Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black & White Christmas {with Tiny Prints}

Last year was Ford's first Christmas and I could not wait to send out Christmas cards showing off our beautiful baby boy! Jon and I sent out cards before we had children but let's face it...no one cares about the picture unless there are cute kids in it :). I've kind of decided to follow suit with what my parents did for their Christmas cards when we were growing up; alternate a family picture, including parents, and a picture of just the kiddos. Since we did a family picture last year (including Ernie!), we were set on a Ford only photo card. Next year I figured we'll want to capture our family of 4 so it worked out perfectly. And oh how easy it was to dress Ford festively and snap some pictures of him at my own leisure. Sorry Ernie, you are too hard to wrangle with a toddler so you didn't make the cut.

The next thing I wanna chat about is Christmas card envy. I can't be the only one who opens up beautiful Christmas cards and instantly wish we'd ordered ours from the same company or used the same color scheme or even re-worded our card differently. It may be a first world problem but it's the truth! Using Tiny Prints Christmas cards was on the top of my list this year. I remember opening the most precious card last year with scalloped edges and I knew those were in my future!

What I love about using Tiny Prints is the ability to place specific parameters on my search to filter through the hundreds of options they offer. I needed 1 photo, horizontal landscape, Christmas or religious wording, with the option for scalloped edges. Now just because I was able to filter, doesn't mean my options were limited! I combed through each page of results and fought with myself over which card to choose.



I was able to upload my photo and view each card like it was my own and quickly narrowed down my list based on which card looked best with the scalloped edges. Winner winner, chicken dinner! Our card is gorgeous and foil stamped, I about died when they showed up because they are so beautiful!






Another plus with using Tiny Prints Holiday Cards is the option to add your return address on each envelope. We have an adorable address stamp but with a wild toddler on  my hands, I knew I didn't have the time to hand stamp 125 cards, in addition to stuffing, addressing and popping a postage stamp on them. Oh and black and gold washi tape sealed our cards with a touch of flair. Swoon.



Tiny Prints is currently offering some awesome discounts on holiday cards, I hope you love yours as much as I love mine! Happy holidays friends, and happy card shopping! 

Find Tiny Prints

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Easy neighbor and teacher gifts for the holidays

Thanksgiving has come and gone and my house is slowly turning into a winter wonderland. We have a tradition of putting up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving (and actually found out we were pregnant with Ford that day in 2012!). One thing that excited me about moving to the suburbs a few years ago was holidays. I imagined spending Halloween with our neighbors (which we did) and delivering treats at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day...this girl loves holidays. We aren't to the point of life where we have teacher gifts yet but I love coming up with small little gifts and treats for our friends and neighbors to show them that we care about them during the holidays. White chocolate snack mix was the winner for Halloween and Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Muffins for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to hand deliver our Christmas cards to our neighbors and add a special gift but wasn't sure just what. I am a sucker for Bath and Body Works hand soaps (as Jon!) and we recently became obsessed with one of their seasonal scents, Pumpkin Pecan Waffle. I can smell it as I type! Bath and Body Works must know my weakness because they send me killer coupons that are silly to waste. Because we have enough soap to last us until Ford goes to college, we cashed in our coupons for Christmas gifts.


I didn't want to just hand over a bottle of hand soap and our Christmas card so I turned to my crafty (and thrifty) side to spruce them up. I shared my new love for holiday decorating at Dollar Tree back in October and I am back again to rave about the endless Christmas possibilities Dollar Tree has to offer. Ornament packs, garland, bows, wire, ribbon....all for a dollar. Cha-ching!


I chose some pinecone ornaments, burlap poinsettias (burlap is very in right now), and pre-made glitter ribbons to add some Christmas fun.




Everything is bigger in Texas.... even the Christmas poinsettias!


I can't wait to gift these to friends and neighbors! 



It's no secret I love saving money and love sharing it with my readers. Be sure to visit your nearest Dollar Tree to stock up on all your holiday decor and necessities! You can also visit www.ILeaveHappy.com for additional holiday decoration and entertaining ideas and tips.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give me gratitude or give me debt.

