Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas this year was a great success!

 
 
My mom has been dealing with a broken heel/foot surgery for the last few weeks. She got her stitches out on Christmas Eve, but still has a boot on. She always is just a buzz of activity around this time of year, but this injury slowed her down. She always makes Christmas cookies, cinnamon rolls and scones but this year, me and my sisters took over the tradition!
 
She got to spend lots of time with this little munchkin.
 
 
Cookies came out pretty good, if I do say so myself!
 
 
We had lots of treats!
 
 
Avery even decorated cookies for Santa!

 
Although, it wasn't so much decorating cookies, as much as eating sprinkles.

 
Avery was SOOO excited to spend time with her cousin Colbi! They both did so good the whole time.
 
 
We had fun making stuff. Working hard at the cinnamon rolls!
 
 
It made me so tired.
 
 
What a cutie in her I Love Santa PJs!

 
I think Gigi was in heaven!

 
I love this picture. Jason wanted to hold Colbi but she would have no part of it!

 
Lots of this going on, all weekend.
 
 
Cookies for Santa!
 
 
Avery got a hot wheels and some other cool stuff from Santa!
 
 
I got these ADORABLE boots for her! I swear she looks like she is 15.
 
 
Hope you had a great Christmas too!
 
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

First Starbucks Hot Chocolate

 
Someone had her first Starbucks hot chocolate while someone went to go look at Christmas lights.
 
Someone liked it.
 
It's almost Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do Toy Guns Have A New Meaning Now?

Jason and I shopped for my step-son last weekend. He had asked for a new Nerf rifle to replace his old one. He does have several Nerf guns at our house. He also has a couple play guns. When we started shopping around, both Jason and I just didn't feel right buying Jordan a gun, toy or otherwise, for Christmas. So, he's not getting one. It's the only thing he asked for, but he isn't getting it. We got him some other cool toys instead. When he asks why, we will talk to him about why we probably won't be getting him another toy gun again.
 
I haven't seen the kids since Friday, so I have no idea what their thoughts are or what their mother has or hasn't told them. Who knows, he might not even want a gun anymore.
 
I think all boys have a certain tendency to be obsessed with guns. Obviously, just walk up and down the toy aisle for boys in a Walmart and it's literally covered in all types of weapons. I think certain boys gravitate more towards guns and weapons than others. I think some boys gravitate more towards war than others. Some boys become more obsessed with destructive video games than others. Do I think it's normal and in boys' nature to have these feelings about weapons and killing? Unfortunately, I do. However, you just never know, NEVER, what a ten year old boy, whom you think is fine in the head, is really thinking when he is playing those video games or role playing with those guns. Jordan has always loved playing with guns. I think all of us parents assume that it's innocent, just boys being boys. But you really just never know.
 
We are removing any video games from our home that feature shooting of a realistic nature. I mean, humans killing humans. He can have Harry Potter, Super Mario, any of those. But no Call of Duty, no Special Black Ops (or whatever.) There are no reason for those video games at all, in my opinion, but especially for people who are impressionable and young and who already tend to gravitate towards weapons and violence.
 
What do you think, do toy guns have a new meaning to you now?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Monster Cinderella

Jenn sent this to me this morning and said she was cracking up! Avery wanted to be Monster Cinderella, and was running around saying "Rawwwrrr!" I love that. This girl has quite an active imagination and I LLLOOOOVVVEEEE that about her.
 
 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun times....

Jason and I took a one night trip away this weekend to Granbury, TX. What a cool little town! I'd never been there, but that's what I asked for, for Christmas. One night away!
 

 
Believe it or not, it's only the second time we've stayed at a hotel since we've been together. Is that sad, or what??
 
We had a great time and are thinking of making this our annual Christmas tradition. We got to see some beautiful stores, do some Christmas shopping, and SLEEP IN! Thank you Mom and Dad for watching our little munchkin for some much needed time away!
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cutie Patootie

Photo
 
My daughter is pretty funny, I must admit. She wanted her glasses on this morning, like her momma. So she got them!

No words are enough.

As millions of other Americans this weekend, I held my daughter closer, stared at her longer, and appreciated her more than I did before (which was ALOT), in the wake of the horrendous tragedy in Connecticut. I also began to ask, "WHY?" Of course, as we all know, in matters such as this or any other extreme acts of violence, there will never be a definitive answer, or even one comes close to being one of fulfillment. The fact is, Satan is evil. God created us as complicated individuals, with brains that we will never fully understand. Satan knows this and uses it to his advantage every single day.
 
