Saturday, December 31, 2011

looking back (and forward)

 so it may be cliche, but along with the rest of the blog world, i'm ready to lay out my resolutions for 2012. i know i've taken a week long break from blogging, and i promise there will be photos shared of our christmas morning and trips around visiting family. but obviously--we've been busy :) and i just haven't gotten around to doing that yet. so resolutions are happening first and i'll try to get the photos up in the next couple of days during nap times and after davis gets in bed.

there were several "end of year" wrap up stories on the news last night, and i couldn't help but notice the overwhelmingly pessimistic "good bye and good riddance" theme from these segments. it seems that to the general public, 2011 was this year that needs to be forgotten, moved on from and that (hopefully) 2012 will be a much more positive year for all.

in some ways, i agree. 2011 was a difficult year for our family--challenging, in both negative and positive ways. we had two major deaths in our family, other family members diagnosed with serious illnesses and/or hospitalizations, friends moving away, difficult financial periods and struggles with davis. we were tested on all fronts…and sometimes we weren't successful.

but other times, we were. professionally, i was able to move to a job with a more stable income and benefits--and i'm happy there, enjoying the challenges of working with a new population and becoming involved with campus life again. and as much as we may get frustrated with davis and his latest tooth he's cutting or his early wake-up calls, he has brought so much joy to our lives. without him, i know i wouldn't have handled my dad's death as well as i have. we witnessed so many of his "firsts" in 2011 that we will never experience again. we had wonderful vacations to the beach, visits with family and outings with friends. our day to day lives were happy, and our family has found our own little groove that works for us.

but there is always room for improvement and recognizing the opportunity for personal growth. and that's where i'm coming from as i look at my resolutions for the coming year. i know we are our own worst critics, but there are parts of my life that i gloss over because i know i'm not happy with it. where i remember other times in my life where i felt more confident about how i was doing at that point--and i know i'm not now. they've gotten pushed off to the "back burner," neglected while other areas that were more pressing were moved to the front.

and so here we go…

1) do the couch to 5k program and run in a 5k (most likely the pirate alumni road race in april--though there is one up near boone right around my great aunt and uncle's cabin in todd, nc, that is the first weekend in may that would be just awesome.) my plan is to run after davis goes to bed in our neighborhood, which has sidewalks and street lights. we'll see how that goes--it only requires 3 nights, which i can do. i can also alternative with an exercise dvd on the really cold/wet nights.

2) no more excuses with eating. cut out bad carbs, eat more fruits and vegetables, limit sugar intake. find a meal plan to works for me and stick to it.

3) hopefully the combination of these two will help me lose the last bit of baby weight, get back into my old wardrobe (or smaller) and feel more confident physically. i'm not used to (or happy) with the size i am right now and still haven't fully accepted that this is where i am. i will look at the size i'm in right now hanging on a store rack and think to myself "that's too big--that isn't what i wear, is it?" but it is--and it fits--for now. hopefully not for long!

4) find a small group or Bible study groups that works for our schedule and allows us to feel connected to the church and growing in our personal faith. what we're currently doing isn't working--davis just can't handle an evening event on a regular basis, and when i take him with me, i don't get anything out of it because i'm chasing him. i think we're to the point where we need to take turns watching him and each going to our own groups. i also got some information about an online study through proverbs 31 ministry reading through the book "made to crave" and want to do that in january and february.

5) finish our photo books for 2010 and (now) 2011. make better decisions about choosing photo jobs and spacing them out so i'm not overwhelmed with editing.

6) continue doing date nights with justin at least once a month. we just had our first night away from davis since he's been born (more about that trip soon!)

7) find ways to volunteer and give back to the community. i know that sounds vague, but i'm hoping it will get some direction as time goes on.

