Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End

Despite any cheesiness, I'm starting my last post of the year with my favorite version of Auld Lang Syne. I love listening to this song while reflecting on another year that has quickly passed.
2012 was a good year. My first instinct is to say that it was just a decent year.  But then when I really think about it, I realize that I'm being ridiculous because the stressful times are outweighed by the many good things. E. J. and I both started new jobs this year (on the same day), we traveled to New England for a wonderful trip to visit family and friends and we are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to be parents to the best little girl in the world. I'd say that makes for a great year.
12/27/12
*I don't like going too crazy with the New Year's Resolutions, but with my favorite elastic waist stretchy pants feeling a bit tight, perhaps the oh-so-popular resolution of trimming down would be a good idea, especially since I will celebrate my 30th birthday this year. And by trimming down, I mean continuing to work on feeding my family healthy meals and enjoying food (in moderation) and in return, hopefully seeing a difference in myself (on multiple levels).

*I'd also like to get more into reading (which I realize might sound weird to some people). Let me clarify: I read magazines and articles (mostly online) but I don't really sit down to read books.

I've always liked the idea of being a reader who snuggles up with some tea/hot chocolate/coffee (hellloooo, I got a Keurig for Christmas this year, which is the perfect reading accessory). I've thought about becoming an avid reader a lot but never actually acted on it (how's that for lazy?) because I have a hard time sitting down without thinking about a million other things I need to be doing, such as watching TV. I have many books on our bookshelf that I've been waiting (I'm not sure "waiting" is the right word) to read and the upcoming year would be an excellent time to dig into them.

*I'd also like to work on being more present. I have become a pro at being somewhere physically without being there mentally, if you know what I mean. It's not a good thing to be great at and I'm  annoyed with myself because I tend to not be present, a lot.

I successfully completed my 2012 Resolution, Project 52, despite being painfully behind (since life got in the way for about 6 months). I won't bore you with the remaining pictures right now, but will bore you will them in the upcoming weeks. It will feel really great to finish up the documentation knowing that I actually finished up the project I set out to complete.

I think 2013 will be filled with great things and I hope it is just as great for you.


                                                               Source: whatchathinkaboutthat.tumblr.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Entertaining: Not a Form of Entertainment

The days leading up to Christmas Eve caused my body to be in intense pain. My ankle felt like it was sprained, my back was killing me, and I could barely walk on Christmas Eve because my feet hurt so badly. You would think this was caused by a crazy workout. Don't be silly. This was because I was cleaning like a maniac for days. FYI - staying up to 2 a.m. multiple days while cleaning and baking does a number on your body.

You would think that I'm complaining but despite my body being in pain, I actually enjoyed every second. It was my idea to host Christmas Eve at our house this year and from the moment it was confirmed that we were hosting, my planning hat was on. I'm an entertainer at heart.

I recently came across a quote that is now one of my favorites "If you think it's easy to do something simple, it's not" -Unknown. I find this to be incredibly true from the work I do in career to something like putting together a party. Simply put, it's no easy task to make it come all together.

Before I went on Christmas break, I made 20 loaves (15 pictured) of cranberry orange bread to give out to people in my immediate office as well as some other friends. I don't think I'll need to reference the recipe ever again because I'm pretty confident that it's forever ingrained in my head.
On Christmas Eve Day I made up some cinnamon rolls with a maple icing with the intention to hand them out to everyone as they left our house. Did I remember to give them to anyone? No. I completely forgot. Apparently entertaining also turns you into an idiot. But I did manage to give them out to everyone on Christmas afternoon.
Kathryn and I also made up some iced sugar cookies that she could set out for Santa. 
I also forgot to set these out with the other desserts. Nice.
Talking to Sally, the Elf on a Shelf, one last time before she headed back to the North Pole.
The rest of Christmas Eve Day was me running around (but actually staying right on schedule). E. J. was working an off-duty job and was gone a majority of the day, but I somehow managed to complete nearly everything. Nearly.

