Friday, November 30, 2012

my take on the holidays 2012

My favorite holiday song:  Go Tell It on the Mountain.
My favorite holiday side dish: broccoli and rice casserole.  My aunt’s version.
Turkey or ham: ham
My favorite dessert:  chocolate pie

Favorite Holiday Movie: Elf

And on that subject, I adore holiday commercials.  Probably my all time favorite is below. Sadly, I haven't been impressed with the holiday commercials the past couple of years.  What's up with that? Is it just me?

On gift giving:  I usually end up knowing what I’m getting for Christmas.  It’s hard to surprise me (that may be me challenging you this year, Gherkin) and plus my dad just gives me money to pick out what I want.
Since I get to pick out gifts from my dad, here’s what I have my eye on - - -

Of course I have to make a list.  Usually it’s just a boring ol’ excel spreadsheet. This year, though, I'm using this free printable.

Real or fake (as in tree, not breasts):  real on both actually.  Thought for a tiny second about getting an artificial tree next year, but the more I see my real tree all lit up the more I think not.

White or colored lights:  white both outside and inside.  There’s a house a few blocks down that puts up all red lights, and I have to chuckle when the Gherkin refers to it as the neighborhood strip joint (No offense if you decorate with red lights as some I've seen look super fun and classy, but this particular house is not one of those)

 I take my wrapping seriously.  I’m not a perfectionist when wrapping so please don’t look at my edges (they’re not straight), but Ia like to coordinate and I look forward to picking my wrapping paper each year.  The last couple of years I stuck with white and natural butcher paper, tied with red twine (see here).  I planned on doing the same this year until I saw this adorable herringbone wrapping paper at Container Store.  That’ll definitely be in the mix this year.

Although I like to take time off work during the holidays, I do enjoy the traffic-free commutes the holidays bring.

I have a pet peeve about leaving Christmas lights up past the holidays.  Seriously, I’ll give you until the second week in January then I may start talking trash about you.  There are a couple of houses in the neighborhood that have left their lights up year round for the past two years.  It drives me berserk.  It’s laziness.  Sorry, not sorry.

And finally this.  This is me.  I'm the mom who stresses and over analyzes every single detail about Christmas cards.  This year, though, I tried not to although still failed if you ask the Gherkin.  I used pictures that I took myself as opposed to scheduling a photo shoot (but I sure did miss her this year).  They're not perfect nor is it 100% in focus, but Mr. Gherkin kept saying how much he liked them so to the printer they went.  They arrived on my doorstep yesterday, and I have to say the Gherkin was right. I hate hearing the words I told you so

Signing off for the weekend.  A good friend (who I jokingly refer to as my second husband) is tying the knot. So let the wedding festivities begin. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Since as long as I can remember, Rudolph has been a highlight of the holiday season in Lufkin, Texas. I can remember always begging my parents to drive by Rudolph on the way home from my grandmother's house.


As a young child I remember thinking it was the most fabulous thing ever.  As a teenager it was always nice to see Rudolph go up because it meant the holidays were nearing, but of course that same childlike excitement dwindled.

As a mom, being able to see Rudolph through the eyes of a child is pretty spectacular.  I am certain I was more excited than Preston this year.

His grandpa and his uncle Bubba took him to see Rudolph for the first time this year without me since Preston went to Lufkin a few days before us during the week of Thanksgiving.  I knew it was going to happen, but I was so sad that I wasn't going to be able to see his initial reaction.  Truth is that Preston didn't like Rudolph the first night.  They said he kept saying "no, no, no" until they left.

Well, I was determined that we were going to see Rudolph together and that he would enjoy it so we all loaded up and I asked him if he wanted to go see Rudolph.  His reply, "No."  My heart sank.  Commence pouty face --- I wanted to see Rudolph.

So I waited a minute or so and asked if he wanted to go see the lights.  "Yeah," he answered and that was that. We pulled up to the lights/ Rudolph.  At first he wouldn't get close to Rudolph, only to play with the lights on the trailer and pose in front of Santa.  By the end of our visit though, he would walk up to the fence surrounding Rudolph and give him "knuckles" (aka fist pump).

I heart Rudolph the Red Nosed Pumping Unit.  Thanks for letting me experience the joy and excitement of Rudolph with you, Preston.

Monday, November 26, 2012

we stuffed our turkey and hung our stockings.

Ok, so, maybe I didn't stuff a turkey.  Rather, I just stuffed myself like a turkey. Holy week of thankfulness and fatness!

