Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

See 2013 here

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I traveled to Arizona and California! We saw the Grand Canyon and lots of sights in San Diego! I became a stay-at-home Mom and I love it!  I also recently served as a Bridesmaid in my little brothers wedding!

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions? Will you make more in 2015?
I didn't make any, I usually make some version of a goal list on my birthday which is just 4 days after new years.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Last year (2013) was the year of the babies! I have lots of pregnant friends and acquaintances but no births that I can think of.

Did anyone close to you die?
We lost my Great Aunt Betty. She was my Grandfathers oldest sister, the Matriarch of my Dad's family.
A couple of weeks ago we also had to put down our dog Clyde. He was John's dog for several years before we got married, so he's been a part of my life as long as John has. A true fur baby. We will miss him very much.

What countries did you visit?
I did not leave the country (but we're planning a cruise for 2016!), but I visited New Mexico, Arizona and California. I know some people that consider Cali a foreign country, does that count? ;) 

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
To be debt free (again)!

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?
July 25, my brother Joshua's graduation from Marine Basic Training
November 12 - It's a secret... more on that later! ;)
December 27, my brother Jacob's wedding

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Having kept my daughter alive to see her first birthday? ;) Really I'm very proud of the various transitions I've gone through this year. At the very beginning of January I left my "professional" "big girl" job and took a part time less prominent role at another company (aka less days, hours and most importantly less stress!). Then after being with that company for 6 months I was laid-off which transitioned me beautifully to being a stay-at-home mom! I was also much better at trusting that God is in control and that He has a plan for my life! After losing my job with no notice, I was very calm and sure that God had a plan, we just had to wait. Sure enough Husband got a job promotion about a month later!

What was your biggest failure?
We went back into debt. Part of it was my job transitions, the change in money flow was a big part of that. Also the fact that from Cora's birth and subsequent NICU stay, we pay quite a hefty sum of medical debt each month that eats up pretty much all of our income that isn't assigned to other bills, so some months things like our gas or grocery bills simply had to be charged on credit. :(

Did you suffer illness or injury?
I can't think of any illness outside the usually sniffles and sneezes of allergy season (Praise the Lord!)!

What was the best thing you bought?
We didn't do much buying this year. Thinking back, I can only even recall two or three simple clothes shopping trips. I purchased jeans in a size I haven't been in since college! I would also consider our trip to California as a pretty big purchase, it was so worth it to see all of our Cali family and to watch Joshua graduate from MCRD! (it also took a year of saving to afford the trip!)

Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm incredibly proud of Joshua and his service in the Marines. I'm constantly amazed and in awe of John as I watch him be a great father to Coralie! 

Where did most of your money go?
Medical debt, baby stuff, road trip to California. 

What did you get really excited about?
Stephanie (my sister-in-love) joining our family! It was fun celebrating all the associated wedding events and parties.
I really enjoyed celebrating Coralie's first birthday party!
Seeing Joshua in person after not seeing him for 13 long, hard weeks! 

What song will always remind you of 2014?
??? I can't even think of a song that came out this year. I'll look forward to reading everyone else's answer on this though!

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?
I'd like to think I'm happier! I fall even more in love with my little family every day! 

Thinner or fatter?
About the same, maybe a little thinner. 

Richer or poorer?
Poorer for sure, but richer in blessings!

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had been more intentional with seeing friends. I keep coming back to this year after year. I love my family, but it's hard to see friends sometimes and then when stuff is scheduled with friends sometimes family issues jump up and muddy that up.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating out! We didn't do a lot of this, but boy it is my least favorite way to spend money and it adds up quickly! 

How will you be spending Christmas?
Preparing for Jacob's wedding... just kidding... but really I'm sure there will be a fair amount of wedding that falls over into Christmas. My dad is hosting Christmas this year which really means I'm hosting at his house.

Did you fall in love in 2014?
One new love in particular, part of my secret that you'll have to wait for. I also grew deeper in love with Heavenly Father, my husband and my precious daughter!

How many one-night stands?
I looked back to last year to see how I answered it then (no, no adultery here...)
So to quote last year, the same answer applies this year "bahaha... no"

Who were your best friends?
Lauren, Tiffany, Kimmi, Kim and Angela

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?
I honestly hope that I do many things throughout the year that are meaningful to others, we pass along hand-me-down clothes to several families as a pass-it-forward gesture because we received so many hand-me-downs for Cora. I serve at church with my time and talents. My dear friend Kimmi got married this past April, I hosted many events for her and her now husband, I hope that they blessed them in many ways.  

