Monday, December 26, 2011

house: long time coming...

Here she is...our new house.  Well the main floor anyway.
We love it here.  It suits our family well.
I often feel as if I get my two favorite things in one; a house in the mountains/ridge in the middle of the city.

Our den/ main living area.
 Multi-purpose room.  Standing at the back door.
 Multi-purpose room. Standing at the front window.
Looking from the den into the kitchen.
 Galley kitchen.
Bookshelf wall in Josie's room.
Josie's bathroom.
So I seem to have forgotten Josie's room.  I will add that to the upstairs pictures and the newly renovated master closet.  We are missing some pictures on the wall, we keep debating on what goes where. 
And this is Thomas' playroom.  Because heaven forbid he actually sleep out there. 
This flat backyard will be receiving a swing set from Christmas!
Our kind family members pitched in for this fun present.
More to come....let's be honest...who knows when.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

unconditional love

These two words have clutched my heart and mind for the past 10 months.  Sometimes just saying them to myself with no reflection, and often times sitting to contemplate what they mean in my own life.  And, this past week I was given the privilege to view unconditional love manifested before me.

I've been reading and embracing that Christ's love for me has nothing to do with me.  For so long I thought this love had to do with my behavior -- acting correctly, saying or doing the right things, not saying or doing the wrong things.  But I'm vividly seeing this is not the case, and I was mistaken for many years.  Christ came to love those that are full of sin (Romans 5:8, or all of Romans, or the entire Bible) and whose behavior is as I've come to label it, a "hot mess."  And, yes, that's me.  I'm the hot mess.  It's been freeing to receive love that is one-way -- from God to me.  Love despite myself -- completely separate from my behavior.  I'm speaking of grace.

Katie and Chris have always been dear to me.  I have watched their relationship develop, grow, and mature from our high school years until today.  But as I watched them LOVE Hallie these past 10 months I have, in a more deeper and more profound manner, understood God's love to us.  Despite Hallie's condition, appearance, behavior and lack of reciprocation she has been DEEPLY loved by her family.  She didn't have to DO anything.  She didn't have to BE somebody.  She was who she was and that was enough.  

Katie and Chris, our friendship is a treasure.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hallie Lynn Green

Some of you may know the Green family.  If not here is the link to their amazing story.

Katie has been my
childhood friend,
cheerleading buddy,
college roommate,
maid of honor,
mommyhood refuge
and the dearest best friend the Lord could have selected for me.

Here is the link to her meal calendar if you are interested in helping out in that arena.
Kelly Ford has set up another loving way to help.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

tips for your child's one year birthday party

1. do not light the candle and expect them to blow it out...
Izzie stuck her finger directly into the flame= 10 minutes of crying.

2. pick a theme that is broad and you can use all kinds of items at your house!
aka..polka dots...yes sir ree. i bought very little and it worked great.

3. host multiple parties (for different generes of peeps, of course)
we reused some yummy leftovers and saved money and looked very much put together. like we had the thing catered

my precious Izzie at ONE:
your favorite food is: goldfish
the coolest person on Earth:  your big sister Josie (she can make you laugh like no other)
the thing you do the best: make a serious face (girl can win a staring contest)
three words that describe you: contemplative, dancer, patient

love you sweet izzabee.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

mayberry halloween

So our new neighborhood = mayberry.  Kids everywhere.  Playing in the woods, in the streets, in their yards without parents.  What a change from GP.  I mourn the loss of GP and being close to Katie.  But this has been such a welcomed change.  The neighborhood had a Halloween Party with a petting zoo and horseback riding.  Yeah, it was awesome and we met a ton of neighbors with children the same ages as ours.  Josie could not have loved it more.  
 Rapunzel and a fairy.  Aka...whatever was in our dress up basket you could be.

 In Mayberry the parents walk mostly in the middle of the street while the children run to each house and collect the "goods".  I feel SO blessed to live in the city and have this homely luxury.
Izzie's birthday is Tuesday...what?? Her party was tonight.  More to come.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

family locations

If your family is going to live out of is really nice for them to live in great cities.  Russ' sister and her family in Williamsburg, VA and his extended family in Seattle, WA.  These are two great traveling and visiting options/opportunities.  

We try to visit Sherry, Steve, Emma and Alyssa every fall because the weather in Virginia is beautiful.  Their quaint small town feel is so pleasant and Mayberry-esque (children playing pick up games on the local soccer field without parents organizing it to death).  We had a refreshing time of fellowship and play.

We visited Colonial Williamsburg with the beautiful horses (that you can and then off to dinner at a Colonial Pub.  The girls danced their hearts out and entertained everyone else there.  I smiled the whole time.

 The girls drew maps to help us find the horses and sheep.
Thanks Dora. (I think.)

 I LOVE this picture.  Josie looks so big and wide-eyed and yet so small.

The fiddlers for the evening.

 The girls laughed and danced and laughed and danced.

Izzie sat like this the whole time the music was played.  