I did a terrible job of taking photos on Thanksgiving day, but below are a couple.
Here Mom, aren't these the sale pages you were asking about.

My aunt dug out an old roaster coaster toy from when her girls were little.  It took him a while, but he finally got the hang of it and loved it.

After hitting a couple stores on Black Friday, we put up Christmas lights and outdoor decorations.

I can't look at my Santa flags without thinking of you, Megan.  Thanks for standing in line for me -- wink, wink!
camera shy?
I heart this picture.  This picture is my heart.  I think my instagram caption went something like this, "having a little father / son chat about the best way to hang the Christmas lights."

Forget talking, dad, let me up there and I'll show you how it's done.

Saturday was tree day! 
found one, Dad!

I snapped this picture as Mr. Gherkin was tying the tree to the top of the top.  I love these eyes. 

And here she is. 
small and dainty but real and perfect of us.
an instagram shot of the kid-friendly nativity

This picture is for my dad.  Seeeee, he really does like to ride Lucky. 

Hope your holiday weekend was just as spectacular.

Monday, November 19, 2012

what 22 months means.

  In just over a month, I'll have a 2 year old.  Aren't we supposed to stop counting months then?  Well, forget about it.  I'm not!  I'll still be the lady who answers he's such-and-such months old.

Here's what 22 months old means and looks like in this house.

22 months means going from this above.  Cool, calm, collected.

To this. Which involves crocodile tears and may cause this mommy to lose her marbles at times.


Then back to this.  All in under 3 minutes flat.

I love you, Preston.  You keep me on my toes.  You stretch my creativity and my imagination more than I ever thought possible.  

This is my thanksgiving.

what a treat! { a promo code for a free card }

I love Treat and just recently signed up for one of their card club packages.  I have friends who've been sending personalized Treat cards from some time now and I love the cards they've sent us.

Today and tomorrow only (the 19th and 20th) you can send a card from Treat for FREE.

I'll be taking advantage of this special offer from Shutterfly and Treat and you can also.  Go here and then just use promo code TREATBLOGR.

Treat offers a number of great and different options.  Here are a few of my favorites.

an any day/just because card

congrats on your wedding option

a happy birthday option

another birthday option

**Shutterfly provided me with a promo code for free treat cards in exchange for this post and for helping spread the word about  As always, though, I'm dedicated to only posting and promoting businesses and companies I've worked with personally and enjoyed thoroughly or companies that I believe in.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

steel magnolias.

I kind of have a thing for magnolia trees and for using the leaves and branches as decor.  They last forever and they look great indoors.  See.



Currently we don't have a magnolia tree in our yard, but the Gherkin's been itching to plant a tree in our front yard and I'm definitely starting to think a magnolia tree might be the one we choose.

Of course I can't just walk up and cut off pieces of someone else's tree (cause that would be stealing -- although the neighbors have given me permission before-- but it just feels weird) so I'm always on the look out for fallen branches during our walks.  I found a couple recently. They're small branches, but they make me smile every time I see them. 

Not only are they nice for recycling the branches and leaves, but the flowers smell pretty darn good when in bloom. 

Maybe Santa will bring this house a magnolia tree for Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

what's on my mind: reminiscing.

Thanks to a sweet friend who offered our name and story to Texas Children's public relations department, we headed to the medical center today for a short little interview and filming about Preston's story.

In preparation for today's interview, I re-read some of my old blog posts from the week Preston was born and the events leading up to his birth and then open heart surgery. I'm so glad I journaled those here on this ol' blog of mine.  I can not read through these posts without crying.

I read this one.  So thankful for the doctors and staff at Texas Children's Hospital for the magnificent care they gave us.

Then this post.  I'm forever grateful that the staff was so open and accepting of our family and friends who were there and caring and praying with us.

And this one and it reminded me of just how magnificent the nurses in the CVICU were and how they treated Preston like he was one of their own.

And this post which was my final and 3rd post while my baby was in surgery.

Then I read the letter I wrote to him via this ol' blog the day before he was born.  I went in not knowing what would happen and what the outcome would be, and I now have a 22 month old whose second birthday is in the works.

We're beyond blessed and eternally grateful for modern medicine and the doctors at Texas Children's who treated us like part of the family and not just another case.

The timing on this interview was perfect.  It's certainly helped prepare my heart for the Thanksgiving holiday next week.  It's odd, but I find myself encouraged by the words that I, myself, wrote on the blog two years ago.  Two years ago if someone would've asked me what's the one thing I wanted most in this world, I, without a doubt, would've said Preston here, safe and sound.

