Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Egg-spectations!

Easter is right around the corner. The Young Family is celebrating this Lenten Season with Great Expectations! And by great, I mean many!!

To start, we are awaiting the great celebration of Jesus' resurrection.

What does that look like?

I looks like decorations of New Life in our home... Eggs, Flowers, Butterflies, etc.

It looks like praise and worship, because Jesus is who He says He is.

It looks like spending time in the Word... preparing our hearts...

It looks like fasting Facebook (Allie) and all Soda (Mark) to focus our minds, hearts, and bodies on Jesus, the Lamb of God who was the ultimate sacrifice.

Great Expectations. Great Anticipation.

Ethan is starting to get it, too. Today while I was at my women's bible study (and Ethan was in Little Steps)... he left saying, "Jesus... Alive!" "Jesus... high in the sky!" "Jesus... fly in the sky!"

(translation: "Jesus is alive! He ascended into heaven")

AWESOME!!!! Praise Jesus for a fruitful Tuesday for us both!!

(Also... too cute.... today when I dropped him off with the other kids, Ethan ran into the room saying, "Bye Mamas!" then he stopped, thought about it, turned around and said, "I wove you" and then blew me kisses. Are you kidding me?! My heart exploded right then and there. Sweetest boy!!)

Anyway, here is what our house is looking like in preparation of Easter:

Our free Easter Egg Banner
{compliments of Home Depot's paint sample cards}

Benjamin's Box is an interactive book that explains Easter to kids... can't wait to share this with Ethan :)

Trader Joe's fresh flowers... Dollar Tree Easter Eggs

A Resurrection Visual :)
Even my green onions came back from the dead!
Via Pintrest, I got the idea to re-grow them... and it worked!!

My tulips, however, are taking their sweet time...

Outside I planted a whole lotta bulbs in our veggie garden and wine barrels.
Until I plant veggies, I thought I'd have my own flower garden!!
Fresh cut flowers from the yard :)

{Our parsley will need to be tamed}

And our final, great expectation...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Napa for 2... Redeeming February!

If you didn't read my Love. Sick. Remedy. Post, here are the cliff notes:

Mark and I were supposed to get away to Napa on Valentine's Day Weekend.
Ethan got the flu the day we were supposed to leave.
Then Mark got the flu.
Then I got the flu.
Then we were all sick for 2 weeks straight...
Long story short, we didn't go.

Well, we re-booked that getaway ASAP!

I have to admit, the day we left I held my breath for any show stoppers :)

To lay the backdrop for this vacation...
Mark and I bought a time share on our honeymoon
(another story for another time...)
We purchased the cheapest package (all we could "afford" on a student's "salary") and because we haven't upgraded, they always call us asking to "get away for an owner's update".
Yes, please!
The company is called Shell Vacations Club and one of their newest properties had us hooked, The Vino Bello Resort and Spa.

90 minute presentation = free 2 night stay for us!

We showed up to the hotel, checked in, then walked straight to the concierge and told Andre (good guy!) to plan out our vacation.
He gave us 2 for 1 tastings at about every vineyard we visited and his dining recommendations were pretty spot on with our tastes...

We ate at Domaine Carneros and Auberge for lunch and

So, Napa in the Spring is traditionally littered with mustard plants... 
the rolling hills are splashed with yellow.
It's beautiful and makes up for the barren vines.

Here are the pictures of our redemption weekend in Napa:

(I think you will all be impressed by the number of pictures I used in this post.
I know, right?!
Well, the catch is they're all collages... thought I'd try my hand at it!)

Mark and I had a little too much fun with the auto timer on our camera
(in the bottom picture, we tried to jump and get that really cool, mid-air snapshot. 
Needless to say, we felt a bit too goofy to try for round 2!)

The first day we had lunch at Domaine Carneros.
DC was a totally different experience because of their table service tastings.
They are known for their sparkling wines and spectacular views.
{The Chateau ain't bad, either.}

More wine tasting...

More mustard seed fun and...
a real, deal castle!

Castello di Amorosa is 5 years old but was built with authentic stones (ruins) from Italy.
The Bachelor was filmed here as well as the Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories...
It truly feels Renaissance and a flash back to Medieval Times!
We did a tour and tasting.
It was pretty phenomenal!

The castle is owned by the owner of V. Sattui.
V. Sattui is the #1 visited vineyard in Napa.
Castello di Amorosa is #2.

That was it in a nutshell!
Mark and I are verrrry elementary in our knowledge of wine, so this was an experience for sure!

I think we may have to take a wine tasting class at the local community college...
Hello Date Nights! :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Love Stitched @ Lakeside

Lakeside has a new Crafty Lady in it's pews (stick around for more lame jokes!) who is using her gifts to bring women together in our place of worship...
and her name is Karyss Bollen.
(Speaking of worship, her hubby is our new Worship Leader!)

She came to Moms at Lakeside as a speaker and shared her story with the rest of us, Mamas.
Her willingness to be open and vulnerable (to a brand new room of ladies she barely knew, if never met!) was humbling, encouraging, inspiring, and heartfelt.
She had almost every girl in tears!

Part of her story includes her giftedness for crafts... she's a real deal seller on ETSY!
Her shop is called Love Stitched Boutique and you should check her out!
(Love is her maiden name... told 'ya she was crafty!)

After she spoke, we got her to do a jewelry making class!
Child care + Crafts + Girl Time + Coffee + Amity's Chocolate Banana Bread = Heaven on Earth!

"Thy Kingdom Come on Earth As it is in Heaven"

Girlfriend is a Kingdom Worker! 
Heaven sent for sure!!
(At the very least, a breath of fresh air for us Stay @ Home Mamas! - especially on a rainy day)

Here are some pictures of our First (*hint*hint*) Jewelry Making Lesson with Karyss...

Words of Jewelry Wisdom from Super-Cute-Preggo, Karyss

You are about to see some very happy ladies...

A blessing for sure :)

These were the samples of projects we got to choose from to make

Our bead selection...

More instruction/"help"

Here's my ribbon bracelet after lots of guidance ;)
(the feeling of accomplishment is HUGE)

We're looking forward to Lesson #2!
Thanks for sharing your gifts, K!
I really felt the love... and appreciated your patience!! :)


And now for some pictures of 2 Cute Kiddos... who also happen to be 2.
Ollie (Karyss' boy) and Ethan (my guy) after the Jewelry Sesh.

They're going on a road trip...

"Let's get outta here!" - Ollie
"I know where the goods are..." - Ethan

Translation to Moms...
"We're up to no good!"

(This whole conversation was Mommy narrated based on cute, toddler actions)

... and wouldn't ya know it!

See... we all had fun! :)
It really was a win-win for all!

Swim, Baby, Swim!

Well, we cashed in on another Groupon Coupon!

Sometime in 2011, I purchased 4 (indoor) swim lessons for $35 (a $75 value... yippee!)
Seeing how the boy loves water and I love indoor activities in the Winter, we gave it a try.

There were 2 lessons offered for him.
One was a "Mommy and Me" toddler class.
The purpose of the class is to get the babies comfortable with the water, teach them to blow bubbles, kick, etc.

I knew E already could do those things and comfort with the water is not an issue... so we tried the next class up - hoping he'd learn something new - which leaves your toddler with the instructor in a group lesson (no parent participation).

This is where we went wrong.

Unless you are "Mamas", "Daddys", "Gammas", or "Papas"... you're not touchin' the child.

We have some pictures that illustrate this:

Ethan on the steps at the beginning of the lesson with a buddy.

Playing with toys to entice them in the water
(we had to hold him back, sobbing, until it was time for his lesson... 
Note taken: arrive exactly on time for the lesson)

Off they go to the "island"

Nope. Uh-Uh. Not happening...
"Mamas! Daddy's! Mama-Daddys!!"

Plan B, Mark changes into his suit and gets in the water...

Happy Boy!

Ooooooo was he happy!

A big step in this class would be to get the kids to jump off the island.
Ethan was all over that mission... as long as Daddy was doing the catchin'!

The other friend in the class wasn't so sure...
I think her hair stayed dry the whole lesson.

The instructor tried to take turns.
Sorry teach.

He did everything they were supposed to learn... with Daddy.
Ethan practiced his kicks...

On his tummy and back...

(You can't help but smile and shake your head when you see and hear just how happy he is...)

Mark started to let go of one hand and see if he would float...

We have a buoyant boy!

More "one handed kicks"

"Hi Mama!"

When Mark was little... maybe 4 or 5... he swam on a swim team and adopted the name, "Mark the Shark"
Maybe we named E right...
Ethan Mark (the Shark)
Like fishie, like tadpole...
(and might I say, they are quite handsome fishies?!)

We are changing his classes to the "Mommy and Me" class.
(They made an exception and allowed Mark in the water this time...)
There won't be any lessons otherwise!

Even though the idea of the "Mommy and Me Class" is to get the kids comfortable and practice basic techniques, it's enough for us if he has a blast for 30 minutes! 
And gets his water fix.

So... Swim, Baby, Swim!!!