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Holiday & New Year Greetings

When I saw this Holiday card design from Tiny Prints, I knew right away that I wanted to use it. The focal word couldn’t have been more perfect for what I want to call into 2018. After such a year of ups and downs, I want to cultivate a sense of PEACE in my heart and home.

Holiday-Cards-Peace

PEACE… when I have a million and one things on my to-do list and ideas swirling around in my head BUT I’m too tired at the end of the day to do anything about it! This sometimes draining season of busy little ones will pass quickly. And, then I’ll miss it. Stay present, mama!

PEACE… when James and I are short with each other at the end of a long day. I know that he loves me. 

PEACE… when I know I’ve fallen short of my own expectations. Perfection isn’t the goal. I’m doing my best and that’s good enough.

PEACE… in the joyful moments and messes of daily life with littles. I’m so grateful for this time and that they need me right now. And, their smiles? Pure magic for the soul.

PEACE… when sleepless nights have become the norm and I’ve just warmed my coffee up for the 37th time. What I’m doing MATTERS. Being present for them is the greatest gift.

PEACE… when I’m building my business or working on a creative project. I’ve got this!

Wishing you PEACE, joy, health, and happiness in 2018! Happy New Year!

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Five Sweet & Short Years Later

When Liv was born, I remember thinking to myself- “wow, that’s not at all how I wanted or expected our winter break to go.” Instead of enjoying the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I spent every moment I could visiting my sweet girl in the NICU. From the very beginning, Olivia has had such a brave and tender heart. I will never forget how strong she was in those early days.

I find myself saying almost the exact same words five years later. We spent Christmas Day in the ER with Olivia as she has been fighting off some sort of crazy, seasonal bug. It has been a long, long week, friends. Not a bit of sleep, quite a few tears, many cancelled family gatherings, lots of snuggles, and a process of figuring out exactly how to help her. The light in these tough moments: my girl’s unending bravery. Fingers are crossed that she took a turn for the better today! Her first request when she perked up a bit? To paint. She got right to work creating rainbows and hearts.

Liv’s one big wish from Santa this year was a stuffed animal unicorn. My darling girl, you help me see rainbows everyday. YOU are magic to me. Happy 5th Birthday, my beautiful Olivia Rose.

Unicorn-Session-1Unicorn-Session-2Unicorn-Session-4Unicorn-Session-5Unicorn-Session-6Unicorn-Session-7Unicorn-Session-8

A big thank you to our photographer, Tiffany Henning of TH Photography & Design, for these incredible photos! The session was pure magic for my girl. Every so often, Liv will remind me with wide eyes, “Mom, do remember when I met a real unicorn?” I’ll treasure these pics forever!

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Ryan Oliver

He’s here!

Baby-Ryan-Arrives

Our sweet boy was born on April 17th at 39 weeks exactly. He surprised us all with a very quick labor! The past few weeks have been a blur of appointments and getting used to life with 2 kiddos. I’m still processing so many parts of his arrival and our postpartum experience- more to come later! For now, I’ll leave you with 3 things that surprised me after delivering:

  1. Olivia’s Size: Our “baby” girl is HUGE compared to her newborn brother. I think that she grew a foot taller and aged 5 years in the span of 1 afternoon. No joke!
  2. My Body: My constant prayer throughout this pregnancy was to carry Ryan to term. I was so incredibly grateful to have made it to Weeks 37-39. What a blessing! After delivering, I also realized how ready I was for this journey to be ending. This duality –desperately wanting to stay pregnant and also wanting my body back– surprised me.
  3. Reality of Beginnings: Transitions and growth phases are challenging! Even when things go perfectly, life can be a complicated, beautiful mess. We are in the thick of navigating curve balls that come with getting started on any journey (breastfeeding challenges, sleep deprivation, sibling jealousy, etc…). Once again, I’m surprised at how accurate this phrase continues to be: “The days are long, but the years are short (Gretchen Rubin).” Time has marched so slowly on the days filed with frequent preschooler meltdowns, endless nursing sessions, and general feelings of overwhelm. At the same time, I’m pinching myself that nearly 3 weeks have already gone by!
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Motivation Monday: Words to Live By #9

