Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

It's that time of year again. A time to look back, reflect and move forward. A time to figure out what you want to make the upcoming year all about. Years past I always had the same resolution. Work out more and eat more healthy. This year I decided to change things up. I feel that 2013 was a year of discovery and growth. I learned a lot about myself this past year and feel like I am finally coming into my own as a  mom, wife and friend. So looking ahead to this next year I have a few goals for myself
1. Be Hands Free
I am always on my iphone/ipad and that needs to stop. When the husband was gone I felt I  needed to have my phone on me at all times.This of course led to me constantly checking social media and wasting much of my time on those sites. What a distraction from what is really important. I never want my family to feel that they are not as important as my phone. So my goal is to keep my phone in my room anytime I am home. Phone calls and texts can wait until when the kids are napping or after they go to bed.
2. Simplify
Life with 2 kids isn't always easy. In fact it is down right hard at times and I only make things harder on myself by constantly feeling the need to having a perfectly decorated home, a spotless house, and a four course meal for dinner. But that is not possible and my struggling to achieve those things just leads to more stress. So here's living a more simple life
3. Be Content
So many times you log onto blogger or go to a friends house and get hit with that green eyed monster called Jealously. There are days I feel like I never measure up, I need to be prettier, trendier, thinner. Or my house needs to be cleaner and more put together. At the end of the day with two young kids I am years away from having a house that looks like it could come out of a magazine. I have toys scattered everywhere, food stains on the walls and a house that is messy the minute the kids wake up for the day. But all that is part of my current life stage and I need to be content with that. Years later when the kids are grown I will have my perfectly decorated house and will look at it with longing as I wish for sticky fingers to touch my tv and toys to be scattered about. So being content is very important to me this year. I need to celebrate this current stage of life I am in
4. Quality over Quantity
I have learned this lesson a lot this year. As a military spouse  with a husband who is always gone I feel the need to have a lot of friends. And while that is great it truly is quality over quantity. I want to focus more on my quality friendships by  Nurturing them and letting them grow. Becoming a better friend is a important goal for me this year
5. Marriage
When it comes to my marriage, after 15 months apart we have being alone down pat. It's the being together part that we need to work on.  I need to cut my husband some slack when it comes to fitting into our routine at home. No talking negatively about him to my friends, even when frustrated and to put him before myself. To make the time for our marriage and to find hobbies and interests that we can both do together
6. Good bye negativity
I want to led a more positive filled life and that involves cutting out the people or things that infer negativity over positivity
7. My Children
One thing I really learned this last year was to look at who my children are as people and raise them accordingly. At first I felt pressure to raise them the way some books tell you, or by how my friends were raising their kids. And again I felt like I never measured up when trying to do that. Until I realized that every child is different and there isn't a mold to fit your child into. My children are who they are and I love them for it. I love their little personalities, their characteristics and their mannerisms. They are amazing little people and all I want to do is nurture and guide them to be the best that they can possibly be. Gianna is so fun loving, spirited and independent that I never want to break her of those qualities. And Ethan is sensitive, funny and all boy. Again qualities that I never want to break him of. Just guide and support. So my main goal this year is to be a more mindful parent and to above all raise my kids with all the love that I can give them
Random Resolutions
-Read more and watch tv less
-Get back to attending church on a regular basis
-Do not get caught up in gossip. Regardless if I am or am not the one doing the gossiping
-Clean eating- I lost all my baby weight finally right before the holidays and have gained a bit back. Here's to getting back on track with my eating habits
-No more soda and limit my nightly glass of wine to once a week
-Have a date night with the husband once a week. Even if it means a date night in. Be creative when it comes to planning those
-Stick to a budget
-Be more consistent about saving money
-Finally learn how to use my Nikon
-Embrace life every day and be more present in the moment
I can't wait to see what this new year brings us. Wishing you all a happy new year!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Date Night

This past Friday the husband and I had our first night away since before the kids were born! As a Christmas present my parents got us a night stay at our favorite hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The same one we stayed at 6 years ago for our first New Years together. My brother chipped in and got us a gift certificate to one of Milwaukee's premier restaurants. I couldn't have asked for a better gift!

Before I came up to Wi I hit up this cute boutique in town and bought a few outfits for my trip home. One of those outfits included this super cute and sexy dress that I bought in the hopes of wearing on a night out with the hubby.

Fri morning came and before we headed off to our night away we took the kids to this amazing indoor play place. It was so much fun and the kids fell asleep the minute we strapped them into their car seats! Score. We dropped them off at my parent's house and off we went

We had a little bit of time to kill before our dinner reservations so while the husband hopped in the shower, I ordered a glass of wine and started to get ready. Good thing I started to get dressed when I did because after I put on my sexy little dress I realized how little it really was. No amount of tights or leggings would cover up my bottom. Looks like this dress was really more of a flowy top! And while it was passable with leggings underneath it still was not appropriate for a 5 start restaurant. So the hubby hurried to get dressed and off we ran to the nearest mall where I luckily found a cute little black dress which was both classy and sexy. I bought a pair of control top panty hose to complete the look and changed in my parent's mini van. Yes we took my parents car with us so they could have mine instead of having to worry about changing out car seats and all that good stuff. Vans do come in handy, especially when it comes to wardrobe changes

Finally we were on our way to go eat. Our table wasn't ready yet so while the hubby ordered us drinks from the bar I went to use the bathroom. And proceeded to rip my brand new panty hose. Off those went. Sigh

Oh well, despite my ripped panty hose drinks and dinner was beyond amazing. M ordered the chef's special which was a four course meal that included a lobster salad, a filet, a cheese and fruit spread and desert. I ordered potato leek soup and the roasted chicken. The waiter was awesome and dinner was well worth it. And our view was unbeatable. The restaurant overlooks lake Michigan and with the snow glistening off all the lights it was beautiful. My iphone picture doesn't do it justice
 I can't even begin to tell you how fun it was to get all dressed up and have a night out with my husband. We agreed not to talk about the kids or anything serious and just had fun. It was like those carefree dating days!

After dinner the hubs aunt and uncle picked us up and off we went to a lounge downtown for some drinks. It was so fun to sit back, relax and hang out with them!

We got back to our hotel and made our way to the bar. There was a fondu station set up so we treated ourselves to a plate for two and we cuddled, ate and drank before heading back up to the room.
At this point it was almost 1 and way past our bedtime. We woke up the following morning refreshed and ready to hurry home and see our kiddo's.
Such a fun night and much needed. If only my parents could move to Fl with us. Then we could have many more nights like this one!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Randoms

This Christmas was one to remember. We have created so many memories and started some new traditions that I can't wait to continue each year.

-I learned that the kids were too young to really understand the Elf on the shelf. So bubble ended up doing a lot of sleeping on the living room table. Neither kid noticed. Better luck next year

- Same for the 25 books of Christmas. Both kids just like unwrapping the books but didn't want to sit still long enough to listen to them being read. As usual. Again, we will try again next year

-Gianna loves Christmas lights and driving around looking at them. Eveyr time we pass a house that is decorated I hear her little gasp and then Mom, look, pretty lights! And that continues for each and every house. I love it

- Christmas eve I woke up and sorted through all the gifts making sure to make things easy for when Santa came. I noticed that Ethan's pile was significantly less. I felt horrible and started crying. I was about to run to target and buy him some more gifts before the husband stopped me. Ethan would never know the difference. Plus I spent the same amount on both kids. Ethan just got bigger items while Gianna got lots of little barbies, and ponies and other things that she is into. I calmed down and felt better. Then Christmas morning came and I felt better because while he showed interest in his toys for about 1 second, he preferred the boxes and wrapping paper. Go figure

- It is so fun watching the kids get so excited over their gifts. Oh the joy and innocence a child brings to every day activities. They make everything so meaningful

- My parent's surprised the hubs and I with a night out. My brother chipped in and got us a gift card to one of the fancier places to eat in town. So tonight the hubs and I are off for a night out and a night away. We haven't had a night away since before Gianna was born. I am so excited

- I went the homemade and meaningful route when it came to gifts this year. And they were all a big hit.  Now I need to get a head start for gifts next year

- I did learn that less is def more. I think I did a pretty good job when it came to gifts for the kids.I didn't go overboard and I def won't need to buy the kids any more toys until next Christmas. But watching various kids at other functions open gift after gift without showing any appreciation or interest made me realize that that is something I want to avoid in years to come.  Finding a balance is key when it comes to the holiday's I've learned

- I started a Christmas journal to keep track of everything the kids and I have done this year. I have a mini polaroid which I use and I bought scrapbook stickers and colored pens. I have written down our cookie recipes, traiditons started, the gifts we received and any activities we did this year. I plan to write in it every year and have it become a coffee book of sorts!

Well time to go get ready for my night out!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Over!

