Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Elyse's 1st Halloween

So this is going to be a post simply full of lots of ridiculous cuteness...but a girl's first Halloween must be properly documented, so just bare with me or "mark it as read" if you want.  

We really don't go all out for Halloween at my house, but of course Elyse had to have a "My first Halloween" onesie & some Halloween books!

& Papa decided that Elyse must have the obligatory "baby in a jack o' lantern" photo shoot...

& then of course there was the costume.  Which in the spirit of full disclosure...I DID NOT MAKE! Yes, someone did make it & we bought it off from an Etsy seller.  Do I wish that I could break out my non-existent sewing skills and whip something like this up...yes.  Did I?  No.  

We actually went trick or treating two nights in a row so we could catch everyone before Elyse's bedtime.  We hit up my family last night, starting with Papa & Gigi's house. Her treat included Goldfish, yogurt melts, & some orange halloween toys...all perfect for a 10 1/2 month old.  

Next up was my Grandpa & Grandma Smart's house...where Elyse picked up two cans of puffs!  

& then my Grandma & Grandpa Herndon's house...where Elyse got 2 rubber ducks.  

& finally we made a quick stop at my Aunt Belinda & Uncle Clyde's house...where we got some treats for the adults!  
drool much?
We started again tonight about 5 & hit up our neighbors across the street first, who are pretty much our adopted grandparents!
  & she was excited...until their precious puppy started barking!  ha!  

She quickly calmed down & made friends with the puppy...and then we headed to my in-laws house...
 ...where Elyse met up with another creature in costume!  Poor Lucy!  Elyse had already received her "treat" from Mamaw & Pappy, an adorable U of Michigan track suit and stocking cap!  She'll be breaking it out for basketball season.  
 Uncle Nick even stopped by to see his sweet peacock!  
We finished off the evening with a stop by our church's trunk or treat...but it was really basically time for bed already & Elyse was OVER having her picture taken in such a ridiculous outfit!  

Overall I would say that Elyse's first Halloween was a major success...but we have set the bar high for her costume next year! My only failure...not getting a picture of Elyse with Papa & Gigi, we might have to dress up again this weekend for a quick photo get ready Papa & Gigi!

Happy Halloween from Elyse!

Happy Halloween from our little pumpkin...

who also happens to be a peacock!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Rewind~Just What I Needed

This weekend was just what we needed.  After a somewhat busy week, we had a weekend with very few actual plans & plenty of time to just relax & enjoy our precious family.  

Due to some scheduling issues with our babysitter, aka Gigi, aka my mom...I worked on Thursday this week instead of Friday.  No complaints here, Friday was a yucky cold day so I was more than happy to stay at home!  Elyse & I didn't leave the house all day and it was honestly quite refreshing to just relax indoors.  
Call me crazy, but I don't think this is how you're supposed to ride in a car seat!  ha!  Silly Monkey!
I felt incredible productive for the day as I was able to check several things off my to-do list, while also fixing a nice dinner for our family on Friday night. We had lasagna, Caesar salad, & garlic bread....and Elyse even got to enjoy some of the yummy lasagna.  After dinner, we had some playtime with Elyse before it was time for bath, bottle & bed.  
Elyse & Daddy reading...yeah, Nick couldn't see a thing! ha!
Hubby & I finished off the evening cuddled up on the couch with chocolate chip cookie sundaes & a movie.  We watched What to Expect When You're Expecting & we were both pleasantly surprised.  Definitely an entertaining way to spend the evening with the man I love most.  

Saturday morning I did have to work so I headed off & Hubby stayed home to play Mr. Mom.  Seriously, he did.  When I got home practically all of the laundry was finished & folded & lunch was on the table.  He definitely knows the way to a busy momma's heart!  Elyse went down for her afternoon nap while Hubby went for his long 9 mile training run, & I made dessert for a gathering on Saturday evening with friends.  I made these Peanut Butter Snickers Brownies & they were so yummy!
Love this photo of me & my little ghost!
I tried to get a similar picture of Daddy & our little ghost...yeah, not so much!  ha!  

After Elyse woke up, we headed out to drop her off at Mamaw & Pappy's house for the night.  She had a sleepover with them while we went and hung out with some of our old small group & some of our current small group.  It was a fun relaxing night of the boys huddled around the tv bouncing between football & baseball & the girls sitting around the kitchen table chatting about everything under the sun & possibly consuming a little too much wine.  I love these girls so much & my bestie Andrea put it best..."I love these girls.  Iron sharpens iron.  And I love when iron gets the giggles."
These girls are such an incredible blessing!
The most I've laughed in a long time...oh how I needed that!   
A fun self-portrait!
This morning we went to church without Elyse & then went to my in-laws house for lunch.  We ended up staying most of the afternoon just relaxing & napping.  It was just what we needed...we can relax at home, but the laundry to be done or the toys to pickup or the other household chores sometimes get the best of us. With not being at home, all of that stuff was out of sight, out of least for a few hours.

Tonight we headed to small group and had another fun evening with friends.  We're reading through the book "Overcoming Overload" by Steve & Mary Farrar and man does it slap you in the face.  Our lives are so busy and we're always so on-the-go that we can't even take just a moment to stop & enjoy life.  So that's my goal this week, to STOP...even if it's just for 5 minutes, and really enjoy the precious blessings that are surrounding me.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

9 Months of Elyse

Even though I posted Elyse's 10 month post last week, I realized I had never shared some of my favorite pics from her 9 month photo shoot we had a few weeks ago.  I just love our photographer & how she captures Elyse's cheeky grin!  Enjoy!

She had pulled her bow off by this point...the last shot of the day!

Christmas card worthy for sure!  
I'm so glad that I have requested a family photo at each of her shoots...maybe one of these days I'll do a fun collage somewhere in our house of family pictures from Elyse's first year!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Rewind~Cardinals, Pumpkins, & a Date Night!

Last week it didn't seem like we had much planned for this weekend, but as I'm sitting here going through pictures & thinking of everything that was a pretty jam-packed October weekend.  

Friday I stayed home from work because both of our babysitters (aka Elyse's grandma's) were out of town and she's to the point where taking her to the office with me just isn't really a feasible option anymore.  I'll always take the excuse to stay home and play with my baby girl...and I did manage to do about an hour's worth of work during her morning nap.  

Friday evening I drove down & met Hubby at my parents' house for dinner & to watch the St. Louis Cardinals game.  We ordered in pizza & I brought dessert...PW's Quick & Easy Apple Tart.  Kendra posted about this recipe last week & it seemed so easy that I couldn't wait to try it!  It truly was delicious & super fast...well, it was super fast if I hadn't had to make it a second time since I mistakenly grabbed the Ground CUMIN out of the cabinet instead of the Ground CINNAMON!  I wanted to add some cinnamon to the top & yeah...cumin is completely different from cinnamon!  Thankfully I still had the ingredients to whip it up a second time!  

The Cardinals game was really anything but exciting if you're a Cards fan, but we still had a good evening with my parents!
I'd like to say that she was actually giving this look to the puppies outside, but I have a feeling I just managed to catch her in a funny transition!  Either way, it's hilarious!
The ladies of the house, me, Gigi, & Elyse!
I wish Elyse didn't go to bed so early, she was much more entertaining than the baseball game!  
Unfortunately we lost, but we're still hopeful for a repeat trip to the World Series....but we're gonna have to win it on the road!

Saturday morning we had some fun playtime with Elyse before Hubby headed out for his LONG, 12 mile, training run.  I put Elyse down for her nap & worked around the house while Hubby was gone.  I also admired my new diaper bag purchase...Vera Bradley's new Messenger Baby Bag in Ribbons.  I've never actually been a Vera Bradley fan, but I actually really love this bag & I think that cross-body bags are a must with a baby!  

After Hubby's run, we loaded up the car & headed to a local pumpkin patch.  It's actually owned & ran by some good family friends & one of my high school classmates was taking family fall pictures on Saturday.  We met up with my parents and took some fun pictures of Elyse with all the pumpkins & fall decor! 

