Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some Things

1. Not that it's a big deal, or that it even related greatly to the post itself, but I had the title of my breastfeeding book wrong in my last post. It isn't "Breastfeeding for Dummies", it's "So THAT'S What They're There For" (not kidding). Not sure if there is a "Breastfeeding for Dummies" book. There should be. And they should pass it out to all new mothers at the hospital. Enough about that.
2. I have to say what a miracle straight from heaven it was that I was able to figure out how to insert that video at the end of my last post. It was tricky, had me very frustrated, and involved Html code, but I FINALLY figured it out, PTL!

3. Matthew's football team has their first game this week, and I'm so excited. Watching him coach is very entertaining...he is passionate to say the least. I'm already wondering how many times he will throw his hat down the sidelines. Let's hope none, unless it's done in celebration and not frustration!
4. Here are my two cuties in their Wildcat dresses. I had this idea in my head for these dresses for a while, but didn't start on them until Saturday, which was the day of the purple and white festivities that they wore them to. When I say I finished these in the nick of time, I mean I literally pulled the last one off my sewing machine, threw it on my girl, and we walked out the door. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

My girls and their daddy:

Please note the very expensive new turf in the background. I just wanted a picture of the three of them, but Matthew insisted we get the turf in the background. It really is pretty.

Hope everyone has a great Monday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I've had this post in draft mode for some time, and have edited a hundred times because I don't think I'm doing a good job of articulating what it is I'm trying to express. But I'm hitting publish tonight because I'm tired of fooling with it and over analyzing it. Bless your heart if you make it to the end of it.

I love to read. I love books...all kinds of books; good fiction, non-fiction, good self-help (for real, I do!), biographies, autobiographies...I love it all. I love a good page turner, and most books I can finish in a day or two, because once I start, I just can't stop. But with two monkeys in my life now, I don't get to read nearly as much as I would like. Free time is non-existent for me these days, and I know other mamas can relate. Since Presley's birth, the only books I've touched are "What to Expect The First Year" (a must, even with a second born), "Breast Feeding for Dummies" (I'm serious, and again, a must for me, even with a second born), "Pinkalicious", "Goldilicious", "Purplicious", "When You Give a Mouse a Cookie", get the idea. Not a lot of quality adult reading in there.

My favorite books are the ones you happen upon and maybe don't expect much out of, but it ends up being a great one. And that's what I found recently. I wasn't looking for something new to read, but I borrowed this book from my Dad after seeing the title, and being intrigued by it, and also seeing the author, and knowing she wouldn't disappoint.

To say I have been blessed by this book is an understatement. To say it has changed my outlook on life would be a little more accurate. And to say it has rocked my world would be pretty on point. This is not a new book, having been published in 2003, but I'm late to the game, I guess. I have this problem that probably warrants an entire post for itself, but basically I am very often resistant to something that is massively popular. I still have never seen "The Passion of the Christ" (remember the buzz and hype around that movie?). I've never worn Crocs. I was probably the last person on earth to join on Facebook, just a few months ago. I can't explain it, but Beth Moore is one of those things that I thumbed my nose at for a long time, just because of the hype that surronded her. For years I have heard women gush over Mrs. Moore's bible studies, and once, years ago, she even came to Little Rock and did a conference, and I knew lots of ladies that went. But me? Not interested in jumping on the Beth Moore bandwagon, thank you very much. It was not until last year when I participated in a bible study at my church based on Mrs. Moore's study of Esther that I fell in love with her and realized how stupid I had been. As it stands now, I would maybe call myself her biggest fan. No wonder so many women (and men) hold her in such high esteem. She is a spirit filled teacher of the Word, and she does it in a way that absolutely captivates! She allows Christ to use her to touch the lives of millions of people, and she is absolutely humble about that. She has a deep love for scripture, and she emparted some of that love to me. I love the bible and cling to scripture in way I didn't before. As a side note, if you have never read the book of Esther in the bible, you are missing one of the best page turners ever written, and it's not even fiction.

Back to "The Beloved Disciple". This book is a study of the disciple John, his life and relationship with Jesus during His time on earth and after, and his understanding of the amazing love of God (I hope I summarized that well). I will not go into full book report mode, but I will say that after reading this, I'm seeing with new eyes. I have been a Christian since the age of 8, have sang "Jesus Loves Me" thousands of times, have been regular in church my whole life, and I feel like I am just beginning to scratch the surface on the love God has for us. I think that as humans, and even as Christians, it's so hard for us to comprehend a love that is so perfect and pure and unconditional, because in our fallen world we see so many examples of love gone wrong; failed marriages, parents who abuse their children, friends who betray, families that fall apart, and the list goes on and on. But the love God has for us is different. It is mighty. It is deep. It is fierce. It is unending and unchanging. It is not conditional on our behavior. It is beautiful. It is enough. It is perfect.

