This is the best cleaning schedule around!

This is the best cleaning schedule around!
Perfect for busy moms!

December 28, 2011



You are growing up so fast! I'm amazed at the changes and how quickly it all seemed to happen!

I love that you're able to brush your own teeth...but I miss your sweet gum filled smiles

I love that you take yourself to the bathroom...but I miss that cute little tushie wearing fat diapers

I love that you can comb and brush your own hair...but I miss pulling that long gorgeous hair up into pigtails.

I love that you can write sentences that tell a story...but I miss your baby scribbles

I love that you can buckle your own seatbelt...but I miss seeing you all curled up in your baby carrier

I love that you're getting so tall and even more beautiful...but I miss your short chubby little baby legs

I love that you want to wear nail polish and lip gloss...but I miss just putting baby lotion on you

I love that you can now read me a night time story...but I miss reading you Baby Books

I love that you feel confident enough not to hold my hand at the mall...but I miss pushing you in your stroller

I love that you come downstairs from Children's Church all on your own...but I miss you sleeping on my shoulder during service

I love that I don't have to carry a diaper bag anymore...but I sure miss feeding you your bottle

I love that you have awesome style and can pick out and dress yourself (and even your brother)....but I sure miss putting onsies and tiny outfits on you

I love you so much sweet Gracie! I am honored and so very blessed to be your Mommy!

Happy 7th Birthday baby!


December 26, 2011

Purposeful Christmas

*Catch up warned this post is picture heavy! *

Despite the cold and snow, December has to be one of my favorite months of the year! I love all the stuff that comes with the holidays. Spending time with family, baking, sweets, shopping, decorating, and the list goes on and on. This December I was on a quest to help take the commercialism out of the holidays for my family and try to focus more on giving and spending time together. Our church was hosting a weekly scrapbooking night, so I took advantage of those nights to get away and construct my 25 days of Christmas bunting. AdventEach pocket contained one activity. This activity could be to do something for someone else or it could be something for our family to do together. zoo lightsThe kids would take turns pulling the ticket each evening. A few examples of items were: Go see Christmas lights, make Christmas candy, bake Christmas cookies, delivery candy anonymously, donate coats/hats/gloves to the needy, go Christmas caroling.
Cookies 1
This helped set the tone for our holidays. It helped us all put things into perspective and I think truly begin to enjoy it more. My husband was a little reluctant to do something every single day (and yes there were a few days we just couldn't fit it in). I think in the end he would tell you that he was less of a Bah Hum Bug this year because of it!

Cookies 2

This year Gauge was the only one who had a Christmas program.

   Gauge's Christmas ProgramGauge Christmas Program 2 For whatever reason our local Elementary School doesn't include 1st graders in their holiday program (sad face). Even more sad was the fact that Gracie didn't get to go to Gauge's program because she had the Chicken Pox! Crazy huh? She had the vaccine.....but apparently she was one of the exceptions that can still contact a mild case. We were so thankful for her older cousin Jenna who stayed home with her.

We are very blessed to have both of our parents living in the same town. This means we divide up our holiday visits. We usually visit his parents a week prior to Christmas

Shipman Christmas

and my parents on Christmas Eve.

Richardson CousinsThis year our family was one of the Advent families to light candles and read scripture during the Christmas Eve service. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to get matching outfits for us!

We generally don't get home until late on Christmas Eve. This sometimes proves to be a challenge for poor Gauge to stay awake long enough to put out cookies for Santa but he managed to stay awake (barely).

Santa and Reindeer Letters to Santa Our kids had a wonderful Christmas morning filled with all kinds of goodies. 
Opening presents

The highlights were brand new bikes. We had such an uncommonly mild winter this year that the kids got to ride their new bikes on Christmas morning. That's pretty unheard of!


What a blessed Christmas we had with all of our loved ones!!!

November 11, 2011

Wow....seems like yesterday!

I can hardly believe that next week will be one whole year since Shawn and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a cruise. I also can't believe that I never took the time to blog about our wonderful experience.

I always thought that I would never be able to go on vacation for a whole week without my kids. And I never dreamed that vacation would put me "off the grid" and unreachable to my family for a whole week. I'm not going to lie, I was extremely nervous about it. Just ask my Mom and Mother-in-law who had a good 3 pages of notes. However, I'm thankful that they were in very loving, and capable hands in our absence. We could not have done it without the support of our parents!! 

One very early morning, we packed our van and headed to Columbus to catch out flight. After a few layovers and planes changes we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale to board our ship.

Here we are with the beautiful Florida sunset in the background.

Bye Bye Florida

We spent a day at sea on our way to our first destination. I can't even begin to describe the amazing beauty of floating out in the middle of the ocean with water as far as the eye can sea. What a relaxing time!


The first island that we visited was Princess Cruise Line's private island called Princess Cay. For this adventure we had to board the smaller boats that ferried us to the island.

Ruby Princess

The day started off a little overcast and rain threatened to dampen our plans. Thankfully it blew over and it turned out to be a gorgeous day of relaxing under the clamshell we rented

Silly pics from Princess Cay

and just simply basking in the sun.

Princess Cay

We took another day resting and lounging pool side with a day at sea. The next island that we visited was St.Maarten where we hopped on another boat to take us to the beach.
 Talk about the perfect introduction to the Islands, check out this video. 

Here we enjoyed walking around and looking in all the shops and doing some swimming. We then dried off and hopped into a taxi cab that took us to Dawn Beach on the Dutch side of this island. It was beautiful and a bit more secluded.


The next island we visited was St.Thomas. We had heard that on St.Thomas....going to Megen's Bay is a must. So that's what we did. We boarded a taxi bus that took us up and over St. Thomas. Talk about some amazing views from the tippy top!

Heading to Megens Bay

Megen's Bay is sort of like a gated community. We had to pay admission to get in. It was very secluded. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!! We got there early in the morning so we were pretty much the first people on the beach. Scenery that will be in my memory forever!

Megens Bay St.Thomas

One evening we were up on the top deck watching the glorious sunset and taking some pictures when a lady asked if we would like to have our picture taken together. We said sure and then she made us kiss for one of the pictures! :)

Sunset at sea

Our last stop was the Island of Grand Turk. Here, we collected some really beautiful sea glass on this beach. Gorgeous shades of blues and greens.

Grand Turk

Rather than hang out at the big party at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville we opted for a guided dune buggy ride. Shawn drove of course because that thing scared me!

Dune Buggy

I can't think of a better excursion to pick. We drove all over that tiny island. Saw views that the majority of those on the cruise never got to see. 

Above Grand Turk

including a beautiful sunset view of the lighthouse

Grand Turk Lighthouse

and driving back to the ship as we watched the sun completely sink into the ocean.

Grand Turk Dune Buggy



Ever since we got home from that trip...we have said that we can not wait to do it again. We missed our kids intensely but I have to tell was so nice to be able to reconnect with my husband and have fun together without a worry in the world! 

I love you so much Shawn and I'm so thankful that we got to spend that time together!

November 7, 2011

We're rollin'

on two wheels now! 
Learning how to ride a bike in the country


without paved roads and driveways can be difficult!


 Thank goodness for her Aunt & Uncle's (our neighbors) concrete.


She will be an old pro before long.


Oh, and pay no attention to her Lightning McQueen helmet. 
Daddy couldn't find her princess helmet so she had to wear Bubs :)

November 6, 2011

Halloween Fun

Faces designed by little ones. Meticulously sketched & carved by Daddy and Papaw
Picnik collage

Insides bravely scooped out
Picnik collage 
and lit up for all to see.
Picnik collage 
Cousins gathered


decked out in costume


to parade the streets
Picnik collage 
in the hunt


for sweet delicious


candy and treats
Picnik collage 
We even ran into some familiar friends dressed up for the festivities


We had a fun Halloween and hope you did too!

October 27, 2011

Nothing tastes better...

Than fresh
Picnik collage



 fall apples


 made into


homemade applesauce!