Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011.

2011 has been a pretty stellar year. Some of my favorite parts:

  • Zeke's 1st birthday. 

  • Noah & I celebrated our 5 year Jamaica.

  • The opportunities I had to take Zeke on mini trips to enjoy each other.

The discovery of the mucho love I have for thriftiness, remaking furniture, & being crafty.

Buying Betsy the couch.

I'm glad I took more time to savor God's wonderfulness.

I embraced my hot Mom-ness. That's right. I'm not a skinny chick, I drive a sedan with goldfish crumbs in the back, I might have a few stretch marks (I'll wear a bikini anyways), and I probably should fix my hair more. Even through all that, something about being a Mom has caused me to embrace my imperfections & realize that I am beautiful.

And dorky.

 2011 has been a good year.


res·o·lu·tion {noun}

  • a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something
  • the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
  • the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose  

With 2012 just a few days away, I suppose I should start thinking about my New Year's resolutions. I choose every year to make them but I hardly ever choose to complete them. In years past, my resolutions have been loosely made and usually forgotten about in a few weeks. This year will be different. As you see, the definition of a resolution includes determination & a mental state of purpose. Dear friends, that is much different from the "I will blah blah blah" of halfheartedness that the majority of us "commit" to on New Year's Eve. This year will be different.

So here we go. 5 commitments of 2012.

  •  Become more "balanced". With baby, a husband, a house, a full time job, & owning  photography business - life get's a little hectic. I will become better scheduled, better organized, spend more time with Zeke, & make dinner more often.
  • Take more pictures (not only professionally, but especially personally)
  • Lose 30 lbs. (Yea, I know. Everyone has the same resolution year after year. I've lost 45, now I just need to lose the last 30 and I'll be one happy chick.)
  • Practice a healthier lifestyle. (Among these things - finally quitting smoking hopefully, eating less processed foods, trying more natural foods & products.)
  • Make a serious tackle down on paying off our "debt" off everything except our mortgage. (Of course, this requires a lot of actual work for Noah but I know he's on board with me.)
Most of these things ultimately lead to one resolution in the end: To be able to fufill the plans God has for me by "uncluttering" the things in life (constant busyness, finances, & health) that easily distract us from Him. With God I can happily & fully fufill, not only my resolutions, but His resolutions for me. 

So, what are your resolutions for 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Christmas was wonderful. Overwhelming...but wonderful. There were so many places we went to spend time with our families that I just didn't keep up with pictures. I did however get some Christmas Eve/Christmas morning...

See our ornament-less tree? Curious & destructive little boys & ornaments just don't mix. ... Christmas started Friday evening for us so by the time Christmas Eve night came most presents were car loaded to bring to different family gatherings on Christmas so even under the tree is pretty bare.

This candle was one of my favorite presents. My sweet niece Natalee picked this out all by herself for me because "Auntie likes pretty candles." :) I currently have it displayed in my kitchen. (I also loved loved loved my other presents as well...this one just had some serious toddler genuine thought put into it.)

Zeke of course was overwhelmed with presents. By the time Monday came, I had to open most his presents for him. I do believe the drumset I regrettably  bought is his favorite. This kid loves music.

Slightly off topic but aside from music, he also loves being unclothed as frequently as possible. We've mastered removal of the diaper.

AND a milestone:

A big boy bed. This is the last of the "baby" to big boy milestones. One of those bittersweet moments. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe, & merry Christmas. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

24 Days of Kindness: Follow-Up

Alrighty kids, it's official Christmas is over. I'm a little sad because I love Christmas but it's been a very busy weekend & I'm kind of glad to get things back to normal.

As promised, I am doing a rundown of my 24 Days of Kindness. Unfortunately, I didn't quite complete all of the days. I got really bogged down the last few days before Christmas & I didn't try very hard. But hey...nobody's perfect & I'm completely happy with what I did accomplish. I think I'll do this every year...a new Christmas tradition that I can even do with the kids as they get a tid bit older.

1. I gave a Target coupon for a $10 giftcard when you spend $50 or more to a random lady.
2. I had a sick baby this day so we only left the house to get some medicine at Walgreens. I did manage to all the change I had on me into the Salvation Army bucket.
3. Again, sick baby so we didn't leave the house much and I didn't manage to do anything.
4. I put a couple of toys in the 'Toys for Tots' collection box @ Walgreens.
5. I gave my stepmother (who is a teacher) some extra couponing school supplies I had to use herself or to share with other teachers at her school. I also pushed an elderly lady's shopping cart back so she wouldn't have to.
6. I made a donation to Gospel for Asia. (I sponsor a child monthly through them and you can also donate "items" via monetary donation at Christmas time to bless a family.)
7. I used my pretty awesome couponing skills to help my Dad Christmas present shop. This might sound silly but the man has 8 grandkids and that's gets expensive quick.
8. While shopping I saw a lady who was struggling to get herself & her shopping cart out the door so I took the time to go open both doors for her so she could easily maneuver out.
9. I baked some yummy Red Velvet cupcakes for the teachers at Zeke's daycare.
10. I packed up bags of assorted treats & hung them on all my neighbors mailboxes.
11. Missed today.
12. I paid for the person in line behind me at McDonalds.
13. Zeke & I brought 2 poinsettias to a nursing home and gave them to two ladies who were living there.
14. I practiced being a much more polite driver. (Maybe if I tried this more often I would eventually become a much more polite driver.)
15. I donated money to Toys for Tots when I was asked while checking out @ ToysRUS.
16. I made my mailman a containers of goodies & left them in the mailbox.
17. Missed.
18. Missed.
19. I baked some extremely delicious cookies & brought them to work for my coworkers to enjoy.
20. I gave a $10 off $10 purchase coupon to a random lady at JCPenney's.
21. Missed.
22. I played coupon fairy at Target. (Coupon fairy means I placed coupons underneath toys/apparel/groceries that someone could use if they were buying that item.)
23. Since I'm at Target quite often, I saw a lady looking at some sweaters & gave her a $4 off sweater coupon to use towards her purchase.
24. The last day and guess what? I missed it. Shame on me.

So there you have it. I was disappointed that I didn't quite meet my everyday goal but next year I will try even harder. I think with a being a mom, having a almost full time job, & running a photography business that I may have a decent reason for not being perfect. ;)

So, now that Christmas is over tell me some of the things you did during the Christmas season to brighten someone's day. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 days and counting...

 We are halfway through our 24 Days of Kindness challenge. I hope everyone has been participating, encouraged, & blessed by this. I originally was going to post weekly on my kindness acts but I have decided to just wait until it's all over & do one post. I can say though that it has helped me think about others 100x more than I usually do & I have been so happy to spend the Christmas season helping others in small ways.

I wanted to share an encouraging act of kindness that my lovely friend Carmella has posted. In a small way, this all started from the 24 Acts of Kindness challenge I have shared but God has really blessed Carmella to make it so special by turning a necklace into a coat. Actually, as the last couple days have passed it seems that that has turned into at least 3 coats. Read it here!

So, please share some of your recent acts of kindness. I would really really like to here more!