December 31, 2011

walks and other favorite things.

We've been taking family walks around town this week, and I'm loving it.  We'll load the girls in their strollers with blankets and walk and talk and enjoy wherever we are.  Mostly at local parks--today we went to Sloan's Lake. The foothills looked beautiful with the clouds behind:

Typically, January is my least-favorite month. Everything is bare, washed-out, blahh. We don't get much snow; I think I'd adore January if we were pummeled with snow.  Anyway, in an odd turn of events, I've been sopping up everything winterish lately. I'm actually waiting for January to see what it brings instead of dreading it. How's that for a good way to start the new year? Some of my favorite things right now:

* putting on the kettle first thing in the morning and enjoying tea, coffee, or chai * seeing everyone in their winter garb: tall boots, coats, mittens, and especially earflap hats * wearing my fingerless owl gloves * sleeping on flannel sheets * going for walks with my man and my baby girls * reading in bed * seeing Christmas lights everywhere  * dreaming about how to make the house cozy and festive * pondering a running regimen again * watching the Cosby show in the evenings * thumbing through my books on writing * blankets * feeling the girls' chubby, rosy, warm cheeks against mine when I hug them *

Everything is better when you have someone to share it with, whether it's a Friend or Relation, and because R is home from work this week, it's made winter a little sweeter, I think.  I'm thankful for that.

December 29, 2011

Our Christmas

We spent Christmas Eve day with my parents, which was lovely. They brought food over for us to prepare, and I spent the morning cooking with my mom while R and my dad watched football. We feasted, opened gifts, and just had a good time being with each other. Mom looked beautiful in her seafoam green sweater and new haircut. I can't wait to take her for her Christmas gift from us: high tea at the Brown Palace! (A fantastic and special splurge, just for she and I)

On Christmas Day, our little family opened gifts and ate cinnamon rolls. We taught Liv that Jesus was born on Christmas--she'll tell you "Cheesus" was born that day. :) We received a box from Raul's Aunt and Uncle earlier in the week, which we opened Christmas morning. This was what was inside:

 Doesn't she look like a little doll? Liv put the coat on over her jammies and had to be coaxed to take it off to put on REAL clothes to go to Bueli and Grandpa's.

R's parents made Christmas dinner for the whole family. Liv ran around and enjoyed eating sweets and being snuggled by her many cousins. Natalie, on the other hand, was mostly held by cousin Myriam, and slept 90% of the time. {She smiles at Liv more than any of us!}

Not too much beats baby smiles... (maybe baby dancing, but that's another post for another time. :) The girls did great for having such a busy holiday weekend; it is a blessing and joy to have them as a part of our family!

Wishing you and yours a very merry New Year!

December 20, 2011

holiday cheer & holiday jeer. Sorta.

After I set up some watercolors for Liv to tinker around with the other day, I decided to get crafty my own self.  I've had these clear bulbs stored away in the basement for the last three years with high hopes of decorating them as Christmas gifts... {insert hearty laugh here}. No go, at least not yet. So I figured, why not put them to use now instead of having them just sit there?

I used some glitter tempera paint from Liv's stash, as well as some glitter I bought for 99 cents last week for another project {an easier and therefore realistic project: glittered clothespins. Yessss.}.

Anyway, I simply poured the paint inside some of the bulbs and swirled it around... in others, I dumped glitter, and the rest I left plain. I tied them up with thin silver ribbon around our dining room chandelier. It's glitzy without being overwhelming--at first glance, some of them almost look like old-school lightbulbs. Sweet.


Today has been One of Those Days so far. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just feel... off. Which is a shame, because there's much on my To Do list, Christmas is around the corner {which is cause for excitement}, and Liv is sick. I can't be bummin' when there's much to do! There's no good reason to be down today--we all actually got a fair amount of sleep last night despite Liv's cold, which usually doesn't happen...things could be much worse right now. Maybe it's just the last of the pregnancy hormones working themselves out? Who knows. I just feel... blah.

I drove to the grocery store this morning, and the whole way there Liv was rubbing her eyes and whining, finally falling asleep right as I pulled in to park. Great. So I made an executive decision: I pulled out, went through the Starbucks drivethru for a gingerbread latte, and decided the girls could nap at home and we'd go to the grocery this afternoon.

As soon as I'm handed my latte, I hear "Mommy tea?" from the backseat. Liv was awake and pointing repeatedly at my red cup {which is her way of asking for something}. You know when you have your heart set and are determined to see it through? That's how I felt about the latte. I craaave little pockets of alone time these days! I was picturing myself sitting down at home during naptime with my latte and Pinterest, or a book, or whatever, anything, for some me-time. No laundry, no cleaning, just sitting. Instead, we came home, and Liv decided she was as awake as ever--in fact, she's jumping in her bed upstairs as I write. Thump thump thump... I don't even know how she makes most of the noises she does up there in her crib. No nap has been had, except by Natalie, who is still in her carseat. And that will be ending soon too. Undoubtedly, now I will have a cranky girl on my hands at the grocery. I should've just woken her up earlier and gone in; it was a gamble, but I chose poorly this time. Drat. Such is mommyhood--trial and error.

So it's just one of those days. I inhaled my latte and some leftover pizza for lunch. Not what I was envisioning for this afternoon, but I'll take it. It's all a reminder that in my own strength, I can do nothing joyfully, but in Christ alone, it is possible... do I really believe this? I do. So I need to trust Him, and go on with my day. Reminding myself of that is helping already... Or maybe that's just the caffeine finally kicking in. ;)

Ahh me. All of this is to say: I never realized how incredibly selfish I was until I had kids. It is sobering and fantastic, all at once. I've felt the sobering this morning; now I'm ready for the fantastic. :)

December 10, 2011

christmas cookies.

Ah, the first gingerbread of the season. Usually I'll make gingerbread in the fall--I'll make BIG pumpkin cookies and ice them up all pretty and enjoy them with tea {or gift away!}--but no such thing this year.  So it had to wait until a couple of days ago, when Liv helped me put a batch together:

She loves pouring the dry ingredients into the bowl after we've measured them. Or, not so much into the bowl, in this case. :) 

My friend Susan came over for some lunch and to help us decorate the cookies, which was great. Once Liv discovered she could eat the icing, her little finger was constantly covered in it.  She liked decorating the cookies, but enjoyed eating them more!

We haven't quite figured out what our holiday traditions will be yet as a family, but it's fun to think about. Some things on my radar:

Christmas jammies
Hot cocoa
Driving/walking around to see lights
Christmas cookies
Homemade marshmallows
Garlands for their rooms
Advent calendar

I didn't get to an advent calendar this year, but by next, both will be a little older and a little more excited about Christmasy-things, so it's all good. 

A cute quote I found this afternoon:

"Bless us Lord,
this Christmas,
with quietness of mind;
Teach us to be patient,
and always to be kind."

- Helen Steiner Rice


November 29, 2011

gearing up.

We had a nice Thanksgiving last week--I hope you did too, and that you are also recovering from mundo-amounts of turkey! R de-boned our turkey before we cooked it, which was awesome (and a lot less daunting than it sounds, which was a nice surprise). After all of the wonderful meals delivered to us since Natalie was born, I actually felt up to making a few dishes for T-giving. Why don't I make stuffing more than once a year?

This month has flown by us; R and I are kind of stunned it's the first of December this week. {Natalie will be 1 month old on Friday already!} I'm hoping for some snowy weather soon so I can spend this season snuggling with my girls inside, doing festive wintery things, tbd. I'm really excited for us to come up with our own family traditions for this time of year. We are currently thinking up a very fun one for Thanksgiving, which will hopefully come to pass next year... :)

I've been giving some thought to goals for 2012... I've been thinking on it for some time, and have enjoyed the brewing process before January arrives. As with most things I need to mull it over for awhile before it becomes a reality. I typically will sit down by New Year's Eve and type up these reflections, but I think I'd like to do this in a different format. I never look back on these docs on the computer! Might be fun to put them into a little book somehow... hmmm...

The older I get, the more precious this time of year becomes, especially now with kiddos in tow. I will be sad to see November go; it has been a special month for us! Onto December and a new year!

November 20, 2011

November 18, 2011


R and I first began talking about expanding our family on our 4th anniversary, on a snowy night, at a restaurant on 32nd Street. It's one of my favorite memories of R and I. I went out shortly after to B&N to look for the perfect journal to begin chronicling the journey to babyhood... and found this little number. I loved the birds, the burlap, and the blue--it seemed like a nice neutral book. And I liked the idea of growing our little nest when I looked at this book.

