So This is Christmas...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Decking the halls, silent nights, home alone.  I love every aspect of Christmas.  I was chomping at the bit to be able to listen to Christmas music and it was all holiday tunes all the time after Thanksgiving. The entire season just makes me happy.  Regardless of how many hours I work (a lot, Christmas parties ya'll), or the crowds, there is peace and happiness in each and every day.  I love watching the generosity and truly taking time to reflect on the year and on the blessings we have.

Luckily Steve is a fan of the season as well and was willing to get out and make our house look festive!  He is an expert light hanger and get them pretty darn straight. We don't quite have enough lights for our new house, but it looked pretty good!

I think it is easy to let the hustle and bustle of the season take over and too easy to go into stress mode.  This year I really didn't stress. We got our shopping finished early and Steve may or may not have wrapped all of our gifts.  (Um, yeah, he is pretty amazing.) I was able to enjoy my fuzzy wuzzy feelings and really reflect on what the season is all about.  (Cue the voice of Linus and his Bethlehem monologue.)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mornings are kind of my favorite.  I know, hear me out.  I love to get up before the sun (I am making it worse aren't I?), read my bible (sometimes), go for a run and see the sun rise on a brand new day.  There is something refreshing about a fresh start and a clean slate.  (Well kind of clean.)

 I would love to say that mornings are always this pleasant and that my kids always wake up sunshiny but that would be a big fat giant lie.  The honest truth is, though I do love mornings, when the alarm goes off I don't want go get up. I don't want to read, I don't want to run (especially in the cold) and I don't want to get two kids ready for the day.  That moment, when my bed is warm and the sky is pitch black I just want to curl up and stay in my cocoon for the rest of the day.  I hit the snooze for a minimum of 30 minutes before dragging my self out of bed.

 Most mornings I feel just like this:
 But I drag my happy a*% out of bed and feel so much better for doing it.  Fresh, especially cold, air feels good in your lungs and there is a sick satisfaction at finishing a 6 mile run before 6:30 in the morning.  The kids are not always easy to get up and don't always like what we have for breakfast.  Ok, if we are being honest, I may cook breakfast one day a week.  That day they may or may not eat the turkey bacon, sausage and egg whites I make them.  (Umm, feed those kids real bacon you say?)

In fact, the happy dappy breakfast you saw above could be completely interrupted by a milk spill, which could lead to fits.  I also learned that milk drips thorough the slats of a farm table right onto the floor.  Clean up fail.

The alarm will go off, the fits (and battles of wits) will happen and my kids aren't always going to like what I feed them, but I am thankful for every day the alarm wakes me before a new dawn. A new dawn and chance to struggle through this motherhood thing and trying to be a wife who doesn't just put her pajamas on when she gets home and goes to bed by 9pm. (That second one I may or may not be failing miserably at.)

I will try to embrace each new dawn, even if the embrace is lackluster and with a lot of muttering and know that after running awhile, it will feel good.

What Isla Wore

Friday, November 29, 2013

This week Isla wore determination, love and a little bit of feistiness.  
Isla is two.  Along with two comes some struggles and battles of wit.  I just hope that 99% of the time it is me can out wit this child.  She know what she wants and won't hesitate to fling herself in the floor if she doesn't get it.  I pray that she will keep her strong will but will lose the fits.  Along with some toddler breakdowns she gives the sweetest hugs and kisses and nothing compares to hearing her say "I lub you".
Please ignore the messy room in the background

This week Cian wore love, devotion and thankfulness. 
Cian loves the heck out of his sister.  Does he totally act like the oldest child and tell her what she is and isn't supposed to to and tattle on her at any given opportunity? Yes.  But does he look out for her, share his food and toys with her and talk about how much he loves his sister? Yes.  On his thankful board at school he wrote that he was "thank you" for his sister.  (Umm, does that melt a mamma's heart or what??)

Listen to the Mustn'ts

Monday, November 25, 2013

Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child, 
--Shel Silverstein

Cian and Isla,

A box can be a boat, it can be a plane, or a rocket ship.  A straw can be a wand,  a toilet paper roll a telescope and the floor can be lava.  You can be a doctor or spiderman.  You can be a princess and a super hero.  You can be a "hallerina" or a jedi.

Your dreams are big and God is bigger.  They, your dreams and God, will take you to places you didn't dream possible.  Let those dreams grow, evolve and change.  Hold fast to reality but don't be afraid to put your head in the clouds every now and then.  Don't be afraid to jump.  Fear will keep your feet on the ground and your dreams in your head.  It will leave you wishing and wondering.

In your dreams, and in reality, be kind. Be kind to those who don't deserve it, to those who are different.  Be kind to each other.  Don't stop believing that people are good and that you can make a difference.  Don't stop believing that words matter. Use your words intentionally and mean what you say.

Most of all, don't forget about love. Above all else, love.  Love those who don't deserve it and those who haven't earned it.  Don't hold love over anyone's head and give it freely to those you choose.  You were created in love, bound in love and will forever be, loved.


Birthday Questions

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For the last couple of years I have asked Cian some questions on his birthday.  Questions about what he likes and what his favorite things are. This year Isla got in on the action.  The kids were both laying in my bed watching a movie so I didn't exactly have their undivided attention...

  1. What is your favorite color? Cian-green, Isla-black
  2. What is your favorite toy? Cian-Avengers, Isla-toy
  3. What is your favorite fruit? Cian-strawberries, Isla-applesauce
  4. What is your favorite tv show? Cian-Ninjago, Isla-princess
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Cian-Chicken, Isla (while laughing)-carrots
  6. What is your favorite outfit? Cian-Skylanders shirt, Isla-princess dress
  7. What is your favorite game? Cian-Lego Avengers, Isla-Dora
  8. What is your favorite snack? Cian-Yogurt and poptarts, Isla-poptarts
  9. What is your favorite animal? Cian-dolphin, Isla-horsey
  10. What is your favorite song? Cian-spider song, Isla-Dora song
  11. What is your favorite book? Cian-it is about hot dogs, Isla-Dora book
  12. Who is your best friend? Cian-Will-Will, Isla-cute doggie
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Cian-Frankenberry, Isla-Frankenberry (copy-cat)
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Cian- swing on a monkey rope, Isla-swingin
  15. What is your favorite drink? Cian-Orange juicy, Isla-milk
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Cian-riding a horse, Isla-a horse (think Hoedown made an impression?
  17. What is your favorite thing to take to bed at night? Cian-Mickey, Isla-"I will not talk"
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cian-chocolate pudding, Isla-flowers
  19. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner on your birthday? Cian-Pizza, Isla-cake-cake (cupcakes)
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Cian-Ninja, Isla-birthday party
It was hilarious listening to them answer these questions.  I love to see how their answers change over the years!

What Isla Wore

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My two year old pitches fits if she doesn't get to wear what she wants.  I am not kidding people.  She loves to pick out her dresses and is even very particular about the shoes, "hair boats" and sweaters that go with each thing.  She has these sleeveless dresses she loves to wear and it is a fight to get her to wear things underneath them!  Here are some things Isla wore recently:
Sweater and leggings: GAP
 Boots: Wal Mart

Eventually she added a skirt from Target
Dress: Target (summer dress she still HAS to wear all the time)
leggings and shirt outfit: khols

 Isla can. not. wait. to see the photo you are taking. Usually she runs up to see it before said photo is actually taken
 Dress: Once Upon a Child (consignment)
Shoes: Once Upon a Child (consignment)
Sweater: Target

Maggie in Motion

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ya'll, I have lots of nieces and nephews.  I have really been blessed in the family department, both the one I was born into and the one I married.  I have one nephew on my side and eight nieces and nephews on Steve's side.  (Let the catholic jokes commence.)

Today I want to tell you about My niece Maggie.  She has the biggest and brightest smile I have ever seen and she is always flashing it.  She is beautiful, both inside and out. This little girl knows what she likes (ice cream and the color pink) and what she wants and she will work toward what she wants.  It is adorable when she says Isla's name and I really do want she and Isla to be best best friends.  Maggie also has Cerebral Palsy.  When she was born there were two knots in her umbilical cord and it was wrapped around her neck.  She was in the NICU and the hospital for 10 days.  Her testing at that point came back "normal" and it was really too early to tell if there was neurological damage.

As Maggie got older it became obvious to her parents, Amanda and Daniel, that she wasn't meeting the traditional baby milestones and her trunk control was poor.  Maggie went through OT and PT and at around 17-18 months was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. 

Maggie and her family recently visited Health In Motion (HIM), which is a clinic in Canada with a little different approach on therapy.  They have a program called L.I.F.E. (Learning Independent Functions Everyday) that is designed to help kids meet their milestones developmentally.  The therapy involves the parents and not letting kids off "the easy way." For Maggie this means a lot of hard work to crawl in the classic way, to stand up and one day to walk.

I want to ask you today to commit to praying for Maggie and her family.  Pray for trust in the Lord and His timing and for healing and peace.  Pray for Maggie as she pushes herself physically and mentally to exhaustion but has clear accomplishments.  Pray that we can all learn from Maggie.  That she shows us that even though things are hard, we can walk through them with a smile on our face and determination in our hearts.  Pray for big things from God, healing and miracles, love and devotion.

They are fundraising to be able to visit HIM again and would like to go back twice.  This ain't cheap.  (Yes, it pains me that I just used ain't in a sentence on cyberspace for God and everyone to see.)  Pray that they can fund raise and meet their goals to attend financially and for mental peace while doing this. 

Also, pray for a mama's heart.  When it comes to our children our love is fierce, we will do everything in our power to make sure their story is as full as it can possibly be.  Pray that Amanda and Daniel keep following God in Maggie's story and let our Creator be the author of her life.

You can also help!  (You knew this was coming right?)  They have two fundraisers going on right now. One is Mary Kay and the other is Thirty-One.  If you purchase the Mary Kay mention the Belchers and 100% of the profit will go to Maggie!  You can read more of Maggie's story at her site here.  You can also make donations to fund her treatment at the site.

"Blessed are the pure in heart : for they will see God." Matthew 5:8

Cian and Isla's "Spend-Over" Birthday Party

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cian has been really into spending the night with his cousins and grandparents lately.  His love for "spend-overs" as he calls it has been spreading and he pretty much asks anyone if he can spend the night at their house.  I mean everyone and has no shame in asking.

We promised him that he could have friends over after we moved into our new house so a "spend-over" birthday party was a perfect opportunity.  We had a joint party for Cian and Isla (their birthdays are 13 days apart) in the evening and invited everyone and then invited his friends and cousins to spend the night.

I had seen this amazing party where the family made a blanket fort and I really wanted to do that to have the party in and for the kids to sleep in overnight.  We served breakfast food and had yummy cupcakes and cookies for dessert.  I decided the cupcakes didn't have to match the theme and let Cian and Isla pick out what type of cupcakes they wanted.
Favors and Halloween Candy
 The party was the day after Halloween.  The weather was especially crappy on Halloween night so we knew we would have Trick or Treaters.  The favors also doubled as breakfast in the morning!

 I used an old doll bunk-bed for the favors and a doll bed that had been my cousin's for the cupcakes/desserts.

 We did a build your own pankcake station for dessert with cool whip, nutella, syrup, and berries.  I also made an egg white and kale breakfast casserole and had fresh fruit. 

 The kids ran around like wild animals and had a blast!!

Most of the kids minus Finley, Caleb and Maggie

This was the popular gift, Cian got four of them!!

The loft area in the family room is a popular spot to hang out
Grandma and the little girls

Breakfast on Saturday Morning
Invites: Designs In Paper
Cupcakes: Cedar City Cakes
Cookies: Signal Mountain Cookie Lady
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