Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bauer Bunch Best Of {2013}

The clock tells me there is one half-hour left in 2013 and my kids' efforts to see the stroke of midnight just came to a close as baby sister shut her eyes for the night.

Yesterday I posted my resolutions and plans to becoming a better me this year, but I have to admit 2013 was a pretty good one for the Bauer Bunch. In case you're looking for something to read while waiting on the ball to drop {or perhaps with your morning coffee}, I'd like to present my favorite posts of the past year - one for every month.

It's amazing to remember how far we've come since this time last year. Also, look at how my squishy little babies transform from January to December. That post written by February Jessica is a doozie, too. That girl had no idea. I'm excited to see what the new year holds for my little family. The future is uncertain, but it's mine. May your year be everything you want it to be. Treasure your memories, let go of your hurt, and set your sights on bigger and better. Happy New Year!

January: One Little Word

February: Another One?

March: Two Letters {Part Two}

April: The Crib

May: For Mothers

June: Bauer Boys {Owen}

July: Nora's Birth Story

August: The Diaper Stage

September: First Place

October: Holy Matrimony!

November: The Shape of a Mother

December: Not So Terrible

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions: Parenting Edition

It's that time of year again, y'all.

It's time to look back over the past 365 days and find ways to be even more awesome for the next 365. Last year I decided to throw away the word "resolution" and instead share my successes for the past year. It was a good experience and it was inspiring to see my life bullet-pointed in such a way. I could do that again this year - heck, I gave birth to an amazing baby girl, but I'm going to pass. This year, there were some holes in 2013 I'd like to focus on filling.

Without further ado, I will now publish my parenting resolutions for the world to see. I am now a mama to three children, and let it be known that is more than two. MUCH more than two. This year I pray for patience, guidance, and humility as I sail this ship for another 52 weeks. Here are my areas of focus {maybe you can join in on some of them, too!}:

  1. Count to Ten More: I need to stop yelling {okay, at least tone it down}. In 2014, I want to push myself to maintain better control when life spins faster than I'd like. I'm not talking Super Nanny discipline skills, I just think it will be as beneficial to me as it will be to my kids if I would step into the bathroom every now and then and breathe. Cool heads always prevail, no matter how many cookies are ground into the carpet.

  2. Push Them Outside: My kids can be quite the couch potatoes and as you know, monkey see, monkey do. This monkey wants to get outside and she certainly hopes her kids follow. Once winter turns to spring and the garden chores start calling my name, I'm leaving no man behind. Owen is now old enough to join his brother on adventures and who am I to stand in the way of that? I'm sure Nora won't mind a little dirt and sunshine, either.

  3. Listen To Them: I will be the first to admit my selective hearing flares up fast these days. Especially when it's the tenth rapid-fire question I hear while tending to a screaming baby or vacuuming cookie crumbs. I answer with robotic response, not caring how my disinterest is interpreted. I've got to cut that out. I have to carve time to look my kids square in the eyes and focus. I have to let them know they're important. There's no telling what I may miss if I don't.

  4. More One-on-One Time: I'll let you in on something about my kids - they are crazy cool. They each have their own way of living and when they're in good spirits, they're a blast to be around. In the coming year, I'd like to find time to stop lumping them into "my kids" and get to know Nathan, Owen, and Nora better. Maybe a couch date here or a dinner date there or simply some time on the bedroom floor playing with toys and sharing secrets. I want to look at each of them long and hard and give them a chance to do the same to me. I want to memorize their lives now, because they change with every tick of the second hand.

  5. More Mommy Time: I know this list has focused on my relationship with my children, but this particular item could be one of the most important. I vow to take more time for myself this year. {Sounds like a cop-out, but stay with me.} There is no way I could reach these goals running on fumes, which has been my state for the past five months. I need to curl up on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee. I need to sit at the computer and write without stopping. I need a few margaritas and a good friend. Every so often, a mama has to recharge. This is a big step to a less frazzled 2014.

