FIFTY-TWOsie aka ONE YEARsie

One year ago today, at exactly 9:38 am, a beautifully magnificent, true blessing from God, albeit totally slimy, baby girl was born. She was absolutely perfect and completely filled the hearts of her parents in a way they never thought possible. Here she is today.

52 weeks

What a goof ball. This little stinker is still filling our hearts with more joy, laughter, and fun than we could have ever imagined. On the one hand it feels like she’s been here much more than just a year, and on the other it’s hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly. Last night as we were going to bed my mom {Gammie and Granddaddy are visiting!} looked at Z and said, “Now don’t come waking me up at midnight telling me it’s time to go to the hospital.” Crazy. Totally, insanely, unbelievable crazy, that it was a full 365 days ago that we took the first step on that final stretch to becoming parents.  {Yes, I realize I’ve already linked to Keelin’s birth story twice and we’re only about 180 words into the post. I can’t promise you won’t see another link before you’re finished reading. If you are new to the blog and haven’t read it yet, please feel free. It was an experience I will never forget and means enough to me that I’m proud to share it with you all}.  I’ve learned more in the last year than I ever imagined. From my faith and patience, to understanding more about myself and my dreams, I can honestly say that 2012 {and 4 1/2 days in 2011} has given me more tid bits of knowledge and full-on slaps to the face than the 24 years before it combined. People talk about having calling to certain careers and paths, this is my calling. Mommyhood. I feel completely undeserving, especially when this sweet and innocent little person runs at me with her arms held out and buries her head in my unacceptably bony shoulder, but so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be a mother. Not just a mother, her mother.

Alright enough reminiscing {see… gotcha again!}… this is STILL a weekly onesie post after all. The final weekly onesie post, to be more specific!

This has been a fantastic week filled with fun, family, traditions, and toys! Christmas {all 3-parts of it} was absolutely wonderful and Keelin has had a blast. We woke up Christmas morning and celebrated the holiday with just the three of us. It was quiet, and quaint, and simply wonderful. Keelin wasn’t all that interested in unwrapping her presents until we got to her EleFUN ball popper! As soon as she got a peek of it from behind the wrapping paper she perked right up and went to town trying to free it from the gift wrap shackles. Once Z and I figured out how to put the thing together {seriously Playskool} it was on like Donkey Kong. Alright, it wasn’t THAT exciting, but she did pick up on the fact that pushing the giant red button would result in fun elephant noises, music, and a rainbow of flying plastic balls. Fun city people! After our little family celebration Z had to go to work and sing to two PACKED houses {who knew that many people would be at the aquarium on Christmas day!} but the Bean and I enjoyed the afternoon together picking up, lounging around, and playing with our toys. The hubs got me a HOT PINK forever lazy… so it was quite the comfy day. Once he returned home it was off to Go Go and Grandpa Gizmo’s house for Christmas part deux. More gifts, more food, more family, more fun. Keelin even took a ride on her new rocking horse elephant.  Yes, rocking ELEPHANT. It’s amazing. She spent the majority of the night walking back and forth over the “speed bump” in the floor {where the kitchen turns into the living room} and trying to snatch my glass of Bailey’s. She was one tuckered out little lady.

This morning we both slept in {poor Z had to get up early for a 4-show day at work} and spent the majority of the day prepping for Gammie and Granddaddy’s visit! Clean house, organized {mostly} guest room closet, our LAST onesie pic snapped *tear*, cookies displayed in an overly inviting manner… please resist the urge to come hang at my house. My parents arrived in the early evening and Christmas part 3 commenced. MORE gifts… of which she was completely interested in… more food, a roaring fire, farting boston terriers, lots of laughs, and a ton of love. Doesn’t get much better than this… except I would have liked to exchange the farting boston terriers for my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Farting or not… they were are missed. Last year really spoiled us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Keelin’s birthday with some close family and friends {for which I am way behind in preparing for… operation party planning is officially ON} and I’m hoping my heart can handle more of these wonderful blessings. I’ve always loved this time of year but seriously… I’m swelling over here. :)

Happy Birthday beautiful girl. You have blessed our lives in more ways that you will ever know!
We had THE MOST FUN during this last photo shoot, and although most of them turned out blurry, there’s no denying Keelin had as much fun as I did. Here are a few favorites from today… and then a year comparison of newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month pics. Don’t forget to check out the weekly onesie page to look back at the full year’s worth of weekly pictures. I will miss scanning through all the photos from each shoot but I have to admit it will be nice not having to make sure her fabric and white onesies are prepped and ready each week. Farewell weekly photoshoots.

52_week_fun

 

year_progressionUntil next time…

 

The Santa Struggle

Disclaimer… This post may or may not question the existence of a magical man in a red suit who shows up on Christmas eve and eats all your cookies. If your kids like to read over your shoulder… you may want to kick them out of the room.

There are some things that I just didn’t think about when we found out we were going to be parents. Obviously there was plenty of excitement and uncertainty, thoughts about finances, who he/she was going to look like, and how different our lives are going to be… that’s all to be expected. But the one thing that I didn’t really think about was what kind of a role Santa would play in my kids’ childhood. I know some moms-to-be think about these kinds of things but to be totally honest it never really crossed my mind until recently when I started seeing some of my mommy-friends posting photos on Facebook of their little one’s sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.

This time last year the hubs and I obviously weren’t thinking about whether or not we were going to make it to see Santa… considering our main thoughts were something closer to “get OUT of my bellay!” But now that we celebrating our first Christmas as a family of 3, we’ve got to ask ourselves if we’re going to ‘play along’ with the mystery of Santa Claus or live the next years of our lives braced for the phone calls and hate emails from parents of classmates who “heard from the Pierce child” that Santa isn’t real. Eeep!

First we looked at how much of a roll Santa played in our own childhoods.

I have an utterly terrible memory {seriously I think sometime between high school and 2012 I must have run into an MIB who totally flashy-thinged me because my childhood recollection is toast} but I do recall being really excited when ‘Santa’ brought me that hot pink Barbie camper with “working” grill and  fold out cabana. It was only later that I learned my mother spend hours putting that piece of crap together while Santa was nowhere to be found. What’s up with that Claus? Anyway. My brother and I did the sit on Santa’s lap thing a few times… definitely not every year. And I don’t even really remember the time when I ‘learned’ that Santa wasn’t real… I don’t know if it was something I learned or just realized. I think my parents had fun with it and let us enjoy the magic of it all but they were always very clear on the real meaning of Christmas, both in the biblical sense and in terms of the holiday NOT being about what presence we got. So if I can’t say that Santa’s ‘existence’ really had that great of an effect on my life, should it be that important that my kids believe in him at all? Ponder, ponder, ponder.

As for Z’s upbringing, his parents were very upfront with he and his brother about Santa not being real. No shenanigans in that family {and coming from two mimes, that says a lot!}. They didn’t want either of them expecting that some fat man in a velour suit was going to get them exactly what they wanted for Christmas and, much like my parents, really strived to make sure they understood the real reason to celebrate – the birth of Christ. They did make sure to tell both of them not to go off and spoil it for the other kids who did believe… which Z ignored on a number of occasions. Yeah, he was THAT KID.

So… what does a Christian {and Catholic to boot} family, who grew up with slightly different Santa experiences, who want to make sure they maintain the true spirit of Christmas for their children, while still having fun DO when it comes to Jolly Old St. Nick?

YOU TELL ME! We’re still figuring out the details. It’s highly unlikely that Keelin will even remember this Christmas so we’ve got some time to finalize our Santa-Plan but here’s what we’ve got so far…

#1 at Christmas for us is, without a doubt, understanding our faith’s reason for celebrating. We are Christians, we believe in the miracle birth of Christ, we use Christmas to celebrate that event. Plain and simple, that is what Christmas is about for us. As long as our kids understand that, you could say that the rest is just extra fun stuff, right?

I think the story of Santa Claus, with the reindeer and the sled and the Ho’s {I mean…}, and the big-fat-jelly-belly, is sweet and totally fine to incorporate into a child’s Christmas experience. I STILL love reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, signing “From Santa” on gifts, and watching all the fun Santa-Christmas movies. It’s festive, spirited, light-hearted, and FUN. We’re definitely going to make sure our kids know the original story of St. Nicholas too – where the common story of Santa Claus is said to have originated. There is far too much Santa out in the world to try to ignore it all together. Plus, how lame would that be?!

I DON’T think the idea of Santa should be used as a way to make kids behave. It’s one thing to joke about getting coal in your stocking if your kids are being particularly pesky {I still do that with friends and family today} but I’ve been witness to a mother GOING OFF on her kid mid-supermarket telling them with all sincerity {and intent to frighten} that Santa is not going to bring them ANYTHING because of their awful behavior. Seriously I think I saw steam coming out of her ears and her eyes were definitely set to LASER mode. I’ll admit her kid was being  a little demon but I want my children to behave properly because they know it’s the right way to act, not because I threaten them with fewer toys at Christmas. Just doesn’t seem right. And if Santa were real I don’t think he would appreciate you making him out to be the bad guy like that. Tisk.

So do we say, “Hey kids… there’s this guy named Santa Claus we’d like you to know about. The story books say he shimmy’s down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to every little girl and boy. He’ also has magical flying reindeer, and perfect no-blush-necessary cheeks. He’s not real, even though some children think he is, so just go along with it when they talk about him at school, and know that it’s all in fun when you come back home. Ok?”  Maybe. It’s upfront, simply put, lets them know we’re all about enjoying the legend for the STORY that it is, but set on knowing the truth from the get-go.

At the end of the day as long as my kids know the real meaning of Christmas, and don’t go around being the jerks that spoil the ‘magic’ for everyone else, I don’t think there’s any reason to ignore the story of Santa. Just be clear on its truth and appreciate it for the fun that it brings to the holiday.

What do you think. Any parents juggling a similar issue? Did I lose you all when I started an 8th paragraph? How did Santa impact your childhood?

Feeling LARGE, and not so in charge + my pregnancy Christmas carol!

It probably sounds totally nuts that, not only am I just now feeling the real “trials” of pregnancy {at 37 weeks} but also that I’m finally feeling my pregnancy come to an end. I guess it’s about time, what with only 2 weeks and change left until my due date and the realization that she could decide to come at ANY TIME.  SQUEEE!

I always hear stories of pregnant women wishing they could just pop their little invaders out at around 6 months because their bodies have been so drastically affected and they are THAT eager to regain the feeling of being “in control” of everything again. The truth is, I’ve only JUST started watching the clock and feeling like it’s really time for Keelin to be here. I’m still totally in love with being pregnant and I’m actually wondering what it’s going to be like without my little mover groovin’ inside my big belly {as if she’s always been there}.  My mother assures me that I’ll be so infatuated with Keelin that I won’t even notice my lack of belly dance parties… which I’m sure is completely true. But I’ve felt so blessed throughout this entire process {even while hugging the toilet bowl in my first trimester} that it is a little bittersweet to know it could all be over tomorrow. WOW, that sounds so incredibly terrible when remembering that “the end” of a pregnancy means “the beginning” of motherhood, which I’m truly SO excited about. But I think you {especially other mommies and mommies-to-be} get what I mean.

All that being said, and due to the fact that my earbuds are feeding me Christmas music ALL DAY AT WORK, I thought it would be “fun” to bring a little Christmas flare to the trials of pregnancy. You love it already, right?

I present to you… my own personal 12 Pains of Pregnancy.  {Disclaimer: I realize when you try to SING these pains, they really don’t fit with the rhythm or rhyme of the traditional Christmas song… but you get the picture! ALSO, none of these “pains” are detrimental enough to make me not love every minute of experiencing them but I thought I’ve been positive enough thus far, time for a little self-satisfying whining… just sayin’.}

The 1st thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is the baby showing your full bladder whose boss.

The 2nd thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is randomly losing any and all sense of balance.

The 3rd thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is the tummy-growing-belly-itch that makes you feel like you’re toting around a hairy beer gut rather than an adorable baby bump every time you scratch it.

The 4th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is literally feeling your hips open and loosen up for GO TIME… OOWIEE!

The 5th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is having to rely 100% on rear view mirrors because twisting for “over the shoulder” traffic checks is quite impossible.

The 6th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is an uncontrollable urge to cry… for no reason at all… except that it’s the only thing that seems “right” in the world.

The 7th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is the additional 5 seconds it takes you to get in or out of ANY seat.

The 8th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is the feeling of complete frustration and utter despair any time you drop something on the floor {and the struggle you face when contemplating whether or not you’re just going to leave it there and save yourself the trouble}.

The 9th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is the punch, kick or jab that somehow finds THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE spot right under your ribcage.

The 10th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is attempting to shave your legs… don’t make me laugh.

The 11th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is realizing that your belly picked up sink splatter when you look in the bathroom mirror and see a huge, hateful wet spot, put there only to mock you and your largeness.

The 12th thing about pregnancy that’s such a pain to me is putting tights on, in a public restroom, with nowhere to sit… yeah.

That’s enough whining for me… now back to my annoyingly joyous attitude!

Until next time…

Now it’s your turn. If you’re pregnant, share some of your own pains. If you’re not pregnant… take some time to complain about whatever is bugging you MOST right now. The floor is open!

*I do not own these pictures, links provided*

Super Simple Christmas Ornaments

I am beyond excited that this year {being that it’s our third Christmas as a married couple} we finally got a Christmas tree! You see, our first Christmas we were living in a dungeon. Not only was there ZERO room for a Christmas tree, but I had a moral issue with placing something so iconic and tradition filled into a place that was so dreadfully heinous.

Thankfully we got out of said hell hole for our 2nd Christmas, but because we were spending a good portion of the holiday season out of town, we thought it was kind of silly to get a tree when we wouldn’t even be in the house to enjoy it.

THIS YEAR… thanks to the little bun I’ve got cookin’, we are doing Christmas at our house and a tree was a must. And none of that fake tree with built in lights nonsense {no offense if that’s what you prefer}, we wanted a real tree with a real tree smell and a real need to be watered! And that’s exactly what we got.

The biggest problem with going two Christmases without a tree is that we haven’t had a chance to stock up on ornaments. Wee’ve gotten a few here and there but I’ve done a pretty good job at resisting the urge to spend my entire paycheck on bows, bells and whistles to really make our first tree glow. Needless to say, I was worried that our current collection wouldn’t be enough to fill up the tree… and a baren tree is a sad tree. So I decided to add another DIY project to my list and make some unique and inexpensive ornaments myself with the help of a major sale on plain glass ornaments from JoAnn Fabric!

Style #1: Baby Shower Leftovers!
Along with a plethora of fantastic gifts from family and friends, my baby showers also brought me a ton of pastel colored tissue paper and fun party decorations. While I can use the tissue paper in the future, there’s little that I can do with the decorations… or so I thought.

Step 1… Tear and crinkle pieces of  colorful tissue paper, and fill the ornament.

Step 2… Use a WARM or HOT glue gun to scatter party decorations along the outside of the ornament. Finish with a boy and VOALA!

Style #2: Ribbon runners!
In the months surrounding the Christmas season, it’s great to keep an eye out for sales on decorative ribbons. You neer know what inspiration might hit and a DIY project is born…

Step 1… secure the ends of decorative ribbon to the inside of the glass ornament

Step 2… Pull the ribbon tight, securing along the way with a hot glue gun, to stretch across the outside of the ornament and secure the opposite end.

My favorite part about this particular style is that you can be as plain or as busy as you’d like. Here are a few different options that I really love. They look great hanging on the tree too… especially since the shimmer in the ribbon catches the the sparkle from the lights!

Style #3: Glitter globes
It’s been a while since I did a DIY project with glitter… I’ve truly missed it! You can really get creative by adding various shapes and colors to the outside of a plain glass ornament.

Here I applied the hot glue in circles around the ornament, and rolled them in glitter.

Diamond dust… to be specific. I LOVE this stuff… it kind of looks like tiny pieces of glass but is great for Christmas because it almost gives the appearance of glistening snow!

Style #4: Mix and Match
Once I dabbled in ribbons and diamond dust, I thought I’d let them combine forces!

After deciding that the ribbon alone wasn’t cutting it for me on this one, I added a touch of sparkle to make it pop!

This one started off as only glitter, but Z said it didn’t look finished, so I added the ribbon afterwards. I think it was a good decision! Point for the hubs!

And another… for fun. The same pattern is actually on the opposite side of the ornament as well!

FYI… I did purchase a value pack of cheap-o ornaments from Costo to act as temporary fillers until our collection can really grow. I figured 50+ ornaments for $20 was worth it!!

Until next time…

What do you think? Have you added any personal touches to simple glass ornaments? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!