December 31, 2012

December 2012 In Pictures

Don't forget to check our our December monthly update for details. 
Our 2012 Christmas Card Photo
The return arrival of Red Robin. So proud that she read the entire book this year.
Saying goodbye to our best bud Bryce before his move to Chicago.
Nashville Christmas Parade
 At the screening of "Birth Story: Ina Mae Gaskin and the Farm Midwives"
Adventure Science Center Field Trip

Seeing the manger at Walk Thru Bethlehem
Visiting Santa at Bass Pro (of course!)
 Meet "Olivia Holt" our newest Build-A-Bear
 At Opryland Hotel with Yah Yah and Paw Paw
 my karate kid
stockings!!!

December 2012 Update

We are winding down the holidays. In fact, tLG is currently in Bama getting spoiled rotten by my parents. I'm cleaning and purging and organizing and doing year-end projects. Yipee! I really do love the start of a new year. But, first, let's review December.

Let's see. Noteworthy items in December include Mike's mom and I putting up 2 bushels of apples into applesauce and apple butter. It was our first time canning and I think we did pretty good. Our recipes have gotten rave reviews from the family taste testers and every jar sealed! I'm anxious to try other things now.
We did a Christmas countdown calendar again this year and our elf, Red Robin was back. Let me tell ya, it's not all that easy to A) come up with something unique and special for 25 days in a row and B) remember to move that stinking elf every night. There were a lot of 4:30 am moves but we managed to pull it off and I think we made some memories for tLG.

Our other little tradition that we started is still holding on and once again we saw the Nashville Christmas Parade with the Droses followed by a trip to Krispy Kreme. Other holiday outings included a visit to Nashville Children's Theatre to see Charlie Brown and this year we also did Walk Thru Bethlehem, which was really neat. We visited the Opryland Hotel with Yah Yah and Paw Paw and I also took tLG to TDF for the Two From Galilee production and the Christmas Eve service.

When school let out for winter break and we celebrated by going to Build-A-Bear. Sky made a dog dressed in a karate uniform. She named her Olivia Holt. She's kind of obsessed smitten with this teen actress and her Disney show Kickin' It. In fact, the ONLY thing she asked Santa for this year was a "black belt karate suit." Skylar must have been good this year because Santa did indeed come and delivered one  child-size karate gi (thank you, Ebay!). She wore it for 2 days straight and has been practicing her "moves." I see karate lessons in her future.

Of note, I enjoy my child SO much better when she's not in school. She's like a different person. She's more enthusiastic and pleasant and creative. I don't think she is unhappy with school and she is definitely learning and doing well but I can definitely tell that some stress is relieved when she's not there. Maybe it's me who's stressed, who knows, but it is interesting how the dynamic at home changes. Reminds me of summer. :)

We are also the proud (ahem) new owners of 4 goldfish. When Skylar's teacher asked us to take them, I thought it was just for the holiday break but it appears they are all done with their unit study and the fish are ours to keep. Mike and I did a quick Google search and it appears the average goldfish can live up to 20 years. The pet store confirmed this right before they sent me out the door with an entire tank set and instructions for monthly maintenance. Lovely.
Christmas came and went very uneventfully, which was kind of nice. Usually we are rushing around like crazy for the few days leading up to and after the big day. We had a very laid-back holiday and while it was a new feeling without all the hussle and bussle, I rather enjoyed it!

I spent New Year's Eve assisting a lovely couple as they welcomed their baby to the world and then Mike and I spent the evening hanging out with our favorite neighbors. We even stayed up late enough to see the ball drop. Be impressed.

I hope that everyone had as wonderful of a December as we did. For more pictures, click here.

Happy New Year!

December 29, 2012

a look back at my 2012 resolutions


2012 is winding down so I wanted to give a little report of how I did with my resolutions from this last year.

In 2012, I resolved to...
  1. Simplify! - I said "no" a lot. I made routines and stuck to them. Our schedule was certainly jam packed at times but we were never overbooked. I just plain refused to deal with the stress of running from here to there. Maybe we missed out on something important but I didn't notice. I planned and scheduled and thought ahead and it made things easier. I took vacations and didn't plan a thing and it was still fun. I threw out and donated and consigned a ton. I was laid back and took things in stride. This was HUGE for me and I feel a lot more calm and peaceful as a result. 
  2. Buy second hand as much as possible. - Definitely. I'm a sucker for savings so I think I did well on this one. I found lots of good deals at consignment this year plus we have a new Facebook trading group for my area that has been awesome! I'm also so excited that we have a new Goodwill right here in Donelson. I'm still a fan of Ebay and Craigslist and will continue to utilize those resources as well. 
  3. Complete my doula training. - This one I'm REALLY proud of as it has been a goal of mine for a while. I completed my training through Childbirth International and I've been attending clients as a certified doula since June. I also created and have started to brand nurturing YOU naturally. I even became a professional member of the Nashville Birth Network. Right now, I'm in the process of furthering my studies by working towards my Hypno-Doula Training. It's been an amazing process and I absolutely LOVE working with expectant families! 
  4. Eat more whole foods. - I'm cooking from scratch now more than ever before. I had an "ah-ha" moment regarding my child's behavior and the foods she was eating. Even seemingly harmless snacks are packaged with preservatives and don't even get me started on the amount of things with HFCS and dyes that shouldn't. I started reading more labels and making homemade snacks for her and we saw a HUGE improvement. This year, we also had a  farmer's market come to our area, which was a big help. It's so much more fun to cook with fresh, local produce. I even attempted canning for the first time with my mother-in-law and we successfully made applesauce and apple butter. 
  5. Live beneath our means. - FINALLY! Two things happened that helped to make this possible. 1) Mike got a promotion. 2) I started a new job.
    Between the two raises that accompanied those job changes, we are finally living beneath our means. Best of all, there is a little bit left over for savings each month. This is a major milestone for us. 
This was a really good year for me. Yes, I was able to accomplish my resolutions but there were many areas of my life that saw growth. As I continue to age, I become more and more comfortable in my own skin and that's a good thing. I guess being in my 30's isn't so bad after all. :) I'm looking forward to 2013 so stay tuned for those resolutions.

For the record, I don't always accomplish my goals each year. For proof, you can see how poorly I did on my 2010 and 2011 resolutions.

How about you? Did you make resolutions for 2012? How did you do? 

November 30, 2012

November 2012 in Pictures

Don't forget to read our November 2012 Update.

 She learned to draw a star.
 Riding 4-wheelers with K-Diddy.
 This is my girl! Love her style and her spunk!
Holiday lunch at Stanford.
 Rock Climbing with The Cousins
 Hike to Laurel Falls
 Hot Tub!!
 We rode the Skylift and I didn't die! :)
 Skylar & Avery
 Happy Thanksgiving from The Bishops!
 Cade's Cove. Now officially checked off my list.
 How can you not just love this kid? She's a mess. This is her new "pose" for pictures. LOL!
 Aquarium 
 Me and my mini me. 
 You don't want to mess with us. Trust me. 
Reading The Christmas Story and acting it out with her Little People. Makes a mamma proud. 

November 2012 Update

November...

So, if you haven't heard, I started a new job. My contract had ended with the company I was working for and shortly after that I was offered a position doing pretty much the same thing but for a different company. I thought about it long and hard but in the end I decided it would be a good move. I will still be traveling for conferences about once a year and I am excited for the new opportunity.

I also had the obligatory parent-teacher conference this month. Sky is doing well and I'm pleased with her progress this year. Her reading skills are the most impressive and she is starting to excel in math as well. She is also in the Encore program this year. I spoke with that teacher too and it seems that Missy Prissy is really enjoying her class.
tLG and I hopped down to Birmingham this month for Aunt Whitney's big 18th birthday and had a good visit with family and friends including getting to finally snuggle by bestie's new baby girl.
Once again, Mike and I attended the midnight premiere of the final Twilight movie with his sister, Laura. It was AWESOME! I'm kinda sad that this is the last one. There isn't another book series that I'm really interested in right now, which means no new series of movies for us to get excited about. :( 

The main event for this month was spending Thanksgiving in the mountains with Mike's family. Gatlinburg was bustling and we all had a great time. For the record, I am NOT a fan of Cade's Cove but I can now say that I've been there and done that. My favorite moments of the trip included relaxing in the hot tub, the Aquarium, and bebopping around town with tLG on our last full day there. Sky mainly enjoyed being with her cousins at the chalet. I've been noticing this for a few months but, man, my girl is a trooper in the car (unlike her mother). She just rides and rides and doesn't really complain. She keeps herself entertained with her electronics or just takes in the scenery. Yes, I realized I have just jinxed myself for the next road trip. Oh well. It was a milestone worth noting.
Other than that, we are just getting ready for the holiday season and tLG is excited to start our Advent calendar. In fact, she already has her Christmas tree set up in her room and has been singing her beloved Christmas carols. I suppose our elf should be turning up any day now as well. :)

Take care and Merry Christmas! For more pictures from November, click here.

November 7, 2012

Christmas Countdown with Books


Last year, I saw the idea on Pinterest, and I loved it. Basically, you have a Christmas countdown with books. You wrap up 25 books then open and read a new one every night. Pretty cute, huh? Except that I couldn't fathom how much it was going to cost to buy 25 books so I skipped it. Well, I think I just solved that problem. This week tLG's class send home a scholastic book order form. Not gonna lie, I usually throw these in the trash. I'm cheap. I like the library. But, knowing that scholastic usually has pretty good prices I logged on to see what I could find as far as holiday books are concerned.

They have a couple of sets that I can combine and end up with 24 books for around $40. That makes it less than $2 a book. $1.66 each, in fact! I'm sure there are others out there who were in the same boat as me so I wanted to offer the opportunity to you. Besides, these orders help tLG's classroom get books too. Another perk is that when you order through the classroom, you don't have to pay tax or shipping! :) Win-win situation, I say!

Let me know if you want to order. I need your money by Monday, November 12th. Total will be $39.97. 

Here are the list of titles:
  1. Bear's First Christmas by Robert Kinerk, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
  2. Careful, Santa! by Julie Sykes, illustrated by Tim Warnes
  3. The Christmas Angels by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Gail Yerrill
  4. Christmas Mice! by Bethany Roberts, illustrated by Doug Cushman
  5. Little Critter's The Night Before Christmas by Mercer Mayer
  6. The Littlest Christmas Star by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Sanja Rescek
  7. A Magical Christmas by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Gail Yerrill
  8. The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Mike Lester
  9. The Special Christmas Tree by Catherine Walters and Simon Taylor-Kielty
  10. Tacky's Christmas by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger 
  11. The Best Christmas Ever! by Marni McGee, illustrated by Gavin Scott
  12. Christmas Is Here adapted from the King James Bible, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
  13. Fox and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
  14. Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker! by Leslie McGuirk
  15. The Little Engine That Could and the Snowy, Blowy Christmas by Watty Piper, illustrated by Cristina Ong
  16. Little Porcupine's Christmas by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Felicia Bond
  17. Merry Christmas, from Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
  18. The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland
  19. Mouse's First Christmas by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan
  20. Santa Duck by David Milgrim
  21. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner
  22. Ten Christmas Wishes by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Gail Yerrill 
  23. Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode
  24. The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer

October 31, 2012

October 2012 in Pictures

Here's a look back at what we did this month. Don't forget to read the October Update for all the details.


 Arriving in Palm Beach (LIMO!!!)


The Girls!

A little break after a long day. 

My girl and her glitter tattoo. 

Gorgeous brunch and a little time on the playground.



Skylar and Ms. Morgan. :)

Puppet Show
Field Trip to the Fire Station

Trunk or Treat 2012


Me and Kelly (#mustache)
Arggh Matey! Happy Halloween.