Friday, September 30, 2011

{seasonally switching clothes}

When I was pregnant, we decided not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.
I bought one girl outfit and one boy outfit before the baby was born.
Just one coming home outfit.
I’m not sure why I didn’t think about what the child would wear while I recovered.
Be naked I guess. Naked babies are cute. I can see the logic in that.
But before I could even step out of the house,
we received bins of clothes from family and friends.
And our child has never lacked a single thing.
Sweaters? Check. Pants and Overalls? We’ve got plenty.
Onesies and shirts? Take a pick. Shoes? He could wear three different pairs a day.
He is abundantly blessed to say the least.

As a result, I’ve developed a sort of system for seasonally switching clothes.
I thought it would be timely to share my personal rules and pointers 
just in time for the temperatures to drop...

1.       Clearly label bins by age group. 
My bins are labeled: NB + 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months + bigger. I also have a bin for shoes, plastic shoe boxes with holiday clothes (primarily Christmas), summer bathing suits, and winter hats. I don’t sort any of these by size because there isn’t THAT much of it. 
I look for it on an as needed basis. 

 PS: ignore the "fall/winter." That came form the previous owner and I've never bothered to change it.

2.       Keep the empty bin for the current age group in the closet.
(Space permitting, of course.) When the child grows out of something, throw it (literally) in the bin. It will help to keep your drawers and closet free of unused clothes and, when it comes time to switch clothes again, 
all you have to do is fold and store.

3.       Stay true to the label. 
If the label says 6-12 months, but it seems small, I resist the temptation to put it in the NB + 0-3 months bin. A few months ago I found that the Snake was using slightly larger clothing for his age, so instead of going through the 6-12 months bin for “larger” clothes, I went straight for the 12-18 months bin. 
It keeps the guesswork out of it.

4.       Purge as you go. 
If I find something in a bin that just isn’t my style, I give it away or donate it. Period. There is no, “maybe I’ll like it for my next baby.” No way. That’s how people become hoarders. 
I fear unknowingly becoming a hoarder.

5.       Only donate things that are in good shape. 
My garbage doesn’t belong at Goodwill. If there is something with a hole or a stain that I wouldn’t put on my boy, then I can’t assume that someone else would. I also try to donate things that are in perfect shape, but the Snake has too much of. There is no reason a 1-year-old needs 5 sweater vests in 5 different colors. That’s not an exaggeration.

6. Shop after purging.
Before I went through the bins, I had an itch to get him into some jeans. Thank goodness I looked before going out and spending money on pants because there were two pairs that fit him right now and one that will fit him in the winter.I did realize, though, that the Snake had no warm pajamas 
so I've been looking around for sales and bargains. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

{embrace: longing for fall to come back}

My little boy is getting so big so fast.
(I know, I know, I haven't posted about his birthday party
but patience please grasshoppers)
For now, here are some recent pictures my husband dearest took of us at the park
during my father-in-law's birthday celebration.
Notice the long sleeves? And the vest?
That was a tease.
Temperatures dropped to the 60s for a weekend
and then made their way back up to a very humid 80s.
I got so excited for the fall, too.
It is our favorite season around here. We're happier people.
Turtle necks, vests, Chucks, and scarves.
Not to mention apple picking, mums, and donuts.
I can't wait!

These pictures will hold me over until then!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

{happy birthday, old man}

You see this stud muffin?

It's his birthday today. 
BIG 26
He is officially a member of the "almost 30" club. 

Babe, I love you more than you will ever ever ever know. 
You are a wonderful husband and dad
... and an overall delightful human being. 
Please keep me laughing until I am 97 and you are 100.
... but please always remember to keep the volume down. 
(Although, we might actually be deaf by that point 
so maybe you can keep it up high so we can hear)

Happy Birthday, Philip Matt!

Equally as important, this is the lovely lady who birthed him. 
He loves her and I love her
because she taught him how to love me.
Thanks for giving life to my guy, Mom!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

{yikes! taking a leap of faith}

Friends. I need to share something with you.
Over the life of this little blog I’ve gone back and forth about the topics of my posts.
DIYs. Recipes. Pictures.
but very seldom do I share about my faith.
I’m not sure why that has been. It just has.

It is odd. My faith is part of my every day life
yet this space doesn't reflect that. 
I've been reflecting on that lately
and I've come to the conclusion that I had to do something about it.

It all started one day when I read Proverbs 31.
I closed my Bible and went on with my day.
Days, maybe weeks, later it came back to me.
It hit me.
The words kept popping into my head.

A wife of noble character who can find? 
She is worth far more than rubies. 
Her husband has full confidence in her    and lacks nothing of value. 
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar. 
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants. 
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks. 
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night. 
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy. 
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes. 
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come. 
She speaks with wisdom, 
and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 
She watches over the affairs of her household 
and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

(Ok I didn’t remember all of the words. But some.)

I realized it summarized what I aim to do each day.

Being a stay-at-home mom and working (from home) part of the time
has irrefutable demands.
I used to think God would only speak to me in my alone, quiet prayer time.
He’s proved me wrong. Way wrong.
Although alone, quiet prayer time is always my goal,
God knows it is not always possible.
Reflecting on God throughout my day has lead me to find Him elsewhere.
I’ve found Him in my daily chores.
I’ve found Him in washing dishes, cooking dinner, changing diapers, writing articles, doing laundry.

I’ve come to realize that I’m doing exactly what He wants me to do.
Mundane as it may be.

This makes me afraid because sharing is a big time leap of faith for me.
Literally and figuratively speaking.
I don’t particularly like talking about what God says to me.
I’m a private person in that matter I suppose.
I’m worry about how people will perceive me when they know what I believe.

Yet faith, I think, is about getting out of your comfort zone.
It is about being vulnerable when you don’t want to be.

… and I don’t want to be.

But here I go. Taking a step into the unknown.

From now on, you may see more posts like this
telling you about what God is doing in my life.
Not always. They'll pop up here and there.
For the most part, the topics will remain unchanged.
Lovingly Thrown Together, though, will begin to more accurately represent 
the entirety of my life.

Thanks for following along!

PS: Longest post ever!

Monday, September 26, 2011

{behind the scenes: getting a worthwhile shot}

Have you ever taken a picture of a one-year-old?
Well... have you ever tried to get a one-year-old to do essentially anything?
If you have, you should know it's nearly impossible.

The Snake and I had a little amateur photo shoot today to show my brother some love on his birthday.
I only meant for it to take one or two maybe three snaps to get a good one.
How naive.
Shouldn't I know better by now?

Let me just show you what it turned into:

I guess the important thing is that we eventually ended up 
with one decent shot to show on a special 20-year-old's Facebook wall. 

Happy Birthday Uncle Adrian!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{embrace pretty cousins}

I'm linking up to Embrace the Camera again today!

Check out the hot ladies next to me...

They are my pretty and nice cousins.
Catalina. Daniela. Fernanda. 
and me.
I love them. 
I miss them. 
You see, Catalina and Fernanda live 4 hours away from me by car 
and Daniela lives 5 hours away by plane. 
We used to live a 3 minute walk away from each other. 

I could cry.
But I wont (anymore).

Daniela visited last week 
after spending three months in France and traveling through Europe.
We love getting together because it only happens once a year or every two years. 
We love each other. 
Fourteen years of living in different countries
and we still love each other.

I'll never get used to saying good-bye to my cousins,
but my only option is to be happy when we see each other...
and take pictures to remember the good times.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

{happy birthday jake-the-snake}

It was a hot September Tuesday in 2010 when my little Snake joined the party that is our tiny fam. 
He is my every joy and happiness. 
He makes me laugh every single day.
He has made Phil and I the happiest people in the world. 


In honor of his arrival in this world one year ago,
click read more (below my signature) to read his birth story written a week after his birth.
Disclaimer: it is as long as the labor that took to get him here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

{home management binder: the endless to do list}

Update: I am still obsessed with my binder and suspect I will be for... well, forever. 