  6. More Mommy-Daddy Time: That last resolution goes double when it comes to my husband. Would you believe that since we graduated to a family of five, Jonathan and I have only had one single, solitary night alone? We are guilty of being parents way more than spouses. This year, I want it to sink in for both of us that our relationship is the most important. The way we model love and compassion and forgiveness and respect is a daily lesson to our children. We need time alone to cultivate that {and you know... talk about something other than diapers?}.

  7. Savor The Now: I think too much about the future. Sure, it's important to worry about money and day care and college and what's for dinner; however, while my sights are set ahead, there are three little people at my feet. They are growing like weeds and they will never be this age again. We will never have these moments back. I need to focus my gaze downward and lock in. It's time to start being present and living in the now. Let it all go and see what unfolds.

  8. Adjust My Idea of Perfection: I've written about mommy guilt once and I've thought about it a million times more. One of my most important resolutions for 2014 is to adjust my idea of perfection. I need to realize that what I'm doing for my bunch is the right thing to do because I think so, not because a magazine told me or a friend did it that way or it's popular opinion. I am desperate for my children to grow up without the pressure of societal perfection and I think step one to reaching that goal is to release the burden I place on myself. Life should be what makes you happy, and the box would be pretty full if everyone had to fit in it, right?

The trick of these eight resolutions is that I can accomplish them all. Easily. By focusing on these tasks at hand I can be a better mom and a better person. I don't want to be the mom on the pages of Parenting magazine, or the mom at the park, or the mom down the street. Plain and simple, I want to be a better version of myself. Now seems like a good time to start.

Wednesday marks a blank state. What kind of parent do you want to be this year?
What kind of person do you want to be this year?

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ornament Swap

If you've been paying any sort of attention here, you know about a certain group of ladies known as the Arkansas Women Bloggers. They create a sense of community, answer any and all questions, offer platforms to share, and accept me with no questions asked.

Legit, right?

Well this holiday season marked the second time they invited the writers registered with their site to spread love to all four corners of the state. And this year, I joined! I'm talking about the second annual AWB Handmade Ornament Swap, y'all!

I remember this coming across my email and Facebook feed last year. The founders of the site invited bloggers near and far to submit their information to be passed along to a secret Santa who would handcraft a gorgeous addition for their tree. It should go without saying this meant you'd get the name of a blogger to craft for, as well. The thought of having to pull off a somewhat decent craft for someone I'd never met was scary, so I passed.

When I saw the same discussion spark this year, I let it slide for a while. Facebook prompts kept encouraging me to give it a ago, and I think a Pinterest board the AWB put together just for this occasion is what sent me over the edge. I was going to craft, by golly, and someone, somewhere was going to get a little bit of love from these two {incapable} hands.

Boy, am I glad I did it! Snail mail is probably ranked somewhere on a list of my top ten favorite things, but a package with a handmade spin is tops. When I pulled it out of my mailbox and saw the name Debbie Arnold in the upper lefthand corner, well that just about took the cake. Yes, my name was given to the one and only Dining with Debbie. Check her out, y'all - she is a fantastic food writer from northwest Arkansas who is one of the genius minds behind the entire AWB scene. Her newly remodeled site is easy to navigate with recipes for every part of every meal you can imagine, appetizer to dessert. Each recipe comes with a fun story and Debbie takes it step by step in a way that makes anyone feel like a master chef, which is saying a lot coming from yours truly.

Debbie was awesome enough to incorporate her foodie way of life by crafting a star cookie cutter into a gorgeous, glittering ornament. It looks wonderful on my tree and the Bauer Boys were so excited to have yet another ornament to hang. They were even more excited about the yummy treats she tucked into the package! {Are you surprised there are no photos of the treats? You shouldn't be.}

Thank you so much, Debbie, for your sweet gift and bringing a little handmade joy into the Bauer household this year.

As for my end of the bargain, it wasn't nearly as frightening as I thought it would be. Being assigned to someone I actually knew made it even better! I was given the name of one of my very own Southwest Arkansas Bloggers who happens to live right down the highway. I love reading all about her life, her family, and her crafting at Simple Words by A. I was lucky enough to meet her face-to-face at our group's first gathering in October and I look forward to seeing her again in January.

