Showing posts with label Gwendolyn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gwendolyn. Show all posts

My Darling Gwen, You Are Five.



Dear Gwen,

I'm sitting here on the evening of your fifth birthday to write this letter.  I can't believe you are five years old!  You have grown before my eyes in so many ways this year, and I see your unique personality coming out more day by day.

My favorite thing about you right now is how much you love to laugh.  

You are constantly making jokes or coming up with funny games to play with your brothers and sisters, and I often hear your laugh ringing through the house (or the car).  You are such a little extrovert, but at the same time, when you are in a new environment you can be pretty shy, with just a quiet smile on your face. 

Something you seem to be especially good at is any gymnastic-type activities.  You'll come running into the kitchen and ask me to come watch you, and then you'll flip upside down and backwards off the bed, or do an almost-cartwheel, or prop yourself up against something into a "head stand".  You love to dance, especially if it's like a ballerina.  I bought you a book this year with ballet positions in it, and you ask me to put on music so you can practice your "skeels".

I would be remiss if I didn't take a chance here to mention your memory.  You remember the words to an impressive amount of songs for a five year old.  You even know the words to songs I don't know (thanks to Dad listening to old '80's songs in the car with you!).  Lately I've been able to watch you apply your memory skills to Bible verses and catechism questions, and it gives me so much joy to hear you hiding God's word and truth in your heart.

Almost every morning I come upstairs to find you drawing something, or creating something out of paper.  It's like you just have all this creativity bundled up inside you, waiting for a quiet minute when it can bubble over.  I can't wait to see everything you make and do with that creativity, Sweetheart.

Whenever I ask someone to grab us a book to read, you are the first to jump up and pick one out.  It is fun to see what kinds of books you gravitate toward, because I realize that they are the same types of books I loved when I was a girl.  You've been asking to learn to read, and I am so excited to share all my favorite books with you as you grow!  We are going to have so much fun with kindergarten this year.

One of the sweetest character traits I see you developing is your eagerness to help.  I can't even remember a time when I asked for your help and you weren't completely happy to do the task.  I especially love to see the way you have jumped into helping your little siblings with both feet.  You love being a big sister, and you've been such a help and joy to me since we added the baby this year.  You have such a giving heart, and you do every task with a cheerfulness that amazes me. I could learn a lot from you, my sweet darling.  God truly gave me a wonderful gift when He gave me you, and I am so blessed to have the privilege of being your mom.  

I love you always,  

Mama


Gwen Girl At Four


Every year I try to write a birthday letter to each of the kids, with some special characteristics or memory of them at that moment in time.  However, somehow last year Gwen's birthday letter never got posted, and since I'm focusing on memory-keeping this month, I thought this was a good opportunity to catch up.  This is what I wrote for my sweet Gwen's 4th birthday, which is in December!  It's probably good that I'm sharing this since her 5th birthday letter will be due in a couple months!

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My Sweet Gwen Ruby,

I can't believe I'm typing your 4th birthday letter.  Even as I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I kept thinking you were three years old.  I lost a year somewhere.

Your request this year was for a Minnie Mouse birthday party, and your favorite gift was your Minnie Mouse dress-up dress.  You look absolutely adorable in it, your brown eyes shining.

I think one of my favorite things about 4-year-old you is how creative you are.  Almost every morning I'll hear your little feet tripping across the floor upstairs, the drawer opening, and skipping steps back to your room.  You sneak paper and crayons and scissors into your room, and I am trying to look past the mess because it's amazing all the creations you come up with.  You're my little budding artist (and dancer), and I love that about you.

This year you asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins, and it was the sweetest little moment, Darling.  You carried your new Bible so proudly to church the next day.  You'll understand more and more about our Savior and His sacrifice for us through reading His Word in the coming years, but what a sweet little foundation you have to build on now.

My darling, you are such an important part of this family.  For lack of a better word, you sparkle.  I'll just look at you sometimes, and you'll stare back at me with those big brown eyes, and I can see your happy spirit sparkling behind them.  You cheer up my days Sweetie, and I love you more than I can say.  I don't deserve such a sweet, beautiful girl as you.


Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

-Mama



Paper Bracelets Are A Great Mood Booster




That's me, feeling like falling asleep next to my peppermint tea.  Sad.

Caffeinated coffee, how I miss thee!  

Peppermint tea, the whole wake-you-up and give-you-energy promise was a lie.  

Paper Bracelets

Yesterday was an exceptionally good morning.  I heard Gwen scurrying around upstairs, my little early bird, and instead of fighting it, I decided to let her go.  I could clean up whatever mess was made later.

I was rewarded after a little while with soft footsteps in my room, and a little voice.  

"Mama, stick out your arm."  

I had no idea what she was talking out, but I obliged, and she wrapped a little hand-colored paper bracelet around my wrist, securing it with a piece of tape.

How could I not be in a bright mood after that?

I was just thinking the day before too about how I was hoping the kids would make me something for Mother's Day this year.  Like those macaroni necklaces.  I would love a macaroni necklace, but it would be even better if I didn't have to ask Derek to arrange the making of said macaroni necklace.  But do any kids really just spontaneously decide to make jewelry for their moms, or is it all prompted by classroom craft projects?  This morning I discovered that no, apparently they can and do think of it all by themselves, and I loved it.

The First Trimester Blahs

You probably didn't notice or remember, but I promised a six week pregnancy update a week ago and never delivered.  That's because this first trimester is hitting me hard!  I'll save more details for the pregnancy updates, if I ever get around to them, but sheesh, what a roller coaster.  



I can never tell if I'm going to have an energetic day or an exhausted day, a depressed day or a happy day, a smell-things-that-aren't-there day or a hungry day.  I just hope it's not going to be a migraine day, because then I'll spend the afternoon laid up on the couch (I've had three days like that since I found out I was pregnant, so one per week).  Last week I woke up one morning annoyed.  For no reason and at no one in my house.  Just annoyed.  I cried over a game of Risk the other night.  

Basically, I feel like a basket case.  Derek has been a saint to put up with me (seriously).

Last week I was getting ready to write a pregnancy update, but I realized my monthly Tommy Nelson post was late, so all my writing energy drained away to that.  It's taken this long to get it back up again.  

Aside from all that though, it's been so nice to tell people about this baby right away this time.  Despite my varying moods, the constant is that I am so happy about this baby, and it feels good to share it!  Everyone has been so supportive, and I have to say, telling all my blog buddies here and on social media has been so fun! I want to say thank you, thank you, for all your excitement for our family and well wishes!  It has been a big encouragement.

Old-Fashioned Blogger Shout-Out (Or Not)

I've been sitting here for ten minutes, and the only other thing I can think of to talk about is my discovery of the The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  It's been a slow couple weeks.  Turns out lying on the couch every afternoon falling asleep to the TV might give me enough energy to make it through the evening, but it's not very interesting to write about.  

I've been avoiding reading too much on screens because of the migraines, so I don't even have an old-fashioned blogger to share today!  I'm slacking.  Stick with me and I'll eventually get back to some sense of normality, but for now, why don't you tell ME who YOUR favorite old-fashioned blogger is!  Find any new favorites lately?

What I'm Drinking:  Peppermint tea, and I'm not happy about it.  But anything for my baby!


A Crazy Year

The year is coming to a close, and 2014 has been a big, crazy year for us!  When I think about where we were a year ago, it's hard to believe how much has changed since then.  This year we have gone from expecting a baby, to having a newborn, from employment, to unemployment, to better employment, from a sporadic, uncertain schedule to a fixed, predictable schedule.  Every year since we've been married has felt like a big year to me, but I'm not sure we've had this level of change in the span of one year before.

January


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We celebrated Gwen's first birthday party!  She turned one year old in December, but we had her party in January - you can read about Gwen at one year old, her winter first birthday party, her birthday punch recipe, and a fun birthday decoration project I did with Wyatt for Gwen.

I was 7 months pregnant with Clyde!  Check out my 26 Week and 28 Week updates.

I was working on a ton of baby projects, like stuff Clyde's quilt and nursery.

I fell on some ice and had to take an unexpected trip to the hospital.  Baby Clyde was fine!

On the blog - I continued my "From One To Two" series on going from one baby to two - maybe it's time for me to write about going from two to three?

February


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We celebrated Wyatt's birthday!  He turned three years old.  I wrote about Wyatt at three, and his simple Thomas the Train party.

I hit 8 months pregnant with Clyde - I wrote my 30 Week and 32 Week updates.

I finished putting together Clyde's quilt and dropped it off to be quilted.

We had a disaster of a Valentine's Day, but it was okay.

My friend, Ashley, threw me a gorgeous nautical baby shower!

On the blog - I shared a glimpse into our mornings which I love looking back on now, and I shared a Valentine's Day printable.



March


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 I hit 34 Weeks and 36 Weeks in my pregnancy.


We had our maternity pictures taken.

Gwen turned 15 months old.

On the blog - I started my series on building a unique maternity wardrobe.


April


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I hit 38 weeks pregnant!  The countdown was on.

We were worried Derek would be gone when I went into labor, and we were praying the Lord would work everything out so he could be there!

I had some false labor, which did not help my anxiety.

Clyde was born on April 11th!  It was a great natural hospital birth experience (birth story part one and two).

We celebrated Easter with a one week old baby.

Clyde turned two weeks old.

On the blog - I posted ideas for a toddler's Easter basket.


May


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I kept busy trying to get used to having three kids!  I worked out and read a lot of books.

Clyde turned one month old.  I celebrated my first Mother's Day with Clyde!

We ventured out to the park for the first time with three.

On the blog - I shared our maternity pictures and Clyde's handmade by me baby quilt!


June 


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We all came down with a nasty cold.  Colds in the summer are the worst.

Clyde turned two months old.

We celebrated my birthday!  I got a new phone.

We celebrated Father's Day!

We started planning for a staycation.

I had one of those weeks.  We survived.



July


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Clyde turned three months, Gwen turned 18 months.

We had a "staycation", and it was lovely.

I was in my cousin's wedding as a bridesmaid.

We celebrated our six year anniversary.

I started redecorating my house and creating a gallery wall (I'll share it on here eventually).


I started writing for Tommy Nelson and wrote an article about managing the chaos of life with young children.



August


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I made some striped curtains and posted about it!

Clyde turned four months old.


The crisis of Christians being persecuted in Iraq was on the news more, and I wrote about three ways to help Christians in Iraq (which is still mostly applicable, so check it out).

I had a post featured on Tommy Nelson and FaithGateway about fighting selfishness in little ones.

On the blog - I posted about my June Cleaver moment.

September


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Clyde turned five months old, and Gwen turned 21 months old.

We threw a fall-themed party, just for fun!

I wrote on Tommy Nelson about reading aloud to your kids.

I think my loneliness with having Derek gone so much hit an all-time high this month.  It was just hard not having him here.

I started feeling overwhelmed and cut back on the blog a bit.

I started playing with watercolors (and it's till something I wish I had more time for, because it's fun!).
I went on a trip to Nashville to meet up with the other Top Tommy Nelson Mommies!  It was a wonderful trip!

On the blog - I wrote about that time I got off Facebook for nine months, and then got back on Facebook.


October

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Clyde turned six months, and after a struggle with my supply we finally stopped nursing.  We also started feeding him solids, and he loved it!

We went to a costume birthday party and had a fun time.

I had a girl's night out with some friends for the first time in a while!  We made burlap wreaths (if you follow me on Instagram, you know all this.)

I wrote about studying and memorizing the book of Hebrews! (I am still working on it - I'm finally getting into Chapter five, with the memorizing and the studying.  I'll do another verse recitation video soon!)


On the blog - The story of a dear blog friend, Natalie, inspired me to write a post about ways to support adoption without adopting.


November

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Clyde turned seven months old.

 We went to my friend Heather's wedding!

I started Christmas shopping.

Derek went elk hunting, but didn't get anything this year.

