Thursday, December 18, 2014

Still Here!

Holy moly, where has the time gone?!

Here's a breakdown of what's been going on in the Murphy household these past couple of months:


As you know, McKenna started school

McKenna's First Day of VPK, 8/25/14
And she's still loving it and doing so well! Daddy was able to go into work a little late on her first day so that we could all walk her up there together.

She was so excited while we were getting ready that morning and did GREAT at drop off. (Mommy did, too, if you were wondering! ;-)) After visiting her classroom and teacher at Open House that evening, we headed over to our favorite ice cream spot, Del's Freez, to kick off our back to school tradition with THE BEST soft serve ice cream around - YUM!

We closed out the month in Orange Park celebrating my Dad's 51st birthday.

It was a pretty great weekend just kicking back with the family :-)


Kendall and I have been enjoying our one-on-one time together

But do I dare say that it is a little too quiet around here now during the day? We've been keeping ourselves busy with lots of MOMS Club play dates -- On September 11 for our Fall service project, we headed up to the fire station with a pot luck lunch to thank the firefighters for all that they do for our community; we were able to tour the station, the fire truck and shoot the hose!

At the end of the month, we found ourselves back in Orange Park for my Mom's 51st birthday, Brew at the Zoo, and a family photo session (our first ever!) with Pink Pelican Photography.

That's my talented sister-in-law behind the camera! I couldn't be more proud and excited for her as she so fervently pursues her dream in photography. Check her out, Jacksonville!


October was ca-razy busy!

I opened up a little handmade card shop on Etsy called Cards Luv and Happiness :-) I casually expressed interest in card-making to Alex one weekend, and a couple of days later he came home with a Cricut that he found from someone on Craigslist and a TON of craft supplies began arriving in the mail after he was up late one night doing some pretty in-depth research into my new hobby. I'm so grateful for a husband that supports and encourages my creative whims!

Then there was the MOMS Club Annual Halloween Party and Open House event, volunteering in McKenna's classroom, another trip to Orange Park for Jotoberfest (my MIL'S annual everything-pumpkin birthday bash),

And finally we had a Halloween Party of our own here at the house with friends.

It was hectic month, for sure, but a fun one!


Alex was out of town for the majority of September and October, and had only been home for a few hours on the 1st before I was on my way to the emergency room with McKenna - she had a fever of 104.6! It turns out that she had PNEUMONIA (!) and was admitted to the hospital for four days.

I felt like a  t e r r i b l e  parent for sending her to school that entire week and having our Halloween Party, but other than a lingering cough from a cold that we both had caught the previous weekend, she was fine - no fever, lack of energy, shortness of breath; nothing at all until that Saturday...

I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful nurses and doctors who took such good care of McKenna in the hospital... And that Alex was in town and able to stay home from work to take care of Kendall... And for my mother-in-law for putting her life on pause for a few days to come down and help out around the house (she bleached my bathrooms, you guys!)... And for all of the kind words and thoughtful gestures from all of our family and friends. It's a scary thing being in the hospital with your child and we were all so touched by those that reached out.

The following couple of weeks, we were in and out of the vet with Hanley - he was completely immobile for a few days and blood test results showed that his liver enzymes were 3 times higher than normal. He's on medication and a special diet now until at least the beginning of January with a bill upwards of $1000 already, but his health has seen a major improvement and he's back to his goofy ol' self - thank GOODNESS!

On the road again at the end of the month, but this time it was Georgia or bust! It was a short, but always sweet visit with Alex's Dad's side of the family in the Brooklet and Statesboro areas for Thanksgiving.

Thirty-seven people - all family - made it for dinner this year. I look forward to this trip every other year (we alternate spending Thanksgiving in Orange Park and Georgia) and I really wish that we could make it up there more often; things are so laid back and peaceful there, everybody is incredibly warm and welcoming; you can really feel the love.


We found ourselves in the pediatrician's office everyday for the first three days of December - both of the girls had double ear infections and then they got pink eye! We had to keep McKenna home from school again today as she woke up with a really bad cough. She seemed to be feeling better by bedtime, but I am sooo tempted to start our Christmas break a few days early -- I really miss mornings like these:

No alarm clocks, no place for us to be at a certain time; simply enjoying the day as it unfolds before us. Coffee and crafts, just like the good ol' days before school started :-)

Alex found a cute bedroom set for the girls at a garage sale that we just couldn't pass up, so we decided to redo their ENTIRE room (much to his chagrin).

