Archive | January, 2016

Annabelle Lyn: 10 Months

28 Jan

How is it time for another monthly update? Miss Annabelle was 10 months old yesterday on the 27th!

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Size

Annabelle can still wear a few 9-month things but she’s mostly wearing 12-month clothes. She’s bursting at the seams of her snowsuit (it’s 6-9 months but runs big), so I’m guessing we’ll have to buy or borrow a bigger one for her before winter’s over.

I’m also thinking about going up to size 4 in diapers for her… will have to do a test run soon. It would make things easier because that’s the size Emma wears too!20160128_111903

Sleeping

This month was still rough in the sleep department, though it has gotten slightly better in the last couple of weeks — slightly better meaning her waking up only once or twice a night. It seems like Annabelle is perpetually sick or teething, which makes for some rough nights!

Annabelle has also started boycotting her morning nap. She’ll fall asleep nursing but then when I try to put her down, she wakes up and won’t go back to sleep. So then I either keep her up until Emma’s nap or she grabs a quick cat nap in the car running errands. She’s still in such a good mood even when her morning nap is short or nonexistent though so it’s not too bad.

Another change this past month is that Annabelle is not nursing to sleep as often as before. Sometimes she’ll let us rock her to sleep but other times, she just isn’t having it even though we know she’s tired. So then our only option is to put her in her crib with the vibration pad going and let her cry for 15-20 minutes. Most of the time, she’ll fall asleep on her own doing that, but occasionally we have to go back in and try getting her to sleep again. I feel bad when my girls cry themselves to sleep, but sometimes they just need to. I really appreciate having a video monitor during those times.20160123_142717

Eating

Annabelle got one more bottom tooth and has been working on another top tooth all month (slowest tooth ever!), which will bring her up to 8 teeth.

She’s been doing a LOT better with eating solid foods this month, though she still is a picky eater. Her favorite foods are puffs, fruity purees, applesauce, strawberry banana oatmeal cereal, apple, cheese, and toast. She dislikes yogurt, green beans, banana, avocado and especially mandarin oranges. Most days, Annabelle eats 2-3 meals. It’s a great way to keep her happy and occupied while I make food for the rest of us.20160122_091310

Development

Annabelle doesn’t like the jumperoo as much as she used to, and since she’s still not mobile in any way, she’s pretty much limited to playing with toys that we give her. We have been trying to be more intentional with helping her have tummy time (even though she’s not a fan), stand up and kneel, as well as get some time on her hands and knees (which she also does not enjoy). For most of her 10th month, Annabelle was still pretty tippy sitting up but in the past week, I have noticed that she is a lot more stable, and she is even starting to pivot a little when she’s on her belly, so that’s something!

We discovered this past month that Annabelle loves being pulled in a sled and pushed in a laundry basket. Emma pulled Annabelle in her sled up and down our driveway all by herself.

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20160118_170348Annabelle’s favorite “word” by far is “Dada” and it is the. cutest. noise. ever. Her cuteness is out of control.

Poor girl also gets lots of rough affection from Emma — lots of sideways hugs (like she’s going to give her a noogie), pulling, pushing and general rough-housing. Annabelle takes it like a champ though — it takes a lot for her to get mad. 20160109_13385520160123_13581020160101_180826

Emma Grace: 33 Months

19 Jan

Emma was 2 3/4 years back on January 7. Her 3rd birthday is going to be here before we know it!

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That’s a classic Emma face. {her school picture this year}

Here’s what Emma has been up to the last 3 months (Oct/Nov/Dec):

* Corn mazes — We went to two last fall (one local and one in KY) and she enjoyed both. But at the local one, she walked into the corn (off the path) and wouldn’t come out, and at the one in KY, she went into the corn maze by herself so that we couldn’t find her for 10 minutes. Worst 10 minutes of my life.

* Leaves — Emma loved playing in the leaves this fall! She liked laying on a big pile with a leaf “pillow” and being covered with a leaf “blanket”. She also thought it was a hoot to pick up piles of leaves in our hands, count to three and throw them in the air to rain on us.

