She loves books!

I remember when Riley was Ella's age, I was so worried he wouldn't enjoy being read to. He would not sit still for a book, and I just knew he would hate reading books. At some point that completely changed, though, and I'm pretty sure he'd sit still for a chapter book now at the age of 3. 

This afternoon, Ella and I read through 2 different books 2 times each, and she wanted me to keep going when I stopped because it was nap time! She loves books, and I am so thankful!


Little Hands in Mine

As I said yesterday, both Riley and Ella are sick. I'm thankful it's not the flu, though. We found out this morning at the dr.'s office that Riley has a sinus infection and Ella's is a simple winter cold. What I've found out this week, though, is that when our already affectionate daughter has a 'simple winter cold,' she becomes even more clingy affectionate! During meal times several times this week, she's started crying and then just leaned over and placed her hands in mine just like the picture above. She just wants to be touched by her Mama. And I am totally okay with that - spaghetti-sauced hands and all.



Mega Blocks

The kids and I are sick. Blah. Riley left the house yesterday morning for about an hour to go to story-time at the library, but Ella and I have been in this house since Sunday night. Blah. So, today I choose to be thankful (being thankful is SUCH a choice!) for Mega Blocks. Why? Because they provided some fun and entertainment for Riley and me this morning while Ella napped. 

 After making the typical 'tower,' we decided it was time for something a little more exciting. So, we separated them by color and built towers to see which color would make the largest tower. In my type-A mind, I thought the makers of the blocks would have divided the colors evenly. But no. You can see below that blue was clearly the favored color...which is fine by me - it's my favorite!

And then, I looked on the bag to see if they gave any suggestions as to what to build, and I saw a picture of some 'bowling pins' being knocked over by a ball. Genius! We then proceeded to 'bowl' for a good 10 minutes. :)

First time ever to bowl

Getting the hang of it!


And then, my train-loving boy had to build an engine with cars following behind. As I've said before, I love his imagination!

I'm thankful for sweet times with my boy - even if they do involve runny noses and constant indoor play!



The Bramlett's & The Zoo

We didn't find out until Wednesday of this past week that the church office was supposed to be closed on MLK day (ie. Daniel would have a day off). So, Daniel decided to take Friday off since he worked on Monday! Normally when he's off, we hang around the house and he and Riley work on "projects." Kudos to my hubby for suggesting a family day at the zoo for this day off! It was his first time to this zoo (the kids and I came with my parents last year while Daniel was in Peru), and he was very impressed! We all had a blast!

As you can see, Ella was very excited about the animals! I really wasn't sure how she'd respond to them, but she loved each exhibit! She was blowing kisses like crazy!

Riley and this penguin had a good time together. He definitely put on a show for us while all of the other penguins were hanging out together on the shore ignoring the people staring at them.

Talking with daddy about the African animals they see

And of course, this is Riley's favorite part of the entire zoo. Like father, like son!

It's pretty hilarious what can happen when attempting a self-taken family photo with a 3-year-old and 1-year-old!

Thank you, Lord, for family days!


Finding Size 11 Shoes

As you saw above the picture, I wear a size 11 shoe. I didn't used to. I used to be a solid 10. And then I got pregnant with my first child. Apparently the feet decided to grow and now my toes just about bust out of a 10. If you've never looked for women's size 11 shoes, you probably don't realize the difficulty one might have in finding the boats (as my 5'4'' best friend used to refer to my shoes). I have been searching for weeks for shoes that a) fit, b) don't cost an arm and a leg and c) look halfway decent. Now, I've never been one for hot pink things, but as I said, with a foot as large as mine, you just can't be picky. So, yesterday morning, while I was by myself on a shopping trip (another HUGE blessing in itself! Shout out to the hubby for watching the kiddos!) I found these and just about kissed the sales lady when she said I only had to pay $8 (originally $75) - thanks to a coupon and gift card! They are SO comfortable, look halfway decent and cost very little! I'm so thankful for my new shoes! Now I'm ready for a sunny day so the kids and I can get out for a long walk!



Warm, sunny days in the middle of January!

Daniel had a lunch meeting yesterday, and with it being sunny and in the 70's, I knew we had to take advantage of the beautiful day. So, we packed up some food and headed to the church playground (directly behind our backyard) for a picnic and some burning off of a certain 3-year-old's energy!

Riley had food in his mouth right at this moment. My boy loves a good picnic, and he was SO excited to be wearing a short-sleeve shirt!

She wants to play on the playground so badly! I keep telling her if she'll just start walking she can get with it like brother! One day...

Little sis was jealous that big bro was climbing and she couldn't

 And what a climber he is!

