Evie’s First Birthday: The Post of a Thousand Pictures

As I mentioned the other dayEvangeline Grace turned one on the 26th. One! My sweet little baby girl!!! Man, I have all the feelings about this. We even had a party for her- go us!

I say “even” because if you have more than one child, you know that it suddenly becomes way harder to do the things you did for child #1, i.e. taking monthly photos documenting their growth (or lack thereof: come on people, sometimes they don’t look that different depending on the month, amiright?) or in this case, planning and throwing their first birthday.

Let me disclaim that a major reason I didn’t even think a birthday party was doable for Evie was because we have almost no free weekends in the months of September and October this year. They’re either filled with traveling out of town or time-consuming events and commitments. (Side note: I like the word “commitments” better than “obligations”; doesn’t the latter just sound like you’re being a reactionary victim of your life instead of a proactive liver of your life? That sounded like I was describing a proactive internal organ…whatever, you get it.)

BUT. Thanks largely to my mom, we carved out some time during one of our weekend trips to their house the weekend before her birthday! There was even a theme!! Well, the cake had a theme. It counts. AND she had an amazing, epic birthday outfit. So, if that doesn’t prove my love for her is equal to my love for our firstborn, I don’t know what will.

Without further ado, here are a thousand pictures:

Look at her. She’s just presh. Also? She was tired, because the party was right after church on Sunday. I mean, she was real tired. Here’s a better representation of where she was at emotionally:

She has also been teething hardcore for awhile. And her allergies are acting up (thus the snot. soooo pretty). But all things considered, she kept it together as long as she could.

See? WOODLAND CREATURES. Theme. Mom even got her this adorable deer stuffed animal, which she totally loves.

Plastic woodland creature rings because THEME.

Don’t even care that my eyes are closed. I love this picture of us. Isn’t it great that photos don’t have to be perfect to be special?

I feel like I took a million pictures just of her sitting in that same chair eating and/or glowering… But again, I don’t care. And check it out- you can see how tired she is in this next one:

Bless her heart. She was so tired she wasn’t even interested in her smash cake. Not even a little. Like, I tried to offer her a piece and she smacked it away. So, finally I conceded defeat and laid her down for a nap. She was a trooper; AND she left that birthday hat headband on the whole time! Way to go, Evie.

Like I mentioned, the party took place two days before her actual birthday. So, on Tuesday, September 26th, I got out the leftover cake and the birthday hat headband again and let her at it.

I MEAN. I know she’s my child, but SO CUTE.

Clearly, she was in a better state of mind, because she destroyed that cake. I hadn’t planned on taking the girls anywhere on Tuesday, but looking at her in that hat and thinking about the epic tutu that went with it, I decided we needed to go somewhere and show off.

So, we went to Target, obvi.

I even let Lucy wear her Sofia the First dress, because birthdays necessitate the wearing of ballgowns. (Don’t mind that scary red mark on her face. I told her not to jump on my bed…and she did it anyway. Thus, scary red mark and tearful requests for Mommy to get an icepack.)

It was a good time. Errbody in Target was jealous of our epic tutus and ballgowns.

My favorite photos (other than the awesome grumpy face) are probably these two:

Evangeline Grace.

We’re just so thankful for her. We had planned to start trying for a second baby about six months after we found out we were expecting, which is kind of awesome, because it’s totally reflective of how Evie has been a step ahead of us ever since she was born.

I love this photo from the day she was born. My husband and dad had gone out on an errand and came back with a mocha for me from my fav local coffee place called Cavu Coffee. I mean, beautiful newborn plus good coffee?? Does it get any better???

I also thought she was a boy when I first found out I was pregnant with her. But I remember discussing names with Ryan and suddenly thinking of “Evangeline.” I think I gasped aloud when I paired it with “Grace” because GUYS. Evangeline means “Messenger of Good News” and “Grace” is the good news of the gospel. GAH I just love it. I’m sure I love it more than people who aren’t the parent of my child, but still. Isn’t giving your baby a meaningful name just awesome?

God knew we needed Evangeline. He knew the world needed her. The two words we most often use to describe her are fierce and sweet. Because she is the physical embodiment of them! She’s so feisty, and yet she also loves people.

Being a witness to her life is like hearing an ominous crash of thunder and feeling the weight of the air thick with the makings of a storm. You know that sense of awe you feel deep in your spirit in those moments? That’s what it’s like being around Evie.

Happy Birthday, you sweet and fierce girl.










MomGirl Products are HERE! Plus, a Giveaway!

Look! Up in the sky- it’s a bird! It’s a plane! No. It’s MomGirl!!!

She is here, y’all!!! MomGirl products are officially up on my shop to order! I’ve been working so hard on these for a couple months, trying to figure out how best to offer my messy-bunned, legging-clad, coffee-drinking superhero to the world.

So, if you are in need of some MomGirl in your life (or if you know someone who does), here are all the goodies so far! Click on any of the pictures to be taken to the listings within my Etsy shop.

(Side Note: I sense this post will be filled with all the exclamation marks and much all-capping. You have been warned.)

First, greeting cards!!! 

There are 3 cards up in the shop at the moment, which are the following:


GAH. Aren’t they so cute?!?! (Is that ok to say about your own artwork? I’m just so excited about them!) Each card comes with the teal envelope you see pictured.

Each card has a fun caption inside, too.



Here’s the second one:


And here’s the third:

Plus, they’re pink on the back!

You can see more details and/or purchase any of the cards over on my Etsy shop, Ebenezer Designs! 


NOW. Prepare yourself for what I’m all giddy-like-Hermione-Granger-in-Gilderoy Lockhart’s class about.

Letters from MomGirl- aka a MomGirl Subscription!!!

YOU GUYS. I’m so excited. SO EXCITED!!! Ok. Here’s how it works. You can choose from a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription, which will feature one 5×7 MomGirl print per month, with a short note of encouragement on the back from me, MomGirl! (Gasp! I’ve said too much…now people will know I’M MomGirl…) 

Here’s what I can promise about the encouragement: it’s real, it’s brief, and it’s lighthearted. Moms carry enough weight- baby or otherwise- and levity is such a gift when you’re parenting littles and overwhelm hovers ominously close by.

Plus, it arrives each month in a pretty pink envelope!

