post holiday update {in pics}: baby news, being tired, and my favorite Christmas gifts

The last few weeks of this year were wonderful and, if I can be honest, they were exhausting too.

I love the holidays, but it kind of felt like I was running a marathon, and my body and mind were so very tired by the end.

After it was over, I just felt so thankful for all of the work to finally be done. I know every season won't be this way, and this is just life now with a house to run, homeschooling to do, 5 kids to love, babies to kiss and nurse and change, parties to go to, guests to prepare for, classes to teach, a blog to write, presents to shop for and wrap, food to buy and make...

It was all a good work, I think. It was a good tired to be.

I so enjoyed the little break I had from everything after Christmas- I didn't blog or teach classes for the most part. I needed to recover, and it took me nearly a week to feel somewhat normal again. I'm even more thankful for a cold January now to stay in the house, read books, and find a good routine for the new year. 

I have lots of fun things to share in the next few weeks {Lord-willing}, but I wanted to catch up with a few pictures {okay, lots of pictures...hahaha!} of our last month:

1. The baby is {as we say in Texas} growing like a weed!! He has outgrown all of his 9 month outfits and is now into 12-18 month sleepers! He loves his sisters and brothers:

 2. He rolled over from back to front for the first time last week {a feat in itself since we never actually put him down... ;)}:

3. We had a wonderful {beautiful} Christmas Eve with my in-laws:

Everyone is growing up! It's happy and sad all at the same time.

4. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: this baby has been one of the most joyful blessings we have ever received. I am so thankful he is part of our lives. :) And this is one of my favorite pictures of all time: 

5. I think I might have fallen even more in love with being a mama this year. Is it possible to give a baby too many kisses? {the answer is probably yes, I found out after accidentally inhaling Zane slobber...always remember to wipe the baby off before you kiss him, Mandy...}. 

5. We almost never buy toys for the kids {the grandparents love to give them}, but this year, we gave the girls these cozy coupe shopping carts, and they were over the moon. :D

6. Shoes were the present of the day for the grown-ups:

If ankles could talk, they would be smiling thanks to these new Brooks running shoes:

7. But the best present of all was seeing our family. My brother Josh and my sister-in-law Cayse drove 7 hours to stay with us. We MISS them like crazy. Don't tell, but I secretly tried to use Zane cuteness as leverage to make them move back: 

He's got her in his grip... I'll let you know if it worked. ;)

8. They gave Noah a magic trick set, and his amateur skills had us rolling and in tears: 

9. Rob gave me this book for Christmas, and I devoured it over the break. It was so good, I want to read it again this month.

10. 2014 means that these boys will turn 9 and 11. They're getting so big already. Make it stop.

7-8 more years? This isn't possible. 

I really want to make 2014 last a little longer. Rob and I set goals for the new year, and one of them is turning our focus to doing more fun things with the bigger kids like overnight camping and game nights. I want to soak up this sweet season of young ones as much as I can before it changes.

How do you plan to enjoy the season that you're in this year?


  1. I really enjoyed getting this peak into your life! Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful family!:)

  2. You have such a beautiful family! Your Christmas break looks like so much fun- lots of love and smiles all around ♥

    My resolution for 2014 is to submit. I know it's hard to track, so I make it a goal to submit in some way every day- to God, my husband, my co-workers. I want my life to be less about me and more about Jesus. I pray that by taking it day by day, eventually I won't have to think about it and it will become my nature. Of course I'll still have to be purposeful in submission but maybe it won't feel as difficult.

    I have a young son (just turned 2!) and a husband, I work full time, enjoy blogging, and am trying to exercise more. My plate is full with responsibilities at home, work, and church so it's hard to move my focus from me and what I need to others and their needs. I'm working on giving up my need to control everything and put my trust in God for He is the Righteous Judge and All Mighty Creator. I think He knows what He's doing =)

    ♥ Vanessa @ Her Heart Proclaims

  3. Your family is beautiful and it looks like you had a wonderful Christmas!

  4. I have enjoyed your blog!
    You look like you're having so much fun!!
    Blessings to you!

  5. Oh, I loved this! Posts like this excite me so much to start a young family!!

  6. Cute! Btw...can you tell me where the pillows next to your sister-in-law came from?

    1. I got them for a super deal on ebay- they're made from chiang mai dragon fabric. :D

  7. You have a beautiful family Mandy, enjoy them. My "baby" is now fifteen and the other 6 are all late teens and twenties. They are still a blast just not quite so snuggle, LOL!


  8. One of my goals this year is to have one one-on-one date with my three year old each month, concentrating on things he wants to do, not what Momma thinks he wants to do.
    Your little guy is so cute! And not so little. :) I don't even want to think about my boys being 9 and 11, it makes me sad right now!

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  9. Love the new site - and your family is beautiful! Our little one is already 11 months and will be one in February - it does go so fast. :) Happy New Year!


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