celebrate {new birthday tradition}

as i mentioned earlier today, i really wanted to do something special for coleman this morning that he would actually get. after he went to bed last night, i had a lightbulb moment. coleman loves balloons (or anything that sort of resembles a ball, right???). so, i blew up 12 blue balloons (one for each month of his second year of life).

and on each one i wrote something that i love about him. then i packed them into two trash bags and placed them outside his bedroom door.

this morning when he rose (way too early) i entered his room singing happy birthday to you and showered my birthday boy with twelve balloons in his crib. his response? a whole-hearted joey lawrence "woooooh" and lots of smiles.

he then had fun hitting each balloon out of his crib into his bedroom floor. and then i showed him how to hit them over the banister to get them downstairs. and so they went.

and he's continued to enjoy playing with his twelve birthday balloons. not only was this perfect for our two-year-old, i think it's perfect in general. i want to make this a birthday tradition - always having balloons with special things written on them. but next year, with it not being such a last minute thing, matt & spencer can also participate in the balloon messages.

wanna know what twelves things are "balloon quality" about coleman....

1) when you start all of your sentences with "mommy"
2) our bedtime routine
3) how you fold your hands and say "amen" during prayers
4) your infectious smile
5) your deep belly laugh
6) how you adore your big bubba
7) your love of mickey mouse clubhouse
8) your mad iphone skillz
9) your complete obsession with balls
10) how rough & tumble you are
11) your independent nature
12) how proud you make your daddy

note: this is the last birthday post today...promise :)

coleman {2 years old}

in honor of coleman's birthday, here are 24 things about my two-year-old ... one for each month. (and i'm scheduling this to post at 4:27 p.m. -- the same time he joined our family two years ago).

~ he rolls his eyes and thinks it's hilarious ~

~ he is completely obsessed with mickey mouse clubhouse ~

~ he weighs 29 pounds ~

~ he starts sentences with "mommy" and repeats them over and over ~
example "mommy, it's a dog. mommy, it's a dog. mommy it's a dog..."

~ he has started using the potty at AJs ~

~ he was allergy tested (no major allergies) ~

~ he has become obsessed with having rio near him. but he does not  like the dogs nearby when he's eating ~

~ getting him to eat a decent supper is often difficult ~

~ he is still a very early riser. most mornings by 6:00. often times 5:00 or 5:30 ~

~ he loves, loves, loves watching the your baby can read dvds ~

~ his favorite food is breakfast sausage. but he also loves pepperoni ~

~ he is going through a cuddly stage. and i'm totally cool with that. ~

~ he started called his daddy "matt" ~

~ he is getting much better at catching balls and his throwing arm continues to impress ~

~ he loves grapes. a lot. ~

~ he calls all gloves and mittens "mitts" and he loves putting them on ~

~ he likes to climb into his carseat on his own ~

~ the nice weather has made him a very happy boy. lots of outside time ~

 ~ every morning i wake up to "mama up. mama up. mama up." over the baby monitor ~

~ sometimes he just randomly throws up ~

~ he hasn't had a sick visit to the doctor since before his 18 month appointment ~

~ he mimics everything matt and i do. in the mornings he wants to put on lotion, use my makeup brushes, comb his hair, etc. ~

~ he adores bathtime and bubbles ~

~ nothing makes him as happy as his big brother ~

celebrating {birthday morning}

last night, i knew i wanted to do something to make coleman's birthday special. since matt has to work tonight and we don't have spencer, there wasn't an organized celebration. that's all happening on friday & saturday. but, still...he's my baby and i wanted to do something. i struggled to come up with something that a two-year-old would get and appreciate. i came up with a cute idea which i will share later (probably tonight). in the meantime, here are some snapshots of this morning - all iphone shots so i apologize for the quality.

the birthday boy with his "say cheese" squinty-eyed grin.
photo editing done with ps express iphone app.

 chilling on mommy's bed, watching mickey mouse clubhouse, playing with the remote.
 he usually doesn't get to watch tv in the morning (well, at least not with me - his daddy lets him do whatever he wants!!)

 one of his new favorite morning activities - playing with bubbles in daddy's sink while i get ready for work.

 all dressed and ready for the day. at AJ's house right before i headed to work.

view coleman's birthday dance HERE

hope you aren't tired of my birthday boy yet...more to come!!!


and so the day has come...my "baby" boy, is two. last night, i tucked him in and said goodbye to my one-year-old. the time has flown by, yet i can hardly remember life without him. that early morning drive to the hospital seems like it was so many moons ago. and then i look at my toddler and think how quickly it seems to have passed.