This subscription is an ideal gift for new moms, no matter how many children they have! But really? It’s a gift for anyone who feels like a hot mess. MomGirl is here to say- “Me too, girl.” She wears a messy bun for the fourth day in a row, throws on that pair of leggings with the mysterious crust on them, and loves on her people the best she can- often while doing one or more jobs on top of all that!

I wanted to offer something that would be a means of support and a smidgen of self-care to those who need it. Hopefully, these Letters from MomGirl can be a vehicle for that!

SO. In celebration of launching these MomGirl goodies, I wanted to offer a gift and a giveaway.

Here’s how to get the gift:

The first 3 people who purchase the MomGirl subscription (regardless of 3, 6, or 12 month) will receive a custom print of themselves as MomGirl!

Here’s the giveaway:

One lucky winner will receive a MomGirl care package including one MomGirl greeting card, a pack of these watercolor thank you cards, and a Starbucks gift card! (So you can get your coffee on.)

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Purchase any MomGirl product.
  2. Subscribe to this blog.
  3. For bonus entries, repost one of the MomGirl posts on my Instagram and tag me in it using the handle above!

This giveaway will run for one week, ending on May 25, 2017!

I have been so excited to share this with you, and hope you enjoy these goodies!!!

Keep on momming.

MomGirl, out.


P.S. You know what another fabulous method of self-care is? Listening to the Kindred Mom podcast which just launched yesterday!! I am already enjoying listening to these ladies share encouragement from their journeys in motherhood. PLUS, THEY are doing a giveaway too, which includes stuff from Magnolia Market y’all. MAGNOLIA MARKET. Go check them out here! And enter their giveaway by following them on IG @kindred_mom

The Adventures of MomGirl!

If you and I hang out on Instagram and/or Facebook on the regular, you’ve probably seen some posts featuring illustrations. Specifically, the illustrations of MomGirl!

Y’all. I have never had such a deluge of responses as I have had regarding MomGirl. Namely, that many of you are like- GIRL, that is totally me!!!

Here she is, in her glorious debut.


I mean, seriously. Don’t you feel like this, momma friends?? Like you’re winning at life because you’re keeping small people alive and loved and also you’re doing all the things all while drinking coffee?! (Which you’ve inevitably microwaved 5 times.) And simultaneously don’t you feel that as much as you’re winning at the most important things (i.e. child-rearing and drinking the aforementioned coffee) you maybe also have piles of laundry that have sat on the floor for a month?

Or is that just me…

Anyway. MomGirl is, I think, here to stay.


One word: Potty-training. This is our life right now. Bless it.

And in case you’re having a day of MomGirl fails, let me just remind you what you look like most of the time:


Most of what I do consists of all these things at once and Coffee. In. Hand. Amiright? Nursing, entertaining my crazy almost-threenager, talking on the phone/working, and let’s not forget my handful of jobs done from home. Oh, I’m not complaining! I’m just saying- this is 100% accurate, at least in my own experience.


And because of all the responses of joy and delight and “Me too!” types of sentiments I’ve received over MomGirl lately, I thought- wouldn’t it be nice to do something more with her? Offer something to MomGirls everywhere who would like some delight in their lives??
Suffice it to say I have about ten ideas on how to accomplish this. At the very least, I’m thinking there will be some greeting cards. But I’ll keep you apprized of details as they develop.

In the meantime, I’m going to heat up my coffee again.


MomGirl, out.

Happy 2017- Wait. Let’s Try That Again.

The month of January was a month of false starts. After traveling for two weeks with our little girls, we got home. Ahhh home.

After we unpacked and ever-so-promptly did all the laundry and cleaned up the assorted Christmas debris, I prepared to settle in, get a new calendar, arrange my life in ever-so-orderly a fashion.

Focus, I thought to myself. Focus shall be my word for this year. I will cultivate true presence with my husband, with our children, in our relationships. I will engage in the varied jobs and responsibilities I have with humility and attentiveness. I will be patient with where we are in life and savor the season with gratitude and joy. I will practice listening to the Holy Spirit and quiet my chatty soul.

And all in all, I shall transcend the heretofore tolerated messes in my life and failures of character into a rosy, glorious existence of serenity and wisdom.

I mean. So much serenity, you guys.

These are the things I considered with much anticipation as we undecorated in the last day of December and first of January. And then, January second arrived, and I’m pretty sure Peeves the Poltergeist was lurking somewhere  enjoying the coming upheaval, cackling in delight. He was probably also eating popcorn…

First, I got a cold. Then, in those first days of January, Ryan asked me, “Where’s your wallet?” I unconcernedly assured him I didn’t know, but that I’d find it. Fast forward to a week later, by which point we had ransacked all of our earthly possessions and even gotten so desperate as to call the Cracker Barrel we ate at on our way home from Christmas traveling. No luck.

On top of that, one of my big toes started hurting. Real bad. It started as a minor annoyance that first week of January, but by the end of the second week, I was limping around pathetically, with a swollen, gross horror movie of a toe. I decided I was probably dying.

So, we paid the urgent care $100 only to have the doc come in and say, “Yeah, I don’t do toes. That’s infected. You should go to a podiatrist.” And I was like, “Greeeaaat. Would you like to tell me any more obvious things while I light some more money on fire?”

Later that week, we went to the podiatrist. Let’s just leave some mystery there. I don’t think you really want to know what they had to do to my toenail… Regardless, it was expensive. So, you know, a really good time to lose my wallet (and the extra Christmas money we’d received which was inside it).

“Focus.” I flinched as my glowingly good-intentioned word for the year arose in my mind. The irony was not lost on me.

Meanwhile, marchers protested and blew up the internet with their signs and their rage and their holy hashtags. What was all this about? I wondered. I looked into it and was kind of like, “Wait, so what are they marching for again? Did Trump like, veto women’s rights to vote and I missed it??? Oh. They’re just…preemptively protesting. Got it. Well, they’re allowed… Oh, and pro-life groups were removed from the list of protesters. Okay.” I felt increasingly disconnected from this group. Which is weird, since I’m a woman.

But I say this because the holy hashtaggers flooded social media, and subsequently another wave in the onslaught of political arguments resulted across the board. Friends I know deactivated their Facebook accounts. (I didn’t. Because cute pictures of other people’s babies, you know.)

So it felt like I’d stumbled into 2017, into a loud, distracting mess. I wanted to back away slowly- back into 2016. Maybe no one would notice?