When I was putting together my home management binder, 
I found that the key was to make it suit my personal needs and those of my family. 
With that said, I will share with you how I set mine up. 
Take what you want but just know that what works for my family of three 
will not be what works for a family of four, five, or ten.

So here we go…

{click on the picture of the template above and print!}

I realized my endless to do list HAD to come first 
because it is what keeps me going through the day. 
A few weeks ago, I had so much to do I wasn’t even able to write anything down. 
I found myself standing in the middle of my kitchen when I had a brief “free” moment 
not knowing what to do… 
so that free moment passed me by and nothing got done. 
That’s when I realized I how much I depend on my list to keep me productive through my day. 
If I think of something I need to do, I write it down immediately 
and trust that eventually, it too will have its turn.

I split my list into the three biggest aspects of my daily life.

Life. House. Work.

Life really takes up the chunk of my time. I should have given it a bit more room on the template.
In this section write down any appointments I need to make, meetings I have to attend, 
commitments to keep, emails I need to send, calls I need to make, purchases to make, etc.

In the House sectionI write down projects I want to do or things I need to clean. 
Though I follow a regular cleaning schedule, 
I have found that writing down what needs to be cleaned each day
brings it to the forefront of my attention. 
I used to just print out a list and post it on my board 
but I always skipped over it.

Work is self-explanatory. 
I write down interviews I have to conduct, research to do, articles to write, and blog post ideas and topics. 

I keep this part of my binder open for most of the day and probably visit it twice an hour... 
ideally to cross things off but usually I just add more things. 

What about you? Do you keep an ongoing list on paper or in your mind?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

{ september 11 }

Ten years ago I sat in eight grade math class 
– first row, on the left, third seat from the door –
when I heard a voice from the loudspeaker. 
The principal told teachers to check their emails immediately 
and directed them to appropriately relay the message to their students. 

 Minutes later when Miss Sigworth came back from her desk, 
she said something happened in the city and that some people were hurt. 
She seemed relieved to tell us that she had already received an email from her sister saying she was okay. 

 “You should go call her anyway…” I said in hopes of getting out of class for a few moments longer. 

 It wasn’t until later that day that I understood that 
by saying she was “okay” Miss Sigworth’s sister meant she was “alive.” 

Whenever I think of that terrible day, I regret making that comment. 
I've never been able to apologize but I so wish to one day.
What an insensitive thing to say, I think. I have wished so many times I could take it back. 
I wish I’d known to keep my mouth shut. 
I wish I’d known the world outside of the school building had been forever changed. 

 I wish I had immediately understood the magnitude of what was going on 
but my thirteen-year-old brain was focused on getting out of class… and my wish came true. 

 Part of the school was moved to the gyms and the other to the auditorium where we spent a few hours knowing very little information as to why we were excused from our second or third day of class. 
Slowly, I think I came to realize that we were in the midst of something really big 
so I took up the administration’s offer to call our parents. 

I walked to the main office to use a phone to call my dad. 
 My dad, at the time a truck driver for a company headquartered in the Port of Newark, 
had left Lower Manhattan approximately 15 minutes before the first plane hit. 
He said he was okay. 
Again… the word “okay” used before I really understood its significance. 
He made it to New Jersey, parked his truck, and drove straight to our schools 
where he picked my brothers and me up before the end of the school day. 

We went home and watched images on the news that are forever ingrained in my memory: 
the cloud of fire spewed from the towers when the planes struck, 
the sudden disappearance of those buildings, people covered in debris running and crying. 
 Honestly, I mostly remember the people jumping from the skies. 
My throat still tightens. That day I learned the definition of the word surreal. 

The town I grew up in has a direct train line into New York City. 
The ride only takes about an hour and many people commute from there on a daily basis. 
Ten people from our town were killed on 9/11. One girl in my class lost her father. 
I didn’t know her very well, but I know she became a different person that day. 
When she returned to school days later she wasn’t the same girl we knew the last time we saw her. 
But no one said anything. We just knew it was what it had to be. 

 At the time my mother worked at a daycare center near the train station 
where parents commuted to and from the city. 
She worked very late that night… waiting for parents who, thankfully, 
all came back and hugged their children and sobbed. 
They cried because for long moments they thought they might never see their little ones again. 
They held them tightly for a very long time as if to make sure that they were real. 

Because I am a parent this year, I have uncovered an entire new level to the pain of September 11th. 
 When I found out my due date with my son was September 10th, I feared he would arrive a day late. 
I worried myself sick about having to celebrate his life on such a sad day. 
Though my son arrived uncomfortably late, I remember sighing in relief 
when I was still pregnant as September 11th was marked off the calendar last year. 

I have cried more in the last few days than I have the past nine years. 
I spent hours going from website to website, reading names, watching and listening to stories of survivors 
in order to write two pieces for work commemorating the tenth anniversary of September 11. 
I read the stories of the people who were in the buildings and in the planes 
and those who bravely responded to the emergency 
and have been brought to tears by the thoughts of their families 
being forced to find a way to live without their loved ones. 
 The parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. 
The children. 
The wives. 

It is heart wrenching to think about what their lives must be like. 
I put myself in their shoes. I try.
 I think of living without my husband. I think of leaving my son behind. 
I think of what it would be like for him to grow up without a father. Without a mother. 
And then I cry. I feel a heavy heart.
 I pray for those who suffer this day. 

I don’t think I have completely grasped what happened that day. 
I’m not sure I ever will nor do I expect to. 
Yet as the years have passed, I have let myself mourn on September 11th. 
Thankfully, I did not lose anyone dear to me in the attacks 
yet I still feel a deep and unexplainable sadness, but I no longer feel I need to justify my sadness. 
I simply allow myself to feel the sorrow. 

on the first airing of his show after the attacks: 

“I grieve but I do not despair.” 

I do not despair because despite the horrible attacks I still feel free. 
I feel to say that believe in God, I feel free to think what I think, I feel free to walk the streets. 
I feel free to love my husband and my son. 
 I feel free, among endless other things, to write a blog. 

Freedom encapsulates everything this country stands for and fights for
… and freedom is something the terrorists will never tear down.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{home management binder}

Finally... the challenge is complete!
Last week I set off to put together a home management binder
and this thing has nearly become my best friend. 
Well... I'm exaggerating...but seriously I love it.

I'm giddy about it.
I know it seems like another way to feed my OCD tendencies...
and that's not a far fetched idea,
but the binder is actually a pretty handy little guy.
I have found that there are fewer papers dispersed throughout the house--
in the kitchen, in the living room, in the tv room, in the bedrooms.
Our bulletin board is looking relatively empty...
but you must know that -- in my book -- empty is a good thing.

I love that everything has a place.
I gives me mental peace.

The first thing I did to put this together was think and decide
what belonged in my home management binder.

I came up with these sections:

To Do


Menu Plan



Shopping Lists



Important Information


The sections are in two rows and in order of most to least frequently used.

I made my own templates and I will be sharing them with you soon, soon, very soon! 
When I upload them I will also talk more about each section and why they have a place in the binder.

Am I crazy for being excited about something like this?
Maybe I am and I am okay with that.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{embrace not being the Snakes nanny}

I just had to show off how freaking adorable my son is.

These were taken during our third annual little vacation to Long Beach Island, New Jersey
Our first one as a family!
2009: Newlyweds
2010: Pregnant
2011: One babe in tow

It was so fun to hang out and play with the Snake
and chat with my hubby
and eat like I've never eaten before
I didn't stop. At. All.

On a side note, please note how pale my child is.
Yes, I lathered him with sunscreen to keep his fair skin fair.
I forgot to put ANY on myself and now I am peeling away.
I digress.
Back to his pale being.
Can you believe someone asked me if I was his nanny?!
Well... I guess I can see how that could be possible.
But no. I am his mama and proud of it.

PS: Check out Emily's pictures of her five kids' bedroom.
Yes. Five kids. One room.
Gotta make it work to bring more of God's little creatures into the world.


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