Checking-in

Just a quick post to say, “Hi!  I’m still here!!!”

***waves frantically***

I’ve had so much on my mind and I think to myself, often, I need to blog about this…

Then someone cries, or whines, or poops…or cries and poops at the same time.   It’s usually the baby, but not always…

Baby C is suffering from the dreaded 4 Month Wakeful Period that I swear didn’t exist.  It doesn’t matter though, because I’ve decided to become a vampire.  That way I never ACTUALLY need to sleep again.  Do I have that right?  Vampires don’t sleep, right?  I never got into the whole Twilight thing so I’m a little rusty on my vampire trivia.  If I’m being serious, I still totally adore Baby C and recognize this, too, is only a phase.  Even if it’s shaving years off my life.

Baby C is 4 months old today and she’s doing fab.  She’s laid back and relatively easy-going.  Little A is doing great also.  She can be such a sweet little girl.  She can also be such a little hellion.  I recently took her to her first movie…Madagascar 3.  I kind of had an out-of-body experience sitting in the theater with her…her with her own popcorn, drink and skittles.  I can’t believe my little A is old enough to go to the movies.  We had a blast.  I really enjoy being out alone with her, she’s totally different when she’s by herself and now that she’s almost 3-and-a-half, I can actually hold a pretty good conversation with her.  She loves her little sister, no doubt, but one-on-one time with mom (or dad) is invaluable.

The whole “Hubs started his own company and doesn’t have an actual job right now” thing is going ok.  Actually, it’s going fine.  My “handling” of the whole thing is only going ok.  At least once per day I have a minor panic attack.  Each time I swear to myself tomorrow will be better.  Each time, I fail.  Bummer.  It still remains to be seen if this whole thing will be a success, but having him home (not traveling for work) has been amazing.  I love not having the stress of him having to fly out every few days.  He’s working pretty much non-stop.  The ideas just keep coming to him and he keeps acting on them.  I can only hope I maintain my end of the bargain and remain supportive and not melt into a big pile of dramatics.  I suppose I also need to get my business up and moving…because I have all this spare time and all.

Here’s Baby C today, at her 4-month photo shoot.
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xoxo,

B

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day.  Tomorrow, the Hubs and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We got married young, the summer between our Junior and Senior year in college.  We were both 21.  We felt it fitting to mark our 10 year anniversary with this decision.

The past 10 years have been nothing short of exciting and to say we’ve both grown immensely would be an understatment.  We’ve had opportunities to do some amazing things, we’ve taken some great vacations and we’ve been through some serious rough patches, albeit very recently.  The majority of the past 10 years has been nothing short of amazing.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  But there’s been something missing.  There’s always been something missing.  Tonight, the sun will set on the life we’ve known for the better part of those 10 years.  The sun will go down, for good, on a seemingly predictable and safe future.  The sun will rise tomorrow marking not only a new day, but a whole new life for us.  One that we both believe has been in the works for a very long time, but only began to reveal itself to us over the last 18 months or so.  The Hubs will be resigning his current position which he’s held for close to 4 years.  He’ll be leaving the employer he’s been with for almost 8 years.  It’s a HUGE step.  He has not and will not be accepting a position with another employer.  He will be delving in, full force, going balls to the wall to make his small company a success.  Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new era.  I will continue my role as a stay at home mom, raising our 2 girls until the time is right for me to launch a small business of my own.  We won’t have any income coming in (until he starts making money on his own) and will be living off money that we have saved over the past 3 years.  Money that we couldn’t have saved if it hadn’t been for Dave Ramsey’s class, Financial Peace University, almost 3 years ago which I was firmly against.  I’m so very thankful for my husband’s gentle but firm stance that we needed to attend this class; he was aware of my sensitivity to the subject of money, but never relented.  It has changed the course of our lives.  We didn’t know what we were saving for, we were simply…saving.  There have been several big-ticket items we’ve wanted to purchase recently yet neither of us could pull the trigger.  I’m thankful for gut feelings and discretion and wisdom.  We’ve created and agreed to a budget that will allow this savings to carry us for many months and give him ample time to ramp-up his business.  If, at the end of the agreed upon time, the business is not performing as we desire, he will then seek full-time employment elsewhere.  In the mean-time he’ll be self-employed.

There is, of course, a certain amount of nervousness to all of this.  I keep telling myself there would be something wrong with the person that WASN’T nervous.  If you say it out loud, what we’re doing, it sounds crazy.  Truthfully though, we’ve looked at this every way possible.  Multiple times.  This is not a decision we’ve come to easily nor has the decision been made light-heartedly.  We have also sought the counsel of many people we respect in our lives.  We recognize the many sacrifices it will require.  If we want to make a go at this, this is how it has to be.  All in.  No questions.  One job and only one job.  He can’t make it work on a part-time basis.  Not with his travel schedule and the demands of his current position.  Not to mention he’s been increasingly unhappy in his current position and while he didn’t do anything wrong (it’s on permanent record with the company that he’s in no way violating company policy) by starting a business on the side, his current manager was less than thrilled when she learned about it.  There are also many signs his current division is in trouble.  All signs point to this being the right call.  While the seed for entrepreneurship was planted long, long ago, we started to see its growth while on vacation last summer, after the twins died.  If it hadn’t been for them dying, I’m about 99% sure we wouldn’t be where we are now.

So this is my last post as the wife of a traveling salesman.  As the stay at home mom while my husband brings home the bacon.  Going forward, it will be a joint effort to make this ship sail.  Granted, he’ll do most of the heavy lifting, but I’m sure I’ll be needed somewhere.  And before too long, I’m hoping to start my own thing that’s been in the works.  I know this isn’t true, but this really feels like my first experience with true faith.  I don’t know what’s on the other side…the unknown has always been scary to me.  But there’s something nudging me forward, something telling me to press on and to stay the course, and amidst all the nervousness, I recognize a peaceful feeling telling me this is the right move.  Although it’s often shrouded in the fear.  I’ve accepted the fact that even though this is the right move, it may not turn out how we want, but that’s not for us to decide.  All we can do is act and work our tails off.  To the life I’d grown too comfortable in yet provided me with so much to be thankful for I’d like to say, “Thanks.  It’s been an awesome ride.  I’ve had ups.  I’ve had downs.  I’ve had more ups than I’ve had downs.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, some of which were fun and I’ve grown into a woman who would be unrecognizable to the young bride I was 10 years ago.  I’m thankful, for it all, but I’m ready to move on.  To see what’s on the other side.  I’m ready to close the curtain and see what happens next.”

I’ll see you all on the other side.

xoxo,

B

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Sister Love

I’ve been amazed since day 1 at how much Baby C adores her big sister.  For now, big sister also adores her baby sister; frequently asking to see her, kiss her, hug her and commanding I go check on her baby sister when she hears Baby C fussing.  I love watching them interact and while Baby C likes me and her daddy, she absolutely has a favorite…her big sister.  Here’s proof, a random Wednesday morning before dance class.

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Grumble

I got Photoshop Elements for Christmas. Until now, I’ve managed to load it on my computer and that’s it. Yesterday, I finally figured out how to add a watermark to photos (a process so simple it should have taken me 5 minutes to figure out but instead took several hours thanks to the 2 littles). I also found some free actions from MCP Actions and I’m in the process of trying to download them and install them into Photoshop. Trouble is, this takes time. There are instructions to follow and since I have NO CLUE what I’m doing, I kind of need to focus. Wich is impossible since my life is lived in 5-10 minute segments these days. There is a very fine line between caring for and devoting yourself to your children/family and still taking time for yourself. Sigh. Frustrating evening last night and it’s still with me this morning. Having 2 kids is fun, but it’s not for wussies.

Photography Class #1

I say #1 because I fully intend to take more.  I just had so much fun, learning, and I want to do it again.  I’m also thinking about looking into a local photography group to join…in all my spare time.  Here are a few shots that I took after the class was over.  I was at a great location and didn’t have anything else scheduled, so I stuck around and for an extra hour or so.  We had worked on metering, talked a lot about exposure and practiced under and over-exposing things (who knew one may DESIRE to have their photo be under or over-exposed?) to see the different effects (affects? I can’t decide at the moment) and also worked on my focus issues.  Turns out, I have a depth-of-field issue and not a focusing issue.  Most people tend to back away from the object they are photographing and use their zoom.  My natural inclination is to get close, too close it seems.  So, I’m working on taking a step or 2 backwards and adjusting my aperature setting accordingly, which until yesterday, I was using way too wide open.  I’m also jumping into manual ISO settings.  Up until now I’ve left my ISO on auto, but Julian and I can’t seem to agree on what the correct ISO setting is, so onto manual I go.

vines

waterfall

rosemary

potted plant

water lily

butterfly

water fountain

poppy

My New Year’s Fortune

It’s only 12 days into 2012…this post is still entirely appropriate and I’ll have no heckling from the peanut-gallery about my timing.

We ordered take-out Chinese food for New Year’s Eve.  Mostly because we’re incredibly boring, but also because I’m lazy and frankly, I was just cooked-out from Christmas.  Also, the Hubs loves Chinese food and it’s not always at the top of my list of desirable food options so when I say it sounds good, he jumps at the chance to eat it.  This was the fortune contained in my fortune cookie.  I don’t actually believe in these things, but given how I’m hoping 2012 will go, I thought it was kind of cool and slightly coincidental.  Hubs still hasn’t cracked his open, I’m dying to know what his says!

fortune

In other news, we have a lot going on around here.  2012 certainly started with the rubber meeting the road so to speak.  Here’s what’s currently taking up space on my plate:

1) Operation We’re About to Have 2 Kids So We Better Get Started on Bedrooms is in full swing.  We’re moving A into our former guest room and keeping the nursery for Baby C (I’m changing out bedding and stuff, but the wall color and furniture will stay the same).  The guest room has also been used as storage for the past 6ish years…there’s a lot to go through, throw away, organize and store.  The room is painted and furniture has been moved into place so things are moving along, but not complete yet.  Hubs took A to school today and my mother in law is picking her up so that gives me ALL DAY to sleep shop go through random boxes in the closet.

2) Hubs got me Photoshop Elements for Christmas.  I installed it yesterday.  I was immediately reminded I’m not nearly as smart as I thought I was.  It’s a total beast (since I’ve never owned any editing software) and will require me to actually read the instructions.  Sigh.

3) A’s 3rd birthday is next month.  I booked her party yesterday.  I’ll be 37 weeks pregnant.  I’ve since spent more time deciding on invitations than I did deciding on party details.  If I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the possibility I end up sending out e-vites instead of paper invitations.

4) I think the Hubs and I are meeting for lunch to look at gliders.  This trip is entirely impossible with A in tow.  We’ve tried.  Before A was born we were given a beautiful rocker from his grandmother…a family heirloom…it was used to rock the Hubs when he was a baby while his parents visited his grandmother.  I used it to nurse/rock A for 12+ months and I discovered one thing.  This rocker is really good at being a beautiful family heirloom.  It’s very possibly the most uncomfortable rocker ever and the back isn’t tall enough for me to lay my head back and sleep.  I spent hours, and hours, and hours in that rocker.  My ass has never been the same.  My mother in law, somehow, was able to avert the rocker when Hubs was born.  In fact, I think she kind of hates the thing.  My in-laws have graciously offered to buy me a new glider (they wanted to purchase something substantial for Baby C).  Yesterday she basically begged me to go look and pick one out.  So, hopefully I’ll find something today and the current rocker can move into the den and be gazed up for what it is…a beautiful family heirloom.

5) And OMG…my mother called yesterday and, I KID YOU NOT, asked me (in a round-about-way) if I’d be in labor on March 3rd.  She was serious too.  For the record, neither my sister nor I are adopted.  She’s given birth.  Twice.  She’d been asked to do something that day, all day, and wasn’t sure “what I’d be doing that day.”  “Yes, mother, I’ve been visited by and angel of the Lord and as it turns out, I WILL be in labor on March 3rd.”  :::eyeroll:::  :::facepalm:::  :::headdesk:::

6) I’m off to organize.  Unfortunately for all our stuff, I’m not in a sentimental mood today.  Hubs mentioned last night that I might be entering the nesting phase.  Yep, I think that just about sums it up.

Don’t let anyone tell YOU what is beautiful.

bird in flight

Birds in flight are not my forte.  Nor is it something I’m particularly interested in photographing.  But I got home and saw this one and thought it was kind of cool.  A little post-processing and not too bad for a quick shot as I was trying to keep my child from falling into the murky water (that I’m almost positive was snake-infested) while feeding the ducks today.  Also, I had a quick flash of what I would do if said child fell into said snake-infested waters…I may have thought a little too long and really hard about what might happen to Julian if I had to go in after her.  Parenting 101 people, parenting 101.

This is the best photography advice I can give; Don’t let anyone tell YOU what is beautiful.  Advice I’m still trying to learn myself.  That’s the beauty of photography, it’s art, and that makes the beauty within the eye of the beholder.  I love pictures taken on an angle.  Most purists probably find this annoying because of composition, rule of thirds, blah, blah, blah.  I like the way angles look behind the lens.  They make me stop as I’m scrolling through the shots I’ve taken and go, hmm, that looks cool.  I’m currently on this sun-flare kick, which inspired this post.  Most people would suggest a lens hood when shooting outdoors, but I kind of love the uniqueness a sun-flare can add to a photo.  I would share the one in question, but it’s a pic of A at the park today and I’m just not brave enough to post her pic all over the Interwebz.  I haven’t even posted it on facebook (with which I have a hate, hate relationship) because I’m afraid it would be looked down upon by some of the pro-photogs out there.  It got me wondering though, “Why should I care what another photog has to say?  It’s my spin on what I think is beautiful.  Surely someone else out there could appreciate the same beauty I do.”  I dunno, these pregnancy hormones are making me very wishy-washy these days and they seem to be eating my backbone at the same time.  I discovered today I’m still having some issues with focus.  Not near as many as I was…but some all the same.  It takes practice, especially when photographing a child.  I don’t have much trouble photographing a still object…just the constantly moving almost 3-year-old that INSISTS on looking away from the camera the moment I snap the photo.  Every.single.time.  The back of her head is well documented should she have any questions once she reaches adulthood.  I have a certificate for a one-on-one photography class given to me by my mother, I think I finally feel ready to sign up for it.  Now I know what questions I want to ask.

Welcome, 2012.

First of all, 29 weeks as of this past Friday.  Hard to believe and if I’m being honest (which I always am here) I’m still not convinced we’re having another baby.  She moves quite a bit these days and is making it very difficult to sleep at night.  Sometimes I get so excited about meeting her and holding her tiny body in my arms I can’t hardly stand it.  I don’t think about it often because I’m still afraid of something going wrong.  But so far, things are going splendid.  Passed my 3-hr glucose test with flying colors and we’re rounding the corner into the home stretch.  Baby C has a place to sleep and a car seat so as long as we swing by the store to pick up diapers on the way home from the hospital, we should be good.  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.

29 weeks

At first glance, 2011 was a truly awful year. I mean, for months I’ve been thinking about how glad I was going to be to see 2011 end. How much relief I would feel to put the year behind me. Upon closer inspection, however, I’m starting to think 2011 may be one of the best years of my life. Not without its hardships and difficulties, of course, but the start of something. Hubs and I have discussed 2011 at length. He says 2011 was full of emotional extremes…I agree. There is no denying it was a year that changed us. Drastically. Forever. You see, there were 2 people who were simply living their lives, unencumbered by tragedy, that died in a hospital room right along with our twins in March. 2 new people were born. 2 people with a new passion. 2 people with a burning desire to change their world. 2 people who were no longer satisfied with saying, “someday” or “what if”. 2 people who were no longer going to simply dream, but were going to DO. 2011 has been a year of reflection. A year of thinking. 2012 will be a year of doing. There is a lot of work ahead of both of us. We each have ideas that have formed in our minds, in our souls, and we share a long-term vision for our life together. We’ve been given an inkling about how to get there. For the Hubs, he formed and founded his own company. It’s small, on the side for now, but has the potential to grow into an enormous beast. I’m not sure how long it will take to get there, but it will eventually be what he does for his living.  I know it like I know the sky is blue.  I’ve got my own little business idea brewing. I’ve had it for a while, but only recently had the courage, mental capability, whatever you want to call it to put my thoughts into action and see where it goes. My husband is fully supportive and actually has a greater vision for my little biz than I do right now. I’ve also taken steps to advance my photography. That’s a totally personal hobby/passion, something I’ve never really spent time on but I’m finding it important. It just feels good to be behind the lens. Once I pick up the camera and start clicking, I can’t stop. It fulfills a place in my soul I didn’t know existed. This little blog here was born out of the tragedy of 2011. I’m not sure where it’s headed either. I love having a place to express my thoughts and share a few of my pictures, but I’m certainly not attracting thousands of readers. I haven’t told anyone in real life, except my husband, that this blog even exists. Maybe someday, but not right now. I just feel like I need to keep writing, need to keep sharing. Hopefully my story, my journey, will help someone else through a difficult time. At the very least, I can read through some of my older posts and see growth, which was really my intention all along.

We rang in the new year last night laying in bed, with me struggling to keep my eyes open until midnight. It’s never been a big party night for us, and last night was no exception. Save the fact we got all the Christmas decorations taken down and put away…that deserves a little celebration, right? Except I think both of us wanted to see 2011 off last night and take a deep breath, look 2012 in the eyes and say, “bring it on.” I’m still not sure where this little life of ours is headed, but I do think 2011 was the start of something big; so it seems wrong to just write of 2011 as a big pile of crap and move on. And I think 2012 holds a lot of potential so long as we’re willing to put in the work. The general fear of failure or fear of the unknown isn’t so great once you experience a loss such as ours. It makes you more willing to take risks, knowing that if you can get through something like losing the twins, you can get through pretty much anything. Teaches you that fear, or not knowing, isn’t a reason not to try. That’s a tough lesson to learn, one I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. So we’ll start 2012 just like any other Sunday. Up early, groaning, as we hear A banging around in her room. We’ll head to church soon and we’re spending the afternoon working on A’s new room so hopefully Baby C will have her own room once she gets here in a few short months. Either way, the Hubs and I head into 2012 with the knowledge that if we work hard enough, if we dig deep enough, if we stay the course, our true purpose and visions will start to become our reality.

I think I’m in love.

I’ve loved a lot of men in my life. Maybe not in the same way, but loved them all the same. The one I love the most is my husband, of course. Well, maybe not “of course” since the older I get the more I realize a lot of people are stuck in loveless marriages and relationships. I don’t understand it and it makes me sad, but I digress. I may not be giddy and silly in love with my husband all the time, but there is always an all-consuming love for him present in my life. The kind of love that recognizes what we’ve endured and recognizes there are greater things for us to do together. The kind of love that leaves me never wondering if I’m truly with my soul mate.

I also love my dad. As most of us do, we look to our parents as examples of how to raise our own kids and then we change a few things. Overall, my dad is a great father and I’m lucky to have him in my life. A few months ago he randomly called one Sunday just to say he was pleased with me. Even at 31, married with (almost) 2 kids it meant a lot. Sometimes only the approval of your father will do.

I have a handful of friends/family from college that I love. A different category of love than the 2 previous paragraphs, but men I would grieve if lost and men I enjoy having in my life. Men that helped shape my college experience into what it was.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s move on. Sidebar: I have got to liven up this blog. Frankly, I find myself hilarious. I’ll add that to my 2012 goals…to make you laugh more. Anyways….I’m also in love with several “men” in my life. See what I did there? I tend to become fairly attached to inanimate objects. My child seems to have inherited this trait which is currently played out by the ridiculous number of stuffed animals she possesses. If I really like said object, I give it a name. Does this make me crazy? Let me introduce you to a few of the “men” I love. Yes, they all take on a masculine form. Probably says something about my insecurity but, whatevs.

Number 2
Over the years, Hubs and I have acquired home-improvement items as gifts from his parents. We’d ask to borrow something then Hubs would get a replica as the next Christmas/birthday gift. At first it was useful. Then it was comical. Then it was irritating. Then we just stopped asking to borrow stuff. We don’t have a garage you see, so by borrowing the item, we didn’t have to find a place to store said item. His parents didn’t seem to get the hint, so we just stopped asking to borrow anything. The last thing they get him/us though, was a shop-vac. The thing is glorious. I adore him. With 3 dogs it’s the only way my baseboards get really clean. Even my Dyson can’t compete. I get such a sense of satisfaction sucking up enormous amounts of dog hair and dust and whatever else I use it for. I truly enjoy using Number 2 to clean behind the fridge, beside the washer and dryer, etc. I named him Number 2 as in, Hubs is Number 1. I don’t get to use it often since it’s so loud, and also because I won’t get it out of the scary shed.

Cosmo
The dog is a complete ass. He makes my life significantly more challenging. He sheds, he doesn’t mind, he still chews up things even though he’s almost 9, barks constantly, won’t walk on a leash and insists on having my spot on the couch in the evenings, I suppose because it’s warm. But I love him. Dearly. It’s like an abusive relationship, honestly.  I can’t leave.  He can’t leave.  I just don’t feel like he’d survive without me and I’m not sure I could live without him. I secretly love nights when he curls up beside me on the couch…which is hilarious since he’s 80+ pounds and convinced he’s a lap dog. Very rarely he’ll sleep in my bed when Hubs is out of town. The truth it, he’s our guard dog. I feel more safe here by myself when Hubs travels and I fully expect Cosmo to do his job should the need arise. It helps he’s easy on the eyes.

