Sunday, January 25, 2015

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Your hard work and dedication to our family speaks volumes of your character. The countless hours of seen and unseen hard work that you do to provide for us, to keep us safe and secure does not go unnoticed.

The kids adore you and clamor to your side the minute you come home. The boys copy your every move and want to be just like you. Nothing gets a squeal out of Macy as the sound of the garage door opening and you walking through the door has her running to greet you.

I am so thankful to get to do life with you and look forward to many more birthday celebrations.
You are deeply loved and I hope you can feel just a smidgeon of how vast that love is today.

So, happiest of birthdays, ol' husband of mine! We all love you so.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

On one of the last perfect fall days of the year, we ventured outside to attempt some family pictures. My brother, our photographer for the day, came down to hang out and try to capture my brood.

The sun was warm, the air was crisp  and we had the area to ourselves.  And the pictures...well... we got a few great ones!

But, my favorite photos are the out takes. The kids in their natural state.

While those photos did not make our annual Christmas card, I smile every time I see them.

 A large hill is much too tempting. The boys were bribed to get "just a few more shots" than they could run down the hill, getting the wiggles out.

Corralling 3 kids, getting them to smile AND look in the same direction is not for the faint of heart.

But being silly? Not a problem.

Uncle Joel, the photographer, had to take his turn chasing Macy.

Don't mind that baby, photobombing our photo, running with her shoe in hand.

Sometimes you need to have Puppy join the family photos. Or you will not have a Christmas card picture.

This picture sums it all up.
  Jack is asking about the creek off the left. Colin is done with pictures, pouting on the ground. I have the "mom" pose with my hands on my hips. Ryan is explaining something and Macy is grinning, flirting with my brother.

What do you like best, the out takes or posed pictures?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Silver Linings

Oh, Christmas.

We started our Christmas break off with a bang.

Around 12:30a.m on the Saturday night before Christmas, the light in our en suite bathroom clicked on. Ryan and I had just crawled into bed and were discussing our plan of action for the following day. We had stayed up late, packing and cleaning and preparing to leave for my parent's house and the beginning of our Christmas vacation.

I figured that Jack needed to go the bathroom, as he drank a bunch of milk with his freshly frosted sugar cookies that night.

I was wrong.

He was sick. Very, very sick.  Repeated rounds that lasted throughout the night.

We did not make it to church that Sunday morning. We did not wear our special Christmas clothes and than start our trek up north. We washed a lot of laundry and watched a lot of Christmas movies.

Halfway through the third round of soiled blankets, I noticed that the washer was not draining. Hmm. Weird. Try again.

Still not draining.

After a few hours of manually scooping out the water, watching various YouTube videos and taking apart the front of the washer it was determined that it was broken. The pump, the corroded plugs, everything.

No more washer. Yay.

So while Ryan and Colin spent the evening at the laundromat, I disinfected the whole house and we waited.

We were able to head out late Monday afternoon. Jack felt much better and we thought it was a quick little bug. Good to go.

45 minutes from my parents house, Macy threw up her apples. In her carseat.

We spent the night cleaning up a tired, sick little lady who had her first stomach bug and was so confused about what what happening.

Tuesday came and went, while we nursed a sick baby and than another sick little guy. Colin rallied and was sick for just a short time. No messes, no clean up. He made it the bathroom every time.

Christmas Eve came with healthy kids and celebrations with Ryan's side of the family.

 Presents were passed around and Macy enjoyed tearing off the wrapping, piece by little piece. Once she found out that she could rip the paper, she was very helpful with unwrapping everyone else's gift for them! She also claimed Colin's new sleeping bag as her own while she grabbed a quick cuddle with Grandpa.

The boys insisted on wearing ties for Christmas...until the actual day came, than it was a semi-battle to get them dressed. Colin broke his tie within 7 minutes of our arrival.  Jack, however, proudly wore his as he passed out the gifts this year. He insisted that he could do it, since he can read now and all.

Christmas morning brought excitement and waiting, as we opened stockings and presents with my parents, brother, my sister's family and two different grandparents.

While the kid's waited for everyone to get ready and the other's to arrive, books were read to little cousins and bananas were consumed by exposed toes little ladies. 

Presents were opened and enjoyed. Breakfast was made by the men and coffee was drank by the gallon. Little tiny baby boys were tickled and loved by little mini mommas, whether it was wanted or not. There was laughter and noise, paper and chaos. Everyone was happy and healthy. A wonderful Christmas morning.

Later that Christmas day, we made our way up north to my grandparent's home. It was a strange Christmas. No snow in sight. Temperatures in the 40s. The house in the woods on the river was still pretty and cozy, bathed in lights and fragrant from cooking. It was emptier this year. Missing the grand matriarch that welcomed all into her home. We all came together on Christmas, just like my grandmother loved. We ate, laughed, gifted and gave. There were a few tears, but mainly smiles. A happiness with a twinge of sorrow, missing one who was so dear.  But there was joy in knowing that, while she was so deeply missed and loved, we, as a family, were doing everything that she loved most. We were together.

 We ended our Christmas night with sleepy children in tow. All the kids went right to sleep, nestled into their beds.

Or so we thought.

Our sweet little Macy cried out for a bit, probably awakened by the adults moving around upstairs, or so we thought.
Unfortunately, we ended our night bathing a sick little girl who filled her crib and than went back to sleep in it. 

Ryan did a few more loads of laundry, I draped a towel over my chest (again), snuggled a baby back to sleep and just like that...Christmas was over.

While it was not a perfect holiday, or a preferred way to spend our time, it was real life. We had our ups and down and a multitude of laundry.

