Stange Thanksgiving 2016!

November 28, 2016
Two days before, I decided that I wanted a new shirt for Thanksgiving day (I often make those kinds of decisions a day or two prior), plus, ALL of my children were out with Grammy so I had plenty of time. I ran to the store and found the PERFECT rust-colored fabric and used my pattern from this shirt tutorial, plus a few adjustments and VOILA!!! My new shirt was complete.

I had a little more time on my hands before my kiddos came home, so I fixed the dress I'd been meaning to fix for Chelsea and made a matching bow!

I still had a little time left, and some extra fabric, so I decided to make Alexa a shirt, too! I love being twinsies, and she kind of liked it, too. ;)

Eventually, my kids came home and I had to stop sewing, but it was one productive night, let me tell ya!

So, my favorite part of the Stange Family Thanksgiving other than Grandma Wilson's rolls is actually the 5K we run that morning, believe it or not. I love running and I don't get to do it often enough. So, I guess I don't really love it that much otherwise I'd prioritize it a little higher, right? ;)

But anyway, this year, instead of dashing back to our house as quick as we could to make a lemon meringue pie then head back to Grandma's, I opted out of making a pie, which made me pretty sad because that meant no Lemon Meringue Pie, and that is my absolute FAVORITE kind of pie. And it also made me look like a lame free-loader, which is probably true. *sigh* I swear I would have contributed if I had been able to!

That night, Andrew signed up to work some overtime (11-3am), so I was at the house by myself, which almost always means I stay up later than necessary. That night, I stayed up late because I decided that there had not been enough "thanks" in my Thanksgiving that year. So I stayed up late thinking of all the wonderful people in my life that I was thankful for. It was a really good thing for me because I haven't been feeling like a very positive person lately. I thought of my mom, dad, brothers, and sisters, my husband, and children, and I especially thought of my mother-in-law, Grandmother-in-law, and some pretty marvelous people in my ward.

There is one couple in my ward that sits with us every. single. Sunday. Even the Sunday a week after Chelsea decided to slap her in the face (I was mortified). She ALWAYS brings toys for my children to play with, and I owe her about a million stickers for all the ones they've used up!

Then there's her Sunday School teacher, and her best little friend up the street (and Kenna's angel mother), there's the bishopric, and my visiting teachers and home teachers... So many people who have been little miracle workers in my life and who have shown me the kind of person I want to be.

This Thanksgiving was a grateful one, and to none other am I more grateful than my Savior Jesus Christ. I am continually learning about Him and how He taught while he was here. I learn so much from His example, the example I read about in the scriptures and try so hard to emulate. It's not easy, but I never feel like he's looking down on me or that he's truly disappointed in me. When I make a mistake and humble myself enough to go to Him, all I feel is love. Oh, how I need that love in my life!

A while back, I discovered that I was working harder on my relationships with people around me than I was on my relationship with my Savior. I realized that I spent so much time stressing over where my friends and I stood and if they felt neglected or unappreciated or over-used and I wasn't wondering how my Savior felt in our relationship. So I started making a change. I'm still in the middle of that change. I'm trying to be better about studying my scriptures. I'm trying to think about Him more during the day. I'm trying to follow His example and ask myself how He would react in the situations that I find myself in, especially when it comes to teaching and raising my children. It's a work in progress, but I love the way I feel when I'm reading about Him.

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, food, and fun! Thanks for reading today! It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks over here trying to keep our little house clean and prepare to move, but I'm looking forward to it all anyway!

See ya!


Mommy Style Monday | Hobbies for Mom

November 21, 2016
Mommy Style Monday is a series begun by Kiana from Glitter and Donuts and Madeline from Caseyland so that moms could share their styles with each other on their blogs. If you would like to participate in the next series, click here.

When Andrew and I graduated from college, it was really, REALLY hard to go from being busy all the time to being... not busy. Plus, I was pregnant with my first baby and waiting is NOT a fun game. Imagine that you've missed about 5 Christmases in a row so tomorrow will be the first Christmas you've had in five years. Yeah, that's kind of what it feels like to wait for your baby. But probably a bit more uncomfortable and a bit more impatient.

