Friday, November 25, 2011

No matter how far away you roam

There's no place like home for the holidays…

These last couple years have been hard, to say the least. I'm a small town girl, close knit family girl. Two Decembers ago, I moved 1500 miles away from all of my friends, all of my family, and everything I had ever known. I knew I'd be okay, I had my hubby… but it was still hard. Add to the mix that I was about 10 weeks pregnant with the first grandbaby.. I said goodbye to everyone, but I had no idea that I was really saying, "Goodbye."
It was not an easy transition I'll be honest. I had no friends and only a few of Thomas's family members. I didn't know where to make friends, or who to even talk to because who would understand what I was going through? A single person? No. A married woman with no children? No. A mother? No… I was none of these. I was in between, and… I was tired..and lonely…and shy. I didn't know where to go. Three months after we moved my grandfather passed away. He had Alzheimers, so we sort of lost him a few years back, but it didn't take away the sting.. It just made going home…different. It wasn't the same place I left. In the next few months, it was like the ball had just started rolling and it wasn't stopping. I lost my other grandfather, and I wasn't able to go back home for that funeral…and that hurt. But it didn't stop there, I lost my grandmother a few months after that..and I was left with only one grandmother. Sometime in this mix we welcomed our sweet baby boy into the world and he has blessed us more than I could have ever imagined. About 6 months after Jackson was born I FINALLY started to make friends and feel at home here. I love it here.. Honestly, I do. I like my friends and I am comfortable. By far the hardest part of these last two years was losing my Dad. I've dealt with it and I know he is at peace and no longer a slave to his earthly body and is HAPPY now…but, I still really miss him. I still wish he were here and that I could hug him, and when something big happens, I just want to call him and tell him. And holidays….are pretty much the worst..

When I was growing up we used to have BIG family holidays with all of our extended family and we would all spend the night at my grandparents and have a huge meal and then sleep in the next day and wake up and do what else??? Eat a big breakfast of course! Isn't that what the holidays are about? Eating?!? No, just me?!?! Okay, well… I think they are! As we got older and our family got bigger and everyone kind of spread apart and moved to different places, we started to do holidays with just our immediate family. I LOVED holidays with just was fun, it was intimate, and we could stay in our pajamas all day! We would spend all day laughing and cooking. My dad was in charge and he would divide up the jobs…my sister did the stuffing mainly because she loooooves stuffing! My brother did the basting of the turkey, and always ended up peeling the potatoes, the job everyone hated. We all had jobs and we all worked together and just laughed. We ate turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and rolls, all smothered in glorious, rich, wonderful gravy that my mom was the QUEEN of.. oh…and…cranberry sauce..but, really, no one ever ate it. And we fought over the turkey skin. And we drank sparkling apple cider, even when we were over 21… because it's just fun. And we drank it out of fancy glasses…in our pajamas.

While I am so grateful for my husband's family and love spending time with them and holidays with them.. I miss this. And it's killing me that we'll never get to do this again. So, all I can do is move forward, as this grief process goes I suppose….I hope that one day I can raise my family and start a tradition of sleeping in, staying in your pajamas, and spending the day crammed in the kitchen together…laughing. And….eating. Lots and lots of eating.

the end

ps, I kind of want another baby :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ten Times Smarter

These last two days have been interesting! We are trying to budget and stop spending so much on unnecessary things, so we stayed home the last two days and didn't go anywhere in effort to not spend! I usually try to get out once a day to avoid cabin fever since we live in the sticks…but I always end up spending money because what else am I going to do?! So anyway, I've been at home just playing with Jackson and it just really has hit me how SMART he is getting! These last 15 months have just flown by and I guess I still think of him as my wittle baby! But….he's not so wittle anymore. He's a big boy. And I am noticing it more and more every day. The things he does AMAZE me. It's just incredible to think that last year he was in my belly wriggling around and then he was here and all he did was nurse, poop, sleep, and cry…with an emphasis on the first two not so much the last two. And now here he is, my big boy running around. He has great balance, and he climbs everything which used to freak me out, but now I just let him because he *usually* catches himself. He knows when he sees me going for the diapers that it's time to RUN and HIDE. I literally have to chase him throughout the house diaper in hand, and often..he's already naked and pees on the floor. But, he cracks me up and I think it's so cute to see that little butt running away and laughing that I usually entertain the idea and pretend to chase him for about 10 minutes….inevitably ending up in a soaked carpet. Oh well. Yesterday he was running around the house and one of his pant legs was up by his knee…he took a few steps and then reached down and pulled that pant leg back down. Wait, did he really just do that??? Himself?? With no fuss or even asking me to do it? Noooo…. I know this is menial, but it was just a little reminder that he doesn't need me as much anymore :( Soon he will start needing me less and less and there's nothing I can do but just know that it meansI'm doing my job right. After that happened, I swear he got ten times smarter. It was like, everything just clicked on and he wasn't a baby anymore.. he is a smart kid. I noticed little things that he was doing that just astonished me. He shook his head no when I asked if he wanted something. He doesn't eat his turkey at lunch because he knows that after the turkey he gets the cheese…bring on the cheese Mom…Easton will eat this! When he sees me grab a bottle of water he looks for his sippy cup. He goes over to the hat rack and says "Hat" which is probably the BIGGEST thing for me. For a long time people have been asking what words he is saying and what his first word was and I just kind of explained that he doesn't really say words yet, he just has his own language and occasionally he will use the right word, but never repeatedly. Well folks…he knows the word "hat" and he uses it every time he sees a hat. He also asks, "hot?" every night when he gets in the bath. Jackson is an interesting bear, because he is very smart and I swear he knows things but just chooses not to be a performer. Every time he did something new I would try to show my mother in law and of course, he never did it. He just chooses not to do what we ask on's not his style! For a while he has been doing this when we ask about body parts. But not today, today he sat on Daddy's lap and pointed to every single one. Amazing I tell you, simply…amazing.


