Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Pictures

I just loved having Christmas on a Sunday this year.  We were able to stop opening gifts and go to church to get refocused on what matters.  It was wonderful, and I truthfully wish we could do it every year.  Here are just a couple of pics from our festivities:

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!

December Pinterest Projects

Before I show a few photos of this year's Christmas festivities, I have to show a few pictures of Pinterest-inspired projects I tackled right before Christmas.

For my sister and her fiance, Brennan and I made this fun button ornament:

(I have the supplies to make one of these ornaments for my own tree, but I am not so sure it is going to get done this year.)

I also displayed my Christmas cards on my cupboards with ribbons and clothespins, thanks to this site:

And on the inside of my cupboards, I made these awesome hangers for my measuring cups and spoons, so I don't have to go digging through my drawer to find just what I need.  I just used a large paint stick from Home Depot, some little hooks, my Silhouette, some leftover paint, and some double-sided foamy adhesive (I have no idea what it is really called.)  I think the whole project cost under $5.

Coming right up... Christmas in Pictures.  (It's a double post day!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ready for Christmas

I'm spending a lazy day at home today, since it is the last day I will have while the kids are in school for several weeks.  Today I have washed, folded, and sorted several overflowing laundry baskets of baby clothes, and I am so thankful to have saved all of Brennan's clothes from six years ago.  How many hundreds of dollars (not to mention memories) are represented in those baskets?  I keep thinking how close together my boys' birthdays are going to be (probably around one and a half weeks or less apart!), and it is so weird to be saying the words "my boys."

Christmas is six days away, and I'm pretty much ready.  I have one more gift to buy Jim, one more gift to make, and a few left to wrap.  Compared to the huge to-do list I had a few weeks ago, I feel like I'm coasting now.  This year I've spent about six hours wrapping gifts, countless hours shopping (thank goodness for Amazon, my new best non-human friend!), and many other hours crafting and creating.  We've hosted two big Christmas parties and a few other social gatherings, and I think I'm done entertaining for this year.  It was all extremely fun, but I don't have an ounce of energy left.

Yesterday at church the kids sang a medley of songs while wearing costumes.  Brennan was chosen to be Joseph, and our friend Alana was Mary.  Brennan was as pleased as punch that he received such an honor!

After the kids sang, they had a birthday party for Jesus in the gym, complete with birthday cake.

All that's really left to do now is enjoy Christmas, which is good.  I have a cold that is leaving me feeling very run down, and it is amazing how much harder pregnancy is when you have multiple little people who need you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Words of the Month

So, I realized that I have known for a week and have yet to share on my blog...

We're having another BOY!

We had our ultrasound last Monday, and everything looked perfect.  (This is not a shock, except that I fell, face-forward, three days before the ultrasound and had quite the scare!)  The kids went with us and we all found out the sex together.  It was pure joy.  Brennan's eyes and mouth got super big when he found out it was a boy, and then he buried his head in Jim.  He was so excited.  I was shocked.  I had thought it was a boy all along, but I had started second-guessing myself in the last few weeks and thinking it was another girl.  Deep down, I really knew, so I don't know why I second-guessed.  I haven't been able to come up with a decent girl name to save my life, and with each child, we've had a hard time coming up with a name for the wrong sex.

In keeping with our tradition, baby boy's name will be kept a secret until he arrives in early April, but since we don't have a name yet, we're still open to suggestions.  Here are the "rules:" :-)

1.)  The name can't be in the top 100 list of baby names from 2010.
2.)  It has to have a decent meaning.
3.)  We want something unique but not weird.
4.)  I would prefer that it not start with the letter B or C.  (I'd love to use a D so I can have my kids in alphabetical order, but it isn't a requirement.  Yes, I'm sick.)

Okay, use the comment form at the end of the post for your suggestions!  I'm counting on you!

In other news, my friends Kylie, Hope, and I helped to decorate a Christmas tree for a friend who was dealing with some stuff and wasn't really in the Christmas mood.  Her six-year-old daughter really wanted the tree up, so the three of us put it up and decorated it while they were at school / work and took some mischievous pictures while we were at it.

We hung the photos all over their house in conspicuous locations for them to find when they came home (in the refrigerator, inside the lid of the trash can, amongst the nativity set...).

Many thanks to Hope for her use of the props so we could infuse a little joy into everyone's lives!  (Hope is a natural at that, as she radiates joy all the time!)

You may have thought the props looked like something I would make, and although I'd like to take credit for them, I can't.  I can, however, take credit for this ribbon shirt:

I saw a similar one on Pinterest and just had to make one for Cora.  I'm so in love with it, I'll probably make one for next year, too!  :-)  

Laughter and great baby news bring joy, and so does some adult time out.  This past Saturday we went the legendary Lampo Christmas Party, and it did not fail to disappoint.  It was nice to put on fancy jewelry and clothes (thanks, Rachel and Brooke!) and get spoiled with good food, entertainment, and gifts.

So far the words for the month are JOY and BOY.  :-)  What a good way to start December!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Christmas is in the air, and we have been very busy enjoying the season.  Two days after Thanksgiving we made a trip about an hour north of our house to choose and cut down our Christmas tree.  This is one of my very favorite Christmas traditions that Jim and I have kept since before Brennan was born.  Every one of our kids has gone tree chopping in utero, and baby #3 is no exception.

This year we went with our friends Jeff and Sheli and their daughter, Mia (plus baby boy, due in February or March).  It was their first time cutting down their own tree, and I think they enjoyed the hunt.

Here is our last Christmas tree photo as a family of four: (!)

In addition to being busy finding the perfect Christmas tree, we've also been super busy getting our craft on.  Brennan made this adorable reindeer painting at school:

...and I had a huge craft night for the women's ministry at our church last Friday.  A whole bunch of women gathered at my house to make wreaths, gift tags, etched glass gifts, chocolate dipped pretzels, and to order some custom monogrammed items from my friend Kellie, who brought her monogramming machine.

There was a lot of really good food...

... creative women...

... and a ton of estrogen filling my entire house!

Even people who said they hated crafts or hadn't done a craft since sixth grade friendship bracelets seemed to have a blast.

I never wanted the night to end (and it almost didn't, as the last person walked out my door at 11:45 PM!).  I loved every single minute.  I was tired, but I was thrilled that people stayed so late and seemed to have such a good time.  I have had several requests to make this an annual event, and I would be more than happy to oblige, especially if we have the you-need-to-wear-sweatpants-or-pajamas rule again.  

If you want in on next year's Christmas tree cutting event or craft night, let me know!  We'd love for you to join us!

This Saturday we are looking forward to my other favorite Christmas event: The Lampo Christmas party!  I can't wait to put on a dress and feel girly, eat good food, take pictures with my handsome husband, and get spoiled by Dave Ramsey.  It's going to be awesome!

I'd love to hear about your favorite Christmas events!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

20 Weeks

How far along: 20 Weeks

Total weight gain: 17.5 pounds

How I feel:  This is probably the best I will feel during the pregnancy.  I'm congested and very winded (higher blood volume means I can't catch my breath), but I'm no longer sick, I'm still sleeping relatively well, and I'm not so huge I hurt yet.  My biggest issue right now is my emotions.  And I have no brain, so I can hardly remember my own name.

Maternity clothes:  I am getting very tired of wearing the same five shirts and two pairs of pants over and over.

Sleep: I am still side/stomach-sleeping and getting adequate sleep, but I cannot sleep on my back anymore.  When I do end up on my back, I get really light-headed and have to roll over.

Best moment this week: Thanksgiving and getting our Christmas tree!

Movement:  I notice it occasionally, but only when I'm really still (which isn't very often).

Food cravings:  It changes every week.  I'm still loving meat.  This week I crave brisket, BBQ, and Mexican.

Labor Signs:  Definitely not yet.

Belly button in or out?  It's nearly flat, but the top part is on the verge of popping out.

What I miss: Hot baths, diet soda, an occasional glass of wine or margarita, and sleeping on my back.  I also miss wearing my favorite boots, because my two pairs of maternity pants won't work with them.

What I am looking forward to:  Still looking forward to the big ultrasound!  We're planning to all go as a family on Monday to see the baby and find out the sex.  It should be a great family memory!  I'm also looking forward to starting the nursery.

What I am NOT looking forward to:  I don't know!  I guess it's good that I have thought about this and can't come up with a good answer!

Milestones: Halfway is a pretty great milestone!  Cora also gave up her pacifiers this past week, which has nothing to do with the baby, but is a milestone for her!

Weekly Wisdom:  Yeah, I've got nothin'.  Baby brain, I guess.  (Feel free to share some sage advice, if you've got any!)  :-)

Friday, November 25, 2011


Well, we can all see on which one of my 2011 goals I have fallen short, can't we?  I guess when I set my goals for this year, getting pregnant wasn't necessarily one of them, and that has kind of trumped blogging.  I do have several posts planned for December, so perhaps it will help to get me back in the groove.  (?)

The last several weeks we have been celebrating Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love setting aside a time to show gratitude.  I love the food.  I love watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and remembering when Jim and I marched in it sixteen years ago.  I love having a house full of people who are laughing and talking and eating and loving life.

We started preparing for Thanksgiving last week as Cora had her first ever Mother's Day Out program.  Each class stood on the stage and "sang" one song.  I don't think a single child in Cora's class actually sang (they're only two years old!), but it was good for them to practice standing up in front of people and staying put.  Of course, Cora didn't really do that, either.  She climbed up and down the bottom stair for the whole song and kept walking over to her teacher, but it was cute.  She makes me smile.

The kindergarten at Brennan's school had an adorable Thanksgiving program on Friday.  Some of the kids were turkeys, some were pilgrims, and some were Indians.  It is a big school... You can't even see all of the kids in this photo!  (There are kids dressed as turkeys on either side of the photo.)  But even though it's a big school, we really love it and it doesn't feel big.  We are so thankful for our neighborhood school!

Brennan was a pilgrim, and for the first time in his five years of life, he fully participated in a program!  He sang every word, did every motion, and really enjoyed himself.  I was so happy for him and proud of him!!

Yesterday we had some friends over for Thanksgiving Day, and it was fabulous.  I just love hosting Thanksgiving!  I love having dinner parties, setting pretty tables, and spoiling my friends and family.  Plus, Jim makes a yummy turkey!  (Actually, this year he made two so we could have extra leftovers for our friends and our freezer!)

This year we had our friends Kylie and Jesse and their sons Dylan and Ryland (they have eaten with us for the last three years!), and our neighbors / friends Jefferson and Leslie and their son Jackson.  With four kids and a baby, it was the first time we've ever had a kid table for Thanksgiving!

The company was great, the food was yummy, and everything was wonderful.  Maybe next year we'll need two kid tables!?

These pictures above make it look like my house was so serene.  It was not.  At all.  But it was fun!!

I try very hard to show an attitude of gratitude each and every day of the year, so I hope Thanksgiving is just a continuation of that.  This year, among the many things I am thankful for, I am especially grateful for our friends.  I am thankful for genuine, passionate, down-to-earth friends who walk alongside us and encourage us to live for Jesus, allow us to be ourselves (and love us just as we are), and fill our home with joy and laughter.  Even without good food or pretty decorations we have so much to thank God for.  He answers the prayers we remember to pray and even the ones we don't.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. --Cicero

I am so grateful.
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