Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just Slap a Monogram On It

It's been raining off and on and it's been cold. School is out. The hubby is home. There's been fires going in the fireplace. We are kicking back.

Bring on the comfy clothing! 

My sister is becoming quite the little crafty princess with sewing and then working one of those monogram machines. Can you tell I am not the crafty one?? I don't even know how to refer to this line of craftiness and these are my lazy days so no researching either.

And apparently right now (maybe this is just in the South), if you take a regular men's (aka oversized) sweatshirt and slap a monogram on it you are styling; maybe even cute. I just need a thicker pair of leggings and I'm ready to wear this in public!

So here I am attempting to style my monogrammed comfy-ness (that's a word, right?).

It's New Year's Eve. I should really be doing posts about outfits to celebrate in, but I can't bring myself to get out of these snuggly clothes! With no big plans to celebrate I've just no motivation. I hope I haven't let you down. What are your New Year's Eve plans?? Do share and...


Outfit Breakdown:

Sweatshirt: Sis
Leggings: WHBM
Boot Socks: Khols
Boots: Target
Scarf: Target

Monday, December 30, 2013

Final Christmas Trees 2013

The Final 10 Trees.

Truly there is no real planning out where I get these tree pictures, save for the ones at home. The rest of them come as I go along with daily life and each year many of them change up. That's where the fun comes in.  If I'm dropping something off at a friend's house - tree pic! If we are meeting friends or family at a restaurant - tree pic! Running errands and I see a tree - PIC!

My "photographers" range in ALL ages and so does the picture quality. I use them regardless. :)

Tree #16: A Surprise for a Friend

Brandi, Sandi & I...trees and birthdays

December babies need a little extra love and this special gal's hubby came through by surprising her with friends waiting at Provinos for dinner.  How entertaining to see her face when she walked in and saw us. Her exact words, "I'm so embarrassed!". And while we were there...why not take advantage of the tree in the lobby? Why am I the only one wearing a surprised expression??

Tree #: 17 Afternoon Coffee

I went over to visit Ms. Carol to scope out her closed in porch since we are attempting something similar. This gracious host shared tips and coffee, while the boys ran around in her expanse of a backyard. Thank Carol for extending friendship to me and the little guys. Let's do this again!

Tree #18: Puppy Sitting

This cute little puppy was a Christmas present for one happy boy and this pretty lady was allowing "puppy" to stay at her home to keep it a surprise.  That's a good friend! My boys wanted some puppy time so I happily obliged.  He was so cute and I couldn't help but laugh when he nipped at little feet clamoring around him.  One day I may just cave and get our boys a puppy. Maybe.

Tree #19: New Friends

Pam - thanks for being silly with me! :)

How often to you find friends to be silly with? Walk Like an Egyptian has nothing to do with Christmas but that's what came to mind to do. Adding more fun to the friendship...she has four girls while I have four boys.  There are some age differences but they get along great, which means the adults get to visit more. Looking forward to more silly moments Pam!

Tree #20: Classroom Parties

My middle child has always seemed like our little one. Without my approval he is growing up - 10 in just a couple of weeks.  Glad to have opportunities to visit his class while he still wants mom around.

Tree #21: Christmas at Mom's

Kirsten (SIL), Me, Lauren (SIS) & MOM
Big Bro and I - Silliness is in our blood

Bubble Guppies Microphone...I can't help myself!
Hey Kid! Give me back that microphone!!!
We get as many of the siblings and their families up and hang out at Mom's for the day. (We missed you Paul, Jess and Kesler!!) After a hot meal, kids and adults alike clamor around the living room to exchange gifts.  Like most children, I saw Lyla's Bubble Guppies Microphone and wished I had gotten that. Ok, not really but it was fun to play with.

Tree #22: Where It All Began

This is that group of ladies that unknowingly started this silly tradition. The woman in white. Yeah, she looks michevious doesn't she? It was her home that was decked out with trees, so I thought I should get a picture with her and her friends, who happened to be getting together for their traditional Christmas dinner. I love that these women make it a point to stay in touch. As for the large Christmas ball I'm holding?  The ball and I had a moment...

"Ouuu. Look at this pretty Christmas ball. Let me just grab it...

Woops, woah, hold on there!!! Ball. Slipping. From. Hands...

I catch it. "Oh, my goodness. That was close, right?" Insert nervous chuckle.

In walks Christmas ball owner just as I have it secured in my hand. "Oh, you like that one? Isn't it pretty? I got that one a trip to Germany. I love that ball!"

Laughter erupts at my expense as I try and play it off like I didn't just about sending it crashing to the floor.  Phew! This is also why the woman above me is making a halo above my head. She said that an angel must be watching over me. I think it looks like I am an angel. Just saying.

Tree #23: To the Market

Heather and I with our fresh loaves of bread - worth it!

Who is crazy enough to try and shop the World Farmer's Market in Dekalb just a couple days before Christmas? We were. Only we didn't bring our children. That would have definitely bordered insanity. Thankful for friends who share in my love of whole foods and crazy adventures!

Drinking coffee and holding up traffic - I had too!!

Tree #24: Afternoon Espresso

Look how cute she is!!

So Joanna received an espresso machine for her graduation gift. I took that to mean a cup or two for me!! I may have suggested this idea. Either way, I accepted the invite for a tree pic and espresso one afternoon. The boys played with Lady Mary. I had coffee. We talked about house projects and maybe even touched on blogging.  Joanna is one of my biggest blog encouragers so I think I should suggest another invite, don't you?

Tree #25: Merry Christmas!!!!

These are the ones who would cooperate for the last pic. 

As always the Christmas season slipped out of my fingers no matter how tightly I clung to the moments.  They are memories now. Memories that I will hold close as my boys continue to grow taller before my eyes. As for the trees? Well, there were many homes that I have yet to visit. You know who you are (see you next year)!!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are ready to enjoy the New Year's celebration.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Trees 3

As always the season flurries by. Only we don't have any snow. Rain. It washes by. Whatever.

#11: An Ornament Exachange Party

Our small group from church got together for dessert and an ornament exchange. A special perk -  Dressing in your pjs. My biggest regret? Not making all the ladies pose in front of the tree in their cute pajamas! What better way to bring people together than stealing each others ornaments? Enjoyed laughing with these special women...

Number 12: She Loved Paris

Next stop was at a Christmas party with our CBS (community Bible study) small group. Ms. Madalan, our leader and host, was absolutely precious. She invited my preschoolers and even had little gift bags for them. Her tree stood tall and proud in her homey sunroom so with opportunity looming, I pulled her aside for a quick picture. One of her favorite tree ornaments was a token to remember her trip to Paris, a city she fell in love with. Hearing the history of a family's treasured ornament is one of my favorite aspects of my silly tradition.

Tree 13: Dinner at Kurt's

Travel with me if you will to a family run German restaurant known as Kurt's to celebrate the graduation of my friend Joanna. Upon entry we were greeted by the wife of the owner and because of the forethought to have reservations made, we were immediately seated. Our lovely server was German as well so listening to her share the specials and answer our questions was entirely more fun because of her pleasing accent. We could have been dining in Germany. I did not take pictures of the delicious meals but I did snap some dessert shots. Go figure.

The Graduate with her Creme Brulee (I know - not German)
Lee Ann with her Apple-Something
Blueberry Cheesecake

Tree #14:  Piano Recitals

Back to church we go. Only this time it's to support Collin in his piano progress. He practiced a lot and it paid off. I'm very excited to have one of my boys choose music as one of their hobbies. Now I must admit that recitals can be painful to me.  My nerves! You would think that I was on the program, but I can't help feeling nervous for each child that walks up to the piano to play or plunk through their songs.

Tree #15: We Three Spies

This was just Collin's weekend I guess. He was one of many cast in our church's Christmas musical. All the kids did a fabulous job so I was proud and honored to photo bomb these two little actors. All the repetition of songs and rehearsed lines paid off!!

To be continued...


Friday, December 27, 2013

Backyard Messes & Gifts from "Santa"

That would be rain...

