Memories Monday

I’ll probably be sappy for the next couple of weeks.  My sweet, innocent, precious baby girl is turning one on January 6th.  How is that even possible?  This year has flown by, but it has been the most amazing year of my life.

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This was when my little girl was only 6 months old.  How does time pass so quickly???  This is why we must cherish every single moment and appreciate every last cuddle, because they grow way too fast.  As for Elise, I will let her be little for as long as she will let me.

Flashback Friday – Balloon Minis

I was clearing space off my computer and backing up to my externals, and I came across these adorable photos I did during mini sessions last summer.  I couldn’t resist sharing.  These were so cute and the babies had SO much fun playing with the balloons!  Elise had so much fun that she went back for round two the next morning!

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Finger painting Madness!

Baby finger painting was an idea that I got from a fellow mom.  It was a blast.  We did this when Elise was about 6 months old, and I plan to let her do it again one day soon.  I think she will have way more fun now.  It was so easy.  All I did was take two Gerber banana yogurts, although you could use any white yogurt.  Using yogurt is such a genius idea because of course a young one is going to put it straight in their mouth.  I separated the yogurt into four containers and put a few drops of food coloring in each one.  After it was mixed, I put them out on her tray and let her go to town.

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It was so funny watching her.  She was SO serious about it.  She wasn’t sure what to think of this gooey mess, let alone mommy encouraging her to make a mess with her food!

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High five daddy!

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…and the aftermath:

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I am so excited to do this again with her now that she is bigger and able to have more fun with it.  I think we will make a photo session out of it and let her really have fun on some white seamless!

Merry Christmas!

We had Christmas a week early, but I still wanted to wait until after Christmas really passed to post about our “Christmas morning.”  It is so much more exciting when you have a child of your own.  I want to make sure Elise knows the real meaning of Christmas, and that it isn’t all about a magical man dressed in red, but I will have a separate post on that.  We had such a wonderful morning full of laughs and surprises.  Mommy most definitely had the biggest surprise of all though!

I woke up 30 minutes earlier than Elise normally gets up so that I could make sure everything was in place and I had my camera ready to go.  Of course Elise chose this morning to sleep in, but that’s okay!  It was probably thanks to her sugar high she had from sampling Santa’s cookies on Christmas Eve!

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Here daddy is bringing her out of her bedroom to see what special surprise Santa left her.  In our house, Santa only brings one present.  I am hoping that this will prevent her from asking Santa for 1,835,023,503 things when she is a little older, and hopefully Santa will actually be able to bring her that one special thing each year.  Ideally, this will create more excitement over receiving that special gift, instead of focusing on disappointment over things she didn’t get.  It is very, very important to me that she is appreciative of gifts that she receives.

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She spotted the toys and is ready to get down!  Santa brought Elise a Zany Zoo activity cube this year!  She must’ve been one good little girl!

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Mommy was most excited about what was in Elise’s stocking.  Here is Elise getting to see her stocking filled.  (Notice my dining room, aka birthday party central, in the background!)

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Elise received her very first Cabbage Patch doll!  Mommy and daddy had to look hard to find one for her.  It seemed as though all of the ones locally were gone.  Toys R Us was even bare.  They only had the baby twins and some mermaid one.  But luckily, Target saved the day!  Elise of course instantly stole her paci and tried to suck on it!

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Side note: I had equally as difficult of a time deciding on stockings as I did Elise’s pajamas, but I finally decided on these lovely ones from personal creations and I couldn’t be happier with them.  They are perfect and such great quality.  Elise loves to play with the lights on her gingerbread one!

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We decided to expand our bow options too ;).

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But as I mentioned before, I had the biggest surprise of all.  I thought that I was opening a digital photo frame from my wonderful husband.  To my complete shock, I received the most amazing gift…a new camera!  I love my ancient rebel, but the 5dm3 swept me right off my feet!

