Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've been so thankful for the simple things in life lately. Sometimes you just take things for granted, you know?

Pregnancy is a gift--it's time to stop complaining already. 

Marriage is worth it--even when it means running to the store late at night for chicken noodle soup and bread. Poor Greg has been insanely sick this week. I mean, did you see Parks and Rec (the show) this week?? You have to watch it--cuz yeah, he is that sick. But, he still works that hard regardless.

Friends are forever--no matter what stage of life we are in, they are there when we need them most.

Kids are priceless--and it's time to soak up those early years!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Matching game for kids {How-to}

Have any leftover bead board sitting around? Here's a fun way to make a simple matching game for your kids. I am part of a MOPS (Mom's of Preschoolers) group. We meet twice a month. Sometimes we listen to speakers, and other times we make a craft. This was our craft easy, and so fun!

What you need:
~ Mod podge
~ Sponge brush
~ Scissors
~ 16-20 pre-cut 2 X 2 in. bead board (or any other wood-type material). Whatever you use, make sure it has smooth edges and won't give splinters...ouchie.
~ Scrapbook paper of various prints and colors
~ Symbols, letters, numbers or pictures printed from your computer (used to make the "matches")

I don't have step-by-step pics, but here's a quick how-to list:

1) Cut scrapbook paper the size of the bead board squares. Make sure you have 2 matching colors for each "pair". This will be the background. Your letter, symbol, or picture will go on top of the patterned paper. Make sense?

2) Using your sponge brush, spread a thin amount of Mod Podge on the back of the paper to glue it to the flat side of the bead board. Then spread another thin amount over the top to "seal" it on. Make sure you go over the edges so it won't peel off later on. Do the same thing with your letter, number, symbol or picture. Seal it with another thin layer on top.

3) Once all the squares a finished and dry, flip them over. Pick ONE pattern of paper to use for the bumpy side, and cut them out to fit without covering the grooves. Mod Podge the same as above, making sure to seal the edges. Let dry.

 4) Next, make a cute bag to hold your new game! I'm sure you can find plain ones at Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Not sure where these were purchased. But, once you find one....simply dress it up with some fabric markers! I went pretty basic. I'm sure you are all much more creative :)

 Happy crafting!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A much needed vacation

The trip started out with a few kinks--a four hour delay in GR forced us to spend one night in Cincinnati and trek the rest of the way to Charlotte the next day. Greg missed half of his business meetings as a result, and it shortened our time spent with his parents. But, we were just happy we made it. The weather wasn't much different than home. Icy, cold...we pretty much packed the same wardrobe that we wear here in MI during the winter.

BUT...I cannot tell you how great it was to have five whole days with the three of us. Kensie proved her ability to be flexible...eating, sleeping and traveling at all odd hours. Seeing her contentment in all situations was a good reminder to me that it's OK to be "off schedule" too.

dressed up for a fancy dinner compliments of Captive Insurance

If you know me at all, I am a stickler when it comes to nap times, bed times and eating schedules at home. I was a little worried how the adjustment would go once we got down there. But, it was a good lesson in "letting go a bit" and just going with the flow. I still plan on resuming our scheduled life, but it's nice to know you can make exceptions now and then.

pool time late at night with Dada...

I felt so relaxed knowing she would be fine regardless of what our schedules held for the day. Some nights she went to bed as late as 10:30. Some days she only took one 45 minute nap. Sometimes she ate just fries and cheese for dinner. But in the end she seemed happy with whatever.

No vacation is perfect ALL the time. There were little things that bothered sleeping without the steady hum of our humidifier and fan. And the best place for the pack n' play was in the bathroom, making midnight trips to the toilet a bit tricky. As well as the total access to 72 channels on a huge flat screen placed right in front of the bed (I know sounds good right?)--but it leaves the temptation to watch WAY too much TV late into the night (one more reminder to only keep our local channels..and another reminder to NEVER put a TV in our bedroom!).

Oh yeah, and the fact that I had to step out into the hallway at 1am Friday night in my PJ's to basically tell-off a group of "not-so-nice-looking-men" to quiet down because some people have small children trying to sleep and some people are seven months pregnant trying to get any amount of sleep possible. Oiy. I think Greg was cringing under the covers out of embarrassment. This pregnancy has removed all my filters lately, and I'm not afraid to let anything fly.

I was also surprised at how much we were able to actually DO for very little money. Traveling with a 16 month old can be difficult in some ways but, it makes a "family" trip really pretty cheap. She was young enough to get into most places for free but, old enough to thoroughly enjoy the attractions---->

Discovery Place--$24 total (kids under 2 free)

 this awesome water table was a favorite...they even had little aprons the kids could wear!

ImaginOn Library--FREE

NASCAR Hall of Fame--FREE (during their open house hours 4-6pm)

NBA Charlotte Bobcats game--$32 total (kids under 2 free)
first NBA game for all three of us!

Mall carousel ride--$2

Billy Graham Library/Museum--FREE

If you are in Charlotte and have the time, GO SEE THIS! Very cool inside.

Our trip home was much smoother. Made all our connections without a hiccup and made it home by 8:30 last night. And despite all the laundry I'm STILL doing today, it was a rejuvenating trip that will have lasting memories for our family.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One last post before we leave

I know....we already said "adios" in the last post, but I wanted to sneak one more in before we leave today.

