Gingerbread House Pajama Party!

16 12 2014


In addition to our visit with Santa this weekend, we also threw a gingerbread house decorating party! We invited several of E’s friends over and asked everyone to wear their Christmas pajamas and bring candy to share. It was so adorable to see all the friends arrive in their jammies.


The last time I made a gingerbread house, I was in 5th grade, so I turned to Pinterest for ideas, tutorials, and recipes. Here’s what I found to work really well:

gingerbread | icing | templates

I didn’t start making the gingerbread until 9 PM the night before.. oops! So it took until 2 AM. I wanted to make sure the pieces had plenty of time to cool overnight. I only had to make 2 batches of the gingerbread, although I was expecting to make 6.

gingerbread party 1

For the adults, we made sausage dip and a gingerbread roll cake. I made the gingerbread roll, the icing, and assembled the houses the day of the party.


Luckily assembly wasn’t too difficult, since the icing dried very quickly! I’m glad the tutorial had suggested to bake the gingerbread pieces a little extra so that they’d be more stable.

gingerbread party 2

Once the kids arrived, they played pretty hard for awhile and then it was time to start decorating/ eating candy!

gingerbread party 3



gingerbread party 4

I still catch him sneaking little pieces of candy off his “cookie house” throughout the day! We are so thankful that we could share this activity with friends! :)IMG_1417

Santa and the Green Ball

15 12 2014

Our local toy store has visits with Santa by appointment, so we made sure to reserve our spot several weeks ago. We were the first to arrive in our group time slot, so we played trains until our names were called, and E brought the train car along with him. Santa’s reindeer were making lots of noise on the roof, sleigh bells were ringing upstairs, and then the Big Elf himself made his grand descent into the toy store.



Now let me preface this by saying that my 2.5-year-old had been talking a big game all week about how he was going to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him that he’s 2, and has a baby brother named Sage, and that he wants a green ball for Christmas. After our Polar Express date last week, he finally understands Santa.

As Santa made his entrance, E boldly called out from the crowd, “I have a train!” And then E’s name was called and he FROZE. Having rehearsed his lines SO many times, and completely star-struck, all he could muster from a safe distance away was “greenball.”

He finally worked up enough courage to show Santa the train car, which Santa dutifully examined.


Sage was content to be added to the mix.


And we finally persuaded E to stand beside Santa on the “just-in-case stool for hesitant children,” as I’m calling it.



Regardless of his shyness, E exclaimed about Santa for the rest of the night, completely content with his visit and boldly claiming how he got to sit on Santa’s lap with Sage.





Merry Christmas!

Infant Stocking Stuffer Ideas!

12 12 2014

Stocking stuffers for babies

Have a new baby? Need stocking stuffer ideas?* At my house, these items are wrapped and ready to be stuffed!

1 | chocolate teether: Confession. This is a hand-me-down from his big brother. And I still need to locate it in our house.

2 | Dr. Seuss book: Our pediatrician actually gave us this book.. he’s getting several new books for Christmas

3 | Reindeer Wubbanub with PLAID! Found on Amazon and got it for $7/free shipping with credit and Amazon Prime!

4 | banana practice toothbrush Just because…

5 | silicone owl teething mommy necklace: Another hand-me-down – My mom gave me this for Christmas. I liked wearing it while babywearing – so convenient!

6 | baltic amber teething necklace: Again, a hand-me-down. We bought this at a small local shop, but I’m just tagging the first link I found online.

7 | BumGenius Freetime cloth diapers in Sassy and Armadillo. They *might* not actually fit in the stocking. We could use just a couple more, so I bought these on Small Business Saturday. And got in a car accident on my way to picking them up. :/

We are following the “something he wants, something he needs, something to wear, and something to read” trend to keep things simple this year, and a couple of these items are part of that!

*Not compensated for my links… just sharing my ideas!

Five on Friday | Homemade and DIY

12 12 2014

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy. This week has been a little crazy – we’ve been prepping for a busy weekend, and then yesterday I was in a car accident with my 2 boys. My toddler’s version of the story: “Mommy hit the truck. It was scary! Waaa! Mommy say sorry. The sirens came. Weeeeeoooooowwwwweeeeeooooo. Sirens opened my door. They checked on me. They had big hats!” Lately, I’ve been explaining to him what “sirens” are for, and we pray for them when we hear them drive past.

Now on to the lighter post I scheduled before all that happened:

one | Before the baby was born, I crafted a fall burlap wreath, and I had enough leftover burlap to make a winter one, adding sparkly gold burlap into the design this time! So easy!

Winter burlap wreath

two | I don’t know what to call these, but a friend posted a how-to the other night, and I threw it together since we had all the ingredients. Omelette muffins, perhaps? I added cheese, peppers, hash browns, ham, and sour cream.

Egg muffins

three | When I painted these feather tips gold, it was for a nursery mobile. I made the mobile and didn’t like it, so I repurposed them, along with a shadowbox I already had, and plan to hang this behind the boys’ teepee.




four | Something was missing from this baby frame when I put in the 8 x 10… so I made a bow using a tutorial I found on Pinterest. This required 3 pieces of ribbon, staples, and hot glue, believe it or not! Next time I think I’ll just tie it.

homemade bow

five | My last DIY is a gift, so instead let’s talk about boy fashion. I’ve been trying to figure out what my boys should wear to my brother’s winter wedding. I’ve scoured Etsy, Pinterest, Target, and Instagram and have decided it would be cool to learn to sew bow ties and baby moccs, because they are NOT cheap. I’ll let you know once I figure all that out. :) In the meantime, I ordered a bow tie from Etsy and moccs from MWA moccs.

We are looking forward to our gingerbread-house-decorating PJ party this weekend, along with meeting Santa! So blessed that we’re all healthy and safe to be able to make these traditions even after the crash.

Christmas Town Dash 8k at Busch Gardens | Recap!

9 12 2014

We headed to Williamsburg last weekend for our 4th year running the Busch Gardens Christmas Town Dash 8k! (Brief 2013 recap here). I love running through the park. The medals are always so pretty (doubling as ornaments), and we received 50% off tickets to both ChristmasTown and the regular season through September. (Although we had been promised free tickets in writing when we registered).

On the way to Williamsburg, we stopped at our nephew’s 2nd birthday party!


That night, while my parents watched E, we enjoyed one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Williamsburg, Sal’s, to carb-load before the race and have a mini date! The lobster ravioli and smoked chicken/pesto ravioli were incredible, and our waiter INSISTED that I be daring and order the la bomba – probably the most amazing dessert I’ve ever eaten.

Sals 2014

It took us til about midnight to get both kids settled in bed, and then I was up by 3 AM again with the baby, which is typical for them while traveling and always seems to happen on nights before races. I pumped enough for 4 bottles for the baby that morning before we left. It was only the 2nd time I’ve used a babysitter (grandparents) for him, but my first time leaving bottles.

My husband and I left for Busch at 6:30 AM. Race conditions: sunny, 43 degrees F, north wind 10 mph. There were 1787 runners and 188 female finishers in my age group. I had a ballpark time goal in mind, but my main goal was to finish without overdoing it.


It was frigid, so we waited in our car for about 90 minutes before heading to the start. I was glad I had packed running gloves and disposable hand warmers at the last second!


It’s so fun to run through the park all decorated for Christmas!

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An 8k is just under 5 miles (4.97). My finishing time was 3 minutes over my ballpark goal. (Much slower than last year’s time, but I’ve had a baby since then!)


Afterwards, we undoubtedly negated all the calories we had burned by stopping at Duck Donuts. I wasn’t too impressed with their “Almond Joy” special of the day, but the maple-bacon was hands-down the best donut I’ve ever eaten! We visited my brother’s new house, picked up the babies, and headed back home – a quick trip!

Five on Friday

5 12 2014

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy. On a side note, my blog space is 95% full… help!! What do I do next?


one | On Monday, I took my little boys on a date to our local Chick-fil-a, where they were giving out free peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes. Yum!


two | We didn’t really do Black Friday shopping – we walked around the mall in the late afternoon and I found a dress (not on sale) for my brother’s January wedding. It’s a pretty jewel tone and had to be nursing-friendly (which ruled out 99% of dresses). We ran into Olaf while walking the mall.


three |

We did shop Small Business Saturday at our local cloth diaper store, although we had to book it from my grandma’s (3 hours away) to make it there! Thankfully, because it is a small business, I was able to call ahead and she stayed open later for me. In turn, I bought 2 diapers, a cozy nursing scarf, and Aden + Anais crib sheets (not pictured). :)


four | We enjoyed our first snow of the season – about 5 inches. Thank goodness we had just bought snow boots on our trip to Williamsburg! E was much more ready to play in this snow than last winter – he begged to be out in it all day!

IMG_9984 IMG_9986

five | My Christmas cards arrived! When is a socially acceptable date to send them out? They’re all addressed, stamped, and ready to go! As much as I love Cardstore, I tried Minted this year b/c I received $25 for signing up via a friend’s link and then had a coupon code + free shipping. The cards are super-thick and came in fun packaging! The colors are bright and printing is clear. I might be hooked! They miiiight have sent me several other people’s cards, but those were fun to look thru, too! ;) Want to design your own? If you use my link, we’ll both get a $25 credit!



Happy Friday! I’m off to run 5 miles in and around Busch Gardens ChristmasTown! :)

Winter Traditions

3 12 2014

I’m revisiting my winter bucket list from 2013 and thinking about what is different this year now that we are a family of 4! I hope that many of the traditions will stay the same, but we will add in a few new ones. And I’m certainly not running the Disney marathon this year. Instead, my little brother gets married that day!!

Winter Festivities list 2013

We’ve had our first snow of the season and built a snowman. We’ve made lots of new ornaments (many not pictured). The baby sat in my lap while I sewed him this fox:

2014 Sage ornament

11-18-14 photo strip ornament

On the first day of December, the boys got in matchy-matchy Christmas PJs, sat on a blanket, read Christmas books, and tried out our new Advent calendar. This might have to become a new tradition!


Dec 1 tradition 2014




I’m obsessed with Christmas pajamas. The boys have enough to wear year-round at this point, and they probably will!


Hanging lights outside… driving to see lights… and a light display at our local park.

Elijah - lights 2014

Elijah - lights 2014 - 2

Watching Christmas Vacation (obviously). 

{Free} peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes at Chick-fil-a might have to join the list:



We are looking forward to the candlelight service at church, running a 5-miler through Busch Gardens ChristmasTown, baking cookies with grandparents, and our gingerbread house-decorating PJ party! There is so much to celebrate this season, but I hope that we can help our boys to hear more about Jesus through it all.

Sage |2 months

1 12 2014

Sage 0-2 months Sage 0-2 months HELLO

Still playing around with different series of monthly pictures…

Sage, you are 2 months! We visited the pediatrician today… despite lots of playdates with her son, today was the first day she’s met you awake!

Sage 2 month checkup

  • Birth story
  • Weight: 13 lbs., 4 oz. (up from 7 lbs., 12.9 oz. at birth)
  • Length: 23.25″ (up from 21″ at birth)
  • Hair: You have quite a bit – blondish-brown. I love it so much!
  • Eyes: blue, and your eyelashes are growing long but not quite like mom’s and your brother’s…we can hope!



Brother’s miles of lashes…

  • Nicknames: Savory, Sweet Peaches, Peaches, Sagey-Lou. You get called a girl a LOT because of your name and mommy’s very girly baby carrier!
  • Eating: nursing regularly and always on both sides. You’ll try your first bottle this week! We’re hoping you’ll take to a simple bottle, not one with lots of little parts to wash.
  • Doing: lunging at Daddy, sticking out your tongue, echoing pleasant noises, returning our smiles, swatting at toys, lifting your (16.25″) head.


  • Sleeping: You sleep a majority of the day – in 5 hour chunks – but are ALWAYS up from 4-7 AM. Usually up 1-2 times per night to sleep-nurse.
  • Favorites: Wubbanub pacifier (“Wubba”), being held, babywearing, smiling at your brother, baths.
  • Dislikes: tummy time, not being held, sudden noises (bottom lip comes out).
  • Wearing: Size 6 months. Love dressing you in browns, greens, seasonal PJs, and stripes.

Prayers for you this month: God, I pray that I can savor each and every precious moment with my boys as I approach the time when I will return to work. I pray that Sage will transition easily to a bottle, and that I will have enough milk to freeze some extra here and there. I pray for the time I have with Sage to be cherished – time to read to him, time to celebrate holiday traditions and new milestones, time he’ll spend with his brother before they are split into separate rooms at school. I pray that he will be at ease at school – he loves to be held all the time! I praise God for him, his health, and that I have this rare chance to be with both my boys all day. Amen.


First hotel – The Williamsburg Lodge


First snow



Williamsburg: Work and Play

23 11 2014

I got to spend the latter part of last week on a work trip to my hometown of Williamsburg. Even though I’m still on maternity leave, I really wanted to attend this conference, which was held at the Lodge. My work paid for lodging and meals, which I was excited about because we rarely go out to eat, especially now with our two boys!

On Thursday, my whole family was up at 4 AM to drive to the conference. When we arrived, my husband took our toddler fireplace shopping and to the outlets while I carried my 8-week-old to my morning sessions. I met up with my friend, and we went to some of our sessions together.



This easily could have been my little brother and me on the cover of the convention program – I worked at Colonial Williamsburg from age 10-18, and we often played games with visitors on Palace Green like this one, “trundling the hoop.”

Lunch was on our own, so my husband picked up Cheese Shop for us. It’s my favorite food – I ALWAYS order roastbeefandcheddaronfrenchwithhouse. By then, our room was ready, so I used the lunch break to get the baby fed and settled into a nap before returning to the conference sans baby.


At the end of the day, my husband and I headed out to stroll around New Town and had planned to dine at Carrabbas. Once we arrived, though, we could tell that our kids would not do well in the restaurant. Our 2-year-old had fallen asleep in the car and our newborn was antsy. We noticed some designated “carry-out” parking spaces and decided to go that route. We enjoyed our dinner back in the privacy of our hotel room!

IMG_9820 IMG_9821

Dinner on the colonial draughts table (you thought it was chess/checkers, didn’t you?)

With our routine thrown off, the kids were up ALL night, which made for an interesting conference day on Friday.

IMG_9831 IMG_9826

Once again, I carried the baby to all my morning sessions – he slept the whole time.



The conference sessions I attended were interesting – topics ranging anywhere from Disney to infertility, and honestly you wouldn’t believe me if I told you about the Disney one.


We went to CookOut for lunch – holy fast food that place was yummy and CHEAP! Sooo good!


The conference was literally across the street from where I used to work at Colonial Williamsburg, at the James Geddy House. I picked up a Christmas gift at Market Square there before returning to the conference.


Later that afternoon, we met my mom at the outlets. I used to work at the J.Crew outlet during my college summers, but they have added so many new outlets since then! First stop, Hanna Andersson. All their organic cotton PJs were $15 (normally $38-$42), and there were so many other sales throughout the store. I am so obsessed with their children’s PJs and even bought some matchy-matchy ones for the boys. They will be wearing some of these to meet Santa and at our upcoming gingerbread-house party.


Later, we scored some good deals on toddler Crocs, and I picked up a bridal shower gift for my soon-to-be sister-in-law.



We spent Friday night at my parents’ house. We had planned to go out (we haven’t since the baby was born!), but my mom made an amazing dinner and invited my little brother over, so we picked up our Olive Garden to-go with my meal allocation from work (I ordered online and got a discount), which we saved for lunch the next day. (Olive Garden reheated: not so great.)


That night, we also realized that we had forgotten our son’s baby blanket and beloved Mickey Mouse back in our hotel room, which we had checked out of that morning. Ugh! I did not sleep a wink that night, I was so upset (and because of the Olive Garden coffee and tiramisu I had indulged in way too late after the boys went to bed). I left a message with housekeeping and spent the night praying that someone would find his precious “accoutrements,” as he calls them. First thing Saturday morning, I called the hotel again and spoke directly to the housekeeping manager, who had E’s Mickey and blanket on his desk! Praise God! We rushed straight over, and my boy and his pal were soon reunited.


11-23-14 Reunited

Back at my parents’, we had our first playdate with my new nephew, who was born just 3 days before S! I was so happy to finally meet him (the boys are both 8 weeks old now!), and we got to catch up with my sister-in-law for the morning. That afternoon, I returned to the conference to attend another session. I recharged with a Snickerdoodle Cookie Latte at Dunkin Donuts and ran some errands sans-babies before heading back to my parents’ to pack up.

On our way out of town, my husband surprised me with one last stop at the outlets, asking if I wanted to shop for clothes while he waited in the car with our (napping) boys. I went into Gap and tried on about 20 pairs of jeans, which would have taken a whole day if the boys had been with me. I fell in love with 2 pairs of skinnies, added a sweater, and then we returned to CookOut for another delicious dinner-to-go before our 3-hour-drive home.

I’m already planning our return trip in a couple weeks! Traveling is SO different now with little ones!

Five on Friday | Holiday Prep

21 11 2014

I’m spending the week holed up in a luxury hotel with my sweet family for a work conference, followed by outlet shopping with my mom! All while wearing my newborn in my Boba 3G carrier. Poor me. Now let’s link up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natashaoh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy, and Friday Blog Hop!

one | Emily Ley’s recent “make things happen” post made me consider how holiday activities don’t just always happen – they might require simple planning. So on Monday – a cold, rainy day – I was intentional about my time with the boys. We spent the morning making gingerbread playdough together! A basic rolling pin, cookie cutters, and plastic knives (along with ingredients we already had) were all we needed to make memories together.

11-17-14 gingerbread play dough

two | Also in a “Make it Monday” kind of mood, I made this loaded potato soup with my 2-year-old. It was so perfect for a day with temps maxing out in the 30s. It was a little involved for being a crockpot recipe, but it was worth it! I love that we’re raising him to love helping out in the kitchen, doing things alongside us. Even if he won’t try anything we make!

11-17-14 loaded potato soup

three | Photo-strip ornaments Since we’ll be traveling in the near future, we’ve already decorated our Christmas tree, which made me realize just how many ornaments we have for E. I need to step up my game for baby S! We made fun photo-strip ornaments on Tuesday. (I made several of these after E was born to give as gifts.)

11-18-14 photo strip ornament

Photostrips // Wal-Mart. Colorful paper//CardStore packaging material.

four | Online Christmas shopping This has been my lifesaver this holiday season. It’s so much easier to browse when I get a chance, rather than carting a potty-training-toddler and a newborn aimlessly around a store. (Relive that experience with me here.) Plus I can get more Ebates, eBay bucks, and Amazon credits by purchasing online. And free boxes. Even though we’re keeping gifts simple with our boys this season (want/need/wear/read), I’ve been having fun following eBay and Instagram clothing sales and scored a few trendy clothes for E (and one day, S) that way.


five | 15 days til my race and 3 weddings to attend this year! The treadmill miles fly by more easily with a good read and headphones – this week it was  the new Shopaholic book and Florida Georgia Line on iHeartRadio. Made possible by my hubby coming home during his lunch break and watching the boys. As with “Leaving Time,” I also reserved this book at the library before it was released.


Happy Friday! Today is Day #2 of my “intermittent maternity leave,” which means these few days are not docked from my paycheck while I’m attending a conference that my work is paying for. So blessed!


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