Monday, December 22, 2014

tis the season!

Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. everything about it gets me excited. the Christmas tree lit all day. decorating the whole house. no room is without decorations. the crackling fireplace. the hot chocolate...with a mound of marshmallows of course. the Christmas carols. the manger scene. the smell of cinnamon & the hours of shopping. the eggnog {Bryan's favorite}. the Christmas mug. no escaping wearing all the red & green clothing. cuddling on the couch to watch our favorite Christmas movies. baking cookies with my mom. driving around local neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights with the family. rocking that red lipstick. kissing under the mistletoe {Bryan's other favorite}. reading the real Christmas story right from the Bible. buying presents. wrapping presents. finding the perfect outfit for Ava. ok maybe the 3 perfect outfits for Ava. eating candy canes. wearing Christmas socks.

I get so entirely happy about this season. It just makes me think of how excited Mary was every year anticipating another birthday of her son Jesus.

with Ava being so young we haven't decided what new traditions we'll do with her. any ideas? I'd like to start by reading her the Christmas story on Christmas Eve every year.

my mom began a tradition of baking cookies with the grandkids so we'll continue that. I even bought Ava a cute apron in preparation of baking with GeeGee.

what is your favorite Christmas tradition?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

baking with Ava

just one of the many things that I get extra excited about now that I have a daughter --- baking cookies with her!!! I know she is still so small & almost made a mess of it all, but it was the sweetest thing watching her munch on & poke the cookie dough. dipping her toes in the flour.

I went ahead & made the cookie dough by myself while Bryan kept Ava preoccupied. It just seemed easier that way. hah!

at first she didn't know what to think of the cookie dough. but once she ate it she said, "mmmm." 

I got this cute 4 pack of Wilton sprinkles. I'm glad I did because Ava used them as her teethers. hah! 

this was done very carefully! hey, I wanted those perfectly pointed shaped stars!

I can barely handle the cuteness!! our very own "official cookie taster" 

tis the season for making messes and baking cookies! 

kisses from the baker. 

her very own stocking shaped sugar cookie. loved it!

that face! simply adorable! this is my favorite. 

double fistin! I feel ya girl. gimme all the cookies...

adding the finishing touches. the sweeter the better. 

I hope you're getting into the Christmas spirit like we are!! and I hope you have a huge smile from looking at these sugar filled pictures of my sugar.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

it's beginning to SMELL a lot like Christmas

my oh my....what's that delicious smell?? why it's Christmas, of course!

some smells just remind me of Christmas. I don't seem to notice them until the Christmas season is upon us. its like my 5 senses go in happiness overload beginning on December 1st. and I just love all things red & green during the most wonderful time of year. here are my favorite scents of the season.....

the 10 best smells of Christmas

1. a fresh cut fraser fir Christmas tree

2. cranberries that sizzle & pop on the stove

3. peppermint candy cane {hello fresh kissing breath...where's that mistletoe?}

4. traditional chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven

5. that Smithfield honey glazed ham cooking all afternoon

6. a cozy fire blazing in the fireplace

7. the cold crisp air on Christmas morning

8. hot chocolate & sweet marshmallows in a mug

9. stovetop potpourri: cinnamon sticks mixed with orange. lemon. cranberry. delightful

10. spicy & sweet gingerbread cookies

tell me, what is YOUR favorite scent of the season?


Saturday, November 8, 2014

be brave

courage. valor. dauntless. what comes to mind when you hear these 3 words? do you see a soldier dressed in camouflage? or is it a man holding a sword and shield. maybe you see a woman standing tall conquering her fears with a nursing baby, a toddler and a husband in toe. these 3 words can be you. women who desire bravery. who yearn to be brave.

but I wonder if we use our bravery enough. I wonder, how much better would our lives be if we chose to be brave? over time we have chosen to whine. to complain. to cry and moan instead of standing tall. instead of choosing to be brave.

being brave is standing tall even when you don't want to. or when you don't have the strength to.

being brave is about looking your problems in the face with God by your side and conquering them head on. together. not turning back. not giving up.

being brave is saying "with God I CAN do it!"

being brave is having boldness like a lion. {Proverbs 28:1}

being brave is claiming victory over your life, so the enemy can't.

choose to be brave.