Of course a pumpkin patch and hayride were in order.

Fall festival too.  The "stations" were at different areas in the woods.  I LOVED this park it was awesome.  Fall festival amidst the woods and lake...yes, please!

Izzie rides like this most of the time these days.  Sometimes it is just the easiest mode of transportation.  I get tired of lugging the stroller around and saying "I'm sorry" as I fit into small spaces.  But it does come with conversation.  Not with Izzie but others.  It is A-mazing how many people want to talk about it.  Ask questions, comment, smile....I think she looks so happy in there it makes you happy.  I of course love it too and will mourn the day that she can't ride in there anymore.  I was sad for sometime after Josie couldn't ride in the sling.  
 Russ and his sweet sister Sherry.  It makes me smile seeing how similar and different they are from one- another.  She is petite and Russ is so tall.  But both SO smart and loving.
Sherry and Steve have an outdoor kitchen...for tailgating etc.  It is AWE- SOME!  The weather was perfect and we had several meals out there while the kids played.  Steve is a wonderful cook.  My favorite was breakfast outside...but probably just because I love breakfast and Steve's cooking...and fall...ok there are many reasons.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a boy that is a friend...ummm boyfriend??

Back when I was pregnant with Josie the Rich family was pregnant with Josiah.  We discussed an arranged marriage at that point but aborted the plan for the sake of letting our children have their choice. If it were a choice today...Josie would surely pick Josiah.  Second place would be Durham (her cousin) but we are not that kinda family. Close but not that close.

It just so happens that Russ and Jonathan Rich do ministry together (pastor/worship leader). Once a month Russ' ministry has a night of "Prayer & Praise" at our house.  Josie and Josiah had their own kind of date in the playroom.

 Just SMITTEN with one another.
 I mean seriously, is she 13??

This looks like me on a date...laughing at everything "the boy" did...oh geez.

Monday, October 3, 2011

so apparently it is the rage these days...

I didn't know it but it is the "rage" to give up your paci.  Two of my favorite mom bloggers (Suzanne & Erika Powell) both discussed their children (way younger than Josie) giving up their pacis.  Well we knew it was a long time coming but I kept justifing this "removal of security" with the best of them.  For example:  1) we just moved 2) she only uses them to sleep 3) she has a new baby sister 4) she is sick etc. get the picture.  (ps...this is a secret crazy talent of mine).  I can justify with the best of them.

Well we did it.  (I feel like this is an accomplishment for me too.) The paci fairy came last Monday night and took away ALL (last minute decision) pacis at our house.  In case you didn't know...the paci fairy takes pacis to new babies who need them.  Poor Izzie got the short end of the stick, Izzie- 11 months Josie 3.5 years, but who is counting.  I started to feel so bad about the whole thing because the truth is... I did this to her.  I had made her the addict.  I was not about to do this to another child.

So one week later.  We are a paci-less house.  I was so proud of my Josie.  We had one. long. night.  Another night of yelling for 5 minutes for "mom and dad" but then not a peep after that.  She has been really good about it and much better than I ever imagined.  In the midst of this we pretty much lost the nap,  which was withering anyway.  But every once in awhile she will fall asleep on the couch.  Today was one of those sweet days.  It makes me realize she is such a big girl. I love her!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

wedding festivities

this sweet and talented couple is getting married today!
josie will be the flower girl and russ will officiate.
they are cute and inspirational to this (not very inspired/talented mama).

al and meghan came over a couple months ago and took pictures of the girls.
you will see just how talented they are.

happy wedding day to an amazing couple!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm back.... I think??
I have to blog backwards because I don't have present day pictures.
So here is our quick moving story.
We put our Grant Park (also known as: the house I had my children in) house up for sale in February.
We knew we needed another bedroom for another child one day and guest room for the present day.
Also, we of course (I'm married to Russ Masterson) analyzed our house usage and realized we love to entertain but turned down the opportunity many times due to our small house with a maze of little rooms.

Criteria for the new house:
at least 3 bedrooms
bigger entertaining space
closer to the church
flat backyard
good public schools

Well we sold our house 5 months later.  Of course when we were on vacation.  (That is the second time we have sold a house on vacation.) Rule to live by:  go on vacation....check.

Got home from vacation and I had two and a half weeks to pack with a 3 year old and a daredevil crawling 10 month old.  And so it life, my sanity, my nerves all went down....down hill somewhere but largely just away from me.  I packed and packed and lost control and control.  It was good but it was hard.  I don't do well losing control....does anyone?  Thought I was flexible....not anymore.  I learned a lot about myself.

Here I am in my new home.  The Lord was so good to provide many of our desires.  We LOVE the location and the setting.  I feel like I am in the mountains but live in the city.  The best of both worlds.
I see lots of trees when I look out the windows.  It is a precious gift.

Of course after you move, you have zero money so we have some empty spaces and hodge-podge rooms.  But I will take pictures soon and post.