Saturday, December 31, 2016

Twenty Sixteen

2016... boy were you good to us.

And now, I will attempt to bid you adieu by posting one picture to represent each month - something that is always so hard to do, but something that is so nostalgic.  While I pour myself into hundreds and hundreds of pictures, I always get lost in the year and what each month brought to our family...

The year certainly started with a bang when we saw this, something I never in my wildest dreams could have predicted or imagined.

And with the pregnancy came morning all-day sickness, which resulted in many many weeks of simply trying to survive.  Milky Ways and lollipops for breakfast?  Pajamas all day?  Sure, if that means I can stay horizontal.

And these two... oh how their relationship blossomed this year.  They are the best of friends, always wanting to know where the other one is, what the other one is doing, when the other one will be awake...

This year saw CK's first organized team sport - soccer!  She loved every second of it, but mostly just ran aimlessly up and down the field, knowing her efforts would be rewarded with a juice box and a snack at the end of the game.

Me, my belly, and this duo spent many, many, many afternoons at our neighborhood pool, so this picture is a great representation of the start of our summer!

Has to be represented with a picture from our trip to Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada.  Such an incredible time with my main squeeze!

The beach!  A summer must-do for us... and our July trip with the BLOMPS crew did not disappoint.

This month was all things baby prep - I will never forget washing these teeny tiny clothes and wondering if our caboose would be a little she or a little he.  We anxiously anticipated his/her arrival while we worked hard to get our house ready for the Peele party of FIVE!

 Brooks.  Our caboose, our sweet baby #3, and the final punctuation on the story of the Peele family.  This picture, just moments after his birth - oh my heart. <3

 Becoming a family of five was hard and beautiful and chaotic and exhausting - and this picture sums it up perfectly.  My three kiddos, pajamas, no makeup, covered in spit-up, unshowered.  And happy.

Finding my groove as a mama of three, and realizing that things are perfectly imperfect.  And trying with all my might to embrace the new crazy.

And we wrapped up an incredible year on such a magical note.  There is nothing like going through the holiday season as a mama, seeing the joy through the eyes of your children.  This picture makes my heart so happy - I mean, look at their faces?!  And I love seeing me watch CK and E, while holding B... while drinking a beer. #reality

2016, it truly does seem like just yesterday we welcomed you with open arms.  And I still cannot believe that just days after kissing T when the ball dropped, I found out our little family would be growing.  You are such a special year, because you made my mama heart complete.  <3  

It's hard to bid 2016 goodbye, with all it brought to us - but I am so incredibly excited to see what the new year has in store for us as a family, for me as a mama, for my incredible husband, and for my three amazing children.

I will always wonder what I did to deserve this beautiful life... but I will do all I can to never, ever take it for granted.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

I hope your day is full of friends and family, pajamas and movies, yummy food and new toys, and love and appreciation as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

And I hope the magic of the holiday season lasts for a long, long time... <3

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Love; My Joy; My Peace

This holiday season has me all warm and fuzzy and counting my blessings and overwhelmed with gratitude. <3

As I work my way through my Advent readings, three words keep making me take pause - love, joy, and peace.

And just last week I realized why these three words keep making me catch my breath, why they keep bringing a knot to my throat and a flutter to my heart...

Cameron, you are my love.  You came into this world and taught me what it feels like to have my heart walk around outside of my body.  You taught me the most unconditional love, the kind of love that makes my heart ache for all I would do for you.
You, my girl, made me a mama, and introduced me to selflessness and to knowing what it feels like to literally love so much it hurts.  You care so fiercely for everyone around you, with one of the kindest spirits I have ever known.  You wear your heart on your sleeve, and anyone who has a piece of that heart is so incredibly lucky...
Cameron Kate, you are my love.

Everette, you are my joy.  You have had such a joyful spirit since the moment we met you.  We are constantly saying that we cannot imagine our life without you in it.  You keep us smiling and entertained and appreciating the laughter that every day brings.
You brighten the lives of everyone around you, with a zest in your step and a twinkle in your eye.  It is obvious that you, in the depths of your heart, know just how precious life truly is, and that we should make each moment count.  Your sweet smile is a constant reminder to always find joy, to never lose hope...
Everette Lawrence, you are my joy.

Brooks, you are my peace.  God knew I needed you in my life before I had ever even considered your existence.  Your face reminds me each and everyday to trust God's plan.  Holding you in my arms brings me a level of contentment deep within my soul, a sense of peace I had never known until you were born.
Your calm spirit balances out our family, and your arrival put the final punctuation on a beautiful story.  You complete us, Brooks.  You bring my mama heart so much peace, and every ounce of who you are is such a blessing to our little family.
Brooks Evan, you are my peace.

My love, my joy, and my peace. <3

Friday, December 16, 2016

Five on Friday!

Happy second-to-last-Friday-before-Christmas!

If you've been following this little ol' blog for awhile, you know that we affectionately refer to my "side" of the family as BLOMPS.  Right now that includes seven couples and eleven children age seven and younger.  Yes, that is twenty-five people!  And last weekend all twenty-five of us had our annual BLOMPSmas!  Every year, about six months in advance, my parents plan for one of the first weekends in December for all of us to get together for Christmas.  It's so nice because we all want to do actual Christmas in our own homes, so by planning an early weekend many, many, many months in advance we can make sure to see each other for a quick, whirlwind celebration.  And whirlwind it was!  I'm not gonna lie - it was no joke traveling 4+ hours as a family of five with such a young baby in tow - and I think we are all still recovering.  But it was awesome seeing everyone and the kiddos definitely had a blast flipping Bammy and Digby's (new!) house upside down.
Merry BLOMPSmas!

And once we got back from our travels, it was time to get ready for TJ's work Christmas party!  We hosted the party at our house, and it turned out to be such a great evening for T and his crew.  I made a big pot of potato soup and several appetizers, and all of the guests brought desserts to share/take home.  They did a white elephant gift exchange, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  Have I ever mentioned how proud I am of my husband and how hard he works?  He gives his all to his job and I am just so grateful that he seems to be surrounded by a staff who appreciates and loves him like I do!

In my last post I mentioned that Brooks was busting out of his swaddle, so we decided it was time to transition to a sleep sack.  This is always a tough switch for babies who are used to being wrapped like a burrito, but our little caboose has done great!  He definitely struggled at first to fall asleep while flapping his arms around like crazy, but he's getting the hang of it and we are so very proud of our sweet little guy!

And speaking of sweet little guys...
E is giving me a run for my money.  He is such a stinker, y'all.  And so hilarious and smart and sneaky and I think he knows I am wrapped around his finger.  He is currently at a testing-the-limits and constantly-asking-why-stage and I am over here just taking deep breaths and praying for patience and counting down until happy hour.  But also?  Living life through his eyes is so joyful, and experiencing the holiday season with him at this age?  Pure magic.

And speaking of the holidays, PreK is officially out for Christmas break!  CK went to school in her pajamas this morning, and then we joined her for some chaotic preschool partyin' before bidding her teachers goodbye for two whole weeks.
I really am looking forward to having my girl home with us for the next two weeks, though I have a feeling this may be pretty accurate:
For now, though, I am excited about our plans and our un-plans from now 'til January, and I mostly look forward to slowing things down a bit and soaking up lots of time with my family of five. <3

Have a wonderful last-weekend-before-Christmas!!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Quarter of a Year

Our sweet little caboose is officially three months old and we are all just so smitten with him.

He is growing and changing and stealing our hearts more and more with each day... and I know it's cliche to say, but I cannot believe a quarter of a year has already gone by since we met our "Brooksy-poo"!  (And can I get a HALLELUJAH because I've officially survived a quarter of a year as a mama of three!!)

I have no clue how much Brooks weighs, but I do know he's a big ol' boy.  And his eyes are still blue (!!) - will I finally have a child with blue eyes?!

He's sleeping through the night (10-12 hours) in his crib and is still swaddled, though more often than not he busts through that bad boy by morning-time.

He hates tummy time more than anything else in the whole wide world and he's sure to let you know it.

He "talks" and coos and tries to laugh and is so ticklish and is just the sweetest baby.  His smile lights up his entire face and basically melts me into a big mama puddle.  He loves his swing, the bath, the morning, and his big brother and sister - he'll be running around with them in no time!

Brooks, we all just adore you.  You bring my heart so much peace knowing our little family is complete.  Life as your mama just gets better and better, and I'm always looking forward to seeing your big gummy smile each and every morning.  You are my caboose, my last child, my baby boy... and I plan on soaking up every snuggle, every giggle, every coo, and every thigh roll.

I love you enough, I love you so big...


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Advent: Week 2, Day 3 - Peace

This year our family submitted a piece to be part of our church's Advent book, and it was an honor to be included in such a special collection of reflections.  The Advent season is so busy and can be so stressful... but it is so important for us to pause and reflect, to pray and be thankful. <3

Since today was our assigned day, I wanted to include our piece on here, too.  As you read, I hope you find a moment of peace, a moment to reflect on what the Advent season is all about...

Week 2, Day 3
December 7, 2016
The Peeles:  TJ and Jessie
Cameron Kate, Everette, and Brooks

Genesis 15: 1-18

In this text, Abram is afraid.  He is worried about his future, stressed about who will be his heir.  And then God not only promises the same number of offspring as there are stars in the sky, but says to him something so incredibly powerful:  “Do not be afraid.”  It is through these words and His covenant that God provides peace for Abram.  It won’t be easy - God is sure to tell Abram that - but as long as Abram trusts God and is patient, he will receive God’s promised gifts... the best gifts.

This text brings us the gift of peace, reminding us that in all circumstances we must be patient, wait with a hopeful heart, and trust God that His best gifts are coming. 

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the chaos that comes from being the parents of three kids, we find ourselves feeling stressed over so many materialistic worries.  How can we attend all of the holiday functions?  Will we get the kids the gifts they really want?  Will we dig ourselves into a financial hole while buying those gifts?

It is so important during the holidays to quiet our minds from the unnecessary noise and find peace with God and what this season really means.  We want our kids to see us celebrating our lives, lives we are only able to live so beautifully because of Jesus.  We don’t want them to see us stressing over presents and parties!

It wasn’t too long ago that we struggled to grow our little family.  We went through some dark times, often wondering if we would ever have the family we’d dreamed of for so long.  We leaned on God through those struggles, trying so hard to find peace in His promises.  This text from Genesis reminds us so much of our conversations with God and the questions we had for him during those troubling years.

“Do not be afraid...”

God’s promise... it’s incredible.  If we will only wait for him with a patient and peaceful heart, we will receive His best gifts.

This holiday season our lives will be even more chaotic, as it is our first as a family of five.  We will cut down a tree and decorate it as a family, with Cameron Kate putting the star on the top.  The kids will fill a box full of toys to donate, they will write letters to Santa, and we will bake lots and lots (and lots!) of treats.  We’ll read our Advent book each night, sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn, and sit at the top of the stairs for the obligatory picture on Christmas morning.

And rather than feel stressed or overwhelmed, we will find peace in the chaos, so incredibly thankful to have a house full of the best kind of noise and so incredibly grateful to be the children of a God whose gifts are so amazing.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Favorites on Friday

We're smackdab in the middle of the holiday season, so I thought I'd share some things I'm loving right now in case you're looking for some gift ideas for someone in your life...

*My Plum Paper Planner.  I am obsessed with this thing and how it keeps my chaos somewhat organized.  It has the option to customize your rows for each week, so I have a row for each family member, a row for my job, a row for meal planning, etc.  I ordered my 2017 planner on Cyber Monday and can't wait to get it!

*Ebates!!!!!  If you do ANY online shopping, you have to use Ebates.  All you do is go to the website, click on the store where you're going to shop, and bam, you earn money back on your purchase.  It is that easy.  And I've gotten numerous checks in the mail from them, so I can assure you it's legit.  They even have a button you can install on your web browser that'll pop up when you're online shopping to remind you to activate Ebates.  Win-win!  And you'll totally help me out if you sign up using this link, just so you know. :)

*Any workout gear from Athleta.  It's my FAVE.  There are so many things on my Athleta wish list right now!!

*These headphones.  I have tried several wireless headphones while I run and these are the only ones that do not budge, even on the windiest day!  I scooped up a pair on Black Friday for a steal from Target and I am so excited!

*Ugg slippers!  My sister-in-law introduced me to these a couple years ago, and I love love love them.  I always bought cheap slippers and thought it was silly to spend so much on house shoes... but now I am a believer.  I've had these and these and love them both and honestly I wear them every single day while I'm at home!

*Gap Body pajamas!  I am usually a scraggly-tshirt-and-old-pajama-pants kind of girl, but lately I've been trying to wear cute jammies instead.  I am obsessed with this style from Gap body:  shirt and pants.

*Rodan + Fields Last Boost!  I know, I know, hashtag shameless plug.  But for real, this stuff is legit.  I have the worst lashes ever and am absolutely floored by my results already.  And check out my older sister's results after just five weeks:

*Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap!  I'm usually all about some Bath and Body Works foaming hand soap, but I think I'm officially switching teams to this brand.  Love it!

*All things Yeti!  I use my large Yeti tumbler every single day and night, and for Christmas I'm asking for some Yeti lowballs for my cocktails.  It takes me forever to sip my happy-hour-I-made-it-through-the-day-as-a-mama-of-three-cocktail and I'm always having to refill the ice.  I'm hoping maybe a Yeti lowball will fix this first world problem!  Or maybe one made by RTIC.  Has anyone tried that brand?  Is it just as good?

And speaking of cocktails, t-minus 3 hours until 5:00!  TGIF!!