Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gabe: Two Months

It doesn't even seem possible that our sweet guy is two months old today.  How did two months already come and go? {Although Andrew said it seems like it should be longer because being in the hospital feels like it was years ago with all that has been going on these past few months. #true}

Gabe, you are such a good baby. You have a really great temperament. You have changed so much from the tiny peanut you were on your birth day.  I love being your mama so much! I am so grateful for you, sweet boy!

This Month:
You are so strong. You lift your head and can hold it up so well.  You've started smiling lots this month.  I love your sweet smile.  You are wearing 3 month clothes and they fit great most of the time.  Sometimes a 3-6 month outfit seems to fit better.

You eat all the time.  You are quite the little chunk.  You typically eat every 2.5-3 hours.  This includes nighttime.  You may have one stretch that is about 4-5 but lately you seem to want to eat as often as possible. You eat typically 3-4 ounces during your feedings. You take your feedings from a bottle so you can control how quickly it comes out. You have been much happier since we made that adjustment.

You have gotten into a nice little routine (or so it seems). You take two long naps each day {morning and afternoon} and smaller catnap around dinner time.  You are usually asleep for the night by 8.  Sometimes you stretch out until your next feeding, sometimes not.  You typically wake for the day around 6:30 or 7 the next morning.  You fall asleep easily and love to be swaddled.  You don't take a paci {we've tried}.

-to stretch out.
-to watch your brothers play.
-when mommy or daddy talk to you.
-listen to stories with your brothers.
-walks in your Baby Bjorn.
-to eat.
-bath time.

-tummy time
-getting out of the bath
-car seat {you may be out growing this though}

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Fun

I love Halloween.  Which is crazy because my family never really participated in Halloween when I was younger.  But I knew that when I had kids I wanted this little holiday to be full of fun, traditions, and just making memories.  I adore fall and think that Halloween is one of the best parts.  I HATE anything scary so we don't focus on that part..again, just the fun!

We are moving the weekend of Halloween this year so our entire house will be packed up.  But, Andrew and I will still be doing trick or treating and as much festive things that day. We won't be able to do everything but we will sure get in an activity, a treat, and a flick!

Here are some really fun ways to make Halloween special for your little:

{O N E | Themed Lunch}
I love making my kids meals special on holidays.  And thanks to Pinterest the ideas are endless! Here are just a few.

source: mummies/brooms/

{T W O | Craft}
We like to do lots of crafts at our house.  There are so many fun things to do with your kids no matter the age.  A few years ago we did the foot-print craft below.  But you paint pumpkins, make a stained glass pumpkin, create a candy corn man (I did this with my firsties when I taught).  I good craft is a really fun part of our day.

source via

{T H R E E | Activity}
Now that Hudson and Beau are older, I like to do activities with them to facilitate listening and learning.  This can be really simple.  The idea below can be tailored to your kids ages.  For example, I might make a pattern using candy and have Hudson re-create it, or take pieces away in the AB pattern and see if he can fill them in correctly. Then, with Beau, we may just sort the candies into like groups.   

{F O U R | Treat}
Themed treats are some of my favorite things to make.  The boys get so excited to get in the kitchen and bake with me (or really anyone who will have them!). So for the holidays I like to choose something we can make and share throughout the week.  This is a favorite of ours for sure!

{F I V E | Movie}
Every year, ABC plays It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  I am a sucker for Charlie Brown.  I just love the whole gang! After trick or treating, checking out their loot and choosing a piece, we change the boys into their Halloween pj's and sit down to watch this together.  

What are some ways you make Halloween fun for your little ones?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Recap: The final few

I can't believe we are down to our last few weekends here before we move.  This coming weekend will be our last full weekend! How did it come so quickly?!

Friday evening Andrew came home from work and we took the boys to the park to play.  It was kind of windy but I want to spend as much time outdoors as we can before winter hits.  Our boys love playing outside so winters can be tough when it gets so, so cold.

