Our Christmas Card 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oh Christmas cards!  Mail really is sooooo much more exciting in December!  

I loved the picture on the front from our mini session but finding the right card was a little tricky.  I always love minted and tiny prints, but this year went with Snapfish.  The 20%  cashback on Ebates and huge discount was a no-brainer.  

Merry Christmas!! Hope your holidays are happy!

***If you don't use Ebates- you should!  I'd love you forever if you click on my referral link.  

our 2014 card
our 2013 card
our 2012 card

5 (years) on Friday

Friday, December 18, 2015

Today is Christian and my 5th anniversary.  So much has changed in these short 5 years- but here's a look back to our wedding on December 18, 2010.

We'll be celebrating at Carter's Holiday program tonight!  Ha!  And going out to dinner tomorrow night!  One day we'll get away for a whole day or a whole night! 

seeing santa

Monday, December 14, 2015

On Saturday we went to see Santa.

He was very serious on the car ride and clutching his letter to Santa:

Our elf, Pete left a note to take something nice to Santa.  Right before we left Carter colored him a picture and dictated a note that went something like this:

Dear Santa,
I hope you like your picture.  I have been kind like Pete says.
Merry Christmas!
Love, Carter

You can tell he's a little apprehensive about seeing the big guy!  But for weeks we talked about what he would ask for.

When we got there he was so excited.  My parents met us in the parking garage and Carter was amped!  Until we got close.  Then he hid and cozied up to Christian's leg saying "hold me."

We talked him into holding my hand as we walked up to Santa.  And he would not get any closer.

He talked very quietly and answered his questions shyly. He said he wants a teddy bear and that's it!

Then Reid sat his lap.  But Carter wouldn't budge.
And we tried for a good pic...
 There's always next year...

And a little walk down memory lane:

and  2013

at least he's consistent!

5 on Friday 12.11.15

Friday, December 11, 2015

Five on Friday, how I've missed you.  I have some serious blogging goals for 2016 because I have been slacking, big time this year.

This weekend we're going to see Santa (my expectations are low, but we'll try!) and going to see a huge light display at Longwood Gardens!  Bring on the holiday fun!

And onto my five...

BE the kindness

Yesterday's post is probably the most important post I've ever written.  Please go and read it and honor sweet Olivia and be kind and pay it forward.

You may just make someone's day.

#loveforlivvy    #kindnessforkelly

Peet's Holiday blend K-cups

Last year I loved Starbucks Holiday blend so I bought 3 costco sized boxes this year!  Too bad it's super smokey and like jet fuel this year.  Seriously one cup has like double the caffeine of the french roast.

So when Peet's holiday blend popped up in my Cartwheel App I decided to try it and it's my new favorite.  Too bad Costco doesn't carry this one!

And- I think it's probably worth mentioning that this is all marketing.  The festive lights and name holiday make it that much better, right?


Also worth mentioning- I've bought Christmas Crunch (I've never ever bought Captain Crunch), Festive-shaped pretzels, and Snowballs (aka white cheese balls)- again I would NEVER buy those.  Those marketing execs get me every time!

Christmas list- eye mask

I sleep with a eye mask every night.  I have a rotation and some are from British Air when traveling to Europe oh, about 20 years ago.   I stumbled upon Slip Silk on Instagram and started following them and have been dreaming of their $80 pillowcase and $40 sleep mask.  And at this point in my life I can't justify asking for the pillowcase, but the mask- I think I need it.  And am hoping Santa realizes fine lines are no joke.

Threshold™ Round Dinner Plate - Melamine CarMulti Color Reindeer Decorative Pillow with Piping 18"x18"  -Threshold™
Between all of the adorableness in the dollar section (yes I need decorative padded envelopes, black and white striped ribbon, wooden skis, buffalo plaid appetizer plates), the dishes, the paper goods, the pillow covers, the deer heads and antlers, the bright trees, and the entire holiday section in the back they have been killing me all season long!  I could fill carts with all that I want but I have had some serious restraint.

I'm being budgetary and reminding myself that I just donated tons of decorations and random home things and we're trying to eliminate clutter and things we don't need.  But oh, it's so hard.  The internal struggle is real- it's actually a pretty funny commentary in my mind as I go through the aisles!

favorite Christmas cookie
Image result for better homes and gardens white chocolate cherry shortbread
Last night I hosted a cookie exchange with my dinner club.  Prosecco, Bailey's, cookies, and girl talk all night was just what we all needed!

I made these White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread cookies.  They are my favorite!   mmmmm

Happy Weekend!


BE the kindness

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I felt like I HAD to sit down and blog this week because I have been so touched and changed by one little girl's journey and her passing this past week.

Olivia Lynch was 5 and a half years old and fought a battle no one should have to fight.  Brain Cancer.  Her mom, Kelly has been friends with my best friend since grade school so I've been to multiple birthday parties, dances etc with her while growing up.

Kelly is amazing.  She documented the entire year and a half journey of diagnosis, surgeries, tumors, doctor's appointments, victories, and disappointments on a Caring bridge blog.  Her entries are real.

She carried us all along on this most terrible journey and handled it with such grace and honesty.  I found myself thinking about her and Olivia and praying for them all of the time.  Especially during the quiet moments when Reid was nursing or I was rocking him before bed.  Trying to make sense of it all- imagining all that they were living through and analyzing how it could happen.

Here is a part of an entry a few days after Kelly held Olivia in her arms as she took her final breath:

This is unbelievable, right?  After everything they have been through, she's telling us to find kindness and joy.

On Sunday I went to the memorial for Olivia and as I sat in that auditorium packed full of little girls who lost a friend, moms, dads, other cancer patients, and even strangers to the family. I felt a sense of calm and left feeling deeply sad, of course but actually quite uplifted too.   How is that even possible at a funeral of a 5 year old girl?

It's this family.  They are magical.  They didn't dwell on the sad battle, but instead talked about the full life that Olivia lived and her kindness and giving.

Instead of donations or even flowers, they asked for everyone to do random acts of kindness throughout the year.  And that's what we're doing.

This year our advent houses are full of things to do for others.  And although Carter has asked when our elf, Pete, will be bringing the treats again instead of the notes to do kind acts, I'm already noticing that he is becoming more aware of being kind and making more thoughtful gestures.

I ask you to continue this in honor of sweet angel, Olivia.  Leave a nice tip for a server, open the door for someone, pay for someone's coffee, give a hug, leave a surprise for a stranger.  This is what Livvy and Kelly would do and please help to pay it forward.

In Kelly's words, "BE the kindness."


Reid's First Down!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Saturday we celebrated Reid's 1st birthday!

We always keep our birthday parties pretty small, with just family and friends who are like family.
I found the invite here.

And I found free printables on Pinterest for some of the other decorations.  I stenciled the banner and made the felt football field.  I had the ONE letters from Carter's party and just repainted them!
 Christian made the field goal post that started as decor and also became a ring toss and a backyard game!

I painted the NFL "one" logo for the front door.  Christian jokes that everything I make looks awesome from 3 feet away.  I admit that I am no perfectionist and I get things done pretty quick, when it comes to party decorations.

I never really work this way, procrastinator I am not, but having 2 children makes everything harder so I was crafting for 2 days during naptime and during The Voice leading up to the party.

By far the coolest part of the party was the cake.  She made it exactly how I hoped and even better!

Reid demolished the smash cake and both of us had to change after that.  But he only had 2 little licks of cake from my fingers.

The kids played pin the football on the field goal, bean bag toss, and Christian made a field goal for kicking inflatable footballs through it and a ring toss.

After lunch the kids headed outside for a game of football in the backyard.

Then we opened presents. And the kids took home their goodie bag of "super bowl rings"  (ring pops), Reese's peanut butter footballs, and an inflatable football.

I think everyone had a fun day and I'm happy to have these memories and pictures for Reid one day!

One year ago..

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm a little happy, a little sad, and it doesn't even feel real.  One year ago I woke up and was still exhausted.  I laid in bed for 2 hours that day then mustered up the strength to go to a tailgate party.  And a few hours later had a contraction and 2 hours later Reid was born.

That seems like a lifetime ago.  But today it is one year.

His party is over.  He smashed his cake, played, ripped open presents, we sang, went out to dinner, and read lots of books.  And tonight I held him and rocked extra long as I replayed last year.

In the hospital I cried (sobbed) for days after Carter was born but with Reid I was just happy.  I was able to walk around and wasn't in excruciating pain like with Carter.  I was scared that the year ahead would be filled with a screaming baby, but Reid surprised us and was more calm.  He let other people hold him and sat in a bouncy chair and he slept in a room full of noise.

In the first few days my only sad feelings were felt for Carter.  His whole world changed and I worried about him.  He was a momma's boy and Christian had to work hard (and took on the role of "Mr. Fun Pants" to take over some of what I did.)  Everything was a game and super fun and eventually Carter began to buy into it.  (Later Christian had to revise his ways, as Mr. Fun Pants couldn't survive forever.)

When Carter was one it was a celebration of survival.  That was a tough year- nothing could have prepared me for Carter's babyhood.  And although Reid was a happier baby he still was up multiple times a night and I was still laying in bed with insomnia.  I really tried to take it all in with him.  I think back to the year and remember that first month with such fondness (and obviously blocked out all the night wakings.)

When Reid was 5 days old we took him to Thanksgiving.

When he was 7 days old we decorated our Christmas tree and showed him each ornament as we hung them (and he slept through it all.)

And he slept through his first visit with Santa too.

Things were obviously different this time because he and I were out running errands to target and bed bath & beyond when he was only a few weeks old (with Carter I didn't dare take him in a store for months- he screamed that much.)

For the first 2 months Carter still went to daycare so I got to spend those early days with just Reid, usually snuggled on my chest, nursing and sleeping.  And I remember the fussy nights too.  I would rock him and dance in the dark in the kitchen with Christmas Canon and a Dido song on repeat.  

Then in February Carter stayed home and it was an adjustment and I spent so much time rocking Reid to sleep and rushing to play with Carter.  It was tough.  I felt stretched.  I was trying to do everything and felt like I was doing nothing well.

Adjusting to two was tiring.  Reid never took a bottle so I was very limited with time away.  In one year the longest I've been away from him is 5 hours (for Carter's field trip.)

I have spent countless hours breastfeeding him and rocking him and smooching his chubby cheeks.  I wish I could bottle up his cheeks and his big smiles.

And somehow we made it to today. And I can't decide if I want to freeze time, rewind and do it all over, or keep moving forward.

But everyday I am so grateful for these boys and for this life we live.