But we can’t run away from our messes. Does that mean we join protests? Do we take the bait and follow the crowds? Follow the popular instagrammers, YouTubers, some who used to be pillars of faith and now have decided a deep end of half-truths is a better place to dive than to face the hard things- minor or major- head on?

Clearly, I experienced some disillusionment as these things transpired. Not that I now despise anyone who is well known or think blogging is a waste, or that hashtags are evil. (They’re not necessarily. They’re fun, and I usually overuse them.) But I just reminded myself that I’m not one of their “followers.” I am a follower of Christ.

No, I’m a disciple of Christ. And that means certain things for how I view the world.

For one thing, it means that when a mini-maelstrom of minor calamities befalls me, I don’t feed my fearful, suspicious side. You know, that ominous voice inside that says, “It’s a sign. Doom is at hand. This will be the year of crap.” 

Instead, I say, “You know what, no.” Just because January threw a fit and marched in protest of not being 2016 anymore doesn’t mean it’s worth coloring all the other months in similar hues. I am not the victim I once was. Not that I’m not weak, but that Christ’s strength is growing inside me. This is a time to be a victor.

So, whatever, January. You sucked and you’re over. Also, you didn’t suck because the Lord helped me drive a stake in the ground and declare that even times of losing my wallet and subsequently our Christmas money, times of stupid toenails and stupid toe infections, times when I have a cold on top of all the other stuff and can’t take any normal decongestants because I’m nursing, times when half-baked opinions and wholehearted unkindness is rampant- in the midst of times like those, I can be joyful. Because the Lord is sufficient in all things; he always gives us what we need.

And he did.

Aimee always says that laughter is usually her default. I decided that was a better plan than implosion. So I tried laughing at all the distractions. I asked God to help my trust sing louder than the noise- trust that he would provide, that we could handle this, that light is still brighter than darkness, and that darkness is paltry and puny in comparison.

It worked out well. Because you know what? Someone left a Walmart gift card with a hefty amount on it anonymously at our door. Ryan ended up receiving a chunky check for some work he did recently. And several other providential, out-of-the-blue things like that happened. In fact, only a few hours after my procedure at the podiatrist, we received word about that check. Hours, you guys.

God is good. He gives us everything we need. And I realized these distractions were just opportunities- to focus. So that’s still my word for the year.

Therefore, I will not be joining the ubiquitous tantrum that everyone is throwing about how terrible things were in 2016, or will be in 2017, or whatever.

Instead, let’s throw a party. Or at least have some cake pops. Let’s be people who add flavor to the world. It’s February. Happy New Year!

Imperfect, Artful Living. {Sweet Days + iPhone Memories + Art}

Man. I can’t believe our 2nd baby girl is about to join us. Any day now… Really. Any day. *AHEM.*

I was looking through my phone and the RIDICULOUS amount of photos there, and saw the increasing fullness of this year- from my belly to our schedules- and back to my belly. It’s been dizzying (sometimes downright nauseating- ha), unexpected, miraculously productive, risky, and so good.




I’ve been so blessed to work on multiple custom orders for the shopnew exciting illustration projects that hopefully you’ll hear about some time, whimsical thank you cards, and of course the autumn pieces I shared recently which are my happy place. All of this means I’ve not only created more items for the shop, but I’ve had more business- real, actual business- from the shop this year! Easily more than double last year! That’s such a huge blessing.


Beyond work or the shop or any measurable productivity, as summer wraps up- ANY DAY NOW please– I find the deluge of iPhone photos reminding me it hasn’t been all to-do lists and travels (though often it felt that way). 

There have been coffee shop visits, in which much prancing around in tutus occurred:



There was the annual weekend lakehouse trip with our small group:





There was the incredible and unexpected experience of getting to perform 8 months pregnant at Gospelfest in Kettering, Ohio alongside 9 other artists (and Sidewalk Prophets!)- all of whom had to audition back in June (except Sidewalk Prophets…obviously). That process alone was a risk for me, and definitely a challenge, considering Ryan had to take the afternoon off work and lug a keyboard and equipment and our toddler across town to make that even happen!

It was one surprising moment after another- not the least of which was being asked by one of the audition judges to be on her radio show the day before the performance! I’ve definitely never done that before. Lucy enjoyed it, too!



Oh, don’t mind my crazy eyes and dorky face. I was just freaking out a little…



The concert happened the next day in an outdoor venue. Naturally, the weather decided to helpfully be either 91 degrees with 200% humidity or crazy thunderstorms that caused a 45 minute delay- RIGHT before it was my turn to perform. So, just more time for me to feel nauseous backstage, no big deal… (My husband was so awesome; at one point during our wait, he said, “You’re gonna Adele the crap out of this place.” I just love that man.)




In case you’re wondering what love looks like? It wears a raging bright orange poncho. And it runs through the rain to make sure all your stuff is okay.

Oh yeah! I had a booth there too… that’s the stuff to which I’m referring. All the artists had the option of utilizing a booth, and this was my very first time actually having all my Etsy shop stuff out somewhere for purchase!




(Hey look- Bethany is totally hiding in the background! And WOW I’m so pregnant in this photo. Who knew I could get even more pregnant than this?)

That whole weekend was filled with such meaning and encouragement! Dear friends rode over with my parents- a 2 hour drive one way- to come and see me perform (and get totally drenched in sweat followed by torrents of rain). Not to mention people from our church who came out to support me, and even other extended family who I rarely get to see! I felt overwhelmed with encouragement and that they all took the time to come and be part of such a great experience with me!

Then, the last two weekends were occupied with two separate women’s retreats…at which I led worship. Because I’m super good at planning. Yet, in spite of how exhausting it is to really do anything at this point, all of those endeavors were such a blessing! I’ve prayed for God to open doors and provide opportunities for me to utilize the abilities I have, and I’ve even prayed for opportunities to risk!

This year has been chock full of those. Throughout the summer, I’ve just prayed desperately that God would help me get all the work done I needed to before Evie is born! But now, other than my desire for her to arrive, I’ve prayed that he would help me savor the sweetness of these days, of these answered prayers, and especially this time with Lucy before we go from a family of 3 to a family of 4.

Yesterday, I told Lu we were going to have special Mommy + Lucy time and do fun stuff. “Fun stuff!” she gasped, “For us??” Just like that, which was the cutest ever. I kept it simple, which is pretty much all I have capacity for anyway, and documented our “fun stuff” as follows:

  1. Fall Coloring Pages- free via Google!


I decided to make it feel semi-preschool-ish and talk all about fall, because obviously. So, after we talked about pumpkins and acorns and leaves and colored several pages, we watched some youtube videos for kids about fall which she loved. (Notice: she is looking super adorable in Ryan’s old Cubs t-shirt from when he was a little boy! How cute is that?!)

2. Making Peanut Butter Cookies! This was a brave activity for me to do with her. It was the first time I’ve ever had her help me make anything, thus I picked the easiest thing I could think of that was also cookies. My mom’s PB cookies have literally 3 ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and BAM! Peanut butter cookie deliciousness. There is no possible way you can mess these up. Oh, and you can sprinkle sugar on the top of them if you want. That’s optional. However, making a criss-cross pattern with a fork on each one is mandatory. I’m pretty sure that’s what makes them so good…


Lucy was a great helper! She helped dump the sugar in:


Then she got to help stir with the bright green “fa-tchua!” which pretty much made her life.



And then that 10-minute wait, in which we could barely contain our excitement as the cookies baked… Then they were done!



Then this happened so fast, I’m pretty sure she just inhaled it.



These aren’t perfect pictures. They were not carefully curated to be part of a blog post. But they’re here because this is part of living beautifully.

This is part of leaning into the art made in the imperfect moments: when you still have storage bins in the middle of your living room that have been there for weeks or your little one is in mismatched pajamas, or you find yourself wearing the same top and leggings all the time because literally nothing else fits because of the new life preparing to arrive (as evidenced by this rare photo of my prego-profile… I don’t typically post lots/any of those).




I’m happy sharing our moments of imperfect art with you. Freshly baked from my iPhone. With a criss-cross pattern and sugar sprinkled on top.

For a little while, I’ll take a breather from writing here. But rest assured I won’t be able to stay away long! See you soon- most likely with lots more iPhone photos. Much Love!




P.S. I almost forgot!!! 4 of my original songs are NOW AVAILABLE on Noisetrade!!!!! Eeep! I’m SO excited about this!!! CLICK HERE to go visit the page and download them!

Closet Nursery! {Aka Let’s Pretend This is Another Room}

pomelierI’ve been pondering and planning and perfecting Evangeline’s mini-nursery in my head for months now. The key words here being “in my head.” I had envisioned one of these cute types of closet nurseries on Pinterest where everything is coordinated and somehow doesn’t feel like it’s just a storage space into which I shoved a mini-crib.

Which is how the closet-nursery felt for a long time. Here’s how it started just after we assembled (listen to me- “we”- you all know it was my husband, right) the crib.



Gah. So much stuff!!! Hmm let’s move those diapers down into that bottom left cubby and/or to other shelves, shall we?


Ok, that’s a little better.

These last few weeks I’ve been scratching my head as to how to make the closet feel less, well, closety. And less crammed. And just generally more like a space I’m comfortable thinking about one of my children sleeping in.

The thing is, when I looked over those Pinteresty options, I noticed they all had one thing in common: margin. Did you notice there really is still a lot of space left over in all of those super cute pictures? Evenly spaced storage bins, shelves that only hold a few items… Like, where are these people keeping all their crap???


So, storage wise, it was okayish… I’m loving the turquoise containers for sure! But I wanted to move some of that bottom stuff (aka the wooden lazy Susan, the boxes and folders and just whatnot that isn’t kid-friendly). Still, it was starting to look more organized at this point, which was good.

But it was still pretty crammed. I determined to figure out a way to make it feel pretty and intentional and not like it was a catch all for all our possessions including our new baby, along with getting rid of the really heavy stuff we were storing above the crib. Because that just makes me nervous. You know, with all the earthquakes we get in the midwest…


So, here it is as of yesterday:



And here it is after I decided to move a bunch of stuff on the really high shelves up to our laundry room (downside: now my back hurts a lot- can I just go into labor already?). 

Finally! It feels- mostly- like a nursery. So, welcome! Let the explosion of pink and girly commence.


Yes, somehow I managed to find new places for all the clothes that were hanging above those white shelves. Okay, maybe a couple things will be hung back up that made the photo less cute… And yes, there are still some empty boxes and possibly a trash bag with those aqua poms I love up on that top shelf. But not everything can be extricated from this closet, because valuable real estate, people.

I hung a gold polka-dotted scarf behind the crib, just for some interest, and this cute little canvas sign that says “You are the best adventure.” Yes, I know it’s not centered. That’s semi-intentional, semi-because of the white metal thing holding up the shelf above it.

…Which I managed to decorate a little bit! Yay!


Look at those FABULOUS sparkly baby girl shoes!!!! Can you even handle it? And that sweet little air-balloon lantern was made by my ridiculously crafty and fancy sister-in-law, and was part of the Baby Sprinkle decor back in August. Isn’t it adorable? It says “Evangeline” on the little tissue bunting around it.

And what’s that? Is it pink flower poms? Is it a chandelier??

Nope! It’s a pomelier.



I felt like the space needed something above the little vignette area with the pictures and shoes. So, I hung these via packing tape to the ceiling… It’s possible that one has already fallen down. Ryan may have the job of securing them better to the ceiling. You’re welcome, hubs!





Remember the Reclaiming Abundance Project? That little pink frame has a verse from week #2, which was all about Lucy aka The Princess. Now our second princess is almost here, so it’s only fitting for it to be in her space too.

And the shelves. I wrangled those shelves until they felt less crazy, and here’s where things stand for now.



Better, right? I mean, it’s not perfect. But look! There’s actually some margin on some of them now! Including above them, which excites me to no end.




The big turquoise bin was $5 at the Target Dollar Spot, the cute little pink bin was part of a gift at the sprinkle, and the top two little baskets I already had. Here’s a look at the bottom half of the shelf.




The other turquoise bin was also a gift at the sprinkle. At some point, I’m hoping to get a couple bins or baskets to use on the shelf for all the clothes there. For now, all newborn-3 month stuff is stowed in the dresser we use as a changing table in Lucy’s room. So, this shelf is all 3-6 month stuff! Can you believe that? But it’s a combination of Lucy’s old clothes, other hand-me-downs, and gifts we’ve received. (Also, can you believe the incredible amount of diapers in there?! It’s so awesome. And it’s 100% a testament to people’s generosity to us as we prepare for Evie’s arrival.)



