Ringing in the New Year, hermit-style

Dec 31, 2013

Tonight, we're ringing the new year in style- in our pajamas, at home, just the three of us, with two glasses of champagne, some snack food, and football on tv. It was actually M's idea to stay up and he's usually in bed by 9. We're making progress here! He even went out to get some champagne and snacks and sounded halfway excited about staying up to ring in the new year together.

Noah went to sleep easily and now it's M and I in for the long haul! Last year we were apart on New Years Eve and it was awful. I cried and made a resolution to never do it again. Tonight, I'm going to cuddle up to my handsome husband, crochet something, eat too many crackers and cheese, make room for some champagne, and kiss at midnight, all the while praying Noah stays asleep!

In true fashion to all things New Year, I've been thinking a lot about this past year. Here's a little recap.

In 2013....
- We learned what it meant to be a family of three. 
- We took two big trips that required flying and Noah did great! 
- Noah and I tagged along with Michael on six business trips.
- We did some camping!
- We drove to Virginia four times. 
- We met new friends.
- We struggled.
- We celebrated two years of marriage!
- We pinched pennies while we threw chunks of money at our student loans.
- We lived below our means.
- We celebrated being homeowners for one year in July.
- Noah took his first steps.
- Noah turned one!
- I dealt with depression and worked through what "being mommy" looks like for me. 
- We grew our second, as unsuccessful as the last, garden.
- We got news we'd be moving closer to our family, then told to wait, and are now told it might not happen. 
- The blog got a redesign
- I wrote Noah's Birth Story (part one & two)

In 2014 I want to....
- pay off our student loans (March, people! We're so close!)
- get chickens & raw milk. 
- make Kombucha.
- take better care of myself (getting dressed and ready for the day, taking pride in my appearance)
- be content with less stuff.
- be a better encourager to M.
- surrender each day to God and choose joy.
- be fully present with Noah instead of being on my phone.
- be intentional about parenting a toddler. 
- practice my sewing skills.
- cook new recipes.
- take more pictures. 
- love others, even strangers, more intentionally. 
- get outside more with my family (and stop being scared of spiders and bees!)
- crochet a full blanket. 
- assume less.
- Blog ahead of time!
- stop gossiping & speak edification.
- complete steps 3 & 4 of Dave's plan
- figure out if we're moving or staying! 

We've had a full, abundant year and I'm looking forward to another one! 

What about you? What's something you're looking forward to this year? 

from us, to you

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, lovely friends. I hope your day is wonderful and filled with joy from God and love from family and friends.

white space

Dec 20, 2013

one // two // three // four // five

Aren't these white spaces gorgeous? I love clean, minimalistic spaces with not much clutter and a super clean, relaxed feel. It's nice to have a blank slate to either to draw upon or use to be inspired and not destracted. 

It's got me thinking about how much I appreciate white space in our lives, and look forward to having more. It's made me realize that I'm a tiny bit glad things got postponed with our move, because it's given me time to think out our next home. We found a little house we both loved back in October when we thought we'd be moving right away. And it's just that....little. It's got a lot of what we want, and not exactly enough of what we need. I think if we had moved in October, we might have rushed ourselves into a decision we could have regretted. We had clutter in our lives- personally, I was in a tough place emotionally. Our marriage was going through a pretty rough spot. We still had a little bit more to pay on our student loans, and we were nearing the end of a peak season for home sales. We could have been dealing with a lot of clutter emotionally and physically. 

So I'm thinking there's a plan in all this. Actually, I know so. We've been given some space to clear out some clutter, and clear out we've done. I've experienced grace and peace and conviction in a new way. Our marriage has had some time to heal. We're a couple months away from being completely debt free aside from our mortgage, and we have a better overall perspective on the entire move situation. We realized we needed more space than the house we loved had to offer (it was tiny, tiny) and that has allowed us to broaden our horizon, on purpose. So while I adore the white space designs up there, I appreciate even more the white space that our lives are working towards. Less clutter, less to shuffle through. 

made / shelves

Dec 19, 2013

You know what's an added bonus to being married to M? The fact that he's so freaking handy with a power tool. I've had these shelf brackets from my last trip to Ikea just laying in the garage making googly eyes with some barn wood from M's parents. When I thought we were moving, I decided not to put them up, as we would just have eight more holes to patch. Now that it's on hold, and because we had some free time at home this past weekend, I thought it would be a great time to put them up. M had been saying he would, so I finally held him to it.