The first few entries were mostly about how I was trying to get healthier, and my thoughts on pregnancy... By June, we were expecting, and I was so happy I had a place to write down what I was thinking and feeling.

I also tried to include little mementos, like this grocery list.

"PTest" was of course, a pregnancy test--the very one we found out about Liv with. :) Now I'll always remember we made enchiladas that night for dinner, haha.

When we began talking about baby #2, I naturally went back to the bookstore and chose another book--red and turquoise this time.  My hope is that both my girls will see how treasured they are, and have been, before I even knew they were being knit together! I want them to know what was going on in our lives then, and also how I responded to pregnancy--a nice reference guide for when they have their own little ones someday. {Liv's book was an awesome reference for me to compare my second one to--I forgot more than I thought I would, and each were so different.}

More memorabilia... Most friends guessed we were going to have a boy the second time around...

So, I filled up every page in Olivia's book on Nov. 1, the night before little Natalie was born. All 20 months of our time alone together. Funny how that worked out... It meant a lot to me as it was very much symoblic of a new chapter starting in our lives! I need to get another book for her, but am trying to also focus on filling up Natalie's book.

I write all of this to say--I don't know how many things we'll pass down through the years and to future generations, but there is something sacred about letters and journals and handwriting and paper memories pasted in a simple book. Even if the girls aren't as gaga over this stuff as I am, they'll know I was uber gaga over them, and that's what matters.

November 16, 2011

my little natalie.

Natalie Beatriz arrived on Wednesday, November 2. She weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz, and was 20 in. long. I am loving having two little girls at home--my little women. :)

So, I had a feeling baby would be a little early, but I didn't think she would time things almost identically to her sister. I began having contractions around 1:30AM--the same time as when I went into labor with Olivia, and exactly 20 months later. (Olivia's birthday is March 2.) We drove to the hospital at 3am during a snowstorm--along with 14 other couples who delivered around the same time!! You don't know how much I heard about barometric pressure that day... :) After 15 hours, Natalie came into this world!  The joy and relief of seeing her little face those seconds after she was born is something I will never forget. She looked so much like Olivia, I couldn't believe it.

Natalie: Nov. 2, 2011
Olivia: March 2, 2010

Liv has definitely been adjusting to having a little sis around, and is doing great.  She's been getting to know Natalie on her own terms--either she is all about her, wanting to help and give her little hugs and pats on the head, or she is happy doing her own thing and does not want to give her hugs or anything of the sort, and will say a curt "no." if you ask. I appreciate her honesty! She did help me give her a bottle today, and it was precious to see her face light up when I asked if she wanted to feed the baby.  I'm proud of her for taking things so well!

We are tired, but friends and family are taking good care of us--thank you, especially to those who have been feeding us! There's not much that beats a home-cooked meal (or pumpkin bread, yum) when you're exhausted and can't think straight.

I was telling R the other night that I feel my heart expanding every day that I spend with these girlies.  Growing as I get to know my little Natalie, and growing as I see my oldest adjust to a new little sis and love her, too.  Things are different, but in a most wonderful way.

November 1, 2011

passing the time...with bubbles.

Oh, the simple things.

39 1/2 weeks.

Waiting for a baby is no easy feat--every time I get in the car, I think "yup, I'll probably go into labor on my way to the grocery store..." Or I'll feel the familiar tightening of braxton-hicks contractions and my eyes will dart to the clock, wondering if it's the real deal and not just practice.  Nothing yet, besides lots of practice, but we're getting closer. (My official due date is Nov. 5th.) It kind of feels like waiting for Christmas morning... all day!

I'm glad I have little Liv to wait with me. I tell her that we're going to meet little sister soon, and she'll smile--but I can't wait to see how she really reacts when she meets the baby for the first time, and she realizes we're bringing her home with us! I'm praying that transition goes well--R and I are going to do our best to help Liv with the change. If you have any suggestions that worked for you, I'm all ears. :)

[My big girl and me, after taking her to the park this weekend. Soon we'll have two to take, two to smile with in pictures, two to love! Can't wait.]

October 6, 2011

it's officially fall.

Yup; right now, the trees are being pushed around by some crazy wind, and leaves are everywhere, crinkling down the street and flying over the fences. Even Dex is happier observing the backyard from the back door instead of going outside. I am so excited for cooler weather and a reason to bundle up again...!

Last Sunday, we went to Cider Days, an annual event in our area where you can press your own cider, buy tasty carnival food, watch tractor pulls, enjoy music, kiddie rides, etc.  Even though Liv was completely wiped after the nursery at church, she found her second wind and enjoyed the afternoon dancing to country music and petting some animals in the petting zoo.

The cider was delicious--we left with two bottles (although we didn't press them ourselves). I've always thought of cider as being apple juice seasoned with cinnamon and cloves, not just juice squeezed from particular kinds of apples... Now I know. Good stuff.

Next week: the pumpkin patch. Probably one of my favorite places to go during the whoooooole year.

September 28, 2011

file restart.

We recently moved an old, clunky filing cabinet to the basement from the baby's room (former office).  It found a home in ours when my parents downsized last year, and we quickly filled it with anything and everything... it's industrial sized. I have no idea where my dad bought this thing! We were tempted to sell it on Craigslist and get something smaller, but decided to keep it and utilize it for more things.
Re-placed in the basement.
Before we moved it, we took everything out and combed through all of our files, discarding old papers and pay stubs, etc. We had filled almost all four drawers with paper; after downsizing, I can fit all of our files into two drawers! So here's my plan:

...Use the third drawer for crafty kid supplies (finger painting stuff, pipe cleaners, whatever Liv, sister, & friends will enjoy using, etc.) and the bottom drawer for office supplies that won't fit in our upstairs desk (extra pens, pencils, tape, copy paper, etc.).  It's kind of silly how giddy this makes me, but I'm glad these things will finally have a designated space vs. floating around in basement land.

At this point, we've:

Moved the cabinet
Organized our files
Filled cabinet for use

Before I put everything in its place, I wanted to show you how I organized our actual files.


I came up with broad categories, like Health Records, Government Documents, Investments, Credit Cards, Receipts, Taxes etc. and labeled 11 x 17 file folders with these titles, and then filled them with specific manilla folders:

Then I put the main categories in alphabetical order:

It feels good to know what we have instead of wading through pointless paper when we're looking for something we need!

I suggest sitting down with your favorite cup of tea or coffee for this job, as well as some tunes that keep you awake. :)

September 27, 2011

pumpkin moon

Soo...How is it already almost October? I have six more weeks until baby bug is born, and I'm feeling mentally prepared with a twist of nervous right about now.  More excited than nervous, truly; I just have so many questions that won't have answers until she's here. Like: How is Liv going to react to a new baby? Will this baby be jaundice too? Am I going to feel as emotional as I did with Liv afteward? What is bug's name going to be...? We've been practicing breathing exercises and discussing our "birth plan," so on that front, I feel good about things. There is just so much to look forward to and not know right now, and that's what's giving me butterflies. I can't wait to meet you, baby girl!

I moved a few things into the baby's room last week, to R's dismay... But hey, when you feel a burst of energy, you just gotta go for it, right? Okay, so it probably wasn't smart to move a dresser and a couple of rocking chairs around, but I went slow and shimmied as best I could, no lifting. All was well. I remember taking it fairly easy when I was pregnant with Olivia--this time around it's almost as if I forget I'm pregnant, and try to do much more than I should. The exception to this has been yard work--I can't bend over that well, no matter how energized I feel, haha. I'd still like to winterize my pots and get some of the old plants out of our beds though... Nesting much?

I'm finding I'm more of a fall cleaner than a spring cleaner. Okay, so again, this year is kind of an exception as nesting has been my driving force, but it's true. Digging out fall decorations lights the cleaning torch. Maybe it's the whole getting-the-house-ready-for-winter thing vs. cleaning-it-out-for-spring thing. So it's been a great time of purging and organizing and getting back to what I had originally dreamed about way back in January.

More about that on the way.

For now, here are a few of my favorite little things I dug out a couple of weeks ago:

Who wouldn't love to own a bakery named Pumpkin Moon?

Cream pumpkins... love it.

Bought this in Idaho Springs in 2009. Makes me smile.
Little pumpkin tealight holders - $1 a pop at Hobby Lobby

Homegrown Jack-Be-Little pumpkins! Liv helped me pick these.

Faux pumpkins on candlesticks. Brilliant. Thanks, Pinterest.

I also made a little Owlish art insert to display in a frame, heehee:

October is upon us! What are your favorite things to have around you this time of year?