Monday, December 31, 2012

Weekend in Review

This weekend was crazy but lots of fun. Friday Arnold went down to Charlotte with his dad, he had a dr appt with a surgeon about a possible back surgery he thinks he is needing. So I spent the whole morning with the kids here at home, and we tried even more to clean up the Christmas mess and put all their new stuff up. That evening I really wanted a girls' night, I needed to get out and get some time away after all those days in a row with the kids, festivities and stress! So my friend Erika and I went to dinner at Wild Wok. I usually don't branch out and go get food like that, but it was really good. I got the chicken and broccoli over noodles with teryaki sauce. Then we went to the mall to do some shopping. I originally wanted to get myself some new clothes/things because I really needed some, but like always I ventured off course and ended up buying for the kids. It was hard not too, with all the good After-Christmas sales going on! I got the kids some cute new animal winter hats at Children's place-- Brooke got a raccoon, Caleb got a monster, and Rachel got a kitty-- and a few other things. Then we went to Gymboree and they were having a big sale And I had a coupon, so I got Brooke a new dress and some new hairbows.. they have the cutest hairbows there!!!! Then we went by Bath and Body Works and that was just a split-second decision but I'm glad they went because they had some of their shower gels on sale for $3 and I also got my first ever car scents and they smell so good! Erika copied me of course and got the same car scents and other things I was getting ;) She just thinks I'm cool! ha! ;)

Saturday we got to sleep in and it was awesome! The kids got right up and started playing on all their new electronic devices and while I usually limit that kind of stuff, I was glad for the extra rest time! ;) We all went out as a family and decided to hit up some after-Christmas clearances. I guess everyone else had the same idea because it was packed everywhere we went. We had to go to Target of course, and while I didn't find a ton, i had to get some Christmas hershey kisses, christmas bodywash, and other random little things. We also went to a few other stores, including Style Exchange.. I love that store now! I found myself a new top, and a new necklace. Some of the stuff looks "young" but a lot of it still works for me ;)

Later that afternoon I decided to have a "girls afternoon" with Brooke. I needed to go to Gymboree and exchange a pair of pants my mom had gotten her that were too tight. They only had two sizes of the pants left, and thankfully one was her size, so yay! Then we went and got a soft pretzel... which I mentioned before was mine and my mom's tradition when I was a kid and we went to the mall, so that was neat ;) We ran into Arnold's cousin Beth and her kids there too, so brooke was all excited to see them :) Then we went into Kirklands and I LOVE that store. I want to buy so many things to decorate my home but never have the extra money while we are in there.. so maybe at Tax time? ha! We also went to a few department stores.. bottom AND top levels so Brooke could ride the escalator.. one of her favorite things to do :) After the mall we went to Kohls and totally scored. They had everything up to 85% off clearance. They have some awesome sales, and I got Brooke some new outfits for school, a baby gift, and I also scored myself some new pj pants and fuzzy slippers :) Lastly we went to Target to do some grocery shopping. I stayed the course and only got the groceries, I was proud of myself because Target is my weak spot!!! :)

Sunday morning we got ready early and went to church at 9:30 because it was the 5th Sunday of the month and I worked the baby class. We had 5 kids in there this week and it was sooo much fun. The kids were all in great moods and were sitting on my lap, asking me to read books to them, and we had a great time playing. Those little babies melt my heart! I would have 100 more babies if they just STAYED that LITTLE! ;) Then we went to the 2nd service and it was wonderful as always.. I am loving that we are back upstairs and they have the big band out playing on Sundays. Can't wait until Arnold starts playing with the band-- he auditioned last week to be a part of the praise team-- yay! :) Anyway, after church we went to grab some lunch at Cookout. Best place, but we don't have one near us, so we don't have it often!

