Holiday Season

Christmas.It always take me a while to jump right into the Christmas spirit. It sneaks up on me. One minute I’m back to school shopping and the next there are Christmas decorations everywhere.

These past several years we have taken a day trip right before Christmas and go to the mountains in Boone NC, get some Christmas shopping done and enjoy the beautiful sights. Last year we decided we would add getting our Christmas tree in the mountains as well and we hope to make it a Christmas tradition every year (You can read about it here: New Christmas Traditions) This year we actually added an extra day and spent Thanksgiving in the mountains as well. And to really get into the Christmas spirit we got pictures with Santa and our tree the very next day. We came back home with our tree and  were ready to start our Holiday season. I am pretty sure there are only around 10 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas because I was supposed to post this once we got back and now Christmas is only 2 days away!

So, finally, here are the pictures from our trip.

Thanksgiving Feast at Dan’l Boone Inn


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This has been a favorite breakfast stop for us these past few years and their Thanksgiving dinner was so good! All you can eat from Turkey, to Salisbury Steak to Pumpkin Pie. The only con was because it was Thanksgiving day there was a minimum 2 hour wait. But I kept the kids entertained while Brandon held a spot for us so it was still worth the wait.

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My 3 favorite people.

Picking our Tree at Corneett-Deal Tree Farm

Unfortunately the place we went last year for our tree was not open this year. But they did recommend Cornett-Deal Tree Farm to us. They take you on a hayride up the mountain and let you wonder through and pick your tree. Once you come down from the mountain, they have your tree shaken and load it for you. They also serve free hot chocolate and Cider and have all kind of wreaths and other Christmas items for sale.

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Hayride to the top of the mountain

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Looking for the perfect Tree
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“This one Mom”
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Found the Perfect tree
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Family, what matters most.

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All ready to go!

Mast General Store


On the way home we always have to stop at one of our favorite stores. The Mast General Store to get some Old Fashion Candy. The kids love filling their buckets with candy.boone123411225boone

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Picking out candy
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All ready to go

Meeting Santa


This is our 3rd year meeting Santa at the Boone Mall. The people there are great and always take time with Jonas and Bristol. The photographer asked me if we had come before and said she remembered Bristol’s picture from last year. They used it on their advertisement screen and she remembered it was pretty hilarious. Well at least Miss Bristol knows how to make an impact!

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Hope you enjoyed this post and reading about our little family and very full life. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. ❤

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be kind.

Just some short morning coffee thoughts.

I don’t know why but this short saying keeps sticking in my mind lately,

Be Kind. 

One thing that began to make me think about kindness was an acquaintance of mine from high school, passed away a few months ago at the young age of 26. I would love to say I knew her well but unfortunately we hadn’t seen each other in years. There was the occasional “Like” on Facebook and the very distant way we keep up with our friends on social media. When someone asked me what kind of person she was, the one thing that I remember saying about her was that she was kind. So very kind. There was just a sweet and loving spirit about her. It sounds so plain and not very descriptive, but there was a way she was was, she was just genuinely kind to those around her.She had a loving, gentle way with people. She was kind. It made me think.  I wonder would I  be considered a kind person? Would my children remember me as a kind mother?

 Kind, the word seems so simple. The act of kindness isn’t so simple. At times it’s so much easier to get upset and lash out or over speak and forget to be kind and show love towards people.

 

Definition – KIND  
of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person:
a kind and loving person.
mild, benign, benignant, gentle, tender, compassionate. Kind, gracious,kindhearted, kindly imply a sympathetic attitude toward others, and willingness to do good or give pleasure. Kind implies a deep-seated characteristic shown either habitually or on occasion by considerate behavior: a kind father.

I want to strive everyday to be kind. I want to be compassionate. I want to have a willingness to do good. I want a sympathetic attitude towards others. I want my children to see that kindness and in turn be kind to those around them.Something as simple as kindness can have an effect on people, just as it did to me.

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Bristol 2nd milestone

Bristol, my spunky child.photogrid_1477423534986

Even though she turned 2 back in July, my blogging of late has been far behind.  I’d like to take some time to write about my little wild girl and share what she’s been up to since she turned 2.

 

 

Daddy is best and my favorite person.

Socks are for your hands, especially if they have Dory or “Elsas” on them.

