Monday, December 31, 2012

2012

Last New Year's Eve, I looked back on 2011 as one of the best years of my life. It really was.  I was looked forward to 2012, but didn't think it could compare to 2011.

It did. 

2012 was an amazing year for me. I watched Aniston grow and change. Bradley and I grew closer. I spent precious time with family and friends. I laughed and loved and learned. 

I'm excited to see what 2013 brings, and thankful for all the memories made in 2012. Life is so good, and I am so blessed. 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Weekend

Every year, Kesha, Emily, and I get together to have our own Christmas celebration and Friday was the day for that.  Food is always involved (of course!) and presents are exchanged.  Last year, we added Aniston to our little tradition, and this year Clara was added!  It's so fun to see our group grow!  We went to Mi Pueblito's (always a favorite), and then back to Kesha's for gifts.  Aniston loved playing with Clara and wanted to hold her.  They're so cute together!  I only had my iPhone with me, so the quality isn't great, but here are a few pictures of our fun night!



 Aniston's chair from Aunt Kesha. 
You can't see it in the picture, but her name is embroidered on the back.  Oh, how I love personalized stuff!

Aunt Emily and Clara gave Aniston a Minnie Mouse ice cream shop toy, which she loves.  We're all about some Minnie these days.  :) Aniston also enjoyed playing with the toy phone we gave Clara, and somehow managed to steal it before Clara left.  The funny thing is that she has the exact same toy--and it was even in the car that night!

Saturday was a stay-at-home-and-clean day.  Not very fun, but very necessary!  We took down Christmas decorations and attempted to organize all the toys Aniston got for Christmas.  The toy situation is a bit out of control, and we ended up turning our study/spare bedroom into a playroom.  We rarely have overnight guests, and we'll use the space much more as a playroom.  We left the desk and one bookshelf, but everything else is Aniston's.  She officially occupies that entire side of our house now.  Ha! 

We missed church today because the princess slept until 9:00!  (We have an early service, so our church begins at 9.)  I hated missing, but after all the Christmas fun this week, she definitely needed the extra sleep.  We've done a little more organizing in the playroom, but have spent most of the day playing. 

I don't have to go back to work until Wednesday, so I'm looking forward to spending two more days with Aniston.  I'm loving Christmas break!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

We have had a wonderful Christmas, and we hope you have too!  This time of year is so incredibly busy for us, but so much fun! 

My Christmas break began on Friday!  I am so glad to have some time off to spend with family, friends, and a sweet princess.  On Friday night we had dinner with friends at Wild Wok, then went to Zootastic.  Zootastic is an animal park that has TONS of Christmas lights.  Aniston was amazed!  There are little fingerprints all over the car window where she pointed.  After seeing the lights we went to the petting zoo.  Aniston loves petting zoos!

Aniston still hadn't been to see Santa, so we took care of that first thing on Saturday morning.  She was so funny!  She couldn't wait until it was her turn to sit with him, then didn't want to leave.


 Our Christmas festivities started on Sunday night at my parents' house.  We had dinner and exchanged gifts.  Eric and Chelsea gave Aniston a Minnie Mouse four wheeler...which she's terrified of.  Ha!  Of course, this is the child who was scared of her Twinkle Toes for the longest time, so it didn't really surprise anyone. :)  Nana and Papa gave her lots of fun things, too!


 

On Christmas Eve we went to Bradley's parents' house for lunch and gifts.  Aniston and Colton had lots of fun playing together.  They're so fun to watch! 



That night we went to Mamaw and Papaw's.  Going there is what makes Christmas feel like Christmas to me.  I am so thankful for my entire extended family, but the closeness there is just special.  We had lots of good Christmas conversations (zombies and Duck Dynasty), and laughed so much!  We watched A Christmas Story like we always do...even though we can all recite the lines by heart.

Cousins!
 



Santa and his elf worked really hard after we got home that night.  I appreciate all my parents did for me so much more now!!  As we put things together, all we could talk about is how excited she would be the next morning. 

And she was!  When she walked into the living room, she couldn't stop looking at all the toys and smiling.  It was precious!  Being a parent on Christmas morning is just as exciting as being a child.  I love seeing things through her eyes. 


We went to Nana and Papa's for breakfast, then back home to play for a little while before going to Mamaw Ruth and Papaw Burl's for lunch. 

 

After that, it was home for a quick nap and then to Bradley's cousins' house for more Christmas fun with that side of the family. 


By the time we got home last night, we were all exhausted!  Aniston and I went to Nana and Papa's for breakfast again this morning, and then just played around here all day.  It's so rainy and dreary, and we've been on the go so much the last few days.  It's nice just to have some time at home!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Weekend

My Saturday plan of shop-til-the-list-is-finished didn't exactly work out.  Imagine that!  We left here around 8:30, went to breakfast (where the princess entertained everyone!), and then spent the rest of the day shopping...but we still aren't finished!!  Christmas Eve is one week from today, the shopping isn't finished, and NOTHING is wrapped!  Eeek!  It's going to be a busy week!  I'm SO excited about Christmas this year--Aniston is at such a fun age--so I'm not in the mood to panic about everything I have to do.  It will all get finished, and I'm going to enjoy the process! 

We had the best time shopping together, though.  Aniston was SO good! 

Church was great on Sunday.  Our pastor had a wonderful sermon.  On the way down the aisle to Children's Time, Aniston waved to everyone in the pews and said, "Hey!  Hey!"  She was so cute turning from her left to her right and waving.  She is such a joy! 



After church
 
 
Last night we went to Mi Pueblito's for dinner.  We've always liked it, but lately it's become our favorite Mexican restaurant because they have mild salsa--which our girl LOVES!  (Everywhere else just gives mild sauce if you ask for mild salsa.  Gross.)  Aniston and I shared a chicken chimichanga and she ate and ate and ate.  The waiters all made such a fuss over her (like they always do), and she loved the attention.  As we were leaving, they gave her a container of chips and salsa for her to take home.  So sweet of them!


 
It was a great weekend!  Now, one more week of work and then it's Christmas! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Confessions


I confess....

--I'm blogging from Aniston's bathroom.  She's taking a bath and I'm using my time wisely. :)

--It is a constant struggle to keep the princess from drinking bath water and eating the bubbles.  Good grief.

--Speaking of the sweet princess, she's beginning to test boundaries.  All. the. time.

--I finished a lot of our Christmas shopping over the summer, but I haven't bought anything since then...other than stuff for Aniston.  Tomorrow has been declared a shop-til-it's-all-finished day.

--It stresses me out just a smidge that Christmas is so close.

--I've kicked the hand washing, Germ-Xing, and Clorox wiping up a notch this week.  All the yucky stuff going around makes me paranoid. 

--Bradley gave Aniston one of her Christmas gifts last Sunday.  Bless.  Santa needs a lesson in secret-keeping.


Friday Confessions are always upbeat and fun, but I can't end today's post without writing about the tragedy in Connecticut.  It's horrifying and heartbreaking.  When a colleague shared the news with me, I felt so sick.  Those teachers and students went to school today just like my students and I did, and, just like us, they expected a normal day.  As both a parent and a teacher, I just can't imagine.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those in Newtown.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dear Aniston: 50 Things I Want You to Know

1.  Your daddy and I love you more than you will ever know

2.  As much as Daddy and I love you, God loves you more.  Amazing, isn't it?

3.  Pray often.

4.  Enjoy life.  There's beauty in the everyday things.

5.  Miracles happen.  I know, because you are one.

6.  The best things in life aren't things.

7.  I may not have all the answers, but come to me.  If I don't know, we'll find out together.

8.  Never lose the spunk you have right now.  It's going to serve you well in life.

9.  Bad days happen.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and know that tomorrow will be better.

10.  You are smart.

11.  Be open-minded.

12.  Don't be a damsel in distress.  You're more than capable of saving yourself.

13.  You have made me happier than anything else in my whole entire life.

14.  Actions speak louder than words.

15.  Be kind to others. 

16.  You are going to roll your eyes at lots of things I do and say.

17.  You're going to be shocked one day when you're in your twenties and find yourself doing or saying those same things.  Trust me, it happens to everyone.

