Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas friends. The next few days will be spent relaxing and running around to spend time with family. We are lucky that we don't have to travel more than 45 minutes to get anywhere over the holiday.

I pray that each of you have an amazing Christmas. It's a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus and how that changes our lives. Last year I was very pregnant at Christmas and it was an awesome time to imagine how Mary felt. This year I can picture Jesus as an actual baby and I'm amazed at how he humbled himself to enter our world as a baby.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tree Parking Lot

There's nothing beautiful about this typically empty parking lot next to a park just a few miles down the road from our house. It's gravel, bare and sad looking for most of the year. But towards the end of November, it's transformed into a perfect pine scented wonderland. Well, not really a wonderland, but the rows of Christmas trees and lights make it cheery and exciting.

This year we got our Christmas tree in the first week of December, which is earlier than normal for us. This is Miles' first Christmas and we are eager to share our traditions with him. He really wanted to wear his santa jammies, so we got him ready and headed out the door to find our perfect tree. We really didn't make a big thing of it. We just knew that we wanted a thin, tall tree. We found it, brought it home and we love it. There are few things that make a house cosier than a twinkling Christmas tree. Our tree is plugged in every moment we are home and not sleeping. It's the best.

I know I'm a few weeks late sharing this and our photos, but that's okay. Better late than never.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift of Encouragement

Last Saturday I participated and helped to plan a brunch for the women of Life Church. I was hesitant to get involved because I still don't have too many relationships at church even though we've been going there for nearly a year. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and just do it. I signed up for the planning committee and actually knew at least half of the other women from the small group we joined in the fall. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. The actual brunch was amazing and I put myself out there and had a good time. I talked with some people I hadn't met before and thanked God that He made us to be in relationship, even when it's hard.

One of the most beneficial parts was the little talk that Mindy, our pastor's wife, gave. The topic was on encouragement and influence - neither are things that I regularly think about. But as women, we have an innate, God-given ability to encourage those in our lives. Some key points that stood out to me where:
  • Our ability to encourage others starts with a solid understanding of how God made us just the way we are. We need to embrace ourselves and our gifts before we can encourage others. Sometimes our insecurities stop us from being in relationship with other women because of jealous issues. Let's not allow our hang ups about ourselves get in the way of godly friendships.
  • We can and should be setting visions for those in our lives. Through encouraging the talents and gifts of others, we can help them see their worth in God and this world. It's amazing how quickly people can flourish when they are noticed and encouraged. This came as an exciting challenge to me. I want to be someone in Miles' life who sees what he can do and who he can be because of God. 
  • We need to notice others. I realized that I can't encourage anyone until I notice when people are struggling or when they are excelling at something difficult. Selfishness is a huge barrier to allowing our words and actions to bless others. If we never look away from ourselves, we can't possibly let someone know that we are praying for them or tell them that they are gifted at something.
I'm so glad that I took the time to get to know some new faces and to serve God through helping plan the event. I also got to design the visuals for the event! Being an introvert and creating new relationships is tricky but I'm learning.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Becoming a Mother

There has been no one event that has effected me in such profound ways as becoming a mother. The moment that Miles was born, my life changed forever. The bright eyed, wrinkled skin, snugly little boy made me a mother. He fulfilled what I dreamed my life would include. Mike and I waited so long to become parents and Miles came into our lives and hearts and was more than we could ever imagine. Those first few months were filled with tears, laughter, frustration, fear, growing, misunderstanding and joy. They were literally the best and worst weeks of my adult life - between postpartum anxiety, extreme sleeplessness and a lack of confidence, I struggled. Yes, I struggled but I also bloomed. I bloomed into a loving mother who would do anything for her child. I began to see the world in new ways. I became a more compassionate and sincere person. Motherhood has shaked me down to my very core.