I've had a couple conversations about what happened with a couple of different people. I've heard people of Facebook, websites, and news channels who have different takes on this particular situation. I've heard people mention things like "gun control," "mental health," and "mass killing." I've questioned the media's role in playing into these people's fantasies of killing people and hoping for fame. I've questioned the reasons we give for our ability to obtain weapons we have no business owning, such as semi-automatic machine guns, despite our "right" to bare arms. I've questioned how a society, who is more than willing to put resources into welfare programs for able-bodied citizens, lacks the resources or ability to give help to those who truly need it and who truly cannot help themselves.
 
The fact is, though, none of those things, even if all fixed, will ever prevent someone with these types of violent scenes in his head from killing people.
 
I would love to blame mental illness as a cause, but it's been proven that while killers of this nature might suffer from extreme revenge fantasies or obsessive disorders, they are not necessarily considered mentally ill. I would love to blame guns for this type of high-victim shooting spree, but if you look at places like China, people of extreme mental illness will walk into a school using any weapon they can find and murder just as many, if not more, children than were killed on Friday. I would also love to blame recent factors such as video games or violence in our media for the increase in killings of this type. But evidence shows that mass killings such as these are not new by any means. In fact, the only difference between these killings and others is the weapon of choice, not the victim count.
 
Unfortunately, the only definitive evidence I seem to be able to use to explain these horrific events is that there is no explanation.
 
Does that mean that as a society, we shouldn't stop for a moment and consider some of these factors? That we shouldn't change gun control laws and alter them to fit in with our modern world? I hardly doubt that our Founding Fathers intended to give their citizens the right to carry the guns that we see today. Does this mean that we shouldn't change our perspective on how to deal with the mentally ill in this country? Does this mean that we shouldn't equip our citizens with the knowledge of how to understand and deal with red flags we might see, that would save lives? Of course not.
 
I've also heard "Where Was God?" Mike Huckabee gave a very compelling answer. However, I might also add that while we might have been asking God to leave our lives as a society for decades now, the murder of another person for no other reason than passion, jealousy and revenge goes back a little further than that. In fact, it goes all the way back to Cain and Abel, whom I might mention were some of the first humans to live on earth. It just goes to show that all humans are flawed creatures. We are all making choices, each and every day, about how we handle the injustices and unfairness in our own lives. We are all struggling to make it through, struggling to make sense of the unclear things that happen each and every day, trying to see the good in situations and not to focus on the bad. It's not always easy and sometimes it's not always possible.
 
For me, all I know, all that I say with certainty, is that I love my daughter and my family. Each day I receive with them is an incredible gift, given to me by my Lord and Savior. My God is in control of all things. I will not stop living my life or live in extreme fear for what others may do, even though it's incredibly tempting. I won't ever forget these victims or their families and what they must be going through, nor will I stop praying for the people struggling in this world, who are right now contemplating the same fate, to make a different choice. I will hug and kiss my family as much as I can. I will spend time with my family as much as I can. I will enjoy my family as much as I can. And I will do it because there are so many who can't, but who would give anything to able to do so again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avery Update

 
This little stinker!
 
I love Avery so much. This morning, man. She was being a little pill! But she pulled it together long enough to smile for the camera!
 
I haven't done an Avery update in a while, so I thought I would.
 
Avery is wearing 3T clothes and size 5 diapers. I will be off the week of New Years, so we are hoping we will take that time to get her potty trained. It's very much time. I have no idea how much she weighs or her exact height, but her head comes to halfway up my thigh, so she is pretty tall.
 
Avery is seriously one of the smartest kids I've seen at this age, when it comes to her memory of things and her language skills. I really think this comes from her loving to read books and her loving to listen to music. In fact, I know it is. She has always loved books and she has always loved music. We have about 4 main kids' music CDs that Avery listens to in the car, probably close to 80 songs, and you can turn any of them on and she will immediately know the song and sing the words. She sits in her seat and we will hear her try to sing every word, because she is memorizing it. She loves books, she loves to look at them, listen to us read them. If you do those two things from the moment they are born, you will have a kid who speaks clearly, who can recognize the ABCs, and who will memorize things very quickly.
 
