Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014!!

Our family had a fabulous Christmas! I hope everyone else did, also! Thankfully all of us were healthy this year, except Arnold, who had a cold or something, we are not sure what! 

On Christmas Eve we went over to my inlaw's house for lunch like we do every year. My Mother-in-law makes a big spread of food-- turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, sweet tea, desserts, and all kinds of good stuff. We all eat, rest a bit, clean up the place, then open up presents. I loved the gifts we got my niece this year, she was excited over everything! I loved watching her face when she opened it all! :) Arnold and I got some new towels, and I got some jewelry and the cutest DACHSHUND holder for my earrings! The kids got a lot of toys.. the funniest thing Brooke got was a Barbie that had a puppy that poops.. actually came with little balls of "poop." All the kids sat there and played with that thing for the longest time, it was so funny. Later that afternoon we took everything home to put away and I went to the grocery store to buy last minute food to eat on Christmas day. Seems everyone else had the same idea-- that place was packed! I got lots of snack-type foods that we love and even a Happy Birthday Jesus Cake!! :)

That evening we went to our church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service. I LOVED getting to go... ever since starting my job at the church I haven't been to many church services lately and I've missed it! Great music and message like usual! It was a "family" service, so the kids went with us. They did pretty well, and I was proud of them. We had communion at the end and then held the candles and sang Silent Night. The kids were most excited about getting to hold their candles... and I was a nervous wreck telling them not to move! ;) Alex, Ariel and Brielle have been in town this week and they even surprised us and showed up at church! After the service we went back to Mom and Dad's house for dinner. It is a tradition for mom to make her famous homemade lasanga every year, but this year she had to work on Christmas Eve! So DAD made it!! My dad is actually a very good cook, so I wasn't worried, but I still gave him a hard time ;) But it was delicious!!! After eating dinner we opened gifts. I realized after handing out gifts to my niece Brielle i had gone a little overboard but what can I say? I was excited about having a new family member to buy for!!!! :) Mom got me some new boots (her and Dad had already really given us our gift earlier this year- our awesome new dryer!!!) and Alex and Ariel got us a giftcard!! Caleb got a new lego set from his grandparents that he wasn't expecting and was so excited! The girls got Flutterbye fairies and Brooke got new Sketcher Air shoes that she had been begging for!!! She has already worn them several times. AND!!! We got the greatest gift of all by finding out that we are getting a brand new baby NIECE, due in April of 2015!!!! They shared with us the news about her being a girl that night, and brought out pink balloons.. that was a lot of fun. We can't wait to meet her!! :)

Christmas morning the kids got up early but not AS early as last year, so that was a plus!!! I think they loved everything they got from Santa and from us. We spent the whole mornings opening gifts, throwing away paper, and trying to break down boxes and fit them all in the trashcan! I hate how trashed the house gets on the day of Christmas! Max the cat thought everything was so excited and ran around the living room playing with wrapping paper.. and trying to climb into the boxes and the girls' American Girl tent ;) Sheldon was not very impressed however, and slept the whole morning in my lap ;) We ate some cinnamon buns for breakfast and the kids ate way too much candy from their stockings!! 

That afternoon after we got ready, we went over to my Grandpa's house to visit some family coming in from out of town. It was their first time getting to meet Alex's wife and daughter.. so that was a lot of fun. We all hung out for awhile and talked and opened a few presents. The girls had fun showing off their new American Girl dolls and Puppy Surprises to everyone ;) Then we went over to Mom and Dad's house for dinner again. Mom made a beef tenderloin for dinner, asparagus wrapped in bacon, and potatoes. Yes, my parents spoil us big time when we come over to eat... I miss their home cooking sooo much since I got married!!! Anyway, we saved the stockings for that night since the night before had been so chaotic. Mom got me a beautiful necklace, some bath and body works lotion and wallflowers, a Mary Kay Clairosonic type thing, a beautiful Santa decoration for my house.. and even dad stuck me some B&Bworks lotion in there.. he said he picked the "Country Chic" kind because it reminded him of me, haha ;) 

We had a great time getting to visit my parents so much this week, and spend time with Alex, Ariel, and Brielle, since they live SO far away in Florida!!! They went back home this morning!! We will miss them!!!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and a Happy New Year!! :)

Lunch at my inlaw's house.  Don't know how I got to sit at the head of the table! ;)

Cousins sitting sweetly, waiting on presents ;)

She was so excited about the Doh Vinci set we got her :)

Rachel got Frozen dress up clothes and wore them all afternoon :)

Had to take a selfie with our niece! ;)

Waiting on the Christmas Eve service to begin!

