Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Reflection

Before "Auld Lang Syne" is played; cabbage, black-eyed peas and cornbread are consumed; and my long Winter Break is over and I have to rejoin the working world, I thought I'd do a 2013 year-end recap. 

Of course, I realize this is more for me than everyone else, it's always fun and reflective to take a peek back at the last 364 days. 

I feel like I've been pregnant for the majority of 2013, so I'm definitely looking forward to being pregnant for only one month of 2014, that's for sure! I'm just so excited to meet our little man I can hardly stand it. 

So, without any further aideu, 2013:

I spent the majority of the month working. In fact, my month practically looked like this, working in my {former} client's windowless conference room preparing for a huge announcement: 

I finished one large announcement for said former client...

...and turned around and finished another {huge} one on Valentine's Day, where my sweet husband brought me roses and coffee for both me and my team members. I don't think I'll ever forget that. 

That evening, we celebrated Valentine's Day, with me being a horrible wife and buying him only a card, and him giving me this precious little gem:

And finally in February, I made the life-changing decision to leave my job doing public relations for American Airlines and move to doing communications for a local school district. It was definitely one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, and it was one neither of us took lightly. But it was the best decision I could've made for my family and while I miss it sometimes, I know it was the right decision. 

I started my new job, which was a huge change getting used to waking up an hour earlier {but getting home an hour earlier, in turn}. I hit the ground running, and then got to celebrate one perk of working for a school district: Spring Break! 

That week, I did a lot of resting, relaxing and pampering, and my parents even came to visit us for a few days. 

Later in the month, we hosted Brandon's side of the family at our house for Easter lunch after church. Little did we know, my sister-in-law {on the far left} was pregnant here, and this would be the last holiday we'd celebrate just the brothers and their wives - no kids! 

We celebrated my 26th birthday! Brandon had beautiful flowers sent to my office; woke me up with a cup of coffee and a candle; and surprised me with dinner at The Keg, where he invited some of our friends to join us as a complete surprise to me. 

We also joined our church in April, which was another great decision we made in 2013. We absolutely love our church. 

I helped host a baby shower for my brother-in-law's girlfriend, Savannah, who was set to welcome our nephew in July! It was absolutely gorgeous. 

Brandon and I took {and passed} our CHL written and shooting test, and went out to celebrate afterward. 

We had our backyard done, which we are still enjoying. Best investment ever. 

My best friend Lindsey and her husband came to visit us from Houston, and we celebrated by going to the Arboretum, a Texas Rangers game and lots of yummy food. 

I also celebrated Memorial Day alone, because Brandon was traveling for work. I didn't know it when I took this picture, but I was pregnant! I found out the next day. 

I spent most of June asleep in bed and/or being so sick. 

We took announcement photos with my friend Liz, and then told our families later in the month. 

To celebrate the baby, we took a little "babymoon" to Miami. I was still so sick, but we went and had a great time. 

We also welcomed our nephew, Brayden, in July. Sweet, precious baby! 

My parents moved out of the house I grew up in, so I went down to southeast Texas to help them pack up and move out. Before I left, I took one last picture in front of the pine tree with my little sister. 

We also celebrated Dallas Restaurant Week with friends. 

We found out that Baby W is a boy and announced it to our families, friends and co-workers. 

Brandon also ordered him his first little library. So precious. 

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary...

...partook in our annual pumpkin carving tradition...

...and celebrated Brandon's new job! Him leaving his job of five years was not an easy decision - just as mine wasn't - but it has definitely proven to be the best move for him and for our family. I am still so proud of him. 

We also welcomed our sweet niece, Ellie Kate...

...and went to Baylor Homecoming, all in one weekend.

I had my first baby shower, thrown by one of my mother-in-law's sweet friends. 

That same weekend, we went to the Baylor vs. Tech game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. {Sic 'Em!}

I also had a joint baby shower at work with my friend Liz. 

