Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Winter Projects

So I did a post on Daxton's winter projects.... so I thought I would show some of the things I've worked on this winter too :)

Thirty One Banner...
So I had my first booth at a craft fair selling Thirty One about a month ago and needed something with my name on it to hang on my tables.  Pink and blue are big Thirty One colors so I went with a pendent banner using those colors. I also gave the clothes pins a coat of silver paint to give them a little extra shine :)

Wooden Letters
I love painting and have made these letters in the past for important peoples babies (check them out here). At the end of the month I'll get a new great nephew so I made these for his Noahs Ark themed nursery :)

NOEL banner
I saw this idea on Pinterest and new instantly that it would look awesome hanging on our mirror in our living room. I have sort of a rustic/tradition Christmas thing going on and burlap fits right in with that. This was pretty labor intensive (had to print each letter to use as a stencil, cut the burlap, paint the letters onto the burlap with multiple coats, and hot glue around twine). It may have been a pain but is now one of my favorite decorations!

Christmas Card Holder
 So I had the traditional Christmas card holder but was never a fan of it. It always got too full and you couldn't see the cards easily without knocking them all off. So when I saw this idea on pinterest I knew I had to do it. Simply hole punch each card and put them on a metal ring, tie a bow on, and now you have a precious flip book of all your Christmas cards. I love being able to flip through the cards and plan on keeping them through the years!

Napkin Rings
We had a ladies Gala at my moms church and our decoration for our table was a rustic/traditional theme so I volunteered to make napkin rings for us using paper towel tube, burlap, twine, and ribbon! Super easy and they turned out super cute!

So those are my mommy projects I've done over the past few months! Best part is that other than the painted name, they didn't cost me a thing because I already had all the materials!  I love having time to be creative again!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Daxton

Dear Daxton,

Last Friday was the saddest day of your little life, one of the saddest of my life, and will remain in history as one of the saddest days for this country.

20 sweet babies, only 4-5 years older than you, the same age as your best friend/cousin Zain, became angels in a horrible, horrible tragedy.

Luckily you're little enough that it didn't phase you. While mommy listened to live coverage streaming online, you watched Rudolph with all of your 2 year old innocence.

Mommy cried.... and you watched Rudolph.

I first pictured myself being the parents waiting at the fire station to be reunited with their little ones.... only for that to never happen.

I then pictured you being one of the babies in that school hearing the things they heard and seeing the things they saw.

I then pictured mommy as a teacher in that school. Most people don't realize how much teachers love their students.  We love each and every one of those kids like they're our own. I never called the kids in my class my students, they were always my "babies". And this year, as I got a Christmas card from a little girl I first taught 5 years ago I told your daddy that it was a picture of one of my "babies". The kids in our classes are our babies for the rest of our lives. And I couldn't imagine that happening to my babies.

This weekend, I appreciated all the small things. I watched you play in your toy car and smiled. I watched you lay on the couch and watch movies and smiled. I watched you throw your body down on the ground in a fit, and still smiled.

On Saturday night you were up every hour. And each time I walked into your room half asleep, I was thankful. 20 families don't get to wake up during the night with their little ones because of bad dreams or not feeling well. I sat in the dark in your room and cried tears of thankfulness that I still have you, and tears of sorrow for heavens new 20 angels.

Mommy is still having a hard time dealing with the emotions. I worried about your cousins as they went to school today, I worried about my teacher friends as they returned to work, I worried about all of my past babies that are now elementary schools. I picture you as a 6 year old each time they show the faces of the sweet angels on tv. I worry about the future and your safety.

But for now I'm going to be thankful. Daddy and I left today to go out of town for interviews and it was hard.  I asked Melissa what to do, daddy what to do, and mawmaw what to do. You're not feeling well so that made the decision hard, but I think deep down it came down to me not wanting to be separated from you.... because 20 families are now separated from their families forever. We left and as we pulled out of the neighborhood I cried. But we can't live in fear.

I've called mawmaw about a million times already and I get to hear you in the background each time. I can still hear your voice and smile. 20 other families can't.

Daxton, mommy loves you very much. From loss, great things can come. For me, it's a better appreciation for the small moments in my life with you. Appreciating your fits, your tantrums, your cries in the night, your hugs, your smiles, and your "I love you"s.

Love you forever,

Sleep in heavenly peace sweet angels. We will never forget.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Work in progress....

