~Part II of photo catch up~

Well, It’s midnight and I have just gotten home from a very busy night at work with some very sick people. And it’s a good thing that I am way too wound up to sleep, because I am baking 3 dozen cupcakes for Mary Kathryn to take to school for her birthday tomorrow. And what do I notice on the kitchen counter when I get home?? Krispie kreme donuts, that’s what! How in the world am I supposed to ignore those when the smell of cupcakes is making me want something sweet??!:) I”ll let you guess whether I ate one or not….:)

So before I ramble on anymore in my sleep deprived state, I am going to go on and post the pictures we took Easter Sunday:) Unfortunately, Michael had to work that weekend, but the girls and I went to church and then to my sister and brother-in-law’s house for dinner and an Easter egg hunt. It was a gorgeous day and Crystal and Chris are excellent cooks, so we all had a blast and brought lots of food home for Michael to eat when he got off work.
I could not, for the life of me, get all three girls to look at the camera, but this one is the best of all three that I could get.


The girls and I

So now I am off to bed to get a few hours of sleep before the girls wake up. Luckily no work tomorrow yay!:)

~Part I of photo catch up~

We are having a fantabulous day around here! The girls are at school and Bella and I have cleaned up, done laundry, made a trip to Target and now we are getting some rest time before picking the girls up. These are my kind of days!! And luckily they are more and more common around here:) I am ignoring the fact that I have to work from 7-11 tonite but maybe I can get a little nap in later;).

Now on to a few of the many pictures I have stored on my camera, just waiting to be documented permanently on this blog. I’m seeing a blog book in the future and I want to make sure we are all caught up from the last few months of a crummy work schedule.

These pictures were from a really warm day we were having and I was chasing Bella around the yard snapping away. The girls were at school but I have plenty of them coming up on a later post.

I think Bella was completely over our impromtu photo shoot by the time we took this last picture.
I would think she would be used to it by now:)

My husband is…..

I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now. I get so busy posting about those sweet little girls who fill my every waking hour, that my intentions get pushed to the side for another time. But, I think it is well past time that I took a few moments to devote to the person that was my everything before my everythings were born. You know, the reason why those precious little ones are here in the first place;)

So let me just lay it all out there…

My husband is

Hilarious.

Yes, I mean laugh out loud

Funny,

without even trying,

and that in itself is why he can just crack me up.

Most people,

think he’s reserved.

They have no idea.

Those of us that are lucky enough,

to really know him,

get treated to his sense of humor a lot:)

My husband is

super sweet.

Like almost too good to be true, sweet.

Like coffee when I wake up, sweet.

Foot rubs every night he’s not working, sweet.

Brings my favorite candy bar home, sweet.

Stays up after working night shift to watch the girls,

so that I can sleep in, sweet.

First one to tease me out of an argument,

and make me laugh when I’m trying to be angry, sweet:)

My husband is

an awesome father.

I can see so much love in his eyes,

when he looks at our girls,

that it’s unbelievable.

You can just see it in his eyes.

He spends time with them.

Doing things they like to do.

Girly things, like dolls, and making beaded necklaces.

Watching Angelina Ballerina and Shake it up.

When he has so little time to do things he likes to do.

And they love him to pieces,

because they can feel how much he loves them.

My husband is my best friend.

The Best.

Really.

We put up with each other,

and think things are cute,

that I’m sure others would find annoying:)

Like how I always forget the words to well known sayings,

and then say them anyway. The wrong way:)

Like how he will absolutely not ask for directions.

To anywhere.

I don’t care how lost we get.

Or how he always rents action movies (uhg!),

and then trys to convince me that its probably got some romance in it too.

And of course it doesn’t.

Or how I fall asleep before the ending

of every. single. movie. we rent.

even if I picked it out.

Always.

But best of all,

I can always count on him.

To save the day.

To say or do whatever it takes.

To make everything alright.

Do I think the stars lined up just right so that we ended up together?

Absolutely not.

I think God chose him for me and me for him.

Because He knew that even though we are not perfect.

We would be perfect for each other.

20×20 canvas for $31.00 plus FREE SHIPPING!

I just couldn’t go without sharing this awesome offer from plum district! Perfect for Mother’s Day. I am thinking that this will make a perfect gift and at $31 how can I resist:) The offer is for a 20×20 canvas for $39 and with the added $5 discount for first time customers and the 10% off code (visa10), the cost comes out to $31 with free shipping. If you order by April 29th it is guaranteed for delivery by Mother’s Day. Sweet!! Happy Shopping!!:)

Good Morning!!

This morning I feel so lucky to be at home with Bella instead of working! I am so loving my new schedule and really should have updated this blog before now. My only excuse is that I have been so busy catching up on all of the things that have gone undone the past 6 months while I was working all week, that I am just now getting to it. I really need to get more organized and do regular posts.  I found this blog organizer on pinterest and I’m hoping that if I use the organizer and add a dose of motivation that it will help:).

I have a ton of pictures to edit and update but in the meantime here are a couple that offer a little glimpse into what we have been doing lately.

Bella in cowgirl boots and diaper. A new fav in her wardrobe:)

Hailey has been working hard on her cheer needle and she is so close to having it:)

This sweet girl turns 7 next week. Where in the world does the time go???

Also, I am really excited about this Erin Condren planner I ordered. They are currently 40% off! I can’t wait to get it!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Happy Friday!!:)

A seriously happy moment:)

A month or two ago I posted here about a change in my work status to prn. Well, I agreed to continue on 4 days a week at the clinic I was working at to fill in for an employee on maternity leave. I am excited to report she returns March 23rd and I am completely free to make my own schedule from then on! So, I sat down Wednesday and signed up for my work days through May. I am trained in most departments of the hospital as well as their satellite clinics so I was able to choose where I wanted to work, how often, and when. Ahh, the taste of freedom is SO nice! I chose not more than two 8 hour shifts a week and even decided not to sign up for anything on one week. I was able to sign up around my husband’s schedule, the girls extracurricular activities, trips, doctor’s/dental appointments, ect. It is so nice to know I will be at home so much and will not be missing any important events in our schedule. I signed up for most of my time in the emergency department, a place where I love and feel I am called to be. But I still picked up time in other areas as well to mix it up a bit. I am extremely thankful to be able to work this way and continue to make sure my family is top priority while fulfilling my calling to be a nurse. How can I possibly thank God enough for giving me the opportunity to do this??

In what ways do you feel God has given you the chance to be the Mom you need to be while still fulfilling your need in a different area? I would love to here your answers!!

Easy bow tutorial…. A MUST for Mommy’s of little girls!

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I have been meaning to share this easy little secret for a while now but, quite frankly, I have had little to no time for bowmaking lately. My little girls are known for their big hairbows and I am always getting questions on where I get them from. A few of them I buy in stores or online, but a majority of them I make myself. First of all, most of the hairbows I find in children’s clothing stores are really pricey ( online shops are much more reasonable) and secondly, I just like being able to make my own to match whatever outfits I want without having to search everywhere for “just the right one”. Hairbows at stores usually run between 8-15 dollars depending on how elaborate they are. It costs me about 1-4 dollars to make one myself. The tutorial I am doing today is a simple, single layer hairbow, but I make double layer and “boutique” style bows as well (tutorials on these coming soon!). I am starting with this easy bow which can be whipped up in literally 5 minutes.  

For starters you need a few materials which can be purchased at Walmart, Michael’s, or any craft store. The ribbon I am using today came from Michael’s craft store and cost me about 3 dollars for the 4 yard roll. Several single layer bows can be made off of this one roll. You will also need clear hair bands which can be bought at any drugstore or Sally’s hair supplies for a couple of dollars. Sally’s is also where I purchased the silver alligator hair clips. You can get a big box of these for about 4 dollars. Then you will need a glue gun and glue sticks and you will be ready to start!

Supplies you will need

Your first step is to lay your ribbon out. You simply form the bow by using the crisscross method below. This is when you will determine the size of your hairbow. The one pictured is a medium sized bow which my 6 and 10 year olds where regulary. But, I LOVE big hairbows and have been known to put this size in the baby’s hair as well. I have included a picture of the finished bow at the bottom of this post worn by both the 6 year old and the 18 month old. This should give you an idea of what size you would like to make.

Easy crisscross method

The second step is to use a clear hair band to wrap around the center junction of the crisscrossed ribbon. I usually wrap the band about three times to secure it in place. It should look like the below picture when you complete this step.

Next, cut a small piece of ribbon which will be used to cover the center of the bow.

Fold the small cut of ribbon in half the long ways and then in half again to form the below piece.

Trim the ends shorter and then use the glue gun to glue one end to the back of the bow and then wrap the other end around the bow and glue it down. Make sure the glue is not too hot because it will melt the hair band causing it to come apart. At this point I usually smooth a little extra glue over the back middle of the bow to make sure it holds together and to smooth down any frayed ends. Below is a picture of the back of the bow where the ends have been wrapped around and glued down.

Next, leaving the back of the bow facing up, squeeze the silver hairclip to open and slide the flat end under the ribbon that is wrapped around the center, back of the bow (you can also use the snap clips but you will need to glue the bottom side of the clip before wrapping the middle ribbon around the bow). It will look like the below picture after the completion of this step.

And here is the finished product.

Isn’t it too cute in the baby’s hair?

Bella in her new hairbow

And perfect in Mary Kathryn’s hair:)

Mary Kathryn in her new hairbow.

And we are entering the….Double Digits!

I can not even believe my precious baby girl is 10, yes you read that right, 10 years old! This little girl has taught me more than I ever imagined possible over the last 10 years of our lives. Having her opened the flood gates of new feelings, knowledge,a new sense of purpose and has led me on a continual journey of self evaluation. Through both incredible luck and lots of hard work on our part, Hailey has grown into an empathetic, patient, well mannered, loving little girl who is leading a great example for her little sisters.

So here is how we celebrated her entry into the double digits… 

Every year since she turned 7 years old we have had a large sleepover birthday party for her with her friends and cousins. It’s so fun to look at how much they grow up over 4 years! Below I have included a picture of the party girls from each year.

Hailey’s 7th Birthday Sleepover

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Hailey’s 8th Birthday Sleepover

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Hailey’s 9th Birthday Sleepover

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Hailey’s 10th Birthday Sleepover

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What a trip down memory lane! It really brings home how fast these little ones grow and the importance of using these years wisely to prepare them for adulthood. I have to admit that entering the teenage years in just 3 short years has me slightly terrified, but my hope and prayer is that He will guide me through and that everything that we have worked so hard to instill in her will help to make it as smooth as possible.

The Toddler Chronicles Part I ~ Reflections of a Third Time Mom

 

The Toddler Chronicles Part I

So we have successfully made it through infancy and we are now entering the toddler years! And thanks to some of the trials and errors that we have learned from raising our first two, we made it through with relatively few bumps along the road! At 18 months, Bella has entered a new phase that is known for it’s tantrums, newfound independence, curiosity and exploration. So far I have found that what worked for her as a baby, is also pretty effective for her as a toddler. Keeping to a schedule, starting as I mean to go on, and not expecting too much are still the foundation for how we are raising Bella into her toddler years. Patience is definitely the name of the game when raising a toddler! The little nonmobile bundle of joy from last year is now everywhere all at once and into one thing after the other. At least mine is!

Starting as we mean to go on….

Especially when teaching boundaries, it really does help to be consistent and start right off the way you would like them to go on. This will help to head off the confusion that would come from suddenly setting rules for a preschooler who has never been given boundaries. This is the age when everything around them is a new discovery and where they can finally learn about their world hands on. One minute Bella is drinking from her sippy cup nicely and the next minute I find her shaking the milk onto the floor and rubbing it into the carpet! I walk into the kitchen for 2 seconds and come back around the corner to find her sitting on the endtable playing with the lamp shade. What an inquisitive age this is! While I completely understand that Bella is just exploring her world, I,of course, have to let her know that she cannot climb on the furniture because she might fall and get hurt. In our household, we choose to give explanations when we tell our children not to do something. We do this because we feel that they are less likely to disobey if they know the reason why. So, for example, I tell Bella ” No, Bella. We can not climb on the table. We might fall and get hurt. Or ” We can’t hit sissie. It will hurt sissie if you hit her. And then, at this age, I redirect her attention to something else.

Keeping to a schedule….

This gets harder and harder to do as they get older. In our case, we have two older children who go to school and have extacurricular activites. My goal is to keep the main parts of the day as routine as possible for Bella, no matter what our plans for the day might be. For us, this means our morning and nighttime routines. When Bella wakes in the morning, I get her from the crib, whether I am working that morning or not, and we sing our special “Good morning Bella” song. I then give her a sippy cup of milk and we watch cartoons together and snuggle. We are then ready to start our day. At bedtime, I give Bella a lavender scented bath, read her a book or watch tv together, and give her a sippy cup of milk while snuggling. I then lay her down for the night. It’s amazing how much better Bella does during the day when these two times are kept as routine as possible. During the day, our schedule varies depending on what our plans are and I adjust her naptime accordingly. Sometimes that means an hour nap in the car while picking the older girls up from school or cheerleading/dance. Even though her naptime is not the same everyday, as long as her morning and nightime routine remain the same, it does not cause her to be overly fussy or cranky.

Independent play….

At our house we definitely encourage independent play. Not only is it known to be beneficial for a child’s overall growth and development, but it also allows time for rest, chores, or time with other children. I try to plan Bella’s independent playtime to be when I have something else I need to give attention to. I have found that if I sit on the floor and play with Bella for a little while and then give her something to play by herself, she does better because she has already had my undivided attention and is now more receptive to playing alone. I also set aside some “special” play toys and activities to bring out so that she has something different to play with that may hold her attention longer. I even sometimes pull out pots and pans or other safe household items and let her play with those while I help the older girls with homework. She loves that she is playing with “real” toys and it allows for some more independent playtime. Other “go to” activities for Bella to do without my undivided attention are; coloring in her highchair, watching her favorite sing along dvd and looking at board books. I think the main thing is to spend time playing and interacting with your toddler throughout the day and plan independent play for times that are necessary to give attention to other people or things. Of course, if Bella takes it upon herself to play independently than by all means, I let her!

Not expecting too much….

Some days I just have to keep in mind that Bella is only an 18 month old and no matter how well I plan, fussiness or tantrums still happen. Just like when she was an infant, I know that by making sure that all of her needs are met, I increase the chances that we will have a more enjoyable time if we go out. I try to make sure she is fed, changed, and not sleepy before going to a restaurant, on a playdate or to the doctor’s office. I also know that even if I have done all of these things, I may have to cut short a trip if a tantrum ensues in public. Rather than trying to reason with a screaming toddler, I choose to remove her from the situation thus saving her, the surrounding people and myself from witnessing a public meltdown.

This stage in Bella’s life is still a story being written and I will be posting as different situations and issues arise. I write about the parenting techniques that we use and have found successful while raising our three children. Of course, there are lots of other ways to raise children and I would certaintly love to hear if you have any useful techniques that I did not mention. I have found that some of the advice I have recieved from other mothers has been priceless and I am always open to suggestions!