Category Archives: growing up

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year

Friday night, after an intense {and incredibly fun} time at Toys R Us, where my mother and I sauntered through the aisles, dragging my father along with the cart, we checked out {WAY} over budget {but Zoe just had to have that beautiful Christmas dress} and as we were leaving the store I said to the bouncer… {that’s legit. There was actually a bouncer outside the door to Toys R Us…but when you think about the mass quantities of crazy moms outside, you would understand}. Anyways, I said to the bouncer, “Merry Christmas!” and he laughed and said it right back to me.

And my spirit raced with excitement.

It was officially Christmastime!!!!

For that split second, I could look past the fact that it was still in the 80’s here, and that on Thanksgiving and for the whole Thanksgiving weekend, I was wearing short sleeves, capris, and flip flops. I can look past the fact that some trees here still haven’t turned to fall colors because it’s just not cold enough. I can forget about the fact that, once again, I will not see snow at Christmas. That’s all OK….

Because it’s Christmastime.

Christmas 2

It’s a month of twinkling Christmas lights, curling up on the couch with a good book and Christmas music in the background, grabbing some hot apple cider and driving around the Riverside area with Brad looking at AMAZING decorations, Salvation Army people jingling their bells outside of Publix, Christmas decorations at the shopping malls with Christmas music, coming home to a house filled with decorations, parties, cookies, white elephant gift exchanges, baking….


I love every second of it. I always have.

When I was in the 8th grade my older sister gave me a book called Winter Dreams Christmas Love, it’s a classic “coming of age” story that follows a girl from the first day of her freshman year to her junior year of high school…and, of course, the guy that she falls in love with that first day of school. Their big events happen at Christmastime every year… and it’s what the book revolves around. For over a decade I read that book every single year the day after Thanksgiving. Cover to cover. Truth? I started a snow globe collection because the main character in that book has a snow globe collection. That book instilled a love of Christmas in me that I hope I never shake.

Christmas 3

When I was 19 years old and living in my very first apartment away from home, I went all out buying my own decorations. Ten years and numerous moves later, I still have almost everything I bought that year. Except my snowman, Michigan… Hemmingway ate him last year. I cried. I remember sitting on the couch in that living room, the whole house decked out in Christmas lights, Delilah was on the radio playing Christmas music and I was curled up under a blanket reading a book… there was a stillness in the room, and a magic that can’t be explained. I fell even more in love with Christmas.

Christmas 4

Then I moved to Michigan, and instead of adding to my snow globe collection, I got to live in one. The day after Thanksgiving I was shopping with my friend and it started snowing. I called my mom back home in Florida and when she said “hello” I started singing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” at the top of my lungs, bursting with excitement over the snow. She let me sing a full verse before she told me that I was on speakerphone… and she was in the middle of the mall. That year when she came up to Michigan for Christmas, she brought with her a singing teddy bear dressed up in a red velvet coat with a top hat. He sings…you guessed it…”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. I woke up to my first White Christmas that year, and I was ruined forever. Florida’s palm trees will never hold a candle to a true winter wonderland.

Christmas 6

Today, Zoe and I got bundled up because for the next couple days it’s going to be in the 60’s {hallelujah}, and we went off to the Town Center to buy some Christmas stockings. On the way there we turned up the Christmas music real loud and jammed out to “Sleigh Ride”. When we got there we enjoyed strolling around outside, stopping every 10 feet so we could dance. Once inside Target, Zoe got to pick out her very own Christmas stocking. Her choice? Hot pink with sequins. She chose that over the zebra strips with pink fur and the dancing snowman…. go figure. But, my point? I’m getting to experience this through the eyes of a 1 1/2 year old. Sure, she doesn’t understand the anticipation of Christmas, the reason behind it or anything other thing that we’re doing over the next month. But, her eyes light up when we plug the tree in. And today, she went from decoration to decoration inspecting all the new things in the house. Her favorite is the contraption that I rigged up to our chandelier, just a bunch of red ornaments on ribbon…but they shimmer, and they sway, and they’re wonderful to look at while she’s sitting in her high chair. Then, to top off all the “new” things in her world, her Gammy {Brad’s mom} came by with a few Christmas books and a singing teddy bear! Does it get any better than this?!?!?!?!