I came up with a solid plan for updating my house (it needs it - the decor and furniture basically hasn't been touched in 3-6 years, depending on which room we are talking about). I made a home wish list of inspiration.  I love this post about why it's okay to want your home to be pretty - it captures my recent feelings exactly!

I wrote about our bedtime routine, which I know will be fun to look back on.

Clyde celebrated his first Thanksgiving outside the womb!  He had sweet potatoes for the first time and loved it.

I wrote on Tommy Nelson about making Black Friday a blessing.


On the blog - I wrote a post for Thanksgiving about five things I want to teach my kids to be thankful for.


December

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We started the month unemployed.  I worked a few extra days at work to help with the finances.

Clyde turned eight months old.

I started a blog newsletter (which you should sign up for if you haven't - I'm giving away free printables!).

We had a fun day of Christmas surprises with the kids - crafts and cookies and books!  I tried to slow down in December, despite all the extra working, to enjoy Christmas with my littles.

Derek got a new job!  He starts right after the New Year, and we are treating these few weeks together like a vacation (except without going anywhere, and without spending money - it's still fun).

We celebrated Christmas, Clyde's first on the outside!  Unfortunately, all four of my people got sick between Christmas Eve and the Day after Christmas, so that was kind of sad.  I seemed to have escaped it.

We celebrated Gwen's 2nd birthday and Derek's birthday (same day).  I decorated, we ate cake and opened presents, then rented a movie for Derek and me to watch after the kids went to bed.  Everyone was still sick, so we kept it low-key.

Spent New Year's Eve together!

On the blog - I posted lots of recipes!  Including Holly Jolly Coffee, Pecan Coconut Orange Fudge, and Snowdrop Cookies.

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Looking back at 2014, I can't believe what a crazy year it was!  A lot happened, some things I was planning, some things that I wasn't planning.  Looking at 2015, I just feel - unsure.  For the last several years I had some idea of how the year was going to go, or how I wanted it to go, but in 2015 - I don't have any specific plans, which is kind of a first.  I guess we'll just see what the Lord has planned!  His plans are always better than mine anyway.

Happy New Year, Friends!

Stay tuned about a post about my word for the New Year.

Gwen Is Two




Gwendolyn is two years old!  I can't believe my sweet baby girl is two already.  That went by fast.

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Gwen is such a little whirlwind, in the best possible way.  She rarely sits still, and is always on the go, checking out everything around her.  I would say her personality is sweet and spunky.  She is not afraid to let us know when she needs something, whether it is attention, water, or whatever, but she does it in such a sweet, cute way.  Even at two years old she is so good at saying "thank you" whenever someone gives her something.  It is adorable.

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In some ways she is a tomboy - it is inevitable that she would be, smack dab in the middle of two brothers.  She loves cars, and she keeps up with Wyatt so well!  She runs and plays and falls in the dirt and then bounces right back up without so much as a whimper.  She is a tough little thing.

On the other hand, she has a side of her that is undeniably girly.  She loves her hair bows, and she reminds me when I forget to put one in her hair.  She feels pretty in dresses and parades around, twirling, and beams when people tell her how nice she looks.  She is becoming more and more interested in her dolls, and she will grab her baby doll and carry it around the house with her.


She is definitely more sensitive than her brother, and if something hurts her feelings she'll run down the hall to her room, crying, as if to say "No one understands me!".  When I go in there to find her, I give her a hug and she gives me a "mmmwah!" kiss, and she is as happy as can be again.  She apologizes and forgives so easily, and I hope she never loses that.

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She is so vocal and smart.  She repeats everything we say, and most of the time it is really understandable, even the longer sentences.  She combines three-word sentences on her own already, and we have had comments about how she seems older than she is because she is so articulate for her age.  She loves pointing out things that she knows, and facial features are her favorite.  Eyes, nose, mouth, ears - we go over them every night, with her sweet little finger gently touching my face.  She likes to sing along with the songs I sing to her, and when we pray at night she closes her little eyes so tight, scrunches her face into a big grin, and says her own little prayer, followed by an enthusiastic "amen!".



