Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: What A Year

What a year it has been.  I was sitting feeding Jack a few days ago and started thinking about this year and all of the blessings it has brought.  Obviously, the big event this year was adding Jack to the family.  What a sweet, happy, snuggly baby he is!  We are so lucky and he is a blessing indeed.  We have enjoyed having Brad off work a lot - between paternity leave and his normal time off, he's had over 2 months off this year!  And we've had the chance to do some traveling too - we went to the beach in April, and then we went to the beach again (and to visit friends) in late September/early October.  Not too shabby considering there was a new addition in June!  And while I was lucky enough to work from home and do exactly what I wanted, I made the decision to stay at home with the kids.  While it has been a little bit of a transition, I know I am so lucky to be here with the kiddos every day.  Katie goes to school 3 days a week, so it does give me time with just Jack and to get things done or run errands.  It is perfect!  We have spent a lot of time with family and friends this year - that never gets old!  And we have a nice home, food on the table, clothes to keep us is good.  And we are blessed.  When I sit and reflect on our year, it is overwhelming.

And in a year's time, it is amazing to see how kiddos change.  Wow.  I put these little collages together to compare how much the kids have changed this year!  

This is Katie right after midnight last New Years (and no, we will not be keeping her up til midnight tonight! haha)...and then a picture of her yesterday.  I cannot get over how much more grown up she looks!  She still had a "toddler look" at the beginning of the year.  And now?  Well, she is a little girl.  And I use the word "little" loosely...she wears a size 5T clothes and size 11 shoes!!!  Potty training was perfect earlier in the year...and she learned how to swim (and jump off the diving board)!
And Jack - needless to say, he has grown a lot this year too! :)  This first picture was from the big 20 week ultrasound in February.  And then his birth day in June...and on Christmas!  What a cutie pie!  My wish is that he is always such a happy, smiley little guy.
And I was looking back at the goals that I had set for this year.  You can find those {here}.  I thought I'd do a little recap of those goals to wind down 2012, so here we go!
1) Blog every day.
I did a good job with this up until September.  And then I slipped some.  I'd say 317 blog posts in a year isn't too shabby though!  Blogging every day does make it easier to keep up with things though - when I wasn't blogging every day, I found that I got behind quickly!
2) Read more.
Yes!  I read 14 books this year.  And 6 of those books were from two different trilogies - the Hunger Games series and the 50 Shades of Grey series.  Right now I am reading Gone Girl.  
3) Read the Bible every day.
I didn't do so well with this.  This is definitely one that will carry on to 2013!
4) Find a Sunday school class.
This didn't happen either.  I was so uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy - I think I went to church once between Easter and when Jack was born.  And then we have gone as a family of 4 one time since he was born.  This is definitely still something I want to do (and have talked a lot about lately)!
5) Stay in shape (or get back into shape).
I can say that this has gone well!  It hasn't been easy - that's for sure.  But I have lost 25 pounds since the end of August.  I use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track calories - and it really works for me!  I was back to pre-pregnancy weight when Jack was 4 months old.  I would like to lose about 15-20 more pounds and tone up in the new year.
6) Be crafty.
I have done fairly well with this.  It helps that I did some projects for Jack's nursery.  And of course around the holidays I am always inspired to do fun projects!
7) Save money at the grocery store.
I've got to do better...even it is just using coupons for the items I need (as opposed to couponing based on sales and such). 
8) Simplify and organize.
It seems that the minute I get organized, more stuff comes in the house.  I just did a big dropoff at Goodwill.  And I am more than ready to undecorate from Christmas.  I think once that happens, I will be able to tackle some areas of the house that most definitely need attention!
9) Send family and close friends a birthday card in the mail.
I did well at the beginning of the year and then started slacking.  I still hope to do better with this!
10) Be a better wife and momma.
There is always room for improvement in this category.  I want to make sure they know how much I love them - and I need to do a better job of saying that, showing that, etc.  And I need to make sure I don't take Brad for granted..he is such a great daddy and husband and provider for us!  And these kids...there are no words.  I love them to pieces (even if Jack wakes up 4 times in a night or Katie is sassy and not listening)!

Well, I think that is about it for 2012.  I cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store for us!  Happy New Year's Eve!  Cheers!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus + Alvin Adventures

Before I forget, I want to make sure to include the picture of the kids with Santa!  We actually went twice...I was that picky momma who got home and decided that the first picture was poor quality.  If I'm going to spend the money on the picture package, I want a clear picture...not a blurry one!  The kids and Santa all looked super, but it was way out of we went back the next day to ask if we could do a re-do.  They said sure, but of course there was a line the second time around.  The kids did great and we had a good picture this year!  I'm impressed that Jack liked Santa!
 And this year, we really got into the whole Elf on the Shelf deal.  Our elf is named Alvin and he had a lot of fun this year! When he came, he brought the stack of books to do again leading up to Christmas.  He also did some funny things (Katie LOVED it this year)!  He brought a letter from Santa (on official Santa letterhead) with a special card to write her letter to Santa.  We sent it back with Alvin that night - it was so fun helping Katie do this!  And then on Christmas Eve, his last day here, he brought Christmas jammies and a book to read that night (along with a goodbye letter)!
I can't believe 2012 is coming to a close.  What a fantastic year we have had!  Enjoy the last few hours of this year!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Crafts + Cooking

As you may recall, I had aspirations to be ultra crafty this Christmas season.  I think I can say it was a success!  There is still at least one project that I have not done (but I plan to this weekend), but I'd say that's ok!  I wanted to do a recap of all the crafiness and cooking, so here we go!

I made the handprint ornaments - except I don't really like how they turned out.  I think I may try this one again.  And maybe do them on the same slab of dough and paint it and have it be for display rather than an ornament...

I also made the peppermint tray!  I think I let it cook a couple minutes too long.  But it was so neat and smelled so minty!  I threw it away because I didn't really have a use for it, but it was super easy!
We also made ornaments with my mom! I did the Pledge floor cleaner and glitter ones with our initials on them - LOVE how they turned out!  And Katie and my mom did tissue paper and Modge Podge ornaments...they are so neat too!  I think we are going to make some more of these soon!  And I still want to do a glitter one with Jack's handprint on it for his first Christmas!
And I felt inspired to be crafty for Katie's class gifts.  I made scarves for all the kiddos and then we made Reindeer Food and gave it to them.  The argyle scarves were for the boys and then the dots/chevron/bright colored ones were for the girls!  It was so easy...I bought the fleece and just cut strips and then made fringe..that's it!  It measures 40" x 6" - I wanted to make them big enough to last a few years.  And then the Reindeer Food is just oats and glitter and sprinkles.  And I printed off the cute little poem to go with it!
Here are all the gifts lined up at school for her buddies! Of course it was like a monsoon when I carried them inside, so some had bows and some didn't :)
On Christmas Eve Eve, Jill and Stella came over to do some fun things with the girls!  I hope this becomes an annual much fun!  We made cookies (that can be considered a Pinterest fail...when they cooked, they stayed in blob form rather than spreading out like a cookie!) - and then we delivered some cookies to the neighbors from the girls!
 We also made Christmas trees out of waffle cones, icing, sprinkles, and candy!  I think it was about half and half in regards to what made it onto a tree vs into their tummies!
 This was Katie's finished product!  I love how they turned out!
 And Alvin brought us a gingerbread house kit, so we were going to make it as a family!  Well, when we opened the box, it was in crumbles.  We tried to fix it, but there was no we worked with what we had!  The big picture in the collage is the finished product! :)
I also tried to get Katie to do some fingerprint art....I think next year will be better for that.  She didn't quite grasp the concept!  But at least I have everything for this fun project!

And for Christmas Eve, I made a green bean casserole...and for Christmas Day, I made Pimento Cheese Pinwheels and Sopapilla Cheesecake.  Thank you, Pinterest!  Everything was DELICIOUS!!!

Coming up this weekend will be citrus pomanders and maybe even cinnamon stick Santa's! We shall see how creative I get :)  I also want to do fabric on the clear ball ornaments and I have tons of fabric scraps - so much fun!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Monogram Swap

I have a problem.  I love monograms.  On just about everything.  Brad gives me a hard time and says that the kids eyelids will be monogrammed if we aren't careful! HA!  (and for the record...I wouldn't do anything permanent like that ...hehe)  I am actually trying to be careful about putting Katie's name on things now because of stranger danger...but I love a cute "K" on things!  Plus just having a "K" makes it easier to sell when we are finished!

Here are the kCe things that I have and would love to sell!
This is a 9 month - SO cute on...would be perfect for Valentine's!  Could also work for just a "C" if you're brave enough to try to take the K and E off!
 These are both size 2.  The turquoise leggings on the right are not available.  And these dresses and the pink outfit on the left could probably be covered up with a cute applique - just something to think about!
And these are sizes 3 and 4!  I do have the shorts that go with that shirt on the bottom left if you're interested!
This is a shirt that is size 4 with "Katie" and an ice cream cone!
And my little guy is 6 months old - this is the only thing I am selling right now.  It is size 0-3 month with a hand appliqued "J" on it.  It is adorable on!
I will have some Jack items that are Fall/Christmas before too long (pumpkin on a truck - size 12 month, turkey - 6 month, truck with a Christmas tree - 6 month, etc)!

As far as what I am looking for, here we go!
-size 5 and up (girl): K, kCe, Katie
-size 9 month and up (boy): J, jCw, Jack

If you are interested in any of these goodies, or if you are stopping by and happen to have anything for sale that fits my descriptions (and I am not afraid to buy way ahead to find some cute things!), please comment or email me at acoulter11{at}yahoo{dot}com!  I am participating in the link up with Kelly's Korner today - if you want to as well, jump over {here}!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oh What Fun: Christmas '12

I know I say this every single year, but I cannot believe Christmas has already come and gone.  It feels like I blinked and it happened!  I love the Christmas season - everyone (well, most everyone) is nicer and the decorations are wonderful and it is just an exciting time of year!  We had our normal gatherings with family and it was great!  Katie really got into Christmas this makes it that much more fun to see everything through a child's eyes.  And then it was Jack's first Christmas - that makes is even more special too!

On Christmas Eve, Brad's mom, aunt, and uncle came over to visit and have dinner and exchange gifts!  Here is the tree with all of the goodies underneath!
Here is our family picture of the evening :)
And the kiddos - so fun!
Jack was so intrigued by the tree and ornaments and colorful tissue paper!
And a picture of the kiddos with Grandma!
Now he decided to look :) He was so excited that he was having trouble sitting up and smiling and trying to see everything, so we popped him into the Bumbo!
Here Jack is opening his first Christmas present ever!
And in true child fashion, Katie was more entertained by Jack's toys :) She still is...and she claims she is "showing him how they work" - ha!
Here's Jack playing with his toy!
Before getting ready for bed, we put the reindeer food out in the grass!  Here I am with my sweet girl before we did that.
About to dump it out!  We tried to get her to spread it out, but she just dumped it out instead...
Here is the pile of oats and glitter and sprinkles :)
Two cute kiddos in their Christmas jammies (that Alvin the Elf brought)!
And we forgot to put cookies and milk out for Santa, so I put it out - I didn't want Katie to get upset that Santa didn't get his standard goodies ;)
And....SANTA CAME!!!!
Christmas morning, we had to wake Katie up!  Here she is in Jack's room waiting while we changed his diaper and got him ready!
She headed downstairs and the first thing she played with was the Peppa Pig house!
And then it was on to she is trying to figure out what all was in there.
Jack had a big time checking his toys out too!
And then Katie decided she wanted to try out the Strawberry Shortcake bicycle...and she did a great job!  She rode it through our kitchen and around the island!
And here they are playing with the toy table Jack got!  I love that they were playing together :)
And then we opened presents from eachother!
Here I am with  my cutie pies!
And here are my 3 favorites all together!
Then we got changed and loaded up the van to head to Cee Cee's house.  Katie was traveling in style, of course.
And a family picture on Christmas!
Here is Cee Cee with Jack - so cute!
Katie was taking picture after picture with her new was quite entertaining to go through her pics.  About 98% of them were a big blur...but it was neat to see things through her eyes with the ones that were actually in focus!
And here was the tree with all the goodies under it at my mom's!  We must have all been good this year!
Katie actually smiling for me :)  She had that fake smile going full force this year!
And she wanted a picture with the presents!  Maybe I just need to say I am also going to take one with her camera to make her cooperate!
All the stockings...
And a picture of me and Brad!
I sure do love these two so much...and they looked so precious in their matching outfits!  I cannot believe we lasted the whole day without a stain on either one!
Another collection of pictures of precious.
Jack really liked his cards...I love that it looks like he is really reading this one!  Of course he ended up putting it in his mouth after a few minutes, but he really did love looking at it.
This pretty much sums it all up...a blur of tissue paper and bag and wrapping paper.
Katie got a Barbie and pink Volkswagen Beetle from my mom...she LOVES it!  Whenever we see a real beetle, she always says she wants a pink one "when she gets big", so this was perfect!
And because I can embarrass him, here is my brother wearing the big shower cap my aunt got for Christmas - HAHA!! You're welcome, Will :)
And after presents, Brad always naps - this year, he had a little partner in crime!
And after we ate, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus - my mom made this cake so that we could remember the real reason to celebrate Christmas.  I love that Katie really got into this too!
Next, we headed to my aunt and uncle's house on my dad's side.  We did our traditional Bible reading and ate and then ripped into some presents!  Here are Katie and Jack with my grandparents.  What a special picture!
And someone mentioned the golf cart, so of course Katie wanted to ride.  It was FREEZING out there, but we had fun exploring the golf course!
And after all of the excitement, this is how I found Jack...snoozing with his arm up over his eyes.  Priceless.  And pretty much sums up how we all felt I think!
After we got home and unloaded and took a breath, we played with toys for a while!  Jack absolutely loves his doggy rocker!
And a few last pictures from sweet!
And of course Sadie was right in the middle of it all!  I think Jack was riding her like a horse here :)
And then Katie wanted in on the Sadie snuggles...look at Sadie's expression - ha!
And this was the last shot before bedtime...Katie was exhausted and Jack had clearly had enough too!
I also wanted to highlight just a few of the gifts I got...the picture on the left is all of the things I got with dots! The softest robe EVER from my grandparents, cute rain shoes from my grandmother, reusable snack/sandwich bags, washii tape, packing tape, and a reusable shopping bag!  They clearly know of my love for anything dots :)  And Santa brought me this ornament....HA!!! Pretty appropriate, right??
What a fantastic couple of days.  I love seeing family and taking time to visit with everybody.  And finding just the right gift for someone is a great feeling too! I think Katie is already counting down until Christmas next year!  Stay tuned for posts on what our elf was up to this year, all of the crafts I got into, the kids pic with Santa (a little late - oops!), and a few more!