Monday, December 22, 2014

Not bad, not bad at all

Recently my in-laws asked us if they could babysit the kids some time soon - even overnight, if we wanted - so we thought about it for .07 seconds before deciding to take them up on their offer. We handed the kids over on Saturday morning and although I had very, very low expectations for how Avery would do away from us, she pleasantly surprised us all by doing totally fine! Now I'm just trying to figure out why she loses her mind for 1-2 hours straight when dropped off at church, but can survive 24 hours in someone else's care with no problem... babies be crazy.

Anyway, while the kids were busy being spoiled, us grown-ups were busy spoiling ourselves with all the kid-free time. It had been 15 months since I spent a night away from a child, aka: too long, so you'd better believe I was soaking it up! I spent the morning getting a haircut, then we spent the afternoon eating lunch at La Madeleine and walking around and doing a little shopping in Town Square. 

We came back home for a little break before heading to dinner, and as we were heading back out, Amanda and Brian drove by with a thoughtful gift card for us to our dinner destination. Sneaky twin sister for the win! Dinner was delicious, with the only downside being how full I felt for the remainder of the evening. But that didn't stop us from hitting up Starbucks for hot chocolate before driving around to look at Christmas lights with the Joiners, who also had babysitters for a portion of their evening.  

We slept in (!!!!!) on Sunday morning, went for a walk/run in the 'hood, ran a few errands, and got a few things done around the house before the little ones were returned to us after lunch. Davis greeted me by crying that he didn't want to come back home and telling me "no" when I asked if he missed me (3 is such a sweet age, don't you think?), so I'm pretty sure they had a good time. 

The plan from there was to have a low-key afternoon at home to recover from the busy weekend, but when I realized we had enough time to make it to our friends' little girl's birthday party on the other side of town, we quickly changed gears and hit the road not too long after they got home. I'm glad we did because it meant catching up with good friends we hadn't seen in too long and reaping the tasty benefits of a very Pinteresty party at our friend's parents' beautiful home. Totally worth the drive!

Really, without trying to rub it in anyone's face, the weekend was just as delightful as it sounds. But I gotta say - all the excitement we've had going on is making me feel a little burnt out... and Christmas isn't even here yet! Hopefully I can muster up some more energy and enthusiasm in the next couple of days - I'm sure the current constant flow of sugar in our home will help. Yay holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2014

This and this

Two unrelated things worth sharing today:

1. This.

2. And this.

She's officially a full-time walker! I don't know who told my baby she was allowed to grow up all of a sudden... but if I figure out who you are, you're in trouble.

Happy weekend before Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Davis on Broadway

Davis had his very first preschool Christmas program on Monday morning. I had been looking forward to it for awhile and it did not disappoint! A few things that were worthy of note:

1. His teachers informed me a few weeks ago he had been chosen to play the role of Joseph due to his loud singing and enthusiasm - apparently we've got a little performer on our hands! (Note: "playing Joseph" just entailed dressing in that costume while singing Christmas songs with everyone else, ha!)

2. He must have taken his role very seriously, because we were told during rehearsal last week he got frustrated with the uncooperative Mary and snapped at her to "ROCK THE BABY!" (Apparently we've also got a bossy one on our hands!)

3. Despite his excitement in the days leading up to the program, he was the first one to walk out on stage and looked like a deer caught in the headlights when he caught sight of all the grown-ups with cameras/phones/iPads staring at him. He stood there sticking his tongue out from side to side (a nervous habit of his) for about 5 minutes as all the kids filed in.

4. The second the music came on for "Jingle Bells," he snapped out of his trance and sang his little heart out for the rest of the show. (I wish I could post a video to showcase his skills, but sadly I didn't get permission from the other parents.)

5. As you would expect from a bunch of 3-year-olds, most of the kids just stood there, and a few never said a word. Ever the rule follower - and ever the tattletale, these days - Davis loudly informed one of his teachers during a break between songs, "Ms. Dina, Korbin isn't singing!" (Haters gonna hate, Korbin. You keep doin' your thing. Or not doin' it, as the case was.)

6. This little nugget was a good spectator - and she even clapped when the show was over! She was rewarded with two cookies for her good behavior... and because we knew she'd scream her brains out if we didn't give her any.

We sure were proud of our little guy and can't wait to see him on Broadway one day!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reasons I'm crazy

Keeping in mind that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away, consider the things I bravely did this past weekend:

1. On Friday at lunchtime in the middle of a beautiful day, I went to a restaurant in a popular outdoor shopping/dining area with my 13-month-old.

2. On Saturday, we went to the Galleria in Houston in the middle of the afternoon with both of our children. And we got suckered into eating at Rainforest Cafe.

3. On Sunday, after playing for nearly 1.5 hours at the park, we went to Costco in the middle of the afternoon with the Joiners and all 4 of the children.

4. On Sunday evening, my dad was in town and we joined him for dinner at the new Rudy's in the area which just opened on the 11th (again, with all 4 of the children).

And you know what? Everywhere we went was super crowded and the lines were super long, but it really wasn't miserable! (Ok, except Costco. Costco was miserable, because Costco is almost always miserable, in my opinion.) Normally I'm the kinda gal who gets so much anxiety just thinking about doing things like that and I stay far, far away. But I'm glad I was convinced to step out of my comfort zone a few times if for no other reason than to remind myself that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. (Except Costco on the weekend.)

Friday, December 12, 2014


Look! Another blog post from a mom of young children with pictures of fun Christmas-y activities we did yesterday! It's cool, you don't have to pretend to be interested today. I'm really just posting these for memory's sake anyway so our kids can pull out our 2014 blog book one day and be like, "Man, our parents did so much fun stuff with us! How'd we get so lucky?! Let's go take the grandkids to visit them today!"

Exhibit A: gingerbread house building! Avery didn't get to participate in this because a) she was napping and b) that would have been a nightmare, but her brother had a great time! Couldn't you tell from his manic smile? We are trying to help him tone down the crazy in pictures these days, but we should probably just be happy he's willing to smile for the camera at all.

We went with the Joiners and some other friends of ours, and it was a big hit for everyone! The kids especially loved the carousel ride, and the adults especially loved getting to be filmed by a local news crew. Yep, that's right - I've only lived here 2 months and I'm already a local celebrity! (Actually I was walking at the back of our herd and I'm pretty sure I got zero screen time, but I will totally still give you my autograph if you want it... for a nominal fee.)

Only 13 days left until Christmas, so we'll see what other activities we can squeeze in before then!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

So this is Christmas

Every year when we would set up for Christmas at our house in Austin, I would wonder to myself if that would be the last time we'd be doing it there. Turns out last year when I was wondering it, I was right! So this Christmas, we got to find new spots for everything.

Being a bit of a minimalist when it comes to home decor, we honestly don't have that much Christmas stuff - and what little we have is certainly not anything you're going to feel an overwhelming desire to pin on your Christmas Pinterest boards!

But when I think back to my childhood, I don't think about how fancy or unfancy our house looked at Christmastime; I only think about all the good memories that went along with those decorations. (That, and I think about how endlessly amusing it was for us to rearrange my mom's Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers so that instead of kissing each other, Santa was kissing Mrs. Claus's butt. Never got old!)

I hope one day our kiddos can say the same thing about how our home made them feel during the holidays.

Don't let us down, new house!

Monday, December 08, 2014

The upsides

So yesterday's church incident was certainly not the high point of our day, but thankfully there were lots of upsides throughout the rest of the weekend to make up for it. The highlights?

1. We realized there was a Dunkin Donuts only 12 minutes from our house! I didn't actually go there with the rest of my crew because I was busy enjoying some much-needed alone time at home, but Davis loved going there in Austin and it's familiar to him, so I was happy he got to go.

2. We went to the Farmers' Market in Sugar Land for the first time! It wasn't huge and we made it through the place very quickly, but we came away with a giant bag of delicious popcorn and the kids got to see a firetruck, so we'll call it a win... despite the less than enthused face Davis is sporting in the bottom right pic.

3. Wade tried his hand at making me a frappuccino for the first time! Verdict: it was pretty tasty and cost way, way less than it would have at Starbucks, so I will selflessly let him try it again some time.

4. We got to look at Christmas lights! And more importantly, we got to listen to Davis's amusing commentary in the backseat the entire time - including this amazing song about Santa he made up to the tune of "Frere Jacques" (no need to actually watch the video, just make sure the volume is up):

(Lyrics: "Santa, Santa. Santa, Santa. Santa-santa! Santa-santa! How are you doing? I'm doing gooooood. Snowman, snowman... put down that Santa.")

5. I went to a cookie exchange on Sunday afternoon! My sister and two friends host it every year and I always look forward to it. This year I made Peppermint Bark Oreos and I think they were a big hit!

What were the upsides of your weekend?

Sunday, December 07, 2014


It's Sunday morning and I'm sitting here blogging. I shouldn't be, though. The grand plan was for us to try a new (to us) church in the area for the second time, and that's where we should be right now. We all got up this morning, got dressed, and we even made it inside the church building. In fact, we even got our children checked into childcare - but that's where it all went downhill.

We went to this church last week and Davis had a small meltdown when we tried to check him into childcare. Eventually one of the Sunday school teachers just had to pry him from my legs as he wailed and tried to push her away, but by the time we picked him up, he had gotten over it. For anyone who knows Davis well, this is all very out of character for him. He has always been easygoing about being dropped off at church, school, etc. Hardly any hesitation, always just walks right in and joins in on the fun. But this transition of moving to a new city is wearing on him. He is understandably tired of everything being "new" to him. He is tired of walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces. He is too tired to be brave these days. 

So when we showed up at the church again this morning for a different service than we went to last week and realized he would be in a different childcare room, I knew instantly it was going to go badly - and I was right. Lots of protest. Eventually he was crying and Avery was crying and I was just too embarrassed and too worn down from dealing with these episodes recently to fight it. So we got in the car and left.

And I hate that we left because in no way do I want him to think he "won" by not having to go. How in the world are we supposed to respond in this situation though? I feel like he needs to be disciplined for acting so badly and refusing to listen to us, but I also feel heartbroken for him because he has just had so many changes thrown his way lately. He just doesn't understand why his requests for us to take him back to his school in Austin or our church in Austin can't be met - and it crushes me every time he asks. 

So today, I'm just feeling discouraged. I know these things take time, but it sure would be nice if the time needed would pass a little more quickly... 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Santa babies

As I mentioned recently, we took the kids to see Santa before Thanksgiving. So how did it go, you ask? See for yourself!

Just as expected, Avery hates Santa. And just as expected, Davis wouldn't sit in his lap. I think my favorite picture is the bottom left one, where Santa is clearly wondering if it's too late to change careers. Here was the winner according to the photographer:

Pretty sure Avery's going on the Naughty List this year.

And here are our pics with Santa throughout the years:

I'm thinking the odds are low that we will get both kids smiling prior to 2017... sorry, Santa!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Stocking up

Each year when family members generously request a Christmas wish list from me, it's a struggle for me to come up with "big" things I want. I think I devote so much energy to creating lists for the kids that I get lazy with mine and just throw the same things on there every year. Usually all I really want is gift cards (boring) or clothes (which can only be picked out by me), so my list probably ends up being pretty lame and unhelpful. 

That being the case, it occurred to me recently that I am probably more of a stocking gifts kinda gal. Stockings are usually full of little things that may get overlooked by most, but not by me! I love the little stuff. Now, when I say "little stuff," I'm not talking about trinkets and random, useless gadgets - I'm talking about gifts that are small in size, but useful and often inexpensive. In case you have a friend/loved one who might be a SGKG (stocking gifts kinda gal... come on, get with the program!) like myself, here is some inspiration for you!

1. Lip stuff
I'm not a lipstick girl myself, but I can't live without chapstick! Burt's Bees is my usual go-to product, but I have also heard great things about EOS lip balm (they seem to have a lot of flavors, but my vote goes to vanilla mint).

2. Return address stamp
I almost put this on my own list this year, but then decided I'd rather pick one out and order it myself. I found a great Etsy shop with lots of cute designs (I ordered the one pictured below). This would be an extra great gift for a new homeowner or newly married couple, but I think anyone would appreciate it!
3. Candles
These aren't the cheapest candles on the block, but in my opinion, they are worth every penny! Tyler Candle Company's "High Maintenance" scent and Capri Blue's "Volcano" scent will make your house smell way fancier than it is. Unless you have a really fancy house, in which case I can't help you.

4. Gum & candy
I don't know why, but I hate buying gum and candy for myself. Don't get me wrong - I chew gum all day long and I eat more than my fair share of candy, but it bugs me to "have to" buy it (like anyone is forcing me to, ha). Much better to get them as a gift! My personal favorites are Orbit Sweet Mint gum, peanut butter M&M's, and dark chocolate Hershey's kisses.
5. Bubble bath
Another thing I use regularly but feel silly buying for myself. I love me some Philosophy, but since it costs an arm and a leg, I have found the Bodycology products to be a great substitute!

6. Hand soap
Because who doesn't need hand soap?! Being pretty frugal myself, I often just go for the least-expensive-but-still-good-smelling one I can find at the grocery store, but when I'm splurging, I go for Mrs. Meyer's liquid hand soaps.

7. Nail polish
Another treat for your hands (and feet!): Essie nail polish. I'm digging this new "Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low" color from their winter 2014 collection.

Are you feeling inspired or what? You're welcome! And if you'd like to show your appreciation for my efforts in the form of a gift, I think you know where to go for ideas. Happy Christmas shopping!