Right after the visit to the pumpkin patch, we sent Elyse home with my parents & headed out.  Elyse was having a sleepover with my parents anyway so Hubby & I decided to make a day of it and run several errands before our evening plans.  We stopped at 7-8 different places and it was an afternoon that would have taken 3 weeks to complete if we'd had Elyse with us!  It was an extremely productive afternoon and just a fun time to hang out together sans baby.

Saturday night we had made plans to have dinner with our pastor & his wife (Tony & Dana) & another couple (Brandon & Jacinda) who are connected to us in several ways including small group, church, & high school friends of mine!  We went to the Branson Landing for dinner at Cantina Laredo.  It was a super fun evening and so nice to not have to worry about Elyse for an entire evening.
Dana, myself, & Jacinda 
This morning we went to church with my parents so we could pick up Elyse & then spent the rest of the day at home.  We had some quality fun with Elyse, did some laundry & Hubby worked in the yard all before heading off to small group.  A pretty typical Sunday, but exactly what we needed after a busy day yesterday.

One of our stops yesterday was to pick up a new toy for Elyse...a walker that will double as a stroller for her baby dolls!  She loves it already!
Of course she also loved sitting on top of the toy box & just laughing...she was throwing her head back & laughing at me!  
Hubby also did a few honey-do things in Elyse's room, which included hanging this shelf.  One of my good friends (Brandon, who went to dinner with us) made this shelf for me which I almost paid $$$ for instead!  It's exactly what I wanted and he did such a great job.
It's perfect for books right next to the chair in Elyse's room!
Elyse's reading corner is complete...check out my little bookworm reading in the floor!  
 Hope you all are enjoying the beautiful fall color!  I always have to snap a picture of the tree in our backyard, it's always gorgeous this time of year!  

Now, if only my St. Louis Cardinals can pull this one out...otherwise we're looking at Game 7 tomorrow night for a trip to the World Series!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

An Extra Offering

The Greene County Baptist Association supports a food pantry called Grand Oak Mission & they have been in serious need. The pantry wasn't necessarily asking for monetary donations, they were needing food...and lots of it.  So, for the last several weeks, our church has been urging us to bring an extra offering each week to be donated to the local food pantry we help to support. That extra offering might be nothing more than a single canned good...but at this point the pantry needs anything they can get. 

It was brought to the attention of one of our small group leaders that they have even had to close their days a few days each week because they ran out of food.  And so a challenge food drive was on...small groups had 2 weeks to gather as much food as they could and in the end, the small group with the most poundage of food would have dessert served to them by the challenging small group. 
The contribution from our small group...all of this for $119.25, $0.75 under budget!
Our group, like several others, decided to take up a collection & then myself & another girl went on a shopping trip.  We knew that we could get the most food for our money at Aldi so that's where we headed...and I was quite pleased with our haul.  We loaded up our cart with apple juice, condensed soup, peanut butter, jelly, pancake mix, syrup, canned vegetables, cornbread mix, etc.  and headed to the checkout.  We of course had a limited amount of funds & were watching our pennies...but God had us right where we needed to be.  We checked out $0.75 under budget, I know we couldn't do that again if we tried. 

just some of the food brought in for weighing...
This past Sunday was weigh-in day & between 6 small groups almost 1,300 lbs of food was donated!  Honestly, our group got smoked in the final standings, but that wasn't really the point we were all just hoping to help others in need in just a small way.   The sad part is that I have a feeling all that food will be gone within just a few days.

& the results...way to go Northbridge Church!
I don't write this to toot my own horn, but more as a reminder that maybe you should take an extra offering to church with you this week.  Maybe that offering is simply one can of soup, or an extra bag of food from your weekly grocery trip, or maybe you'll decide to challenge the small groups or Sunday school classes in your church to a food drive!  Times are hard right now & we need to do what we can to help...even if it's just one can of chicken noodle soup.