Monday, December 31, 2012

And then life happens...

...we make plans. And then life happens. I've been reminded that a lot these last two weeks. I had some very ambitious plans to get the blog up to speed and pictures to post and it hasn't happened. And that is ok. It has to be.

Life has been crazy, busy, and full of sick children. Both of our kids have been sick these last two weeks. The other night I was texting with my dear friends Evan and Erin and I said something along the lines of 'guess what the latest is?!?!?' and Evan responded with, 'I'm afraid to ask!' Ha. It's just been that kind of week. Avi-Kate had a fever for days and we discovered that she had an ear infection. Then she got the stomach virus on top of that. AG has had a bad cold for a week that has now developed in to croup. On top of that he also has an ear infection. I've left the house twice since Wednesday of last week. Both times were to go take my sick children to the pediatrician. So, we make plans and have goals but life sometimes trumps our plans. And that's ok. It has to be...that's all there is to it.

My hope is that later in the week we can get things up to speed and start the new year off right with some posts on plans for the year, reflections from this year, organization, etc. I'm making no promises because inevitably when I do that life happens and I disappear for weeks on end. :)

Happy New Year. Hope you are all well and looking forward to what this next year has in store. Onward and upward. Here we go.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick update...we're alive!

Well, my hope is to do a back log of posts from the last few days. Things have been a little crazy. Avi-Kate started feeling bad this weekend and started running a low grade fever Sunday night that we could keep under control with medicine. (Thinking it was viral since she wasn't exhibiting any other symptoms.)  Yesterday, I took her to the doctor to find out she's got a horrible ear infection in one ear. Poor thing hasn't touched her toys that she got for Christmas and she only wants Andy or I to hold her. She's starting to feel a little better and I'm hoping to get caught up by this weekend. We'll see. :)

So, we're alive. We had a great Christmas despite having a sick baby. Can't wait to post pictures of what we've been up to these last two weeks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let's ramble on some more...


The last few days have been quite busy and at times chaotic. I sat down and was about type 'I'm so glad tomorrow is Thursday because I'm ready for the weekend.' I then looked at the top right of our computer and realized that today is Tuesday and tomorrow is Wednesday. That should tell you how frazzled I've been the last few days.

Our students finished up exams and headed home over the weekend. Two of our former students also got married over the weekend. AG was the ring bearer in the wedding on Sunday and did great! My sister was in the wedding and my parents were invited so we had a house full of family for half the weekend. It also rained for almost 24 hours straight which made things interesting on the day of the wedding. It's just been non-stop.

Last night I meant to make my gameplan for the week along with my cooking/baking plans for Christmas. Plus, my master grocery list. Yep, it didn't happen I ended up with a migraine and fell asleep on the couch around ten o'clock...for those of you that know me you know that's quite rare since I'm such a night owl. Thankfully, I was able to tackle most of it this afternoon. I just need to figure out coupons this evening before bed. I also need to wrap a few more presents. I spent the bulk of Friday morning wrapping like a mad woman while AG was in school. So all that I have left to wrap is the last few presents as they arrive. (Most of which are presents that other people have ordered and shipped here for next week.) My planner has come in quite handy and I can see myself making another one to use again next year.

New Years plans...well, we were awarded tickets to the UGA bowl game which happens to be in Orlando this year. So, we are planning to go for a short two night stay. We figured we'd try and go since we have our annual passes and wouldn't have to pay to get in to the parks. We'll leave early Sunday so that we can spend that evening in one of the parks. Right now I'm thinking Hollywood Studios so that we can see all the Christmas lights. (That my dear friend, Evan, loves so much.) Andy will have to work remote on New Years Eve from our hotel room and I have yet to decide what I want to do. I may head to a park for the morning with my camera to take pictures...I'm really not sure. There are several possibilities swirling around in my head. That evening we'll head to Disney to see fireworks and take in the parks on one of the busiest nights of the year. We'll get up the next day and head to the bowl game before heading home. And I won't be sad about such a short trip because we actually will return nine days later for our 1/2 Marathon Weekend! That weekend we are flying and will be staying on property for the race. We come home from the race and then it's time for AG's fourth birthday party! I can't believe it. In some ways it seems like yesterday that he was born and then in other moments it seems forever ago. We can't wait to celebrate this next milestone with him.

I feel like there are so many things I should write about right now but I just can't. Maybe later this week. Sorry for posting several rambling posts in a row. I promise things will get back to normal...whatever that the near future. :) Hope everyone is having a less chaotic week than us. What are your Christmas plans? New Years?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Twelve for 12-12-12...

