Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Home For The Holidays

This year has been busier than usual for us. But more than ever I have felt more purposed to slow down and enjoy this season. There were little things I wanted to do here and there, and I was determined to do them.  You know how you pin something on pinterest and your like "Oh I am so doing that!"....and then you forget? And then when you do remember, it's too late and now it's Valentines Day?
Well, I didn't want that to happen.

One of those things I really wanted to do for the kids was a hot chocolate station. Because they are literally addicted to hot chocolate.We had a perfect little spot on our counter for it...

I went off the multi colored little mugs we were given as a gift {from World Market}, and made it fun and colorful. I found this free printable and it was perfect because our family loves Elf. And also I fully believe you should always sing loud for all to hear, even when its not Christmas.
So far the little station has been a hit and I totally intend on doing it every year. The kids love it. 

Something else I really wanted to make was this glittered deer head on canvas. I'm obsessed with gold glitter {who isn't really?} and so when I saw this on pinterest I knew I had to do it. It is a really easy project and I love how it turned out. 

 I hung it over my little entry table and I just might keep it up year round. The gold and gray chevron printable I found, was perfect and ties it all together. 
{Find the deer head tutorial here
{Glory To The Newborn King Printable Here}

 I also wanted find a way to display all of the Christmas cards we get. I didn't just want to stick them on the side of the refrigerator like I've done before, so I decided to use this blue shutter I have in our kitchen {from Homegoods}.
To "Christmasfy" it I just took some red twine and little silver ornaments and strung it across the top. Then I just hung the cards with clothes pins. I love having a special spot for our cards. Now when I get a new one I'm so excited to go hang it.
{P.S..these pictures were taken about 2 weeks ago, so if you've sent me a card since then, I promise it's up there now ;)}

Our tree started out really uniform and specific when we first got married. With all kinds of glass ornaments in different colors. And then kids grew up and got involved and I started getting roped into buying things like Justin Beiber ornaments for my 4 year old and now it is, what I would call "eclectic." 

And I love it. I love bringing out our ornaments from each year. We did this when I was younger- bought an ornament each year, and now I do it with our kids. Last year Mia's was a pink glass tennis shoe because she started walking on Christmas Eve last year, wearing little pink adidas. I love having little memories like that sprinkled through out tree. 

One of my favorite spots is our mantle. I love seeing those 5 stockings hanging there. It just does something to my heart.   

I carried the decor into almost every room of our house. The kids have trees in their rooms, and I strung some white lights in the playroom along with this Merry Christmas banner I got at Target this year.  

Of everything though, my most favorite thing has to be walking through our front door at night. You can see the tree perfectly as you walk up and the lit garland around the door makes it all look so inviting. 

That is what I always hope for my home, no matter what time of year it is...for people to feel invited and welcomed and for my family to always feel like they have a safe, comfortable place to call their home.  

We have a really well known mexican restaurant here in San Antonio that keeps their Christmas decor up all year round. I'd feel tempted to do the same except I know I'd go crazy mid January when my cleaning/decluttering/redecorating frenzy kicks in.  
So I'll just enjoy it for now.

How long do you keep your Christmas decor up?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner

Winner of the Red Barn Candle Company Giveaway is.....

Kathleen Shinn 
"All done with the christmas shopping. Feels good to be able to sit back and relax."

Congrats Kathleen & Email me asap with your shipping info :) 

A little post with pics of our holiday home decor will be up soon! 
I can not believe that Christmas is only 5 days away!!!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Barn Candle Company {Giveaway}

It's no secret that I'm a bit candle obsessed. 
I love candles. I have one {sometimes two, or three} burning practically 24/7.  But I'm picky too. I like my candles to smell up my house, but not be overwhelming.
Lately I find myself drawn more to lighter scents. Ones that aren't overwhelming but you can still smell them. My absolute favorite, favorite right now is "buttermint" by a company called  
Red Barn Candle Company

While it smells holiday-ish and festive, it also smells really fresh and light. And it stays smelling for hours and hours.  What I love too is that I can light it down stairs and smell it upstairs. This is always an indicator of a good candle to me. 
I'm telling you... Whatever Amanda does over at Red Barn is magic. I have literally been burning her candles every single day because they are so amazing. I'm not exaggerating.  

She has a few other holiday scents right now that I love. Including Christmas Tree, which is perfect for us because we don't have a real tree, but we get the same benefits of the smell of a real one. All of her candles are triple scented, which probably has to do with how long they last. Also, did I mention they come in a cute mason jar too?

Amanda is generously offering to give THREE of her 8 oz mason jar holiday scents to one of you! Along with the 3 candles, you will get 3 little tarts that you can burn in a warmer. 

Winner will get 3 candles:
Christmas Cider, Christmas Spice, Christmas Tree 
and 3 tarts:
Christmas Cider, Christmas Tree, Cocoa Sleigh Ride  

To Enter:
Mandatory Entry:
Follow Amanda at Red Barn Candle Company via Google Friend Connect for one entry. 
For a second extra entry, "like"the Red Barn Candle Company on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you do, for one entry.

For a third entry, tell me...are you done with all of your Christmas shopping? Did you get it done early, or are you waiting till the last minute? For the first time ever, I am practically done. Usually I wait until the last minute! Feels good! But also kind of strange...

Leave a seperate comment for each entry.

*Winner will be drawn and announced this Thursday 12/19
If you are the winner, please be sure to contact me right away, so we can get your info and Amanda can get the candles out to you before Friday! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fill Our Hearts.

Like so many others, my heart has been aching since Friday.
I've watched and listened as people process and deal with what happened, in their own way.
Some would rather not talk or hear about it. Some, like myself want to know every detail.

What I have to remind myself is that everyone processes and deals in their own way. But honestly, it's hard for me to understand those who want to turn away from hearing or seeing the stories.

We celebrated Asher's 7th birthday last night. And as I watched him sleep last night, snuggled up to Bella in our bed. I couldn't help thinking about those precious 20, 6 and 7 year old's who's  lives were taken way too early.
I want to know their stories. I want to see their faces.

Is it hard to? Yes. Does it hurt and make me so incredibly sad? Yes.
But I'm ok with that. In fact I want to feel those emotions. Allow them to take over my heart and life for just a little bit.
I feel like my short term discomfort is worth it. I feel like being uncomfortable and shedding tears for 26 lives that were lost, is the least of what I can do.

I feel like if more people were willing to be uncomfortable for the loss and sorrow of others, the suffering....then maybe our world would be different.
Turning the news off, choosing not to doesn't change whats happened. It doesn't make it all go away.
We can live in our perfect worlds, comfortable and safe. We can stay in the comfort zones of our emotions and not allow ourselves to feel things too deeply.
But it doesn't change the reality of what is really happening.

I know that I can't change whats happened. I know that I can't make it all go away.
I have no control over things. I can't even control what happens to my own children every second of the day. I can't keep Asher's feelings from being hurt, or Bella's heart from being broken one day, or Mia from crying some tears of sadness.
I can't always keep my kids safe and happy. I just can't. As much as I want to keep them close and safe with me always. I can't. It's not the world we live in.
So many parents, including myself, struggled with sending our kids off to school today.
And many, including myself, took them out earlier than normal on Friday.

We can shield them and protect them and guard them from the details that are too much, but the reality is that we can't keep them in the safety of our 4 walls forever.

And I'm not sure I want to.
Control and regulations and restrictions and rules.....I don't think they are the answer.
I don't think they will change our world the way it needs.

When people become so uncomfortable that they have no other choice than to do something...
I think this is how people change. How then, the world can change.

And what I think is missing is compassion and love.
One of my favorite songs we sing at church says-
"Fill our hearts with your compassion, let our love be active here
Fill our hearts with your compassion...let our love be real"

This is my hearts cry.

As I laid in bed Friday night, practically crying myself to sleep, I was surprised by my own tears.
Those weren't my children. Mine are safe in their beds. Healthy and safe.
It doesn't affect me personally.

But I couldn't help crying...
For the children.
For the families.
For the world we live in and it's sadness and sorrow.
Even for the man who caused it all.

I can not help but wonder, who he was.
I in no way want to celebritze the man. I would rather his name not be known at all.
But, I want to know who he was. Inside. His heart struggles and his life story and why he did what he did.
The why will never be good. We will never be happy with the why. 
It could never ever be good enough.
But I still want to know why. 
I want to know if he felt alone in a world that was closing the doors to their safe 4 walls.
A world so consumed with blocking out the hurt and the sadness and the pain that they couldn't see the people right in front of them....crying out, hurting and lost.

I in no way excuse what this man did. I think he deserves exactly where he is right now.
I think he is an awful person who doesn't even deserve to be talked about.

But what about before.
I can't help wondering what if someone had caught it before.
Caught the hurt and the anger.

We can't change what happened on friday.
But what I choose to do is live with an open heart, to see those around me. To live with joy and gratitude...every single day.
To smile, and compliment, and hold doors open, and let them go in front of ask how they are, how their day is....To care.
And I choose to teach my children to do the same.
To feel the pain and compassion for the sadness in this world. To open their eyes to it, instead of tuck them away safely.
I can guard them from details that are too much, but I think they should know that the hurt and anger of one man, caused tragedy for so many others.

I think they should feel and be aware..
And they {we} should allow those feelings to fuel a passion so deep and real, it can't be consumed.

That, I think, is what will change this world.

I will admit my instinct was to protect and shield and guard and huddle them in close so I could see them all in front of me. Safe.
Fear says that is the answer.
But it isn't.
And closing my eyes to the stories and the details isn't either. 
These stories, no matter how hard to hear, always offer hope. On the other side of the sadness, the tragedy and the sorrow-- there is always, always hope.  
I know this.

I didn't need a tragedy like what happened on Friday to remind me how precious my 3 children are. What a gift their lives are. 
Because I already know. 
I would never wish the sadness and sorrow I've experienced on anyone else, yet I am thankful for how it changed me.
If only we would all allow the hurt and pain of others, to seep in so deep it changed us too...
Maybe our world would be different.

Cherish your children. Hold them close. 
Hug them longer and kiss their cheeks as much as you can. 
Be thankful for this very moment, and every single one after. 
Let them see you smile and filled with joy. Laugh at silly things and dance in the aisles of Target....

But don't shield them from the tears that fall for the loss of 26 others. 
Teach them and show them compassion.
To feel, and to hear, and to see....
And then have the courage to send them out to be a light in this dark world.
Because it needs them. 

"We are the change the world is waiting for... we've got a love the world is desperate for"


Thursday, December 13, 2012

One Last Hoorah

I wanted to say a quick thank you to all of you that have supported my shop this year. It has been such a blessing for my family and I
I have so enjoyed evolving and creating and growing with my shop and having you along for the ride!
I am looking forward to what the new year will bring as I continue taking steps forward with it.

Tomorrow, Friday December 14th, will be the last day to place an order and receive it in time for Christmas. I have updated the shop to reflect items that are in stock and ready to ship! 
All orders will ship by {or before} December 19th. 
After this day, I will be going on a bit of a vaca until after the New Year! 

Also as one last little hoorah, 
use code "merry" for 20% off today and tomorrow! 
Just enter that code at checkout. 
Start shopping here!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Busy-ness" & etc.

Something I've learned about blogging....Don't take yourself too seriously. 
In general, this isn't an issue for me. I'm all about not taking life too serious. Or myself for that matter. 
As it is, life can be pretty serious at times on its own. Why make it worse? I always wonder why people like to add to the drama and difficulty of life by taking life and themselves way too seriously.  
I'm going off on a tangent now. 

My point is that what I've learned with this blog, is that y'all {you sweet people who read my blog} are not looking for an excuse or a reason every time I'm away from my blog for a little while. Cause you get it. It's life. Seasons come where it's not easy to sit long enough at my computer to type out a post that makes sense. And at this moment I cant promise that this one will even make sense anyway, but here I am. 

I've made this mistake before and I see it happen often. I'm trying not to get caught up in it this holiday season.....the Busy-ness.

You know how it goes. You run into someone you haven't seen in a while, or even someone you have, doesn't matter. Could even be the girl at Sonic...and she asks how you are and you sigh a big sigh and say "so busy"
You start listing off reasons you're "so busy" as if it's a badge of honor. The more busy we are the more important we must be right? 
Um false actually. 
Cause how many of those things making you "busy" are actually supposed to be there, and how many did you just add on yourself?

There is a natural busy-ness we all have, a good busy. And then there is one we put on ourselves. 
It's something I'm working on. And I have a feeling many of you are too. I can't say for sure what the details are for you, but for me it's saying "no" to more. To not feeling the need to defend, or apologize or make excuses for the "no." And just leaving it at that.

Thats big for me cause I always have to give an explanation with everything. Oh Lord it's a down fall of mine. 
Waiter: "would you like dessert"
Me: No thank you, not because I don't want it, cause it all looks so good, but because I'm just too full and I really shouldn't anyway cause I had a bunch of cookies earlier and...."
Waiter: already walking away.
Like he really needed an explanation, right?

And yet I always feel the need to give one. In any given scenario. 
Including my "busy-ness."

But the thing is, everyone is busy right now. Everyone is rushing around with holiday shopping or parties, or just with their family. Everyone is in a season of busy.
And that's ok. This is a good season. No excuses or apologies or lists needed, right?

See, you understand. That's why I love you. 

Jumping subjects....I turned 30 on Friday. 
I literally stayed awake right up until the last minute of being 29. I watched Nashville on Hulu {tell me you are watching that show too? I love it!} and my beloved Ben & Jerry's blueberry frozen greek yogurt. 
Everyone else in my house was sawing logs. Including Brandon.  I half way expected balloons or confetti to fall from the sky at midnight, but it didn't happen. I turned to tell him "I'm 30!" and he responded with what I believe may have been a word or two in his half awake stupor....
He made up for it the next day by making me homemade waffles.  There was no confetti but there was syrup.

I really didn't think that turning 30 would be any big thing. But for some reason I found myself feeling a little nostalgic for my 20's. I've grown attached to them you know....10 years together and all. 
We went through a lot together.
I met Brandon when I was 19, we married at 21, Moved to Hawaii and back at 22, I had Asher at 23 and the list goes on. A lot happened in my 20's. A lot that totally transformed me and changed me. 
Although there was some sadness in those 10 years, there was a lot of happy. 
A lot. 

So on the night we celebrated and I was surrounded by my friends and family and asked to give a little "speech" -all I could think about and remember were the happy. And I just felt so grateful. And excited for whats to come. Because surely it must be good.
I feel like my 20's were a time of forming a foundation for what my 30's will bring. 
And thats exciting. 

However, being a mom of 3 kids at the age of 29 doesn't sound so bad. But being mom of 3 and 30 sounds.....dare I say it...old.
I'm embracing it though. Don't get mad at me all you 30's and above. I'm not saying you're old, I'm just saying that it sounds so different to me than being 20 something. 
Now I know why my mom always told people she was 29 and holding. 
Also I have major major baby fever and am aching for our next one. We have plans. But being plans, they also include waiting and waiting is hard for me. 
I hate waiting. 
Probably why God is making me do it. 

On that note. I really hope you are enjoying your holidays. In the midst of the "busy" I hope you are taking time to stop. To be there--wherever you are. 
During seasons like this--"busy" ones, I am reminded even more how important it is to mindfully stop. Take in the moments and be glad for the now.
It kind of, in a way, makes time stop for just a little bit. 

This was a rambled post. I apologize. Blame it on the extra strong coffee I made this morning. 
Also, I will be back with a little "holiday home tour" of our house decorated for the holidays. Nothing fancy, but I do love me some holiday decor, don't you?

Love you all. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mia's 2nd Birthday

We celebrated Mia's birthday a little earlier than her actual birthday. It was a perfect afternoon with just a few close friends and family. There was lots of Dora, fruit snacks, bubbles, dancing, drawing...
 All of Mia's fav's.

I wanted to keep it super simple, but still thoughtful and cute for Mia. I made her a banner and a few little special touches. But I wanted to focus mainly on the things she loves. And I think it turned out pretty perfect for our Mia girl.

This past Thursday night was her actual birthday. We got her a birthday donut and sang her happy birthday. The girl loves her some donuts. After the happy birthday song she wanted to sing Jesus Loves Me. I sing it to her every night when I rock her to sleep and to hear her sing it for herself,  
absolutely melts me. 

 {also she picked out her bow and insisted on wearing it, who was I to tell the girl no}

My sweet newborn is a toddler now.
She is talking in full sentences. She calls Bella "sisty." She cries when Brandon leaves in the mornings. She asks for Asher as soon as she wakes up. And she is still joined to my hip.
Safe to say we are all still as wrapped around her little finger as we were the day she was born.

Happy Birthday sweet Mia girl. Your joy is contagious. You have our hearts and always will.