Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009 {Snapshots}

Can you tell I'm trying to finish up all of my 2009 posts?!? This blog book thing is really helping to keep me on least at the very end of the year. So, to wrap up 2009, here are the {snapshots} of our Christmas celebrations!

Christmas Eve is always spent with Justin's family. Justin got off work early, so we hung out with his parents, brother, sister and the girls for the afternoon. Kim had made some salt dough (is that what it's called?) So everyone made ornaments. We decided it will be an annual tradition. Barrett had fun rolling the dough into balls and making "no-men." That evening all the extended McPherson family came over for the annual Mexican fiesta!

After that, the kids were more than ready to open presents. We were so excited to see what Barrett would be like opening presents for Christmas this year, and he was precious! He loved tearing into those gifts and got lots of FUN things. One of his favorites was a little magna-doodle board that makes car noises when you draw on it. He got lots of jammies, which he needed. Every time he opened clothes, he would squeal, squeeze them against his cheek and then toss them behind him.

We usually go to my parents house after we leave there on Christmas Eve, but this year both of my brothers were not going to be here until early evening on Christmas day. I was in a state of depression over it...I am 30, and this is the first time I wouldn't wake up on Christmas morning with my family!! I got over it though! With me and my brothers getting older, all being married now, and having kids...I knew this day would come. It was just sad.

So we stayed in our cozy little house that night, and Barrett woke up to Santa gifts on Christmas morning by our tree. Christmas day is also my mom's birthday, so we invited them over for breakfast and to watch Barrett get his gifts. I told my dad I would call him when Barrett got up, so they could come over before we let him out to see his Santa gifts. I told him he usually wakes up around 7:30. He must have missed the "I'll call you" part, because they were at our back door at 7:30am. We were still in bed, and Barrett was still snoozin' too. It worked out great though, because they got to be here when he got up (not till 8:30), and helped take video for me.

On Christmas evening around 5:30pm everyone arrived at my parents! I was so happy to have them all there. My older Brother and his family live in South Carolina, so I hadn't seen them since Brandon's wedding in August. It was sooo great to finally hold my nephew, Jones! Barrett loved the baby. He would say "baby Jones," and crawl up in my lap anytime I was holding him. I loved watching Barrett and his cousins, Emma and Lauren playing together. Make me sad they don't get to see each other often enough.

See my mom's cake up there!?! One of my friends (a mom from playgroup) has a cake business, Spread Thin: A Mother's Bakery. I called her up last minute to make a special cake for my mom. I drew up the circle design in photoshop, sent it off to her, and she did awesome! The cake was delicious...filled with raspberry filling! Yum-o!

At our family, the tradition has always been to pass out the gifts and then go around and open one at a time. I wasn't sure how Barrett would do with this, but he was pretty patient. He would play with his toys in between his turns to open. Uncle Bobby helped all the kids pass out the gifts. They did pretty good. He would tell Barrett who to take it to, and he usually got it right. We had to double-check our tags before we started opening tough...there were a few that Lauren took that had "Laura" on them. She would tell me, "No, that's my name." I love doing presents like this! It usually takes us a couple hours to open, but it's so fun to see what everyone gets. After months of shopping and wrapping, it's nice to get to watch others open the gifts you got for them. We got lots of great stuff. My favorite was a new camera bag from my mom and dad. It's a messenger-style bag with plenty of room for my camera with a lens on, and two additional lenses. Plus pockets for my keys, etc. It will be so nice to have on shoots!

On the 26th, Mamo and my Aunt's family came down for another Mexican dinner. The kids had a great time playing together. Barrett really liked Gannon...he followed him around everywhere. Mamo got to meet her newest grandson for the first time, and we opened a few more gifts.

Our last Christmas celebration was with the BFE kids out at Audra's house. We got together for muffins and cider, and so the kids could have their exchange. This year, since our children really don't need anything, we decided to give books. Barrett got a cute monster book from Hadley & Jillian. He had lots of fun playing with all of Lydia's new Christmas toys!

It was a wonderful Christmas, full of quality time with family and friends!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year...may 2010 be {sweet} to you!

wordless wednesday: 12/30/09

I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's sorta still Wednesday to me!

And's really not possible for me to do a "wordless" post :)
It's really just an excuse for me to post a picture, without having to type too much else!

I love snuggling B right after he comes out of the bath!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Little School Boy

You might remember this post, about Barrett's first day of school, back in September. He calls it school, but it's really Kids Day In (KDI). He goes every Friday from 9am-1pm, at our church.

He talks about "school" all the time, and loves to show off the pictures and crafts he makes there. But when it comes time to go and for Mommy to leave, he gets sad every time! All semester long, I just kept hoping that he would get used to the routine, and wouldn't cry when I left him, but he didn't. It was hard on me, but I knew he was in good hands. I would hand him off to one of the teachers, and watch from the window until he stopped crying. It usually didn't take too long. They knew how much he loves books, so they would usually sit down and read to him.

I got to stay and volunteer one Friday in October, so I was able to see what all they get to do. Barrett loved having me there. The teachers couldn't believe how talkative and ornery he was with me there! When they first get there, the kids color and play with playdough. After everyone is there, they play with toys, read stories, have craft time, and go upstairs to the gym. Everyone brings a sack lunch, so they all get to sit around the table together and eat. Barrett's not too great at this...most weeks when I pick him up, his lunch box is still full. I usually pack a sandwich, cheese stick, fruit and pretzels or crackers. Most of the time, the only thing missing is the fruit or the crackers.

Barrett has a picture of his whole class, and he loves to carry it around and point to all the kids and teachers. All four of his teachers from first semester were super sweet, but each afternoon when I'd come to get him, they would tell me that Miss Ellen was his buddy for the day. She is a college student here in town, and on the women's basketball team. It was nice to know someone there didn't mind a clingy toddler :) Her class schedule is different next semester, so she doesn't think she'll be able to help with KID. Mr. Barrett will be very sad!

He doesn't go back to school/KDI until January 8th. I'm hoping during the next semester, he'll get past the stage of not wanting me to leave. It makes me feel good that he loves his mama that much, but I don't like for him to be sad the whole time I'm gone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December Catch-up

It's obvious I've had to neglect the blog over the last month, due to my busy season of photography and wedding invite orders. So I have some catching up to do, so that our family scrapbook is complete! I've already imported all of my 2009 blog posts into Blurb, and I can already tell, this year is going to be SO much easier!!

It is so fun to me, when Barrett will copy something that he's seen me do. On this morning, I was busy sorting out a big print order I'd just received. I looked over to see Barrett had climbed up into his booster seat, and was busy crafting! He had seen me using my Zip Dry many times, and was dotting it on scraps of paper just like Mommy! Nothing was coming out, but he didn't care, he was deep in crafting concentration!

Ever since he was tiny, Barrett has really loved his bath time. Seems like just yesterday we were bathing him the little tub in the kitchen sink. After we moved him into the big tub, he thought it was really exciting. Up until about mid-November, when he suddenly did NOT want to get into the tub. Instead of the usual squeals of excitement, when we asked if he wanted to take a bath, we would get a firm "NO." So for a few weeks there, it was a struggle to get him undressed and into the tub. He would want to stand up the whole time, and would cry if we tried to get him to sit. Then, all of the sudden last week, he's back to enjoying bath time, and not wanting to get out until his fingers and toes look like little raisins!

The month of December is not complete without a batch of Peanut Butter Kisses!!

I love making these cookies to give as gifts. The recipe I use is SUPER easy. I do like to eat the cookies, but I'd rather make them to give away. This year I made a TON. We gave a box full to Mimi and Grandma Sandy as part of our "5 Days of Christmas" exchange, and a box to our neighbors. We also gave a box to Norah Kate's family, for keeping Barrett one afternoon so I could get a massage! That massage was the perfect way to treat myself after a busy was Heaven!! If anyone is in need of some pampering, OR in need of a gift idea for me :) Visit Madeline at Bluestem B&B!

