Monday, December 30, 2013

Five years...

On December 27, 2008, I walked down the aisle in a pretty white dress.  And I looked my future right in his gorgeous face.
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The last five years have been the best years of my life.  

Marriage isn't always easy.  Or fun.  And I've learned more about my own faults than I ever cared to.  

But, man.  Sharing my life with the man of my dreams is just... the best thing ever.  Because I know that no matter what may come, we'll face it together.  Micah is truly my partner.  And my very best friend.  He is honestly the best man I will ever know.  And being his wife is a blessing I'll never EVER deserve. 

So if you're reading this, my love, know this:  I'm yours for good.  From now until forever.

Things that have happened...

I couldn't possibly begin to lay out a play-by-play of the last couple of weeks, so I'm just going to list out, in no particular order, a few of the highlights.  Given how ridiculously boring Micah and I are, this probably works out in everyone's favor. :)

{Two Ear Infections}

Poor baby came down with a fever a few days before Christmas.  By Christmas eve morning, we suspected ear infections since she wouldn't eat much and she had been getting fairly fussy.  So we went ahead and took her in.  Sure enough, double ear infections.  Again.  We left the doctor's office with {another} prescription for amoxicillin and and ENT referral.  We've got our initial appointment on Thursday.  If this girl isn't a candidate for tubes, I don't know who is.

{Seven Christmases}

If you missed our Christmas recap, you can check it out here.

{These Overalls} 

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My mom got these for Gracie for Christmas, and I just about died when I put them on her the other day.  I mean, seriously.  The cute factor is off the charts.

{Four More Pounds}

If y'all can believe it, I lost four more pounds over the week and a half I was off work.  I don't know how that's even possible given all the junk I ate over Christmas, but I'll take it.  So that puts me right at 31 pounds lost since October.  Almost a third of the way there!  Now if I hadn't inhaled an embarrassing amount of Oreos today... :)

{Double Date}

We went to the Gaylord Texan resort with my brother and sister-in-law to see the Christmas extravaganza there and eat at the yummy steakhouse.  It was a gorgeous sight - they go all out for Christmas!

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Look at my gorgeous sister-in-law sporting heels at 34 weeks!  Love her.

What have you guys been up to?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seven Christmases...

This Christmas was so ridiculously fun, y'all.  Christmas with a baby is just on another level.  Grace obviously doesn't get it yet, but even still... there was something so beautiful about sharing the magic of the Christmas miracle with our little one.

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Since most of Micah's and my family live nearby, we do a lot of getting together around the holidays.  It's pretty hectic, but we've figured out a semi-workable schedule... at least for now. 

(If you can make it through to the end of this post, you're a real trooper.)

Number One (Saturday before Christmas):  Christmas with Dad and Lori 
Lots of food, presents for the little ones, and impromptu cell phone pictures in front of the tree.

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(Pardon the crappyquality.  Note to self:  this is what you get when you're too lazy to lug your big camera around.)

Number Two (Sunday before Christmas):  Christmas with Dad's extended family 
Poor baby was suuuuper fussy when we first got to my grandparents' house to visit with our very large group of extended family.  She missed her nap and had an ever so slightly dirty diaper that Momma missed when she did a quick check.  Oops!  She was a new woman after a clean diaper...

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... some snuggles with PawPaw...

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... and a quick nap on Mamaw's bed.

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Number Three (Christmas Eve):  Christmas with Mom and Steve
Gracie napped (again) while the rest of us ate Mexican food, played games, and relaxed.

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(This is Micah and my brother battling it out over a game of Tenzies.  Such an athletic display of... dice rolling.)

Number Four (Christmas Morning):  Christmas just the three of us 
No matter how crazy the holidays get, we will definitely be guarding this sweet, quiet time together vigilantly.  Micah read the Christmas story, while Gracie and I snuggled.

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We made Monkey Bread for breakfast (using this recipe - so amazingly easy and delicious!), and we stayed in our jammies until it was time to get ready to head to the next get-together.

