30 November 2010

We actually managed to capture one of Hazel's first sign language successes with Ryan's iPhone last night. It is, of course, a sort of loose interpretation of a technical "more", but as the tired parents of a baby who mostly just shouts to get what she wants, this was cause for much celebration!

When I mentioned last week that we were attempting to teach her sign language a few of you asked if there were any books on the subject that I'd recommend. We don't use any big thick adult books, but we did enjoy reading My First Signs with Oliver when he was a little guy. Before he could enjoy the book himself (when he was Hazey's age), we used it as a reference for the basic signs we wanted to teach him.

Once he was a bit older, we loved the Signing Time dvd series. (It actually made an appearance in my "Favorite Things of 2008" post). We borrowed them from the library and he learned so many signs by watching those videos. We'd be talking about lizards and he'd bust out an L-shaped lizard and have it skitter up his arm (the sign for lizard) out of no where. We were duly impressed.

Really though, those videos are for kids who are already communicating anyhow. We like to use sign language with our kids when they're tiny so that they can communicate with us before they have it together verbally.

And to anticipate the question I expect might follow: No, we didn't notice any lag in Oliver's verbal skills because he used sign language as a baby. Though we did notice that he used his hands a lot when he talked once he learned real words. :)

Do any of y'all use sign language with your kiddos? Any books you can recommend for kids or adults?

29 November 2010

Hi friends! Happy Monday!

Or, as I've learned that we're supposed to call today, "Cyber Monday"! Who knew?

Seriously, is this the first year for this or am I just so out of the loop?

We spent "Black Friday" this year at the Tennessee Aquarium and then traveling on to Atlanta for a mini-vacay. Fun!

(Can I note here that we managed to make it all the way to Atlanta and back without incident - or should I say, accident - this time?! Last year we got into a wreck as we were arriving at our hotel and spent the duration of our trip driving a rental around as we waited for our van to be repaired enough to make it home for body work. Not cool. And, pretty scary.)

Anyway, we're home now and glad for it. There really is no place like home!

And now this post is beginning to feel like a ridiculously disconnected hodgepodge, so I'll just get on to the meat of things.

little town boutique

In the spirit of good ol' Cyber Monday, Little Town Boutique is running a discount at their shop and I'm sharing it with you because I thought you may like to know.

Here's the info:
20% off your entire order all day long (midnight to midnight)
use the code "CYBERMONDAY1020"

Have a lovely Monday! Cyber and otherwise. :)

Congratulations to Jen and Carla! You have each won a $25 gift certificate to b. children's wear!

Please email me to claim your prize!

And if you didn't win, don't forget that you can still get 15% off your purchases through December 8th with the code "findingmyfeet10" at the checkout.

28 November 2010

And the winner of the $50 Lisa Leonard gift certificate is...

Congratulations, Lisa! Please
email me to claim your prize!

25 November 2010

The most important thing to remember


when giving your baby a bath in the sink
on Thanksgiving day,


is that as juicy and butterball-y as she may be,


she is


no turkey.


Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more, a grateful heart;

Not thankful when it pleaseth me,

As if Thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise."

—George Herbert

24 November 2010

Remember back in August when I introduced you to b.children's wear as one of my favorite Etsy shops?

Remember how I gushed about their unique, age-appropriate J.Crew-ish style?

Remember how I showed you all the things I loved for Oliver and Hazel and have since photographed Oliver in my absolutely favorite sword shirt from this shop time and time again?


Remember how I promised a giveaway sometime this fall?

I'm making good, friends. I'm making good!

Lindsey at b.children's wear is giving away not one but TWO $25 gift certificates this week! Woot! (Am I allowed to enter these giveaways??)

So, here's the drill:
1. check out the b.children's wear shop
2. find all kinds of pretty things for your kids and your niece and nephew and all the other littles that you love.
3. wish that you were small enough to fit into the cool embellished girly tees and tanks.
3. leave a comment here, telling me about the best Christmas gift you ever received. (one per person, of course.)
4. remember to leave your email address if it's not linked to your blog (and especially if you're commenting anonymously)
5. giveaway closes Monday, November 29th
6. win! well, you know, at least try! :)

Also, if you just can't wait another moment, Lindsey is also offering 15% off to all y'all now through December 8th. You can enter the code "findingmyfeet10" at the checkout. (Yes, Etsy is now allowing actual coupon codes! Groovy.)

23 November 2010


Oh, darling.

