Friday, November 30, 2012

November in Review

Today is the last day of November.  In one sense, it feels like there is no possible way that it is December already; but, in another, it feels like 25 days is WAY too long until Christmas.  :) Either way, November was (another) great month.  It was certainly a month of celebrating the blessings of family, good friends, beautiful weather, and (of course) our sweet boy.

Have I mentioned that I'm totally obsessed with Sam right now?  It's true.  He is at SUCH a fun stage, and I am loving every (well, just about every) minute of it.  Every day I see more and more of his personality blooming, and I get so excited about his future and the little boy I get to watch grow up before my very eyes.  I am so proud to be his momma.

I want to write a full update post on Sam soon - with all the cute things he is doing and maybe even a video - but, for now, I will just share this... Lately, he has been a dancing machine - which pretty much makes my heart stop.  Jeff bought a new speaker system recently, so we have Christmas music blaring pretty much nonstop in the house.  There isn't much in this world that makes me happier than walking into a room and finding Sam flat footing (seriously, that's his new move) away all by himself. I hope he gets his Daddy's dancing gene!

Anyway, last month I posted a little round-up of photos from instagram & Facebook to document the month, and I've decided to try to make it a kind-of regular thing.  I feel like my collection of photos for November, really doesn't do it justice - we did so much, and I don't even have a good photo of Sam in his turkey shirt.  But, that's that.

Also, it is pretty much The Sam Show + a little mom, but I promise Jeff was there too. :)

Enjoy, and have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend!

P.S. I'm taking our Christmas card photo this afternoon.  Just to wet your whistle for the big reveal... I am taking it at a public place of business, where I had to awkwardly go and present my request for approval yesterday.  Hilarious. There is nothing I won't do to get a good Christmas card. ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Toddler Wish List

So, I feel like I'm the only blog-mom in the world that hasn't finished all my Christmas decorating, shopping, and wrapping already (I'm so slack - haha); but, just in case you - like me - are just getting started, I thought I'd share some of my recommendations for the toddler (boy?) on your list.

This year, we are attempting to start the three gifts tradition, which is all over Pinterest and the internet lately; but, I had a little fun compiling this board with ALL the fun stuff available out there. (I've been dying to share some of my finds but didn't want to give them away.... I'm pretty sure this is safe because Sam doesn't read my blog... yet.)

Toddler Wish List

Some of the items we already have, some are gifts coming from relatives, and some will be from us (I mean Santa.)  Can you guess which three gifts Sam is getting this year?

Seriously, having a toddler makes the holidays about 10 million times MORE fun - and, I thought they were pretty darn fun before. :)

What are you giving??
*I didn't get any money, discounts, or incentives in exchange for this post... I just have a shopping problem. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Need Some Gift Ideas?

Please allow me to brag on my fabulous sponsors a little bit...

Room to Romp is, truly, one of the most adorable, original, and affordable shops out there for "big boy" clothes.  Especially because I feel so passionately about Sam's clothes (and the lack of good options for little boys), I am honored to have Room to Romp on my sidebar.  Right now, I'm absolutely LOVING the brand new Buffalo Check shirt and Christmas Tree Trio t-shirt; in fact, you might see these in some of my holiday photos very soon!

Perch is one of my newest sponsors, and I'm proud to represent such a cool shop.  Shop owner, Ali calls her style "rustic and vintage" on her blog... A look that is so in right now! :) Anyway, the shop's specialty is these adorable little rope knots that you can use in so many ways! 

Aren't they fun?  And, right now, I'm also loving the vintage metal dairy crate that Ali styled for Christmas.  This would go great with a burlap table runner & pine cones.

I'm beginning to think Windows by Melissa is pretty famous in the blog world.  Here's some of her work from around the world (wide web).
from Green Street
from 6th Street Design School
from Me & Wee (and I have the same ones in Sam's nursery)
While it's too late to order custom shades or curtains for the holidays, I think these would make an AWESOME addition to your own wish-list.  (Jeff, take note, our empty windows are BEGGING for this gift!)  She also has a huge selection of custom fabrics for sale on her website, and will work with anything to make the perfect window treatment for your home.

And last, but certainly not least... If you are in the mood for FREE gifts, stop by my lovely friend Sara's blog Saige Wisdom for a chance to win her amazing sideways cross GIFTaway right now!!! (And, while you're there, read some of her HILARIOUS writing.  She's my Canadian soul mate - I'm sure!)

One more thing...

Speaking of the holidays, in honor of the busiest shopping time of the year, I'm offering a little special for sponsorship in December and January.

If you are interested in joining the sidebar team (haha) for the holidays, please email me ASAP.  With your (modest) purchase, you will get ad space for December AND January; plus, I'll be doing a special Holiday Shopping/Sponsor Highlight post in early-mid December for last-minute shoppers.  I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Hump Day!  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Things I'm Not Good At

- Painting (or clipping) my own nails

- Applying make-up

- Ironing

- Single-tasking (that's the opposite of multitasking in case you are confused)

- Responding to blog emails/comments  (I'm trying, I really am!!!)