I'm not perfect and my life is not perfect (there you go, Aimee and Breann).  It's easy to fall victim to wanting things of this world, to not feel satisfied, or to be overly anxious about getting a jump start on Christmas shopping, but looking back on the words I wrote two years ago helps me not lose touch with the big picture.

I have things that money can not buy.  We have life.  I have family.  We have breath.  My son is thriving.  I feel incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

artsy fartsy

P and I enjoyed a lazy weekend while dad was away bachelor-partying it up being not so lazy.  I hit up the Nutcracker Market on Friday with a dear friend (hi Megan!) and then spent the weekend lounging and crafting.

Aimee held her 2nd annual favorite things party last week.  I made a pair of elastic hairbands for my favorite, under $5 product.   I use these daily.  My hair is still Preston's comfort item so mine  stays pulled back 99.9% of the time.  Followed this tutorial.

The house smelled of cinnamon all weekend after making these on Friday night.  I have them hanging in the mudroom/laundry room for now (until we put our tree up in a few weeks) and the whole room smells of cinnamon.  So that means an even yummier smelling tree this year.  Followed this tutorial. 

Then for a total cost of $0.25 (the cost of the pennies) I created a little something to fill in an empty wall in the office.  It's totally Anthro-inspired -- spotted in their store at The Domain a few weeks ago.  I'm digging copper these days.

Now, I'm ready for full Christmas mode around here, and boo on Mr. Gherkin's no-Christmas-decorations-before-Thanksgiving policy. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

how you can help thank the troops.

In honor of Veteran's Day on Sunday and with the holidays right around the corner, Shutterfly is holding a special campaign to thank the troops and let them know that we're thinking about them as they're overseas and away from their families this holiday season.  Shutterfly is sending thank you cards to our American heroes, but they need our help. 

Here's how you can help.  Click here, select a card, add a personal message or photo, and click send.  Shutterfly will print and ship your card to the troops at no cost to you.

here is one of the four card options and my personal favorite.  you can personalize the inside.

It only takes a minute of your time, and I'm quite certain it'll help bring a smile to someone's face this holiday season. 

Thank you to all who have served, are serving, and will serve. 

*Shutterfly is providing me with a $50 credit towards purchases on their site in exchange for helping them spread the word about their Thank The Troops campaign.  My card has been personalized and sent. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

santa's reindeer cam

Please don't judge me.  I'm not trying to totally disrespect the turkey this year.

I've only listened to Christmas music twice (we were sick and it was totally justifiable),  but we can't stop watching Santa's Reindeer Cam.

a screenshot of the live feed

a screenshot of the app

Preston and I check it out every morning.  Of course he's still trying to grasp that there's a difference between these animals and cows.  At any rate, he tries to feed the "cows" his breakfast every morning.  This morning it was bacon and now there's lovely bacon grease on my phone.

The live feed is available here.  The app is called ReindeerCam in the app store.  I hear that Santa will start coming out for feedings in the next couple of weeks.  Maybe that'll help Preston see that Jolly Old Saint Nick isn't so bad this year. 

Woohoo, the holidays are here!

Friday, November 2, 2012

until next year and looking ahead.

Halloween's over.  Time to break out the Christmas music. 

I'm only kidding.  Maybe just a little bit because I may or may not have rocked a sick little boy this morning while listening to Christmas tunes.

Anyhow, back to our Halloween. It was pretty awesome minus the five pounds I've gained from all the Kit-Kats I ate.

A neighborhood a few blocks away celebrates Halloween with trick or treating the night before.  We tag along with other kiddos from our Sunday School class. It's a tradition I love and look forward to.  Hear that Horns, don't try to move anytime soon?!

sunday school kiddos.  I love these kids, and to think next year there will be more! (not pregnant here, just FYI)

All of our neighborhood kiddos. We trick or treat together as a group, and I love it.
   Fun memory from halloween 2012: See the top right picture?  Well, shortly after snapping that shot, Preston darted inside their home yelling "agua" after spotting the pool in their backyard.
In awe of the fog machine or in awe of the big kids?  It's hard to tell.
(left) Our crew making our way down the street, and bringing up the rear is the cutest little bumblebee.
(right) P hanging with the big kids. 
This little dinosaur and his costume (my pinterest-inspired creation) is dear to my heart.
I'm feeling super motivated to try my hand at making his costumes every year, but that motivation could change in the next 350-something days.