Thursday, June 16, 2016

These Days.

These are the days of...
Meeting with contractors to renovate our new house.

Making sure Rhett didn't put anything in his mouth

Creating healthy boundaries with my family

Meeting friends at spray grounds and out to dinners

Having good in-depth conversations about my struggles and anxieties

Eating a new kind of ice cream with Z before we watch a show and after the kids go to bed

Feeling proud of Z's accomplishments and watching his dreams become a reality

Being excited over new beginnings and clinging to the good from this chapter here in DC

Practicing writing Sawyer's name

Laughing over Rhett and his fearlessness

Thanking God for closing this chapter in the most perfect way

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Favorite Things

Hi friends (or really anyone who reads this blog anymore!)-

When I first started blogging, I loved this little place. I was able to write about my courtship with Z, my wedding, my sweet pregnancies, and some of our fun adventures. Since Rhett burst onto the scene--and really before that if I'm being honest--my heart hasn't been in this blog. My priorities changed and this place just doesn't feel like it reflects me or who I really am. On top of that, there just isn't a lot of time or emotional energy left in me at the end of each day. My days and all of who I am right now are focused on my boys and my family. I pour all of myself into my kids--making sure I'm instilling the right values in them, helping them become kind and brave, and teaching them about Jesus-- that the little time I have left I'm focused on my marriage, work, and friends. Mixing that with the fact that this place doesn't spark much joy in me anymore has meant that this blog has fallen by the wayside.

Before I leave though, I do want to leave you with some things that have been so so good for me these last few months. Some of these things are silly, but all of these products are ones I love and insert some happiness into my day.

Life Stuff.
The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I discovered this podcast last week and I've gone through 6 episodes so far. This podcast is so so good. I feel like I'm drinking wine with my girlfriends whenever I listen, so it's so fun. I was just texting with a friend the other day and told her about it. She immediately wrote back, "I know! It's amazing!" I was so glad that she listened to it as well because after each one I feel like I need to call up a friend to debrief. I love it so much and if you need a great pick-me-up or a new podcast to listen to then I recommend this one.

HelloFresh! I know that everyone loves Blue Apron, but it never did it for me. I found the recipes to be so hit or miss. We started doing HelloFresh and have loved every recipe--which is crazy to say--and we also love the portions. With BlueApron, we would eat dinner and there wouldn't be leftovers for the next day, which was a bummer. With HelloFresh, we have leftovers, so it ends up saving us money on groceries. Oh, and its farm to fork, which is nice too!

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. There is a reason this book is so highly rated and recommended. Each chapter has great wisdom, awesome tips, and a wonderful perspective. My Biblestudy just finished this and I was so sad to see if go. This will definitely be a book that I'll be picking up and re-reading at some point during this season. There is just so much good stuff in there.

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash. Won't be switching from this anytime soon. So gentle and I could see a noticeable difference in my skin the next morning.

Bookworm Stuff.
I always love when blogs recommend books, so I'm going to recommend two to you guys. Our book club chose these two books for December and January.  The first was The Royal We, which is a fun chick lit book and the second was The Marriage of Opposites. Loved both and was agreeing with the host of this month's club that The Marriage of Opposites had be staying up way too late to finish.

Kid Stuff.
Rain for Roots. I mentioned this in my Christmas post, but LOVE this kids CD. Its one that won't make you go mad and the songs are really fun and powerful. I'm also a sucker for anything that is blue-grassy. :)

I hope you enjoy and thank you all for your friendship, love, and following us on this crazy adventure. I've made friends from this space (Hi Kate, Caitlyn, and Beth!) and its been so good to have some of our life documented. I hope to start a new thing once again when I have the time, drive, and energy and I hope you follow along then.

PS-You are also find me on instagram (Jessicaleigho3)


Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Eve & Christmas 2015

I love this time of year and  how the season becomes so much more when you have a 3-year old who just gets so excited over every Christmas light, story, and thing. When we were making cookies the night before and Sawyer was telling me how he was so excited for Santa to come, I couldn't help but feel almost childlike again. Kids just do something to the season that makes the spirit of it all just so much more.

The night before, my parents were in town and my Mom and I were able to get a little shopping done before our Christmas Eve service at church. Afterwards, we all took Christmas pictures in front of our little tree and went to church. Our church service was geared towards kids this year, so Sawyer and Rhett were able to join us for the service. The little kids sang carols and then put on a cute little play. It was a lot of fun and I'm so glad that we were all able to enjoy that together.
After the service, we went to a Christmas Eve party briefly before heading home to open up our Christmas pajamas and make some Christmas cookies. Sawyer was very excited and an awesome helper in the kitchen as we talked about this season and watched the cookies bake in the oven. After the kids were asleep, Z and I hung out and chatted. It was a really fun and peaceful night.

