Saturday, December 31, 2016

American Girl

We held off as long as we could, because I knew we’d ALL (mom and I included), fall hard for American Girl once we got there. IMG_3362

We decided this was the year that the girls were old enough to take care of a real AG doll and the “investment” was worth it. ;)

AB and Mamie were so excited to cash in on their Christmas gift from Grammy & Pop.

We tried to get reservations at the Bistro for the full experience, but they were booked solid until mid-January, so Grammy promised the girls a trip back for Spring Break!

We left Tucker with Daddy and headed for Orlando early. We knew the store would be busy, so we wanted to get there as soon as they opened.

The sales clerk was so sweet to give us a tour and a little history about the dolls.

After shopping and looking at every.single.thing., AB decided on one of the Truly Me Dolls, that looks like her. She named her Shelby.

Mamie chose one of the new Wellie Wishers, Willa, and she actually looks like her, too!

Super sweet. IMG_3380

It was a fun morning full of girl stuff. IMG_3399

Since we couldn’t get in at the AG Bistro, we chose the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Yum. It’s hard to be that close to one and not go. ha. IMG_3426

After lunch, we hit @Home for Grammy & I to do a little shopping.

Of course Shelby and Willa came, too. IMG_3412

Such a sweet day and hopefully a wonderful memory for the girls. I know it will be for me and their Grammy. IMG_3407


Friday, December 30, 2016

The Easy-Bake Oven…

It was such a full circle moment when AB put an Easy Bake oven on her Christmas wish list this year.
I was so excited that she wanted one! DSC_7264
An Easy-Bake oven was the one thing I always wanted for Christmas when I was a little girl and never got. Momma would always say, “you’re big enough to cook in a REAL oven, why would you need that?” Practical Pam, I guess. Ha. Ha. (In her defense, now that I’ve eaten from the Easy Bake oven, I will agree, why would we need that?!?!?) Ha.
When DW & I were still just friends, we were talking about being kids at Christmas and our favorite gifts when we were kids, etc. and apparently I had told him about how I’d always wanted an Easy Bake oven and that was the only thing I could remember ever really wanting and not getting. easy-bake_oven_1206
Fast forward a couple months, when we were now dating and it was Christmas Eve. We’d planned to meet for lunch that day to exchange gifts. While we had been talking for months, we’d not been dating that long, and certainly weren’t serious enough to see each other on Christmas Day or spend the day with the others’ families.
DW picked me up from the bank and then we drove back to Williston for lunch. Ivy House was packed, so we had Green Shutters instead. I only had an hour lunch break, but I’m sure the branch crew told me I could have a little longer, but I still had to get back to work. So, as soon as we got back to the bank, we opened our gifts in his truck.
I was so nervous the week before, about picking something out for him while Christmas shopping. This was the first gift I was buying for him. We had been on several dates, and had been talking as friends for months before that, but I wasn’t exactly sure what we were. I wanted to make sure my gift didn’t give the wrong impression or send some signal I didn’t intend for it, too. I didn’t want to look like I wasn’t serious about him and wanted to just be friends… but I also didn’t want it to look like I thought we were more than we were either. 
I put a lot of thought into it, and settled on an orange and blue hammock from one of those vendors in the center of the mall. I’m dying laughing at myself right now and wondering what the heck I was thinking, except for the fact that it was down to the last minute and I had to pick something. The tent was like $60.00, so I felt like that was a decent price point, and for bonus points, it was orange and blue.  It was one of those single person hammocks that you could hang inside or out and looked like it was made from string. Looking back, what an awful gift.  A year and a half later, right before our wedding, when I was purging his closet to make room for my stuff, I tossed the never-been-used tent in the yard sale pile. Ha! This is the closest picture on the internet that I could find to what it was…thJ1879CY9
He was super sweet when he opened it and acted so excited about it. I really thought for a minute I’d nailed it and done good. Why? I have no idea.
Then I opened his beautifully wrapped (thanks to his wicked step-momma) box.
I knew the minute I opened that first present he’d ever gotten me that I was going to marry DW.
Underneath that pretty paper and tulle ribbon was an Easy Bake oven box. What came next sealed the deal when he told me he “wanted me to have everything I ever wanted and all my dreams to come true.” Yep, in that moment I knew I was marrying him and also that I’d never ever top him in the gift department. (That’s still true. DW is the best gift giver hands down. I don’t know how he does it, but he can hear me say one time 6 months ago that I like something and somehow remembers it when an occasion comes around.)
Later that afternoon, I hauled that Easy Bake oven in my house singing “Today I met the boy I’m gonna Marry” to my mom and dad! Gosh that’s such a sweet memory for me now.
That was also the day I knew DW and I were seriously dating. We hadn’t had a discussion defining what we were or where we were headed, and while he was the only person I was interested in dating or talking to, and I assumed I was for him, it hadn’t been nailed down, yet. To 18 year old me, that was important, but definitely not important enough to bring up just yet. ;) 
I’m pretty sure the fact that DW had just gifted me with the “one thing” I always wanted and never got should have solidified his feelings for me and intentions for us. I still wasn’t sure though, until later that afternoon when he was telling me about how he didn’t tell the checkout lady at Target that he was buying an Easy Bake oven for his GIRLFRIEND, he lied and told her it was for his little sister, when she asked. Ha.
And that is the story about the day I knew DW was IT for me, and coincidentally,  the day I got TOLD I was his girlfriend. ;)
The easy bake oven still sits, unopened in the top of my closet, and I see it every single day.

December Random…

- Tucker loves his Christmas tree in his bed room. This year he was really into playing with the CAT train that goes around the bottom of it. IMG_1788

- I worked the Santa shop on a couple days for PTO at the girls’ school. It’s always precious and as busy as this season is, I am always so glad I took the time to help out there. This year the school had our local firefighters come in and help the kids shop, too. It was adorable and the kids loved it. IMG_2362

- The children’s choir sang a song with the adult choir during their cantata, and Tucker loved seeing his sisters in front singing. IMG_1768He also clapped and yelled, “Yay! GRAILS! (how he says “girls”) when the song was over. It was slightly embarrassing, but super cute. IMG_1773

DSC_7171- Another December Sunday morning…DSC_7237

- When my Granny died and my mom and aunts went through her things, they gave me these ornaments that were in her Christmas bins. IMG_1653They always make me smile when I pull them out of my Christmas stuff. I made the paper plate- glitter angel when I was in Kindergarten, and Granny always hung it on her tree (even if it was on the back) ;) The green wreath is one Beau made in Elementary school for Granny, too. The world would be such a better place if everyone had somebody to love them the way my Papa & Granny loved us. The icicle was one of my favorites when I was little. She had a lot of them back then, but there were only a few left in her bins. I would pick my teeth with the pointy ends when I was little, which is probably why she didn’t have many left. A couple years ago, I found some like them at Hobby Lobby and we have a set we hang on the girls’ tree in their room now. They always bring back memories of helping Granny get her tree up as soon after Thanksgiving as she could do it!

- We had our 4H Christmas party and this year had everyone bring a cookie or treat to swap and everyone went home with a sack of treats. We made peanut reindeer to take the nursing home for our service project for this month. IMG_2073

- My favorite Christmas candle that my BFF introduced me to last year. IMG_3805 I burn one everyday when I’m home.

- We made icicles! IMG_3922The kids love when it gets below freezing and daddy sets up the sprinkler! IMG_3944


- We hit the after Christmas sales hard for more lights for our yard. We’re getting kind of Clark Griswald around here and getting a little obsessed with lighting up the house. We couldn’t tell Tucker no when he saw this giant Christmas Mickey Mouse on clearance. IMG_3621This is one of those things I’m eating my words on. I’ve never been a fan of a yard blow-up. Now we not only have a yard blow-up, but it’s a CHARACTER. I don’t even know myself. With a week left in December, we came home and blew that thing up to see what it looks like! Ha. We’ll move Mickey over by the playhouse next year for the kids. IMG_3624

- We also found these giant Christmas bulbs to hang from a tree in our yard. I think they’re border line tacky, but still really cute. I think they’ll be cute on the kids’ playhouse, over by giant Santa Mickey next year. IMG_3308

