Mar 13, 2013

Scribble Linens

{no, i am not getting paid to write this... i just have a really talented friend that i want to tell you about.}

I met Sarah in college 16 years ago. Wait, what? Yes, I had to count again.
Am I really that old?


I met Sarah through my sweet sister, Kristi. They were roommates at Baylor for a year. We lost touch once I graduated, but, of course, found each other via Facebook a couple years ago. We would "like" each others pictures, comment here and there, and then....

In December 2012, she announced that she had launched a new product. WHAT?!?! So, I had to check it out. Well... it happened to be so cool that I couldn't not tell you about it.

Check it out here to see for yourself how cool it is!

Here is how we use Scribble Linens at my house...

First, I about died at how cute the place mats looked on my table!

Then, I had Archer play a money game while he waited for his food to be served.

Last, we checked his answers, erased the place mat, and turned it back over just in time for the food to be served!

Next item on my wish list... a Scribble Linens runner. I love what Sarah did for the wine and cheese party. Look at her cover picture on their Facebook page here to see it.

What would you do with a Scribble Linen?

Mar 5, 2013

Has it really been 6 years!?!

Dear Sweet Archer,

Where has the time gone? It seems that each year the time goes faster and faster. That scares me. So often your Daddy and I try to stop and soak it all in... we don't want to look back on this time and forget it! We love that you are growing up, but, like I always say... You'll always be my baby!

I can't believe that you are turning 6 today. Now you can have to use BOTH hands to tell people how old you are. I can't imagine how I will feel when you are DOUBLE DIGITS... I won't think about it because then I just might cry.

Six years ago you changed my life completely and now I couldn't imagine life without you. You bring such joy...and craziness... to my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

I love your brain. I love how you think and how much you think...even though sometimes it drives me crazy. It sure keeps me on my toes. I pray that for your whole life you will use your "smartness" for the Lord. That you will always feed your brain with things "not of this world."

I love your big brown eyes. They tell so much about how you are feeling. Never lose that sparkle!

I love your little button nose...I especially love giving you eskimo kisses. I love that you STILL will give me eskimo kisses.

I love your voice. I love all of the things that you have to say. You are so articulate, observant... and funny! I love hearing you sing, tell stories, and play with your little brothers.

I love the way you give bear hugs and are always willing to cuddle with me on the couch. I pray that you always want to give me hugs because I sure will never stop giving them to you. I asked you the other day if you would still cuddle with me when you were a teenager. Wanna know what you said? "Yea, I'll still cuddle with you. I cuddle with you until you die." That couldn't have meant more to me.

I love your not-so-little hands.. when they're dirty from playing outside, when you hold mine while walking across the street, or when you unknowingly lay them on me while we are watching TV.
I love your heart; it is so big! You feel so much...for other people who are hurting and when you are in trouble. I pray that as you gave your heart to Jesus earlier this year... that you would always let Him have your heart COMPLETELY. 
I love your tummy. I love when I hear you belly laugh from the other room.

Speaking of laughter, you are so full of it. It started with a silly chuckle when you were a small baby and has turned into a wonderful sound. You take after your Daddy. Never lose your desire to laugh.

I love your legs. How fast you are! It has been so fun starting to watch you play and explore new sports. You are growing so much!

I will love you FOREVER!

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!


***Letter adapted from my post when Archer turned 3!

Feb 26, 2013

Miracle Revisited.

Last night at the dinner table, Beau started talking about it.
Click here to read my past post.

{It being a day that could've turned into the worst of my life, but it didn't!}
A miracle happened.
Praise God.

We were talking about swim lessons. He was telling Cooper all that he had done that morning.
"I went under the water. I got rings. Miss Allie helped me..." Then he changed directions. "I fell in the lake, underwater. "

We knew exactly what he was talking about. We don't ever bring it up. He does. When he does, we try to ask questions to help us figure out what actually happened. This is how the rest of our conversation went...

"Beau, how did you get out of the water when you fell in?"

"With my wings. My magical wings."

"Your wings?"