I'm sure that someone else has already thought of this idea BUT I figured I'd do it anyway to commemorate the day since this is the last one we'll see in our lifetime. Here we go...

1- One White Christmas so far in my lifetime. Actually, when we had snow on Christmas Day two years ago it was the first snow on Christmas Georgia had seen in over a 100 years. I'd love some snow this year at any point since we didn't get a single flake last year! Earlier this week it was 70 degrees as Andy put lights on the house in a t-shirt and shorts. Thankfully, it's feeling more like Christmas now that a cold front is moving it's way across the state. Hopefully, it stays this way we really need a cold winter. We had issues this last year with several things because our winter was so mild. Anyways, hoping for snow at some point and watching White Christmas as I dream of a snowy Christmas.

2- Two weeks from yesterday...Christmas is less than two weeks away! So much to do in these next two weeks and I'm sure they are going to fly by.

3- Every single night this week AG has asked if we can light three candles for Advent. And every night we tell him that on Sunday we'll light the third candle. He says we need to light three candles since he's three. Hmmmm... :)

4- Next month AG will be four!?! I can't believe how grown up he is these days. I've got to start working on his birthday plans. We have a general idea on what we are doing but I need to get all the details worked out and soon!

5- Tonight my ladies group at church is having a $5 gift exchange...shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone but my gift was $6 instead of $5.

6- Yesterday I stashed 6 meals in the freezer...2 Turkey Noodle Soup bases just add noodles, 3 Chicken  and Rice Soups, and 1 bag of cooked, diced chicken breasts.

7-The number of miles I ran last night. Longest distance I've gone to date and over halfway to my goal of running a half marathon! I'm happy to be finding my rhythm because my first 1/2 will be one month from today. Andy and I are both running the Disney World Half in January. My goal is to finish and see what my time looks like then I'll set a timed goal for the Princess Half that I'm running at the end of February.

8- The number of items that I currently need to return between Old Navy and Target. The problem is that neither of these stores are actually in Rome and so in order to do said returns I'm going to have to plan special trips to both places and they both aren't in the same area unless I go south towards ATL...however, I don't see myself headed to Kennesaw before the holidays are over because of how crazy it is down there. We'll see what I end up doing. Target is in Cartersville and Old Navy has an outlet in Calhoun. Decisions, decisions.

9- The number of presents that currently need to be wrapped...this does not include the next wave of boxes that are due to arrive the rest of this week! Thank heavens for online shopping. I think 90% of my shopping this year was done online.

10- The number of toes that need a polish change. Actually, I really just need a good pedicure because it has been awhile. Guess I should put this on my list of things to do. Ha.

11- The number of Jesse Tree ornaments currently on our tree. This evening we'll add number 12. We've been alternating who gets to put the ornament on the tree...AG takes the odd days and Avi-Kate has the even days.

12- The 12 Days of Christmas and 'Piggy Pudding' are currently AG's favorite Christmas songs. He loves the Muppets and we bought him a used Muppet Christmas cd off of Amazon for $3 a few weeks ago. Piggy Pudding is actually We Wish You a Merry Christmas. In the song Gonzo starts singing about figgy pudding and Miss Piggy thinks he is saying 'Piggy Pudding'. Gonzo then explains that it's figgy pudding and it's made with figs...then under his breath he says 'and bacon!'. AG thinks that it's hysterical and he cracks up every single time. We listen to it every morning and afternoon on our way to/from Berry.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Update on life...

Whew. What a week and a weekend. We've been going non-stop and I'm thankful that the next few days look to be much more low key. I appreciate being busy and having lots to do but I also relish a few days at home with nothing to do but get caught up on domestic type items.

As is generally the case when things get wild my housekeeping tends to there will be some serious time this week spend reorganizing/cleaning this week in preparation for Christmas. Speaking of, I can't believe that Christmas Eve is two weeks from today?! This month is flying by. I am, for the first time, WAY ahead on my shopping. Actually, we have one gift left to buy and that's it. An odd feeling but I'm grateful to be this ahead of the game because I know that the last few days leading in to Christmas will be crazy with us hosting the Edwards family. I'm wrapping as things arrive and Santa magically keeps stashing his gifts in the attic. :) AG keeps asking if we can open the presents under the tree. Each day he inspects the tree and he can tell you if new presents have appeared.

