Welcome 2017!

Whew!  Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year has arrived.

Here’s random sampling of some pictures from our holiday season…

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We did two Thanksgiving!  This is a sporting event that I suggest you properly train for.  We have perfected it over the years.  😉

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Plus a few more…img_4410img_4415img_4424img_4431img_4466img_4474img_4487img_4492img_4494img_4504

We are day 4 of snow, and I am so thankful to be home {except for an urgent care doctor trip + a library visit} with these people!  The Mr. had to work both weekdays, but he played it up with Holden over the weekend (and celebrated his 32 birthday!).  I just got the call that schools are closed tomorrow as well.  I know we will have to make it up in some form…I just love this unexpected time off!

2016 was quite a year!  Holden turned four, started Pre-K, played two soccer seasons, did awesome at swimming, and just plain grew a ton before our eyes!  We can’t forget the addition of sweet Helen Elizabeth back in April 2016.  She’s such a blessing, and we are all over the moon for our little girl.  She is small but quite strong in body and spirit!  🙂

I didn’t do any resolutions directly on January 1, but I have done some thinking about it and some areas that I would like to improve upon.

  1. Gossip ~ Isn’t this just a the hardest?!  It’s not like you are stealing, killing, etc. BUT it can steal your joy, and it can kill others’ happiness.  I find this one hard, because I do actually like to talk although I’m not really outgoing with a large social circle.  I really want to make the effort and succeed to not talk about others in a negative light EVEN if it’s just recounting facts (which is how I usually validate it to myself).
  2. Respecting My Husband ~  Whew!  This is a tough one as well.  I do feel like I respect the Mr.  HOWEVER, I tend to not do the best job that I could.  I must accept that I married an imperfect man (just as he married a very imperfect woman) who cannot give me everything that I need and want at exactly every moment of the day.  Just as I cannot do that for him.  The really struggle is when he corrects Holden.  This is a very tough one.  I really feel like parenting/education/kids is MY area.  I’m the expert.  Sounds a bit prideful, huh?  Although I would say I have put lots of time and effort into this area, I want to handle disagreements or critiques of how he handles situations for a time when we can talk about it one-on-one.  It is my hope that this will make us more productive parents and more on-the-same-page.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

“God doesn’t want me to be a ‘fix him’ wife, God wants me to be a ‘love him’ wife.”

– Lysa TerKeurst

“My husband is one of my greatest blessings from God. His love is a gift that I open everyday.”

– Darlene Schacht

Do you make resolutions?  What is your favorite holiday, Christmas v. Thanksgiving?

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Tuesday!

We Meet Santa!

Hi there!  Wow, it was a full weekend followed by a very busy Monday.  My mom came into town on Friday evening, and we were all very excited to have her stay.  The Mr. left to go hunting VERY early on Saturday morning.  I also was up and at ’em early on Saturday to help serve breakfast at our church’s winter shelter for those who are homeless in our area.  It was an experience I hope we can share as a family once the kids are older.  I think we tend to label and put ourselves (and others) in categories.  As humans, it soothes us to organize our existence and make sense of our environment and those in it.  I think we (meaning me too) forget that we all have more in common than we think.  The people I served early on Saturday morning were just people whose circumstances are different from mine.  There were some morning-people, some cranky people, some polite people (actually no rude people), just people.  I’m very thankful for the experience.

So…after my early morning activities I picked up my mom and kids to head to the Breakfast with Santa event at my school.  It was so low-key!  It was the perfect recipe for a casual conversation with this guy…

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They both did great!  Holden asked Santa for a Captain America costume…Helen just chilled on his lap!  No spit-up and no tears!

I got to see a few students and introduce them to my kids.  We also visited the book fair, and Holden purchased a book for himself and one to give his sister for Christmas.

After a quick pit stop at home to pick up my sister, we were off for lunch at Dish.  This was a fun restaurant in Virginia Beach…”Scandinavian specialties along with our great American favorites.”  -from the website

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My delicious smoked salmon sandwich with avocado pictured below!

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We ended our celebration (it was my early birthday celebration!) with a visit to The Royal Chocolate in Town Center for fondue.  IMG_4370.jpg

I think it’s clear that Holden was excited.  🙂

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We were so full we hardly ate dinner later that evening!

Sunday was super quiet.  We (the kids and me) staying home all day except for a walk to the park.  I really hate missing church especially during Advent, but Helen is quite a wiggle worm during worship service.  I think we need to take the plunge and drop her off in the church nursery for worship service.  Clingy mom and baby problems!

Here’s Holden doing some crafting on Sunday…

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We were so glad to see the Mr. on Sunday evening…he came home with two deer!  Lots of venison in our future!

Monday was back to work/school, but we enjoyed seeing Holden perform at his Christmas program.  The Mr. was on “dad cam” duty with the pictures, but I did snap this one of the three spectators (Moochie and Poppy were present but not pictured…we were so glad they joined us!)…what do you think of the Mr.’s face?!?

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Whew!  I can’t believe it’s only Monday evening!  I’ve got THREE meetings this week plus just regular school stuff.  I can almost taste winter break AND am so excited!

My Christmas fun list still has cookie baking and some Rudolph watching on it.  🙂  What are you looking forward to in the Christmas celebration season?

Have a great week!

Natalie

 

5 for Friday (Catch-up Edition)

Whoa!  It’s a crazy day!  I’m actually writing a blog post!!!  The perpetual excuse is I’ve been WAY too busy.  It seems like every moment is scheduled or that I’m absolutely exhausted I do have a moment (and therefore immobilized by all the many other moments of the day).  I can only give credit to this post due to my day off yesterday.  So let’s jump into my 5 things on my mind this Friday….

{ONE}

Yesterday was surprisingly hectic since it was a day off.  I joined big H’s class at a holiday performance at a local theater.  It was a family theater group, so adorable (and very talented kids) little ones were actually a part of the action.  Unfortunately, chaperones had to drive themselves.  I like to ride the bus with kids!  It lets me get to know all the classmates that H mentions at home.  Although it was a lot of sitting for those little bodies (3 hours! by the time they were dismissed), they did a great job!  I think the fake snow machine, Elsa signing “Let It Go,” and a couple visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus helped.  😉  No photography was allowed during the performance, but I snapped this pic prior to it.

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Our faces were all red from the reflection of the light off the curtains.  H was very inquisitive about this, so we had a little mini science lesson while we waited.  Anything to keep him occupied!

{TWO}

I’m so thankful soccer is over!  I know that may be terrible to say, but I’m actually thankful it gets dark earlier.  We start settling down sooner (aka I may have put my PJs on BEFORE 5 pm one night this week).  He had a great season that wrapped up in mid-November.  While we were waiting at the performance yesterday, I asked him what it was going to be for the spring, try T-ball or soccer again.  He said, “Soccer!”

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H’s fan club pictured below…

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{THREE}

I’m looking forward to a visit from my mom this weekend.  We are taking the Hs to see Santa at my school bright and early tomorrow morning AND trying a new restaurant for my birthday.  We’ll have the littles in tow since the Mr. is in hot pursuit of a deer.  We always have a good time!  My mom, sister, and I took a little day trip back in November to Lee Hall (family home of Robert E. Lee and former plantation home outside of Richmond, Virginia).  We also enjoyed lunch and a wine tasting at the nearby winery.  It was such a beautiful fall day and fun to be with them without little people in tow!

My mom and sister

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This side of the house faced the James River

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My mom and I

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{THREE}

Helen is 9 months tomorrow!  I’m so happy that she is growing (although I confess to wanting to weigh her CONSTANTLY!)  and developing!  Plus, I’m excited to be coming to the last leg of breastfeeding.  Here’s a few pictures of our baby girl!

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{FOUR}

We took the kids to the Garden of Lights at the Norfolk Botanical Garden this weekend.  It is always so beautiful and a tradition we have done since Holden was 1.  My lap and hands were full with Miss Helen while we were going through the lights, but I had the Mr. take a few while we were waiting…You can definitely tell Helen is growing!  Look at those high-water pants!

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{FIVE}

I’m so excited for Christmas vacation this year!  We are spending our very first Christmas at home in exactly 10 Christmas of living in our home aka two apartments and two houses total.  We are doing a Christmas Eve dinner that will follow our church’s Christmas pageant.  Holden will be a shepherd most likely.  All my motherly dreams are fulfilled!  I’ll see my number 1 baby in a Christmas performance!  I’ll also use fancy dishes that haven’t seen the light of day in my home!  My Christmas is fulfilled already!  The Mr. is going to be in charge of the meat, and I’m in charge of the sides.  I’m not sure he’s totally OK with this.  He’s rather partial to my mom’s cooking and a bit skeptical of the new dishes I want to try.  However, I’m standing my ground and new dishes we shall try.  Can’t wait to be off from work and spend time with these guys with no schedule (sort-of…if you know me personally, you know we’ll have some type of schedule going on!)!

Advent wreath making at church

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Decorating the trees!  We have two this year.  One has our sentimental ornaments on it plus some other pretty ones.  That’s our real one.  The fake on has the old ornaments of my grandmother and the Mr.’s grandmother.  These are all the glass/delicate ones.

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Well, there you have it!  A quick catch-up from the past month + some!  I hope you have the best Friday!  Only 16 days until Christmas!  🙂

Natalie