We also celebrated Thanksgiving in Shreveport, Louisiana with my mom's side of the family. 

I started off December by taking maternity pictures with Liz...

...and then we had a huge ice storm {"Icemageddon 2013"} a few days later. We were out of school for two days, but it thankfully fell on a Friday, so we had an extra long weekend. ;)

During the ice storm, we also finished the baby's nursery.

A few weeks later, we drove to my hometown for my second baby shower and Christmas with my family. 

And then, we had a very special, different Christmas in Dallas this year, just us. 

Looking back on all of this, it has definitely been a year, but one I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Here's to 2014 being the best year yet! 

Happy New Year. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013


I feel like this weekend flew by! 

We went on our last date night before the baby gets here, and it was so much fun! January going to be really busy for us, so this was our last weekend to go out and do something just us two, and Benihana didn't disappoint. 

The rest of the weekend we did absolutely nothing, which was perfect. We just ran a few errands together and got a few things done around the house, but mostly we watched two movies {"Fever Pitch" and "The Wedding Date"} on TV and just relaxed. 

Clearly Oliver loved doing nothing, too. :)

Neither one of us slept well Saturday night, so we slept in this morning. 

These last four-five weeks of pregnancy have really been hit with the nesting bug, and it's always the most random things. Like my bathroom tile grout at 1 p.m. on a Sunday. Brandon thinks it's hilarious. 

I've always been a Type-A, quasi-OCD-type person, but pregnancy has only enhanced that...ha! It's not stressful in the least - and is never something Brandon and I argue over - but it's almost like a craving: once I get my mind set on it, I have to do it or it bugs me! So today I cleaned the tile grout in the master bathroom. And I was pretty dang proud of myself. 

All you do is mix in a large Pyrex measuring cup: one cup baking soda, two tablespoons lemon juice and enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Then, using a toothbrush {that you will throw away after}, spread the paste on the dirty tile grout. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub the grout using the toothbrush. {You'll notice the dirt coming to the top if you brush hard enough.} 

When you're finished, get a big roll of paper towels and wipe up the paste from the floor and discard. Then, mop your bathroom using hot water and Fabuloso. 


You'll notice I keep saying "four to five weeks" when referencing Baby W's arrival, so I wanted to give y'all a reason for that: he's breech, and he has zero interest in turning to where he should be at 36 weeks.

So, he's got two more weeks to decide to turn or we'll be doing a C-section the week of Jan. 20 {set date is still TBD}. 

My doctor has given us the option of an ECV where she can manually turn him in the hospital while I have an epidural, but neither Brandon nor I are interested in that. 
{No offense to anyone who has done this in the least; it just freaks me out immensely.} 

We have tried - and will continue to try - anything and everything to get him to turn; we're regulars with the "Spinning Babies" techniques, which are quite comical if you were to watch us, I'm sure. I also frequent my chiropractor's office and my sweet husband has paid for an immense amount of prenatal massages. We also try to gently manually turn him when he's active at night, and Brandon will talk to him...and he'll gravitate to his voice for a bit and then go right back. Trust me when I say I have Googled and we have tried everything. 

So, all of that to say: Baby Boy W is comfy and cozy right where he is. And, while a C-section is definitely not something we had planned for, I keep reminding myself that God has way bigger plans than we do. Ultimately, I don't care how this baby gets here, just so long as he is healthy and we're both safe. 

And as moms, I think we should celebrate everyone being good moms, whether our babies are born naturally, with an epidural, via C-section, at home or however. I'm a huge proponent of doing what works for you and not judging anyone else for the way they choose to do it, and that goes for preparing for the baby, birthing the baby, feeding the baby, getting the baby to sleep and raising the baby in general. 

Who has time to judge people for that anyway? 

So, thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers. Our sincere hope is Baby W will turn and everything will go according to "plan." But, such is life that things don't exactly go according to plan, amIright?