All the preparation, anticipation, excitement and stress involved in getting ready for the holidays has come to an end.
I feel like Christmas Eve and day go by in the blink of an eye and when it's over I feel disappointed.
Why? Because I will miss the Christmas music, the lights, all the fun activities that go on around the holidays, the whole feeling of excitement and selflessness people usually get around this time of year and the build up of it all.
But like Ebenezer Scrooge says I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.

As Christmas goes, this one was one for the books. Having the hubby home this year was beyond perfect. Gianna was so excited to open her gifts and while Ethan was a little too young to understand it all he loved all the wrapping paper. 

Today we have one last round of Christmas and then a week left here in Wi. One of our Christmas gifts for the hubs and I was a night away at a hotel in downtown Milw and dinner at a nice place out. I am so excited to get all dressed up  and have a night away with my hubby! The kids are loving all the attention from their grandparents and my parents love having them to themselves. Win for everyone!

I have loved looking back at my iPhone pictures from theseast few days and thought I'd share them with you

Out for dinner before going to see the holiday lights

Waiting for the light show to start

Off to see santa. Posing with Papa and Uncle Mite(Mike)

My grandparents are the cutest people ever

Santa came! Neither kid was thrilled

The gifts were a hit

Daddy's home

Merry Christmas Eve

G and her cousins

Santa came again. G hid on her dads lap

Santa went to work

Sweet dreams little one

Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads
Look mom! Presents 

The aftermath. How are we going to get everything home?
Love my little family
Opening gifts is exhausting work

Princess belle.
The perfect end to a perfect day. White Christmas and duck dynasty.

Hope y'all had as great of a day as we did 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! We are so blessed to have the hubby home this year for Christmas and to be able to spend this holiday season with our families.
Hope you all are having a great Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2013

He's Home!

After 4 months away which seemed to drag compared to the previous 10 month  deployment The hubs is finally home. 

Of course Murphy's law tried to conspire against us since in Wi we got hit with some major snow the day he was supposed to arrive here and down in Fl they were hit with a major rain storm. So many cancelled flights later the hubs finally got flown in to Chicago at 11pm. My brother and I drove to go get him and I couldn't wait for the kids to wake up this morning and see their Daddy

Gianna woke up, rushed to me and while she pointed out Daddy and said hello she was a little shy at first. Now of course she won't leave him alone and is fighting Ethan for daddy's attention

Ethan, for only spending 4 out of his 14 months with his dad went right too him with no issues. 
My whole world is complete and while this Dec has been truly a great one, this Christmas will be ten times better with my husband home

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Flip Side-Hysterical Christmas Video

I saw this video on facebook and had to share. It is hysterical, although exaggerated at times.
I wonder what Christmas would be like if i left the hubby in charge of buying all the gifts. wrapping them and doing everything else that goes along with getting ready for the holidays. I especially can't see him baking and decorating cookies! But I can see myself sitting in the warm car while he picks out the christmas tree and I drink my starbucks inside the  warm car.


5 on Friday

1. Social media and I have a love/hate relationship. For the most part I love it. I don't know how I meal planned without Pinterest, I've made amazing friends through blogging and I love that our family and friends in Wi can keep up with is via Facebook or this blog of mine. However I hate the feelings of guilt, unworthiness and jealousy that social media can create. Along with the fact that sometimes  fb can cause the end of friendships rather than support them. 
And while I consider myself a Christian some Christians make me not want to be a Christian.
Now while I am not going to get into the duck dynasty issue I will just say this. I am all for everyone having their own beliefs and opinions. And I am always up for a healthy debate. But defriending people because their viewpoints don't align up with yours is sad. Or "Christians" posting about how they are perfect because they have god in their lives and how they feel sorry for those that do t" that to me is not a statement any Christian should make. But I should probably end this now. I do not want to offend anyone or start a war. So basically ill leave you with this, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. If you don't agree that is your right. But why guilt, judge or shame others because their views don't align up with yours. 
I will leave you with this little funny

2. On to happier topics. The husband comes home Sunday! Well hopefully. He is currently in Portland and was due back in Fl tonight where he'd spend tomm packing and unwinding before flying up to Wi Sunday. Well there's a snow story due for Portland and a ice storm coming our way in Wi with another snow storm heading our way which is due on Sunday. So his flight out of Portland has been moved to Tomm. We shall see if he makes it here Sunday night or not. Prayers would be appreciated. It has been 4 months since he has been home and the kids really need their daddy for Christmas!