She did enjoy opening the few things we got for her (mostly, she enjoyed shredding the wrapping paper and trying to eat it), and she has been playing with her new toys nonstop. 

Number Five (Christmas Lunch):  Christmas with Micah's family 

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(We had to have an outfit change halfway through.  Such a diva... ;))

Our poor nephew had the flu and strep, so Micah's brother's family had to stay home.

Number Six (Christmas Afternoon):  Quick Christmas with Dad's family
We hadn't planned on on making it to my Mamaw's again, but we ended up dropping by for a few minutes.

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Gracie had so much fun cruising around this coffee table that has sat in my Mamaw's living room for at least the last thirty years.  It's the very same table that my cousins and I cruised around as babies, and it has the scuffs and bite marks to prove it!

Number Seven (Christmas Evening):  Christmas with Micah's extended family 

By this point, we were pretty worn out. 

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(Clearly.  I'm a downright hot mess in this picture, and Gracie's not even in it because she had already crashed in the Pack 'n' Play upstairs.)

But we had a wonderful time visiting with Micah's dad's side of the family.  Such an amazing legacy of love.

So there.  We officially survived our first Christmas as a family of three.  And you (all three of you who managed to stay awake long enough to make it this far) survived this ridiculously long post.  It's a miracle!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Alive and well...

Am I the only crazy person who starts worrying that bloggers have died when they go too long between posts?  Probably so.

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But just in case you guys were wondering, we're totally alive around here.  We've just been savoring some sweet time off from work with our girl, and posting sort of fell by the wayside.  We had a magical, lovely, WONDERFUL Christmas, and we celebrated our five year anniversary yesterday.  I've got approximately eleventy billion pictures to sort through, and posts are in the works.  Just wanted to drop by and spare you the trouble of trolling the obituaries for my picture.  ;)  

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Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grace: eight months

My darling Grace,

We were so busy playing last month that I forgot to get your seven month post up!  And goodness gracious girl, you've grown so much since then!

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Things are so fun with you right now.  You started crawling and pulling up to stand on everything in sight.  You officially finished with the DOC Band.  Mamaw taught you how to blow raspberries, which is so funny.  You got two teeth!  You are making more sounds, and you seem to really be trying to understand what we're saying to you.  You're seriously just such a joy.  I can't get enough of you.

But since you're so busy, this month's pictures were very challenging. Ha!

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(Daddy had to stay close to keep you from jumping off the chair... :))

Here are your eight-month stats:

Eight Months at a Glance

Weight:  ? 
Length:  ?
Eating:  6-8 ounces four times a day
Sleeping:  11 hours at night, 3 naps (anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours each time)
Bedtime:  7:00-7:30
Awake: 6:00-6:15 (although you slept nearly until 8:00 one day!  I almost died of happiness!)
Diapers:  size 3
Clothes: 6-9 months, 6-12 months, 9 months
Things You Love:  talking to yourself and everyone else (loudly!), crawling wherever your heart desires, pulling up on everything, FOOD!, blowing raspberries, smiling, Daddy, iPhones, mirrors, Lilly, other babies, TV remotes, your piano, ABC caterpillar, giving kisses
What You Can Do This Month: crawl, pull up to stand, blow raspberries, give (wet!) kisses, wave your arms when excited, push things away when you're done with them

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Eating:  You're eating 6-8 ounces at a time 4 times a day.  Usually around 6 when you wake up, then 10-ish, 2-ish, and 6-ish.  If you don't eat all of your 6:00 bottle, you finish it just before you go to bed.

You've tried lots and lots of Level 2s, but you projectile vomit any time we try and give you real mashed food.  Avocados, mashed potatoes, and apple were all no-gos.  We're going to move up to Level 3s this month and see if that will help the transition to table food.  We're also going to try some puffs and see how they go.  You also seem to be pretty sensitive to strawberries, so we're steering clear of those.  

