Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope you didn’t struggle to wake up this morning after staying up to ring in the new year.  I didn’t stay up as late as we originally planned.  We were going to take our youth group to a neighboring church, but little Elizabeth got sick, so I stayed home.

4cqm4rxsgoc-raphael-koh

This year, I am making a few resolutions.  Last year, I just wanted to get fit and keep my child alive.  I’ve mostly accomplished that, so I thought I’d set a 5 goals for this year.

  1. Pass my first semester of Grad school.  This summer I am going back to school to get my masters in teaching, so I can start teaching high school english.  I’ve been out of school for about two years, but I think I am ready for the challenge.
  2. Be happy with my body.  I don’t want to set the normal goal of lose ___ pounds this year.  There is a weight goal that I want to reach, but more importantly, I want to be happy and proud of my body.
  3. Read 40 books.  For the past few years, I’ve read 36 books each year.  I didn’t purposely set out to read that many; it’s just the way it’s happened.  This year, I am going to push myself to read 40.  I’ve started the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge and set out a list of books that I’ve got on my list here.
  4. Take Elizabeth out to the park more often.  Once Elizabeth is walking, I want to take her to the park as often as I can.  I loved to swing when I was younger, and I think that is something she would like.  Also, we love picnics, so we could do that too.
  5. Be more deliberate with my time.  I watch a lot of television.  Let me rephrase that; I watch a lot of the same television shows that I’ve already seen over and over again.  Usually after an episode or two, I feel horrible for jut sitting around and wasting time.  So I’m going to try to limit myself to one episode, and then push myself to do something productive like reading or playing with Elizabeth.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?  Leave them in the comments below!  Good luck and Happy New Year!

24 Things Being 24 Taught Me

24 Things Being 24 Taught Me

Hello Everyone!  Tomorrow is my birthday and I plan on celebrating by going to the DMV, woohoo!  But in all seriousness I am excited about the birthday not the DMV though.

24 was a big year for me, so I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned with you all.

 

fullsizerender-4

  1. It’s okay to reboot, you’re still young.  This year I quit my job and became a stay-at-home mom until my daughter finished nursing.  Now that she’s finished, I’ve decided to go back to school and get my Masters in teaching.  My husband and I prayed about it and decided it was the right thing fir us to do.
  2. Take care of yourself.  I want to be able to run around and play in the front yard with my daughter when she’s a bit older, and to do that, I need to get into shape.  I’ve already lost the baby weight, which wasn’t much since I was so sick, and now I’m working on that extra bit that was already there.  I’m also taking care of myself mentally reading more and separating myself from negativity.  (The way I’ve done that is outlined here in my new morning routine.)
  3. Nursing is hard, but totally worth it.  I nursed Elizabeth until the end of her 11th month. It was an amazing experience that definitely led to a deep bond between us.  I’m not going to lie, it was challenging, some days it even sucked.  But once we got into a groove, it was an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
  4. Healthy food can be yummy.  I’ve been trying to eat healthier since deciding to take better care of myself.  One day, after I made a Turkey, spinach, Sweet Potato Skillet, my husband turned to me and said something along the lines of, “you don’t have to sacrifice taste for health.”  Granted, the only reason he said this was because he doesn’t like spinach… or sweet potato… or ground turkey.  Since then my healthy recipes have been tastier.  I think his favorite so far is my Ranch Burgers, or maybe the Stuffed Pepper Casserole, both of which are super yummy and under 400 calories a serving.
  5. Loose-leaf tea is soooo good.  If you’re into tea, you should totally try out loose-leaf tea.  I originally picked some up two years ago from Teavana when we went to Little Rock on a family trip, but my zeal for it didn’t last long.  I’ve recently picked it back up when I found some yummy loose leaf at my local Kroger.  I drink more tea than coffee now.
  6. Self help / advice books are not for me.  I’ve tried two different books like these this year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick.  These were both good books with good points that I was very interested in, but I just couldn’t push myself to finish them.
  7. Trying new food is fun!  Cody and I tried Indian food for the first time when we were in Dallas in April.  SO. GOOD.  Chicken Tikki Masala with naan is one of our favorite things to eat now.  We haven’t tried any local Indian places yet, but it’s on our list of date night meals.
  8. Live theatre is something everyone should try.  Eh, let me rephrase.  Good theatre is something everyone should try.  My sister goes to an artsy school, and I went to their production of Once Upon a Mattress with my mom.  It was really good.  The next time my husband and I take a trip, we’re going to try to see something together.
  9. Audiobooks are the bomb.  My husband and I started using Amazon’s Audible this year for audiobooks (not sponsored).  He listens to them as he works, and I listen while walking the neighborhood or driving someplace.  This year we listened to, the last four Harry Potter books, Girl on the Train, and the two books in the King Killer Chronicles.  I thought it would be difficult to follow along with something that I hadn’t read before, but it wasn’t.  A word of caution:  the narrator must be easy to listen to or you will not enjoy it.
  10. Relationships take work.  Ding, ding, ding!  This is an obvious one, I know, but it’s something that I’ve dealt with this year.  One thing that I pride myself on is our communication, but this year, with his new work schedule and the demands of the new baby, we’ve been a little out of sync.  So we started a new routine that has really helped us connect on days that we’re in a funk.  Each night we take turns telling each other one (different) thing we love about each other, then our favorite part of the day.
  11. It is important to have one nice outfit that fits properly.  By nice, I mean nice nice.  This is the time that most of your friends will be getting married or celebrating big accomplishments that will require a nice outfit.  Something classy.  If you don’t know where to look, try here.  I’ve have a few dresses from here, and they are super classy and excellent quality.
  12. True, die-hard friends are hard to come by; once you find one, don’t let them go.  When you are no longer forced to interact with the same people every day, like in school, you have to work harder to keep friendships alive.  Like I said, relationships take work.  When you do find “your person,” put the work in.  You need someone you can go to and spend time with.  Even if you don’t physically see each other every day, don’t let the life get in the way of your friendship.

