Saturday, December 31, 2016

Look How They've Grown! {2016}


What Worked and Didn't Work in 2016

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy (JUST KIDDING. After almost 10(!) years of blogging, I still don't know how to link up with other blogs) with what worked and what didn't work in 2016. 

What Didn't Work::

1. Wasted Evenings
Turns out I can't have a spotless kitchen, read a bunch of books and watch 3 hours of TV every night.

2. Dying My Own Hair
I'm embarrassed to admit that I tried and I should have listened to the many people online that screamed at me through my computer screen to not touch my hair with dye. After a few visits to my lady in SC, Annie, and mucho dinero, we're somewhere back to normal.  Lesson learned. 

3. Preschool Fun
I had grand plans to do fun learning with Caris this year (A letter every week! Apple pie to celebrate the letter A!) and I never quite followed through with it. There's still time though...

4. Small Group 
Without divulging too many secrets, we started a "Hey! There's a cheerio stuck to my butt too!" small group- families with young kids- and over time we lost our free babysitting and then our group was hit by the Baby Boom of 2016. There were 4 ladies in the group, including me, and the other three of them had babies within 3 months of each other. WHATISHAPPENING. We slowly dwindled and this semester I think we won't meet altogether for a bit. 

5. Not Critiquing Kent's Driving
UGH! Fail! No amount of spiritual pep talk or biting my tongue has kept me from making comments as the co pilot (He's a decent driver, too) so the big development in our marriage in the past few weeks has been...Kent making me drive when we go places together. I know.


What Worked::

1. Hosting Play Dates
I'm deeming 2016 the year of the Play Date! I hosted numerous ones- both one on one and larger groups. After I clean like a wild woman, it's really quite easy.. "Please come and destroy my play room and don't worry, we'll clean it up later." I've gotten to know some ladies from our church a lot better through them. 

2. Limiting My Phone Use During the Day and Social Media Altogether 
I found myself thinking, "HOLD ON LIZA I'm finding the perfect emoji to go with my text to Gigi!" a lot less this year. winkyface

3. Mom's Night Out
Without realizing it, I'd let out a long breath when I sat in the car to leave and even just a couple of hours each week helped me feel like a real person. I think this year I'll have more Mom's Nights In (where I sit in my bedroom and am off limits, but am unable to spend money on dumb things) and it will be almost just as awesome.  

4. Arriving Earlier to Church 
This was fairly easy- I made our "leave time" way earlier than I needed to (say, 9:30 for a 10 AM service and we live 5 minutes away) and I factored in 10 minutes extra for the commute. 5 minutes to get in the car without sweating or getting flustered and 5 minutes to get out of the car. More time needed if when Liza takes her shoes off in the car every.single.time.

5. Outings with the Girls 
The girls are at a magical age where they both have a decent attention span and Liza can keep up with Caris. We've hit our weekly stride with enough outings between the YMCA, parks, library story time, Disney, bible study and The Orlando Science Center to stay entertained, but not over exerted? Stimulated? Tired? Spoiled?  It's a lot of fun! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our Christmas Trip {In No Particular Order}

Naps and Disney movies on VHS for all! 
Give me all the festive little girl clothes
Also, Christmas jammies
Putting his engineering degree to good use. Also: tye dye turtleneck  
Christmas Story via the Jesus Story Book Bible 
Pops & Finn
Christmas Morn' 
Cousins by the dozens (Papa and Yaya are at 13 grandkids with #14 coming in July- not us) 
Keeping warm by Papa and Yaya's fire 
 Every year I get a lump in my throat when I put their stockings on their bed
 Per usual, we made one stop- this time to rid Caris' hair of the squirrel that found a cozy home
 ..while Liza drank coffee creamer
 Kent and my dad watched a Youtube tutorial on squeezing dog's anal glands (Merry Christmas)
 We went to Lights at the Zoo courtesy of Pops and Gigi's annual pass
 Small bubbles SNOW!!
 Cousins in Christmas jammies. Heart eyes.
 These two had fun together
 We introduced our kids to egg nog. Changing lives one sippy cup at a time.
 Stocking stuffers
 It was fun to watch Liza get into things this year
 Unwrapping the shopping cart, which they promptly fought over. CHRISTMAS CHEER Y'ALL.
 Our gift to Pops
 On Christmas Eve, Ma needed to crack a ton of eggs, but didn't want to wake my Dad up so she walked like...20 feet over to the living room...because cracking eggs is so loud. THEEND.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Currently

Making: Christmas cards this year 
Cooking: I took my kids to McDonalds today. Fist pump 
Drinking: I drank a large peppermint mocha while my kids played at McDonalds 
Reading: I just finished "Don't Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Kids"
Wanting: My dog to get better so we can travel (we're behind schedule!) 
Looking: For a stocking stuffer that I bought for the girls months ago. I'm my mother. 
Eating: I ate animal crackers dipped in icing today. TIS THE SEASON YOU GUYS.
Wishing: My daughter would grasp the concept that Christmas doesn't automatically equal snow 
Enjoying:  An empty house. Kent took the family on a walk. 
Thinking: About strategic packing. 2 adults, 2 kids and a dog in a Camry, it's about to get real. 
Celebrating: C H R I S T M A S
Loving: I love to see daughter #1 help daughter #2 unprompted "Here, I'll help you". I die. 
Hoping: My daughter isn't disappointed when Dec 25th is (probably) snow-less 
Needing: A hair cut. It's scheduled though!  
Listening: to Christmas music. Some people can really butcher the classics. 
Feeling:  Tired. Sick husband and sick dog and coughing child all night (last night) 
Wearing: T shirt and running shorts (once again an emphasis on the shorts, not the running) 
Watching: I need to fill my Christmas movie quota! It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown Christmas, While You Were Sleeping (all the heart eyes for Jack) <--- warning, he has aged. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An Update

I know you're on the edge of your seat waiting. Here's an update from last week.

I found our water bill + check (that I dated 11/16/16) in a pile of paper on my bedroom dresser. I feel 1% vindicated and 99% like Uncle Billy from It's A Wonderful Life.

We have no closure on the Fedex Fiasco, but our home and cars have remained in tact (alternate sentence: our neighbor is mad, but sane).

My sister A faithful blog reader noted that I can hook my water bill up to an automatic payment through my bank account. We are aware, but our company charges a couple of dollars for *each* withdrawal (Poo on you, Florida) but yes, it's probably cheaper than having to reconnect your water. 

The only hiccup this week, so far, happened today when Kent found five and half pounds of boneless chicken breast in my trunk from my shopping trip about 24 hours earlier. WINNING. Let's add that to the list..

Reasons Why We'll be Living in a Shanty Town When We are Old
1. Disney World Season Passes
2. $70 to reconnect water
3. 5.5 pounds of chicken breast left in car trunk
4. Goodwill

But enough about me.
Today we built a tent 
 And painted with shaving cream (This DID NOT TAKE AS LONG AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2 Highs & 2 Lows

From Today 12/7/16

High#1
Kent and I survived our second exercise class this week. You know the stance "slightly bent over, hands on the knees, face towards the ground, because this is simply kicking my butt"? Yah, I did that a handful of times. There's a high possibility that we're going to need medical assistance to get out of bed tomorrow morning.

High#2
We snagged a picture of both girls looking at the camera. If you want a Christmas card, send me a stamp. har har har 

deep breath 

Low#1
Since we're honest here and judgement-free, we had our water turned off today.  Laugh along side me, please. At first I thought, "Something's wrong with our fridge!" and then "Lemme google water problems+our zip code" until it finally hit me. After I realized my failing transgression boo boo oopsie daisy mistake, I taught my daughter how to give thanks in all circumstances stress eat. We put away a bag of potato chips, two oreos and three fun size kit kats.   The girl can eat some chips! winkyface I had changed my tune by the time I saw Kent. I reasoned with him, "I can't be a perfect wife, perfect mother AND pay my water bill on time. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE" He was more upset that I ate "his" chips than about our unpaid bill. Kent, with his awesome flexible random Wednesday schedule, ran by the office and paid our debt. It was back on by 6PM today. The annoying funny thing is that the (already late) bill and check is filled out, ready to go and hiding somewhere. We'll find it in three months.

Low#2
While we were waterless, a neighbor I'd never met, knocked on the door and asked me if I had her package that was delivered to my house an hour ago (we have similar addresses) I told her sorry, I never saw her package, but I did see the FedEx guy talking to the neighbor across the street while I was in the backyard raking leaves. Later, while I was at the library, the FedEx guy came back and asked Kent if we took the package and that our neighbor was considering calling the police. HELLOO. I had myself innocent, in an orange jumpsuit having a Netflix documentary made about me. We haven't heard anything since. If we were characters in a game of Clue, my guess is the person that hung the "Your water has been disconnected" sign on my doorknob. Sorry, I couldn't steal your package, I was too busy dying of thirst and smelling like someone who survived their second exercise class of the week.

Have any of you ever had your water turned off? Or something similar? Even forgot to feed your pet one morning? Please leave a comment or send me an email. I'm looking for some solidarity! And more potato chips

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Lately

We bought a tree! We began to sweat in the Home Depot jumbo tent and had to remind ourselves that yes, it is Christmas time. 
 Right off the bat we broke an ornament again this year. It's a new tradition! 
Liza had her first hair cut. She lost her baby mullet ( but on her good hair days, she still had her beautiful baby curls) Moment of silence, please. 
 The after shot. We're looking to order her cap and gown tomorrow. 
Somebody hold me. 
 I tried to take a picture to put in our Christmas card and it ended like this. Hence, the stack of cards on my dresser. 
Other honorable mentions... 
-Two of Kent's brothers came down for the weekend (for the Clemson game in Orlando). We ate donuts and pizza and had ourselves a real good time 
-Kent and I spent today hobbling around after our first Body Combat class
-Our neighbor gave us a huge (five feet tall, maybe?) doll house. It's hiding in the garage and Caris doesn't know yet
-The forty cookies are baked in preparation for my first ever Christmas brunch/Cookie decorating play date Wallapalooza (on Thursday)
ho ho ho 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December

Disclaimer: This is coming from someone who went to Target at 8PM on Thanksgiving night to purchase seven copies of *Suits Christmas Spoiler Alert! Finding Dory at the request of my mother in law. The same person that just an hour ago purchased new sneakers on a random Thursday night. To say this list is written by a hypocrite is putting it lightly. Onward ho.

5 ways to have the December of your dreams

1. Avoid the unavoidable 
Ugh, you guys, commercialization! Avoid being bombarded by all things money by having a  budget/price cap, a gift list and shopping online(We don't even have Amazon prime and I'm singing its praises) If you must shop in stores, do so right when they unlock the doors or right before they lock them at night. If you find yourself grabbing your keys on a Saturday afternoon at 1PM, immediately put your wallet and keys in a large vat of water and carefully place it in the freezer. Then sit your buttocks down on the sofa and have peace in your tiny corner of the earth. I'm also a fan of buying Christmas gifts in April. If it's a perfect gift eight months out, it'll still be perfect when the bells are jingling.

2. Direct your attention elsewhere
Elsewhere being Jesus, obviously. winkyface Create an advent reading schedule, read the Christmas story again and again, play with a felt nativity play board. Whatever helps remind you that Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born of a virgin Mary, was crucified for sinners, rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God the father. Amen.

3. Find your holiday niche
In light of the previous paragraph, what superficial winkyface thing brings you holiday joy? Baking? Listening to endless Christmas music? Only writing with red and green pens for twenty-five days? DO THAT THING. And limit the things that only bring you moderate holiday joy. For me, it's Christmas music.

4. Stop when it isn't enjoyable
You hear of people that have an endless stream of jazzy jingle bells all month. Or the ones that make seventy variations of cookies and pass them out in vintage tins. Do all the things, but stop when it isn't fun anymore. When you're tempted to kick a small pigeon because Third Day is playing "O Holy Night" again or you find yourself thinking, "If I have to flip one more cookie off this baking sheet", just stop. I can listen to three Christmas songs in a row and then I have to turn it to another station. No holiday shame. Hello Tim McGraw.

5. Remember where you're headed
My Mentor preached a sermon many moons (like, a year+) ago that still resonates today. In a way that butchers his thoughts completely, he said that we try to obtain heaven on earth through perfect events. Christmas days that would make Martha Stewart weep with happiness, birthday parties that would put every Pinterest board to shame. We put expectations/stress on get togethers and then disappointment/bitterness/anger arise when things don't go the way we think they should. Let's long for life eternal(the ultimate Christmas party), through Jesus, and hold all things loosely.

Now excuse me while I go break in my new sneaks 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving

Before I delve into a Thanksgiving recap, I pause to recognize that some of my readers are going through some pretty sad/hard/intense/scary times right now. If my blog provides a mindless distraction, read on. But if you need to leave for a while, I understand and I welcome you back at any time. End pause.

We celebrated Thanksgiving all together for the first time in about six years, if my calculations are correct. We had two special visitors, Karen (Karan? Karin?) and Robin. Robin, please forgive me as your group picture is lost somewhere between my email account and desktop folder entitled "blog, despite multiple attempts to find it.  

Let's zoom in on the lovable wacknuts with whom I share a home. Prayers appreciated. ha ha 
Pre-meal baseball with Pops
A turkey tutu shirt?! Stop it.
The concentration and zeal that Ben put into peeling the potatoes was not lost on us.
This was PAB. Pre Ant Bite. A small army of fire ants attacked Cruz. Bless him.
Story time with Aunt Anna. Parenting Rule #73 "If, while in the presence of extended family, your child asks you to read them a book, you have the right to request that the extended family member read said book."
After the meal we sat around, drank coffee, ate cheesecake and yakked it up like real adults.
While the babies napped, Big Sis enjoyed a private viewing of Lady and the Tramp. It was a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Things I Found

I found Caris' roast recipe propped up on her kitchen using her piggy bank
 I found Caris multitasking- a little toilet time and lipstick application 
 I found Liza riding Patch complete with repetitive "'Iddyup!"s
 I found dad and daughter chatting on the back porch 
 And I found Liza stuffing her Lovey in a ziplock bag