We had a wonderful first Thanksgiving with Mae Mae. We decided to make it low key and stay home just the three of us. With football games, work meetings in Bham, and lots going on, we are glad we made the choice! We hated to be away from our in-laws (In Asheville, NC) and my family (In, Jax, FL) but we got some good facetime in and enjoyed our relaxing day here. We would have traveled with family, but had to be home for us to get to the iron bowl in time! :)
I have stolen a friend's idea, thanks Kel, and am doing the ABC's of Thanksgiving, since I dont get into the fb posts as much! I really wish I had the time to add pictures to each of these captions, but nap time is only so long! Maybe I will come back and add them during nap number 2. So here it goes:
Leighton's ABC's of Thanksgiving!
A-Auburn Tigers and FOOTBALL! So thankful for AU season tickets, Harbuck family to sit with, wonderful group of friends to tailgate with, and memories to last a lifetime.
B-Bonnie. AKA Mom. It has been such a fun year getting to be a 'mom' to Mae. I have such a wonderful example to follow and hope Mae and I will be best friends like my mom and I! I am so proud of my cute mom, tennis playing mom, real estate mom, and I am so thankful for her health!I am also thankful for BB! Ryan's mother! She is the most giving person I know and is a wonderful mom and grandmother!
C-Car. As materialistic as it is. I am thankful for my car. Yup, that 2002 black Camry. I am thankful that my daddy bought it for me in college. I am thankful for the 192,000 miles on it. I am thankful that I have never had to put money into besides gas, tires, and oil changes. Ryan and I have been following Dave Ramsey and have saved cash for a new car. We have been on the car hunt recently, but just decided for now, why get rid of the good ol' camry! It is still running and getting us from point A to point B! Maybe that cash can just keep earning interest for when the time is right!
D-Dad. I'll admit it, I am a daddy's girl. I love my daddy so much! He has had a rough year with prostate cancer, both of his brothers being diagnosed as well. He is having ACL surgery in December, and has had more heart problems this year. I am so thankful he is here and in one piece! He is such a good dad to me, father in law to Ryan, and KPaw to Mae. I am also so thankful for my 2nd dad, Max. He is the sweetest, kindest man. I am forever thankful to him for raising such a wonderful son for me to marry and being such a great Buck to KMH!
E-Eli, our dog! We lost our Buck this year and we miss him so much. Eli is adjusting nicely without him since the move, because he now has Mae to play with and he is so spoiled being an 'only-child dog'.
F-Family. We could not have gotten through this year without our family! They have spoiled us, helped us, encouraged us, been there for us, gone out of their way for us, mentored us, prayed with us, you name it! Blessed beyond belief!
G-Grace. God's Grace has helped me when I fall short. Even though I am not working now, I feel like the standard has been raised. I am always trying to be the best mom, the best wife, the best cook, the best homemaker, the best...Well, let's be honest. I am not. I fall short. By the GRACE of God, he helps me TRY to be the best and picks me back up when I fall short.
H-Heater. I HATE to be cold. I am an avid bubble bath taker, but can not fathom taking a bath in our rental. (Those that know me, will understand this) So I am thankful for socks, sweatshirts, and our HEATER!
I-INSTAGRAM! I have a slight obsession! I love keeping up with friends through pictures and it so fun to see all the babies in all of our lives! With us constantly moving, it is a great way to stay in touch with everyone and feel like I see their babies grow up!
J-"Jesus Calling' A book that sits by our bed or on the side table in our den. It is a small snippet of God's word that we use as our daily devotion. Ryan reads it aloud and we are amazed at how it is always exactly what we need at that moment. Lately, I have been reading it while Mae naps and God is at work. It has been a great part of my day. I know my in-laws have this book and have been changed by it as well! She gives it to everyone she knows! I also know, Amy, my sweet friend who lost her child this past year, lives by it and it has been a great encouragement for her.
