Busy Bee

It’s fall!!!  Well, not really, since I live in Texas, but it’s been below 100 here and THAT’S worth celebrating.  I love this time of year.  A few years ago I couldn’t really tell you what my favorite time of year was, but now, I can say fall, without a doubt.  We wait ALL YEAR LONG for football season.  We love football around here and we’re already knee-deep in Aggie football and pretty much any football that is televised.  As much as I love fall for the football, cooler temps and holidays, it’s also the time when my life seems to get back in swing.  Everything I’m involved in starts up around this time.  It’s busy, but that’s the way I like it.  Until I don’t.  Then I’ll proceed to whine to the Hubs and complain about it here. 🙂

A started back to school last week.  And quickly proceeded to contract what seems to be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.  At least, that’s what Dr. Google and I are diagnosing her with.  It’s either HFM or chicken pox.  I think the pox is out since she doesn’t seem to have enough sores popping up.  So she’s house/bed-ridden for a few days.  I also joined MOPS this year at the church where she attends preschool and our first meeting was last week.  I was invited by the mom of A’s little bestie and I’m so glad she extended the invite.  I’m really excited about MOPS and looking forward to our meetings, playdates, service projects and holiday parties.  We also enrolled A in Zoo Preschool this year which is 1 afternoon, once per week.  Her first class was this past Monday.  Among other ridiculously cool things, she got to meet a penguin named Jack.  Apparently he was walking around on the table.  I’m only slightly jealous of Zoo School.    I’m also a member of a women’s service organization and my placement is in full swing, as well as my yearly obligations (meetings to attend, hours to complete at fundraisers, etc.) to the organization.  I also decided to sign up for an additional placement this year, so there’s that.  I may have over-committed.

That’s all my stuff outside the house.  Around here I’m making a more diligent effort to clean house on a regular basis and keep up with the laundry.  And I should probably start exercising.  I pretty much took the last year or so off from house duties and exercise and I’m ready to start holding myself accountable.  I’m also still making a concerted effort to see my mom friends when I can, take some time for myself (NOT HAPPENING.  AT ALL.) and spend one-on-one time with Baby C while her big sis is otherwise occupado.  I also want to take more pics.  I’m getting better and better and I don’t want to stop now.  I’m trying to help where I can, mostly administratively, with Hubs’ business then there’s that whole issue of starting my own business.  Plus, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (I host at least 2 family parties each year) and all the travel in-between for football and to see family.  I may have forgotten to mention one other teeny-tiny detail…I have baby fever.  We’re not acting on it, but the itch is definitely there.  I have nowhere to put a third child, physically or mentally, but that doesn’t seem to matter to my crazy brain.

I complain a lot that there never seems to be any down time in our lives.  If I’m being honest, I’m not sure we’re meant to live that way.  We bring this kind of stuff into our lives, willingly, and we always have.  And because we don’t have quite enough to do, I’ve decided I want the entry way and hallway repainted.  Like, yesterday.

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Here’s a conversation I never thought I’d have…

First, a pregnancy update.  I had my 36 week check-up yesterday (even though I won’t technically be 36 weeks until tomorrow) and I’m very thankful that my doc was able to confirm Baby C is finally head down.  It looks as though I’m able to table my concerns about a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby.  Weekly internal exams started yesterday and I’ve made basically no progress and Baby C is still riding high…which I kind of knew based on the butt and occasional foot in my ribcage.  I go back again next Friday, which is the same appointment with A I learned I was already 3 cm dilated.  We’ll see what happens over the next 10 days.  While I’d like for Baby C to bake as long as she needs to, I’ll be thrilled with some amount of progress at my next appointment.

