Thursday, May 22, 2008



Tee low head = Potato Head (as in Mr. Potato Head)
I taught it = I got it
Un moe ah = One more
Coos Coos = Blues Clues
Nine duh tum = Here I come (after saying "Ready or not")
Homa duh range = Home on the Range
Hippo duh potomus = Hippopotamus
Luh Loo = Love you
Teenie = Candy

I love it!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Small victories

I just wanted to report that last night was the first night in over 7 months that I have stayed asleep from the moment I was ready for bed, until it was time to get up in the morning. No middle of the night wakings for feeding Gabriella, going to the bathroom, thunderstorms (and the subsequent tree fallings), dogs whining, sprinkler heads busting and shooting water all over the bedroom window, NOTHING! I woke up in a state of confusion thinking I was still dreaming or something because surely it wasn't morning already, because I didn't experience the middle of the night as I usually do at some point. Yipeee!!! It was truly a rewarding feeling... a feeling that was taken for granted for so many years pre-kids :)

Inexpensive ways to make you love your home...

I love decorating my home. If I had an endless supply of money, I would redecorate my rooms every month! Evidence of this can be seen by reflecting on my childhood love of rearranging the layout of the furniture in my bedroom every so often. I was always confused when I woke up the next morning though and my bed was in a different place than the night before!

Since I have yet to find a tree that grows money instead of leaves, here are a few tips on how to decorate your home inexpensively:
  • Light it up: Buy some cute, little decorator lamps. Lamps add such a great ambiance to your home. Then, make it a habit to turn those on and all of the main lights off in the evening when you are ready to relax. It also adds brightness and cheerfulness to your home when you are having guests over... even during the day! Target usually has some cute ones with fun, beaded shades (around $10). I've also found some very cute and inexpensive lamps at Ikea ($15ish). Put them in your living room, kitchen, office, even bathrooms!
  • Set the mood: Make your patio a more inviting place to sit in the evening when it's a little cooler by adding a strand (or two or three) of string lights. Target has some on sale right now for $7.99 in a ton of really fun styles. I bought two strands and using some screw hooks, and my very helpful husband, we now have a nice line of patio lights across our back porch. I've turned them on every night since we've had them and they just call to me to come sit outside and enjoy their glow. Below is a picture of the lights I got... cute little boxes. Now don't expect them to provide a ton of light. It's all about setting the mood...
  • Buy in multiples: When buying picture frames, figurines, candle holders, baskets, etc., you don't need to buy really expensive varieties in order to make your room look nice. For example, by purchasing coordinating or matching frames, you can create a great wall layout of pictures or a cute desk display. Walmart has some very inexpensive picture frames ($5-$7 each). When you buy 3 or 4 of those and display them together, you create a put-together look that stands out and creates an eye-catching exhibit. And you don't have to spend a fortune!
I hope these ideas help you spruce up your living space. With the amount of time we spend in our homes, any little thing you can do to make it more cozy can add happiness to your life daily!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A busy but fun weekend

There were quite a few things going on around our house this weekend... here are some highlights for you:
  • Matt and Oliver handing me a gift that was a wonderful start to my Mother's Day... a DVD that Matt had been secretly working on displaying pictures of the two amazing blessings that are the reason I have the title "mom." It was such a thoughtful, and perfect gift for a sap like me! I love giving and receiving gifts (one of my "love languages") so the fact that he spent so much time and energy compiling this masterpiece truly warmed my heart. He selected such wonderful pictures capturing the character of both kids and set it to the Jamie O'Neal song "Somebody's Hero" - such a perfect selection! Definitely a crying gift.
  • Moments later after viewing this gift, I got to say hello to my parents and two of my sisters who had driven up from Houston the night before getting in after we had all gone to bed. So it was great to start off the day with them in the house when they weren't there when we went to bed. The reason they came up was for...
  • Gabriella's Baby Dedication at church was Sunday morning. It was a time for us to stand in front of our church as a family and promise before God and our church to raise Gabriella to know and love the Lord. It was such a special morning and a touching addition to my Mother's Day. We were blessed to have both of our parents there, as well as two of my sisters, Matt's Aunt Amy, our neighbor Heath, as well as, of course, all of our friends at our church. We had a beautiful picture of her up on the screen and Matt read to the audience a prayer that we had written for her printed below:
Dear God, Thank you for our precious daughter Gabriella. We've loved her from the moment we found out about her. Her smile is contagious - may her joy come from you and spread to all those who know her. Her cry reminds us of our dependence on you. Please give us wisdom to raise her well, shaping her into a Godly woman full of grace and love.
  • After the dedication, we hosted a reception at our house with our family and close friends to celebrate her even more. I love having people over, especially so many people I love all at once. It was such an uplifting and fulfilling afternoon. We had lunch and a cute butterfly cupcake cake (that I bought... but someday, with the help of this picture, hope to be able to make myself)
  • Getting to shower our mother's with special, homemade gifts. A picture display for my decorations loving mother showcasing her favorite models! And a recipe storage/organizer book for my mother-in-law... a practical but personalized gift for a great cook.
My mom showing the gift to Oliver

A sweet moment between mother and son - she liked what he wrote in the card
  • Getting to enjoy a nice, relaxing afternoon and evening with my parents and sisters including watching the end of Jerry Maguire which Matt and I had started the night before, a yummy dinner out at La Hacienda Ranch, a walk around the block in the beautiful weather we had this Sunday, and lots of Wii playing.
  • This morning finished things off with my family in a way I enjoy like no other - SHOPPING! My mom sat with Oliver in the play area of the mall (thanks mom) while I shopped for over an hour with my sisters and a sleeping Gabriella in the stroller. It was such a treat to get to go shopping without a toddler... and not having to wait until night after my husband gets home and I am pooped from the day. Then lunch at Mooyah with Dad and Matt joining us for a send off for my family. But only for 11 days... then starts the first episode of summer wedding adventures in the Beck family at my sister Natalie's wedding!
Below are some fun pictures of our family on our special day. Click here to see more pics...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A trip to the Zoo

We took some time as a family to take a trip to the Dallas Zoo this past Saturday. It was such a fun trip. For those of you who don't know... Oliver is a serious animal lover. He loves to watch shows about animals, read books about animals, sing songs about animals, look at flashcards of animals... anything animals! And now that he's a little older, this trip to the Zoo was the best one yet. He really got into looking at the animals... especially his favorites the Elephant and the Giraffe. Here are some cute pictures from our outing!

Click here for some more pictures

Mommy and Oli

Walking back and forth to peek at the Elephants and Giraffes

Smiling with Daddy

And of course beautiful baby girl sitting in the stroller

Gmail Notifier

As I know there are quite a few of my readers who use gmail for their primary email host (and I would highly recommend it over hotmail, yahoo, etc.)... I thought I would post a link to a useful gmail tool. Gmail notifier is:

an application that alerts you when you have new Gmail messages. It displays an icon in your system tray to let you know if you have unread Gmail messages, and shows you their subjects, senders and snippets, all without your having to open a web browser.

Now I usually have a web browser open so I can see if I have email there... but this tool is handy because it plays a little noise and makes the system tray icon a different color when I have email. So if I'm sitting on the living room floor doing puzzles with Oliver, I know I have email from the lovely "tada" sound ringing from my computer. Also, if I'm walking by my computer on the way to get Oliver out of the makeup in my bathroom, I can just glance at the bottom right corner of my screen to see if I have email or not so I have something to look forward to reading after cleaning up his mess. Love it! Hope it helps you out too!

Link to Gmail Notifier: