05 December 2012

Appreciating Wholly

Christmas is upon us and I am definitely in the holiday spirit!

Christmas is such an amazing and magical time of year! I love watching as neighborhoods transform from their dismal ordinary look to Christmas and winter wonderlands. The lights, the decorations, the music, the upbeat and festive feel in the air; it all makes me so happy. 

Last weekend we went Christmas Tree hunting. We met up with Kevin's kin and made a family affair of it. Growing up I always had a fake store bought tree, so looking for a Christmas tree to cut down is still something very new to me. I have come to realize that this activity is not something to do in your nice suede boots (as I did last year). It will be wet, you will get muddy, and the memories you make will be oh so worth it. This year we went to Trees and Bees, a magical and amazing tree farm filled with the most kindred of souls, neatest ornaments, sweetest honey, and most delicious apple cider. I am all about tradition and and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with it. So we Tatum's have decided to make this Christmas tree farm our permanent one. We will be back each year with all of the same people, ready to hunt down the most perfect Christmas tree to fill our house with the smell of pine and holiday spirit.



Grandma and her grandbabies at Trees & Bees

Growing up there was a lot on inconsistency in my life, but Holidays always had some form of tradition. I was never surprised to find an apple, orange, walnuts, candy cane and one special goodie in my Christmas stocking. It was what we got each year. Looking back now, I realize that this tradition was due mostly out of necessity. My mom couldn't afford to fill the stocking the way she would have liked to, so she did what she could to make them look full. Fresh fruits and walnuts is what we ended up with and never was I disappointed. It was what I knew, and that was ok with me. 

I have decided I wanted to keep this same sense of humbleness in my children. I don't want our holidays to be filled with the expectation of gifts and sense of entitlement. I have come to understand that if I start now, then they will be none the wiser to anything else. Just as I was growing up. So, lately I have been scouring the internet, asking friends, and reading magazines; trying to find a good tradition to have for the kids when it comes to gift receiving from mama and daddy. In my searching endeavors I stumbled upon a clever saying that I have decided to incorporate into our Christmas Holiday.

Something you want, Something you need, something to wear, something to read.

I fell in love with this gift giving idea the minute I heard it. Four simple gifts...
...well five simple gifts; I think I am going to add a category of something to create. 

I feel by limiting the number of gifts the kids receive and putting much more heart, thought, and creativity into the ones they do receive will foster a sense of appreciation. Or so I hope :-) This is a Christmas gift giving tradition that I think will be easy to maintain, fun to do, and a great way of helping us stay within a budget. 

Kaydence's Christmas Wish List...and an amazing find by Kevin!

The kids will always have more than what they need between us, their aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends, so I want to teach and encourage them to give back to those less fortunate. I have decided during the holidays season we will be making baked goodies, and buying simple gifts to give to the community. I want them to know and appreciate the hard work of the people in the hospitals, firefighters, police men, etc. I also want them to know that there are many less fortunate than us, and Christmas is a great time to give to those. We will be doing a few Random Acts of Kindness this year that I think the kids will enjoy.
I know they are much too young to truly understand and appreciate what we are doing but I want to instill these values early. 

I love the holidays and I am so excited to pass down old and start new traditions with the kids. Traditions are the things my kids will remember when they are older and hopefully carry on with their children. I hope growing up humbly will teach them to appreciate wholly!

Kaydence's First Year of Christmas Tree decorating

Happy Holidays!
  



04 December 2012

Chaotic Bliss

Life has been busy, stressful, and a blur. It almost seems as though someone has pushed the fast forward button. In the blink of an eye, minutes turn to days and days turn to weeks. I am desperately trying to slow down this speeding train of life, but try as I might it keeps going full speed ahead. The kids are growing by leaps and bounds. Becoming smarter, funnier, stronger, and even more amazing each day. Kevin and I are trying hard to keep up with their milestones. Documenting their firsts, savoring their lasts, and not taking for granted these once in a life time moments. 

Mr. Kameron is a full fledged toddler, months before he is supposed to be. About a month ago (9 1/2 months old) he decided that crawling was overrated, and took his first steps. We haven't been able to catch him ever since. He has totally given up on crawling now and waddles drunkenly every where he goes. He can now say "mama" which makes me happy. Kaydence said daddy first and refused to say mama for months. It is sweet revenge :-) He is a major drama king and will throw a massive fit at the drop of a "no." He gets that from his sister and I don't know where she get it from ;-)  He is still as plump as ever and a loves to dance! At his 9 month well baby check up he weighed in at 25lbs and 29in long. Still only 1lb shy of his sisters weight and 4in shy of her height. He is a beast and a bully, not afraid to push around his weight to get what he wants. He is such a happy boy, and loves affection! His smile is contagious and lights up his entire round face, and his bright blue eyes continue to melt my heart each day. I am so in love with that little guy!






