My word

One Little Word for 2013

“A single word can be a catalyst for enriching your life…”

“It can be something tangible or intangible. It could be a thought or a feeling or an emotion. It can be singular or plural. The key is to find something that has personal meaning for you. This is not your mother’s word or your spouse’s word or your child’s word – this is YOUR word.”

~Ali Edwards

I had heard of this before, and never really understood what it meant.  I didn’t know what to do with it.

Last year I had a weird feeling when the New Year rang in.  I was sitting with my mom and Drew working on my planner for the coming year, watching the ball drop on TV.    The fireworks we could see out the window were meant to symbolize the celebration of the New Year and for many a fresh start.  So many of you were excited for this, and had your New Year’s Resolutions all ready to go.  For me I felt a sense of dread.  I didn’t know why, but I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to or should be feeling at that moment.

It took me a while to just simply digest this feeling.  I am usually very optimistic and excited for the coming adventures that a new year has to offer.  So after a lot of thought and prayer I realized that the constant changes in our family were really starting to get to me.  We had moved to a new place, Drew was traveling all the time and apparently I wasn’t adjusting as well as I thought I was.  I knew that our current situation wasn’t long-term, and that there was a very big possibility that we would be moving again within the year.

I felt like our life had become a giant roller coaster ride.  Not that the ups and downs necessarily meant good and bad, but more so represented the constant changes.  So that is where my word derived from… “Ride”

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I was going to choose to Ride this roller coaster of life.  Whatever life threw at us, I was choosing to handle it with grace. It was either that or go crazy and not be the wife, mother, daughter or friend that I want to be.  It didn’t come easy at times, but ultimately it was the right word for me this past year.

For the past few weeks, I have been listening… waiting for my word.  And it’s something that I’ve actually thought about off and on for the past few months.  Not that it was going to be my word, but how I want to live my life everyday.  It seems like I live a lot of days like I’m just trying to get through it.  Get all of the chores done, the children taken care of, spend time with my husband, etc.  I haven’t been enjoying the moments that ultimately are the most important.  I have a lot of things going on in this crazy brain of mine that I want to change and/or do this year.  So I have chosen to live this year with…

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My word!!

I will write more on what this is going to mean for me soon.  I am still trying to figure it out myself.

Do any of you choose a word for your year?  What is it?  Please Share.

XOXO,

TA

Holiday Recap…

Something fun to start with… We woke up to this on New Year’s Eve.  I love the milder fall and winter that NM has to offer, but it sure was nice to see this white stuff covering the ground.

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Anyways…

Now that the Holidays are over, and my decorations are all put away… I couldn’t get them down fast enough!  I have had the chance to reflect on it all.

The other day I read a Facebook post someone wrote about how you should never feel guilty because you can’t keep up with the so-called “Pinterest Mom”.  As I read it, I thought that was so true.  I’ve always believed that you should always be the authentic you.  Never feel like you’re not doing enough for your kids, as long as you are giving them all the love that you can.  Because that’s all they really need.

Then after my company left, I got a big wake up call… I realized that was me!!!  I am not trying to keep up with anyone else I know or have seen personally, I am trying to keep up with myself!  This voice and vision in my head of what I think I should be doing.  I love to craft, hand make gifts, bake and make candy.  It really makes me happy.  I feel like that when I give a home/handmade gift, it is more personal.

But then as I look back on the past 6 weeks or so, I have not sat down and enjoyed hardly a single moment of this Holiday season.  I have worked so hard on making gifts and planning and doing our family activities that I feel like I missed a lot of it.  While I was working hard to make everyone else’s Christmas special, I forgot about me.  I’m sure that sounds selfish, and I LOVE doing what I’ve done.  But I had this vision of sitting with the kids, watching Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa and knitting.  The one thing I wanted, I never did.

And then all of the company… from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Let me first say that we love our family and we are so blessed to have family that would want to spend their Holidays with us.  The kids love it!!  And we had a lot of fun during their visits.  (I’m sure my mom and sisters are laughing wondering what they’re going to read next!!)

But, aside from the normal busyness that accompanies the Holidays, it is Drew’s absolute most crazy time at work.  So in turn that is harder at home for me.  He gets busier at work, when I get busier at home trying to do all the normal things, plus get all the Christmas stuff done.  And then we add company to that and all that goes into getting ready for and planning for them, then entertaining while their here. Whew!  So, at the end of everyday we are just totally exhausted!! That then can be perceived by guests that they aren’t welcome, which is absolutely not the case.

So, while we love our families and appreciate the visits, we have decided that the Holidays are not the best time for us to have company…  From Thanksgiving-December 26th. After that we would love to have visitors, especially for Reese’s birthday.

And as much as I love making a memorable December for my kiddos with our Daily Activities, I think I’m going to have to make adjustments there too.  We may just do them on the weekends.  And maybe during the week, we can just really focus on having a good dinner together and reading Christmas books before bed.

As for all of the homemade gifts… we’ll see how I’m feeling next fall. 😉

I am a firm believer that when something isn’t working that you need to acknowledge it and make the adjustments that are necessary.  We started that a few years ago, and apparently we still are learning what works for our family.

I have big plans for my 2013, and I think I’ve finally decided on my “word” for the year.  I’ll write more on that next.

Here’s a pic of one project that is high on my list.  For me!! 🙂

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I hope you all have had a great start to your year!!

XOXO,

TA

Christmas Countdown: 20-24

Hello there!!  I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday… since Christmas and New Years have passed since my last post.  I did what I was trying so hard not to… So now it is Jan 3rd and I am catching up on my December Daily Activities.  But, because it’s so late… I’m not posting pics of each one.  Here’s this list and a few other pics.

December 20-24:

20th: Baylee and Garner worked on their letters to Santa in some cute books from Creative Memories.  Santa left them so they could keep them as a keepsake. Love them!!

21st:  We didn’t do anything this day at home.  Reese and I went to school and helped out with their Christmas parties all morning.

22nd: This is the night we went for a drive to look at Christmas Lights.  A tradition we always look forward to.

23rd:  Aunt Gigi and Gabby came!!

24th:  Marshmallow/Toothpick Art!  I found three different kinds of Christmas marshmallows, I poured them each in a bowl, poured a box of toothpicks in a bowl, and told them to create!  We’ve done it with regular marshmallows before, so they knew what to do.  Kept them busy for a long time!

And then it was finally Christmas Day!!!

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After Christmas my sister, Robin and my nephew, Gabe also came to visit.  Here’s a couple of pics with all the kiddos with them and Aunt Gigi!

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We celebrated Reese’s 3rd Birthday on the 28th.  Wow!!  I can’t believe that it’s been three years already!!

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And then everybody left… Drew included.  He went to Denver to watch the Broncos end the regular season with a victory.  He and his buddies had a ball and here’s pic with Champ Bailey.  So excited for them!!

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Our friend and the kids Godfather, went to Denver with Drew and stayed with us on New Years Eve.  The kids love him as much as Drew and I do!  He’s awesome with them!  I think they decided that he will now be called “Uncle Ryan”.  🙂

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And then I crashed!!!!  I have gotten a lot accomplished the last several days, but while really exhausted!

I will recap our month next…

XOXO,

TA

Christmas Countdown- Day 17,18 & 19

Due to a couple of children who are acting a little entitled and whiny lately, I have stopped making cards and putting them up on the board.  By the time we would get done discussing what was written on the card… and listening to their better ideas, or how that sounded boring, or that one of them didn’t want to do it… I didn’t want to do the activity at all!!  After a very frustrating day this week, and many discussions of “why” we do these daily activities and how their attitudes are making it hard to continue on… And I had a  “check myself moment” of “why” I’m doing this. Finally, we decided to continue with the activities, but they will not know ahead of time.

I could keep making the cards, but it would totally be just for the sake of this blog… and I can’t even find time to blog, so I’m saving myself time by not making them anymore. I’m sure you all understand.

So here it goes…

Day 17:

Today we first took the kids out to dinner at Old Town Pizza.  It’s pretty yummy, has a fun old atmosphere and it was close to where we were going next.

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Next was to the Albuquerque Botanic Garden for The River of Lights display.  If we weren’t completely in the Christmas Spirit yet, we are now.  It was AMAZING!!  By far the best Christmas lights display I have ever seen.  And I’ve been to Disney World at Christmas, if that says anything.

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We had been told by many locals to make sure and do it, and I’m so glad we did.  It was cold, even with hot cocoa in hand. But that didn’t stop us from soaking up every beautiful display.

Day 18:

Tonight we did one of the things the kids have been asking over and over again if we were going to do…  A picnic by the tree!!

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Yes, Reese isn’t wearing pants… seems to be her norm lately.  Usually she’s got a dress up skirt on instead. Silly girl!

Day 19:

And tonight was another special dinner… Dining by candlelight!  It’s the simple things that make the everyday things seem special.  We’re hoping to add more of these in during the winter.

This particular day was the day that the #$%& really hit the fan with the kids attitudes.  And after many discussions with the kids from me and Drew, and me just feeling completely defeated… It was a nice way to come back together as a family and enjoy each other at the end of the day.

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Hoping to get the rest of our days caught up this afternoon!!

Happy last Saturday before Christmas!!

XOXO,

TA

Christmas Countdown- Day 16

Day 16:

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The Santa Claus movies, staring Tim Allen, are one of Drew’s and my favorite Christmas movie series!!  We watch them every year, usually periodically through the month.  But this year we thought we’d get it done in one day. 🙂  Then when you add in a Bronco game in the middle of it… it makes for way too much TV in one day!!  Especially for this family!  However, it was a great, relaxing, pajama day for all of us.  Reese really didn’t seem like she was into them until the last one.  She was intrigued with Jack Frost.  I think Garner and Baylee will be asking to watch them again before Christmas.  I didn’t take pics of us lying around, so this is all you get. 🙂

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I was hoping to include Day 17 in this post too, but I am waiting for pictures from my hubby’s phone.   Hopefully tonight!!

I can’t believe that we are one week away already!!!  Seems to have gone by way too fast!

When we’re through all of our activities this month, I will create a printable list of what we did.  So you can print, save or pin it for next year if you want.

XOXO,

TA

Christmas Countdown- Day 14 & 15

Day 14:

December 14, 2012, a day that most of this country will never forget.  My stomach was just in knots over the news of the CT school shooting.  I’ve been trying to find the words to explain my feelings about this, and I still just can’t seem to put them together.  Maybe at some point in the future.  Most importantly though, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this tragedy.

I almost felt guilty about continuing on with our plan for the evening, but I’m so glad we did.
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Garner and Baylee got to go to a movie night at their school, Reese went to a friends house for a little bit, and Drew and I got to go out to dinner… just the 2 of us.  This was my 2nd Day of Christmas gift to Drew.  It was a good night for all of us.  And a big thank you to my friend Shari for keeping Reese for me, so we could go.  And since we weren’t all together, I didn’t get any pics of the evening.

It was an emotional day, but it ended on a good note for us.  And it’s possible my kids may have gotten several more hugs and kisses than they usually do.

Day 15:

No card for today…

We totally scratched the plan for this day… after such an emotional day on Friday, I just wanted a low key day at home with my husband and children.  So that’s exactly what we did.  We worked a puzzle together, hung out and played, I made more toffee, and then we finished the evening with a couple of crafts.  It was exactly what we all needed!!  Here’s a few pics from our day.

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After the kids went to bed, Drew and I got caught up on some shows on the DVR while I got some wrapping done.  Then we hid penguins in the tree for the kids to find in the morning.

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Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!!

XOXO,

TA

Christmas Countdown- Day 10, 11, 12 & 13

Well, this is what happened last year… I got behind a couple of days, then that became more and more!  I am determined to not be catching up on our December Daily Activities in January!!  The compromise to get caught up though, is to make it short and sweet.  And then hopefully I can spend a little more time on the coming days.

I’m sure everyone understands… we’re all in the same boat right now… the crazy busy that is December!

So, here it goes!

Day 10:

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It’s kind of hard to read… it says, “Before Bed Books & Snacks by the Tree”

And that’s exactly what we did.  Christmas Oreo cookies and each kiddo picked out a Christmas Book to read.

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Day 11:

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Game night is always fun.  We don’t do it as often as we would like, but hopefully that will start to change soon.  As they get older, it seems to be  a lot more enjoyable.  Reese even was able to get in on this particular game.

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Day 12:

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All the treats have been made for a while, so it was time to deliver them to the neighbors.  We didn’t forget the dogs either… we treated them with dipped dog bones from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

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Day 13: (Finally!!)

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Tonight was Baylee’s Christmas Play at school, The Incredible Reindeer.  We were impressed that she actually wanted to audition for a speaking part.  And we were all very excited when she was chosen for the part of Elf #3.  She worked hard learning her lines at home, and also spent extra hours a school for play practice.  And tonight all the hard work paid off.  It was super cute, and Baylee did great!!  Turns out, she’s not as shy as I once thought she was.

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After the play, we celebrated at home with ice cream!!

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So, that is the short version of our past few days!! Sitting down to do this blog post is the most I’ve stopped and sat down the past 4 days.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend… this Mama/wife needs some down time. Saying I’m tired would be an understatement.

I started a 12 Days of Christmas for my hubby today too, I’m really excited about it.  Hopefully he’s enjoys it!

Until the next time…

XOXO,

TA

 

Christmas Countdown-Day 9

Yesterday was another very full day!!  I cannot wait for things to slow down a little.  I always try so hard to get as much as I can done before December.  This year even more, and I still feel like I haven’t stopped for weeks now!

Day 9:

P1120015We got tickets for us all to go see the Nutcracker Ballet at the historic Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque.  We were all really excited!!  It was the first time seeing it for Drew, Garner and Reese.  But, before we could go, we had gingerbread houses to make! 😉  Reese and I will make her’s one day this week while the other two are at school.

