Important Things

Today is our one millionth snow day.  Tomorrow will make one million and one.  Sigh.  I feel like I’ve been pretty inconsistent around these parts lately, but honestly I just don’t really know what to type.  I feel like I don’t have much to offer you sweet people.  All my feelings are wild and crazy and swirly and sometimes I feel like I just can’t put my thoughts into words.  So on those days I’ve chosen just to sit tight and let the day slip by without typing.  I wish I had the words.  I like blogging.  I like you kind people.

I will tell you my tooth saga still has not ended.  I braved the snowmageddon weather here in Tennessee just to put a final end to my crazy tooth journey only to get there and find out yet again, this dang crown does not fit.  To make myself feel better I ventured into the super Target I never get to go to and knocked out all kinds of snowpacalypse grocery shopping which needed to be done.

Too Many Snow Days Fact #3:  When our kids have all these dang snow days our grocery budget is blown for the month.  They eat breakfast and several lunches during the week at school…for free.  Soooooo, no school means give them all the food of the world.  Budget shot.

The other day I made something super glorious.  Double THIS recipe, but instead of all chocolate chips put in a mixture of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  Press the whole concoction into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.  I was pretty crazy smitten.  Especially when we warmed one up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Hold the phone.

The March Bible Journaling class is just right around the corner.  I am probably embarrassingly excited about it.  The class was full, but then people backed out.  I now have 5 spots available.  If you’d like to join us shoot me an email at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com

Pretty pumped too because I’ve got some Timbali zip pouches ordered for the class as well.  These will be available to purchase.  I use mine to hold all my Bible journaling supplies.  It’s the perfect size and the ladies who make them are incredible.  Empowering woman with every purchase.

I’m a big lover of mail.  Every week I mail something to someone…it’s one of my quirky commitments for 2015.  Long live snail mail.  My mom did this.  She was always mailing encouragement.  She lived about 10 minutes from us and still mailed us and the kiddos cards for every single occasion.  Reading through Acts showed me yet again how important it is to be an encouragement to others.  Paul was constantly encouraging because of Jesus in him.

“Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.”

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in their faith…”

“…encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.”

“…they rejoiced because of its (a letter) encouragement.”

“..after encouraging them…”

“…and had given them much encouragement.”

God is constantly reminding me how important it is to encourage one another.

And I’m officially in the groove of grocery shopping with 5 kiddos.  It’s not always pretty, but it gets done.  At first I just lamented in the car and dreaded it, but then I got courageous and was all like “Let’s do this.  There are people in the world with 10 kids who grocery shop with all them.  I can swing 5.”  Now it’s old hat.  Plus, at Target there’s the glorious concession stand and on good days we celebrate our grocery trip survival with popcorn and icees.

There you have it.  All the important things I just had to relay to you on this snowy Tennessee Thursday.  It’s bath night, so I’m off to tag team all the baths with Josh Kelley.  Then a movie and some fun snacks.  We shall survive.

Happy Thursday.

  

9pm

Long busy day.  I’m wiped out and already in bed with a list of to-dos…Bible reading, blog, reply to emails, read, place some orders, etc, etc, etc.   And they are calling for more snow.  Say it ain’t so.  We’re all ready to get fully back into our routine and this momma has got to get some work done.

Kids and snow are cute, but spring is sounding mighty fine.

(photo credit to our magnificent photographer Cheyenne from Shots by Cheyenne.  She’s the greatest there ever was.)

Happy Tuesday night.

Come On Spring

The snow is gone.  Tomorrow is going to be in the 60s and then Wednesday they are predicting more snow.  The big kids went back to school and Amon had his regularly scheduled therapy this morning.  March is officially here and this month spring will come, we’ll celebrate two birthdays and Amon’s speech therapy will come to an end.  And now I’m crying.  It’s officially marked on our calendar and in just 2 weeks our Monday and Wednesday mornings will be free and we will greatly miss our sweet therapists who have worked so hard with him.  He has come leaps and bounds from completely non-verbal to this weekend tattling on our current little because she dumped out all the diapers.  Geez.  God never ceases to amaze me.

We live in a small house and with that comes learning all kinds of tips and tricks to make our house work better for us and our tribe and less is more.  Over the weekend we cleaned, organized and purged more things.  We finally had the drywall fixed in a few rooms which was a 2015 goal…yes, a goal.  We need motivation around here.  So we got to painting this weekend too.  Josh Kelley and I got started late Friday night…it’s what we do.  We brought in some of my Mom’s furniture and moved things about trying to create more space and it totally worked.  When you only have 2 closets storage and organization is pretty key.

Please marvel at how dusty our blue light shade is.  We’re pretty cleanly around these parts.

And see that beautiful spindly high chair?!?!?  My MIL let me borrow it since our new little one joined us and now I currently have the IKEA website pulled up and 2 of their plastic highchairs in my cart because no matter how hard I try I cannot deal with all the food and grime that gets all over those spindles.  Babies are messy.  Bring on the plastic clean lines.  We had the red one for Amon, but thought I’d get crazy and go with white.

If you have not seen Noonday Collection’s new spring line then you are missing out.  The Tereza Clutch is my new favorite.  If you don’t already have an ambassador go with the amazing Ashley Mills…she’s the best.

I am getting so excited about 2 things: 1. Our Swaziland trip.  It’s on and we are for realz going…hip hip hooray.  We still have 2 spots available if you want to join us.  Email me at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com.

And 2. The March Bible journaling class.  I honestly cannot wait.  Excitement is going nuts in my heart and head.  So excited to fill our house up with woman and talk about the Bible and journaling.  I did have a dream last night I was completely unprepared…tables weren’t even set out and I woke up sweating.  Sigh.

I just found these guys and it made me laugh out loud.  I like to think they are riding a mechanical merry-go-round and trying to just hang on.  Hudson = Lego creator for life.

And sadly, this is the current state of my office.  Gasp.  I know.  I tried getting around to it over the weekend, but we were painting and moving large pieces of furniture and cleaning out.  I’ve got orders in that mess which need to be completed ASAP.  Now if I could just find them :)

Good news is I did find this cute little 12 month baseball tee in that mess.  It needs a home.  If you are interested shoot me an email and I’ll ship it out this week. $20 (including shipping)

 Now I’m off to maybe clean that office.

Happy Monday people!

Incapable

I arrived at the court house early this morning before 8am, snagged a seat and then waited.  Around lunch time they re-scheduled our hearing.  4 hours of waiting.  Being a foster parent requires so much flexibility and patience and understating.  Sometimes it’s easy to think people should be more considerate of our time and our life.  I mean, there were only a 1000 other things I could have been doing…needed to be doing, but there I was.  And it was actually right where I needed to be.

I watched another family as we waited.  I observed the mom and the foster parent.  Later when they had finished and the foster parent was leaving with the kiddo, I watched the momma closely.  I watched her eyes follow them all the way out while she had to stay behind.  I wanted to grab her and hug her and tell her “You are ENOUGH!!!  You can do this.  God created you and you matter.  He makes a way when there seems like there isn’t one.  He is the Hope in what feels utterly hopeless.  Your story matters.  Your love for that sweet child matters.  You can do this!”

I constantly hear all these horror stories about DCS and foster parents and so many people use private agencies instead of the state, but I’m here to tell you, they need people who are willing to stand in the gap and fight right along side each other for these kids and moms and dads.  I feel so much hope and the world seems so good and right and sure when our team gets together…everyone fighting for this family together.  There are so many checks and balances in place.  Plans being made and executed.  Sure information is missed sometimes and people forget things, but were all human and I love each person we are working with because they are all fighting for the same thing and unity…solidarity…can turn strangers into family in no time.

It’s easy for me to cast judgment.  It’s easy to think I know what’s best, but in Luke Jesus says, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.”  Jesus says that.  It is a verse that seriously blows my mind.  Think about it.  NO ONE IS GOOD EXCEPT GOD ALONE.  No one.  So anything or anyone who seems good, is really God working through that person or situation.  God uses us for His good…we’re not the good ones.  I know I tend to totem pole sins ranking them in order of “the worst of the worst” to the “that’s not so bad”.  And of course, my sins aren’t nearly that bad.  I would never do _____.  I’m strictly a bottom of the sin totem pole kind of gal.  Oh, my sinners heart.  I’m not good at all and my sin is just like my neighbors.  He puts us all on the same team and erases all those margins we created and walls we built up.  He reminds us love should prevail and we are actually all brothers and sisters through Him.  We need each other and sometimes that means fighting right along side one another and reminding each other “You are enough!”

I still get weepy about all of this because honestly I feel completely incapable of just about everything.  This week has been kind of a doozy and Satan loves it.  We’re committed to a life that isn’t ours though.  With every decision that comes our way we have to ask ourselves how Jesus would handle it.  He lived a relentlessly giving, completely selfless life and as a sinner who is a hot mess and fights my flesh every single day, day after day to make the right choices is hard and I fail a lot.  This week has been the constant reminder that yes, I am incapable, but God is absolutely 100% capable…all the time.  He does not waver.  He is steady and firm.  So day after day, He helps us fight to hand over this life to Him…fight to make the decisions He would make.  And every day we see and understand more and more the value in love and unity and solidarity with one another.

7th Snow Day

Yep.  The Kelley kids are out of school again today.  They haven’t been since February 13th, but I mean, who’s really keeping up.  I’m surprisingly okay with another day and feel it’s because yesterday we had a lot of fun.  And things are looking up.  I mean, it’s quite possible they will go back to school tomorrow.  Possibly.

Yesterday we ate lunch out and then went to Monkey Joes for like 4 hours.  We never go to those places because it’s so expensive for all these kiddos, but yesterday was a big day so we went and it was AMAZING.  I sat.  In a chair.  At a real table. Alone.  While my kids ran wildly around burning off so much pent up energy.  And I brought my Bible and supplies and I read and got creative right there is the midst of Monkey Joes crazy town chaos.  And Monkey Joes is definitely straight up chaos.  Is a Monkey Joes frequent visitors card a real thing?!?!?!  If so, I might need one.

I’ve been thinking about all the randomness I could bestow on you this week.  Get ready.

Kindergarten Teacher Tip #2: Cheap shaving cream can be your best boredom buster or just a quick fun activity.  And it cleans your table and makes your house not smell like a dirty diaper or feet.  Try it.  You can even get all educational and have them write numbers, letters, words, etc. Or just let them go to town.  I’m for the going to town.

Please notice how some of them are choosing only to coat their hands and arms in the shaving cream…like this guy.

OCD Confession:  I love love love when I get to grocery shop alone and am able to load my groceries in the check out in the “correct” order.  Please some OCDish people speak up and affirm me.  1st: can goods, milk, any other uncrushable items.  2nd: boxed items all grouped together…eeeekk!  3rd: refrigerated items.  4th:  Fruit, eggs and easily crushed items like chips.  And lastly…those precious irreplaceable items like Mega M&Ms and sour gummy worms who stand alone.  It literally makes me so happy.  And I’m aware I have problems :)

This girl.  She’s a special one you guys.  And not seen are 4 other small children possibly losing their minds while we wait for the doctor at the doctors office because duh, we needed a case of the croup.

I was so disappointed to miss this sledding in action.  Imagine Sol in the sled…wearing his protective head gear while using his baseball bat to propel himself down the hill…similar to a guy rowing a boat, but he just needed a few good paddles.

No words needed.

And you guys are crazy awesome.  And I mean that.  Absolutely.  Thank you for taking a chance with me and for being willing to help make this Fun Day possible for these sweet kids.  Only 3 spots left in the March Bible Journaling class.  You can read all the details HERE.  Shoot me an email at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com if you would like a spot(s).

Happy Tuesday.

March Bible Journaling Class

*So because I would expect nothing less of my frazzled snow-bound brain last week, on Friday I completely forgot to publish this post.  Can I blame a week of being snowed in with all these wildly wonderful little crazies?!?!?  Anyways, here you go.*

Sometimes I wonder what in the world God is doing.  I think about the thoughts and ideas He fills my mind and heart with.  I’ve never heard God “speak” in an audible way and 9 times out of 10 I don’t think I understand what God wants me to.  This year though, I am committed to attempting what I think He wants me to do.  I want to attempt…move to action…and not be paralyzed by the fear of failure or how it may appear to others.  I’m a prideful person.  Everyday I ask God to take away my pride…decrease me and increase Him.  I don’t like failure.  It’s not something I would choose and often it keeps me from even making an attempt, but not this year.  This year will be one of lots of attempts and probably a lot of failure and maybe mix in a few successes, which God will deserve all the glory for because I’m 98.7% hot mess.  So here goes another attempt :)

You’re officially invited to my Bible Journaling Class.  I do hope to offer the class more than once, but I’m going to take it month-by-month.  I think a lot of good could come from this and I am already sitting in anticipation of what God will do.  I’m opening up our home and setting out tables and chairs and I think it will be a really amazing time.  Here are the details:

When:  Saturday, March 14th

Time: 1pm-4pm

Where:  Our house.

(Josh Kelley is taking all the wee ones out so imagine all the kid freeness.)

Cost: $50

All the money will be used to throw a fun day for the kids at the Ngungwane carepoint in Swaziland Africa.  There will be a bounce house and games and face painting and a big special meal all for the precious kiddos.  I am so excited about this opportunity.  Cost of this fun day is $800.

This class will be 3 hours in length and we will talk about the process of Bible journaling and I will share how I go about this each day.  We will talk about the process, supplies and all the tips, tricks and techniques I use.  There will be time for questions throughout the class as well as time for you to do some of your own Bible journaling.

Each person will bring their own supplies.  You can read about the supplies I use on THIS POST, but please feel free to bring the items which work for you.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE THE ITEMS I USE.

Lastly, this class will be limited to 20 people due to space in our small house.  If you would like a spot email me at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com.  You can reserve more than one spot, so chat with your family and friends and make it a girls time.  This will also be a kid free time…sorry, no kiddos.

