Monday, December 31, 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.


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.