A Different Christmas

So this Christmas is going to be a totally different one than I’ve ever experienced. For multiple reasons. First of all, this will be our very first Christmas by ourselves. Since my whole family lives in Texas, and Brent’s whole family lives in New Mexico, there won’t be anyone with us this year since we decided to stay here. It’s important to us to be in our house on Christmas morning, and open our presents and let the kids stay in their pajamas all day if they want to. This year having Christmas fall on a weekday makes it hard for any of our family to come up because most of them have to work the next day. It’s a bummer, and I’m pretty sad about it, but I know it has to happen at some point so I need to just get over it. It’s going to be great and we are going to have fun, it’s more just the change that I’m sad about. I grew up with a house full of adults and kids on Christmas morning. Like Home Alone style relatives. Our parents used to make us all sit on the staircase and wait while they made coffee and mimosas, set up the video camera, fixed their hair…it was excruciating! My cousins would all mess with each other and try to inch down the staircase, and I remember being told that someone had already peeked and Santa didn’t bring me anything (Mark!)! I was the youngest of all the grand kids, and a girl after five boys. So being picked on was an everyday thing, the problem was how gullible I was. I also remember getting a phone call from Santa – you used to be able to call your own house from your landline and have it ring on a different phone – while I was the only one upstairs and my two cousins told me they were going outside to play. He told me that I had to be really nice to my cousins Mark and Jeremy, if I wanted any presents that year. Aren’t they the sweetest? My mom also used to make us sing carols and video tape it. The boys would always sing the wrong words or yell out the extra words in the songs, and there was one time had to sing Rudolph, and when we got to the part where Santa asked Rudolph to guide the sleigh, my brother yelled “No!!” and we all laughed so hard we couldnt finish the song. I love those memories! I want my kids to be around their family members and a ton of cousins, but it seems like those days of big family holidays are slipping away. Most of my friends don’t do it anymore, they usually stay home with their own small family. Maybe I’ll like it, but I had so much fun when I was younger.

Another reason this Christmas will be so different is because it will be my first one without my Memaw. Since she passed away in June the holidays just kind of snuck up on me as far as preparing my emotions for being without her. I can’t remember a single year without her there, and the other day when I was feeling sorry for myself about not being with my family over Christmas, it hit me that she wouldn’t be there anyway. I had a good cry and it just so happened that later on my aunt posted something on FaceBook about how amazing her Christmas would be in Heaven this year. And it will. It makes me less sad to think that she will get to actually celebrate our Savior’s birthday with Him this year, which is an incomprehensible thought, as well as get to be with my grandfather again, and her parents, and my dad (which I’m a little jealous about). After almost 9 years without my dad, you would think it has gotten easier, but it really hasn’t. I still miss him just as much and wish he was here to watch my kids open their presents and play with them. I will always have that little kid inside me who misses their dad, so I’m not expecting it to get better than it is, just still learning how to move past it. Other important people in our family passed away last year as well, and it’s hard to think we were all together last year. Everything was normal at Thanksgiving, and we were still together at Christmas. Makes you realize that everything can change in a second. Nothing needs to be taken for granted and we all should love each other like this is the last time we will be together.
Since we dont get to be with our families this Christmas, we are planning lots of fun things to do with our friends that will be here as well, including a big Christmas dinner with our “Edmond Family”: The Creecy’s. They are transplants here as well and dont have any other family in town, so we do a lot of things together. They just had a baby in October, and Hadley is in love with him. Besides the fact that their 4 year old is her bff, she couldnt be happier than getting to spend the day with them. We are also planning on taking Hadley ice skating for her first time tomorrow and then church on Sunday.
I am so looking forward to seeing them open their presents on Christmas morning and spending time with Brent over his vacation. Plus we do get to head down to North Texas after Christmas for 5 days or so to spend time with the family and maybe even sneak in a date night!
I hope you all have an amazing Christmas, and that you will appreciate everyone you are with. Too many families are not having the Christmas they intended this year, be it the families in Connecticut or the friends and family we know who are dealing with other things. Pray for them, hug them, and give a little extra love to the people you care about.

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Murphy’s Law

Today was one of those days that I just left everything as it was and went to the gym. Let me explain.

We watched Polar Express last night and Hadley loved it! she was so amazed by the train and the reindeer, and especially when the little boy got his bell back. I’m sure she loves it almost as much as Brent does.