the last two years have been hard and easy. tough and crazy. rewarding and stressful. happy and scary. wonderful and worrisome. they've been perfectly imperfect and i wouldn't change a thing.

coleman rhea - welcome to *two*.
may it be as awesome as the last 24 months!
i love you baby boy.
and YES, you will always be my baby.

here is our precious newborn, two years ago...

and our toddling one year old...

and our phenomenal two-year-old...

feel like a trip down memory lane? check out these posts...


story {sense of place}

i recently ran across a post on ali edwards' blog that really caught my attention. despite it's simplicity, it immediately reminded me of a photo i'd taken around christmas. her post was titled sense of place. my photo has very little in common with hers, but that sense of place was what got me. in ali's words:
"there's something about the environment
and a sense of place
that adds so much to the photo...
all pieces of our everyday life"
ever since capturing this shot on december 26th, i've loved it. it's not glamorous but it's real.
101226x Fiesta de Navidad 18 - chip, marion, matt

i love that it captures the main living area of our home.
i love that it feels warm.
i love that it shows our home full of family.
i love that it shows the men retreating to one another.
i love the random, imperfect touches like the green balloon and coats draped on the banister.
i love that there are christmas decorations in sight, but they are subtle and it could've been taken on any given day.


organization {toys}

after christmas (also known as the day our house was taken over by toys), it didn't take us long to figure out we had to do something to regain control of our den. since we don't have a playroom or a bonus room or any of those toy-collecting rooms, we had to make our main living space fun for coleman, while bearable for the rest of us.

one thing that was a issue was our lack of space. we have a really large den but it's already pretty full of furniture. after some brainstorming, i came up with the idea to purchase one of IKEA's expedit bookshelves that is only one cube wide and turn it on it's side. it fits perfectly under a railing that separates our breakfast nook from the den. i purchased 5 fabric bins from Target to fill the cubes.

110116 Toy Organization 02

 this system has some really great perks...
1) the five compartments allow for categorizing toys. right now we have them divided into blocks, puzzles, balls, little people, and of course miscellaneous. i have a feeling these will be continuously revamped, which is perfectly fine!
2) it's the perfect height for coleman to access all his toys...and to put them away himself!
3) the long top serves as extra bench seating when we have a houseful of guests.
4) the piece of furniture is incredibly versatile. if it wears out its welcome in this room, it can serve as a shelf in several other rooms in our house (it's actually the same furnitue spencer has in his room now).
110116 Toy Organization 01


celebrate monday {catch-up}

i haven't participated in the last several celebrate monday challenges at simple scrapper, but i love the concept so i did want to play catch-up. i find that these really help me to see some old photos in a new light. i love it!

110116 Sippy Cup & Pacifier on candles
2.7the little things

it's the little things that remind us we have little ones in our lives. a few years ago, a sippy cup and pacifier resting atop pillar candles wouldn't be considered trendy decor. today, i can't imagine anything more aethestically pleasing. (photo taken 01.16.2011)

110113 Matt's Birthday 02
2.14: my heart soars

this is the one fellow that makes my heart soar. i love his laugh. i love how he wears the same gamecock clothing over and over and ignores my fashion advice. i love how he plays with his boys. my heart smiles when i see him smile. (photo taken on matt's birthday: 01.13.2011)

090224 Coleman's Birth - Holly & Coleman after birth02
2.21: change is hard, change is good

when i read this prompt, i knew immediately what i wanted to showcase. having a baby is definitely the biggest change in my life in a long while. it was hard, but it was so good. it still is hard and it is still so good. (photo taken 02.24.2009)


dieting for dummies {2.20}

total weight loss: holding steady at 9 pounds
my body seems to lose weight in a peak & valley kind of way. i don't lose anything for a week or two and then all of a sudden i drop several pounds quickly.

tip: find the victories
despite no weight loss, i'm still feeling encouraged. this week i was able to break out a couple of pairs of dress pants that had been in hiberation for a while. that was very exciting. plus, i've continued getting comments/compliments from friends & family.

tip: plan ahead
think about your day and if you need to "conserve" points. when matt works night, i allow myself more freedom during the day because i know it'll be easy to fix myself a healthy, low-point supper. if i know i will be eating out for dinner, going to someone's home, or just having a high-point meal at home, i am more careful during the day.
a few random thoughts:
~ i failed miserably in the exercise department. no excuses.
~ i'm loving edamame as a favorite snack
~ bubbly water is my liquid treat.


happy heart day {decor}

happy valentine's day everyone!

to recognize *heart day*, i thought i would share some photos of my current home decor. i don't go "all out" for valentine's but i do have a small decor collection, and even added a few things this year...