    au-lzdmd_cw-stephanie-mccabe

  13. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL… RSVP!!  You’re an adult now, so be responsible.  If someone invites you to something and asks for an RSVP, do it.  Food prep, room, seating, it’s important to know how many people are going to be there.  Don’t be the guy who shows up unexpected, and don’t be the guy that the host is waiting on because you didn’t let them know you weren’t coming.  Also, RVSP at least two weeks before the actual event.  I threw a party this year that half of the guest list did not let me know that they were not coming.  I had cake and goodies left over for days.

  14. Don’t compare yourself to other around you.  We’re young, and most people in we crew are young too.  Don’t compare yourself to someone who you think has it all together because looks can be deceiving.  Everyone takes their own path to success and sometimes your select the scenic route that takes an extra twenty minutes.
  15. Start thinking quality over quantity.  This can apply to all aspects of your life, but here I’m talking about clothes again.  I love cheap Rue 21 clothes as much as the next girl, but you get what you pay for.  Wash it three times, and it disintegrates.  I’ve had to throw out so much this year because the quality just wasn’t there.  Invest in something that will hold up and makes you look like a million bucks (but it doesn’t have to cost quite that much).
  16. Being awesome is a choice.  Being “awesome,” confident, or even social is a decision.  Force positivity, tell yourself that you are great and you’ll eventually believe it.  Personal pep talks can be a life line when you’re exhausted and elbow deep in a poopy diaper, believe me.
  17. If you are unhappy or dislike something, change it now.  You’re an adult, but you’re still young.  If your unsatisfied with something, your body, your job, your relationships, now is the time to change it.  This has basically been my mantra this year.  I’ve switched careers and am working out more.
  18. There is no age limit for YA fiction.  I love young adult fiction.  They say that it’s for ages 16 to 25, but I don’t care.  I love YA fiction and probably always will, so I’m going to keep reading it.
  19. Adult coloring books are the bomb.  I recently bought myself a coloring book.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while but kept putting them down because I thought I didn’t have the time, or I wasn’t even sure if I liked to color.  Turns out I love it, and it’s pretty easy to find some time to squeeze it in my day.
  20. Buying baby clothes is addictive.  Seriously.  I think my new favorite store is Carters.  Everything is so cute and miniature!  I absolutely love it!  The dresses, shoes, headbands, all of it.  Even the little onesies.  Love it.
  21. You don’t have too many books, you have too few bookshelves.  Enough said.
  22. You can live with less.  Except books obviously.  Most people, myself included, have too much stuff.  Useless stuff that we can’t even remember why we bought it.  I ave thrown out or given away so much stuff this year!  It wasn’t “junk”  it was useful stuff that I just didn’t need or have the room for.
  23. Helping people is so good for you.  Giving gifts, time, whatever you can to those in need it is an amazing feeling.  People aren’t kidding when they say it’s better to give than to receive.  The feeling that you get from watching someone get something they truly want or need, it’s amazing.  We’ve went out of our way a few times this year to help others, and it was so fulfilling.
  24. It’s good to know how to make at least one impressive meal.  Everyone likes to impress people, that’s a given.  One of the most satisfying ways to impress someone is by cooking an amazing meal.  Then you’ll be known as that girl/boy who can cook that amazing ______.  Any time there is a pot luck, everyone is super excited to see what I’ve brought because I’ve mastered a few things. The older you get, the more likely it is you’re going to have to bring some food to something, so nail whatever that something is.

Goodbye 24, hello 25.  I’m excited to see what you have in store for me!

Thank you for reading my longest post so far.  Did you learn anything this year?  Share it in the comments below, and Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

Today is the day!  It’s Baby Elizabeth’s first birthday!

I’ve shared my birth story here and her birthday photos here.

img_5168

We had her big birthday party earlier this month, so we are just doing something small for the actual day, a little cupcake with a candle on it.

It blows my mind how quickly this first year has flown by.  We constantly marvel over the fact that she has become her own little person.

She loves to watch Princess Sofia in the mornings with her buttered toast; loves her daddy cuddles while watching tv; loves to giggle at the dogs; loves to do her own little thing.

She’s super active.  Even though she isn’t walking just yet, she can crawl SUPER fast.  If she sees something she wants and isn’t supposed to have she takes off!

She has seven teeth and will eat anything that doesn’t eat her first.

She’s an excellent sleeper.  She sleeps for about 10 to 12 hours every night and takes naps.

Bath time is one of her favorite times.  She is a big splasher!

She seems so solemn in public, but around people she knows, she is all giggles and talks a ton!  Wonder if that means she’ll be a little shy.

I just want to hold on to her and cherish each and every minute of her being little because I know it isn’t going to last.

img_4836

So today, please forgive me if I’m a weepy mess; my baby girl is one.

We love you Elizabeth!

2016 Birthday Wishlist!

2016 Birthday Wishlist!

Hey everyone!  I saw a meme on Facebook, which not only made me laugh but inspired me to write up my 2016 Birthday Wish List.

 

My birthday is December 26th, so I’m used to combo presents and forgotten birthdays.  It doesn’t really bother me, because my mom has always made a point to celebrate my birthday separate from Christmas, so I never felt left out.  But these made me laugh, because I’ve definitely said those things in my head before.  And the great thing is, my husband knows how I feel, because his birthday is the 30th.  (I talked about birthday month here earlier this month.)

img_5114

So without further ado, here is my birthday wish list!

