Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mary Ella's Thanksgiving Feast

Today was Mary Ella's Thanksgiving feast at school. I've loved seeing the pictures from all my friends' kids at their feasts and so I couldn't wait to go. This year she was a pilgrim. 

Here is last year's picture of my little Indian. 

The kids put on a short program for all of us. They sang, "Praise Him, Praise Him," "Count Your Many Blessings," and a funny turkey song which was clearly their favorite. :) 
Here they are before the program and feast getting geared up in their Pilgrim suits.

The kids and teachers work so hard to make everything look perfect for the feast.
Here were the place settings.

Ms. Staci made place cards for all of her students and wrote why she was thankful for each of them.
I thought this was sweet. 

A teepee and a very Native American-esque napkin ring. :)

The artwork they've been working on for the past few weeks. They've been busy!

Proud of her work!

Best photo I could get of the 3 of them.

 Emma Kate was happy to eat several of the place cards while we watched the program.

Here is Mary Ella's Thanksgiving artwork. 
I think this one is funny because it says, "I am very thankful for helping my mommy wash dishes."

Can't see it very well, but I love that she said, "Sambo."

So thankful for my little pilgrim and her hard work this year.
And of course for the teachers and staff at the school/church who put the feast together.
I didn't get a picture of the food, but we ate the good stuff - turkey and dressing, green beans, corn, rolls and dessert too. The perfect start to what I'm sure will be a week of monumental weight gain.
Cheers to that!

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Catching Up a Bit - in List Form.

I don't particularly love to write in list form, but when you've been gone from the blogging world for what feels like a million years, that's what you have to do to catch up. I can't believe this week is Thanksgiving. Does it feel early to anyone else? Or did it just sneak up on me? Is this how life is going to be from now on? Just fast fast fast? Maybe so. Oh well, guess I need to figure out a way to keep this blog going and live life at the same time. But I digress... Here are a few things I'm thankful for:

1. I'm particularly thankful for medicine right now. 
Emma Kate and I have had quite the bout with the 'crud' over the past week and things are finally looking better. I'm on day 3 of a Z-pack and Emma Kate is finishing up her antibiotic from last week. She nearly had to be admitted because her lungs were so sick but thankfully my pediatrician let me plead my way out of going to the hospital and we were able to recover (restfully) at home. Then I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, an ear infection AND bronchitis on Sunday and so the last week hasn't been too fun for me. Thankfully I'm on the mend.

2. An (overall) healthy baby
My littlest is 7 months old now. 7 MONTHS. And yes I realize I haven't updated since she was 5 months old but I promise I'll try to do that. Soon.

3. Thankful for my Dad. 
He came to town last night and went to Mary Ella's Thanksiving feast with us today at her school, and he took Sam and Mary Ella up to the compound a little early so that I could rest and have some time to recover. Thanks Dad!!!

4. My phone
I'm thankful for my phone because it allows me to capture and remember all the crazy moments of my everyday life that I would otherwise have already forgotten due to the constant go-go-go of our lives. Like for instance... as I'm typing this blog post, I'm currently dumping 990 photos/videos from my phone to my computer. THAT'S how behind I was. So behind that my phone would not take another photo. I'm also thankful that even when I'm not blogging, my readers can see what's going on with us thanks to that handy dandy Instagram feed over there. ------>

5. Home improvements. 
We've done a few new things around the house that hopefully I'll be able to blog about soon. I was able to get a desk built into my office (yes, I said my office... hehehe) and so now I am blogging from my official blogging headquarters. Which is also a sewing/crafting/present wrapping/glue-gunning headquarters. And its where I could spend all of my time - IF I had a lot of free time. Which I don't. Which, again, is ok for me right now. Other home improvements include a way overdue deck staining, some new playroom decor, a gallery wall revamp in the den and tomorrow I'll finally have some decent storage space in my laundry room thanks to some new cabinetry. Again, just thankful that the Lord has given us the means to make some of these changes/additions to the home and I constantly pray we are using our resources wisely. :)
Here are some unofficial photos and I'll blog more about this stuff later.

6. Revelations about laundry.  
This is gonna sound nuts but I feel the need to write about it because, after all, it truly was a revelation to me and still is. And before I begin, let me say that I've learned to take 'cleaning and laundry' advice the same way I take 'How to Raise Your Kids' advice - meaning what works for one mama may or may not work for another. So I will start with that. This is not a solution for everyone. But I feel like it has changed my LIFE so I will blog about it here and maybe it will help someone else. 
Fact: I do not like doing laundry. 
It has always been the one thing that I can never keep up with, never put away at the right moment, etc. Just a thorn in my side, really. And I've tried EVERY sort of laundry schedule on the planet. Every momma on Pinterest and any I'm-The-Most-Organized-Mom-On-The-Planet blog always talks about how they do a load of laundry every day and that's how they stay on top of it. So for the past 4 years that's what I've tried to do.... to no avail. For me, anyways. I have tried the "get up before you kids wake up and put on a load of laundry while you drink your coffee" type schedule, and for me, it just doesn't work. Cause I'll put the load in the washer, then before the clothes make it to the dryer or out of the dryer and to the closets, I've forgotten about it and we're off to the park or preschool or lost in a pile of Legos or having a movie marathon on my bed, or whatever, and then it would just sit there and then the next day would come and I'd feel defeated because I had a NEW load to do and the first load was still sitting there.
Then finally I came across one blog in which the writer, a mom herself, said she does all her laundry in ONE DAY. Then she's done with it. And I thought, "Hmm, now ya know what? That just might work." And by golly, she was right.  
I decided from then on that I'd do ALL of my laundry on one day of the week; for me, it's on Fridays, because we are usually always home every Friday (at least for the majority of the day) and it just seemed like the best choice. By Friday we're usually ready to just hang at home because we've had a week of going nonstop and on many Fridays we are leaving that evening to go to Florence, so it's a great day to just chill for us. (We are home on Mondays too, but let's face it, Mondays are, well, Mondays, and the thought of starting off the week with one of the most daunting tasks ever just made me want to vomit. Literally.) And for 4 weeks straight I've been doing ALL my laundry EVERY Friday, start to finish, like a well-oiled-momma-machine, and let me tell you: LIFE CHANGING. THERE IS NO GREATER FEELING THAN FINISHING 5-6 LOADS OF LAUNDRY AND KNOWING YOU DONT HAVE TO EVEN TOUCH THE LAUNDRY AGAIN FOR 7 WHOLE DAYS. No greater feelings, I tell ya. So there's my take on that. And as a side note (since I've already written a novel on this one point), it has made all the other house chores seem easier for some reason; I guess because in the back of my mind, I know that the laundry is done and so I'm fine with doing everything else. (And another side note: remember the home made detergent? I'm still using the same batch from September 11th and not about to run out!)

7. Faithful Readers. 
I'm thankful for the few of you who just read 30 minutes worth of my opinions on laundry. 

8. Mary Ella's teacher.
I've said this before, but I could not be happier with her 4K teacher this year. I've been thrilled with every teacher we've had at her preschool, but Ms. Staci is absolutely one of a kind. There are very few people in the world that you come across and just know, without a doubt, that they were meant to do what they do. And she is one of those people. She is nurturing, forgiving, compassionate, and her love for Jesus comes through in every aspect of her teaching. She welcomes Mary Ella each day with arms open wide, and each time she sees the kids it is like the first day of school all over again. Mary Ella loves her so and is having so much fun learning from her. 

9. My husband.
Sometimes I'm not so fun to be around. Especially on days when the house is way messy and the kids have been particularly psycho-bat-crazy and all I want to do is crawl under the couch and cry.
But he puts up with me. And he takes care of me and the kids on days like these, so I'm thankful, VERY thankful, for this guy. :)

10. Bacon and the Sea Salt Selection of Ghirardelli Chocolates. In no particular order.
I don't think you need an explanation. But yes, I did eat this combo for breakfast one day last week.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Sister's Baby Shower

I have probably failed to mention that I'm going to be an aunt - again - in just a couple months.
Betsy is pregnant with a sweet baby boy and is due January 22nd. 
My aunts hosted a baby shower for her a week ago up at the compound. Emma Kate and I drove up and enjoyed spending the day with my favorite ladies. Here are some pictures.

Emma Kate and aunt Betsy

The drinks (fruit tea and frappucinos)

Amanda made this bunting. So cute.

I bought the invitations on Etsy.

Kristi's brilliant idea - just a few limbs from her back yard adorned with some ribbon scraps.
Simple and cute!

Emma Kate and Ann Marie

Betsy has a gallery wall in her nursery above the changing table and mom appliqued these designs for some of the frames. Of course.

They have a beagle and a Boston terrier, so of course they had to make the nursery wall.

Emma Kate had fun with all the ribbons and wrapping paper.

I do custom wrapping paper if anyone is interested. Sharpie Creations, Inc.

Betsy and Elizabeth

EK and Manda!

Can't wait for this baby to get here!
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