The kids love to snuggle with Pop Pop!

Rachel got a Flutterbye Fairy!

Arnold got me some great gifts! A 2015 planner... some Florida Georgia Line Cds...

This beautiful bracelet you can add charms to and a "dog lover" charm :) And some cash to buy some things for myself :)

Santa visited our House and left lots of goodies for the kids!

Brooke loved her American Girl doll! Her very first one!

I love Rachel's expression! She was so excited!

My best friend Erika HAND MADE these hats for the girls! They loved them! Elsa for Rachel and Monster High for Brooke! :)

Spending time with Alex and family over at Grandpa's house! Brielle let me hold her for awhile and I was in heaven! She is the sweetest thing ever!

Opening stockings at Grandma and Pop Pop's house.

Showing off my beautiful necklace Mom picked out for me!

I picked this hat out for Brielle.. I have to give her a love for OWLS!! ;)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekend before Christmas!

This weekend was lots of fun. Friday was the last day of school for the kids and the last day of work for Arnold, until after the new year! The kids had a half day and had lots of Christmas parties and fun at school. They came home and dumped everything out on the floor to look through and ate way too much candy! That afternoon we went to the movies as a family to see Night at the Museum 3! Arnold had gotten some giftcards from work for winning some contests, so we decided to use them to have a night at the movies, since we don't do that often! We filled up our popcorn bucket and got some drinks and went in to find a seat. The kids all did pretty well and we all loved the movie! It was bittersweet seeing Robin Williams on screen after what happened to his this year. He was an amazing actor! I am sad that this was the last of the movies, but I guess three of them is enough anyway.
Saturday we went into town and braved the crazy crowds to do some shopping! The kids were wanting to see Santa, but everytime we have gone to the mall lately the line has been crazy long, so we skipped it again. We went to Children's Place to get Caleb and Brooke some new jeans, because both of them have grown out of their pants and moved to the next size! The other day Brooke showed us that when she buttons her pants they POP back open.. it's hilarious ;) And while we were there Rachel somehow convinced me to buy her a Frozen shirt...??? :) Then we went to Crazy 8 because I had a coupon and I got the girls some cute matching outfits! I will match them until they don't let me anymore! ;) We also went into Bath and Body Works but their lines were INSANE so we didn't get anything there. Lastly we went to Jc Penney's and got my Mother in law a few more things for Christmas. After we left the mall we went to Mighty Dollar to buy some Christmas gift bags, and their entire wall was cleaned out! They had sold out of everything! I guess I should have started way sooner?! Before we went home we went to Mc Donald's and got some dipped cones. One of my favorite treats ever! ;) We were out for a total of 4 hrs or so, and I guess considering how long we were out, the kids did pretty well!
Saturday evening we got everyone ready and went to Arnold's cousin's Beth's house for a family Christmas party! She hosts it every year and it's lots of fun! Everyone brought some appetizers and desserts and we had a finger food dinner. We had gone to the grocery store and gotten a big pack of cupcakes and cookies.. because you KNOW Abby doesn't like to cook! ;) There was some yummy food though... I loved Beth's sausage pinwheels and kept sneaking some! ;) The kids loved getting to play with their cousins and went crazy running around the house. They had made a special area for them to play out in the garage.. but half the time they still ran around inside! The adults sat inside and ate and talked, so it was a lot of fun. Before we left, the kids all opened presents. Everyone was really sweet to them. The girls got some new oufits, Caleb got a new lego set (that he would NOT put down the rest of the evening!), some giftcards to Target and Mcdonalds, and some cash! They are always so excited to have their "own money" :) We didn't get home until after 9pm and the kids went straight to sleep!
Sunday morning we went to church early, at 9am. Arnold helped me out in the first service because we didn't have any volunteers for that one. We had six kids and they were all really well behaved! We sat at the table and colored Christmas pictures, and this little boy named Colby helped me color my picture and told me what colors to color everything. I really love those kiddos, they are the best! 2nd service I had lots of help and that was good because we were slammed with little babies! All the babies in the 2nd service seemed to be in a bad mood, and I had to spend the hour walking the halls and rocking the baby I was holding... but it was worth it to get in some baby snuggles! :) Arnold worked in his classroom 2nd service and he had taken the kids a little treat for Christmas. Full size Hershey bars with little Christmas bows on them. The kids all loved it.. I thought it was sweet.. and he thought of it all by himself! Maybe I am rubbing off on him after all! ;)
After church we took the kids to McDonald's to use their giftcards and get happy meals. For the record, their toys right now are Flutterbye Fairies for girls and Spy Gear for boys! The kids loved them. Then we went over to Target to let the kids use their giftcards to there. The kids' money was burning a hole in their pockets! That is the same thing my mom used to tell me when I was little! We walked around the toy aisles as they took forever to pick out what they wanted. I also stopped by the Christmas section to buy a few more stocking stuffers.. I am surprised I got out of there without the kids noticing! While we were on the way out of the store I noticed a nightgown in the women's section, and it had DACHSHUNDS on it!!!! I wanted to get it but I didn't want to spend the money, but Arnold told me "GET IT!" So I did.. and I was happy :) So I guess I got an early Christmas present from Arnold! ;) The checkout lines weren't too bad... I was surprised!
Last night we went out... a Christmas tradition we have had for about 5 years now! Driving down to Morganton and seeing the Christmas lights, while wearing our Christmas PJs, and eating Papa John's pizza!!! Papa John's is my favorite, but we don't have one near us, so I always make sure we eat it when down there ;) They have a big thing set up at one of the local colleges, and it is free... a friend told us about it and we have been going ever since! This year they had a Frozen display and so Rachel was very happy! ;) When we got home we still had about an hour until the kids' bedtime, so we let the kids play for awhile and I read some more of the book I am currently reading "Blue Christmas" by Mary Kay Andrews. Then I went to bed EARLY!!!!!

