Welcome 2017!

Whew!  Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year has arrived.

Here’s random sampling of some pictures from our holiday season…

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We did two Thanksgiving!  This is a sporting event that I suggest you properly train for.  We have perfected it over the years.  😉

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Plus a few more…img_4410img_4415img_4424img_4431img_4466img_4474img_4487img_4492img_4494img_4504

We are day 4 of snow, and I am so thankful to be home {except for an urgent care doctor trip + a library visit} with these people!  The Mr. had to work both weekdays, but he played it up with Holden over the weekend (and celebrated his 32 birthday!).  I just got the call that schools are closed tomorrow as well.  I know we will have to make it up in some form…I just love this unexpected time off!

2016 was quite a year!  Holden turned four, started Pre-K, played two soccer seasons, did awesome at swimming, and just plain grew a ton before our eyes!  We can’t forget the addition of sweet Helen Elizabeth back in April 2016.  She’s such a blessing, and we are all over the moon for our little girl.  She is small but quite strong in body and spirit!  🙂

I didn’t do any resolutions directly on January 1, but I have done some thinking about it and some areas that I would like to improve upon.

  1. Gossip ~ Isn’t this just a the hardest?!  It’s not like you are stealing, killing, etc. BUT it can steal your joy, and it can kill others’ happiness.  I find this one hard, because I do actually like to talk although I’m not really outgoing with a large social circle.  I really want to make the effort and succeed to not talk about others in a negative light EVEN if it’s just recounting facts (which is how I usually validate it to myself).
  2. Respecting My Husband ~  Whew!  This is a tough one as well.  I do feel like I respect the Mr.  HOWEVER, I tend to not do the best job that I could.  I must accept that I married an imperfect man (just as he married a very imperfect woman) who cannot give me everything that I need and want at exactly every moment of the day.  Just as I cannot do that for him.  The really struggle is when he corrects Holden.  This is a very tough one.  I really feel like parenting/education/kids is MY area.  I’m the expert.  Sounds a bit prideful, huh?  Although I would say I have put lots of time and effort into this area, I want to handle disagreements or critiques of how he handles situations for a time when we can talk about it one-on-one.  It is my hope that this will make us more productive parents and more on-the-same-page.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

“God doesn’t want me to be a ‘fix him’ wife, God wants me to be a ‘love him’ wife.”

– Lysa TerKeurst

“My husband is one of my greatest blessings from God. His love is a gift that I open everyday.”

– Darlene Schacht

Do you make resolutions?  What is your favorite holiday, Christmas v. Thanksgiving?

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Tuesday!

Thankful Day 5 and 6

Hi there!  You know you’re an adult when you rise and shine early despite it being the weekend.  Ha!  I’m super mature then.  The Mr….no surprise there!  He’s a year younger than me, and he’s still snoozing along with the baby boy.  We had a very busy Saturday, but it was also a lot of fun.  First of, I went to my eye doctor’s appointment, and my vision becomes  just a bit better with every yearly visit.  Now, I’m hardly in need of glasses/contacts!  Say what!  I’ve been wearing glasses since 6th grade {what a way to begin middle school} and contacts since 8th grade.  It is hard to believe that my eyes are getting more “normal.”  The doctor asked me what I was doing yoga, drinking lots of water???  Ha!  None of the above.  If you know me, you know I could go without water for days, but I do force myself to drink it.  I haven’t completed any yoga practice for over a month.  Boo to yoga.  Probably explains why I’m a little stiff and sore this morning.

In other news, I did birthday duty number uno with the Mr. doing number dos.  Here’s Holden playing at a fellow preschooler’s house…

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He was most upset to leave.  We had to leave early, so he could get to party number two.  Way, way, way more going on in his social life than me.  Then, he went to a fun party at the Virginia Beach Field House and proceeded to eat two cupcakes.  Which the Mr. allowed…hmmm, that was a tad bit not mom-approved.  He took a funny picture of Holden still eating his cupcakes at the party table with all the other kids missing.  Just chowing down.  Yes, my child would eat himself into a food coma.  He packs it away in his legs I think.

While they were partying it up, I worked on my essays (!) for Teacher of the Year.  Oh yes, my friends.  When you are teacher of the year, you get MORE paperwork to do.  Hardly seems fair.  I also visited the mall and debated about some tops from the Limited which were 40% off.  In the end, I didn’t get anything, but it was nice to peruse for a bit without H’s helpful hands.  A trip to the gym rounded out my afternoon.

