December 30, 2011

New Traditions

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are having fun preparing for the new year! I've already told Jeremy that this New Year's Eve all I want to do is sleep. Ha!

We had a great Christmas. This year, we decided to have our Christmas in our home, just the three of us, and then travel to see family the day afterward. It worked out so well. Here's what all we did:

On Friday, I took B to see Santa Claus. He cried. I cheered. Santa Claus was a complete dud. We got a picture. The end.

 On Saturday morning, we woke up and I made my family's sour dough pancakes with the special toppings. I was so nervous because it was my first time making them. But I had no reason to be. They turned out wonderful!! The recipe is a family secret and one that I am so excited to finally have in my possession!

 After breakfast, we went ice skating. It was soo much fun! They had Christmas music and cocoa and A Charlie Brown's Christmas playing. B is too small to skate, but he absolutely loved watching everyone else. We are thinking that by the time he's 3, he'll be able to join us.

That night we had the candlelight service at our church.  It was our first time being at our church on Christmas Eve. We went the earlier, more child-friendly service because of B and his schedule. It was a great service. The kids sang and did hand-bells. We sang Christmas carols, listened to a short sermon, and then lit our candles. Afterward, Jeremy commented on how blessed we are to be part of such a wonderful church. I couldn't agree more.

I am not a big fan of traditional Christmas food. However, Jeremy grew up having the traditional meal and really loves it so I decided to make him whatever he wanted on Christmas Eve. We had ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls and a salad.

After dinner, we gave B a bath, put him in his Christmas pajamas and read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

This is the book we have and we LOVE it. Megan gave it to us. I grew up on the Hallmark book with the pop-ups. It's so nice and special. Well...they don't make it anymore.  And so I'd been looking ever since Jeremy and I got married for one that was similar in artwork, color, and neat effects. Well, this book is awesome! It is soo colorful and well drawn and it has lots of cool holograms throughout it that really add to the joy of reading the story! Megan did such a great job finding this book!

Then, we made an extra large chocolate chip cookie and put some milk in Santa's mug. And it was off to bed for B.

The next morning, B woke up and got to see all of the goodies Santa left.

Honestly, Parker still had more fun than B. BUT B did really like his toys. He just didn't jump and scream/bark like Little P.  That hat he's wearing?? I started to knit that hat before B was born. I had actually gone over to a friend's house the day I went into labor for help on it. Well, I finished it Christmas Eve!! I completely screwed up the top, but now I know how to do it and plan on making him another one in which I don't mess up. :-)

This rocking chair is soo cool. It plays ABC rock songs.

 This toy is one that I really wish I would have invented. It holds an iPhone and let's your kids play apps without worrying about them deleting apps or drooling all over it and killing it or throwing it and breaking the screen.!

 After we had Santa, we made beignets and put B down for his morning nap. He was off all morning and really needed to sleep. The rest of the day we took it easy and played with B.

Then, that night, we ate Chinese! I absolutely LOVE Chinese on Christmas. I promise it tastes so much better on Christmas.

B had a great time flirting with this girl in the next booth. But that's a story for another time...

And that's a look into our Christmas of three. It really was such a great two days.

December 22, 2011

Snowman Cookies (aka Chocolate Crackle Cookies)

This year I was invited to a Cookie Christmas Party. I was so excited to have another reason to use my KitchenAid and to try out a new recipe. I have to say. This is by far my favorite Christmas cookie ever. Jeremy liked it so much he asked me to make a couple more batches this week and if I would please quit referring to it as a seasonal treat.

Hope you enjoy!

 Snowman Cookies 
(aka Chocolate Crackle  Cookies)


12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
Melt chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power stirring every 30 seconds to prevent burning. 
In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In your mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate to dough, combine. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients until just combined. Cookie dough should be thick and firm.

Using a cookie scoop, make 1 inch balls. Next, roll balls first in the granulated sugar, and then in the powdered sugar. Place on silpat-lined or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes until cookies have flattened and sugar cracks.
Makes 3-4 dozen delicious cookies!

December 21, 2011

A Christmas Carol

On Sunday night, Megan, Jeremy, and I sat down and watched A Christmas Carol. The movie was quite fitting to an ongoing discussion we had been having all last week. You see, I married a Mr. Scrooge.

Don't be fooled by his smile. He is the real life Mr. Scrooge.

It all started over Thanksgiving when I told him I'd really like to have my tree up by December 1st. His first response was "Why so early?" I ignored him and went on to ask him where we should put it. He suggested our dining room since it wouldn't require us rearranging anything. Plus, if Bradley was overly drawn to it we could just close off the room. I suggested a spot and he suggested another one. My spot was ready to go. His spot required rewiring and creating an outlet. I told him I honestly didn't care either way. I just wanted my tree up by December 1st.

Well... December 1st came and went. No tree. No outlet.

Then, December 2nd and 3rd came and went.

Finally, on December 4th, I told him that it seemed like a lot of hard work for a tree that isn't really working anyways. He said he had a couple other ideas on how to get to where he needed to be in order to pull the wire or something through. I then begged him to just put the tree in the other spot and let's be done with it. He obliged. My tree is up!

Our next run in with Mr. Scrooge came over my wanting to listen to Christmas Carols in the car. Jeremy wanted to listen to Indie Christmas which I get is all cool and modern sounding, but it is clearly NOT Christmas sounding.

A few days later, I took Mr. Scrooge to Wal-Mart with me.  We were buying a toy for a child in foster care and I thought it would be a great opportunity to buy B one or more presents for Christmas since we'd only bought him one toy so far. So we are in the toy section discussing the gift for the foster child and then I tell Mr. Scrooge he should also look in the younger section for a possible toy or two for B. To which he once again replies, "Why??". BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS!! I didn't say it quite that loudly. but I'm pretty sure it was loud and I may have sent daggers through my eyes his way. One cannot be sure how they react when they are around Mr. Scrooge. Needless to say, we left Wal-Mart with a toy for the foster child and no toys for B. The reason Jeremy gave me was that, "You need to think about it a little more."

I should also mention that while all this was going on I was also buying all of my own Christmas presents... Yes, because every year inevitably they sell out of what I want or Jeremy doesn't order it online in time to arrive by Christmas. And let me tell you. It's not fun buying yourself your Christmas gifts. It's much more fun opening them with a slight surprise.

Then, the next week, he came to me and asked if I would start thinking about possibly not having Santa Claus visit our house.... ever....

Now, let me be straight with you. This is the moment I almost lost it on Mr. Scrooge. Like full on lost it. But since B came along, I have become a much more patient person. So instead I took approximately 1.0 seconds to "think" about it and then told him after "much" thought my answer was that Santa was coming to our house. He then went on to tell me just how serious he was. And how he could never imagine lying to his child. And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I was so upset at the end of his "discussion" that I excused myself and went to our room and refused to talk to him the rest of the day. I mean, I had only been talking about being Santa Claus for the last two months! I had made sure that all the family knew what a big deal it was for us to do our own stockings this year. I had even spent MONTHS researching the perfect Santa gift. But oh no... 2 weeks before Christmas, Jeremy decides he doesn't want Santa coming anymore.

Now, the next morning, after I calmed down quite a bit, I informed him that if he wanted to be Mr. Scrooge that was great, but he had to do it elsewhere. This is Christmas and during Christmas we are happy, we celebrate Christ, we sing Christmas carols, and we have Santa Claus and there would be no further discussion about it. I then asked him if he wanted to watch a Christmas movie with me. His response, "Isn't it too soon for Christmas movies?" The date was December 17.

Now, Internet Friends, this is the moment I lost it on Mr. Scrooge.

I could take no more. He was destroying every little ounce of Christmas spirit he could. And for what???

I grew up in a home where Christmas was seriously amazing. Every inch of our house was covered in Christmas. I kid you not. It looked like Santa and his elves had moved in and brought their Christmas wonderland with them. We had two Christmas trees. We had never ending sugar treats throughout the house. And my mom played Christmas carols 24/7.

On Christmas Eve, we always fed the reindeer. And my dad would go outside our windows and make noises around midnight so that we knew Santa was there! Then, on Christmas morning, we ate beignets and opened up a mountain worth of presents. For a child, it was so much fun!

I want that for Bradley. I want him to look back and think of all the fun and joys he had celebrating this season. I want him to love the traditions and enjoy our time as a family.

Now, I understand Mr. Scrooge wanting to manage our focus and making sure it is on Christ and not mainly on the gifts and Santa and all the other stuff. But come on... We don't manage it by taking it all away. We manage it by teaching B balance and making sure we are reminded daily of the importance of this season which is why I think it is great that we have started to implement celebrating Advent.

So Mr. Scrooge and I had a "Come to Jesus" moment. I explained my upbringing. I explained my thoughts on the whole Santa thing. I also explained ways I'd like to make sure the focus stayed on Christ.

So after two weeks of pain and agony and struggling to keep the Christmas spirit alive in our house, Mr. Scrooge found his first bit of joy in the season. And to celebrate his big come around, we watched A Christmas Carol. I wanted to make sure he saw how ugly and horrible Mr. Scrooge is. 

December 16, 2011

{Sneak Peak} One Year Photos

Back when I was preggars, Jeremy and I decided that we wanted pictures to remember that time in our lives. After much research and asking around (I'm really picky when it comes to photography), we decided to use Two Chics Photography. Not only were they super talented with their cameras, but they also LOVE kids. Their shots really spoke for themselves. Plus, when you meet them, you get to see that they are also super sweet. We decided to go with their Baby Package. With it we got a maternity shoot, a newborn shoot, AND another shoot of our choosing. We chose to capture B at one year. 

So this past week, Jessica and her daughter came over to our house to "shoot" Bradley. And can I say photographers who photograph one year olds have to have the patience of saint? One year olds do not do well with direction nor do they sit still for more than 2 seconds. It was an hilarious and fun shoot.

Thanks, Jessica, for the sneak peak!! We can't wait to see the others.

So I have to comment on this last picture. We chose B's name because I wanted a name that doctor would naturally go in front of and sound awesome. Plus, B is smart enough to be a doctor. And who wouldn't want a doctor in the family? Anyways. Then, I found these "doctor in training" scrubs online and a cute doctor's kit. The rest is history... Well, almost. The first time we put the stethoscope around B's neck, he kinda freaked out and yelled really loud, " I DON'T WANT TO BE A DOCTOR!" I quickly smiled and responded, "Maybe not yet, sweetie.. but one day you just might." Then, B grabbed his drums and started beating on them and giving me this evil look that said, "watch me become a drummer." Then, Jeremy smiled. I think they are planning a hostile takeover. I'll let you know if I need reinforcements. ;-)

December 15, 2011


The title must be said like this:

(via YouTube)

Now, all together - FREEDOM!!!!!

Yes, I am free, free at last!

For as of a week ago, I am no longer breastfeeding.

My boobies are mine again!!!

I am very fortunate that I was able to breastfeed Bradley. I went into the whole experience open-minded to other possibilities and willing to allow myself to change my mind at any point. Thankfully, the whole experience came naturally and easily.

My goal was to make it to six months with the possibility of going a full year. Jeremy really wanted me to make it a year. I was a little weary of the longevity of such a plan. I mean, a whole year seemed like an eternity when I wasn't getting any sleep.

But guess what?? I did it!! I made it a year. I am so excited that I did it, but I've got to be real with you. I am really glad to have my boobs back.

A couple of things have happened since I got my girls back.

1. I've already lost the remaining 5 pounds I had to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight just because I am not hungry all... the... time. Woo Hoo!!

2. Bradley has gotten so sweet. Since quitting, he has chosen certain times of the day as "snuggle" times. One of those times has been at 6 a.m. He'll wake up and the minute I pick him up he falls asleep on me until 7:30 a.m. Sadly, the doctor said I'm perpetuating a bad habit. But it is really sweet that he still wants that one on one time with me. That or he is playing me and will deal me a doozy of a hand later in life... I wouldn't put it past him. He is really smart....

3. I have apparently become old. Here is why: To celebrate this momentous occasion, I went to a local grocery store that will remain nameless to protect those involved  to purchase a bottle of wine. This would be my first glass in two years. Rachael went with me. We picked out my favorite, a pinot grigio, and went to checkout. Before I knew it the cashier was telling me my total. I stared blankly for a minute and then asked Rachael, "That wine does have alcohol in it, right??" Rachael burst out laughing to which I said, "Well, I wasn't carded!" To which the cashier said, "I'm sorry. You don't look under 21." To which I said, "WHAT?!!" I was wearing a really hip outfit that day PLUS I have a feather in my hair PLUS I ALWAYS GET CARDED. Who was this cashier??? So I told her it was my first time EVER not getting carded. To which she replied, "Wow. I didn't know it was that big of a deal..." Can you believe her??? Didn't know it was that big of a deal. Who is she again?? I'm pretty sure IT'S THE LAW to card unless your all gray and old. WHICH I AM NOT!! So who cares if I look 22 instead of 21. I should STILL get carded. No worries. Solace came later when I found out my 22 year old sister didn't get carded that same day.... Then, Jeremy, being the "smart" man he is came home the next day saying that he was just carded at the grocery store. Yeah, there's NO WAY he looks younger than me. He was only carded because his cashier abides by the law. Cause it was definitely not because he looks 21. Either way. He really should learn to keep some things to himself.

4. I was really emotional this weekend. I suppose it was my hormones from weaning. Well, on Monday, I thought I was good and back to normal. Then, I openned our mail to find a post card from my gym saying that they missed me. Did you catch that?? MY GYM SENT ME A POSTCARD SAYING THEY MISSED ME! I immediately burst into tears and called Jeremy explaining to him why it had been 3 weeks since my last visit. It's the holidays! We had B's birthday! I'm tired! Well, it's now Thursday, and I still haven't gone this week. Wonder if they'd send a personal trainer over to our house next?? That would actually be VERY convenient....

5. I can sleep in! Well, I haven't slept in yet... But I could if I wanted, if Jeremy would let me, if the stars would align just right, if the fat lady would sing, and if B would not sense my presence in the house and come yelling into our bedroom.. Yup, I can now sleep in!

Ah. It's good to be free.

December 12, 2011

Hear the sirens ROAR!