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Last night a cold front blew in and so the wind was ridiculous. Here in Oklahoma, the wind is always out of control. The words to the song ‘Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains…’ are in fact true. Before I lived here I never gave it much thought, and supposed that they just needed an extra line that rhymed. That, my friend, was incorrect. It is windy like 364 days a year. Not a suitable climate for a girl with long hair. Ifeel like Chicago has nothing on Oklahoma, but i haven’t been there, so its just a guess. We laid awake in bed listening to it and Brent mentioned that he hoped the little trampoline was still in the backyard in the morning. I really didn’t expect it to get that bad, I mean we’ve had 70-80 mph gusts during bad storms with tornados, so 50-60 mph gusts didn’t seem that bad to me.

Around 5:30 Truett started crying, he had peed through his diaper and pajamas and was freezing. So I changed him, his clothes, and crib sheet, he then put him in my bed to snuggle and get warm so he would fall back asleep. Hadley woke up at 7:30 and came in our room, so we all got up and Brent let our dog out. This is what we saw:

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See that silver line with handles on the left side of the picture? That is our 300+ pound grill that has been blown off of our patio. Thank goodness our neighbor reinforced the fence with steel poles instead of 4x4s. The table was flipped upside down but miraculously did not break. Our charcoal grill was blown off too,and the wheels came off. All of the insides of the grills and accessories were scattered everywhere. Did I mention there was a propane tank attached to our gas grill? Thank goodness it didn’t get punctured. The gas grill is now shaped like an “s”. Looks like we won’t be using it anymore. The trampoline is the only thing that was still in the same spot as it was when we went to bed.
There was also a bag of birdseed out there that blew into the yard and a hole tore in it. So I picked it up and covered the hole, and set it on a paper plate so I could put it in a ziplock after we picked up the patio. So we got the grill back up and everything else in its place, and came back inside. It was like 25 degrees and the wind was still blowing like crazy. I was freezing so I made my cup of coffee and went in the laundry room to start hanging up the stuff from the dryer when I hear, “Aw Crap.” I lean out the door into the kitchen to see birdseed all over the floor. Clearly no one heard me say I was going to put that in a ziplock and that there was a hole in the bag. Oh, and our vacuum is still broken. Someone just put me out of my misery!!
Brent finally gets a million tiny pieces of birdseed swept into a pile while fighting the dog and the 14 month old who are trying to play in it and sucked up into the shop vac, I finished the laundry and my coffee. Got the kids dressed and headed to – not the gym. The pediatricians office because Hadley needed a flu shot. I didn’t even tell her where we were going or why, and then once we were there I let her choose between the shot or the nasal mist. She actually chose the shot. Ok, your choice! She didn’t cry, which was a miracle, and when we got in the car I gave her a package of fruit snacks, a sticker, and a handful of mini marshmallows. Totally worth it. Then we finally got to the gym. I checked the kids into the childcare and ran upstairs to get my cardio in before I met with Robbie. 5 minutes into my run I hear my name over the loud speaker, so I run back down to the kids club. Truett has a dirty diaper. Perfect timing! I changed him and went back upstairs to finish my 3 miles and then met Robbie downstairs where he pushed me harder than last time. I am not the best multitasker when it comes to having to balance and do something else, so laying on the giant ball and doing reps while planking – I’m sure I looked as ridiculous as I felt. Pushing the huge Prowler up and down the length of the weight room, and lunging the length of the weight room, squats and presses…I was exhausted! I do like the medicine ball slams, they definitely help get my aggression and stress out. I like the core work too, laying on my back holding my feet 6 inches off the ground, then doing flutter kicks and sit ups to the ceiling instead of to your knees. Better for my back and I could totally feel my abs burning. All in all it was an awesome workout, and afterwards I went back upstairs and did another 3 miles on the elliptical.

Brought my kids home and fed them spaghetti and meatballs while I had spicy hummus and a piece of pita bread. Then we played baby dolls and fire trucks until nap time. Which was just a few minutes ago and when I close this up I’m going to take a long hot shower and get my house clean. And re-wrap the present that Truett ripped during lunch time. Not sure what is for dinner tonight, but the other night we had Pan Seared Duck Breasts with Whole Grain Brown Rice and Steamed Veggies. It was so good. Truett ate two whole breasts by himself! I couldn’t believe I didn’t overcook the duck, but magically it was still pink in the middle. Pan Seared is not my favorite way to eat it, I have learned. I prefer grilled when it comes to duck, because when you cook it in a pan all of the juices stay in it and it is a little too gamey tasting for me. And I like gamey. But grilled, everything drains out and it tastes amazing. However it looks like we won’t be grilling for awhile. Maybe he can get the charcoal grill back in order.

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I’m just putting this one in here because it is my favorite sweater right now.

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It’s almost Friday!!!

Clean Crafts and Getting Back with My Trainer

I don’t really consider myself a clean freak, but I guess some of my friends think so. I like the house picked up, and I know my husband appreciates it too, especially when he gets home from a stressful day at work. I think the reason my friends think I keep such a clean house is because I don’t really let anyone see it when it’s messy.

Like every other kid, my last concern was whether or not my room was clean, so I know it’s funny for my Mom to hear that I like to keep my house clean. My kids will be the same way, I’m sure. Which is one reason we turned our study into a playroom off of the living room. When I started buying shelving for it I tried to purge a lot of the toys my kids don’t play with and we took them to the Hope Center here in town. I love that I can just put all their toys in there at the end of the day and shut the doors. I pick it up and organize it maybe once or twice a week.

I mention this because today I had the crazy idea of having a craft day, and I said it out loud before I actually thought it through. So now we have to do it. Don’t you love the memory of a three year old? Now I’m scavenging Pinterest to try and find crafts that aren’t super messy. I am not a fan of making a giant mess and having to clean it up while the kids make it worse or cry because I’m trying to clean and not playing with them. I especially cannot leave it there until later, it practically eats away at me! So today I think I settled on a button tree craft. I really like doing the ones that we do with their hands and feet, so we get to see each year how much they’ve changed… But that means either paint or salt dough, and both of those just sound awful! I’m really trying to talk myself into it though. I love when people tell me to just let my kids be messy, they are just kids and need to do it! Thats like telling me to give my kids play-dough on carpet and asking them to rub it in. They can be messy outside. Tonight Brent wants to watch Polar Express and make a Gingerbread House. Which is the last thing I need in my house because I LOVE gingerbread. But we’re making memories here, right? This is why I spend 2 hours a day at the gym!

Today I start back with my trainer, Robbie. I told him I need him to kick my booty, and he is the one who does the bootcamps at the gym, so I have a feeling it’s going to be a sore day tomorrow! I am ready and need it for sure. I still have 15-20 pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight, and I have really plateaued lately, so I can’t wait til Robbie kicks me into high gear. I have a hard time doing things on my own because I’m not sure what is safe since I have a bulging disc in my lower back. That was in April, and although its been 8 months and I’m not having any pain, I know that these discs can be asymptomatic as well as start hurting again at any time. Which is why I got back into the gym in the first place. Besides wanting to be healthier for my kids, and live a longer and better quality

life with my husband, I needed my core to be stronger and lose weight so that my back would stop hurting. And once I did it, the pain stopped! Magic how that works, isn’t it? Follow doctors orders and get healthy, it’s amazing how many things change.

I’m off to the gym, and then hobby lobby!

Update: here are our crafts! No mess, just glue!! My kind of projects!!
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Party Food and a Healthy Dinner. Not together, of course.

This weekend was so perfect. It started Thursday with Hadley’s Christmas program at preschool. For weeks we have been asking her what songs she was singing so we could practice them. We named about 4, and I didn’t think she was singing 4, but we sang them all 24 hours a day. Thursday comes and she lets me curl her hair and puts on her Christmas dress. We arrive and drop her off with her classmates and head into the auditorium to find a seat. Out come 50 of the cutest 3 year olds, and they take their places. Music starts. “What song is this? We didn’t practice this one!” Away in a Manger. The next one was Jingle Bells, we sang it a million times. She did great! Then Joy to the World, didn’t practice. We Wish You a Merry Christmas? No, not that one either. Thank goodness we did practice Rudolph, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, and Zacchaeus. Haha.

Friday night when we watched ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Yes, Virgina’ with Hadley. Then Saturday morning we woke up and met some of our friends and their kids at our favorite diner for breakfast, Katie’s Country Griddle. I always get the same thing: the Which Came First omelet. It is 2 eggs, diced chicken, tomatoes, green onion, and cream cheese. It is so good! I never thought about putting cream cheese in my omelet, but it is now my favorite ingredient. They also have the most amazing coffee.

After breakfast we drove to downtown Oklahoma City to the Devon building. This is where my husband works, and his friend, whose family we were with. Each Saturday in December, Devon puts on ‘Saturdays with Santa’. There are activities and crafts, plus Santa and Mrs. Claus are there. The building is decorated so perfect, with massive decorations like ornaments and pinecones that are bright and beautiful.

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We saw Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Hadley, who has never sat on Santa’s lap before, did and smiled! It may have been the candy canes we were feeding her and bribing her with, but it worked! And not only that, but Truett followed her lead. I couldn’t believe I got a smile out of both of them! Each year we take a family picture with Santa too.

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We ran around outside for awhile and let them get some energy out before we headed home for lunch and naps.

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Saturday night we had a little get together of neighbors and a few close friends, and it was great. Everyone brought something delicious, and we hung out and then played Charades with Christmas Carol titles. In a room of adults who have had a few glasses of Christmas Punch, trying to act out some of these was hilarious! I highly recommend this if you have a party to go to any time in the next week or so. The girls team won, by the way. We rocked it.

For the food, I of course searched Pinterest, and decided on Red Velvet Cheesecake Dip. It was so easy and delicious, as you would imagine. Brent made seared Asparagus with a Béarnaise sauce, one of my favorite appetizers. There was bacon wrapped water chestnuts, sausage balls, spinach artichoke dip, a fruit tray and a sausage and cheese tray. Also red velvet mini cupcakes and Mint Chocolate Bark.

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Here is the recipe I used.

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My friend Claire made this and Brent and I still were eating on it today. It is so addicting.

Sunday we went to church, I definitely wanted to hear a positive message after the tragedy in Connecticut last week. How devastating. I honestly cannot fathom what those families are going through, and every time I think about it I cry. I have been really emotional about it, and all we can do is keep praying. For everyone involved and for our society as a whole. Pray that God wraps those families in his arms and comforts them, and that we as Christians pull together and support those who need it. Even from Oklahoma or anywhere else, our prayers can make a difference in any place. Just keep praying.

For dinner Brent made Venison Backstrap with Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots. It was SO good. Melt in your mouth good. Nothing tastes better than venison wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a little EVOO, straight off the grill. I like venison because it is a little gamier than beef, which I know also deters some people from eating it. It is so lean that many times you have to wrap it in bacon so it doesn’t dry out while cooking. The flavor is amazing and I appreciate that it was a wild animal, totally organic and taken by my husband to provide for our family. There is nothing healthier than that.

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Have you watched the Elf on the Shelf movie yet? It was really cute, Hadley loved it and we’ve already watched it 3 times. Here is what Holly got into last night. Just sticking to one of the four major food groups!

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Have a great day today! It’s almost Christmas!!

Two Easy, Hearty, and Healthy Meals

Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday!! What an amazing woman she is and she has definitely taught me how to thrive even when you think you are going under. I always remember bits of advice she has told me over the years, especially when it comes to motherhood and marriage. I’m sure those will come out on here as time passes, but if I sat here and wrote even just the most recent ones I would be writing for days. We talk at least once a day, usually a few times, and do FaceTime at least a few times a week with the kids. She’s my best friend for sure, and not only do I get the best friend aspect, but I get the advice and comfort of my Mom. I know how lucky I am to have this, not everyone has this kind of relationship with their mother. She is such a good Nana to all 6 of her grandkids, and Hadley asks to call her at least once a day. Can’t say enough about her! This is us at her Engagement Party 2 weeks ago.

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I took Hadley to school yesterday and ran a couple of errands, and ended up at the clinic I worked at, which is a usual occurrence. I get my fix of clients, patients, and medical drama. Plus I get to see my friends and get a little adult conversation. On a lucky day we grab lunch or order sushi, but there was too much going on for that today. Truett and I picked up Brent’s Christmas present, and came home to eat lunch.

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Do you like greens? I love greens. My family has made greens for Sunday dinner or any other excuse for as long as I can remember. Fresh are definitely better, but I found these once when the store was out of fresh greens. I always keep them in the cabinet now. They are delicious and so healthy. One serving is a half of a cup. It has 45 calories, 6 carbs, and 5 grams of fiber per serving. That means it has 1 net carb per serving, because you subtract the fiber from the total carbs. Basically I could eat an entire giant can and not feel bad about it at all. So I cut up a couple of venison ‘snack sticks’ (from the deer in our freezer), which are like mini summer sausages with big chunks of cheese and jalapeño in them, and put them on a cup of greens. Heated it up and oh man, it was goodness. Spicy and so yummy.

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I played with the dog for a while as Truett kicked a ball around the yard and climbed on little plastic chairs. He has really been into climbing lately, and today he stood up on one and let go, fell off ad landed face first in the grass. He was pretty mad, but just got a little scrape. Good thing we are going to see Santa on Saturday and it is next to his eye!

After we picked up Hadley we came home and played hard. I decided to get all the veggies cut up for dinner because I was making a spin off of a Pesto Pasta dish my Mom taught me. Normally, I use bowtie pasta, Italian sausage, and yummy veggies. Toss it all in pesto and serve it hot. It’s really good, but when I started trying to make all my meals lighter but just as delicious, I had to cut out a few ingredients. So I used Turkey Italian sausage, and just cut out the pasta. Instead of steaming the fresh veggies, I roasted them with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini, canned artichoke hearts and black olives were my choices for tonight. I put the olives on only for the last couple of minutes so they didn’t dry up.

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I roasted them at 400 until they were golden on top, like 20 minutes. I cooked the sausage in a pan, though it would have been great grilled too. Sliced it and put everything in a big bowl and then poured pesto on it and tossed it around. To be honest, this is also good with a marinara sauce, or anything really. I like the saltiness of the pesto. I was concerned about everyone else eating it, because Brent is a pasta lover, and Hadley is going through a phase about what she will and won’t eat. Doesn’t change what I cook, she can eat it or be hungry, so its a good thing she is a good eater. To my surprise, they all ate it up. Even Truett, who had two bowlfuls. Seconds for that kid will never surprise me. This was an easy, hearty meal that you can change to suit your taste. Use the vegetables your family will eat and a sauce they will eat. It is a great dinner for any time of the year, but I thought it was really nice for a cold winter night.

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And Brent really liked it. He has come a long way from when I met him about what he eats. I don’t take all the credit, I just think he has become more aware of how he feels when he eats certain things. When we are being good and eating right, we have more energy, are in better moods, and just all around feel good. When I eat something I shouldn’t, something heavy or greasy, I feel awful. Then I start to think about how I must have felt like that all the time before, and just that everyone else did too! Food has a huge impact on how we feel as well as feel about ourselves. The ingredients in the food make our bodies do certain things, like feel tired or more energized. Also the way they break down impacts us. Eating junk like fast food or lots of pasta and sugar makes your blood sugar spike and crash, making you have mood swings and bursts of energy. These can make you bloated so you don’t feel like you look your best, or make your skin oily soyou break out, which impacts your self esteem. Emotional eating is another vicious cycle, which is the category I fell into. Eating cleaner food, vegetables, meat, dairy, healthy carbs, whole grains, etc. can make you feel amazing. It cleans out your digestive system and your body uses almost every nutrient in these foods. You don’t need to eat fries or ice cream, but you want to. Try an alternative and see how you feel. I bet if you switched out one food you eat regularly for one healthier version, not only would it taste as good, you would feel better physically too. Like use vegetables instead of pasta, or try the cauliflower pizza crust. Or the low carb pancakes. Make zucchini chips instead of Potato chips. These are all so good! And if I have a pizza fanatic who will eat cauliflower pizza and hasn’t ordered from the place on the corner in months, then it must be good.

One of those days…

It has already been “one of those days” and its only 9am. Woke up to Truett having peed through his diaper and fleece pjs, so I changed him and gave him a mini bath all before having any coffee. I hope his diaper isn’t on backwards now that I think about it. Brent was in a rush to get out the door so I went in the kitchen to make coffee. Yesterday I bought Starbucks Caramel coffee, and I have been looking forward to it since, because through the package it smells like someone took a little bit of heaven and packaged it. So I was cleaning out the coffee maker and went to throw away yesterday’s grounded and realized the trash was full and it’s trash day. So I set down the grounds, took the trash out and saw that the dogs water bowl was empty. Filled the dogs water bowl and went back to making coffee. A minute or two later there is brewed coffee and grounds all over the counter. Aaahhhhh! I never put the plastic piece that holds the filter back in. This is all because I haven’t had coffee yet. It takes forever to clean up wet coffee grounds. Finally got it clean, the whole time Hadley is telling me what a huge mess I’ve made. Thank you for telling me, I had no idea. I finally get the coffee remade and breakfast for the kids going. Truett dumped Fruit Loops all over the kitchen floor. Mox! Our lab is so good at cleaning up after the kids. If you have kids, you need a dog. Makes less work for you. All I can think of is that I need at least 2 or 3 cups of coffee and to get to the gym ASAP.

Did I tell you that Hadley woke up bawling about 3:45 this morning? I went in her room, finally got her calmed to the point of not waking up the entire cul-de-sac, and I said, “Whats the matter? Why are you so upset?” Still crying, she sobs, “I just want a sandwich!” WHAT?? I explain to her that its the middle of the night and I think she was having a dream, also that she had a sandwich for dinner. She drinks some water and lays back down, and I went back to bed. I should have known it was just going to get crazier from there.

I’m off to throw clothes on and head to the gym for a while, see if I can get out of this fog. It doesn’t help that it’s 25 degrees here and I just want to drink coffee and lay by the fireplace all day. It is also Brent’s long day, he isn’t usually home until after 10, but it is his last week for a month! I’m definitely ready for him to have a break, I know he is more than ready. Another cup of coffee and I’m out.

Holly looks pretty comfy in there today.

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Crockpot Chicken Tacos for a Cold Night!

Happy Monday! I know they usually aren’t happy, but we can try right? And just think- only two weeks until Christmas Eve!! That may be scary to some of you, but I am done shopping! All my presents are wrapped and under the tree. This is the first time that this has ever happened, so if I mention it a few more times, forgive me.

My weekend was great, busy, but nice. Friday we went to dinner at our favorite Mexican food place, grabbed a Starbucks Skinny Salted Caramel Macchiato, and drove the kids around looking at Christmas lights. Brent said at one point, “We are so blessed. I cannot think of a better way to spend my Friday night.” Let me tell you why this means so much to me. Not only because my husband would rather hang out with me and our two little ones on a Friday night when he could be doing anything else, but because I have many friends who don’t have what I have. I have plenty of friends who also have amazing husbands, but lets be honest, I’m biased. I so appreciate not only how he enjoys being with us, but that he tells us he enjoys it. Also, and I’m sure everyone can agree with me here, before we were married, the last thing we wanted to do on a Friday night was look at Christmas lights or be with a three and one year old. Now it’s all we want to do – most days. Saturday I went to the gym and did my cardio and then met a girlfriend for lunch with the kids. Brent and her husband were out hunting deer and pheasant, but didn’t bring anything home. They did have a good time and got to know each other better, so it was a successful trip for sure. Then the kids took their naps and I wrapped all the presents, and Brent came home. We played hard and had a yummy salad for dinner. Yesterday we went to church, and we go to LifeChurch. It is always amazing, but the music this week was exceptional and the series is on viewing God the way children do. It makes you remember all the amazing things you thought about God when you were little, how literally you took everything the bible says, and realizing we don’t think that way anymore, but should. All of the messages are online, here. We ran some errands, went to Starbucks again (we are addicts and we know it), and came home in time for a fantastic dinner, Crockpot Chicken Tacos. The kids got hot chocolate, and this was Truett’s first time to ever have it so he finished it all without taking the cup out of his mouth, as well as Hadley’s first time to get her own ‘real’ Starbucks cup. She thought she was hot stuff after that!

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I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Brandi. She made if for 4th of July last summer and we make it all the time now. I haven’t changed anything, except that I don’t eat mine in tortillas. I either use big leafy lettuce leaves to make tacos or I make it into taco soup! It is low calorie and low carb!

Ingredients:
4-5 chicken breasts
1 packet chicken taco seasoning
1 can green chiles
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 box chicken stock

Directions:
Put everything in the crockpot and turn it on high for 4-5 hours. Shred the chicken with forks right before serving and put it back in the crockpot. Seriously, it’s that easy.

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For toppings we had cheese, sour cream, salsa, and black beans. I put a few jalapeños on mine tonight too. I made it into soup for me, so I basically just added more broth to my bowl. Perfect meal for a cold wintery night! Plus everyone in my family loves it. I have a big Tupperware full of leftovers and will be eating on this all week.

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This week is a busy one. Monday and Wednesday Hadley has preschool, Brent has finals this week, Hadley has her school Christmas program, we have to go see Santa, and did I mention we are having a little get together on Saturday? So I’m also planning that. But I LOVE to plan a party, so that is no trouble.

Our elf tried to sneak in my cookie jar over the weekend too. Sneaky Holly!

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Rocking Baby Jesus

So my three year old is obsessed with our nativity. And I guess I should have figured she would be, because she is really getting into dolls and Barbie and such. But mostly, she says she just wants to rock baby Jesus. My heart totally melted when she told me that. And I would let her hold the one we have, but the other day she wanted to play with a tiny snow globe, and I told her not to set it down anywhere but on a high counter. She played with it for about 45 seconds and set it down on the coffee table where Truett picked it up and threw it on the tile. Have you ever cleaned up a broken snow globe? It’s super fun. Needless to say, I am hesitant to hand over the baby Jesus that I grew up with. My mom gave me the nativity this year, and it is my favorite Christmas decoration. The figures are all children, dressed in costume, like in a Christmas play. I remember every year it was on the mantle above our big brick fireplace. It has always been my favorite thing to have out, and now it’s at my house.

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But I do adore the fact that Hadley wants to rock baby Jesus. So we looked a few places this week for a ‘real’ plush baby Jesus or something like it, but couldn’t find any. I’ll keep looking, but for now she has wrapped up her baby Joey (which was also my doll growing up) in a blanket and keeps calling him Jesus.

Today marks 6 months ago that my grandmother passed away, and yesterday for whatever reason I was pretty emotional about it. Hadley still asks about her and just wants to go visit Heaven. If it were only that simple. I would have a lot less emotional baggage if I could go visit my Dad and Memaw once and a while. Can you imagine what Jesus’ birthday party is like every year in Heaven? That’s a party I would enjoy for sure.

Not trying to bring you down on a Friday! It’s Friday! My favorite day. Just knowing that When Brent comes home he is here for a couple of days is great. However tomorrow he is going hunting for the morning, and I have no idea what the kids and I will do yet. Santa is going to be down on Broadway in Edmond, so we may do that at some point.Later when Brent is home I’m going to go get some stocking stuffers for the kids. I would tell you what I got for Brent, (because this year i really did a good job on gifts and stocking stuff!) but on the off chance that he ever reads my blog, I don’t want him to find out!

Last night our elf got a wild hair and zip lined through the kitchen. I thought for sure Hadley would see her when she woke up, as we made sure Holly was right outside her door, but she came running in our room telling us she couldn’t find her anywhere. Which means she didn’t look for her at all. When she finally did see her she told me she wanted a turn on the zip line.

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I have recipes to post this weekend, from our menu the next two weeks. Crock Pot French Dips, Green Chile Duck Enchilada Soup, Fish Tacos, Pesto Veggies and Sausage, Venison Steaks, Pork Tenderloin with veggies, Crockpot Meatballs…. All kinds of good stuff!! Now that I am back at home I can get back to my two week menu planning.

I’m off to the gym!!

I did get the initial ornaments for our stockings yesterday. I’m pretty in love with them!

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Homemade Stockings and Kabobs for Dinner

Yesterday was a much better day and I got a lot accomplished. I found Brent’s christmas present and I have to go pick it up, but the problem will be hiding it. So I’m still working on that. He had class until 10, so I made the kids a frozen pizza for dinner and they devoured it. Those Totino’s party pizzas arent as bad as some of the others, and they are great when I need something easy. We played hard and the kids went to bed right on time.

So I whipped out my sewing machine with intentions to finish the stockings that I had started last year. A year ago, when I had a newborn, I thought I could easily make 4 matching stockings while learning how to be a stay at home mom. We see how well that worked out when they sat uncuffed for a year in the closet. So I bought a bunch of different ribbons and got to work making different cuffs for each of us. Lets just say it took me a few minutes to remember how to turn the machine on. Then getting the matching thread on the bobbin… I had to google it. Basically it took me almost an hour to get to the point I could actually sew a stitch onto these stinking stockings. By this time Brent was home, so much for him walking in to say, “Babe! They look great!” Instead he came in while I was cussing out my sewing machine, which I learned from google – is one of the simplest to use. Thanks for boosting my confidence google.

But I got them done! I even used more than one color of thread! Let me explain to you that this is the first sewing project I have ever completed alone, and without calling or using FaceTime with my mom or my friend Claire. Who’s awesome? This girl.

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I need to iron them, but im pretty proud of them! They are made of burlap, and then I used an old bedsheet in a tan color as the lining. I was going to stencil our names on them, but I found these super cute initial ornaments at hobby lobby, and I think I will use those instead. Ill post pictures after I pick them up.

Last night our elf was as tired as I was so she curled up in one of my cookie boxes with a cloth napkin. She must have had a long trip to the North Pole!

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For dinner tonight I’m making kabobs, a staple in our house. I remember this being my favorite meal growing up, and my dad used this yummy teryaki glaze and we ate them with Wild Grain rice. So good. However, I’ve lightened them up a bit.

