Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Fortunately, the kids loved their gifts and did play all weekend with them. I think there was only one meltdown Christmas day (by Jack). Gwen did admit she was jealous that Maddy got the same dolls as her, I guess she thinks DOLLS are Gwen territory, but she was very matter-of-fact about it and moved on. John and Jenna both liked their gifts and I LOVE my NOOK COLOR that John got me.
The food was delicious, but the kids mostly wouldn't eat anything new. Who cares - I got to eat Monkey Bread, Aunt Anne's cheesy potatoes, ham, cucumber salad, brisket and wine. The kids were happy with their mac'n'cheese and rolls.
This Christmas was GREAT! Looking back two years ago to our first Christmas as a family of five, things have improved dramatically. I'm looking forward to next year already, but not setting any expectations that will disappoint me. Whatever will be, will be!
Monday, December 27, 2010
My first step is defining what I do NOT want to spend money on. This is the start of my list -
more craft supplies (I have to use what I have, same for the kids)
shoes for me (how many flats can one girl own? don't answer that)
handbags (rotate what I have more often)
pointless things for the kids
eat the fresh produce I buy!
I need to remove myself from emails or blogs with "HOT DEALS" and take away the temptations.
Make a list of "wish list" items to look forward to, if I truly still want them a month later, look for the best deal.
Consider if each purchase is a want or a need
1. Be specific. Don’t resolve to “Make more friends” or “Strengthen friendships”; that’s too vague. To make more friends as part of my happiness project, I have several very concrete resolutions like: “Start a group,” “Say hello,” “Make plans,” “Show up,” and “No gossip.”
3. Review your resolution constantly. If your resolution is buzzing through your head, it’s easier to stick to it. I review my Resolutions Chart every night.
10. Keep your resolution every day. Weirdly, it’s often easier to do something every day (exercise, post to a blog, deal with the mail, do laundry) than every few days.
13. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Thank you, Voltaire. Instead of starting your new exercise routine by training for the marathon, aim for a 20-minute walk each day. Instead of cleaning out the attic, tackle one bureau drawer. If you break your resolution today, try again tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I liked this article about setting expectations for the holidays. This part especially:
2. Let go of expectations.Expectations are planned disappointments because we are too attached to the outcomes. When we go into a situation with a desired outcome already set in our mind, we will wind up disappointed.
The key, then, is to let go of expectations and allow things to unfold in the moment. After all, the moments when we are truly surprised, grateful, and happy are when the unexpected happens.
“Gratitude is the key to happiness and anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have.” -Dennis Prager
3. Be present in every situation.You’ll more fully experience each situation when expectations are reduced and events are allowed to simply unfold. You’ll connect more with your children. You can listen and spend richer time with your spouse. You’ll give of yourself more freely.
When you are more present and engaged, you can give your family the greatest gift of all – your presence and your love – with no strings attached! And what a great holiday gift that will be.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
|In the bag|
|Jack's Bowling Boys|
|Lady Bowling Buddies|
Only thing I did not like was that some of my Sharpie markers bled on the wood so I had to be careful to test them out first.
|Gwen after her race|
I pushed Gwen in the 5k portion and finished in 25:14, 4th place in my age group. It is pretty hard to push a 4 year old and run but I was glad to enjoy the race with Gwen. Normally I run in the mornings before the kids even get up, so I took the opportunity to show her that Mommy runs and it is a lot of fun. Post race we had juice and cookies, and picked up doughnuts for the family on the way home.
|In front of Cowboy's Stadium, Dallas|
|View from our seats - giant video board|
For John's Christmas gift, I got him tickets to the Cowboys vs. Eagles game at Cowboys stadium. I wish I would have kept it a secret until the day of, but he knew about it ahead of time. Our babysitter watched the kids all afternoon/evening and John and I headed up to Dallas. We had dinner and got to the stadium early. The stadium lives up to it's reputation, this place is crazy. Music pumping, people everywhere, fountains, dancers, cheerleaders, and some football. The game was good too, even though the Cowboys lost. It was a fun afternoon. Merry Christmas John!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Other holiday traditions for the Mills family -
Driving around to see Christmas lights (yes, I'm my mother's daughter)
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer
Opening gifts Christmas morning (not Christmas Eve for us)
Not attending church - this isn't a NICE tradition, but I can't imagine the tourture of 3 little kids and long Christmas service. This will change eventually.