Happy Sunday.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013 is in the Books

Well, as I sit here in our recliner with the fire blazing, Christmas tree lights on, accompanied by the Today Show and coffee, all I can think of is: "Christmas 2013 is in the books." Also? "This was our last Christmas without children. Ever." 

It was definitely a different Christmas this year. I admit it, there were a few tears. But we did it, and we strove to make it special, almost forced to start our own traditions. And special it was. 

We kicked off our little family's Christmas celebrations by partaking in our annual tradition: driving around the big neighborhoods in our area looking at Christmas lights. We do it up, too: we don Christmas jammies {aside: watch this}, drive through Starbucks for peppermint hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music on the radio. I love that it's something special that we do together - our own little tradition - and I can't wait until the baby can join us next year. 

As I mentioned Sunday, we alternate years we are with my parents and my in-law's. This was our year to be with my in-law's here in Dallas. {Remember that we did Christmas with my family two weekends ago.} Our original plan was to go over to my in-law's after church on Sunday, open gifts, have supper and come back to our house to spend the night. Then, we were going to do our own Christmas, get dressed and go back over to my in-law's for lunch. Since all of our meals were going to be taken care of, I had only gone to the grocery store for what we needed for the short week and the ingredients for the pie I was going to take to Christmas Eve supper. 

Well, around noon on Christmas Eve, Brandon called me from the gym and the following conversation ensued:

Brandon: "Hey, what are you doing?"
Me: "Making the cherry pie to take to your parents'."
Brandon: "How far along are you in that process?"
Me: "I'm almost done. Why?"
Brandon: "Well, you and I are going to be eating that ourselves tonight, unfortunately." 

He went on to explain to me that my father-in-law had come down with something and had woken up that morning with a fever. No one wanted my 2.5-month old niece or 8.5-months pregnant me around that sickness {or anyone else for that matter}, so Christmas had been postponed until Saturday afternoon. Brandon then went on to tell me that my brother- and sister-in-law had packed up their car on a whim and went to see her family. 

I admit it: I started bawling in the middle of my kitchen. It was ugly. 

I had no food. I didn't know what we were going to do for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, aside from go to church and open presents. I didn't want to brave the grocery store. I just wanted to be like my brother- and sister-in-law and go see my family, but I couldn't. {I can't travel anymore since I'm 35 weeks pregnant.}

After many, many tears, I finally bucked it up, sat down at the table and made a grocery list. I was bound and determined to make Christmas Eve and Christmas Day special, and I didn't care what I had to do to do it, I was going to make it one for the books. 

{If you know me, you know that once I get something in my head and decide I'm going to do it, it's going to get done.}

So I threw on clothes and braved Kroger with the rest of my city, then and came home and cooked all afternoon

Then, we got dressed and went to Christmas Eve service at church. 

Church always has this way of putting things into perspective for me, but especially the Christmas Eve service. I was just reminded that it didn't matter that our Christmas was basically cancelled; we weren't celebrating anything but Jesus' birth. As we sang "O Holy Night" {my favorite Christmas song}, I just closed my eyes and listened to the congregation sing the harmonies and melodies and everything was put into perspective. 

After church, we came home and had chicken spaghetti and garlic bread for supper while watching "A Christmas Story." 

Christmas morning, we were like little kids and were awake by 7:45 a.m. We did our stockings {Oliver, too!} and then started to open our presents from each other. 

Brandon got clothes, boots, a watch band and a FitBit Flex. {He also bought himself a new gun a few days earlier, so Merry Christmas to him!} 

I got pajamas, yoga pants, a new wallet and diamond earrings. Yes, I cried! 

Also: please ignore how swollen I look. Apparently my body is enjoying retaining water these last four-five weeks of pregnancy. Super fun times. 

I truly didn't even have to get Oliver a thing in his stocking; he was more interested in the ribbon and paper. 

The aftermath. 

