Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kinda Calm, Definitely Bright

I had to post a picture of Levi's BFF, our Christmas tree.

Actually, what I really wanted to show was the wreathe I made today - it's my third attempt in three years at the oh-so-pinteresting ornament wreathe.  Two years ago, aka before pinterest, Jess saw this wreathe on a blog and clued me into it.  Back then our best idea was to hot glue the ornaments to a wreathe form.  It worked ok, but did not withstand the elements. Last year, I got smart (like everyone else in blogland) and did the ol' wire hanger stringing of the bulbs.

2010 Edition - Yikes

This year - I did both, but with the old bulbs from the last two years.  I strung the bulbs but then also hot glued them to each other.  This sucker is not going anywhere.

And in case your name is Jess or Lauren or you are interested, this is what the rest of my living room is looking like.  Please disregard the mess on the desk.  I "just moved," okay?

The feather tree - Target knock off!  Ironically, my mom said to me in Target the other day, "oooh, look at this feather tree, it's so you!"  What she didn't know is I had already made one...2 years ago.

And of course, the Baby Jesus, also known as "Charlie" around these parts.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

It's our seventh Christmas tree, Levi's third, but the first one he's really seen.

The tradition in the Suereth household is that the tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving.  I'm usually exhausted from shopping all night.  Herb is usually exhausted because he works really hard with little breaks and then chooses to go shopping with me.  To say the least, we're not always in the best of spirits when we put up the tree.  Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't just wait a day or two and spend that black Friday afternoon napping instead.

In fact, our first epic fight as a married couple came about as a result of the hanging of the greens.  It was a time when a certain president was coming under harsh criticism, the economy was about to blow, Pinterest was not invented yet, and we thought it would be super patriotic to have a red, white, and blue Christmas tree.  You know, honor God and country at the same time?  I don't  know what we were thinking, in hindsight it was pretty tacky.

So that first Black Friday we stopped at Walmart (our first mistake) to buy red and blue plastic ball ornaments for our hand-me-down artificial tree, and a string of each red, blue, and white lights.  When we got home to decorate the tree, we discussed lighting technique and came to the conclusion that the lights would look MUCH better if each strand alternated red, white, and blue, rather than just having a string of each solid color. We proceeded to pull out every bulb from each of the three strings and separated the colors onto respective piles.  It was only then that we realized the bulbs weren't all exactly the same, therefore not being interchangeable.  Things only escalated when we couldn't agree on small white lights or large colored bulbs to string from our 5 linear feet of patio space.  We didn't speak to each other after that fight until the next Christmas.

Just kidding.

But I digress.

This year's tree decorating was fantastic.

I mean it, it really was.

Maybe it was the fact that Herb and I only did a small amount of shopping during semi- normal waking hours Friday morning and therefore weren't as devastatingly exhausted.  But I think it has more to do with the little boy who constantly exclaimed, "Hey!  I see a kihmih tree!!"  And with every little job we gave him to do to "help," he said, "Thank You!!"  For example,

"Levi, can you go put this string that was holding the branches together back in the tree box?"
"Thank you, Mommy!"

We were pressed for time on Friday night and only got the tree put together and lights (small colored, a comprise) strung before the little guy went to bed. The next morning when Levi woke up, he barely noticed the tree in his tired, grumpy stupor.  But when breakfast was over and we walked into the living room, the flood gates of excitement exploded.

A deep breath.  An exclamation.

"I see.... A KIH-MIH TREE!"

"I see a ball!"

"I see a red ball!!"

"I see more ball!!"

"I SEE A FIREWORKS BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (an ornament with glittered snowflakes painted on)

"I see a drum!  I see a guitar!  Mommy, a piano!!"

Seriously, this tree is like the best thing that ever happened to Levi.

A few minutes later we went upstairs to get dressed.  I turned my back for a minute and Levi was gone.

"Levi, where are you?"
Halfway back down the stairs he replied, "I go see the kih-mih tree."

We've also had some nice talks about the nativity - the kings with the birthday presents, the mommy and daddy, the angel with good news, and of course the little baby Jesus.  Although if you ask Levi, the baby's name is Charlie.  (And we did have to tell him that baby Jesus is not a golf ball, so please don't hit him with the golf club, thankyouverymuch.)

