Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 Things

Today is January 31st. Today is our sweet daddy's thirty-first birthday. To celebrate, I thought I'd share 31 things I that I like about him today.

1. He's a daddy who loves sweet little girls who wake up early to color birthday cards.

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Ella and Molly making birthday cards this morning while SD slept in.

2. That for thirteen years (tomorrow) he's known me better than anyone else.

3. He might be the funniest person I have EVER met. He sings, dances and makes the most off-the-wall comments and it definitely keeps me laughing.

4. He is the best daddy ever. He indulges Ella for the most part, but disciplines her when it's necessary.

5. He builds really good castles, loves to do "fun tricks" and tortures us incessantly.

6. He makes the best hamburgers ever. Seriously. Mine are terrible by comparison.

7. He refuses to move anything unnecessarily. He wants all things out in the open and complains if he has to move the peanut butter to find something hiding behind it.

8. He likes to read for pleasure. He reads to Ella. He doesn't laugh when I stay up until midnight four nights in a row to finish reading the Twilight series. (I know, I'm a thirteen year old child.)

9. He does the laundry. Start to finish.

10. AND he cleans the bathroom. Unless it's his birthday; then I get to do it.

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Blowing out candles on his rice crispy treats at Nana & Cookie's today.

11. He has no opinion about paint colors, couch styles or floor rugs. As long as it is within the budget and comfortable, he gives me free reign around the house.

12. He talks to my belly and doesn't make me move when Sophie kicks him in the back.

13. He goes all the way to Birmingham to buy Zaxby's for dinner because it sounds really good to me.

14. He won't let me have ice cream after dinner because he knows I'll be up with indigestion (my babies don't like dairy in utero).

15. He rubs my feet in the middle of the night when I get cramps.

16. He picks out really good movies.

17. He doesn't get mad when I let the dog sleep in our bed.

18. He takes us to church every Sunday.

19. He sings a really funny song about David that Ella loves. You'll have to ask him to share it with you one day.

20. He has grey hair and complains about it, but I think it makes him look very distinguished.

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Ella helping to make brownies (SD's favorite) tonight before dinner.

21. He loves clothes and doesn't mind looking very nice. He'll wear a puffy vest, a sweater and even a king costume on the right occasion.

22. He bought a Speedo at the sporting goods store because I dared him to. It was the only thing he purchased that night and no, he's never worn it... in public!

23. He got Alabama football season tickets for his birthday (Valentines Day, Father's Day, Anniversary, Christmas, etc.) this year and he's letting me have the other one. Sorry to all the boys waiting in line for Iron Bowl tickets this November... not going to happen.

24. His idea of a cute outfit for Ella is blue jeans and a Chicago Cubs t-shirt, just because he knows it will get on my nerves.

25. He likes to watch LOST with me and listens when I analyze, even though he thinks I get a little obsessive.

26. He waxed the kitchen floor yesterday morning and shampooed the rug in Sophie's room.

27. We text back and forth during funny television shows when he's traveling.

28. How he makes fun of me for not looking at the TV when I watch embarrassing reality television shows like American Idol and The Bachelor.

29. He smiled and said thank you even though our "cinnamon rolls" were less than stellar this morning (I didn't realize we didn't have any and made do with what we had on hand).

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Our breakfast table, complete with homemade cards, sort-of cinnamon rolls and a happy birthday cup.

30. He gives excellent hand massages.

31. He makes fun of my pajamas and bed head in the mornings (both worse during pregnancy), but always compliments me on how skinny I look (even when not true). Pregnant girls need lots of positive feedback.

I know that was kind of a random list of thirty one things to love, but I got to the end a lot quicker than I thought I would! Of course, I love that he's strong, kind, loyal and takes the best care of his girls. I have enjoyed sharing the last 12 birthdays together and hope to share many, many more. Happy Birthday, Sweet Daddy! We love you MUCH.

Love,

Your Best Girls (Kristin, Ella, Sophie Kae & Beemer)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Meet Dolly.

It isn't at all unusual for K to bring prizes when she comes to visit. She brings flashcards and games and last week she brought us matching pink aprons to wear while we bake Valentines goodies. Ella is always excited when K calls and says she has presents!

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This week, it was Dolly. A friend at work just opened an etsy shop and K was photographing the lovely merchandise. She was sweet enough to send a gift for Ella and once we know what color hair our Sophie is going to have, she'll have a Dolly, too! We were excited she was a ballerina and thought long and hard about what to name her. After mommy shot-down Widget, Ella settled on Dolly.

I think it suits her just fine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby Belly, Week 28

28weeks

Click here for outtakes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Embarrassing.

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First, let me say that this picture is completely unrelated to the post. I just thought this shot of Ella from New Year's Day was funny. This is all she did all day - she really wanted a palette!
Anyway, onto the embarrassing part.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior when I was seven years old. I also love to read. You could infer from these two statements that for these reasons I have clearly read the bible. Well... I haven't. No matter that I can read a work of fiction in a single day, I have a horrible problem with non-fiction. I cannot focus when I read it. It doesn't matter how I divide it up, or if I reread the same paragraph ninety-five times. I don't absorb it and I give it up.

This has been particularly difficult because our Sunday morning bible study class is a book study class. Only once have we read a work of fiction. I'm not complaining, because I always gain so much from our class on Sunday mornings and the reading guides we follow. I'm just always embarrassed that I'm not following along in the book. I buy them, I start them with good intentions and after a few days I give up. Eyes glazed over.

I can easily justify not reading these books, but what is there to say about avoiding the bible? I can read a few verses in connection with the sermon. I can read a few passages that accompany a daily devotion. Otherwise, I struggle to focus and pay attention. Embarrassing.

Last year, Josh and I committed to reading the bible through. I bought a book to help us stay on course and started out pretty good. I think I might have made it 5 books in. Josh mentioned sometime into 2009 that he had finished and I felt horrible. I put it down and never picked it back up.

A few days into January, I read this post. It reminded me that I was embarrassed. Do you know when I read it? At 3 o'clock in the morning when I couldn't sleep and there was nothing to do. Do you know what I did next? I brewed a pot of coffee, visited this website and listened to the introductory audio lesson. You know the one thing that really stuck with me? The speaker said something about God's will being about His glory and my maturity. It reminded me that maybe I was waiting for nothing. I was waiting to be "spoken to" through the very first scripture I read instead of just digging in and seeing what happened. Sometimes, we have to do things because we're grown up, not just because we want to. God said we should read His word. My interest or entertainment doesn't really have anything to do with it. I'm not saying we should do it out of obligation and not seek to find something wonderful, but maybe God was waiting on me to be a grown up about it before giving me the gift of His scripture. It isn't always about the blessing. Sometimes, it's just about obedience.

Embarrassing.

I didn't blog about my decision to read the Bible in 90 days because my track record isn't exactly stellar. I didn't want to sound pious or important or like I was trying to convince you to join me. I wasn't sure I could do it. I'm pregnant and the next 90 days are kind of busy and stressful. What if I couldn't commit?

Well, I'm happy to say that I'm 21 days in and right on track. I'm reading 2 Samuel and that is as far as I've ever made it. I've committed to reading the Bible before Sophie gets here. It took a week or so to get used to the amount of reading and to train myself to PAY ATTENTION. I've had to reread a few passages, but I'm doing okay. The scriptures take roughly 30 minutes each day to read and I think that's been more helpful than hurtful. If I miss any days, it takes me much longer to catch up. Since I know I will have a much harder time fitting 2 hours of reading time into my day, I'm much more likely to set aside my 30 minutes.

I would love to go back and read it more slowly, do some investigating and ask more questions. I'd like more time to meditate on the verses. For now, though, it's about obedience. And reading it because God asked me to, told me to. The best part is that even though I'm plowing through at record speed, He's pointing out verses I've never read and stories I've never heard. I have a better understanding for how things fit together. Please pray for me as I continue to practice obedience. I hope to post on March 29th and tell you that I did it!


There is a schedule for reading the Bible in 90 days here. I'm modifying it slightly
since I don't like stopping mid-chapter, but it will at least keep you on track!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nursery Update, Round Two

There isn't a huge amount that has been completed, but I did manage to finish one wall. At this point, that seems like a HUGE accomplishment. Getting anything done this week has been kind of a joke. Between Ella and I both being sick, tons of nursery-related errands being run and housework piling up, nothing productive has really taken place around our house since Monday afternoon!

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But back to my point. This is my changing station. I know I've already explained that this once was a dresser in our craft/play room. I bought it at a consignment shop for $50. It was an old hotel fixture and was in great shape and very sturdy. I refinished it right after I bought it, but it has gotten pretty banged up over the last year or so. Josh helped me sand it over the weekend and we gave it a fresh coat of glossy white chocolate paint (I use paint from Walmart... gasp!). The pulls from Hobby Lobby were perfect and look great on the creamy colored drawers. When I bought them, I couldn't decide how I felt about the four differently designed knobs, but seeing them here all together gives me a little boost of confidence.

I used Ella's changing pad and cream chenille cover on top of the dresser. I'm a rebel and cut the straps off since I never used them before. I did, at least, use the tabs on the back of the pad to secure it to the dresser and keep it from sliding. The shabby pink file drawers were picked up from the same consignment shop as the dresser and cost almost as much. I couldn't help myself... they spoke to me. And they were pink! You caught a glimpse of the lamp earlier in the week, but here's the whole shebang. I found it a few weeks ago at Homegoods and could kick myself for not buying another one. If you see one out there, please let me know. It seems some other pink lamp lover stole it right out from under me.

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Here is a little closer view of the art above the dresser. I knew all along that I wanted some kind of gallery wall of frames or photos in this spot. My mother-in-law had a box of old frames that she was getting rid of and I raided her trash pile! The prints weren't my style and the frames all needed a coat of paint, but after playing with them like a puzzle, I got a design that I was happy with. I added a chunky frame of my own, a small wooden shelf and two ballerina prints that hung in my mother's childhood bedroom, as well as mine.

I started by spray painting the frames, but the finish was all wrong. Monday afternoon, I pulled them all down from the wall and painted them the old fashioned way - paint and brush. They look so much better and actually match the woodwork in the room. The large frame with the bible verse was a little of a fluke. I fully intended to put a family portrait here once we were home from the hospital with Sophie and K worked her magic. In the meantime, however, the wall needed a little color and although I wanted empty frames, there were a few too many. I picked up some charcoal paper* at the art store and played around with the bible verse and a few different fonts. This cute print is what I ended up with. Now I like it so much that I'm trying to figure out where to hang that family portrait!

* the paper is much less "bright peach" and more "bubblegum pink" in real life. It matches much better than this photo shows.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby Belly, Week 27

27weeks

Outtakes are here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A nursery update... sort of.

My plan was to share lots of nursery photos today - we've been working hard in there since Friday night. This morning, my plan got a little derailed. This is what I've been dealing with most of the day...

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She got sick mid morning and has felt pretty terrible most of the day. We've eaten (a few) pigs in a blanket, watched Snow White, snuggled and slept. I found her asleep like this in my bed this morning. How funny is it that her head is in that bowl? In fact, she's sleeping in a similarly weird position right now.

When I wasn't dealing with a sick little princess, I was preparing for the arrival of another little princess. I didn't get many projects finished today, but I did get plenty of things started! Hopefully by mid week, I'll have a few more things to share. For now, I'll share what I've been working on today.

I've been painting lots of frames. I started on Saturday with spray paint, but got rained out. I tried again this morning, only to be disappointed with the color and the finish. This afternoon I decided to do things the hard way - paint and a brush - and I am MUCH happier with the results.

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I've been adding a few accessories to the only part of the room that is "finished." Have you tried this line of baby lotions and creams? My stars it's my favorite. Sweetleaf Baby smells so yummy! I use the body wash on Ella and can't wait to slather Sophie in that lotion!

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I've been admiring my drawer pulls and my pretty new lamp, while dreaming about finding it's twin for another spot in the room.

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I've been cleaning and organizing Sophie's closet. The curtain rod still needs to be hung, as does the pink canvas organizer for the back of the door. Today the closet is filled with decorative accessories for the room, but since her clothes are in the dryer those are soon to be replaced!

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I've also been admiring this combination. I know your probably wondering what happened to my "modern" nursery, but when I started shopping for fabric yesterday, things took a turn towards traditional. I got a pretty damask print and a stripe instead of the modern patterns I thought I'd be leaning towards. The ball fringe and rick rack are for pillow and curtain trim.

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The things I don't have pictures of? A different rug, cleaned and in place (the others were moved to Ella's room and look better there). Painted ceiling fan blades, which make the fan much less noticeable. Painted trim, doors and some wall touch-ups. All in all, I'd say we've made major progress. I'll have more photographs to share later in the week and hopefully they'll include things like artwork on the walls, clothes in the closet and crown molding on the ceiling!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Date with Daddy

I decided to take the week off between Christmas and New Years Day so that Ella and I could stay home and spend lots of time together playing with our toys, resting and enjoying the last of the decorations. Unfortunately, daddy had to go back to work so we were on our own for much of the week. She begged all week to go outside and play with her new golf clubs and t-ball set, but it was freezing around here! I convinced her to wait for daddy and finally on the Sunday afternoon after NYD we managed to pull it off. It was cold, but we managed to last for about two hours and had a wonderful afternoon in the sunshine.

Here are a few of my favorite moments...


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taking a swing with SD

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one of the few times she didn't let the bat go flying towards her daddy!

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concentration at its best

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time for a break on the swing

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and daddy decided to join in

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(my personal favorite) hanging out in the fort with daddy

We sure do hate the weeks that SD works out of town, but boy are we happy when he comes home!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bowling for Pop, 2010

As usual, we took my grandfather "Pop" to dinner at Cracker Barrel for his birthday followed by an always laugh-inducing evening of bowling. We had lots of people out of town, sick or working this year, but those who made it had a wonderful time.

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I snapped this photo namely because she looked so darn cute in those corduroy pants and floral top AND she couldn't be happier that she got to wear bowling shoes like the big kids. She wasn't old enough to require it, so I thought I could skip out on that $3.50 purchase, but she was having NONE of it. My philosophy is if $3.50 is all it takes to keep her happy, then shell it out!

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I don't know if you ever seen a 6.5 month pregnant woman attempt to bowl, but it isn't a pretty sight. Instead, I saved my money, found Ella a 6 pound ball and "assisted" her. Believe it or not, she didn't have the lowest score (thank you, bumpers) and had so much fun that she bowled a second game. I'm thinking we'll find a local alley with a cheap Saturday morning game and add this to our playdate rotation. It was fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas, Finale

My whole life, my immediate family has celebrated on Christmas Eve with communion, a snack supper, Christmas movies and presents. It has always been our very favorite part of the holiday season. We knew once we "grew up", got married and made babies this tradition would likely change.

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This year was the first year we tried something different and I'll have to admit it was quite fun. My mom made a fabulous breakfast spread the evening after Christmas and we had a sit down dinner instead of the usual finger foods around the fire. Ella didn't quite make it to dinner, but since she doesn't eat eggs anyway, we fixed her bacon and biscuits earlier in the evening and she became the meal's entertainment.

In addition to the seven of us (Garan, Poppy, SD, Me, Ella, K & Cory), my grandparents came over to watch Ella open gifts and we all piled in the living room before two beautiful Christmas trees and a roaring fire. She had as many gifts to open that night as she had the day before, thanks to G&P, KCory and Aunt Lane. She was so funny opening them... these are my favorite pics of the night.

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Sophie finally got a present... "Daddy's Little Deer".

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This was the line of the night. Although she specifically asked K for a Barbie car, when she began unwrapping she stopped and said, "Aw man, it looks like racecars!"

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Again, courtesy of Lane, we had plenty of matching outfits for Ella and Lucy.

She also managed to rack up a paint set, Strawberry Shortcake pjs and a stocking FULL of goodies from Garan & Poppy, more Barbie stuff from K & Cory and piles of Bitty Baby stuff from Lane & Johnny. She was tickled pink and we had so much fun watching her rip into it all.

This Christmas was wonderful watching her budding personality take it all in. I'm sure I'll be hard pressed each year to find a reason why it isn't my favorite of all times, but she was so articulate and thankful for everything this year, that it made all of our hard work pay off.

I hope you enjoyed all of our Christmas recapping, I'm just sorry it took me almost three weeks to get it all done. Merry Christmas for the last time this year. Or last year. Or whatever.

Snow Bunnies...

without the snow, obviously.

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The Sunday after Christmas Ella couldn't bear to be separated from Lucy, her bitty baby, so she (Lucy) got decked out for church in her only church-appropriate attire. Luckily, Aunt Lane sent Ella a coat and hat that almost makes them twins. Ella was thrilled to see how cute they looked together!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baby Belly, Week 26

26weeks

Follow this link for silly outtakes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Nursery, Before

I had a great plan for my weekend. I was going to work hard in Sophie's room all day on Saturday and after church on Sunday and be greatly impressed with my progress. Unfortunately, I was assaulted with a lovely stomach virus part of the way through Saturday and got seriously derailed. I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning running from the bed to the bathroom, the rest of Sunday asleep and today being so weak from not eating for 48 hours that I basically laid on the couch all day.

The good news is, that I got a lot of shopping done on Friday afternoon, a good bit of cleaning done in her room on Saturday morning (thank you to SD and my parents for moving furniture for me!) and I felt well enough this afternoon to finish getting things out of the room that didn't belong.

Most of the pieces have been purchased, ordered or picked out and the rest I at least have on paper. Garan is going to help me do some things this weekend and we're shopping for fabrics on Sunday. Now that I have a plan, I feel much more in control. I thought an update post was in order to show you some before pictures and tell you about the things I've picked out. Ready?

This is the wall you see when you walk into Sophie's room (formerly our craft room). The fireplace doesn't work, but I love the character that it adds to the space. We (Poppy, of course) will be adding custom bookcases on either side of the fireplace. Instead of being on the back wall only (like in our master bedroom), they will be L-shaped and wrap around onto the flanking walls. I plan to paint them out the same color as the fireplace and trim and have some nice fluting and rosettes to finish them off. Since we have very little storage available in her room, we needed lots of shelves for baskets, books & toys.

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Ella's art above the fireplace isn't staying, but the chair on the right is! I thought seriously about using Ella's upholstered chair, but the colors weren't quite right. I couldn't find a ready-made slipcover that fit well enough and SD said buying a custom slipcover or new chair was out of the budget and out of the question! Instead, Garan & I are making custom cushions for the chair and it does rock gently. K has offered a wire ottoman that we'll be slip-covering to match. I'm excited about how funky and vintage it will look! I'm also keeping the floor lamp, but changing out the lanterns for pastel colors - maybe pink, green and yellow (any ideas on where to find?).

You can also catch a glimpse of the baby bed and bumper pads on the left of the fireplace. We're waiting to put it together until after the bookcases are installed, but I'm ready for that part. I think having a bed in the room will make it real. I cried today just moving the pieces into the room! The plastic tubs are full of things we've purchase for the room as well as toys and books that Ella has outgrown.

As for the windows, the curtain rods will be going, but the sheers will be hemmed to touch the bookcases and possible embellished with some fun trim. Garan is making valances for these windows that will resemble awnings and stand away from the walls. I'm hoping to use the same fabric for the chair cushions, dust ruffle and valances and I'd like the valances to have a scalloped edge with fun ball fringe.

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The photo above shows the view if you turn to the left. The door in the center of the wall leads directly into Ella's room. The wall to the right of the door is where the bookcases will wrap around from the previous wall and you can make out the dresser there on the left. I'm not sure that I'll do much of anything on the these two walls - the right one will have bookcases on the bottom and will often be obscured by the door from Ella's room. I might hang that green window corkboard here just for mementos. The wall on the left might house a few shelves for changing supplies, but I'm currently undecided. I think I'll wait until we get the rest of the furniture in the room to make a decision.

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Here is the view if you turn to the left again. The door on the left is where we came from (dining room). The dresser was a steal for $50 at a consignment shop about 18 months ago. You'll remember I refinished it for the craft room then. It is wooden and very sturdy and the drawers are lined with laminate, making it easy to clean! I've taken the pulls of and will be touching up the paint before adding our cute mix and match drawer pulls. Thanks to Amanda, I found knock off pulls at Hobby Lobby for less than half of the Anthropologie prices. YEAH! The dresser will house our changing pad and a cute new lamp that I'll be picking up from Homegoods tomorrow. I'm taking the shelf down and hanging empty frames on the wall along with a few family photographs and a silhouette of Sophie once she's big enough to sit still!

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Finally, this is the wall to the right when you walk in the door. You can see where the bookcases will be L-shaped in the left of this picture. You can also get a better idea of what the chair and lamp look like. The chair was a part of a patio set that I picked up at a local antique mall - it was $50 for 4 pieces, so technically this chair was $12.50! The giraffe door leads to our only bathroom, but we're hoping to add a second before Sophie's arrival making this the girls' bathroom and next on the list for redecoration. The door on the right is currently our linen closet, but it too will be getting a makeover for girly dresses and baskets full of clothes. I love the giraffe growth chart from my own childhood room, but I'll be moving it to another door in the house since the colors aren't quite right. I can't wait to take pictures of both of our girls as they grow!!

The walls and trim will remain as is, with the exception of a few touch ups. We are adding crown molding to the room to finish off the ceiling. The rug that you can see in the photos was newly purchased for Sophie's room. I actually ordered three 4x6 cotton rugs from PBK and I'm using the other one in Ella's room. They are machine washable and reversible, so I think they are just the thing for a nursery. Not to mention, I can't fork over $500+ for an 8x10 which is the minimum size appropriate for the room!

Wow, that was long and I didn't even have much to show you! Hopefully this time next week, I'll have much more to show for our efforts and I'll do my best to update incrementally. The belly update will be posted tomorrow (thank you stomach virus) because I still look a little sickly today. I also plan to share the rest of our holiday photos this week and get back on track. One of my resolutions for the year is to be more organized and that includes the blog! See you soon...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Umm... Roll Tide.

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I have a few more fun pictures from our night, but it's late and cold and I'm pregnant.
I promise to be back tomorrow!

Snow?!

This is pretty funny... I thought I'd share!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Game Time!

Yes, I know it is January 6th. Yes, I know I haven't officially finished recapping Christmas (final round to come!). BUT, I've been busy cleaning house, organizing, working on Sophie's nursery and nesting. I'll get it finished; I promise.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few pictures of the million games we got and played over Christmas. We are a game playing family and Ella is learning quick. She has had a few games since her birthday and is pretty good at them, actually. We decided to add to her collection over Christmas and she managed to spank us in all of them!

Hungry Hungry Hippo

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Cooties (not ours, but played nonetheless)

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Candy Land

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Go Fish

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Not pictured: Hello Kitty Bingo, Fancy Nancy card game and Old Maid. The adults also managed to squeeze in Taboo, Shang-Hai, Rook and Trivial Pursuit. Competitive, anyone?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Baby Belly, Week 25

25weeks

Visit K for outtakes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas, Round Four

Okay, back on track...

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Christmas round four brought us to Garan & Poppy's house for a day of fun with about 50 people. My "immediate" family is so ridiculously huge and our family get togethers would be completely overwhelming for anyone who has never been before.

My parents cook a huge turkey and every one else brings a side dish or dessert. I should have taken a picture of the buffet, because the amount of food was staggering. Ten hours after we started the food was still there. I swear it was like Jesus feeding the multitudes - our food just kept multiplying!

Since there are so many of us, buying presents can get a little out of hand. Instead we play a few rounds of dirty Santa and have such a good time. All of the adults bring a $15 gift and we play a "man" round and "girly" round of dirty Santa. Contrary to what one might think, the men are very sedate, hardly ever steal and are always happy with their gifts. The women, on the other hand, are vicious and the game lasts forever! We all steal as many times as possible and alliances are usually formed to wind up with the gift you want. Oftentimes, people even buy things they want and fight hard to win their own gift. Parents usually bring a gift for their children to open and this year we decided to bring games. Each child got to open a gift and their were tons of board and card games. They had such a good time playing with them (and so did we!!).

The boys all spent most of the day outside playing washers, but the girls stayed inside where it was warm! We drank coffee, ate yummy desserts and visited around the fireplace. After dark, we wrapped things up with a very loud, brutal game of Taboo and found ourselves staggering out the door somewhere around eleven o'clock. It was a long day with lots of laughs, a few meltdowns (by kids and pregnant people), way too much food and very few photographs. It was lovely and I can't imaging spending Christmas with my family any other way!