Avery is speaking in complete sentences, which is astonishing to us. The other day, we were eating cake after lunch, and she looks at us, and as clear as day says, "I would like more of that." and points to the cake. She surprises us every day with the things she says. She is really starting to ask for people in her life now, so she will say, "Leslie, we go see her?" "Where's Gigi?" and randomly we will hear her say "Thank you God, Brooke, thank you God Dave..." and list all of the people, including Jenn and the kids at daycare. Sometimes, it's people she hasn't seen in a long time, so it's just funny to listen to that.
 
Avery has learned her manners, and will always say thank you, your welcome, and excuse me. Drives me nuts, though. Having big brothers and big sisters to teach you bad things is not always good! She is to the age where she will say, "I tooted!" and then excuse me, but she announces it and laughs because the kids laugh at her. Ugh, kids.
 
Avery loves Caillou, which is probably her most favorite thing right now. Calliou is whiney for sure, but I actually like that show because it shows a very successful, very involved family unit and the parents are in the picture. It's funny, but with Dora or Mickey Mouse you don't see parents anywhere! I actually like watching Calliou. Go figure.
 
Avery loves going to church and she is at the age now where she can remember what she learned and did while she was there. I love that she is bring home things she colored. I know you just end up with all kinds of papers after church, but I love seeing her "artwork."
 
Avery loves to play outside. When the kids are here, I send them all out in the backyard and she loves to play out there. I love that. It's a good thing to have kids who like to play outside, making up games, digging around for things. She is also very social, she loves people and loves having people over to our house. She is just like her momma in that way.
 
Avery has also really grabbed on to pretend play and role playing. She can play make believe, which is great, and I think is her sister's influence and Jenn (her babysitter). She will just out of the blue say, "Momma, I have popsicle! You eat!" and we will pretend eat it. She loves to play tea party and loves to play with her dolls. LOVES it. She and I also do this thing where we will turn the corner into our hall and I will say "on your mark, get set, GO!" and we will race to her room. I almost always let her win, and she is always looking back at me to see if I am gaining on her. I think she has a little competetive streak in her, which I love and would make her very much like her daddy.
 
She is just pure joy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why Rokus is legen...wait for it...ary!

Jason and I spent $59.99 on the best invention ever. It's called a Roku. And it's awesome.
When our Wii decided to stop picking up wireless signals and become useless, we were scrambling to figure out what to do because, you see, our Wii had become our Netflix streaming devise and without it, we just didn't know what we would do. So, I started asking around. I got two responses, either go with the Apple's version or Roku. Those were the best bang for your buck.
 
So I went to my Walmart, picked one up, and it's been amazing.
 
Netflix is only one of many things you can stream through this machine. It comes equipped with Pandora, Crackle (streams TV and movies for free, but not usually well known ones, but lots of cartoons), Hulu Plus, Disney, Netflix, Amazon and a couple others. They even have a new release channel, where the movies cost $3.99. Much better than a $5.99 pay per view. However, on their channel, you can download about a hundred others.
 
They have a free fitness channel with several types of workouts. They have a karaoke channel (which looks awesome!) They have games and apps, music, the list goes on and on.
 
And for those of you who've never had Netflix, they are putting on some great new movies, including their new deal with Disney which gives you access to Disney classics and new movies from Disney and Pixar after they come out in theatres. For $7.99 a month, it is well worth your money.
 
I just thought I'd give you my glowing review!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Kids' Christmas Trees

Good morning!
 
Well, for starters, for any of you Walking Dead fans, did that episode not turn your stomach, like, the WHOLE time? And what a great story line with Daryl and Merle. And the Governor, awesome! Now I gotta wait till February to find out what happens. Not cool.
 
Anyhoo, I felt like I spent all day Saturday shopping and then decorating the kids' trees. Just so you know, I do not normally get 6 foot tall white pre-lit Christmas trees for the kids' rooms every year. My mom was nice enough to give these to me, on loan, from the Cindy Tamplin Tea tree collection. I couldn't figure out what to do with their trees. I had an idea for Avery's, then inspiration struck for Jordan and Soph.
 
I tried using items they had alot of in their room, that they wouldn't miss being on a tree for four weeks. For Avery, she has tons of stuffed animals. Of course, she hardly touches them these days (more into coloring and tea parties than stuffed animals) but the second I put these on her tree, she wanted to take them down. We will see how long they last!
 
Photo: Avery's stuffed animal tree
 
The picture doesn't really do the tree justice, but it looks really cute.
 
Jordan doesn't have any big, fun items like the girls, but he has alot of army men. So, I decided to do a blue and green tree, and decorate it with his army men, and other fun toys he likes. Completed by Indiana Jones' fedora.

Photo: Jordan's army man tree

I bought each of the kids a special ornament for their tree this year. Avery got the cupcake that is by Minnie. Jordan got the Christmas Pickle. He loves pickles and when I saw this thing, I just laughed and knew he would like it. Apparently, back in Europe a long time ago, they would hide the ornament in the branches of the tree and the first one to find it got to eat the desert first. I think it's awesome and so does he! Sophia got a ballerina on her tree.

Sophia's tree is probably my favorite. This tree also inspired me for a decorating theme for her room, as I was looking in Hobby Lobby and came across the French boutique section, I just knew that she needed that. As I was looking through her closet, I realized she has alot of dress up clothes. So Sophia got a dress up tree! She has her play shoes all over it, purses, and her boas. It really is cute in her room.

Photo: Sophia's tree

There you have it! Our tree will go up this weekend and then we should be done for Christmas. I will show you pictures when it's done!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Photobucket, What Went Wrong?

I have to admit, I am pretty upset. I have used Photobucket for online photo storage for the last two years. One of the features I love the most about it is that I have a Photobucket app that automatically loads every picture I take with my phone within seconds of clicking. I am able to go to the Photobucket website, copy a URL, and post it on my blog within minutes. I despise (and never remember) to actually plug my phone in, upload pictures to my computer, load them to a photo sharing site, then onto blog. It's too much work for me. So, I was pretty upset in the middle of Avery's birthday party, when my pictures just stopped uploading. I keep getting error messages. I looked on their website and they are getting complaint after complaint of the uploading feature for the app.

I can't find another site/app combo that does this. Not one that is free and not one like this. I really don't know what to do now....how do you upload pictures? Do you have a site that works like this?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Am I The Only One NOT Decorated For Christmas Yet???

I guess I am a little, behind? I mean, it is November 29, my in-laws just left from the Thanksgiving holiday two days ago and we are still catching up on laundry from the long weekend, but I guess I am behind. I hate Pinterest. I hate Facebook. I hate Instagram. Sometimes, I do. Because they make me feel pressured and inadequate. But I will not bow down to the pressure, I say! I will decorate when I am GOOD and READY!
 
Ok. I am good and ready.
 
I got out my boxes of Christmas decorations, which, at our previous smaller house, were pretty adequate. Yeah, it's kind of just a joke in this house how much stuff I will need to make it a Winter Wonderland. But, you can only do so much, right? I will go get some stuff at Hobby Lobby this weekend, in the form of ribbon, garland, and whatever I can find on sale. We are also focusing on lights for the outside this weekend. Let's be honest, that's going to be a a miracle if it looks halfway decent. Lights are pricey and let's just look at the oustide of my house one more time...
 
 
We haven't even measured to see how many strands we will need to cover the front of this house, but I am sure it will be expensive. And I HATE those little, puny lights that are all crooked and ugly. I like big white or red or blue lights, or even multi-colored. Just don't make me use little puny ones!
 
Next weekend, we will put up the tree. I think I am going to try Dina's suggestions for tree decorating..
 
 
I really love the way she decorates her house. She uses different textures, tons of color. I wish I could decorate like she could, but my mind just doesn't "go there" with the out of the box ideas she has. But I do love her trees. They are just full of all kinds of stuff, and not just ornaments! In the link above, she tells you how she decorates them. I am going to try the ribbon idea this year and creative uses of things besides ornaments.
 
I got out my beautiful ornament wreath...
 
 
but since I didn't go through the trouble of hotgluing it down last year, half of the ornaments had fallen off. So, that's going to need to be fixed. It's worth it, though. I liked that ornament, it's so shiny!
 
I thought I would also try my hand at making some burlap wreaths for my front doors. Yep, I need two wreaths for my porch, for every holiday.
 
Something like this would be nice...
 
Simple. That's what I like, since I am incredibly untalented at making wreaths.
 
I had also mentioned my challenge of having a beautiful black lava rock fireplace with no mantle...
 
1901 Westminster Drive Grand Prairie TX 75050 Home for sale - MLS #11751415
 
I am thinking green garland with lots of lights and some big candlesticks on either side, hopefully from a thrift store that I can spray paint.
 
And I will be using these stockings again this year...
 
 
I really hate that we don't have monogrammed stockings. But I always wait until the last minute in December and would rather use money on gifts than having stockings made. Next year, I will have them done throughout the year. We need some beautiful stockings with our names on them. We always had the same stockings for years growing up. There was my name, proudly spelled "Gina." It was mispelled as long as I had it and we just never got another one. We don't use those stockings anymore, but it was pretty funny, anyway.
 
Well, I guess I'd better get on it. I have alot to do!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How I Keep Up With The "Family Financials"

This was on my mind this week, as I have spent alot of time in the last couple of days getting prepared for the upcoming Christmas season of gift giving, activities and decorations. We also have a few bills do that have popped up that are due in December that are random (i.e. dentist bill, last bill for cable, etc.). At least one of these bills tends to pop up around the holidays, doesn't it?
 
I thought I would share how I keep up with the "Whitehead Family Financials." I do all of the budgets, checkbook balancing, and bill paying in our family. It's just how it's worked out for us over the years. When we both tried to do it, it was just a disaster. When I tried to let Jason do it, I found that he just didn't think ahead enough into the future to plan financially. I actually like to do it, most of the time. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed and make Jason take the reigns, but mostly, I really enjoy toiling over it.
 
I have used the same method of keeping track of my finances for years. It's basically a way I can plan ahead while also keeping track of how much money we currently have. I have always had a system on excel that looks similiar to this:
 
Date Item/Creditor Monthly recurring Debit Savings Monthly Incidental Debit Credit     Balance
          $3,000.00 $3,000.00
            $3,000.00
  Daycare $150.00       $2,850.00
  Electricity $150.00       $2,700.00
  Gas $45.00       $2,655.00
 
This is purely an example, but basically I have a simple formula that keeps track of the running balance. It adds credits, substracts debits, and tells me how much money we have/should have at all times.
 
I have liked this system for a couple of reasons. One, I have seperate tabs in a worksheet for the current month and usually two upcoming months. I could really do it as many months in advance as I'd like, but I find that things change and with Jason partly on commission, we usually know an estimate of what his commission check will be two months from now. This system lets me know what my balance will be (should be) on any day of the upcoming month, like January 15th. I've liked this system, up until a couple of days ago. When we were running SO close to the wire financially for a couple of years, this system saved our life. We felt like things didn't sneak up on us as often and we were able to tell creditors when we could pay them, with certainty. I wasn't promising all of our money away to too many people and overextending what we could do. I mean, there is only so much stuff you can pay when you only have so much money, so at times, we couldn't pay the random bills, as I listed above, so things like that would often go unpaid, but we kept both our cars from being repossessed and food on the table using this system.
 
What I've never been able to figure out is how to incorporate spending budgets and good financial planning on this system. This system is often not too disciplined, either, as I can change the numbers or payments dates at any time, and with someone like me who is not incredibly disciplined with money, this has led to not being where we would like to be financially (savings-wise, etc.). This system also doesn't keep track of our spending habits over the months. For example, how much have I really spent on fast food this month? If I don't keep track of those things myself on the spreadsheet, you end up spending more than you'd like on one thing because you aren't accounting for it on your monthly budgets. Like, for example, you really don't know what you'd like to spend on fast food in a month, I never accounted for it in the upcoming budget, and ended up spending $100 on it during the month because "$10 isn't that much!" but it is when you do it ten times!
 
I felt like I needed some assistance in this area because I feel like while I have kept on tops of things, I would like to get to the next level financially in our family. So, I searched around and found a website that had a coordinated app, where Jason and I could both log in and be reminded of things that were going on within the month. I found mint.com. I am getting no money from them to recommend their system, but I have found that I really like it.
 
For starters, you can actually link all of your accounts to your home account. As long as your creditor is on their database, it can actually log in to your account, pull up your monthly payment and due date, and tell you how much you owe. I haven't found a major company not listed yet, but I have all of our student loans, car payments, and credit cards. It will also send reminders that a bill is due. There are times that I have forgotten to put a bill on my spreadsheet (all of my payments are automatic) and it comes out, and I was like, uh-oh, didn't plan for that one! This makes sure I always remember. It also adds together all of your accounts and tells you your total amount of debt, which I think is amazing!! Part of the reason I think people don't pay down debt is because they don't know what that number is (or don't want to know.) It's easy to spend $5 a day on coffee when you don't ever think about how much debt you are in, but just in the last few days, I have really thought about that number I see when I log in, when purchasing things I don't really need or choosing not to eat out for lunch when I have stuff I could bring.
 
They have a "goals" section that allow you to set up goals for yourself. You can set up many different kinds. Right now, the goals I have include savings and paying down debt. It will pull up how much money your goal is so save and when you'd like to have that goal completed. For example, if you say you'd like to have your Dave Ramsey emergency fund of $1,000 by April, it will tell you that you need to save $250 a month. Then, it will track if you do that, based on the transactions on your checking account. I love looking at the goal when I log in. It makes the goal real instead of "just something I intend to do someday."
 
The other thing I really like is that it tracks every transaction of your account and will tell you how much you've spend in a given category in a month. You can also give that category a budget. It has a constant running tally of "budget" vs "spent." I love this feature. It really makes me think before spending money on stuff. Like I said, $15 here and there adds up, but you don't think about that. This also allows me to adjust by budgets based on real numbers, not just estimates. For example, if I am budgeting $45 a week for gas, but it is really costing me $50 a week because a gallon of gas costs more, I can adjust by budget accordingly.
 
I will probably always keep my spreadsheet, just because I don't have a checkbook registry and I like the way it just adds and subtracts numbers for me instead of me having to do it myself. However, I feel like going forward, I will actually get us where we need to be sooner than what I think it will take!
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Backyard

So, our Thanksgiving was pretty awesome! I am ashamed to say I didn't take too many pictures. Hopefully, my in-laws will post some on Facebook that I can steal. :-)
 
Anyhoo, I thought I would share pictures of the backyard, which I've left off our tours in the past.
 
Our backyard is probably one of the more unique ones I've seen, just because it's VERY designed. They must've had lots of parties at this house because it's all set up for decorating, as is evidenced by how the backyard is set up. For one thing, half of it is a concrete deck.
 

There is this little square, with dirt, that must have been for flowers at one point, but it makes for a perfect place for our firepit!
 

The swingset was a gift from a friend at church, whose grandkids had outgrown it. Ours LOOOVVEEE it. We need to get a big kid swing, though!
 
 
Here is a picture from the swingset to the back part of the house. Alot of the grass has disappeared and it needs some major landscaping, but that's just going to have to wait until spring.
 

A different view...one thing I love and hate about this house are the trees. They look really pretty and have these really pretty red leaves. However, they have these dadgum red leaves. You know what I mean?
 

This is the door way to the sunroom and the little stairway up to the backyard. Both doors of the sunroom have these great, heavy commercial grade swinging doors. They are very safe and keep things very insulated. The man who built it I believe built commercially for a living, so these look to be either parts from another building or just supplies he'd ordered along the way. The tiles on the walkway are the same way. Do you love my very alive, not at ALL dead, brightly colored mums?


 



Another feature that I am not 100% sold on yet is this rod iron fence. It looks really nice and I love that it will probably never blow down during a storm. I don't like that everyone can peek in to the fence. I also don't know if the dogs have figured it out, I am guessing no, but there are areas on the side of the house where the fence gradually slopes down. Since iron can't bend, it just progressively gets lower, leaving major gapes between the fence and the ground that the dogs could easily get out of. Obviously, these are dogs that know they have it pretty darn good and have only gotten out once, when we left the gate open, and escaped all the way into the next door neighbor's front yard. We called for them and they came running, with their heads hung in shame.
 
