Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Card 2013

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a very merry Christmas!  Ours was really nice.  I wanted to share this year's Christmas card with you.  Here was the front:

On the back, I wrote a quick synopsis including some of this year's biggest events.  Here's what it said:

Big Happenings of 2013
·        -We moved! We said goodbye to our first little home and upgraded into a much more spacious, newer home on the other side of town. Love it!
·       -We’ve been busy making the new place our own.  We created a jungle room for Brennan and an owl room for Bryleigh.  We painted the family room and added a downstairs bathroom and hallway from scratch! What a learning experience.
·        -Brennan started pre-school! He goes on Friday mornings and really loves it. We also started community ed classes for both kids. So fun.
·        -This year we gained two new nieces, Audrey (Rachel’s) and Sloane (Mike’s).  Yay, cousins!
·       -We experienced our first kid E.R. visit.  Bryleigh earned that visit with a dislocation of either her shoulder or elbow.  She popped it back into place the following day after tripping on Dad’s feet.
·       -The kids are growing up! Brennan is a champion sleeper and loves his basement bedroom. Bryleigh is a chatterbox. She talks constantly with lots of real words.  She is a little spitfire!  Big bro taught her well! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's Been Going On...

Hi everybody!

I hope this Christmas season has been enjoyable and peaceful for you all.  This year my goal was to get a lot of stuff done early so that the last few days before Christmas don't get too stressful.  All in all, I think I did a pretty good job.  I still have presents to wrap (a couple to buy), and a few special things to prepare like a special note to Brennan from Santa.  He has finally decided to be done with his bottle.  He is going to leave them in his stocking for Santa so that he can bring them to babies who need them.  I'm very proud of him and I want him to know that Santa is proud, too!

The kids are doing a good job of leaving the wrapped presents under the tree alone, which completely surprises me.  I have to give them credit.  They are beautiful, so I'd be tempted to touch and tear if I were them!

Brennan is really growing up.  Everyday he gets funnier and more mature.  I love the little man he is growing into.  I'm noticing an improvement in his art/fine motor skills as well as imagination.  He is suddenly attempting to stay in the lines when coloring and painting, which is a completely new concept for him.  I love it.  His imaginative play has absolutely blossomed into something super cool.  I love listening to him play with his stuffed animals and hearing the conversations that they have with each other.  The new game that he just created is 'Campfire Party'.  Basically he gets into an old pop-up dog kennel with ALL of his stuffed animals and camps.  He builds a campfire out of the nails, screws and construction pieces from his tool bench.  I'm told that I won't fit in the tent so I'll have to sleep in the dark.  I'm also instructed to call him if any ghosts, bats, etc. come and scare me.  If I do, he bursts out to save me.  My little hero.  :)

Bryleigh is something.  That's a funny description, but there are so many choices I could use, it is hard to choose.  She is a spitfire!  She is 1 3/4 years old going on 17- such a little attitude.  She loves to play roughie toughie with her brother and Daddy, but is also a little girly girl.  The other day I was playing music and she ran find a skirt and put it on so that she could spin circles in the living room to the music.  Her speech has absolutely exploded.  Within even the last month it seems that most of her baby words have evolved into real words.  I'm sure a lot of people couldn't understand what she is saying, but I get most of it!  Some of her latest phrases demonstrate her attitude-  "I don't like that." and "Stop it!".  We also hear a lot of individual words as well as questions like, "Where are you?", "Daddy at work?", and "What was that?"  I know they say that the second child commonly doesn't talk as well as the first... I beg to differ with my kids.  I think Bryleigh wants to be JUST like her brother and talk all day!

Ryan broke off a chunk of his tooth yesterday.  We thought is was just a filling breaking, but found out that it was actually the tooth itself.  He'll be getting a temporary crown tomorrow morning.  So fun! :\

Our nephew, Evan, had to have an emergency appendectomy last week.  The appendix did actually rupture.  He was really in rough shape for a while, but to make a long story short, he finally got out of the hospital today after a 10.5 day long stay!  So happy he is home and doing ok.  He still has a long way to go to get completely back to normal, but it is so much easier to do at home.  This whole event has impacted one thing in my own immediate family for sure.  It has helped Brennan's empathy skills.  He has been asking to pray for Evan during his nighttime prayers which we all think is wonderfully sweet. :)

Well, that's about it!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I made a cool new shirt! Review of Allied Shirts!

