Monday, January 14, 2019

Christmas 2018

Suffice it to say, I'm not actually a blogger. But that's cool. I do other cool things . . . like mom pretty hard, occasionally do real work, hang out with my friends . . . just stuff. And then a new year comes, and I wish I had documented all the memories . . . the day to day randomness that I'll soon forget, holidays, milestones, thoughts . . . because life is zipping on by, and I don't want to forget a thing. 

So here is my Christmas recap . . . I especially love to look back on these and see what the kids were into and just how little they look. 

December was a weird month around here . . . I worked way more than usual and that threw off my holiday spirit. Luckily I had the house decorated and most of my presents purchased by December 1st . . . thank goodness I was on it this year.  

I do need to give a shout out to my fellows this year on the Christmas cards . . . they were all so helpful. I printed the address labels and affixed them to the cards. Getzy stuffed the cards. Ryan put on the return address labels and stamps. Kyle did the worst job of all . . . sealing about 150 envelopes. I taught him the wet paper towel trick, and he rocked it out. Man, I swear Christmas cards are the worst job of the season.

Funny story about this year's card. I had them printed and shipped here before Thanksgiving and was so proud of how on the ball I was. I show them to the kids and Amanda kinda freaked out. It looked like she has a runny mascara incident although I swear it was a shadow from Luna the cat she was holding, and I did NOT notice it when making the cards. 

Well obviously she wanted me to make new cards and not send these. I let her know that it's not a big deal, life isn't just about her and I didn't want to spend money on new cards. She stews, and I don't do anything. She finally comes to me in a couple of days and says that she's sorry, go ahead and send the cards. Guess what I did? Ordered new ones. All I ever want is for my kids to be gracious and kind and realize the world doesn't actually revolve around them. Proud mama moment. So viola, please enjoy our 2018 card!
Note: Getzy's real name has been removed . . . protecting the innocent. LOL!
I finished my all consuming work project on December 23rd, and then Amanda promptly reminded me that it was time to wrap presents. Ugh. Here's where she gets her shout out. I boxed up the gifts, and she wrapped every gift for her brothers and her dad. She saved me HOURS. I was just so grateful and kept telling her how much I appreciated her help.

If you don't already know, teenagers are awesome . . . mine at least. I seriously (knock on wood) don't get what all the teenage fuss and angst is about . . . I totally dig mine and love the connections I have with each of them. Are they perfect? Not by a freaking long shot. But they are each cool and amazing in their own way, and I couldn't be more excited to see what their future holds.

I was all off on my sleep schedule so I was up at 6:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve, showered and drinking my coffee in Kohl's by 7:45 a.m. After boxing and wrapping all the previous evening, I realized I needed a couple stocking stuffers and maybe a filler gift or two. I left Kohl's and mosied around Wal-Mart and found some good stuff there too! I love a good Wal-Mart run.

We always go to church Christmas Eve . . . so we went to the earliest service so we could get home and start cooking. Our family tradition is to have prime rib at Christmas . . . that was always what Getzy's family did growing up. We had friends over for dinner, which is always a lovely time.

Amanda was ready for everyone to leave so she could get to opening her Christmas Eve presents. LOL. I just love these bags I found on Etsy last year to hold the Christmas Eve goodies. Here are the before pictures . . .
And the after pictures . . .
I should probably mention things are easier around here on Christmas Eve with all teenagers too. No waiting until little ones are asleep to creep around and put out the gifts. No cookies or reindeer food or reading of The Night Before Christmas. And yes, that is sad . . . but it's also okay because time marches on. 

Around 9 p.m. I told the boys to get off their computers and out of the basement because Ms. Claus had work to do. All the kids cozied up on the main floor to watch reruns of The Office while I got busy. 

I don't put out a single gift until the night before Christmas. I like the pizzazz of them seeing it all at once, and I like everything wrapped . . . but I say to each his own because I think everyone has cool traditions for their own family. Also, I fully admit I go way overboard for Christmas. It's my thing. It brings me joy. I can't be stopped . . . Getzy has tried. As I like to say, it is what it is. So here is a what Christmas morning looked like for my family . . .
Amanda insists that Christmas happens in the basement. I only put one tree down there during the holidays. The upstairs, which I have nary a picture of, is a magical wonderland of Christmas cheer. There were 7 full size trees on the main floor, my Dept 56 Christmas village every where (given to me by my mama) and lots of other holiday trinkets. It brings me so much joy to see the house all lit up at the holidays. I want folks to come over, be warm and cozy and feel the magic of it all.

