About Natalie

I am a Jesus Lover, a wife, and a mother. And I'm making the best of what looks like a mess!

The February Flurry

I haven’t blogged or really been social online in several weeks. My biggest reason for this has been my computer crashing! I haven’t had any computer issues since I got my iMac 5 years ago. Everything from my meal plans to my side hustles are on my computer, and when it’s not functioning properly it’s fair to say that NEITHER AM I! It appears to be fixed now so I’m hopefully back in business.

I won’t go into all of the details of what made February such a whirl wind of a month, but I did want to document one of the most memorable parts.

We got snow.

BUCKETS OF SNOW!!!

I know Ohio is not alone in these crazy winter storms. My poor friends in Texas got hit so hard that most of them were living the frontier life with no electricity or sometimes water! I remember what that is like from when we had that terrible power outage last April. No fun.

I personally love the snow. The last couple of winters here have been fairly mild so I am grateful for this surprise snow dump.

We made the most of it. The day after we got the first 8 inches J took off of work and we spent our afternoon sledding.

We even brought hot chocolate to-go in those mugs that keep beverages warm. While we were at one of the best sledding parks ever we bumped into some friends.

These two have been buds since they were 2 years old so that was a fun impromptu reunion.

The next week when we got more snow we made our traditional snow cream. I looked up the recipe on MessyMom.com.

It was really sweet because SJ was the one leading this activity and there were pictures of her on the recipe post from 6 years ago.

Times have changed, but snow cream is still the perfect winter treat!

I can’t even remember the number of snows cancellations and two hour delays this month. It doesn’t affect us too much since we are mostly at home, but it’s always fun to have snow days, even for homeschoolers.

We had fresh eggs throughout the snowstorm too! We were worried about the chickens with the temps being close to zero. Most chicken breeds are actually really winter hardy though and they all did great. They didn’t love necessarily love the snow. Our white hen, Mary, flat out refused to walk around outside. But most of the birds eventually ventured out a bit.

Getting eggs that weren’t frozen was a chore, but we managed to brave the tundra a few times a day to collect our breakfast.

The snow has pretty much all melted now leaving a slushy mud pit in our backyard. The chickens are thrilled to be able to forage again.

They have spent the past several days pecking away at the soft ground in search of bugs and other tasty treats. I loved the time that we had in the snow, but I am also getting excited for spring. It will be here before you know it!

 

 

By | February 26th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Our Chalkboard

One month down for homeschooling in 2021. I have to admit, I have felt so defeated lately. We had a nice break at Christmas and I knew that it would take some time to get back into our routine, but every time I thought we found our rhythm again there would be some kind of emergency. When it comes to what we will do next school year we have a lot to evaluate, contemplate, and most importantly meditate (okay, pray is what we need to do, but I was on a rhyming roll).

That being said, my chalk board still says Happy New Year, however there was  time when the message on our family chalkboard changed every week. It usually involved something we were learning about that week. So while I have not been able to keep this up, I did have a lot of fun designs and memories to look back on.

This was the original chalkboard message from the beginning of August 2020

The next week was a Bible verse that we memorized and learned the sign language to.

Another Bible verse. We learned the fruit of the spirit verse and ASL signs about 4 years ago, but this was a good refresher for sure.

Everyday we learn about a new country (in alphabetical order) and then we say a prayer for that country. Sometimes we go to the prayercast.com website where you can click on any country and they have a video prayer specific for that nation. It’s an incredible ministry that I stumbled on while looking up individual countries prayer needs.

We also had a little tradition of doing the birthday boy or girl message on the chalkboard. SJ’s is coming up so I definitely need to follow through with the final birthday message! 

September 11th was a difficult but important day that we learned about. 

Then we learned all about the constitution on September 17th, CONSTITUTION DAY! 

Then we had another important Bible verse.

Ezra’s 8th birthday. WaHoo!

Then we got Covid, so SJ wrote the chalk message for me.

After we were fully recovered and out of quarantine we had the coolest unit study the week of Columbus Day.

This one didn’t turn out as planned but we traced our hands and wrote our favorite things about fall in each one.

Election week!

For our 20th anniversary I wrote Matthew 19:6 and Elle drew a photo to go with it.

