Hi I’m Nina. 🙂 I am married to Bradley and am mama to 1 girl (LeAnna 5) and 2 boys (Clayton 4 and Carson 3). Boredom is not a problem at our house. 😉
When I was a little girl of 5 years old, I wanted nothing more than to grow up, marry a boy, and have lots of children. God has been good in fulfilling my life’s dream. My children are healthy, and we are happy.
I was born in sunny San Diego, California. When I was 9 years old, my parents became missionaries to Congo Africa. I got to travel all over the United States, meeting new people, seeing new places, and making new friends. We went from church to church, presenting my Dad’s work for the mission field. Eventually in one of these churches, I would meet my future husband. I was 17 at the time, on furlough with my parents. 🙂
I spent a total of 9 years living in Africa with my family between the time I was 11 and 21. It was not the easiest place to live, but we learned to love it. I met two of my best childhood friends there who were also missionary daughters; they were both in my wedding.
Nina on the far right, next to her Mom.
One of my earliest memories of Africa was sitting on a narrow, hard bench in church and, not understanding a word of the local language, I started watching the people, a favorite pastime of mine.
I remember my Dad advising us against wearing any of our nicer American looking clothes, because there were so many poor people in our congregation.
And now (confession time) here’s how “unspiritual” I can be. Instead of focusing on trying to understand what in the world was being said in a foreign language, I would start picturing the African people with brand new clothes, a new hairstyle, a completely different look! If a whole family was sitting together, I would imagine which pattern and fabric I would use to sew an ensemble of matching outfits. I would think of how happy they would be to receive newer, nicer clothing.
The best I could pull off though was sewing a new outfit for new babies in our church.
When I was 13, I got my very first paid sewing job from another American family living in Congo; a doll stroller cover. The jobs started getting bigger, from a house full of curtains (these were HUGE windows!) to costumes for the American school plays. My dream though, was to design and sew wedding dresses one day.
I always thought that I would create my own wedding dress, but I didn’t. A Maggie Sottero, $2000; found it on eBay for $300 (that was just the beginning of my bargain hunting obsession 🙂 ). I did sew my bridesmaids dresses though.
I’ve always had an appreciation for fashion, design and apparel. I would scour magazines for inspiration, keep them in a folder for the day I would be back in America with hours to spend in Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s Fabric, browsing, wishing, and shopping. I would watch Project Runway and dream of creating a look that Heidi Klum herself would want to wear…..Or of winning the show. Either of those would have been awesome. 🙂
And then I got married and had children. The end……
Becoming a mom means you have to have practical hobbies.
I used to dream that, when I had my own little girl, I would sew all these adorable, floofy, brightly colored, creations. And then I realized, not only do babies grow REALLY fast, but they stain and ruin almost everything they wear the first couple years! Fabric and notions are expensive, sewing is time-consuming, and straight pins do not make good teething toys.
Instead I started learning how to shop sales at the very end of a season, stack it with a coupon, and get an entire wardrobe of brand new, adorable, brightly colored CUTE clothes for almost cheaper than what you might find at a yard sale. I may need therapy for my addiction to Carter’s & Kohl’s. 🙂
Now I have a practical hobby! I love making a game of seeing how much money I DON’T spend and how much I can save on a given trip to town. This includes clothes for my children, husband, and myself, groceries, household, gifts, etc.
One of my not-so-practical hobbies is keeping up with trends in makeup, hair and fashion in magazines and on various blogs in my (not near enough) spare time. I love trying out new make-up products, and experimenting with different hair how-to’s. I love taking my yard sale, thrift store and Kohl’s clothing finds, and mixing them in endless combinations of imaginative fashion. I love the challenge of buying “on the cheap” without looking cheap.
Thank you Jenn for the opportunity to write occasional posts for your blog. Next time I’ll move on to more useful, more interesting, less “me” centered content, but for now you know who I am. 🙂