"Yep. My magical wings." (as tried to touch his back)

"Well, where did the wings go when you got out of the water?"

"They just broke off."

... I couldn't help but get teary-eyed. What really happened when he fell in? How long was he under? How did he get out? Did an angel help him? Did he actually see an angel? Will he remember this for the rest of his life?

I don't know much about what happened in his little life for those few minutes. But, I do know, that it was something big. Something I will never forget. Something that will always remind me how God REALLY is in control.

So, as I sit here thinking about my rambunctious, loud, tender, strong-willed, loves-to-cuddle 3 year old. I am so grateful that his sweet life was spared. That we get more time with him. That even though he drives me crazy... I wouldn't change it for a second.

Feb 1, 2013


I love them.

I have 3 of them.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


Sometimes I don't feel equipped to be their mom. Am I too impatient? How active is okay? How loud is okay? What is a normal number of times to ask them to do something? What is the line that needs to be drawn in order to tame their "wild hearts?

Before I had Archer, my 6 year old, I was recommended to read the book Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. It was great! I read it start to finish. I was encouraged.

Then I had Archer. Then Beau. Then Cole.

Yesterday, I went digging. I needed a little guidance, encouragement, and advice on "bringing up my boys." I opened the book and these were the first few treasures I found. I thought I'd share them with you, in case you needed a little reminder that you're not alone!

{Boys are bent on making messes, teasing the other siblings, racing through the house, and challenging every decision and order that comes their way.}   ...Amen to that!

{Although individual temperaments vary, boys are designed to be more assertive, audacious, and excitable than girls are.}   ...Yessssss!

{Boys need structure, they need supervision, and they need to be civilized.}   ...Hallelujah!

{...need requests clearly outlined... are slower to learn from their calamities...}  ... Amen!

{I urge you as parents not to resent or try to eliminate the aggressive and excitable nature that can be so irritating. That temperament is part of a divine plan. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Thank God for it. But also understand that it needs to be shaped, molded, and "civilized". }!

Thanks, Dr. Dobson, I needed that. Bad.

Jan 23, 2013

These days.

I've been busy... (aren't we all?)

Changing diapers (yes, my 3 year old should be in underwear 24/7...he's not)
doing kindergarten drop off and pick up

swim lessons
picking up the shredded plastic bags our dog loves leaving me every day
 music at the library

 fighting with my laundry (it's still winning)
keeping 3 tummies full (I swore I'd never be a short-order cook...I am.)

 trying to be consistent at running (keyword: trying)
 managing Cupcake Friday

planning birthday parties
 planning Sunday School lessons
picking up the never ending stream of toys (I know one day I will miss them...just not now.) ... 

I guess, just trying to be a good mommy, a good wife, and a good business owner.
Sometimes, I feel good at these things, and more times than I want to... I don't!

Something had to give... I didn't choose the blog...
it's just what happened. 

I didn't notice it so much since I am IN LOVE with Instagram. I almost feel like it's a mini blog. It's what we're doing, how we're living, and it's making me stay up on taking pictures. At least I haven't let that one go. In case you're wondering, my Instagram name is @managingmarbles (surprise, surprise).'s to adding another thing back on my plate... the blog! I really do miss it!

Jan 5, 2013

Choose Joy

I haven't blogged in way too long... AGAIN!!! But, today, I wanted to let my friend, Emmy, share her story. She is amazing. She's patient. She's faithful. She chose joy... and did I mention...she's funny! 

Here's Emmy...

I'm Emmy, I'm 35, and I'm infertile.

Wait, let me back up.  I'm Emmy.  Kelly has been so sweet to allow me to invade her space for the day.  I own Much Ado About You {where I used to sell printed day planners, and now I just sell printables}, I occasionally blog {Confesstions of a Paper Freak}, and I incessantly Instagram {@itsjustemmy}.  I am also Kelly's stalker.  Well at least that's what my husband says.  You could say that I am a little bit obsessed with her cupcakes.  I am married to my high school sweetheart and as of this year we have been together for more than half our lives.

