Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2013

WIN $120 Amazon gift card {Mother’s Day giveaway}

Mother's Day Amazon gift card giveaway

I am super-excited to be hosting this Mother's Day giveaway!  With the distinct pleasure of working alongside a dozen other fantastic bloggers, we are thrilled to be giving away a $120 Amazon gift card!  Yep, that's right $120 -- this will be the Mother of all giveaways!  (Har-dee-har!)
mother's day giveaway Amazon gift card
An Amazon giftcard will make the perfect Mother's Day gift for any mother (or heck, for yourself!) -- just imagine all the possibilities $120 can get you on Amazon!  And with perks from Amazon Prime and Amazon Mom, it's a gift you could easily stretch out! To enter for your chance to win, simply fill out the form below.  Make sure you leave a comment on the blog, in order to qualify. Good luck, y'all!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Muffins with Mama

My K had his muffins with mom breakfast at school yesterday. It was too cute to not share...


Muffins! K ate 3. I had half of one then K finished it for me. Baby loves to eat.

He made me a "bouquet" of flowers with things he loves to do with his Mama on them. I cried. Totally. 

Making our craft.

Our craft was a frame with the most handsome 3 year old on the planet in it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knoxville, Tennessee: Posh Family Fun Meets the Smokies

Last week I had the pleasure of heading North to Tennessee and checking out the beautiful city of Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is just under 3 hours from the Atlanta area and is a nice, relaxing country side drive North. I'll admit that when I got the invitation from Visit Knoxville, I wondered a little about what all Knoxville could offer a jaded family travel writer like me. Turns out, there is a lot in Knoxville to do and enrich your mind with. Our tour of the city was fast and furious at just about 24 hours but we got to get peeks at a lot of what the city has to offer.

First I will tell you about all the wonderful sites I was able to visit and take a peek at, then I will tell you about our culinary adventures in Knoxville later in the week.

The first stop on our tour was our hosting hotel, the Oliver. After I got checked in and went up to check out my room, I was immediately impressed with how well they had preserved the history of the old hotel but added those ever so nice modern day touches that we all seem to need so badly these days. Thinks like large, flat screen tvs and enough electrical outlets to power a house mixed with lush period furniture and a well appointed mini bar. Not to mention the plush king sized bed with plenty of soft, squishy pillows to surround myself with after a day of touring.

As soon as we got settled into our rooms, we had cocktails at the Peter Kern Library inside the Oliver and were treated to lunch by the adjoining Tupelo Honey Cafe. More on that later.

After we had stuffed ourselves silly, we took off on a caravan tour of downtown Knoxville. We passed the historic courthouses and theaters. Took a ride up into the Sunsphere and surveyed the beautiful spread of Worlds Fair Park. The Sunsphere itself is an attraction that warrants a good look over. Built in 1987 for the World's Fair, it is 266' of shiny, 24 karat plated glass that offers gorgeous views of the city with the Tennessee river winding through it. From the observation deck, you can see the smokies or your can see the bustling downtown area. Every where you look is a sight to be seen.

After that, we got a tour of the South's Finest Chocolate Factory. It was cool to see the inner workings of the chocolate factory that supplies caramels to Biltmore house. For 30 years this manufacturing facility and retail store, located in downtown Knoxville, has been open to the public and on any given day you can see a variety of candy making techniques in action. We got to sample some of the most amazing chocolate covered cherries I have ever tasted. This little hideaway of a candy kitchen is a must see for all those chocolate lovers out there.

Then it was a short walk up to the Knoxville Museum of Art. Free to the public, the museum celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, "presents new art and new ideas, educates and serves a diverse community, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life". I can definitely agree with all of that. We witnessed the art of Knoxville's past and present in the upstairs galleries but the downstairs galleries were in transition. Guess I'll have to make a trip back up!

Of course after dinner at Knox Mason, it was time to waddle back to the hotel and prepare ourselves for a treat at the Tennessee Theatre. We were lucky enough to get to attend the opening night of the Broadway musical Mary Poppins. Now, if you have never seen the show, you need to. Seriously the most energetic show I have ever seen. The real treat though was the Tennessee Theatre. I shared a little last week about its history and similarities to the Fox here in Atlanta but I have to say the Tennessee's grandeur, although on a very different scale, could give the Fabulous Fox a run for its money. The Tennessee is easily half the size of the Fox, if not smaller but the attention to detail during the renovations is astounding. The colors are bright, the ambiance endearing, and the acoustics right on par.

