Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays

Friday Favorites {#137}

Hello and Happy Friday! Shew! What a week…That being said, one down and two to go until Winter Break.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

This week’s Friday Favorites is all about December/Christmas favorites.

Tis the season to make a list of all the festive things we’d like to do.

Here are a few of our favorite traditions:

The first thing we usually cross off our list is getting a tree from our favorite Christmas shop. The setting is beautiful…

…there’s hot apple cider and cocoa,

…and they usually have the best Santa.

Then, we put ornaments on the tree while listening to Christmas music (per Hadley’s request)

2022

We always drive through the Kentucky Horse Park lights…

…and stop by one of our favorite house displays.

Of course, there are a few Christmas parties…

We always bake cookies…

…and watch Christmas movies. (While we try to watch a few, Home Alone and A Christmas Story are a must.)

At some point, we take the kids shopping and let them choose something for each other to open on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

Ice skating is always a fun activity if we can squeeze it in. (It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to. Maybe this year?)

I love when we shop for the Angel tree, make baskets of snacks for the UPS/delivery people, and practice random acts of kindness.

I know I’m missing a few other things we usually do, but December is always a busy but blessed month.

Favorite Mom Meme:

Right?! Like where is the chocolate Advent calendar for me?

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

2010…giving me all the feels!

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from the week:

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? I’d love to hear what it is!

I hope you have a great weekend. We’re busy and also need to be productive! See you back here on Monday.

Posted in Me

Blog Challenge Part 2

Hello and happy Thursday! December 1st. Wow!

We’re chugging right along this week, but re-entry after break has been quite the adjustment. We’ve had school, activities, and even found time to put ornaments on the tree. Unfortunately, we “found” the time because Hadley was home yesterday (and last night) with another round of strep!

Anyway, I’m continuing on with my self-imposed (for lack of a better word)…

A few weeks ago, I shared Part 1 of my “Blog Challenge.” This all began because I had writer’s block, and now I hope to keep incorporating these posts into my regular blogging routine.

Today, I’m tackling topics #4 and 5…

4. Earliest Childhood Memory

Well, the first thing that popped in my mind was when I was three or four, and I was at day care. I pinched my finger in the folding chair and had to go to the doctor. At the time, I remember that my mom had a bad case of poison ivy and had to be careful picking me up. The injured finger was my left ring finger, and to this day, that nail is different…and one of the reasons I prefer having my nails painted!

When thinking about my childhood, some of the memories that immediately pop in my mind are going to my grandma’s (Lulu, my dad’s mom) house most mornings before school. My dad would drop me off, and she would take me to school. She had a mean cat named Al. I also remember going to my other grandparents’ house (my mom’s parents) on days I was sick. I’d lounge on the couch, watch I Love Lucy reruns and eat Bon Bons.

My grandparents:

Lulu on the left, Gma and my grandpa on the right. (Just missing a pic of my other grandpa.)

5. My Guilty Pleasure

Ok…how lame am I? My first thought was waking up early in the mornings…That quiet morning time has definitely turned into my 45 minutes of calm, quiet, and peace to start my day.

Other guilty pleasures are a small fry and Diet Coke from McDonalds, soft serve ice cream at Jason’s Deli, Real Housewives, and a glass of wine!

What’s your earliest childhood memory and/or guilty pleasure?

I hope you are having a great week!

Posted in Books and Shows

November 2022: What I’ve Been Reading

Hey there!

I was just talking about books with a few people recently, and said that 2022 hasn’t felt like my best year of reading. There were a couple of months when I only read two books, and while I’ve still read quite a few, it just seems like most have been ok.

That being said, this month I read three books and enjoyed them all!

This month I read…

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

The Things We Cannot Say:

Summary:

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it. 

Quick Thoughts:

This was a book that had been on my list for quite some time. It was certainly a heavy read with the topic of the Holocaust, but it was a mix of informative and emotional. I enjoyed the flashbacks with Alina more than modern day with Alice. The meaning behind “the things we cannot say” was embedded in many aspects of the storyline. This is definitely a powerful book and one that makes the top of my list of books so far this year.

