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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bon Voyage

And we're off! Matt and I set sail for Cozumel TODAY while Avery gets a weekend with the grandparents.


It's been a whirlwind of a month, so this trip could not come at a better time.

I'll be back next week with cruise pictures, pregnancy updates, crafty projects, and organizing challenges! Try not to miss me too much. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: Craft Paper

This challenge was a little mundane but a lot necessary. I've mentioned before a million times now that I'm in the process of clearing out the guest/craft room to turn it into a nursery, but it's a huge undertaking to say the least.

My original goal was to have all my craft stuff cleared out by today actually so that our house guests while we're on vacation would have a clutter-free place to sleep. That didn't happen completely. So sorry, Melissa and Adam!

Because of the enormity of the project, I'm taking it piece by piece. One of those pieces was my craft paper. I have tons of the stuff. In fact, I've cut myself off from buying any more (no matter how great the sale or how cute the paper) until I've made a substantial dent in my current supply.

The Process
  1. Lay out all 12 x 12 craft paper.
  2. Organize by sets, prints, colors, or whatever works for what you have.
  3. Assemble organized stacks in your stage container. I used the Iris Handy Scrapbook Carrier because I liked the hanging file organizers, the small amount of space it requires, and the option to store things in the top section.
BEFORE

AFTER 1

  
AFTER 2
I also organized my 8.5 x 11 paper into a magazine holder and cleared out my scrap paper drawer, only keeping the usable scraps. And now it's all accessible and not hanging out all over the place.

Baby steps, people!

22 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights
How Far Along: 22 weeks
Size of baby: About 11 inches long and almost 1 pound
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 8 lbs. If you're keeping track, that means that I gained seven pounds between my last two appointments. Yikes! That's one huge jump. Dr. D said it was no big deal (especially since I had hardly gained anything up to this point) as long as I don't do it again next month. Um, we definitely leave for our cruise tomorrow, and I plan on doing some serious eating. Guess I should do some serious walking, too!
Maternity Clothes: I'm wearing a mix of maternity and regular clothes. Maternity pants are still too big, but my regular ones are getting a little snug, so I'm going with the lesser of two evils (big pants it is). 
Gender: We're having a boy! (And there's no question about that after yesterday's sonogram!) And we finally decided on a name. Cross that one off the list!
Movement: I feel lots of movement, especially at night
Sleep: I'm sleeping okay for now (I'm definitely not big enough yet to be uncomfortable; I know I'll get there though!)
What I miss: I'm not much of a drinker, but I would like to have a margarita on the beach when we're in Cozumel on Saturday (on my birthday, no less!). No such luck for me. 
Cravings: Still loving the cereal. I cannot get enough of it.
Symptoms: I really do love the second trimester this time around. When I was pregnant with Avery I was still coaching, so I was just exhausted through the entire pregnancy. This extra energy is nice!
Best Moment this week: Seeing the baby on the sonogram

Monday, January 24, 2011

So. Tired.

Lately I've felt like a pathetic hamster. You know, the type that just run on the little wheel while never actually getting anywhere.

I finish the laundry just in time for the next round to begin.

I clean up all of the toys just for them to be dumped right back out again.

By the time I complete a project at church, I'm already behind on the next one.

My floors are never really clean no matter how often I vacuum because we have a dog.

I have more creative project ideas in my head than the day allows time to complete.

More often than not in the past few weeks, I have felt like the mundane tasks of my day are just so completely futile. Don't get me wrong, I love staying home with Avery and I'm not complaining about said tasks, but I just feel so overwhelmed by all the little things that I need (and want!) to do. Is it even possible to be caught up or am I chasing the unattainable?

So today instead of my typical Monday pregnancy update (which are really more for me anyway), you're getting a whine fest. And since I can't have wine to go with my whine, I'm indulging in some ice cream therapy, courtesy of Blue Bell cookies and cream.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Five

1. Matt got paid today. Hallelujah, and let the grocery shopping commence.

2. Anybody want to recommend your dishwasher? Ours is a rebellious, bottom-of-the-line model that is needing to be replaced by an appliance that is willing to adequately perform its duties.

