christmas card

Here are a few shots from some pictures I took of Evaleigh for our Christmas card. I'm lucky I got 4 usable ones out of her, she was SO distracted by our drippy rug drying on the banister of our deck. I had fun taking these of her though, I used the chalkboard wall I made last week.

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that you got to spend it with the people you love!

We are still stuck in our Christmas bubble here with watching movies in front of the fire and letting the babies roll around on the floor and play with their gifts. We are holding on to the last bit of the season by drinking the last of our wassail and eating Christmas candy til we are sick! I don't want this to end.

EJ's first Christmas

This Christmas was positively the best Christmas around. Besides the fact that Mr. Murphy showered me with way too many great things, it would have been perfect anyway. Watching my sweet girl this whole season has been such a joy. I've loved watching her point at every shining thing and crawl all over the a presents and rip the paper to shreds. Christmas Eve Nanny and I made dozens of paper snowflakes and taped them to the French doors in the living room. Christmas morning she was ripping them down and having a blast crumpling the paper. She had 3 outfit changes throughout the day; there were Christmas pjs from Grandmommee, a Santa dress from Aunt Susan, and an Elf dress from her daddy. She had so much fun walking all over the paper and playing in boxes and looking at her new books.

Christmas with her was divine. Can't wait to see what next year holds for our little family.


chalkboard fireplace

Last week my good friend Katie brought me an old bookcase she was getting rid of. I immediately saw the potential in it and couldn't wait to get it in to my house. I've had a can of chalkboard spray paint in my craft closet that has been burning a hole in my pocket for quite some time. I knew exactly what I was going to use it for. I took the back of the book shelve off and removed all of the staples and nails. Then I sprayed two coats of chalkboard paint on it and let it dry for 48 hours.

I have really been wanting a chalkboard wall but because we are renting and will loose our security deposit if I paint it has simply been out of the question. This is the perfect idea for renters! Ive already used it as the backdrop for our family Christmas photo and I can't wait to use it for all sorts of things!

I used a chalkboard pen which makes makes much clearer lines and you don't have the chalky dust mess to clean up. It comes off with water just like regular chalk. Finding out about those pens changed my life. For real.

Right now I am using it in front of the fireplace to block Evaleigh from playing in the ashes. Looks cute and saves EJ from making a mess.
I love it.


oh bill

There is something pretty important that Evaleigh doesn't know yet.
We are getting new member of the family, and he's coming on Saturday.
Let me explain.
Yesterday while doing some Christmas shopping I got a phone call from my Pawpaw.  He is the cutest and sweetest Pawpaw there ever was.  Here is how the phone call sounded.

*just a imagine a really southern old man's voice* "Hey Rachel!  How are you?"
"I'm great Pawpaw, just out doing some Christmas shopping, you?"
"I'm doing just great, is Evaleigh around?"
"She sure is, I have her right here on my hip."
"Well I want to make sure she can't hear me.  I want to tell you what I got her for Christmas."
"Ok, I'm pretty sure she can't hear you, what is it?"
*in the most excited voice possible* "I got her a puppy!"
"You aren't serious.............WAIT, are you?"
"I am sure am!  I want to give her a puppy!"


First off let me say that I think its absolutely precious that he wants to give her a puppy.
Secondly I am a lady that literally NEVER thought I would own an animal.  Sure maybe when the kids were old enough to help out and share the responsibility and if they begged hard enough we would maybe think about it....maybe.
  I am allergic to pet fur.  
Their hair laying around grosses me out.  
And I can't stand the eye boogers and slobber.
And third I just have no idea where he even got the idea to get us a puppy with out any prior conversation about it but he was just so happy and excited all I could do was shake my head and laugh.

***TIME IN***

"Well, do you want to call John and talk to him about it?"
"You bet I do!  I'll call you right back."

Talking to John was just about as easy as could be.  He said it was ok!

So Saturday we are meeting the new 10 week old member of our family and Evaleigh is going to flip.  She is obsessed with dogs, I mean look at her face at 00:32 in this video.  I can't wait to watch them wrestle on the floor and take baths together every night.

As soon as we decided to do it I was equally excited and terrified.

