Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Exactly two weeks after Emory was born, Christmas was here. I really made it a point to be organized this year and have my shopping, cards, etc done early because I knew I'd be in no shape to do it after her birth. I'm glad it worked out that way because my mom was here to help and we were really able to just relax and enjoy those two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Our card was from Tiny Prints as usual :) I just love their cards -- their paper is nice and thick and I think the print quality is excellent. I actually had Tiny Prints mail our cards for us this year, we just supplied the addresses.
Our first outing as a family was when Emory was 6 days old. Landon had a Christmas program at his Mother's Day Out (which is at our church) and I really wanted to go and hear his class sing. It was SO cute and I'm so glad I went because originally we had planned to just have Joe go and record it.
My parents let Landon open his Christmas present early, which was a green tractor. We are OBSESSED with tractors right now. :) Joe's parents got him a workbench for his bedroom, complete with a set of matching wooden tools. It is so cute to see him walking around with a little hammer or wrench. We scaled back in terms of traditions leading up to Christmas. We didn't do Elf on a Shelf (I don't know that we will ever do the regular Elf on a Shelf anyway), but we did bake some cookies and just have a lot of "the four of us" time.
My mom went home a few days before Christmas so she could spend it with my sister and her kids and the rest of our family. The night before Christmas Joe put together our big gift to Landon -- a train table. The stockings were stuffed and we arranged everything neatly under the tree. The first thing Landon said when we went to his crib the next morning was "Santa!!" - haha!
We had such a nice and low key Christmas and it was perfect for 2013. Next year I'll be glad to be able to incorporate some more traditions because our kids will be older and I'll be glad to be able to see more of our families because we'll be living in Kansas City. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Welcome, Emory

Two weeks ago yesterday Joe and I welcomed our precious daughter into the world! We have had such a WONDERFUL two weeks enjoying her.

We named her Emory. It's a name I've always loved -- an old family name on my maternal grandpa's side. We thought about using some other more popular names but we always came back to Emory and now that she's here she really is an "Emory". The name just suits her! We used Leigh as her middle name; it's my middle name and I'm named after my Grandpa (he spells it Lee, my mom "feminized it" -- hah!).
I had a scheduled C-section this time (after some complications with my labor with Landon) and I have to say - this recovery has been MUCH smoother! I rested quite a bit the first week but since then I've been up and going and now I'm pretty much back to normal. I was on heavy duty pain medicine for 13 weeks after Landon and I'm glad to say this time I only needed them a week or so. This has been such a blessing because I have a spunky little 2 year old who I still want to chase around ;-)
Emory is a tiny little thing - she was born at 7lb, 1oz - but she feels so little after holding Landon. She is swimming in her newborn sized clothes still! Speaking of Landon, he adores his little sister. We've made sure to really make him feel special for being a big brother and so far he has loved on Emory as much as we have!
Joe got a full three weeks off work to be home for paternity leave. We figured out it has been his longest break since his 2nd year of medical school in 2007! He goes back to work on January 2nd and I've already begged him to quit his job because it has been SO nice to have him home!!
I am so grateful for being blessed with a healthy and beautiful daughter. Daughter. It still sounds weird to say! We are just so in love with her :) I WILL-will-will be back with more updates. I know I will kick myself if I don't document these precious (and crazy) days.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pinterest Inspired Play

Just like everyone else I find myself getting overwhelmed by all the decorating, food, house and style inspiration pictures on Pinterest. I sort of have to force myself to lie low every once in a while because I feel like I will never have the "perfect Pinterest life" with the amazing house, designer clothes, perfect Paleo meals on the table every night, and so on. BUT, I have really been inspired by some of the homeschooling and toddler play ideas there lately!!

My favorite pins almost always come from Playful Learning. I think they post a great variety of activities and a lot of them are sensory things that I am very into with Landon right now.
I saw this pin where you make your own indoor ball pit with a cheap inflatable pool and plastic slide and thought that would be right up our alley. We already had a slide we keep in the Living Room (I know..) so I ordered a pool for $8 from Amazon. Plastic balls are expensive so I waited and kept an eye on Amazon to see if I could find a price drop.
Then one day I was in Goodwill looking for a piece of furniture for a project and found a set of 150 balls almost new in the bag! For $4! So we now have a ball pit in our Living Room we are loving for getting our energy out. Other balls and balloons have been added - it has been a big hit!!
Recently I also saw a pin on mirror play on one of the homeschool boards I follow. I loved the idea of using a simple mirror (who doesn't have one at home) to create a new experience with blocks or toys. Kids can learn a sense of symmetry by organizing materials onto a mirror. What a cool concept! We already had a set of plastic shapes I had gotten last year at a garage sale (tip: look for garage sale ads that say "homeschool" or "teacher" for awesome learning supplies!!), similar here. I was amazed how long Landon played at the mirror! He even got different vehicles out and built a tunnel for them with the pieces entirely on his own. :)
One of my "go to" activities when we are bored at home is to do some kind of sensory play with sand outside. I buy sea shells from the Dollar Tree and bury them, or I hide coins for Landon to dig up and then put in his piggy bank. He also likes to just pour sand from one container to another. I saw on Pinterest several ideas using rice, noodles and corn instead of sand -- which is more "inside friendly" because it they can be vacuumed up! I made a rice tub for Landon's diggers and it has been a huge hit! I think this might be a good thing I can pull out when I'm nursing the new baby to buy some time??

Thank goodness for Pinterst! If you want to see all of my Pinterest boards, click here:)

Monday, October 14, 2013


Daily blogging fell off the bandwagon last week but we are back! Let's try this again shall we? :)

Some random thoughts:

- I am obsessed with the company Sevenly! The mission from their website:
In January of 2011, two young Entrepreneurs Dale Partridge and Aaron Chavez got together with the mission of leading a generation toward generosity. With a belief that people mattered, they began a journey to change the world. On June 13th 2011, Sevenly was born. By creating weekly cause campaigns where customers could purchase products that gave $7 to a weekly charity, Sevenly successfully unlocked not only a way to crowd-fund for causes, but to drive massive social awareness as well.
I bought this sweatshirt and I want to get a few more things too (maybe Christmas gifts??) :)

- I have been watching this YouTube makeup tutorial and re-creating it at least a couple times a week. LOVE.

- I decided I'm going to make Landon a Queen's Guard for Halloween and I will be pregnant Kate Middleton (I know.. I am really reaching here! Hah!) and Joe will be Prince William. I got this sweatshirt for Landon which is what gave me the idea. :)
-This recipe, which I found on Pinterest, has made it into our weekly rotation over the past two months. So good!
-Last Sunday in church our preacher announced that we had a 7-year old girl in the congregation who had memorized the entire Sermon on the Mount (over two chapters of the Bible). He had been preaching on it for 30 weeks and had challenged members to try to memorize some or all of it. He asked the girl to come forward and recite it for us and it was the most moving thing to watch that I embarrassingly cried when she finished.  

That's all friends! Happy Monday! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Joe's 30th - Branson Trip

Last weekend we celebrated Joe's 30th birthday in Branson with our friends Nate, Becca and their son Jackson. Jackson is Landon's best friend - they are only two months apart in age. Landon and I used to see Becca and Jackson almost every single day when we lived in Wichita. We have missed them so much since we moved.

We decided to book a 2 bedroom villa at the Marriott Willow Ridge Lodge when they were running a 40% off sale and split the cost for three nights. It was a total retreat and we felt like we were at a fancy resort!! It was so nice to be able to do that for Joe's birthday, which was Sunday!
The husbands played golf one day while we girls (and little boys) shopped at the outlets and the rest of the time we ate and played and visited Silver Dollar City. The weather was chilly and perfect :)
This is Landon's favorite ride at SDC - we always ride the frogs first thing when we get to the park! Hah!
We had such a fun time. On the way home we stopped in Conway, Arkansas which is about 40 minutes from our house at Arkansas Pineapple Whip. This has become an obsession of ours since we moved here. It's a little ice cream truck that makes pineapple floats almost exactly like the Dole Whip at Disney. What more could you ask for on your 30th birthday??? :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Fall Mantel

Since we are in a rental house for the year while Joe is in his fellowship I decided to scale back on our Fall decor and just do a nice mantel and some other small touches in the house. I love buying Halloween and Fall things but I didn't get anything new this year because I don't want to have to move it in June! :) So here is my "shop what I already had" Fall mantel. :)

I had an antique window that used to be in our bathroom and I put an old twig wreath in front of it. If there's any one piece of advice I've picked up over the years that really makes a mantel look great, it is: layering. I also had a weathered mini tree I got an an antique store in Wichita. I had used it on an end table to hold mini Easter eggs last Spring. Next to it I have an antique brass candlestick set I got at Goodwill for less than $1. I added an old leafy swag under the window and two white pumpkins from Hobby Lobby. And I love a Fall mantle with some black crows; I use them every single year. :)

I'm so glad Fall is here!!

Friday, October 4, 2013


I realize that this post will not be interesting to anyone but me but I want to document some of the quirky and fun things Landon is doing these days at 2 years old. I feel like I've totally dropped off the bandwagon of doing updates on my little sidekick so here's to me getting started again! :)

Things He Says:
-If you ask Landon where Daddy works he says "hop-i-down" for "hospital". I pray he never actually says it correctly because it is so cute. I remind Joe to pronounce it "the Landon way" so he keeps saying it like that. Hah! :)
-He calls us Mama and Daddy about 50% of the time and "Babe" the rest. That's pretty much all Joe and I call each other so it makes sense that he picked that up. There are times from another room I will hear him yell "Babe..!!" calling for me.
-He can count to 10 easily but then starts counting by 2's after that. I have no idea where he picked this up, but it goes like this: "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen" and so on!
-His little manners are really starting to come out (and it's something we really work on). His little "sorry" is adorable. He will often trip and say "Oop, sorry!" to himself - hah! Or if I accidentally bump him or scratch him he will say "Sorry! Ok, Mama!".
-He always uses the term "tweet, tweet" for "bird". If you ask him to say the word Bird, he will respond "tweet, tweet".

-Favorites: oatmeal, fruit of all kind, peanut and butter sandwiches (called "butter jelly"), cheese, yogurt "wu-gurt".
-We don't give him juice but they serve it in the nursery at church so he always tells us "yellow juice!" when we pick him up.
-He thinks granola bars are candy bars and fig newtons are cookies. We are sneaky! ;-)
-He drinks 2% "nok" milk.

-He still carries around and is generally obsessed with his lovey, "Blue".
-He is very ticklish!!! Quite possibly the most ticklish person I've ever met! :)
-He loves to "help" by carrying the keys and unlocking the car door, carrying groceries, helping me off the couch (ha ha!), cooking, carrying the mail inside, etc. I love letting him help!
-He's becoming more interested in t.v. so we let him pick a PBS show or two to watch every day. He almost always picks Bob the Builder. Which I kind of like because Bob actually does a lot of cool DIY projects! :)
-He loves doing crafts so we usually do one each day.

I love my little man. I can't imagine living without such an adorable, sweet and funny sidekick with me. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top Five Dollar Tree Finds

If you love a deal like I do then maybe you already know how awesome the Dollar Tree is. But I get the feeling a lot of people think the store is full of complete junk and I'm here to dispel that myth! :) I go to the Dollar Tree 3-4 times a month and I'll be honest - I usually don't have a "list" of things I'm looking for. But I always find something I can use! These are the top five "categories" of things I can always count on for a good deal!

(1) Holiday Stuff
The holiday stuff goes fast but you can score some awesome deals in this section! I always buy thing I can use for crafts at home or for DIY seasonal decorating. A few weeks ago I found a solid satin-type cape (DIY tutorial coming soon on how to personalize it) for Halloween costumes. These are around $30 on Etsy, so $1 is a steal! We have also been obsessed with window clings in our house. They are so fun for toddlers to stick on windows and move around every day. The ones at Hobby Lobby are smaller and start at $2.99!

(2) Cleaning Supplies
I always get my bleach here (almost 1/2 price from Walmart!) and also their version of the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are fantastic! One box of two erasers lasts me a month and they are $3-5 at the big box stores.
(3) Pregnancy Tests
Now, go with me here. I'm going to tell you, they are the same exact test you get at Wal-Mart or Target except you don't urinate on the stick itself - you urinate in a cup and use a little syringe they give you to drop your pee on the stick. It is not bad and they are just as sensitive as the other tests and $7-15 cheaper! In fact, it was a Dollar Tree pregnancy test that picked up my pregnancy with Landon at 9 days past ovulation, earlier than a First Response did. :)
(4) Homeschool Supplies
Joe and I are considering homeschooling Landon. Until we decide to proceed formally or enroll him in regular school, I am trying to do some easy curriculum at home. I always get great teaching supplies at the Dollar Tree! They not only have classroom decorating and organizing items but also workbooks, art supplies, stickers (you can buy a book of 400 for $1!!), posters, the list goes on.
(5) Office Supplies
In the same thread as homeschool supplies, I always get our office supplies from Dollar Tree too. Some of the things I keep stocked on that are cheaper than anywhere else are: bubble wrap for packing mail or moving, sticky notes, packing tape, notepads and Sharpies (do you know how expensive Sharpies are at Target?!). I even found this 2014 monthly planner there last week! It's nice quality with thick pages and a faux-leather bound cover. To be honest, I will still probably use my Erin Condren Life Planner but I can keep this in the Kitchen for meal-planning because I don't like keeping that in my personal planner!

So there you have it! Don't avoid the Dollar Tree because you think the stuff inside is junk. There are some great deals to be had! :)


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