As he was sliding down, he said, "Mama, the reason I come down the slide is because of gravity." Yes, 3-year-old, you are exactly right. Next week he'll be teaching me about the physics of sliding. :)

And as Riley said over and over yesterday, "Thank you, God, for such a warm, beautiful day!" What a breath of fresh air (no pun intended!) in the middle of winter!



4 in one day! See, I told you there would be no rhyme or reason to my posting! :) I'm finding so many things to be thankful for - it's hard not to post.

Sweet Kisses!
 Riley just recently learned how to kiss. I'm pretty sure Ella came out of the womb kissing things. :) Seriously, though, in the past month or two she has really become quite the kisser. Every morning when I get her out of bed and lay her on the changing table, she grabs my arm (as I'm trying to change her diaper), pulls it down to her mouth and kisses it several times. Tonight before bed, we were snuggling on the couch when she pulled my face towards her and started kissing my cheeks over and over. It is the most precious thing! She kisses her brother, her daddy, pictures of animals in books, her stuffed animals, her baby dolls, her own feet (?), the rubber frog she plays with in the bathtub, and the list goes on. I was watching her this morning kiss something, and I thought, I really need to pray about her love for kissing. I mean, I'm thankful she's such an affectionate, loving girl, but I'm hoping her love for kissing doesn't carry over into her teenage years! :)


Homemade Pizza & Movie Nights with my family

A couple of weeks ago I made homemade French Bread Pizzas, which we all enjoyed while watching a movie. It was our first time to all 4 sit in front of the t.v. and eat, but I can see a pizza and movie night becoming a tradition for us!

These kiddos are just like there daddy in that they get sucked into whatever is on the screen!

She took a second to look at me with one of her silly faces, but you see her brother in the background...

The Polar Express was the movie chosen by Riley. He just can't seem to let Christmas go, and that's just fine with us!



You see all of this? It took up residence on my kitchen counter when Ella was born. That was almost 14 months ago. As of last Wednesday night, we are OFF the bottle! To many this may sound silly, but weaning Ella off the bottle so quickly is such an answer to prayer. I really didn't think it would happen this soon. At a year old, she was still taking 4 bottles a day! But Friday I packed it all up...

And now, I have a place for dirty dishes! I am SO thankful!

A New Perspective & #1,000

I am a pessimist. There, I said it. I try to justify this quality by saying I'm a "realist," but the truth is that most of the time, I see the glass half empty. My husband is above and beyond an optimist. I'm pretty sure if you look up optimist in the dictionary, you'll see Daniel Bramlett's face. You can imagine some of the fun conversations a pessimist and an optimist might have. :)

Last year some time - I honestly can't remember when - I began following a friend's blog. I've known her for years, but just 'happened' upon her blog one day. Apparently, she had recently read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and began a blog to document the 1,000 things in life she's thankful for. I have LOVED reading each post! And a lot of times, I've walked away thinking, "maybe I should do something similar." But then the pessimist rises up and says, "You'd never finish it, and your perfectionist side would make you feel so guilty for that!" (Oh how the mind is SUCH a battlefield!) So I just continued reading hers and left it at that.

And then my sister-in-law gave me One Thousand Gifts for Christmas. I've been reading it, and as only the Lord can do, experiencing conviction. I desperately need to be more thankful. I am BEYOND blessed - I caught a small glimpse of that when writing the post about our first 5 years of marriage. I don't want to walk through my days only focusing on the negatives. There is NO joy in that, and I am called to live an abundant life. So, it's time to begin documenting.

I didn't want to start at #1 because to me it seemed like #1 should be the thing I'm MOST thankful for, and honestly, there are too many to count, so I can't narrow it down to just one at this point. To be a little different (This type A doesn't always have to go with the flow!), I'm going to count down from 1,000. And, to not place such pressure on myself (again, it's all about the dumb battle of the brain), I will not be posting one a day. I may post 3 in one day, skip 2 or 3 days, post another, skip a week, post another - it may take 5 years to get to #1. But I will post! And I will get to #1!

Okay, with all of that said....here's #1,000

At this moment, I am thankful for imaginations. To most of us, this would be a picture of a little boy sitting on a play school bus that is WAY too small for him, wearing an Arkansas Razorback helmet. But, to my 3-year-old who has the most amazing imagination, this is a race car driver wearing his race car helmet and getting ready to drive his race car in a huge race. To top it off, this was at 7 am this morning. I'm barely thinking straight at 7 am, much less using my imagination! Thank you, Lord, for the gift of imaginations!


Can you say, "Bed head"?


And you don't even want to see their Mama's hair in the mornings! These kids don't stand a chance!