- Grading papers in a timely manner

- Getting up early

- Staying up late

- Laundry

- Cooking

- Giving back rubs

- Arts & crafts

- Dancing

- Listening

- Mopping (maybe it isn't so much that I'm not good at this, as it is that I just never do it)

- Letting some one else make decisions/ be in control

- Sticking to diet plans

- Utilizing a "Home Organization Binder"

- Cleaning (or doing anything, really) quickly

- Driving

- Being on time

And, just to balance out this self-deprecation a little, here are a few things I think I am pretty good at (if I do say so myself):

- Decorating

- Finding a bargain

- Making Sam laugh

- Sleeping

- Making Sam stop crying

- Telling stories

- Writing

- Making a diet plan

- Teaching

-  Entertaining

- Creating an adorable "Home Organization Binder"

- Public Speaking

- Getting ready in less than 30 minutes (shower, blow-dry, make-up included)

- Showing others grace

- Showing myself grace (this is a work in progress, but I'm getting there)

What would your lists look like?  I'd love to know!

*I'm linking up this post with From Mrs. to Mama's "Women Connect" today.  I imagine this post is slightly different from most; but, I do think it is a good representation of who I am - which is mostly light-hearted, real, and (sometimes) kind-of deep.  If you are here visiting, I hope you'll stick around and get to know me more! (Also, check-out my "About" page for the more basic stuff.)
P.S. I got this idea from the blog Charmingly Chandler.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Hello from your long lost blog friend!  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  I'm sorry for my little blog absence last week; I totally took advantage of the holiday weekend and spent lots of time catching up on the million things on my to-do list playing and resting.  Back to reality today! (Well, for three weeks until Christmas break - it's a hard life, but some one has to live it!)

I've had all kinds of trouble getting this post published; first, because I ran out of Google photo storage (who knew you could do that?), and second because I realized I have hardly any photos of our actual Thanksgiving (and ya'll, Sam looked SO cute... I am totally bummed!)

Anyway, I finally got at least one of those issues worked out; so, here goes nothing...

This was my table on Wednesday afternoon when I first set it up:

I used this "tutorial" from O Happy Day! for my paper runner and as inspiration for the rest of the table.  The name of my game this year was "simple," and I think that was accomplished.  My goal was to spend no more than $20.00 total, which was easily accomplished by making my table runner and using dishes, napkins, etc. that I already had.  I did buy the two little votives in the center - I liked the "sparkle" that they added, and - of course - the flowers (which were mostly dead by Thursday afternoon).  Another time and money saver was simply writing names directly onto the runner instead of worrying about fancy place cards.

Crafty I am not, but the runner was super easy to make - I just bought a roll of craft paper at Michaels, one small container of white paint, and a little round spongy brush.  It took all of five minutes, and it turned out pretty cute.  (If I do say so myself.) *Unlike the tutorial, I only cut my paper on the ends and just let them roll up naturally.  I didn't trust myself cutting in a straight line.

I called my table the "kids table," even though the youngest (besides Sam) was 25.  Whatever, we had a blast. And, as an added bonus, the paper runner provided some entertainment after the meal when I whipped out the sharpies. :) People LOVED it.

I would definitely use this idea again --- I think it would be perfect for birthday parties, showers, and all sorts of other occasions.

We didn't vote on a "winner' this year, but here's my mom's table too:

As always, it was beautiful!

Moving on...

Contrary to what this post sounds like so far, the most important part of my day was not my table. :)  The day was full of food and sweet reminders of how much I have to be thankful for...
What, doesn't everyone run with coffee?
We spent the morning participating in our town's annual Drumstick Dash to support The Rescue Mission with 16,000 of our closest friends. (Mostly we just walked and talked and ran into people with Sam's stroller.)

Then, in the afternoon, we had an awesome feast with so many of the people we love - both friends and family.  We played games, and laughed hard, and ate until our bellies hurt.  It was just right.  I am blessed.

Other things I did over the break:

- Saw "Breaking Dawn" in theaters.
- Pulled out all of my Christmas decorations.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday Friday from the comfort of my couch.
- Gave a house tour to the original owners (more to come on that).
- Made the official switch to all Christmas music all the time.
- Reclaimed my guest room (with the help of my sister, you can actually see the floor in there again)
- Saw friends in from out of town.
- "Watched" football.
- Over ate.
- Graded massive stacks of papers.
- Over ate.

Ok, I think that about catches us up.  See you tomorrow!! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Midweek Confessions

It's midweek again! (Is it just me, or is mid-week on a short week the absolute BEST?!?!)

Let's see what confession-worthy news I have for you today...

- Our basement is TERRIBLE.  This wouldn't be that big of deal (although I do have a mini-panic attack every time I walk down there) except that we have a friend coming by with her entire family to "see the house" on Friday.  Interestingly, we figured out at our high school reunion a few weeks ago that our house was actually built by her grandfather, and it is the house her dad was raised in.  (Pretty cool, huh?)  Anyway, I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with some way to politely not allow anyone in the basement.  Do you think that's possible?  What if it is a really sentimental place for them? Like they carved something into the wall or something?  Seriously, I'm not sure they could walk more than three steps into the space.  Cleaning it has been on my "to do" list for MONTHS now; but, I am finally admitting that it is not going to happen before Friday.  Ugg.