This year I added the giant "Santa sacks" to the Christmas fun. I found them at TJ Maxx & Marshall's. Another funny story . . . I took the sacks to the local embroidery shop and asked the owner which font and color she thought would go well for the personalization. We were working on Ryan's bag first, and she asks me, "How old is your son?" I giggled and then said 17. For some reason it totally cracked me up. I told her I'm trying to make Christmas so special they will always want to come home to their mama.
We each take turns opening gifts . . . makes it last longer. I go through painstaking efforts to make sure my kids all have the same number of gifts to open, which basically means I buy all the things I think they want or need and then creatively package them together until I get the same number for each. 

Since Zeus was front and center on the action, Luna the cat stayed behind the scenes. He loves to get in his stocking and find the goodies. He got to go first this year.  But seriously, would you just look at that face?
We use the tradition of whoever finds the pickle ornament gets to open the first present. Kyle is so chill and could care less.  Amanda and Ryan compete, but Ryan will persist when she quits because I've hidden it so good! Ha! So basically every year Ryan opens the first present.

I insist on taking a picture of each kid with their Christmas haul each year. I actually hadn't thought about it until someone dibs on being first to get the picture so they could get on with their life. 
Here is little Luna . . . Amanda sure does love her kitten.

I got the AirPods I requested along with some other fun stuff . . . most notable were my socks with Zeus' face on them! Getzy got all kinds of goodies. His admitted favorite was his new electric toothbrush . . . I mean, he does have excellent oral hygiene.

After all the presents were opened, I made the annual Monkey Bread breakfast (as requested by Ryan) and promptly plopped down on the couch to watch Hallmark movies. I used to pride myself on having never watched one but right after Thanksgiving I tuned in while decorating trees and was hooked. Hooked I tell you. I know . . . they are all the same, but they made me so happy because they were just so wholesome. We need a little more wholesome in this world.
The next morning was go time again because I had to drop off some stuff at work in Buckhead, get Zeus to the dog sitter and get back in time to meet family who were scheduled to start arriving around noon.  First was was my niece Jackie. Then mama rolled in later in the afternoon. The next morning my other niece Tori, her fiance and baby JJ arrived, and finally I picked up my brother and his wife from the airport. 

My heart was happy . . . it's been a long time since everyone has been to my house for Christmas. We were missing my nephew for sure, but he had to work. Womp. Womp.

It was a chill visit for sure, which is the best kind really. 

We opened presents . . . Granny loves her the red Christmas truck that is so popular these days. 
We puzzled, some more than others . . .
We ate a lot . . .
We did a little shopping, ate some more, watched movies, napped . . .
chatted and snacked. 

My niece "won" a turkey at her office . . . what 23 year old doesn't want their very own giant frozen turkey? I can remember getting one at a place I worked in college . . . perhaps it's a rite of passage for early jobs in life?
Any way, she named the turkey Jeff, and he traveled all the way from Virginia with her. Jeff was the inspiration for my dinner themes. Since we don't often celebrate holidays together because we all live so far from each other, I decided we'd do Thanksgiving, Easter and a good old fashioned Italian Christmas . . . since we have zero Italian in us. But you know what I did have? A two pack of lasagna from Costco and the other meals wore me out.  For the last night, we took everyone to our favorite Mexican restaurant. And done.

We were busy just being together so we really didn't take many pictures, except this amazing "first take on a camera phone propped on the couch on a photo timer" one!
Wanna know the very best part of my whole time with family?  THIS little nugget . . . my great nephew JJ!! All the heart eyes.
He is just the best baby ever . . . so sweet and almost always happy. Would you just look at him??? I swear he is so smiley . . . he's just not sure about this whole posing for the camera thing.

I cried like a baby (pun intended) when he left. I won't see him again for several months, and he will change and grow so much in that time. Hurts my heart. I was so sad that everyone in my family felt sorry for me and helped me undecorate for Christmas is record time. They just got to work and knocked it out, my boys included. (Amanda was down for the count on the couch with an ear infection . . . poor baby). I'm sure they still don't know how grateful I am to each of them . . . I was tired by New Year's from the whirlwind that was December. 

Well, there you have it . . . Christmas 2018 in the books. I can't say I'm sorry to see 2018 go . . . I'm ready for an amazing 2019! I plan to be around here more often . . . but we all know how that goes.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What's New with You Link-Up

Hey! Hi! Hello! Where have you been? Oh wait . . . 

Life is good over here in our little corner of the world. I skipped out on the blog again for no good reason. I'd promise to do better, but we all know how that goes. Winky face! Anyway . . . my most dedicated fan deserves a shout out . . . Hi Mom! Miss you! I know she will be surprised to see this so that makes it worth it!
Let's start small with the most recent life event . . . the kids went back to school this week! How can it be that the summer has already come and gone? How is it that this baffles me every year? How ironic is it that we say summer is "over" and the temps are still in the 90's? So many deep questions over here . . . ha! 

It both breaks my mama heart to see them go and makes my "OCD need for a schedule" heart sing. Things are way too loosey goosey around here so it's time to settle back in to a routine.

I feel like it's worth noting that it was raining pretty hard on the first morning of school and none of us could ever remember that happening in the past. Did that change my need to take an outdoor picture? Nope!
So this picture made me realize that Kyle grew like a weed over the summer and is basically now 6 feet tall like his brother. I'm not too sure Ryan likes that he has caught up . . . LOL!

Ryan is starting his Junior year, and Kyle is starting his Sophomore year! Ryan is the morning driver again, which I must say is fabulous. He is running cross country after school this fall so I will pick Kyle up until fall lacrosse starts. It's kind of lovely to have one on one time with a kid in the car so I'll take it!
Miss Amanda will be in 8th grade this year, and she is super happy about her schedule . . . both her teachers and friend ratio per class. I'm just glad that each kid has a friend to sit with during lunch . . . that's the scariest part if you ask me!

The first day of school for me equals brunch and mimosas at my friend Shelly's house. Since it was a rainy day, I had to use a color filter for this picture because otherwise it just looked orange . . . just know we are cute either way. And I adore these mamas . . . they are the best. I wish I had more photos from the day, but this was it. 
Shelly has been graciously hosting this event for years, and every year I bring the same dish to share . . . breakfast cheesecake. Yes, it's as delicious as it sounds. I also notice that the homemade items all get eaten long before any store bought treats. So the lesson here is to take the time to make a dish to share with friends . . . it's so much more special . . . and tasty.

I'm happy to report that all the kids had a great first day. They were exhausted for sure, but I feel like we are going to have a fabulous year. I pray that every student has an amazingly safe, fun and productive school year too. 

Linking up with Kristen because she's adorbs!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day . . . with a side of extra

One of my goals in life is to have my children grow up and realize their mom was a freak . . . about holidays. I just love decorating the house with little touches of the season. I think it makes it feel more cozy and inviting.
How about this for a warm welcome when you come into my house? Probably should have turned the lamp on for added effect but let's face it, I'm not a home blogger or a photographer.
Can I just tell you that finding Valentine's decorations is not that easy. I was on a mission to find cute stuff and went to all the typical haunts but was underwhelmed. I do love a banner for the mantle these days since I don't have much room for tchotchkes.
My favorite place to add things is on the shelves in the family room . . . so many little spots to fill with cute stuff.
And the other side . . . would you just look at my sweet Abby in that picture . . . I miss her so.
And a few more random things . . . I can't put candy in this candy dish because Zeus would get a belly ache from eating it all.
I got this little vase at the Dollar Store . . . what a score (said no one ever except me)!
But the piece de resistance to my Valentine's Day decor is this adorable pillow. I mean I just thought it was the cutest with the conversation hearts. But wait . . . when I went to take the tags off it, I realized I had missed something amazing!
Shut up! The other side lights up. Can you even stand it? I mean that is just the tackiest most fabulous thing ever. EVER. 
Here's the candy corner that has been on my counter for a few weeks . . . and I'm proud to say I've only had one peppermint patty the entire time. I'm trying to cook healthy and buy organic, but kids love a treat. My kids have left most of it alone except for a nibble here and there. My hope is that they don't become indulgent adults because they were denied yummy things when they were growing up . . . so far, so good.
And speaking of indulging kids, Zeus and I made an early morning Chick-Fil-A run before the kids got up to surprise them with 30 count nugget trays. The boys tackled one before school and Amanda wants to take hers to share with friends at school . . . I thought that was sweet. In fact, she's the one that told me about the heart shaped nugget trays. Pretty genius of CFA if you ask me.
So there you have it . . . I wish you all the hearts and flowers and warm and fuzzies today . . . hug someone you love.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Who is this fancy little lady? And other weekend topics . . .