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Sleeping:  You still won't usually stay up much past 7:00.  The last few night, you've woken up crying a few times, so I'm wondering if another tooth or two might be trying to break through.  You've also woken up early a few times lately.  But for the most part, you go down around 7:00 or 7:30 and sleep until 6:00.  We've been putting several pacifiers in the crib with you so you can find one if you knock one out.

Naps are getting better and better.  You're sometimes taking a catnap on the way to school.  Then you'll take one or two naps while you're there (anywhere from an hour to two at a time).  And then you sometimes nap on the way home, too.  But you still sleep best at home (either in your crib or in Mommy and Daddy's bed on weekend mornings).

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Other Stuff:  Your DOC Band adventure is officially over.  You made great progress, and we were happy to see that thing GO!  Your skin seems super sensitive - I think we may have an eczema problem, so we'll see what your doctor says next month at your checkup.  And you got another ear infection this month.  Yuck!

But goodness, sweet baby.  There's nothing we love more than to spend time with you, watching you grow and learn.  We'll do anything for a laugh, and our hearts stop when you cry.

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(Although you may or may not be mastering your drama queen face... :))

You complete our little family in a way we never expected, and we are so looking forward to seeing you become the little girl God intends you to be!


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Blogmopolitan Quiz...

Who else filled out EVERY quiz in their Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines last week when they were younger?  I. was. obsessed. with. quizzes.  

So I about peed my pants with happy when I saw this fun Blogmopolitan Quiz over at Two Thirds Hazel.

Get ready for my deepest, darkest secrets, y'all.  Or at least the answer to Erin's questions. :)

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Go get your own quiz here!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A few Christmas updates...

I posted all about our Christmas decorations a couple of years ago, so I won't bore you guys with all the details.  But since we are trying to simplify and focus our approach to Christmas, we did a few things a little differently this year.  I didn't come close to putting everything out, and I'm totally okay with that.  Instead, I stuck with the things I really love, and that has kept me from feeling overwhelmed with Christmas clutter.  

We did get a new wreath this year.

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I got it on Etsy, and I seriously love it.  It's very us.  (And, for the record, I would have preferred "Merry Christmas," but this ribbon was prettier. :))

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I also switched up the mantel.

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I'm crazy about this sign I ordered in October (also from Etsy).  Oh Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and these are some of my favorite lyrics.  The other things were scattered throughout the house, and I found them a new home here.

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This is our dining room table.  It's similar to what we've done in the past, but I added the burlap runner back in this year, and I'm loving it. 

Here's another shot of the tree.

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(I've still got a lot of wrapping to do...)

One thing I started doing this year was displaying our Christmas cards on the tree, itself.  I'm using tiny clothespins that I had laying around from another project to attach them to the waffle ribbon.

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(Hi, Lauren!  :))

It really personalizes the tree and reminds us what a blessing our friends and family are.

So those are a few festive things we're loving this year.  What are your favorite Christmas decorations?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Contemplating Christmas...

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Last year at this time, I was rubbing my pregnant belly, cherishing a sweet little kick and dreaming about how much fun things would be in a year with an eight-month-old crawling around our Christmas tree.  Now that she's here, I am so loving this season with her. And I know that as the years go by, things are only going to get better.

But,  y'all.  I am seriously struggling with how to approach Christmas with a child.

Because I have the most wonderful childhood memories of Christmas.  We didn't have a whole lot of traditions set in stone, but we always decorated a tree.  (One year, my dad and I picked ornaments to match my pee-wee basketball team's colors.  Teal and purple probably weren't a super obvious choice for most, but we rocked it.)  We always got to open one present early on Christmas Eve after we got home from my great grandma's house.  And even when my parents didn't have a lot to spend, we got goodies in our stockings (although I do remember being a little confused when I found oranges and walnuts instead of toys at the bottom of the stocking during a year that had been particularly tight - ha!). 