3. Avery and I took a trip up to Northpark (aka mommy [and nanny] central) this morning with our friends Whitney and Pearson. We went to a couple stores (including Build-a-Bear and a toy store to play and not buy because I am that mom), ate in the food court (Avery from her lunchbox and me from Chick-fil-a; don't judge, she doesn't know the difference yet and we live on one income. Plus I'm pregnant and crave Chick-fil-a. So there.), and she got a treat of exactly four gummy candies at the candy store. I then made a fool of myself trying to keep my sleepy girl awake in the car so she would nap at home, and lo and behold, the girl with the droopy eyelids who was trying so hard to crash in the car would not go down for her nap once we got home. Good thing I'm persistent because she is now fast asleep and I am wasting time on the computer.

4. After this weekend, the musical will be over and I will have my husband back.

5. This weekend's festivities are as follows. Tonight: dinner with Whitney and Lauren and their kids while Matt works, cut more flannelgraph and try not to get carpal tunnel, and go to bed at a semi-decent hour. Tomorrow: go to the grocery store and BUY FOOD, hang out with Matt, work at church for a couple hours, and take Avery to my mom's so I can see the musical. Sunday: church and who-knows-what-will-come-up-but-it's-always-something-on-Sundays.

That might be my most boring Friday Five post ever. Oh well, I'm tired.

WE GO ON OUR CRUISE NEXT WEEK!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: Pantry

As promised yesterday, I finally got around to organizing the pantry. Whew! Much thanks to the best of Elmo DVD for giving me 30 minutes in which to work. :)

In all honesty, the before and after pictures don't really do it justice, but here they are for good measure:

BEFORE

AFTER
After completely emptying the pantry, I organized everything by category (snacks, pasta/sauce, canned goods, condiments, processed crap food, breads/grains, baking, and breakfast) on my kitchen counters. Then I got out my trusty label maker (LOVE that thing!) and added a couple of categories (I had already labeled a few shelves during last year's challenge). Then everything went back in! I even had room to put my cereal and tortilla chips in there instead of their previous home on top of the refrigerator, so now the kitchen looks a little less cluttered as well. Double win!

So like I said, the pictures might not look that drastically different (especially since I don't organize my pantry with fancy bins and containers), I feel so much better knowing that everything is in its correctly labeled place.

On a slightly different (but still organizational) note, I've been tackling my former-guest/craft-room-but-soon-to-be-nursery like a madwoman. I'm not ready to post the "after" pictures yet, but here's a sneak peek at the "before."




Eek, just looking at the pictures makes me shudder. The room already looks SO much better, and I can't wait to show you the completed project!

Happy organizing to my friends who have taken the 52 week challenge!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scrounging for Food

Thanks to this 5-week pay period, we ran out of grocery money about a week too soon. That's what happens when you budget for 4-weeks. Thanks, MISD.

We've about finished off all leftovers and anything we can make out of the pantry, leaving the fridge and said pantry looking like this:



Exciting, huh?

So it seems that now might be an excellent time to organize that pantry, seeing how it contains a very manageable stock. Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for a so-exciting-you-just-can't-stand-it organizing challenge update featuring: THE FOOD CLOSET. Dun dun dunnnnn!

In the meantime, Matt's working late all week with the musical, so I'm crashing my parents' house for dinner tonight before Lifegroup and eating with a couple of temporarily-husbandless-also friends and their kids on Thursday.

Avery and I should be good until Friday when I can go to the store. Matt on the other hand might be subsiding on animal crackers and applesauce.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sew Cute

I'm not a very original person. I already used this title for my sewing project album on Facebook, and I know I'm not the first to use the sew/so pun. But I can't help myself!

Anyway.

I got a sewing machine!! Can I get a woohoo?!?! My birthday isn't until the end of the month, but since my mom and I were going to spend this past Saturday sewing (and I'll be, ahem, on a cruise on my actual birthday), she gave me my present early. I was SO excited!

I got the Singer Brilliance 6180, and it's so easy to use. It's a pretty basic machine, but since I'm just figuring all this sewing stuff out, I definitely didn't need anything fancy.

We had already cut out the fabric to make this twirl skort, so on Saturday we just needed to put it all together. Easier said than done, right? Ruffles hate me, but I think I'm on the road to conquering them.

My mom definitely walked me through the steps, so I didn't make the skirt entirely on my own (and she even picked out the fabric-- love it!), but here's how it turned out:


And it's still in one piece after Avery traipsed all over the church in it on Sunday! I'd call that success.

And now I'm just trying to decide if I should attempt my other skirt pattern next or go for something a little easier since now I'm totally on my own. Eek!