Becoming a wife was another life changing moment, but that was an easy transition for me. Mike and I are best friends which makes navigating the waters of forever quite gentle. But motherhood wrecked me, in a good way. God has used Miles to challenge every thought, word and emotion. My sin has been revealed in new ways. I never knew how selfish and impatient I was. When I was pregnant, I imagined how I would be with a newborn. I pictured rocking in the nursery with a sleepy and calm infant. Haha, that lasted about one week. But no matter how hard being a mother is, I find it extremely fulfilling and life giving.

Miles will be turning one in January and I can't believe the journey we've been on. Miles is such a sweet, joyful and focused child. I can honestly say that it is my joy and pleasure to be his mom. Being a wife to Mike and a mother to Miles is it for me. I love my job as a freelance graphic designer, but it's not my focus. I know that my relationship with a loving Heavenly Father needs to come first, and He's transforming my heart in that direction. I just love my boys with all that I am and I am so thankful for them.

I just got the bulk of the images from my maternity shoot last week. My friend and neighbor, Andrea Weaver, was the photographer and captured Mike and my excitement and anticipation to meet Miles beautifully. Scrolling through the nearly 60 photographs caused me to reflect on the past 11 months and how dramatically my life has changed. Can I go wake up Miles now and snuggle him?! I love that I still miss him when he goes to bed for the night, even though I know that in a few short hours I will see him again when he wakes up wanting to nurse.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Say "Cheese"

Sorry for the photo overload, but I'm so happy with our family's mini photoshoot by Amber of Jeremy Hess Photographers. These will be some of the photos we pull out in 20 years and look back and marvel at how young we look. I was surprised how many great shots Amber was able to capture in only 20 minutes. 

Work has been so busy lately, and I've grown lazy in the evenings. All I want to is hang out on the couch with Mike and relax before heading to bed at 9:30 (early I know). But I'm braving my freezing cold office to make a post. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Sorry for the lack of posts lately but the Brady family is sick. Between trips to the ER, doctor visits, late nights, fevers and coughing I've had my hands full. We are going on day 9 of being sick. 

This can be over anytime soon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lancaster Wedding Venues Brand Worksheet

I'm sharing another old branding projects. It's an oldie but a goodie! I was approached by a good friend who is a local photographer and overall creative entrepreneur. He had the idea to create a localized wedding blog/website to promote the greatest wedding venues in Lancaster, as well as other reputable venders. He wanted a brand that was lighthearted, feminine and modern. I think I accomplished that with the color choices, modern typography and distinctive logo mark. 

The website isn't complete yet, but I look forward to the day it goes live. When it does, I'll share the link on here. 

Enjoy your Sunday morning y'all. I have to get ready for church now! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blogging, Pride & Jealousy

I was talking to a dear friend Monday night over tea and was telling her about my blog and why I do it. The conversation was steered that way when she asked me how my devotional life was going. And I told her that it was good and I was having precious time which Jesus nearly every day - even if it's just for five minutes in the morning. I mentioned that blogging is a good motivation for making sure that I'm getting time to hear from God. One of the main reasons I decided to blog was to share Jesus with my family, friends and anyone who stumbles across my site. And if I'm not being inspired, then I'm not able to share what Jesus is doing in my life. I also shared with my friend that having a blog helps me to be a little more exciting in the things I do with Miles and to take more pictures. That was where the conversation turned to how do you do that without being prideful.

I don't always do it perfectly. There are times when I read others' blogs and think of how wonderful their lives look. They seem to be perfect mothers with perfect children and perfect hair. But that's not real life. I love the women who blog about real life – its' struggles, failures and triumphs. If all you ever write about on your blog is the latest adventure you took with your kids or how amazing your husband is, you're going to breed jealously and pride.

I hope to make my blog a place where I can share what we are doing as a family, so it can serve as a good collection of our adventures to remember throughout the years, but more importantly, I want to share my heart, my struggles, my successes and my God. That's real life. I think that if sharing Jesus and what he's doing in my daily life is my goal and remains my priority, that I can steer away from writing with a prideful heart.

How do you keep from coveting others' lives, stuff or families when you read blogs? If you write a blog, how do you keep it down to earth?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy 10 Months

Someone is excited about turning 10 months today. I can't believe that I get to be Miles' mom. I'm so blessed to be able to care for this little adventurous and silly little boy. Each month just gets better and better.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christmas Card Explosion

Christmas comes early for Oneleven Creative. I started working on Christmas card designs in October. I love this season, even though it's a busy one for many reasons. Designing cards is one of my favorite parts of getting ready for December 25th. Many of my designs aren't the typical family holiday card, and I like it that way. I don't think Christmas stuff has to be the typical red and green. My cards feature elements like chalkboard, woodgrain and watercolors.

Take a look at my shop and see what styles are available for 2013: www.onelevencreative.etsy.com

I love my blog readers and want to give you an early Christmas gift. If you use this coupon code: Lifeat111, you can save 15% off any Christmas card now through November 30th.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Family Photoshoot Preview

Two weeks ago, we got dressed up and hit the road to do a photoshoot with our favorite photography studio. Amber Martin from Jeremy Hess Photographers did Miles' newborn photos and we love them, so when we saw the opportunity to take some more photos with her, we jumped on it. This was such a fun 20-minute mini shoot at a new wedding venue in Lancaster County, The Farm at Eagles Ridge.

Here's a quick preview of two photos. I can't wait to share the rest!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unexcused Absence & Currently

Do you remember in high school when you missed a day of school but didn't have a good excuse? Those were called unexcused absences. And I've been taking one of those with my blog lately. But I have some excuses, however lame they are. Work exploded two weeks ago and it left my head spinning. I was spending so much time in front of the computer, that I couldn't bare to spend one extra minute away from my baby and husband.

Work has settled down a little bit now, but I'm gearing up for hopefully a busy holiday season in my Etsy shop. I launched my new, lower priced custom photo Christmas cards this past week. Honestly, I'm a little nervous I won't sell one card and all this work will be for nothing. But if I don't try, I'll never know. So I'm putting myself out there, and hoping and praying for some orders. Being a business owner is terrifying some days. If I fail, I worry that everyone will know and not be surprised - but that's another blog post entirely.


I got the idea for this post from Danielle at Sometimes Sweet:

Reading: Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. I'm only 30 pages in but I can tell this book is going to be transformative. I'm already learning more about accepting and living in grace for myself than just how to show grace to Miles. I'll definitely keep writing about how the book is changing my heart and my parenting style.

Eating: Cereal, and lots of it. I used to hate cold cereals but now I'm loving them. I've been chowing down on Kashi's Autumn Whole Wheat Biscuits and Berry Fruitful Whole Wheat Biscuits. Grabbing a handful here and there helps to keep me satisfied while chasing Miles around. Since I'm still nursing, my stomach is a bottomless pit.

Listening To: Dustin Kensrue's new album The Water & The Blood. Go listening to it now. The entire album is on Spotify.

Enjoying: Miles. He is almost 10 months old and is so fun. I love watching him explore everything. He's pulling up and walking along the furniture, walls, curtains and just about anything he can get his hands on. One of my favorite parts of the day is going to get him in the morning when he wakes up. Miles' excitement to see me warms my heart. It gives me hope that it will be a good day. How can it be a bad day with that kind of start? Not that I didn't enjoy being a mother the past 9 months, but it just keeps getting better and better. Except we had a rough one yesterday. He has four teeth coming in and they wrecked him - he wouldn't sleep or eat.

Watching: Too much, but there are so many good shows happening now. I'm watching Parenthood, Grey's Anatomy and Project Runway Allstars. I typically put one of these shows on while I'm working, so I really only catch about half the show. That's the real reason I have two computer monitors, shh, don't tell Mike. We try not to watch tv while Miles is awake, so I'm limited on how much I can watch - which turns out to be a good thing. There's not too much on tv that's of a whole lot of value.

