Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Wells!

In His Name Religious Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stolen kisses

"The only thing worth stealing, is a kiss from a sleeping baby." ~ unknown

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas cards from Shutterfly

'Tis the season for all things festive, fun, and family! I love Thanksgiving, I love Christmas! Traditionally, I really don’t stress too much about holiday preparations. But there is one small detail that does draw out my perfectionistic tendencies….the family Christmas card.

Growing up, some twenty-odd years ago, Christmas cards typically had a painted wreath on the front with some gold-foil lettering. And that was the crème de la crème, some even included a wallet-sized photo of the kids.

Gone are those days (mostly), and enter the modern Christmas card, ala Shutterfly. Where you can use templates to customize designs to your heart’s desire. The sample photos are amazing, which only forces me to emulate that look. Here are some of the gorgeous designs from Shutterfly that I am loving!

I have not used Shutterfly for Christmas cards before, but have used them for greeting cards. The recipients loved seeing familiar faces on them, and noticed the professional appearance and quality cardstock. Shutterfly has oodles of designs and price points for anyone interested in sending out unique and memorable cards. So, what are you waiting for? Go check them out!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Patch: Now & Then

What a precious boy that he's grown into! Last year, he couldn't even sit up by himself, so he remained propped up between pumpkins. This year, he was running like a maniac between the rows of pumpkins, and we barely snapped a photo of him looking directly at the camera. I do see a common theme here: his oral fixation and my love of bulky sweaters. We love you little guy! This Fall has definitely been a lot more fun, watching him discover the colors, leaf piles, and cooler weather.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Family Tradition

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Friday, October 1, 2010

DIY Fall Wreath

To celebrate Fall's arrival, I decided to do something I've never done before: make a wreath. As with most projects, I began my quest at Dollar Tree. They had a nice selection of wire ribbons, leaf garlands, mums, sunflowers, etc. I ended up buying two 5-foot leaf garlands. The wreaths they had were too small for a front door, but thankfully Michaels was right next door. I found an 18" grapevine wreath with a gorgeous orange sunflower pick with berry accents. After using a 40% off coupon and getting a 50% off sale, the total to make this simple wreath was $6. Not too shabby!

When creating the wreath, I first tried two ways with the garland. The first time, I wrapped it around the wreath, like a running stitch. But that didn't look so great. Next thing I tried was just laying the garland in a circle on top of the wreath. That added the fullness it needed. Enter floral wire and hot glue gun, and tada! About 30 minutes later, my little $6 wreath had blossomed into autumnal beauty.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Fabric Fancy & Fleece

It's never a good thing when I just happen to wander into a fabric store. Mainly because I get so inspired by the colors, textures, and patterns, but really have no clue where to begin. Earlier this week I happened into Hancock Fabrics and began instantly drooling. See the problem here though, is that I am not a master seamstress. I am extremely limited in my sewing ability. So you can understand my creativity pangs when I see all of those gorgeous fabrics, but don't know how to physically manipulate them. It's not that I don't have ideas for oodles of things involving fabric, it's just that I don't have the time to sit down and learn sewing with a cute toddler around. I know, I know, that's such a convenient excuse for, well...everything.

In my mind, I would love to be Amy Butler... a girl can dream, can't she? So here's a very short list of a couple of things that I have been able to sew: pillow cover/case, knitting needle roll-up case, wipes, dog bed, dog poncho, annnnnd I think that's all. Well for a complete novice like me, I really appreciate no-sew projects. You get the best of both worlds (thanks Hannah Montana) by using fun fabrics, with none of the expertise required! :-D

Which brings me back to standing in Hancock Fabrics on Tuesday, eyeing all of the whimsical fleece prints. I love fleece for a plethora of reasons, but mostly because it's extremely easy to make stuff with. I saw this print in the clearance section called "Bugs & Worms," and knew instantly that this was perfect for my little Bubster. He loves all types of creepy-crawlies, alive or dead. I envisioned a cute reversible blanket for him, a larger size for the big boy he is becoming. I then grabbed a solid turquoise bolt to pair with the print. Folks, I gotta tell you, one of the only drawbacks to fleece is the price at times. But right now at Hancock, they're having an anniversary sale where most of their store is 53% off. It runs through the end of the month, so stock up now for Christmas projects :)

After 1.5 yards each of the fabrics and roughly $12 later, I had a cozy blanket to create. Instead of retyping directions for this, I'm posting the link that will give you the lowdown. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I kid you not, all you need is a pair of scissors to do this. I'm seriously considering making two more for my niece and nephew with other fabrics. Have fun, y'all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Consignment Sale Debriefing & Tips

It's been a busy and fun weekend so far. Hubs and the DS went to go visit his family, and therefore I'm getting some fun girly stuff done! I've been waiting for today, for several weeks now, knowing that two major consignment sales would be open for business. I couldn't sleep, I tell you. It was like Christmas Eve or something. Plus, I had to get up before the sun to be ready for the first sale.

