Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008...

Hello 2009! I can't believe it's the last day of the year. It's so wierd how every year when New Year's Eve rolls around it's like it came out of nowhere. Where did all the time go? It's such a natural time for reflection and cleaning (at least that what happens around here!). I'm so grateful for the wonderful things and people in my life. This year has been full of really special moments and I'm so grateful for the family and friends God has given me.

Because of all of the reflection going on in my head lately - I have so many new ideas brewing. Exciting things I want to do in my
shop, so many projects around the house that I'm determined WILL get completed this coming year, so many things that I want to change. New Year's resolutions are notorious for being written down, but never followed through. I don't want that for me this goals aren't beyond my reach. I can get them all done if I just focus on what is important. Doing just that is one of my goals for '09. I focus so much of my time on things that I'm not really sure are on the top of my priority list. I am determined to cut some things out of my life that have just become time suckers! I don't know that this will be all that easy to accomplish, but I find it so very necessary at this point in my life. My life has grown significantly beyond the days of being single and I really want to work on the things that matter...

One thing that has been on my mind is something I'm calling "Grace 365." I have this vision of doing something for someone else everyday of the new year. I wish I had it all planned out better, but I don't. I don't know exactly how this will evolve, but I want to spend more time focusing outwardly instead of just on the things going on inside my home. I'm sure some of the "acts of kindness" will have to do with my family, but hopefully this journey will lead me to meet and affect people that I don't even know yet. I just have to step out and do it. Sometimes even the smallest gestures can make such a big impact...a simple note to a friend far away, a phone call, dinner for someone in need. Whatever it is, I'm excited about beginning this journey. Lord willing I'll be posting daily (or close to it) on my adventures of kindness!

I'm looking forward to the new year and all that it has in store. A few pictures to end the year with...

So very thankful for my sweet little family. In my eyes the three of us are so very perfect together!

(even when there's a few tears to be shed!)

I couldn't be more lucky...Vance is such a wonderful husband and always the most fun to be with. When I say I married my best friend, it's the absolute truth. I love life with him...

I'm so happy that my little princess got to spend some time with her Grandstephie. It breaks my heart that she doesn't get to see her grandparents very much, but I know that every moment she gets is so very special...

Thanks Mom, for making Emma so happy in the backseat on the way to the airport :)

I'm so grateful for the trips Aunt Britt made out to see us this year. Emma adores her so much!

Just remembering this day makes me tear up...why are goodbyes always so sad?

Last, but certainly not least, is my little Emma. I could not be a prouder mommy. She is the absolutely joy in my life. Her little smile and laugh make me so happy. I love how much she loves her little Georgie, as he is affectionately called these days!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm so excited to see Em open all of her gifts in the morning...everything has been cleaned (how can I enjoy Christmas morning if I have dirty counters!) and wrapped and is ready for a fun, relaxing day tomorrow. I love Christmas so much, but I'm almost glad that it's about to be over. I have completely overextended myself this year and am very much looking forward to getting life back to normal. I'll be back with regular posts soon! I'm actually looking forward to Valentine's Day now! I've become so commercial - just like Target, getting ready for a holiday that is a month away!

Merry Christmas!

xoxo Andrea

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Martin Family Tree #1

As promised, here are a few pictures of some of the decorations adorning our house this year! This first tree is located in the office which is at the front of the house. It only makes sense to have a tree in here since it can be seen from the road (I tell myself these things to make me feel better for having so many trees!) Unlike our "main" tree, this one has a theme...slightly rustic with lots of pinecones, silver and blue-grey ornaments. It makes me happy when the lights are on while I'm working away!!

One of my hobbies is to paint these little houses. Such a fun and relaxing thing for me to do, but I don't ever know what to do with them! I think they look lovely under the tree!

Since the foyer is located right off the office I thought I'd include a picture of that as well. Having red walls at this time of the year just makes everything seem even more festive!! Tree #2 coming tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Decorating

Rethinking this decision...

It's been far too long since I've blogged. Things have been so busy lately - the typical Christmas life I suppose! Anyway, thought I'd post a few pictures of the Christmas decorating I've been doing over the next few days. I decided to start with my candy bar - a decision I'm rethinking considering how many peanut m&m's I've eaten today!!

More pics of the rest of the house and my many trees coming soon! Happy Wednesday ~ Andrea

Monday, November 24, 2008

New in my shop!!

I'm so excited about this fun new item in my Etsy shop. I custom made this for a super sweet Etsy customer who's giving it to her mom for Christmas. I love it so much I've decided to sell it in the shop! I love coupons, so I guess it only makes sense that eventually I would create a coupon book to sell :) You can see more pictures of it here.

~ Andrea

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Giveaway

I'm so excited about another giveaway I found! This lady makes some pretty amazing things for little girls...check it out here: I figure the more contests I enter I'm sure to win something!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!

I've been following Grosgrain, a blog by Kathleen Dougherty, for a while now. She's an amazing seamstress and makes the most adorable little girl's clothing. Right now she's giving away another one of her beautiful creations to one lucky person...perhaps it will be me this time? I would love to win - I think Em would look lovely in this...

Thanks LL

My friend LL gave me this blog award! Thanks so much! I haven't won anything in such a long, long, time! How fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just thinking...

There's so much running through my mind lately - and today is no different. This isn't a normal blog for me, but I'm sitting here asking myself whether keeping a blog is for me or someone else. Maybe it's a combination of both, but I feel like my ramblings and thoughts written down for all to see - including myself will push me to keep working on making some much needed changes. So for today, my blog is for me...

I'm thinking a lot about whether or not I can have it all, do it all, be it all. Can I be the best mother, perfect hostest, blog writter, twitterer, myspacer, facebooker, wife, kids church leader, cook, business owner, house cleaner, and child of God? There are so many things that fall under my job description right now. I'm a creative person and I love that. But at times because of the creative thoughts that run through my head, I find myself adding on more and more projects to my list because of this thought: "why in the world would I buy that when I can make it!"

The answer I've come to is that I CAN do it all, but something is going to suffer. I can probably do all of these things, but chances are that I won't be able to do all of them very well. So this brings me to the realization that I HAVE to make a list of priorities and plan out my week...almost down to the minute.

That doesn't really match my natural thought process. It isn't going to be easy for me to have such a structured day. While I love organization and structure, I don't enjoy it so much when it affects my time. I like staying up ridiculously late and sleeping in. I like wandering around the house during the day doing only the projects that I feel like I'm in the "mood" for. I'm constantly telling myself that I don't need a structured day right now because Emma isn't in school.

But I really do need it and I don't like it. I can't run a business, keep my house clean and do all of the other things mentioned above and keep my sanity if I don't organize my time. I realize this is going to be a process for me. I know most things don't change overnight and that it will take a while for me to turn this forced structure into a habit. So I'm starting here and now...with a list of priorities and things I need to change to get on the right path...

1. Check Etsy, emails, blogs, and other time sucking internet "must haves" in the morning and during Emma's nap - ONLY
2. Make a monthly calendar with all dinners planned ahead of time
3. Make a weekly calendar with my cleaning schedule, etsy shipping days, time scheduled in for "creative fun", free time, and family & church obligations
4. Work on being okay with not having everything "perfect" all the time

There's so much more...but for now I think this is enough to comment on. It's exhausting doing so much self-evaluating!! :) ~ Andrea

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Free Stuff!!!

Who doesn't like free stuff? I like free stuff so much that I cut coupons weekly and run out to CVS like a mad woman just to pick up stuff that I probably (definately) don't need!

Anyway, my blogger friend, Sue, asked me to join her Thanksgiving Giveaway and offer something FREE from my shop to her blog readers. How could I resist? So, starting today you can go to her blog, leave a comment and be entered in the running for one of my boxed personalized notecard, luggage tag, confetti sets! I'm even throwing in the gift wrap if you'd like to have it sent to someone else :)

Run, don't walk, on over to Sue's Blog, Confessions of a Tired Super Girl, and enter to win. Oh, and tell a friend to enter too! Good luck and have a happy weekend :) ~ Andrea

P.S. She'll be giving away other goodies if you don't want my stationery I'm sure she'll have something you want to win :)

Here are some more pics...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Take Joy...

(Another favorite shot from our family vacation...this one was taken outside at the Science Center)

Just stopping to take joy in the little things... Emma and I have been home alone a lot the past week or so with Vance up at the church working on a project for the new Mesquite Campus AND therefore I've been very lonely. I took Emma out to a few stores last night and at one point I said to her that I was lonely and missed Daddy and wished he were with us. Emma touched my face and said "Oh mommy, don't be sad. You're a good mommy." She melts me.

As much as I hate being home alone - I really have enjoyed my special time with Emma. She is so precious! I hate that so often I go from one moment to the next without actually enjoying and appreciating the moment that I'm in. I was so focused on wishing Vance would come home that I was losing the joy of being in the moment with my wonderful two year old. Even being in Walgreens with her, watching her delight over all of the Christmas trees and the blow-up snowmen is a moment to remember and enjoy. I guess God uses our kids to remind us to slow down and take joy in even the little parts of our day...which is what I'm going to focus on doing more of!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall Vacation Part Two - Trip to the Zoo

Gorgeous Weather + Family Day at the Zoo = Perfection!

My new favorite picture of Em! She had so much fun riding around on her daddy's shoulders most of the day! We got to the Ft. Worth Zoo around 1 (much later than we had hoped) and were contemplating whether or not we should stay since they were closing an hour earlier than we originally thought. But we decided to go on ahead since we had driven all the way there. I'm so glad we did! All of the school groups had just left and the park was perfectly peaceful. We had plenty of time to see everything (even though we had to eat lunch as we walked) and really enjoyed our time there. The zoo was so pretty and clean (my favorite part)...I can't wait to go back!

We couldn't believe Em wanted to touch the birds! This was the best part of the zoo. The birds were flying around everywhere and it made Emma laugh and squeal so loud! Seeing these special moments through her eyes is priceless.

She thinks her dad is awesome (he is, by the way)!

Thanks random stranger for taking our picture! I'm so tired of the closeups taken by us!

Perfect end to the together at the drive-in theater. It was so awesome and the weather was perfect. This was definately one of our favorite days!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Celebrating 90

My Grandmother is turning 90 next month and I had the priviledge of making the invitations for her birthday celebration! Unfortunately the party is in Florida and there is just no way that I am going to be able to make it back home for it. I had really hoped that somehow I'd be able to swing the purchase of two tickets for me and Em, but it just isn't going to happen.

My Grandmother is a remarkable woman and I wish I could be there to celebrate with her. She is always happy, optimistic and so very active for her age. I hope to be half as spunky as she is when I'm 90 (her name is Sparky, how very appropriate)! Happy Birthday Grandmother!!

On a completely unrelated note...I'm in love with the packaging for these brownie/cookie bars! Sometimes something like this will catch my eye and make me kind of happy everytime I look at it. Wierd, I know, but that goes along with my lifelong love of paper!

I only wish the actual cookie bar was as good to eat as it is to look at! I just can't get over the texture...too much like coconut - I don't do coconut! Anyway, Emma loves it and it's good for her. Can't go wrong there! Just thought I'd share a few pics!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thank You Erika!

I was so excited to get a message from Erika at The Tilted Tulip saying that she had chosen my 2009 calendar to be featured as one of her favorite calendars on her blog! It's exciting that someone picked my calendar out of so many others on etsy. Thanks Erika for making my day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Wednesday

I'm off to the post office to mail a few orders and then I'm going to spend some well needed "fun" time with the little one. I'm afraid she's going to start calling Dora her mommy :( Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I finished!!

I finished the 09 calendar and put it in the shop today! I think it turned out pretty much how I wanted it to... I can't wait to hang it on the wall! I can't believe it's almost 2009 AND that we have a new president. Wow. What a day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

2009 Calendar Preview

I've really been wanting to make a 2009 calendar, but haven't been able to decide on a design. I finally came up with these...I'm about halfway through the months, so I'm almost there!

I like the idea that it isn't just a picture, but something I can write on and actually use! Sometimes the practical side of me takes over the creative side! Each month features a different list and/or project that goes along with holidays in that month. They're 5" x 8.5" and printed on super thick cardstock. I should have these in my shop in a few days!