Sunday, January 02, 2011

And Ending and a Beginning

This might be my shortest post ever, but I have a NEW BLOG. I've enjoyed this one so much and will not be deleting it because there are posts on here that mean a lot to me. For many reasons, it was time to move on and start fresh in my memory/life sharing with you.

Please continue peeking into our lives at my new site: Magda Row

There will many new photos, stories, and exciting events popping up over there. So, head over to the Row now! :)

(To subscribe to Magda Row by email subscription, please click on the above link. Look on the right side of Magda Row's screen and click on a little orange square box. That is the RSS feed. It will pop up a subscription form where you enter your email. You will only receive blog updates from Magda Row as I post new items. Make sure and check your email after you complete this step to verify your email address. Thanks for following us!)

Love, Amanda Carlson

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My First Ever Girls' Weekend

So, I was all prepared to do a post for all of you regarding my recent Girls' Weekend to Atlanta with Joy...

but she beat me to it. ;)

Which is perfect, because she very succinctly described our 48 hour trip  instead of writing a million words on the topic as I might have done. (So I'm a little wordy....)

One thing she discussed in her post was how we talked and talked and talked. And talked. And then talked some more.

What she failed to mention is that we both lost our voices from talking so much. Ha! But I'm okay with that because it was much needed.

We started out on our little road trip thinking of all the rest & sleep we were going to get. We were right about half of that. We didn't sleep very much....staying up until almost 3am and 4am each night. Yep...talking. But we DID rest. We rested our minds, we renewed our energy for heading back home, and apparently, we both needed it. What a blessing this trip was for refreshing me and also rekindling a friendship from long ago!

Even better, I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. :) Thank you, Joy, for your humor and blatant  honesty regarding so many things we discussed. I will never forget it and hope to do another one in the future.

The first picture above shows us after our dinner at Bistro Niko which was WONDERFUL. I don't think we spoke much during the first 10 minutes of our dinner because we were too busy Mmming and Aaahing over how amazing it was. (Can you see how tired we are on that first evening?)

We enjoyed one afternoon at the spa, which was totally needed. I could have stayed there all day, but I'm sure I would have turned into a prune sitting in that whirlpool with a smoothie the whole time. :)

And, oh my goodness, I almost forgot! She had the honor of taking me on my very first trip to IKEA. It was even more wonderful than I imagined and I may have found the answer to the bookshelf vs. builtin argument for our study/office. (Hallelujah!)

Anyway, head on over to Joy's blog (Cobblestone Rue) and read her take on the weekend. She gave all the details as to where we stayed, the restaurants we enjoyed, and the spa we used along with links to check each one out. I love how she shared the weekend that we spent realizing who we truly are underneath being wives and mothers and much more.

Now it's time to plan a big one. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Perfect Moment (in a not-so-perfect day)

I just came downstairs after unlocking my sleeping baby boy's arms from around my neck, and quietly tip-toeing out of his room and slowly closing his door.

I didn't want to unlock his arms. I wanted to lay right beside him for hours into the night.

You see, our day started out horribly.

Both kids are getting over a feverish/coughing/sneezing sickness, and last night was no exception. I thought I was going to bed early last night at 11pm and was excited about the idea of feeling rested when the morning came.

I was wrong.

Maddox was up between 2:30-3:30am with a bad dream, needing a bathroom break, and me realizing that he needed more cough medicine. He was also delirious and seeing things in his room. That's alway fun. Needless to say, I was exhausted when the chaos of the day woke me up at 7am. (And that was a lot of sleep for me.)

I woke up tired. Grouchy. Snippy. Headache-y. Or the other 4 words: A Very Bad Mood.

Maggie was extra loud (the child has the vocals of an opera lie), Maddox was extra whiny (I know, I know....he's sick), Chad was leaving early, and I was not ready for the day yet.

I'm embarrassed as I look back over the day. I had no patience for anything they did. There was screaming, yelling, anger, tears.....and the embarrassing part was that it wasn't the kids.

