December 30, 2014


The Christmas decorations inside the house are all put away and our house is back to a state of mostly organized. Ransom doesn't go back to school for another week and Brett is working tons over the next two weeks. And I'm, well, I'm seeking a recharge. Or a reStart. 

Friends, I didn't nail Christmas this year. Sure, I picked out some good gifts for people. I threw 2 Christmas parties. I made batch after batch of cookies for neighbors and friends. I sent Christmas cards in the timeliest fashion ever.  The hubs and I logged over 40 hours (!!!!) of driving over a one week period. But, now as I sit in the aftermath I do not see what I want to see: A focus on Christ and His incredible gift. 

It's humbling to see how easily I let this happen. I mock Elf on a Shelf ( sorry) every year but this year I basically did my own Abigail Version every day: "look and see what crazy mess Elf Abigail has gotten herself into today! she's forgotten Ransom's holiday program is today! Haha! She'll have to quickly rearrange the day to make sure they make it on time! How cute! She's lost her keys! What a rascal!" 

I scrambled to meet all sorts of Holiday Goals. And honestly there are a lot of those goals I would want to keep. Making those in our lives feel loved and special. Yea. I want to do that. I want Christmas to be magical and special for my kids. Yes. But there HAS to be a less over the top way of doing that! 

I'm writing this as a reminder. The year we spent cuddled down in the Ronald McDonald House was the simplest ( granted hardest in a lot of ways) Christmas we've ever spent. But Christ remained the center. Last year we were able to "add a little celebration" onto that previous year, which was sweet and just made it more special.  But this year we just added on and on and on. It became less sweet and more sickly. 

And so, I've confessed. I've admitted my fault and I'm moving forward. To help me get back on track, I've deleted all the social media off my phone, I'm journaling more. I'm working on my "prayer matters" card for 2015. And I'm pleading with the Lord to help me quiet my mind and soul. Something that comes soooo easily with two littles in the house! Haha! 

December 12, 2014

Exercising/ Abigail becomes obsessed

Guys. I'm competitive. Like horribly so. I can sometimes convince myself that "winning isn't important" and then I can somehow keep my craziness in check- but MOST of the time I know that "winning isn't important" is SO NOT TRUE and then I get all crazy and MUST WIN THE THINGS.

This has been to my advantage a few times: In school with grades. Competitive Swimming for 10 years. Winning "Lord of Cataan" at Fort Benning. 

Most of the time it is NOT to my advantage. ( Like wanting to WIN AT CHRISTMAS). But whatever....I recently found something that was absolutely PERFECT for channeling my crazy ways into something much more productive. 

The "activity tracker". There are tons of them on the market right now, but after doing a bit of research I decided on the Fitbit Zip . It's small and simple ( just like what I want to be! ha!) 

 I also decided, on a friends advice, to hit up the Ebay world to see if I could get one on the cheap. And ended up with 2 for $35 each, brand new! That's well under the current price ( around $45 or $50) !
( and if you're lucky the seller might send you candy!) 

So I would definitely take my advice and try Ebay before buying one anywhere else. What I don't advise you to do, however, is to be like Abigail and get impatient about being outbid every time and then bidding on FOUR at once and then having to PRAY you don't win ALL THE BIDS. And then thankfully only winning two and just giving the other one to your sister*.  Don't do that. 

OK, so now let me explain what happens. You stick this little tracker in your pocket or if you're like me and you ONLY WEAR YOGA PANTS with no pockets...then just clip it on your pants and BOOM you're in business! It starts counting your steps. 
Just tap the Fitbit and it'll tell you the time, how many calories you've burned, how far you've walked and how many steps you've taken. 
Then, you can get online or download the app to your smart phone and it'll keep you updated on extras like tracking exercise times, count calories and water intake...stuff like that. But all of that is not important. All that is truly important is making that ultimately daily steps goal. I set mine at 10k and while most days that isn't hard, sometimes I become TRULY obsessive about reaching my mark. 
here is a screen shot from my phone on a day when reaching 10k was NOT hard! 

We're talking walks around the block in the pitch black. Or going for runs on days you aren't scheduled to go for runs. We're also talking taking EACH article of clothing from the laundry basket to the closet ONE at a TIME from the living room so that it takes more steps. 