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P1120009Before we left for the ballet, I read the story of The Nutcracker to the kids.  So they would have a fresh idea of what the story was.  It’s a pretty awesome thing, watching a story and understanding it, when there are no words spoken.  The kids loved it!!  Reese especially!!  She was sitting so close to the edge of her seat, she fell off a couple of times!  This was a local performance, and it was beautiful.  I do hope that I can someday take them to one performed by a professional ballet company someday.  In the Spring they will be performing The Wizard of Oz.  We all hope to go see that one too!

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And just for fun… Have you ever laid under your tree and looked up at all the lights glowing in the branches?? If not, you should!!  It’s awesome!!

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This is what ours looks like this year…

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It’s the smallest things that are the most fun!!

Today’s activity, is much lower key!!  I will update again tonight!

XOXO,

TA

 

 

December Countdown- Day 6, 7 and 8

Ok, so I’m behind… This happened last year too.  I ended up finishing my December Daily posts in January!!  I am determined to not do that this year!!!  And just for the sake of catching up, I am including the last three days in one post! Here is goes…

Day 6:

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This was one of those days where I had a plan but couldn’t find what I needed to pull it off.  And with my hubby out of town, I needed to find something that didn’t require going to the store.  So we had another movie night watching the original Frosty the Snowman movie.  But what better way to start than to make paper snowflakes.

I’ve always admired all of the snowflakes I see elsewhere, and wondered how in the world do they make those.  So after a little internet searching, I found some print outs to help us out.  There are some pretty amazing patterns out there, but we stuck with the easy ones for Garner and Baylee to do.  Reese just watched and wanted me to make her one.  Someday I will have to let her try and use scissors… just not yet!

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Day 7:

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Yesterday we worked on getting their little treat bags for their friends at school ready.  We’ll take them on Monday, instead of waiting until the last day before Christmas break begins.  I could say it’s because we don’t want to miss anyone who may start their vacation early, but really… it’s just one more thing done and out the house!!

I got the bags at Big Lots, and then we filled them with mini candy canes, Hershey Kisses, and some of my homemade dipped pretzels.  I make them with almond bark instead of white chocolate… so much better!!

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Reese and I had a busy day before they came home from school… I got my Christmas cards all done and mailed and we did a little shopping.  Reese was having fun trying on the hats!

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Day 8:

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Today was the day we were going to make gingerbread houses!!  The kids were overly excited.  I was too!!  I like to make them kind of early, so we can use them for decoration.  It’s been a tradition since Baylee was 3, so this is year 5.  We were ready to start getting things out to make them when we realized that I didn’t buy the pre-assembled ones!!! AHHH!!  So then we weren’t making gingerbread houses today.  Everyone was really dissapointed. It takes too long for them to set up and dry before you can decorate them.  And I had plans this evening, so there just wasn’t enough time.

So we did other things to fill our day…

1.  They played with the Gingerbread Playdough we made the other day.

2. They had Christmas activity coloring books they colored in for a while.

3.  We added candy canes to the tree… Finally!!  And ate some, of course!

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4.  Then we made lots more paper snowflakes.  We didn’t print patterns out today… I think I’ve got it figured out now.

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5.  Finally, to end the day… Garner, Baylee and I went to see a friend in a play, at her church.  It was awesome!!  A great reminder of what Christmas is really about.  The message was that “The message of Christmas doesn’t change, the message changes us.”  Isn’t that the truth!!

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I guess the day wasn’t a total bust after all!!

Sorry about bombarding you with so much in one post!!

Tomorrow’s activity is the one I’m looking forward to the most!!  So excited!!!

Now it’s off to build a gingerbread house with the hubby, so they kids can decorate it tomorrow morning!!

I hope you all are enjoying these daily activities… I will have to put together a list of all of them for you and the many more I have in mind for another year.

Goodnight!

XOXO,

TA

December Countdown- Day 5

Day 5:

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Our December daily activities are going great!  Today we made and played with Gingerbread Playdough!  I had bought some cookie cutters and mini pans for this activity last year, but never got around to making it.  I found the idea on Pinterest and it took me to this blog.  Here’s the recipe from that blog.  There are also really great pics of the process there too!

Gingerbread Playdough
 Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp orange extract {optional}

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together dry ingredients. Next mix in the water, oil, and orange extract and stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over low/medium heat until a thick dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.

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It took longer to measure out the ingredients than it did to actually make it.  A lot easier than I had envisioned it to be.  Like on the blog I borrowed this from, I am going to make a batch for a gift.  Next year even more!

Here’s the kids and some of their creations…

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I had imagined that after an hour of playing with it that it would dry up a little, but much to my surprise it was just as soft as when they had started.  So I packed it up in these cute tins until next time.  (Purchased at Walmart for $1.00 each.)

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For anyone needing something new and festive this weekend, you should give this playdough a try.

XOXO,

TA