Creating Fun in Your Home

By 9:34 PM , , , ,
Hello, friends. 

Today I am sharing my tips and tricks about something I am SUPER passionate about and that is creating fun in your home. Now before you go all "are you kidding me? I hardly have time to keep my little people alive and fed" on me hear me so "I hear ya sister." I too feel the same way. If you have followed me for any time at all you know I work full time outside the home, have two little ones, and also fight that never ending battle with laundry. Hear me say I am by no means intending to make you feel the pressure to put something else on your plate but instead want to encourage you to be intentional on creating fun moments with your children in the everyday. 

Why? Well it is because it is a goal of ours to create a home in which our children feel safe, loved, and enjoy coming home to. We want to create a safe and fun space that our children came be their true self and a place they want to bring their friends to as they get older. Finally when my children grow up I want them to look back and remember our family as having a ton of fun together. So how do we prioritize fun in our home?

1. We make it a point to plan fun events as a family. They can be as simple as a fun day out to the zoo or a the local bounce house or even a picnic to a local park. These often end of being some of our favorite events. We even have been known to book a night at a local hotel and spend the day at the indoor pool in the winter. For gifts we ask our family for subscriptions and passes to all the things so we can affordably participate in outings as a family. We strive for at least one a week. 

2. We capitalize on holidays. Holidays are an easy time to create easy, fun memories for your family. Putting up a few simple decorations is an easy win no matter the holiday. We also love to celebrate all the days. For Valentine's day we create heart shape pancakes and have a family candle light dinner. For Christmas we make gingerbread houses together and spend a night driving around town in our PJs with hot coco looking at Christmas lights. For St. Patty's day we dye our food green. National donut day? We make a morning trip in our PJ's to the local donut shop. Little simple things such as wearing your PJs out in public become magic to kids when they are out of the ordinary and you make it a fun tradition. 

3. We play together as family. We know that kids learn best through play so we make sure to set aside time each day to play with our kids. Evening game of Hide and Seek? Afternoon time playing 'kitchen' in the playroom? What better way to create sweet memories and also teach your children via role play then by playing with them at their level. 

4. We create family traditions. For example we have shifted pizza and movie night to PJ palooza. PJ palooza happens usually twice a month in our household and we all change in to PJs, make or order a pizza, and watch a movie while eating pizza in the living room. Simply giving it a name adds a whole new level of fun to this simple event as a family. 

5. We turn car rides into family conversation/game time. I am not a huge advocate of DVD players in cars as we have found when there is one that's all our kids want to do but when there is not a DVD player available we have some of our best conversations and/or play games as a family. Our favorite? "Name that tune" to Disney songs on Pandora. First one to name the Disney movie gets a point. 

6. We look for easy ways to add fun to our home. I put magnets on my washer/dryer to the kids can play magnets while I do laundry. We have also put a kids kitchen in our big kitchen so they can cook while we cook for the family. We draw "roads" in chalk on the driveway during the summer so the kids can ride their big wheels and bikes through the "village." 

We are hopeful in that being intentional on creating fun for our kids that they will look back and remember our home as a safe place that they enjoy coming home to full of amazing and fun memories. 

What are some of your favorite ways to create fun in your home? 

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2018: What a crazy year

By 10:28 PM , ,
This past year has been crazy in our family household. Thinking back over the last year I get a little emotional thinking about how much God has blessed our family in 2018.
2018 started out with a bang as I started the new year very pregnant and Josh and I took a little babymoon trip in January to NYC for the first time. We ate a ton of great food, froze our rear ends off and enjoyed being together as a couple before our new little loved arrived. January also kicked off my new consulting role and thus a new lifestyle of travel. During one of my trips I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go support one of my good friends as she opened her business out west. 

After that trip out west things with my pregnancy started to get a little scary (hello preeclampsia combined with what was already a high risk pregnancy) and I was in for basically every other day for monitoring with my OB which grounded me for awhile. Our precious daughter surprised us by coming even earlier than her already planned c-section date and ended up arriving February 20th, making us a family of 4. (You can read Brighton's birth story here).  My c-section was a dozy and if I am honest the surgery and recovery were both pretty awful for me but I would do it all over again daily if it meant getting to have Brighton for my daughter. I got to spend the rest of spring playing doll with with my precious new baby as I dressed her up in all the cute pink things and tried to soak up every moment with a newborn at home again.