21 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights
How Far Along: 21 weeks
Size of baby: About 10.5 inches long, the length of a carrot
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Officially I've gained 1 pound, but that's only because I lost a few pounds in the 1st trimester. I gained 3 pounds between my last two appointments. And now my appetite is back, so we'll see where I'm at in a couple weeks... 
Maternity Clothes: I'm wearing a mix of maternity and regular clothes. Maternity pants are still too big, but my regular ones are getting a little snug, so I'm going with the lesser of two evils (big pants it is). And a HUGE thanks to my friend Kati who loaned me her maternity clothes since she just had her baby. Hooray for more wardrobe choices! 
Gender: We're having a boy! We still haven't decided 100% on the name yet.
Movement: I feel lots of movement, especially at night
Sleep: I'm sleeping okay for now (I'm definitely not big enough yet to be uncomfortable; I know I'll get there though!)
What I miss: Eh, not really much right now.
Cravings: Still loving the cereal. I am mixing it up though now! I even bought Fruit Loops the other day. Random.
Symptoms: Loving the second trimester. I have so much more energy and practically no morning sickness.
Best Moment this week: Matt could feel Baby Boy moving a lot this week! He's definitely an active little booger!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Five

1. I was such a good wife yesterday. I decided to take dinner to Matt since he had rehearsal until 6 and orchestra practice until 8. Avery and I even ate a little early so I could pack up Matt's dinner and get us in the car. I wasn't such a good mom though when I tripped on a ramp to walk into the school, slamming Avery's head into the corner of the building. Ugh, who does that? Aside from hurt pride, I scraped up my left hand and right foot in the process. I'm such a baby.

2. Thanks to our current budget, we only bought two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies this year. And because Samoas only come with like 10 cookies in a box (or so it seems), we went with a close second, Thin Mints. Mmm, I love Thin Mints. Especially out of the freezer. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Anyway, my point is that my awesome husband discovered this recipe for copycat Samoas that I can't wait to try. So all is not lost in Cookie Land.


3. We need a new computer. I'm afraid our 6-year-old desktop is about to crap out, so it'd be nice to get a new one before we lose all of our data. The current debate is desktop vs. laptop. I had a laptop in college and loved it, but we also like just having our computer in a specified location. I'm currently leaning toward laptop, so give me your recommendations. :) (Sorry though, Macs are out; we'd love to buy one, but we just have to come to grips with what we can afford, which is unfortunately not an Apple product [even a used one].)

4. Avery and I took a little trip up to Rowlett today to see my friend Kati and her new baby, Karlyn. Avery just adored Karlyn, and it was nice to be able to catch up a little with an old friend (well, between trying to chase Avery out of the baby gear, ha!). An added bonus: Avery didn't freak out when I held a baby like she has been doing recently. So maybe the transition won't be quite so bad in May? Maybe?

She was so happy when we finally let her "hold her" by herself.

I promise Avery was happier than she looks!

Kati was such a trooper letting Avery "hold" Karlyn so much!

5. We have relatively no plans this weekend. I am so beyond excited about that fact. I'll go to the craft night with some ladies from church tonight, but other than that, we're FREE!! Woohoo!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: Entryway Closet

Closets are my nemesis. They make it far too easy to haphazardly toss in random items, close the door, and run walk away from a mess or clutter I just don't want to deal with.

But their time as a feared enemy is over.

Last week I tackled the linen closet. This week I thought I'd do the pantry, but I'm still putting that one off. I never said I wasn't a procrastinator. So instead, I worked on our entryway/coat closet.

BEFORE

What a nightmare. Messy hangers. Unworn jackets (we do live in Texas after all). Leftover home improvement project items strewn about. Cobwebs (eek!).

The process:
  • Remove all items from closet
  • Return out of place items (light bulbs? wall texture? weather stripping?) to their proper home (ahem, the garage)
  • Sort through jackets and put no longer needed items in giveaway pile
  • Vacuum those corners and the shelf (yuck)
  • Replace mismatched hangers with matching black ones
  • Discard flimsy hangers that have no business staying in the house
  • Neatly rehang coats
AFTER

It's much better now, but I still don't feel like it's reaching its full potential. Haha! I'm hoping this closet will become the new home of the gift wrapping station that currently resides in the guest room (soon-to-be nursery), so now at least there's freed up space, and I don't get stressed out grabbing my coat in this uncharacteristically cold Texas January.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Redeemed.

Redemption is one of those "Sunday School words" that I tend to gloss over in Bible studies or while listening to sermons. It just sounds so, um, theological.

I've mentioned before that I started BSF this September for the Isaiah study, and to say that it's been difficult would be a vast understatement. Besides the challenge of making myself be disciplined enough to actually do the study, the book of Isaiah is just overwhelmingly depressing. There are smatterings of hope here and there, but the overall picture is of God's judgment (of both his people and their oppressors) and wrath. Reading chapter after chapter of torment and destruction is just tough to swallow.

However, this week included chapter 35, which is all about the redemption of God's people and the restoration that He offers. Redemption, by definition, means the recovery of ownership by a specified sum. Thanks to the New Testament, we know that Jesus came to redeem us, taking back ownership (which was given to sin, thanks to Adam and Eve) by the sum of his own humiliating death on a cross.

I can't tell you how many times I cheapen the gospel by my act of glossing over the concept of redemption. Jesus came to earth and willingly died in my place before I even existed, much less was aware of my need for such a savior. It should've been me who was forced to pay my own debt, but He paid it instead. What a huge gift. How am responding to this gift? How are you responding to this gift?

Even today, God still uses the circumstances of life to redeem us and bring us closer to Himself. I thought I posted this song about a year ago, but I can't find it in my archives, so I want to make sure I post it now. This is one of my very favorite songs from one of my very favorite groups (Selah), and it means something new to me every time I hear it. Ha, I even tried to sing it at church awhile back, and I couldn't even finish the song I was so emotional. Embarrassing. I digress. You can check it out on YouTube (or buy the whole album; it's so great) because the song is just gorgeous, but if that's not an option for you right now, here are the lyrics:

Unredeemed

The cruelest words, the coldest heart
The deepest wounds, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter nights, the wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are

[Chorus]
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be
Unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all …

[Chorus]

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But you never know the miracles the Father has in store
Just watch and see it will not be
Just watch and see it will not be

Unredeemed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

20 Weeks!

Pregnancy Highlights
 
How Far Along: 20 weeks (halfway there!!!!)
Size of baby: About 6.5 inches long, the length of a banana
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Officially I've gained 1 pound (which honestly blows my mind), but that's only because I lost a few pounds in the 1st trimester. I gained 3 pounds between my last two appointments (dang you, delicious holiday food!).
Maternity Clothes: I still can't wear my maternity pants (I'm carrying so differently this time around), but I've been wearing some maternity tops, along with my regular clothes.
Gender: We're having a boy! We loved the girl name we had picked out, but now we're second guessing the boy name. I'll let you know when we decide for sure!
Movement: I feel lots of movement, especially at night
Sleep: I'm sleeping okay for now (I'm definitely not big enough yet to be uncomfortable; I know I'll get there though!)
What I miss: Eh, not really much right now.
Cravings: Still loving the cereal.
Symptoms: Loving the second trimester. I have so much more energy and practically no morning sickness.
Best Moment this week: Matt could feel Baby Boy moving this week!

BIrthday, movies, organizing, and snow.

On Saturday we celebrated Allison's fake birthday. She turns 21 on the 16th, but she's going to be in Costa Rica studying abroad on her for real birthday, so we had a fake one for her. We went to my very favorite Mexican restaurant in the entire world, Chuy's. Give me a Chuychanga with deluxe tomatillo sauce and I am a very happy girl (especially after having a craptastic day while Matt was in Waco and Avery was throwing the biggest tantrums of her life). Anyway, happy early birthday, Allison!

Avery loves her Aunt "Cheshea"

Me with the (fake) birthday girl!

Mom, Dad, Uncle Vernon, and Aunt Tina

"Hey Avery, make a funny face!"

Avery with her great-grandparents

Our little family. :) (p.s. That's my friend Julie behind us! It was a fun surprise to find out that she was our waitress!)
Today's Dallas Groupon is for $5 tickets (with a drink) at Studio Movie Grill. I love SMG, so I jumped on the offer (it's a great cheap date night!). You should, too! Plus, if you click on this referral link to purchase yours, you'll be giving me a $10 Groupon credit. That doesn't really help you out much, but I'd very much appreciate it. :) You have to buy today to get the deal, and it expires on February 24.

This 52 Week Organizing Challenge thing has given me organizing ADD. I have SO much to get done, so my brain keeps working on overdrive trying to decide where to start next. I worked on moving some photos around to consolidate albums, but picture storage is kind of a nightmare for me. Anybody have any tried and true solutions to pass along? I already store the digital versions on Snapfish (I know there are better storage sites, but it's just easier for me to keep them somewhere I can get cheap prints), but my leftover (read: unscrapbooked) prints are taking up too much space. I'm not a huge fan of the photo storage boxes, so right now I'm using just regular albums you slip the pictures in.