Christmas 5

I can’t even contain my excitement for this Christmas. I can’t wait to take Zoe to the local man-made because we’re still mostly hanging out in the 80’s Winter Wonderlands. I can’t wait to let her taste some hot chocolate, and then laugh as she begs {and gets} more. I loved watching her examine the tree this morning, and sit in her armchair right by it, content to just stare at the lights. I’m excited to “help” Zoe “make” presents for her family. I’m just excited…. period.

Merry Christmas Ya’ll!

What are some of your very favorite Christmas traditions? What’s your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?


Fall Festival 2011

You guys are going to think I grew up under a rock…and the truth is, I did, but we didn’t celebrate Halloween in my family. In fact, 3 years ago was the first time that I ever dressed up for the event as far as I can remember. I wore a toga, it was beautiful, and I went to my first ever costume party. I was 26. Instead of going Trick or Treating we went to our church’s “Hallelujah Night”. I never knew anything different. I never felt slighted. I always went home with a full belly, lots of great memories, and a ton of candy.

Fall Festival 1

Fast forward a decade or so…nothing much has changed. The church we currently go to has a Fall Festival, and because Zoe isn’t exactly ready to decide if she wants to Trick or Treat or not…that’s where we headed. Let’s be honest, the real reason we went is because I worked damn hard for hours on her costume, and because Brad and I could get candy teach Zoe the glory of a bag full of candy. {Apparently, that lesson comes with birth…there was no teaching necessary. Zoe tried to take an entire bowl of candy. I’m actually not kidding you.}

Fall Festival 2

I picked Brad up at work and off we went. Our church has an annual chili cook-off at the Fall Festival, and that’s what we counted on for dinner. I eat chili about once a year…and this is it. Not that I have anything against chili, it’s just that we never have it. So, we ate that and then meandered around for a little bit until it was our turn to man the bouncy house.

Fall Festival 3

Brad and I decided to split up, I would take the first shift and he would take Zoe around and then 30 minutes in we’d trade places. It was a great plan right up until I ended up being there for almost the entire hour. But? Brad had a great excuse, he’d taken Zoe on a hayride that ended up in a bird sanctuary next door to the church. They got off the hayride and explored the whole place. There were wallaby’s, monkeys, tons of birds, and a whole collection of ridiculously cool/vintage/crazy expensive cars {like Colonel Sanders actual convertible, one of the cars was 1 of 2 ever produced, and an exact replica of the Delorian}….needless to say, Zoe loved it and so did her Daddy. I didn’t mind manning the bounce house for a minute, because lots of people that I don’t get to see every day stopped by to say “hi”…and how can you complain about that? At one point, one of the girls from the youth group that Brad and I used to work with came up to say “hi”, we were talking a bit before we got to this part of the conversation:

Her: You look exhausted.
Me: Thanks.
Her: No, I mean you really look exhausted.
Me: Yeah, it’s because I’m not wearing any make-up and so I don’t have any color on my face. {what I didn’t say is “I can’t find my makeup because my child took it somewhere and I have no idea where that “somewhere” might be}
Her: No. It’s under your eyes. It’s like {motioning} here. But, you for sure look exhausted.
Me: So, what have you been up to these days?

Kids. Kids and their damn honesty. Moms with no makeup, and a toddler, and kids with their damned honesty and lack of social graces. Anyways, Brad came to relieve me of the bounce house and suggested that I too go on the hayride. We caught the very last ride as the sun was setting. I didn’t get to see all the highlights of the bird place…but I definitely got enough to wet my palate. We’ll be going back there for sure!

Fall Festival 4

Then it was all over. Brad and I made the 40 minute trek back home, put Zoe to bed, and then I sorted through our stash Zoe’s candy that she’ll never be allowed to eat because she’s too young. And that’s that!

Fall Festival 5

Today we have Zoe’s 15 month check-up…should be fun! So, what did you do for Halloween?

Happy Tuesday Ya’ll!

PS. The lady that I’m with in the very last picture on the left…that’s my mentor that I’ve been talking about lately! Her name is Kim. Absolutley love her!