I made The Pioneer Woman's Baked French Toast for breakfast, and it was a true hit. So yummy and easy. Brandon had mimosas, and I can't wait to partake in that tradition next year! 

After breakfast, we did this all afternoon, watching "Miracle on 34th Street," "The Santa Clause" and "Christmas Vacation" on TV. 

Then, we went on a 1.8-mile walk {I was definitely waddling toward the end, lovely}; I took a nice bubble bath; and we sat outside by a fire in the chiminea. It truly was relaxing. 

I made a yummy supper {if I do say so myself} for just the two of us: pork tenderloin, marinated green beans, dressing, corn casserole, sourdough bread and cherry cream pie. I was so proud of myself! And it was amazing; we have leftovers for days and days. 

So, while it definitely wasn't the Christmas we were expecting, it was still wonderful in its own little way. I told Brandon it was one I will never, ever forget. 


I'm on a mission today to put our decorations away, take down the tree and clean. I know I'm a Grinch, but once Christmas is over, I just want it to be over. That means taking everything down, storing it for next year and prepping this house for baby boy who - depending on if he decides to turn or not - will be joining us in four (!!!) weeks. 


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our little family to yours. 

The Whitacres


Sunday, December 22, 2013


My mission to enjoy the Christmas season this year is actually happening. Granted, it helps that I can no longer travel outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex...so I've been forced to stay here and actually enjoy

One thing I've enjoyed is making Christmas candy*, a tradition that I love and do every year. This is such an easy recipe that makes a ton, and I haven't met one person who doesn't like it. 

{Side note: Why are the yummiest things always the ugliest?}

Our weekend was very low-key. 

I celebrated 16 glorious, much-needed days off of work on Friday by starting a fire and watching "It's a Wonderful Life." It was amazing. There are definitely perks to working for a school district! :)

Saturday, we lazed around the house and then went to a Christmas-themed engagement party for some friends of ours from college. Today, we went to church, had Chipotle for lunch and Brandon watched the Cowboys game while I wrote thank-you notes. We're now cuddled up on the couch watching "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York." 

It was so perfect and just what we both needed. 


One thing Brandon and I are doing this year - something that's been very important to us - is to start our own Christmas traditions with our little family. 

For awhile through my childhood, I had the whole "divorced" Christmas thing going on. {Womp womp, I know.} I hated it! I always just wanted to be at my dad's, wake up in my own bed and have a normal Christmas like every other kid. But I was always picked up at noon on Christmas Day, driving in the car two hours and everything felt so...weird. 

Then, when I became a teenager, I made the best decision and decided to always be at my dad's for Christmas, and I never looked back. I finally had a normal Christmas where I could be with my family, stay in my pajamas all day and enjoy my gifts. 

But then, when I got married, I had to do what everyone does and split their time between my parents and my in-law's on opposite years. 

While we're still on the "at my parents' one Christmas, his the next," we are starting something new this year: every time we're in Dallas for Christmas, we're spending the night at our own house, in our own beds, and waking up in our own house on Christmas morning.  We'll open gifts together, just us; have breakfast together, just us; and then get dressed, drive over to my in-law's and have Christmas lunch and open presents with them and Brandon's brothers, their significant others and our nieces/nephews. 

For many of you, this is no big deal. You've been doing this forever. 

But for us? This is a huge deal. It was not a popular decision by any means, but it was something that was very important to both Brandon and me, and something that we're giddily excited to do this year, and in future years with our child{ren}. Change is never easy, especially around the holidays, but we are both very much looking forward to it this year and in years to come. 


That said, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and get to spend it with those you love. 

*Christmas Candy
1 lb. roasted peanuts
1 pkg. white chocolate almond bark
1 pkg. milk chocolate almond bark

1. Roast peanuts in oven. 
2. Meanwhile, heat both almond barks in microwave until melted. 
3. Mix almond bark and peanuts together until well coated.
4. Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and let dry. 
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