Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Recap

Christmas came and went too quickly! I decided to really savor this year's holiday by creating a little video. It's funny how what you think is a disappointment (we had to cancel our plans to visit family due to our whole house being sick) turns into being the most beautiful gift. We were given a treasured holiday that was spent just the 4 of us.

2016 was a beautiful year for our family and we feel very blessed. As we wrap up this year, I am contemplating my goals for 2017 and reflecting on the last 365 days. We will be ringing the new year in with family (pending we are not sick, fingers crossed).

Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Our holiday plans were a little derailed this year when our entire household came down with colds. I can't remember when the last time was that all four of us were sick at the same time. Typically, either my hubby and I get sick or the kids get sick. We have been blessed to have it work out that way so many times.

Despite the congestion and exhaustion, we have managed to push through and make Christmas as festive as possible for the kids. Riley has added an additional nap each day and Payton has actually been taking a nap daily (doesn't do this when healthy) so we've been sure to rest when we can.

I kicked off this morning with impromptu snowman pancakes. Payton loved them. I love that it doesn't take much to impress a 3 year old.

Riley was loving the whipped topping. Runny nose and all.
I snapped a picture of Payton napping because I was so surprised she fell asleep today. It's just so out of the normal for her, but does tell me that she needs to be taking it easy while she is still sick.
We made prime rib for Christmas Eve dinner and I also had the kids help make a Christmas punch. Somehow, holiday punch seems to be a requirement now for our special meals. Payton loved it so much she requested we make some for Santa (and one for his reindeer to share).

Now, we just wait for Santa to come.
The kids are all tucked in their beds and we are all anxiously waiting for the morning to come. Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'Tis the Season

The holiday season is always so much fun and so, so busy. The pictures I am sharing today should have been shared through several posts but time got ahead of me. Story of my life.

Since having children I have really found a new sense of joy during the holidays as I watch this time through my children's eyes. They bring so much fun, love, and joy to everything we do. Life is just so much more full when you are watching a child experience the world. Here are some things we were up to during December:

For starters, we saw Santa.
Payton was very excited to see Santa and couldn't wait to tell him all about the Dora night light she had been eye balling. Riley, despite our attempts to prepare him before the visit, was not feeling the love for Santa. In his defense, I could have timed our trip better. He was in desperate need of a nap!

As a role model, I am constantly trying to be a more giving human being. The holidays are a great time to practice this goal. We "adopted" a child from one of our local organizations and bought them a gift. Payton helped pick the child, selected the gift herself, and both kids helped wrap and deliver the present. They were so proud!

I didn't think Payton would do well actually dropping off the present since that can be a hard concept for a 3 year old to understand. She handled the situation well though and had no issues. We love this tradition and can't wait until we do this again.

In November, I started to take the children to volunteer at a local assisted living center. We were assigned to a resident and have been visiting her weekly. My kids have loved these visits and I love watching them bond with another human being.

A local group decided to deliver cards and flowers to residents of the nursing home to help them feel loved and cared for. Payton handmade several cards to be delivered to residents and a few cards for our close friends and family members. We also helped the group deliver the cards and flowers and it was so fun to watch Payton with the residents.

Grandma came to visit one weekend and brought several crafts for Payton. She made tree ornaments and snowmen ornaments. We have given a few out to friends as we see them and saved a few for family members to receive when we see them next. 
Each year I try to plan for a baking day. This can be challenging to do as I really need a whole day and it always seems someone is ill. We happened to have a good, healthy day last weekend so we baked until we had no more clean dishes in the house. 
The kids had a blast cooking and creating. We are in the process of making up goodie trays and we will deliver our homemade treats to several people in the community, close friends, and family members. This is just an extra way for us to say thank you for being involved in our lives.

Christmas is now less than a week away. I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season! Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Birthday Parties

For the last 3 years, I haven't gone on a trip farther than 1 hour away on my own with my children (or child as it was for a period of that time). No joke! My kids are not good travelers and even going to the next town over (30 miles) shopping can make for a rough time for our kids. As they get older, they are getting much better. 

