Having four kids, a home, and owning a small business really means I have THREE full-time jobs. Our calendar is so jam-packed and we have kids going everywhere, all the time. We barely have time to do grocery shopping, much less clean the house, cook, or organize anything around here. Something is always broken. Something is always left undone. Something is always a mess. Also, I suck at domesticity.

Today, my sweet Helen is 16. Birthdays are strange. I always know they're coming, but as a mom, they always sneak up on me in a bittersweet kind of way. I don't need much of an excuse for a party, and I love celebrating, but it's hard when your kids get one year farther from being a kid. For a girl, 16 is a big deal. It's the year when you finally get to leave girlhood behind. Sniff. And Helen is growing into such a lovely young lady! She is quiet, yet sure of herself. Beautiful, yet strong. Shy, yet the bonds of friendship are fierce. Sometimes it's hard to see into her little world to figure out exactly who she is, but it's obvious that she knows. She has a quiet confidence, a style all her own, and she enjoys being different. I love that about her!

10 samples. 10 samples, and one false start. It's embarrassing, but that's what it took. My best friend laughed at me. My children thought I was crazy. But my husband, who knows me better than anyone, simply waited. Waited until I found the right color....

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! The only thing good about the winter is the holidays, so I start decorating as soon as I'm allowed. We have 5 (yes, 5. I have a problem.) full-sized trees, so it usually takes a...