Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digging

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I'd been doing a little digging into my family history.  I've managed to trace back to the 1880s for both my mom and dad's family.  My Aunt L in Atlanta has been really helpful in giving me names and such for my dad's family.  I've found them all in census records and learned the names, approximate birth and death dates for them, their parents, siblings, etc.  It's a lot take in.  I can see how it takes people months and years to do this.  

My aunt has even given me some stuff that belonged to my greats years ago.  Really precious stuff.

This belonged to my Great-Great Grandmother, E.  She was born in the 1880s.  That's 100 years before I was born.

And this belonged to her daughter, my Great-Grandmother C. She was born in early 1900, which is 100 years before MY daughter was born.

A few weeks ago when we received a "Christmas" package from my Aunt L, I found these little treasures in the box, too.   These are dresses my Great-Grandma C made for her dolls.  I actually remember my Great-Grandma C.  It's a very vague memory, but a memory, nonetheless.

I feel like I'm just getting started with this family research thing. There's so much information out there, yet not enough...if that makes sense.  I look forward to continuing.

Hope everyone's having a good week.   Be back soon.

~G

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lately

Hey, guys.  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I wanted to blog at least a couple of times last week, but never got around to it.  I REALLY want to update my blog more than once a week, so I'm going to work on that.

Anyhoo, we've had a good weekend.  Danny and I both had work conferences this weekend, so my mom came to stay with M at our house.  I finished my kitchen Thursday.  At least the parts that are visible (still want to get in there and reorganize my pantry and cabinets).  When my mom's coming to my house, I ALWAYS get that extra motivation to clean.  Anyone else?

Moms have super eyes and can spot any little mess in your house.  And for me, that brings two problems.  1)  My mama will offer to help.  Even if it's just a tiny mess, she wants to fix it.  And I want her to just relax.  2)  She starts worrying that I'm overwhelmed.  And I don't want her to worry.  So in order to keep her relaxed and worry-free, I clean.  (And she reads my blog only every blue moon, so it'll be March before she even sees this post. :)

Anyhoo, here are a few things I've been up to lately:


  1. The conference this weekend great.  I've learned in my six years of teaching that it goes way beyond the classroom -- what we do.  We live in a generation where students are used to instant gratification, can research information in a matter of seconds, and learn completely different from the ways we learned when we were their age.  As a teacher -- just like in any profession -- you've got to meet the needs of your "customers."  And you have to find the best way to do that.  Conferences are just one way to do that.  There's so much out there TO LEARN.  Not to mention the awesome networking opportunities. And I want to take advantage of as many as I can.  I owe that to my students and myself.  This was our state conference, which was a one-day thing. I came home with some things to try with my students this year and the next.  I was even reminded that I need to update my resume and create an e-portfolio.  Teachers aren't invincible as they were once believed to be -- especially today.  Even as a tenured teacher, my job is not promised to me.  And with our situation -- DK being a coach -- you never know what opportunities may arise that will take you elsewhere.  And honestly, I'm not prepared.  So I'm working on fixing that now.  Anyway, I enjoyed the conference.  It was a great refresher and opportunity to learn and network.  I went with two of my co-workers who are both shining examples of what business teachers should be.  Besides being great teachers, both have always been very involved in our professional organizations.  Both of them are actually past presidents of our state organization (and one a former national president).  I look up to them tremendously; I am so lucky to work some of the best.  The national conference is in Boston in the spring -- a little further away than last year's New Orleans conference.  A co-worker and I are going to submit the paperwork this week and hopefully get an approval soon.  Fingers crossed (it would be my first time in Boston).
  2. Can I just say I love Groupon and Living Social?  And I'm not new to either, but they've been publishing some awesome deals in my area lately.  I've always said that I want to expose my children to different activities -- like my mom did for us.  But at M's age (a whopping three), you don't want to commit to anything too quickly.  So I've recently snatched up deals for ice skating, tumbling, and soccer.  What's so perfect about them is that most of them are for a short period of time (maybe a voucher for two classes), so it's perfect for what I'm trying to do. SO perfect.  
  3. I've been working on a little family project that's been pretty interesting.  I hope to share a little more about it soon (maybe later this week).  Let's just say I've been looking at census records and learning more about my grandmothers and grandfathers who lived over 100 years ago.  And I'm still digging.  SO COOL.
Anyway, I need to get up and do some things.  I'm sure I had a few other things to say, but I'm distracted by the To Do list swarming around in my head.  Later today I hope to get on here and schedule some posts for this week.  It's hard to find time during the week to post, so scheduling them is perfect...if you have time to even do that. :)

I'll leave you with a pic of M from last weekend.  We were just getting back from a free dance class.  She loved it.  Angelina Ballerina is one of her latest obsessions, so she knew what to do when we got there.  So funny.

Have a great week!  I'll be back soon.

~G

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Easy Beef Tips Recipe

Both laptops in our house have decided to have connectivity issues tonight, so this post is coming from the iPad. Not too fun since my keyboarding is horrible on the iPad, but luckily this is a short post. I just want to share this quick, easy recipe.

I'm not very domestic - especially when it comes to cooking - so when I discovered CrockinGirls.com (formerly CrockpotGirls.com) a few months ago, I was in heaven. Here's one of my favorite recipes:

BEEF TIPS AND RICE

  • 1 pkg of stew meat (about a pound)
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (family size)
  • 1 pkg of onion soup mix
Directions:
Add all together, stir, and cook on low (in your CrockPot) for about six hours.  I usually serve this over brown rice with a veggie side. Try this -- it's GOOD!

~G

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 Wrap-Up + My Goals for 2012

Okay, this is the post I've been trying to get up for a whole month.  And it's so late that it almost doesn't mean as much.  But I started it and I need to finish it.  And post it.  So here goes (warning: this is long).

What We Did in 2011 (Sorry, I'm too lazy to link back to old posts.  Check out the archives section if you want to see anything from 2011.):

January - We brought in the New Year in Orlando where M went to Disney World and Sea World. We were there with my in-laws for the Capital One Bowl.  I started working on my EdS degree and fell in love with school all over again.  We also celebrated a couple of family birthdays in January (one on my side, and one on DK's).

February - We got snow! I  also got a chance to catch up with friends at a friend's bridal shower.

March - Spring Break in Miami!

April - Bittersweet month.  Had some fun at a concert and went to NYC for a day.  Also had a great Easter with family.  Unfortunately, Alabama was hit with some pretty bad storms.  Lots of families lost homes and loved ones.

May - Finished my first semester back in school.  Morgan traveled for the first time without us to Raleigh, NC.  I did Relay for Life with my mom and the AutismWalk with my friend. Hung out with friends and family in Atlanta.  My dad, stepmom, and sisters came to visit us, too.  Wrapped up an amazing school year with some amazing kids.

June - Busy month!  I taught summer school, so I worked part-time.  We did a theme park, a local festival, children's museum, and some library shows.  And met Curious George.

July - I finished teaching summer school.  M and DK went to the beach with my in-laws early in the month while I stayed behind and worked, and then we all went back at the end of the month (along with my mom).  My family had an awesome Fourth of July get-together.  DK and I celebrated our five-year anniversary. I hung out with some dear friends/cousins from back home.  M and I attended another local festival.  We went to a couple of birthday parties.  I wrapped up the summer semester of grad school. M completed her third year of summer reading.  She read over 1,300 pages this year.

August - The school year started back, and it was great. I also started another semester of grad school.  I attempted the 30-Day Shred with some blog buds and didn't quite finish. :)

September -   I turned 29 (on the same day an aunt and cousin celebrated birthdays). Had a family birthday celebration. Football season got underway.  Saw family and friends in Atlanta.

October - DK had a birthday.  We attended a few Halloween events.  Did Race for a Cure with family.  Let go of Facebook and Twitter because I was too busy.

November - Celebrated another family birthday. Disney on Ice.  St. Jude Walk. Iron Bowl.

December - M turned three and had her first birthday party.  Wrapped up the first part of the school year at work.  Wrapped up a challenging semester of grad school.  Went to NYC for a work field trip.  Had an awesome get-together with family.  M had a her first "Christmas program"-like thing at school.  Had an amazing Christmas.

We had a pretty busy year, so I'm sure I've missed several things.  But it was a GREAT year.  We are so blessed.

******************************************************

And though I'm not one to have big New Year's resolutions, it's only natural to think of the things I want to see in the New Year.  And most of these I started doing before the actual "New Year," but they are certainly things I want to continue to see.  My #1 goal for the New Year is to take better care of myself.  And many things fall under this category:

Strengthen my relationship with God. More specifically, continue to trust in Him and lean not on my own understanding.  Sometimes I'm not as good with that as I'd like to be.  But I've been spending more time with my Bible, so that's helped a whole lot.  Doesn't it always?

Get more sleep. Much needed.  Lack of sleep was almost the death of my sanity a couple of months ago.  Never again if I can help it.  Until we have Baby #2, and by then I'll be so happy to be a mother again that I won't even mind. (By the way, no definite plans for a baby this year -- I don't even have the fever -- so that may be a while.)

Slow down.  Is it weird that I used to worry that one day I wouldn't have anything to do?  Like I thrive on having a To Do list full of things.  Things I should have done YESTERDAY, things I need to be doing NOW, deadlines, things that I need to do SOON...and so on.  It was like a level of comfort for me.  It was like I always needed to have an obligation waiting on me.  Well, I'm over that.  I have been working on some some self-pacing that includes patience and relying more on my calendar.  I will get to things when I get to them.  A daily To Do list with 20+ items on it wasn't healthy for me.

Do better on my natural hair journey.  This one I haven't talked about on my blog yet, but something happened to me a couple of months ago to make me feel like I probably should share it.  A girl asked me if I was wearing the newest wig/weave.  I was confused at first because I haven't gotten that question since I cut off my long hair.  But then I realized my hair probably DOES look like a weave.  For the past six months, I've skipped the relaxers and simply have had my hairstylist blowdry and flat iron my roots.  Well, I'm a busy girl.  Getting to the hair salon is not always easy.  So there are days (okay, LOTS of days) where my roots look a little different from the rest of my hair and it looks like my hair was literally placed on my head.  Like a wig/weave. (Don't believe me?  Check out our Christmas card.)  Well, I've got to do better. If I'm going to grow out my natural hair, I've got to take time to do it right.  And pay my stylist more visits. :-)  I'm not brave enough to do the big chop, and working with two different textures brings challenges. But I'm going to keep working at it.

Take some time off.  Not work.  I wouldn't even want to do that because I happen to love what I do.  But I AM taking some time off from grad school.  A decision that wasn't very easy for me.

I took two classes last semester.  I aced one of them, but one of 'em caused me much stress.  I've mentioned it here a few times.  Well, in simple words, I gave up.  Long before I even realized it.  There were probably several reasons that class and I didn't work out.  It probably started with the fact that I didn't have a solid topic from the start.  It was a research class.  Not your typical research, either.  Not the kind everyone has done to get any degree they've ever gotten.  I've written probably a hundred research papers in my life -- those actually come easy to me.  But this, my friend, is that real, hardcore research.  Somewhat scientific (science was never my thing).  The kind of research that gets published.  The kind you see by people with PhD at the end of their names. Remember a while back when I told you that I'd never get my PhD?  I remember joking about not wanting to be in school forever, but the truth of the matter is that kind of research is not something I would be good at.   There is a reason everybody doesn't have a PhD (or every person in education doesn't have even an EdS).  I know and recognize my weaknesses.  And I met my match back in the fall.

