Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Card 2011

I've gotten most of our cards in the mail and only have a small stack on my desk that still need addresses.  (They are all the ones that I didn't have current addresses for and they haven't gotten back to me.)  So hopefully this isn't a big spoiler to anyone that is just waiting by the mailbox for our Christmas card.  Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I did it!

I am seriously so proud of myself right now!!!  I successfully created a bridal shower invitation, from scratch, on my own.  I was feeling all confident and spoke invitation duty for Camie's shower and after about an hour of working on it I was having second thoughts because I was not creating something I was happy with and I knew I would never be able to explain myself if I ordered some that we over $2 per invitation.  (They were SOOOO cute and if I only needed to buy a few, I would have in a heartbeat!)  But as the clock passed midnight the inspiration started flowing... and I ended up with something I am seriously proud of.  The others in charge haven't given their final say on it, but I will be happy even if it needs to change.  I'm going to share a sneak peek right now since I'm feeling so accomplished.
Isn't it so fun?!  I love it!
Once I laid in bed around 3 am I remembered how much I really loved creating things when I was working on my graphic design degree in college.  Then I started feeling bummed that I changed my major, changed my plans, then never really learned all the cool stuff I could have learned.  I'm feeling inspired to learn now though!!!  Look out...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Always Running Behind

Now don't worry!  Just because we got our Christmas tree up just two weeks before Christmas does not mean I'm feeling like the grinch this year.  It's just par for the course this year, I guess.  The tree is now up, letters to Santa have been sent, and I swear I will wrap presents and deliver neighbor gifts before long.  I'm feeling good that I'm even blogging at all.

This is the branch that Tyler decorated.  After he had finished I spread the love around the tree a little.

Marshall is Mommy's biggest helper lately and he loved the job of helping decorate the tree.
Just this week Marshall took the garbage out himself for the first time!
He is really taking some duties upon himself and it makes me so proud.

I've been thinking lately about how much I'm not accomplishing in the time I would like to and it makes me smile a little.  The first part of this year I felt like I had such a handle on things.  I never got really behind on chores and I always felt like I had time to do the things I needed and wanted to do.  A few times earlier this year I was hearing words I'd heard before...  "You know... once you feel like you are back in control of life again it is time to have another baby."  It would always make me smile and give me a little more to appreciate only having my two that were acting like such big boys.  Well now I'm looking at my state of life and feeling so out of control and that advice is coming at me a little differently now.  In the words of my head... "If life is so out of control, a new baby is not quite right yet.  Wait until you feel in control again."  Haha!  Look at "me" trying to look out for myself.  Now don't anyone rush out thinking I'm announcing anything (Megan!) I'm just saying it's been on my mind.  I'm watching my friends add new babes into their families and I am realizing that every day that goes by without a new baby at our house is another day I am getting less comfortable with all things baby.  Diapers, spit up, no sleep, being late everywhere, distracted church meetings, etc.  Heaven help us, I tell you!

And heaven help me get ready for Christmas!  I have one week.  One week, people!

Good Thing We Got That Done

Oh my goodness!  It is December 16th and we just barely wrote our letters to Santa!
We have been pretty busy around here and ever since Thanksgiving we have been meaning to get this done.  Today was finally the day.
 Marshall's said:
 Dear Santa,
   I am trying to be good.  For Christmas I would like a BIG racetrack.  I will try to be nice to my brother and Mommy.  I would also like a little, little cool car that the engine cover (the hood) goes up.  I don't know if your elves can make that.  Thank you.  I really like Christmas.  I like when you come.  That's my favorite part of Christmas.  I love you so much.

Tyler was funny.  I honestly just asked him a couple questions (and tried really hard not to make them leading questions) and his letter is word for word what he said.

Dear Santa,
   I have been a nice boy.  I try to be a nice boy.  I want a truck and toys for Christmas.  I want you to bring me a present please.  Thank you!
Love, Tyler

As seems to be the recent trend... no photo op is complete without some silly ones of Marshall.  Haha.

I hope we all can keep a handle on the Christmas season!  
I know I've nearly lost mine a couple times so far...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A couple weeks ago, as I was pulling out Christmas decorations, my boys found themselves some Santa hats.  They wore them that whole day and off and on since then.  That morning I rushed them out of the house for my beloved TurboKick class and they were so cute sporting their santa hats in their jammies.  By the time we got home Marshall was pretty much done with his hat so I only got some pics of Tyler.

My little Tyler is a silly one.  The gym I go to provides babysitting, but Ty doesn't like that set up too well.  Each time I go to Zumba or TurboKick, he asks to come with me.  He has to sit on the side of the class for an hour and not get up (sounds awful!!!) but he would rather "watch me dance" than play with all the kids.  He usually will color in a coloring book or play with his trucks... so it's not like he just sits there in time out or something.  Even though Marshall is out there with the kids, it is not Tyler's thing.  This particular day he was just extra sleepy so every time I'd look over at him he had a somewhat sad, puppy dog look on his face.  It was just precious with his santa hat on.

Christmas Bulb Trees

I've gotten a ton of compliments and questions about the Christmas bulb trees I made for our ward party decor.  It was a genius idea I got from Pinterest and it was so easy.  The process was simple.

It went from this... this...

... to this...

... to this.

I started with a good variety of colors and sizes of unbreakable (plastic) bulbs from Taipan Trading and some small wooden dowels.  My young women would be making these at our activity Tuesday night so I had to do a little prep work so we could get everything done.  I made my selection of bulbs for each tree and put each "tree" in it's own bag.  (I almost wrote on each bulb so they would know the order I intended the bulbs to go in, but I tried my best to allow them some creative freedom.  I'm not always the best at letting go of control.)  Then I removed all the "hanger" things from the one end of the bulb and drilled a hole the same size as the dowel I was using.  Two holes per bulb except for the top one.  Once each tree's bulbs were drilled I put them all back into their bags and tied the dowel to it so the girls would have a nice little kit and it could all go quickly and smoothly.  At that point you just slide the bulbs onto the dowel in the order you want them.  Some fit super snug so we had to twist them down the dowel into place.  After that you just tie a ribbon between the bulbs and place them in their holder.  Colby made me little wood blocks that they could stand in.  I would have loved to have the gorgeous metal stands I saw in the inspiration photo on Pinterest, but I had a rapidly approaching deadline and little money.  For the sake of time I did not paint the bases, but would like to in the future.

It was such an easy little project and it added a fun touch of color and whimsy to the decor.  I now have a little colorful forest in my house too.

P.S.  This project got my house covered in glitter!  I only used a few glittered bulbs, but that was enough to get that stuff everywhere.  A couple days later I was still finding it on all of our faces.  Haha.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Something Special for Christmas

Yep!  We are crazy.  My pal Jessica and I pulled off a crazy, insane ward Christmas party this last weekend.  We couldn't have done it without Molly, Christian, Randy, and Colby... that's for dang sure.  And there were a lot of others that made Saturday go off without a hitch and I'm so grateful for their help.

Jess had been working on some grand ideas and apparently I was her "Yes Man."  I'd always end up smiling and say OK!  She'd call me or text me and ask what I thought of this or that and it was fun, fun, fun.  We had almost given up on doing a lighted ceiling, but then our dear friend Jen came to the rescue. Jessica and Jen were talking at the gym and we learned that Jen was going to do something similar for their ward party and told us we could borrow anything we wanted from them.  Their party was gorgeous... all white, cream, brown... so elegant.  I loved it.  We got all of the their stuff and then added some color (and even more tulle and lights).  I wish we had brought in even more color, but it wasn't necessary.  It all ended up fantastic. 

-Here are a few photos from the night-

The center is a giant hoop Colby constructed for me that we wrapped with a straight strand of lights and some icicle lights.  This photo from Pinterest was our inpiration.
It sat right over our dessert table.  Then we had tulle and lights and garlands coming off of that creating that tented effect.  It took a while to figure out our system, but once we had it figured out we just got it up.  I couldn't stop giggling the whole night.  It was making me so happy to see it coming together.
 A couple more views before anyone got there.  
I wish I had taken a picture directly below that center ring so you could see how pretty it was from below.  
I'm still kicking myself for not remembering to do that Saturday night.

The dessert table was my next favorite.  We made a bunch of random treats and then people brought cakes that we added to the mix.  There was a ton of sweet stuff to eat and it was a big hit.  
We got treat bags too so everyone could take some home with them.

A few members of the YW presidency made all the random treats.

The little snow backdrop was behind the musicians.  We had a little trio come... piano, violin, and voice.
It was beautiful.

I loved all the banners and garlands we had around...

These tomato cage trees were inspired by Pinterest. 
(I still need to get my cages out of my garden and clean them up so I can have some at home.)

The rest of these are various table decorations we made/borrowed.