I love rustic style (although a realtor told me my style was "Shabby Chic"- whatever, she was wrong!) and even though our house is only a few years old and doesn't have a lot of character, I still think these shelves look good with some other big items I have in the house. I gathered some Christmas decor that I previously had nowhere to put and had fun displaying it. What's displayed now is just temporary- which is how I see this shelf's purpose. I don't want to just set it and forget it. Most of the fun in having shelves like these is to be able to stage it with all kinds of fun, seasonal items. I've been browsing Pinterest for open shelving ideas and am excited to re-do it when Christmas is over. I LOVE changing things around in the house and this might just be my little fix- moving things around on the shelf!

For the bottom row of pictures I used some Ikea frames I had on hand and a bunch of pages from my Real Simple magazine. I thought it would be a fun way to display some temporary seasonal "art" without having to buy it!

My favorite thing on the shelf? Our family Christmas picture on a canvas from Easy Canvas Prints. I was so excited about getting my canvas and finally having a fun way to display our most recent photo. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly it arrived once I placed my order and how thick the canvas is! You can tell it's good quality and the color is so vivid and bright.
I love how our picture turned out and that we got Noah at just the right time for that perfect smile! Interested in trying out Easy Canvas Prints? They're awesome and have given me promo codes to share with you! Use "50FREESHIP" for 50% off your canvas and free shipping or use "BOGOMONTH" to buy one canvas and get one free! Those are seriously amazing deals!

These shelves have been on my to-do list for months so I get a little giddy when I walk into the room and see them. I'm so thankful that I have a patient guy who not only cut the wood and hung the shelves, but spent about twenty minutes just holding up the seriously heavy pieces so I could figure out where and on what wall I wanted to hang them. Thanks honey! 


Dec 18, 2013

Want to figure out how to combine those beautiful ingredients to make your house smell ah-mazing with out all the chemicals of a generic candle? Head over to Simple Moments Stick to find the story and the recipe, and be sure to check out her other 12 Days of Christmas posts! 

A few things I'm doing lately...

eating |  a humongous batch of homemade salsa. My mouth is on fire, but it hurts so good!
drinking | chai Tea Latte and here's the best part....with whole milk. Skim's for the birds.
practicing | my communication style for a baby who is transitioning to a toddler.
mastering | changing the diaper of a wiggly one year old.
learning | how to crochet. So far I've got a crooked rectangle.
listening | to sweet little babbles and hums. 
playing | holiday songs on my piano.
finishing | cleaning this house before we leave for vacation.
reading | finishing Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist and about to start The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.
walking | does all over the house forgetting what project/chore I was working on last and getting distracted count?
wearing | my new Toms. IN LOVE. Go 'head and a call me a hipster.
cooking | lots of hearty, thick soups to keep us warm.
working | on letting go of having the house perfect and enjoying the moment.
traveling | to Virginia to visit my parents, M's parents, and lots of family and friends.
wanting| to hear something about our move soon.

What are some things you're loving this week? 

wait, what day is it?

Dec 17, 2013

This entire weekend has thrown me off. Michael worked 15 hours on Saturday and he's usually off Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. So Saturday felt like a Friday waiting on Michael to get home to start the weekend, Sunday felt like Saturday, and today just felt off. I found myself wondering on more than one occasion what day it was and trying to calculate it based on the previous week, or how many days we have until we leave for Virginia.

To throw me off even more, we had our family Christmas yesterday morning. It's over a week until Christmas, but it was the only morning Michael would be here before we leave. And I think Michael was pretty excited, because I got a lot of pressuring comments like, "Let's do Christmas now!" as early as a few weeks ago! Michael and I gave ourselves a small budget for each other this year since we're trying to pay off student loans (alllmoooostt ttherrrree!) and so it just happened to work out that we were with each other when we bought each other's Christmas gifts. That, or we just ordered it ourselves. So there really was no surprise and we thought it silly to wrap what we already know we got! So it really was just exciting to watch Noah!

You might have noticed that Noah's bed is on the floor. I've got an entire post coming up about how we're slowly transitioning to a Montessori type environment for our kiddos, and sleeping is part of it!
Noah really didn't rip into the gifts, he kind of just got a hold of them through the half-way unwrapped paper and slung them around. I don't think he gets that you're supposed to unwrap it all the way, quite yet. I think next year will only be even more fun!
Other than having Christmas early, and being confused on the days, we spent some time in Nashville grabbing dinner at one of our favorite gourmet burger places, Burger Up. I'm serious, if you're ever in Nashville, you've got to go there (and call me up, so I can meet you and enjoy it with you!). We also made a trip to the Opryland hotel to see all of their amazing Christmas decorations. It's breathtaking! You could be there for hours, shop, walk around, eat every meal at a different restaurant, and have spent your whole day in the same building. It's massive. Sadly, there were so many people that it was easier to snap pictures with my iPhone than my DSLR, but I'm still going to share those pictures soon! 

I'm off to make lists, meet some friends for a playdate at the library, and get an early start on packing for our week long Christmas vacation! So excited! 

How have you been enjoying the Christmas season so far?

five things + four pictures

Dec 13, 2013

one | Noah and I have been going to the library to get out of the house. It's the perfect place to go when it's cold out. Our local library isn't much to brag about, but their race track rug, box of stuffed animals, train table, and kids' chairs keep him entertained and busy. Well, really, it might be the fact that we normally have the whole area to ourselves and he is free to crawl and explore to his heart's content. But the train table is his second favorite. This picture just makes me so happy. Look at his tiny little legs. They make me want to hold on and not let go even more.

two | As I was finishing up some Christmas shopping this week, I happened to run into Old Navy looking for Noah some Christmas PJs. I found one of the only pairs left they had in his size and on my way to the register I found these dainty little initial rings. The first one I saw was an "N" and I knew I had to get an "M", too, and wear them on my finger as a little tribute to the guys I love the most. I love a mix of gold and silver! 

three | Last week we bought Christmas lights for outside and Michael began hanging them. We wanted to get them up before the ice storm, but it took him longer than he thought. He was tired and we were all hungry so he hung half the house and agreed to pick back up the next evening. Well, it's over a week later and we still have just two strands of icicle lights hanging in the middle section of the house, and they're not even lit! Poor guy has been working late all week, so I'm not about to press it. We might just get them up this weekend if we have time. Maybe we can enjoy them for a week before we drive to Virginia for the week of Christmas. 

four | I just can't even begin to tell you how in love I am with this little boy. And how thankful I am every single day that I'm able to be with him. My heart feels all kinds of feelings when I think about him. The fact that I get to wake up to his smiling face, play with him and make him laugh, nourish his little body, and introduce this big old world to him one day, one step at a time -it's an honor. It's not always easy, of course. This week he's had a little cold which means that we play this game every ten minutes called get Noah's nose wiped before he realizes what I'm about to do. It's both of our least favorite game. There's snot everywhere. My sweatpants, the couch where he buries his face to try to pull himself up, my sweater where he hides his face from my not-so-slick nose wipes. Tonight after dinner I told Michael I needed a bath and not to come get me unless it was an emergency. I soaked and browsed Pinterest, and for half an hour I didn't need to pay attention to anything.

five | Here are some great posts I've read this week that might be some good weekend reading! 

A reminder of what really matters in motherhood // A beautiful post by one of my favorite bloggers about how He's already here // Some beautiful pictures that make me want to get a new camera // My Pinterest board might just convince me I need to add some different color to my hair // Ever wonder what Christmas looks like when you live on a sailboat?

Happy weekend! I'm spending the day crossing my fingers that Michael doesn't have to work the entire weekend and hoping Noah's nose magically stops leaking! What are your plans for the weekend?

