We had A LOT of family this year for Christmas and it was wonderful. My mom's entire side of the family all traveled here this year. Her siblings, their spouses and their kids plus my siblings, their spouses and kids plus grandparents and my little family made for 26 Muri's, Burns, Kelpman's and Officer's. It was a ton of fun (and plenty loud) having my cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, niece, nephew and grandparents and my family all under one roof. My sister and I made an itinerary for the family that scheduled some events so there was plenty to do with no excuses of boredom. We had ultimate frisbee, a crock pot soup night, a game night, Christmas Eve church service, Christmas dinners and coffee dates. Here is the first 2 nights of fun in picture form:
Crock Pot soup night at our house!
Heidi and Bradley (my sister in-law and younger brother)
My niece Makenna and cousin Sam
My cousin Molly and Joe
My wonderful siblings! ...youngest to oldest (L to R)
...and my sister and I are pregnant together again! :) Babes due in June and March.
I wanted to paint our room and make it more airy and light. I ran the idea by Justin thinking he would say no way do we have the time for that after making over the boys' room and the nursery (plus an entry way closet makeover...I'll be showing you that soon) but he said sure! When I am given the green light I am not slow to get started! :) I was inspired by The Lettered Cottage blog where they painted their sun room Benjamin Moore Cloud Nine. Like they said "it was the exact grey-to-white-to-warm ratio." I went to Lowe's and had them do a color match with their ValSpar signature paint so we now have our own version of cloud nine which was way more white than I thought it would be but love it so much. The room feels so much bigger, cleaner and happy. I really can't wait to get some creations on the walls! I did a few hours of rolling and Justin did a few hours of edging over a span of two days and voila! We had to sleep in the guest bedroom one night but my hips hurt so bad the next morning (this is pregnancy related) that we finished our room ASAP so I could sleep on our softer mattress with all of my pillows. I'm such high maintenance when I'm growing little humans! :) Here is a sneak peek of our new room (and we now have a King bed!) but first the old room:
We have SNOW! It's only an inch and super wet but we will take whatever we can get! The boys crawled into bed with me at 6 am having no idea that there was snow on the ground. I told them immediately to look outside and they were ready to put on snow gear. I wasn't going to traumatize my most likely sleeping neighbors with happy squealing kids that early so I did my best and held them off till about 7:45 and then released them into the snow. They did some snow angels, attempted sledding, threw snowballs (of course had a timeout or two...trying to be real here) and then came inside to get warmed up. We went on a coffee/hot chocolate date to Starbucks where we colored for an hour (and ate a doughnut or two) and then went to the library to play on the computers and somehow checked out 17 items. Let's hope I can remember to return all of those because I am notorious for paying late fees. My boys are all snug in their beds taking naps while I upload pics, blog a bit and rest. I love winter days like this! Rumor on the street is that there may be some more snow tonight. Oh how I hope so!
I just love being backed up to a forest. The trees are beautiful dusted in snow.
Here is a horrible attempt of a belly pic using a self timer. I have had some belly pic requests so here you go! It's the best I can do for now.
I have been a part of MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) for four years now and have loved being more involved over time. When we moved up to WA, finding a new MOPS group was the last thing on my mind. We were just trying to get by. Finding a new church, Sterling recovering from heart surgery, buying a house and trying to get into some routine was all that I could manage. Justin met a guy at work that he connected with from the start. They decided that the wives needed to meet and the rest is history. Mark and Jen Schumacher have become great friends of ours and Jen was the one who introduced me to UPPC MOPS years ago and invited me to come even though the MOPS year was half way over. I am so thankful she did! I started up and forgot how much I loved being a part of this organization/ministry. There is something so refreshing about a huge group of women that all share the commonality of motherhood. I have learned so much from all of our amazing speakers and many of the moms I have gotten to sit with over the years. This year I signed up to help decorate some of the centerpieces for our Christmas brunch. I tagged teamed with a few friends to do the centerpieces & we spent only $20 on 6 centerpieces when we could have put $10 towards each table. We pulled pieces from our garage, shopped dollar store and re-created, clipped from bushes off of train tracks and found some fun treasures at Value Village. Here is the breakdown of what we used for the centerpieces:
Bundle of gold sparkly branches & all ornaments - Dollar Store
Wood Branches - from my garage (IKEA bundle)
Hurricane Vases - 1.99 Value Village
Table Runners - borrowed from a friends wedding
Wood Discs - Justin cut them up from our backyard
Berries on a branch - cut from bushes in Olympia :)
Tea Lights - pack from dollar store
Candles - garage finds
Burlap Christmas Trees - tinsel dollar store trees disassembled and re-created with burlap scraps
Short vases - from my wedding
Candle stick holders - 1.99 Value Village
Deer/Llama - 1.99 Value Village score! (seriously a head of a deer and body of a Llama...we named it a Llamadeer...kind of loved that one)
Here are some of our quick centerpiece creations that morning for MOPS....
Aren't they fun?! It's amazing what you can put together in a few hours on a little budget! And here is some of our amazing food that was catered...
A sea of wonderful women!
...and a MOPS meeting isn't complete without some fun games by Shannon! Love these ladies!
I can't believe that there are only 2 weeks till Christmas left. I have done just about nothing except decorate very minimally this year and give some of our upstairs room a little love. I need to get going on the baking, shopping and mailing out gifts! I'm remembering in this season to not be stressed and enjoy the whole process of getting my home ready for all the wonderful visitors we will have sleeping here. About 30 family members on my side will all be here to celebrate the birth of our Savior and I can't wait to have them here to celebrate such a wonderful and miraculous event!
