Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! We enjoyed a wonderful day with our friends, Josh & Emily, and their two boys. We went to their house in the mountains and Emily and I cooked an awesome dinner! It was fun to chat and cook and the guys even helped clean up! Everything was SO good! Thanks for having us guys! (of course I forgot my camera, soo... yeah )

And a note on thanks.....

Today (& always) I am so thankful for my little family, Bryan & Grady. I'm thankful for my puppy's presence at my side throughout the day and the thump, thump of his tail. I'm thankful for curled up kitties by the fire and Christmas movies. I'm thankful for my parents and siblings (in-laws too). I'm thankful for good friends, coffee dates, and long chats. I'm thankful for God reminding me that I'm right where I'm supposed to be and the ability to look back and see how far I've come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Christmas Cards

For my good friend, Erin and her family! I love this layout!!

For our friends Jasen & Abby and Grady's best buddy, Blake!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A different kind of Christmas list...

World Vision is a global organization founded in 1950 and one of the world leaders in providing food, medical supplies, and social change to some of the world's most vulnerable communities. With over 26,000 employs in 95 countries around world, World Vision is dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. Please feel free to visit their website at and/or

We accumulate so much stuff every year, how much do we really need? Especially when we consider others that don't have the basic necessities. Consider adding some of these to your Christmas list and if you feel so inclined I'd be happy to 'receive' one of these as a gift as well.

2 Ducks: Cost $12
Give ducks to a hungry family today and they’ll benefit from hundreds of large, protein-rich eggs all year long. Extra duck eggs and hatched ducklings can be sold to buy medicine or help send a child to school. Ducks also provide valuable down-feathers and produce fertilizer that can dramatically increase crop yields!

1 Goat: Cost $75
A widow, single mother, or abandoned family will be overjoyed by your gift of a dairy goat. A goat nourishes a family with fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt. And income from the sale of the goat’s offspring and extra dairy products can be used for girls’ school tuition and other needs.

5 Rabbits: Cost $80
Rabbits multiply and multiply their blessings! God created rabbits to be among the most prolific animals on earth, making them a terrific gift for an impoverished family. With a gestation period of just 31 days, a pair of rabbits can easily become 50 rabbits within a single year. These offspring can provide food or be sold at market, producing a steady source of extra income.

Seeds for 2 families: Cost $34
Impoverished farming families in countries like Thailand, Lesotho, and Zambia struggle to raise enough food for their children. The seeds they use may be of poor quality, or they may not be able to afford seeds at all. These hybrid seeds are both fast growing and drought-resistant providing crops such as maize, rice, cassava, carrots, cabbage, green beans, peas, and onions.

Education for a Girl: Cost $35
Education is critical in equipping girls and women to overcome poverty. Yet in developing countries, half the girls of primary school age cannot attend classes. Some must work to help their families, or stay home to care for siblings. Others lack money for school fees. Your gift will offer girls the opportunity to learn reading and other valuable skills. You’ll also help them achieve self-esteem, self-confidence, and the chance to realize their full, God-given potential.

Help for Former Slaves:

Sexually exploited girls: Cost $35
Give hope for sexually exploited girls. Your gift will offer girls assistance like medical care, nutritious food, non formal education, vocational training, compassionate counseling, and, where possible, reintegration into a loving family environment.

Safety for an exploited child: Cost $50
In Cambodia, girls from impoverished communities are often taken from their families and forced into slavery as sex workers, street beggars, or laborers. Even those who escape often remain in great danger. Your gift will help build a safe, secure environment for one of these children. You’ll help prevent further exploitation by providing resources like livestock, vocational training, education, counseling, parenting skills, or training to provide income and stability.

Medical Supplies:

Shipping for medical supplies to foreign countries (Africa) : Cost $35
Your gift goes 14 times as far! Every day, thousands of children die because they do not have access to basic medicines that could save their lives. Your gift will multiply 14 times to help ship and distribute essential pharmaceuticals and medical supplies like: antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitic drugs, deworming medications, disposable syringes, gastrointestinal drugs, painkillers, and surgical supplies.

HIV/AIDS Caregiver Kit: Cost $30
All around the world, local volunteer caregivers are serving those affected by AIDS — but the critical supplies they count on to relieve suffering are running dangerously low. Your gift will help provide and ship one kit containing supplies like latex gloves, antibacterial soap, petroleum jelly, and much more to equip those on the front lines of this crisis.

