Friday, January 02, 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Goals

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I wasn't sure if I was going to "do" goals this year or not. Not because they haven't been helpful in past years. Or because I don't think I'll follow through (I've released myself from that pressure anyway). But more just because I wasn't sure what I wanted them to be this year. I had to stop and think about it. As always, I consulted last year's goals as a reference. And this is what I came up with for 2015 (kind of on the fly...but I like the list):

1. Be generous. Make a difference in the lives of others. I don't have concrete ideas in place for this, but sometimes they materialize and I just want to say "yes" to the opportunities.

2. Keep reading. I surpassed my goal of two books per month this past year. In fact, I doubled that amount. And I loved it. I'd just like to simply keep reading.

3. Complete some photo books. For the love....I'd really, really like to actually do this. If it means taking a season "off" from photography (business, not personal), then I might have to do that. Or reading slightly less books? 

4. Knowing when to say "Yes" and "No." And I should add...without guilt. For me, I think this means saying "yes" to building Legos and going to the park. And "no" to other things that I sometimes do out of guilt or because I think I have to.

5. Teach Life Skills. To my boys, I mean (cooking, cleaning, laundry). They are on their way, but I realize that I have to be really intentional in this area. My default is to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible. And it is WAY too easy for me to just do it for them. Definitely easier (and faster) than teaching them and giving them the space to learn. But that's sort of my job as their mom. 

6. Travel. With the kids. With Casey. Doesn't matter where...I just want to go. We already have some plans set for this next year, but I want to add at least one more trip to our agenda. 

7. Be active. I'm thinking that this year, I'd like to make sure I go outside more with the boys. Explore the trails around our house more. Bring Duke along for some longer walks. I don't know. I'm just thinking about integrating this more into my every day routine. Nothing concrete, just be active.

8. Organize the garage. I will reward myself with something when this is done. I don't know what. But, I do know that I am constantly putting it off. It's already been a year. It's time. Heaven help me. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

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I think it's fun to reflect on the year that is about to come to a close. So, here I sit on the last day of 2014 thinking about all that we did and all that happened this year. We really had a great year.

We closed on our new house in January. 

My mom and I went to Charleston in March. (1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4)

Right when we got back from Charleston, we moved into our new house (finally).

We went to Disneyland, which may be my favorite thing we did the whole year. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Ethan went to (day) camp for the first time while Logan and I (and our friends) puttered around Abilene for the week.

The boys took swim lessons again and Logan learned how to swim on his own this year!

Casey and I went to St. Thomas, which may be my second favorite thing we did the whole year. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

We spent a weekend at the lake house with the Cookes.

The boys started a new year of school. (Ethan, Logan)

Ethan played baseball for the first time.

We went to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Texan, which was a new Christmas activity for us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Cookies | 2014

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Making cut out sugar cookies at Christmas is one of my favorite traditions. I'm not sure involves several steps, lots of flour and sprinkles everywhere, and a huge clean-up. But, I still love it. 

The boys look forward to it too. Ethan is throwing the butter into the bowl with a flourish. 

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Then carefully adding the almond extract. We use this recipe from Bake at 350. It's the best. 

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Logan adds the vanilla. They take turns adding ingredients. 

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This year they got to take a turn with the hand mixer. Yes, I am old school and still don't have a stand mixer. 

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They did a really good job with it. 

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Then we added dry ingredients. 

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Rolling out the dough is fun. We have to take turns since we only have one rolling pin. 

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Ethan rolled his out all by himself this year. 

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It's not really fun unless you're covered in flour. 

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After the cookies had baked and cooled, we returned for the decorating part. 

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I always use store-bought icing. Like I said, these cookies already have a lot of steps. I don't like to add to that by making the icing too. 

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They each decorated several cookies. I asked them to choose their three favorites that they did and show them to me. Here are Logan's...

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Then, they got to choose one of their cookies to eat. Logan approves of the taste.

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And Ethan's cookies...

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What a cutie smile. I love baking with these two. 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Lights | 2014

This year, for a project at school, Ethan listed "looking at Christmas lights" as his favorite Christmas tradition. So, even though we left it until just a few days before Christmas, we were sure to include it in our Christmas activities. We live so close to one of the best neighborhoods in Dallas for light-viewing that it would be a shame not to go anyway.

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This was their favorite house because of all the Disney characters. It also won kids' favorite for the neighborhood awards. I didn't take many photos this year...especially of the houses. I was just enjoying the ride. 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Frosty ICE Exhibit

This year we added a new Christmas activity to our usual ones. We went to see the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Texan hotel. Casey and I had done this years ago when it was just the two of us and we thought it was very cool at the time. But we wanted to take the boys...and with the Frosty theme this year, we knew it was the right time.

I love how the hotel decorates the atrium for Christmas. It's so fun. 

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One quick note about when NOT to go to the ICE exhibit. On a Saturday in December in the middle of the day. We waited SO long to get inside and it was almost too much waiting for the boys. They were really good, but we were all tired of waiting. I need to follow the advice I usually give. Next time we will go on a weekday if at all possible. And even if not, we will go during the first time slot of the day. 

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All that being said, once we were inside, it was truly magical. The ice sculptures were wonderful...just as awesome as I remembered. And everyone loved them. 

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We brought gloves since the website recommended it, but next time (in a couple of years) we will also bring hats!

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The kids were not upset...they just did not want to stop for photos. And they would not look at the camera

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I've payed attention to the themes of the exhibit the past few years. When I heard this year was Frosty, I jumped at buying tickets. And it was so cute. The perfect theme for ice sculptures too. 

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Mimi and Pop were there too! Again...children not looking at the camera. Sigh. 

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The ice slides were so neat. The boys waited (and waited) for their turn. 

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Ethan came down first and I could tell he loved it. 

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Logan, however, got stuck in the middle of the slide and would not scoot himself down the rest of the way. Oh, Logan. 

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Finally with some coaxing, he did come down the rest of the way. 

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With a smile on his face too. 

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It was C.O.L.D. in there. No two ways about it. By the time we got to the end of the exhibit, the boys were ready to exit. 

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The crystal clear nativity scene at the very end was a little rushed because everyone was cold. But, it was still spectacular. 

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