Saturday, December 24, 2011

Official 2011 Christmas Photos

Sorry for the radio silence recently, but we've been busy doing the Christmas thang.  I've been reading all my blogs, I just haven't been taking the time to comment.  Please forgive me.  As proof of my recent busy-ness, I offer the first of our Christmas photos, starting with our Santa pictures from Wednesday.  As before, Elora was all excited about seeing Santa until we put her on his lap, and Kaylie was never excited about it at all.

Did you notice that Kaylie is now wearing the special red Christmas dress that Elora wore last year?  Crazy.  

We had better luck doing some home-shot Christmas portraits, using a fuzzy blanket, a large piece of fabric, a few thumb tacks and some ingenuity.  After the Santa hats, we did some in their Christmas dresses.


 And we did some in their matching Christmas pajamas.


We've taken a bazillion pictures recently.  It's going to take a while to sift through them all.  I'll share them once I do.  In the meanwhile, merry Christmas everyone!  I hope that you're all enjoy a safe, blessed and happy holiday season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kaylie: 9 Months

My Kaylie girl is already 9 months old.  She just keep growing and growing.  The 9 month stuff barely fits her anymore, and I've got her wearing mostly size 12 months.  She's got 4 teeth now, though numbers 3 and 4 only cut through the gum yesterday.  She is into absolutely everything, and everything still goes in the mouth.  She loves bath time, because she LOVES to splash in the water.


Her hair is getting long, and it looks as if it is going to be straight rather than curly.  She's already down to one nap a day.  She's finally coming around to solid foods, though she's still mostly nursing.

She's pulling up on things, like the coffee table and the side of the crib.

She's still a very happy, easy going baby. We're not far from the toddler stage; she won't be a baby much longer.  Where has the time gone??

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Command Christmas Party

The brilliant mind behind this year's Christmas party combined the children's and adults' party into a series of events over a single day, with great success.  She managed to secure a hotel ballroom with a buffet dinner for the grown-ups, pizza and child care for the kids, and a night's stay at the hotel in the Outer Banks for only $50 per family.  (It was $65 for E-7 and above, but still.)  An additional, adjacent room with a connecting door was only another $59, so we went for it (yes, that's party, dinner, babysitter, and 2 hotel rooms for $109)  so that Brandon and I could have a room to ourselves.

The day started with a meet and greet with Santa at a fire station near the hotel where we would all be partying and staying the night, followed by a tour of the fire house.  Elora covered her face as we were walking up to Santa, and hardly took her hands away they whole time she sat with him.  Kaylie was fine at first, but started screaming as soon as she realized I wasn't right next to her.  (I didn't get a picture of it, but I think someone else did...I'm looking forward to seeing those pictures!)

I wasn't surprised that Elora went all super shy with Santa, but I thought she would be more excited about seeing the fire truck.  I guess she was a bit overwhelmed by the all the people there, like she was on Halloween.  See the picture in the bottom left?  Brandon had to get down on her level because she wouldn't speak above a whisper.

This was Kaylie's favorite part: exploring the textures on the back of a uniform.

Back at the hotel, they'd arranged for one of the guys to dress up as Santa and give presents (provided by the parents) to each of the kids.  From the time that we left the fire station to the time that we went to see Santa again, she asked about Santa almost constantly.  

"Where is Santa?"

"Are we going to find Santa?"
"Is Santa lost?"

"I want to look for Santa!"

This is what happened when we got to Santa.

Elora covered her face again (the silly girl) and Kaylie started screaming immediately

In case you're wondering, Elora got a Sid the Science Kid microphone from "Santa".
The adults' party kicked off at 7.  Did I ever mention that the party was 80's themed?  Oh, well, it was. 

A lot of the people there went all out for the 80's theme.  There were several pairs of brightly colored leggings worn with leg warmers, mini skirts and boat neck, off-the-shoulder tops.  I normally love to get into costume, but in this case, I'd had my heart set on wearing this sexy little black dress that I found at a thrift store months ago.  (It represented my initial get-healthy goal: slim down and tone up by the night of the Christmas party, so I could rock that dress.) So I went with 80's inspired big earrings and bracelets as a nod to the theme, but wore my dress anyway.  Brandon wore his shirt un-tucked, popped his collar, and wore his sunglasses all night.

The party itself was great.    There were raffle drawings done all night (we won an 80's themed package with a rubix cube and an Atari shirt, among other things) 80's music blaring through the speakers, and a slide show of movie clips, commercials, and photos from the 80's.  The food was good, the company great.  We're such homebodies that we rarely interact with the other families, but it's silly because I really like them a lot. 

There was much silliness, as I'm sure you can imagine.  There was a cash bar, after all, and some of the guys brought stuff with them.

