tomorrow marks the beginning of advent in our house {advent officially began on sunday}.

the advent activities have been planned and our advent calendar is filled with slips of paper containing our daily bible reading and our activity or craft for the day.
celebrating advent over the past few years has helped me to slow down and be intentional about my time during the Christmas season.  i have a tendency to be task driven.  even though my intentions might be great my to do list can take.  the advent calendar, like our summer bucket list, is an accountability tool. a way to enjoy the Christmas season without looking back and wishing we would have done certain activities or attended local events.

the one thing i have learned over the past few years is to not over plan our advent.  if we have something scheduled for the day, like the church Christmas program, that might be our advent activity for the day.  i want to keep things fun and meaningful.

i will be documenting our advent activities each day.  there will be some things we have done every year but they are the kids' favorites.  there will be some new things on our calendar this year as well.  

our daily devotional this year is Tabitha's Travels.  We have read the other two books in the series and my kids have loved them.  We are all excited to start this book in the series.

do you celebrate advent?  if you are celebrating, i would love to know your families favorite activities.


{catching up} mauryn learns to ride without training wheels

for two years this little lady was totally content to ride her trike
she would ride up and down the sidewalk cruising along 
then at the end of last summer we came home from  landon's football practice to find our neighbor cooper working on riding his bike without training wheels

up until that day, mauryn had hardly even touched her bike with the training wheels
as soon as she saw cooper she was determined to learn to ride her bike
she did great
it took her about 5 minutes and she had it all figured out
she was so excited to cruise up and down the street

morgan was following her and caught her on video on my phone
we live on a fairly quiet street so cooper and mauryn were riding their bikes on the street
usually they are only allowed to ride on the sidewalk but since they were both learning and riding at the same time we let them go on the street
there may have been a minute of panic when a car came up the street 
mauryn did great and has been cruising on two wheels ever since


Happy Thanksgiving!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

may your day be filled with
thankful hearts
good food

happy thanksgiving!


Insta Joys: i am so far behind and need to catch up edition

this is the oh my word i haven't posted any insta joys since october and its almost november post.

lots of pictures.
lots of catching up.
 mauryn doing her homework before our trip to the american girl store

 i read 99% of the time on my iPad
i was at the library the other day and they had some books i was interested in reading
so i checked them out 
it was nice to have a real {free} book in my hands for a bit
i still love reading on my iPad 
i am just waiting patiently for my library to start having ebooks available
 i ordered this wand from lisa leonard for mauryn for christmas
she is going to LOVE it
i may have done a little happy dance when it came in the mail
it is so stinking cute
 a little fire
a little hot chocolate
the perfect warm up after a night of trick or treating 
{told you i was behind}

 cutie in skeleton pjs warming up on the vent
smart cookie er i mean skeleton

 i am reading this with the kids in the morning for our devotional
we are all LOVING it

a little game of monopoly jr
the little man was dominating all of us

 have you had these? 
they are no trader joes peppermint joe joes 
but since i don't have a trader joes these will have to do

her birthday breakfast of choice.... a pancake in the shape of a 5
 catching up on the happy day project
{a post on that coming soon}
 tea party anyone
the art on the go tray has many purposes
 she's positive she does NOT need a nap
she still falls asleep almost every day
i love how she fell asleep on this day
 the monster cat loves bags
if there is a bag on the ground he finds it and camps out on it

instead of a big party this year, morgan decided to spend the day with a friend
we went to lunch at the olive garden and then went for manicures and pedicures
it was such a fun afternoon
and the perfect way to celebrate morgan
 sunday nights = lesson planning
working on making words lessons for landon
reminds me of my classroom teaching days

 my little fishy
we spent two days last week at the pool at our rec center
i NEED to make an effort to do this more often
the kids love it and it is a perfect burn some energy in the winter activity

 kids at their dental check ups = 30 minutes of reading for mama
i look forward to their dental check ups now

 winter jacket and flip flop.... that's how she rolls
 sweet breaking dawn swag from the awesome erin
if i couldn't be at her party at least i was their in spirit :o)
 big night thursday night: denver broncos game
they won 
i had two very very happy boys in my house
 waiting in line to get into the theater for breaking dawn
i was a little disappointed
usually there is really good people watching on premiere night
not so much this year

popcorn and soda
let the movie begin! 

the text conversation i had with morgan while waiting in line

 when i go back home there is one place on my list of must do
culvers frozen custard
i lovey love love it
i always always always get a hot fudge sundae
i heart hot fudge sundaes

 we went bowling one night while i was home
my baby brother came back in the last frame to beat me by one pin
its just wrong

 mauryn loves her uncle dave
he's so good to her

she is such a goofball
she collected my nieces empty shot gun shells and decided to be mauryn shell hands

there you have it.  weeks upon weeks of insta catch up.

what have you been up to lately??

linking up with jeannett for insta friday
life rearranged

i am {blank} because....

