Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011

I love New Year's. It's really one of my favorite holidays. I'm obsessed with lists, resolutions, goals, etc, so a holiday where you make lists is right up my alley. New Years is always a fun time to look back the past year and get excited about the start of a brand new year. I usually don't do so well with my resolutions but I'm hoping with my 30 Before 30 list, this year can be different. I've been working on my list since I made it and I'm close to being able to mark at least one item off the list. Very exciting!!

I've loved looking back on my blog over the past year and seeing how far we've come. I can't believe this time last year the boys were only 4 months old. We were so sleep deprived, we weren't sure we were going to make it, but we did. It's been fun looking at how much the boys changed and what all we did this year. We're so excited about the fun things we're planning for 2012. The boys were too young for a lot this year, so in 2012, we'll be able to so much more as a family. We're already looking forward to going to the zoo in the spring, the fun things we have planned for them over the summer, and we've already started talking about the Christmas traditions we want to start with them next Christmas.

2011 wasn't always easy, but it was a really good year for us. I'm really looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store and I hope it's even better than 2011 was.

A little picture on my bulletin board that fits me perfectly.

Friday, December 30, 2011

3 Sick Boys and One Tired Mama

It's been a long week. Evan, Carter, and Greg all have a stomach virus. The boys came down with it on Saturday and just got a little worse each day until we finally took them to the doctor on Wednesday. They were eating a little less and drinking a little less each day until finally Wednesday morning, Evan wouldn't eat breakfast. So, we took them in just to make sure everything was okay and that we were doing everything right. Evan's throat was really red, so they swabbed him for strep, and thankfully, that came back negative. So, now they are on a strict BRAT diet which is just bananas, rice, applesauce and toast and NO dairy. After they are back to their normal selves for a few days, we can slowly get them back to eating everything they were before. Greg now has the virus and we're hoping he can get over it faster than the boys or it's going to be a long week for him. I'm really hoping to skip this little bug altogether, although a little stomach bug might help jumpstart my weight loss resolution. ;) The boys were acting normal (except for not eating very much) until we took away their milk and all their yummy food. Now, they're a little crabby (who can blame them!) But, we can tell they're getting better and we think they'll be feeling great by the end of the weekend. Hopefully.

Greg has Monday off because it's a federal holiday, so we have a nice 3 day weekend to relax and recover from all this and hopefully get a few things done around the house. The number one thing on my to do list this weekend is to shampoo our carpets. I know, I know, we're party animals. New Year's Weekend and I'm planning on relaxing a little and getting a few projects done around the house. The good thing about being boring with kids is little things like stomach viruses do not interfere with our New Year's Eve plans of watching a few episodes of Friday Night Lights on dvd and going to bed early.

I just wanted to give a quick little update about how the past few days have been and of course, no post would be complete without some pictures of my cute, little gremlins.

They've been watching a lot of tv the past couple of days. And yes, Evan is on the coffee table. He is a little monkey who can climb onto that and the couch all by himself. And you may notice the little fort in the right hand corner, it's another thing we've been using to entertain them with. I saw the idea on Nikki's blog and thought it was such a great idea.

We went to Lowe's the other day and saw these driver carts. I always get a picture of the boys in carts like these because its the only time I can get both boys, side by side, in the same picture. I normally don't like shopping at Lowes (unless it's for things for our vegetable garden) but I wont' mind so much now that we can put the boys in these fun carts and entertain them for a little bit. I may even be making some trips up there on long days to "browse".

Doesn't Evan's eye look pitiful? Everywhere we go, people ask if Carter hit him, it's funny because Evan's the little bully out of the two of them. If one of them was to give the other a black eye it'd be Evan giving it to Carter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sunday Morning Casserole

I decided to make a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning because I wanted something easy to pop in the oven that morning. I've tried 3-4 breakfasts casseroles and haven't found one that I liked, they were all too bland and boring. I got Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible for my birthday and decided to pick a recipe out of there. I choose the Sunday Morning Casserole because it seemed pretty easy, and the ingredients were cheap and stuff that everybody likes. It was delicious and we are definitely having it again. I think it'd be good to add a little green pepper and onion and of course, with hot sausage instead of mild. Everything is better with a little spice. Here's the recipe.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Casserole

2 slices white bread
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cooked, unpeeled red potatoes
1 1/2 cups mixed shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper

1. Grease a 2.5-3 quart baking dish (attractive enough to bring to the table) with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Cube the bread and place in the dish in a single even layer.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a  spoon, until it's almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain off the fat. Layer the sausage over the bread, and top with potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and potatoes in the casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. When ready to cook the casserole, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the casserole until set and golden about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

I had to adjust the cooking time to about 1 hour and 30 minutes, which is quite a bit longer than the recipe says.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day After Christmas

The day after Christmas, my family packed up and headed to Tennessee to visit some family there on their way home. We were sad that their trip wasn't very long, but we were glad they got to see a lot of family in one big trip. They left before 7am and I was out the door not long afterwards to hit up some day after Christmas sales. I hardly ever pay full price for holiday decor. I also like to go to Target and browse the holiday toy isle in the holiday decorations sections the day after a holiday. I've got the boys Mr. Potato Heads in Easter Bunny and Halloween gear, some Little People holiday figures, etc. And I get it all at least 50% off. I didn't have any luck with the holiday toys this year, but I got a lot of Christmas decorations for next year. I wanted a second tree so I could have one in the basement and one on the main floor and was able to find one at Target 1/2 off. I went to Target and Kohl's and got some great deals.

