Friday, July 31, 2009

Farewell to the Fish...

It was a sad night for Brayden and Brooke. When we got home this evening, Brayden looked in his fishtank and said "Mom, Mom...come look at Jackie (his beta fish). I think he is stuck!" I brushed him off for a minute, trying to get things settled and the kids ready for bed. Brayden asked again for me to come take a look at Jackie because "he was stuck." That's when Darcy gave me that look, and I knew poor Jackie was beyond stuck, but rather dead. Of course, Brayden tried to convince us that maybe he was just sleeping. But this certainly wasn't the case.

Such reality brought on a stream of tears from both
Brayden and Brooke.
Brayden (bless his little heart), kept crying and saying
"I just don't know what to do."
I understand that level of grief when you feel a bit hopeless and just don't know what to do with yourself or your emotions. Brayden received Jackie as a birthday gift last September from his Grammy Jo.
Here is a photo of Brayden meeting Jackie for the first time :)
And Jackie enjoying his new "pad."
What a beautiful beta.
I had noticed over the past couple of weeks that Jackie had seemed a bit lethargic.
He wasn't swimming around a lot, and there had been a couple of occasions I thought it was the end for him and had to wiggle the tank a bit to see if he'd move. I think he was sick.
(below is our "stuck" jackie)
So tonight we bid our beloved fish goodbye.
A short little ceremony involving toilet heaven, a remembrance candle and a little prayer led by daddy.

You were a good little fish that sure will be missed :)
(And this morning when explaining our series of events to Grandpa and Grandma, Brookie says "Brayden's fish died last night, but we sang Happy Birthday to it.")

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Mama Jo!

Today is a special day because it is the birthday of two very special people in my life: My Mom and my father-in-law. Both were born on the same day of the same year. Both love yellow cake with chocolate frosting. And both have a special place in my heart. But this post is about my sweet Mama Jo...Much she has given me over the years, beginning with life and my name (Amanda Jo). Earlier this month I was wondering what I should get her for her birthday. She always gives the coolest, most creative gifts...gifts with meaning and her personal touch. I looked around and realized that she has left her mark on nearly every room in my home...My house is full of gifts that she has created. So...I decided to walk around the house and take pictures of everything my Mom had made for me over the years. Of course I wasn't able to capture it all...but here are a few things that stand out and sweetly linger around our home reminding me of the special and crazily talented Mother I have been blessed with.
Above: My mom made this long floral pillow for me for my birthday when I was pregnant with Brayden. She thought it would make a great nursing pillow. This was my own personal BOPPY. Now, it looks great on the couch.
That same year, she also made linen napkins for me (below).


These are one of my personal favorites (below). She made these dolls for Brooke one year for her birthday. She replicated one(s) we had in our home when I was growing up.
I love these! They are so precious.
And this "rest your head" pillow was made for the nursery when I was pregnant with Brayden. I remember seeing a photo of a similar pillow in a magazine and asking my mom if she could make it. It was fun choosing fabric and colors. I wasn't sure if we were having a boy or a girl...the nursery was neutral...patchwork quilt and bedding with carousel animals on it (ostriches, pigs, and other unusual animals). She made the crib bumper, crib skirt, and diaper stacker (I wish I had an available photo of these things too).
This bedding was used for Brooke as well. This pillow is also one of my favorites.
And she made this dress for Brooke for Uncle Dayce and Aunt Tannia's wedding. She wasn't in the wedding (but the rest of our family was)...so her dress complimented the wedding party. She was so little then...a year and a half I believe.
I have so many blankets and quilts my mom has made for me and the kids. Some of Brayden's are packed away in his keepsake box (an ivory satin snuggle blanket he used in the hospital when he was born, etc.) Below are two of Brooke's...The left one is fabric of "paper dolls" and the right one is "chinese lanterns."
I love the paper dolls one...it matches our new baby girl's bedding and is going to be draped over the side of the crib.
She made this bean bag pillow for Brayden one year.
And I have many handmade burp cloths. I always enjoyed picking out fabric for these. Most of Brayden's (the boy ones) are also tucked away somewhere. Her bibs and burp cloths are also lined with chenille or terrycloth (good for absorbancy)...and she sells these constantly (to people she knows as well as in a couple of downtown stores I believe). They make great baby gifts.
Here are a couple more blankets of Brookie's
And this is one of the bath salt bags she made as party favors for my first baby shower (when I was pregnant with Brayden). She made the bath salts inside too...
Below is the ringbearer pillow she made for our wedding. It matches the flowergirl dress (which she made as well). Again, I saw something I liked in a magazine (something that, of course, was completely unaffordable) and she duplicated the look. I often mail or show her pages ripped out of magazines/catalogs of things I'd like her to make :)
One year for my birthday she made me this apron. She gave it to me, along with a red floral potholder someone had made for her for her own wedding. They both hang on a decorative hook in my kitchen.
And for Brooke's birthday one year, she got a mini-sized apron too (below)
Somewhere I have photos of Brooke wearing it while baking...
And as posted previously, below is the apron she made for Brooke's Tea Party this year.
She made the hats and aprons for the little girls.

Fun fleece blankets for the kids...great for travel.
And below is a rice-filled-soothing-wrap she made. You know those wraps you throw in the microwave for a few seconds to heat up before placing on tired or aching body parts? It smells nice too. (Above it is that floral potholder I mentioned earlier).
One year I asked her to make these towels for my birthday.
And I wanted a coordinating centerpiece to use under my fruit bowl for my kitchen table. I love the pom-poms...This year, I think I need a couple more centerpieces (a springy one and perhaps a wintery/holiday one)
My mom also made these cream pillows.
In the left corner,there is a small ribbon and a button. The button was from my great grandma.
This hangs on our front door. It is a decoupaged light switch plate cover that serves as a magnetic board (like a mini magnetic or bulletin board). She made the magnets out of buttons. I have posted scripture on this...but took it down when we first listed our house and I began "de-personalizing it"...now it hangs from the door like this. Pretty...this would be a fun craft.
One year for Christmas I was given these oversized "poppy" pillows.
Again, I had seen them in a catalog (for over $100 a piece!). She replicated them and surprised me that year for Christmas.
I love these too.
And for Brooke's birthday this year she made her this #4 tee shirt.
It's hard to see in this picture, but very cutely stitched/appliqued.
Brooke also received this toy sack...she uses it to carry her dance shoes when she has dance class.
I love her toy sacks (below are just a few she has made). The middle one matches Brooke's apron she received for her birthday one year. These make great gifts too...I have given several away.
(Below) I found this old rocking chair at a garage sale one year and brought it home to paint/personalize and give to my girlfriend's daughter for her first birthday. I asked my mom to make the seat cover. I mailed her dimensions and emailed her photos of the chair so that she could make her own pattern for it. It turned out so cute. (I have two more identical rocking chairs I'd like to restore and give to my girls...so I am hoping she will be willing to make two more seat cushions for them...perhaps this will be a Christmas project).
And these are just some of the creations my Mama Jo has made. There are many other things she has created...life-sized tee-pees for kids, my sister's wedding gown, sock monkeys, curtains and costumes...the list goes on. So creative, talented, strong and beautiful she is. I wish I had half her talent and creativity! Her birthday was a perfect time for me to brag on her and let the world know how wonderful she is and how blessed I am to have her for a mom.
Happy Birthday Mama Jo!
I love you.

