Tuesday, December 27

catching a Christmas pic (good luck with that.)

Getting a cute Christmas pic of Graham at this age.........................
Getting the same pic of Eden................
{this girl's got a mind of her own and is not afraid to use it.}
 She did have a cute Santa diaper on!
These willies also apply to diaper changes, outfit changes, & getting buckled in car seats among other things. Good luck catching her!  

Graham has now joined the crusade......................

Apparently if all else fails, put her in a headlock. =) 
Graham waits for us to snap a picture and then says Got it?
Thank you, sweet buddy! 
 We love you baby girl, squirms & all! =)

Friday, December 23

let it be merry & bright.

Many people have touched our lives this year.
We are thankful for each one and for the many new friends God has brought into our lives.
And thankful for the "old friends" with whom we have shared many goods, a few bads, and always, a hopeful future.

Have a very Merry Christmas!
All the world rejoice
For the baby comes
As a humble prince in the night
The Word made flesh, Emmanuel
The Everlasting Light
Let the warmth of heaven reach the coldest heart
With the gospel of His grace
For His heel will bruise the serpent’s head
Rejoice, all the world, rejoice!

Wednesday, December 21

when mama bear is not well

life slows dramatically. ok, maybe comes to a standstill!

I would not have chosen this particular set of days to have to cancel all plans (we were supposed to host a Momtourage playdate on Wednesday as well as have another playdate with some new friends on Thursday). But is there really ever a good time to be sick? Pretty sure it can be considered inconvenient at any time.
Tuesday morning I woke up feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach. I really don't ever remember having a sickness quite like this one. I kind think it must have been something I ate, though I can't really think of anything to pinpoint.........and we hadn't eaten out in the last few days. By the middle of the day I was feeling much better. And then a miracle happened - both my kids napped for 2 solid hours without a peep. Let me tell you that almost never happens! So I was able to nap for about 1.5 uninterrupted hours - I think it was my best nap since Eden's been born. It was divine. However about 4:00, the stomach thing came back in full-force and I was holed up on the couch with the kids crawling all over me wishing away the hour until Andrew came home. Which he did and played supermom for the rest of the evening - for which I am very grateful! Dinner for the kids, cooking his own dinner, a bath for Eden, bedtime for Graham, run to the store to get me some "sick food"  - thanks babe, I know it wasn't what you were expecting after a long day of work!
Wednesday morning Andrew was able to stay home from work until about noon which got me to the point where I felt most of the worst was behind me. So it was a day of pj's, NO housework, toys everywhere.............it was kind of relaxing. :)
The worst part was telling Graham that we had to cancel our playdates. :( He LIVES for social interactions and just loves playing with his friends. He was so excited about our popcorn, hot chocolate, and Christmas movie with friends.
But I am thankful that most of my Christmas to-do's were done and that our company and travel plans are not until next week.  Now I am praying that no one else picks up the bug.
For now I am thankful to be feeling much better! I believe God knew I needed a day to rest (without feeling guilty!) and that it would be better for our family to clear the calendar for a couple of days. Sometimes sickness can be a blessing in disguise, so thank you, God.

Friday, December 16

it's funny what your kids pick up on

 Andrew wanted to play some Christmas songs together and as soon as we started, Graham went & picked up the camera and said, "I need to take a picture!"
Apparently he knows when something happens that's not the norm, we usually grab the camera to capture the moment. :)
oh tannebaum, oh tannebaum.............................

Thursday, December 15

meet my hubby's newest addiction (and if you're considering moving, it might be yours too)

Not that we're moving.............I don't think......................but when there are houses in our neighborhood priced at $50k or less, it is mighty tempting. =)

Anyways, if you're thinking about buying, selling, or renting,
anytime in your life,
 you must check out  zillow.com.
Simply type in the zip code of the location you're considering and it will bring up a map of every home in the area. It will then tell you which ones are for sale, for rent, or what the owners would sell for under "make me move". It tells you exactly what each house is priced at, what your mortgage would be, all the details of the house, and most include pics as well.  
It's a pretty amazing tool to see all the houses in one zip code with the click of a mouse.
If you were moving across the country, it would be incredible to do most of your house shopping from your computer all on one site!
It also helps to know you're not overpaying for a home or what to price your house at if you were selling.
So hey, if you're moving to Pittsburgh, grab this (foreclosed) gem for only $23,000. :)

Monday, December 12

Christmas tidbits

Our 3rd Christmas in Pittsburgh........it's hard to believe!
We love some of the traditions that we've begun to establish here and one of our favorites is taking a horse-drawn carriage ride.
It's right next to the big Christmas tree, skating rink, and gingerbread house display right downtown, so the air is very festive and very Christmas-y!
The previous 2 weekends, the temps had hit 60 degrees..........but of course this day dipped into the 20's! Brrrrrrrrrrr. The kids were great troopers as we had to wait in line almost an hour. Thankfully it is next to a building that holds a Santa display and live Christmas music, so Andrew & I took turns taking a child into the warm building and waiting. So it really wasn't too bad. It certainly helped that Graham was SO excited to go on the ride and was willing to endure about anything. Eden was starting to get to her limit just when our turn came around, thankfully!

And if you happen to stop by our house this Christmas season,
there is no telling how you will find our nativity scene arranged.
It's seems to be changed daily by a certain little boy. :)

Saturday, December 10

ten months.

 My biggest news is that I am happy. oh so happy. to report that baby girl is back to sleeping through the night! We had a 3 week stretch where we had various guests staying in our guest room. So as soon as that ended, I said this is it girlie! 2 nights of crying it out and she has slept 12-13 hours since. Thank you, Jesus!
 Everything, and I do mean everything, gets popped into her mouth.
Yes, including that nasty stink bug. UGH.
Cannot wait to be past this phase! 
I can't complain because she is such a great eater! She actually uses both hands to shovel in food sometimes. She pretty much just eats whatever we're eating, which is oh so convenient.
She whines when she's ready to get down from her chair, but then she immediately pops back up to look for scraps. Crazy girl. :)
 She loves to play the piano. :)
This pretty much sums it up..........she's in to everything.
who me?
She loves her daddy!
When she started cruising, I predicted that she was going to walk by 11 months.....so we'll see what the next month brings! She loves to stand by herself, but immediately drops when she wants to get somewhere. She took a tiny 1/2 step by herself.....so one of these days it will be!
Happy 10 months, Eden Hope.
You bring a sweetness to our lives that only a little girl could!
Hope you have a wonderful & beautiful 1st Christmas as we celebrate the Savior who loves you even more than we do.

Wednesday, December 7

birthday fun

I had a very nice birthday - thanks to everyone for the comments, calls, cards, gifts............it was all very sweet!
Graham gets almost as excited for birthdays as he does for Christmas.
Ok, I guess he just gets very excited about anything!
He & Andrew went out on a "secret mission" and he loved it! Of course he was mostly excited that he got popcorn from Target because he thinks that the only reason for going to Target. It was definitely in question on whether he'd be able to keep their activities a secret all day with me. :)
When they got home he said,
Mom, guess what we got you?
Awesome. How did you know that was tops on my birthday wishes??
All day long Graham was asking when we were going to have birthday cake. (the highlight of birthdays, of course.) But I was pretty sure there wasn't going to be a birthday cake...........surprise when Andrew pulled this little guy out. (and thankful that now Graham would sleep that night.)
I'm not usually a fan of store-bought cakes, but I have to say this carrot cake from Giant Eagle was right tasty! 
My parents got me several cozy things when they were here on their visit and later, Muk Luks - sweater boots for your feet!
Can you say comfort + warmth + I love them. =)
my boys picked out this cutie. :)