110116 Valentine's Decor 01
my mom made this awesome heart bouquet. i just added a little cheesy garland around the base and a heart shaped candy dish sits beside it.

110116 Valentine's Decor 02
just a cool, large red bowl that i have. i purchased these fake petals from target years ago and just have them resting in the bowl. coleman likes to play with them.
110116 Valentine's Decor 04
a new addition this year. i opened my valentine's day box to discover this heart shaped mat that i must've picked up on clearance. i happened to have a frame the right size with an outdated photo of coleman, so i swapped it out for this seasonal item. i couldn't find any heart or love patterned paper in my stash that i liked so i chose this red snowflake pattern instead.
110116 Valentine's Decor 05
in our bathroom stands this white storage unit. i opted to put our silver "love" in there this year (it's always been in the foyer in years past). i also added a "first valentine's day" frame from last year and a felt mini book that i made matt many years ago.
110116 Valentine's Decor 06
this is my favorite addition of the year. these photo easels were holding very outdated photos (as in, BEFORE coleman's birth). here's what i did...
  • "love one another" print - free download from becky higgins. in photoshop, i cropped it to be a vertical 5x7, rather than horizontal.
  • family photo - i opened one of our recent family photos in photoshop elements. created a duplicate layer. changed the top layer to black & white. used the eraser over the boys' shirts to reveal the color.
  • subway art - free download from eighteen 25. it's formatted to 16x20 so i cropped it to fit a 5x7 canvas.


dieting for dummies {2.13}

total weight loss: around 9 pounds
for some reason, my scale has been really inconsistent the last few days. i'm pretty sure i've hit at least nine pounds. maybe a little more.

struggles: my biggest struggle this past week was eating out so much due to travel. i tried to stick to things such as chicken breasts and salads, being careful about portion size and dressings. overall, i did pretty well.

successes: i am excited to report that people are starting to notice and comment that i have lost weight. yay! oh, and i did the elliptical machine twice this week.

confusions: as i mentioned already, my scale will fluctuate within a few pounds in just a day's time, even though i'm consistent about the conditions under which i weigh. i'm sure this is why it's not recommended that you weigh daily, but i don't care - i'm going to keep doing it!

i'm surprised that my clothing isn't fitting more loosely considering i've almost hit 10 pounds, but oh well! it will come in time. at first i thought a goal of 20 pounds would definitely get me to where i want to be, but now i'm not so sure. unless the second 10 pounds makes a much bigger difference than the first 10 pounds.

foods i'm loving:

-- wheat tortillas & flatbread: i have mastered the art of making a healthy wrap out of just about any food combination (breakfast food, mexican-style, italian, etc).

-- i'm really sticking with a lot of favorites i've already mentioned: yellow & orange bell peppers, fresh healthy dips/spreads, special K crackers, spinach.

-- canned chicken/tuna: i'm not sure if i mentioned this yet, but i love keeping canned tuna and chicken on hand. i can add it to anything (a salad, wrap, pasta) for some protein & flavor without as many points as most meats. they are also easy to take to work. sometimes i use them straight out of the can and sometimes i will add fat free mayo and some spices.

-- spices, spices, spices: if anything ever feels like it doesn't have enough flavor, i rely on the spice rack. it's super packed flavor without extra points. i love using some of the mixes that mccormick's makes like the "italian" spices or a mexican chili powder. i'm also a big fan of nature's seasoning.


book club {incourage}


i want to share with you something very cool that i'm doing right now. i am participating in an "online book club"... that's a first for me. i originally read about this at inspired to action. i was lead over to (in)courage where the club is actually taking place.

the book is called one thousand gifts by ann voskamp, who also writes the blog a holy experience. the book club reads two chapters per week. each sunday & wednesday there is a relevant blog post and a video with the author herself.

i am two chapters into the book and truly enjoying the experience. i have figured out my reading plan and it's working well, so far. first, i read a chapter. then i read the corresponding blog post and watch the video. then i read the chapter a second time, while i also do some journaling that is inspired by all of those things. i feel like i'm getting so much more from the reading by not rushing and making sure i do all of these things to really soak in what's being shared. (please note, i am not doing all of these steps together. i never have that much free time. i divide them up into mini steps and squeeze them in however is realistic).