Ol’ Sarge
Our new Keurig. It’s maroon. And we (proudly) added an A&M decal. And Ol’ Sarge is an Aggie reference. I’d wanted one last year but couldn’t justify spending the money. We drink a lot of coffee around here so it will actually cost us more money in the long run. This year, we spotted the maroon one (it’s actually being discontinued) and just knew he had to come live with us. Plus, we’d just been gifted some money from Hubs’ grandfather to buy our own Christmas gift so it was a no-brainer. He’s beautiful, makes splendid coffee, and just makes me smile when I see him on the counter. He also makes cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and has the ability to brew cold tea and iced coffee beverages. Haven’t tried it yet given the temperatures, but I plan to give it a whirl once it starts to warm up. I hate, hate, hate reheating my coffee in the microwave. It just tastes gross and burnt to me. I’m thrilled at the idea of a fresh-brewed cup any time of day once Baby C gets here.

Julian
Ladies and Gents, I’ve saved the best for last. I’d like to introduce you to Julian.  Julian arrived on Friday around lunch time and I’ve been completely smitten since taking him out of his box.  He’s so sexy.  Lots of buttons and dials and a HUGE LCD display screen.  You see, I’ve been researching cameras for some time now.  I knew I wanted to purchase a new lens, but I also had the intent of purchasing a new body, just farther down the line.  I did tons of research.  Then I did more research. Then I decided on one.  Then I changed my mind.  Then I did more research.  Then some more.  Then I made another decision.  Then I announced to Hubs I had no idea what I actually wanted and had no idea what to do.  After breaking down in tears for the 3rd time, the Hubs had had enough and announced we needed to find a way to buy the new body NOW.  I wasn’t able to get any clear shots of Christmas and that just breaks my heart.  Not having a working camera was like missing an appendage.  We couldn’t even locate our point and shoot.  I knew my kit lens was broken.  I had an inkling I’d also damaged my camera body, but wasn’t sure.  Either way, all my images have been blurry, or the focal point was off.  Shooting indoors is hard enough since I’m not usually working with a ton of natural light.  Also, I loathe the on-board flash and I don’t own a speed light so….the results aren’t pretty.  Anyways, I was determined not to make a purchase until I could pay for it, IN CASH, and I was able to do just that.  Some birthday money combined with Christmas money and redirecting a few cash flow items allowed me to purchase this beautiful new kit and even get it shipped 2-day air!  I’m normally such a cheap-skate that paying extra for shipping felt really extravagant.  I decided to go with the whole kit which got me the Canon 7D along with the 28-135 lens.  I’ve got my eye on an L-series lens, but that will have to wait until I save up some more mula.  I’ve already had Julian hard at work and so far I’m very pleased.  I’ve got TONS to learn as this camera can do things I can’t even describe, but I’m thrilled to grow into him.  Isn’t he lovely?

Julian

And PS. Please do every photographer you know a favor. Whether they be amateurs, hobbyists, professionals or somewhere in between. Don’t ever make the comment that their “camera will take great pictures.”  It’s insulting.  It’s not the camera that takes the pictures, the person using it has a little bit to do with the final image.  Mmmkay?  Thanks.

A Texas Winter

I know most people are experiencing actual winter weather right now, but here in Texas, it looks like what I expect the rest of the country looks like during fall.  The trees are turning colors and just starting to lose their leaves.  Last week we had a few days with temps in the 20’s and 30’s…even a few snow flurries.  That’s about as cold as it gets around here…and I truly almost froze to death.  I just could not get warm enough.  I keep our thermostat at 70-71 at night, but turn it down to about 68 during the day…as long as I’m not here.  68 still seems warm, but I don’t want the dogs to get cold.  We’re a warm-bodied family around here.  I wouldn’t do well in a colder climate.  Anyways, because of the cold snap, some of the trees in our neighborhood lost ALL their leaves at once.  And thanks to the slope of the ground near our house and the way the wind blew, we had tons and tons of leaves in our yard and next to our curb that needed to be cleaned up.  Thankfully the sun was out on Saturday and while it was chilly out (30’s and 40’s) it was actually a nice day to do yard work.

I snapped these pictures of the oak tree in our front yard.  We didn’t plant it, but he was just a little guy when we bought our house and we’ve enjoyed watching him grow.  I really like to see the leaves change colors.  It’s one of my favorite parts of being a stay-at-home-mom.  I feel like I never saw the colors change when I was working.  Just happened to notice that one day the trees had leaves and then they didn’t.  I also just recently got to start experiencing my Bradford Pear tree blooming in the Spring, another plus of being at home and not leaving before the sun rises and coming home when it’s already dark.  I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season.  I’m so close to being done Christmas shopping I can almost taste it.  I’m really trying not to get stressed out because Christmas will be here and gone before we know it.
leaves 3

leaves 2

leaves 4

leaves 1