Sunday, December 29, 2013

a cozy christmas

 This Christmas we decided to change up tradition from year's past.  I have went to Louisville every Christmas since I can remember to visit both my mom's and dad's sides of the family.  It is always so much fun to see everyone but the crowd is definitely dwindling as the cousins grow older and start families of their own.  So last year as we got in the car to come home close to 10pm, got to bed very late, and had early risers to greet the goods from Santa- I made an executive decision- we would no longer travel on Christmas Eve.  We missed seeing Great Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins but it was a good time to be had with our little family of 5. 

 *Christmas Eve Traditions est. 2013*

Christmas day, Jesus' Birthday was spent mostly at home.  Our girls were excited to wake up well rested and ready to play.  Santa knew we had 3 girls as the Christmas tree area was littered with all things pink, purple, and baby dolls,.  Our girls were excited to play with their new baby dolls and accessories all morning long.  They did take a moment to make a duct tape purse and play dentist with a play dough set but other wise it was all about the babies.  One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to make Jesus' birthday cake, light candles, sing, and have a party for the greatest gift of all.  His birth is the greatest gift of all, not just on Christmas day but every day of our lives.  He is not just the reason for the season but rather the reason for everything and His love, grace, and mercy blesses us each day. I love seeing my little ones so excited about celebrating Him!
*Family Memories*

This Christmas was different but different was good.  
It was cozy.  It was full of love. It was perfectly perfect.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

connected but disconnected

 I would say I am someone who struggles with self control.  I have an internal dialogue about it multiple times a day, it's a prayer from my mouth and heart each morning and many times throughout the day, and I still fall short.... often.  I vow to only eat sweets once a week, I tell myself "I will not open my mouth!" about certain subjects, and I make attempts to limit my exposure to things like Facebook.  I lack self control with things that I find to be slightly addictive.... Facebook, chocolate, and sometimes gossip.  (Ewww, yuck, just speaking those words sounds so lame and so ugly.) But I am on a quest for self control in 2014 to be a model for my girls, to strengthen my personal relationships, and to disconnect from things that don't evoke good feelings and rather connect to the people in life where God has called me.  To have a personal relationship with Christ, to be a wife, to be a mom, to be a friend.

I told the world first- 1 week in advance, but before I could change my mind- through my Instagram feed and linked it to Facebook. I know you will hold me accountable in this quest for self control.  I  talked to my mama about this and spoke of limiting my Facebook encounters but I know me, and I know I will do really well for a bit, then I will slowly slip back into my old patterns.  I then talked to my husband about it, my husband who was graced with incredible self control, who jumped the Facebook ship long ago.  His encouragement- cut the chord- you'll be happier, you won't feel so stretched.  And he knows me too well and I know he is right. So I will delete my account altogether before the clock strikes 12 and I start 2014.

I am busy.  I work full time.  I have 3 young children.  I have a thriving marriage that I am committed to making time for.  I am involved in my church.  I like to exercise. I like to read. I like to blog. The list goes on and on- and Facebook just doesn't fit anymore.  It is a distraction to my life and my family and my time.  While I love being able to stay connected to my old friends it has slipped away from that being the primary purpose but rather is a breeding ground for things that bother me and eat away at me. 

Every time I read something on Facebook that stirs up an ugly emotion I think of Philippians 4:8-  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  I want to fill my mind with those Godly things and I am not finding those things on Facebook...usually. I can find them through personal conversations, I can find them through Bible study, I can find them on blogs and in articles that I choose to find and read not just stumble upon. Facebook has become a political breeding ground and I find myself judging others based on the things that they so willingly put out there.  I don't want to be the judge and I don't want to contaminate my friendships due to some haphazard status update that they typed to answer Facebook's daily question.... what are you thinking? 

