Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sights of Christmas Eve

The presents are wrapped.

The stockings are hung and filled.    

Candlelight Christmas Eve service was amazing and reminded us what this season is all about - Jesus and of course, family and loving one another.  

A wonderful shrimp dinner was had. 


Christmas jammies were opened... and put on.  

 Cookies and milk for Santa; celery and carrots for Rudolph.  

And the littles are tucked away in bed (some are sleeping and some are not - I'll let you guess who)

Merry Christmas Eve to you all!  Wishing you a wonderful day with family and friends!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Iowa for Christmas

Another yearly holiday tradition that I forgot to mention in my last post is our annual holiday trip to visit my grandma in Iowa.  As kids we used to always go up right after we opened presents on Christmas morning, which was fun to see everyone on Christmas, but not so fun as a kid to open presents, pick 2 of your favorites and hop in the car for 6 hours.  Soon the tradition then became the weekend before Christmas, so here we are.

This is also only the second Christmas we are spending without my sweet grandpas stories, kisses and smiles as he passed away in October of 2013.  So while the holidays are not easy without our loved ones we so wish were there, we still celebrated knowing that he was watching over us.

This year, instead of driving 5.5 hours straight on Saturday morning, we decided to head out Friday after work and make a pit stop in Omaha to stay with one of my best friends from college, Erica, and her husband.  She turned the but 3-0 earlier that week and since we couldn't go to the birthday party celebration Saturday night, we thought this would be perfect!  

We got there on Friday and the kids stayed up way too late playing with all Erica and Andrew's toys (they are foster parents looking to adopt right now and going through IVF as well; it's a pretty inspiring story that you can read about here if interested).  Then we put them down and stayed up even later catching up after way too long with these two.  They are the best and let's just say I laughed a lot and it was good for my soul.

Somehow, Charlie slept in and then we had a lazy morning of playing with their dogs and chasing the lion around their house (this is Charlie's fictitious animal that he chases with his drumstick).  Then we all went and met my parents and sister and her boyfriend at the infamous mattress factory downtown Omaha as they made their way through town on the way to Iowa.

And we took a picture with just adults:

And found a funny body to out Charlie's head on (my dad is on the ground- haha!). 

And then we said our goodbyes (or so my grandpa would say) and hit the road for storm lake.  Since it was around nap time, everyone was doing great sleeping away.  Then I sent my mom a text saying "yeah! Everyone is sleeping" and they both woke up screaming immediately following- go figure.

Charlie also decided he wasn't going to nap without me holding his hand. So I sat like this for an hour.

Once we arrived, we stopped to say hi to family, then went to get checked into our hotel, get beds set up and Charlie was dying to go swimming in the water park!!!  They had so much fun!!!

Maddie and I had fun back at my grandma's showing everyone all her sitting tricks and making noises!

Then we went to Pizza Ranch. A new establishment in good old Storm Lake and luckily we got there right at 5 because by the time we left there was a line out the door. No joke. Seriously insane!

Then it was back to open presents and dessert and apparently pass out from so much dessert consumption.  Hahah.

At about 7:45, my kids were spent, so we headed back to attempt to sleep all in the same room.  

Bath time went well (I mean this kid is the sweetest big brother washing her hair and he even blew on his hands to make them warm like we do with his lotion!).  

Then it was time for bed.  We brought the pack n play for Maddie and got a little  cot (similar to the ones Charlie uses at school) for him to sleep on.  

Yeah....that lasted like an hour and next thing we know those 2 queen beds jimmy and I had to ourselves were invaded with little arms and legs.  And I'm wondering why we even packed the pack n play and cot...

Pretty much, no one slept.  Maddie woke up every 3 hours crying to eat, which I did to try to keep her quiet.  Then I got woken up by Charlie crawling into my bed and hitting me with the frozen did case asking to "watch Elsa"- no, sorry dude, not at 3:30am.  Then Charlie was trying to get back in bed with jimmy and fell while climbing up and rocked his face.  He cried, we hugged and back to bed (not realizing how bad it was until morning- poor guy!).

Turns out, my parents and sister didn't get any sleep either because there was a party outside their hotel room from 1-4 am.  No thank you!!!

