Small Bis Love | Gidsy & Jo

Thursday, May 21, 2015

As both a mom and a creative, I am constantly on the prowl for beautiful art and decorations to add to Naomi's nursery. It doesn't have to be fancy, but there's something about rocking her to sleep at night and gazing around at all the special art prints and hand made goodies we've gotten as gifts or the like for her these past few months.

When I came across Martha's Gidsy & Jo Shop, I knew I needed to snatch up one of her adorable prints. She mixes of textile and digital print, with Bible verses that small children can understand. The original embroidery is beautiful and knowing that it came from a fellow mama makes it all that more special. Plus, there's dinosaurs and birds (insert all the heart eyes here).

One of the biggest gifts we can give our children is our faith. Faith in a God that is present and active in their lives. A God that loves deeply, and brings about freedom and life and light. A God who wants good things for them and will always be their protector. I can't wait to hang this print in Naomi's room as a reminder of who her God is.

Not only does Martha make beautiful prints, but her blog is chalk full of excellent resources and encouragement for other mamas. The shop is launching TODAY so head over to her blog for a discount code and go nuts. You will be so blessed by her!

Find the Gidsy & Jo:

On Letting it Go

Monday, April 20, 2015

I'll be the first one to wave the motherhood and business flag. Chase after what you're passionate about? I'm on that train. When women, especially mamas, use their gifts to bless others through small business, crafting, blogging, homemaking or otherwise, I get super fired up. The world is better when we are all living into our purpose.

But lately, I've been trying to do both motherhood and small business at full speed ahead. Not to mention housework, self-care, wife-hood (Is that a word? It is now), and squeezing in some fun now and again. I am the first one to plead guilty when it comes to buying into the Instagram Highlight Reel where we see other mothers, women, business owners, DIYers who, through their little pretty squares, appear to be doing it all and experiencing great success. And here I am, burning the cheese on the "nachos" for lunch, wearing my workout clothes from yesterday and eternally bouncing our four month old on the blasted exercise ball praying to the sweet Lord Jesus that her eyes start to close. Run a business? Yeah...right.

Last week we had a little come to Jesus moment in this household. I was tired, defeated, cranky, messy, and feeling stretched to full capacity. I was not being the best mom I could be and I was trying to work productively in the tiny cracks I had of the day. And here's the thing: it's my own fault. I alone was the one holding my own head underwater, expecting a pre-baby output in my post-baby lifestyle. It was my own constant striving after the things I thought I wanted that was keeping me from experiencing real peace, joy, and contentment in my current reality. 

So I'm chucking the expectations and agendas out the window for a little bit. It's time to spend a little season simplifying, refocusing, and dwelling in the current place God has me -- because there is purpose in that place. There are many glorious days ahead of working on some house projects, trying new recipes, taking long walks with our little family, being out in the warm sun, and digging into some fun projects just for me...just for creativity-sake. Simply put, I want to spend some time doing things that are too awesome for the internet. Amen?

If this is you too, if you are burnt out, tired of striving, weary from spreading yourself too thin, know that you are in good company. If you are holding your head just under the surface instead of taking some deep, deep breaths of the fresh air right above, I'm right there with you. May this be your official permission slip to let it go. Let all the things go. And take some time to dig into the good marrow of your current reality. Because there's good stuff there just for you. There's contentment and joy and inspiration and refreshment there just for you.

Candy, Poofy Dresses, and Traditions with Kids

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Look, I like the Easter Bunny as much as the next person. Okay, maybe not. The life-size bunny? I'm not so sure. But the chocolate eggs! Oh the chocolate eggs. Holidays are chalk full of childhood memories, family traditions, and, of course, sweets. Just the other day, I was reminiscing about how I loved searching for my Easter basket every year...and how every year either mine or my brother's was hiding in the dryer. But having a kid this year for the holidays feels like a game-changer.

Yes, I want to carry on some fun family traditions with Naomi. I want her to enjoy her Easter basket, wear her big poofy dresses (I'm dying of cuteness overload over here), and remember all the special things we did with her on those days. But there's a part of me that wants to throw it all out the window -- Santa, the Easter Bunny, the gifts on top of gifts on top of gifts. Part of me, in fact, wants Naomi to be the girl in school that tells the other kids that Santa isn't real. Is that mean? Maybe that's mean.

Having children feels like an opportunity to start fresh in a way. It's a chance to throw out all the bad stuff and start new rhythms and traditions and ways of thinking that are more about what they should be about. I have the biggest desire to REALLY make Christmas and Easter about Jesus. And not in a "glue together a popsicle cross and call it good" sort of way. But in a way that makes him the center and everything else a fun surprise on top of something that's already good enough. Because our faith, our God, is a good enough reason to celebrate. It's the only reason to celebrate. The gifts, traditions, and treats are the cherry on top -- ideally a meaningful addition to the central celebration.

I want to raise kids that call B.S. on the Easter bunny. Maybe that's idealistic of me. Maybe that's mean to shatter childhood fantasies about life-size mammals and a magical old man who rides a sleigh in the sky. But maybe, just maybe, our kids would give gifts in reflection of what gift we've already been given. Maybe they would be excited on Easter Sunday because it's a day to celebrate new life, the redeeming of brokenness, and the hope we have in things that outlive us. And the candy, fancy dresses, and traditions would be things that lie in the shadows of what we're really celebrating.

What do you think? How do you keep meaning at the center of your holidays without squashing some of the fun stuff?

april goals

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I love the beginning the month -- fresh start, fresh goals,'s springtime!! All the party hat emojis! Here's a little recap on this month and a look ahead to April. I'm getting a little ambitious but I'd really like to tackle some different things this coming month.


MEAL PLAN FOR THE WHOLE MONTH - This is still a work in progress. I would say three out of four weeks got planned, with a few nights eating out. I will say that a big success for us was eating out only on planned occasions, and not just because we forgot to plan dinner at home.

SET UP GUEST ROOM - Check! Before March, we were essentially using our extra room for storage. WE had several people stay with us this month and it felt so good to transform that room into a friendly, clean space.

SORT OUT HOSPITAL BILLS AND ADDRESS CHANGES - Check! That whole having a baby thing is kind of a financial mess. It felt really good to get started on some of the admin stuff this month.

ESTABLISH A WEEKLY ROUTINE - Well, we did have one...and then little Nay Nay decided to stop sleeping and change up her whole pattern. So...we'll have to hold off on sticking to a routine for now.

PHONE-FREE AFTER 9PM - This has helped so much this past month. I was better about it at the beginning than towards the end. But I think it's really important to have some time at the end of the night to not be distracted by social media, emails, or work stuff. I sleep better and am mentally healthier for doing that. Definitely going back on my list for April.


+ Continue the no phone after 9pm thing.
+ Continue to meal plan each week. So far, the first week in April is a win.
+ Work out three times a week. I have a workout buddy and that's toooootally helping.
+ Eliminate soda. (It's counterproductive to the above goal and not helping the "lose the baby weight"    thing.)
+ Finish a book.
+ Attend community groups in the area and make meaningful connections.
+ Add another product to the Primavera Studio shop (excited for this one!)
+ Restructure website/blog. This may take longer than just one month but I'd really love to simplify my blog & business website. Not sure what that looks like quite yet, but I think it's the right move.
+ Plan a baby-free night out. We ate Mexican and shot pool this month and it was so good for us to get out. We are so doing that again.

If you've got goals too, let's hear 'em!

Keeping the Memories

Monday, March 23, 2015

There are so many moments in this new journey of motherhood that I wish I could store up forever and ever. I want to remember her first little smiles, the way she curls up on me when she’s sleepy, her little peach fuzz hair, even the incessant bouncing on our exercise ball to get her to fall asleep. I know these moments are so fleeting and I don’t want to look back and forget all the little things about Naomi’s babyhood.

During my pregnancy, I pinned and plotted so many cute ideas for recording memories. There were giant, involved craft projects in the making -- scrapbook ideas to capture every blasted shrivel of information I could process about this little being of ours. But then the reality of new motherhood set in. And now, I rejoice at the opportunity to take a long shower, drink my whole cup of coffee in one sitting without reheating 2 or 10 times, or heck, put on a “real” outfit before 4pm. The basics of every day life swallow up much more time than before and soon those well-intentioned scrapbook and memory keeping ideas fade into the distant, fantastical wonderland that can only be fashioned in one’s previous life.

Rachel from Printed Ink Designs totally gets it. Moms rarely have the time (or energy) to record their baby memories with big, elaborate craft projects. She just recently put out her brand new joyful beginnings journal and let me tell you, it’s really the perfect solution.

I am absolutely in love with the beautiful, hand-painted hard cover, the perfect little spot to write in Naomi’s name, and the page after page of simple, usable spaces to jot down quick memories, a short prayer, and the stats from the doctor about how big she’s already getting.

My favorite part of this journal is the milestone section, one page for each month, where you can write in their favorite foods, their little habits, notes, and the big milestones (you better believe our first successful airplane ride was marked in their immediately!) I’ve always said that moms should have a girl scout-like vest with badges earned for their kid’s big moments – sleeping through the night, nursing in the car, first time your kid rocket launches poop on the wall (just me?), and the time you survived an entire day’s worth of traveling with your 2 month old. Let’s be honest…a kid’s first birthday party is so not for the kid. It’s a celebration for the parents that they managed to keep another human alive and healthy for a whole 365 days. But basically, what I’m saying, is that this journal is totally my girl scout vest.

I keep it on my desk or tucked in our diaper bag and yes, I do find the 5 minutes every few days to jot down something I want to remember 10, 20, 30 years down the road. It’s so realistic for the new mom life and I am really thankful to have it for Naomi as a keepsake of her babyhood. You don’t get these days back, right?

As a simple, meaningful motherhood flag-waver, I would totally buy this for any baby shower. It’s one of those super practical memory keepers that fits the pace of new parenthood and, well, it’s pretty to look at. We have the pink floral one for Naomi but Rachel also makes a blue and white striped one, if that strikes your fancy. You can find this gem in the Printed Ink Designs Shop, and follow along on social media here and here. Thank you Rachel for sending one our way! 

The Art of Fatherhood

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This is hard for me to write. Not because I don't find deep truth in it, not because I don't think it needs to be said, but because it's a strikes a very real cord with people. We carry so much baggage from the families we grew up with and maybe even the families we create and I'm not here to speak lightly about that. But I do want to speak some life into the sacred space of parenthood in a way that our culture kind of stopped doing.

Somehow it seems to have become the norm for women to take sole ownership of raising children. Maybe it's stems from past generations, from societal expectations, from gender specific roles pushed onto us as children. The source is complicated and I know carries a lot of weighty emotions but the reality still stands. Since having a child myself, I have heard mothers speak over and over again about their husband's inadequacy and their all-encompassing role as a mother.

It's my body. 

It's my baby. 

It's my pregnancy. 

I'm the one responsible for nursing. 

What does he know about raising kids, he's a guy." 

If you think it's bad for you, you have NO IDEA what she must be going through!

That last one is the famous one-liner, right? We love to dish this one out to new fathers who's wives just accomplished the incredible feat of giving birth.

// I want to say before I continue that the structure of family and our past experiences or beliefs about what that looks like are all huge topics. I am in no way here to shame, judge, or make off the cuff comments that are harmful. All I am here to say, really, is that we need dads! Fatherhood is so important! Men can be incredible caretakers and leaders of children. Okay? Okay. Let's continue. //

Here is the reality: if we continue to exclude men from the parenthood experience, then we should continue to expect their absence. I immediately felt needed in the motherhood role. Being pregnant and nourishing our baby is something only my body could do. I really was responsible for the feeding. My body really was the one that experienced the pregnancy. It really did feel like my baby. And she was. But she was also very much his.

I see my husband with that little girl and can't think of a better example of the gospel; just buckets of grace and love poured out all over the place. I see him reading stories, playing games, running around the yard, having the hard conversations, and teaching her what it means to be a respectful and loving human being. The relationship he has with our daughter will never be one I can relate to as her mother. It's unique, earned, and very much needed.

No, he will never understand what it's like to give birth. He won't ever understand how hard it is to start nursing, how painful our bodies feel after the whole ordeal, how crazy connected we feel to that little tiny human being in a very physical way. BUT we will never know how he feels watching the person he loves the most in this whole wide world be in so much pain. And what it feels like to stand on the sidelines during those first few weeks of excruciating attempts at nursing and feel completely helpless. What it must feel like for his instincts of fiercely providing and protecting his family to be in jeopardy. We won't know. And we continue to discredit those things, how will they ever feel like an integral part of the process? How will they ever want to stay equally involved?

As women, we have the opportunity to stand alongside men and encourage them in that role they have.  We can help them feel needed in the process because, oh, they are so needed! I can remember very specific nights (or early mornings) where I looked at Jeremy square in the eyes and told him how much I needed him. Not necessarily to do anything or say anything -- I just needed him there. I needed his presence and his arms to hold that child when I called mercy. It's a two person gig, that's for sure. And it can totally be our job to speak that truth out loud instead of claiming the parenthood title for ourselves only.

So what do we do about that?

We stand alongside each other. We speak good things about one another. We stay on the same team and avoid making enemies out of one another because this parenthood thing is not something you can stand alone in. We uphold the role of fatherhood just as we do motherhood. We can't continue to push it away or act like it's less important.Yes, they are different. Yes, at times it feels like one bears the load more than the other. But in the end, we were created to do it together with our own strengths and in our own roles. This is family. This is the gospel being played out in a very real way. And ultimately, that's what this whole thing is really about.

// photo cred to my dear friend Clare

Naomi Grace | A Birth Story

Monday, January 19, 2015

Miss Naomi Grace is one month old today. WE MADE IT A MONTH YOU GUYS. I think it's safe to say that the past month has been the most challenging of both our lives. But this whole parenting thing? It's pretty darn incredible. Throughout most days I have moments when my heart could just explode with how much love I have for this little girl. And then other moments when I find myself bouncing her on the exercise ball for hours on end, debating how long I might last before I wet myself if I don't use the bathroom sometime soon. Too much?

We were expecting her debut on December 4th. ELEVEN days later, I tapped out and picketed outside the midwives office asked the midwifes to be induced. Before we went into the birthing center, I reluctantly admit to taking a few tablespoons of castor oil to...ya know...move things along. I'm still gagging over the sink just thinking about it. And no, that melted plastic-like "oil" didn't convince Naomi to budge. 

So we went into the birthing center on a Saturday night to be induced. The hours that followed involved lots of Seinfeld and McFlurries and "oh! I THINK that was a contraction" contractions. Things had gotten much more intense by the morning and all day Sunday was a lot of working through those in hopes of seeing that girl's face by the end of the day. We rolled on balls, walked hallways mid-contraction as the happy pregnant couples toured the center (you should have seen their faces), "watched" the Packer game, and asked the midwife about a thousand and six times...HOW MUCH LONGER?! I was all for the natural birth thing but, friends, if things got real...and they did...I was all for the huge needle in the back that makes it all go away. 

By Sunday night I was put on Pitocin to keep things moving along. And then things got REAL. You never think that you'd find yourself pants-less in a huge bathtub, nearly breaking off your husband's hand bones, sobbing and shaking in pain and using choice words towards a very nice woman that you don't know very well and a nurse who for some reason feels the need to keep pouring cold water in the tub. But there you are. There. You. Are. I finally got out and since I was still only 5ish cm and who knows how much longer I'd be doing was time for the big huge needle in the back. 

So the angels in green gowns and masks came in with their magic potion and papers to sign and bright lights and before I knew it, the very nice man told me how I'd start to feel a warming sensation crawling up my legs. YES SIR, YES I DO! THANK YOU! And all I could think was...everyone should have babies this way! Even though I totally respect any and every way people want to have their own babies. After 24 hours of labor, I could finally close my eyes for a hot second and gather the scattered pieces of what was left of me so I could finish this thing. 

We did not have a baby that fact, my dear out of town sister slept in the bathtub that night and Jeremy in a chair as we waited for Naomi's head to move it's way down so I could finally push. After several hours of holding a peanut shaped exercise ball between my legs and a little bit of sleep, Monday morning came and it was time to push. Two and a half hours went by and we were still at it. Since her head was facing up, it was nearly impossible to try and turn it and impossible to birth a baby that way. I rested for a half this time I had not eaten or drank any water because of the epidural for over 12 hours. Oh! Did I want some water. A person cannot go on like that! 

This little girl and I and the good Lord in heaven had a little exchange of words that morning. This baby was going to come out. She was! So we went back at it again. During that time I'm pretty sure the midwife made me order breakfast and asked me why my toenail polish did not match my fingers...the master of distraction techniques I tell you. The epidural had started to wear off and I was like, "Oh h-e-double hockey sticks NO." I got a small little tie-me-over dose and an hour later, after 3 hours of pushing...she was out. She came FLYING out. I have never felt that kind of relief in my whole life. And there she was, our little girl. Her forehead all bruised and her noise smooched in on one side. We had a hockey player on our hands! The rest of the morning was all a blur. Pretty sure I guzzled some water and ate that breakfast I ordered hours before. And dear sister who slept in the bathtub got a chance to hold her before it was time to head back home. 

As far as I'm concerned, there will be no repeat of this whole giving birth thing for awhile if I have anything to say about it. But Naomi has totally rocked our world since then and I am one very, very proud mama. 

Happy one month birthday, Naomi. We made it!

True of 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

There has been a load of inspired goal-setting posts on every inch of the internet come the new year and I am hesitant to add to the noise. However, I can't help but get my fingers on that January restart button and feel particularly ambitious as we move into 2015.

Dearest husband lovingly shooed me out the door a few weeks back in the throws of newborn cabin fever chaos to spend a couple hours forgetting about my current milkmaid-like state and enjoying some alone time. THANK YOU DEAR HUSBAND. Off to Starbucks I went with my brand spankin' new Day Designer with some goal setting worksheets for 2015. I really love the thought of starting fresh and this year in particular feels like a good time to hit that restart button. We are brand new parents, about to move to a brand new city, where we will both be starting some brand new jobs -- he as a pastor and me as a mama and work at home designer.

In lieu of keeping things simple this year, I decided to focus in on five core values that I want to be true of my life and our family in 2015:

1// DEPTH : Depth in relationship, in reflection, in spirit. I truly want this year to be chalk full of deep, honest relationship, real growth, and a focus on sharing the realness of life with those we interact with instead of keeping our masks on. As leaders in ministry the desire to want to make great impressions and be everything for everybody is there. But I gotta tell you...with a new baby and the experience of a thousand life changes happening at one time for us, there's not a whole lot of room for fake. And I'm glad for that.

2// BRAVERY : Brave mom, brave wife, brave woman, brave business owner. I want to take steps in life that scare me and build character and cultivate an environment where the spirit is present and moving us. In the time it's taking me to write this blog post I've gotten up about 10 times to rock, pacify, change, bounce, wrap and kiss my crying 3 week old. I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of moments to choose bravery in the upcoming weeks and months.

3// THRIVE : This means a whole lot of things to me but I really want to focus in on moving towards being the woman I am made to be in our current season of life. For me, this means lots of self care, pursuing passion in work, finding contentment in the daily things, and being willing to walk into the new and unknown.

4// SIMPLICITY : I am a minimalist at heart. Just yesterday Jeremy mentioned that if it were up to me to pare down my craft supplies, all that would be left is a couple notecards and a highlighter. (Which, if I may mention, aren't really craft supplies...) but I digress. Oh, but the things I want to make simple this year! Our belongings, for one, my relationship with social media, household processes, the way I do business...pretty much everything.

5// COMMITMENT : As a new parent, there is a compulsion to hand back the baby to it's rightful owner once crying insues...except this time the rightful owner is me. It's also easy to want to quit #allthethings when being in business scares the pants off me. To shut it all down and forget it happened. Or some days...some days I just want to be Erin. Not the pastor's wife, not Naomi's mom, not anything. Just Erin. But to commit to these things, these identities, these blessings, these responsibilities...the commitment builds character. And we're about that around here. So we're committing to the sometimes hard stuff this year and walking boldly into the not so easy, knowing that God goes before us in that and calls us to it.

2015 excites me. We are putting some roots down, learning to how to be a family of three, and walking into a lot of newness together. I would love to hear what you're all about this year. All the new year's noise has a way of banding together individuals and I kind of like that.
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