For her, I stuck with what I knew and she got one of my prized salt dough ornaments {click here for my full instructions}. I plastered a simple star with gold glitter glue, painted the back blue and polka-dotted the glittering front in shades of orange, green, and blue. I then asked my husband very sweetly to draw a fancy-scripted letter A and it was something I was proud to pack up and send her way. I hope you enjoyed it, Alicia!

Merry {belated} Christmas and a Happy New Year, Bloggers!

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Christmas Story

Hello, friend! It's been awhile, hasn't it?

I just thought I'd pop in this morning and give you a quick and dirty Christmas update {okay, it won't be quick, but you better believe it's going to be dirty. Flu germ dirty.} Yes, this little bunch of mine has been up to quite a bit in the days I've been absent from my corner of the Internet. Wrapping carefully hidden presents, grocery shopping for the big day, checking out the twinkling lights all across town, and hacking, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing.

A symphony of sickness that we often tried to coordinate into "Jingle Bells." Festive, right?

It started the week before Christmas when Owen's temperature spiked. We were lucky enough to get him into the doctor the next day and he was promptly given what would be a positive flu test. My fever arrived the next day and we continued to fall one by one. Everyone expect the patriarch of the family, whose lucky job was to care for all of us pitiful little sickos. The days crept closer to December 25 and I fell into deeper despair with each cross on the calendar.

Before the sickness hit, I had big plans y'all. Plans of kids in matching jammies huddled together on the couch, watching hours of Christmas movies, sharing hot cocoa, and talking about the big man's ride in the sky. I saw the five of us wedged into a packed house at church, listening to the good news. I wanted to be the first one up on Christmas morning, ready to capture the magic and then promptly begin an incredible three-course lunch since my parents would be dining with us.

Turns out my one success was that I actually wore pants during all the merriment.

But you know what? As my family traveled the homeward highway Christmas Eve after sniffling our way through dinner, I peeked into my backseat. I had been sad all day about missing out on some of the perfect moments I had handcrafted in my mind, but as I saw both boys staring into the night sky in search of eight tiny reindeer and a little girl fast asleep, I knew I wasn't missing anything. We didn't get to attend Mass as a family, there were no place cards at Christmas dinner, and I was the last one Nathan had to pry out of bed to witness the morning magic, but it was still perfect. It was our first as a family of five and the love we shared was enough.

Christmas isn't about getting it exactly right, it's about remembering why we strive for perfection in the first place. Every single December 25 we celebrate the only one capable of achieving it, and he did just that when he took his first breath of night air in a Bethlehem manger. That realization sorts of turns the lack of fine China and fresh-baked cookies into a nonevent, doesn't it?

Once I slowed down and stopped focusing on what I was doing wrong, I could see all the things I've done right, starting with the three best Christmas gifts I have received over the years. A baby changes everything.

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"

A merry Christmas, indeed.

Now that my Christmas tale has been told, rest assured that we are starting to feel better. Owen is currently bouncing off the walls, Nora is napping without snoring, and Nathan is playing his Ninja Turtle video game. I can taste the coffee brewed fresh in my new Keurig {thanks, Santa!}, and we're gearing up to do it all again at Bauer Family Christmas this evening. Bring it on!

Until then, how about a Christmas morning play-by-play via photos I managed to capture during the gift-opening extravaganza? Of course I got the best shots of Nathan, who happily posed with every single thing he received after proclaiming each as "the best gift ever!" He seemed to top the nice list this year, and you'd have thought he won the lottery when he unwrapped that robe:

Owen was still pretty sluggish come Christmas morning, but he was thrilled to see his hand-picked carrots and Nana-baked cookies nibbled away by the big guy and his reindeer. The best part about celebrating with Owen was when he learned there was more to presents than beautiful boxes. There were things inside! For weeks, I asked him what kind of presents Santa would bring. For weeks, he told me "green ones." His technique was impressive after he caught sight of the first toy:

Nora June, bless her heart, had no idea what was happening. She just sat in her bright red jams in horror as the boys ripped into gift after gift. Once it was her turn, she was pretty skeptical, as you can see; however, the sweet little toys waiting inside turned that frown upside down:

Also, she got to wear a beautiful dress and accent her luxurious locks with a brand-new headband, so she was pumped:

Christmas 2013 is one I will always remember. It was Nora's first holiday season, the most fun one for Owen to date, and the one where imperfection plus a little bit of grace and humility showed me exactly what mattered most.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Blogging: My Tradition

{Photo Credit: Corey Kramer Photography}

Today I'm talking traditions over at Arkansas Women Bloggers, the home of some of my favorite ladies from across the state.

