taz + belly: July 2009

Practice Run

30 July 2009

Y'all, other than a stint as a junior bridesmaid about nineteen years ago and my stellar performance as matron-of-honor this spring, I've never been in a wedding. I'm not complaining, I just find it funny. Mostly because Ella will be in her third on Saturday. I'm seriously considering charging a fee.


I finally picked up her dress yesterday and today I made a hairbow and swapped out the ribbons on her Sunday shoes. We've talked a lot about being the flower girl, but she hasn't sounded too excited this go round. I thought maybe what we needed was a practice run.


Turns out, all we needed was a fashion show!

Random Tuesday Facts

28 July 2009

I'm tired and nothing much post-worthy is going on around here. So I'll give you a few bullet points and a cute picture to tide you over until tomorrow.

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  • I loved the season finale of the Bachelorette last night {even though I shouldn't waste my time on such}. I liked Ed from the beginning and I'm anxious to watch ATFR to see if anything has changed since that was filmed. My DVR is on full-steam right now and I plan on watching commercial-free in about 20 minutes.
  • Tonight I had a social event for work - a firm softball game/picnic and we've just walked in the door. Ella had fun chasing the boys, playing in the mud puddles {despite her adorable outfit and coordinating sandals and bow}, and getting an ice cream sandwich from the ice cream truck. Mommy had fun visiting with grown-ups and watching Ella chase the boys, play in mud puddles and eat ice cream.
  • I completely forgot that I'd be gone for 14 hours today and the poor dog was in the kennel that whole time. Lucky me, she didn't have an accident, chew herself out or harm herself, so a doggie biscuit and a romp in the rain cured her blues.
  • Ella told me today in the car that Garan ran out of her toothpaste and I needed to buy her some more. She said she had to use Garan's "yucky blue toothpaste" and that she "couldn't stand it" and I should "throw it in my trash". Whew.
  • I was accepted by Thomas Nelson Publishing House to be a Book Review Blogger, so in the coming months I'll be reviewing some newly released Christian fiction for you guys.
  • I'm missing my mom, who hasn't even left yet, but will be in Tampa for the next 5 days.
  • Ella is in a wedding this weekend and I haven't picked up her dress, made a hair bow or even thought about what shoes she'll be wearing.
  • Ella is in a wedding this weekend and I haven't picked out my dress or even considered what dress or shoes I'll be wearing!
  • I'm missing our sweet daddy and he's only been gone about fifteen hours.
  • I'm thinking about how much that sweet face up there reminds me of the sweet face here and how I hope I'm never asked to fight that battle {please pray, visit and leave them a message}.

Baby Boy


Since Rylan's birthday party was last weekend and his mom has had a chance to show off, I thought I would share his birthday party package. We designed a 5x7 invitation with white envelopes, coordinating return address labels and favor tags. We then ordered water proof labels and created an assortment of designs for water bottles. Rylan's mom said these were a hit!

The silhouette isn't stock - it was drawn from a recent profile photograph of Rylan. Don't you want your babies silhouette on their next party invitation?

Twenty Minutes Later

27 July 2009

Today we had the pleasure of visiting with our best friend from high-school and his two oldest daughters. This is his sister and this is his mom. We LOVE them.

We don't get to see Chris and his family very often, so we are always glad for some face time. Ella was thrilled that Maddie and Breanna joined the fun.

The daddies commented as I was snapping photos that they would be on the blog in twenty minutes. Chris, this is just for you :).

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Unfortunately, Breanna was playing on the other side of the room and I didn't get any pictures of her. She is equally adorable. These two, however, were peas in a pod. They were into everything and talking over each other. When I went in to check on them they were dressing up and having a blast. I couldn't resist a mini photo shoot.


26 July 2009

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Ella loves to draw and follows directions really well for someone her age. Although she is very outgoing and loves to be loud and talk, she also does really well with tasks that require concentration.

As you've seen in previous posts, she can write her name really well. Luckily, the letters in her name make it easy for her, but she practices on her magnadoodle A LOT. Yesterday morning we were drawing together and she was talking about some things she wanted to draw. I decided to show her a few easy things and see if she could imitate them. We drew a flower on a stem, a person and a tree.

As you can see, she's a quick learner. She drew this person from memory today for Garan and Poppy.

It's a Fashion Show

25 July 2009

I just wanted to share some bargains I got recently {most of these, today} for Ella. She LOVES clothes {just like her mommy} and is very agreeable when you ask her to try them on. She tried each of these outfits on {including bow changes}, posed for pictures and modeled for her SD. Notice in a few the change of location - she is very particular.


The outfit on the left is from Remember Nguyen and I ordered it a few weeks ago on major sale. I think with shipping and monogramming and everything it was about $32. It's a little big now, but will be great for Christmas and Valentines. The outfit on the right I got at Little Blessings in Mt. Laurel. Today was the first day of their going out of business sale and everything was 40 to 60% off. This is a 4T, so it will fit much better next year. She could get away with wearing the pants this year, but I think the top is too wide across the shoulders. Either way, I can always make her more pink pants for next year and we can split them up. This was regularly $76 and I got it for $24!


I loved the crab dress and so does she. It is a 3T and although it fits okay now, I think it will really look great in the spring. Ella is pretty tall, so when it comes to pants or two piece outfits she almost always wears a size up. With dresses, though, she can usually wear them for a long time. In fact, she has a few cotton knit sundresses that are 12-18 months and she can still wear them! The coat on the right might be my favorite purchaes of the day. I bought a 4T because the arms looked short and boy am I glad. It fits her perfect, so it will be a great lightweight jacket for fall. I'm thinking about having her name monogrammed along the hem. What do you think?

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These are a size 10, but will be great for next summer into fall. They were $12.50! Ella was a little disappointed when I took the squeaks out of the soles, but you're crazy if you think I'm going to listen to that with every step. She got over it pretty quickly and despite how huge these are on her right now she pranced around in them and Ariel panties for a half an hour.


This smocked outfit is something my mom made last week. We bought the fabric last year and thought it would be perfect for fall, but couldn't ever decide what to make out of it. We finally decided that a two-piece outfit would be much cuter than a dress. I'm so happy with how it turned out and I'm already thinking about buying some new fabric for a few more of these cuties.


Ooooh, this is my favorite, too. I've seen little girls in smocked swimsuits, but I have a hard time spending $50 on a bathingsuit for me, much less a teency-tiny one for her. This is a 4T and was 50% off. I got it for Independence Day/Blue Angels weekend next year. She could probably wear it now, but it will really fit well next summer.

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And finally these cuties. They are a 9 and were also $12.50. These will be great school shoes for spring and are even cuter without the squeakers! I probably should have bought her two pair of these, but my arms were full and I was already preparing myself for a convo with SD.

My friend Amye and I also hit up a local giftshop that was having an annual blowout sale. Their seasonal items were "buy one 75% off, get one free". What!?!? I bought TONS of Christmas decorations in pink, lime and aqua to use for Ella's fancy party. I'm too tired for another photoshoot, so maybe I'll share those later.


And on a completely different note, I've been thinking about what to blog about. I feel like I'm not posting as often as usual and wondered what you thought. Maybe posting some invitations and stationary I've designed so you could see what I can do and maybe order some things :). Or... maybe I can post about things you don't know. I know most of you are IRL friends, but I've made lots of new blogging friends this year. Anything you don't know about me that you wish you did?

Two Mores

24 July 2009

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Let me tell you the two things that absolutely melt my heart.

Ella loves to sing and has really started to pick up the music we sing during praise and worship at church. She's been doing so good in big church and I can tell that she is listening. On Wednesday nights she goes to adult choir practice with my parents and sometimes she even runs up on stage with them during the Sunday worship service when she recognizes a song. I love to hear her singing about Jesus. One of her favorite songs to sing is Mighty to Save by Hillsong, which she calls "Garan's song" because she first heard it in adult choir practice.

A few weeks ago, I bought and downloaded that song along with a few others she would recognize from church and from the radio. She knows every word to the chorus and even serenaded us tonight in O'Charley's. Sometimes, she'll sing Mommy, she can move the mountains. My GOD is mighty to save, mighty to save. It makes me laugh, but my standard response is Yes, ma'am. She sure can.

As sweet as that is, it doesn't compare with I love yous. Since Josh & I got married we've always said I love you more. We don't get all gushy-mushy and have a competition or anything, even when it's one-sided, we often say I love you more. I'm guessing Ella has picked up on it because she says it a lot now, too. Nothing is better than telling her you love her and having her respond with I love you more, Mommy. Nothing.

Sometimes, I say No, Ella, I love you more. Her standard response? We can both love each other more.

Two mores.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I know you'd rather see pictures where Ella is actually facing the camera, so you'll have to forgive the fact that while I attempted to photograph the cuteness, she was spinning "like a princess." What I really wish you could see is how stinking adorable she looks in this getup. It's a cute red ticking dress that my mom made and it barely covers her tushy. The best part, though, is that there are red lady bug buttons on the front. The first time I saw it I asked my mom what she was thinking when she sewed those buttons on and she informed me that Ella decided where they should go. Just know that that are nowhere close to a straight line... they're amoeba-shaped at best.

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SD asked when I snapped this picture, that I please tell you all who taught Ella this masterful skill. And by skill, I'm referring to the wearing of the backpack. Just prior to this picture she took it to him and said, "Do me like Dora." If you don't know what that means, you might be in the wrong place!

I'm only kidding. Sort of.

A Little Blog Sunshine

23 July 2009

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Just a quick post to tell Ellie of Rainy Day Templates THANK YOU. She did an excellent job on the blog redesign and was awesome to work with; even when I had to ditch her mid-install to buy Josh shaving cream.

Her blog templates are affordable and highly customizable... it's like designing your own blog with expertise you didn't know you had.

Thanks, Ellie!

Fancy, Round 2


I was so excited after designing the invitations, that I jumped in full-force for the rest of the stationary package. The favor tags above will be fixed to, well... the favors. I guess I shouldn't tell you what they are quite yet. The return address labels are for the invitations I shared with you yesterday {which have changed a tiny bit, if you want to scroll on down}.

Since we're having two parties, I needed invitations for both. I only need eight for the tea party, but need about 35 for the family & friends party. Postcards will be cute, but help keep the price down. The designs above show the postcard front and back.

Now I can relax. No, wait, I still have cakes to order, favors to arrange and a very special birthday outfit to coordinate. Luckily I still have about six weeks!

::UPDATED:: I'm updating this post to answer the question of how these invitations were created and to address some copyright issues, since I've received a few emails about the process. All of the invitations were created using Adobe products: Photoshop to edit the storybook images and Illustrator for layout, font placement and design. These images of Nancy are copyright protected by both Harper Collins Press and Robin Priess Glasser and I am in no way affiliated with either of them. These invitations are for personal use only and will earn no profit.

I am a graphic designer and my services are available, but it is against the law to reproduce the work of other artists for profit without their permission.

I am, however, available for invitation and stationary design and will completely custom design any printed product you envision. The cost for 50 invitations with envelopes, 50 favor tags, 50 thank you notes with envelopes and 100 return address labels is roughly $75 plus shipping. Keep in mind that the design and lead time both affect the price and shipping charges are based both on the total amount ordered and the amount of time available for receipt.

The package I've posted {including the previous invitation post} would total near $100 with two invitation styles that are double-sided and the larger ones have ribbon ties and specialty envelopes.

Now, I'll get off my soapbox and back to blogging :).

She's Gonna Be Three

22 July 2009

When I received a birthday invitation this week from my Ryan for her son's birthday, I realized I was far behind. Grey is exactly a month older than Ella and I haven't even thought about the invitations. I have the party all worked out in my head, but the day is really starting to sneak up on me.


This year we're having two parties - a family party with cake and ice cream and a tea party for a handful of her fanciest friends. These are the invitations I've designed for the tea party. At the very top of the invitation, I'm going to double-hole punch and tie bows with hot pink sheer organza. I'm having them printed on linen-finish paper, but I'm not sure about the envelopes. Suggestions?

I'm still working on a second invitation design, thank you notes, return address stickers and party favor tags. What do you think?

::UPDATED:: So, I made a slight change to the invitation, adding the little flourish in purple. I also uploaded a better quality illustration because I learned a thing or two here today. AND I think I found envelopes and address labels. The question now is what color?

Books I'm Reading

21 July 2009

How Sweet It Is by Alice Wisler8/8/2009

Surrender Bay
by Denise Hunter
Stepping into Sunlight
by Sharon Hinck

The Passion of Mary-Margaret
by Lisa Samson

Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck

I read. A lot. I'm addicted to the library and Books-A-Million. Some months we spend as much on books as we do on gasoline. Some weeks I read four or five books. Some days I hide in my office over lunch and stare at the words.

When I was a little girl, my mom took me to the library on Saturday mornings. I never remember coming back without a stack too tall to carry by myself. These days, it's my Sunday School class, laughing at the stack I bring from our church library each week. People often ask how I find time to read in between a demanding job, being a wife and mommy and getting my craft on. The only answer I can give is that we all make time for the things that are important in our lives and I cannot imagine a life without books. I steal moments at red lights, my lunch break at work, waiting on water to boil and filling up Ella's nightly bath. Luckily, my sweet family shares my passion. We read as a family, all tucked into bed together.

I read mostly fiction. Some contemporary, some classic, a lot of biblical-based and contemporary Christian. Although my favorite author is Jodi Picoult, my favorite book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. If you haven't read it, get in the car right now and pick it up. You won't be able to put it down. I read it in a hospital waiting room after my grandmother had brain surgery. I've read it numerous times since then and it never fails to bring me to tears.

My mom and I recently had a conversation about what it is like when we read. Josh accuses me of skimming because I read so fast. I don't "skim", but I think I absorb more that one word at a time. To me, the words on a page form a picture, they take shape before my eyes. I read sentences and paragraphs at a time. Books unfold like a moving picture in my mind. Is that weird? What is it like when you read? Do you read single words, moving one line at a time across the page?

I've been thinking about keeping a list of what I'm reading, when I finish a book and what my thoughts were. I could think of no better way to keep track than to start a "Books I'm Reading" blog post. I'll update as I finish books and if you like to read, maybe you'll find the comments helpful. I'll move the most current books to the top of the list and date them as I finish them. If you have a favorite book, please share. I'm always looking for new authors and new books. We
buy them and stack them up around here, ready for a rainy day, or at least water to boil.

You can always click the Books I'm Reading button in the sidebar to find this post and the books I'm reading!

80 Kinds of Fabulous

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Before you ask, no I do not know why there are five tiny pair of sunglasses on this sweet face. The more pressing question is why there are EIGHT tiny pair of sunglasses in my car altogether! There was a pink pair of Dora sunglasses and two other pair of silver sunglasses in the floor that I couldn't begin to reach.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that snuggling with this girl on the couch last night, eating Extreme Moosetracks was about 80 kinds of fabulous. In case you didn't know.


20 July 2009

Did you know that my father-in-law's name is Cookie? Josh and I dated for almost six years before we got married. For approximately 2 of those years, I had no idea what his father's name was. I remember a conversation about looking up their number in the phone book and I laughed because I wouldn't even know where to begin. It's Frank, by the way... I finally got enough courage to ask. It dawns on me now that we've been together over twelve years at this point and I don't know why we call him Cookie. Maybe in a few more months I'll admit that, too.

Cookie's fiftieth birthday was yesterday and we spent the afternoon hanging out in the yard, eating barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, dancing to sing-a-long birthday cards and stuffing ourselves silly with ice cream cake from DQ. It was a wonderful afternoon and we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Cookie's fifty years.


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Slumber Weekend

19 July 2009

Molly spent the weekend with us and to help stave off boredom we took them to the Birmingham Zoo. It was a surprise and they were too excited! It was a nice day, weather wise, but we were worried that for that reason alone the zoo would be packed. Lucky for us, the crowds held off until after lunch and by then we were headed home for lunch and a nap.

We knew we wanted to feed the giraffes, so we headed to the Savannah first to watch the animals near the giraffe exhibit until they opened. We saw lots of zebras, deer and tigers. While we were looking at the white tiger we kept hearing something roar. We laughed about how scary that would sound after dark. We walked around the corner and a male and female lion were laying around in the sun roaring at eat other. They were HUGE.

Feeding them was hilarious. Ella wouldn't have anything to do with it and it took Molly a few tries to feel good about it. The zookeepers gave us food that was shaped like sidewalk chalk. We held it between our forefinger and thumb and the giraffe would reach out with its tongue and pull it out of your hands. Their tongues were so long and so strong! I wanted to feed the left out mommy, but her child wrestled it out of my hand and it fell to the ground.

Possibly the funniest moment of the day was at the Social Animals exhibit. We were watching a monkey {not sure what kind, but it looked remarkably like Rafiki from The Lion King} play with a stick in its habitat. It was obviously using it for a purpose, but it wasn't cooperating. All of a sudden the monkey started banging the stick around having a fit, shaking its arms and legs and finally hurling the stick across its home. Josh and I were laughing uncontrollably.

We didn't bring our swimsuits, so the girls were disappointed not to get to play in the splash pad, but we wrapped up the morning with rides on both the train and the carousel. We tried to convince them to ride a camel, but they both looked at us like we were crazy. Instead we grabbed lunch on our way home and crashed for about three hours that afternoon.

The girls have had lots of fun this weekend, but they are wearing each other out.

Here are the girls watching the baby giraffes walk around the exhibit.

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Getting our tokens ready for the train and carousel rides later in the day.

Giraffes waiting for breakfast

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Daddy, Ella and the lorakeets

Feeding the giraffes and their BIG tongues

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Riding the train with mommy

More lorakeet action

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The carousel to close the day

Now I've Done It

18 July 2009

I know it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I'm a little bored with the old blog design. Just like in my closet and my house, I am constantly rearranging and redesigning. I've wanted a professionally designed blog from the beginning, but haven't found the right style or the right price.

Lucky for me, another blog I read got a redesign this week and the stars aligned. My new look won't be ready for a week or so and until then, I'm transferring all previously taken photographs to flickr and resizing everything for the new look. You'll notice in the coming days, as you visit older posts the photographs will appear larger... as in more recent posts.

The one thing I'm still struggling with is a tag line. The new look has a place for one and I think it might be necessary. What do you think? Any suggestions? I'm thinking "where faith, family and crafting intersect". Is that weird?

Birthday Baby!

16 July 2009

Kelly is hosting a children's party roundup today and I thought I'd share Ella's first birthday. I started planning her party long before it got here and could imagine nothing better than a pink, princess party. Even as an infant she was a girly-girl! The theme was Our Little Cupcake is Turning One!

We had the party at my parents' pool on a Sunday afternoon in September. The unfortunate thing about Ella's birthday is that it's right after the start of football season! We opted for a Sunday afternoon so the guys didn't have to feel guilty about missing the game... or the party, as the case may be.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Ella had a great time and the party was a great success.


The photos above show the food table with the 75 cupcakes my mom and I baked and iced the week of the party. We also served brownies, homemade chocolate chip cookies, chex mix and chocolate icecream in waffle bowls. Since SD and I both have large families, we had LOTS of food to share! My parents have a large white tent near the pool area that we decorated with chenille bedspreads and a bunting. My dad made the plaque with Ella's name and we dressed the dressmakers form in Ella's birthday hat and tutu.


Here is Ella blowing out the sparkler candles on her cupcake and digging into her smashcake. She LOVED it and made quite a little dent in it. You can see how pretty the icecream bowls were and the sprinkle containers I covered in scrapbooking paper to coordinate. We also had cups of colored marshmallows for kids to eat. The little pink sacks held cookies to take home and I printed return address labels with a thank you message and put them on white tags to close the favors.

I was lucky enough to have K photograph the day and these are some of my favorite pictures. I love to decorate for and throw parties, I hope you enjoyed the visit. Come back in September for the Fancy Ella Turns 3 party that's sure to leave this one in the dust!

Don't forget to visit Kelly's blog to see lots of birthday party ideas.

Nothing Fancy

15 July 2009

Do you know about Dave Barnes? I've loved him for a long time. He's a Christian and has an amazing voice. One of my favorite DB songs is "Nothing Fancy." I haven't listened to it in awhile, but tonight I was cleaning house to iTunes and it came on and reminded me of sitting in Ella's nursery humming the tune to her in the middle of the night. It perfectly describes how I feel about my family {scroll on down to the bottom if you want to listen while you look!}

"There's nothing fancy about the way I love you,
It's nothing you could not find in any other man.
Nothing fancy about the way I love you,
but I love you as hard as I can.

There's no good reason for the way you love me,
'cause your my walking dream come true.
No good reason for the way you love me,
but I thank God that you do.

I don't know the perfect conversation,
I don't know the way to turn your head.
I don't know the perfect way to prove my love,
but I know I'll love you 'til I'm dead.

There's nothing fancy about the way I love you,
simple as the stars in the sky and the blue in the sea.
Nothing fancy about the way I love you,
but it sure is fancy how you love me."

Nothing Fancy,
Dave Barnes

these sweet girls had such fun together

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don't you love that belly?

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cookie's mouth is open in EVERY picture! we're laughing because I had to run to beat the timer

these are two of my favorites
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daddies and their girls are so sweet

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i love these of beth & alston
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You can listen the this sweet song below...

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