Sunday, October 31, 2010


Today is Halloween as you all know I'm sure. After naps, we will dress our three little girls into their costumes and take them to our family's homes. It is what we have done each year since Zoelle was a baby.

Zoelle-Halloween 2007

We aren't really sure how we feel about it though. We don't really like celebrating Halloween and what it stands for. Yet, we have done so each year in part because society and some of our family expects it. In the same sense it is fun to dress the girls up and see their excitement over the outfits. We aren't big candy eaters, so this day is special for the older girls in that we will let them have a bit more than normal.

Zoelle-Halloween 2008

At this point the girls haven't asked any questions about what exactly Halloween is. We also know that we don't want to shelter them from the real world. They will learn about Halloween at some point. Whether or not we are celebrating it then is going to have to be something we come up with over the years after many talks and much prayer.

Zoelle & Meridian-Halloween 2009

We know some families choose to do something at their local church, or mall, or even just to stay home and have a fun filled game/movie night as a family. But then we always find ourselves asking, "Isn't that the same as celebrating it, without using the word Halloween?". Sigh...we don't know. All we know is that for this year, and for our family we will be going out.

What do you do on October 31st? Do you celebrate Halloween? If not, what do you do?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas in August

Each year as Christmas comes closer, the Christmas/Holiday cards start arriving into our mailbox. I love taping them to our door that goes upstairs and I frequently go look at the pictures of the families just to see how much they have changed over the year.

Each year I secretly kind of wish we sent out Christmas cards. Instead, we send out what we like to call our "Christmas letter in August" which is on our anniversary. It is unique and something different for us to do so that way our Christmas card won't get lost amongst all the others at Christmas time.

Each year we use Shutterfly to print our "Christmas Card". The designs are always unique and fun and their customer service is amazing.

Each year, for the fun of it I like to look at the various Christmas cards that Shutterfly offers. I especially like the holiday photo cards or photo Christmas cards because one day if we decide to be "normal" again, I know that is what I'd choose. This year, I especially like this one

Except of course, I'd replace those kids with my own! :) Perhaps someday, we'll be "normal" again so I can stop dreaming, but for now I like being unique!

*I will receive free Christmas Cards in exchange for writing this post. However, everything I said above is 100% true and I really do love Shutterfly!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gap Casting Call

So I typically would not use my blog for this, but being that they are my kids and it is my blog, I thought I'd ask anyways. Would you all go and vote for my 3 cuties in the Gap Casting Call contest?

Here is Zoelle's entry

Here is Meridian's entry

Here is Xiomara's entry

Just click on each girls name to be taken to their voting page. Thanks so much and feel free to leave a link to your child (ren). I will return the favor!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Day

Last Saturday, Chris spontaneously thought we should all go to the Pumpkin Patch for the afternoon. So again missing naps, we loaded up the girls and took them to a new to us pumpkin patch about an hour away.

While Xiomara snuggled in close to me,

 Zoelle roamed freely in the hay maze,

and Meridian got slightly scared by the donkey trying to figure out if little girls were edible.

What started out as a day in which I wasn't sure I would enjoy, ended up being one that I loved!

It occurred to me as I snapped the picture below, the incredible memories that we have made as a family this Summer and Fall.

I hope that we can continue on with these memories, spontaneous or not, and that the girls will always look fondly back on this time in their lives.

Do you ever take spontaneous trips? If you do, where do you go?

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's been one of those weeks!

Last week was just one of those weeks. Actually, the last two weeks have been just one of those weeks. It's mainly been that way with Meridian. She got a little cold, plus her last tooth before her two year molars popped through. Couple all that with a little seperation anxiety and it has been an exhausting two weeks for me.  My typically easy, laid back little girl has been anything but all of that. Lots of tears for both of us, lots of snuggles, lots of nursing, and lots of exhaustion.

I know one day I'm going to miss the tears, the screaming for mama, the holding her all the time, but these past two weeks have been hard on me, wearing me down. I'm sure it's probably a bit harder being that I have two others who need me lots too (especially a baby). I'm hoping we are on to a new week and one that feels a bit more normal for me and her as we really need it!

What do you do when you have a bad week? How do you handle your kids needing you all the time?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Update Of Sorts

I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting a kitchen renovation update, but I'm sorry to say it's not all done yet. :( I could actually show you it now as it practically is, but I'm really picky and like things to look "perfect" and complete before I show the finished product, so you will all have to wait. In the meantime, if you could all nudge my hubby to finish it that would be great (just kidding hon). Around here, Fall means hunting and hunting means my husband is gone quite a bit. So, until that ends, he only gets little projects done, like organizing his dresser drawers or his closet (he really did do that this week). Soon though, we will all be stuck in our house with cold weather and snow around us, and then we can hopefully accomplish some long awaited projects!