I wanted to get the boys each a tree for their room that didn't have to be plugged in. I just wanted something small to sit on their dresser. I was able to get two mini trees, two mini blue tree skirts, some blue and silver ornaments and later found two mini silver tree toppers for them. I can't wait to put them in their rooms next year.

I also got these Frosty ornaments for their trees--they're perfect for kids and go great with the blue.

Our second tree for the basement. I debated on getting a 9 foot tree, but ended up going with the 7 foot tree.

I got these outdoor, pre-lit Christmas trees in urns to put on the front porch next year (I got one box of two). They're normally 119.00, and I got them for 35.00 plus I had a 20% off coupon.

I got the boys a 4 foot tree, I'm not sure if I'm going to have it upstairs, maybe in the hallway, or if I'll put it in the living room, but I wanted them to have their own tree to decorate. I found the perfect small tree skirt for it also.

I have all my decorations on one tree in blues and silvers, so I wanted the second tree to be traditional reds and golds.

I loved these ornaments, they can either go on the red and gold tree or the boys personal tree since it has their initials.

An ornament for the boys tree. The ornaments were really picked over.

I got these stockings at Kohl's for 3.50, they didn't have "S", so I'm hoping I'll be able to get it next year. I loved these stockings and really wanted ones with our initials on them.

Some kid-friendly wrapping paper for next year.

I also got some ribbon on clearance at Lowe's later that day. I can't wait to see how the trees look with ribbon on them. I've been seeing it a lot more lately and I really like it.

I'm already looking forward to Christmas next year. I'm excited about decorating the house. I'm also looking forward to the boys being older and understanding more. There's been some things that we've been thinking about over the past couple of years that we want to do for Christmas with the boys and we think next year they'll be old enough that we can start some of the traditions we've been wanting to start. Like, going to Parade of Lights, making gingerbread houses, advent, looking at Christmas lights, Elf on the Shelf, Angel Tree,cookies for Santa, handmade ornaments, etc. They'll only be 2.5 next year, but I think we'll be able to do almost everything we want to do (at least on some level) with them. I'm really looking forward to it. Also, since I know I'll look back at this next year when it gets close to Christmas (I think it's fun to look back a year ago and see what we were up to) I want to make a note to myself to take MORE pictures at Christmas. We didn't get very many this year and we didn't get a single one as a family, so that's something we need to do next year.

Besides shopping for Christmas decorations, we also managed to get all our Christmas decorations down. I love Christmas decorations but once Christmas has passed, I want them down asap. We went grocery shopping, went to Kohl's, did a ton of laundry, dishes, etc. All this with 3 sick boys. :( I don't know what happened, Greg started complaining that he wasn't feeling that great and was getting body aches and had to lay down for a little bit. Both boys were acting fine, but we think they have a stomach virus (we'll leave it at that). So, we took it easy in the afternoon and put the boys down for bed a little early. Greg and I watched Hangover 2 and then went to bed a little early also.

All 3 of them are doing about the same today. I'm feeling fine, but I'm definitely drinking my
 Emergen-C, just in case.


We decided to do a very, VERY low key Christmas this year. Last year, I was able to decorate the house becuase the boys weren't crawling or anything yet, so I didn't have to worry about them getting into anything. I decorate the inside and outside of the house, we had a traditional Christmas dinner, got the boys lots of presents, took a ton of pictures, etc. It was their first Christmas and I'm so glad I did it that way. This year, the boys are at the age where they are into everything and don't really get the concept of Christmas yet. So, I decided to just put up a few decorations, just get the boys a couple of things to open on Christmas and just really take it easy that day. I'm looking forward to next year and going all out for Christmas, but this year, it was nice to just have a relaxing day with family.

My family arrived on Friday around 4:00. They unloaded the car and played with the boys, then we ate some dinner, put the boys to bed and hung out for a little while before going to bed early. On Saturday, my dad and Greg worked on some little projects around the house. They lowered the boys cribs, hung up a coat rack and key rack, and made a couple of trips to Lowe's to get a new door. My mom and sister played with the boys, while I cooked. I decided to have just appetizers and desserts on Christmas, so I made the cold dips the day before and got everything ready for the hot dips so on Christmas, I could just throw them together. I made a pasta salad for dinner and made Paula Deen's Sunday Morning Casserole for us to have for breakfast on Christmas. Then we all just hung out and played with the boys. They loved all the extra attention. After we put the boys to bed, we left Greg at home with the boys and we all went to look at Christmas lights. I love looking at Christmas lights.

On Christmas morning, we dumped the balls that I got at Target into their pack-n-play and let them play in that. They were in that thing off and on for most of the day. Then, we let them open one present each before their first nap. While they were napping, we ate the breakfast casserole and it was so good! I'll definitely be having that again. Then the adults exchanged gifts. After the boys woke up from their nap, we let them open some more gifts. They didn't get the concept of unwrapping until the end. They would open a toy and be perfectly content with what they opened that they had no interest in opening anymore gifts. We would take a break from opening and let them play a little and then open some more. They got a lot of really nice things and have loved playing with everything they got. They were too hyped up to take their second nap, so they just played with their toys all day and enjoyed the attention from everybody.

Here's the boys playing on Saturday morning.

Evan on Christmas morning

They loved the ball pit. The spent a lot of time in there playing.

Carter loves for Papaw to hold him and play with him. It doesn't matter what they're doing. He was perfectly content looking through a random magazine he found on the kitchen table.

Getting to open their first present. You can see the balls that they threw out of the ball pit.

The first toys they opened.

I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast casserole when we took it out of the oven. So, I decided to take a picture afterwards, we finished it off!

Opening presents. You can see the Record a Story book that they got of Papaw reading "3 Little Pigs" for Christmas. I really want the boys to have a book read by each grandparent. I think it'd be so nice since they don't live near their grandparents to be able to open a book and hear them read it to them.

Opening their Little People Airplane.

Getting help from Papaw with their little book. they loved taking packages to Papaw to open or help with. The rest of us were chop liver.

Evan's poor little eye. It was finally healing from the time he hit it before Thanksgiving and then he hit it again in his crib (I have no idea how) and then a couple of days later, fell off his riding toy and hit it again. Of course, he just got right back up and went on like it was nothing.

Their gifts from Aunt Caroline. They each got one and they're a little different.

They really loved these toys. (probably because they made the most noise)

Books from "Aunt B" (aka Brandi) I took videos of them opening her gifts that I'll post on our youtube page later.

You can see one of their lovies from Aunt B in the back and Carter reaching for another gift. She spoiled them! They got a ton of books, each got a lovie, clothes, etc.

Evan had lost interest in opening gifts and instead wanted to play with the stereo.

Evan found the tv remotes and grabbed one for him and one for Carter. All these great gifts from everybody and fun new toys, and they're playing with our old tv remotes. Notice Greg and the boys wearing matching pjs. I also had on a set, we got them from Greg's parents. It was perfect because that was a tradition that I wanted us to have, wearing matching Christmas pjs on Christmas.

Caroline was trying to hide from the camera. nice try.

The boys got a lot of nice things from everybody, even though they really didn't need anything. I wish I had taken a picture of everything, they got two nice, Melissa and Doug puzzles which were perfect since I've been wanting to start buying those for them. They make noise when you put the piece in the right place, for example--when you put the cow in the correct spot it "moos". They're going to have a lot of fun playing with those. They love the bead toys they got, the noise makers, their lovies, all the books, etc.
. I really enjoyed our laid back, low key Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Is It Friday Yet?

I'm so excited that my family is coming up from Georgia tomorrow to spend Christmas with us. I'm really looking forward to the weekend and Christmas.

Tuesday, I took the boys to the mall to play in the play area. They did really well. Everytime we go, they seem to be able to do more and more there. We met my friend and her two kids there and it was nice to get let the kids play while we caught up. I totally forgot to take pictures of the boys while we were there.

Greg and I have gone to the gym 3 times this week. The boys have done so much better than in July. Evan cried the first day we left him there this week, which wasn't like him and Carter, aka Mr. Shy, did great. The second day, Evan cried a lot less, and yesterday they told us he cried for about a second and then saw the toys and was fine. I thought when we'd go to pick them up, they'd come running for us, excited to see us. Nope. They have so much fun there, they are not the least bit concerned with us when we come back. The girls have to go physically pick them up and bring them to us because the boys are just too busy having fun playing. I'm actually really glad that's the case. I'm glad that they have fun and can be left with other people. Plus, Greg and I are really enjoying working out and getting a small break from the boys. I'm really glad we gave the gym another try.

It feels like we haven't been doing as much this week as we normally do, but with going to the gym and getting ready for the holidays we've been staying pretty busy. Oh, and keeping up with these little stinkers who have learned that their riding toys come in handy for thing other than riding.

I thought this was so cute. I had turned on Barney while the boys were eating lunch, and when they got down, they walked over to watch the rest. At the end, Barney was singing and hugging the kids, so Carter started hugging Evan. It was very sweet.