It snowed yesterday! Woohoo! I don't even have any fun pictures of Avery playing in it because she really only got to play in it with Uncle Nick after church (ahem, in her totally non-waterproof boots in which her feet got soaked). I'm lame like that. But was wasn't lame was that Matt got a 2-hour delay for school today, so he got to sleep in and eat breakfast with us before he had to be at work at 10. And now I feel all weird because it seems like it should be a Saturday.

That's all I've got for today. I really need to be more productive during Avery's naptimes instead of spending my time catching up on the blog.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Five

1. Avery's getting a new room! Well, sort of. We got her big girl bed last night (we bought it from some people whose daughter only used it for 2 years; it was exactly what I was looking for and we got a great deal on it), so now I'm hoping it inspires me to clear out our current guest/craft room so Avery's furniture can go there for Baby Boy's nursery. Ah! There's so much to do! Good thing I still have a few more months.

Avery's new bed
Possible bedding (the closest I can find to the one I LOVE at Pottery Barn and could never afford)
2. If you missed my last post, I'm taking Org Junkie's 52 Week Organizing Challenge this year. I just bought a few storage containers at the Dollar Tree (they have a really good selection and it's cheaper than Walmart) to get me started, and I can't wait to cross projects off my list!

3. When I was pregnant with Avery, my biggest craving was cereal. However, I alternated between Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch Berries, so it wasn't like it was healthy or anything.  This time around, I cannot stop eating stupid Malt-O-Meal (hey, we're poor now) knockoff Super Golden Crisp. I eat multiple bowls a day. It's sad really. But Matt just emailed me a link to an article that says that cereal is actually one of ten foods that can help you sleep. So there. My bedtime cereal-eating ritual is not as bad as I thought. Humor me.



4. Speaking of Matt, he has to take some choir kids to Waco tonight for a competition, so I'm on my own until tomorrow night when he comes home (hopefully in time to meet us at Chuy's for Allison's birthday dinner). But I'm so excited that my cousin Amy is coming over tonight for a girls' night in!

5. And speaking of excitement, we go on our Christmas/anniversary/birthday cruise in 20 days! Yippee!  I have no idea how to pack for a cruise in the middle of winter. And we haven't planned any excursions or anything. Any advice?

Hope you all have a great weekend!

p.s. This post is linked up with Company Girl Coffee.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing

So last year I implemented my own 30-day organizing challenge, and it was crazy how much I got in order around the house. I loved it! I wish I could say that all of it has stayed in pristine organizational condition, but if I said that I'd be lying. And lying is a sin, you know.

Imagine my glee at discovering that Org Junkie is starting a 52-week organizing challenge meant to last the entire year. Yippee!

I haven't quite completed my list of clutter-cleansing to-dos, but I'm planning on adding to it as the year goes on. There are always things to be organized! I must be a huge nerd to be using so many exclamation points to talk about organizing!

Anyway.

I wanted to tackle something relatively easy right off the bat, so I started with our linen closet. I had already done the linen closet during my last challenge, but it had gotten a little bit out of hand. Fortunately, all of my previously used labels were still intact (nerd alert!), so after some purging of unused (and overused) towels and other miscellaneous items, it is back in tip-top shape.

BEFORE

AFTER

Now doesn't that just make you feel better? Or not. I, for one, love knowing that one small portion of my life is in order. That might just be a little sad. See ya next week for my next challenge! I'm thinking that pantry is calling my name...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