This fantastic community of writers digs up with a topic each month and invites its members to submit guest posts that fit within the guidelines. I am honored to be featured once again, and this time just six days before my favorite day of the year. The chosen holiday blogging theme was Traditions and it didn't take much thinking to know where I was going with that. Many of the memories made so far this year have revolved around new beginnings. Baby Nora's first Christmas, our first winter with a family of five, a mantel full of stockings, and a Bauer Family Christmas Card that captured just a small blink of it all. Then I began to think about just how much that particular Christmas card has changed over the years...

Thus, my post was born. Anxious to read more? Click on over and check it out, why don't you?

Just click HERE.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Salt Dough Ornaments

I doubt I'm surprising anyone when I say I'm not crafty.

Go ahead and gasp if needed. "How can such an incredible mother not spend her free time tearing through her pins while her children sit by in amazement?" Alas, it's true. I've dabbled here and there {with the help of one artistic husband} when it comes to decorations for parties and showers, but crafts just for crafts' sakes? Nope, not here.

Not until last night, that is...

I took my first sick day in a long time this week and the days I drug myself to work I was just not feeling it. Needless to say, fun has not been abundant in my household. I decided we needed some Christmas cheer, so we made ornaments, y'all! I had seen several pins and blog articles regarding salt dough ornaments and anything made with three ingredients that doesn't have to be tasty is right up my alley. I was very surprised when both Nathan and Owen sat down to help me measure said ingredients, mix them together, roll them flat, and cut the shapes. There was minimal fighting and only one episode of crying. Move over, June Cleaver.

It wasn't until my decorations were in the oven that I started reading the actual comments on the pins and blog articles I mentioned. The ones that said this seemingly easy project was actually not all it was cracked up to be. Either the dough was too wet or too thin or too thick or the ornaments burnt or bubbled or crumbled.

Uh oh. There was no way I did this right.

I paced the kitchen and checked my work every half-hour and about six oven checks later, the ornaments were no longer pliable, they were still white, and they looked like the ones on the Internet. I made things! I even took a cue from one of my pins and turned a hand-formed evergreen into a Bauer Family Ornament. We each pressed a finger into the tree before baking with the intent to decorate them as Christmas lights. Because my method was successful, I thought I'd share my recipe for anyone who wants to try it. Look at me, blogging a recipe!

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
1/2 Cup Warm Water
Cookie Cutters
Acrylic Paints

{I now see that step-by-step pictures would help, but I just have one. Sorry, I'm new at this.}

  1. Set that oven to 250. Important step, don't forget it.

  2. Combine the salt, flour, and water together with a mixing spoon. Some crafters said their dough was ruined because they did not pour the water ever-so slowly. I'm pretty sure I just dumped mine in and it was fine. I may have been standing just right, though. You might not want to test your luck.

  3. Once it's all one homogeneous mixture, start kneading it with your fingers. If you let your kids help, they'll probably eat some. Everything in it is food, so it isn't dangerous; however, they won't be pleased. This may be when the crying starts, but you press on. Knead it until it looks like dough {five minutes-ish?}. If it's too sticky, add a little flour. If it's too crumbly, add a little water. You want it to stretch like sugar cookie dough. {I'm making that part up, but that's what mine looked like.}

  4. Throw some flour on the counter, let your kids play in it, then roll the dough to a quarter of an inch. Exactly. Use a ruler. Use whatever cookie cutters you have on hand, then get those shapes on the cookie sheet. We got four out of this amount, but we could have done at least two more. We're lazy. PRO TIP: Covering your cookie sheet with aluminum foil would be a good idea. There was breath holding and knife wiggling once mine were done.

