Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our (After Christmas) Weekend

I think I've cleaned my house fourteen times in the last three days.

And, every time, it has gone back to being a wreck in five minutes or less. How does that happen?

Does anyone else feel that way?  Is this just the life of a mama after Christmas?  Or is someone out there magically in control of their house again already, after only three days? 

There is so much stuff in our house.  Toys are everywhere.  (For the record, toys were already everywhere before Christmas.  That's part of the problem, y'all.  We've reached a new level of craziness that we didn't even know existed.)   Honestly, when I look around, I feel a little panicky.  We need to do a major toy clean out, but where do you even start?  I tried to do a little of that on Friday, but suddenly everything I picked up was Aniston's favorite toy that she hadn't seen in forever and you can't take that away, Mommy!

Sigh.  The struggle is real.

We went to our last family Christmas last night.  Aniston and Colton played sweetly, which was nice considering there was hair pulling (Colton) and headlocks (Aniston) on Christmas Eve.

B had to be at church at 6:45 this morning for rehearsal, so that left Aniston and me to get ready and out the door on our own.  Normally this is okay, but today it wasn't okay at all because Aniston started playing (thank you, Christmas toys) and didn't have any interest in getting ready at all.  Which was just fabulous.  I ended up saying something along the lines of, "We don't have time to be princesses!  And you don't have time to let down your hair!"  (She was Rapunzel, in case that last sentence made no sense to you.)  To which she responded, "I'm not 'Punzel anymore.  I'm Jasmine.  So I can still play, right?"

Needless to say, we both needed church by the time we got there.

Church was great, and so was our usual Sunday lunch out.  I made a quick trip to the grocery store by myself (!) and now B and Aniston are napping--Aniston because she's three, B because he thinks that's what Sunday afternoons are made for.  They've both slept way too long, but I'm not about to wake anyone up because I'm enjoying my nice, quiet afternoon. :)  (I know this could come back to bite me later, but for now it's really, really nice.)

And that's our weekend. :)  I hope yours was wonderful!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

We had a wonderful Christmas!  Christmas was always so fun as a kid, but it doesn't even compare to Christmas as a parent.  B and I loved every minute of seeing Christmas through Aniston's eyes, and experiencing the joy and excitement in even the smallest things.

The last few days have been so busy, but so much fun.  Since Tuesday night, we've attended five Christmas gatherings (we hosted two of them), plus Santa...and we have one more to go to tomorrow!  Rather than getting caught up in the rush (and sometimes stress) of it all, B and I reminded ourselves often how blessed we are to have so many loved ones in our lives.  We loved spending time with family, and watching Aniston open gifts.  I'm not sure how many times we heard her say, "This is just what I always wanted!" but it was a lot and it was pretty precious every time. :)

Aniston was very into Santa this year, and very worried he didn't have her "number".  (Phone number?  Street address?)  She was also concerned he would fall out of his sleigh.  We don't have a chimney, so that was a huge issue too.  Luckily, though, he didn't fall out of his sleigh, was able to find her, and the lack of a chimney wasn't a problem for him.  All was right with the world on Christmas morning.  (And there was no mention of the unicorn she wanted.  Whew.) Just like last year, I don't have many pictures of Christmas morning because I was videoing instead.  Santa brought lots of Doc McStuffins stuff--including a clinic and mobile clinic.  Aniston had been asking for those for the longest time, and was so excited to see them by the tree. 

 We talked a lot with Aniston about the true meaning of Christmas, about Jesus being born and what that meant for us and the world.  Reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning is a favorite tradition, and this year we read from Aniston's The Jesus Storybook Bible. (Which is great, by the way, if you're looking for a children's Bible.  We also love the Jesus Calling Bible.)

One of my favorite Christmas songs this year was Chris Tomlin's version of "Joy to the World."  The band at church played it several Sundays in December...which meant I got to hear it being practiced several weeks. ;)  I'm so thankful for the joy of Christmas and a merciful Savior!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our Weekend

This weekend was the complete opposite of last--full of relaxation and lots of time at home.  It was so nice...although it doesn't make for a very interesting or exciting blog post.  Ha!

Saturday was cold and rainy--a perfect day to spend at home.  We spent the day in our pajamas.  We watched Christmas movies, played with Aniston, and had a really great day.  That evening we got ready and met B's parents for dinner.  We went to Cracker Barrel, which used to be one of my least favorite restaurants (except for breakfast).  My parents always did (and still do) lots of home cooking, so I could not for the life of me figure out why anyone would go out to dinner for that kind of food.  Ha!  Well, now I'm the one in charge of dinner most nights, and I most definitely don't cook like that, so I loved Cracker Barrel last night.  We made a quick trip to Target, then opted to come back home and do some Christmas shopping online rather than go from store to store with Aniston in tow.

Today has been a regular Sunday for us.  B went to church, but Aniston and I didn't get ready in time so I tuned in online.  (I love that the online option is available, by the way.  I miss worship when I'm not there, but it's so nice for those days when you just can't get it all together.)  Today was what we call "Mamaw Ruth Sunday"--the first Sunday of the month--so we had our regular lunch with Mamaw Ruth, Papaw Burl, and my mom's side of the family.  We had it at our house this month, and it was a fun afternoon. 

Now we're preparing for another Monday.  Only three Mondays until Christmas! :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday!  Today's confessions are all of the Christmas variety since that's what is constantly on my mind right now.

I feel like the biggest Scrooge in the world when I'm decorating for Christmas.  I love the decorations once they're up, but, man, I hate doing it.  We spent last Saturday and Sunday decorating, and I'm glad it's over.  I'm also very Scrooge-like when I'm wrapping presents. It's definitely not one of my favorite things.