18 Month Update

Avery, you are a year and a half old! In just six short months you will be TWO. Eek! That just sounds crazy to think about! This past month your vocabulary and personality have just exploded. Here's what you've been up to:
  • You changed pediatricians today. While we loved Dr. J's nurses, we just couldn't handle the 45 minute waits every time we had an appointment. Not to mention that Dr. J's constant baby talk and obsession with antibiotics was beyond annoying. So when Dr. T (who I've known forever) moved his practice to our town, we made the decision to switch, and I'm SO glad we did! It was a much better experience, and I felt like he was actually paying attention to you and asking questions instead of trying to rush off to the next appointment. 
    • Your current stats: 27 lbs (80%), 34" tall (off the charts), and Dr. T was very impressed with your language development
    • You wear size 24 month and 2T clothes, a size 6 (almost 7) shoe, and we just moved up to a size 5 diaper
  • You don't really show much interest in TV except for the Backyardigans songs and anything Elmo. You love Elmo! Daddy introduced you to Elmo's ABCs and the ducks via YouTube, and you're pretty close to obsessed. Anytime you see the iPod or a TV, you want to watch "Cs" and "ducks." You don't get to watch them every time, but when you do, you are so fascinated. It's pretty much the longest you'll sit still.
  • You still love for us to read to you. You're not even very picky about which book we read; you'll just grab a stack from the bookshelf and run into whichever room we're in yelling, "Read! Read!"
  • You adore your grandparents. You're always asking for NeNe, Pop-Pop, "Gahmah" (Grandma), and "Rishie" (Granddaddy, who you caught onto his first name much faster than the name you're supposed to call him!). You also love your aunts and uncles and can say most of their names; you've even stopped spitting for "Allison" and now call her "Agua"
  • You're a big helper! It's impossible for me to unload the dishwasher without you. I love it!
  • You're a pro at animal names and sounds. My favorite is when you "neigh" like a horse. Your voice gets all high-pitched and you smile so big. However, your pig sounds are pretty hilarious in their own right. You love to play with all of your animal magnets and LeapFrog Fridge Farm
  • You have lots of little friends and love to say their names. Your favorite name is Jacob, and you amaze me that you can group your friends together according to where you see them (church, MDO, family friends). You also know your own name now, and you like to identify things that are yours. You'll point out "Daddy cup," "Mommy cup," and "Avery cup" at the table.
  • You're a very polite little girl. You say "please," "thank you," "excuse me" (which actually sounds like "me me" but you use it in the correct context every time!), and my favorite, "bless you" whenever someone sneezes. Your little voice just makes me smile.
  • You got a kid-sized mp3 player with a microphone for Christmas, and you love to sing with it! It's saved us from having to rescue CDs when you want to push all the buttons on the CD player in your room. Besides "ducks" and "Cs" your favorite songs are "deep" (Deep and Wide) and "hallu" (Hallelu, Hallelu) from your Wee Sing Bible Songs CD. 
  • You love to hug and kiss (although we're trying to get you to kiss people on the cheeks instead of the lips!), and you always pucker your lips when you tell us "kiss" and hold your arms out when you say "hug." 
  • You love buckles, and that's probably the cutest word in your current repertoire.
  • You've finally started liking being in front of the camera. Anytime we get it out you say, "Pictures! Cheese!" and give us the cheesiest little grin. It's a nice change from the scowls you used to give the camera. 
  • You're also becoming much more independent when you play. You still like to be in the same room as me, but you're pretty content to talk to your toys and move them back and forth with little help from me. It probably helps that Christmas brought you many more playtime options. It's fun to see you pretending and starting to imagine things. 

You're just getting so big! I think this jump from 17 to 18 months was huge developmentally for you.  I also felt this way about the transition from 11 to 12 months, but now that you're doing more "big girl" things it seems even more obvious. Anyway, I say this in every monthly update, but we just love you like crazy and have so enjoyed watching you grow into a precious little lady.

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Happy New Year!

    As has become tradition, we spent New Years with my (former) college roommates and their families. We absolutely love getting together with them, so we try to do it three times a year (alternating houses each time since we're in three completely different areas of Texas).

    Since NYE fell on a Friday this year and I need to be back for church on Sundays, we had to make it a shorter trip than we would've liked. Candace and Ricky hosted this year, so we left late on Friday morning and came back on Saturday night. Fortunately it's only a 2.5 hour drive to the north part of Austin, and Avery was a champ in the car.


    Ricky grilled some yummy fajitas

    while Ross and Matt entertained the kids with bubbles (and the girls set things up in the kitchen)
    Avery loves her black beans
    I'm pretty sure this is the only picture we managed to get of all three kids

    Let them eat Mexican food!
    I can't get over how grown up Avery looks these days
    Candace, Jacob, and Macyn
     
    Little Miss Macyn at 5 months

    Don't we know how to party??

    Daddies with their babies

    Bahaha I love this picture. Avery's like, what the heck?
    After we pigged out on fajitas and got the kids in bed, the girls sat on the kitchen counters just talking over funfetti cookies and hot chocolate while the boys watched Clash of the Titans in the living room.

    We did make it to midnight but not much longer after that. On Saturday though we hit the Round Rock Outlets, and while the deals were pretty easy for me to pass up, it was still fun to walk around and browse.

    I love love love this picture! Avery is totally a daddy's girl.

    Such a precious family :) 

    Although I wish we didn't all live so far away and could get together way more often, I absolutely love hanging out with these girls and their families. Can't wait until April!