You know those big girl panties I picked out with “Elsas” on them? I really didn’t want to wear them but I really LOVE “Elsas” so I will carry all 7 pairs everywhere with me.

Pretend singing so much fun. Even though my mouth is moving and no words are coming out, I’m clearly the best singer around here.

All I need is the first 2 notes of “Shake It Off” or “Don’t Want To Know” and my dancing is everywhere!

I will only watch the movie Home…over…and over….and over…and WAIT… did you say Frozen?! ELSAS?!

If you vacuum, I vacuum. With my own vacuum. Right where you are. In front of where you are. On top of you. You know what? Just let me go first.

Food? Nope, only CHEEEESSE. Or maybe a ‘Nack.

I can count to 10…but only if you don’t ask me.

Shoes?!?! Yes please! Those pink glitter shoes… yessss, with my Dory socks.

I will only wear “Kiddy” Cat Pjs…all day.

Mom is “MAAA” (sounds like someone from New Jersey)  and sometimes Mom. But Dad is “Da-Dee” in my little Peppa Pig Voice.

Walking is fine, strutting better but tip toeing makes me seem a little taller. Like Go-Nas. (Jonas)

I love to read. Pulling down every single book I own is the only way to do it!

I’ll take a nap here or there. I think the car is the best place to nap, but only for 15 minutes. And right when we get to where we are going.

I can only leave the house if I have my bae (Blanket),purse, sunglasses and cell phone.

When Daddy comes home running and jumping, and screaming his name are the best ways to let him know he was missed.

I peed in the potty once. And on my own. But now that potty is a pretty scary place to sit. Maybe all that excited yelling you did Mom, was a little too much.

Hide and seek is my favorite game to play if we need to go bye bye.

Mom doesn’t like it when I try on every pair of her shoes but I don’t understand why I cant wear one heel and one flip flop.

Bed time will not happen with out Dory, Frah-fee, and Kiddy Cat. Who each need kisses, every night before they can sleep.

 

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I could go on and on about my silly and wild girl but Bristol, you are definitely my sunshine mixed with a little bit of hurricane. ❤

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New Christmas Traditions

12/17/15

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Starting Christmas Season 2015

Every year I like to think of different things to do as a family to start some Christmas traditions while the kids are young. As any parent does, I want them have good memories of the holidays. Not only enjoying giving and receiving gifts but  also enjoying spending time with family and make memories.
This year Brandon and I decided that we would start a new tradition of going to the mountains here in NC. The Boone area is one of mine and Brandon’s favorite places to travel. We have gone to the area many times throughout the years. We went last year, about a week before Christmas time and really wanted to go again this year but a little earlier so we could start off our Christmas Season. We were also excited that my best friend Krystan was able join us on our trip and it just made it that much more special. We all had such a good time and I’m so glad we made the trip. I’m really looking forward to making this trip every year.
Here is a little about our trip!

First Stop, Breakfast

Whenever we go to the Boone area we always got to Dan’l Boone Inn for Breakfast. This is one of our favorite Breakfast places. If you have never been and are in the area, please go! It is well worth it. They are a home cooked style, buffet/restaurant.  The building has a lot of history and all the waiters/waitresses dress up for the era. They load your table with every kind of country style, fresh breakfast item you can think of and you have your own personal buffet. They have everything from cinnamon rolls, grits, country ham, pancakes and much more. The food is so good! They load your table and when you finish an item they will just bring more until you are fully stuffed! (Did I mention how good the food is?) Bristol loved every bit of the food, especially the grits!

Shopping and Santa

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After breakfast, we went to the Boone Mall and Jonas and Bristol got to meet Santa. (Of course Krystan and I did a little bit of shopping!)

This is our second year of meeting Santa at this mall, in the Mountains. I really love this particular photographer because they have a more professional but natural, set up than ones we have used before. It isn’t your typical picture with Santa. It’s more cozy and the people are so friendly and good at getting little ones to “like” Santa. Bristol, however, wasn’t very workable, unlike last year.
Jonas loved meeting Santa again. He was eager to tell him how he wanted a Trampoline and a real Robot for Christmas. At first Bristol seemed like she was going to be alright with Santa and when he handed her some candy, I thought for sure she would like him. But the minute Brandon sat her down she took a big gulp ( as you can see in the pictures ) and started screaming. I knew we couldn’t get away with another good Santa picture so I am perfectly happy with a screaming Santa picture! You have to have a least one right? They went ahead and used the picture of Bristol screaming with Santa on their advertising screen because they thought it was pretty funny!