The next morning we actually had to wake Sawyer up--I think it's because we stayed up late making cookies, but I was not complaining for those few extra moments of sleep-- and Z videotaped him as he sprung out of bed and questioned why Santa didn't eat all of the cookies--he had 2 out of 3! We then opened presents and Sawyer graciously helped Rhett open his too. Poor Rhett was just so confused and amazed by it all. Sweet boy.

For Christmas breakfast, I made biscuits, a fruit salad, and a breakfast casserole. My Mom would always make something similar for us growing up, so I liked keeping that tradition alive.

After face-timing our families, we enjoyed a lazy day of watching The Grinch and playing with toys. The perfect and most magical Christmas.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well and here's to a happy and healthy 2016!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Season 2015 {Gaylord Ice Village & A Christmas Carol}

This Christmas season has been a good one. It's been slow, intentional, and relaxing. Definitely not the words that I would typically think of when describing a holiday season, but I'm so grateful that it's been that way for this year at least.

Starting in November, I planned out a few things that I would love to do with the boys. Nothing crazy, but I had one activity a weekend and most of them were things that we did the last few years and loved. Some of them were visiting Santa, going to see the trains at the Botantical Gardens, making Christmas cookies with friends, and venturing to the Ice! Village at Gaylord National. All were accomplished and not because I was a drill sergeant on keeping up with the plan, but more because miraculously, life just fell into place and we had more free time than usual.

Last weekend, we went to the Ice! Village at Gaylord National. It was really fun and very cold! We were wrapped up in blue parka-like coats and had our winter coats still on underneath. We walked through ice sculptures that told the history of Santa and then ended with a beautiful naivety scene. It was pretty spectacular, but we did have to rush through the latter half because Sawyer was getting too cold. Poor guy. Thankfully, hot cocoa cured everything.

Another fun thing that we did was see The Christmas Carol at the Ford Theatre. It was Sawyer's first professional play and we invited my parents up to see it with us. It was a fantastic performance and Sawyer loved it--well, he got a little freaked out with Marley, but other than that, he was pretty captivated. It was so cute though during intermission, he pointed to the program and said, "I thought that guy was going to be so nice, but he's really mean!"

It was also fun to do this with Z. We had missed our chance to do this last year because this show sells out quickly, so he had set a google alert for September of this year. He had been looking forward to seeing a performance in this infamous theatre, so I'm glad we got to do that. He was pretty excited all week and especially today.

This week and holiday is quickly becoming my favorite with all the activities that we've managed to do and with Sawyer eating everything up. He's just at such a fun age and I can't wait for a slow and fun Christmas morning with him. He makes everything so magical for me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Traditions

For me, Christmas is a time of reflection, family and traditions. Its what we keep going back to year after year and the memories that we create from those experiences keep us laughing and reminiscing as the years go on. Some of my favorite Christmas memories growing up is looking at Christmas lights with my cousins. We would drive around our hometown and pretend to grade people's decorations based on creativity, abundance, and effort. It was a great way to get all the cousins together for a night of silliness and fun.

Since Z and I have started our own little family, we have tried to create traditions of our own. Here are some traditions that we do and some that we don't do, but I think are fun ideas.

Traditions We Do:

1. Watch Little Women, White Christmas and Have a Little Faith.
  (Have A Little Faith was made in 2011, so it's not an old tradition, but a movie I loved and have watched every year since. It's about author, Mitch Albom going back to visit his old Rabbi and at the same time getting involved in a local church. It's a goodie and one I highly recommend.)

2. Send out a Christmas card to friends and family.

3. Pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it.

4. Listen to Christmas music.

5. Set Up a Nativity Scene. (Full disclosure: we somehow lost baby Jesus!! Yikes! We are improvising right now, but need to remedy this soon.)

6. Make a visit to Santa and take a picture.

7. Go to the Botanical Gardens to see the Christmas display.

8. Make and decorate a gingerbread house. (This is actually a competition in Z's family between all the cousins. Everyone submits a video of their creation and his parents are the judge.)

9. Have Thai food on Christmas Eve. (Z and I were on our honeymoon in Thailand during our first Christmas together and we thought it would be a fun tradition that we remember that time together every year by eating some sort of Thai food on Christmas Eve. Usually, we have it for lunch and then a Christmas dinner with family.)

10. Go to a Christmas Eve service.

11. Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday. (This is Sawyer's favorite.)

12. Open family Christmas pajamas that you get the night before.

13. Leave cookies out for Santa and leave reindeer food out for his helpers. Our reindeer food consists of oatmeal and glitter that we leave out on the porch or backyard.