The boys' Mimi sent them a new movie in the mail (since most of ours are already packed) so after dinner we did a round of baths and then snuggled on the couch with ice cream as a treat.  I love sweet, simple nights in with our crew.

Saturday I made the boys pancakes.  Hudson has been on this kick of wanting to pick his up to eat so he just gets some peanut butter and is good to go! Beau loves his syrup.  Both devoured almost the whole batch (there were 6!)

After breakfast they played and Gabe napped while Andrew and I started packing some more, taking down some bigger furniture.  It was a really productive morning.  Our town participates in something called the Color Drive.  All the small towns have food vendors, craft vendors and tons of garage sales.  We went to the square and looked around and got the boys corn dogs for lunch.  It was such a beautiful day, and not too chilly in the sun.

A friend of Andrew's stopped by with his family (they live about an hour away but were going around on the Color Drive) so our boys got down for later naps.  They didn't get up from nap until dinner time! I made breakfast for dinner because, yum, then, since it was so nice the night before, we did baths and hung out again! The boys were super tired from all the playing and being outside so went to bed their usual time even though they napped late.  Andrew and I watched The Fault in Our Stars. Serious tear jerker.  I knew it would be but goodness.  And though I loved it for the love story (I mean, c'mon--Gus? Sweetheart!) I also watched it from the parental stand point.  I kept thinking how grateful I am for healthy kiddos and how I couldn't imagine walking through what the parents did.

Sunday Andrew woke up bright and early and headed out to the tree stand.  Well, not bright.  It was too early to be bright.  The boys and I slept in, by which I mean 7, and then began our day of play.  We were outside most of the morning during Gabe's nap.  Then, when Andrew got home, I ran a few errands.  After nap the boys ran errands while I snuggled Gabe.  Then we grilled hamburgers for dinner.  Probably one of the last times we grill this year. Sad day.

It was a pretty low-key weekend but it was a good one. I love weekends that we get so much together time without rushing from one thing to the next.  I know these next few weekends are going to be so hectic I really relish these with nothing to do!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and have a wonderful week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday: Oct 17

I love every time Friday comes around because, well, it's Friday. But it is also just that much closer to being our last Friday before we move.  Just two more Fridays after this week and we are moving! I can't believe it's coming up so quickly.

I'm linking up with the usual today.  So grateful for these link-ups and the blogs they have opened me up to. Truly love this blogger world!




{O N E}
Our sweet Gabe is 8 weeks old today.  I can't believe it has been that long since we brought our sweet boy home.  I can't believe we have been a family of five for 8 weeks. I hate how quickly it is going but at the same time I love how alert he is.  I love his smiles when he wakes up and sees me.  I love the way he stretches.  He loves to eat.  Gabe loves to be swaddled.  He is a good sleeper, finally.  He takes a good long stretch from around 8 pm to midnight or 1.  Then he goes every three hours between feedings until he gets up at 6:30 or 7.

{T W O}
The boys have decided on their Halloween costumes.  It is going to be a SUPER fun time trick-or-treating with them this year. {Hint, hint}

{T H R E E}
I've been planning Beau's birthday party.  I love that his birthday is in the fall.  We are doing a pumpkin theme this year at our new house.  I've picked out the menu and the games we will be playing.  And the cupcakes y'all--they are going to be divine! The flavors are s'more, caramel apple, and pumpkin pie! Delicious!

That's all I have this week! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  We will be packing, packing, packing! ;)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Embracing the Chaos

It seems like the days are just flying by.  I look around our house and can't believe it is mid-October.  I see the stacks of boxes everywhere: the garage, the kitchen, the basement.  Our decorations are down and to someone who likes to keep a tidy home, the mess of less {you know what I am talking about..the living in a home transitioning to move} can be a bit overwhelming.  Add to that two toddlers and a newborn and being home all day and trying to run a business.  And the fact that I leave for a quick work trip just a few days after we move and host Beau's birthday party the next weekend after that...