Another thing I liked was the fact that I believe it was only $30ish ( not sure ) to get a whole disk with all the pictures and copyright to print out however many. Which is very reasonable compared to other time when we have paid much more and only got a few copies.  

Candy Fill Up

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Of course we had to stop at the Mast General store and fill up on all our favorite Old Fashioned Candy. Brandon always insists we stop by and load up on all kinds of candy that you can’t find in stores anymore. My personal favorites are the Old Fashion Taffy. They are SO good! Jonas loved getting the most sour candies he could find and looking through the old fashion toys.

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Picking a Tree

My favorite stop on our trip was to the Christmas tree farm. A friend of ours recommended Twin Oaks Farm in Elk Park NC. The people there are incredibly nice and make you feel like family. They take you on a hay ride up to the top of the farm to pick out your tree. I was so excited to finally get a fresh tree from in the Mountains. The view is beautiful, pictures really don’t do it justice. The kids love wandering through the trees trying to pick their favorite.  One thing I’m sure Brandon liked about the farm is the fact that he no longer had to try to hold up 3 trees for me to compare like has every other year! 🙂
Along with the fun of the hayride and getting to pick out a tree they also have this adorable little cabin where they give out free cookies, hot chocolate and have a bonfire going outside for roasting marshmallows and to warm up. Thankfully we picked a great day and other than being a little overcast the weather wasn’t very cold at all. They also sell hand made ornaments and other Christmas items. I bought one little Snowman to commemorate our first trip to Twin Oaks Farm. We definitely will be making this a part of our new Christmas Tradition.

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What’s in a Name?

10/21/2015

Deciding a Name

I read a blog a few weeks ago where the writer was writing to their baby about how their name was picked and I thought I would do something similar for my kiddos!
When I found out I was pregnant one of the things I was most excited about what picking a name. I wanted to make sure whatever I picked was unique yet still a “normal” name.  I wanted to pick a name that wouldn’t sound too young and would grow with my baby but also a name that wouldn’t sound too old. (I still can’t picture a baby Eugene 😛 ) Brandon and I are both stubborn and picky as well so picking both Jonas and Bristol’s names was very interesting.

   Jonas Matthew

When I first heard your name I knew it was perfect. I couldn’t imagine any other name, but getting there was a process. I had once heard that pregnant woman can have a sixth sense about things. ( Kind of like a special power ) I knew as I knew I was having a baby that I was having a boy. I couldn’t even picture a girl. Daddy thought you were a girl but I knew. As soon as we saw your picture and knew for sure that you were a boy, the name process began. I came to Daddy with a whole list of names and with every name he would say “No”. But one day Daddy drove by a place called Ethan’s Glen in Wake Forest  and he was sure it was a sign (really it was an actual sign!) and read the sign and it said that you were supposed to be Ethan Glen. I wasn’t really into that name, although I did like Ethan, so Ethan it was but something just didn’t seem right. Still every name I came up with Daddy kept saying “No.” Then Daddy called me on his lunch at work. I was sitting in Gamma’s house across from a  book shelf full of books. I kept reading names out to him and with every name guess what he would say?!  “NO.” Then I noticed a book that I had read a long time ago that I really liked called the picked it up and told Daddy,” Wait the main character from this book had a really nice name.” I opened the book and started looking and saw and  that his name was, Jonas. I asked Daddy and he said, ” You know what? I really like that name!” so I quickly said “Then that is the name!” It was the ONLY name we actually agreed on! I thought it was perfect but we still had to pick a middle name. We thought about Jonas Ethan but when you say Jonas Ethan Ashley together it just didn’t sound right. We decided to forget Ethan and try something else. I liked Corbin and Colton but Daddy of course said “No”. A few weeks later, we were at church and the preacher opened up to the Bible to a scripture in the book of Matthew. I looked over at Daddy and whispered ” Hey, what about Matthew?!” He lit up and smiled because we knew someone named Matthew. In fact it fit just right because this man had always been there for Daddy and was like a father to him. His name was Matthew Wilmoth. And just like that you were Jonas Matthew Ashley. It sounded so nice together and we both knew it was the perfect name for our perfect little boy.


