My Word of the Year

I have seen a lot of people write about a word that summarizes their goals for the year.  I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of choosing a word to inspire your life.  I have thought about my goals in life, the path I think God is leading me down, and what I want for myself and my family.

The word I’ve chosen is LOVE.

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I like the simplicity and complexity of this goal.  So simple because we all know what it love is, yet complex because the meaning behind it is so deep.

Luke 10:27 says:

LOVE the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

{These verses are also repeated in Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5, and Leviticus 19:18}

If we love God and love our neighbors, our actions will reflect this.  The choices we make will be better.  We will be less selfish, less self serving, more apt to think about others.

This is what I want for my life.  I want to know God’s will – I want to walk His path.

I want to love my family, my friends, and everyone else I meet.  I want them to feel loved, important, and valued.

LOVE is such an important word.

It is what we all long for.

Franchesca from Small Bird Studios created this and I think it says it all:

Source: smallbirdstudios.com on Pinterest

What is your word for the year?

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Living Room Design

I need help with my living room.  The room is an odd shape.  It has a sliding glass door {which I hate and will add a window treatment asap} and doors everywhere.  The only electrical outlets are along the wall where the TV is.  I have taken nearly everything out of the room and arranged it two different ways.  Then, I have added back what it currently looks like.  I still have art to add.  The living room of my old house was inspired by Kenya.  I had a giant piece of art entitled Kenya by Lazlo Emmerich as well as picture of Masai (I’ll show you those in a bit).  My new living room will not accommodate the large Kenya art piece.  The only place it will work is in the dining room I think.

Arrangement 1 {table by the red chair}

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Please ignore the mess in the background – the kitchen and dining room are still works in progress.

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Bookcase against this wall? I currently have a 5 shelf 30 inch wide bookcase (about half the width of the wall)…

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Arrangement 2 {table by the yellow chair}

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My dog decided she needed to be in the picture.

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Add a lamp here?

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Place a lamp here? No outlet on that wall though…

The lamp is here.

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Or leave the lamp here? {Or get rid of it all together?}

Current look

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Basket in the little alcove?

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Please help.  Which look do you like best?  What should I add?  A bookcase or two?  A table?

Here’s the Masai art I have to add some where, but where?  In case you’re wondering…my friend Maggie painted these for me from pictures I took in Kenya.  She painted them exactly how I imagined them.  She’s awesome.  Check out her art.

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At my previous house, I had these four paintings grouped in a 2 x 2 square evenly spaced.  Should I frame them, paint the edges (currently white), or add some kind of trim?

Last thing — I want to share with you how I brought these painting across country without damaging them.  I have no idea how the pros do it, but this is what I did.

I taped the bottom of 4 paint sticks to the walls of the box.  My paintings have a wire across the back, so I hung the wire on the paint sticks and taped the top of the paint sticks to the box.  Last measure of protection:  these babies traveled in my car not in the moving truck.

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Close up of the box behind the paintings.

Thanks for your help!!
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My New House – A Blank Canvas

Sorry I have been MIA this past week.  We finally moved into a house!  We had been searching for a house since April.  Remember this post, when I flat out asked God to give me a house?  And this post, when He answered?!  It took until the beginning of December to find the right one, but God saw fit to bless us with a wonderful home.  It is as close to perfect as I think we can get!  And the price was great, too!  Here’s a tour of my new house before we moved anything into it.  I’ll be posting about each room as they are finalized.  {Probably multiple posts as I finish projects.}

As you walk into my house, you see the living room.  Take off your shoes, so you can feel the soft, new carpet.  {I’ve never had new carpet before!}

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The living room. It was difficult to place furniture in this room. I still don’t know if I like the arrangement. I’ll post pictures soon and you can weigh in and help me!

Turn around to see the entrance.

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The front entrance.

If you turn left before entering the living room, you will travel through the hallway to Aiden’s room, the bathroom, or the garage.

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The hallway and bathroom.
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Aiden’s room as seen from the doorway.
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Another view of Aiden’s room as seen from the corner by the window.

Head back to the entrance.  If you turn right before entering the living room, you will find yourself in the kitchen.  How I love this kitchen!  It is so big and has lots of cabinet space.  Be sure to check out the sink.  It is nice and deep – love that!

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View 1 of the kitchen. The refrigerator is next to the sink.
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View 2 of the kitchen. The old owners pulled out the dishwasher and put it where the range should be. That dishwasher has been removed and replaced. Our range finally arrived yesterday.
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View 3 of the kitchen taken from the dining room. Anyone know how to remove that ring spot on the laminate counter?
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View 4 of the kitchen also taken from the dining room. What to do with that space? I have plants but what else??

Head from the kitchen to the dining room.

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The dining room. I’ve never had one this big.

Go back through the living room to master bedroom.

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The master bedroom. This picture doesn’t do justice to its size. There’s a whole other corner to the left that got cut out.

Enter my wonderful master bathroom.  We had a master bathroom in our old house in Missouri for which we had grand plans.  When we bought the house, the bathroom was in need of repair (as were many other things in the house).  We never got around to finishing the master bath.  I am thankful that our new house needs nothing but a few tiny repairs. This leaves more time for decorating and enjoying!

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The master bathroom. I love all of the space.
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My tub…I’ve never had one so big. I took a bath the first night we moved in and it was great.
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My shower. I usually hate stand up showers because I’m claustrophobic. (I have to have see through shower curtains to make me feel at ease.) This shower is large enough and bright enough that I really like it. It’s like a little spa. Like my reflection in the glass?

Finally, from the living room, travel through the sliding glass door to the lanai.  I think every Florida home needs a lanai.

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The lanai.
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2nd view of the lanai (or really the sliding glass door…)

If you can’t tell, I am ecstatic beyond belief about our new house.  I can’t wait to finish unpacking everything and decorate it.  It was well worth the wait.  God’s timing is always perfect.  I just need to learn a little patience.

I hope you enjoyed touring my home.  There are many updates to come!

Happy New Year!
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Saturday Morning Science: Reindeer Edition

In Saturday Morning Science posts, I will be sharing science activities that you can do with your little ones with materials you most likely already have.  (Many of the activities you have seen before, but I think little reminders are always good.  I hope to share some new ideas, too!)  Children are naturally curious.  Letting them explore and discover the world around them helps build a foundation for future science learning.  {I got the name for Saturday Morning Science from a lecture series I used to attend at the University of Missouri.  On Saturday mornings, scientists share their research with the public in an hour long talk.}

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Since today is Christmas Eve, I wanted the science to be Christmas focused.  Regardless of your opinion on Santa {read my thoughts here}, I thought learning about reindeer would be fun.  I’m going to share facts about reindeer with you.  Your job is to share the facts with your children.  You could also read books about reindeer.  You can do crafts about reindeer (I’ll include some links), and you could make a reindeer snack.

Source: theanimalprintshop.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Reindeer
{Information from the Smithsonian and the San Diego Zoo}

Reindeer live in the Arctic.
They eat mosses, herbs, ferns, grasses, shoots, and leaves.
In the winter, they eat lichen.
Reindeer are covered in hair from their nose to the bottom of their feet.  The hair traps air.  This gives them insulation to help keep them warm.
Reindeer are excellent swimmers!
Reindeer noses are designed to warm the cold air before it enters their body.
They have a great sense of smell.
Reindeer are most likely the same species as caribou.
Reindeer are smaller than caribou.
Reindeer were domesticated a long time ago.  Today they are herded by many people around the world.  They are used to pull sleds, and they are farmed for their meat, milk, and hides.

You can see live video of reindeer here.

Visit the Reindeer Barn at Northpole.com to read stories about Raymond the reindeer.

Reindeer Crafts

Lorie from Reading Confetti has created Santa and Reindeer Handprints.

Source: readingconfetti.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Another idea from Life in Motion Photography.

Source: lifeinmotionphotography.com via Trisha on Pinterest

I’m sure there’s tons more, but I think you get the idea.  Learn a little about reindeer, and enjoy your Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas,
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Handmade Christmas

This year I decided to make a lot of the gifts we gave people.

I used Shutterfly to make photo books of Aiden’s first 2 years for his grandparents.  Here’s a sample of some of my favorite pages.