i am weird because....
my house has to be spotless before i can leave on a trip
i love sonic fountain soda for the ice. i love the ice.
i am not a touchy feely huggy person except with my kids.
i do NOT like to cuddle when i sleep or watch a movie.
i take showers so hot i am pink when i get out.
i never sleep without my b.ra on.{tmi, maybe but people think its weird}
i generally sleep in my workout clothes so i can hop out of bed and get to it.
i never go anywhere without my water bottle
i do NOT like talking on my cell phone
i am a homebody. i don't like being away from my house for more than a few days or i start getting antsy even if i am having the best time.
i have hopped in the car, driven hundreds of miles with my kids to meet friends that i met through blogging
i vacuum the main level of my house almost daily
i homeschool my kids
i spend more time and money on my kids clothes than my own
i do NOT like having my picture taken
i like the idea of having a dog{s}. usually i just want to give them away but i'd be sad if they weren't here.
i absolutely love naps
i am way to serious
i am a planner and don't deal well with spontaneous plans

i am a bad friend because.....
i don't call often enough
i let the busyness of life and my to do list get in the way of spending time with friends
i would rather email, text, hey tell than talk on the phone
i don't let them know often enough how much i love and appreciate them

i am a good friend because....
i am a good listener
i make them treats
i remember important things
i am always willing to help out
i love and care for their families
i give good gifts {gifts are my love language}
i am their biggest fan
i am supportive

i am sad because.....
i often let my to do list drive my day
mommy guilt
i always feed like i am behind
there isn't enough time in the day
i need to lose 10 lbs
i need to get into a better morning/evening routine
i am so far behind on blogging that i feel overwhelmed. i have so many posts from summer to get up. since this is our family scrapbook i want to get them posted.
i don't give myself grace often enough

i am happy because....
we are on thanksgiving break.... one week of no school. yes!
i get to go on a run today
i can go to the grocery store and not feel stress buying food for our family
i have so much to be thankful for every day
we don't have anything on our calendar tonight
we will spend thanksgiving at our neighbors house. they are our family away from home. so thankful for them.
i am reading a good book

i am excited because.....
i will decorate for christmas this weekend
i will start the christmas music playing
my christmas shopping is done and my gifts are wrapped so i can focus on my family during christmas
we will start our advent activities next week
i am going to ignore my to do list this afternoon and snuggle with my kiddos
i might get a nap
i get to take my boy on a date this weekend to the boise state football game

*i am linking up with little miss momma


Trip to MN: Mall of America

after six years of living away from family and coming back to visit, i have learned a few things:
- it's exhausting trying to fit in visits with everyone
- we will never please everyone
- we will never have time to see everyone we want to see
- it's exhausting
- even though we home base with my parents, they generally get the leftovers. the nights after we've been gone all day or the mornings before we go somewhere.  we may sneak in a day or so just at home but usually our schedule is full.  

as much as we enjoy our crazy busy time filled with catching up with friends and family, i had decided after our last visit in the summer of 2010 that the next time i came home i was going to focus my time on my parents and family.

last summer i found very cheap airline tickets to mn so i booked a long weekend home between football ending and gymnastics competition season starting.

the weekend we were able to go to mn was the weekend before the girls' birthdays.
since mauryn was turning 5 my mom wanted to get her an american girl doll.  
so we knew one day of our trip would be spent at the mall of america.

when we knew we would have a day at moa, the kids started making plans for what they wanted to do at the mall for the day.

topping mauryn's list was going here:

finding the kanani display,

and picking out her doll.  {yes the box was as big as her!}

after getting kanani and having kanani's ears pierced {of course!}, mauryn went to lunch at the american girl cafe with her grammie {the only grandchild out of 17 to call her that - typical mauryn}, morgan, and morgan's friend emily.

thankfully mauryn let me sneak in to get a quick picture of her before lunch.

morgan snapped this picture of mauryn getting ready to eat her pizza. it just makes me smile at my silly little girlie.

the other thing topping miss mauryn's list was to get her ears pierced.  she decided last spring that she wanted her ears pierced when she turned 5.  i thought she might change her mind but she was pretty set on the idea.  

once she got in the chair, she got a little nervous.

the first ear hurt just a bit.

there were some tears after it was all over.  it wasn't so much that they hurt but the fact that she wanted pink earrings and the woman piercing her ears did white.  oh the drama!

while at moa, morgan wanted to spend the day with her best friend emily. the girls haven't spent their birthdays together since they were five.  so for months the girls talked about what they wanted to do on their day together.  they made lists, checked the website at moa, and made a plan.  at the top of their plan was shopping and hanging out.  i love that even though we moved six years ago, these girlies are still best friends and have plans to go to college together :o)

landon wanted to avoid all things girlie and hung out with my mom in legoland while mauryn got her ears pierced and the big girls shopped.  he spent over an hour just playing and creating.

the one thing all three kids agreed on for the day was going on rides.  
this was the first time we had been to moa to do rides that there haven't been crowds and lines.
there were literally no lines. the kids would do a ride, get back in line and hop on the ride again.

it was my ride loving children's dream come true. 
they rode and rode and rode some more.

while they rode, played, and shopped i got a few minutes to visit with one of my dearest friends amy {who is emily's mom}.

it was a wonderful fun filled memory filled day.