6 months with Liam.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I'm pretty sure you've changed more during this month than in any other month. You're sitting up on your own, putting your pacifier in your mouth all by yourself, and understanding so much more. You rode on your first airplane this month, just a little more than an hour to North Carolina. You were fabulous on both flights, nursing on the way up and sleeping on the way down. We couldn't have asked for an easier travel buddy.

It's very obvious that you're teething with the drool, the constant gnawing, the rosy cheeks, the middle-of-the-night wakings, and a little bit of a cough. We're ready to finally see some teeth after all of this hoopla.

We love you, sweet boy. You make us want to have another little boy just like you because you bring us so much joy. We'll wait a while for that, though.


PS - One of my very favorite moments this month was when Uncle Erik made you laugh from your belly... I'll always be thankful we got this on video!

My one piece of baby advice.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bustin' out of the swaddle.
I try to be really careful here on the blog when it comes to doling out advice. Hopefully, I'm careful in real life, too. I've known people who say, "I only give advice when I'm asked," and I like that policy. Especially when it comes to something as touchy as parenting a new baby. The last thing I want to find myself doing is telling a sleep-deprived, emotional new mama what she's doing wrong. Even if I have the right intentions, it's just never a good idea.

Of course I have opinions (don't we all?!). But I really love the "live and let live!" approach to parenting. You do what works for you and your kids and I'll do what works for me and mine.

So with that preface, a lot of you have asked through emails, Formspring, and comments, one simple question: how did we get Liam to sleep through the night at 6 weeks? Though he's teething now and hasn't been quite as consistent, I'm still happy to share what's worked for us. Again, it may not work for you - no promises here! - but it all comes down to one magic word:


From the day we got home from the hospital, we put Liam in a velcro swaddle, wrapped him up tight, put a cap on his head, and placed him in a co-sleeper on the floor next to my side of the bed. There was no need to rock him to sleep. He just got cozy, sucked on his pacifier, and went to sleep quickly and quietly. Since then - 6 months later - we still have the same routine, but in his crib now. Sometimes for naps and all the time for nighttime sleeping, we swaddle him tight, put a pacifier in his mouth, place him in his crib, turn out the light, and say goodnight. And like magic, within about 1 to 2 minutes, he closes his eyes, turns his head to the side, and is fast asleep. No joke.

I could probably count on one hand the times we've had any trouble getting him to go to sleep. It's crazy! We've even had friends and family stand outside his room and watch the whole process to see just how fast he goes to sleep. They kind of can't believe it (and neither can we).

So there it is. For you who have asked, that's our trick. Our magic. It's going to be interesting weaning him from the swaddle, but we're thankful it's worked so well and grateful for each blessed hour of sleep we've gotten.

(I'm closing the comments on this one because I'd rather not get into parenting debates... but if you'd like to comment or have a question, feel free to email me!)

Thank you, Skype.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Today, I'm so thankful for technology. I'm thankful that Liam got to see his cousin crawl in Cleveland, show off his jumping skills to his great-grandma in Dayton, and see his grandparents in Germany just before they headed to bed... all in the same day. 

Sometimes I can't wait for Heaven, simply because there won't be goodbyes. Technology makes the distance feel a lot closer, but still... I can't wait for the day when there won't have to be a screen between us when we want to be together.

Spring is here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's true.
Though today it's storming (the coziest sewing weather!), Spring in middle Tennessee is nearly incomparable. It's lush and green and gorgeous.

I don't know about you, but Spring inspires me to create. Recently, I've been inspired by so much that I've seen on Etsy. I have no relation to any of these artists listed - I just really love their work!

My current favorites:
This photography print. And this one.
This gorgeous blush pink necklace.
These pale mint coasters.
This happy herringbone quilt.
This baby mobile.
This sweet kitchen painting.
These fabric alphabet letters for Liam.
These art prints in the perfect colors.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shawn and I were chatting last night about Brighter Day and how I've been feeling a little burnt out these days. Just in the last year, I sewed close to 1200 purses by myself. After a while, the constant sewing gets exhausting and monotonous. Don't get me wrong - I'm hugely grateful for the success of the shop, the many wonderful customers, and the privilege to work from home with my little guy. It's just the non-stop sewing that sometimes lasts up to 10 hours a day, and by the end of the day, I'm still not caught up. I'm thankful to now have some sewing help, which is an enormous blessing, but it seems the business keeps growing and we're struggling to find more qualified, available seamstresses.* I love designing, I love interacting with customers, and I even love problem solving. I don't love sewing hundreds of bags a month.

And so it goes with small businesses of all kinds, right? You're so thankful for their success, but it sometimes feels like you've created a monster. Shawn even asked me, "What would it feel like to have a night off?!" and we weren't even really sure. It's been such a long time since we've just had a long dinner, popped in a movie, and took a deep breath. Usually our nights consist of sewing (both of us, if you can believe it). I keep saying, "What a great problem to have!" but as my friend Ashlyne reminded me the other night, "It is a good problem, but it's still a problem." And that it is.

I've closed the shop for the time being because of our upcoming move, and I definitely have plans to re-open as soon as we're a bit more settled. But the more I've thought about it, while I'll keep the clutches in the shop, I'd love to make more than just clutches to freshen things up a bit.

And that's where you come in! You and your input are so valuable to me.

Is there anything you've been hoping to see in the shop? 

Here are some things I've thought about selling...
- Diaper bags/larger tote bags
- Tutorials/sewing patterns
- Paintings/hand painted signs
- More jewelry

I'd love to hear your thoughts... and please, do not feel obligated to buy something if you suggest it and I end up putting it in the shop! I would truly just love to hear your thoughts.

*Are you a seamstress or do you know any seamstresses in the Nashville area? I'm so serious... we are definitely hiring and I'd love to meet with you! Please send me an email if you're interested.

My favorite moment of the weekend.

A father and son.
A quiet moment in the midst of a chaotic weekend.
The beginning of a beautiful thing: a love for music that we pray will grow in our boy's heart.

Right now.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I am... 
... watching the radar and seeing this headed our way. I couldn't be happier about it. I love thunderstorms.
...  staying up until I finish 14 purses. Not my favorite thing, but right now, not a choice.
... trying to let a nasty email from a stranger roll off my back. I have a feeling if she'd said it to my face, she wouldn't have been so venomous. The anonymity of the internet makes manners go out the window sometimes.
... feeling so full after eating Chipotle and apple crisp with Ash & Mase. It was worth it.
... finding a new Tim Keller sermon to keep me company.
... feeling thankful that I just put my shop on vacation mode until we move.
... wondering where we'll move.
... wondering when we'll move.
... wondering why I'm still here procrastinating.

14 purses to go!

Goodnight, friends!

It matters.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Since Liam's birth, my free time has become extremely limited (understatement of the year?). Basically, it doesn't exist. And in this season, that's ok. I have a baby. A husband. A business. A home. Friends. I'm so blessed... just not really overflowing with gobs of time. Is anyone?!

One of the first things to take a hit has been my prayer life. It's embarrassing how easy it is to forsake studying the Word and spending any time in prayer, and ironic because I've never needed prayer more than I need it now. When I push it down to the bottom of my priority list, I am noticeably more impatient, quick tempered, and easily overwhelmed. Sometimes, I am intentional about it and consciously sit down for a few minutes, but then get frustrated by the millions of distractions: the sound of the jumperoo, or a whiny baby, or my phone lighting up with texts or Etsy messages.

I read once that Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, was a woman of prayer. When she needed time alone and had nowhere to spend it, she would simply pull her apron over her head to pray. When her children saw their mother ducking under her apron, they recognized that she needed to be alone with the Lord, and they let her be. Those prayers, which I'm sure were probably desperate and frazzled, bore such fruit in her children and ultimately led to thousands hearing the Gospel. If she made time for prayer as a mother of 19, I'm pretty sure I can make time as the mother of 1.

It matters, friends. On days when it seems like everything else matters a little bit more, I am desperate to remember this. To remember Him, who is the source of my strength, my joy, my peace, my wholeness.

Discounts, discounts.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Looking for Brighter Day bags at a discount? This week you have some options!

On Brickyard Buffalo, the bow clutch is available in 4 different colors: mint, coral, cream, and gray (mostly colors that aren't yet available in the Brighter Day shop!).

And if you missed buying a Sydney clutch last week from P.S. I Adore You, you can find them at a discount here at the new MINe shop.

Happy shopping! 

What does the next generation need to know?

My super talented brother & sister-in-law are collaborating on an art project and they need our help...

They'd love to hear your thoughts on this question:
"What does the next generation need to know?"

I'd love to flood their website with answers from all across the country! They'll be compiling the answers into an art exhibit in Raleigh, North Carolina, and you can read more about it here.

We're moving.

Monday, April 15, 2013

For the past three and a half years, we've had the privilege of renting the sweetest little yellow house in the country from friends. It has been even more wonderful than we could've imagined: the hardwood floors, the open layout, the gorgeous acreage, the sunroom. We're so grateful for the peace it's brought to our lives amidst our otherwise crazy schedules and commitments. I love that it will always be the home where we spent our first official Christmas as a married couple. It's where we found out we were pregnant. It's where we brought Liam home from the hospital. It's where we've learned a lot about grace and forgiveness and faith. So much has happened here in the past 3 years.

At the same time, our plan to move is an answered prayer. It had only been days since we had begun to specifically pray that God would move us into a new season (not knowing exactly what that would entail) - and He quite literally did. Our landlords are needing the house for office space, and it's the perfect setup for them. We've been flooded with peace as we received the news, and peace as we've just begun to hunt around for a new place. Where or how or what is next? We have no idea. We only know that we'll be saying goodbye to this house at the end of May.

We'd so appreciate your prayers in this transition... this moving-with-a-6-month-old-and-a-small-business transition. It would be so easy to feel overwhelmed.

And oh... the picture above? It doesn't seem to have much to do with moving, but I'm just realizing more than ever that they are my home. Wherever those two go is where I want to be.

A day in the life.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

If there was ever a picture of real motherhood, it might be this one. 
Spit up pooling in my dress, hair a mess, half my makeup on, a full diaper, and Liam's arm down my shirt. It's a lovely look, don't you think? What you don't see: laundry piled up the wall and a bed that was only made because we'd just had company.

I used to judge the moms I'd see in the grocery store with no makeup, wearing sweats, and not seeming to care a bit. As you can see, I've apparently joined their ranks - posting a picture like this one for the world to see. 

It's my reality. 
Do I love being covered in spit up all the time? Not really. 
Do I love being his mom? More than anything. 

PS - I know that looks like a lot of spit up. And it is. We've talked with his doctor and he's not concerned - Liam is obviously growing just fine and doesn't seem to be bothered by it a bit. But can I just say I'm ready for him to grow out of this stage?
PPS - I missed blogging last week! Selling over 100 bags in just a few days almost did me in. And that's where I've been. :) Thanks to all of you who bought bags from P.S. I Adore You!

Current favorites from around the internet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

via Lepun.etsy.com

+ This color combo (mint, peach, and white) is my favorite these days. I love these earrings and this necklace that show it off so beautifully.

These pillows are beautiful. I'd take one or two or five.

via NilaHolden.etsy.com
+ These hand painted, hand stamped cookies by Nila Holden are too gorgeous to eat. I adore her entire shop.

via wildventurer.tumblr.com
+ This chalkboard design. I want it hanging in my home.

+ I've never been a huge fan of abstract art, but this artist's paintings are whimsical and fun, and I love her color choices.

+ This online calligraphy course is so intriguing. I'm tempted.

This article by Shauna Niequist about the internet showing a much more perfect side of life is so appropriate and so TRUE. I wanted to "amen!" every other line. An excerpt:
"And on the days when you peer into the screen of your laptop and all you see are other people’s peak experiences that highlight your lack in that moment, remember that life isn’t about the story you tell about yourself on the Internet. It’s about a million more beautiful and complex things than that, like love and faith and really listening. It’s about using what you’ve been given to craft a life of gratitude and passion and grace."
Ok, your turn... any favorites you've found recently? 

