surprised and said yes, pointing to a box on the shelf.  “The peanut butter ones, peanut butter.”  I grabbed the crackers for her as she sat back down and smiled.  “You’re very nice,” she said.  I smiled.

That was it.  We went our ways and opened up the little road block we’d created, and I was so overjoyed.  The littlest way to help someone and put a smile on her face.  I was so thankful!

I share this to encourage you; if you’re feeling stuck, pray for opportunities to serve.  God is faithful to bring them, and faithful to give eyes to see them.  They may be little like grabbing a box for someone who can’t, or they may be bigger.  The size isn’t really the important thing, is it?  Don’t hold your breath waiting for the big things.  Ask and be faithful yourself with the little things.  They bring such joy!

Have a great weekend!

A Week for Thanksgivings

What a week.

We’ve been fighting a virus, sleep, and snowbanks and I’m worn right out.  Last night Levi slept a bit better than he has the previous nights, which meant I got some more sleep — and this morning, I think my brain is functioning a wee bit better (hopefully enough to write a blog post!).

It’s been a rough week.  As things happened and my frustration levels increased I tried hard to find things to be thankful for; the simplest things were all I could come up with.  They have still helped to carry my through, but this morning I’m seeing more to be thankful for.  As I did in my series years ago, I thought I’d share some thanksgivings publicly as a reminder that God cares for us individually — and as a reminder that there is always something to be thankful to Him for.  It can turn a day around like nothing else.

Levi came down with a fever early in the week, and I waited a bit to see if it was just due to teething.  He wasn’t sleeping well at all, and was moody during the day…  The fever spiked to 103.4, a bit too high for teething, so I sought a doctor’s advice.  (Thanksgiving — at-home thermometers and on-call doctors!)  We decided to give it another day and some Tylenol.

Our part of the state was predicted to get hit with another blizzard the day after I talked with the doctor, so I was praying Levi’s fever would break and we wouldn’t be caught in the storm trying to get to the doctor’s or ER.  It didn’t.

I called the nurse as the snow started falling, and she said she’d call me back when the doctor was in.  I tended to Levi and tried to get him down for a nap, which was successful!  On to do some of my daily tasks before he was back up and needy.  (Thanksgiving — he napped!  And I did get some things done.) 

The nurse called back not long after I’d put Levi down and said we could come right in.  In my exhaustion I said no, I’d just put him down for a nap and he was finally sleeping — I was not about to wake him back up and stop his body from trying to mend itself.  Her surprised response made me realize I probably should’ve just said yes and brought him in; I felt so bad for accidentally being rude.  Yet as I thought about it I knew we wouldn’t be there in time before her next patient anyways, so she found time for us to come later (thanksgiving).

I woke him up when it was time and we drove slowly over to the office; driving in snowstorms is not one of my favorite things.  Add a sick baby in the backseat and I was driving like a little elderly lady who could barely see over the steering wheel.  Thanksgiving — we made it there and back safely.  And, my mom met us with some more Tylenol.

The doctor looked him over and determined it wasn’t his ears or throat, so maybe it was just a virus that needed to work itself out.  We agreed that I’d monitor him closely and go back in if anything changed or his fever continued for another couple days.  Thanksgiving — not an ear infection on pneumonia.

The rest of the day was a blur, and the snow came down thick and heavy.  By 10pm we’d lost power and Levi was in our bed finally sleeping.  Josh set an alarm for 11:30, saying that if the power was still out then we’d head over to my parents’ house for the night.

11:30 came and Levi was still sleeping (thanksgiving!) but we were getting cold and the electric company didn’t know when our power would be restored.  Josh went to dig us out by moonlight and I hurried to pack up our things.  Thanksgivings — the moon was shining through the clouds, we have flashlights on our phones, and Levi stayed asleep until we needed him to get in the car seat.

Driving over to my parents’ was dark and quiet; so pretty and peaceful, somehow (thanksgivings).  My parents were waiting for us and helped us get settled (thanksgivings – they are incredibly sacrificial).  It took Levi until 2am to finally fall asleep… and then he was up again at 4:00, and again after that… cranky, exhausted, miserable.

Work was cancelled for Josh since they didn’t have power either.  We planned to head back home that day once the power was back, but the estimated return time was that midnight.  A few hours later they’d moved the time up to 5pm, and then by 3:30 it was back — but Levi hadn’t napped well during the day and I was so tired we decided to stay another night.  Thanksgiving — my parents gladly letting us stay, feeding us, and helping with Levi.  It also was Levi’s 11-monthiversary, and I usually do a little photoshoot with him to document his growth/interests; we didn’t get to do that, but — thanksgiving — we still were able to document him with a phone photo.

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Isn’t he a cute sick baby?

That brings us to last night and today.  Levi slept better, and we didn’t have to give him Tylenol as frequently.  Josh slept mostly through the night, and I got more sleep and am less achy.  Josh was also able to go back to work and I’ve been able to catch up on some things and play with a happy baby (all thanksgivings!).

And this long blog post to say… sometimes it’s hard to be thankful in the moment.  Sometimes you’re so tired and not thinking straight enough to really compile a “thankful” thought.  But when the storm has died down a little and you can hold a thought, looking back at the little and big things to be thankful for helps put the whole storm in perspective.  It gives you an even better foundation of thanksgiving for the next storm, and the next.  After all, we know new storms will always come — but so will new thanksgivings.

Dear Diary

I’m tired.  I didn’t get to sleep much last night because I don’t feel good.  Mommy walked around with me to get me to sleep, and then I woke up, and then she tried again, and I woke up, and then Daddy walked me and I got close to sleeping but I think maybe Daddy was closer than me because he just put me in his bed and fell asleep.  Mommy rubbed my back and snuggled me and then I fell asleep and woke up and did it again.

Mommy and Daddy put blankets on me but I was so hot and I had to get out of them, but then I hit the wall and it woke me up and I cried.  I had to move a lot.  And one time, I sat up and Mommy’s face was next to me so I just leaned over and put my face on hers and slept like that.  I think she liked me doing that.

I don’t have a lot to say today because I’m too tired.  And I can’t think of much happy things right now.  So I’m going to sleep and that’s all.

Sincerely,

Me

 

Mommy’s note:  It was a long night… thinking it’s teething.  He’s back to sleep and I’m praying he sleeps for a long stint this time!

Also — think you to all who ordered during Saturday’s sale!  I appreciate your business and hope you’re satisfied with your orders.  :)

Sale Today!

Happy Saturday!  Today is my one-day sale on all inventory at www.aoriginals.com.  All notecards are marked down to $2.99, and all prints, canvases, and metal prints are 10% off!

At checkout, use code CARDS for discount on cards, and code DECOR for 10% off prints and canvases.  The codes may be combined!

If you have any questions, please ask!  You can email me directly through the Contact page on my website.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Opening Our Home

Have you ever had people in your home and realized what a blessing it is?  We had some friends from church over last night, and it was such a joy.  It had been a hectic day and I hadn’t gotten nearly “enough” done, which left me a little frantic and frazzled when they arrived — but this time I got over it quickly.

Inviting people in and welcoming them is a sweet and humbling thing.  Leading up to their arrival I was focused on the presentation, the details, the accommodations; yet once they were here and after they left, all I could think about was how much of a blessing their visit was.

We were able to give and share; our space, our time, our food and drink, our little family.  And they were able to give and share of themselves; their time, their food, their little family.

Creating an inviting atmosphere where they felt welcomed and relaxed was (and is) important to me, and though I wasn’t able to do so to the extent I’d hoped I know all the fundamentals were taken care of.  It was clean, mostly neat, warm, and had a few fresh touches like flowers and the smell of mac ‘n cheese baking.

We talked and watched our boys play together, enjoying the fact that they were getting along and having fun.  They just brought their son home from India about a month ago, and are adjusting to being first-time parents of a 3-year-old from another culture.  His transition has been amazingly smooth thus far; it’s really something else.

We prayed and ate together, and when the meal was done we resumed playing on the floor with the kids.  The dishes stacked up and the racecars zoomed and the laughter continued.

After they left and we’d put Levi to bed, I stood in the kitchen thankful.  Full bellies, a full sink, and full hearts.  There’s just something about opening your home and giving of yourself to others that blesses you maybe more than it blesses them.

Have a great Friday afternoon!

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Quick reminder — my shop-wide sale is happening tomorrow!  Visit http://www.aoriginals.com to preview the inventory; cards, prints, canvases, and metal prints.  :)

 

Sale Coming!

Happy Wednesday!  I wanted to draw your attention to a tab at the top of my blog — if you’re reading this via email, you’ll have to jump over to the site.  :)

There’s a “Shop” tab, where I’ve written a little bit about my business and photography.  For those who don’t know, I founded Amy Originals when I was in my teens and have continued to run my shop since.  I currently turn my photography into notecards/greeting cards as well as prints, canvases, and metal hangings.

Peek around my site when you have a minute, because in the next few days I’ll be having a big ol’ sale.

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You’ll have to wait to see exactly what’s on sale and how low the prices go… stay tuned!

 

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There also are more products coming to the shop soon — ones I’ve been working on for a while and can’t wait to introduce!