Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bauer Bunch Best Of {2014}

The time has come to flip calendars, clean out cabinets, and start over.

Before we begin declaring resolutions, however, it's nice to see where we have been. I'm doing that by sharing my twelve favorite posts of 2014. The stories linked below aren't just weekend recaps or kid quotes. While I'm happy to have those memories recorded, these posts meant a little more to me, and maybe to you, too. They are my favorites for different reasons, but if you're waiting for the ball to drop, feel free to read and find out why. I've provided the first few lines of each post so you can pick and choose.

Happy New Year, friend! Whether you've heard all these stories before or you're clicking for the first time, thanks for joining me on my journey. I wish you all the best in the coming days. Here's to letting go, jumping in, and making the most of the time we have. Cheers! I'll see y'all next year.


JANUARY: Today I Will...

"I have been a little overcome by the thoughts rolling around in my brain lately.
I've been thinking about all of life's crap storms that rush in unannounced, completely beyond our control. Not necessarily just in my life, but in the lives of people I love, in the lives of people I don't know, and maybe in your life, too. They bring waves of pain before we've begun to seek shelter."


FEBRUARY: Never Say Never

"I'd like all the mamas to think back a few years for this one.
Back to the days when parenthood was just a twinkle in your eye. It was a magical experience in the near future, sure to fill your hearts with love and your homes with laughter. Seven years after making that decision, everything I just said is true, but you and I both know it's not always the case."


MARCH: Cold Coffee

"When I was young, my mom's coffee used to live in the microwave.
I'm about 95% sure she didn't actually make it in the microwave, because I remember the predawn beeping that signaled the arrival of morning fuel. Obviously, this wasn't my beverage of choice, so I turned my back toward the sound of her slipping on her robe and walking down the hallway."


APRIL: Solo Mission

"It seems that the days I take my children to the doctor solo, it gets complicated.
There was that one time I had to watch the X-ray tech stuff Baby Owen into an upright tube with his arms stretched above his head. Then there was the time four-year-old Nathan was given a surprise blood draw and scheduled for a a colonoscopy. Then there was Friday's three-hour visit that involved several firsts for my daughter."


MAY: Missing My Manual

"All three of these hands get into everything, make messes, and fit in mine perfectly.
Yesterday I spoke about how it can feel a bit unnecessary to be honored for performing the tricky song and dance that is motherhood. Then I came home to stepping stones featuring my three babies' tiny hand prints, a snowman drawn by my three-year-old, a poem written by my six-year-old, and a baby girl with arms high in the air after missing me all weekend. It wasn't half-bad, really."


JUNE: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

"I spent the last thirty-seven minutes looking for a purple pacifier.
I've poured three cups of milk and one cup of Hawaiian Punch, I've used a thermometer two different ways and administered proper medicine, I've reheated my coffee and started a laundry load that did not smell good, I've separated a fight and saved a bracelet from the toilet, and it's only 7:30. Contrary to my introduction here, I'm not here to whine. I'm here to set up the fact that in the very, very near future I'm going on vacation.


JULY: Birthday Letter

"Dear Nathan,
As I sit here at work, watching you twiddle your thumbs and count paperclips, I can't help but think about something you said the other day. You told me you were halfway to the teens. As much as I'd like to shove that thought out of my head, it makes me realize just how long you've been around. Believe me, I know seven is barely the beginning, but you're a far cry from that bitty baby in preemie clothes."


AUGUST: To My Daughter

"Dear Nora,
I've been trying to figure out what to say to you for a while, my sweet baby. I have so much to tell you that I can't narrow it down. My brain is bubbling over with words and advice and perspectives about raising a baby who will become a woman. I want to tell you how incredible it is to have a daughter who can learn from my mistakes and grow. I want to tell you how terrifying it is to have a daughter who can repeat my mistakes {and grow}."


SEPTEMBER: Raising a Trio

"I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about the art of raising three children.
Her brood grew to this size in March, and I asked if she knew how to handle it yet. Although I had my pencil poised at the ready to take notes, her answer was "not at all." I'd say the fact that we keep all six of these kids dressed, fed, and somewhat clean means we're doing something right, but it got me thinking about my own survival tactics."


OCTOBER: When Parents Grieve

"I was due to deliver my second child four years ago today.
For about six weeks, October 10 was a wonderful date. My future was laid before me and all thoughts revolved around our new life. We found out in March 2010, however, that the date would mean something different. That pregnancy ended in miscarriage and though I've delivered two babies since then, my heart still aches for the one I never held."


NOVEMBER: Mama's Thanks

"Thanksgiving, Thursday, and theme all start with the same consonant blend. Let's do this.
In keeping with the series I made up last week, I'm here a week before turkey day to count my blessings. Three of the biggest blessings in my life are the ones I met in sterile hospital rooms. Although "mama" is not the only word that describes me, that role has shaped the person I've become."


DECEMBER: Christmas Cookies

"George Strait isn't the only one who sure does like those Christmas cookies, babe.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been the icing of the sugar cookies. I'd help my mom roll out the dough after covering the kitchen in flour and we'd delicately cut out trees and angels, bells and stars, and everyone's favorite Gingerbread Man. She'd mix all requested colors and our sprinkle lineup was extensive."

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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Organization Bug

{Before pictures would help these shots make sense, but there is zero time for photography
when the organization bug bites. Trust that this is a big improvement, please.}

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No, I'm not living in the past, I'm talking about the week after Santa. My gold 2015 planner is full of white space waiting to be filled. Thursday brings a new year and I'm ready. I'm still mulling over words and goals and resolutions to line out exactly who I'd like to be next year, but I've gotten a start when it comes to making my home feel as clear as my mind. You read my wrapping paper woes yesterday, but I'll have you know those twelve bags of trash {not an exaggeration} have been removed and every new toy has been put away. I have taken a step toward a clutter-free January.

Inspiration to organize the kids' rooms struck yesterday, so I grabbed my husband and jumped in. When it comes to projects like these, if I don't leap when the spark is lit, it fizzles fast. We emptied the boys' toy box and tubs in the closet. I made a trash pile, a goes-back-in pile, and a lives-somewhere-else pile. Plenty of room was made available for new toys, and we sent large items they hadn't touched in a while into storage. We hung their bulletin boards in a neat little corner, and relocated their table beneath. Their beds aren't made and their clothes aren't sorted, but this is a good start.


In Nora's room, the biggest clutter issue was the fact that she owns every baby toy made since 2007. That's a lot of rattles. I dug through them all, and gave the boot to the oldest. Then I loaded a large bin with toys that are too basic for this big girl, and only kept the age-appropriate ones she likes. The biggest space-maker in the nursery, however, was the removal of the big-ticket items. I might have gotten emotional as I watched Jonathan tote out the baby swing and the bouncer, not knowing if they'll ever return. But I composed myself when I saw the carpet. New toys easily fit, I can open the closet, and Nora can get to anything her heart desires. Success!

The year is quickly drawing to a close, and my mind is racing with ideas on how to make 2015 better. While I haven't decided on my One Little Word yet, organize is in the running. A clear, orderly home makes such a difference in my mind, my attitude, and my ability to breathe. I can't be alone in this, right? I share this not to brag on my skills, but to inspire {and also remember how things are supposed to go}. If these neat rooms started any kind of spark in you, put down the computer and hop to it. You'll be glad you did!

Now I just hope I can hang on to this feeling. There are several more spaces in my house that would appreciate it.
Happy Monday, friends!


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Some Assembly Required


You know that place between holiday cheer and a packed-up Christmas tree?

That grey area when your trashcan is stuffed with wrapping paper, the decorations are askew on the mantle, and you fear your home will never be clean? Your toy boxes are stuffed full, but so many additions still lie where Santa left them. Tupperware containers line your fridge and the icing on your Christmas cookies has hardened to a crisp. You know the place, don't you? I am 100% there and while I'm well aware that the spirit of Christmas is in more than crammed closets, there is no denying I'm a bit loopy.

Therefore, I have written an ode to Post-Christmas Syndrome. The joy and the spirit of Christmas Day are enough to make this mama turn a blind eye to the mess, but when the sun rises on December 26, this is what I see:

Twelve bags of trash
Eleven safety twist ties
Ten cardboard boxes
Nine-page instructions
Eight piles of laundry
Seven loud noise-makers
Six missing batteries
FIVE bro-ken pieces
Four skipped naps
Three happy children
Two white wine bottles
AND A LIVING ROOM COVERED IN TOYS!

