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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Year In Review

Another year has come and gone and though 2015 had its highs and lows, we consider ourselves immensely blessed that the highs far outweighed the lows. Thanks for continuing to share in our challenges and triumphs via this blog... it's always such an encouragement to me to know that regardless of where God directs our path, we're never going through our journey alone. 

I've picked one picture from each month to share:

Lots of lounging around during a cold and rainy month

We joined the zoo!

The twins' first trip to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Colby and Clara turned 2 on Easter Sunday!

Memorial Day in the backyard

Pool party with our small group

4th of July in Dallas

Trip to Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, with the Olivers

Taylor Swift concert with Allison

Halloween with the Super Twins

School pictures were a huge success ;)

Christmas in Dallas

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What do I want? (Week 28)

My answer will surprise no one that has talked to me in the past several weeks: I want to be finished with potty training. I don't know why I have allowed it to cause me such anxiety... actually, yes I do, because I don't want poop and pee all over our house or the children's clothes or myself and I really appreciate the convenience of diapers.

Anyway, the plan is to embark on Operation: Potty Train the Twins on New Year's Day. Start the year off with a bang, right? I mean, if we can accomplish that in the first 3 days (yes, I know it will actually take longer than 3 days), then just think of what all we can accomplish throughout the remainder of the year! Heck, we might even be able to complete the crib-to-bed transition at some point (another task I'm dreading).

So yeah, that's all I really want right now. I guess if I'm being greedy, I would also like to extend my current 11-day vacation from work for another couple of weeks or so... but once you factor in the potty training thing, I probably won't be all that bummed about going back to work next Monday and handing the hopefully-mostly-potty-trained twinkies off to their loving daycare teachers to handle :)

Supplies have been procured:
- pull-ups
- Clorox wipes
- carpet cleaner
- fiber-filled snacks
- juice
- reward candy
(little potties and removable "comfort" potty seat were purchased and introduced many moons ago)

Now if I could just find a restaurant that's willing to deliver margaritas, we should be all set! Wish us luck and stay tuned for a progress report (or don't, because I realize reading about other people's children's bathroom habits is not at the top of everyone's hobby list).

(Pic taken in July, FYI)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

As is the case every year, we looked forward to Christmas with great anticipation and before we knew it, the day had come and gone. We made the haul up to Dallas to spend a few days with my family and then came back to town for a brief belated celebration with Brian's family. Now all 4 of us are taking this week off (minus 1 day of work for Brian) to rest, recover, prepare for a new year, and get a one week break from paying for daycare :)

Of course I have plenty of pictures to share, but I'll spare you too many surrounding details and recap everyone's favorite parts about Christmas 2015:

Colby's favorites were playing at the park, hanging out with Davis, not napping, and checking out all of his new toys/some of his new clothes from Santa and the extended family...

Clara's favorites were running around with Avery, pretending not to enjoy all the attention from family, the live nativity (aka: petting zoo) at church, and the new underwear Santa brought her...

She was so excited that she immediately put on two pairs... on top of her diaper.

The twins' mutual favorites were, of course, preparing for Santa's arrival and opening presents from everyone. (Lest you think we haven't impressed upon the twins the real "reason for the season," you should know that after Pop Pop finished reading the grandkids The Night Before Christmas, Colby exclaimed, "I want Jesus!" There will apparently be no commercializing Christmas on his watch.)

Mommy's and Daddy's (ok, mostly Mommy's and by default, Daddy's) favorites were spending time with family, watching the twins play with their cousins, and once again having the opportunity to experience Christmas through the eyes of children. OK, and eating. Lots of lots and eating.

Hope your Christmases were equally merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How I envision my life to be (Week 27)

Try not to be blown away by how much of a visionary I am, but if I had to pick one word to respond to this topic, it would be "ordinary." I don't dream about the future often, because let's be honest, I'm more of a practical "here and now" kind of girl. But when I do allow my mind to wander beyond what we're going to eat for dinner next week, the life I picture doesn't look much different than it does now (except we're all older and hopefully watching fewer PBS Kids shows).

I don't dream of being exorbitantly wealthy (though I guess I'd be ok with it ;) or famous. I don't imagine traveling the world or even having some hot shot career. I hope we have the means to go on some memorable vacations and ideally I'd like us to be surrounded by our extended families as much as possible. I hope that we all stay involved in extracurricular activities but not so busy that we don't spend any quality time together. I hope we're generous with our time and with our resources. I hope we still have many of the same friends we do now and that we've been able to watch our families grow up together.

Basically, I hope our life is simple in the most wonderful way possible. And because nothing captures simplicity more than country music, I've included two cheesy country videos that put my thoughts into song:

"This Everyday Love" - Rascal Flatts
Nothing about it too peculiar
Oh, but I can't get enough
Of this everyday love

"Just Another Day in Paradise" - Phil Vassar
It's two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn't trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

And just for funsies, I more literally envisioned what my life would be like by using the AgingBooth app to see what the 4 of us will look like when we're old:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry, bright, and all that other stuff

We have been on Christmas overload and although I know you would love to see and read more about my shingles, I'm going to spare you and instead recap some (ok, all) of the seasonal fun* we've been having around here.

(*However, for the sake of actual transparency, allow me to share this disclaimer: the last couple of weeks have left me very overwhelmed and feeling less than festive at many points. The low point was on Saturday night when I told Brian to pause the Christmas movie we were watching "because I need[ed] to cry for a minute." I do want to preserve the memories of the fun times we've been having, but I also want to make sure I'm not glossing over the frustrating parts and pretending our life is effortlessly full of joy... so there you go!)

Let's go chronologically (because I'm type A like that):

Christmas caroling program at daycare
Highlights: The twins spent the entirety of their class's song turned around facing the wall and Colby refused to wear the Christmas tree.

Christmas day date
Highlights: No children, no work. Enough said :)

6th annual cookie exchange
Highlights: It was at my house this year, so of course I behaved like this beforehand. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all and many, many calories were consumed.

Katie, Kristen, me

ONE of the tables of cookies... can you taste the adult-onset diabetes?

Family Christmas party at my grandparents' nursing home
Highlights: Chaos (in keeping with the theme of the season), food, and the twins keeping a safe distance from Santa, lest he abduct them forever. We didn't get to visit much with my grandparents (lots of noise and two squirmy toddlers), but we're still glad we were able to make it!

Highlights: This is the "something they want" portion of the twins' gifts from Santa, so we ventured out to the mall on Saturday morning to get them. Again, chaos! But they had fun picking out their bears (plain bear with a Boba Fett costume for Colby and an Elsa bear with winter attire for Clara), and have been carrying them around with them ever since!

 Standard expressions these days

Double date with the Olivers
Highlights: Fajitas, margaritas, and a seriously stupid but also seriously amusing movie... all without our 4 littlest sidekicks in tow! No picture, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Small group white elephant gift exchange
Highlights: Someone gifting Christmas beer and then said beer being consumed... in the church... at 11 am... on a Sunday morning. We ended up with batteries (useful), Star Wars legos (fun), and chocolate truffles (tasty), so we definitely came out ahead.

Miscellaneous festiveness
Highlights: (1) Pedicure for Clara (which later resulted in a bottle of green nail polish being spilled on the tile/carpet), (2) telling the twins they have to hold hands when they look for their elf-on-the-shelf every morning, (3) holiday-themed pancake shapes

Phew. Makes you tired just reading about it, am I right?!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Something I could never get tired of doing (Week 26)

I think I'm too literal to handle a prompt like this, because there really isn't anything that I could never get tired of doing. It's kind of like when my family moved into a house with a swimming pool when I was a kid and I swore I would NEVER get tired of having one. We used it almost daily that first summer, but by a couple of summers later, it was rare if it got put to use at all. Case in point: even the best things eventually get old.

So I'm instead going to go with the most honest (and boring) answer possible: drinking water.

Yep, I went there. I am not kidding when I say that water is my favorite beverage and that I crave it all day, every day. I pretend I'm still a camp counselor and carry one of these bad boys with me wherever I go, including to meetings at work, which I'm sure makes me seem very mature and professional:

I usually fill this up about 4 times a day, which means I drink approximately 120+ ounces of H2O per day. (To answer your question: yes, I do frequent the little girls' room as a result of this habit).