Basically its the best thing ever for crazy obsessive people. And, if competing against a little machine isn't enough for you. *Then get one for your sister who's also uber competitive and then start "challenges" ( a push of a button on the App) and start tracking her steps is the last day of our five day challenge and, win or lose, I can't WAIT for it to be over! I'm so sore! I've been so active haha! 

As you can see I have become waaaay more active.  And therefore one more tick in the positive competitive category. 

Also, if you get a fitbit for Christmas or just for yourself off of Ebay, then become friends with me and I'll have yet another reason to walk around the house in circles every time I'm talking to someone on the phone. 

December 08, 2014

What is for Christmas....Tabitha

As with my last post, I will now regale you with the Christmas presents Tabitha is getting this year. She'll be 2 in January so bless her heart, gifts for her come around basically once a year.  Its rough having a birthday so close to Christmas, but we'll try to make it up to her! And bonus! All the fun things that I couldn't get her for Christmas because of my self-inflicted "Wear, Need, Read, Want" rules, I can just get her a few weeks later at her birthday ;-)
( way to ruin the point of the game there, Abigail!)

So, here's what our little almost-two-year-old is getting for Christmas this year! 

Wear: Unlike with her brother, Tabitha does not need anything in this department! In fact, thanks to the generosity of my sister and friends, I have only bought a few odds and ends for Tabitha in these two years of her life, and none of those odds and ends were because she really needed them! Girlfriend has clothes and shoes coming out of her ears! SO that said I decided to go with an "accessory" this year and I found the most fun thing a two year old girl could have: 

It's called a Poochie & Co Purse and in searching the internets to find a picture of the one I got for Tabitha I found that a real live celebrity is also a huge fan ( remember the adorable little girl from Beasts of the Southern Wilds? Or maybe you'll remember that she's the little girl from the upcoming remake of Annie coming out this Christmas? Yeah, Quvenzhan√© Wallis. ) Annnnyway, it makes me happy that my daughter is already going to have a celebrity purse! hahaha! 

In the Need category this year, I went around and around. There are a lot of great toys that can be helpful in teaching your kids all sorts of important things that you feel like they "Need". But I finally decided on this game Barnyard Bingo Game. Because she's played with it at Speech Therapy and she's totally into it.  The best part is that the game can be used "as is" ( according to the rules) but I think it also has a lot of potential for other forms of play which is important when we purchase just about anything around here. But just to prove to you Tabitha's enjoyment. I took a video of her at Speech Therapy today: 

When it came to Tabitha's Read book this year, I went with something I knew we'd both love but that would also continue to help Tabitha with her talking. For whatever reason nothing promotes Tabitha speaking quite like Leslie Patricelli books. She LOVES them! And honestly, I do too! They are funny and fast and just enough quirky!  Tabitha is getting this one for Christmas: 

And now for Want: 

Eeeeek! Once again I went and bought something on sale waaaaay ages ago and I've been DYING for Christmas to come so I can give it to Tabitha! I purchased this on Zulily  for next to nothing way back this summer! (!!)  and now I'll finally get to give it to her! 

Having to watch her put her stuffed animals and dolls at their tiny doll table and feed them with random cups has been KILLING ME ;-) 

So there you have it! That's what Tabitha is getting for Christmas! So, I'm curious, what are your little girls getting this year? Anything you're super excited about like I am? 

What's for Christmas.....Ransom

Hey friends! It's that time of year! Where I tell you what my kids are getting for Christmas this year! I know you've just been dying to know!

Like I've said before I've implemented the important " Need, Read, Wear, Want" rule with our kids to keep the buying under control. However, for the first time this year I had a little bit of a hard time sticking to my "categories" but I did it! So here goes!

This year Ransom is a 4.  A very rascally 4 who has grown and grown and is sitting tall in the 90th percentile in height and its been hard to keep him in clothes. He's also been dominating his Balance Bike for a few years now and has been asking for a big boy bike for a while now. As for his wants, well, they are ever changing and EVER GROWING. Maybe its just my 4 year old but the kid tells me what he wants for his "birthday" almost every day. *sigh*

So let's start with wear:
I started by getting him these pretty sweet PJs when they were on sale a few months ago.  :

Because it is EMBARRASSING what Ransom wears to bed these days....usually either too tight/too small PJs or giant old T-shirts. The sad thing is, he LOVES PJs and its been hard on him to not have cooler ones, or at least having his cooler PJs be super de duper tight. 

