Monday, November 28, 2011


It's beginning to look a whole lot like Christmas. I have been chomping at the bit for the Christmas celebrations to finally begin and finally the day arrived. We took advantage of every moment we had with Aaron home and filled our weekend to capacity. In normal holiday fashion we kicked things off with Grace opening and modeling her Christmas jammies from Mema and Poppy. A pair that matches all of her cousins.
Friday morning, while others rested and recovered from their black friday extravagnazas, we went out to breakfast. Can you guess where?
When it comes to visiting Santa, Bass Pro is the way to go in my opinion. We stood in a short line. I kept my fingers crossed that Grace wouldn't freak out like last year. We pointed Santa out, overly mentioned that he was "So nice!" but as we walked down to see him Grace exclaimed, "I'm scared of Santa." So Aaron held her and she was just fine with that. This Santa was awesome. Just look at his face. We ran into Santa over by the bathrooms. As we crossed paths Grace said "Hi, how are you?" Santa: "I'm good, and you?" Grace: "Good." Perhaps next year we should just cruise by Santa and exchange pleasantries and have the camera guy snap a picture, because that is more Grace's style.
Reindeer carousel. Have I mentioned that the above picture and carousel rides are free. Seriously, I love Bass Pro Shop. And they aren't even paying me to say these things.
We spent hours on Saturday morning going through and reorganizing our files. This has nothing to do with the holidays but it felt awesome to get rid of all that stuff. We shredded bags and bags worth of paper and created a to do list a mile long to check and double check and get up to date. I must be an adult because I found all of that really exciting and felt awesome afterwards.

We found out over the holiday weekend that my brother-in-law Cade was offered and accepted an incredible job offer at a dental practice in Houston. My heart broke a little but we are so excited for them and this new adventure. They flew back into town and movers came on Saturday to pack up their things. We drove up to see them before they Left
 Grace asked about Stacey every single day that she was in Arizona. It's going to be an interesting adjustment for her when we can't seem them a few days a week.
We already miss them terribly. Only one day in and I have already thought multiple times how much I wished I could go to her house and hang with her and the kiddos.

We closed out our weekend with more Christmas related activities. Like watching The Grinch and Elf, making wassail, and filling our apartment with the colors red, white, and green.

The Christmas music is jammin' at our house and our countdown chain is getting shorter and shorter. Grace and I shed a tear as Aaron went back to work, but we know we'll get him back when the holiday gets closer.

26 Days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, and 10 seconds.
But who is counting? Right?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thanks and Food

Last night Aaron and I hid the 12 Turkey's for the Turkey Hunt. Each spot obvious enough for Grace to see it, but tricky enough to keep it exciting. So first thing in the morning, Grace went a huntin' for some Turkeys. She had a blast locating each one. We had to help her and give her obvious clues, "What about in the Bathroom, Gracie?" She asked to keep looking for them long after she had already found them. And yes, Aaron and I laminated the Turkeys. It seemed like a must with a toddler. Don't let the bored-out-of-her-mind look on Grace's face fool you, I swear she enjoyed it.
While the parade played in the background we made a breakfast of pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes, hash browns, and mushroom monterey jack eggs. Aaron did all the dishes. Husband of the year.

We got our goods together and headed out to our Group Thanksgiving. A lovely gathering of families who were Texas transplants and not heading out of town to celebrate. The kids table was bumpin'.
We kept our Barnard tradition alive and made sure to get DDPs on tap .
The food spread was, for lack of a better phrase, crazy legit. Every base was covered. It was an amazing sight to see.
Our celebration was so crazy awesome that the missionaries were there. Holler.
We sported our Turkey trot shirts, and for the second month in a row we got a family picture. High fives all around.
The rest of our celebration involves football, skyping with our families, scarfing down leftovers, more football, and watching Christmas Vacation. Sounds like a pretty awesome holiday to me.