What were your favorite TV shows?
Well, we haven't had TV service since May so I haven't watched much network television. I have watched lots of Netflix and Amazon Prime though. Some of the shows I've binge watched through our streaming services - 19 Kids and Counting, The Unit, Lie To Me, Covert Affairs, The Good Wife, Blacklist, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Call the Midwife, and Greys Anatomy. I've been hit or miss on trying to keep up with streaming some of my favorite network television shows by streaming after they're released, Greys Anatomy, Scandal, The Good Wife, Nashville, How to Get Away with Murder. I'm several episodes behind on all of these though.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is such a strong word, but yes, I strongly dislike a new couple of people. It's okay though, I don't have to deal with them often and I don't give them much thought.

What was the best book you read in 2014?
I have read woefully little this year. In April I went on a reading binge of sorts and read the rest of the Princess Diaries series that I hadn't read when I was a teenager. I kind of can't believe that those are the only books I've read this year, but I just double checked my Kindle and that's all I've read this year. I'll have to make that a point to do better in the future. 

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I think I've listened to less new music than I've read this year if that tells you anything...

What did you want and get?
To stay home with my daughter! It didn't come about as I would have liked, but God had a plan all along!

What did you want but did not get?
I can't think of anything... really I'm very happy and content with our life. I attempted to pull myself together to go back to graduate school but that didn't go as planned. It's still in the plans but won't be coming together in time for the spring semester either. I wish we had pulled it together to get moved into our "new" house sooner, but that was far more complicated than we envisioned. Really, all in all, none of those things are of much lasting consequence and nothing that can't be done in the future. 

What were your favorite films this year?
White House Down. If you've seen this movie (or even if you haven't...) you're probably thinking she liked that movie? because it's pretty awful. It was the funniest thing I've seen in forever! I've watched it three times this year and I laugh every time! I went to see a couple of movies in theaters, but nothing was so memorable or amazing that I can recall the specific movie right now, so that in and of itself really tells ya what you need to know about my movie watching this year. 

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 25 this past year. I honestly don't recall doing anything in particular. If I remember right, I think my Dad and brother Joshua joined John and I at On The Boarder for dinner. John got me flowers and dressed Coralie up in a cute homemade Birthday onesie.
 (The birthday onesie on the left, flowers on the right)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I think I would be much more at ease about having become a stay-at-home mom if we had made the transition more gracefully without having gone back into debt. But, while renting the house we were living beyond our means once we added more than our car payment per month in medical bills to our financial really debt would have probably been a reality regardless of my working position (by me not working we were able to negotiate lower payments over more time). The stinking debt is really the only thing I look back over this year with remorse about.

What kept you sane?
God. Seriously, without Him I wouldn't have managed this year. Loosing my job, family stuff, renovating and moving into the old house, general parenting challenges. I relied on Him more than I have in a long time and I'm really wishing I had been better at this in the past, because I could have really used that extra dose of faith in years past!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I kind of have a new obsession with the Duggar family (19 kids and Counting).

What political issue stirred you the most?
Well I'm very excited that the Republicans took majority in the November elections! If you didn't know, the majority with which they took the House and Senate is historic!
I don't really like how Obama handled the Immigration Executive Order, but there was precedent for him having signed it into law like that as it had been done before (by Republicans), I just think this is far more reaching. He also signed some environmental actions I'm less than pleased about.
I guess my biggest grievance is the military spending cuts. Overall though, it hasn't been a political year I look back on and just fume over an issue.

Who do you miss?
I miss my friends. Ironic considering I certainly had friends to list as my closest friends etc but we didn't see our friends nearly as much as we did last year or the years before. Having a kiddo really does limit our free time (but I'll still take the kiddo any day!).
I also really miss Joshua being home! I never knew how much I appreciated having him around all the time until he was off doing the Marine thing. 

Who are the best new persons you met this year?
My new friend Angela has been a blessing! We met through blogging and she lives close enough that we're able to have play date walks at the park and we go to MOMs group at church together! My MOMs group has also been a great blessing! It's so nice to have these Godly women to connect with on a regular basis that are in similar walks of life!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Trust God. No matter what. He's got this! 

Quote that sums up the year:
See above, really it should be my theme for 2014!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bah Hum Bug

I have to confess that I am quite the Grinch this Christmas season. 

We've been living life since October 1 with one foot in our house and the other in my Dads.
This. Is. Exhausting.
I'm so appreciative of my Father for letting us stay with him but I can't tell you how happy I am that this weekend was for sure the last weekend we are staying at his house and that we'll be a fully functioning family in our own home again! 

I put up my Dad's Christmas tree just before Thanksgiving and then decorated it just after Turkey Day. And by decorated it I mean that I put beaded garland and poinsettias on it plus a hand full of ornaments. That's it, and that's all it's getting. It would take a ton of digging in the attic to find the child-proof ornaments and I just don't have it in me to do the digging through countless boxes while performing acrobatics on beams while I can't stand up more than half way. We haven't needed them in over 10 years, there's no telling where they are!

 That's as good as it's getting this year for my Dad's tree!

I really aught to pull my act together and do something, anything more towards decorating his house as he will be hosting Christmas this year. I just can't seem to bring myself to doing it. I'll just settle for having the house clean & ready for guests. I might even manage to cook a nice meal. You know one day before we're cooking for an army for a Rehearsal Dinner.

Our house looks like my bad attitude feels. We're 12 days out from Christmas as I write this and I simply refuse to drag all the Christmas Crap... yes Crap... out of storage to put it up just to take it down after we're exhausted from my brothers wedding just after Christmas. I bought this years Christmas ornaments (we buy one or two to represent each year or the things we did that year) and I proceeded to find the box of ornaments in storage only to put the new ornaments away for next year.
IF I do anything for our house it will be a Nativity set.

Our Christmas shopping was super simplified this year! This was more for the sake of our sanity as a family rather than my Grinch-like demeanor. The adults in my Dad's family haven't exchanged gifts in about 3 years. We just buy for the kids! We just spend Christmas enjoying each others company. This is the first year we're following suite with John's grandparents and parents. I'm so not complaining! 
This is the first year we've simplified shopping for our immediate family too. We usually buy for everyone in my family (Dad and 3 brothers) but this year we drew names. Our Christmas shopping list had 5 people on it. FIVE! This is awesome in my book!!

As far as friends go, I put the word out that we're doing handmade treats for gifts this year. I figured by telling people this is what we're doing I won't feel badly not exchanging store bought gifts. Last year with a new baby I really fell down on the job of shopping for gifts (particularly for friends) so I decided that this is just the way we're going to handle friend gifts from now on.

Normally I'm frenzied at this time of year with insane holiday to-do lists. I honestly don't have a single thing on my holiday to do list! I do however have a mile long list of stuff that has to be completed for my brothers wedding that is in 14 days.

With the final countdown to Christmas here I have a few things, really events, that I am looking forward to despite my bah hum bug attitude.
A Holiday Girls night with my Moms Group friends!
A scarf exchange party hosted by Lauren!
My soon-to-be sister-in-love bachelorette party!

I figure this is the last year I'm really going to get away with not putting up a tree or expressing Christmas Spirit with much enthusiasm so I'll take my opportunity & run with it. After this year Cora will start to be old enough to remember, or at least recognize that Mommy is a Grinch. 

I'm not really sure what's wrong with my Christmas Spirit. Maybe it was Josh leaving for Japan? All the wedding frenzy consuming the holiday? Our weird home situation? Regardless of the reason, my heart just isn't in the festive Christmas Spirit this year.

I'll leave you with a peek at the one festive thing I have managed this year - I took Cora to see Santa!
She was even in her Christmas shirt! This counts as a win in my book!
Although I will say my Grinch attitude shined through when I was far too happy with her wails in Santas lap! There's just something so classic about a crying child being held by Santa ;)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Weekend & Randoms

We had a great Thanksgiving and have been blessed with a lot of family time this past week!

John went to work Monday, was home sick Tuesday. I was afraid he had the flu, and he might have, but he had the flu shot so if it was the flu it was a lesser strain and he got over it quickly. Wednesday he knew not much would be going on in the office so he took off and we went and did some shopping for Christmas before heading home to start cooking for Thanksgiving. Part of what we were hunting for was a Thanksgiving outfit for Cora. I'd been hunting previously but I put it off too long so all we could find was a bib (that we paid too much for).
We kicked off Wednesday morning with a Thanksgiving Story Time at the library where Cora Mommy made an adorable paper turkey puppet.

Thanksgiving Day we went and celebrated with my Dad's family about an hour from home. It's always so nice to gather everyone together! We of course forgot the bib at home so once we got back home and had Cora Bug in her PJs I tried to snap a picture of her in the bib but she resisted (just way too tired to cooperate!).

Black Friday we slept in! Then we started the hunt for Cora's trampoline for Christmas, after three stores we finally found it. We headed home for John to do some house work/repairs and I got ready and headed off to Ennis for my soon to be sister-in-love's shower. John kept Cora and they had a Daddy-Daughter shopping trip to buy his Christmas gift for me (I think he may have gotten her ice cream while they were out too!).

The drive to Ennis was a bit of an epic disaster. I was driving Joshua's old standard truck, Jacob needed me to transport 4 huge pillars for wedding decorations to Ennis and it's the only vehicle we have they'd fit in. So it's already difficult enough driving a standard truck through Dallas traffic (I can do it, it just requires way more thought!) but to add to the trouble Robert had been driving the truck a couple of weeks ago and somehow managed to knock the passenger side mirror off the truck! So I had a load in the back giving me only partial use of my rear-view mirror and no right side mirror. Changing lanes was awful! I was already running late because I'd had a major brain fart and I totally forgot that the drive to their house is almost 2 hours, not 1. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a 1 hour 15 minute drive. I just didn't give myself enough drive time, like at all... Then in the middle of a series of exits to get from I35 to 45 my stupid phone decided to screw up and it just shut off! I exited and pulled off to mess with figuring out what the phones problem was because I couldn't drive, shift and mess with the stupid thing. I got it to come back on but couldn't get my GPS to pull back up at all or come up with a signal to make a call for directions. I literally drove around downtown Dallas until I saw a sign for 45, got on praying it was the right direction, took a small detour off onto I20 (no clue how I managed that...), but 2 hours and 30 minutes after I left Sanger I was so pleased to finally pull up at Stephanie's sisters house! I got there by memory after only having been there once! 

Saturday was a day of housework. John and Jacob spent all morning and the better part of the afternoon working at our house while I kept Cora at Dad's and worked on decorating his house for Christmas when I wasn't playing with Coralie.
Trying to decorate a kid proof tree has proven to be difficult. We aren't putting anything glass up this year, so I'm having to dig in the attic for our childhood ornaments and other child appropriate decorations. So far Cora has been very good about leaving the tree alone, probably the only thing she leaves alone at my Dad's house!

I intentionally cut the top of the tree off in the picture because our Angel is currently sideways on the tree and refuses to stand up!
Sunday was a regular Sunday for us. Church, lunch, a little shopping followed by a nap and family time.

What was eventful was that we got our first dirty looks in a store over what Cora was doing. She has recently learned that she can express her displeasure in something by being loud. She'll just say "Ahhhhhhh" loudly - like yelling. It's not shrill like a scream but it's plenty loud and obnoxious. She unfortunately does not understand "shhhh" or "inside voices" though we're actively trying to teach her. So, in the Target Christmas section when she was upset that I wouldn't let her drink from my cup from lunch she looked at us both and yelled at us. We were both working to shush her and deal with the situation (and honestly it could have been so much louder!) and this grumpy man and woman across from us stopped what they were doing to stare at us disapprovingly. I noticed them and continued working to shush her, but when I glanced up again to see that they were still glaring I stopped working with Cora (John continued shushing etc) and proceeded to glare them down. I mean seriously?!? She wasn't screaming and she's a baby! We were obviously trying to deal with the situation (and I refuse to spank for anything that she's learning or isn't willful disobedience) so my thought is if you can't help then back off! Ignore us and move on! It was our first incident of being a public nuisance in a store in 13 months so I consider that to be a win! And as for that couple, I really don't care, I know I was doing my job as a mom - I just get so frustrated with people sticking their noses where they don't belong. :)

How was your Thanksgiving?

How do you handle "incidents" in the store with kiddos?