Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Make & Trade



Hello Friends!

Just wanted to let some of my readers know that we are organizing something fun!

Don't you just love handmade?  Wouldn't you love to buy ALL things handmade but don't really have the money to do such a thing?  Wouldn't it be awesome if we could make something, give it to someone else and receive something in return???  I've been thinking about this for a while and how to organize it and I thought LET'S GO FOR IT.  Why not right?!?

SO here are the details.

First, each person that agrees will be sent a survey via email that asks things like favorite color, how many children you have, gender, where you live and mailing address (don't make someone a beanie if they live in Arizona ahem haha), and etc.

Each person that agrees to participate then will receive someone else's survey and will make something (or more then one thing) that will equal a retail value of about $25.  Now keep in mind that this is how much something costs AFTER it's made.  For example, my felt items I sell do not cost me a ton in materials....but I sell them for more because of the labor involved.  So you may make a zipper pouch that was about $5 in supplies...but you could potentially sell it for at least $15.  So thus it's retail value is $15.  Got it?  If you are unsure as to how to value your item I would recommend searching Etsy and see what something similar sells for.  If you still aren't sure feel free to ask me and I can probably help you figure it out.  A month after everyone receives their secret buddy's survey we will send out our handmade items to the person that we were given.

Feel free to have as much fun with the box that you send out as you want.  Adding random Target dollar items is highly encouraged.  hehe. 

I think that the best way for this to be a success is to make it more about the person that you are sending to then what it is you are receiving in turn.  If everyone goes all out and has a ton of fun gifting to your secret friend then everyone will be rather happy in the end. 

Please note that this is a small financial/time commitment.  I am BUSY...and can be totally flakey.  I get it.  But to make it fun we all need to send the goodies out at the same time.  Sound good?!?

If you have already commented on my facebook post yay!  you don't have to comment here too.  If you are interested though leave a comment with your email and I will include you on the official group email!  :)

So excited!
Hope this works!!!  hehe  <3

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Eloise May: 3 Months

Our little Ellie Bean is THREE months old!

Gah.  I just love this little lady so much.  I also apparently didn't take many photos between 2 and 3 months so I might need to get on that this month.  :)

Our little three month shoot kinda didn't go as well as planned.  Basically Jack wanted to be in all the pictures and then when I got him to finally stay out of them he started running circles as fast as he could around the blanket Ellie was on...which made her keep turning her head to follow him.  Then he started yelling and running and I think it was starting to just plain overwhelm Eloise and sooo...she started getting angry.  Ha!  Good times.  :)
 
So what's new in the world of Ellie Belly?  I really don't know how much she weighs.  I know over 11 lbs.  I feel like she kinda ate to survive there for the first 2 1/2 months or so.  Recently though I  feel like she has really taken to nursing.  She wants to nurse a lot more often and does it with a lot more gusto.  She is still a skinny little thing and we get comments all the time on how tiny she is.  I can tell though that she's starting to pack on the weight.  Or so it seems at least.
 

Other things to note...?  She sleeps through the night maybe 4 nights out of the week?  If she wakes up it's at 2am or so (she goes to bed at 8pm).  So yes...a pretty good little sleeper still.  We've managed to get her on Jack's nap schedule.  I thought it would be harder since babies usually need two naps and Jack just takes one at 11am or so.  She will doze in the car for her morning one if we are out and about.  It's usually pretty short and then by 11 or so she's pooped and ready to go down.  She usually takes a 2 sometimes 3 hour nap...and then a little siesta in the evening around dinner time.


First please note the hair...possibly my favorite physical trait of Ellie's.  I LOVE how it just sticks straight up off her head.  Ha!  Also, this picture is a little blurry but I was starting to get a little worried because Ellie wasn't doing very well with tummy time.  She would basically just struggle with her face smashed on the floor.  I asked a friend about it and her daughter was able to lift her head and chest.  I figured maybe I wasn't giving Eloise enough time on the floor to practice?  Sure enough...two days of purposeful tummy time and she's lifting her head and chest off...and getting really close to rolling from tummy to back.


Classic Ellie expression.  Ha!

All in all Eloise is such a sweet little thing.  She will give endless smiles.  She is just starting to laugh which is basically the best thing ever.  <3  She loves to play independently...and also loves to be held and snuggled.  She gets really excited if you stand her up so that she can feel included with the family.  She does this little dancy thing with her feet and squeals...darling girl. 

She is so fun and I am so thankful for her sweet little personality and disposition.  God has blessed us immensely.  :)


 HAPPY 3 MONTHS ELLIE-GIRL!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Perspective

Holy Toledo!  I honestly felt like it had been only a week or so since my last blog post but I guess it's been a bit longer. 

So!  We are back from our vacation that we took to California.  It was quite good.  We had a lot of fun, got to see family, and at the end of each day we were all exhausted.  Eloise started to sleep through the night while there.  Apparently she wasn't sleeping as well in her little cosleeper because of the small size and when she was given more space in the pac n play she started sleeping all the way through the night.  So there you go.  Jack played hard and slept hard.  It was such a change compared to what we were used to before with Jack.  Jack is/was a some what decent sleeper when he's not being thrown off by new babies being brought home (well, it was just one baby).  :)  He used to NOT sleep well though when he was away from home in his pac n play.  Holy cow.  We are talking 3-4 wake ups and then us finally letting him sleep with us out of pure exhaustion.  He's old enough and plays hard enough now that he sleeps no problem in the pac n play and what a welcome change that is!  Yesssss!  So good sleep was had by all!  :)

My wonderful parents treated us to plane tickets from Phoenix to San Francisco so that we could have some fun at our old stomping grounds.  We flew in and had to wait two hours for our rental car.  Once we finally got it we went and got take out at our favorite Chinese restaurant in San Francisco...and then made the trek down to San Luis Obispo.
I had told Jason that I had very few expectations regarding the trip.  Mostly I just wanted to be outside the whoooole time.  Because of the heat it's been a little hard lately here.  Of course part way through the trip we got rain.  Kinda funny considering they are in a drought and of all the days for them to finally get rain it's when we are there.  I was a little disappointed but there wasn't much to be done about it.  :)  It was also funny because it was HOT and muggy.  My in-laws house was hotter then our house at home and we keep it at 80 degrees during the day and 78 at night.  Go figure eh?  :)
Despite the weird weather we had a lot of fun.  The first day we were there we went downtown and had tri tip sandwiches and mini donuts at Farmer's Market.  It was super yummy.  :)

We were also able to go to the beach.  Jack had a blast!  Well, until I let him fall face first into the surf and he sucked up a bunch of water.  Oops.  He recovered quickly...but wasn't as keen on the water after that.  ha!




Miss Eloise sorta enjoyed the beach.  I don't think that she was thrilled about the wind.  I was having trouble getting her hat to stay on her but realized that the wubba nub apparently has multiple uses.  :)


Mama has some crazy beach hair!  And I'm totally okay with it.  ;)


At the end of our trip we were able to sneak away for a couple of hours (where we found out that Eloise does NOT like bottles...nope, nada, no way.)  Anyways, Jason and I were sitting in Apple Farm having our dessert and we started talking about our trip and SLO.  We came to the realization that while SLO/California will always have a special place in our heart...it's not the end all of happy existence.  I think that as of late I've been pinning for California and kinda had it built up in my head as this utopia where "I'll be happy if I move THERE" type of thing.  I realized while in California that by golly...I actually kinda LIKE where we live.  Like I could maybe stay here for a while and be okay.  I mean sure it's hot.  And sure this city lacks a little character in many ways...but it's not all bad.  The people are really and truly nice.  So friendly.  There are TONS of young families.  The town is very affordable and we might actually be able to buy a house one day...AND have me stay home with the kids.  What a concept.  :)

The hardest part is being away from family.  I wish Jack could see all his grandparents more often.  Also Jason's brother is starting to have kids too and it would be so nice to be near them and have our kids grow up together.  I guess for now, visits will have to suffice.

Anyways, God used our trip to California to some how help us see that we are where He wants us to be.  I thought that the trip might ruin me and make me miss "home" even more but in the end it didn't.  In the end it made me thankful and glad that He is active in our lives, directing our paths.  I know that Arizona is where He wants us for now.  For how long?  I'm not sure.  For however long though I think I'm more willing to accept this place as home...that is as long as we don't find any scorpions within a mile radius of our house.  When that happens?  Peace out Arizona.  ;) Ha!

Anyways, it was an awesome trip.  Thank you so much Mom and Dad for the extra bonus to San Francisco.  We had so much fun.  Jason especially loved the fog that was so thick it felt like it was raining.  Me?  Not so much.  I think I prefer the heat!  ha!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2 Months of Eloise May

Our little Ellie May is TWO months old!
And what a doll she is.  <3

Can I tell you a little secret?  So, immediately after giving birth to Jack I didn't feel a strong connection and bond.  I mean there was love and SOME connection, don't get me wrong.  It just didn't run as deep as I thought it would...it didn't encompass me and engulf me and fill me with joy.  Before I had Jack though I had read blogs and stories of other mothers who felt the same way.  I know myself well enough to realize that I am not highly emotional.  I was thus a little prepared for this possibility.  I kept telling myself in the hospital as I sat holding my newborn, "It will come.  Just wait."  And by golly it sure did.

When I was pregnant with Ellie I was afraid it would be worse.  You have so much time to connect with your first baby in utero.  You focus so much on them, pray for them, sing to them.  With Ellie...especially before my belly was huge I would go hours forgetting that I was even pregnant.  I didn't feel as "connected" with her in my belly so I was afraid it would be much worse once she was born.  Fortunately it was about the same as with Jack.  I loved her, I thanked God for her being ours, and I waited once again for that deep bond to form.  And again...it came.  Jason always knows when it comes too...which makes me happy that it's evident to the outside world how much I love and cherish my children.  I sometimes get afraid that because I'm not super emotional/lovey dovey that my kids will feel a loss in that department.  I feel like God has blessed that desire though and there is something within me that easily goes beyond my weaknesses for my children when it comes to outward affection.  Now if only that were the case in some of the other areas of my life that I'm weak in...ie PATIENCE!  ;)  Ha!
Anyways, all that to say...we are well along in our bonding and connecting with Miss Ellie May.  She is an irreplaceable part of our family and I'm so happy she is ours.  I cannot express how undeserving I feel to be put in charge of these two little darling souls.  I pray that we serve our God well in this area.

So, Eloise at two months...

This girl gives smiles freely (but not to the camera...she just stares and frowns at the camera)  All you have to do is talk nice to her.  ;)  She better grow out of this before she hits her dating years.  Ha!  For example, I was getting coffee and I had her and Jack in the double stroller.  I was putting cream in my coffee and she started to fuss a little.  I was just going to let her cry a second while I finished getting my coffee ready when a darling old lady saw the opportunity and started to talk to Ellie.  Ellie immediately stopped fussing and gave her the biggest coo and smile.  Love it!
 She is gaining more and more neck control.  She still bobbles here and there but it's getting easier and easier to hold her with one arm...which is a welcome ability with a toddler running around.  :)

It's funny to have a boy first and then to have a girl.  I really don't remember Jack cooing.  Like ever.  Eloise started doing it right around the time she started smiling.  She actually rarely smiles without letting some sort of noise exit her mouth.  So fun. 

Nursing is going well.  She seems to handle my fast let down much better now.  We just went through a pretty good growth spurt where she was nursing close to every 1.5 hours (during the day).  That's over though which is nice. 



Still sleeps like a champ at night.  Girl loves her sleep.  She has slept through the night probably 3 or 4 times recently but for the most part will wake up around 4 am to nurse. I tried letting her not be swaddled last night (well just her arms free) and she woke up at 12:30 soooo...back in the swaddle she went.  Weaning Jack of the swaddle was SUCH a big deal last time so I was thinking maybe it would be nice to not let her get too attached to it.  She still has a pretty strong startle reflex though so I think I will just wait until that goes away to try again.  Cause mama loves her sleep too.  ;)  She is still sleeping in our room.  We are going on a trip to SLO and I figure I won't move her into the crib until we get back.  Once we do though...I think into the crib she goes.  She sleeps so well that I think if I use the monitor to hear her I can get to her before she wakes Jack up.  She grunts for a good long time before she will let out a cry and usually the grunting is enough to get me up.  :)

She recently had her 2 month appt at the pediatrician.  She is 10 lbs 4 oz which puts her in the 30th percentile.  She is a bit over 23 inches making her 80th percentile in height...and her head is like 60th percentile.  Basically she is long and lean.  Love my little string bean.  :)

And there we have it.  Eloise May at 2 Months!  <3

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life in Arizona

Blogging.

Kinda falling by the way side.  Is that how that saying goes?  Who knows.  Anyways, for obvious reason this blog is being a bit neglected.  It has seasons like everything else I guess.  Seasons when I'm on here a lot...typing out thoughts.  And seasons like now...where I feel like the main reason it exists is to document my kids...for family...and also for myself to look back on.

I was thinking that it would be awesome to print out all my blog entries for the last however many years...7?  I think seven years.  Crazy man.  That would take like 6 ink cartridges but still...it would be fun to have.  Sorta like a journal that my kids and grandkids can look at when I'm all old and crusty.  ;)  Ha!

Anyways.  Things are busy...of course.  We just had a lovely bout of the stomach flu...AGAIN.  Seriously...this last 6 months in Arizona has just about done us in.  We have had 2 rounds of the stomach flu...at least 4 colds...croup, rashes...you name it.  Crazy.  And the whole five years we lived in San Francisco?  Maybe a few colds?  Yeah.  I guess we were due.  Hopefully we will have a nice long spell of good health...but I'm not counting on it ha!

And life in Arizona is....HOT.  HOT HOTTTTTTTTT!  In the last last two weeks I'm pretty sure we haven't had a day where it's been cooler then 110 degrees.  Seriously?  Blows my mind.  I mean...I like heat.  90 degrees I can manage.  But 113? 114? 116?  Yeah.  That's nuts.  Our house is set at 80 degrees during the day because I don't want to go broke paying for AC.  We all wear shorts and tank tops and we're fine.  And if you want the house to feel cooler?  Stand outside for 5 minutes and walk back in!  Suddenly the house feels blissfully cold....for a few minutes at least.  :)

We are going to SLO in July and I actually had to go buy a sweatshirt for Ellie and some pants.  She hasn't known anything else but heat and the poor thing is probably going to freeze in mid-70's weather.  I'm glad somebody gifted us some footie pj's.  She definitely doesn't use them here but they will come in handy for SLO for sure.  :)

We have also found a church...praise the LORD!  Seriously...it only took us 6 months haha.  We have been going to a couple of different churches while here...consistently but they just didn't feel quite right.  I had resolved myself to just be content and thankful for the freedom to GO to church and was about to settle when a girl I met told me about the church SHE went to.  Sounded kinda like our cup of tea.  We decided that after visiting this new church we would decide between the three and commit for a year...mostly for Jack's sake.  He was starting to get separation anxiety from going to different toddler classes at different churches...and he usually just runs away from us and doesn't look back when we drop him off at Sunday school.  Anyways, we went and it was RIGHT.  The children's program is awesome and purposeful.  Jack willingly goes and is happy there.  The preaching is right on and relevant.  They take Communion every Sunday (not a deal breaker but we appreciate the focus placed on the Sacrament).  Yeah...it's just good.  And I am SO thankful to have found it.

I've also met some friends.  Hey now!  I mean...not bossom friends or anything ;).  Is it even possible to meet a new "bossom friend" when you are a mom of little's?  I kinda feel like it's hard.  When you can't even finish a thought without having to tell your kids to stop doing something...seems hard to really connect with someone ha!  I was telling Jason that I used to think I was the "funny athletic" one in the group.  Like that was my "social identity".  Now I'm basically neither of those.  I usually feel far from witty...and I haven't exercised in over a year soooo....who AM I???  ha!  I'm a mama.  I'm a follower of Jesus.  I'm a wife.  And I'm still funny.  Sometimes.  And one day I will be athletic again.  I think I'm just learning to socialize and interact as a mom.  And maybe if I make a close friend and have a girls night out I can bring out the "funny crazy Anna"...when I'm not so distracted and preoccupied with making sure that my 2 year old doesn't sit on my 2 month olds face.  Priorities you know?!?  Either way there have been some kind mamas who have reached out to me and made this place feel a little more like home.  Very thankful for that.

Overall I don't hate it here.  Ha!  That's good right?!?  I mean...we moved from San Francisco.  One of the most beautiful cities in the USA.  I truly loved our life in S.F.  It was unique, and trendy, and hip.  I mean seriously, we had the best food, the best coffee...the best of many things right at our fingertips.  I loved public trans, I loved the spring, fall, and winter (the cold freezing summers...not so much).  Even though our place was the size of a hamster cage...I loved our home.  This part of Arizona is dry...and flat...and well, this area in general is the farthest thing from trendy.  It has every chain store you can imagine...literally.  I'm sure there are some unique small businesses here but they are hard to find.  And yet...I could live here long term...I think.  ;)  I mean...being so far from family sucks.  And honestly if we could find sustainable jobs in SLO I think we would move back to be close to family...but this is where God has us for now.  And I'm okay with it.  Assuming all things pan out...Jason's job and general life here.  So we will see.  I always tell Jason that I could live anywhere as long as I have my people around me.  My family...and some good friends.  We lived in a dry ugly city in the desert of Chile but we loved it because of the people we met.  People are what matter the most.  When I'm old and grey I'm not going to think back on the place I lived...but the relationships I made while there.  So, we are hoping to make some good friends and enjoy our time here....however long that might be...one year...or twenty years.  ;)

Anyways, that's a little update on life here in AZ.  Things I'm definitely loving are: gas prices, food prices, desert hiking (when it's not 116 degrees), our 3 bedroom HOUSE that we pay less then the hamster cage in San Francisco, our large yard (when it's not 116 degrees)...and sometimes every chain store you can imagine is kinda nice too.  I've always wanted to go to Buy Buy Baby, Bass Pro Shop, and Ikea.  :)

 

And because a blog post isn't complete without a picture here's a completely unrelated, hilarious little gem for you.  Poor Ellie. It's tough being loved SO much. Ha!  :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jack Thoren is TWO

Guess who turned TWO last Saturday?!?  Our little Jacko!  I can't believe the little guy is already two.  It feels like we just brought him home as a little bundle from the hospital...and it also simultaneously feels like he's ALWAYS been around.  Funny how that works.  ;)  Seeing as we don't really know that many people in our area AND...we have a 6 week old...we kept Jack's party low key

We started the day by getting donuts!!!  Yum.  Jason wanted me to make pancakes but I stayed up a liiiiittle late making Jack's cake.  So instead?  Donuts!  Jack most certainly was not disappointed.  After donuts we went to the water pad where Jack had a good old time cooling himself in the water...you know, since it's like a million degrees here in the summer.  Is it EVEN technically summer yet?


Back before we moved to Arizona and I was thinking we would have a real birthday party with family and friends I was planning on doing a King Jack and the Dragon theme.  Have you read the book???  It's adorable.  And Jack loves it...and hello!  It's JACK and the Dragon so perfect right?  Well, once it became apparent that we were moving and there wouldn't be a big party I kinda scrapped that idea.  I still sorta went with it I guess though.  I made him his birthday crown and his "dragon" was his cake.  I was planning on making wings for it but...it was 12:30am and I was pooped soooo...no wings.  :)



After naps we did ANOTHER water activity.  The kid loves water and like I said...it's hot.  We have a wave pool by our house that's pretty fun.  Little guy had a blast.  And we took turns going out with Jack while the other parent held Eloise.  :)


For dinner we had soft tacos with SOUR CREAM.  Jack's favorite thing in all the wide world is sour cream.  He adores it.  Pretty sure he would even put it on his cereal if we let him.  Now, I love sour cream too...don't get me wrong.  But he takes it to a whole new level. 



After dinner we did Facetime with the grandparents and had cake and opened presents.  He needed some help with the opening presents part.  He would peel a bit off and then want to put it back.  Doesn't surprise me I guess.  He's pretty orderly and clean soooo...yeah.


This picture makes me so happy and sad all at the same time.  He is growing up and getting so big!  And yet I just miss that little baby sometimes.  He sure is fun though as a little toddler.  ;)


And there you have it!  Jack is now 2!!!  Happy Birthday buddy!  We love you so much and are so thankful for your sweet, silly, and loving personality.  You are such a joy and cannot imagine life without you by our side.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

FRESHLY PICKED WINNER!!!

Well it's time for a winner friends!!!

I used my trusty random.org chooser and it has chosen...

#5
I'd get more weathered brown of course.
 
Yay friend!  So happy for you!  Send me an email hug.a.willow.tree@gmail.com and we will get you your moccs!  :)

Thanks for entering everyone and hope you are having an awesome weekend!  <3
 
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