Elle’s fifth birthday. Fun times!

We watched Little Women and read up on the history of Louisa May Alcott.

Thanksgiving was a great lesson and Holiday.

Skip ahead to Christmas. SJ’s artwork this time.

Last but not least Happy New Year!!!

 

By | February 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Next School Year

I feel like I am back at square one in making the decision to homeschool or send my kids back to public school. This time last year I wrote a blog post called “Planning 7 Months in Advance” because it was the beginning of 2020 (the part where we thought it would be a regular year) and schools and extracurricular programs were already enrolling. This year is the same. Kindergarten enrollment, 8th grade schedule selections, and applying for scholarships for special needs therapy while homeschooling are all filling my inbox with deadlines. So while I’ve been telling myself I had 6 months to decide what we would do for the 21/22 school year that is absolutely false. We have to figure it out ASAP. Granted we can always change our minds, so nothing is written in stone, but either way we eventually need figure it out.

Sigh.

Fostering a love for knowledge and a strong educational foundation has always been a top priority for me as a mom. When I look back over the past 10 years so much of it was spent determining what the best fit would be for each of our precious little sponges. They are each so unique and talented as individuals. I’ve ALWAYS said, like a broken record, we evaluate their educational needs and what fits best on a case by case, day by day basis.

J and I have definitely talked about what the year will bring and how we feel. We’ve prayed that God would lead. I made an actual list of pros and cons for either path and I have informally interviewed all kinds of different people including moms, intervention specialists, and teachers. The good news is last year we had no idea what in person learning during a pandemic would be like. This year we have a year we know so much more. Last year during one of the district meetings a school board director compared their strategy for the 2020/2021 school year to building an aircraft while simultaneously flying it. It’s a great analogy. I was building my own airplane while flying it at home. It’s why unprecedented was the word of the year in 2020.

Although we are leaning towards in person learning for the upcoming school year there are several reasons why I would love for the kids to stay at home. Here is a peek at my list of reasons we might do it all again.

  1. No masks or shields! (that’s probably the biggest, especially with a deaf child)
  2. Bible and faith included in our daily lessons

3. More time for piano and chickens!!

4. I really get to observe my kids’ learning styles 5. More quality family time 6. We have a laid back schedule rather than running from one thing to the next all the time 7. Sleep in (we actually keep a pretty consistent schedule that includes waking up somewhat early, but on occasion we don’t and it’s nice to have that option) 8. More outside time 9. Less driving!10. I get to learn new things everyday too


I know some people might think after a year of homeschooling I would be ready to throw in the towel and not look back. While there are challenges to homeschooling that I would never want to sugar coat, I really would miss so much of it. I’ll give my list of reasons we wouldn’t do it again another time. One thing I know for sure though. We made the right choice for this school year and I will cherish the time we had.

By | February 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

And Then THIS Happened

We’ve had a teen in our house for about 5 months now. It’s so surreal, which is maybe why it has taken me this long to write about it!

When I started Messy Mom he was less than a year old. In August of 2008 I wrote this little blog post called “Then this happened”. I’ll repost it here-

I griped a lot in last night’s blog  because I did have a rough week and I don’t think there is anything wrong with keepin’ it real when things aren’t so bright and cheery. However, in the midst of it all there was this…

What is that? You may ask. That is something my 11 month old son made. He stacked that piece on top of the train and was building for the first time. I was so proud that I had to get my camera because I wanted to remember this moment forever. He did it several times and with blocks too!

It is such a joy to see him learning how things go together. I am honored to be a mom. Even in the midst of chaotic times I never ever want to overlook those little moments that make it all worthwhile.

And that’s it. I wrote a whole blog post about how he stacked blocks and I freaked out as if he had built the Taj Mahal. I shared how proud I was on the internet for the world to see, and get ready for a major brag here, because 13 years later I am just as proud.


This kid  young man is on a robotics team for the third year in a row. He publishes the weekly podcast and notes on our church’s app.

He volunteers running the light board in the sound booth at church. He competed in a chemistry competition at the state capital just before the shut down last year

and this year he is doing accredited high school algebra in 7th grade.

He’s in youth group now and is a polite, kind, and responsible young man.

It’s wild to think of how many blocks he has stacked to get from that moment 13 years ago until now. I’m speaking metaphorically of course, but each of those little moments, those connections that our kids make as they develop into adulthood is significant. Side note for mothers of little ones, I messed up A LOT between then and now and God’s grace has not and never will run out. Z’s not perfect either, even with as much as I brag about him. Anyway, back to the point, I’m glad that I took time to recognize that moment with the blocks which prompted me to document another milestone because fast forward to now “and then this happened!”

Z is officially taller than me. He has been boasting so much about being the second tallest in the family that when he got a prize for an academic achievement from school one day Ezie asked “did you get that for being the second tallest in the family?”. He really thought that.

I can’t keep up with how fast he is growing or how much he is eating! When the weather changed and he went from shorts to pants last year all he had was size 14/16 and they were high-waters on him.

We finally replaced all of his pants with size 18, so no more Steve Urkel look! Except for the other day I griped at him because his ankles were showing again. I said “Z! I thought you got rid of all the size 16 pants. Why are you wearing those!?” He got defensive and said, “Mom, you just bought me these. If these are too small then it’s hopeless”. I hate to admit that I actually argued with him for a few minutes about the pants only to realize that he was right! I had bought those pants in November. Facepalm. So I accused him of wearing his pants too high! Yes, I did. I thought surely there must be a mistake. “If you lower your pants they will be long enough,” I told him. Then his level-headed dad got in on it and called me out on my denial. He was wearing his size 18 pants exactly where they should land on his waist and the real reason his pants were not long enough is that he is growing at a rapid pace because… he is a teenager now! I guess I have to accept it.

I have joked though that I am going to hold onto my top knot messy bun and high heels to try to be taller for as long as possible.

There are so many other major milestones coming up to look forward to (reality check, that was the rental he and his dad took on their big Chicago road trip last year).

Then I begin to think of what kind of things he will be accomplishing in another 13 years. Come to think of it, he will be the age I was when I wrote that blog post I referenced. Okay, I’m definitely not ready to think of that. Nope. I’m just going to enjoy this stage.

By | January 27th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Finding Fun Ways to Fuel Your Child’s Development

 

 

Helping a developing mind to reach its full potential is always a worthy goal for parents. Your children will always benefit from the time you put into enriching their lives and improving their education, and there are loads of ways to approach this that will appeal to your little one. Fueling your child’s development in fun ways is a good way to approach this, especially during winter. So, to help you out, this post will be exploring some of the options you have as you go through this.

 

Puzzles

 

Kids will always love to solve a puzzle, with satisfaction being found in overcoming a problem with their mind. Puzzle books are often best for this, providing them with a physical experience that will improve their reading and writing skills. If you want to get your hands on some great puzzle books, you can find them here, with countless options to choose from for most age levels. Of course, you have to make sure that the puzzles you give your child aren’t too difficult for them, as this could easily make them frustrated.

 

Programming

 

Computer programming is becoming an increasingly important skill in the modern world. Just like learning a language, starting early with something like this can make it much easier to fund success in the future. Plus, programming can help to teach a child about logic and maths. There are plenty of programming toys available on the market, as well as software applications that are designed for children. They won’t have to write any code, but they will still get to see what their work brings together.

 

Writing

 

Writing is a great way to explore the mind and expand your creativity, improving the vocabulary of those who spend enough time on it. Giving your children story ideas to write about can be a good way to spark their imagination, with a mix of writing on paper and typing being a good way to help them to develop well-rounded skills. Creative writing is a fun process, but you may need to provide them with books to read if they are going to reach their full potential with something like this.

 

Building

 

Building toys have been popular for a very long time. Lego, Mechano, and a range of other products can be found that are designed to let your children build. Having the chance to make 3D objects can teach your child a lot about basic engineering, while also helping them to apply their creativity and have fun at the same time. It’s always worth giving them some choice when you offer them toys like this, making it easier for them to sink into the activity.

 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to provide your children with fun activities that will fuel their development. This can be easier than you might expect, with most kids being happy to embrace the activities you give them when they are interesting enough.

 

 

By | January 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Memoirs of Color

I love true stories! Last night we watched “Safety” on Disney+ and it was really good.

