Monday, October 25, 2010

Three baby years...

Three years ago...

It's hard for me to believe (and harder for me to write) that the tiny little baby it that picture above turned three years old today. Three years ago I became a mama for the very first time, and nothing has been the same since. From the moment the nurses placed this precious little girl on my chest I knew I had become a part of something so very special. From that very first instant I knew that the purpose for my life had changed, and changed for the better.

It is my immense pleasure to be the mama to this extrodinary little girl. In nurturing and watching her grow I have grown as a person as well. I am no longer the person that I was before her. She has brought such depth, purpose and joy to my life that I will forever be thankful for. I now experience the world in a whole new light, through the eyes of a child. A brillant, intelligent, thoughtful and curious child.

The above photo is one of my absolute favorite from her infancy because it is so telling. I feel that it so perfectly captures the personality that has emerged from within that tiny girl. Her intensity for all things. She attacks every new experience with a focus and intensity that I have never witnessed before. With her, every movement is deliberate and important. Every action is planned and nothing goes unnoticed. She has a great eye for detail and an incredible memory that never ceases to astonish me. It shows in everything she does from her drawings to her imaginative play to the placement of her toys when she is no longer using them, everything is to her exact specifications. Sometimes her intensity and drive to do things "just so" gets the better of her and in that moment it is my job to step in and try to help her to understand that things do not always have to be perfect and try to show her how to color outside of the lines and soften her desire for perfection. I see too much of myself in that part of her and I want so badly to help to ease the frustration I know she feels when something isn't what she thinks it should be. To help her to roll with what life puts in front of her and realize that imperfections are truly what makes life worth experiencing. It might seem strange to you that I am typing these things about a girl who has just now turned the very young age of three years old, but to those that know her best these words ring true. She is the expression "old soul" personified. She is often surprisingly insightful for someone her age.

And I would not be doing her justice if I didn't right about her humor. She is such a happy and silly girl and brings smiles and laughter to all around her. She is fantastically funny. I relish the stories that she loves to tell and crack up at her funny little jokes. Not always because they are actually funny in a traditional sense but more often because she tells them with such humor and truly believes they are hilarious. Her laughter is so contagious and no one is immune. It doesn't matter how bad of a day you might be having, she can always make you smile.

Her loving nature and desire to take care of anyone and everyone who might need her assistance pushes me to be a more caring person to the world around me. Her kind spirit shines through in her desire to be the care giver to anyone who is hurt or upset. It truly pains her to see others hurt and her gentle soul will cuddle up next to them and do her very best to console them. Just today our neighbor stopped by and hadn't been feeling very well, later in the evening Kinsley told me "We need to take her something to make her happy". No prompting on my part, just from her reflecting on our earlier conversation with said neighbor she felt compelled to do something to make her feel better.

What more could a mama ask for than to have such a thoughtful and wonderful child? I have to say I feel so blessed to be able to call myself her mama and am striving to do my very best to nurture this beautiful soul that God has placed in my care.

Happy Birthday my darling Binkers. I look forward to sharing many more with you.

Birthday Ball

060, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

Saturday's Princess party went wonderfully. The only negative was that while we were decorating the power went out and didn't come back on until after the party was over. The lack of power (paired with the cloudy rainy day) made for less than stellar pictures but it didn't affect the fun one little bit.


Here's the main table with all the food. I just realized I didn't get a good close-up of the fabric banner I made so it's hard to see the tiny details in the fabric, but it's so cute. I'm trying to find a place in the house I can hang a pink banner without hubby hating it too much. Too bad Kaitlyn already has one in her room.


There's my awesome cousin helping out! She volunteered to make the cupcakes for the party (which were a huge hit) and she also did Kinsley's beautiful princess hairstyle. It was a great to see her and she was such a big help.


Here are the cupcakes she made. Yum! That's strawberry icing. Sooo good.


The white chocolate covered marshmallow pops were the only thing I actually had to "cook" for the party. It was so strange to not have to worry about baking. But strange in a good way.


I was able to just walk up to the bakery and say "I'm here to pick up a cake". That was a first for me, but I'm thinking it won't be the last time. No more staying up until all hours the night before finishing a cake.


The "gumball" machine I made. I think instead of packing this away with the party supplies we're going to leave it out in the kitchen. It's kind of fun!


The table that we decorated for the kids.


They each had their own place setting with a wand, a ring and a crown to wear (although I don't think any of them wore their crown actually).


And I know you see these at tons of parties but I love them anyway and it's so easy to just hot glue some ribbon right on. Plus I can never have too many canning jars around.


We had a nice little group of princesses and one handsome prince.