I will still be on Instagram- I love seeing pictures.  There is hardly anything offensive found in the pictures on my feed.  I will still be updating on my family blog- probably more often.  I love this outlet- to write, to reflect, to capture memories.  I'd love for you to chose to follow along in our journey.  Feel free to send me your email address ( if you would like my blog posts to automatically be delivered to you in cyberspace- the way I usually directly link them to my Facebook account! :)  I appreciate the encouragement that I already have been given in this choice and I hope that I will be more intentional about making personal connections with each of you.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Joss Maven @ 4 Months

Joss Maven

4 months on December 13th
Height: 24 inches (42%)
Weight: 11 lb 4 oz (8%)

It is hard to believe Jossie is already 4 months old! Yes, our little one has a few nick names.  Sometimes she's just Baby Joss but other times she is Jossie and Jossie Mae.  We do love our little peanut and cannot believe she is already 4 months old.  Time is flying with her (I didn't expect anything different) but this time I really really want to be able to enjoy each and everyday.  And so that is exactly what we are doing! 

 What's new?

Joss eats six times a day getting two bottles (one formula) during the day at Mrs. Gina's and nursing the rest of the time.  She is flexible to go back and forth between bottle and breast and I have even tried putting her to bed with the bottle and it was a success.  The doctor didn't like her dropping from the 16% to the 8% in weight and wants us to add a feeding, increase number of ounces, and/or start oatmeal.  I am not super eager to start oatmeal so we will just be doing to the others to increase her calories.  It is hard to find a place to sneak in an extra feeding because she truly seems content after and between eating times.  She has little rolls on her legs and has chubby little cheeks.  Joss is growing just fine to me!! 

I do plan to start weaning her over Christmas break just to eliminate pumping at work in January.  You know I totally hate the pump!  Then I will try feeding her before and after work for as long as my supply allows.  I do love nursing but there is a lot that comes along with nursing and working that makes it less desirable. 

Baby Joss is a great sleeper!  She takes two big naps during the day in the pack n play or crib at home.  Then she always has one little snoozer in the evening before going down for her 10-12 hour slumber at night.  (Other mamas don't be too jealous I paid my dues with Tula.... I promise!  But in turn I still have a very cuddly 3 year old.)  
Jossie is pretty easy to please and will sleep in the arms of a loved on or in the swing but she rarely sleeps in the car.  She likes to look around.... don't put up the sun shade or you will have a screamer!!

Jossie loves to be talked to and sang to...... do NOT walk away though because we are in that "please entertain me every second since I can't entertain myself yet" phase.  She seriously is heart broken when your little conversations are over.  She loves looking at the lights and hearing the music of her play mat.  She just started "talking" to the little birds and grabbing onto the toy rings that are hanging down around her.  She acts like to is really into the TV when the girls are watching Sofia the First or Mickey Mouse which is funny!! 
Her most adored item is her bunny blankie, given to her by a sweet former student, Catie Grace.  She seriously loves having her bunny at all times!  I would love to say she also adores her paci but right now she has figured out how to weasel her thumb into her mouth and suck away.... NOOOOOO!  Right now we are still calling this a phase and are hoping she starts to prefer the paci soon.  Surely she can't be copying Tula just yet.... riiight?!?!


I am so thankful for the blessing of Joss. I really am.  I know I say that every time I write about her but I am thankful to have another little one to love.  I was so full of anxiety during her pregnancy there was part of me that was afraid it would all rise to a boil when she was born.  Satan made me believe that I was not fit to be a mom of three because of the way I felt when she was in the womb. The exact opposite happened.  She has brought with her such a sense of peace upon my heart and I know more than ever that she was the perfect addition to our family. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ivy & Tula Recital Weekend 2013

 This year was Tula's first year in dance.  She has wavered back and forth on whether she likes dance class or not but on Monday afternoons she is ready to go hours before dance begins.  However, her first performance just for the parents at the studio she sobbed and said it was "silly to dance in front of all those people."  We were shocked by this considering her very extrovert personality so I really wasn't sure about how she would do on the big stage!