Nope, it’s not Monday. Best laid plans to have this post ready last week went askew. It’s been quiet on this blog for several months… Sharing this quote today as a reminder to myself…

Words-to-Live-By-Season-for-Everything

The past couple of months have seemed like a whirlwind! It’s been a season of:

  • Growing Pains: In more than 1 way! Our sweet girl has been testing boundaries and flexing her muscles of independence. She’s also growing physically stronger and taller every day. As for me? I’m so proud that my body has carried a precious human for close to 36 weeks! I’m in awe of how organs rearrange themselves and the body stretches to accommodate a new life. I won’t, however, miss the physical aches and pains of a normal pregnancy!
  • Sweet Moments: It seems like Olivia’s verbal skills have exploded. James remarked the other day, “It’s just a steady stream of dialogue!” I adore hearing her sweet voice and little conversations with her dolls. She gives the BEST hugs- I feel like she squeezes with her whole heart! And, when she spontaneously tells me “I Love You” — well, let’s just say that life doesn’t get any sweeter.
  • Waiting: We are waiting on sweet baby boy. Our wait has been filled with a few hiccups and anxieties. Around 29.5 weeks, our little one gave us a scare that landed me in the triage area of our local hospital. Fortunately, all is well and we are continuing to pray for a healthy, full-term delivery. I am constantly reminding myself to replace my fears with faith.
  • Baby Kicks: This pregnancy has been so different than my first. Baby boy has been so active!
  • Progesterone Shots: I feel fortunate to be working with an amazing team committed to my prenatal and postnatal care. They’ve been monitoring my hormone levels closely due to my history of preterm labor. So far, I’ve had 82 injections (!!!) of progesterone. I have a separate post coming on this ordeal… but, let me tell you, my mama heart goes out to anyone who has had to supplement their hormones with injections. It is not a fun or easy process.
  • Building My Business: Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of really focusing on building my essential oil team and empowering families with natural health options. I absolutely love teaching and sharing practical tips to help support wellness.
  • Designing: I’m still designing for Snap Click Supply Company and love the creative outlet that this position offers. Are you following their Facebook page? I just shared a darling banner, perfect for Easter.
  • Renovating: We’ve tackled 3 (yes, 3!!) fairly large home projects since September. More updates to come about how we built a large kitchen corner storage cabinet, transformed my office, and remodeled the laundry room. My goal for these projects was to create more functional space for our family.

I miss writing and hope to have a more regular voice in this space sometime soon. In the meantime, I’m embracing the season of growth that I’m currently navigating.

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Monday Motivation: Words to Live By #8

Gratitude Quote

Can you believe it’s November?! Right now, I’m participating in a business training and one of our recent calls focused on gratitude, perfect timing as we head into Thanksgiving. Are you using gratitude as a catalyst for positive momentum in your life?

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Happy Halloween 2015

Our little pumpkin is going to be a big sister next April!

Pregnancy-Announcement-Pumpkin-Patch

More to come on this upcoming adventure! Happy Halloween!

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Toddler Pumpkins and Art Project Ideas

Olivia worked so diligently on a few Halloween greetings this year! Love how this simple art project was a great learning opportunity to discuss drawing circles and triangles. My sweet girl is a pro at making smiley faces! Here are here masterpieces:

Toddler-Pumpkins

The process in action:

Toddler-Pumpkin-Painting

After the paint was dry and the pumpkins were decorated, Olivia added stickers. It’s so fascinating to watch her decision process– the spiders, for example, needed to go in the corner upside down. The simple act of peeling stickers and placing images is a great way to strengthen her fine motor skills. I always like to ask her questions about the various images- silly animal faces or Halloween images are natural conversation starters!

