Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas songs that aren't {but should be}

While not officially "Christmas songs," they certainly tell the Christmas story! Enjoy.

"How Many Kings?" by Downhere. "All for me...all for you."

"How He Loves Us" by David Crowder Band. Christmas is truly all about the loooove. Let this one sink in, sisters. His affections are truly great for us.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Less talk, more pictures

We are just loving life these days! Besides being in a new house, the perfect Arizona winter weather, the boys being at wonderful ages to really enjoy the festivities, my nephew being born, my grandmother being in town...we are feeling extraordinarily blessed!!

So rather than yack about it, here are some of my favorite pictures from this holiday season so far.

Andrew telling Santa what he wants for Christmas at my friend Chrissy's annual Santa party.

Our family at the party.

The hubs and me, headed out for his company Christmas dinner. It was a fantastic, and much-needed, night out.

My mom and I fulfilling our new goal: to cook and bake together more often!

The boys decorating their gingerbread train on a rainy day (before it collapsed and we ate it).

The JOY pillow I scored at our church women's ministry Christmas party. Yes, I actually took this right off the host's couch. She insisted. Joy is, after all, my WORD for 2011.

My mom and grandmother toasting with the monogrammed wine glasses I got them. Andrew joined in, too.

We're just loving every moment of this holiday season!

More to come....

Monday, November 29, 2010

1,000 Gifts #151-200 Happy Birthday {to ME!}

I think 33 sounds like a wonderful age to be!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am feeling extraordinarily grateful for the year behind me and VERY excited about what my 33rd year holds!

I am, as I always do, throwing myself a birthday party tonight to include lighting wood in my NEW fire pit, enjoying Chinese take-out food, eating pies (yes, plural) from Village Inn (I don't like Thanksgiving pie, so I waited!), playing Yahtzee and just hanging out with a few of my loved ones.

As much as I love celebrating my birthday, I'm super-excited about getting on with the rest of the year!

I've decided that my theme word for 2011 (11 is my favorite number!) is JOY and I asked my guests to bring items for me that will bring me JOY. Tonight begins Advent, too, so I'll be kicking that off at my party with the first installment from the "Jesse Tree Advent Devotional" from Holy Experience

I love this time of year!

November is THE CRAZIEST MONTH of the year for us. Of the 21 people that came to my son's 5th birthday party on Saturday, NINE of us have November birthdays. That's almost half! Wow-za. So, while I've kept up my pen-and-paper list, here's the latest for my cyber version:

151:: my vision for Thanksgiving coming to life {my mother-in-law and her sister just relaxing and being together}

152:: ladies' brunch for nine going perfectly

153:: pink gerber daisies from Drew, just "because"

154:: footie pajamas on my 18-month-old

155:: Grandma time for the boys

156:: crafting with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in the treehouse room

157:: using Andrew's blue watercolor artwork to make bookmarks

158:: a new pink jacket

159:: staying in one booth at the antique store for half an hour

160:: a doily embroidered with a "D"

161:: milk glasses

162:: cousins having a blast

163:: a messy house

164:: The Dumas siblings, spouses and children all under one roof

165:: celebrating nine years ago, when Drew and I met at Aunt Sharon's and Uncle Charlie's the day before Thanksgiving

166:: goody bags for the ladies, paid for with my writing job

167:: getting all the shopping done beforehand

168:: 62 degrees in the house and wearing my pink fuzzy robe

169:: not throwing up like I did a year ago

170:: praying over my 5-year-old son, thanking God for 5 perfect years and expecting amazing blessing in the next 5

171:: coffee, coffee and more coffee {thank God for our Kuerig!}

172:: marrying into a family with three sisters, and adding another one this year

173:: being appreciated for working hard at making people feel special

174:: accepting that God created me to enjoy making people feel special

175:: thanking God for giving me the resources it took to pull this week off

176:: being a list maker who can get it all done

177:: feeling perfectly well, despite every reason to feel stressed

178:: football, Taco Bell and a nap on Sunday

179:: Andrew's birthday gifts being a big hit

180:: Drew and his brother orchestrating the party treasure hunt

181:: Lego creations

182:: group hugs with Ethan

183:: deep, peaceful sleep

184:: a warm, cozy home

185:: new make-up and feeling pretty

186:: Andrew's arm just being a sprain

187:: two rainbows in one day

188:: NOT spending our refund money on getting Andrew's arm casted

189:: a Gators birthday party

190:: a successful family photo shoot in beautiful weather

191:: three lovely handmade scarves from Mrs. Braddock

192:: the boys bouncing and bouncing

193:: A&W rootbeer floats and Long John Silver fish

194:: surrender

195:: trust

196:: serving a faithful God

197:: not living by a spiritual check-list

198:: freedom from over-analyzing

199:: freedom from fear

200:: free to live in JOY

For more entries, visit Holy Experience


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TLC Creations grand opening & giveaway new Etsy shop!

