Thursday, December 29, 2016

Valley of Vision ✽ I Don't do Bowling

"Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or a part of my character;
May I pay regard to my principles as well as my conduct,
 my motives as well as my actions.
Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions
 for the renewing of the Holy Spirit,
  never to judge my religion by occasional impressions and
 impulses, but by my constant and prevailing disposition.
May my heart be right with thee,
 and my life as becometh the gospel.
Give me a large abundance of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus,
 that I may be prepared for every duty,
   love thee in all thy mercies,
  submit to thee in every trial,
  trust thee when walking in darkness
  have peace in thee amidst life's changes.
Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief and uncertainties."

-Excerpt from "The Valley of Vision; a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions", compiled by Author Bennett

This book is one of the best I could recommend, I think, y'all. Each prayer is full of encouragement, conviction, and they are short enough to fit into odd moments -I love it! Mama bought it used a while ago, and it came marked in, although it said "like new". She ordered a new one, because she had actually wanted to do a study through it and needed a clean copy, so she asked me if I wanted to take this one. I've slowly been working my way through it, and I think I'll just start it over when I'm done and make it a constant fixture on my bookshelf, haha :). It's really that good; I think that my top three books for the year have been "Choosing Gratitude", "Fervent", and this one :). I also kind of liked "Aunt Jo's Scrapbook", but only half of the stories would have made it high enough to count, and I liked "The Life and Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien", but I think I actually read half of that last year (I think? I can't remember for sure... maybe it was just before we moved. Either way, it feels like forever ago, and yet it's hard to believe that this year is almost over?!), so those ones were out, which made my choices a little easier to pick from... haha. But I really didn't read that much this year. That is something I definitely want to be making time for again!

At lunch this afternoon...
Tori, to the tune of "It's a Hard-Knock Life": "Don't it feel like the Bri is always bowling, don't it feel like she's never around."
Me: *blank stare* "I have been bowling in my life ONE TIME. And I wasn't good at it." (Not even recently, it was two years ago!)
Tori: "That's two times to many."
Me: "Nuhu-
...what? Two times?!"
Tori: "I saw you at that bowling alley. I mean bowling rink. Bowling alley.
...What is it?"

Oh, and Christmas posts will be coming full fury... after I brave going through all the pictures. Hahaha... it's kind of daunting, y'all, but I'll do it soon :).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy day after Christmas ✽ And merry rest of the year

I just finished prepping a very unigue canvas for a
custom order, listening to Peter Hollen's Christmas cd...
and matching the new cup I got for Christmas :D.

I hope your Christmas was as full of blessings and joy as ours was :)! We have had a wonderful, busy week, and I absolutely can't wait to share blog posts and pictures with fun bits of our month with you all. But right now, I'm not actually going to write a Christmas post, although the thoughts do kind of stem from my Christmas this year. Actually, I'm not sure this post is even being written for you all; I think I'm just posting it here because I feel like that will give some of the accountability that I probably need for the things I'm thinking of.

All of our Christmas activities were wonderful and something I'll always cherish; I think being back in SC after being gone for a few years, made being able to celebrate with family and the zoo's Lights Before Christmas even more special. The memories made in VA are precious, but so are the memories we are making here, in different ways. But I think there is one thing that I learned during this Christmas holiday. And that is that I waste too much time.

I've missed the way things used to be for a while now. I used to do so many things on a daily basis that I hardly ever get around to anymore. I thought that things had changed and there just wasn't time for it anymore. 

This year I started making my Christmas gifts at the end of November like I do every year. The thing I hadn't counted on was my Etsy shop actually having some sales (imagine that! Lol. I know I should have expected it, but since November 26th, I have almost doubled my all-time sales, so, no, I wasn't expecting it). While I started my gifts, I didn't get them done very fast while working on the shop orders I was putting together.

By the 17th, I only had two gifts almost finished. I spent that Saturday sick and making another shop order. And really freaking out at what I had left to do.

Last week, I finished the two gifts, made seven others from start to finish, went shopping and ordered a couple other gifts. How I did it, I'm not entirely sure. I know it was partially with the help of Christmas music. I have a really short attention span if my hands but only my hands are busy. Somehow, I can sit on my bed and stare at the shapes on the popcorn ceiling for forever (as long as I don't feel watched, haha), but I can not crochet for more than 12 minutes without going insane or getting up to do something in the middle of it, or obsessively checking how much more I have to do if I'm not listening to something -a book, music, a movie. Also, pure necessity. That had a lot to do with the fact that I finished on time ;P. And I very purposefully didn't have coffee after Monday, so I could work faster (caffeine doesn't give me more energy or speed. Yes, it keeps me awake longer if I drink it too late, but not awake doing things. Either awake laughing over nothing even though I know it's not funny, if I'm able to just sit down and enjoy myself, or, and this is more likely, if I have any least bit of responsibility or stress going on after having the caffeine, it just makes me curl up and cry. Lol.)

