baby baby baby

It's with great joy that we announce who exactly will be joining our little family come this August! A little over a week ago, we had our twenty week ultrasound and took home the envelope with baby's identity inside. We'll just be upfront and honest: we opened the envelope after only three hours, which is hilarious since we were supposed to wait until today. Seriously. We would've never made it! But as we look back on that decision, we are grateful that we held the envelope up to the light for a quick peek and then further tore it open in utter astonishment and a tad bit of panic. (big, big smiles here!) 

As it turned out, our little Graeme-bear needed a little bit of coaxing and prodding before the big reveal that happened this morning. But as you can see, he and Jobie both are pretty happy with the outcome. Love to you from our family! And, hello baby girl!

Love does .

Over the last couple of months I've been wrestling with keeping my head above water. I have a sure sense that I am not the only one in this fight! And something that I've learned over the last ten years of my life, as I moved through my twenties and into my thirties, is that this fight for life (or joy or survival or whatever you want to call it) never relents. But I learned something new today, something that caused me to literally soak my shirt sleeve in tears as I sat in the parking lot of Graeme's preschool. I learned the magnitude of  1 John 3:18. 

"Let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love." My family was 1 John 3:18ed today. Two ladies didn't wait for me to invite them over politely into the mess of my home and life. They didn't wait until I collapsed under the dishes, laundry, used kleenexes, and weight of motherhood. They saw my need, they knew they had the means to help, and they came with arms and hearts full. 

A voicemail this morning told me they would arrive this afternoon to lend their hands in organizing and cleaning my home. They wanted me to feel free to take Graeme-bear out for a date while they kept watch over a sleeping Jobie. And I did and we had a marvelous time talking about Graeme's favorite preschool subject, gym class, while eating our way through cotton candy and cookie dough ice cream cones! (smile) And when they left my home late this afternoon, my kitchen organized and clean, the floors swept, the mountain of books on the radio stacked neatly away, and my bathroom the cleanest it's ever been, my family sat down to a dinner that had been left for us, prepared with the same love that had covered my home through the hands of these women. 

I learned that love does. And that love sometimes doesn't wait. And I hope to never forget it.

Seventeen Weeks | Pregnancy Journal

It seems surreal to me that we will be finding out the gender of this little one in a mere couple of weeks. Actually, just like we did with Jobie, we'll be asking the ultrasound technician to tuck away the results into a sealed envelope. We have some special family members arriving into town next month and we've decided to wait in opening the news until they are here with us. (But check back with me on that in a couple of weeks, after the envelope has sat on my countertop for a few days, and I'm doing everything in my power not to take a peek!)

I'm battling one of the worst colds I've ever had and am crossing my fingers that it decides to vanish quickly. Mostly because of the sheer panic that arises in my soul after a surprise sneeze or coughing bout. (ahem) Ah, pregnancy, thank you for keeping me humble.

p.s. By the way, I'm thinking baby boy. And Graeme firmly believes we are naming the baby Moses. We hope to clear up the uncertainty of both these thoughts in the next few weeks. (smile)
p.s.s. Congratulations, Lacie Wright, you're the winner of the SkipHop giveaway!

Stories from Here | Part Six

A couple of weeks ago, I set my alarm, which was probably just as startled at being set as I was to set it, and crossed my fingers that I would hear it the next morning. When the morning came, I tip-toed up the stairs, quickly got dressed and made a chai, kissed Steve goodbye, and drove over to our church parking lot. Sherry was just getting out of her car, blankets and baskets of snacks in her arms. Cathy pulled into the parking lot, driving the bus, as I remarked to Sherry how this little day trip already felt like such a special event-- "you even brought us snacks and blankets!" I said. All together, there was a dozen of us, and after we all climbed onto the bus and got settled, one said a prayer and we were off.

Riding in a short bus with women who are all old enough to be my mother, and some my grandmother!, was a boatload of fun. And let me tell you, these ladies know how to have a good time. We laughed our way to Sisters, parked the bus in two parking spots, and headed in to a little shop across the way. Someone found a greeting card about how you go from a 32C to a 32 Long and we passed the card around, each passing ensuing another round of laughter. Right about that time, Debbie showed up. Debbie is the wife of Bill, the man who pastored the church that my husband now pastors. I love Debbie. She's tall and unpretentious, the kind of gal who hugs me like I mean the world to her, even though we've only known each other for a handful of months. (When Bill and Debbie retired, they moved to Bend to be closer to Bill's family and I'm so glad that they're not too far away.)

We quickly passed the day with shopping and eating. (I found the most amazing coconut macaroon that cost all of sixty five cents!) And then, on the way back, after I nearly overdosed on peanut M&m's, guess who passed out and slept almost the entire way home? Me. 33-year-old me. While my sweet friends were wide awake, laughing and chatting away and who would've had every right to joke about their youngin' friend who couldn't keep up with them! (smile) I'm tellin' you, I love these ladies.

p.s. Oh, and ladies, I heard all of those motorhome stories about your friends who didn't realize that the cars behind them could see in as they used their motorhome's bathroom for the first time. (Hilarious!)

Stories from Here is a series that is being written and photographed because I want to remember all of the people and places, happenings, findings, and friendships that we are experiencing here. You can find Part One here, Part Two here, Part Three here, Part Four here, and Part Five here. (Today's post was actually written several months ago and was way overdue to be posted!)

The Coast + A Giveaway with SkipHop

Last week, we packed our bags and headed for the coast. Seaside holds a very special place in our hearts. You've heard the little saying, "you are my person." Well, this is our place. And this place of ours always leaves us better than when it found us. Always. We were given uncommonly beautiful weather for the month of March. And we let the sunshine pour all over us. At the end of our stay, Graeme insisted we hadn't stayed long enough and strongly protested the packing up of all our bags. Jobie was also quite sad to leave the "he-hide". 

p.s. I wanted to talk a little about SkipHop. Have you heard of them? They reached out with an offer of one of their Duo Luxe French Stripe diaper bags. And, I actually used it as a weekender bag for our coast trip. (see the last photo above) I really enjoy diaper bags that don't appear to be diaper bags and their French Stripe Duo Luxe bag really caught my eye. The best news is that SkipHop is giving away one Due Essential Diaper Bag (choose your favorite style) to a Cranny + Me reader this week! This would make a wonderful gift for the next baby shower on your list! (Or, if you're like me, a wonderful addition to your vacation bag collection, with all of its pockets and compartments! Books, Graeme-bear's sling shot, diapers and wipes filled mine this past weekend.)

To enter, leave a comment letting me know which style of the Duo Luxe you'd choose if you were to be the winner! Also, please make sure to leave your email address or other contact information. (If you'd like an extra entry, share this giveaway on Facebook and let me know in your comment.) Happy entering, friends! And, happy Monday! (The winner will be announced next Monday.)
*CONGRATULATIONS TO LACIE WRIGHT! picked you as the winner this morning!*

Rootin' for Spring .

It's funny how one thing can affect so much, isn't it? Here in the pacific northwest, we're in our rainy season and haven't seen a lot of the sun in the past few months. I'd be lying if I didn't say that our little family is very, very ready for spring. (I'm guessing we're not the only ones!) Graeme is convinced he'll be donning swim trunks by next week. I've tried to tell him, in vain, that we're sometimes still wearing sweatshirts and holding hot cups of somethin' come July 4th around here!

Today, though, we were given beautiful snaps of sunshine along with gusty wind and come-and-go showers. It was wonderful. I commented over on Instagram that I believe nothing breathes life into us more than light. (And what a wonder that Jesus is named the Light of the world!) And so, I took advantage of the sunshine slips today and pulled on the rain boots and planted some flowers. I'd been wanting to make a planter from cement blocks for some time now. Last week, I did some pinterest homework and found the one I wanted. Then, on Thursday afternoon, I stole Steve away for a surprise late-afternoon date and we stopped by Willamette Graystone for the blocks and Grey's Nursery for fresh flowers before filling up at our favorite pizza place. We love that kind of date!

p.s. My advice for anyone moving to the pacific northwest is this-- find a home with large windows and generous natural light. And you'll be okay. Oh, and good friends and lots of warm cups of somethin'. (smile) Come on, spring! We're rootin' for you!

A Good 'Un

My husband is the best person I have ever met. And nothing proves that more to me than the first trimesters of my pregnancies. During the first trimester weeks, when I am so sick (and cranky!) that I literally feel like I'm in a pit of despair, he cooks and cleans and does the laundry, in addition to all that he already does for our family. That's love. (He has also been known to buy me little gifts for each trimester and I think that is about the most thoughtful thing ever known to a pregnant woman.)

More than kind gifts and acts of service, I love my husband for who he is at his core. He is extremely thoughtful. And, really, so many other things, but his thoughtfulness has always stood out to me. Nothing proved his thoughtfulness more than this story I'm about to tell you. But it also shows me another thang I love about my husband-- his ability to make me laugh more than any other person. And to me, that is one of his biggest gifts to me. To be married to a kind man is wonderful. To be married to a kindhearted merry man? It is the very best. 

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping well during this pregnancy and one night I was explaining all of this to my husband. Coupled with that, my husband is an early riser and his alarm clock has been my nemesis. It feels like I've just gotten to sleep when I am suddenly awake again to the sound of his alarm, which sounds like a duck quacking. I'm totally serious! (smile) The morning following our discussion about my ill sleep patterns, I awoke to my husband's alarm and something that made me giggle so much that the bed was shaking. I awoke to my sweet husband bending over his alarm clock saying, "shhhhhhhhh shhhh shhh shh." He was fast asleep. We're in trouble folks. We don't even have a newborn in the house yet. Oh the stories we could tell in a few months....

*I wanted to tell my friends and readers that this little Cranny + Me blog was nominated for Apartment Therapy's Homies Awards, probably by one of you kind pals! I received the news on Saturday that Cranny + Me had been chosen to be one of the finalists in the competition. I'm so thrilled and humbled by this. It's not my goal to win this competition, while at the same time, I'd love to give a showing from my friends and readers in a way that says thank you to those who nominated my blog and also to Apartment Therapy. The contest ends this Wednesday, February 26, and you can place your vote here if you'd like to. I'd be very appreciative!

*I wanted to add that I did indeed get permission to tell this funny on my husband. Oh how I love him and all of his antics! Also, I spied the 'I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry' on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I knew it would need to be included in a near future post!

The Best Christmas Gift

On Christmas morning, before the boys were awake, my husband and I stood by the kitchen sink chatting. And then he said it. You know what would be the best Christmas gift? If you told me we were having a baby. As it turned out, I had snuck upstairs a bit earlier that morning to take a pregnancy test. Highly suspicious of two pink lines, I had packaged up a brown-papered gift the night before that said-- to Steve (open me last). And on the inside was a small card that read-- BABY, in calligraphy, and underneath in small capital letters, "we're having one!"

And so, it seems that I should properly tell you, we are indeed having a baby! Little One is due at the end of August and we are extremely happy, thankful, and, well, I'll just say it, a bit nervous about being outnumbered! We told the boys last week, after arriving home with loads of ultrasound pictures. Graeme was especially sweet about the news of the baby and studied the pictures for a while. Jobie loves all babies but doesn't seem to quite understand that mama has one growing inside of her.

Bring on those stretchy pants!
(not even joking)

Valentining .

Just popping in with a little bit of Valentine's cheer! I'm feeling very spoiled over here as my boys already surprised me with the gift of a Shark steam and spray mop. Boy do I feel lucky! (I know some women would not share in my excitement over such a thing for a Valentine's Day gift but this was totally on my wish list! My boys know me well.) Tomorrow afternoon, during Jobie's nap, Graeme and I will be putting together these valentines for his little class party. Tonight, we'll make a mad dash to Old Navy and hit up their twenty-five cent bouncy ball machine for a half dozen. (smile) 

The pictures above were taken last week when Graeme and I put together a special valentine for West Elm and their fundraiser for St. Jude. (You can read a bit more about it here.) Thanks for letting me post a passel of pictures just because! Here's wishing you a sweet Valentine's Day! xo

A Valentine's Giveaway for Him + Her with Spectrum

Several months ago, I met the talented husband and wife team behind Spectrum and Riffle Vision. Carlton and Julia pack an amazing creative punch and I'm so happy to make introductions for those of you who have never had the privilege of knowing about them! (By the way, these two created the trailer for my sister Barb's recently released book, Furniture Makeovers!) Today, Julia is offering a beautiful Him + Her giveaway to one very lucky reader. 

I asked Julia to share a little bit about the process behind Spectrum and here's what she told me-- I started Spectrum about two years ago in a wood shed. My husband, a photographer and art teacher, delved into his latest project of building a press out of an old treadmill, while I stood and watched. If you know me, then you know I don't like to stand still. Surrounded by machines and wood scraps, I put my hands to work on an experiment that turned into something bigger and more beautiful than I expected. I've always loved working with my hands and creating things from scratch. I try to follow this simple little rule for Spectrum and my every day life: Make things from hand and heart, threaded with authenticity and with a passion for beauty and quality. I work primarily with woods such as rosewood, pine, oak and padauk, but sometimes include leather, clay and concrete. I like to start with raw materials, faceting and forming them with my hands. Cutting, sanding, painting -- I handcraft everything, right down to the packaging. 

I just recently added a men's line to Spectrum and am excited to expand with new products. If you like to get your Sweetheart unique gifts for Valentine's Day check out Spectrum's shop! Use Coupon Code LOVE for 20% off your purchase. Thank you, Julia! And good luck in entering, readers and friends! A winner will be announced and contacted on Thursday, February 6th! 

About the giveaway pieces
For Her // Brass Heart Studs + Natural Hand Faceted Wooden Necklace (available in gold or natural) Each bead is hand faceted by me and each one is unique. This necklace is one of my best sellers because of its natural beauty and the fact that it pairs well with almost everything. The chain is brass and 20" long.

For Him // Navy + White Polkadot Bow Tie, handmade from a cotton material. It's a regular size and will fit a 14-18" neck or a small or medium shirt // Cedar Sachet, handmade from up-cycled fabric and filled with cedar shavings. Perfect for a dresser drawer and making your clothes smell woodsy // Rosewood Cufflinks, handcrafted from a dark rosewood. Perfect for the man that likes to dress it up.

TO ENTER // Visit Spectrum and share, by commenting below, what your favorite find is and, tell me, are you ready for Spring yet? (smile and both hands raised over here!) Ready, set, enter away!