Loving: My evenings with Mike have been really nice lately. Miles goes down for the night between 6 - 7 which leaves us a few hours to be adults together. I'm so thankful that we get that special time to connect. So much of our time with Miles is about him or trying to get things done and we often miss each other. We participated in Halloween last week and had a blast. Miles was dressed up as a little gray puppy. I love Halloween in the City. We sat on our front steps and little superheros, princesses and goblins walk by with their pillow cases held out for candy. It's one of the times I am reminded just how many people live within a few blocks of us. We bought two big bags of Costco candy and handed out almost all of it in 1.5 hours.

How's your week so far (I know it's only Tuesday)? I hope and pray that you're feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all God has for you!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Perspectives on Loss and Life

Two Saturdays ago a friend from high school was killed in a motorcycle accident. I hadn't seen her since high school where we became friends through playing softball together. We were friends on Facebook, but other than that, I never thought about her. Then I saw the newspaper article about her accident, and I couldn't stop thinking about her. I have been fortunate to not have lost many friends or family members. But when it happens, it shakes me to my core.

Nothing strikes fear into my heart more than thinking about loosing the ones I love. I'm not scared to die, but I'm scared for others. I was reminded many times the past few weeks of how short life is and how fragile it is. It's so clique but we don't know when our last day will be and remembering that dramatically shifts my priorities. Life is about relationships, not how successful, attractive or popular you are. It's about investing in the lives of others and caring about people because God cares about people.

I realized that I need to make time for others. I'm naturally an introvert and it takes effort to be with others. I don't often look forward to being social, but I am always thankful when I am. God is stretching me and convicting me in this area. I can't get so tied to my agenda, that I don't make time for others. My first commitments are to my husband and my son, but Jesus has so much to teach me through others. And I hope that he can somehow use me to inspire others to get serious about Jesus.

My heart still aches for the loss of my friend, but I am thankful for what death does to wreck our lives. God is ever present in our time of need and He shows himself to be greater than we could dream or imagine.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lancaster County Meats And Deli Brand Worksheet

This is a logo project I designed two years ago and it is still one of the favorite brands I've ever worked on. Nothing like a meat pyramid! Lancaster County Meats and Deli is a small market stand at Booth's Corner in PA. Todd, the owner, wanted something modern that would stand out among other stands. The logo also needed to be easily understood as to what their product was.

I'm going to start creating brand worksheets for all my past and future projects and share them on the blog.

I'm available to work on new logo and brand projects for the rest of 2013. Email me for pricing or more info!

Finger Painting

Get ready for a photo overload! A few weekends ago we broke out the finger paints for Miles. He loves playing with his food and this was no different. Nothing like 80 degree weather in October. I'm glad that's over!

I promise that Miles had fun even though the pictures don't show it :)

Miles had a good time exploring the texture and colors but was over it after 10 minutes. By that point he was just trying to eat his creations. I'm excited to frame one of the finished pages. It looks surprising cool. When he was done painting, we decided to paint him! Even though the clean up took longer than the play time, it was worth it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

10 Baby Essentials (6-9 months)

It took us a few months to get into our groove with Miles. He had some tummy and sleep issues we all had to work through. But once he hit 6 months and was sleeping soundly in his crib, we were a much more high functioning family. Here are a few things of Miles and my favorite things from 6-9 months.

1. Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier. While I loved having a cozy cloth wrap for Miles when he was younger, he now needs something that enables him to move around a little more. He's constantly trying to turn around to watch the world. We love the Ergobaby carrier so much. One of our favorite things to do is to explore our little city, especially on First Fridays. The crazy sidewalks and big crowds make using the stroller a pain, so we just strap on the Ergo and go out. It's super comfortable and can be worn three different ways. Plus, it doesn't cause any damage to a baby's hips, like some of the other carriers (google hip displasia and baby carriers).

2. B One Two Squeeze. These blocks are awesome. I can see these growing with Miles. Not only are they great as a teething toy, but they are very stackable and a good learning tool. Each block has a number with animals on it. I love these because they are super cute (not crazy baby colors) and easy for Miles to pick up and pass back and forth. Oh, and they make the cutest little noise when Miles is chewing on them with his two teeth - squeak, squeak.

