Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful:

--for a curious child.  I love watching her figure things out and explore new territory.  She is able to keep herself occupied and plays well, even alone.

--that my daughter is a Christmas trooper.  We had seven family Christmases and two parties for church within a week and a half span, and she did awesome for all of them.  Her routine has always been flexible which makes her a fairly laid back child--I am especially thankful for this at times like these when we're bouncing from place to place.

--that we got to spend so much time with family this past weekend.  We were able to actually spend time and visit instead of rushing through all of the holiday festivities, and it was fabulous.

--for companies and organizations like World Vision.  My family decided to donate gifts through them this year instead of exchanging gifts for the adults.  Such a blessing.  Look into it--give an offering, donate a gift, sponsor a child.  You will be blessed.

--for my sewing machine!!  My mother-in-law got it for me for Christmas, and Hunter and I are both SO excited about it!  I have been wanting to learn to sew for a while, and now I'm jumping in with both feet!

--that I get to see my best friends this weekend, hopefully all together.  It will be quite the reunion, and I. Am. Pumped!

--that my husband helped me clean the house last weekend.  I still have to go through the mess of my dumping grounds  the guest room, but the kitchen and living room are clean--not just picked up, but clean.  That was fabulous to come home to and has made this week a lot easier.

--to love and be loved in return.

Be grateful, offer thanks.

love, angie

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Arabella Update

Here are some tid bits about our bug lately:

Disclaimer:  you may not care about these, but I'm writing them more for a memory for myself anyway :P

  • She walks all the time and everywhere.  This started about the first week or two in December.  Before then she had been walking and crawling about 50/50.
  • She waves hi and bye, as well as blowing kisses (talk about melt my heart!).
  • She's almost weaned off of the bottle--still gets one at night to go to bed.  We've been going out of town and staying all over the place too much for me to worry about trying to take that one away too.  That's our goal for next week.
  • Her vocabulary is growing:  daddy, mama, GIGI (what my nieces and nephew--and now my daughter--call me), KK (her youngest cousin's nickname), bye, hey, thank you, mmm, dog, eat, and uh-oh.
  • She also says thank you and uh-oh only at the appropriate times, which makes it even that much more adorable.  We have also reached the point of dropping things on purpose for the sake of saying uh-oh (this happens most often on her changing table...).
  • She not only blows kisses, but she'll lean in and give you one if you ask for it.  She opens her mouth wide and leans in to yours--sweetest thing ever.  She has also become quite snuggly and loves to give hugs.
  • She has 8 teeth in fully (four top, four bottom, all in front) and is working on her first four molars (the ones behind the eye teeth/canines).
  • She loves to build things and tear them apart, fill something up and empty it out.
  • She knows what a dog and a monkey "says".  (Christmas morning as she was opening a gift, I told her "Open that puppy up!"  Immediately she replied "woof!"  Made me smile).
  • She still sleeps 11-14 hours every night--and I still LOVE that :)  (as well as a 2-3 hour nap everyday).
  • She's very friendly and will go see just about anyone.
  • It's time to move up to a size 5 diaper.
  • When she sees something neat or pretty, she says "Ooooohhh" with a raised inflection in the middle to show she's impressed.
  • She "talks" on the phone, holding any small flat toy up to her ear saying "hey!"
  • She loves stuffed animals--squeezes them tight and snuggles them close.
  • She is quite the little Linus...very attached to her blanket.  She's even gotten to the point of going into her room, pushing her bumper down, and pulling her blanket out of her bed.
  • She's tall enough to reach things off of the table...oh boy.
  • Her favorite snack is Teddy Grahams.
  • She can be quite feisty and independent (the number of spankings are increasing...).
  • She loves to be chased.
  • The girl opens presents like a champ.  Gift bags, wrapped boxes--she'll take either one.  Loves it!
  • She is still the most beautiful and perfect little thing I have ever laid my eyes on.

Remember everything.  
They grow up too fast.

love, angie

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wishing upon you the blessings of grace, peace, and hope which are only truly brought through the love of our Saving Jesus.  We pray that you not only hear His story this year but also experience His presence.

Bask in your blessings; take tons of pictures; eat a lot of good food; take in every second you're given with those you love; and remember and care for those who need it most.  

Hunter, Angie, and Arabella

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Card display

One thing I love about this house are the archways in my living room.  For a small, builder-grade house, that feature adds a little character that I love.  

And they're perfect for Christmas!  I absolutely love Christmas cards--it's a great way to keep up with those friends and family members you don't get to see often.  Plus, who doesn't love getting a little something in their mailbox that isn't a bill or junk?  Sometimes the old-fashioned things warm the heart the most.  

