Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January jumble

It's been a lot of every day normal stuff around here lately. (For January in Iowa at least.)

Snow coats the ground, the wind chill has dipped down to 30ยบ below zero on more than one occasion, and we've been hunkering down. School was cancelled 4 out of 5 days last week for my preschoolers, and I have felt a bit stir-crazy.

It's impossible to get anything done amid the continual begging to go outside and numerous requests for the movie Frozen, which I must admit is extremely appropriate.

So there really hasn't been much happening. Lots of kleenex and antibiotics. Strep throat and ear infections. Warm blanket snuggles on the couch. We did brave the temps and the wind and escape the house a few times though.

I took the kids out to my parents' one day to eat lunch and celebrate my dad's (belated) 55th birthday.
Bailey helped my mom pick the frosting color for his cake, and we all sang Happy Birthday to Papa Jeff.
The kids assisted in blowing out the candles. 

And it is a {sick} fact that one of them literally sneezed a candle out. (Granted this particular child was using the "sneeze into the elbow" technique, so my nurse's heart was happy.) And in case you are wondering why there are exactly 6 candles forming a semi-circle: this was the excited work of a 4 year-old.

Last weekend I promised the kids a movie at our local $2 theater. Excitement abounded. I said we would go Saturday afternoon at 2:00.
Cut to 1 pm when I realize that they no longer do afternoon shows and the only option was 7:30pm - way too late for Mr. G.
We settled for bowling instead.
They had never gone bowling and it was a fun, exciting new experience... for the first 6 or so rounds. By the time the last round approached, Jared and I were both thanking God and were ready to run out of the bowling alley.
But they all looked so darn cute in their tacky bowling shoes!

The only other new thing around here...
Jared and I booked a vacation!

This is huge news in my world.
Our last vacation was in 2009 - not counting our trip to Colorado in October with our kids. Because as fun as that was - and it was fun - it still doesn't feel quite like a vacation with toddlers in tow. 

In March we are going to Puerto Vallarta to an all-inclusive resort for 5 days. 
Of beaches.
And sun.
And quiet.
And all the adult beverages a carefree parent could ever dream of.

To say we are excited is a big understatement. We have been saving up money in a special vacation fund for a few years, and it feels good to finally put some of that money to use. This trip is giving Jared and I both something to look forward to and work toward. 
I am definitely using it as my mental Happy Place when the snow is blowing, the kids are whiny, or my workout is kicking my butt.
I think the anticipation of an awesome vacation is almost as great as the vacation itself. 
I can't wait for March to get here!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

post-Christmas catch-up

It's 2015 and we all survived the holiday season. There isn't much to survive in our world. We only attend two different Christmas get-togethers, which I find to be a real rarity after talking to other people. And especially since Jared has divorced parents. But I am not complaining. I find it way more enjoyable to go to a Christmas celebration and just stay, as opposed to running here and there, making sure to "make an appearance" so no one's feelings get hurt. Especially with kids in tow. Kids that probably missed naps and way overdid their allotted sugar intake.

We had a great Christmas.
As usual we attended Christmas Eve church service and hosted a meal of appetizers at our house for my family.
There were the usual pictures in front of the tree.

I felt like Christmas was relaxed this year. That is a goal of mine - to not become that frantic, crazed person rushing around buying gifts and thinking that perfection is what makes Christmas special. Santa didn't spoil our kids. Their grandparents and aunts do that. Our kids got one present each from Santa and the other two were from Mom and Dad. Santa of course gets to be the fun guy, while Mom and Dad gave books and clothes. 

Our families usually ask our opinion on presents to buy for the kids. Most of them know I hate the clutter of a thousand toys. Toys are important for kids, but we want stuff that makes them use their imaginations and be interactive. And they all did so great picking out stuff that they will use again and again, without driving Jared and me insane.

Princess dress-up stuff for the girls. Instant hit.

"The Little Blue Truck" board book. Graham is obsessed.

Little People. They've already been in the plane, bus, tractor, barn, you name it.

A unique, personalized board book made by my mom on Pint Size Productions. Graham loves this book. It is all about farm implements with pictures of his papa's tractors, combines, wagons, etc. And he can't get over that there is a picture of his grandparents in a book!
ThinkFun Roll & Play Game (G's present from Santa). All 3 kids love it. They learn and have fun at the same time. And it entertains for a long time. I highly recommend.

Tool set. Tractor repair was going down just yesterday morning.

This adorable Melissa & Doug doorbell house. Jared hid their snacks in it one day and Avery couldn't stop laughing at the fact that her fruit snack was hidden behind Door #2.

And of course they got clothes, and leggings for the obsessed Bailey, and other books. It was all stuff we can use and I appreciate all the thought that went into getting them meaningful gifts.

We went after-Christmas shopping on December 26th and scored some good deals on decorating stuff. Now that all my sisters have their own houses, we can all behave like old ladies excited over new decor items. :) 

New Christmas tradition for next year!
My sister Beaner told me of an ingenious idea that a friend does for Christmas each year. Every year she individually wraps every Christmas book they own and places them under the tree. Each night in the days leading to Christmas, the kids get to pick a book, unwrap it, and read it together that night. They are all books they have already read, but it's like they are brand new. It's a unique tradition that is essentially free and fun for the kids. Another way to get in the Christmas spirit. I am so going to do this next year!

Other stuff:

I don't know about you, but man we are getting lame on New Year's Eve. And when I say "getting" I really mean that we have been this way forever. We even had no kids for the evening (Thanks Mom!) and we were still lame. As my sister Justy expressed, it's all the pressure that comes with New Year's supposedly being this awesome, great time. I haven't ever had an amazing New Year's experience. Maybe one day? 

This year Jared and I went out for dinner and drank too many margaritas. We came home and drank some wine and played some games, passing time until it would be suitable to go to the bar. And then around 9:30 our couch started looking pretty amazing. And we did have a long list of movies DVRed. And with that showers were taken and jammies put on and we snuggled up on the couch to watch "Dallas Buyers Club." Yep, that is how behind we are on new releases. We were in bed before midnight. And it was pretty great.

I reached my goal and lost 30 pounds a few weeks ago. Christmas happened and I took the liberty of still working out but eating whatever indulgent crap I wanted. I gained a pound. Oh well. I would have been in a pissy mood passing up delicious food at Christmas for the sake of a calorie count. 

And despite the Christmas food free-for-all, I bought my first pair of jeans (not counting one pair of maternity jeans) in 8 years. 8 YEARS. That's pathetic. I have been getting by using some of Fe's jeans that she couldn't wear anymore (because sister lost like 60 pounds in the last 2 years!), but those are now too big. It was time. 
I am pretty ecstatic to report that I now fit into a pair of 9/10 jeans. That's amazing for me. I haven't been that size in probably a decade. 

On the exercise front, the week of Christmas I decided it was time to rededicate myself to actually getting more fit. For a while I had been coasting by, still losing weight, but not really challenging myself with workouts. So I started a new workout routine. It's called The 90 Day Warrior Workout by, and it's a calendar with 3 months of workouts planned out for you. Some of the workouts are ones I have already done while doing the 30 Day Beginner calendar, but there are quite a few new routines that are kicking my butt at times. And that's a good thing. As always they are all exercises that are done at home with only handweights. I highly recommend if you are looking for something to challenge you without shelling out money for a gym membership you aren't sure you will use all that much.

I think that is about all for now. I put the kids in front of some Looney Tunes so I could have a minute (or 30. or 60.) to myself. Hey, at least it is the classics and not Caillou or some crap. Man, I hate that little, annoying brat... Him and his grating personality and that hat he always wears. One shouldn't have such aggression towards a PBS cartoon character, but it is what it is (to quote my mom).
I digress...
Time to go make lunch!