Every day this past weekend was packed with a Christmas activity.  We kicked Friday night off with just us adults and attended a “Naughty or Nice” Christmas party.  We stayed out till eleven, when we had to pick up E from Grandma and Grandpa’s (Alice stayed the night) and passed out.  #oldpeople #stillnursingseveraltimesinthenight #ireallylovesleep

Saturday Alice’s daycare put on a Christmas pageant and her class rang bells during “Frosty the Snowman.”  Insert a heart eyed emoticon here.

Sunday we attended a brunch with Santa as the guest of honor.  It was both the girls’ first time to meet Santa.  We attempted to plop Alice in Santa’s lap but she wasn’t stoked about sitting in a strange bearded man’s lap.  I can’t say I blame her.  Elaine could care less.  So it was an entire family photo op with Santa this year.

Every single one of these photos makes me smile.  It was a good, albeit busy, weekend.


My mission for Christmas decorating this year was to get it down from the attic and up in our house as early as possible so that we could enjoy it for at least a full month.  I didn’t pressure myself to make things look “magazine ready.”  Which by the way, my decor never comes out magazine worthy anyhow and when I put that kind of pressure on myself the only result is procrastination.

I displayed our nativity scene on our entry table.    My mother in law has a fabulous wooden nativity scene and I have searched high and low for something similar.  Finding a nativity scene that wasn’t super expensive or super cheesy turned out to be more challenging that I expected.  I finally found this simple and modern set last year on Amazon of all places.  The price was right and the simple fuss free wooden design was the final selling point for me.

As for our Christmas tree, I’ve started the tradition of buying a new ornament each year and we now have quite the collection of yearly ornaments, as well as other individual ornaments that have caught my eye over the past several years.  I left the bottom of the tree pretty sparse with the exception of a few shatter proof ornaments since we have a little toddler roaming around this year.

It’s so funny how my ideals of how a Christmas tree should look has changed.  Eight to ten years ago I only had eyes for the perfectly coordinating Christmas trees and turned my nose up in disdain for trees filled with a hodge podge assortment of ornaments and/or handmade details.  Now that I’m a mama, I cannot get enough of those hodge podge yet meaningful ornaments and I die for those pictures made with tiny hand and foot prints.  Current me would think former me was a bit pretentious.   No one is more surprised by these things than myself.

Storks for each pregnancy, the top storck is new this year with the arrival of Elaine.  The bottom stork is for when I was pregnant with Alice in 2012.

Alice’s Elmo Ornament for this year.  It was the best when she noticed him and yelled  “Elmo! Horsie!”

Elaine’s first ornament with her birth date is from a little shop I found on Etsy.  Alice has the same ornament with her birth date from last year.

For Matt and I, I wanted to get something that depicted that this was the year we became a family of four.  I found this Christmas car ornament at a kiosk in the mall and they personalized it while I waited.   That 2011 ornament you see in the background is from the year we got married and it has hung empty on the tree for the past three Chrismtmases!!!  My goal is to make this year the year that I finally fill in that empty picture holder.

Lastly, Christmas stockings.  You guys, this has been another huge area of procrastination.  Matt grew up with a lot of Christmas traditions and my family really didn’t have very many traditions.  Matt is all about handmade stockings and was really against store bought “cheap” looking stockings.  He and his siblings grew up with hand sewn stockings that his grandmother lovingly made from a kit, similar to this.   I definitely appreciate the sentiment, but can’t say I’m especially crazy about the way those felt stockings look and don’t know that I would ever get around to actually making them.  At one point, I toyed with the idea of sewing our family stockings and even went so far as to buy a pattern.

Well it hasn’t happened yet and who knows if and when it ever would.  I didn’t want to go another year without having stocking on our mantle and so Matt and I compromised.  I’m making it sound more dramatic than it really was, but in the end I bought some stockings (from a store!)  with the plan of personalizing them over time.  I can’t take credit for this idea.  Matt’s mom bought store made stockings for her grandkids and hand stitched different Christmas appliqués onto them to add personality.  I’m going to follow suite.

These classic red and white velvet stockings are from Pottery Barn.  I bought them on sale for like $13 a piece on Cyber Monday with free shipping and free monogramming.  The quality is great and Matt approves.

How do you guys decorate for Christmas?  All hand made?  All store bought?  Or a mix of both?

 


I love a good series.  And I really love being able to binge on a series which I often am able to do because I’m usually late to the game on the latest It Thing.  This has happened with Harry Potter and then again with Twilight.  By the time I caught on to the awesomeness of Harry Potter there were at least 5 or more books out and I was able to race through them before catching up and having to wait for the remaining books to be released like the rest of the world.  If you want to know how nerdy I really am, I actually went to the midnight release event for the final Harry Potter at a Borders Bookstore.   As an adult.

As for Twilight.  I read all three books in a weekend.  (Yes, I’ve also watched all the movies.)

This has also has happened with TV shows like Sex and the City.   There have been several marathon days of watching SATC.  I deem SATC marathon watching perfect for rainy and snowed in afternoons.  (These afternoons occurred in my pre-mama days when I had, obviously, oodles of time to sit and watch episode after episode of SATC.  What. A. Luxury.  I had no idea.)

My latest “It Series” that I’ve latched onto isn’t either a book or a TV show, but a podcast.  Serial.  People of the internets are obsessed with this podcast and I finally decided to take a listen.  Guess what? I am now one of the those obsessed people of  the internets sharing with the few of you who maybe haven’t checked it out.

Let me tell you the degree of my new infatuation, in two days I’ve listened to 8 episodes and will be all caught up when I listen to the 9th episode sometime today.  Keep in mind that I also have two small children which means that the storyline has really grabbed my attention.   Although I have to say, popping in headphones and listening to a podcast is a perfect entertainment choice for mothers of infants that need to be rocked and nursed – why had I never thought of this before?

It’s good you guys.  Check it out if you haven’t already.  And if you have, what is your opinion?!


Matt and I have never hired a babysitter to watch our children.   We are really, really lucky in that we live in the same town as his mom and step-dad and it has worked out that they have always been able to watch the girls whenever we wanted to go out on a date, watch a football game, or spend time with friends.  Obviously this has been wonderful.  I never worry about my babies when they are with Matt’s parents because I know they are getting top notch care and love.  Plus they are getting quality time with their grandparents.  It is a win-win situation.

We also happen to live in the same town as Matt’s little sister who also has two little girls – a 2.5 year old and a brand new baby (and by brand new I mean less than one week old).  This is also wonderful because the girls are getting to grow up not only around one set of grandparents but also around their two girl cousins that are SO CLOSE in age.  Family – it’s awesome.

When it was just Alice and her older cousin the grandparents would watch them together all the time.  But now that we have Elaine, who is three months old, and the newborn baby cousin, I’m doubting that the grandparents are going to be able to take on all four kids at the same time.  (There is less than three years age difference between all four kiddos.)  Which means that I’m pretty sure we may have to actually hire a babysitter from time to time.

Now granted our social life has slowed waaaayyyy down since having children.  Naturally.  Also Elaine is still so young that I really can’t be away from her for too long since she’s still nursing in the night.  So it’s not like we are doing all that many social activities these days because our first priority is at home with our family.  BUT I still think it’s so important for us to get away every once and a while and have adult time together as a couple.

Once Elaine gets a bit older and is sleeping through the night, Matt thinks we’ll have to look into hiring a babysitter every now and then when his parents aren’t available to watch the girls.  Initially this gave me high anxiety.  It still does to some degree.  How could I possibly leave my children in the care of someone I don’t actually know?  All the babysitting horror stories filled my head and refused to leave.  Then there’s the whole cost thing to consider.  Long gone are the days of paying the babysitter $2 an hour (which was the going rate back in my babysitting days).  So if you think about it, in addition to the cost of your evening out (dinner, drinks, a movie, a concert, whatever) you also have to pay the babysitter a decent chunk of cash.  A four hour night out can end up costing you a small fortune.

Matt, who worries less, reminds me that it will be such a rare occasion and worth it to have some fun time away.  I know he’s right, but still.  Growing up as a military brat I never lived around grandparents and I know that this is the case for so many families.  Not everyone has the luxury of living near family and so hiring a babysitter is the only option for so many parents of small children.

So tell me, have you ever hired a babysitter?  What’s the going rate these days?  Also how did you go about hiring your babysitter? Word of mouth or an online referral service like care.com?  Share your knowledge please!

 

 


For about two months now, Matt and I have been trying to eat healthier. Mostly we have cut out fast food (I can’t even believe I had actually become someone who had to cut out fast food!) and have really reduced the amount of pasta, breads, rice, and white potatos that we eat. I don’t want to say we are following a specific type of diet because we are not crazy about any “rules.” Matt’s definitely stricter with what he eats than I am but we both still “sneak” treats every now and then.  There have been a couple Sunday nights where we just want to order pizza so we do just that.  But for the most part we are eating a lot healthier and preparing most meals at home.  Our sides are a lot less starchy carbs and a lot more veggies.

Initially I just told Matt that this was something I was going to do in an attempt to loose some  of the baby weight I had gained with my back to back pregnancies.  It was a bonus for me when he decided to join in on my efforts.  He admits to gaining some weight himself during my pregnancies.  I mean, who can blame him for picking up a treat for himself when he’d run out to pick me up a chocolate chip milkshake to fulfill my pregnancy cravings?