You are eight months old and you are so much fun!
Here's a quick list of what you've been up to this past month:
  • You point and touch things with your pointer finger. It's so cute.
  • You've started to learn to wave goodbye and raise your arms over your head to show us you are "so big!!"
  • You are climbing everything - the stairs, the walls, you name it. Today I found you standing on a chair in the play room, trying to reach Oliver's markers and crayons. Not okay.
  • Baby girl, you are FINALLY sleeping from 7 to 7. thank you. amen.
  • You're more than just babbling "mamama" now - you're calling to me by name - what a sweet sound!
  • You, daughter, are a very impatient eater - lots of shouting and demanding between bites. We're working on the sign language thing, but it's clear that it's going to take a while. You have a very strong will with lots of ideas of how things should be.
  • You can be pretty bossy when it comes to just about everything, including nursing. If it were up to you, nursing would be more of a "grab a couple of M&Ms out of the candy dish as you crawl past" snack than a "time to stock up for the cold winter" sort of long meal. Not awesome.
  • You're beginning to cruise more but still not standing on your own.
  • You're more or less rocking a sippy cup. (We use the Nuby brand with the two side handles. Works well for her littleness.)
  • You can hold your own with your brother. We've witnessed you reaching across to him while riding in your side-by-side stroller and trying to steal his things. If you don't like what he's doing, you let him know. But most of the time, you're a big, open-mouthed, grinning, bouncing enamored little sister. It's so fun to watch the way the two of you interact.
You're growing and changing and loving and delighting!
Happy eight months, sweet daughter!
Isn't her little necklace onesie just darling?
Up for a quick mini-tutorial? Someone is bound to ask anyway,
so I'm just beating you to the punch! :)
  1. Find a onesie. White or otherwise, it really doesn't matter. Dye it if you like!
  2. Cut out a lot of little felt circles. About 18 should do it. They can range from pea-size to quarter-size. (or they can all be uniform - it's your creation!)
  3. Lay them out on the onesie neckline. Let them creep up under the laps of the neckline a bit, it's nice that way.
  4. Now, muster up all your brave sewing courage. And some bright colored or matching thread.
  5. The next part is going to take some fanangling. If you can remove part of the platform from your sewing machine it might help.
  6. Start at one side, say a prayer, and go for it. A wide stitch is fine. Because things are so little and tricky, you may want to sew by advancing the wheel on the right side of your machine instead of using the pedal. I sometimes do this when I'm in a tight spot. (You could also totally hand stitch this bad boy!)
  7. If you're feeling so intimidated, start in the middle and work your way to the sides. Some of your pieces may fall or slide as you go, just tell them who's boss. (If you think it will help, you could use an air-soluble marker to mark where each circle belongs. Then, it if falls, you know right where to replace it.)
  8. Just whatever you do, don't sew the front to the back. It makes it hard to put a baby inside that way.
  9. Finish stitching the cute circles to the little onesie.
  10. Snip your threads.
  11. Press it all neatly.
  12. Feel awesome.
  13. Try not to hate me if this tutorial drove you crazy. It was on the fly, so no pictures.
  14. Tell me if it worked! It always makes me so happy to get to see pictures of what y'all do!
And that's that.

I'll leave you with the most darling photo of my baby girl today. She has a new lambie hat that I'm over the moon for, but I haven't been able to manage a photo of the front of it - you know, the part that shows it's most cuteness - all day. I'm working on it. I want to give one away, but Hazel is being a bit stubborn about the whole matter.


22 November 2010


Meet Lisa Leonard:
Handmade jewelry-making extraordinaire, fashionista and really awesome lady.

Now, I'm mostly here to talk about Lisa's hugely popular and completely lovely handmade jewelry collection. But, I can't help but also note that her personal blog is just as lovely and inspiring as she raises her two sweet boys and shows us what rockin' outfits she assembles every week. (Seriously, her "What I Wore Wednesday" posts are so stinkin' cute!)

But we're here to talk about jewelry and other loveliness of that nature.

Poor us. :)

If you're not familiar with Lisa Leonard Designs and her handmade jewelry and gifts, this is the perfect time to become acquainted. If you have a sister or a husband or a mother (or a mother-in-law!!), then this is an excellent, thoughtful place to do some be-everyone's-new-favorite-gift-giver Christmas shopping.

May I show you a few things?




Are you feeling it? I thought so!

So, the good news is that Lisa is just as generous as she is talented. She'd like to give one of you a $50 gift certificate to her shop, just in time for Christmas shopping!

