Monday, March 28, 2016

Machen Designs

Ok y'all, I have to admit something. I am not good at being crafty or making things. I will shop local and support all my friends but I definitely fall more on the consumer side of things than creator. So when my friend Virginia decided to open an etsy shop and sell her fantastic jewelry and jewelry displays I was so excited for her! Add in that she sent me the best package full of goodies and I am now hooked!

The name of Virginia's shop is Machen Designs. Now I am not an expert in German (but I love their beer) so I had to get the pronunciation explained to me. It is pronounced "mock-in" so now when you go around and tell your friends about this adorable etsy shop you will say it right. And machen means "to-make" in German. Virginia's family tree is rooted in Germany and she comes from a long line of creators, makers, and crafters. I love that she is paying homage to her ancestors with her shop's name! 

Now that you know a little more about Virginia's shop and how it came to be, let's take a look at some of the products she will be selling in her shop which opens this week on April 1st! 

First of all I want to say a little something about the packaging. It was perfect! I really think the attention to packaging can tell you a lot about an etsy shop and it's founder. Virginia takes the time to package her products beautifully. It really feels like you are receiving a package from a high-end boutique. Look at that stamped bag, swoon-worthy! And yes I certainly saved mine!

Since having Landry I have dialed it back on the jewelry front, but these earrings are perfect for the mom on the go. They are light-weight leather (I really forget I am wearing them) and instantly take a plain tee-shirt and jeans up a notch. It gives the illusion I actually put forth some effort into my look even which a maniac of a toddler, so obviously these are a must-have! The clasps also are great because these can't fall out randomly (which seems to happen to me frequently with non-stud earrings.

Also fun-tip for my essential oil loving friends, you can add a drop of essential oils to the back and it makes a perfect wearable diffuser. I've used peppermint specifically on them to help with headaches.

I think Landry likes this necklace as much as me! She also points to it and yells "ball, ball, ball" when I'm wearing it. It also makes a great distraction technique during church services (note: the necklace is sturdy enough to withstand toddler antics).

I don't know if Virginia did it on purpose but Landry's birth stone is ruby so the red bead in the nest is perfect for my little bird. I've received so many compliments when I wear this necklace!

I'm pretty sure I gasped out loud when I opened the jewelry holder Virginia made. In Landry's room she has a wall with teal mountains painted on it and this jewelry holder went perfectly with it! I love how Virginia really thought about what would coordinate and look good in Landry's room. Right now it is being used as a headband holder for Landry, but I know it will last through the years and transition into her jewelry holder (unless I steal it from her and claim it as my own!).

Like I said before Machen Designs Grand Opening is this Friday April 1st and word on the street is there will be an incredible Grand Opening Sale. If you want a sneak peak at some of the things Virginia is working on in preparation for her opening, hop on over to facebook and like her page. Or join the party over on instagram to stay update.

And don't worry, Friday I will definitely be reminding you her Grand Opening!

*this post is not sponsored. All opinions are 100% my own. I did receive the products featured for free, but I would have bought them with my own money too! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Strange Things that Make Me Feel Like an Adult

You would think owning a home, being married, having a child, and keeping said child alive would be enough for me to feel like a bonafide adult. But interestingly enough it is some of the small and rather obscure things that make me feel "adulty".

1. Wearing real pajamas
I was always an old tee shirt kind of girl when it came to pjs. Why invest money in something to sleep in? That is just silly! But over the last year I have slowly built up a little collections of pjs. Extra adult points for now owning a robe! 

2. Consistent bedtime
In college my bedtime could range anywhere from 9pm-4am or just skipping sleep. During the week I would average 4 hours of sleep and then like 12 on the weekends. Now I go to bed most nights around 9:30pm. 

3. Grocery shopping.
When I pull out my grocery list and start going through Aldi (don't they just have the best prices?) I automatically feel so adulty. I seriously feel like a child pushing one of the miniature carts pretending to be a grown up when I grocery shop. Bonus adult points for when the majority of my groceries are produce.

4. Keeping plants alive. 
I kill succulents. Those are suppose to be indestructible! Why can't plants let me know they are hungry like my child and dogs? But y'all... I have kept a house plant alive for over a year! And I have a container of spinach growing on my deck. I mean, the spinach has barely sprouted but I check on them regularly and even pulled them inside when we had a characteristically warm day.

5. Having a fire proof lockbox. 
I know I'm not a true adult because I didn't buy our lockbox for myself (it was a gift from one of my grandma's) but having it and using it makes me feel very responsible. It's nice to know our important document are stored safely. Also, we have important documents, do what?!

