Monday, December 30, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Nana

2019 has been a rough year to say the least, and just when we thought it was going to end on a good note, my Nana passed away on Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the whole year.

Nana in 1960 at age 26

The day before Christmas Eve my dad received a call from the doctor at her nursing home where she’s lived for the past 11 months saying that she had taken a turn for the worse and that it was almost time.  My whole family dropped everything and gathered around her bedside to spend some time with her that day, even though she wasn’t awake or aware that we were there.  We laughed about some old Nana memories and shed a few tears, and then we said our goodbyes.

She had different family members around her bedside the rest of that day as well as the next day, Christmas Eve, and then our family met up at Christmas Eve children’s mass at 4 o’clock, my favorite hour of the whole year.  Towards the end of mass, right after Communion, a little girl in the children’s choir got up and sang a solo of O Holy Night that brought me to tears.  I cried the whole way through and all I could think about was my Nana.  It almost felt like I could feel her. 

Right after mass, we parted ways with my parents to go grab everything from home to take to their house for Christmas Eve dinner, but five minutes down the road my Momma called to let me know that the nursing home had tried to call my Daddy during mass to let him know that my Nana had finally passed. 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I felt her during church that day.

My parents immediately headed to the nursing home to take care of business while the rest of us headed to Momma and Daddy’s house to try and carry on with our usual Christmas Eve things.  Momma and Daddy eventually made it home and we had Christmas Eve night together as we always do, minus Nana.  (She used to join us every single year on Christmas Eve night, but she hadn’t been able to do so for the last few years since she had been so sick.)  We went on to have many joyful moments that evening, but much of the evening also felt a little bit hollow. 

We laid her to rest on Saturday, December 28 and she’s now resting peacefully beside both of her parents as well as several of her siblings and other family members who had gone before her.  She’s had many ailments through the years and these past couple of years had been especially bad after she went blind and dementia settled in, so we’re at peace knowing that she’s finally at peace. 

Christmas 1989
At our wedding, 2007

Holding Jacob, 2011

With Olivia, 2014

My Nana was deeply spiritual – she looooved Jesus – so there’s no doubt in my mind where she is now... she’s finally home.  She also had a flair for the dramatic, so we thought it was only fitting that she go be with Jesus right in time for His birthday.  She got to celebrate with Him on His day and she also knows that now we’ll never forget the day she left us as it’s our favorite day of the year, too. 

We’ll miss you, Nana.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

It’s here, it’s here, my favorite two days of the year! 

From our family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! 

Soak up every magical moment!

Don't forget to link up with us below!  

Time for a link party! Blogging friends, share your post below and meet your hosts! 

Keri at Keri Lynn Synder / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 

*Linking up with Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday and Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Hello, Monday

I had intended to post our weekly recap today, but I decided to put blogging on the back-burner this weekend because I was enjoying family time and down time.  I'll get the post up eventually, but until then, feel free to link up your own posts below.  Happy Christmas Eve Eve, y'all.

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Friday, December 20, 2019

Five on Friday - Lauren Conrad Goodies at Kohl’s

*This post contains affiliate links.  

If there’s any one clothing designer who speaks straight to my heart, it has to be Lauren Conrad.  It’s obvious that her favorite color is pink (mine too!), she has a love for all things festive (same), and she’s offers fun, whimsical styles that are so feminine and flattering at affordable prices.  And before I go any further, let me just say that this post is in no way sponsored by Lauren or Kohl’s (although, that would be awesome if it was… y’all hit me up!  LOL).  I just truly love her stuff!

I was browsing my local Kohl’s store last week and I came across some LC goodies that were just too cute not to share.  Since Kohl’s allows coupon-stacking you can get some really fantastic deals… especially right now since most of the items are already marked down.  Whether you’re in search of last minute gifts or you’re getting ready to spend some of your Christmas money or gift cards, I have some fun ideas for you!

O N E – Scarf

This scarf may be the most gorgeous scarf I’ve ever seen, and it might just be the softest one, too.  The colors are unique and beautiful and the print is just perfection.  I loved it so much that I bought three – one for myself and two for gifts!  It’s on sale online right now, too!

