Monday, April 14, 2014

THE FACTS OF LIFE

Heath snapped these pictures of the kids and me yesterday.  This shot melts my heart, and I will love it always.  We look like we never speak cross words toward each other, don't we.  We look like we've got it all together.  Funny, considering the day before this "perfect" family photo was taken, I was lying in the grass by myself, having a near nervous breakdown.  It's true.  I lost it.  Lost my cool on Enid.  Freaked her out, I'm sure.  I acted pretty much like a raged animal.  Then I walked outside and lay in the grass, calling out to God (the only one who could possibly have loved me at that moment), saying things like, "I don't want to go back in there!"  It's true.  Really happened.

I share this about myself not because I'm proud of it, but because I'm not stupid enough to believe I'm the only one that experiences these things.  Because I hate fraud.  Because it's time we quit trying to make each other think we are perfect.  

Behind almost every great picture are several pretty awful ones.  It's the same with life, is it not?  We put on a picture-perfect show when we leave the house, being sure not to expose what wretches we can actually be, while home, and life in general, is often a mess of outtakes.  



Understatement of the year, but life isn't perfect.  You don't have to be perfect.  Your house doesn't have to always be clean.  Life is soggy diapers hanging out your baby's outfit because you haven't changed it since earlier that morning, and it's lunch time (see picture above).  And life is figuring out what to fix for lunch at lunch time when carrots, a can of olives, and Cheetos are your available ingredients and your account is overdrawn and it's only the second week of the month.  Life is wanting to punch your spouse in the face and still having to sleep in the same bed.  Life is a toddler with decaying front teeth that have to be capped.  Life is not relaxing.  Life is work.   Life is hard!  And those aren't even the hardest parts!  There's real pain and suffering going on which makes you feel even worse about losing your cool over a messy house or whatever.  So then you're left feeling like you are a horrible person because you aren't really suffering, in fact, you are "blessed", and you know no one else is losing it on their kids because they all have the things and wear the things and do all the things that perfect people do. 



Well, I'm here to tell you, everybody is losing their cool.  I don't care what they don't say or don't show you, they are locking themselves in a closet somewhere, losing their cool.  They are lying in the grass somewhere crying out to God.   And what good does it do them to pretend to be perfect?  None.  In fact, I guarantee you they are only feeling guilt for their imperfections.  We are meant to confess things to each other for moral support.  Are you afraid someone is going to look down on you if you share what's really happening with you?  Coming from a confessor, I've never felt anything but validation and encouragement from sharing my downfalls.  Erbody got 'em. 


Having said all that,  I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, always boo-hooing about stuff like laundry, but I think less of us would boo-hoo about laundry if we knew that everybody else leaves a load in the wash to sour from time to time.  We're all doing the best we can.  And ain't none of us got it figured out yet. 


So, lesson 1: You aren't a failure for being imperfect.  And while you don't want to be a Debbie Downer always griping about life (guilty), it's okay, and reassuring even, to talk about the real stuff sometimes. 

And lesson 2:  When trying to get a good picture, take several.




Monday, April 7, 2014

HAPPY LITTLE-BISCUITS LAUNCH DAY!


Holy moly, you should see every surface in my house!  Nevertheless, today is THE day!!!  Little-Biscuits Printable Portraits (and more) is now up and open for business.  Just keep in mind, this is day one and you may or (hopefully) may not experience some minor hiccups.  We're still working out kinks, as many of you who have ventured into small business territory will understand.  But celebrate with us!!  We have worked really hard to create something that I'm pretty proud of.  I hope you will visit the site and share with your friends.  Hooray!!  Happy Launch Day, Little-Biscuits!

Visit Little-Biscuits.com to celebrate!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

TALKING SHOP

Today I'm sharing a little sneak peek into the portrait site I've been working to launch.  Launch date is Monday, April 7th, a week from today!  This has been a fun experience, and I'm so happy to be partnering with my talented friend, Heather, for this venture.  A special thanks to her for all the hard work she has put into this so far and all the hard work we will do together in the future.  I couldn't be more grateful for the smart and creative women in my life, Heather being one of them.

So the site...it's downloadable and printable portraits of kids and pets.  When you purchase a portrait, you also get several templates (bookplates, party invitations, notecards, gift tags, and more) that you can print from home or print professionally.  And we also encourage you to get creative with your portrait!  There are some cool sites out there that provide fun ways to print and create cool products.  For instance, personalized wrapping paper on Zazzle.com!  For real.  It's awesome.  So say you want that wrapping paper, you would just upload your portrait file to the site, and order.  Because you are receiving digital files, you can use your portrait over and over and in whatever ways your imagination leads you.  If your imagination needs some stimulation, we will have a blog on which we will share ideas on how to use your portrait.  

I took the notecard template I made with Enid's portrait to a local printer.  Oh my goodness.  I was not prepared for the feelings these cards created inside of me.  I love them very much.  Can I say that about my own creation?  I hope so.  They are simple and provide space for your child (or you if the child cannot write yet) to write his or her own name, a feature that adds another level of personalization.  

This particular note that Enid is working on is going to cousin Violet, complete with an Easter drawing inside.  

If you purchase a portrait (templates included), you, too, can have notecards printed and give them to your little one as a gift, tied in a nice little bow.


Or get a stationary box for them.  I love the idea of finding a special box for notecards, stamps, and pen.  Would make a sweet gift, no?  For Enid's cards, I took an old stationary box I had and covered it with fabric.  


Speaking of gifts, use the notecards for thank you notes after a birthday party!  Here in the south, post- party thank you notes are a MUST.  

I will provide the link to our site on Monday.  I hope you'll visit and help me share the news!  And for those of you who have asked about family illustrations, I'm hoping to add those along the way, but we are gonna start with individual portraits for now.  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has shown interest in this already!  A great encouragement you've been to me!  Encouragement is a super power we all possess, and I'm blessed to have some superheroes encouraging me along the way.  



Thursday, March 27, 2014

EASTER: SAYING NO TO CANDY AND STUFF

Well...another holiday is approaching.  Are you ready?  Another holiday centered around candy and gifts.  Another holiday that leaves you thinking, "What am I going to do with all this candy and STUFF?"

The STUFF.  Oh the useless stuff.  I hate the stuff.  I don't want the stuff.  Grandparents and school and sunday school teachers, please don't give the kids stuff.  Or candy!  Please don't give them candy.  You know, I'd like to be the one to give my kids candy from time to time, but instead I am refereeing all the candy that is coming in the house from outside sources.  I'm the "bad" guy.  I want to be the fun one sometimes, by golly!  So, fellow citizens and people who know and love my kids, no more stuff.  No more candy.

In an effort to steer away from the candy and useless stuff that will clutter my house, I give you a little Easter roundup.

1. Printable Easter Egg Sewing Cards.  Love this.  Fun, festive, and something that will easily find its way into the trash post holiday.

2.  Printable Eater Eggs Memory Game.  I've said it on here many a time, and I will say it again, my kids love a game of Memory.  This one is free.

3. Kites (diamond // bird).  My all time favorite Easter gift is a kite.  It's perfect for this time of year, gives the kids something to look forward to doing, and usually is broken and done with after one kite flying outting.  Perfect.


Also, unrelated to easter but too good not to share... this & this.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A STORY ABOUT NURSING



Do you ever feel misunderstood?  Or not understood at all?  I do.  Often.  That's why I'm writing this post.  This post will most likely only reinforce the opinions of those who already don't "get" me, but I'm willing to roll with that if this post makes even one other person feel less like an alien.  And I don't like to write lengthy posts, so I'm gonna keep this short and to the point.

Tom will be 2 in May.  Tom is still nursing.  It's just what we do.  I nurse my babies a long time.  And, yes, I am fully aware that Tom eats other foods and doesn't necessarily "need" to nurse.  I also recognize that it is mostly a comfort for him, and I'm fine with that.  It's something he and I share, and it is misunderstood by many, which, by the way, doesn't make it wrong.  

Tom still nurses during the night, too, so I don't spend nights away from him.  I sleep with him every night and have been doing so for almost 2 years.  And, yes, this means I'm sort of a fuddy dud.  I don't go on trips and leave him behind.  Do I like to have time away from my brood? YES YES YES YES YES!!!  Is it exhausting to be "needed" at night by a toddler?  Sure!  But I am a mother.  It's part of my job.  Doesn't have to be, I guess, but it is how I choose to do my job.  I believe it is how mothers did their job for centuries.  Does that mean it's how everyone should mother?  Absolutely not.  I don't think that at all.  There is more than one way to get the job done, and we all should say that over and over to ourselves and to each other.

I also believe there are more out there like me than let on.  Why?  Because you sorta get labeled a weirdo around these parts if you nurse your kids longer than a year.  I'd be willing to bet there are many mothers who would nurse longer if they felt supported and weren't made to feel like aliens for doing so.  As a mother, you are already filled with much self-doubt, so you're sensitive to anything or anyone that makes you think you might be doing something wrong.  So I'm writing this for you.  This is for anyone who wants to keep nursing or for anyone who is nursing a toddler and feeling like a weirdo for it.   I get you.  There are others out there like you.

And to anyone who is nursing a toddler and has tackled night-weening, advice is appreciated.  This is on the horizon for us.

Peace and love to all mothers and fathers who are putting in their time as parents and doing the best they can.  And just remember, you aren't normal unless you're a little weird.