I do have an update on exercising. Last night my awesome and amazing friend Tara and I completed Week 5 of From Couch to 5K. I think we were both just beaming and so, so proud of ourselves that we could accomplish this. Five weeks ago, we really doubted we would ever complete this and now we are over half way done. The first big hurdle for us to get over was running five minutes straight. We did it and were pretty proud.

Then, this week the program had us work up to 8 minute runs. Let me tell you, was I scared. I even posted on my facebook page that I wasn't sure I could do it, nor finish out the week with a 20 minute run. Well, I did the 8 minute and then came the dreaded 20 minute run. I decided to switch my mindset to one of "I can do this" and off we went. Amazingly, the first 10 minutes or so were the hardest. After that, we just seemed to have the confidence that we were going to do it....and we did!

We came back to my house and pretty much shouted and told Chris to grab the camera as we did it!!

On to Week 6!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CSN Stores $35 Gift Certificate Giveaway

We've been married seven years and have had the same bedspread set for all the seven years. I love it, but it is getting extremely faded and definitely needs to be replaced. Before we replace it, we are debating if we want to switch around our bedroom to the older girls room which is much bigger and has room for a headboard (something we don't have now in our tiny room).

CSN Stores has an awesome bookcase headboard that I think would be perfect if we do decide to move upstairs. I really like the look of this one

Do any of you have headboards? Are they bookcase ones, or something different?

Win It!

CSN Stores is giving away a $35 gift certificate to one of my readers in either the U.S. or Canada to spend on whatever you would like from one of their stores.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit CSN Stores and tell me what you would get with the gift certificate if you won. Please do me the favor of making sure you leave your e-mail address in the comment if it is not visible on your profile. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

1. Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you are. (1 entry)

2. Subscribe via e-mail (in left sidebar). (1 entry)

3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

4. Follow CSN Stores on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

5. Tweet about this contest making sure you include @jewelsntreasure and @csnstores along with a link to this contest somewhere in your Tweet (1 tweet/entry per day)

6. Become a fan/like of Jewels & Treasures on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

7. Become a fan/like of CSN Stores on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

That's It!

Winner will be chosen at random from Winner has 24 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.

Contest ends Friday, October 22, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. CST

Congrats to #23! Hope you enjoy! :)

*I received no product or monetary compensation for this post. I just feel blessed to be able to give one of these away to one of my readers! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Design

Hi everyone! As you can all see, I had my new design go live today! I love it! The more and more I look at it the more and more I just see "me".

A huge shoutout goes to Eva Kipler for allowing me to use her design kit. I love pink and orange and I searched for weeks for the perfect kit that I would love and this was the only one I truly fell in love with. Eva so graciously allowed my designer to use this kit and I am very thankful for her allowing us to do so.

Secondly, thank you to Lara at Designer Blogs for designing this to my liking. She did a fantastic job and so nicely put up with all my questions and requests. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a blog design. Please make sure that you tell them I sent you, they have an awesome referral program.

In the meantime, Lara and I will be making sure all the links work correctly and fixing any kinks we have along the way. So hang in there! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This week...

*Has been amazing
*The girls got colds
*Chris and I cleaned the house
*I did lots of laundry
*We went hiking three times to State Parks
*Zoelle climbed a big hill all by herself each time without complaining
*I got to snuggle my Xiomara in the Sleepy Wrap
*Chris got to snuggle his Xiomara in the Sleepy Wrap
*I got to snuggle wrestle my sick Meridian in the Beco
*Chris got to snuggle wrestle his sick Meridian in the Beco
*I finished week 4 of From Couch to 5K
*Realized that I can run 5 minutes straight (twice) and 3 minutes straight (twice)
*I'm sore
*Has been in the 70's+ outside each day. Some days even 80+
*We have been outside everyday all day
*Basically threw out the window our schedule of naps/bedtime in order to spend each day outside
*We've played lots in the leaves
*I've taken lots of pictures of my three little girls
*I got to hear Xiomara laugh out loud for the first time-my heart melted
*I love my family
*I feel incredibly blessed

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Trip to the State Park

We've truly had a gorgeous Autumn here this year. I'm thankful as to me it seems like an extension of Summer. Maybe not quite as warm, but still at least we don't have snow on the ground.

This past weekend, Chris, the girls, and I decided to go to a local State Park and do some hiking. Amazingly enough all three girls (and maybe even myself) napped on the way to the State Park. So Chris just drove for a bit until I woke up. Then, we had to wake all three up once we got there. Zoelle was not having it. She wanted to stay in the car.

Poor girl. Then as we started walking, she freaked out, and refused to go further. See the little pink dot in the picture?

That would be her. Is it mean that I took pictures of this process? Don't answer that.

Chris went and rescued her only to find out she was scared of a black tree in the woods. Poor girl.

Finally we were on our way. May I just say how much I love my man for baby wearing with a more girly looking carrier. He carried Meridian in our Beco. I carried Xiomara in my Sleepy Wrap. Oh and sometimes, I had to carry Zoelle. Poor girl (take your pick as to which one of us was the girl that was poor).

In the end, despite some tears, I am so glad we enjoyed the beautiful day and a local State Park. It was well worth the time and effort!

Do you ever go hiking? If you do, do you babywear any of your kids, or do they hike? Do you ever take advantage of your State Parks?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Motherhood Should Not Be A Competition

I've been giving lots of thought lately to the dark secret that none of us moms want to admit or talk about. I've been guilty of it before, and you probably have too.

The secret?

Motherhood is a competition amongst ourselves.

Oh yes, we don't like to openly talk about it or freely admit it, but it's true we compete amongst ourselves for who knows what reason. That is currently what I am trying to figure out.

It all starts when we are pregnant. Are you going for a natural birth? Do you plan on breastfeeding? We ask of the newly expectant mom. As if somehow breastfeeding and giving birth naturally make you a better mom before giving birth.

Shortly after we give birth is when the real competition begins. It's not a competition of who can dress their little girl the cutest, or whose little guy has the most name brand clothes, although I am sure those things can be a competition as well. But the competition I'm talking about is when I hear people ask me when my preemie daughter is 2 weeks old, if she is sleeping thru the night? Or how about, how often is she eating now because my child goes every 4 hours. As if my child is the same as yours and should be doing the same thing. I think not. We are all different and unique. Even as adults.

Don't believe the competition is there? Then why when I was recently teasing a new mom about my three all sleeping thru the night (which they all don't in case you were wondering) and her son should be too, did she look at me horrified and then quietly, almost guiltily tell me her son was still getting up to feed. Why the guilt?Because the competition is there. She then went on to share with me that she knows she should be following a certain nameless controversial book but that it just didn't feel natural to her. I remember as a first time mom being in her shoes and feeling the same way. Yet, fear of the competition kept me silent on the issue. I can no longer be silent. Maybe it's because I have three children now and realize more and more that what works for one mom, may not work for another. Or maybe it's because I'm sick of seeing moms be made to feel guilty because we aren't following said controversial book. Either way, I'm speaking up and saying now is the time to stop making motherhood a competition.

It's not after your daughter has potty trained before your best friend's son. It's not after my daughter learns to speak fluently in Spanish before yours. It's not once we are past the sleepless nights, and messy days. The time is now.

Listen carefully moms: We are to be each others biggest supporters!!

We should not drag each other down. Criticize each other behind the others back. Just because your son sleeps thru the night before my daughter does, does not make you a better mom. Likewise, just because my daughter was speaking in sentences at a year while yours said nothing more than mama, does not make me a better mom.

Motherhood is not a competition. The only way we are ever going to stop that is right in our own homes, in our own hearts. Let's stop acting better than the other mom who bottle feeds. Let's stop acting as if our parenting is way better than hers because our children sleep thru the night, in a crib; while she co-sleeps with hers. Let's stop judging in our hearts and criticizing the other mom who is different then us. Who parents different than us. There is no one correct way of parenting. No book, magazine article, speaker, author, etc. is going to be 100% correct for every mom out there. So stop pushing it!

Instead, let's glean a bit from that book, this from that magazine article, and did you hear about what I learned from this speaker on this? Furthermore, let's encourage one another as moms. Build one another up! After all, isn't that what motherhood should be. Shouldn't we have a team of unique, but supportive mothers to consistently back us up no matter if our choices are different from each other?

So if you happen to run into a fellow mom who mothers the complete opposite of you, don't judge her, don't compete with her, instead cherish the fact that you are both moms and have the awesome opportunity to support each other no matter how different you are. You never know, you may just become best friends despite your differences. And the beauty of friendship is that we can look past all that because in our hearts we are the same: moms.