3. Aden + Anais Security Blanket. I don't know if I would still be alive if it weren't for these blankets. Miles never wanted a pacifier, but he loves to suck when he gets tired and wants to sleep. But we did realize that he loved to suck on fabric, but I didn't want to give him a full blown blanket in his crib for safety reasons. I came across the Aden + Anais security blanket and immediately hit the "add to cart" button on Amazon. They have been such a comfort to Miles as he sleeps. He often wakes up and finds his blanket and sucks on it to fall back asleep. Sometimes he even rests his head on it (I love watching him on his video monitor). I'm completely comfortable giving this to him for naps and night time because it's made of thin muslin that is breathable. We love these so much that we have four in the rotation!

4. Life Factory Bottle. I don't feel too comfortable having a ton of plastic things for Miles, so I searched out glass bottles. I was scared that one tumble and the bottles would break, but we have never had an issue with the Life Factory bottles. They have a silicone holder which protects the glass and makes it easy for a baby to hold on to. What's great about these bottles is that they are versatile - you can buy a sippy cup attachment and lids so they can hold snacks and other fun items as your child grows.

5. Melissa and Doug Bug Jug. Melissa and Doug toys are always so cute. My parents got the Bug Jug for Miles to play with at their house, and it's one of his favorite things. Each bug makes a different noise when you shake or squeeze them. But Miles' favorite part of the entire thing is the butterfly's antenna. He shoves those black elastic pieces in his mouth and is so content. It's weird I know, but it's his thing!

6. Fisher Price Precious Planet Blue Sky Jumperoo. I never wanted a huge hunk of brightly colored plastic in my living room, but look at me now. We borrow this Jumperoo from my sister-in-law and Miles loved it for two whole months. Once he started to craw and pull up, he didn't want to be contained anymore, but he likes to stand on the outside of it and play with the toys. It was awesome having a place to put him for 20 minutes while I needed to do a few things or use the bathroom. I need a new solution now that he's so mobile!

7. BlaBla Knit Doll - Luigi the Frog. We bought this stuffed animal for Miles when he was just 2 months old. He really doesn't show too much interest in it right now, but we love it. I'm secretly hoping that this will turn into his lovie. Luigi the Frog is just so darn cute. I shouldn't even tell you that we took forever to choose one of the BlaBla dolls. We even returned the first one we got because we changed our minds - poor Albert the Donkey.

8. Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat. At 8 months Miles started hating the car which is no fun for anyone. It was getting harder and harder to actually get him in his infant car seat, and I couldn't even lug him around in it because it was too heavy. So we made the move to a convertible car seat. The Britax Roundabout was easy to install and it seems comfortable for Miles as he no longer despises the car. He has a lot more room and can even see out the back window since it's not quite as reclined as his old seat. I was worried that it wouldn't fit in my small Mazda 3 but there's plenty of room. But both my husband and I are on the short side, so it might not work for someone who is 6 foot.

9. Fish Tank. For Miles' half birthday we pulled out our old fish tank and filled it up with two brand new goldfish. He loves to stare at it and the fish even come over to the side to say hi. It's a good distraction when he's getting fussy and restless. We don't have this fish tank, but I wish we did. I mean come on, a fish hotel, how cool is that?!

10. Touch and Feel Books. You should see the smile on our little guy's face when we pull a book out from his toy bin. He gets so excited and stops whatever he is doing to craw over to the book. But he loves to hold the book and turn the pages, and then stick it in his mouth. We don't let him do this to most of the books because we don't want them to get ruined since he will use them for many years. But with his touch and feel books, we let him do whatever he wants to them. He loves to pet the puppies and kitties and bite the cover. It's so awesome that he has a love for books at 9 months! I hope we can continue to nurture a love for reading as he gets older.

This is the best age yet! Miles just turned 9 months on Friday and he's such a joy to be around. He still has his moments and melt downs, but overall he is a happy baby. I get so excited for him to take his first steps and have his first birthday, but I'm trying to slow things down and enjoy him each and every day.

