My youngest child, Gray, was born a happy little guy. I had such a smooth delivery with him. I would even venture to say it was easy.
We are coming close to his fourth birthday in the next two weeks. I have mixed emotions about my baby becoming even more of a big boy. He is dying to grow up and do all the things his six year old brother does. I am getting less and less snuggles from him and more independence. It makes me both happy and sad to see him grow up.
The quote that really stands out is, “Babies don’t keep.”
With the holidays coming to a close I am always thinking of ways to save time, money, and my sanity! Between my husband, boys, coworkers, family, and friends, many gifts were given out this holiday season.
One of my year-round favorite gifts to give or receive are Mason jar mixes. I have come across cookies, breads, brownies, and even alcohol Mason jar gifts. One of my favorites is the recipe below. It is the perfect cookie for now, not too sweet and easy to make!
Check out this easy recipe:
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup 1 minute oats and 1/8 cup at the end
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chips
1 large Mason jar
Mix the flour, sea salt, and baking powder. Use a funnel to fill the bottom of the Mason jar
Add the packed brown sugar, making sure to level it out
Next, add the regular sugar
Add the chocolate chips on top, continuing to level
Add 1/8 cup more oats just to top off the jar
Place the top and decorate with ribbon or baker’s twine
The baking directions also need to be included with the jar.
*Add one egg, ½ cup softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla to jar mix. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for around 8 mins.
December is a month my family and I wait for all year long. I especially love the excitement it brings to my little ones, not just on Christmas morning. I am making an effort this December to focus more on family time together and not get wrapped up in having a “perfect” Christmas.
Here is my top ten list for things to do together as a family:
Bake Christmas cookies
Watch at least one Christmas movie a weekend
Visit Santa as often as possible
See the lights at Riverbanks Zoo
Volunteer twice before Christmas
Surprise Elf one of our neighbors
Stroll through Saluda Shoals Park
Decorate an ornament
Send a surprise package to a friend
Attend Christmas Eve mass
I hope this list is just the tip of the iceberg for my family this holiday season. I want us to focus on the times together and not the things we receive.
As my boys get older, I am trying hard to let them both be individuals. This is not always an easy task. See, my first-born little man is a rule follower. He is the ultimate people pleaser—a teacher’s dream. My second little guy, three going on thirteen, is a sweetheart with a wavy edge. His wavy edge makes him who he is, just as my oldest, straight-as-an-arrow makes him special. Embracing Gray’s wavy edge is not always in my toolbox as a mom.
For Thanksgiving, Gray’s preschool send home a blank turkey to decorate any way they pleased. Gray and I sat down and talked about some of the examples his teacher listed: clown, princess, etc. He listened as we discussed and then promptly requested his turkey be decorated as a “bad guy”. Now, my initial thought was, “What in the world?!?! You can’t go to preschool and have your bad guy turkey displayed for everyone to see!” His face was so excited to create a bad guy turkey with his momma.
So guess what? The best bad guy turkey is displayed in the hallway of his preschool-complete with an eye mask, Halloween creepy stickers, and a small heart for his momma on the bottom. Bad guy turkeys love their mommas too.
Just like Wreck It Ralph has taught us: Just because you are bad, doesn’t mean you are a bad guy.
I recently read a quote about friendship on Pinterest that spoke to me.
“In the end, you always go back to the people that were there in the beginning.”
Wow. It was right on target for the weekend reunion I had with a close childhood friend.
I have many people I would call a friend. Different friends have come in and out of my life, during the times I needed them most. God works mysteriously that like. He knows exactly who we need and when we need them. The special thing about old friends, they are know where you are and where you came from.
My oldest friend to date, Shelby, has been around since third grade. Ya’ll – that’s over 20 years of friendship. We have known each other from the very beginning. Bad boyfriends, laughs, cries, silliness, and stories fill our memories. Luckily, we have recently reconnected.
Spending a night visiting with her in Charleston has made my week such a bright spot. The laughing and dancing we did Saturday night was as though no time as passed. I would go back to our friendship over all the others. The ease and comfort is like none other. The quote rings so true for me.
Friendship can take many forms. I find it so interesting how friends are almost categorized based on the time of your life. For example, I have childhood friends, college friends, work friends, school friends, and kid friends. Wherever the friendship originates from, it is important to make time for friendship.
Letting go and allowing yourself to relax with likeminded friends is so refreshing. Laughing until you have trouble breathing and encouraging each other through hard times, sometimes these moments get us through the darkest of times.
I have been lucky to have friends to lean on during specific times in my life – from new jobs, having babies, and getting married, different friends have been there to celebrate or commiserate with me. It is good for my soul.
Whoever your friend or friends are in this season of your life, give those thanks and appreciation. Friendship is truly a gift.
The day I have been dreading has finally come. My oldest “baby” started kindergarten this morning. I held back my tears and we walked down his hallway and into the room that will mold him into the student he will become. My confident little guy went from attendance check in to lunch choice with ease. He gave me a hug goodbye and sadly did not look back. Here are all the words I wish I could have said…
You will always be my baby. You are the one that made me a mom. I didn’t know how much I could love someone else until I met you. I am a ball of emotions. I am both terrified and overjoyed for you. All the experiences you will have, good or bad, will make you into our future young man. Remember to help others, even when it isn’t the popular choice. Find your voice and use it for good. Kids can and will be mean. Do your best to surround yourself with sweet souls. Remember to be yourself. Love you my sweet boy.
Our family has recently celebrated one year in our Lexington home. We have amazing neighbors, a quiet street to play on, neighborhood friends, and tons of space. I have truly enjoyed our family spot for the past year. We went from a 1,300 square foot home to 2,500 square feet. So much more space! I have found the following things with moving to a large family zone though…
#1 Cleaning DOUBLES
So much cleaning! I could clean every day and still feel like something is missing. I don’t want to even think about the total hours this year spent cleaning
#2 Decorating is expensive!
Our old house had less wall space and less rooms. It was not cheap to make this new house feel comfy and warm.
#3 Missing my little guys
I used to hear the boys sleep at night from the living room. Now they are all the way upstairs and we sleep downstairs. I miss the comfort of hearing them shifting all night. I don’t know if my husband would say the same!
#4 Heating and cooling costs spike
More space means more area to heat and cool. Our energy bills have seen a big spike! We were expecting this, but it is still not easy to write that check each month!
The million dollar question is, would we move again if we were back in this position? Matt and I have talked about this over the past few days. We want to travel and spend more quality time with the kids. A smaller house just might be in our future sooner rather than later!
Sure enough, once the spring and summer roll around, wedding invitations begin to arrive. The older I get the less wedding invitations and more children’s birthday party invitations arrive. I do usually get the chance to witness at least one or two friends or family members get married each year. I love a good wedding. Weddings are the essence of love, giving of oneself, and sharing with loved ones. I can’t help but think back on my own wedding in 2009.
Our engagement was short lived before the wedding planning, appointments, parties, and tastings began. Everything seems so important and life altering. Each decision kept me up wondering if I made the right choice. It all seems silly now. The show of a wedding is not important. If I could marry my husband, Matt, all over again, I would do it differently. No fuss, no expensive cake, fancy decorations, and oodles of people we rarely speak with now. It would be just him and I-sharing that special moment.
Today I am thankful for my forever wedding date. He is the man who makes me stronger, confident, and never lets me accept less than I deserve. Looking back on our honeymoon pictures, we were babies. If we could just go back to these two and set them straight. Knowing us, the old Matt and Ashley would never listen in the first place!