I’m a stay-at-home mom turned home design and DIY expert. I've discovered the thrill of creating a beautiful, functional home, and I'm here to inspire and teach you to do the same
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Dearest Family and Friends
It has been an exceptionally good year for the Montenegros. We have officially hit the halfway mark for our time in Nebraska, which is weird. As it turns out, 3 years isn’t as long as it used to be.
We have loved living in Omaha and have made some wonderful friends. Stuart has enjoyed working as an actual Doctor in Residency much more than medical school, and has found that helping real people with real problems is much more rewarding than the study of it. His residency schedule, while intense at times, has been a lot more manageable than we expected it to be and he is enjoying his second year much more than his first. He spends his spare time putting the girls to bed and serving as the Elders Quorum Secretary.
Crystel has been living the dream as a stay-at-home mom while also growing her DIY and Design business. She has expanded her team significantly this year and is feeling so grateful! We had a little baby boy in March, little Malcom Aaron, and he is so cute even at 3 in the morning. Although Mom is severely sleep deprived, she has done some pretty big projects this year including renovating two bathrooms, the hallway, stairs, basement, and backyard as well as building and growing a killer garden. (Stuff grows in Nebraska, who knew?!). She is also homeschooling the girls again and finds it very rewarding to see them learning and grasping new concepts. This summer she was released from the Relief Society presidency and now teaches in the Primary.
Evelyn is 7 this year, is the best big sister, and is incredibly helpful especially with her new little brother. Mom has finished reading 33 classic novels out loud before bed time this year and Evelyn has devoured every single one and begs for more. She is also becoming quite the proficient reader herself! Her imagination continues to impress, as do her negotiating skills. She’s also getting better at the piano and has mastered making breakfast. Mom would be in big trouble without her!
Squish (Eleanor) is 5 and is one-of-a-kind. She is a girl with the largest, most expressive eyes and endless energy, and has been not a wit behind Evelyn in schooling or playing. She loves to dance, sing, and wiggle and is for sure our snuggliest girl. She also loves to tell a good joke, so if you know any be sure to pass them along. She has mastered unloading and loading the dishwasher this year as well as cleaning the half bathroom and will soon be adding other domestic duties to her areas of expertise. If we had to choose one word for Squish it would be passionate. We love her!
Charlotte is 3 and is truly a light. She’s been free of active cancer for over a year now and we are so grateful. She goes in to get an exam under anesthesia once every three months, and hopefully she can move to once every 6 months next year. She recently got pink glasses to protect her good eye and she’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, with her perma-messy hair and face to complete the look. She’s a regular jukebox on shuffle as she is always singing and she can often be found modeling many different princess dresses in a day!
Malcom is officially 8 months old at the time of this writing and is a bright little ray of sunshine when he isn’t hungry. Unfortunately, he probably is hungry. Mom is grateful that he has been old enough to give him solids because she was having a hard time keeping up with his appetite. That boy can eat! He up and learned one day how to sit up, and the next day he learned to crawl it seemed like. He’s pulling himself up onto everything he can and Mom has learned to keep the floors very clean or the little dude will clean them for her if she’s not careful.
We often lay down at night and marvel at the countless blessings we have been given. Heavenly Father has been exceptionally good to us this year and we pray that as we celebrate the birth of His Son that all of you will feel His love this season.
Thank you for being one of those blessings,
Love, the Montenegros
Throughout the year we keep track of all of the silly things our kids say and this year did not disappoint! Enjoy!
~ Lolly was saying something cute and Dad said “when did you get so you cute?!” And Lolly said “on Tuesday”.
~ Lolly was FaceTiming the twins (her same age cousins) and was getting ready to hang up the phone. She said “love ya! Like ya! Have perfect charity on ya!”
~ Dad at the breakast table said “Ok, I gotta get to work!”
Lollipop said, “Nope, I’m gonna lock the door!”
~ We just got done with a family date getting dinner and seeing The Beauty and the Beast in symphony in Omaha and Dad asked the girls on the way home “wasn’t that fun, girls? What did we do?”
Evelyn said “well, we went to get ramen, had a spill, you got a bit angry….” And then proceeded to tell us the rest of the things we did including skipping on the way to the theater and getting to ride in the elevator.
~ Lolly was crying in the middle of the night and Crystel brought her into our bed. She woke up for a minute and said “Dad, did you know rhinoceroses have hands, no I mean have noses?” Then went right back to sleep.
~ Lollipop: can coco come to church with us?
Dad: no, she has to stay to protect the house
Lollipop: from woofs?
~ While reading scriptures Evelyn said “Dad, I think maybe when Jesus was making the earth Heavenly Father saw some of the stuff he was making and said ‘hmm, that’s impressive'”
~ Evelyn came upstairs to our bed on a Sunday morning and said enthusiastically, “it’s NOT fast Sunday and I am NOT 8 years old. What’s for breakfast?“
~ Watching a video about William and the pilgrims: Squish said “Dad, everybody from the olden days is dead, except for you.”
*a couple months later we were reading through these and laughing and Squish, a little bit embarrassed said “I didn’t think about grandpa!”
~ Mom was taking a few precious moments by herself in the shower and in comes Lolly and says “Mom can I get in the shower with you?”
Mom: “eh, I don’t know about that.”
Lolly: “because only one person can get in the shower?”
Lolly: “ mom are you one person?”
Mom: “yeah I am”
Lolly: “am I one person?”
Mom: “yeah you are…”
Lolly: “So can I get in the shower?”
~ Listening to Coyotes by Don Edwards:
Evelyn: Dad, why did he curse the roads and automobiles?
Dad: He just liked doing stuff the old fashioned way
Evelyn: What? That’s crazy, why would he want to wash his dishes down in the pond instead of a nice clean dishwasher?
~ Dad after dinner said: Well we can’t do that cause we need to get ready for bed.
Evelyn: Well we’re just staying up late today, chill the beans, man!
~ Squish: “Mom we found a bird with a broken wing, can you help us?”
Mom: “oh you just missed Christine (our next door neighbor), she’s the one to ask about that!”
Squish: “But Mom, YOU were raised in a barn!”
~ Aunt Victoria: “Mom will be back in a little bit from Costco”
Evelyn: “no she will take a while, she likes to browse”
~ Dad is getting a haircut and the girls are supposed to be getting ready for bed. Charlotte comes downstairs in her sing song, tattletale voice and says “daaaaad, sissies are doing something they’re not supposed to. PLAYING.”
“Yes!” Tone of voice changes to excited “And I’m going to go play with them!”
~ Charlotte had one single glove on and Helene, our friend here to help mom, said “you’re like Michael Jackson!” Lolly said “who is Michael Jackson?”
Mom said “he’s the king of pop! He used to make music”
After a few minutes of contemplation she said “I want to know everything there is to know about that King boy”
~ Dad was reading out of the Book of Mormon during our nightly scripture study about the story in Alma where the Queen of the Lamanites wakes up from her vision and Dad asked the girls “What do you think she said to the people when she woke up from her vision?” And Evelyn suggested “I’m BAAAAAAck!”
~ We were eating breakfast and Evelyn was sticking her hand in her cup of milk. Dad said “get your hand out of there! Why do you guys do that? You’re like little raccoons!” And then after a few seconds Squish said quietly “rawr”.
~ On a morning walk, we passed an RV with United States map stickers filled in for everywhere they’ve been. Dad says “look girls, where have they been?” 3 year old Charlotte immediately yells out “Mesopotamia!”
~ Lolly: “Mom, at least I didn’t lose the bracelet you made for me”
Mom: “Oh I’m so glad about that.”
Lolly: “But where even is it?”
~ Dad, 5’9″, is standing next to his friend Rees, who is 6’5” and has girls our girls age. Lolly is standing there and looks at Rees then back to Dad and observes out loud “you’re just a little dad!“
~ Girls after finishing a movie dad suggested that they were sure they didn’t want to watch
Dad: So, did you like it?
Squish and Evelyn: YES!
Dad: See, I knew you would
Squish: How did you know?
Dad: I saw that when I was a kid
Squish: Then how was it color?
~ We were visiting family in Hurricane where there is a mountain called “Molly’s nipple” and when we pulled up and the girls finally saw it Eleanor said “Look! It’s Molly’s nipple!” And Lolly said “Look! It’s my nipple!”
~ Mom was with Squish and Lolly at Costco and she was helping them out of the van by holding their hand as they jumped down. Lolly said “Mom, it’s just like we are princesses getting out of our carriage!”
And Squish said “No we’re not. We’re just random folks! HEY, YA’LL!”