Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

Fairy tale Friday May 27, 2011

Filed under: reads — dayna @ 12:00 am

Once upon a time, I started a little blog and hoped to do at least a weekly bookish post and book freebie…

And then, I came back to reality.

I still have a lot to figure out about my life in the blogosphere. And I definitely haven’t smoothed out any sort of regular routine for posting or doing giveaways.

So, I’ll just do what I can, ok?

It makes me so happy to share our favorite books, and to get familiar with some of yours.

Currently, we are having a bit of a fairy tale situation. More of a “quest” really, if you want to use some fitting literary terminology.

I am a mom in search of the perfect fairy tale compilation.

I hope to find just the right book to satisfy both the boundless imagination of my three-year old and the protective heart of this contemporary mom.

We started with a library book or two. Some of the more traditional tellings of Perrault or Grimm were full of way too much gore and cruelty to be appropriate for my young reader. Even the illustrations in this checkout (above right) were somewhat startling.

Then, there was the Costco purchase at left. The leather-look binding complete with gold pages and satin ribbon proved to be thrilling for our budding bookworm. But the characters (particularly the princesses), were a bit flat and fragile for my taste, and the illustrations were thinly disguised Disney knock-offs.

Then there was a second Costco purchase (you would think I’d learn, right?). Actually, “Grandma’s Magical Storybook” is probably the best collection thus far. The illustrations are sweet and magical, and the stories include a mix of newer originals and some Hans Christian Anderson favorites.

But we still haven’t found “the one” to cherish, share, and recommend.

Allison at Barefoot Books recommended The Barefoot Book of Fairy Tales. We’ll probably give it a try. I really enjoy Nicoletta Ceccoli’s soft but vivid illustrations.

 In fact, our favorite fairytale library-find to date has been the Barefoot-published The Brave Little Princess. I’m not sure if the plot is based on a traditional tale, but the heroine is a girl who goes on adventures, helps others, and learns to appreciate her home.

Now that’s a princess story this mama can read in good conscience.

What’s your favorite fairy tale? I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and recommendations for reading fairy tales with kids.

Leave me a comment by 6/10/11 and your name may be drawn to receive a $10.00 Amazon gift card.

* Congratulations to Zoe who gave a great recommendation and will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.


her destination May 25, 2011

Filed under: sisters — dayna @ 12:00 pm

Last week the tiny one figured out that she could finally reach the door handles. It’s on!

Bet you can guess the first place she heads when she’s on the loose…

…to her big sister’s room.

I know. I take a ridiculous number of pictures of my children sleeping. Sorry ’bout that. 🙂 That’s when they are kind of still…


Adventures in plant-sitting May 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — dayna @ 11:55 pm

“Really?” you say. “A post about plant-sitting?” I know! Doesn’t get much more thrilling than this, folks.

The little ladies and I have had a teensy bit more responsibility lately.

I would love to say we have risen to the challenge, and we kind of have…I guess.

Apparently a green thumb may skip a generation or (ahem) two.

The house is doing okay. The stacks of mail are thriving. The plants, however, are about eighty percent alive.

A co-worker of mine who also happens to be a neighbor has been overseas for a couple of weeks and we have been “helping” out. In all the creative ways you would expect from a team of toddler, pre-schooler, and scatter-brain.

It’s pretty straightforward really.

Here’s how it goes:

Our double jogger swings by our friend’s mailbox on our nearly daily morning walks. We head to the house, drop off the mail, check for packages, and then… divide and conquer.

The big girl proceeds to the kitchen to do serious work rearranging refrigerator magnets into pattern masterpieces. She also busies herself scheming up worthy reasons to climb the two flights of stairs. (It does occur to me what a bizarre up-bringing she is having in our home with its non-magnetic fridge and stair-lessness ).

The little one initially entertained herself playing with the dog toys. (Don’t worry. The dog is safely tucked away at an alternate undisclosed location). But then she got interested in her big sister’s kitchen activities…

Excuse me while I interrupt this post to insert a brief public safety announcement: Ok, moms- your child-free friends are under absolutely no obligation to “child-proof” their homes;)

Yeah, so… I basically blinked and the lightning-fast, freakishly-strong tiny one comes back around the corner lugging a gallon of bleach. She pretty much gets to stay strapped into the jogger since then.

Meanwhile, I “tend” the plants. I have mainly been attempting heroic measures on the poor plant above. I’m thinking maybe too much wet, too much dark in those crucial first few days. She has been relocated and left to dry, but I am sad to report that my attempts to resuscitate her have officially been in vain.

On the bright side, the herb garden is going strong despite my best efforts. So much so, that I am gradually being lulled into believing that maybe I could manage one of my very own…someday.

Yup. We are quite the team. I’m pretty sure you your plants couldn’t afford us.

I was about to enlist your horticulture help to identify the above pitiful plant so I could find a suitable replacement… when my husband informed me that it was a mini schefflera. Well then!

The man has rare talents, indeed.

How’s your houseplant IQ?

* In answer to the countless inquiries we usually get: the big sis is wearing her TwirlyGirl dress courtesy of Stephanie about a year ago. It’s reversible (!) and she would wear it every single day if only her mom did laundry that often;)


list-maker May 23, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I hope you will kindly excuse the silence around this bloggy place.

I’ve been somewhat buried lately. Buried in mounds of laundry, buried in love for the babies, buried in… my lists.

Yup. I make lists.

I wish I could call myself a list-maker in the elegant, organized sense of the word. I wish that my lists were series of tidy tasks lined down a fresh, smooth piece of paper; items waiting to be carefully checked off or lined through.

But, no, I’m more the crazy, frenzied type of list-maker. The “heaps of post-it notes overtaking my house” type. The “half a dozen little notebooks in half a dozen strategic locations” kind of gal. These wordy scraps are often remade into more comprehensive lists, but sometimes they are desperately relegated to a bin to be gone through..ugh… later.

I know I’m not alone in my penchant for lists. In fact, I’m pretty sure that entire books have been written on this topic. Seriously, check out some of these. Not that I’ve read them, of course. They’re on my “to-read” list;).

Don’t get me wrong, I think there may be some value to all my lists. At times I know they help alleviate some churning worry, or help me to prioritize more appropriately. Some of the lists are even kind of fun. In addition to the too long “to do” lists, there are often lists of friends to call, songs to remember, ideas to write about, things for which to be thankful.

But sometimes I suspect that my lists are merely a highly evolved form of procrastination. A way of sophisticated self-enabling, if you will.

Writing down as a way of putting off.

Because I know that my very best days, the importantly productive days, are the ones when the list lays ignored on the counter.

On these days, I move forward doing the best I can, from moment to moment. I may have a general plan in mind, but I am forced to pause; to think or pray about what is the very next right thing to do. I sense my dependence with every breath- learning to lean on and in.

These are the days in which I am suddenly available to help a friend in immediate need, to write a note or send a message to someone who happens to cross my mind. On these days, I put down whatever seemingly essential chore I am doing, to read right then to an infinitely more essential little girl (or two) with book in hand. These are the days I turn the van and take a detour from running errands to play at a new playground or have an unexpected adventure.

And I never regret these days. Miraculously, on these days, the things that really need to get taken care of, somehow do.

These days have divine rhythm and a timing all their own.

So for now, I will probably keep making some of my little lists. But I look forward to days with fewer lists and a lot more listening.

Do you make lists? Of what? Do you think they help or hinder you?


No “no”s May 11, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 11:30 pm

She is seventeen months old.

Her day is filled with “no”s.

Her mother’s: alternately gentle, firm, urgent.

Her big sister’s: frequent, close, often frantic.

Her own: the most emphatic of all. Little head shaking so vigorously she nearly falls over.

And then, eventually…

 she sleeps.

No more “no”s.

Until tomorrow…


Couldn’t wait until next year… May 9, 2011

Filed under: History lessons,Milestones — dayna @ 12:00 am

So last week I planned on finishing a predictable inaugural Mother’s Day post. But then, the week and weekend took some unpredictable turns. (Why am I still surprised by this? Seriously!)

Rather than waiting another year to post an “ode to mom,” I’ve decided to go ahead and put it out there today. An unpredictable date for this unpredictable (in all the fun ways) woman seems sort of fitting. So here goes…

I am truly blessed in the mom category. I have an abundance of mother figures who really love my girls and me.

This year though, I’ll tell you about my mommy:

How adorable is she? And yup, I am the seriously un-adorable younger one;)

I purposely didn’t crop this photo so you could take a moment to admire the 70’s decor in all its wood-paneled, olive-green glory.

Some things my mother taught me:

    • She taught me not to blindly follow current practices in motherhood. She went with natural childbirth and breastfeeding in an age of anesthesia and formula-feeding.
    • She taught me that hand-made is often the best made. She was, and still is, a master crafter.
    • She taught me that a vivid imagination is to be encouraged, and that in childhood, it ought to trump terminal tidiness.
    • She taught me what determination and accomplishment look like. She is a marathoner- both literally and figuratively.
    • She taught me that frugality doesn’t mean living with no “treats.” It just makes them more delightful.
    • She taught me that education is important, but that a love of learning is greater. She was never afraid of us missing school to go to events, festivals, or museums.
    • She taught me that giving is essential. And that giving sneakily is fun!
    • She taught me that time spent appreciating the arts, both fine and performing, is rarely time wasted.
    • She taught me that forgiveness and grace are not a sign of weakness. They are greatest strength.
    • She taught me that one should honor their parents, even when they aren’t necessarily honorable.
    • She taught me that prayer is the most powerful thing, even if my heart is the only thing it changes.
    • She taught me to follow my dreams, but that my dreams may change.
    • She taught me to love books, love nature, love people.
    • She still teaches me to find the good in everyone, the beauty in the small things, and the adventure in the ordinary.
    • As a grandmother, she continues to remind me that children are such a blessing.


why it will probably always take a while… May 4, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 11:55 pm

…for us to get out of the house.

The tiny one asked for “hep” with her shoes; but, other than that, the accessorizing was all them. No lie.

Look out world. This was just to go play in the backyard.

(And yes, she is still in her pajamas. Some days are like that.)


the stuff of inspiration May 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith,Motherhood,Stuff — dayna @ 5:00 am

I always enjoy learning about other people’s favorite things. Just in case you were wondering, here is some of the stuff that has been inspiring me lately…

  • This necklace I found on clearance in the hospital gift shop the day before my birthday:

 – It says “she follows her dreams.”  I wear it for me, and pray it for my little ladies as well.

  • This line of journals and stationary that Target is carrying. I am at risk for a serious paper goods habit! (Always have been…)

– It says “We write to taste life twice.” (I picked one up for you too. See below.)

  • My talented cousin’s art. Cara is described as “a visual artist with a writer’s addiction to words.” Is it possible that motherhood has made her even more brilliant and creative? Pretty sure you know what my answer to that question would be …

Time is the Guide

– Check out more of her work over here. I keep wishing she designed blog themes…

  • These little (printable) gratitude journals from Ann Voskamp are quietly (but radically) changing my perspective. Every single thought this lady puts into words seems divinely breathed.

– Print your own here. And here is a link to the slightly tricky folding instructions.

  • Of course, these little ones are a never-ending source of inspiration:

– I just can’t get enough of  ’em.

  • And lately, I’ve been leaning heavily on this word:

– It reassures me that, even when I am failing miserably, I can still be of use.

 What has been inspiring you lately?  Leave me a comment by May 11th, 2011 and I’ll mail one of the pretty writing journals to a randomly-selected contact-able person. 😉 

Congratulations to Stephanie! She will receive the journal. Pretty sure she’ll fill it up quickly:)