Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Highlights of 2012-Says it All!!!

Christmas Week in Snapshots

Christmas Eve...we snapped this picture of all the loveliness. The four kids were getting kayaks for Christmas...and  you can see the wheel for Bryn's new bike to the left. Looking at all the hard work from the past few months is awesome. And the thought of them coming out the next morning brings chills to my body.
And of course we had to try out the kayaks..despite the water being incredibly cold. When I touched the water for the first time that morning I couldn't believe how cold it was. The water was perfect...planned by God. It was really glassy, which was perfect for beginners. The little kids tethered to our kayaks and William and Bryn were off by themselves. William was a total natural out there, like he had been kayaking all his life.
Two days after Christmas we took a short camping trip...and I am thankful it was short because it was so cold. here Bryn and Kelsey (Bryn's friend) are helping Matt set up the tent. I just relaxed and watched.
My little bubba gave me a quick smile...which is hard to get sometimes from this little munchkin.
Caleb watching Matt set the campfire. It was Caleb's favorite spot...the warmest around:)

 There is another smile from the little boy. We were warm by the fire...before the sun set.
Edward joined us on the camping trip...which was a first for him. He did really good protecting Esther and our campsite.
You can see how cold it is...Matt jacket had ice all over it. It hit 29 degrees...which is a bit too cold for this Mama. Matt was happily making a yummy breakfast of bacon, eggs and potatoes. He is a great cook!
Had to include this one...isn't he adorable? He thought the chair was his.

We went down really early to the springs to see the Manatees. The kids stood still for one second for me. This was the first time we had ever been there to see the Manatees. What an awesome you shouldn't miss if you are here in Florida.

Here is a picture of some of the Manatees. They flock down to the springs on these cold mornings for the warmer water. The Park Ranger said that there were about 300 down there that morning. Amazing!
Yesterday we met up with Matt's side of the family and had a dinner at a local restaurant. It is the one time we get together each year. I didn't take many pictures, because I was just enjoying the time together. But I had to include this one...isn't she a beauty.
So, that's our Christmas week in a nutshell. Hope yours was awesome. I am sad to see it slip past us, but at the same time I am ready for 2013. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

You are Invited

All is ready for our Christmas Eve dinner. On the menu: Caprese Salad, Baked Shrimp Scampi, Lasagna, French Bread, Tiramisu and Cheese cake. We love making our home inviting to others. Hope your home is as lovely and ready to celebrate the birth of the most important baby ever. Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Great Way to End the Week

Yeah, I know...not the best picture of me. But it was taken after a very triumphant morning with my little man. William and I finished our 5th week of training this morning, by running 20 minutes straight without walking. This was a huge deal. William thought about it all week long and was worried about it. But he did a fantastic job...keeping a steady pace to finish the job. Love these moments. As I was running I was just thanking God...I felt so blessed to be out there with William. God is so have brought me so far. Hope your holiday is going well...mine is!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sip and Enjoy

Today's advent activity: Drink hot cocoa with breakfast. This brought a few cheers from my kids this morning.  Included in that was a bit of my yummy zucchini bread and a few cartoons on the television. What a delightful morning. No outlandish activity or tons of's the simple things that bring smiles to their faces. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Bounty

Advent calendar activity for Sunday was to make cookies. And make A LOT OF THEM!!!! A week ago our advent calendar activity was to choose our cookies...which was fun. We pulled out my recipes and the kids got to choose what they wanted to bake. Here is what they chose:

Bryn-sugar cookies with icing (they are not iced here yet)
Caleb-Chocolate thumbprints with Nutella or raspberry jam filling
Esther-Oatmeal raisin
William- Pinwheels
Judah-Thin mints

This was a huge task to undertake. 5 kids...5 cookies...1 day!!! But we did it. The kids had fun with Matt and I. Caleb did a fantastic job...he doesn't have much experience in the kitchen, but he was an expert on making his thumbprint in the cookie, while I was behind him filling up the thumbprint.
It was just a great day. The kids munched on their leftover gingerbread houses, played outside on their bikes and on the swing set and we baked like crazy. I think the thought is, you can make the Christmas season overtake you...or you can actually enjoy every moment with your family and walk it out peacefully. That's how this season has been for me. The countdown we deliver all these cookies :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread House Bonanza

 Our advent calendar event for the 15th of December was to make gingerbread houses. The kids had been anticipating this event for weeks. As you can see I bought out the stores of their candy...gum drops, licorice, M&M's, gummy bears, peppermints, junior mints, candy name it, we had it. Matt made a huge bowl of royal icing and we had it all spread out and ready to go. We invited Nana over to help and the kids went at it.
 I helped Judah and Caleb with the construction of their houses.  They held the graham crackers and I iced them.  The key was to let the foundation sit for a few minutes to harden (research ahead a time does help a bit). After building their houses, the kids went crazy with their candy. I think it was their favorite part.
 Dad of course had to be in the midst of the mayhem. He was working on this two story snow chalet diligently. William was trying to mimic him as much as he could...which is so sweet.
 Bryn working on her Little House on the Prairie inspired cabin. Her house looked different than the rest...snow covered and surrounded by junior mints...yummy!
 Caleb working with the gum drops and making a fence next to house.  He had so much fun working out his design and painstakingly putting every piece right where it goes.
 Matt's chalet all done. He is so artistic (just like our Esther). I think he had as much fun as the kids.
The finished all their glory. Each one had their own look and design. William used ice cream cones to make it look like a castle. I thought afterwards his looked like a factory. Esther made a church...even with a licorice cross.
In the end we posted all the pictures on Facebook and let our friends vote on them without knowing who made them. The kids were watching the computer all night and screamed every time a post came up with a vote. As of right now, Esther's church was in the running for first place.
All in all, this was such an awesome night for us. The kids laughed, worked together and had a great time. And of course the best part was snacking on the finished products. What a beautiful memory for our family :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Embrace the Camera

 I forgot to add this picture from last week. My best friend had her 6th baby and I got to be there for the joyous birthday. Introducing Kinsley Noelle...what a cute baby. Love being a doula and able to share these moments with families.
 Hot and sweaty...that's what this picture can be called. William and I on our run the other morning. He is the only one training for the 5k with me now, because the girls have some injuries. But William is persevering. This was the first day with a longer run...and we were feeling it. Love these moments with my kids :)
And Me. Plain and simple. Feeling really good about myself and this incredible journey that I am on. I could shout from the rooftops most days. I have never, ever, ever felt this fantastic. God is so good! 105 pounds down and counting...
Now head over and check out Emily and her crew embracing the camera. What an amazing family they are...keeping it real.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1/2 Sized

Yesterday I took advantage of a great sale at a local clothing store. I do love to shop now, which I never really did before. I liked to shop, just not for myself. It isn't fun to shop when you are fat...plain and simple. Well yesterday there was a 50% off clearance sale.  How can you miss that, right? I took two of my boys with me (isn't that a blast..two of my kids who hate shopping) and we headed out.  I pulled a variety of things off the rack and had fun trying everything on. Well, I was able to go down in another size again. It feels so fantastic. And the coolest part is that I am half the size that I was in clothing from when I started in February. I can not even believe it. How is that possible? I feel so incredible. I can't remember seeing the numbers that I am wearing now. It's been so long...way into my teens I am sure.  So, there is my progress report.  Feeling very fabulous. And looking it to ;)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Well, after about 2 years I got hit with a virus. Yuck! Haven't felt this lousy in such a long time. It's Sunday morning and I am still in my jammies and it is after 9:00. Crazy for me. I don't like this too much. So, enjoy my little snapshot of my boy from this week. So cute. Hope you have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


 The crew is all here...including Mr. Edward. A foggy, warm morning here in Florida.
 William was sitting in my lap and wanted some Mom time. We snapped a quick picture.
 Can you believe that Edward kept his hate and scarf on the whole time. Such a good doggie.
Love this picture of the two of us. God has been so good this year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seasonal Book of the Year

I have to write about our advent calendar event yesterday. It's a bit of a tradition around here at the Reynolds Nation.  It's that time of year where we pull out our favorite Christmas book, "The Small One." I heard about this book many years ago when I was watching Regis and Kathie Lee...that's tell you how long it's been. Because Kathie Lee has been off the show for a decade or so.  Anyway, she promoted this book one Christmas and I happened to stumble upon it when I was at the Christian book store when Bryn was a baby.
I won't tell you the whole story, but it's about a boy who has a donkey, named Small One. And this little boy loves Small One.  And he has to sell this donkey under his father's orders because Small One isn't keeping up with his work.  Well, a special someone comes to buy Small One and takes a place in history....
This story makes me cry every time.  It is so sweet and brings you back to the reason for the season. If you haven't read this, take some time to look it up and read it to your kids :) It's a tradition that I hope will pass to my grandkids.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Little Roo...sweet girl!