What are some of your baby's favorite things?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I have a confession to make....I go to bed really early - like 9:15 early. I try to stay up later, I just can't do it. I get really cranky when I am tired and try to force myself to stay awake, so it's not worth it. I blame my sleepiness on waking up with Miles once or twice a night, plus I get up at 5:15 for the day. 

Waking up while the house is still and quiet allows me to get focused for the day. This is my time, my time to study the Bible, drink a cup of coffee and relax. When I was younger, I hated mornings but now they are my peaceful blessing.

Anyone else with me?!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Updating Etsy Shop

Did you know that I have an Etsy shop (Oneleven Creative) where I sell my homemade, professionally designed paper goods? Well I do! It's one of my favorite aspects of my work. It's so fun working directly with a customer to make them calling cards, wedding invitations or birth announcements they will love.

Here's a preview of a few new calling card designs I'm adding to my shop. And now that it's October, I guess it's time to start getting my Christmas designs together!

Not the best photo, but it was with my iPhone!

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Everyday Look 10.7

I do not consider myself to be super stylish, but I do like to look put together for when I actually leave the house. This outfit I wore to church and then out for a walk at a local park. Please ignore the crazy flip flops that don't do anything exciting for the outfit. And isn't a cute baby really the best accessory.

I think I want to start sharing some of my outfits so that it motivates me to put a little bit more thought into what I wear. I always feel better and more confident when I like my outfit. I like to think that unlike a lot of other bloggers my clothes aren't expensive or new, so it won't be about running out and buying what I wear, but about inspiring you to use what's already in your closet to enhance your own style.

I know how lame my pose looks in the last picture. But cut me some slack, it's my first style post!

Black Blazer: Target (last season)
Ivory Lace Tank: Marshalls (3 years ago)
Mustard Maxi Skirt: Brickyard Buffalo

Friday, October 4, 2013

Coffee Date 10.4

I'm so happy for it to be Friday. This week was busier than most.

I've been missing our coffee dates for a few Fridays, but I'm glad we are back together now. Let's drink some iced coffee since it's been in the 80s for a few days in OCTOBER. Where's the fall weather I love? 

I hope we would sit on the living room rug on the floor while we watched Miles climb on everything. The past month he has been learning new things so quickly. It seems like he was just learning to army crawl and now he's moving fast and pulling himself up everywhere. I know it's hard to have a deep conversation while being constantly distracted, but we will try.

I would tell you that I'm trying to be more intentional with my friendships. In the past week, I've had two play dates with friends and their children. It's been good to socialize during the day. It's been good to step outside of my selfishness and delve into the lives of my friends. But it's work. I'm not naturally an outgoing person, and I'm content to spend the day loving on Miles and waiting for Mike to get home from work. But God calls us to be in community and to love others. I'm praying for God to change my heart and to give me a passion for deep relationships that glorify him. Won't you pray that with me?

I would tell you that selfishness is creeping its way into my heart again, into my marriage and into my care for Miles. I think that being a mother is a beautiful calling from God, but it's also draining. I have less time to actually get things done and higher expectations for everyone in my life. It's a juggling act that I need to accept that I'm going to drop some balls, and give others room to not have it all together. There's beauty in imperfection and in not getting it right – that's where grace can shine. 

I would tell you that I'm getting excited for Miles' first birthday already. I think I want to throw a lumberjack themed party at my house in January. The only problem is that we have a small row home and not enough space for our friends and family. But I desperately want to host it at our house. We're still trying to figure out the logistics. 

I would confess that I haven't really done my hair all week. It's been back in a ponytail for the past three days. I would probably even complain about how hard it is to have the bathroom and shower right beside the nursery. And that is my excuse for the ponytail. The bathroom location has to change in our next house! 

I would share what I've been learning in church and small group about Jesus' humanity. This sermon series on the man of Jesus is blowing my mind. I'll do an entire post about what I'm learning soon. 

We would talk about how you are, what you're struggling with and how God's working in your heart. Once our coffee cups were empty and time has passed quickly, I'd walk you out to your car and give you a huge hug goodbye. 