I could let all of that overwhelm me.  Suffocate me.  Blind me. And there are definite moments when all I can think about is all I have to get done and the fact that I just want to clean something.  But I am trying really hard to focus on the bigger picture.  

Never in a million years did I think that this would be my reality.  Moving back close to friends and family before the holidays.  Knowing that a trip to see a friend would be minutes versus hours.  That feeling of not having to pack a bag just to visit cousins {unless it is an overnight sleepover for the kids but then still, the bag is not mine}.  The giddiness I feel to know Andrew and I will be able to take a date night because of the countless sitter options we will have again.  And not to mention, date night options closer than an hour's drive.  My heart is just so, so full.  

This weekend I was reading Melanie Shankle's The Antelope in the Living Room.  I laughed the entire way through that book and in the midst of laughing was dealt some deep thinking because that is just her style. She writes like she is talking to her closest friends and funny aside, there are just some things every good friend shares with the other.  As I reflected on some of the anecdotes and wisdom she shared, I thought about Andrew and I's journey, all the unexpected adventures, ups and downs of our marriage.  I wouldn't trade any of it.  Even the challenges.  They helped shape us.  They guided us to down roads we otherwise wouldn't travel.  They drew us closer and caused us to love deeper.  

In the midst of all the chaos of the next month or so, I know this is just another chapter in our story.  A chapter that has some stress but so much joy.  A chapter that we will look back on and see how we grew, how we yielded to honor one another through the stress and schedules and newness of life back home with three.  I just know that this chapter is going to become one of my favorites.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday: Random

Oh happy day!! I kept thinking yesterday that it was Friday..just wishful thinking.  I love the weekends when Andrew is home with us.  On to my random five, linking up with

{O N E}
The bags I ordered for the boys to trick-or-treat with came in this week.  I love them.  They are so adorable.  They can be used each year since I chose bags that didn't coordinate with a costume.  I went ahead and got them all the same one so there wouldn't be any fighting over who got what! I don't see the sweet scarecrow bags anymore but I ordered from Pottery Barn Kids and there are tons of other cute options!

{T W O}
This weekend is my mother-in-laws 50th birthday so we had flowers sent to her at work.  She is an aide at the middle school in our hometown.  I know she will be so surprised.  I mean, who doesn't love to get flowers at work? Plus I just love the fall colors used in the bouquet and the florist always does an amazing job {They did our wedding flowers..swoon!}

{T H R E E}
I can be terrible about getting in all my veggie servings and doing the Fix I have to get in 4 servings a day.  I don't like to eat huge servings at dinner and after having one with lunch and for a snack I still have one serving left. What's a girl to do? I have been adding spinach to my morning Shakeology! I make it the same go-to way I always do but just add in my can't even taste it! It is the quickest, easiest way to get another serving in. Sooooo good! 

{F O U R}
I am obsessed with the swaddle blankets my sister-in-law gifted us with Gabe.  If you are pregnant, know someone pregnant, you must check out Aden and Anais.  The material is so breathable and easy to wrap.  I got a four pack and love them.  Even my husband commented on how they were the best blankets.  I am gifting them to all my pregnant friends.  Get you some!!

{F I V E}
I kept seeing coverage of CNN's story of Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old choosing to schedule her death to eliminate the suffering to come associated with her brain tumor.  This eloquent response popped up in my newsfeed and I just wanted to cry as I read it.  It echoes my sentiments. May I always remember the power of our God no matter what battle I face.  May I have the courage of this woman if I ever face my own battle. May I always know he is a God of miracles, and, even in the absence of a miracle, he is still my Creator who loves me. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the trenches

Do you ever have those days? Days where you feel like all you've done is correct? Redirect? Put your kids in time-out? Days where your patience is short and the grace you extend seems to be limited.  Days when it seems like your kids are constantly bickering, crying, needing a referee?