 
That's our backyard! I don't know how many Christmas lights we are going to need to put up this year. We are afraid we aren't even close to having enough to make it look good. I am the type that would rather have nothing, in terms of Christmas lights, than ones that look puny and pitiful. I guess we shall see!
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

2013: A Jenna Odyssey

As I think of this year winding to a close and starting fresh in a few weeks, I always think of resolutions, what I would change, and how I would live my life a little differently to make me a better version of myself. I've given alot of thought in the last two years (since my daughter has been born) about my appearance. I've written several posts, promising to lose weight (which hasn't happened as of yet). Mostly, I just feel like a mess. I have never really been one of those people who ALWAYS looks madeup and ready to go out, not all the time, anyway. Even as a kid, I just didn't care about it all that much. As adults, when my sisters would take showers on Christmas morning and get dressed, to look good for family and family pictures, I was still in my PJs at 2 pm, probably drinking a glass of wine and watching TV. (And not helping clean up from lunch). I just looked like what I looked like and wore what I wore. I am not saying I never looked nice, because I did. I just didn't look good all the time. You know you have a friend or friends like that, that always somehow look cute, with messy hair that was done that way on purpose yet still somehow looked "put together" and always had great shoes and their face looked beautiful.
 
Well, that's never been me. And while it's never bothered me too much earlier in my life, it has bothered me alot since I've had Avery. First of all, I was always a thin person, even up until I met Jason. Clothes look cuter on a thin person, so even if you aren't wearing the cutest outfit, it still looks better on you. I always tanned so I hardly needed makeup too much. My hair was usually always done on a regular basis, money permitting. I never stuffed my face at parties.
 
Now, I just feel like I have completely and totally "let myself go." I wait too long to buy new clothes, to the point that I have to purchase everything at once, instead of buying a new thing or two with every paycheck. My hair looks pretty bad by the time I go get it done. I eat constantly, I am jiggly, but more so than anything, I am just lazy when it comes to activity. My hair is never fixed and it looks the same, every single day. I wear makeup 2 out of the five days a week, I bet? I guess my point is, it's very rare these days that I feel really good, that I feel like I look really pretty, when I step outside of my house. Even in my house, in my lounging around clothes, which are usually Jason's pj bottoms and one of his old t-shirts. Can I not even spend money on a good set of comfortable clothes?
 
I feel like alot of this has to do with two things. 1) I am cheap when it comes to spending money on myself. While this is good, it's also bad. You shouldn't be so cheap with the things you wear that it makes you look like a vagabond. 2) I am lazy. I could tan and workout and look good, if I actually put time and effort into it.
 
I just think I've reached my breaking point of being the one around my friends who looks like she is too lazy to ever put herself together. I am starting to care more if I am actually wearing stuff that is "trendy." I want to be thin again and be someone who thinks eating right and exercise are the "cool things to do." I just don't want to look like a "mom" just yet. Do you remember this SNL skit?
 
 
Yeah, that's how I feel.
 
I am going to start paying more attention to myself this year. I am going to put more effort into making myself look halfway decent when leaving the house. Do you feel this way sometimes too?
 

Happy 2nd Birthday Avery!

My baby is 2. My big girl, I mean. I can't believe how old she is getting!
 
We had a Minnie Mouse party this year. I try to do themes that she loves, instead of just ones I think are cute...
 

My mom made her this ADORABLE outfit to match the theme. It was sooo cute!!!
 
 

 
We are so happy that Scotty, Faith and the boys got to come spend the afternoon with us...this house is perfect for lots of kids!
 
 







Everyone got to come and I mean, everyone in her entire family, her babysitter Jenn, and friends. I can't tell you how awesome this was to me, especially, to have everyone we love under the same roof for an afternoon.

I made the cake and I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself.



Cute little Minnie balloons





The three girls...



I look over and Avery and Jax (who is 3) are just playing air hockey together. It was pretty cute.



Here the men are, guarding the food (or so it looked like)



I made the Pops and the Poppy play a game. Since Minnie owns a "bowtique," they had to put bows in their hair and we played a Minnie and Mickey trivia game. Neither of them were very happy with me, as evidenced by this picture. Thank you, though, for being good sports about it!



When we sang happy birthday, it was so loud! She loved it. She has been walking around all week singing "Happy birthday to Avery."



Yumm, cake.



Shari and Robert got us an early Christmas present...



Jason thought the sunroom would make a good game room and since we had all that room, we needed a pingpong table. I had visions of beautiful furniture in it, but how much more seating do we need in my house, really? After seeing how much action that table has received in the last few days, I am thinking it was a pretty good idea!

It was such a great day!