This is basically the same. However, there’s just a smidgen more room for both the diaper bag and that super cute gold polka-dotted bin from Target. Somehow, I ended up with a lot of pink and gold things, and I love that! Now, it looks like I planned it as the mini-nursery’s theme.




I share this just to show what’s on the other side of the crib. These built in cubbies hold things that aren’t super crucial right this second, or things like the big boxes of diapers that didn’t fit anywhere else (except above the crib), and/or mason jars which I have no other place for. Still! I think this closet is shaping up to feel very nursery-ish!!




We already love you, Evie! Feel free to come any time!

How I Happy: August + September 2016 Edition

Before we get to the happiness, I think it’s important to articulate at least once every August (or you know, September… whatever) why August is the worst. Ok, MAYBE February beats it, but hear me out:

August is when summer is at its hottest, humid-est, gooey-est, and buggiest. For FIVE WEEKS.

And the bugs, people! Walking out of my apartment this August felt tantamount to the risk of walking across a busy highway; you never know when some big, terrifying thing will race out of nowhere- except instead of cars and semis, it’s bugs that WILL EAT YOUR FACE. Like the GINORMOUS locust-cicada-things that have recently found it pleasing to positively LURK on both stairways leading from our apartment down to the parking lot below.

What in the actual heck.

I don’t care if they don’t do anything, they are bigger than any bug should be allowed to be. (Grammar? That felt like a lot of “be”s… Who knows.)

Anyway, the heavily redeeming quality about August is that two of my kindred-spirit-est friends celebrate their birthdays this month. Fine, August. You can stick around. (Literally. Because you’re inherently sticky.)


That’s a quote in my shop about August. A quote from one of the August-born kindred spirit friends.

“August is the month that stretches itself out on lavender horizons. Everything hushes. It’s the only time of year you can hear the last of the plants growing in their dirt beds. They are amber days with caramelized sunsets.” – Brooke Reed

Oh, Brooke, with your ridiculous, beautiful way with words… August sounds awesome according to her! However, I can’t think carmelized, lavender thoughts this year because I’m 9 months pregnant, so August just feels evil.

And yet, let the happiness abound! Without further ado and/or whining about summer, here are the ways I’ve been happying through August and September:

First and foremost, it’s SEPTEMBER! Or as I’ve previously dubbed it, “October Part 1.” I told myself that I’d allow myself on September 1st to begin decorating for fall. ***FALL!!!!*** Let’s just talk about the glories of fall from now until Thanksgiving, ok? Just kidding, you don’t have a choice.

  1. “Happiness” by Needtobreathe.

This song. This album. It’s my new happy place! Even Lucy loves it; she will request the “Happiness Song” every time we get in the car, or I open my laptop… or anything that plays music.

2. Mermaid & Fairy Thank You Cards!– I already shared about these a couple weeks ago

Fairy Card ScaleBut they really make me so happy just looking at them!! I want to send them to people for all occasions- not just as thank you notes! That wouldn’t be weird, right??

Mermaid Card ScaleAnyway, each pack comes with two of each design, so if you’re in need of some thank you cards and want to support my little shop, get you some whimsical, punny, thank-you-card goodness! You can see them here.

3. Elf Facewash + Moisturizer

elf-skincareFirst of all, let’s talk about the fact that the packaging is straight up pretty. Which of course, is crucial to any good skincare… Seriously, I was a little apprehensive to use these when I first bought them back in June, since it was the first time in 5 years that I’d purchased a different brand of face wash and moisturizer. But they have proved to be lovely- and to work!!! They just feel good on my skin, they smell wonderful (they’re not scented- it’s just how they smell). And plus, they are only $7 and $8 respectively!!!! Yay for cheap + pretty + smells good + feels good on my skin! If you’ve been wondering about that cute Elf stuff, I give it a thumbs up (in my highly unprofessional opinion).

4. Gevalia French Roast Coffee


This is the BEST strong coffee I have found under $8. I think usually it’s about $6.99 depending on if you’re at Kroger or Walmart, and around here we consider it fancy if it’s not the absolute cheapest version of anything you can buy. However, because coffee reigns supreme above all other beverage or food items I consume (and because it makes me supremely happy), I have explained to my non-coffee-drinking husband that this is the one “fancy” item which I am happy to spend more on (aka HE will be happy about it too). Hey- I work from home, so I’m not eating out or taking weekly trips to Starbucks. So, I’m saving us money.

5. This story, by my friend, Libby. Wow. For anyone who needs to know that light shines in the darkness- that it even shined on the dark day of 9/11, read her unique and beautiful story of what happened to her, her mother, and other “plane people” when they were forced to land in Newfoundland that day and the days that followed.

6. Re-reading the Nesting Place + those tiny eclairs. (Which are from Aldi’s.)


I was possessed of a sudden desire to reread this book, which I’d first read back in January (one of the best Christmas presents ever!) and it just did my soul so much good to reread it now. I love it because it’s not just a book about home decor. I love reading Myquillin’s story- all the houses, apartments, rentals, and glorified-two-car-garages she and her family lived in over the years.

It speaks into my story, living in a third floor apartment and trying to figure out how on earth we’re going to make room for another person in here. Most of the time, I enjoy this place and this season, and I even like the challenge of moving stuff around and making it work for our family. But sometimes I have crazy hormones that hate everything and feel like nothing is working because those stupid boxes of things I can’t seem to find a place for will ALWAYS be in the way forever and ever amen and why haven’t I just thrown it all away yet??? Or sometimes, my brain cells evaporate and I have no inspiration whatsoever, and this book is good for that too.

Basically, it just feels like a good friend having me over for coffee and eclairs and telling me my home is beautiful. Right now. As it is. Stupid boxes and all. So, thank you, Best Friend the Nester… Nester Friend. Best Nester Friend. Bester Friend??

Of course, maybe I just wanted to reread it because I’m- wait for it- nesting. Bahahaaa.


7. Last but not least, Parks & Rec– I’m rewatching this series for maybe the 3rd time? 4th?? Anyway, apparently when I’m pregnant I turn on comfort TV (while eating comfort food in the last pair of comfort pjs that will fit me). With Lucy, it was Scrubs. With Evie, it’s Parks & Rec. But not really until the third trimester- both times! I don’t know why, but apparently this is something I do when I’m so pregnant I don’t feel like a person anymore.



