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A Family Valentine Tradition

In DIY, Mommyhood
Family Valentine Tradition

Most people who know me know that I’m a bit of a Valentine’s Day scrooge. I’ve never been a fan of the day. Maybe it stems from my many years as a boyfriend-less teen, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, even when not single, it’s just never been my cup of tea. However, being a mom changes you ever so slightly and I enjoy holidays, even the super commercialized ones, for them. After hearing about (and buying) the book, Sacred Holidays, I thought I’d give this holiday a bit more of a shot.

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The Bond of Brothers

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Sometimes I just sit back and watch as my boys interact and it simply amazes me.  The love that those two have for each other, that they don’t even realize is there, is sometimes overwhelming to me.  But in a good way.  I see the awe in Ro’s face as he takes in his big brother.  He knows that this is an older kid, babies have that sense in them, but he also knows that this is someone special.  I also see the protectiveness in Gav when he’s around his baby brother.  When the girls in his class flock to the baby carrier when I visit his school, Gav is right there beside it saying, “This is my baby brother.”  He takes ownership, he’s proud.

The older Ro gets, the more I see their bond evolving into something amazing.  This isn’t something I have ever experienced myself.  I don’t have any sisters and my brother is 9 years older than me.  While I definitely got to experience what it was like to have and be a sibling, we are so different in not only gender but age.  I’m watching these two incredible little boys make one another laugh.  I’m watching Gav show concern and caring when Ro cries.  I’m watching the look in Ro’s eyes as he sees his brother playing or talking.  The smiles these boys can get out of one another is heart melting.

I’m so beyond thrilled that God has given me not only the blessing of being their mother, but the blessing of witnessing this relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there will come a time when Ro is “annoying” or Gav is “being mean”.  I’m fully prepared to breakup wrestling matches that get a little too real and tend to wounds inflicted in revenge.  It’s only natural.  I’ve heard some of my hubby’s stories between him and his sister, so I can only imagine what lies ahead with two boys! But I know that the good will far outweigh any of the trips to urgent care and ER struggles.

As any mother will admit, I want my babies to stay little forever but I also look forward to watching this bond of theirs blossom.  I look forward to little things like how Ro will say “Gavin” when he starts talking or late nights when I can hear them talking to one another when they know they should be asleep.  Knowing that they will go to each other for advice and one day, very far in the future, listening to a best man speech or two.  Every day watching these boys of mine grow together is such an incredible gift and I am so blessed to call them “my boys”!

XO, Kelly

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We Always Make Cookies

In Mommyhood

Last year, during a small group, we talked about traditions.  As I thought about it, I couldn’t think of anything that was specific to our family and that made me a little sad.  It also made me determined to start at least one!  We were then directed to think about them less as “traditions” and more of “we always…” statements.  Then I got to thinking about what I could do that would be very specific to me and my boys.  What will they remember years from now, tell their kids about, and possibly carry on.

So what I came up with was cookies.  For every holiday, we make cookies in fun shapes, decorate them, and enjoy!  It’s pretty ironic too since my mother never fails to recall this one story of when I was younger and I told her that I was going to be a “real mom” and make cookies for my kids.  *facepalm* I mean, come on…I promise I wasn’t always that awful!

I finally found a recipe that I didn’t have to completely make from scratch and works so well.  The first time I tried it, my ghosts turned out a little portly and my pumpkins looked like blobs.  *facepalm #2* Then I didn’t do it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  *ugh…#3*  Anyway, once I got my hands on this glorious Betty Crocker mix (with a specific recipe for cutout cookies), I want to make them all the time!  They’re super easy to make and a big hit with Gav.  I definitely look forward to when Ro can join in and all of the cookies and memories we’ll make over the years!

XO, Kelly

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Maternity Shoot with Joleen Pete Photography

