babys 1st christmas: our christmas cards

Im a designer. so when it comes to absolutely anything that needs to be printed, i am extremely picky on the final design. my bridal shower invitations, i had to approve. My wedding invitations, I designed. My baby shower invites, I picked out. So when it came to our first christmas card with a baby, i knew i would need to start way in advance getting things together.

Enter my second obsession. deals. coupons. promos. you name it. Saving money, im in. So when I saw a groupon for christmas cards on zazzle.com i jumped at the idea. However, it was so far in advance the groupon actually expired on Nov 9, 2012. Which meant I had to get my act in order and fast.

I actually thought, this is perfect. Hubbys aunt is a professional photography and shes coming into town the weekend of Nov 3rd. It will be her first time meeting Matthew and she's already promised us since before Matthew was born that she would take some baby pics for us. So i started pinteresting away (you can check out my christmas board for my inspiration if you'd like) and set out on buying any props or clothing I would need for the photos.

Then as usual, plans never go as expected since having a child. I wont bore you with the gossipy details, but his aunt ended up not coming into town at all. And we didnt know this until 2 days prior to her expected arrival. Needless to say, now I was in a complete freakout mode that 1) we wouldnt have pictures before the groupon expired, 2) if I took the pics myself would they come out alright and 3) now I have to research how to actually take the pic I want with my own camera, and perfect it by this weekend so I can have everything in place to order before the expiration date.

So a quick trip to home goods for a textured blanket, kmart for some icicle lights and red and gold ball ornaments, and one desperate phone call to my sis to come over during my lunch break to help with my "photoshoot" and we were good to go. if thats what you want to call it.....

Here is a quick look at my makeshift photo set.
Pretty clever for never having done this. And after multiple attempts. And when I saw multiple I mean it. And a little bit of photo editing. We actually got a few good pictures.
Then came another decision to make. On top of picking the right photo, we would have to pic the right christmas card. And let me tell you, there are way to many options. I guess thats a good thing in general, but not to someone who is extremely indecisive.
We finally set on the one with the bundle of joy saying
And so far Ive gotten quite a few compliments on it. The only negative comments ive gotten were 1) from my husband that it doesnt show his genuine smile, but he cant complain because he was the one who chose this photo lol and 2) from my best friend who thought that since it was our first christmas as a family of three then we should have had a photo with the three of us on it. So not too bad. I can handle those comments. Next year I cant wait to be a little bit more creative since by then Matthew will be waaay more mobile and possibly have a sibling on the way ;)


babys 1st christmas: meeting santa

For as long as I can remember, Ive always had dreams of what it would be like to have my own kids to make holiday memories with. Im lucky enough that I have a sister who has 2 children who I've been able to take part in the memory making for the past 12 years with, but I would be lying if I didnt say I was always dreaming about when my day would come to do those type of things with my own children.

You can see that this isnt something I take lightly, as I even posted about our Christmas Bucket List  earlier this month. And boy, Ive been making sure to cross off as many of those items as possible in the past few weeks. One of my most favorite being taking Matthew to see Santa Claus.
Just like with his first pumpkin patch experience, I made sure to do my research and try to find a place where it wouldnt be just some fake looking Santa doing it to make the money. But more of an experience for our lil family of three to partake in together. Ill admit, I was tempted to go the easy route and just pop over to the mall, but I knew I wanted it to be more than "just for the sake of it" type of day. Unfortunately, when I asked my mommy friends for their suggestions I was disappointed that the one place I wanted to go, they didnt have good reviews on. They all suggested to just go to the mall.

However, against all their opinions, I decided to go with my gut and we planned to go to Bass Pro Shops like I wanted. To me, I just felt like the Santa there would be more authentic, plusalso you get a free 4x6 of the image no matter what. I figured why not, if I didnt like how it ended up then I could always resort back to the typical mall santa. To my pleasant surprise, we had an absolutely wonderful experience. And? Santa was awesome! Like really jolly, with rosy cheeks, and a REAL beard too!
We had planned on being at Bass Pro Shops around 9:30am  since they opened at 9am and the Santa area would open at 10am. Well, like with any of my plans since becoming a mom, we ran late. Like we didnt even make it out of the house until 9:50am, which put us at Bass Pro around 10:15am.

When we got there the parking lot was already packed, but thats to be expected at this time of year. We walked in and went straight back to Santa's Wonderland to see how long the line would be. Instead of being faced with screaming children and a long line, we were greeted by one of Santa's elves who ushered us towards a little stand with a sign displaying "Bass Pass." Lets just say BEST.IDEA.EVER. Just like at Disney Parks where you can get a fast past to return at a later time for a shorter line, you could get a Bass Pass to return to see Santa at a particular time. And while you wait? Shop the store! It was like a dream come true. And to our surprise, our Bass Pass read 10:30am. It was 10:20am. That meant we literally only had 10 mins to wait. I told hubby to go check out the fish tank so I could go change Matthew in the restroom. And by time I returned, it was our time to go see Santa.
I promise, we really only waited about 5 mins in the next line. Which actually kept us occupied by Matthew staring at all the decorations hanging on the ceiling and hubs playing some virtual fishing and hunting games, conveniently placed next to the line.