I can only speak for myself, but I think that once you really begin to comprehend this incredible love that God has for us, and you allow yourself to be washed in it and filled with it, that the natural follow through from that is that it would spill forth from you. And isn't that what we're called to do? Show the love of Christ to the world? Be His hands and feet? To love others as He has loved us?

I have been challenged by what I just described, and am still a work in progress when it comes to showing that love to everybody. Without going into too much detail in a public forum where I'm not sure who is reading, I will just say that for the past year I have been in a season of discontent with an area of my life and with some people that I deal with in that area. I have been hurt, mistreated, and done wrong and been in a position where I didn't have a lot of recourse, and I more or less had to just take it. I have developed a deep bitterness as it relates to these things and these people, and for a long time now I have been holding onto that bitterness and hatred for dear life. I am a grudge holder like no other, and I have learned that such a thing is not a bragging right. Bitterness, hatred that is held within, anger...all these things do nothing to hurt the person they are directed at. They hurt you. And if you had told me even two months ago that God would be able to ever take the edge off those feelings, I would have called you crazy. But that is what he's doing for me. Slowly, my feelings are losing their steam, my thoughts are not as harsh, I'm not as quick to anger, and my heart is softer. The situation I am in has not changed one iota. But my God is changing me. God has not called me to have a spirit of grudge holding and bitterness. He has called me to show His love to the world, even when it takes me out of my comfort zone. To allow Him to be seen through me. To share His love with everyone, even the ones who do wrong by me. I'm not all the way there yet, maybe not even halfway there, but I'm trying. I am a far cry from perfect, and I'm not trying to paint a picture of myself skipping down the hallways and hugging everyone's neck. But my heart is different. Does any of that make sense?

I am a new K-Love listener. It's another thing I have thumbed my nose at for a long time, mainly because I thought Christian radio was all gospel music and hymn singing. Wrong again, Ashley. I still listen to regular radio too, but can I just tell you what a difference it will make in your day if your heart is tuned into praising and worshipping, rather than songs that sing of wordly things? So this song is new to me, but it's not a new release. From David Crowder Band, it's "How He Loves Us", and I think it articulates exactly what I'm trying to say way better than I ever could. The amazing, amazing, love of God has for us. This song brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat every.single.time I hear it. He loves us all so much.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Heavenly Recipe

I am not real big on cooking, but I have to share this recipe here because it is the easiest, tastiest, cheapest meal I have ever made, and every single person in my house LOVES it, even baby Presley. We eat it about once every ten days, and have yet to get tired of it. Try it, I guarantee you'll add it to your regular meal rotation. On to the recipe:

Cream Cheese Chicken
4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Cream of Chicken
1 stick Butter (or margarine)
1 packet Good Seasonings Italian Dressing mix (this is a dry mix packet found on the salad dressing aisle)
1 pkg cream cheese
1 box of pasta (I use Penne b/c we all like it, but have also used bow-tie...I think my sister makes it w/ mini bow-ties...any pasta will do).

In a crockpot, combine frozen chicken, soup, sliced butter, and dressing packet. Stir it up, covering the chicken, and set the crockpot on high for 4-6 hours. After that amount of time, remove the chicken, dice it up, and put it back in the crockpot (it's usually so tender that it kind of tears and shreds for me instead of dicing nicely, but it works well for my kiddos, b/c it "hides" in the sauce well instead of being big chunks). Dice up the cream cheese and add to the crockpot. About this time start boiling your noodles. It will take about 30min (sometimes more, sometimes less) for the cream cheese to get melted good. When it does, and when the noodles are done, add them in, stir it all up and it's done. Be sure to turn off your crockpot at this point, I have ruined this dish before by forgetting that step : )

This is seriously so delicious and good. How can you go wrong when there's cream cheese involved? It's cheap to make, and it makes a TON. This is a favorite dish of mine to make when I take a meal to people with a new baby, or after surgery, etc. It's a crowd pleaser, I promise! I usually start this cooking when I'm home on my lunch hour, and when I get home at 5:30, all I have to do is add the cream cheese and boil the noodles, and we're ready to eat. I have cooked it as little as 4hrs and as much as 6hrs and it's worked well either way. Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Check it Out

Monkey Style Boutique is on Facebook now. I would looooooove it if you would check out my page and "like" it. My plan is to provide shop updates, post new listings there, share new fabrics and design ideas, and get feedback, etc. Like I said, I would loooooooove it if you'd like it : ) The page name is "Monkey Style Boutique".