I'm changing the page up a little.... so things will look a little nuts-o until I finish :)

Winter Projects

With Daniel traveling so much and the weather being nice and cold we have filled our days with lots of Christmas time projects!  This post is going to be pretty picture heavy but I wanted to share some of our projects... and maybe give you some ideas of things to do too :)
Oh and best part about these projects..... between all of them I think I only spent a total of less than $5!  My projects are all pretty spur of the moment so I make use with the things I already have at home :)

This little guy has been my favorite project. It was a mommy/son project so we both worked on it together. I found the wooden nutcracker at hobby lobby for 50% off, had acrylic paint, and then got a glaze to put over it to make it nice and shiny. I'm pretty sure painting a little figurine like this will be a new tradition for me and Dax.
Salt Dough Ornaments
Salt dough is so much fun and you can do so much with it. I found this recipe on pinterest and just cut it in half (it was set to make 12).
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
I let Dax help me do all the measuring and pouring and rolling the dough out on the cookie sheet. It was a pretty messy project but lots of fun! After you get all your shapes cut out don't forget to poke holes in the ornament to help air to go out.... or they'll puff up and you have to try to fix the damage later. Trust me... learned that one the hard way. Then you just put them in the oven for 20-25 at 300. And let them cool. I used acrylic paint because it tends to last longer and then covered them with a glaze again to make them nice and shiny.

We made all the cute hand print ones (and even a footprint one.... but my precious dog decided to eat it.... don't get me started) and then I let Dax have his way. He was really into a tiny toy dinosaur that day so we pushed that into a round piece of dough (top left on the picture about) and then he "walked" the dino around on the donut looking one (top right) and made footprint in it. He loved this!

(the left over salt dough made for great pretend "pancakes" )
Nature Paintings
If you've read the blog at all you know me and Dax both love nature. So we used a little acrylic paint and glitter to make a few ornaments and pictures for the walls.

The next day we painted glue on all of the final projects and used our fingers to sprinkle glitter on all of them! They all turned out really pretty and look great as Christmas decorations!
Glass Ball Ornament
I have a ton of extra ball ornaments that we didn't use on our tree so we decided to paint one with acrylic paint and at a cute bow on the top to hang on our tree. Dax was really proud of this project

 Gift Wrapping
In every class I've ever taught the kids have loved getting to wrap presents. So the other day I let Dax wrap a gift for his daddy. He thought he was so big and had so much fun! I let him do it all, the cutting, taping, folding, put a bow on, and even sign the tag. 

If you have any fun winter projects I would love to hear them!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Balancing Christmas

This is one of my new purchases this Christmas season... and I absolutely adore it. To me it is so thought provoking and really embodies the Christmas season.
Over the last month or so I've been really thinking about Christmas and what I want it to be for our family. I'm a big Santa person and tradition person, so I didn't want to completely drop those.... but I also don't want Christmas to be so commercial in our home as it is. And even more importantly.... I wanted to put a stronger emphasis on Jesus and the true meaning for the season than I feel most people do these days.
Also while browsing over the last month (because I start thinking about Christmas the first cool day in fall... it's sad... I know) I found Elf on a Shelf and thought it would be a super fun tradition to start in our family. I mostly just liked the idea of how mischievous the Elf becomes at night and waking up to a new surprise each morning (I mean how fun is that?!).

So how in the world was I going to incorporate Santa, Elf on a Shelf, and most importantly religion?

Here's what Daniel and I decided Christmas was going to be for us and our family....
There is a Santa, and there are Elves, toys, reindeer, North Pole... the whole nine yards. But there is also God.... and he and Santa think a lot alike. Santa believes in all the things God believes in... and hopes that all the boys and girls around the world believe those things too. That's why our Santa doesn't watch to see if you're "naughty or nice". We won't be using (and will encourage our family not to use it with Dax) the old, "Santa's watching and if you're not good he won't bring you any presents". Because really.... who's not going to give their kid presents? Instead, our Santa watches to see if you have a kind heart. If you love others, show compassion and kindness and grace. He watches throughout the year to see if you're trying your absolute hardest to be the best person you can be. Elf on a shelf shows this perfectly. He can be pretty ornery and mischievous each night, but he loves others and has a kind heart so that's all that really matters. And we're all going to slip and make a mistake every now and then... we're not perfect, Elf isn't perfect, and Santa isn't either... he just wants to see you learn from your mistake. He wants you to have a heart like God. And that's what our Elf will be watching for.... not to see if you're being good or bad, but to watch and see if your actions and words are matching a heart of kindness and love. And on Christmas Day, Santa shows his love to you by sharing gifts with you, rewarding all of your hard work all year to be the very best person you can be. Santa can't give us a gift as precious as the one God gave us, so special presents just for you are his way of saying "Good job, keep up the good work. Keep learning, growing, and loving."

So in our house there won't be your typical "naughty or nice" and your typical list of all the toys you're wishing for each year. There will be acts of kindness, words of compassion and love.... and through those things, Santa will give you just the perfect special gift that he knows you'll love.

After writing this post a found a couple others on pinterest that have thoughts similar to mine.... check them out and maybe you can start a new tradition of belief in your home too.
Jesus, Santa, and the Elf on the Shelf
It's Beginning to Look A Lot....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hands On Learning

Dax is at probably my absolute favorite stage of development. He is really using his imagination and taking initiative to learn all he can. You can just see the connections constantly being made in every activity he does.
I try to plan something for us at least every other day. Nothing big, but just a general idea of something for us to spend some time doing. Most of the time I know that I plan on doing an activity that day, but I don't actually know what I'm going to do until about 5 minutes before it happens. I try to watch Dax and see what he's interested in and engaged in that day and then go from there with our activity.
Here's an activity that we did a couple weeks ago that he just ran with and took it in directions I didn't expect him to.
 So the day before, we went on a nature walk in our back yard.... collecting leaves, bark, nuts... whatever we could find. I also had some great books on fall that I hadn't read yet with Dax. I picked through the leaves and found ones that I thought best showed the color changing process and put them in this little basket. We read the books and looked at the leaves that we had found. I fully expected him to just touch the leaves and feel them.... but to my surprise he decided to do this 110% on his own....
 My little stinker took the leaves and matched them to their picture in his book! I didn't touch these leaves at all, or even talk to him about it, and yet they are perfectly matched to the book (under each leaf is the picture that matches it!)
 After he was finished with the book and touching and feeling the leaves I spread glue out all over paper and let him make a nature collage with them. He loved it and was very proud of his work (which is now hanging up in our living room).

Here are a few other shots of things we've done this past week...
His block building is getting so creative and intricate. Up until the past week or two his block play consisted of stacking blocks as high as he could get it and then knocking it down. But now he is building "houses" that he works really hard on for several minutes at a time. And most of the time he tops his buildings with a triangle (just like a roof... precious huh?) Kids learn SO much through block play that this makes me really, really excited. I always stressed block play in my classes so I'm very satisfied that he's a fan too :)
Today we pulled out what was left from our nature walk. He learned so many new words and names and got to feel such new, different textures. He also collected all the rocks and lined them up and counted them without my involvement at all.
We were playing with his beads today and I was talking about the shapes. He then went on to classify each block by it's shape and made piles for each (again, completely on his own).

I'll be posting more often on things we're doing during our day. I know I love great, simple, and cheap ways to learn so hopefully you do too. And if you have any fun simple ideas I would love to hear them!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Day in the Life

My new job as stay at home mom is going great. Dax and I have adjusted to all the changes and things are going so smoothly.... better than I ever thought they would. It's been almost a month now since I quit working and one of the best months ever.
As cheesy as it may sound, I feel more complete, satisfied, and most surprisingly, accomplished than I have ever felt before. Accomplished.... by staying at home with my boy. I knew I would be happier, less stressed, more satisfied, and like a better mom..... but this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment is what has taken me by surprise.
I had moments of feeling accomplished while teaching... that moment when the light bulb goes off for a kid, or when they tell you they love you, or when you know you've made a difference in their day. But this completely, 100%, overwhelming sense of accomplishment has never been felt until I started staying home.  This is what I'm meant to be doing at this moment in time. There's no doubt about it.

My first week of staying home I made a plan of attack... because think about it, how easy would it be to be to just sit my little butt on the couch all day in my pj's and relax.  I settled on a routine for Dax and I that would fit us and keep up both on track with life. Here's a peak at what our day is like...

Dax wakes up anywhere between 6-7am. We have a little bit of cuddle time on the couch and he usually wants a snack (a light breakfast... think granola bar or some dried cereal). After that he usually plays for a bit while I drink some coffee and finish waking up (it's a process that takes a little bit). Usually around 8am we have actual breakfast. After breakfast I start my chores. I am my most productive in the mornings so I decided I would devote most of my morning to my chores and all of the afternoon to Dax (of course if a teachable moment arises in the morning or if he wants me to sit and play with him or read a book I'll stop what I'm doing and do that). I searched all over pinterest for a cleaning schedule to use but ended up making my own..
This seriously has worked out great and is very helpful in giving me a goal/plan for each day. We also use morning time to go on walks a couple times a week around our neighborhood. Usually around 10:30 we'll go back to Daxton's room and read some books, sing songs, and do our yoga (I bought this book and we love it... Dax will bring it to me and ask to do it). Usually after this we go outside for about an hour until lunch. Around 12:30 or 1 Dax will lay down for nap. I use nap time as me time... time to sit, relax, blog, read (this was my hubby's great idea). The rest of the afternoon is devoted to Dax. We play, do art, wrestle, sing, dance, read.... basically whatever he wants to do. I've been making sure to do a planned project with him at least every other day. I believe kids learn most through play so I don't plan a whole lot... but I do want to provide some planned experiences for him.
Not my typical art project for him but couldn't pass up some Candy Corn foot print magnets. I ended up cutting these out, laminating them, and writing "Trick or treat, smell my feet" and them and making magnets.
Fall stickers
We made a road for his car

He is starting to get really creative with his buildings.  (I made the base for the house but he hunted down all the triangles and piled them on the top of it)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The title shows my secret love for David Bowie (don't judge)..... but it's so so fitting.

So since the last post (only a short month ago) our lives have been so busy, full of changes and new experiences. We'll start with the biggest change for us...

Shortly after my last post we made our decision public that I would be quitting my job teaching and start my new career as a stay at home mom. This was a decision that we had been talking about and planning for quite awhile. We knew that we would be questioned about our choice by some people, therefore didn't tell anyone until after I already had my notice in and the decision was made. Luckily most people have been very supportive... at least to our face. And that's all we're asking for. They don't have to like our decision (we don't expect for anyone other than us to see why this was so important for us) but we do want them to be supportive. It's the old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"  :)  We know 110% that this is the absolute best thing for our family at this time. We are entering a new chapter in our life where Daniel is going to be traveling every.single.week. until after Christmas. He'll be home for January but will again be gone for the entire month of February. After that we'll be moving come May for residency. Because of all this, we decided that it was very, very important for Dax to have one, stable, consistent caregiver for him at all times. We loved his daycare but it was just that... a daycare. And anyone that knows anything about daycares knows that teachers are in and out of rooms all the time. There's very little consistency and during a time of so much change at our house that's the one thing he really needs. So for the sake of Daxton's maximal social and emotional development, the decision of me staying home was an easy one. Another big factor for us was being able to take advantage of any time we can get as a family. Daniel's schedule is crazy, rarely consistent, and will be even more crazy when he starts traveling. We wanted to be able to take advantage of any time we can get as a family. He has days off here and there, hours off here and there throughout the week. If I was working and Dax as at school, we would miss out on a lot of time with Daniel. When he starts traveling for interviews me and Dax will be able to go with him to some; getting some quality family time in and getting a chance to see places that we might actually call home in a few months.
Final point is this.... yeah, we are going to be on a tight budget for 8-9 months, and yeah, we'll have some extra loan money to pay back. But that means nothing to us. Our family's well being and health are significantly more important to us, and that's all that matters.

And a brief note for all the other changes taking place for us lately and keeping us super busy! Dax has started soccer!!! It's a once a week parent/child class for 40 minutes. It's adorable. An our little man is so strange. Most people get their kids involved in these activities to interact with other kids.... but Dax needs work interacting with adults. He clams up and just doesn't function if adults, particularly young female adults (think teens and early 20s) talk to him. So for the first several weeks we would spend about half of the class on the bench watching before he would decide it was safe to play. But last week we had a break through and he played the entire time! WOOOHOOO!
This is what the first several weeks looks like. If we weren't sitting on the bench we were standing at the edge of the field, Dax frozen like a statue and us trying to encourage him to play.
The class is precious. They do the regular soccer things like running, kicking balls, making goals. But they also do games to help them follow instructions, talk about colors, and learn teamwork.

And the final thing that has been keeping us busy is interview season! Daniel has submitted his application to over 40 General Surgery residency programs across the country. The past few weeks have been full of scheduling and planning for interview travels. He is doing really good and has had a lot of offers so far. Our calendar though isn't doing so well. It's crazy full with travel plans. Daniel will be traveling every.single.week. through the end of December for interviews, with the exception of the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas (but we'll be traveling to OKC then). So needless to say, we've been busy scheduling flights, hotels, mapping out trips, researching cities & schools. The next several months is going to be crazy that's for sure.

Well that's our crazy life full of changes. I'm going to leave you with some pics of some great family time we've got to have since I've started staying home. Enjoy.... they're pretty cute.
Time fishing at the lake...

A trip to Frontier City with family...

Visiting the Cowboy Hall of Fame with family...

A tea party with my niece...

Visiting Meemaw and Pawpaw.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Years Old

I have so many things I'm wanting to blog about and fill you guys in on but I've been sick and now little man is sick so we haven't had much extra time.
But I wanted to make sure I got a Two Year Old update in on my little man before he changed too much (cause boy is he changing and growing fast!)

At two years old....
* Dax is 90% in height and weight. No concern about him being chunky because he's tall too. If his percentage in height was lower then we would be concerned about a 90% in weight... but he's just an all around big boy (he got mommy's height when she was little and daddy's weight)   :)
* He sleeps about 11 hours at night and takes a 2-3 hour nap during the day. He tells us when he's tired, we go through our bedtime routine, and he goes right to sleep on his own.
* Says 4 word sentences like it's nothing
* Knows most shapes (square, circle, oval, triangle, diamond, star, heart)
* Can count to 9 completely on his own.
* Loves to wash his hands.
* Loves the vacuum.
* Is starting to soak in everything daddy does and imitates him.
* He loves Eebee's Learning Adventures on Netflix
* Favorite foods are Pizza, cheese sandwich, veggie corn dogs, watermelon, strawberries, cheese, yogurt.
* Favorite snacks are "hop hops", pretzels, and "bars".
* The boy drinks water like it's going out of style.
* Favorite books are Dinosaur Diner, Noahs Ark Big Book, and Little Quacks Opposites.
* He loves bath time and likes to lay on his tummy and "swim".
* He loves sitting on the potty and reading his potty book but has only actually gone a few times.
* He loves writing with pencils, painting, and cutting with scissors.
* He loves to be outside.
* He is still a HUGE music boy. If there isn't music on he ask for it and can sing several of our favorite songs on the radio.
* His favorite kiddie song is Wheels on the Bus
* Speaking of buses, he loves school buses and gets really excited if he sees a real one on the road.
* He's not a fan of bugs.... he says "shewing bug" and wrinkles his face all up when he sees one :)
* He asks, "what's this" and "what you doing" all the time. I love it.
* He is starting to use "me" and "my" when talking about himself.
* He holds a pencil the right way and can draw a vertical line and circle.... sometimes a horizontal line.
* His best friends at school are Blake and Parker and he loves his old teacher "Miss Cupcake"  (a name he gave her randomly... her actual name is Kaitlyn).  He started in a new two year old class this week with a new teacher.
* He ADORES his cousins "CheyChey" and "Nainer". He lights up around them.
* He still is very attached to his "Nahnee"  (his blanket)  and as of Friday no longer has his binky!
* His feet are huge.... 7 extra wide.... that's right.... not just wide.... extra wide
* He knows how to unlock mommy's Ipod, slide the screen, start and work with Eebee App. all on his own.
* He doesn't have just one specific sort of toy he likes to play with (cars, trains, animals, etc).  His interest change from day to day. If someone asked me what three things Dax just loves I would say art, playing pretend, and books...... those things keep his attention the longest. Maybe he'll grow up to be analytical like his mommy & daddy :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


In 11 short days our little man will be two..... and in 6 days we'll be celebrating that special day with our friends and family back in OKC!
I love planning parties, and decorating and all that hoopla.... so I've been a party planning machine for about a month now! Here are a few of the details from last years party... and here are the series of pictures from the actual party... 1, 2, and 3.
This year I wanted to have a birthday theme of something that he really enjoyed. Some possible ideas were cars, Yo Gabba Gabba, and construction.  I went to the party store for inspiration and while there figured out exactly what I wanted to do. They had some gorgeous teal, orange, yellow, and a bright green plates and napkins and such and I knew I def. wanted to use those and instantly decided on a "painting" theme for the party. This little boy LOVES to paint. I think he's going to be super creative as he gets a little older for sure. I would say it's safe to say that the "toys" that get used most in our house are markers, colored pencils, paint, and pens. He gives much more undivided attention to those items than cars or other toys for sure.
With that said.... here's a sneak peak at some of the major products for next weeks party!
The invites! Super cute and super cheap! Dax painted them so they're each different!
For the kids painting table. I'm not a big fan of the typical goody bag filled with sweets.... so we opted for something a little different!
I found this saying online so made my own little printable. They'll be throughout the party... and will find a permanent spot in his room afterwards!
I found some similar cupcake toppers online that you could buy but they were super expensive.... so I made my own :)
Our color inspiration!
Part of a banner...
Part of our center pieces!

Well that's your sneak peak!! And on a side note... anything that has paint on it Dax did himself :)   I'm super excited with how it's all coming together and I can't wait to show all of the details after the party!