Sunday afternoon Arnold and I decided to go to the movies for his birthday. His birthday is really tomorrow but we celebrated early. Thankfully his parents said they would watch the kids while we went. We ended up getting there late and had to sit on the VERY front row, so we had to hold our heads back and watch.. I hate that! But It was worth it to go. We don't get dates very often, and especially not to go to the movies, so it was fun. We went to see "This is 40" which is SORT of a sequel to "Knocked Up" but just focuses on one of the couples. I love Paul Rudd, he is adorable and always makes me laugh. The start of it was a little slow, but it got better, and it was really funny at parts.. some parts were sad.. a lot of it was true-to-life! Crude at times, but that is to be expected. Overall we enjoyed it. It was long though-- about 2 1/2 hrs long! A date was just what we needed :)

I hope everyone had a great weekend and has a fun and safe New Year's! :)
Playing hungry hungry hippos

The girls in some of the new pjs they got for Christmas
Lunch at Wendy's

First time putting together a lego set. Brooke got Olivia's treehouse for Christmas. It was fun and I was proud of myself! ;)
The kids after church on Sunday
Riding her new bike this weekend. She had her first crash and got a little scraped up but she was brave and is doing ok now :)
Caleb trying out his new bike

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone already! So much build up and now I am sad it's over! But we had a great one. On Christmas Eve we went over to my inlaw's house for lunch, that is what we do every year. My mother-in-law makes a big lunch with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cakes, and all kinds of stuff. Then we opened presents. The kids would not stop bugging us to open them.. we had to have several conversations with the kids this past week about being greatful! My inlaws were so sweet, they got me some new jewelry, including owl earrings. And the hardback set of The Hunger Games series. And a decorative owl that I already put in my bedroom ;) And they got Arnold a big plush throw that I have already stolen ;) The kids got tons of new toys, pjs, socks, undies and all sorts of things, they were in heaven. My neice seemed to love all the chapter books I got her, and read most of the day.. that is definitely my girl! ;) I had a horrible headache that afternoon for some reason so thankfully my mother-in-law let me lay down in her bed for an hour before we left to go meet up with my parents.
That evening we went to the Christmas Eve service at Mom and Dad's church. We didn't go to our's because they were having an 11pm service this year and we knew that wouldn't work out with young kids! ;) Mom and Dad have been going to a new church they love, and I really liked it-- everyone was so nice. Grandpa and Alex were over visiting too, so they went with us, and we took up a whole row! We kept the kids in there with us for awhile, but when the offering plate came by, Rachel actually TOOK money out the plate! I was humiliated! But everyone else around us seemed to think it was hilarious! Then she wouldn't sit still, so Arnold offered to drive the kids around for awhile so I could sit and watch the rest of the service with my family (how sweet.) After that we went back to mom and dad's for dinner. Mom makes homeade lasanga every year and it is so delicious, I had been looking forward to it all day! I ate very good that day! ;) Then we opened even more presents. The kids got even more toys and clothes, and I got a new sweater set and a beautiful cross bracelet. Then my parents brought out their big surprise.. new bikes! They had decided to get them last minute, and the kids were THRILLED. Brooke had been asking for a bike for months. They were sad they couldn't go out and ride them right then, it was cold and rainy all day!
By then it was already 9:30pm and Rachel was exhausted.. you could tell because she was crying. So we decided to wrap the evening up and go home. Arnold and I put the kids straight to bed-- after putting out cookies for Santa and throwing out reindeer food in the yard-- of course. Then we got started setting up all of Santa's goodies. Santa was REALLY good to the kids this year.. I think they are really spoiled! ;) Thank goodness we didn't have a ton to actually put together this year, so we got to bed at a decent hour. That night before we went to bed, Arnold and I exchanged our gifts to each other. We wanted to do it before the kids went crazy nuts in the morning. Arnold totally surprised me this year and got me a beautiful emerald necklace and matching earrings. He also got me two new cds I had been wanting-- the latest Glee Cd and the latest Lynyrd Skynyrd cd :) He did good :)
The kids actually let us sleep in a little (for Christmas at least) and then we went into the living room and saw what everyone got. The kids seemed very overhwhelmed (we might have overdone it this year!) but they loved everything they got. They seemed more into things that "weren't that big a deal.." but isn't that how it always goes??? By the time they had opened everything, it looked like a tornado had gone through the house. I didn't even know where to begin with cleaning up so I just shoved lots of wrapping paper in boxes while Arnold started opening up toys. We left most of the mess laying there for later since we were going over to mom and dad's.
We went over to Mom and Dad's at lunchtime, and mom made a big lunch for us. We ususally don't do anything on Christmas day, so it was fun. Alex hadn't left to go home yet, so we got to see him again. The kids got to go outside and try out riding their new bikes, and so they were excited. It actually wasn't raining! Mom and Arnold showed them how to ride and they did great, except poor little Rachel seemed scared and ran back into the house. Caleb got tired of it after a while and came back inside to play his new Nintendo DS. Kids these days and their electronics.. sheesh ;) We also opened our stockings then too, since we left to go home Christmas eve before we were done. Yes, Santa comes to visit at mom and dad's house, too ;)
The day after Christmas we went up to my Grandpa's house for our yearly get-together with my mom's side of the family. Some of the family didn't get to come in this year, so that was sad, but the kids got to see and play with several of their cousins and they had fun. And there were even MORE Christmas presents to be had. My grandpa gave them Walmart giftcards and they got to pick out their own stuff at the store later on that night. It was another rainy, nasty day, so we just hung around the house by the fire and chatted and ate food everyone brought. It was fun.
Hope everyone else had a very Merry Christmas! :D
The family lunch at my inlaw's house on Christmas Eve
New batman pjs for Caleb!
Rachel opening a gift at Grandma and Pop Pop's house
Trying out her new bike!
Santa came and left the kids lots and lots of goodies :)
Checking everything out on Christmas Morning
Caleb and Daddy trying out his Hulk smash fists
Wearing my new sweater and just found some Trader Joe chocolates in my stocking :)
Grandma helping Brooke ride her new bike
Getting ready for lunch on Christmas Day
Brooke and I over at Grandpa's house
Rachel in one of her new outfits, from Grandma and Paw

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving this button initial letter I finished for my neice, Rebekah. Arnold and I worked on it together. We are giving it to her as part our her Christmas present. I hope she likes it! It even has owls on the ribbon up top :)

~I'm loving that Arnold and I got to go have dinner last week with our friends, Jesse and Camille. Jesse is actually the pastor at our church. We went to dinner at Village Inn (Arnold's favorite!!) and talked and ate and had a great time. I realized later that we didn't haev a picture from that night! So here is one when we got home, of me and Molly :)

~I'm loving that the moms' group I'm in had a Holiday party yesterday at the local library. The kids colored, made reindeer food, salt dough ornaments and all kinds of fun stuff. They had all sorts of cookies and hot chocolate set out. Rachel was more interested in the mini marshmellows though :) It was so fun and we got to see lots of our friends!

~I'm loving that Rachel and I got to have a lunch date with Erika and Makenzie yesterday. We went to Mcdonalds after the holiday party. Rachel doesn't usually get happy meals but I got her one this time and she got a little keychain toy that looked like a weird little pink creature. We ended up calling it "the germ" and she loves it, haha. Brooke stole it and clipped it on her bookbag this morning :)
~I'm loving that Arnold and I have a date night planned this Friday evening! We are going to this local benefit concert. I know one of the guys in it, we grew up down the street from each other. (sort of, he is older than me) I can't wait to spend the evening with my hubby and get some time alone. Thanks to mom and dad for watching the kids!!!