  1. Apple TV – Best Buy $140
    I’ve wanted an Apple TV for a while now.  I’ve always had an iPhone and iPad, so I’ve bought lots of movies on iTunes.  But now that I have a MacBook too, I really want the  Apple TV.  It comes in handy when the internet messes up, (which happens at least once a month where we live) so I can play Sofia the First for the baby.
  2. Nikon D3400 – Best Buy $500
    I would really like a nice digital camera to really upgrade the quality of photos that I’m posting on here for you all.  Also, I have a super cute baby that I’m constantly taking pictures of!
  3. Leather Band for my Fitbit Blaze – Amazon $23
    I recently got a Fitbit Blaze, and I love it!  The old watch I had was a dark purple, so it basically matched everything.  The new one is black, so when I wear browns or blues, it don’t go so well.  This would match when I wear those things.
  4. Coach Perfume – Dillards $75
    I love the way this smells but have never bought it for myself because I’m not one hundred percent sure how it will smell on me.
  5. Michael Kors Hamilton Tote – Dillards $280
    I usually get myself one nice bag a year.  Two years ago it was a grey tote for my birthday and last year it was a light purple tote for Mother’s Day.
  6. Antler Shirt – Sunshine and Clotheslines $34
    This boutique is owned by my cousin’s wife.  In October, she posted that she was going to get this tunic, but it was so back ordered by her supplier that she said she wouldn’t be able it get it.  Well, he sent her a message, and she was able to grab a few!  I’ve got to have it!  Check out those elbow pads!
  7. Snooga Athletic Skirt – Snooga $60
    I have wanted a skirt/leggings combo for my workouts.  I don’t like that you can see the leggings sticking out of the skirt.  I’ll have to roll them up a little.
  8. Pompom Dress – Skirt Societ $50
    I love love love just about everything at this shop!  This is my favorite dress there right now.
  9. Plaid Blanket Scarf – Target $20
    These are so in and super warm!
  10. Owl Bookends – Amazon $23
    I collect owls and would love a set of bookends for my “currently reading” section, or on my desk.

What does your Birthday Wish List look like?  Let me know in the comments!

Elizabeth’s Cake Smash Session

Elizabeth’s Cake Smash Session

Hello All!  Man, this past week has been a BUSY ONE!  We had little Elizabeth’s Winter ONEderland party, which I’ll be blogging about later.  In the meantime, I figured I would share some photos from her cake smash session.  Cyndi Shewmake took these, and Elizabeth’s newborn photos.

12x12

 

She never wants to crack a smile when we have a camera out.  Saying “cheese” used to get her to smile but not anymore.

img_4497

So we only got one smile.

img_4527

However, when you say “yay baby” she will clap her hands together.

img_4552

We constantly had to pull the snowflakes on the prop away from her.  She even tried to get the poms in the background before we brought out the cake.

img_4524

A friend of mine made her onsie and I made her tutu.

img_4482

That tutu though.  I got the tulle from Walmart, and the glitter went EVERYWHERE.  Seriously.  We took these photos three weeks ago, and we still find glitter around the house.

img_4554

Since I made the tutu, I thought about making the smash cake too.  I even bought two little cake pans, but it wasn’t very pretty.  So I figured I’d leave it to the professionals.

img_4561

For the cake smash, we got her bib and bloomers at Hobby Lobby, since I wanted her to be able to wear the “one” onsie at the party later.  We also had a pink hat for her to wear, but her head was too small.

img_4582

She started out so daintily.  She used her finger and thumb to pinch off the green icing leaves from the roses on the top of the cake.

img_4583

But, she finally got into it.

img_4607

Then we pulled it off the stand so she could get a better angle on it.

img_4656

Surprisingly, I was able to wash all that dark blue icing out of the bib, bloomers, and footless sandals.

img_4623

I think she really enjoyed it 🙂

img_4668

Have you all did cake smash sessions with your little ones?  How did you do it?  Let me know in the comments!

img_4616

Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap Up

Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap Up

img_4640

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving weekend!  Ours was great!  I live really close to both my parents and my in-laws, so we always have two feasts.

Thursday.  My side of the family in the early afternoon, around 12 to 1, and my in-laws in the late evening, around 5 or 6.  This year, my Grandma decided that she didn’t want to go all out for Thanksgiving dinner since they always cook way too much and have to do it again only a month later.  So, we had a fish fry.  When I first found out that’s what we were doing, I was a little upset.  My grandma makes the absolute best dressing (or stuffing).  I’m sure that’s what everyone thinks, but it’s true.  Her’s is the best.  Also, my mother and I are not big fans of fried fish.  Baked, I’m there, but fried not so much.  Especially catfish.  Surprisingly it wasn’t bad.  I actually enjoyed it.  I brought along a corn casserole, and it was a huge hit.  Then I went over to my in-laws for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Definitely glad I got some turkey!  I think baby Elizabeth’s favorite part was the deviled eggs.  She devoured two of them!!