But then the sun comes up and all of a sudden your kids aren't the devils you think they are (I mean yes, Maddie was completely adorable cooing and smiling at me - but please, even the cutest babies aren't cute doing that at 3am).

Nothing a little coffee, McDonald's breakfast and more hugs and kisses from family members can't solve. Oh and peppermint dessert for my dad...

And this picture really summed up everything for me.  And why we drive so far in just a weekend to visit friends and family.  How happy my grandma is to be with her family and see who much her sweet great grand babies have grown.  All the nurses in her facility know Charlie and Maddie and it's so special.  Like I said on Instagram, it's worth the unhappy kids in the car, sleepless hotel nights, family drama, and upset stomachs from all the junk food consumed....because what would Christmas time be without family time??

If only storm lake was a few hours closer, right? Until next year....

And here's some other pictures my mom sent over.  They are pretty cute!

But this one takes the cake.  I love how big my grandma is smiling even though Maddie has got a death grip on her hair!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five holiday traditions

Seriously people- christmas is next week. I'm not sure how that's even possible but it is!! With that, I have loved reading about others fun family traditions- so I thought I would share ours...some new and some old!

Join the link up too with DarciAprilNatasha and Christina


Christmas Eve candle light service and dinner.  My family has always done a shrimp boil in Christmas Eve night. Don't ask me why, but it was always something we so looked forward to as kids and even grown up kids!!  Ever since Charlie came along and the evenings are so short with the early bedtime, we have started doing this with our own little family and invite my parents over to join in.  This year the menu is: shrimp, corn on the cob, green bean casserole, fruit salad and the red lobster cheddar biscuits!!  And likely I'll whip up an apple crisp as well!  Yum!  It's so fun and even better to host my parents after they cooked for me and my sister so many years.

And now we go to church before dinner (used to go to the 11pm one pre kids) and it's the candle light Christmas Eve service and it's my favorite service of the year.  We've been doing it ever since I can remember (when I was little my hair even caught on fire!! Which now kids get battery operated ones!).  But the darkness is so real and so empty feeling and then the one candle (symbolize Jesus' birth) that spreads thoroughoit the room that then becomes so light is such a tangible thing for me to experience when wanting to understand and feel His love.

Christmas Eve pajamas.  This is a newish one for us since last year and I'm so excited to have a baby girl so we can have matching pjs!!  However, I had a harder time than I though finding marxhing Christmas pajama in toddler and baby size.  I must not be looking. At all the right places.  I ended up just getting Maddie a 12 month.  She's pretty much too long for her 9 month pjs anyways- so we will see how this goes!!!


Christmas lights. Now that Charlie is forward facing in his car seat and is memorized by lights- we have found this to be a super fun tradition to do on the cold nights of winter in between dinner and bedtime.  Especially if we don't want to watch Frozen/the incredibles/Monstors inc/toy story/little mermaid for the 40,000th time.  We still have a few more places to hit up ( including Jimmy's brothers neighborhood!) before Christmas Day!!  But he LOVED the show at Deanna rose farm so much- what a cool sisplay.  If you are in KC- you must check it out!


Our elf, Tony.  Ha.  If you have known me for a while (aka in high school or college),  that might make you laugh that his name is Tony, but jimmy claims that Charlie picked it!

I have had fun this year moving Tony about as he visits Charlie and Maddie each day.  Charlie kind of gets it and is rather fixated on Tony when he finds him but one morning I forgot and so did he- thank goodness!  I'm guessing next year I'll step it up a notch when he understands a little more but for now- it's a casual elf/kid relationship and it's pretty fun to see his face!!


Christmas Day night at the Carter's.  Did I mention my mother in law is awesome!! Well with 5 boys of her own, she set the holiday celebrations the same time/day each year and they are always usually at the kind of "off" time.  Like we do thanksgiving on Wednesday night so not everyone is eating 2 or even 3 meals a day.  With Christmas, we all go over there on Christmas day night.  The menu varies from year to year (sometimes she makes her Mexican good- tacos and enchiladas which are to die for). But we ALWAYS have a birthday cake for Jesus.  And really folks- that's what it is all about.  It's so great to end our Christmas Day celebrating with that side of the family and seeing and hearing about all the presents everyone got and doing our own gift exchange- but really, when we light the candles and everyone sings happy birthday to baby Jesus and celebrate his arrival in human flesh so many years ago in the manger - his unlit mate goal to save us all from our's pretty special.   And such a great tradition and reminder for all of us- especially our kids- what this time of year is really truly about!!