Until next week my dear friend! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Inbox (0 Messages)

While I'm in my office watching the monitor to see if Miles is actually going to nap, I thought I'd share some good news. My email is cleaned up, with no emails. You know what that means - I'm caught up on all my work!

Happy Thursday all. Check back tomorrow morning for our coffee date!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Children in Church Matter

Each Sunday morning, as we are getting ready quietly while Miles naps I pray that church will go well for us. You see, Miles doesn't do well in the nursery. He lasts for about 10 minutes before he breaks out in his pterodactyl cries (really screams) and a nursery volunteer has to tap me on the shoulder during the service. Nursery is the only place he does that and I've tried every trick in the book and nothing has worked – not bringing toys from home, not leaving a bottle, not having his special blanket he sleeps with.

It wouldn't be an issue if he was calm and quiet during the church service. I love how light hearted and joyful Miles is but it does make for a few distractions during church. He plays peacefully with a book or toy for a few minutes then wants to smile and interact with people. One smirk from a fellow church member, and he's squealing with delight. Super cute, right? It sure is, but it's also a little disruptive. Typically, we try to keep him in the service as long as we can before either my husband or I have to take him to the back of the room or hanging out with him in the nursery. It's hard because one or both of us miss the sermon and worship. But I'm at a loss for what to do.

I recently came across this post by blogger, I Am Totally "That" Mom called "Dear Parents with Young Children in Church." In the blog post, Jamie advocates that keeping your young children in the church service is a good thing – it matters. I love how she puts this, so I won't try to summarize, I'll just take it directly from her post...

"I know you're wondering, is it worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important. When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn't about Bible study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won't be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it's too late. They are learning that worship is important. "

We all worry that our children are misbehaving, taking away from someone else's worship experience or even worse of all, we worry that we are being judged as parents. Little people are an important part of the body of Christ and we know that Jesus loves them deeply. My prayer for next Sunday won't just be that church goes well, but that God is glorified through our family and that Miles can contribute well to the worship of Jesus!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brown Beauties (or Booties, hehe)

I've always wanted the perfect pair of dark brown leather boots, and I've had many pairs that were posing as perfect. I never want to pay $100 for a nice pair of shoes, I just can't justify it. Most days I check out the Zulily app and see a ton of things that are on sale but I don't need.

But yesterday, I saw these beauties for only $42. I really hope I like them as much in person, as I do online.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why I Like Mornings

Some of my favorite moments of the day happen in the dim light of the early morning. Mornings bring a day full of new opportunities. Any troubles and stresses of yesterday seem a little less important.

My mornings occur early because of our crazy cats who if I don't roll out of bed by 5 am will cry so loud they will wake up Miles. So I set my alarm to beat their hungry cries. Usually I head downstairs, feed them then start my morning with coffee, emails and some time in the Bible with a study from She Reads Truth. But lately my eyes have been so heavy that I just have to curl back up on the couch for a few more minutes of shut eye. Then Miles wakes up between 6 and 6:30 while Mike starts getting ready for work.

These days I find myself excited each morning about what the rest of the day will bring. Miles is at such a fun age where he is learning new things everyday, work is busy but not stressful and it's my favorite season of the year! There is so much grace in my life and I can't help but praise God for being so present in my heart and this house.

photo from here

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Naptime Nonsense

Ugh...another sleep issue with Miles. Now that he has learned to pull himself up and stand while holding onto something, he won't nap. He just stands at the rail of his crib and cries as he chews on the side. If he's not standing, he's sitting down playing.

I need some advice on how to get him to go to sleep easier! Maybe he's spreading out his naps and I'm putting him down at the wrong times. Yesterday before bedtime, he was awake for 6 hours! He just refused to nap, and then it got too late that we didn't want to put him down.

What a silly baby, naps are awesome!!

If he's not napping, why not go play at the park? By the way, check out Miles' little bruise on his eyebrow. He's getting a few more bumps and bruises now that he's cruising around.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Local Blog Feature

Eek, I'm excited to announce that my shop was featured on a new local blog Love and Lancaster. The creator is Kathleen Lapp of Essence Photography. I met her last year over coffee to talk about our businesses and our client processes. She's got a big heart and an infectious passion for her budding business. 

Check out the blog and Kathleen's photography website

Thanks for the feature Kathleen! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Coffee Date 8.30

Good morning friend. I hope you don't mind having coffee together early this morning. Miles was awake and ready to go at 5:20 this morning. Doesn't he know that Saturdays are for sleeping in?

I'm loving these painted bowls from West Elm. The morning would be a little more cheery with a bowl of cereal in one of these beauties.

How was your week? Mine was pretty good but went slowly. Miles had been boycotting naps for the past four days so it seems like I am always chasing the next nap. He's going down for a nap now and in hoping it takes!

I hope you don't mind me talking about work a little but. My Etsy shop had a bunch of new calling card orders this week. I love working in my shop because it gives me a chance to work directly with customers and create something from start to finish. I sell premade designs that can be tailored to fit the clients specific wording and color choices. Then once the design work had been approved, I print it on high quality 110lb. Double thick cover (probably doesn't mean much to you, but I like paper) and hand trim each piece. I like literally having my hands in each step. Every card is inspected to make sure it's up to my standard. That might be more detail than you want on my process but it's something I enjoy talking about, so I know you won't mind me rambling for a bit.

How was work for you this week? How's your family? Any big plans for Labor Day weekend?

I can't believe that it's almost September. I love autumn, but it bums me out because winter is not far behind. But Miles will turn one in January, and I can't believe how fast the past 8 months have gone by.  The first three months felt like years, but the spring and summer were gone in the blink of an eye.

I wish I had more to talk about this week, but I'm feeling a little worn out and want to hibernate for the day.

I'll talk to you soon sweet friend! I'll leave you with these lyrics from Mumford & Sons' Hopeless Wanderer:

So when your hope's on fire
But you know your desire
Don't hold a glass over the flam
Don't let your heart grow cold
I will call you by name
I will share your road

But hold me fast, hold me fast
Cause I'm a hopeless wanderer

photo from West Elms website (link in text)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trust in God - Proverbs 3:5,6 Scripture Print

Here's a little gift for you. In my devotions this morning from She Reads Truth - Women in the Bible, I was meditating on Proverbs 3:5,6 about trusting in God's plans and placing our hope in Him for our future.

My heart's tendency is to trust in God when I can't handle something on my own first. And that's not what He calls us to do. It's not trust when you've exhausted all other avenues, but trust in Him first with all of our being. My "own understanding" is so flawed and my perspective is so narrow. God sees all of history and all of the future, His understanding is perfect. He sees how all of life fits together into his wonderful plan of redemption.

Just open the image in a new window and save as a .jpg and print! Great as a 5 x 7. Email me if you want it as an 8 x 10.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shrimp Boil & Summer BBQ Wedding Shower

On Saturday, along with 9 other bridesmaids, I hosted a shrimp boil and summer bbq themed couples wedding shower. There was a ton of prep work to do before everyone showed up at 4, but we did it. I left my house at 10:30am after getting Miles down for a nap and didn't get home until 9:30 that evening. Miles spent the entire day with Mike and did great, except that he was boycotting his naps. I missed them both, but I was glad to see them for a few hours at the shower.

I think that Vicki and Ryan (bride and groom to-be) had a great time. This was my first ever jack and jill shower. It really felt more like a big party and it was nice to have both men and women attend. All the paper products were created by me and I had a blast doing them. Assembling the 140 shower favors were not my favorite things to do though. I'm glad all the prep work is done and now we can focus on making Vicki and Ryan's big day super special. Come on September 21st!

It's so exciting to see one of my dearest friends commit her life to a great guy. God has blessed them greatly with finding each other and I pray that their marriage reflects God's design for a family. I'm so glad that God created marriage and made it such a neat example of his love for the church!