6:50 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see small line of frugalistas waiting for the gym doors to open.
7:00 am: mad dash inside. people falling down. screaming. something caught fire. well, not really, but you get the idea.
7:01 am: overwhelmed.
7:02 am: My confidence increasing, I weasel my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin quickly skimming. Hello, stripes. Hello, Ralph Lauren. Meet...my shopping bag.
8:00 am: Checking out and glory Hallelujah, I only spent $22 for several nice pants and shirts. Not to mention a cute puzzle depicting how to set the table. Gotta start 'em young.
8:20 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see a cop directing parking traffic. oy.
8:22 am: overwhelmed. again.
8:24 am: go straight to shoes and see lots of cute styles, but not in his size. shimmy my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin skimming: Nothing...nothing...nothing...ehhh....hmm...maybe?... I wasn't as impressed with the selection at this particular sale, saw several stained items. Ventured out to the books/puzzle area and toys.
9:15 am: Checking out in the "express" lane, and my total was $18.75.
9:30 am: Visiting the final sale of the weekend, and the one I hadn't planned to visit. After combing the racks, found a pair of jeans for $2.
10:30 am: Leaving with my sanity in tact, and only a minor dent in the budget DH and I had agreed upon after 3 sales!

And here is the final stash of clothes bought for Fall/Winter:

Not too shabby for roughly $44, tax-free too! I love all of the pieces, and they average $2 a piece.

So here are some of my tips that I've heard from others, and that I've learned through experience:
  • Try to leave your kids and DH at home. I don't say this to be mean, but simply that space is extremely limited at this type of sale, and most shoppers are on a mission. Plus, you won't have to worry about someone getting bored or whiny.

  • Go first thing at opening if you can. The early bird gets the worm, or rather the early shopper gets the best selection.

  • Bring a bag or laundry basket, something. I am constantly amazed at how many people have nowhere to place their items. The IKEA bag was made for this.

  • If there are windows available, take your clothes over there and inspect them for stains, tears, missing buttons, broken zippers, grease stains in natural light.

  • Take cash or check with you. Most sales are not debit/credit equipped.

  • To stretch your dollar further, visit sales hosted by non-profits since there will be no tax included!

  • Volunteer at your favorite sale and shop the preview sale for even better selection (before the public gets their grubby hands all over it).

  • Take some measurements of clothing that currently fit your child well. I used a string of yarn to measure some jeans from waist to bottom cuff. Holding it up against other pants will show you how it compares. For shoes, I simply trace a foot, then take out the insole of a prospective shoe to compare for size and width.

  • Know prices of brands. This will help you in the long run. For instance, I really don't like the idea of paying more than $3.50 for a shirt because I know I can buy a new one for the same price at Walmart (Garanimals brand) or Kohl's (Jumping Beans). Some consignors price items too high for the brand, i.e. GenuineKids by Oshkosh for Target, $8 sweater...not a deal.

  • Keep a towel with you in case you need to sit on the floor and sort your clothes before buying. I did this at a sale and many buyers wished they had one too. A lot of the venues that sell do not have seating or a table to do this. Plus, this will keep your clothes clean too.

  • Some buyers/sellers frown upon this ("stockpiling"), but I call it smart shopping. If you even think for a second that you like a particular item, shove it in your bag. I may start with a bag overflowing with clothes, but after sorting, pondering, etc. I may decide it's not worth it. Please put the items back where you found them. I have 'lost' several items to other shoppers because I hesitated.

  • This should be an obvious one: know what you need to buy. I'm sure lots of poor souls fall prey to impulse buying at these sales since everything is so cheap. But it's not much of a deal if your kid already has more of the same.

  • Have fun :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adventures in Parenting: It's the little things

Before I became a parent, I never knew:

  • I'd spend so much time chopping/dicing/mashing/tearing food bits.
  • That the moment my husband's key would unlock our door around 5:20 pm, I would have immediate relief wash over me.
  • how important changing tables are when you're out in public.
  • I would end up consuming just as many Cheerios as my child does.
  • how glorious naps were; for both of us.
  • that God could use a little child to teach me the hardest lessons.
  • how wonderful and sanity-saving, grandparents could be.
  • the slight differences between Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. Not to mention, the beauty of pop-up wipes.
  • what a challenging calling that motherhood truly is.
  • that "snack traps" don't really trap all of the snack!
  • that cloth bibs work best for bottles and liquidy stuff, but slick pelican bibs are better for table food.
  • how pitiful your child looks when he's sick.
  • the beauty and fun of consignment sales.
  • that some days, your child will get on your last nerve.
  • that other days, you can't get enough of him.
  • how much I would desperately need God's forgivness and grace in raising a child.

I have learned so much in this small little space of time that my son has been around. And I can't imagine my life without him now. He grew in me a little over a year ago, and now he's grown on me. God give me the grace that despite all of my failings and quirks, he will ultimately see You.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"La-LA-La-LA....Bubster's World"

....sung to the tune of, none other than "Elmo's World!"

It's been awhile since I've posted some about Bub's current world. And man, do I love his little piece of the world.


Ever since he took his first steps almost two months ago, he is amazing us with his speed all of a sudden. I usedtacould open a door and quickly grab something, and shut the door all without him noticing or being able to intervene. Nowadays, that no longer happens, and he is quick as a whip, right there at your feet, ready and all too willing to get involved with whatever I am doing. Right now, his most favorite activities are opening and shutting doors, dancing, reading, chasing Cubbie, and getting into the fridge or dishwasher. The latter have become problems of their own...basically when I shut either door, he throws a fit. Screaming at the top of his lungs, all because I shut the fridge door. Bless his heart.

The dancing bit is so cute to watch. He'll do it to about anything, whether it's a song on his favorite show, Raggs, or a song in one of his musical books. He bobs up and down with the most serious of looks on his little face. It really looks as if he's thinking, "Up...now down...Up...now down." :) We've gotten it on video quite a few times, so hopefully (fingers crossed), I'll remember to post one.

Bub's vocab is growing as well. He can now say: Mama, Dada, ball, Bobo (his fave monkey), bye bye, uh-oh, and light. I know "light" is a strange first word, but he is obsessed with lights. It all started when I began pointing to any and every light in a room. Soon, his arm and finger began imitating mine, and he would smile and say "_igh_."

Another cute thing he does (and there are too many to count!) is raise his arms above his head. We taught him to raise them when we say, "Praise God!" He did it at our church one day, much to everyone's delight. And just the other day, as we were riding down in an elevator, it made a weird clunking noise with a small bounce. Bub said, "Uh-Oh!" :-D I have no idea how or why he knew to say that in context! But I told him, "Please don't say 'uh-oh' in an elevator!" Ironically, as we were waiting for the same elevator awhile later, a maintenace man told us it was acting up. ::blushing:: My son is already getting smarter than his old mom!

He is still very much in love with his precious blankie, and now enjoys dragging it around the house with him. He strews everything around the house nowadays. I find the most random things in the most random of places. I do love finding a wooden block or puzzle piece intermingled with his dirty clothes. Truly his presence makes itself known.

He is such a gift. I am so thankful to God for such an energetic and wild little boy. (These words may come to bite me in the future, but for now, they're all true).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy 4th Anniversary!

To my sweet husband,

I love you more than the day you asked me to marry you....

I love you more than the day we said, "I do."

I love you more than the day we found out we were pregnant.

I love you more than the day we met our firstborn son.

I love you more than you will ever know...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daydreaming of Fall

Stowe, Vermont (Fall 2008)
On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, I'll be doing a little happy dance. You see, that's the first day of Fall. The debut of my favorite season bursting onto the scene. I'm so thankful that I live in a place where I can experience the full range of seasons; some milder than previous years. But Fall is just always beautiful, and never disappoints, regardless of how the rest of the seasons have played out.
The crisp air, "jacket weather," the smell of smoke billowing from chimneys and bonfires, bumpy hayrides, gooey s'mores, turtlenecks, warm scarves, appley-anything, crunchy leaves, dazzling colors, coziness. What's not to love?
In anticipation of Autumn, I excitedly announced to B, "I just painted my toenails 'Brown-a-licious!'" To which he wryly responded, "You do know that it's about a month away, right?"
Yes, but who's counting?
....30 days....
What are some of your favorite things about Fall?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

GQ bay-bay

Caleb is modeling Huggies Jeans and Snug & Dry diapers. Cup by Tommee Tippee. Robot pj top by BabyGap.
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who does he favor?