  5. Use a straw or a toothpick or whatever to make a hole completely through the top to loop string or ribbon for hanging purposes. I would guess this is hard to do once the ornaments are baked. PRO TIP: Go ahead and trim and smooth your edges if you're a perfectionist. There's no going back once these hit the oven.

  6. Bake for somewhere in the ballpark of three hours. THREE HOURS. I'm not even kidding. Some instructions say two, some say six, but mine needed a little under three. Apparently you can't burn them on such a low setting, and your intent is to dry the moisture out of them. You will know they are done when they are hard. Let them cool first before you touch them, though. My husband learned this the hard way.

  7. Once hardened and completely cool, paint and glitter the heck out of them. We used acrylic paints because we had some on hand. You have permission to use your own judgement.

Voila. A CRAFT!

If I can do it, you better believe you can, too. Your kids will love it and it's easy, even for those non-crafty types I hear so much about. Be sure to come back and tell me all about it {as long as they're not better than mine}. Happy Weekend!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Not So Terrible

In exactly three months, my middle child will become a three-year-old.

The trademark terribleness of his current age will melt away the moment the clock strikes midnight. Owen will assume his position as a well-mannered toddler in complete control of his emotions and his argumentative nature will fade to the picture of obedience.

Right? Right?!

I've been around the block before so I know the tender age of three isn't always much better, but I'm holding fast to any idea sturdy enough to pull me out of this parenting slump. In recent weeks, Owen has been one defiant little kid. His bedtime routine has been turned on its head and he refuses to stay in his room. We've tried music, we've tried bribes, we've tried threats, we've tried ignoring him, and we've put the railing back on his toddler bed. As you might expect, he easily launches his tall frame over it and wanders the halls, half-crying, half-groaning, half asleep. The only thing that works is a 10:30 parental give-in and a 15-minute rock in the big chair.

A few nights ago, we were over it and let the little squirt squirm his way into the big bed. We woke up frazzled and in desperate need of caffeine after a night of kicking and poking and prodding. Owen woke up refreshed, with a smile on his face. He was extra happy because he didn't even have to get up right away to use the potty. He took the opportunity to use it while wrapped up in my amazingly soft sheets.

And this, my friends, is why the big bed is no longer an option.

On top of that, I'm simultaneously feeding a ravenous baby who doesn't like to take turns in the rocking chair and trying my best not to forget about their quiet six-year-old brother. At the height of these frustrations, I lose my cool. I can't be the first mom to feel like this and I doubt I'll be the last, but I feel that it's important to put it out there. Not to come off as whiny and clueless, but to remind myself {and you} that parenting is hard. There is absolutely no way around that.

You've been there, too, haven't you?

Sometimes I let it get the best of me. Why do I have more kids than hands? How am I still sane? Am I still sane? I throw my hands up in surrender and attempt to out-yell my children. Mean mom comes out more than I'd care to admit and anyone with a two-year-old knows she usually makes it worse. Last night was particularly trying and as my head finally found my pillow, I counted my blessings. I started off thankful for the quiet, thankful for a break, thankful for a means to recharge so I could do it all again in the morning.

As I thought about how thrilled I was to not hear the voices of my children, tears found my eyes. Owen can be a trying little kid who knows all the right buttons to push, but he is mine. He is funny, he is genuine, and he is a sweetheart. He fills a part of my heart I didn't know was missing until his nine-pound body first came into view. Parenting is hard, but there would be an enormous hole right through me if any of those three weren't tucked cozy in their beds.

That's when I decided in the times I'm struggling {which is more often than not these days}, I need to focus on the good. When someone is peeing in your bed, that can be hard, but there is much more to Owen than that:

  • His eyes. Particularly the way those deep brown puppy eyes light up when they connect with mine. Whether I've been at work all day or left him at his grandparents' house so I could go to the church for an hour, it's as though he hasn't seen me in weeks. He squeals "Mommy!" and wraps his arms around me tight. I melt into him every time.

  • His morning ritual. He may test my limits, but this guy is 100% a mama's boy. I see the fear of separation in his eyes when we arrive at the babysitter's house each morning, but he swallows it down and opens the door like a gentleman. He grabs his blanket, greets his teacher, and asks for a "tiss and hug, Mommy!" This is followed by about four or five repeats, until he finally waves goodbye.