Avi-Kate turned 18 months last week...I can't believe that she's a year and a half old. She's getting to be more and more like a big girl with each day that passes. Speaking of she was 26lbs 1.6oz, 31.5" tall, and her head circumference continues to be in the 100+ percentile. (Like she's not even on the's an Edwards trait. Ha. I just chuckle.) She has 8 teeth in the front and her first set of molars have appeared in the last three weeks or so bringing her grand total of teeth to 12. Our pediatrician continues to be pleased at how well she is growing and developing. Her personality is really starting to blossom and develop. She's into everything and has an opinion about most things. She's quite the sassy little thing but at the same time she's so sweet. We are really enjoying this season of life that both of the kids are at. We are soaking in every single minute. Looking ahead we'll work to drop her use of her paci once all her teeth are in. Which is what we did with AG at that age...makes teething much more sane for all involved this way. I'm hoping we can drop it this summer some time...we'll see. She's getting to be so big. :)

AG is doing great in school. He loves going to school and we are so pleased with how he's doing. On Saturday he was insistent that he needed to go to school so that he could play with his buddies. We'll see how Christmas break goes. I'm sure at the end of the break he'll be itching to go back. Next week his class is having pj/Polar Express day and then the next day they'll have their Christmas party. They've got a tree set up in the classroom and it is full of ornaments that the kids have made. I can't wait to see what all he brings home. Some of my favorite ornaments from my childhood are the ones that I made when I was AG's age.

Andy is busy, busy with work. He's in crunch mode now that tax season is upon him and working all sorts of hours to get his clients set up for the season. He's been working from home half the week and going in to the office for the other half. It's nice having home. Like this afternoon, it was pouring down rain and I didn't have to hassle with getting Avi-Kate out in it to run get AG from school. Andy put her down for her nap after lunch and then went back to work. Although I will say that sometimes it's harder for me to do housework in our bedroom which doubles as his office when he works remote. I try and steer clear of our room when he's working. Then on the days that he works at the office I do a mad dash to get everything I need to do done. One day I'll have a spotless house all the time, right?! :)

As for me...I've been busy prepping stuff for Christmas here, hosting/overseeing the church Christmas party in our building on Broad Street, chauffeuring children around town, buying and wrapping presents, and trying to regain control of the house after the chaos of last week. I should have gone on a long run yesterday afternoon and instead I found myself reorganizing and cleaning my out of control house. Day by day, right? At the moment I keep eyeing the mountain of laundry I need to tackle on the sofa. It never ends does it? That's okay. I'm grateful for a mountain of clean laundry to fold and the ability to be able to do it even if it is my least favorite chore. It's all about perspective.

Sorry for the rambly type brain is kind of on overload at the moment. I'm sure there is more I should have said in this post and I'm sure it could have been more cohesive but that's ok. Picture post next...I'll be back again soon. Till then hope everyone is having a nice start to their week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ginger Elves and Jingle Bells.

The last week has been busy as we cut down our Christmas tree and started decorating the house. The kids are eager to help with every task and it's been sweet to watch their enthusiasm for every thing we've done. AG is brimming with questions every single day..."Are there toys in the stockings?" "Is tomorrow Christmas?""Can I put the ornaments on the tree?" "Daddy, we need to put lights on the house!" "Can we make Santa some cookies?" "Can we watch a Christmas movie all together?" Etc. Avi-Kate is quite taken with all the lights and sounds. She's grown so much this last year...last Christmas she was six months old and learning to sit up and this year she is into everything! :)

Bernard the Elf has been making himself at home here at the house. AG loves to talk to him and find him each morning. Avi-Kate loves to find him and squeal/point when she spots him. AG's class at school also has an Elf named Doc and AG has informed us that Bernard and Doc are BFF. I'm glad we've made this part of our Christmas traditions with the kids. 

I'm about done with the Christmas decorations and need to take some pictures so that I can post a tour of the house. Andy worked hard this weekend to haul/move the leaves in the yard to the street. The backyard is finished and the trees in the backyard have all dropped their leaves so he won't have much left to do in the back. The front yard is another story, he'll probably still have to clear the front yard again because our huge oak still has half of it's leaves. With that said he's hoping to get the lights on the house in the next few days. I have lots to do this week around the house and I need to finish my shopping. Thankfully, I've got the bulk of it finished and can start wrapping presents when I'm ready. So we are busy, busy around the house and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I love this time of year and all that it brings. 

