Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Juicy Juicy.

We kicked off one of my 2014 goals early a few days ago. We cleared out the grocery store of produce, brought it home and Dan juiced his heart away. We decided to juice 1-2 times a week and freeze it into our baby food trays so that we can thaw a few each day to throw into the blender to make smoothies. So far we've been filling the smoothies with the juice (mainly carrots) + kale + a little honey + a banana + berries and sometimes plain greek yogurt. We've been having the babies drink these with one of their meals and I'm so thankful Jackson is finally, finally getting the servings of vegetables he needs. 

new year's eve 2013.

It's the last day of 2013. The babies and I are still in our pajamas, they are building block towers and I'm finalizing my goals for 2014. Dan is working and has a wild and crazy night planned for us at The Home Depot. No joke, The Home Depot. 

This past year has held some of my highest highs and also some of my lowest lows. I realize that the lows were shallow compared to the stories of so many from this past year. And my highs have been higher than deserved. We are blessed, that is abundantly clear, but all too often taken for granted. 

The room for improvement in all parts of my life is incredible, even overwhelming. I have so much to learn. I have so much to give. I have so much progress to make. And thankfully I have 2014 to work on doing just that, making progress. 

So, with that, here are my 10 goals for 2014- each one is rooted in the following vision:

"To spend each day with intention by the choices I make with my time, energy and resources to strengthen my family -physically, emotionally & spiritually- and using that strength to give to others."

These are in no priority order... 
1. Take my health to the next level by eliminating gluten from my diet.
2. Run a 1/2 marathon. Finally. I had registered for one this past year but had to miss it because of being pregnant with Jonah. So, August 30, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It's happening.
3. Plant a garden this spring and use it as a teaching tool for JP and Audrey. 
4. Visit at least 3 new states. 
5. Spend time in God's word daily. Preferably first thing in the morning. 
6. Begin a supplemental home-schooling program. More on that later... 
7. Take my role in orphan advocacy to the next level. 
8. Figure out how to take my professional skills and apply them to social good. 
9. Provide 80% clean foods for our family.
10. Incorporate fresh juices from veggies and fruit into our family meals daily. We must pump more veggies into Jackson's diet and work harder to discourage all of the treats in his life. We started the veggie juice plan a few days ago and so far he's doing great with it. 

Oh, and maybe an honorary #11 would be to give birth to a healthy Jonah Daniel and survive the winter with a newborn, 2 year old and (almost) 4 year old. 

Lets do this, 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

6 out of 9...

Last night we had Christmas at Mamaw's and I had very few chances to grab my camera for a decent shot; here are 6 out of 9 of the grandbabies- Adrian was sleeping, Ben was in the other room and Violet was in Denver and the ones who were actually in the photo refused to smile like normal little children. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jackson Philip

christmas catch-up

We packed December full of Christmas fun. There were adventures and endless crafts and art both at home, at preschool and with Amy. Jackson lived up to his "Mr. Holiday" title once again this year- he lived for that moment each day when he and Audrey got to take down the Christmas calendar number for the day and read what fun it held for the day. And thankfully they both totally get (as much as a 2 and 3 year old can) what Christmas is all about- baby Jesus and how much He loves us. I'm so thankful that this message of His love was consistent with every person who helps take care of them- at home with us and with Amy, with Nanna and at school with Jackson's class and teachers. As we put away all of the Christmas decorations today (I can't wait to get this house back in order!), here are a few snapshots of our adventures... 

Jenga Masters

On Christmas Eve, when Jackson was recovering from his stomach bug, we let the babies open one gift early... Jenga. Dan was pumped to play. I had my doubts that the two little monsters would be able to get through more than one or two rounds before the tower would topple, but they shocked us. They are Jenga masters! Their approaches are uniquely their own: Jackson thinks carefully before choosing the perfect block to remove and strategizes out loud while Audrey hops around the room until it's her turn and then she rushes over, pokes one or two blocks before fearlessly choosing one and plopping it on top, somehow never knocking the tower over. Geniuses I tell you. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

jackson's 1st christmas program.