Bye, bye nursery yellow! My "Coral Passion" was outvoted 3 to 1 for this "Hint of Cherry," but after a couple of coats and drying, I've gotta admit that it's growing on me... We're Alex is still working on refinishing the furniture, so the girls have been bunking with us at night. I don't mind the slumber party, though; I'm really loving the snuggles! Hanley and Baloo usually end up in bed with all of us by morning, too, so talk about mommy heaven!

I was able to escape for an evening with some of the ladies from MOMS Club for our holiday party and White Elephant Gift Exchange, followed by drinks and dancing downtown - what a great time! Then, last weekend, we celebrated our sweet little monkey turning THREE (!!!) with friends and family at the park and I got to host the always epic Cookie Day again at our house this year.

Right now, I'm working on finishing up my last special order of the season for Cards Luv and Happiness, and then this momma's going on break, too!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In 8/25/14

Not an ounce lost or gained last week, but I'll take it.

Last week's weigh-in (8/18/14): 164.2 lbs
Today's weigh-in (8/25/14): 164.2 lbs

Change in weight: 0 lbs
Total change in weight: -17.6 lbs

Monthly progress photo
August has been busy as heck, and I don't see things slowing down anytime soon! McKenna started preschool this week and I'm becoming much more involved with MOMS Club as the treasurer and coordinator for both Mom's Night Out and the 4 & More playgroup; I'm hoping to volunteer at McKenna's school as well. Holidays are right around the corner, too, and birthdays; soo many birthdays. I enjoy wholeheartedly, though, seeing our calendar filled with family and friends.

We'll be in Orange Park this coming weekend celebrating my Dad's 51st birthday. As much as I feel like healthy eating is starting to become second nature for me, going to Orange Park is always a huge challenge... I gotta stick to my guns!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Preschool

Zero more days.

Tonight McKenna cut the last link off of the paper chain countdown that we made last week.

In less than 12 hours, she's off to preschool!

(WHY did I write "Back to school countdown" instead of "First day of school countdown," I do not know; just going to blame the recent lack of sleep over the whole thing here...)

Thankfully, McKenna's gone from "excited, but just a little nervous" to "reeeally excited" after having met her teacher, Mrs. Murray, last Wednesday and then on Friday visiting the classroom. We've been reading books about going to school, talking to all of our friends about how awesome it's going to be and role playing teacher/student here at home. I couldn't be more happy (and also relieved) that she is so excited about her first day tomorrow; she's going to love it and I can't wait to hear all about it when we pick her up!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

McKenna's 4th Birthday

Four years old.

We officially have a preschooler on our hands!

McKenna's birthday was on a Wednesday two weeks ago, so we celebrated our big girl turning 4 by having Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast, hanging out at Play Plus for a few hours, and then for dinner and dessert, we ate Caesar Salad and ice cream - "with sprinkles! LOOOTS of sprinkles." - all per the birthday girl's request.

"It was a really great day," she said as we tucked her in that night :-D

Alex was able to take off of work on Friday so that we could get our house cleaned up and put together (e.g. finally hang up the picture frames that have been sitting in the corner of our bedroom for the past year or so) before our company arrived for McKenna's party on Saturday, but more importantly to get a head start on THE CAKE.

Every ounce of credit for this goes to the Mr! I simply crumble under the pressure of birthday cake making.

Alex got started ]around 5PM, however, following the pattern of years past, we still didn't turn in for the night until around 4AM.

Both of the girls happened to wake up just as Daddy had finished his masterpiece and they absolutely LOVED it; McKenna hurried excitedly over to the playroom to grab the camera that she got for her birthday last year so that she could snap a few pictures of her own -- "It's so beautiful!"

Our family arrived a couple of hours later early Saturday morning and then we all headed over to the park to start setting everything up for our Princess' princess party; other than the cake, though, we kept everything pretty low key - a couple of decorations, and pizza and Capri Sun to serve to our guests. The kids played to their heart's content while the grownups laughed and mingled and simply enjoyed each other's company.

Everybody had a really great time, especially our sweet birthday girl.

<3 <3 <3

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In 8/18/14

Is it just me or does anybody else have a hard time getting back on track with their normal routine if Monday doesn't go at all according to plan? All last week after our company left/McKenna's party/the Busy Bag Swap I felt like I was playing catch up - piles and piles of laundry, putting the house back together, sleep; then yesterday we took a family day trip to Orlando and didn't get home until midnight when I thought for sure that we'd be back in plenty of time for dinner me to cross the rest of the stuff off of my Sunday to-do list! 

Oy. At least I've reeled it back in as far as tracking goes, though...

