Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Great Christmas Tree Debacle

I've always been a staunch supporter of absolutely no Christmas before Thanksgiving. 
Last year, though, we had to get our tree that weekend before Thanksgiving.  We were busy and that was the only time we could go, and so, even though it felt wrong, it had to happen that way.  We quickly realized that the Christmas tree farm was much, MUCH less crowded the weekend before Thanksgiving than the weekend after.  As Thanksgiving approached, we decided that's what we would do again.  Sometimes practicality just trumps everything else, you know?

So on Saturday, we set off for the mountains to find a tree.  Every year, B and I have a discussion on the hayride to the field of trees about the size we need.  There have been a few mishaps here and there (our first live tree was too small) but lately we've been doing pretty well.  We decided that 8' trees work best for us and that was what we needed to look for.  They were marked with blue ribbons.  A helpful worker pointed us in the direction of a lot of 8' trees, telling us that they cut their large trees this year.  Rather than being able to stand beside the trees, you had to look up for a lot of them because a 20' tree may have been cut to 8'.  (I know that's confusing and I probably didn't explain it well at all, but it's important to this story, so keep it in mind.)

We traipsed all around the hillside looking for a tree.  Aniston loved them all and pouted each time we vetoed her choice (which was often).  We found an 8' tree that suited us, and B signaled for the guy to come cut it.

Then it happened.  The moment that will forever be remembered as we reminisce about Christmases past.

B saw what he believed was the perfect tree.  It was full.  It didn't have a bad side or any noticeable holes between branches.  It had a red ribbon.  Red ribbons mean 9'.  But after all, 9 is just a little more than 8, and it was so great, and....suddenly B was telling the guy that we'd take it.

We stepped aside as they cut the tree.  When they threw it on the back of a trailer to be bailed, I looked at B and said, What have we done?!  Because, friends, it was massive.  MASSIVE.  Not one to admit defeat (that's the theme of the rest of this story), B said it would be fine.

The events that followed could only be rivaled by a Griswold family Christmas.  (This is a bit ironic since that is, without a doubt, our favorite Christmas movie ever and is quoted year round here.)



We took the scenic route home.  He suggested we stop for dinner--and not at a quick place.

He was stalling. 

When we finally got home, we got the crazy tree in the house (with lots of laughter). And then he stood the tree up in the stand, and we realized just how big of a problem we had.  Still not admitting defeat, he insisted it would be fine.  We left it bound until Sunday afternoon.



And when he cut the rope, this is what we had:


No windows were broken, but please notice the size comparison to our front door.

At this point, B conceded that it was, in fact, too big.  He drug it back outside, said we'd just leave it there and decorate it with huge outdoor bulbs, and we'd go get another tree. 

However, in an act of sheer will and determination a few hours later, he moved my car and drug the ridiculous tree into the garage.  He was adamant that this tree was going to work, because he wasn't going to give up that easily.  (Remember our theme of the day?)  A lot of cutting and trimming later, we had a decent-sized tree that would fit where we normally put it.

It's still big and full, but its ours and at this point I wouldn't trade it for anything because, as B told me a thousand times throughout this ordeal, this is a tree we won't ever forget.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Catching Up

So.  I haven't blogged since August.  Not because there hasn't been anything going on--because, y'all, we have packed so much life into the last two months--but because who has time for that?  Since August, our weeks have been one big blur of work and school and life group and gymnastics and homework and at some point in there you also have to bathe and feed your children.  There's always a trade-off, something that there just isn't time for, and blogging has fallen into that category.  Which is sad, because I like it more than a lot of other things. 

Like bath time.  But I digress.

Here's the brief version of what has happened since August:

-Aniston started kindergarten.  I've wondered how that's possible, but try not to dwell because dwelling on it always ends up in me feeling empty inside and wondering if I've missed something, or what her voice sounded like at different ages, or realizing that I've forgotten when she met certain milestones.  It's a deep, dark hole, I tell you, complete with a little mommy guilt and doubting my sometimes less-than-stellar parenting moments.  But anyway.  Aniston is in kindergarten and she loves it, which is fabulous and makes my life a lot easier. 

-Aniston being in kindergarten means that she and I go to school together.  We're in my classroom together before the day begins, we're together after school while I finish my work, we come home together.   It's a lot of togetherness.  Which is good...some days.  Other days I find owl stickers stuck to my table.

-Harper turned one in September!  In true you're-the second-child fashion, I realized that I had forgotten to order her copy of Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss...the same one I'd ordered for Aniston's first birthday and had everyone sign at the party.  Luckily, I realized it early in the week and fixed that problem with the help of Amazon Prime.  It got here in plenty of time, but when I flipped through the book I realized it had been put into the spine upside down.  I was pretty frustrated, but as it turns out, it didn't even matter because I forgot to put it out at Harper's party anyway.  I found it under a stack of mail the other day.  I think we'll keep it, upside-down and message-less as it is, because why not have a good story to take the place of a permanent, thoughtful keepsake? 

Harper's party was small and simple.  We invited immediate family and very close friends, and it may have been the most enjoyable birthday party I've ever thrown. 

And there you go.  I've summed up the last two months of my life with three bullet points, none of which are really about me.  Which should tell you something in itself.  Ha!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Beach Trip 2016

We went on our first vacation as a family of four last week!  B and I were both a little apprehensive about this year's trip to the beach, but it went SO well.  The girls did great traveling.  It was a different kind of trip as far as it required a bit more daily planning than normal (adjusting and planning for Harper's naps and feeding schedule, etc.) and I didn't get to spend quite as much time on the beach as I would have liked, but that's just the stage of life we're in right now.  We had such a great time! 



Aniston had lots of fun playing on the beach and in the lazy river and pool...and Harper enjoyed people watching and eating graham crackers. :)








We went to Drunken Jack's one night for dinner.  It's one of our favorite places (thanks to Kesha, who introduced use to it years ago...and when I think about how many years ago, I feel really old. ha!).  Our waiter was the sweetest man.  He talked and played with the girls, and brought them the cutest pirate hats.



We took the girls to Build a Bear while we were there.  I've written about Aniston's love of stuffed animals and Build a Bear before.  This was Harper's first trip, and Aniston was all too happy to show Harper the ropes.  She decided they should have Elsa and Anna bears (because, hello, Frozen) instead of Paw Patrol dogs.  I was completely fine with that, since buying the pups would require not only outfits, but four shoes instead of two (which would really have ended up being eight shoes instead of four since we were clothing two pups) and there has to be a limit to the Build a Bear madness.  Aniston also suggested that Harper's bear (Anna) shouldn't get a dress because Harper licks things and would just lick the dress instead of appreciating it appropriately.  True enough.  Aniston did ask for the bears to have a song put inside, but B quickly nixed that idea because we hear "Let It Go" enough anyway coming from a five year old, a Frozen dress, and a couple of Elsa dolls.  He decided that hearing it from a bear would just be too much.  After thinking about what that would mean for the five hour drive home later in the week, I agreed with him, and Aniston compromised on having a marshmallow scent put inside the bear instead.  Everybody wins at Build a Bear.

 

When we booked our trip, I bought tickets for Pirates Voyage, a dinner show.  We weren't sure how it would go with Harper, but went ahead and tried it and I'm so glad we did!  Both girls loved it.  Aniston cheered and waved her pirate flag, and Harper squealed and clapped.  We had front row seats (I didn't know that when I bought the tickets, so it was a nice surprise) and the actors stopped by to talk with the girls often.  It was a really fun night.



Harper looks a bit of a mess here!  We had just walked in, her hair was crazy from the wind outside, and we didn't realize she had her paci.  But I LOVE this picture of Aniston, and it captures our family perfectly right now...wild hair, paci, and all.  I'm so thankful for our family, and for a great trip full of fun memories!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five on Friday



Happy Friday!  I'm trying my best to get back into the swing of blogging, but, mercy, is it hard!  Busy times, friends, busy times.  Anyway, I love Five on Friday posts because they're fun, don't take much thought or time, and can be a stream of consciousness kind of thing.  And let's be honest: in a world that is so scary lately, and so full of senseless tragedies, it's nice to write and think about things that aren't serious at all--hence this post.

1| I need a new blog name.  This one doesn't fit anymore.  Problem is, I'm not creative and coming up with a new name takes a kind of mental energy I'm just not sure I have right now.  Also, I didn't even come up with this blog name--my person Kesha did, after I said, "Hey, I need a blog name and you know I'm not good at stuff like that." 

2| The "my person" refers to Grey's Anatomy, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should immediately go to Netflix and right that wrong because you are missing out.  I suggest you go slowly on your binge watching and really enjoy the first several seasons, because then Shonda Rimes gets crazy and likes to kill off characters that you've grown to know and love and you're left in an emotional and angry state because, Can't she let anyone be happy?!  But I digress.  Kesha is my person, and she knows that but if she ever forgets, I gave her a hand stamped metal keychain years ago that says it.  (Thank you, Etsy.)

3| While we're talking about Netflix, please watch Grey's using your own password, not your friend's.  And don't give your password to another friend so they, too, can be sucked into the emotional drama.  These are federal crimes now, people, because there is not enough trouble in the world to worry about.

4| Let's discuss Ghostbusters.  Now, I loved Ghostbusters as a kid.  LOVED IT.  I had all the toys.  The year Santa brought the proton pack with the trap is easily one of the best Christmases I remember.  This new movie though?  I'm not sure. 

5| It's July, and school supplies are filling the aisles at Target and Walmart.  I can't even.  In August, these same supplies will make my heart flutter with happiness and excitement.  In July though?  No.  Just no.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Five on Friday



1| Summer Fridays
Even though it's summer and I'm not working, I still look forward to Fridays just as much.  Two days of family time?  Yes, please! 

2| Harper's Well Check
Harper had her nine month well check yesterday.  After a thorough exam, her pediatrician announced that all signs of torticollis are completely gone!  I knew her neck strength and flexibility had improved a lot, but it was great to hear it from Dr. P.  She's in the 75th percentile for weight, and 50th for height.  Her head circumference is still in the 95th percentile.  Dr. P had originally said he wanted to run some tests if her head was still measuring large this time, but decided against that yesterday.  He said it felt perfect and symmetrical, and he believes her head shape is just "blocky" (bless!) but completely normal.  She was the biggest ham during her appointment, and kept everyone entertained.

3| Indecisive
We've been in our house for seven years.  It's time to do some home maintenance, beginning with paint.  I dread this because I'm terrible at making decisions.  

4| Date Night...Kind of 
Aniston spent the night with her grandparents on Thursday night, so B, Harper, and I were on our own.  B picked up dinner and we spent the evening watching episode after episode of Turn on Netflix.  It was the best night!

5| Lowering Standards
Recently, I read an article about motherhood and the stress of keeping up with everything.  The author suggested that, to be happy, the answer is to lower your standards for how neat and organized your home should be...and then lower them again.  Isn't that the truth?!  Our house is definitely not the same as before we had the girls!  I spend a lot of time being frustrated about how many things I have to constantly pick up or clean, especially during the summer when the girls and I are home all the time.  This week, I've made more of an effort to let things go--within reason, of course. I'm basically referring to the toys in the living room.  Toys are a part of life right now, and a lot of Harper's toys are big and bulky.  Instead of worrying with the toys constantly throughout the day, I've just spent time keeping up with other areas and we pick up the toys before bed.  It has made such a difference in my attitude!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Harper: Nine Months

Sweet Harper, you are nine months old!


I can't believe how quickly time is passing!  I'm so thankful for summer break and the weeks I'll be able to spend at home with you and your sister.  I intend to soak up every minute!

Look at those thighs!! Sweet, squishy baby!
 
Nine Month Highlights
-You weigh 21 pounds and you're around 28 inches long. (I think.  You're a very wiggly little thing!)
-You wear mostly 6-9 month clothing, but you'll be moving to 12 months very soon.
-You wear size 3 diapers.
-You still love blowing raspberries...both when you're happy and when you're angry.  (Angry raspberries are hilarious.)
-You drink around 30 ounces of formula a day, and you have baby food for two meals.  We haven't found any baby food you don't like.
-You sleep around 12 hours a night and take several naps during the day...usually a longer one in the morning and then a few catnaps in the afternoon.  You still don't like to be held or rocked when you're tired...you just want to be put down and left alone.  This just kills me sometimes because there's nothing better than holding a sleepy/sleeping baby, but it makes bedtime so easy with you!
-We took you swimming for the first time on June 13 and you loved it!  You also love the splash pad.
-Your first tooth finally popped through on June 3.  It's a bottom tooth, and you'll only show it to us by accident.  If you know we're looking for it, you cover it with your tongue. 
-You're not crawling yet.  Last month I wrote that you were rolling to get to whatever you want, and that's still true.  You're a very fast roller!  Since this is so effective, I'm not sure you'll ever decide to crawl.  Ha!
-Jelly Cat (pictured below) is your best friend.  He goes everywhere, and is loved on and wrestled constantly.



Harper Shea, you continue to be an absolute joy.  You are the happiest, sweetest little thing.  You're so easygoing and fun!  We love you so much, sweet girl!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Preschool

Aniston finished preschool!  It has been a year of big changes for her, and we're so proud of the growth she has made. 

The end of the year program was so cute!  The teachers did an amazing job teaching the students all the songs, and the kids were just precious.



They had fun days for the kids during the last week of school.  Monday was crazy sock day and field day.  I was able to go for a bit.  The events were cute to watch, and preschool tug-of-war may be one of the funniest things I've ever seen!





Tuesday was pajama and movie day.


Wednesday was water day and Thursday was their end of school celebration at Chuck E. Cheese.  B took off work to go to both of those things since I was administering the End of Grade tests.  I hated missing all the fun, but Aniston loved having her daddy with her!  

She has grown and changed so much over the last year!  I can't believe she'll be going to kindergarten next year!


B was in charge of taking the last day of school picture.  It isn't a great picture (Aniston isn't the most cooperative child when it comes to pictures!) and her teeth are blue from some sort of candy, but here it is for comparisons sake!