A New House Means More Trees!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Have I mentioned that we moved? Well, we did. You see, we traveled or had family in town 22 out of 30 days in November, plus had Harvest of Talents, Beckett's birthday, and three Thanksgivings. So we thought it would be a good month to also pack and clean one house and re-establish ourselves in another. Ha! I'm being sarcastic, if you're not picking it up, but actually I'm proud of our little family for taking it all in stride. I told my roommates (my grad school roommates, to be clear, who I still just call "my roommates") that at this point, our lives are so crazy all the time that throwing in a move doesn't even seem out of the ordinary. It truly just felt like, "just another day in the life..." This is our fifth house in five years of marriage. We've got this.

We are still in East Tennessee though! We moved from a tiny, temporary place to a larger home we can be more comfortable in for all of next year. Which brings me to today's point. NOW WE HAVE ROOM FOR MORE TREES!! 

Tree number one went up last night! Because I'm a big fan of the classy, white lights, Brian challenged me to create a tree with colorful lights. I think he forgot that I did so two years ago, but I'm always up for a challenge! Especially one that means designing a new tree! Because more than half of our belongings are still in STL, we picked out a small tree and a few little items to decorate it. 

The new house has an eat in kitchen, and we don't have enough furniture for two dining areas, so we decided to turn the carpeted formal dining room into a Kids Library. SWOON. [By the way. WHY do people put carpet in dining rooms?? These people obviously don't have children and prefer their chairs don't slide in and out easily. Stop the madness.] This little tree made its home in this little library and I am just in love. 

Of course, we put the kids in Christmas jammies and worked on it together. Kind of. Beckett was entertained for a little while and interested in learning how to hang the ornaments. His sweet personality makes my heart swell. 

Charlie, on the other hand, played the role of tree un-doer. She started out the evening by unraveling all of my glittery purple tulle, spreading glitter like Christmas cheer. 

Then she exploded her diaper, ruining her jammies in the process, and then ran away during the diaper change, which resulted in this gem. 

Contrary to what this picture seems to show, she is actually taking the tree apart. Thank you, Charlie. This should be a fun month of chasing her away from trees. 

We love how this sweet little tree turned out and are excited to make this new house [yet another] home!

A Christmas Excursion in Chicago!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Anybody else obsessed with Christmas in the city?! Because I'm SWOONING. Tonight was my first chance to take my favorite littles into one of my favorite cities in the wooorld to see the Christmas goodness. The last couple of years have been too bitterly cold. But tonight was a PERFECT balance of just cold enough to warrant bundling but not cold enough to be uncomfortable. Thank you, Mother Nature. [Don't mind my kids. They just woke up!]

Tonight Nana, Papa, the kiddos, and I hauled into the city for a quick-ish Christmas excursion. Generally, I would take the train into the city but kids warrant convenience so we drove. Best decision ever. We parked at millennial park, so that it could first be our first and last stop! 
The tree lighting was Saturday but we decided to skip the madness and wait until today. Hello, Christmas tree! 

Then we shuffled down to Macy's. Because it's what Christmas dreams are made of. The window displays seem straight out of every amazing Christmas movie and Christmas Lane reminds me of the Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge. Love. 

Guys. I knew my daughter and I were a lot alike but her enthrallment (?) with the Christmas displays made my heart swell. I wish you could hear her high pitched musings. She was even often better behaved than her brother. That's unusual in our world. 

Beckett was less impressed and has been working on living up to the reputations of 3-year olds everywhere, so we got a lot of this. 

He did find a few things to amuse him, though. They sat in the Macy's floor for a while after Papa introduced him to these cutie creatures. Smart man. Gave me a second to take in the ornament overwhelm. 

After Macy's, we headed to Giordanno's. Because it's Chicago. Of course we didn't think about the 45 minute wait for pizza, so that experience mostly consisted of finding new ways to entertain two toddlers, but it was totally worth it. 

On the walk back, we took in the magic of the city lights and checked out the tree all lit up in the dark. Figures we would haul all the way down to the city to see one single tree and then forget to take photos of it, though! It was a quick trip, but it made for a very fun an magical afternoon!