Back in my younger days, I was addicted to Coca Cola (I would have said "coke," but I didn't think that would be smart to pair with the word "addict"). For a reason I can't remember, I decided to stop drinking them in 9th grade and started replacing them with water. I never did go back to drinking soft drinks (except the occasional Sprite), so this really is about the only thing I drink. Once again, I know how riveting it is to read about my life- you're welcome.

I'm really not sure how to expound upon this topic any further... so I won't. So now you tell me: what is something you could never get tired of doing?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Our 12th Date-iversary

I cannot type this without feeling really old: TWELVE years ago today, Brian and I went on our first date. I recapped the evening (in its 12-hour entirety) back in 2009, so make sure to go read about it here.

I was reminiscing about the date recently and couldn't help but notice some of the parallels between that first date and how our marriage has panned out over the past 8 years:

1. It was expensive.
Brian very graciously bought us dinner, hot chocolate, and a visit to Santa's Wonderland. That makes for a pricey date for anyone, let alone a couple of jobless kids in college.

After owning two different homes and three different cars, enduring several years of fertility treatments, traveling, birthing/raising two toddlers, and living life in general, it's safe to say that date was a small glimpse of what expenses were to come. I'd like to think that Brian would say that the first date was worth every penny, as the rest of it has been, too :)

2. We laughed a lot.
We couldn't help but laugh at the fact that it took us 4 different attempts at restaurants before we found one without a 1+hour wait. And you better believe I was laughing when Brian suggested the guy looking for a seat at the coffee shop we visited was "checking me out" and jokingly threatened to stab him in the neck with his keys. I don't have a clue what we chatted about in his car until 6 am the next morning, but I'm sure we were laughing if for no other reason than that we were delirious.

If there's anything we've done consistently well throughout our marriage, it has been that we've always found a reason to laugh. When we've been fighting or just struggling to find common ground, one or the other has channeled an imaginary friend, turned on a ridiculous song, or found some other way to lighten the mood. This has proven effective so far and as a bonus, it's much cheaper than therapy!

3. It was tiring.
I always refer to our first date as a marathon because as I mentioned above, it lasted for 12 hours. This is impressive for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is my total inability (and lack of desire) to stay up late. I'm glad we stuck with it, though, because chatting into the wee hours of the morning and almost-holding-hands was a highlight of the date I don't want to forget.

Any of you that are married can attest to the fact that marriage is a marathon rather than a sprint. Sharing life with someone has been exhausting in the best way possible (especially in the first 2 months of the twins' lives...), and I'm thankful that by God's grace, we've endured.

4. We were afraid.
Yes, there were the normal first date fears - Will I say something stupid? Will he/she like me? Will anything come of this? But there was also literal fear when we made a detour and stopped at an abandoned house to creep around in the attic (interesting activity choice, Brian!). And of course the fear that my sorority house "mom" would catch us watching "Serendipity" in the TV room past curfew and get mad at me.

I don't think "fear" is an emotion I ever would have associated with marriage when I was younger, but it has certainly shown its face a few times since we were married. Fear that I wouldn't find a job. Fear that Brian wouldn't find a job. Fear that we'd never have children. Fear that we'd never survive having children. Fear that we'd never sell our house. I'm thankful that through the little fears and the big ones, we've been able to face them together.

5. It was special.
Though I can't tell you that either of us knew on that first date that the other was "the one," I can tell you that we both knew we were embarking on something special. I knew when Brian showed up to pick me up holding a poster with 10 reasons he liked me that it wasn't going to be a typical first date. And likewise, our marriage hasn't been 100% what either of us expected either. But I can safely say that both exceeded my expectations, and I have no doubt that that will continue to be the case as we keep doing life together.

So with that, happy 12-year date-iversary, Brian. Thank you for taking a chance and asking me out all those years ago and for still choosing to love me today. I love you!

(And thank you to everyone else for enduring the cheesiness of this post!)

A picture from our dating days

A picture from 2 weeks ago