K-Kitchen. These days I am spending lots of days in the kitchen. Whether its whipping up baby food for Mae, or cooking our family a meal. I am thankful for friends coming in town tonight to cook for, Thanksgiving tomorrow to cook for our family, and Friday cooking for a family who just had a baby. The kitchen to me is a way to serve others, including my family. Plus, let's be honest, I LOVE to eat!
L-Laughter. There is nothing more that I love about Ryan than his ability to make me laugh. Every day I am laughing about something. I love to laugh, I love funny things, and I love to see my baby girl laugh. Laughter is so infectious and is such a great gift that as silly as it is, gives me my favorite feeling!
M-Mae Mae! What a gift she has been to us. We are loving every giggle, scrunched nose grin, pulling up on our legs, books read, and more! We keep saying our next child is going to be ugly and not sleep. Because Mae is neither of those! We think she is perfect AND a genius! 2.25.13 our lives were forever changed for the better. I am so thankful she made me a mom and gave me that title.
N-Night time. My favorite time of day is night time. Ryan comes home from work and dinner is ready. We have play time, bath time, with Mae and put her to bed at 7. The best time of the day is being able to have time with my hubby, uninterrupted and just the two of us! We spend it talking, watching our favorite shows, laughing, and snuggling. I am forever grateful for our relationship and the little things like this!
O-Our church. Church of the Highlands. I can truly say that this church has changed Ryan and my life. From going on Sundays, watching online, going to the marriage conferences, and Christmas services. We feel fed every time we walk out of that place and take away nuggets to help lead our week and our lives. I am thankful for Chris Hodges the pastor, the nursery workers who love on our sweet Mae, and for all of the campuses so that we can 'share' a church with my family and friends in B'ham.
P-Pregnancy. This year I cant be anything but thankful for my first pregnancy...It was so easy and enjoyable and resulted in our K. Mae! I had an AMAZING dr. who I want to be my best friend, and had wonderful nurses along the way. I am also thankful for my other friends pregnancies. My best friend and I got to be pregnant together and now get to share baby advice since our girls are so close in age. I am thankful for new babies being born and the miracle it symbolizes! God is so good! I pray our next pregnancy is just as great and a healthy baby is the end result! Just one more is on our list, but NOT for awhile!
Q-Quilts. Don't be fooled I don't quilt...but my sweet grandmother, age 92, Mae's namesake and great grandmother has made us several. I have a quilt from when I was born that Mae uses. Mae has her own quilt that my Grandma made, and I also have a quilt made by her of all of my sorority shirts from college. I have started up my own sewing (with a machine and embroidery) My mom is so thankful I am taking after her mom. I am loving sewing outfits for Mae, pillows and curtains for our house, and baby/wedding gifts for others. I love the quilts from my Grandma and love that Mae has 2 great grandmothers. We are blessed!
R-Ryan Maxwell! Wow, what an encourager, partner, best friend, lover, motivator, listener, leader, father, husband I could ever fathom! I always say I 'hoped' he would be a great husband before we got married, but be has FAR exceeded the thoughts I had...he is that much and more! Seeing him with our girl, makes me fall in love all over again!
S-Skill saw. I am thankful for Ryan's tools and the furniture he has built our family and friends. He has a talent! Mae and I love watching and spending time with him while he does it, and we LOVE the final products! He has made things for my antique booth to sell and for our home. What I love the most, is both of Ryan's grandfathers were excellent wood-workers and he is falling in their footsteps. He gets to use their tools and carry on their memory!
T-tennis. I have grown up playing tennis. I played in high school and almost went to play in college at a small school! THEN, I totally dropped the ball and didnt play for years! I have gotten back in the swing of it in Huntsville and now with mom in Birmingham. We recently completed a tournament together and my team won and hers came in 2nd! It was such a fun experience with my mom and I am thankful for the exercise tennis gives! Mae even got to watch her mama's stroke!
U-Unbelievable friends. I have realized as high school and college get more and more in the past, it is easy to lose touch with friends. However, its making me realize my true friendships and all that mean to much to me! This year with having our first baby, we were showered by friends so much! I am forever thankful for my friends who help give advice with babies, recipes, someone to vent to, someone to listen to, someone to pray for, and more!
