Friday, January 3, 2014

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We pray that you have a blessed holiday and remember to keep Christ first!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Nana!

If this little girl calls you Nana, quit reading...NOW!
Is she gone?
Today I wanted to share what my sweet little girl made for her Nana for Christmas! I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of her and this little project. She worked so hard on it and I honestly didn't even know she was capable of creating something so beautiful!
Nick and I have been teaching Addison about Christ's birth this year and so I wanted to have her color a nativity scene. I found the perfect one here.
I was so impressed with how hard she tried to stay in the lines. There were a few times when she let her crayon go a little wild but most of the time, she was trying her darndest to stay in those lines! I did guide her a little when it came to choosing some of the colors for the skin and hair tones but other than that, she did it all by herself!
After she had finished coloring it, I cut them out and taped them together for her. She was so excited to see the finished product and kept saying "I give it to Nana." 
We set it up on the table together so that she could see exactly what it should look like. She loved moving each piece around to the perfect spot.

Isn't it beautiful? I am so very proud of her! I actually wish I could keep it for myself but I won't be selfish! :) I have kept it up on display until it comes time to wrap it though. There's no reason it should sit in a dark box until Christmas when we can be enjoying it too!

**If you want to create something similar like this with your children, I have a few recommendations. First of all, print them out onto card stock. We just used regular computer paper and I've found that just the slightest movement of air will send them all tumbling down. To fix this problem, I actually taped popsicle sticks to the back and added some alligator clips to the seams. That has kept them standing!

Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Months

This sweet girl is 5 months. Man that month flew by fast! She actually crossed the 5 month mark a little over a week ago but better late than never!
Here's a little bit about Cora's developments and experiences over the last month. It has honestly been pretty uneventful as far as accomplishments are concerned.

At 5 months, Coralee:
-Had her first baby shower
-Celebrated her first Thanksgiving and met TONS of people
-Puts EVERYTHING in her mouth
-Started cutting teeth (one started to break through the only to disappear again)
-Wears only 6-9 month clothing
-Has discovered her feet (and is always taking off her socks)
-Is still exclusively breastfed (woohoo!)
-Loves pulling her sister's hair
-Usually takes about three 2-3 hour naps a day
-Is starting to sit up by herself
-Has yet to figure out how to use the jumper correctly
-Still HATES tummy time
-Will ALMOST roll over (that's how much she hates being on her tummy)
-Has discovered that she can make all sorts of noises with her mouth

She is such a happy baby and our love for her grows deeper every single day!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Funky Homemade Ornaments

Addison and I have been spending a lot of time doing crafty things this holiday season. It was something I always loved doing with my mom so I want Addie to have those same experiences! I plan on blogging about a few of the them so I hope you don't mind reading about it! :) 

I always love unique Christmas tree ornaments so when I saw this blog post a couple of years ago, I've been wanting to try it! 

The directions are actually in Danish and I did things a little bit differently so I will tell you how we made them! 
First of all, you will need metal or silicone (make sure they are oven safe) cookie cutters. You will also need some Perler beads (you can usually find them in the craft section of most stores), cooking spray or vegetable oil, parchment paper, a cookie sheet, and a bowl of lukewarm water.
To get started, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet and oil down the inside of your cookie cutter. There are two different ways to do this. You can either spray the inside of the cookie cutter with cooking spray, or you can rub vegetable oil all along the inside. 
**A side note: The cooking spray actually seems to work better but it does discolor the outer beads a tad. We ended up using olive oil but it took a little bit more force to get the beads out of the cookie cutter after they were cooled. 
Next, create a single layer of beads inside the cookie cutters. Make sure to get them into the nooks and crannies or your ornament will look a little wonky. 
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and wait about 10 minutes. You will want to check them around 7 minutes or so to see how they look. The longer you leave them in, the more they will melt so it depends a lot what you want the final ornaments to look like! 

We liked the bumpy look with lots of holes so we chose not to leave them in too long. It's all a matter of preference though! :)

Once they are done melting, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a minute or so. Then, using kitchen tongs, carefully peel them off of the parchment paper and drop them into a bowl of lukewarm water. This part is very important if you plan on removing the beads easily! 

After a few seconds of them sitting in the water you may remove them and pop them right out of the cookie cutters. Easy peasy! :)
String some bakers twine through one of the holes and you have yourself an ornament! :)

You can also turn these into sun catchers...
Or even fridge magnets!

We also made some Christmas gift toppers that I will try to show later!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A DIY Kid Friendly Nativity!

A few years back, Nick and I decided to make Addison her very own nativity set to play with so that she wouldn't be as tempted to play with my pretty, fragile set! I never had a chance to share it with you here on my blog so I am going to do that today!

I had seen some ideas around the blogging world but nothing really stood out to me, so Nick and I put our heads together and came up with our own version. Obviously we didn't want to complicate things too much so we decided to create a block nativity set!
To create the nativity, we found a bunch of adorable clip art pictures online. I printed each picture in the size that I wanted and then wrote down the dimensions for Nick so that he could cut a block for each. After he cut them, he sanded down the rough edges (and rounded the corners but that is not necessary), and then spray painted them white.

I then cut around each picture so that they would fit onto the front of the blocks and I used a thin layer of Mod Podge to attach them. After they dried, I then added two more coats of Mod Podge to the top of the blocks so that they could withstand lots of play time!
In order to keep the blocks from getting lost or separated, I also sewed a cute little drawstring bag using burlap, muslin, and cotton fabric pieces. You can find the pattern for the bag, here. I changed the dimensions on the bag so that it would be large enough for all of the pieces. I also wanted to make sure it was obvious what the bag was so I printed the nativity picture on a piece of iron transfer paper, and ironed it onto a small scrap of muslin fabric and then sewed it to the front of the bag.
Addison absolutely LOVES playing with her nativity. She loves when we break it out every year and she literally will play with it every day until it's time to put it back. The great thing about it being in block form is that not only can she set it up like an actual nativity but she can also stack them up to create a tower, or line them up to form a "choo choo train". The possibilities are endless!
I can't find the exact website where I found our printables but here is a source that has most of the same clip art pictures. The only difference is that the animals (except the camel) are different. I found them from this source. I really love the idea from Happy Home Fairy of introducing each part of the nativity every day. It's a great way to tell the story of Christ's birth to your children! I think I may try to create my own version of it and introduce it to her that way next year.

With Christmas as commercialized so focused on materialistic things as it is, we've really tried to make sure to teach Addison what Christmas is really all about this year. She's definitely at the age where she can understand it and we don't want to give her the impression that it's about presents and Christmas trees and pretty lights.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

4 Months!

My baby is 4 months. When did that happen? I promised myself that I would try to embrace every moment with Coralee when she was born. After watching Addison grow into the beautiful (almost 3 year old) girl that she is, I realize that I spent a lot of time trying to rush into the next stage of her life because I couldn't wait to experience it. Please tell me I'm not the only one who did this! Looking back, I feel really guilty about this. I feel like I didn't focus on enjoying the stage she was in. I hurried to get her to enjoy solids, I couldn't wait for her to crawl, and walking was something I felt would NEVER happen. 
If you are a first time mom reading this, my advice to you is to cherish every single stage of your baby's life. Don't rush it. Wait to try new things until THEY are ready, not when YOU are ready.
Moving on to the here and now! Since I've tried to embrace every moment, I have really been able to fully enjoy this stage. I forgot how much fun 4 months is! Coralee is such a happy and expressive baby. Unless she's really hungry, tired, or doing tummy time, she is always smiling and babbling. It melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.
I'm amazed at how much her personality is already starting to show. She truly is a very laid back baby and is already so different from her big sister! I am starting to think that she is going to be a lot like mommy while Addison is a lot like daddy.
 At 4 months:
-She weighs 13lbs 8oz (48th percentile)
-She's 25 1/2" long (91st percentile)
-She has outgrown most of her 3-6 month clothing
-She has a contagious, deep belly laugh, but she will make you work for it
-One of her favorite things is to watch her big sister
-She won't take a pacifier but has discovered her thumbs
-Her hands are always in her mouth
-She is reaching and grabbing for things
-She hates tummy time (it becomes an instant scream fest)
-When she's on her belly, she can push herself up
-She still loves to swing
-As long as she's awake, she never quits moving
-When she's laying on her back, her feet are in the air
-She is perfectly content being by herself for long periods of time
-She refuses to sleep if she is being held 
-We've discovered that this baby girl is NOT a cuddler like Addison was (and still is)
-She is bothered by a lot of stimulation, whether it be noise, light, or touch
-Bedtime is a piece of cake for her
-She has slept through the night many times
-She is solely nursing (and we hope to keep it that way)
She brings so much joy to our lives and we are excited to see what this next month brings, but we are definitely not rushing it!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend Trip to Denver

We made a last minute decision to spend part of our weekend in Denver and we ended up feeling like royalty! It's a 3 hour drive so going to Denver is always a huge ordeal and we like to make the trip worth it. We had big plans to watch a friend compete in a MMA competition but those plans fell through for various reasons so the trip ended up being solely about family time. Thankfully, our hotel more than made up for it! 

We have recently started using Priceline express deals to book our hotels and have gotten some really great rooms at really great prices. This weekend was no exception.
Our hotel ended up being a Renaissance hotel and it was quite the impressive building. Our room was on the 9th floor and Addison loved riding up and down in the glass elevator.
I'm normally not too bothered by heights but I will admit that the view from the balcony made me quite dizzy and my protective momma instincts kicked into high gear whenever we walked along the railing! 

However, being that high up means fabulous views of the city!
 No matter the time of day!
Just check out that downtown skyline view with the gorgeous Front Range Mountains in the background!

Even though we were disappointed that things didn't go as planned for our time there, we really did have a great trip. Our good friends ended up in the same hotel as us so we were able to hang out with them for a short while and afterward, we enjoyed a movie in our room as a family.

Addie always loves when we stay in a "ho-towel" and this time was special because she was able to bring her very own suitcase that we picked up for her at Goodwill not too long ago!
 Seriously, how cute is she?

And as a side note, how is it possible that this little girl turned 4 months old last week? Time is getting away from me! I will post more about that later this week!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Consequences of Having an Older Sister

This is what I turned around to the other day. A sweet baby covered in price tags. At first my instinct was to scold older sister for doing this but then I realized she didn't do it to be mean. In fact, she probably did it because of how much she loves her little sister. Let me explain.
Addison has an obsession with stickers. I think all 2 year olds do. So when she saw the price tags on mommy's new project, she thought they were fun stickers that she could play with. Now normally when she finds a sticker, she sticks them on herself, but this time she decided Coralee would like to have some stickers too. So where did she put them? On baby sissy's face, of course!
Lately, the Lord has been teaching me how to "deal" with my oldest child in a patient and loving matter. She is very strong willed (like her father) and I am quickly learning just how different we are. I think that is partly why I struggle to know how to always react with her. I find myself getting frustrated with things that she does when I really need to step back and look at the whole picture. I am thankful that I was able to do that yesterday when I saw the "horrifying" thing she'd done to her sister. I was able to step back, look at the situation, and then laugh at how cute it really was! And let's be honest, was it really hurting her sister? Nope, not at all! In fact, I think Cora was actually enjoying the extra attention!
The reality is, Addison truly adores her little sister. She is constantly loving on her and even though it may not be in the way that I think she should, it's the way that she best knows how. Whether it be through rough hugs and kisses or putting stickers on her face, it's how she shows her deep love for her sister. That realization fills me with so much joy! 

Seeing my two girls together really makes me recognize what a blessing it is to have a sister. A blessing I never experienced (because I was blessed with a brother), and one I am so thankful that my daughters get to have! I know this is not the first (nor will it be the last) you have heard this, but I am so excited to watch their relationship grow and develop!