Christmas through a two year old's eyes.  Simply amazing.

Click. click. click.  Mental pictures hopefully engraved on my heart forever.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Next week is Thanksgiving, and my news feed is exploding with people being thankful for something specific each day of the month.  I don't have the energy or willpower to actually keep this up every day for a month, but I wanted to pop in and share some of the things that have me totally stoked and grateful these days.

- My parents (and step-parents, too).  I probably have said it before, but I didn't' realize when we moved to Manheim how extremely grateful I would be to be about 30 minutes from them (as opposed to over an hour).  I see them about once a week, and they are so willing to jump in and watch Levi, help us move, cut our furniture in half. I am an adult, I have my own life going on, but I think I need my parents now more than I ever did.  Or maybe I just appreciate them the most now because I "get it."  Anyway, I love you.

- One of my BFFs, Lauren, is moving to the east coast (from Hawaii) in LESS THAN A MONTH.  I cannot wait to see her so soon!

- I have a functional washer and dryer again!  When we moved last month, we had to provide our own laundry appliances.  We had a (very  nice) washer (from the days that we were kid and debt free, living frivolously on two incomes).  Unfortunately, I had sold our dryer a few months ago, justifying that we got it used, it would be easy to get another used one when we need it.  Well, in the last several weeks, buying a new dryer has ranked pretty low on the money priority list, especially when compared to things like food and furnace oil.  And then, SWOOP!  That's my dad, saving the day.  He got us a free dryer, and then delivered it, and hooked it up, all while he and my step-mom were on Levi duty.

- This house.  It's so much better.  I'll do a post soon with a little house tour, but here's a picture of our living room (which still has some unpacking/cleaning up to be done).

- Cascade Complete.  I tried to use cheapo dishwasher detergent; it sucked.  I bought the most expensive stuff, and my dishes are SPOTLESS, even in my ancient dishwasher.  Oh, did I mention I FINALLY have a dishwasher again?!  See, I told you this house was better.

- My Sunday School.  We're studying the book of Mark, and we have homework.  Confession: I like homework.  I guess I kind of miss my student days.  But what I like even better is learning about the Bible.

- Levi's speaking skills.  He's a laugh a minute.  Yesterday he told me that my shirt looked nice.  Thanks, kid.

- The warm body that is my husband.  Last night I was having a dream that I was freezing cold and trying to get warm.  Of course I woke up and realized that I actually was freezing cold.  Nothing that spooning up to a bearded man can't solve.  Unfortunately I slowly pushed him out of our king sized bed all night.  And then this morning instead of scolding me, he kissed me and said, "I love you."  Yep, that's love.

- All the family time coming up in the next week!  Celebrating with one side of the family on Sunday, the other sides on Thursday.  I am excited to see everyone and excited to eat some crazy good food.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Love the Number 12: November

November 12 - My friend Melody is turning 30 today! Melody and I met through our husbands who work together. We knew of each other for a few years, and were even facebook friends, but had barely exchanged hellos up until about a year ago when she invited us over for dinner.

"Can we be real life friends?" she asked.

 And as luck would have it, she and her three beautiful daughters live a mere ten minutes from us. Just what I needed when we moved back to Lancaster County a year ago - a mommy friend who lives a short drive away. Better yet, a mommy friend who also enjoys blogging, crafting, all things home related, with a busy husband, and heart that is crazy about Jesus.

Melody is the perfect example of what I'm thankful for on this 12th day of November.

My friends.

 No matter what season of life I'm in - college, single, newly married, infertile, new mom - God brings me just the right people at the right time. 

There have been some pretty amazing people along the way. 
(OBVIOUSLY these are in no particular order.  In fact, I worked hard to randomize them.)

  • The one who walked the long road of adoption and infertility toward motherhood with me. 
  • The one with history a mile long who became part of the family. 
  • The one with whom I shared a tough medical journey, a million neighborhood walks, desperate prayers, and a lifetime bond. 
  • The one who I became close to through a mutual pain, but has blossomed into something much stronger. 
  • The one who took my hand, prayed with me and for me, and mentored me in ways I never knew possible. 
  • The ones who I was close to at one time, fell away from, and now under the umbrella of motherhood have joyfully reconnected. 
  • The one who lives thousands miles away, yet God continues to make our lives run parallel, keeping us connected and close despite the distance. 
  • The one who birthed me, was my first confidant, and always my biggest fan.
  • The ones who also hold the term family, but are ladies I would have chosen to be friends regardless. 
  • The ones who live in my computer - on my facebook feed and blog roll - but remind me I'm not alone.  
  • The ones who I don't see but once a year, but have a blast reconnecting with when that time rolls around.

And as I reread that list, I realize several of the women who are so special to me fit in a couple of those categories.

God is good, all the time.

Times when I felt alone, He provided a friend who had been there or was willing to encourage me while I was there. My only wish is that I lived just ten minutes from each one of them.

So happy birthday, Melody, thank you for being my friend. And as for the rest of you, I hope you know how truly treasured you are, too.


 I am so blessed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christmas is Upon Us!

It was Levi's Birthday, then Fall Day, the we decided to move, then Halloween snuck up on me, and now my sister in law is inviting me to pin to her Thanksgiving board for our celebration next weekend.

What the heck?  I was still looking for a spot in my calendar to squeeze in one more visit to the public pool and bam, Target is in full-fledged Christmas mode and Levi is telling me, "I want a Christmas Tree."

I say bring it on.  In fact, I told Herb since we're unpacking anyway, let's just throw up the tree while we're at it.  He said no.

Last weekend my bro suggested a field trip to a local beautiful spot to take Christmas card photos (can't share them yet).  At least someone is on the ball.  So now I'm perusing Christmas Cards and feeling somewhat ahead of the curve ball for once.

In fact, if you've started down that rabbit trail too, and haven't decided on a certain card - I have a giveaway!!  Shutterfly is offering one of my readers $50 off a $50 or more purchase!  You just have to pay the tax and shipping on the goods.  And if you don't win the $50, you can check out their Special Offers page.  And if you don't need $50, you can win it and share it with a friend, too!

If you'd like to win $50 towards some Shutterfly goodness, leave a comment with a line from your favorite Christmas Carol.  I'll pick a winner on Sunday, November 18.   Only one entry per person.  And - you don't even have to be a "follower" of My Hope Fulfilled to win!

In the meantime, here are some of my favorites - which one is your favorite?

Love the vintage look of this one!!

Could this little girl be any cuter?  Black and white with bright accents, I think yes.

It's A Wonderful Life is Herb's favorite movie - so this would be fun.

This one says it all.

Aqua, red, and retro - my greatest weakness.
This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, but don't worry, the opinions and terrible grammar are all mine.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mommy, I'm....

Hey!  Old friends!  I'm still here!

This is unofficially the longest I've ever gone without blogging.  We moved two weeks ago and just got internet again yesterday.  Sure, I do have a fancy schmancy phone from which I can blog, but who wants to type on that thing if they don't have to?  (We switched to Virgin Mobile - hello $45/month for unlimited data, texting, and 1200 minutes).

I want to jump back on the blogging train, and I think I have lots to say, so for today I'll leave you with a funny story about Troy Aikman...also known as Levi around these parts.

(Isn't he cute?!)

A few nights ago he disobeyed me when I asked him several times to come upstairs from the basement (he loves our new house, by the way).  Following the 1, 2, 3 count off, he had a two minute time out, which he very obediently sat and served.  When the timeout was over I reminded him what had caused the time out and I asked for an apology.  He said, "No."

I told him when he said, "Mommy, I'm sorry," then he could get up.

Forty five minutes and a temper tantrum later, there was still no "I'm sorry."

And unfortunately, we were out of time.  I had to run to piano lessons, Herb had some errands to run.  We put Levi in the car, but told him there would be no going to the "Tih-tar" store (guitar, for those of you who don't speak Levi).  He was kind of upset about that.

So I said, "Levi, to you want to go to the guitar store?"
Levi: "Yes!"
Me: "Then you have to say, "Mommy, I'm sorry." Can you say that?"
Levi: "Yes!"
Levi: "Mommy, I'"

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Herb and I both almost lost it.  One of us to laughter, one of us to rage, but I won't say who was who.

We drove in more silence and finally about a minute before I had to get out of the car, a tiny voice piped up,

"Mommy, I'm sorry."

And thus ended the one hour discipline match.  I'm not even sure who won that one.

(Lauren, this is totally a story I forgot to tell you the other night! )