I read an article from Momastery yesterday and it really struck me, find it here. I could spend all the time in the world telling you the things that I am thankful for and most of them would probably be superficial but I am humbled by the post above and reminded what a blessing it is to live my life. I may have a long list of projects I want to complete in our house because I hate the non privacy in our backyard and can't wait to finish our media room but then I have to step out of the picture. Ruthie you have a house with a ROOF! I may silently curse against our fridge's ice machine that makes approximately 2 cubes every 48 hours but I have a fridge that keeps my food cold. And food! I have good food! Fruits, vegetables, meats, and junk I don't need. Today I will overindulge, overeat, and fall victim to glutton as we celebrate Thanksgiving. I covet outfits I see on Instagram, ladies so beautifully put together while lugging their kids around town and I forget how lucky I am to own 5 pairs of sweatpants that I rotate on a daily basis. 

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

And my baby! My baby boy who has woken me up the past few mornings before 6am with a runny nose and fever...there are people who would do anything to be up at the crack of dawn with a baby. And soon I will have two! This morning was rough but Ford couldn't stop covering me in kisses, he even makes the smacking sound and leans in when he plants one on me. 

And at the end of the day, material and earthly blessings aside, I have a King who has saved my soul for eternity. Isn't that enough? If I had no house, no food, no baby, would I be grateful to say I was adopted into God's family? I pray earnestly that I would. The world has so much to offer...oh but my God has so much more! So I sit here today feeling thankful for this year's abundant blessings but eyes focused on my eternal blessing that I could never thank Him enough for, but one day I will kneel at at the throne and shout His praises. I look forward to Thanksgiving in heaven. No hungry, no sick, no poor, no orphan, no widow, no broken. Healed and set free. Praise Him for that promise! 

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness. I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. -Psalm 7:17

Happy Thanksgiving friends, many blessings from our family to yours. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eye Spy

It's no secret that I love saving money... it's almost a game of chase for me, I love the thrill of it! It's also no secret my vision sucks. The world is full and clear in my eyes but put words, close or far, in front of me, and I am a blind bat. I should wear contacts but I try every year at my vision appointment and basically start crying...so glasses it is!

Back in August I posted about my new frames from Firmoo (wow Ford looks like a little peanut and that was only 3 months ago! Tear) and I am back again with yet another pair. Firmoo is the world's most popular online eyeglass store and it is CHEAP! Sure we have vision insurance that covers a pair of glasses up to a certain point but I always end up spending an extra $50-$60 out of pocket on the cheapest frame I can find. Boo. So from now on I order my frames directly from Firmoo for a killer deal and they show up on my door step. Winning.

I like to have two pairs of glasses on hand since I wear them so often, and since my baby likes to play with my stuff (aka hide my stuff) so I snagged another pair of Firmoo frames. I thought I'd go a little hipster and chose these gray/ivory frames for $36! Oh and I love that you can upload a picture of yourself to "try on" different glasses.


#pajamaselfie


DISCOUNT
I love sharing money saving deals with you guys so the first people that use the code RUTHIEBLOGS4 will receive $15 towards a classic series pair of glasses. That means you can score a pair of glasses (frames and lenses!) for $20! Hurry! The code will be valid until December 17th, 2014.

Happy shopping four eyes!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baby #2 weeks 15-17


Today marks 17 weeks 3 days for baby girl Hart. Wowzas. Part of me feels guilty for not spending as much time documenting this pregnancy and to be honest, I forget how pregnant I am until my husband gets the email when I turn the next week, but then I feel so joyful knowing I have a little rascal to care while simultaneously growing a baby. With Ford I would anxiously wait for my app to show me what is happening in our baby's body over the next week and symptoms I should look for but this time around I feel more confident and assured that whatever is happening, is perfect and in God's will for our family. The belly is out and proud (along with my hernia belly button that instantly gives away the pregnancy) so I've been dressing it more often, rather than wearing bigger shirts to hide the awkward stage of pregnancy bump. I've been wearing lots of leggings and the same pair of jeans over and over because the rubber band trick still works.

People ask me everyday how I am feeling and that one is tricky. I feel so good....but I am still sick. I am beyond the uber tired, can barely stay awake for an hour, stage but still relying on heavy medication that brings down my throwing up to 1-2 times a week. I am up about 5lbs now.

I've noticed in the  past week lots of round ligament pain which goes hand in hand with the belly growth. Ford had a fever yesterday (and still today) and just wanted to lay on me which was sweet but I also felt a lot of pressure in my tummy. It is starting to get uncomfortable for me to hold him in certain ways and I know it is only going to get harder as I grow. I told Jon I hope our baby girl doesn't come out with a squished head because her brother is constantly crawling all over my stomach.

My placenta is anterior so we've only been able to find a faint heart beat with our doppler once and I haven't felt any kicks yet. I felt Ford flutters right at 17 weeks so I am not too worried, I know I will be wishing for the karate kicks to simmer down in a few months.

We have a name and I can't wait to share it. It is the name we planned on using if Ford was a girl and it is perfect. Confession, I already ordered her a monogrammed stocking from Pottery Barn... I couldn't pass up the free monogram and shipping! It is fun to call her by name and we are trying to teach Ford how to say it. So cute.

I picked out a paint color for the walls and also a color for the crib and dresser I plan on painting. I am going to try my hand at DIY chalk paint which I want to do sooner than later knowing how big I will get and how little DIY time I get with a toddler.

I just asked Jon what other pregnancy updates do I have and he said my boobs are getting bigger, which some of my girlfriends have also commented on. For any post nursing mamas you know how exciting it is when they "grow" again.

It is hard to believe how quickly this little lady is baking in me. Since she will be born a week early, we are almost halfway through! We are really looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this week with family and it's crazy thinking we will have two little turkeys this time next year. Let's hope baby girl will be less picky than her brother when it comes to food. Ford will for sure be missing out!

PDQ

Yesterday, Ford and I (and my little sister!) had the chance to visit the brand new PDQ restaurant that opened up in our area (for you locals, it is in Cedar Park right by the HEB Plus at Lakeline). Boy did it NOT disappoint. We were given a private tour of the state of the art facility and were shocked by all the fresh, antibiotic free, never frozen produce, meats, and ingredients they use. Top notch in my book. PDQ, which stands for People Dedicated to Quality, is a fast casual restaurant offering delicious hand battered chicken tenders, fresh cut fries, salads, milkshakes, and more. I almost hate calling it "fast food" because YES it is fast (our food came out within 2 minutes), but you get more of a sit down experience. We had people coming to our table offering sauces, napkins, and their personal assistance. PDQ is the perfect place to bring kids of all ages or meet a friend for a quick lunch.










And because it's too cute not to share...


Headquartered in Florida, PDQ just opened their 2nd store in Texas and have plans for a 3rd right here in Austin. Find a PDQ near you...

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Christmas List

I posted Ford's Christmas list last week and wanted to share mine... in case any of you are feeling generous :)



Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine- I have been contemplating buying an embroidery machine for a few years now and with a little girl on the way, I am taking the plunge! I can't wait to get my hands on it and start putting our baby girl's name on things!

Salt and pepper shakers- I accidentally dropped and shattered my French bulldog shaped salt shaker a couple of weeks ago and I keep seeing the most adorable sets online and at Target.

Gold name/initial necklace- a friend recently introduced me to Bip and Bop, an etsy shop that offers 14K gold name necklaces, perfect for growing families. I love my gold bar necklace with Ford's initial but want something I can add to. 

Slippers- we've been spending more time at home lately and I want some new slippers to keep my tootsies warm.

Large cookie scoop- I use both my large and small cookie scoops weekly and mysteriously my large one lost a vital piece and it is completely shot. I am wondering if it came off in the dishwasher but I have been lost without it!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Southwest Chicken Chili Pasta


Funny story about this recipe. I made it for dinner with some friends and I taste tested and came to the conclusion it needed a little garlic. I ran to the cabinet since our guests were arriving in 5 minutes, grabbed what I thought was the garlic salt and shook it over the hot pot. Turns out, I was POURING chili powder into our dinner. I mean thank goodness this recipe already called for chili powder but I poured a good 1/4 cup in there. Thankfully, I was able to scoop most of it out but the added chili powder made this recipe even more delicious!!

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked pasta
2 tbsp EVOO
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped zucchini *my addition
1 cup chopped summer squash *my addition
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
1o ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 can corn, drained
1 can white beans, drained
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Cook pasta according to the directions
2. Heat oil in a large pot and add onions, peppers, zucchini, and squash. Cook for about 5 minutes
3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, corn, beans,  pasta, chili powder, cumin,  and cilantro. Stir until well combined. 
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.















Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ford's Christmas List

I collect ideas for Christmas months in advance....it is no secret that I also love getting my Christmas shopping done early! My family started asking me for Ford's list a couple of weeks ago and to be honest...he doesn't need anything at all. I sit here writing this post on my living room couch and in my immediate view can see a lawn mower, cozy coupe, slide, play table, pizza set, doctor's kit, riding toy, 8 puzzles, and an overflowing toy box. And this is only 1 of 3 play areas we have. It is nuts how quickly kiddos accumulate toys with holidays, birthdays, etc. Last year I didn't get Ford anything because he basically slept through our entire celebration but this year is different. He loves his toys and loves ripping through wrapping paper (give him a bag of tissue paper and he is a happy camper!).



Play food- Ford loves his play kitchen but we seem to have lost a lot of our play food. All I can seem to find in ours are hot dogs, corn cobs, and eggs so this will be a fun addition to his kitchen.

Piggy bank- Ford's cousin Embry got a piggy bank for her birthday in October and he loved putting coins in it with her. Great for fine motor skills, teaching him about money, and of course...fun.

Connect 4 game- perfect for fine motor skills and fun.

Soccer goals- Ford is obsessed with anything sports and we plan on enrolling him in SportBall this spring. It is a parent child class that teaches your little ones about a few different sports and soccer is one of them! He has a baby friend who has these and he loves playing with them.

Any sports balls- again, he is obsessed with balls and calls most of them "ba-ball" (basketball).

Bathtub crayons- Ford spends at least a half hour a day in the bath and has a blast playing with his toys. He is also into coloring with fat crayons so these are perfect for bathtime fun.

Little Snoopy pull dog- Ford played with this last weekend at my aunt's house and he was hooked. He walked around for a good amount of time just pulling the doggie.

What is on your little one's Christmas list?



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ford's first snowfall in the Windy City

My birthday was last month and Jon surprised me by booking a trip for our little family to visit Chicago. Yes Chicago is a fabulous city but we were so excited to spend a few days showing off our big boy to family (I was born there and my entire family, minus my intermediate, still live there). We took Ford up in April but so much has changed in the last 7 months and I couldn't wait for my family to see how he's grown....as cheesy as that sounds. Jon always says I can figure out any surprise so it is up to him to rock my world with certain surprises, which is has excelled at the past few years. I loved not having to coordinate schedules, look up flights, figure out where we would stay...he did that all for us and I only had to wait a few weeks for our trip. 


It was pretty darn cold last weekend in Illinois, although Texas wasn't much hotter. The first two days we were there, there were constant snow flurries that never really built up on anything but cars and light dusting on some roofs. It was technically Ford's first time to see snow! Basically the whole 3 days we were there were spent watching Ford be cute, eating, playing games, and relaxing. Gosh I wish we had basements in Texas. There is nothing better than cozying up in a basement with family.

Ford's namesake, James Ford


All he wanted to do was sit in the dog beds




I didn't take many pictures but we had such a great time. We visited the Dupage County Children's Museum and it was incredible. Ford had THE time of his life. There was a point that he was in a wind tunnel with one of my aunts and I had a frog in my throat watching him laugh and shriek as the wind blew on his face. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen.

video




We love getting to share Ford with our extended family!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#AdoptionRocks

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am recycling a post I wrote 2 years ago after our church did a month long series on adoption. I wasn't a mother when I wrote it and reading back through this post, my heart is in such a different place today. Recognizing and truly believing that God didn't leave me as an orphan, that He adopted me into His family...how undeserving am I?! I pray that this post stirs your heart towards adoption, physical, and spiritual, and you are reminded of God's great love for you.

#adoptionrocks

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Friends, I invite you today to witness such precious moments between our friends Dennis and Carita as they see their son, Jacob, for the very first time. 



As you wipe away your tears, remember the look on Dennis' face when he sees Jacob. Carita's too. It's full of awe, excitement, anxiousness, relief, wonder, love, happiness. If a sinful father can look at his son the way Dennis looks at Jacob, imagine how our holy, perfect God looks at us, His children.