So since I love these little morsels of love so much, I had to find the proper way to display them.  Here's where those arches come in...  I got a red and green tinsel garland that is the perfect length to drape around the arch leading from the living room into the kitchen/dining.  With some simple ornament hooks and clothespins, it was transformed into a fantastic display for my cards :)

*Sidenote: ignore my messy table and desk area.  They have become my catchall for the craziness.

You can also get a glimpse of the ornaments on my dining room light fixture (thank you, Pinterest!). This is the first year I've done that, but I love the extra flair it gives to the space without having something on the table.

Keep 'em comin' peeps--I'm ready to fill that garland up with your beautiful faces again!

Merry Christmas!

love, angie

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some favorites for Christmas time

As I mentioned in my "Thankful Thursday" post, I am grateful for Christmas music and it's reminder to focus.  So here's a post with a few of my faves for this time of year:

  • Probably my favorite Christmas album is Casting Crowns' (surprise, surprise).  They're voices are beautiful, and again, their song lyrics carry such meaning.

  • The Kenny G Christmas albums are in-cred-uh-ble.  I love them.  One of my favorites on his album, "Wishes" (and the bonus track on "Faith"...slightly different) is his rendition of Auld Lang Syne.  The dubbing over of the historical moments gets me teary every time I hear it.  (there is also a millennium mix with more current events dubbed over.  powerful.)  But both of his Christmas CDs are fabulous.

  • This may be a shocker, but I love the entire N'SYNC Christmas album.  Guilty pleasure...  Reminds me of my youth...  Should be embarrassed, but I'm not...

  • I love these next two songs because of their points of view--one from Mary and one from Joseph.  To understand the weight of this honor on them, carrying and raising the Messiah, and yet, just being able to be his parents.  

  • Something about Judy Garland's voice makes my insides stir, and she sings this song like no other.  This version and this song bring the Christmas spirit to my inner core without fail.

  • Who can get through Christmas without this one?  We've had the pleasure of seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas performance twice and would go back without question.  They're talent is incredible.

  • And then the classics, sung by the classics...irreplaceable.

  • And a few newer ones...

  • And of course you can't have Christmas without this dose of fun and love!

Get caught up in the beauty of the season.  Be full of faith, full of servanthood, and full of love.


merry moments, angie

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful:

--for vacations.  Sometimes, it's not only nice to get away from all of the busy-ness, but also the speed and distractions (cell phones, computers, television, hobbies, to-do lists)...

--for my husband who loves Jesus and refuses to settle for traditions and mediocrity.  His curiosity and hunger keep him studying and learning.  I love to witness him grow; and his growth spurs my own.

--that my child sleeps--a lot.  This is a biggie.  See, she gets that ultra love of sleep from me, so since we both get to rest enough, we get along really well :)

--that I have lost some weight--double thankful that I've been able to do so without trying!  I had gotten up to my heaviest ever after having Bella and stopping nursing.  That number was getting too high for my height and body type--and I'm 12 pounds less than that ultra high number!  I feel good and my clothes are fitting correctly again, giving me a little more self confidence.

--for my mom and sister who are willing to keep sweet Bella bug while we are away.  HUGE help, and we're so grateful.

--for Christmas music.  It touches my heart and resets my focus.

--for my Sassy Stampers (monthly stamp club) and the opportunity to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator!  These ladies and my time with them each month are my version of therapy.  I love it.

Be grateful, give thanks.

love, angie

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ornamental Elegance Kit

The ornament on the front of the Stampin' Up! Holiday catalog has been quite the buzz in the crafting community.  Well now, there's a kit being offered to help you create those beauties a little more simply!  Hurry and snag this deal--it's a "while supplies last" offer, so I have no way of knowing how long it will last.

In addition to the kit, all you need is a glue gun, scissors, and adhesive.

The Ornamental Elegance Kit (132832) is $14.95 and includes:

  • Die-Cut Cardstock Elements
  • Cherry Cobbler 3-1/2" Scalloped Tulle Ribbon
  • Natural Linen Thread
  • Vintage Faceted Designer Buttons
  • Large Pearl Basic Jewels
Order these now so you will have plenty of time to make them for Christmas giving--or your own family tree!  Available only while supplies last.

Visit my online store to order this kit or other Stampin' Up! products anytime.

happy crafting,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Irony of ironies, I didn't post a Thankful Thursday last week on Thanksgiving...  I spent the day instead with those for whom I am very thankful.

This week, I am thankful:

--that I have a flexible schedule.  Here I am awake at 2 am blogging and Shutterflying.  Bella woke up after being asleep about an hour--since I was up, I let her play a little more instead of fighting her back to sleep.  And we'll sleep as late as we need to tomorrow. thankful.

--for the kids in our youth group.  I know I post this on basically every thankful Thursday post; but since it always follows my Wednesday nights with them, they are in the forefront of my mind and heart.  They're passion and wisdom exceed their years.  The Spirit moves in them and they let Him--and it's just awesome.

--that my mom came to stay with me Monday night and keep Bella while I worked Tuesday.  Not only that, but she stayed up with Bella when she woke up in the middle of the night so I could get some sleep before working the next day (and she folded my laundry in the middle of the night--say wha?!).  She was a huge help and I'm very grateful.  Plus the chance to visit was nice.

--for sweet tea.  When I was in Kansas City, it was very hard to come by.  Sweet tea is my coffee--it's a must have.

--that Hunter and I have both found hobbies which we love.  No more flopping and looking for something fun to do.  I do crafts, he does guns.

--for Christmas music.  I don't know why I love it so, but I do.

--for Fresh Balsalm candles from Bath & Body Works.  It was hard for me to give in and get an artificial tree (finding the perfect real tree was always a big deal for me and my dad...I didn't want to give up my real tree...).  Those candles help my house still smell like Christmas to me.

--for Chocolate Chip Peppermint Shakes from Chick-Fil-A!  Yumm-O.

Be thankful, and share your gratitude!

love, angie

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kansas City, here we come

Now that I've gotten the Google storage issue solved (even though I had to pay for more storage in order to upload any more pictures...), I can finally post again!  Pesky picture problems.

The week before Thanksgiving, AJ and I flew up to spend the week with my sister in Kansas City.   I was thoroughly dreading flying with a one year old, but she flew free so it was the best time to take her.

Southwest got more of our respect during this flight, and probably most of our business from here on out (as long as our destinations are available through them).  Hunter was holding Bella as we went to check in and print our boarding passes, and the lady said she just couldn't bare to see him have to put her down.  So she printed him a security pass so that he could come wait at the gate with us (warning us that this was not something that would normally happen and possibly never again). This was such a huge blessing and help!  We were able to squeeze in a little extra time with our boy before we left--and I had help with our one year old in the airport for an hour...  So we sat at BWW, visited, and watch A&M beat Bama, haha!  Great way to start our trip.

She really was a superb flyer--on the way up, we had a bench of three seats all to ourselves which was unbelievably wonderful.  She played with everyone around us and never got fussy.  On the way home, the flight was completely full...  We luckily were seated with a grandma, so we were able to get some extra loving patience.  However, we were so cramped.  Plus it was nap time (and yay for having a child who will not sleep being held if she can do anything to prevent it...).  She still did really well; it just took a lot more creativity and patience from me to keep her occupied.  But she's becoming quite the little pro :)

That week was our getaway.  It was really slow paced (even though it went by incredibly fast) and allowed us to get some rest.  We played here and there, shopped here and there, and capped it off with a weekend in Branson.  It was a great trip--we love visiting Aunt Chelle!

little diva learning how to shop

 she loved playing in the leaves--such a different world than what she's used to down here

One of the little girls my sister keeps.  The first picture was taken during our visit up there in January; the second was taken during this trip.  It's amazing the difference 10 months can make.

getting her grub on at Cracker Barrel--and hamming it up for the people sitting around us :)

spent one evening at Bass Pro--talk about cheap entertainment.  we played with the fish, examined all of the animals, drove the boats, looked at the lights...we could have stay there for hours.  her eyes were wide and mouth open most of the time we were there :)  just so much cool stuff to see!

we also got to see Santa while we were at Bass Pro!  Bella was just a little star, acting like she was best friends with him.  she sat in his lap and rubbed his furry outfit, looked up at him and grinned, looked at the camera ladies and smiled off and on, all without a single whimper or tear.  I was so excited it was a pleasant experience!  and when we got her back and off to the side, she repeated "Santa" and "ho ho ho" for the first time.  such a rock star.

being cute at the zoo.  she absolutely loved the animals and got so excited when they would move.  the orangutans were especially interested in the girls and the kangaroos did not like us (they pretty much chased us out of their area...not cool, pretty scary).  she also liked the birds and the polar bear.

we brought a friend to the zoo with us!  they were so sweet snuggled up in that stroller side by side.  

she was such a big girl on that carousel.  sat right up there and held on like she knew what she was doing.  all smiles the whole way around :)

becoming snowladies at Christmas village

waiting in line for the train...and then on the train.  baby girl was wiped out.  we got on the train around 5 and that was the first she had slept since she woke up at 7:30 that morning.  she was so mesmerized by the lights and the people that she couldn't sleep (but was still very pleasant).  but as soon as that train started moving she was out like a light.

she's the cutest little prisoner I've ever seen...

aunt chelle being a good sport and riding the frogs with the tot and J :)  it was one of the few rides she was big enough to ride, and she loved it.  she cried when they stopped!

Merry Christmas!

love, angie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ladybug birthday...

just about a month late...

Life has been incredibly crazy around here the past 6 weeks, but I do want to take the time now (before the holiday bustle make things even crazier!) to tell you a little about our sweet little girl's first birthday party.

From the time we found out that we were having a girl, my husband has declared her his "little lady".  He said she wouldn't be a "princess" or "angel"--he specifically called and continues to refer to her as his little lady.  And ever since she was born, she's been my bug.  So as I sat a few months back thinking of what to do for her first birthday, these two nicknames kept rolling around in my head until it hit me--ladybugs.

I didn't want to go all out and be obnoxious about her first party because she's too little to really know what's going on.  But as I've told my husband from day 1, that party was really for me.  Your babies only turn 1 once, and more specifically, your first babies only turn 1 once--so we I had to splurge a little, right?

It was mostly family and a few close friends, which was fabulous.  Two of my close friends have sons only a few months younger than Arabella, so she had some people her size to play with.  Plus, all of the cousins were here, so we were actually pretty high on the kid quota for a first birthday party.

We had the party in our backyard (which would have been 100% perfect if the only windy cold front we've gotten all Fall had not come that weekend...) and moseyed between there and the living room.  We grilled hamburgers and visited for a long time.

Here's a little photo breakdown (you ready for this overload...)

Let's start with this card from her daddy... Melts. My. Heart. 

Goodie bags for her friends to take home--red lunch bags, nametags--Top Note Sizzix Die (Stampin' Up!), ladybug stickers, painted clothespins.

I printed out ladybug coloring pages and also included crayons, mini playdoh, a balloon, a red JUMBO straw, and a ladybug M&M tube in each bag.

I printed out pictures of Bella with each of our family members and attached nametags (Stampin' Up! decorative label punch) with their "Bella nickname" on them.

I found black Solo cups at Walmart (Halloween score!) and used red washi tape and ladybug stickers to add a spot to write people's names on them as well as add a little color and pop.

I ordered these fun plates on Amazon and found the painted wooden ladybugs at Hobby Lobby.

I created large ladybugs using posterboard and cut out black dots for the kids to stick to them (the idea was for them to be blindfolded for that, but most of them didn't was still a cute activity for them though)

Wooden ladybugs from Walmart that I painted and then attached letters cut out with the Cricut.  You would know that all of the Walmart stores around here were out of them the month leading up to her birthday (I bought these five a month before the party and couldn't find anymore in any of our stores).  But when I went yesterday, I looked for them just for kicks, and whaddya know?  Fully restocked!  Of course... 

I painted clothespins red and then used a Q-tip to paint the black dots on them.  These hung the pictures on twine that was draped down our fence.  I used the Cricut to cut out month markers (newborn-12) and organized printed pictures for a visual growth/life timeline.

I also ordered these cute dessert plates on Amazon.  The O-N-E came from Hobby Lobby, and I used them to take pictures of her on her actual birthday (I'll post them at the bottom of the post).  The middle basket on the top holds the ladybug M&M tubes (red tubes with black vinyl dots adhered and a strip that said "Bella Bug's 1st Birthday").  I also made ladybug cookies and rice crispie treats.  The cookies are a simple rolled sugar cookie recipe (I used our drinking glasses to cut the circles) with dyed Betty Crocker icing; the dots are Hershey's drops and the eyeballs I found in the cake decorating section at Walmart (I also made enough of these for the kids to decorate their own ladybugs, but we had too much going on and my nieces and nephew did that after everyone else left).  For the rice crispie treats:  I made them as normal, adding black food coloring at the end (before pouring onto cereal) for the heads, and strawberry Koolaid at the end (again, before pouring; be sure to dissolve completely) for the bodies.  I used a champagne flute to cut out the bodies after they had set.  I used the same champagne flute to cut out the black parts, but cut it into four pieces and then molded each one onto a body piece.  Squeezable black icing made the dots on their backs.

Finally--my six year old niece was in charge of laying out the wooden ladybugs and daisies...

My husband's cousin's wife made her cake, and it turned out so cute!

 Bella's smash cake 

Oh, hey Jax!  You're my friend...

Only family picture we got that day...gotta love the big glare...

She is quite the master opener of the presents.  It didn't take her long to figure out that process.

I could get used to this getting spoiled thing...

(How is it possible that the camera was always able to catch me making the oddest expressions...? Gracious.)

Finally.  Let me at it...

She squished, and squished, and squished.  She wouldn't eat it unless someone fed it to her; she just wanted to play with it.


Oh, I will give you a bite!

She's just beautiful; even covered in cake and icing and mess.

Yay for best friends coming to play with us!  Love our Sassers :)

It was a lot more work than I had originally planned it to be, but it was worth it.  First birthday parties are really for the mamas anyway, let's be honest.

Here's to many more years of blessed adventure with this sweet ladybug.

love, angie