Recently, I had the chance to design my very own shirt through  The entire process of custom designing the shirt and ordering it was a snap.  After I finally thought of what I wanted printed onto my shirt, the entire designing and ordering process only took a few minutes.  It really was very simple.

Of course, I designed something very chic and classy...

Yes, that is a giant squirrel and yes, that does say, "Eatin' squirrel brains is where ya get your smarts."

There are two reasons behind this shirt.  Number one: I've semi-recently become a huge fan of 'Duck Dynasty' and this quote by Miss Kay just cracks me up.  Who doesn't want a squirrel shirt?!?!

Number two: We have some newish friends that are absolutely blown away by the fact that I hunted and ate squirrel as a child.  They just couldn't wrap their heads around it... so squirrels/me is kind of a standing joke.  No.  I didn't REALLY eat the brains.

But back to reviewing the product.  The shirt itself is very comfortable.  It seems to fit very true to size.  The printing is clear and crisp.  Washing the shirt didn't alter the printing at all.  I'm very satisfied.

As for the website and the design process.  I'm also pretty impressed.  I already mentioned the ease of use, but I also appreciated the choices of products available.  The only negative thing I could really think of is pretty minor and I am probably one of the few people who would even notice/pay attention to it.  There are several font choices for the lettering, but I wished there were a few more.  I wanted something that looked kind of italic and this was the closest I could get.  I was satisfied with how it looks.  I'm just used to getting to choose between hundreds of different fonts when I work on Photoshop projects... spoiled, I know. :)

All in all, I highly recommend!  A custom shirt would make a great gift!  You could create something silly like mine for that quirky person on your list, or maybe a shirt with all of the Grandkids' names for Grandma or Grandpa.  Their custom shirts would also be great for bachelor/bachelorette parties, fundraiser, teams, etc.

Go check out and while your at it, check out their other brands: and Printcopia for custom signs and home decor.

Monday, December 2, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 30

Lastly, I'm thankful that someone started this idea of publicly posting what you are thankful for.  I've always realized how blessed I am and tend to be thankful for it, but I know I still take a ton for granted.  Doing this project forced me to focus on my blessings for a good chunk of time. It really made me think.  I feel more blessed and thankful because of it.  I hope that this impacted others in some way, making them realize their own blessings, too.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29

I'm thankful for convenience items.  Quite often, I think about how thankful I am that I can do laundry in my laundry room with an automatic washing machine (and dryer in the cold weather). Even though I get sick of trying to keep up with the laundry, this is SO much better than having to lug all of my dirty laundry down to a creek somewhere and scrub it on the rocks until it looks semi-clean.  Same goes for the dishwasher.  I have lived in a home with no dishwasher for 2 years (I know... poor me... ), so I can truly appreciate the convenience of having one!  We have a gas fireplace.  As much as I love a real wood fire, being able to walk over to the wall and flip a switch for some extra heat and ambiance is crazy convenient.  I was already thankful for cars a while back, but they really fit here, too.  No having to hitch up the horses to a wagon and ride in the cold wherever I want to go.  No horses to feed or stables to clean either.

I'm thankful for convenience!

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 28

Well, I need to finish up my last 3 days of gratitude, even though it is December.  We got awfully busy over Thanksgiving weekend, so I didn't have a chance to write up my posts.

I am thankful for caring strangers that help others even though they don't have to.  I'm talking about the road-side tire changers, the person who lets you use their cell phone, the guy in the drive through line that pays for their meal and the person's behind them, the lady who always has a kind word, the person who waits an extra moment to hold the door open for you.

When I see someone doing big or small things to help others, it puts a smile on my face.  I'm so thankful for kind people doing kind things.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 27

Today, I'm thinking a little abstract.  I am thankful for my life's circumstances.  So much of life is basically predetermined for us.  I'm not saying that I believe that every single thing is preplanned for us. I think we are given choices and have opportunities to change the path and direction that our lives take.  But I also believe that in many cases and situations, you don't have a lot to say or do to change anything. 