So there you have it- some of my favorite holiday traditions!  We have a few more- visiting santa, neighborhood hay ride and hot cocoa.  Next year I'm hoping to start one where we adopt a family and go together to buy them gifts.  We did that a few times with Jimmy's family and it was fun and something I really want Charlie and Maddie to understand how important giving back the blessings and gifts we have is so important!

What are your favorite traditions?? Any special to your family??

And just for fun (I'll share more later!!) but here is a picture of my sweet kids in front of the tree captured by my talented friend Ali last weekend!!  And by "sweet" when referring to Charlie I really mean ornery...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guest Blog - DIY teacher gifts

Hi friends!

It's that time of year again for teacher gifts.  You can find me today over at Vanessa's blog talking about a quick and easy project to dress up those gift cards for your kid's teachers.

I love gifting my kid's teachers and really think they deserve every gift because often times their job can be so unappreciated and for sure underpaid.  While it's not much, a small gift card of $10-20 will likely make them feel a little more appreciated.  Personally, I'm thankful that my kids both have caring, loving and dedicated teachers with them all day while I'm at work.  It's so fun to see the activities they do, the friends they are making and the fun they are having - all while learning!!!  So make sure you don't forget them - they have moved up each year on my list for sure!!

Here's a shot of the ornament - check out her blog to get more details!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Random five- it's Friday!!

Wahoo - almost the weekend.  We have a BUSY one ahead of us - but cannot wait to spend some time with the fam!


Join the link up too with DarciAprilNatasha and Christina


Foot update.  Oh my.  

I got to see my stitches/wound on Tuesday.  It's big and long and bruised and gross. No wonder it's hurting so bad. Blah.  I'm impatient and ready to get my boot off and be dunzo with this.  


Pictures!! Miss Ali Moore is coming to Kansas City tonight to stay with us and take some family pictures and really some shots of miss Maddie since she's almost 6 months old!! I seriously cannot wait.  For so many reasons- pictures, friends and chunky babies!

I love their clothes so much and can't wait to see the pics in them!!


New art work!!!  Ok now that I'm in love with the new kitchen table...we are now for sure going with the green and turquoise color scheme and I love it.  We had these great pictures that my MIL bought for us at our old house that fit here just great.  But there is red in then so I'm trying to get rid of red...and guess what I found sitting in our basement?  Canvas paintings that Jimmy and I painted from a date night we had in our basement (which I apparently never blogged about- horrible me because Jimmy put so much work into that night and it was actually very fun!)!!!

Mine is on top left and Jimmy's is on the top right.  I think they are fun and the fact that we made them together makes it a great reminder on such a prominent wall in our house how important our time is together and marriage.

And I found this hilarious post from 2010 showing you Jimmy's long standing love of Bob Ross - which is the video that we watched to paint these and used his supplies!!  Seriously - I loved my blog and how simple life was back then!!!


Sickness is the name of the game at our house. Luckily it's not anything horrible yet and just one person but it's the worst person- sweet Maddie! She's got a wicked cold and is just so stiff up.  Poor thing!!  Kids in her class have RSV and bronchitis - so I'm praying she doesn't get either.  I might end up taking her to the doctor just in case though. Just a horrible yucky cough!!!

But girlfriend is getting better at holding her own bottle at school!!!

Sickness means everyone goes to bed early.  Which means there is PILES of laundry and a dirty dirty house.  Grossness.  Hoping maybe next week I will start to catch up?????


This is super random - but I love this.  I'm going to add these to our kitchen because I'm sick of our current "banana stand".  I have a cute little bowl to put the rest of our fruit in, but need something to hang our stash of bananas.  This is perfect and so awesome that it's built in!!

Check out the blog post on it here with some more details!!

