Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's a Boy: Happy New Year!

We were so excited today to find out that Baby #2 is a boy! We were shocked and couldn't believe it; everyone but my Mom and me were Team Girl, so when my doctor and the ultrasound technician said, "It's a boy!" we were speechless and excited. I can't wait for Walker to have a little brother. What great news to start out the new year. Happy 2016, everyone!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday Things: Why I Don't Do "Goals"

If you ask my husband my least favorite song in the world, he'd quickly tell you: "Auld Lang Syne." (And then he'd sing it at the top of his lungs just to spite me. Ha!) But in all seriousness, I despise that song. It's so depressing. It reminds me that Christmas is over and that I have to put away all of my cheery Christmas décor…even though it felt a little suffocating to me this year and I was happy to have a bit more space in our tiny house. (#nesting) 

And even though I'm always excited about the clean slate a new year brings, it also reminds me of the fun things that have passed in the previous year. Plus, January is my least favorite month. Just throwing that out there. ;) It's cold; there's no holidays that justify the coldness; and by the time that month rolls around, I'm ready for spring to get here like nobody's business. 

But anyhoodle, 2015 was good to us: I was able to quit my job to do my dream one: stay home with Walker; I got pregnant, even though it was a huge surprise; we traveled to Jamaica to celebrate our anniversary a few months early; and we celebrated many a holiday with friends and family, creating our own little traditions along the way. 'Twas a good year. 

But 2016 will be a great year, as long as no one sings that dreaded song to me. ;) We'll get to meet this sweet baby in a few short months. And even though we'll be back to square one with a newborn baby and all that that brings, and I'm scared to death how I'm going to handle two children -- a two-year-old and a newborn -- it will be glorious welcoming this baby. I can't wait to hold him/her and see how Walker reacts to his new sibling. Even though I know I'll be finding the nearest "adult" to help me "adult" a little more. {Seriously, kids, don't grow up. It's a trap! -Peter Pan…ish} 

And all of that to say, that's why I don't do "goals." I hate to be disappointed, especially in myself, and without getting all "white space" and "giving myself grace" over here, I don't like to set monthly or yearly goals for myself for that very reason. It's not that I'm lazy, and I've never really been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl -- I'm more of a "why put off tomorrow what you could get done today-type person" -- but goals have never been something that rank high on my priority or to-do list. I kind of like to live by this mantra: 



…because I probably repeat this to myself about 15 times a day. I do have this. And everything will be fine. By this time next year, we'll have a seven-month-old and I know I'll have to give myself grace on a lot of things throughout the year. 

That's not to say that I wouldn't like to read more books (yeah right, I have 1.5 children right now and I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow); get my pre-baby body back; spend less money on stupid stuff; and take more naps. Not at all. That all sounds lovely. What I'm saying is that it's okay to not write goals down with a chisel and stone and live and die by them throughout the new year. As for me, I'll be telling myself, "You got this" all day, every day in 2016. And guess what? I do! (Maybe I should chisel that into a stone somewhere…)

So to all of you out there who are setting goals next month, next year, next week: I tip my hat and raise my glass (of sparkling cider) to you. Go you! And to those of you who are just repeating, "You got this!" to yourself 30 times a day in 2016: I tip my hat and raise my glass (of sparkling cider) to you, too. We're all in this together. 

So 2016: let's do this thing. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Weekending: Christmas Edition

Happy Monday! I know many are off work this week and the blog world is relatively quiet, but I wanted to recap our Christmas before I forgot! ;) 

After we got home from my parents' house from celebrating Christmas with them and my brother's Baylor graduation {read about that here}, Brandon went to work for two short days, and we took Walker to ICE! at the Gaylord Texan the day before Christmas Eve…when it was 70+ degrees outside. It was a really cool experience, but of course he loved the hotel's giant indoor water fountain the best. #toddlers 






On Christmas Eve, we made reindeer food {or as Walker said, "reindeer poo,"}. I spent the morning cooking a ton of stuff for that evening and the next day, and after that, I didn't want to see the kitchen for the next few days! 


We went to our church's candlelight Christmas Eve service, which was beautiful, as per usual! They even gave the kids little glow sticks, which Brandon and I agreed was a brilliant idea. 


When we got home, we let Walker spread out his "reindeer poo," which lasted about .094 seconds. He just dumped it in one spot. Ha! 


I didn't get a picture of it because we were starving by the time it was ready, but I made my homemade lasagna {recipe here}, Italian green beans, garlic bread and cherry cream pie for dinner. We're thinking this is going to be our little family's tradition! 

After Walker's bath, we set out chocolate chip cookies and milk for Santa; read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and then Brandon and I got to work! 


Walker had been asking Santa for a "PB&J" for weeks, so Santa found this book on Amazon to leave out, along with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, of course! 


I think Walker was a good boy this year! 


I was like a kid on Christmas Eve and could barely sleep, so I was up around 6 a.m. getting breakfast ready, candles and fireplace lit, Christmas tree on and Christmas music on. I was so excited for Walker to see his stuff! 

He was so overwhelmed and excited when he saw all of his toys and didn't know what to play with first. It was so cute!


He couldn't decide which toy to play with, so he played with both!

He loved his new bubble mower!

He loves to help me sweep, so he got a broom and dust pan of his own!


After Walker saw all of his Santa stuff and Brandon and I opened presents, we had breakfast! I made The Pioneer Woman's Baked French Toast and fruit salad, and it was a hit, per usual! 


We lazed around all day, cleaned up/put stuff away and then got dressed to go over to my in-law's for Christmas with them. 

Our little Santa reading his new book 

Walker and his cousin Ellie Kate reading a book with their Mimi

Walker playing his Daddy's piano 

The boys: my brother-in-law, Jeff; my father-in-law; Walker; Brandon; my brother-in-law Todd 

The girls: my sister-in-law, Becca {and the twin girls due any day!}; my mother-in-law; my niece, Ellie Kate; me; and my soon-to-be sister-in-law Nikki 

Our little family…Baby #2 is really making his/her appearance…and much quicker this time around!

Uncle Todd helping Walker open a gift

Walker enjoying a tea cake 

Walker and Ellie Kate coloring 

We came home absolutely exhausted, and Walker slept in super late Saturday morning! We spent Saturday cleaning out and organizing the garage, taking down all of our Christmas décor except for the tree, organizing the baby's room, cleaning out Walker's closet, and doing a bunch of stuff around the house! That night, the tornado sirens went off and we spent about 10 minutes in our closet, but thankfully we are all okay. However, the devastation that happened about 20 miles away from us is heartbreaking. You can visit the Red Cross website to help these people, if you feel so inclined. 

We went to church Sunday, had a quick bite, went to Buy Buy Baby to get an Ubbi Diaper Pail for Baby #2 {thanks for the suggestion, Aileen!}, and then home to watch football and take naps. 

I hope y'all had a great Christmas and a lovely weekend! We find out Baby #2's gender on Thursday and I'm SO EXCITED I can hardly stand it! :)

Linking up with Biana and Meghan


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmastime is Here!

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day that said, "The older you get, the more you realize that what's on your Christmas list aren't things." 

And that's so true. Of course, receiving gifts is always nice, but the more I sit back and think about it, I don't remember the gifts I received as a child. Heck, I don't even remember the gifts I received last Christmas! What I remember -- and what I long for -- are times spent with family and the traditions we created and took part in. 

So I thought it would be fun to think back to the traditions my family created when we were younger and some that Brandon and I have started with our family. 

1. Extended Family Christmases
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have four sets of great-grandparents. We thought it was so cool that we had so many Christmas celebrations! {I'm sure my parents were completely worn out, though.} A few days before Christmas, we would go to my paternal great-grandparents' house for Christmas with our extended family. I loved looking around the room and seeing my second- and third-cousins all together. 

Sadly, all but one of my great-grandparents has passed away, but I still cherish the memories with my extended family!



2. Decorating the Grandparents' Tree
When we were younger, my Nana would try to get as many grandchildren as she could over to her house to decorate the "kid tree" -- a small tree in one of their living rooms that housed all of the homemade ornaments we made them and the ones they collected over the years for us. The younger generation of grandkids does this job now, and I still love going over to my grandparents' house to see that familiar faux-Lifesavers garland around that Christmas tree and joking that my cousin Robert's homemade aluminum star is always at the top of the tree because he's the favorite grandchild. ;)


3. New Fancy Christmas Dresses 
Until I was old enough to protest, I always got a new dress for Christmas. And it usually involved velvet, taffeta, and Mary Jane shoes. Bonus points if my Mom got us matching mother-daughter dresses, because you know…#early90s. 

Notice that star at the top of the tree?! *Wink-wink*


4. Christmas Night at the Grandparents
After we had our immediate family Christmas celebration {more on that below}, we spent Christmas night at my grandparents' house. Even though it was just my immediate family, my dad's brother's immediate family, and my dad's sister's immediate family, it was still a lot of people! It's complete mass chaos of everyone opening gifts at once and screams of, "Thank you, Nana and Pah!" but I love it. 

And check out my Santa vest, will you? Hahaha!


5. Gumbo on Christmas Eve
Each year on Christmas Eve, we would either travel to my mom's grandparents' house or they would come to us. And every year my great-aunt Charlotte makes her famous dark-roux gumbo! We always eat that, along with a myriad of dips {including this one} on Christmas Eve. My great-grandfather reads the Christmas Story from the Book of Luke and we open one very small gift. Then, they leave and we go to church for the Christmas Eve service.

Now that Brandon and I alternate years at Christmas, I miss that gumbo {and my family} every other year, and this year is one of them. I'm going to miss that yummy meal!


6. Decorating the Kid Tree
Like we did at my grandparents', I grew up decorating the "kids' tree" at my parents' house. We always had two trees in their old house, the house I grew up in: one in the study that was the "pretty tree" with all of my Mom's pretty ornaments on it, and one in the living room that housed all of our handmade ornaments and ones my parents purchased for us each year. 

I can't wait to have two trees one day to carry on this tradition with my children!


7. Santa Claus + Christmas Morning Breakfast
"If you don't believe, you don't receive" was commonly heard through my house growing up! I think I believed in Santa until I was in about 3rd grade, which seems crazy long now that I think about it. {Santa left a Toys 'R' Us price tag on my University of Texas Cheerleader Barbie and then my suspicions were confirmed. Ha!} 

But, the way my parents did it is that we only got presents from Santa; we didn't get any from them. As you can tell above, we had quite a few grandparents and great-grandparents living at the time and didn't need one more gift, so my parents' gifts to us were Santa's. 

We would come down each Christmas morning to unwrapped gifts laid out across the couches, and then we'd do our stockings. My Dad even got crafty one year and dipped his boots in baking flour and walked them across the fireplace hearth and down the carpet; let me tell you, that was cool as a little kid! 

For breakfast, we always do Breakfast Casserole {similar recipe here}, fruit salad, coffee and Wassail. 

8. Jammie Lights
I know many people do a rendition of this, but Brandon and I started doing "Jammie Lights" when we got married. You wear your Christmas pajamas, drive through Starbucks for a peppermint hot chocolate, and drive around looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. It's one of my favorite traditions! 


9. Reading Christmas Stories on Christmas Eve + New PJs
After church on Christmas Eve, Brandon and I wear our new Christmas PJs, give Walker his, and read the Christmas Story from the Book of Luke and then "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" in said {washed} jammies before putting out Santa cookies and calling it a night. 


10. Decorating our Christmas Tree 
Walker was finally old enough this year to really understand what decorating the Christmas tree meant. When Brandon pulled it out of the box and turned the lights on, Walker said, "Whoa! Really, really…LIGHTS!" It was so sweet. 

Like with my parents, we let Walker help us decorate the Christmas tree and "hang" as many ornaments as he can. Since we only have one tree, ours is a mix of pretty ornaments, Walker's homemade ornaments, and ornaments we've picked up from our travels. 


So what do I really want this year? 

  • For my family to always come first and be happy. We aren't perfect, but I want us to be the perfect family members for each other.
  • For this precious baby growing inside of me to be born healthy and without complications, and for him/her to grow in wisdom and stature. 
  • For us to not desire "things" as much as we desire experiences, time spent with one another and to daily reflect that what we have doesn't truly belong to us and was given to us by God.
  • For our world to know the goodness of Jesus Christ. There will never be peace on Earth until all men come to know Him.

I'll be taking the rest of the week off to spend Christmas with my little family, but I'll be back Monday with a recap of our holiday. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Walkerisms

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!!! 

Walker will be two years old next month, and I can hardly believe it! 


He's growing into such a funny, sweet, loving, silly little goose and says some of the funniest things, so I wanted a place to document his little "isms." 

~When he can't find me or I walk to another room in the house: "Mommy! Are you?!?!" 
{AKA: "Where are you?"} 

~When he wants me to stop what I'm doing and play with him/read to him: "Mommy. Dit." {AKA: "Mommy. Sit."} 

~When he's excited or has had to much sugar, he starts skipping around the house yelling at the top of his lungs: "TWO, THREE, FOUR!" He always skips the number one. Always. 

~If we don't do it fast enough for him, Walker is quick to remind us to "Pay!" {Pray} before every meal and bedtime. He'll squint his little eyes and hold his hands in front of him in a praying motion. When we're finished, he'll say, "May-men!" 

~In church on Sunday, our pastor concluded his prayer, saying, "Amen." Walker said {quite loudly}: "May-men!" 

~We keep a bottle of Tilex in our shower to spray it down after we take a shower, and he was messing with it one day when he was in there with me. I told him it would hurt his eyes if he sprayed it, so now anytime he sees a cleaning bottle of anything -- or we go down the cleaning aisle at any store -- he yells, "EYESSSSSS!" 

~My stomach growled the other day and he got wide-eyed and said, "Mommy! Baby talk!" 

~When he's going #2 in his diaper and knows he should tell us if he needs to go to the potty, he'll look at me in between grunts and say, "Mommy, hiiiiiiii" or "I love you, Mommy." Nice.

~He actually asks to go to "Tah-yet!" {Target} He'll say, "ICEE! Buggy! Tah-yet!" Clearly we go to often.

~When we're stopped at a red light, he will say, "Mommy, GO!" When I try to explain to him that we stop at red lights and go on green lights, he'll point excitedly when it turns green, say, "Mommy, GEEEEEN!" and then, "Mommy! Go!" 

~When one of us yawns, he'll say, "Mommy/Daddy/Walker ti-yud." {Tired} It's so funny that he knows that. 

~I blew my nose one day and he didn't know the word for "blowing your nose," so he said, "Uh-oh, Mommy nose cough." I love how their little minds process things! 

~He absolutely loves: bubble baths; his LEGO Duplo Train; "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse"; reading any and all books, but especially "Llama Llama"; checking the mail each day; airplanes; stickers; running around anywhere and everywhere; and going on walks. 

~He's not a fan of: having his nails clipped; long car rides; when people blow their noses; getting dressed each day; and being told "no." 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Belated Weekending Recap: Graduation + Family Christmas

We had such a full, busy, fun weekend celebrating both my brother, Royden's, graduation from Baylor and Christmas with my family! 

We got up super early on Saturday morning to head south to Waco for my brother's 9:30 a.m. graduation. We are so proud of him for graduating with his Communication Specialist degree! He now joins a long line of Baylor Bears in our family and we're so happy for him. 


Walker did great during the ceremony, but we decided to leave during the presentation of the Masters and Doctorate degrees and instead let him get some energy out on campus. It was an absolutely beautiful day and we had so much fun letting Walker wander the campus where Brandon and I met. We looked at the Baylor bears, let him run around the new fountain on Fountain Mall, drove around to look at our old apartments and around campus, and then of course by Magnolia and the Silos! 

Fountain Mall on campus at Baylor University 

Looking at the Baylor Bears


Brandon and Walker sitting on the iconic green & gold benches on campus

Hi, Chip and Joanna Gaines!
After graduation, we had Royden's graduation lunch in the President's Suite at the Baylor Club in MacLane Stadium. It was such a nice lunch! It was pretty neat, too, that we ran into President Ken Starr {as in Judge Ken Starr from Clintongate} and he was so sweet to stand and talk to all of us and pose for pictures for a while. 

Walker, Brandon and Baylor President Judge Ken Starr 


The view from the President's Suite in the Baylor Club at MacLane Stadium


All of the Baylor graduates in our family, lined up in order of graduation year {R-L}

We drove to my hometown that evening and had a low-key night at my grandparents' house  eating Mexican food, watching football and just visiting. We stayed with them this visit since both of my brothers and their girlfriends were in town, too, so we opted to stay at my grandparents and visit with them!


Sunday, we went to church with my family, then went back to my grandparents' house to eat a light lunch and then we all took two-hour naps. {We were worn out!} That night, we all gathered at my parents' house to have a yummy dinner of pork tenderloin, potato casserole, green beans, Greek salad, rolls and my grandmother's famous dessert, Chocolate Crumb. 

My Mom's tree is gorgeous!

Walker had a ball opening his presents! He got the Cozy Coupe, a tricycle, a farm, cars and trucks, a dump truck, and a ton of other goodies. Santa doesn't even need to come now! ;) He did so great staying up late -- he went to bed at 10 p.m.! -- and we were super proud of that. {And him sleeping in until 8 a.m. on Monday morning was quite nice, too!} 

Walker and his Aunt Maggie

My brother, Royden, and his girlfriend, Kaitlyn

My brother, Parker, and his girlfriend, Emma

Our family, minus my Dad, who was taking the picture. I love these people!




My goofy grandparents playing with the ribbon from their gifts

My goofy grandparents playing with the ribbon from their gifts

My sister is obsessed with unicorns, so we got her a full unicorn bodysuit and slippers

"Ralphie" loved her outfit and hasn't taken it off!

It took my Dad, two brothers and grandfather to put together Walker's Cozy Coupe! Ha!

We left before lunch on Monday to come home and get all of our luggage and gifts put together and up; cars washed; errands run; laundry done and get prepared for Christmas week! 

Walker was pretty obsessed with his new toys and wanted to keep them within arm's reach. If we tried to move them, he threw a fit, yelling, "No! Toys, Daddy! Play!" Haha!