But, in all honestly, I don't know how I finished- earlier than I have the past few years. I finished Christmas eve, but right before lunch, instead of right after supper like the past couple years. I was so stressed out I was nauseous on the 23rd, with 4 gifts to finish and one that I had ordered not being guaranteed on time. Like, really, if I had worked that hard to finish on time and then the one that I had no control over was late, I would have broken down and cried even without coffee, haha. I was praying so much that it would get here in time! (It got here 5:00 on Christmas Eve, along with three of Mama's packages that Toys'r'Us made such a mess of that she had to re-order from Amazon, praise the Lord, and I was giddy excited -I might have been more excited to get it than Mama was the next day, hahaha!) 

Mama kept asking me how much more I had so she could schedule my work into the day, and I was kind of just avoiding the question with a "hehehe, too much". I knew that under the circumstances I couldn't handle someone else knowing how much I was failing. I finally admitted to Mama last night that I hadn't had a single gift done the week before, and she was like, "Wow, really? I didn't even notice that you were that uninvolved with what we were doing." And it's true. I helped with Christmas cards, Christmas baking (I didn't want to miss out on that!) and house cleaning and gift wrapping; I didn't take any work with me when we went to look at Christmas lights, and I watched a couple movies without any crochet, and I slept longer than I thought was safe a few mornings. I did skimp on some things. I never did get our room decorated (which I am still sad about. But I compiled all kinds of cute ideas and supplies for next Christmas! So maybe that makes it better?), and I didn't get to read to the little ones or my favorite Christmas books that I typically read, and I fell a few days behind in a bible study I'm doing with a friend, and I didn't help with the Christmas grocery list or shopping like I usually do. But for the most part, I tried to stayed as much a part of things as I normally would, because I wanted this time to be about Christ's sacrifice for our salvation and family time, even if I was naturally tugged in the direction of stress and perfectionism.

And I think, if there is anything that I learned this Christmas, it is 
1. I will be taking Etsy orders into my plans next year.
And, more importantly, 2., in part because of how much I realized I actually did have time for this month, and maybe in part because of how many times I listened to Peter Hollen's Christmas cd the past two weeks...
I want this coming year to count. 
I want to stay busy all year long.
Because I have had the time all this time. I just haven't made it. Or used it. Comparatively, I didn't toss that much out of my schedule this past week, but I probably did four times what I usually do. And I am appalled to think of how much time over the past four years I have wasted.
"So this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun"

"But why
Does it change with the seasons, 
And why can't we just hold on?"
(Actually about the Christmas spirit, not my productivity, but every time I hear that chorus, I think it fits very well with my thoughts that I want this worth-while busyness to be a part of life again, and not just a little blip on the screen for Christmas time. Haha...)

I don't really want to make my life as full as this past week has been. It was okay for a week, but I need more balance for life. But I also don't want to continue wasting as much time as I know that I must have been for so long now. I mean, I knew I could do more. But I think I was in denial at how much more I truly had time for. I think that if I had had two weeks to do all that I did in one, and had also done the things I passed on, it would have been perfect. But I also think that the lesson wouldn't have hit as close to home. And so I'm praising God, definitely that I finished with a great reminder. And I'm looking forward to a new start.


And so, this coming day will be spent working on my bible study, filling two shop orders, and reading lots of new children's books with my favorite little people :). And you'll probably see me back here, because, though I know I thought I'd be writing a ton during Christmas because of all I had to do, actually, I didn't have time for that either, and haven't written more than three times this month unless you count 3 letters and Christmas cards, but that's a different type of writing, and I'm aching to get back to my rambling, mindless word spilling. That thing about balance? Yeah, writing is one of those things I need time for. Haha :).

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

*clicks publish and hopes I don't regret it later* 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cinnamon Sticks ✽ Merry Christmas


I went out to the garage to put a few things away this evening and decided to go ahead and look for the greenery. Our room still isn't decorated, and it's sad. But anyway, since the greenery was found easily, I thought, why not look for the box that we keep the stuff we usually put up in our room in? I couldn't remember what all was in there, but I was pretty sure it held a pretty bucket I like to use, and I knew it held cinnamon sticks. We had pulled them out just the night before. I knew right where they were.

I spend 25.43 minutes out there (give or take-it was somewhere close, I had the timer going for lasagna while I was out there, hahaha...). About 20 of those were spent looking for the cinnamon sticks. Mainly because I'm a dork, but also partly because, um, cinnamon sticks. I almost gave up several times. I mean, really, I wasn't sure it was worth the time. I didn't think I had anything to put in the bucket anyway, no matter how much I love it. And I'm not sure where I'll be able to fit the tea set I know is in there. I don't even know what else is included, and it's pretty hard to justify looking for something when you don't know remember what it is.

But cinnamon sticks.

I have a thing for cinnamon sticks, y'all. Bordering on a strange obsession, during Christmas time.

So I persevered. I found them (they had been moved to the other end of the garage after I left the garage the night before). I breathed a sigh of relief, set them inside, and went to the craft closet to find something Mama had asked me to paint.

And just sitting there, right under the "W" I was supposed to paint.

