Thumbelina, My New Sewing Machine!

I did it! As I told you here, I have been wanting to learn how to sew. So my sister helped me out by finding a 10 year old Brother sewing machine on craigslist, and I got it for a whopping $40!! I was pretty thrilled to get sewing and started pretty much as soon as I bought it.

My friend Nancy turned me onto this Youtube tutorial about making pinwheels. It seemed pretty straightforward and only involved straight stiches. So I cut myself some fabric squares to make into pinwheels. The cuts were pretty terrible since I was only using an exacto knife and scissors and didn’t have a ruler. But it gave me an idea for how to make a basic pinwheel, and here is my result! Not bad for a first ever try!


So last weekend I decided to try a couple more projects. I hear that one of the easiest beginner projects is pillow covers, so I thought I would make a few for our bed. I used this tutorial to make two different pillow covers. I got the fabric on sale at Joann’s for $10/yard and I only needed 1/2 yard per pillow cover (not even that much, really). I planned on making them both with the front made out of my nice fabric but the back made out of a cheaper cotton that I paid $5/yard (I bought a whole yard). I already had some pillows at home that I wanted to use as inserts, so I just had to use their measurements. One was 18×18″ and the other 12×18″. When I looked at my pillows, I decided to make one with a pillow front and the other as a wrap-around cover.


What do you think?? I’m pretty proud!!

My total for the pillow project was $18 and that included 1/2 yard each of two quality home decorative fabrics, one yard of grey cotton, and some quality thread for my sewing machine.

Next up, making a quilt!

How I Became a Granola Mama: Discovering Food Allergies

So I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t written this post yet. If you have talked with me for just five minutes (sometimes less, ha!) you are probably aware that our daughter Eden has a milk allergy. It’s something that I have become very passionate about and sometimes a bit vigilante about, because its such a big part of our lives now. So I thought I would share a bit with you about the journey that has brought us here. Fair warning, it is impossible for this to not be a bit long winded or talk about baby poo.


To help you with a little bit of background, I’ll tell you a little about myself first. When I was a baby, I had three sets of ear tubes for ear infections (dairy allergies can cause an increase in fluid/mucous buildup). When I was little they tried to diagnose me as lactose intolerant, but it didn’t help. Growing up, they said it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I just had to deal with all of the GI issues. I also had iron-deficiency anemia. And then I got pregnant. I was one of those pregnant women that, instead of glowing, hated being pregnant because I was always miserable. I was nauseous pretty much the entire nine months. I ended up getting a prescription of Zofran. This quickly became my best friend. If I didn’t take it before I went to work in the morning, I would throw up once I got there.

So I ate dairy. Lots of dairy. They say that milk is supposed to help settle your stomach, right? Well, I tested that theory for sure. Milk, cheese, ice cream, mashed potatoes, milk shakes, and more cheese. It was just about the only thing I was interested in eating. And I was so incredibly sick…

Enter Eden.


My tiny little baby was born just as beautiful as she could be. For the first few checkups I would take her to the doctor, take off her diaper for the naked weight and ask if her poos were normal. They just didn’t seem right, but I was a first time mom and they kept telling me it was fine. (Looking back, I now realize they were filled with mucous.) Then she started having reflux symptoms. She was always fussy, would only sleep on my chest or in her swing (never flat), crying after eating and a big time spit up baby. Then everything got worse. She started projectile vomiting. And then I started noticing black flecks in her poo. As a exclusively breast fed baby, her poo should be seedy yellow-green. No black flecks. I realized that was actually blood. My baby was having upper GI bleeds. She also got horrible diaper rash… So bad her skin would break open and not want to heal for weeks.

So I started doing research. What could cause all of these symptoms? I took her to the doctor after the worst vomiting episode, and she was put on Zantac for her reflux symptoms. So now she was starting to get better with the fussy, and the vomiting, but the weird poo and black flecks were still there. I started talking to friends and started wondering about a milk allergy. Not lactose intolerant, that is a bit different.

Milk is broken down into a sugar (lactose) and two proteins (casein and whey). And my kid is allergic to the proteins. Maybe lactose also, I’m not entirely sure… But the only way to actually figure this out is to cut it out of your diet. 100%. For a minimum of three weeks. Well, in December of 2012 I started cutting out dairy, but only the obvious stuff. I was still eating butter cooked into stuff and little things like that. But Eden wasn’t getting better. So I went completely dairy free in January. No cheating. No hidden butter or cream. Nothing. Three weeks later, my little girl started getting better. Her reflux symptoms decreased (they were still there and she was on medicine for it until she was about 7 months old), her poos stopped having mucous and blood in them, and her diaper rash was finally clearing up. I was thrilled!! Now don’t get me wrong, breast feeding and being dairy free is no walk in the park. It is truly a challenge…

Once she started eating solid foods, things got a bit more complicated. Now I was having to police my diet as well as hers (if you are nursing and your baby has an allergy, you can’t have *any* dairy, and Eden is especially intolerant). Every now and then, I would mess up and Eden would get sick again. Yucky diapers, horrible diaper rash. It was not a fun cycle. Not only that, but Eden’s reactions last a minimum of seven days. They could be up to three weeks long.


I finally gave up breast feeding. It was just too much to worry about my diet making my baby so sick for so long. I stopped breastfeeding her when she turned one so that we could avoid putting her on specialty dairy-free formula (which is very expensive) and she finally got completely better! No more mommy mess-ups! No more diaper rash and yucky reactions! Oh happy day! It was the best decision. My little girl was finally healthy and not getting reaction cycles. But I wasn’t actually feeling better. While JD said that he had so much more energy, felt years younger and had lost 20lb, I still wasn’t feeling awesome GI-wise. And I started wondering if maybe I had another food intolerance. All of the signs were there. I was anemic again. My stomach bothered me a lot. Maybe I was missing something…

Well the next most common food intolerance is gluten. JD decided he wanted to go gluten-light (he doesn’t do 100% diets) which would make my gluten elimination a lot easier. So this past January we went gluten-free. And I can finally say that for the first time in 25 years, I am starting to feel better. Saturday night we did a gluten challenge. I’ll explain that a little bit later in an elimination diet post. And the result? Yep, I’m gluten intolerant. But I feel better!!! It has been a crazy journey up to this point, but JD and I feel loads healthier. We both have more energy, JD has lost 30lb in one year and is the healthiest he has been in years. Now that I am gluten-free, I am not having GI issues all the time and feel like a normal person. I’m taking iron supplements and hope to have my iron stores back to normal soon. And Eden hasn’t had a diaper rash in months.


If all of this sounds familiar to you, you or someone in your family could be dealing with food allergies. I will have a post (hopefully soon) talking about symptom, elimination diets and resources. As well as discussing what it is that we actually eat now. Trust me, it’s a lot easier than you think it is! Also, feel free to contact me if you want to know more. Like I said, it’s something that I am very passionate about, and I know I’m not the only one that has dealt with this!

Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear Aunt Mary Ann

The incredible Kara Tippets, from Mundane Faithfulness, is hosting her weekly Tuesday Grace Letters. This week our assignment is to write a letter to someone who has made a difference in our story. Someone who has changed our tomorrows, loved us well and taught us about life. I am very blessed to be able to say that I have many of these people in my life. I have said this before, and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last time. I have been given several “mommies” in my life. In each season of my life, God has provided someone to be there for me and to be my “mommy”. This has meant more to me than I can ever say. Ladies, thank you. I sincerely hope you know who you are. But there is one very special and dear lady that stands out.


My dearest Aunt Mary Ann,

Over the past several years, you have taught me so much. You have loved me so very well. I cannot possibly begin to say how much it has meant to me. You have given me the gift of a godly example for motherhood. Entering into motherhood is a challenge under any normal circumstance. It is just hard. And in the midst of that hard, you have supported me, challenged me, and shown me how to give grace to myself and my family.

When I was a senior in college, we had a professor talk to us about our futures and where our lives were heading. She told us about this nurse she had admired when she was younger and that woman directed the path she decided to take in life. She then instructed us to think of someone we admired, who inspired us. Someone we wanted to aspire to be like.

My first thought was you, Aunt Mary Ann. I didn’t think of a nurse, professor, professional, athlete, doctor or any other “inspiring” professional. I thought of you. Married young (like me), nurse (like me), and mother of seven. Seven!!! You gave up your nursing careeer early in life to be a mother to your children and wife to your husband. To be one of the most loving and selfless women and mothers I have ever met. This is what I wanted for my life. I was a senior, supposed to be focused on my amazing nursing career I would have, the 20 years in the workforce taking care of others and being a nurse for the rest of my life.

And all I could think of was you. The way you cared for your family. The mother you are. The way you love your husband well. The godly woman you are. The example of stability you provide. And that is what I want for myself. For my husband. For my children. To be able to love my children as you have. To be able to learn more from you in the years to come. To call you and cry to you when I’m hurting and don’t know where God is taking our lives. And to hear once again how God is providing for my family, how much He loves us, and that I can do this.


You have supported me and loved me well through so much hard. Motherhood has made me face some of my deepest insecurites. I think that is the real challenge of motherhood. It’s not the sleepless nights, or the crying babies. It’s not the time management (or lack thereof) or the cooking and cleaning. It’s not the diapers and the laundry. It’s facing the insecurities you thought were locked deep inside but have suddenly come to light.

One of my deepest insecurities was wrapped up in the name “mama”. As you know, my relationship with my own mom is pretty broken right now. I truly pray that God will one day restore this, but for now it is broken. And for a long time the words “mom”, “mama” and especiallly “mother” put a bad taste in my mouth.

For Christmas right after Eden was born (she was only two months old) my sweet sister-in-law gave Eden and I beautiful, matching engraved jewelry boxes. Hers was inscribed with “Eden” on the top, and mine “mamma”. And I didn’t like mine. (Whitney, if you are reading this, don’t stop yet!!) This is hard, even now, to write and admit. But I didn’t like that mine said “mamma”. Because I had this bad taste in my mouth. Aunt Mary Ann, I remember crying to you at some point about how I just couldn’t handle being called “mama”. I liked “mommy” because it was endearing and sweet. But not “mama”. It is a remarkably difficult thing to be faced with something like this. Babies can’t pronounce “mommy” very early. They start with “mama” because it is easier to say. And I cried about that very idea and not wanting my precious baby to call me that.

And then a few things happened over a little bit of time. I heard your girls, my cousins, just calling you “mama”. It wasn’t negative or anything like that. It just was. And then I heard my hubby calling his mom “mother” (in my mind, the worst). But it wasn’t bad or insulting. He said it endearingly. And this helped to soften my heart. Soften me towards my own mom as well as myself. The first time I heard Eden utter the word “mama” I was elated! I now love to hear her call to “mama”!! And the jewelry box makes me smile at what a sweet gift it is. I love being Mama. What a relief! What a gift of grace and love!


Mary Ann, you have also taught me how to show myself grace and my family love in my home. The whole reason I started this blog was to journal my misadventures in mommyhood. To share my struggle with cleaning and maintaining a home with others. And you have held my hand, hugged me, and cried with me as I have struggled with this. Just the other day I found myself asking you how you fold laundry! Haha, such a basic skill in life but I need pointers! And you graciously invited me to your home for a laundry lesson. (Seriously, let’s schedule that…)

You have helped me to understand how to better take care of and love Jd. How to pray for him and support him. How to be a godly wife and mother. How to raise my children to think and focus on Christ. How to keep my focus on God when I’m stressed about the dishes in the sink and the pile(s) of laundry on my floor. And you have taught me that I honor God by loving my family well. By providing them with a stable and (relatively) organized home. You have shown me what it means to even have stability in a home. That isn’t something I ever really understood, and never would have understood without my mommies.


So thank you. Thank you for loving me so well. For loving my family so well. For teaching me what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. For teaching me how to shepherd my family. For teaching me to respect and love my husband well. For showing me grace and teaching me how to give myself grace when I fall flat on my face.

I love you more than I can ever say. I thank God for the relationship we have built. And I can’t wait for my laundry lesson!


Mundane Faithfulness

So ya’ want to sew?

Okay, so those of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed my recent desire to learn how to sew. I even signed up for a free Craftsy online sewing class! There’s just one problem.

I don’t own a sewing machine…

Well, my very helpful and thrifty seester went on Craigslist for me today and found a basic 10 stitch Brother sewing machine! And it looks perfect. And, even better, within my price range! In fact, I’m “sew” excited about it, that I’m already writing this post (see what I did there?!) And I have no idea if I will even end up with it, haha!

But before I get too ahead of myself, I’m wondering what have been some of your favorite basic sewing projects? (Psst, this is where reader participation comes in!) So, I’m calling all seamstresses! You know who you are! What is your favorite basic sewing project? And just for fun, what is your most impressive to date? I would love for you to send in pictures!

Any favorite inspiration websites or bloggers? My favorite Sherry from YHL made her daughter a fun looking quilt! How fun does that look?! Maybe I should make Eden a quilt… If we weren’t moving soon, I would consider curtains… Maybe some placemats, or a table runner?

What is your favorite beginner machine? What did you start on? Was it your grandmothers vintage Singer? Or a new basic Brother? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not I actually score a sewing machine, and if I do, the projects I embark on.

Be honest, did you name your sewing machine? I need to come up with a good one…

Dear Future Christy

So to preface this post, I want to say that I am joining Kara Tippets from Mundane Faithfulness in her Tuesday Grace Letters link party. (And if you don’t already read her blog, you need to start. We all have so much to learn from her story and her heart for God.) Her first assignment for us is to write a letter of grace to ourselves 10 years from now. So if you couldn’t tell already, this is definitely going to be a more serious post. Thinking about writing this post, I have mostly questions. I’m not entirely sure where to begin, but here goes…

Dear Future Christy,

So where are we now anyways? I think that is the biggest question I have for you (me?). I can’t even begin to imagine where God has taken us in 10 years time. This is where I am now:

IMG_1561 blackberry resize


Toddler tantrums and blackberry covered faces.

So where are we now? Where do we live? Do I have more kids? I sure hope so… I love this little booger, but man can she drive me nuts. Everyone seems to say that the hardest years are now. And in this moment, they are hard. This life can be so overwhelming, and yet wonderful. I wouldn’t skip this for anything.

But have I learned to give myself grace yet? Grace to be a mom and a wife without fear? If I’m honest, right now I don’t do that well. I fear failure. Failure as a mom, and especially as a wife. I have seen so many marriages fail. Fail because they “fell out of love”. And I fear this. I fear not keeping the marriage our priority, and God our first focus. Jd and I have said for a long time that if you focus on God first, and your marriage second, the kids will naturally be blessed by a trickle-down philosophy. I hope that that has remained true.

I think that is what I want most for you, future me. That you don’t let the sports and the school and the day-to-day-mundane bog you down and forget to keep your focus on Christ. I hope that the day-to-day hasn’t over-run your marriage and romance. Do you still remember these times?

wedding meal


When all we cared about was being able to sit down at our wedding, by ourselves, to grab a quick bite to eat before mingling? And a little ways down the road life got a bit more complicated. Graduating and moving across the country with nowhere to live and not a lot of money. But God provided for us.