I spent the entire semester worrying.  I felt like a failure.  I couldn't produce.  If I hadn't been a working mom with a husband who worked a lot during that time of year, then maybe it would have been different.  Maybe I would have worked harder at it.  Or maybe that's just my excuse.  But I started realizing early on that I would not finish that class.  I wasn't ready for that class.  Wasn't ready.

Then I started telling myself that it was okay. I wasn't some 20-year-old with no real skills or experience thinking about taking time off from college.  I was already a professional.  I had two degrees and a few industry certifications under my belt.  I had a job -- and one that I loved. I didn't need a third degree be successful at what I do.  Not to mention I had a family.  A family that needed me.  A daughter who needed a mom who wasn't insanely stressed.  A husband who needed a wife who wasn't stressed to the point where she was basically a wreck all the time.  And I was right.

But I also know me, and that I wanted that degree for ME. And I still do.  I'm okay with not finishing it right now.  I'm 100% okay with my decision to take time off.  But I'm pretty sure I'll go back.  Probably sooner than later to finish what I started. I'm only three classes away from being done.  Totally doable.

I could have continued with it semester, but I know it's not in my heart right now.  I just need to step back and get myself together.  Prepare for the extra challenge.  And that's what I'll be doing in the meantime.  Along with focusing more on things that I believe are more important at the moment.

But I'll be back.  Trust me.  I'll be back.

And last, but not least, and certainly not just for the new year, I'd like to...

Be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, etc.  This is something I work on daily, but seeing it in print is always good for the soul. :)

******************************************************

So, all in all, we had a great year.  It was challenging at times, sure (and challenges will always be there), but I ended the year feeling more blessed than ever. I'd say that's great, wouldn't you? :)

This year I also want to blog more.  I said the same thing last year, and I did blog more. I even guest posted on The Young Mommy Life a few times. But this year I want to say more HERE. I thought that starting another blog would do the job, but my other blog felt so disconnected.  TheKimbleKrew.com is where my heart is.  My history. And expanding my topics won't hurt a thing.  Think recipes and crafts I've tried, books I've read, movies I've seen, personal experience (that expand beyond my role as Mommy) -- you know, lifestyle.

(((And I just have to say that it has nothing to do with my relationship with BlogHer.  People see those ads and automatically assume that your goal is to gain a large audience and make a ton of money by reviewing products and publishing "vanilla" posts.  That's never been my goal for this blog.  After learning that BlogHer was accepting new blogs (which doesn't happen often -- they always have a waiting list), I submitted an application expecting nothing to come from it.  I thought there was a very small chance they'd accept my blog when they had those like The Pioneer Woman and Kelly's Korner.  Well, I was wrong.  I've been showing BlogHer ads for months now. They support the little people, too. :)  But don't think that has anything to do with any coming changes to my blog.  In fact, the changes may be so small you don't notice.  So there.)))

So, anyway, this is the super-long post that I've been working on here and there for the past month.  Sorry it's choppy and all over the place.  That's what happens when you procrastinate and then feel the need to get rid of any drafts you've got lurking in the background.  But it feels good to finally have it posted.  It's Sunday afternoon and my kitchen is calling my name. Gotta finish dinner and get ready for the week.  Hope you guys have a good one!  I'll be back soon.

~G

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Work + Play


We enjoyed our long weekend.  It was a mix of work and play.  Mostly work, but the one day we played was awesome.  More on that in a minute...

For the past few weeks, I've been working on several projects around my house.  Decluttering projects.  I've had it up to HERE with my clutter. First was the garage that I mentioned a couple of posts ago.  Got rid of YEARS of stuff.  Then there was Morgan's room that had a gazillion toys and old baby stuff (pack 'n play, swing, bouncy seat -- you name it) taking up space in her closet.  Moved the stuff we could use for the next baby to the garage, and then got rid of stuff we didn't have room for.

This weekend was the guest room, which tripled as a place for guests to sleep, our office, and the workout room.  Which would be okay if the room wasn't so SMALL.  So since we now have room in our garage, we moved the giant elliptical out there.  I also tackled the guest room closet that had all of our sheet sets and blankets, office stuff, and craft supplies.  I'm the type to stock up on gift paper, bags, bows, and tissue when I catch them on clearance, so, yeah, the closet was full of that stuff, too.  Not to mention all the old clothes we couldn't fit.  Jeans I couldn't get one leg in (though I kept one pair for motivation).  I also found a lot of stuff from college.


I'm packing most of this stuff away, but the more practical stuff like our craft supplies now have a new home in some organizing pieces (drawers, bins, etc.) I'm finally putting to use.  And now our guests can hang their clothes in the closet versus *ahem* on the elliptical arms, and they can breathe a little better.  Mission accomplished.

Next up, the kitchen.  The kitchen so far has been the dumping ground for everything that's on it's way out of the house.  Danny can't make trips to the Salvation Army quick enough -- that's how much we're getting rid of.  So it's a bit of a wreck right now (on top of my usual clutter).

And then last, but not least, OUR ROOM.  I have loads and loads of laundry just piled in my closet that I've yet to put away.  I HATE folding and putting away laundry!  But we're gradually making progress.

Anywho, I know you woke up this morning wanting to know about all the decluttering I've been doing.  Right.  So let me tell you what we did on our fun day this weekend (if you haven't already figured it out from the top pic):  we went SKATING.

The afternoon actually started at the ICE skating rink since I had a Groupon to use, but we ended up at the regular roller skating rink.  Why?  Well, in order to take a toddler ice skating for the first time, her PARENTS would need to know how to ice skate first.  (I've been before, but I remember even then when I was a kid that I didn't find it as easy as regular skating.  And DK had never been.)  So we get there and it's like super slippery and of course I'm worried about my kid's safety since it was only a matter of time before we slipped.  DK ran into one of his students and asked for some quick lessons.  I was left with the toddler who wanted to be like Angelina Ballerina and ice skate.  NOW.  So went went out there and I prayed the whole time that WHEN we fell, it wouldn't scare her away from ice skating.  Somehow we never fell. It had a lot to do with the wall being there - ha!

We didn't feel a time or two around the ice skating rink was fair after we'd been telling our child all day that she was going skating that day, so we went to the regular skating rink where Mama and Daddy felt a whole lot more comfortable.  And she had a blast.

Of course I got her on video (you may want to turn your speakers down -- the music's loud):


They gave her regular skates at first which she wasn't ready for.

So we ended up with kids skates (which they basically walk in).

Her newest obsession is Angelina Ballerina, so she insisted on wearing a skirt that day.  

She had a great time. We were worried that there'd be too many teens there and the floor wouldn't be very safe for us to skate with her for the first time.  But to our surprise, the place was full of KIDS when we got there.  There were several birthday parties going on.  I'm sure we'll be going skating a lot more now.

Believe it or not I still have a year-end post to get up.  I started it weeks ago but can never find the time to finish.  Maybe this week.

In the meantime, I hope you guys have a great week!  Be back soon.

~G

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thank you, Dr. King.

While yesterday was the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., many of us are home today in observance of the national holiday.  I am forever grateful for what Dr. King and other Civil Rights activists have done for America, but since becoming a parent, I am even more thankful.

Of course I looked for a kid-friendly event in the city to take M to.  The Civil Rights Institute has free admission all day today, but I think we'll hold off on going back there.  We never made it through the whole thing last time.  Maybe next year. :-)
I bought this book for M last year around this time, and it's one that we've read numerous times since then (it's a board book -- perfect for a toddler).  She doesn't know the extent of Dr. King's importance in America's history, but she knows small things about him.  She has plenty of time to learn more.

Coincidentally, the last few books I've read (for myself) have been based back when times were different -- when blacks and whites didn't mix.  And though history hasn't been the focus of these books, naturally I can't help but feel a certain way about the way of life back then.  After reading a couple of Mary Monroe's books that were based in the mid-1900s, I suddenly had the desire to read The Help.  I was never interested in reading (or going to see) The Help. But it's what my head's buried in now.  I guess I'm about halfway through.

While it's obvious that there's quite a bit in the book that makes me wonder why, how, etc., one section of the book just really stood out to me -- the death of Medgar Evers.  Not just the death itself -- I guess I've always known he was murdered as a result of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement -- but I had no clue that Medgar Evers was killed on his front lawn.  And that his children were there.  And they saw their daddy after he'd been shot in the back.  HIS CHILDREN.

And while I know the main characters in the book are fictional (maybe loosely based on real people), their reaction to it all -- hiding in their homes, being afraid to walk the streets, fear of speaking up, etc. just makes me think about how hard it was to be a parent back then. It must have been a challenge to raise your children to be proud of who they were when they were constantly treated like they were "less than" (and they had to watch their parents being treated the same way).  And if you did have a child who was extremely proud and fearless, you'd have to worry about them being hurt or killed for these very reasons.  How did they do it?  People say raising children was much easier back then, but I'm not so sure that's true.

Since becoming a parent, I see things a lot differently.  More clearly.  And in this case, I'm more grateful.  I am thankful that I don't have to give my daughter some silly reason as to why she can't use a certain little girls' room.  Or that I don't have to explain to my future son that he should never look a white woman in the eye and offer her a kind smile.  The Miss America pageant was this past weekend.  I was reading up on a little history of the pageant and learned that one of the early requirements to be a participant in the pageant is that you had to be a white woman.  I wasn't surprised, but it certainly reminds me how times have changed.

So today more than ever, I am so grateful for what Dr. King and others have done to mold our nation into a better place for all.  A nation where my daughter can be the person SHE wants to be, and not worry about her race keeping her from eating in a restaurant, using a public restroom, being Miss America, or even being the President of the United States.  She can do WHATEVER IT IS she wants to do.  So simple today, yet it was so hard yesterday.

So Dr. King, I thank you. Thank you for your persistent effort to make this nation a better place for all.  Thank you for avoiding violence in a nation so full of violence.  Thank you for not quitting.  Your dream, Dr. King, has become our reality.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NOLA Trip for the Big Game

*Roll Tide*

Hey, guys.  I just wanted to pop in and share some pics from our NOLA trip.  We got back earlier this week, and I still haven't gotten my mojo back.  Traveling always does that to me.  This post won't be half as detailed as I wanted it to be, but if I don't get it up today, I'm sure I'll forget the few things I do remember.

The Tide brought home the National Championship for the second time in three years.  It's also the third year in a row our state has brought home a championship as the Auburn Tigers did it last year.  All very exciting.

My Little Fam

Danny attended a Saints game while we were there and learned that the Superdome's policy is pretty lenient when it comes to kids (small children don't need a ticket).  So guess what three-year-old got to go to the biggest college football game of the year?


And because she could go in, so did I!  When we travel on these bowl trips, I usually stay in the room on gameday to tend to the little one (gladly -- I couldn't imagine taking her in a game this big).

(Stolen from my sis-in-law's Facebook.)

But she sat with her daddy and my in-laws, and they say she was great!  Besides the fireworks (which she hates because they're so loud), she was fine. 

I sat in another section with some friends (L & J) and family (H & J).


The Superdome lit with crimson lights.

The game was exciting and I was so glad to be there.  Watching the Tide win their 14th national championship is an experience I'll always treasure.

We went down a few days before the game to hang out, and I snapped a few pics from my phone to document the trip.  (I took my camera, but it never left my bag.)

Heading to ride the trolley for no apparent reason.  Well, except for the fact that M was obsessed with them the whole trip.

With her Tee Tee and Daddy.

She was so excited to be riding the "train trolley."


Riverwalk

We went to a wildlife park while we were there.  M had fun feeding the animals.

Here is a quick video of her feeding a llama.  He's going to come up from behind and eat our of her hands.  Then she's gonna say "ow!" like he bit her.  He didn't.  She's too funny.










We also did the aquarium.




Pooped.

We saw these two cuties at the Riverwalk.


Of course we did Bourbon Street (no, we didn't take M...this time).

DK and his flag.

M in her Tee Tee's NOLA gear.

M with my sweet in-laws.  Did I ever tell you I have the best in-laws ever (mother, father, and sister)?  They are so supportive and good to us.


And the last pic in the bunch is probably my absolute favorite.  M enjoyed the view from our room because we could see the river, the trolleys, blimps and helicopters, the fun casino lights, and all kinds of stuff.  She absolutely loved looking out this window night and day.


Besides a little accident that may or may not have involved M playing in my boots and tripping and bumping her head on a door making a huge knot that literally grew in front of my eyes as she screamed bloody murder, the trip was perfect.  M is fine.  She was seen by the team trainers who eased my worst fears about my child falling and bumping her head so hard.  That was my ultimate "I feel like a bad mommy" moment.  I've had plenty, but this one was the WORST.  She's never allowed in my boots again.

Anyway, the trip was truly awesome.  One to remember, for sure.

It's 7:30 PM, and I'm totally about to go to bed for the night.  Pooped beyond belief.

Glad tomorrow's Friday and that it's a long weekend.  Much needed.  Enjoy your weekend, folks.  I'll be back soon.  

~G

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Still Here! {+ NY Pics}

I haven't posted in a week, so I wanted to check in.  It's been super busy around here, so I can't seem to find the time to put up a decent update.  School started back for us earlier this week, and then we're preparing to go out of town.  I enjoyed my two weeks off.  Didn't realize how much I needed it.  I relaxed and even read a couple of novels.

Over the break, we also got some things done around the house.  I've told you I'm the queen of clutter, and I'm trying to give up that title.  We've gotten rid of so much stuff.  I finally went in M's room and got all of that baby stuff out of the closet so that we can once again attempt to make her room her playroom.  Our living room looks like a daycare times 10!  We kept a lot of stuff we could use for Baby #2, but moved quite a bit of it to the garage.  Which would have been impossible if we hadn't of CLEANED OUT THE GARAGE, too!  HUGE!  We got rid of stuff we'd  I'd been holding onto for years. Is it weird that my old college textbooks were sentimental to me?  It took me eight years to let them go. I also found more old pics (do I smell Friday Flashback posts?).  We even found old love letters I wrote DK - ha!  We both had a good laugh from that!  We've still managed to avoid putting things in the attic.  And if I keep going with this attempt to live the minimalist lifestyle, then maybe we can one day start parking BOTH cars in the garage instead of one!

Anyhoo, I still want to get up a post that wraps up our year, and tell you about some things I'd like to do THIS year. I can't really call them New Year Resolutions since I started most of them weeks or months before the year ended, but I still want to keep them going into the new year and beyond.

Speaking of the new year, here are some pics from last weekend.  We brought in the new year in Atlanta with the same bunch we brought in the new year with last year (in Orlando).  Good times, as always!

D & C hosted New Year's at their place.



Board games with girls vs. guys.  Just like last time, there was a whole lot of cheating on the guys' end!  



Love this guy.


Sis-in-Law A

Cousin T


As usual, I was the first to go to bed out the of the bunch -- I can't hang!  Shortly after midnight, I was struggling to keep my eyes open, but there were no signs of the party letting up.  I knew I wouldn't make it (plus I was up super late the night before doing things around the house).  By 2AM, I was done!  I went downstairs and climbed under the covers.  Despite the loud music and voices above me, I was out immediately.  Got up the next morning and learned that folks were up until like 5AM!  I didn't stand a chance!

I hope everyone's having a great week and that the new year has been good to you!

~G~

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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