Brent (left) & Bubster (right)

Me (left) & Bubster (right)

We get asked often by friends (and family) who we think Bub looks more like. What do you think?

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Adventures in Parenting: Buying a minivan?!

I can't even believe I just typed the word minivan. It connotes soccer mom, unhip, scattered and broken Cheerios, and the sound of a slamming sliding door (in my mind). Growing up, just my sister and I, we never rode in a minivan unless it was a friend's. We rode around in a grey Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon for most of our younger years, then upgraded to a brand spankin' new '91 Toyota Camry; with moonroof. Eat. your. heart. out.

The Cavalier is looong gone, but the Camry, affectionately known as Ol' Girl, is still being driven around town by the husband. A couple of years ago, I was able to pick out a new-to-me '03 Honda Accord which is nicknamed Annie. (Backstory on the name: we found out during the buying process that the car had been repossessed; thus she was a bit of an orphan).

Amazingly, it seems like Annie has shrunken ever since Bubster entered our life. The mega-sized gear, bulging diaper bag, and variety of car toys has usurped the former backseat section. A minivan just makes sense to us. I'm as practical as they come, and even I can't deny the beauty of stow-n-go seating, dual sliding doors, and a butt load more of storage space. Did I mention our stroller takes up the entire trunk of the Accord? Lord willing, we would like to expand our family in the future, and it's difficult for me to imagine adding more to Annie's current load.

So, as I swallow my pride, since I previously vowed I would never, ever, ever, in a million bajillion years drive or own a minivan, we are poring over used Honda Odyssey ads specifically. And boy am I grateful for the internet at this time. What did people do without it before?! Oh yeah, read newspaper classifieds and pick up a copy of AutoTrader outside of the grocery store.

We found a perfect match for what we were looking for off of Craigslist, but discovered it had been sold and the ad was left behind. But just as in big things or little things, we are trusting God that He will bring it about in His will and time. Lord, give me patience!

In the meantime, my sister (also avowed anti-minivanist, who drives a big honkin' SUV) and I recently discussed our wanting to buy a minivan. She had a mischievous grin and chuckled knowingly. I don't know, it's like all your cool points go completely out the window when you drive a minivan. Like an official mom mobile. But what I am realizing, is that it is totally okay to be stereotyped as a mom :) It's a beautiful thing, really. See below.

And here are a few other mini-van funnies....

Another mom's take on saying, "I'll never drive a van."

Monday, July 26, 2010

What was I doing almost a year ago?

In short, waiting and hoping that Caleb Sheridan would arrive any day...

July 25, 2009--eager to meet my son (and be done with it already!)

The hospital bag was mostly packed albeit those things you always throw in at the last moment: contact solution, toothbrush, razor, etc. I'd been working on my nightly pelvic exercises and stretches. Also continuing to slather on the cocoa butter lotion (which didn't really help me prevent stretch marks). I remember sitting in the glider in his finished nursery often, rocking back and forth ever so slowly, telling him how we couldn't wait to meet him. It was surreal, having everything ready to go, just no baby yet. I wondered what motherhood would be like. Could it really be as challenging and yet so amazingly wonderful at the same time as other moms had led me to believe?

What about labor and birth? Would I end up having to be induced? Would I be able to handle it? His due date was August 5th, 2009. I kept imagining having to call Brent at work and saying, "Honey, I think I'm in labor!" Which is funny to me in of itself, because I don't refer to Brent as "honey." :) Would I be out in public and have my water break?

At the end of my pregnancy, I really enjoyed speculating and imagining everything. I wasn't anxious about it really, just wondering how it'd all go down. And I'm sure God had fun listening to and watching me pose "What if?" scenarios.

He knew all along. He knew the moment that Caleb Sheridan would make his grand entrance. He knew the joyful tears I would shed at his birth, and the heartrending tears that would come during the following weeks. He knew that He would give me strength in my weakness and carry me through. He heard my cries along with Caleb's, begging for mercy and that most precious gift, sleep. He knew that things would get better, it would just take awhile. He knew that I would grow to appreciate the new normal. He knew that I would become more dependent upon Him.

But I did not know of these things yet. Little did I know that I would be meeting my son very soon, just a handful of days later on July 31st, 2009.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My "bowling ball"

Sorry for the blurriness and darkness in the first two pics. That's what happens when you're shooting with no flash and a baby comes toddling towards you with the momentum of a freight train. Caleb is officially walking up a storm. He took his first ever steps while we were on vacation at the beach. My sister and I were the witnesses of his unexpected steps into a new frontier. Since Monday at around 4:30 pm, it's as if his feet have taken on a life of their own, willing his body to move along whether it wants to or not.

Other parents have mentioned to me stories of their own childrens' first steps. More often than not, it's more of an omen, as in "You're really going to be busy now..." But others have commented more on the milestone itself in the grand scheme of things. I'll admit when he did his longest walk of 10 steps on Monday afternoon, I was crying and cheering and clapping at the same time. He deserved the shiniest gold medal that has ever been forged from the earth. I was the proudest mom you could find at 4:40 pm on July 12th, 2010.

But at 4:41 pm, on July 12th, another feeling also welled up: recognizing that now I had an official toddler, and his babyhood is quickly dwindling by the day. How do these memories come and go so flittingly? And pardon the cliche', but "they grow up so fast." And every time I hear that, I find myself nodding and giving a soft smile. But it really hits home when it's your precious babe that's doing all of the alleged fast growing. And the other cliche', "growing like a weed," that's true too.
Okay, I'm getting way too mushy for my own good right now, ahem. So as my toddler, is making his way through the house now, with increasing progress by the day (dear Lord!), I hear frequent thuds. At first, I thought I was hearing the typical house-settling sounds, or other quasi-legit reasons for random noises. But I soon discovered that those random thuds were none other than my toddler's head hitting the floor. Before you label me a complete moron for not thinking or knowing that this could be a possibility, blessed me has a son who doesn't cry when his head hits the floor. So he falls, thuds!, rolls over, and keeps moving on. Kinda like a bowling ball. :) And if I wasn't with him directly, I wouldn't have known he even fell.
So for anyone keeping track, Caleb officially began walking in his 49th week. You go, big guy!
To my beloved "bowling ball," Mommy is so proud of you. I've only caught my breath twice since you've been walking, and you were just fine. Keep up the awesome work! And if you ever need a hand to hold, I'll be here...
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Monday, June 14, 2010

blankie lub

Caleb at 5 months

As a young girl, I was inseparable from my blankie and pilly. They were magical. I felt safe with them, they were close friends, and my imagination could soar while they were my faithful sidekicks. While the majority of blankets spend a great deal of time crumpled in a heap, I used to enjoy spreading my blankie out and admiring its 'bigness.' It's the little things that are mind-blowing to a kid.

I am proud to say that Caleb has inherited the blankie lub gene. I'll admit, I kinda set him up at first; think: arranged marriage. Seeing that precious hand crocheted baby blue blankie wrapped around a wee bebe was perfection. Still is. Their relationship has progressed to full blown lub. And this time, it's on Caleb's terms.

Cute baby trick #51: Every morning during our playtime in his room, I ask, "Where's Blankie?" And he dutifully and excitedly crawls over and stands at his crib until he locates it. He then bounces up and down, half squealing/grunting, and pulls Blankie out inch by glorious inch. Satisfied, he thrusts Blankie in the air with a fist pump then bodyslams it down for a nuzzle. I could watch this scene unfold on loop.

Inevitably, Blankie has inherited Caleb's scent. I love it. I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I nuzzle C's blankie a couple of times a day too. Ridiculous? A little. :) I am so darn nostalgic when it comes to blankies. I think of my own and the pleasure it brought. Mine is threadbare in places, and the lace border is quite frayed. I'm hoping Caleb's blankie will last just as long and be just as endearing.

The photo below is pretty much miraculous that it was captured at all. He is such a light sleeper and woke up seconds after I took this. Enjoy :)

Caleb at 10 months

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Floating into Summer

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We had a great impromptu time at the pool this evening. It was so humid and hot, that the cool water felt heavenly. Bub didn't seem to mind the temperature, but was rather quiet most of the time in the pool. I guess there was a lot to take in on his inaugural swim! He enjoyed splashing and watching Daddy blow bubbles while sitting on his shoulders.
Side note: Doesn't that crab float look incredible? Whoever blew that up needs a medal. And, no swim diapers were loaded during this delightful event.