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!

A Car Conundrum

I’ve been in a icky car situation since someone backed into me on December 17.  He was apologetic and admitted that he was having a “bad day.”  Well, buddy, I’ve been having some not-so-good car days myself here recently.  I got a rental on December 19 when it was determined that my car was not drivable.  I got a 2014 Nissan Altima.  I was a hard sell at first but ended up loving the car!  It drove great, was much more comfy than my car (Ford Escape), and felt super sporty.  Plus, it was black.  I’ve always wanted a black car but talked myself out of it when buying time came around.

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Fast forward to December 30 – I return my rental and pick up my car.  I notice on the way home that there is absolutely no warm/hot air coming out.  Back to the shop we go!  After some heated words (and a new battery put in by the nice guy at Advanced Auto Parts at 8AM), he agreed to contact the insurance company to see if they would approve a fix on the thermostat.  We *think* that it will all be fixed by today (due to New Years).  Not so much.  Apparently, a “field agent” has to come out from the insurance company.  My car is still in the shop with my house key on it.  So not bright, and so unlike me.  I blame it on all the heat/battery/car switching confusion.  NOW, I have to coordinate getting a rental this afternoon to have transportation for the weekend and to head back to school on Monday.  Oh.my.word.  When calculated, this has taken about 7 to 8 hours of my time including having to take off time from work.  Oh.my.word.again.  I’m so regretting that cup of coffee that brought me into that gas station!  Lesson relearned, bring coffee from home!  It’s cheaper in more than one way!

In other news, H and I had a nice last official day of break.  We did lots of laundry, played, watched a new Bible story DVD, read books, and played at the park.  We also came home, so Holden could work his excavator that Poppy and Moochie got him for Christmas.

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Roscoe and I jogged to the playground while Holden rode in the BOB.  I wanted to sneak in a little exercise.  I did some box jumps on the stairs at the playground (about 10) before Holden came in to show me his style.  I also did the monkey bars twice.  They’re a pretty good arm workout.  Here are some other ideas for playground workouts…

SHAPE – Power Playground Workout

Parents – Full-Body Playground Workout

The Art of Manliness – Playground Workout with Video  Don’t be scared by this one!  They look like totally doable/good ideas!

For lunch, we had leftovers of our New Year’s Day good luck meal!  Smoked Turkey, Corn, and Black Eyed Pea Soup!  I made the recipe up with what we had on hand.  The ingredients are pretty much what is in its name with the exception of the addition of herbs, cloves of garlic floating for flavor, and a small can of tomato sauce.

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The smoked turkey gave the beans good flavor, but I must admit I didn’t like it on its own.

Happy Friday!

Natalie

My 2015 Want Tos

Here we are at day 2 of 2015.  I love, love, love fresh starts, goals, agenda, progress, self-improvement, etc.  My sister and mom joke on me a bit about it since most of the books I read are in the self-improvement genre.  I can’t help it!  I just love the possibility that we have as humans to make choices and to ultimately change to course of our lives by our free will.  I don’t want to get too bogged down in the ultimatums that some people give themselves this time of the year.  I admittedly cringe when I read the seemingly unattainable goals and resolutions that litter Facebook.  As a special education teacher, I definitely know the importance of achievable goals.  Here are my “want tos” things I want to do in 2015.

I want to lessen my coffee habit and switch to more green tea (notice:  I did not say eliminate!).

I want to continue my 3 regular work-outs a week habit.  Gym workouts are best, but I take what I can get.

I want to grow something (I’m thinking green beans?) this spring with Holden.  If you know me, you know that gardening is so not my thing.  I want Holden to be able to have fun with it, so we will grow a very small something that we can eat.  

I want to quit have dessert after dinner (okay, maybe lunch too) every night.  Instead, I want to make or buy one nice dessert on the weekend.  Treats shouldn’t be everyday.  That is why they are treats!

Be more in the moment with my family.  This can be tricky as I often multitask with Holden.  Is it more important to listen to him and look him in the eye when he talks to me or scroll through Instagram or race around doing a chore?  The same goes for Jake.  He does get neglected and put on the back burner sometimes (okay, maybe a lot of the time) behind the kid and the dog.

I want to continue my less meat eating.  We usually do at least one or maybe two nights of the week as meat free nights.

I want to commit to nightly (mornings are just too crazy for us!) time with my journal and devotional book, Jesus Calling.  

I want to give more a priority to sleep.  I can be very neglectful and brush aside my body’s need for rest.  

I want/We want to have a second child.  We have plenty of space since we moved into our new home in June 2014, and we are so ready to welcome another little one into our family.

I want to do another mud run this spring, but this will totally be affected by the “want to” above.  We’ll see how it goes.

I want to continue working as an elementary special education teacher.  In this realm, I want to focus on being kind to those I work with.  We spend so much time in our workplace, and I confess my first tendency is to be on the offense when various problems come up as they tend to do.  I also want to focus on kindness and patience with the kids.  This can be a doozy sometimes!

I want to visit family and friends this year.  I’m currently cooking up a visit to Staunton to visit Jake’s family there this spring.  I’d also like us to be able to visit the Natural Bridge near Lexington, VA.  Perhaps Charlottesville as well?  I’d also love to see my college roomie best friend again.  I visited her in Atlanta last Memorial Day, but I so want to see her again.  How inconvenient that we aren’t neighbors?!?!

I want to get ready of the rock/flower garden in our front yard.  It has a less than desirable shape and could be considered somewhat phallic.  Yikes.  I can’t wait to take that on some warmer day.  We also want to remove the glass doors from our tub. I hate bathing Holden, the dog, or myself for that matter!  It makes me feel claustrophobic, and Holden (and Roscoe!) are quick to take advantage of it and scamper down to the other end where they can’t be reached.  The Mr. is also in hot pursuit of a new roof.  Ours is looking a little worse for the wear.  I’d also love to add a kitchen island with some stools.  I’ll plop those pictures in below.

I want to make some type of DIY to showcase Holden’s artwork or schoolwork.  I found one that I love {pictured below} on easy, but I’m thinking I may try my hand at making one.

I want to date my husband more.  This is hard to do.  Holden has never been left with a babysitter besides his daycare/preschool ladies whom I trust completely.  He doesn’t even go to the Kids’ Club at our local gym.  So…if we want to go out to dinner or to a move, we wait until family visits.  This is hard too, because we want to hang out with them!  So far, I’m planning to ask my inlaws to keep H on Valentine’s Day.  They gave us an awesome gift certificate to a nice, grownup restaurant.  I’m hoping I can scrape together another date or two this winter/early spring.

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Images from Pinterest

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Link to Island

Link to Stool

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Link to Kids Artwork Display on Etsy

Happy Day 2!

Natalie

Goodbye Christmas Season, Hello New Year

Hi there!  I admit that it has been quite a while since my last post!  The holidays were the holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Christmas along with all special days that dress up the ho-hum of everyday life.  However…the holidays are very full for us.  There is wonderful time with family, delicious eats on every table, and late night (like after 9 o’clock for us!) catching up.  All this excitement and togetherness is so wonderful.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the full-ness of it all.  I fantasize about “Next year, we’ll do this ____.”  We’ll stay home.  We’ll only visit one branch of our families.  We’ll visit only for the big day.  Truth be told, I am usually very sad to leave despite my feelings of overwhelm-ness.  This year was no different.  I started out enjoying all the fun times that Christmas brings as we travel and stay with family for the weekish period of time.  Then, I get a little crazy from all the stimulation.  (I’ve been known to shower in the dark just to get a little peace on a particularly chaotic day.)  Finally, I ended up with just an feeling of gratitude for time spent, a craving for more family time, and an understanding that even though all the travel and packing and chaos can be challenging it is worth time spent with those special people.  I’m so grateful to have so much family in one area.  I’m grateful that Holden can see all of his immediate family in a day’s time.  I’m grateful for new traditions like Christmas morning brunch at my brother and sister-in-law’s beautiful home.  I’m grateful for kind words from unexpected places.  I’m grateful for opportunities that nurture my son’s connection with his family and where “his people” (as my mother would say) come from.  

I hope you enjoy these pictures from our holidays.  I don’t have many, and I’m actually thankful for that as well.  I wanted to take the pictures with my mind instead of reaching for my phone.  The moments I did capture were very real and mostly of Holden.  He is by far the most photogenic of the bunch.

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To celebrate the New Year, the Mr. and I had some takeout sushi and Bloody Mary’s.  Both were delish, but I really have been eating a lot less “meat” recently.  I enjoyed a vegetable roll with just a few pieces of fish.  Holden also tried sparkling grape juice for the first time, and I rediscovered a love for it!  I’m thinking this needs to be a once a month purchase!

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I added some pretty raspberries for color.  We also completed the New Year’s worksheet below…

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Here is the link to my pin on pinterest if you’d like to click there and then click the image to get a printable version from the original source.  My answers were as follows…

  • A bad habit I’m going to break…Stop eating when I’m tired and rest instead!  (Even a five or ten minute breather)
  • A new skill I’d like to learn…I’d like to successfully make yeast bread.  I’ve tried before and totally am intimidated by it!
  • A person I hope to be more like…I’d like to be more patient and careful with my words.  So basically anyone who demonstrates those characteristics!
  • A good deed I’m going to do…I’d like to volunteer at the Chapel Pantry again this summer break for a day.
  • A place I’d like to visit…Maine or New Orleans.  On a smaller scale, I’d like to take on a boat ride, like canoe or kayak!
  • A book I’d like to read…Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • A letter I’m going to write…One to Holden on his birthday and another secret one.
  • A new food I’m going to try…Thai Food!  I can’t decide if I’m going to make it or try it out.  Maybe both and compare!
  • I’m going to do better at…Not raising my voice when I’m upset.  This goes for all people and all places!

What are your goals for 2014?  Do you make resolutions?  I just love a fresh start and new plans!  Have a wonderful Day 1 of 2014!

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