Also, I'm advertising here with my etsy mini (like the small little etsy link on my right hand sidebar). You can see it at the bottom of her right hand sidebar. I love this blog and am so proud to be advertising on it. If you like crafty things, you should check out the Noodles & Milk blog. It won't disappoint. I have learned lots of new tricks and techniques from the very talented Sabrina.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Half My Heart

Summer 2010 officially ended today as I dropped Mattie off at her first day of Pre-K4. Excited doesn't begin to describe how she was feeling about getting back into the swing of school. No tears from my baby. And surprisingly, no tears from this mama either. I can easily, like any mother, get caught up in the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, that this is our last year at our church preschool, that in one short year I will be taking her to a big school with big kids and big rules and real homework. But, I'm choosing not to get immersed in that emotion, and rather I'm choosing to be excited with her. We were both giddy as we walked into her school this morning. I got a quick picture, an even quicker kiss goodbye, and then she was off to start her day and reconnect with her buddies. It was perfect.

This summer I received an unexpected gift in the form of time spent with Mattie. Since Matthew is a coach, he starts back to work earlier in the summer than regular teachers, which leaves us not having an option for childcare for Mattie for the latter part of summer other than daycare. But, after some discussion, we decided this summer to forgo daycare and juggle her days between her grandmothers and me, and it worked out very well.

Since mid-July, in addition to days spent with grandmas, she has spent quite a bit of time at work with me, which surprisingly enough has been wonderful and not a burden. The office right next to mine has been empty for sometime, but it's set up with a desk, chair, tables, etc. And it connects to my office, so it was the perfect setup to have her there with me, but not right under foot. She would stay in "her office" and pretend she was at work too. Each day she would come in and spend lots of time cutting paper, stamping things, taping things, paper clipping things, stapling things...basically going nuts with office supplies. After lunch, we would come back to work, each go to our respective offices and get a little work done, and each afternoon, we would set up her sleeping bag and pillow, pop a movie into her portable dvd player, and she would fall asleep and nap all afternoon. Most days that's how it went down...some days the nap just wouldn't come, and I would be praying for 5:00 to please hurry up and get here. Overall my days were peppered with unexpected hugs and kisses from my girl, pictures colored and taped and stapled 1000 times just for me, post-its with love notes written in highlighter on them, and the sounds of Mattie playing and singing to herself in the office next to me. My office is painfully quiet today and I’m missing the half of my heart that isn’t here with me.

My heart hurts to be home with my girls, and maybe eventually I'll be able to, but right now I'm a working girl. I'm so thankful to God for giving me this sweet time with Mattie this summer that I wasn't even expecting or planning. I work in a pretty corporate setting, and the higher-ups at my work would probably not be thrilled to know this went on as much as it did, but we were able to fly below the radar with it and go pretty much unnoticed. I don't doubt that it was God orchestrated. I needed some Mattie time, and I think she needed some one-on-one mommy time, and we both got what we needed and are better, closer, and more in love for it. Thank you, God, for the gifts that we didn't even know we wanted.

Here’s some pictures of my big 4 year old before school this morning. To Mattie, a picture isn’t a picture unless you’re posing in it:

This is the same backpack from last year, but she’s still excited her name is on it. Note her pointing to it:
Someone decided to come see what was going on outside while we were taking these. See PK in the background?
And here she is once we got to school. She’s so big!
I can’t wait to hear how her day went!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten Months

Presley Kate was ten months old this past Thursday, August 12. This has been, hands down, the fastest ten months of my life.

Presley is recently mobile, and is enduring the bumps and bruises that go along with a baby exploring the world in a new way for the first time. This is the reason for the purple bruises on her forehead in these pictures:

Miss PK, what do we find you doing at ten months old?

-This month, about a week after turning nine months old, you finally started crawling. You were a tentative crawler at first, only wanting to go a step or two before flattening out on your belly and giving up. But, after about ten days, you suddenly took off. And you have spent the past few weeks exploring parts of our house you have never seen before; under the table, behind the toilet, under your bed, in sister’s closet. We are having to keep a very close eye on you, little girl, because you are proving to be a mischevious little puppy.

-Immediately after mastering the crawling, you were pulling up. On everything. At this point, it’s no effort for you to pop right up on just about anything that will hold you steady. For this reason, we finally lowered your baby bed. And the below picture is similar to what I see every morning when I come to get you out of bed…a smiling baby standing up waiting on me. So precious and such a great way to start my day!