Intentionality at Christmas | Part Two: Unplugging

Dec 11, 2013

Welcome to part two of my series "Intentionality at Christmas"! In part one, I talked about how we want to change the way we do Christmas, starting with gift-giving. Today's post is all about being present with friends and family.
In this age of modern technology, there are so many amazing things that can be accomplished. Noah can connect with his grandparents on FaceTime and they get to see him grow even when they're not close by. I can find my way through an unfamiliar town using location services. This comes waaaayyyy in handy when I'm driving by myself and need to figure out where I am! I can look up a business and call without ever having to dial the number on the keypad. I can listen to music or watch a video- anytime, anywhere. I can look up a product or recipe in less than a minute. I can stay in touch with friends and send family members pictures of Noah. Needless to say, there are a million other ways that technology is useful and wonderful. 

But I'll be the first to admit- I'm a bit hooked. I always have my phone with me and it's what I resort to first when I'm bored. It's a common theme at any gathering I've been to lately- everyone has their phone and almost everyone is on it at some point- and I'm guilty! There are times I've been with family or friends and either one or both of us is distracted by our phone, iPad, or computer. The art of verbal communication, eye contact, social cues, and just good old quality time together seems to be fading and in its place is texting, updating social media, and browsing the internet. We have this need to be entertained and want that entertainment in the form of as little use of our brains as possible and we want it right now.

I love my family and friends too much to continue this, especially when my time with them is limited to eight hour trips every couple of months! I want to sit down, look them in the eye, hear what they're saying, and respond from the heart without either one of us worrying about if the other one is really paying attention. It won't be an easy thing to do, but that's why it takes intentionality. 

Here are a few ways I plan to intentionally unplug this season (and probably should for life!): 

1. Cut the umbilical cord!
That sounds weird and gross, but seriously- the phone is not an extension of me. It doesn't need to always be in my pocket or in my hand. I will survive if - gasp!- I don't have my phone with me! I need to set the ringer on high (in case of emergency or necessity), stick it somewhere I'll be able to hear it, and forget about it! I will say, though, that I take a ton of pictures on my phone. The key for me will be waiting until later to post it somewhere!

2. Interest over Pinterest! (aka "Don't bring it to the table!")
(catchy, huh?) Michael and I have the habit of bringing our phones to the table with us. We aren't on them, but they're there, waiting to alert us in case of an important......oh you know...text, e-mail, twitter update. How ridiculous does that sound? If I'm at dinner with my family, I want them to be my priority, not worrying about seeing that Facebook comment reply the second it's sent. If I'm at coffee with a friend, I want her to know that I care more about what she has to say than the comment on my blog or if someone is re-tweeting my tweet!

3. Get creative!
We spend most of the down time with our families in the evening, once guests have gone home and events are over. We usually end up watching tv or browsing our computers. This year, I'm going to make more of an effort to close the computer, shut down the iPad, turn off the tv (if that's allowed!) and think of creative and fun ways to spend time together that doesn't revolve around electronic entertainment. Hopefully that will look like board games, long conversations, or even gathering around the fire in my dad's garage. Whatever it is, I hope it's together, fully present. 

It's so important to me that not only around the holidays, but all year round, we are intentional about our time together. I've had to address and conquer this in my own life during my time home with Noah. I don't want him to grow up remembering Mommy with her nose stuck in her phone and I don't want memories to revolve around the tv. Those things are obviously not bad, but I want more for my family, for our families. I'm excited to implement these personally, even if nobody catches on or follows along. I at least want to be able to say that I was present, fully, and gave all that I had to give of myself. 

Do you struggle with unplugging sometimes? 
Are there ways you can be intentional about being more present with your loved ones?

Deck the Halls!

Dec 10, 2013

Every year I look forward to decorating for Christmas. I don't let myself turn Christmas music on until the night we bring out the Christmas box and set up our tree, because for some weird reason it feels like I'm cheating. This year we made some yummy drinks, let Noah explore the tree some, put him to bed, then finished putting everything up with music in the background. 

It feels so good to walk down the hall in the morning and see the tree and lights. And I love how peaceful the house feels when I sit back on the couch for a second and watch Noah play and the lights sparkle behind him. One day, I'll decorate every room in the house, but for now it's just the living room. My mom just gave us all of our ornaments from her over the years and it's special having those on the tree, too, this year. 

Noah doesn't pay any attention to the tree, which is great because I've heard of parents having to put gates around their trees! Although, I was kind of bummed that he wasn't more excited about it all. Then I remind myself that he's only one. I think next year he'll be old enough to get the excitement. My birthday is about a week and a half after Christmas so I hope the tree lasts until then because I'd love to keep it up for my birthday! 
Do you have any decorating traditions?

winter wonderland + a work order from mother nature

Dec 9, 2013

The winter weather that swept across the nation this past weekend hit us around Friday. We were expecting power outages from all the ice, but thankfully our power stayed on and we were able to stay niiiice and toasty. Good thing, too, because I'm a wimp when I'm cold. Michael encouraged me to go outside and take some pictures of the ice and I'm glad I did! It was absolutely breathtaking, from beauty and the frigid cold, and it was kind of a nice little break to get some fresh air and experience the peace and quiet of the outdoors, even if I was only a few yards from our house. Sunday morning we woke up to trees falling all around us. Every few minutes we heard "crack" and them a big "boom". At least Michael will get to put his chainsaw to use, right?

Because we've been so busy lately, we both were excited to stay home and relax. Michael was amazing and let me sleep in after a long night with a runny-nosed little boy, and he even cooked us breakfast once I got up (he's pretty much a keeper, I tell ya). We cleaned just a little and then literally vegged out in front of the tv or played with Noah all day. It was glor-eee-ussss!

On Sunday, after breakfast, some music time, and a walk outside together (aka Michael assessing all the damage and calculating hours and sweat spent clearing our yard!), we made our way to Nashville to get the last of our Christmas shopping done and then went to some friends' house for an ornament swap party. It's been an amazing weekend and it's not even over yet because Michael is off Mondays. I'm absolutely in love with this season and feel so deeply blessed and thankful. 

What about you? Did you get some winter weather this weekend? 
What is your favorite way to pass the time stuck indoors?

Intentionality at Christmas: Noah's "Something Tos"

Dec 6, 2013

Yesterday I started my Intentionality at Christmas series and kicked it off by talking about how we've decided to do gifts! I thought it might be fun to show what exactly that looks like for Noah this year.

Untitled #12

WANT | Green Toys My First Tugboat: This little tugboat came in a trial version of Citrus Lane, a monthly subscription box for babies and kids. Noah has so many toys now so I figured I would save it for Christmas! I love that all of the Green Toys products are made in America and from 100% recycled material. He'll have fun playing with this during bath time!

NEED | Skip Hop Zootensils Fork & Spoon: Noah has been able to "feed" himself with a fork for about a month now. And by "feed" I mean stab at his food, occasionally get something on the fork, and then put it in his mouth. Our forks are just too long and a bit heavy for him and I'm not sure why I hadn't thought about getting him some his own size. These also came in the last Citrus Lane box we got and I'm so excited about seeing him use them!

WEAR | H&M Sweatshirt: I know I've gone on and on about H&M's kids' clothing line, but I'm serious- it's amazing. The prices are inexpensive, the clothes are good quality, and the style is adorable. Noah is so hot-natured and is NOT a jacket wearer. It's a battle every time and because it's not safe to wear in the car seat, it's more work taking it on and off in such a short amount of time. A pullover sweatshirt like this is perfect because it wears like a shirt, but adds some warmth, too.

READ | The Very Hungry Caterpillar: I've seen this book in stores and thought it was the cutest! I've not done a good job of reading every day to Noah and I've been trying to be better at that. He loves books with bright colors and I think he'll like this one!

GIVE | Angel Tree: Obviously, Noah isn't old enough to be involved in this part, but Michael and I usually do Angel Tree anyways and wanted to give from Noah, too. I'm usually skeptical of charities but, having worked as a case manager here in our town, I've seen the gifts given go straight to the kids of the community who would otherwise have nothing. I'm excited to eventually work with Noah and the rest of our kids to pick out gifts. 

