Saturday, December 31, 2011


Cheesin' big time for the camera in her new nightgown from Granny!!

"Got my bear... life is good!"

"Got TWO bears... life is better!"

Kaleb is unsuccessful in his attempt to roll over:

"Hey Kaleb, do you need some help, buddy?"

"Please... I'm begging you... help me roll over!"

"Sorry, it's much more urgent that I give this baby doll her pacifier."

Picture of Kaleb taken from Brianna's viewpoint:

Brianna helps Hunter open his birthday and Halloween presents from Joy (I know, I know, these have been on my camera forever!!)

Uh... how did I end up here??

Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Cups

A couple of weeks ago I won a book giveaway at the blog of Kingdom First Mom, which is an awesome blog and I highly recommend you check her out!

The book is called Three Cups and I really want to recommend it to you. It is a story about a child who is given three cups for his fifth birthday. His parents explain that they feel it is time for him to receive an allowance, but every time he gets an allowance, some will go into a cup for savings, a cup for spending, and a cup for giving. It explains how the older he gets he is able to keep putting money into each of these cups. Eventually he opens a small bank account with his savings, he saves enough money in his "spending" cup to buy a baseball glove he wants, and eventually with his giving cup he saves enough money to buy eight cans of food for the needy, and helps deliver those cans to those in need.

I loved this book because it's a children's book so it was short, but it's the exact message I want to give to our kids. I feel like my parents always instilled this in us (unfortunately I went a little overboard on the "spending" part during part of my adult life!!) and it's something I really want to talk about with our kids.

So if you see this book around, please know that I highly recommend it for those with young children!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brianna is Thankful

I know this isn't the best picture ever, but my scanner isn't big enough to do the whole thing. For Thanksgiving, Brianna's class made these thankfulness wreaths (I'm pretty sure thankfulness isn't a word... stick with me) and I wanted to share hers because I thought it was really precious!

They put on their "family" section who in their families they are thankful for. I am grateful that Brianna put all of us on there - Mom, Dad, and Hunter!!

In the "friends" category she put Rileigh, Bryce, Lucas, and Martha Anne - four of her very best friends at preschool. But she also put "Caleb". Considering there is no Caleb at her preschool that I know of, I am thinking this is her newest cousin, Kaleb. This was made right around the first time we were meeting him so I'm thinking that stuck in her brain!

In the "Jesus" category she put that she is thankful for chapel. They do chapel on Fridays at school and she loves it. She especially loves taking her tithe to give!

They were allowed to put anything else they are thankful for. Of course Brianna put dancing. Shocking.

Love this - it will make for a great memory!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sharp Dressed Man

Susan, a coworker of mine, gave us this adorable suit for Hunter. Needless to say I've been putting him in it every chance I get before he outgrows it!!

The first day he wore it I wanted to take pictures for her to see him wearing it and I took about 30 pictures before I finally got a good one. But I got some cute outtakes anyway!

Meanwhile, Bri was hard at work on her computer.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Cousin Kaleb!

In August we got a new baby cousin!! (Or nephew, depending on who you are!) We didn't get to meet him for two long months because he was born with gastroschisis and was in the hospital for a long time after being born. When we finally did get to meet him, Hunter was a little more reserved ("Uh oh, is this my replacement??") and Brianna was in full-force Mama mode!

In this first video, Brianna is playing with Kaleb by blowing raspberries. He was laughing but I didn't catch it on video this time around.

In this video, Brianna reads "Sleeping Beauty" to Kaleb. (23 seconds is "Cinderella" and 48 seconds is "a big dragon"; other than that, you're on your own translating!!)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

House of Secrets Review

I wanted to review "House of Secrets" by Tracie Peterson because I happen to be a big fan of Tracie Peterson. I've read a dozen or so of her books and she is just a really great writer. So I have to say I was extremely disappointed in this book. I felt like the characters were way over-emotional and they drew out situations way too long. For example, the characters in the very beginning of the book wanted to confront their father about a situation, but they fought and hemmed and hawed about it for too many chapters in my opinion. When they finally did confront him they wouldn't even listen to him.

A major part of this book was about the disease schizophrenia. Many parts of the book read like a scientific encyclopedia on schizophrenia, and it made me wonder if this was simply a topic the author wanted to research, and then tried to tie together a fiction story around it.

It is an easy read, but the characters are not very likable and about halfway through the book I considered simply putting it aside and pretending I had finished it. I made my way to the end but I'm just glad I didn't spend a lot of time on this book.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Christmas 2011

2011 marks the first year we have done Santa. Last year we bought Brianna a slide and two books but she knew they were from us. This year we introduced Santa, so we actually got to set out Santa stuff for the kids as well as the goodies from us.

Each child gets a stuffed animal (got these at yard sales over the summer), their own coloring book (from coalition, never been used), two books (from coalition) and stocking stuffers made up with goodies from Michaels back in November - all things ranging from $0.20 to $0.80 each, plus some toys bought for $0.25 last December from Target's after-Christmas sales. They are getting a Sit N Spin ($2.00 at a yard sale this summer) and a chalkboard easel ($8.00 from a thrift store this summer). Brianna is also getting a baby swing for her dolls ($5.00 after Christmas last year) and some Maggie Leigh magnetic dress-up dolls (by Melissa and Doug, retail for almost $14 but I paid $1.00 at the coalition; never opened!)

Those are their Santa presents. We did pay full price for a train set for Hunter from us and a kid's digital camera for Brianna. Although now that I think about it I paid for the train set with a gift card!

We spent less than $50 between the two of them and it looks like the amount they are getting is very small. But I know they're going to love everything they're getting, so that makes me happy. I want our kids to know that Christmas is not all about the stuff. I love shopping for them and I love watching them open presents that I've gotten for them, but I never want Christmas to be something that stresses me out. People always roll their eyes at me and tell me that as the kids get older, the presents get bigger, and soon enough it will begin to be a lot more expensive and more stressful. I guess I just have high hopes for our future, that we won't go into debt over Christmas (like a lot of families I know), and that we can keep a perspective about Christmas, knowing why we celebrate, and that as long as our focus is on the birth of Jesus and being with family, what else could we really want? I know that sounds pretty cheesy and probably naive to some of you but honestly, wouldn't that make your Christmas a whole lot more pleasant to celebrate?

Merry Christmas, and please, don't forget to thank God this year for what He's given you. Without God, we'd be nothing and I'm so grateful for all His blessings!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gracie's Birthday Party

Last Tuesday, Brianna had her first birthday party for a friend that was actually out somewhere and not just at someone's house. We went to Boomer's in Sanford which is a huge bouncy slide place. She was a little intimidated at first, but as you'll see from these pictures she fell in love after her first slide!

Gracie, the birthday girl, with her "Tangled" hair!

Warming up in the bouncy house:

At the top of her first slide:

As soon as she got to the bottom she said, "I wanna do it again!!!"

See her sweaty head? She wouldn't get off the slides to eat pizza or cake or to watch Gracie open her presents. 2 1/2 hours we were on those slides!!

We had a BLAST. Seeing how much she loved it made me realize how old she is getting! We've never taken her anywhere like this so I had an absolute blast watching her face. She was such a daredevil, sliding down face first after she saw the older kids doing it. Thanks Gracie, we had such a great time!!