Dad decorating outside - John put up the inflatables and lights, the house looks lovely
Mom decorating inside - Tree is up, Christmas village is lit and the stockings are hung
Traditions to begin -
Elf on the Shelf - Jenna sent it last week, I'm looking forward to having a good behavior weapon
Special holiday meals - since my kids refuse to eat anything consistantly, we don't have a favorite go-to-meal that is special. Last year Aunt Jenna made lasanga, which was awesome. Growing up Christmas Eve was Busha's pierogis, golabki (stuffed cabbage), mushroom soup and her special rolls. Christmas Day was ham, Cheesy potatoes, shrimp, green jello and Grandma's coconut cream pie.
What are your holiday traditions?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Your "happiness project" is your own project to take specific steps to boost your happiness. Start now!
To help you identify changes in your life that might make you happier, answer the following questions:
What makes you feel good? What activities do you find fun, satisfying, or energizing?
What makes you feel bad? What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?
Is there any way in which you don't feel right about your life? Do you wish you could change jobs, cities, family situation, or other circumstances? Are you living up to your expectations for yourself? Does your life reflect your values?
Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth? In what areas of your life do you find progress, learning, challenge, improvement, and increased mastery?
Answering these questions provides a good roadmap to the areas that you could tackle and the Tools will help you stay engaged with your happiness project.
- from Gretchen Rubin's Project Toolbox (link below)
The Happiness Project Toolbox
The Happiness Project Blog
In her book, Gretchen Rubin chooses a focus each month to work on, adding goals to those from previous months. I am working on my list of ideas to focus on. Here are some things I'm considering (in no particular order):
Extended Family & Friendship
I'm not sure what any of these would entail, but they are areas I would like to improve on or at least consider re-evaluating my current way of dealing with them.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I check out Simple Mom's blog occasionaly and watched this video about her holiday gift giving tradition for her kids - 3 gifts. One hand made gift, one book and one toy. Oh my! What a wonderful idea, but how do I actually execute that??
Just yesterday I was thinking about MY version of simple gifts, one major gift per kid like a dollhouse or train table. Hardly "simple". I have been wondering if I am spoiling my kids too much (I am) and making them unappreciative of what they DO have. If Gwen has 15 princess dolls, does she really appreciate them? If the kids play with anything a lot, I tend to think MORE would be even better, but I don't think that is always the case.
Just some food for thought today. I have gone totally overboard the past 3 Christmas seasons, I don't expect this year to be any different.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Saturday - depart for Florida at 7am. Found out Madeline gets car seat to the point of throwing up and that Jack really doesn't like to sleep in his car seat. Driving through Louisiana before the LSU game was poor timing. John was a trooper driving most of the way and the kids did pretty well.
Sunday - arrive at Grandma's 3:30EST. Oye! We all crashed and slept for a few hours then hung out at Grandma's house. Madeline met the love of her life - Mr. Bojangles, Bo for short, Grandma's dog. She followed that dog the entire time we were there and he tolerated it as best he could. We headed to the Tiki Bar for lunch and met up with John's brother and his family. The 9 of us headed to the house we rented, had dinner and put the kiddies to bed. Sharing a house was great, the kids enjoyed spending time together and it was a nice place with it's own pool. We also got to eat our usual breakfast at home every morning and had a place to relax in the evenings.
Monday - Sea World! The kids LOVED the dolphin/acrobat show, after that it was down hill. Note to self: next time plan something shorter for the first day after an 18 hour road trip. In the afternoon we got to meet Jake, our newest nephew. What a cutie!
Tuesday - Disney's Magic Kingdom. What fresh hell is this? Note to self: next time don't try to do 2 theme parks back to back with no naps. Today I learned my lesson about ever picking up the kids. Poor John had to peel somebody off me at least twice and remove them from my presence because of a major shit fit. We did have some fun between the tantrums, but it was a long day. My favorite part was when everyone raced to get into the stroller as we headed for the car, I made them all walk and let the bags ride in the stroller instead. No one was happy with Mommy.
Wednesday - I managed to get an early morning run in. 9 of us went to T-Rex for lunch in downtown Disney. This place was pretty cool, a brand of Rain Forest Cafe, totally done up with dino's. The kids enjoyed it and I had a margarita. We had dinner at Grandma's - delicious ribs and birthday cheesecake for me! Thanks for all the lovely gifts and cards! Gwendolyn made me a beautiful hand painted box, so cute!
Thursday - Did my own Turkey Trot in the morning and started out the day by celebrating Christmas in the morning! Since John's family isn't usually all together for Christmas, we celebrated early this year. The kids got lots of cool gifts they immediately tore into. Madeline continued pursuing Bo and succeeded in getting him onto her lap. After naps, it was time for the Thanksgiving Feast! Wow, 2 turkeys, hams, all the fixins and desert. It was quite a meal and a lot of fun with the family. The kids did amazing and had fun with their cousins.
Friday - we took off at 7:45am and arrived home at 1:30am Saturday morning. Same as the ride there, Maddy gets car sick and Jack does not like sleeping in his car seat (or Mommy's lap or any where else). We were all happy to be home and in our own beds.
Saturday - recovery day. The kids were up at their usual time (ugh) and up to their usual antics. They seemed happy to be back and enjoyed tearing up the house today. Gwen was a little moody, but it was her turn to have a bad day I guess. We are almost unpacked and back to normal. I don't feel very 'rested' from our 'vacation', but it was a good trip overall.
Now - on to decorating for Christmas and the next holiday!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thanksgiving - also coincides with our first family vacation in about 18 months, several hours in the car, turkey and my birthday. I'm counting down to this with excitement and trepidation.
Christmas - really going to try not to go overboard this year for the kids, but I have a hard time being frugal when it comes to my kids. My sister will be spending the holiday with us if she can tear herself away from the cat (seriously). Aunt Jenna has also procured tickets to take Gwen to her first ballet - The Nutcracker. We know that she will love it! And of course this time of year brings all the holiday decorations, movies, cookies and traditions that I love!
New Year's Day - I'm working on my "Happiness Project" plan that will start January 1.
Austin 1/2 Marathon - races are fun!
Friday, November 12, 2010
2. 2 blue moons make Amanda ... Not sober
3. Delayed flight means I can't pick up the kids. So I'm sad. I knew that before the 2 beers.
4. Not checking work email makes me nervous.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, November 11, 2010
1. If a piece of paper is still on the note pad and has things like phone numbers and addresses, IT IS NOT TRASH. (I’m looking at you cleaning lady)
2. Traveling with the sales guy is awesome. Apparently they don’t have a budget. Or at least not the budget measly people like me have.
3. Every city in America has the same exact restaurants, strip malls and coffee shops.
4. We ate at 2 Texas themed places this week – in VIRGINIA.
5. I have a low alcohol tolerance.
6. Watching live TV is ridiculous, where is the DVR?
7. Some people are WAY too technical.
8. Running on the treadmill is incredibly boring
9. I miss my babies!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
The 8th Annual Halloween Spooktacular was last night and I had a great time. Renee picked up Jennifer and I and we headed to the Malek's house. They had up their fabulous Halloween decorations and Christina prepared her usual spread of great food. Jonathon made me some delightful drinks and I took advantage of having a designated driver. The evening ended with me taking a lot of silly pictures in their bathroom and closet - sorry Maleks!
We took the kids to the PG Dell Halloween Party in John's building. As usual, I was glad we arrived early, it gets packed. Maddy LOVED wearing her lady bug costume, and has wanted to wear it all day, every day since. We borrowed a spider costume for Jack but he absolutely refused to wear it, so he wore his skeleton pajamas. Gwen dressed up as a butterfly.
The top photo Madeline is horrified watching me eat cotton candy.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My medal has joined my collection at work!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
There were LOTS of pumpkins in shapes and colors I have never seen. They had a hayride, corn maze, pony rides and pumpkin painting, we didn't do any of that. But we did get some pumpkins, ate homemade ice cream and the girls got their arms painted.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
"Go away" - Madeline
"NO JACK" - Madeline
"What a pinhead" - Gwendolyn
The last one Gwendolyn said in reference to her father. John and I were both so surprised we decided to ignore it completely. We're pretty sure she picked that phrase up from a cartoon, probably something from the 80's since 'pinhead' isn't something you hear very often anymore.