Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Are you ready???? ((A Giveaway))

Yikes!!! Tomorrow is the first day of December! I can't believe it! So are you ready?? I've been busy decorating, shopping and wrapping...but tomorrow is when we begin to really dig deep into what Christmas is actually all about! I love our December traditions because they really help to point all of our hearts to JESUS! If you need a few ideas I've listed some of our traditions below with some links to post that I've done on them in previous years.

For the month of December we start our mornings out by cutting the advent chain and opening our chocolate advent calendars. Then we have our special family time in the evenings where we read our Jesse Tree devotional books and add an ornament to the tree each night. This is also when we do the advent book and add another little character to the manger scene. Each child gets to do one thing in the morning and one thing in the evening. We also read a Christmas book every day after lunch (right before nap time). So our entire day is full of fun little traditions!

I'd love to know what some of your traditions are!! If you leave a comment on this post you'll be entered to win a copy of the book The Family Book of Advent by Carol Garborg. The book lays out 25 stories and activities to celebrate the meaning of Christmas. I can't recommend it yet because this is the first year I've used it. Some of the activities seem a little involved, so I know for sure we won't be using it every day, but it's giving me some good ideas of things we could do.

Leave a comment sometime before Friday and you'll be entered to win!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Sneak Peek

(McKenna with her cousin Gracey)
We're home from our whirlwind Thanksgiving trip to Illinois!! I think it was one of our best trips yet! It always helps when there's limited crying and fussing in the car and this year we apparently brought along our good kids. The whiners that usually inhabit our house were not available for travel this year and that was certainly a nice surprise.
(Cousin Zavier-He and McKenna were born just a few weeks apart)
We left Illinois on Saturday afternoon and drove through the night to avoid the horrendous holiday traffic on Sunday. We got home at 3:52am! Ryan certainly is a road warrior. The kids slept for the last 5 hours of the trip, so it really was pretty pleasant.
(Silly guy, Christian)
We got to see not just Ryan's immediate family but his extended family and it's always a treat to see them all. Leaving was hard. Christian cried, so I cried and then Ryan cried (okay, so he didn't sob he just teared up....thought I should clarify that before he reads this). This is the first year that Christian has really understood the distance that separates us and he "gets" the importance of family and how much we love these precious people that we rarely see. And it's our hope that as the kids get older we'll be able to make the trip more often, but then there's that little boy due to arrive this spring that sort of hampers our plans. I told Ryan we just need to buy an RV. I think he rolled his eyes. \
It was a very happy Thanksgiving and we are so thankful for Ryan's side of our family. I did a pretty lame job of getting good pictures this year, but I'll be back with more (but I've told myself that I have to get all the laundry done first)! ha!

P.S. I don't know if you read the comments on my earlier post about stuff to do in the car, but my friend Sarah mention having pipe cleaners to play with in the car. I got a pack and they were a HUGE hit. A little annoying when I had to keep wearing all the things Christian was making me (and then he "decorated" Grammy and Grampy's house with them) but seriously...they kept him occupied for two hours straight!!! Awesome idea! Thanks Sarah!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My little one pounder :)

I had a great doctor's appointment today! The actual visit was quick and easy (if you don't count how long I sat in the waiting room). My little guy is officially 23 1/2 weeks old and he weighs just over 1 lb!! How cute is that? I have never thought to ask how much he actually weighs when I've been given an ultrasound report before. So today I asked :)

I read a story on CNN.com about a baby who was born at 23 weeks. She didn't even weigh a pound yet and she survived. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I would never, ever want to have a baby born at 23 weeks, but there is some comfort in the fact that babies do survive when they're that tiny.

I'll have to post pictures another time!

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Kicking off the Christmas Season

Our first official event of the Christmas season is always the tree lighting for our little town! It's a fun tradition that we've attended for six years now! We love meeting up with our special friends there.
Christian was thrilled to run into his buddy Parker from school.

Ryan and McKenna

PopPop & Grandmom got to attend their first annual tree lighting!

The daddies with two little best friends, Gwen & McKenna.

I'm not sure Christian even paid any attention to the tree lighting. He was just being wild running around with his buddy!

Beautiful girls...Kate, Ellie & Anessa

Gwennie with our neighbors Taryn and Angie!
It was such a fun night, as always! It really gets you in the Christmas spirit!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A 15 Hour Drive

So what would you do on a 15 hour drive (it might not take that long. I hope not, but it depends on the Thanksgiving traffic) with two kids??

I would love to hear your ideas!

I did just pack an awesome "car bag." We've been accumulating fun car things for the past several years and they stay in the "car bag" and only come out when we go on trips! This trip, just to switch things up a bit, I've wrapped each item in the "car bag." So the kids will unwrap something and then that's what they have to play with for the next 30 minutes (or longer...whatever I feel like making up at the time).

Want to know what's in there?? It might give you some good ideas for your next trip! I'm trying to come up with lots of things that will work in the dark b/c a good portion of our driving will take place after dark.

Here's the run down:

window markers (this is a new item. not sure how I feel about it. I'm afraid it could be messy).

Travel Aquadoodle

Travel Light Bright (yes, we do end up with millions of little pegs all over the floor)

Road sign bingo (I printed it from online)


coloring books

Leapsters & games (with fresh batteries)

MP3 players

Magnetic play boards (we've got a Thomas one with trains that are magnets that you can move around and we've got a fireman one).


Puppets (one for each kid. this will be used during daylight to "put on a show for the other cars")

Crayola Light up travel Glow Station (this is new!!! i'm excited about this one)

Silly putty

Adventure's In Odyssey Story CDs

Lightning McQueen books with sing along CDs

Christmas music :)

Toy Story 3 Alien bop it game (I found this a Kohls. new this trip! The aliens light up and you have to hit them as fast as you can. You get a score and race yourself).

Thanksgiving books (that I plan on reading outloud. why not learn about Squanto when you've got 15 hours to kill :)

A U.S. map (Christian is going to color in each state we travel through. When we get to a new state a new surprise is passed out...like a piece of candy or a new movie, etc)

Okay, I think that's it! Now if only I could find the power cord to the DVD player we would be all set!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Social Networking

A funny thing happened this weekend...

McKenna and Christian were goofing around in the basement and McKenna fell and somehow cut that little flap of skin that connects your lip to your gum. (Obviously this is not the funny part of this story). There was screaming and lots and lots of blood. It's always a little scarey when you don't know what happened and you can't exactly figure out where the blood is coming from. Christian was super traumatized and kept asking McKenna over and over again to forgive him, to which she just looked at him and screamed. When we finally figured out where the injury occurred my first thought was to call a doctor friend (he was hunting) and then I thought about calling the pediatrician. I am not the kind of mom to just rushes off to the ER over stuff like this, but I wasn't sure if it should be stitched back or not.

And so I did what any normal 2010 mom would do. I jumped on Facebook, explained what happened in my status update and waited for other moms to tell me what to do. Within 20 minutes I had 9 comments from people who had first hand experience with similar injuries. One friend even called her sister who is a dental hygienist. Wow, the power of social networking! It's really got me thinking....I mean I chose facebook over the pediatrician! What in the world? Hopefully I wouldn't do that about anything super seriously but this age of technology is remarkable. We have the ability to be connected so quickly. And the funny thing is that all these little comments that people left for me on Facebook comforted me way more than any doctor could have because they came from moms, who loved their kids, who had the exact same thing happen.

I know lots of people think social networking is evil (and if you don't use wisdom is certainly can be). But I'm just not one of them :)

Oh and McKenna seems to be fine. She still talks about her booboo. I was actually really proud of her. There was a ton of blood and she was very calm about it (considering the fact that she's 2). Christian probably would have passed out! She's one tough cookie. I probably should start brushing her teeth again. We took a little break there for awhile to let things heal, but I might regret that pretty soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My week of insanity

I don't think I could have had a more exhausting week. Now granted, I brought it all on myself. But I decided to just wear myself out now, so I can enjoy the holidays later!

After spending 12 days by myself with these two, I was thrilled when Ryan walked in the door Sunday night! We really had a great 12 days, but we did have more discipline problems than usual and I had to deal with taking out the trash (which is a big deal for me when I'm preggo...it makes me throw-up). But I didn't feel like I was loosing my mind too often. We just ate lots of lunchables and cereal!
And when Ryan got home we jumped right into this!!! Now before you get all over my case about decorating for Christmas too early...you might remember that last year we pretty much skipped Christmas. We had one tiny tree in our temporary townhouse and that was it. So this year we decided to decorate early so we could enjoy it for awhile and I've learned to take advantage of any energy I might actually have while I'm pregnant. I'm thankful that we're almost done decorating so we can travel for Thanksgiving and come home to a house that's ready for Christmas!

McKenna loved hanging her ornaments.

And so did Christian.

Here's the little princess who shows up at our house just about everyday!
She wanted to be a princess for Daddy when he got home!
And she gave him her "elephant," which is really a moose, but whatever!
Love this fancy girl!
So Monday Ryan worked late so we met him up by his work for dinner. Not the welcome home I was hoping for, but we were just happy to see him at all.

Tuesday we had another ultrasound of "little boy." He seems to be perfect! I drank a little Mountain Dew before this ultrasound to make sure he would be moving around and that did the trick! He was a tiny little ball of energy. We actually got some great pictures this time, so I'll have to post those later. He still doesn't have a name, although Ryan has been calling him "Will." I'm not so sure that's actually what we've decided. It's not my first, second or third choice, so we'll see.

And then there was Wednesday. I told Ryan awhile ago that all I wanted for Christmas was a new light in our foyer. Our existing light was this huge glass and gold fixture that has had a nerf football stuck in it since last February. The ceiling in our foyer is (no joke) 20 ft high. The light was 14ft off the ground. We tried lots of precarious things to get that football out of there and were continually unsuccessful. We also couldn't change the bulbs or clean the glass, so I found it very frustrating. We could have bought a new ladder, but I priced them and that would have cost about $250. So I just wanted a new light. On Wednesday they came to install it. They set up this huge scaffolding and then realized that the chain that held the light was too short. So being the professional electricians that they are, they decided to leave the scaffolding there until Friday. It blocked the front door, made it hard to get up the steps and the kids had to crawl under it to get to the playroom. I was a little ticked that they were just going to leave it there, until I had a brilliant thought. I had been wanting to paint the sparkled ceiling in that foyer for almost a year and we had never been able to paint the foyer because we needed scaffolding to do it.
I know, I know I'm pregnant, but this was a huge opportunity I had to take advantage of!
So on Thursday, my incredibly amazing friend came over and we spent the next 8 hours painting. I was supposed to take McKenna to the ENT for an appointment we had scheduled six months ago, but you know...I have my priorities.

The sparkles are gone and so are the white walls. Oh happy day!!
For the record, I did NOT climb on the scaffolding. That's what friends are for! ha! I may have perched myself at the top of a ladder a time or two, but for the most part my feet were firmly planted on the ground. I could barely move this morning! But it was sooooooo worth it. Merry Christmas to me! I'm thrilled and we should be able to reach the lightbulbs in this light to change them.
This morning, Friday, I spent the morning at preschool helping Christian's teachers and tonight we are heading to one of our most favorite events of the year!!! Our town is holding it's annual tree lighting. We'll see how many people show up this year. Our local high school football team is also undefeated right now and there is a home game, so it's a big night for our little town!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Name that baby....

So we are stuck! We do not have a name for our baby boy. I like lots of names, but Ryan only sort-of likes three names and I'm not very excited about any of them. Ryan likes more traditional names, I like something a little more trendy. I also really want it to go with Christian and McKenna's names since I'll be saying all three of their names together for the rest of my life (you know what I mean??) So give me your thoughts. Leave a comment and let me know what you would name your baby boy if you had one. We need help! It's driving me crazy that we are still referring to the baby as "baby."


Loving all these comments!!! Keep 'em coming! I've got a few now that I want to talk to Ryan about when he gets home. Okay, so do you want to know the name I really love and Ryan hates??? My mother will probably be on his side. Ha! I love the name Colton. Then we could Christian, Kenna and Cole! Love it. He hates it. I guess it's time for me to move on and find something else I love.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ultrasound #2

You already know that we're having a boy, but beyond that I haven't told you much about this baby or his ultrasound. Well, the day after the big ultrasound I got a phone message from one of the nurses in my OB practice and she said to please call her to discuss my ultrasound.