Last night was Jackson's preschool Christmas program. Earlier in the day, Dan and I had exchanged emails as we both worked in anticipation of the night. Dan was excited to see his little buddy up on stage with this friends. I was nervous. Nervous for Jackson because I know him so well and I knew this was way outside of his comfort zone. It's funny how the vast majority of adults are too nervous to get up in front of large crowds of people to even speak publicly, but we expect our little guys to perform in front of rooms full of strangers. But, he did it. He DID it! I was so proud. Proud because I knew how hard it was for him and yet he still followed through. I love our little man so much. 

Jackson & his best buddy, Canaan 

An attempt at a family shot- 32 weeks with Jonah! I can't believe he'll be up on that stage in a few short years. 

 Peanut's pouty face. Poor thing, after over a week of literally no sleeping we realized she had double ear infections.

Jackson fans, Mamaw and Papaw 

Jackson fans, Pop and Nanna 

Our Audrey who canNOT wait until she's old enough to go to school. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

{jonah daniel} 31 weeks

Things I'm most looking forward to:
(in no particular order)
-Wearing my real clothes
-Not being huge
-Meeting Jonah
-Being able to sleep on my stomach
-Being able to sleep at all

let it snow...

Monday, December 2, 2013

peanut stats: 2 years

An update that will probably only ever be interesting to me- some Peanut 2 year stats:

-Weight: 28.6 pounds (72%)
-Height: 34" (59%)

Our little peanut isn't such a little peanut anymore. At this age, which I LOVE, here are some of the things I never want to forget about Audrey:

-Her personality: Audrey is so laid back about so many things, but also has this sassy side that can come out of nowhere and definitely keeps us on our toes. We're working on "being nice" because she can just be mean at times, yelling at her brother when she doesn't get her way. But 95% of the time she is so sweet and loving and just fun to be around.

-Her voice: I wish I could bottle up her little voice. It is the sweetest, most adorable voice I've ever known. 

-Audrey wants to do everything Jackson does. Every thing. She copies his every move which he usually really likes and finds amusing although at times when Daddy and Jackson are doing "big boy things" she can really get her feelings hurt from being left out. One thing that has been hard for Audrey has been Jackson going to preschool- this definitely makes her feel left out and she cannot wait until she's big enough to go too. 

-Speaking of Jackson, they are absolutely best friends. They have one of the strongest brother/sister bonds I've ever known and I hope it stays that way forever. He is so protective of his Audrey and she adores her Jackson. They play together constantly and definitely miss each other when one is not there. This also means that they can sometimes create more than double the trouble together. Dan and I will often be in one room and will hear them both erupt in laughter from another place in the house and just have to look at each other and laugh because we know they are up to no good. 

-Manual labor- the peanut just doesn't believe in it. This is partly Jackson's fault because he will just do it all for her, he completely spoils her and she takes advantage of that. Her response lately when I ask her to pick up toys or take her dish to the sink is, "No, Jackie will do that."

-She is such a breath of fresh air when it comes to meal times- she loves almost any kind of food and tries new things constantly. Total opposite of someone else in this house... 

-The girl is smart. She already knows all her ABCs (we're working on better enunciating the letters), she can count to 20, she speaks so clearly and her vocabulary is extensive. She knows all of her colors and some of her shapes. Jackson has always been in love with learning and I really think this has been contagious for Audrey. Her love of reading and for books also helps- she canNOT sit still ever unless you read to her and then she would sit with you all day as long as you kept the books coming. 

That's our Peanut. Our sweet and sassy Peanut. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

{life lately}

(Left) Babies discovered the mini grocery carts, (middle) The Peanut sweeping in one of her multiple daily outfits, (right) Jonah Daniel at 28 weeks 

(Top left) Daddy & Peanut crazy games, (Top right) watching a show during the tornado scare in the basement, (bottom left) Lunch with JP at his Preschool Thanksgiving, (bottom right) Jackson was not into the songs during the lunch... hilarious. 

(top left) Peanut packing her Operation Christmas Child box, she re-packed it at least 20 times in one night and would yell for me to get back because she was "organizing" if I tried to take it away, (top right) more little cart action, (bottom left) library time, (bottom right) two boiler babies warming up with hot chocolate 

Jackson's latest favorite puzzle- the US map

Monday, November 18, 2013

photobomb jackson

This weekend when I was sweet-talking Audrey into posing for at least a few 2-year-old photos, Jackson insisted on joining us outside and wanted in on the action. The Peanut, who had refused to smile at all, instantly lit up when her best buddy joined her in the photo. These two, I tell you, are tight. 

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