Matron Of Honor

Have I mentioned that my sister is engaged?

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(My sis and her fiance at our crazy sweater party).

Her now fiance, Ben, proposed a couple of months ago!  He surprised her by getting her a half day off of work.  Then he took her out to lunch and for a walk around a lake, and he proposed right next to the water.  So sweet!  And the ring is gorgeous too.  They are getting married in March!

Anyway, of course I’m the Maid of Honor (or I guess it would be Matron of Honor, but that makes me sound so old).  I’m very excited about this.  I want to be the best MOH there ever was! 

Of course, Rachel might already hold that title – she was my Maid of Honor, and she and my mom practically planned the whole wedding while I studied for my boards.  But I intend to do what I can to make this time special for my sis.

We already had one shower for her (we did a foot spa theme because it was personal shower with close family, and it turned out really fun). Her next shower (which will be for everyone, so it will be alot bigger) is coming up here in February.  I don’t think we really want to do a specific theme, because finding decorations that are so specific to a certain theme can sometime get pricey, but I do want it to be nice.  So if you see any super-cute shower ideas on Pinterest, send them my way . . .

I’m also trying to think of gifts for her showers that will be special – you know, that will stand out from the crowd.  I think I have a couple ideas, and I’ll post pictures if they turn out like I’m hoping they will, but I’m open to more suggestions.

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So, I’m wondering, what are some things your Maid of Honor did for you that made your showers and wedding extra-special?  Is there anything you think would be a cool thing for the Maid of Honor to do?

I'm all ears!



P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway, it ends tomorrow!

Great Posts From 2011

Now, there were so many posts that I appreciated in 2011, and you know that I enjoy reading every single one of your posts!

But it occurred to me several months ago that there are some posts that kind of stick with me - something said that I remember as I go about my week. Those posts usually get a star from me in my reader, so I can refer back to them later - and I think they are worth highlighting on my blog.

These are some of those posts that stood out to me in the latter half of 2011 - most have already been highlighted in my sidebar, but I encourage you to check some of them out when you have time this weekend! Leave a comment from these lovely ladies too, because I know they'd love that.


Where Have I Been? Pressing The Rest Button from Fast Forward Girl. I liked Claire's thoughts on setting a good atmosphere for our household as wives and mothers.

Setting The Tone from For Everything There Is A Season. This post from Haley was similar to the post above in that she talked about the power we women have to set the tone for our households. Both great posts to read!

Let's Be Honest from Life As A Wife. I liked the quote Ria shared in this post on when God says to wait.

Starbucks Proposal from The Swede Records via Green Wedding Shoes. I had to share this post, because the "Starbucks" this guy created in the woods was so cool!

A Guest Post On Contentment from 110% Surrendered. Katy featured a post written by one of her friends, Elisha, and I loved what she had to say about contentment.

With Her Hands from Mrs. Southern Bride. A heartbreaking story from a man who's marriage failed, and I reminder for us as wives.

Commenting From The Heart from Vignettes. I thought Kristen had some good thoughts on blog commenting.

I Never Got What I Wanted from Just One Step. Kara shared a short and poignant poem she found on being happy with each stage in life.

For The Sake Of Tomorrow from Tryin' To Throw Our Arms Around The World. Chloe shared a lesson the Lord taught her and it was a good reminder to me that the Lord is always working things out for our good, even though we may not understand.

Connections at The Amazing In The Ordinary. This post from Katie made me think about the little things we do that may not seem like much but that may make a huge difference to a stranger - a good reminder to go out of your way to be kind to others, because you just don't know what they are going through.

Home Lover from Bibelot. Anne gave me a great reminder and encouragement int his post to go the extra mile to make my home a place where my family will feel comfortable and loved, and a place where Jesus is honored!

In The Dust Of His Feet from Hope Scribbles. Wonderful thoughts from Elisabeth on how our greatest calling is to follow Jesus so closely the we are covered in the dust of His feet.

Taking A Stand Against Fear from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked in this post about how when we let fear sneak into our lives we are not trusting in the Lord - a great post to read for anybody, and especially for those who are dealing with the fears associated with infertilty.

Be Content, Be Grateful from Stealing Baby Kisses. One of the drawbacks to blogging is that reading all the good stuff that everyone else posts about their lives can lead to discontentment - this post from Ashley was a great reminder that the grass isn't greener on the other side, and to be grateful for where the Lord has placed you.

A Word From Luke, Not John from Cassidy Robinson's blog. This post was about reaching out to others who need us, instead of just those who we are comfortable being friend with, and it was a great reminder of a very practical way that we can be more like Jesus.

Does Abortion Really Have To Be The Only Option from 110% Surrendered. Katy wrote this post in response to a an anonymous comment she received, and she talked about all the resources that pregnancy centers offer - I wasn't even aware of all of these! She also made the great point that we need to not only work against abortion but also work to help support and reach out to those women who do choose life, and I found the post very challenging.

Relationship Misconceptions from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked about some of the things she's learned in her marriage so far regarding expectations, and I loved everything she had to say!

A Thrill Of Hope Guest Post for Snow In December written by Semper Wifey. I liked this post because I thought she beautifully described why celebrating Christmas, with everything that comes with it, has such an impact on our hearts, and it all comes down to Christ! Definitely worth a read.

When Advent Gets Personal from Miss Magnolia. This post is about waiting, and I think it's a great post to read for anyone who is waiting for something. I found it a comforting and encouraging reminder that God cares about every little thing in our lives, and He's with us in the waiting.

The Promise Of The Manger from Elisabeth at Hope Scribbles, posted on Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. I enjoyed reading Elisabeth's thoughts on how Mary chose to do God's will in giving birth to Jesus, and how Jesus chose to do God's will in dying on the cross for us.

Christmas Card and a Prayer from Vintch. I love this blog, because she can make even ordinary things sound poetic, and I loved the words she used to describe Christmas and it's true meaning.

Look Deeper from The Amazing In The Extraordinary. Katie talked about the blessings that can be hidden by the rush of Christmas, but I think what she has to say is applicable to the everyday busyness too.

A Search For A Scent from Vintch. I loved this post because I've been on my own "search for a scent" for a long time, and I'm never quite sure if I've found it. I love the idea of having a scent that is associated with me, and that's what she talks about in this post.

Salvation Stories from the link-up on this blog. If you haven't already checked out the posts from the Salvation Stories Link-up on this blog, please do! I was so encouraged by reading everyone's story of how they met Jesus, and I know you will be too!


Happy Reading!


Moms And Babies–Lauren and Alex





 

The Moms and Babies feature is back for the New Year!  This week I’m featuring Lauren from Meet the Chapman’s.  She has the cutest little baby boy, but I’ll let her tell you more about him!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Lauren, and I've been married to my husband Kurt for 2.5 years.  I work full time as a mom and as a project manager for a big global company.

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What's your baby's name and how old is he?

Our son's name is Alex and he will be 7 months on Saturday!  Where has the time gone!

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

Since, most days are work days that's probably a typical day for us.
5:45 - Wake up and get myself ready for the day.  Shower, pump, make bottles, breakfast and pack bags, laundry if I'm lucky.
7:45 - Wake up Alex, feed him and get him ready for Kurt to take him to daycare.
8:30 - 5:00 - I work full time, most days onsite, some days I work from home (though Alex still goes to daycare those days too).  During the day I have to manage to fit in 3 pumping sessions which is always a challenge!  Alex generally has 3 bottles while he's at daycare and sometimes he is a great napper, sometimes, not so good.
5:30 - Pick up Alex from Daycare.  Head home for some family time.  We spend time playing on the floor, playing with the dog.  Besides dinner, this time is 100% Alex time for us (unless he didn't sleep at daycare and he falls asleep on the way home, it's usually for the rest of the night).
7:00 - Time to get Alex ready for bed.  Bath, book and one last feeding for the day.
7:30 - Alex is in bed and usually passed out already.  We spend some time together watching TV, on the computer/blogging, some nights we have to work, chores, etc.  It all depends on the night and what's going on the next day.
11:00 - Sleep!  We finally go to bed way too late!