I partnered up with my dear friend, Chrissy. She does EVERYthing...I just do the Etsy part!

This is us at the baby shower she threw for me in April of '09. She's on the left, obviously.

This was about two weeks before she underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed {no kidding}.

Her story is amazing but we'll save that for another time! :)

Suffice it to say, she is an amazing woman and a person I aspire to be more like. I'm glad she's here and healthy and I am thrilled to be working with her again!!

TLC Creations stands for Tuesday & Logan Calderwood, her two kids. I love those kids!!

She has this amazing vinyl machine called "Roland."

She creates just about anything you can think of and prints it on the vinyl to use as a decal, sticker or label or to apply to clothing with her heat press.

Here she is, working at the "studio."

We used the "Grimes" above for this newborn hat for my nephew-to-be. Precious!

These name labels can be used for a million things. The vinyl sticks beautifully to paper, of course, but is also great to use on your laptop, ipod or cell phone case.

They're great for a baby shower gift, too, for moms to use to label their baby's bottles, wipes case and other belongings.

Kids love to use them to personalize their school supplies and water bottles.

These can be done in ANY team colors and with a soccer ball, baseball, football, etc.!

The possibilities for shirts are endless. This is Andrew's birthday shirt (my son, who turns 5 on Nov. 26). He's Andrew IV so I couldn't resist adding the 4!

The listing has all the details for the choices you have.

custom number shirt

We can do ANY number or letter. Tons of fonts are available, and tons of colors.

I happen to love these black onesies, for a boy or girl, with an initial inside a circle. So dadgum cute. Colors are totally customizable.

White is available, too. These are a HUGE hit at baby showers!

There's even a blue camo onesie available. My sister-in-law liked the one we made for my nephew-to-be!


How cute are these address labels??? Cactus or snowman.

And I LOVE these customized "To & From" labels for your Christmas gifts! Can be applied to presents or goody bags, or even right to a bottle of wine, bubble bath, you name it! Just write in the recipient's name!



Christmas tree.

These modern and stylish address labels are great for Christmas or year-round use. I love the design! We can add your kids' names, too. These make a great gift!!


Our shop is brand new to we'd love it if you visited TLC Creations on Etsy, glanced through our listings, then left a comment about what catches your eye.

We're also open to suggestions on new offerings or ways we can improve the shop or our designs. We'd love your feedback!

As a thank-you, we will give away a $10 credit toward any purchase in the shop, plus FREE SHIPPING on your entire order! Drawing will be held at midnight on Wednesday, December 1.

Each person who leaves a comment will be eligible. Please leave your e-mail address so we can contact you if you win!

Thanks for checking us out and we hope we have the opportunity to make something wonderful for you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

1,000 Gifts: #123-150 Cuz it's breast Cancer Awarness Month

Two years ago, I was two months pregnant and at the office of a breast specialist (ok, surgoen) to have a "spot" looked at. I remember the nurses sighing, "Oh, you're pregnant??" 31-year-old pregnant women don't belong there. After one biopsy, I weaned my firstborn milkaholic son to have a second biopsy done before I was told I was in the clear. Thank you, Lord.

Now I had found another spot, more like a lump, two weeks ago, but I called it a "knot." I didn't want to give it a name {I am careful with my words}. It's just a little knot, probably milk related. Yes, I am still nursing my 17-month-old son, the one I lovingly patted two years ago, though he was barely a bean, when I was wearing the paper gown, waiting with tears in my eyes for the sonogram to start, and later, for the needle to go in. "Your mama is going to be fine," I told him. I was amazed when the anxiety didn't register, when my heart didn't race. Peace.

So "the knot."

I scheduled to go see My Breast Guy again.

"Lord, I don't want this. Take it away." I prayed that prayer every time I felt my hand lingering over "the knot." Every day, the same prayer. "I don't want this, Lord. Take it away." By God's grace, when I thought about what "the knot" could be (my mom is a 15-year breast cancer survivor so those thoughts are never far from my mind), again the anxiety didn't come. Only peace. I would pray it every morning then check....but the knot was still there. Yet I felt peace. "Maybe tomorrow, it will be gone," I would think, then go about my day.

Then the morning of the appointment arrived.

My baby, who usually nurses himself slowly awake, woke up like a shot and was bright-eyed and smiling, unusually chipper. I smiled as he toddled into the hall to find his toys. Then I thought, "Today's the appointment. That lump will be gone today." I tentatively felt around. No knot. I felt around some more, then sat up, stood up, and felt around some more. No knot.

So I cancelled the appointment.

I smiled all day long.

I texted my mom, "No lump, no doctor! Praise God!" She knew I'd been asking God to take it away. "Standing on the promises!" she texted back.

15 years ago, when my mom learned the news that she had breast cancer, she told people, "God said no" of her request to take it away. That journey has changed her life, and the lives of hundreds of people who know her and know our family, for the better. God used cancer to positively impact countless people and we are grateful. This month, we wear pink and our pink ribbon pins and we remind people, "Get your boobs checked!" because we are grateful.

