Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell 2015!

Dear 2015,

You will be a year that we will never forget.
You were so good to us!
Words can barely express the peace, joy, and gratitude I feel about you.

#2015bestnine

I know with you on our side that 2016 will be a great year!

You gave us memories to last a lifetime.
Thank you, 2015!

Love,
Christina

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday Talk News

Welcome to the final Tuesday Talk of 2015!
Thanks for joining us this year and all of our adventures.

As the year draws to a close, we are sad to share some bittersweet news.
This is the las Tuesday Talk with this group of outstanding hostesses.
A few of the ladies will be stepping back from the link up as hostesses in 2016.

Lauren at Simply Elliott
 Elizabeth at This Little Home of Mine

We will miss you girls!
But we're thrilled we'll be staying in touch through the blogosphere.

Ready for some good news?
We have four more lovely ladies joining us for 2016!

Emily at Raising Barnes

We are excited to continue the journey with you!
So hop around today and wish the retiring and new hostesses well.I know you will make everyone feel warmly appreciated and welcome.
You show me that each week!

Now for the link up!

Waltzing In Beauty




Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here.
Your blog is being shared on our 13 blogs and we would love it if you would return the favor 
and link back to us (you can grab the button above). By linking back you'll have the opportunity to be featured in our feature posts and pinterest board here

Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time 
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty  
Lauren - Simply Elliot ~  Becky - BYBMG 
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place  
Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things 
Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me  


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our little family to yours!


Love, 
Christina, B, and Baby


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Blogger Year in Review

2015 has been a wonderful year.
There is much to be grateful for and this space is one of them.
Looking back at the blog this year, 
I couldn't resist sharing some of the highlights and personal triumphs of Waltzing in Beauty 2015!


Meeting Blogging Goals

Throughout 2015 I took several times to step back and evaluate what I wanted for the blog.
I'll be honest, it even included thoughts of shutting down.
I made a list of some practical and purpose driven goals, prioritized them, 
and narrowed them down/re-evaluated them several times throughout the year.
I'm happy to report that I was able to meet my top two:

1. Consistency
My goal was to share an equal numbers of posts for the number of weeks in the month.
Only one month fell short, but overall I have more posts than there are weeks in the year.
Doing the 7 in 7 challenge was a big step for me.

2. Community
Commenting more, building relationships with other bloggers, guest posting and hosting guests, etc.
All of these were a big part of my goal to build and be part of community.


Favorite Posts

Some give me a sense of accomplishment, others were fun to write, 
and then there's the handful that are purely sentimental.
Here are some of my favorite posts that I wrote in 2015: 

A Minute of Purpose

Sweaters Knit from Memories

Lessons Last Year's Lent Taught Me

Spouse Interviews

Football Fashion for Tailgate Tuesday

Pumpkins


Guest Posts

I have had guest authors in the past, but I had done very little in the area of giving back.
This year, I've been able to guest author for others, 
as well as participate in surveys and questionnaires for some post research.
Honestly, some of these have been my favorite posts!

Disappearing Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas 
for Monica at A Beautiful Mess

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers - Mexican or Italian Style
for Emily at Raising Barnes

What I Never Knew About Being an Aunt
for Callie at Through Clouded Glass


 What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married: Reflections and Advice Celebrating Marriage

I love Guest Post series!
And I loved each of the posts I was blessed to share through this series in July.
I'm still so humbled by the participation of these 21 ladies!


Tuesday Talk

I saved the best for last!
Joining Tuesday Talk as a co-hostess has played a large part in my blogging journey this year.

It came about suddenly and right before my wedding.
Great timing right?
I remember questioning myself a ton about what I was doing,
especially since I had given myself permission to post an 
"I'll be back in a few months (if ever)" sign on the blogs window. 
I'm so glad I jumped in.

The girls are supportive, positive, and genuinely care.
They are also super smart when it comes to everything Blog related.
This opportunity opened the door to so many relationships.
I can't express how grateful I am for this.
Linking up with Beth and Stephanie for 2015 Blogger Year in Review.

 

Do you have a blog?
What were some of your blogger highlights?
 Share in the comments or 
link up a post of your own to 2015 Blogger Year in Review and Tuesday Talk!




Waltzing In Beauty



 
Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here.
Your blog is being shared on our 13 blogs and we would love it if you would return the favor and link back to us (you can grab the button above). By linking back you'll have the opportunity to be featured in our feature posts and pinterest board here
 

Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time 
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty  
Lauren - Simply Elliot ~  Becky - BYBMG 
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place  
Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things 
Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me  




 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Overcoming Holiday Overwhelm Part Two

As I waded through the overwhelmed mess I created, 
I found a lot of posts from women working through the same thing.
What a relief to know that I wasn't alone!
In them I found support, things to reflect upon, and practical solutions.
 
Here are some of my favorites.
 
by Ruthie at Rear. Release. Regroup.

Dear Mom, it's not as bad as you think! All those years of wiping snotty noses and scrubbing dirty floors counts in your faithfulness. God is using you, little eyes are watching you. Even though you don' think what you do matters - it does.
 
Are you tired, dear mom?
I am.
Who puts these expectations on me, anyway?
Not God.
(Insert “L” with thumb and forefinger on forehead now.)

 
by Jenna at Mama Needs Coffee

advent series

I preface with these details because, gentle reader, it will be critical for your own seasonal satisfaction that you do what works for your family in the season that you are in, now. Not the season you wish you were in.

 
by Bonnie at A Knotted Life
 

I don't care what you do in your home to celebrate the holy days and seasons. I really don't. And I don't care what you think of what we do in our home. I really don't. I care about what we do.
And I think you should care about what you do. 

 
by Keri at Living in this Season

http://i0.wp.com/livinginthisseason.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Avoid-Christmas-Burnout.jpg

I have quickly ended up half way through December exhausted and desperately seeking calm in the midst of my Christmas burnout meltdown. This year, I have been determined to avoid the burnout.

My heart and mind wants the calm and the peace

 
by Patty at A Modern Grace


Sometimes it is so easy in life to get caught up in the mindless or worrying about getting everything off the to-do list done. When I notice myself starting to do that,

I miss the precious opportunity of the present day in front of me.

 
 by Emily at Morning Motivated Mom
 
Get Organized this Christmas
 
I can encourage you to step back and focus on what matters the most. While it can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season, I have found that planning ahead and staying organized minimizes the stress.

*** Use Code: CHRISTMAS2015 by 12-31-15 for $2.00 off your purchase of $5.00 or more.***


by Callie at Through Clouded Glass

 
I would wager it is impossible to be stressed out while singing a Christmas carol. I don't have any research to back me up, but stress and singing carols have never co-existed for me yet.
I would wager it is impossible to be stressed out while singing a Christmas carol.  I don't have any research to back me up, but stress and singing carols have never co-existed for me yet. - See more at: http://www.throughcloudedglass.com/2015/12/five-ways-to-de-stress-during-christmas.html#sthash.YO3K87kT.dpuf
I would wager it is impossible to be stressed out while singing a Christmas carol.  I don't have any research to back me up, but stress and singing carols have never co-existed for me yet. - See more at: http://www.throughcloudedglass.com/2015/12/five-ways-to-de-stress-during-christmas.html#sthash.YO3K87kT.dpuf

 
 by Elizabeth at This Little Home of Mine (previously All Kinds of Things)
 
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RrxFv5ptw5I/Va55ZZNi4JI/AAAAAAAANZU/HDBNf8usEXo/s1600/tension%2Bat%2Bthe%2Bholidays1.jpg
 
I want my children to know and understand the reason why He came, and I want them to live each day with that truth driving everything they do. I want them to understand that the holidays can be a very painful time for some families. I want them to be compassionate...

 
by Valerie at Cord of 6

Tis the Season to be Patient

To be honest, when I peel back the layers and take an uncomfortable look at myself I see a woman who is striving to be good enough. Striving to keep up with my own lofty expectations of myself.


I hope these posts help you through this final week before Christmas
and in daily life beyond!

Happy Advent!
Christina

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Overcoming Holiday Overwhelm Part One

If we send out the Christmas cards before Christmas 
no one will know that we are not on top of everything.

The words stung as they fell from my lips.

Advent and Christmas have always been one of my favorite times of year.
The magic of the season is something I relish.
Growing up I not only daydreamed of the upcoming Christmas, 
but also of the day when I was grown and celebrating Christmas in my own home with my husband.

Everything in them was perfect.

The house glowed with happiness, twinkling lights, and the warmth of a kitchen in the process of baking cookies.
 My red sweater highlighting the auburn hidden in my dark curls and complimenting his plaid button down topped with a shawl collar cardigan, made for the flawless Christmas card photo shoot.
And, of course, under the tree (which we lovingly picked out at a nearby farm and brought into our home) neatly decked in Christmas wrapping was the ideal present for the man of my dreams and something sweet and sentimental addressed to me.

Those dreams built up high expectations within myself.
Living up to them has not been as beautiful as anticipated.
Forcing the magic of Christmas does not work out so well.
Neither does attempting to create the perfect Christmas.
It only leads to overwhelmed frustration, spats, disappointments, and tears.


Wrapped up in those words were all the pressures I placed on myself and my family, as well as, 
a call to re-evaluate and learn and re-learn some lessons.

Things do not need to be perfect.

Letting go of perfectionism is so hard.
Doing it in a world inundated with perfect pictures is even harder.
But when I step back and think about my own childhood Christmases I have to admit they weren't perfect. The imperfections, however, were all part of the magic and memories.

Set your priorities and move forward.

Saying yes to one thing often means saying no to others.
It is so freeing to once you accept this fact.
I may want to do it all,
but after asking myself what were the things that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without, it was a lot easier to move forward on the most important things for us.
Sending Christmas cards was on that list,
but by the twelfth day of Christmas not before Thanksgiving.

Traditions grow over time.

My family traditions weren't all present at my parents' first Christmas and neither were his family traditions. Some of our traditions are the same, others seem to contradict each other, and then there's the ones that we are still learning about or don't quite understand.
Traditions are only truly traditions because they happen over time 
and we have plenty of time to discover our own.

The real reason for all of this is a little baby born in an unadorned manger.
Nothing is more simple and beautiful than a newborn.
All the frills of Christmas loose their meaning if they aren't to honor this gift.


 Come back tomorrow for Part Two!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Talk: Host Features Part Four

Meet the ladies behind the link-up!
 
Part One 

Becky at BYBMG

 
The first words that come to mind when I think of Becky are: girl-next-door.
She is sweet, kind, and real.
I love her Lessons in Fashion series where she shares the lessons she's learned working with her own closet.
I'm also a big fan of her weekly outfit flat lays.
It feels like you are one of her girlfriends stopping in and helping her pick out what to wear.
Can I borrow all the clothes in this post please?


 
How do you abide in grace?
Sarah sums it up as resting in God.
How beautiful is that?
 Her philosophy shines through her words as she simply shares the story of faith 
woven in her daily life as a wife and mother.



If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Laura in person 
I can guarantee you'll be struck by her joy, authenticity, and smile.
Until that day, you can get a glimpse of that on her blog.
She shares her heart in such a genuine way.
For example, she even posted about the great lesson she learned from instagram and a dog.
 And because I'm a sucker for alliteration and quotes, 
I love her Wisdom for Wednesdays series.


Whew! 
We made it through all the lovely ladies!
Please keep visiting and giving them your love.
I know I can speak for all of us when I say each of the girls truly wants to get to know you and is humbled that you join us each week.




Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time 
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty  
Lauren - Simply Elliot ~  Becky - BYBMG 
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place  
Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things 
Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me  


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

24 Weeks

We are well beyond the halfway mark!
Pregnancy, so far, has been an exhausting, uncomfortable, exciting, and beautiful experience.
I know in the end all the aches and pains will be well worth it.
The joys of sharing Baby's kicks with Dad negate all the restless nights and tired days thus far.

For those of you who have asked, and those that haven't, 
I decided it was about time to share some baby belly pictures.
Please forgive the quality.

16 Weeks





I have to laugh, because I felt so large then.
I had been pretty much wearing only maternity clothes since around 14 weeks.
Baby's kicks felt like little bubbles bursting.
And the nausea finally went away!
I also have to laugh, because here I am barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
My father-in-law said it made me a true Mountaineer...


20 Weeks



Halfway there!
I snapped this shot after our ultrasound.
Seeing Baby was magical.
It made the whole thing so much more real for us.
It also made us fall deeply in love with that adorable little profile.

23 Weeks
 


Excuse the fuzzy hotel room selfie.
Over Thanksgiving my belly really popped out
and the uncomfortable burning and sore muscles, reflux, and restless sleep symptoms came with it.
I think, however, the nausea of the first trimester was much harder to get through.

and most importantly...
Baby

Sigh, I'm in love!

This is my first time around,
How did you track all the wonderful and changing stages of pregnancy?
What kind of updates would you like to see?

Happy Tuesday everyone! 

 
Your blog is being shared on our 13 blogs and we would love it if you would return the favor and link back to us (you can grab the button below)! Thanks so much!


Waltzing In Beauty




 




 


Check out the Tuesday Talk guidelines here
and check out the features from every week here

  We'd love to connect with you! Please follow us in some way!

Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty

Lauren - Simply Elliot ~  Becky - BYBMG

Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place

Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things

Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me


Monday, December 7, 2015

Currently - December

Happy December!
 
I know this month is going to fly by in a wink of Santa's eye. ;)
I am doing my best to relish each and every aspect of the holidays,
but through a focus on simplicity and the most important things for us and our little family.
 
Here's what I've been up to currently...


Wishing...
for a white Christmas.
I love snow.
There I said it.
I know it's not the most popular opinion these days, but I love it.
 
 
Remembering...
our family tree.

The Family Album table at our wedding. c/o Dustin & Corynn Wedding Photography
 
As B and I discuss baby names,
we've gone back for inspiration and ideas to consider.
Nothing finalized yet, except that we are waiting 
until we hold our little man or lady to seal the deal and name them something fitting.
 
 
Wrapping...
up one year and heading into the next.
December comes with a heavy dose of nostalgia for me.
2015 was full of so many wonderful moments for us - our wedding, honeymoon, new family members, new positions, and, of course, discovering we're expecting.
I'm sad to see this year draw to a close,
but I know 2016 is going to be full of beautiful moments too.
 
 
Baking...
 goodies from my Pinterest board

via
My last baking venture was Monica's Cinnamon Roll Cake.
I didn't have the sour cream or baking powder it called for so I substituted greek yogurt for the cream and a baking soda - yogurt combo for the powder.
I think it messed with the density and the cake was heavier than I expected.
I also need to work on my swirling technique.
The cinnamon swirl could have been better distributed...
but those cinnamon-sugar bites were pretty yummy.
 
Jess' Christmas Cranberry Cake is next on the list!

Christmas Cranberry Cake - Simple and Delicious 6 Ingredient, Made-from-Scratch Holiday Cake Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
via

 
 Decorating...
the house in my head.
The only seasonal decoration out so far is our Advent wreath.
I could say that's because we hold fast to the no-Christmas -things-until-Christmas-Eve rule, but it's more focus-on-the-most-important-tasks-at-hand-even-though-all-I-want-to-do-is-trim-the -tree rule.

Linking up with Anne and Jenna for Currently.


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