Our doggie update

Just a few pictures of the boys with our beloved Hunter!


 {Photo taken by my amazing assistant Jenn last month, thanks Jenn for capturing this moment}



{Henry gets so excited when Hunter actually “sits” for him when he says!}

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A dog is a friend. An unconditional friend.  Dog’s don’t say rude things to you or misunderstand anything, they don’t have bad moods even, they are just there and kind and love you and your kids.  I did this for Drew, but in doing so Hunter has blessed Henry and even me (except for the night he had an accident on one of my fave rugs, yes know i should have rolled them up but little rugs can easily be cleaned).

So here is what we do with Hunter:

  • we have a great groomer and trainer nearby (walking distance) that does the “fulminator treatment” with him shampoo and comb and it reduces his shedding I think, he is SO blonde and it gets everywhere but oh well we have swifter and lint rollers..and they have trained him a bit..he is part Lab and mouthy and rowdy but the boys tumble and play with him and he is so much happier inside with his pack!
  • Bones and toys to keep him from getting bored and chewing on fabrics!
  • Clipping nails and murphys oil really does help with any scratches on floors…and teach your kids to swifter swifter
  • we crate him when gone or at night and Texas has sunny days so he can still go outside for play time a lot even in winter, I do still believe that animals want to be outside in gorgeous weather especially a rowdy lab like Hunter
  • what I do struggle with is enough time to walk him..my oldest isn’t old enough to walk him alone so we do struggle to get enough exercise time in….

But he has lots of toys and we have a long hall and open space and we play a lot.  And its working (knock on wood) he is doing so good with “going” outside (though he seems to want privacy and won’t go quickly, drives me nuts  i have to leave him out alone to “go” and I never know for sure if he did…he has a huge bladder apparently.)

So any tips or thoughts on our Hunter….any doggies treats you think he might love..i am looking for the exact name of the one known on the streets as “doggie crack” to help with his fetching.  I did find the “Call of the Wild” food at Tractor Supply he seems to love.

So this year Hunter and a new normal are what our Christmas are about more than perfect decorations and wreaths on every window.

 I WILL be posting more photos of the True Blue Home Show Cottage, my creative Christmas energy and joy  have gone more there than in our home this year and that is okay.  Each year is different and its okay to just use a few “happy” decorations one year and not so much stuff.

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Honestly, I struggled with using my silhouette ornaments this year but they finally went on, didn’t feel like Christmas without them..yes Hunter needs one now!;;;And I love that this house has these natural columns and ledges and spots for the nativity  and little trees that are a bit out of reach but easy to see and enjoy! (Yes that is a toy soldier in the nativity, courtesy of my oldest)


Bottom line…God is faithful, life throws us lots of curveballs, lots of storms brew and take us by surprise, but he is the SAME..yesterday, today and tomorrow and He loves us and our families, even via a dog! But most important, He sent a baby into the world, the Christ child, BECAUSE of these very storms whatever they may be.  He knew storms would come, he never promised EASY and he knew we needed (need) a Savior so he sent us one and that is why we celebrate Christmas! Pretty trees and wreaths commemorate THAT but of course they are not the source.  And the best part, when His son died and rose and went to be with the Father, God left his Holy Spirit to comfort us. So we have him here with us, Emmanuel “God with us!” Best story ever.

          In some ways this is the worst Christmas ever for ‘decorating Holly’ and there other deeper areas I can’t even cover here but for ‘soul Holly’ I will say I have never anticipated the Advent of our Lord more or understood it more or NEEDED it more. A WEARY WORLD REJOICES INDEED.

Do you feel weary?? Rest in the coming of our King, the birth of our Savior and THE HOPE OF GLORY!

We have a hope and a comforter y’all, lean in! 

Christmas wrap up

“Wrap up” get it…ha!  Just a few scenes from around here at Christmas . . .

First off Henry was Santa in the Christmas program at school. We had some iffy moments leading up to the big day.  He didn’t want to wear the beard but it worked out thanks to his wonderful teacher the sweetest most gentle woman on earth.  (Drew didn’t have a program this  year but will have a performance in the spring fyi not leaving him out he just is not into this Santa stuff as much as his four year old brother)

christmascollage4Once the month started and school program was over things went fast, sound familiar? I think everyone’s cards were late this year, seems there were some crazy shipping problems.  Henry had to help address stamp the Christmas cards, he is obsessed with that stamper and he is scary with it but I let him do the envelopes and he was thrilled! Sadly my 9 year old is no longer interested in this kind of thing;(  They grow up mamas.  Savor.


Several of you have asked about our Christmas cards.  This is the truth, I didn’t have it in me to try to wrangle a family photo so we did the Rifle Paper Co. custom cards,and they are fun (though I must say I haven’t worn shoulder pads since 1988, okay maybe 1997?)…I have admired these for years. Rifle puts up info on their website about their custom cards around the holidays if you can’t find the info on their website now keep checking next Fall.  Brace yourself it’s a splurge but you don’t to pay for photos or buy clothes for photos, shoulder pads are free; Smoking pipes too;  I would have never gotten Henry into a bow tie otherwise probably.  WORTH. THE. SPLURGE. I love their tags and wrapping paper too.  Pretty much anything Anna Rifle Bond does is brilliant in my book!


Christmas Eve we let the kids open a few gifts, Drew was excited to get some custom lego army guys, thank you Ebay! I love this boy, he was so sweet about how I accidentally bought some playmobil soldiers instead of Lego, I was speed shopping.  Don’t worry some of the stash was lego but the Brit soldiers turned out to be playmobil and that’s baby. But no worries he is going to help me list them on ebay and maybe make some money on them so we can buy more legos!

boyschristmaseveNana bought Henry this work bench.  He is heavily into Handy Manny so this was right up his alley. Ummm the hammer on the wood is loud! And I finally did get a few of the fragile shiny bright ornaments out this year, seeing Paige’s beautiful bowl of ornaments just inspired me to take a chance and Henry did pretty well not touching these fragile beauties..we are slowly leaving baby stage around here which is wonderful in some ways and sad in others; (just noticing the hammer and my shiny brites in the same photo collage and that makes me get nervous again;)

I also enjoyed some new gift tags this year, yep that’s a thing for me.  I love these custom red tags down below from the talented Emily McCarthy, so beautiful.  I also really like my tags from Rifle Paper Co of course (the drummer boy and Merry Christmas script on pink) and also IN LOVE with some tags through Pheasant Press an amazing letterpress artist out of Arkansas.  The good thing about all of these tags and fun ribbons is they last for years (just recycle ribbons that your young adult and male relatives do not want and leave on the floor but don’t yank them out of the hands of someone that might want the ribbon, that would be un-Christmas) anyway the ribbon and tag investment works nicely, they brighten up plain kraft paper so well.  Speaking of kraft paper, don’t get me started on Target and that kraft paper they had with the white dots…just like the Sugar Paper polka dot paper. For uno dollar. That’s right.

So while some things may be stressful about Christmas, making  fudge and cute paper tags and wrap really blessed me; Yes I am being a little silly (but kind of serious too;) Hey it is the little things sometimes admit it ladies.

And oh yes, we made fudge. TWICE. And we made fudge.  I could write a post about fudge and my Granny and good memories and how I miss her and for YEARS I have failed at fudge but this year it worked.  It was one of God’s blessings to me this Christmas. I am not kidding. Even my mom said, “this is actually pretty good.” And she remembers the perfect fudge my Granny made…so thanks Edie from Life in Grace for this recipe.


Looks like Henry likes fudge too..he mainly just likes making a mess in the kitchen..look at that dimple!

But now it’s nearly over.  It’s all coming to a close.

Except not until Saturday at my house.  The week after Christmas is sacred. I am in no hurry to take it down. That is just me and how we do it.  The week after is when I can exhale as a mom a bit and stop trying to make things happen and just be. Reflect and rest. So lots of time staring at the tree this week. I have not been as 100% off work as I had hoped but this tree gazing has been balm for me personally, more this year than ever it seems.


But the wreath gazing is getting sad y’all…sad and crunchy.


Report on the bayleaf, it has browned and curled, this is how it looked yesterday at 4 weeks.  The one on the kitchen door is even worse but the one over the mantle mirror doesnt bother me at all. It looks okay. All in all the bay leaf has fared better than Trader Joe’s boxwood over the hutch and our bed.  But it is worth it in my eyes….to have some natural greenery in the house at Christmas. And those little burlap hangers came with the bayleaf wreaths from Williams Sonoma, they have a hook on back. They are epic as my young friend Colleen would say;


So there you have it..natural does wither.  But our tree is fake ( I bought it years ago not sure where, probably Hobby Lobby but I haven’t seen one similar there lately), our allergies and asthma just won’t handle a real tree which makes me sad but these wreaths help me get my natural fix.

Speaking of Christmas fix, I leave you with a photo of my mom’s Christmas decor (her blue door below)..her little house was decked out..so cute! My mom is a Christmas animal. I would literally watch her decorate the tree in total awe when I was a kid.  It was truly magical. She is the best at Christmas.


So Merry Christmas, let’s hang on a bit longer those of us who want to… so much wrapped up in Christmas both spiritually and emotionally, the pretty stuff makes it fun and comforting but of course there is so much more to Christmas than the perfect tag. This time of year can be a roller coaster, hang on to the good parts as you enter the New Year.  I wish you all the best and thank you all for reading about my family and work. God is good.

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