Unfortunately Ransom's Need is also in the "Wear" category. I don't know how to get around this and I feel semi bad about it. I usually try to make the "Need" also something that he'd want  but this kid needs new clothes BADLY. So hopefully long-sleeved t-shirts and sweatshirts covered in monster trucks and spots logos will make him happy enough.  ( I hit up the $3.88 section in Walmart, especially since he'll probably just out grow them all in 2 minutes anyway). 

Want: So HOPEFULLY we will make up for the "Need" present not being the coolest with this present: 

Being as cheap as ever, we got it for a sweet deal at Wal-Mart because it was missing a handlebar grip that we could easily replace. However, if you're looking for a Hot Wheels 16" for a little dude, you can also get it here. 

And then on to the Read: This year I went with something a bit different. Ransom has started going to "big church" with us and has a little backpack full of "quiet entertainment" and I wanted something that he could look at for a long time but would not need it read to him necessarily. So I found this book that I think will fit the bill.  I haven't gotten it yet so I'll let you know if I like the pictures or not!

Merry Christmas to Ransom!You may notice I'm just not that into his presents this year, and that makes me sad, but I do hope he loves his Bike ( we're going to try to skip right over training wheels so wish us luck!) So tell me, what are your little boys getting this year? Anything you're super excited about?

December 05, 2014

Preschool Party Prep

Well friends, we're well in to December and basically that means that I've got about FIVE blog posts I've been writing in my head and quite literally ZERO time to write them. Every time I get on the computer I end up scouring the internets for the perfect Christmas presents for various nieces and nephews. I really love giving presents. Mostly because I like to WIN at Christmas.

I want the present recipient to say, "Wow, Abigail just WON CHRISTMAS this year!"
Which. Well. Is the most selfish reason for giving presents ever.  So you know, I've basically lost the reason for the season. ;-) Interventions can be scheduled for Jan. 6th and onward. Inquires below.

Anyway, today I made the time to post-mostly because I've hit a little bump in the present buying road.-I only have 3 presents to go. The hardest people to buy presents for.  ( I'm looking at you MOM) So I'm taking a break to cleanse my present pallet and hopefully return with renewed vigor.

ALSO I'm posting today because I really really need your help! I'm in charge of Ransom's class Christmas preschool class party which I thought other parents would be helping with, but his class' parents have zero interest in helping out this year and there is only one volunteering parent per party and I guess all the other parents are just riding the wave of the rest of us this year. Meaning, I'm ON MY OWN. Which, you know, is kinda cool because I like to be in charge, but its kinda not cool because, you know, MONEY.  So I've already got my menu set. ( which side note, I'll have you know that I thought up these ideas ALL ON MY OWN while sitting in the pick up line at school but then OF COURSE as soon as I googled them PINTEREST insisted that other people had ALREADY come up with these great ideas and gone so far as to take pictures and post them. BUT I'd still like for you to all give me creative credit, ok?!)

But now that I've got the lunch taken care of, and I figure I'll have cookie decorating as the craft. BOOM. DONE.  But there's ONE MORE THING I'd like to do. And it's mostly all for myself. ( *Insert living my dreams here*) I'd like to read them a Christmas Story.

And here's where YOU come in!! What are your favorite children's books to read out loud to kiddos?! I am kinda a snob! I insist on good content plus good pictures. So, you know, I'm picky!.

Also, just to make you think harder please just leave out the books that include Santa. I don't have an agenda here, just that I feel like we're already over-Santa-ed. So lets just stick to other Christmas Tropes, ok? So now that've made all my demands! I hope I haven't scared you from sharing your own favorite Christmas books with me! I've got a little list going but I am curious to see what you guys will come up with and then maybe I'll share what I have so far! But so that I don't make you do ALL the work:  My own personal favorite is a little old for preschoolers but when I saw it on a pile of books at the library I snapped it up like a long lost friend! Love, love, LOVE this book!  Go check it out Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble it is beautiful in every way. :