Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

Treats October 31, 2011

Filed under: sisters — dayna @ 11:55 pm

We went ahead and attempted a little trick-or-treating this year.

And now for the obligatory awkward costume picture:

Thrilled, aren’t they?

Some of you may recognize the hand-me-down bumble-bee. Still cute, right? And yes, that is a slightly predictable fairy princess. She decided it was the best of both worlds: a crown and wings!

Their mom originally had other ideas, but these aren’t the battles I want to fight.

It’s just that I’m pretty sure there is a costume my little one was practically born to wear. Care to venture a guess?

Oh well. Maybe next year…

Just curious, what’s your favorite traditional Halloween candy treat?

This year I’m kind of digging the novelty of the white chocolate Kit Kat bar and I always enjoy a good Twix or Milky Way.

By the way, while raiding the girls’ haul, I learned an important lesson:

Do not, I repeat, do NOT eat the “Bubblegum” Smarties!

Seriously disgusting! I’m still not sure if they are gum or candy, but they are gross!

Just thought I’d save you the trouble of discovering this for yourself;)


Blessings in the sickies October 29, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 12:00 pm

For what has seemed like an eternity, (okay, maybe it’s been about a week), we’ve been swamped with the sick around here.

As it often does, it all started with a family wide round of good old-fashioned snot. It then progressed to a tummy bug in the little one before waging all out war in my big girl’s body. I’ve been watching with slow horror as my bouncy, robust almost four-year old wasted away to a gaunt ghost of a girl in a matter of days. Even I found myself shocked at how quickly the transformation occurred.

The last twenty-four hours at least, she is improving. Her recent rally seems to indicate that we have probably avoided a trip to the emergency room this time. Aren’t we always thankful for that?

Having a houseful of “blech” is tough though, I’ll admit. The laundry piles up even more endlessly than usual and simultaneous sickies can tear a mama’s heart to shreds. I found myself holding back hair, holding onto buckets, with the little one at my knee, arms outstretched pleading “Mommy, hold you!” (Oh, how I do love that she still mixes up those personal pronouns).

But somewhere in the midst of the mess, there are actually blessings to be found. Always with the lessons to be learned, right?

Here I go:

1. I am reminded that there is virtually nothing in my schedule that is non-negotiable. I was amazed that as busy as we usually keep, filling our days with fun activities, Bible studies, and friends, when the babies are sick, nothing matters more than their health. Priorities become very clear.

2.When we are homebound, I am delightfully reminded how much we like our little space in this world. We have a lovely, comfy, safe home that we can enjoy as much, if not more, than any other place to which we might dart about: doing, spending, experiencing. There are seemingly endless activities, books, and tasks that we can use to entertain ourselves right inside these four walls.

3. Even the grocery store trip planned earlier in the week was not really necessary! I’m reminded to be thankful for the relatively well-stocked pantry that enables me to putter around the kitchen trying to get creative in feeding myself and the little crew. I’m not going to lie; it was mostly broth and crackers, but still, there were endless options.

4. I am reminded to be thankful for modern medicine. Although I try to approach illness with a mostly natural approach, I find comfort in knowing that we are privileged to raise our girls in a country that rarely experiences fatalities due to dehydration or treatable illnesses. My heart aches to think of mothers in many parts of the world watching their babes waste away with inadequate nutrition or oral rehydration therapies. I feel blessed to know that, if need be, my children are mere minutes from life saving medical treatments.

5. Finally, I am blessed by all the holding. My generally snuggly girls become even more enamored with being held when they don’t feel well. I am reminded to cherish this holding. To listen to them breathe. To simply sit with them. While we read a book, sing, pray, or even watch t.v. together.  I am blessed to tend to these normally busy little people with achy bodies in need of soothing, hair that begs stroking, and backs that want rubbing. And it heals us all.

So you see, I definitely won’t miss the sick when it leaves our house, but I hope I don’t soon forget the reminders that it brings.