  • His manners. I love a kid with manners and I like to think Nathan was born with them. Apparently we've done something right the second time around, too, because this little guy never forgets them. Even in the middle of a late-night temper tantrum, he won't miss a "bless you" if his Daddy sneezes and he's quick to say "excuse me" after one of his classic burps.

  • His heart. Owen plays hard, he fights hard, and he loves hard. "I love you, Mommy" comes out of nowhere several times a day and still takes me by surprise. He is head over heels for his baby sister and obsessed with making sure her needs are met at all times. As for Nathan, Owen looks at his older brother like he hung the moon and placed the stars. Sunshine beams from his very being when playtime is requested and the two march into their room, set on adventure and growing their friendship.

  • His needs. He is still stuck between being my baby boy and being my big boy, but on those late nights when he can't take anymore and climbs into my lap, I see it. His long legs drape over the armrest and his body contorts into positions I couldn't possible recreate, but it's there. My baby is still there. I brush his shaggy hair out of his eyes and find his mile-long eyelashes. His little lips make a perfect pout and his cheeks are still as heavy as the day he was born. He is my baby. He is my son. He needs me and he always will.

I know as much as the next mom that this, too, shall pass. The only problem is when "this, too" passes, my son will grow up. He'll grow out of his bad habits, but he'll grow out of this sweet stage in life, too. He's already got one foot in his childhood and the other one is quickly drawing away from his baby days. It's hard, y'all. It is frustrating, it's confusing, and it has the tendency to drive me off the deep end.

But really, it's not so terrible.

{Photos by Corey Kramer Photography.}

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Nora {Five Months}

So it appears I let an eighth of the month slip by yesterday. Oops.

Jonathan and I actually celebrated the five-month anniversary of Nora's entrance into the world by putting a hefty dent in our Christmas list. My kids may not stay on the nice list 24/7, but they're all real cute so that has to count for something, right? Hopefully you weren't too upset over the fact that I did not post Nora's update on her actual five-month birthday. If you were, you either need to find a new hobby or you are one of her grandmas. If the latter is true, please accept my apology and all of these lovely pictures of the world's most perfect granddaughter.

Also, in accordance with the tradition I've formed since I met my darling daughter, I will now let those who are interested know exactly what's going on with the little peanut in a list format:

  • Before all the threats of ice and snow and horribly low temperatures, Nora was able to squeeze in a trip to her first parade. She may have fallen asleep before Santa came sliding down Main Street in a firetruck, but she did enjoy looking at the twinkling lights on display. The Bauer Boys stood in awe as each float grew bigger and brighter and then scrambled to collect the scattered hard candies and Tootsie Pops. I'm pretty sure Nora June's favorite part was watching her brothers. And sleeping in the car.

  • When Nora was being knit in my womb, she grew accustomed to the sounds that would fill her environment. This mostly involved wild boys pretending to shoot deer, track dinosaurs, and crash monster trucks. I wasn't surprised that she slept through it all days after birth. At five months, however, the tables are turning. My quiet baby is finding her voice and realizing her range goes beyond the standard cry. I think her happy squeals rival her angry ones and she's hitting decibel levels not yet recorded by a Bauer kid. Lord, help us all.

  • I say it every single month {and I'll probably continue this tradition}, but would you look at those peepers? These baby blues continue to evoke oohs, ahhs, and awkward milkman references every time she meets someone new. A few of our relatives are set on the fact that they'll darken to a light brown, but I'm not seeing it yet. Just look at this picture I snapped over her Daddy's shoulder at the parade:

  • After making it five months surrounded by a constant tornado of brothers, Nora is becoming more aware of her surroundings, and by this I mean her hands. She has found them and they are her new favorite. During a good snuggle, right before those pretty little eyes roll back, one of her paws will sweep her line of vision and that's all it takes. She constantly turns them, examining from the tips of the chubby fingers down to the bands around her wrists. Hands are a new and exciting magic for my daughter. Fun times.

  • Although her hands can keep her occupied for a while, Nora needs outside entertainment, too, and by this I mean her brothers. A few days ago, I watched as my daughter sat with her Daddy and the boys stood in front of her. They didn't say anything funny, but any words directed toward her resulted in an absolute belly laugh. She threw her head back and lost control of her giggles. This made the boys erupt in their own laughter, causing one ridiculous chain reaction. I'm pretty sure we just lost $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos because I didn't think to press record.

  • I am 100% ready for our first Christmas as a family of five. It will be so much sweeter with the addition of a little sister. She couldn't really whisper her wish list in Santa's ear, but I filled him in on a few of her favorites. She can expect a headband or two from Sassy Sweet Pea Designs, of course. Click here for the holiday specials {and you can see the exact styles Nora has coming her way}. Santa also told me he would sneak this musical Seahorse friend beneath the tree and a few toys in her stocking. Obviously we didn't go overboard as she doesn't know what's going on {and we leave the overboard to the aforementioned grandmas}, however, I think she will be thrilled.

{Again with the sticker removal, this time revealing her Duck Commander onesie.
This has me wonder if a sticker will even be present in months 6-12.}

Have a happy, happy, happy Monday, y'all!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

My Friday Five

{Linking up again with Darci from The Good Life Blog for her famous Five on Friday.
I thought I'd share a brief synopsis of a handful of the topics floating around in my brain.
PS: Click Darci's link at the end of this post to see other bloggers' fives and post your own!}
ONE: As promised yesterday, I'm kicking off my Friday randoms with a weather report. I am very pleased to share a severe lack of winter wonderland this morning. Although it's much colder than I'd prefer, the ice seemed to stay in other areas of the state. Snow day photos are filling up my Facebook, but I had to wipe a few tears when Nathan first peeked through the window this morning. There's something soul-crushing about seeing cold grass where the weatherman predicted a sea of white. Thankfully, I diffused the situation with the fact that it is Friday {yay!} and the weekend is near.

TWO: I know Owen is a two-year-old, and I know you're supposed to love your kids and everything, but this child is driving me batty today. He's just so loud. He unravels Nora's swaddle after hours of getting her settled into a nice, hard nap. He catapults over the back of the couch with an armful of ornaments seconds after "Don't touch the tree" and "Don't climb on the couch." His selective hearing is in high gear, but he's managed to call me a doodie head on two separate occasions. I'm going to go ahead and call it an early nap day {fingers crossed}.

THREE: While changing my baby friend this morning, I took a routine look in her mouth to see if all the drooling, fussing, and fist-eating have produced anything. And I saw a small white tooth just beneath the surface! Who knows how long it will take to break through, but hopefully the process is as quick and painless as possible. Nathan's first tooth popped up at five months and Owen's was a bit earlier at four months. Nora hits five on Sunday, so it seems she's staying in line with her brothers. Teething wasn't bad for either boy, so hopefully she inherits that part, too.

FOUR: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We set up the tree, the wreaths, the nativity, and the rest of the holiday touches last Saturday. Nathan went on a two-hour shopping excursion with his aunt while Owen enjoyed a long nap, and we would've been crazy to pass up such a prime opportunity. It was worth the scurrying around to get it done quickly to see the pure joy on the boys' faces. We saved the ornament work for them, of course, and Owen loved it. He smiled with a hop and said, "I did it!" after placing every ornament in a collection near the bottom of the tree. {He may be driving me bonkers today, but the kid has some endearing qualities.} All we have left are the outside lights and ice needs to leave the forecast before we attempt that.

FIVE: Have you seen The Hunger Games: Catching Fire yet? I caught it last Sunday and if you haven't, make it happen. I'm a fan of the books and I loved the first movie, so I've been counting down to this installment for the past year. Four words: It did not dissapoint. It was a very true-to-book translation and even if it weren't, it's an incredible movie. The only bad reviews I have read revolve around the cliffhanger ending and the fact that we have to wait another 365 until we find out what happens next. I have a bit of advice for those people: you can delve deeper into the plot now if you just read the book. If you've seen it, what did you think? Wasn't Finnick perfectly dreamy?

Have an awesome weekend, y'all! May the odds be ever in your favor.

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