Rating:

Summary:

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Quick Thoughts:

I’ve read a couple of books by Taylor Reid Jenkins (Malibu Rising and Seven Husbands), and have loved them both. This book was one of hers that I enjoyed too. It was an interesting storyline with Emma dealing with both her present and her past. Of course, as a reader, I wondered which love she’d choose. I felt like the story advanced organically as she wrestled with her decision. The idea of “true loves” and love changing as a person grows and matures was really interesting. In the end, I thought Emma made the right choice 🙂

Rating:

4.5 ⭐️

Summary:

It’s Christmas week when 26-year-old Sabrina Post knocks on the door of the Vanderbilt suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, ready to accept the ghostwriting position for the memoir of Grayson Westcott—a famous art dealer.

A struggling journalist, Sabrina can’t believe her luck: a paycheck and six nights in her own suite at the Plaza. She feels like Eloise, the heroine from her favorite children’s books. To make the job even more exciting, Grayson recounts how he worked as a butler at the Plaza sixty years ago for none other than the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson.

What promises to be a perfect week is complicated when Sabrina meets Ian Wentworth, a handsome British visitor, at the hotel bar. When Ian assumes Sabrina is another wealthy guest at the hotel, she doesn’t correct him —a decision she doesn’t regret after learning that Ian is a member of the British aristocracy. But, things are not what they seem. The truth is: Ian is not a wealthy lord; he’s actually the personal secretary of Lord Spencer Braxton.

As the week unfolds, will Sabrina and Ian learn the truth about one another?

Filled with the magic that can only be found at the Plaza Hotel during the holidays, and revealing facts about the author of the Eloise books, Anita Hughes’s A Magical New York Christmas is both a holiday treat and a heartwarming story that reminds us that falling in love is the greatest miracle of all.

Quick Thoughts:

I decided to kick off the holiday season with a Christmas book, and I sure feel like I picked the right one to read first. I’ve read A Christmas in Paris by Hughes and loved it. This book was a mix of whimsy and nostalgia. I loved the references to the Eloise books, the setting of New York at Christmastime, the flashbacks, and there was touch of British too. This was the perfect first Christmas book of the season for me.

Rating:

Previous Christmas Reads:

Since 2019, I’ve made a point to read Christmas books in December. The last two years, I’ve read one in November to share in my November book review.

If you are looking for Christmas book recommendations, check out Sarah’s post yesterday…and here are some of the Christmas books I’ve read through the years:

I loved this entire series so much. I read all four in December 2019.

What are some of your favorite Christmas themed books to read? I’d love to add them to my Goodreads list.

Happy reading!

Posted in Holidays

Thanksgiving Break Recap

Hello!

Thanksgiving break is usually one of my favorite times of the year. Five days off is a good amount of time to travel, if needed. It’s also the right amount of days for laziness mixed with productivity.

This post could be alternatively titled: holiday whiplash

Over our break, we toggled back and forth between fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wednesday:

We had a slow start on Wednesday. Travis worked, I eased into the day, and the kids slept in. They kids played outside a bit, I had a few errands, and we just mostly hung out at home. That night, we watched Uncharted. I hadn’t heard of it, but Hadley picked it out (she’s a big Tom Holland fan) We all enjoyed it, and I’m guessing there will be a sequel.

Thanksgiving:

Again, it was so nice to not set an alarm. I was up around 7:30, had my coffee and watched TV for a bit. Eventually the kids got up, and I turned on the parade. I love this tradition.

We got ready to leave for Trav’s aunt’s house around 11:00. The kids let me snap a pic…

…before we headed to Elizabethtown. The weather was a beautiful on Thursday, so that was good. Trav’s family is big. There were close to 70 people at his aunt’s house! (and, believe me, that’s about half of the family!) We had a good visit with everyone, and the food was delish.

We got a pic before heading home…

…and I was in my Christmas pjs by 5:30.

That night, Travis suggested watching Friday Night Lights. Travis and I watched that entire series together back in the day. We watched the first couple of episodes, and the kids liked it.

Friday after turkey day:

I slept like a rock and was up around 8. Again, it felt so good to sleep in. While drinking my coffee, one of my first thoughts as how glad I was that I’d already decorated for Christmas. I love Thanksgiving, but by the Friday after, I’m ready to soak in Christmastime.

Travis and I both did some online shopping (from Amazon, Kohls, etc. I also shopped Antique Candle Co’s 30% off sale!) The candles arrived the next day. I couldn’t believe it!

Throughout the day, I watched some episodes of Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown and read my first book for December.

Then, Hadley and I went to Michael’s and Kroger. On the years we stay home for Thanksgiving, I usually go to Michael’s to pick up a couple of Christmas decorations since they are on sale that day. At Kroger, I picked up the soup ingredients for our leftover turkey soup. Then, we had lunch at home before the kids went and had fun with friends and family.

Hadley went to the UK volleyball game with a friend for her birthday, and Hayden went to hang with his cousins. Both were gone until later that evening, so I did some things around the house, watched more baking shows as well as the MU football game.

Later, Travis suggested we go to dinner since it was just the two of us. On the way, we stopped at Old Navy before heading to one of our favorite sushi restaurants. It was the place to be…we saw some friends, our neighbor, and then when we went to sit down, guess who was at the table next to us?! My brother and sister-in-law. What a coincidence! The server let us combine tables, so we ate and caught up with them.

Then, it was time to pick up the kids and head home.

Saturday:

Then, on Saturday, I made the soup and a pumpkin pie. Travis pointed out that I usually make one in the fall, and I hadn’t. Also, on Thanksgiving, I enjoyed other desserts because the one pumpkin pie was room temp. I like a chilled pumpkin pie!

Saturday’s temps were pretty good, so it was the perfect time to finish raking leaves and tossing the pumpkins that had been on my porch since mid-September. We also pulled the outside Christmas decorations out from the attic and got them situated. Pumpkins out, Christmas lights on!

Travis and the kids went to the UK football game, and I continued my downtime with episodes of Christmas Cookie Challenge while eating my soup and pie!

Sunday:

We went to church to celebrate the start of Advent season. Then, we picked out a couple of names from the Angel tree.

After church, we decided to stop by our favorite place, and pick out out Christmas tree. This Christmas shop is my fave:

Some of my favorite Santa pics have happened in this sleigh:

…and look at them now!

(I appreciate that they indulged their mother for this photo!)

The kids grabbed some hot apple cider while Travis paid for the tree we picked out.

When we got home, I finished up the Christmas decor by moving the skinny tree that’s been in the living room and adding the bow to the mirror.

…while Hadley helped at the family Advent workshop at church. Santa said she’s been good this year!

Once everyone was home, we watched the Chiefs game, had leftover soup, and prepped for back to school.

We had a really great few days at home. There were times I felt “guilty” for being a bit lazy, but I also know that I needed it…and will need it to get through the month of December!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving (break?) ?

Posted in Memes

November Memes

Happy (Cyber) Monday! How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was a great one. I didn’t realize how much I needed five days at home until I had them! Somehow, I’m still struggling on this Monday morning, but at least I’ve had a bit of downtime to get me energized for these next few weeks of school.

Since it’s the last Monday of the month, I’m sharing some of my favorite memes with you!

Tis the season…

In honor of Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I’m sharing these first few because I thought they were funny:

Relateable…haha

I don’t do Black Friday. I’m all about online Black Friday or Cyber Monday…for many reasons…including these:

…and this:

I know this hits home for most:

I’ve purchased a few things, but today is the day I make a big list and try to knock out most of my shopping.

This one made me laugh. I’ve always thought it would be fun to receive a new car as a surprise, but I think most people do talk over major purchases with their significant other.

Other LOL

My friends and I have shared this one on a group text, and it’s so true! People need to appreciate how grumpy/mean I could be.

1, 2, 3…goals!

Homer thinks he has a right to all food in this house.

This is kind of me. It’s especially me in the morning before school! I can usually get ready pretty quickly, but I’m always rushing in the mornings!

I feel seen!

I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and that your week starts off on the right foot!

Posted in Holidays, Me, Uncategorized

{Hashtag} Blessed

Hello and…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so it’s the perfect time to take a moment to give thanks and be grateful.

Of course I’m grateful for a roof over my head, my healthy family, a rewarding job, Homer, starting my mornings with a warm cup of coffee, Amazon, grocery pick up and more. This is a natural time of the the year to count blessings and feel grateful. That being said, I know there are many who are going through so much more whether it’s a diagnosis, loss of a loved one, job loss and more.

I’m taking a moment to pause and think about all of the things, both big and small, for which I am grateful.

I am grateful for:

Travis.

Shew! I couldn’t do life without him. He’s the ying to my yang, the calm to my crazy, and just simply the best. We are a true team, and there’s no way I could juggle doing all the things while working full time and getting the kids where they need to be without him. Also, he’s just such a positive person who encourages and supports me. He’s there for all of us. Always.