I should have posted on Christmas decor, presents, getting ready for the season and all our traditions - but I didn't. Because I'm pooped and it's easier to just do random stuff - so enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Butter, green beans and poop

Odd title, huh?  Well we are a bit odd and since this is a glimpse into our lives- odd titles are where it's at.

Instead of bombarding the instagram/Facebook world with these silly photos I take of my crew- I'm saving it for my blog aka my kid's baby books.  


Charlie loves the stuff and ever since thanksgiving, he tries to eat it plain. Worse off, the location of the butter sticks in the fridge is Charlie height.  So I shouldn't have been surprised when I turned around to see Maddie holding on to a stick of butter.  One that her brother "gifted her" then turned right around and decided it was his.

Their first sinking fight...over butter. Oh my.


So far Maddie has had a taste of ceral, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and squash.  I was waiting for thre green stuff, hesitant she wouldn't like. Bam. The girl loved it. And she LOVES holding on to her spoon.  I had to literally pry her sausage fingers off of it!!

Third: POOP

Charlie POOPED in the little potty for the first time on Monday, 12/8/14.  Big big day in the Carter household!  Our little man has been good at peeing in the toilet before bath and when he wakes up (not one time at school....) and last night finally executed #2.  He was so proud of himself and we were so proud of him too!!!

Crazy for him and his accomplishments! (And maybe the fact that I see a glimmer of hope that I can stop paying for diapers for TWO kids)

PS I did take a picture, but I'll spare you that one.  As well as my picture of my foot incision.  Yuck to both of these things.

So there you have it. The most random blog post of all.  

Happy Hump Day friends.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Party weekend

December is just crazy.  I love the holidays and getting to see everyone even more but my oh my I already need s nap and we've only made it through the first weekend of the month.

If you follow me on Instagram or saw in my five on Friday post, you saw I had surgery on my foot Thursday morning.  Friday I spent the day on the couch with my foot propped up and my nurse changing my ice every hour or so (besides the time he had to go to the doctor and has an ear infection- what??!) and I redesigned my old blog with a fresh new look (finally!).  

Friday night came too fast and I had my first experience showering with a foot you cannot get wet. Ha. That was interesting!  But then for the first time ever we had a non family babysitter (Maddie's teacher from school) and headed off to the annual Carter family Christmas party.  This is Jimmy's 11th year throwing this.  It started with some friends in his apartment in college and has been in several bars in lawrence and then moved to Kansas City into the Knights of Columbus hall in Shawnee.  There are always a lot of people that come to just enjoy cheap beer, bring your own wine/liquor and some Christmas snacks!!!  Needless to say, I always seem to have a bad attitude about it because it's on a Friday night...but once I pull my panties out of a wad and go...I always end up having such a great time.  I just love getting to see all our friends in one place!!

Saturday we had a lazy morning because guess what? After standing at the party too much my foot was throbbing. It hurt so so bad!!  Guess that's what I get for pushing it too hard.  So that meant some snuggles and movies for everyone!!

But after Charlie nap we got ready and went to sweet Stella's first birthday.  First off, I rarely dress Miss Maddie up, but how much fun I had getting her dressed up for this party!  Such a cutie in her little white skinny jeans - so styling!!

I cannot believe it's already been a year since Stella made her debut. Her mom, Lindsay is one of my best friends that I worked with at hallmark.  It's been so fun to see Lindsay and her husband Danny become such great parents this last year and Lindsay outdid herself on the cutest party ever! She had a vintage carnival team and it was just the cutest.  And Stella?  Well she was so adorable with her curly brown locks, gorgeous polka dot dress and sweet smile!! 

We loved getting to celebrate her special day with them.  Charlie enjoyed entertaining the guests with his dinosaur impressions as well- this kid!

Then we headed to make an exchange with my parents- they took our car and kids and we took their car and headed to Kauffman stadium for my work party.  Not sure how I didn't get one picture of jimmy and I, but Jimmy got one of the field from where we had drinks in the Diamond Club.  

Then we headed down to the Crown Club for a lovely dinner with my coworkers.  Was so fun to meet everyone's spouses I hear about all the time!!  Everyone was very impressed with my husband's name- Jimmy Carter!