8) be better about sticking to our budget and work towards saving for our 5 year anniversary trip this year (still need to decide where we're going and starting planning…it's in april)

and the perfectionist side of me wants to find a 9 and 10 cause 10 is just such a nice round number, but i'd be stretching it and i feel like these 8 do a good job of showing where i am and what i want my focus to be for 2012. more on personal health, on relationships, on faith. so much has changed since i've become a mom, and i know that it's an excuse i could use--or i could say that because of davis, i need to take care of myself even more so because he's looking up to me and he wants a mom that's healthy and happy and can run around with him as he grows.

so what are your new year's resolutions? any suggestions or encouragement as i get started on mine?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

have yourself a merry little christmas...

may your holiday season have you in awe of the lights and decorations...
feeling the love of family and friends...
and experiencing the joy of celebrating our Savior's birth.
from our family--
to yours.
merry christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

festive feet

in one of my random trips to walgreens, i was wandering through the cosmetics section and decided i needed some green nail polish for the holiday season. i love buying nail polish, especially a particular brand that they have at walgreens called "sinful colors" that are only $2 a bottle (think a slightly more upscale version of wet n' wild.) this is my go-to impulse buy and it has resulted in me having a small tote bag of nail polishes that i get to choose from when i update my nail color. 

which now includes this one.

which then inspired me to set up a Christmas-y themed photo and break out my shaped-holiday bokeh lens covers to capture the new hue.
fa la la la la, la la la la!

(holiday bokeh tutorials at kevin and amanda and just recently at i heart faces, too!--my favorite one that i did a couple of years ago below...)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

sick day

i've been very stingy with my vacation/sick time at my new job. after our family beach trip in september, where i had to use a good chunk right away, i've been trying to hoard it up and had yet to use a whole sick day. but a couple of days ago, davis's regular sitter wasn't able to keep him and my schedule at work was light (and i knew it would drive me nuts to find someone else to watch him and then go to work and think about him at home) AND he needed to be watched anyways to make sure the stomach bug hadn't been passed to him and i didn't want anyone else's family possibly exposed to i used a sick day.

and it was rainy so we couldn't play outside, so i got to see what mischief this little man can get into inside when left to explore.

 like climbing into the bottom drawer of the oven with all of the cookie sheets and baking pans.
(this was after he spilled all of the cats' water bowls--and broke one of them--and before he climbed into a couple of cardboard boxes and got stuck)
 yeah, we're going to have our hands full as he continues to get bigger, taller, stronger and more inquistive...but that sweet smile is worth it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

family photos!

as i shared last week, we met up with one of my blogging friends, laura, for some family photos a couple of weeks ago. i asked her to meet us at one of the larger Christmas tree lots in town because i've always loved the idea of taking photos at a big lot like that. vintage lights hanging down, nice symmetrical rows of trees and a beautifully nostalgic setting for photos. i will say now that it would've been easier if davis was a couple of years older, but he still had fun and cooperated for a few shots. he was just VERY intrigued by the empty tree stands of water over to one side...
we've gotten a lot of compliments on this one (though justin's expression looks funny to me!)
i really liked this one, too!
ahh! i loved this one. i have wanted us to get a shot like this now that he's been walking for a while :)
and this one wasn't real usable since we had justin hiding in the tree, but his little grin was precious. such a sweet boy!

and here's the card we went with. it took me a while to choose the photos i wanted to use (and even the design i wanted to go with!) but i loved this one from and feels like it captures the whole year for us. our kid is too cute to settle on one or two photos :) 
a very merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

another check off the holiday list

this past saturday, we set out for a fun adventure...
it was time for the annual visit to see santa claus! last year, we braved the mall and spent about a half hour waiting with a two month old who was quite ambivalent about santa. this year, with greater variables of emotional response possible (and disappointed that the mall santa last year was a 30 year old guy with a fake beard and stuffed pillow belly) i sought out a different santa experience. one of the local specialty toy stores advertised that they were having a santa come in and to "bring your own camera!" we payed $10 for a santa picture last year, so this was a welcome change for us. so off we went to meet santa, after davis took a nice long nap, had eaten a good lunch and was in a genuinely good mood. 
he didn't really even pay attention to santa at first...
but was much more entertained by the light-up sparkle wand that the "elf" was using to have kids look at their parents' cameras. so we sat him on santa's lap and took away the wand, giving santa a cute little reindeer that we thought he might like....
ummm, no. (by the way, i LOVE santa's facial expression here. he's cutting his eyes over at the "elf" like, "really? another one of these squirmy toddlers?"
so we gave the wand back. SMILES! :)
from everyone except santa. okay, santa. i get it. you've been doing this for a couple of hours and it's getting close to the end of your shift. but c'mon, a little smile? that'd be nice...but we made due. obligatory santa picture taken with no waiting and no traumatic emotional scarring. we're good. 