(& of course, I’m thankful for my kids as well. They get our attention all of the time, so sometimes I need to remember to give a shout out to T-rav!) ❤️

My friends.

I have such a great group of “mom” friends as I call them. Without the kids, I wouldn’t have met these wonderful ladies. That being said, this year, in particular, I’ve gotten to know some of the moms of middle school friends that the kids have made. What a blessing it is to expand my circle. I appreciate moms who treat my kids as their own, give them a ride if needed, and even text them “Happy Birthday.” I hope these friendships, both old and new, continue for years and years and years!

A rewarding job with a calendar that allows for me to be present with my kids on days off. I’m not exactly sure how to word this…I don’t mean that I’m working only for days off. 😆

I really enjoy my job, and it’s so fulfilling.

I just mean that it’s nice to have natural breaks throughout the year where I know that I will be home with my kids, that I’m able to pick them up after school most days, plan visits with out of town family and more. I’ve lived off a school calendar since 1985, and I just appreciate having the built in time through the year to be at home, recharge, spend time with family, and get things accomplished without having to stress about taking days off.

My health.

Now listen…I know I’m not 25 anymore…and well, I wish I had appreciated my health back then! That being said, this year has been good for me in regards to getting on track with workouts and tracking what I eat. I’ve seen results that I haven’t seen in years. I think it took a bit for my hormones to level out after my hysterectomy. And, to be honest, while I’ve regularly exercised through the years, I needed to buckle down more on nutrition. While I’m forever a work in progress, I appreciate that I’ve taken the time for myself to workout four to five days a week and eat with “progress, not perfection” in mind.

As I type this, I haven’t had a good couple of weeks. We’ve been extra busy which means I haven’t been getting my workouts in like I’ve been doing consistently for so long. Also, my eating has not even been 80/20…feels more like 60/40 the past month or so. And…I’ve tweaked my back again. Last week, when I pulled the Christmas decorations out of the attic, I felt a twinge…and now it’s a constant pain (literally and figuratively). Once or twice a year, this tends to happen to me. I’m hoping to take it easy, and then starting Friday, I’m focusing on a plan for decent nutrition and workout schedule to get me to 2023!

Quiet mornings.

I’ve taken advantage of getting up before the rest of the house for years. That being said, with constantly busy days and evenings, that quiet time in the morning has become even more necessary. I need to ease into the day with a little “me time” that includes a cup of coffee, my favorite blogs, and right now, the glow of the Christmas tree.

You! Y’all are the best! Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and commenting on my posts. I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many of my readers and appreciate this community so much. Show Me and Sweet Tea is a fun hobby for me, and I appreciate the support so much!

Before I go, I just thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes again. We always make this Turkey Rice Soup the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a family favorite. I thought you might enjoy it too.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. See you back here next week.

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Birthday Recap

Hello! How was the start to your week? Of course, we had school and then last night was busy with the kids having basketball and volleyball.

We have one more day and then it’s our Thanksgiving break.

Before too much time passes, I’m recapping the kids birthday celebration(s).

I joke that I don’t mess around when it comes to birthdays. I’ve always loved my birthday. Then, of course, I had two kids on one day, so why not celebrate as big as possible?

Party Time:

The past few years, we’ve been able to work out a time on a Friday to let the kids have some fun with their friends.

The only “free” evening or weekend day we had was Friday, November 11th, so we went ahead and scheduled the kids’ party with their friends for that day.

I picked the kids (and some of their friends) up from school and headed to our house. The other friends met us there, and then Travis and I took the kids to Activate Games. Honestly, I don’t know much about it, but both kids had previously been there and thought it would be a fun way to spend their birthday. There are a variety of high-tech games that test your team with real-life challenges.

We had 5:30 reservations for 1 hour and 15 minutes of fun. We signed them in, and then Travis and I just hung out in the lobby. We actually both took turns shopping nearby while the other person hung out in case the kids needed anything. Honestly, we hardly saw the kids the entire time they were there…which I guess is a sign of a good time!

After the hour and fifteen minutes, they were hot, sweaty, and hungry!

We loaded up and headed to one of our favorite restaurants where we had reserved a room for pizza and cake. We got the kids settled, and Travis and I actually ate out in the main dining area. What is this life? haha

The kids ate, hung out, chatted, and opened gifts. After dinner, we had the traditional cookie cake!

