Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

We spent Christmas with Matt's family this year, it was a nice, low-key Christmas We drove down to Temple Friday evening and Avery kicked off the Christmas weekend with a big, chewy brownie!! I swear, the way to this girl's heart is straight through her stomach. Of course Cash knows anytime Avery is eating there is a good chance he will get a crumb or two :)

We spent most of Christmas Eve day hanging around the house because it was rainy and cold but Avery kept herself busy. If food isn't available, shoes are the next best thing.  This little girl loves shoes!!

I don't know what was going on with my camera but this was the best picture I got of Avery before we left for church Christmas Eve.  She did not want to sit still (as usual) and my camera was not cooperating so I gave up.

Thankfully we got a decent shot of our family!

My two loves heading into church.  They make my heart so happy :)

Christmas Morning!! Avery's main gift was this little princess cozy coupe!! She is obsessed with these little cars and always wants to play in them at friends' houses.  She was so excited to get one of her very own and spent the majority of the day riding around, getting in and out and being pushed around - the whole time yelling beep beep over and over!

The cousins Christmas morning. It was difficult to get them to sit for a picture before they started opening gifts.

Avery got two babies for Christmas!! She loves her little babies and is such a good mommy! I can't wait for her to be a big sister!

Playing with Emily! These two had so much fun together!

This picture makes me smile every time I see it.  Avery loves her daddy so much!

Opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson!

Look mommy, I got a puppy!!

Busy girl!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas from our home to yours

Every year I have grand ambitions of sending out a letter with our Christmas card.  You know the typical ‘this is what we've been up to the past year’ letter.  Well, I sent out my Christmas cards last week with no letter.  Call me the queen of good intentions.  In fact, I was lucky I even managed to get the card out. Even though I didn't have time to sit down and write out my letter before I mailed the cards, I still wanted to write one.  So, if you have a moment, grab a cup of coffee, have a seat somewhere warm and cozy and pretend you just got the mail and received this little letter - my attempt to eloquently share a short recap of our lives in 2011.

Dear Friends and Family,

I can’t believe I’m wishing you all a Merry Christmas. The past 12 months have flown by at an alarmingly fast pace.  Life certainly keeps us busy and we’ve had a host of blessings and challenges this year. 2011 has been a year of ups and downs for our family; thankfully more ups than downs.  Our biggest blessing and most exciting news is we are expecting a baby boy at the end of April. What an amazing gift! I’m so excited for Avery to be a big sister, for Matt to have a son, and to get to be a ‘boy mom’ and experience the differences of raising a boy and girl. This little guy will most likely complete our family and we cannot wait to meet him!  So far the pregnancy has been uneventful and fairly easy and I feel optimistic that this will remain the case.  My wonderful doctor has me on precautionary medicine that will hopefully keep me from experiencing preterm labor symptoms and being put on bed rest this time around.

As a mother, I feel like I continue to grow and learn more about myself than I ever expected. I am continually humbled by the pure innocence of a toddler.  I wish I could experience the world through her eyes for just a day - to laugh and play and live so fully. She brings so much joy to our lives I would love to bottle up her sweet little toddler personality and keep it forever.

Professionally, I started a new job in June.  It is still a challenge for me to balance a full-time job with my heart’s desire to be a full-time mommy, but the decreased stress and pressure from the new job have certainly helped me find peace. I continue to work as a business development coordinator for a nationwide engineering firm. I’d explain what that means but it really isn’t anything too exciting, I promise. In my spare time (ha!) I’ve also started a small Etsy business creating personalized baby gifts and I love it!! It is often hard to find time to sit down and sew but I enjoy having a creative outlet.

Matt had a major change in career paths this year.  He left DBU in January and after some soul searching, filler jobs and answered prayers, he started working as a real estate appraiser in September.  He is greatly enjoying his work and we are hopeful it will develop into a long-term opportunity to one day work for himself. He continues to teach a kinesiology class at DBU once a week and the stories from his students never cease to amaze me. 

We didn’t get a chance to travel this year but we did survive a 14-hour road trip to Colorado with a 15-month old and energetic puppy. It was well worth the trip; we had a wonderful time and were so thankful to get out of the Texas heat for a week.  

Well, that pretty much sums up 2011 in a nutshell.  New jobs, new babies, and countless blessings.  All in all, it’s been rather uneventful.  I hope you are able to take some time and pause to remember Christ in the everyday wonder of this Christmas season. I know it’s certainly been on my heart to take time to remember the reason for the season.