My Baby Doll Girl is such a bundle of enthusiasm and sweetness and spunk and innocence.  I love everything about her.  It is hard to believe that it was only two years ago that she was born in an ambulance in a panic, but from that first moment I saw her the panic turned to joy, and she has given us so much joy ever since.


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Sweet Gwen-Girl,

You are two.  I can't believe it.  You are such a gift, my beautiful girl, and I am so thankful God gave you to us.  

The other week I felt like we needed some girl time, so I took you to a Christmas party with me.  You had so much fun, showing off your party dress, snuggling next to me in our chair, and helping me pick out a gift.  You spotted a nativity scene at one point in the evening, and you pointed to it and stated in your sweet voice "Baby Jesus".  I was so pleased that you picked that up, and it reminded me of all the exciting things we have to come!  I can't wait to teach you more about Jesus, and I love seeing how you are already starting to learn about Who He is.  

You are so sweet to me, and I can't believe it was two years ago that you were born.  It still seems like it was just the other day sometimes.  You are growing up so fast, and I love it, but these little days with you are so special to me too.  Slow down, will you my precious girl?

I love you more than all the snowflakes in all the blizzards in all the winters,

Your Mama 

A Day Of Christmas Surprises

I have a feeling Christmas time is just going to get more and more fun as the kids get older.  This year Wyatt especially is really aware of what is going on, and he is so excited about his presents.
I want Wyatt and Gwen to appreciate other things beside presents at Christmas time, so I decided to plan a fun "surprise" day for us.  Both Wyatt and Gwen are so into "surprises" lately, and I thought it would be fun to do something special for them as Christmas approaches.

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First up, we made Snowdrop cookies!  These are some of my favorite Christmas cookies, and I thought they went with the wintery theme I was going for.  I shared the Snowdrop Cookies recipe last week, in case you want to try them yourself!

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After our cookies, I had a plan to make "snow dough" for the kids.  I had a mix for homemade play doh that I got from MOPS last year, so I used that - then I realized it was actually pink, not white, and it seemed a little sticky.  I was ready to call the recipe a bust, so I broke out some white Play Doh and added some glitter to it for our "snow dough".  Then I realized that I could thicken up our homemade attempt with some flour, so we used that too!  I have to ay that it smelled good, and it was nice knowing that if Gwen ate any it wouldn't be bad for her.

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At first we made snowmen, and I used a toothpick to make a smiley face on them.  Then Wyatt commandeered my toothpicks and made his own creation - he is so artsy.  Gwen got in on the action too!

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To top off our fun day, I pulled out one of our new books from Tommy Nelson, "A Star For Me".  In this book, a young camel named Ollie sees a new star in the sky, and he is just sure that God has a surprise planned for him!  He and his family take off across the desert to see what gift God has for them.

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This book is so sweet.  I new Wyatt and Gwen would appreciate it, since they love their own "surprises".  One thing I really liked was that Ollie counts his own blessings as he is traveling to find his new surprise.  It's been my goal this year to try to impress upon the kids the blessings that we already have, instead of just focusing on presents, so I like that this was incorporated into the book.

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And of course, the best Christmas present in the world is Jesus himself.  More than anything, I have been trying to teach the kids about Jesus's birthday, and the gift that Jesus gave us by being born so he could save us from our sins.  This book ended with the message of Jesus as the greatest gift of all, and I love it for that.

Overall, I think the kids enjoyed our day of fun, and I had fun thinking of little things they would enjoy!  I might have to do another "surprise day" for them again soon.

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(Gwen was feeding Clyde and reading him a "buh-bul stoh-wee".  She is so cute.)

For more cute pictures of our day of surprises, check out my Instagram or my photo blog!

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Note: I received a copy of "A Star For Me" from Tommy Nelson for free in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Clyde At Eight Months

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Clyde is 8 months old!  He is officially an older baby.  It makes me kind of sad.


This month was a big month for Clyde - he learned to get up on his hands and knees on his seven month birthday, and since then he has gotten more and more comfortable with it.  He has moved his legs forward and his arms forward, but just not all at once yet.  He is so close to learning to crawl!  He loves being on his hands and knees and looks so proud of himself as he rocks back and forth.  He also does this little hop sometimes to get his knees underneath him, and it is so cute.