The next morning we woke bright and early to a snow covered Knoxville. It was a beautiful and relaxing surprise but it did put a hamper on our plans for the day. We did get to do our tour of the Tennessee Theatre, which was still hauntingly gorgeous the next day. We got to hear about the renovations and how they came up with color schemes and how they had the carpet rewoven new to match the exact same pattern as it was before. It was a real treat to me considering history and theatre are two of my biggies.

We were supposed take a tour of the Knoxville Zoo after the theater but considering the snow, it got cut out. I have heard it is a definite must see if you are in the area though. Along with several other of Knoxville's little hidden treasures like the World's Largest Rubiks Cube or taking a tour on the river boat, the Star of Knoxville, down the grand Tennessee river.

Truth is, what ever you are looking for in a family vacation, you are likely to find it in Knoxville. They have a little of everything and it is in a central location that lends itself to a perfect weekend trip from just about anywhere. Honestly, I think it might be better for families with more of a middle to high school range aged children. The age that would appreciate the arts and history of Knoxville. Something they place great pride in and something that is well worth seeing. With a lack of younger children's attractions like a children's museum (which they say is coming soon), the little ones just might get lost in the mix.

To learn more check out Visit Knoxville online or down load the app to your smartphone. To learn more about each venue, simply click the highlighted link through out! Be sure to check back later this week for all about my culinary tour of Knoxville!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bring on Spring!

Its finally almost March! We have been doing a lot to get ready for Spring in our house. Lots of cleaning and planning and organizing. The big spring purge so to speak. Trying to get everything in order before the nice weather hits full steam and we are almost never home.

The first step was getting the boys set up for Spring sports. I gave D the option of what he wanted to do this year between soccer, t-ball, or trying something new like martial arts or basketball. He declare that he is too short for basketball but he wanted to try being a martian. Sigh. Once I finally convinced him that martial arts does not, in fact, turn you into an alien that can fly spaceships, he settled for T-ball again. I think that is probably the best compromise  He loved it in the fall and I thing its something he will enjoy again. Soccer was so not his thing.

K on the other hand, picked soccer. Of course that was kind of the only choice I gave him but he was happy with it. Until we got the roster. He was going to be the youngest on his team by almost a full year and I just didn't think that would ever work. One, because he is already short for his age and that could lead to maximum trample-ability. Two, he is also still kind of.. sensitive? I guess that's the nicest way to put it. He doesn't share well and so a team sport like that might not be best after all. So, I pulled him out of soccer and signed him up for T-ball with his brother. He was much more excited about that prospect than soccer so I guess that's a good thing.

The other thing I have been working on has been clearing out some of the clutter. Paper-wise mostly. I still have paperwork from cars I don't even own anymore. Things from appliances that have long been rusting in some dump. Heck, even papers from dogs that died years ago. I guess I am some what of a paper pack-rat. I am one of those that usually holds on to papers was longer than I should. I have copies of my very first tax return. 14 years ago. Its bad, you guys. A purge has been long over due. Now I just have to figure out how to organize the stuff I have left.

I am also working more on myself than I have in a long time. I started therapy to deal with my life's drama and it is teaching me ways to deal with my grief and anxiety so that I can be a better me. Its like a burden has been lifted. To have an objective opinion on all the things I have gone through in the last 8 years and why I feel the need to hold onto the toxic people in my life. Something that I am learning to reverse.

I am also losing weight again. You may remember I lost 30lbs about this time last year but that was where it stopped. While I didn't gain any of that back, I never lost any more either. Life just got in the way. This time though, I have a goal. My half marathon goal. I have to lose the weight and get in shape. Its for serious time and having a goal has made me that much more determined. You can see over there in my side bar that so far, I have lost 22lbs since January. Not bad. Slow and steady. I am officially the weight I was right after D was born. Next milestone: the weight I was before I got pregnant with D.