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Easy-going, happy and determined.

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

It is so hard to pick just one thing.  I love watching him learn new things and grow.  Sometimes it's so hard to see it day-to-day but when you think back to how he was doing a week before it's amazing to see the changes!  I love the happy smiles, grins and laughs for no reason at all!

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

At 5 months I had lost all but .5lb of the weight I gained when I got pregnant.  Honestly I didn't follow a routine or anything.  Breastfeeding certainly helped.  I did go for walks whenever possible and joined a moms-in-motion group (light aerobics), that helped not only get some exercise in (with baby) but meet new moms.  Give yourself time!  Also, along the same lines, get a haircut and buy a few new pieces of clothing that you like in that next size until you get back to your previous size.  You may not want to spend the money but it's worth it when you know you can put on real clothes and not maternity clothes anymore.  You'll feel so much better about yourself!

 

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What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

We haven't done as well with this as we had hoped.  Unless my sister is available, we don't have a baby sitter so most of our time together is with Alex or after bed.  One thing that's helped us is to still go out to dinner with Alex.  He is so easy going and makes it really easy to go to dinner and do some of things that we used to do before!

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Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

I think this changes based on the age!

  • We use the Adain + Anais swaddlers for lots of different things so those are a must have regardless.  Swaddling, playing, nursing cover, they're very versatile!
  • The Snap-n-go is always in our car.  We use it all the time.  It's so much more convenient than a big stroller, plus carseats don't fit in the top of carts like I thought!
  • Lastly I would say that if you're nursing, the "My-Breast Friend" nursing pillow was ah-maz-ing when I started!

 

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What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?


My favorite outing as a family has been when we went to Washington DC just a few weeks ago.  We went last minute and luckily my husband had to go for work so we tagged along.  We got up the next morning and we just walked around the city.  At this age he's still fairly easy to take along without too much of a hassle, he's a great car-seat/stroller sleeper and loves to just chill and look around.  We visited monuments and a museum and just had a good time, not rushing and slowing down to enjoy ourselves!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

  • Do what works for you!  If breast-feeding doesn't work for you or you don't want to do it then don't!  Don't let someone tell you that one is better than the other.  Don't do cloth just because it's the thing to do.  If you want to do disposables, go ahead!
  • Get out of the house - Sometimes even if you just go to the mall or the store and walk around with no intention of buying something, it's nice to just get out and do something!
  • Take lots of pictures!  When you look back at them you'll see the difference that you don't see as well day-to-day.
  • There will be good days and bad days, you just have to take them as they come and deal with them that day.  When tomorrow comes it's a fresh day and time to start clean.
  • Take everyone's help!  If someone offers to make dinner, take them up on it.  If someone offers to help with anything, laundry, cleaning, staying up with the baby while you sleep for a little bit, be thankful and then say YES!

 

Thanks Lauren!  To read more about Lauren, check out her blog Meet The Chapman’s!



Before #2

 

This week everyone is talking about goals and New Year’s resolutions.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m really not a resolution type of girl.  However, if I do make goals, it’s not before the New Year – it’s before something is going to happen in my life – ie. before we got married, before we go on vacation, before we had Wyatt . . .

Before Baby #2 . . .

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who is already thinking about Baby #2 . . .)

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(Taken when I was 8 months pregnant with Wyatt.)

I recently came across Baby Making Machine blog, and in her sidebar she has a list of things she would like to do before her second baby – some serious goals, and some fun things.  She says “I want to cherish these moments and live them to the fullest before we become a family of four.”  Hence, the list.

I like that idea, and I decided to make a little pre-second-baby list of my own.  Here is what I came up with.

 

Before Baby #2

1. Finish the quilt for the spare bedroom. 

I would really like to have that spare bedroom finished by the time Baby #2 is on the way.  Will it get done?  I have serious doubts about this one, because I’m a terrible procrastinator, and it’s hard to sew while watching Wyatt.  But that’s my goal.

2. Use the baby carrier as much as possible. 

Obviously I can’t carry Wyatt around that way with a big ‘ole pregnant belly, so I’d like to enjoy it while I can.  No, he’s not too big to still be using it.