What things make you feel extra responsible and grown up?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The One Where I Compare the Church to Sororities

When I went off to college I would have never dreamed of joining a sorority. I think my freshmen year I referred to sorority girls as "sorostitutes" a time or two (forgive me for my very anti-feminist way of thinking and putting down women I knew nothing about). But somehow I not only joined a sorority but I eventually became president.

My views on sororities slowly changed after getting to know the strong, funny, hardworking, passionate women that would become my sisters. But that's not why I stayed in my sorority. You put 40-something girls together from very different backgrounds and there is bound to be fights and disagreements. The kind where everyone is in tears, storming out of the house, and vowing never to talk to that sister again. 

So why did I stay? What united 40 different women enough that we chose everyday to work through our differences and continue to be part of this sorority? It was our ritual.

Every sorotity has a ritual that it is founded on; the thing that binds all of us together in spite of our differences and backgrounds. The special secret that is just shared with sisters. It is the everlasting foundation that our sorority is built on and what keeps a otherwise overly estrogen-filled house from crumbling down (figuratively speaking, except sometimes maybe literally after one to many beers). 

So how does all this sorority jargon relate to the church? Well I like to compare liturgy to the rituals of sororities. I did not grow up in a liturgical church and for the longest time I described liturgy as mildly "cultish" (again forgive my close-mindedness). I thought liturgy left no room for the holy-spirit to move during service. But you know what? I've learned there is no containing the Holy Spirit and that liturgy is a tradition that binds this otherwise crazy Christian family together. 

I would love to tell you after being initiated into my sorority and finding a passion for our ritual I suddenly became open to embracing liturgy, but that was not the case. It would take another 7 years for me to find my way back to the church and find hope for it's future. 

Books, blog posts, and news articles have all been written trying to decipher the reasons millennial are leaving the church. Rachel Held Evans has written one of my favorite books on the subject Searching for Sunday (my review here). And honestly she hits the nail on the head. Millennials are leaving because we tired of churches adding all frivolous things to service in hopes people will buy into Jesus. Y'all, Jesus can take care of himself! You know what is going to draw those gosh darn lost millennials back to the church? The Holy Eucharist, Baptism, the scripture, and prayers. That is the foundation of our faith. Those are the practices that bind together the Pentecostals with the Catholics, the Republican Christians with the Democratic Christians, the LGBT couple with a 70 year old widow. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Snapshots 3.14.14

She sat down and said "cheese" so I naturally had to take a picture! 

She's been a big fan of "reading" mommy's books. #ReadersAreLeaders

Waterslides for the win! 

I know things have been a little quieter around these parts but it has been really nice to disconnect from the Internet for a bit during Lent this year. I've really able to focus on the here and now and cultivating real relationships, not just online ones. I will probably finish out the Lenten season keeping things a little quieter and slower paced on he blog. But don't worry, after Easter everything should be back to semi-normal.

Who's loving this time-change? I know I am! I will gladly sacrifice an hour of sleep for longer evenings! One of our neighbors kindly offered us their swingset (this one) and sandbox/kid's table (this one) so I foresee lots and lots of backyard shenanigans for us! 

We've been spending tons of our times with Labdry's new bff Arthur and my new friend Heather. I am so thankful for their friendship! It has been nice to feel less isolated in this crazy mom world! 

Daniel's mom got free days passed (which is apparently unheard of) to the Great Wolf Lodge so we went their last week. Landry had a BLAST and went down the toddler slide approximately a million times. I was a little taken back by the price of the Great Wolf Lodge if you actually stay but after seeing how much Landry loved it I definitely see a future trip back in a few years. Also the attention to detail Great Wolf Lodge puts into the experience is very impressive! 

What have you been up to lately? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March Goals

Here's a little recap of my February goals and how they went.

1. Start a Morning Routine✖ Landry decided 5am wake-ups seemed like a good idea again this past month so my wakeup time was inconsistent. And the days Landry did sleep until 6-something usually meant I slept too. I also think I am starting to realize that making myself wakeup before 6am when I don't have to is just not going to happen. I'm just not going to wake up before Landry and do an exercise routine, read a book, or have quiet time. If I could just start waking up 15-20 minutes before Landry so I could use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and start coffee without having to tend to her I think that would be good!

2. Take Landry to Kidsenses Children's Museum✓ Big check! Not only did we go but we went with friends which really makes it even better! Surprisingly the kids had more fun down the street at a local coffee shop. Getting out of town on little excursions is so nice!

3. Go Swimming. ✖ When I made this goal I had it in my head that I would go in the evening after Landry went to bed, or possibly even wake up early to go. Hahaha I'm crazy! I didn't go once. I still would love to go swimming but I just don't think it is going to happen right now with Daniel's work schedule and everything else we have going on.

