Saturday, November 20, 2010

Southern Christmas Show!

A lot of you probably already know what the Southern Christmas show is, but for those who don't Ill try to explain it. Its held every year in Charlotte, at the old Merchandise Mart. They have the whole place decorated for Christmas and its so beautiful! When you come in there are Christmas tree displays, mantel displays, door displays and all these other things people designed and they were judged and won prizes. There are some very creative people out there, i was in awe at some of the displays! Then you walk thru the place and there are little shops, and booths EVERYWHERE. Like lines and lines and lines of it! Lets just say we walked thru it for 2 hours and didnt cover it all. All these vendors have things you can buy-- everything from ornaments, to pottery, to clothes, to foods, to jewelry.. its SO much stuff, seriously. The handmade stuff is the best, I love seeing all the things people come up with.

Now the not so awesome stuff-- it is PACKED. I mean literally, the wholet time you walk around you are basically always side by side or touching someone. Not good for people who are impatient or hate crowds.. which I am both but it wasnt that bad this year now that Im on anxiety meds ;-) The kids there were miserable... the lines for the bathrooms were so long and the kids had to wait. Id never ever take my kids, thankfully Arnold watched them.

Anyway, to make a POINT-- my mom and I go yearly now as a tradition. A little bonding time :) Mom came and picked me up this morning and we drove down, and parked. We had to walk a lot longer than last year. Then we walked around and we ended up buying a few things. Mom bought a few decorative things, and she bought her and I a scarf (but I have to wait till Christmas to get it ;-) And I found my dad a handmade pottery mug that said POP POP! Im so excited b/c thats what the kids call him, and I dont see many things with that name on it.. plus he drinks coffee, so I snagged that for him for Christmas :) We had a little fiasco while there-- Mom left one of her bags at a stand on accident and we were about to leave before we found out-- and we rushed back thru the crowds-- it took FOREVER to find this stand again, I was shoving my way thru people not being the nicest person, lol. The thing she had bought *was not* cheap and we were afraid it might get picked up. Well we got back and it was there, still in the exact place on the ground she left it! Now that was luck. Im so relieved we found it-- but didnt care for the scavanger hunt ;-) We definately got our exercise today.

We ended up walking around for 2 hrs or so, but still didnt see it all.. we decided to leave though, because it was already after 1:00. So after the long trek back to the car we drove to an Ocharleys and had lunch. Then mom drove back home and dropped me off. I found out that Arnold had taken the kids to Hickory Dickory Dock that morning to play, had to stop by walgreens and he bought the big kids a treat, took them to see their Grandparents, and then brought them home and put them all down for a nap! He deserves the Husband of the Year award for all that.. he is the best ever! :)

School Thanksgiving Lunch

Friday at Brooke's school they had a special Thanksgiving lunch, and all family members/friends who wanted to come eat with the kids could. So my mom said she would go w/ me and the kids. I told Brooke about it and she was so excited, we have only been once so far to see her for lunch since its hard taking Rachel in there and getting her to sit still!

Anyway, we got there at lunch-time and all the kids were already in line getting their food. They all had pilgrim hats on and were looking so cute! Brooke saw us and started smiling real big and waving.. I know I should enjoy it now b/c she will NOT like me just showing up and embarassing her years down the road :P For the meal they had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and peas. I didnt take Rachel's stroller in so she sat on my lap and ate.. thankfully she did pretty good! Brooke sat across for all her "boyfriends" as she likes to call them, and they goofed off :P I told one of the little boy's moms that Brooke talks about him ALL the time!

After we ate Brooke asked her Grandma for icecream so she went up and bought her and Caleb some. A few of the kids didnt have their parents show up for the lunch and my mom bought them icecreams, too. I thought that was really sweet. I know not all parents can get there for lunches and other special school things and I always wonder if the kids feel left out, i hate that, but I totally understand.

The kids had also made special laminated placemats with a thanksgiving poem on them, and their painted handprint on it, looking like a turkey. They gave then out at the lunch. It was so cute, I already have it on the fridge. Im seriously going to run out of room for all of Brooke's artwork and stuff she does at school! Oh and she also got her school pictures back that day and I LOVED them... the outfit I picked out turned out nice in the picture and she smiled pretty :)

Rachel enjoying icecream with the big kids :)

Brooke and her best buddy, Malachi :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marriage Class

I will be the first to admit that for the past year Arnold and I have had some problems. Not anything that most people would call HUGE or that we wouldnt eventually be able to get through, but its been a tough year. After going thru what I did last summer, I havent been the same since.. I have dealt with all the anxiety and we've had bills upon bills, along with the stresses of having 3 young children, under the age of 5! Thats enough to make anyone crazy ;-)

Anyway, I truly believe everything happens for a reason and this is proof-- one day we were having a big fight and hadn't spoken the entire day. Later that afternoon my Sister-in-law called me and said that she had heard of a marriage class being held at Christ Church- the Fairgrove campus. I asked Arnold if he would attend with me and he agreed. The course was called "Marriage on the ROCK."

We started 2 weeks ago, on Wed night. We found out that we would have 5 weeks of classes, every Wed. night at 6:30. Thankfully my inlaws said they would watch the kids for us while we went, and im so greatful for that. We were pretty apprehensive the first night.. we actually ended up knowing 2 of the couples there, so that made us feel a little more at ease. Turns out the people teaching the class was a couple that attends that church, and said they felt called to teach this after going thru problems themselves, and overcoming them and now they are stronger than ever. They are doing it totally free of charge and say they do it seasonally. I think that is SO awesome. And ive felt so blessed to be a part of it!

The first class went great, there were about 11 other couples in the class. They said to clarify this class was for ANYONE married, whether you are right at the brink of divorce or if you are newly married and everything is "peachy." There were people ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s. The couple married the least amount of time-- just married 2 months! :) And the couple married the longest time-- 26 years! So that proves a marriage can use some "help" no matter what stage you are at.

Anyway, the first class we got to know everyone, then watched a video. We are doing a video series, and its by some well-known preacher although I cant remember his name for anything right now!! The video went over "The most important issue of Marriage"-- and that is putting GOD in the center of your marriage! They said that so many people dont invite God into their marriage, and thats why marriages fall so quickly to temptations and problems and often times lead to divorce. After the video we talked together in small groups, and we had a sheet of questions to go over at home w/ our spouse.. kindof like homework ;-) We left feeling REALLY good about this class, and couldnt wait to return the next week.

The 2nd class I actually invited a friend and her husband to join it, and they were able to come so I am happy about that :) The 2nd class we watched a humorous video first, while everyone ate (they started bringing food since it was so close to dinner time) And then we watched the regular video, and go our questions. It was running late this time so we didnt do small groups.

Last night was our 3rd class. By now it just feels natual going, we have already gotten close to some of the people there! Everyone seems to wecoming and supportive, its great. Anyway, Arnold and I usually eat ahead of time, but last night we didnt so we ate the subs and chips they had there. We then went thru all the videos and questions. We dove into some pretty sensitive subjects last night that made me blush! But hey, its all part of marriage ;-) Last night we covered "His Needs" and next week we are going to cover "Her Needs." The leaders of the group said that HER NEEDS was going to take a lot longer to go over! ;-) I loved the lesson though, because it really gave me new insight into my husbands mind and how he thinks and feels. I hope to start applying these things right away!

Before the class I thought that alot of the stuff would be "duh" but thats not true-- we have learned so so much. Arnold and i have been doing our "homework", talking more to one another, and havent argued all week! We have learned to really respect one another and care more about each others' needs. We have given alot up already to make more time for each other. I am serious when I say that this class (along with a few other things going on lately) have helped our marriage tremendously. It came to us at JUST the right time. we only have 2 more classes left and I will be sad to see the class end. By the way-- for anyone interested in the classes, they said they will probably do another one next year! Id highly recommend it! :)

Just Wanted to Share-- Arnie and I on our Wedding Day :)

Who's Reading???