The kids all dressed up on Saturday night, ready for the Family Christmas party!!

Me, Arnold's cousin Beth, and my sister-in-law Jennifer.

I'm not sure what we are doing here???? LOL.

Several of the kids playing outside and eating some snacks!

Caleb was so happy with his new Lego set he got!

The blonde-hair cuties in the family! :)

We wanted to get a family picture while the kids were looking nice ;)

Brooke in her Christmas dress. It was way over-priced and it wasn't even my first pick of dresses for her, but she begged me for it one night we were at Kohl's, so I decided to let her get it.

The girls loved their new Justice outfits and wanted to wear them the next day to church!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Changes, Updates, & Hope

I just haven't had any time to write in my blog lately. But hopefully that is going to change. I made a change over the weekend, it was best for me, and my family. I decided not to finish out the season at Target. I am no longer a Target employee. What was happening was, they were scheduling me crazy hours, like nearly 40 hours some weeks, when I had asked for a cap off at 25-30 hours (because duh, I have other things in life to do as well!) They were messing up my schedules and I was having to rely on my inlaws to pick up and watch the kids several days. I was overworked and not getting time to spend with the kids, study for my exams, or do other things I needed to do. Brooke got detention this past week, and I didn't even know what for. I have been so out of the loop. I was literally getting sick on my stomach (won't give you the details on that! ha) when I would get home from my shifts at Target. So the other day, after much discussion with Arnold, I went up to Target and talked to the HR guy, who was the one who hired me. I explained everything to him, and he told me he understood I needed to take care of my family. So... that was my last day. I understand it was just a seasonal job, someone with a full-time career couldn't do something like that. But I am relieved and it was the right decision for us. Between that, school, the kids, and my childcare job with Christ Church, I was OVERWHELMED. My mom was right (aren't moms always right?!) that I was taking on too much. I should have listented. But you know what? Lesson learned. I am now catching up on many things I haven't had the chance to do and it feels good slowing down a bit. On the plus side, while I was there, I did make some good money that basically paid for Christmas this year. So I accomplished what I set out to do. I felt like a failure somewhat, like I couldn't handle it all so it meant I was less of a person. But thanks to talking to hubby, friends, and family, I realize that sometimes you just have to say no. I enjoy being back at home with my kiddos and family :)
So now on to some happier things. This past Friday we celebrated my very best friend's 30th birthday!!! She actually turns 30 on Christmas Eve, but of course that is a hard time to celebrate, so we did it early. She was going to have a party but cancelled it, so we decided to surprise her with something, she needed to do *something* for her 30th! So we all met up at Chili's (one of her fave restaurants) and had lunch together. Erika brought a cake that said "Made in the 80's" which I thought was cute even if she thought it was "ugly" ;) And we gave her gifts, talked, and caught up with each other since we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like these days. I know a lot of that is my fault-- sorry guys. Anyway, love ya Joanne and I hope your birthday is the best. And just remember, you will always be older than me!!!! ;)

Best friends. I don't know what I'd do without these girls. They make me laugh, they support me, they listen to me vent, they make fun of me (I know it's all in good fun, so I'll allow it ;) and we have the greatest time ever whenever we are together. 

Isn't this hilarious that Joanne's sister Melissa made for her??? We made her hold her nose for the picture ;)

Taking selfies with Erika while we were waiting on Joanne to get there. 

This is my new mug I found at Target the other day. Speaking of Target, I am going to miss the discount! Ugh. But anyway, I was having some hot chocolate in the mug while watching tv with hubby the other night. Love these December nights, cuddling up in the chair with a blanket, by the soft glow of the Christmas tree :)

Yes, I took a selfie at college the other day, while waiting for my next class. I wanted to show off my necklace that Arnold got me! I know you can't really see it in detail, but let me assure you it is beautiful! I love it and I still can't get over that he surprised me with it (how sweet!)

Rachel came home with this beauty from school, and I about died laughing. I love it! Rachel is an Elf! We had to hang it up for everyone to see. She also made two homeade ornaments to hang on the tree. I love all those they made, that we can look back on one day. She also told me she made a surprise craft for me, and then showed me her foot which was tinted green, so I'm guessing it involves a footprint of some kind. My kids are not the best at keeping secrets ;)
I am so happy "The Little Couple" came back on tv! I was really missing those guys! Does anyone else watch it? Now I have something to watch since Grey's and 19 Kids & Counting are off for the Winter! I just love that little Will, he is PRECIOUS! I keep telling Arnold I want to adopt a cutie just like him one day :)
~Of course it is the busiest time of the year and I have come down with a cold. All weekend my head has been hurting, my nose has been burning and running, and I have been extra tired. I need some energy and motivation to finish my Christmas wrapping! I am behind bigtime!!!
~Brooke has an appointment Thursday afternoon to discuss the route we are going to take for her ADHD. It is still really, really bad. She is having a hard time functioning in school and even at home. Simple things, like when I tell her to put on her clothes in the morning, requires me doing it for her or telling her about 5 times to do it. It makes me sad, becuase she is a sweet girl but she struggles so badly. She is still making not so good grades at school and she even has detention coming up for not getting all her work turned in or something like that. She is just scatter brained. But hopefully going into the new year will be better after we meet with the dr and the school principal.
~Just found out that my younger brother, his wife, and their daughter are coming in from Florida early next week, for Christmas!!! They will hopefully get to stay the whole week, and I am so excited. I can't wait to spend time with them, since we never get to see them! I can't wait to give my new niece all the gifts I bought her this year (I maaaay have gone a little overboard? but who cares...)
~As of tomorrow afternoon, I will officially be finished with this semester of college! I did it! I have one more exam to take tomorrow morning, so wish me luck! I will update more on all that later....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Brooke's Christmas Wishlist

I have been keeping track on my computer what I have been buying and storing for the kids for Christmas this year. They gave me some lists and told me things throughout the year they would like to have.. and aside from the crazy requests or the things that were super expensive or I heard were crap (Wubble Bubble!) I tried to get the things on their lists. Having the Target and Childcare job has made it easier maybe to spoil them this year but I kept it under control! 

Here is Brooke's list for this year.... 