from there, we decided to explore the toy store. davis hasn't been here since he was old enough to truly enjoy it, and he was a huge fan!
he enjoyed the train table and all of the trains.
and justin jumped in on the fun. 
we even found a cute conductor's hat that stayed on all of 2 seconds (but long enough for me to snap a picture.)

then he found some plastic planes and cars and the cutest street playmat i've ever seen. i could totally see him having one of these in a few months when he really gets into trucks and cars and roads.

with the purple airplane and matching blue car in hand, we headed back up to the front of the store to check out. and by that point, santa was done and had left this perfectly good chair empty and waiting for one more portrait attempt. so here we are--cutie pie in a sweater vest with Christmas-y themed background? check.

Monday, December 19, 2011

enjoying the ride

our holiday preparations are in full swing right now. hot chocolate in hand-painted mugs featuring baby boy footprints...

and a delightfully tacky mantle with cheap lighted garland, stockings and all of our Christmas cards that we've received. i love this time of year so much if only for the Christmas cards that we get from friends and family (and often times featuring pictures that i've taken--always makes it even more special to see them in print!) 
our card is in thank you for being patient with us! i spent an hour creating it yesterday afternoon online, only to have it tell me none of the local places could print it. so instead we used a coupon code for free overnight shipping and are hoping to get them out by mid-week. (i'll share the digital version on here, too, once they go out.)

cards aren't the only thing i've been slacking on this year. last year, with the blessings of maternity leave time, i spent hours at the accidental artist handpainting ornaments and mugs for all of our Christmas gifts...
and that is definitely not happening this year. but we are trying another gift that i will share if it's successful!

pepper is getting into the holiday spirit, too. i know she hasn't been featured much on the blog lately, but she is hanging in there. we have had to put her on diet food after her last trip to the vet because they are concerned about her gaining weight. when i explained that we have a one year old at home that loves nothing more than to share his snack with her, the vet nodded and smiled knowingly and suggested diet food since she knew the other factors would likely not be changing anytime soon.
no, now that pepper isn't getting to clean our plates regularly, it seems like her scavenger dog instincts have clicked into high gear. she was found several times this weekend with her snout down in davis's snack cup, going after any cheerios or goldfish she could find. and we're regularly having to lock her out of the kitchen while he eats because he either leans way over the high chair to feed her or she paws at his legs from under the tray trying to get some food he dropped in his seat. 

but other than that, we're just hanging in there. doing the holiday stuff while doing the every day stuff. finding the joy in little things, like helping gran fold the laundry...

or turning an empty hamper into a tunnel for playing!
he's getting a tunnel/tent combo for Christmas, and i have a feeling it will be one of his favorites.
we're making cookies, wrapping gifts, planning for the nice long break we get in a few days and looking forward to seeing family. what are you doing to *truly* enjoy the holidays this year?

Friday, December 16, 2011

playing around with tupperware

last weekend i enjoyed dressing davis up a little bit. in my opinion, there's nothing cuter than a toddler boy in a button up shirt and sweater vest!

he looked like such the little man.
and as much as i wanted a cute series of photos in front of the tree or the fireplace with a decorated mantle...

we ended up in the kitchen. with the tupperware cabinet.

it was far more entertaining than any Christmas backdrop could have been...

way more fun...

and, not surprisingly....

got better smiles out of him!

such a silly silly little boy.

and so proud of this new game he could play with me.

he even broke out the colinder for a few turns...

still works, too!
i'm still amazed at his creativity and his ability to find fun in the most mundane of household items :)