A few weekends ago, I finally braved the roads and made a 3 hour trip with both my kids solo for a weekend trip to my hometown. For the most part, the trip went as well as it possibly could. They slept horribly at my mom's house (another reason I have avoided making trips on my own) but they had a blast visiting my family. 

During this trip, we had 2 birthday parties to attend, one for my niece and the other for my mom. 

We love the Minnie Mouse and Under the Sea themes. Payton had some trouble with not being able to open the gifts at the party. It's hard for a 3 year old to understand. She loved the cake though!

It was a quick trip but definitely a big deal at our house. I'm not sure if I will take on another trip on my own anytime soon but now I know that I can actually do it!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sick days with littles

It is inevitable that our family will get sick at least once each year. We seem to find the beginning of the school year, despite the fact our kids are not in school, to be when we get hit hard. This year was different though. We actually made it through August, September, and October without getting sick. I thought we were in the clear when the stomach bug reared its ugly head. Our house was hit hard!
For 10 days, each child was sick. 10 days! That was 10 days of intermittent throwing up, constant bathroom accidents and blowouts, fussy sleep deprived children, fevers, chills, aches, and about 8 loads of laundry being washed daily. But, yet, my children still had happy, beautiful moments. Riley found cuddling with stuffed animals (or  mommy) to bring him relief. Payton still threw on her Cinderella dress and watched the movie every chance she got. We also got to see the field across the road bring cows in. The kids now watch daily as the water truck refills their water. Have I mentioned how much we love the country life?
As a parent, having sick kids is really hard. Really, really hard. In the last 10 nights, I have been up at least twice each night. Most nights, I was really up most of the night. With kids throwing up, I was constantly bathing children, changing their clothes, starting laundry, consoling them, cleaning bowls out, and laying with my children until they fell back to sleep. I now feel like I'm in a constant fog and keep praying I don't get the sickness shared with me. When backup (aka my mother, aka grandma) arrived, our house found a new sense of energy and excitement:

We are so blessed to have had my mother come visit and help with me for a few days. It gave us a little bit of change in routine we really needed and she always seems to be a breath of fresh air for us all. She was our saving grace.

The kids both still seem to be recovering but are doing much better. We got out a little this week after spending so much time indoors and feeling quite claustrophobic. It sounds like we only get a few days before snow could hit and send us back indoors again.

We hope you are having a great week and are getting ready for Thanksgiving! I'm hoping to start getting some sleep again at nights soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November weather

I am quite surprised that we are still having semi decent days and able to get out to play for the majority of the day. We are soaking up as much time outside as we can before the cold weather and snow comes. A few days ago I pulled out the bubbles for what I believe could be the last time this year. As I watched my children play I was reminded of how fun it is to just watch children be children. That's quite possibly one of the greatest gifts we are given as parents.
So, as you go about your day. Take a moment to watch life through your child's eyes. Their amazement, awe, love, happiness, sadness, and the million of their daily emotions can teach us so much about our life here on earth and the love God has given us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

We hope you had an amazing Halloween. Each year, we fall more and more in love with Halloween as our children show more interest and have longer attention spans (well at least in the case of our oldest anyways). Our youngest burned out quickly but he was a trooper as his sister kept going.

Payton really wanted to be a butterfly so, with the help of my mother, we made butterfly wings for her. She wanted her brother to be baby tigger and we decided that would work well for him.

We kicked off the holiday with the trunk or treat in our town on Saturday. On Halloween Monday, I started the day with ghost pancakes. They weren't the prettiest but the kids gave me an A for effort. We went to the nursing home trick or treating that afternoon and then went around to the houses we knew that evening. Payton also had dance class so I let her wear her costume there. For dinner, I made corn dogs and used ketchup to make spooky faces. It was a very festive day all around for us. The kids had a blast and brought home enough candy to last a year at our house.