18.  Save money, but don't obsess over it.

19.  Relationships are not fairy tales.  Even the man you think is Prince Charming can act like a frog some days. 

20.  Anything worth having is worth working for.

21.  You can do anything.

22.  At some point, I'll disappoint you.  It breaks my heart to think that this will probably happen more than once.  When it happens, forgive me.

23.  Always do your best.  That's all anyone will ever ask of you.

24.  Stand up for what you believe in.

25.  There will be a time when you think I don't understand.  Chances point to, I do.

26.  Always make time for your great-grandparents and grandparents.  You'll cherish those memories forever.

27.  Find something to laugh about every day.

28.  Never give up.

29.  Find a career you love.  Don't think about the money.

30.  Be careful with your words.

31.  God has a plan for you.

32.   Take time to appreciate beautiful things. 

33.  Family traditions are important.

34.  Motherhood gives you an excuse to be a little crazy sometimes.  Bear with me.

35.  Don't take things too seriously.

36.  You can always trust me.

37.  If at first you don't succeed, try again.  And again and again, if necessary.

38.  I am proud of you.

39.  Listen to the stories your great-grandparents and grandparents tell. 

40.  I would do anything for you.

41.  You are important.

42.  Have fun.

43.  There is nothing you could ever do to make me love you less.

44.  Be creative. 

45.  Friends are the family you choose for yourself.  Choose wisely, and cherish them.

46.  Take lots of photographs.  As you get older, you'll see the value in this.

47.  Be a problem solver.

48.  Find something you love to do, and always make time for it.

49.  You will always be our baby.

50.  No matter what happens, you can always come home.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 30

Dear Peanut,

Tomorrow is November 30--the anniversary of your due date.  If things would have worked out like I thought  they should, we would be celebrating your third birthday. 

I think of you often.  As I watch your sister grow and change, I wonder what you would have been like.  Would your hair be light and curly like hers?  Would your eyes be blue?  Would you share the same giggle?  Would your eyes wrinkle the same way when you grin?  Would you have a dimple in your chin? 

My heart aches to know you.  You were, and still are, a part of me.  There will always be a hole in my heart that never quite heals, a completeness that I'll never know.  I know that's difficult for others to understand, but you were my child even though I never held you in my arms.  I will never forget seeing you for the first time on the ultrasound screen and watching the precious flicker of your heartbeat. 

You still have a box of things in our closet, and I imagine it will always be there.  Your pictures, a blanket, a bear, a lamb, cards of congratulations...and sympathy cards too.  Those are the things we have to remember you by.  We had so many hopes and dreams for you, and they were taken from us all too quickly.  You changed our lives forever.  You changed who your daddy and I are as individuals.  We haven't been the same since you, and, while that sometimes makes me sad, I wouldn't change it.  In your sweet life, you taught us so much.  We were blessed to be your parents, even though our time was much too short.

There are things in life I know we'll never understand, and losing you is one of those things. 

We love you.  We miss you.

Always,
Mommy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Catching Up: Thanksgiving

I've always loved Thanksgiving.  Maybe it's the fact that it's less stressful than Christmas--we only have one place to go and don't have to worry about finding the perfect gift for everyone.  Maybe it's that Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season.  Maybe it's the turkey and dressing and Mamaw's pumpkin pie.  :) Whatever the reason, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.

This Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Of course, everything with Aniston is wonderful.  Even though holidays were great before, they're so much more special now.  We watched the parade together, then spent the afternoon getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone comes to our house...even though my mom still does all the cooking.  It was so good! 

Aniston spent Thanksgiving night with Mamaw and Papaw so Bradley and I could go shopping.  We went both Thursday night and Friday morning, and got some great deals!  After lunch we picked Aniston up and headed to the mountains to get our Christmas tree.  The princess was super whiny and insisted on being carried everywhere, but we still had lots of fun. 

We had Thanksgiving with Bradley's family on Saturday.  We enjoyed spending time with everyone, and Aniston loved playing with her cousins. 

We decorated the tree and our house a little here and there as we had time over the weekend, and it was all finished by Sunday night.  Aniston loves the lights...and poking all of the ornaments.  Thankfully, we switched most of our ornaments to shatterproof last year.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas: Holiday Food Ideas



I am SO EXCITED about Christmas this year!  My Christmas list is halfway finished already (whoohoo!) and I'm making plans and lists for decorations and craftiness.  I'm a firm believer in not decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but there's nothing wrong with a little planning! ;)



Leslie is doing a Getting Ready for Christmas series this week, and I'm linking up!  Today is all about Christmas recipes, so here are a couple of my favorites.

 
Little Ham Biscuits with Poppy Seeds
 

These are by far my favorite Christmas pick-up!  Mamaw Louise makes them every Christmas Eve and I'm pretty sure I could eat the entire pan by myself. 
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 packages Pepperidge Farm party rolls (mini size)
  • 8 oz sliced ham
  • 6 oz Swiss cheese
  • 1 stick margarine (melted)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. mustard
  • 1 t. onion flakes
  • 1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
 
Directions:
  • Cut the rolls in half without breaking them apart.
  • Put a layer of ham and cheese on the bottom part of the rolls still left in the pan.  Put the top back on. 
  • Mix the margarine, poppy seeds, mustard, onion flakes, and Worcestershire sauce together. 
  • Pour the mixture over the rolls.
  • Refrigerate overnight or at least two to three hours.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
 
Rollo Pretzel Bites


Y'all.  If you have not tried these, you have to make them soon.  I wrote about them here, and have loved them ever since!
 
Ingredients:
  • Rollos
  • Square Pretzels
Directions:
  • Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Place pretzel squares on the parchment paper.
  • Put one Rollo on top of each pretzel.
  • Warm in the oven just long enough for the Rollos to get just a little gooey.  
  •  Smush (that's a technical term, by the way) another pretzel on top of the Rollo.  Be gentle, though, or you'll have a smushed Rollo mess!
  • Put in cute bags to give as gifts.  Or put them in an airtight container and eat them all yourself.  That's what I did. ;)
 
 
 

Our Weekend

This weekend was very go-go-go for us!  Truthfully, I like weekends like this.  It's nice to relax sometimes, but I would rather be going and doing than sitting at home.   

Bradley's sister, Jessica, and our nephew, Colton, came home for a visit.  Aniston and Colton are the same age (Aniston is only 10 weeks older), so it's always fun for them to play together.  We went out to lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants with Jessica, Colton, Mamaw Sandy, and Papaw Barry.  We always ask for mild salsa for Aniston when we eat there, and she absolutely LOVES it.  She used the chips mostly as a spoon for shoveling the salsa into her mouth. :)  After lunch we went to a nearby park to play.  The park also has a train and a carousel.  They had so much fun!

 
 
 
 
 
 

 The weather was BEAUTIFUL this weekend!  We wanted to spend as much time outdoors as possible, so we took Aniston to another park on Sunday.  Mamaw Louise and Papaw Coy joined us.  Aniston loves swinging and sliding.  The park also had ducks, and she had fun feeding them....and eating a little bit of the bread herself! :)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 I'm off work today because of Veterans Day.  We're playing and catching up on laundry this morning, then going to Aniston's well-check this afternoon.  I'm so thankful for all the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the military!  I'm also thankful for an extra day off to spend with the princess!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween

So I'm behind.

(Obviously.)

BUT in the interest of preserving memories with the princess, I'll gladly post about Halloween today...even if it was almost a week ago!

The princess was a ladybug. 


She was pretty stinkin' cute, in my opinion.  I may be biased though.  Look at that fluffy little hiney!  The fluff was proabably my favorite thing about the costume.  It made her look like she was waddling!


When we asked, "What does a ladybug do?" she would flap her arms.


She was crazy about the candy. (And the leaves outside.)  At first, she didn't quite understand trick-or-treating, but she caught on quickly!  She had the best time.



I'm such a lucky mama.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lazy 5

Last Saturday, we took Aniston to the Lazy 5 Ranch, an animal park.  It's such a fun place! Most of the animals are free roaming and it's very hands-on.  We met some friends there, and we all had a great time!

Lazy 5 is a drive-through park.  You can either take your car or take a horse drawn wagon ride.  We opted for the wagon because, 1) the person driving the wagon tells you about the animals, 2) you can feed the animals easily, and 3) who in their right mind would take their car and feed animals from it?! We saw zebras, giraffes, a rhinoceros, llamas, camels, and lots of different kinds of cattle, deer, and elk.  I didn't get many pictures.  We were too busy having fun!  Bradley forgot to bring the right lens for the camera, so the pictures I do have were taken with my iPhone. 







 After the wagon ride, we went to the petting zoo.  Aniston loved feeding the goats, sheep, camels, and llamas! 

She was amazed by the kangaroos, and she's shown everyone this week how a kangaroo hops.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Friday Confessions on Saturday...Again


I confess....

...you know the phrase, "A day late and a dollar short"?  That's the story of my life these days.

...Aniston's sleep habits have been HORRIBLE this week.  Bedtime has been a fight, and she's been waking up in the middle of the night crying.  Maybe she's teething?

 ...on Friday, Aniston and I watched Barney at 3 AM.  That was the only thing that satisfied her. 

...watching Barney during the day is pretty bad, but at 3 in the morning, it's a miserable experience.  Waaay too much skipping and singing.

...I said maybe she's teething because I really don't know.  I'm currently refusing to put my hand in her mouth to check for teeth anymore.  She bites.  And it hurts.

...the only app that rivals Song Pop in addictiveness is Fruit Ninja.  Try it.

...when I typed Try it, I automatically sang, "You'll like it!" in my mind.  Thanks for that, Yo Gabba Gabba.




Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Confessions

I confess...

...Aniston said "no" to us for the first time this week.  It makes me cringe to think of what's to come.

...Song Pop is addictive.  As in, black hole of time kind of addictive.

...I haven't cooked dinner all week.

...I started watching Gossip Girl on Netflix.  Um, where have I been??

...Bradley and I have never been baby talkers, but I realized this week I add "-ies" to all kinds of words.  I would like to say that this only happens when I talk to Aniston, but I'd be lying. 

...the schnauzers ate the inside out of one of my shoes.  They were kind enough to leave the outside untouched though.  Lovely.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

A couple of weekends ago, Bradley and I took the princess to a pumpkin patch.  We had so much fun!  A friend had told me about a really great place, and she was right--it was wonderful! 

We took a hayride to the field.  The people working were SO nice and friendly.  Most of the people had strollers or wagons, and they were so helpful getting the strollers on and off the trailer.  (By the way, Aniston didn't stay in her stroller much, but we did use it for carrying pumpkins.  Haha!  We weren't the only ones--I'm pretty sure that's the reason most families had strollers!)


There were huge containers of corn kernels for the kids to play in.  I admit, it sounds strange, but Aniston (and every other kid there) absolutely loved playing in the corn.  I guess it was a sensory thing? 




There was a little playground.  Aniston played for a little while...and so did Bradley. :)



The petting zoo may have been Aniston's favorite thing!  She was so amazed at all the animals up close.  She petted two goats and a little pig.  Bradley was a nervous wreck while she was petting the animals. (See him hovering in the pictures?) Poor Aniston was Wet Wiped to death! 



We all picked pumpkins before we left.  Bradley chose one right away...after I insisted that YES, we were each getting a pumpkin because we had PAID for the pumpkins already since it was included in the cost, and WHY ELSE would we even be at a pumpkin patch if not for getting pumpkins! (Seriously, who goes to a pumpkin patch and doesn't get a pumpkin?)   I looked and looked for the perfect pumpkin--round, bright, smooth.  Meanwhile, Aniston's method of picking a pumpkin was pretty simple: She walked up to a pumpkin and tried to pick it up.  If she couldn't, she moved on to another one.  Haha!  It took awhile for her to find one, but she did!  


 Just for fun, this is a picture from Aniston's trip to the pumpkin patch last year.  Time is flying!