This is Three

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Three years ago yesterday, I went into labor. Fourteen hours, an amazing epidural, a few scary moments (including my husband passing out), and a last minute c-section later, Beckett came into the world. BEST. DAY. EVER. [Do yourself a favor and reread that entertaining story here.]

Today, that dream baby turns THREE YEARS OLD. Throughout each new stage, I've felt, "this age is definitely my favorite" and I still feel that way about this sweet, brilliant toddler. Sometimes I just stare at him (any other mommies out there?). I know a lot of people (including me) see God in nature. But boy, spending time with a growing toddler has completely magnified my awe in Him. It's AMAZING to see their little brains explore and learn and their little hearts swell and exude compassion and generosity. I'm a total ball of awe, guys.

Initially, in true birthday fashion and in an attempt to preserve memories, I thought I'd do a cutesie countdown of the top ten things to know about Beckett. But the baby sister of the house is expressing in no uncertain terms that I don't have time for that, so instead we get the quick version:

He's very smart, very affectionate, and crazy independent. [He can dress himself, get his own snacks, and rocks at helping around the house.] He loves food, especially trail mix, shrimp, and cheese sticks. He just recently started sleeping through the night and took over a year to potty train but is FINALLY GETTING IT. He loves monster trucks on you tube, reading books, and I don't think he could ever get tired of Hot Wheels. He's amazing with his baby sister. He tries hard to be patient, gentle, and loving. I could just watch them forever.

His sippy cup is like his security blanket and goes with him everywhere. He prefers not to wear pants or shoes (but really, who doesn't). He loves slides, Taylor Swift, and counting. And he danced as we sang him "happy birthday." He's my favorite little boy in the world, and I'm so grateful to call him mine. Happy birthday, Beckett Keith! Welcome to THREE!

Credit for these adorable pics goes to B Oakes Photography!

Beckett's Campfire Third Birthday Party!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One week from today, Beckett will turn THREE. Three, guys! THREE. It has become readily apparent recently that I have an almost three year old. Not only is he becoming more vehement in expressing his opinions, but he is also becoming more independent, more aware of others' needs, and a LOT more fun to interact with! This teeny tiny human is AMAZING, and I'm so grateful he's mine.

This week, my baby brother & SIL came into town from Dallas, which created the perfect excuse to celebrate Beckett's birthday early! WOO!

Brian and I did a big bash for Beckett's first birthday, and recently had a fabulous garden party for Charlie's first birthday. However, we both agree that large parties are not something we're interested in doing every year of the kiddos' lives. So for the in-between-parties years, we'll have a small family gathering to celebrate another year. And we LOVE IT.

Of course, that doesn't mean we skimp on the party-factor. I still love cuteness. Last year, Beckett had a "things that go" party. This year, we decided the amazing fall weather was a great opportunity for a campfire party! It was perfect.

We kept it super simple by decorating with stuff we already had, and serving all of Beckett's favorite foods, with one caveat: He requested steak at his birthday dinner, but with a dozen hungry mouths to serve, we went with hot dogs -- a close second in the hierarchy of meat favorites. Uncle Devin baked cupcakes, I decorated them, and VOILA, we've got a party!

With so many family members in town (and with Nana & Papa faithfully shipping gifts), there was definitely no shortage of present to open. He is one loved (spoiled) little boy!

Mom & Dad decided this year Beckett would get a bike for his birthday. So after most of his other gifts were open, Dad wheeled it around the corner. Of course, Beckett was busy reading his new books so he wasn't immediately interested. HA! He's totally his mother's child. :)

Once dad pointed out "bike" in his new dictionary, Beckett jumped up to check out his own. I'm not even kidding. These are actually photos of Dad pointing out "bike" in the dictionary and Beckett's surprised & excited face when he connect the photo to his real life bike.

Don't let the pictures fool you. He's still a bit intimidated by his new adventure, and he obviously has some growing to do before it fits him well. We're hoping that by spring when it's time to be outside, he'll be ready to go!

Once presents were done, we sang Happy Birthday (while Beckett danced & clapped), ate cake, and hung out around the fire. It was a very enjoyable and mostly relaxing evening (considering neither of my kids napped). Thank you to our family who came over! We love you. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUCK!!!

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