Rule #419: Your age will absolutely be judged based on the conversations you have in bars.

This holiday season was one for the books! We enjoyed tons of times in our pj’s hanging out in the living room and eating allllll the food. Corey enjoyed his favorite gift from Santa (an actual Polar Express Choo-Choo Train), but I have to say, if I hear “Alllll Abooooarrrrrddd!” one more time in the next few months, I may shove mashed potatoes in my ears.

I think this picture is my absolute favorite from our Christmas this year. Corey’s hair is nothing short of Kevin McAllister perfection.

polar express train

This picture was a very close second. This baby boy loves his Noni so very much. Those Teddy Bears aren’t too bad, either!

noni and corey

Penny’s face sums up how we felt about all of our football losses this past week… I love my Aggies, but come on already!

penny

Jon Boy and I snuck away to see the new Star Wars movie (I think it’s epic! Jon Boy is a purist and liked it, but felt kinda “ehhh” at the end.) I was excited to wear my puffer vest and not sweat my face off in Houston. I’m really enjoying this cooooooold weather! Feel free to stay, Jack Frost!

JCrew Puffer Vest (Similar) | Solid Color

jcrew tartan puffer vest

We stopped at Brixology in Vintage Park for a pre-movie cocktail. The conversations we had at the bar included topics such as: the price of gas, the great sale on dish sponges, and the fact that lighting at the bar was too dim for our old eyes to read the menu. I think it’s safe to say that we’re not 21 anymore.

Jon Boy had the BEST Old Fashioned

brixology

I enjoyed a French 75 – oh la la!

brixology

We took a little overnight adventure to San Antonio for a beautiful wedding this past weekend. We needed to eat lunch and almost settled on a Whataburger in Columbus, TX (between Houston + San Antonio off I-10). BUT! We saw this little gem right across the street and we just had to stop. We love finding little hidden treasures in random places. And ohhhhh what a treasure it was! It’s the ultimate small town, food-done-right kinda place. They have a scrumptious buffet, but we decided to just order off the menu.

schobels restaurant

I had the BLT + Fries because HELLOOOOOOOO… it’s not the New Year yet! It was phenomenal. Jon Boy had the club sandwich and it was layer upon layer of lunch heaven. If you’re looking for a great place to stop between Houston and San Antonio, you’ve gotta check out Schobel’s Restaurant!

schobels restaurant

I had to snap a quick pic of this gorgeous tree. I know it’s not polite to guess a lady’s age, but I’d say this gorgeous gal was well over 150 years old. So much beauty and history is hidden inside of ole trees. I love that she’s still standing next to this awesome restaurant.

schobels restaurant

We had the most amazing time at our friends’ wedding in San Antonio this past weekend. It was held in the most gorgeous setting and was one of the most true-to-the-couple weddings I’ve ever been to. Plus, Jon Boy and I got a date night out on the town! We even stayed up until alllllllmost midnight. We’re so hip!

j crew bell sleeve dress

I wore this dress, and I LOVED it. JCrew Bell-Sleeve Dress | $52

family

To keep it real… I mean really real… I have to say that 2017 was one of my least favorite years to date. And that’s saying something coming from me (check these out if you don’t believe me: Exhibit A | Exhibit B). It was a year of horribly unexpected family deaths, lots and lots of illness, the loss of our sweet dog Osa, and lots of anxiety about jobs and life in general. I’ve decided that 2018 is the Year of Positivity. Sometimes the only thing we have control over is our reaction and ACTION in times when we’d rather wallow in our sadness. I’m vowing to make myself stay positive, find the good in every day (like my Great Grandma Flossie said), and do the best I can for those around me. I had to end this little post with a few of my favorite memes I’ve found lately:

Sorry for the “colorful language”, but this one gave me a good laugh.

Cheers to 2018, y’all!

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Rule #18: Dogs will always steal the focus away from you.

We were getting a little cabin fever after all the Christmas festivities, so we decided to brave the cold + wet weather to take a little adventure in the park. This little fella was all ready and bundled up in his awesome new hat from his Aunt Mo. It’s even got Mickey Ears that flap out into an adorable display of ridiculous cuteness. Ignore that his jacket is possibly two sizes too big.

park adventures

Noni + Her Grandson – “Cheeeeeeeeeeese”

park adventures

These geese conducted their own naval operations and followed us all around the pond. They even braved a Land Assault and almost got Penny a few times. These guys aren’t messing around. My mom had a pretty traumatizing experience with these beasts, but that’s another story for another time.

park adventures

My two thugs.

park adventures

Little thug got tired there and went for a ride on Daddy’s shoulders. Smart thug.

park adventures

Mama Thug + Baby Thug (okay, so my outfit is more like JCrew Prep, but you get the idea).

park adventures

And now we get to the Rule of the Day. Dogs will always steal the focus away from you.

park adventures

See: Penny poised and ready for the attack on the Goose Navy. She’s tough, brave, and ready to defend her family.

park adventures

BAHH! Just kidding…

park adventures

Stealer of the Focus: Exhibit A

park adventures

Exhibit D

PennyStealer of the Focus: Exhibit P (for Penny)

We sat there huddled like that for wayyyy too long to be comfortable. I finally figured out the ole automatic timer on the new camera. It took about 10 shots with 2 seconds in between each. During that whole time, we were completely unaware that Penny’s tail was the main attraction in all of the pictures. Would’ve been SUCH a great picture, too. 

park adventures

I guess this is payback for all of the Christmas PJ’s I’ve made her wear this year. It’s a good thing she’s so dang cute.

