Merry Christmas!

To say that this was our best Christmas yet is a huge understatement! We are blessed beyond measure and have enjoyed every last second of this holiday season! Decorating the house was an absolute joy! I loved sprinkling every inch with holiday cheer!



This Christmas was filled with festive garb, Christmas movies, nebulizer treatments and snuggles, hot chocolate-a-plenty, and reading about Baby Jesus! We packed as much into this Christmas month as we possibly could!

Christmas morning was perfect! I was up at 5:30 and went downstairs to put Monkey Bread in the oven before anyone was awake. I crept upstairs with coffee and Stew and I waited for the kids to wake up! Turner slept in later than he ever has (6:45)! I wanted to wake him up but since both kids were just getting over strep throat, I figured he needed his sleep.

FINALLY, he started yelling from his room, “I’M AWAAAAAKE”! So we went to get him and then headed downstairs to see if Santa came! And boy did he come! But before anyone could touch presents, we had to get our token family photo (insert post-traumatic flashbacks of my dad setting up spotlights for the perfect video which seemed to take hours)!

Turner had a blast opening gifts! Gracie didn’t really get it. She mostly got food and stuffed animals which kept her happy!

After a morning of playing, napping, and cooking, my family arrived for more presents, food and celebrating!

And of course, Christmas with my family wouldn’t be Christmas without our token Christmas carol singing and nearly fatal dance party!

Merry Christmas to you! I hope it was a great one!

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Christmas Cookie Baking

I can’t believe next week is Christmas! I feel like it was just Thanksgiving and we were just putting up our Christmas tree.

I have enjoyed this holiday season so much. The kids are at the best ages and they’re so excited about all things Christmas. One of our favorite traditions is baking Christmas cookies at my mom’s house with my grandma. We’ve been doing it forever, and each year is a new experience.

Watching the transformation of the kids when I look back on pictures is just incredible! I’ve gone from baking while holding Turner in a wrap at just a few weeks old, to Turner actually being a part of the process with Gracie snatching cookie dough when no one’s looking!

Turner loves to cook and bake with me. He’s no stranger to being in the kitchen. It’s one of our favorite things to do together! So doing it with my mom and grandma is even more exciting and special!

While Turner helped with cookies, Gracie did some work of her own.

Christmas really is so magical! While it’s fun to talk Santa and twinkling lights, the best part is spending quality time with this incredible family God has blessed us with and celebrating the reason for the season, Jesus’s birth! Merry (almost) Christmas!

 

 

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It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas!

Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday! I love getting together with our family, eating good food, and being reminded of how blessed we all are! It also means that Christmas is around the corner, and it’s officially ok to decorate and listen to Christmas music (though I usually start that in October)!

One of the things that I was most excited about when moving into our new home was decorating for the holidays. So here is a sneak peak of some of our Christmas decor.

The kids seem just as excited as I am about the holidays. Turner has been steady watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for a week now (hence the red nose in the pic below). Today we will go get our Christmas tree and decorate while we rock out to some Christmas tunes. I can hardly wait!

But for now, I’ll leave you with some sugar from these cuties xoxo.

 

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So Very Thankful

Rarely do I have a day that goes smoothly, with no melt-downs, and where I can actually relax during nap time. But I recently had one of those days where all the stars aligned.

Gracie had her morning nap a little later than usual. So, I snuck in to get her so we could go to the grocery store and got a close up shot of this…

Then, on the way to Whole Foods, I noticed that Turner was awfully quiet. I turned around to find him sound asleep in the backseat, peanut butter and jelly in hand…

As we were walking into the store, a fellow mom and her kids walked out with the mac-daddy of shopping carts! She said they were finished and we could have it! Whole Foods for the win!

We got home, unloaded, ate lunch, and got ready for the kids’ afternoon naps. They were in their rooms when I thought I heard Turner. I cracked his door to tell him to go to sleep, and I saw him lying in his bed, singing, and reading his Bible. My heart absolutely melted. He didn’t know I was there, so I snapped a quick photo!

That was right around the time I made myself an eggnog latte (equal parts eggnog & milk mixed with my coffee) and soaked up some quiet time!

I’m glad I took pictures so I can forever remember these sweet moments! I am beyond thankful for my sweet hubby and babies that God has blessed me with!

Wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving!

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Turner’s Birthday Party

In the past, I’ve had extravagant birthday parties for Turner! There was always a theme, decorations, balloons, food to go along with the theme, fancy food labels, paper invitations special ordered from Etsy, etc. This year, I was so busy that his birthday really crept up on me! I toyed with the idea of coming up with a theme, but I really was out of time! Stew and I were drinking coffee and trying to brainstorm what we could do with less than two weeks to plan. We thought of just ordering a jump castle and gambling with the weather! So, he pulled up a local company on his phone and placed the order. DONE! Easiest party plan ever!

Turner’s big party was Saturday. It turned out to be the most beautiful day! I set up a table outside with some sandwiches, veggies and dip, popcorn and pretzels, and cupcakes. The parents hung out and chatted while the kids when buck wild! It was like having a built-in babysitter!

The only time they all came out was for cupcakes, of course!

I took that opportunity to steal a hug from my big 4 year old, who was clearly not interested and too busy to stop apparently…

We even managed to get a post-party, super sweaty, family photo!

So, we pulled it off with minimal effort, and very little time to plan! I kinda like that way of living! Happy 4th to our sweet boy!

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Happy 4th Birthday to Turner!

Our sweet baby is 4! I can’t believe it. Time truly flies. Turner has a heart of gold. He is the sweetest, most loving boy in the world! Of course, he has his moments, like all toddlers. But they are balanced with such tender moments.  My memories are so vivid if him as a baby. I love to reminisce! Here’s a look back on the past 4 years.

I’ve loved this journey as a mom, and I’m so thankful that God has blessed us with Turner as our first baby! Looking back at these photos has been wonderful! Happy birthday to our sweet Turner! You are the best son to us and big brother to Gracie! We love you with all our hearts!

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Love Wins

The reaction in our country to this election is absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to write a post about it. I’m not about to share my political thoughts, because no one needs to know and I don’t believe in shoving my opinion down peoples’ throats. But what I DO feel called to do is remind everyone that we’re all on the same team here. It’s not me against you. Speaking down and placing blame is the exact hateful behavior that we’re condemning. So, in this moment, I want to love everyone. I want to have open conversations with people who have opposing viewpoints (and I’ve had some incredible ones in the past few days). I want to do nice things for people because it makes me feel good inside. So, whatever you believe in, we can all agree that we need more love in this world! So, go out there and do something nice for someone. Love someone who has a different view than you! I promise you’ll feel better inside. And isn’t THAT what we want to teach our kids? That love wins??

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Things I learned From My Broker Class

As you may or may not know, Stew and I own a vacation rental business. To make a long story short, in order to function, we need to have a “Broker In Charge”. Ours moved to CA and didn’t want to continue as our broker. So I had to go to a 2 week class to get my broker in charge license so our sweet little biz could keep running! While in my class, I learned a few things…

  1. I love our business! I love that we have personal relationships with all of our clients and guests. I love making it possible for guests to have the vacation of their dreams and to protect our clients’ investment properties!
  2. I LOVE working from home. I get the best of both worlds. I get the joy of watching my children grow up before my eyes and being a part of their day-to-day, yet preserving my identity as a professional. I talked to a lot of the other realtors in my class and we share this sentiment. I don’t take a single second for granted. I am blessed for sure!
  3. I have a new respect for parents who work out of the house. I was on the road by 7:30 am (sat in traffic) and home by 6pm (after sitting in traffic) and got to see my family for about an hour before sending them to bed. I know that’s the norm, and it is hard!
  4. I am so thankful for this crew of mine. I am blessed far more than I will ever deserve!

 

 

 

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Halloween

What a blur! This week has been so busy with my super fun broker class that I’ve had to sit through (more on that later). I’m finally parked at my computer catching up on life. I’m definitely overdue for posting about Halloween. But, better late than never!

This was, by far, the best Halloween yet (I know I say that every year). Gracie was old enough to dress up (dream come true), and Turner was so excited about trick-or-treating! Every year we have the same tradition. We throw on a pot of chili, invite my mom, stepdad, and a few friends, and make a night of it!

Our neighborhood sent out an email that we would have a parade on Saturday starting at 4 with a firetruck and all! The parade would go to the neighborhood pavilion where there would be snacks and pizza. So I told everyone to be at our house by 3:30 so we would be ready. We got dressed up after nap time anxiously awaiting the blaring sirens! Stew dressed in his usual “Dr Watson” outfit. I was a Greek goddess (realistically it was all I could throw together in my last minute decision to dress up), Gracie was a ballerina, and Turner was supposed to be Lightning McQueen but found his Batman costume from 2 years ago (that was way to small) and insisted on wearing that.

Turns out the firetruck had a real emergency they had to tend to, so we waited for about 45 minutes until we decided to give up and walk to the pavilion. Luckily, one of our neighbors had a jump castle set up in their front yard. That kept the kiddos from being too devastated.

We got to the pavilion to find a million kids running amok, pizza completely gone, and more mosquitoes than I could handle. Needless to say, that didn’t last too long. We made some small talk for a bit and headed back to the house. We decompressed, ate some chili, put Gracie to bed, and geared up for round two! My mom and stepdad hung back to give out candy while we took the kids trick-or-treating. We only hit a few houses, which was fine by me and fun enough for the kids! They thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! The best part is, I’ve been using Turner’s candy as leverage for good behavior. No time-outs, you get a piece of candy! I know, I’m the meanest mom ever. But it works!

Happy Halloween!

 

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Sleep Deprivation

Ok so I haven’t been sleep deprived in a while. But I have several friends with newborns that are feeling the exhaustion. I am a big believer that sleep, or lack of sleep rather, affects us so much more than we realize! Casper (they have a really unique mattress design and you can read more about their approach to sleep here) has been sharing their tips for getting a better sleep with everyone. When I read this, not only did it resonate with me, but with how our children sleep too! So here are some tips:

  1. Establish a nighttime routine: I started this around 5 weeks with our kids. It’s kinda hard to start too early because they’re still mixed up with their timing and they eat so often! We would do a bath to signal that it was time to relax, swaddle them, and give them a bottle in their room with lights out. We’d put them in their crib, sleepy but awake, so they would learn to self-sooth. More on our sleep training process here)

2. Satisfy hunger: a lot of times babies are simply hungry! But it’s a bit harder to tell how much a baby eats if you’re a nursing mom. I would start pumping as early as possible so I could always give our kids a bottle before bed. In the beginning, before I knew better, Turner would fall asleep while nursing and I assumed he was full. WRONG. He would wake up shortly after, screaming for food! Concentrate on giving Baby a full feeding before bed. And if you can’t pump, keep baby awake long enough to ensure a full feeding.

3. Temperature must be right: If Baby is too hot or too cold, obviously she won’t sleep! In the winter I use this fleece sleep sack, and in the warmer months I use this cotton sleep sack. Now that Gracie’s a little older, we just do her Aden & Anais sleep sack.

4. Sound Machine: This is a lifesaver! We’ve used this sound machine for both kids. Turner still uses his! The great thing about it is, not only does it help them sleep more soundly, but it helps to cover up any noise we might make after they’re in bed. Stew and I actually sleep with a fan and bring one everywhere we go because I can’t sleep without background noise. It would make sense that it’s the same for our little ones!

These were super helpful to me. I hope they are for you too! It made me re-think my own nighttime routine. I’ve always been so focused on my kids’ sleep that I often overlook my own “wind down time”. Let me know which of these you use for yourselves or your kids!

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