At the end when the credits started to come on I told the kids to wait, because my favorite part of movies based on true stories is when they tell where they are now, even better if they show photos. This movie had both. It even had video clips from the real-life brothers that inspired the movie.

I love reading true stories too and I have never been a girly girl when it comes to what kind of books I get into. I have read everything from “American Sniper”, the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, to “Save Me From Myself” by the former heavy metal rockstar from the band Korn. I read and am fascinated by a diverse range of stories.

I truly cannot keep up with the number of memoirs I have read. However, it occurred to me last year that I couldn’t recall one memoir I read that was written by a Black American woman. I’ve read lots of books written by and about women of color, but not a memoir. What’s up with that? So many true stories and I hadn’t read any that were a black female? I am embarrassed that this could be true. So I started looking into changing that. Some of my all-time favorite stories, movies, and music are all from black women so I thought it would be easy. A quick google search showed Michelle Obama’s book over and over, but I knew there must be more than one option when finally I stumbled upon the book Rabbit.

Rabbit is as an autobiography about a comedian who was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. From the back of the book- At age seven, Pat, known as Rabbit, was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by an older man. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with only an eighth-grade education, she had limited options. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. The book is described as an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope, wisdom, and unexpected humor that gives us a rare glimpse of what it’s really like to struggle and thrive in America.

I was intrigued.

I had never heard of Patricia Williams. a.k.a. Ms. Pat, a.k.a Rabbit, but that didn’t deter me. I don’t usually read books about things I am already interested in. I read out of curiosity about things that I don’t know anything about. The only catch is it has to be uplifting. I can’t handle something depressing and hopeless. There has to be a greater purpose to the story. Rabbit appeared to fit the criteria.

So I listened to the Rabbit audiobook which was even better than reading it because it was read by the author. I love it when books are read by the author. Their dialect, inflection, and tones are just another layer to the story. This book was entertaining, inspiring, and insightful! I barreled through to the end because it was so good. Patricia Williams is truly an overcomer, and I highly recommend this book. Since I am a family blogger I should mention that there is language and adult themes to the book, so I want to be sure to give a fair warning about that. However, if you like books that are about defeating the odds you will want to read this one.

The interesting thing to me is it reminded me of several other memoirs I’ve read such as Hillbilly Elegy, Educated, and The Glass Castle. All three of those books are about being raised in poverty in unconventional circumstances (to say the least), but then being able to break free of the cycle as adults. All three of those books have been on the New York Times Best Seller list with millions of copies sold. One was even turned into a major motion picture and another is a series on Netflix. So many people recommend these books and I can’t help but wonder why I had to consciously seek out a book like Rabbit, a memoir by a black female. I do know that I have already recommended it to friends and now I’m going to go ahead and blog about it!

So that’s my latest book recommendation- Rabbit by Patricia Williams with Jeannine Amber. I look forward to finding more diverse stories to dive into. If you have any suggestions I’m all ears!

By | January 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Chicken People Gifts

We watched a documentary called Chicken People a few years ago. The librarian said she really enjoyed it and in the end we all did. It’s all about crazy chicken people that breed and show chickens in poultry competitions. At the time we were not crazy chicken people and didn’t relate at all, but just thought it was neat to learn about. Now we recognize many of the breeds and vernacular so we watched it again and enjoyed it even more!

When it comes to chickens, my mom is a big fan. As of May of 2020, I am a sucker for pet chickens too. Even my brother and his family have chickens. We are one big happy chicken family. There is one person though that I think it’s safe to say loves chickens more than anyone else I know and that is my 10-year-old daughter, SJ.

She is obsessed.

For a child who was deaf and we feared would never speak, I am proud to say that she can talk nonstop for hours… about chickens. Seriously. Don’t get her started. She is committed to our little flock of 9 and has a bond with all of them.

I guess it should come as no surprise then that our family (particularly SJ) ended up with several chicken-related gift items over the holidays.

I got a painting by my sister-in-law’s mom.

It’s gorgeous and I will cherish it forever! Dede Collicott is an incredible painter from Atlanta and she has even been featured in many art shows. My mom and brother’s wife got paintings too. How perfect is that?

As far as SJ’s gifts, she got a Barbie with chickens!

