Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Right now, I'm enjoying...

We are entering into the season of thanks. It leads me to share some of the things that have been bringing a smile to my face lately. Here we go...

Spray paint. It turned dingy garage sale knicknaks into these pretty white doves to decorate our shelves. It also transformed an ugly wicker laundry basket and an antique table into matching side tables for our spare room.

This hand cream. My boss got it for me for my birthday in 2010. Still loving it. It is so creamy, yet doesn't leave a greasy feel.

Raspberries. Elyse LOVES them. Blackberries too. Blueberries are now shoved aside when she sees these guys.

The new light in our office. It really completes the room. Thank you my special SECRET friend who gave it to us. What a wonderful gift! XXOO

Pinterest. I know, I keep saying it. But, check out the shower hooks I used to hang my necklaces. You can use a towel rack and shower hooks to hang a number of necklaces - neatly and stylishly! I already had a rack for necklaces, but it only had three hooks. Thank you, Pinterest. Would never have thought of that.

Getting rid of the excess. Thank you for the tax deduction for donating to charity and the ability to get STUFF out of our house. We're learning about lean methodologies at work and of course I love implementing the 5-S philosophy at home. I've taken about seven bags/boxes just in the last few weeks. I'm not patient enough to save stuff for a garage sale and the tax deduction makes it worth it. Heave ho!

Repairmen. OK, this is a love-hate relationship. But, a Sears repairman came to my house and fixed our washing machine. We thought for sure it would be irreparable or cost more than it was worth. Thank you, Mr. Sears Repairman for saving us at least a thousand dollars. Hooray for repairs over buying new!! (PS: Going on ten+ years on my Jeep - so proud!).

Fall. Yes, I'm a little sad to say goodbye to the warm weather. But, I am enjoying chai tea in my mug, pinecones and leaves on my shelves, wrapping up in sweaters, pumpkin roll Scentsy and apple crisp in the oven.

PW's Iced Coffee. I take an iced coffee to work every day thanks to this recipe. I'm pretty boring though - decaf, sugar-free vanilla creamer and some skim milk - but I love it. And sorry, Starbucks - more money in my pocket!

This song that played on the premiere of this season of Grey's Anatomy. It is Atlas Hands by Benjamin Francis Leftwich. I downloaded it today on ITunes and it was FREE. Love it even more.

Laundry baskets on wheels (submitted by Elyse). Elyse thinks this is the best invention ever. Directions: First, pull all your dirty clothes out and then push the basket all over the family room. Done.

Super creative husband. We keep our litter box in a cupboard. We used to put a rag in the corner to keep it propped open so Wilson could slip in and do his *business*. Now, we have a creative little girl who wants to investigate. So, this is the contraption Bill made so Wilson can get in - and Elyse can stay out! Love it!

OK, that's all we've got for now. What's on YOUR list?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elyse - ONE YEAR. The best is yet to come.

Dearest Elyse -

I've had a million thoughts swimming in my mind as I think about writing this post. You are one year old. What haven't I already said? What am I really feeling? Maybe a little like this at times:

I'm feeling pretty much everything. I'm happy, proud, excited, yet I'm also emotional, sentimental and sad. You have been in my world almost two years now. Two years ago we were trying to have a baby and in January 2011, we were so excited when we found out we were pregnant. Many nauseous, swelling and waddling months later I was nearing my due date. Your nursery was complete. Clothes were folded away in your dresser smelling like a sweet baby. Hospital bags were packed. I was ready, but absolutely terrified! And then... you were here. This beautiful baby girl was laid on my chest with these big eyes blinking back at me. What?!
Elyse with the stroller and baby at Grandma Deanie's.

The next week was a whirlwind. Our house was always full with visitors. I barely slept. I mean, really - I barely slept. Every time I closed my eyes, I couldn't rest - I was so excited. And I didn't want to miss a moment with you. Daddy and I talk fondly of that time. We were up at all hours of the day - and night. We kept the heat on about 75 degrees (and it was September) and Daddy was always sweating. We just didn't want our little girl getting cold. Daddy would sleep with a hand on your chest - he was so worried about you. We spent more consistent time together during your first few months than we had our entire relationship. It holds such sweet memories for us. It was so fun getting to know you.

Elyse and Uncle Casey.

I loved being home with you. I loved holding my sweet baby, patting and rubbing your back back and breathing in your sweet scent. Nursing you to sleep and then carefully carrying you down to your room to sleep. Kissing your sweet cheeks. Being able to (almost) always make your cries go away by giving you what you need whether it be food, diaper change or just cuddles. I'd dress you up and take you out for visits and beam as you were always happy to meet new people.You have never been shy.
The infamous arms-up of the early walker.

Christmas neared and I was excited about the holiday, but inside I was a mess. One night, Daddy and I sat in the living room and tears just rolled onto your head as I said to him, "I didn't expect to love her this much." I was physically sick about going back to work. I always knew I would, but secretly I worried I was being selfish. I did it and it was HARD. Yet, I worked out a new schedule where I could be off one day a week (and Daddy was already off another). Somehow this all brought a balance and peace to our decision. You would be with Mom and/or Dad more than you were not. Somehow it eased that discomfort and I was so happy.
Loves to climb the cement stairs on the patio (and make us nervous!).

I'd come home each night so excited for that moment when I walked into the room and my Baby Girl would see me (this is STILL my favorite part of the day). My friend, Jessica, had told me, "Babies always know their Mama. Whether you work or stay at home - don't worry. You'll always be her Mama." She was exactly right. Nothing changed.
Standing on her own took some practice!
You are the light of our life. I have a new job which is incredibly busy. It makes me tired, but it makes the days go quickly. I work hard to put in the hours so I don't sacrifice anything at work, while still making sure you and Daddy come first. I still get my day off with my girl and everything I put forward at work makes it all worth it to have that time. Everything I do is for my daughter and husband. You both are my life.
My beautiful girl.

I love watching Daddy as a parent. He is so loving with you and watching you together makes me light up with happiness. Boy, is he proud of his little girl.
Still soothed by sucking your thumb. It is the hand clasp, followed by insertion of thumb movement - you have it down pat!

It is definitely bittersweet looking back over this last year. My baby is evolving into a little girl. And as much as I miss my little babe on my shoulder, it is so fun watching you grow. You are funny, happy, ornery and a love.

I thank God every day for the blessing of my family. You and Daddy are such tremendous gifts to me and I couldn't be a happier with my life. I pray each day to be the best Mama I can to you and I hope I am doing all you deserve. Because my sweet angel - you are worth all of it and more. Thank you for being the greatest blessing of our lives.



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thoughts of Mom / ALS Walk Reminder

ALS Walk - 2009

Last week, my friend Andrea brought me cards that my Mom sent off to her when she was in college in New York. They were sweet, genuine and supportive messages of encourgament to Andrea when she was so far away. It touched me reading them and it meant even more Andrea would share them with me. Just today, I got a Facebook message from a friend of my Mom's that read:

Hello Courtney! I have SO been meaning to write you to tell you that I think of your Mom OFTEN! She was one of the nicest and most friendly and funny and compassionate women that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We used to have lunch together at Dairy Queen, when we both worked at _______, and she always ordered their chicken strip basket I remember (one of MY favorite foods as well). I really loved her and she was so very proud of her children. I am very happy for you, Courtney, married now, and with a sweet little (now one-year-old) baby girl!
I'm sharing this because not only do these memories touch me, but because I encourage everyone to share memories of loved ones that have passed. It is a tremendous gift. Another way to share and give tribute to their memory is by doing something in their honor.
Next week (Saturday, September 24) is the ALS walk. Please visit this link for the details. Please consider signing up or by making a donation (you can donate any amount). The walk sponsors the ALS Evergreen Chapter. They've did so much for my Mom and continue to support people with ALS and their families like Melissa Erickson.
If you plan to walk, please don't be later than 9:30 so we can get our group photo. It is at
Fort Steilacoom Park and here is a link to directions.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Back - Year One

If you have a few minutes (or 15), take a look at the slideshow I put together for Elyse's birthday party. We had this rolling during the party for people to enjoy!

Celebrating ONE!

Elyse's first birthday party was yesterday. Tomorrow is her actual birthday and I'll get into the real emotion of what turning one means when I get to putting together her 12 months post. Gulp. I'm getting e-mails calling my baby a TODDLER. Big gulp.

OK, back to the party. Pinterest was a big help. Marcie, Allen and I brainstormed birthday ideas and got lots of ideas from that great site. For instance - the big E (cardboard E, sprayed pink and covered in hot-glued silk flower petals). Sign made with a Cricut - once I figured out how to use the darn thing!

This was another Pinterest idea. Giveaways for the kiddos. Little jelly jars filled with jelly beans, matching fabric and little stickers with an owl that say, "Thanks for coming to my party - Love, Elyse."

Her smash cake.

This was a cake made with love by Mama, Marcie and Allen. We all added our creative touches. Again, inspired by Pinterest.

The cupcakes turned out pretty cute. Lots of people asked where we got the cupcake holders - Fred Meyer!

Pink, orange and green sanding sugar (Amazon.com). The little flowers are made by cutting a miniature marshmallow diagonally and putting the sticky part in sanding sugar. The centers are little candy pieces. Easy (thanks, Taryn!).

PS: How do you shoot in manual when you are facing a window? I gave up and turned it to Automatic. I kept getting just a silhouette!

Allen made the photo garland. I just printed out the monthly pics on Shutterfly. Purchased some orange ribbon and used the green ribbon from my wedding reception.

My little sweet pea. She was SO happy! Her shirt is from Etsy and the little skirt is from Costco. I think if all she got yesterday was love from family and friends and that balloon - that would have been just enough for her!

So excited!

Tanner and Maggie helped with presents.

Everyone was very generous. She got lots of contributions to her college GET account, many books and other fun things. Gram-E even spoiled her with her first Coach purse! Oh, my. We're starting her early!

Presents are fun!

Anna has been waiting to take the little cowgirl to a rodeo and got her lots of Western gear including this sign for her room!

She loves baby dolls. She tired a little with the opening of presents and went around visiting with her new baby.

Visiting with Uncle Allen!

She had a good time!

More baby love!

Saying hello to Grandpa Fred!

She wasn't so sure what to think of the cake. She enjoyed it, but I think she was more fascinated by seeing all of her favorite people watching her!

Daddy helped her out.

It was finger-lickin' good!

All the little cousins were excited by the jelly beans (sorry to the Moms and Dads!)

Baby dolls riding on new toys is super fun!

It was a super fun day for our baby girl. She was surrounded by a whole lot of love for her. We just couldn't ask for anything more!


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