Here are some of my favorite ornaments that are my grandma's. Have you seen the Broadway Wicked? If you haven't, it is a must see. It is so good. I try and explain to the kids that the wicked witch Alphaba really isn't all that bad. They don't buy it!
Isn't the wreath in the background so pretty? My mom made one for my sister and I last year. And just look at this sweet Boone face! He thought it was silly that I was taking pictures of his toes.
...but how can I resist? They are too sweet and still very baby to me. I could just kiss each of his piggies right off.
Cheers to the upcoming weeks of preparation & the pondering of God coming to earth in the flesh as a baby to save us and defeat death itself!
Steilacoom is my cute little hometown that was the first established town West of the Mississippi and is known for it's charm and historical homes. We have a precious little wagon shop, old school barber shop, ice cream parlor, etc. It is one cute little town! There are tons of garage sales throughout the summer here and I can't help but stop at them to see if a treasure is to be found. It really is one of my favorite things to do. Garage sales trump thrift stores (with exception of St.Vincent DePaul). Most people are trying to purge and clean out and just want their stuff gone. Don't mind if I do! This house I stopped at two summers ago had these old windows for $5 that I couldn't pass up. Actually I did pass them up and then turned back around to purchase them after I found enough change in my car! Yes, I payed in change. That was before our Dave Ramsey kick which is all about cash. My credit cards do me no good at garage sales! Along with the windows, I found a patagonia snow suit that I purchased for my friend Libby's daughter for a buck! Gosh, I love a good find! These windows were a deep blue color so all I did was put on a quick coat of white spray paint, enlarged some pics to 8x10 with white borders (costco) and placed them on the window with a thin piece of double sided sticky tape that you can't see and then finished them off with some burlap scraps. They usually hang in my bedroom on each side of the bed but right now we are giving that room a makeover - imagine that! :) They are going to be hanging out in baby girl's room until they are ready to go back up in ours. In the summer, I always suggest a quick stop for a glance over at a garage sale and remember to carry some cash!
...just had to document some pictures of the boys' room with our new camera. Told you there would be a picture overload! :)
We have been lowering Boone's side of the crib at night to start the transition in a big boy bed. He has escaped a few times but is sensitive to discipline and hasn't tried getting out in two nights now. He said he is ready for his big boy bed. :) We aren't in any big hurry now since he broke the crib last week. Seriously pulled a whole slat off. If anyone hears of a good white crib for sale, let me know!
We made these yesterday morning and I've forgotten how much my boys like them and how quick they go! Our batch made 18 and they were gone by the evening. No joke. If they were regular cookies I would have freaked out about it and controlled the situation better but since they are healthy (well healthy in our book) I let the boys help themselves to them throughout the day. They are super easy, dense and you can't complain about the ingredients your kiddos are consuming (no wheat and no egg...I know some need to stay away from both of those). Here is the recipe that we tend to alter always throwing something new in!
After making them exactly like the recipe card vs. making them yesterday morning, I definitely love our newest version. I switched out the 1/2 cup of raisins for cranberries, threw in a handful of chocolate chips and a 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans. This recipe is a great way to use all those bananas you put in the freezer that were on the verge of going bad. Also, the first batch needs a full 20 minutes (in my oven at least) and the next batch is a little quicker. I use my pampered chef cookie stone so I don't need to grease it and it keeps an even temperature among the cookies. I tend to burn the bottom of cookies with my regular cookie sheets.
Here they are ready to go into the oven...
My little munchkins wait so patiently for breakfast in the morning. We watch and watch and watch....
and make robot costumes out of cardboard boxes while they keep baking...
and then we devour!
The possibilities are endless with this recipe. You can throw in some flax seed or wheat germ. Switch out your apple sauce with a flavored apple sauce. Use white chocolate chips, add another type of nut or more dried fruit, etc. My next batch I plan on adding a good amount of coconut to them. Yum!
Sometimes I just walk into the nursery and stare. Stare at the little items of pink and all the sweetness that surrounds them. Everything is so delicate and precious and I love every bit of it. Justin and I tackled her nursery a few weekends ago which of course put this planners heart at peace. We primed, painted, moved some furniture in, ordered her rug, made her mobile and installed my great grandmas chandelier. We just need to add some wall decor, a crib an incredibly loved baby girl and all is well! I love going into her room with my boys. They love to look at her clothes and try on a few of the headbands we have for her. They pull out her little ruffly pants and tights and giggle. It's like they have never seen this stuff before! They are more than excited to meet this baby girl and they talk about "baby sister" everyday. Sterling tells the world about her and makes sure every human that he comes in contact with that he will be changing her diapers "all by myself". They are even into setting their hands on my belly until they feel her kick. They squeal and say "ow! baby sister kicked me!" and then run away giggling. It's pretty sweet and I know her arrival is going to change our world forever. Here are a few pics of her soon to be dwelling place and some of her sweet kicks.
My Great Grandma Kitty's Chandelier. She was born in I believe 1907 so who knows when this is from. The 40's or 50's maybe? I love being able to pass family heirlooms down!
OH my. Little girl shoes. Can barely handle it.
Wishing I had a pair of pink moccasins!
I love both of these thrift store finds from years ago. Sweet ballerinas and an angel that got a little white spray paint makeover. Under $5 for the both of them.
All hand me down clothes from our annual MOP swap.