Did I mention that Aaron did all the dishes including clearing out the dishwasher multiple times. Yeah, he knows how to make this woman happy.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Preparation

I love the days leading up to a holiday. They feel different in a special, kind of magical, way. Everyone is busy, hustling here and there. More cars are on the road. Aisles are packed from Target, to Walmart, to Costco, and everything in between. Although everyone is in different stages, phases, and modes of celebration it fun to think that we are all unified in our efforts to celebrate Thanksgiving. I love that.

We have been busy with our Thanksgiving preparation as well. My Mom and sister sent our "Turkey Trot" Shirts despite our little family not being able to participate. We will cheer the other members of my family from afar as they run their little hearts out in Arizona on Thanksgiving morning.
Couldn't resist those cheeks. They were begging to be kissed.
On Monday I ran from store to store collecting the necessary items that I need to bring for our group Thanksgiving. The weather was dreary and hazy all day. While shopping at Costco it turned into a torrential downpour. I meandered a cart, umbrella, small child, and food items through the parking lots during the storm. We were quite the sight. I'm pretty sure my shoes were never intended to be in the rain since about two step outside I could feel the water squishing between my toes.
With the hustle and bustle there are people leaving town, and those coming into town. Because the world is so small sometimes, I was able to catch up with family friends that I haven't seen in years. All the while chatting with the lovely hostess and having Grace run around like a mad woman and eat all snacks in sight. I had an absolute blast (Thank you Markham Family!).
Yesterday I did six loads of laundry and today I plan on cleaning, because by the time Thursday rolls around I want nothing occupying my mind so I can soak in the festiveness and every single minute that Aaron has off from work.

Between bouts of cleaning and corralling I am crafting up a storm. Tomorrow we will have a Turkey hunt and a rousing game of Pin the Feather on the Turkey, to really work up our appetites.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving is on the Horizon

So apparently Thanksgiving is on Thursday. When did this happen? Was I too busy frolicking in Target to noticed the days of November ticking steadily by? I can't tell you how many conversations I had with people that involved the line "Thanksgiving is next week, can you believe it?!" One too many, I'd say. But it is here and this is the eve of Thanksgiving week. I pulled out my Thanksgiving decoration. There is no "s" on the end of that word because I only have one Thanksgiving related decoration. But I threw together the 5 pumpkins from Halloween (yes, I still have them), and a fall craft that Grace and I made and called it a day. Maybe one day I'll splurge on more Thanksgiving decor.

This may or may not be a Christmas Countdown Chain, but the colors of November and Thanksgiving are honored, so I felt like it applied to the decor.
And the shining star. Happy Pilgrim folk ready for the feast of their lives. Thank you to my Mother and D.I. for this incredible find.
For all of my lack of celebration this year, I really do love this holiday. The parade, the football games, the food, conversation, friendship, and family (mine are all in Arizona this year), it's all wonderful. I love waking up and filling my kitchen with good smells and having Aaron and Grace all to myself for an entire day. It's fun to think about and discuss all the things that you're truly grateful for, the things that really matter. And anything that involves pumpkin pie with whipped cream receives a gold star in my book.

I can't wait for Thursday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Memory Box

When my sister moved here last December my Mom snuck two boxes full of my crap stuff onto her moving truck. Since then they have sat in my sisters garage untouched. She has lived here almost a year and I figured it was high time I dug through them to figure out which items were for "keeps."

There were lots of things in there. Handouts from girls camp, a box full of notes from friends in high school (thank you Meredith and Julia for constantly keeping me entertained), journals, pictures, ribbons from old swim meets. Pretty much everything that you would have from your growing up years. I quickly sifted through items, my 8 year old niece laying claim to the "cool" stuff that I no longer wanted or needed. Everything else was divided into two piles: trash and keeps.

I always find it amazing the things that I could care less about and the things I can hardly stand to part with. After about an hour and a half, two boxes were slimmed down into one bag. And in that bag there were some awesome things.

A picture of my Mom and her older brothers.
My best friend when I was little, Megan, and I on a camping trip. Do you see my completely untamed coiffure? Can you now understand why I don't go camping? Although the crazy colored stretchy pants I'm rocking are pretty rad.
 My official high school graduation picture. Which was almost 8 years ago, wow.
I was thrilled to see that Aaron's Senior picture survived. He gave this to me 10 years ago. Ah, the good old days of top highlights.
In mine and Aaron's "story" I always mention that Aaron "might have written me" while he was in the Mission Training Center. I now have my hands on the actual letter. Proof that he did in fact write me then.
There was a large pile of journals that I had kept way back in the day. I heavily debated whether or not I would keep them. When I was in 6th and 7th grade I was meticulous about keeping a journal. I wrote down every thought I had. I kept journals for the years following but they were spotty. But the years you want to forget. The years that you were awkward and unattractive, and desperate for attention. Those years I kept in full details. The contents of those journals were beyond embarrassing. I sent pictures to my sister after I came home and we laughed about the absolutely ridiculous things that I said. When Aaron came home I was in tears from laughing so hard. Mind you these stupid things were written in a journal with cats all over it. I had a list of things that I was Thankful for, Heavenly Father being number one, Grape soda pulling its weight as #4 and the over 80 list rounding out with a solid Oxy Pads (do you remember those.) I decided to keep those blasted things despite my embarrassment, because maybe one day I can use them to relate to Grace when she is going through this awful awful phase. Grace, "Mom, you just don't understand me!" Me: "I don't understand that you're obsessed with boys, desperately want their time and attention, and claim to be "in love" with a new one each month? I totally understand that. I have it written right here in my cat journal next to my list of thankfuls. Grace: What are oxy pads?

It was fun to go through items from my past and remember what life was like before responsibilities, marriage, and kids. But when it was all over I was grateful that I got to crawl into bed with my husband after we checked on our little sleeping Grace. Grateful that I had those memories but also grateful that they are over and I can move onto bigger and better memories, keeping a journal of things that I hope I won't be embarrassed about. I'm grateful for what I went through then, so that I can have everything that I do now.

And finally for your enjoyment: #30 on my Thankful List- Carmen Sandiego

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cold Gratitude

Since Monday I have been sick, today, still sick. Typical cold symptoms, cough, congestion, runny nose, lost voice, etc. These past few sick filled days have been rough but also very very good. In keeping with the theme of this month I'll give thanks for the good in the past few days.

I'm grateful for jammies being so comfortable and for a girl who loves to snuggle with her sick Momma.
I'm grateful for a sister who lives close that will take care of me. For warm meals I get to eat that I didn't have to make. For cousins who love, laugh, and entertain Grace while I nap on the couch.
For beautiful Texas skies and the incredible sunsets it offers.
For sunglasses that my child loves that fit her perfectly (despite being from Build a Bear and intended for a stuffed animal.)
For excuses to take a shower and get out of the house, even if it was just a Cub Scout meeting.
For McDonald's playplaces and ice cream cones.
Even on my worst of days I always had someone or something helping me feel better. It was those little things that made a miserable week fly by. 

Also a shout out to my beautiful friend Grace who is getting married today! 11/11/11. We love you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sandpaper Throat and Embarassment

I woke up early this morning. Early, in the life of me, is sometime before 8:30am (blame Grace and her magnificent sleeping-in habits). It was 7am. 6:57am to get unnecessarily specific. My throat had been sandpapered by evil cold giving elves and sleep was no longer an option. I heard Aaron outside and started talking when the combination of a witch being tortured and a chain smoker's voice parted from my lips. It was rough. Aaron got me some medicine and water, and took my temperature. He's the best. He then left for work and I vowed that today I was going to do nothing.