October is pretty much…the best month ever. Lots of birthdays and the settling in of fall which means new spices, recipes, pretty decor, and halloweeeeen!! We had a really fun October this year!
I already posted about all of our fun fall stuff and the recipes I tried. By the way, the MOST incredible pumpkin recipe I tried was BY FAR these cupcakes. DELISH! I literally piped the buttercream frosting into my mouth, I am not ashamed to admit it. Try this recipe…now…seriously. I'm gonna make it for Thanksgiving!
We kicked off the month with a visit to Dewberry Farms! I really, REALLY wanted to go last year but every weekend we had something going on and we never got to go! I still wish we could have because although we had a blast this year and Jackson was old enough to appreciate it, there was so much we didn't get to see because all he wanted to do was run around(story of my life). Originally I had planned to go with a group of friends, but we ended up only going with Cole, Kelli, and Millie, which was SO fun! We had a great time and it was great to spend time with them! 

We picked the perfect pumpkin! It was really big and shaped perfectly and had a beautiful stem and most of all, we were SURE it was filled with lots of seeds for roasting! We didn't carve it until my birthday, which was on the 25th. I was so excited cutting into that thing and I wanted Jackson to help, but he didn't really care. After a struggle to get that top off, I pulled it, ready to view my prize and…..dun dun dun…about 15 seeds in the whole thing. Seriously?! Pshhh, oh well. 

For my birthday it was pretty low key, we just hung out at home, carved our pumpkin, played outside, and then we went out to dinner with my mother-in-law and her husband which was super fun and absolutely delicious! Jackson was such a good boy, he ate his mac and cheese in the fancy restaurant and we had a booth so he just…discretely made a mess! 
So, the next week it was on to Thomas's birthday!!! It was the BIG THREE OH! So we celebrated it big! I had been planning his birthday for months and was SO excited, I mean, I was more excited for his birthday than for mine! So, the day before his party, he gets a phone call…he has to work.! I was livid!!! And there was nothing he could do to get out of it! One of his coworkers had a "photo shoot" that night so she couldn't work which meant he got called in. Seriously??? Ohhhh my goodness I wanted to hurt that woman!! Then she posts on his facebook "Hope it's a great day!!" It took everything inside of me not to comment on that one!!! ERRRRGGG!! So, we did what we could and we moved the time up, which meant a lot of people couldn't make it, and he had to leave after a couple hours and go straight to work but…we made it work! It was 80's themed since he was born in '81! Here are the photos!

Jackson helped me put up the banner…okay, he was really just grabbing the christmas lights, which yes, were hot, and he would grab them and go "ow" and then grab again. 

I tried to remember all of the cool shows Thomas liked in the 80's and I made some little posters of them for the tables. Alf!!!

I got a bunch of 80's candy from Party City and it was a huge hit! Amazing how it can bring you back to childhood! I found the slinkys at Michaels along with the hackey sacks (Thomas loved hackey sack!) and some glow sticks.

Everyone dressed up! Here's the birthday boy!


I found these old 80's VHS movies at Goodwill and just set them on the tables as decor! Ducktales was T's favorite cartoon!

The cake I made, not bad for my first try! I've never made cakes before, it's a lot of fun but devastating when something goes wrong! (Notice the smashed side) I also found some old cassette tapes at Goodwill and painted then neon green and orange, I used the leftover paint to splatter onto my white platter which made it more fun!

Drake was the star of the party! He was Top Gun! Such a cutie lovebug!

I made this 30 out of old photos of Thomas. It was fun to see the progression of his life and make fun of him with embarrassing photos! But, what's a party for if not to embarrass you!? It was kind of a lot of work to make all of the copies and then make them fit on the cardstock, but it was worth it! 

Anyway, I have been thinking lately that I REALLY would like to get into party planning. I have SO much fun doing it and I think they always turn out pretty cute? I just think I would be really good at it, but…how do you get into that?? Anyway, if anybody wants a party planner…let me know! haha.

So, onto Halloween! I had really wanted to make or at least semi-make his costume, but it was just a really busy month and I had a lot on my plate. I also really wanted to do a theme with Jackson and his friends, but… was busy. Friends to the rescue! My wonderfully sweet friend, Brandi happened to be at a Once Upon a Child and found 3 animal costumes for super cheap and snatched em up! She even came up with the idea of us being zookeepers so that it was a theme! What a great lady! So, we made some cute shirts and voila!

My cute boys!

Ribbit ribbit!

I seriously had THE best time on Halloween! This was the first time that the three of us had all hung out WITH our husbands! It was like being a kid again, just a big group of us walking around the neighborhood knocking on doors and surveying the candy and just laughing…lots and lots of laughing. I think it was kicked off by the first house..We all walk up to the door with the kids and the lady hands out three pieces of candy in each of the kid's bags and then she looks at me and says, "And where's your bag?" O.M.G. Thanks lady…. And so the night went :) One of the most fun nights of my entire year hands down! And all of that candy! YUM!!! It's definitely almost all gone!
Happy Hallerween!