Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas, party of 4

I absolutely love Christmas shopping. Ever since the says of going through the Lazarus Secret Santa Shop where kids could walk through with an employee to pick our parent presents from an assortment of delightfully tacky paperweights and mugs.

I probably won't get to actually shop on Black Friday, but I'd at least like to be ready with ideas for online shopping. Now that Larkyn has opinions about everything, I thought I'd get a feel for what she'd like from Santa this year...
"What kind of toys do you want Santa to bring you on Christmas?"
"red ones"
"No, like what are the names of the toys you like? What do you like at preschool?"
"The table with snacks on it"

So...I think it is up to Santa to decide what she is getting again this year. There are a few things she needs:

Brown Mary Janes and/or Black Mary Janes (we have had these twice and they are the BEST!)

More jegging/leggings, generally anything that fits perfectly with ZERO stiffness (jeans), loose fabric (sweatpants or yoga pants). Yes, this is a major issue.

a few more colors of solid color hairbows 

Something "big" to entertain her over the winter months:
-a doll house (which, I have come to the conclusion that I am so indecisive about this topic that I am going to go have to see them in person)

And a few of her faves we just have to throw in:
-a stocking full of fruit snacks and MMs
-more pretend food, probably from Cracker Barrel, who has the cutest selection!
-Play Doh and a simple tool set (NOT the asinine contraptions that break after 3.4 seconds)

Sweet little Rhys has lived without many toys and been fine with it. We honestly have every "must have" baby toy already from Larkyn's baby days. I really hate buying noisy hunks of plastic, so avoiding that will be a challenge.  But he does have a few needs...

More Carter's fleece PJs and long sleeve bodysuits. There are never enough of those.

More socks (where do they go!?)
"boy" books or just non-girly books

As for something he'd have fun with, it is hard to tell with an 8 month old:
-He likes the wheels on Larkyn's stroller, so possibly things with wheels
-He is not really interested in things that are battery-powered with lights and music
-He likes to go through toy baskets and just touch, chew, and explore all the random things in there. Maybe some sensory bins?

In his first stocking, he'd love:
-graham crackers
-Lil' bits cereal
-fruit and veggie pouches

Obviously, I can't write about gift ideas for Matt on here. I know he'd be happy if I just put cash in his stocking and there were no surprises, but that's not happening!

And me?  Oh I could easily name a million things every year. With the new house, there are so many things I actually do need!

winter hat...there are so many cute ones from The North Face, but I think the Bigsby is my favorite:

more white gallery frames to match ours for updated photos
plain photo albums to catch up with pics since Rhys was born

some sort of lamp(s) for our bedroom (I am in love with these but hope they go on sale! $$!)
a clock since we don't have the time on our cable box anymore
medium antique bronze pocketwatch clock
And not necessarily things I "need", but fun nonetheless, right?

a haircut is a little like a vacation these days

I could walk into Francesca's and buy it all. These are some of my current obsessions...
 hello, rose quartz pendant
and hi there, Letica Oval

I'd love some good baby boy gift ideas (and grown man ideas, while you're at it:) Hope you have fun Christmas shopping this year!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

8 months old!

Just like that, my baby is 3/4 of a year old. It doesn't seem like that is possible. He is still just as snuggly, smiley, and wide-eyed. He still makes people stop mid-conversation to talk to him instead of me (which is OK I guess:)

New skills?
Rhys is on the move and loves pulling himself into the kitchen. It is time to keep the floor a lot cleaner and baby-proof everything! He sits up pretty well and loves feeding himself with his hands (he tries the spoon himself, but usually gags)

Hungry man...
He reaches out to grab everything we eat, and sometimes he just finds something he loves. Recently, it has been a cob of corn, a toasted bagel, and yogurt. We tried eggs, but he just spits them out. I am trying to make sure he has a REALLY full belly so that he will sleep better.

What's up with the sleep?
Seriously, every time I write this monthly update, his sleep changes. I feel very lucky that he goes to bed very easily and doesn't keep us up crying. But, he still wakes up about 3 times per night, so this mama isn't getting uninterrupted sleep. Again. It's OK...I absolutely love this stage of childhood so I somehow see past it.

I am looking forward to the holidays with him and seeing his interests come to life. So far, he seems into Peppa Pig when she is on TV, the wheels of Larkyn's doll stroller, and just picking up and sorting through items he finds in the toy basket. PS- 31 has always been my favorite number, but that picture brings new meaning to it. I just love him to pieces.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Two years ago, I was going to bed excited about what the next day would bring. I was getting married and no one knew except our very immediate family and a friend. It was going to be warm and sunny and I was excited that I could wear my sleeveless, short dress 5 days before Thanksgiving!