I painted a shirt with dandelions for my niece. {I wish I had a picture for you!!}
I had intentions of painting a shirt for my other niece but her shirt was ruined by ink in the washer! The shirt I found for her was red and had cute rufflie sleeves – there was only one. I was so sad the ink destroyed it. I always check pockets. I think the pen was just in the pile of clothes…my Aiden probably put it there.
I made my niece a necklace instead. {Wrapped without taking a picture, too!}

Patrick, Aiden, and I made cookies for everyone.  I forgot to tape one of the cookie tins, so the cookies fell out when they were shipped.  Good thing I sent them more than one tin!

We made tons of ornaments.
We did salt dough.

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This one is stamped with an owl. Aiden loves owls!

We did thumbprints in clay inspired by Stephanie’s post here.

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Aiden’s thumbprints and initials.

 We filled, painted, and glittered glass balls.  See my inspirations here.

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I made Christmas cards using Aiden’s drawings.  See post here.
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My favorite thing I made was a set of birds inspired by Jessica Jane’s ornament tutorial.

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The lighting in my apartment is horrendous! New house next week!!

I had so much fun creating this Christmas season!  How about you?

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Christmas Bible Verses

One of my favorite Christmas verses is Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

A printable from Amy at One Artsy Mama.

Source: oneartmama.blogspot.com via Trisha on Pinterest

The story of the shepherds… {Luke 2:8-20 NKJ}

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

I couldn’t resist making a printable for this.  Left click on the picture to open in a new window.  Then, you can right click and save.

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The story of the wise men…{Matthew 2:7-11 NKJ}

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

I made a printable for Matthew 2:10…{Aiden loves stars.}

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You can see more of my printables here.

What are your favorite Christmas bible verses?

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Love,
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Aiden’s 2nd Birthday

Aiden’s 2nd birthday went like this:

  • Wake up to Mama singing Happy Birthday.
  • Eat blueberry muffins for breakfast.
  • Open first present (Cars t-shirt)
  • Play
  • Eat lunch
  • Play
  • Nap time (Cars t-shirt in the wash because it got soaked…)
  • Daddy wakes Aiden up for party (puts on Cars t-shirt again)
  • Aiden sees Cars banner and balloons – face lights up.
  • Eat pasta dinner.
  • Open some presents in front of Grandma and Pa on video chat.
  • Eat dark chocolate cupcakes iced with dark chocolate mousse.
  • Open more presents while video chatting with Maw Maw and Pa Pa and Aunt Heather and cousins.
  • Play with new trains for a few minutes.
  • Go to the zoo’s winter wonderland – ooh and aah over lights, train, and animals.
  • PJs on – play with trains.
  • Bedtime – request Happy Birthday.
  • Aiden stays awake in his bed for another hour singing “day, day, day” – his version of Happy Birthday.

And some pictures! {I love his faces!!}

babyI LOVE my sweet little boy!

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Thanks for reading!
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Making Cards with Toddler Art

Aiden loves to color.

I wanted to share his art with our family back in Missouri, but I didn’t just want to mail the coloring pages to them.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate his art into our Christmas cards!

I let Aiden color on several pages of cardstock – all different colors.  {We did this over several days – I’m not a mean mama who made him slave away in one sitting…}

Then, I cut out shapes with my Silhouette machine.

For some of the cards, I simply added a star to the inside of the card – a small touch of Aiden.

I also made a few using his coloring page as the main background.  I cut out different shapes and stamped ”Merry Christmas” on the outside.  I added some glitter for sparkly fun.

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A nice message and bible verse is on the inside (and a few more cut out stars colored by Aiden).

I added one more picture on the back, a little stamp, and note saying the artwork was by Aiden.

I hope everyone likes their cards!

{I think I’ll save one for myself.}

Enjoying this Christmas season!  Much love,

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Saturday Morning Science: Choose Your Own Adventure

In Saturday Morning Science posts, I will be sharing science activities that you can do with your little ones with materials you most likely already have.  (Many of the activities you have seen before, but I think little reminders are always good.  I hope to share some new ideas, too!)  Children are naturally curious.  Letting them explore and discover the world around them helps build a foundation for future science learning.  {I got the name for Saturday Morning Science from a lecture series I used to attend at the University of Missouri.  On Saturday mornings, scientists share their research with the public in an hour long talk.}

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You know how much I love Pinterest, right?  Well, for today’s Saturday Morning Science Activity, I’m going to share a few science activities I’ve pinned.  Choose one {or more} to do with your little one!