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From the little I have been able to use it so far, I AM IN LOVE.  I haven’t been able to upload any photos yet, as I have to get caught up with editing and clear some computer space off first, but I know they will be great.  I am so thankful to have such a caring and sweet husband.  He has earned enough brownie points to last years!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Eve – Cookies for Santa!

Christmas came a little early at the Kunkel household since mommy was supposed to work on Christmas Eve & Christmas.  We baked traditional chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  I’m normally an out of the box baker, so I was pretty proud of myself.  We decided to make a sign so that Santa knew they were made specially for him, so Elise and I fired up the cricut, and made a quick easy sign out of some scrap paper we had lying around.

This was Elise’s first time having a chocolate chip cookie, and she was quite excited.  She was hesitant at first, but it didn’t take her long to chow down.

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What are these things mommy?

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I’m supposed to SHARE these with Santa???

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Here mommy and daddy, have a bite!

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…and all that was left after we cut her off…

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These photos were so much fun.  Elise had a blast eating cookies and making a mess!  Don’t forget to capture sweet details and memories like this during your holiday festivities!

PS.  Most people know that I was going CRAZY trying to find the perfect first Christmas pjs for Elise.  I ordered some from Wooden Soldier in Nov.  They kept getting back ordered and back ordered without anyone notifying me.  Finally I had enough and canceled my order.  I will never order from them again.  Their customer service is most definitely lacking.  But I was lucky enough to find these adorable traditional pajamas at a Belks in a nearby town.  They are just as cute and were only a quarter of the price.  I am so happy with them and they are so comfy and adorable on Elise.

Toddler Christmas Tree

This was such an easy project and Elise has had so much fun with it all month long.  She’s young for it and doesn’t understand to “decorate” the tree, but she has had such a blast taking the ornaments off and scattering them around the house.

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Supply list:

  • Green felt (1/2 – 1 yard)
  • Assorted colors of felt in sheets
  • Needle & thread (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Something to secure it to the wall.  I used command velcro strips.

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You will need green felt.  I got a yard because I’m prone to mess up the first go around.  You could use more or less depending upon the size you want the tree to be.  I bought green glittery felt.  That was probably a mistake.  It is super cute, but there is always glitter everywhere.  I can’t keep the floor around it clean!

I got my idea from this pin on pinterest.  I turned my felt over and traced my tree out on the back first.  I didn’t want to do just a triangle, I wanted it to have a little more life.  So I got out a ruler and attempted to draw straight lines to make the above tree.  I then cut it out and put it on the wall using Velcro command strips.

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I purposely didn’t do many ornaments and kept it simple because I knew they would just get lost this year because as I said before, my one year old loves to hide them.  (Really, I find these things EVERYWHERE! Including drawers and the diaper bag!)  I just freehanded the ornaments and cut random shapes and used entire sheets as presents.  Anywhere that there is an embellishment or double layer of felt, I decided to sew it.  I thought about gluing it, but decided against it because everything goes into Elise’s mouth.  If you have an older one that isn’t going to put it in their mouth, glue would probably be fine.  Elise’s favorite ornament is the white circle that has the different colored poms on it.

I have had a lot of people ask me how the ornaments are attached to the tree.  Felt sticks to felt.  It’s amazing and awesome.  Felt is wonderful.  However, if it is heavy, it does not stick well.  Those presents are in the floor 90% of the time, especially the one that I put the ribbon on.  If I do keep any of the ornaments from this year, that present is getting tossed regardless!

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This was a fun an easy project that I will do every year.  Elise comes crawling and giggling as soon as she sees you start putting the ornaments on the tree so she can rip them all off!  Next year I hope that Elise is able to help decorate some of the ornaments and have more fun actually putting them on the tree.  I want to make garland for it next year too and a real topper!

Check back for more felt projects, because I plan to do these for every season!

Elise’s Nursery

A little over a year ago, we were all putting a lot of thought, time, and projects into Elise’s nursery.  I spent a long time trying to decide how to decorate her room.  I wanted something pretty, but still actually functional.  What is the point of a nursery if a baby can’t actually play in it?  I didn’t want it to be overly bright, but instead, calming and relaxing.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.  Of course now, a year later, there are a few things I would have changed, but over all, I consider it a win and Elise seems to love it!