Just thought it would be interesting to see who reads this, even if just occasionally! So if you are reading this now... could you comment and let me know? Thanks :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Girl's Night!!

I always love to spend time w/ my girls Joanne and Jackie :) We had planned a Girls-night awhile back but some things came up, so we re-scheduled for last night.

Joanne came and picked me up, thank GOODNESS because i hate hate hate driving in the rain! If anything is worse than my regular driving, its my driving in the rain :-/ So anyway, we stopped by the store on the way to get some cookies, and ended up getting to Jackies house a little past 6:00. We were going to watch the movie "Grown Ups" that recently came out on video, but they were all out, so we looked thru Jackie's HUGE selection of dvds and just randomly picked one. We ended up watching "Christmas with the Kranks" which Joanne hadnt seen before. Ive seen it several times but it was just as funny watching it again! It got me even more in the Christmas mood! I cant wait to put out our Christmas decorations now. I still cant get over that its mid-November already, thats just crazy.

Anyway, we watched the movie while eating pizza and cookies. Had a few laughs. Felt good just to relax and spend time with friends-- it always puts me in a good mood. Thanks to my wonderful husband who watched the kids last night! He fed them dinner, gave them baths, and had them put to bed before I even got home, how awesome is that?! I love him so much :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

These Boots are Made for Walking!

Rachel has her first pair of boots, and I just had to share! Yesterday when we went to church she wore one of her cousin Bekah's old dresses that she had passed down to her (the same one she wore to my wedding!!) And i decided to put her in her little boots :) She didnt seem to mind them, had to get used to walking in them, though :)

What is it Mom???

My Beautiful Girl :)

Room Decorating

Since we finally moved Rachel into Brooke's room recently we decided to re-decorate the room and try to make it look nice. We have been thru ALOT with that room! It has had to be re-done scveral times. It was an "ocean life" room when it was Brookes nursery, then we redid it with a flower/butterflies theme, and now it is a theme w/ owls, birds, flowers, etc. I found the toddler bedding at Target earlier in the year and LOVED it, so i got it for Brooke. At Brookes birthday she got the matching wall decals from her buddy Izzy :) So we decided to put them up when we finally got the room re-painted. When Brooke was going through the terrible 2's and 3's she loved to be mischevious and mess with things when she was supposed to be taking her nap. So I would on various days find stuff like the border being pulled off the wall, toys and books torn up, and one day I lost it when she had colored all over EVERYTHING, the walls, windows.. oh it was awful.

So anyway, we decided to put up the wall decals this past weekend. They did not stick very well, which sucks, because they are so cute! There was a tree to make, and some birds, owls, flowers, leaves, etc. There were also a few "woodland creatures" like squirrels and a hedgehog. We also put up Brooke Hello Kitty and Barbie posters, and the board holding all the girls' hairbows (which I had no idea how many they had until I started putting them on that board!! I love to buy girly stuff! :) We cleaned the room very well, swept, mopped, and moved the furniture around. We moved some of the girls' toys in there since the living room has become overrun by toys!!! I cant wait for the day when there are no toys in there anymore. Anyway, the girls seem to love their new room and are still doing pretty well sharing a room.. they still love to have their nightly "chat" before falling asleep :) I hope sharing a room will make them close.

Brooke w/ her Wall Decals

The Matching Bedding

Blog Award!

Checked out my friend Amanda's blog the other day and she had gotten her blog award and decided to honor me with the blog award! Thank you so much! I love writing about my kids, myself and my day-t0-day experiences :) Writing is very therapuetic to me.

Check out Amandas blog about her very first home

And the rule is you chose someone else to award, so I choose Kelly! She recently started a blog and its about every day experiences with your kids, and she really tells it how it is! No sugar-coating it for her! She is a "Gushy Mom" hater! ;-) I love reading it every time she makes a new post :) So Kelly, if you would post something on your blog and keep the award going please!! :)

Visit Kelly's Blog at

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kaitlyn's Minnie Mouse Party

Today we went to my friend Amy's daughter Kaitlyn's second birthday party! I cant believe she is 2 already, I still remember going to her 1st birthday party last year and I remember Rachel being a tiny baby back then, ah how time flies!

It was such nice weather today! couldnt ask for better weather for a party. We showed up a little late unfortunately. But we avoided the big line of people for the food, haha! They had hotdogs for lunch, and then we had cake, and it was SO good! Amy said a lady in Statesville made it, i might seriously have to think about using her for our next party. The theme of the party was Minnie Mouse, so thats what the cake was. Kait was so cute in her dress and minnie ears :) Amy had made Minnie Mouse cupcake pops, they were so cute. The kids had a great time playing outside on the swings, trampoline and bounce house. I got to see some people i hadnt seen in awhile, so thats always nice. They had a Minnie pinata and the kids got lots of goodies so they loved that :) Looks like Kait got a lot of nice gifts. All in all it was a great morning, and I want to thank Amy again for inviting us!!

Birthday Girl with her Cake

Hanging out on the Trampoline :)

Kids with the Pinata

2010 Christmas Card

Here is our 2010 Christmas Card! I am excited to get them in the mail sometime next week. Posted about it in my last blog, wanted to share!! :)

Procrastination and Christmas Shopping

I am a BIG TIME procrastinator, always have been. I was the student in school that would wait till the night before to write a paper or do a project. My parents hated that. To this day I will wait till last minute to do things.. sometimes it pays off though, I found Rachels halloween costume this year at the last minute for half off! (there was only one left so i was lucky!)

Anyway, christmas shopping is no exception. I usually wait till last minute. But this year I have got caught up with Deal-seeking.. its my new obsession. Through facebook and forums I am on, I have been lucky to find out about lots of good deals, anything from coupons, to discounts on stuff, to free shipping deals, and so on. So i have been ordering stuff online as I find good deals and I have gotten a LOT of my christmas shopping done already! I was shopping in October this year-- dont know if thats ever happened! I already found gifts for Brookes teachers, my parents and inlaws, my Sister-in-law, neice, and a bunch of things for the kids but Im not done shopping for them yet. I love finding packages sitting outside my house throughout the week and get to dig into them and see which gift came that day :) Not to mention thanks to my friend Sarah and a deal she shared I now have all my Christmas cards ordered and they will be shipped to me next week! :)

The other day I had heard about a deal they were doing at this store in Hickory, called Tuesday Morning. They had put a lot of their toys on sale, and this weekend they were doing a deal of 50% off the sale price too, and i went in and got a wooden playkitchen for $25!!!!!!!! The same one is around $100 on Amazon! That is probably my best deal to date. I was so so so excited! I had been wanting to get the kids a new playkitchen b/c the one they have is plastic and they are always tearing it up b/c its so easy for the little doors to come off. Anyway, the kitchen is in the back of the van and I have to figure out where to store it but I am excited that we will have that for Christmas morning! Arnold has to put it together but I know he wont mind b/c he loves doing stuff like that :) Speaking of storage space, I am running out of room for gifts in my bedroom closet!!!!! Yikes.

Darn You Ihop!

Most everyone knows that Im pretty shy and reserved as a person.. Ok so I may talk your head off if I know you pretty well and feel comfortable around you, but for the most part Im calm, quiet and try to keep the peace.

Anyway, Thursday night we had to go to Kohls so we went to dinner at Ihop before. We used to go there a lot b/c we really like the food but havent gone lately because we realized its pretty expensive when you add in drinks and kids meals.. the kids are eating a lot more these days! :P

So we went in, got seated and everything was ok. Took awhile to get a waitress. Finally got our orders in and drinks. Thats when the bad service started. We ended up waiting 40 minutes for food! and it was simple stuff that shouldnt have taken anywhere near that long to prepare. They didnt even bring the kids' food out first.. so they were getting very grumpy and starting to whine and everyone was looking at us. I hate times like that when everyone shoots you the look like "calm down your kid" and you just cant because you've tried everything-- even to the point where your 16 mo old just ate a crayon but you looked the other way because it kept her quiet for 5 minutes (haha, i didnt know she had eaten some until after she did it, but at least its non-toxic!) We finally got our food and realized that we didnt have any silverware. Arnold was also missing his fries b/c they had decided to put onion rings on his plate instead, which he hates, so he wouldnt have taken them anyway! Not to mention Arnold hadnt gotten his drink refilled the whole time we had been seated.

I kept telling Arnold that we needed to say something but he wanted to lay low and "not cause a scene." But i couldnt stand the thought of paying nearly $30 for a meal there after that kind of service. So i went up to the desk, and talked to the manager. I was fired up and angry but of course when i got there to him became nervous and got my famous nervous rash, where i break out in red rashes all over my chest (I hate my rash, btw, it showed up in my wedding pics and i will forever remember how much i was shaking that day! it gets so bad that drs have asked me if i was having an allergic reaction! its not pretty!) Anyway, i talked to him and told him how horrible the service was, and he apologized and went off to talk to our waitress. She came and apologized and we ended up getting $8 off our meal! Not too bad, if i do say so myself. I am proud I didnt just sit there and "take it" when i was so unhappy.

I know a lot of people will think "big deal" over this but hey, its a big deal to me! A year ago i would never have had the nerve to talk to the manager. I guess I am growing up :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rachel's 1st Night in her Room

We FINALLY got around to putting Rachel and Brooke in the same bedroom. We had decided a long time ago when I was pregnant that the girls would share a room. We only have 3 bedrooms, so we knew theyd have to anyway. For awhile Rachel slept in her bassinet, then after that we kindof concocted a redneck bedroom in the hallway, with roomdividers and a pack-n-play, haha and thats where Rachel has been sleeping for the past several months. We had been working on cleaning out Brookes room and getting it re-decorated. Arnold painted the walls pink and my friend Natalie got her the wall decals at Target for her bday that match the new bedding we got Brooke. It has owls, birds, mushrooms, stuff like that. Anyway, its really cute! We havent finished the room but we decided to go ahead and move Rachel in anyway. When we first put her in the crib she looked really uspet and worried but she had stopped crying by the time we left the room. We kept the door cracked and from the living room Arnold and I could hear Rachel and Brooke "talking" to each other, it was really sweet :) Brooke really kept her entertained. I was afraid theyd never go to bed, but Arnold checked on them later and they were both fast asleep! AND rachel slept the whole night! So Id call that a success! I just hope it keeps up. This is wonderful so far b/c now we can clean the hallway out!

Please dont leave me!!!

Is this her way of flipping me off?! I guess ill never know

Maybe this wont be so bad...

Had to get one of Brooke too :)

Fall Photo Shoot

The other day we were outside playing, it was nice weather and a relaxing weekend day. I told Arnold to take the camera and start taking random shots, which he did.. and he took ALOT! this is only a few, some of my favorites. I know i take way too many pictures but i love to get lots of shots of the kids because they change so much, so fast! We have been wanting to go get professional fall pics done of the family, since we havent had a family pic done since last year! :( But we havent been able to yet. At least I have these, which capture the kids having fun this fall :) And if you wonder why i never have as many pics of Brooke and Caleb as Rachel, its because they wont sit/stand still long enough for me to take them! Im sure Rachel will go thru that stage soon enough.. she already starts to sometimes give me dirty looks when I bring the camera out :P

My favorite!

School Picture Day

Brooke had school picture day last week. It was her first ever school pictures! We had to pre-pay so I hope the pictures turn out ok. I asked her if she smiled pretty and she said yes. she even re-created the smile for me :P I cant wait to get the pictures back! Heres the outfit she wore for the pics. She got the sweater for her bday from her Aunt Beth. And she wore a Hello Kitty bow that a friend of mine made her for her birthday, although you cant really see it in the pic!

My big 4-Year Old :)

At least the shoes dont show, they didnt match!

Weekly Walking Group!

I dont quite remember how this got started, but a few friends and I have started a weekly walking group at our local mall. Every wed. morning at 9:30 we meet up in the foodcourt and walk several laps around the mall. Its good exercise! Especially in the cooler weather when you dont tend to always get as much exercise. Its so nice to get out of the house, and just be with the girls. Girl-time is the best! Im able to actually talk to adults! Small thing but makes a big difference when you are a Stay-at-Home-Mom! There are a few of us who make it just about every single week, and since we started we have added on some new people. Its funny because we start to take up the whole aisle and sometimes the older people who do their mall walking get frustrated with us and try to shove by :P Along with the walking also comes shopping of course. We sometimes stop into stores to look or buy things. Caleb HATES this part.. haha, typical guy i guess. Then we usually end up at the play area they have for kids, at the end. Now that Rachel is walking, she loves to play in there with the big kids.. its so cute! Lets hope they dont catch some kind of nasty sickness in there though, because that place is probably crawling with germs! Anyway, I love doing this every week and im glad we came up with the idea! I look forward to wed. mornings now, and im not even a morning person! :)

Connor and Rach cruising in their Strollers :)

Big Halloween Party!!

Some of you might remember the big Halloween party I threw last year. Well i wanted to have another one this year but arnold hates parties with a passion so i told him I would make it small. Then my friend Jamie asked me if I wanted to throw the party together. We have a lot of the same friends so it worked out well. And of course the party list kept growing and growing, haha! But we had a lot of fun planning it, and Id say it was a pretty good success. We had lots of food and desserts, thanks to Jamies cooking skills! I cant cook so im glad she stepped in on that part ;-) Jamie made little goody bags for the kids that looked like tombstones. And i made ghost lollipops. We had halloween music playing, and all the kids dressed up, it was cute to see them all! They decorated mini pumpkins, which seemed to be a big hit. We then played a game called Mummy race-- the kids used rolls of toilet paper to see who could wrap one kid up the fastest! It was funny to watch. We didnt think that one through though, the kids made quite the mess with that TP after the game!

All in all id say it was a really fun night, and Im glad we decided to have it. As for Arnold? I told him he didnt have to show up, but you know he did.. he cant stay away from the awesomeness of the parties ;-)

There were several Bumblebees there :)

Halloween 2010!

We had a wonderful and busy Halloween weekend! On Friday night my friend and I threw a party for a lot of our friends and their kids. Then saturday evening our church had their Trunk or Treat and Fall Festival. We had always taken the kids but never participated so we decided to do a trunk this year. It was fun handing out candy to all the kids. They also had carnival games which the kids loved playing, and a chili contest. Im not sure who's I ate but it was really good! :) I had a lot of friends show up that I had invited, so that was great. I was worried about it being really cold that evening, but it wasnt too bad at all!

Then sunday evening we took the kids out again. First we went to my parents' church, and they had a festival and trunk or treat also. They played more games, got their faces painted, and did the cake walk, which Brooke won! :) Then we stopped by my good friend Jess' place so the kids could see her and get some candy :) And lastly we went over to my parents' house and had dinner with them. Its become a yearly tradition for us to go to their house and have dinner after all the Halloween festivities.

Anyway, this year I had a Princess, a Lion, and a Bumblee! Didnt get Rachels costume till last minute b/c I couldnt make up my mind about what i wanted her to be, everything was so cute! Then i saw a Bumblebee costume at Oldnavy one night for 50% off and so I knew it was meant to be ;-) LOL that sounds like a joke. Anyway, we ran by Walmart the other day to see if they had any Halloween stuff left on clearance and was able to score Caleb a Transformer costume for next year, for only $1.80! I love deals like that. So lets hope hes into Transformers next year!

My baby Bumblebee! :)

My ferocious lion :)

My princess :)

My neice, the Bunny

Church Trunk or Treat