During the party the kids were looked after in a suite of rooms right down the hall from the ball room.  They got to eat pizza, watch movies, and for those old enough, do an art project or two.  Brandon checked on them regularly, but I made myself stay away.  I'd given my number to one of the sitters, and told her to call me if either of them needed anything.  So long as they were happy, I didn't want to risk making them unhappy by showing up and then leaving again.  I am still nursing, though, so I did go back once to feed Kaylie, but even then, I tried not to draw Elora's attention.  Both girls did just fine until we picked them up and headed back to our rooms at about 11.

Good times.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

My sister, Alanna, came up to visit over the long holiday weekend. It was the first time in a very long time that we'd gotten to just relax and enjoy one another's company.  She flew up on Wednesday. Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving.   I was running around like a mad woman flustered about trying to get the huge meal put together, so that part wasn't exactly relaxing.  Thankfully, I wasn't alone; Rebekah and her husband were also there with us.   Alanna played with the girls and Rebekah did the lion's share of the cooking.  She'd already prepared all of her side dishes the day before, so they only had to go in the oven; the only pre-cooking  I'd done was to make my pie (pumpkin) and my cornbread for the stuffing. We tag-teamed the turkey that morning, and once it was in the oven, we started in on the other stuff.  I kept needing to leave the kitchen to change diapers, feed babies and run to the store.  Twice.  And did I mention that I made yeast rolls from scratch??  That was certainly interesting.

Everything worked out well, though, and our Thanksgiving dinner was delicious.  We stuffed ourselves silly, watched a movie, and then topped off with pie.  In addition to the pumpkin that I'd made, Rebekah brought a chocolate bourbon pecan pie that was to die for.  I almost did, I ate so much. 

Friday Alanna and I braved the crowds and spent the day shopping. Saturday we went to Colonial Williamsburg and had dinner at one of their authentic colonial taverns. (We'd wanted to do the tours, but we got too late a start.)

On Sunday, Alanna taught me to make sushi.

And on Monday she had to go home.  I was sad to see her go, but so very, very happy that she got to come up and see me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Exercise, for the Ladies

This was taken to show how much water the girls had splashed on me from the bath tub, but when I looked at it later, I realized that it also shows how much progress I've made!
 I just completed Day 30, of my 30 Day Shred.  In 4 weeks, I've lost 10 lbs and 3.5" from my waist.  Jenny's lists always crack me up, so I decided to do one of my own in honor of my accomplishment.  I know, I know, you're probably sick of me talking about exercise and such, but it's been on my mind a lot lately, and even though I've been making a ton of stuff, I can't post any of it yet because it's all for Christmas. So, here are my Top 10 Reasons for Ladies to Exercise:  It....

10) Keeps you regular, if you know what I mean.

9) Improves cardiovascular health, but you knew that.

8) Improves grace and balance. (I've noticed a huge improvement in my balance over the last month!!)

7) Gets you back into those "skinny" clothes you almost gave away, but didn't, just in case.

6) Improves your mood, and even better, studies are showing that it can help combat depression, too!

5) Gives you something to be proud of, when you meet your personal goals.
4) Makes him do a double take.

2) Speeds your metabolism.

1) Makes sex better!   Core work strengthens your pelvic floor, which has all sorts of benefits in addition to better sex and orgasm.  There are too many to list here, so seriously, click that link.

It seems that I've already managed to inspire a few of my friends to start exercising and treating their bodies right, which is wonderful!  Thank you ladies, you know who you are, for letting me know.  It's made me feel even better about my decision to get healthy, and given me more encouragement to meet my own goals.  It's easier, when I feel like there's someone is doing this with me.

Monday, November 7, 2011


My husband has been so very supportive of my new be healthy project.  He's been on that path for quite some time now; he's lost 15 lbs and has improved all of his PRT stats.  That in and of itself is a great motivation, but added to that he's been very encouraging, and has given me a lot of helpful advice.  He's the one who brought home to me just how badly I've been treating my body, by letting me know that not only had he noticed, but that it worried him.  He's the one who told me to track not only my weight, but my waist and hip measurements as well, to help me get a clearer idea of my progress.  I text him everyday when I'm starting my workout, and he almost always texts me back with something funny and encouraging.  It's a small thing, but it really makes me feel good.

Elora is also a big help.  Most days, she does the beginning of my workout with me.  It is so stinking cute that I want to do it just to see her attempting jumping jacks.  And then there are the days that she sees me start in on the exercises with the girls in the video, and she says something like "Yay, Mama, you're doing it!"  or helps me count my reps.  She's my own personal cheerleader.

 And then there's Evie.  I've known her since forever; we grew up in the same church community and our mothers were involved in a lot of the same ministries.  She's a few years older than me, and smart and pretty and just one of the most genuinely good people I've ever met.  As a child, I always looked up to and admired her quite a lot.  Life carried us in different directions, and I lost track of her for a while, until I found her blog about year ago.  She posts mostly about her children, so I had no idea she was working to lose weight until I saw this post in August.  I was stunned and so impressed!  She lost 52 lbs, not by using some miracle diet pill, but though more than a year of hard work, and dedication to a permanent change in her diet.  Her goal is to be healthy, so she's made permanent life changes to make it happen, and she stuck with it. And darn it, if she can do it to lose more than 50 pounds, then I can do it to lose 10!