I can't believe Christmas is 19 days away.  I have a million things to do between now and then.

I bought coordinating monogrammed Christmas shirts for Aniston and me.  Go ahead, judge away.  I used to, too.  Haha! :-P

Aniston's Elf on the Shelf is still crammed in the back of one of the kitchen cabinets...where it has been for the last year.  The elf may come out this weekend...or the week before Christmas...or maybe the day before Christmas Eve.  I know my limits and am well aware of my shortcomings as a parent.  I will decorate and force myself to wrap presents (whether they'll be presentable or not is questionable, but whatever), but moving an elf every day is asking a bit too much and definitely not something I could start the day after Thanksgiving or the first day of December.  Also, as we learned last year, my elf-moving skills are not very reliable or creative. Haha! Aniston will never talk to her friends about what her elf did because she has (and always will have) the most boring elf on the planet.  Bless her heart!

And that's it for today.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving and Such

I'm sitting in the living room in the light of the Christmas tree, and my house is quiet.  B is at band practice, Aniston is asleep, and the schnauzers are settled for the night.  It's rare this happens all at the same time lately, and even more rare that I'm able to steal a moment for myself and the blog.  The stars have aligned this evening, though, and I'm taking time to catch up. :)

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful.  If you've read the blog in years past, or if you know me in person, you know Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It always has been.  Really, what's not to love about it?  It's a day filled with family and food, and very little stress.  No gifts had to be purchased, no difficult decisions about said gifts had to be made, and no wrapping is required--and there are very few things in life I hate more than wrapping Christmas presents.  It's a pretty perfect holiday.  As always, we had lunch with B's family and then hosted my family for dinner.  A good time was had by all, and we went to bed that night with very full stomachs and hearts.

B was off work on Thursday and Friday, and the band didn't have any gigs last weekend.  I was thrilled to have him around so much!  We went shopping on Friday, and then went to get our Christmas tree on Saturday.  We debated putting up our artificial one, but decided to forgo the easy way for the sake of continuing what has become a tradition since Aniston was born.  We spent most of the day in the mountains.  It was beautiful.  Snow was still on the ground from earlier in the week, but the temperature was warm for late November. 

B snapped a quick picture when we were on the hayride at the tree farm.  When we looked at it after we got home, we died laughing.  Aniston's expression is just priceless.  I promise she wasn't that miserable.  She just hates having her picture made!


Aniston was very excited to decorate the tree this year, and was lots of help...even though she wanted to put all of the ornaments in the same place. :)  She has been telling people that our tree is pretty, but it's still not finished because there's not an ornament on every branch.  Ha!

On Sunday, B played in the band at church.  When he's scheduled to play, he has to be there early (7am!) for rehearsal.  The first service is at 9:30, but Aniston and I are more 11:00 kind of girls, so we always attend the second service.  After church, we usually go out for lunch and then do any shopping we need to for the week.  On weeks when B plays, though, we have two cars there so he and Aniston go home after lunch and leave me to shop by myself.  Now, keep in mind that it's just grocery shopping--nothing too exciting--but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite times of the week.  No impatient husband, no three-year-old begging to get out of the shopping cart, no rushing.  Just me, leisurely marking things off my list and often sipping a warm drink from Starbucks.  It's the little things, y'all. 

After I got home, we worked on the decorations for the outside of our house.  It was a busy afternoon, but I'm so glad we got everything finished before I went back to work on Monday.

And, now that I'm caught up on last weekend, I'm looking forward to this weekend. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our Weekend

Our weekend has been wonderful--a perfect balance of time spent out and about and time spent at home.  B's band had a gig on Friday night, but didn't have anything booked for Saturday night, which meant he was home on a weekend night for the first time in forever.  We had a date night, and it was so nice.  I couldn't remember the last time we went out, just the two of us.  We went to Logan's for dinner, then did some Christmas shopping.  We finished almost all of our shopping for Aniston, which is a huge weight off my shoulders.  (Sadly, we couldn't find a real unicorn.  We did pick up the other things she asked for, though, so I'm hoping she won't be too disappointed when she realizes we're missing a unicorn on Christmas morning.  Ha!)
Today we had a leisurely breakfast here, then headed to church.  For the past few months we've been attending a different church, and we love it.  We had always either gone to the church I grew up in or the church B grew up in, and we were never very involved either place.  We wanted to find a place that was ours, but never took the step until recently.  And after some searching, I think it's safe to say we've found it. :)  Aniston goes to children's church during the service, and that was an adjustment for all of us.  She cried the first couple of weeks, but always had a good time after she got settled.  Since then, she's improved weekly and today she didn't even look back at us after we checked her in and walked her to her classroom door.  The ladies who volunteer in children's church are wonderful, and I think Aniston is benefiting from being away from us a bit...especially since she doesn't go to daycare or preschool right now.  The service is very contemporary, and they have a full band every week....which, naturally, B is now a part of most weeks.  It just feels like a good fit for us all the way around, and I'm thankful we've found a place that feels like home for our family.  

After church, we let Aniston choose where to go for lunch.  (She chose Bojangles, which wasn't a surprise at all because that child would eat at Bojangles every day if she could.)  Today has been cold and rainy, so after lunch and visiting with Mamaw and Papaw, we spent the rest of the day at home.

I can't believe it's Sunday night already (why do weekends always go by so quickly?!) but I only have two days of work this week!  I'm excited to have a few days off, celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, and decorate for Christmas.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday!  Even though I was off on Tuesday for Veterans Day, this has felt like the longest week ever.  Maybe because it felt like it had two Mondays?  Anyway, I'm so thankful it's Friday! 

Now let's confess, shall we?

I almost wanted another baby yesterday.  (Almost.) After seeing some pictures of Aniston as a baby on Time Hop, then having my blogger feed full of pregnancy updates and announcements, I admit I had a moment when it seemed like it could be a good idea. 

I really do need to blog more often, if for nothing other than to have a place to write all of Aniston's antics.  We're constantly in stitches over stuff she says and does.  She says she's asking Santa for a unicorn for Christmas.  When we asked if she meant a stuffed animal, she replied, "Nope.  One that flies."  Good luck, Santa.

I feel a little panicky when I see all the pictures of Christmas trees and decorations on Facebook and Instagram.  Even though I'm a stickler for waiting until after Thanksgiving, I feel behind already after looking at everyone's pictures.  Which leads me to...

Even though I vowed I would do Christmas shopping early this year, I haven't bought a single gift yet.  Not one. 

I was so excited when a colleague mentioned this to me today!  Oh, Starbucks.  You've made my weekend already. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Random Tuesday Post

Things have been going well here lately.  We've been busy, but happy, and that's what counts. :)  I'm learning (slowly) to cut myself some slack in several different areas.  I tend to be a little OCD at times and give some things more attention than they really deserve or need, and I've realized that I probably need to stop.  I've been making a conscious effort to do that.  I'm also making more of an effort to focus on the really important things.  I hate to use the phrase, "Don't sweat the small stuff," but it sums up what I've been trying to do.  I'm finding balance in my life (which is something I've always struggled with), and I'm happier than I've been in a long time (or possibly ever).  It's nice.

Aniston has a cold, and has been pretty miserable for a few days.  We realized she was a little 'off' after lunch on Sunday when she kept crying over little things or for no reason at all.  Sure enough, she started running a fever yesterday.  Today, I had planned to leave her with my dad, but she was so pitiful this morning.  She cried and begged for me to stay, and that's what I ended up doing.  I always feel so guilty when I take a day off work, but I'm thankful I did.  She came first today, just like she always should. 

I just can't stop thinking about how blessed B and I are.  Aniston is rarely sick, and has only had the typical childhood illnesses--never anything major.  I'm so, so thankful to have a healthy child.  She seems to be feeling a bit better this evening, and I hope she's back to 100% soon! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Our Weekend

It's been over a month since I last wrote a blog post.  I've taken an unintentional break from blogging lately.  I love writing, and I love to document all we're doing through the blog, but, unfortunately, it's always the first thing to go when I'm short on time. 

And isn't everyone short on time these days?  Sigh.

 It seems like there's always something that just has to be done.  Most days, I feel like I'm barely keeping up with just the regular day to day stuff.  And anything extra--like blogging, reading for fun, catching up on tv shows on the DVR, and such?  Forget about it.  I've tried to use the weekends to catch up on cleaning and laundry, but that doesn't leave much time for fun either.

This weekend, I decided I was going to forget that and just go with it.  Who needs a spotless house, anyway?

Friday night, B's band had a gig, so Aniston and I were on our own.  Not wanting to cook since it was just us, I introduced her to the joy of having cereal for dinner.  Since she loves cereal as much as her mama, she thought it was fabulous and such a treat!  Afterwards, we had a movie night and watched Pocahontas II for the third time in the last week.  (I'm not a fan of that movie at all, by the way.  Pocahontas ends up with John Rolfe, not John Smith, and I'm just disappointed even though I understand that it's somewhat historically accurate.) (At one point last week, B and I discussed Pocahontas II.  Because our lives are just that exciting.)  

My mom came to visit on Saturday morning for the purpose of giving Aniston an Elsa dress that she just knew she would love.  She, along with a couple of other ladies she works with--all grandmothers, mind you--giddily bought these dresses for the little girls in their lives on Friday night.  I'm fairly certain that her giddiness was completely due to the fact that, a) the dress sings, and b) the dress would not be kept at her house.  Aniston, of course, loved it and played the song no less than fifty times in the span of an hour. 

We ruined her life later on that day when we told her she had to take the dress off to go grocery shopping.  (Being three is hard, you know.) 

We had lots of family time on Sunday, which was so nice.  We went out to lunch, then to a saltwater fish store.  We added two fish to our aquarium, and I'm crossing my fingers that they make it.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at home and visiting with my grandparents. 

It was a really great weekend. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Weekend

This weekend has been crazy productive and that makes me so happy!  Since school started, I've felt like I'm barely keeping my head above water.  I feel that way every August/September, and I hate it.  My goal for this weekend was to get caught up on everything and begin Monday as a calm, sane person.  Ha! 

On Friday night, B's band had a gig, so Aniston and I were on our own.  We picked up barbecue and had dinner at Mamaw and Papaw's house with them and my parents.  Mamaw had major back surgery three weeks ago.  The recovery process is going to be long, but she seemed so much better on Friday.  I'm so thankful for that!  After we got home, I sat down and made a list of all the things I needed to do over the weekend.  And when I say a list, I mean a list!  It looked pretty scary when I finished, but I was very specific.  Like, instead of "clean the house", I divided it up into rooms and then tasks for each room.  A little OCD, I know, but so helpful for me.

Bright and early Saturday morning, I set out to tackle the massive list.  I spent the majority of the day cleaning and organizing.  After Aniston and I had dinner (B had another gig), I popped open my school bag and got to work on a few things.  Tests were graded, lessons were planned, and a newsletter was written.  It was an exciting Saturday night. :)

After such a productive Saturday, Sunday was an easy day.  We went to church.  Aniston has been going down to Children's Time on her own, and it's just the cutest thing ever.  I love watching her.  After lunch, Brooke and I went shopping for a few hours.  I found several cute things, but didn't come home with the huge bags I had hoped for. Isn't that the way it always is when you're looking for something?!