V-Vacation. One of my favorite things to do with Ryan is vacation. We are big savers and budgeters trying to build our savings account, but one things we like to splurge on is traveling! Since we have been married we have been to Mayan Riviera, Puerto Rico, Maine, Scottsdale, AZ, Nashville, Seaside, Orange Beach, New Orleans, Charleston, Kiawah Island, New York City, Oxford, MS, Jacksonville, FL, and more! We look forward to taking our kids on many, but also having more trips just us! We love it! Our 5 year anniversary is next year so we plan to knock it out! We shall see!
W-work. I am beyond thankful for my husband's job and that he has work. I realize this economy has totally taken a turn for the worse, and Ryan has had a great career with a great company. They have moved us all over the place and it has been a fun ride. I am also thankful for 'my work'. I am getting to pursue my 'dream job' as a mommy...life couldnt be much better.
X-eXcellent health. (had to stretch that X) Ryan, Mae, and I are all blessed with amazing healthy. None of us are ever really sick and we truly are so thankful. I have friends with kids with tumors, cancer, or have passed away all too soon. I know people battling cancer and other diseases and it is just not fair. It seems everyone is going to get some kind of it at some point. It is so scary! So thankful for our health and pray we will continue to be healthy for the rest of our lives!
Y-YOLO. I am loving that saying this year. "You only live once". What a great motto to live by. If you only live life once the right way, once is enough...I want to die knowing that I did all I wanted, enjoyed all I could, and serving all I knew.
Z-Zero Coke. Aka Coke Zero. I know that is stretching it, but Z is hard! I love my coke zero! I really try to just drink water, but each day I treat myself to one of these and all is great in the world!
We are blessed and God is so good, all of the time!
I have an addition to our 9 month post...I just have to post about this cutie! I never get good pictures at the doctor unless my mom or Ryan go with me, and thankfully Ryan got to go this time! She is 28 inches long (70th percentile), 18 lb. 8oz (40%) and I cant remember the head circumference but I know its BIG! 90th percentile! Big brain for a little baby! We think she is perfect!
Poor baby had to get her finger pricked! She didn't cry at all and just watched! She is better than her mama!
Great iron levels and great health! (minus some fluid in her ears, so we got some amox. for that! Her first perscription!) Thankful for our sweet baby girl!
So my dream job is exactly what I am doing. Being a mom. I get to stay home and raise our sweet baby, with help from Ryan. I could do a whole post on how this is my dream job, how I enjoy our time together, having time to do crafts and cook yummy meals, make our house a home, etc, but I wont bore you! Instead, I will fill you in on my 2nd most dream job!
If I could, I would LOVE to be a professional organizer. With this economy, I am sure there are not many people that want me to spend their money, nor have me touch their stuff or throw out things they might 'need' one day. BUT, again in a perfect world, this would be my dream job. A few years ago, my friend Holli even helped me come up with a name, which now I have forgotten, for my new 'organizing' business. My husband and mom say all the time I need to pursue this career, but it is all fun to think about but not the time to pursue right now, at least. I L.O.V.E. throwing out, decluttering, tossing, rearranging, redecorating, replacing, out with old, in with the new, let's face it...
So with all of that said, and with some requests from a few of you, I thought I would list a few pointers to help you get a start on keeping an organized home! Of course, there are tons of things on pinterest to help you do this as well, but here are my thoughts:
1) Start Small. Small successes, create bigger ones. Do not try to tackle your entire garage at one time, nor your closet. Instead, just start with you shoes. Go through each pair: are they comfortable, are they still in style, have I worn them in the past year? If the answer is no to those, toss them or donate them! If you know me, mom and I are queens of consignment and garage sales! Then we donate what ever is leftover to charity! You should try it, too! Just making a small change, will create such a great feeling, that I will be shocked if you do not want to continue on to make a BIG change! You can do it!
2) Get your family, hubby, kids, roommate, on board. Things can not be organized if you are the only one that believes in it. Make sure everything has an obvious spot. Instead of YOU putting it back where it belongs, ask them too, or create a special bucket, tub, or place in your home where you can put it for them to put their things back where they belong.
3) Tackle one room at a time. I like the bathroom first. It is small enough and pretty straightforward. I keep a makeup bag and a toiletry bag for travels (however I keep all toiletries in it at all times, so I can just zip and go if traveling, instead of packing and repacking it). Once you complete the bathroom, when you feel ready, try the other bathroom! Then slowly make your way around the home. Noah's Ark was not built in one day, neither will your house be perfect in a day as well. It has taken me years, and I STILL find things that need re-organizing or tossing! Start simple, you will burn yourself out and get so overwhelmed you will give up. Just remember, less is best! ALWAYS!
4) If you do not use it, you do not need it. When I say use...have you touched it in the past year? My mother in law is AMAZING at always having what we need when we need it at her house. She always has extra food, extra medicine, extra towels, extra clothes, etc. It is SO nice! However, if you are like her, just check expirations, get tubs, shelving, labels, and get it organized! ALL of her things have a place and she usually can get to it in seconds! It is great! If you have noticed an item you have has not been used in a year or two, TOSS it! No need in collecting dust!
5) Less is best. I have started following a friend of mine's blog: http://lauragailclaassen.blogspot.com/ . She HAS my dream job! I HEART her blog! You must check it out! She is slowly becoming a minimalist in her house. It is pretty amazing! She talks about how if you have less, it is less to deal with, less to put away, less to organize, less to clean, etc. It MAKES SENSE! I have been incorporating this less is best philosophy and slowly getting rid of things we don't need or use. I now can say ALL of our furniture in our house is furniture I LOVE, well made, and I have done away with cheap pieces we have accumulated. Now, when I buy a piece of furniture, I do not make quick decisions, I think on it, research it, and make sure it is something that will be a timeless piece that I can use forever. Then, of course pass down to Mae!
6) Avoid piles. If your house appears clean and tidy, but you have piles in each room...what is the point. I do make piles to get started...BUT then I tackle the pile. I will be honest, we always have a pile in the kitchen of bills, tickets to games, pictures, gum, and any other knick-knacks, that I can never find a perfect place for, so I am CONTINUING to find a way to avoid this...
Hope this helps! Please believe me, that I still have LOTS to do in our house, but am on the right track!
My mother in law gave me this lamp Saturday to sell in my booth. She no longer wanted it.
I know brass is trying to make a come back but I thought I would give it a makeover anyway. First I recovered the black plastic shade with a long strip of burlap, slowly wrapping it around and around. Then, I painted the bottom of the lamp with an oil based cream paint.
Then I painted the plastic tubing under the shade. And Voila!
Today marks 9 months! Wow, it has been so fun! Each day gets more and more fun and each day we thought we loved her the most we ever could the day before, but it just grows that much more when the next morning rolls around! It is so indescribable.
Photo shoots are getting more and more difficult. So below are a few from the many I tried, ha! You can see how she felt about them at the end.
This month so much has happened! She is pulling up and standing on everything. Crawling all over the place. Pulling up on our legs and hugging them so tight she might never let go. She loves to do this while I am cooking and it becomes quite the task!
If we ask, "where is mama? or where is Eli?" she will look around for our dog or for me. She is a genius. We know.
She went to her first pumpkin patch Oct. 27 with her BB and us. It was fun, but will be more enjoyable when she is able to walk and run around.
She got to go to Zoo Boo and went on her first hay ride.
On Halloween, we went to a Halloween party with other friends and their kids in Montgomery. Our little strawberry hung in with the rest of them! We went on another hay ride and even went to ONE door to get candy, really it was just for the video opp!
On Oct. 28, mom overreacted and Mae went to her first 'sick' doctor appt. She was perfectly healthy and nothing was wrong. Weighed 18 lb. and 3 oz. However this time at the doc, she DID not like the man, and we had to hold her down. It was torture. Not looking forward to her 9 month appt tomorrow. Good thing daddy is going with us to this one. However, she did have her first cold. I let her watch cartoons for the first time and we snuggled lots!
This past month is when she has started to realize there are strangers in this world. She will put her head on my shoulder when men come around at first, but she usually warms up to anyone and will still go to anyone very easily if they ask to hold her.
She did cry for her first and only time thus far when I left her in the nursery at a bible study I go to on Thursdays. I later found out it was because she had a dirty diaper. I of couse, panicked and thought my child was going to be one of 'those' children that cry when I leave her, but so far so good, she hasnt done it again since. I hope it stays that way, but understand it might be coming sooner than later.
Mae spent 2 nights at Granna (Nonna now, whatever it is these days!) and K. Paws. Mommy and daddy went on a little getaway to Nashville and enjoyed our time together, but missed our girl!
BB and Buck have kept her at their house some, too! She spend the night with them on our anniversary last week while we had a night at Ross Bridge and dinner at The Club. What a treat from Ryan's parents!
Mae has started to growl if we growl or fake cough if we fake cough. Its hilarious and she thinks so, too.
She is slowly, but surely starting to hold her own bottle. Honestly, I haven't made her much because I enjoy the snuggle time. She will do it, but prefers for us to feed her. She will get distracted and start shaking the bottle and gets milk everywhere, so I prefer it, too.
We have introduced the sippy cup for a few months now. She knows how to use it and drinks water out of it. I am going to try formula in it again this week and see. Last time, it made her mad because she wanted it out of the bottle!
She still LOVES to be outside. We have had some beautiful fall days in the leaves, pine straw, front yard, swinging, etc. She still loves walks outside in her stroller as well!
Now that the weather is colder, I put warm hats on her. Surprisingly, she has not taken them off. She likes them. I don't think she realizes she can take it off, so it might be coming. I have a bow in her hair almost always, I guess that's the southern girl coming out in me. She has learned that she can take her bow out, but she realizes mommy puts it right back in. She does NOT have a choice in this matter. Sorry, Mae. Daddy doesn't like a bow in her hair either, but I will WIN this battle.
She is eating LOTS of table food now. Some, that we feed her and some, she grabs herself. She loves Cheese, black beans, mandarin oranges, peaches, potatoes, apple sauce, bread, carrots, chicken, ham, and pork.
She has started to show a little attitude here lately. She will throw her head back and kick if she is done with her bottle and we try to force it or if we sit down with her and she wants to play. This attitude better go away real quick, daddy says. ;)
We have a little table in our living room with storage that keeps all of her books. We call it her book nook. She is OBSESSED with books. She will look at them herself for long periods of time and LOVES to be read to. She will crawl over there and stay quiet and have some alone time. She loves it. We do, too.
She stood for the first time on her own in our front yard on Nov. 14. She is doing it for longer segments now. She gets so proud of herself that it brings her down! She will take a few steps if we hold her hands.
We love you Mae Mae! Thank you for making us the happiest parents on the planet! Your sweet, spunky personality is perfect!
Tomorrow will be our 4 year wedding anniversary! I. Cant. Believe. It. I can honestly say I love Ryan and our marriage today, more than I did that day, and man did I think I could ever love him more! As cheesy as it gets, I know. For most of you that know us, Ryan and I dated a marathon for a good 7-8 years before we got married. It all started winter of our Freshman year of college. We dated for 4.5 years, broke up for a year, got back together for over 2 and then got engaged and the rest is history! We have had so many ups and downs, and it is truly God's work in our marriage. I can not believe we have a baby, a house we have made a home, communication like no other, been on several trips together each year, and made more memories than we can count. I am so thankful for all he is to me and I know I fall short of being the wife he deserves. Tomorrow we are celebrating with a yummy dinner at "Highlands Bar and Grill" and a night at Ross Bridge. Tomorrow we will have been married for 1,460 days. That seems so short! I cant wait for 50,000 more! To God be the Glory!
I love you Ryan Maxwell, thank you for making me your Mrs.!