Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer...

Is being F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

Its back... You didn't think I could go a year without sharing this little gem, did you?

...And sending SANTA LETTERS! Send one! Go Here! Donate! CFF! YAY!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa Baby

Its that time! Time to put up Christmas trees, deck the halls and sing Fa La La La La. Its time for twinkle lights, wrapping paper, crackling fires, frosty nights, wind chapped cheeks and red noses. Candy canes, Christmas cookies, Elves and SANTA!

The girls are totally in to Santa this year. TOTALLY. And their Scout Elf, Pip. We read our Elf on the Shelf book daily and every morning they are so excited to see what mischief that little elf has been up to overnight. Just ask one of them... They will gladly tell you all about it!

Santa is the greatest parenting tool ever. I'm probably going to get slammed for saying that, but whatever. He is my best friend about 11 months out of the year. You read that right, 11 months. None of this Santa is only for Christmas time bullcorn around our house! Starting about February, the girls are met with thought provoking questions such as, "Do you think Santa would be happy if you did that?" "Hmmm... Do you think Santa saw you hit your sister just now?" "Are you going to be on the 'Nice List' or 'Naughty List' this year?" Its not a magical fix all for crazy toddler/small kid behavior, but hey, if it helps, it helps :)

Along with making our Santa Lists, this year, I want to make more of an effort to teach the girls about the true meaning Christmas... The past 4 years, the focus has been on Santa and presents and all the hoopla that goes with it. This year, I hope to do a better job bringing home the message of Christ during the holiday season. Now, I am by no means super religious. In fact, shamefully, I'm what you would call a 'Easter Greek' (someone who only goes to church on Easter - Greek because I'm Greek Orthodox...) However, I do believe and I have my own ways of celebrating Him. I'd like my girls to have that too. I have a few children's books about Christ and Christmas I need to bust out and put in regular rotation and I think I have a DVD about the first Christmas, too. And maybe its time to invest in a Nativity Scene... How have you brought Christ back into Christmas in your family? <- You see that? See what I did there? I'm so clever ;)

One thing we do very well around Christmas time (and all year, really) is give back. We make a special point to make donations to various charities through out the year. Whether it be time, money or physical donations, we are happy to give. Working with charities is one of the big ways I celebrate Him; giving of myself to others. I, by nature, am a pretty selfish person, so the giving back helps me keep that part of me in check... Or at least I hope it does! Some of the programs we support are:

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
American Heart Association
Alzheimer's Association
Goodwill Industries
John 3:16 Mission

I encourage you this holiday season, if not year round, to find a charity to support. Donating your time or money (even if its only $5!) really makes a huge difference! If you are not sure where to start, check out one of the charities I listed above. Obviously the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is my nearest and dearest for many reasons (read about that here) but all of the ones above are wonderful. A fun and quick way to spread a little Christmas Cheer and support a charity is to send a letter from Santa to your loved ones! Yes, I've mentioned before... I'll probably mention it in every post for a while. CFF Santa Letters is a special project that my office is working on this season, so its on my mind. If you have a minute, check out our CFF Elves' Blog and send someone a Santa Letter! Your donations to CFF make a direct impact on the lives of those living with CF, like the kids in this post. Don't know much about CF or know anyone with it? Check out one of our CF mom's blogs, A Little Hope from Oklahoma. Kristi is one of our most active CF moms and she documents her life, struggles and hopes for the future, with a son who has Cystic Fibrosis.

Here's to making a difference this Holiday! YAY!

Well, that is not where I intended this post to go... It was going to be a list of things the girls were asking Santa for this year... But hey, when the Spirit moves you, it moves you :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Special Delivery (& Black Friday News!)

Yesterday, the girls got a Special Delivery straight from the North Pole! It arrived on our door step covered in snow and magic elf dust with a hand written note from the big man himself.

The girls knew immediately who it was from, shouting, "Santa! Its from SANTA!" when they saw it through the glass. The snow was a huge hit and Lucy told us we couldn't sweep it up because it was magic snow :) They could hardly wait to see what was inside...

It was Pip! Our friendly Scout Elf! All the way from the North Pole! He sits on our mantle, watches & listens to the girls, taking notes to give to Santa every night when he returns to the North Pole. He's rather mischievous, as we found out last year, so we were excited to see what he would be up to this morning... Silly, elf! He was fishing! 

Oh, what fun we will have with our elf this year, as the girls really get it and are so excited! We can't wait to share some more of Pip's Big Adventures!
On this day of spending and consuming, take a minute and read about my CF friends, I think you'll agree that it will be worth it! You can help these sweet kids by sending a fun letter from Santa, just visit the CFF Elve's Blog.

AND... If you missed Diamond Doll Design's 3 Day Special, fear not, for a few lucky people you can still pick up a Full blog layout for a AMAZING price! Head on over to my shop for more details. HURRY! Spots are limited.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Precious CF Friends

As you may know from THIS post, I went back to work full time in March after being a SAHM for over 3 years. I work for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and I adore what I do! Not only do I have the best boss, kick a$$ co-workers and my office is only 3 blocks from my house... I also happen to truly believe in what we're doing. We raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Research. Money to find a cure! Science is getting closer and closer to this goal because of the money we raise.

If you want you learn more about CF and the Foundation visit the CFF WEBSITE.

My friend, Jane, lost her little sister, Lo, to CF in August. She was 28 years old. Lo was the strongest, bravest CF warrior out there. In her entirely too short of a life, she endured TWO double lung transplants, a Kidney transplant from her father, as well as countless treatments and hospital stays. Yet, you never caught her not smiling. 28 years was not long enough for Lo to be here. We need a cure now, so no one else has to lose a sister/daughter/brother/son/mother/father/aunt/uncle/cousin/friend to CF. Lo would want that.

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many awesome CF warriors since starting at the foundation. They are just the most amazing group of young people (I say young people because average life span is only 37 years, and that is too young.) My mom and I spent some time with a few of Tulsa's CF kids and took their portraits. Wow, these kids certainly can tell a story just through a simple picture, don't you think?

Kaleb, age 11 : Photo Credit Sophia Litchfield
Hannah, age 10
Brady, age 8
Grace, age 10
Isabella, age 1

This year for Christmas, Santa has asked the CFF Elves to deliver some very special letters to all the good little girls & boys.  Santa is always thinking of ways to spread Christmas cheer AND help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He made his list and checked it twice and he's certain that Kaleb, Hannah, Brady, Grace and Isabella are all in his "Nice List." He told us that finding a cure for CF was on the top of all of their Wish Lists this year, and he wants to deliver! So, he's asked for our help! For a small donation ($5, $10, $15 or any amount you choose!) Santa will send a personalized letter to the special person in your life... Young or old! In return, your donation will help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. How about that for spreading Christmas cheer! All donations, big and small, go directly to the science of curing CF, and we are getting so close. Be sure to stay on Santa's "Nice List" by helping fund Cystic Fibrosis research this holiday season. You can order your Santa Letter over on the CF Elves Blog, just click HERE!

I am thankful everyday that I am doing something I love to do and helping others. What a blessing! This holiday season, would you keep these sweet kids in your prayers? I know I will!

Also, don't forget about the 3 Day Special over at Diamond Doll Design! Blog Layouts are half off through tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful - A Flash Sale Tale.

I have ridiculous amounts of things to be thankful for this year (and every year.) My family, my girls, husband, my healthy & happy home... Just to name a few, for now (big Thanksgiving post coming on, well... Thanksgiving!!) But, today, I want to extend thanks to all my customers over at Diamond Doll Design! So, head on over if you are thinking about a new blog layout, because NOW is a good time :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wrap It Up!

THE WEEKEND! Wrap up the weekend! Don't be pervy... HA! You know you missed me ;)

We had quite the busy weekend around here. Just coming off a nasty few days with the stomach flu, I was unsure any sort of weekend was to be had. But we rallied. Puked and rallied, if you will... But rallied none the less. With multiple birthday parties and a broadway performance of Mary Poppins on the line, the girls we magically well! Why doesn't this work on school days?

First on the docket was a Strawberry Shortcake birthday party for Penny Lane's best little friend, Maeve. We did gymnastics (well, I didn't) had pizza and the cutest Strawberry Shortcake cake ever! Kicking myself for not getting a picture of it! For getting any worthwhile pictures for that matter. This. This is all I got? Fail, Jessica, fail.

Fast forward two hours and we are off to birthday party number 2! There was a party there in the middle but we opted out of that one... Well, I put a kabosh to it as the meltdowns over who got which IDENTICAL bag of popcorn. Genius move on my part, I must say as they were perfect angels for the next party. Lucy's best friend forever, Taylor and her little brother Max (ugh now the Max & Ruby song is stuck in my head...) turned 4 and 2, respectively! They had a Barbie and Tractor themed party at the super cool, super retro Dust Bowl. A quarky little bowling alley downtown. Loved it! The girls had so much fun, and of course the birthday girl was precious. We just adore her and her sweet family. We are lucky to have great friends with great kids! 

The girls bumper bowled, played arcade games, ate cake and got face paint! The face paint lady is MAGIC! She is unreal... We are definitely getting her for the girls princess party in January! Amazing!

We were wiped out by the end of the day and the girls were in bed and asleep by 7. Me... 9ish. On a Saturday. Love it.

Woke up Sunday morning to the girls bring me breakfast in bed. Nilla waffers and a juice box. Not going to lie, I was not upset about the menu. Hit the spot :) We laid in bed all morning watching cartoons (the girls) and sleeping (me.) It was wonderful.

Then, in the afternoon, my mom and I took Lucy on a special adventure to see the Broadway performance of Mary Poppins! She did really well, considering it was 3 hours long and very different from the Disney version she is used too. But she got to get all dressed up and was very excited to be doing "big girl" stuff! We enjoyed the performance, but I will tell you... Disney knocked that one out of the park. You just sinply can not beat Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Period. End of Story.

This evening I was shocked to discover, while petting my sweet baby girl kitten, Dodger's belly that her b@lls had dropped. She is a he. I guess her name is more appropriate now, as my dear friend Jane pointed out... I'm still not over it. Bombshell, I tell you. Bombshell.

And I will leave you with this little gem that Lucy spouted out this evening...

Lucy: Mommy! I haaave to ask you a question. A big question...
Me (worried it was a Santa question, thats how serious she looked): Yes, Lucy, what is it?
Lucy (with a very worried expression): Is it true that food turns into poop and drinks turn into pee pee?
Me (mouth dropped open, stuttering): Ummmm... Yes? I mean, yes. That is true.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I thought...

Maybe a fresh look will motivate me to blog again?

Yes, yes, yes. Pinch yourself, you're not dreaming... I blogged. Its so sad. I have less than 10 post published for this year. Yah, you read that right... Less than 10. Bad blogger. Bad.

I spend countless hours prettying up other peoples' blogs yet when it comes to my own... I got nothing. No motivation. No inspration. No time. Unless its 1:30 am and I'm delirious from lack of sleep... Like now. In fact I'll make this short and sweet, because I need to go to bed. Why do I do this to myself? I will be cursing this blog post in the morning...

I am going to get back into blogging. I think. I mean, I am. Just not tonight... My right eye is going blurry from staring at the computer screen for so long. I'll leave you with this... For all that I lack in blogging I make up for in Instagram Picutres :) Feel free to FOLLOW me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

She's ALIVE!!!

I know what you were all thinking... She's dead. She must be dead. Thank you for all of your emails of deep concern as to my whereabouts :P HAHA!

No, I'm not dead (obviously.) I'm a working girl now! Not that kind of working girl, sheesh! I'm back to work full-time! Can you believe it? I can't sometimes, but its true. And you know what? I LOVE my job. I seriously hit the job lottery with this one guys. No joke. Don't you love getting up in the morning and feeling so good about what you are getting up for? I do.

Here's the deal. I was a stay at home mommy for 3+ years. As soon as Lucy was born, I just knew I wanted to stay home with her. Then Penny came along so quickly (ahem, 13 months later, lest you forget) I really didn't have a choice but to continue to stay at home. And I WANTED to. Those 3+ years were just great. I loved being there for every milestone, every first, every everything. I loved random trips to the park or the zoo. I loved spending all day in PJs and watching Tangled for the ten-millionth time. It was such a blessing.

Lucy started school in August 2011, and really that's when the itch started. Seeing how happy Lucy was at school, I think made it easier for me to start turning that page. The girls were ready, I was ready. And then it happened. The most amazing job opportunity just fell, literally fell, right in my lap. At Starbucks.

I am now working for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as the Logistics Specialist. Basically the best job ever. I love who I work with, the office is so fun. And I love what I do. Who knew that non-profit would be my thing? I certainly didn't but it is!

We fundraise, throw amazing parties, and help people with CF. Which is the best part. One of my dearest friends, Jane's, little sister, Lo, has CF. So, its really a cause I can get behind. And I have done just that! I fact my family's company is sponsoring a walk team for Great Strides this year and we are walking for Lo. If you are interested you can find out some more info HERE... You can even join my team - or donate - if you feel so compelled!

So, now I spend my days here. And I love it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh Mr. Postman...

Lucy's class just finished a unit on the postal service. They learned all about what happens when you mail a letter. To finish the unit they took a field trip to the post office to mail their valentines! There is a post office right across the street from Lucy's school, so we bundled the kiddos up and walked with them... It was as adorable as you would imagine ;)

Lucy & Taylor. BFFs.
Waiting to mail the Valentines :)
Sweet Lu.
What a beauty! We love Tay-tay!
Time to drop them in the mail slot!
Lu's turn :)
Tay's turn!
Tay and her sweet grandmother!
Kennedy's fingers were chilly! Trying on Mommy's gloves :)
Our little friend Jade! So cute!

All images by Sophia Litchfield

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunny Days, Chasing the Clouds Away!

Sometimes a walk around the block is all you need to cure your blues... And if you happen to be walking with these two, you can bet you clouds will be chased away!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Penny Lane Update!

Yay!!! The surgery was a success!!! We are so thankful that everything went exactly according to plan. Penny is resting now and drinking some apple juice. She is extremely drowsy and probably will be for the rest of the day. Today will be all about resting and drinking fluids, tomorrow will be a little rough as that's when the real healing begins. Also,  a lot of the inflammation will have gone down so her ear drums are going to finally start vibrating normally (this is the hope!) So along with the healing tomorrow, Penny will be experiencing some really new and LOUD noises. This might be challenging and uncomfortable at first. We are going to try and keep it really quiet around here for a bit. 

She is such a little snuggle bug and that's all she wants to do right now, so I'm going to get back to doing that! Here are a couple pics we snapped before and just a bit ago...