I hope you will join me.  The thought of a whole bunch of ladies talking creativity and the Bible plus raising funds for some crazy great kids makes me all kinds of happy emotional.  Can’t wait to see what God does.

Happy Monday.

**4 spots are still available**

Productivity!

Currently the big 3 are playing Legos and the 2 littles are napping their tired hearts out.  I am breathing a little easier.  Some leftover white chicken chili is calling my name, but in the mean time I’ve eaten 5 cookies thus far.  Snow days usually make me super un-productive work wise, but if eating lots of cookies equals productive then someone hire me right now…I’m bound to be employee of the month.

This morning was a new day and I have been determined for it not to waste away.  And then the house revolted against itself…everyone tired of the cold and the toilet overflowed.  I took a deep breath and defaulted to my means of survival:  I made the cutest little velcro wallets (DIY from Pinterest) for a friend and THESE cookies…again.  Those are my favorite chocolate chip cookies and we even got all kinds of wild and used dark brown sugar instead of the light.  Watch out people!!!

I have also knocked out a few other creative things this week.  Oh just some key fobs and a name dish towel (this is a real thing…and I kind of love it) and a tooth pillow for a customer’s little dude who is about to lose a tooth any day now.

Then I got crazy productive and finally got Harper signed up for her soccer season and then melted the giant bowl of snow in the sink to make room in the freezer because we obviously needed the space :)  Pay no attention to my gallon size bag of rotten bananas.  Maybe tomorrow my productivity level will go up if I make banana bread.

Free tip:  See my giant cup and water bottle on the top shelf…so I drink tons of water…like a gallon a day.  I actually love water and it makes me feel so much better, but I’m kind of a creature of habit in that I like using the same cup and water bottles.  To my utter dismay all my favorite drinking mechanisms were getting crazy moldy even when I was washing them on a regular basis.  One night I did a little researching on the inter webs and you guys, my life changed.  Now I keep my go-to cup and water bottles in the freezer when I’m not using them and NO MOLD…like ever…ZERO.  It’s so amazing and life changing for this water drinker.  It’s the little things people.

And tomorrow I’m going to share the details for my Bible journaling class.  This will be a local class so all you locals who were interested keep your eye balls peeled.  The class will be limited to 20 and I am so hoping it will fill all the way up and we can rock some good deeds with the moola.  More tomorrow.  So exited.

Happy Thursday you crazy cool people!  Thanks for reading.

10pm…Snow Day Edition

We’re on snow day tres.  And school is out for the remaining week.  Crazy day and not going to lie tensions were running pretty dang high.  We have been cooped up for far too long.  3 days is a long time for us.  There was gnashing of teeth…oh the angst of it all.  I finally risked my life on the roads to spare others :)  Target, Joanns, the post office and a good run never felt so good.  Give me all those frozen roads…I don’t even care…this momma had to escape.

Josh Kelley and I have played 1,203 games of Manacala and Bananagram.  He’s been working from home during the day.  I think he’s ready to go back to the office :)

Hudson has made 3,637 Lego creations.  It’s true.  They are everywhere.  Anything his little mind can imagine he makes, so just give him 5 straight days of being home and oh wow, just oh wow.  Lego creations everywhere.  Lego spy gear = no problem.

I don’t think our TV has even been turned off.  Josh Kelley has had mad antenna skillz lately which means PBS is coming in loud and awesome.  Snow days = TV and movie binge.

Side note:  Please notice Hudson testing out his new spy gear in the background (bad haircut still in full force).  Also, Sol’s pillow TV watching fortress = amazing.  And another Lego creation in the bottom right hand corner.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

I have successfully dodged going out in the winter ice land which is our backyard.  I am not a cold weather person.  But I will happily watch from the window and yell out the door at our kids.  That I am good at.

Side note: Let’s quickly dissect the pictures below.  We do not have appropriate snow gear.  Harper is in fact wearing her pajama pants.  Hudson and Sol rocked their converse all day in the snow because obviously canvas shoes are the greatest for cold, wet weather.  Hudson and Sol’s holy jeans…again equal perfect attire for cold, wet weather.  Harper is wearing my gloves and Amon is wearing her gloves because the Kelley house is under a severe glove shortage.  And Sol’s face, well, enough said.

 They came and went all day as they pleased.  Each one dressing and un-dressing over and over again in our laundry room.  All I did was load and re-load the exact same clothes into our dryer.  They took care of the rest.  And they collected a giant bowl of cleanish snow for snow cream.

1 cup milk, pinch of salt, 1/3 c sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Whisk all together first.  Then add a ton of snow.  It’s super delicious.

So my game plan tomorrow so everyone survives: make more cookies, create something new, more Mancala and more movies.  We will survive.

Happy Wednesday.