And finally, there's Pinterest.  It's like a Rolodex for all my favorite things on the internet, and it's my new addiction.  You'd think that something that tempts me to waste time on the computer would hinder me, but no.  I keep finding all these great motivational posters with quotes and pictures to keep me moving.  It sounds kind of silly when I write it out, but then, why would there be motivational posters if they weren't useful?  So I read through them periodically, and add to them when I find a new one that speaks to me. 

And right now, I'm needing all the motivation I can get.  I stalled out over the weekend... I missed my workout on Friday, because I was so preoccupied with cooking down and pureeing my pumpkin, and I missed Sunday because the girls and I have been sick and I just couldn't marshal the energy to make myself do it.  Even worse is that I've slid back into some of my bad snacking habits.

But today is a new day, and another opportunity to succeed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Personal Goals

Or, Growing Up and Buckling Down.

People tend to get mad at me when I start talking about needing to get in shape.  After all, even at my heaviest (135-140 lbs in 2009) I was still petite.  But the truth is, I am woefully out of shape.  Yes, I know, most people call me "skinny".  I'm a small person, and I'm supposed to be small.  I'm 5'3", I have a very small frame, and my ideal body weight is around 115 lbs. 

But I'm not just talking about weight.  I'm talking about being healthy.   I haven't gotten any regular exercise since high school, when I was on the dance team.  Back then I was very definitely in shape.  Now?  Not so much.  I eat way too many sweets and I've done no more than flirt with exercise for the past 4 or 5 years.  Taking a single flight of stairs quickly is enough to leave me out of breath, I'm always tired, and I'm squishy everywhere.
I'm closer to 30 than to 20, I have children for whom I need to set a good example, and it's past time for me to start exercising some will power.  So I've set some goals for myself.  

Goal # 1:  Eat smarter.  I've cut myself back to only a single serving of sweets per day (I stumbled over Halloween), and I've gone back to snacking on fruits and veggies.  I've also become aware of my portion sizes, and stopped eating after I'm full just because it's good.

Goal #2: Exercise daily, to improve my cardiovascular health and tone my body.  I started the 30 Day Shred  two weeks ago, and I've only missed one day.  It's only 20 minutes a day-- totally do-able! I've already seen a huge improvement in my endurance and flexibility, and now, instead of feeling like I'm about to die at the end of a work out, I feel alive and energized!  All totaled, I'm down to 118 lbs, and I've lost 1" each from my waist and my hips.  I'm feeling so much better!  I'm needing less sleep, I feel more confident, and--bonus!--my headaches are less severe. 

I am not focusing on losing weight or inches; I'm using those measurements to help quantify my progress.  Being trim will come naturally from meeting those 2 main goals.  I'd be lying, though, if I told you that I'm not excited about being able to wear my tight jeans comfortably, or about wearing my little black dress with confidence to the command Christmas party, or the appreciative "damn, baby!" that I got when my husband smacked my bottom the other day.  No, I'm focusing on being healthy--but all those other things are keeping me motivated.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

The girls were fairies for Halloween this year.  The original plan was for Elora to wear the official Dallas Cowboys cheerleader uniform that her Aunt Dawn got for her, but the outfit is still way too big for her.  It worked out well: I'd been wanting to make tutus for them anyway, and I had 2 pairs of wings that I could remake for them.

What the wings used to look like.

What they look like now.
 The tutus were easy-peasy, (I used ribbon instead of elastic) but those wings were a royal pain!!!  At first I though I could just throw some tulle on there and gather it at the inner sides, but that was simply not going to work.  Then I tried using pantyhose, but it squished the wings too much.  I was able to make it work on Kaylie's wings, but then I ruined it by trying to paint them and had to start over.

Finally, I wrapped the wire forms with long, narrow strips of tulle, then cut more tulle to fit the wings and stitched it on over the wrapped frames, and used puffy paint and glitter to decorate them.  They're tied on with another set of long ribbons of tulle.

"Really? You're going to make me wear these stupid wings? You do know I am going to try to eat them, right??"

Kaylie merely tolerated her costume, but  Elora had a blast getting all dressed up.  I painted her nails and did her make up, which she loved.  She was super excited about putting her tutu and wings on (I hadn't let her play with them so she wouldn't mess them up) and was very good about letting me do her hair.  When they were ready, we took them outside for pictures...

...and then took them to the mall for trick-or-treating.

Elora didn't seem to like the trick-or-treating.  I think she was overwhelmed by the crowd; there were a ton of people there. Once we got out of the crowd, she perked up again.  It also helped that "aunt" Bekah met us at the mall just as we were finishing up.

Then we had Abuelo's for dinner, just like we did last year, and Rebekah joined us there too.