December Phone Pics

I'm realizing as I get ready to write this post that a lot of these pictures could (and probably should) have been included in my Christmas post, but oh well.  Where do you draw the line between the two?  Isn't just about all of December about Christmas?

I started out the month by joining three friends to complete a 10K for St. Jude!  We raised our money, did absolutely NO training, and showed up ready to walk.  Or at least that's what I was ready to do.  I had absolutely no intentions of doing anything other than walking, until the took off running and left me!  I jogged to keep up but I was not prepared for that!  They didn't run the whole time - thank the Lord! - and I somehow managed to A) keep up with them and B) not die, so I call it a success!

 Ready to go! 

Ready to go! 

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Somewhere along the route...

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And, finally, past the finish line!

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The kids and I joined friends one evening on a trip to see the Christmas lights at the zoo.  It was cold but we had fun!

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A few days later we joined most of the town to watch the Christmas parade.  Our church serves chili and cinnamon rolls beforehand so it's like dinner and an event! :)

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We had our annual Christmas dinner with the Cooks and Earls where I introduced them to a staple snack from my childhood - Chicken In A Biscuit crackers with potted meat (yes, you read that correctly) and squeeze cheese.  Gotta be honest, I didn't know if I would be able to stomach it as an adult.   Matt refused to try it but everyone else was brave.  

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Final verdict?  Not as awful as it sounds.  Not like scrumptiously delicious by any means, but something you could eat if you had to.  

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As I mentioned in my Christmas post, my brother's kids received a new puppy - miniature dachshund - for Christmas.  My parents kept Stella for a week before they received her, and we even got to babysit her for a little while one night! 

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This year, we had two cuties in the Christmas program at school and we had 50% actual participation in singing the songs.  Katie Wynn rocked it out and Thomas took her job from last year of just standing there. 

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There's a new hospital being built in our town and we got to sign the beam that will be placed on top.  So cool to know our signatures will always be up there!

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These kiddos were excited to be out of school after their Christmas parties wrapped up!

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To wrap up this post, here are a bunch of snapshots from our two weeks at home together!

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I love that they both popped a foot in these pictures!  That's all them - I didn't tell them to do it at all.  Such little models! :)

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Now, onward to 2018!

November Phone Pics

November started off right where we left off from Halloween - with one more day of costumes.  Since the kids attend a Catholic preschool, they don't have a Halloween party.  Instead, they have one on All Saints Day, which is November 1st.  Instead of traditional Halloween costumes, they're supposed to dress up as a Saint.  Lucky for us, lots of Saints were physicians so their doctor costumes still worked.  Thomas's class party was in the morning and I was happy to get to go and have breakfast with him.

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And apparently I'm a sucker because he totally convinced me to bring him home with me after the party, so I had a little helper at the Mint Tulip headquarters all day.

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I didn't get a picture with Katie Wynn at her party that afternoon.  Since Matt and I were their "patients" for Halloween, I had ordered an ace bandage.  Suddenly, we had lots of "injuries" at our house that required a bandage.  Exhibit A:

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Matt's parents' kept the kids one night while we went out and gave them fun new pjs.  Katie Wynn received some fairy pjs complete with a flower head band and tutu skirt while Thomas's green ones came with dragon wings and ears. 

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When you have new wings, you gotta do some flying.

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Last year for Christmas, I received a gift card to Von Jet Silhouettes and I finally got around to spending it this fall.  In November, I finally received my silhouettes and I LOVE them!  Here are the pictures that I submitted:

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And here are the wooden sihouettes I received! 

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I carried them all around the house for about a week before settling on the entry hall.  I love that I can see them through the dining room when I'm in the kitchen.  Can't believe I took so long to get them ordered!

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One weekday, we had a really BIG agenda - doctor and dentist appointments for both kids!  For most parents, this probably isn't a big deal.  And the doctor part wasn't really for us either.  But the dentist.  OH, the dentist.  This was Thomas's first time to go so I didn't know how he would do, but his sister?  She is absolutely TERRIFIED of the dentist.  I have taken her 4-5 times already and every time ends in tears.  For both of us.  And her teeth have never actually been cleaned.  So this time, I had a plan.  Mimi was coming with us and we had promised them they would get to go to Build-A-Bear if they had their teeth cleaned.  

I just can't really put into words how the visit went.  Thomas let the dentist look in his mouth but that's it.  Katie Wynn melted down again before even making it to the chair.  We have tried EVERYTHING.  After lots of coaxing and begging and tear-wiping, I finally was able to make her open her mouth enough for the dentist to barely peek inside.  No cleaning or polishing or flossing.

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And again, I'm a sucker because I still let them go to Build-A-Bear.  Truthfully, Mom and I were kinda excited to go to Build-A-Bear ourselves!  I had only been once years and years ago and she had never been.  And I didn't realize until that day that the kids had never been to a mall before.  "You mean there's a whole bunch of stores we can go to without getting back in the car?"  Yup.  

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After such a hard morning (these trips to the dentist really are so exhausting and gut-wrenching and frustrating and wear us all out) that it was nice to have an afternoon of just saying YES.  We said yes to unnecessary Build-A-Bear accessories...

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We said yes to the little mall ride...

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And we said yes to the big carousel.  

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Do you know what a scary morning followed by a super fun afternoon does to two kids?  This:

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It was a quiet car ride home, to say the least.  

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we took our annual long weekend trip down to the beach with my parents.  The kids are getting to be champs at the long car ride.  

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I didn't take many pictures - these are from an afternoon we spent in Seaside after painting pottery.  

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Here are some from one evening at the Hub.

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Since this is Matt's parents' first year to live here, we had our first (hopefully annual) Thanksgiving brunch at their house.  It was delicious!

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I bought the game Guess Who for the little kids.  Matt and Wyatt couldn't put it down one night, even after the little kids went to bed...

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Here are more random pictures from throughout the month.

 When she dresses herself...

When she dresses herself...

 He asked me to take this picture of him.  :)

He asked me to take this picture of him.  :)

 Playing at a really awesome playground!  

Playing at a really awesome playground!  

 Modeling for Mint Tulip.

Modeling for Mint Tulip.

 How I found him asleep in his bed!

How I found him asleep in his bed!

 Trip to the doctor. :(

Trip to the doctor. :(

 Playing in the bath.

Playing in the bath.

 Wouldn't nap in his bed...fell asleep on the floor in our room instead.

Wouldn't nap in his bed...fell asleep on the floor in our room instead.

 Red Ringpop Renegades! 

Red Ringpop Renegades! 

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Since November was kinda early in the month this year, our first Christmas event fell in November.  This was our first year to actually get to attend Christmas on the Square and we loved it!  The kids both loved getting to ride the train, and Thomas talked to Santa!

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Check back soon; I can't wait to tell you about our trip to Branson where we got to ride on the Polar Express!  

October Phone Pics

We welcomed October in with a front porch full of pumpkins!  

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One day I picked my favorite girl up early from school so that we could get a treat and a hair cut.  I wonder how I got so lucky to be her mama!  We had fun walking the downtown streets together and you know I was thrilled when she asked me to take her picture.  :)

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Is there anything better than a nice Saturday morning with breakfast on the back patio?

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The first weekend of the month, I jetted out of town for a girls' weekend.  I had the best time with some of my favorite girlfriends in Little Rock.  Allison graciously hosted us at her parents' place, and it did not disappoint!

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We ended our weekend with brunch and mimosas and it was so good! I had cinnamon toast crunch encrusted french toast.  Yes.  It was delicious!

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Thomas got a boo-boo on his middle finger and he really liked showing it to me. 

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Red-ribbon week at school meant the kids had to wear crazy socks.  Katie Wynn and Addi Clare shared the same socks they wore last year! 

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Take a look at these muscles!  No wonder no one ever messes with us when we're out and about.

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My little loves did some modeling for me.  I think they're getting better and better at it!

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 Guest models, Mimi and Bren!

Guest models, Mimi and Bren!

Now, on to November!

September Phone Pics

With all the time spent on building our handmade hideaway (seriously, ALL the time), you'd think we weren't able to squeeze anything else into September.  But somehow we did.  And here are the pictures to prove it. 

This first picture is one of my favorites.  As I've already shared, we had family pictures taken on Labor Day weekend.  I was trying to plan out each of our outfits before picture day and needed to try Thomas's new shorts on him to make sure they fit.  It was his idea to lay down with the other outfits to make sure he looked okay with them.  :)  Sure do love this little guy.