"...stand firm in the faith; be (wo)men of courage; be strong." {1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV}

choose to walk out your struggles. your questions. your calling. and your life with God.

it's time that we chose bravery.

"be strong and courageous. do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." {Joshua 1:9, NIV}

God wants you to run toward your calling. not from your calling. so run! BE BRAVE!

so when you're feeling scared or fearful of the calling that God has placed on your life, when it's hard to be brave --- cry out to Him. he will hear you. pray those bold. loud. audacious prayers. he's listening. pray out loud so the enemy will shudder.

when you don't think you can stand tall. when you don't know how to continue. lean on God. ask Him for courage. for valor. to be dauntless. you don't have to be fearful of what God is calling you to. because he is right there every step of the way. nudging you to be brave. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

month by month {Ava turned ONE}

the time has come & gone. Ava is a ONE year old now. tear. sad face. where did the time run off to? I remember at 9 months Bryan hugging Ava and saying, "we want you to stay this big forever...don't grow up."

but with each new month she grew. month by month she learned. she explored. new ideas. new concepts. with each new month it was bittersweet. I miss her being so small. so tiny. but with each new month means that I get to teach her. watch her perform new tasks. listen to her form new words. watch her dance to music. help her to grow into a beautiful girl. into a beautiful lady.

each night before bedtime we pray for and with Ava. our prayer is that she will remain healthy in her years. that she will grow in wisdom. that she will have joy. that she will be a light in this world. that she will find her one true love. that she will ultimately come to know Jesus as her Savior and friend. 

as we embark on this coming year with Ava we look forward to the new "first time" moments with her. we look forward to watching her radiant personality shine through to bring smiles to others. everyday she brings us smiles. though she doesn't fully understand now one day she will know how much we truly are blessed to be her parents. we are blessed beyond measure. 

mama & daddy love you baby girl.

<<<----- looking back at these pictures with tears in my eyes brings insurmountable joy. I can hardly remember her being so small. our 7lb 2oz bouncing bundle of joy  ----->>>

<<< 1 month >>>

<<< 2 months >>>

<<< 3 months >>>

<<< 4 months >>>

<<< 5 months >>> 

<<< 6 months >>>
{half birthday}

<<< 7 months >>> 

<<< 8 months >>> 

<<< 9 months >>>
{capturing these pictures has gotten more difficult each month}  

<<< 10 months >>>

<< 11 months >>

<< 12 months >>

Friday, October 24, 2014

a little SPARKLE & lots of SHINE {Ava is ONE}

when I think of Ava many words flutter through my mind. sassy. full of spunk. vivacious. lively. our girl has so much personality it just oozes out of her. she has a little sparkle and lots of shine! I absolutely adore it. she constantly makes us laugh & chuckle. it doesn't matter where we go, she is just a smilin & a wavin. she hasn't met many strangers that she doesn't like. {just that one time in trader joes. hah!}

Ava reminds me of myself in some ways. outgoing. happy. extroverted. friendly. a people person. I can't go anywhere without people stopping to talk to her. and I love it! people say you have to be careful when you have a child so that you don't make them into what you want them to be. and to not make them like you. as parents we must allow our children to be who they want & not change who they are becoming. I find it great that she shares some of my personality, but even if she didn't I want her to be herself. I love all of her from the tip of her nose to the bottom of her toes. I cannot express how much joy she brings to our world.

she also has those sweet moments where all she wants is for mama or daddy to hold her. or cuddle her. where she's mellow & quiet. it melts me to the core of my heart. 

I hope you enjoy these amazing pictures as much as I do!


photo credits: Heather Papineau Photography
gold messy bow head wrap: RubyBlue Inc.
birthday babe onesie: Lola & Darla
skirt: Kardashian Kids Collection
mini birthday hat: Kutie Bow Tuties