Blessings and prayers that this finds you in good health and surrounded by loved ones during the holidays.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours,

The Williams Family

Sunday, December 18, 2011

22 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 22 weeks
Size of baby:   At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, the baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn.
Gender: IT'S A BOY!! Still no name though. Any ideas???
Maternity Clothes: I despise maternity clothes.  Most stores only carry them online so I've ordered a bunch and 80% don't fit or just aren't what I expected.  Oh how I wish I could wear my PJ's to work everyday.
Weight gain: 10 pounds at my last check up.
Movement: Our little guy is constantly moving.  I feel him more and more in the morning and evening but his kicks aren't strong enough for anyone else to feel just yet.
Sleep: No problems!
Symptoms:Nothing really, just a growing belly :)
Cravings:  Sweets!! Not sure if it's the pregnancy or the constant temptation at work but I have definitely had my fair share of sugar the past few weeks
Best moment this week: Getting ready for Christmas.  I am so excited to have a few days off from work and to spend time with friends and family.  It's so hard to believe that this will be the last Christmas just the three of us, I can't wait to have our little guy here with us next year!

It is really starting to hit me that we will soon have two little kiddos to take care of.  When I'm giving Avery a bath or making dinner I keep thinking, "how am I going to do this with two!?!?" I'm sure we'll figure it out but I have to admit it's a little stressful to think about. Also, I really need to start packing up the guest room and thinking about how we are going to decorate the nursery.  I have some ideas but definitely need to do a little shopping after Christmas. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Party

Last night we had our Christmas party for the kids with our good friends who have toddlers/babies all close to Avery's age.  We did this last year too and it's fun to see how much they've grown and changed! This was last year's picture, we had a larger group and little Emmalee was still in Ashley's belly :)

A year later they still aren't interested in having their picture taken. A dozen or so pictures and this is the best I got :(

The kids (and moms) had fun painting ornaments for their trees.  Avery is hard at work!

Opening their presents.  Avery tore right into hers, she had a Christmas party at preschool yesterday as well so I guess she's got it all figured out now!

Typical Avery pose.  This is the look I get (if she looks at the camera at all) every time I try to take her picture.  One day she'll smile for the camera. ha!

We had a great time hanging out with friends, definitely helped me get in the Christmas spirit a bit more. December has been such a busy month I really don't feel like I've had time to enjoy the holiday season.  Hopefully this next week will be a little more relaxed and we can slow down a bit. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

20 Weeks!

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 20 weeks
Size of baby:   Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana.
Gender: IT'S A BOY!! 
Maternity Clothes: Ugh, yes I'm wearing maternity tops but they don't really fit.  My normal tops don't fit either though.  I decided that a little too big is better than a little too small at this point :)
Weight gain: 10 lbs eek!! How have I already gained 10 pounds!?!?  Oh that's right, I've had the mentality oh, I'm pregnant, I can eat that! In other words zero self control. 
Movement: Our little guy is constantly moving.  The kicks are still subtle and small but I feel them more often and they are getting a little stronger each day.
Sleep: No problems!
Symptoms:Nothing really, just a growing belly :)
Cravings:  Nothing really.  I actually haven't had much of an appetite the past week. I've been getting full really quickly.
Best moment this week: The best moment of the week was definitely finding out that we are having a boy but I'm also excited that I've already reached 20 weeks and am half way there!! 

We had our anatomy sonogram on Thursday and I was very a little worried Matt would be bummed if we weren't having a boy.  Don't get me wrong, he adores Avery and is a great girl dad but I know he really wanted a boy.  I didn't even look at him during the sonogram until the sono tech froze the picture and there was no doubt our little peanut is a boy! He was grinning ear to ear!!  I think it will be so fun to have one of each, although I have to admit I don't really know what to do with little boys.  I've always been around little girls but I'm sure I'll figure it out :) We have NO IDEA what we're going to name this little guy... Not a clue. There are a few names I like and a few Matt likes but nothing we both love. I know we have time but I like having a name picked out... I want to call him by his name instead of baby boy, I want to put it on the wall in his nursery, I want to buy him a shirt for Christmas with his name on it.  So, hopefully we'll come up with something soon.  I'm not going to hold my breath though.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Shirt and Skirt Tutorial

We took our family Christmas pictures this morning.  I thought for sure we'd get rained out but the rain stopped for about two hours this morning and we were able to squeeze in a quick photo shoot.  I had a really hard time finding an outfit for Avery this year.  I wanted something festive and sweet but didn't want to spend a fortune.  I found an outfit I loved on Etsy and did my best to recreate it.  This was my first time sewing a skirt and while it didn't come out perfect, I learned a few good tips and am happy with the results.  I wish I'd taken pictures throughout the process but now that I have a better idea what I'm doing I'll try to snap a few photos next time to give better visual instruction!

I started with the shirt because I'm more comfortable appliqueing letters than sewing ruffles.  The shirt was super easy, I used a Cricut to cut out the JOY and found three coordinating fabrics to use for the letters.  I used heat and bond to adhere the J and Y first.  When I was done stitching around the first two letters I added the O and sewed ric-rak and a little bow on it to make it look like an ornament.  Super easy!!

The skirt was a little more difficult.  I didn't have a pattern to use so I grabbed one of Avery's skirts and used it as a guide.  I measured her waist and cut a piece of 3/4" elastic 1" bigger. Start with the bottom layer.  Fold 1/2" and another 1/2" to create a hem, this is the bottom of your skirt.

Now sew a basting stitch along the top of the bottom layer (a basting stitch is a regular old straight stitch set to the widest width your machine will allow, usually a 5), leaving a long thread on each side so you can gather.  Lay the middle layer out flat.  Pull the bobbin thread and gently push the fabric to gather the bottom layer until it is the same length as the middle layer to create your ruffle.

Evenly distribute your ruffles/gathers.  Lay the middle layer face down on top of the bottom layer so right sides are facing. Sew in place all the way across just inside the basting stitch. Repeat the same steps for the middle layer.

For the top layer (waist) fold the top edge in 1/2" and iron, then another 1" and iron. Sew in place at the edge of the casing, starting on one side of the seam, leaving a hole, backstitching and the beginning and end. Feed your elastic into the hole with a safety pin.Sew the elastic together flat with a stretch or zig zag stitch.
Push it back into the casing and sew the hole closed.
Finish all edges by serging or sewing with a zig zag stitch. Add the ric-rak detail to the bottom layer and TA-DA:

Like I said, I definitely learned a few tricks and am excited to make this skirt again, it is super easy and can be worn year-round!! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Etsy giveaway winner:

Comment #9: Jenny Cardenas! Thanks to everyone who entered!! I've learned that I don't really like hosting giveaways because I want everyone to win and I wish I could give a set to each person that entered. Congrats Jenny! I'll send you an email to get your address!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, it was so nice to have a few extra days off from work to spend time with family and friends, eat good food, and relax. What a wonderful reminder of how truly blessed we are.

We left Wednesday evening for Temple to spend a few days with Matt's family.  I was so busy chasing around a certain toddler I didn't take many pictures but I love this one of Avery and Emily.  Em is so good with Avery, I wish Matt's brother's family lived closer so we could see them more often.

Sweet little girl.  She loves being outside.

Matt and the kids.  Not sure what Avery's up to, just being a busy body, I guess!

This picture cracks me up.  Have you ever eaten pomegranate seeds directly from the fruit?? They are delicious but messy! The three of us stood there for close to 30 minutes devouring these delicious little seeds.  I think Em stole some of mine. ha!

We headed home Friday afternoon and had a relaxing weekend.  Sunday we decorated the house, bought our tree and hung lights!

Here is my little helper after waking up from her nap.

Chillin on the couch with her fruit snacks, watching Elf.

Picking out a tree!  Hopefully one day we'll live somewhere (COLORADO) where we can go cut our own!

Fascinated by the lights :)

First time putting up lights on our house.

Have I mentioned how much I truly love this sweet little girl?? 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

19 Weeks

 .Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 19 weeks
Size of baby:  Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato.
Gender: We will find out at my appointment on Thursday!  I can't wait!!
Maternity Clothes: Not yet but I had to start using my belly band with my jeans. I bought some new maternity clothes but they don't fit yet.  I'm at that awkward stage where I'm not big enough to fill out maternity clothes but most of my shirts are getting too small.
Weight gain: ??? I don't have a scale but I'm guessing about 6-7 lbs.
Movement: I started feeling consistent little flutters Thursday night.  I've been feeling more and more movement each day.  Love it!!
Sleep: No problems!
Symptoms:Nothing really, just a growing belly :)
Cravings:  I'm noticing an increased appetite! I definitely ate for two on Thanksgiving
Best moment this week: I can't wait to find out the baby's gender on Thursday and have an anatomy scan to see our little peanut! Last time it felt so much more real after we knew the baby's sex.  We've picked out names but can't seem to agree on a definite boy's name. We might keep the name a secret... I think it would be fun but I'm not very good at keeping secrets like that!

Also, I started the weekly progesterone treatment a few weeks ago, they haven't been as bad as I expected.  I'm really hopeful they work because I found out the muscle relaxant I was on with Avery was banned by the FDA last year so it is not an option this time around.  Just trying to stay healthy and praying for a (somewhat) normal pregnancy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Etsy Giveaway!!

Well, I've finally gotten around to hosting my first giveaway!! I am so excited for the holiday season, I can't wait to start decorating my house for Christmas as soon as we get back from Thanksgiving with Matt's family.  I've been working on a few sewing projects for Christmas, I have so many cute fabrics! For now, the only project I've finished are these custom kitchen hand towels.  They are such a fun way to add a little holiday flair to your kitchen.

You have two options, the more traditional dark green with the "C" and the whimsical polka-dot with the "W". Please specify in your comment which you would prefer! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post.  You don't need a blogger account to leave a comment, you can post as 'anonymous', just make sure to leave your name and email so I know how to contact you!

I will announce the winner a week from today, November 29th.

Thanks for stopping by and please make sure to leave a comment!

Don't forget to check out my Etsy site for custom gift ideas this holiday season.