She also got a book about how to train your chickens. She has read through it multiple times. She falls asleep reading it and even brought it on our Christmas vacation. So far she hasn’t successfully trained the chickens to do any tricks, but they do love her and mostly cooperate for her.

All of the grandkids of my mom and dad got this adorable Children’s book called Chicken talk. It’s a must-read!

 

My sister in law from Texas got us this cool puzzle.

On top of all that my mom scored this gingerbread chicken coop.

I had several people text me and tag me on this one knowing I had a chicken fanatic. Unfortunately, they were sold out everywhere (I guess crazy chicken people aren’t all that uncommon). However, my amazing mother was able to put in a raincheck at Tractor Supply and snagged one for SJ before Christmas.

Lastly, the greatest chicken gift of all is probably getting up to 6 eggs a day during these cold winter months. That’s something to cluck about!

By | January 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tips for Helping Your Child to Read

As a mom, one of the hardest things to face is the fact that your child may not be progressing as quickly as they should. If your child is not reading at the correct grade level and you are a bit worried you don’t have to panic.

You can teach your child to read and do it successfully. However, you must be prepared to learn as much as you can about the reading process.

There are varying opinions about what works and what doesn’t. There are also opinions about what age children should be able to read.

 If all this difference in opinion has you wondering, “When do kids learn how to read?” find out the answer to this question and discover some of the best reading strategies that you can use to help your child.

Use Nursery Rhymes

A nursery rhyme will capture your child’s attention. Children will hear rhymes and syllables in the words they are reading. This will help to build their phonemic awareness skills.

Phonemic awareness is the skill that allows your child to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that are found in the spoken word. You and your child should clap to the rhythm of the rhymes together.

While your child is having fun they will be setting the stage for developing solid reading skills in the future. Nursery rhymes are a great way for children with speech problems to learn how to pronounce words.

Make Word Cards

You can buy word cards but it is so much fun to make them. Begin with three-letter words and ask your child to choose cards and then call the word. Ask your child to identify each of the sounds they hear in the three-letter words.

Examples of good words to use are cat, cup, and pig. Try to choose three-letter words that lend themselves well to pictures since this will make it easy for your child to remember the word.

Creating cards takes very little time and they are a great way to build your child’s decoding skills. If your child is starting to learn the alphabet then this is a great activity to use to introduce them to the sounds each letter makes.

Make Your Home Print Rich

You should make it a practice to label everything in your home. In this way, your child will learn that everything has a name. This helps your child to connect words to concrete things and this makes it easier for them to learn.

When you are out with your child, make a conscious effort to point out printed words in the environment. A good place to start is by drawing their attention to signs that you see.

You can sound out the letters for them that make these words. You can begin by focusing on the sound of the first letter in the words you see. Ask your child to tell you the sound of the first letter and what word rhymes with the word you pointed out on the sign.

You can also begin using the word in a sentence right away and let your child repeat these sentences. This is the best way to subtly help your child understand the meaning of a word.

Children Love Games

Children like to play and word games are the perfect way to capture their attention and keep it. These games should help your child to identify and manipulate all the sounds they hear in a word.

Another great way to get your child interested in learning new words is to write and use sand or wool to outline them. Let your child close their eyes and use their sense of touch to guess the word they are feeling.

Let them tell you the sound of each letter they have identified in the word. 

Know the 5 Skills 

For your child to read and comprehend what they have read, there are five skills they need to develop. Once you know what they are then you should do all you can to research them and find learning materials that will help to develop each skill.

The skills that your child must master are the following:

 

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fluency

 

The first hurdle you need to cross is phonemic awareness. Next, you need to develop your child’s skills in phonics. When your child begins to understand the connection between letters and the sounds they make then they are well on their way to developing their vocabulary.

 

Comprehension is probably the hardest skill for many children to develop. This is why as soon as you can you should have your child use the words they have learned in sentences this will ensure that they have a solid idea of the words they are reading.

 

Fluency will develop when all the other skills are developed. Fluency happens when your child is confident in identifying words. This brings speed and accuracy.

Use Technology

One of the easiest ways to grab a child’s attention is to use videos. With so many videos available on the internet that teach phonics and developing reading skills, it is up to you to choose the one that is right for your child.