Doesn't look like I will be entertaining in my backyard for quite some time.  Do allow me to be Captain Obvious and state that my backyard looks like a construction site.  My husband and I thought it would be a great idea to start a building project in the second week of December. Seemed like a fab idea at the time, but we didn't factor in the equation of rain plus bobcat equals mud pit.  Before we could begin we had remove an oak tree. The roots were growing into our plumbing for our master bath and it was just too close to the house. Even still I was sad to see this grand oak tree go. Did I comprehend the amount of limbs and branches that would be strewn about our yard once the mighty oak had fallen? Not sure that I did.  Firewood anyone??? Glen is actually excited about all that firewood. "It's going to keep us warm through the Georgia winters for years!!" More on our backyard mess later...

Mess, mess, mess - and this is just a portion of limbs and branches!!
OK, let's just ignore the mess in the background and talk about Christmas Lists. Do you make one for yourself or do you feel presumptuous if you hand someone a long list of Christmas wishes? Do you feel those close to you should know you well enough to be able to choose the perfect gift for you? Or, are you the type that doesn't really know what you want? Is Your "love language" gifts and therefore giving and receiving them make you feel over the moon? Does your mind go blank when someone asks you what you want for Christmas? I fall under the latter few questions so allow me to share some of my silliness (aka, not important in the grand scheme of things).

This year when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I complied with a list. Seriously. Down to the color of accessories I was hoping for.  I don't believe that long lists mean that you are expecting to obtain each item, but rather providing variety for close ones to choose from.  It does not remove the element of surprise for me because I don't know which item I will get, if any. 

My sister figured that out years ago. We use to tease her about her long lists, but each Christmas I would see her open her cool gifts that ranged from the type of hair clips she needed, her favorite shampoo, cologne, style of earrings, etc. While I was grateful for the items I received, I couldn't help but feel she was on to something.  

Now I take her idea and start a list early in the year of items that I like, need or want. When Christmas rolls around I'm ready.  This list only goes to a few people who know me well and appreciate the "help". No need to worry about whether or not they think I'm being presumptuous (I don't publish it on FB or anything!).  And my list does not mean that I don't appreciate items not on the list. I love surprises! My mom surprised me with a Superman sweatshirt I had fun wearing. Definitely not on the list.  

I know a few great shoppers. My MIL gives the best kitchen tools and gadgets or clothing items for my SIL and I, and then grabs neat gifts for the guys as well. While she has asked for a list, most times she just wings it and gets the most creative and useful items.  Though I try pick up on her skills (and a few others I have seen in action), my indecision gets the best of me so I enjoy shopping for gifts more with a good idea of what that person wants. 

This Christmas an undeserving girl received quite a few items from her list. As fun as it is to receive I must keep all things in perspective!! I cannot put away my gifts without thinking of those whose list would consist of food and clean water or to be able to hold lost loved ones once more. Fashion tights or jewelry would not be on the radar.  That makes me feel ashamed. I pray I take this thought and not just remember, but give of my time, resources and prayers.  My greatest gifts are Jesus, life and each day I have with loved ones.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and get ready to enjoy a Happy New Year!


Outfit Breakdown:

Jacket: Banana Republic (gift)
Scarf: Wal-Mart (gift)
Red Bangles: Charming Charlie (gift)
Dress: Old Navy (hanging in closet for years now)
Boots: Wet Seal (last year)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Trees 2

Continuing with the tree saga...

This year has been the most difficult thus far to acquire those pictures by Christmas trees. The rain refuses to let up, discouraging one to leave the home and my schedule has been packed full. But I press on...

Tree #6: Our City Tree

My errand buddies.  Only a problem when they think they can tour all the offices at city hall. Embarrassing!

Yup.  We went on down into town to see about a permit to cut down a very large tree in our background.  More on that in a later post.  Turns out you don't need a permit for the first five trees you cut down in this here city.  But we grabbed the necessary brochures to look into a project that will most definitely require a permit. Like I said. More on that one later. :)

Tree #7: Memories, Loved Ones & Dance

I haven't had the opportunity to visit with this friend in about 3 years. Has it really been three years? But you know how it goes with friends...you catch back up and then it's like no time was lost.

Like most visits amongst friends the topics skipped from one thing to another, but one topic stuck with me.  Her zeal to experience life to the fullest.   I listened intently while she explained how the loss of  her dear sister to cancer and then her own bout with cancer changed her perspective on life.  She has little to no fear when it comes to trying new things.  Right now one of her adventures is baking bread and pastries to sell right in her kitchen, which she was doing during our visit.  When I asked her if one of her ornaments had special meaning there was no hesitation.  The ballerina slippers (I had forgotten she used to dance).  The ornament was a gift from her sister.  Thank you for sharing such a special part of you Stephanie!

Tree #8: Red & Gold

Hurray for college grads. No. I'm not referring to myself, but rather a friend who took her last exam this month. To commemorate this special day a few of us headed out to surprise her for lunch.  She would be an official graduate of UGA, which is why I dug around to find something in black and red. (This is all I had.)

Along the way we stopped to grab Lee Ann from the Meyer household, so why not get some quick tree pics in? Besides I was behind from a full weekend and I had yet to visit Ms. Lee Ann in her element. Win. Win.

Tree #9: Fire Place Mantles & Senior Pic Poses

Fireplace mantle tree features an amazing bow done by the Bowdabra.  I should get one of those! As far as the pose...I just don't know what goes through my head sometimes.

Tree #10: Revisited, Where did Medusa Angel Go??

The left side is the shot taken last year on my tour of Christmas trees. I was told that the rest of the family members did not love the angel with gold, snakelike tentacles coming from out of the angels back.  This year she does not grace the tree. What gives? I don't know but I know that the tree is casting an erie glow on my face. Can my eyes sink in anymore?? Thank you Donna for being such a good sport!

Another set of trees down. Only 15 more to go! So many trees. So little time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Sweater & Boot Cuts

A new sweater! I'm afraid these pictures don't do the sweater justice. A delicate silver threading is woven throughout this roomy, soft sweater enabling a dress up or casual look. My MIL picked out this sweater during our early-Christmas shopping day in Illinois (something I look forward to every year!). She has a great eye and fabulous taste. I am hoping it rubs off on me! 

The boot cut jeans have been around for awhile, but with all the ways to wear skinny jeans and the trends for boyfriend jeans, I have neglected them.  Poor thangs. And I must confess that partaking in the delights of the season calls for flexibility in the middle, something my skinnies just don't offer. This pair of jeans features some give in the waist and complimented the neutral tones of the sweater. Decision made!

Layering with the polka dot shirt was an afterthought to mix patterns! This ensemble turned out to be a hubby favorite, which means I will be wearing it again. :)

Debbie, Mom Rowden & I sporting our new Sweaters
Hope you are enjoying the wonderful Christmas season.


P.S. Both the sweater and the shirt are on sale. Just click on the links to check them out for yourself. :)

Outfit Breakdown:
Sweater:  The Limited (early Christmas from MIL)
Polka Dot shirt:  LOFT (early Christmas from MIL)
Jeans: WHBM (old)
Boots: Wet Seal (last year)
Bracelets: (Target clearance)

Monday, December 9, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Trees: Week 1

It's silly, but does that really surprise you?

Three years ago this Christmas I found myself being swept to an in-home party for My Thirty-One. The hostess had a lovely home, but what I found to be so fascinating was her love for Christmas trees. There were at least 5 on the main floor! Feeling myself with this particular group, I asked for pictures by a few of these themed Christmas trees...the nautical tree, the wild safari tree, the blue tree in the master bedroom and of course the tree in the entryway!

As I climbed into the backseat of my ride, I told my traveling companions about my novel (HA) idea to obtain a tree pic for everyday til Christmas.  Thus began my journey to find Christmas trees. Friends responded in kind so it became a game of sorts. I would get pictures by trees in stores, coffee shops, Christmas parties and in the homes of family and friends.    Where would I end up next?