There are so many great toddler pumpkin and art ideas floating on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites:

We tucked one of Olivia’s pumpkin portraits into a special Halloween greeting for Olivia’s newest cousin.

Halloween-Greetings-for-Baby

My Mom has a collection of fun spider rings and Olivia has LOVED playing with them this year. We couldn’t resist sharing some spider bling with Adeline and her Mommy! We placed an orange and pink jeweled ring, along with pumpkin bubbles and stickers, into a spider silhouette box.

Spider-Silhouette-Gift-Box

I love this pattern- it cuts beautifully and comes together so easily for a unique and spooky gift!

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Halloween Lip Balm Card

Do you have a favorite lip balm? I do- it’s made with wild orange and peppermint essential oils. I surprised a few family members with this treat!

Halloween-Card-Idea

To make this card, I used Lori Whitlock’s Lip Balm Card Template. I added ghost and BOO medallion outlined in orange glitter to the front. Two small purple rhinestones served as the perfect pair of bat eyes! The ghost appears to be flying off the card thanks to a square piece of foam tape!

Halloween-Lip-Balm-Card-Construction

Inside, I placed a “Have a BOO-tiful Halloween” saying to tie everything together!

Halloween-Lip-Balm-Card

Here’s an alternate Halloween lip balm card that I love almost as much!

Halloween-Ghost-Card

What fun treats are you serving up for Halloween?

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You’ve Been Booed Gift

Olivia delivered little surprises to her buddies this week! I’ve loved looking at all the “You’ve Been Booed!” ideas floating on Pinterest lately. Here’s our homemade spin on this fun gift:

You've-Been-Booed-Ideas

These days, homemade gifts need to be quick AND engaging for a toddler! Olivia helped me put together a Frankenstein, pumpkin, black cat, and monster treat basket (found in the dollar bins at Target). Who knew that paper shreds could be so much fun for a 2.5 year old! We filled these bins with: 2 pencils, a pack of glow sticks, sticker boxes, a light-up ball, and some gummy treats!

You've-Been-Booed-Treats

Since we were delivering these surprises right before the Holiday, I didn’t want to use a traditional “You’ve Been Booed” card that instructs the recipient to keep the game going. These little treats were just for fun and not intended to add any more stress for the parents on such short notice! I opted to make my own handmade card using elements from Lori Whitlock’s Classic Halloween Element pack.

I took inspiration from TomKat Studio’s 2009 “You’ve Been Booed” version that utilizes a circle graphic and the Budmo font. Lori Whitlock’s BOO! ghost medallion fit perfectly above my text.

You've-Been-Booed-Card

To create this circle center graphic:

You've-Been-Booed-Ghost-Graphic

  • Select the black circle portion of the BOO! medallion.
  • Drag this portion onto Artisan Label 05 of the Artisan Label Templates pack by Crystal Wilkerson. Size it to fit inside the center green circle.
  • Hide the other layers of the tag so just the circle shapes are visible.
  • Adjust the colors (I changed green background to orange and the dashed circle outline to purple.)

On the back, I added a darling Halloween poem from the Classic Halloween Element pack using the print and cut feature of my silhouette. Olivia, of course, signed it “Bugs and Hisses!”

You've-Been-Booed-Card-Poem

There you have it… ideas for a fast and inexpensive gift that will scare up a bit of fun this Halloween!

You've-Been-Booed-Baskets

Looking for something quick and easy just to print? Here are a few of my favorite printable “You’ve Been Booed” designs:

TomKat Studios, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Simply Kierste, Printabelle, and Anders Ruff.

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Halloween Mantel Ideas

For a peek at my Halloween mantel this year, check out my latest post on Snap Click Supply Co!

Halloween-Mantel-Ideas

I embellished a burlap banner from Target with darling paper embellishments from the Hocus Pocus digital collection. Hop on over to this post for 6 Halloween mantel ideas to celebrate the season. The final result = a personalized, one-of-a-kind decoration that is sure to brighten any space!

 

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