We are going to name him Bill.  
After Pawpaw.
Oh Bill.


hold her tight

As I sit here with my baby napping in the next room all I can think of is how grateful I am that she is my daughter.  
I just can't imagine posting anything about anything else other than a few feelings about what happened in Connecticut this weekend.
It has haunted my thoughts ever since I heard about it.  I cried as I thought of the unspeakable evil that took place Friday.  I am terrified for the world that we have to raise our children in.  My heart is torn for those families who have lost their babies. And you better believe I kissed and held my baby just as tight as I always do this weekend, but this time it meant something different to me.  I held her tight because some parents wouldn't ever be able to do that with their babies again.  
I held her tight for them.

I have been wondering what my small part is in all of this and I have decided that it is to be kind.
It seems like such a simple idea but sometimes it is the hardest thing to do to just reach outside of your comfort zone and talk to a stranger.  Pull yourself out of your cellphone screen and engage with the person standing in front of you.

It is a small and simple idea, nothing profound.  But perhaps it will help us all little by little.

Praying for all of those effected at Sandy Hook.


a night that reminded me

This past weekend was a great chapter in my story.
I went to the Atlanta Symphony with my Father.  
It was a night I will never forget.  
The past few months I have been increasingly aware of how much my soul is hungering for music.  I knew there was a hole inside of my heart that wasn't being filled and it was causing an ever so slight pain that would rip through me every once in a while.

Friday night my heart was renewed.

We got to the Arts Center and on the stage I saw my former vocal coach from college who is the pianist for the ASO.  My mind instantly flooded with warm and tender moments of music that we made together.  Some of my most sacred musical moments happened in his small 8th floor office overlooking the streets of Atlanta.  He is a tough and brilliant man.  A man that I was once intimidated by but because of him I am a better person.  A man who was hard on me because he believed in me.  There is nothing but admiration and love in my being for him and I honor him.  I walked to the edge of the stage and the moment our eyes met I saw his face soften and he said my name.  He stooped down and we clasped hands and exchanged in conversation.  I was holding some of the most talented hands I know and I was grateful to see him again.

I went back to my seat and sat next to my father in anticipation of the beginning of the concert. The stage was an ocean of performers.  The lights dimmed and the orchestra began to play.  
The strings pierced my heart and instantly I felt something. 
I closed my eyes and the choir joined in.  Tears welled up concealed behind my eyelids, my breathing deepened.  
It was like I was hearing music for the first time and I couldn't keep the dam from bursting.  Trails of tears blazed my cheeks one after another.  

I longed to be on that stage.  A twinge of regret coursed through my body and I was painfully reminded of my talent.  I missed being a part of something bigger than my self.  I missed my life as a performer and a singer.  I thought of my voice.  

I listened and I was lifted to a higher place.  It was a place that you can only go to through music.  I took in every moment of that evening and every one of my pores soaked in the music traveling through the air.  I experienced one of the moments that you live your whole life for.  I was taken away and my soul left my body and went on stage, or maybe to heaven...I'm not sure.

After that night this is what I was reminded.

I still have songs to sing.
I still have stories to tell.
I still have ears to reach.
I still have hearts to touch.
I still have dreams to live.

Here is a song from that night.



Well I am trying not to fall behind on these! 
Here is month 10.

Little girl has been:

very clingy to her dada, she loves to wave 'bye-bye' to him through the glass door in the mornings
enjoying being spoiled with Christmas Reeses from her Pawpaw
maybe teething again
trying to chew on any cord in reach
ripping up little pieces of paper and trying to eat them
starting to wander in the pews in church on Sunday
sleeping through the night til 6 then going back to bed til 9/9:30
pointing at all of the new decorations that go up in the house and making sure that her Grandmommee sees every single one of them when she comes to visit
giving her mama sweet open mouth kisses


soaking it in

I just can't get enough of this season.  
Even though the weather was nice enough to take my baby outside in nothing but a diaper, it feels like Christmas.
I can't stop staring at our tree, it is my most favorite one ever!  I love how colorful it is and it makes me so happy.  
I thought I would have to defend it from a certain 10 month old but surprisingly EJ has been very sweet to the tree.  She is a pretty obedient listener so we've only had to tell her not to mess with it a few times.  She does like to try and eat the fallen pine needles though, I swear I find the weirdest things in her diaper.

I am slowly checking off the movies that I have to watch each Christmas season.  I've made psychedelic colored Christmas cookies with Lisa.  John and I have sung Christmas carols with the guitar at night.  We have a had a few fires in our living room.  I haven't done a bit of Christmas shopping yet and for some reason this doesn't make me nervous at all.  I am trying my best not to rush a moment of this season.  I want it to go as slow as possible because there is something looming right behind Christmas...
...Evaleigh's first birthday.