Your daughter,
(Amanda Jo)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Family Fun Days

I've felt a bit displaced lately. Like I am living in limbo. We aren't moved into my in-laws house yet, but with all of the daily showings we've had in our own home, it hasn't felt much like home. It reminds me of that scripture that describes us as aliens in this world, homesick for heaven. I feel a bit like a stranger in my own home. Trying to keep things meticulously clean and in order...having to vacate the house daily for a potential buyer to come look through it...feels a bit invasive, a bit hard to achieve the level of comfort one should feel in their own home. Can't quite relax or just unwind without the thought in the back of my head that something needs to be cleaned or put away. Having up and down days still...not feeling like much of a conversationalist...don't really feel much like talking at all on certain days. Just 10 minutes ago I ignored the Jehovah's Witnesses at my front door...didn't even answer it...don't have the emotional energy to even go there.

Darcy has been working so hard on getting his parents basement refinished. They had nearly 20 years of stuff and memories in the basement. He has sorted and cleaned and emptied it out...framing is done, insulation is done, plumbing is done, electrical is done...he is now working on hanging drywall. I feel for him because summer is supposed to be his time off...his vacation. And he is spending every spare moment preparing this living space for us. So, when the moments arise where we can spend time together as a family, they are well-needed for all of us. This post has a lot of random photos...captures the past week and some of the necessary downtime we've needed to refresh ourselves and function as a normal family. These times have brought joy to my underlying (yet lingering) state of melancholy.
My days are mixed up...but I think it was Thursday that we took the kids to C.J. Barrymore's.
It was a H-O-T steamy day. We enjoyed a little miniature golf...

The kids loved this bungee-jumping thingespecially Brooke (our little acrobat)




She saw the other kids trying to do backflips in the air and decided she would try too.
We were cracking up because it took her a few tries before she finally made it over.
She was determined.
We (Darcy and kids) enjoyed the go-karts

And the bumper boats...which I don't have photos of because I was riding too. Note: Do not go on bumper boats when 8 months pregnant and wearing a dress. The boats are designed for one to sit and straddle the steering wheel area. Not possible in a dress, and turned sideways with a big tummy does not allow for easy steering.
Belly shot...I feel like most of my tummy shots have always been after I have worked out at the gym. Not always my best look...but I have certainly popped out a lot this month; this photo shows that.
Sunday was a good day...church, friends, family. It was an "up" day for me.
Me and my girl
34 weeks!
(wow, not in workout clothes..and I am showered!)
We've had several backyard "campfires" with the kids.
They love doing this.
This summer has felt very "un-summer-y"
With the sporadic weather and rain earlier this week, we tried finding indoor activities to occupy our time.
(feels more like winter or spring)
On this day, we made cupcakes.



Brayden did most of the decorating and was very proud of his work.

He even wanted to put the cupcakes down to really examine them and admire his fine handiwork.
of course they must be tasted too!
And...yes, 4 year olds still have occasional tantrums.
Brooke was frustrated but determined to put her princess outfit on by herself.
She wanted privacy and was not appreciative of mommy's presence OR the camera
So...i took a few quick shots...(by the way...laughing does not help the matter)
the kids enjoyed bringing out old videos and toys long forgotten.
still pouting...
but not for long.
i love these moments when the kids just laugh and enjoy eachother's company
being silly, being kids
And because of all of the showings, we have been eating out a lot, or making quick fix meals here and there. This night was nice because we actually sat down in our own home for a nice meal together...grilled chicken and veggie kabobs (i could eat this every night).


And what better than to top it off with a little ERMA's
(we asked grandma and grandpa to meet us there)
i don't usually deviate from my normal favorite (vanilla cone with candy crunch sprinkles) but they did have birthday cake frozen custard...it was delicious.


Brayden LOVES icecream!!!
After a few bites Brooke was done...she is not much of an icecream lover.
But she sure does love her Papa.
And at home we had another campfire and lit a few sparklers. I had Brooke take off her skirt because it was really long and I didn't want her to trip and fall.
Darcy and I were laughing hysterically when we got a glimpse of her backside.
talk about a major wedgie! didn't seem to phase her a bit.

And that's kinda life over the past few days.