Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Shower Bonanza

On Sunday, November 20th my mother and I threw a small shower for my very good friend Kate in celebration of her little girl that is due at the beginning of January.  Kate and I have known each other since we were born - literally.  Our mothers met in a Bible Study class when they were both pregnant and then worked together at a pre-school for many years as well.  Kate and I grew up together and she is a staple figure in all of my childhood photos.  In the past few years she has thrown not just one, but TWO beautiful showers for me - one for the wedding and the other for Natalie.  My mother and I were both so excited to be able to put together a beautiful shower for Kate and her little girl Audrey.
The cake table in the garden room.

The cake people were able to mimic the scroll work of the invitation onto the cake.  Gorgeous!
**Oh...and hello Miss Natalie and Andy the pup in the background!**

I'm so excited that Natalie will have a life-long friend just like Kate and I did.  It's so fun to see our 8 year-old dreams and life plans come to fruition!  We were both bridesmaids in each other's weddings and now our little girls are going to be so close in age and will be playmates!

This was a baby shower game that I was inspired by on Pinterest - it's How to Take Care of Audrey....MAD LIBS!

First you fill out the envelope with ANY word that comes to mind that fits the part of speech - verb, noun, adjective, etc.

Then you fill in the blanks with the corresponding word and voila!  Advice for Kate and her husband Karl on how to take care of baby Audrey.  Some of them turned out to be pretty funny and it was a great way to break the ice with everyone.

The food table consisted of: chicken salad and croissants, veggie platter, nuts, fruit salad, quiche and spicy crab dip with crackers.  Yummy.
The table in it's entirety.  Kate is decorating the nursery in creams, browns and greens with a more pastoral feel so we went more natural in the colors.  Luckily those are the same colors as my house and I was able to use many of my decorations from home.

Kate and her cake!  You can't even tell she's pregnant in this picture!  She looks FANTASTIC!

Ahh...there's the baby bump...and the grandma-to-be, Miss Becky.

Kate in the middle with my mom and me on either side!

Happy shower Kate!  I can't wait to meet baby Audrey!

And fingers crossed she comes out with beautiful ginger locks!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Day Book

Outside my is sunny and chilly.  The leaves have finally started to fall off the trees.

I am many things.

I am thankful for...a warm puppy dog always willing to cuddle next to me.

From the learning rooms...we've been out of school for a week for Thanksgiving and now we will go back for three and a half weeks before Christmas vacation.  So that means I've got two Cross Country meets to win until we go for three district championships.

From the kitchen...I made four casseroles this week for Thanksgiving - two pineapple au gratin and two broccoli cheese.  Both were yummy and almost totally finished off at our two Thanksgiving celebrations.

I am wearing...a t-shirt and shorts and my hair in a ponytail.  Natalie is wearing turquoise footie pajamas with a white and pink polar bear on the front while Angie is sporting her fur coat and a "don't touch me while I'm resting" expression on her face.

I am creating...Natalie's perfect Christmas outfits!  I found a really beautiful cream, pink and charcoal gray plaid dress with matching onesie (complete with Peter Pan collar) at Gymboree and I got both pieces on sale for $23.00!  Combined with a pair of black tights and some black Mary Jane shoes, that is going to be her "fancy" Christmas outfit.  Her "fun" Christmas outfit is a little more complicated and involves Pinterest and Joann's fabric store.  Through the kindness of others we were gifted with some hand-me-down Christmas items for Natalie including red and white striped tights and a very cute Christmas reindeer shirt.  I have been scouring Pinterest for easy Christmas tutu designs and I think I have a plan formulated to create a super cute Christmas outfit for my little girl.  The best part is?!  The tutu does not require any sewing.  Whew!

I am eat lunch and see Breaking Dawn with my good friend Beri this afternoon.  She and I coached together with my husband and our other friend Doug for three years at MMS.  The four of us were quite the team - just in the three years we worked together our girls won one 8th grade Division I volleyball championship, two 8th grade Division I basketball championships (back-to-back) and one 7th grade Cross Country championship.  Sure, we got pretty lucky with the caliber of athletes that came through our school, but what made us REALLY great was the friendship and teamwork that we modeled for the girls.  All four of us were such great friends that we were ALL in one wedding - Craig and I as groom and bride with Doug and Beri as groomsman and bridesmaid.

I am reading...not enough.

I am hoping...that the end of the year comes quickly.  I am looking forward to starting fresh in 2012.

I am hearing...not much.  Natalie just went down for a nap and Craig is sleeping in the other room.

Around the house...the house is sufficiently decorated for Christmas this year.  We've got ideas on how we'd like to add or change things for next year so I think we're going to try and hit up the after Christmas sales to stock up on cheap decor.

One of my favorite  That is all for right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Lots going on again this week!
Monday: Craig's basketball games
Wednesday: My Cross Country meet
Thursday: Craig's basketball games
Friday-Saturday: Craig's basketball tournament (I have to work it on Friday night)
Sunday: Rest before we do it all again the next week!

A picture to share:
This is my new boyfriend Tim.  Despite what others might say, I think that he's pretty awesome.

So awesome in fact....that I've asked for a shirt like this for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas List

Craig and I have really cut down on our spending in the last few months and because of it I have been able to really put together a good Christmas list for my family that is full of things that I actually want and am excited about unwrapping.  Here are just a few things I'm hoping Santa is leaving underneath the tree for me.

This year I have found that music has become pivotal in the journey through pregnancy, PPD and the ongoing recovery.  These are just a few of the albums that have inspired me and somehow filled my soul and put my feelings into beautiful words.
Adele - 21
Did anyone see that SNL skit where the office workers would turn on "Someone Like You" secretly and cry and then a person would come in and join them and then the whole office was crying together?  It was on a few weeks ago when Emma Stone hosted.  Absolutely brilliant and so true.  This song was playing on the radio when I pulled into school on the morning of the anniversary of Craig's father's death.  I was just so filled with sadness and anger for Craig and Natalie and the loss of a father and grandfather that they both will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Florence + the Machine - Lungs
It's no secret that I did not enjoy the first four months of pregnancy - maybe that's where the seeds for PPD were sown.  The reality of my pregnancy did NOT match up with the image that I had in my head - I didn't expect to be throwing up twice a day for four months straight!  "The Dog Days are Over" was a song that became popular around the time that I was emerging from the pregnancy nausea and I was beginning to become excited about being pregnant and having a baby girl.  When I hear this song it just brings me back to those moments of joy and excitement about where my life was heading and sometimes I still need that reminder.

Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials
This is their newer CD and the first release off of it is "Shake It Off" which is definitely a message I need to hear over and over and over.  I've been listening to a Florence + the Machine station on Pandora and I've heard a few more songs off of this album and I'm super excited about what I've heard so far.
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
This band is from Britain and their songs remind me of sitting in a bar in London a few years ago when I went to Europe with my friend Kristin.  Craig and I have decided that our next trip to Europe will be to tour England, Scotland and Ireland and when I hear this band I just picture the two of us sitting in a local pub in Dublin drinking and laughing just like we used to when we were dating.  Sometimes I miss those nights spent at Buffalo Wild Wings watching sports, drinking beer and playing poker....and of course the flirting between us.

The Black Keys - Brothers
I don't have as much of an emotional attachment to this band and album, but it's just full of good, funky rock music - almost reminds me of the Kings of Leon (my personal fave).

Clothing: I hardly buy fun clothes for myself - especially winter clothes since I'm usually running around in windpants and a hoodie but I do need a few cute pieces for Stars games or holiday parties.....or just because I want to look nice.  Here are a few things that I have my eye on:
Old Navy Sweetheart bootcut jeans
I have always had the hardest time finding jeans that fit my long legs in length but don't gap at the waist.  Back when I was single and had a more expendable income I didn't mind plunking down $100 for a pair of jeans, but with a baby and Christmas coming up that just isn't feasible on our budget.  Craig and I went to Old Navy on Monday to look for some jeans for me and I was pretty nervous - most of my jeans shopping growing up ended with me (and my mother) in tears.  I was so excited to find that the Sweetheart bootcut fit me perfectly in the waist and rear AND were long enough that I have to cuff them when I wear the jeans with Converse!  Perfect!  We went ahead and bought me one pair but Craig took a picture of the tag so I'm hoping that he might run back there and get me a pair in maybe a different wash.

Target cable knit and toggle sweater
I love the chunky coziness of this sweater - and in Texas during the winter this would be perfect to throw over a cute top and jeans and still be warm!

Studio Paolo Vienna boot
Craig and I found these at JC Penney on Monday and I tried them on and they fit absolutely perfectly!  I love the "riding" boot look and I definitely need a low heel.  I took a look at the price on the bottom of the boot - $130.  Ugh.  Out of the budget for Christmas boots this year.....until Craig asked the lady if there were any sales this week on boots.  And HURRAY!!!  These boots were on sale for $59.99 with an additional $10 coupon at the register for a grand total of $49.99!  That's MUCH better.  Craig put these on hold and I think a member of his family was going to swing by the store later and purchase them for me.

HARRY POTTER: My absolute favorite book series....EVER.  Words cannot express how much I love these books and even the movies are almost as good as the books!  I have HP4, 6 and 7 in hardback and so I'm looking to complete my collection with HP 1, 2, 3 and 5 in hardback as well.

And then....the final movie with one of the most terrifying battle scenes ever.  No.  I'm not joking - I had so much anxiety and fear when Voldemort and the Death Eaters were waiting outside Hogwarts.  I also can't wait to share these movies and books with Natalie someday.

Natalie's Bath Renovation: Right now in the spare bathroom it's pretty basic - a leftover turquoise and beige shower curtain from my apartment, a tan rug and white and chrome accessories.  Since this is going to be Natalie's bathroom as a little girl and then into her teenage years (given we stay in this house) I wanted to update it to be a little bit more girly.  Her bedroom is definitely NOT the typical "girly" room - it's decorated in turquoise, lime green and chocolate polka dot so I figured the bathroom could be a little bit more frilly.  I really love the Shabby Chic collection at Target for bathroom stuff....this is the stuff I've put on my list!
Pink and white rose petal bath towels

Pink and white washrags

Glass shower curtain hangers

Light pink and white rose shower curtain

Fluffy white bathroom rug

I tried to choose stuff that would match the bathroom accessories I already have as well as a beautiful pink and white "baby girl" picture frame that I received at one of my baby showers. now that I look at my WHOLE list....I feel a bit greedy!!  BUT - none of the items are terribly expensive and most of it is stuff that is more or less necessary to my life (at least that's what I'm telling myself!)  The good news is that for once in a very long time, I'm really EXCITED about what might be under the tree for me because I've held off buying myself the things that I want.  

What are YOU hoping is under your Christmas tree?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Day Book

Outside my is 8:45 and looking cold and dreary.  Perfect Thanksgiving week weather.

I am thinking...that the house is starting to look like Christmas!!

I am thankful for...the friend that I'm going to be having dinner with tonight.  Even though we don't see each other very often due to my volleyball and Natalie and her two boys and their activites, we are still great friends and I can't wait to spend the evening catching up with her.

From the learning rooms...last week was a bit brutal just because the kids were definitely ready to be done with school for a week.  BUT taking first place in three out of four races at our Cross Country meet definitely makes things a bit easier!  We've ran against tough teams and done really well so I'm hoping that we'll be contenders for the district championship this year!

From the kitchen...Craig made the best hamburgers last night and we chowed down on those with some tater tots and beans.  Yum.

I am wearing...a big t-shirt of Craig's - it's what I sleep in because they're big and loose and they don't get caught up when I roll around while sleeping.

I am creating...Christmas cheer all around the house.  We got the tree put up last night but unfortunately the lights are out in the top part of the tree so we're going to have to buy a short strand of lights to put up there.  I got most of the tree decorated - I just need one more strand of silver garland and maybe a few more smaller green and red ornaments.  Craig is in the process of slowly putting up the Christmas village.  We even were able to get all the Christmas presents that we've bought so far this year wrapped and put under the tree!

I am be stressed about money this month.  We've just had a few extra expenses like Thanksgiving, Christmas presents, throwing a baby shower, a few extra dinners out....nothing that I regret and it's all been completely worth the money but you know how it is - we've just been spending a bit more than we usually do.

I am blog "traffic" and I'm having more and more people read my postings which is exciting....and a big nervewracking at the same time.  I hope they like what the see!  If you on the box to the right and follow me!

I am hoping...that Thanksgiving runs smoothly and that Natalie loves all the yummy food just as much as I do.

I am hearing...Pandora's "Kings of Leon" station and not much else.  Natalie was up a bit last night - Craig got her at 1:00 or so and I brought her to bed with me from 3:30 to 6:00 when he came and got her.  They've both been asleep since 8:00 when I woke up this morning.

Around the house...Martha came yesterday to clean and we promptly ruined her hard work by dragging out the Christmas stuff.  I couldn't wait to get out the tree though - we totally rearranged Christmas and I wanted to put up my new ornaments!

One of my favorite things...seeing the baby shower come together on Sunday afternoon.  My mom and I had a lot of fun putting together a beautiful shower for Kate and her baby Audrey and I was SO nervous.  I get really stressed throwing parties because I want everyone to enjoy themselves and with this party I wanted Kate specifically to know how much I love her and appreciate her being in my life.

A few plans for the rest of the week: We have the whole week off for Thanksgiving but it has already filled up so much with fun things to do!  And although I'm writing this on a Tuesday, I'll fill you in on what we've already done so far this week.
Sunday: Kate's baby shower!
Monday: Natalie went to Rebecca's house in the morning so that we could get some more Christmas shopping done and the food shopping for Thanksgiving completed.  Going to multiple stores is just easier when you don't have to buckle in and take a baby out from the car seat!  Thank you Ms. Rebecca for taking Natalie yesterday morning - and for taking all the kiddos to Chuck E. Cheese's!  She took a LONG nap yesterday afternoon because she was so worn out from all the fun!
Tuesday: Craig has a dentist appointment today and I have dinner plans with my friend Emily.
Wednesday: We're going to try to make it out to my brother's house that he just moved into.  After having him living in Maine for the past five years it's going to be fun having him only about 20 minutes away!
Thursday: Thanksgiving afternoon with Craig's family at their house followed by the Aggie/t.u. game in the evening.
Friday: I'm going to take Natalie down to my friend Kristin's parent's house to visit her and her mother.  Kristin and I have known each other since we played basketball and volleyball together in junior high and she now lives in Houston so I'm excited to show her how big Natalie has gotten.
Saturday: Thanksgiving dinner at my family's house mom and dad, my two brothers and their wives, my three nephews, my husband and daughter and of course the three pups.  Whew!  That's going to be a lot of food and family but I'm just excited to have my WHOLE family home together.

A picture to share:
If you have ever watched America's Next Top Model then you know about the booty tooch.  Ms. Rebecca was able to catch this photo of my daughter's "booty tooch" while at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mothers and Daughters

I took Natalie back to the doctor today for a follow-up on her chest congestion and coughing.  The appointment was at 3:00 and we were home by 3:30 so I had some time alone with her at home before Craig came home from work at around 4:30.  She and I were just rolling around and playing on the blanket on the floor of our bedroom and I as she stood in front of me grinning and cooing, I realized something important.

Natalie is my daughter.  

I am her mother.

Up until this point in her life, she's been "my baby" and when people ask the gender the response is "a little girl."  

Having a baby girl is different from having a daughter.  She won't stay my baby girl forever....she's going to be my rambunctious and creative six year old and then my determined and tomboyish twelve year old and then she'll be running around the house putting on the last touches to her make-up for prom and then I'll turn around and I'll be the mother of the bride pinning a hair piece in her up-do before she walks down the aisle.  And one day I'll be the one beside the bed, holding my nervous daughter's hand while she anxiously awaits the birth of her first child.

As I sat there playing with her this afternoon watching her explore our bedroom I saw my own life with my mother flashing before my eyes.

Playing Cabbage Patch dolls in my bedroom.  Watching Gone With The Wind in the living room while she vacuumed.  Volunteer projects with her at church.  Swimming in the summers.  Midnight masses for Christmas Eve.  The fighting in junior high.  The anger and the tears.  Picking out my dream dress for prom.  Watching her wave good-bye as she dropped me off for college.  My grandma's funeral.  Moving home from Denton and crying in the driveway.  Breakdowns and breakups.  Seeing her so proud in the stands watching me coach.  Introducing her to Craig....and later announcing our engagement.  Picking out my wedding dress.  Telling her that I was pregnant.  Her holding my hands during labor.  Tucking Natalie into bed the first night at home.

Where would I be without my mother?  WHO would I be without my mother?

And in turn, what will the imprint be that I leave on Natalie?  What will our relationship be like when she is 28 and what kind of road will we take to get there?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Show and Tell: Fitness #1


- The weight room at school
- Athletic shoes, shorts, a t-shirt and a ponytail

Just a few minutes to get all of that done once.

I wish it was that work out and BAM!  Bikini model.  Unfortunately, working off the baby weight is going to take more time than one afternoon in the gym.

I went into the gym on my conference period to work-out and I'll be was a good warm-up for me.  I wouldn't rely on it to be my WHOLE work-out.  I had already done a short work-out in the morning with our 8th graders and then again with my 6th graders during their fitness day activity so I was just kind of finishing off my work-out for the day (and maybe those curly fries I had for lunch).  I used it as a warm-up and then went ahead and did my circuit training with the weight machines.

I don't know if I will use this one again - it was really choppy with only doing a few crunches and push-ups and always switching off between things.  I've got a few others saved on Pinterest that I'll be trying soon.

What have YOU been pinning and creating lately?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks

A few posts ago I was a bit of a Debbie Downer....just a little beat down by the daily grind of coaching, raising a baby, running a house and trying to keep my head above water.

1. I have such a diverse group of friends and I really cherish each of the special and unique friendships I have with all of them.  Craig and I have our couples friends who we mostly met through work that we go to dinner with and watch Cowboys games or go to Stars games with.  I have girlfriends that I've known since birth, middle school and friends that I've made as an adult.  I have friends that have older children and pass on valuable advice to me and I have new mommy friends with whom I can lament the trials and tribulations of learning how to parent.  Each and every friendship that I have brings something special to my life and even though sometimes life gets busy and I can't see them as often as I would like, hopefully they all know how much I value them!

2. The hubs.  I can't write too much or I'll cry and I'm currently sitting in Study Hall with twenty sixth grade students so tears are probably not appropriate right now.  He's pretty awesome - not just at being my husband, but being Natalie and Angie's daddy, a middle school girls basketball coach, a son, a brother and pretty much everything else he does in his life.  I'm thankful for all the little twists and turns that our lives took that brought us to both working in the athletic department at the same school several years ago.

3. My two girls bring my so much joy in life - yes, I'm talking about both Natalie my human daughter and my fur baby Angie.  This morning is a great example of why I'm thankful to call them my own: I walked into Natalie's room at 7:00 to see her sitting in her crib playing sweetly with her musical giraffe - adorable.  I picked her up to carry her into the spare room to wake up her Daddy (Craig is a snorer) and very soon after we crashed onto Craig, we heard the clip-clop noises of Angie trotting in from the master bedroom.  Craig and I were soon covered with puppy dog kisses and all we could hear were the squeals of delight as Natalie tried to pet Angie while simultaneously dodging Angie's persistent attempt at kisses.  I have my moments of pure frustration with both of them and the gift of wisdom and patience with them is on my daily prayer list.  And although in the past year there have been so many moments when I have questioned my mothering abilities and God's reasoning in even making me a mother and gifting me with a child........on the good days I look into her blue eyes and I know that she was specifically created to be MY daughter and no one else's.  I just want to be the kind of mother that she deserves because she is a precious gift from God and she deserves the best I can possibly give to her.  And not to be forgotten, there is my four legged fur baby who always tends to know exactly what I need whether it's a warm cuddle on the bed or a gentle "I hope you feel better" lick on the hand, Angie always is right in the thick of things in our house and is a vital member of our family.

4. I have a lot of friends as I stated above, but there is one friend in particular that is one of my more recent friendships but I truly believe that she and I were placed in each other's lives to share the first year of motherhood together.  She has no idea what good it did for me to hear that I wasn't going crazy and that I wasn't alone in the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing after Natalie's birth.  In eighteen years when our girls are graduating and going off to college and becoming adults, I will look at my friend and still remember the summer of 2011 when we barricaded our babies in the living room with the toys and sat around on the couches sharing our stories and struggles with PPD.  She has been such a blessing in my life this past year and I hope that she knows that even though life gets crazy and we don't get to see each other often that she is always in my thoughts, prayers and my "thank yous" to God.

5. In the past year there has been a baby boom in my life and in the lives of my friends.  Mostly little girls but one very special little boy as well - her baby cousin Ian who is only 5 months younger!  I'm very thankful for all the babies in Natalie's life because I can't wait to see her grow up with these kiddos and be able to say "I've known them since I was born!"  At Craig's middle school alone, there are SIX baby girls born all in the past year (four of them to the coaching staff!) and if they all go to the same elementary next to the middle school - how fun would that be!!  And on the subject of Mr. Ian and his two big brothers, Alexander and Ford, I am so thankful for Natalie's boy cousins.  One of my favorite things about growing up (although I didn't admit it at the time) was having two big brothers and although I was thrilled to have a little girl, I was a bit saddened that she won't ever get to know what having big brothers is like.  Enter the boy cousins - Alexander is so genuinely sweet and nurturing with her while Ford will probably be the one talking her into going along with his crazy (but creative and fun!) schemes.....and with baby Ian being so close in age, she'll always have a playmate at family functions.

6. While we're on the topic of big boys helping to take care of Natalie, I should touch on how thankful I am that I was led to Ms. Rebecca who takes care of Natalie during the day.  Natalie is the only little girl among three to four older boys and I love how excited the boys get to see her and all the fun relationships she's going to build with them.  Rebecca is just the most perfect person to take care of my little girl - when Natalie was still fighting with the croup and needed breathing treatments Rebecca had no problem administering her midday treatment as well as giving her the extra cuddles and snuggles she needed when she felt a little yucky.    I love that Rebecca doesn't just take care of kids during the day but she really seems to love the little ones and find joy in helping them grow.  I know how blessed I am to have found such an amazing place for Natalie to be when I am at work.

Those are all some pretty serious things to be thankful for.....and what's the silly stuff I am glad to have in my life?
1. Facebook - so that I can see my friend Amy's kiddos grow up even when they are a thousand miles away.
2. Keurig coffee makers - makes the most perfect cup of coffee for me in the mornings.
3. Target baby pajama sets - just because they make my baby girl look so scrumptiously cute in the mornings.
4. Pandora internet radio - I love choosing a station that fits my mood at any given moment.
5. Reese's Peanut Butter cups - the best midday pick me up....ever.
6. 8th grade volleyball - for being fun, hard working and sweet kiddos

There are so many things to be thankful for in my life and it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day grind and frustrations.  Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday because it's about nothing more than being with great friends and family and taking a time out to acknowledge all the blessings in your life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sick Baby and Ready for Vacation

Oh my sweet, sweet, baby girl.  She has given her daddy and I a run for our money lately.  She is so curious and adventurous and just wants to be involved in everything.  I do love her but I'm really ready for her to feel better soon.

Let me explain.

- Over Labor Day weekend Natalie had the croup and we took her to the Acute Kids Care office by our house and they gave her an oral steroid to knock the crud out of her system.  She was coughing for a few days but she got cleared up pretty quickly.

- Two weeks ago she was coughing and gasping for air in the middle of the night and sounded like a seal barking so I took her back into the doctor's office on Thursday (Nov. 3rd if you're keeping track) because I had a sneaking suspicion the croup was back.  Again she received the oral steroid with the declaration that croup usually runs its course within 7-10 days.

- Over the past week and a half since taking her into the doctor she has not been sleeping well because she'll wake herself up with coughing fits.  At first, Craig and I figured that she was just working on getting all the congestion out of her chest.....but it really hasn't gotten better....and we are ready for a full night of sleep.

- So.  Yesterday I took her back to the doctor because her cough hasn't improved and they did a breathing treatment in the office that drastically changed whatever the doctor listens for with the stethoscope.  So now we are the proud owners of an at home nebulizer.  It was billed to our insurance and I don't even want to know how much it's going to cost us.  The medicine for the machine was $140 (and that's WITH our insurance!) but thankfully we had a "coupon" from the doctor's office that knocked off $50.

- Last night was stressful to say the least.  Craig was at a far away basketball game with his 7th graders so I had the baby, the dog, dinner, laundry, bottles, medicine, etc. to take care of all by myself.  Luckily my parents weren't too far away and they were able to stop by the house and give me an extra pair of hands to help with washing bottles, giving medicine, folding laundry and loving on Angie.  Thankfully I have a great dinner planned with one of my very closest friends Kate and I'm looking forward to a few hours with no baby or dog or husband to take care of.....AND....maybe a stout glass of wine to go with dinner.

- Baby girl is on the breathing machine three times a day (morning, noon and evening) and that is combined with a dose of zithromax in the evenings before bedtime.  We have a follow up appointment on Friday with the doctor to see if her lungs sound better.

In other news....
- What.  A.  Year.  I love my job don't get me wrong.  I love the people I work with and for the most part I really love the kids.  But this year?  I don't know if something is in the water or what, but it's just been a tough year between parent complaints, kids not taking responsibility for themselves, lots of girl drama and's just been one thing after another.  The only good news is that it's not just down in our athletic department - all across campus teachers and staff members have noticed a strange "flow" to the year.  Usually things don't get crazy in schools until after Spring Break but this year we've hit the ground running with one thing after another.  It's not bad and I wouldn't want to be at any other's just strange because our school has good kids who come from good homes and we rarely have any major problems.  So I guess my main point is - I'm ready for a break.  I'm looking forward to a week off with Craig, Natalie and Angie where we can relax and enjoy each other and eat good food.

- Our Thanksgiving plans are pretty simple....Monday we're taking Natalie to Ms. Rebecca's house in the morning so that he and I can finish up our Christmas shopping.  Thursday we will be eating lunch with his family and then watching the Aggie-Texas football game (Gig 'em Aggies!) and Saturday we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my whole family which will now include: two grandparents, three grown children, three grown in-laws, an 8 year old boy, a 4.5 year old boy, an 8.5 month old girl, a 3 month old boy and three rambunctious pups.  At some point I'm going to have dinner with my friend Emily and Craig and I are going to try to make it out to my middle brother's new house that he just moved into this weekend!  AND...I can't forget - the day after Thanksgiving?!  We MUST decorate the house for Christmas.  Craig is very excited to get everything out and show it to Natalie.  I'm very nervous about this.  Very.  Very.  NERVOUS.

- I know that it's only halfway through November, but I must admit - I'm ready to see 2011 turn into 2012.  This year has been tough.  Yes, there have been bright spots - the birth of Natalie of course and the births of so many other beautiful babies to my friends and family, but at the same time there have been some really dark moments and trying times in our personal lives and in our marriage.  I'm really proud of Craig and I - some things that we've encountered most certainly could be the demise of a relationship and marriage, but we've approached everything as a team and shown each other considerable amounts of respect, dignity, compassion and grace.  Well....I'll be honest - it has mostly been HIM showing me those things.  But there has been a hidden blessing and a greater message that Craig and I have learned this year - there will be hard times in our lives and in our marriage and hopefully this year we have broached the toughest of them all, but we have maintained a good relationship and become a stronger couple because of it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Day Book

Outside my is 8:32 and sunny.  It's supposed to be in the 80s today.  Ridiculous.

I am thinking...that it's going to be really nice to have a completely free day today with no real obligations.

I am thankful husband taking the night shifts with Natalie because he knows that it stresses me out and wears on my patience.

From the learning kids did FANTASTIC at the Cross Country meet last week.  We ran against the other middle schools that feed into our high school and the 8th grade boys won first, the 7th grade boys won first AND the 7th grade girls!  Almost a complete sweep!  This group of 8th graders is special because they're the first group of kids that I've had at Forestwood from 6th grade all the way through to 8th grade.  As I was standing at the start with the 8th grade boys, I realized that how much they have grown over the past few years - no longer was I looking down at all of them...I was looking UP at all the boys!  They've grown so TALL - even one of the other school's coaches mentioned how tall our kids were and how OLD they look...but then you hear them talking and realize that yes, they are still most definitely middle school boys.  Ha!

From the kitchen...I made Mexican food on Friday night: tilapia baked in lime juice with pepper and garlic salt, white rice with cilantro and lime juice, black beans and pico de gallo all in a tortilla.  YUM!

I am wearing...a t-shirt and shorts.  And from the looks of the weather report, I'll be able to wear this all day.

I am creating...okay.  Let's be honest.  Am I ever NOT creating lists?  Whether I write them down or just have them floating around in my head, I've always got some list going.  Right now it's Thanksgiving meal shopping and what to decorate for Christmas and where to put all the stuff we put away during the holidays.

I am have dinner with my friend Kate on Tuesday night!  It's been so incredibly long since I've been able to sit down and chat with ANY of my friends and I'm really looking forward to having a relaxing dinner spent catching up with my oldest friend - we've known each other since we were born!  I'm so excited that she is having a little girl so that Natalie and Audrey can have a friendship just like me and Kate - one that will last a lifetime!

I am reading...multiple reports and articles about the Penn State mess.  God bless those children that he abused and may those students who rioted against Paterno being fired realize that their priorities are focused in the wrong direction and understand the gravity of the situation.  I was absolutely disgusted at those students but then I had to step back and realize that they are 19-20 years old and are not developmentally at the point where they can look past their own needs and see the larger picture.  Hopefully the campus administration handles the matters delicately and the entire collegiate athletic community understands that this incident and the subsequent cover-up is a symptom of a much greater problem in college football today.

I am hoping...that my Cross Country runners perform as well this week as they did last week and that the kids continue to show improvement and enthusiasm for the sport!

I am hearing...Natalie bouncing in her bouncer and giggling...then coughing...then giggling again.  She had the croup last week and she still has a lot of coughing and drainage out her nose.  Is this normal?!  I know the doctor said 7-10 days but I guess I thought she would be back 100% by now.  She's also breaking in four new teeth in her upper gums so she's been a bit miserable the last few days.

Around the house...things are about to be changing.  I'm going to have to bring home some paper boxes from school so we can put away all the pretty stuff that is down low - especially in the living room.  She has been pulling up on the entertainment center.

One of my favorite friend Amy and her creativity.  I've ordered two baby blankets from her for my two friends having babies (Lauren and Kate) and I can't wait to get them in the mail this week.  The blanket that came with Natalie's bedding is really stiff and heavy and not very appropriate to cover up an eight month old at night.  The baby blankets that Amy makes are minky and soft and just the absolute PERFECT size, weight and texture for a little one.  Natalie sleeps under her Aunt Amy blanket every night and I know it's going to be the security blanket that she takes with her to college.

A few plans for the rest of the week: We are super busy this week!
Monday: Craig's first 7th grade basketball games.  Although he says that he doesn't want me and Natalie to come, I'm going to make the trek out to the school so that Craig can see Natalie AND she can wear her "Daddy's MVP" sweatshirt that we bought this time last year!
Tuesday: My dinner with Kate and Craig's sister's first home basketball game at the high school which I am assuming he will be taking Natalie to that night.
Wednesday: Cross Country meet in the afternoon.  Luckily the meet starts around 4:30 or 4:45 so I'm home by 6:30 which is really nice.  I also have the last game of my own personal volleyball league at 7:30 or 8:15 that night.
Thursday: Craig's first 8th grade basketball game.
Saturday: NOTHING
Sunday: Kate's baby shower!

A picture to share:
This is my middle brother Mike who is eight years older than me.  He is Natalie's godfather and has been living in Maine with his wife Laura Renee for the past five years.  He is right now in the process of moving home permanently and should actually be pulling into town with the U-Haul sometime today!  It's going to be so wonderful to have my whole family back in town and close by.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Since Halloween is over the Christmas marketing machine is in full effect which sort of bums me out because my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  And I'll be really honest as to why: there isn't any stress about buying gifts and spending a lot of money AND if I had to choose my "last meal" it would be Thanksgiving dinner.  It is my most favorite meal.....ever.  I've been half tempted the last few birthdays to ask my mother to make stuffing for my birthday dinner.  My birthday is in August.  But her stuffing is just too good to only have it twice a year.

But my husband.  Loves.  CHRISTMAS.

So much in fact that we already have a four foot Christmas tree sitting in our living room carefully placed out of the reach of a certain eight month old's reach.

I get easily overwhelmed during the holiday season just because I want to make sure that I spend my money on presents for people that they are truly going to enjoy.  I really put a lot of thought and effort into purchasing gifts with the recipient in mind, which I think is a very good quality but at the same time it can absolutely drive me crazy with stress and worry.

This year Craig and I started thinking about Christmas presents in September.  Maybe it's the budget we're on and we want to spread out the spending over the course of several paychecks or maybe it's just the excitement about the first real Christmas with Natalie.  Probably a combination of the two.  Whatever the reason, we're almost done with our Christmas shopping.  Hurray!  This definitely takes a lot of the stress of the season off my shoulders and hopefully I'll really be able to relax and enjoy the holidays without the extra pressure of fighting crowds at the mall, worrying about spending too much, and the last minute midnight wrapping extravaganza right before the big day.

I even have Natalie's Christmas photo ready to be put into the Christmas cards that are already purchased and I am in the process of getting a Word document set up so that I can just print the addresses of the recipients directly onto the envelope.

Sometimes....I really, really, really love being so incredibly OCD.

So here are a few of the things that I've got planned for the holiday season.


I love these glass jars with Christmas ornaments in them.  On the mantle right now I have two big hurricane glasses leftover from our wedding and they are filled with pinecones and gourds for fall.  I plan on bagging up the pinecones and gourds and replacing them with any and all ornaments that we don't use for the tree this year.

I could do this with some paint and some canvas.  I might not do a door hanger since we have a wreath for the front door, but it could definitely be something to display in the front hallway.


How yummy would this recipe for a sticky bread be on Christmas morning!  Super easy to make and it looks delicious!

A friend of mine made something like this a few years ago and I absolutely love them.  The combination of salty and sweet is so good.  They wouldn't just be a treat for my family but they would be easy to package and hand out to friends and family.  Plus - once Natalie is older it would be a great treat to make with Natalie.

The hubs loves brownies.  How fun are these?

Craig also loves red velvet cake ANYTHING so these treats could be just for him - toss a few green sprinkles on top and voila!  Christmas red velvet brownies!


Giving gifts for everyday during Advent can get pretty expensive and difficult.  I like the idea of printing off these fun ideas and things for us TO DO instead of BUY.

There was no source listed on Pinterest.

This is kind of along the same lines as the one above.  I could put it in a frame and then use a white board marker to cross things off as we complete something on the list!  Obviously there are some things I would take off (I don't see Craig and I on a horse drawn carriage ride).

Again - no source listed on Pinterest

I don't think this is something that I could do this year just because Natalie is still so little and doesn't have any specific requests for Christmas but in the future this could be really fun.  But just because she puts it on the list doesn't mean she's getting it!  Ha!

BUT....then again, who can really think about the holidays because it's November 8th and I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt outside with my kids today!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Day Book

Outside my is 7:25am and unfortunately, Natalie does not quite yet understand Daylight Savings Time nor does she know how to read a clock.  It's a little cloudy outside and there's finally a chill in the air.

I am thinking...that I got a lot of stuff accomplished last week so hopefully I won't have nearly as much on my "to do" list this week.

I am thankful for...a lazy weekend where we don't have any set in stone plans.

From the learning rooms...I start Cross Country practices tomorrow and we have our first meet on Wednesday afternoon.  I sincerely hope that our 8th grade boys can win the district title again this year.

From the kitchen...Craig made homemade fried chicken tenders last night and they were pretty good!

I am wearing...sweatpants and a big t-shirt.

I am many organization systems for the house - all of Natalie's clothes are in big rubbermaid containers that are labeled appropriately and next on my list of organizational tasks is to clean out our wrapping paper storage bin and put away all the Halloween and fall decor.

I am go to TWO baby showers in the next two weeks - one for my college roomie Lauren and the other my mother and I are putting together for my good friend and Natalie's godmother Kate.  There has definitely been a "baby boom" the last few years with all my friends!

I am reading...The Girl Who Played With Fire...still.  On Friday night I stayed home with the sick baby girl and Craig went to the Stars game with his good friend Brian.  After I put Natalie to bed I ran a hot bubble bath and relaxed in the tub while reading my book.  I've still got a long ways to go in it - I have to take my time because there are a lot of complicated character interactions and connections and I don't want to miss out on any important information.

I am hoping...that my mom and I are able to put together a beautiful baby shower for Kate.  She hosted BOTH my baby and my wedding showers and I want to repay the love that she has shown me in the past few years.

I am hearing...Dora the Explorer.  Natalie isn't really interested in watching television right now - she's more involved in crawling around the floor and trying to take Daddy's shoe with her.

Around the house...we have a Christmas tree up in our living room.  Yes.  I know that it's only November 6th.  What can I say?  My husband LOVES the holidays - even more now that we have Natalie.  We have a large tree that we've kept in the living room for the past few years with all the presents underneath it but with Natalie so mobile and in love with crinkly paper, we decided to move the "present" tree into the dining room where she doesn't travel.  But Craig still likes to bask in the glow of Christmas tree lights as he watches television in the living room so we bought a small four foot tree to sit on a table out of the reach of chubby little baby hands.

One of my favorite things...I don't love my baby being sick.  She doesn't sleep well and our normally easy going little girl cries at every little thing BUT there is one great side of an under the weather baby girl.  The cuddling.  She is not really a "snuggly" baby on a normal day - she likes to be on the move.  But last night she was running a low grade fever and was totally sniffly and pathetic looking - I curled up with her on my chest under a blanket on the couch and watched football.  She didn't ever fall totally asleep but just lay there and rested.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Craig doesn't start basketball games until next week and I have a cross country meet on Wednesday evening.  I have a baby shower on Saturday afternoon and that's about it!

A picture to share:
Although Natalie isn't a snuggler....this little puppy girl is ALWAYS up for a good cuddle.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Great Saturday

Today was a good day.  Just one of those perfect Saturdays when there are no time constraints but instead just a general idea of things to get accomplished with plenty of room for naps and watching football.  Craig, Natalie and I started our day with lunch at Red Robin and Natalie was just delightful.  Even though she didn't get a very good night sleep due to the congestion she's been struggling with, she was giggly and smiling throughout lunch and thoroughly enjoyed her bits of hamburger bun and french fries that we indulged her in.  Afterwards we had to do some grocery shopping at Walmart as well as get some more stuff for Christmas.  She absolutely loves going to the store because there are so many things for her to look at.  She was such a good little girl sitting in the seat and staying quiet but attentive and she even managed to keep her hands to herself, her shoes on her feet AND her mouth off the shopping cart handle!  We came home and all of us took much needed afternoon naps which were followed up by a delicious dinner of homemade "fried" chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, and peas for me and carrots for Craig.  The only bummer is that Natalie's croup is still giving her coughing fits which makes it difficult for her to fall asleep.  Hopefully the humidifier, the ibuprofen and baby vicks on her chest and feet will help her to feel better fast.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a day like today - we've got to get some laundry done and we're going to try to put away the Halloween decor and I'd like to stroll down to the park for a bit with Natalie and Angie but nothing is set in stone and that feels really great.

And a few things I just want to remember from this week....

- Natalie on the floor of the bathroom playing with the brown fabric laundry basket and all of a's flipping over and covering her completely!  Silence and stillness.  And then a whimper.

- A sick baby girl cuddled up on my chest under a blanket with a puppy dog lying at my feet on the couch while we watch Alabama versus LSU on a chilly Saturday night.

- Buying a four foot Christmas tree for the living room (our big tree will be moved to the dining room out of the reach of little chubby baby hands) on the fifth day of November and my husband insisting that we get in the holiday spirit by putting the tree up....THAT VERY SAME AFTERNOON.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Deal!

The hubs sent this to me today - it's a great deal at Walgreens to get 25 4x6 photos printed off for FREE!!!

Yes, FREE!!!

I've already uploaded and submitted mine and Craig is going to do the same - we're printing off the photo of Natalie that is going to be sent out with our Christmas card!

Here are the details:

Walgreens is offering customers a 25 Free 4 x 6" Prints. Exp. 11/5. WALGREENS
  1. Click through to Walgreens. Upload pictures add qty Twenty-five (25) 4 x 6" Prints to order
  2. Enter coupon code FREE4X6 at checkout.
  3. Pickup in-store for free [Store locator]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eight Months Old!

No doctor's appointment this month so I don't have any measurements but I can tell you one thing - she's a big girl.  Not chubby or chunky....just long and lean.  She definitely weighs more than 20 pounds and is maybe around 28 inches long - when you look at her, she's about the size of a one-year-old.  But...developmentally, there are some things she is ahead on but there are other things that she hasn't quite mastered.

- Natalie is starting to pull up from sitting to standing and she's successful about 50% of the time.  Last Saturday morning I came into her room around 8:00 to get her and she was standing up, holding onto the railing with the biggest grin on her face which quickly turned to a "get me out of this poopy diaper" face.

- She still is doing the army crawl and hasn't progressed into a full hands and knees crawl but hey, if it works why try something else?!  I think she has her sights set on a much bigger task - walking.

- Natalie is wearing some 9 month stuff but mostly 12 month clothing and we just moved up a size in shoe - she is now a size 3 which means no more soft soled baby shoes.  We were at Walmart on Saturday and got her some cute pink and white velcro BIG girl tennis shoes.  She was a little confused when we first put them on her because they were so heavy but hopefully they'll provide her with a lot more support and stability as she is pulling up, standing and starting to walk.

- Her diet is getting more exciting.  She has oatmeal for breakfast, a fruit or veggie at lunch and then a different fruit or veggie at dinner.  She doesn't have her pincer grasp yet but we'll put out shredded cheese or little bits of bread on her tray and she'll reach out with her hands and grab some in her little chubby fists and then try to cram it all into her mouth.  Most of it ends up in her high chair or on the floor.  This makes Angie a happy puppy dog.

She has had a VERY busy month!  Here are some pictures of what she's been up to lately.
She fell asleep after a long day at the state fair.

She met (and was scared by) Big Tex.

She had her first black eye caused by Angie knocking her over and then stepping on her face.

She wore a pretty white gown for her baptism.

She was baptized and received two godparents, Uncle Michael and my childhood friend Kate.

Blew Halloween bubbles with Daddy and Angie.

Crawled around the kitchen and discovered that the best toys are not the ones that are bought from the store.

Went to the park and swung in a swing for the first time.

Played with Momma's shoes in her closet.

Tried to pull up on the bathtub and then fell over and bonked her head on the tile.  Ouch!

Celebrated Halloween by being the cutest ladybug on the block.

Sat intently with Angie (her ladybug twin) and watched the neighbor boy across the street bounce his ball.