T W O – Festive Socks

During the cold weather months I wear ankle socks every day with my boots and booties.  I love having cute socks in all patterns and colors and I typically get mine from Target.  My Target socks were getting worn out and several pairs had been tossed because they had holes in the toes, so I was in need of some more.

I came across these two packs of socks at my local store and fell in love.  There’s a set for Christmas and a set for New Year’s, but there are also a few pairs of neutrals sprinkled in each set so you can use them year round.  These were marked down so much at my store that I ended up getting them for less than $3 per pack after my coupons!!  Since they were that cheap, I went ahead and got both packages so I shouldn’t have to buy socks for a long time.

The socks are all thicker than I expected which was a nice surprise, but they’re not too thick.  I found these to be just right.  They are all very soft and so cute, and I can’t wait to wear my little champagne glasses on my feet for New Year’s!

T H R E E – Hats

I’m a sucker for polka dots and anything pink, so this beanie hat is one of the cutest I’ve ever seen.  Since I’d already bought myself the scarf and the socks I knew I didn’t need to spend any more money on myself, but I may go back and grab it after Christmas if I have any money or gift cards to spend.  ;o)

The thing I love the most about this hat is that the inside band is lined with fleece so the part that covers your ears is extra thick and warm.  I have numerous knit hats and when it’s windy, the cold blows right through the hats and into my ears, and I hate when my ears ache.  I love that this hat has an extra layer of protection so that won’t happen. 

This beanie hat with sequins is also super cute!  Come to think of it, I might actually like the white version of this sequined hat the best!

F O U R – Earmuffs

If you’re not a hat person, these beautiful blush pink earmuffs would be a great alternative.  They’re super soft and warm and they won’t mess up your hair like a hat could.  ;o)

F I V E – Top

I dedicated an entire post to this top last year because I loved it so much, and I was so excited to see that the top is back this season in lots of different colors and patterns!  It’s seriously so gorgeous and so flattering and I still love mine as much now as I did when I bought it a year ago! 

Here’s an old picture of me modeling it for y’all.  ;o)

Friday Funnies

Why tho

Literally every single time I try to get a McFlurry

All I want for Christmas is a pet baby Yoda

Every single day while I work in my office

On the Blog This Week

Happy Friday, y’all! 

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favoriteand Della Devoted for High Five for Friday.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Our Week - The One with the Mall Santa and Lots of Christmas Movies

Last week was pretty low-key considering we’re right in the heart of the holiday season.  I think the reason last week was low-key is because every single commitment we have for the holiday season is packed into this week and it is pure chaos.  Seriously, we are right in the midst of aaaallll the Christmas dinners, Christmas parties, Christmas programs, and Christmas planning/shopping this week.  It's been nuts!

Monday, December 9

Unfortunately I kicked off Monday with a sore throat.  Womp womp.  This is the first time I’ve been sick pretty much all year so I really can’t complain, but it’s just unfortunate that it had to happen right before Christmas.  Although, better last week than this week or next week, I suppose!  Fortunately I didn't feel bad enough to need to stay in bed, so I still managed to have a pretty productive day, getting lots of blog work done. 

I had a check-up with my GI doc and he has officially released me!  That’ll be one less doctor in 2020, y’all!  Cheers to that! 

Monday evening was spent at home.  I cooked dinner and then spent the evening solving some puzzles that Jacob created.  He recently read a book about some kid who solves mysteries and he got the idea to make these different puzzles.  He’s been creating his own ever since and I love it.

Tuesday, December 10

Tuesday morning I volunteered at the school doing some data entry for raffle ticket sales for our upcoming ball in January.  The students have been selling the tickets like crazy so we had lots of them to enter into the system.  I ended up being there for about two hours, and then I ran over to our outreach center to drop our Christmas gift donations. 

On the way home I stopped by the library to check out a new stack of books for Jacob.  His AR requirements are more demanding than ever this year so he is flying through books like it’s his job, and even though he’s flying through, it sometimes feels impossible for him to meet his goal but he’s been doing it!

Tuesday evening, I left B and the kids at home to attend my first ever book club meeting!  My friend Adrienne has been trying to get me to join her book club for months, but I haven’t had the time to read since school started in August.  For their December meeting, they didn’t read a book, and instead they had a favorite things + favorite book exchange at a local Italian restaurant, so I thought that would be the perfect time to join and meet the other ladies.  Hopefully next month I’ll be able to get my act together and actually read the book they choose.  Haha.

The dinner went well.  The food was delicious as always and all of the ladies were super sweet.  There were ten of us altogether so we had a big group and I’m looking forward to getting to know each of them better in the future.

Wednesday, December 11

Wednesday I spent the whole day working on the blog.  I’m so far ahead on blog posts and I’m loving it!  It’s definitely made this week a lot less stressful.

Wednesday after school the kids and I went home and got their homework done, and then we met B at the mall when he got off of work.  Even though we see Santa at Breakfast with Santa each year, the kids also love to see the mall Santa.  We’ve been seeing the mall Santa way longer than Breakfast with Santa anyway.  We always go on a random weeknight right after B gets off of work because there’s never a wait and it works like a charm every single year!

We’ve been seeing the same mall Santa since Jacob was born, and I was crushed to find that our usual guy wasn’t there this year.  I asked about him and I was told he’s been having some health issues so he couldn’t do it this year.  Talk about a heartbreaker!  We have eight years worth of pictures with him, and I’m so sad that year nine had to be with someone different.  I just hope he recovers, though.

The kids didn’t seem to notice that he was different this year, although for the first time ever, they did say something about the fact that the mall Santa looked different from the Santa at Breakfast with Santa.  I explained to them that all of the store Santas are Santa’s helpers because the real Santa has to be at the North Pole preparing for Christmas.  :o) 

Their visit with him went well and they both said that they asked for the same things that they asked for at Breakfast with Santa last week – a LEGO Star Wars Y-Wing and B-Wing for Jacob, and a flower shaped pillow and a Hatchimals for Olivia.

After visiting with Santa for a few minutes, the kids wanted to continue with their tradition of riding the kiddie rides in the mall.  Both of them are getting so big they could barely fit in the rides, but they both wanted to play on them anyway.  Haha.  I have a feeling this may be the last year for that, though!  Olivia also saw her buddies, Anna and Elsa, in the window at Claire's and she walked over, posed with them, and asked me to take a picture.  She is so my child!

After they rode a handful of the rides, we walked to the food court and had Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  We’ve had this same tradition for a few years now, and it always seems to work out nicely.  Nobody wants to wait two hours to see Santa so it’s nice to walk straight up and not have to wait at all!

Thursday, December 12

Thursday I had intended to go to the gym, but I still wasn’t feeling well nor had I slept well all week because of my cold, so I skipped it and did a bunch of work at home instead.  It was rainy and cold all day, so it was nice to hole up with my hot tea and Christmas lights.

Friday, December 13

Friday was much of the same – sore throat, tired from not sleeping well, rainy, and cold – so I dropped the kids at school and then headed straight back home for hot tea, a warm blanket, and Christmas tunes while I worked on the blog. 

We had a wedding shower for Jacob’s teacher Friday afternoon so I headed up there a little early before dropoff to help out with that.  The kids all surprised their teacher when she walked in the room, and they all piled on her for a huge group hug.  I just love those sweet kiddos.  Jacob has such a great class!

I also got this picture from Olivia's assistant teacher at school... there she goes calling me by my actual name again!  Y'all, this girl.  She is a piece of work!

Friday evening we had to meet someone to make a sale on Facebook Marketplace, so while we were out, we grabbed dinner at one of our local places.  B and I had some beers and I had my favorite hot dog with sambal aioli, avocado, cilantro, and goat cheese, and the kids and B played ping pong.  They’ve been eyeing that ping pong table for months every time we go, but there are usually people on it, and they were so excited that it was finally free!  And Jacob seems to be a natural at ping pong!  He’s probably better than me!  Haha.

It was a cold and rainy evening, so we headed home after dinner, put a fire in the fireplace, and snuggled up on the couch in our PJs while we watched Elf.  Olivia wanted hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows and a candy cane and Jacob opted for some leftover Halloween candy.

After Elf, we put the kids to bed and then B and I had our 16th annual viewing of Love Actually.  My gosh, I love that movie so much!  All the warm and fuzzies at the end!  Fun fact, that movie came out just a couple of months after B and I started dating, so it’s the same age as our relationship.  That makes me love it even more.  ;o) 

Saturday, December 14

Saturday morning we had cinnamon rolls and watched Home Alone.  I updated some lists in my planner and made one last long list of everything that’s left to be done before Christmas while we watched.  I also got a few Christmas gifts wrapped while I sipped my hot cinnamon tea and watched the movie.

By the time I was done wrapping I was feeling exhausted.  I think all of my sleepless nights and my stupid cold finally caught up with me, and I knew that I would be regretting it if I didn’t take it easy the rest of the day, so I gave myself permission to relax.  I curled up on the couch by the Christmas tree with my Christmas Shopaholic book, Maui, and a snuggly blanket, and I read and slept for the rest of the afternoon. 

I woke up around 3:30 and I felt like a new woman!  I was still snotty and coughing my head off, but at least I had some energy!  We got ready and headed to 5:30 mass and then went to our favorite Mexican place for dinner to celebrate my Aunt Joy for her birthday.  Unfortunately several other family members went down with other illnesses and they weren’t able to attend, but we still had a good time.  

On the way home the kids asked to drive around and look at Christmas lights, so we drove around our own neighborhood for a bit.  Our neighborhood is pretty large, so there are lots of houses to see.  By the time we arrived back at home it was pretty late, so we sent the kids straight to bed and then B and I curled up on the couch for another Christmas movie.  We originally talked about watching Die Hard because – YES, IT IS TOTALLY A CHRISTMAS MOVIE! – but then B discovered that Daddy’s Home 2 is on Amazon streaming, so we watched that instead.  We saw it in the theater when it came out and we remember thinking it was hilarious, and it didn’t disappoint the second time around either.  It’s a Christmas movie, too, so if you haven’t seen it and you’re looking for something Christmasy that’s also funny, check it out!

Sunday, December 15

Sunday morning was another lazy morning.  We made homemade waffles for breakfast and then we all piled on the couch and watched Home Alone 2.  My goal was to take it easy all weekend and give my body time to rest and heal because I knew the upcoming week was going to be crazy and I’d need to be at 100%.  During our movie-watching, Olivia grabbed my phone and snapped a bunch of pictures of our coziness.  :o)

We left the house around lunchtime and grabbed some Five Guys, and then we made a quick trip to Walmart to let the kids pick out some gingerbread house kits.  They’ve been begging to do them this year and I wanted them to be able to pick the ones that they wanted.  Jacob chose the same Super Mario Brothers kit he built last year and Olivia chose a Frozen 2 kit… surprise surprise.  Haha.

We headed to the park after that since we’d been cooped up the day before at home.  It was a beautiful cool day and we stayed at the park for over an hour letting the kids play on the playground and walk the trails.  We found a long vine hanging from a tall tree and the kids took turns swinging on it like Tarzan.  Brian decided he wanted to have a go and the vine broke before he could even put all of his weight on it.  Whoops.  Haha.

On another note, we found this beautiful little clearing in a park that we've been to tons of other times before... I think I may have found next year's picture-taking spot!

We headed home after the park because Jacob had some serious reading to do to catch up on his AR reading for the quarter, and he and I made it through the last half of one of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books while B and Olivia read her AR book together.

B and the kids piled on the playroom couch to continue their Sunday tradition of Zelda on our old Nintendo Wii after that and I got the house and things ready for Monday.

My Momma made beef strew and beer bread for dinner and it was the perfect dinner to have after battling that cold all week.  I ate lots of soups and drank lots of hot tea all week last week since it felt so good on my throat.  I’ve never had a sore throat last for seven days like it did this time and it was just miserable. 

Well, happy Thursday, y’all!!!!  The most joyful week of the whole year is upon us and I could not be happier!  Soak it all up!!