Motherhood is hard.  There are days when my head hits the pillow and all I can think about are the ways I am failing.  Ways I should have parented better.  Vows I make to be better tomorrow.  I want so desperately to be the best mom; best wife; best {fill in the blank}. I am overwhelmed with the feeling that every choice, word, action has an affect on who my children become.  As mothers, we have this enormous responsibility to raise our children into good people.

People who love others; are kind and considerate; contribute to society; have morals and standards; love Christ and follow him wholeheartedly. This list goes on forever.

There are days when my head hits the pillow and I just let the tears fall and wonder if I can really do this.  When I doubt if God knew what he was doing entrusting these boys to me.  Can I really handle it all and do it well?

And that is when he reminds me that I can't. Not on my own.  He doesn't want me to do anything on my own.  He wants to do everything with me.  

I am so thankful for His grace.  For grace that is enough.  That I can be an extension of that grace to my children.  I am thankful for forgiveness when I mess up and yell or am short with the boys.  I am thankful that he can use me, in all my imperfections, to teach my boys.  I am thankful that he did trust me with my three.  I am thankful that on the days when I feel absolutely lost and not enough, he is there to remind me that I am.

And one day, I will blink and my boys won't be boys but men.  The sleepless nights, whining, bickering will be gone.  There will be no one tugging on my shirt (or spitting up on it).  No one needing one more drink, or story, or snack.  Five more minutes will be a question about curfew instead of snuggling.  So I am thankful that on even the really hard days, God reminds me of that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Back Story

I shared with you all our big news but I think the story of how this whole move came together is even more exciting.

Andrew and I had been discussing moving closer to home for awhile...honestly, probably since we found out we were expecting Gabe.  We felt there were things the boys were missing out on, there were things I wanted to have in my life and then having three boys so close in age, the idea of doing that all way from our closest friends and family just didn't seem like something we wanted to do.  We began to pray about.  We tossed around where we would move to, when that would take place. But ultimately we knew we just weren't prepared to move.

Fast forward to August and we were bringing Gabe home from the hospital.  Our conversations of moving were still happening but the idea of moving to Decatur and the possibility of Andrew working from home some and commuting some began to be discussed as an option.  I mean, what is another half an hour if you can work from home some? I began to jokingly say during those first couple of weeks home, wouldn't it be great if we could put our house on the market this spring and be closer to everyone before Gabe's first birthday?  That time frame sort of became our "plan."

Andrew jokingly asked a co-worked (who used to live in our neighborhood) if she wanted to move back.  She said she wished she would but couldn't but knew someone who was actually looking to move and who had looked at our house years ago when it was for sale. Andrew's co-worked contacted her friend, who contacted Andrew.

Long story short, before Gabe was a month old, we had a contract on our house!! This is huge because houses don't always sale quickly in our new town. Houses that were on the market when Andrew and I began looking over a year ago are still on the market.  God thing #1

With a fairly quick closing, Andrew and I came to a conclusion on some things pretty quickly.  Here is what we knew:
-we knew we had to move in at the beginning of November since our November calendar had something every weekend after the 1st
-we knew the area we wanted to move to
-we knew that our options we a bit limited since we had just purchased some investment properties to flip

All of those things, plus we had to find a house we actually LIKED! All in basically a weekend.

Andrew set up some showings for us to walk through on our weekend home. One home was a for sale by owner.  From the pictures online I could tell I liked it.  {If there is one trait about me that hasn't changed, I make decisions quickly.  I can pretty much tell you instantly my thoughts and they don't typically change. My gut is usually what I stick with}

That particular house was the last one we looked at.  It was in a neighborhood we wanted.  In fact, it was just minutes away {WALKING DISTANCE} from two of my closest friends. Homes in this neighborhood are rarely on the market long. I'm talking like within a couple of weeks they often are sold. It had amazing bones.  It is move in ready but of course, unless you build, you can always find ways that you want to change a house to make it your own.  The couple selling the home, actually went to the same church we attended before moving.  Wondering why it hadn't already sold, the owner told us they listed in July but then vacationed all of August so weren't home to show the house. God thing #2.

We were open about our situation and time frame.  They said those restraints weren't an issue.  We drove home Sunday, Andrew made an offer and it was accepted. God thing #3

There is still so much about how this new future looks {Andrew commuting, Hudson switching preschools, etc} but I am so grateful for how it has all worked out. I honestly can't wrap my head around it sometimes but the boxes remind me that it is happening! I love how 1 can see God's hand throughout this entire ordeal.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Recap: News

Happy Monday, friends! This weekend has been a busy one.

Friday was a super busy day.  Andrew went into work a bit earlier than normal since he was taking most of the day off.  I had my six week post partum appointment and since my doctor is an hour away and Gabe hates his car seat (at least that is what we think based on our trips with him thus far) Andrew was going to keep all three boys at home.  So. Much. Simpler.

When I got home, Andrew tagged me in and he was off to the deer stand.  Bow season has officially begun and he was eager to get out there.  None of the boys seemed to want a nap that afternoon but Hudson and Beau played together really well (for like the first time that week!) while I felt like I was having a nursing marathon.

After dinner and baths (I'll spare you the details because it got a little hairy there) my mom showed up.  She came into town to help us with our weekend project.

Which leads me to our weekend project.  But first...

As I was catching up on blog reading, I read a lot of posts regarding why bloggers had started their blogs.  I recall why I started this blog.  I even re-read my first post.  We were moving.  Not across the world but two hours away and at the time that seemed like an enormous move for our little family of four.  It incorporated HUGE changes for both Andrew and I as he took a new job and my career path changed drastically.  And for our boys, who had always had a working mom, now had a working from home mom. With all this change I wanted a way to stay connected.  I wanted a way to document this time in our family's life.  I wanted to share what we had going on.  I wanted to look back 10, 20 years from then and be able to read about our life, for our kids to have a common place with memories and photos.

Now, a little more than a year since we moved away, we are moving home.  Our big project this weekend was packing.  We packed up a majority of our house.  I still can't believe that we will be back home in just a month. And I can't wait to share the story of how all of this happened with you all because it is truly is something God orchestrated.

I am sure someone, somewhere is reading this thinking, "You were only there a year.  You moved for his job.  So why the heck are you moving home? Couldn't you have saved yourself a lot of hassle if you just would stay or not have moved at all?"

What I know is this.  When I read that first post, I still know with 100% certainty that God opened the door for Andrew to take this job.  I know that we were supposed to move here.  I know this because in the last year, we have changed.  Andrew and I have changed in ways that would not have happened if we wouldn't have moved.  We have grown up.  We have learned to lean on each other as husband and wife first.  We learned to talk through issues, big and small.  We learned the preciousness of our little family; just the four (now five) of us and how to do life together.  We grew in our faith.  We learned how to trust God with situations that normally would have caused a lot of worry.  And God showed us what it was like to be blessed because of our belief in His faithfulness.  Andrew became a better husband and father.  I became a better wife and mother. I'm not saying any of this to pat us on the back.  It is simply me saying that God brought us here to teach us, grow us, stretch us.

So why move back? There are things we miss.  Things we want for our kids.  Things we want for ourselves. Things that just aren't as readily available in such a small town.  So we prayed about it.  We prayed about the timing and if we were supposed to move back.  And God answered.

I can't wait to share with you all how He answered.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Oh Hey Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! Around here this weekend is going to be super busy! Today is my 6 week post-partum check up.  It is also the first weekend of deer season (which my Mister is PUMPED about! Any other ladies relate??) And there is another activity that will be keeping me busy all weekend (all month really).  I can't wait to share with you what that is next week!

Anyway- on to today's post.  I am linking up with some fantastic ladies.

{O N E}
This week we sat down to let the boys watch a show before bed.  To say that Andrew and I are a little over some of their go-to choices is an understatement. I was flipping through the channels and happened to see Full House starting.  Oh my goodness, Hudson and Beau loved it! They cracked up! I loved sharing this piece of my childhood with them and also having something wholesome to watch besides Mickey! ;)

{T W O}
Is anyone else just ecstatic that it is October??? I love this month.  It marks the start of fall in my mind! I love watching the leaves change, the crops come out.  I love to begin my Christmas shopping and decorating my home.  I love changing my candles, soaps and scents to all things pumpkin.  Bath and Body's Pumpkin Cupcake is burning now! Divine!

{T H R E E}
TGIT (Thank Goodness It's Thursday)  Back in the day it was TGIF but times are a-changing.  I am loving that fall television is back! I just love shows starting back up and this fall How to Get Away with Murder caught my eye! I tuned in last week to the premiere and oh my goodness- I LOVE IT! I love Viola Davis! I love the idea of the show.  I am excited to watch it unfold this season.

{F O U R}
Next month is our sweet Beau bear's birthday and I have already got my wheels turning.  Last year the weather on his party day was beautiful.  I am hoping that it will be that way this year because I am planning an outdoor party.  He is going to be two and has lots of older buddies (perks of having a big brother) so I am planning an outdoor party, harvest themed! I can't wait to really get busy!

{F I V E}
Now that fall is officially here, it is time to retire my summer brights and embrace my deeper, more muted tones.  I'm talking nail polish.  A few weeks ago I had a fantastic deep cappuccino color on my fingers (shellac) and I got OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark on my toes.  This shade is fabulous.  I am going to try out OPI's Got the Blues for Red. I'll let you know what I think.  Any fall favorites you have??

Happy weekend all!!   

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our family of {FIVE}

Trying to play catch up.  My sweet, talented friend who took my maternity photos also took our first family of five photos just a week after Gabe was born.  I love, love, love them.  Just so  many sweet moments captured.  I look at these now and can't believe how much Gabe has grown and changed.  They don't stay little long. 

So blessed to be these boys mommy.  So thankful that God entrusted them to my care.  May I always parent in wisdom and grace and with His guidance. 

A little photo dump. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Goals

I just love turning that page in my calendar to the next month.  Especially when that month is a lovely month in my favorite season. 

I love fall.  I feel like I await it's arrival all year.  It has all the best parts of the year in my opinion.  I love it all.

There is so much I need to catch you up on but first I wanted to write down a few goals.  This month is going to BUSY, even more so than usual so I want to make sure I have a few things I can check off my list..just to help me keep the sanity. 

I started this short, sweet, quick workout program on Monday and I love it so much.  I have done it before so I know it will help me get back into working out and will be something I can squeeze in each day.  

I love blogging so much.  Writing my own but reading so many as well! It has been something that has fallen by the wayside since Gabe's birth and even though I try to read as much as I can it is hard and I miss my "blog friends" (although I feel I know you more than you me! Ha!) I also started this blog to document our life and I am doing a poor job of that..I mean Gabe is almost six weeks! Shame, shame, shame!

Before Gabe was born, I wrote down some specific activities I wanted to do with the boys each month.  Fun things that correspond to the months activities and season.  I want to make time for them.  To see them, listen to them, and just be with them.  They have been so great about playing with each other and being my helpers as we adjust to mom vs. three at home and all that entails.  But I never want them to feel left out, slighted.  I want them to always feel my love for them. Even in simple things. 

I am a planner and typically start to buy Christmas in October. I'd like to do more before then but I just haven't become that organized yet.  My goal is always to be done a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving so I can have it all wrapped that first week of December.  I love to see the gifts under the tree and just spend that precious month soaking up time with our family--not stressing over shopping! 

I love to read and typically read daily but when my Kindle went kaput at the end of July, and then Gabe's birth in August, my reading became hit or miss.  I am a calmer, happier, more well-rounded person when I get some reading in.  So I am making it a point to do this daily!

I'll be checking back in with you at the end of the month to let you know how I did! What are your goals for October?