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Clyde also got his lower two front teeth!  He got the first one on November 29th, and the second on December 3rd.  He seems to be proud of his two front teeth, and he grins and runs his tongue over them all the time.



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Clyde is still loving his solid food, and he eats more than either Wyatt or Gwen did at this age.  He especially enjoys his baby food, and he gets upset if we forget to feed him.  We've got him up to three meals a day.  The other day we decided to see how much he would eat before he was done, and we counted three bowls of oatmeal and a baby food jar of apples!  He is also on formula, and takes probably 5-6 8 oz. bottles a day. We gave him his first Mum Mum "cookie" on Thanksgiving, and he enjoyed it - but instead of gumming it and letting it dissolve, he kept chomping down on it and breaking off big chunks, so I think we're going to have to find a more sturdy cookie for him.



Sleep is a little all over the place - he usually goes a 7-8 hour stretch, but it might be from 7-2, and then we still have to wake up in the night to feed him.  I am working on weaning him off his 2:00 feeding, because he is old enough that he could probably drop it.  I think he wakes up at that time more for snuggles than anything.  Which I kind of love, but it would be nice to sleep a little longer too.





I've been working more since Derek has been unemployed, and I can tell Clyde doesn't like not seeing me as much during the day.  Some days he just won't be pleased until I pick him up and spend a little time with him.  He goes to sleep quicker at night if I lay him down.


His personality is just adorable!  He is always so happy, and he smiles so quickly.  His new smile with his two little teeth just melts my heart! Sometimes if you pay attention to him he'll give you this grin and lift his eyebrow at you - it is the cutest little expression.  He still sticks his tongue out sometimes when he smiles, and I love it.


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My Sweet Clyde,

I cannot believe how old you are getting!  It seems like just yesterday that you were born.  You are such a sweetheart, my boy, and everyone loves your little personality.  I would call you social, but a little bashful too.  When I am holding you and people talk to you, you lay your head against my shoulder and give a big grin.  I can tell when you are in a playful mood, because I'll say hi to you and you'll grin, stick out your tongue, and raise your little eyebrows - it is such a mischievous little look.  When you are tired at night, or before your nap, I can tell because you will relax against me, and then your little fingers will grab my arm or collarbone, and you just gently pinch and need my skin with your little hand.  It's the cutest thing, and my signal that it is time to lay you down.  Every now and then you will still fall asleep in my arms, and as I look at your little face I can see the hints of the toddler to come, but I can also see my tiny little newborn hidden in your face.  It's happy and sad to me, because I know we have so many fun times ahead, but I also know that the baby will fade out of you all too quick.  I'm glad you are still my baby for a while longer.

I love you more than all the snowflakes in all the winters.

Love, 
Your Mama

Holly Jolly Coffee


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Christmas time is officially upon us!  We actually decorated for Christmas a little early this year.  Usually we wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year we decorated the weekend before.  Wyatt and Gwendolyn enjoyed putting the ornaments on the tree, and I love the little clusters of ornaments on the lower branches.

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In honor of the start of Christmas season, I wanted to share a recipe for Holly Jolly Coffee!  My mom re-introduced me to Holly Jolly Coffee last year, and it is the perfect hot drink for this time of year.  I like it almost as much as peppermint mochas!

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Holly Jolly Coffee

1 cup of hot coffee
1 hot chocolate mix packet
1/4 tsp. orange extract
Whipped cream (optional)

1.  First off, you should brew yourself a pot of hot coffee - whatever strength you like.

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2. Pour hot chocolate mix into a mug.  Pour in hot coffee and mix well.

3.  Add in the orange extract and stir.

4.  I like topping mine with whipped cream, and a dusting of cocoa powder makes it pretty.

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It is a super-easy recipe, but so good!  I think it seems so Christmasy to me because of the orange flavor.  Anything orange reminds me of Christmas.  It's perfect for Christmas decorating, or Christmas card addressing, or present wrapping, or anything else Christmas related!

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Have you decorated your house for Christmas yet?
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