3. I can't believe Christmas 4 days. And my upcoming week is jam packed with Christmas activities. Sunday we are celebrating with my dads side of the family, Tuesday my moms, wed the husbands whole family and thurs his immediate family. Whew. Lots of holiday festivities coming up. I will prolly be taking a blogging break and will resume after the holidays to catch you all up on what we did this holiday season

4. Christmas cookies- I am so over baking them. I forgot how booting and tedious it can be. And I am a firm believe that more than one cook in the kitchen is one too many. The other day my mom and I decided to start making cookies for the season. We made sugar, spritz, peanut butter blossoms, Mexican wedding cakes and finally gingerbread. I decided to make the dough for the gingerbread cookies while my mom passed me the ingredients. I asked for the molasses and she handed me the jar. Finally the dough was made and mixing in the mixer. My mom leaned over and commented the dough was an odd color. Then she realized that she had handed me a jar of turkey gravy Instead of molasses. Needless to say I used turkey gravy in my gingerbread mix. Sigh. We had to start all over! Next year I am keeping things simple when it comes to cookie making

5. I am so excited to give my hubby his gifts this year. I went with a homemade, sentimental feeling with all gifts this year besides the kids and I went all out with the hubby's. I did decide to try and get him something he would never ask for himself. We shall see if he likes it but if not I will gladly keep it! I love gifts that benefit both the giver and the receiver!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Favorite Christmas Books

Along with the Elf on the shelf this year, I decided to also start a 25 books of Christmas. An advent calendar so to speak where I would wrap up 25 Christmas books, number them, place them under the tree and then each night the kids would unwrap one and we would read it out loud

Well I've learned that at ages 2 and 1 my kids are still to young to fully understand or even get into the elf on the shelf and the books. Gianna just likes unwrapping the books. After that she gets to impatient to actually sit and listen. Oh well, better luck next year

Even though my 25 books of Christmas was a bust with the kids, I added quite a few favorites to our collection this year and thought I would share them with you. 

I love this one. As a mother I always wander how Mary felt after the birth of Jesus knowing that he belonged to the world. Such a beautiful book

The Nutcracker is one of my favorite stories and this book is perfect for your little ballerina

A childhood favorite. I literally squealed when I found this at Barnes and nobles. So many Christmas memories flooded back of me reading this as a kid. 
I love the llama llama books for Ethan and this one is super cute

Another childhood favorite. 
The illustrations in this book are beautiful

Of course with the hubby in the military this book is a must read every Christmas
This one I am saving for when the kids are a little older. I remember loving this as a kid

I also bought this book this year. I have never read it but love the Muppets Christmas Carol and the more serious George C Scott film

What are some of your favorite Christmas books?

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Nutcracker

When I decided to come up to Wi for the whole month of December one of the things on my to do list was to see the Nutcracker performed by the Milwaukee ballet. I originally planned to take Gianna and my mom but we agreed Gianna was to young. So mom and I went together. I forgot how beautiful the story is and watching the dancers leap across the stage was beyond magical 

I have always loved dance. My mom signed me up for ballet when I was 3 and I continued dancing until I was 18. By that point I danced multiple days a week taking Pointe, Tap, Jazz and lyrical. I also was a member of my high school dance team. I loved it all. Of course I dreamed of being a Ballerina but my body type was def not that  of a principal dancer! If I did have the body type I always dreamed of being the Arabian dancer in the nutcracker. My favorite part of the show hands down!

I can still remember my very first recital dancing to Mickey Mouse's birthday party and my very first time in the Nutcracker as one of Mother Ginger's children. When I hear that song being played I can still recall the steps, sashay, step ensemble. Over and over. It was such a thrill performing. My las performance of the nutcracker for my dance company was my favorite. I got to be a party guest in the very beginning and then was a snowflake. Oh how I would love to dance and perform again

But now I will settle for going to the ballet and hopefully my low of dance will be one Gianna shares as well. Watching the nutcracker last night led to many visions of Gianna up on stage(Hello dance moms) 

It  was a blast hanging out with my mom and hopefully the nutcracker will  become a tradition that Gianna will enjoy as well

Yes I made my mom take a picture with some of the cast! She was so thrilled lol
And across from where the nutcracker was held was Red Arrow Park,  The outdoor skating rink that The hubs took me to on our first date. Brought back such amazing memories. 7 more days until he is home. 

And what sort of mom would I be if I didn't buy the kids some memorabilia from the show. Both kids got new ornaments for our Christmas tree
And I of course had to buy a nutcracker tee for myself. 

I just love this time of year. There's something so magical about it! And starting new traditions or continuing ones that we had done in years past is truly what this time of year is all about