Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sisters

“Because I have a sister, I will always have a friend.”

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I love watching these two together.  Evelyn loves both of her siblings, but her relationship with Charlotte has been so fun to watch evolve.  Evelyn is at the age where she can Charlotte can actually “play” together.

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Yesterday I was halfway through my workout when I heard Evelyn crying upstairs.  I asked Charlotte to go upstairs to play with Evelyn while I finished up.  After I finished and went upstairs, I just stood at the door to Evelyn’s room watching (and wishing I had brought my phone upstairs).  Charlotte had gotten into Evelyn’s crib with her and put a big quilt over the top.  They were playing in their “crib tent.”

Charlotte has also been Evelyn’s cheerleader and teacher.  She cheered her on when she was learning to crawl up the stairs.  And she was actually the one who taught Evelyn how to come back down the stairs backwards.

When Evelyn hurts herself, Charlotte goes to her, hugs her close, pats her back, and “shhhs” her.

These two play together, laugh together, walk hand-in-hand together, and are sweeter together than I could have ever imagined.  I can’t wait to watch their relationship grow more as they get older!


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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Cinderella Party for My Princess

We decided a few months ago that Charlotte was going to have a Cinderella party for her fifth birthday.

I was thinking something along these lines, but she didn’t think that was a good idea.

Cinderella Party

So I had to come up with a Plan B.

We had a few little girls over to our house yesterday after lunch for cupcakes and punch.

My mom and dad are visiting, and my mom helped me put a cupcake dress together.

Cupcake dress
Cinderella Cupcake Dress

And Trenton helped with decorations.

Cinderella party decorations
(Cinderella & Prince Charming)

After cupcakes and punch, we loaded up and went to the theater to see the new Cinderella movie.

Cinderella partyCinderella Party

None of the girls (or Trenton – he was the only boy) knew about the Frozen short before the feature, and boy were they excited when it came on the screen! 

And they all loved Cinderella.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it is such an amazing movie (for girls and boys).  I won’t give anything away, but the message that the movie conveys is so so good.  It’s one that I’m pretty sure we’ll be adding to our home collection. 

Charlotte had a wonderful time with her friends and was so happy that they could celebrate with her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Saint Patrick’s Day Baby is FIVE

Five years ago today, with Jarrod somewhere between Afghanistan and Virginia, this little girl came into our lives.

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It was four weeks early, but that didn’t matter to Charlotte.  I went into the hospital to be induced due to low amniotic fluid, and I never even needed Potocin.  She decided that she wanted to see the world before I got the induction drug.

That’s just the way Charlotte is though.  She doesn’t want to miss out on anything.  She wants to be in on everything.  She surely can do anything that anyone else is doing (especially her big brother).

This girl comes off as shy at first, but don’t let that fool you.  She’s quite a firecracker.  She keeps us laughing with all of the funny things she says and does.  And she also makes us want to pull our hair out when she stomps up to her room slamming her door like a teenager.

Charlotte is sweet, and kind, and compassionate.  She is the best big sister to Evelyn.  Those two are the best of friends.  She is also a good little sister to Trenton – most of the time.  They love each other, but they can be at each others throats some days too.

One of my favorite things about Charlotte is that she is a natural motivator.  She cheers Trenton on when he does good at school, and tells him that she knows he’ll do better tomorrow when he has a not so good day.  Charlotte taught Evelyn how to crawl backwards down the stairs.  I had been working with Evelyn for a couple weeks, getting nowhere, and Charlotte taught her in a matter of minutes. 

Another thing I love about Charlotte is her love for God.  She plays pretend all the time, and there are so many times I hear her making up songs about Jesus, telling her dolls that they should act like God wants us to, saying “Jesus I want to tell you a story,” or just randomly praying whatever is on her heart.  I hope that she always has that strong connection with our Lord.  It is so amazing to see.

Charlotte has brought so much joy into our lives.  She is our middle child, and is always in the middle of everything.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Yearly Questionnaire:

What is your favorite color? Pink

What is your favorite toy? Craft kits
What is your favorite fruit?
Strawberries
What is your favorite vegetable?
Tomatoes
What is your favorite TV Show?
Dora
What is your favorite movie? Frozen
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Fruit Salad
What is your favorite outfit?
My Daddy Daughter Dance dress
What is your favorite game?
Hide & Seek
What is your favorite snack?
Gummy Bunnies
What is your favorite animal?
Unicorns
What is your favorite book?
Camilla’s Special Day
What is your favorite cereal?
Kix
What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Sledding
What is your favorite drink? Apple Juice
What is your favorite holiday?
St. Patrick’s Day
What is your favorite song? Oh My Darling
What is your favorite thing about school? Getting to play
What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
Books
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Cereal
What do you want to eat for dinner on your birthday?
Pizza
What do you want to be when you grow up? a Science Teacher

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five Minutes of Happy

Evelyn has been pretty cranky the last few days, and yesterday afternoon she woke up from nap especially cranky.  At one point I was holding her, and she laid her cheek against mine.  I could immediately feel the heat radiating from her.  I took her temperature, and it was 103 degrees.

No wonder she was cranky. 

I gave her some Motrin, but she spent the rest of the evening unhappy.

The night was rough, and she didn’t wake up in a much better mood this morning.

But she did have five minutes of happy time while I was getting ready to take her to the doctor.

Happy

For some reason I don’t think Trenton will be quite as happy when he gets home from school and sees this….



*Evelyn has a left ear infection.  Her second one in that ear in the past month.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Gallery Wall

I’m not a quick decorator.  Kind of problematic for someone who moves around every few years, huh?  I have friends who have all of their boxes unpacked and everything hung on their walls within two weeks of moving into a new house.  That’s not me.

When we moved into our house this summer, I knew that I wanted to do something different over our couch in the family room.  8 years and 5 houses with the same pictures over the couch was getting a little old for me.

So I decided to do something different.  I wanted a gallery wall.  But it wasn’t until the end of January that I really started getting everything together – ordering canvases and prints, getting frames, etc.

The last of my prints came in on Saturday, and by Sunday evening, my wall was finished!

Gallery Wall
(My poor, poor 9 year old couch is in its sixth house.  I’m holding out on getting a new one until Evelyn is potty trained.)

I spent Saturday night framing my pictures, figuring out my layout on the family room floor, tracing everything out on parchment paper, and hanging the paper up on the wall where I wanted the pictures to go.

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It sounded really easy on Pinterest, but by the end of the night my back was aching and I had a major headache.

Sunday after we got home from the museum, I got started hanging everything up.  I even had a little “helper.”

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Gallery Wall

I love looking at our “family wall” now and thinking back on the memories from each picture –
a spur of the moment photo session in the middle of a road
Evelyn’s first birthday
Fall family photos
Daddy-Daughter dance in Monterey
Trenton’s 6th birthday
Fall photo session back when Trenton still liked kisses
USS George H. W. Bush homecoming

And that initial.  I made that two Saturdays ago when I had a child-free house for a few hours.

DIY Initial - She did this for less than $5!

I bought the S at Michael’s for less than $5.  I used tacky glue to make designs on the S (after drawing where I wanted them with pencil).  Then I did a couple different coats of paint. 
First coat – linen 
Second coat – gold metallic mixed with a little water
Third coat – a brown wash (brown paint mixed with quite a bit of water)
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I had all of the paint and glue on hand, so it turned out to be a really cheap project.  And I’m happy with how it turned out!

Now on to finish decorating the rest of the house….

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Kid Friendly Weekend

We managed to pack a lot of kid fun into the weekend!

Things kicked off Friday night with movie night at the school.  The kids all put out blankets on the cafeteria floor and ate popcorn while watching Big Hero 6.  The adults had their own little room they could go to for socializing and snacks.  It was a win-win!

Saturday we had a sitter come over to watch Evelyn so that we could take the big kids snow tubing at Ski Roundtop.  The high was in the upper 40s and it was sunny, so it was a perfect day for some outdoor fun.  Everyone else apparently had the same idea though!  The regular hill had a 45 minute wait, and we knew there was no way our kids would be patient enough for that.  Not to mention the cost for four adult tickets for what might have been two rides, was a lot more than we wanted to spend.  So instead we bought two (much cheaper) tickets for the kiddie hill, and let the kids tube as much as they wanted because there were only a few families on it.  They both had a blast!

Ski Roundtop Snow TubingSki Roundtop Snow TubingSki Roundtop Snow Tubing

Yesterday afternoon we went to check out the State Museum of Pennsylvania with the family of one of Trenton’s classmates.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of this museum, but it was really neat!  The kids loved the fossils and the animals.  They had a lot of questions in the Native American exhibit – there was a burial, a woman giving birth, and Charlotte just couldn’t understand the lack of “real clothes” for the men.  There was also an amazing kiddie room.  Evelyn even got in on the fun here!  It was the first time she had been able to explore in a place like this, and she loved every second of it!  We only made it through about half of the museum, but military and their families are free, so we will be going again to see everything we missed!

State Museum of Pennsylvania
State Museum of PennsylvaniaDSC_5817-1DSC_5820-1State Museum of PennsylvaniaState Museum of PennsylvaniaState Museum of Pennsylvania
State Museum of PennsylvaniaState Museum of PennsylvaniaState Museum of PennsylvaniaState Museum of Pennsylvania

And since we had such a busy weekend of fun, the kids went to bed early last night without having any trouble with the time change!  A certain almost 14 month old even slept through the night! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Delays and Early Dismissals

Well, March has gotten off to a snowy, slushy, icy, messy start.  We are halfway through the week and have yet to get in a full day of school.

Monday – 2 hour delay
Tuesday – 11:30 dismissal
Wednesday – 2 hour delay

*Pre-K is cancelled on 2 hour delay days

So how have we kept ourselves busy with the all of the time that the kids haven’t been in school and the weather has been less than desirable?

Monday – Scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping, and laundering due to PukeFest 2015.  Evelyn threw up once Sunday night, and apparently Charlotte caught Evelyn’s bug on steroids.  Charlotte started throwing up a little after 1:00 on Monday afternoon, and vomited 14 times!  Thankfully, the doctor called in some Zofran for her Monday night.  Once she took the Zofran, she went to sleep and made it through the whole night without any issues.

Tuesday – (Charlotte stayed at home this day – 24 hour rule – and thankfully no one else has gotten sick!) 

Trenton informed me that he has a permanent tooth.  The dentist said to start wiggling the baby one.  They like letting baby teeth fall out on their own rather than extracting them.  Trenton got busy wiggling, and I got busy searching all thing Tooth Fairy on Pinterest!

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We started making our way through our Lenten coloring/activity books that I found on Rosie’s blog.  The kids love them!

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We also played peekaboo in Evelyn’s favorite hideout.

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I know I’m kind of biased, but isn’t she the cutest thing?!?!?
 

Wednesday – Building and wrecking towers of blocks. 

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A hilarious game of copycat that I wish I would have caught on camera.  Evelyn and Charlotte were copying each other and it was just the cutest thing ever!  By the time I got my phone out, Evelyn hit her head and then was done.

Making cookies for our neighbors.  Our neighbors are so great and really help us out a lot.  We thought that we would repay their kindness with sweets.  Because who doesn’t love a good homemade cookie?

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We’re supposed to get more snow tonight.  The forecasters aren’t sure exactly how much. I’ve heard anywhere from a coating to 8 inches – they’ve got their bases covered!  So I’m not holding my breath for a full day of school tomorrow either.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Friday though! 


*And if you want to get in on my March 21 Day Fix group, let me know ASAP.  We are starting Friday, March 13th!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My 21 Day Fix (With Before and After Photos)

I finished my 21 Day Fix last week!  I was a little nervous going into it because while I’ve worked out somewhat regularly, I’ve never done a scheduled fitness program.

What is it?
The 21 Day Fix isn’t a diet.  It’s not calorie counting.  The 21 Day Fix is portion controlled nutrition plan paired with easy to follow daily 30-minute workouts.  It’s all about making simple changes to your life that can add up to life-changing results.  No, it’s not a “miracle pill” that will shed your extra pounds while you eat bon-bons sitting on the couch, but that’s not really healthy (although it would be kind of nice!).

Why?
So why did I decide to do the 21 Day Fix?  I hear all the time that I’m skinny.  But I definitely have been harboring a few extra pounds since having Evelyn.  I’m not sure if it was that I was older when I had her, the fact that I had to have a c-section, or if it was that I went into my pregnancy a few pounds heavier than normal because of my miscarriage.  Actually it was probably all of those put together.  So I wanted to shed that extra weight and tone up.  I also want to set a good example for my kids.  I want them to see what eating good looks like and that exercise is an important part of our daily lives.  I normally tried to get my workouts in while Evelyn was napping, but if she happened to be awake while I was working out, she was a great cheerleader.  And Trenton and Charlotte liked working out alongside me sometimes.  Charlotte actually holds the title of best side-planker in the house!

The Nutrition Plan
The 21 Day Fix comes with seven color coordinated containers.  You are allotted a certain number of each container per day.  That’s it.  No calorie counting.  No starving yourself.  I actually had days where I had trouble fitting all of my containers in!  Is there a container for doughnuts?  No, but there are “cheat treats” allowed.  Yay for red wine and dark chocolate!  And there’s actually a really good meal/snack that tastes like a treat – Shakeology.  Shakeology is a super food packed, nutrient dense, all-natural shake that you can use as a meal, midday snack, or just a nutrient boost.  And y’all, it’s good!  There are so many Shakeology recipes out there that I haven’t had a chance to try yet - Butterfinger, Tiramisu Latte, Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel, Strawberry Cheesecake, but I have tried out some good ones.  My favorites are Thin Mint, Orange Dreamsicle, Tropical Pineapple, and Vanilla Berry Blast.

Tropical Pineapple Shakeology

I also tried out some new recipes during our 21 days.  I bought a spiralizer (thanks for the Amazon gift card, Uncle Tom!) and tried my hand at zoodles.  They were amazing!  I tried mashed cauliflower too.  Not so amazing.  We were also still able to eat most of our tried and true recipes. 

21 Day Fix results and review

Workouts
Thirty minutes a day of easy to follow, get your heart pumping and your fat burning workouts.  There are also modifications that are shown for those who may need them.  No extra equipment is needed other than two sets of weights.  And with eight different workouts, you don’t get bored.  I loved the workouts, and actually looked forward to the week of optional doubles (two workouts a day).

21 Day Fix results and review
21 Day Fix results and review

Accountability
What I feel was a huge help with the 21 Day Fix, was the accountability aspect of it.  I was in a private Facebook group with my coach and “teammates” who were all also doing the fix.  We checked in every day to rate our nutrition and workout.  There were days that I was right on track, and there were also days that I didn’t do so great (hello, Valentine’s Day!).  But having to check in every day made me want to do my best.  And when I didn’t, my teammates offered me the encouragement that I needed to get back on track.

Results
So did it work?  Yes!  I lost 4 pounds and 7 inches!  I’m right where I want to be weight-wise, and I can definitely see a difference in how I look.  I feel a lot better too.  There’s something about exercising in the morning that really gets your day off on the right foot!

21 Day Fix results and review21 Day Fix results and review

*Jarrod followed the fix nutrition plan during the 21 days, and did about half of the workouts.  He lost 7 pounds!  And although he didn’t take final measurements to find out how many inches he lost, he’s going to have to get his dress uniform jacket taken in, and the pants that he wore to church this morning are now too big.  He’s going to be all in for the next round of 21 Day Fix, and would love to have some other guys doing it too!

What’s Next?
So what’s next?  I’m going to do another couple rounds of the 21 Day Fix.  I’ll be following the maintenance nutrition plan though since I don’t need to drop any more pounds.  From here on out, I just want to tone up more.  Then I want to move on to T25 (25 minute workouts), Insanity Max:30 (30 minute workouts), or maybe 21 Day Fix Extreme (fix workouts and nutrition plan taken up a notch).

But here’s the big news about my “what’s next”: I loved the 21 Day Fix and all that the Beachbody company stands for so much, that I’ve decided to become a health and fitness coach through them!  I’ve always enjoyed helping others, and now I can do that all the time!  Whether it’s the just the extra nutrition of Shakeology that you need, or you want to experience one of Beachbody’s amazing programs, I can help you out!  Or perhaps, just maybe, you want to join me for my next 21 Day Fix!  I’ll be forming a group later this month, and I would love to have you on it!  As your coach, I’ll be there to guide and support you, and our team will motivate you and hold you accountable.  If you’re interested in being a part of my next 21 Day Fix group, Shakeology, or any other Beachbody programs – or if you need guidance in figuring out what’s right for you – please let me know!


*If you’d like more information, you can contact me by commenting here, on my Facebook page, or emailing me at creativelyblooming@gmail.com.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A New Look

After almost two years with the same blog layout/background, I thought it was time for a change.

I think the blog still has pretty much the same feel, but just looks a little different. 

I made the new blog header myself.  I’m not very versed in Photoshop, but after a few hours of fiddling around, I finally got the header looking the way I wanted it.

There were some headaches and frustrating moments when trying to get the header inserted into the blog and the blog background changed to transparent today (because I saved the header as a jpeg instead of a gif), but I finally got it figured out (thanks Mom and Google!).

I hope you enjoy the new look!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nine Years and A Life That’s Good

Jarrod and I celebrated our nine year anniversary yesterday.

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Okay, well we didn’t actually celebrate.  Jarrod took the kids to soccer, and I went to a book club meeting where I tangled with a deer on the way home.  (I’m fine.  Bumper damage to the car.)

But anyway, back to the nine year thing.  The past nine years have flown by.  And while it hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows, we’ve built a life that’s good.

“Slideshow posted to a blog” is not on the traditional list of anniversary gifts, but honey, I thought you’d like this better than pottery (the traditional ninth anniversary gift).

So, Happy Anniversary!  I love you!