Well she's my sweet little girl . . . how is it even possible that my BABY is wearing makeup and heels?
For all you mamas of young ones out there, take heed . . . you're going to long for the days when they were little and always underfoot. Now really all I see is the back of her cute little head as she's off to hang out with her friends. Kind of like this . . . 
So Friday was the Snow Ball for the middle school. Usually they call it the Winter Ball, but with a Stranger Things theme, Snow Ball it was. And no, I didn't get it either until I asked the kids.
Amanda and I had fun getting a manicure and pedicure on Thursday . . . the ladies at the salon are just so sweet to her. And she loves to wear her brother's high school cross country sweatshirt . . . kinda cracks me up.
On Friday, I picked her up early from school so she could come home and get her makeup done before heading to her hair appointment. She went to see my friend Renee who has done my hair for like 15 years . . . I love her long time. And wow, Renee did an amazing job. Amanda has a LOT of hair. 
She keep trying to feel her curls, and we kept telling her to stop touching them or they would fall out sooner. Guess you had to be there, but it was pretty funny. And a couple more pictures because can you really ever have too many of your kids? Nah.
I also have to give all the praise hands for Amanda's group of middle school friends. So far, and knock on wood, they are so fun and supportive and just love each others company. 
There's a group of five that call themselves the "Gringos" and they love to be together. Would you just look at them? I adore each and every one of them . . . they are just the sweetest and most amazing group of girls. And most of the time they crack me up.
There are definitely some other fabulous girls that they spend time with . . . aren't they just so pretty all fancy for the dance?

I feel super blessed that I got to be the mom to drive them to the dance and pick them up. It's fun to be a "fly in the driver's seat" and listen to them tell their stories. And it's also fun to be nosey and sneak into the dance to see the decorations, food options and all the kids dressed in their finery.

The Gringos love them a late night Target run . . . which is made even better in fancy clothes. They thought they were pretty hysterical . . . or maybe that was me. This was right before a $51 Taco Bell run for them and my boys. Eye roll.
Not only do these cute little ladies love Target, they are super basic and think Starbucks is like the mother land. We try to get their once a week before school because it's super cool to walk into homeroom with a Starbucks cup. Obviously.
In other weekend news, we celebrated my Kyle turning 15 recently. He's such an easy going kid . . . sometime too easy going. Sure, I'll force a smile for you mom. I'm thrilled on the inside. Promise.
Since he didn't ask for anything for his birthday, I had to get creative. "Alexa, can you set 42 alarms to wake Kyle up for school?" Perhaps a self-serving gift . . . sorry, not sorry.
Of course he got the chance to blow out some candles . . . and hear us slay the birthday song! Since we had Steak & Shake for dinner (his choice), no one ate any cake.  Good thing I got a small one.
On Sunday, my Cadette Girl Scouts took a field trip to the local Merle Norman store. Y'all, the owner and the sweet lady who helped me set up the meeting were amazing. Like just over the top fabulous with the girls. 
They talked about skin care, let the girls do their makeup, gave them tips and tricks for applying make up, had cookies and bottled water for them and sent them away with the cutest makeup bag filled with goodies.
They took almost two hours to work with the girls and not a single girl seemed to get bored. I remember my mother taking me for a make over and color consult to a Merle Norman when I was about their age so it was a very nostalgic experience. 
Finally on Sunday night, we did a semi-fancy Valentine's dinner . . . of breakfast foods. Life gets so busy during the week that I thought it would be easier and more relaxed to have our little celebration on Sunday evening. Geez, that picture is terrible, but it's the only one I have.

Well, there you have it . . . another weekend in the books. One more week before Winter Break . . . we are on the countdown!