Anyway, to pass the time, I started learning how to sew and now, 5-years later, it remains my number one hobby. The thrill I get from creating something out of my own imagination, completely from scratch is pretty amazing.

maternity shoot | click here

That feeling of satisfaction and pure creation is such a good one and comes as a result of doing something that you really love. Something that makes you feel special. It's so important for you to have that especially as a mom, since most of your life is filled with meeting the demands of the little ones climbing all over you (and each other!)

beanie tutorial | click here

My hobby is sewing, and I worked hard to get where I am today. Your hobby might be sewing, photography, calligraphy, water color, wood cutting, refinishing furniture, blogging, reading, writing... The options really are endless. The trick is finding the one that charms you enough to push through all the mistakes you're going to make learning it! If I had a dime for every time I picked stitches out of my sewing projects, I'm sure I'd have at least $100 by now.

mountain curtains (nursery reveal) | click here
pom pom swaddle blanket | click here
walter the whale | click here
birthday dress | click here

So find that thing that speaks to you, and will yourself to learn!

and don't forget to visit these other lovely mama's blogs for more styles!

Madeline | CaseyLand
Chelsea | Tessa Marie
Monica | It's All About

 tutorial coming soon!

Lauren's Maternity and Baby Shower | Photography

November 10, 2016
My sis-in-law is pregnant!!! And she came out to Utah a couple of weeks ago for a family wedding so we were able to celebrate! I even convinced her to let me take some maternity photos!

I am SO excited for my kiddies to have another cousin, their FIRST on Daddy's side!

Amidst the wedding celebrations, we managed to squeeze in a baby shower.

After some AMAZING food and great conversation, it was time for games! Classic baby food testing game and my favorite baby shower game, Candy Bar Matching! Click here to see how it's played, but basically, you match a candy bar with a baby/birthing term and you win the corresponding candy bar! So, yeah. I love it.

squash. :')

And then the gifts!

Had to go with a pom pom swaddle blanket as my gift! Click here for a tutorial!

So excited for you Lauren! And thanks for letting me document this time of your life!

Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

Hopes, dreams, and Soccer | Parenting

November 9, 2016
You always have these dreams, hopes, or even expectations for your children, even before they're born. You hope that they'll be obedient, kind, smart, etc. etc. and you expect them to learn these traits as they grow because you know they won't be perfect and get it the first time (no matter how hard you try to hammer it into their little brains!)

One of our hopes and dreams was that our daughter (who we named *partially* after the Chelsea soccer team in England), would play soccer. Since a young even younger age, it was clear to us that Chelsea had a gift with physical performance. She was up and walking by 9 months and took to her balance bike within an hour.

When it was almost soccer season, Andrew signed up to coach her team and we were all REALLY excited to start! Chelsea tried on her soccer gear and was especially fond of the pink shin guards, pink ball, and pink shoes.

I was really excited to see her play, but remembered her reaction to the first couple of dance classes she took last year and knew that she might be a little hesitant to jump right in, which she was, and I was okay with it that first practice. But after the second practice, I was pretty disappointed...

First practice

Second practice

Recently, I discovered that I've had this subconscious picture of how my oldest child should be and how that was affecting my parenting. I'm a little ashamed to say that in some instances, I haven't been very accepting of who she is because I was too busy trying to force her into this mold of who I thought she should be, or who I wanted her to be.

It all occurred to me on Sunday at choir practice when one of the singers brought his daughter who sat next to him reverently and even participated in the choir with her own, gentle voice. I turned to look at her a couple of times and thought, "That would not be my daughter," but not in a negative, or disappointed tone. I had the thought and I laughed to myself. I realized that the reason my daughter wouldn't sit still and participate the way this sweet little girl did is because that's not the kind of little personality that she is. My dad really put it in perspective when he pointed out that when Chelsea gets together with the cousins, she's running around with the boys!

So why am I trying to force her to be someone she's not?

So, my four-year-old would rather be running around instead of sitting still in church. So, she'd rather be outside jumping in leaves than learning the alphabet with me. So, she's not always happy or polite when she's meeting new little friends, or she'd rather flop down on the field when she's frustrated. She's only four years old and she is constantly learning and constantly growing. And she is awesome, exactly the way she is. High-energy and all!

... Well, after that second practice/game, she went to her third game and acted like those other two had never happened. She made friends with the girls on her team, kicked the ball around, participated, and even scored TWO GOALS! Andrew and I were so proud!

If you look closely at Andrew in the background, you can see he has a big 'ol smile on his face!

Should I accept all of Chelsea's behavior and just say "it's who she is?" No. I definitely do not want my daughter to grow up and give strangers the stink eye for the rest of her life, just because she doesn't know them (or whatever the reason is behind that look). That is something we have to work on. But I'm done trying to turn her into some kind of quiet, gentle, meek little creature that she simply isn't. I am going to love and accept her for the loud, rambunctious, energetic, passionate, particular little person that she is and stop trying to quash all that strong-will out of her or make her feel ashamed of who she is.

Most importantly, I want her to know that her mother loves her, every part of her, and that she will always have someone who accepts and loves her,

no matter what.
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