- Jeff is making mashed potatoes and two pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving.  My (totally un-domestic) sister is making something so fancy that she had to order ingredients from Amazon (no lie).  I am making nothing.  (Well, unless you count a little DIY table cloth - haha!)  Domestic goddess right here folks.

- I laugh WAY too much when Sam misbehaves.  I know I'm "creating a monster," by giggling when he throws noodles all over Addy or throws himself head-first out of a chair; but he is just so darn cute.

- A picture fell off of Sam's gallery wall about three months ago.  It has still not been re-hung. Maybe it will be before our visitors on Friday.

- I've become unhealthily obsessed with Kristina Braverman.  First of all, she is not a real person.  And, even if she was (which she isn't), I do not know her.  It is crazy-person stuff; but, seriously, multiple times a day I find myself thinking one of the following thoughts...
"What would Kristina do in this situation?"
"Oh, Kristina had to deal with this once!" 
"I wish I was more like Kristina in ..."
Or, a current favorite dinner table game: Asking Jeff what he would do in x situation and then revealing how Adam and Kristina handled it.

I'm not even exaggerating. 

- We are walking a 5k tomorrow morning.  It might be the most exercise I've done since I walked the same race last Thanksgiving

Ok... That's all for this week.  In between all your cooking, traveling, and hanging with friends and family, won't you please come confess with me?

Grab and link below!

Until next Wednesday friends,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Table

Well, it is officially Thanksgiving week.  Seriously, where has this year gone?!?!

Second to what I'm wearing (of course), I've been thinking & planning away for "my" table this year. In past years, my mom, her best friend Peggy, and I have each set & decorated a table for the big meal.  Then, we've had friends, family, and even blog readers, vote for their favorite table.

We haven't done this the last couple of years for various reasons (mainly because I was such a hot mess this time last year); but, this year, I'm excited to be decorating a table again.  (And, as an added challenge, I'm going to do it on a very small - as in less than $20.00 - budget.)

I don't want to give away my plans just yet; but, here are some photos that have been inspiring me lately.

Better Homes & Gardens
Better Homes & Gardens
Pottery Barn
Buckets of Burlap
Style Me Pretty
Emmaline Bride
In case you can't tell, I'm kind-of into the natural/"found" look.  I'm also a bit obsessed with those Billy Bud flowers - adorable! What do you think? What are your plans for Thanksgiving?  Will you be setting a table?  (I'd seriously love to hear about it and/or see pictures!)  Any ideas for me?

Short week team.  Short week. :)

Be thankful.

If you're interested, you can see photos of tables past here - 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog Gems et al

Do you know the term 'et al'?  It is Latin and means "and others."  I mostly only use it when doing/teaching research papers and the dreaded MLA format; but, I have to show off my "English" skills over here once in a while. ;)

You want to know what I love about you all?  Yesterday's post on what I want to wear to Thanksgiving lunch got as much or more comments/feedback as Thursday's post about church.  I seriously LOVE that we can talk about heart stuff one day and shopping the next.  Y'all really are like an old friend.  I'm SO thankful for you!

Anyway, here are a few good reads from the blog world this week.  Go refill your coffee and settle in...

A live chat about blogging & her new book Blog Inc. at Oh Joy (with special guest Naomi from Rockstar Diaries).  Have any of you read this book? I'd love a review or two.

6 Tips for Editing Photos (without Photoshop, etc.) from my friend Bekuh of Secondhand Sundays.  I'm always so impressed with the photography on other blogs; but I don't have (nor can I afford in money or time) Photoshop, so I've just assumed I'll never take good pictures. This makes me want to dust off my"real" camera and stop whining. :)

You Learned WHAT from Your Kids from ILYMTC.  You know I'm a sucker for a good mom-lessons post, and this girl kills me! I love it.  P.S. She's hosting a series of guest posts on her blog this month on this topic, it's bound to be good.

Partner from Beth Anne at Okay BA!  This is really more of an "ode" to her husband, but it made me smile.  I can relate.  You might be able to too.

Fall Decorating with What You Have from, of course, The Nester.  Man, she's so good. #howmuchdoiwishiwasgoingtoherbigsaletomorrow?

When Gifts Are Big and the Gospel Is Small from cranny + b.  I love her heart in celebrating the Christmas season with her little one.  Many of these ideas are ones I'm hoping to incorporate into our own family traditions either this year or in years to come.  For example, I love her gift plan (below) and the three-gifts Glennon talked about over at Momastery also this week.

And, last but certainly not least, this very important post from Molly at A Day in Mollywood.  Read it. It might change your life. 

Ok, happy Saturday friends!  We're off to our neighborhood Christmas parade.  Love bundling Sam up in his wagon. Photos to come!

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