Here are the rules:
(be sure to read them carefully, they really do matter!)

1. check out Lisa's shop!
2. leave a comment (just one per person, please!) telling me what you are thankful for this year.
3. please include your email address in your comment - it's helps to be able to contact you if you win! :)
4. if you mess up, delete your first comment and start fresh. really, no doubles!
5. giveaway ends Friday, November 26th (the day after Thanksgiving!)
6. be thankful for all the blessings (even the ones in disguise!) in your life

Hurray for lovely people making lovely things!
Have a lovely Sunday, friends.

19 November 2010

So, not only has Oliver been asking a lot of questions about pregnancy and childbirth lately, but he's also initiated several conversations recently about death and Heaven.

He is absolutely enamored with the idea of Heaven and living in the presence of God, and has been for some time now. To him, Earth feels like a cheap imitation of Heaven. He's so anxious to get on to the good part.

Funny how a 4-year-old can have it so right sometimes.

Our conversations usually take place in the van. (Seems like he does his best thinking in there for some reason.) And they typically go something like this:

O: But Mom, (it usually begins with "but" which signals to me that he's been mulling something silently for a while) when will I get to go to Heaven?

Me: Hm... We don't know when you'll go to Heaven, baby. Remember how we talked about that everyone is born and everyone dies? We have an idea of when people will be born, but only God knows exactly when and how. It's the same thing with dying. Usually people die when they're old, but sometimes they die when they're young.

O: Like Evie Grace? She died when she was a baby.

Me: Yes, sweetie. Like Evie Grace. She got to go to Heaven early! Think how wonderful it must be for her up there with Jesus and all the other people that are in Heaven that love her! It must be so beautiful for her!

O: But I want to go to Heaven now too!

Me: Oh, Oliver, not yet! Right now, you get to be alive! God is giving you a very special gift today. Today you get to be alive and you get to give Him glory here and be with Mommy and Daddy and Hazel. We can be so excited for our turn to go to Heaven, but we can also be thankful that we are alive on Earth. Heaven something wonderful to look forward to!

O: And I can meet Evie Grace?

Me: Yes, you can meet Evie Grace. What do you think she will look like, baby?

And the conversation goes on... We imagine our sweet girl. We talk about how she's Oliver's little sister and Hazel's big sister. We wonder together if she looks like Hazel and what it will be like to hold her and hug her. We talk about how old she would be if she were still alive and imagine happily what life would be like with two sisters.

These conversations aren't usually sad ones (at least not for Oliver, and I never let on). Other times though, I have had to explain to him that even though death is a happy moment for the person who gets to be with Jesus, it is sad for the people that will miss them. We talk about how much I would miss Oliver if he was in Heaven but how excited I would be that he was there. Just like Evie.


One recent and similar talk we had made me realize that perhaps it was time to explain things to him just a little further. This is how it went:

O: But how will I get to Heaven? (again with the "but" at the beginning of a thought. He must just roll this stuff around in his head, trying to grasp it all.)

Me: Oliver, you know how we have talked about that we all have spirits?

O: Uh huh.

Me: Well when we die, if we love Jesus, our spirit goes to Heaven to live with Him. But do you know that our bodies stay here on Earth? Like when a person dies, if they love Jesus, their spirit goes to Heaven and their body stays here and we bury it. That's what cemeteries are for. It's where we bury the people that we love. Do you know that Evie Grace's little body is buried in a cemetery not far from here? It has a stone that says her name and everything!

O: (he just giggles at the thought of her sudden tangibility)

Me: Baby, would you like me to take you to see where Evie Grace is buried? You can see her name written and if you want, we can go pick out some flowers for you to give to her.

O: (Another giggle) Yes! When can we?

It's funny to me that in all the times he's come along with us to visit her grave, he's never been interested or made the connection about what we were doing. He's known her name and a little bit about her, but Oliver was only 18 months old when she was stillborn. He's learned about her in age-appropriate doses for the past two and a half years, and now this older brother was ready to pay his respects.

This was a big moment. One that I though his Daddy should be in on. So, rather than turning the van immediately in the direction of the cemetery that day, we planned that we'd go on the weekend.


Oliver took his time and carefully picked out the perfect flowers for his baby sister. (And boy did he take his time... sheesh!) He played with them all the way to the cemetery and chatted happily about things in his own 4-year-old - sometimes shocking or irreverent - way. (As we pulled into the cemetery his big first question was, "Where will I get to be buried?!!")

