Thursday, January 31, 2013

2012 Resolutions: Review

Better late than never, I thought I'd take a moment to review my 2012 resolutions. Last year is one of the first years I actually made several resolutions and overall, I'm happy with my success.

Initially I was going to go through each resolution one by one, but I even started to get bored with the post! Instead, I'll expand on my two most successful and enjoyable resolutions:

Do Creative Things
I feel really successful on this one! I completed several creative projects throughout the year and by letting myself splurge on the purchase of some washi tape, I've had fun doing little things that are creative as well. I can't paint or draw, but I do feel that I am a creative person and it's been a lot of fun to encourage that in myself!

Mail Birthday Cards
This was my most successful resolution to date! I have mailed dozens of birthday cards and birthday postcards over the year and the response has been wonderful! One friend mentioned that it was the only mailed card she received! A neighbor told me that the card made his week! Plus, I love an excuse to be on the look out for cute stationary! Decorating the envelopes with small pen flourishes or washi tape has also helps with #1! I must add a disclaimer, however, that I did miss a few entire months, so if you didn't receive a card (and are someone I know IRL!) please don't feel bad -- it was probably one of my off months!

I enjoyed these so much that I'm continuing those into 2013! Here's to creative things and birthday cards!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lucas Turned 7!

I'm not sure where January went, but I'm still catching up on December!!

We celebrated Lucas's 7th Birthday in Ohio this year. It falls just a few days before Christmas, so we've always been away for his actual birthday. After Nathaniel's birthday, however, Lucas declared that he wanted to be home for his birthday next year. I figured that was coming sooner or later, and really, who can blame him?

He did have a pretty fun day, though!

Lucas has been begging for a Chuck E. Cheese birthday and got it in his head that he was definitely going to have a party at Chuck E. Cheese this year. There's a Chuck E. Cheese in my in-law's town, so it was definitely doable. Of course, we felt bad that he wouldn't have any friends there with him, so we invited a neighbor that Lucas plays with whenever we're visiting Ohio. Unfortunately he couldn't join us. Lucas was a little bummed, but was okay with it.

We arrived in Ohio the night before his birthday, after one of our worst drives ever. So it was around 11pm before I started planning the party via my iPhone. I had figured we'd just go and buy some pizza and tokens. But, Abel insisted that Lucas was expecting the entire Chuck E. Cheese shebang. I was panicking for a little while, but it all worked out perfectly. (Can we hear it for the iPhone!?)

I discovered that you can book a birthday party for as few as four children! Plus, by booking on-line, you get extra bonus tokens. Of course we only had two children and the hostess was a little confused when we told her we were all there, but it was fantastic. Lucas got the full birthday party treatment -- blow up crown, attention from the Rat himself (oh, is he a mouse? Hmmmmm!) and--the be all end all--a minute in the ticket blaster! Plus, Abel and I happily gave the boys our birthday party tokens, so they both enjoyed a lot of games.

And, let me tell you, the Saturday before Christmas is the BEST time to visit. It was approximately 1/4 the madhouse that it usually is! Later that night we celebrated again with cup cakes. It was a really fun day!

Lucas continues to be the boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. It was such a joy to watch his excitement and pure delight that day at Chuck E. Cheese. We all bask in his warm emotions--this is the boy who still tells me that he loves me about 100 times each day. He exclaims it and whispers it. He wears all his other emotions on his sleeve as well. As Abel reminded me recently, when I was getting very frustrated with how vocal he is about getting upset: we can't expect to have one without the other. And I definitely don't want to ever give up Lucas's all-encompassing love. We are all so, so lucky to have him for our own.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 28, 2013

GMC Road Trip + Holiday Kindness

I was offered such a fun opportunity over the holidays -- GMC's Northeast team lent us a brand new and totally decked out GMC Terrain Denali for about a week. And, for a bonus, the offered me $50 to spend on random acts of holiday kindness while we had the vehicle.

Lucas and I picked out various snacks and I found these awesome Road Trip Survival Kit printables (agh! I am so sorry, I can not find my source for these!) (double agh! I can't get the image to flip!), including the cute outer label, a license plate game and a roadtrip checklist game (to check off items as you see them). We also included a bonus for the parents -- a gift card for gas!

Lucas enjoyed helping me to assemble them, but was pretty dismayed when I told him that none of the bags were for us to keep. Rather, we were going to give them out to other travelers at a rest stop.

He was pretty bummed out about the news that he wasn't going to get to enjoy any of the goodies and I was a little nervous that our random acts of kindness were going to totally backfire with some spoiled behavior.

But, when we pulled into the South Mountain Rest Area on 1-70, Lucas was nearly accosting folks in his excitement about giving out the packages. In fact, after we'd given them all out, he exclaimed, "I wish we had even MORE to give out!"

Score one for kindness being infectious!

Back to the Terrain, we LOVED it! The pick-up (hello Detroit muscle power!) and inside amenities were incredible (I'm still missing those leather, heated seats!). As you can see, we encountered a snowstorm on our road trip and Abel and I were incredibly impressed with its handling in some pretty slick and rough weather.

Perhaps the best part, though, was when we unloaded the car seats into my parents car and headed back to Maryland to enjoy New Year's Eve without kids! The SUV was a little too small to be our main family vehicle since the kids are still in a car seat and booster, but Abel and I would love to have it as our second vehicle, where that lovely interior would have a chance at a crumb-free existence!

Goodbye lovely Terrain! We miss you already!

The GMC Northeast team loaned me a GMC Terrain Denali and a full tank of gas. They also reimbursed us for the $50 we spent on our Holiday Acts of Kindness as part of a promotion with TheDCMoms. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions and ideas are my own.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New 'do!

I've had long hair my entire life. The two times I've had short hair are in 5th grade when I had a HORRENDOUS hair cut (ahem, mom!). Seriously, it may have scared me for life. And, at the start of this little 'ole blog when I donated many inches to Locks of Love.

But right after New Year's, I got it in my head that I wanted to go really short. I even considered a pixie cut. (Possibly inspired by this lovely lady?)

So last night, with celeb photo sample in hand, I went to my beloved stylist of a dozen years and she made it happen!



Despite the look in the photos, I didn't change the color at all; it's still my natural brown with a bit of auburn. When I was in the chair, I loved it. When I got home, I wasn't sure at all about it. But, today I think I'm falling in love with it (certainly the many awesome FB comments are helping that along!).

So maybe I'm now a short-haired lady?! Crazy!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Digging Out

Whew! I feel like I'm digging out from an avalanche that hasn't stopped yet. Does that make any sense?

I have many posts brewing in my head, including:

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's an update of what's currently on our awesome DIY display frame:

Top Left to Right

- print of an instagram photo of two sentences and a drawing Lucas did last year in Kindergarten. It reads, "I have a mama. I love my mama."
- instax photo of a fun group of friends on NYE
- photo booth photos of Abel and me
- instax prints of the boys (2)

- 2 instax prints of Abel and me on NYE
- print of an instagram of Nathaniel
- wedding save the date topped with a pretty leftover Moo card

- art by Nathaniel topped with an instax print of Abel
- Abel and my cousin showing off their winter beards
- family photo from our summer vacation in the mountains below a quote that was included in an Etsy order (soooo wish I could remember the vendor!) that reads, "I have decided to be happy because it's good for my health."

 Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!