She is getting her very first American Girl doll! I actually bought this LAST YEAR when they had a deal on it and kept it all this time, because I didn't think she was ready for it then. I am proud of myself ;) This will be her big gift, from Santa. 

I got some "knockoff" accessories to go with the doll... like this camping set.

And this set with the wheelchair and crutches.


Puppy Surprise! I wanted to find one, and I did! I actually bought two, one for her and one for Rachel, because I knew they would fight over it. I got Brooke the pink one. I wonder how many puppies it has?

Littlest Pet Shop style kits. She wanted one of these, and you get to actually put it together and decorate it. Arnold thinks it will frustrate her, but she really wanted it! It was one of Targets "toy deals of the day" so I snagged it for a great price! :)

She still loves Monster High stuff... she wanted the Castle this year but I wasn't going to spend $100 on plastic junk! So she got this recharger station and a few other things.... it looks weird but I think she will like it! It was on the "hot toys" list. 

The Playdoh DohVinci was also something popular this year. I picked out this set for her.

She didn't really ask for the Glitzi Globes but she likes crafty stuff like this and it was a lightning deal on Amazon one day, so I got it to go with the Playdoh stuff.


Yes, they came back out with TAMAGOTCHI!! When I saw this, I had to get it! I had one when I was in middle school and loved it. She seems to like playing with virtual animals on the computer, so it will be right up  her alley.

Little Live Butterfly. Ahhh the Little Live Pets. The HOT toy this year. The girls wanted the birds, but they all sold out before I could get some! If Arnold had his way they wouldn't be getting ANY electronic pets at all, he says they are stupid... and they should play with their real pets ;) But they had buy one get one free on the butterflies at Toys R Us one day so... I caved.... :)

Had to get the next book in this series of books. She has all the other ones!

Smencils!!! I hear the tween girls are crazy about them. They smell like different fruits and foods and stuff. When they came in the mail I had to smell them all.. they are pretty strong! Even Arnold could smell one of them across the room. Anyway... gotta love it.

And lastly, a gift certificate to Animal Jam, her very favorite game ever. She plays this with her friends online. She already has a membership but she said she wanted more diamonds and gems and stuff... because it makes it better.. blah blah.. whatever!!

So there ya go, the Christmas wishlist for an 8 year old. Might give some of yall ideas if you are still shopping for a girl around that same age ;)

She also really wanted the Woodzeez treehouse from Target, but they are all sold out, and have been for awhile! I am hoping by miracle they get it back in stock, but if they don't no big worries. If anyone sees it in stock somewhere though, will you let me know???? Thanks! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A BIG Random Update!

Sooo I have been SUPER busy and not gotten a chance to update this thing in several weeks! So here is a big blog to cover it all! Here is what has been going on around here lately...

 I received Joseph's yearly pictures and a letter last month! I cannot get over how much he looks like me. He has grown up so much and is so handsome. I am so proud. I wish I could see him every day, but I am blessed I still get a chance to watch him grow through pictures. I can't believe he just turned 10!

Arnold surprised me out of the blue and bought me this necklace he saw online one day! He said he had to get it for me because "I love you more" is what he always says to me! It arrived yesterday and it is beautiful! He was really being thoughtful and romantic and I love it :)

It was our first year going to the Alpine Village, and we loved it! Thanks to my friend Karen for telling me about it! A local church puts it on every year and it has become very popular so we had to register for tickets ahead of time, but it was free!! They do an outreach to the public and I think it is just awesome! They decorate their entire gym like a winter village and each little shop has something inside to do or get. They put on a puppet show, sing songs, let you watch a train, make gingerbread men cookies, visit with Santa, and more. The kids had a blast. It was totally worth driving 35 minutes for us to go. They left with bags full of goodies. I couldn't get many pictures because the lighting was bad, but I got a few when the kids sat on Santa's lap and when we visited the gingerbread house :)

This was the first year at Thanksgiving that Mom didn't cook!!!!! *GASP!* They are having some re-modeling done at their house right now, so we all went up to their country club to have lunch. They had a HUGE spread of all kinds of yummy food. and the dessert bar was full of about 25 different kinds of desserts, no lie! We all had a hard time deciding and had more than one thing! Of course it wasn't mom's cooking (nothing can compare!) but it was still pretty yummy, and it was nice to spend the time with family. We took some pictures in the lobby after lunch thanks to Mom's help :)