We woke up today to November 1. How are we already to November? Cheers to a good holiday season that is quickly approaching.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What I hope my children treasure from their childhood

As I reflect on my own childhood, my thoughts are absorbed with time being outside. I remember playing hide and seek with neighborhood children, walking to my grandmother's house, building and hiding in snow igloos in the winter. I vividly can remember and smell all four seasons through various memories growing up. I spent the summers at my grandparent's house in the mountains, a very different landscape than the hills I grew up in. I can still smell my grandparent's town and home.

Thinking about how my husband's and my own childhood impacted who we are today has had a huge impact on the decisions we are making for our children. Most decisions aren't taken lightly at our house as we consider how what we're doing now can shape our children's lives. This has played a huge role in where we live, the animals we have, the company we keep, activities our children are in, and how we spend our money.

As I plan our days, I try to focus on what I want my children to remember. Sure, they are still young and may not remember much of these days but that will change eventually. I want you to remember the outside as well. I want you to know what it feels like to come inside to a warm, loving home. I hope that you can find a way to become as centered with nature as I have.  Therefore, we have been known to spend as much time outside as we possibly can. The weather plays a huge role in that though and we can't always make it out. Even two minutes outside can make a difference for us.

So, if you need us, you can find us outside soaking up that last few warm days we may have before winter begins.

As you can see, it only takes a few minutes outside and my children start to show the happiest sides of themselves.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Gift of a Sibling

Over the last few years I have found myself saying numerous times that the greatest gift I could have ever given my children is each other. I know that this may not always be the case, but during times when these two show love to each other, my heart sings. My babies are creating a beautiful relationship as they go through life within the same household. One day, they may only have each other to turn to and I hope they feel nothing but love towards one another and embrace the life together they have had.

It has taken many years but I can honestly tell you that I cherish my own relationships with my siblings. I am at a place in my life where I wish I lived closer to my siblings and could spend time with them regularly. May my two children be as fond of each other.

As I continue to collect pictures daily of each of my children together, growing, and playing, I hope to see many more moments of beauty in their friendship. Payton is a natural caregiver and loves showing Riley how to do anything and everything. She is really looking forward to helping potty train him (still a ways away). Right now, she settles for helping him walk (which he can do and doesn't necessarily welcome the help at times), reading him books, and assisting him with brushing his teeth. Riley looks for "sissy" every morning and screams from excitement when she finally wakes up and emerges from her bedroom. He never misses the chance to hug and open mouth kiss her.

So, please, my babies, learn to love each other with all you have even during times of conflict. Because, one day, your sibling may be all you have. Love, Mom

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we decided to venture out to the local pumpkin patch. We have done this 3 years in a row now and it only gets better as the kids get older.

The kids had a blast going down the slide, picking pumpkins, walking hay mazes, bouncing on a bounce pad, and riding the children's train. Payton used to refuse to have her face or hands painted but was totally loving getting her face painted this year.

My family came up for this event as well so we decided to have a bit of a Halloween party as a group. Unfortunately, we were all so tired after the pumpkin patch that this plan didn't work out. Instead, we had a costume breakfast. I had Halloween coloring pages for the kids to decorate and put stickers on while I cooked breakfast. We had a blast eating with two Super Girls, a few pirates, Tigger, and a Mario brother.

We love this time of year. Fall has always been a favorite season for me. I hope you are enjoying this time of year as well!                                                                                                                               

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Let's slow it down a bit

The best days in life are the ones taken slowly. Fall is my favorite season but it is also known as a very busy season. I promised myself not to put my kids in many activities but I keep finding myself overscheduling. 

Here's the thing, my daughter loves all the activities but they exhaust her. I also want my children to know how to live in quiet. I struggle to sit still and just sit back. I don't want this to be a problem for my kids, too.

So, what will I be doing? After a few months of my daughter in both dance and gymnastics and both my kids participating weekly at the library's story time we have decided to drop dance. We will finish out this month since it's paid for and then decide about enrolling her again in the spring.

I may regret this decision later as I love watching the 3 year old class, tutus, and I couldn't wait to watch the winter performance. Really though, my favorite times are days spent at home doing absolutely nothing and whatever we want. That's the perspective I want to keep.

Because this season of life is about to go too quickly.

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