sweet baby janey jae is one today.
this happy, charming, smiling, content, silly
girl has just sat back and let this year fly right by.

sniff, sniff.

too fast. I want to go back. freeze time. back to ringing in new year's eve in the hospital. holding her. the peace and quiet.
the excitement on her big sisters' faces when they met her for the first time.

truly, babies should not be this cute. this easy. because the days disappear. It is hard to even fathom the amount of changes and events she has fluidly accepted in this short, busy year. the travels, the projects, the move...

she embraced them all.
we embraced her.

happy birthday baby girl.

little miss sunshine.

for months and months I have been craving


well, I got it.

just not how I had originally imagined.

five family members.
struck simultaneously by the flu.

nothing glamorous like H1N1.
just the good old 5 million loads of laundry
stomach bug.

good times.

but I did get to curl up with a good book,
(just in time for our inaugural
book club meeting next month)
a pathetic little baby who is turning one tomorrow,

and was saved by a sweet home delivery
of a bag of ice from Sonic.
It's magic, I tell you...

{card by mel,
pic by drew,
story by jason a.k.a my husband}

CHRISTmas 2009

“Baby Jesus was stolen.” That’s what my brand new neighbor told me the other night. Every year, she puts up a city award-winning nativity display. A few years ago, someone actually came onto her lawn in the middle of the night and stole baby Jesus. The whole neighborhood couldn’t believe it. It became the hottest topic of conversation in the community. Two newspapers found out and wrote five separate articles about it. A sign was made to place on the lawn that said “Jesus was stolen.” Everyone knew about it. Everyone was talking about it. Through this incident, people were drawn to the real reason of CHRISTmas: … Jesus. What man intended for bad, God used for good.

How about you? Has anything bad happened to you this past year that you wish could be different? CHRISTmas is a season of hope. Humanity was waiting for well over 700 years for the long awaited Messiah to come to earth. A lot of pain, hurt, and frustration happened in that time. I’m sure people were wondering, “When are things going to get better?!” And then it happened. “Today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born unto you. He is Christ the LORD.” In one instance, on that holy night, Jesus came and changed everything. He brings rest to the restless, hope to the hopeless, and peace to the chaos. He is the light of the world, He is in control (of everything!), and He will never leave you or forsake you. What people intend for you to be bad, God uses for good. He loves you and is always with you!

And oh yeah, a real estate agent who saw the stolen Jesus sign, read the article in the paper, and heard about the story from a friend, actually found baby Jesus stashed up on a hill when she was driving one of her routes. Baby Jesus was returned, more talk and newspaper articles continued to flow, and all was made right. What originally sounded like such a terrible thing, became one of the biggest focuses on the real reason of CHRISTmas. And more importantly than getting Jesus back in the manger, let’s all make this CHRISTmas about letting Him live and reign in our hearts!

Merry CHRISTmas! The Carson’s

I know it's not New Year's yet...
but it is never too early to start.
1. Make friends with the manual settings on my camera.
2. Make friends with Photoshop.

(both are very scary and a little bit unfriendly.
bring on the challenge!)

Notice my new little watermark?

After reading this post from LilBlueBoo and dealing with paranoia, I asked sweet Marina from Penny Lane Designs (who is a superstar and is brewing some fun things up for this little blog come 2010...) to make me one. I have no clue how I got it on this picture... thus the resolution to wrap my head around the beast that is PS. I took a class right after Janey was born and the post baby sleep depravation coupled with my not so rad A.D.D. did not fare well for my hopes of retaining any knowlege.

Why didn't they have Photoshop classes in the dark ages when I went to college and actually had an attention span???

Not fair.

Time machine please!

Two wells!!!
Two villages, hundreds of lives.
Thank you.
For supporting.
Beyond what we could ever have imagined.
Way, way beyond.
What a happy, happy day.

I am currently obsessed with making pillowcases.
Perfect Christmas present.
Much more useful than some forgettable toy.

Besides, my random daughter asked Santa for a squirrel pillow.
And blanket.
I don't think it gets much more random.
Good thing that Santa can sew.

Here is little Miss Random.
I love this silly kid.
Pulling faces in the mirror while I mess around with my new camera.
(A delightful, extravagant birthday gift from my sweet husband.)
The one that I have NO CLUE how to use.
I have been pouring over each and every Momtog post and having an all around fantastic time learning and trying to force myself to shoot in manual. Sometimes brilliantly. Sometimes... not so much.

This is how we are spending our California Christmas.

Somehow the girls are convinced that come Friday morning we will have snow. All of the holiday movies are basically false advertising. Anyone want to send me some? I hear you East Coasters have a few inches to spare...

I found a new use for one of my Scarf Along skinnies.
Absolutely perfect for keeping my wild baby
from bumps and bruises during a little photo shoot.
It worked perfectly. Plus it matched to boot.

Hope you all are having a happy week.

Isn't it truly the most wonderful season of all?

I have wanted a wrapped canvas forever and a day.

When DrewB took this picture of my girlies I knew that
someday it was destined to become the canvas of my dreams.

The wall above the fireplace was sad and lonely.
Taunting me.
Screaming for a big canvas of cuteness.

Each day I would stare at the blank wall.
Dream that a magical fairy would grant my wishes.

Guess what showed up on my birthday?
Guess who was screaming,
shaking, crying, freaking out?
The best picture.
The perfect place.

Besides my girls... guess what is my fave?
How rad are these edges????
I just stare at them.
They amaze me.

Every single bit of it amazes me.

But guess what is even more amazing?

The kind and generous folks at
want to give a
20X24 Gallery Wrapped Canvas
to one of you!!!

For reals.

But not here. Nope. Better than here.
Over at the Project 320 blog.
For water.
To save another village.

We are so close.
Each and every dream has been exceeded.
The second well is nearly funded.
No reason to stop now.

Plus, I will let you in on another secret...
See Janey's stocking up there? Is it bugging you that it doesn't match? Well it's fake. I haven't made hers yet (too busy waiting for water to boil) and it was making me CRAZY seeing an empty stocking holder in the picture. So I doctored it up at Picnik. Don't tell. A year of Picnik premium is part of the bonus bundle too. Just in case you don't get to finish your stockings either. Fake it until you make it. Literally. Just saying.

wear bunny hats with
Christmas pinnies
to look at holiday lights.

(which may or may not be due to the fact that all they have are hand me downs and their head is crazy giant and doesn't fit into their big sister's baby santa hats.)

P.S. you still have a few more hours to donate and win an amazing bundle of happiness over at Project 320.
We are nearly on our way to well #2.

Praise God!

I hate my cooktop.
Scratch that.
I don't prefer it.
(Love how Lindsey teaches her kids to say that!)

I do not prefer my electric cooktop for many reasons.

1. It is from the 80's.
Lets be honest. Not much good came from the 80's, besides The Smiths and... I've got nothing. Pretty much only The Smiths.

2. It takes 30 minutes to boil a pot of water.
Thirty stinking minutes. For someone who is a major fail at time management and planning, this is often disastrous to normal meal times.

3. It randomly will be a billion degrees and then ice cold for no reason.
Not good for toffee crack making. Unless my goal is to ruin every single batch of toffee crack and break my addiction to it. Then it is awesome.

4. It is electric. I know there are those out there that heart themselves some electric. I am not one of you. I learned on gas. It is all I know. I am trying to adjust to electric, but two months in I still dread cooking on it. Any tips?

But at the end of every
"I don't prefer my 80's cooktop"
rainbow there is a pot of...


Which makes watching water boil so much more fun.
Even if it doesn't solve my cooktop issues, I now like it
times as much.

Besides, one of the burners is broken
and now has an actual purpose in life.
To be the resting place of my new aqua gorgeousness.

Thanks 320 girls!
you made my birthday the. best. ever.!!!

p.s. what's in the pot?
that you simply must make.
electric success.

This afternoon what seemed like an unattainable goal was realized.
The Project 320 well was funded.
An entire village will now get fresh clean water.

Thanks to you.

Who donated.
Who crafted.
Who prayed.
Who encouraged.

It is only Tuesday.

What does the rest of the week hold?

God is the God of infinitely more.
He proves that time and time again.

I am amazed.

That God would use me.
Use my friends.
Use you.
To change the course of history.

To save 250 lives.

Because in that village
lives a little boy.
Or a little girl.

Who only this morning had little hope for their future.

But now they will

They can change the world.

The future is much different for that village.
I believe that the future will be much different for us.

Thank you.
Thank you.

Project 320 bundles are amazing.
You. Have. No. Idea.

We hoped for 100 items.
Instead over 300 were donated.

Each and every one is thoughtful, meaningful and will help save a village.

Hop on over to the Project 320 blog.
Three bundles will be listed each morning.
Entries will close each night.

While you are there, why not do some Christmas shopping?
Nicole made up this fantastic graphic to use if you give the gift of water in someone else's name.
I also ADORE how sweet Jill is packaging up water bottles to give as treats to her loved ones.

God is so good.
So big.
I am overwhelmed.

when we moved in we knew that the heater was shot.
turn it on and you all will die, broken.

but in my cali way I was convinced that
we could go the entire winter without one.
It only took four days of indoor temps dipping below 55 to change my mind.

our high maintenance children like to be warm when they sleep.
I know... demanding!

so today we have a new heater.
the drama queens only have to wear one pair of pajamas to bed.

an upside to all of this frostiness
has made me crave cozy warm food.
food that I can dump in the crock pot so I have time to work.

my fave meal.
by way of alicia, by way of carolyn.


Santa Fe Soup

1 lb. ground beef/ turkey/ whatevs/ browned and drained
1 can kidney beans
2 cans Ro-tel
1 can stewed Mexican style tomatoes
1 can corn (drained)
2 Tbs. taco seasoning
16 0z. Velveeta cubed

Don't give me that
"ewwww.... Velveeta is creepy!" face.
Yes. Velveeta is creepy.
Super creepy.
But sometimes creepy things are really awesome things in disguise. Plus, it doesn't work with regular cheese. I've tried. Talk about creepy.
So get over it.
I promise you won't regret it.

Dump everything in your handy dandy crock pot.

Cook on high for three hours.
Stir once halfway.

I really heart my crock pot.

I heart this meal.
But want to make it
the. best. meal. ever?

I am pretty much 99.9% sure it is why God created corn.
Just saying.

It's a typical Saturday.
Except it isn't.
You packed way too much in.
You aren't willing to let any of it go.
Sleep deprived.

Your middle daughter has her Christmas production at school.
Right in the middle of naptime.

Your husband is at church for the day.

You wake them up.
It is not easy.
Or pretty.
They are grumpy.
You are grumpier.
Even more tired.

But in your world rushing is the gateway to panic.

You feel it coming. You don't stop it.

Suddenly your children are living in the middle of a bad Lifetime movie.
With the crazy panic attack mom.

You shut yourself in the pantry to get it together.
Three little ones are in the kitchen crying.

You come out, sit down with them and ask them to pray.
Jesus comes to rescue all of you.

Pile into the van.


Realize that you have no camera.
Because your camera bit the dust last week.
You don't have a plan b.


Rush to school.
They are waiting.
Of course her class is the first one up.

She sings.

You cry.
The things that you did that day do not matter.

Your little girl matters.
Singing songs about baby Jesus.

If only you had a camera to capture this day.

Little do you know that there is another mom in the room.
Who's son is standing right next to your daughter.
Who is an amazing photographer.
A beautiful blogger.

But you are too shy and nerdy to talk to the other moms at drop off and pick up. You took the "don't talk to strangers" lesson a bit too seriously as a kid.

A few days later you get an email.
She writes:
I thought I'd pass this along to you...I thought Lucy looked cute in this pic...

Just like that.
Exactly what you needed.
Better than you could have hoped.

Thanks Linn.
God used you in ways that you will never know.

And I made these eight scarves!

What should I do?
Don't fret!

Sign up with the every so fabulous Erin at

who has graciously offered to be our swap
Hostess with the Mostess.

I am excited to send one off and see what comes my way.

Plus, I will totally be your eighth friend.
I'll even make you some toffee crack.

I'm cool like that.