Monday, November 28, 2011

Jesse Tree

Tomorrow we hang our very first Jesse Tree ornament on our very first Jesse Tree!  A Jesse Tree is a special kind of Advent activity that anticipates and celebrates the coming of Christ (Christmas!), through twenty-seven daily ornaments and corresponding devotions about the lineage of Christ, from the account of creation all the way to that holy night.  It tells the story of our rescuing God.  There are a lot of different versions of the Jesse Tree Advent, but I attended a party this year that introduced this one from A Holy Experience.  (You can download the printable instructions and devotions as a gift from the blog's author by subscribing to the blog).  Instead of printing the images provided, we each chose one of the devotions to represent with a handmade ornament!  My ornament was for the story of Rahab.

I am really excited about starting this tradition.  The devotions we are using are deep, and encourage personal reflection and celebration of God's character.  Reed, of course, won't get the whole picture for a while, but I think it will be amazing to watch him over the years grasp more and more of the content of the stories, and then increasingly understand them at a heart level.  This year, we'll probably talk about the stories (maybe read them in Reed's Bible) and hang the ornament together, then Matt and I can revisit the devotional ourselves.  I'm not exactly sure since it's our first experience, but I will let you know if we take down any important notes or run into any significant changes. :)

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD
Isaiah 11

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wanted: Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving week is upon us!  Reed and I have talked a little bit about giving thanks for the things that God has blessed us with, but really we haven't done anything special or tradition-oriented this season.  I feel like Thanksgiving gets passed over so easily. :(  I have been wanting to spend some time thinking about the holiday, and to find 1 or 2 simple traditions we might implement to celebrate Thanksgiving in a special way.

One thing I want to have next year is a Thanksgiving Tree where you add leaves, each with something you are grateful for, every day in November until Thanksgiving day.  You can use any kind of tree or leaf medium; one of my friends made a felt tree for her family, and another tapes the leaves to a big tree mural on her playroom wall.  I love the idea of filling out the leaves at dinnertime, and having dinner guests share in the fun.  I was thinking of making something simple and vintage-y like the image below, but in Fall colors (and perhaps red and green on the opposite side).

On Sunday, Matt got a "thankful basket" from one of the students at church.  This student's family has a fun tradition where each member of the family chooses someone they are thankful for, and they put together special baskets for the recipients.  I love that idea too!

Of course, sharing a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family is a central part of the holiday!  We had our first feast last night with our small group and have two more to look forward to, one Wednesday and one Thursday.  Reed didn't really do much gobbling, but here is a picture of his first Thanksgiving meal of the year. :)

What are some other Thanksgiving traditions ideas-- big, small, meaningful, fun?? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reed's First Haircut

Reed had his first haircut today!

It has been a long time coming, but whenever I would muster up the courage to trim his curls, someone would convince me not to.   Or each time it would look like this...
 ...I would decide to go, but then the next day it would look so sweet, like this:

Sigh.  Check out how long it was (and I took this picture almost 2 months ago!)
Finally, I just decided that we were ready and that we would make it a teeny tiny trim.  Reed’s breakfast ‘do this morning was good affirmation:
Ha.  So we talked about how Reed was going to get a little hair trim like the mouse in his book (If you Give a Mouse a Cookie).  We told him he could sit in an airplane and have a lollipop!  He said he was ready, and went on and on about the “pane” and the “pop.”  We packed up the camera and video camera (yes, we were totally those parents), and went on our way.

*Side note: Of course, we get in the van, I turn around, and Reed’s hair looks perfect:
But I swallowed back my doubts and pressed on. :)

I hope to trim Reed’s hair at home in the future, and I would imagine curly hair is pretty forgiving.  However, for his very first haircut I wanted to go all out, and to have fun pictures and special memories.  I am really pleased with our experience at the West Cobb Pigtails & Crewcuts.  Reed loved it and did great!  We were the only ones there, and the staff was very friendly and accommodating.  Reed dropped his lollipop twice, so he kept getting replacements, which happened to be different flavors.  About halfway through his third one, I guess he thought it was time to switch it up, so he held out his dumdum and said, “another one!”  Ha ha. :)

Reed’s First Haircut
It looks like the curls are gone in that last picture, but I promise they are not! (My parents (via skype) didn’t even believe us that we had cut any of it at all).  I don’t regret getting his hair trimmed; I think it will help rein in the crazy days and probably even help his hair curl better. But I will admit it is one of those kind of sad big boy moments.  So this walk down memory lane is for me!