Several other great gifts from friends & family as well!
The Gettys were actually here in concert on my birthday night and we had hoped to go to their concert, but alas..........the babysitter thing just didn't work out. :-/
However, we were able to get a babysitter for the next night and Andrew & I hit up 2 great downtown restaurants! They had both emailed me a $25 gift card for my birthday, so we got by for basically just the cost of the tip + a little more. I'm not about being cheap for special occasions....but if you can get $50 in free food, I say take it. =)

We first went to Seviche.
Seviche cuisine is an eclectic
blend of traditional Latin
American recipes and modern
ingredients infused with
international influences.
This was a happening place at 8pm on Friday night! The food here was a.m.a.z.i.n.g! One of those rare places where you will go back for the taste!
We started with this salad......
Field greens and Romaine with calabaza,
roasted corn, tomato, Queso Blanco and pickled
ginger tossed with chipotle lime vinaigrette

and then tried these......
PULLED PORK CUBAN (on a cuban roll)
Pickled red cabbage, sliced Chorizo salami,
Jarlsberg Swiss, local wildflower honey mustard

BISTEC Quesadillas
Your choice of seared filet mignon or grilled
prawns with caramelized onions and Jarlsberg
cheese on Lavosh crisps
both served with amazingly seasoned frys!
All of it was muy delicioso!! :)

The we popped over to The Sonoma Grille (conveniently right across the street!). We had been there last year when they invited me to do a taste-testing for Momtourage. We were thinking we might get an appetizer here as well, but we were so full from Seviche, that we pretty much just went with dessert. We got the sampler dessert which included Caramel Apple Cheesecake ,  Pumpkin Pecan Tart,  Plum Deep Dish Pie,  & Housemade  Sorbet.
All Yum!

A great ending to my birthday celebration!

Tuesday, December 6

and the winner is................

Thanks to everyone who entered my Lot26Studio giveaway!

Congrats Kathryn, I am excited for you to get this special Christmas gift. =)

Lot26 just added some really cute holiday wall art!

Friday, December 2

what December looks like around here...........

(to steal the title from my friend, Sarah) :)

He calls stockings - boots.
Last year Graham loved Christmas.
This year it's like on steroids.
He loves, loves, loves everything about the season.
He's also old enough to understand more of the Christmas story and celebrating the birth of baby Jesus which is fun to see as well.
And yes, he is vertical here out of excitement. :)
This is kind of a sad picture.................because we're putting together the tree instead of carrying it in. We had several discussions about it and ultimately, for at least this one year, we're going back to the artificial. (dad, you can see who won.) :)
I do believe there may have been something muttered about how difficult it was to get things done.
 I don't know why with so many helpers.  *wink, wink. :)  
I'm up to 6 on my Starbucks ornament collection!
They put out a new one every year and usually Andrew or a friend has gotten it for me. 
 And no, we are not announcing a 3rd child. :)
Part of the reason for having the little tree was so we could put it out of the reach of Eden.
And of course, she hasn't even gone near it.
Not that I'm complaining.
The candles in the fireplace................that's another story. :)
 Graham got his own little tree to decorate and put in his room.

Thursday, December 1

Birthday Giveaway!

Hey, hey, it's my birthday and that means it's time for a giveaway!
This year I am excited to have a company that was willing to sponsor my birthday giveaway - Lot26 Studio.
A couple of months ago, they sent me a couple of their chalkboard decals to try. I am loving them. When you rent and don't want to put too many holes in the wall, decals are the perfect option! Or if you like the idea of having transient art that's easy to change up or just like the idea of people saying, wow, I can't believe that's a decal. =)
Lot26 Studio has lots of great options for wall art, nursery decor, or my current fave - the chalkboard decals!
I am using this scroll decal to write out my menu for the week!
 This guy is cute, isn't he?
We wrote things we're thankful for on the leaves.

This "chandelier" is only $8, marked down from $28! 
To enter:
Head over to Lot26 and then leave me a comment saying what decal you would most like to see in your home!

Open for entries until Tuesday, Dec. 6th at 8pm.

Good luck!