it's not too late to participate. you can easily catch up, or do this at your own pace, referring back to past posts. the first two chapters have been posted and chapter three is tomorrow. the book can be purchased at amazon (for only $9.23), as well as many other places.


story {pops the bear}

when i picked coleman up from daycare one friday, we were given pops the bear and his bag of belongings. pops was to spend the weekend with us and we'd then document our adventures together. the timing worked out well since coleman & i headed out of town for the weekend. here is our story from pop's point of view...

hi friends! this weekend i went on an adventure with coleman, his mommy and his aunt sherry. we rode in the car for three hours and ended up in a city called conway, sc. that is where aunt michelle lives. she has an ipad and we had fun playing with it!
110121 Conway Visit 3 - Coleman + Michelle + Pops iPad
coleman was a great friend for the weekend. he even let me sleep in his bed with him and his "monk-monk" so i wouldn't be scared in a new place. for breakfast, we enjoyed some tasty oatmeal.
110123 Conway Visit 01 - Coleman eating oatmeal
on saturday, coleman's mommy had to go do something. we stayed home with grandma sharon, uncle marion and coleman's cousin, maggie. we watched tv, played with blocks and raced cars. we even built a ramp with the blocks so the cars could ride on it.

110122 Conway Visit 05 - Maggie + Coleman

110122 Conway Visit 07 - Pops with blocks

later that day, we all went shopping at several different stores. coleman got some new pjs. we had a sweet treat at starbucks too. coleman also drew a special picture to keep in my bag.
110122 Conway Visit 10 - Coleman drawing
it was really a fun weekend. even though we had to spend a lot of time in the car, it was worth it. coleman's family is a lot of fun! i can't wait to see what my next adventure will be. love, pops


celebrate {january}

last year, i documented my everyday life here at the chronicles by posting a *this week* recap. these included all of the exciting and oh-so-many unexciting things that happened in my day-to-day world, accompanied by photos. though i loved the documentation of daily life, i struggled with keeping those posts updated and was usually a few weeks behind.

for 2011, i knew i wanted a different approach, a monthly approach. but it took a few weeks to come up with an official plan. but i did. and i'm excited. this year, my monthly posts are all about celebrating everyday life. i won't bore you with my average weekly savings or where i shopped that week. my favorite tv shows and how long i brushed my teeth each day will be omitted. i will focus on the slightly more important things.

i would love to have it ready to post on the first of every month. but i won't. and i won't care. because it doesn't really matter. what matters is that i'm documenting the celebrations. punctuality is irrelevant. so let's get started...

celebrate {big moments}
110103 Britt Blackwell County Council Induction 02

celebrate {little moments}

110108 Coleman's Haircut

celebrate {struggles}
  • matt's father received injuries during an accident at work
  • i learned my mom needed to have a biopsy
  • my sisters and i struggled to heal our relationship with our father
  • spencer brought home a less-than-desirable report card (for the first time ever)

celebrate {family}
  • we played in the snow
  • we played in the warmth
  • coleman and i took a road trip to visit family for the weekend

celebrate {words}
  • in the new testament, i read the books of mark, luke, and john. i'm currently reading acts.
  • i'm in the process of reading swimsuit by james patterson
  • also reading debt free for life by david bach.
101218 New Testament

celebrate {home}
  • we implemented a new toy organization system in our den
  • i purged & organized our bedroom dresser drawers
  • valentine's day decor graced our home
  • we got a quote on some new flooring

celebrate {organization}
  • i began using a blogging calendar for the first time in five years of my blog history
  • a new binder & weekly calendar system have proven successful additions to my daily life
  • birthday party & bridal shower planning were in full force


celebrate {5 years}

it's hard to believe...five years. five years of blog posts. of pictures. of rambling. of growing & learning. in the same way that marriage or friendship or parenting can seem to go so quickly but also so slowly...that is how i feel. i feel as if i have always had a blog. that i don't recall the days when this was not a part of my daily life. but it's only been five years. and then i feel as if it is still such a new adventure. learning technology and all the roles it now plays.

though it may seem silly to some, i am so full of gratefulness for his tiny little piece of the incredibly vast and growing online world. it's a release. it's a means. it is comforting and sometimes stressful. it is steady and incredibly inspiring. it's scary and reassuring all at once . it's full of potential and possibility.

as i sit here writing these words, i feel guilt. a lack of appreciation shown to my readers, my followers, my subscribers. family, friends, strangers. today marks five years and i have no fanfare to share. no prizes to award. no giveaways to excite. all i have are my words and appreciation.

