Friday, August 31, 2012

my sometimes

Sometimes your baby is sick and reverts to waking up all night like a newborn, and then wakes up for good before the sun does, and you wish you hadn't stayed up so late making even more bunting for your art room. 

Sometimes you're still adjusting to your husband being back at work after a wonderful together-ful summer while trying to prepare two art programs and two classrooms by yourself with an accident prone toddler in tow. 

Sometimes the housework piles up, but there are too many people and things and to-do lists vying for your time for you to bother.

And then, sometimes, you learn that your Dad has lung cancer, and it feels like he's just recovered from the last bout of cancer and you wonder why, why, why must he go through this again? And you're anxious about the future.

* * *

So sometimes you gather your tired, cranky, runny-nosed babe, pack some strawberries and cheerios, a picnic blanket and your life line and you walk to the sea; because the air is crisp and the space wide-open and your sick baby is enlivened by the wide water, gentle ocean breeze, open space and the early morning dog-walkers. 

Sometimes you breathe deep, sip your coffee, soak the morning sun and watch your son happily toddle to and fro, waving to you proudly from across the lawn, back often for a cuddle and a cheerio.

And you read this:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside quiet waters...
he refreshes my soul.... (from Psalm 23)

And you remember this:

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you... (Psalms 55:22)  

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:27)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 22-23) 

And then, sometimes you are overwhelmed with thanks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

these days...

lesson planning, bulletin board-ing, poster laminating, bunting hanging, inspiration reading, material ordering, classroom nesting...

with a whole lot of this in between for good measure...

School year 2012-2013, commence!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Beachy Bridal Shower

On Saturday (and a perfectly temperate summer one at that!) we had a bridal shower for my brother's fiance, Sarah.  We knew that she had really wanted a beach wedding, but it didn't end up working out due to lots of logistical issues(and it would be rather cold in October on the beach!). Instead, we decided to throw her a beachy bridal shower in my parents backyard. It was fun putting together all of the themed details and it really came together nicely. Now only about a month 'til wedding time! (these McKenna kids are being married off like hotcakes! watch out, Kimmie!)

(paper lanterns hanging off the canopies, mini baskets with chocolate shells for favors)
(Centerpieces - large and small glass containers, sand, shells, water, a floating candle and tea lights with more shells sprinkled about)

 (Dessert - buttercream frosted cupcakes, sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs, candy shells; topped with a paper "beach" umbrella)

White tulle and netting galore. 
Menu - shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops, fruit salad, ambrosia, pineapple and dip, cheese and crackers, Nana's punch)

Oh yeah and there were people there, too. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


celebrating 28, 
(a little late), 
with my love, 
by the sea

Monday, August 27, 2012

so free, so infinite

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
-Charles Wesley


- a fun bachelorette and special bridal shower for my almost-sister Sarah
- a refreshing (and mite overwhelming) teaching retreat
- the seeming end of Levi's summer cold
- working on a beautiful collaborative rock wall sculpture with Kirsten
- beautiful birthday earrings from Ariel
- seeing the Ansel Adams exhibit at the PEM with my parents and grandparents
- dinner and fun with the Bornes 
- more artists coming out the woodwork for the Creative Arts Ministry
- fro-yo with the Schmidts
- some teaching inspiration
- my birthday date with Brian (spinach and feta croissants, beach, pottery)
- a powerful and spirit-filled highrock service
- how Levi was extra cuddly with his Grampy, on a day his Grampy needed it
- mercy all, immense and free!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

crafts with kerrie (or "awkward fashion shoots with kerrie")

If you have a pinterest account, you've probably seen the plethora of things you can make with old T-shirts. I was in charge of planning a craft for the retreat and decided to lead the group in making t-shirt scarves. The three scarves I chose are crazy-easy to make and way-cute to wear. 

Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures of these lovely ladies with their homemade scarves, so I reluctantly submit the following awkward photos for your humor enjoyment.

make the Frilly Scarf
make the Fringey Scarf
make the Ropey Scarf

(photos taken by the very handsome and multi-talented B. James with the very fun and retro Dreamy Diana lens. and please note that the I had nothing to do with staging the following photos...I'm just lucky enough to be married to someone who is secure enough in his masculinity to wear fashion scarves.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Christmas in...


After months of hard work, my brother finished my Christmas present; a beautiful coffee table made out of an old door he found on the side of the road. It is gorgeous and was totally worth the wait. 

While you'll have to contact Jonathan for a very specific tutorial, I can give you some of the basics: A quarter of the door was cut off so that the three window panels were left and he rounded the corners so that there were no sharp edges for baby. He used wooden fence posts for the legs (genius idea on his part!), painted it dark green and finished it off with a few coats of polyurethane. He ordered a thick piece of glass to lay over the three glass panels, so that the surface of the table is even and then screwed on an old crystal doorknob we found in the basement ('cuz it's whimsical and I want everyone to know it was a door!)

I love, love, love my new coffee table and am so thankful for the love and care and time that went into making it. 

Thanks, Jonny!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Haven't done one of these in a while (like years)...
(prompts from The Simple Woman's Daybook) 

Outside my window... early morning sunlight filtered through my bedroom curtain, a quiet city neighborhood

I am thinking...about waking up my boys who are sleeping soundly next to me, because they are so cute and fun and I want to play with them

I am thankful...for a wonderful weekend retreat with my new church family; a great time of building community, worshipping, playing, crafting and dreaming of the future

In the kitchen...some fresh fruit and veggies from the farmer's market and a sink full of dirty dishes 

I am wearing...Brian's old PJ bottoms and a healthy slather of ben-gay

I am creating...a list of things to get done before school starts and sketches for a painting series

I am Levi's 1 year doctor's appointment

I am wondering... when this longer-than-normal neckache and headache will bite the dust

I am reading..."Heaven" by Peter Kreeft, an old favorite and Psalms with Brian and Levi

I am hoping (and praying)...that Dad's tests on Tuesday come back cancer-free (please pray with me)

I am looking forward to...a birthday celebration with the James family tonight

I am of the fan, steady breathing of my sleeping family

Around the house...a happy just-back-from-a-weekend-away mess, a needy and cuddly kitty who clearly missed his family

I am pondering... how to really live (worth a read)

A few plans for the rest of the week...

-a day long work retreat (which I'm looking forward to, because I love my job and love my co-workers.. blessing!)
-working on decor and cupcakes for my future sister-in-laws bridal shower, attending it and her bachelorette party
-collecting rocks with Kirsten and planning/designing a rock wall display for a sermon illustration on Sunday
-ordering supplies and materials for school and beautifying my art rooms
-engaging in some last minute summer fun with Brian and Levi..because summer is not over yet!!

Ok, these boys need to wake up for reals.

Have a lovely day, friends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Home Sweet Home Travel Kit

Last weekend we celebrated my littlest sister's birthday, before she headed back to school in Pennsylvania. Kimmie has always been a girl after my own heart and enjoys making the places she lives beautiful and homey. These days she is always seems to be on the move; last spring she was in Rwanda, she spent the summer here in MA, is back in Pennsylvania for the fall semester and then she's off to spend the spring semester in Thailand! For her birthday, I put together some packable things that will make any place she lays her head a little more like a home.  

Brian found a perfectly weathered wooden box at a local thrift shop and I went to work filling it with tiny homey things.  I found 3 bud vases from an antique store up in Maine (2 were old perfume bottles and one was a crystal salt shaker), a tea light candle and holder, a little metal elephant knick-knack (her favorite animal), a family photo and then I painted a nearby salt marsh on a 2"x2" canvas to complete the collection.

Miss you already, chooch!

(us at Katie's wedding)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

right now..

..I'm taking advantage of these last few daddy-at-home days and trying to finish my Salem painting (yup, the same one I started in April. Oy!) ... painted most of the day yesterday and planning to continue today. 

As usual, I went through times of excitement, frustration, pure aesthetic joy, and of course the old "Brian, hand me the matches... I'm going to burn this painting right now, right here!". It's a good thing I live with another temperamental artistic soul who goes through the same emotional turmoil on a regular basis..'cause I don't know who else would put up with these mood swings. :)

Here's to hopin' I finish the darn thing before NEXT April!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gone with the Wind Silhouette

A little something for Nana, on her birthday..

A page photocopied (on parchment paper) from her very favorite book, Gone With the Wind, 
a pencil drawing of a silhouette inspired by this movie poster,
painted in with black with ink pens, some thick, some fine
matted and framed.

Monday, August 13, 2012


beautiful Maine, sun, water, trees, sand, family, campfires, banana boats, yahtzee and settlers, baby steps and love and giggles, a 1st birthday, tent cuddles, all of Levi's adoring grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles (do you think he got enough attention?!)

Thankful for all of this. 

'til next year...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

gone campin!

Last year I was having a baby while my family was away on our annual camping trip, so I'm extra excited to go and spend a week up north roughing it with my favorites. WITH said baby, no less! 

I'm looking forward to beachin' it everyday, sand castles, s'mores, family games, cuddling up in a tent with my and relaxation like CA-RAZY. And I'm sure Levi will get a great immunity boost with all the dirt, bugs and such that he's going to be playing in and ingesting. ;) 

We'll be away until next Friday and I'll most probably be "unplugged" for the duration of the week.  Don't worry, I've scheduled a couple of posts (for instance, I'm going to be away for the final "Levi on the 7s!") and I'll be back real soon with some fun camping pictures. Unless we get eaten by bears or something...

Have a great week, friends!

(camping 2010)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

if you'll just indulge me for a moment lies an excessive amount of adorable pictures of my (almost) birthday boy.

(your first kid only turns one once, you know!) :)

(family shots taken by my brother Jonathan)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Party for Levi

Even though Levi's first birthday isn't until the 7th, this weekend we had an early party to coincide with his dedication, which we were also celebrating. Both sides of our family gathered at my parents house which was decked out with balloons, balloon-themed decorations and a balloon cake. It was an easy but appropriate theme for a one year old who LOVES balloons. :)

Levi seemed to enjoy his day immensely.  He was quite sufficiently showered with love, attention, sugar and gifts. It was really special to have those who love him most gathered to celebrate his life and first year.  It makes me so happy to see him cheered on by his great-grandparents, taught to walk by his uncle, climbing up the legs of his Grampy, feeding his cake to his Aunt. I'm so thankful that he has so many special people who love him unconditionally and will support and care for him throughout his life. 

He is one blessed little fellow.

(the balloon cake was inspired by this cake from Family Fun. I added a backdrop by painting a sky on a piece of large white cardboard.)