-You still love your big sister, and she still adores you. Your new found mobility has had her very nervous. She is constantly hovering over you, trying to help you, making sure you’re not putting things in your mouth you shouldn’t, taking things away from you. We frequently hear “PWESLEY!!” come out of her mouth in an exasperated tone because you’re doing something she doesn’t approve of. Below is your reaction when she simply walked in your room:

And these are the giggles we got when she acted silly for you:

-You are getting braver and braver. And I really think we’ll have a walker before your first birthday. You are so eager to get from one thing to the next. You’ve taken some very early “cruising” steps, moving from one object to another,

and you are very steady when holding on with even just one hand:

-This mobile is still one of you MOST favorite things, but now that you are standing up in your bed, it’s time for me to take the canopy off, although I haven’t done it yet.

These baby animals are getting ripped down just about every day:

-Finally, FINALLY, this month you started saying “Mama”. You played with the “MMMM” sound for a day or two, and finally came out with it. You love to yell “MAMA” when you are mad, or I’m not doing something to suit you. Just how a mother/daughter relationship should be, perhaps. But it’s still music to my mama ears.

-These monthly photo shoots are getting harder and harder, and although I wanted some pictures of you crawling, these are what I got:

You were done,

And mad,

And refused to continue, so this was it for ten month pictures.

-More random facts about Presley’s little life at ten months:

*Taking four 8oz bottles a day, but quickly losing interest in the bottle. We tried a cup today, with some success.

*Two naps a day, one morning nap and one long afternoon nap.

*Sleeping 7:30pm to 6:30am or later, depending on what day it is. Sometimes have to be woken up on weekday mornings. Slept past 7:00am today.

*Eating all table food now…we are ALL DONE with baby food…yea!! You are loving a variety of stuff and eating basically everything we do. Favorites are any kind of noodle, pancakes, bananas, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac ‘n cheese, purple hull peas, potatoes, diced carrots, etc. There is very little you won’t eat.

*Weighed 22lbs 12oz at your nine month checkup. That is basically 100th percentile!

*Wearing a size 4 daytime diaper, size 5 nighttime diaper

*Wearing clothes anywhere from 9mos to 18mos sizes. Still fitting in a few 6mos dresses too. You hide your weight well.

*Finally got a third tooth last weekend. You now have your two bottom middle, and have cut one of your top “vampire” teeth.

I love where we are right now. Kind of on that brink between baby and toddler. I do love little toddlers, but I am going to miss my baby. I’m trying to remind myself that with Mattie each age has gotten better and cuter and more fun, so there is lots to look forward to with little Presley. We are all so eat up with her, we don’t care how old she is, or what she’s doing, as long as she’s ours.
Here’s Presley at one month, five months, and ten months. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Girls

I have 91 proofs from this photo session, and I love each one of them for different reasons, but I can't possibly share them all. So, these are just a few of my favorites. I cried some when I looked at these proofs the first time...I'm just so in love with them.

We did some of the girls together in their white dresses first. I made these little white pillowcase dresses out of a white swiss dot and with pink satin ribbons...I just thought they were so sweet and simple. I had wanted to make these for them to wear for beach pictures this year, but since we didn't go to the beach, we used them for these pics and for Presley's dedication at church.

Here's my pretty Mattie:

And my precious Presley:

Presley tried her hardest to eat all the grass she could get her hands on:

And she didn't want to sit like a lady:

And Mattie got bored a few times:
But otherwise, the shoot went swimmingly, and both girls cooperated so nicely considering it was literally 100 degrees outside.

Here's some of the together shots that are melting my heart.
I love the look on Mattie's face in this one:
Right after it was taken, Presley lost her balance and fell backwards, surprising Mattie:
But, Mattie never misses an opportunity to love on her sister...I love this sweet shot:
I love the composition of this one, but Presley's face is so serious...but cute:

This next one is, I *think* my favorite one of them together...I love the sweet smiles on both their faces, and the way they're sitting. I would like a mural of this on my office wall, please:
I love how Mattie's peeking out here, and Presley's face:
We tried this next pose, with Presley standing, but it just wasn't working well b/c she wasn't too steady on her feet at that point. I really didn't think Belinda got any of these, but she did...Mattie is gripping Presley for dear life here:
We changed Presley into the ruffle bloomers I made her and flower headband and did a few more of just her:
I love the desaturated look of this one:

Sweet baby face:

I'm trying to get an order together now, but having a real hard time picking!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Ramblings

1. Today, we dedicated our sweet baby girl at church. Even though we've committed her to God from the moment we found out she was coming, this was a sweet time of publicly committing ourselves to raising her in a Godly home. I love the baby dedications at our church....very sweet.

2. I had my girl's pictures made recently, and I am wondering how I will ever pick what to order. I had not had their pictures made together professionally yet, and I am so glad I did this. I am overwhelmed at the sweetness of them and will cherish them until I'm old and gray. I will post some of the proofs soon as they are too sweet not to share.

3. Have you seen the commercials for "pillow pets"? They are stuffed animals that turn into a pillow. A completely unnecessary piece of fluff to fill up my home, but for some reason they have caught the eye of my 4yr old. I hate stuffed animals in general, and have already cleaned out loads of them from our home and taken to Goodwill, leaving only some of the special ones, but already we're overloaded with them again. So, we have made a deal with Mattie that she can have her pillow pet, but she has to work for it and earn it. She's doing extra little chores here and there, and earning small amounts of money to put toward the purchase of the pillow pet. She's made $4 doing chores at Mimi's house too, so she's making progress. I'm interested to see if she loses interest or sticks with it, but either way I think it's a good lesson for her and a good step in the right direction of learning that things cost money and you have to work to earn money.

4. Yesterday me, both my girls, my mom, and my sister headed south to Monroe to do some shopping. As soon as we got out of the car at the mall, I stepped out at a weird angle and blew out my flip flop. It was unwearable. We were in front of Old Navy, so I said I'd just go in there and buy some cheapo flip flops...problem solved. However, once we got inside, it was a madhouse! It was tax-free weekend in Louisiana, so I guess that was part of it, plus ON has $10 kids jeans right now. I do not understand why people go so crazy in ON stores like I the only one that knows they have a website, and you can get all these good deals there, and they have $5 shipping no matter how much you buy? You can't drive from your house to the mall for $5. I just don't get why people want to fight those crowds...there were probably more than 50 people in line. So, I did not get my flip flops there...we walked down to JCPenney and I got two pairs for $4...better than ON.

5. We got Yellowbox shoes at Belk for $ of the day, hands down. Cute shoes, too. Yellowbox are my faves for summer.

6. Matthew recently got a pretty big promotion and I have never been a prouder wife. He will be the 8th grade head football coach at Barton next year. His particular situation is a perfect example that hard work, committment, and dedication pay off.

7. Our Sunday School class has been doing a study of the five love languages. It has been very interesting for the Nash house. I had never read the book before, didn't even know what the five languages were, or what it was all about. But, we have each found our love languages and are both trying harder to speak each others.

8. Presley is a real crawler now. She is my little shadow and follows me like a precious little puppy dog all over the house. And she is pulling up on everything. Mattie walked two weeks after her first birthday, but I'm guessing PK will take off sooner.

9. Mattie and I go tomorrow morning to meet with her teacher for 4yr kindergarten next school year. It is really hitting me that this is her last year of preschool and this time next year we will be preparing to send her to real kindergarten. My eyes literally teared up as I was typing this. I'm so sad at how fast her baby-hood has slipped away. She is such a big girl.

10. Yesterday I tried jeans on Mattie to determine what size we would need to buy for this year. I was unsure if she would need a 5T or if we would need to go up to little girl sizes (tear!). She is a little girl's size 6 slim. Could probably wear a 5 slim, but the length was right at the floor, and would probably be too short soon. I can't believe we are into little girl sizes. A sad day for sure.

11. This whole summer I kept thinking of outfits that had been Mattie's that I couldn't find. I finally decided that I must have a missing rubbermaid in the attic, so I went looking for it. I found a whole box of clothes that Mattie wore the summer after she turned one that are all 12mos and 18mos...the sizes Presley is wearing now. It was like I went on a huge shopping spree and got Presley a whole new wardrobe. Cute stuff too, lots of Gymboree, lots of little sunsuits and rompers.

I think that's enough for now. Hopefully a post with pictures next!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Sweat Shop

With the exception of church and the grocery store, my entire weekend was spent at home. Kinda rare for us, as we're usually on the go. I cleaned some places in my home that haven't been cleaned in sometime. I ironed three huge baskets of laundry, and put them away (and swore to myself I would never get that far behind again). And I sewed and sewed and sewed. I tried out a couple new projects that I'm planning to list later this week, and finished up some cute things, including this set, which I have listed in my shop today:

It is so cute in person, and can be made in any fabric combo. This set can be made in sizes 6mos to 10yr. I'm loving the fabric!

I have a new pattern for a peasant style dress that can be made with short or long sleeves that I'm wanting to try out. It will be great for fall, I think, with tights or leggings, or with a pair of ruffle pants like in the picture above. I'm anxious to try it out and hope to list it soon.

Finally, I am very excited about some new fabrics I have coming. Some I ordered online, and some I ordered my sister to go and buy for me in her much larger town. I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival and will post pics soon.