God gives and He takes away. His promises never change. He is ever faithful. He works all things together for good.

I am grateful that I don't have a knot to deal with. I am grateful for the peace that I can't explain. I am grateful for this journey, the journey of learning to trust Him more and rest in Him. He never ceases to amaze me.

123:: standing on His promises

124:: cancelling a doctor's appointment because I have no reason to go

125:: waking up to a happy, fuzzy-headed, Thomas-pajama-wearing baby

126:: showing off our new house

127:: wine and noshing

128:: trading my mom a pedicure for lunch

129:: shopping for my nephew-to-be

130:: a day spent with an old friend

131:: tears when we talk about the goodness of God

132:: amazement at how God writes our stories and intertwines our lives

133:: my mom telling Ethan "I love you" and him giving her three kisses

134:: "Guy" pajamas

135:: feeling 100% well for days at a time

136:: Etsy sales so I could buy food for the party

137:: cool mornings with the back door open

138:: my "Mulled Harvest" candle

139:: winning $10 at Bunco then using it to buy groceries for the family in line ahead of me

140:: sunflowers in my Verde Vase

141:: Daddy & Son day at the Super Chevy Show

142:: a ridiculously delicious mushroom swiss burger, steak fries and root beer

143:: not being bothered by a bad dream

144:: the power of being able to control my thoughts

145:: having God at the center of my thoughts

146:: homemade pumpkin Bundt cake with whipped cream

147:: realizing I'm ahead of the curve in some ways

148:: nursing two boys for a total of 52 weeks...and counting!

149:: the occasional material blessings

150:: being rich in all the ways that matter

For more, visit Holy Experience

holy experience

Monday, October 18, 2010

1,000 Gifts: #113-122

Besides watching the nightly news, nothing threatens my peace more than sickness--especially stomach troubles.

The night after my hubby's birthday party last Sunday, our 17-month-old started throwing up. It was his first time. It broke my heart, partly because by the time I heard him, he'd already thrown up all over our bed. I'm almost always right next to him when he sleeps so what are the odds?? He must have been so confused. I was so sad.

I braced myself for the heart racing, the sweating, the knot in the stomach. Mine, not his. But he slept almost the entire time, was consoled just being next to me, wasn't feverish and by 3am, was able to nurse again and settle down for the night.

Grace. In any "it could have been worse" scenario, all I see is grace. God comforted him and comforted me. I held it together and was grateful the entire time for the grace in the moment. Our older son slept through it, my husband was there to wash the sheets and towels and hold the baby while I changed and I was able to catch up on my DVR'd shows from the futon in the guest room. For what it was, it was a best-case scenario. I've come to see that as grace.

Three days later, it was my turn, though my body handled it differently. I was on the couch most of the day but was still able to take care of the boys and even do some dishes. The boys played, the discomfort was tolerable and I was able to eat normally by that evening. Grace. No anxiety, either, which was just more grace.

This is why now, when I think I might be coming down with something or I wonder if the boys were exposed to a bug and my mind starts to wander to the "what ifs," I quickly change my line of thinking, thank God that we are well in that moment and move on. I don't want to waste a moment of my life on "what ifs" and even when we were sick, there was still so much to be grateful for.

Moving on!! :) This is why we opted to GET OUT this weekend and take a trip to the high desert for some nature and family time. It was just what we needed and it could not have gone more smoothly.

113:: Picnic by the lake

114:: Escaping with my boys

115:: fearlessly feeding feeding the ducks and geese (and saying "duck!" in wonder the whole time, like, "They're real!!")

116:: sons with their daddy

117:: playing in Lynx Creek while Daddy pans for gold

118:: making memories

119:: still needing Mama's help (every once in a while)

120:: not needing Mama's help

121:: beautiful sky on the way home

122:: the best kind of tired

Read more at Holy Experience

holy experience

Monday, October 11, 2010

1,000 Gifts: #101-112 Birthdays

101:: birthday parties

102:: using two containers of icing on his cake

103:: 33 candles

104:: The favorite Aunty and The Cousins

105:: The Siblings {who'd hardly ever see each other if I didn't get them together!!}

106:: Kids crowding around for present-opening {even when the present is bullets and a gun cleaning thingy}

107:: Getting a present on your dad's birthday

108:: Throwing him a party....more for me than him

109:: Enjoying his baby

110:: Never taking another year for granted

111:: Opening presents of my own on his birthday. My "Blessings Unlimited" consultant kit arrived!! Everything was BIGGER than I expected--a pleasant surprise!

112: Ethan thought the blocks were toys.

For more, visit Holy Experience

When you go....TAKE NOTE OF THE LOVELY ITEMS IN HER PICTURES....THEY'RE FROM BLESSINGS UNLIMITED (mentioned in #111 and #112, above)!! How cool is that!?! Ann is a BU fan, too! :)

holy experience