FYI, this room is never this clean now, and it has a lot more toys in it!

This beautiful tree decal on the wall came from this etsy store.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to put up.  My mother and I did it in one evening.  It is also very easy to take down.  You simply heat it a little and then it pulls right off.  I LOVE it!  I still have more blooms that aren’t on the wall.  It came with a ton!

My mother and I made this mobile.  It doesn’t play music or anything like that, but I never felt like we needed one that spinned or made noise.  To match the theme of the cherry blossom tree, we bought a large branch from hobby lobby, then cut about a third of it off.  We cut a few smaller pieces and hot glued them to the larger branch for twigs.  We bought these cheap little white birds out of the wedding section, then painted them pink.  We glued those to the branch and added a few pink blossoms.  Elise enjoyed watching the ceiling fan blow it and make the birds sway when she was younger!

Our bedding and furniture came from Buy Buy Baby.  I wanted a bed that could grow with her and turns into a full bed.  This is why we didn’t go with typical white.  We wanted something that she wouldn’t feel “too old for” when she is a big girl.  (Although I’m still in denial that she will ever grow up.) 

We bought white wooden letters at Hobby Lobby as well.  Silly us didn’t know what we wanted to do with them yet, so we had my dad spray pain them pink.  We ended up repainting them white. (ugh extra work!)  My mother did the fabulous detail painting!

For curtain rods, my dad went out into the woods and cut down two branches and then trimmed them to the correct size.  We spray painted them a dark chocolate brown to match her furniture.  I was concerned about how they would hold up with being real branches, but they are still doing great!  We ordered the pink and white striped fabric online and my wonderful mother turned them into curtains.  When we went to hang them, they were WAY brighter than the bedding, so I soaked them in the sink with bleach for a while to fade them out and then washed them.  It worked like a charm and now they match perfectly!  The beautiful crocheted blanket that you see on the back of the glider was a gift from a very sweet (and talented) family friend.

I think I MIGHT redo her room when we convert her to a toddler bed.  We shall see.  Right now the only time she is in there is to sleep or go find more toys!

Through innocent eyes…

I am obsessed with this child.  Love doesn’t begin to describe it.  Christmas is even more magical this year as I experience it through her little innocent eyes.  I try to do it all.  I try to do every tradition and every idea that I can dream of to make her first Christmas perfect.  But little moments like this remind me to stop and take a moment to enjoy it all.  She doesn’t know about all the pinterest ideas that I didn’t get enough time to do.  All she knows, is the love that we show her.  Sometimes the simplest things can make the sweetest memories.

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Watching her precious face experience the joy and wonder of Christmas lights for the first time was priceless.  I wish I could know what she was thinking.

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After she recovered from the initial amazement, she was ready to play.  Giggling and smiling, she crawled away.  But not without one last look back, at her first Christmas tree.

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I never knew how special one little person could be.  She has taught me what love truly means.  Mommy loves you more than you could ever know Elise Arabella.

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Merry Christmas sweet girl.  May the world always be as magical and innocent for you as it is now.

Tragedy

I cannot begin to express my feelings on the tragedy that took place today at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut.  My heart goes out to the families of those poor children and staff that had their life taken away far too soon.  I can’t understand how anyone could harm another person, let alone a child.  I will be praying for the families, survivors, and all those involved. 

Let us all hug our children a little closer tonight and say a prayer for these victims.  The world is becoming a scarier place by the day.  Maybe I feel that way because I’m getting older and seeing things from a different perspective, but these severe acts of violence are becoming far too common.  I can’t imagine the pain their loved ones are feeling, the nightmares the other children will have, or the breaking of parent’s hearts as they try to comfort their little one with words of love.

I know one little girl, who will be held extra tight and cuddled a little longer as she is rocked to sleep tonight.