I'm thankful that I was born in a free country where we have rights, opportunities, and a chance for a great life.  I was born to loving, caring parents who took amazing care of me and kept me safe from all of the dangers life presents.  I have never been a victim of any sort of abuse. I have always had a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, and people whom I love to love me back.  I consider the amount of personal tragedy I have faced to be very minimal. I've lost a few grandparents, which isn't enjoyable, but I look at it as a blessing as they had all lived full lives and were ready to move on to the next stage.  Other than grandparents, the only real tragedies I've faced were all of unborn, stillborn, babies or babies that didn't survive past birth- my stillborn twin sisters, a stillborn niece, my own miscarriage, the miscarriage of a niece or nephew, and the loss of my nephew minutes after his full term birth.

But consider those born under much worse circumstances.  Some people in poor countries have no means to provide for themselves or their families.  They live in tents or huts.  They have no heat or A/C.  They don't have enough food or clothing.  Many don't even have fresh water.  The have governments who abuse power.  Many face dangers everyday that we don't even think about.  Children are sold into slavery or bought/taken by human traffickers.  Some kids are forced into work camps, actually being sold by their parents who really have no other choice and need money to take care of their other kids.  Some of these poor kids lose both of their parents at an extremely early age and are forced to become the parents for their siblings even though they are still kids themselves.  One of the most horrible situations I can think of is happening in North Korea.  Tons of people are being held against there will in unspeakable situations because of the awful relations between North and South Korea.  I'm not even going to go into detail because it physically upsets me.  I saw a documentary on TV and it has changed me forever...

So, to sum this up, I'm not trying to be depressing.  That wasn't my goal with this post.  But I want us all to realize that sometimes in life we don't have choices.  We need to take what is dealt to us and try to find the good in it.  I'm just thankful everyday the my problems and related to my home networking system or a leak in the plumbing and not something like any of the people I previously mentioned need to face every minute of everyday.  Remember to say a prayer for those people... or many prayers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26

I am thankful for seasonal changes.  I'll admit, I really don't like the cold.  But I really do love all the seasons.  I like the variety.  I love watching the changes take place. 

Spring might be my favorite.  Watching the grass come back to life, flower miraculously pop out of the ground, and flowers and leaves emerge on the trees. 

Summer is great for more flowers- a huge assortment, and another one of my favorite things: thunderstorms!  A good thunderstorm is almost therapeutic for me, and luckily, my kids and husband all love them, too! 

Everybody knows the beauty of Fall.  The leaves turn shades of deep, warm colors and fall down in multitudes on breezy days.  The fruits of the season all ripen and it is fun to see the excitement on my kids faces seeing the big pumpkins the Gigi grew or picking apples with her.

Winter- As much as I don't like the cold, I do love snow.  Watching it snow, especially for one of the first times of the season, is actually magical.  I love the way the snow sparkles when the sun shines on it.  Icicles are gorgeous.  I once had a roof line, decorated with Christmas lights that icicles formed on.  The whole piece of ice glowed all sorts of bright, beautiful colors.  I actually love a good snowstorm, too, assuming we don't need to drive anywhere.  Watching the snow pile up in mounds is awfully exciting for me and for the kids.  Who doesn't love sledding?  Lastly, winter houses my favorite holiday- Christmas.  It is a magical time of the year.  I love the decorations, the smell of our fresh cut tree, and the overall feeling of the season.  I do my best not to let it get too stressful, because it wasn't meant to be that way.  I look forward to spending Christmas with our families making memories.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25

Today, I'm thankful for nap time.  I'm relieved that both of my kids still take a nap almost every day.  Even though Brennan will be turning 4 in February, he still really NEEDS that nap.  The days that it somehow gets missed or cut short are awful by the afternoon or evening for sure. 

