Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just a small recap.

I've been MIA for the past week for one beautiful reason:

I've spent the whole week just hanging with my family!
We've slept a lot, played tons, watched movies, spent time with friends and just yesterday celebrated the birth of our newest niece.
She is precious and I'm full of joy after such a week.
I thought before the New Year rolled in, I would show a small recap of our home at Christmas time.
I know I've said this before, but most our decor has been given to us by family.
This one was passed down this year from Scott's grandmother, Key.
It's just an old box that had glittery Christmas message.
Here is our tree Christmas morning.
Complete with a dollhouse and Aircraft Carrier Ship below it for two very excited children.
: )
I loved how our mantel turned out.
I kept meaning to add a wreath over the mirror, but completely ran out of time.
Here is our most precious Christmas decor to remind us of the greatest gift of all.

We enjoyed breakfast together before church.
I love these glass candle holders by Pfaltzgraff that I got for a complete steal our first Christmas married.
They really dress up our dining room.
Here is a picture I caught of two of our blessings!
Now on to the New Year where we will get to meet the third blessing!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Snapshots of our days before Christmas.

Our days have been so full lately and blessed in so many ways.
Here are a few snapshots of all these precious moments:
This sweet lady that goes to church with my parents where I grew up, gave us this amazing gift for our Livingston. I haven't seen her in a while and did this out of the goodness of her heart. What a great surprising treat!
She gave us a nice Christmas box decorated with an ornament and note on top. The note suggested that we continue to get an ornament every year for Liv and give them to her in the box when she gets married. What a great idea! I'm going to also go back and do it for our other two! She also included a Christmas book and stuffed animal in the box. I can't tell you how special that gift was to me.

We've also been making and baking lots of treats for our different holiday parties.
Obviously, the kids want to help with the process.
I hate to admit it, but I'm not the fun mom I had hoped where I let them help making big messes smiling the entire time. I'm more like stressed out and trying to keep them from dumping sprinkles all over the floor. I try to make myself chill out and let them have fun.
I did however find this cute little treat, whoopie pies that were super easy and the kids LOVED helping with. Try them!

We also ended L's school semester with a Christmas program from his class.
They sang a couple songs with funny little motions.
It was adorable and he was so proud.
He even had a fan club cheering for him.
I've found multiple reasons to love my iphone, but here is one I discovered this week.
It helps out a tired, pregnant mama who wants to do our Jesse Tree devo, but doesn't want to run upstairs to get the computer.
I know technology isn't all great, but I sure find blessings in it!
The kids tree between their rooms.
It's just soo cute.
I really want to freshen up this corner of our home after the holidays.
It needs some organization and I've thought about adding some color too!
Another blessing this holiday and always is my husband.
He worked three last days of school and then turned around to work wee morning hours at Great Harvest the last two days of the week. He is always working hard to provide for our family and has been such a help with the house too!
I love you, babe!
I want to talk more about this later, because it is soo cool. But I had to mention that I have such a great friend in Rachel. She always listens to me rant on about everything and remembers little tid bits for gift ideas for me. She spoils me not only with gifts, but with being such a loyal, fun friend!
Do you know what this is?
Lastly, we've been trying to suck all that we can of these last few days of Christmas.
Storybooks, Christmas songs and reminders of the coming of Christ has really put me in the spirit this season.

Hope you are enjoying these few final moments of such an exciting time of the year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two down,,,, one to go!

I cannot believe I've already been through the first two trimesters.
I remember finding out I was pregnant and just anxious to make it to the second one.
Now here I am, large and in charge.
and already READY!

I have a feeling this last twelve weeks will be the LONGEST of my life!
Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 28 Weeks

Size of baby: 16 inches long, and weighs in about
2 1/2 pounds
Maternity Clothes: Wearing ONLY maternity clothes. Where I used to get by with wearing some shirts that weren't maternity, it now has become quiet clear that can no longer happen. Mainly due to them being too short in the front. So thankfully, my sister *who will deliver NEXT WEEK : ) has gradually passed me things she is either tired of or growing out of. It has been soo much fun being pregnant together.

Gender: GIRL - Name: Livingston Ann
It's getting rather fun around here as we've gotten a few Christmas presents for our newest little girl. I have to say I love me some girly, pink stuff. And my other girl loves it too and is having a hard time understanding the newest pink blanket isn't her blankie or the sweet little dress we were given won't fit her! : ) This should be interesting!

Movement: I LOVE feeling her move, but this is one stubborn baby. She mainly stays pretty still during the day and has parties all through the night. Especially feel her from about 8 til midnight. I'll rollover in bed and she starts doing flips! : ) why I call her stubborn is because when she is moving and someone lays their hand on my tummy to feel, she immediately stops. Little stinker.

Sleep: Sleeping, what is that?!?! Ha Ha! I guess it's not that bad, but I do have some sleepless nights. Last night being one of the them. That is why I've been up since 4:30 and posting a blog at six in the morning. Most of my friends/family who know my sleeping habits pre-baby or better yet said pre-children know that is completely strange for me. I'm normally a night owl who loves to sleep in. But generally, if I'm not just uncomfortable, I'll still wake up for no reason. I guess it's God's way of preparing me for late...through the night feedings!