When we parked, he quickly unclipped, jumped out of the van, slung the flowers over his shoulder and asked us to point him in the right direction.


This was not a sad visit for him. He was so excited about the tangibility of a burial place. (Perhaps too excited. We had to quickly teach him a bit of etiquette about jumping on all the grave makers. My apologies.)

We found Evie's special place and took the existing flowers out of her vase so that Oliver could replace them with the ones that he picked out.


Because he's so interested in letters and what they spell right now, he wanted to read every letter on her headstone and find out what it said. He was so giggly when he read that her last name was the same as his.

As we sat there we talked about death and life and Evie Grace and Heaven. I asked him where Evie's spirit was and he answered, "Heaven!" And I asked him where her body was and he pointed in the direction of her grave. Then I asked him where his spirit and his body are and it took him a moment before she smiled and slapped his hands on his chest.

I told him that it was a happy thing to be in Heaven but it's also a very happy thing when your body and spirit are together. That means you're alive! "Oliver, you're ALIVE!!!"

The thought of it overtook him and he threw his arms in the air and took off running and skipping all around the graves.

He was rejoicing in the life God had given him today.

For a moment I worried that his flitting about would be disrespectful, like he was rubbing it in to all the children who were not alive that he still had life. But I know that was not his intent at all. He was just so glad. (Again, leave it to a 4-year-old to turn a place of mourning into a place of dancing!) To be honest, it made us all feel like dancing!

We spent some time enjoying the lovely fall afternoon and being near to our baby girl, if only her body. We want the kids to feel comfortable here. We want them to ask questions as they arise and understand death and what it means - as best as any of us can. We want them to know that death is a thief and life is a gift. And that Heaven awaits them because of Jesus' own death and resurrection.

We want them to know about their sister. We don't want to bring them sadness, but I really don't think that's the case. They're comfortable here.


I'm so grateful that we have been able to naturally and gradually talk with Oliver about some of the biggest (and in many ways, hardest) truths that life has to offer. While Ryan and I certainly felt the sting of death that evening as we packed the kids back up in the van, leaving one behind in the cool fall air with nothing but a helpless goodbye kiss, our little Oliver's spirit of joy reminded us of the hope that is Heaven and the gift of life that is ours for His glory.

Just before we left I snapped a picture of the tree that grows very close to Evie's grave. Isn't it lovely in it's bareness as it reaches heavenward with a promise of new life after the cold winter? His reminders of hope are everywhere!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Revelation 21:1-4

17 November 2010

A quick story - which you may have already heard bits of if you follow me on Twitter:

Oliver jumped in our bed early yesterday morning and woke me up to the question: "Mom, how did Hazel get out of your belly?"

Me, getting my bearings: "Um, I pushed her out."

Oliver, without skipping a beat: "Oh. Well, how did she get in there?"

Aaaaaand, it's morning.

Nothing like being blindsided with a pop quiz before you've even opened your eyes! My Mommy brain wasn't yet fired up and I couldn't think fast enough. Fortunately, Hazel required my immediate attention and we were able to change the subject to: "Who wants pancakes for breakfast!?"

How have y'all handled these questions? Or have you not had to field them yet? I did a little research tonight and found this site to be pretty basic and helpful - at least for the 2-5-year-old section. Then I made the mistake of reading down further about talking to your teenager about sex and starting having palpitations. Geez! I thought age four was tough, but now I'd like it if he could just stay four forever!

After that I searched Lifeway Bookstores and found a great article related to a series of "Talking to your Kids About Sex" books that seemed smart and Biblical and definitely worth reading. It turns out, by ages 4-8, they recommend being straightforward yet simple, using appropriate names for body parts and activities. They say that "children have filters and will screen out what they do not want to know or do not fully understand."


Are y'all also getting these questions? Please tell me I'm not alone!

16 November 2010

Hi friends!
Thanks so much for sharing links to your Etsy shops with me this weekend! I've had so much fun looking through all of your shops and seeing what great giftings you all have.

I feel like I've had the opportunity lots of times to share with you all what I'm working on and putting in my Etsy shop. You've been so encouraging to me in my little projects and many of you have brought me repeated business (thanks, again!). I was just thinking that it would be neat to get to sort of highlight what some of you talented readers are crafting!

Please, enjoy this list of some of y'all's stores. It makes for a handy little resource list! And if you haven't left your link for me yet, you can leave it in the comments of this post. I'll try to run another post in a week or so if there are others.


Happy sewing, knitting, toy-making and crafting, friends!