That is one thing I am still trying to learn. How much God cares for our little family and provides for us at every turn. Right now, that is hard to remember. We are in the midst of so much uncertainty today. In two weeks, we don’t know where we will be living, or where the money will come from to feed our family. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic with that statement, but that is definitely all I can see and that’s only looking two weeks in the future. Do you see why I can’t imagine where I am 10 YEARS from now?? I can’t imagine two weeks. One month. I have no idea where God is taking us.

But I need to rest. Rest in Him. And remember most importantly that HE is in control.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat’ or ‘What will we drink’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows, that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ - Matthew 6: 25-34 (emphasis mine)

I know that God is trying to teach me this right now. To rest in Him. I pray this lesson is not forgotten, it has been hard learned.

What about this?



When we met our daughter? And Jd held Eden for the first time? God blessed us with this precious daughter to love. She would be 11 years old now! That is so crazy to think about. I hope and pray that she loves God. I have prayed for her since before she was born that she would understand the love that God has for her. I hope she knows that. I hope all of my children know that. The children I have not met yet; but you, future me, you have. You have seen their faces and watched them grow.

Is it sad that pregnancy still scares me? The fear of loss. Once again, not resting in Him. Not resting in He who’s “eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Ps. 139:16) I hope God has blessed you with more children. And what of adoption? Adoption has been such an amazing part of my life, and I dream of one day adopting a little child who needs a forever home. Has that happened yet? Or maybe you are in the midst of an adoption journey?

See? All these questions. I have so many questions, future me.

But I hope you have found grace. I hope you give yourself grace daily. Grace to live in freedom and without doubts and fears. That you are resting in the Lord and in His love for you. I hope you are seeking to understand “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” – 2 Cor. 12:9


P.S. Have you figured out a laundry system that works yet? If not, well this letter is supposed to be about grace, right? But maybe find someone who can help you out with that one…

P.P.S. Did the beach house ever happen? Does Jd own a company? Or should I be asking how many companies?

P.P.P.S. Do you have an annual Masquerade Ball? If not, you should revisit that idea, its solid.


Mundane Faithfulness

Operatastic Mommy Break

This weekend the Opera Theatre of the Rockies performed the French opera, “Lakme”, and my friend Karin, was one of the singers. I have been wanting to go see her perform for a while now, and this seemed like a great opportunity!


It’s been so long since I have been able to add anything to my Playbill binder!!! Yes, I have a Playbill binder. Isn’t it great?!

My hubby was nice enough yesterday to, instead of coming with me to the opera, and yawning the whole time, stay home to watch Eden. Opera really isn’t his thing… but it was right up my alley, and I was wanting a mommy break.

So yesterday afternoon, I went solo to the Opera. This was actually my first opera, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that subtitles have become pretty standard at the performances (which helps tremendously, seeing as the entire performance is sung… in French.) Also, it is rather helpful to read the synopsis before the production to understand what is actually happening.

The singing was fantastic! The lead soprano, Brittany, had an incredible voice. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance of the famous aria, “The Bell Song” as well as the “Flower duet”.

And for being my first opera, it was really fun! Again, the subtitles (well, supertitles; they were projected onto a dropdown screen) helped a lot. The music was wonderful, the orchestra fantastic, and of course Karin was pretty amazing! Karin had a very fun role in this opera, and she was fantastic! It was really neat to get to see a friend perform something like this, and she has an incredible singing voice. I truly enjoyed getting to see her.

And one of the truly fun parts of the production was the dancers from the Natyasangam Dance Academy. It is a dance academy that teaches traditional Indian dances. They did an amazing job bringing the authentic dancing and attire to life.

IMG_2818Doesn’t everyone wear fancy hats to the Opera? Oh, no, apparently not. We should definitely bring that back! Who doesn’t love an excuse to look fancy and wear a great hat?!

All in all, it was a great time away from the baby, and a fun cultural experience. Have you been to any plays or operas lately? What is your favorite? I wonder what I will go see next. the Opera Theatre of the Rockies is performing “The King and I” in July. How fun would that be??