 

Pay attention to your child’s expressions as they learn from the videos. Ask them questions afterward to see what they have grasped.

 

Once you find a style of video that works then you can use it often to make your child develop reading skills.

 

There are also software, apps, and learning academies online that will help you to teach your child. The wonderful thing about the internet is the amount of information it provides. You don’t have to go it alone.

Model Good Reading Habits

 

If you are that parent who doesn’t like to read then it is time to change all of that. It’s good for your child to see you reading since this will help them to develop their interest in reading. Aside from this perhaps the best reading strategy you can use is to read to your child daily.

Read a variety of books to your child. This approach will help you to introduce a lot of different stories. Make sure you read books about things your child is interested in since this will make it easier for your child to relate to what is being read.

The next thing you should do is buy read along books. Those that have picture clues are the best ones and make it less likely that your child will fail at recognizing a word. This will help them to develop confidence.

Help your child to select books that they are likely to succeed with. The five-finger test is an excellent way to know if a book is too hard for a child. To do this test open the book to the middle.

Ask your child to begin reading the page. Every time they see a word they don’t recognize they should raise a finger. If by the end of the page five fingers are up then the book is too hard for them.

Time to Read

Now that you know some of the main things you should be focusing on it will be a lot easier for you to get your child to read. 

Once you notice your child’s strengths work to develop them even more. The same is true for any weaknesses that you notice. Be consistent and patient because every child develops reading skills at a different pace.

 

By | January 4th, 2021|education, Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Schooling, Special Needs|0 Comments

Christmas Card Reveal Continued

Yesterday I did a reveal of this year’s Christmas card which is a collage of all of our cards from the past 20 years. It’s been such a neat experience putting it together and then seeing it in print. When the cards arrived J and I sat outside and reminisced about each one and agreed we needed to share some of these memories online.

I know it seems a little overkill, but I am proud of what we have come up with in 20 years. They aren’t high end or super elaborate, but doing anything consistently for 20 years is a feat in and of itself. So we are a little jazzed. If you missed the card recap from 2000-2011 you can still check those out. Here are what the next 9 years looked like for us.

 

2012

This card is not one of our favorites, but it is very significant. It was one of the craziest years of our lives. We had just gone through surgery with SJ and Ezie was a newborn. We were living with my parents and struggling to figure out the next steps. It would have been easy to say we weren’t going to do cards that year. Instead we pulled out an old laptop with “photo booth” on it. It took four pics in a row for us and we printed them out as 4×6 photos instead of ordering cards because it was so inexpensive. We sent out very few in the mail and simply shared it online. A flood of memories come back when we see this, but it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how we chose joy and celebration even in dark times.

 

2013

2013 was our most hilarious card ever. We came up with this idea from childhood memories of changing the lyrics of Jingle Bells to “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” We have on these silly superhero costumes and baby Ezie is batman in a supposedly stinky diaper. I love the look on everyone’s faces!

 

2014

We kept it classy in 2014. I told J that we really needed an updated family portrait. Luckily have a very talented brother with a very nice camera who caught this gorgeous shot for us. We gave it the Busch spin by creating a “scrap book” style card. Each one was individually crafted with love using mismatched stickers, papers, and whatever holiday materials we could repurpose.

2015

 

This was another card that almost didn’t happen. We had a lot going on with the arrival of Elle and discovering her hearing loss diagnosis. I was really discouraged and J suggested the idea of sending a birth announcement and having it double as a Christmas card. It was perfect! They might have been sent out late, but at least it happened and we were able to include a small Christmas photo on the back too.

2016

The next year I was determined to not run behind so we had our Christmas photos taken on summer break.

I know the beach doesn’t scream Christmas but I added “Merry Christmas” to the inner tube and wishes of “warmth, joy, and cherished memories” so I thought it worked well. We go to Lake Huron nearly every year so it is very special to us.

2017

For 2017 we paid tribute to the couch photo from 2011 and did a recap of the 6 different places we had lived in the past 6 years. The couch came with us every time. Sigh. This card was truly a full-circle moment. After a LONG journey were finally homeowners again!

 

2018

We ended up going a different direction with this card than originally planned, but I absolutely could not be happier with how it turned out!

2019

In 2017 and 2018 we did a lot of camping so we thought why not show off our love for the outdoors on our Christmas Card! We hadn’t showered in days and we dressed pretty raggedy, but I love this card!

2020

That brings us to 2020. No pandemic is going to stop me from celebrating what is a very significant year for us, 20 years as a family! Yay! What God has joined together let no one separate, amen?

So that’s our look back at 20 years of Christmas cards. I know people think I am crazy but… as usual, I already have an idea in my head for next year. You’ll have to wait until 2021 to find out though! Merry Christmas everybody!

 

By | December 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Christmas Cards 2020

We don’t pack our schedule full with all sorts of Holiday traditions around here but there are several that we enjoy. One tradition that we have done since the first year of our marriage is sending a photo Christmas card. Since we were married in November the obvious first choice for us in the year 2000 was a photo from our wedding day. This was before digital photography was an obtainable thing. Most people (including me) hadn’t heard of it at that point. So our first holiday card was a purchased box of “Christmas frame cards” for you to insert your own photos printed from film. I actually LOVE that we had this part of history as our tradition, even if it does date me.

2001

The next year we printed our own on an inkjet printer and I am sad to say I have no copies of that one, but it wasn’t all that spectacular anyway.

2002

J had gotten me my first digital camera for my birthday. It was life changing. As I previously mentioned this was revolutionary technology and it was only THREE megapixels. We all have cameras on our phones now that are a thousand times better than this camera was, but it was a big deal at the time. We took silly photos of each other dressed in wintery/Christmasy accessories and made a very simple collage out of the photos. We titled it “The Twelve Faces of Chrismas”. I know this looks cheesy now, but this was before social media and accessible photo editing software. The idea that you could take a bunch of pictures and design your own postcard on a computer was impressive and all of our friends went bananas over this card!!!  To this day this one is one of our all time favorites because it was a turning point for both of us creatively.

2003

Because of the success of the previous year we decided to make another postcard. Again, I realize that you are hard-pressed to find any photo that doesn’t have a filter on it these days, but back then it just wasn’t a thing. So sepia or vintage effects on a modern photo were really cool and rare. On the back of the card, it looked like sheet music and we wrote our own version of  “Oh Christmas Tree”

2004

This was the year we bought our first house got new jobs and a puppy. We attempted doing a card it just didn’t happen. In twenty years that is the only one that we missed.

2005

Sadly, like 2001 this is another case of me not keeping a copy of everything. However, we did send a small booklet we printed and folded up by hand where each page had a photo and the entire thing was a poem about all that we had done in the past year and why we didn’t send out Christmas cards.

This is one of the photos that was included in that little booklet, and the good news is I have a copy of every card since then!

2006

At this point my photography business was going strong. I had even quit my waitress job to do it full time and I owned a couple of backdrops, including solid black. So J, myself, and our dog named Crew did a little winter photoshoot for this card.

2007

This one was so much fun! We visited my family in Kentucky for Christmas in 2006 and we recorded two Christmas songs, one of which was an original. We had a blast and sent the recoded songs out as a Christmas card. The CD art was pretty cool too and included baby Z who we didn’t realize would be a part of our lives when we did these songs.

2008

Okay, okay, this is ANOTHER favorite of mine. By this time I was blogging, so I can start linking to the original Christmas card reveals if you want more details. On the front was a picture of converse sneakers edited to be Christmasy. On the inside we had a picture with all of us with another one of my backdrops.

2009

This card really tells a story. I had a red ribbon tied around my pregnant belly announcing that we had “A Beautiful Gift” coming March of 2010!

2010

For this card we used the EXACT ribbon that was around my belly the year before and we created new things out of it. Z had a tie, I had a corsage flower pined to my dress, Z had a bowtie, and SJ who came on March 4th was wearing a bow!

2011

This was our last Christmas card in Texas taken right before we moved to Kentucky. I was hoping we were going to leave this ratty old couch behind. J had it since his college days and it was my idea to drag it out to a field and take a family photo in before trashing it. Ask me if we still have this couch ten years later. Yeah. Sigh. Yeah we do.

 

I’ll do a separate post with the rest of the cards but here is the grand reveal of the front of our Christmas card for 2020!

 

 

By | December 16th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments