Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve Musings

New Year's Eve is a popular night for live music, so I've spent more New Year's Eves on my own than with B.  This year, he had decided he wouldn't play, but the owner of a restaurant called a couple of weeks ago and offered to double B's usual rate.  He couldn't quite turn that down since we're going to Disney World in a few months (shhh--Aniston doesn't know!) and are hoping to pay for it entirely with 'extra' money (from B's gigs, bonuses, Christmas money, etc.) rather than dipping into our account.  And, in case you didn't know, it costs a small fortune to go to Disney because apparently the happiest place on Earth is also the most expensive place on Earth.  The only good thing about spending that much money is that, after a point, you don't really have a problem adding things to your trip.  $150 for something else?  Done.  Upgrade the room? Sure.  Stay an extra night?  Why in the world wouldn't we?  

So, while B is playing, I'm at home with the girls.  Harper is finally sleeping after waking up multiple times because Aniston was being insanely loud.  Aniston is taking a bath because I'm determined to make it to church tomorrow, and there will not be time for a shower for her in the morning if that's going to happen.  (Also, please note that I said I'm determined to make it to church, not make it to church on time.  Making it to church on time happens about as often as unicorn sightings, which, in my experience, is never.  B serving as a part of the worship team is wonderful, but it leaves me getting the girls fed, clothed, and out of the house on my own.  And on Sunday mornings I'm outnumbered.  Which is exactly the reason we're planning to stop with two kids, because being outnumbered by small people tends to be dangerous.)  The schnauzers are losing their minds because of the New Year's shooters.

Me?  I'm blogging and doing more Disney planning, which seems to have taken over my life lately.  In fact, the other night, I was complaining about this awful pain in my neck and shoulder and couldn't figure out what I had done.  B sweetly pointed out how I sit with my laptop and the angle I turn my head.  Oh.  That's a pretty embarrassing sign that you've spent WAY too much time online.  But I digress.

2016 was a good year for us.  I know lots of people are ready to see it go for lots of different reasons, but I didn't really have a problem with 2016.  I can only hope that 2017 will be just as good, if not better.

Happy New Year, friends, and may you all make it to church on time tomorrow morning. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The week of Christmas, our tree died.  It was a traumatic experience for all involved, even Aniston, who, when asked on Tuesday if she was ready for Christmas, deadpanned, 'Our tree is dying.'

This started over the weekend, when we realized the tree had slowed its water consumption.  It was a tell-tale sign of bad things to come.  Ever the optimist, B insisted that it would be fine and could make it another week. By Sunday night, though, we decided that it was best not to turn on the lights because we're fairly smart people and no one wants to burn their house down with a Christmas tree.  I took all the stuff off the tree (ridiculous), B got the tree out of the house and put up the artificial tree, and I spent my first day of Christmas break redecorating said artificial tree (even more ridiculous).  While we were putting it up, though, I marveled at the ease of it all.  Three large pieces (snap, snap, snap), some fluffing, plugging in the pre-lit tree, and done.  Really, why don't we do this every year?

Once the tree was taken care of, I spent the rest of the week doing last-minute Christmas prep, which sounds nice and easy but is really a near-impossible task because, hello Harper.  But I persevered and by Friday, gifts were wrapped, cookies were made, and we were ready.

Our first Christmas celebration was on Christmas Eve's Eve, and the last was on Christmas night (which we ended up missing because of a fussy Harper who happened to finally decide to take a nap right before we needed to leave).  It's always a busy time, but we're blessed to have so much family.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, Aniston had been given a microphone, a bike, and a trampoline, among lots of other things, and Harper had just as much.  Who needs Santa when you have such awesome grandparents?! 

 Annual cousin picture at Mamaw and Papaw's.

This year, Aniston asked Santa for a tv, Legos, and a surprise.  On Christmas morning, she was thrilled with her surprise (a beanbag chair), her stocking stuff, and our gifts to her.  She didn't mention the tv at all!  When I finally asked her about it, she shrugged and told me she knew she was getting that--that's what she asked Santa for, after all.  Bless.  Harper understood the idea of presents this year, and had a great time ripping wrapping paper and pulling tissue paper from bags.

I don't have a lot of pictures because this year we did more videoing than picture-taking.  In fact, I only have one picture of the girls on Christmas morning.  I snapped it quickly in front of the tree before I had to change Harp's cute matching pajamas because of a diaper disaster.  Real life, friends.  Real life.

Now our house is full (when I thought we couldn't possibly get anymore toys in here), and so are our hearts.  It was a wonderful Christmas.

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 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


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!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Harper: Seven and Eight Months

Harp!  You're eight months old!  You are growing, growing, growing, little one.  Your little personality is beginning to develop and shine.  You are giggly and happy and just the sweetest little thing.

 Seven Months

Seven Months

Over the past two months, you've changed so much.  You started sitting up on your own at seven months.  (You weren't in any hurry to do that...and your 95th percentile head certainly didn't help matters.  Any time your head would start to go one way, your little body would follow!) You're not crawling yet, but I believe you'll start soon.  Until then, you've realized that you're able to get what you want by rolling.  I have to admit, it's pretty effective.  You're constantly grabbing things you're not supposed to have, and you are not happy when we take them from you.

You love your sister SO much!  You watch her constantly, and often cry when she walks away or leaves the room.  You love having her attention, and you think it's hilarious when she hula hoops or dances.

Jelly Cat is your favorite stuffed animal.  You love bathtime.  You love going places, and you don't mind the car seat at all.  You're very content to be pushed in your stroller, and you love to people watch.  You are the most easygoing baby!

Honestly, the only thing you don't like lately is to have your diaper changed.     

You wear 6-9 month clothing, and size 3 diapers.  You weigh a little over 19 pounds.

Eight months

We celebrated Mother's Day this month.  For the longest time, I wondered if I would ever be able to celebrate that day myself.  After Aniston was born, Mother's Day was the sweetest holiday for me. And this year, I have two precious girls.  I thank God for you and your sister every day.  I am so incredibly blessed to be your mama!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Catching Up: April in Review

I constantly promise myself that I'll blog more often, but it just isn't happening right now.  We're much too busy living life to sit and write about it, and, while I miss blogging, that's not necessarily a bad thing. :)  So I'm writing when I can and cutting myself some slack when it comes to such things.  Harper's monthly posts are usually behind, and I still haven't finished and published Aniston's birthday post (she turned five in March), but it's all okay. 

It's the first week of May, and I'm not sure how that happened exactly, other than we're too caught up in the day-to-day living to realize how quickly time is passing.  April was busy, fun, and full of good things.

Aniston's preschool class visited the elementary school she'll be attending in August.  It was a bit overwhelming for me to realize that she's thisclose to starting kindergarten, but I'm trying to be okay with it.  At least we'll be in the same school for the next six years--that's definitely one of the perks of being a teacher.  They toured the kindergarten classrooms, ate lunch in the cafeteria, and played on the playground.

Aniston also had her kindergarten screening this month.  Be still my heart.  How can it be time for kindergarten already?

Aniston had a couple of sleepovers with grandparents last month, and B and I enjoyed some time with just Harper.  That doesn't happen for Harper often (second child problems), and she loved having our undivided attention.

We also had a date night with just Aniston.  We took her to Kobe's, a Japanese hibachi restaurant.  It was her first experience there, and she was fascinated with the whole thing--except the fire.  When the chef started a large fire on the hibachi grill, Aniston dove under the table.  It was hilarious!  I've never seen her move that fast before, and we, with the chef's help, had to coax her back into her seat by promising that there would be no more fire.  Bless her.

And, of course, there has been lots of playing.  The older Harper gets, the more opportunities the girls have to play together.  It's the sweetest thing to watch them!