Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Ode to 2015

Well friends, 2015 is officially coming to a close.  It was a mix of wonderful, good, and bad - thankfully mostly good - but the one bad spot in the year was one that left quite a hole that won't ever be filled.  2015 will forever be the year that I lost my grandfather, one of my favorite people in the whole world.  So while the majority of the year was pretty amazing, that one dark spot did leave a profound mark.  So I guess you could say that I'm indifferent to the passing of 2015.  

2015 will forever be the year that I threw the last first birthday party for one of my babies.  It was pink, it was gold, it was sparkly, it was fabulous, and it was the perfect way to celebrate our little lady.  It was definitely everything that I had hoped it would be and more.

2015 was the year that my birthday fell on Easter Sunday, and it was the last major holiday that we would ever celebrate with my grandfather. 

Easter Festivities Part I
Easter Festivities Part II

2015 was the year that we first took Olivia to our favorite vacation destination for our annual beach trip, and it was a trip that we will never forget.

Beach Trip

2015 was the year that Brian and I celebrated our fourth Mother's Day and our fourth Father's Day.

Our Mother's Day Weekend
Father's Day Weekend

2015 was the year that we decided to add on to our house, and boy, was that the best decision we made all year!

We're Adding On!

2015 was the year that I attended my 19th Dave Matthews Band concert and B and I had a fabulous time in ATL!

Atlanta Weekend

2015 was the year that we had one of my favorite July 4th celebrations of all time.

4th of July Loooong Weekend

2015 was the year that we celebrated our sweet little man's fourth birthday.

Jacob Brian's Pregnancy Story
This is Four... Jacob's Birthday Interview

2015 was the year that I lost my beloved grandfather.

Saying Goodbye

2015 was the year that I finally opened up and poured my heart out about experiencing a miscarriage back in 2010.  I figured that if my post could help at least one person then it would be worth it.

Ten Things I Learned From Having a Miscarriage

2015 was the year that I shared my fall and Christmas home tours with you.

Fall Home Tour
Christmas Home Tour

2015 was the year that we only attended one Georgia game, and boy was it wet!  It was also the year that we lost our beloved head coach, Mark Richt, whom I'm going to miss dearly.

Georgia Game Weekend

2015 was the year that we celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and that everyone was well for all of it!

Halloween Weekend
Thanksgiving Weekend
Christmas 2015

And finally, just for kicks, here are my Top Nine most liked photos on Instagram for 2015!

2015 was the year that I started blogging.  And it has been an amazing, scary, and exhilarating journey.  I've met some pretty amazing women through this little hobby, and I hope to continue to grow for years to come! 

Farewell, 2015... and welcome 2016!!!!

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Favorite Moments of 2015.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What I Wore - Last One of 2015!

We are rapidly approaching the end of 2015 and I've had the best time with these What I Wore posts during these last few months.  Even though I've always loved fashion, about a couple of years ago I started feeling like I was in a fashion rut.  I always played it safe, I wore a lot of black, white, and grey, and I never tried too many patterns.  I started posting pictures of my outfits on Instagram, and ever since then I feel like I've become a lot more creative with my style.  When I started this blog, I knew that it was something that I wanted to share, and I've had the best time doing it!

I know some of you probably don't love these posts as much as I do, but I love doing them for myself because I think that they will be a lot of fun to look back on one day.

Without further ado, here are my last looks of 2015.

December 23

December 23 (Evening)

December 24 - Plaid Dress Similar

December 24 (Evening) - Shirt Similar

December 25 - Gold Belt Similar // Skinny Jeans // Gold Flats for Baby Similar

December 26 - Leopard Belt Similar // Skinny Jeans // Plaid Swing Top // Gold Flats for Baby Similar

December 27 - Skinny Jeans // Ballet Flats // Gold Flats for Baby Similar

December 28

December 29 - Skinny Jeans Similar

I can't wait to share more with you in 2016!

