Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Been Real 2013...

I feel like we were just doing this whole New Year's thing to ring in 2013 a very short while ago, and now here it is, time for 2014 in less than an hour now. Time sure does fly by, but I'm trying to enjoy every second of it as much as I can. I saw a few other blogs I follow doing a year in review through pictures, so thought it'd be a fun way to document just how great God really is and how blessed we have been this year. I'll hate to see it come to a close, but I welcome 2014 and all it has to offer with open arms.

This may just be my favorite picture of her ever!

This was her very first time meeting one of our Goddaughters at UK's cheer clinic. She was fascinated with everything going on that day.  It was also my first time taking a trip out of town with her solo.

 


Started eating something besides breastmilk at six months exactly!

Made lots of church trips with her mama.

 

I miss these fat little cheeks so much. I feel like she didn't hardly have them anytime. 

 
Caroline's baptism was one of my favorite memories from this past year. It was such a special service on Palm Sunday anyway and then to have my sister sing and assist with part of the baptism made it even more special 






A very fun Easter was had by all.

Took our first longer road trip to North Carolina to watch our middle Goddaughter graduate.



Caroline's first time burying her little toes in the sand in Orange Beach, Alabama. Part of our first official family vacation to Alabama and New Orleans!


She perfected mean muggin' all day long.

 
           Crawled some at 9 months.... And finally walked at 11 months, on Independence Day
 
Celebrated the big ONE with her Busy Bee Birthday party.


Roared her way through the streets for her first time trick-or-treating.

 
Spent a few days roaming the streets of Savannah; her first of many trips to come there.

 
Bombed many Christmas photo attempts.
 


Spent lots of fun times with her favorite cousins!




And showed us what the good life really is all about. We are so blessed to have the people in our life that we do. Both blood relation and God-given 'adopted family".  A very, very Happy New Year to everyone! Don't forget to eat your pork, greens and black eyed peas tomorrow!








Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anti-Resolutions


I don't know about y'all, but I always love the feeling of hope and renewal that comes with welcoming a new year. Since Christmas just breezed right on past, I'm focused more on New Years now and trying to hone in on where it is I want to concentrate my efforts and time in the coming year. 

2013 has been a very wonderful year and I will hate to see it come to a close, but I'm also very excited to welcome 2014. Am I the only one who feels like it should be like 2003 instead of 2014? The days drag on but the years fly by as my hubby says. I digress. 


Anyway, on to the point of this post, resolutions. A lot of us make them, and most of us break them. Having worked for so many years in the fitness industry, I am all too familiar with the gym bandwagoners who descend on the weight room January 1 only to disappear one by one until just the regulars are left by March.  


A sad but true reality is that most people don't see their resolutions through to completion, whatever they may be and I'm no different. Some years I make resolutions and some years I don't, but when I do, they're probably similar to anyone else's. 

January 1: I'm going to shop less and save more.
January 2: Ohhh, J Crew Factory is having a sale!

January 1: I'm going to eat less sweets.
January 4: Honey, I baked this chocolate chip pound cake :)

January 1: I'm going to be more patient and stop cussing.
January 1, 12:05: Shiiit, this computer is being so damn slow!!!!


You get the point. I start out with the best of intentions, but most of the time it just fizzles out. I think it's likely a lack of accountability. I tend to do better with Lent commitments of giving things up. I feel accountable to God when it's for Lent. hah. So, my plan for this New Years is to resolve not to make resolutions. I'm going to set concrete goals instead. Some of which I'll share here in order to give myself that accountability. I'd recommend that anyone looking to succeed with goals or resolutions or whatever you want to call them do the same. Instead of saying, "My resolution is to lose weight," try saying "My goal is to run a 5K that's in my town on March 1," or "I will pay off X amount of $ from my student loans by June 1 by paying $X per month more." Give yourself a concrete, measurable goal instead of an ambiguous resolution and you're setting yourself up to see a successful 2014. I like to check back in monthly as well. I'm a journal keeper when I can find the time and at the start of each year, I start a new journal with page one being my list of goals. Having them in writing allows me to reassess along my journey as well. 


2013 started with 15 goals and I accomplished 10 of them. Not bad, but I want to do even better in the coming year. Anything that I don't complete on the list carries over to the New Year if it still applies. One of the goals I didn't accomplish from this past year was taking my cheerleaders to Nationals but I can't carry that one over since I'm not coaching anymore for the time being. 'Run a 5K' has been on my goal list for at least the last 4 years and this year, I finally stopped making excuses and just did it, so that satisfaction of marking that one off was immense. 2014's list will include running a 10K, possibly a half marathon but I haven't completely wrapped my mind around that one yet. 

I'm still compiling my Goal List, but when I get it all ready, I'll share it here and plan to check in every month or so, especially since I have some specific health and fitness goals that I think could be helpful to others by sharing. Here's to a fabulous 2014!







Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas

Apologies in advance for a super long post, but I've not done much posting during the holidays and want to make sure and document it all.

This Christmas season has definitely been a magical one. I feel like I blinked and it was over and now here we are getting ready to start what will hopefully be another blessed year in just a week. Much like everyone else, the holiday season had us hopping from one party and event to another, which is part of the reason it goes so quickly, the business. I’m not really one who likes to be busy and have tons of commitments on our calendar.







We spent the weekend right after Thanksgiving with some very dear friends in the mountains of North Carolina, but before we headed out of town, I got our Christmas tree put up and decorated. I literally count down the days until I can put my tree up as soon as Halloween is over. I love Thanksgiving, so I don’t want to rush it by getting things all Christmas-y before it’s passed, but you better believe that as soon as we finished that turkey, I was hauling the tree up from the basement. I feel like that was just last weekend, but I‘ll be spending this weekend taking it back down.





Once we got home from NC, it was on to some Christmas festivities, including Juston’s work party and his family party down in Harlan. While Caroline has gotten markedly better when it comes to riding in the car, she was not happy about the ride to Harlan at all. Constant whining and crying. I think it’s her K9 teeth working their way through; she’s just having a tough time with them. I feel like she has been teething non-stop since age six months. 


On the way home from that trip, we stopped in Lexington to meet my parents who had my sister’s kids at the Southern Lights. Definitely a fun tradition that we have done for the last few years, but we’ve never waited until so close to Christmas to go and it was a nightmare just getting to the entrance. We traveled about ½  mile in just over an hour to get in. I will absolutely be going earlier next year. Since the lights don’t open until it gets dark and we waited so long in traffic, it was dangerously close to Caroline’s bedtime by the time we even got into the Horse Park. She didn’t really seem all that interested in the lights, but once we got out of the car and she was able to get down and explore the petting zoo (cringe), gift shop, reindeer tent and some other cool things, she woke right up. We wrapped that evening up around 9:30 and still had an hour’s drive home. It made for a long day in the car, but I was glad we stopped in the end. Memories made.







Next came Christmas cookies for Santa at Mamaw and Papa’s house with the cousins. I love that Caroline and my sister’s kids are so close. I hope they’ll always be more like siblings than cousins. They had a great time getting messy and throwing flour, but again, another activity that she’ll probably enjoy more next year. She pressed a couple of cookie cutters in the dough and that was that.


She was a big help in my bread baking. She loved stirring with her 'patla'.

 
On Christmas Eve, we were back at my parent’s house to open our traditional matching Christmas pajamas. I don’t really remember when this tradition started, but I know that as long as I can remember, my sister and I were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas. I was probably twelve years old before I figured out that it was always going to be pajamas. Not to swift on the uptake I guess haha. Juston and I took Caroline back home to do her bedtime routine and I headed back down to my parents to pick them up for our Christmas Eve service at church which starts at 11. It didn't used to seem so late!





On Christmas morning, we opened presents at Mamaw and Papa’s with my sister and her kids, had a wonderful Christmas breakfast that mom makes every year, and then headed back home to open our presents for Caroline and see what Santa brought her. She was relatively well behaved this year, so Santa brought her some goodies. We started last year with the plan to give Caroline three gifts to represent the gifts the Wise Men brought baby Jesus. It keeps us in check too from over-spending on a bunch of things she won’t have much interest in anyway. Her favorite was a puppy dog sleeping bag. I never would have thought she’d have been so enamored with it but it was hands down her favorite of the day. I make Christmas dinner for everyone at our house so I was a busy bee cooking and baking the afternoon away before everyone came out to our house to wrap up the day of celebration. I kept my menu simple and it was probably my favorite yet. I did a fresh cut fruit tray, roasted red pepper dip and mixed nuts for snacking until everything else was ready. I did the sides; mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and Juston deep fried the turkey. And then there was my Caramel Layer Cake from Southern Living…I’m pretty sure I ate like half of it in the last two days. Not sorry. I regret nothing.



She has been loving this toothbrush! Carries it everywhere and never stops gnawing on it. It must feel good on those sore gums.




Overall, while presents under the tree are an amazing blessing to have, it’s the family stuff that makes Christmas for me. It’s easy to get lost in the ‘busy’ of Christmas, but the fact that we were able to spend so much time with the family over the Holiday and enjoy every bit of it is what I am most appreciative for above everything else. God has blessed my family immensely and my heart is so full J Hope y’all had a magical Christmas with the people you love most.  I'll leave you with a little Flashback Friday, Christmas Caroline style...






Lord, I sure do miss that chub and love this baby! What a difference a year makes.