While we stood in line, I happened to notice that their were a few people holding their own cameras around their neck. I wondered, was I allowed to take my own pics? I mean, from my recollection, at the malls, you dont have the option of using your own camera. Heck, they practically scream at you for even the slighted motion of a cell phone snapping a pic, let alone whipping out your DSLR. I waved down the nearest elf and asked, "Out of curiosity, I see some people have their own cameras, is it permitted that we can take our own pics too?" How pleasantly surprised was I with the response I was given, "Of course! We just ask that you wait until our photographer is done snapping a shot so that we can make sure your child is looking our way, because once you try to take a pic the kids tend to only look at you."  Seriously? I get a free 4x6 that you take, plus I can take my own afterwards? sounds like a good comprise to me. I handed Matthew to hubs and quickly snatched my camera from under the stroller.


Once it was our turn I was actually a little nervous. Would he scream? Would he be scared of Santa? Would he cry? Would we even get 1 picture?.....We all walked up to Santa. Hubs handed Santa Matthew.


Funny thing, I specifically remember what Santa said to us, "Wow we got a big boy here, let me guess, hhmmm, about 10 months?" To which both hubs and I began laughing hysterically, "Umm no Santa, hes only 6 months," to which we all began laughing. Yes thats my chunky lil boy. 

We slowly walked away to get out of the picture. It seemed like Matthew was intrigued by Santa. Just staring at him. Then we tried for a smile. "Matthew, over here, look at us, *kissing noises*clapping*" there it is, hes looking. snap.snap.snap. We got it!

He may not have been completely smiling in the one pic, but we did get a few. Then he grabbed a hold of Santas beard. (like literally, we found white hair in his fists a few moments afterwards)


Then started crying, but Santa shushed him a little and he stopped.

We scooped him up and off we went. Stopping at the counter first for our free 4x6. It came out so cute, I just had to order some prints right then and there. And for $20 i think I got like 6 sheets (some wallets, 2-5x7's, and a few others). Still cheaper than any packages I can remember at the mall. And I dont have to worry about getting them printed for christmas presents to grandmas ;)

All in all, I was extremely happy with how the whole thing went down. And Im truly surprised that so many of my friends and tried to discourage me from going there. I think it was by far the best place to take him to meet Santa. And plusalso, even though Matthew wasnt able to get involved with the other activities, Bass Pro also had kids workshops available at specific times to make holiday crafts and also stations to play with some of the bass pro toys (you know 4 wheelers and such lol). I will definitely make it a tradition to go there every years and I cant wait for Matthew to one day make me an ornament or frame or something from one of those workshops! hehe


twas the month of christmas...

sorry just had to share this. a friend of mine recently posted this as her facebook status and I absolutely loved it
Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
Why the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday'.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
not Happy Holiday!

Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!

That is all. Hope you all are having a great weekend!


from a couple that rocks, to a family that rocks!

This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai. Think your family rocks? Show us by uploading a photo of your family rocking out. Enter now for a chance to win great prizes.

Its funny when I look back over the years, the memories that stand out to me always have music involved. Not like music as in any of my family members actually can carry a tune, but more like music has always been something that was apart of the happy times.

I can remember, and so can most of my close family and friends, when me and my best friend would dance on the coffee table in my parents living room while looking at ourselves in the large mirror on the other side of the room. What was on the stereo you may ask? lets see probably Sir MixALot (Baby Got Back) or 2 Live Crew or even Quad City DJs (Come on Ride that Train). Just typing that list makes me literally LAUGH OUT LOUD.  We were young and crazy and music just put everyone in a good mood. Especially when you see 2 lil white girls breaking down to some old school rap song. And yes, we.broke.it.down.

Then once I got into high school my music preferences only multiplied. Again, not like I had any musical talent whatsoever, well except if you count blaring my loud music in my old beat up saturn winds down, sunroof open, not a care in the world, singing my little heart out. (Of which multiple occasions landed me bright red faced when cute boys ended up next to me at a red light) But also I learned to enjoy all types of music. I loved listening to the oldies and classic rock stations that I had been accustomed to from my mother and father. I loved listening to rap and pop songs, you know because my "cooler" older sister and her friends did. And then my boyfriend (hubby now) introduced me to my love of country music.

Over the past 10 years my husband and I have been together, I cant even count the number of concerts we've been to. We have a long standing tradition to go to the Annual Kiss Country Chili Cookoff, where beer live performances of the top country stars put over 30,000 people in one heck of a good mood. Plus so many other random concerts, with Eric Church being our next planned concert on  Dec 15th for an early birthday present to me (and mommy first official night out without the baby...only took 6 months right?)