Tonight, B, Aniston, and I went out to dinner.  B washed my car.  Aniston and I kept him company and played outside, and Aniston finally mastered pedaling the tricycle!  Bless her, she hasn't been a fan of it before now!  It was such a perfect night for our little family, and I loved every minute of it.  It was the perfect ending to a great weekend!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weight Watchers (Week 2)

This week wasn't fabulous, but I didn't really expect it to be.  I only ran once (so much for vowing to do better!) and I didn't track as closely as I should have.  I know the mistakes I made, and I'm going to try really hard to not repeat them again!

I've already pre-planned and calculated points for dinner each day this week.  I'm hoping that helps me stay on track a little more!  I'm visiting The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta at the end of the week with a group of teachers from my school.  We'll be staying overnight, so eating out is a given.  I'm trying to squirrel away as many weeklies as possible, and make sure I'm active every day until then! 

Week Two
-Lost 0.4 lbs
-23.4 lbs to go

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weight Watchers (Week 1)

After summer break and a week of teacher workdays, I was glad to get back to a routine this week.  At work, I don't have time to mindlessly munch here and there throughout the day! 

I was proud of myself for packing my lunch four days this week.  I planned ahead, and packed most of it the night before so I didn't have much to do in the mornings.  That was a lifesaver!  I've been a huge fan of Mission Carb Balance tortillas lately.  They're only 2 points plus (most bread is 3pp), and so yummy!  I've been filling them with either chicken or turkey, lettuce, tomato, and light mayo or light ranch dressing.  We always order out on Friday, and I feel like I made a pretty good choice--a personal cheese pizza (thin crust) and a side salad--and still stayed within my points.

Since it was the first week of school, things were hectic and I came home exhausted every day.  I didn't do nearly as much cooking as I had planned, and we ate out once.  What I love about Weight Watchers most is the extra Weekly Points.  I dipped into those when I needed to, and didn't feel like a failure for doing so because it was part of the plan.  (When I was just counting calories, I felt like I had completely fallen off the wagon every time I went over my calorie goal.)  I'm also loving the "free" fruits and veggies.  Knowing that they're 0pp is definitely helping me make better choices.

I didn't work a single time this week.  Eeek!  I'm blaming it on the first week of school, and vowing to do better next week!

I feel like it has been a pretty good week, but I know I can improve in some areas next week.  (Working out being one of them, obviously! :-P)  Even though the loss wasn't as high as I hoped, I'm okay with it.  It's within the 1-2 lb range of maintainable weight loss, and it's a start! :)

Week One
-Lost 1.2 lbs!
-23.8 lbs to go.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weight Watchers (Week 0)


I've struggled weight-wise this summer.  I haven't gained, but I haven't lost either.  I've fluctuated a lot.  I've stuck to using My Fitness Pal, tracking calories and exercising for most of the summer.  Now, I'll admit things haven't gone super well the last two weeks because of being on vacation last week and teacher workdays this week, but, other than that, I've tried to stay on track.

But I'm stuck.  I've been stuck at this weight for awhile now, and I'm ready to move on.  (Down, that is.)  I made the decision to join Weight Watchers just to switch things up a bit, and I'm adding another keep-me-accountable component: the blog.

Does this make me nervous?  Ohhh, yes, it does.  First, I'm talking about my weight, which has always been a conversation topic I like to avoid.  Second, I'm putting myself out there, which means if I fail, you'll know.  While that's scary, it's also motivating, and that's what I'm counting on.

After years of fertility treatments and then a pregnancy, I was at my highest weight ever after I had Aniston.  I was so embarrassed.  I'm still embarrassed when I look back at those pictures.  I truly started making an effort to lose the weight in February 2012, and I lost thirty-five pounds.  I've kept it off, and I'm proud of that, but I want to reach my goal weight.  I've thought about my goal weight for years, but, honestly, I've never thought I could make it.    My current weight is where my body likes to settle, I think, and it seems so hard to lose more.  It's going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but I'm ready to fully commit to making it to my goal weight.  Like I said before, I'm using the blog--and you guys--to hold me accountable.  I plan to post my progress every Saturday.

I can't wait to see what I'm capable of.

Week 0
Pounds to Lose: 25.0

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Leslie today for some Friday confessions.

As I was getting ready for the first teacher workday on Monday, Aniston asked what I was doing.  After I answered her, she looked at me in disbelief and said, "You mean our summer is over?!"  Haha!  I felt the same way!

I hated to see the summer end, but I'm glad to be working again.  I love what I do, and I'm excited to start a new year with a new class.  As crazy as it sounds, I love schedules and routines.  I crave it.  I feel so much more productive already!

By 'productive' I mean at school, not at home.  After spending all week in my classroom and bringing home this to work on at night, my house is a disaster.  And laundry?  Yikes.  We've designated tomorrow as a cleaning day.  I'm dreading it already.

After almost three years without cable or satellite, we're having Directv reinstalled on Wednesday.  I. cannot. wait.  We cancelled our service shortly after Aniston was born.  We didn't really have time to watch tv, and just didn't see much of a need for it.  Plus, it was a great way to save a little money every month.  We've used Netflix and Hulu since then, and really haven't missed it until lately.  I'm fairly certain the NFL Sunday Ticket was really what changed B's mind, but I'm so excited about having a DVR again.  It's the little things. ;)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebrating with Treat.

I love greeting cards.  I always have.

I can--and often do--spend a ridiculous amount of time in the card aisle at Target looking for the perfect card.  I want it to look the right way and say the right things. 

On July 29, B and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary.  That's eight years of marriage, but we dated for five before that, so that's thirteen years worth of cards we've given each other.  There are only so many ways a greeting card company can think of to say, "I love you." 

So when Treat, a division of Shutterfly, contacted me I knew I wanted to design a card for our anniversary.  Given how much I love Shutterfly, their products, and their service, I knew Treat was destined to be fabulous too.

Treat offers personalized greeting cards and gifts.  As soon as I clicked on their site, I fell in love.  All of the cards can be customized, from the pictures to the wording...even the fonts.  (And you know how much I love cute fonts!)  After you design the card, you can choose from three delivery options: 1) mailed to you; 2) mailed directly to the recipient (you only pay $0.49 for the stamp); 3) delivered electronically.  Since I was planning to give the card to B, I chose to have it mailed to me this time but I can't wait to try the other options.

The card arrived in three days, and it was perfect!  I was really impressed with the quality.  It's printed on a heavy, sturdy cardstock.  The pictures are clear, and everything looks exactly the way I designed it online.  B loved it, and so did I.

The best part?  (Other than having a one-of-a-kind card, of course.)  The price.  For less than the cost of an average card, you can have a card that's personal and fun.  There are tons of options for any occasion you can think of, and the possibilities are endless!  I've spent hours looking at and designing cards for all of the holidays and occasions we have coming up this year. 

I think I've found my new card aisle.  ;)

**Card courtesy of Treat.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Beach Trip and a Few Other Things

Whew!  The last two weeks have been so busy!  I'm trying to hang on to every second of summer break, and it is flying by!  Every day seems to go faster than the day before.  

We spent last week at the beach, and had SO much fun!  It was Aniston's first time in a hotel, and she was just fascinated by everything....especially the elevators.  This was our very first 'just the three of us' trip--every other time we've been with family or friends--and we had a great time.

At River City.  
Aniston thought being able to walk to dinner was the neatest thing ever.


 I love this picture from the aquarium!

Aniston and her Build-a-Bear, Chicken.  Bless.
We kept her busy--playing on the beach, going to dinner at fun places, shopping,
Build-a-Bear, Ripley's Aquarium, and more--but I'm pretty sure she loved playing at Chick-fil-a most.  Sigh.

B had to go back to work on Wednesday, but, thanks to some awesome planning, Aniston and I didn't have to go home yet.  He dropped us off by Kesha's beach house, and we stayed with them until Saturday. 

I've spent most of this week working in my classroom...and shopping for it.   I love buying classroom decorations and school supplies.  B thinks it's a problem. I have no idea why. ;)

 Aniston helped in my classroom this week too!

So, between coming back from vacation and trying to get as much done in my classroom as possible this week, there hasn't been a spare minute lately.  I'm slowing down next week, though, and planning to enjoy my last week of summer break!

**While we were on vacation, B and I celebrated our eighth anniversary.  Check back tomorrow for a post about that, and the neatest opportunity I had through Shutterfly!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Confessional Friday: A Day in the Life

{Last week's Confessional Friday was all about day-to-day life.  I wrote this post last week, but never got around to posting before the link-up closed.  So, I'm posting it this week!} 

I've never done a "day in the life" post before.  Looking back, I kind of wish I would have done a couple of posts like this every year so I could remember what things were like at different times, especially life with Aniston at different ages.  But I guess there's no time like the present to get started with that, so today's the day! 

Friday, July 11

7:30 am--B leaves for work.  Loudly.  Love the guy to pieces, but he can't be quiet in the mornings to save his life. 

8:00 am--Aniston is up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  This girl goes from sound asleep to wide open in about half a second. I try to buy more time by having her crawl in bed with me, but it doesn't work.  After watching less than half an episode of Daniel Tiger, she's up again and looking for her "super pups".  (If you haven't been reading lately, Aniston is a huge fan of the Buddies movies and likes to pretend that she and the schnauzers are super heroes.  Bless those dogs.)

8:20 am--The super pups have been located, and there's a wild game of tag going on in my house. 

8:30 am--Breakfast. Aniston eats yogurt (she calls it "o-gurt") and fruit.  I have a Quest bar.  I'm not a big fan of breakfast foods, and this is an easy and quick way to get a jump on protein for the day.  It's also a "cleaner" type of protein bar.  I love the cookies and cream.  The cookie dough and apple pie kinds are good, too.

9:00 am--I get ready while Aniston watches Super Buddies.  She's distracted by the movie, so the real-life super pups sneak away and try to hide.  They're not very good at hiding.  She finds them quickly and forces them to play dress up with baby doll toboggans and Tinkerbell wings.  I'm sure they're wondering when summer break will be over.

10:00 am--Aniston and I head out to run errands.  We drop by the surgeon's office to pay what is (hopefully) the last bill from my gallbladder surgery, then go to the bank to make a deposit into Aniston's savings account.  The teller doesn't offer her a sucker, and she is beyond disappointed.  (Things like that can shatter a three-year-old's day, you know.)  After the bank, we go to Walmart where we spend $76 on random things.  (Am I the only one who walks out of Walmart every time thinking, What in the world did I buy?!)

1:00 pm--Lunch with Nana, Papa, and Uncle Eric.  We order pizza and Aniston eats a lot. 

2:30 pm--Back home for rest time.  (Aniston is fighting naps with a vengeance right now.)  While she rests, I do a couple of loads of laundry and straighten the house. 