Update: thanks for all the great pumpkin patch recommendations! Sadly, we will probably have to wait until next year:(

But there are so many good options, we might just have to squeeze in two trips. Here’s to October 2012!


Back to Damascus October 27, 2011

Filed under: Faith,History lessons — dayna @ 11:55 pm

It’s been more than fifteen years now since that monsoon night.

The night when I ran wild-eyed, naked, barefoot through the desert. That night I stumbled and flew frantic as the Catalinas lit up from behind with lightning. The desert floor shuddered with thunder. My mind and body racing. Fleeing. A night when every snippet of sound and every colored light meant something.

It took months for the cactus to work its way out of my feet. Embedded and sore as my mind cleared and my spirit calmed; the tiny spines worked their way to the surface.

Now, I find myself asking:

 “Are they there still festering in my soles? In my soul?”

Because fifteen years later, I run through the desert again. Sometimes feeling naked and barefoot even now. Incredulous that I, no longer a girl, still have a heart that rages. That drives me out there.

But it is different now.

I may be restless. I may even look lost.

 But I know I am not, really.

This time, the monsoon desert smells familiar. It smells of sage and creosote and new construction. And the moonlight…illuminates a path.

A path leading to one place, and one place only.

This time, I will collapse in the shadow of a moon crossed.

Dusty, tear-stained and humbled. Broken.

And there is a gentle hand. Cupping my chin. Lifting my face. Wiping my tears.

Flooding my weakness with strength.

The rage settles out to calm.

Peace can be found even in an angry heart.

And I know that I can huddle here until the storm passes.

Until the sun rises.

Sonrise in the desert is the most.beautiful.thing.


Pumpkins from the archives October 26, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 12:00 pm

We haven’t gone yet this year. And I know most of you have. So, I’m asking your opinion:

Which pumpkin patch is the best?

Never before have there been so many great local options for this fun fall experience. For the past couple of years, we have headed to Buckelew Farms and have enjoyed every bit of it. We’ve found them to be well-organized with surprisingly tasty food. Although the cost of the day starts to add up, they seem to have all the fun farmy activities for the kiddos in one place.

Just take a look at a few of our pictures from last year:

They’re still some of my favorites…

But this year, we’re carefully considering our options. We’ve never been to the seemingly beloved Apple Annie’s or the newer Marana Pumpkin Patch.

We have one very special day for pumpkin festivities, folks. Help us make it count:)

Did you go to the pumpkin patch this year? Which one is your favorite and why?


Blogiversary October 24, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Milestones — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I’ve been kinda busy over here.

Busy…procrastinating. Again.

Yup, that’s right. Some things don’t change much, do they?

You see, I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect post to mark my first blogiversary.

Well, perfect post this isn’t, but I do at least want to acknowledge the month so I can move on forward.

In October of last year I went ahead and hit that publish button after tentatively typing out my very first post on eerily similar subject matter. It was my little secret, really.

And it was another few months before I actually told anyone about my “Mommying Grace.”

Over the past year, I’ve learned some, (but not nearly enough), about the blogosphere, motherhood, faith, life. Here are a few of the many humbling lessons:

1. I’ve learned that blogging is way harder than it looks. But even more fun. So, if you maintain any sort of blog on any sort of regular basis… then you, my friend, are seriously amazing!

2. I’ve learned that I am actually an idiot when it comes to grammar. I thought I knew. In reality, I have a few rules that I pretend to know well enough to get all snobbish about. But, most of the time I (mis)use dashes and parentheses, and then tell myself that blogging is a more conversational style of writing… right? I never thought I would say this but, I miss my high school English teachers! “Where for art thou, Ms. Guttwalt and Ms. Neff?”

3. I have learned about perspective. Although I still struggle with priorities, this is the main reason I don’t want to give up on this endeavour.  Somehow, when I see my life and world in snippets of stories to treasure or choose to relay, it looks vastly different. This perspective helps remind me what I have to laugh at, pray about, rejoice in, and give thanks for.

