A Whole Hand

birthday boy 14Dear Happy Buddy,

Your birthday this year made me a bit of a basket case.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how quickly you grew up – how you are now this big, giant 5-year-old.

After Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes in the morning, I took you and your little brother to the free water play day at the place you have been taking swim lessons.

I sat in a chair and watched you happily race around the small water tables and sprinklers, while I also anxiously checked the clock on my phone every 30 seconds.

Finally, 10:10 arrived.

The time you were born.

I called you to me.

You were much more interested in pushing a plastic toy wheelbarrow that had your brother in it, but I managed to lure you over with a pretzel.

When you got close enough, I pulled you in, cupped your big boy face in my hands and whispered,

“You’re officially a whole hand.  I am so thankful God made you.  You are precious to me.  Happy Birthday.”

And then you ran off smiling, looking at the 5 fingers on your hand in wonder, and my eyes filled up with tears that I’m sure all the moms at free play water day thought were a bad reaction to the 900 gallons of chlorine in the room.

You truly are so special, Happy Buddy.

You are my firstborn.  You made me a mommy.

And while I have loved every year of getting to fulfill that role in your life and watch you grow, this year has been especially fun.

Like I love that you are obsessed with front-loading washing machines and pretend to do laundry where ever we go.

birthday boy 5I love that you are so creative when choosing your apparel for the day.

I love that it takes you 1400 hours to eat a baby carrot.

I love that you always want to match pajamas with your brother.

birthday boy 12I love that you make up songs while we’re driving.

I love that you like to pull a chair up to the kitchen counter to help me cook.

I love that you always remember to buy the grocery store checker their favorite candy.

birthday boy 7I love that you like wearing your swim goggles in the bath tub.

I love that you have 1,000 reasons why you can’t go to bed yet.

I love that you wake up at 5 am every day (I could do without this one, though, just in case you feel like learning how to sleep in).

birthday boy 11I love that you are always asking me to LOOK or WATCH THIS at all the things you make or create or are doing.

I love that you think putting the water bill in the special mailbox at City Hall is a highlight in your day.

I love that you are an amazing listener.

I love that you are getting better about brushing your teeth.

birthday boy 4I love that you imitate whatever is going on around you – if Daddy is grilling, you pretend to grill.  If our kitchen has mold in it, you pretend your kitchen has mold in it.  If you’re watching the World Cup, you turn our living room into a soccer field.  You have an incredible imagination.

I love that you never forget to do Jesus Kisses every night before bed.

birthday boy 2I love that you have such a sweet tooth.

I love that you named my car Frank.

I love that you will play your drum set like a wild man – completely naked except for a super hero cape.

birthday boy 1I love that you enjoy learning new things – like how to use the leaf blower with Pop-Pop or how to bowl with Mommy.

I love that you leave your tinkle in the potty every morning because you are afraid the flushing sound will wake Mommy and Daddy up.

I love that when someone says or does something kind for you you tell them that “it opened your heart.”

I love that you think about God and ask me questions about Him.

birthday boy 6I love that you like to take out every toy you own and set them up all over every square inch of our house.

I love that you are completely captivated by clocks and timers.

I love that the other day I took your hand in mine and said, “When you are a teenager will you still let me hold your hand?” and you responded, “YES!” and then thought about it for a second and said slyly, “Well… maybe.”

I love that every morning the bathroom looks like you had a wrestling match with your toothpaste and the toothpaste won.

birthday boy 8I love that you occasionally steal my phone and record ridiculous, epically long videos of yourself making goofy faces, running around, and acting like you belong in a loony bin.

I love that when I pray over you at night I sense that one day you will be a great leader.

I love it when you smile at me.

I love it that you enjoy watching Tinker Bell movies.

I love that you applaud my attempts to sing “Let It Go” in the kitchen while trying to convince you and your brother that vegetables are delicious.

birthday boy 17I love that you tried to climb up the entertainment center the other day and almost broke your leg.

I love that you could care less about Disney parks but could spend hours riding the Monorail.

I love that you don’t cry anymore when I have to clip your fingernails or pour water over your head in the bath.

I love that when you have to go to the bathroom you force your brother to go as well.

birthday boy 10I love that you tell your speech therapist that she smells nice and that you compliment ladies if their toes are painted.

I love that you liked it when I wore that silly magnetic nose ring I bought at a souvenir shop on the beach.

I love that when I ask you for forgiveness you respond immediately with, “Always, Mommy.”

I love that you recently discovered the box I keep of all your old artwork and went around the house hanging up each piece on any available surface.

I love that you cannot leave the house without 15 things in tow.

I love that I caught you with your arms raised in worship while we were driving to church last week.

birthday boy 3Happy Buddy, I love that you are YOU.

This list is just a tiny version of a much longer one that is in my heart – a list that I ponder over and over throughout the days as I watch your hand fill up with years.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has for you as He adds more hands to your life.

And oh, how I pray that you will continue to use those hands to serve God and bless others every single day along the way.

I am so proud to be your mama.

Happy Birthday. :-)

Love,

Mommy

“So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in your name.” Psalm 63:4

Last-Minute 4th of July Crafts

easy crafts for the 4th of july! love this list!I have been busy pinning lots of fun 4th of July crafts, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with this upcoming holiday.

We haven’t been doing much crafting lately because our house is in a bit of disarray due to water damage which led to mold which led to the ripping out of the entire left side of our kitchen.

We’re waiting on insurance to come through for us to see if we can afford to replace the cabinets and walls, so in the mean time I am getting plenty of comfort from this verse from Psalm 16:5,

“You, Lord, are all I have and you give me all I need.  My future is in your hands.”

:-)

For those of you who have homes in tact and are looking for a few simple ways to celebrate our nation’s birthday, here are my top easiest and cutest picks from Pinterest…4th of july 3Without our cabinets, we have been using a lot of plastic utensils to keep from running back and forth to the utensil drawer (currently located in the living room). :-)

So these Fork Fireworks from A Thrifty Mom are perfect.

4th of july 5The traditional Popsicle Stick American Flag from Crunchy Frugalista is always fun to make.

4th of july 4I absolutely LOVE this 3-ingredient Star-Spangled Slime from I Can Teach My Child.

4th of july 6Here is an easy Tape-Resist American Flag from Loving My Nest.

4th of july 2Another firework craft – this time painting with toilet paper rolls – from Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails.

windsockThese Patriotic Windsocks from Preschool Alphabet are adorable and a snap to assemble (brilliant use of a plastic sheet protector).

firework ringsFantastic Fun and Learning has these super simple and stylish Pipe Cleaner Firework Rings.

4th of july 1And, finally, print out this fabulous ‘Don’t Eat Uncle Sam’ game board from My Sister’s Suitcase and play it after grilling out on the 4th.

I will pray that you have fun with your families this weekend celebrating the blessings of our freedom – both in this country and the unfailing freedom that comes from knowing Jesus.

The Happy Buddy is turning 5 tomorrow and we got him a few new toys to free him from constantly pretend playing that the little play kitchen in his bedroom has mold (brown construction paper bits) in its cabinets.

:-)

Happy Last-Minute 4th of July Craft-ing!

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed.” John 8:36 (ESV)

Baking With Grandmommy

baking with grandmommy 1.jpgbaking with grandmommy1.jpgbaking with grandmommy 6.jpgbaking with grandmommy.jpgbaking with grandmommy 3.jpgbaking with grandmommy 5.jpgbaking with grandmommy 4.jpgbaking with grandmommy 7.jpgbaking with grandmommy 8.jpgWe spent a morning with Grandmommy (the hubby’s grandma) last week.

She didn’t freak out when the Happy Buddy flung sugar across the counter and all over the floor.

She didn’t mind that the snickerdoodles were shaped like baby carrots instead of melon balls.

She knew the importance for a little helper to push buttons like set the timer and turn off the oven.

She stayed patient even when it took about 5 minutes (and a few distracted trips to play with Legos) to fill up the measuring cups with Crisco or flour.

She let him have the first bite (and several dozen more).

She sent us home with 2 giant bags of goodies.  And a couple of pizzas.

She praised and encouraged and inspired my budding little chef.

She gave us memories to treasure forever.

She was a reminder to me that her and Grandaddy’s faith was what God used to inspire my father-in-law’s faith which was what helped inspire my husband’s faith which inspires my own and my boys’ faith every day.

I hope that one day I will get to bake with my sons’ children’s children (phew).

I won’t be as lovely or spirited as Grandmommy when I’m 86.

I will probably be bald, in a wheelchair, have no teeth, and look like a human raisin -

But we will make some pretty scrumptious snickerdoodles and we will talk about how great our God is.

:-)

Thank you, sweet Grandmommy, for your precious faithfulness.

This family knows Jesus because of it.

- Julie

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:1-2 (ESV)

On Being Your Hubby’s Friend

How to be a good friend to your husband. SO adorable!

In the beginning, the hubby and I were not too fond of each other.

He was a dark, brooding musician-type who liked to run orderly high school worship team rehearsals and be on time to everything.

I, on the other hand, was a bouncy, cheerleader-type who liked to burst into rehearsals late and maybe take over on the drums for a solo that echoed the great Muppet called Animal.

I drove him crazy.

He made me roll my eyes at all the taking-life-so-seriously.

We were 14 and 15 years old.

But one day I was riding in a van full of hair-sprayed JV cheerleaders and I heard a girl in the back seat announce that she was going to marry my now hubby when she turned 18 and I remember very distinctly smirking to myself and thinking,

“In your dreams, sister.  That boy is mine.”

Because somewhere along the way the hubby and I realized that our differences filled up the gaps we each had.

My bubbly personality offered him a fresh and positive perspective.

His wise and thoughtful manner opened my eyes to a much deeper and productive (and punctual) way of life.

Thus began the start of sending each other beeps in the middle of the night (remember beepers??? We had special codes and everything.  I feel old just talking about it) , lonnnnng conversations at the local coffee shop, and putting notes in each other’s lockers.

We became friends.

And that, sweet readers, is the foundation for a really great marriage.

But how do you stay friends with your spouse when you’re not in high school with lots of free time, endless amounts of energy, and stars in your eyes?

How do you stay friends when life gets busy, kids come along, finances are crunched, and you’re just so, so tired?

The hubby and I have pursued to stay each other’s BFF for the last 13 years – and while it hasn’t been perfect or easy – we’ve found these 7 thoughts to be super helpful along the way.

#1 – Have FUN together

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NLT)

We cannot let life’s stressors and schedules and the raising of children suck the fun out of our relationships.  We may have to put in some effort to go out and have fun now (like get a babysitter and then pay her $10,000), but it is always worth it.

And of course there’s always fun to be had at home after the kids are in bed.  Like drawing portraits of one another or playing with tin foil or having a jellybean tasting contest.

Or playing Strip Battle Ship. ;-)

#2 – Ears and empathy

“My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger.” James 1:19 (ERV) 

You get together with your gal pals and you gab and gab about everything under the sun and usually there isn’t a moment where you’re like, “Um what did you say? I wasn’t paying attention.”

If your hubby is talking to you, LISTEN TO HIM.

Sometimes we complain that our hubbies won’t talk deep with us but maybe he’s just learned that we don’t think what he says is important.  For example, when he talks to you about the smaller things in life – like how his day was or what’s happening at work, do you have your computer open to Pinterest or are your fingers busy texting your mom or are you more interested in the interruptions of your children then what he has to say?  (I have regrettably done all of these things.)

Lock your kids on the patio for a few minutes each day and hide your phone on top of the fridge if you have no self-control like me and have an actual conversation that doesn’t involve who’s driving what kid to such-and-such activity.

And if he does happen to open up and share about something he is struggling with – like a tough boss, perhaps – don’t try to fix it.  Do what you do with your girlfriends and say things like,

“That is awful.  I’m so sorry.  He doesn’t realize the gift he’s got in you!  You want me to go rip his hair out?”

#3 – Take an interest

One of my girlfriends is an artist.  When I am at her house, I get excited about what new pieces she is working on or I fuss over something she just finished.  I ask if she needs help preparing for an upcoming art show.

I am married to a gamer.  My man loves his XBox.  So occasionally I’ll sit on the couch with him and watch the pandemonium that is happening on the screen and comment on how amazing he is to even understand where he is on the board – let alone know where everyone else is so that he can blow them to smithereens.

It’s really quite remarkable.

And I may not have actually scuba dived with him, but I watch all of his dive videos with great enthusiasm.

The point is, just like I make an effort to be interested in my girlfriends’ hobbies, I try to take an interest in the things my husband enjoys and vice versa.

I mean, the guy watches Gilmore Girls with me when I know he’d probably rather poke his eye with a fork.

#4 – Set some boundaries

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Song of Solomon 6:3 (ESV)

Make sure that the friendship you have with your hubby is your top priority.

We have to be careful that we don’t build a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t our spouse.

I really like the boundaries that THIS GAL and her hubby created to safeguard their marriage from inappropriate relationships and highly encourage every couple to discuss and implement them.

#5 – The little things

“Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10 (ESV)

I like to do lots of little things for my girlfriends to let them know I love them (like all of THESE IDEAS).

Since our hubbies are our friends, too, then we can also love them in this way.

Stick love notes in his pocket before work, send him flirty text messages, make him his favorite dessert, get his car washed and vacuumed, bring him a glass of water when he’s out in the yard working, greet him at the door happily when he comes home, put toothpaste on his toothbrush, laugh at his jokes, snuggle, say thank you like ALL THE TIME, change the wallpaper on his phone to a cute photo of the two of you, and everything on THIS LIST.

#7 – Cheer him on

“When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger.” Ephesians 4:29 (ERV)

Let’s say your bestie was getting ready to potty train her kid or go to Veggie Boot Camp with her picky eater.

As her friend, you would not be judging her methods.  Rather you’d be overflowing with verbage like,

“YOU GOT THIS!  I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS!  HOW CAN I PRAY FOR YOU?  YOU ARE A WARRIOR MOMMY!!!!!

So when your hubby is trying to install dry wall for the first time, or dress your kids for church, or lead worship every Sunday, don’t judge his methods.

You’re on the same team.

Encourage him.

Be his cheerleader.

(And maybe wear one of those cute skirts for him while you’re at it.)

#7 – Accept each other – flaws and all

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at ALL times.”

Here’s the thing.  Marriage is made up of 2 imperfect people.  People who have baggage and annoying habits and sin struggles and, unfortunately, maybe even addictions.

A true friend can look past all that rubbish and remember who the other really is.

**Who God created them to be.**

Adam and Eve pranced around the garden together – perfect and free.  Companions in the purest form.  But when sin entered their sanctuary, they had to put on those awkward outfits made out of leaves.  Whenever they looked at each other those leaves must have been a painful reminder of their fall -

The Fall.

As they faced the brokenness of their new world, I would imagine those two had to regularly cup each other’s faces and whisper,

“Baby, I see past those fig leaves.  This is not who you are.  You are good, you are beautiful, and you were made just for me.”

If your marriage is struggling right now, dear readers, ask the Lord how you can start implementing these thoughts into your relationship.

Because the world (and quite possibly that Pinterest we were looking at while not listening to our hubbies) will tell you that your marriage needs more romance or more sex.  And while these things are super great and super important to relationships, it is more friendship that will help set the foundation for you and your husband growing close again.

And when you think about it, this man you married is really the only friend you have that you get to have a sleepover with every. single. night. of the week for forever and ever.

How to be a good friend to your husband. SO adorable!So make the most of it.

- Julie :-)

“You’ve captured my heart, dear friend.  You looked at me and I fell in love.” Song of Solomon 4:9 (The Message)

*Photo Credit – {{the amazing}} 1313 Photography*

A Garden of Friendship – FREE Printable!

garden of friendship - a free printable tag with adorable poem about friendship! attach to a bouquet of flowers and deliver to a friend! love this!.jpg

I love to leave small surprises on my friends’ doorsteps – a happy reminder when they come home that they matter and are loved.

Here is my latest little doorstep blessing and it has a FREE Printable too {{knuckle bumps}}!

garden of friendship 1.jpgI scored these adorable plush and bendable flowers at The Dollar Tree.

garden of friendship 2.jpgThen I printed the above tag (see below for download) and wrote a short note of encouragement to a friend on the back.

garden of friendship 3.jpgI wrapped the flower around that special friend’s doorknob and my mission was accomplished.

This would also work well with a bouquet of real flowers – I just happen to like fake ones because they don’t require any watering.

:-)

Love it?

Click HERE for your FREE Printable Garden of Friends Tag!

Happy Garden of Friendship-ing! :-)friendship week at Happy Home Fairy - cute ideas and inspiring ways to be an awesome friend

*Poem Credit – Melody Carlson, excerpted from her book, Sisters At Heart.*

Super Easy Friendship Bracelets

super easy and adorable friendship bracelets - all you need are straws and pipe cleaners!.jpg

 Do you remember making friendship bracelets with embroidery thread at summer camp?

Well, these certainly aren’t as elaborate or glamorous, but they will make for a quick and easy craft on a rainy day!

Supplies -

Pipe Cleaners

Straws

Scissors

Directions -

friendship bracelets 1.jpgCut the straws.

friendship bracelet 2.jpgThread on the pipe cleaners.

friendship bracelet 3.jpgTie off the ends to make bracelets.

The boys’ attention spans were kind of non-existent the day we made these, so we didn’t take the time to cut the pipe cleaners to actually fit little people wrists -

But they were still adorable.

friendship bracelet 4.jpgThe Happy Buddy gave his friendship bracelet to his little brother.

And I fell over dead from the precious.

Happy Friendship Bracelet-ing! :-)friendship week at Happy Home Fairy - cute ideas and inspiring ways to be an awesome friend