Check these two out. Aren't they too cute?


After lots of running around and hitting each other with balloons it was finally time to light the candles and sing Happy Birthday.

And this is what happened. She didn't like it one bit. And even today she told me "Remember how everyone was singing? I don't like it". Yeah not a fan.


It didn't take long for her to perk back up though so don't you worry. Stealing Mulan's fan might have had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the presents, there were lots of presents.


In fact I think she wore herself out before she was even finished opening them up.


It was a great party and after we headed out to dinner with my family where she got even more cake. Talk about a sugar overload. But that's okay. I mean how could you resist such a gorgeous princess?


Or two? I just love this picture of them together. Such sweetness. Of course two seconds later Kaitlyn reached up and smacked her, but it was nice while it lasted. And aren't their dresses to die for. We went to the mall with grandma and grandpa on Friday and they picked up the dresses for them (Thanks Mom!).



I'd definitely say the party was a success. Especially when after it was over she said "That was the best birthday party EVER!!". It was definitely worth it. And you'll be proud to know I only teared up once on the way over there. Today, however, I've been teary eyed all day. Tomorrow my baby will officially turn 3 years old. Lord help me.

I just realized while looking back over these pictures that I forgot to go back and take a picture of the kids' table after I put the pails with tissue paper flowers back on the table, darn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting Easier

Kinsley's year in recap 021, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

I'm not dreading tomorrow's party nearly as much now that I've stopped thinking of it as her getting older since it's not on her actual birthday. So I'm just enjoying being excited about how much fun she and all her little princess friends are going to have running around. Now next week when her actual birthday hits I'm going to need your support, and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

One thing I've learned over the last 3 years with Kinsley is to always carry my camera with me because you just never know when you might need to snap a pic or two. Hubby laughs at me because I've been known to get half-way to where we are going and turn around because I forgot the camera. But I look at it this way: If I don't have the camera I miss out on shots like this. We had an impromptu photo shoot while hubby was getting gas one day.

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Kinsley's year in recap 003

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Kinsley's year in recap 005

She's such a little ham. And no, I didn't pose her for any of these pictures. I remember she also insisted I take pictures of her shoe (a common request), her thumb and her nose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And a box of chicken

Kinsley's year in recap 007

That title will make sense when this is all over, I promise it's worth the wait. Still counting down the days to the birthday party and in going through some of the past year's (as in all of 2009 so yes I realize technically some of these pictures were before she turned 2 but we missed out on posting those too so here they are) pictures for this week I was shocked at how much she has really grown up. I mean I realize how big she seems/looks/acts right now but I guess seeing it day in and day out it seemed to sneak up on me. Looking at these pictures I can hardly believe it. It's been an incredible ride...
Lots of time spent outside last summer playing in the sun and having fun. I swear 99% of the pictures of Kinsley are taken outside. This girl has always loved to be outside. It doesn't matter why or what the weather is. You ask if she wants to go outside and she is gone!

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Do you see that look? Now I know exactly where she gets it from...

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Check out those shades! Soooo cool. She has actually always been really good about keeping her sunglasses on. In fact she has about 20 different pairs and would pick her own out every time she went outside.

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Making some beaded necklaces with mommy and daddy. She was much more interested in making sure daddy wore his than actually making her own though.

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And my little girl who is scared of ladybugs thought this was the ultimate summer pasttime last year. Seriously get near her with a ladybug and she'd scream, cry and run the other way. I have no idea why this didn't bother her.

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And yes this picture is fuzzy but I don't care. I love it! It just so perfectly captured her excitement over her garden.

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See what a good little gardener she was? She had so much fun digging in the dirt and watering the plants with me. Then when things actually started to grow she just couldn't contain her excitement. She wandered through watching for things to grow and wanted to pick everything she saw whether it was ready or not. So fun. I hated that we didn't get a garden in this year though, next year for sure. Thankfully this year she got plenty of garden fun helping her Papa tend to his. She even picked, made and ate her own salad. She was so proud and so was I.

I love this silly little girl more than I can say. Not just for her love of nature, adventure and family but just for her general silliness. Like on the way home from town yesterday when she told me she wanted to be a box of chicken.

I'm sorry sweetie what did you say?

"I want to be a box of chicken."


"Not for my birthday, just for Halloween. Just some chicken in a box."

Okay sweetie whatever you want. I think I'll still make the Dorothy costume just in case though.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Birthday Bonanza

October 19 003, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

We are in full blown birthday craziness around here this week. Kinsley is marking down the days on the calendar with intense excitement. You see, birthdays are a BIG deal around here. Celebrations have been known to go on for more than a week (and no I'm not only talking about my birthday).

I love birthdays. I mean, what could be better than an entire day devoted to you and your awesomeness? Nothing, that's what. So maybe I tend to go a bit overboard with birthday festivities and maybe hubby rolls his eyes at me a lot. So what. Let me clarify by saying we don't spend a ridiculous amount of money on birthdays but I do everything within our power (and budget) to completely spoil the birthday person. This birthday is a prime example of my birthday obsession.

Everyone keeps telling me not to worry so much about all the little details of this party. "She's only going to be three" they say. "She won't even notice" they reply when I mention I forgot to get the coordinating napkins. First of all, she absolutely will notice. This child notices every single little detail about her world. (Except for maybe where her shoes are when it's time to leave the house) And she's "only" going to be three? Well I happen to think that turning 3 is a really big deal actually. I don't know why, it just seems like it marks the difference from being a baby or toddler into being a big girl. Especially for my big girl.

This past year has not been an easy one for her. With me being so sick I could barely move during the majority of my pregnancy to her new baby sister coming and turning everything upside-down in her world. I think that is why this birthday is so important to me. I want her to have a perfect time that is only about her and how wonderful, special and important she is to us. I want her to have the princess extravaganza of her dreams. (her very detailed and specific dreams)

So bear with me this week as I flood you with princess party details and tons of pictures of my soon-to-no-longer-be-two year old. I'm going to be clinging onto every precious moment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One down...

Picture Frames 004, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

Nine hundred to go. Okay so maybe not (although it feels like it) but I do have quite a long list of crafty-type projects to complete before a certain Princess has a party.

This was by far the easiest and quickest (which is why I started with it so I'd feel like I'm actually getting somewhere). Start with a collection of mismatched picture frames found at various yard sales. I paid $1 total for all these frames! Such a great deal.

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You wouldn't believe how hard it actually was to find some ugly textured frames though. I almost gave up, glad I didn't. Ready for how simple this is?

Take the glass and backings out of the frames and plop them down on something you don't mind painting. (I used an old rubbermaid)

Picture Frames 003

Add one can of spraypaint. I used Krylon, which was on sale at Hobby Lobby, in Watermelon. It's pink without being completely obnoxious.

Forget that you are the world's worst at spraypainting because really who sucks at spraypainting? Me, that's who. But I always forget that until I start to paint something. Oh well.

Let paint dry, replace glass and add pictures of really cute Princess.

Voila! Decorations fit for a Princess.

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Tonight: Adding tulle to storebought princess wands. Wow, am I crafty or what? Geez.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love her

October 11, 2010 001, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this silly little girl? Oh I have? Well I'm going to say it again, I love her to little tiny pieces. She is such a sweet and funny little thing.

A few months back she started just crawling into bed with me in the mornings, since she wakes up at the crack of dawn and I refuse to start our day that early. This is a big deal for her since she's always ONLY slept in her own bed. Never the kid you see falling asleep in the stroller, shopping cart or anywhere else...only the bed, only her bed. So I am loving this new change because I am so not a morning person. Well yesterday morning we were snuggling under the blankets when I heard Kaitlyn "talking" in her room and up jumped Kinsley....

"Mama, you get some rest. I go check on sister."

Pure Love. Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever? Of course it was about 2 minutes later when she came back to tell me "Sister is really awake. She's in there gaggling at me!" What?? Gaggling? So funny. But hey, it was a nice 2 minutes.

Or when we headed out for our evening walk, she HAD to bring her baby with her. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw her ready to go. She's got a baby in a stroller, a baby in its carseat and in case you couldn't see she's wearing another baby. Yep that's some serious mothering right there. And yes, she's wearing a crown and glass slippers too. And yes she did take ALL her babies on the walk with us (but I did make her put on tennis shoes first).

Then after our walk we sat down for dinner and she tells me "Mama the potatoes are REAL good but this chicken tastes funny", Well yeah honey, that's because it's steak. "Oh, okay". What a goof.

There is never a dull moment with this one around, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Week

October 11, 2010, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

This week is brought to you by the letter 'A'.

I've decided it's about time I get myself in gear with this homeschool preschool thing. We decided not to put Kinsley into a "typical" preschool this year. Since she doesn't turn 3 until the end of this month she would miss the cutoff for most of them anyway and honestly there isn't one close by I feel enough love for to fight to get her into. We could have put her into headstart but it's 5 days a week and 5+ hours a day. Those are some long days and would make a really long week. I just didn't feel like it was the right thing for her (or me) right now.

So we're going to have "school" at home. She loves to play school so we're just going to run with it. The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. So I'm just sort of making it up as I go along. I've been doing some reading on unschooling and different teaching/learning techniques so I have an idea of how I want to approach this but it's still sketchy.

She can already count to 10 and sometimes 20 although she repeats 14 for some reason. She can sing her ABC's minus the L-O-M-O-P that she insists is correct. She knows her colors and shapes too. So far I'd say we're doing pretty good. Right now we are relearning the sign language she knew as a baby and adding a few more words that are pretty common in our daily lives now such as "Stop" and "NO", those are pretty handy. She's excited to learn and remember them and is thrilled to start teaching her baby sister too.

Today marks the first official day of our school and she is soooooo excited, especially when she gets to be the teacher. We started with the letter 'A' at her request and we will be focusing on one letter each week. So this week will be filled with all things related to 'Aa'. Today we've practiced writing the capital letter (which she is doing pretty well I'd say), recognizing the letter on things around the house and discussing different words that start with the letter 'A': alphabet, animals, ants, apple, alligator, airplane, etc. And keeping with the theme for snack this morning we had apples.

We're going to hit the library tomorrow for some related books and the grocery store for some more 'A' foods. I'm thinking apples, avocado, animal crackers, almonds, apple sauce and ants on a log. Okay I know the last one is pushing it but ants is one of our 'A' words and I've been wanting to try them on her anyway.

The main problem is that I can easily see myself running out of good ideas for each letter before the week is up so I'm trying to group them together and pace myself. The first day of the week I think we'll focus on finding the new letter and creating ideas of what we can do that's related to it. Brainstorm words and activities that relate and that sort of thing. Then we'll expand from there, but still work on writing and locating the letter during the rest of the week by doing letter searches and things on paper in addition to getting out and "living" the letter. This week we're going to focus on Autumn one day and go on our walk and look for ants and acorns and talk about what makes this season autumn. Then one day we'll focus on Animals. Talk about and find pictures of the different animals that start with 'A', play animal charades, etc.

I would love any ideas that you guys have to offer on the subjects of homeschooling, unschooling, preschool and really anything you might feel fits us right now. Like I said, we're making this up as we go along.

We Thank You

October 9, 2010 013, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

With all my heart I say thank you to everyone that has responded to my last post. The messages and emails were so thoughtful and touching and I was truly brought to tears by so many of them. It is encouraging to know that so many of you have dealt (or are dealing with) the same emotions and inner struggles and to hear your stories of triumph and joy warms my heart to no end. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for the love and encouragement.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I've been spending too much time on the computer lately. Way too much time. Obviously it's not been spent blogging but I've been looking for crafty projects to make, reading new blogs, chatting with some good friends and even...wait for it...working. Shocking right? I know. But still it's all time that I really need and want to spend differently.

The truth is that I've felt sort of blah lately. Not depression or anything like that just blah. I don't feel inspired to craft anything so instead I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking for more things to add to my ridiculously long to do list. I think part of the problem is that with trying to open my Etsy shop I crafted like a mad woman and I'm burnt out. There are actually completed items (some even photographed) just waiting to go into the shop and I just don't want to upload them. Thats nuts right? But I just look at the list of things that I wanted to make for the shop and the list of things I want to make for my girls and I realized that more things were being made for the shop. Why? So that (if they actually sell someday) someone else's kids will enjoy them while the things my kids would enjoy are still sitting, unmade? Really? Something about that just doesn't sit well with me right now. But that's a whole other post for another time.

Or the fact that even though I'm getting work hours in (when it feels like cooperating) Kinsley doesn't understand the difference in me working and just playing on the computer. And likely no one else does either. I hate feeling like I have to fit it so many hours during the day when I want to play with my girls but then if I don't do them during the day I'm up late at night and then tired and cranky with them the next morning. Or if I try to wait until the weekend so the hubby is home to play with the girls then I miss out on quality time as a family. Or I don't worry about work and enjoy family time only to feel guilty later for not working enough.

It's making me a nut and making me want to retreat inside my head and just avoid it all, hence the blah. Which is not what I want or need to be doing. Just like at the park this week when Kinsley wanted me to jump from bench to bench under that beautiful tree and be a fairy with her. I hate to admit to the world that my initial answer was no. In that instant something clicked though and I just thought to myself...WHY NOT? When did I become this person? I immediately jumped up and ran around being a fairy with my beautiful little girl. And you know what? I had the best time. These are the memories that I want to create with my girls and the things I have been putting on the back burner in recent weeks for a variety of, quite frankly, stupid reasons.

They are both growing so incredibly quickly and I feel like time is just slipping away from me. So, it's time I make a switch. From this moment on, all those stupid distractions are going away. Some of you may have already noticed some of the changes I'm making. The computer is not going to be utilized during the hours my girls are awake unless it is for something directly related to them. The hours I do get in for work are going to be after they are in bed and even then I'm not going to stay up all night doing it. Maybe that's not the right decision for my financial reality but I'm 100 percent certain it's the right decision for my mental and emotional reality. I mean really, am I going to look back one day and say "Damn, I wish I had worked more"? Not likely.

I'm still going to craft but it's going to be making the things that I have been dreaming of doing for my girls, or the things Kinsley has been asking of me. I'm not saying I won't be putting a few new things up in my shop. I will still be trying out new designs and ideas but they will certainly not be put at the top of my list. Is missing out on some of the holiday shopping season the best idea? For the business, probably not. For our family? Definitely.

I will still be blogging. In fact I might actually be blogging a bit more. I thoroughly enjoy it, it's theraputic for me. Not to mention that I love to go back and look at some of the older posts and pictures and remember the different things going on in our lives. Don't be surprised to see a lot more family related posts in the future. It's time for me to refocus my energy on the things that matter most in this world. No more letting the comments of others about our life affect me. The hubby and I are doing what we feel is best for *our* family and we will continue to do so regardless of what others think is *right* for us. I will no longer let outside pressure and influences distract me from the absolute blessing that is being a stay at home mama to these two beautiful girls. They are only little for such a sweet short time and I am determined to drink in every moment possible.

I want to say thank you to all of you that have stood by me during recent weeks as I've contemplated and discussed and changed things. It warms my heart to have people like you in my life. I am truly blessed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Candy Corn Bunting

Candy Corn Bunting, originally uploaded by RusticOkie.

Can someone tell me where October is going? When we were leaving the valley this week I made the comment of not seeing anyone again for a while since we were tired of traveling and was shocked when I heard "Well it's only 2 weeks until Kinsley's birthday party". Um...WHAT??? This can't possibly be. I haven't made anything for the party yet. I haven't even mailed the invitations! And wait, that means its only 3 weeks until Halloween. I haven't done anything for Halloween yet either. And my baby can't possibly be turning 3 in a mere two weeks. Ugh. I need a pause button. Now.

I had lots of pretty decorations in mind to make for Halloween this year but it looks like this might be the only one that gets completed since I'm going to have to get it serious party crafting mode in a hurry. I think it's pretty cute, although I'm not digging this photograph of it. Sort of boring. It needs to be hanging in our little window with lots of other decorations underneath but that might not happen this year. Thankfully this was super easy to sew together or we'd have no decorations at all.

I can't even just pull decorations out of a box somewhere either. I've never really been a fan of decorating for Halloween. I'm not sure why, it's just not something I've ever felt like doing. Hubby loves halloween decorations but I think they're creepy and gross. I guess that's the idea really but it's just not my thing. Plus the creepy decorations scare the heck of of Kinsley so they're a no go anyway. I had envisioned lots of candy corn, silly-faced pumpkins and a friendly ghost or two but not this year. Maybe next time...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Princess Peg Dolls

A certain little girl around here is about to turn 3 years old. This certain little girl has insisted for months that she is going to have a princess birthday party and everything and everyone must be a princess. And she's serious. So prepare yourself to be bombarded with all things princess in preparation for this event. This is the first of those posts. I have been wanting to make some of these wooden dolls for ages and so I brought them with me this week while we were visiting the memaw and pepaw. I remember lots of good times while I was growing up sitting at the dining room table and painting. I knew it would be the perfect crafty project for our week and thankfully it was.

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Princess Dolls 008

We set up an area for her to paint and she picked a wooden cloud to paint and went to town. I was hoping that she would become so involved in her own painting that she wouldn't notice the princesses we were painting just across the table. Yeah right. I was half finished with Ariel when she shrieked "Is that Ariel? You're painting Ariel!!!" Yeah, we were busted. Oh well. The good news is that she recognized them all as who they were supposed to be so I consider that worth ruining the surprise a bit. I think they turned out adorable.

I painted Ariel and Snow White and Memaw tackled Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty.

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I am so excited for her to get them on her birthday. And I hope she'll have forgotten about them a bit by then so it will be a little bit of a surprise. I'm going to make a carrying case for them, like the crayon rolls, so they can be easily transported around.

Now I just need to get another set of dolls to make her a Mulan and a Prince Charming. :) The wooden pegs came in a bag of 5 in the unfinished wood section at Hobby Lobby, although I know most craft stores would have them. We just used regular acrylic paints to paint them with. Super easy.