What I miss: Moving with ease and comfort. I've had some rather weird aches/pains specifically in the last week that makes me miss my pre-pregnancy body and health. I won't go into to much details, but lets just say I feel like I've rode a horse all day. It hurts to walk fast, go upstairs and even roll over in bed. I actually googled {pregnant and feels like i rode a horse all day} and figured out I wasn't alone. By that hysterical description, I actually found SPD, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Which is something that happens to your ligaments and pelvic area as your body stretches to prepare for birth. It's lovely, to say the least!

Cravings: Still craving orange juice! That's my top most odd craving for me. I've always loved orange juice, but I could drink a jug a day (don't worry, I don't). I also have fallen in love with Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, Sea Salt kettle cooked chips and pretty much anything involving cheese (that last one is pretty much nothing new for me. haha)
I'm so thankful to God for keeping me healthy and the baby growing as we enter this last stage. I'm praying for continuing this pattern for the next few months and that she'll arrive safely. We cannot even grasp what is happening to our sweet little family and how everything is about to change, again! We are so thankful for the support, prayers, help and just love for all three of our blessings from above.

A special thanks to my great friend and partner in crime when it comes to all things photography for capturing these photos of us. They are actually from a few weeks ago, so I'm even a little more out there than these show. But not too much different. Thanks Jess, you always do such a great job capturing exactly what I hope for.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Favorite time of the year....

I have to say, Christmas is a lovely time of year.
But it still stresses me out and I have to make sure I steal some quiet moments for myself.
Since there is so much to do, I'm trying my best to accomplish a few holiday tasks during these times.
I love to write letters and Christmas cards are still not all done.
There is more to that story, but it's a long one. Needless to say, I still have more to address and send.
However, I have got a few done because I set up camp in front of the tree during kids' nap. Christmas card station included my holiday book, addresses, cards, lots of pens and pandora playing my favorite Christmas tunes to set the mood.
I have to say there is some bonuses to owning a photography business with your best friend. She is so talented and I'm so thankful!
So now to put my feet up and enjoy some "She and Him" holiday album.
Love them : )

Thursday, December 15, 2011

from the root of Jesse....

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD
Isaiah 11:1-2

So I was encouraged by our Pastor during our last mop to make sure our home and children are seeking Christ this season.
Specifically, he encouraged us to be like the Magi.
To seek Him, find Him and WORSHIP HIM!!!

I'm amazed at the bombarding stories of Santa, reindeer and other children's magical holiday fun. While that's fine, should we allow it to over cloud our homes. Should that what our children think of when they hear Christmas?
I hope that is not true for my home and children.
I want them to seek Christ always and use this season to further their understanding and love for Him.

One was I've discovered we can do this is by having the Jesse Tree tradition in our home. It is special devotions that lead you to learn different parts of God's story and especially unveiling more of Jesus everyday! The FREE book we are using also has little ornaments you can print for your kids to color and hang on a special tree. Or you can make some out of felt or other materials. Since we started this a little late this year, we opted out of the tree. Instead I made the kids a book and when I read the stories, they color the picture. My kids are young and I'm not sure how great my teaching skills are... but they do remember parts of it. One day I hope they look back to remember this as one of their favorite childhood Christmas traditions.

Here is the link to the Jesse Tree material we are using from Ann Voskamp. She invites anyone to download it as long as they are personally using it.

Here are a few pics of my babies enjoying our new tradition.
E coloring her pages!
I never printed the whole book, just have it saved and read from my laptop!
L proudly showing off his book. I love that it doesn't take much to make my kids excited.
A more detailed shot of our coloring sheets.
We actually got these from some place else (a friend recommended them going along with the journey). When I find that link again, I'll post it here.

What are other ways you try to make Christmas about the coming of our King?
I love learning new ideas and welcome any suggestions!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A little tree just for me!

Well, not just for me, but for our master bedroom.
This was Scott's tree growing up and we used it in our room for the first few years we were married. Last year due to all the renovations to our room and just the craziness of having two kids.... we just didn't use it.

I thought we should get it out this year and make our room a little more festive.
I decorated it with some of my favorite colors! : )

This angel was on our family tree most of my childhood.
I think she is super pretty.
I just put the tree on our trunk under the window.
For a tree skirt, I used my parent's old chenile blanket (it's my favorite old blanket).
I also added this sweet all white nativity.
I used white lights, a few ball ornaments, lots of angel or victorian ornaments and my favorite ones. They are metal engraved ornaments in different shapes from both our childhoods. We have angels, drummer boys, bells and rocking horses with our names/dates on them.

Here is a shot back a little, but the bed covers some of the tree. It just makes me happy to come up and see it in the window. {please ignore all the boxes and gifts yet to be wrapped} This I guess is a sneak peek of part of our room. I hope after Christmas to do a room tour because we are very proud to have such a sweet little spot just for us!
This is a shot from this morning.. you can see the colors:
teal, tiffany blue, pearl and silver/ gold

I love our traditional family tree downstairs, but this little tree makes mommy so happy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Putting it all down.

I am a journal keeper.
Well, I used to be before I had children that is.
Yes, I'm sure everyone who reads this blog or talks to me in real life is tired of me blaming my children for things. To be honest, I am too.

So I want to do something about this journaling business and make it stick.
I saw New Years Eve...the movie this weekend and it made me think of the dreaded resolutions. Seriously, I hate new year's resolutions. I just feel like I'm so unsuccessful at those resolutions specifically. For instance, let's say on June 16th, I decide to make a resolution to start dusting every week {oh, you do this already? good for you : ) } then I will be better at keeping it than lets say I resolve to loose 5 lbs a month on new year's. Just saying.

So I'm making this a Dec. 11th resolution: journal!

I'm asking my husband for a new journal for Christmas.
I've gotten an iphone recently and hated the thought of never using a pen and paper again. I love pen and paper. So to keep from loosing my great handwriting genes or little random jots here and there, I've wanted to still have a paper calendar too. The only problem is I don't want to spend a lot or feel pressured to use it everyday. I also don't want to feel pressure to journal long entries as I just don't have time. So he is going to get me a journal that is thick enough to write a year of dates at the top of each page and small enough to fit in my purse/diaper bag. This way I can jot down to-do notes, appointments and small prayers. Maybe if I want to focus on a specific verse or a quote i can do that on there too.

Here are some things I've been finding or that inspire me to get back into journaling.
Check them out:

a pinterest find

My Daddy is a journal keeper. Now it's mainly just the highlights like the weather, important moments and fun random happenings. But I love that he has done this for sooo many years. Sometimes we have looked back and read funny things about days where I got my braces or Johnah went for her drivers permit. It's neat to look back on.
This lady did the same thing and I thought if nothing else, what a great treasure to have.

I got this from Geninne's Art Blog. She is someone that incredibly inspires me in journaling and in painting. Very talented lady! I would love to do more drawing/doodling in my journals. Hmmm.. maybe I'll have to get a cute little pen/pencil box like I had from my college art class days to carry in my purse as well!

There is something hopeful and even exciting to me in a stack of empty journals.
I guess it's the thoughts of what could be, victories won and even a place to escape to during the most mundane of days.
This stack I found here... cute journals!

And then there is this magnificent post on journaling by none other than, Ann Voscamp. Love her.

I've heard of someone doing a journal by recording their: peeks, pits, prayers and praises. They would write about the best of their day (peek) and the worse of it too (pits). Then add any requests or praises they had.

When I look back through my years of (off and on) journaling, I see a switch take place. I used to write in them like a diary...just to whom ever. Then in middle school or early high school, I switched to writing prayer journals. Don't get me wrong...they are not lofty or eliquent prayers written out. I've even shuddered looking back through some entries thinking of how my grandchildren might find these one day. They would know the good, bad and extremely ugly. But that is ok...because I'm hoping they'll see God's grace mostly. Because I write about nothing, I plead of things I desire and I gripe too. The good thing of journaling in the form of prayers is I find it always brings me back to HIM.

Anyways, one last little quote that makes me laugh and remember I'm not the only adult out there that still thinks like a child! : )

"She sat down before breakfast Decided how to spend her day: climb trees. run fast. sing at the top of her lungs. Do the dishes tomorrow." - unknown

Happy Journaling!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snapshots of turning FIVE

Well, this is a week or so coming, but better late than never. Here are a few pics of my boy's 5th birthday celebration. It's still hard to believe he is five. We started off by doing our normal day of celebration with our traditional cake for breakfast. This has quickly become a fav tradition in our household. We wake up and celebrate first thing! This might get harder as some of our children's b-day will be a school day, but we'll still do cake for breakfast I'm sure {poor teachers}. They also get their toys from us that morning. Which is great so they can play with their new toys all day on their actual birthday. It's fun and nice to be settling into a few family traditions. Also it is interesting to see which ones stick or which the kids really look forward to.
Here is the birthday boy!

Blowing out FIVE candles is tough work.

Playing with his new pirate ship with Daddy.

And here are a few from the Pirate Party! I'm actually really sad to say that I don't have tons of great pictures of the details of this party {which is some of fav parts}. Hard to believe I worked so hard at some of the details and didn't get a chance to take pics. To my defense it was a CRAZY day... church, cleaning, preparing food, nasty storms and finally cramming thirty or so people in our sweet little home! : ) But here are a few shots.
Blowing out another set of candles on his treasure map cake.

My sweet sis, Nina came through once again! Isn't this cake amazing (wish I'd gotten better pics of this too) and it's complete with the (choc.) gold treasure marked with the x!
We had little party bags for our cousins which included eye patches and earrings with the rest of the loot!

Opening his many presents...this kid racked up. Everyone was so gracious!

Mommy and Son Pirates.... ARGH!!!!

I like to entitle this image as "Daddy Nonsense". I'm learning pictures of these two are getting harder and harder to get because they are too busy goofing off! : )

and finally, too much sugar, presents and Daddy nonsense and this is what you get:
I really wish you could see his face in this is hysterical!

We had a great time and it seemed to fly back just as all the days seem to be doing lately.
Too bad we can't slow life down a little.

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