Thursday, November 29, 2012

Santa Came Early

I guess it's taboo to have children and refuse to buy a Christmas tree. Fine. We heard you last year. We bought a Christmas tree the week after Christmas last year, shoved it in the back of our garage, and were sooooo happy to finally be able to unwrap our purchase this year to see if we even liked the thing.
Jeff and Eli made a great team.
They took breaks every now and then to check for Santa out the window.
The next day, Eli helped me with the decorating. We have cheapo dollar store ornaments that don't come with the strings already attached. So my instructions to him were, "Eli, throw these balls at the tree until they stick." He did a great job.
I love walking out of Carson's room and seeing our hard work gleaming in the mirror.
With our Christmas tree up, it got us thinking about what we wanted for Christmas. I told Jeff my visiting teacher had just come over and I was almost embarrassed to invite her in because our whole living room is COVERED in spit-up stains. It's horrible. All over our floors and couch.
We decided we'd had it with our old couch and it was time to upgrade to furniture that can withstand our spewing, slimy children. One quick trip to RC Willey and problem solved:
We splurged and got a "Papa Bear Chair." I have such fond memories of sitting on my Dad's lap on Sundays in his recliner. I felt like Jeff needed a snuggle chair, too.
The Papa Bear Chair is a red/black marbled color. It's really pretty especially when the sun is shining into our living room. The couch and love seat are both black.

Spit up all you want Carson.
Love them! I feel so established to have furniture that didn't come from a yard sale!
Here Eli is showing off the color of the chair.
Fits just right.
Oh. Why, what's that under the tree?
If we're going to have one present early, we might as well do all of them early.
You may now welcome us to the world of smart phones.
I had a hard time committing to the overpriced monthly payment of smart phones, but our phones were both on their death beds so we decided to take the plunge.
I already don't know how I ever lived without a smart phone. Sayonara my dear friend!
Merry early Christmas to us. Now I have to go lay on my new couches and deal with my buyer's remorse.

Turkeys and Guns

It was an Excell Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving morning we huddled around the white board as we discussed our cooking game plan.
The boys were on fryer duty. Seeing as Jeff's hand churned butter was already good to go (I'm not kidding. He churned his own butter in the name of Thanksgiving), he had extra time to watch that bird fry.

Dirk's duty was to nibble at the turkey-shaped appetizer.
Lots of boys means lots of video games.
Mary and Kaelynn festivized the table.
Kaelynn was super awesome at keeping us on task.
Carson got his Thanksgiving meal just before we got started. Sweet potatoes for the occasion!
Turkey - Check!
Bryan did the honors.
With the turkey carved, we gathered round. I provided the rolls this year.
Yum. Yum. Those boys sure know how to sizzle up a turkey.
After dinner was Thanksgiving craft time for the kids.
Shortly after that was PIE! I ate so much pie. It's the best part of Thanksgiving after all.
With full bellies, Jeff, Laura and Mary made a last-minute decision to hit up Wal-Mart's 8:00 Black Friday shopping. Jeff got everything on our list and came home proclaiming his love of Black Friday.
Next day was the traditional Turkey Shoot.

The kids kept busy with BB guns. *No children were harmed in the Turkey Shoot.*

Then it was back home for a yummy dinner made by Jeff and Laura. We got a kick out of the lined up hungry babies.
Another perfect Excell Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the yummy food and Thanksgiving festivities!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Post About Me. Sarah.

You know what I don't like? Talking about me. I really try to avoid talking about myself for the most part. In fact, posting that picture of just me nearly killed me from embarrassment. I have come to learn about myself that I try to avoid attention at all times. But I'm bursting out of my comfort zone for one post to focus the attention on little old me, because some cool things are happening to me that I want in the records.

Let's start by saying I'm drowning in curtains. Which has been a HUGE blessing for us. We are actually going to have a fun Christmas this year without feeling guilty about buying more than necessities. The curtain biz was an answer to some of my most heart-felt prayers and I can't deny that its success is wholly from my Heavenly Father.

The curtains are keeping every moment of my free time behind the pedal of a sewing machine. Which I love, but it's busy.

Then my friend Kenz. We all know Kenz. She mentioned wanting to run a half marathon. To which I said, "Yes. We should do that." And before I knew it I was buying winter spandex running pants and signing up for my third half-marathon.

After my entry form was submitted and I finished my first run, I began to fear that training for a half marathon on top of the curtain ordeal on top of raising two handsome boys may be the death of me.

With the help of Jeff, I've been able to hit the road in the mornings and still get my orders out. But I can't say dinner has been on the table as consistently as I would hope. Sorry, honey!

I went for my long run yesterday (6 miles) and I wanted to die. I felt overwhelmed, tired and weak with every step. At no time did I want to give up on the half marathon, but I did question whether or not I would be able to finish it. I began doubting myself mid-run which only sucked out any lingering motivation I had to push forward.

I finished my run and crashed on the living room floor with the thought, "How am I ever going to take care of my motherly duties, keep my business afloat, run a half marathon AND be effective in my new calling as the Young Women's First Counselor?!?"

Yes. I have been released from Cub Scouts. Yes. A part of me was just beginning to be really fond of those wild little hooligans. Yes. Working with the Young Women is my dream calling, but I had this fear it was too big of a calling for me with all the other things I have going on.

I went to Young Women's for the first time today since I was a Young Woman. I loved the energy of the girls and leaders. I felt like it was where I was supposed to be. I was so excited for this new opportunity, and excited to get a weekly dose of estrogen.

After church, all the new leaders were set apart, and this is where something truly awesome happened. This is where my confidence was restored, and I knew I'd be able to do all the necessary things in my life. This is where I was blessed that I would "run and not be weary" which were truly inspired words for my situation.

I left the meeting with a newfound confidence that I can "run" my family, "run" my business, "run" my calling, and hopefully literally run my half marathon without becoming (too) weary. I am so grateful for this new opportunity to work with the Young Women, and I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who challenges me to show me all the things I am capable of.

There you have it. The latest happenings of Sarah Excell. Now accepting words of encouragement.

Seven-Month Old

Carson celebrated his seven month birthday this week!
He matured from a laying bather to a sitting bather this month.
I love clean, towel bundled babies.
Looking suspicious. Maybe because he's plotting against his drape hidden brother.
We love our bundle of joy!
Here's what he's been up to this month:

  • Tried to wake up at 4:00 AM two days in a row after daylight savings. No way baby.
  • Takes three 1 1/2 - 2 hour naps now. Wahoo!
  • Bedtime is 6:30-7, he wakes up at 10:00 PM for a bottle and goes back to sleep until 6 or 7 AM. I wrote that post about sleep training Carson a while ago, but he actually got teeth right after I wrote that post, so we gave up on sleep training. He fell into this night time sleep routine after consistently reading him books every night and putting him to sleep earlier. 
  • He started biting while he nursed after he got his top teeth. I'm talking bit every single time he started eating. After a week of being constantly bitten, I stopped nursing him. I have been pumping every morning and night, but he's a formula baby for everything in between. I feel like less of a mom because we didn't make it to a year, but nursing a biting baby made me way too anxious!
  • He has four teeth on top and two teeth on bottom.
  • He learned to crawl this month!
  • Says, "ma ma ma ma" all the time.
  • Loves sweet potatoes, green beans, bananas, oatmeal, prunes and pretzels.
  • Has pulled himself to standing a few times.
  • Likes to be rocked to sleep, but I'm trying to resist the urge to cuddle him to sleep so that he can fall asleep on his own in his crib. But he will still fall asleep in our arms. (Great for church!)
  • So happy all the time. He usually only has his binky to sleep because he's so content when he's awake.
  • He likes to dive head-first off of couches, down the stairs, and off our laps. Silly baby.

Those thighs kill me.
He's a little stud muffin!
Finally, here's a video of the little man's latest trick. Eli is obsessed with (what we call) potty noises.  He thinks he's hilarious. Every time he does it I'm in shock at how innately gross boys are. It's seriously in their DNA. Or at least in my kids' DNA. Yeah, Carson's already caught on to the fun.
Happy seven months!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Block the Stairs!

As of today we have a crawler on our hands!
Looks like the baby gate is going back up.
Carson's been shuffling around (mostly backwards) for the past month and finally figured out how to move forward. He's always loved being on his belly. I'm actually surprised he didn't master crawling earlier.
Here is the crawling in action. Now that you've given up on me having any kind of video that isn't terrible quality, I think we fixed my problem! So this video isn't super blurry like my other ones. Also, the song choice is a little strange but it's one of my favorite songs right now and it is applicable if you view it as me singing the song to Carson. Now you have a mental picture of me singing karaoke to my son, don't you? Don't make this weirder than it has to be. Enjoy!

In other news, we had our first snow day. And what a snow day it was! Eli insisted on going outside the moment he woke up.

When he made his way back inside, we made popcorn. Nothing says "Snow Day!" like a freshly popped bowl of popcorn. Am I right?
Don't be mistaken. They were not holding hands like cute, friendly brothers. No, no. Eli was keeping Carson's hand a safe distance from his precious popcorn.
Carson didn't mind. Eli drank his popcorn out of the top of a bottle. What a kid.
Waiting to go to church and looking super handsome! I love brother pictures so much.
Brother pictures quickly turned into, "Hey CARSON! Don't get my ______!!!" Eli's having a hard time keeping all his toys to himself now that Carson can make his way over to them.
This boy has six teeth. And we think he's growing two more. Where did he come from?!?
On Saturday night we taught Eli how to play hide-and-seek for the first time. He was a fast learner.
You know how every house has that one super awesome hiding spot? In our house, the money spot is hidden in the window behind the curtains. If it weren't for the giggles, we'd never know he was there.
Jeff was a gem and cooked up some ribs for dinner tonight. Can't beat a husband in the kitchen!
Since I wasn't busy cooking dinner, I whipped up some dessert. Hello tasty pumpkin pull-apart bread. You are as delicious as you look.
Happy Sunday!