I am excited about it, truly.  But there is something so bittersweet about it.  I have been pausing a lot more through out our days to make sure that I am taking in the remaining bits of her babyness.  She is growing so fast right before our eyes. I love watching her discover new things.  Lately it has been the washing machine.  She loves it.  Also she is standing on her own much more often now.  She talks all of the time and sometimes she ends up saying actual words.  The most common two are 'out' and 'whoa'.  Its precious.  She does this awesome 360 degree spin while sitting and kicking her legs, she is hilarious.

I just can't believe I have been her mama for almost a year. Best year of my life.


on a scale of 10

This past Saturday was literally the perfect day.

 It started off with Sarah Doughnuts.  A red velvet doughnut, an eclair, and a chocolate sour cream doughnut. (and then another 9 to take home in a box and snack on through out our journey of a day)  

After our doughnut feast we went to Atlanta Vintage Books.  John found them through Scout Mob last weekend and had been wanting to go.

Back story.  I'm not a reader.  It is mostly because I am too ADD to focus on something without my mind wandering to what my favorite cheese is, what my next craft project will be, or how my wedding could have been so different if Pinterest had only existed 1 year earlier.  Also I think this is the list of everything I have read.  Ever.  

The Burning Questions of Bingo Brown
Enders Game
Hunger Games
The Twilight Series
Goodnight Moon
The Scriptures

But for some reason this book store seemed intriguing.  We carried our sleeping baby inside and were met with happy store clerks and 5 cats.  It was dreamy and made me want to pick a book and cozy up with Frieda here and a Claritin.

  The walls were covered floor to ceiling with shelves of books. I loved the random reading nooks with antique velvet chairs that doubled as scratching posts for Boo, Little Boo, Mickey, Frieda, and Callie.

We left with an antique copy of The Night Before Christmas for Evaleigh and an oval picture of a chrysanthemum. I left with a runny nose and a new resolve to broaden my reading list.

Then we met up with some friends at Ikea.  Being in there was like a time warp.  I'm pretty sure we spent 3.5 hours in there.  Baby girl had herself a nap in daddy's arms and played in the stuffed animal bin.  

Then we came home and had a How I Met Your Mother Marathon and some ice cream.

I give Saturday an 11.


Instagram alphabet volume 3

I finally finished Evaleighs Instgram Alphabet and just in time for Christmas. I can't wait to see how the book turns out after I send it to print. Here are the final pictures. Dont judge the letter x...its a really hard letter to come up with something for. Have a great weekend!



Today it's just me, Evie, Christmas Pandora Station, and lots of decorations to put up. I love watching her point and each new thing I put up. Christmas is going to be so fun this year experiencing it through her eyes. On Sunday EJ busted her lip while chewing on my mascara tube while in Relief Society and she burst in to tears. I rushed out, I was sort of embarrassed because it was our first Sunday at our new church here in Atlanta. I took her to John and he held her, the instant she saw the Christmas tree in the foyer she stopped crying. She started smiling and pointing to the lights and completely forgot about her lip. I have a feeling that many accidents are in our future because she is standing up on her own now. Perhaps Christmas is the perfect distraction for her now!

I love this season so much. I love making my home beautiful. I love listening to Christmas music nonstop. I love being with my family and making traditions. I love celebrating the birth of our Savior.

A special thanks to Jess for letting me guest post yesterday!


a future scout

When we headed out of the door last night I knew our baby's gender looked like a toss up.

John had promised a night of going to Sherry's Produce down the street to get our Christmas tree. When we got there, Sherry had closed her shop for the night, I guess that's what you get for going out in search of a tree at nearly 7:30 on a Monday night. I was disappointed and John and I tossed around the idea of trying again on Wednesday because by then we would have our decorations. "But dangit," I thought, "I showered AND put on makeup. We are going to get our tree!"

So we went driving and shortly came upon a troop of Boyscouts selling Christmas trees, success! We got out and Evaleigh started kicking her little legs and panting like a dog, the way she does when she gets excited. We went over to the 5 and 6 footers and she started pointing at one tree over and over. We knew it had to be the one because she picked it out!

So we took it over and a Boy Scout clipped off the low boughs. Another man, who smelled like he had been hitting the sauce that night, came over with a chainsaw...I had to take a few steps back. He trimmed the bottom of the tree, took one look at EJ, and said, "Well you sure are cute, a future scout for sure." We just smiled and said, "You bet."

And that it the story of how our future little scout got her first Christmas tree.

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