~I'm loving that there are only 6 more DAYS until Christmas! That is less than a week, people! I am really on the countdown now!!!! :D
~I'm loving that I found out my brother is able to come into town on Christmas eve and stay until Christmas afternoon! We were afraid for awhile if we would even get to see him on actual Christmas or not. That makes me really happy :)
~I'm loving how excited Brooke got that today she got to wear her pajamas to school. Their class was having "Polar Express" day and were going to hang out and watch the movie. She said she felt a little embarassed wearing her pjs but I reassured her that her other friends would be dressed the same way! She is so funny. She picked her Snoopy pjs to wear :)
~I'm loving that I DO NOT have the flu! I was really worried because yesterday I woke up feeling awful. I had a runny nose, headache and was really tired. As the day went on I felt worse and last night I felt pretty chilly and I think I had a slight fever. But after taking some medicine and getting lots of rest I am starting to feel better today. So glad, because I do NOT have time to be sick this week! Too much Christmas stuff to get done!
~I'm loving that I got more wrapping done this morning. A few more gifts have made their way under the tree.. I wonder if Arnold will notice? haha!
~I'm loving that tomorrow is payday! 2 weeks seems like forever to wait! Time to pay some bills and get out and finish up the last minute Christmas stuff I need to get done!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Topic: My Reading Picks

Here is a list of some of my all-time favorite reads. I have lots more of course, I read ALL the time. But these were up there in my memory of ones I really enjoyed. Hope to help anyone looking for their next pick! ;)
Nicholas wrote a true-life memoir with his brother. It was really good.

I really got into the characters and their stories

Her books are so sad but you can't help but get hooked!

I'm late reading the Harry Potter series but they are amazing and great stories.

I read this in one night. Amazing.

Never thought I would even give these a try. But they were great also.

As for Christian books, loved this one about becoming a better Jesus follower.

My favorite of the ones Nic Sparks wrote. He even signed my copy! :)

It had been a long time since a book hooked me this fast. It was well-written, sweet at times, hilarious at times, just all-around a great book.

Read this thanks to my friend. So very sad at the beginning but an amazing book. It made me really think about some things.

Didn't care for the movie, but the book was so good. 

All his books are great actually.

This whole series is great. Chick lit mixed with Christian writing. Uplifting books about friendship, God, and getting through tough times.

This book involved adoption and babies, so you know I had to read it ;)

Couldn't leave out Twilight. Even though they were super cheesy. You know I am in love!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend in Review

Every year, a few of my best friends and I have a Girls' Christmas Party. We started this several years ago and each year we switch who's house it is at. We have food, hang out, and exchange gifts. This year it was at Erika's house. She had to take her daughter to the dr at the last minute and wasn't sure if she would be back in time, so we flipped out. But thankfully they made it, and her husband even made dinner for us! So sweet! We had spaghetti, bread, and yummy chocolate cupcakes and cookies. This year we had decided to draw names on the gifts and set a limit so we wouldn't have to buy so much, since this has been a rough year on everyone. I got Joanne, she got me, Jackie got Erika, and erika got Jackie. Easy enough! We took turn opening presents and Erika's husband was sweet enough to take pictures of that, AND get group pics of us, too :) Joanne got me rainbow fuzzy slippers, Hershey Santas, a little owl soap, and the sweetest card! I loved everything, and even came home and wore my slippers that night. We decided to all hang out in the living room and watch Grey's Anatomy. The girls all love it and watch it regularly, but I have never seen it, so they wanted to make me watch it. They started at the very beginning for me. I really did like the first 2 episodes we watched. It wasn't as gory as I had imagined. I went home and watched another episode with Arnold. So thanks girls.. I guess you got another fan hooked on the show! ;)
Saturday morning Arnold's dad came up and brought his truck and helped Arnold haul off some stuff in our carport. It had been holding a few big things that were too big for the trash guys to take off.. so we were looking major "redneck" and I couldn't wait to get rid of it all! They got rid of our old recliner, our dishwasher that had broken, and a big box of other junk. Looks 100x better out there now!
That morning we took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for my friend Jackie's son's birthday party. He was turning 5, happy birthday Logan! :) The kids had some birthday cake and got some Diego goody bags. I love how Rachel only scrapes the icing off her cupcakes and cake, so I always get to eat the rest of it for her ;) I can see how they say moms usually pack on the weight with kids because they finish all their leftover food-- oops!!! Anyway, then the kids took their tokens and went wild. I love that place with their security system and stamps, because they can pretty much play and do whatever and I don't worry that much. Rachel just wants to usually ride the merry-go-round over and over again, haha. Brooke played a few games and one time even hit the jackpot of 25 tickets, so she was excited about that. Caleb takes his own sweet time and plays the long games and still had nearly a full cup of tokens when we were ready to leave! So I helped him use them up real quick ;) Then we just pooled all their tickets together and cashed in for 14 packs of sweetarts for them to share, haha. I'd rather them have the candy I can take home and give out to them when they want a sweet rather than the junky little toys they lose and break! Anyway, they had a great time!
Before we went home we stopped by Cookout and got some lunch. They have the best food and it's cheap! Not to mention they have the best ice, too ;) Then we came home and we turned on the Tinkerbell movie for the kids to watch. I love how they have started adding Disney movies to Netflix! We have already watched that, "Pocahontas" and "Santa Paws" this week. I took an afternoon nap, too. I love my naps! :) That evening we had some veggie lasanga for dinner, and read lots of Christmas books before bed. I can't believe it's almost here! :)
Sunday none of us were feeling too good, so we decided to spend the day at home and not do anything. Good thing we did, because it started pouring rain that morning. We cuddled up and watched "The Lorax." Bob our Elf had brought the kids that Sunday morning when he showed up. It was a really good movie, better than I was expecting! And I love that Betty White was the Gradma! That woman is amazing, she will live forever! ;) We didn't do much more that day, just cleaned some, rested some and whatever. The girls DID end up breaking their Cinderella snowglobe that Brooke had gotten for her birthday. I swear, they can't have anything nice! I was so upset, that was a nice gift from her Grandparents. Thankfully Arnold went in there and cleaned up all the glass and glittery water for us.
Hope everyone had a great weekend! :)
The Fab 4 at our Annual Christmas Party

We wanted to take a silly pic, too :)

Opening my gift from Joanne. I saw the cute owl soap!

We were all looking at the pretty frame of pics Erika put together for Jackie.

Rachel and I with ChuckE at the party on Saturday

Logan with his Diego birthday cake

The kids waiting on their cake

Rachel taking a ride with the mouse :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Gifts: Part 3: Rachel

So this is what Rachel is getting this year. This is my last list! 
The Fisher Price Princess Castle is Rachel's Santa gift this year. I thought she might be "over" the Little People toys, but then I saw this come out this year and it was toooo cute! Even though Brooke is a lot older I knew she'd like to play with it with Rachel, too :) I wanted so badly to get the additional princess pack but they are always sold out when I go to Target!!!

I got my mind stuck on this earlier in the year, I'm not sure why. I thought it was neat, and of course it is a modern version of one they had out in the 80's. I'm pretty sure I had an Alphie Robot, too! And you can buy booster packs to learn even more things, like music. 

Found a Leaspster with a pink case, at Once Upon a Child! I figured with the big kids getting Nintendo Ds' this year, Rachel might want her own electronic device too :)

The fisher price medical kit. They had this on Amazon lightning deals one day for really cheap. Wish they had had the pink kit, but Rachel won't mind! The kids love playing doctor.

Rachel is getting her first Lalaloopsy, mostly because I just wanted to buy more for the collection ;) They have "littles" so she is getting one of those.

This was originally supposed to go with Brooke's stuff, but I threw it in with Rachel's at the last minute to make the gifts equal. The Littlest Pet Shop Slide and Dive Lagoon.
 They came out with felt food from Melissa and Doug! How cute is this sandwich set. This was a Black Friday find at Michaels.
Found a princess tea cart on the yardsale site. I knew Rachel loved pushing things around so she would like this. She already has a tea set she can use with it.

Arnold picked out these Teacup piggies for Rachel. Why, I have no idea. That was totally random! But he said they were so cute. So she has the snow one and a lemonade stand. The piggies make noises when you press their noses, so it IS pretty cute ;)