Friday, October 28, 2011


Oh my goodness!

We sold our house today. We bought a new house today. We are renters today. We are home owners today. Confused? :)

The people who bought our home from us are graciously allowing us to rent from them for the next week while we get moved into our new house. We are so excited because this is giving us time to paint the kids' rooms (Lauren wants purple, oh dear) and do a few minor repairs and clean! clean! clean! before we move in!!!

And, about that new house....

we. love. it. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ain't She Purty?

Like the new blog look? Squeal!!!!!

Me! Too!

A HUGE thanks to Molly at Life Made Lovely Designs. I think she made this blog pretty stinkin' lovely, don't you? :)

Also, this company and sweet Molly were SUPER easy to work with. I literally emailed them yesterday and have a blog up TODAY! WOW!!!! Molly took my ideas and just ran with them...totally and exactly and perfectly what I had wanted but had no idea how to do!!!! LOVE IT!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

So when I was pregnant with Easton I started craving peanut butter on everything and in everything and almost every day. I'd always liked peanut butter but never just had to have it until then. The obsession has continued on even though I'm not pregnant anymore. I am. not. pregnant. :)

My Aunt Juju taught me how to make the most simple and delectable peanut butter cookies I've ever had and today I am gonna share them with you. Be warned, they are dangerous. Because of their extremely short ingredient list and the ease of making them they can be made up at almost any time. Even at 9 pm right before bed when all you really need in the world is just a peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together (I use my KitchenAid mixer because I use it for everything and I am too lazy to do it by hand.)

Use a cookie scoop (or teaspoon) to form your cookies.

If you are feeling extra feisty (or hormonal or tired or....) dump a handfull of chocolate chips in there and mix it around good....nothing goes better together than peanut butter and chocolate. Seriously.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. I like mine to come out still a little soft because they do set up some after they are out.

Seriously SO GOOD and SO EASY!!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mamas and Movies

Yesterday was a great day. Shawn and I got up and got the kids and ourselves ready for church. Our good friend Stephen is our Sunday School teacher and we have been learning so much!

I thought Lauren looked so darn cute but she refused to smile for the camera. Oh well, real life, right?

Easton looked handsome too!

When we got home my mom was here ready to take me out to a movie! A movie!!! The two of us!!! We were talking on the way there that we couldn't even remember the last time we had gone to a movie together. It was definitely before Lauren was born! It was time!

We were so excited before the movie that we had to stop and take a picture! I think we look a lot alike in this photo. :)

We met up with my awesome sister-in-law, Victoria and her mama, Pam. It was a lot of fun to hang out with them!!! We went to see The Help and it was so good!

Later on we met my dad at Lowe's and looked around for a bit.

Easton loves to ride in the cart. Thankfully they make these great cart covers, because otherwise...yuck!

I love this picture of my dad and Lauren because she was going in for a kiss. Ha! She sure loves her Big Papa!!!

It was such a great day and such a WONDERFUL break from all the packing and house stuff! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Love

This afternoon we headed to the pumpkin patch with the kids. We'd spent most of the morning packing up boxes and getting our garage organized for the move so it was definitely fun to get out and enjoy the awesome fall weather with the kiddos!
We went to this same pumpkin patch last year but must have gone when it wasn't as busy. This year they were having their costume party thing so there were a ton of people there. Of course, our shy little one was a little overwhelmed at first. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for her to warm up to all the fun. It's so hard to believe that last year at this time I was newly pregnant and this year our little man is here and our family has changed so much!

Easton was obsessed with the pumpkins and we could not get him to look away from them for anything. :)

I absolutely love this picture of my two babies. Lauren was so great to try to hold her bubba while we got the picture. She is the best big sister ever and he absolutely adores her.

Picking pumpkins! We actually didn't end up getting any. They were pretty picked over and since we are moving so soon we decided to just enjoy the pumpkins we already have at home.

Easton is teething right now so he chews on absolutely everything right now. He looks like such a big boy to me sitting up in the stroller.

I love this little girl more than words can express. She brings a joy to my life that I never even knew existed before her. I thank God every single day that he made me her mama. How lucky am I?

My heart swells when I see these two together. She is a daddy's girl and he loves her so much. I am a daddy's girl myself and I would want nothing less for my girl. There is something so special about that relationship.

She was just brave enough to stand on the hay bales that all the other kids were running through. She wanted me to go in with her but it was only for little ones so I couldn't. Even though we tried to reassure her, there were just too many kiddos running wild in there for her to feel comfortable enough to go for it.

For the record, we are a John Deere family (as evidenced by her sweet boots) but the only tractor available was this blue one... ;)

Of course, no visit to the pumpkin farm could be complete without a trip to their awesome farm playground!!! Do you see me there in the background? Yep, I had to climb up in there for her to play.

Look at these eyes! I die. Seriously - where did those bright blue babies come from?

Shawn even went into the barn with her. What a daddy, right?!?!

We had so much fun and both kids really enjoyed being outside. It was the best break from packing and stress over moving. :) I wonder what next year will look like...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Old House

A friend asked not too long ago if I was going to miss this house and I all too quickly responded with, "no, not really." I mean, we are excited to move. We've been dreaming of moving for a while now. We've wanted more space to roam both inside and out and even though we do love the house we are in now, we both always kind of knew (or hoped) it would be temporary.

We moved into our current home almost exactly three years ago. To some people (okay a majority of people) that might seem like a short time. Maybe even too short to make another move. But Shawn and I both feel really good about this move, about the home we are moving into, about the town our kids will come to know as their hometown. We hope to really settle in. Put down roots and make a ton of memories. We are excited to make this new home our dream home. It already has SO many of the qualities we've both dreamed about and we are confident that with some elbow grease, a little time, and a lot of love it can be perfect for us.

But, back to our current house. I realized after I popped off with the matter of fact answer that, no, we weren't all that attached to this house, that I was wrong. We are attached to it. And in the little things and day to day happenings in the last couple of weeks I have seen the walls and hallways and floors and yard with new eyes. And, I will miss it. For a million little reasons.

This house is where I really found my feet with being a stay at home mom. I can remember sitting on a barstool in our kitchen one day about a year into this journey. Lauren was down for a nap and I sat at the bar and cried and cried and cried. I had reached a point when I knew I was going to have to commit myself one hundred percent to this job and quit Painting Pictures of Egypt.

Lauren learned to walk on the hardwood floors of our kitchen. And soon became my biggest fan and helper. She even baptized herself in the guest bathroom toilet. Good times. Good times.

We celebrated Christmases and birthdays and anniversaries. We bought balloons and made more cakes and cookies than my thighs could ever need.

Lauren chased bunnies and played ring around the rosie in our backyard. Bubbles and chalk, though long washed away, left their mark. We found favorite bedtime stories and delighted in the little girl who begged to read them all just one more time.

We brought Easton home from the hospital. Lauren became a big sister. Shawn and I, parents of two. We fumbled through the early stages of sleep deprivation and learned that our hearts really do double in size. That we really can love each child completely and wholly and unconditionally.

Our marriage thrived. It struggled. It thrived again. There were arguments over dirty socks and cups left out. And there were special moments too. There were dates when we felt like kids again ourselves.

There are more. Some too precious to even write about. This home will always, always, have a very special place in my heart. Not for the brick and morter....but for the memories. For the life that was lived between those walls. I'm sure that even as we pack up the last of the boxes and move them to our new place, there will be tears. Because there are tears now. Because how do you leave a place that has so shaped you in such a short time? Because, how did I just now begin to realize it? Now, when I have such a short amount of time to remember and will the images of my children playing on the living room floor or sleeping in their very first bedrooms to stick in my mind?

Monday, October 17, 2011


I love to read and I want my kids to love to read too.

Sadly, though, I haven't been that great about being purposeful about reading to my kids while we are home. We always read bedtime stories, but we haven't ever really been consistent about setting aside time throughout the day to just sit and read together. Last week I did a little experiment...I brought out a bunch of different picture books and stories and we sat on the living room floor together and read. And read. And read. It was wonderful and it made me realize what a fun and beautiful bonding time we have been missing! Easton mostly just chewed on board books but Lauren seemed to really soak this special time up.

Then, last night, as I was catching up on blogs I read this post from one of my favorite bloggers. She found an article HERE about reading aloud chapter books to pre-schoolers. The thought behind it fascinated me and made A TON of sense! It seemed spot on to me from what I already know as an educator and what I already know about my sweet girl!

So, now I am so excited to decide what chapter book we are going to start with. I found a great list of ideas here and I think we will start small and work our way up. I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daughters and Mirrors

*I wrote this post for When You Rise but wanted to include it here for our memories too!*

It is a little unnerving having a daughter. I know what is ahead for her. I know the pressures she will face from this world. I know that she will question if she is pretty enough or good enough. The world will want her to believe she is only as good as the clothing she wears or the style of her hair. I know because I have been there. Because I am there. 

She is only three. But, I know that it is never too young to teach her the Truth. I pray that these little seeds I plant through scripture songs and crafty projects will bury deep inside her heart and bloom in the days to come when she needs them most. Because she will need them. 

I decided that a scripture I definitely wanted buried inside her heart was 1 Samuel 16:7 -"Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." We used the Songs for Saplings CD that had this verse put to music to help us learn the words. We really love this CD! It is another one we can have playing throughout the day and never get too tired of it! (Also, you can find free printables for the verses on this CD here...we didn't use them this time, but they look like an excellent resource!)

The first thing we did was find the verse in my Bible. We read it out loud taking it word by word. I knew the first part might be confusing for her, after all she is three and "outward appearance" has never even entered her vocabulary. The easiest way for me to explain this was to tell her what I saw when I looked at her...brown hair, a pink shirt, happy smile, etc. Then, I let her tell me what she saw when she looked at me. Her answer? "A mama." Ha! She finally got it and even had the chance to look and describe the outward appearance of her brother, Easton. Then, we talked about how God could see our hearts. We use the terms happy heart and sad heart around our house. We talked about how God could see whether we had happy or sad hearts and sometimes even mad hearts. She seemed to really understand that. Sweet and simple. 

While we had my Bible out I let her highlight the verse for me. I loved seeing her baby hands highlighting the Living Word. I know I will treasure looking back on this verse throughout the years and remember those sweet hands digging into scripture!

I wish I had a cute printable for you for the next activity, but I don't. In fact, I literally drew these two mirrors, heart, and basic face shape about 5.6 seconds before we got started. That's pretty much my life right now. :) But, it's okay. I'm okay with it. And the mirrors don't look too bad. At least you can kind of figure out what they are!

We put a simple face in one of the mirrors to symbolize the first part of the verse...

"Man looks on the outward appearance

...and we put a red heart in the next mirror to symbolize the second part of the verse.

but the LORD looks at the heart."

The next little activity we did involved the cutest Melissa & Doug Mirror that came with glitter and jewels and stickers for decorating. Lauren really enjoyed this one! I wrote the verse on the backside of the mirror because I know that she is a girl and she will be drawn to a mirror. It is totally inevitable. It's important to me that she have that reminder that no matter what the mirror sees, God looks at her heart. I figure if she is going to look at it anyway, why not have some Truth written all over it! :) It can't hurt, right!?

When she was looking in the mirror I asked her what she saw. She said, "I see God down in my heart." Is that not the most precious thing ever?!?!

I am including this sweet and so funny (I crack up every time I watch it) video to show that even though I worked really hard to sink this verse into her memory, she is still three. :) I am totally okay with the fact that she doesn't have it memorized just yet. Seeds are being planted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Memory Lane

For Lauren's first Christmas, Nammy and Big Papa got her the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Playhouse. She loved it SO much and it was seriously one of the best toys she had at a young age. After time though she outgrew it so it moved to the attic for its temporary home. Since we are moving and everything has to come out of the attic anyway, we decided to go ahead and bring it down for Easton to play with. He absolutely LOVES it. The funny thing is that Lauren loves it too!

Lauren at 7 months

Lauren at 7 months

Lauren, 3 years. Easton, 6 months. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 Goals

I've been off-schedule and unmotivated for far too long around here. I have my trusty planner but it is seeing less and less action lately. Time for a change! Crystal over at Money Saving Mom has been posting her 10 weekly goals and I love how she broke them into categories. So, with only a few category changes of my own I am shamelessly going to use her awesome outline and idea!

Family/Mothering Goals:

1. Read aloud for 15 minutes to my children every day. Play quiet music and hopefully move into a routine of read-aloud and then individual reading time that lasts a total of 30 minutes.

2. Paint pumpkins together. (Possibly carve pumpkins with daddy if evenings aren't too crazy!)

3. Go on a date with my husband. Yippee!

Personal Goals:

4. Finish re-reading Loving The Little Years.

5. Blog! Here and over at When You Rise.

Home Management Goals:

6. Begin packing up kitchen for move.

7. Continue getting address changed for companies we use.

8. Spend 10 minutes each day cleaning up bedrooms and bathrooms...make beds daily!

9. Begin gathering resources for new Home Management binder to use at new house.

Other Goals:

10. Get garage sale items priced and organized for the sale this weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Six Months, Easton!

Dear Easton,

Six months. SIX. MONTHS.

Son, you are half a year old. I can't believe it! I can't believe how much I love you. You are the cutest little man I have ever seen and I could just kiss those sweet chubby cheeks a million times every day and not get enough of you!

I think you are starting to look so much older. I can sort of see what you might look like in a couple of years now and it makes me sad to think of you growing so fast. You look so handsome in little button up shirts just like your daddy.

You are such a big boy! We went for your six month check up and you weigh about 18 pounds and are 27 inches long! You are in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height. My arms are really getting a work out from lugging you around! I love that cuddle time with you though. :)

You are still nursing every three hours during the day, but we have also started solids with you! Right now you eat carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and some mixed fruit and cereals. You are funny about your solids though. If you don't like it, you don't like it. Period. You will close your mouth or turn your head. If you do like it, you will grunt and stick your head out toward the spoon to try to get it. Lauren loves to help feed you. Mostly though she distracts can't help how much you love her and she just cracks you up too much for you to focus on eating!

Sleeping has been quite the adventure lately son. Your daddy and I decided that it was time for you to start sleeping more than three hour stretches at night so for the past two weeks we have been really working on getting a better routine going. At night, you get your bath (which you absolutely LOVE) and then its lotion and pjs time. After that I will nurse you and then lay you down to sleep when you are groggy. It seems to be helping you get in the sleep mode. When you wake in the middle of the night one of us will go in and give your binky to you and then leave. You usually get right back to sleep on your own but sometimes you have to cry a little while. You have been going eight hour stretches now at night without feeding. Now if we can just get you to go that long without multiple wake ups! You can do it!!!

You are fascinated with all of the baby toys that we brought down from the attic. You LOVE the little play house that was your sister's when she was little. You are doing great at rolling over and sitting up on your own. You haven't started crawling yet, but we don't think it will be long. You kind of scoot on your belly now and you are figuring out how to get up on your hands and knees.

You are such a happy little man. You crack up when I say, "ma-ma or da-da" to you. I don't know why it tickles you so much but I love it so I say it a lot. :) You also absolutely adore your big sister. She is so sweet to play with you and she shares her toys so well with you. I love watching the two of you "play" together now.

We have a lot of little nicknames for you. Brother. Bubby. Bubs. Chunky Monkey. Little man. Handsome. Big E. Easy E.

I love you son. I can't even begin to explain how very much. You bring such joy and laughter and light into our home. You keep us busy and exhausted (in a good way). You are teaching me more and more every day about being a mommy and dying to self. I love the way you fit so perfectly into our family. I love how your sister looks out for you and cares deeply about you. I love the way you love her. I love when you fall asleep in my arms and you cuddle right into the crook of my neck. You are a blessing. You are a gift. I am so glad I get to be your mama.

I love you to the moon and back fourteen million times.