When 2012 rolled around I went for it again.  I simply begin at home and then see where the Christmas season takes me. Silly? I know. Just trying to savor a little bit of life here and there as it passes me by.

Christmas Tree #1 - There is No Place Like Home

They could hardly wait to begin and out of our four boys they worked the hardest and the longest.  Clinging desperately to this precious memory!

Tree #2: The Charlie Brown Tree

Collin displays dad's Charlie Brown ornament

Our older boys decorate a tree for their bedroom each year. It's the same tree that their dad used to decorate when he was a mere boy. Some of the ornaments are from his childhood and the others are made by them.  They love it, but only one of these precious boys would pose for mom's silly tree nonsense.

Tree #3: Bass Pro

Also in it's 3rd year of being a tradition...Heading out with friends to get pictures with Santa Claus.  This night was bittersweet as we had to say goodbye to one couple because they are moving away.

Bass Pro Santa is always a favorite. Even the older boys enjoy playing with all the toys they have set up.

Tree #4: Chic-fil-a

Jovonia plays along. I just love her smile!

Fine dining at it's best...to the young ones anyway. I think it would be funny to nab some random employee for the picture, but I actually know this one.  And don't mind my not-so-fabulous hair. It's been continually raining here in Georgia.

Tree #5 - Bright White

Pretty sure this is an empty box..
This tree stands garishly proud in the children's meeting room at church.  Running through to grab one our boys, another good sport snapped this picture. :)

There you have it. The first five days of silliness. Who knows what's next? Rainy days makes this all the more challenging, but I'm not giving up yet!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

They Invited Me Again?? A Quinceanera...

Another party with the wonderful Cuban family?? You would think that they would get tired of the strange girl that goes around snapping goofy pictures around their decor, would be banned. But thankfully, I have not. So I have a few pics to share with you.

This time it is a Quinceanera!! The young lady of the party is 15 and all are there to honor her next step towards womanhood.  The hall is fully decked out in an "Under the Sea" theme. Balloons are hung from the ceiling throughout the entire room. Each table's centerpiece has a live fish swimming in his temporary home. (Don't ask me what they did with them when the party was over. I'm sure that like in Finding Nemo they were placed in bags, equipped in water, and thrown over a pier somewhere to be permitted to embark on their next journey in life.) Um, our fish did pass on to the next life sometime during the party.

As I was saying, you could not miss the sea back drop at the front of the hall. It was lovely.

I might have eaten a few of the Swedish Fish - Granola Girl DOWN!!!

The honorable guest had not yet arrived, but some RUDE people, arrived just before the bday girl was to enter and were informed they needed to get in there before the lovely gabby could enter! Geez.  Ok. It was me (oh, and my mom!)

The music began. Bubbles filled the room and then the parents entered. Finally, the birthday girl, wearing her Cinderella dress came in and walked through a line up of gentleman who are special in her life such as, grandfathers, uncles, etc.  Each man gave her a rose. I must confess that my tears started the moment Gabby entered the room. I am such a sap!

Once to the front the traditional watlzes began.  An entertaining dance with her dad that must have required a good chunk of time to practice. A dance with her uncles, etc.  Her sister sang her a song, she shared a heart warming pre-recorded speech for her mom - MORE Tears! Goodness! It was very sweet.

Then it was picture time. Every guest had the opportunity to get their photo taken with tonight's princess.  By the time, it was my turn her cheeks were trembling and she had the "not another one" look on her face.  I just laughed as mom and I posed beside her. I'm not leaving without a picture of that lovely dress, which was soon exchanged for another later!

Her fabulous parents - how sweet!!

Not her Dad. Sorry Patrick. I only had one with this guy...
(Guille, my BIL)
Being serenaded...who doesn't love that???

My Mom and I with Gabby and her frozen smile - haha
I made my sister join me in the silly poses...

Love sparkly earrings...sadly I have lost one of these!!

And there you have it. A slide show. Food. Dancing. And Candy.  A wonderful time. Proud parents, a beautiful, young lady. A lovely evening.

Bye my dear blogging friends. You make this so fun!!

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