Being a stay-at-home mom, nap time is really my 'break'.  I don't get a lunch break or any morning or afternoon break from the kids, except for the nap.  It gives me time to lay down (I do most days) and take a short rest since I still need to get up with Bryleigh quite often at night.  I sometimes use nap time to get some work done around the house, or just take a little bit of quiet time for myself.  I might watch an adult show instead of Mickey Mouse or Toy Story.  A lot of times I catch up with computer work- either my part time job, or research on products we need to purchase online. 

To sum it up, nap time rocks and I'm so incredibly thankful for it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24

Today, I'm thankful for fast food and take-out restaurants.  We don't eat fast food or take-out too much, but is sure is nice to have a fast and convenient option when we need one.  I wish we had a few more options in town, but maybe it is a blessing in disguise.  This way we can't get into the habit of eating out all the time!

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 23

Today I am thankful for modern medicine.  We experienced a first today- bring a child to the ER.  It wasn't fun... not at all.  But, it was still a relief to be able to have x-rays taken and see that there was nothing broken in her poor little arm.  I'm also happy that we have common medicines that kill pain like Tylenol.  Being able to provide a little relief for our miserable baby girl was so appreciated. 

It turns out that Bryleigh dislocated her elbow.  The doctors suspected that dislocation might be the cause of her pain, but they weren't able to make her elbow pop into place, so they assumed it must just be muscle strain or a sprain.  She was still miserable the next morning (Yes... I'm writing this 2 days late again).  We made her a little baby sling for her bad arm.  She wouldn't even attempt to lift it.  It was horrible.  In the afternoon, she managed to trip over Daddy's big feet and fall.  She cried for a bit because I'm sure it hurt, but after she calmed down, suddenly her arm was healed!  She was moving it all around, waving, and hanging on the edge of the kitchen table!  I can't even put the relief I felt into words.  It is so horrible to see your child in pain and knowing that she was ok and felt so much better made me so thankful!

I was also so thankful that our wonderful friend Jen stayed with Brennan while we were at the hospital.  Jen and her husband Chris were over hanging out while the incident happened, so we were able to leave quickly once we realized that something was wrong.  So great to have caring, trustworthy friends in our lives.  Jen read Brennan his stories and got him tucked down for bed, all while answering his questions about Bryleigh and making him feel a little better about it.  The reason it happened in the first place was because Brennan "Karate'd" Bryleigh, in his own words.  We really wanted him to realize that we needed to bring Bryleigh to the doctor because of what he did to her, but also didn't want him to feel horrible.  Jen did a good job of reminding him that he needs to be gentle with his little sister without making him feel awful about everything.  I know that accidents are going to happen, but this was quite an experience for us all!  Glad we don't need to deal with this stuff everyday!

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

Today I'm thankful for beauty.  I'm thankful for flowers, rainbows, sunsets, autumn leaves, dragonflies, sleeping children, mountains, oceans, coral, Christmas decorations, art, makeup, etc... The world is so much more enjoyable to live in because of beauty.  Thank God for the gift of sight and such beautiful things to see with it.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 21

Cheating again... I'm thankful for my husband!  (Yes, he is also part of the family.  What can I say?  Family means a lot to me.)  Ryan is supportive, hard working, loyal, and committed.  I know that I don't tell him enough that I'm thankful for everything that he does for us.  He works out of the house so that I can work in the home.  I appreciate that he supports me being a stay-at-home mom.  I don't think a lot of men really understand how hard this job is and how truly important.  Ryan does understand.  He does know how challenging our kids are and I feel like he does his best to give me a little break when he gets home from work by running the kids ragged downstairs.  They love it and I think he does, too. 

I am so thankful that he believes in me.  Thinking about it, I don't ever think I've heard him say that I couldn't do something (besides getting my ears pierced a second time- needle phobe.  By the way... I DID!).  He is loving and and shows me and the kids how much he cares for us everyday.  He isn't the typical man in a lot of ways, which I am also thankful for!