The plan was to drop everyone off after dinner, but they were all very convincing that they wanted to play outside for a bit. So, boys vs. girls volleyball in our driveway burned a bit more energy. Everyone was home by 9:00, and it was a great party for a bunch of almost 13 year olds!

Big Birthday!

The Twins are Teens!

Wow! Times have changed. I was so tired on Saturday night that I went to bed waaaayy before anyone else. I was up around 7:00 which gave me time to put out the presents and few decorations instead of the night before like I did when they were little. Travis ran and picked up some donuts while the kids slept in.

Finally, around 9:30, they woke up. We sang them “happy birthday,” they ate their donuts and opened up the gifts from us. For their birthday, I try to stick with something they “want, wear, need, and read,” and that keeps things pretty simple.

I had them open the Homer socks last, and they loved them.

Since I knew Sunday would be so hectic, we took the traditional balloon photo on Saturday. *Sigh* this may be the last year…Hayden will oblige, but he doesn’t like the fanfare. Hadley’s like, “I’ll hold both balloons!” haha

I will say for having a weekend birthday, we’ve never been so busy on their actual birthday. Hayden’s rec league end of season tournament was this weekend. ALL of his games were on Sunday. Of course, if they had lost, they would have been finished, but they kept on winning. He played three games, and his team lost in the championship game.

Hadley’s studio does a Winter Showcase, and it’s usually in December. About a month ago, they had to move the venue, and the showcase was rescheduled for Sunday. She was in three routines, and it was such a fun performance to watch.

In between the dance showcase and the championship game, they let me take a few pics with the yard signs. The sign display seems to grow each year!

After the championship game, we headed straight to dinner. We had reservations at Carson’s which is one of our favorite restaurants. Of course, Hadley got the salmon, and Hayden ordered a bacon cheeseburger.

After dinner, we stopped by my brother’s house, so his family could wish them happy birthday and eat some cake!

We headed home around 7:30, so the kids could work on their science fair proposals and get ready for the (short) week ahead.

Overall, I think the kids had a really great day. Of course, it would have been nice to have some downtime, but, then again, they spent the day doing the things they love while receiving lots of calls and texts from friends and family. Of course, the day ended with some cake. What’s not to love?

Posted in Kids, Weekend Top 5

Life Lately

Hello and Happy Monday.

Well, after a very busy weekend, I’m thankful for a short school week this week.

I’m linking up with Holly and Sarah for:

…to share a little catch up with Life Lately.

We’ve been busy over the past couple of weeks, and here’s what we’ve been up to…

Both Travis and Hayden received all area recognition to wrap up the middle school cross country season which was an honor for both of them.

Hayden (& Travis) have continued with club season. Hadley joined them last weekend in the bitter cold temps as they ran the track at Bellarmine. Our nephew’s club team hosted a memorial run for Trav’s dad. Both kids did great and those races are always fun to watch…even in the cold temps with snow on the ground.

That same Saturday, one of Hadley’s best friends had her 13th birthday party at Kroger Field as the CATS played Vandy. Instead of “Big Blue Saturday,” I joked that it was “Big Brrr Saturday.” 😂 They had a scavenger hunt with 13 clues to do around the stadium. How fun is that? Such a great idea.

One of the clues was a photo with the cheerleader which Hadley thought was so fun.

Hadley’s volleyball season has continued these past few weeks. These girls are so fun to watch! They improve with each game and cheer each other on.

Hadley played one of her best friend’s teams, and it was fun to see her (and her mom!) and catch up.

My brother’s family has a new addition:

Meet Tilly! She’s a cutie.

On Friday night, we went to a charity gala for the Ronald McDonald House. I think we all know what an amazing organization this is, and nothing will help you count your blessings more than hearing the stories of so many thankful families.

We had a wonderful night with our friends for a great cause.

I got this dress from Red Dress Boutique and love it. Green and black appear to be sold out, but red would be perfect for any holiday party you have to attend.

Hadley has these same heels in nude, and I picked up the glitter/gold option. This purse was the perfect touch and holds so much! It’s my new “go to” clutch for sure.

I’m in size large dress, regular size 9 heels

We celebrated the kids as much as possible yesterday. We officially have two teenagers in the house!

…and they didn’t even take a break on their birthday.

