"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

28 June 2013

Girly Tooth Fairy Pillow

A soul sister recently posted on her blog about her oldest having to have some oral surgery (ouch!). That's no fun, no matter how old or brave you are. I made up this little surprise last night and she's going in the mail later on her way to hopefully bring some cheer into that sweet girl's life.

As always, I'd love for you to visit me over at Hannah Plays Hooky!

Oh, Technology: So Long, Google Reader

Technology, why must you be so fickle? And really, why are you ruining a good thing?

Apparently, as of July 1 (as in, next week), Google Reader will no longer exist. So if you are currently following my blog, that won't work anymore.


There are other options out there, although none are nearly as convenient has having one built into the system.

Really, why are they doing this?

Okay, I'll stop with the pity party.

Out of all the options I've seen so far, Bloglovin' seems like the quickest (hence, most painless) way to directly import all your blogs that you currently follow with Google Reader in one click. I just did it myself, and it seems to have worked.

That said, after the serious post yesterday and then this very not-fun public service announcement, I thought I would leave you with some unexpected photos.

My toddler has discovered selfies.

He also takes photos of us in the car:
And of me when he has his half-hour of screen time tucked into our bed while I get ready in the morning:
You can imagine my surprise when I went into our photo stream recently to find all these random photos! It's no joke that our kids know/will know so much more about technology than we do! I mean, I think I pretty much just played with a Cabbage Patch doll when I was Little B's age.

Don't forget to show Boots&Feet some lovin' over at Bloglovin'!

27 June 2013

Major Mommy Fail

I don't even know how to begin writing this, you guys, because it still makes my stomach turn to think of all that could have happened. But I'm all about keeping it real, and I'm never out to pretend like I've got life all figured out. So here goes...

I had a major mommy fail yesterday.

We went to a playdate yesterday morning at one of the million pools around here. B loves the water and he loves people, especially his buddies, Jacob and Troy, so he just had a blast.

(Side note: Yesterday, as I was washing our breakfast dishes, B was playing with his trains. I overheard him saying, "I love you, Jacob. I love you, Troy." It was the first time I had ever heard him say "I love you" to anyone other than N, me, and my parents. Obviously, he wasn't really saying it TO anyone, but still. So sweet!)

Anyway, he was having so much fun at the pool that, against my better judgment, I let him play for nearly four hours before wrapping it up and shuttling us home. Little B was so tuckered out from all that hot Texas sunshine, water, and friends that his eyes began drooping almost as soon as he got in the car, and by the time I pulled into the garage, he was fast asleep.

I decided to let him sleep in his car seat while I put our wet items out to dry in the backyard sunshine. I quickly gathered up all the swimming gear, Puddle Jumper, and towels and walked out the patio door.

A gust of wind blew ... and the patio door slammed shut behind me.

Do you ever have those moments when what has just happened is just so unbelievable that for a moment, the most illogical thoughts go through your mind, because you're hoping beyond hope that this did not just happen?

I knew I had closed the garage door behind me when I pulled the car in, because that's what I always do. But I ran to the gate anyway, hoping that the garage door was open. Then I checked all the windows, hoping that maybe this was a day I would be thankful that B sometimes plays with the levers on the window locks and leaves them unlocked. Nope. Then I wondered if I could pick the lock with the grilling fork.

I'm telling you. Illogical.

Then I lost my mind and counted the hours until N would be getting home (way too many).

So I ran next door to our wonderful neighbors and asked if I could use their phone. I didn't know N's work number off the top of my head, so I dialed his cell. He didn't pick up (which he rarely does at work), so I left a "You have to come home NOW" message with the neighbors' number. I ran back to listen at the garage door, and then continued trying to somehow get the patio door open.

Not thirty seconds later, our neighbors came and found me, saying N was on his way. They kept me company, brought me ice water and fruit, offered to bring me a chair, and chatted with me to distract me from worrying, bless their hearts.

And then B woke up.

I have to say, there is nothing worse than hearing your child crying, "Mama, open door! Mama, hold me!" and not being able to do anything about it. I kept talking shouting to him through the garage door, being so grateful that I had left the car doors open so he could hear me. I asked him if he could hear me, if he could calm down, if he could take deep breaths. He kept saying, "Yeah!" but would start crying all over again.

It was the longest half hour of my life.

I found myself wishing -- for the first, and probably only, time in my life -- that he knew how to unbuckle himself so he could reach the garage door opener clipped to the visor. 

I have never been so glad to see the bright blue of my husband's Subaru turning into our alley as I was yesterday. He must have hit the garage door opener in his car the moment he turned, because as soon as I saw his car, the door opened, and I literally crawled under it to get to B as fast as I could. Poor kiddo was so hot and sweaty, and his eyes were red-rimmed from crying so hard. The relief on his face when he saw me broke my heart, and as soon as I got him out of his car seat, he just wrapped his little toddler arms around me tight and put his head on my shoulder. And when he saw his daddy, he just sobbed and sobbed.

We thanked our neighbors, took B inside to cool off, and N played with him while I went to the bathroom to get my frazzled nerves together.

Once we were all calm, we went to the hardware store to get a lock box for our spare key so that this never, ever happens again. B asked if he could get a new flashlight (because he took apart the little one he had and now we can't find several of the pieces), and of course, we couldn't say no. Plus, $2 is a small price to pay for what he had gone through!

When we got home, he wanted to go next door to show the neighbors his new flashlight. He was in bed by six o'clock and slept through the entire night. I'm writing this now because he was still asleep at 7:30 this morning (I can't remember the last time that happened. He's usually up by 6:30 these days.) and then decided he was ready for a nap by 11:45.