The Christmas Eve menu was:

Appetizers:
Pigs in a blanket (a must-have for E. J.)
Brushetta (it didn't happen - guests arrived 30 minute early and suddenly my kitchen was crowded and I couldn't prepare it, sadly)
Chutney
Cheese, crackers, and grapes

Dinner:
Lasagna
Green beans
Garlic bread
Scalloped potatoes
Salad
Beef tenderloin (the only picture I got of the meal, below - precooked, obviously)
Dessert:
Fudge
Peanut butter cups
Double chocolate cheesecake
Frosted sugar cookies (as previously mentioned, also forgot to put those out)

I was happy with how everything turned out, especially because I had never made a lasagna, scalloped potatoes or beef tenderloin before. Perhaps Christmas Eve at our house may be a new tradition. If so, I'm all for it, even if it means I'm unable to walk by the end of the night.
The only Christmas Eve picture from that evening. Cool cowgirl.
After the guests left, we started the Christmas Eve preparations.
Cookies for Santa
FaceTime with Nana, Pop Pop, and Uncle Sam. Laugh-filled, of course. 
Wish we could have been together.
The Night Before Christmas
 Obligatory last minute Christmas gift assembly (a new easel!)
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Magic

I don't know how Christmas is right around the corner, but time is simply going by too fast. Cliche? Yes, but it's reality. Work shows no signs of slowing down and neither does Kathryn. So when a rare night approached that we would all be home together, we scheduled our second annual outing to see the lights and visit Santa.
Fake snow: check
Hayride: check

Millions of lights: check
Actual Christmas-y weather that allowed it be acceptable to drink hot chocolate: check
And of course, Santa: check
 
Although K insisted she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap leading up to the this picture (and even suggested that she sit in my lap and Santa could take our picture) she did surprisingly well after a brief moment of being nervous. I was so impressed!
Texans love Christmas. Texans also love Texas.
This picture makes me ridiculously happy.
I just need to accept that Christmas is going to be here before we know it. Despite the hustle of the holiday season, we'll be trying to keep the next 10 days just as magical.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dear Santa

Christmas is in full effect in our house. K has named our Elf on a Shelf, Sally. Sally moves to a new location each night after reporting to Santa and Kathryn makes it a point to find her each morning. As she's searching for Sally, she says "I'm lookiiiinnnggg, I'm lookiiinngggg...." until she finds her (and she's really good at locating Sally).

With Christmas right around the corner, the excitement is most definitely escalating. We performed the very important task of writing Santa's letter yesterday morning. Word for word, K's letter reads:

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good girl this year. Can you please bring me:
  • Presents
  • A baby doll
  • Play doh
  • A tea set
And that's it, okay?

Love,
Kathryn

That last line had as much attitude as you're imaging when she said it out loud. I hope Santa doesn't mind.

After the letter was signed and sealed, we went to deliver. The post office had a special mailbox for letters to Santa and she knew just what to do.

Christmas is at a whole new level this year. And you know what? They're right. Christmas is so much more fun experiencing it with your own child who is soaking it all in, one traditional at a time.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Project 52: Week 29

Toys. They provide endless entertainment for Kathryn and endless messes for us. Toys are really just expensive clutter. I've never taken the chance to go through all of her toys and weed out the items she's outgrown, so I did just that for week 29 of Project 52.
At any given time, this room may or may not look like this...
No, I'm not dumb and didn't think that her toys would end up staying like this. I didn't even have a chance to take this picture while Kathryn was still napping. Just as soon as I was about to take it, she woke up from a nap and wondered why I had this box of toys on the mantle. I quickly distracted her and brought them to the spare bedroom. Plus, this is a good time of year to be weeding out the toys. It gives me the chance to donate to the kiddos who need them more than she does and make room for Christmas gifts.
Happy Friday, from my trouble maker.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Tis the Season

Call me crazy, but I'm not crazy about Thanksgiving. Of course I love the family time, delicious food, and the extra long weekend off from work, but Christmas - glorious Christmas - is what I yearn for every year. To say that I love this time of year would be a complete understatement.

On the day after Thanksgiving, we kicked off the Christmas season with some shopping. I'm not really a Black Friday shopper but we did end up getting a couple of deals. Mainly, K and I headed into town to pick up some items we needed (fun stuff like paper towels and cotton balls).

Our trip to Target turned into the coolest trip to Target I've ever taken when we ran into Rico ('Manny from Modern Family) and Raini Rodriguez. Kathryn was weirded out why her mother would put two strangers in front of her and take a picture, but they couldn't have been sweeter!
As we were checking out at Target, Kathryn asked me what I was putting on the conveyor belt. I told her that we were buying paper towels. She then turned to the cashier and told her "those are paper towels for my daddy's boogies". In related news, Kathryn makes my days a lot more interesting.

The day after Thanksgiving also means hauling the decorations out of the closets. I just loved Kathryn's excitement the entire time we decorated. She was awe the magic that only Christmas can deliver.
Admiring her work

For a few years I've wanted to buy an Elf on a Shelf and finally did this year. It couldn't have been a more perfect time to buy 'her'. If you're not familiar with this fun tradition, it's a neat way to countdown to Christmas (and excellent reminder for kiddos to behave because Santa's Elf is watching). 