It was me. :(

And I'm sad about it. That's not the mom I normally am and it's definitely not the mom I want to be. I need a break like you wouldn't believe, but it's no excuse. They are babies and I am their teacher.

How can I be angry at these children? Look at these faces! They are precious, even when they are disobeying every word out of my mouth and fighting over a toy at every turn.

I have to sit back and rethink my direction when this happens. Yes, I literally sit there and think of what I can do to diffuse my frustration and then act on it as fast as possible. Today I finally got it under control (by doing an impromptu photo shoot with them - these are the outtakes) and we had a pleasant evening together. (Thank you, God, for answering that repeated prayer.)

So as I lay there next to my first baby tonight (who is 4.5, mind you), with his little hands clasped and tangled in the hair at the back of my neck and his precious cheek resting on my forehead as he softly snores, I feel my tears start. Not tears of sadness, but because of the thought that the roots of our love are so deep. We can all have an occasional bad day with our babies, but it's what we plant in their hearts that will remain. And then there are tears for the amazing forgiveness he has for me, his innocence, his faith in me that my love is continuous. I pray that he and Maggie won't remember the horrible parts of today. And I don't think they will. I don't remember the bad days with my parents. I remember the loving moments more than anything!

Before Maddox fell asleep, I said "Let's talk to Jesus and then you need to go to sleep." He just squeezed my neck tight and whispered, "No....not yet." So I waited. We spoke to Jesus together, but I waited there with him. We both needed that time, and I'm so glad I took it instead of being in a rush to go clean the kitchen and the rest of the day's tornado.

A perfect stolen moment....just me and my babe.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baby/Toddler Leg Warmers - on Prudent Baby

As I have mentioned before, I have been sewing. I'm still learning the best techniques for different things, but overall I think I'm doing a great job. I hadn't sat down behind a sewing machine since Freshman year of high school. I just used my Singer Sewing Guide from my new handy dandy sewing machine, added in a lot of common sense and trial & error, and here is the result. Granted, this is an overly easy project, but I was totally happy with the result.

I found the Baby/Toddler Leg Warmer tutorial on Prudent Baby back in the winter. The ladies over there are some of my favorite tutorial posters that I have found and there are TONS of neat things to make. I personally think they are awesome for sharing all these cool DIY projects. 

Also, I need to note that these are not just a ridiculous fashion accessory for babies. I mean, I admit they are darling, as you'll see in the last photos......but they are for function at my home. I like to put them on Magdalen before a nap in the spring/summer when the air conditioner is on full blast. Babies don't pull sheets/blankets up over themselves while sleeping yet, and I feel bad putting her to bed in a cold room wearing just a bubble romper/dress. Seriously. And, I wish I had made them before she started walking. They are perfect on girls (AND boys) when they are crawling in the warm months. Both of my kids only crawled during the colder months when they were wearing pants, so it wasn't a problem, but I can only imagine how red & carpet burned those little knees can get. Not to mention how much faster diaper changes are with these, as opposed to pants!

The project shown above consists of 2 pairs of leg warmers AND a cute fabric flower hair clip. I just tied them both together with the pink/green polka dot ribbon and then clipped the hair clip to the ribbon. Perfect gift for a little friend turning one! This size fit Magdalen when she was just turning one, and now that she's 18 months old I can still fit the same size on her perfectly chubby legs. (You know, the kind of little legs you just want to chew on?)

The ladies over at Prudent Baby love to see what other people are creating with their tutorials, so I submitted my pictures of these and also a swaddling blanket I made with their directions. 

On their Prudent Project Round-Up post for April 18th, 2010, they included my photo of my legwarmers!!! I was so excited! You can click HERE to see it. :)

I definitely recommend trying out their projects! They are so descriptive and give amazing photos to show their process. 

Last, but not least, here are a couple of photos of Miss Magdalen wearing her made-by-mama baby leg warmers this spring. Precious girl!!

Da plane! Da plane! 

Sorry, I couldn't resist. That's all I can think of when I look at the picture above. Maybe I'm the only that gets that. She was actually trying to communicate that she felt & saw the sunshine! This was back in March when we hadn't seen the sun in MONTHS. But how stinking adorable is she here?! 

I'm happy and excited to be making more of these leg warmers for a Silent Auction coming up. They will be raising money for a local church that needs help due to the flooding here in Nashville and surrounding areas. I've been able to help in so many subtle ways, and thankful that I'm able to help, yet again. (Another post on the flooding - including personal photos - will follow soon.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Piece Of My Heart

It's amazing how many things people can deal with and go through and still keep a smiling face for others to see. It makes me wonder what goes on behind closed doors.

I have a story like that.
About me.
And Chad, of course, but this is my perspective and how my eyes saw it and how I dealt with it.

I've never written this story down. I've never even told anyone in detail how it felt and what I did to get through that day. Because that's how I am. If you don't say or write it out loud, it's somehow less real.

So here goes....

March 19, 2008.
A day I will never forget.
Two years ago today, I lost a baby.
And I hid it from everyone I saw that day, except for Chad.

Just typing those words makes me cry again. Because now the memories of that day come flooding back. And the horror. And the helplessness. And the defeat. And the stress of remaining "normal".

But let me back up a little and tell you more.

The month after Maddox turned 1 year old, Chad and I started trying for another baby. It had taken me no time at all to get pregnant with Maddox, so when 3 months had gone by and I was still not pregnant this second time, I saw my doctor. He said, Don't worry! Be patient.

Well, okay. Three months is not long. And then, 6 months came along and I saw a new doctor. (This doctor, I love! So sincere, encouraging, and understanding.) He agreed with me that I was dealing with secondary infertility and told me my options.

Since I was starting to panic inside (and obsess daily) about this, I decided to start on fertility drugs. He put me on Clomid to make my body work properly and I thought....Ok, here we go!

Months went by and with each passing day I became more obsessed with reading about it, looking at the Clomid message boards on a baby site, and wondering what else I could do to up our chances. If you haven't dealt with this, then you will not believe the money that goes into this obsession. The pills, the ovulation predictor kits, the pregnancy tests (because you have to know NOW if it worked), etc.

I had told only 1 or 2 people that we were trying for another child. Neither of these people were family. I only told people who had no connection with my family or friends back home because I didn't want that pressure and wondering going on.

So, imagine my excitement, elation, giddiness, and thankfulness when finally, TWELVE MONTHS later, I found out I was pregnant!! I don't remember the day, but it was in March and we had just had a tragedy in our family and I was so excited that this happy news might overshadow that a little bit.

The morning of March 19th, I woke up and was all packed to go out of town. Maddox and I were going to visit my mother and some other friends for a long weekend. And most exciting of all for me, I was going to the Hotel Cafe Tour 2008 concert in Atlanta that night. Mom was babysitting for that. :)

Chad was about to leave for work, I was showering before we left, and Maddox was just waiting. And that's when it started happening. 

I got out of the shower. Shaking. I yelled for Chad and told him what was happening. And we just sort of looked at each other with these expressions like "Oh no."

I knew I couldn't lose my mind because I needed to just leave. I wasn't changing my plans. And I tried to tell myself that it wasn't real.
But I knew. 

And more importantly, I knew I had to be a mommy for the perfect little man THAT I ALREADY HAD. I kept looking at Maddox thinking - Remember, you have a child. You HAVE a child. Remember this. Keep it together. Be thankful.

I told Chad to go on to work and he did. There was nothing we could do. 

I started to drive out of town and just kept thinking about what was happening right then. And it made me sick to my stomach.

My nurse called and the sweet lady told me that she was terribly sorry, but I was miscarrying and there was nothing I could do. I asked her....what do I do now? She said, well you're early enough that you can try again this month. If you want.

I was not going to give up.

I had to get past this somehow, so she called in a new prescription for another round of Clomid so I would be ready the next time. Yuck. Another. round. of. Clomid. (If you've never taken it, then you don't know how awful the side effects can be.)

I got to my mom's house a few hours later and must have put on a good show, because not one person asked me if I was okay. I was totally pulled together, but inside my heart was breaking. 