Ahem, go ahead and enter my name on the write-in ballot for any holiday songwriting competition. Obviously this ditty is sung tongue-in-cheek, and my family appreciates all gifts received, but "write what you know" is at hand. Most of you are probably laughing at me, but you can't deny the feeling. Here's to rearranging closets, moving your furniture, and vacuuming toy debris and candy wrappers. The spirit of Christmas will live on in my heart, but the clutter of Christmas is going back into storage.

Happy Sunday, y'all!


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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Morning


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a Bauer was stirring... except the one who waltzed into our room at 4:30 AM.

Lucky for us, it was the child least likely to dive into the presents. Let's rewind a bit first, though. We opened presents at Nana and Grampa's house on Christmas Eve, snacked on appetizers, then suited up for Mass. Nora donned a red, glittery number that transformed her into a dazzling Christmas cupcake {photo on Instagram}. She was not a fan. Still, we rang bells, shouted Joy to the World, and gave a standing ovation for the newborn Baby Jesus. It's one of my favorite Masses of the year, and I was happy to share it with my kids {even if one attended without shoes}.

When we left, I told Owen I saw something flashing in the sky. He looked from star to star, then informed his brother he saw reindeer feet. Nathan rolled his eyes, but I saw him sneak a glance upward when he thought no one was looking. We rushed home, jumped into our PJs, and laid out the cookies. Nathan decided to add a carrot for every reindeer, and wrote a letter to Santa explaining the addition.

After the 4:30 wake-up call that was redirected, the Bauer Bunch was all smiles, giggles, and bursts of uncontrollable excitement as they took turns opening gifts and emptying stockings. Instead of more words, let me caption a few of the moments I caught as the wrapping paper flew:

Here's what was left of Santa's snack {and also what happened to his leftovers}:

Decoding Santa's cursive {and a confirmation of the Nice List}:

This one is entitled Underpants. Owen spent the rest of the day telling everyone that "Santa got me underpants. Isn't that gross?!"

Special snowman pancakes, courtesy of Daddy {next he asked for a Lightning McQueen one}:

Baby Nora was pretty into the whole present-opening thing this year. She gasped as she uncovered princess ponies and tea sets and extra-noisy toys galore:

Although these photos are mostly kids ripping into presents, what I couldn't quite capture was my favorite part. I loved hearing my kids exclaim appreciation, but the way I felt didn't come from a box - not received nor purchased. It came from the love of my family of five, and the love of a baby who made our lives worth living. The presents are fun, but the spirit that makes us whole is better. I felt that spirit stirring strongly as joy spread throughout our bunch. I'm thrilled to share that feeling with a loving husband and three fantastic kids. To sum up what I'm trying to say, here are two quotes from two popular Christmas sources:

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

and, more importantly:

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'til he appeared and the soul felt its worth."

That was my Christmas morning, how was yours? Have a happy Saturday, y'all!


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Cookies


George Strait isn't the only one who sure does like those Christmas cookies, babe.

{Side Note: Does anyone else know that song? For me, it ranks up there with Christmas in Dixie and Leroy the Redneck Reindeer. Anybody? I can assure you country stations are the best at Christmas.}

One of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been the icing of the sugar cookies. I'd help my mom roll out the dough after covering the kitchen in flour and we'd delicately cut out trees and angels, bells and stars, and everyone's favorite Gingerbread Man. She'd mix all requested colors and our sprinkle lineup was extensive. We ate as we decorated, but always left some for the big guy. As the years went on, the tradition continued. Maybe a friend and I recreated the Backstreet Boys in edible form {true story}, and the icing application got a bit more focused, but we still did it. I'm pleased to report that this year, my mom had a few new hands rolling the dough.

While Baby Sister napped yesterday afternoon, Owen and Nathan were busy in the kitchen. Mickey, Goofy, and Donald were crooning the classics in the background and both boys sang along as they waited for Nana to pull the fresh-baked goodness from the oven. Although the Bauer Boys did the rolling and the cutting, they were sweet enough to wait on me to decorate.


I got to watch my boys make cookies and memories. They giggled when Owen gave his teddy bear "three eyes and two buttons." No more, no less. Nathan's creations had complete icing outfits and he made sure to give a few of the reindeer red candy noses. Each of the cookies turned out beautifully, even the ones that held a full pound of decorations:


This season has been a blur. I don't like using the word "busy" because you're only as "busy" as you make yourself, but I am guilty of letting everyday stresses push back the cheer. However, listening to those sweet voices sing as they artfully crafted cookie reindeer, it hit me. Not saying I'm a Scrooge or anything, but the moment was a reminder that it's time to stop, look, and listen. They may not roll cookie dough forever, y'all.

Once the cookies were done, each boy picked two to save for Santa, and nibbled on the extras. Then we piled into the car and drove past rows of Christmas lights that flickered on as the sun began to set. They marveled at the sights through their windows, and I felt it. The magic of the season isn't in struggling to find the perfect gift or knocking out my to-do list, it's in my children. Now is the time to hold on tight.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Bloggers

{Did you really expect them all to look at the camera? Really?}

'Tis the season to party hard.

The social calendar has been packed, my friends. I went bowling with twenty youth group teenagers, I drank a few rounds of punch at my church council's holiday bash, and I took my babies to a much-anticipated pajama party. However, Saturday's affair ranked high. I was able to hang out with a handful of bloggers-turned-friends, and our kids got to party, too!

The Southwest Arkansas Women Bloggers held its first Christmas gathering at the beautiful home of Jodi, who writes over at The Coffee House Life. Five women toted in their children, delicious dishes, and a present for Dirty Santa. Owen ran off with Bug, who belongs to Karen of Ting's Mom. These boys warmed up to each other at our last meet-up and both counted the minutes to their reunion. They spent most of their time talking about who knows what on the backyard playground. I later learned they were spotting monsters and shooting bad guys. Obviously.

Nathan was excited to have three other second-graders there to play with, and Jodi's little Bean stuck to Nora like glue. She saw in her a real-life baby doll who would eat all the crackers she could feed her. As you might imagine, Nora was just fine with this arrangement.

Both the mamas and the kids shared so many laughs, and I love how comfortable everyone has become with one another. Over the past year each of these women has gone from "that lady who blogs a town over" to my friend. It's cool to see our kids getting to that place, too. Heck, Owen was in his undies half the time because he got dirt on his pants. {This may just say something about Owen's personality, but I digress.}

After stuffing our faces with everything from homemade cookies to spinach dip, we played what I would call the nicest round of Dirty Santa I've ever seen. Two bloggers split their presents, for crying out loud. I might have stolen from someone who had already been stripped of one great gift already, but I play hard, y'all. The kids played a slightly less cutthroat version of holiday bingo, and suddenly it was time to leave. I had two sad boys on the drive home, plus a little girl who was seriously lacking in the cracker department.

Thanks so much to the ladies of this little community. This season is all about spending extra time with the ones you love, and I am thrilled to have grown that list a little this year.

{Spend a few minutes adding some new voices to your blog roll. Their topics run from yummy recipes to fun crafts to everyday stories about family. Stop by and get to know Alicia, Sharla, Karen, and Jodi. Tell them I sent you!}


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Still


I don't typically use this space to write love letters to my husband.

I don't always wax poetic on how he has changed my life for the better, how I fall in love with him more each day, and how I can't imagine building this life without him. I'd like you to keep your lunch down and your eyes in your head, and I feel some things are better left private; however, I could fill every space on this page. Today is Jonathan's 32nd birthday, though, so I feel it's a good time to shout it from the rooftops.

I've known this guy half his life, and he's been my best friend for most of that time. We've been a couple for nine years and a family for eight. We've had such an incredible time growing up and learning and changing together, but that doesn't mean the spark has faded. He won't let it. I'm thankful he was born and I'm thankful our stories turned into one.

I still get butterflies when I turn into our driveway and he's home.
I still count the seconds until our date nights and treasure the time we have alone.
I still love standing on tiptoes to kiss him.
I still look at him and see the college kid who wanted more than anything to be there for me.
I still see in his eyes what I saw a decade ago.

Today we have big plans. I'm taking the birthday boy to the movies and an afternoon of Christmas shopping sans children. I have been looking forward to this date for so long and as I type this the day before, the butterflies are creeping in. We have so much fun together, and I get such a thrill just from being by his side. He's a pretty cool dude, basically, so be sure to send him birthday wishes if you can. He deserves it!

Happy Birthday, Jonathan! I still get a kick out of you.


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shameless {aka The Best Day of My Life}


I've been on a week-long Garth Brooks high.

Those who read here or follow me on Facebook {link at top right, above my big face} know I was slated to see him perform in Little Rock last Friday night. You also know this concert ranked up there with my babies' births and the day I married my husband. Sure, you giggled when I counted down to what would be the best day of my life. Sure, you snickered when I posted that I lost my voice and worried whether Garth would hear me sing the third verse of Friends in Low Places. However, the best part about it all is the total lack of sarcasm.

A Quick Disclaimer: If the thousands of cowboy boots filling the streets of Little Rock made you cringe and hide until it was over, this is probably not the kind of post you need to read. You've been warned.

I have been trying to recap this experience for a week and can't seem to do it justice, so I'm just going for it. Thanks to my diligence {read: terror}, I was able to snag a pair of floor seats the second they went on sale. There were only seven rows between the man himself and me. When the lights dimmed and the crowd erupted, those seven rows disappeared - even the drunk guy who kept spilling his beer. It was just me and Garth {every once in a while Jonathan was there, too} and it was the most incredible thing I'd ever seen.


He stuck to the classics and I crooned {screamed?} every word right back at him. For me the highlight of the night was "Calling Baton Rouge," during which I lost my mind. Also when he sang "To Make You Feel My Love" and I openly wept. Also, during one of his encores, when he busted out "Papa Loved Mama." Also, every time he stopped, threw his head back, and soaked it all in.

Oh, and every second of "Shameless."

Listen, y'all, I have been in love with Garth Brooks for a long time. He released my favorites when I was in elementary school, but you better believe Fourth-Grade Jessica kept that tape hot. I have always wanted to see him in concert, but I assumed I missed the boat when he took a break from touring. Lo and behold that man made my dreams come true by returning to Arkansas after 23 years.

It was worth the wait.

He was truly the most honest, genuine, electrifying performer I've ever seen and the energy in that crowd was insane. There were 17,000 screaming, dancing bodies filling the arena and I'd venture to guess that 98% share my sentiments on the experience. Thank you Garth, for letting me check an item off the bucket list, thank you Little Rock for showing Garth exactly what kind of fans he has in Arkansas, and thank you Jonathan for the best date ever.

If it helps you think better of me by reading this in my signature sarcasm, feel free, but I assure you I mean every word. It was a good day, y'all. Were you there? Was your life changed? Face melted? Just annoyed by the traffic? Let me know and we'll chat in the comments. Have a happy Saturday!


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Handmade Ornament Exchange


One of the best things about the holiday season is the bounty of snail mail.

I love opening my mailbox to red envelopes that don't look a thing like bills, and not long ago there was an even bigger surprise. I once again participated in the Arkansas Women Bloggers Handmade Ornament exchange. For years I have followed Talya's writing at Grace, Grits and Gardening, so I was very excited when I saw her name on a small brown package hiding in my mailbox.

PS: If you aren't already reading Talya's blog, you should consider. She's an incredible writer {with a book deal!} whose post subjects range from the most delicious easy-to-follow recipes to her hilarious everyday adventures.

Even though the box was addressed to yours truly, the Bauer Boys thought they hit the jackpot. They knew an ornament was coming and couldn't wait to see what it looked like {especially since Nathan was heavily involved in the one I sent}. Talya created a beautiful paper-craft Christmas tree with buttons and trim and a jingle bell on top. The boys were so proud to hang it immediately, and I am happy to have even more blogger representation in our home.

Although getting mail is a highlight of the season, sending it is fun, too. I met Amanda Farris at a conference in September, but I had been reading her blog long before that. I was given her name in the ornament exchange and thanks to Pinterest, I knew just what to do. I painted Nathan's hand white and he made a print on a red ornament. Then I asked my husband to paint each of the fingers to look like the five members of her family {in snowman form}. Click here to read her post and see her pictures.

Thanks so much to Talya for this adorable addition to our tree. If you're itching to see more handmade goodness, posts by bloggers from around the state are linked here. Have you made any ornaments with your family this year? I'd love to hear about it! Happy Thursday, y'all!


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Trimming Our Tree


The stockings are hung by the chimney with care and my baby has yet to discover that the ornaments are removable.

At this point, my holiday spirits are high. After spending the weekend stuffing our faces, we came home filled with inspiration. Owen had been waiting on Thanksgiving for weeks, only because he knew that was the one thing stopping him from Christmas. I don't like to top one holiday with another, but at that point, the bird had had its day. We started pulling red and green from the storage shed before the calendar flipped to December.

With Frosty the Snowman playing in the background, Jonathan put together the tree, I fluffed the branches, and we prayed to the heavens that the lights would glow when we flipped the switch. Every "ordament" Owen grabbed was his favorite.

"OH! Look at this one, it's Little Nathan. OH! This one is made of French fries! OH! Look at this fish going fishing, that is silly business!"

Nathan sought out the ones he's collected in his seven years. There was an angel made from tracings of his hands and feet, a snowman from one of his favorite preschool teachers, and a star scribbled on by the budding artist. He rummaged around for ornaments with names and dates and asked for the stories to go with them. Baby's first Christmas, an engaged snowman couple, a shiny dog bone with our first puppy's name on it. I may not do well with the hour or two that my house is cluttered with Christmas decor or covered in glitter, but these moments by the tree are my favorite.

Our tree does not have a theme. There's no color scheme, no trend, no Pinterest-worthy topper. Don't get me wrong, I think these magazine-style trees are gorgeous, but they are a far cry from what's lighting up the back corner of my living room. Back there is a tree that tells our story. Every memory is hanging on its branches, and more are added each year. The tree in our living room lets me relive the magic from Christmases past with my children and it helps keep the memories they are building for themselves fresh.

This tree is not perfect. It may lean a little and its pieces may be mismatched, but it is ours.

Thankfully, these memories are staying put for now. Baby Nora is too mesmerized by the lights to start dismantling them. I have a nagging feeling that time will come. Happy Thursday, y'all!


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Top Ten


I had so many Thanksgiving dinners this weekend I lost count.

Despite the fact that this meal went from fridge to table both day and night in the hours following the holiday, I am here to talk about the original feast. Everything from the turkey to the green bean casserole was on point, but this is not a side dish play-by-play. It's been a few days since we said our goodbyes to the family, but there are a few moments that have stuck with me:

  1. Family photos outside resulted in lots of precious memories and even more outtakes. Like the one time Poppy's arm had to be in the extended Montgomery family photos because, well, Poppy.

  2. Nora begging like a puppy. She didn't turn her nose up at anything but the sweet potatoes {go figure}. Her favorite was the dressing, though.

  3. Haystacks. I had to keep these out of reach of my peanut allergy kid and wash my hands afterward, but they were worth every single scrub. Forget the pies, just give me a tin of these.

  4. Nathan's request to wear a button-up shirt and tie, and the fact that it lead his uncles and father to follow suit because they couldn't be outdone by a seven-year-old {although he rocked the only tie}.

  5. Owen telling everybody there was chicken in the turkey. And that he was thankful for brown beans and bread.


  6. Teaching Nathan the intricate strategies of a card game called nine-hole golf and then letting him school us at Uno.

  7. Playing Mississippi Marbles {This is a dice game that may have been invented by my family}. It's based on knowing when to stop pressing your luck. I'm not very good at that part.

  8. Watching the kids' eyes light up as a chorus of singing goblets filled the living room air.

  9. Encouraging Nathan to perform the themed stand-up routine he had been practicing for a week. Instead of a performance, he just nudged a couple people in the side and asked if they knew a turkey's favorite dessert. {Punchline: Peach Gobbler}

  10. Last but definitely not least: Having so many people I love under one roof. Every member of both mine and Jonathan's immediate families gathered together at the table {plus some fantastic cousins and a special aunt} to share a meal, to pray together, and to laugh. All three of my kiddos came away with wonderful memories. There was camping in the closet with Uncle Brian and racing cars with Uncle Tommy, making tissue box turkeys with Nana and felt snowman ornaments with Grammy, and of course, watching the Grumpy Cat movie with Aunt B. I'm thankful for my family members and I'm thankful for the memories they've made for my children.

Thanksgiving 2014 was pretty good for the Bauer Bunch. How was yours?


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