Bristol Marie

The “knowing” feeling that I had when picking Jonas’ name and knowing  Jonas was a boy was completely gone when I was pregnant with you, Bristol. In fact, I was completely indecisive my whole pregnancy. I could decide ANYTHING! However, in the beginning when I thought you were a boy, I picked out the perfect name. You were going to be Liam Sawyer. Then I was completely wrong and you turned out to be a girl and I had NO clue what to name you. I didn’t like any name and of course Daddy didn’t like any name either! We did know what your middle name was going to be though. My family has a tradition where the oldest daughter’s middle name is Marie. Your Great-Great Grandmother’s first name was Marie and she then started this tradition by naming your Great Grandmother, who was the oldest daughter, Adeline with her middle name being Marie along with your Gamma, Cyndee Marie, and your Aunt Karmin Marie. Then both your Aunt Katrina and Aunt Kimberly named their oldest daughter’s Kaitlyn Marie and Ashley Marie. Good thing is both Daddy and I liked Marie and it sounded good with just about ANY first name.
Your first name was very hard to decide. After reading baby book after baby book and looking everywhere for a name Daddy and I picked 3 names we liked. Raegan, Kinsley and Bristol. We tried and tried to pick but we just couldn’t decide. We decided we would just wait until we saw you. Finally you decided to come and we still hadn’t decided. Even the nurses at the hospital were voting on which name they liked. Once I saw you and I was holding you, I started thinking you looked like a Bristol. but I didn’t want Daddy to know so he could pick without me. Also we wanted your brother Jonas to help as well.  After a little less than an hour, and all the nurses and family begging for a name, I looked at Daddy and said ” Ok, what does she look like you?’ and he said. ” I was thinking she looks like a Bristol.” I was so excited and said that that was just what I was thinking! But that didn’t mean we had decided just yet. We wanted to see what Jonas thought. When Jonas arrived he was so excited to see you! I asked him which of the names he liked the best and guess what he said? Bristol! I turned to Daddy and said ” Ok it’s official then, She is Bristol Marie Ashley”. Another perfect name for a perfect little girl.

Why Cloth Diapers? (pt2)

10/1/2015

Types of Diapers

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         First off I am going to start by saying there are many  options when it comes to the type of cloth diaper you want to use. I am only going to discuss the ones that I have used and know about.  A good tip is to do like I did and buy a couple of each and see how you like each Style/ Brand before you buy a whole bunch.

AIOs/ Freetimes

“All in Ones” are basically a diaper that has an “insert” (thick pad) already sewn into them. They are good for people who don’t want to take the time to stuff their diapers as these are ready to go. However, I didn’t care for them simply because they take a lot longer then other CDs to air dry. (You shouldn’t put your diapers in the dryer since it will ruin the inside pul (water proof lining) and cause leaks. Also they are a lot more expensive then other kinds of CDs.


Covers

One of my favorite brand’s of covers are “Flip Covers”. These kind of diapers are just the outside water proof cover with no soft lining or pocket for inserts to be stuffed into.  Instead you just lay your inserts on the inside then snap the diaper on your little one. When it is time to change their diaper open the diaper and just take the insert out and replace it with a clean one. You can continue to use the same cover all day ( unless it gets some nasty on it) this is good for those who don’t want to stuff diapers after each wash. These are less expensive then AIOs but not quite as reasonable as pocket diapers.

Flip Cover- Outside snaps for adjusting
Pocket Diapers

This is what I have the most of. They are great if you are just starting out and want to get the hang of things before you go and invest in more expensive CDs. They are different from covers, in that they have a soft white lining on the inside with an opening on the back where you then take an insert  and stuff it all the way through so it lays flat on the bottom of the diaper. When you wash your diapers you pull the insert out the back. ( I always take my insert out right when I take the diaper off and put them into the wetbag separate) They are quick to dry and easy to put together. They are also very reasonably priced! Some favorite brands are Alva, Sunbaby and Charlie Banana.

Pocket insert Diaper- Lots of snaps for adjusting fit. ( Yes I am obsessed with anything with glasses on it!)
A few other things I should mention:
Inserts
There are a few different kinds of  inserts.
Microfiber inserts- They are what usually come with Pocket diapers. They are just a thick white microfiber piece. They work great but are not as absorbent as others.
Flour Sack Towels-  My favorite! You get them at Walmart in the kitchen section for $4.88 a pack.They are like a small towel that you fold into in insert shape and then stuff or lay into the diaper. They are much more absorbent then microfiber. If you have a heavy wetter at night like I do, these things are amazing! Tip- as with all new diapers or inserts PREWASH them at least 2 times. Then they will be able to absorb well.

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Wetbags
A Wetbag is used to store your used diapers until you are ready to wash them. It is a heavy lined bag (like swimming pool lining) that keeps your diapers from leaking out or smelling. Once you are ready to wash your just pour the bag out into your washer and then drop the bag in too! I do not wash the bag every time. Also these bags come in many sizes so I keep one in my diaper bag for when I am out and Bristol needs a change. 


                      My Wash Routine

Storing Dirty Diapers
When I first started CDing I used a bucket system that worked pretty well but, I ended up changing to a Wetbag instead. If your little one in exclusively breastfed you don’t have to rinse off any diaper simply because there is zero consistency and it washes right out. In the first 2 months or so of CDing I had a large bucket/rubber basket that was half full of water mixed with borax that I would put the diapers in until they needed to be washed. A couple reasons why I DO NOT recommend this is because first off it is REALLY heavy to pour into the washer!  It is a hazard to other little ones that might be able to get into it. Also it releases bacteria into the air, AND once your little one starts eating real food it smells awful! What is the point of using CD if you end up dealing with nastiness? Just a bad idea all around. I ended up trying out a wetbag that I had been hanging onto and loved it. Now I just put my CDs into the bag and dump the bag into the washer when it is full.
*Note, before you put your CDs into your wetbag you may need to rinse them. There are may options such as diaper hoses or just rinsing them into the toilet. I haven’t had to use either. When we have a poopy we just plop that nasty blob into the toilet and toss the diaper into the wetbag.

What I Wash With
A lot of people have different opinions about what to and what not to use as a dertergent when washing but one thing is universal, DO NOT USE ANY SOFTENER. It will ruin your diapers. Another thing is, try to use ligther detergents like Dreft or something more natural. Although I know that some use Gain and such on their diapers and they work just fine. I use Melaleuca. It is what I have always used on all my clothes since I have very sensitive skin. It is a plant basic detergent but works wonderful.

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Washing Diapers
After I pour my diapers into the wash, I do a rinse cycle with some Borax. Then once that is done I turn my washer onto wash cycle and add 2 pumps of detergent and one brightener. ( Which is slightly more than I would use for 1 large load of laundry.) Please remember how much detergent you use can depend on the size load, as well as what kind of detergent you use.
How I Dry
Never put your diapers into the dryer. As I mentioned before it can ruin the lining  inside of your diapers. I have a drying rack ( as shown ) that I lay my dipars on to dry. Works great and was only $10 at Aldis.

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There are many other clever ideas so I added a little gallery for you 🙂
Staining Issue
While my little one was exclusively breastfed after washing her diapers they still had a light brown stain on them. Mainly on the inserts. I thought I was doing something wrong and resorted to bleaching them. Which is a bad idea. It can cause your little one to have an awful rash. ( if for whatever reason you feel like you need to do a bleach wash, be sure to do an extra rinse.) However, I found this wonderful group of ladies who helped me adjust my cleaning routine to just what works for me. The absolute BEST way to get rid of tough stains on inserts/diapers is Sunning. Put your rack out in the sun for a good 4-5 hours and it will fade those stains right out. Now everytime I wash, when the weather allows, I sun my diapers after. Trust me it sounds like it won’t work but it really does.
( I highly recommend joining this group if you ever have any cleaning or other CD questions. Here is the link to the Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FluffLoveCDScience/939293276105864/?notif_t=like )
Stuffing
After your diapers are dry it only takes a few mintutes to put your diapers together. If you have AIOs even less time. Fill the diaper with one or two inserts depending on the child and how much they wet. At first we only had to use 1 insert with Bristol but now that she is older we use 2 inserts or 1 Flour Sack Towel and 1 insert together during the day and at night we use 2 Flour Sack Towels.

And that is how I Cloth Diaper!

I hope you enjoyed reading my post! If you are considering CDs in the words of Shia Labeouf, “JUST DOO IT” 😀
 Please feel free to comment if you have any questions at all!

Why Cloth Diapers? (pt1)