Anyway, I gave Barrett his first Peanut Butter Kiss the other day, and he LOVED it. He licked the chocolate kiss for a couple minutes. He said "num-num, Mama."

These are some pictures I took one evening while we were watching The Polar Express. This is the night the obsession started! We had the big air mattress set up in the middle of the family room that night, since we were doing the remodel (painting the bedroom and waiting for our new bed). He loved being able to lay back on the pillows and have the tv right in front of him.

We got his blanket and milk, and cuddled up on the bed to watch the movie. It was so cozy there, with the Christmas tree glowing beside us and the fireplace by our feet. He was captivated by the choo-choo.

These pictures are of Barrett's morning routine while I'm in the shower. He is my little shadow all day long, and while I'm showering, it's no different. I just leave the bathroom door open while I shower, because I he never leaves the bathroom. He'll get some of the toys from his room and bring them into the bathroom, but he never bothers to go anywhere else in the house.

On this morning, I was in the middle of washing my hair when I heard a thud. I pulled back the curtain to see a small pile of books on the floor. Fifteen seconds later...another thud. The thuds repeated like clock-work for the next couple minutes. By the time I got out of the shower, Barrett had successfully emptied his entire bookshelf. ALL of the toys, books and cars from his shelf were in the middle of the bathroom floor!

He had been VERY busy, but he helped me put it all back!

That pretty much wraps up my LOST pictures for December! Our 2008 blog book made the rounds over Christmas, and everyone loved it....I'm already excited for our 2009 book, and making one of all the 2009 posts on my photo blog!

This might be Barrett's way of saying NO MORE pictures in 2009, Mama!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa came, Santa came!!

Wow, is it already December 28th?!? It's been a whirlwind past few days with multiple family celebrations, and a big 'ol snow storm to throw everything into a tailspin! Despite the snow and closed roads, all our family traveling across Kansas made it safe and sound to where they needed to be. I have LOTS of pictures from the past few days to sort through! For now, here is the proof that Santa stopped at our house this year! Our Little Bear must have been a good little boy!

Justin had to work half a day on Christmas Eve, so Barrett and I hung out around the house. We played our Christmas music loud and baked some gingersnap cookies. I was expecting one last print order from my UPS man, so I wanted to have some cookies ready for him. He stops at my house three to four times a week, so I thought he deserved a little end of the year treat! I wouldn't be able to run my business without him :) He usually stops here around 2pm on days that he has deliveries for me, and he even knows not to ring the doorbell...just to lightly knock, because that's B's naptime!

When we woke up that morning, the wind was howling, but there was no precipitation yet. With the freezing temps and winds, I was not looking forward to going to the store. I had a few extra groceries to pick up for the weekend. Thankfully, Mimi came to the rescue! She dropped Kylie and Emily off at our house that morning while she ran to get last minute groceries for both of us.

Here is a little video I recorded on Christmas Eve...
asking Barrett what he wanted Santa to bring him.

You might be able to tell that he's getting used to having a camera in his face...

I could not wait to see the look on Barrett's face when he saw his bike!! It was PRICELESS! He just looked at it for a while, then finally decided to get on and try it out. It didn't take him long to discover the little bell. He LOVES it! With the cold weather, the bike will probably be a in our family room for a few months. Every morning when we come out to the family room, or anytime we come home from being gone, Barrett sees the bike and gets so excited! Like he can't believe it's still here! I absolutely love the bike...I think it's very photogenic! HA! Barrett can barely reach the pedals now, but I'm sure by summer, he'll be zoomin' up and down the driveway!

When I was growing up, my mom always let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was always pajamas. It was always so fun to get them, and even more fun to open a present a little early! I want to start the same tradition with my children. So, Barrett got these cute little jammies this year!

After he was done trying out the bike, he checked out the rest of his stuff, and dug into his stocking.
He got some blocks, books, and a stocking full of goodies!

He loved the monkeys in a barrel!

I hope Santa was good to you this year too!!
But more importantly, I hope you made many wonderful memories with family and friends...
celebrating the true Reason for the Season!

Friday, December 25, 2009


I think I hear Santa out in the family room leaving a special gift for my baby boy!

I'd better get to bed before the 'big man' hears me up blogging...
I don't want him to skip my stocking!!

But first, Barrett wanted me to wish all our fabulous blog readers a VERY Merry Christmas!!
So, from Little Bear to YOU...

Hope you all have a blessed CHRISTmas with your loved ones!

*Happy Birthday to my mom! I love you!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas at our house

Even though I just started wrapping presents the other day, I have had my Christmas decorations up since the Sunday after Thanksgiving! I always love the excitement of this time of year. It starts in late November. My birthday is always right around Thanksgiving, and sometimes on Thanksgiving. So I know I'll always be around family, and that makes it extra special. Once my birthday and Thanksgiving come, I get excited to do my decorations.

Since we've lived in this house, I've always put up the tree and gotten out the decorations on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I would rather do it while listening to Christmas music, but Sunday nights at our house are dedicated to Sunday Night Football. Justin's usually on the couch watching football while I put up the tree. Why isn't he helping, you ask? Well, probably not because he doesn't want to...okay, maybe a little because he doesn't want to. Mostly because I am a little obsessive about my tree! We have an artificial tree, and I spend several hours fluffing and bending each branch just so before I put it on. Stringing the lights is one of my favorite things. Then I put on all the bulbs, berries, poinsettias and sugared fruit. My tree colors are copper, gold and deep red. As soon as we get a bigger house, I'll have to put up two trees, so that we can have one that doesn't need to be so "pretty." I'm sure when Barrett's older, he'll get more enjoyment out of one filled with fun ornaments and bright colors.

I'm obsessive about my of course I'm the same about the presents under the tree! I love to wrap everything, so I only use a bag if I can not fit it into a box. Bags are great and handy...I use them for birthdays all the time, but there's just something special about wrapped Christmas presents. I usually use two coordinating papers each year for all our gifts, and the papers have to go with the tree decor :) Last week, I realized that I hadn't bought paper at the after Christmas sales last year. So I had to search the selection at our local Walmart. I was pleasantly surprised to find the two below. I LOVE the shiny red plaid!

So, after reading the above paragraph, I realize I'm a NUT! But I can't help's the designer in me, I guess! Anyone else the same...please step forward!

*I am happy to report that I JUST finished wrapping all of my gifts! This also includes birthday presents for the majority of my family. We have lots of birthdays this time of year. My mom's birthday is on Christmas day!
I am also happy to report that I did not use a single gift bag! Not even for the birthday presents!

I find myself singing a John McCutcheon tune quite often this time of year! It's a song called Soup. It's goes like this...

Smells like winter at our house.
Smells like winter at our house.
It smells like winter at our house...
smells like soup."

Only I sing it Smells like Christmas at our house.
Christmas smells like: snow, cold air, chimney smoke, cinnamon, hot spiced cider,
wrapping paper, baked goods and family

What are your Christmas decorating traditions, and what does Christmas smell like to YOU?

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the most WONDERFUL time of the year...

It has been a blessed year for our family, and we have so much to be thankful for!

It is the most WONDERFUL time of the year...
as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!

I was a little later than usual getting our cards out, but I DID IT! I was so busy designing and printing cards for everyone else, I wasn't sure I would be able to get to my own. Then I realized, this is a big part of my business...of course I have to do cards for my own family! I think everyone should have theirs by now, so I'd love to share our 2009 card with you all too!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, from our family to yours!

I had fun with our card this year! Thanks again to my awesome sister-in-law for helping with our family pictures in November!! If I can find the time, I hope to be able to post some of the cards I've done for my clients this year. You'll have to check my photo blog in the next few days for those. My clients have great taste, and we had lots of beautiful cards this year!

I still have a few more posts I'd like to get in before the NEW YEAR!
You know I'll be working on my 2009 blog book before long :)

23 months


It's celebrated your 23-month milestone on December 18th.
Only one more month, and our baby boy will be TWO!

FLASHBACK: here you are a year ago at 11 months!

Hold on....let me get a tissue!!!
No really, I'm serious! Where does the time go?!?!

I'm pretty sure I said this last month too, but it really seems like your vocabulary has grown by a thousand words in the past few weeks! It is just amazing to me, when I hear you say a word, and I had no idea you even knew it! I just assume that you should only be saying words that I've taught you. It's crazy to me to hear you say something you've just heard and remembered. The toddler mind is amazing! I can't even try to list the new words you've been saying. You have finally started saying "Ga-ma and Gam-pa" (Grandma & Grandpa) though, and they are thrilled. You've been saying everyone's names for many months, but theirs were just a bit harder to figure out.

Daddy and I are having so much fun watching you experience all the Christmas traditions this year. Last year you were only 11 months, and you didn't really get it all. This year you are enjoying the Christmas lights, the presents, "no-men" (snowmen), and helping Mommy with the Advent Calendar.

Every morning after I get you out of your crib and we come out to the family room, you look at the Christmas tree and say "oh no, Mama." If the lights are turned on, you think something's wrong. So we have to turn them on right away, and leave them on all day. We're both going to miss the beautiful tree after Christmas is over.

You've also developed quite the love (border-line obsession) for a certain Christmas movie...The Polar Express! I DVR'd it one day, thinking you might like to watch a little of it. I had no idea how much you would love it, all because of the choo-choo! You dropped Elmo like a hot potato, and he was quickly replaced with "choo-choo, Mama." We used to cuddle on the couch for a few minutes before your afternoon nap and watch a little Elmo. Now, you demand that we watch "choo-choo" instead.

You favorite question to be asked these days:
"What do you want Ho-Ho to bring you for Christmas, Barrett"?
Your QUICK response: "BIKE"
It's the cutest thing! I sure hope Ho-Ho is working on that bike! I don't want my baby boy to be disappointed on Christmas morning :)

* I love the excitement on your face when you hear a "choo-choo"
* I love the way you try so hard to put on your own socks, shoes, jacket and hat when it's time to go bye-bye
* I love the concentration on your face when you're coloring
* I love that you like to work with paper, zip dry and markers...just like Mommy does
* I love the way you run to the back door when Daddy gets home from work at night. You usually hug his leg and say "hi Dada"
* I love to listen to you count "three, four, five, eight, nine, ten"
* I love that your vocabulary has grown leaps & bounds in the last month
* I love to hear you say "choc milk, mama"

Daddy and I LOVE you very much, Little Bear!
We can't wait for your 2nd Christmas, and to get to celebrate with all our family and friends!

*Mommy just realized last night, that your 2nd birthday is less than a month away...
I'm off to make your invites and get to planning!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy 29th!!!

Today, Justin turns TWENTY-NINE!

He is my husband, my best friend, and the father of my baby boy...
I love him with all my heart!

It's hard to believe that we have now been together for more than half of our lives!
We started dating when I was 15 and he was 14.

Here we are at my house in Manhattan, celebrating his 21st birthday.

The next day....
He ask me to marry him!

It makes me so emotional to think that's been eight years ago.
We were engaged and planning a wedding.
I had one more semester left at K-State...pulling all-nighters in design studio. Some things never change :)

Now, here we are...
mommy & daddy to our sweet baby boy!

I hope you have a great birthday, Honey! Enjoy the last of your 20's!
I can't wait to see what the next decade brings for us and our family. I love you!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Master Makeover

The last time I painted our master bedroom was the summer before we got married and moved in. That would be roughly August 2002! YIKES! Every other room in our house has been painted several times, so the bedroom was in major need of a fresh coat of paint!

THANKS to my sweet mother-in-law and father-in-law for giving us their old bed! They hadn't had this queen bed for too long, but just got a custom-built king, so they let us have their not-so-old bed! Wonderful Serta mattress and all! We have been sleeping cozily in a full-size bed for several's nice to have a little more room now!