Last week, I suggested mixing baking soda and vinegar together along with other kitchen chemistry ideas.  Jamie from Hands On: As We Grow took this idea one step further when she added color to the vinegar.  {She got the idea from someone who got the idea from Pinterest – lovely how that works, huh?}

Source: handsonaswegrow.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Try these fall sensory bins from Jill at A Mom with A Lesson Plan.

Source: amomwithalessonplan.com via Trisha on Pinterest

How about a little physics?  Check out this cool ramps and chutes idea from Anna at The Imagination Tree.  {This is the one Aiden and I are doing today.}

Source: theimaginationtree.com via Trisha on Pinterest

Make moon sand and cloud dough and compare the textures like Joyce from Dinosaurs and Octopuses {love that blog name btw}.

Source: dinosaursandoctopuses.blogspot.com via Trisha on Pinterest

You can check out more of the fun ideas I’ve pinned here. {I’m always adding more!}

Which activity will you choose?
What cool science activities do you have to share?

Thanks for reading!
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Birthday Memories

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post where I talked about losing my first little one.
Read about it here.

My doctor wanted me to wait a month or two before trying again.
We only waited a month, I immediately got pregnant again.
I knew immediately that I was pregnant.
My body acted differently {just like it had with my first baby}.
I was not in denial the second time around.
I was excited and hopeful.

About 6 weeks in {again}, I had issues while at school.
I called my doctor’s office and they said go to OB triage.
{I ran into one of my friend’s in the hallway – I had to track her down to ask her to teach my class – she didn’t know I was pregnant again, but of course she said go, go, I’ll take care of everything – the benefits of teaching the exact same thing as your peers.}
They ran the blood tests – hormone levels were fine.
The doctor scheduled an ultrasound for that day – she thought I might be far enough along to see the heartbeat.
This time they could see the gestational sac {no doubt I was pregnant},
but no heartbeat.
They thought it was just a bit early and probably didn’t mean anything bad.
Needless to say, I was worried.
More blood tests a day or so later – hormone levels rising – good sign.
Another ultrasound {at 7 weeks} showed the heartbeat. {Relief.}
I think it’s kinda cool that you can see the heartbeat {fetal pole} before you can hear it.

The rest of my pregnancy went fine.

Aiden was due on December 29, 2009.

He decided that he wanted to come early.
My waters broke on December 8th as I was climbing into bed.
{I had just finished grading a lot of papers and still had more to finish, but I was done.}

I know they always say that when your waters break, you’ll know.
Well, that’s an understatement and a half!
And, of course, I wasn’t contracting.
They let me wait until morning to see if I would start contracting on my own.
I did but they were pitiful – no enough.
So, I was induced.
I did not want to be induced – I knew thing would not go well.
And I was right.
Aiden was in distress, so they had to stop the contractions.
The medicine that stops contractions made all of my muscles convulse.
I was spent.
I had planned on using no pain medication or epidural.
But my worst fear was having to be forced into an epidural or spinal
because they had to do a Cesarean.
At that point, I was exhausted
and knew I didn’t have much time before they were going to do an Cesarean.
I had already been there for 14 hours – they weren’t going to let me go for more than 24.
I gave in.
I got the epidural.
I got some sleep while they started the induction again.
They finally figured out that Aiden had the cord wrapped around his neck twice.
He needed to come out quickly.  {After 19 1/2 hours, I wasn’t sure what quickly meant!}
Long story short shorter, Aiden came out blue.
That child worried me at the start of the pregnancy and at the end!

It’s hard to believe he will be two!
I thank God every day for my little one.
He is such a blessing.

Happy Birthday, Aiden!

{Below are a couple of pictures from two weeks ago – it’s the first time he ever painted. He asks to paint all the time now.}

Thanks for reading!