*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore.
*This post may contain affiliate links.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2016, the Year of Less & Other Resolutions

It’s that time of year again…

Time to reflect on the previous year to see what we did right, see what we did wrong, and figure out what we would like to change for the new year.  I, like most, always love the new year because it feels like a good reason to have a fresh start. 

I have decided that my word for the coming year is going to be “less.”  I often find myself wasting time drowning in paperwork, picking up clutter, and cleaning out my email inbox that’s overflowing with hundreds of non-important emails.  2016 is going to be the year that I cut down on the clutter and commit to fewer things that distract me and take time away from all of the things that I love. 

Goals for “Less”
  • Home – purge and simplify our entire house, my car, and my cube at work and donate everything that we don’t need or want.  I also want to start putting things back where they belong immediately after use.  I’m typically pretty good about this, but every now and then I get lazy and then I waste 30 minutes cleaning up a giant mess.  Our kitchen island is a prime example.  It is the catch-all for junk.  I want to live by the mantra, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
  • Computer – delete programs that I no longer use and clean out old files
  • Phone – delete apps and contacts that I no longer need
  • Photos – take fewer pictures, delete the ones I don’t need (I’m looking at you, blurry Bigfoot shots!), and implement a new way of organizing and backing them up.  I take a lot of pictures.  A lot.  And right now my method of organizing and backing them up takes forever.  I have recently come up with a new plan that will reduce that time by a lot.
  • Emails – unsubscribe to all emails that are no longer relevant.  I heard about the website on the radio the other day.  It shows you everything that you have subscribed to and allows you to unsubscribe to all of the ones that you no longer need right in one place.
  • Social Media – unfollow accounts that no longer pique my interest so I don’t waste time scrolling through photos that I’m not interested in. 
  • Keepsakes – purge and organize.  This one is going to be extremely hard for me because I save everything.  I have every single piece of artwork that my kids have ever done (with the exception of the ones made with food) as well as tons of keepsakes from their babyhood, and I am going to finally be ruthless, clean out everything we don’t need, and organize everything that I do decide to keep.
  • Paperwork – Clean out file cabinet, unsubscribe to catalogs I’m no longer interested in, put a stop to junk mail, and file only the things that we absolutely need right when I get them so they don’t pile up.
  • To Do List – I have a “Master To Do List” and I would like to accomplish as many of these things as I can this year so I can cross them off and whittle it down!
  • Shopping – buy less.  It’s as simple as that.  If I don’t need it or absolutely have to have it, don’t buy it… which means, fewer impulse buys… Target Dollar Spot, I’m looking at you!
In addition to my goals for “less” this year, I do have a few personal resolutions that I would like to make for myself, my health, for fun, and for the kiddos.

Personal Resolutions
  • Be the best wife and mommy that I can be.  Very cliché, I know, and I really do always try my best, but there are some things that I could improve.
  • Be positive – I’m a worrier.  I worry about every little thing which makes me focus a lot on the negative.  While I’ve made quite an improvement on this in the last few years, it’s an ongoing struggle that will be on my resolution list for many years to come, I’m sure.
  • Complain less – I also have a tendency to complain.  It’s something that I would really love to change, but it’s hard.  
  • Be more spontaneous – I’m not spontaneous in the least.  I’m a planner by nature, but this year it would be nice to loosen up a bit.
  • Make bed – confession: we rarely make our bed, but it always makes me so happy when we do.  So I at least want to start making my bed on the weekends.  We just don’t have time on the weekdays.
  • Improve water intake – I’ve been slacking the past few weeks and I can feel the difference.  I want to get back to my eight glasses of water per day.
  • Tone up – the few months before I got pregnant with Olivia I had been doing some Jillian Michaels DVDs as well as some aerobics and light weight lifting, and I was in the best shape of my life.  I do still work out most days, but nothing as hard core as what I was doing back in 2013, so I want to get back to that.  And soon.
  •  Vitamins – find a good daily vitamin.  I’m actually still taking prenatal vitamins (even though we are done having kids, I promise), so it’s high time I discontinue them and find something more appropriate.  I also wouldn’t mind starting a Vitamin C supplement or Cranberry to boost my immune system.   
For Fun
  • One date night sans kids each month – Brian and I tried this last year and we stuck to it pretty well.  There were a couple of months that we missed, but we had a few dates in December that made up for it. 
  • Find a white wine that I like – I am just not a white wine drinker.  I’m a Merlot, Cab, and Malbec girl, but in the summertime heat sometimes the reds are just too heavy.  I’d love to find a nice, crisp white wine that I can enjoy chilled in the summertime.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!
  • Try out new outfit combos and try to wear a different combo every day
  • Try new things as often as possible – whether it be a new restaurant, a new dish at one of our favorite restaurants, a new cocktail, or a new store, I want to start doing different things to spice up life a bit!
Goals for the Kids
  • Get the kids to clean up after themselves daily – we are really bad about just cleaning up for them or leaving the mess out, and it’s high time that they start taking responsibility for it.
  • Help Jacob to become more independent – I’ll be the first to admit that we baby him more than we should and it’s not good for anyone, so I would like to loosen the reigns a bit and have him start doing more things for himself – pick out his clothes, dress, brush teeth, bathe, etc. – without us hovering over him while he does it.
  • Get Jacob to poop on the toilet – for the love, we are still having issues with this.  Why are boys so gross?!  At the rate we’re going, I seriously think that Olivia might be fully potty-trained before Jacob and that is a major problem.  2016 is the year for no more poop in the pants!
  • Give Jacob a “big boy” room – his room is still the exact same as the way it was when we brought him home from the hospital except for the fact that he’s now in a toddler bed.  Time to remedy that.  I want to paint, redecorate, and convert his bed to a full-size bed.  Maybe that will make him realize that he’s not a baby anymore and he’ll stop pooping in his pants?!  One can only hope…
  • Get Olivia potty-trained... she's so ready!
Other than that, I just want to love hard, laugh a lot, and make lots of sweet memories with my favorite people because that’s what life is all about!

What are some of your resolutions for 2016?
*Linking up with Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday and Family and the Lake House and The Hayes Homestead for The Monthly Meet Up.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had the best Christmas weekend… we most definitely did!  Everyone was well, we got to spend lots of time with everyone that we love near and far, and we ate way too many delicious Christmas dishes and treats.  It was a whirlwind, but it was the perfect long weekend celebrating. 

On Christmas Eve Eve, my boss let us leave a little early, so I immediately went home, put on some festive PJs, hubs picked up some takeout, and we spent the evening soaking up the calm before the Christmas chaos.  We watched The Santa Clause with the kiddos and then Brian and I watched Serendipity after the kiddos went to bed.  Both of these movies are just so magical and they put me right into the perfect frame of mind for Christmas.

Christmas Eve, I spent the morning baking.  I made my first cheesecake, a Candy Cane Oreo Cheesecake, and it turned out amazing!!  I also made a pie, and garlic whipped potatoes for Christmas Eve dinner with my family.  I was so busy being in the moment that I failed to take pictures of the finished cheesecake or pie or the epic dinner spread.  #BloggerFail

We headed to the children’s mass at our church at 4, and boy, was it wiggly.  I should also point out that there was a full moon so it was even more chaotic than usual.  Haha.  It was really sweet hearing the children sing, though, and it’s always my favorite mass of the entire year.

After mass, we headed home to change, grab food and presents, and then we headed over to my parents’ house to spend the evening with my family.  My brother and sister-in-law are home from Texas so it was extra special this year because everybody was all under one roof.  We spent the evening eating, drinking wine, opening presents, watching Home Alone (duh) and generally goofing off as we always do when we’re all together.  We stayed out way past the kids’ bedtime, and we made it home in time to sprinkle some reindeer food on the lawn and tuck the babies into bed just after eleven. 

Once the kids were asleep, Brian and I settled in to exchange gifts.  We have been exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve night ever since we’ve been together, and even though we now have kids, we have continued the tradition because it gives us a chance to have some quiet time, just the two of us.   

My big gift from Brian was a 28 inch computer monitor.  Now that I’m blogging and editing pictures every day, I wanted something large as my old monitor and laptop screen are just too small to look at for hours on end.  Now I feel like I don’t have to squint and lean into the monitor anymore as I’m typing.  Haha.    Well done, hubs. 

My gift to Brian was a portable digital recorder.  I actually already had something else for him, but a few days before Christmas he casually mentioned that he was wanting a digital recorder and that he’d found the exact one that he wanted.  I brushed him off and changed the subject to make it seem as if I wasn’t interested, then I snuck into his Amazon wish list, snatched one up, and surprised him with it on Christmas Eve.  As he was opening it, he looked at me, bewildered, and said, “Is this really what I think it is?!  How did you know??”   

I was so pleased with myself for being sneaky.  And now I already have his birthday gift lined up for February since I didn’t use it for Christmas.  Win win.  

After we exchanged gifts and opened our stockings from one another, we set up for Christmas morning, and then passed out around 1 AM.  

On Christmas morning, Jacob awoke around 8:15 (which is pretty late by his standards), and we had to go wake Olivia.  The three of us waited at the top of the stairs (just like we used to at my parents’ house when I was a little girl) while Brian went down and turned on the Christmas lights, and then we all ran down.  Jacob was thrilled to see his Hotwheels Garage, and Olivia was thrilled to see four tubes of Frozen chap stick.  Haha.  I seriously think that was her favorite gift.  They both loved everything, though. 

We played and opened gifts from each other and then played some more, and then around 9:45 Brian and I started preparing brunch.  We made eggs, grits, bacon, and homemade waffles (our traditional Christmas morning breakfast) and my parents, brother, and uncle came over to feast with us.   

We spent the rest of the day playing, being lazy, and listening to Christmas music.  I colored some in my adult coloring book (I’m really loving those things) and then it was time to prepare for Christmas dinner. 

Christmas dinner was at my aunt and uncle’s house and my mom’s entire family was there, all 37 of us!  My cousins and their families came in from NYC, LA, Atlanta, and Texas, so everyone was together.  We feasted on ham, potatoes, squash casserole, green bean casserole, mac n cheese, sweet potato soufflé – all of the Christmas dinner staples. 

The drinks were flowing, and we had good conversation as well as a little live music when my aunt, uncle, and cousin brought out their guitars.  My cousin, who is a very talented musician, had written a song about my grandfather's death because this was our first Christmas without him.  I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when it was over.   

It was a perfect night with everyone that we loved and I know that my grandfather was there with us in spirit.  I still miss him terribly. 

Saturday we were lazy all day – the kids spent the day playing with all of their new toys and I tried (and failed) to clean up and organize some of toy explosion that had taken place in our living room.  And did I mention that it was literally 80 degrees the entire weekend?  Not very Christmasy, weather.  Not very Christmasy.

Saturday afternoon we got ready and headed over to Brian’s dad’s house for Christmas round four.  We had another delicious dinner, opened more gifts, and spent more time just hanging out and being with family that we hadn’t gotten to see in quite some time.  And again, I was so caught up in the moment that I forgot to take any pictures.  I’m really on a roll, huh?

Brian’s dad’s girlfriend made a Brussel sprouts dish that was to die for, so I’m hoping to get the recipe from her to share with all of you eventually.  Y’all, it was so good. 

Sunday morning we went to Brian’s mom and step dad’s house for our fifth and final Christmas celebration.  We had another feast (I think I gained ten pounds this weekend), opened more presents (we were completely spoiled this weekend), and spent more time with everyone who we love.  I did manage to snap a few pics over there, but again, I was too busy visiting than to take pictures.  

One of my favorite gifts of the whole weekend?  This darling handmade peacock dress for Olivia that my sister-in-law made.  I absolutely cannot wait to play dress up with her!!

I think this was possibly my favorite Christmas ever!  They just keep getting better and better!  Until next year.  

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices 
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night
O night divine”

*Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending