11.27.2014

Thanks and Giving

Just dropping in for a minute to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and to share one of my favorite sentiments of today and every day... 

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I am spending the day with family on a grand turkey day adventure :-)  I hope that you have a wonderful day and holiday season ahead!
xoxo

11.26.2014

Nine

Today my oldest turns nine.  Nine.  He’s still a young child, but more and more I get a glimpse of the man he will become.  And it makes me fall to my knees with gratitude, and fills my heart and mind with wonder at how he could be mine.

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John is bright and inquisitive, but would be happy as a clam mindlessly Minecrafting from sun up to sun down.  He is well-mannered and polite beyond his years.  He’s athletic and competitive, but is also always genuinely happy to see others succeed.  He is sensitive and perceptive and would never intentionally hurt another person’s feelings.  He is abundantly self-confident and continues to be strong willed. 

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He also has his quirks… he hates wearing pants and jackets and never eats his lunch because he is too busy socializing.  He talks constantly.  And I do mean constantly.  Oftentimes he isn’t even saying anything, just making some odd noise that drives his little brother crazy.  He claims he is allergic to peanut butter and he won’t go to sleep without his daddy sitting in his chair.  He won’t stand for having a strand of hair out of place, but wouldn’t voluntarily take a shower or change his undies to save his life.
 
I never want to forget these days, these boys as young children.  I know they are some of the best of our lives.  We’ll be celebrating BIG today… savoring every second of the first day of NINE!
xoxo

11.25.2014

The Four Gifts

It's ONE MONTH till Christmas, y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!  Color me excited!!!!  That being said, I am SO SO SO very glad that we instated a four gift policy from Santa years ago.  It really makes Christmastime so much simpler!  Here’s how we do it…

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The "do" family outing is always the most anticipated gift.  Over the last couple of years we’ve done Snow Mountain, the Circus, Medieval Times and a Wilderness at the Smokies getaway.  This year's "do" is going to involve the new College Football Hall of Fame and a few other local Atlanta attractions!!  All of their Santa gifts go in their Santa Sacks, which were the best $1 I ever spent after Christmas at WalMart years back.

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In addition to the Santa gifts, they also each get a stocking, a gift from Mommy and Daddy, a gift from each other, and an ornament for their tree.  That is also always a fun one to pick out – we choose something that speaks to one of their interests or something special we did that year.

I get my decorations up early every year, but I never get started on the shopping until after Thanksgiving.  Oh what fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xoxo

11.24.2014

The Jesse Tree + Advent + Guest Post

First things first, I'm dishing on my family office over at House of Turquoise today!!  Come by and say hi!!  It's one of my favorite reads ever!!

Now, Advent begins in a week, and we will once again mark the time to Christmas with our Jesse Tree tradition.  Jesse was the father of the King David of the Old Testament, and is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.  Hence, the Jesse Tree represents the family tree of Jesus. It tells the story of God's salvation, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."

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For some years now, each night after dinner during Advent we read the daily scripture, talk about what it means and hang the day's ornament on our Jesse Tree.  We will add the ornaments to the tree in our family office this year. 

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I made our ornaments for just a few dollars out of white felt, glitter paint and cording when we first started the tradition.  You can make your own, or simply google and print off ornaments based on the guide below.  Here is a list of the scriptures we use:

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JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES
December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river
On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.
December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols:oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18)Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun
 



In addition to our Jesse Tree, for years I have also filled our "fun" Advent calendar with daily holiday treats - not candy, but little experiences and things that we do together.  It has moved to the boys’ room this year since it’s the first thing they always check when they wake up in December.

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Here is the list I’ve drafted for this year... some are things we already have on our calendar.

5th Annual Scout’s Snowflake Breakfast
Polar Express Night
Visit Santa
School holiday parties
Christmas Truth or Dare game
Make gingerbread houses
Hot chocolate bar on the porch
Shop for and donate a toy
Game night
Make a Christmas ornament for our tree
New Christmas books – one for us and one to donate
Whit’s birthday
S’mores on the porch
Random Act of Kindness Day
Snowman lunch
Birthday party
Contribute to the pantry at church
Bake Christmas cookies
Be a secret santa
Ride the Pink Pig
Movie + popcorn night
Make reindeer food
Gingerbread house tour
Put on Christmas music and wrap gifts



This is the sweetest time of the year!!!

xoxo

11.23.2014

Merry Christmas, Y’all {Free Printable}

Year after year you blow me away with your outpouring of love and support when I share my Matthew story, and yesterday was no exception.  Thank you, dear readers, for your emails, comments, texts, calls and prayers. 

Now, if you’ve been around here for any time at all you’ll know that I get my decorations up early (and why).  I blew it out a few weekends ago and decked the halls in one fell two-day swoop.  This year, I had the great pleasure of decorating our new family office with all things pink and preppy!!  I was beyond excited to create this little “Merry Christmas, y’all” sentiment with the Lilly Pulitzer Santa lion print of yore.
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It’s not the best quality, but I had my heart set on using the Santa lion.  You can download a copy of it free here…



How darling would this be in girl’s room?  Or any room, for that matter?!?! 

With that, I’ll leave you to your turkey day prep.  I’m sure many of you are elbow deep in giblets.  *ewwwwww*
xoxo

11.22.2014

Seven Years

People always say that life can change in an instant.  And for me it did.  Seven years ago today I delivered, loved and lost our stillborn son Matthew.  I was completely overcome with grief, literally running through every fiber of my being.  Three days prior confirmed what my mommy heart already knew… my baby had died.  I had to wait those dreadful days to be admitted to the hospital and, after eighteen gruesome hours of labor, I gave birth to our tiny and perfect son.   It was Thanksgiving Day and we spent it in the “fetal demise” wing of Emory Hospital.  I keep a small box of his meager memories, and they are the most precious “things” that I own.  We later learned from Matthew's autopsy that I passed a blood clot through my cord.

how I told Honey I was pregnant with Matthew…
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I share this story each year mostly because I never want to forget him.  I have three sons and am blessed enough to have two of them still with me.  I carry Matthew in my heart every.single.day.  Most people that I meet have no idea that there is a third.  So I write about him and tell all of you about him.  Because he is very, very real to me.
 
I also share my story because, more than anything in the world, when I was going through this immense loss I desperately wanted to talk to someone that had been there.  My family and friends helped every way they knew how, and for that I will forever be grateful.  I have not forgotten a single act of kindness during that time.  But I longed to talk to someone that had walked this road, and I needed to hear that I would be whole again.  And while I cannot make sense of losing a child, I can now clearly see what a gift the passage of time truly is in healing a heart. So, if you or someone you know ever needs someone like I did during that time, please, please just ask. 

And the last reason that I talk about Matthew is to help explain why I do all of the things that I do for John and Whit, day in and day out.  I just know how much of a miracle those two children truly are.  My blood clotting disorder was not unique to Matthew.  I went through my pregnancy with John blissfully unaware and delivered a healthy eight pounder two weeks early against ALL odds.  He only had a 20% chance of making it, I later found out.  My pregnancy with Whit was high risk and riddled with grief and worry.  On top of the blood clotting, I had a host of other issues with my placenta and everything else.  Even treated, the doctors gave me an 80% chance of a successful pregnancy.  But I prayed for that child like I’ve never prayed before.  Ever.  And he came safe and sound at nine pounds a whole week early.  So, I do my best to fill each and every one of the days that I have with them with love, joy and happiness.  I know that each day is a gift and that one day they will leave my nest.  I now know that is what I was put here to do, and it took losing Matthew to realize this.

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I decorate our house for Christmas in November every year.  The first time I ever did it that early was when I was pregnant with Matthew.  The day that I came home without him we lit up all the trees for the first time and it made me smile when I thought I might never smile again.  So, every year since, we decorate in mid-November and light everything up for the first time on Matthew’s birthday.

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Today I remember all babies born and lost too soon, especially my dear friend S’s twin boys, and the daughters of friends RD, ET and AG.  Little Matthew lived a very short life, but it was one filled wholly with love, joy, wonder and adoration.  He never hurt, never wanted, never knew meanness or anger.  Just love.  And that's exactly how I remember his life cut short.  With love.

xoxo

11.21.2014

Closing Up Shop

I’m just popping in today to let y’all know that I’m closing up the etsy shop until the 29th to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family.

I suppose it's also a good time to let y'all know that we will wrap up for the year on December 11. All items must be ordered by December 11 and will ship out no later than December 19.

All Disney autograph books and gift sets must be ordered by December 11 and will ship out on December 15.  (Books ordered by Nov 28 will have an earlier ship date of Dec 3.)

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All notebooks, notepads, mousepads, pens and mugs must be ordered by December 11 and will ship out by December 19.

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All necklaces, bracelets and jewelry must be ordered by December 11 and will ship out by December 15.

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My shop will stay open for digital orders through the new year.  Orders placed for all other items will begin to ship on January 5.

Thanks to ALL of you that have supported our little business!!
xoxo

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