Bradley turned 1 yesterday!!

 We had to wake him up for his party. Little did he know the excitement that was awaiting him. :-) 
If he had, his face would have definitely not be scolding us.

We couldn't be more relieved that we made it through our first year! It has been such a fun year. So to celebrate Bradley and the joy he brings to our lives, we decided to throw a fire truck birthday party!!

Since this was his first birthday, we mainly invited family. But what fun would a birthday party be without some kids?? So we also invited two of Bradley's friends.

Now, if you know me at all, you know how much I love to plan an event. I had been planning this little affair for a year. I wanted it to be full of fun details and really celebrate this past year.

I was so fortunate that my sister, Rebekah, decided to come into town early to hang out. Megan was also a big help. And I honestly couldn't have done it without my best friend, Rachael. She came over on Friday to ice the cupcakes, cake, and teach us how to ice the cookies. I just couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. It went so well. The food was good. The table was well planned out. Plus, I think everyone had a good time.

Welcome to the Fire Station!
 We displayed pictures throughout our dining room of B's first year.

 The table of food!

 The birthday sign was done by yours truly.

My sisters spent 2 hours decorating these cookies. Don't they look great??

 The cake toppers were done by Meri Meri.

 Rachael decorated the cake. Isn't it absolutely wonderful???

 Those are fire hydrant salt and pepper shakers I randomly found at a T.J.Maxx this past year.

 The menu was sub sandwiches from Publix for the adults, chips, red velvet cupcakes, Chick-fil-A kids' meals for the children, oreos, fire hydrant cookies, twizzlers, pineapple, and puppy chow (or what I like to call white trash).

The favors for the adults were dalmatian cake pops and the kids received a fun gift bag.

 It really was a wonderful, fun day.

December 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bradley!!

Dear Bradley:

Happy 1st birthday, little man!

We survived!!

I am so proud to be your mommy and so thankful that God has blessed mine and your daddy's life with you.

Just a year ago, we were sitting in the hospital staring at your tiny self wondering what was in store for us and knowing that it was going to be fun, exciting, and lots of hard work.

We were not wrong. It is amazing to me how easily you fit into our family. I can barely remember a time without you. You have added so much joy to our every day.

My favorite part has been watching you figure out the world around you and watching all your firsts. From your first smile to your first hug to your first word to your first laugh to your first rolling over to your first crawl to your first step to your first kiss to your first joke to your first point. Each of these firsts I will cherish forever and each of these moments make me so excited about the moments to come.

Your life is just beginning, little man.

I pray that as you grow, you will grow to love the Lord with all your heart and become a man after His heart. I pray that your daddy and I have courage, strength, and wisdom in our parenting. That we help guide you toward Christ. And I pray that you enjoy life.

You are smart.
You are kind.
You are important.

We love you to the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy

December 5, 2011

Ramblings on a Monday

It's 8 p.m. at night and guess what I just got done doing??

Yup, bagging leaves. Thankfully, Jeremy and Megan were forced to volunteered their services. I really like those two.

I thought I'd do a random Monday post for you.

1. Our Christmas tree is up! This year it was a feat to say the least. I wanted it up by December 1st. But Jeremy had an idea. So my tree went up on December 4th. That was about the time I told Jeremy enough was enough. My tree was going up!

2. This time last year, I was begging my son to come out of my belly. It's weird to think that was a whole year ago.

3. I am busy preparing for Bradley's one year birthday party!! I am really, really excited. It's a fire truck themed party.

4. I realized in planning his birthday party that I have to give up my desire to host an annual Christmas party. I think it would make me too crazy.

5. Bradley is starting to walk on his own!! He's not very confident so he won't go very far before he slowly sits down. He doesn't fall. He sits. Yes, he's a nut. But he's walking!! I'm hoping he builds his confidence so that I can get it on video. It's very sporadic. And teasing him with items or people does not help. He's an independent one that kid of mine.

6. When the above happened for the first time, Megan burst into tears. I laughed. Mainly at her. And then at Bradley because he instantly knew he had done something HUGE.

7. I'm really enjoying B at this age. He's starting to communicate with us more and is figuring out what we are saying. Now, we just have to figure out what he's saying. And that kid speaks a lot and fast. It really makes me excited for the future.

8. I rearranged my kitchen so that I could put my kitchen aid on the counter top. I was taking it in and out all the time and really just wanted to be able to walk in and stare at it. It calms me.

9. I went into a kitchen store while we were visiting family over Thanksgiving and seriously freaked. I got really excited at all of the fun items I saw and wanted. Who am I???

10. I am really excited about this Christmas. It's going to be so fun to combine mine and Jeremy's traditions plus add a couple. And truly I am soooo excited to be Santa Claus. I have been waiting for this for years. The cookie, the milk, the stocking, the present. It is going to be soo much fun!

Happy Monday!!