Thanks, Sweetie.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 20

Today I am thankful for my parents.... yes, yes.... I know.  I was already thankful for my whole family, but I kind of need to expand.  Not only did my parents do a fantastic job of parenting when I was a child, but they are still there to give advice and help when we need it.  For example, last night (Tuesday) we had a plumbing crisis.  I don't need to go into to go into too much detail, but we had water leaking from out laundry room into the basement and had to turn the hot water off in the house completely :/.  Mom and Dad came down today to help get us back up and running.  Mom kept the kids busy and gave them all sorts of attention while Dad fixed up my plumbing... I was the errand girl, running up and down the stairs for tools and to the hardware store multiple times for more/correct parts.  But luckily it didn't take too long and our leak was fixed. Whew.  I sure am glad that I have parents and are willing to help and know what they are doing!  Thanks to both of you for everything... which is so much more than plumbing and babysitting!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 19

Today I am thankful for improved sleep.  I can't say that we get a full night of sleep every night or anything like that just yet, but it is so much better than it used to be.  I do get a full night of sleep every few days and the other nights Bryleigh only tends to wake up once or twice.  The really bad nights have gotten to be few and far between.  Brennan does really well down in his own room.  He wakes up now and then and needs some cuddles from Daddy, but most of the time he stays there until morning.  It really is wonderful.  Sleep is one of those things I knew that I'd miss when I became a parent... I wasn't wrong!  I look forward to the next stage of parenting for the 'sleep reason' for sure!

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 18

Today is Bryleigh's bonus day!  I'm thankful for my little ray of sunshine!  Her smile lights up a room with ease.  She is smart, funny, inquisitive, expressive, and loving.  She learns something new everyday and surprises us with all of her words and things she can do.  She imitates us and her big brother constantly and can pick up on things surprisingly well.  Her ability to melt your heart in a variety of different ways is amazing.  There is something magical about her sweet little face... like she ought to come with her own set of angel wings.  She completes our family perfectly.  Together with her brother, we have everything we need in our kids and surely couldn't love them any more than we already do. 

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 17

Today I am thankful for my camera.  I love taking pictures, especially of my kids.  I know that I'm going to look back and cherish all of these pictures... I already do!  Here are a couple I took this morning!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

I am thankful for our reliable cars today.  I know that I take the fact that I can walk out into my garage (which I am also thankful for), jump into a car, start it up and take off, completely for granted.  I'm also so happy be a two-car family.  Even when Ryan is at work, I'm able to take off with the kids to get groceries, go to the library or the kids' classes, or go visit friends and family.  So lucky.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

I know that I already said that I'm thankful for my kids... it is impossible not to be.  But today I am thankful for one specific characteristic about my son (Don't worry Bryleigh, I'll give you another day, too...).  I'm thankful for the fact that Brennan handles change and adjusts to new situations so well.  He is truly amazing.  Today was Brennan's first day of preschool.  I dropped him off in his classroom, gave him a kiss, and told him to have a good day.  He happily says, "Love you, too!" and goes right to playing and talking to his new teacher.  I don't know what I would do if he were the kind of kid to get nervous and cry when it was time for me to leave.  He did wonderfully.

This isn't the only time he has taken change like a champ.  He did great when we brought his little sister home from the hospital and he was completely unphased by the move to our new house.  He even sleeps in his own room in the basement all by himself.  He really is a cool kid.

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

Today I am thankful that my kids have cousins that are close in age to them.  I had cousins close in age to me growing up and it was wonderful.  They weren't just cousins, but friends to play with all the time.  Today 2 of my kids' cousins came over for a play date with their Mommy and everybody had a wonderful time.  The kids were all just great and have totally gotten the hang of playing nicely together.  Looking forward to many more play sessions with cousins.

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 13

I'm playing catch up again!

Today I'm thankful for entertainment.  The way I unwind at night is watching tv with Ryan.  I look forward to getting the kids down for the night and just sitting... watching... laughing.  It is so nice.  Also, though I don't get to go often, I enjoy going on movie dates or better yet, to live shows- plays and musicals especially.  It's just so much fun and I'm thankful there are so many great entertainers and forms of entertainment to bring us all happiness. :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 12

Today, I am thankful for friends.  Good friends are something that we actually have very few of.  But I really think it is the quality that counts.  Our friends are great, wonderful, helpful, caring, trustworthy people and we are thankful for all of you, old and new alike!  You know who you are!! :)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11

Today I'm thankful for my faith.  Faith is always there, but especially evident and helpful during hard times.  I can't imagine living a life where I didn't have a faith to fall back on when tragedy strikes.  How sad... I'm glad I do and am raising my kids to have faith, as well.  Listening to your 3 year old say prayers and seeing your 1 year old fold her hands and say 'amen' sure does melt your heart.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

Today I am thankful for variety. I can only imagine how boring and repetitive life would be if everyone alike and everyday was the same day after day after day.  What if you had to eat the same food every single day?  What if all of your clothes looked the same?  How about watching the same show everyday? (Oh wait... I do.  Thanks, Disney Jr.!) Seriously, variety is really something to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day of Gratitude: Day 9

Today I'm thankful for trustworthy babysitters.  My parents, almost exclusively, watch the kids for me when I need someone to.  They live pretty close by, so it is convenient for me and the kids always have a great time.  They always spend a lot of time playing outside, getting fresh air, and also spend time getting work done around the house.  They live out in the country, so there is always wood to be stacked, chickens to feed, or other work to be done.  They are teaching the kids already about work ethic... work before play!  Brennan knows the drill and LOVES stacking wood and working his little buns off.  I love sending them out to Mom and Dad's because not only do I trust Grandma and Grandpa more than I would an unrelated babysitter, but the kids always come home happy, tired, and bathed in attention.  It is just good for everybody.

Friday, November 8, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8

Today's Day of Gratitude is a little unorthodox, but it is completely true... I'm thankful for birth control.  I absolutely love my kids, but I'm very happy with just the two of them.  I'm not the kind of person that wants to have a huge family with 10 kids... or even 5 kids.  Having some kind of control over that is so wonderful, even if it isn't foolproof.  I'm thankful to live in this day in age, after these medical advances have already been made!

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 7

Yesterday (yes, this one is a day late) I was thankful for technology.  I know that technology can be both a blessing and a curse, but I am looking at the good side of it for this day of gratitude.  Technology has simplified  my life so much.  I love being able to check bank accounts, make purchases (and I've saved SO much money because of eBay), keep track of our schedules (and set reminders), catch up with my friends or husband during the day, etc all from the comfort of my livingroom on my computer, tablet or phone... It really is awesome.  I truly can't imagine what everybody did in the 'olden days' before the Internet! 

Having a cell phone is so great for asking questions while I'm shopping, flash a digital coupon, or not miss an important phone call while I'm outside.

And though I know it isn't great to use technology as a babysitter, I'm not gonna lie- I really take advantage of the distraction that the tv, a movie, or the tablet can provide for the kids so I can get some stuff done around the house.  Wonderful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6

Today I am thankful for my home- both our actual house and the lovely little town we live in.  As far as the house goes, I am so blessed to have even the basics: a roof over our heads and a working furnace to keep us warm.  But I'm lucky enough to have even more than that.  I have a house that I love.  This house has enough room for our family to live comfortably.  Both kids have their own rooms so they don't wake each other at night.  We have closets.  The basement is basically a large playroom where the kids can be wild and crazy without worrying about breaking anything.  Our neighborhood is nice, quiet and safe.  We look out our livingroom windows right at the edge of the woods.  It is so beautiful and I'm so blessed.

I'm thankful for our great little town.  I always feel safe here.  I feel at home.  The schools are wonderful.  It is unbelievably beautiful to drive through town and have a view of the gorgeous lake the entire time.  If you go to the grocery store and don't see someone you know somewhere along the way, it is a little surprising.  I'm so thankful to have such a great place to raise my kids.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

Today I am thankful for my freedom.  I'm thankful for all the men and women that fight so I don't have to.  It is something I believe most of us take for granted all the time.  It is an amazing blessing to live in our country.  So many of our problems absolutely pale in comparison to REAL problems that millions of people in other countries face.  We are lucky and blessed!

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

Today I am thankful for my talents and abilities.  Trust me- I am in no way trying to sound braggy or conceited, I just truly appreciate the fact that many things come easily to me. 