I'm praying for more merciful grace, that he won't remember this for the rest of his life. And I am still giving thanks that the car had been turned off, that I had left two doors and the back hatch open, as well as the doors to the laundry room and kitchen, so there was plenty of cooler air circulating through the car and garage. When I think of what could have happened, if I had left the car running, if we'd had to call 911 ... merciful grace.

I held my breath this morning as we walked out to the car to go to B's chiropractic appointment. I had deliberately parked it in the driveway last night so that he wouldn't be getting in the car in the garage. I thought we might have a battle. But he hopped in without blinking, and we've had a pretty terrific day so far.

Merciful grace.

26 June 2013

Hooky, No Wookie*

I've been wanting to crochet Yoda hats for a while now. N's cousin (who is quite possibly the most Star Wars-obsessed person I know) had a baby recently, and N thought that a custom-made Yoda hat would be the perfect gift.

Of course, I had to make one for Little B, as well. He doesn't know much about Star Wars (he actually calls it all "Darth Vader" except for R2-D2, who he refers to as "DT-D2"), but I'm sure that the time will quickly come when he knows all about all things Star Wars. 

Have I mentioned that my husband is a pretty big fan of Star Wars?

Also, another very special boy in our lives turned one recently, so I included a Yoda hat in his birthday package as well. His sweet mama sent this photo to us recently:
Isn't he so cute? I just love those chubby cheeks!

As always, you can check out more of my hooky work here.

*Post title credit goes to N. It's late, and I was not feeling the creative juices flowing with this one.

25 June 2013

Blackberry Jam

A few weeks ago, I bought blackberries.

Boy, did I buy blackberries.

What can I say? They were on sale, and my boy loves him some berries.

Suffice it to say, I had an overabundance of berries.

So I decided to make jam.
While your berries reduce on the stove top, put your jars and lids in a hot water bath to sterilize them. Mash your berries as they heat up (I just used my 97-cent potato masher).
Bring fruit to a boil, stirring constantly. Blackberries "spit" more than strawberries do! Wear an apron if you don't want to get berry splatter all over you!
Pour in the entire packet of pectin and stir until it's thoroughly dissolved.
Add sugar. Most recipes call for a TON of sugar. I used about 2 cups of sugar for this batch and the end product was plenty sweet. Bring to a boil again and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Take off heat.
I use a funnel and a ladle to get the jam into the jars. It cut down on the mess. Fill to bottom edge of the rim. Wipe off any jam off the rims with a clean dish towel.
Seal the jars tightly. Press down on the middle of the lid to check if it's sealed. If it pops back, it is not sealed yet.
Your jam shouldn't move at all when it's done setting.
Plenty of jam to share with friends! Don't worry; there was plenty for us to have some, too!
FYI: If you're using the kind of jars that seal, you don't have to refrigerate them. I store mine on top of my kitchen cabinets. However, I did end up running out of jars and re-used an old peanut butter jar for the remaining jam. I put it into the refrigerator immediately, and it set just fine.


I know. I've been terrible about keeping up with this on a daily basis, but it's the spirit that matters, correct?

Today's Joy Dare: 3 Gifts in Someone Older Than You

1. Perspective from a life longer lived, distance greater traveled, people loved and lost
2. Wisdom of a more grounded sort
3. Advice from a heart that is able to stand staunchly against the winds of worldly influence

Would love to hear yours!

24 June 2013

Line 'Em Up!

We had quite a busy weekend here at the Boots & Feet household, kicking off with a bang on Saturday morning with B's second swim lesson. I decided last minute to stay home, which ended up working out well for all of us. B did very well at his lesson, and was apparently much more compliant than last week (probably because it wasn't his first time but also perhaps because he didn't have me there as an additional distraction). And of course, I certainly appreciated the 45 minutes of quiet, just-me-in-the-house peace. 

Our backyard was becoming a jungle, so we spent much of the remainder of the day outside, pulling and mowing and watering and raking and just prettifying. We had planned to have supper with friends, so lightning quick showers took place and we had an evening of scrumptious food, good conversation, and lots of rambunctious play.

Yesterday, my college friend Andrea came for lunch and a visit after church. She's in town for an AP Calculus conference.
How many of you knew that such a thing existed?


Anyway, it was so good to see her and after some warming up, B decided she was a fun new friend and requested that "Miss An-jrea" push him in his swing outside.

I had to leave in the middle of her visit (something you can only do with old friends!) because I was registered to go hear this amazing woman speak.
More on that later.

But to peak your curiosity and perhaps give you some incentive to stop by again, there will be a GIVEAWAY involved!
This morning, we had a fun playdate with some friends from church/Kindermusik. I made blueberry scones with a lemon glaze (YUM!) with the aid of my little helper.
I also put out some pretty flowers from around our garden, which continues to surprise us with unexpected blossoms of loveliness.
One of the things I've enjoyed most about this first spring in our house is that we don't know what the previous owners had planted around the yard. We thought we knew what we had by May, but in June, we've had daisies, something that looks a bit like tiger lilies, and blossoms from the crepe myrtle trees.

B was nicely tuckered out in time for his nap, sleeping a solid 2+ hours, which allowed me to eat lunch in peace, putter around the house, and take a short nap myself.

These are rare occasions. My boy is a busy bee and has energy in abundance. This morning, he decided his little kitchen stool just wouldn't suffice for effectively helping me with the baking, so he went to the laundry room and carried out my step-stool all himself, grunting all the while from the effort.

Just like a little man.

I mean, that thing IS heavy with its steel frame, especially for a two-year old. But he did it.

And this.

This is what happens when I leave my two guys to themselves for five minutes while I peruse the clearance racks at Sears, looking for garage organizing ideas.
He managed to rearrange all the push mowers at Sears into a line.

Imagine how much we'd all accomplish every day if we had toddler energy.