Don't get me wrong. These won't be the only gifts Noah gets for Christmas, as the rest of our family is always so generous and giving. His birthday and Christmas are so close together and between the two, we have every single base covered and then some! We know that our family finds joy in giving and we'd never take that away! Noah's obviously not old enough to make a list, so I've had fun choosing things for him! I love that there was no stress in trying to find a bunch of different things or pushing our budget to the max. I'm excited about our plan and implementing it has been great so far! 

 I'm linking up today with the Five on Friday gals - Natasha, Darci, April, and Christina!

Intentionality at Christmas | Part One: Gift-Giving

Dec 5, 2013

Hi! Welcome to my series, Intentionality at Christmas! I'm excited to write about what's been on my heart lately about all things Christmas and what living outside of the cultural norm might look like for my family. 

I've always struggled with Christmas. As a Christian, I've known and believed that this holiday was more than gifts, decoration, and traditions. It's a day to celebrate God becoming man... the birthday of the man who would eventually sacrifice his life so that we could have a relationship with God. As much as I love all of the other fun things that have become a part of Christmas, I'm always saddened when I realize the day, much less the season, has gone by and we haven't devoted time as a family to honoring what the day really means. 

The materialism I see in our culture, and sometimes in our own home, makes me sad, too. I mean, people being killed over half-priced tvs? People getting arrested for fights? Families rack up thousands of dollars worth of debt so their family members won't be disappointed on Christmas morning and the success of the day is measured by the number of things they can cross off their wish list. 

Been there. Done that. Guilty. (the last part, not the killing, fights, or debt!)

I'm not criticizing having things, but when things are the focus of our culture and homes, and especially when they're the focus of Christmas, it only further contributes to discontentment and unhappiness. I, admittedly, can easily fall into the same trap of thinking things can make me happy, and I am always, always disappointed when happiness is the last thing I feel. Things will never buy happiness.

Now that we're parents, my desire to be more intentional around the holidays has deepened and I've been contemplating and praying about how I can effect change in my own family. I won't be so naive to think that a few families changing how they do Christmas could change our culture in the blink of an eye, but it can certainly set a precedent for our children and their future families- a precedent of true celebration and thankfulness to God, and a contentment with what we have. 

That being said, I do believe gifts have a place at Christmas. We are celebrating, after all! And what better way to celebrate one of the biggest events of our faith than giving to others in honor of what we've been given? Making positive change starts with our hearts, and asking God to help change us and show us where we need to change. We know that we won't be perfect with our goals, and it will take intentionality, but here's a little of what I've had in mind:

1. We want the focus of Christmas to be on what it means for us that Christ became man.
2. We want to give joyfully and creatively from our hearts.
-giving doesn't always have to be big, flashy, and expensive to be meaningful. 
3. We want to model contentment and thankfulness.
-we want our children to understand that our value is found in Christ, not name brands or bigger and better.
 4.We will not put Christmas gifts on a credit card. We will budget and save throughout the year.
-we want to teach wisdom with money, paying cash for what you want, and patience.
 5. We want to have a big family and having a plan will help keep us in line with our budget.
-can you imagine the lists and budget for an outrageous, materialistic Christmas?

The plan I'm talking about? I'm sure you've heard this little jingle on Pinterest or other blogs, but it's the best way to describe how we want to go about giving gifts and setting boundaries:

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.

We also want to include "something to give away". This may include serving in the community, reaching out to others who need help, selecting an Angel Tree tag of a child close to their age and picking out the gifts themselves, etc. We want it to come natural to our children to think of and serve others, and not just around the holidays. This plan helps us not only by setting a standard for more minimalistic living, but also by giving practical guidelines and expectations.

I do want to make it clear that our main focus is the heart, not just having another routine or going through the motions. We want our children to have a true relationship with God and depend on the Spirit to guide and teach them.  It's vital that we not only talk the talk, but that we walk the walk and allow our children to see these principles played out in our personal lives, not just on Christmas day. As parents, Michael and I are the ones given the responsibility of shaping our children's worldview during the years they're in our home and setting a precedent for being wise with money, considerate of others, thankful for what we have, and focused on what matters is important to us.

What are some things that are important for you and your family at Christmas?