Friday I decided not to go Black Friday shopping since and was super excited to decorate forimg_4664 Christmas.  I composed my Christmas playlists (which can be found here) and pulled down my Christmas tree box, but when I opened the tree box it was empty!  I had totally forgot that I had thrown it away two years ago, so we could get a better tree this year.  The old one was super dinky.  So decorating has been put off until Tuesday, when we can go out and get a tree.  I think I’ve got the one I want picked out at Target.  It’s 7 and 1/2 feet tall, which will be the tallest tree we’ve ever had.  Our last one was only 5 1/2 feet.

 

Saturday was a ton of fun!  My husband and I spent the day “unplugged” and had an awesome day.  I think we’ll do this more often.  It was nice not being distracted by the outside world and being able to focus on each other and our relationship.  We are big fans of board games so we played Battleship and Uno.  We were going to play Yahtzee, but I’ve misplaced the dice.  That night we wrapped up the day with one of his favorite meals, Cheeseburger Goulash.  I also started weening the baby from nursing on Saturday.  I’m thinking I’ll write a post about that whenever I’m finished.

In case you missed them, I’m going to start adding the weeks blog posts to my weekend wrap ups.  This weeks posts:

Decking the Halls: My Christmas Playlist

One to Rule Them All: A Three Dark Crowns Review

Yummy Tummy Tuna Casserole: Quick Meals #2

This week looks like it’s going to be a relatively busy one.  We’ve got to get our puppy fixed, decorations for the baby’s first birthday party next weekend, and all the Christmas stuff up.  We also have a Secret Sister party with my church.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you do anything out of the ordinary like a fish fry?  Leave it in the comments and let me know!

Decking the Halls: My Christmas Playlist

Decking the Halls: My Christmas Playlist

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely holiday yesterday!  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, but now that it is over, it is time to decorate for Christmas! I’m super excited to get all my decorations up this year since we didn’t decorate last year.  Considering I was 36 weeks pregnant, it just didn’t seem worth it.  While I’m decorating this weekend, I wanted to share with you all what Christmas music I have been listening to.

For the longest time I didn’t enjoy Christmas music since I worked retail for a few years.  They start the Christmas music the first of November all the way through the end of December.  It drove me nuts, but that was several years ago, so I’m back on the Christmas music train!  I’ve got two playlists for you here.  The first is what I listen to when I’m in a peppy mood (cause I usually sing along), and the second is an instrumental playlist that I usually listen to when we are busy , or if we are just hanging out.  I’ll add the link to the spotify playlist for you to check it out.


Christmas Mix:

Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix

That’s Christmas to Me by Pentatonic

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Michael Bubble

The Christmas Song by Kim Walker-Smith

Frosty the Snowman by The Jackson 5

Opera of the Bells by Destiny’s Child

O Holy Night by Lauren Daigle

All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by Nsync

Jesus, What A Wonderful Child by Mariah Carey

White Christmas by Lauren Daigle

O Come Emmanuel by Kim Walker-Smith

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bubble

Do You Hear What I Hear by Carrie Underwood

My Only Wish (This Year) by Brittany Spears

Instrumental:

O Christmas Tree by Michelle McLaughlin

O Come Emmanuel by Michelle McLaughlin

The First Noel by Easy Listening Music

Christmas Medley by Jon Schmidt

We Three Kings by David Lanz

Where are You Christmas by The Piano Guys

Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Kenny G

My Favorite Things by Kenny G

The Little Drummer Boy by Beegie Adair

Frosty the Snowman by Beegie Adair

O Come All ye Faithful by Christmas Music Experts

We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Christmas Music Experts

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Chemayne

Are there any Christmas songs that you all love to listen to?  Leave it in the comments, and let me know!