See my poor girl.  This is her this morning waking up after a horrific evening.  On a bike ride yesterday she took a dive off of her bike and broke her arm in two places...both the ulna and radius have a break. I was riding in front of her and William in front of me...and all of a sudden I heard a huge crash.  When I looked back I could see the bend in her arm immediately.  I knew it was bad right away. Matt was by our side in just moments after a quick phone call (I actually almost left my phone at home, thank God that I didn't). And after a rough night at the hospital, we were home again. Thankfully, no surgery. The doctor was able to put the break back together again under a x-ray machine. It was incredible technology. Thankfully, she was sedated during the procedure. Now, we are looking at 6 weeks in a cast after this soft cast is taken off. If you think of my girl, say a prayer for her...for quick and good healing. Thanks!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Muses

Whew!!! It's Monday. What a busy weekend we had.  Of course, a lot of the weekend was fun stuff, but it still takes it toll . I thought I would give you an update.
Less than three weeks left of school...thank heavens.  I will be ready to have the holidays upon us and enjoy them with the family. And Matt takes the week off, so we will have him around too. That will be lovely. I want to revamp some school things that I am doing...not new curriculum, but change my approach. So, I am hoping to do that.
On Friday I met up with some old friends from my old job at the Health Department for dinner.  It was great to see everyone and catch up. I felt a little sad not being there with them anymore, but I know that I am supposed to be at home full time.  And it was great just going out for the evening without the kids :)
Saturday morning was spent with the kids and putting up all the decorations for Christmas.  This is my favorite time of the year and I enjoy it each time. When Bryn was just a babe, we decided to buy an ornament for each child each Christmas. As you can imagine, we have quite the collection now.  My favorite part is pulling them out and remembering why we bought that certain ornament that year. The kids squeal and laugh and it is so much fun.  The house looks so lovely and I am going to enjoy every second of it.
After the parade on Saturday we went over to my mother-in-laws and watched the movie ELF. It was the first time I had ever seen it and it was super cute.  Perfect way to end our day of decorating with the kids.
Yesterday ended up being just a bit of this and that...nothing awesome. A trip to Sam's club...woohoo...just joking. Matt and I did get some of our Christmas shopping done this weekend. Last year we switched to 3 gifts per child and it makes my life a lot stressful. And we take a lot more time and thought into each present...since there are so few of them. It was one of the smartest things we have ever done.
Wow, anything else.  Not much I guess. The weather is a bit warm and humid...which I guess is going on all over the country. I like it a bit cooler that's for sure.
I am on standby with my best friend and her baby...she should be born any moment.  I look forward to her birth.
Running is going good. We started week 3/8 of our Couch to 5k program.  The kids are doing good with it.  This week starts a longer time for running, so we will see how they do.  They had a problem getting out of bed this morning, because of a bit too much weekend.  But they finished the task.
So what's going on with you? Anything new and exciting? Have you decorated yet?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Let the Festivities begin...

Well, it's December. Can you believe it? Where has the year gone? Today is the first day of my advent calendar. We just put it up and the kids are so excited.  This is a new idea...a little different than last years Advent can check it out here. I went on Pinterest and got some ideas and this is what I came up with. The cool thing about this calendar is that there aren't any presents or candy, like most advent calendars. Each day there is an activity to do sipping hot cocoa, reading books, looking at Christmas lights or singing Christmas carols. It really brings everyone in for the season and to remember why we even celebrate the season. It was such a big hit from last year, so I couldn't let this one go. I just love creating these memories for the kids...and I hope to see them continue with their kids.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Give it a Try!

I snapped a picture of my new love...sweet potato fries.  Yes, I know a lot of people don't like sweet potatoes. Including me.  I don't like them. I tried them again this Thanksgiving and I still don't like them. But awhile back I tried them in the french fry variety and I love them.  Now the ones at the restaurant were fried, so of course they were yummy. But here at home I tried baking them...and voila they were fabulous too.  I just slice them up really thin...put on my stone...sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic and a little olive oil...and then bake on a high temp. Watch them like a hawk, because they will burn easily.
Never did I think I would like these...especially since I am a faithful potato lover. I love potatoes anyway that you make them...boil them, fry them, bake them...whatever...yummo.  But with my new found food freedom, I am trying new things...and I guess your body likes sweet potatoes better than white potatoes. I am so glad I gave it a try. Now, you give it a try...and tell me what you think!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Newest Favorite Blog

Every once and awhile I will tell you about a new blog that I have stumbled upon. Awhile back a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and told me about this blog. She thought it would be really inspiring for me.  The blog is called and it's about a girl who lost 100 pounds and how she did it.  And she became a runner partially the way through her weight loss. And of course this has helped her weight loss tremendously...and slimmed her down like crazy. It's my favorite blog lately...she posts almost every day and she is totally REAL. A regular mom who battles the food issue.  If you go to her blog look back at some of her old posts.  It truly is amazing.  And I love her posts about running. It keeps me inspired and motivated to keep running and to keep losing weight. Her title says it all...she runs so that she can eat yummy foods cookies (or in her case, Peanut butter).  Check it out this week. You will love it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


 Yes, I am doing a whole bunch of what you see in the title.  After a crazy busy week of food prep for the big holiday, I needed a few days to down load.  So we literally have been hanging out at the house..eating lots of pie, lots of turkey and stuffing and totally relaxing.  And it has been wonderful.  And included in my days off I added some old chick flicks.  Steel Magnolias...and Sleepless in Seattle. Lots of laughter and a lot of tears.  Funny how you still cry twenty years after you first saw the movie.  Not much more to report than that.  Just a whole lot of nothing. Which feels totally great.  How was your holiday?

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Day Late

I had every intention to blog yesterday...just to wish you a great Thanksgiving...but time slipped away, and it didn't happen. So, I hope you had a fantastic holiday. As you can see by my picture, we had a packed house yesterday. Full of family and FOOD. Lots of both.  It was a fabulous day.  It all went as planned. I feel so blessed to have been the one who helped plan it (the other half being my dear husband, Matthew)...and then blessed to be part of it.  Hope yours was as wonderful as mine.  Have a great day friends :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Team

I snapped this picture yesterday...just the four of us.  William had pleaded with me for weeks to take him running...and then he started talking about running a 5k.  I didn't think much of it, but he wouldn't give up.  He was serious.  And when William has something in mind, he doesn't give up. So, I promised him that the week after my 10k that we would do the Couch to 5k program (it's the one I used to train for my 5k).  He would train to build up speed and endurance and I would use the time to sprint so that I could get faster.  Next thing you know, I have two more kids wanting to join.  So, yesterday the 4 of us headed out at 6 in the morning and did our time.  After the initial giggles and excitement they got into it.  They are fast. Much faster than me.  So, I will keep you updated.

 A family who works out together, lives long together!

Monday, November 19, 2012


 Here is the evidence of me "carbing" it up the night before the race.  We headed up to St. Augustine on Friday afternoon and I had BIG plans to eat one of my favorite foods.  I love pizza, but I don't get to eat it much these days.  But it fit the bill that night...I went carb crazy. 
Here I am the next morning with the shirt that my husband designed for me.  I wanted to have something special.  It's been a special year.  It's been a fantastic year and I wanted to shout it out to everyone!!!  When I see this shirt it just makes me think that anyone can lose weight...if I can, then anyone can.  This story is a testimony to others that they can change their life today....TODAY!

 Here is my number.  I heard that 1300 people were running in all three races.  They were having a 5k, 10k and a 1/2 marathon over the course of the weekend.  I had only registered just the day before...I guess I am always afraid something will happen.  God is good.  So here is my lucky number...or should I say blessed number?
My dear friend Alison (cool name, huh)...made this for me.  I wore it proudly all day Friday.  She has been with me on this whole journey.  She trained with my for the 5k and has been cheering me on since then.  It's great to have such a support system. She has been there for me each and every pound...each and every run.  She used to be a marathon runner (who has now been running since I brought up the 5k program), so she has been a wealth of knowledge!
 We were up so early that morning. I slept horribly...I think I ran the 10k a  hundred times in my dreams that night.  I finally got up at 4:50 in the morning because I couldn't stand it anymore.  We got there at 6:30 right when the light was coming through.  I love this picture of the two of us...we both look so happy and light.  It's been an amazing year losing weight together.  God is so good.
 I snapped this picture at the 3 mile mark and text it to Matt so he knew where I was.  There is nothing like seeing your half way mark...from this point on you are headed in the right direction.  I felt so relieved at this point.  I knew I was on track in my time and that felt good. 
 My mother-in-law took this picture only moments after I ran across the finish line.  I love the expressions on Matt's face and the faces of the kids (not including Judah who asked me first thing, "what took you so long?".  They were so excited for me.  It was so precious. What a beautiful moment.
And then just me. Twenty-five weeks of training.  A lot of sweat and hard work.  It was such a sweet moment for me. I can't even explain how I felt.  There aren't any words for it.  Other than just totally appreciation and love for the Lord Jesus who saw me though every single step :)