So it’s going well. We’ve both lost some weight, which is of course encouraging and I really feel like I have a lot more energy than I would have if I wasn’t eating this way.  Also other people seem to notice that I’m eating healthier.  I haven’t really discussed with a ton of people how I’m eating healthier because I just don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but still I guess it’s somewhat noticeable.

One co-worker seems to notice in particular. I guess it was because after she offered me cracker after cracker and I refused day after day she assumed I was trying to eat healthier. She asked me about it, so I admitted that yes I was trying to eat healthier. (I’m not trying to hide it, I just wasn’t trying to call attention to the fact I guess.)  The next week she even went so far as to say me that I inspired her to eat healthier herself.   Not my intention, but that’s great!

Then this morning she came into the office and plopped a McDonalds breakfast sandwich on my desk and said “I know you’re on a diet, but you can still have this, right?”

I mean. What even?

First of all, I really don’t like the word diet because it seems like a phase and I’m trying to eat healthy overall, not just for a limited amount of time. Second of all. WHAT? If you think someone is trying to watch what they eat don’t bring them McDonalds.  It’s straight up sabotage.

Okay maybe sabotage is a dramatic word to use in this scenario, but still.  I was annoyed.  And then I really wanted to eat the sandwich because, well, it smelled good.  I debated on throwing it away or trying to give it away.  In the end I took a bite and threw the rest in the trash.

Because compromise.

Have you ever tried to change your eating habit for the better and had to deal with other people’s opinions/comments?  Sometimes it can be annoying, yes?  And then of course other times it can be totally encouraging.  Like me telling my husband (because I have to tell him, since he lives with me and all) and getting pretty much the best support possible.

photo credit


This past weekend we got our first snow of the season. We usually get snow in Oklahoma, but before Thanksgiving? Well that rarely happens. Both the girls’ daycares shut down on Monday and luckily my office did too.

We stayed in our pj’s a lot, we kept toasty by our first fire of the year, and we watched the snow fall from the coziness of our little house. Alice’s tiny voice saying “snawh” as she pointed at the falling flakes warmed my heart. Also, cold weather + baby snuggles is better than most things.

Unconsciously I bought Alice a coat to match mine.  Of course I had to have a photo to document our matchy-matchy moment.

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Right now I am…

+ listening to Taylor Swifts new album 1989 on repeat. I’ve definitely grown to like Taylor Swift more and more with each album she churns out. I really admire how she writes and plays her own music, you know, like a real musician.  There’s no denying her talent. Plus, her songs are just so catchy and perfect to crank up and belt out when you’re alone in you car.

+ growing out my bangs and going back and forth on whether or not I like it or not. I mean, I like not having bangs, but I also prefer the way bangs frame my face when my hair is pulled back in a pony tail.  And lets be honest, I wear a lot of ponytails.  Also I’m thinking of chopping my hair into a long bob.  Or growing it out for the rest of winter.   Basically I’m indecisive when it comes to my hair which is ridiculous since I pretty much wash, blow dry, then run a brush through and call it good.  I definitely don’t spend a lot (or really any) time styling my hair on a daily basis.

+ adjusting to my work schedule. I’ve been back to work for almost three full weeks now and its going okay. That first week was admittedly rough and I even started that week on a Wednesday (thank goodness! It would’ve been even tougher to have come back to a FULL week of work). I definitely cried that first week, mostly from the shock of having even less time to myself than before. All this is heavily related to pumping which is an entirely different story that I won’t get into right now. Because man, pumping! What a commitment!!! (It’s worth it, but still.) So yes, work.  The four of us are all settling into the routine of me being back at work and although it definitely has it’s challenging aspects we are all doing okay.

+ loving that we went to the park and on a long walk as a family this past Sunday. This past weekend was probably our last nice weekend weather wise for a while. There’s even a forecasted chance of snow this upcoming Saturday.  Our little outing to the park and long walk around the neighborhood are what my family quality time dreams are made of. Seriously. It doesn’t take much. I carried E in the Ergo and Matt pushed Alice in the BOB . We even brought Penny & I’m pretty sure we were fulfilling her family quality time dreams as well.

>>>>>

Last thing, a question out of curiousity. What would you like to read/see here? Why do you come back? Who are you? I’d love to know! I know this a common question that bloggers will ask at some point and I’m curious to read your answers. Blogging has been my outlet for writing and sharing photos and I do it for me, but I also enjoy the community that’s made up of bloggers.  I know that most of my posts have been heavily “mom” related and that’s not going to change per se since that makes up a huge part of who I am these days.  Still, I’d love to hear if any of you have anything else you’d be interested in seeing around here.  Please share!

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