- DW has gotten some home projects done around the house this week since he’s been off for Christmas. The most exciting one (for Tucker, anyway), has been Tuck’s new sandbox. IMG_3579Santa brought him an excavator, so Daddy built him a sandbox to go with it and brought in a load of sand. IMG_3458Tuck loved supervising and then assisting. IMG_3469

- The girls are obsessed with music and singing. We’re always getting “tickets” to their concerts and dance parties. IMG_3341

- We have loved having Daddy home this week. IMG_3551Several times this week, we’ve took off for Gator rides around the farm. IMG_3493IMG_3526One day it was too cold for the Gator, so we took DW’s truck. Tucker brought his toy shotgun he got for Christmas and pretended to shoot hogs the whole time. IMG_3975What is it about little boys acting like little men that is so stinking adorable? IMG_3538

- Speaking of which…

- Tuck started shaving. I can’t even take him with his Spider-Man shaving cream and razor. It’s TOO.MUCH.IMG_3812


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Eve getting ready for the big day. We went to our church’s candlelight service and then all came back to the house for steaks on the set of DW’s grandparents dishes that we have. IMG_3065

After dinner we got the kids ready for bed and set out the cookies & Coke for Santa.IMG_3069 IMG_3080

Elf-Elf had left the kids the coolest letter to Santa kit. The kids wrote Santa a letter with their wish list, and then once they’d out it in the special envelope, they were supposed to put it in the freezer. When they got it out of the freezer, they got a letter back from Santa! It was super cute. IMG_3081The kids were totally hyped up and super excited. IMG_3076

After the littles were off to dreamland, me and my Mr. got everything put together and ready for the morning! I LOVE Christmas Eve and the prep of everything. We always put on Four Christmases and eat Christmas cookies while we’re working on everything.

Christmas morning is the sweetest. I could cry when I think about how we won’t have many of them left where the kids are so excited for Santa and the fun that comes with that.

Mamie was as excited for AB as AB was that she got the fish tank she had been hoping for! IMG_3107

The kids opened their gifts and wanted to open every single box and toy and start playing right then! There were lots of gasps and squeals and so much excitement! DSC_7252DSC_7260DSC_7277DSC_7262DSC_7269DSC_7305


We had a fun early morning at home, then went down to Pappy & Nie-Nie’s for our traditional pancakes in our PJ’s. IMG_3112

We opened our gifts in the sunroom around the Christmas tree. IMG_3118IMG_3129IMG_3138IMG_3150IMG_3154Everyone always sits in the same spots, and I don’t think its ever been formally decided on, but we all have our corner/section of the sunroom that we always sit. I love predictability and tradition. The kids got lots of fun things from their grandparents and aunts and uncles. Serious spoiling always occurs on Christmas.

We came home and got dressed for church.IMG_3174 We’d debated not going, but it just didn’t feel right for us – plus when I thought about how old the kids will be the next time Christmas falls on a Sunday, we just wanted to be there to worship on Christmas Day. EFZN6524LCYX8247

Tucker and I spent most of the service in one of the Sunday School rooms having a snack and drawing tractors, but at least we could hear what was going on. Ha.

After church, we spent the afternoon at Grammy & Pop’s. Momma cooked a big Christmas lunch and it was delish. Aunt Pam, Uncle Jerry and Emily came over and ate with us. We were all serenaded by Mamie singing “Who let the Dogs Out” on her new microphone. Just your typical Christmas stuff. IMG_3253

The kids opened their presents from Grammy & Pop. IMG_3208Tucker was super excited about his horsey. He named him “Sparky” right off the bat. IMG_3216But the best excited Christmas-day face goes to AB when she and Mamie opened their big gift…IMG_3230 a trip to American Girl to pick out their first real AG doll!

We spent the evening at home snacking on cookies and playing with all the new toys. IMG_3267

DW & I didn’t even open our gifts to each other until 10:00 that night when the kids were in bed. That was something different, and might turn into a new tradition. IMG_3286

It was another sweet Christmas. It comes and goes so quickly.