14. Have a big breakfast Christmas morning.

15. Open presents.

Traditions that Sound Fun:

1. See the Nutcracker.

2. Decorate Christmas cookies and bring them to a friend or neighbor.

3. Write a letter to Santa.

4. Get together with friends for an ugly Christmas sweater party.

5. Go caroling.

6. Make homemade Christmas cards and hand them out in a nursing home.

7. Make an ornament

8. Read the birth of Jesus from the Bible.

9. Go to a cookie swap.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday Gifts for Little Boys

Christmas Toys for the Boys

For Christmas, we try to follow the 3 wise men rule. You get 3 gifts--something you need, something you want, and a surprise. For us, it makes Christmas simple, stress-free (at least when it comes to gift giving) and also helps us to remember the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. 

This Christmas will be so fun for us. Sawyer finally understands all of the holidays and gets so excited over them. He screams whenever he sees Christmas lights and exclaims, "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited! I'm so excited!" His excitement instantly puts a smile on everyone's face and for that reason, I'm just so, so, so eager for this holiday season. 

That is the biggest reason that we decided that we will no longer be traveling to see family on Christmas. I want Sawyer to throw open his door on Christmas morning and tear through his presents. I want to go to Christmas Eve service and afterwards have him open up new Christmas pajamas to throw on. I'm already planning all these fun things and Z and I are so excited to start our own holiday traditions even though it is a little bittersweet that I won't be doing that from my old childhood home any longer. 

But here are the gifts that we are getting the boys this year and some of the presents that Sawyer will be opening up on Christmas morn:

Land of Nod Sleeping Bag--We travel a lot as a family and I love that these can come with us wherever we go. A little piece of home on the road. Plus, they will be fun when the boys start to have sleepovers as well. 

Pottery Barn Duffle Bag--Sawyer got this last year and we use it constantly, so I had to get Rhett one as well. I love that it's monogrammed and that it can grow with them throughout the years.

Spanish for Kids--Whenever Sawyer gets screen time, we have the cartoons be in Spanish. The Spanish camp--and a few parents who are raising their kids bilingual--do this and we thought it was such a good and smart idea. I love this DVD series, so we'll be getting him another one from them to watch. 

Thomas the Train--Sawyer has been consistently asking for a train from Santa, so that's what he'll be getting as his surprise! This one can do wheelies and back-flips, so I'm hoping he'll love it. 

Rain for Roots:The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This--I've had several friends rave about this CD and say that its good for kids and adults alike, so I'm excited about that. This will be Rhett's little gift, but it'll really be a gift for the family. Right now, we have a CD that we've just about played out, so really looking forward to the change up. I mean, you can only hear Wheels on the Bus so many times. ;)

Baja Baby Night Night Lavender Body wash and Shampoo--I love this all natural body wash and will be getting this for Rhett. He needs anything he can get that allows him to relax at night. 

Christmas Pajamas--These are just fun and I guess break our 3 gift rule, but oh well! I love getting the boys matching pajamas and this year we got ours from Crystal Faye

Other things I loved: This kids water bottle and the kid's drum-set

Thursday, November 19, 2015

DC Bucket List: Great Falls & Mt Vernon

I haven't posted about our DC Bucket list in a while, but its still going strong! We crossed two more items off our list this fall since its been so unseasonably warm--yay!-- and we'll be working through some more in the upcoming months.

The first place we went was Great Falls! It was a gorgeous 70-degree day and the drive there could't have been prettier. The changing leaves in Virginia are amazing and some of the prettiest I've seen. I love living here for that reason.

When we got there we met up with a friend who has 3 little ones and strolled around and chatted. The paths were wide, the scenery was unreal--I can't believe a place like this exists so close to DC--and it was really kid-friendly too. When we got there were 3 school field trips going on and also bathrooms were close by, which is a big deal in my book.

The second place we checked out was Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home. This was a plus and minus experience for me. First it was a hike--literally and figuratively-- and it was hard to try to entertain Sawyer who was a little too young to get the historical aspect of it and also feed Rhett.

It was a beautiful day when we went, but walking up and down hills was not fun with a toddler and 7-month old. I was huffing and puffing and there wasn't a good place for me to sit down to feed Rhett. Plus, whenever I did, Sawyer would get bored and try to find something to do so it was hard.  If Z was there it would've been a different story, but doing it solo with a friend was not my cup of tea.

But, if your kids are older--or you have a friend/spouse/partner there--they did have a lot of fun activities for kids to do like a candle-making station, a hay maze, and you could pet oxen which was really neat to see.

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