It was a grand party.  We all ate like kings, enjoyed a little nativity by the primary children, some other great musical entertainment, and a special night to celebrate the season.  Something else that made it fun was we had the young women serve everyone their dinner, which ended up pretty great too.  We weren't trying to out-do anyone or win any competitions.  We just wanted to make it feel special.  We decided since the YW of our ward were only in charge of one party and it was the Christmas one, we would make it fantastic and festive.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"We've got a first timer right here."

As I tried to decide what to title this post I could hear these words from Big Daddy.  So conjure up your best Adam Sandler voice and say it again.  "We've got a first timer right here."  Tyler went to his first day of preschool on Wednesday.  The child development class at my mom's high school puts on a preschool twice a year.  It is just for an hour and a half and the students get to entertain the kids in all kinds of ways and teach them a thing or two.  Tyler was so excited to go to school with Marshall.  

I only stuck around for a minute (I headed out to run errands solo, yes!!!) and snapped a couple pictures. It was cute to see Tyler so eager to participate and Marshall was good at making sure Tyler kept up and didn't get lost or anything.  I told Marshall before we got there that he might have to help Tyler feel comfortable there and might have to help them understand what Tyler was saying.  You could tell that Marshall was happy to help his little brother and felt some real responsibility with that job.
I love my big boys.  They are changing so much every day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So Real.

Sometimes I suffer from anxiety.  I get a tightness in my chest that makes me feel like I can't completely breathe and my stomach gets all yucky feeling.  Like I'm going to toss my cookies if I don't get some good deep breaths.  I started noticing in within the last year I think and it was usually during stressful moments.  Notice I said moments.  Like the end of a nail biting soccer/basketball game or when I am oh so close to winning a prize at Bunco.  (Yes... I know... I have real problems.)

Well, in the last few months I've noticed it progress to actual moments of stress, and I think I've identified a few triggers.  For me it is not worrying about the future, or whether my kids or I will be safe at any given moment.  It is not when I am busier than busy.  And it is not when I feel like I am spiraling out of control (as I'm sure all of us mothers do from time to time).  For me it all seems to be related to one or more of these three things:

  • Being asked to do something that seems clearly impossible.
  • Worrying about money.
  • The risk of a confrontation.
It is so weird to me because things I could completely understand others getting anxious over (you know... like real problems) don't always phase me.  I have a fairly carefree attitude and I can go with just about any flow.  Unless it's a stupid one.  Stupid people just bug.  I'm beginning to realize I am not the only one that has these feelings and I'm wondering if there is some magic spell to help alleviate these attacks.  Like a nap, or some ice cream, or a good fit of laughter.

Anyway... I'm beginning to feel like a big whiner, but that's not what I'm trying to do at all.  I'm just keeping it real.  And reaching out to anyone that needs to know I feel their pain -or their chest tightening, tummy twisting symptoms.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3rd

It is windy outside again today and I woke up feeling kind of bitter about it.  Until I remembered that 6 years ago today it was also kind of windy.  I remember being outside the temple in my short sleeved wedding dress.  I remember refusing to buy a dress with long sleeves or some kind of coat to keep me warm, even though it was December.  I also remember being a little cold on account of the wind, but it was bearable.  So today I'm going to be a little less hateful of the wind and just enjoy the trip down memory lane that it gave me.
I love you Colby.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Thankful

We headed up to the cabin last night for a little early celebration with the Stratton family.  We have our schedules packed full this weekend so we got a jump on the festivities with our giant feast the night before.  There was a fair amount of snow on the ground, so we made sure to get up there early enough to play in the cold stuff.  The kids loved it!

Giving each other hugs...

The boys and I built ourselves a little snowman.  
I'm so glad Colby's sister Cierra showed up and grabbed my camera to take a few pictures.

The snowman borrowed Daddy's hat.

The boys (mainly Marshall, I guess) spent a good 10 minutes posing for pictures around the snowman.

Tyler snacked on a giant carrot... the one that was not chosen for the snowman's nose.

The snow was a fantastic distraction from our growling bellies and napless afternoon.

There's our handsome Daddy.  He kept busy stacking wood and frying a turkey.

Marshall kept face planting in the snow.  He thought it was great that you could just fall right over and it didn't really hurt.  When I took this picture he had been laying there for a while and I asked him if his face was getting cold.  He told me no and informed me that you could even breathe with your face in the snow.

We are so thankful for so many things.  Thankful for our family, our legacy, our love.  Basically everything.
Happy thanksgiving!