The Hubs’ travel schedule has been INSANE.  Even he says so.  He was home Monday and Tuesday though and he came home from work Monday night with flowers for me and A.  He got A a potted Hyacinth plant that smells wonderful.  It’s in her room now, but we’ll put it in the ground eventually and I’ll do my best to keep it alive.  For me, he layed a dozen dark pink/light pink roses in my lap.  I was lounging in bed when he got home…no big surprise there.  After a few minutes he said, “My only request is that you take 2 of the roses and…” then he gestured to the top of our chest of drawers where the urn containing the twins’ ashes sits amongst our wedding photos.  I was speechless for a few minutes.  And I was surprised…which is almost impossible to do.  The fact that he even had to think about getting flowers for the twins is heartbreaking, yet, at the same time, why wouldn’t he think to get ALL his girls flowers on Valentine’s Day?  The whole conversation caught me off guard and made me equally sad and proud at the same time.  On one hand, there’s the realization there is no ending to the twins’ story.  There will always be Christmas, Valentine’s Day, their birthday…days that are special and meaningful to us where we want to honor their memory and the part they’ve played (and will continue to play) in our lives.  And I was immensely proud to be married to a man who is so very thoughtful and unafraid to show his love and devotion to ALL his children, even those that didn’t join our family in the way we had intended.  It made my heart swell; one of those “I think I just fell in love with you all over again” moments.  And if that wasn’t enough emotion for one evening, A pipes up and says, “I sure wish Baby C had a flower.”  Oh, the logic and the love of a 3-year-old.  And so, of my 12 roses, 2 are in a vase in our bedroom for Megyn and Whitney, 1 is in a vase for Baby C in her room and the remaining 9 are in a vase on the kitchen table.  And I’m okay with that.

twins' flowers

Megyn and Whitney's roses

c's flower

Baby C's rose, waiting for her in her room.

a's flowers

A's flowers

I’m starting to believe…

No, not in Tim Tebow.  I was already a believer in Tebow…but I digress.

I’m starting to believe these fortune cookie fortunes are more than just coincidence.  Now, I’m a smart person.  I know these fortunes are mass-produced and randomly stuck into fortune cookies, shipped all over the world and there is no rhyme or reason to who gets what.  But I dunno, I kind of like believing in a higher power that works through something as simple as a fortune cookie to remind people to stay on track; stay the course…to remind them of their goals and dreams.  After my last post about my New Year’s fortune, Hubs finally opened his this weekend.  Now, if you’ve been following along at all, you know that the Hubs and I have some big plans.  That’s why his fortune kind of gave me goosebumps.

fortune 2

If you’re interested…here’s the long version of why this particular fortune is so cool.

I’m feeling somewhat melancholy today.  Hubs’ travel schedule has been fairly light since about Thanksgiving.  He’s traveled some, but not much.  He’s also had quite a bit of time off work and we’ve spent a lot of time together as a family.  He left today on the first trip of MANY over the next month and a half.  I knew it was coming and I understand why he has to put in so much travel right now, but it’s still hard.  It’s always hardest to have him leave when he’s been home for a while.  It takes me some time to re-adjust to being alone.  In addition, I’m feeling slightly anxious about adding a new baby.  I’ve treated this pregnancy as an after thought much of the time.  Partly out of fear, partly out of necessity since I have another child to care for.  We’ve been working like crazy to get A moved into her new room.  It’s coming together but still isn’t done and in the process I’ve completely destroyed the nursery.  Just walking past the room makes me nervous because it’s in SUCH disarray.  Not that Baby C will care what her room looks like, but I’d really like for it to be done before she gets here.

I’m starting to experience some sadness about A not being an only child anymore too.  I don’t think that helps my feelings regarding the heavy travel schedule; it just adds to my desire to have my family home.  Together, and close by.  I keep trying to tell myself giving her a sibling is an awesome gift, but I’m not sure I can fathom life with more than just her.  I’m not worried about loving another child, or having room in my heart for another child, I just find myself unable to grasp the concept of another child in this house.  The logistics are mind-boggling.  It’s been just me and A for so long, I know so much about her and I am able to devote so much of myself to her.  I know that just won’t be possible once Baby C gets here and it makes me sad.  I wish it didn’t, it feels like I’m doing Baby C a disservice and she’s not even here yet.  Makes me want to really dig in and savor these last weeks with just A.

I find myself worrying about silly things.  Getting upset about situations that haven’t even come to fruition.  I’m feeling fearful about the safety of Hubs and A…given the events that play out in my head you’d think I watch too much Lifetime TV, but I don’t.  Not at all actually.  I know it’s the hormones, but it makes me feel like a crazy person.  I’m doing better believing that Baby C will make a safe arrival, but I still have moments of sheer panic that send me running walking quickly usually kind of limping (since my feet and legs constantly fall asleep) for a glass of water or frantically tapping my belly to get some movement out of her.  As we start to make strides towards ACTUALLY getting our home ready for another baby I can’t help but wonder, what if?  I put off doing pretty much anything until after Christmas.  I just wasn’t confident enough to get anything started.  I fully believe tragedy can strike again.  I had such a hard time ordering my glider last week.  The last time I placed an order for furniture, I had to send my mom to the store the next day to un-order said furniture.  To top it all off, I have more contractions each day than I care to admit.  I know they’re normal.  I know they don’t “mean” anything.  But it’s still nerve-wracking.  I never had early contractions with A, so this is fairly new territory.  I plan to mention it to my doc at my appointment on Friday.  I’ll be 32 weeks.  I’m aware that if Baby C were to show up now, her chances of survival are very good, but we’d obviously be dealing with a long stint in the NICU.  I’d like to avoid it and I just keep telling myself, despite the daily contractions, she’s not coming until March.

On a lighter note, since it’s Tuesday, and I pretty much ALWAYS go to Target on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, I had to laugh at my purchases today.  1 box of mac and cheese for A.  1 box of shells and cheese for me.  1 frozen cheese pizza for us to share.  1 box of individual deep dish cheese pizzas for me.  1 bag of sour cream and onion potato chips.  And 1 box of maxi pads for, uh, various reasons.  I was embarrassed as I checked out.  I’m still slightly embarrassed, but only slightly.

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.

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.

Did You Survive?

Let me preface this post by stating the obvious.  I adore the Holidays.  But.  I discovered this year the stress and frustration that comes along with said Holidays…especially when entertaining family and trying, desperately, and mostly unsuccessfully to keep your almost 3-year-old on a somewhat normal schedule.  I’m still paying the price as I’m currently trying to get her down for a nap.  Her schedule is so messed up and it’s starting to really piss me off.

All that aside though, we had a nice Christmas.  We started on Christmas Eve by putting out food for the reindeer.  I had asked A a few weeks ago about putting food out for them, and told her they eat oatmeal.  She quickly informed me that no, they did not eat oatmeal, reindeer eat hay.  Crap.  Where was I going to get hay?  Thankfully I was meeting my mom for lunch in a few days and asked her to bring me a few handfuls.  We put the hay in a big bowl on the front porch before leaving for church. We attended the service at our church (only 30 minutes!) followed by their annual Christmas Eve petting zoo.  Totally random and totally adored by children and adults alike.  Of course A couldn’t get enough of the puppies.  I personally wanted to hold one of the piglets, but they were a popular commodity.  After church we made our way to my in-laws house where we had dinner and opened gifts.  A is the proud new owner of a shopping basket and lots of wooden food.  She loves it.  She’s also the proud new owner of a stuffed Mickey Mouse that’s bigger than she is courtesy of her Aunt D.  What are aunts for, after all?  She, Hubs and I also got a lot of other nice gifts.  We made our way home, put out cookies and milk for Santa and finally got her in bed around 10.  My sister-in-law lives alone so we had invited her to spend the night with us so she wasn’t alone on Christmas morning.  She and Hubs had some adult beverages while he assembled the basketball goal and I got out the rest of the Santa gifts.  Also, I picked up the hay and sprinkled tons of glitter on our front porch and sidewalk.  Nevermind it keeps getting tracked inside our house.  It was totally worth it to see A’s face when she saw the hay had been eaten and the magical reindeer walked all the way up the sidewalk to our porch leaving a glittery trail behind them.  It’s fun being a parent.

Christmas morning did not disappoint.  We were so excited to have a nice, quiet Christmas morning.  In years past my folks have shown up early…like 9am early.  Hubs and I were awake before A (pretty sure that’s going to come to a screeching halt before too long) and once she woke up we had a really nice, laid back, relaxed Christmas morning.  Plenty of time for her to open a few gifts, play with them, then go back to opening the rest of her gifts.  I got a few new Wusthof knives and Photoshop Elements!  I haven’t installed it yet but once I have a few hours to myself, Photoshop and I are going to get to know each other.  Hubs got some new shirts, lots of booze and concert tickets.  He agreed to take me with him and we’re going on a dinner/concert date Friday night!  My family arrived around 3 that afternoon, right when A was getting up from a much needed nap.  In our bed I might add.  It seems to be her new favorite place to nap.  I don’t really blame her.  Especially since Mickey Mouse had to sleep with her and well, our queen size bed was much more accommodating.  My folks brought tons of gifts and by this point, A was over it.  She opened a few and once she saw the Melissa and Doug wooden toolbox and pound-a-peg set, she was done.  It took hours of coercing to get her to open all her gifts.  My extended family and in-laws showed up for dinner at 6 and the craziness ensued for a few hours.  It was great to see them all, and I’m thrilled to be able to host family gatherings, but I was beat when they all finally made their way out of my house.  I spent Monday in bed guzzling obscene amounts of water.  I was exhausted and my pregnant body thanked me with Braxton Hicks contractions all day long.  A hasn’t been asleep before 10pm since Christmas Eve.  It’s getting old.  I figure things will go back to normal once she starts back to school next week, but gosh I wish a few days of fun and excitement didn’t mess her up so badly.  She’s still not asleep by the way.  She’s been in bed for an hour now.  I feel a no nap day coming on…:::shudder:::

Hubs went back to work today, so in his few days off he’s been working on getting A’s new room ready for her.  He has to put some texture on the walls but then it should be ready to paint.  I’m thinking it will be ready to prime and paint before the weekend is over.  I went out last night and purchased a few things for Baby C’s new room too.  It’s time to get busy.  I’ll be 29 weeks this Friday…pictures coming soon.

I have some other really exciting news to share too!  I’m thinking Friday…but you’ll have to check back to see!

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

My Top 5 Fave Ornaments

I have lots of trees in my house.  The one that sits in our den is considered the “family” tree that houses all the meaningful ornaments that have been either purchased, gifted, handed-down or, more recently (given the fact I have a 2 year old in preschool) made.  I love putting this tree up each year and re-visiting all the memories each ornament holds.  One of my favorite parts of the year is getting the ornaments I have purchased that year out of the linen closet where I store them until I can put them up with the others.  I love adding to the tree each year.  To be fair though, I also have what I like to think of as my “redemption” tree in the living room.  It’s the pretty tree…and I adore it.

Here are my Top 5 (in no particular order) Favorite ornaments from 2011:

I have since acquired many of these beautiful blue boxes…more than any one girl should have (Dear Hubs, Please don’t think this means I don’t want anymore blue boxes.  I do.  Lots.  Mmmm K? Thx.  Love, B) but this was my first and holds a special place in my heart.  It always adorns this spot of honor at the very top of the tree…right under the Santa hat that our “family” tree wears.

tiffany's

Long ago I started collecting Christmas ornaments anytime we traveled somewhere. I love this one from Crested Butte, CO in 2003. I thought it was an adorable ornament at the time and I still think so. Also, that was a fun trip to Crested Butte, one of several we’ve taken and we plan to return in a few years.
snowballs

Again, keeping with the traveling theme. Hubs and I have visited NYC twice. I adore NYC. ADORE it. I love just about everything it has to offer, right down to the rats in the subway…I find them kind of fascinating. I would love to go back soon, but I don’t think it’s on the agenda for a while. Purchased this one in 2006. I apologize for the blur…I’m still very much a newbie, though I’ve learned enough to know I want to shoot in manual instead of getting that gawd-awful pic from using the on-board flash.
nyc

These little guys were purchased my senior year in college. The pink one for me, the gray one for Hubs. Now, we have a whole tree dedicated to A&M ornaments, but these guys are special. You see, A&M seniors are referred to as elephants. I won’t bore you with the details of why, but these little guys have hung on our tree, together, since our senior year. They’re very special to me. My mom has no idea what they mean, she just thinks I love elephants.
elephants

These were purchased this year. The most special of all the ornaments, I’m sure. Hubs and I talked about how public we wanted to be about memorializing our twins. We decided to keep it fairly quiet, but we of course wanted to do something the 2 of us would always know about. These were difficult to purchase, but I’m glad we have them and will have them, hopefully, forever. It’s a small token, a small reminder. I have them hung towards the back of the tree, at eye-level, so I can see them clearly whenever I sit on the couch. This year they bring me a level of sadness, in years to come I hope they bring me joy by remembering the small time we had with them and by watching how their story has positively affected our lives.
twins

And finally, an ode to being pregnant with our 4th daughter, who has decided to make her presence known quite early. May I present swollen, pregnancy feet resting after a long day of decorating.
swollen feet

Thanksgiving At Our Home

The fatigue I’m currently feeling is unreal.  I’m really not sure what’s going on, aside from the whole growing another human-being thing.  I’m not sleeping particularly well at night, mostly thanks to a slight cold I’m battling.  I’m rather stressed about being so tired because I’m getting very, very little done.  I’m thinking that may just be the way it is until I recover a little bit of energy.  Maybe the magical mop-fairy will visit my house and clean my floors.

I don’t consider myself some great decorator, but in the spirit of protecting a holiday that’s struggling to keep its head above water, I thought it would be a nice tribute to show-off the Thanksgiving decorations around here.  Ironically, we won’t even be in town for Thanksgiving, there’s a big football game happening that we plan to be at, but we can enjoy the turkeys, pumpkins and pilgrims anyway.  It’s also worth noting, while keeping true to my shopping-self, nothing was purchased at full price.  Because these items have been pieced together over a few years I can’t be certain how much I paid for everything, but I guarantee you what I bought was marked down at least 50%.  Even my pumpkins…got one for free since it was missing the sticker and the cashier was lazy and the other one I happened upon for $2 when I was looking for plants yesterday.

Here’s our front door.  Please note that is the official maroon paint of Texas A&M on our front door:
front door

Next, a few shots of the front porch:
front porch 2

front porch 1

A close-up of the pumpkin turkey. A got a real kick out of this guy:
pumpkin turkey 2

And a close-up of the pumpkin cat. He’s new this year. And funny story: I realized while editing these photos the mouth/nose is upside down. I’ve since fixed it, but thought it was too funny not to share so here’s Pumpkin Cat with his mouth and nose upside down:
cat pumpkin

Inside our living room:

hearth 2

mantle

wire pumpkins

Cosmo gets really antsy whenever I start moving stuff around or we rearrange furniture. He gets all sad and droopy and usually makes his way to his kennel. The week we spend putting out Christmas decorations is almost too much for him. Here’s proof:
bubba

This little assortment sits on my kitchen table:
kitchen table

And this charming couple sits atop the fridge. I figure their names are Mary and John. Something really traditional because I don’t imagine the pilgrims were running around making up names for their kids like we do nowadays:
fridge pilgrims

So, there you go. Proof that at least one American family remains that still recognizes and celebrates Thanksgiving. And remember folks, if you’re cooking t-day dinner, time to get that turkey into the fridge so he can start to thaw. Or, if you’re like me, learn to love football and forgo the big t-day feast. I’m totally psyched for our ham sandwiches this year.