Here is a quick video of Kensie from yesterday afternoon. Besides the fact that she took an unusually long nap, and was therefore exceptionally perky--she was just plain funny. It started when she wanted nothing on but a diaper and her snow boots. Then she tried balancing random objects on her head as she marched around the house bumping into things on purpose.

Then she discovered this new game in the entryway, and that's when I pulled out the camera. Such a goof.

Ok this time for real....peace out until next week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Family vacay!

We are busy over here packing up for a five day vacation! Yes, I'm 31 weeks pregnant. Yes, we are flying with a 16 month old. And yes, I'm sure we will be exhausted when we get back....


This is only the second time flying with Kensie. The first experience was not so bad. And I'm proud to say I did it alone. But, I was also not this pregnant. Thankfully I will not be alone this time. My better half will be there to share in the lap-sitting, the song-singing, the book-flipping, and all the other creative ways to keep a 1 year old happy on a plane. THANK GOODNESS. Did I mention hauling the luggage and dragging carrying a child through the airport? Oh yeah, that too.

We will also have a chance to spend some one-on-one time with Greg's parents, which I am so looking forward to. All of us together, away from our routines and duties--just able to spend some quality time together. (Well, between the business meetings the men must endure...). Yes, this is a business trip that we are calling a vacation. We are staying a few extra days to make the most out of it. No big plans...just flying by the seat of our pants once we get down there.

So, I'm sure there will be lots of pics and stories to share upon our return!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

525,600 minutes

I love the random resources that help us to remember certain facts. Like how many minutes are in a year. Recognize it? Yes, from the musical RENT. Classic. But, it's really the only way I can ever remember it. And it kind of makes you think, doesn't it? Where DO all those minutes go??? Ok, other than peeing, pooping, and doing the "dirty" sickos!

Now, you are all waiting for me to tell you how I want to spend those minutes this year, right?

Well here's a few:

Patience: Other than getting this baby out of me! a significant amount of time will go towards caring for a new baby "older" baby. Trust me, I have already started praying for patience. Everyone loves to scare you with horror stories of the transition from 1 to 2 kids....the tantrums, the jealousy from the oldest, the lack of time with your husband, the feelings of loneliness, the fatigue...I've heard it all. So, Lord give me patience.

Save more $$$: I want to be a more frugal grocery shopper for starters. I need to be more diligent about planning meals and really put my creative skills at work using what we already have. I can do it when it comes to decorating. But, in the kitchen I can be kind of a spender. We are saving up to buy a car come spring (or whenever we can afford it). I've been driving the same car since my junior year of high school! It will be sad to finally see it go, but a Ford Focus is not ideal for a family car, let's be honest.

~ Get back into shape: Currently I'm sporting the "round" shape...but once this baby comes out, I don't want to be sporting the flabby balloon either. It's hard to imagine running right now, but I would love to do a 5k by the end of next summer.

~ Let go a bit: It's hard for me to admit it, but I can tend to be kind of a control freak. What happens in the end? I wind up feeling exhausted because I have to do everything myself. I want to feel like there's a plan in place, but that it's ok to be flexible sometimes. I've seen progress in the year's past, but I feel like it's flared up again recently. I just want to feel more freedom knowing that things don't always have to be perfect.

~ Love my husband more: Knowing this year is going to bring new challenges, I want to love Greg in ways that he needs. I'm good at loving people the way I want to be loved. But, it's harder when it doesn't come naturally. I pray I can build him up this year through more words of affirmation and acts of service.

A very wise mentor of mine said this to me recently, "when your life gets squeezed, what comes out? Is it ugly? Or is it Jesus?"  I haven't been able to stop thinking about that. I have seen some ugliness in 2010, and I pray there will be more Jesus in 2011.

So, let the accountability begin!

Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into....

Monday, January 3, 2011

The snow is gone, the TV is on, and the sickies keep comin...

Yes, over the weekend ALL of our fluffy white snow melted into the earth. Gone. I'm ok with it only because I know it will be back. Ohhhhhh, will it ever be back....But, it was a nice way to wrap up the holidays and switch gears a bit. We took the tree down and decided to invest in a fake one for the years to come. I never thought I would give in, but after all the needles this year....we were both done with the tradition. And with all the after-Christmas sales, we found a very nice tree for half the price! Can't wait to put it up next year!

We've also been watching our share of TV. Well, I should say Kensie is watching a lot of PBS these days while I plop on the couch with my laptop. 

Ever since this third trimester set in, I've resumed my perpetually tired state. With 10 weeks left, I wish I could zap myself with extra energy...but it seems impossible. I look forward to her afternoon naps just so I can get some shut-eye myself. I have little energy left and the remote calls my name--even if it's only 10 local channels. She is old enough now that she will actually sit through a whole show without moving. The above picture is a pretty accurate shot of her "zoned out" look. At least they are educational shows right?? Ok ok...she looks like she's losing brain cells, I know. We'll play pretend kitchen after this one I promise.

And, remember those molars that were coming in last week?? They are here!! But, she simultaneously caught a nasty cold on New Year's Eve that's been taking a different toll on the poor girl. Yay for winter.

After hearing/ reading a number New Year's resolutions the last few days, I've made a few "vague" ones of my own. But, we'll save that for another day.

Happy New Year!