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We went to a Friday night football game to root for the home team!  This was our first time taking the kids to see a game at my alma mater.  Pretty sure they were just there for the popcorn. 

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How is it that every month I wind up with Katie Wynn and her chocolatey mouth on my phone?  She is so neat eating except when it comes to chocolate!

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I got to have a mid-week morning date with my favorite little guy.  Unfortunately for him, it was because he had a doctor's appointment.  And we squeezed in a big boy haircut too.  

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Speaking of mid-week dates, my Mom and I got to have one too!  We hit the road midday one Wednesday to drive to Little Rock for a little shopping and then a cookie decorating class!

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I was so busy playing with icing that the picture above is the only one I took.  Everyone in the class got to decorate six cookies.  Ours don't look so bad from a distance.  :)  Notice they are not shown next to the instructor's set! 

 My set of cookies

My set of cookies

 Mom's set of cookies

Mom's set of cookies

Our kids go to Mass every Friday morning at the Catholic preschool they attend.  And for whatever reason, after Mass Father Charles draws pictures on the kids' hands and arms...with sharpie.  Every mother's nightmare.  He's known for drawing Snoopy.  One Friday I picked Katie Wynn up and asked her what she had drawn that morning and she told me all about her Snoopy, heart, and "S in jail."  What?!  I had to look at her arm to see what she was talking about.  A dollar sign, y'all.  $  "S in jail." Ha!

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Speaking of preschool, Matt and I got to join the kids for a pizza lunch in the cafeteria the day before Katie Wynn's birthday.  I love having the flexibility to do this now that I'm not tied to my desk job! 

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Later that night, we had Katie Wynn's birthday dinner where she got to blow out her first set of candles.  We put her to bed one last time as a four year old!

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The tradition at our house is that on the morning of your birthday, you wake up to balloons!  The number of balloons equals the age that you're turning.  The kids have definitely caught on to this tradition and LOVE seeing the balloons when they wake up!

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We also provided the sanctuary flowers on the Sunday of KW's birthday weekend in her honor.  I told the florist to do a colorful bouquet with lots of orange since it's her favorite color.  They came through!  (Photo taken after church when we were taking the flowers to our car.)

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We showed up to our church's fall festival one Saturday and go figure that all the kids were in matching Hogs shirts with red gingham shorts!  

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We spent lots of time during the month visiting different playgrounds too.  

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And that's a wrap on another fun month!

August Phone Pics

The biggest thing that happened in August 2017 doesn't have a single picture to show for it...I retired from my job of 12 years.  For the last five years, I had been working part time - just three days a week - but knew that an end would eventually come.  With kindergarten rapidly approaching for Katie Wynn and no good option for after school care, we knew that me not working once she started school would be a good solution.  With some leadership changes at work combined with me not feeling fulfilled there anymore and with Mint Tulip steadily growing by the day, we decided now would be just as good a time as any to walk away from my accounting job.  I gave a 3 month notice to help make it through year-end and while there were days that it felt like my last day would never come, when it finally did, I felt pretty sad.  July 31st was my last day to work and I ended up staying past 4:30 in the afternoon.  I guess it's safe to say I had a hard time walking out the door one last time.  Thankfully I had plans with friends afterwards to celebrate to help get me through the evening!  Most of the month was spent with me trying to figure out my new role as a "stay at home Mom" that stays really busy working at her embroidery business with her mom.  

Since we had two weeks between me leaving work and pre-school starting back up for the kids, I had helpers in the sewing room on multiple occasions.  I try to find ways to keep the kids busy so Mom and I can attempt to get work done.  One afternoon, I set Katie Wynn up with some watercolor painting projects, and I love how they turned out!

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One afternoon we drove to the river park to have a picnic.  Both Mimi and Lala joined us!

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And we were able to spend several sweaty afternoons at the playground.

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I could (and probably should?) write a whole post full of pictures going teetee in inappropriate places.

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The week before school, we joined up with some of our best buddies and had a donut/muffin/juice stand to benefit the sick kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  We set up our stand at one of the busiest intersections in our neighborhood between 7:30 and 9:30 and the kids ended up making close to $500 for the hospital!  They seemed to really enjoy doing it too - when they weren't eating all the donuts.  Maybe we'll make it an annual event!

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My sister-in-law, Beth, took a counseling job at a new school this year and with it, she got both an office and a classroom.  I offered to help with the bulletin boards in her classroom, something I'd never really done before but it sounded like a fun project.  The biggest "bulletin board" was actually a chalkboard that she wanted to cover, so all the paper had to be taped instead of stapled into it.  And it was huge!  As the school counselor, she would be teaching students the seven habits of leaders and requested a "leader in me" theme bulletin board.  This is what I came up with, and Mom helped me pull it off.  

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The "faces" of the kids are made of a reflective adhesive vinyl, meant to act as a mirror to show their own reflections.  We tried to make kids of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  The words on their shirts are the characteristics of leaders.  And no, they don't have arms.

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Since that big bulletin board had a lot going on and took a LONG time for us to finish, we kept the one behind her desk sweet and simple, but still full of color!

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The colors in the confetti look awesome with the fabric we bought to skirt her desk area in. Mom also made matching curtains for her window.  Beth inherited the room from a male coach that didn't do much cleaning or decorating.  Hopefully it feels fresher and cleaner and brighter and is a good place to teach in!

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Speaking of school, we had open house at St. Michael's where we learned that Katie Wynn and her three buddies (missing Mason in picture below) would be in the same class again. 

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Thomas is old enough for pre-school now and he got Mrs. Gladys as his teacher.  That's who Katie Wynn had last year and we absolutely love her!  Thomas was a little bit nervous about meeting her.  

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We dressed in apple outfits the Sunday before school started and the kids got to take their backpacks to have them blessed for a good school year.

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The big first day was on a Wednesday and everyone was excited to have on their uniforms and new backpacks!

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Katie Wynn grew some independence on the way to school and declared that she didn't need me to walk her in.  And that she could just take Thomas to his class.  Uh uh, sister.  No way am I just staying in the car on the first day of school!  I definitely thought I had until at least middle school before this happened??  She compromised by letting me take her picture outside her classroom in the gym.  

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Thomas was full of tears as I left him in his room and it made me so sad.  I knew he would be fine and Mrs. Gladys would take care of him, but it sure made it hard for me to walk out the door!

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I peeped into Katie Wynn's classroom to make sure she made it inside ok and she gestured for me to come in.  Probably because everyone else's Mom was there too.  I'm so glad one of the other Mom's asked to take our picture so that she cooperated for us to take one!

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Mrs. Gladys sent me a picture of a smiling, happy Thomas within an hour of me leaving, so it made me feel much better about leaving him.  I was eager to pick them up that afternoon to hear how their days went and they both had great days!  We celebrated with friends and ice cream cones.

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Maybe we did lots of after-school celebrating those first couple of weeks because Katie Wynn had a lot of chocolate mustaches.

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Getting used to pre-school was exhausting for Thomas!  He pretty much fights sleep every day so he has to be really, REALLY tired to fall asleep on the couch.  

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School started back for the big kids too which means Friday night football games.  Matt took Katie Wynn to the first game while Thomas and I stayed back and rested after his hospital visit.  She loves watching Katie Wynn cheer on the sidelines.

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The month of August is when I discovered my new love of mowing the yard.  We inherited a riding mower from Matt's parents when they moved into our island house and I had no idea how fun it is to cruise around the yard!  Especially when your wine glass has a lid and can come with you.  :)

I also bought myself a letterboard that has been fun to play with.  It hangs by the back door so I use it to leave messages for anyone coming in.  

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Matt and I had a fun adult night out celebrating our friend Darrin's birthday.  We started at the Old Dominick Distillery for a tour and it was a really cool experience. 

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After touring the distillery the offer tasting samples of all the spirits they make there.  We toasted to Old Dominick hanging on the wall.  They also have a rooftop bar and patio for having cocktails and, in our case, taking photos with their props.

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We followed the tour with dinner at Catherine and Mary's.  It was mine and Matt's first time to eat there and the food did not disappoint!  We had good company too.  

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August brought lots of change - no job for me, new school for Thomas, new class for Katie Wynn - and also lots of firsts - first muffin/juice stand, first hospital visit, first distillery tour, first bulletin board decorating, first day of school - and it all made for a really good month.  Here's hoping for a year's worth of good school days for the kids, and more adult nights out for Mom and Dad!