In Mommyhood
Y’all!  I’ve been sitting on these pictures for just over a week now and it’s been killing me to share them (read “spam your Instagram feed”) with you!  I’m so in love with each image and it was hard for me not to just share the entire Dropbox library of them.  We have a local sunflower farm here in our area that is only open 3-4 weeks out of them year.  Seriously, that’s it, 3-4 weeks!  When I saw that my friend and fellow blogger, Joleen, was offering these mini sessions, I knew they would be the perfect fit for a quick and easy maternity session.  The session was only 25 minutes and I figured that would be all Mr. G could handle.  
We’ve had an unseasonably dry summer so it was very up in the air when the farm would open.  We actually had to cancel the original session because the flowers hadn’t even bloomed.  But out of nowhere, it seemed, the blooms popped open super quick!  I pass this farm on the way to play dates with the best friend and couldn’t help but get so excited once they bloomed.  They were small but so pretty and vibrant!  When we pulled up to the farm on the day of our shoot it was gorgeous, as you can clearly see in the pics below.   Mr. G wasn’t too thrilled for picture time and he wasn’t to fond of the giant flowers either.  He kept saying that he didn’t want the flowers to look at him (???).  There were also quite a few bees, which is very normal with sunflowers.  But all in all, Joleen caught some wonderful shots of my growing belly and my sweet little family.  Thanks so much, Joleen! ENJOY!
XO, Kelly 
PS: These are also the first family photos we’ve had done since Mr. G was 18 months old.  Um…oops!
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Praise, Prayers, and a Painted Rock

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I found this rock in a creek (in it’s natural state of course) while in the mountains for our anniversary trip.  I’ve always been one of those kids that collected rocks.  I’m not sure why, seeing as I was pretty much an indoor kid, but I’ve always been drawn to rocks, gems, and things of that nature. (No pun intended!) When I saw this one, I immediately wanted to keep it.  My first thought was that it would be my prayer rock.  I wanted to paint it when I got home, and it would be my physical reminder to always pray.  No matter where, no matter what, just pray.

Prayer has never been something that has come easy to me but I’ve been striving to make it a common practice throughout my day.  I kept it in my coat pocket the remainder of the trip and would hold onto it from time to time and rub it’s not completely smooth surface.  It was kind of comforting.  However, like with all things, I soon forgot about it, setting it in my side table dish.  I never painted it and it became more of a memento of our trip rather than the reminder I had originally chose it to be.  I still pray every day but not as often as I’d like my habit to be.

Then this Monday rolled around with a very harsh reminder of why I wanted that rock in the first place.

I received a call from my father-in-law as I was leaving the studio for the night and thought, I’ll call back once I’m on the road.  I don’t get good service in here anyway.  Once in the car, my mother-in-law called.  This was weird so I had a feeling something was up.  It was my husband, he was at the hospital after a t-bone collision, he was fine and just being checked out.  They we headed there to meet him.  By the absolute grace of God the accident happened to occur right in front of the main hospital in our area. He was ok and although I was worried, I wasn’t scared.  I picked up Mr. G from my parents’ house and just to make sure I was safe, my mom came with me for which I am very grateful.

As we drove to the hospital, we chatted about how crappy this was but how fortunate that my husband was ok.  Mr. G feel fast asleep.  Accidents can always be devastating and the fact that he was fine, nothing broken, completely conscious, was beyond a blessing.  We have very good insurance and all will get taken care of in time.  Then we came up to the intersection where the collision had occurred and saw blue lights and a tow truck at the gas station on the corner.  There was the car.  But the accident hadn’t occurred like I thought it had, on the passenger side.  I could tell that the driver’s side was caved in.  I lost it.

He had been hit, on his side.  His side.  Visions of what could have happened ran through my head and I began to cry.  Once I got in there, I saw my husband a got to him as fast as I could.  A little blood here and there, he had scrapes on his knees and marks where he had bit his lip hard from the side air bags deploying.  I didn’t want to hug him too tight for fear of any pain, so I did the best I could, shaking the whole time.  Once the shock wore off, we sat calmly in the waiting room while he got checked and x-rayed.  My mom and I ended up leaving before he was discharged just because Mr. G started to become restless and needed to go home.  I was comfortable leaving at that point, knowing that my husband was being looked at, had his parents to drive him home, and I had seen that he was ok.  Another major blessing in all this is how much support we have around us living 5 miles from the majority of our family.

Nevertheless, the next morning I saw my little rock sitting idly in my side table dish and immediately pick it up.  I carried it with me everywhere and plan to continue to do so.  I praise the Lord every chance I can that my husband is alive.  That he was watched over and protected in so many ways from that crash.  I’ve seen pictures of both cars and it’s just a miracle.  Also, my husband used to drive our smaller car but we’ve since switched due to mechanical malfunctions with the seat in the big car.  Basically, it won’t go up anymore so I can’t drive it anymore because I’m so short.  My husband is 6′ 2″ and had he been in the smaller car, I’m not sure what I would be writing, if I’d be writing at all.  God has a plan for us all.  Every little detail of our lives are for a purpose.  There was a reason that we hadn’t gotten the seat in the Mazda fixed yet.  This was it.

via

Huge praises to the one that watches over us all and loves us as his children.  I pray to continue to pray as much as I can, whenever I can.  To pray not only when I’m upset, in distress, or simply anxious, but when I’m happy and content too.  He deserves all of our praise, all of the time.  For God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

XO, Kelly

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Happy Father’s Day!

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These pictures are two of my favorites that have ever been taken of my dad and me.  My daddy was my very first love, as it is with most little girls, and the man who made me a princess, whether or not I always acted like it.
He was at every dance competition, one of the only dads from our studio, alongside my mom and the loudest voice in the crowd when it came time for my solos.  I will forever remember hearing “Go Kell!” in the silence before my music started.  It always made me smile and giggle.
I love you daddy! (or as mom calls you “Prince daddy”!)

And then there’s this guy…The only man after my dad to make me feel like a princess.  I love every minute of watching you with Mr. G and you’re such a wonderful daddy.  He is your “mini me” and absolutely adores you! (and so do I!)
Mr. G and I love you so much!!

And my Gpa!  The man who rocked me to sleep whenever he watched me.  Mr. G’s PopPop and the only other boy on this side of the family, 74 years apart!

Love you all so much!
Happy Father’s Day!

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DIY // Family Ornament

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I love ornaments.  They are my favorite part of decorating for the holidays because they hold the memories.  Every time we take a trip or go somewhere special, I have to get an ornament.  Hubs usually makes fun of me at the time, but when we’re decorating the tree, I get the last laugh.  We have ornaments from all of the trips we’ve taken together and they make us happy just to look at.  Along with these memories are the newer ones, like our very first family ornament.  I knew that I would want one every year but this year, I just didn’t want to shell out the money.  So I made one!
What You’ll Need:
Clay
Toothpick
Paint
Sharpie 
I chose air dry clay.  This is kid friendly and there’s no baking required.

I made my little santa hat shapes, trying to make the trimmings as “fluffy” as possible.  Don’t forget that you need a large space to write too.  This is the easy part since all you need is a wide rectangle.  Poke holes for the string after you’re done and before you let it begin to set.  Make sure you take in to account the size/weight of the ornament when poking the holes.  Some ornaments may need more than one.
Now we play the waiting game. It takes 24 hours to dry on the outside and 72 to dry throughout.  If it’s just you doing this project, I’d say go ahead and paint after the 24 hours period.  If this is a family project, wait the 72.  The clay is still very soft inside until then and the ornament could get punctured.  
Paint your shapes and allow them to dry.  This drying process, if you used air dry clay, takes no time at all!  The clay soaks up the paint and dries in no more than 10 minutes.  Add on your names and, of course, the year.  Pull some string or ribbon through the holes and hang them.
I had/have so much clay I can make as many as I want!

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How To // Turn Your Child’s Art into a Project Life Card

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I saw a fabulous idea once on Becky Higgins’ Instagram.  See had scanned her child’s art work, the kind with lots of construction paper and glue, which turned it into a flat image.  She then was able to print the image and slide it into one of the larger page protectors. Voila! The artwork is saved without all the bulk!  I thought this was a great idea and made a mental note to remember this for the future.  
But then this past weekend, LM decided he wanted to color so I gave him a few crayons and let him go to town. While they ended up in his mouth a lot, they did make it to the paper and mommy and daddy added some doodles too.  It was such a sweet memory that I didn’t want to just discard it.  That’s when I got an idea!  I’ll turn it into a card for the scrapbook!

Scan the artwork to your computer.

For this one, the color was very muted so I adjusted the levels and contrast to see it better.
Resize your image.  I wanted it to go in one of the bigger slots so I got it as close to a 4X6 as I could.

Print, cut, and insert!

 

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Our First Family Vacation

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This past weekend will definitely go down in the books as one of my favorites.  We took our first trip as a family for the long Labor Day weekend.
If you remember my getaway weekend from earlier this year, my husband and I love the mountains.  Specifically Lookout Mountain, so of course that’s where we took our sweet LM.  
This trip was beyond memorable.  Filled with “choo choos”, great sites, and tons of smiles.  
Not to mention for everything we did, children 2 and under were free so we saved a lot of money too! 
After our fun filled trip we spent time with our extended family on the lake for Labor day.  wonderful company and relaxing.  But enough babbling, I’ll let the pictures say the rest!

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