Hayden had a basketball tournament (& played three games yesterday)…

…while Hadley had her Winter Showcase for her dance studio.

We were able to go out to dinner and have cake (with cousins) last night.

Shew! Yesterday was non-stop, but the kids had a great day.

What was the highlight of your weekend? See you back here tomorrow!

{this post contains Amazon affiliate links}

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

Friday Favorites {#136}: The Twins are Teens

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has been a good one! I hope the same can be said for you.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Well, today’s post is a “Special Edition” of Friday Favorites because it’s all about two of my favorite people who are about to be teenagers. The kids will turn 13 on Sunday, and I really can’t believe how quickly these years have flown by.

Thirteen. Wow. I will say I’ve always felt 13 to be an unlucky number. But…how can I say that now? I’ve been blessed with the best title, mom, for 13 amazing years. The years have been filled with sleepless nights, amazing memories, highs and lows, achievements, milestones, and more!

To mark this special occasion…

…a stroll down memory lane…

I made these collages over the past thirteen days to countdown to the big day.

13 days to 13…

12.

11.

10.

9.

8.

7.

6.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Y’all know I celebrate birthdays in a big way. Two kids, one day. Why not?

Through the years, I’m so glad that I did the birthday t-shirt tradition. We did that until they were ten, and those pics are always so fun to look back on. Starting when they were three until they turned ten, we had two parties: one for family and one for friends. The past few years, one party with friends has been perfect, and I know even that tradition may fade as they grow older and get busier.

When they were eight, I started buying the balloons with their age, and I hope to do that until they are 18! The yard signs are fun, and we’ve been doing those for a few years. That being said, Hayden doesn’t love all the attention from the neighbors. After this year, I may hold off doing that again until they are 16!

I hope they look back at all the times I made their cakes, started traditions, and planned parties with fond memories. They sure are worthy of celebrating, and it’s been so fun to do so through the years.

T H I R T E E N

Hayden…

From 4 lbs 7 oz almost looking me in the eye, you’ve certainly grown so much this year.

You are figuring yourself out, you are determined and driven, and you have a quiet confidence that I admire. You’ve overcome obstacles and continued to pave your own way.

13 things you did this year::

  • Caught up to your sister in height
  • Learned you love to fish
  • Made the basketball team
  • Made Honor Roll every quarter
  • Had a great 12 year old season and walked away from the baseball diamond on your own terms
  • Ran track (and set PR’s!)
  • Ran cross country (with your dad as your coach!)
  • Learned to cook a few things
  • Gave Homer lots of snuggles
  • Made new friends while keeping old friendships too
  • Cheered for the CATS and the Chiefs
  • Were recognized for good citizenship
  • Read lots of books

I pray that you know we’ll always be here for you, and that dad and I are your biggest fans. I’ve loved watching your relationship with Hadley grow through the years. You’re lucky to have her as a sister and as a friend.

I hope you have the best year yet. We can’t wait to celebrate you!

xo xo,

Mom

Hadley…

From 4 lbs to almost looking me in the eye (and almost sharing my shoe size!), you’ve certainly grown so much this year.

Your smile is infectious and you light up the room. You have grace and beauty. You cheer for others. You set goals and crush them. You have a confidence that I admire. You’ve taken risks, learned new things, and fostered friendships. You are silly at just the right time, and you don’t take yourself too seriously.

You continue to pave your way which has been a joy to watch.

13 things you did this year:

  • Danced (at school, for competition team, and for studio)
  • Swam (and set PR’s)
  • Ran track
  • Made Honor Roll every quarter
  • Went to camp
  • Made the volleyball team
  • Were involved in Student Council
  • Babysat
  • Went to youth group
  • Were an acolyte at church
  • Made new friends while keeping old friendships too
  • Went tubing on the lake and kayaked in the ocean
  • Got your braces off

I pray that you know we’ll always be here for you, and that dad and I are your biggest fans. I’ve loved watching your relationship with Hayden grow through the years. You’re lucky to have him as a brother and as a friend.

I hope you have the best year yet. We can’t wait to celebrate you!

xo xo,

Mom

Favorite Mom Meme:

This one feels perfect for today:

Previous Birthday Posts:

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week:

What are your weekend plans? We have so many fun things going on! We have plans with friends, Hayden has a basketball tournament, Hadley has a dance recital, and, of course, we have some birthday cake to eat!

See you back here on Monday! Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Holidays, Monthly Musings

Monthly Musings

Hello! One week from today is Thanksgiving. Can you believe it?

Holly and Patty are doing the Monthly Musings link up a bit early due to Thanksgiving next week. So, I’m linking up with them to share my responses.

This month’s topic is:

I’m definitely team “give Thanksgiving its moment,” (it’s my favorite holiday!), but I also know that with a crazy busy schedule, the earlier I start thinking about Christmas the better as far as planning and organizing are concerned.

…so…’tis the season to really start thinking about holidays!

1. Favorite holiday tradtions?

I love baking cookies with the kids, buying Angel Tree gifts, going to see the Kentucky Horse Park lights and more!

My mom and Gma always bake cookies and send a few to us. Then, when we are in KC, we make waffle cookies. Spritz cookies are another family tradition.

I also love that the kids pick out gifts for each other. It’s always fun watching them exchange their gifts…sometimes on Christmas Eve and sometimes Christmas morning.

Holiday cards are another favorite tradition. I love receiving them. I feel like it’s a tradition that’s dying…and I blame social media and the cost of stamps! I know before platforms like Facebook and Instagram, holiday cards were a way to check in on others and share about the year. I truly love receiving cards each year.

2. What holidays do you celebrate?

We celebrate Christmas.

3. How early do you shop?

I try to start picking up a few things here in there in November, but it’s hardly enough to make me feel accomplished. I always feel like I need to get through the kids’ November birthday before I can really think about buying Christmas presents. I try to have a decent list for Cyber Monday, and I always feel accomplished after I buy quite a few things that day.

4. When do you decorate?

That varies year to year. The years we go to KC for Thanksgiving, I really try to have most of it up before we leave. That being said, the kids’ birthday usually throws a wrench in things just because we are busy with that before Thanksgiving. This is the third year that I’ve put up my pencil trees on Election Day. It just gets the Christmas ball rolling for me, and it’s just the right touch of cozy since it gets darker earlier.

Last year, was the latest I got everything out for Christmas, and I told myself that I would decorate earlier this year. I actually pulled the Christmas bins out of the attic on Sunday, and have the house about 80% filled with Christmas cheer.

My kids give me grief, but I remind them that I still love Thanksgiving…I just have to decorate when I have the time. Also, they don’t help decorated, they don’t get a vote…and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

5. Do you host any holiday festivities?

We don’t host any festivities. That being said, we usually get together with my brother’s family and let the kids swap gifts. We usually have an informal dinner and dessert.

We do love attending a few parties. Trav’s work always has a Christmas party and then another one of our friends hosts a fun one too! Our neighborhood used to have a progressive party with apps, dinner, and dessert, but we haven’t had that since Covid. We loved that tradition.

6. Favorite holiday meals or recipes to share?

For our Christmas dinner at home, I always make salmon, potatoes, and green beans. We keep it simple, but we all love that meal.

7. Best holiday organization tips?

For being so Type A, you’d think I’d be better at organizing. Some things I do are:

  • Keep an ongoing note on my phone with gift ideas, mostly for myself and the kids.
  • For two years now, I’ve shared an Amazon wish list with family with present ideas for the kids (and me!)
  • The past couple of years, I’ve thrown out or donated seasonal decor when I haven’t used it. Some of my bins could be consolidated which made for less bins to store.
  • I label the main bins “1 of 4,” “2 of 4,” etc., so I know exactly what I’m looking for when it’s time to decorate.

8. Gift wrapping. Love it or hate it?

I want to love it, but it’s always such a hectic process and sometimes last minute. Usually somewhere around December 20, I sit down in the basement, turn on a movie, pour a glass of wine, and wrap. It still is usually a hectic process for some reason, and I’m always glad when it’s over. I’ve thought about “wrapping as things arrive,” but then I’m afraid I’ll just end up overbuying because I can’t remember what I’ve wrapped.

9. Holiday coffee drink?

I don’t do many holiday drinks, but I will indulge in a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha from time to time.

10. Are you a holiday baker? Recipes to share?

Once we are out of school for break, the kids will bake cookies with me. Some years we make more than others, but we always make Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

For our Christmas dinner dessert, I always make Shay’s Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake.

It’s a family favorite.

I try to enjoy the season…it’s always so hectic, but I try to take it all in the best that I can.

This is such a fun link up! I can’t wait to see how everyone else responds.