Over the spring we also got to watch our 1st baby play soccer on a team for the first time which he rocked and enjoyed celebrating him turning 4 during the summer. Easton has turned into a little man right before our eyes and totally keeps us laughing. He made the transition from only child to big brother flawless and is truly the sweetest big brother. He started pre-k in August and it is amazing to see all he has learned over the year. 

The rest of the late spring/early summer was honestly spent soaking up every moment of maternity leave with my kiddos before transitioning back into work late May. June kicked back off my travel role and we transitioned into a new life with two littles at home with mommy traveling all over the country on a weekly basis (while nursing which is a feat in of itself // if you want my pumping travel trips check it out here). I would be lying if I said it has been easy all the time (especially when kiddos get sick which seems never ending) but Josh has been a total superhero and rocked working and taking care of the kids while I am gone and it certainly has been a fun adventure.

Then just when we thought things couldn't get any crazier we bought a house and listed our existing house with a baby, a preschooler, and a mom who is on the road every week. It was a crazy season but God provided and we ended up closing on our old house just a week and half after moving into our new home. We love our new home and neighborhood and most of all love that we are on the golf cart paths and can take our golf cart to the grocery store, library, and out to eat. 

Finally we thought we were gliding into the holidays only to find our little girl had RSV and to spend 3 very scary days in the hospital which you can read about here.
Somehow in the midst of it all we managed to take a family vacation to the beach, many trips to our lake house, a trip to Dollywood, and a week long trip to Disney all as a family of 4. We laughed, we cried, we made amazing memories together as a family and we truly feel we did the best we could to make each day an adventure. And we got to spend lots of special time with amazing friends and family.

And ya'll I have a feeling 2019 is going to be a fun & busy year as well full of more adventure!

Be sure to subscribe so you can stay up to date and to follow me on all of my social media accounts to follow our adventures in 2019.

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Our Family Christmas Traditions

By 8:25 PM , , ,
Growing up in a family rich with holiday traditions I couldn’t wait to add them into my own home as well as add some new ones of our own. I love traditions and hope that one day my kiddos will say I loved that...
“We did ______ every year.
Below is a list of our old and new Christmas traditions we have meshed together for our own little family over the last several years. I hope these traditions inspire you to create your own list!

The Thompson Family Christmas Traditions

Pick up, purchase, and decorate a tree together the week of Thanksgiving every year. 
The season is always kicked off by a Thanksgiving night hayride through a local Christmas light display. For those of you local to the Atlanta area check out the "Gaddy's light display on Sandy Creek Rd." They were on the great light fight show last season and always have an awesome display. We hook up a hayride to the back of a truck and kick off the season with two rides through the display. The first so you can see everything on the left side of the ride and the second you switch sides so you can be sure to see everything on the other side of the display. 
Elf on the shelf always makes an appearance at our house beginning the day after Thanksgiving. 
We watch a multitude of Christmas movies together as a family throughout the season but always included are: Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown Christmas, Four Christmases, Elf, Elf on the Shelf, Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer, The Christmas Story, and the Santa Claus. 
Christmas punch and cookies and tree decorating with our cousins at Grandma's house. One of our favorite traditions we wouldn't miss. 
Pink Pink at Macy's Lenox Mall– For those of you who are not native to Atlanta look it up. It’s such a fun tradition that includes a train ride on a pink pig on top of the mall. We love this sweet tradition and always go with my mom. 
We always spend at least one evening driving around looking at Christmas Lights in our Christmas PJs with a cup of cocoa while listening to Christmas music. 
Volunteering together as a family to give back to our community. We have volunteered at various organizations over the years but love using our time to give back to those who are not as fortunate as we are during this season. 
Leaving a basket of snacks and drinks at our front door for the delivery men and women who work long hours to make our lives a little easier this time of year. 
Christmas Eve Service and reading the Christmas Story before putting milk and cookies out for Santa. 
Day after Christmas shopping for all the deal on Christmas goodies for next year. 
Merry Christmas, sweet friends!

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My Favorite Collection

By 2:36 PM , , , ,
Tis the season! 

It's our first Christmas in our new house and while we are still not fully unpacked (I look forward to the day I can park in the garage again) we finally have completed decorating our home for Christmas. Because...priorities.

I don't "collect" a lot of things in general but most of my collections somehow revolve around Christmas decorations, ha, go figure. One of my most favorite things I collect is nativities. I love them for many reasons but the first is that I love the simple reminders placed around my home of the Christmas story and what Christmas is truly all about. The second reason I love collecting nativities is because it brings back special memories of Christmases past. I grew up with a nativity that stayed on our mantel during the Christmas season and my brother and I played with that little nativity daily for the first 10+ years of our life the entire month of December. Every year I would look forward in anticipation to my mom pulling it out of the basement and setting it up so we could resume play. I truly wanted the same for my kids which is where the story of this collection began. I think I am now up to 10 or more.  Today I thought I would give you a photo tour of my nativities throughout my home. 

My favorite is the homemade nativity my father in law gave me for Christmas a few years ago. As I mentioned above I grew up with a nativity on our mantel when we were kids and my brother and I played our little hearts out with that nativity and I wanted the same for my kids so my sweet father in law built me my own gorgeous nativity and my mother in law found vintage gorgeous nativity figures (hard plastic so they don't break) that my kids can play kids love playing with it as much as I used to with my set growing up!  Below is a photo.

I also purchased a few years back (prior to having the set my FOL built) the Fisher Price nativity. My daughter who is now almost 10 months LOVES playing with this set. It is her most played with toy.  

Here are some of the other sets throughout my home including two mini sets, a set made of wood, a set made of ceramic, and more:

What is that one thing you collect and holds a special meaning to you? Do you have any Christmas decorations you collect? Please share below in the comments. 

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The scariest day.

By 10:11 PM , , , , ,
Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that we had a pretty scary week last week that did not go as we originally planned. Our daughter (who is 9 months old) ended up getting sick on Thanksgiving and come Monday (5 days later) she was much worse off and one sick baby. My husband took her to the pediatrician since she wasn't getting better even though we figured it was viral and would have to run its course and I headed to the airport to fly out for work. On my way to the airport I got the call from my husband that our baby girl had tested positive for RSV, wasn't breathing normally, and the pediatrician was rushing them to the hospital. 

This was a minute of calm in the storm about 5 hours in to our journey from you know where still in the ER...ignore my puffy face and dad's pure exhaustion in the background.

Praise the Lord I had not yet gotten on the flight and rushed to the hospital to meet them. We ended up meeting on the way to Atlanta and arrived all at the same time to the ER. The ER upon taking one look at our little girl rushed us back to the trauma room (without even collecting our names or insurance// scary) and immediately admitted us to the hospital where we would end up staying for the next two days. Key the scariest couple days as of yet of my life. 

We were in a trauma room in the ER for the first few hours where they did chest x-rays, ran an IV in our baby's hand, and hooked her up to tons of monitoring and wires including oxygen in her nose. For those of you who haven't been in this situation seeing your baby almost life like strapped down to a table with wires coming out, tears streaming out of her eyes, and vitals plummeting without the help of oxygen is a pretty terrifying thing to witness. Emotionally it was very challenging on us both to say the least. The next two nights my baby girl slept in my arms in a hospital bed (with the exception of being woken up by nurses every hour throughout the night and day). We were relieved when she FINALLY felt well enough to start getting bored being stuck in the same room and hospital bed on Wednesday and are so thankfully that today, Sunday, she finally seems to be back to her self. 

cuddles with my girl

We were so happy to finally see some smiles

While it was some of the scariest moments of our life we left the hospital overwhelmed with gratitude. Being in a children's hospital and just observing the children and parents around you who live in this situation and worse day in and day out puts so very much in perspective. We are SO very thankful to all of you who prayed for our little girl (and us), we are so thankful for incredible nurses and doctors and to live in a country where we have amazing healthcare (as one of the doctors told us if we hadn't had access to the hospital when we did we probably wouldn't have our baby with us today), we are thankful to have jobs that will allow us to pay our hospital bills when they come in, we are thankful to our companies for being understanding and allowing us to take time away from work to be with our baby, and last but not least we are SO thankful to those of you who called, sent texts, and brought us food and clothes both at the hospital and last week when we got home. 

finally feeling well enough to be "bored" and to sit up...watching Minnie with Daddy on his phone

All I can say is wash your hands. Wash your kids hands. RSV is out there and powerful and can be oh so scary. Also...

The power of prayer, ya'll. 
Again, thank you. 

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