Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Cheer

For so many people {myself included} the holidays are a time when I struggle to be happy. 
Happiness is something that comes in so many forms- 
and really is a skill. 

Recently I heard someone say- "I hate Christmas. Everyone is so grumpy, focused on money, and it is always so disappointing."

It was one of those times when my heart ached. Ached because I too have been guilty of that in the past. I can recall a few Christmases that were sad, disappointing, and overall lame. 

And when I heard someone else say what I too had thought- it all hit me. 
There was nobody but myself that made Christmas that way. 
Christmas is a time for families to gather together. For quality time to be spent, for memories to be made. For parties and treats. For giving and getting presents. For everyone's hearts and minds to be focusing on the Savior. On His birth. On His life. On our relationship with Him. How in the world can that be sad? 

This year I decided that I would make Christmas a happy time. I began by decorating our house- to look and feel festive- to help remind myself of the season. 
We read scriptures every night about the life of Jesus Christ. We talked about His life, and how we could become more like Him. We made treats and delivered them to our friends. We went and drove through the neighborhoods and ooed and ahhhed as we saw all the lights. We looked for meaningful ways to serve other people and collected them on our service tree. We talked and taught Parker about the Savior. I bore my testimony of the Savior to him.

I haven't always had the best Christmases. I have been sort of a scrooge in the past.
But when I focus more on Christ and less on gifts- Christmas really is my favorite holiday. I love spending time with my family. Even when it's just the three of us- I really love spending time and making memories with my little family- it's even better when we can spend time with even more family.

I have decided what my goals are for next year and I'm so exited to share them with you. Have you started to think about your goals for next year?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not Just a Diaper Rash

{Beware folks. We're talkin' about bums here}

So PK got a bum rash. And to be completely explicit- 
it wasn't your ordinary rash. 

It was scabby, and bloody, and red--- all around.
It was BAD. 
 I tried creams, I bathed him, I let him run around with no diaper, I changed his diaper all. the. time. 
{Can you imagine a toddler with no diaper? It was FUN, let me tell ya}

He had no acidic foods, he had no new foods, I even considered an iodine bath after hearing that worked for my cousin.... 

and then- I did what any new mom would do. I broke down and called my grandma. 
For those of you who don't know- my grandma lives in my hometown so I grew up having her around. My grandma is awesome. I mean- my grandma is better than your grandma. 
{Yes, I did just say that!}

So what did she tell me to do? 
Use bag balm. This stuff was AMAZING! 
Even when he got diarrhea- which is every mom's worst nightmare- it prevailed! 
Bum rash- you've met your match. HA. 

Now that the rash is gone- and we're back to just standard diaper changes- I'm starting to feel pretty confident. I mean- if I can get rid of that bad of a diaper rash- I can do anything, right? 

I'm thinkin' potty training, back talking, toddler bed-- all those things I used to be scared of-- suddenly seem like cake. A walk in the park. NBD. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Christmas! Everywhere we go! Oh man, it does- for real! :)
{It's cold, my skin is dry and cracked, and the season-long runny nose has started!
Just kidding! I love this season! 
It's beautiful out, people are generally friendlier, and the magical spirit in the air is very contagious. 

We started decorating Thanksgiving Day and I still make changes daily. 
Who would have thunk that a 16 month old boy does not do well with glass and baubles everywhere? Apparently not me because I have had to redo our decorations to make them baby proof-
oh, probably 3 times and counting.
Having a toddler really is a totally different mindset. 
Considering PK has been toddling for a few months now- you'd t hink I would have known I guess I'm just a little s.l.o.w.
So here is our house in varying stages of being decorated: 
 The outside is pretty basic. I think I might put lights up in the windows and maybe some red bows in the big bush- but I don't really know.

I never really know what to do with this window- and it always ends up being an after thought. After taking this picture I've decided it definitely needs some sprucing so I think I will hang all the Christmas cards we get around the frame {BTW I totally need to get on that!}
This is a garage sale find- that Jed thought was RIDICULOUS in the middle of the summer. I think it looks cute- so there! It's a fun little countdown with a star that you move each day. I think PK will have fun with this next year- but for now Jed and I take turns doing it. Also- the cute Santa garland my grandma gave me last year or the year before. It's a little different and I totally love it! 
 This is the top of our piano. We moved it to a different corner to make room for our tree. I love the little nativity I found at Savers for a few bucks. It is a nice nativity and a special part of our decor. As a side note- see that cute poinsettia?! .99 cents on Black Friday baby. Oh, and yes- that is a picture of young Jed and I. (We have one 4x6 picture of our family the day PK was born- posted in his bedroom. I hope we can get some pictures printed soon of our family- *hint* hint* Jed (Christmas list!))
 I don't know if I will ever have book shelves in my house. Okay- I probably will- but decorating this section of my house is  the worst. I never like the way it looks but give up after the 5th try. This time I just did it once and was done with it- aside from moving the glass stuff high. yeah- go me. :)
  My aunt gave me a few homes from her Christmas village and I think they are cute. I don't know if I will add to this village or not- but I like the festive look they have. My SIL made us the nativity on blocks last Christmas and I have had SOO many compliments on them {Go Alisha!} And as a bonus- it's a Christmas decor item PK can play with. {Of course he would rather play with hanging lights or candles!}
This is our "giving tree." Jed and I asked around and got some ideas for fun traditions and this was something we created after hearing some of them.  We are trying to fill the tree with acts of service. I'm excited for when our children are older and get excited to make cookies or babysit or shovel driveways. For now Jed and I try and teach PK about service during FHE and by example. We've had many opportunities to serve and are trying to recognize service opportunities when they come. Then, on Christmas Eve we'll gather the kiddos around (4 if you ask me and 35 if you ask Jed) and read the Christmas story from the Bible. Then we will explain that Christ was the perfect example of charity and service to those around him and for all mankind. This is a fun tradition- one that I am looking forward to continuing.




Next is our mantel. Usually I love this way it looks- it is a beautiful to mantel- so it's not too hard to dress up. I don't really like the way it turned out- I think it's a lot going on without anything holding it all together. Here she is anyways:





 I made the white glass vases using three different techniques. One I simply painted, another one has white paint on the inside of the glass (where i poured the paint in the vase and swirled it around to get an even coating), and then another one started out having the paint on the inside but then I sprayed adhesive and rolled it around in Epsom salt to make it look like snow. 

I made the sign by painting a piece of wood, printing out the text, tracing the paper with a ball point pen, and then filling in the letters with paint. A little time consuming- but that's what one does without a Silhouette.

Usually the tree is the show stopper. Ours was another garage sale find- and will not be joining us in our next move. It is not stable, is very...sparse, and has absolutely no character. It was fun to decorate anyways! I made the snowflakes using painted Popsicle sticks and paint- it was super quick with big impact- my kind of craft.

So there it is. Oh- I don't have a picture of our mistletoe- but we have two so... beware! :) Are you all decorated for the holidays? It's so fun to be festive and it really does lighten the mood with the house all decked out!

{This might be my longest post- as it should be!}