Yesterday evening, Holden’s C-PA and Meme came over for dinner which was so not prepared by me…unless you count the take and bake bread and a salad.  🙂  We had venison pot pie by the Mr. and went to see the Town Center Illumination.  We went last year, just the three of us.  It made me reflect on just everything that has changed since last year this time.  Good gracious.

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Before and After of the Town Center Tree – The parade was nice too.  I didn’t get a picture, but Holden got 2 hugs from Elmo and absolutely loved the fire trucks.

We went to The Royal Chocolate afterwards for hot chocolate and treats.

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How about that turkey for Thanksgiving!  I thought H’s chocolate covered Oreo was super cute, but he wouldn’t eat it all due to the fact that silly Mommy picked out white instead of milk chocolate.  #highmaintenance

The night finished with our first fire {thank you easy peasy gas logs}.

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I am thankful for such a wonderful day, time to myself and time with family, special holiday memories, and the feelings of anticipation that come with each holiday season.

Even though we’re a week and a half away from Thanksgiving, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
― Oscar WildeA Woman of No Importance

“Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.”
― Todd Stocker

Natalie

Thankful Day 2

Whoa!  This cold weather is car-zay!  I went on a field trip with students yesterday to a barge in the Elizabeth River.  This barge provided information {and allowed the kids to be “scientists” and work with various tools} about the river and how pollution is affecting it.  A good lesson on the environment with real life application thrown in.  HOWEVER, it was SO SO SO cold.  I was pretty much frozen in the first five minutes.  I’m sure the kids were as well.  It made it pretty difficult to pay attention especially when one station was in the shade.  I felt like a snake seeking sunlight!  It goes without saying that one thing I’m thankful for today is HEAT and warm clothes to bundle up in as temps seem to be stuck in the low 40s for today.

I’m thankful for…

1.  Holden…and all his questions, thoughts, etc. that he likes to share these days.

2.  the ability to be strong enough to hold my 30+ pound child and have a dance party for about 10 minutes{!}  It was a workout.

3. paid vacations!

4.  heat!

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Beautiful but chilly view!

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Doing a little nature time of our own.

Stay warm!

Natalie

Do I really have to teach this Tuesday!?!?!

A week and a day away from Turkey Vacation!  This is the first full week in 2 weeks.  We had off for Election Day {technically it was an Inservice Day}, and we had off last Tuesday for Veterans Day.   Bottom line, give a teacher a day off a week, and we will most likely want another {Reminds me of that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie}  I. Can’t. Wait. To. Thanksgiving. Break!  I’m so looking forward to a little time off with family.  Although I haven’t fought Ebola, lost my job, or developed a terrible illness, I confess 2014 is my least favorite year in years.  Through many ups and downs, I try to remain thankful.  Some days, it is easier than others.  Some days, it is easier said than done.  I’m going to share what/who I’m thankful for up until Thanksgiving in these areas…

1.  my family

2.  my health

3. my job

4.  material things

Let’s start today!

1.  my loving husband who admittedly loves even the weird things about me

2.  the ability to run {even at a relatively quick pace!}

3.  being able to greet the students each day with a “good morning” and actually having a few {morning people!} respond with a “good morning”

4.  this one has to be coffee, tea, or any hot beverage.  especially as I prepare to shiver on a field trip today.

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All Images Taken fro Pinterest.

A few things to share…

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I made these yummy brownies when my mom and sister visited last weekend.  I did *try* to make them a little more healthy by substituting one egg for a “flax egg” {1 tbsp. flax seed + 2 tbsp. tap water) and adding cinnamon {health benefits of cinnamon – Daddy read the first.}.

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1.  Victory!  We put shoes out of the walkway.  2.  Gross food fact.  3.  Birds on a wire after my gym workout last Tuesday.  4.  My favorite breakfast = The Mr.’s least  5.  Decor at Hobby Lobby – No, thank you.  6.  My joy.

Have a great Tuesday!

