20 thoughts and feels from a not so good pastor’s wife about having to (probably) move again.

How do you like THAT title? You like it… You like it….
Warning grammar nerds, I have not adequately proof read. I’m sorry. Can we deal? 

Pew Selfie, New Church.

Pew Selfie, New Church. hi.

I laid in bed last night for a while after Kel fell asleep, feeling deeply sad. The sort of sadness that comes from knowing you have to let go of something, even though you don’t want to. Even though all you want to do is channel your inner four year old and dig in, screaming until maybe… just maybe you get your way.

We are moving again. It’s not officially official but it may as well be. Yes, there is a five percent chance (or less) that we could get to stay but since my thirties is forcing me to be an adult about things (boo forced maturity that comes from three kids and home ownership) 

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Big sister, little sister storytime.

I want to grow claws somehow and dig them into the drywall, hissing at anyone who tries to remove me from our home. I want to go buy 7 spirit hoodies from Noelle’s school and wear them on repeat to represent how very much we are NOT leaving. I want to make mimosas and day drink and whiny text all my friends about how hard this is, because yes I know there are people dying and starving but we have to move. again. dammit. dammit. dammit.

Pass me another mimosa. Or scotch, someone bring me scotch maybe?

OOOH Or Put Big Metal Chicken on my porch Blogess Style? 

This is not, by the way, how a “good” pastors wife handles moving. I am pretty sure they sigh and say something about the will of God and how blessed they are to serve no matter where.

Maybe I’ll get there. Maybe the mimosas will help.

PS I’m not really day drinking. If I were I’d be Netflix binging on Scrubs, Parks and Rec or Gilmore Girls. Or all of the above…. WWLGD? What would Lorelai Girlmore do? 

Probably drink more coffee and kidnap Rory for a trip to boston to eat Chowder in her Jeep.

This is not helping, or is it….?

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So I’m not day drinking or Netflix binging, I’m doing the much more helpful, cathartic thing and whiny blogging about it to you guys. Continue reading

Crazy Easy Little Kid Valentine’s Cards

I’ve always been crafty, so much so that I’m often tempted to make everything by hand and from scratch. I’m trying to reform this a bit because if I don’t I’m going to end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, suffocated after being buried under a mountain of leftover fabric and felt.

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That being said, I just can’t give up homemade Valentine’s Day cards. And I adore doilies, I hold firm to my belief that it doesn’t have a doily, it’s not a Valentine.

However, my son has 36 kids in his preschool class, my daughter? 20.

Then there’s the 15 cards for the play group party and the ones they want to send to their cousins, aunts, uncles and apparently all the cats in the world. Because of course they do.

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So, over the past few weeks I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to combine homemade with wicked simple in an end product that would both involve them and not destroy my home or my sanity.

This is what I came up with! I guarantee you Pinterest has cuter, wittier ideas but these have a special, vintage something… doilies probably. #doilylove

The great thing about this project is that it will take at least 3 craft sessions to get done. Which is a bummer if you’re short on time but GREAT if you are looking for a way to fill the long winter hours.

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Breakdown: Have your kids glue scraps of ribbon, paper, lace and doilies onto a heart. Then place a message over top “found poetry” style and cover with a light layer of mod podge (optional) so it all stays on.

Here is what you’ll need:

Valentine’s Paper (solid colored or patterned, I did both)
Scissors
Glue Sticks
Doilies (never optional!)
Heart punch (optional)
Printer
Mod Podge
Paintbrush
To be honest I had all this on hand, but like I said I’ve developed a mildly impressive craft stash over the years. 

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Cut out the hearts. I did this for my kids but you could totally have your older ones trace and cut out the hearts. I could have had Noelle cut them out herself and hone her cutting skills but in the interest of time I cut them out while they were having a bit of screen time.
Make sure your hearts are a size that you can find envelopes for, I got mine at Hobby lobby but amazon has great deals, like these! 

Prep your materials by cutting shapes from the scraps leftover from the paper you cut your hearts out of. Cut doilies into little triangles too, like lacy pie. Punch out hearts or confetti. The kids can help with this stage!

Give your kids the hearts and glue sticks and let them glue confetti, doily pieces and paper scraps to their hearts. I set my kids up at a card table in the corner so we could keep this project going for a few sessions.

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Glue Glue Glue, Stick Stick Stick. We went through four glue sticks in an hour so stock up!

I marked the back of each heart with the first letter of each kid’s name so they could give their friends and family the cards they made. I feel as though this will prevent kid drama.

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Now print out a cute message. I went old school and did “Happy Valentine’s Day” in a typewriter font, but there are countless witty valentines phrases. I cut each word out separately to have it look more found poetry (or ransom note?) style, but you can do it your way.

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Stick on the words in the appropriate order.

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Now, if you’d like, when your kids are in bed, paint a thin layer of mod podge over each valentine.

Let them dry and that’s about it! Envelopes and off to school or the mailbox! 

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SO there you go, my crazy, easy take on vintage Valentines card designed for young kids to get involved while parents stay sane.

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Penny Family Update

Well I’ve said that I want to get back into blogging. Let’s start with an update, shall we? Then I’ll try to follow this up with a fun, easy Valentine’s Day card project perfect for preschoolers and Kindergarteners. 

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How it actually looked writing this post…

With as many snow days as we’ve had, I still declare winter 2014-15 a fairly mild one… so far. It’s only February after all. I would probably be cool with any winter less severe than last winter which left even the perkiest of Michiganders running for Zoloft and SAD lights. It was 8 foot snow drifts bad, so this? Easy Peasy.

Little miss Clara is 12 weeks old now and a gorgeous, soul-healing, life changing little baby. She sleeps amazingly well at night and only gets up to nurse once (on average… knock on all the wood) and then goes back to sleep until 9 or so. This allows me to help Noelle and Caedmon with breakfast, clothes and their very important, yet terribly elusive socks. I hate folding them, they love losing them… we live in constant sockmageddon.

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We are all loving Clara beyond measure and we’ve had had no jealousy issues with the older two. If anything they’re a bit too into her, especially Caedmon who has been known to pick her up and move her to wherever he is for fear that she is “very sad being alone momma.”

Watching your four year old carry your wiggly 12 week old is endearing and terrifying all at the same time. You want to swoop in screaming and grab your camera simultaneously. But ultimately you have to go with swooping and screaming so as not to encourage the behavior which can only end in tears for everyone involved.

And speaking of Caedmon, he’s still my big hearted, snuggly, opinionated little guy. He’s enjoying the mountain of Christmas and Birthday Legos and presents in addition to lots of craft time. Honestly I think we’re all ready to ride bikes again but we’ve got a lot of waiting to do. He hourly asks me if it’s fourth of July yet… nope… still very nope.

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Noelle is doing really, really well in Kindergarten. We adore her Montessori school and I’m so thankful for it that I well up with tears on a weekly basis. I’ve felt such a peace sending her there. The staff, especially her lead teacher, advocate for her beautiful individuality as they do with all the kids, praise God.

This past fall she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder by a doctor at Brains Potential here in Grand Rapids (I wholeheartedly recommend them if you need help with your kids.) Seeing her through this lens has been so much more freeing than I ever imagined a diagnosis could be. It’s just a way of understanding how she interacts with this world, not a pill, not a stigma, but a way of understanding my very unique daughter.

I’m starting to see with stunning clarity that each child is really and truly an individual who processes, learns about and interacts with the world differently. This is really causing me to call into question a “one size fits all” education model and love and advocate for montessori education.

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Kel has been working for the Methodist Denomination while waiting tables at Carrabas Italian Grill to carry our family through until he gets a full time placement as a pastor again. But he will be done slinging noodles as of February 14 and he will be the interim pastor at Dowagiac First United Methodist church in Dowagiac, Michigan, which is roughly a 75 mile drive from our current home in Northeast Grand Rapids.

This is currently a temporary placement, due to the former pastor leaving unannounced, and Kel being a natural, available fit for the job. He is commuting down there twice a week and staying overnight a few evenings a week to reduce the drive time and expense. I hate going 36 hours without seeing him but it’s only until July.

Sometime in the next six weeks, the Methodist Denomination will let him know where his next, full-time placement will be. The Methodist church uses the itinerant system (click that link if you want to understand what that is.) Which means that basically the Bishop and his Cabinet decide where Kel will work and ultimately where our family will live. It’s part spiritual and part strategic and a hundred percent hard for me to come to terms with, but I’m getting there. It’s hard to know what you’re supposed to accept and what you’re supposed to change up in your life.

Maya Angelou said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” There is something there… when I married Kel I married his dreams and calling as much as he married mine.

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I’m still breathing hourly prayers that we can stay here in Grand Rapids, at the school I fought for and love so dearly, among these walls that we’ve painted, these floors we’re polished and sense of home we have cultivated with moments both bitter and sweet.

But the phone call could go the other way, any week now.

Either way I’ll hit my knees in some sort of Hallelujah, for at least the waiting game will be over.

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And as for me, I’m adjusting well to being a mom of three, usually. I’ve never had so little left to give at the end of the day. I wonder where I went in the hours of my day and yet, still I find myself in their eyes as we play, create and observe life together. I want more than this, even though I am often deeply satisfied with the work of “mom.” It’s both AND. It always will be. There has to be more than this, there is more than this, it’s just spending a lot of time chilling on the shelf right now. For now. Just for now.

It’s a conflicting way to live and I’m likely not saying it well.. but I’m starting to find scraps of time to release a little creative energy out through words, and fabric and yarn. And this is so so good.

So yeah, that’s what’s up with us. More to come. Thanks for reading, really.

What have you been up to? 

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurnerAnd when share with your friends, well that makes me pretty happy. 

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