Yes, I was pregnant this past chili cookoff, and you best believe it didnt stop me from going. And I know people say that now that we have a kid outings like this will be few and far between, but to tell you the honest truth, I hope to involve me son in outings like this. Even with Chili cookoff. I say, bring a pack-n-play and let him listen to the music as well (although we may not venture into the event, just do the tailgating part lol)

We can already tell hes going to love music. Even when he was still instead my belly. Any time I played country music loud enough, whether in the car or just around the house, he would start kicking up a storm. And now that hes out of my tummy, he still responds to music. It may be my awful voice singing to him "You are my sunshine," or even "He's Mine" (by Rodney Atkins) but his face just lights up. And who wouldnt continue singing a lil bit louder if you got a grin like this to follow it?

What about your family? Does your family rock out in the car? Go to concerts together? Or just plain old ROCK!?!?! Well then you should def check out this fun contest going on from Hyundai Santa Fe and Rolling Stone!

Its really simple to enter, just go here, upload a pic of how your family rocks, and write a lil blurb about it. And you could win a photo shoot in Rolling Stone with your whole family, airfare, hotel and transportation to the 55th Grammy Awards, and a fully tricked-out Hyundai Santa Fe custom rock ‘n’ roller. How fun would that be? But hurry, because you only have until December 14th to enter!

Good luck!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


our chirstmas bucket list

ill be honest, when I saw "our" bucket list, i really mean more like "my" bucket list. hubs and matthew just get to put up with lots of photo taking and memory making events. And since its matthews first christmas it has to be way better than all our previous ones ;)

note: boxes with snowflakes in them mean we've already done it
so a couple of these im extremely excited for. #1 being that for the first time ever, we will be hosting christmas morning at our house. up until I was about 20yrs old my parents always hosted because well they are my parents and quite frankly they have the largest house. then my sis took over because she had kids and finally had her own house. And now, since we have added our own lil munchkin to the mix, we get to host! although i am excited about this Im also kinda nervous, its a big responsibility to host this event in our family. i have to make sure i have coffee, spam (dont ask lol), bacon, cinnamon rolls, christmas music playing, clean house, wake up on time, and so many other small details.

im also so excited to be able to start christmas traditions with matthew. my favorites being reading the night before christmas, watching christmas movies, and singing lots of christmas songs! We actually do the last everyone morning, evening, and whenever we're in the car. :)

And y'all i cant wait to send this years christmas cards out. I totally go inspiration from pinterest and created a make-shift set in my back yard. And OMG it came out so good. Post to come about that experience. lol

And then, there are a couple new things that Ive added to my list this year that ive seen mentioned on a couple of other blogs that I think are awesome ideas. Like the whole christmas pj thing, so cute! And making a babys 1st christmas ornament! dont tell anyone but there are lots of people getting one of these wrapped up under the tree!

Ok, so whats on your christmas bucket list this year? Any new traditions youre starting? Any great DYI crafts that I must do? Please share! Id love to hear them all (and possibly steal the ideas for my own family!)


show & tell: my christmas wish list

I honestly thought that I wouldnt have many things on my wish list when I started putting together this post. Boy was I surprised when low-and-behold, I came up with 11 decent items I am wishing for this Christmas.

6. infinity ring with wedding date engraved // 7. kitchen aid glass bowl // 8.  hd camcorder

They arent numbered in any sort of order, so dont use that as a relavance of which I want more. These are all actually just wishes. I think I might get 3 maybe 4 of these in actuality.

The thing I want the most off this list is actually the 50mm lens for my Nikon.

And although I really have been wanting the riding boots as well, I cant seem to find ones that fit urgh!! i have wide calves that i absolutely hate and none of the riding boots ive tried on fit well in that area :(

As for the rest, they really are just "nice-to-haves," but i think some of them are really cool. I mean come on, isnt that travel case for bras like genius? that would be perfect for cruises! ;)

And the willow tree figurine I just love. My mother in law started giving them to us a few years ago and we've gotten quite a lil collection going on. We even had this one for our wedding cake topper. I forgot to show a pic of it, but they also have a nativity seen, and I absolutely love it!!! but each piece is kinda expensive so I doubt Ill get it. Maybe 1 piece each christmas till I have the whole collection? *wink*wink*

Also, i dont really know how badly i want the camcorder. I keep going back and forth on it because i have an iphone that can record, a dslr that can record, and a olympus rugged digital camera that records as well. Do i really need a camcorder as well? I want to be able to catch matthews first steps for sure, but how badly do i need a separate device for that? I dunno. Would love to hear anyones suggestions and opinions on this subject.

Whats on your wish list this year? Anything you cant live without? Any good amateur photographers gifts you think i should ask for?

Dont forget to link up with Becky and get some great ideas for gift-giving and your wish list this year!

things i blog about

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