O Be Careful Little Eyes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

One of my very favorite things to do with Liam is to sing. I sing hymns, mostly, because I want him to hear the truth of the gospel, even from infancy. My prayer for him is that he would never go a day without knowing God's love for him, and I believe these seeds that we are planting now are not a waste.

Recently, we've been running out of songs. So while we've rocked in the plush brown chair in his room, I've dug in the archives of my brain to try to remember some old Sunday school songs we used to sing.

Jesus Loves the Little Children
He's Got the Whole World In His Hands
Jesus Loves Me
The B-I-B-L-E
God Is So Good

Today, as we sat on his quilt under a tree in our yard, it was O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
So be careful little eyes what you see

Be careful, little ears, what you hear.
Be careful, little hands, what you do.
Be careful, little mouth, what you say.

It's never really been my favorite song, but today it struck me differently. It reminded me so plainly of Philippians 4:8:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
I needed to hear that lyric so much more than my son did.

In an age where information is so easily accessible - hello, internet! - it's easy to be flippant or careless about what we see and hear and take in. I'm not just talking about the blatantly evil things you can so quickly uncover. Of course that's part of it.

For me, though, it's so easy to be careless when I read blogs. There are blogs I sometimes skim whose theology is completely off, but I think their homes are cute or their crafts are clever. So I stick around, and I let the words soak into my heart - whether I realize it then or not. It's easy to be careless as I peruse Facebook. I can easily spend more time on Facebook than in God's Word, and soon enough, I'm formulating my thoughts and opinions based on so-and-so's status that I read in passing. It's just so easy to get sucked in! Sucked into negativity, into time-wasting, into comparison and jealousy.

And it's all because I haven't been careful. Because I haven't been intentional about thinking of those things that are true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable.

I want to be more careful. To be on guard. To listen, to mind, to notice. I want my foundation in the truth to be so secure that when discouragement or lies or misinformation or jealousy comes my way, I can brush it away without a second thought and stand firm in Christ and His love for me.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

A mere four days in, this April has already put a "spirit of youthinto our family. While I'm not able to go into details, some big changes are taking place for us. May and June and July will look very different because of the decisions that are being made in April. Some of the changes are firm and scheduled. We know what to expect and when to expect it. Others are still big question marks, and we prayerfully wait for the Lord to answer. 

I hate to be so vague, but don't worry... I'll be sure to write about this new season for us as soon as I can. For now, I can only share the excitement that God is working and moving and encouraging us to trust Him a little more every day. 
It's not often that I buy flowers for my own home. It always seems a little extravagant and unnecessary if it's just me and Liam holding down the fort most of the time.

But you know what these flowers did for me today?

They made me want to clean the living room around them - and then the rest of the house! - so they'd look even prettier in a clean room.
They helped me to pause for just a few moments to photograph them, admire their beauty, and take a deep breath.
They reminded me that, indeed, Spring is on its way. A fresh new season is sweeping through and we couldn't be more thankful.
They reminded me of Jesus' words in Matthew 6, a passage for which I can always use a reminder. Maybe you can too?
"See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6: 28-34)

P.S. I Adore You

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm excited to announce that Brighter Day is being featured on P.S. I Adore You for the next few days. Have you seen their picks?! Cutest stuff ever (and so terrible for your wallet).

The super popular Sydney clutch is available in 5 different color choices.

Head over and grab a clutch for a great discount. Your purchase also goes to support those with childhood cancer.

Visit P.S. I Adore You here. 

Our Easter in pictures.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I should have titled this, "Easter: Grandparents' Edition" because every single photo includes their beloved grandson (and, really, has very little to do with Easter). 

What you don't see: 
Liam's 3 other Easter outfits (We call him Spit-up King for a reason)
Auntie, cousins, and friends around the table
Lemon garlic chicken, rice, green beans, and carrot cake
An inspiring Easter service, celebrating the hope that we have in Christ's resurrection!
Liam's very first Easter basket

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but post these pictures of our darling, smiley boy in his daddy's shirt and his mama-made bow tie. And as we celebrated new life in Christ, we couldn't help but also celebrate the new life He has so graciously given us this year in our boy.

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