In summary, I highly recommend Pigtails & Crewcuts.  And if you want to DIY haircuts at home, there are lots of good tutorials on the web.  Before Reed went curly on me, I bookmarked this favorite: video tutorial.  Hope you find it helpful.  Thanks for sharing in our first haircut! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Closet Organization

Okay, one last thing about closets.  Upstairs, in between our laundry closet and Reed/guest bathroom at the end of the hall, we have a tiny little linen closet.
This is the only non-bedroom closet in the whole upstairs.  As such, it houses towels, linens/blankets, and cleaning supplies, as well as lots of other closet-dwelling items (ie- baby bath tubs).  In an effort to maximize space, we have a second shoe organizer (like Reed's) on the back side of the linen closet door.  If I wasn't lazy  pregnant lazy, I would go get my camera and take a picture.  (Actually, does it get any lazier than not re-taking that first picture?!)  Anyway, since the below photo, which has been popping up on pinterest, looks way cute anyway, I'll just post that one.
Boom.  (Source)
Not only does a shoe organizer in a cleaning/linen closet take advantage of otherwise unused space, it also provides great storage for lots of small items.  The picture above shows mostly cleaning supplies, but the majority of our cleaners are in a caddy on a high shelf as part of our Reed-proofing.  A few of the items that live on the back of our closet door are sunblocks, bug spray, extra child-proofing outlet plugs and doorknob covers, and a heating pad is even rolled into one pocket.  Love knowing where all of the items "live," and having them so easily accessible!  Side note: we recently rearranged our organizer post-Reed by moving potentially dangerous items (plastic baggies, lysol, extra hammer) to the top pockets.  So that's one other thing to consider if you have little people around.

Happy utilizing of back of door space! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Laundry Closet

I love laundry rooms.  I see pictures like these and swoon...

I don't actually have a laundry room, though; I have the classic accordion-doored laundry closet.  No big deal.  If I had to put square footage somewhere, it probably wouldn't be in the laundry room anyway. :)  Plus, laundry is my chore I am really good at keeping up with, and perhaps I owe that to my lack of a spacious laundry room to let clothes pile up in... it's all wash it, dry it, fold it, and move it up in here! :)  If you too have a laundry closet in your home, then I have a basic transformation to share with you today.  (If you have a laundry room that looks like the dreamy pictures above, go fold clothes in it or something!)

Anyway, when we bought our house this was the online picture of the laundry nook:
(This picture always kind of made me laugh, because all of the pictures of our for-sale house were beautiful and really professional, and I just kind of wondered why the photographers didn't just pull out the laundry room clutter or at least the hanging clothes when they snapped the photo). Ha.

We did a very basic re-do when we moved in, and now it looks like this:

- Painted.  (Note: the black cable line in the corner used to be painted over and blend in, but we had to have it replaced.  AND it is still a dead cable line.  Fail.)
- Installed a small storage shelf above the dryer to hold laundry supplies
- Installed an organizational thingy on the right-hand wall for the ironing board and ironing supplies
- Flipped the original white wire shelf upside down and reinstalled at an angle, to hold laundry baskets. 

This last shelf was the part I really wanted to share with you if you are the proud owner of a laundry closet.  My Dad installed a shelf this way in my Mom's laundry room (as far as I know he thought it up), so I got Matt to put one in ours too.  I took a closer picture of the upside down install, and they had to saw/cut the openings in the support brackets a little and bend a bit to adjust the fit.  (Basically, just play with it to make it work).

*Update: In response to lots of questions regarding this hack: the wire shelf pictured is 20 inches deep (like this one available at Home Depot), and the support brackets are 20 inches (like these, also available at Home Depot).

I am not much of a hamper person.  I prefer to drop off dirty laundry in the laundry room, so having baskets in there was a must.  We use one for lights, one for darks, and one for special wash.  As we add more laundry to our family, I might need to tweak our system (maybe each kid has a hamper in their own room?), but we'll get there when we get there.

I would love it if Matt would paint back over the new (but still broken!) cable line (hint, hint), and I want to cover up the plug and outlet with a little "lost socks" artwork/system like this one I pinned on pinterest.

And, maybe use some empty wall space in the hallway for a diy drying rack like this one:
Happy laundering!  Any other ideas for laundry closets?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat: A Story in Pictures

Reed had so much fun trick or treating last night!

After testing out our costume options, we decided to go with the homemade golfer outfit.

Reed hit the streets with a mighty good lookin' crew.

...via a hayride (which he talked about non stop)

He quickly caught on to the routine, and would say "trick or treat," put his candy in his bag, and then loudly announce "next house!"

He usually was the pig tail in the group, because he had to stop several times to check on his candy bag.

Reed even confessed his love to a girl this Halloween.  No joke, he said "I love you, Collins," and Heather and I both heard it.  Oh boy.  Collins is the pretty parrot pictured below.

Reed had a great time, but even little golfers get tired...yawn.

Love my little trick-or-treater so much!!