4. Schedule My Massage✓ Scheduled and went! It was a nice experience and not as awkward as I thought it would be considering I am not crazy about being touched. However, it is not something I am dying to do again right away.

5. Go on a Date with Daniel✓ This one might be cheating a little but we did have dinner out with Daniel's boss and his wife without Landry. Not exactly what I had in mind for a date night but it was still nice to get a little dressed up and spend the evening with adults.

3 out of 5 isn't too bad considering I really didn't take a second glance at my goals after making them!  Overall I am pleased because February was a surprisingly good month considering usually this time of year I am going stir-crazy and hating life. So thumbs up for a positive February!

March Goals:

1. Go for a walk/jog 3 times a week. Initially I was going to be vague and say do physical activity for 30 minutes 3 times a week but I really need to pinpoint exactly what I am going to do to follow through. Spring is here (and better be staying) so going to our local greenway or walking in our neighborhood is totally doable 3 times a week.

2. Read 3 books. I read two books this past month which felt incredible. I haven't done that in awhile. I want to stretch myself to read 3 this month. I hope I can continue to make reading a priority because I really do enjoy it. Oh and the books I read last month were In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I am currently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I have Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott on hold at the library for my 3rd book.

3. Invite someone over for dinner. I am really trying to do better about reducing my anxiety surrounding people who aren't family coming to my house. I always worry my house isn't nice enough, the food I make not good enough, and just generally I'm not good enough. However, at the same time I feel so much happier when I open my home to others so I want to do better about having people over!

4. Finalize my Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Y'all I know Spring technically doesn't start till the 20th but March is spring to me! I am so excited about shorts, short sleeves, and dresses without tights!

What are your goals for March? Any book recommendations? 

Friday, March 4, 2016

'Round the Table

I've come to have a greater appreciation of the Lord's Supper the older I get. Growing up Baptist communion only occurred once a quarter. Communion was when I got the tasty grape juice, the not so tasty wafers, and of course the cool little cups (that sometimes I would turn into my monocle. I obviously held communion very sacred as a child). It has taken attending an Episcopal Church where the Holy Eucharist is the center piece of every worship service for me to really value communion.

Every week I look forward to the opportunity to kneel the Lord's table, surrounded by my family, strangers, and friends. To feast on the body and blood of Christ with my fellow man... it is transformative. I also like to think Jesus's decision to use a meal as the time to also share the new commandment to be very purposeful. In the gospel of John Jesus declares that "you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." 

I like to think Jesus knew that gathering with your family, friends, heck even strangers, around the table is one of the greatest ways to show love. To share in the breaking of bread, the drinking of wine (or beer if you're me). Feeding those who are hungry, providing a shelter over someone's head, or maybe just being a safe place for someone to share their thoughts, dreams, and hopes. 

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to do just that. A friend of a friend who I barely know invited me along with several other young stay-at-home moms in the area over for dinner- a kid free dinner I might add. Now, I can't say for certain if she knew what a holy act she performing, but God was in those precious couple of hours at her house. Did we sit around and discuss theology? Was there a Bible study? Did we sang songs of praise? Absolutely not. But a bunch of young women in the trenches of motherhood, sat around a table dressed in sweats, jeans, and their prettiest dresses and had wine, bread, soup, and salad. A bunch of strangers got peeks into each other's pasts, glimpses into their futures, and even more importantly saw each other right where they were. 

I like to think this is what Jesus had in mind during the last supper. He didn't mean for "communion" to only take place on Sunday's under the leadership of the priest. He intended for everyone of us to open our homes to having communion right 'round our tables. He wants us to show our love for one another in one of the simplest ways possible, by feeding and being there for one another. And when we show our love to other's we are showing God's love. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Since Lent has started and I've been social media free I find myself taking less pictures for the purpose of thinking which will get the most likes. I now take more pictures of moments I will miss or things I am particularly proud of. It is nice to have fewer photos on my phone with more meaning. 

The picture above just melts my heart. Seeing Landry prance around in her fairy wings. So excited and carefree. I hope Landry always keeps that free spirit! 

I love the little hair standing up on Landry's head! She is finally getting enough hair that after sleep she gets bedhead. It is absolutely adorable! 

Landry and "La" (as she calls the Lorax). They are absolutely inseparable. 

Shooting hoops! We are digging the warmer weather over in these parts. 

Let me interrupt this Landry-centric post to share a picture of my first attempt at chicken pad thai! It turned it pretty dang good and I actually tried to work on my presentation skills! 

These two y'all! Landry and Arthur are absolutely adorable together! Landry seriously wakes up in the morning and asks for "Ar-fer" it is the best. 

Also here is an adorable video of Landry:

Eyes, Nose, Mouth from Brittany Deal on Vimeo.