Start with a steak you like, I usually use sirloin, and cut it into inch and a half cubes or so. Use whatever veggies you like, we use cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and zucchini. Sometimes I put pineapple chunks on there too. Cut the veggies to bite size pieces and skewer alternating meat and veggies. I drizzle a littlw EVOO on them and then sprinkle cavenders greek seasoning over everything and grill! Its so so good. I dont serve them with rice anymore either, I just eat as many veggies as I can!

Do you have a staple meal from your childhood that you have changed to be healthier for your family?

Are you working on any projects this holiday season?

How many more days until Friday?

The main reason I’m so glad it’s Tuesday is because… It isn’t Monday anymore! Yesterday was a day I wouldn’t like to do over. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great.

I got Hadley to preschool on time with a lunch packed and even remembered her bag with her folder in it. Gold star for me! Then I headed to the gym for a much needed work out and did an hour on the elliptical – 6 miles and over 600 calories burned. I headed down to the weight room for about 45 minutes and really pushed myself today. I did circuits with machines, weights, and calisthenics. I was sweating and shaking, it felt so good! I was in a great mood, so I grabbed Truett from the childcare at the gym and headed home for lunch. He fell asleep on the way, woke up when we got home and refused to go back to sleep. Awesome. We ate and played some, and after a quick shower we loaded back up to go pick Hadley up at 2:30. I needed to grab a couple of things at the store as well as pick up our Christmas cards which were ready, so I asked her if she had eaten her lunch at school, to which she answered yes. Then she asked me for the grapes in her lunchbox. Not the best at thinking before she speaks, so I unzipped it to get them, and she hadn’t even eaten her sandwich! She loves going to Walmart because she and Truett get to split a cookie if they both ate their lunch. So I told her she couldn’t have a cookie today, and she said she wanted to eat her grapes and her sandwich on the way so she could have one. Sounded like a deal so I passed her food back to her and drove on to the store. We were almost there and she said, “Mom, I finished my lunch!” I praised her and told her she could now share a cookie with Truett. We did a quick trip through the store, got them their cookie, and paid. When we got to the car, I looked on the floorboard to see Hadley’s peanut butter sandwich torn up. I was so upset! Not only did she not eat it, she lied about it!! I got them in their seats and unloaded the bags, got in and shut the door, all the while trying to figure out how to explain what a lie is and why you shouldn’t do it. I told her it made me so upset and sad, and that if she had just told me she was full, she might have gotten the cookie anyway. But now as her consequence, she would get no treats or candy for a few days, and I was going to make her tell Brent what she did.

We got home and I was pretty mad, Truett was exhausted because he never did take a nap and wouldn’t lay down, I still needed to do the dishes and get dinner going, and I was so overwhelmed I wanted to cry! Brent went back to work today, so it was really my first official day back to ‘stay-at-home-mom’. 2 months isn’t that long to be out of sync, but man, I couldn’t get it together today. Brent called and offered to pick up dinner and I told him just to come home and let me go get it, as I needed a few minutes alone. So I ran to one of our favorite places and got the food, brought it back and fed the kids and then we cleaned up the playroom. I had the black bean veggie burger and a side salad, it was so yummy. Then it was bath time and an early bedtime for both of them. They were in bed by 8 and I loved it.

So I grabbed our stockings that I needed to finish and started working on those. I realize I need to sew a few ribbons on so I’m going to try and work on that tomorrow night. Then I grabbed the Christmas cards and got all of those addressed and envelopes stuffed, ready to mail. Go me!

Then the tree fell over.

It’s like the perfect ending to the day. Ornaments shattering, the ribbon fell off, lights everywhere, water everywhere… I almost cried – again. Brent came running into the living room and we spent almost an hour trying to get the tree straight again and clean up the disaster area. Did I mention our vacuum is broken? The pine needles stabbed my arm so much while I was holding it up I look like I have a rash of some sort and it hurts. We literally picked broken ornaments and pine needles out of the carpet by hand so they wouldn’t hurt the kids feet this morning. Needless to say, I was so happy to go to bed and get the day over with, until I realized that I didn’t move Holly, the elf. So I grabbed her and put her in the playroom reading on the bookshelf. The last few days haven’t been super creative, so I apologize for that, but I’m lucky I even remember. Tonight’s will be super cute though.

What’s on for today? Another good workout, doing some Christmas shopping for Brent, and maybe a craft with Hadley if I haven’t lost my mind by the afternoon. It is Brent’s long day today, work and then class until 10:30. Ugh. Is it Friday??

How would you handle your 3 year old lying for the first time?

Have you ever had to decorate your tree twice in one year? Or had any other Christmas disasters?