Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve 2011! That morning I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.. cinnamon buns for Christmas morning, which Brooke had specifically requested, and reindeer cookies to make for Santa. Then around lunchtime we went over to Arnold's parents' house. We always go over there and have a big Christmas lunch. I got the kids their plates, then I was the first one of the adults to get my plate.. yep Im a big pig! ;) We had ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, green beans, rolls, teas, and all kinds of desserts! Yum Yum. The kids were so restless, they kept bugging us the whole time if it was time to open presents yet. Finally after we had gotten everything cleaned up we started to pass out presents. Brookes big gift was a Leappad. She was sooo excited! She also got some Daisy Girl Scouts clothes from her Aunt Jenn. Calebs big gift was Star Wars fighter ships and a Star Wars helmet. Rachels big gift was a dollhouse, which ALL the kids loved! And she also got a Cailliou toy and lots of Cailliou dvds, and a sleepytime Dora.. so she was in heaven! I got a sterling silver cross necklace from my inlaws, a robe, and a shirt. Was so sweet. The grandparents loved all their gifts, especially the photo calander and photo books. The kids ended up with so much stuff that I had to take all of it home before I came back to pick them up! I couldnt IMAGINE having any more kids! Our house is already filled to the brim with stuff!

That evening we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church. They had cookies and coffee set out for everyone :) It was basically the same service as the one we had went to on WEd. evening, but it was nice to hear our own preachers's spin on it. We sang a lot of Christmas songs, had communion, and at the end we did the candle lighting. Its always so beautiful!

On the way home we got some Wendys for dinner (what an awesome Christmas dinner, right?!) When we got home we got the kids into their pjs and read some Christmas stories. Then we made the Christmas cookies for Santa (after tasting some for ourselves! :) After we put the kids to bed, Arnold and I stayed up late putting all their toys together. It took forever! Im so glad Arnold was there to help, I would have NEVER gotten it done. But when it was all set out and I saw everything I was so excited for the morning, when the kids would run in and see it all :) Im surprised I got any sleep that night.. Im as bad as the kids! ;)

On Christmas Eve Arnold found my glasses! we joked that it was a Christmas MIRACLE! They had been missing since September! wow... I can see again!! ;)

All the kids' gifts laid out
Arnold and I at his parents' house

Friday, December 23, 2011

What I love about Christmas!

Picking out a new ornament every year, for every family member! I love adding to our tree and having memories. This year I got Brooke a Hello Kitty, and Caleb picked out some blue snowflakes, and I got a butterfly, and Rachel got a flower. I honestly cant remember what Arnold got! I also bought another one when the Christmas stuff went on clearance, a "Big Sister" one for Brooke. Too cute.

Christmas music is the best! Especially the Trans-Siberian Orchestra! we have seen them in concert a few times, and I play their cds in my van all of December (and usually in November too!) I also love all the traditional songs too.. my fave is Joy to the World. I also love Little Drummer Boy. And Silent Night always gets to me, I was tearing up in church the other night when they sang that one!

Of course presents aren't the main point of Christmas, but I of course love the shopping! I love giving people gifts more than getting them, seriously! I love picking out stuff for people. I did a lot of online shopping this year, made it way too easy ;) I love the excitement building up and waiting on the kids to see their gifts on Christmas morning. They werent kidding when they said Christmas would become all about the kids. We shop and shop for the kids and Arnold and I really dont do much for each other anymore, usually just stocking stuffers. But its so fun!

All the family get togethers! We get to see some family that we don't really get to see much at all, on my mom's side. And we do a lunch with Arnold's family on Christmas Eve where his mom cooks all this yummy food. We also have a tradition of having lasanga for dinner at my mom and dad's house over Christmas. Mom makes the most awesome lasanga, and I will take it whenever I can get it! I now request it on my birthday and Christmas (at least!) The kids love getting to see their grandparents and cousins, and aunt and uncles. And we always end up coming home with SO MUCH STUFF I literally dont know where to put it all and get overwhelmed!

Elf on the Shelf is a new tradition we started this year. Glad I decided to buy it on that trip to Charleston! The kids have enjoyed finding "Bob" every morning, and get a kick out of his craziness. He has also left them a few surprises along the way. They are a little sad about him having to go back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, but I just reminded them that SANTA was coming then, so I think they are ok with it ;) And I said of course he will return next year if they are good! :)

Christmas cookies! Who could resist?! The kids and I made a batch earlier in the week to kick off their vacation. We almost ate the whole pan right then and there.. so yummy! We will also be cooking more for Santa (and a few for us!) on Christmas Eve.

Getting Christmas cards. I have ALWAYS loved getting mail since I was younger. So its nice to go to the mailbox and get something other than bills at this time of year. I especially love the photo cards that people send. I save all my cards, I am so sentimental. Its cool to look back on things going on in years past. We send out a photo card every year too, usually features a recent picture of the KIDS! :)

Dressing the kids up in cute "Christmasy" clothes. I always get the kids a few Christmas shirts to wear during the season, and the girls get a Christmas dress to wear to church. I am big on bows, and a friend of mine made Brooke a few Christmas bows to wear this year. They are so cute! I love homeade bows the best :)

Watching Christmas movies! I love it! I usually set aside a Saturday and watch several of them. Havent done that this year, not sure why.. maybe we were busier than in past years?! The one that HAS to be seen every year is "A Muppet Christmas Carol." Some of our other faves are "Christmas Story," "Charlie Brown Christmas," "Elf," and "Home Alone."

Christmas candles and other Christmas scents. I love the scents like apple cinnamon, peppermint, and vanilla sugar. I especially love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree!