I dropped Maddox with her, picked up my sister-in-law, Becky, and we headed to that concert.

Thank God for beautiful music and a place to get lost in it. 

There at Center Stage, Atlanta, was where I focused on the music, the moment, and the overwhelming thoughts in my head. 

Becky was exhausted from working at the hospital all day, so she was just happy to sit and rest her feet in a seat near the front. I'm so thankful for that also. I needed that concert alone that day. 

I walked up front and was about 3 feet from the stage. 
The music was beautiful. 
It was meaningful.
They made me laugh. 
The songs made me think of my love for Chad and Maddox and how I was so lucky.  
Even though this horrible thing was happening to me. Right there. 

It was a healing experience for me. I can't quite describe it. Too many emotions were swarming my mind, but music can help patch your broken heart. Even when a little piece is missing.

I stood there for 2 hours absorbing those sounds, choking back my sobs....but it was okay. I was alone in a sea of people and was able to really feel that moment. 

I recently found these videos on Youtube of the exact concert I was at that night. I watched them and whoa...that feeling in my gut came rolling back in and I remembered. It was hard. But I really wanted to share some of these amazing songs. Except for Keep Breathing & Sky, these videos are from that night. You can click on each song title to listen. These lyrics & melodies mean so much to me.

When you are looking at the stage, I was standing just to the right of Joshua when he was singing with Ingrid. I think there were 3 people in front of me. It was amazing.

Every time I hear each of these songs, I specifically think of what I was going through that day.

And that's okay. Remembering is good. :)

Lovely Tonight - Joshua Radin featuring Ingrid Michaelson

Closer - Joshua Radin

Super nice guy (Joshua Radin) with me and Becky.

I know this was long and I could share so much more from that day, but I won't. At least for now. It just felt good to share this today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Room Tour: Sweet Woodlands Nursery

Here it is. What (some of) you have been waiting for. Well, at least a peek.

In the past year and a half, many of you have personally asked me to send you pictures of our newest home. And I think that those of you who asked have either finally visited us here or have given up asking for pictures. I'm so sorry it has taken me so long.

I hesitated to post pictures of our new home for this reason. It seems sort of like "showing off" what you have. But as I look at other sites and blogs and personal friends' pictures of their homes, I realize that it doesn't have to seem like that! I genuinely enjoy seeing where other people live and how they decorate. I realize not everyone cares, but it's something I'm interested in. So now I will share a little snippet for starters.

Also, I AM proud of Chad and what he has worked hard to provide for me and the kids. And I truly, deep, deep down, feel that God has blessed us with the life that we have. We have lived in our dream home (for us) for a year and a half's a peek. :)

My first room tour will be: Magdalen's Sweet Woodlands Nursery

And, oh, how special this room is to me.

And it always will be.

If you have a child, then you know that the first room you had for your baby will always be special in your heart. It's where you learn who your child is, what their cries sound like, maybe their first giggle on the changing table, watch them play on the rug, and where you will quickly wear in that rocking chair with thousands of minutes rocking, back and forth.

This is the room where I nursed my baby for the majority of a year, where I held her when she had night terrors, where I would rock her in my arms as we both cried, where her sweet Brother would lay his head on the rocking chair arm to love on her little head, and where I would go to just sit and enjoy the calm of holding her sweaty, sleeping body to mine.

All the things that we went through to have this child in our arms *almost* vanished from memory when we brought her home to this room. {That will be a post for another day soon.}

And here is a glimpse of what will be engraved in my memory when I always think of my sweet girl as a baby.

Butterfly mobile (Pottery Barn Kids) - baby gift from Mom

Bedding from the Brooke Collection at Pottery Barn Kids - baby gift from my Mom

Lambie from Serena & Lily - from me for her 1st birthday
Crocheted blanket from my Senior English teacher, Miss Conerly 
(She sleeps with both of these items every. single. night.)

Butterflies (PBK) - from Grandma Marlene
Changing table, free from a friend
Green storage totes from PBK
Lamp from Target
Wooden handpainted frame - from my friend, Ashley B.