I mean, isn’t Ron Swanson just the greatest ever?



And for some reason there is no meme for arguably my favorite Leslie Knope quote of all time, which is:

Martha, I’m gonna need two hours worth of waffles.”


I hope you enjoyed this double edition of How I Happy!


How are you happying?

Thank You Cards: Because Puns + Whimsy Can’t Go Wrong, Right?

Have you ever felt so thoroughly overwhelmed with gratitude towards someone that you painted a whimsical mermaid and fairy and made them into Thank You notes to send to that someone???

Thank You Tray

Well, that’s how I felt after the Sprinkle that my amazing- let me say it again, AMAZING- sister in law threw for me a few weeks ago. Wow. I confess, it was one of the most beautiful, fun, cozy, perfect showers I’ve ever been to- whether as the guest of honor or just as an attendee.

Also, I’m pretty sure she is the official Queen of Diaper Cakes. And Diaper Wreaths. And Diaper decor… All the diaper things.

Sprinkle 3

Yes. That is a diaper wreath above the fireplace. Epic. Then there was this big, lovely diaper cake (one of several, people).
Diaper cake 1

Those gold sparkly tiny baby shoes!!!

And then, there was some pretty fabulous food, too… Three words: Pink. Velvet. Cupcakes. (With cream cheese icing in the middle. Okay, more than three words.)

sprinkle 1sprinkle 2

I was truly overwhelmed by the generosity both of my sis in law and the dear group of friends and family who came! Lucy even got several big sister gifts!! Including this adorable crochet Elsa doll made by my mega-talented big sister:


Btw, she has a whole Etsy shop of these fabulous crochet buddies called All on Hooks and Needles which you MUST look at!!! You can also see pictures of what she’s working on right now- before it’s even in the shop- here on her Facebook page! (Her shop even features an entire crochet Noah’s ark set!)

Lucy of course has been carrying her doll around ever since…

I know I received diapers at Lucy’s shower(s), but man, I feel like I’ve hit the diapers + baby wipes jackpot! There was a positive mountain of diapers once I got home and unpacked it all!!

Along with that, I received that gorgeous black and white striped diaper bag I’d been pining away for- which is big, structured, utterly practical, and completely beautiful on top of everything else!

I wanted to do something extra special as a Thank You for all those ladies. So, I painted a watercolor mermaid and fairy, and made Thank You cards out of them! (I say “I” however, my husband helped a TON with formatting and editing them so they’d be good quality!)

Thank You Cards 1

Fairy Card Scale

Of course, it wouldn’t truly convey my gratitude unless there were puns involved… So, the cards say, “Thank you fairy much!” and “You really mermaid my day!” respectively.

Mermaid Card Scale

And I decided, why not add them to the shop? So, as of today, they’re my newest listing! Dimensions are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ and each 4 pack comes with 2 mermaid cards and 2 fairy cards.

Maybe you’d love some whimsical, punny thank you cards for your next outpouring of gratitude?? Click here to see the full listing!

10 Days in Anaheim: Conventions, Libraries, + How to Disney with a Toddler

This has been possibly the most eventful summer of our marriage so far. I mean, from June-September, we will have had 6 weekends at home where absolutely nothing was going on..

It’s been a mix of big trips, small trips, and commitments that will lead right up to Evangeline’s due date. But the biggest trip of our summer was to Anaheim a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s the super-mega-abridged version:

  1. NACC for a week
  2. Disney for a day afterwards
  3. Ronald Reagan Library

Feel free to just scroll through the post if you just want to see cute pictures of Lucy at Disney… There are a lot of pictures, friends.

Here’s the super-mega-unabridged version (settle in, I hold nothing back. I’m like Tolkien in the second half of The Two Towers where he describes every gray pebble and boulder in Mordor):

It started on Friday, July 8th when we drove two hours to my parents’ house. The next morning, Ryan flew out early to Anaheim, while Lucy and I stayed with them until Monday, when we all followed. From the 12th-18th the NACC took place, which my husband works for, and which required him to basically work 6 or 7 AM until 11 PM (or later) for the whole week. Aka any time I saw him he was power-walking somewhere.

Jungle 1What an awesome week! Great speakers from pastors like Dave Stone and Gene Appel to speakers like Christine Caine, Bob Goff, and even Tim Tebow! Plus, Lucy did wonderfully, especially considering she’s 2 and requires constant attention (and entertainment). So, obviously, having my parents there was immensely helpful!

Jungle 2

And apparently, California is beautiful. Did you when there’s no humidity in the air, summer is actually pleasant?! Oh. You did? Because everyone knows that? Well, this was my first experience with it, and I finally understand why everyone loves when the whether is a “dry heat.”

Outside 2Every time we passed landscaped areas with palm trees, Lucy would cry out, “Jungle, Mommy! Jungle!” which was the cutest thing ever.


Thankfully for my mom and the childcare at the children’s convention, I was able to do some If Then Move work at the Women’s Gathering Place booth with Wendy, where we guided women through making Story necklaces (to go along with the NACC’s theme this year of “A Better Story”). 

Women's Gathering Place
It was so awesome seeing how God used the time they spent making the necklaces as a time of surrender and hope! Seeing people come a little more alive is part of why I love my work for Wendy.


A minute later, it seemed like the convention was over! It felt like a long and a short week at the same time… and thoroughly exhausting. (I’ve never been this pregnant at the NACC before. Yeesh.) And of course, my husband walked over 100 miles in the course of the week, so you know, he felt dead by the week’s end.

Friday evening featured a lovely dinner in the Packing District (which if you don’t know is basically a hipster-foodie’s dream), though unfortunately a not-so-lovely night followed for me…

Packing Disctrict Popsicles

Apparently my prego-self did not like whatever I ate there. But I prayed so hard that it would just be limited to the night, because the next day was our day at DISNEYLAND!!!

Though by morning I still felt weak, I just felt better and better throughout the day! And WHAT a day.

Disney 2

(Look at that baby girl. Also, that prego belly. Man, I feel like it’s a lot bigger even now.)

To say the whole experience was truly magical might feel like a cliche or something off a brochure about your visit to Disney, let me say it is also 100% TRUE.