Clothing/Basic Supplies:
Necessities for impoverished American children: Cost $25
This gift multiplies to provide $350 worth of new clothing, diapers, blankets, and shoes to help American children in poverty. Thanks to corporate product donations, your gift will multiply 14 times in value!

4 Bibles in different languages: Cost $18 x 2
In many countries, poverty starves more than stomachs. The Bibles that feed minds and souls are scarce, especially where growing churches have more new believers than Bibles in their local language. Your gift will provide a Bible for a child or adult who is hungry for God’s Word, and can also provide Bible training or support youth Bible clubs in countries like Guatemala, Swaziland, and Zambia.

Congo Refugee Assistance: Cost $35
World Vision is rushing emergency assistance to displaced civilians, often women and children, in the Congo. Many are hungry, most have lost all their property, as they left it behind when fleeing the fighting.

Mosquito Nets for a Whole Family
: Cost $18
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that kills nearly 1 million children every year. Research has shown that bed nets provide one of the best ways to protect kids from malaria. That's why we want to supply 3 million life-saving bed nets for children in the hard-hit African nations of Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, and Mali. Prevention education will be provided with every bed net distributed. Thanks to our partnership with the Against Malaria Foundation, your gift enables us to purchase bed nets at deeply discounted prices, enabling us to protect many more children!

Thanks to fellow blogger Nicole for info!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Each day is a new adventure!!

Wow! My little boy is 13 1/2 months and someone flipped a switch! I now have a dare devil of a child on my hands and he is ALL boy! He has started to stand up on his own for 5-20 seconds depending on what he's doing (if he's playing basketball with Dad it's longer ;). He is also climbing EVERYTHING! He climbs the stairs, he climbs on top of his Lego table, he climbs on top of the coffee table and tries to go between his Lego table and the coffee table! He's accruing new bruises every day and so far nothing has made him wary of trying anything else!

Yesterday, I met a girlfriend for coffee. We were sitting in the plush chairs chatting and Grady was bouncing off the walls! He would not sit still, he climbed all around the chair we were on, and the POOF! He catapulted himself off the chair head first onto the tile floor! (When you see the bruise in our pictures now you'll know why!). He was just trying to say hi to the guy sitting behind us, of course. He is fine! But he definitely shed some tears, and held onto mom for maybe two minutes before he wanted to do it again!! He is keeping me on my toes!!! It's one crazy adventure we're on, but I'm loving every minute of it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My first Christmas gift

This year, my first Christmas gift is the gift of water for 10 years for a child in Africa.
For $10 you can provide water for one African for 10 years! Most diseases are spread due to unclean water, ultimately leading to a lot of death. If you feel the urge click on the photo below.

James 1:27 (New International Version)

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Three Cups of Tea & Visioneering

Recently, I joined a book club! Yeah!!! I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, but haven't found one to join. My friend, Erin, invited me to join hers and our first meeting was last night! It was so great to have an intellectually stimulating conversation that did not revolve around kids.

The first book we read was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This book is amazing on so may levels. Greg Mortenson was a climber who had a failed attempt at K2 back in the early 90's. On his way back down the mountain he was taken in by a small Pakistani village chief when he lost his way. He discovered that the villages of Pakistan had no schools for their children. Long story short, through many trials and tribulations he started the Central Asia Institute and has now built over 100 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their mission is to educate children, especially girls and change their future through that education. The kindness of this lone American has turned many kids away from the Taliban and has helped many Pakistanis and Afghans educate themselves beyond the ignorance that the Taliban teaches.

Reading this book, I learned that the CAI was operates out of Bozeman, MT. It is amazing to me to think that when 9/11 was going on and Bryan and I were in school at MSU this little organization was operating just a few blocks from where we were living. Even more to connect us to this story, is that Bryan's track coach Tom Eitel's wife was one of the main photographers that traveled with Mortenson from 2007-2008, before she died in October 2008 (please pray for her family Tom and their two kids). What a small world!

In our small group at Foothills Community we are reading through a book called Visioneering, written by Andy Stanley. It's about realizing your God-given vision and the steps you need to take (or not take) to carry out that vision. Reading these two books together has me praying for opportunities for God to show me his vision/destiny for my life and to take action. I may not travel to Pakistan and build schools, but I know God has something big in store for me and my little family, so I am on the lookout. Going through life just trying to get by gets boring. Start praying for opportunities for God to use you -- then when they arrive you'll be able to see them!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Family Cards

Here are a few more Christmas cards I've been working on:

This is for one of my good girlfriends, Brittany. She is due New Years Day with another baby girl!

This card is for my good friend, Julie and her family. Her husband, Joel, is one of the pastor's at our church. They have the cutest kids! Isaiah and Zion are from Haiti, Bella is adopted too, and Zach is their 4th and final! He's SO cute and has the best personality.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Photo Cards

I've been creating my own photo cards for awhile now, but I decided that I wanted to share my love for photo crafts with everyone else!! I'm making photo cards, birthday invitations, birth announcements, etc. for $10. This gives you the digital file in the size you want, to print at the place you want (Costco, Walgreens, Shutterfly, etc.). If you're interested let me know! They are turning out beautiful and they're customizable. Enjoy a few samples below. I'd love to hear your feedback!

This was my first 'paid' project! It looks awesome!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. November is the season of thanks. I have to slow down and be intentional about thanking God for all the blessing in my life, otherwise I would spin around in circles busy getting ready for Christmas (anyone else?!). This year, part of my intention will be to blog about what I'm thankful for.

Today I'll start with the most obvious, my little family:

Bryan - you are such a good husband! How did I get so lucky? You love me unconditionally, support me and encourage me to dream. You have given me one of my dreams, to stay home with our kids. I hear so many people say, "that's so nice that you get to stay home, it must be nice to be well off enough to afford that." Most of you who are stay-at-home-moms know this is not usually the case. It's a huge sacrifice, and my hubby was willing and is supportive everyday of what I'm doing at home with Grady. Everyday he goes to work, works hard and well and doesn't complain. I'm thankful for a husband that supports me and helps me realize my dreams, and our dreams for our family.

Grady - you are such a precious little man. I never knew being a mama would be so incredibly fulfilling and awesome! I love learning from you and helping you learn too. I can already tell you have one of the kindest hearts and are going to be a giving boy. I love seeing you smile, watching you pat the head of your buddy, Blake, as a token of love and I LOVE your kisses and hugs. I'm so thankful that God gave us you!

2009 Ornament Exchange

I'm participating in this blogger's ornament exchange here. If you are a blogger and want to exchange ornaments too, check it out! How fun to receive an ornament on your doorstep -- these are the little things that make my day! Make someone else's and yours at the same time!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

San Francisco and Sea Lions

Bryan got a call a few weeks ago from his boss requesting him to come to San Francisco for business...normally we don't like his business trips, nor are we able to come along. But a trip to our old stomping grounds and a chance to see friends was a definite yes!

While Bryan was working Grady and I walked around the city. Grady saw the ocean for the first time. He loved the sea lions, he just giggled at them and smiled.

Grady needed to stretch his legs, so he crawled around the bench on the pier.

We ate lunch at Boudin - Grady liked the clam chowder and sourdough bread.

peering at some more sea lions

I love the details on things as functional as a trash can in an old city. Trash cans can be charming...

Walking along the Embarcadero

Chocolate this way!

The E*Trade building in downtown SF.

Macy's in SF. I ate lunch here at the Cheesecake Factory with Kevin and Kristi when they came to pick the three of us up and take us to Sacramento for the weekend!


We were so grateful for the chance to go to Sacramento to see our friends! There were babies to meet and of course hang-out time to be had. We even were able to get some of our favorite food! Fats, In-N-Out, and Chicago Fire Pizza! Thanks guys for getting all together so we could see you all in one spot!!

Ava, the last time we saw her she was 2 months old!

Emily and AJ

Todd and Lauren

Lisa and Adam

Bryan & Megan

Ava and Grady playing

Kevin and Bryan

Emily, Megan & Kristi

Grady playing at the park!

Grady playing with the big boys!

Ty and AJ in the bath
Two of my very favorite boys! I can't believe they're so big!!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Every October around Halloween our church hosts a 'Trunk-or-Treat.' It's a fun time for kids and parents. This was Grady's first time and he didn't really get the jist of it, plus he doesn't know what candy is yet (thankfully!), but I think next year he will love it! My MOPS group does a bake sale for it every year, so we dropped off baked goodies and enjoyed seeing everyone in their costumes. Bryan and I went as Ex-Broncos (that's why there's an 'x' under my eyes instead of the usual paint). It was too cold for Fred and Wilma that night!! Grady was a dragon for the 3rd time this month!

Grady with his friend, Hayden (isn't she cute!?!). They were hilarious, they looked at each other like, 'why did you wear that?'

Making a break for it!

Fun Art

I thought this was a fun piece of art, and a good reminder that our lives are about the entire picture, not just our to-do lists and menial tasks. Although those are part of life, they're not all there is to it! (Thankfully!!) What are your 'keys' to an extraordinary life? Please share :)
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