Feel Good Friday: Cherishing The Last of My Twenties.

I’m 29 today. Every year since I can remember, I look forward to Christmas in December, and after it’s over, I have my birthday to look forward to. The New Year just slips on by, because the start of my “new year” begins just a few days later. As for celebrating my birthday, I keep it casual with a favorite meal for supper and dessert and maybe a movie or a good book and a glass of wine. I keep it simple, because I’ve learned that those are the moments when I am happiest. That being said, I do still get excited, a bit giddy even, over my birthday. It’s turning the page to the next chapter of my life, and that’s something worth celebrating, no matter how old I get. Each year is to be cherished, and while I fail at cherishing every single moment, I cherish the ones that matter most. When I look back at my 28th year of life, my first year of blogging, I notice how my stats dipped when I needed to pull out of the blogging world and spend more time cherishing those very moments.

They dipped back in April, when I developed gestational diabetes. I spent the extra time nourishing my body, taking care to track what I ate and when and how much and to check my blood sugar afterwards. Our after-supper walks as a family were some of my favorite moments that month, because my husband and son knew it was what I needed to stay healthy, and they willingly jumped on board.

My stats stayed low for the following month of May, when my sweet baby boy was born. By far, this was the biggest blessing of my year. He came unexpectedly, just as I had hoped for (I did not want to be induced, like I was with my first pregnancy!), and he was a beautiful, perfect little boy. He looked just like his older brother. He snuggled and nursed and bonded with me immediately. He made us parents all over again, and he made our oldest son a brother.

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All of the images above were taken by the lovely Heather Hoch!

There was a final dip in August, when I cherished the last few days of my son’s summer at home with me before he started Kindergarten. He is so smart and talented in so many ways.

With the exception of those months, my blogging stats have been on a steady upward trend. My blog is growing and changing with every post I write, and although I started Close Families with a general idea of what I wanted it to be, it was the readers, the followers, the comments, the feedback… all of that has helped to shape Close Families (and the writer inside of me) into what it is today, almost a year later. I want to thank you all for your kindness, your support, your friendship. It means so much to share the bits and pieces of our separate lives that are joined by one common thread: family. And not just any family, but a family that wants to be close and connected. To have a lasting, enduring bond that is strong enough to face the harsh realities of the world. I’m still learning what that means and how to achieve it, and I hope you will continue to follow our journey.

One last thing: when I started this blog and gave it a name, I was a little over halfway through my pregnancy with our baby boy. Five months away from him being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. It wasn’t until months after that diagnosis that I made the ironic connection: Close Families… CF… Cystic Fibrosis… CF. Strange, huh? It’s a weird coincidence… or possibly a whisper of a bigger picture at hand.

Cheers to all of you for giving me a wonderful first year of blogging. I couldn’t be more excited about what my 29th year of life has in store.

Thank you, friends!


Homemade Birthday Card

It’s an equal combination of being cheap and being able to add our family’s personal touch that I prefer to make our own cards rather than buying them. Here is a quick and easy tutorial for a homemade birthday card that I made for my mother-in-law last week for her big 60th birthday:

The “You’ve Touched Our Lives” homemade birthday card:

What you’ll need:

-a blank card

-ink pad or paint

-scrapbook paper/cardstock

-marker

How to make it:

-First, use the ink pad or paint to put fingerprints throughout the front and inside of the card, one fingerprint for each year of the card recipient’s age. If you’re making this for a parent or grandparent, having the children in the recipient’s life do this part is a sweet little touch. In our case, each of our two children did thirty fingerprints to make a total of 60 for my mother-in-law.

-Then use the scrapbook paper or cardstock to decorate the rest of the card. You could choose to do this step first and the fingerprints second, whichever seems easier for you.

-Finally, add the message to the card–the age on the front and the following on the inside:

This card was touched (#) times.

One touch for each year that your life has touched all who have known and loved you.

It took us about fifteen minutes to make this card (including setup and cleanup), which is less time than it would have taken to drive to the store, pick out a card, and drive back home. And the personal “touch” of a homemade card always goes over really well!

Do you usually make your own cards or buy them? If you have a link to a homemade card tutorial on your blog, feel free to leave a comment with a link to it!


Catching Up

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of fun, adventure, and feeling overwhelmingly busy (yes, even for a stay-at-home mom!), so I haven’t had a chance to post much lately. I wanted to give you all a glimpse of what our little family has going on to help you all catch up! I’ll do it mostly through pictures, because… well, it’s just cuter that way.

We had Halloween last Wednesday, which was a success in my eyes, because we got our oldest son to go to more than four houses this year (it was the smallest, saddest little bag of Halloween candy I’d ever seen last year). While I don’t normally condone my son talking to strangers, I do see Halloween as an opportunity to be social to our neighbors, to get a little glimpse into their homes as they welcome you at their door. It’s a night of trust when there seems to be less and less of that in our communities. And I’m happy to be a part of it. Plus, my boys looked pretty darn cute this year.

SWAT Team dude and a fat little tiger!

 

Two days after Halloween, we celebrated my five-year-old becoming a SIX-year-old! We had a nice little party at home for him on his birthday last Friday, and then we spent the next day at Dave and Buster’s restaurant and at the movies seeing Wreck-It-Ralph with our family. He had a BLAST. I feel so blessed that this smart, funny, sweet little boy made me a mom six years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week, we are preparing for an event of a lifetime. We got a call last week letting us know that my boys who had entered an art contest for the local chapter of the CF Foundation had WON the contest!! The prize was tickets for our family to attend the big black tie gala, benefitting the CFF! We are getting dressed in our best this Friday night, and we will not only be attending the gala with cocktails, a seated dinner, and live music and dancing, but we will get to go on stage while they auction off my boys’ artwork for the charity! It is such an honor, and we are all super excited about it. A family who is near and dear to our hearts not only purchased tickets for their family to attend the gala with us, but they rented us a night’s stay in the hotel where the gala is being held! My sister-in-law has also graciously agreed to come to the hotel and watch our boys for us after the event, so that my husband and I can enjoy the after-party with our dear friends. We are so blessed. This is truly going to be a night to remember, all because of my two very special boys.

This picture will be printed in the event’s program!

This picture of our little one getting his daily nebulizer treatment (and big bro giving him some loving support!) will be featured on big screen/slideshow during the event! I mean, seriously, they are just precious.

Phew! So much going on, and with the holidays approaching, things just keep getting busier! I try to take a minute or two every day to “catch up,” be thankful, and just breathe. I hope you are able to do the same. 🙂