Random frames from Hobby Lobby 
(Magdalen rips the picture out, so I'll just leave it until she's older.)

Lamp from Target (pretty cheesy and not my style, but I couldn't help myself with the double layer shade and the owls!)
Piggy bank was mine as a child

Our reading/snuggling corner. :)

Hot pink rocker from Once Upon A Child
Bird pillow from Walmart (who knew?)
Owl pillow, quilt, & rug from the Brooke collection (PBK) - from Mom
Dollhouse bookshelf from Target

Monogrammed bag holding her first soft (fabric) tea set (PBK) - from Dad & Donna
Fabric cupcake set (PBK) - from me

Fabric birdhouse w/ 3 little birds (PBK) from Magdalen's Aunt Heather  - this is one of her favorite toys!
This Little Piggy Went To Prada book from Aunt Heather
Fabric 3 layer cake on the right (PBK) - from Mom

Soft dollhouse with accessories/people inside (PBK) - gift from Mom

Fabric chicken & chicks (PBK) - from us
Felt storage house (PBK) - from us

So, now that I've gone through the list of the things that make this room so special, I see that I should be a walking talking advertisement for Pottery Barn Kids. Sheesh. I don't usually like matchy-matchy rooms, but when you're hugely pregnant & taking care of a 2.5 year old all day, you just pick what you love and roll with it. :) 

I also was very against a pink room. I can (obviously) handle punches of pink, but no way was I going to force it on her. We went with the palest, most feminine blue I could find and I'm in love with the color. I wish I could portray to you how calming this room is because of that. And bright! I have to have bright rooms or I will go insane. (Ask Chad, because he's the EXACT OPPOSITE.) 

Anyway, I'm happy with it. Magdalen is happy with it. And most importantly of all, she has a bed. She has a home. She has many loving arms that have held her. I really couldn't ask for more for her little life right now. 

Our precious, Magdalen, at 4 months old while I was taking her picture for her announcements. Better late than never, right? I miss those chubby rolls and squishy cheeks!!

Here is that sweet boy I talk so much about. Our Maddox. He is the absolute sweetest big brother that I have ever seen in all my life. He loves her so much it truly amazes me. I love pictures like this where they are just snuggling or happy to be together. If my heart could, it would be singing a joyful song!

So there you have it. A look into our home and the smallest bedroom in the house, where our baby girl lays her perfect little head each night. :)

(P.S. My friend, Cindy, told me a few weeks ago that she dreamed that I lived in a huge, huge house. I laughed out loud. And so did my mother. I'm not sure why she pictured that, but now she'll see that we are normal house people.  Haha!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Introducing Gussy

Like what you see??

I know my pictures don't do these bags justice, but they are so stinking cute!

 I purchased my first Gussy bag back in November when I saw it on Etsy. I ended up giving it to my sister-in-law as a Christmas gift because I had actually purchased it for her. :) I really wanted to keep it though. 

The three Gussy bags above are mine. All mine. (You can't hear my giggly excitement, so just imagine it. It's there.)


I first bought this little pink ruffled Gussy zip bag a week or two after my first purchase because it was just too cute and the fabric was one of my favorites. (If you know me well, you know how I get that crazy-eye and my heart starts to beat a little faster when I see some sweet fabric.) I had to have it. :)

That very same week...I WON this black/white checked w/ purple ruffle wallet from a giveaway that Gussy herself was doing on her blog. I NEVER WIN ANYTHING. How lucky did I get that day!

Please go look at Gussy's post HERE to see who else loves a Gussy wallet today. You'll be pleasantly surprised....hint hint family & friends, you might see one of my offspring. ;)

And finally, I had to have this light blue w/ gold checked ruffle laptop bag she was selling. I had been eyeing it ever since she posted it and one day I just snatched it up. My favorite detail is that perfect button. I actually don't even use this for my laptop...I use it for my Bible study materials. A Study Guide and my Bible, along with my highlighters/pens, fit in this bag just perfectly. I love it!!

Does anyone notice what makes these Gussy bags? RUFFLES! And you know I'm not a ruffle-y type of girl, but these are right up my alley. 

Now that I've given you the eye candy, let me introduce you to the face behind the Gussy name. I have had the pleasure, during the last few months, to watch the amazing business growth of a most adorable Maggie Whitley (THE Gussy).

She is the sweetest thing. You will have to read her story about her and her husband here. They remind me of a younger version of Chad and myself, in more ways than one, and it's very neat to hear about them.

When I first started buying from her and following her blog, her sales were high. BUT, I then watched her business explode over what seemed like just a few days, during the holidays. It was amazing and I am truly so happy for her. Her post on Everyday Uses with a Gussy product was linked up in the LA Times Daily Dish last week.

Gussy has been kind enough to answer my blogging/business/sewing questions lately and I have greatly appreciated her kindness and willingness to share her thoughts, advice, and knowledge.

She keeps coming up with new designs that are adorable. Take a peek at her new product (I need a checkbook cover like nobody's business!) and you might find something for yourself or a friend. Even  ruffled note cards!! Love them!
It would be great fun to meet her someday and let her talk my ear off because I've been told that I can't be beat in that department. ;)

Go check out Gussy's shop, her blog, her Facebook fan page, or even read her fun tweets on Twitter. You will not be disappointed!

(P.S. And just one more time for this proud Mama in case you missed it - another peek at MY sweet Maggie-girl on Gussy/Maggie's post.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Day I Became "Old" (or My Baby Brother Turned 30)

I thought it would hit when I turned 30 almost two years ago. 
You know, that 'old' feeling. 
I was wrong.

It happened this year, the year in which I will turn 32. 
The year my baby brother turned 30. 
Now that's weird. 

Granted, he's only 20 months younger, but still....

{me, Magdalen, Josh - wearing his new/old scary 80s vest}

In honor of Josh's birthday, my mother and I cooked up a birthday celebration that only he would truly appreciate. You see, as a child (and scarily into adulthood), all he cared about was anything regarding cars. So naturally, his favorite show was The Dukes of Hazzard.  We went with that and I think we did a great job considering we pulled it all together within 3-4 days. It was a surprise party and amazingly, that worked too! 

Josh and Becky flew in from their home in Naples, FL, a few days before and Becky (his wife) did a great job at making sure the surprise part happened. 

This post is quite picture heavy, but it's the best way to really embrace our Day of Dukes. :) Here we go. 

{front door and his surprised, happy look as he walked in to a house full of guests and his older wacky sister (me) blaring Just The Good Ole Boys by Waylon Jennings on the iPod. }

Dukes of Hazzard Intro/Theme {aka: Josh's Favorite Song EVER}

{Becky & Josh}

{mason jars for drinks & bandanas for napkins}

{my obviously homemade cupcakes, very hurriedly made. :)}

{Dukes chase scene with Josh's original 1980s Dukes of Hazzard Matchbox cars.}

{Paraphernalia that I picked up at Cooter's Museum in Nashville. Yes, it exists.}

{Enjoying our "Uncle Jessie's Apple Cider" that I picked up at Cooter's. Also Josh's special 01 mason jar that I found there also. Details, people. Haha!}

The People

{Xander & Mimi (Sandra)}

{Cousin Todd}

{Cousins Lisa & Ryan}

{Long time friends - Alisa & Amie}


{Maddox & myself}

{Long time friend: Shawn}

{Maddox's best Chattanooga friends: Kaden & Lucas}

{Wild and crazy together every single time.}

{Mom and Steve shared their home that night with 30+ people for the celebration.}

{People who knew about us before we were born: Gary & Debi}

{Mom & Magdalen; Friends since we were 8 years old: Rocky & son, River}

I had such a fun time and I hope everyone else did, too. I do believe that it was a very special night for Josh, especially since he has moved away in the last year. I was also thankful that all these friends & family were able to make it on such short notice.

Thank you all & Happy 30th Birthday, Joshy!


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