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* iPad and movies — Emma LOVES watching shows on her iPad and has figured out how to use it all by herself. Her favorite shows are Sofia the First and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Her favorite movies are Monsters Inc, Frozen and Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

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Asleep with gum in her mouth and her iPad playing Frozen

* Dancing — She enjoys a good dance party and at her uncle Matthew’s wedding, she tore up the dance floor. She was pretty darn adorable twirling around in her little dress. (And I do mean little. Apparently, in the stressfulness of getting both girls and myself ready all by my lonesome, I accidentally put the 12-month size on Emma and the 24-month size on Annabelle. I noticed Emma’s dress was really short and a little tight but I just thought she had either grown faster than anticipated or I hadn’t thought to look at the length when I tried the dress on her. Similarly, when I put Annabelle’s dress on her, I thought I should’ve ordered the 9-month size since the dress seemed really big. D’oh!)20151015_104828 (Large)20160101_093156 (Large)

* PINK — This girl is still obsessed with pink everything. “Pink pony” (tail), “Pink poopy”, “Pink snowmobile”, “Pink truck”, “Pink daycare”, “Pink ice cream” are just a few of the endless list of things she tries to request in pink. For her birthday, we are going to throw her (and Annabelle) a “pink party” — everything will be pink. I think Emma will love it!

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* Dresses — Emma loves wearing dresses, which is funny because last summer, she didn’t want anything to do with them. She has gotten more use out of her summer dresses from last year during the fall and winter than she did then! Unfortunately I didn’t know this until after I bought her fall/winter clothes, so most of those have only been worn a couple times so far. Kids.20151026_134729 (Large)

* Crafts — Emma has really gotten into playdough, painting, chalk, drawing, glueing, glitter, etc. She got an art easel for Christmas from my parents and has loved it. She also loves trying to cut with scissors but hasn’t completely mastered that yet.20151227_173712 (Large)20151026_103056 (Large)

* Singing songs with actions — They sing songs at daycare and Emma has started singing them on her own. She knows about every third word but gets the right melody! And when we sing the songs, she’ll join it with the words she knows (she wouldn’t do that before, so it’s exciting to see progress!). Her favorite songs are Slippery Fish, The Freeze, Sticky Bubble Gum, and Fire Truck.

* Blankets — Emma now has 4 blankets on her bed (yet Travis has to go in every night before going to bed to cover her while she’s sleeping because she kicks them all off). She got a Frozen blanket for Christmas from Travis’ parents and she loves it. It has replaced her favorite blankie.

* Sleeping in places besides her bed — She has slept in bed with me on vacation since Annabelle was born (which she still enjoys), but now she also likes sleeping on the floor next to her bed, in the Frozen castle she got from Auntie Cari, or in her bedroom closet. She’ll even close the closet door! “Crazy Crinks,” we often call her. (Crinks was shortened from Crinkleberry. I don’t know how Travis comes up with some of the nicknames he uses.)20151015_111222 (Large)

* Girly stuff — Getting her nails painted, wearing stick-on earrings (we’re planning to get her ears pierced for real as part of her 3rd birthday present), and (sometimes) having me put her hair up with barrettes and pink ponytail holders

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* Playing outside — Emma has been loving snow this year. Last year, she wasn’t sure what to do with snow and just stood in place, but this year, she has helped us build snowmen, make snow angels, and “eat” snow and ice (the clean stuff!).

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* Baby sister Annabelle — Emma still loves having a baby sister, giving her lots of hugs and kisses, and bringing her toys to play with (if Emma wants a toy that Annabelle has, she’ll usually bring Annabelle another toy and grab the toy she wants. It works at this age, and it’s cute that she’s at least that considerate.)IMG_20160116_08402620151031_194449 (Large)20151116_104842 (Large)

* Sweets — I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like sweets, and Emma is no exception! Her favorite candies are suckers and candy canes. She loves chewing gum, and has lately developed a love for “strawberry cake” (angel food with strawberries and cool whip). 20160107_111741 (Large)

* Food — Emma’s favorite foods and drinks the past 3 months have been: mandarin oranges, apple sauce, yogurt, string cheese, baby’s purees and puffs, cereal, chocolate milk, peach tea, peanut butter, fruit snacks and animal crackers. Those are the things she requests the most often. But she also eats most vegetables (her favorites are broccoli and almost any kind of bean), noodles, deli turkey, quesadillas and toast. She eats pretty well for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but dinner has become quite the battle. She won’t eat unless she is sitting on one of our laps and we spoon feed her. I am hoping this is just a phase. 20151205_124030 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 33 months!

Annabelle Lyn: 9 Months

8 Jan

Annabelle was 9 months old back on December 27 but just now had her 9-month checkup. Apparently, you have to wait a certain amount of time between shots and one of her earlier checkups got pushed back. We should be back on track now though!
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Size

At about 9.5 months, Annabelle is 19 lbs 11 oz (71%), 28 inches tall (57%) with a head circumference of 18.66 inches (99.5%!). At 9 months, Emma was 19 lbs 10.5 oz and 28 inches tall — pretty much the exact same!

Annabelle is wearing 9-12 month clothes and size 2 shoes. She has tiny feet and hands just like Emma did, but a big noggin!
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Eating

As of 9 months, Annabelle has figured out how to drink with a straw and bite down on a sippy cup so there is hope for weaning her someday! I plan to keep nursing until at least a year, probably even longer. I think 18 months is my cutoff point though.
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But before I can wean her, Annabelle needs to start eating a lot more solid foods! Ever since Thanksgiving when she got a stomach bug and we backed off the solid foods for a while, she has wanted nothing to do with them. She’ll eat a teething wafer here and there but refuses yogurt now and only tolerates a few bites of other purees she’s previously liked. Now that the holiday mayhem has died down, I’m going to focus on giving her more variety to see if she likes something else.

Annabelle did get two new teeth this month, so that brings her up to six! She got one on top and one on bottom to the left of the middle ones (when you’re looking at her). I would think that the right-side ones wouldn’t be far behind but who knows.
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Sleeping

Because of teething, that stomach bug and a nasty, crudy cold with horrible cough and congestion, this past month has been the worst nighttime sleep of Annabelle’s life for both me and her. Most nights, she’s been up 2-3 times. Some nights, it’s been 4 or more. Thankfully, I can just nurse her for 15-20 minutes and put her back down but it’s still hard having my sleep interrupted that many times. Unfortunately, the week of Christmas when we were down in Rochester was the worst week of all. Annabelle had a horrible hacking cough and couldn’t go more than an hour at a time between fits. And Emma had a cold that triggered her (what we think is) asthma. And Travis was wheezing and sneezing from his cat allergies (even though my parents haven’t had cats for years and got their ducts cleaned). And we were all in one room. It was awesome. So needless to say, I would appreciate a break from sickness and teething!
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On the bright side, Annabelle decided on her own that she was ready for the crib. A few nights when she was really congested, she took a couple hours to get down for the night and fussed whenever we put her in her swing. So finally, out of options, we put her in the crib and let her cry for 10 minutes. (I generally don’t do “cry it out” when they’re sick but we didn’t know what else to do.) She fell asleep and slept in there the whole night! And the rest was history. I am floored by how easy that transition was. We still do use the vibration pad in a pinch because it really helps lull her to sleep but even that isn’t a necessity like it once was! We did have to order a new one though because she burned out both the vibration on her swing and a vibration pad.

One benefit of Annabelle being sick this past month has been all the baby snuggles. Travis and I both (but him more than me) have gotten to rock Annabelle to sleep — something she hasn’t let us do since she was a newborn! Travis has especially loved it because it just creates a bond.

No matter how poorly Annabelle sleeps though, she always wakes up happy and smiley. Nothing gets this sweet little girl down! (Except maybe bonking her head.)

She still takes two naps a day, for about an hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.
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Development

Annabelle still has no interest in crawling, scooting, moving, rolling, whatever. She loves the jumperoo still and enjoys sitting up to play with toys. But she does not like her belly and does not appreciate being put on her hands and knees. Annabelle still tips over a decent amount while sitting up so we make sure to put pillows behind her. She’s not pulling up on her own, and can’t really hold herself up in a standing position either (she’s steady if we help hold her up). Our pediatrician has recommended that we get her evaluated by the Paul Bunyan Education Coop (same organization that evaluated Emma for speech) for delay in gross motor skills so we might do that. It’s free, they come to our house and we’ve had a good experience with Emma’s speech therapy.
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At 9 months, Annabelle’s favorite things to play with are:

* Things that fit nicely in her mouth for chewing on, like spatulas and teething rings, made of silicone, rubber, plastic or metal (so, everything)

* Things that crinkle or jingle, like plastic or metal keys on a ring or chain — she likes to slap them against her leg to make noise

* Sippy cups filled with water (mostly just for chewing on)

* Anything that looks interesting and not like a toy, including paper, phones, baskets, boxes, straws, food containers and lids, tablecloths, glasses, plates with food on them (not interested in eating it though), and pens. You can’t leave anything within 2 feet of her or she will grab it!

Annabelle is very tolerant of other people holding her but if she’s tired or hungry, she wants mommy. Several times, she’s been mildly fussy while others are watching her but once she spots me, she loses it. She has also started reaching/lifting her arms for me to pick her up.
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Other things that happened this past month:

* Annabelle’s second trip via airplane, this time to Denver
* Annabelle’s first Christmas!
* Annabelle seeing and feeling snow for the first time (not a huge fan) and taking her first sled ride around the yard (no pic, Mommy fail)
* Annabelle started using consonant noises and said “mama” as her first word! She got on a roll for a while but then stopped. Now she says “dada” a lot.