Last week's weigh-in (8/11/14): 167.4 lbs
Today's weigh-in (8/18/14): 164.2 lbs

Change in weight: -3.2 lbs
Total change in weight: -17.6 lbs

We met up with The Waldens earlier today for our last "Monday Funday" before Beth and I send our big kids off to preschool next week; "You look really great!" Beth said when we walked in :-D Ugh, it feels so damn good to hear that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In 8/11/14: Up 3 Pounds

Last week was hectic and stressful, but still tons of fun with our play dates, McKenna's 4th birthday (!), a potluck for MOMS Club, party prep, lots of family in town to visit, and a Busy Bag Swap that I waited until the very last minute to get started on. I think I'm just about all caught up now with sleep and putting our house back together, though; slowly but surely getting there with the laundry...

Last week's weigh-in (8/4/14): 164.2 lbs
Today's weigh-in (8/11/14): 167.4 lbs

Change in weight: +3.2
Total change in weight: -14.4

So, it was a gain week. I tracked and made healthy food choices all week before our company arrived on Saturday, and then there was cake, margaritas, chips and dip, and a big dinner on Sunday night with a family friend right before my Monday morning weigh-in; I didn't track a thing all weekend.

Honestly, I'm not even that bummed about it; all of that junk food did quite a number on my tummy and I was ready to get back on track after everybody left. Still smiling big from the "You look good!" and "I can tell you've lost weight" comments all weekend :-D

I got this.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

DIY Leis and a Sandpaper Starfish Craft

We're soaking up the last bit of summer here before school starts, so last week some friends came over for a craft play date to make sandpaper starfish and Hawaiian leis.

This was the calm before the storm.

There were only 3 adults to 7 kids (6 of them under the age of 5) with open bottles of glue and tubes of glitter with unsecured caps... So, you do the math!

Or if you prefer a visual approach:

Haha! Absolutely priceless.

When the kiddos decided that they were over arts and crafts, we had a "fight" over a broken pretend piece of corn on the cob, and Kendall threw up not once, but twice; the second of which my friend Beth caught IN HER HANDS - total mommy move right there, we (the grownups) agreed. Once everybody was fed, though, things did simmer down a bit and all in all it was a pretty successful play date as everybody had a really great time.

Craft Play Date II over at Shauna's next week!

Lately, it's become a regular thing for McKenna, Kendall and I to do arts and crafts on Saturday mornings while Daddy is out doing his rounds at the garage sales; he's recently taken up flipping as a hobby, online business and all!

I thoroughly enjoy spending this time with my daughters; sipping coffee, still in our pjs, tummies full from breakfast, and enjoying each other's company with Disney radio on in the background while working away on beautiful little masterpieces that I will cherish forever. A very "happy Saturday" indeed; emphasis on "happy."

While I certainly plan on keeping round one of this little project, we gave it another go over the weekend; there was plenty of starfish and hole-punched Hawaiian flowers leftover from our play date.

Here's what you'll need:
Blue construction paper
Blue marker or crayon
Googly eyes

Before you begin, cut starfish shapes out of your sandpaper. I found a pack of 12 sheets at the dollar store. 

Then, using a blue marker or crayon, create waves on your construction paper and glue on the starfish. Add more glue to the top of the starfish and sprinkle on some glitter, or you can leave it plain as the sandpaper gives the starfish a realistic texture. Finally, add googly eyes and a smile.

Now, the leis! These were so much fun to make and turned out really cute.

Here's what you'll need:
Hawaiian flowers
Hole punch

The Hawaiian flowers are actually table scatter that I purchased from the dollar store to make these Flip Flops Fridge Magnets. You can find them in the seasonal section.

Cut the yarn and straws, and hole punch the flowers.

String away!

*TIP: Wrap a small piece of tape around one end of the yarn because it will come apart as you are threading it through the straws and flowers. Also, tape the other end to the table while you are working so your straws and flowers don't fall off in the (very likely) event that your lei gets knocked or pulled off of your working space ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 Things to Smile About in July

July started off a bit rocky for us, 
but there were still plenty of things to smile about!

1. Family Zoo Day

2. Coffee, arts and crafts :-)

3. One on one time with my big girl

4. This guy

5. These moments

6. New vacuum! We desperately needed one, and happened to find this baby on clearance 
for 50% off.

7. Quiet days at the library

8. An afternoon treat with my two favorite girls

9. Forever friendships

10. Flowers, "just because" :-)

Thanks for the inspiration, Emmy Mom! I needed this. :-)