Ever since I was little, things have been easy for me.  Not many things posed too much of a challenge.  This still holds true.  I've been blessed with talent in an artsy way.  I enjoy singing.  I have an eye for design and am a pretty good party planner.  I like photography.  I love to do all sorts of crafts: crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, bow making, and various other decorative crafts I've spied on Pinterest.  I enjoy writing (hence this blog) and the words generally flow fairly easily.  I like baking.  I have a way with just figuring things out.  If something around the house needs doing, typically I just get it done.  We very, very rarely call a professional (if anybody gets called, it's Dad) for home improvement work or repairs... I'm kind of a handy girl.  Same goes with the car.  I always try to do it myself or with Dad's help.  I actually quite enjoy changing oil, etc.

I know for a fact my life has been much easier because of this and I'm so thankful to be blessed so much!  Of course, not everything is easy... don't ask me to draw you a picture.  Yikes! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3

I'm thankful for a vast improvement in my kids' church behavior.  The last few Sundays that we've been in church, we've actually been able to stay in for the whole service.  Up until now one or both kids had to be taken out EVERY SUNDAY at least once because of being too noisy and wiggly.  It is so nice to see them have better control over themselves and make it the whole hour.  I am able to get something out of the service now, too.  The wonderful part is that I know they are only going to get better and better each Sunday!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2

I'm thankful for never having to worry about my family being hungry.  It seems like such a little thing, but I know it is something that a lot of people struggle with.  I can't imagine the pain and heartache it must cause to know your kids are hungry and not be able to do anything about it.  So I'm thankful for an overabundance of food in the refrigerator and cupboards and the chance to eat what we want when we want.

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude

This year is the first year I've decided to take care in 30 Days of Gratitude.  There is so much to be thankful for the we just take for granted everyday.  Hopefully thinking of something new everyday will help me to refocus and be thankful for the things I have!

Day 1: My family!  All of them.  I'm thankful to have the kids that some people are unable to have, a loving husband that so many have not found yet or have already lost, and involved parents, parents-in-law, siblings, and sibling-in-laws that are still with us and are leaving an wonderful imprint on the lives of my lives.  Of course I'm also thankful for all of the awesome grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephew and all other extended family I am blessed with.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recording Sweet Moments

I really want to try hard to get back into the habit of recording a lot of the funny, sweet, or adorable things my kids say.  I hear these things each day and know for a fact that I won't remember most of it as they grow.  Hopefully knowing this will encourage me to write down what they say!

Here's one to kick us off...

Brennan woke up at 4:30 this morning after having a bad dream about Daddy popping his balloon on a 'mean day'.  I went down to his room to get him re-tucked in and give him a few snuggles.  Hearing him say "I love you" and seeing him all cozy in his bed with his eyes closed and yawning is enough to melt me, at least a little.  But he was the sweetest when I left his room.  I quietly whispered to him, "I love you, Buddy Boy" and he whispers back, "I love you, Mommy Girl".

Love that kid.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brennan's New Frog!

I finally got this little guy finished up!  He's been in pieces for months, but after finally buying his eyes on eBay, he is in one piece and adorable!  He's going to go in Brennan's jungle room.  I think he'll feel pretty at home there.

I figured he needed a name, so I just asked Brennan (3 years and 8 months) what his name should be.  I guess we're calling him Ear.  Yep.  Ear.  Haha!

Welcome home, Little Ear!

If you would like to make your own little crocheted tree frog, check out this link! Crocheted Tree Frog Pattern Thank you to Brigette Read of Roman Sock for the great free pattern!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Super Duper Painting Tip!

Hi everybody!

I consider myself a very crafty, do-it-yourself, Mrs. Fix It, but I stumbled onto something new a few days ago that I wish I would have known years ago!

If you are like me, when you paint a small project you put down a layer of newspaper first to protect your work surface. Without fail, I always get a little newspaper stuck to my project and either have to pick it up and risk messing up my paint, or just go the lazy route and paint over the little imperfection.  It is such a pain...

So here's my great discovery!  Waxed paper!!!  Why I didn't think of this years ago is beyond me, but it works flawlessly!  You'll never have bits of paper stuck to your project again!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another New Niece, Audrey!

The end of September was a very busy and exciting time for us! Within two days we welcomed 2 new members to our family, the first by birth and the second by marriage.  This post is about that brand new baby.

Audrey Vianne was born on September 27, 2013 at 8lbs 11oz. and 21 in.  She is the third in her family, welcomed by Mommy, Daddy, big brother Evan and Big sister, Claire.  She brings my niece/nephew total to 6!

I wanted to share some of the newborn shots of Audrey that I took!



Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Little Sister Got Married!

Last Saturday my little sister got married!  She's been with her new husband for a couple of years and he is a really nice guy.  The kids especially love him because he is a great player, something Mom's not the best at. :)

I was lucky enough to be the Matron of Honor and the kids were the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer.  We thought there was no chance that they would walk down the aisle like civilized people, but they did!  They were perfect and adorable.

Haley made a beautiful bride and we all had a good time.  The wedding was outside and our Mom and Dad's house.  It was a little misty, but we didn't get rained out!  It really worked out just great.

I want to share a few photos and my wedding toast with you all. :)

And in case anyone would like to read it, here's my toast:

"First off, I’d like to congratulate Haley and Joe on their brand new marriage and thank you for asking me to be a part of your big day.
Haley and I have always been close.  I think that growing up in the country had a lot to do with it.  After all, we didn’t have friends next door to play with or parks nearby to meet new friends at.  Besides the occasional visit from the cousins, our only playmate was each other.  We were forced to make our own fun, but I have to say- we did a pretty good job at it.  I remember a lot of the things we did that brought some variety and fun to our day.  We made up ridiculous songs- I believe our most beloved, but inappropriate title was, “I’m a double amputee”.  One summer, we spent a few weeks only calling each other ‘Clyde’.   We played tons of board games, watched movies, and played outside together, too.  
We also developed and used our own currency for a while.  Instead of dollars, it was favors.  A transaction would go something like, “Hey Haley, I’ll give you five favors if you make me a glass of chocolate milk.”  “OK!”  or… “Hal, How about 20 favors for a foot massage?”  And then we would end up arguing about what our favor balances were.  I kind of made a killing with this.  Haley had hundreds or thousands of favors saved up and I kept reaping the benefits.  That was one advantage of being five years smarter than her.
One disadvantage was that Haley could beat the heck out of me, but since she was little I couldn’t do anything back or I’d be the one to get in trouble.  Eventually mom caught onto the fact that I was being abused and I was given the thumbs up to retaliate.  That was a good day.
Overall, I think we had a very good relationship and besides the daily beating or two that I endured, we got along pretty well.   I remember one time that I was actually thankful for her temper.  We were playing in the McDonalds playland.  I was probably 8 or 9 which would make Haley 3 or 4.  A mean boy blocked the entrance to the playland and wouldn’t move even though I was saying, ‘excuse me’.  He was such a bully.  I was so timid and shy that I just stood back, sadly, hoping he would just move.  That’s when Haley came into the picture.  She gently pushed me out of her path, looked at the boy, who was at least my age or older, and told him in her sternest voice, “YOU LEAVE MY SISTER ALONE!”  He boogied.  That tiny girl was awfully frightening.
But frightening as she may be, she had a weakness- bugs.  Actually, for quite a while when we were young, we shared a room, and even a bed.  We had our own, but we liked to share.  Haley was so freaked out by the bugs on the wall, so I slept next to it.  But that was perfect, because I was terrified of the murderers in the closet.  But I guess I figured they couldn’t get to me past the wildabeast.  It worked out pretty well. 
So I guess, in closing, I’d like to wish you both as much fun, silliness, security, love and memories as Haley and I provided each other in the past. I’m looking forward to the future filled with just as many great experiences. 
One last thing.  To get Joe started off on the right foot, I thought I’d make photocopies of these coupons that Haley gave me many, many years ago.  Luckily, she didn’t include any fine print barring photocopies.   I guess I should make a few more copies for myself…."
 I then went on to read the coupons which included one glass of chocolate milk, a foot rub, and extra day in the front seat, don't bug, leave alone, and my favorite- don't hurt me.  I love that this was a special treat for me... not being hurt by Haley! So funny...

What a great day- 9/28/13!