So, like I said I am getting ready for Spring to hit us full force. I actually have a few exciting things coming up for me personally and for RMM this year starting this Spring so that is something to look forward to as well. The problem is, Spring just doesn't seem to want to spring quite yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My 45mph Couch Potato

I've gotten a lot of questions about Bob lately. So I figured I'd address those questions, that every one seems to have, for those who are not as inclined to corner me at Petsmart/ the dog park/ by email but are still curious. Here are the top five questions I get asked:

1. "Is he fast?" 

Yes, he is very fast. In general, Greyhounds can reach speeds up to and over 45mph in under three strides. That is generally under a second. They are the second fastest animal, behind only the cheetah. Faster than a car. Faster than you. So, no, you can't take him for a run.

2. "Did he race?"

Yes, Bob is a 4 year old retired racing dog. Meaning he did, in fact, race. In Alabama. He was kind of bad at it though so he only ran a minimal amount of races. I stick to the theory that he just didn't care. If he wants to run, he can. I have never seen him chase anything though other than other dogs so my guess is the only reason he would run the races is because the other dogs were running too.

He is at his happiest when he is running though. You can see it in his face when he is running at full speed. 

3. He looks hungry. Is he sick? 

No, he is not skinny. In fact, at his current weight, he may even be a little over weight. You are supposed to be able to see his ribs in there. Greyhounds are made to be lean and muscular. Their bellies, or "tuck", is supposed to be defined and that skinny look actually means they are healthy. 

4. "Wow, he is huge! Are all greyhounds that big?"

He is very tall, yes. Probably taller than you expected. Greyhounds are not the same as a whippet or an Italian greyhound. They are much larger and built for hunting/ running where the other two are more of a pet or toy breed. However, they are all considered sight hounds. Granted, Bob is big even for a greyhound. He is taller, a little broader, and has a bigger head than the other greyhounds we have met.  Yet another clue to why he may have been slow.

5. "Is he all energetic and crazy?" 

Greyhounds, as a breed, are particularly easy dogs. They are very gentle, patient, and loyal dogs. They do not require a lot of exercise to be happy and they are definitely not overly energetic dogs. They would much rather lay around with you on the couch than do pretty much anything else. Lazy doesn't really even begin to describe it. People are always astounded by how laid back Bob is. It almost borders on indifference. He will sniff new people, accept an ear scratch, and then go back to bed like he has done a full days work. Every once in awhile he gets all crazy and will run in the yard for about a whole minute or so but then he takes a three or four hour nap, so I'm not sure if that counts. The most excited you will ever see Bob is at feeding time. Also check my reviews on best outdoor cat house, can be used for dog, rabbit and others! 

So, that's my Bob in a nutshell. If you are looking for a new pet, I hope you will consider adopting a retired Grey. They really do make the most amazing pets and because of their calm temperament, Greyhounds can make better "apartment dogs" than smaller, more active breeds like those yippie Chihuahuas that seem to be all the rage. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Staycation #ExpATL

This weekend my mother, the boys, and I are headed downtown for a weekend "away". We are spending the weekend in Atlanta, the city we spend so much time in already but never really get to see. The boys love going downtown to see all the "castles" but usually we are rushing to this or that and don't have time to stop and enjoy it.
(Image via Google)

This time we are going to just explore the city to our hearts content. See some of the sights we haven't seen, spend some time exploring the places we love, and maybe do a little relaxing while we are at it. Crazy, right? I am looking forward to it more than I probably should.

I will be starting out my weekend with some fellow Atlanta bloggers and that always makes for a great time. Here in Atlanta, we are lucky enough to have a really amazing support group of bloggers and some truly awesome PR personalities, so when we all get together, its always a lot of fun. The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is arranging for us to hang out and learn more about the Atlanta "scene" so we can all share about how completely awesome it is.

Then we will start exploring the city. Just the boys, my mother, and me that is. We are being provided a hotel room by the Sheraton so we have a place to sleep and can explore til we drop. Then, take a dip in the pool or a nice long nap. Then, we will get up and do it all over again until we have to head home.

Did I mention I'm excited? Because I so am. It will be so nice to get a few days fun in with my boys and a great opportunity to get my mother out for her (upcoming) birthday. Plus, I think we all deserve it! Be sure and check back next week and I'll share our shenanigans with you! If you don't already, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to check out what we are up to!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Its Thursday. Again.

For some reason, Thursday is always a hard day for me. Its the day that the world just seems to fall apart around me.

Monday I am fresh from the weekend. The night before I have the boys bags packed for school and usually in their car seats along with whatever myriad of coats and accouterments they will require for the day at preschool.  I get up, have my coffee, I get things done, I have energy, I have a plan. A plan to get certain things done. A menu plan carefully listed and honed down to snacks and times for the whole week.

Tuesday I usually don't do anything but finish the tasks I had planned for Monday that I inevitably didn't get done. Still, I wake up, have my coffee, follow the meal plan, and do my motherly duties with out fail.

Wednesday I usually get a little burst of steam. The week is half over! Yay! Coffee, preschool, chores, errands, rinse, wash, repeat.

Then the Thursdays hit. I'm tired. I usually forget my coffee in a last second rush to leave the house to get the boys to school. We leave the house getting dressed on the way to the car. Someone is usually crying. Usually me. My hair looks like a rats nest, I'm in my jammies, my phone is ringing incessantly. You get the idea. Everything that could go wrong, goes wrong on Thursday. Every Thursday night, I crash into bed an hour before normal time and pass out like a sack of logs.

Maybe its just the stress from the rest of the week. Maybe its because I try to do too much myself during the week (not that I have much of a choice). Maybe its the impending weekend making me weak. I have never figured it out really but without fail, Thursday is always a mess.

By Friday morning though, I am up and back at it. One more day til the weekend. I assume an I can do this attitude and somehow, hold it together until the weekend comes to bear sweet relief to us all.

Help me figure out how to beat the Thursdays! Do you have a day of the week that is harder than the others?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nickname Theory

Nicknames were kind of  source of contention around my house when I was a kid. I always kind of felt like I got jipped in the nickname department. That probably had something to do with the fact that my most used nickname was rather less than flattering and by the time I knew what my own name was, it embarrassed the dickens out of me. Of course that meant it was used more often. In public. Loudly.

It didn't hurt that I stood before the entire congregation and announced it as my given name during children's church one Sunday. I have not yet, almost 30 years later, lived that down. Moral: never hand a three year old a microphone.

At any rate, when I came of childbearing age, many years before I bore a child (aka puberty), I made a pact with myself to not ever give my kids nicknames. I was going to give them a name and use only that name for their whole entire life so that they never had to endure the torment that I felt I had endured. No chances of public humiliation there.

Of course, as I got older and realized how unreasonable it was to think that I could own so much as a sweater without giving it a nickname, I relented and promised myself I would only give them "good" nicknames. The kind that would never embarrass them. You know, things like "sunshine" or "sweetheart". 

I actually held with that pretty well with D. When we found out I was pregnant with him, we called him "beegee" until we knew that he was a he and then we called him by his name or just "sweet baby D". After he was born, he acquired the names "love bug" and "lovie" because of his sweet temperament. As he got older he grew into "wild man" and eventually "bigs" and "biggie" when he became a big brother. K gave him his newest nickname "bruba", which stuck with all of us. All of which were tame and sweet. It matches his disposition in general. Ever the lover boy that one.

Then we had K. At first, he was simply "squeakers" because of the way he squeaked when he nursed or got excited or upset or... you get the idea. He was also "snuggle butt" which eventually became "snuggle pig" which digressed to just "pigs" as he has grown. There is even a "snuggle pig" song. As if snuggle pig wasn't bad enough, he has also acquired the name of "shorty short fatty cakes" ("fatty" for short) which is a tribute to his stature. Of course he is also ever my "hulk baby". Then there is "littles" and "monster". Any one of which you would think would hurt his little ego but it doesn't bother him and to be quite frank, they suit him. My crazy, off the wall kid gets the crazy nicknames.

Obviously things have gone swiftly down hill in the nickname department. Poor K is getting jipped just like I did. Maybe its a second child thing? Or maybe its because K and I share certain personality traits that make us susceptible to those kinds of injustice? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Own Kind of Winter Wonderland

I have said over and over that Atlanta has the craziest weather patterns and this time of year is no exception. Every year it finally cools off a little in December and everyone rushes to pull out their winter coats and heavy sweaters, in theory preparing for the long harsh winter ahead. By January though, we are all back in t shirts and everyone is crying on Facebook about "where did winter go?".

Thing is, it happens every year. At least every year that I have been an Atlantan. Every year we get a crazy 70-80 degree week or two in the middle of January and every one freaks out and cries about how its going to be the hottest summer evar. They all rush to the store to start buying some new Spring clothes and flip flops and I have even heard a few people this year saying they are packing up their winter coats already.

Then, it hits us again. The 20s come sneaking back over night and smack us in the face yelling psych and every one looks a fool. Again. Every year.

This year has been no exception. It was 75 over last weekend and they are saying it will be somewhere close to 60 this coming weekend. Granted though, it does seem to be lasting a little longer than usual. This past weekend was actually the warmest on record for over a hundred years for this time of year. Which we took advantage of and spent the whole day playing outside and visiting as many parks as we could.

Still, soon we will wake up one morning and everything will be covered in frost and our car doors will be frozen shut from the lingering humidity. Who knows, maybe we will even get some snow this year. I would love for it snow a little so that I take the boys out to sled in the snow. K was rather disappointed when it didn't snow on Christmas this year like he thought it was going to. Not sure why he thought that considering its only snowed on Christmas once in the 14 years I've lived here and even that was just a dusting.

So now we wait I suppose. To see when actual winter will come and freeze us all in our tracks. Especially those crazies that are putting away their winter coats. I will wait with fingers crossed and dreams of snow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Mother's Love

Is it possible to love your children too much? It was said about me that I love my boys too much by someone I had never actually met. As odd as that seemed at the time, I take that as a compliment. My boys are my life. They are my blood. My legacy. Should they not be my biggest love?

(Via Pinterest)
I look at those little boys and all I see is love. They stole my heart at first glance and that bond has only gotten stronger as the years go by. In the most pure and powerful sense. Should I not protect that? Shouldn't I listen to my most primal instincts as a mother? To love them most and shape them into the kind of little boys that the world needs so desperately?

How else do you show a child how to love but to love them and care for them in the way you want them to treat others? As a mother, I signed up to raise them the very best way and then stand back and watch them give that love away to their own children some day.

Its a bond that is not possible to be shared with any one else. Its not the kind of thing that you can feel for a husband or a parent or even a friend. Its definitely not something you can explain to the childless. Its like that corny quote says, they are the only ones that know what my heart sounds like from the inside. We know each other, and love each other differently, because of that.

Maybe sometimes people can't differentiate the difference between the way a woman loves her children and the way she loves every one else. It doesn't mean we love anyone else less, just not the same primal kind of force. Just because love is different, doesn't mean its less.

My children are my biggest priority. They are the reason I try my best to excel even when things are so hard it literally hurts my bones. I have to make their lives amazing. I have to raise the bar of love beyond their parents childhood's and histories. I want them to have everything we had and more. Its a responsibility I signed up for when I gave birth and its not one I shrink away from. I will defend their right to not only my love but those around us just as well.

Love is a powerful thing. Love has the power to heal and nurture and to free. Its something that shouldn't be shied away from or hidden. It has the power to change the the world and who best to show it to but our children?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding Fitness Motivation

I am, by default, a fairly lazy person. I get my stuff done but then I like to relax and just hang out with the boys. We watch movies or play in the yard or read books on the couch. Not that we are sedentary, just not as active as we probably could be. As active as I should be at the very least. All you have to do is look at my wedding photos to see that.

Of course I have my "reasons" for letting myself go over the years. There are the health problems, the pregnancies, and the stress over money, jobs, kids, etc. There have been instances in my marriage that cause my self esteem to plummet, the lack of support from those close, and being generally busy keeping up with the boys. All of those things can lead you to gain weight but a big part of it is just because I simply lacked motivation.

Motivation is a tricky one for me in the corny sense of the word. I roll my eyes at motivational quotes and posters ("Nothing will taste as good as being skinny will feel"? Screw that, pass the Ben & Jerry's.). I take compliments and turn them into something I need to change. Self doubt is a big theme around here.

Thing is, I don't want my boys to see that. I don't want them to see my lack of confidence or lack of motivation and think that is how life works. If nothing else, having to scratch and claw my way out of the gutter I was left in for 2012 has taught me that sometimes, the only motivation you need is in your heart. My heart wants me to succeed for their sake but also for my own.

So, I have been taking those snippets of time when I would normally sit around and check Facebook or just dazing out into space, and lacing up the new running shoes I got for Christmas. Or encouraging the boys to do push ups with me in the bedroom floor. Or turning on some loud dance music and having a crazy dance party with glow sticks. Going outside to play with the hula hoops Aunti got the boys for Christmas. Something to get us moving, which usually leads to some other kind of shenanigan.

So far: I've lost 3lbs in 2 weeks.

Bonus: The boys love it. They love acting crazy with Mama. K loves to dance and sing and play. The running and exercises not so much, but he does make for a great, giggly weight for some of mine. Nothing like a 40lb weight on your back during a brisk walk to burn those calories! D, on the other hand, loves doing push ups and crunches with Mama and let me tell you what, he can be as discerning a personal trainer as any I have ever seen. "Do more Mama! C'mon! Don't stop now!", all the while he is pounding them out like a miniature body builder. How can I stop with him cheering me on?

How's that  for motivation? How could I not let him encourage me. They don't even know the health aspect, they just thinks its another fun thing to do with Mama. Their favorite kind of thing even. Which means that they ask to do those things with circles back around to more motivation! Heres hoping we can keep it up. If we can encourage each other, we may just make it!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Made Convenience Foods

I am a cheap person. I am also generally funny about the things my kids eat. Too many chemicals and nastiness in the world around us and I like to try to cut down on as much of it as I can. Of course  I am also a very busy single working mother. Which means that I don't have the time or wherewithal to come up with a five star hot meal for my boys on a regular basis and it would be so easy to turn to the middle store that I try so desperately to avoid for most things.

Img via RealNetta
Now, don't get me wrong, there are certain things that I will not make myself or things that it would be way more trouble or expensive than it is to just buy the store brand. Like cereal. Not going to be making my own Chex. Sorry kids.

I do, however, try to make as many things as I can to cut down on things like HFCS and artificial food dyes. Those are the two biggies for me. If it has it, I ain't buyin'. Just say no to Fruit Loops.

I had gotten kind of lax about my rules in 2012 because I simply had bigger things to worry about unfortunately. The thing is, when you are otherwise distracted or occupied, its so easy to turn back to old habits and just grab that box of premade gummies to throw at your kids as a snack. Or heat up that frozen pizza instead of having to actually think about whats for dinner.

Now though, I am back at it and I want to share with you some of the things that make our little world a better, healthier place. My goal is to post a healthy convenience food replacement every week or two but we will just have to see how all that pans out.

Of course there are a lot of big duh kind of things that I really shouldn't have to mention (but I will) to cutting out chemical laden convenience foods.

For instance:

  •  Making homemade soup or lasagna? Make two, freeze one for another day and eat one fresh. 
  • Firing up the grill? Throw a bunch of chicken breasts on there and freeze them so you will have them if you need them. 
  • Make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce at once and freeze it into a muffin tin in one cup portions and transfer them to a baggie when they are solid so all you have to do is grab as many "cups" as you need for your meal.
  • Buy your basics in bulk. Flour, sugar, quinoa, etc. Is usually much cheaper bought in bulk and you don't have to worry so much about making bigger batches of things. 
  • Butter is stupid easy to make. So is whipped cream. Get your kids in on it. Seriously.
So, that should be enough to get you started in theory. I will be back with some actual recipes for my tried and true type of home made convenience foods. Hopefully it will inspire both you and me to make more changes for the better. For the health of our families!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 List

Back story: Every year for the last 9 years, I have had a list of things to accomplish. For the last 3 I have blogged about them for you all to see, learn from, or hold against me (20102011, 2012). Hopefully more the last two than the last. Still, the premise is simple: 12 things, 12 months, 12 posts.