4:00 pm--We have "school time" and practice naming shapes and drawing lines.  We work on the letter 'A'.  I nearly lose my mind and wonder if she'll ever write her name.

4:30 pm--Brooke calls and we make impromptu dinner plans.

6:00 pm--Dinner with Brooke, Reid, Kennedy, and Avery at a local barbecue place.  Yum!

7:45 pm--Home to change clothes quickly, then back out for a run with Brooke

8:00 pm--Last night, we ran at the park and there were bugs everywhere.  We were constantly swatting, we couldn't open our mouths, and they were all over us.  Gross.  Not wanting a repeat, we go to the track at the school instead.  No bugs!  We walk a lap/run a lap for an hour and burn some of those calories from dinner.  Brooke pushes me (which I need because I tend to be a quitter.  ha!), and at one point we run half a mile without stopping.  I'm not a runner, but I'm trying, so this was a big deal.  I leave the track feeling pretty proud of myself. While I'm out, B puts Aniston to bed.

9:15--After I shower, B and I watch a couple of episodes of Mad Men on Netflix.  B always, always, always falls asleep when we watch tv, so after about 20 minutes I'm watching by myself.  One of the characters has gained a lot of weight.  I wonder if she really gained that much for the part, or if it's just one of those fat suit things.  Turns out, I'm not the only one who spent wasted time thinking about it because as soon as I type "did Betty" in Google, the first search suggestion it gives is "did Betty really gain weight".  (Answer: fat suit) 

11:30--I wake B up and we head to bed. 

And that was my Friday.  Riveting, right? ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Just Needed You

Before Aniston was born, I was going to be the perfect parent.  I watched (and, admittedly, sometimes judged) parents all the time--in the grocery store, at the beach, in restaurants, wherever.  As we were going through fertility  treatments, I was especially harsh in my appraisal of parenting skills, and often had thoughts that started with, "If we have a baby, I'll never..."

Fast forward three years, and I'm dealing with a stubborn, headstrong three-year-old.  I've had to go back on those "I'll never..." statements so many times I've lost count.  There are days when Aniston and I struggle with each other from the minute we get up until the minute we go to bed.  It's often a battle of wills between the two of us, and most definitely a power struggle.  Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder if I did the right thing, chose the right battles, gave the right answers.

There are days when I wonder if I'm doing this right at all.  Am I a good parent?  When she's grown and has a child of her own, will she look back and think I was a good parent?

Today was one of those days.  It was her second day of swim lessons, and it didn't go well.  She wouldn't even put her feet in the water (even though she loves the water and swims often), or let her instructor touch her.  She screamed and cried for me.  I was frustrated, and, truthfully, so very embarrassed.  All of the other kids in her group were doing so well, and there was mine, pitching a huge fit.  I tried to talk her into going in, her instructors tried, I took her out to calm down and then went back in...all to no avail.  Finally, after I realized she just wasn't going to stop, we left early.  My patience was gone.  I talked to her on the way to the car, as I buckled her in, and as we started home about the way she behaved.  Even though I knew I should let it go, I couldn't.

And then, she spoke up in a small voice from the backseat, "But, Mommy, I just needed you."

I just needed you.  And, just like that, my perspective changed a bit.  She's three....only three.  She has trouble separating from me in new environments and situations, and that's normal (believe me, I read article after article after we got home to make sure).

I just needed you.  She needed reassurance, familiarity, love.  Yes, she has to learn to do things on her own, but in that moment she needed me...because I'm her mommy.  Her rock.  Her safe place.  When things are uncertain, new or scary, she looks to me for help.  And would I want it to be any other way?

Being a mommy to this little girl is the biggest blessing I've ever received--I've said that time and time again.  What an amazing, yet scary, thought to know that I'm responsible for helping her to become the person she's meant to be.  She's looking to me to be her constant, to help her grow and gain independence and confidence, and to provide just the right amount of support until she's willing and ready to fly on her own.

I just needed you. 

And I'll always be there for you, sweet girl.  Always.

I'm linking up with Jessica and Alisha today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Catching Up: July 4th, Our Weekend, and Such

You know, when I envisioned how I was going to spend my summer, I pictured lots of time spent blogging, reading, and doing whatever I pleased.  Somehow, as these visions of long, lazy days danced through my head, I apparently forgot that I have a three year old who has her own agenda and summer plans.  Ha!

Instead of my plans, we've been working on hers--lots of playing, painting, coloring, going outside, and pretending that we (along with the schnauzers) are "super hewoes".  (Side note: At some point, I'm sure I'm going to panic about her "r" sound, but it's just so stinkin' cute right now.  I love it.)

I'm just now sitting down to write about our weekend, and it's Wednesday already.  I'm okay with that, though, because there's lots of living being done around here and, after all, that's the most important thing.

So, let's catch up, shall we?

On Friday, Aniston and I made yummy desserts for our July 4th celebration with friends.  We made a fruit pizza (my favorite dessert ever) and tried to make star sugar cookies.  I say tried because the cookies looked more like blobs than stars.  I'm not sure where we went wrong.  We had lots of fun making them (because any time you give a kid sprinkles, it's a good time, right?), so all was not lost.

We went to Brooke and Reid's for a cookout and fireworks.  We had a great time!  Aniston always loves playing with Kennedy.  We hadn't set off fireworks of our own in years, so that was fun.  I'm pretty sure the guys were more excited about the fireworks than the little girls.  At one point Kennedy yelled, "I am not impressed!"  Ha!

I should also mention that thirteen years ago on July 4, B and I went on our first date.  How in the world has it been thirteen years?!

Aniston was absolutely exhausted, and slept until after 9 on Saturday morning.  Yay!  :)  My mother-in-law's birthday was Friday, so we spent most of the day on Saturday with B's family to celebrate.  We spent the day swimming and then had dinner together.  I don't have a single picture, but it was a fun time!  Aniston and Colton were so cute playing together--I love that they're so close in age.

After church on Sunday, we had lunch at Bojangles' (Aniston's choice), and then did a little grocery shopping.  That night, we had my family over for barbecue and cornhole.

It was a fabulous holiday weekend filled with lots of fun and delicious food!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Bird and a Fern

Every summer, I buy ferns for our front porch.   To me, it's just one of those things that says summer.  It's one of my favorite things to do, and I just can't imagine not hanging them every year. 

Unfortunately, the birds can't imagine life without ferns either.

 A few days after the ferns were hung, I noticed there were more birds than usual hanging out around the front of the house.  No doubt, they were checking out the new additions and making plans to move in.

This happens every. single. year.  The birds ruin one side of each fern causing them to be lopsided (not to mention mismatched and ugly) and make it incredibly difficult to water because no one wants to drown baby birds.  (Even if their mamas have ruined my ferns and are covering my banister in bird poo.)

Determined not to have nests in the ferns this year, I turned to Pinterest.  Pinterest led me to believe that if I put plastic Easter eggs in them, a bird would think someone was already living there.

Happily, I dug out a few leftover Easter eggs, stuck them in the ferns, and marveled at my brilliance and the benefits of modern technology.  I was sure it was going to work.

The next day, I came home to find this.

The bird had kicked my egg out of the fern.

I was shocked.  The plan had not worked.  The bird had made a stand.

Now she thinks she owns the place, and likes to swoop and squawk every time I step onto the porch.

Every day, I water the ferns, then march back into the house fuming about the monster of a bird who scares the living daylights out of me daily on my own porchMy porch!  I'm not sure what I'm going to do, exactly, but it's going to be something. 

All of this makes me think about my papaw, and the year he declared war on the squirrels because they kept digging holes in his yard to bury nuts.  I remember all of us laughing and talking about how crazy he was with all the little tricks and traps he used to lure the squirrels back into the woods and away from his precious grass. 

Obviously, I get it now.  A person can only be pushed so far.

(I also think craziness might be hereditary.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Weekend

We had a really fun weekend!

On Friday, B's band had a gig, so Aniston and I had dinner with Nana and Papa and then watched a movie.  Aniston is in love with all the "Buddies" movies, but Super Buddies is her current favorite.

We spent most of Saturday at home, relaxing and doing a little cleaning and laundry.  Saturday evening, Aniston went to spend the night with Nana and Papa, and for the first time in years, I went to see B play a gig!  Before Aniston was born, I went all the time.  He recently joined a different band as the lead singer (you can check out their facebook page here), and I had been looking forward to seeing them play.  Brooke went with me, and we had a great time!  They played at a restaurant, so we ate dinner there and the food was wonderful.  I had saved calories all day in anticipation, and it was worth it!  The music was really good, and it was fun to have a grown up night.

Since Aniston was away, B and I skipped church and slept in.  It was fabulous.  I felt a little guilty, but it's something we never get to do anymore!  We picked Aniston up, had lunch, and then headed to B's parents house to swim.  I'm still trying to convince B we need a pool of our own....just like I do every year.  This year, though, I have Aniston in my corner.  She kept telling us she wished she had a pool at her house.  Maybe that's the push he needs!  Ha!  She loves the water, and is getting more confident by the day.  She even asked to go under twice yesterday, which surprised me.  It was such a fun, easy-going afternoon, and I loved spending time with my little family!

I'm looking forward to another fun week with Aniston and spending the 4th with friends!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Weekend

We had a great weekend!  Even though it's summer break, I still look forward to weekends.

On Friday, Aniston and I were on our way out the door to go grocery shopping when Mamaw and Papaw stopped by.  Aniston is such a homebody and never wants to go anywhere, so, naturally, she saw the opportunity in front of her and asked to go to their house instead.   That made the great-grandparents happy, of course, and Aniston was excited to get out of shopping.  Me?  I was thrilled!  I never, ever thought I could be so giddy over grocery shopping by myself, but over the last three years I've learned what a luxury it is.  Ha!

We spent most of the day on Saturday B's parents' pool.  We had a great time!  I don't have a single picture because I was in the pool, too.  Oh well!  Sometimes being in the moments is as important as taking a picture of it, right?

After church yesterday, we had lunch with my parents and Chelsea.  (Eric is at Kentucky Lake for the last tournament of the Walmart FLW Tour.) 

 Cute new dress from Mamaw Sandy and Papaw Barry!

Last night was the first night of Vacation Bible School.  I love watching Aniston learn and grow in the Lord, and I love watching her play with other kids.  Precious!  (Even if she is a little bossy.  Ha!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, y'all!

We had lots of fun celebrating Father's Day last weekend.  I'm so thankful for these wonderful men, and wouldn't know what to do without them. 

My daddy, who is the best dad a girl could ask for.  He has done--and continues to do--so much for me.  Even though he's a great dad, I think he's an even better Papa.  I love watching him with Aniston.  Sunday was his birthday, too!

Barry, my father-in-law, who raised an amazing man and gave him a great example of what a husband and father should be. 

And, of course, B.  I thought I couldn't love him more when it was just the two of us, but I was wrong.  He's a fantastic daddy to our little girl.  Aniston has no idea how lucky she is yet, but I do.