I found cinnamon sticks.

I stared in disbelief, growled "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!", went to tell Mama what had happened... and about the time I hit "I spent 25 minutes looking for cinnamon sticks"... she just eyed the wooden "W" and started laughing. Lol...

So, I missed 3/4ths of the Christmas cd I put in for no reason, but I found some Christmas goodies I wouldn't have thought to pull out otherwise, so I guess everything evens out in the end?...

In other news, I got this canvas mailed off this afternoon, and this was SUCH a fun order, y'all :)!!! I got to make a completely custom "family mission statement" canvas for someone, and I just thinks that's neat- getting to make items like these are what really makes my shop feel meaningful and worthwhile :).

And I'm kind of stressing out because I've hit that point of I have no choice but full steam ahead to get done with everything before Christmas, which results in me writing a lot (?). I always enjoy every Christmas activity -the decorating, the gift making and buying, the visiting family, the candy making, the baking, the books we read, movies we watch, the extra little bible studies we do, advent, hot chocolate, music... but whenever it's over I realize what is still left afterwards, and the closer to Christmas we get the more I freak out, and we have nine days til Christmas, and I really want to be done by Christmas Eve if at all possible this year, because I'm just really tired just thinking of how much I usually try to fit in on Christmas Eve most years (so technically I have 8 days...) And, forgetting how many pictures and fun times I end up with to share with y'all, writing is just how I.... cope? procrastinate? maybe just feel a false sense of control, which isn't a good thing? so if there are more posts than usually here over the next couple weeks... consider it a Christmas gift. Hahaha!

Oh, and IS ANYBODY ELSE HAVING ISSUES GETTING TO MY BLOG??!?!?! Or is it just ME?!?!?!? I am not liking blogger's new update. It's harder to navigate, more cluttered, and I can NOT pull up my blog without going to specific posts since it happened. I should probably backup my blog... But I'm not sure how anymore, I'll have to re-find all the pages...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful Thursday ✽ Super Moon

This week I have been thankful for.... 
-Cinnamon muffins and warm coffee :).
-Getting to be a part of my little siblings lives. It’s so fun to get to know each of their unique gifts, talents, quirks and personalities!
-The great deal mama got on a crockpot. It’s larger than our old one, which is a point highly in it’s favor! We’ve tried several new crockpot meals lately, but we definitely need to be able to make more to do it often, haha :). We're making salsa chicken in it now, mmmmm!

-For national pizza day (Tori "made" us celebrate ;)…).
-Food… haha ;).
-All the little knickknacks, jewelry, and pictures that I have been given that remind me of the love and friendship of so many sweet people the Lord has put in my life :).

-Getting to watch my little siblings experience a new movie. When a four year old gets concerned for the outcome, it’s almost more fun to watch their face then the movie, hahaha!
-Sleeping baby snuggles <3.
-How good Bethi is at keeping Noah happy. I love to snuggle him, but sometimes when Mama is busy, she is the only one he will quiet for, and it's nice that the poor baby doesn't have to cry until Mama is done, haha :).

-Going outside with Tori to enjoy the Super moon. 

At about 9:30ish at night, she called me from my bed were I was watching Noah, "Bri! Come outside with me! Mama said she'll take Noah." So I gave Noah to Mama and we put shoes on and went out.
Tori steps out the door. "I don't see it."
Me: *sees a glimmer through the trees* "It's right there. You can't really see it."
Tori: "It looks the same as always."
Me: *backs up* *backs up again* *backs up further* *sees that I'm standing on the edge of the deck* *grabs Tori and backs up further into the yard until we can actually see the whole thing* "See, there it is!!!!"
Tori: "It still doesn't look that much bigger, but it does seems clearer, so maybe that's what is supposed to be special." 
*ooing and awwing at being able to see the valleys*
Tori: *Makes some hideous yelp, or jumps, or points at something like she's scared, I can't even remember because it scared me so bad*
Me: *jumps onto the deck from where I am standing in about two hops and keeps running even though Tori says that she was joking*

And then I got inside shivering, and I asked her, "Ohhhh, remember the time we got up and snuck around the house in the middle of the night because the moon was supposed to be cool, but we couldn't find it and then we found out that it wasn't even GOING to look cool where we were?"
Tori: "...Yes."
Me: "We didn't even see it, but it's one of my favorite things we've done together...." Haha! I love making memories with her :).

Mama filing some pictures Daddy took the other day: "What was the moon called?"
"Super moon?"
Daddy: "Why?"
"So I can save these pictures."
"Oh. Well, technically it wasn't the super moon, but the night before."
"Well, okay." *names the files "supermoonish"*

-That through Christ’s suffering we were given eternal, everlasting life and love.
-That one day every knee will bow and every tongue give God His deserved title as Lord.
-That no matter what is going on in the world around us, we can be confidant that God will have the glory and victory described in Revelation.
-That God’s promises are sure and none will fail because He is a truthful, all-powerful King.
-That God not only made earth life-sustaining, but also beautiful. “What made God take so much care, to make creation glow? He could have made it black and white, and we’d have never known.” And also that one day he will return it to it’s original perfect state and we will live with Him forever!

-For colored pencils. To draw, make cards, mark my bible to help in studying, they are useful and pretty :)!
-That I made a sale in my shop :)! That’s always exciting!
-How Noah (seven months) can always make Josiah (2) happy, even when he’s just woken up and crying. Just looking at Noah makes him smile, and I love it so much!!!!
-Doing dishes with my younger siblings and how many hands make light work, and what cheerful helpers they were while Mom took Tori to her dentist appointment the other day :)!

-For a fun outing with Mama yesterday :). We had yummy food, great conversation, I got some yarn for a project and new fuzzy socks and some new pencils to use in my bible studying (and I get too excited about pencils, haha) and it was a day that I am so thankful for <3.
-Psalm 22 and the way it points to Christ's suffering on our behalf, and reminds us of how much he loved us to go through so much for the cleansing of OUR sins!
-Answer keys to math. I'm so glad that when helping check my younger siblings work, I don't have to do each problem to see if they are right ;).
-Coffeeeeeeeeee!!!! (I had caffeinated yesterday, which I usually try to stay away from, but it was a treat day, and it's so much better when it's not decaf… lol…)
-Noah's little bitty tooth that popped through Tuesday night! His baby grin is gone (seriously, it's so far out for having just broken the surface!), but his smile is just as sweet, and I know it makes him happy!

Blessings in our Lord and Savior,
Bri <3

"Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever!" <3

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thankful Thursday ✽ 11/10/16

Typical Joey :).

I'm thankful for...
-A little note from Emmi (and the laugh we were able to share that she accidentally addressed it to Abbi ;)). So sweet!
-That the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, and we can trust Him to work all out for His glory and our growth.
-That the Lord is our fortress and protection, a present help in time of trouble <3.

-Mama and Daddy's patient teaching of my siblings and I, even when we need correction or explanation over and over and over again, and how it displays the nature of God to us.
-Listening to music with my little siblings. Jojo asks often, "Can we listen to this?" as he brings the MP3player he stole from Tori's table, hahaha ;).
-Christmas music… haha :). 'Siah and I broke down a couple nights ago.... ;).
-That we have the Bible in our own language and can learn it and know it by heart.

-A church that is solid in their doctrine, has strong, biblical preaching, and that the people there have welcomed us warmly.
-The time change this week.. I love fall time, and an extra hour of sleep is always nice, haha ;).
-Cozy sweaters and cool weather to wear them in.
-Laughing and playing and loving on my little siblings while I help them get ready for bed. Memories can be made at any time, and I'm thankful for the Lord's reminders to make it count, because if He didn't prompt me to do so, I wouldn't do it even as often as I do (which I know is not enough -so glad He is patient with us!)!

-Peter coming into my room frequently and crawling into my bed after he wakes up for some snuggles <3.
-PicMonkey and how I can use it for my canvases :).

 (Some of the items up in Under the Tapestry right now :) )

-Books, the ability to read through my Mama's teaching when I was younger, and plenty of good books at my disposal :).
-That though my heart is prone to wander, Christ has "sealed it for his courts above".

-That the Lord has given us a life full of times of productivity and other times of relaxation. Both make the other more enjoyable!
-Soap and water and the ability to have cleanliness! I very much appreciate this, lol :).
-The ability to cook and bake :).
-That I have been grafted into the vine of Jesus and can live through Him <3.

"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name!"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ten years ✽ Thankful Thurday

Ten years ago today I was sitting at Mama's desk typing up the first blog post (that took my unpracticed fingers F.O.R.E.V.E.R.) to go on the brand new blog Mama had helped me set up. I've moved my blog, and then opened a new one, and I haven't always been consistent, but blogging, and writing in general, is something I really, really enjoy, and I've enjoyed sharing with you all through my blogging for these ten years... It's weird to think it's been that long, and yet it's such a part of my life, I'm almost surprised it's not longer :). Funny story: Daddy was on my blog recently and because of how he was laughing, I thought he was reading "The Babylon Bee". Then he mentioned that he eats chocolate ice cream like I do, and I found out it was my blog. That was a major plot twist. What it says about my blogging style, I don't know, but at least you all stick around for it... ;).

The GiveThanksx7 challenge is currently up and running, and already it's bringing blessings with it; making me sit down and praise the Lord, bringing me reminders to praise Him for things I'm still taking for granted through the lists that other girls are sharing, and gleaning from the wisdom and encouragement of other believers :). I thought I would share a few of my praises here each Thursday through the month of November :). I am thankful for...

-The salvation and adoption that God has given through the precious sacrifice of His Son, and His Spirit that has entered my life and revealed His steadfast love.
-The mercies of the Lord that are new every morning.
-That He is my stronghold and His joy is my strength.
-That His promises fail not.
-That He hems me in behind and before, and nothing can happen to me outside of His will.
-That we have a gracious and patient God who corrects us in our faults, and a comforter who hears our broken cries.
-That He did not wait for me to love and serve Him before He redeemed and bought me, but drew me to Himself knowing this was the only way I could know Him.

 Noah's first time sitting at the table with the family :)!
We had waffles, and Josiah was delighted with the Olaf
shaped waffles (made from the iron my Gramma gifted
us with) that he didn't remember having before :). 

Last summer when we went blueberry picking,
Emmi wanted to know if we could make a blueberry
pie, so a few weeks ago she got to help make one!
She was thrilled :).

-God’s word being available to us, and the freedom we have to use and display it. As I have been making word art canvases for my online shop the past couple days, I have been thinking about the fact that we are blessed to be able to decorate our homes with God’s word, while so many must hide their faith or die in so many places.
-For godly men and women who did stand against persecution for their faith so that we could have the freedom to worship that we have.

-JoJo asking me, "Can you play with me?!" He melts my heart, y'all...

 These are a couple of my new canvases for sale in my shop!

 I love this one. So much. Lol.

 I was taking pictures of him in a couple of the hats that I have
listed, and he looked very much like a cabbage patch baby?!?!?
Love him!

Ohhhhhhhh yeah, this. This isn't another one, but the corrected
picture of the last one. Once Daddy fixed it, I had to let you see it
again, because aren't those little baby spiders fascinating? ::shudder::

-“The Valley of Vision”. This book of a collection of puritan prayers has been such a beautiful addition to my day over the past few weeks. It is full of such reminders as
“My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might forever live.
O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
Oh that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed,
heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
mighty to subdue, comfort, and save.”
All this he did for me when I was yet a sinner!!! How marvelous his wonderful grace!
-And for our Father’s giving us the privilege to come before his throne, for the Son’s mediation on our behalf, and the Spirit’s work in our hearts to align our will with Christ’s. That we can hold any part in the Lord’s workings through our simple, faltering prayers, what a gift!

-Daddy's willingness to teach me and put up with my... driving. I'm not going to add "terrible" there, but neither am I going to put "wonderful" . We'll discuss what kind of driving it is in a few months. (I've scared him a few times, y'all, and that's hard to do). I'm not sure I would do it if I were him, haha!!!
-The Cubs winning last night, if only because it made my Grandpa and Abbi so happy :). It was cute how hard she was rooting for something she'd never thought of until the past couple weeks, haha :).
-A clean yard, and watching my siblings enjoying themselves outside :).

Abbi found a snail!

 It was really big, and cute, although I wouldn't touch it, haha.
By the way, she tried to pick a lizard up by the tail the other day.
She has no qualms about ANYTHING!!! I explained how delicate
they are, so she doesn't plan on doing it again... but ewwww.

 He is ALWAYS sweeping. Or working. Or
supervising other people's work. Or asking
to be babied like a newborn. There is no 

 Peter and his miniature finds! This one is a
mushroom, he was just as proud of it as the 
apple he found at the orchard!

 LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Like you have no idea.
I did a photo shoot like this with Abbi and Emmi when they were babies,
so when Josiah got in, I had to do one with him and Noah. And I almost
ruined Noah's clothes because I didn't think of the rust in the wheel
barrel getting on them... but they're okay, and the pictures are cute, 
so we're good :). Haha :). 

Abbi in an "Abbi" shirt, haha :). Little sparkle!

-For my blog readers and your encouragement in my writing <3!
Rejoicing in hope,
Bri :)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Crochet projects ✽ Little turtle

I was able to use some of the extra yarn from Noah's baby blanket to make the MLP "Fluttershy" for Abbi last August. That was soooo much fun- I'm not sure if it was because it was a project that finished up quickly or if it was because of the bow, which was just TOO CUTE and TOO FUN (I will be putting that bow on a baby hat sometime soon... perks of having an Etsy shop, y'all. I get to make random things just cause they are fun and I've got the stuff sitting around from other stuff! Haha :)!) I was worried she would be disappointed that it didn't have eyes... but I love crocheted toys without, and she loved it, so I was glad I just went with it :).

I also made Andrew a minion with some of the brighter yellow that was left. Now I've had a request from Josiah and Peter to make them one... I was planning maybe their birthdays, but I think it's gonna have to be Christmas... if Peter can wait that long, haha! The eyeball on the minion was fun to make... every crocheter knows that each project has that one piece that you always remember being fun when you look at it later!

For THIS project, that piece was the wings! I learned a new stitch (FPSC for you fellow crocheters), and it just MADE this dragon I made for Tori, all that ruffly jagged work on the wings, I love so much :D! Mama saw it and was like, "Awww, that's cute! Who knew dragons could hold so much potential?", and I answered, "How to Train Your Dragon changed everything." Haha :). I have heard that the third one is going to be about why there are no dragons left, though, and if that ends up true, I'm not sure I want to see it. I love Toothless so much, I don't want to know he leaves for any reason...

Tori and Daddy went to an art museum for her birthday (they said everything they DIDN'T pay for would have been worth paying for... haha!), and they told us that they had seen a stature of Lafeyette on his horse... with a teeny tiny turtle by the horse's hooves. Apparently, the guy who made it had the mold "finished" in 1900... but it wasn't until seven years that the statue was cast, because it took him that long to finish ironing out the imperfections to his satisfaction. So then he added a turtle in mockery of his own slowness. And I just find that hilarious and highly relatable to my own artsy/crafty projects, hahaha!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Music is Life ✽ Chalkboards

I made this chalkboard for Tori's birthday :). It turned out better than I was expecting- I was planning on using the transfer method I use to make my canvases on it, and, uh, yeah, that didn't work. The printer is low on ink, so I couldn't trace it like I usually do, and I had to use an X-acto knife, instead. It came out neater, I think, but I was also way more uptight doing it, (a friend called while I was working on it, and I was so focused she was like, "Are you okay? You seem kind of out of it...", haha! I was like, sorry, I have less than two hours to finish this thing and help wrap gifts... haha!)

I'm really excited about it, though, and I'm thinking of putting some up in my shop, especially since it's made with MARKER, so it's permanent. I'm never creating one of these with chalk again, haha. I made one for my aunt's wedding last year, and we forgot it at home... Mama remembered it about four hours down the road, and I just cried... haha! (I was already super sick from a new pair of glasses that weren't right, so I don't know that it's fair to blame it on that, but, ya know...) So Daddy bought chalk and a new chalkboard and I made a new one the next morning, and then we tried to seal it... and it all pretty much dissolved. So, I ended up tracing what could still be barely seen in the car driving up the winding mountain roads on the way to the wedding, haha! For a few days I was sure I never wanted to do another chalkboard... but I've made four ;). Haha!

I found out a few months ago that chalk will "dissolve" when it's sealed and come back though. I was curious, but didn't want to undo my aunt's chalkboard to find out. But when her little kitty got to it (her paw prints were too cute... haha!), she asked me to touch it up, and I decided to go ahead and wipe it off... and, sure enough, it was sealed underneath the top layer. Not very bright, but it was. All I could do was laugh! And then I sat down to re-do Mama's Prayer Request board to see if hairspray would seal it better, and that turned out splotchy, so I'm just sticking with the markers. Haha :). They're really fun when they work ;). The whole time I was working on Mama's, the friend we had over for a couple weeks was watching me, and she asked, "Why are you trying to get it so perfect? It's fine. It looks good to me... hey, right here needs done again" ....haha ;).

But anyway, after I got off the phone with my friend while working on Tori's, Abbi asked me, "How did you know who that was?"
*keeps working on chalkboard* *so shaky because I'm trying so hard to keep my hand steady* *ends up making Abbi repeat herself 3 times 90 seconds later*
"Ummmm.... my phone told me..."
"Why does your phone tell you?"
*cricket chirps* "Huh? Oh. Uh.  So I know if I want to answer it I guess."
Abbi: "Why wouldn't you answer it?! What do you want to do? BREAK their HEARTS?"
Me: *finishes a letter* *realizes what she said* *laughs* "If I don't know who it is, I don't think I'll break their hearts if I don't answer."
Abbi: "But what" *attitude pause* "if it only say their LAST name" *more Abbitude* "and you don't KNOW their last name, just their first name?" *pointed answer to her own question* "THEN you will break their hearts!"
Oh, Abbi...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Told by the little ones ✽ We went to the fair

We went to the fair on opening day, and everybody had so much fun :)!!! We looked at crafts and art, enjoyed some food, and rode a few games (an older guy Daddy knows saw us and handed Mama some money to further treat everyone. He's always sooooo excited to see Daddy, it's sweet :) ). I was helping the little ones write some letters to dear friends of ours last week, and they all mentioned the fair at some point. I got to thinking that, I hadn't been able to post about it yet, and their perspectives were just too cute... so, I'm going to share those snippets of the letters here (with my comments in italics), and some pictures :)

 The bunnies and ducks were sooooo cute, especially the 
miniature ones. I did want to bring a few home, haha :).

 Josiah LOVED the turkey :).

Peter: We went to the fair. We went on the puppies. The ride "puppy roll" that told you to stay in the "bears" at all times?. We went around and around and it tipped that way and this way. Abbi and Emmi went on the caterpillar (ride) (at this point Tori told me that all my little comments remind her of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Letters from Father Christmas"). We got cotton candy. We looked at pictures. Daddy let me ride on the stroller. Tori and I laughed so hard at that comment. We went to the fair to ride the stroller ;). 

 Funnel cakes!!! Everybody tried a bite of the strawberry funnel
cake, and it was okay, but I'm not a fan of most strawberry
syrups or sauces, so I let those who liked it better enjoy it ;). 
Haha! I just like the powdered sugar kind :).

 This was Josiah's first funnel cake, and, though he was really tired
at first, once he had tasted it he perked up and loved it :).

Emmi: Bri, Tori, Daddy, Andrew and Bethi went on the ferris wheel. "Hey, Bri," she said cackling, "*I* know why they called it the FEARis wheel... it goes so fast, some people have fear on it!!!!" And we got ice cream and funnel cake. She called the funnel cake "pie" at first, and I was so confused. And we got pizza. And we had breakfast burritos and lunchmeat rollups and chips. She seems to love food. (Tori reading this wants you to know this was all at different times, not the same sitting at the fair ;).)

And I found a caterpillar. It got lost in the car. She held it in her open palm, and when Mama drove over a bump, it flew. Peter was already scared of sitting beside it; when he no longer even knew where it was, he spent the rest of the drive telling us that he was sure that he could feel something "tugging at his pants." He "thought it was the caterpillar". And Tori somehow missed those comments from Peter, and she about died laughing when she just found them here, haha! And then when we got to Daddy's store we found it under my seat. (It was alive!) We had to leave it at Daddy's store, and it was so sad. But good thing we left it at Daddy's store, because we went to the fair (they didn't know we were going beforehand) and the caterpillar was so fast, I might have dropped it. (The fast caterpillar was the caterpillar ride, not her "pet" that she might have dropped... that confused me a minute, haha.)

Matching cuties :)!!!!

(Speaking of matching shirts, there was a boy there who was wearing a shirt Andrew wears all the time, and I almost asked him why he was sitting so far from the rest of us... haha!)

Abbi: We had fun at the fair. The funnest part of the caterpillar was when we turned to the side and our hair flapped in the wind. She asked Mama before they got on, "can I please take my hair things out so I can feel my hair flowing in the breeze!?"

 When we got home, we were tired...

and happy :).

Emmi told Mama at the end of the day, "Thank you for taking us to the fair! It was so much fun it was like a dream. It started with my caterpillar and just kept getting better!"

Origami dolls ✽ Totally (don't) know what I'm doing

While our friend was here last month, Mama thought it would be fun for her and Bethi to make origami dolls together. I was going to help them, and Andrew decided to join us.

Before I proceed, let me tell you, that I tried origami when I was ten. I made half of two things. I can't remember, but I think I was trying to make an elephant and a duck? I wouldn't know for sure, because they were never finished. And I have never had a desire to do it again. I did start some flowers one time, because I thought they were quilled and Tori wanted them. But I still haven't finished those ( :P ), and what I did do on them took forever.

So I started in on these knowing to expect some bumps.

My first mistake was that I didn't realize we needed two sheets of the SAME paper for each doll, so I let Bethi and Johanna make matching dolls- two sheets of two different prints. I didn't realize what I'd done until halfway through. At first I was blissfully unaware that things weren't going well. The first few steps were a breeze. This was so easy! I shouldn't have dreaded it!

Then we hit the Kimano flaps.

In about fifteen minutes I was sending these messages to Mama where she was taking care of Noah upstairs:
"WHY AM I IN CHARGE OF THESE ORIGAMI DOLLS. I am making an utter fool of myself. Help. This is why I gave up when I was ten.
We're using pencils to draw where to fold at. It's helping. Maybe.
Johanna is laughing at how proud I am.
We're now re-confused."

Haha :). As if origami isn't bad enough at "fold here, unfold", Johanna was trying to copy my every move, and I was confusing her so bad, because I was just trying to figure out what I was doing, not actually *doing* what I was supposed to be doing ;)! Drawing the lines where we were supposed to fold at may have been the smartest thing I did the whole time. I'm not capable... I'm a cheater ;). I took about forty minutes to make that decision, and by that time all the children were so bored, lol! But after that it was a breeze... until we finished the base, that is the same for all dolls, and then ran into japenese words for the outer clothing. I had to pull out my computer again to look up what each one was so everybody could decide what they wanted to dress their dolls in. Andrew decided his would just stay in his kimano. He was so fed up with "Fold here. Now... unfold that." About the third time I told them to undo it, he howled "Ahhhhhrgh!!!! Why are you even making us fold it?!?!??!?!?!"
"I don't know, it just says to!"

I was literally so happy when I made it work that they wouldn't stop laughing at me, haha. Then Andrew made me finish his, while Bethi and Johanna followed along.
Then came the outer layers, and I discovered my mistake about the papers, but oh well. "Fold, again fold, turn, fold, fold, unfold... RIGHT SIDE FIRST, MAKE SUUUUUURE IT'S THE RIGHT SIDE"... apparently kimonos are folded with the left side under the right, unless connected with a funeral, and I didn't want a bunch of funeral dolls around the house... ha! I was so hyped on making one that looked like it was supposed to, that I decided to make another one while the girls finished up theirs, so that I had one where the outfit match the sleeves. I told Mama "well, they do get easier." The second one took me maybe 15 minutes. But I did draw the crazy folds before I did them again.

My favorite part about these things is their faces- those are Johanna's doing, haha :). We did their hair direction-free (we were so fed up at that point, haha!), and then I asked, "Soooooo, anybody else wanna make another one before I put the paper away?"
"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" "I'm good." "I'm bored." "Not now." "I'm ready to do something else."

