Christmas at the New Place

This year has flown by so fast that I still feel like we just moved in, even though it was really more than 8 months ago! But your first Christmas in any house is always a bit of a trick to figure out where your decorations fit best… and even more importantly… WHERE DOES YOUR TREE GO!??! Some houses have an obvious place (i.e. in front of your beautiful picture window) but ours… not so much.  In fact, I don’t think our house has a place for a tree at all!! But we scootched around some tables and seemed to have made it work.  And I’m so pleased with the way the house turned out, that I thought I’d share it with you all! Christmas with Amusing MJ |

The tree ended up going in the nook on the way to Taylor’s bedroom, and I love that she stops to look at it as she wanders back and forth into her room (it also DEFINITELY means that the only ornaments on the bottom 2 feet of the tree are toddler friendly!)  If you notice in the above picture that there are only two stockings, that is because somewhere in the move, Taylor’s stocking is MIA.  So I kinda need to get on ordering her a new one.  HOWEVER, my sister-in-law bought her two giant Santa sacks from Pottery Barn last year, so we may end up using that  for the year.

Christmas with Amusing MJ |

I love these two metal reindeer, I think from Crate and Barrel a few years back, but they look super cute standing at attention on my breakfast table.

Christmas with Amusing MJ |

And then my nativities that I have decorating our space this year.  The one in the upper right hand corner is hand carved in the Holy Land, which was a gift from my grandmother, and the bottom is just a Willow Tree nativity, but I love the simplicity of it.  It has always been a favorite of mine.  If you are new around here, you might be interested to know that my mom has a nativity collection that numbers somewhere in the 300+ range that she decorates with every year.  If you want to read the posts about it, I have written about her Swedish Christmas decor, her vast nativity collection, and the weirdest ones she has (including ducks and moose).

We did discover that our house is too tall to reach safely even with our largest ladder (thank you basements in Kansas), so after calling around to a few professionals and figuring out that it is 1. too late for that and 2. too expensive, we decided just to wrap our lovely evergreen, add a few lighted wreaths to our front window and a wreath to the door and call it good.  We at least don’t look like Scrooge.   Christmas with Amusing MJ

The above photo was taken before the addition of the Santa Bow to my evergreen wreath–speaking of– did you know that some boy scout troops (at least the one based out of our church) sell evergreen wreaths shipped fresh from the pacific northwest for pretty cheap?  I love how the fresh wreath looks and it smells UNBELIEVABLE!!

Christmas with Amusing MJ

And we definitely got in the spirit of Christmas last week because I attended a Christmas ornament and cookie exchange party, so I whipped up some gingerbread cookies from my favorite food blogger (Gimme Some Oven) and they made the whole house smell delicious!

Christmas with Amusing MJ |

So it is the first week of December and I’ve made my first batch of Christmas cookies, wrapped a few presents, decorated the house, and remembered to take pictures and blog about it… So I’m feeling a bit like superwoman these days.  Oh and I did it all with a nasty cold.  #winning


Here is to a wonderful advent, a magical Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saying Goodbye to my House

Pardon me while I write a completely personal and extremely sentimental post.

I am sitting in my house, surrounded by boxes that the movers packed up yesterday  (when they showed up a day early… eek!!) and I have a plethora of emotions running through my head.  But it occurs to me that even though we have lived in this house only a year, it is home. I have LOVED this house. In just one short year I have a ton of memories from here. I want to remember those memories, and cherish them.  So I’m going to share them with you all.   frontofhouse

First and foremost I love that it is where we brought Taylor home for the first time.  I remember walking to the front door in utter and complete exhaustion, my body being weak and in pain from the surgery, but elated at coming home with my husband and daughter.

I do not want to forget the nights sitting around in my living room with my small group. Small group sounds so cliche and shallow for the strength and depth of these friendships.  Those nights are how I have survived this year. Their friendship, their support, their food, their love, their wisdom… they are as much a part of me as anyone else.

I want to remember floating in the pool on a hot summer day… 9 months pregnant and loving every second of the cool water and floating.   outdoorfurniture1

I want to remember the two Christmases we had in this house, our last as just my husband and me and the other Taylor’s first Christmas and Reese’s few short days home during training.  I always feel extra emotional during Christmas with the traditions and beautiful church services, but these two have felt extra special.  Both years we have had a huge family dinner with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and my sister-in-laws family.  And those are exactly what Christmas dinners should be… endless stories, loud laughter, good natured-teasing and a whole lot of love. Coral and Gray Nursery |

I don’t want to forget my baby shower- a room full of friends who love my little girl.  I still look up at my wall of alphabet letters that they all made for me and think about the love they have for Taylor and me.  I am so lucky to have women like that in my world.    housetourlivingroom1

There are tons of little memories that have happened over the last year, but those are the big ones.  And as I watch all my material possessions being loaded on a truck, I have to tell myself that the house is not what makes the memories.  It is the people and the life lived inside.  I will love my next house, as I loved this one;  but for now, I’ll shed a few tears that this chapter of my life is ending and I’m starting a whole new one.

So I’m doing a little grieving today for this house that I love and the life that has been lived inside its walls.

Week 36 Bump Recap

Oops! We had a crazy busy weekend and early part of this week so I didn’t get my post written until now! But we are getting dangerously close to the end and I haven’t missed a post yet, so it may be late, but it’s here! Week 36 Recap! Which means I am officially at 37 weeks right now and depending on who you ask that’s pretty much ‘full-term’, which is definitely exciting.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d like her to stay cooking in there for at least 2 more weeks, but it is nice to know that if she came out right now she likely wouldn’t have any issues from coming early and would be able to go right home with us.
Week 36 Bump Update | Baby’s Size: The books kind of quit giving sizes out right now because this is the phase where babies start to get a lot bigger or just a little bigger depending on their genetics, so its hard to truly tell how big she is.  I’m guessing somewhere between 5.5 and 6 lbs.  And that is in my super educated, not medically inclined expert opinion… so take it with a grain of salt.  Oh and one book compared her to the size of Swiss Chard… since everyone has a picture of that in their heads to be able to compare. <end sarcasm font>

Baby’s Progress: More temperature regulation, brain and lung development are the name of the game for the next 3ish weeks.  We will get to have an ultrasound here sometime in the next couple of weeks, so when that happens, I’ll let you know more of how she is doing!

Weight Gain: I gained 2 pounds this week… but I gotta tell you… getting on the scale feels somewhat like an unnecessary evil these days, so I don’t do it very often! It’s easy to see how people would gain a lot of weight and not keep track of it during pregnancy!

Sleep: Well… Sleep was unbelievably awful this week, but I can’t really blame that on the baby.  Our dog, Lexie decided to eat two of my husband’s long black dress socks.  So after about 4 or 5 vet visits (where the diagnosis was either HGE, a stomach infection she has had before or anxiety about the baby) she finally passed them in the middle of the night.  I’ll spare you all the graphic details, but suffice it to say last week was rough.  She wouldn’t eat or drink for 7 days, she wasn’t sleeping well (and so neither was I) and I had more than one emotionally charged (ugh pregnancy hormones) evening where I thought I was going to have to say goodbye to her in my last few weeks of pregnancy. NOT a pretty sight.  But, it turns out she just ate my husband’s socks during the storms last week and needed to get that out of her system.  So she is now mostly recovered and back to eating and generally being a happy friendly dog. But she definitely took us through some sleep training exercises of cleaning up after her being sick and waking up every few hours.  But I’m still hoping to get a week or so of somewhat better sleep before baby girl gets here!

Milestones: As far as baby things go, it has been a fairly quiet week! We had a lot going on in our social lives, work and just life in general, but nothing too notable in terms of baby milestones!

Favorite clothing item of the week: Maternity shorts.  They may be the least attractive clothing item I’ve ever seen… I mean they have more fabric above the waistband than below, but since our temperatures pushed up into the upper 90s over the weekend, they were a much needed relief from my jeans!! I ordered these from Gap and then also have a hand me down pair of linen shorts that are UBER comfy from Old Navy.

Symptoms: I can definitely feel additional pressure on my body, and turning over in bed is a chore, but other than that I really can’t complain! I do have to put my feet up after a long day, but they haven’t swollen much, they just get tired!

Workout: I got to swim laps a few days last week after work and it was glorious! I love being in the water and swimming laps feels much the same as it did before being pregnant, which is a nice feeling!! I also got to walk with a friend on Saturday morning, and spent Monday and Tuesday volunteering at a conference at our church, so I’ve gotten a fair amount of exercise in this week! And although I am tired at night, I feel pretty good, so its encouragement to keep swimming laps and walking (even though I am not doing either strenuously!).

PS. If you missed any of the updates, you can check them all out here.