As the story goes, the Elf arrives each morning in a different spot to watch over the children in house and then reports back to Santa each night. You can tell the Elf secrets (let her know what you want for Christmas) but to preserve the magic of the Elf, you can't touch her (we have a 'her' but you can also get a 'him'). I can't even count the amount of times that Kathryn has turned to the Elf and said "she's watching me. I'm being a good girl".
The rest of our weekend was low-key. We took walks, played, cleaned, snuggled (this is Kathryn's new thing - she must be snuggled until she falls asleep for naps and bedtime), and I watched more of K's personality unfold.
She tells me this is her 'dig site'.
We knew that Kathryn has a sensitive side, but in the last few days I've seen her show even more sensitivity. If I have to raise my voice and say 'no' to her, major feelings are hurt. "My tears are falling down" is often what happens and once they're wiped away, all is well. So sweet and sad at the same time.

There were more smiles than tears this weekend, though. 

Kathryn loves to pretend she's the mommy to her baby. She knocks on the front door, I invite her into the house, she takes care of her baby and tells me she has to go to work and run errands. When I asked her where she works, her response? "I help people with their taxes". WHAT?!?

While she was drawing a picture, I kindly asked her where one of the market caps were. Her response? "Just relax, Momma. Don't be crazy." We've entered into a whole new stage.

Christmas (and apparently adulthood for Kathryn) here we come!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

By now, everyone is probably done celebrating Thanksgiving and I hope you find your belly full, comfy clothes on, and have a long weekend away off from work.

Earlier this evening, Kathryn and I had a chat that I captured on my phone. Since I can't exactly put into words what I'm thankful for, this does a pretty good job of summing it up.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Five Years

It's been one week since we celebrated our five year anniversary. I can't believe it's been five years. Five great years. Five years since our family and friends so generously traveled to spend our special day with us. Five years of so much change. New jobs, a new house shortly after we were married, a new truck (thanks to E. J.'s truck catching on fire nearly five years ago - we like to keep it interesting, I guess), and of course the greatest new addition that made us a family: Kathryn.

Two weekends ago we made our way to Austin for a quick overnight stay. Free weekends are hard to come by with E. J.'s work schedule and life in between, so when we had a weekend open to celebrate E. J.'s 30th (which happened in September) and our fifth anniversary, we jumped on it.

Austin is one of my favorite cities. It's filled to the brim with lots of awesomely weird (read: unique) people and has the ability to pretty much soak up all your time if you just wanted to people watch. Austin is about a two hour drive from us and it's as if you've entered into a whole different county. And I love it!

It may have just been a quick 24 hour trip, but it was nice to get away together. We walked all over downtown, ate some delicious Mexican food, and enjoyed escaping reality for a bit. 
 Clearly, she has better things to do
 I kid you not, as soon as she saw this Brooks Brother's window display she yelled out 
"I want these for Christmas". She has her mother's taste.
I'm so glad we managed to enjoy some celebrating the week prior to our anniversary because our actually anniversary celebration was more like the "real life" celebration. And I mean the word 'celebration' very loosely...

Last Friday night, Kathryn started tugging at her ear and telling me that it hurt. Later on that night she had a 102 fever. Mind you, she has also had a cold which has basically been on and off (more on than off) since August. On Saturday (our anniversary) morning, just as E. J. was getting home from work, I was getting Kathryn ready to head to the doctor. I was also getting a cold myself, but wasn't overly worried about it.

At the doctor we learned that she had a double ear infection and bronchitis (her third ear infection in three months, also the third ear infection she's ever had). Keep in mind, we were at the doctor the prior Saturday (before we left for Austin) because Kathryn was throwing up the night before. I haven't even bothered to add up the co-pays and prescription costs in the past four months because I'd prefer not to know. But on the upside, the pharmacist now knows me by name, so that's nice, right?

Once we got the new round of antibiotics we headed home for a quiet afternoon. 'Quiet' mainly so we didn't wake E. J. In order to make our day somewhat special, I made some yummy southwest tilapia and E. J.'s favorite, pineapple upside down.

We ate our dinner like we were celebrating our 60th anniversary - at 5pm. Why so early? Well, right after dinner E. J. had to get ready for work and then head out for the night.
Once E. J. was out the door to work, I got Kathryn ready for bed and after she fell asleep, I decided it would be a good time to run the self-cleaner on the oven. About a minute after I started it, the digital screen told me there was an error and the door lock wouldn't unlock. Great. Long story short, $300 later, the oven will be fixed on Monday. A week without an oven has made this baking-loving girl go a little crazy.

Despite the oven costasphe, I continued the 'celebrating' with a lovely glass of hot tea with honey, OJ, vitamins, and NyQuil. For two weeks leading up to this night, I had this headache that just would not go away and then I got this cold. But, when my cold went away this week and the headache got worse and worse, I finally made myself go to the doctor.
The doctor assured me there was nothing wrong other than a sinus infection. Who would have thought a sinus infection could hurt so badly and last 3.5 weeks. I'm talking I-can't-concentrate-because-there's-so-much-pressure-built-up-in-my-head-every-waking-moment-that-I-think-it's-going-to-explode kind of pain . Thankfully, he prescribed me some antibiotics and steroids that have worked wonders. I can finally say that I'm feeling like myself again. It's wonderful being able to go through the day without constantly thinking how badly my head hurt.

I can't say that our anniversary was exactly what I hoped it would be, but this week especially has made me quite thankful for our health (after a follow-up appointment, K is being referred to an ENT specialist, so we're hoping for the best!) and how lucky we are to have each other. If that isn't enough to make you realize how lucky you are to have been married for five great years and be the parents of one special little girl, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project 52: Week 28

Whew! I am BE. HIND. in the blogging department. Lately, after Kathryn falls asleep I try to sneak in some work to be relatively caught up for next day at work and then crash into my bed like nobody's business.

This weekend I was able to sneak in a quick Project 52. We haven't been watching much TV in our living room, mainly because over a year ago our flat screen broke and we haven't replaced it yet. However, we've borrowing my MIL's TV. It's an older box TV and although it's nice that we haven't had to buy one, I'm not a fan of watching TV in the living room with that TV - I'd prefer our bedroom...even though you're not 'supposed' to have one in there. Oh well.

Our entertainment stand has been severely neglected since we're not using that area much, so I went through, (did some major dusting) and weeding out and suddenly it became much more presentable!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Half-Way to Three

Yesterday we celebrated Kathryn's 2.5 birthday with her traditional half-cake.

The poor thing has been sick the past few days. Throwing up, upset stomach, head cold, the works.  Thursday night she really only preferred throwing up in our bed. After going through two sets of sheets and doing laundry at 2:30 a.m., things finally calmed down for the next few hours. But she's been handling it all like a champ.

She was also a superstar with potty training this weekend as well. But as soon as I dropped her off at school this morning and reminded her to keep up the great work with potty training, she told me she "I'll just go on the potty at home, mommy". So there's that current challenge.

Otherwise, our not-so-little 2.5 year old is simply a great kiddo. E. J. calls her our little politician because she won't give you a straight answer on anything. Most of her sentences start out with "maybe". Who are your friends at school, Kathryn? "Maybe Keaton, and Miles". What did you have for lunch today? "Maybe pasta". What did you do at school today? "Maybe I played outside". Will you use the potty today? "Probably tomorrow".


When she was done she kindly reminded me that "You can probably pack me some cake for lunch at school tomorrow, mommy". Nice try, kid.

So very thankful for this little girl, even if the smile on her face was brought on by her love of Psy's 'Gangnam Style'. If you are looking for one of the weirdest things you've even seen, you need to check out his viral video here. We usually hear the song on your way home each day. I'm not sure what it says about my parenting, but I can't help but keep the song on the radio if brings a smile this big to her face.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days: 31 - Happy Halloween...And I've Done It!


1) I did it - 31 consecutive days of blogging! It's been quite the adventure and I'm really glad I committed and completed it. 

2) I really wanted to be sleeping right now, but I accidentally fell asleep with Kathryn in her bed. She demanded I snuggle with her and I couldn't say no to that.

3) Happy Halloween! At the beginning of the week, we attended a Halloween party for the kiddos of employees where I work. 

Excitement was most certainly in the air. After eating out, we transformed Kathryn into a ladybug (in   E. J.'s truck) and headed over to the event. She started out a little timid because of the big crowd, but eventually warmed up. However, things went south, fast. Kathryn told us in tears "My tushy hurts. I need Desitin". She insisted we needed to go home. However, after a trip to the bathroom (in which I did absolutely nothing to assist her with her problem) she told me that she was "all better" within a few moments of us getting into the bathroom. She even added that she was "ready to fly now" (that was in reference to E. J. explaining to her earlier that she had wings). Oh, this girl...
 All is well again

The night ended on a high-note and I think Kathryn had a lot of fun. Seconds after we walked in the front door, Kathryn opened the tootsie roll wrapper (by herself) and enjoyed every last bite of it. Mess in the background brought to you by K, the ladybug herself.
Thanks so much for joining along with the 31 Days Series. It's been fun documenting the little happenings in our life over the past month.