4. I’ve learned that there is no shortage of incredible people walking the planet. They are raising children, giving in huge ways, changing the world, and often living right next door. I’ve met, and virtually met, some folks whose words, wisdom, and perspective I truly cherish. Even if I shut this puppy down, I will never be the same. Spend some time exploring that “blog-roll” over to the right if you want to meet some of them. You won’t regret it, promise.

5. I’ve learned that I am never alone. Not in my mommy-musings. Not in my celebrations or crises of faith. Not in my weakness and failures. Not even in the desires of my heart. And definitely not in weird habits or sense of humor.

6. More than anything, I have learned that life really does pass and change in the blink of an eye.  This is actually my 75th post! Can you believe it? I know, at least half of those posts are just images of the little pixies we’re raising, and another quarter of them are probably books we have enjoyed, but it is our swiftly moving life. I look back at the pictures of the girls last year and then see them this year. I remember how much we have experienced, learned and changed.

And I am so thankful for this place of chronicling.

Even if the baby books sit still unfilled in the closet, there is this place.


the library grab October 10, 2011

Filed under: reads — dayna @ 11:55 pm

So it’s been about a year since the girls and I have fallen head over heels in serious library love. Over the course of these past few months, a system has emerged. Casually perusing the shelves with careful decision-making and mulling is simply not an option with kiddos of a certain age. If left to their own devices, these budding bibliophiles could completely unpack the entire children’s section in mere minutes flat!

My current strategy (especially with the little one no longer consistently stroller-bound) is as follows:

1. Do mommy homework of on-line reserving. I love using our library cards to “shop” from home and reserve books (and sometimes movies) based on recommendations of friends, or authors and illustrators we have previously enjoyed.

2. Attend pre-school storytime by the best librarian ever (!!)  to get the majority of squeals and wiggles out before setting foot in the main library facility. Bonus: We get to mingle with some favorite friends, dance, play, and craft too.

3. Proceed to main library. Loud whispers and hilarious “shushing” ensue.

4. Assist two little girls in standing on a chair to drop books down the ever popular book-return chute.

5. Swing by the reserve shelves letter “H” to swiftly snag my pre-planner mom strategic selections.

6. Ensure the full richness of library love by doing a quick tour of the children’s section to grab a couple of impulse books. This is fun and freeing because now they can pick whatever catches their fancy without needing to wade through or deliberate mid-aisle.

7. Proceed to self-checkout (another favorite use of library technology), where the big girl is already adept at the card-book scan all by herself;).

8. Go home and marvel at the way the “quick grab” library selections often put my well- researched ones to shame.

Nancy Gow’s Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose was one of those gems.

We enjoyed the fairy tale-with a message style of this story. The soft lush illustrations by Stephen Costanza were set to lovely rhythmic rhyme.

There was even a musical moral in a featured family song:

I am what I am and that’s all right with me.

I don’t have to be different, I just have to be.

I don’t want to be somebody else. No sir-ee.

I am what I am and that’s all right with me.

The short picture book highlights loving families and confident central characters. It is a sweet simple love story not muddled by pesky perfection.

Sorry gang! No giveaway on this one. But if you are looking for some bookish love, head over to my friend Jessica’s site. This Quirky Bookworm is blogging every day this month and currently hosting this giveaway. Hmm, did I just hear my odds dropping? Oh well,it’s just too much fun to keep to myself.


It’s strange but true… October 7, 2011

Filed under: sisters,Stuff — dayna @ 5:01 pm

…that some of my favorite pictures of my girls are when they are belted side by side in a Costco cart.

Maybe it’s because they are both actually in the same frame…

Maybe it’s because they will occasionally cheese for the camera phone…

Ok, more than occasionally.

They are even apt to snuggle a little. (The blustery produce section gets them every single time).

This shot from the past week keeps me laughing! Don’t they look terrified? (Of the total, perhaps…I usually am.)

 Then something got them laughing…

Next they “laid back” and chilled a little…

Until they read. A lot.

It’s always an adventure at Stuffmart! Oops- I mean Costco :).

*Anyone catch the movie reference? Got a witty caption possibility? I was fresh out today, but I know they are out there;)


DownEast fashion fun October 3, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Stuff — dayna @ 5:30 am

Have you heard of DownEast Basics? Until a few weeks ago, I never had. Now I can say that I’m officially a fan.

A couple of Mondays past, this mama enjoyed a real treat: a night out shopping with some fashionable and fun ladies!

DownEast Basics was launching its new store here in the Old Pueblo and wanting to spread the word about their LIVE for Pink campaign. They invited some notable Tucson bloggers ,(who then graciously included me!), to check out some of their fall fashions.

In searching their website, DownEast Basics was described as Anthropologie style clothing with Target pricing. That sounded great! I was also impressed by the fact that now through October 16, they are donating 50% of all proceeds from sales of their Live for Pink tee line to the cancer awareness organization Needs Beyond Medicine.

So, after a fun crosstown carpool with the lovely likes of Becca, Kelly, Darcie, & Linsay, we descended upon the little boutique. The staff welcomed us with gift bags containing $25 gift cards (I KNOW!), chocolate, and promotional pricing. Uh, brainwashed much? (Just kidding. I vow to always give my completely honest opinion over here, even if the goodie bags start flying around).

The clothes were adorable basics with lots of vintage-inspired details. They were reasonably priced, and I got the impression that the company regularly offers sales and deep promotional deals. They were doing buy one, get one half off on accessories the night we went.

I planned ahead of time to take full advantage of the child-free, opinionated-friend-heavy shopping night if I fancied any of the clothes. DownEast Basics didn’t disappoint. And neither did my friends. I was glad to see Nicole, Chelsea, and Karen and happy to meet the stylish Val, the glowing Leah, and Sharla with her gorgeous newborn in-tow.

Unlike my usual shopping companions, these ladies managed to refrain from urgent “Mommy!”s, hiding in clothing racks, or deconstructing elaborate displays. There may however, have been some delighted squeals which served to put me at ease 😉

I brought home clothes with just enough pizzazz to invigorate my standard jeans and t-shirt wardrobe. I may even be inspired to play dress up a little more often.

My resident paparazzi was out-of-town when I went to model, so I learned a lot of lessons about taking bad self-portraits in my first solo fashion shoot. I’m sure you’ll notice that my head is cropped out of all these shots. The squinty eye and camera strap thrown over my hair just didn’t look so hot with the cute fashions.

Here’s my haul:

They had this lacy overshirt in unexpected colors. I chose “kangaroo”. I also got a turquoise capsleeve t-shirt to go underneath.

I think I may wear it with this copper flecked snap cuff because I am trying to look grown up and accessorize lately.

I did cave and grab my one of my uniform t-shirts with pretty details. But this one is super-soft indigo and has a velvet ruffle on the scoop neckline.

Maybe I’ll dress it up with these romantic looking chandelier earrings.

BTW: Do you know that it is pretty much impossible to take a picture of your own earrings while they are on your head?! Oh well, I still thought they looked more interesting here than just laying on their merchandising card;).

And finally, I brought home this little black dress with rosette skirt that makes me want to channel my inner Audrey. Updo and ballet flats, if you please…

Now, I’m not quite sure how these clothes will hold up to my laundry boot camp; it is pretty much sink or swim around here: no special treatment.

But I am happy that my choices still thrilled me when I tried them on the next day after the glow faded. No returns necessary, thank you!

I like my purchases so much that I am not-so secretly excited to explore the little girls clothing and home goods on their website.

All in all, it was a lovely experience and I can’t wait to get together with this fun bunch again.