We had the honor of attending The Austin Stone last weekend where the pastor, Matt Carter, shared what the bible says about adoption, how he feels about adoption, and the Chen's story. Let me tell ya there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I was lucky enough to sit across the row from Jacob, who will be 2 in March who pointed at the screen saying "Baba" at his dad. The crowd giggled when the video showed his precious rolls in the bath and Jacob had no idea the impact he made on so many hearts, present at church and not. The Chen's were our neighbors for a year and we say all the time, they were an answered prayer. We'd longed and prayed for Christian friends, other couples to show us it was okay to be young and choose for your life to revolve around the gospel. But they taught us so much more...they taught us the beauty of adoption. 


James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."


James 1:27 doesn't make sense without recognizing that God adopted us into his family. He adopted us out of death and into His Kingdom of everlasting love and life, the greatest form of adoption there ever was. Worship in it's purest form is caring for orphans in the eyes of the Lord. Adoption shouldn't be our plan B if natural fertility doesn't work...we weren't God's plan B. Our Heavenly Father delights in our adoption of those orphans and widows, we are displaying the gospel of Jesus Christ.


I grew up knowing people who were adopted, including in my family, but never made the connection to God's adoption of His people. What greater gift have we received?! And how wonderful it is that we can spread that gift here on earth. Dennis and Carita have been such an inspiration to our marriage and future as parents. We have plans, but do they coincide with God's plans? God's plan wasn't meant to hurt the Chen's for years of infertility but His plan for them was Jacob, and this video, and sharing their devotion and trust in Christ with not only their church but beyond. I will always remember a story Carita told me about a nurse at their fertility clinic telling her she appreciated her smiles and positive attitudes, which were fueled by Christ. What a captivating way to share the gospel and the great name of Jesus? This family has given us full faith in one day we too, will become parents whether it be biologically, through adoption, or both. The Chen's never stopped listening and trusting the good Lord's plan. And after a second of meeting Jacob, you know they would have waited many more years for him. 


Jon and I are praying that we can obey the Lord's commands in James 1:27 and that our lives would be directly impacted through adoption. We aren't sure when, where, or how but I know we will never understand the depths of God's love for us until that day come. 


This is one of my favorite pictures of all time...me holding Jacob at his 1st birthday party where we got to see his adoption video for the first time. (look at those cheeks!)




Thank you for letting me share your story Chen family! We love you guys!

 
for more information on the Adopted series, visit this link.
  


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thrive Moms Retreat

Thrive Moms is a ministry created just for mamas. It serves to encourage and inspire you to do more than just survive motherhood. Thrive believes God wants each of us to thrive and walk confidently in who He calls us to be as mothers.


I have the complete pleasure of serving on the Thrive Moms Prayer team and to say that God has transformed my heart towards mamas is an understatement. Being a part of this ministry has opened the door for me to meet, pray with, and relate with all kinds of mamas all over the world, but also grow my heart and affections for our God. I know He has called me to motherhood but that doesn't make my job easy. Praise Him that the battle is already won! I may only shower every 3rd day, count down to my son's 7pm bedtime, and cry at the drop of a hat but I am complete in Christ. Thank God.

Thrive Moms hosted an online retreat last weekend and it is now posted to their website! You will be able to hear from incredible mamas who share their heart and mission for Christ, beautiful worship, and a whole lot of wisdom. Here is the link to Thrive Moms Fall Retreat, enjoy!



If you need prayer, please visit the Thrive Moms Prayer Team page. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ford 15 months





Ford had his 15 month well check this morning and I am happy to report he is a healthy boy! I didn't go in with any questions... he's a happy, healthy, good sleeping, good eating, talking, curious boy! We switched pediatricians and absolutely love our new one, Ford was showing off by putting together a puzzle and chatting. The shots sucked, bad. The older he gets, the more the suck but it is absolutely worth the protection of his little body. I am shocked by how tall Ford is getting, his stats are below. This month has been awesome! Ford is such a little lover boy and so, so fun. 

15 month stats
Weight: 25lb 2oz (60th %)
Height: 32in (78th %)
Head: 49.5cm (96th %)

New this month
  • Talking non stop. He is quite the mocking bird and says a lot of words if you ask him. New words- paint brush, tick tock (for clock), shoes, cheese, kitty, eggs
  • 7 teeth and lots more coming in
  • Still takes 2 good naps and sleeps 12 hours straight. Dude loves sleep and his crib!
  • Pointing to people and saying their names "mama" "dada" "papa" "mimi"
  • Asks for certain people
  • Says "boo" for Haboo...our family's way of saying I love you
  • If you say "I love you" he blows kisses
  • Says animal sounds for sheep, cat, dog, monkey, cow
  • Loves his farm animal "me mes" magnets
  • Dances and sings when he hears music
  • Shoots baskets in his basketball hoop and says "oh yeah!"
  • Likes coloring with crayons (and eating them) and playing with stickers
  • Gives high fives
  • Tickles other people
  • Cleans up his toys
  • Has learned how to smile when we ask him... he cheeses and kind of closes his eyes
  • Asks for certain foods- cheese, water, eggs, milk
  • Went to 2 zoos (Cameron Park in Waco and The Austin Zoo)
  • Loves petting Ernie and throwing his ball for him. He always gets a kick out of chasing him around with his leash.
  • If you say "do you want to go on a walk", Ford will go get his shoes, Ernie's leash, and walk over to his stroller
  • Takes direction...go get your shoes, let's go get a diaper, give this to daddy, etc.
  • Has so much fun playing at the park and watching older kids. Yesterday at my bible study he played with a 2 and 3 year old boys who had him belly laughing and squealing with delight.
  • We use a lot of Young Living Essential Oils over here and Ford knows exactly where they are in my bathroom. He will go grab them and say "OYE" for oils and point to his chest. My smart/oily baby!
  • He likes to play "night night". Holding a stuffed animal or blanket and laying on the floor and say "niii niii"
  • Can get off our bed/couch/furniture by himself. He turns around and backs down slowly.
  • Got his first goose egg and many skinned knees
  • Stacks blocks (or spices from my spice cabinet) 3 high 
Videos






Friday, November 7, 2014

Thursgiving and being thankful for...

Last night we had our 5th annual Thursgiving as a family. Basically on the 1st Thursday of November we grab a rotisserie chicken, boxed sides, premade pumpkin pie, and whip up a Thanksgiving meal in under 30 minutes. We probably should do it throughout the year because Jon and I are ALL about Thanksgiving foods. We spend the evening talking about our blessings, what we are thankful for, and getting overly excited about the upcoming holidays. It's taking everything in me NOT to decorate for Christmas...I do have a few Thanksgiving decorations that are out...but we've already been listening to Christmas music the whole week.

Ford shocked the both of us and ate his very own mini Thanksgiving meal. Now this is our son who won't even touch a chicken nugget or mac and cheese so we were thrilled when he was pounding chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and corn. We rewarded him with fat free Cool Whip for dessert to which he said, "mmmmmmm".


Never forgets to say his prayers at dinner

The Harts have a lot to be thankful for this year but last night all I could think about was how thankful I am to live in the same town as our family. Raising kids takes a village, you don't realize it until you are in the trenches of child rearing. Looking back on the past couple of months I think, "how would I have done it without family?!". It has been such a fun fall for me and Jon, we've gotten to go out on our own at least once a week thanks to free family babysitters. We spent months having to work around Ford's nursing/sleeping schedule to find time to get out of the house alone and now we are savoring every date night we get, knowing that come April our lives will be turned upside down. We spent 4 days in NYC, a night away in Austin, bowling and happy hour, and dinners without fishing crayon out of Ford's mouth. To say we are grateful for these nights is not enough. Last weekend my sister came over to watch Ford and we had nothing special planned so before eating at our favorite Italian hole in the wall, we store hopped. I can't tell you how nice it was to pop into a store for just a few minutes without dragging in my toddler who may or may not have a meltdown as I try on pants. We treated ourselves to a few new things and talked about how crazy it would be to have to go home and shell out $60 for a babysitter...on top of what we spent shopping and dinner. I was a babysitter/nanny throughout high school and college and I will be the first to tell you... they aren't cheap!

So this year I am thankful for health, babies, community, and much more, but I am oh-so-thankful for living in the same town as my family. It allows me and Jon to nurture, grow, and focus on our marriage and escape the chaos that is parenthood. As I look ahead to the next season of life and welcoming another child into our family, I couldn't be more excited. But I would be lying if I didn't tell you I am scared to lose that time with my husband. I know seasons and phases come and go but man I am such a better mom when I am connected to my husband. There will come a day when our babies are grown and out of the house and I sure am glad I married someone I enjoy spending time with!

Happy Friday, folks!
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