I didn't have much time to clear out the room and paint, before we got the bed. I was at Walmart picking out paint on a Saturday afternoon. I thought I wanted a burnt orange color. Bought a whole can of it, painted a patch on the wall and DID NOT like it for our bedroom. I love darker colors, because they make everything so cozy, but this was too dark. It was a spice color, and would have been too close to the color of the bed and blinds...there wasn't enough contrast. My husband was no I headed back to Walmart after 7pm that night. I didn't have a clue what color I wanted. I ended up picking "Apple Cinnamon," a deep tan/golden color. I wasn't sure when I first put it on the wall, but after it dried, I loved it! *If anyone is interested, the color is from the Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart, but I had it mixed with the Kilz Casual Colors paint-one coat primer and color guarantee. It went on beautifully!! I went ahead and did a quick second coat, even though it didn't really need it.

Here are the walls BEFORE.
The color was "River Reed" from Walmart's basic paint line. Then I glazed some vertical stripes on.

This is the "Spice" color I tried a patch of first...

I will be using the "Spice" to repaint the kitchen after the holidays...unless I get a real wild hair before :) You know me!

Here is the Apple Cinnamon color I went with...

We put Barrett to bed, Justin went to Josh's to hang out, and I started painting around 9pm. I was a little caught-up in the Nebraska football game. I had the tv on in the bedroom, but took several breaks to stop and watch! Especially that darn nail-biting end...heartbreaking loss, but I kept on painting! I finished up around 2am.

Here are the walls AFTER

The next morning I finished moving all the furniture out of the way so I could vacuum one last time before we moved the bed in. AND I washed down all the blinds. That was obviously after the pictures above :) dirty!!

Justin and his dad set the bed up fast, and I had it made in no time! I LOVE it!! Brandon and Jenn gave me the white Thinsulate comforter for my birthday. Cabela's was having a HUGE sale on them awhile back. They were originally $200, and they were selling for $20!! I tried to order one online, but they sold out too fast! Luckily they'd already bought one for me! This thing is so warm!! I love the white...makes our room feel like a fancy hotel. But I might end up making a duvet cover for it. We do have a toddler that likes to climb on our bed!!

That's it for now! I might be using some of my Christmas money to buy or make a duvet cover. Once I have a fabric for that, I can get some shams and decorative pillows. The more pillows, the better! Justin loves to take them all off the bed every night :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finally...Our 2008 Blog Book

In the midst of my {busy} season for photography...I somehow managed to finish our 2008 blog book (by Blurb). Only 11 months into 2009! Not too shabby! The big discount and free shipping offered at the end of November, really kicked me into gear. It also helped that I had all of you excited about it and rooting me on-Thanks!

Since I had the discount, Justin and I decided to go all out and make our books the large hardcover with image wrap. These are our family scrapbooks, and we want them to be nice. I'm so excited to think in ten years, we'll have a whole bookshelf full of them. Well, do you think we'll still be blogging in ten years?!? Anyway...we also knew that Barrett would want to look at it (which he does a lot), so we wanted it to be tough enough to handle all that lovin'. My book ended up with 228 pages! That sounds like a lot, but I know my 2009 book might be double that! I think the books can take up to 400 pages, so I might have to do some creative adjusting!!

I checked tracking everyday after I ordered it...

Finally, on December 3rd, it came!! I think I was squealing when I saw the truck pull up out front.

Barrett probably thought I was crazy. Why is Mommy so excited about this little white box?!?!

I let him get it from the front porch, and help me open it.

He was so excited to see pictures of himself on almost every page!

I love my book!!
hardcover with image wrap and custom spine

There are tons of options for picture and post layouts. I tried several different things, and now I know which I like and don't like, for my next book. I LOVE the pages with full-bleed pictures!

Back cover

That's it!! I really do love it that our memories, my random journaling and Barrett's first year are all documented and printed out into our very own book! I love holding it in my hands and reading through the posts. Now that I know how it all works, I'm even more excited to get to work on the 2009 book. I need to be ready in case they have another big sale at blurb!!

So, anyone else out there get a Blurb book?? If you did, I want to hear about yours too! If you're not sure you want one...come over and check out mine! I love to show it off!
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