Brain Dump

It’s been a while since I’ve done a brain dump style post. There isn’t much happening in our house right now (thanks to state testing season and the almost-three-month-old who has taken over our lives) but I’ve got a lot on my mind, so let’s dive right in.

Those of you out there who are already parents are going to laugh at me for this one, but holy cow I don’t think I realized how much having a baby would change everything. Don’t take that as a negative – I love my sweet little boy with all of my heart. But I honestly don’t think I ever could have been prepared for how much his arrival would turn my world upside down. Absolutely everything is different. Some of it is way better. Some of it is way harder. All of it requires a major adjustment. I feel like since he was born, we have been in a fog of new-parenthood, just trying to figure things out one day at a time. Some days we feel like we are doing awesome, and some days we wonder how we’re going to make it out alive. But now that he’s 11 weeks old, I feel like we are finally settling into a groove and things are getting easier. I finally gave Cullen a haircut for the first time in about three months the other day, I’m able to keep my house relatively clean, and I’m managing to cook dinner most nights. It’s a start!

Every year right around this time I reach a point where I am just over the school year. I think everyone in the whole school does. April is always a hard month to get through, because the weather is warming up and you want to spend all day outside, but you’re still over a month away from summer. May is easier because it feels like one long celebration of the end of the year, and you’re really in the final countdown. So, I’m in my April funk right now, but hopefully these last few weeks will go by quickly and May will be here soon…and then it’s really almost summer!

We took Jackson’s first bluebonnet pictures this weekend (Jackson and I went with some friends one day and Corey came back with us the next day!). For those of you who don’t live in Texas, you should know that it’s basically a requirement to take yearly photos in the bluebonnets. They’re so gorgeous and it’s impossible to resist them. I could just lay in this field all day long. It’s only about a quarter of a mile from our house, so maybe I will!

I made this strawberry cake this weekend and I cannot stop thinking about it. I’ve made it before, but I think I forgot how amazing it is. I honestly could have just eaten the batter and nothing else because it’s just that tasty, but the baked cake is pretty darn amazing too. Yum, yum, yum.

I cannot contain my excitement over Mad Men being back. I’m pretty mad that they’re splitting the season over two years, so I’ll be soaking up each of the seven (only seven??!) episodes we get this year. Corey and I are also excited about Game of Thrones, but we don’t have HBO so we’re behind already. Good thing we’ve read the books so there aren’t really any spoilers! Oh, and, can we talk about Kitchen Nightmares? Tell me I am not the only one hopelessly addicted to that show. Corey and I watched the season premiere this weekend, where they revisited Amy’s Baking Company…and oh goodness, those people are nuts. That show is so bad but oh so good.

What’s on your mind lately? What shows are you addicted to right now?

Wish me Luck…

Today I go back to work.

I’m dreading it. I always have said I would love to be a stay-at-home mom but now that I have had a taste of it, there’s nothing I want more than to stay home with Jackson. These last seven weeks have been absolutely perfect and I absolutely hate the thought of leaving him with someone else today.

But, sadly, it’s not really an option for us. So off to work I go.

This week is probably going to be (very) rough on our whole family, so I won’t be back to post until next week. Until then, I could use your thoughts and prayers as I get settled back into work. Let’s hope Jackson and I both can make it through the day with minimal crying.

Anyone made the back to work transition recently? Tell me it’s not as awful as I am imagining it will be!

The Holiday Bucket List

I shared about our holiday bucket list and what we had accomplished so far a couple of weeks ago. We decided to go this route this year instead of an activity advent calendar, and I’m so glad we did. It was very laid back, easy to keep up with, and I didn’t put a ton of pressure on myself to cross everything off. I was all about enjoying this holiday season in whatever way I was in the mood to do, and I wasn’t about to force myself to do an activity I didn’t want to – I figure we have plenty of years of doing crazy holiday things for Monster ahead of us, so this was one of our last chances to have a very relaxed holiday season.

Now that December’s over, here’s where we ended up with our list.

- For our “top 5″ from the year, we decided to each write down the top five moments or memories from 2013 and toss them in our little memory jar. We opened it up on New Years Day, and it was so much fun to relive all of the highlights from the year. I’m so glad we did this jar, because I loved looking back and reading all of the little moments we jotted down as they happened. I don’t know that we’ll do it again for 2014 – we weren’t very good about keeping up with it – but it was very fun to try out!

- Corey took me on a surprise date to our favorite movie theater a few days before Christmas – I had no idea what I was in for until we arrived, but we were going to see a sneak peek of the new season of Downton Abbey! It was a free event put on by our local PBS station, and it was so much fun. We got to watch the last 45 minutes of the last season finale (and I bawled and bawled all over again), then we got to watch the entire season premiere for this season. It got me really pumped for the new season and I can’t wait to start watching it in a few weeks when it comes out!

- We baked tons (and tons) of cookies in the days leading up to Christmas. It’s a yearly tradition for us to do two rounds of cookie baking – one to give to friends at work and one to bring to my Grandmother’s for Christmas Eve. It was, as usual, a blast and one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

- Our attempt at a family photo this year was a major flop. The dogs are getting harder and harder to corral now that there are three of them (last year Hadley was still a puppy and relatively easy to hold still), so this was the best “family photo” we managed. Ah well, it was worth a shot right? I think we decided that starting next year we’re kicking the dogs out and it will have to be a humans-only family photo – it’s just not worth the stress!

- In addition to playing a ton of Marbles (what my family calls it – I’m sure it has a more official name) over the holiday season, we also tried out a new game for our game night. Corey got a super nerdy new game for his birthday a few months back (called Munchkin) and hadn’t ever really had the chance to play it. It’s supposed to be a game played with more than 2 people, but the directions are like 7 pages long and super confusing, and I’ve been afraid to play it with him (or ask anyone else to play with us) because I was convinced it would be awful. One night, though, we decided to try it out just the two of us to see if we could get the hang of it, and it was FUN! It took a while to learn, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it (although, I’ll warn you, it’s DEFINITELY nerdy!) – we ended up spending a few nights earlier this week playing it, and now we’re excited to introduce it to some other people so we can actually play with the proper amount of players. So,  I can definitely say we were able to cross “game night” off our list!

There were a few things we didn’t get around to this season – we never watched The Grinch (sad!) or went to look at Christmas lights. We also skipped having a picnic under the Christmas tree, mostly because at 8 1/2 months pregnant, the last thing I want to be doing is sitting on the floor. We didn’t have our “No technology day” this year, mostly because we want to do it on a day where we can actually leave the house and do fun things (it’s hard to spend the entire day at home without resorting to the television or our computers), but thanks to budget constraints (prepping for a baby is expensive, y’all!) we spent most of our break at the house and decided to pass on a big day out of the house where we might spend a lot of money! And, we haven’t eaten s’mores or gone out for ice cream yet, but we still have a few days left in our break and I think we may be able to accomplish at least one of those before we head back to work!

What did you want to accomplish this holiday season? Did you cross everything off your bucket list?



December Bucket List

For the past few years, Corey and I have done an activity advent each December in order to ensure that we do some fun, Christmas-y things in the days leading up to the 25th.

Last year, we had an activity for every day in December – it was a blast, but some days we felt pressured to do the activity, even if we didn’t have time, and we didn’t get to do a lot of the activities because the weather didn’t corporate (for example, it was 80 degrees on the night we were supposed to light a fire!). So, this year I decided to just create a general bucket list for the month instead – it accomplishes the same purpose, but is a little more flexible. We can pick and choose which days we do different things, and we can cross out multiple items in a night/skip some nights if we aren’t feeling it.

So far, it’s been great – we’re feeling the Christmas spirit, but we aren’t stressing out about getting it all done. In the end, the purpose is just for us to have fun, so we don’t want to worry too much about actually crossing all of them off…as long as we feel like we get the most out of our holiday season, I’m happy!

I really enjoyed updating on our activities last year when we did this, so I figured I’d do the same this year – this week I’ll share everything we’ve crossed off the list so far this month, and next week I’ll try to pop back in with a quick update on the other things we accomplish. Hopefully we’ll get all (or most!) of them done by the 31st.

The above photo was taken earlier in the month, so we’ve actually knocked off a few more items since then – in addition to what you see crossed off, we also:

- Had breakfast for dinner
- Made gingerbread houses
- Went out to eat

We’ve had several fires already this year – we had quite a cold spell earlier this month, so our fireplace was basically always going.

We also have watched our fair share of Christmas movies already – we’ve been in the mood for cheesy Hallmark-y movies, so we’ve been streaming some of them from Netflix and basking in the incredibly cliche plot lines. They’re definitely not high-quality movies, but they make you happy every once in a while, you know? Of course, the dogs are loving all the movie watching – it means more cuddles on the couch for them!

We also did gingerbread houses with my family this past weekend. It’s turned into a yearly tradition and I LOVE it. It’s so much fun and has definitely become one of my absolute favorite nights of the whole Christmas season.

This week is the last week for both of us before our Christmas break, and we’re hoping to cross a few more things off the list throughout this week and over our two week break. It’s been a super stressful past few weeks at work for me, so I’m counting down the minutes until work is no longer a worry and I can start truly enjoying the rest of my holiday season!

What do you like to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas? Anyone else have a bucket list going?

A Trip to Aggieland

I’m taking a break this week from sharing house updates because, um, there aren’t any.

Corey and I have been taking things nice and slow lately, so there hasn’t been much going on. All of our focus has been on the nursery, and we took the weekend off this week to take a trip to College Station to see our Aggies play some football! Don’t worry, though – we have full plans to tackle another nursery project next weekend, and I have a few other things in the works in other places around the house that I’m hoping to take on soon.

So, I might not have home updates to share with you, but I can’t resist sharing our wonderful trip to our college town. We have been dying to get back to Aggieland to see a football game ever since we left two years ago, and this year we were finally on top of it enough to snatch up tickets before they all sold out. We had hoped to spend the whole weekend in College Station, but it didn’t end up working out so we just spent Saturday there and it may have been a short trip, but we packed it full of fun.

We started off by having lunch at one of our favorite restaurants with a few of my friends from the school I used to work at. It was so nice to catch up with them, and Corey and I were thrilled to get to eat here – we use to have a Ninfa’s in Austin, but it closed a couple of years back and now the closest one is in College Station. The only way it could have been better is if I was able to enjoy one of their margaritas…next time, though!

After lunch, we did some shopping – we’re always on the lookout for cute A&M-related baby apparel, but since we live in Austin it’s pretty hard to come by – everything we find is for UT. Yuck. So, while we were in College Station, we knew it had to be our mission to track down something cute for Monster. And, of course, Target was able to deliver – we found these incredibly adorable A&M jersey onesies in their sporting goods section. I cannot WAIT until he gets to wear them!

Next up was my favorite part of the trip, and the part I think we were both looking forward to the most (aside from the game, of course) – exploring campus. Neither of us had been on campus at all since we graduated, so it was so wonderful and nostalgic to go wander around and see all of the places we used to frequent. It was amazing (and really sad) to see how much had changed in the two short years we have been gone, but most of it was the same ol’ campus we know and love. We even joked when we walked into one of the buildings that it even smelled like campus – I never noticed when I was there, but apparently there is a specific scent I associate with some of the buildings on campus (you know, like all of your friends houses have a scent – anyone ever notice that?) and it was so fun to walk in and take a big inhale and realize how awesome it felt to be back!

After we explored for a few hours, it was time to head to the game. There are no words for how amazing it is to experience a game in Kyle Field, so you’ll just have to trust me. It’s incredible. It was strange not to be in the student section (there’s a very different atmosphere over there!) but I’ll admit it was nice to get to actually sit down during the game, and it was fun to experience what the student section looks like from the other side of the stadium!

We, of course, beat the hell outta SMU, and it was a perfect game for us to go to. The weather was amazing, and it was pretty fun to get to see Johnny Manziel in action in person! And, of course, I got chills (as I always do) watching the band perform.

We came straight home after the game and got home around midnight – we were exhausted the next day, but it was oh so worth it. We’re definitely looking forward to turning this into a yearly tradition and we’re already excited about planning what it will be like next year with Monster tagging along!

And that was our weekend – thanks for letting me indulge myself a little and share about something most of you probably couldn’t care less about. I’m hoping that with this weekend off from doing any work I’ll be able to convince Corey to take on a few different things next weekend so I’ll have lots to share – the insane nesting urges have already hit me, so I’m desperate to do projects all the time!

What did your weekend look like? Anyone else go back and visit your old college town recently?