Natalie

Finding Your Fitness

‘Tis the season when work-outs are missed but extra treats are not.  I struggle with this just as much as the next person at this time of year.  I’ve been eating my WEIGHT in chocolate the past two days.  A chocolate intervention is definitely needed!  However, I know I will get back on the healthy eating and fitness wagon, because I don’t like the way I feel when I’ve missed work-outs repeatedly or over-indulged repeatedly.  The “repeatedly” part is the key.  We can go treating our body poorly by giving it poor fuel and not letting it “stretch its legs” so to speak.  Everyone should take a break and enjoy all this holiday season has to offer  including time spent with family just relaxing and the delicious tastes that we only get this time of year.  How do we keep the fitness in our lives though?  When I’m visiting family, I’m away from my at-home work-out equipment and my gym.  Here’s how I try to fit in fitness…

  • Take the jogging stroller – I use this to take Holden with me on long walks with the dog.  This gets a lot done at one time.  Fresh air for babe, exercise for dog, and exercise/stress relief for Mama.
  • Pack running shoes and try to go for some amount of distance in the morning hours – We all know morning work-outs are more likely to be kept than afternoon or evening ones.  Keep this in mind on your holiday.  I get a thrill out of getting my work-out done, showering, and then jumping back into my pajamas.  Then, I still get to savor the relaxing time on the couch in my soft clothes aka PJs.  
  • Take advantage of being away from home to check out new, outdoor work-out areas like parks, towns, or perhaps even a new gym with a guest pass
  • Volunteer to pick up groceries for whomever you’re staying with – You can make sure to pick up what they might need plus some healthy snacks like bottled water, almonds, fruit, and salad greens.  Greek yogurt is good too!
  • Make walks social by inviting family members to join
  • Work-out DVDs – A dvd doesn’t take up much room in a suitcase.  Just pop it in early in the morning, and you’re done!  Pick something that does require much equipment.  Yoga is good.  I can definitely make do with just a rug.  
  • Volunteer to cook a side dish – You can make your side dish something that is more on the healthy side.  Then, you have a healthy option when it comes time to chow down.

Do you have any other tips?  How do you stay fit during the holidays?  I took full advantage of a little town on our way home from the Thanksgiving holiday.  We (the traveling Three Musketeers = Me, Roscoe the Dog, and H) stopped in Cape Charles and enjoyed the pretty views and picturesque homes.  What a nice change from our usual walk around the neighborhood!  Idyllic pictures below.  Sidenote:  The Mr. and I were married there three years ago.  Brought back sweet memories.  

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Remember, someone somewhere is wishing they were able to do what you can do right now.  Treat your body right.

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The Thanksgiving That *Almost* Didn’t Happen

Hi There!  Wow-whee.  What a Thanksgiving!  I have to admit it was more than I could handle!  It all started on a call from H’s daycare on Wednesday that he was running a fever.  I quickly left work early on the early dismissal day (who wants to tell their administrator that one!) and picked him up.  After a quick pack job, a bit of lunch, and some Tylenol, we were off.  We being Roscoe the dog, H, and I.  At about the halfway mark between my house and my parents’, the yuck happens.  Poor boy starts to throw up.  In the car seat.  And I gotta go to the bathroom like no body’s business.  Now the dog is afraid and climbing all over.  By the way, it’s also raining.  I quickly changed our plans to eat with my in-laws and headed up to my parents’ house.  Upon arrival, H threw up again in the freshly cleaned bathroom.  I have to say I sped most the way there but am so glad we made it before the 2nd vomit and before I embarrassed myself by wetting my pants!  To help combat H’s dehydration, I asked my sister to drive me up to the local pharmacy for some meds and Pedialyte.  We got it for a very expensive price, but things got even more crazy/expensive on the way home.  We’re chatting away on the dark, back road until we hit a deer.  I’ve never been in a car accident before, but I can tell you it’s no good feeling!  I looked up just in time to see the deer go flying through the air.  What a scary moment.  Thankfully, we weren’t hurt besides for the snatch from our seat belts.  Once we got over the shock, we then noticed the poor, injured deer hopping around on the road.  Although I am admittedly a meat eater, I have to say that if I had to kill it myself I think I’d think twice or perhaps become a vegetarian!  A hunter stopped by the check on us and shot the deer to put it out of its suffering (more on this later).  Then, my daddy shows up to survey the damage.  Then, enters brother too.  A regular pre-Thanksgiving get-together!  I go home with the Pedialyte which sort-of indirectly caused the whole thing!  Stinky, sicky Holden!  It turned out the car might be totaled.  Things seemed to be perking up, and we all were in one piece to celebrate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.  By the way, the deer was never found after the guy shot him.  Go figure.  Here are some pictures before things got messy again!

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Fast forward to Thanksgiving night, H has no appetite and then throws up again!  Then, we all head off to bed.  3:30AM starts the yucks for me which continues on until 8 o’clock.  Fabulous stomach virus.  This was such a bummer as we had arranged to go Black Friday shopping with my mommy and sister WITHOUT Holden.  Things could get crazy and productive!  After nursing my sick stomach with tea and toast, I decided to pull myself up by my figurative boot straps and do it anyways.  We finally ventured off to Black Friday around noon and ended up having a great time!  I was fueled by toast, a sesame bagel, and applesauce all day but hey!  No baby, no worries!  Unfortunately, the Mr. did end up coming down with a belated case of it on Sunday around 4:30AM.  I’m very pleased to say that we are all back to our normal eating habits and are feeling A-OK as of right now.  What a doozey of a holiday!  I hope yours was illness-free and a little more recharging than ours.  Thankfully, we did not end up at the hospital or the funeral home.  There’s optimism for you!  Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this Thanksgiving as I’m sure my family will not either.  I have to say this leaves me more than ready for a healthy holiday filled with bellies that stay full of yumminess.  17 days to go until Christmas Break!!!   

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Judge Not the Early Christmas Folks

Since the Mr. and I had our own place, we (meaning the Mr. directs me where there are ornament “holes” while I *artfully* cover ever square inch of that tree!) decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Well, I know this is early for some people.  We’ve gone even a bit earlier this year and put up most decorations this weekend with the exclusion of putting the ornaments on the tree.  Saving that for some weeknight fun!  I don’t know why, but I always feel slightly embarrassed about my Christmas spirit.  I play my Christmas music loud and proud cruising around at least until the Mr. vetoes the cheesiest selections.  It’s a magical time of year that takes us out of the ordinary and helps us really seek out beautiful ways to celebrate wether that may be food, home decor, and/or special events.  Me, I like them all!  Christmas cookies, church services, special outfits (I have an over the top, blatantly obvious Christmas skirt this year – don’t worry it’s not cheese-tastic!), and of course special little events for us to experience as the little family we are.  Since we are traveling and spending the special holiday away from our little home, I wanted to be able to enjoy Christmas in our home as much as possible.  Hence, the big drag-down from the attic.  I’m quite proud to say I lugged down all the mess myself.  The Mr. was manning the vacuum which is totally necessary when you’re taking out all those oh-so carefully packed figurines and decorations packing in Styrofoam.  H actually had a decent mouthful of the stuff (Styrofoam that is!) and decided it was so delicious that he didn’t want Mommy’s annoying fingers to pry it out.  Here are some pictures from our weekend at home.  

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First hair cut ~ Only slightly traumatic…

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Decaf Vanilla Latte a la Starbucks with this handsome dude and his equally as handsome daddy.  P.S.  Check out the lady’s crazy boots behind H.  I have to admit to some staring!

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Free Christmas Cookies!  Aren’t these little nuggets precious!  From Bergey’s Breadbasket in Chesapeake.  Very quaint, nice place and people.  They thought H was the bee’s knees, and I agree of course!  I think we scored the free cookies due to his smile.  

 

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H was amazed by the Town Center Illumination!  We got to see part of the parade with some parade balloons, cheerleaders, and best of all a big fire truck.  

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Blurry but I love it.

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Even though I get overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle, the work that goes into fun is so worth it.  I confess I kind of didn’t want to rush after dinner, bundle up, and drive to Town Center (woo weee, it was literally a less than 10 minute drive).  I’m so glad we did. Seeing H’s face light up when he saw all the people and lights was so worth it.  Seeing him sitting on the shoulders of the man who has held my heart for 13 years as of December 6th was beyond.  Cheers to you who drag out the garland and silly Santa decorations early.  We need this spirit to remind us of what is important this time of year and always.  No, it isn’t Black Friday or just the food treats and gifts.  Really the spirit of Thanksgiving should stay with us all year, but I feel that the holiday season is just a reality check we need sometimes.  Have a wonderful week.  Only 2.5 days to go until we are family bound.