Penny

Do you remember that ONE toy that you just haaaaaaad to have when you were younger? The one you dreamed about, wrote to Santa about, did double the chores to earn? Remember that one? Well, I remember the toy that my dad just haaaaad to have when my brother and I were y]]>

Santa’s Ski Slope

Santa's Ski Slope

This was The Ultimate Christmas Tree decoration. Every year, my dad would pull out all of the pieces, lay them all around the living room, and start assembling this major Test of Christmas Spirit. You see, every year, there would inevitably be at least two pieces missing. At least two other pieces had broken the year before. And on most years, the tree was too big for the little Ski Slope to wrap around it.

So, every year, we took at least 4 trips to Target to wait in the ever so long Customer Service line, get the needed parts for the year, listen to dad grumble about the price, and head back home to finish the construction process. By this point in the game, my brother and I had lost interest and went about our business. My dad would spend hours upon hours on the floor trying to get this [insert any number of colorful words here] toy to work. The slope had to be connected just right (usually with duct tape by the end of it), the ski lift had to be clear of debris (and dog slobber), and all the supports had to be level on the floor (while dodging the Christmas tree skirt + presents). A very tall order indeed.

Santa's Ski Slope

At about 6, just as his sanity was waning, the blooming thing would magically start to work! It was as if God had pushed him juuuuuuust far enough to make him really get pot-committed and HAVE to assemble the thing but not far enough for him to completely lose his mind and light the whole thing on fire.

Once Daddy-O had accomplished his mission, good ole Santa there and his little buddies would ride the ski lift up to the top of the slope, you’d hear that ever-so-satisfying ‘click’, and then SWOOSH! Down came the biggo red guy all the way around the tree only to get scooped up on the lift and do it again.

Santa's Ski Slope

It may seem like an easy, simple machine. But I assure you, this Santa Ski Slope is the source of many, many of my life’s lessons on patience, humility, and verbal expressionism. These characters here are etched in my memory in the most beautiful, hilarious, warm-and-fuzzy filled way. When we moved just last year, we had to finally say good bye to Santa’s Ski Slope. I held on to it for years with the notion that ONE day… ONE day I was going to get the thing to work again. I decided to let Daddy have all the glory instead.

Santa's Ski Slope

I heard from a little elf that Santa is bringing Corey his very own Polar Express Choo-Choo Train to go around our tree. I’m hoping with every ounce of my being that Jon Boy and I will ultimately spend hours on the floor fiddling with the thing, muttering every ounce of frustrated loathing at the thing that we can, all to see the joy on Corey’s face every time it sparks to life again. That’s the joy of the season, after all.

Santa's Ski Slope

What was your ‘toy’ that you just haaaaad to have on Christmas? Was it something like this annual display of madness and frustration? Or was it something Santa brought you that rocked your world? I’d love to hear!

Merry Everything, y’all!

That’s life. That’s what people say.” Old Frankie’s song has really been resonating with me lately. I decided to use his lyrics (minus the last couple of lines) to express what’s been going on in our little corner of the world. We’ve had lots of downs, but some pretty small but still fantastic ups, too.

thats life

You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May

As much as I’d like to say that I just like to clean very, very thoroughly and THAT’S why my oven is sitting outside of its home… that ain’t the truth. Poor little Oven Annie was kicked out of her home because the shelf above her was broken. You see, I tried to do a good deed by using the self-cleaning setting on the old girl. Welp, that melted the pieces that held up the shelf above her, causing alllllll of my cookbooks (there’s just a couple) to fall smack down on top of poor Oven Annie. One cabinet guy, three electricians, and a new oven panel later, we’re getting close to being back to normal now. It’s just one of those things that make ya shake yer head.

thats life

But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

The upside to that little time was that we got some family pictures taken just by luck! We snagged the last mini session of the season, and we love how they turned out!

thats life

I do love that this little fella wanted nothing to do with any of the props until AFTER we were done shooting. Our amazing photographers (Happy Camper Photography) were sweet enough to give us a little extra time to capture this chummy little guy.

thats life

thats life

Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream

And then there was this: Homeless Gangster Child Meets Broken Down Mama-Mobile. Little Eminem here went through an outfit at school after he spit water alllll down his clothes (he’s already the class clown). His spare outfit was most definitely shorts and a t-shirt because Mama wasn’t prepared for the rare bout of cold weather in Houston. So, we headed out to the car quickly after school that day only to find that Mama’s car wouldn’t start. Nada. Nothing. Not turning over at all. So, while we waited for rescue + the tow truck, Homie G spilled MORE water down his SECOND outfit that day. We were left with what you see here: shorts, Mickey Mouse socks that are most likely too small, and a leather jacket.

thats life

We are at the forefront of fashion here, people.

thats life

I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

But! That day, once we were safely delivered home and the old Suburban (her name is Juanita, by the way) was safely at her repair shop, I opened the mail to find this letter. The mailman could not have picked a more perfect day to be a little behind in his delivery route. Coming home to this after a day of that up there was nothing short of a miracle.

thats life

 

I thought of quitting, baby
But my heart just ain’t gonna buy it

Later that week, we all ventured up to Dallas for my husband’s holiday work party. We arrived in plenty of time, I showered, prettied-up, we started driving to the party, then we had to turn around halfway because I felt like Death was at my doorstep and using my head as the knocker. I was slightly convinced I had the flu, so, Jon Boy drove me back home and went without me. I was SO bummed to not only miss his party (I had a totally cute outfit, too), but also to miss getting to hang out with some great friends. I spent the next few days resting, medicating, and snuggling my little man.

thats life

As soon as we got back after the looooong drive home, my little janitor busted out his broom and got to work. The joy that brought me overshadowed all the gunk and fogginess of my cold. Finding joy in the little things is sometimes the only thing you can do to keep from losing your sanity. That fuzzy-headed, elf-pajama-wearing baby is a major source of my joy amidst chaos.

thats life

And how did he get so big, I ask you? Who allowed this. I want to see them in my office.

thats life

So, if you’re having one of those times like Old Frankie sings about, I hope that you’ll look for the little joys and hopes that are poking around here and there. I promise they’re there. They’re probably small, easy-to-miss things, but they’re there. And I’m sure they’ll help you get “back in the race” again.

This picture sums up our weekend perfectly: busy + havin’ fun being busy! We took a trip to Dallas to see friends and family for a little backyard BBQ.

corey douglas

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Thank you, Car Gods, for the gift of the DVD player. I’m not saying that I love listening to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for 3 hours, but it’s better than the Screaming Toddler Show.

corey douglas

On Friday, we got to take a trip to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Autumn at the Arboretum + Twelve Days of Christmas displays. And of course, Big Man was most excited about all the BIGGG PUNNKKIINNNNSS!

corey douglas

And he kinda likes his Aunt Mo (pronounced Aunn Moot).

corey douglas

He was not in the mood for picture taking with Noni though. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

pumpkin patch

The theme for this year’s Autumn at the Arboretum is the Wizard of Oz. I can’t imagine how fun (and how much work) it would be to put something like this together. It’s so cool how they make every detail as if you’re part of the movie.

dallas arboretum

I didn’t get the greatest picture, but this little pumpkin house was the Wicked Witch’s home.

dallas arboretum

Guess what C was doing while I was admiring the Yellow Brick Road…

BIG PUNNKIIIN #1

corey douglas

BIG PUNNKIIIN #2

corey douglas

BIG PUNNKIIIN #3

(yes, those are all the same pumpkin, but you get the idea)

corey douglas

I tried to get a cute little shot for the Christmas Card… oh life with a toddler. He was saying, “Go Astros!” in order to get a smile, but instead we get the action shot. It’s okay though, he’s still cute.

corey douglas

The Arboretum had pumpkins lining the walkway all the way to the Wizard of Oz area, so Corey decided to test out a few and see how sturdy they were.

corey douglas

And of course, we had to get a selfie with Gigi.

corey douglas

We all took turns running with (and after) Big Guy. This is such a great place to bring toddlers, but be ready to get your steps in for the day! Lots of fun stuff to see and lots of room to see it in!

corey douglas

corey douglas

corey douglas

It’s been years since I’d been back, so I’d forgotten that the Arboretum sits right on White Rock Lake. This picture doesn’t do it justice: this place is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely worth the drive and admission fee. Did I mention Corey took a 3 1/2 hour nap that afternoon?

dallas arboretum

Love this girl! She may be Corey’s Aunn Moot, but she’s my person from way back!

morgan

Snuggle Time with Gigi.

corey douglas

You know what’s great about Dallas over Houston? SEASONS. Dallas has, I believe, about three seasons. Houston’s got two: hot + humid and mildly hot + humid. It was fantastic to get a break and see leaves with changing colors, feel a cool breeze, and get to hang out under a normally-depressing overcast sky. I loved every minute.

fall leaves

Leggings ($15) | Tunic ($28) | Booties (similar)

fall outfit

On Saturday, we all pitched in to help set up for a big BBQ my mom was hosting. Corey was in charge of sweeping.

corey douglas

And being friggin’ adorable.

corey douglas

With the BBQ came a live band! These guys were awesome! They played all the good songs that everyone knew, they weren’t so loud that we had the cops called on us (thank you, neighbors), and they sounded pretty fantastic, too!

live band

I love me some Gigi! To me, she’s Aunt Lynn (pronounced AANNTT LIIIIN – we have special ways of saying things in our family… I’m sure you can relate).

gigi

I got excited with the selfies because I always forget to take pictures at these things. I love all my people so much though that I just sit there and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk…

morgan

mom

andrea

This guy. My brother’s best friend. Love him!!

family

We had such a great weekend, but now I’m going into hibernation because I’m so pooped. See ya in the spring!