Almost 11 years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child's future.  We were thinking of names... wondering if it would be a boy or a girl... hoping its due date of December 26th would not mean we were going to have a Christmas baby.

But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone.

We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.

Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle.

Which I did.

That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk that long and painful road of infertility.

A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so we thought we'd better get going!

God had different plans for our family. 

The next six years were spent going from one doctor's appointment to the next... from one surgery to the next... all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.

I have Endometriosis, a condition that basically destroys your body from the inside out.  During my final surgery my doctor made the painful decision to remove both of my non-functioning fallopian tubes, hoping it would increase the chance of my third and final IVF {invitro-fertilization} treatment being successful.

The next month we had our final IVF procedure.  It failed.  We were done.

We were physically {well mostly me on that one}, emotionally, and financially spent.  The chance of a natural pregnancy was eliminated with the removal of my tubes.  I was officially STERILE.  It is still strange to say those words.  I am a woman that cannot do what I was created to do... bear children.  That is a very strange reality to be faced with.

I spent seven dark years in the thick of my infertility {I say "my" infertility because the issues were mine... with another woman my husband could have had more children... more salt in the wounds}.  For some of those years Nathan and I were not on the same page.  He didn't understand my desperation for a child when I already was a mom.  Those years I struggled with a deep loneliness that I had never known.  It is so hard to explain what infertility feels like to someone that has never experienced it, but the bottom line is... IT SUCKS.

However, God also used those seven years to challenge my character and bring me to a place of total trust and reliance on His plan for my life.  I came to a point where I had to say, "God, I love you and I trust you, and I know that {while very different from mine} Your plan is the best plan for my life.  So even if I never have another baby I will praise you and be thankful for whatever it is that you call me to do."

And I really was at peace.  Without tubes I no longer had to live in two week cycles, wondering if each late period was the one.  I had an incredible eight year old that was the joy of my life, a loving, supportive husband, a thriving business... life was good.

Now since I have already babbled on for quite some time {and probably lost most of you} I will leave this next part of the story short and sweet {if you would like to read the whole story, you can find it here}.  Through miraculous circumstances, in March of 2011 we brought home the most beautiful baby girl that looks nothing like us.

And in the instant that I met her I understood every no that God had placed in my path. 

If you are in a season of not understanding the circumstances of your life, please be encouraged that someday you may understand and even appreciate the painful path that you are walking. 

Since experiencing infertility and adoption I have a heart for encouraging hurting women.  Several months ago I felt a calling on my life to do something to help other women that are experiencing similar trials, and the Choose Joy event was born.

Choose Joy is a one-day conference in Southern California for women and couples that are experiencing infertility and/or desire to grow their families through adoption.  I have somehow convinced several other women from all over the country to come and be a part of this event.  We have speakers on topics such as "God's Heart for the Hurting; Waiting Hurts, Waiting Perfects", "Having a Heart of Hope: Overcoming the Hurt of Infertility", "The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of International Adoption", and much, much more.  My desire is for this to be a day of connection and community, and for women to open their minds to the plan that God has for their family.     

The event will include a luncheon and a dessert, and at the end we will be raffling off a cash prize to help someone grow their family.

Tickets are on sale for $30 through the 25th of January.  {After that the price goes up to $40, so don't delay!}  Please visit the website for all the details on the location and schedule, bios on each speaker, and to register for the event. 

If you aren't experiencing infertility, statistics say that someone you know is.  Please pass this website on to your friends or family that could use some support. 

Thanks for reading my story.

Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Emmy!!!

So... if you are struggling with infertility or know someone who is... please share Emmy's story with them. I know that if this can encourage one person, it will all be worth it!

Nov 21, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

I met my third born son for the first time...

My husband became a proud daddy for the third time...

Archer became a big brother for the second time...

He took his role very seriously this time...

Beau felt an instant desire to hold his baby brother for the first time...

We became a family of five for the first time!

Happy 1st Birthday, Cole Cooper!
You have added so much joy to each of our lives. 
Our family wouldn't be complete without YOU!

Sep 12, 2012

Mom is...

Today was a typical day around here...maybe just a little crazier. {that means it was VERY CRAZY}.

Archer was definitely "testing" how far he could go, how many times I would warn him, would I follow through, and on and on.

So, after a {very annoying} trip to Target, I told him that when he got home, he was to go into his room and not say anything to me until I came in and talked to him.

He got on his computer. {No, it's not a real computer. It's a V-tech one.}

From his room I hear him yell, "Moooooom, how do you spell 'mom is'?" I tell him {hesitantly}.

This simple question led to a lot of thinking for me...What was he writing?  Am I mean? Am I in a bad mood? Am I unfair? Am I a "no fun" mommy?

After a few minutes, I went to go check on what he was typing.

"mom is 35 mom loves archer." 

I have to admit I was relieved when I saw this; however, I was still thinking {about 2 things}...

{1} What kind of mommy am I? Do my kids feel valued? Do they feel like they're walking on egg shells around me? Am I too strict? Am I fair? ...on and on. 

I AM {what} in his eyes? 

but then also got to thinking...

{2}  How resilient kids are. How structure makes them feel safe. How when they know their expectations...they also know their consequences. How smart they are.  ...on and on. 

So, I am going into another crazy day here {because those are the only days we have}. They are good crazy, though, because I wouldn't change it for a thing. I want to go into today with the thought of...

Who am I to my kids? I don't need to be their best friend, but I do want to be a good mommy. 

A mommy who is kind. 
A mommy who is fair.
A mommy who is loving.
A mommy who is not reactive.
A mommy who is patient.

...and, yes, I am a mommy who is 35 and a mommy who loves Archer. 

Sep 11, 2012

Snapshot of a Statement.

A little bit about this little (big) boy...

What are you looking forward to? Recess and meeting new friends. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? A scuba diver.

Favorite toy? All of them in my room and Wii.

Favorite color? All of them, except green. I like green; it's just not one of my favorite colors. 

Favorite food? Ground turkey.

Favorite movie? Up and G-Force.

Favorite sport? Basketball.

Favorite place to go? Disneyland.

Favorite animal? Turtle and dog. 

Favorite thing to do with Daddy? Fishing and going on "cave hikes." 

Favorite Bible Verse? John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubles. Trust in God." 

Favorite Restaurant? Ruby's 

What are your kiddos saying? 

Sep 6, 2012

Pursue. {part 4}

I am so excited this week to introduce you to my friend, Alissa. We actually met almost 6 years ago when I was teaching middle school and very pregnant. She was the one who took over my position. Because of this meeting, we became friends. We have kept in touch... 6 years and 5 babies later. She is an awesome mommy, blogger, crafter, entrepreneur...really, she's great at whatever she puts her mind to.

Please meet my friend, Alissa....

It's funny because if you had asked me a year ago if I thought my life would be where it's at, I would have looked at you sideways and said, "are you crazy?! No way!" But that's just how God works. He takes people who are willing to be molded and opens doors in front of them just to see if they will walk though. This is the story of my life. Unexpected randawesomeness. Although with God, nothing is random... it's all just plain awesomeness. My name is Alissa and I have a lifestyle blog called, Rags to Stitches. I began blogging in 2007 as a way to document our journey... to leave legacy for our children. When it began it was a space where I shared pictures of my belly bump, talked about all the things mommies to be talk about, minus nipple shields because someone held out on me on that secret gem! Those babies transformed nursing for me.


 Then in 2009 I started my the Rags to Stitches Shop, where I created and sold iPad, laptop and clutches for the modern mom on the go, who wanted to look and feel trendy. It was during that time that I learned a lot about how to market myself, customer service, creating a great product that stands out against others in the same space and ways to stay ahead of the trend. Knowing when to move on and adapt or change your product style can be a difficult thing to navigate without losing your original branding. Over time I began blogging more, putting myself out there to meet other bloggers, first in my area, then from other areas of the nation. I started attending conferences, which led to opening up and sharing more about myself on my blog. While I was still running the shop and loving it, my passion for blogging and sharing began to outweigh my love for my shop. I found myself developing my own little niche on my blog. While I call myself a lifestyle blogger and that can mean a lot of things, I consider myself a niche lifestyle blogger, meaning that I try to write posts that stay within 3-4 categories: faith, family, fashion and community building. Then in 2011 I began working with blogging agencies to share amazing brands and products with my readers. I was writing about products and brands I already shared with my readers, but I was able to being monetizing my blog in a way that I hadn't been able to before. It was fun, allowed me to still be creative on my blog, but also make a little bit of extra play money. Then about 6 months ago, God opened a door for me that I never expected. A good friend of my husbands came to me with brands who were looking to use bloggers for marketing and he asked me if I wanted to start a blogging agency with him. He actually spoke with my husband first, who quickly jumped on board and said I'd be all about it.... Well I was, but it was still scary!

So 6 months ago, Pollinate Media Group, was born. In the last 6 months I've seen God open more doors that I could've ever expected. We have built an amazing executive team, we're working with awesome brands like Cost Plus World Market, Child to Cherish, Fox/Universal, Dr. Pepper, Minute Maid and just landed a deal with People Magazine. Trust me when I say I'm still pinching myself somedays, but the glory is all God's. Now looking back I realized that He used my little shop to help me learn about branding, marking, creative strategy and customer service and my blog to teach me how to be transparent, build community and share passionately for this moment. I'm still in awe. Each day I'm reminded of His goodness in my life. I guess what I'm trying to say is that God has a plan for each one of our lives and He creates moments and learning opportunities to train us up to do what He has planned. Don't every underestimate what God has in store for you or what He might call you to do. And when He does call... be sure to answer. It may not always be an easy ride, but I promise with Him on board, it'll be a great one.

 I just want to say thank you to Kelly for asking me to share. When she emailed me I was floored and honored to be able to share alongside the other amazing women who have also shared. I'd love for you to pop by the blog and say hi, I love meeting new people.

If you've missed any of the last weeks, you can click here or here or here.

Sep 4, 2012

Snapshot of a Statement and A WINNER!!!

Meet Jumper... He is {was} a praying mantis from Palm Desert.

Archer absolutely fell in love with him. He pet it. He talked to it...

He even took him on rides to "Texas" and "New York City."

Here's what he said about the Jumper the morning we were leaving...

~I love Jumper sooooo much. I am so sad I won't be able to see him again.

Me: Arch, what's wrong?
Him: I am so sad I have to leave Jumper today.  I will miss him so much and I'm sure he'll miss me too.

~I can't believe that I won't be able to hold him ever again.

**Yes, that is a gravesite on the right... :(

And, we have a winner...

Ambre Sautter... it's you! 
You won the 3-pack of Sew Sweet Patterns. 
Lucky Duck!!!

Sep 3, 2012

Real World Reality.

Archer. My 5 year old. Working. 14 hour days. 7 days a week.

I couldn't imagine it.

The sad reality is that there are moms who have no control over this nightmare. Roughly 7,000 of them. There are that many CHILDREN that have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana.

These parents have a hard choice to make. They want their children taken care of. They know they won't be able to provide for them well. So, they sell them to people who promise to take care of them and provide a better life for them. Those promises aren't kept.

Many of these children, often 5 and 6 year olds, are taken to Lake Volta to begin a life of child slavery... hard physical labor, one meal a day, sleeping on dirt floors, and the saddest of all... no family.

Thankfully, a group called Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves. Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta!!!

A friend of mine sent me information about the Mercy Project and asked that I write a post about it. I couldn't say no. After reading about the horrible reality in Ghana and the promising future of the Mercy Project, I just had to write.

I don't know what I am supposed to do now that I know about this problem. I don't know what you are supposed to do. But let's pray about it and ask.

Take a few minutes to watch this video...

 If you'd like more information about Mercy Project, click on the links below.

 {website}  {facebook}  {twitter}

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know, so often, I pass by posts like this. Ignorance seems like bliss. But, I don't think it really is... it's hurting someone.

On a lighter note...

Click here for this week's giveaway from Sew Sweet Patterns. Hurry... it ends today!