thank you for five wonderful years.

to celebrate, a quick trip down memory lane. where was i this time each year? what was being highlighted in the chronicles each february?

my first post. a welcome. a snapshot of our little family.

a picture-less post. ramblings about color.

another pictureless post. bullets of our weekend. a series, long since gone.

a digital layout. christmas.
the next day...3-d view of the child about to enter our lives.

blog party announcement. recognizing the "anniversary" for the first time.

there ya have it...5 years of february 9th (or thereabouts).


becky higgins photo challenge {a little bit of something + a whole lot of nothing}

a while back, becky higgins started posting occassional photo challenges on her blog. they were simple and doable...yet still intriquing.

third: a little bit of something + a whole lot of nothing

100616 Coleman playing in yard 09 copy
this is one of my favorite photos and was already featured in a blog post back in june of last year. if i remember correctly, i was actually inspired to take this off-center photo (with room for journaling) by ali edwards. i truly love photos with journaling right on them so i want to try and remember to take more like this.
past challenges:
look straight down and set your camera down and reflection



music monday {2.7}

just a quick update...we did not go to harrah's this weekend. but hopefully will be rescheduling soon.

we actually had a very nice sunday, despite the change of plans. we spent last night home watching the super bowl and then, of coure, glee. with so much musical goodness, i figured it would be appropriate fodder for a *music monday* post.

let's start with the super bowl...or more importantly, the halftime show. honestly, i wasn't very excited when i learned that the blackeyed peas were doing the show. it's not that i don't like them. it's just that i like them, not love them. i personally thought the show was very entertaining. i loved all the light up people and special effects. the vocals weren't great but with live performances it is often hard to tell if the folks aren't singing well or if it's more of an equipment issue (i struggle with this during awards shows a lot). BEP music is good party-have-fun-win-a-super-bowl kind of music though. so i can see how it *works*.

but there was one redeeming half-time moment. i had no idea that my beloved usher was going to be there. when i heard will.i.am singing those three little words to start off "omg", i sat straight up and said (yes, it's cliche, but i happened)..."OH MY GOSH is usher there???" and yes, there he was. descending from...well, i don't know exactly. looking spiffy, as usual, in his all-white. i would've preferred to hear more usher, but at least i got a song.

if you missed the halftime show, here it is:
this is over 12 minutes. if you  just want to see usher, skip ahead to 6:50

and then there was glee. luckily, i had managed to sneak in a late afternoon nap, making it possible for me to stay up and watch this very late episode. it goes without saying, but i am so glad glee is back. the episode was good (not great). it can be seen in its entirety here. the intended highlight, of course, was the thriller mash-up. but, i was more tickled at the fact that they did their first ever lady antebellum song (a rare country appearance on this show).


dieting for dummies {2.6}

new tools:
last week i invested in two new "tools" for my weight loss adventure. i purchased a digital scale (to replace our sad, old non-digital one). it's so nice to be able to easily read my weight and not squint. obsessing over the scale (in a healthy way) has kind of been a fun game. i like to see how different things affect my weight (wet hair, clothing, a meal, etc).

my second new tool is a pedometer. you might remember my participating in a challenge around this time last year. i really enjoyed it but had lost that little pedometer. so, i invested in a new one and began wearing it earlier this week. it's always surprising as to how much i don't walk. one day that felt pretty active, was still only 6400 steps! my average workday (spent mostly at a desk) comes in around 4000. not good.

restaurant failure:
along with my successes, i have to report my failures as well. matt and i enjoyed a tasty meal at a new local restaurant. we splurged on a spinach dip appetizer with flatbread and i had a delicious italian BLT. the points were obnoxius. this was actually lunch and i ended up skipping supper. not because i felt guilty but because i wasn't even hungry. i think my body has adjusted to getting less food and having that massive amount in my belly just held me over. the best guess on the BLT: 18 points!!! ouch. yes, i could've gotten a salad, but i didn't.

friday at work we ordered lunch from a japanese restaurant. i ordered the same thing as always but requested brown rice instead of white. i normally would've cleaned my plate. i barely touched the rice and probably only ate about half of the main meal. i was proud of myself.

the week ahead is going to be tough. i will be travelling for four days...that's a lot of restaurant and on-the-go food.

weight loss: as of friday, i had not lost any additional weight. kind of depressing. given our busy weekend and trips ahead, i am scheduling this post ahead of time. hopefully by sunday, i will have lost something.