 Daddy, Ivy, Joss, Nana, Pops, and even Mrs. Gina and Baby Giuliana came to watch Tula "be a ballerina" and she went out there and did her best!  I was thankful that the thumb came out of her mouth, there were no tears on stage, and she even did some toe taps and turns on point!  When suggesting she try another activity in the spring she got her head moving, her fingers pointing, and told me she was going to be a tap dancer..... so tap dancing it is and we will have another go at recital time in May.

 She was excited to be greeted with a flower from Nana and Pops and even was willing to pose for some pictures.  She came home and took a big long nap to gear up for the Nutcracker performance set for the evening.  We were very proud of our Tula "Belle-rina" and her first recital!

The evening rolled around and we got our next ballerina ready to perform.  Even though Ivy is a bit of an introvert she loves performing on stage.  Her favorite part of the dance season is getting make up on, hair fixed, costume set, and getting on the big stage.   

We were so thankful that Nana and Pops played the role of proud grandparents all day long and were willing to help hold Baby Joss, bring us dinner over, and applauded dancers from noon to night! I just might add that Joss was awesome sitting through two recitals without so much as a whimper.  We are thankful for our very flexible girl who can go with the flow of our busy family. 

Ivy really impressed us in how much she had grown from last year to this year as far as performance goes.  I can tell that she is gaining confidence and remembering the routine better as a 6 year old.  She loves dance and hasn't shown any interest in trying another activity.  So for this little princess.... dance it is!  

Click to watch the videos on YouTube

Ivy's Dance Recital 2013

Tula's First Dance Recital 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

just some words..... thankful

I am thankful to report that things are going well.  I have returned to work, already enjoyed my first long break over Thanksgiving, and we are adjusting, surviving, and truly thriving in our new routine. Maybe it's third time's a charm but this time the transition back to work was easier than ever before.  I think some of that is knowing what I to expect and the rest has to do with having a child at work with me each day.  That's what us teacher moms wait for.... the moment when you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from enjoying a reader's theater performance, congratulating your child on a test right when it happens, and sneaking a quick hug in the hallway! It's worth the wait, my friends! 

Tula and Joss are with a new in home sitter, Mrs. Gina, and I could not be happier with how well they are adjusting.  Joss hopped right into the 2 nap routine (and an evening cat nap at home) and took wonderfully to the bottle.  Tula is finding her way playing with the boys and helping with the babies.  She is thriving on Mrs. Gina's reward system and the calm atmosphere has been a good change during the day and at home.  They are making friends and Mrs. Gina is sending me pictures and updates often, putting my working mommy heart at ease.  

At home.... things can get crazy.... but really we are into a rhythm of what needs to be done at night to prepare for the morning.  We have figured out how to get Ivy's homework done when my teacher mode really is ready to turn off after hours.  And everyone is sleeping, eating, bathing.... and most important- they are feeling loved! :) 

I may be calmer than I have ever been as a working mommy and friends, I've got 3 kiddos to look after at home! I have started a challenge- the orange rhino challenge- have you heard of it?  It's a challenge to not yell at your children.  I don't want to be a screamer but I found myself landing in that territory too often after adding a third to the mix.  I started on November 10th and have slipped once where I ranked my voice as a yell (well technically twice but once was yelling at the hubby on the day I started the challenge!!).  This might be a record for me- but I am still going. These hilarious tips have been my saving grace and my girls are quite humored by them too!

Here's a little secret....remember how I had to go on some calm down meds while pregnant.... well I am even off of those.  God is good- all the time- all the time- God is good!

I am thankful.  Thankful for God's grace and love every day.  Thankful for my supportive and encouraging friends at work.  Thankful for a home filled with 3 little BIG blessings and a husband I adore.  Thankful for a job that I love to go to each day! Absolutely thankful.

Our first ever, movie and pizza night watching Elf after putting up the Christmas tree!