Sunday we headed. To church - which is now a lot more fun because we get to see our good friends the Calcaras and Alexander's now!! What a blessing to all get to worship together!!  After helping my sister with some of her MBA homework, we headed over to Jimmy's parents house to watch the Chiefs game.  I made a trip to the grocery store too for my freezer meal exchange tonight and some more baby food for our hungry girl!!  And took some selfies of course.

By the time I got home, Charlie helped me make the pizza casserole, Jimmy gave the kids baths and then going back and forth trying to make Maddie sleep on her crib and the 25 minutes it feels like it takes now to get ready to take a shower (because I have to bag and tape my foot so it stays dry)....10pm rolled around and we were pooped.  What a weekend!

And just for fun - another freezer meal recipe that was a hit.  Super easy and if you use ground turkey, turkey pepperoni, wheat pasta and throw in some veggies (I threw in green peppers and mushrooms), it's actually not THAT bad for you and guess what?  The kids (including my husband) love it because it tastes like PIZZA!!  This is what Charlie and I made together for my freezer meal exchange!  Try it out!

We are pretty much done decorating - probably because I'm just over it.  Since this is the second Christmas in our house, I have some Christmas decor that I want to pick up for sale the day after Christmas!!  But we have our Elf on the Shelf (Tony) visiting us each day and are having so much fun getting in the holiday spirit - whether it's seeing Santa, holiday neighborhood hay rides, going to look at lights, sipping hot chocolate, Christmas parties or Christmas shows...we are getting ready for December 25!!!  Hope you are too!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A new kitchen farmhouse table - DIY!!!

 It all started with this plan on Shanty 2 Chic's website - I saw this photo on Instagram way back in like May of this year.  And told Jimmy that I wanted him to build this.  At the time I was about 7.5 months pregnant - so even though I was the one that built everything in the past, he was going to have to take on that duty.

And take it on he did.  He rocked it.  I gave him heck for taking 6 months to finish - but in between learning how to do it right and becoming an expert on the Kreg Jig...the farmhouse table and matching bench became everything I ever dreamed of.  Seriously.  It's amazing.  Huge, heavy and AMAZING.

It literally completes our kitchen.  And the added bonus?  The new rectangle light as well - which was a steal from Menard's as well that we have had for awhile.

To give the full effect - here is the before.  Makes quite a difference huh?  This table was from my parent's house that was pretty old.  We passed it on to my sister now too - just moving through the family!!

And a side view of the after.  For sure not the best photog skills...silly iPhone and nighttime.  I need to work on those. But trust me - it looks FABULOUS.  Makes our kitchen look so amazing.

Look at those details.  Jimmy did such a great job and put so much work into it.  From the sanding to the stain to cutting the boards just perfectly.

I love the bottom - which you obviously do not notice right away.  But I do and I love it.

And the second best thing to the table?  The matching bench.  Yep - he took it one step further and rocked this bench.  I love it so much.  Charlie does too and we have already used it a few times for the baptism and Thanksgiving.  Fits so many people!

Ahh - I just love the detail!

And the top.  it's amazing.  Jimmy used the Kreg Jig to connect the boards from underneath so there are no holes on top.  It looks like it's professional!

Now we just need a rug big enough to go underneath it!

But seriously - best husband ever.  Totally worth the 6 month wait because he built the whole thing for under $200.  And that is even with having to buy the top boards twice because he screwed the holes through the top the first time (don't worry I found a re use for those boards).

And the chairs?  I found those at Old Time Pottery on clearance.  They were the ebony stained chairs - and I knew I wanted the off white chairs.  Enter in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I got a quart of that in Old White and after two coats on each of the chairs and then a seal - wahlah!  Off white chairs that fit just perfect and were only $25 each.  I know, can you believe it?

The whole table, bench and six chairs for under $400.

What I love is that I really feel like DIY projects makes our house feel more like our HOME.  In our last house, it felt so much like home because we DIY everything ourselves.  One project at a time, this house is truly feeling like ours!!!!

Now that I know Jimmy's skills - I have a list of other projects!!!

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