Kaydence...

...Oh my sweet girl has hit her terrible twos! She is the queen of negativity, and "no" has become her most favorite word. Kevin and I have been hard at work combating this Negative Nancy, by taking out all negatives from our vocabulary. We are staying positive, making polite requests, and giving options. We are starting to understand that children are more responsive when they are told what TO do instead of what not to do. The word "no" tends to lose its effectiveness when used a lot. In addition, you say "no", and leave the child thinking "why" or "Well, what CAN I do?", or "What am I supposed to do instead?". Speaking in the positive gives them a more concrete message. And often just saying "no" makes things that much more alluring. Saying "yes" is also about embracing their childhood and trusting them (ultimately teaching them to trust themselves and know their capabilities).

So instead of saying..."No, don't touch the fire!" we would say something like..."Beware of the fire. Do you see the flames. That is very hot. Your hands need to stay off. If you want to get a little closer you can look with me"...Pick her up and place her hand where it is warm. "You feel that? That is hot. Our hands need to stay away from the fire."

We have just made this big change in our lives so it is still a work in progress, but hopefully we can turn our Negative Nancy into a positive speaking girl :-)



The December month has brought in influx of orders into my small online business. My crochet needles have been busily working and I have been all over a 50 mile radius gathering tulle, yarn and ribbon for orders of Christmas tutus, house slippers, and beard hats. I am happily occupied with all of the orders, and loving that I am making money doing something I love to do. It is also pretty neat to think that my homemade items are traveling across the world (Isreal, Norway, Canada and all over the United States).

Check out FulLoveIt Boutique: Click Here

I recently finished my second half marathon. I trained for 18 weeks for this one and felt more than prepared for the upcoming challenge. Although I injured my foot only 8 days before the race, I was luckily able to nurse it back to running condition just in time. My finishing time was almost one hour short of my last half marathon, and under 3:00 which was more than I had hoped for. I somehow am still surprised by my own determination and abilities. Never in a million years would I ever have though I would run 13 miles, let alone for fun, and here I am. I have decided to take the big plunge for my next race and will be running a full marathon in just 6 short months. I am excited and very energized by my new past time and hope that my commitment and determination helps to inspire other people to get moving, fit and healthy.
Ready to Run


Finished

My short hiatuses recently are not intentional. We Tatum's have just been busy creating memories staring traditions, and making the best of our chaotic bliss!


A very messy Spaghetti dinner:-)


Shaving Cream Window Paint...It's a family affair:-)

Christmas tree hunting and new Christmas traditions blog soon to come! 

01 December 2012

{this moment}

Better late than never...

{this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Inspired by: Soulemama

23 November 2012

{this moment}


{this moment} - a Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Inspired by: Soulemama

17 November 2012

::What a Week::

This week has been a stressful one for the Tatum family (including the extended). Earlier in the week a gale front slowly began to build, finally giving way to massive shit storm right in the middle of our week. Broken cars, sick babies, speeding tickets, forgotten ID's, empty wallets, and melt downs are just a few of the words to describe this tiring week. Kevin did all he could to keep me uplifted, however, by Wednesday I felt defeated and ready to throw in the towel. Life had won, again. I was prepared to drop out of school 6 months before graduation, get a job in a sweat factory working 12 hour days for minimum wage, while still knowing that none of it would matter because we were all going to die for poorness anyways.(If you haven't already figured it out, I am quite the pessimist and a huge drama queen.) 


But just as it always does, things worked themselves out  (as my husband always says they will). Our family stepped up for one another; switching cars, taking buses, lending money, sacrificing wants over needs and becoming stronger with each selfless act. I couldn't be more proud and lucky to have the amazing wonderful family that I have here in Washington. Thank you Tatum's, Walker, Ready, and Buchanan for all of your sacrifices and help to get us all through this crazy week:-)

The boys working hard one one of the many broken Tatum cars.
Photo courtesy of Alana Tatum

So enough with the icky stuff. Lets talk about the good great points of this week.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 was  Veterans Day. Kev and I took advantage of our vet status, and headed out to a lovely dinner with our amazing family for a delicious and free meal. Despite some of the stresses from earlier in the day we all had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company!



Thursday, November 15, 2012 was my big 25th birthday. I am now a quarter of century old and fully capable of renting a car at normal prices. I had no real expectation for this day, especially with the weeks earlier events, and I was ok with that. However, my day turned out to be much more spectacular than I could have ever imagined! Let me show you in pictures, how great it was!




Homemade Vegetarian Eggs Benedict birthday breakfast by my one and only amazing husband.
My awesome, fanstasical, and amazing new Cricut Expression for all of my crafting needs!
A delicious fondue dinner at the Melting Pot with my amazing family!

Remember the the beautiful vintage sewing machine I fell in love with at a garage sell, back in September (Lacuna)

Yeah, this one ^^^^^^^



Well guess who is now the proud owner of that 1912 Vintage Damascus Grand!





Be still my beating heart!

My husband is truly amazing!

I say this all the time, but I am truly the luckiest woman in the world to be loved the way I am. My family is certainly the best a girl could ever ask for!

When having Kameron I had decided that I would be back at my pre-pregnancy (before Kaydence) weight by my birthday. I have had a few bumps in the road of my weight loss, and having gained 60lbs between my two pregnancies hasn't helped. I lost a decent amount of pregnancy weight my first 2 months postpartum, but I have been stuck for the last 8 months at a weight I can't stand. So in the last 8 weeks I have stepped up my game; eating healthy, counting calories, and staying active. And I am proud to say that I have successfully lost 25lbs in the last 8 weeks, with only 19 to go until I reach my goal.  I have been busting my butt and giving it my all, so I am very excited to see my hard work paying off.



I will close this up for know, but I have lots of updates on the kiddos. I will do that this weekend, so keep an eye out! Until then, remember to stay optimistic. Everything will work itself out!

When the road gets bumpy. Don't get grumpy. Be optimistic. And smile, smile, smile!
When you're sad and blue. Don't you worry, you. It'll be alright. Just smile, smile, smile!
::Written by yours truly in my military days. Maybe I should listen to my own words!::

Happy Saturday Everyone!



09 November 2012

{A Moment In Time}

*knock knock, knock knock*
Come in! Come in Daddy, come in!

It is now 9:45pm. Bedtime was at 7:30pm, and here we are 2 hours and 15 minutes later and Kaydence is no more asleep than she was 2 hours ago. Kev and I are both tired, past the point of frustration and more than ready to finally relax. 

*knock knock, knock knock*
Daddy, where are you daddy? Daddy I can not see you daddy!

I glance over to Kevin, signaling to him that I've got it this time. I immediately put on my serious face and head up the stairs more than prepared to turn on my stern mama voice, and tell her to get her little butt back in that bed right now.

but of course that is not the way it played out.

The minute I open the door and cross the threshold into her room, I hear the sweetest little voice exclaim...

Mama, I just don't want to be scared anymore!
Will you please cuddle with me, Mama!

My mama heart immediately turned to jello. I picked up my sweet little girl and made a pallet of blankets and pillows on the floor. I cuddled up next to her; Holding her tightly, kissing her sweetly and singing softly in her ear, until we both fell asleep.

We marvel at our children's firsts. Documenting every detail; their first step, their first tooth, their first word. But we never really think about their lasts. The last time Kaydence called her favorite stuffed animal "Wa Wa" because she wasn't able to pronounce Violet yet. The last time she indicated she was hungry by mouthing "Nom Nom" instead of "Mommy can you get me some food." The defining moment when her eyes changed from deep blue to vibrant brown. Someday Kaydence is just going to want me to go away. At some point, she isn't going to want me to sing her a bedtime song or kiss her goodnight. And at that moment I will be left, desperately grasping for the memory of the last time I cuddled with my little girl. A time when she was still small enough to fit in my arms and innocent enough to believe that I could kiss her pain away. The "last" moments are flying by. They are fading quickly and before we know it they are going to be a distant, fuzzy memory with no clear, defining point of when they vanished.



So as I laid there with my angel in in my arms, I tried to take in every detail of this one simple moment. The way her hair smelled, the sound of her deep steady breathing, and the the way her smooth baby soft skin felt against mine. I held onto this brief period of time trying to reinforce the memory; in hopes that I can recall its every detail 10 years from now. She relaxed, cuddled close, melted into my arms, and quickly fell asleep. In her Mama's arms she was safe from her 2 year old fears. At that moment in time I was her hero, and she will forever and always be my little princess.



01 November 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween has come and gone, and what a great Halloween it was. 

Earlier this week Kev and I carved our pumpkins. I, sticking to what I know, went with the traditional pumpkin carving and used Kameron as my inspiration. 



Kev, on the other hand, broke out the carving tools for his third year of pumpkin carving.




 Each year he gets better and better, and I am thinking of trying my hand in pumpkin carving next year.


2010 is by far my most favorite pumpkin, done by Kevin.


I have spent the better half of the last week turning scraps of fabric, tulle, elastic, zippers, yarn, and thread into decent costumes and trick-or-treat bags. After the birth of Kaydence, I made a promise to myself that I would home make all of my kids costumes. I have a sewing machine, knowledge of sewing and the creativity needed to produce trick-or-treating masterpieces, so why be ordinary when I could be extraordinary and original!





Usually, each year I begin costume making with overwhelming excitement and exuberance but hours into my project I am usually a disheveled fool, cursing like a sailor and ripping thread from the arm hole I just sewed shut. Surprisingly this year was quite the opposite. The sewing went quickly, the errors where few, and my potty mouth was pretty much non-existent. Aside from my procrastination, resulting in late nights the past few days, I would say costume making was fairly easy this year. I am hoping this is a sign of my improved sewing skills, and future ease. 


Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Bags


I kept this years costumes a secret just as I have the past two years. I recognize that I have a short window of time to be the creative mastermind behind the kids Halloween costumes. I have given myself three years per child to create my own ideas of their costumes before I believe their desires and wants will speak up. I have had this years costumes planned out since Kameron was born, so I was excited to finally turn my ideas into reality. The costumes were simple, nothing over the top, and just perfect for my family for four. 


Wilma and Pebbles
Barney and Bam Bam




Due to the weather (and my desire to show off our costumes in the light) we went to the mall for trick-or-treating. Kaydence kept a ten foot distance from anyone in a mask or with face paint, but seemed to really enjoy the experience. Kameron was a little sponge soaking up all of the colors, noises, smells, and people he could. Kev and I had a blast being willing participants in the kids lives. Dressing up with them makes us feel as though we are showing them that we want to be apart of their world. This isn't just mommy and daddy taking them trick-or-treating; this is mommy, daddy, Kaydence and Kameron all dressing up and participating in the Halloween festivities together. They won't remember what they were for Halloween each year, but they will remember mommy and daddy ALWAYS being active participants in their lives. Which I think is the key to successful parenting.







Hope everyone had a safe and very Happy Halloween!






22 October 2012

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is quickly approaching. We are just 9 days away from one of my most favorite holidays and the growing anticipation is killing me!

This past Wednesday we set out on a beautiful fall afternoon for our most favorite pumpkin patch. Last year we ran into a few mishaps on our endeavors of pumpkin picking. We spent days hopping around from pumpkin patch to pumpkin patch; forgetting cash, forgetting the cameras, showing up too late, getting lost. Finally, and only days before Halloween, we stumbled upon the most perfect pumpkin patch by happenstance. We loved our experience so much we decided to make it our pumpkin patch for life:-)

Last year's (2011) Pumpkin Patch Video: Click Here












































This year I wanted to be much more prepared than I was last year. So I took careful planning in making sure that we went at the right time of the month, during the right time of day, with all of the necessary equipment. Of course I love any reason to over dress the kids in festive holiday outfits, so that is exactly what I did.





Due to the late timing of our pumpkin patch experience last year, we had the pleasure of a very deserted pumpkin patch. Both Kev and I are not ones for crowds and we thoroughly enjoyed the very laid back and ghost town like feeling of last years experience. Wanting to recreate that, I planned our trip for the middle of the week, instead of the weekend. I am happy I did, it was just the way we had hoped it to be. There were minimal people, zero crowds, no lines, and tons of room for the kids to run and play.



We found four of the most (imperfect) perfect pumpkins. Kev and I are definitely not ones for the cookie cutter pumpkins you can find in the local super market bin. They are round and orange and...pumpkin like, however, we prefer our pumpkins to have a little more character. I tend to gravitate towards the long skinny pumpkins and Kevin pretty much loves any kind as long as it has a "good" stem. Flat on one side, short and fat, dimpled, wart covered, we don't discriminate. We're just going to cut it up anyways, right?



This pumpkin patch is much more than just pumpkins. We also had the pleasure of enjoying a petting zoo, corn maze, zip line, bouncy castle, cow train, floating tunnel, slides, rubber duck races, corn house, and of course hot chocolate/coffee/tea. The prices are absolutely reasonable and the experience is nothing short of magnificent.

All four of us had a blast and I more than anything enjoyed the time with my family. I say this a lot, but I am one very lucky woman!

Enjoy this pumpkin patch photo dump!





















 Happy Pumpkin Picking!