3.  Write a blog series on homeschooling. 

I have it all planned out in my head, but I have yet to sit down and do it.

4. Possibly take a class with Wyatt or take Wyatt to storytime at the library{?}

I’m not exactly sure what this one will look like yet, but I’d like to do something like that while it’s just me and Wyatt.

5. Get Wyatt’s baby book up-to-date. 

I’m behind by a few months.

6.  Go on a weekend trip with Derek. 

Self-explanatory, and easier done with one child than with two.

7.  Whiten my teeth. 

I don’t like to use my bleach trays in the first trimester, just to be safe, so if I don’t do it before I get pregnant I’ll have to wait a few months.

8. Get some pictures of Wyatt on the walls. 

I know, almost 11 months later and I still haven’t put up any pictures.  It’s bad.  There is no good excuse.  I’m just not sure how I’m going to pick my favorites, plus it costs a lot to print up pictures.  But I would like to get some up before Wyatt has to share the wall space with his brother or sister.

9. Go to the park and swing with Wyatt. 

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and I should try to do it before our second bun is in the oven because I can’t swing with him on my lap if I have a baby bump.

10.  Either go swimming as a family, or go to the zoo as a family. 

We’ve already done both together, but Wyatt is just getting more and more fun as he gets older, and I think he would enjoy it more since he would know more of what’s going on!  I would like to go swimming or to the zoo again before we’re a family of four. 

 

I think a few of these things could be crossed off the list pretty easily, but realistically, some of the others are going to take a lot more time and effort. 

If any of you have any pre-baby, or pre-second-or-third-baby goals, I’d love to hear them!  Though I’m a little nervous to hear them too, because I’ll probably end up thinking of more to add to my list – and I don’t want to make it too long.

I’ll give you a report on how I did after I get pregnant again!



Giveaway Today!

 

Time for a giveaway!

A couple of months ago I won the My Memories digital scrapbooking software from a giveaway on another blog, and since then I’ve been using it for different things.

I’m not actually much of a scrapbooker, but I was so excited when I won!  This is how I have used or am planning on using the program:

 

1. I’ve used this program for my blog design.  See how pretty it looks?  The best part is that you don’t even have to worry about legality issues – My Memories says right in their Terms Of Use that you can use their scrapbooking elements to design your personal blog, as long as you give credit to the designer somewhere on your page (scroll to the bottom and you’ll see which designer I used).

2. I’ve used it to make my nails all fancy using this tutorial.

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(Image from The Hybrid Chick blog – I didn’t take pictures of my nails, because I’m still perfecting the technique).

3. I’ve thought about using it for birthday invites for Wyatt’s first birthday party – it would be so easy.  There are all kinds of themed scrapbooking kits, and I’m sure I could find one that fit our chosen them and make a really cute invitation.

 

 

It’s easy to use, and I’ve been wanting a digital scrapbooking software for the aforementioned uses for a while, so it was handy that I won.  And now I get to give it away to one of you! Thanks to My Memories for asking me to host this giveaway.

So here is how to win!

-Find a scrapbooking kit from the My Memories website, and tell me what you would use it for.  They have a ton though, just to fore-warn you.  Please be sure to include your e-mail address!

For an extra two entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry):

-Be a public follower of my blog with Google Friend Connect, and comment telling me you are!

-Follow me on Twitter, and leave me your Twitter username (ex: @yourname).

 

This giveaway ends next Tuesday, January 10th, at 11:59 PM, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday the 13th (so someone will have good luck that day – just kidding)!

And if you really can’t wait until then, My Memories gave me a promo code for $10 off the software (making it only $30, which is pretty reasonable), and it also comes with $10 to spend on scrapbooking kits in the store.  Here’s the code: STMMMS8037.  To copy just highlight the text and press Control-C.  I do get compensation if you use the code, just to be up-front about it, but I don’t think any of you would begrudge me that anyway!

Good luck!



First Haircut

 

A couple weeks ago, Wyatt got his first haircut!  I was a little resistant, because I love his fuzzy hair.  But it was getting pretty long, and it was just time. 

I decided to bite the bullet and do it before Christmas.  I knew I was going to do it myself, and I wanted to give it plenty of time to grow back out before his 1-year pictures, just in case I messed it up.

Here we are before we started.

And that was the last smile for a while.  This is pretty much how the whole thing went: 

Wyatt was not a fan of the whole process.

He did hold still long enough here and there for me to actually cut his hair.  Though it’s a little choppy in the back as evidence of his squirming.

And the finished product!  I was really happy with the way it turned out.  And it still has that fuzzy look, just in a more subdued way.

I love that last picture. He is such a handsome little guy.

When did your kids get their first haircut?



The Plans That We Make. . .


The first post of 2012!  How exciting!

Normally I might try to make this a thoughtful or reflective post, since it’s the first of the New Year, but I’m not going to do that today.  The last couple of weeks I’ve barely had two days without something going on, and I just don’t have it in me right now.  Maybe next week.

I must say I’m pretty excited for 2012!  I see so many things to look forward to on the horizon – I won’t list them all, because a lot of them are still in the hopeful stages.  But most solidly and  notably we have:

-My baby boy’s birthday!  How in the world is it almost a year already?  So cliché to say, but it’s cliché because it’s just true.  It really goes by fast.


(One of his ten-month pictures.  He’s so cute.)

-My sister’s wedding!  More on that to come.

-It’s an election year!  I kind of get excited about politics.  I’m actually really looking forward to the caucus’s and county assembly, and I have secret hopes of getting elected to the state assembly, but I’m not holding my breath.  We may have a scheduling conflict that won’t allow that anyway.  Don’t ask me what candidate I like though, because I can’t for the life of me make up my mind.  A lot can happen between now and the primaries as well.

I really don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  If I want to change something, I’ll work on changing it any time of the year.  And honestly, the main reason is because I know I’m not going to complete all my resolutions (who really does finish everything they resolved to do anyway?), and I get really hard on myself when I fail at those kinds of things.  So to save myself some heartache, I just don’t do it.

However, I was kind-of, sort-of forced into it at work this year.  We have quarterly meetings, and everyone thought it would be fun if we wrote out some resolutions and checked in with each other at the meetings to see how we’re doing.  I like the idea, but as someone who doesn’t make resolutions I’m a little nervous about it too.  But I tried to make realistic goals, and here’s what I came up with:

1. Read five classic books. This should be revised to say read or listen to, because I like to listen to audiobooks since I drive a lot.  I don’t think this is cheating at all.  It can take just as much energy to listen to something well as it takes to read something, and I’m still getting the benefit of literary exposure.  I think I may write a post about the classic books on my “To Read” list, so stay tuned.

2. Clean out my car once a month.  It’s pathetic how bad my car gets, really, and I don’t clean it myself – I always wait for Derek to clean it, because he does a really nice job (way better than I do).  But I think it would be good if I tried to do it myself.  I’m not really holding my breath that it will happen every month, but we’ll see.

3.  Take Wyatt on a walk once a week.  I love going for walks with my baby, but we’ve been stuck indoors for a few months now because it’s just too cold to walk outside.  But there are still nice winter days where we can make it work, or I can take him to the mall on cold days.  This one isn’t a burden to me at all, and I really want to make it happen.  We’ll have to see how the logistics work out.

4.   Drink more water.  This one is pretty vague – how much is more?  “More” is whenever I decide I’m drinking enough water.  I just feel like I’m dehydrated many days, and I’ll be able to tell when I’m getting enough.

5.   Get our family pictures framed.  I still don’t have a picture of the three of us on the wall, and I think it’s a little ridiculous.

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Those are the resolutions I came up with (if you want to call them that since I wouldn’t have come up with any at all if left to myself), and I’m not going to be hard on myself if I don’t succeed.  A couple more that I considered were “Get better at writing people back right away”, and “Go on a date night with Derek once a month”, because I’d really like to improve in those areas, but since it was a public list I thought I’d stick with the ones I feel more confident about.  Plus those two are things I’ve been attempting to work on for months anyway.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I’d love to hear some of yours!


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