And that’s Annabelle at 9 months!

2015 Recap

7 Jan

Last January, I said that I had two specific goals:

  1. Give birth.
  2. Start and finish the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8.

Check and check.

The other, less specific goals I mentioned (and an update):

  • Don’t let newborn sleep deprivation turn me into a raging b!t@h. (Trust God to provide sleep.) I have dealt with this much better!
  • Pray for and see my mom be healed. Still praying!
  • Spend more time playing with Emma instead of getting stuff done. Still struggle with this. Some days are better than others.
  • Support my husband more sacrificially and selflessly. Uff da. This is an area where I need to grow but I have had some victories this year!
  • Read more books and watch less TV. Currently sucked into Gilmore Girls, but I’ll be done with the last season soon and then I’m cutting myself off!
  • Go on bike rides in the summer. I biked during triathlon training, but that was it. We plan to get a bike trailer this summer and go on family rides!
  • Be more intentional about inviting people over, or getting together. I get together with friends for play dates on a regular basis, but we still would like to have families over for dinner more often.
  • Finish my book and either self-publish, or seek publication! Book is nowhere near finished. It is SO hard to find the time and energy!

Goals aside, this past year was challenging because of Travis’ working so much and my mom’s health situation. But it was also filled with lots of fun memories. I went through my phone and here’s a smattering of the Best of 2015.

2016-01-05_12.47.47(From top to bottom, left to right) 1) Pregnant! Due April 8. 2) Fun painting with Emma 3) It’s a girl! Annabelle was born on March 27. 4) Big sister + little sister. 5) New swingset from Nana Beth and Papa Al! 6) Spring’s in bloom! 7) Nana Sheri & Annabelle — we spent several weeks down in Rochester during the summer when Travis was traveling for work. 8) Emma at my parents’ cabin throwing rocks into the lake off the dock. 9) Kriswold family reunion at our place.

2016-01-05_12.52.271) Emma feeding a deer at Paul Bunyan Animal Land. We also went to the Safari North and Pine Grove Zoos. 2) Emma “painting” with yogurt all over the deck and sliding glass door. What a mess! 3) Annabelle’s faux hawk in full force! 4) At the beach, boy! 5) Emma holding baby on her lap. 6) We re-landscaped the planter in our driveway. 6) Lots of chalk drawing happened this summer. Other daily outdoor activities were playing outside on the dock by the river, picking wild raspberries on our property, pushing Emma down a small hill in her wagon or Little Tikes truck, and walking or riding her trike down the driveway to get the mail. 7) Sweet baby. Love this picture of her. 8) Emma taking her baby for a walk with no pants on.2016-01-05_12.56.301) Aftermath of the devastating storm in July. Picture taken just north of us a few miles. 2) I took Emma and baby to the St. Mathias corn maze by myself. One word: stressful. 3) During our trip to Evansville, we went to another corn maze / pumpkin patch. Almost lost Emma in a minion-shaped corn field. 4) Beautiful fall colors right in our yard! 5) Baby feet are the cutest. 6) Fall fun in the leaves! 7) Selfie of me and baby on our dock, enjoying the fall colors on the river. 8) One of Emma’s crazy outfits. 9) Dressed up as a fairy, 80s girl and Snow White at Pillager Fall Fest.2016-01-05_12.59.181) Annabelle sitting up in the cart for the first time! 2) Emma wearing stick-on earrings and the cutest top knot ever. 3) Sister love at Costco. 4) Family trip to Cabela’s in Rogers to buy daddy a muzzleloader. 5) Baby’s first Thanksgiving! Too bad it was followed by the stomach flu. 6) Diana’s bridal shower in Grand Rapids. 7) Snowman! 8) Annabelle’s first Christmas. 9) Travis’ and my trip to Denver for his work Christmas party.

Other things worth mentioning:

* Memorial Day was spent up at Travis’ parents’ cabin on Lake Namakan. The Fourth of July and Labor Day were both spent down at my parents’ cabin in Pine City. For the Fourth, Al, Beth, Matthew, Diana and Chris joined us too. Thanksgiving was spent up in Nevis with Trav’s family and Christmas was down in Rochester with my family.

* The girls and I played at the beach well over 2 dozen times, including several evening trips with daddy or by ourselves while daddy had Bible study. Annabelle went swimming a handful of times and almost always fell asleep in her carseat at the beach after I changed her into dry clothes.

* Emma loves dancing so we had many a dance party in the basement (many of them were with daddy while mommy was at Bible study).

* Other fun things we did (not caught on camera) were go to the Mall of America, Children’s Museum, Crosby Project Play, Family Fun Center waterpark in Nisswa and Timberlake Lodge waterpark in Grand Rapids.

The more specific things for each girl are captured in their monthly or quarterly updates (coming soon!). These are just the big picture things that I want to remember later.

Even though I mentioned that I’m not making any resolutions or goals this year specifically, I still am praying for and focusing on all the things I had mentioned last year, plus one other main thing: managing my time wisely. I’m going to do a separate post about that soon.

So that’s it for 2015!

Behold Your God {2016 Focus}

5 Jan

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“How we behold determines if we hold joy. Behold glory and be held by God.

“I know what I want: to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply.

“Don’t I give God most glory when I am fully alive? And I am most fully alive beholding God!”  (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pages 113 & 118)

……………

“I don’t want a new better life in 2016. I just want new eyes to see that my life is already staggeringly beautiful.”  (Glennon Melton, Momastery, Best New Year’s Ever)

……………

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)

“They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'” (Isaiah 35:2c-4)

“Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’ Behold, the LORD God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:9-10)

……………

Over the past few days, God has spoken to me. Through the Tim Keller sermon we listened to on our drive home from Grand Rapids. Through a song we sang in church on Sunday. Through a blog. Through Ann Voskamp’s book that I can still quote verbatim though I haven’t read it in several years. Through Bible verses.

And He’s saying: This year, BEHOLD ME. Behold My Power and My Glory.

Because honestly, as I stare down another year, I am fearful. I am scared about what this year has in store for me and my family. Usually, a new year brings excitement and freshness, a renewed commitment to priorities, a chance to start again. And while I do feel that, I also feel SCARED.

It’s not a mystery as to why I feel this way. My mom’s battle against cancer has been sobering and shown me how not-in-control of our lives we really are — making the idea of New Years resolutions seem rather petty and laughable. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” (James 4:13-15)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

I think these passages in James and Proverbs show that it’s not wrong to make plans. It’s just wrong to trust our plans more than God, and to live like we know what’s best for us. We may have ideas about what good things we want to happen in 2016, but we don’t know what’s best — because often, God giving us what’s best looks nothing like we expect it to, and truthfully, it’s not what we, in our limited insight and vantage point, would choose. Yet, the truth remains that “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

So I feel God prompting me to hold this year — and all it will contain, whether good or bad — with open hands, to wait and watch expectantly for Him to prove Himself faithful, and to behold His power and glory. I believe, in the depth of my being, that God’s way is the best way. It has to be, if He is the God the Bible says He is, and the God I believe He is.

But it takes FAITH, oodles and oodles of faith, to believe this day in and day out, in the mundane mediocrity of the everyday and the heart-wrenching trials of the hardest times. I need new eyes and new ears to see and hear God’s glory and power in my life. The glory of His presence already surrounds me; I just need help recognizing it.

So that’s what I’m praying and hoping for in 2016 — new eyes to see how staggeringly beautiful my life already is, because no matter what happens this year, my greatest need is already met: I have a Savior.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Diana’s Bridal Shower

4 Jan

Travis’ brother Matthew got married this past Friday, on New Year’s Day! His new wife, Diana, is awesome. We’re all completely pumped that she’s now officially part of the Kluthe clan.

Travis’ mom, sister and I threw Diana a bridal shower the Saturday after Thanksgiving up in Grand Rapids, MN, at her parents’ house. Their wedding colors were black and gold, so we coordinated with a gold, white and light pink theme for the shower. We were so happy with how everything turned out — thank you Pinterest for all the ideas! It was a special day for a special bride.
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For the centerpieces, we took three different sized wine glasses, adhered gold glitter to the rims using (washable!) clear Karo syrup and a pastry brush, and filled them with white sugar, pink crystals (found in the wedding aisle of Hobby Lobby) and votive candles. The gold glass plates and the paperware were all from Hobby Lobby too.

The shower favors were cross-cuts of a birch tree that had fallen in our yard which we made into Christmas ornaments, with sparkly gold heart stickers on the front and “Diana & Matthew 1-1-16” on the back in gold marker.
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The vases were mason jars that I taped off and glitterized using mod podge.
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For food, we had croissants with ham/turkey and cheese, veggies & dip, deviled eggs, strawberry cheesecake salad, fruit kabobs, mints and nuts. We also has punch and coffee to drink.
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Carolyn made the awesome cupcake dress. Beautiful AND delicious!
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