Are you kidding me??? You never leave a message like that for a pregnant girl to listen to. My mind automatically jumped to the worst conclusions and my heart rate immediately went up. Thankfully when I called back the first words out of her mouth were "your baby is fine" but I have to have another ultrasound. The little boy did not cooperate for the ultrasound tech. to get all the pictures that she needed. We're missing the all important spine picture and they need to check the blood flow in the umbilical cord (I didn't ask too many questions about that...hopefully they just couldn't see it the first time and there's not actually a problem). They also couldn't see my ovary were I have a suspected cyst. They still don't think they'll be able to see it since the baby is pretty much in the way at this point, but they want to look in that general area to see if it looks like anything has changed.

So next week we get to peek at this little guy again and I'm hoping for some better pictures this time. He must have been sleeping when we did the last ultrasound because he wasn't moving at all. I made them show me the heartbeat, just so I knew he was okay. He did wiggle his arms and hands by the end of our appointment, but I think he's just a quiet little guy (which is a big change for us around here). I don't feel a lot of movement during the day and Ryan has yet to feel him move. Maybe I'm just too busy to feel him moving around!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Yup! That's me. Sore throat, stuffy head, achy face from all the congestion. Not fun at all. In fact the timing couldn't be worse, but you know these things are never timed well are they?! I hate taking medicine when I'm pregnant. I took next to nothing with Christian and McKenna and I feel terrible that this pregnancy has been so different. So for right now I'm just sticking with Tylenol and vitamins.

We did have a super productive day anyway! At the beginning of this day my upstairs hall had three gorgeous, gold, brassy looking lights in it. Now they are gone and you can actually flip the switch and new lights come on. I don't know if you're impressed, but I am! I won't tell you how many times I had to go to Lowes before I got it right. And then there was the 8 different times I had to turn the breaker on and off to figure out if I had it all connected right or not. Whew...it was quite a project but now it's DONE!!

My kids did have frozen waffles for dinner and I don't think anyone brushed their teeth before they went to bed, but hey....I got the lights done!

By the way, you may notice more of this random kind of blogging from me. Last night I spent over an hour reading through my old blog posts from two years ago. What a treasure this blog is!!! I had forgotten so many little things that the kids and I did together. So many great moments, so many funny moments, so many cute things that they said, tons of bittersweet stuff....just lots of great memories that would have been forgotten if I had never blogged them. So I'm determined to blog more even if it's random and picture less.

Good night for now :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

12 Days

Do to a series of ill timed events that is exactly how long my husband is going to be gone. Boo hoo! He travels a decent amount, but it usually doesn't last for longer that four days. This time I'm finding it a little overwhelming, especially because it's involving weekends. I guess it doesn't help that I started to feel the pregnancy yuckies again yesterday. So I took some of my "keep me from throwing-up" pills and then I couldn't even see straight I was so tired.

And then this morning there was a boy crying because of lost match-box car.
When his sister wouldn't help him find it he pushed her.
Then there was a ton of fake crying from the girl.
The boy was almost late for school and the girl cried the whole way there because one of her shoes fell off.
And it was one of those mornings where it could have been so defeating, but my savior was faithful and so real to me in those moments and I do believe I didn't even yell once :) Only time will tell if that sort of divine patience will last for the entire 12 days of Ryan's absence. Don't count on it.

For some unknown reason I thought that making homemade playdough would be a good distraction for us today. Apparently I am not so good at homemade playdough and it resulted in a nasty sticky mess that I let them play with anyway.

This evenings plans include making snickerdoodle cookies (they should turn out better than the playdough because I actually do know what I'm doing) and we're going to build giant towers out of all the block we own. Hmmmm....that doesn't sound like it's going to take up the entire evening so I might have to think of some more stuff for us to do.

I've thought about scheduling tons of playdates for this coming week to help the time go by quickly, but I also just want to hang out in my pjs and do nothing. I've thought about decorating for Christmas. That would be fun and something new to do and the kids and I would both be excited about it, but it's a little early. Has anyone out there in blog land started decorating for Christmas yet???? I'm about to seriously consider it, but I just need to know that there's at least one other crazy Christmas person out there :)

Oh my, so anyway...if you think of us over the next few days please pray that God's grace will abound in my home and in our hearts. My brother left on a mission trip to India today. He's going to gone about as long as Ryan, so pray that he has a safe and prosperous time and that his wife has the wisdom and strength she needs to hold down things at home. And let's all make sure we take a moment to pray for all the brave moms/dads who have spouses deployed overseas. This is a tough season for them and they're single parents for a lot longer than 12 days.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cheer!!!!!

It's no secret that I adore Shutterfly!!!! I've been using Shutterfly to make cards, photobooks and various photo gifts for the past 5 years! I'm really bad about printing out all my digital pictures, so I just upload my favorite ones to Shutterfly, put them in a photobook and order it! It's so much easier than scrapbooking :)
I make my Christmas cards on Shutterfly every year. Some of you might recognize the above card because it's one of the ones I made last year. I love it because it's a 5X7 size and you can even put a picture on the inside! How adorable is that! Shutterfly has tons of designer 5X7 cards to choose from!

This is one of the most clever cards I've seen this year! Shutterfly calls them story cards! You can fill in your own top 10 moments of 2010! If you're not going to write a Christmas letter, then this is the card for you! It's the kind of card friends and family would leave on the fridge for the next 6 months :)

I also sent this card last year because last year I couldn't pick just one picture! If you have a hard time narrowing down just one picture then head on over to Shutterfly. They have some cards that will hold up to (8) pictures!

I think the trend this year is going to be 5X5 cards. I think they cost a little more to send in postage (so you know you won't be getting one from me :) but they have so many gorgeous designs!

The cheapest route to go is always the traditional 4X8 Christmas Cards. They are only $0.30 a piece! Don't you just love how simple and elegant this card is???!!!

You just need to look at all the holiday fun over at Shutterfly.com! They even have gift tags this year.
Now I know you're all about getting the best deal and truthfully Shutterfly really is a good deal, you just have to work at it sometimes. You can almost always score FREE shipping with various promotional cards and Shutterfly has sales all the time. I would suggest that you make the cards that you want. Put them in the shopping cart and then head on over to retailmenot.com to look for promotional codes that you can use to get a certain percentage off or to get free shipping.
So are you in a Christmas mood yet?? It's such a fun time of year. Have fun making your cards!
Want to try one out?? Use the promo code: CARD4U to get one 5X7 card for FREE! You will have to pay shipping and handling.

This is a compensated post. If you're a blogger and would like to find out how to get 50 FREE Christmas cards then go HERE.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Well that was fun!

The above picture was taken during Christian's last soccer game. This is how he looked all the time. Christian LOVED!!!!! soccer this season!! I mean seriously LOVED IT!! It made it so fun for all of us. He was intense but he could also be heard giggling as he ran down the field. He was also the only kid who was yelling at the other kids during the game. He would say stuff like "Come on guys. Get the ball." Or "Oh no, oh no, run faster" etc. You get the picture! It was pretty hilarious.
And what was even more surprising than how awesome Christian was, was the fact that I actually loved it! I'm sad that tomorrow will be our first Wednesday evening with no soccer practice. I'm even tempted to sign him up for soccer and t-ball in the spring, but then there's this little thing called "a new baby" that I also have to consider.
Christian learned so much and for that we are very thankful.

What a blessing to have awesome coaches who made it so much fun!
Coach Craig, Coach Mike
Brooke, Caden and Christian
(Please take special note of Christian's tough guy pose. This is his new thing. I have a feeling it's going to be appearing in many pictures over the next couple months. I'm hoping it will be short lived).

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Shoebox Time!!!

Christian and I packed our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes today during McKenna's nap time. I love this project and the conversation that seems to naturally flow as we pack the boxes together. It usually results in Christian running around the house trying to find more toys to add to the boxes (which is not what you're supposed to do, but I don't tell him you're only suppose to donate new things, I just let him do it and remove the stuff later).
We work on this project all. year. long!!! We have a tub in a closet upstairs and anytime I get a sample of toothpaste or happy meal toys that we seriously don't need or when I can find great clearance items after a holiday, I pick the stuff up super cheap and that way we can do lots of boxes. I just hit up a bunch of clearance Halloween stuff and got a bunch of tiny card games and mini playdough for next to nothing! I'm always scanning the birthday party favor spot in Target for their latest clearance stuff and it usually ends up being a better deal than the Dollar Store.

I hope you and your kids will be able to fill some shoeboxes this year!!! If your church doesn't collect them you can usually take them to the nearest Chick-fil-a and turn them in there. I think you might even get a coupon for a free item when you do that.

P.S. You have got to watch THIS video of a little guy receiving his shoebox! It's hilarious and makes me want to cry all at the same time!