Along with all that online shopping towards the end of the year comes with lots of packages being delivered to the house. Its exciting going outside every day and seeing if something new has arrived. It was at the point one week where it seemed like Arnold was bringing in stuff every day (oops ;) I think they got to know our house very well this year ;) And it was easier than shopping in the crowds.. I'll have to remember that for next year! And the kids have been introduced to BUBBLE WRAP! They love to pop the stuff that comes in my boxes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

~Im loving that Arnold gets paid tomorrow. We missed him when he worked so much last week, but all the overtime will be nice! ;)

~I'm loving watching Rachel and Makenzie together. Today they played at the mall. Rachel kept laying all over her, hugging her and saying I LOVE YOU! I hope they remain friends!

~I'm loving that last night I was able to celebrate Joanne's bday with her and some other great friends. We went to Chilis for dinner (totally kid-free!!!) We even had a coupon for a free appetizer. Love you Joanne, you are so old now! ;)

~I'm loving that I was able to RACK our waiter last night. With my bill I only technically owed him $2 as a tip, but I decided to leave extra so he got a $7 tip! I wrote a small note on the receipt that said thanks for his service at our Girls' night, and Merry Christmas. Hope that brightened his night a little! :)

~I'm loving that Babies R Us had all their clearance stuff on sale for an additional % off. I got Rachel a pair of cute sandals for Spring, for $3! Can't beat that, usually used shoes are more than that! I got a 9, hope thats the right sizing for then (shes in an 8 now) I also got some bubble bath for the kids' stockings.

~I'm loving that Arnold surprised me and told me he'd be off of work on Friday! I thought he had to work the WHOLE week. But everyone at his work gets that day off anyway, since Christmas falls on a weekend this year. So we will have a fun family day. The kids are expecting us to take them to Chuck E Cheese ;)

~I'm loving that we decided to finally go ahead and let Brooke get her ears pierced as part of her Christmas present. She is a tough girl, I know she will do well. She has been bugging us about it forever. I cant wait to buy her all the cute earrings like my Grandma and Mom used to do for me!

~I'm loving that I finally figured out what was "wrong" with my facebook. Thanks to my friend Karla! ;) I had my statuses set to private, so no one was able to see them for several days! I was feeling paranoid like no one was talking to me! It was insane.. Arnold said I was crazy, which I am... but I am BACK! Hahahaha ;)

~I'm loving that tonight we are going to a PRE Christmas service at church. It is for all the people that are going out of town or not able to go to church that day for some reason. Since I know that day will be crazy busy anyway, we decided to go tonight. Looking forward to it :)

~I'm loving that our Elf "Bob" was sitting on a stack of kids' books and "reading" a Christmas story when the kids found him this morning. You know my Elf, he has to love to read! ;) THe kids loved it, and Rachel always says SILLY BOB!!! when she finds him every morning ;) He will probably be bringing them a few more surprises in the days leading up to Christmas.

~I'm loving that the weather is pretty warm for December. I know it doesnt FEEL right outside, but at least its not snowing! Im one of those crazy people who doesnt care for snow! (dont hate me!!) Since the kids saw it snow last year, I think they expect snow on Christmas every year. Poor kids, dont they know they live in the South?? :(

~Im loving getting to hang out with Arnold after the kids go to bed. The other night we laid on the couch and watched "Dirty Dancing." Isnt he sweet to watch that with me?! I could watch it over and over. I was singing along with the songs and made him dance with me during the music in the end credits. I hope no one saw in our window that night--- embarassing!!!! ;)

~Im loving that I got to take the kids to see their paw and daddy at work today during lunch. Usually the big kids dont get to go since they were at school. We got kids meals from Mcdonalds, and they just put out toys from the new Chipmunks movie! Love those crazy Chipmunks, and cant wait to see the movie!! :)

~I'm loving that Christmas is only FOUR days away! (you knew I'd have to throw something like that in there, right? ;) I love how excited the kids are getting over the countdown and anticipation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things I've Learned Recently

~I've learned that is not a smart idea to take a whiny toddler into Best Buy. She will just try to run away from you, and then knock a whole display of Wii games down :-x

~I've learned that you can be nice all you want to people, sometimes certain people are just going to walk all over you, and try to blame you for their problems. Its not worth getting too upset over. You can't control everything.

~I've learned that I am way too old apparently to be playing Just Dance games. I end up sore afterwards. I sometimes accidentally do splits. And yes, I've fallen down ;)

~I've learned that its so fun to do Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. The other day Rachel and I were picking up some food from Taco Bell to take with us when we had lunch with Arnold at work. We decided to pay for the person behind us in the drive-thru line. I know the person behind us was totally surprised when they found out they didnt have to pay for their lunch that day. I was smiling the whole way to Arnold's work. I do admit that I worried a tiny bit that the person behind me would be ordering a huge lunch (like for everyone at the office) and it would be lots of $$$$. But of course it didnt end up that way ;)

~I have learned that I would NEVER want to be a single mom. I dont see how they do it. Arnold worked so much overtime last week that we hardly saw him. When he was home, he was usually sleeping. I didnt have any relief from the kids. I realize now REALLY how much he does to help out!

~I've learned that I take WAY too many pictures. The kids are used to it. Rachel actually posed for me the other day at the park. I was cracking up!

~I've learned that Arnold is still a BIG kid at heart. He has been begging me for us to open the Wii early so we can play it. He says that we can always "put it back in the box and the kids will never know!" I told him thats not fair and that we need to wait until Christmas, and it will be so much more special then. I feel like SUCH a mom saying that!

~I've learned that I don't mind bluegrass music anymore. They had a bluegrass band Sunday morning at church (they are always doing different kinds of music, the church is very modern!) And I loved it, they were awesome!!!

~I've learned that Carolina Theaters is a great place to have a kids' party! I've actually NEVER been there to see a movie. But when I saw how the place was with paries when we went for my neice's bday, I figured it would be a great place to consider next year for Brooke or Caleb. They even are reasonable on their rates!

~I've learned that the "no food in the living room" is a good rule to have ALL year round. We have been using that rule until Christmas so we would keep our carpets clean. But I love it so much I think we may have to use it all year!

~I've learned that teachers LOVE to feel appreciated. Along with the kids' teachers' Christmas gifts this year, I wrote them each a personal letter thanking them for all they do with our kids. And even being patient with me, as I forget a lot of things sometimes ;) I even typed them out on cute Christmas stationary that I got Arnold to load in the printer for me. Caleb's teacher personally thanked me for the gift AND the letter that afternoon in the car-rider line :)

~I've learned that I am a little addicted to Facebook. Ok, a lot. I feel the need to check it first thing in the morning, and several times a day. I'd love to take a break from it sometime and just go several days without it and see how much I can get done around here because you KNOW its a big time waster!

~I've learned that the kids are dying to know and learn things about God and Jesus. We have started doing nightly devotionals before we go to bed. They love asking questions, and they absolutely love their classes at church. It makes me feel so good inside to watch them. Even Rachel says things like I LOVE JESUS!! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Review- Just 1 week til Christmas!!

This weekend was jam-packed with stuff to do.. how i like it! ;)

Friday evening we had our traditional yearly Girls' christmas party. It was Joanne, Erika, Jackie and I. We did it at Joanne's house this year, and brought the kids with us. We usually don't but thought it would be good this year. Thankfully the kids spent most of the evening playing in the playroom, but it was CRAZY. There were fights, crying, tantrums, you name it. We ended up with 9 kids there! just from us! Anyway, we had all brought snack foods and ate first thing. Everything from pizza, chicken nuggets, cupcakes, cookies, chips, pretzels, etc. I ended up eating 3 cupcakes (hey, I start my diet AFTER Christmas, ok?! Don't judge! ;) Then the girls played JUST DANCE 2 which Joanne had gotten recently. It was so fun, had some great songs on it! We got Erika to play with us this time..she did pretty good ;) The sugar from all the cupcakes really started to affect me, and I was going crazy. At one point Ben was actually jumping up and down and waving his arms frantically in his jumperoo, while he was watching me! ;) I ended up accidentally doing a split in one of the songs and fell backwards, hurting my back. I guess I am way too old for that game! All the kids were standing around me making sure I was ok. awwww... they were concerned about me! ;)

After the game we opened up presents. I loved everything I got, i have some sweet friends! Makenzie loved the toy I got her, I guess I picked a good one! She was way into it the rest of the evening. Will have to remember that toy for other friends' kids for bdays, etc. Erika's daughter Katelyn and I were picking around and she accidentally kicked me in the jaw! it actually shifted my jaw over some and it was really hurting. Well these wonderful friends of mine were CRACKING up laughing at me. Hmmmm... should I be offended?! Haha, I know it was funny, I just didnt see it at the moment when I was in pain! At least they ran and got me some ice to put on it after that. I dont know how I ended up getting hurt TWICE that night.. it was just a nice little Christmas party! leave it to me! ;) We ended up staying out till 9pm which was late for the kids, I could tell they were getting exhausted. While all this was going on, Arnold went out with his good friend Brian. They went to dinner and had some beers. He got home in a great mood.. I could tell he was thankful for the night out! He has been working so much overtime lately and really needed it. He even put the kids to bed for me when we go home and let me go to bed early... so sweet! :)

Saturday morning Arnold had to go into work at 4am! He usually doesnt work on Saturdays but he has had a lot of work to do. So the kids and I went to a Breakfast with Santa at a friend's church. Thankfully Mom met me there and helped me with the kids. We had pancakes, eggs, bacon, livermush and milk and juice. Then the kids did some crafts.. they made ornaments and sticker nativities. There was a glitter explosion during the ornament-making and that made quite a mess! Then a girl there read all the kids a Christmas story. Eventually Santa came in! He was a great-looking Santa. He even brought Mrs. Claus with him! Rachel ran right up to him and said HI! The big kids got their picture with them on their lap, but Rachel wouldnt do it. Oh well, at least I got some cute pics! When we left the kids got goody bags with candy and some other little things. That church has some awesome kids' programs, we have really enjoyed going there on occasion!

That afternoon we had an early Christmas get-together at my Grandpa's house. My cousin came into town, with her new husband (they just got married back in September-- that was the Charleston wedding I went to!) It was great getting to see them and chat some. Arnold went but was exhausted from going to work so early, so he actually spent the get-together asleep on the couch.. poor guy! We opened some gifts while we were there. I got a Thirty One organizer in black and white (very cute) and a few other things. And the kids got some giftcards to Walmart and some bath paints. They had to try them out as soon as we got home.. of course. They loved painting themselves green! To them, that is the coolest thing ever! ;) Anyway, we had lots of good family time and Im glad we got to go.

Sunday morning Arnold cooked everyone a big breakfast (he has been so sweet!) He ended up with 58 hrs this past week at work!! We havent gotten to see him that much so we were happy to spend the whole day with him! We went to church and it was a great service.. the music this week was a bluegrass band! They were awesome! Arnold especially liked it b/c thats "his thing." He got way into it, so cute. They did some good Christmas tunes. Left church in a great mood! Then that afternoon we went to a local theater for my neice Rebekah's 7th bday party. She had the "party part" before where we had cupcakes, snacks, and watched her open presents. She got a lot of neat stuff, including LITTLEST PET SHOP WALKABLES. Yes, did you know that they can WALK now?! I need to get some of those (AHEM I mean brooke needs some ;) The party was all of them watching a movie.. they saw "Dolphin Tale." The kids had actually already seen that with their Grandma, but it was a good movie and they were ready to see it again. Meanwhile, Arnold and I took Rachel to do some grocery shopping. We ended up picking up some christmas cookies to make this week with the kids, and Arnold picked out some Hot chocolate packs, complete with mini colored marshmellows! (he is a big kid at heart!) We were planning to use them when we take the kids to see the Christmas lights tonight. We have taken them for the past several years and they love it (and we do too!)

This week the kids are officially on Christmas break. I hope I dont lose my sanity! Arnold will still be working this week, so Im on my own. Wish me luck!!!!!

Girl's Christmas Party

All the kidsBrooke with Santa
My cousin Stephanie and I

My neice Bekah at her bday party

Thursday, December 15, 2011

At the Park (and small photo shoot!)

Could everyone get over the weather today?! It was in the upper 60s, warm, and sunny. In December! I LOVE the warm weather, don't get me wrong. Actually, I wish it would stay around 70 degrees all year long-- that would be perfect in my book! But with Christmas being only 10 days away, it did NOT feel like it at all. Really messes with my head when the weather is unusually warm or cold for a certain time of year. But anyway!

Since it was so nice, Rachel and I decided to go to the park near our house. Actually, it was a VERY last minute thing. We went to pick up some chicken and first had a picnic. There was hardly ANYONE there at all. The park is huge, and I feel sort of out in the middle of nowhere when I am there, so it felt a little eery. I was like oh boy, if something were to happen to Rachel and I no one would even know! (not to be weird but I was a little paranoid for a minute or two until I saw a few more people walking on the trail!!!) Im so glad we decided to go. I always have SO much more energy when I spend time outside in the sunshine! And of course Rachel loves it too.. she is a kid after all!

We started out on the playground meant for the little kids. She went on the swings for awhile. Love her big grin whenever she is on a swing..such sweetness and innocence! I got on the swings too.. I always do when we go.. one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid! Then put Rachel on my lap and we slid down together! Usually its Arnold who does that with her, so I got the change to this time :) Although her leg got caught underneath mine and twisted it on the way down.. I felt sooo bad. She was crying... but she felt better soon. Im so glad I didnt hurt it seriously!

Eventually I asked her if she wanted to take a walk. I thought there was a small chance we'd make it around the track (great exercise!) but Rachel kept getting distracted by things. So we only got a litle bit of walking in, but it was all good! WE made our way over to the big kids' playground. She climbed up and played with the steering wheel thing. Then she wanted to play in the sand. I let her be for awhile and sat there and talked on the phone w/ Arnold while he was on his lunch break. I looked over and saw Rachel eating sand. Actually stuffing handfuls of it in her mouth and EATING it. I ran up to her and she was making crunching sounds... soo gross! I dont know WHY she was eating that! I had JUST given her lunch.. geez. Silly kid. I asked her if she was low on iron or something ;) (I DO have low iron and occasionally like to crunch on ice but thats it!) And when I asked her what she had to say for herself she said "MMMM! Sand was gooood!" :-/ *sigh!*

After awhile we decided it was time to go on home. Rachel didnt feel like walking all the way back to the van so I had to carry her all the way. (reminds me of just a few days ago at the parade!) Got another workout, but sure Im going to be sore tomorrow! It was a fun afternoon.. so glad we went. Love our mommy/daughter bonding time while the big kids are at school!!! :) :)

And here are a few pics I took of her while we were there.... she was smily today! :)

She wouldn't look at the camera!

My beautiful girl!

Playing in the sand. before eating it.

She actually posed for this. Oops, I guess I take too many pics and shes used to it! ;)

Walking down the trail

So happy to be outside playing!

Upclose! Isnt her shirt cute? Target special ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recent Good Stuff!

~Today is sunny! It is so beautiful out!

~Brooke is reading! Little books, random words-- so proud of her!

~Got 95% of all our Christmas gifts wrapped last night!

~Got a great night's sleep last night. Never know when that is going to happen!

~Found our 2 dogs Oreo and Pepper snuggled together last night in ONE of their dog houses. It has been so cold lately! Wish we could bring them in, but they usually fight with each other :(

~The kids love their Aunt Jenn so much! She came by last night for a few minutes. The kids went crazy. Brooke has NO voice volume (wonder where she gets that from?! haha)

~This morning we woke up SO SO late. With Arnold's help we were able to get both kids ready and still to school on time! we rock!!

~Yesterday I bought Caleb a dragon pillow pet on Amazon! It was a 9.99 lightning deal and came with a book too! Darn you Amazon! I am supposed to be DONE with my shopping! (but he will love it!)

~Got to see one of my besties yesterday. The kids had a playdate. They shared their stuffed monkeys. And yes, Rachel had Chick Fila :)

~Brooke is becoming so girly and I love it! She asks me to go shopping. We spend lots of time together. And I paint her nails just about every week. Right now she has pink toes and green fingernails (she asked for that!!)

~People have actually been NICE alot lately. Sometimes the Christmas season brings out the bad in people. But I've seen a lot of nice gestures lately.. including people opening doors, sharing coupons, doing Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, etc. I love it! Spread the love! :) :)

**Have to add a few NOT-SO-GOOD things from lately (not to be a downer!!)

~Rachel broke one of her MAX AND RUBY dvds. Darn. She loves that dvd.

~Caleb is still having accidents in his underwear! Grrrrr. Its frustrating.

~The dogs got loose and spread trash all over the yard. That I had to pick up. In the freezing cold yesterday morning!

~I am so overwhelmed lately thinking of all the families that wont be able to really have a Christmas this year. I have tried to help out in ways that I can.

~Brooke's teacher basically asked us not to send in gifts for them! I already bought her gift and was excited about giving it to her. What to do....?

~Sometimes I seriously dont know where I stand with some people. I know that is my self-consious nature coming out bigtime. Wish I didnt worry so much :(

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Review!

Friday we rented a Rug Dr from the grocery store to clean our carpets. It had been awhile and they needed it soo badly.. especially with Christmas coming up. We got the living room done, the halls, and some miscellaneous rugs. The living room is now looking GREAT (with the exception of a few really bad spots that only lightened instead of coming up all the way) but I love it. I am now being really strict with the kids, and telling them NO food, and NO shoes in the living room!

Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate Arnold's 30th bday. I know its not technically until New Year's, but this month is so slammed that we needed to do it early. It started out as a surprise, but with several things that happened and the fact that Im HORRIBLE at keeping surprises, Arnold found out :( Oh well, he didnt mind! My mom said she would watch ALL 3 kids ALL night so we were so excited to have a night to ourselves. We went to dinner at Ocharleys, and it was good as usual, and then had cake... one of my friends had made Arnold a guitar cake! It was so cute, and tasted great too! We were planning on either going to the movies to see "Tower Heist" or going to a friend's house after to play games, but Arnold's stomach started hurting towards the end of dinner. He is mildly lactose intolerant, and he had eaten dairy products at his work Christmas party earlier that day. Ugggh, I told him he couldnt keep doing that! He doesnt want to give the stuff up, but he ALWAYS ends up sick after! So we had to go home, and we ended up going to bed before 10pm! So much for our date night! At least I got to sleep in the next morning ;)

Saturday afternoon Arnold headed out with his dad and uncle to go to Christmas Jam. It is an all-night concert in Asheville that takes place every year, and several bands show up. He has gone several years, but stopped going really once we had kids. But this year I told his dad to go ahead and take him, so he did that for him for Christmas. Needless to say, Arnold was so happy :) They went to the concert, stopped for breakfast on the way home, and ended up not getting home until 5am. So yeah... Arnold was TIRED all day Sunday. He is too old to be going to things like that anymore.. thats what I told him anyway! ;)

Meanwhile, Saturday afternoon Brooke was going to be in the Christmas Parade with her girl scout troop. First off we were almost late because I had stopped by the church for my Sister in Law to pick up their flag for them to carry. Then I had to try and lead the 3 kids across two lanes of traffic by myself.. then walk up a hill. I ended up falling in a random hole and fell to the ground and turned my ankle. At first I was most worried if anyone saw me.. that was so embarassing! then we had to walk ALL the way to our spot in the parade, which was waaay up there. I was supposed to meet my parents there but couldnt find them, so I had to take Caleb and Rachel with me and walk with them in the parade. Rachel ended up begging me to carry her the WHOLE TIME and my back was killing me. Caleb was complaining, whining, and crying just about the whole time. And I was close to tears myself because I was so incredibly stressed and tired. We ended up walking about a whole hour. When we got done all I wanted to do was fall over. My arms and legs ached. Carrying a 34lb toddler that far is NOT fun! I drove the kids over to mom and dad's and we had dinner there since Arnold was gone. They ended up letting me lay on the couch for awhile and rest.. thank goodness for them!!!!

Sunday morning I got up and went to the early service to work in Boxcar Babies. I got to watch my daughter's friend Kenzie. She was so sweet, wanting me to walk around with her everywhere and play. Then another friend brought her baby son in, and I got to rock him and he ended up burying his head in my chest and trying to go to sleep. I was in LOVE. Oh my goodness.. I did not want to give him back up when it was time to go (but they made me! ;) I am loving working in there! Then Arnold brought the kids and they showed up for the later service (yes Arnold showed up on 2 hrs of sleep!!! couldnt believe it!!) Dont know how much of the service he actually remembers though ;)

Sunday afternoon I took Brooke to her friend Katelyn's birthday party at the Science Center. (Caleb and Rach stayed at home while Arnold tried to nap) While she was at the party, my friends Jackie and Joanne and I went out shopping. We went to Kohls and Target (the usual spots! ;) And I actually didnt buy anything in Target (although you know I wanted to!) But I did pick up a few things in Kohls for some families we are helping out with our Lifegroup, for Christmas. Then that evening Arnold and I took the kids to Village Inn for dinner. He had gotten a giftcard for his bday to there (his all-time fave restaurant of all time!) Then we stopped by Ritas (we had to-- it was RIGHT THERE haha) And I tried yet another new flavor-- Island fusion! It was pretty good! I will never get tired of that place! Then after putting the kids to bed last night, Arnold fell asleep really early. I knew he would.. Im surprised he lasted as long as he did!!

Thumbs up to Island Fusion Italian Ice ;)

Brooke and her Aunt Jenn at the Parade

Brooke doing a craft at the Birthday Party

Arnold and I at his bday dinner


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

~I'm loving that its a rainy day and I feel the excuse to stay in and do nothing ;)

~I love that I went almost the whole day yesterday without caffeine (but it was really, really hard!)