I think I've made very certain that none of them will take up origami...

Andrew's un-finished Pig Pen like one, Johanna's, my second, 
my first shepherd like one,, and Bethi's....

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Give Thanks ✽ All sorts of randomness

KBR's Give Thanks x7 challenge opens again in just a couple weeks :)!!! If you are interested in joining and praising God together during the month of November, the details are here :). These challenges have been a wonderful blessing in my life the past few years, and I'm greatly looking forward to it's beginning :)!!!

Tacos are kind of a big deal in our house, in case you didn't now. So when Mama and Dadddy found that big old tub, they knew we'd be able to finish it off before it went bad, haha... Abbi is like the sour cream queen, so she was especially impressed ;). (She used to eat sour cream by the spoonful when she was a baby, right out of the container- if she couldn't get a spoon, she'd use her fingers. So gross. She did, on a number of occasions, have a tub dedicated to her ;).)

We went to the park and the boys had fun racing (I raced, too, because a certain person has been begging me for month, and that ended badly, and not just because I lost once...I did what I am told looked like a Charlie-Brown-kicking-the-football flip in the wooden mulch. Yeah.). It's still weird sometimes to have so many boys around for stuff like this, haha :).

Our friend Johanna with Noah :). When she didn't have him, she took lots of pictures for us, like this one of Noah :)...

I couldn't help but call these two ketchup and mustard all day, haha :)! They were constantly together, and just the right shades :)!

That mushroom looks like it has the cutest face, haha!

I volunteered at my first special needs church respite last month! The respites are where families will drop their special needs children and their siblings off for a few hours every month, and my hope is that by working with these programs, I'll be able to get to know the families and see if there is a way that I could help them. I've considered assistant teaching in a special ed. class for a couple years now, but I'm keeping my options open for a while longer- if there is another more personal and tangible way to work with the families, that is really where I would want to be, and I figure nobody will know that more than the families :). The respite kind of came together last minute, and there weren't many families able to come, so I kind of felt unneeded because there were so many of us volunteers to so few children. And I was kind of nervous going alone to something I wasn't sure what to expect from, haha. (But Daddy made sure I got where I was supposed to be before he left, so that helped :).) But I'm excited to take a small step towards what I've been hoping to do for several years now! I would love to adopt someday, and I would definitely be open to special needs children, so I want to be able to gain experience while helping others in the meantime :). I'm trying to contact another church as well, and we'll see where that goes.

As I said, tacos get frequent recognition here ;). Emmi was proud of her tortilla mask :).

The little girls got their own bibles this year, and they chose ones with personizable covers :). They have been enjoying coloring in the designs and making them their own :). (While eating apple sauce. Because. Apples. Lots of them. Haha :).)

So, this Thursday Mama and Daddy and Noah and I went out so I could drive around in a church parking lot some more (and, among other things, to pick up brackets to hang up the last shelves in our room, and I'm so happy to have that done! Emmi saw them all finally hanging up, and she kind of just stood there looking around and asked, "Bri.... why is our room so... white?..." Haha!). Driving is still... interesting... haha, but I think it's eventually going to get somewhere ;)? I did (finally) park successfully right before we left! But then, I also (accidentally) sped up so fast one time that I panicked and slammed the brake, and Daddy accused me of doing it on purpose to scare them. Lol! As I'm driving across the parking lot, Daddy was telling me, "Turn left, turn left, turn left...".
"TURN LEFT TURN LEFT TURN LEFT!!!" I heard shrieked shrilly out from the back seat.
They'd snuck Walter the snowgie into the car and Mama turned him on for my lesson. 
It was terrifying. 
Haha :).

A few nights ago, I was brushing Emmi's teeth. I happened to look away because someone was talking to me, and when I looked back, her tooth was literally laying across her tongue -not lost, but barely holding on. That was a shock, and I told her she needed to get Daddy to get it out (basically because I'm a chicken, and Daddy and Emmi thought that was too funny..).
Forward to last night: *brushing teeth, tralala, nightly routine* 
Emmi: "Ouch!!!"
Tooth: Jumps four inches into the air and then falls again into her mouth.
Me: "DON'T SWALLOW!!!!!!!"
She's got five missing or barely grown in right now!

The incident itself was very deja vu, because Andrew also lost a tooth while I was brushing his teeth one time. The excited five year old then went to church the next day and let everybody know that he had lost I think it was three teeth in the past 24 hours. "Daddy pulled one, I lost one while I was eating the banana bread Bri made for us, and then Bri knocked the other one out last night", he sweetly told everyone. 
Why nobody ever asked me about that, I'm not sure, but I wanted to hide in embarrassment. 

And before I sign off, I just want to explain the huge amount of posts lately/coming next week; they've all been written for a while, but I'm finally adding pictures to them and just posting them all at once when they've been written here and there over a month... haha. That's why most of it has been "old" news. But I figured, why waste them when they are done, even if they end up late, right ;)? Haha :). I have one coming next week that the little ones had a part in that I think is too fun, and I can't wait to share it with you :)!