And now for a peek of what the elves have been up to...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Planner 2012

So, I'll just go ahead and admit that I meant for this post to be posted two weeks ago and it didn't happen. The photos were taken and ready to go and then life became wild aka everyone got sick and things were thrown by the wayside. Today I'm attempting to get things up to speed and of course Google/Blogger decided to throw me a curve ball that I am out of space to post pictures. Thankfully, Andy is working from home today and my mini-crisis (to me) has been averted. Here we go...

Planners. Oh, how I love them. I think it's the teacher in me that just has an infinity for planners/organizers. For the last few years I have wanted to make a holiday planner but the time got away from me and I never was able to get my act together. I then would promise myself that I would get one together next year. Anyways, this year the stars aligned and I got one together. I'm actually quite pleased with how it turned out. Originally, I was planning to make a notebook like I have for our vacations but I decided that I really wanted something that I could pull out next year to reference. (And the thought of storing lots of binders over the years seemed silly. When we finish a vacation all of my planning pages are pulled out, clipped together, and placed in a folder in case I need to pull something from them for a future when planning Disney trips things get pulled/referenced. All this to say that our vacation pages don't stay in the binder.) So, I wanted something that was more like a scrapbook that I could pull out to see what we did this year, I wanted something that was compact and easily stored, and I wanted something that was functional/easily used. I settled on making a brown paper bag notebook like I use to use in my classroom when I was a teacher. These notebooks are great because you can make them for nothing and they are quite versatile. I will say that years ago brown paper bags were bigger and a standard size piece of notebook paper fit inside perfectly. I ended up having to trim my papers to fit the space but that wasn't a huge deal since I used my paper cutter to make quick work of it. Here's a quick tour and if anyone has interest in me doing a post on how to make the actual notebook step by step let me know. :)

For the cover I settled on this piece of scrapbook paper with red birds on it. My grandmother loved red birds and I have collected lots of red bird ornaments over the years. Since I'm using it daily I am using simple rings that open/close to hold everything together. At the end of the holidays I'll change them out for some ribbon or twine. I'll also switch out the binder clip for a bit of velcro.

Due to the way the notebook is constructed you naturally end up with two pockets on either side to store items in. When I was a teacher we would make these for different units and the pockets came in handy for storing flashcards, games, manipulatives, etc. The pocket on the left has different odds and ends. Information from our trip to the Pink Pig. ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas schedule. Etc.
I love that it lays flat when it is open. The space on the left now holds sticky note reminders. And I then took some scrapbook paper and left over brown bag pieces to make some tabbed dividers. My notebook this year has the following sections: Advent and Jesse Tree, Advent Sundays, Christmas Card, Decorating (Inside and Out), Gifts, Shopping (Food), Baking, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Activities and Traditions, To Do List, and a blank one in case I think of something else I need to keep track of at the last minute. :)

I came across this Martha Stewart Checklist on Dawn's Blog and printed it off and then clipped it in to my notebook so that I could reference it as need be. 
The back pocket houses coupons and all of my receipts. As we buy stuff I just stash it back here in case we need it later for whatever reason.  
And here is my brainstorming that I started a few weeks ago for AG's gifts. Avi-Kate's is now listed below it. Our children receive three gifts from us because Jesus received three gifts. One of the kids gifts this year are books. Each child will have a present under the tree and inside it will be three new books. (Running with the whole three theme.) In addition to their three gifts, they also receive Santa presents or as Andy likes to say gifts from 'SC'. In general SC gifts are for them to share, however, this year we are giving them things that are identical or that relate to each other. AG wants a pillow pet and they'll fight over it if we don't give Avi-Kate one too. So, I found a deal on the Disney Store website  a few weeks ago and got them matching ones. AG wants a monorail and Avi-Kate wants a castle so they'll get those. You get the idea. Stockings usually hold little items and a movie or two for the family to enjoy together. Since I've taken this picture we finally settled on what all we are buying and I've mapped it out in the notebook. Complete with check marks next to the items once we've purchased them. 

Last night I did some work in my planner trying to map out different activities to do with AG and Avi-Kate each day between now and Christmas. Each day I post what we are going to do on one of the chalkboards in the kitchen. I'll post my list once I get it finished...if you want some inspiration check out Dawn's past posts on Advent fun here and here

What things do you like to use to help you stay organized during this busy time of the year? I'm off to prep lunch, switch out the laundry, and create a grocery list but I'll be back again soon with more posts from the last two weeks. Happy Monday.