~I love that we were able to go to Brooke and Caleb's school bookfair Mon. night and pick out new books for everyone! So fun!

~I love that my kids are so easy (and cheap) to please! $1 cones from Mcdonalds make them pretty excited ;)

~I'm loving that I got 8 solid hours of sleep last night

~I'm loving the new book I've started reading. "Heart of the Matter" by E. Giffin

~I love that we are getting our carpets cleaned this weekend. The living room needs it badly! Then the kids aren't allowed in there anymore! ;)

~I love that we are hosting our family Christmas party this year (with Arnold's side of the family). It makes me want to decorate even more, and keeps me motivated to keep up our "de-cluttering" of the house!

~I love that my mom agreed to watch all 3 kids overnight on Friday! Arnold and I get a REAL date! We are going to squeeze every minute out of that date!

~I love all the boxes that keep arriving at my house, and looking at everything I've bought for gifts for everyone! (although Im sure the bank account doesnt!) ;)

~I love that our Layaway at Toys R Us will be payed off as of tomorrow! I cant wait until we all play our new Wii on Christmas morning!

~I love that I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends. They are so supportive and fun to be with.. they are just amazing all around! :)

~I love that my sweet hubby will be 30 in less than a month. I will be married to an old man! ;) (not to offend anyone older than 30, haha!!!!!! I just pick on him ;)

~I love that Brooke's progress report that was sent home yesterday was awesome! She got all S's (satisfactory) and is doing so good. The academics are definately all good, but the talking and paying attention could stand a little work ;)

~I am loving that tonight is Lifegroup! I look forward to this every week. I felt lost last week when we weren't able to go!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recent Randoms!

~Another recent purchase from the online yardsale-- A desk for Brooke! Someone was selling one of those school-type desks, and I knew Brooke would love it for her room. To do her homework, play school, whatever. Totally random, I know, but thats how we are! ;) In related news, I am loving the people I've met on that site so far, they all have been super nice! I like doing this almost more than regular yardsales... better stuff, and can look at all the stuff from the comfort of your chair ;)

~This past weekend Rachel and I went to check out the new Dollar Tree down by the C. Walmart (I dont write towns on here for safety reasons, since my blog is public!) Its really pretty nice! I love checking out new stores right around the time they open, before people have had a chance to trash them. Really was just checking the place out, but ended up buying Brooke some socks, and Rachel picked up one of those HUGE pens, and a pack of Christmas tree suckers, so we ended up getting those too :)

~Boxes have continued to arrive all weekend and this week so far.. all those Christmas gift orders I was putting in around Black Friday! Just let me tell you if you haven't heard of a site called Papter Coterie, you should check it out! I made a lot of Christmas gifts on there this year, particularly for the kids' Grandparents. (memory books, calanders, and stuff like that) I got a few of them in the mail this week and they were gorgeous! I had found a code online that made them a lot cheaper, but they are definately worth the price anyway!

~So Arnold ended up finding out about his big birthday surprise day trip I was planning for Dec 17th (long story-- I ended up telling him by accident!!) My plan was to drop the kids off with their Grandparents that morning, and spend the whole day with him, just the two of us, and it would all be a surprise. I was going to take him to a huge guitar store that he loves, in SC, and then take him out to lunch, and maybe catch a movie too, depending on time. Well..... now that he knows we are still going to do the trip but now HE can be the one to drive. I was getting a little nervous about driving all that way and finding it all by myself anyway ;) He is excited to go of course.. so it was a good plan ;)

~The huge project of getting rid of junk and de-cluttering our house is moving right along. Arnold and his dad spent 2 Saturdays hauling off bags and bags of trash from the basement to the local dump. The basement has really improved. He spent yesterday ripping up the old nasty carpet. Our dream is to eventually turn that area into a huge playroom for the kids. Leaving a small area of course, to be Arnold's "man cave." Thats where all his guitar stuff is, and he goes down there most nights to play music after the kids have gone to bed. It is a HUGE area, and I cant wait until we can get that finished one day. But we have a loooot of work to do. But along with all this we decided to get our carpets cleaned, so that will hopefully be happening this weekend. And... that someone got me roped into hosting our family Christmas party this year.. since our living room is bigger!!!! Ahhhh.. LOL i dont mind, I was just surprised is all. As long as I dont have to cook a lot I will be ok.. Arnold assured me it will be a potluck-type thing ;)

~For Christmas Arnold has agreed to FINALLY paint our bedroom!!! I have gotten soo tired of staring at that ugly green in our bedroom for the past 6 years. yes, green is my fave color, but not that shade! So this is where it really comes in handy having his Mom work at a paint store, and she is usually able to get us mistints. We looked through her color books and picked a purple shade. That was my idea of course.. and I love it! We have also picked out a blue shade for our living room, and a yellow shade for our kitchen, but one step at a time! When we get tax money back we hope to do the rest of the rooms, paint the cabinets in the kitchen white, and put down new floors in the kitchen. Things are really moving along with our house updates, and it makes me so happy :)

~Today Rachel and I went to a playdate at the mall with Jackie, Erika, and their kids. The kids had an awesome time together, and at one point both Makenzie AND Logan were in my lap. They were joking around calling me the "baby/kid whisperer." I seriously dont know what it is.. but babies/kids and dogs seem to be drawn to me. I dont know if thats a good thing of what.. Maybe they can sense how much I love them! But anyway... I guess it is a nice trait to have. Anyway, us girls had a great time chatting and I swear I feel like I ran my mouth the entire time. I feel like I had so much to catch up on, and It really hasnt even been that long at all since I've seen them! ;) After playing we went to the foodcourt for lunch. Of course I hit up my usual spot-- Sbarros. I admit that I crave that place, and then afterwards I always end up with a stomach ache and feeling sick (its a love-hate relationship really!) And of course Rachel wanted Chick Fila! She has a strange love for that place-- everytime I ask her what she wants to eat she says "CHICK FILA!!!!" She tried to walk right into the work area and the manager walked over to her and asked her if she wanted to work with them. Everyone was being super sweet to her. And one lady that worked there gave her a Stuffed Chick Fila cow! She was just beside her self with that. She had it sitting beside her at lunch, was rubbing it against her cheeks and saying Awww I love you cow, I love you! And hasnt let go of it since. There may actually be a chance that this takes the place of monkey, but we will see! Rachel really cracks me up sometimes ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Week In Pictures!

Arnold bought me my very first coach bag! Early Christmas present ;) Yes, hes going to keep it from me until then ;) I am not at all that picky when it comes to certain things..I like what I like. Some things I like can be really expensive, and some can be really cheap. Whatever! I always said I wanted a designer bag though, just to say I had one. Its actually on my list of "30 things before 30" ;) So there ya go, one more to mark off the list. And isnt the green awesome?! My fave color! :) :)

One of my good friends Natalie had her birthday this past week! She turned 27. Man, are we getting old ;) She actually spent her bday having a birthday party for her daughter Izzy. That's the life of a Mom. Putting our kids first, and yeah, I must admit its so worth it! ;) Happy Bday Nat!!!!! ;)
Speaking of the party, it was a kids' gymnastics place. It is soo much fun there. Makes even the most serious of adults want to run around and jump on things. The foam pit is the best, but it is extremely hard to get out of. I tried it myself, and it took awhile! Watching Brooke and her Daddy jump off the trampoline into the pit was priceless.. they both had so much fun!! Might not be the best for you germaphobes though.. cant be sanitary at all in there. While I was in there, I saw someone's old bandaid stuck to one of the blocks.... ewwwwww. Even I wanted to shower when I got out of there! But anyway, Izzy seemed to have a great party. The cake and cupcakes were so amazing! And Izzy is one of the cutest 3 years olds I know! :)

On Thursday the kids had a half day. Yeah I know, I think they have too many of them too! But anyway, after school I took them to Mcdonalds to get a happy meal for lunch. brooke has been collecting the little Hello Kitty toys lately. They are actually pretty cute-- especially the ballerina one that twirls! Then they spent a lot of the afternoon playing dressup. Thankfully we saved their halloween costumes! Then we went to meet with someone from the FB online yardsale to pick something up. I got the girls GO GO MY WALKIN PUP. I just couldnt resist, it was tooo cute! And Arnold and I have already played with it.. I cant wait for the girls to see it! And then we stopped by their Grandma's work to surprise her-- needless to say she loved that! :)

One day we went to the mall to meet up with Erika, Jackie, and their kids, for a playdate. The kids ran off some energy in the playarea and we got to chat. A few times they tried to escape the area like usual. We found them standing next to Santa and took some pics. This thing says "Mail Letters to Santa" on the side.. pretty cute. Which reminds me, I need to actually take the kids to visit Santa sometime soon. Hope Rachel isnt scared again this year!!!!

One day this week Arnold had to dress up for work. His boss is a woman and gives him a hard time. They have a very laid back dresscode there but she wanted him to wear his work shirt, nice pants, shoes, and "do his hair." Hahaha, he said she was trying to pimp him out. It was so funny, I asked him if I could take pictures of him and he was being so grumpy about it. He said that his friends pickd on him at work and kept asking who the "new guy" was. I told him that he is almost 30 though and cant wear graphic tee's forever!!!!! hehe ;)

We are have started with Elf on the Shelf! This is our first year of doing it. So far its gone pretty good. Id say Brooke is skeptical, Caleb is excited, and Rachel is clueless. They seem to be having fun with it though. Its fun coming up with ideas of things to do with our elf "BOB!" Arnold built him a tower the other night, and a window for him to stick his head out of. He called it a jail cell, but of course we didnt tell the kids that ;) He likes to do silly things with the elf and then take pictures of it. The other night he was kissing on the Angel on top of our tree.. I told him that was just wrong! ;) The other day Bob brought the kids a new book as a little gift. It is called "The Sweet Smells of Christmas" and it has scratch-n-sniff pages. Even I love it! All the smells can't help but put you in the Christmas mood :)

Mid-week I realized that I still didnt have my bag of clothes that I had left at church on accident after my Baptism last week. So I finally was able to get in the church one day when some people were there, and get my bag. I was expecting nasty, moldy clothes. But they actually werent as bad as I thought. My towel did stink pretty bad though! We happened to run into Ray there, and he was headed to Mcdonalds with Isaiah (Pastor's son) to let him play, so Rachel and I joined them. The kids had so much fun feeding the birds with fries (or actually THROWING them at them ;) I tried the new Reeses cup Mcflurry and ohhh my goodness it was so good ;)

Just a few more quick random things on interest:

~Today was my first offical day in Boxcar Babies at church. I got to cuddle a sweet baby the whole time! He cooed at me and smiled at me, it melted my heart. And its been awhile since I changed a baby boy's diaper, but I did remember to cover him up so I didnt get peed on ;)

~GLEE has a new Cd out, as of Tuesday. Thank goodness I saw it in the Target ad for this week, or I probably wouldnt have known about it. Glee #7. Yes I will be getting it. And yes I have all the other collections, 1-6. I now need the Christmas Albums too. Arnold just rolls his eyes at me ;)

~Tomorrow is the Book fair at the kids' school! I am getting excited just thinking about it (the book-loving nerd that I am!!!! ;) I set aside a little money just for that, so I'll be sure to be able to pick up some new books for the kids and for their classrooms.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekend of Celebrating!!

This weekend was absolutely awesome, one of the best in a very long time!!

Saturday morning my mom and I headed to Greensboro for a Christmas Classic craft show. They have lots of vendors set up and you can buy lots of things for gifts or whatever. It was huge and we did a lot of walking. There were LOTS of neat things (some people are really talented) and then a few things that really made you wonder what some people were thinking (not to be mean!) I was tempted to buy a lot but had to keep myself under control. I only ended up buying one thing really, a book for the kids. These authors from TN came and they had a series of books on God for kids. Answering their questions, and using a cute bear as the main character. I bought the one called "How tall is God" and it talked about how powerful and wonderful he is. The authors even signed the inside! Very neat, I cant wait to give it to the kids.. they have lots of questions lately! My mom stopped by all the pottery stands (that is her weakness) and also bought us and the kids new ornaments for this year--its become a tradition. Arnold got a musical note, I got a Owl (!!!), Brooke got a ballerina, Caleb got an airplane, and Rachel got a teddy bear. Cant wait to add them to the tree! We had been there forever and I noticed that it was almost 1:30 and we hadnt eaten yet, so we found the concession stand and I got a greasy cheeseburger and fries (yum yum right). The show was pretty good, but not as good as the Southern Chrismas Show, which we usually go to, but didnt make it this year. I heard it costs $500-$1,000 to have a booth at one of those shows.. I hope those people made some nice profits for spending that kind of money!!!! Yikes!!

While we were in Greensboro my Mom took me on a drive down memory lane! I grew up in Greensboro, in my early Childhood (we moved just shy of me turning 8) Mom drove by my old elementary school first-- It was so crazy, It was just like I remembered it! And I even sort of remembered the road we turned down to get to our old neighborhood (didnt know my memory was that good! ;) Then we drove thru and eventually got to our old house. It was amazing to see it! It even made mom cry! I know her and Dad want to move back to the area so badly, the only reason they dont is because they are so close to their grandkids now. They built that house when I was just a baby.. there are pics of me toddling around outside with dad. The house was gorgeous, with a huge basement, bay windows in the kitchen, a huge backyard.. it just doesnt get much better than that! I love that Mom took me back, I just hate it made her sad! Oh and of COURSE knowng me I took lots of pictures. Hope the new residents werent home, they probably thought I was a weirdo taking pics of their house! ;)

Sunday was a HUGE day for me! Arnold and I joined our church, and I got baptized!! That morning I woke up and my stomach was tossing and turning like crazy. It was mostly GOOD anxiety, but I was also a little worried about seeing my video I had made. I must say, it was strange putting on a bathing suit to wear to church, and especially in the dead of Novemeber (can honestly say that was a first!) We had so many family members and friends come out to celebrate with us, it was so amazing. I am so thankful for so many wonderful people in my life. I know I might have looked silly to some, inviting all those people to see, but I wanted to share it with them! My best friend Jess even showed up and that was a huge surprise!!!! :) They put me in the "jacuzzi for Jesus" along with the Pastor, and we stood there while my video was playing. I didnt get to see much of it because I was busy getting ready, but everyone told me I did pretty well. I cant wait to get a copy of it so I can watch it myself! The pastor dunked me under real quick and I came up and was sooooaking wet. The water was actually nice and warm! It was such a great feeling! I am so glad I went "bold" and did the dunking instead of the sprinkling. It made quite the statement! I just wish I wasnt facing away from the crowd, because they saw my wet jeans clinging to my skin im sure, and that couldnt have been pretty ;) I saw the pics.. believe me! When I got out I was handed a towel and was trying to get all the excess water off me, but I still left a trail all the way to the bathroom ;) Lauryn went with me and helped me change and even dryed my hair for me (I felt like a celebrity, I had a personal assistant AND the paparazzi there that day ;) Of course I ended up leaving my bag of clothes and hair dryer there on accident, which means I can expect some nasty moldy clothes that were ruined, but oh well.

Right after church we all went to lunch at Dos Amigos. I was a little afraid about them being able to fit all of us in there, but they actually take reservations there, so when I called they saved the back room for us! Lunch was so much fun, everyone got to talk and Lauryn kept taking lots of pictures for me. We did have to wait an hour or so on food, but I dont think anyone was TOO upset. After lunch we had cake. Yes, I had gotten a cake.. you know I love to celebrate! It tasted really good! And I dont know if the waiters there thought it was my birthday or what, but they came out singing to me, and made me wear the big sombrero (it was even a green one-- my fave color!) I was soo embarassed and Lauryn even got it on tape. As someone pointed out, it was like a new "birth" so I guess it was appropriate! :) After lunch we had a photo shoot with everyone and got a lot of great pics. I cant thank my friends enough for taking pictures for me all day, I have some of the most gorgeous shots to remember this day by! All in all it was an incredible time-- I cant exactly put into words how much it all meant to me!!!! :)

In the pool! And my video was playing above! haha

Arnold and I joining the church
A beautiful pic Lauryn got of my Parents and I

Wearing the sombrero!

My awesome lifegroup! they are like a second family to me!

The cake! Yes they spelled Congratulations wrong. I guess we can let it slide this once. But yall know it bothered me ;)

My childhood home! isnt it beautiful?!

My old elementary school! Now i can show Brooke where I went to Kindergarten :)