Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Wreath on My Door

I love a front door wreath. It beckons visitors welcome, and makes a home look lived in and loved. I like to change mine with the seasons, and have a couple favorites. I received a beautiful fall wreath from my sweet mother-in-law for my birthday. (October birthdays are simply lovely!) Its subtle, earthy colors are elegant, simple, and warm. My Winter wreath once adorned the front door of Riley's wonderful Grandmother, out in the country. I absolutely love its rustic pine cones tucked in amongst the snow-frosted needles. I dress it with red poinsettias during the Christmas season, and then strip them off to complete our colder months. But I haven't acquired a Spring wreath that I hold as near and dear as my other seasons...

Until now!

And I made it myself. It's really quite simple! I went to Michaels to pick up the supplies and glanced at the ready-made wreaths, tempted by the idea of not doing the work myself. I couldn't believe how expensive they were! For $8.50 I picked up everything I needed, and assembled my wreath in less than half an hour on the first day of Spring. (I work better with deadlines!)

Here's what I did...

Supplies: One grapevine wreath, a few stems of a flower that will compliment the color of your front door, a hot glue gun and some wire-cutting piers.
I chose white dogwood blossoms, because not only are they one of the prettiest flowers native to this area, they are also Virginia's state flower. I love them!

Cut the long stems off of the flowers, tuck the stub into your grapevine wreath and secure with hot glue. Work your way around the wreath, securing the branches or individual flowers where you want them to stay. I used about one whole stick of glue on mine, because we live in a very windy area, and I didn't want any flowers to blow away or fall out of place.

Cut any excess off of the tip of the last flower stem and secure the end with more glue. You can use the extra flowers to hide any deformities in your wreath. (Mine was a little more oblong than I wanted, and so I added the flowers to the wonky side to even it out.)

Tada! A lovely Springtime wreath! How easy is that? I can't imagine what could make it any cuter!

Oh wait, I found something! Now that's just adorable...

My wreath was in place just in time for Spring.

Doesn't that wreath make a happy welcome home? I think so!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Cherry Now...

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
-A. E. Housman

And they smell so sweet...

Happy Spring, my friends!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

St. Patrick's Day is just fun. And we went ahead and did it up this year. Irish-inspired meals, green apparel, and the sound of celtic fiddles dancing in the background... I love this little holiday! 
Do you know how to dance an Irish jig? I don't, but Asher and I gave it our best shot yesterday! (It's near impossible to resist such lively music!)

Our St. Patrick's Day lunch: Broccoli Soup and Irish Soda Bread.

 We enjoyed a lovely Cottage Pie for dinner, and topped off the meal with Chocolate cupcakes painted with green cream-cheese frosting. Yum!

This morning we sang St. Patrick's Breastplate together. Yes, that's right. All nine verses of it, in our lovely morning voices, pausing every few measures to correct some squirming or otherwise fussing child. But we did it! And it was a loud and joyful noise, albeit far from beautiful! We had to conduct our own church service at home today, because the boys have developed a slight cold, complete with coughs and fevers, so we weren't able to sport our really cute coordinating green church clothes today.
Sundays are such a sad day to be sick!

But Daddy made it much more bearable by building a massive fort in the living room!

Can this day get any better?
Trains AND a fort? No way!

We're stretching St. Patrick's Day on through the rest of the weekend, mostly because Riley forgot to drink his Irish Ale yesterday. But, it's so much fun, why not extend the celebration? 
And besides, Patrick was one incredible man of God. I've enjoyed reading about him to the boys. If you don't know the story of his amazing, trial-laden, powerfully miraculous life, you really ought to. 
Look him up. 
It will give you chills.

"The Wearing of the Green"
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Scouting Outing

The boys and I have really been enjoying a burst of springtime heat lately. We've used every excuse in the book to make being outside in the 70 degree weather a priority. Back porch picnics, playing in the yard, and learning how to ride a tricycle have been an excellent counter to the intense lifestyle that inevitably occurs during finals week.