It worked nicely that it was quite dreary outside.
 My covers begged to be snuggled in. And I was more than happy to answer their call.
 Shortly we were joined by Miss Grace. Where more fun was had.
And when her defenses were low I went straight for the belly tickle. Sister friend didn't even see it coming.
 We took breaks in our lazy morning to eat and to make turkey and Thanksgiving crafts (because by golly I'm going to acknowledge this holiday!). The remains of our hand turkeys were printed on our fingers.
Despite a good handwashing the marks stood strong.
Upon closer inspection Grace felt like she had enough know how to tackle the situation.
 Yep, this ought to do it.

After lunch and an episode or two if Dora, I sung and put Sister down for a nap. I sat on the couch. My brain felt fuzzy and swirly from the cold and I was tired. Then I heard a pound on the door. Thanks to extremely thin doors I could hear pounding on my neighbors doors as well. I heard the maintenance staff call to my neighbor "Inspection!"

I had an internal panic attack. I had received the flier days ago, but definitely didn't pay attention to it. I was floating dreamily in my lazy cold filled morning and the knock at the door ripped me right back into reality. I walked down the hall and there was a bra in the middle of the hallway, A BRA! I kicked it to the side and opened the door. Whispering ever so gently that my baby was asleep. The guy had to come in and walk through my entire apartment. When I turned around I saw what a mess it was. There were boxes of snacks and cereal and raisins opened all over the place. I did some kung fu moves that might have involved a stealth roll on the ground to retrieve the aforementioned bra and hid it in the laundry room. While he asked me a few questions I non-chalantly picked up and threw trash away, gathered dishes into the sink, and attempted to be calm cool and collected (I was not). He had to inspect my bathroom, "Let me check and make sure nothing is out..." The coast was clear but he would have to walk by my robe, a pile of jammies on the floor, and my completely unmade bed. As he walked out I noticed a pair of Grace's undies on the floor and my retainer on the counter top. I honestly stopped feeling embarrassed and started really feeling bad that this poor man had to witness these things in my apartment. It was over in record time and although my apartment passed inspection, I think my homemaker card is under serious reconsideration.

Next time I'll pick up items of clothing and put away retainers before opening the door. Don't be surprised if I leave you standing outside for 5 minutes before I let you in.

Now back to dreary fuzzy cold-sickness land.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Resist the Urge

Please don't take this title to mean "resist the urge to eat Halloween Candy," because on that front resistance is futile and I have already made quick work of Grace's candy. She's so lucky to have me.

Lately, I've been resisting the urge to jump on the Christmas Festiveness bandwagon. Usually this resistance is rock solid. I was once a person that stood on her soap box and boycotted Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. No music, no decor, not even a plan for the Christmas card. I felt like Thanksgiving deserved it's time in the spotlight and Christmas didn't need to steal that away. It's quite odd the things that I care about sometimes.

But this year, oh boy, this year is a different story. I got my Christmas present early from my parents this year. A gorgeous white iPhone. And it began, the slippery descent into Christmas spirit. Aaron told me he was going to surprise me with a new app for my phone. I literally squealed like a small child when I saw that it was a Christmas Countdown App. What was happening to me? I check the countdown constantly. It doesn't help that I set it up to play Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which is my all time favorite Christmas song. Sometimes I just click on it to hear the song. 
If that wasn't enough, Target started setting out their Christmas merchandise. I found myself swooning and taking pictures before I even realized what was happening.
I headed in there this morning to get Grace a hat and gloves and before we even made it to the children's clothing section we spent a good 30 minutes slowly walking up and down the Christmas aisles. I would reach my hand out to touch or look at a price tag, ever so gingerly, and be yelled at by Grace "Mom, no touch it." At least she remembers what I tell her, right? I was moments away from frolicking in slow motion down those aisles. Twirling, laughing, watching fake snow fall as Grace and I had a snowball fight. It's bad, we're not even close to Thanksgiving.

Do I dare mention the fact that I love that Walmart is playing Christmas music? I couldn't stop smiling when I was grocery shopping the other day.

I am slipping, and fading, and desperately trying to resist the Christmas urge. But I think I'm failing.