But there is always a silver lining. I have a new washer and dryer being delivered tomorrow. We did laundry at both parent's house and only had to use the laudromat once. We don't need to get a flu shot, as Jack gave it all to us. We all were together, in sickness and in health, and that is really what is important. There is always that glimmer of hope, even when clouds are grey.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season with dramatically less clean up than I did.

Here's looking at you, 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.

May your days be filled with Peace today and throughout the entire year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Perils of Christmas Movies

It is the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas movies have been playing since the beginning of November. Lifetime, Uplifting network, Hallmark and ABC family to name a few, have all been on a constant rotation of Christmas movies. Everywhere you turn, there is one on.

This can lead to a LOT of begging to watch the rest of a certain movie, or to have a movie night, whatever it may be.

My dearest Husband decided to share his childhood favorite with the boys. Home Alone.
This was not an action that happened while I was home.

Home Alone is a little boy's dream scenario.

Bad guys, bb guns, stunts and many,many ridiculous pranks and lots of slapstick physical humor.

We have had an influx of Home Alone, Elf, The Polar Express and so forth....

So, what's the big deal? It IS the Christmas season.  Yet, how do you know when it is just TOO much?


~When your 4 year old wants to write "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal" on his sweet preschool teacher's Christmas card.

~When he goes up the escalator in a split ala Buddy the Elf...every. single. time.

~When that one time at IKEA, he decided to climb up on the mattresses and jump across a solid 5 mattress before I could reach him and pull him down. That venture also goes to out to good ol' Buddy the Elf, as well.

~When you 6 year old almost breaks your bed from jumping on Kevin did in Home Alone.

~While fighting, your boys use words that they learned from Home Alone.  Not so nice words.Wonderful.

~Your 6 and 4 year old boys run around the house with their hands on their cheeks, screaming as if they just slapped aftershave on. This has now prompted their 1 yr old sister to do the same. When she wants a quick laugh, she just holds her chubby little hands to her round, dimpled  checks and smiles. (She usually gets the laugh)

What is a mother to do?

Ban the movies? Waylay the festivities with my cold, grinch heart?!

Probably not.

They are just too cute.

AND it just 5 days till Christmas.


Have a Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Favorite Things

Favorite Things by afedell featuring post earrings

With Christmas shopping in full swing and Gift Guids a plenty all over the internet, I thought I would share some of my tried and true favorites. Things I have bought in multiples and wear almost daily.

Old Navy Mid Rise Rockstar Jeans. These are my favorite jeans. They have a great rise that hold in all my baby "leftovers" and the stretch is comfortable and does not wear out after this first wear. I have a variety of rinses and colors. You can always find a sale at Old Navy and I have bought these for around $15 before. Never pay full price at Old Navy. Their stuff cycles through sales ALL the time. A word of advice. Size up. I wear a full size to two size larger in these. Swallow your pride, get a  larger size and a good fit and enjoy these comfy and flattering inexpensive jeans.

Forever21 Heathered V Neck Tee. These are the perfect tee. Soft, comfy and with just the right amount of drape. For $5.90, you can have a variety of colors and the perfect slouchy tee that can be dressed up with statement necklaces and a blazer or dressed down with distressed jeans. I took a large for a looser, slouchier fit.

Sabine via Piperlime earrings. Unfortunately, these exact earrings have sold out, but any type of fun, sparkly earring is worth grabbing. I get more compliments on these earrings than any other pair. Piperlime always have free shipping and returns and you can find great deals in their sale sections. Most of their sales are final, so double check all our measurement. Here are a few fun options here, here, here and here.

Smith's Rosebud Lip Balm. It is an old school brand that has made a comeback and now these are offered in a convenient tube. I have the Mocha, Strawberry and Mint and I love them all. Super moisturizing and smell fantastic. They are not sticky at all, and that is a huge bonus. I have these linked to Anthropologie, but you can also buy they at Sephora. Burt's Bees lip balms are another favorite, if you are wanting more color.

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus lotions and body scrubs. I love this stuff. Their body and hand sugar scrub is fantastic. Right now, it is sold out at Target online, so I can't link it, but check your stores. It literally melts into your skin and leaves your hands and body so soft. The lotion smells fantastic and absorbs quickly. I love the story behind the brand, making it just that much better. I have not tried any of the other fragrances, but I want to. These would be perfect stocking stuffers (hint, hint hubby)

If you are interested, I could also do a kid's favorite things post.

What are some of your favorite things? Any tried and true item that you swear by?
Let me know!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bountiful Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. An entire day to contemplate your blessings, give thanks for what you have and {hopefully} be surround with those you love.

We have spent many years having Thanksgiving away from family and found much happiness and contentment with joining in with friends of all backgrounds and nationalities. We have also enjoyed Thanksgiving with our family.

Either way, it is a day to give thanks and to count your blessing.

Everyone has something to be thankful for. Everyone.

Blessings abound, especially when you are looking for them.

Did you get dressed today? Blessing.

Did you eat? Blessing.

Does it matter that it is not your mom's whatever recipe or that it is left over cold pizza? Nope.
You ate today. Blessing.

Do you have a roof over your head? Blessing.

Do you have someone you love? Blessing.
Tell them that you love them!

Did you laugh this week? Blessing.

While life is not a rose-colored garden and sad, horrible things happen everyday around us, the fact of the matter remains. We have SO much to be thankful for. It can be as simple as the air that fills your lungs, or the blood that pumps through your heart. You may have gotten to sleep in an extra 15 minutes or it was not your turn to change the diaper (that happens to be poopy). Whether trivial or impacting, life gives so much to be thankful for. So many blessings. Bountiful blessings.

So today, on this Thanksgiving day, let's embrace those around us, be thankful for all things and count our many blessings.

And don't stop today, this mindset can continue every day and beyond.