One of our favorite ways to spend time outdoors is what I fondly refer to as 
"Scouting Outings." 

We scout for blooms. 

In Virginia, I've noticed that property lines tend to blur a little. Having grown up in a Northwestern sub-division where the lawns are manicured right up to their concrete-slab street curbs, this is new and exciting. It's almost like walking through a wild and untamed forest (sprinkled with houses. And some fences. And an alarming amount of strange lawn art... hmm...) 
The really exciting part comes in finding a tree or blooming bush that seems to be off on its own, unclaimed. And that's exactly what we're looking for. 

I am an unashamed bloom-snitcher.

We explore new streets in the neighborhood, looking for wild plants or trees with flowers that will look no different if an unsuspecting young mother and her darling two children happen to walk by with a pair of shears and tuck a few branches into the canopy of their stroller. 
We also keep our eyes peeled for blooms that will arrive soon.

And I'm very pleased to announce that blooms are abundant and ready for the taking!

I simply love Spring. New life awakens: a resurrection. The season is rightly heralded by beautiful, peaceful shades of color adorning formerly barren branches.
And it happens almost overnight.

Surprise! It's Spring!

Today a few clippings of the Bradford Pear on the border of the library parking lot came home with us. They're simply lovely. The blossoms so delicate, they are a perfect manifestation of life itself. 

Beauty, fragility, breath, value. 
Here for but a moment, their memory lasting into eternity. 
Resurrection. God's creation. Perfect.

Unfortunately, upon bringing them into the house and working to arrange them, I noticed that my analogy falls short on one account. They stink. I'm not sure if this is true of all Bradford Pear blossoms, but these ones do. They stink so badly that my larger arrangement is now making my front porch lovelier, instead of my kitchen as I had planned. 
But I'm happy to share the beauty with my neighbors. (Smile!)

And speaking of smiles....

xoxo happy sunshine xoxo

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Big Eater...

A child with "Failure to Thrive" can wear a mama out. I'm always tempted to be concerned about whether Grayson is eating enough food. I'm worried about whether I'm feeding him the right foods. I wonder if I should be pushing him to eat more? And I'm anxious before each doctor's visit, hoping the scales reflect what I so want them to say: 

You're a good Mama. Your baby is growing and looking healthy. Keep up the good work.

And lately, thankfully, we've seen progress that way! His last visit to the pediatrician revealed that he's actually on the very edge of moving up one percentile group, and she said that she can tell just by looking at him that he's gaining weight and looking much better. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

I think all mothers continually evaluate their maternal skills, and wonder if they're doing it right. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who reminds me that I am doing well, and doesn't let me get caught up into the tangled web of anxiety that ensnares so many women. 
I'm just doing my best. And baby Gray is just too cute.

At the table today he was smiling and stuffing food into his mouth at a record speed, and so an impromptu photo shoot took place. I was just struck with thankfulness as I watched him chomping on his hearty serving of dinner. 

What a blessing to be able to feed him these good, nutritious foods. 
What a joy to watch him use his hands to pick them up and stuff them in his mouth.
And what happiness this little bundle of boy brings me every day!

By the end of his meal, he had polished off half of a baked potato, a handful of cheddar cheese, a piece of chicken, a spoonful of peas, and he washed it down with a sippy cup full of goat's milk (with a dallop of heavy cream mixed in, for good measure.)

Take that, "Failure to Thrive!"

He really is getting so big, regardless of how big he is compared to other children his age!

11 months already. How did that go so quickly?

Sure, there are times when I wonder if I could be doing more for both of my children, but then I remember that all I can do is my best. And Christ is merciful to fill in the gaps that I inevitably leave!

I sure love that sweet little guy! 
(Even on those days when the majority of the food I give him ends up on the ground or in his hair, instead of in his mouth!)

I could just eat him up...