Last year, I did not complete my list. It makes me really sad to admit that but I suppose you win some, you lose some. Last year was not what I had expected of it any way. In reality, there were only tow things that I missed though and that isn't too bad considering. I didn't get to have my dinner party and we didn't go on a family bike ride. Rules are rules though and since they didn't happen last year, they get tagged on to the 2013 list.

This year, though, I decided to make the focus of my yearly list a little different. I want to focus on more lifestyle things. Things that will better my boys and I in the long run versus smaller things that are fun to do in the moment. If that makes sense. You can see that I have a few things on this years list that will be harder on my heart, both mentally and physically, than I will ever admit but I know that they have to happen. Of course there are things that we will have considerable fun doing as well.

1. Get divorced. Officially. It breaks me to admit that where I was so desperately in love this time last year, I am simply prepared for the end of my marriage. To move on.

2. Get a working vehicle. The van that we bought when I wrecked my old van is in T's name and is not in safe, working order. He won't fix it and I won't fix someone elses car. Stalemate. The boys and I need transportation and soon.

3. Make more connections in the blogging world. Fact is: I love doing it and its something fulfilling that pays me back in its own off beat ways. I would love to attend a blogging conference or two. In fact, I may already have one on the line. Cheating? Maybe. And? Still exciting and still hasn't happened yet so it makes the list.

4. Get K involved in a sport or activity of some sort. My poor littles is so very clumsy but I really think he would just adore doing something outside the house. D had this spot on the 2012 List but this year it is K's turn. Of course I will continue to keep D in T-ball but soccer just wasn't his thing.

5. Get my life organized! I am in serious need of getting my life in order. We have moved so many times in the last 8 years that everything has been shuffled around in boxes and not looked at since. Its time to pull out those boxes and do some serious housekeeping. Everything from papers to decorations to toys needs to be sorted and put back in its proper place.

6. Get my sewing machine fixed. This is a big one for me. I have mentioned it before but I am a rather tall lady. Tall = no store bought clothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I would love to be able to make myself some girly skirts and tops that would actually be long enough. Its a stupidly simple thing that would mean a lot to me at least.

7. Train for a marathon. Yes, me. The arthritic, helpless old lady. More and more I am reading and being told by doctors that taking back up my old habit of running might actually do some good on these old bones. Add in the bonus of having more energy and a clearer mind state and I can't resist. As far as actually running a marathon, I would love to but I can't exactly financially commit to something that I might not be able to complete. Who knows though, maybe it will happen!

8. Take my boys on a trip by myself. It be Chattanooga or Black Rock we need an adventure to help center us back on each other. Without distractions or interference.

9. Take a class to better myself. Self defense seems like a logical choice but I would also love to renew my CPR/ First Aid certification or take a photography class of some sort. Who knows what it will end up being but I want it to definitely be something that will have impact.

10. Cut out caffeine. For about 10 years when I was in high school and beyond, I had cut out caffeine completely. It literally wasn't until D was born that I started drinking it again and it has slowly taken over again. I know its bad for me and I know its going to be so hard to cut out but I really think it will make me feel better to just cut it out.

11. Go on a family bike ride. Of course, everyone but me has a bike though so this is kind of a two part type deal. First: Buy me a bike. Second: Family bike ride. Bonus: Take a picnic. (2012 leftover)

12. Host a dinner party. I don't care if its just a few people or a hundred. The last gathering we had at our house was after a funeral and its time to correct that juju. Plus, its time to put some of those Pinterest ideas to work! (2012 leftover)

So what do you think? Think we will be able to get it all done? Say no so its more of a challenge. Heh. Here we go ladies and gents, lets render this mama to the moon!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Its finally over! 2012 has come to a merciful end! Maybe you don't feel that way but I am glad its over. Its been a long on with lots of heartache and I am ready to get on with life and get this year behind me. Only way to go is up, right?

The year in review:

(Image Via Google)

September: My Boys Turned Three and Five

November: I Spoke About Love and Thankfulness

I am thoroghly looking forward to 2013. A year of re-birth for me and the boys. Its time to make this life awesome. Are you coming?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Big Kitchen Re-Vamp

Late to the game, I finally got my kitchen in order. That means number two of the 2012 List is complete! To be fair though, I did not get as much done as I would have liked. I really wanted to be able to redecorate from the ground up but considering I have had three kitchens in the last year I'm just glad I still have all my silverware.

Of course I also made the big switch to cast iron this year too. There are a few more pieces that I want to collect but otherwise, I have literally not looked back. The dishes I had, we got as a wedding present from my mother. Most of them have broken in the many moves we have made over the last 8 years. We had such a modge podge of dinnerware left, it was time to do something. As for design, they weren't bad, they were just old and boring. Not exactly my style either.

I have always loved a more Tuscan style to a kitchen. Yellows and burgandys and such. If I had my way, I would paint my cabinets a dark red and my walls a pale yellow. Something tells me my landlord would be pissed though. Maybe some day.

Anyway, last week one of my relatives asked what I needed for the house and I told him plates. Oh lord, please plates. He told me to pick something out I liked and email him the link. I knew I needed something sturdy but also something fairly cheap because I do, after all, have two little boys.

Yesterday, I hit the stores in search of some new plates but couldn't find anything that I even kind of liked in person. I did finally find a set that took my breath away at Target though. Its not exactly the colors I had in mind but it is still within what I had expected.   After I had emailed him the link, I went to the store-that-shall-not-be-named and picked up some pretty handtowels to go with the pretty plates and am calling it done. I already had glasses, silverware and pot holders, plus the decorative stuff, so that helped of course. I haven't gotten the plates in yet (obviously) but I am excited about how it has all come together! Who knows, maybe I will find some time to paint al least the kitchen walls yet.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Train Fanatics

Little boys love trains. It seems to be something that they are born knowing about. My boys were no exception. They got their first train table last year for Christmas and have played with it pretty much every day since. Until we moved into the new place. Also check my reviews on best kids outdoor playhouse!

And now the whole living room is the train station. They will spend an hour every morning laying out the tracks making bridges and loops and weaving the tracks in and out of the furniture.

Then, they place their little hearts out. Lately all trains have become the Polar Express but sometimes they take turns as the Dinosaur Train or Thomas.

The best part is watching them play together. They work as a team building and playing and there is just nothing more heart warming to me. They have always played together like a dream but something about this particular game makes it even more amazing.

Then, they clean it up without a fuss before lunch and then gain before bed. They are really loving being able to redo the track every day so that helps. Its never ending fun.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Holiday Visit to @StoneMtnPark Christmas #WW

"Forever Christmas" Show
Cookie Decorating is serious business.

Oh, the lights!

The beautiful Snow Angel

 Everyone in the room got the giggles at K's hostage face.


Better but still a hostage. We are getting there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kicking Off the Holidays

Last week we did our very first Christmas type adventure. I found out from a friend on Facebook that Marietta was having a Christmas kickoff party complete with tree lighting and Santa's arrival and it sounded low key enough to get things started. So after nap time, we took off down to the square with my father to check out the fun.

The very first thing that the boys noticed was the old fashioned fire truck they had parked out on the street. They weren't allowed to climb up in the truck but they did have fun getting their picture taken. Even thought they don't look like it particularly. I took 5 pictures and this was the best one. *sigh*


  After that, we checked out some of the other activities and such they had. The kids choirs singing on the stage was fun to watch but the boys got bored. So, we headed over to the train playground but we weren't able to stay there long. Mostly because of safety. There were a million big kids climbing all over it and I was afraid the boys would get knocked down.
(Click to enlarge)

Then we went and took some pictures in front of the tree and got in line for Santa. Where we waited. And waited. And waited. I have to admit though, he was a particularly good Santa so I can understand why the line took forever. He spent time talking to all of the kids individually and they boys were in awe. Well, D was in awe. K stood there looking like he was being held hostage like he did in all of his Santa pictures last year.

At any rate, we had a good time and got to see Santa and the boys got to spend some time with their Grandpa. All things that the boys love doing. Can't beat that for a first of season kick off!


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