Last week, B found a snake in the garage.  He just happened to get home a few minutes before me (which never happens), so I'm glad he was the one to find it!  It was a small snake, though, which made me wonder if his mama was nearby.  Shudder.  I refused to park in the garage (or even walk through it) until B checked it from top to bottom and made sure mama snake wasn't hanging around waiting to give me a heart attack.  Thankfully, no other snakes were found and I can safely park in the garage again.

Our first week of summer break has been an adjustment.  I had to adjust to dealing with a three year old all day instead of seven and eight year olds, and Aniston had to adjust to being told, "no."  Apparently, I say "no," a lot more often than the great grandparents.  Who knew? 

After falling off the wagon, I'm back to working out and using My Fitness Pal (my username is asc10, if you use it too).   The end of school was busy and I was lazy.  Then there were teacher workdays, which meant several days of eating out.  It was a disastrous combination.  No more excuses now, though! 

Three is a really fun (and funny) age.  Everything is an adventure, and Aniston has a huge imagination.  She says and does the funniest stuff--like this week when I told her to 'hold her horses' when she was wanting me to do something right then.  She gave me a funny look, then walked to her rocking horse, grabbed its neck, and said, "Got it."  Too funny, and so literal! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Confessions

I took a bit of an unintentional blogging hiatus for a while.  (Like, a month and a half.  Oops!)   But I'm back!  And what better way to begin blogging again than Confessional Friday?  So, let's confess, shall we?

1.  I confess that while my blogging hiatus wasn't intentional, it also wasn't completely unexpected.  Things are always crazy around here the last month of school. 

2.  I confess that our chocolate lab has been getting out of her kennel by climbing the fence.  We couldn't figure out how she was escaping until we happened to see her do it one evening.  Have you ever seen an eighty pound dog scale a fence?  It's definitely a sight.  Bless her.

3.  I confess I'm excited about summer break....even though I know it won't be too restful or relaxing with Aniston!  Ha!  Seriously, though, I'm planning to soak in every minute of it.  One summer, she'll be grown and I'll be bored again.  I'll rest then. :) 

4.  I confess that living close to family is one of the best decisions we've ever made.  It's such a blessing for Aniston to be able to see her grandparents and great-grandparents pretty much any time she wants.

5.  I confess that it's a simple, quiet Friday night.  At one time, I was never happy staying home.  Now it's where I'm the happiest, and I love that.  Right now, I'm sitting on the screened-in porch and blogging while I listen to B play the guitar and work on lyrics.   Maggie is at my feet, her tail thumping against my chair.  And I'm just...content.  I'm looking forward to the weekend, Father's Day, and a summer filled with nights like this. 

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Annie's Homegrown: A Review

If you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of cooking.  I don't really enjoy it, and I'm not very good at it either.  (Just so you know how serious my cooking issues are, Kesha gave me a cookbook titled, How to Boil Water a few years ago.  It was an appropriate and appreciated gift.)

In January, I said that one of my goals this year was to be intentional...and that included being intentional about what my family eats.  That has been a hard one for me because convenience foods are, well, convenient.  It's easy to throw Bagel Bites in the oven, make Hamburger Helper, or--my personal favorite--just go out to dinner.

When Influenster sent an offer for our family to try an Annie's Homegrown frozen meal, I was pretty excited.  Annie's offers lots of organic products.  I had noticed them in the grocery store, but hadn't tried any. 

B and I chose to try the Shells and White Cheddar with Chicken.  The preparation was super easy--remove the meal from the box, place it on a baking sheet, and bake.  That's my kind of dinner prep!

It was really good!  Aniston loved it, and ate all of hers before leaving the table.  (Which is rare, because she's usually more of a grazer.)

We'll definitely be buying it again, and I'm eager to try the other products they offer.  If you're looking for a quick, easy meal that's still healthy for your family, you should give Annie's a try!

Disclaimer:  I received a voucher for a free Annie's Homegrown Family Size Frozen Entree from Influenster in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Birthday Review

I had a great birthday and birthday weekend!

B had class on my birthday, so I knew we wouldn't be able to do anything.  My mom, Kesha, and I had talked about having dinner, but Aniston had played in the sandbox that afternoon, was covered in sand (that's putting it mildly, really), and did not want to take a bath (again, putting it mildly).  I was beyond frustrated and feeling very blah about the whole thing, and called my mom to say forget dinner.  Mom tattled to Kesha (yes, tattled), who then called and told me I was not allowed to cancel (because after this many years, we've earned the right to say things like that to each other).

So I managed to get Aniston bathed and dressed, and we headed to dinner at Mi Pueblitos.  We had the best time with Mom, Chelsea, Kesha, Emily, and Clara!  It  was so fun and just...perfect.  I am so, so thankful to have all these wonderful girls in my life!

B came home from class with several surprises for me, and was so thoughtful.  I'm definitely a blessed girl. 

Kesha's birthday is March 27.  We have always loved our birthdays (no secret there), and celebrating them.  B and Matt tried to plan something this year, but had trouble coming up with ideas.  (We were told they had texts to prove they at least tried.  Bless their hearts.)

Lucky for them, Kesha and I have never had a problem with planning our own birthday celebrations. ;)

Compared to other years, this one was low-key.  The four of us went to PF Chang's on Saturday and it was so good.  

Earlier in the week, Matt suggested we go to The Cheesecake Factory for dessert after dinner.  I told Kesha I knew he was the right guy as soon as I met him, but this confirmed it.  Ha!

I don't have a single picture of the cheesecake because, really, who has time to take a picture of cheesecake?  Just for the record, though, I had the Dutch Apple Caramel Streusel, and it was amazing.

Also, in case you're wondering--why, yes, we did have two desserts that night.  And I was perfectly fine with it.

You only turn thirty once, right?  ;)