Crazy town, two friends and sunshine.

whitley-family-gussy-sewscustom family illustration by my dear college friend, Lisa of My Little Buffalo

Whoooo. It’s kinda been crazy town over here. The mister has been working lots of hours lately (like 60/week) and so Max, Bauer and I have been trying to hold down the fort on our own. We are only kinda succeeding ;) Our part-time baby sitter has been on vacation, so I’ve been juggling all of the home/work/baby stuff solo. It makes me appreciate having a hubby to share life with even more! I can get by on my own for a little bit, but we’ve been pushing an entire week of crazy so I look forward to his work slowing down a little (hopefully?). I guess I didn’t realize how tired I’ve been, until two nights ago when I went to bed at 9:30pm and got out of bed at 7:30am… a total blessing. I knew I was exhausted and any work I attempted to do that night would be poor, unproductive work. So to bed I went!

I’m so thankful the weather has been absolutely gorgeous for about a week now — think 80′s and bright blue sky! I even dug out my flipflops for our walk today. Whenever Zack works a lot, or I have a lot of work myself to do, I’ve found getting out of our apartment for a bit helps so much. It keeps my focus on being productive when at home but I have the freedom to relax and adventure out when we leave the apartment. I’ve been researching free activities in our neighborhood that we can walk to and I’m super excited about what I’ve found so far.

For Christmas we received a few Starbucks gift cards, so grabbing an iced tea during the late morning/afternoon and sitting outside to drink it has been a real treat for me. Bauer and Max love the extra attention, too. There are so many restaurants and shops where we live, it’s a great walk getting there. AND! Once we get home both boys usually crash for a nap :) Bonus!

Yesterday one of my favorite friends, Joanna, came by with her daughter to play with Max while I checked a few things off my to-do list. It was so amazing. She even brought homemade cookie dough to bake in my oven (!) and Bauer may or may not have ignored even command to stop stealing the baby’s toys. Joanna’s visit was another blessing.

Zack and I have been praying hard, trying to be even more intentional and specific and receptive of what the LORD wants to share with us. I want to do more than just read a quick devotional in the morning, so I’ve been trying to linger on the verses and pages longer. It’s been really rewarding to see some of the difficulties settle down that life likes to throw at us :) Ya know?

And then also recently, another one of my favorite friends, Lisa (we met at Central Michigan University because our now husbands were roommates), sent me these two illustrative portraits. Do you just melt over how cute Maxwell looks? His blonde hair is starting to get so wavy and dare I say… curly! I kiss his sweet little head about 50 times a day. And then there’s Bauer. Lisa captured his cute-but-naughty personality perfectly. Zackary is looking as handsome as ever, and I just love seeing my pink moccasins on my feet. This family illustration is so special to me. It’s a great showcase for two parents who are working their dream jobs with a baby crawling around their feet, and a pup desperately trying to hide from the baby. Ha! Our lives right now may be a little crazy town but we are all healthy, happy and Zack and I are madly in love. (Eww, right Max?)

So. Deep breaths. :) I’m so specifically thankful for Joanna and Lisa who have blessed us this week with their gifts. And also for the posts I’ve read recently over on Edie’s blog… they are amazingly encouraging.

What act of kindness could you do for a friend this week? :)

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Save 10% on your entire order with My Little Buffalo using code GUSSY10.

 

Let us help you with your Christmas shopping.

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With Christmas just over a month away, a group of us thought it would be fun to host a giveaway of some of our favorite things. Can I get a yeow?! This giveaway is special to me, it’s a collaboration of lovely items from some of my friends, whom are also bloggers. Read on for the full details on each item being given away (see photo above) and of course how to enter to win :)

This giveaway is hosted by:

Jessica from The Mom Creative, Kristen from We are That Family, Kristen from Rage Against the Minivan, Lisa-Jo from Lisa-Jo Baker , Lisa from Lisa Leonard Designs and Maggie from Gussy Sews.

Use the Rafflecopter below to win one of these six prizes:
    1. A Quinn infinity scarf from Krochet Kids. The scarf is handmade in Uganda. Krochet Kids creates sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities living in poverty.
    2. $50 gift certificate to Krafty Kash designs – jewelry with your favorite word featured from a vintage dictionary.
    3. $50 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs, a company that creates hand-stamped jewelry and gifts
    4. $50 gift certificate to Gussy Sews, a handmade shop full of brightly colored ruffled and sassy accessories
    5. A beautiful scarf and leather wallet ($50 value) from fashionABLE, a non-profit organization supporting women in Africa
    6. $50 gift certificate to anything @ The Mercy Shop, a fair-trade marketplace for products (art, jewelry, inspiring accessories) made by residents at Mercy House Kenya

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! I hope you win!! xoxo

She creates art, live.

I’ve been reading Emily Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways, for just a handful of days really… and already it’s speaking to me in such little, beautiful ways. Throughout the day, day after day, I think about art and the way we were created to create art. Emily talks about it’s not just for the painters or the illustrators, it’s the conversation makers and the seamstresses and the cooks at your child’s school the video producers and the barbers at the shop your husband visits every few months. The point is, we are all artists. Emily’s book is incredibly refreshing to read… :)

Artists also write songs, and sing them bravely in front of others. Reeve is very talented, but you probably already know that since watching & listening to her sing.

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Her latest album, What love is all about, is audio gold. The song she played above (Night Owl) is track #6 on the album. It’s peaceful and fun and a dash of quirk. I hope that’s OK with Reeve I used the word “quirk” — it’s totally a compliment! I turn her album on when I’m meal planning, while making dinner, when we’re relaxing in the evening before baby boy goes to bed.

And you know me, I love knowing the back story, so I asked Reeve a few questions…

What inspired you to create your newest album?
I’m inspired by so many things, long conversations over bottles of wine, late nights, love, life, frustrations, etc. But I think the main thing that kept me going was the idea of turning my mistakes and tears into something beautiful.

How long have you been singing + song writing?
I’ve been singing my whole life, literally. On stage since about age seven or eight. I started writing songs (if you could call them that) around age 16 and never looked back. Luckily, my songs have gotten much better since then :)

What is it like to be on stage?
Um, honestly… terrifying. Well, at least a lot of the time it is. Not many people would willingly chose to get up on stage in front of people and be judged. But, sometimes I can get past my nerves and really be in the moment while on stage and then, it’s wonderful. There’s nothing like making music in front of people, knowing that it’s never going to be sung or played exactly the same way ever again. You are creating art live in front of people. It’s sorta awesome. But I have to also say, sometimes it’s also awful. Sometimes you are in front of really horribly-rude drunk people that won’t stop heckling you to play some song you’ve already told them you don’t know 10 times. I have found the best way to handle that is to try and kill them kindness and a couple jokes.

What kind of adventures has singing brought you?
Soooo many! I’ve traveled out of town to play a show that no one came to but ended up having the time of my life. And I’ve gotten booked to sing The National Anthem in front of 45,000 people around midnight the night before the gig. I’ve sung on stage and in the studio with some of my favorite songwriters. And I’ve gotten to sing all over the southeast at different venues and each venue has a different adventure story attached. So many memories and I’m so ready to make more memories with this record!

You can order Reeve’s new album, What love is all about, here.

And you can also enter to WIN a copy of her album by following the Rafflecopter entries below. Yeow! Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway