Monday, August 31, 2009

Doing Chores Can Be Fun???

I am so happy!

This is so fun!

Why am I in here?

After having my mother and sister here this weekend there were a few chores to catch up on this morning. Charlotte and I put clothes away while Douglass Charles played in the laundry basket. He thought it was fun and Charlotte thought it was funny that her little brother was sitting where the dirty clothes go. The pictures were too cute not to share!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Cutest Shops Online

I was thrilled and utterly surprised this afternoon when I got a message from Alicia - the Blogger behind She found me through an Etsy search and liked my things well enough to feature them. I am sincerely flattered and grateful. It is always wonderful to be recognized out their in the virtual world. You should check out her site. It is really cute and she has a ton of fun shops there!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Count Your Blessings Name Them One By One

Do you remember that song? Funny how we never lose many of the little things we learn as a child. This song came to mind this afternoon - just now - as I was fixing Douglass Charles' bottle and sobbing over the loss a dear friend just experienced. A friend of mine from the ranch - who actually lives in the Atlanta area - found out yesterday that her little girl with whom she was pregnant with went to be with the Lord. She was twenty weeks along and delivered her this afternoon.

David and Christy were another ranch couple who met the same time Doug and I did and wound up getting married. We were all at the ranch for the same length of time and I think all of us that were there during that time have a special bond. They have two beautiful girls and I know are grief stricken. Please pray for them, especially Christy. I can't imagine her feelings, her grief and despair. Having to endure delivery with the precious prize being so different than imagined.

God has been teaching me about joy and thankfulness. What a strange twist on this lesson in my life - watching and grieving alongside a dear friend. May I remember to not only count my blessings, but more importantly name them. Ironic how naming them makes one realize just how much God has given - even in desperate times of grief and despair.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bagtags and Bookplates A.K.A. Labeling


Calling Card


This post is mainly about tagging. You know it is necessary to label or tag things - especially when you have children. I think I have lost two passies in a month at the church nursery. Who knows, maybe unique labeling will be my next project.

These three items are new to my collection of things at The English Pea. I am excited about them for several reasons. They are reasonably priced and make a very unique gift. I know when I had my babies I didn't get any of these things. I'd love your feedback. Please tell me what you think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder

Do you remember a time when you were a child and you thought something was just beautiful? I recall a home on the way to Spanish Fort when we would travel down there for tennis lessons. It was a two story home, with a porch on top and porch on bottom and had a rounded staircase that connected both. I seriously thought this was the most beautiful home I had ever seen. I wished that it would be my own. Later in life I saw the house again and I was not as impressed. It was not an ugly home, just not my choice for a dream location to live.

I thought of this earlier today when Charlotte decided to sport ALL of the Mardi Gra beads her Paw had given her. I had been hiding them for a later date and she found them. Before I knew it she had every single one of those beads around her neck. She looked up at me grinning with those bright, beautiful blue eyes and said "Petty" (pretty).

If only we could continue to see things through the eyes of a child and remember that beauty is, indeed, in the eyes of the beholder. :)

Family Fun at the Playground

Our weekend was less than restful - especially for Doug. He had too much on his plate with his masters program and school work - not to mention responsibilities around the house. Sunday afternoon after the papers were completed, the naps were had, and the lawn was mown (by me I might add - the first time I have ever mown the lawn and it was with a push mower), we headed to our neighborhood's playground.

We are fortunate to have two playgrounds in our neighborhood and the one that is closest to our house barely ever has anyone there, so we wound up with the whole place to ourselves. The weather was absolutely gorgeous - as it has been all week - and the kids thoroughly enjoyed playing - Douglass Charles mainly watching.

Charlotte LOVES the swings and insisted every time that at least one of us swing along side her. Doug also finally got her to go down the slide. Once she realized how fun it was she did it over and over and over again. We spent the better part of an hour just playing and it was nice to have a little down time as a family after a not so leisurely weekend.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Varsity

Me and my babies

Aunt Sarah and kids - yes, Sarah and I look a lot alike. We get asked if we are twins all the time and even did that day. :)

At the end of July we had the pleasure of my sister Sarah visiting. Sarah lives in Houston and will probably always be a Texan (she is dating a guy that is from the grand old state). We always enjoy our visits with Aunt Sarah and this trip proved just as fun.

Doug and I had been talking about going to the Varsity all summer - for those of you not familiar with the Varsity it is a very popular hot dog joint and a staple to Atlanta. Sarah had never been and the summer was quickly approaching its end. This was also the kids first trip to the grease pit. We thoroughly enjoyed it and I think the kids had a good time - Charlotte walked from one end of the place to the other several times.

Sarah and I also got to enjoy a day in Atlanta. We went to Virginia Highlands, ate at my fave restaurant, Murphy's, shopped at boutiques, and after a full day enjoyed some gelato before returning to the burbs. Sarah and I have not been able to shop together in quite some time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself - I splurged a little on a very cute dress. Thanks, Aunt Sarah, for such a good time. We enjoyed having you and can't wait for you to come again. xoxo

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Second Born

Earlier today when I posted about our Mommy Playdate I was not on my laptop - where all my current pictures are stored. This is not the only reason why poor Douglass Charles' picture was not in the previous post. As many of you know, or will find out when you have a second child, you just don't get as much captured the second time around. I know... this is horrible. It is a wonder my mother had any pictures of my baby sister (being number six). I was 13 when she was born. The poor kid probably wasn't sure she was ever a baby by looking through photographs.

Anyway, here are a few photos that I snapped one day during play time. I was singing Douglass Charles' favorite song here - "Take Me Out To the Ballgame." He is getting so big and I can't believe he will be six months next week. Boy does time fly. Anyway, even though I haven't posted many pictures of my sweet boy lately it doesn't mean that we don't love him. He is my little "Bugga Boo." :)

A Playdate with Mommy

These pictures are from a while back. That day Charlotte insisted on wearing an apron like Mommy. I couldn't deny her as aprons were such a passion of mine before the kiddos came along - they still are. I am such a sucker for a cute apron.

After my post the other day I was bound a determined to have a day where my time was devoted to the kids. Today has been the day and it has been wonderful. Household chores are never done, but I have kept them to a minimum. We played in the floor this morning - me with my real baby and Charlotte with her baby doll. Charlotte and I baked Zuchinni Bread before lunch and I believe we both thoroughly enjoyed it. After lunch I took both the kids to the playground where Charlotte swung by herself and I held Douglass Charles while I swang. Needless to say this was the funnest part of the day for both children - I know this because Charlotte nearly threw a tantrum when we had to leave. Thank God I can still distract her.

It is almost 3:00 p.m. and I am all tuckered out. The kiddos are napping and I am spending time on some stuff that I want to do - some of it is for The English Pea but this isn't work to me. All around it has been a very good day.

I feel sad that we don't have more days like this and I realize the need for taking the time to set times like these aside. I refuse to beat up on myself about not doing it more. I have a lot on my plate and I truly believe it is important that my children know that life is not all about them. We all make sacrifices, but... I do want to do things like this more and I know as the baby gets older we will be able to make this happen more often.

To tie this up I just want to jot down a few of my favorite things about my kids right now - so I can remember them.
-Playing babies - she reads to them, feeds them, burps them (very loudly I might add), prays with them (with one eye shut), rocks them and then places them on the floor, bends over and kisses them and says "Nigh, nigh."
-Her timidness when she tries something new - so scared to go down the slide today even though she has done it before
-Her face while she swings smiling from ear to ear, her blue eyes shining.
-The way she asks for her daddy all the time. "Where is Daaee?"
-The way she says sorry after she gets in trouble. She is so sweet when she finally owns up to her mistakes.

Douglass Charles:
-Grins from ear to ear when I sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
-Tries to get in a yelling match with his sister.
-Loves to grab my face while he eats his bottle.
-Seems to think that I am the most wonderful person in the world - he really is a momma's boy.
-Gets so frustrated when he can't get something to do what he wants it to do - he really wants to be big like his sister.
-His new fascination with Mo Mo our dog - he just giggles at him.

I know I am forgeting a lot, but I know these are things I want to remember - the sweet little moments that will be gone in a flash. Lord, thank you for the blessing of my beautiful children.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Flannery Jean

My precious niece was born one week ago today. She is so sweet and I can't wait to kiss those adorable chubby cheeks. We are so blessed to have this little person in our lives and we can't wait to meet her. I must say, she so looks like her mother in this picture, but everyone says she looks just like her daddy. I guess we shall see.

Flannery Jean Brownfield
August 12, 2009
8:31 pm
7 lbs, 13 oz
19 1/2 inches

Proud parents
Matt & Lauren (Moore) Brownfield

Congratulations Matt and Lauren! We love you!!!


We were featured again on Fabulous Fun Finds. Check it out and enter to win. What can it hurt? There are also some other great giveaways there as well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Feelings Behind Motherhood

I guess someone told me when I became a mother that I would be overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings - complete and absolute joy, aggrevating frustration, more tired than I ever believed I would feel, elation at the simplest things, and overwhelming guilt. I honestly do my best but it is on days like today that I wonder if I should just hang it up and go back to work - would my kids be better off?

Now, I know what you are thinking, "Alison, you do work." Yes, but working from home and working away are two very different things. I know that motherhood is work regardless if there is "another job" and no matter whether you are in the home, at a job during the day, or a work from hom mom like me you have these feelings.

So today, I am tired - oh so tired - and my children seem to be punishing me. I have had too much work on my plate and I have shamelessly left my toddler to watch way too many hours of television. This is when the guilt sets in. I worry about neglect, am I spending too much time on other things, do I really have a choice when I have a short timeline to get things done for work - and so goes the conversation with myself in my head.

I remind myself that I am a good mother. No, I am not even close to perfect, but I sure do try hard, I love my children completely, and even in my absolute exhaustion I would never give them back. Today I feel guilty, tomorrow - who knows. The purpose of this post - I have no clue. I only have this to say, with all the frustrations and negative feelings, being a mother is one of my most favorite things. I love my children and just wish that I could be easier on myself. So moms (and dads) give yourself a little pat on the back today. You are doing a good job and don't listen to those little lies that are telling you otherwise.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Transportation Pack

Available Transportation Graphics

The English Pea has been clicking along with orders this week. One never knows why, but I am discovering the more I post on Etsy the more I sell. The reason... it keeps my products at the front when people start looking through all the millions of things for sale there. The older your posts are the less likely they will get seen while the world-wide web is browsing.

Speaking of the world-wibe web, I had my first international customer this week. A mother from Ontario purchased the transportation pack for her son who's name is "Benoit" (there is supposed to be an accent over the "i" but I can't figure out how to do it on the blog). I am assuming they are "French-Canandian." Finding how to place the accent over the name didn't prove too daunting and it was fun seeing my cards printed with something not so American on them. Anyway, I continue to be amazed at the powers of the internet. Someone in my position wouldn't have had a chance at selling their goods not too long ago. It is amazing where the internet has brought us.

One day soon I will post about Google Analytics (another great internet tool) - you say "What?" This all too soon will be explained. It is very interesting - at least to me.

Until then, Chow! :)
(sorry, I am getting a little carried away with the international thing, aren't I?)

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Lost Valley Love Story

Me and Doug smiling after the staff dance - sorry for the poor photo quality. I had to scan them in from my LVL scrapbook.

Doug, me, and Chris all hanging out one night at a staff event (Chris was actually in our wedding).

In the Spring of 2000 Alison Moore and Doug English didn’t even know the other existed. Both were going through personal trials and looking forward to a summer job at Lost Valley Ranch – a place they had never been, a place that represented getting away from the troubles at hand. Neither realized they were about to embark on their own love story with one another.

I remember seeing Doug in the airport in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the cheapest place for me to get a ticket out to Colorado. As I wept, hugging my best friend, Juanita Classen, goodbye I saw a very tall young man hugging his dad and then we both boarded the plane.

I saw Doug again before our connecting flight in Dallas. I believe we were both in line at Wendy’s getting some lunch. Later I saw him on the plane several rows behind me. I wondered if we might be going to the same place.

I found him at baggage claim holding a black guitar case. There was another guy just hanging out after everyone had left and moved on with their baggage. We all kind of migrated towards one another and after small talk discovered we were all headed to Lost Valley Ranch. The Denver International Airport is where I officially met my future husband – in baggage claim.

Doug and I sat together in the back of a minivan as I tried desperately not to get car sick as we twisted and turned around the rugged mountains in Colorado through Pike National Forrest. After about an hour we arrived at our destination and I looked forward to getting to know more of the guys on the ranch.

Despite my desire to meet the other guys, I immediately connected with Doug. We found out that we had friends in common and I felt like I had an instant friend. When I say friend – that is what we both thought – friend. I thought Doug was cute, but immature, so we were just friends and that is all I saw it to be.

As the summer progressed, our friendship grew. We always enjoyed hanging out and we ALWAYS danced the staff dance together at the Tuesday night Square Dance. He worked on maintenance and I worked in the office for the owner. He would come by and see me at the office and we would share a few laughs.

Others saw the romance blossoming but it still wasn’t evident to me until we both flew back to Alabama for a week’s break before heading to Lost Valley for the fall semester. We were actually on the same flight and our seats basically next to one another/in front of each other. We spent the day together and on a couple of occasions I was referred to as Mrs. English (much to my embarrassment). Little did I know that this would one day become my name.

It was during that break from one another that I realized I had feelings for Doug – he later told me this was also when he figured it out. I was surprised when I realized I missed him, not just the ranch and my friends there, but him. We both went back to the ranch and spent the fall working really hard as they were understaffed. We weren’t allowed to date other staff members so nothing happened. We went on being friends and wondering how the other was feeling.

A group of us decided to drive back to the South together at the end of the fall season. I, of course, decided to ride with Doug for the first part of the trip and in Doug’s little green, pickup truck somewhere in the dessert of New Mexico he asked me out. There was much more to follow as I was of the courtship mindset back then, but our relationship began and it all started on that little ranch in a valley of the glorious Colorado mountains. We are one of many love stories that have developed from that place and I feel blessed that God brought us together in a little place of paradise called Lost Valley.

Happy 7th Anniversary, Honey! I love you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Beautiful, but Lonely Day

While hot, it is a lovely day-perfect weather for the pool. We are stuck indoors, baby napping and my trying to play with Charlotte this morning (not going so well because she is punishing me for leaving her yesterday - you know acting out, getting into things, etc.). Doug is back at school and our lives now adjust to a new way of life for a while.

My loneliness is not a new struggle. It is something I have been dealing with since before the first of the year. With Doug gone, my sister back in Texas, and most of the rest of my family out there waiting for the arrival for my little niece (who is due tomorrow but seems to be taking her time) my loneliness has just welled up once again.

At nearly 31 years of age I am learning a lot about myself. I am a project person and sometimes I think I focus on projects so I don't have to "deal" with things that I need to. There are lots of things that play into my current lonely state - some are my fault and some of this is just the place the good Lord has placed me. I don't have any encouragement really to offer here just a request for prayer for me and to ask that you take the time to talk to someone you haven't talk to in a while. You never know what they are going through and how they may desperately need you right now.

A happier post about friendship is coming soon. I am looking for pictures that I can use to post - I may have to dig in some boxes to find a few. :) Praying you find peace and rest in whatever you are dealing with today!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to School

Apple in Strawberry - Personalized Folded Notecard

Apple in classic red - Personalized Folded Notecard

Great for a teacher - Arguile Flat Notecard with apple (comes in variety of colors and you can choose another design if you like)

Obviously this is my favorite color combo - chartruese and pool - gotta love a green apple

Bouquet of pencils - literally inspired from a line in "You've Got Mail." Check it out sometime. :)

Well, at the English House we are heading back to school. Doug officially started back this week (he had a few things he had to do last week because he is in leadership at Mason Creek) and we are gearing up for the year. This is always an adjustment for me as I go from help all the time and having someone else to stay with the kids to pretty much having to do it all by myself. Let me just say, my husband will be greatly missed (Charlotte has already repeatedly asked where her daddy was today).

So, with us going back to school I decided to design a few things for The English Pea. Like all my designs they are colorful and very basic. If you aren't keen on buying for the first of the year, these will make great gifts for teachers down the road. They are here for a limited time. I hope you enjoy!

I will have bag tags, more polka dots and scallops coming your way soon. My Christmas designs are heavily underway and I am beginning to get excited about them. Last, but not least, I am also experimenting with envelope liners - we all know how nice it is to have an envelope that is lined. So far they are turning out great. Just opening one with a cute card inside makes me happy.

So heres to hitting the books and all the responsibilities that come with it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gaining Perspective

This past week I was blessed with a visit from my sister Sarah (I hope to post about this once I get photos). She lives in Houston and is third in the line-up of kids. She is five years younger than me and while we were not close growing up, we are close now.

This summer she decided to take a trip through her church to South Africa. While she was here she was able to share a little about her trip as well as show me photographs. I couldn't help crying as I looked through her photos at the living conditions many of the children she helped lived in.

I suffer from a common problem here in America - greed, pride, and the desire for more. I have a wonderful home, we have two cars that work well, I am trying to lose weight so I am not starving, and my children aren't just dressed, they are dressed well. So, why do I ever have the desire for more - a bigger and better house, exotic trips to great places, prettier more expensive clothes, fine restaurants, a newer, more expensive car, a home at the beach? I am not saying that these desires are necessarily wrong, they are just a waste of energy and time and when out of control can breed discontent. God has blessed me beyond measure and I still think He should bless me more. The wickedness of my heart never ceases to amaze me. That while I am made in the image of God, I still focus on what He doesn't give instead of what He has provided.

So, here is to gaining a little perspective - knowing that my contentment can only come from the Lord and my being grateful with the abundance He has given.