Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

After Elyse crashed early from a busy, no-nap day with family, Hubby & I are curled up on the couch watching some football and enjoying the fact that tomorrow we don't have to work!  We've got two more Thanksgiving's to go in the next two days...and we have oh, so much, to be thankful for!

Husband.  Daughter.  Parents.  In-Laws.  Extended family.  Home.  Health.  Job.  Church family.  Family of friends.  Security.  Smiles.  Laughter.  Jesus Christ.  Salvation.

I'll have a full recap of Thanksgiving sometime next week, but for now...Happy Thanksgiving from the Layman's.

Monday, November 25, 2013

On the weekend before Thanksgiving...

On our way to work Friday morning, I mentioned just HOW BUSY the next 14 days were going to be with celebrating Thanksgiving (3x), hosting my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange, and finishing up prep & celebrating Elyse's 2nd birthday.  Whew.  It's going to be a wild ride, but I'm also so excited to create some wonderful memories with my precious family. 

However, in preparation for the next two weeks, it was nice that on the weekend before Thanksgiving we were able to do whatever we wanted and really didn't have much of any plans. 

Friday night was Hubby's idea and will probably become a new Friday night tradition when we can make it work...Family Fun Night with pizza & a movie. 

Elyse has been OBSESSED with Monsters Inc. so Hubby picked up Monsters University the other night at Walmart.  On our way home from work we picked up a pizza, moved Elyse's little table to the living room, and plopped ourselves down in front of the television with Mike & Sully.  It was a perfect evening and I'm looking forward to lots more pizza & movie nights with my favorite people. 

Saturday morning Hubby & Elyse went on a donut run, while I started prepping the house for Operation Deck the Halls.  I normally have a "No Christmas Décor before Thanksgiving" rule, but with our schedules this year, I just wasn't sure when we were going to get it done otherwise.  So...all the Fall and normal home décor came down, and sparkly trees, happy Santas, and joyful manger scenes were put in their place.  I'll try to take pictures of all the rest of my décor another day, but for now here's a picture of our mantle. 

After most of the inside work was done, I also grabbed my fall burlap wreath and did a quick little transformation...and with a few new flower picks, some new ribbon, and about 15 minutes I had my new front door wreath. 

After working most of the afternoon we voted to have a quick dinner out on Saturday night...but not before we had a quick little tantrum...

Note:  This is what happens when you tell Elyse that we have to pause Monsters University in order to leave the house for dinner.  FULL. ON. MELTDOWN. Including burying her head in a pile of stuffed animals in her room.  Of course I did what any good Mom would do, and I grabbed my camera to document the hilarious occasion. 

Now that I think about it, this was actually the tantrum that was a result of her getting frustrated trying to take her new shoes on and off.....but same song, different verse on Saturday night.  Welcome to the Terrible Twos. 

After dinner on Saturday night, and after our precious angel calmed herself down, we came home and finished watching Monsters University and we finished up the decorating process with unwrapping all the Christmas ornaments.  I failed to snap any pictures of our actual tree because I was trying to hang ornaments and control a certain very curious almost-2 year old while she thought she needed to examine each and every ornament. 

However, I did break out her felt tree and I'm still super proud of myself.  I will probably have to reinforce the 3M poster strips that I used to attach it to the wall, but otherwise I think we have a holiday hit! 


And so now it's time for a short work week and the official kick-off to the Holiday season.  Experiencing Christmas with Elyse already has my heart just soaring as I think about watching everything through her eyes...I can't hardly wait for it all to begin! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 on Friday-Playing Catch Up

It's been a busy week, not necessarily with activities but with holiday prep and birthday prep and just all around stuff.  However, it's been fun and productive and I've been able to channel my susie-homemaker mode a bit, which has been fun for me! 
I'm linking up again this week for 5 on Friday with April and all the other hostesses!  I just love this link-up because it's the perfect excuse for an end of the week iPhone/Instagram photo dump!
1.  Having a December baby is still a little hard for my brain to process.  While I want to be fully diving into all things Thanksgiving and Christmas...I'm also trying to make a distinct separation between Christmas & celebrating Elyse's birthday.  So...this year the color schemes couldn't be further apart and I'm trying to get into full-on party planning mode!  This is why my mom's kitchen table looked like last Saturday, and I've got some more DIY things in my head that I'm hoping to get accomplished before her big day on December 13th!

2.  We are season ticket holders for the Missouri State Men's Basketball Bears.  The first official game was last Saturday night and we also had a game on Wednesday night.  It's a fun night out with the family and since my parents' are also season ticket holders, they get some extra quality time with Elyse. 
My dad even got chosen to be participate in an on-course contest on Saturday night! 

3.  I woke up early Sunday morning with a horrible stomach ache and we all ended up staying home from church.  Nick & I were scheduled to have nursery duty during second service, so he took Elyse and my precious MIL filled in for me.  It's days like that when I'm so thankful that our church has an online presence and has live streaming.  I was able to worship covered in a blanket and curled up in the recliner. 

4.  I'm in charge of organizing the food for Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house and this year I gave myself the task of making the rolls.  I decided to get an early start and just freeze them.  Then I'm not rushing around the day before or the morning of  trying to get rolls made just right.  This was a new recipe from Our Best Bites and it might be my new favorite.  I let them rise quite a bit longer than the recipe said, but they were still really fast, really easy, and really yummy! 

I also made a batch into cinnamon rolls that I froze and will thaw for Thanksgiving morning breakfast!  It took all I had to keep from diving into one yesterday afternoon before dinner!  However, they are now safely in the deep freeze already for next week. 