ModCloth | vintage inspired holiday

Dec 4, 2013

Winterberry Tart Coat

I've always been a big fan of vintage. I was probably the only one of my peers who enjoyed antiquing and wished that I could wear A-line dresses everyday. I always joked that I was born in the wrong decade, and that I would have been much better suited to live in the 40's. Then I'm reminded of all the flaws that era had (gender inequality, even more male dominance than today, and the Betty Crocker ideal) and I realize I only was into their fashion!

Around the holidays I always find myself dreaming of a big, fancy Christmas party. I've never been to one where guests dress up, so it's on my list of things to do...#352: find friends who throw fancy parties. 

I used to peruse eBay or Etsy for vintage finds, but then sites, like ModCloth, popped up and put a fun twist on vintage-inspired clothing! When I saw the Winterberry Tart coat, my mind immediately went to all the Christmas party dreaming I've done and I had fun putting together a little collage of the outfit it inspired. 

Do you ever get invited to or throw fancy Christmas parties? 
Are you inspired by vintage fashion or modern style?

mini hiatus

Dec 2, 2013

If you can't tell from my absence around here, we've been a little busy! We've been out of town the last two weekends, spending one weekend in Nebraska with Michael's parents for the football game and five wonderful days in Virginia to celebrate Noah's birthday. My dad and sister came back to Tennessee with us to spend Thanksgiving (mom had to work!) and they just left yesterday.

Instead of trying to find time to keep up with posts and reply to emails, I took a chill pill and let myself off the hook- and it was glorious! Although we've been busy, I've been able to spend more time face-to-face with loved ones, have time to catch up on some reading, and overall feel more present than I have in awhile. Last night was the first time I have had a free moment to sit down and write, schedule posts, brainstorm, and reply to some (not all!) emails.
We had a great time at the Nebraska game. It was my first college football game ever and I was pumped to go! Noah did great on our flights and when he got restless we were prepared with the iPad and snacks! Our hotel was two blocks from the stadium and one of the hot spots for watching the game. It was fun feeling like we were right in the center of the action and being able to walk everywhere. We got a tour of the stadium that Friday and found an open gate a few hours before the game on Saturday...talk about really feeling team spirit. I've always given the guys a hard time for how hardcore they are about football, but I have to admit I might have caught some of their football fever as I walked onto the field during our tour and stood near the sidelines for a few minutes on game day. They ended up losing, but we had a great time. Michael's dad was carrying Noah in at the entrance and got stopped because Noah didn't have a ticket. We were shocked- he wasn't even a year old! Thankfully the older man realized it was pointless to try to figure it out and told us to "go on and keep him in your laps". Where else would he be? Noah did great with the loud noise and even slept half an hour in the fourth quarter! We flew back home that Sunday and had three days at home before we were off to Virginia.
After a quick stop in Knoxville for Michael's meeting, we made it to my parents' house that Thursday night. We spent most of the next couple of days preparing for Noah's party. I love the way it turned out! It didn't quite look like my Pinterest inspiration board, and we had it in my dad's garage, but I loved the intimate setting and I think Noah had fun! He really didn't know what to do with his cake and he had zero interest in opening his gifts. My mom took pictures and I'm excited to share once I get them from her! My sister took this adorable picture with Noah...he hadn't gotten his full nap and it was pretty obvious!
We spent Thanksgiving day back in Tennesee and with my uncle and his family. It was the first time my dad and his twin brother had spent Thanksgiving together in thirty years. The girls sat around the dining room table and talked most of the day and the guys watched football and wandered in and out of the kitchen for leftovers. The rest of the week with my dad and sister were spent around the house, relaxing, watching movies, and hanging out. 

Yesterday after they left, we spent some time cleaning the house and getting ready for Christmas decorations! Midway through lunch, after Noah had just laid down for a nap, Michael and I both agreed we were exhausted and went to take a nap! It was nice finally having a day at home all together.We went out for dinner and picked out a Christmas tree.
We have three weeks at home before we start traveling again for Christmas and I'm going to try to soak up as much alone time and normal, boring routine as I can before it gets crazy again! I'm excited about some things going on this month, both in blog-land and in real life! I'm looking forward to writing again! Also, last Monday I guest posted over at Simple Moments Stick about seasons of life! You can read more here!