Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Enjoying December

These three smiles...

These three smiles are just a few of the many things I am thankful for this holiday season.
It's these smiles that reel me back into reality...and it's these smiles that help me to remember some very important things that my beautiful babes have taught me.

They've taught me to be hopeful about everything in life.
They've taught me to believe in the magic.
They've taught me how to find joy through the good and the bad.
They've taught me to be thankful in all things - even the smallest things.
They've taught me much...
as I reflect on that thought 
- being thankful in even the smallest things -
there are many things that I am thankful for this December.
Aside from good health, family & friends, and the other more obvious reasons to be thankful, 
there are many other smaller things that I'm thankful for -
little things that cause me to close my eyes, take in a deep breath, and thank God that I'm here - living this life.

Things like...

a walk through a tree farm - 

the fun we have with Chippy, our Elf on a Shelf -
Click HERE to read about our first encounter with the elf 3 years ago.

building gingerbread houses and baking cookies -

being able to watch my kids put their touch on our christmas tree -

being able to attend and watch my kids have fun and learn through their christmas programs at church and at school - 

listening to christmas songs...and singing and dancing along - 

freezing our butts off at the christmas parade -

reading christmas wish lists - 

our visits with santa - 

a drive through the festival of lights and neighborhoods looking at christmas lights -  

These are just some of the little things I'm thankful for this holiday season...
the little things that make a big difference.
And while this may not seem like a big deal, I truly believe that it's important to recognize (with gratitude) those little things that are a part of our lives.

So, back to those three smiles that changed my life -
I'm so very thankful for them.'s to enjoying december!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our New Home

It all started on June 26th, 2014.

We were vacationing in Florida.
The kids were napping.
Kevin was down at the beach snorkeling.
And I was relaxing on our balcony - going back and forth between people watching, reading my book (gone girl), and resting my eyes.

At one point, during my quiet time, I logged onto because that's what I do did all.of.the.time.

Scrolling through houses, I came upon this one -

4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a lot of space.
I wanted it...and from that point on, on June 26th, we did everything we could to make sure this house would be ours.

...and on October 17th, 113 days later, we moved into our new home.
And I'm telling you - those 113 days were rough.  I think I actually got my first stress headache... :)
Yet, as stressful as it was, I know in my heart, it was meant to be.
Buyers for our old house came along at just the right time and everything, step by step, fell into place just as it should.
it was just tough because i wanted to know every single detail of every single step along the way.  it's important for me to know exactly what is going on at all times...especially when it involves my money. i'm sure our realtor and lender celebrated huge when they were done working with us (especially done working with ME)!

But it's funny, how something we wanted so badly and something we worked so hard for, that the day we moved into our new home, at the end of the day as the sun was setting, all I wanted to do, was go home.
I wanted to go back to our old house - the house that I called home for 10 years.  The house that I put my babies to bed in every night.  The house that I knew from ceiling to floor and wall to wall.  The house that I wanted so desperately to move out of for so long.  That's the house that I wanted to go back to. 

Funny how things are.

You don't think about how much things really change when you move.  Your whole life changes.  Everything you had known and all the ways in which you did things comes to a stop and you have to find a new way.  That may sound a little exaggerated, but it's the truth.  

Something that made me laugh - our old house had one bathroom.  One tiny bathroom.  Our new home has 3 bathrooms.  Well, for the first couple of weeks in our new home, we all convened in one bathroom together.  We all got ready in the morning in that one bathroom, we all showered in that one bathroom, we all brushed our teeth in that one bathroom...because that's what we were conditioned to do - share one bathroom.  Finally, though, as time has gone on, we've spread our wings and began occupying the other bathrooms.

Despite the homesick feeling I had for a couple of days, I love our new home and each day it's becoming more and more ours.  Our new home is a project we'll be able to work on in years to come - it's a beautiful home and has everything that we want in a home for our just needs updating and we're looking forward to updating it throughout the years.

Some of the little things I love about our home are:
(pardon the mess in the pictures, as we're a work in progress right now)

our fireplace

this pretty cool lamp that was left.  i refuse to get rid of it.

these little windows.  
this is the view from the family room in the basement.  the dining room is on the other side of the windows, upstairs.
i love the character it adds.

our view.
an open field.

the climbing tree for our kids.