We didn't want the hubbub of who to invite (although I did make 6 invitations because my addiction is stationery) and did not want to spend the money on a big celebration at all, so we kept it all under wraps until I shared this picture with the world that night.

The day was simple, exciting, typical in all the ways that embody our relationship...

Our colors were taken from the sweetest little red and black Christmas dress I bought for Larkyn. The focus was a peaceful setting that didn't need decorated (Hocking Hills) and accented by my love, flowers!  My mom made my bouquet out of the most exquisite red flowers and berries, and our food was a small catered meal from our favorite grocery store. We got in home to watch the Nascar championship, and that was that.

Two years later, we have a new house and a new baby. It is a good thing we celebrated with dinner and relaxing over the weekend, because on 11.18.14, instead of record highs, it is supposed to hit record lows outside. Our celebrating will be that I made him a lunch, that we are here for each other and that we made it through another day. Life does not get any easier, but it gets better. We have so much, and it is fitting that our anniversary is at Thanksgiving.

Matt, for you and for this life, I am thankful:) 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why are we here?

This morning, I walked into a conversation between two coworkers; one was saying how young and in-shape the other was looking lately. I totally agreed. Walking away with the compliment-giving coworker, she told me that she was turning 60 this weekend, which was really hard to believe. I was being sincere, and I told her that I never would have guessed she was 60. She said that comment would get her through the day, and walked away happily. She said "Hey, we should do this all day long and everyone would be happy!"

It wasn't hard. Aren't we here on this earth to make a difference--a positive difference? That is what I signed up for. And I'm farrrrr from perfect, but I try. And when I fail, I dwell on it and regret not saying things or saying things that did hurt people even years later. Words and actions matter and they shape other people.

It is easy to ignore the things we should point out. Easy to see that your partner looks great all cleaned up but continue with whatever else you are doing. Easy to see that the student who is always misbehaving is finally sitting still and not knocking people off their chairs, but do we stop to point it out often enough?

Even worse are the people who not only don't build us up, but take every breath in order to say the things that will make others feel insecure, silly, inept, ugly, in the way, and ultimately hopeless. They are waiting for you to make a mistake that they can enjoy, to cut loose so they can make fun of you, and to cut you down when they see you enjoying yourself.  Where did they learn this? How were they allowed to treat people this way for so many years? Do they make it all the way through life enjoying the pain they cause others or do they ultimately figure it out? I've read that we are supposed to be kindest to these people because they need it the most. Talk about exhausting.

As my children are growing, they are hearing the way others speak. They are picking things up here and there. A mean phrase here, a hurtful tone of voice there. I wish I could surround them in a bubble of hearing only nice things so that they become nice people. It will kill me if my kids are not kind-hearted.

Between work and parenting, I am using every drop of energy to be a good role model of how we treat others. I am shaping people to be good citizens and it is hard. I am on my toes every minute with Larkyn, praising her when she does something positive and TRYING WITH ALL MY MIGHT to be the most boring person ever when she is doing something to get a reaction out of me (a technique recently explained to me by our school counselor). It is sometimes painful for us all to listen to the 25th "news report" of the morning, but we all try our best to show respect to our little friend who is talking about his or her loose tooth for the 3rd time this week. Because the minute you show someone you don't care what they have to say, those feelings creep in. They don't matter.

Every time we open our mouths, we have a choice.  It is hard work. It is worthwhile work.

Just a little random thought on a Friday night. Now, off you go...go change some lives.

Monday, November 10, 2014

10 on 10

Are you proud of me for remembering, Julie?  I almost did it on November 9th, which was a much more interesting day than the 10th. But the point is to record a normal day, we go!

I start my day with this little guy and his bottle. I set my alarm for 6:45, but he always wakes up right around then too. I never miss my GMA, even if it is interrupted 500 times.

Next it is my turn for a drink!  In an effort to save a bit of cash, I am trying to make most of my coffee drinks at home. Nothing beats McDonald's iced coffee, but this will do for a few days of the week

Next up is this little cereal monster. She is side-eyeing Henry Hugglemonster on Disney Jr. and she is NOT as happy as Rhys is to be awake. They get to stay home with daddy on Mondays, so our morning is infinitely more relaxed.

After getting everyone dressed and heading to work, it's time to get some activities ready for the week!  In addition to math work and writing each day, we will be talking about Veterans Day and American symbols this week.

I hated my lunch today. I was supposed to have lasagna I made last night, but then the cat was caught eating out of the pan after dinner....oh what a glam life.

After a quick run to Kroger for dinner ingredients, I was greeted by some hilarious pictures of our family. Maybe these will be our Christmas cards. Matt added the hat and ears, but the rest is all her!

Helping me make "little teeny tiny pizzas" that were fun but neither of us liked, really. So Matt ate almost all of them. Oh well. And she was wearing an adorable dress today, but I had her change into a nightgown with this proximity to pizza sauce!

I happened to catch a glimpse of our maple outside of the kitchen window. The picture doesn't capture just how bright it was tonight in the sunset. It was so pretty!

We ended the night with dessert, a shared bowl of Lucky Charms. Hope you had a good one!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


My mom has the kids for a few hours of much needed housework (and I am squeezing in a little blog time too!)  Thanks Nana:)  I thought I'd make it short and sweet, kind of a catch-up on everything at once...

Excited about our basement finally coming together. Although we definitely learned a "you get what you pay for" lesson, it serves its function and I can't WAIT to decorate it.

Proud of myself for ordering our Christmas cards last week. After last year's debacle with Christmas Eve Christmas cards, there was no way I was missing them this year. PS- Tiny Prints is the best. Their designs, their customer service, their coupons. I have been so impressed with my experience working with them for Rhys' announcements and these cards.

Thinking about Christmas gifts. Definitely a dollhouse for Larkyn. After a few nights of research, I'm thinking this one or this one. Thoughts?  I hate that the first one is pink and plastic. But it is durable and kids seem to love it. And I have no idea what to get Rhys. Once we empty our storage room, he will have a ton of Larkyn's old toys. Any one year old boy ideas?  Really all he needs is clothes and snacks. This boy loves his Mum-mums and graham crackers.

So glad that Crock Pot season is back! I am aware that I could use it at any time, but who wants to eat hot potato soup in July?  Fall/Winter is the only time when I feel like we eat good dinners because the Crock Pot cooks it all!  My favorites are all on my dinner board. What are you making this week?

Relieved that Kindergarten testing is over! Of course, it is time to start assessing for report cards, but the new (horrendous) state test we gave from September-November 1st is finally OVER!

Annoyed with fleas. I'll leave it at that. A certain feline has made our lives much more complicated by bringing his little friends inside.

Working on playroom decor! I was too excited to wait, so I used paint tape to hang up some of the stuff where I want it. Of course, all the toy organization costs money, so I am having to pace myself. Sneak peek is from Vintageremix.

Next weekend is our anniversary weekend. We are going low key this year by staying in town and going out to (a quiet) dinner. Can't wait!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No mantle? No problem

One of the 546 things we miss about our old house is our amazing mantle, situated above our cozy fireplace. "Must have a fireplace" was not on our list of things our new home had to have, but I was jumping out of my skin this fall thinking about the impending stocking dilemma. Where would they hang? Stockings are my favorite part of Christmas!

After spending HOURS one night browsing Pinterest for "mantle no fireplace" and checking out actual mantles on Etsy ($$ cha-ching!), I decided to take matters into my own hands. Well, put matters in my dad's hands to be exact.

I knew what I wanted, it was easy to find everything at Home Depot, and off he went. If you're curious, the materials were 2 pine boards, cut to 44", a piece of trim to go around all the edges, and four knobs of your choice. Hanging it was NOT pretty, as Matt and my father in law could attest. Let's just say finding studs in our wall is not our forte. Or they're not there.

After painting it with Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex (NOT regular wall paint or it will peel off the wood), I was dying to decorate it.

Seeing as we have blown our savings on finishing the basement (that post is a long way off-- it is taking forever!), we needed some budget items:
  • RE lantern (16.99), wooden pear (2.49), fox candle holder (3.49), flower pot (3.19), mercury glass pumpkin (4.99) were all from Target. 
  • Be thankful printable from Not By Sight Design and printed at Office Max via email
  • The pedestal with dome was a gift and the two pumpkins are leftover from Lynd's
  • The banner is just twine and some little canvas tags I found at Michael's . There were 15 in a pack for 3.99

Didn't he do a great job building it?  I had a lot of fun decorating and cannot WAIT to hang the stockings on the knobs. Now the hunt for the 4 perfect stockings begins...


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