Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thoughts on Advent {and being humbled in the process} ...

It's been a long time since this little Mama wrote an actual blog post (other than Liv's updates).  I was starting to feel like blogging was taking up the precious time that I had to be Mama the Memory Keeper, to be in the moment with my babies.  I was starting to feel pressure (self-inflicted of course) to keep up with blogging, even though I was completely stretched thin for time and creative energy. I also didn't want to be that Mama who appeared to have it ALL together, when so much of the time I'm humbly feeling like a hot mess. So I've been spending my time getting the hang of being Mama to two and trying to enjoy the little moments with those sweet girls.

I knew that I wanted to implement an Advent calendar with Miss Hannah this year. She may only be two and a half, but she walks, talks, and acts like a 5 year old most of the time. I thought that if I kept things simple, she could certainly understand the main concepts and that it would keep our entire family's focus on the true meaning of this special season. I found an adorable printable kit, and knew that I wanted something to decorate our kitchen wall with anyway.

God often uses the everyday experiences, and many times my children, to humble me... to bring me back to him and to remind me what's REALLY important. As I sat down to put together the Advent calendar/bunting, I was s-t-r-e-s-s-i-n-g. The printer was out of ink, my activities needed to be organized, I ran to the craft store for supplies, but they were now scattered everywhere... Liv was of course crying while Hannah begged to dig in to the supplies. I was trying to wrap my mind around how to make our bunting, organize the days, include Hannah, and all I could here was "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!" and a fussing baby. Cue Mama-melt down... laid my head on the table and almost cried.

In all my over-dramatic glory, I looked over and saw the Jesus Story Book Bible that we'd be using for the Advent and quickly remembered that this was NOT about a perfectly crafted display. It was not about me being an organized super-mom.  It was about showing my girl what this IS all about. I quickly grabbed some Christmas-y scrapbook paper, stickers and crayons from my box for her to create with. I took a deep breath, and I opened up the Bible to read the first story. I was instantly humbled and amazed by how intently she was listening.

I'm learning--more and more each day-- that in every situation, she is watching. As her Mama, I set the tone for the day and often the direction that our attitudes and moods will go. That is why our family is  taking time during this special season, each day, to read a piece of THE story...that will lead our girl to Jesus. We will also do an activity--nothing fancy or difficult,  that helps me to pause and spend precious moments with her, and make sweet memories. THAT above all else is what matters... NOT perfect crafts, or Pinterest-worthy decorations, shiny floors or squeaky-clean bathrooms. Amen? I pray that each of you pause to spend this kind of quality time together with your family this Christmas.

In case you're interested...

The printable kit is found HERE, by Heather at Life Made Lovely.
Inside each craft paper envelope is the Bible Story for the day from The Jesus Storybook Bible.
On the back of each piece of scrapbook paper is that day's activity. Some days it's just coloring, and some days there is no activity due to a busy weekend. Here are some of the things we're doing...

Put up/decorate the Christmas tree
String popcorn for the tree
Make paper snowflakes
Color a Christmas Coloring sheet
Surprise- a new special book
Surprise- a new Christmas movie
Hot Cocoa, Popcorn and family movie night
Bake sugar cookies
Write a list to take to Santa
Go visit Santa
Make a peg-people nativity
Paint Ceramic Christmas ornaments
Make a hand-print ornament with Sissy
Go see Christmas in the Park (Christmas lights)
Make a gingerbread house
Go shopping for a small gift for Sissy
Sing Christmas songs

HERE's another post about how we keep Christmas simple around here.

I hope to be back soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Olivia Grace {weeks 21-24}

I simply can not believe that we've had our Livi-loo for 5 whole months! She is doing new things each day and growing up so fast! At 21 weeks, she laughed at her Daddy for the first time. She's always giving us a big cheesy grin, but this was an actual chuckle. She reaches for everything and puts it all in her mouth. We started letting her chew on Mum-mums (rice husks) while we eat dinner and she devours them, leaving soggy rice bits everywhere... sometimes all over her face. It's adorable. You reach for our food, and Hannah says; "No no Sissy! You have milk!"

Halloween was so much fun this year... she didn't seem to mind her bunny costume too much, and even went around the block with us to "Trick-or-Treat." She was nice and warm and our neighbor called her a "butterball baby." She still only wants Mama and cries a lot when I'm not right there with her at all times... it's difficult, but I'm just glad I can soothe my baby girl. She's still eating every 3hrs during the day and can go 5-6hrs at night (thank you Lord!)

She still requires lots of sleep, and is pretty grumpy when she isn't well-rested. We don't mind. Mama can rock her to sleep pretty quickly, but she gives Daddy a run for his money. She's wearing the same size diaper as Hannah (craziness.) At 5mo she wears Hannah's 9/10mo clothes. She HATES her car seat, which makes going anywhere a little nerve-wracking. I even bought a mirror that lights up and plays music and she still screams. Hannah says; "It's okay Sissy, don't cry" on repeat the whole drive.

Our Liv just adores her big sister. She's constantly watching Hannah and smiling at her--even giggling when Hannah acts silly and gives hugs and kisses. It's so precious to watch the two of them interact. Soon enough Liv will be crawling after her Sister. She's already trying to scoot and rotating 180 degrees on her quilt when we play on the floor. She tries to sit up in her bathtub and her rock-n-play... meaning we'll be transitioning to the crib shortly for her safety. I'll miss my baby girl being within arms reach and pray the transition is a smooth one!

Hannah's Photo Project HERE.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Olivia Grace {weeks 17-20}

Our sweet Liv... still loves to be swaddled up tight to sleep. I love to rock her in the evenings, such precious moments. Sometimes I sneak in an afternoon nap with her too. She's our good little sleeper... such a change from Hannah, and such a blessing. Mama is getting a good 6hr stretch of sleep, followed by a few more hours usually!

We borrowed a jumpy from a friend and she LOVES it. She spends so much time happily jumping away, always smiling and playing with the toys attached! She squeals with delight and Mama can now cook dinner with out bouncing her on my hip! She weighed 14lbs at 18weeks! She's in the 55th percentile for everything, and didn't even cry at her checkup!

I'm so thankful for this sweet girl... she's developing such a fun personality! She keeps me on my toes most of the time, but her smiles melt me completely. I'm also so thankful for our special time together nursing and rocking. It forces me to stop, take a time-out, and breathe a bit before tackling the next few hours. Such a sweet gift to have that relationship with her too.

Bri took the day off one week to take us to the Pumpkin patch and Liv was such a good baby! She loves to be held, and worn in her Beco! She was all smiles and even let Hannah try to "hold" her for a few pumpkin pictures! We are so enjoying our happy baby!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Olivia Grace {weeks 13-16}

Our sweet, sensitive Livi girl. She's definitely a Mama's girl through and through. She can make quite a noise when I'm not holding her! She also hates loud noises--her little lip quivers and she starts crying when something startles her, then she needs Mama cuddles to console her. On Sept 6th, our sweet girl had a little procedure done at Children's Mercy to fix her upper lip-tie. She did beautifully! It was much harder on Mama and Daddy since we couldn't hold her. They gave her topical and local anesthesia, and she nursed well and even smiled at Mama after! Then she cuddled up and slept in the Beco on Mama.
She LOVES to talk to herself in the mirror! I set her there to get ready in the morning and she cracks me up talking and cooing and touching her reflection! She "plays" with her toys now, holding them and trying to eat them. She holds her head up and looks all around when I'm holding her over my shoulder... acting like such a big girl. She rolls over in 2 seconds when put on her tummy. She even plays on her mat for a bit before starting to yell for someone to come hold her!
Sweet Liv has been talking so much lately. She is usually yelling at me, but it's adorable even so. She's our squishy little chunk-a-monk. She's outgrown her 3mo clothes and is flying through her Sissy's hand-me-downs. We had to buy her new Halloween jammies, since that size has already been put away. On Sept 25th, she rolled over from back to front and then did it three times in a row! Since then, she rolls across the room if we're not watching!

She has played in her crib a few times now, and Hannah LOVES to join her! They cuddle and Hannah gives her toys to play with. She's a good little sleeper, and she seems to still love sleeping next to Mama in her rock n play, all swaddled up tight. She'll eat at midnight and then once or twice before she's up for good around 8. She only takes her binkie when she's sleepy... otherwise she just chews on her thumb. We are so in love with our little peanut!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Zuku Quick Pops & {A Popsicle Recipe!}

Now that Summer is winding down {aparently I've been a little busy lately} I am now posting pictures of popsicle-making and recipes. Save 'em for next year folks, or maybe you live in a climate like the midwest, where it may be fall this week, but 85 again the next?

Miss Hannah's sweet Great-Aunt sent us this awesome Quick-Pop maker and we were so excited to try it out!

She bought us the 3 pop maker, single pop maker, and extra pop sticks... the perfect amount of sticks to make most of the recipes I found! We put the makers in the freezer for 24hrs and then were ready to start!

The great thing about popsicles is how many combinations/flavors you can make! Hannah LOVES fruit, so pretty much anything we put in these pop-makers she will love! We started out with THIS yummy recipe.

I love simple ingredients in my kiddo's food and this recipe is just that. 1/2 cup of yogurt - 3 bananas - cup of blueberries - juice of 1/2 a lemon. I added just a few teaspoons of sugar, which it didn't really need.

We poured them in the popsicle maker and started a timer for 9min...

So glad this is a "Quick" popsicle maker because toddlers have no patience.

There's an "easy removal" screw on top... but it took a little muscle to get them out!
I think it's safe to say that she loved them! The twelve we made were gone in no time.
The Zuku is available at Williams Sonoma, but this yummy recipe will work in any popsicle maker!


Friday, September 20, 2013


Happy Friday! I am SO. VERY. excited to have made it through this week. This Mama is feeling a little worn out and a lot in need of REST. The idea of having my best friend and partner by my side with our littles for 2 whole days, makes me feel so relieved. Any other Mama's feel that way? I keep hearing the quote; "The days are long, but the years are short." AMEN. Each night when I crawl {collapse} into bed, I think about all the sweet moments with my kiddos and I try to remember that I will remember THOSE... not the long, tiring days full of tears and frustration. So here's those moments... the ones I want to remember forever...

This one tells Mama "No, Thank You" when I ask her
if she wants to try the potty. How can I argue with that?

Looking so grown up. sniff.

Liv had a little procedure done to fix her lip-tie.
She did so beautifully and then slept on Mama after.

Sweet girl wore Daddy's T-shirt all day.

Liv and Mama enjoying the Sunshine in Branson while
Sis and Daddy played at Silver Dollar City!

Our great little traveler crashed in her carseat mid-sentence. 

A slow Monday morning after vacation... lots of coffee
for Mama, donuts, and purusing Parents magazine. 

Our little Puggle all ready for Awanas at Church!
She gets SO. EXCITED. each week!

My sweet sleeping baby... nothing better.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Trip to the Lake...

A few weeks ago, my family made our annual trip down to the lake, to stay with my Aunt and Uncle. It's a trip I've always looked forward to... one of the highlights of my summers since I was a kid. I love relaxing in the sweet little house in the woods, and waking up to look out at the smooth water on the lake. It's so quiet and peaceful. Many happy memories were spent on their back deck talking late into the night and then drinking coffee there in the morning. My Aunt and Uncle are wonderful and I love spending time with them.

I've always loved the water. As a kid, my Mama made sure we took swim lessons and my sister and I were little fish babies! I think it made my Aunt nervous the first time Nae and I jumped into the lake without life jackets and just started swimming around! I started water skiing on the lake before I was ten years old, and I remember using little training skiis with rope that tied them together. It took a few summers before I got up on real skiis, but after that, it was like riding a bike... it's an amazing feeling to be gliding across the water--the best view of the lake and all that surrounds it.

As the years passed, I brought Bri into our family's lake tradition. He fit right in... being the brave rider of various inflatables during one of Uncle Kirks epic rides! He loves the sun and water too and I love spending time with him out there... feeling like we're those crazy-in-love newly-together 18yr olds again.

Now that Hannah and Liv are heading to the lake with us each year, I'm reminded of how much I want these special memories for them. I want them to remember summers at the lake... like the ones I remember. Auntie Nae Nae sunbathing, Papa and Mama skiing, and tubing with their Daddy. So far, Liv still stays back at the House with Gramma, and Hannah was pretty scared of the water this year... but I know in time they will grow to love it.

This year there was more time spent playing with kiddos... coloring and reading at the house. More time spent cuddling sleepy babies, and tired Mamas. Late-night talks with Auntie, and watching Disney movies.Those are still sweet memories being made. We didn't step off the boat onto the Marina for all-you-can-eat catfish, because that would be too hard with the girls. We spent less time out on the water because Liv needed her Mama, and Hannah needed a nap.

Even though it's not quite as relaxing now with two littles in tow, and we've added all kinds of new responsibilities and challenges, we're still making memories. We're showing our kiddos that this is important to us... to be together as a family and make memories and keep traditions. I'm so glad that we didn't give up and decide it's too hard to travel with babies, and that we'll all be so tired from sleepless nights... life is too short to skip the good stuff.

I look forward to many more summers with my family. Just spending time together, doing what we love, enjoying the time we have. We are so very blessed. I'm so thankful for my Aunt and Uncle and all the sweet memories and the ones to come!