5.  Along with Elyse's birthday party and baking, I've also been working on a Christmas project for Elyse.  I've seen the felt Christmas trees all over Pinterest and I knew that Elyse would love this.  So...a couple weeks ago I went to Hobby Lobby with my mom and stocked up on various colors of felt and also bought a yard of dark green felt.  I set to work with my scissors and glue gun and now I have a beautifully, colored felt tree for Elyse to decorate and undecorate until her heart's content.  I just know she'll love it once I hang it up in our dining room--which will be happening this weekend! 
Happy weekend's turning cold here, but that just makes it feel more like the holidays to me! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Momma, Hold You.

Hold on everyone...I'm going to get a little bit sentimental and serious today. 

In the past month, Elyse's vocabulary has gone from one word speaking where we still fought to understand one simple word to consistent 2 word phrases to even a few sentences thrown in here and there that are completely understandable.  However, that doesn't mean that she has all the grammar down, nor does she understand pronouns completely. 

From when Elyse was just a tiny little baby, I tried really hard to not hold her ALL the time and to let her play on her own so I could help develop an independent young lady.  And honestly, I'm pretty proud of the fact that we have little Miss Independent on our hands and for the most part she is happy as a lark to play by herself for an extended period of time.  Of course sometimes that independence has come back to bite me...ha! 

For the past couple of days Elyse been acting a little clingy and I'm not sure if it's because she doesn't feel good or if it's because she is just going through a brief phase. And the clingyness is mainly associated with me, her momma.  So, whenever she wants her momma she comes up to me with those bright blue eyes and says...Momma, Hold You. 

Like I said, she doesn't understand the whole difference between me & you.  All she knows is that many times in her life, someone has looked at her and said..."Elyse, do you want me to hold you?"  All she knows is that "hold you" has some amazing, comforting effects and that she enjoys the result of "hold you."  All she knows is that whenever she says "hold you" that someone she loves and adores scoops her up into their arms and provides support and comfort in a way that she can get nowhere else. 

And now let me confess something, there have been many times in her short little life when she comes up to me and says "Momma, Hold You" and I was busy fixing dinner or doing laundry or just whatever it might be and I replied with...Elyse, Hold on--Momma, Hold you in a minute.  And many times, that minute became two or ten or thirty or sixty and my precious daughter moved on from needing to be held at that exact minute.  Because let's be honest, she's almost two and her needs change from one fleeting moment to the next. 

However, I've realized in the past few clingy days as we inch closer and closer to her 2nd birthday, that it's not always Elyse that needs to be held.  And while her grammar is a little confused as she requests to be held, it may be more perfect that I even realized.   Because as that tiny little voice looks up at me and says..."Momma, Hold You" many times it really is Momma who needs to slow down, to sit and just be held for a bit.  It's Momma who needs to be comforted and loved on by her precious little girl, who certainly won't be a little girl forever.  It's Momma who needs to just chill out, relax, and take some time to enjoy the cuddles and soft pats that five tiny little fingers can provide.  And it's Momma who needs to not worry about having a perfectly picked up house, or making a new recipe, or running errands...because sometimes I just need to stop and be held. the holidays near, my goal is to stop for just a few short seconds and be held.  And to hold.  And to cuddle my baby girl when she needs it or even when I know she really doesn't, but she just wants it.  And if I'm really honest, I want it be held, and to allow my baby girl to hold me whenever she wants.  Because I never, ever want to forget these moments when my blue eyed baby girl looks up at me and says..."Momma, Hold You." Melt. My. Heart. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall Family Photos 2013

A few weeks ago we had family pictures taken.  We considered moving them because the leaves hadn't quite changed colors yet, but we went ahead because we just couldn't find another great time to have them taken. I decided to kill two birds with one stone:  1.  Family pictures for Christmas cards & 2.  A fairly close documentation of Elyse at 2 years old...what?!? 
I tried a new photographer who had taken lots of our friends photos and it couldn't have been a better match!  Kaci @ YourStyle Photography was wonderful with Elyse & Elyse LOVED her! After the first 30 seconds of warming up to her, she performed the entire time!  Elyse was a complete HAM the entire shoot. 
Kaci snapped over 900 photos in 45 minutes and I couldn't be more pleased with them!  I seriously cannot wait until I can get some of these made into large prints and canvases to hang in our home. 
So...enjoy a little bit of bragging as I put our adorable family of 3 on display! 




Monday, November 11, 2013

Run to the Lights 2013

I run in 3 5k's a year....which means I'm NOT a runner.  However, I oblige my husband and since Zumba keeps me in fairly good cardio shape, I still always want to push myself a bit to actually run a race. 
Friday night was the annual Silver Dollar City Run to the Lights.  Let me tell you...that course is TOUGH!!!  Lots of ups & downs and hills...and if you've ever been to Silver Dollar City, you know the GIANT hill that goes down the left-hand side of the park towards the Saloon & Fire-in-the-Hole?  Yeah, that's the hill you have to come up in order to FINISH! was ridiculous! 
However, it is a fun way to start the holiday season! 
This year Hubby & I had to run some errands beforehand so we made a date night out of it and grabbed a very not-healthy dinner and stopped at the outlet malls to buy Elyse some new pj's. 
We headed to Silver Dollar City and met up with some friends so that we could all hangout during the race lineup...which in this case is very similar to herding cattle because we are all shuttled onto this small little side street...
All lined up ready for the race!
Hubby agreed to stick with me while we ran and we really had a pretty good time.  I was dressed a little bit too warm, and we walked most of the hills...but I finished.  And in a much faster time than last year's time 34:35, and I pushed ahead at the end to edge Hubby by a second!
I was EXHAUSTED after the race, and Saturday morning my legs were killing me...but it's still a fun tradition and as much as I gripe about it, we'll probably do it again next year as long as the weather cooperates!    
Hubby & I before the race in front of the big SDC tree!

A group of us from church before the race

After the race in front of SDC's giant wreath---the best we could with phone photos!