And there's other things that I like such as our sparkling ceilings, a sliding glass door that leads out to our patio, our own bathroom in our bedroom, a toy room for the kids, the dimming lights in the bathroom and dining room...

I love our new home and it still feels like a dream that it actually happened....that we actually did it.

We've been able to get a few things done over the last month while being here.
We've been able to replace a couple of the kitchen appliances and get a majority of the family room in the basement completed.

This was before: 

and this is after:
we've painted and laid hardwood flooring.
It's still a work in progress, but it's almost done. 

Right now, we're also working on the toy room.
We've pulled up the carpet and we're getting ready to paint the walls and lay new carpet.  
The kids picked out the paint they wanted so pretty soon, we'll be putting them to work to get the job done!

I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for where we are and what we have.
I'm thankful for the MANY lessons I have learned over the past 4.5 months.
I'm thankful for our family and friends who helped us though the move with packing, moving, and unpacking.
We could not have done it without you.
I'm especially thankful for my parents and Kevin's parents.  They have gone above and beyond in all ways to make this transition as easy as possible for us.
And I can't leave out my sister and Scott.  I will be forever grateful that the Cardinals lost a game, which placed Kristina and Scott in Lincoln on our move in day.  

I read somewhere once that moving demands a brave heart and a bold spirit.
The idea of turning away from the old (in our case, especially when it's so good) and embracing the unknown is something that brings out a lot of emotions, but, you know what they say...

if you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it.


take into account that great love and great achievements
 involve great risk.  dalai lama


the what ifs and should haves will eat your brain. john o'callaghan


sometimes following your heart means losing your mind.

So, there you have it.
Our new home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mia Turns TWO

It's been TWO years of kissing this sweet, sweet face! -

...TWO years of cuddling her,
holding her,
rocking her,
playing with her,
talking with her,
staring at her...

I stare at her all the time.
I stare at her in awe and amazement. 
How did we get so lucky to have her as ours?

It's been TWO wonderful, beautiful, and blessed years.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Mia Grace!!

..and how did we celebrate Mia's 2nd birthday?


Come One, Come All -
We celebrated the Big Top way!

We had a day at the circus!

The kids had an amazing time!
In fact, that's all Makayla could say all day long -
"mom! that's amazing!"
"dad, that's AMAZING!"

The kids got their faces painted, rode on animals, ate lots of circus treats, and sat in the stands with their eyes wide, watching the show in amazement!

Mia -

whose favorite food is popcorn,
whose favorite color is pink OR purple,
whose favorite book is "5 Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed",
whose favorite thing to play with is her baby dolls,
whose favorite thing to do when she's bored is to sit on the potty,
whose favorite hobby is mimicking her brother and sister,
whose favorite animal is a kitty cat,
 and who loves sleeping in, kissing and being kissed, and chewing gum -

Happy Birthday!

We had the best time ever celebrating YOU and making memories at the circus!!

I love you, baby girl!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween!!
Mia - Pumpkin
Mason - Pirate (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)
Makayla - Something pretty (Barbie Mariposa)

9th Anniversary

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary and THIS is how far we've come.
  We go through life together with jobs to do, bills to pay, deadlines to meet, games to play, places to be, and people to see....but at the end of the day, THIS is all that matters

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Miss Mia Grace, I Love

Oh, Miss Mia Grace

I love you.

There's so much I want to write about you, 
but all I keep going back to is - I Love You.

Every Wednesday morning, I get to be all alone with you.  
Your brother and sister are off at school and it's just you and me.
Every Wednesday night, daddy and I get to be all alone with you.  
Your brother and sister are off at church and it's just you, me, and daddy.
I cherish our time together and soak in every single second of us being alone (because it doesn't come often), but I can't help but giggle when you constantly spend our alone time asking where Sissy and Bubby are.  You throw your hands up, shrug your shoulder, furrow your brows and ask "Sissy?".  I tell you she's at school or at church and you go through the same motions for Mason - you ask "Bubby?".  I tell you he's at school or at church and then you say "Pick up".  We have this conversation over and over again throughout our Wednesdays together.  
I love it. 
I love our conversation.