Let me also say, I’d been dreaming of and planning for this trip in general, but especially our day at Disney, for months. (Don’t get me wrong- I was SUPER excited for the NACC too, but I’ve done that with a little one before. Disney is a whole different animal.) I had pinned a bunch of articles on Pinterest by moms detailing how to maximize your time at the parks with toddlers. Prized information indeed. Actually, I created a whole board just for the purpose, which you can see here if you find yourself planning a similar trip!

Knowing we only had one day at Disney meant that I had a very specific but also a very loose agenda. Because not to be Captain Obvious or anything, but toddlers don’t love waiting in lines for hours… So I only had 3 items that I’d listed as my top Wouldn’t-It-Be-Great-If-This-Happened things:

  1. Lucy meeting Mickey OR one of the others on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  2. Taking her to the Disney Junior Live show
  3. Meeting Elsa + Anna.

Maybe this sounds silly to you, but I just felt like God was part of the whole day. I could just feel his delight in letting these things happen- things that weren’t necessary for survival or super important exactly- but just abundantly blessing us with beautiful, good moments.

Disney Jr. LiveAll three of those things happened within our first two hours in the park! Right after we got to California Adventure, they did a last call for anyone who wanted to see Disney Jr. Live- which was AWESOME. (If you have a toddler, I mean.) It’s set up like an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Lucy’s all time favorite which she would watch absolutely all the time if I let her), in which they go to the worlds of Sofia the 1st, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. (Lucy likes Jake, but mainly she adores Sofia and Doc.)


Her face. I can’t even. She was so filled with wonder and delight. Each portion had some cool effect which all the kids loved; “snow” falling from the ceiling, then bubbles in the Doc portion, then “gold doubloons” (aka circular cutouts of yellow and gold tissue paper). I know people always talk about the whole fun of Disney being witnessing your kids’ reaction to things, but I happily join their ranks and say how completely wonderful it really is!

Afterwards, we were fairly close to Elsa and Anna’s Royal Welcome (aka the meet and greet), so we headed over to that. One of the clerks at the entrance mentioned that Elsa had to run back to Arendelle on urgent business (keeping’ it real- gotta love that about Disney) and that she would probably be back around noon. Well, when the wait time is an hour and it’s 11:00 and your husband thinks logical thoughts, you get in line and hope Elsa is back in time.

Side note: we were only willing to wait for this because it was inside in air-conditioning. Plus, the waiting area had all these giant screens playing songs/scenes from all kinds of Disney movies, which helped us entertain Lucy, although she was definitely reaching her limits by the end of that hour.

Finally, we got into “the castle” and there they were! Elsa and Anna. You never know how your little one is going to react to seeing characters, and Lucy was just in total awe and amazement… and a little intimidated by Elsa, we think. Maybe it’s because we’d talked about seeing Anna the whole time, but not Elsa (in case she wasn’t back), or maybe it’s that Elsa has really big hair… Who knows? But I had to go sit with her on the floor- and they sat as well. They were fabulous and super friendly, but Lucy still kept her distance. Finally, she gave Anna a hug, but apparently just could not handle giving one to Elsa.

Of course, as soon as we left, she started crying, “Elsa Anna again!” So, clearly she loved meeting them. 😀

Possibly the best part of the day happened next. As we were deciding what to do next, Daisy Duck walked by with a staff member. I immediately asked if we could get a picture, but the guy said they were on their way to a photo op spot, and did Lucy want to walk there with Daisy? Um, YES.

By this point, she was also wearing her Sofia the 1st dress which of course looks PRECIOUS on her, and made this whole thing even more adorable… (Aaaand cue the onslaught of photos…)

A Walk with Daisy

She took Daisy’s hand, and they just walked along the sidewalk together like besties! Of course, my parents, Ryan and I walked behind- all with our phones out, incredulously taking as many pictures and videos possible, because that’s what you do when you’re at Disney with your child.

Window Shopping


Daisy was so perfect- bending down and pointing in shop windows, engaging with Lucy, and when they got to the spot for people to line up for photos, she picked an ACTUAL daisy from the landscape and put it in Lucy’s hair.

Taking a Walk


I can’t even.

Lucy and Daisy

And just because it wasn’t perfect enough already, Daisy knelt down, opened her arms, and Lucy promptly threw her arms around Daisy, which I caught on video. #winning

After that, I pretty much felt I’d Disney-ed like a boss, so we just got to enjoy walking around and seeing all the wonderfulness around us. (Do you know how PRETTY it is in Disney? The whole thing is just beautiful.) We made our way over to the Star Wars area in Tomorrowland (because obviously!) and got lunch, where we were able to watch the Jedi Academy thing happening from our table!

Lucy probably loved this just as much as Disney Junior live. Almost. When Darth Vader left the stage, she was like, “Eh my Darf Vader go?”

After lunch, it was hot enough that we ducked into a close by shop, where naturally Papa caved and bought Lucy a noise-making R2D2 that lights up and has things that spin around the top of it.

What was left but to find Dory (ha. I didn’t do that on purpose) in the emporium and immediately attach herself to it? It was truly a perfect day. And by then, it was so busy and all the lines were SUPER long for things, and Lucy as well as the rest of us were basically worn out.

I know I’m documenting like Every Little Thing about that day, but I just have to, because we felt so over-abundantly blessed! To be there together, to see Lucy’s joy- it was magical.

Disneyland Mug

(So obviously I had to purchase the Disneyland Starbucks You are Here mug. Because it’s also magical. And SO PRETTY.)

The next morning, we ate at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and gave Dad birthday cards, which he of course was a choked up mess over (which made Mom and I choke up too, as per usual- though Ryan knows we are always sappy about things).

Lucy at Coffee Bean Then we visited Discovery Church in Simi Valley, followed by an afternoon at the Ronald Reagan National Library!

It’s amazing how much is there to look at, inside and out! It’s surrounded by beautiful views.

Reagan Library View

Beautiful ViewLucy found it fascinating as well…

Sleepy and Reagan

Clearly, it was a full 10 days. But full of goodness, beauty, and gratitude.

Selfie of Us

Also, it’s probably unsurprising that we were left a bit catatonic when we got home. I mean, coffee seemingly had no effect on my fatigue whatsoever for like, a week. Of course, I’m also in my third trimester now- yay for the most cumbersome and arguably uncomfortable part of pregnancy!!

If you’re still reading, you deserve an award, because I know this was a wordy post. So many words. And so many pictures. I don’t often write such lengthy posts detailing trips like this. Admittedly, it’s mostly for family members and/or my own memory later when I’m like- what happened on that trip again??

Anyway, if nothing else, I hope some of these photos of our sunshine-filled week brought some sunshine into your day.



Baby List: The Pinterest of Baby Registries!

Whew! Our 10-day trip to Anaheim was pretty epic, but now that we’re back from convention, I think my brain has entered full baby-prep-nesting mode. (Or it will once I become less catatonic and have a few more nights of normal sleep in my own bed.)

I’ve been thinking and planning for baby #2 for awhile now, for all the obvious reasons. But also because we will have 2 kids under 3 living in our two-bedroom apartment, which we love! (Except the 3rd-floor part.) Admittedly though, our space is limited, so it’s been a really fun opportunity to be creative with what we have! I’m actually excited at the prospect.

Why I Use Baby List: The Pinterest of Baby Registries!And I’m extra excited, because my sister-in-law is planning a Sprinkle for me in a few weeks! Do you know this is a thing? Because I didn’t. Apparently, sprinkles are sometimes thrown for people who’ve already had a child and therefore a full blown baby shower isn’t exactly necessary.

Having a Sprinkle means I got to register again- which was way more fun this time around, because instead of the exhausting quest all over the normal stores, I just used Baby List!




You guys. It’s like Pinterest, except it’s a baby registry; you can add anything from ANYWHERE on the interwebs to your registry. So, if there is an unconventional item you want or if something is listed more cheaply on a specific website, you can register for it! People can view the items on your registry so they know exactly what they’re looking for, see the quantity you prefer to receive, and read any notes or specifications you may have added to an item.

Baby List also has these Best of Guides which are great resources for helping you find specific products. It’s not just stuff Baby List decided was good because they’re paid to promote it; for each item featured on a guide, they share quotes and feedback from real live parents! The two I found most helpful were the Best Bassinets of 2016 and The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Bras.

While I haven’t shopped for a nursing bra, I have registered for a bassinet, which is on the list included in the Best Bassinets guide. It’s not too big, and it can be moved from room to room- yay!

Because of having to consider how much space everything will take up and being on our second little one, I thought I’d share my top 5 favorite things on the registry in case you are also in need of some good, space-saving and/or storage ideas for the next little addition to your family.

(Before I share the list, let me just say, I definitely don’t expect to receive everything on the list; I don’t know what people typically spend for these things!! But I love having an accessible list of things even just for my own reference, as well as where I found them.)

Top 7 Favorite Things on my Baby List Registry:

  1. Diaper Bagjujube diaper bagWhy do I need a diaper bag? Because my other one broke. It’s supposed to be this sturdy thing AND I got it from Target (so obviously it was high quality), and yet, it started falling apart a mere 3 months after Lucy was born! Granted it still functioned for us, but after our trip last week, the strap came completely off one side of the bag. Plus, it isn’t very structured and things spill out of it. So, I found this fabulous diaper bag!!! Isn’t it gorgeous? I read lots of great reviews on it, too. And because of Baby List, I was able to register for it at the cheapest price possible, even though it’s at Shoebuy.com and not a normal store.
  2. Another Diaper BagBetter Life Bags EmilyYou’re thinking, “You crazypants. Why did you register for TWO diaper bags?” Well, friend. The answer is because I discovered Better Life Bags. I love their mission as well as their products and the fact that you get to design your own bag (you get to select your leather, fabric patterns, whether your hardware is bronze/gold/silver, and inside lining color!), so I thought even though it’s way more expensive than anything I’d ever register for, I’d put it on there in case someone just wanted to support them. (I also registered for a handful of online gift certificates to BLB just because it REALLY is pricey and I thought if someone preferred to support them that way that would be cool. I still go back and forth of whether I should even have it on the registry, but it’s so beautiful! And so is the heart behind it. So, it’s still there for now. If nothing else, I just hope more people will look them up!) Apologies for the photo- unfortunately they don’t have a way for you to download an image of your design, even if you save it to the wishlist (it just shows up as the default picture).
  3. Bassinet- bassinetAs I mentioned, I loved the Best of Bassinets 2016 guide to check out different kinds of bassinets. With eight bajillion options for every kind of product out there, it was so nice seeing just a handful that are actually recommended by other people AND will fit in our space. This one has such great reviews both on the Best Of guide as well as Amazon! And it’s way cheaper than a lot I looked at.
  4. Mini-crib- mini crib

Why a mini-crib? Because the biggest challenge for us will be figuring out a place for Evie to sleep and/or storage (for both girls’ things). I had thought of the possibility of turning the large closet in the guest bathroom (which adjoins Lucy’s room) into a mini-nursery of sorts and promptly discovered closet nurseries on Pinterest (where else?)!

Obviously, Evie will sleep in a bassinet at the beginning, but I like to have a plan, and according to the dimensions, this mini-crib will fit!! So, I registered for it on Amazon. Eventually, she and Lucy can totally share rooms, but for the duration of time where she will be waking up and crying throughout the night, I don’t want to deal with Lucy waking up crying, too.

5. Sit and Stand Double Stroller- strollerOk. This is one of those things I wasn’t sure if we truly needed. But after discussing it with other moms of more than one child, I had to put it on the registry… Because there’s room for your baby AND your toddler. Plus, the toddler can sit or stand on the stroller in multiple positions- great for keeping busy little people happy! And Walmart carries it, which is super convenient!

6. These Polkadot Storage Bins- polka dot binBecause as I mentioned, storage is right up there in our top needs. These are SO CUTE! And they’re from Target, because that’s where all pretty things live. I registered for a couple other cute kinds of bins and such, but I think these are my favorite!

7. This pink bear wubbanub- pink bearYes, that’s what they’re called. Lucy has a lamb wubbanub that they gave her when she went into the ICU about a week or so after she was born, and she still loves it to this day! (Yes, I know she’s 2. No, I’m not worried about breaking the habit. Because if it’s in her mouth, she’s can’t cry as loudly when throwing a tantrum. Priorities, people.)


I could go on. But I told myself I was only going to list 7 things at most… So there you go! If you’re pregnant or have friends who are, I strongly recommend Baby List!

P.S. This probably seems like it was sponsored by Baby List, but just fyi it wasn’t. I just super love it and wanted to share!