The other night Brooke and I went out for a Mother/daughter night of dinner and shopping. Arnold and I had had a date planned but poor Rachel got the stomach bug so we couldn't go out. He stayed at home with her and Caleb while Brooke and I went out to get some Christmas stuff done. We went to dinner at Olive Garden because that is one of our very fave places! We got a booth but eventually Brooke ended up on my side with me, snuggling up beside me.. I didn't mind! We played tic-tac-toe while we waited on our food :) Then we shopped til we dropped! We went to Kohl's, Party City, AC Moore, and then hit up the mall and went to several places in there. We knocked several gifts off our list. Then I took Brooke for some icecream at Sweet Frog at the end of the night. There was a special mark on her cup and she got the ice cream for free! She thought that was the coolest thing ;) I had a great time and I LOVE that I have a daughter old enough to do things like this with now. She DID complain of her feet hurting badly at the end of the night, but I told her one day she will get used to shopping like a woman... LOL!! ;)

She asked to take a selfie at dinner, haha :)

I got the kids some Christmas PJs from the Childrens place, and when they came in the mail they had to model them and wear them that night. Arnold was making them laugh and we ended up with some adorable pictures. You can't see well but Caleb's pjs have christmas dogs on them. I LOVED these pjs!!

Rachel lost her VERY FIRST TOOTH!! I can't believe it, is it time for this already?! She was a brave girl and let Arnold finally just pull it out since it was just hanging by a thread. She told us that she expected a $20 from the tooth fairy because that's what my dad had told her (thanks a lot Pop Pop!) To note-- we did not give her that much ;) LOL!

The other day we celebrated my niece Bekah's 10th birthday! I can't believe it... 10 years already? Arnold and I had just started dating around the time of her 1st birthday. She has grown into a beautiful young lady. We went to my inlaw's house after church for some cupcakes and to give her her gifts. She loved the Ty stuffed animal we got her :)

I also got her a shirt that said "Me Plus my Aunt equals BFFs" :) I couldn't resist it when I saw it! She said she was going to wear it to school soon! We also got her some cute jewelry from Justice! I love buying gifts for girls.. it's a lot of fun! 

We FINALLY got our tree up and decorated! This is the latest I think I have ever gotten my tree up, but we have just been too busy! Our second year of getting a real tree and I love it! We didn't have a day to go to a tree farm so we went to Walmart but they weren't selling them this year? So Arnold just got one down the road at Food Lion. It was actually a really pretty tree! The kids had a blast dividing up their ornaments and looking through them last night and putting them on the tree. It isn't perfect, but they decorated it and that is what matters ;) I know the tree isn't even very straight.. that is a long story.. Arnold fought with it and we eventually gave up... it is fine for now!!! ;)

BOB our elf has returned!!! The first morning he came back he brought the kids a North Pole Breakfast. He brought special plates, napkins, and cups to eat on. He brought powdered donuts and yogurt for breakfast and some raspberry lemonade to drink. He also brought all the kids a candy cane with Skittles. They loved it. It was a lot of sugar, but for a special occasion! ;)

Bob also brought the kids each a new ornament the other morning. I love giving them new ornaments every year, and when they leave home one day they will have a collection to take with them like I did!

And I guess I can't end the post without letting yall know I survived Black Friday!!! I worked 5:30pm on Thanksgiving evening until 2am the next morning. It was crazy busy like you would expect, but they did a pretty good job keeping the lines controlled for us. A few people were difficult, but no one was mean to me, so I was relieved! They catered in some food for us, so that was nice to sit down to a meal on my break. The only thing that sucked was I had a broken card reader that night and I had to keep asking people to hand me their card to put thru my machine. I can't tell you how many times people joked that my machine was broken because "it was so tired from all the Black Friday shopping madness." I also had a few people tell me they were sorry I had to work on Thanksgiving. Really? If you were really that sorry you wouldn't be out shopping would you??? LOL. Oh well. It's over now. And I got paid time and a half for that night so it was all good :)