I love that you growing bigger and bigger.
You're getting smarter and funnier and ornerier and
...and you're just growing up.
My baby is growing up.

You are at an age where you are very influential.
You are picking up on words and actions so very quickly.
You are smart.  So smart.

Last week, Mason taught you to say "shush up".  While you don't know what that means, you know it's not something nice to say and you like to say it a lot to get a rise out of mommy and to spread laughter to your brother and sister.
...and that laughter - that laughter between you , Mason, and Makayla.
I love it.
I love it so much.
I thank God countless times a day for what the three of you have with each other.

I love you, Mia.
I love your laughter.
I love how your eyes sparkle with JOY...and I love how you smile with your eyes!
I love how you touch my hair when it's wet and ask "shower?" and then gently roughly comb through it with your comb.
I love how you always want me to check for boogas (boogers) in your nose.
I love how you think all of your shoes are so pretty and that you want me to put pretty (blush) on your cheeks so you can look pretty.  You love to be pretty.
I love how you are such a good mommy.  You love to bounce your baby.  You love to feed your baby.  You love to put your baby night-night.  You love to be a mother to your baby, to your pretty baby.
I love how you hug me and cuddle into me.  I love your tiny arms around my neck and I love how you are always leaning in for a kiss.
I love that you've learned that "purple" is a color, so everything is always purple. 
I love how you are so quick to bring Mason his blankie when he's hurt or upset.
I love that you always ask for jelly on your toast.
I love that you still want me (or let me...i'm not sure) to rock you to sleep at night.
I love how you are so genuinely concerned when you hear a baby or child crying.  Your eyes get sad and you repeat over and over again "cry".
I love to watch you dance.  You are the star of our dance parties.
I love that you're talking more and making sentences.  

It's so fun to watch you grow into a little girl.

I'm so thankful for you.
I'm thankful for the love you give me and for all that you've taught me.
I'm thankful for the love, laughter, and joy you bring to our family.
I'm thankful to live this life with you, Mia.

I love you.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

19 More Days

We have a chain.

...A chain to count down the days until October 17th. 

The kids (mainly Makayla) and I colored and dated the strips of paper - 

and each day, we take one off ...getting closer and closer to the big day.

19 more days. 

19 more days until we move from this house to that house.

For weeks we have been talking about the "blue house".
For weeks we have been driving by the "blue house".
For weeks we have been visiting the "blue house".  

We've been picking out our rooms,
deciding where would be a good place to put our piano and the Christmas tree, 
trying to figure out what wall in the basement we would put our 125 gallon fish tank,

deciding what color we would paint that green in the kitchen, 

and rolling around being free in all of the extra space. 

For weeks we have been surrounded in boxes and packing up our things.
For weeks we have been dreaming about the future and what it's going to be like to make the "blue house" our house.
For weeks I have been locking up the memories of our time on North Monroe and forever storing them away in my heart and mind - our first house together, where we started our family, the smell of our home, Makayla's tree, all of the little things I'm going to miss about the North Monroe house and all of the things that make me love it.  It's been good to us and we're definitely going to miss it.

But it's time.

For years, we have gone back and forth about selling our home.  There have been more than several homes that we've "loved" and that we've wanted, but it's never really felt "right" and I've always found a way to get out of it - to not move - to move on to a different house or deciding altogether that we're not moving at all.
I would convince myself to be content on North Monroe.
I would convince myself that we could be comfortable in our 3 bedroom 1 bath home.
I would convince myself that we don't need to move...that we have everything we need right here on North Monroe.
And that's true. 


This "blue house" is different.
I feel in my heart that this is right.
This is what we want and this is what we need.
This is what we've been waiting for.
This is a good thing and I didn't want to lose it.

So moving from something good

To something better...

all I can say is, 
we are blessed.

We've worked very hard to get where we are so far and I can't wait until October 17th gets here when we can open the front door to the "blue house" and say Welcome Home! 

P.S.  I know that next year, our new home won't be blue, but it will forever be known as the "blue house" to our family!!