I was enthralled with the magic of Santa and marveled at how he could make it down every chimney in the world in one night.  And I loved listening for reindeer hooves on the roof as I tried my darndest to fall asleep so that morning could get there faster.

And I want that magic for Grace, too, because I loved it so.  

But honestly?  

It seems nearly impossible to perpetuate the spectacle that Christmas has become and still honor Christ at the same time.

I know that some of you incredible mamas manage it, but I'm really having a hard time with it.

Because I know I've said it before, but we have so much, y'all.  Every single one of us.  If you're reading this post on a computer or your cell phone, you're unquestionably rich by any real standard.  You probably have a full pantry, a closet full of clothes, and more stuff than you know what to do with.  I know that I do.

And I keep having this image flash through my mind of Grace at age 8, surrounded by a ridiculous pile of presents, tearing through each package in a blind fury, surrounding herself with even more stuff, and still very likely being unsatisfied at the end of it all.

Because isn't that what happens?  Isn't that exactly what every celebrity in Hollywood experiences on a daily basis?  And aren't our January credit card bills evidence that we've all sort of bought into the lie that more stuff equals more happiness?

I. Just. Cannot. Handle. It.

When I think about the fact that 80% of the world's population lives on less than $10 a day, the mounds of presents under my Christmas tree seem more than a little silly.

So I'm trying to figure out how to do less... and more at the same time.

Less stuff.  More Jesus.

I certainly don't want to ruin the magic of Christmas.  This time of year is so beautiful and magical, and I want Grace to have memories of Christmas lights and hot cocoa and the thrill of Christmas morning.  But above all else, I want her to know why we celebrate.  I want her to see Jesus and to appreciate the beauty of Advent.  And I want her to understand the importance of giving.  Giving to those who truly need things way more important than iPads and Vera Bradley.  Like this.  Or this.

I'm not entirely sure how we get there.  I feel sure it will be a struggle each and every year to avoid becoming entangled in the decorations and parties and shopping.  But here are a just few things I'm thinking about that I think might narrow my focus in the right direction.

Skip presents for extended family.  This year, Micah and I aren't exchanging gifts with either of my parents or with my brother and sister-in-law.  We decided that what was essentially becoming an exchange of gift cards (none of us are particularly good gift-givers) was just silly.  Instead, we're all pooling the money that we would have spent on one another and directing that money to a real need.  This year, it's a pair of teenage girls that we know.  Next year, it might be here.  Or some other worthy cause.

Fewer presents for kids.  I like Jen Hatmaker's approach:  "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, and something to give."  That does away with the mile-long wish lists but still gives children something to look forward to.

Less Santa.  Look, I'm not declaring war on Santa.  And I don't think we will end up doing without him altogether (although I totally get why some parents go that route).  But I really don't want that big red suit to be the focus of Grace's anticipation and excitement.  Because the true magic of Christmas has nothing to do with and is so much more incredible than reindeer.  So we're thinking maybe just having one present be from Santa.

Celebrate Advent.  We didn't put up our A Meaningful Christmas ornaments this year because Grace is too young to get it, but I'm regretting that now because Micah and I sure aren't.  I think spending some time each night to talk about the Christmas miracle is such a fantastic way to create buildup for the grand finale - Jesus's birthday!*  I'm on the hunt for an Advent calendar, as well.

And hey.  I'm not trying to be a Grinch, and I'm not judging anyone who thinks I'm a crazy lady and wants to continue to exchange gifts and celebrate in the traditional way.  This has just been on my heart, and I wanted to share with you in case you might be feeling the same way.

So what do you guys think?  How do you honor Christ as you go about the holidays?

* And yes, I realize that December 25 wasn't Jesus's actual birthday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Weight loss update...

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I know things have been fairly quiet on the weight loss front.

But I weighed in yesterday (after a two-week hiatus) and was down another four pounds, for a total of...

... 26.2 pounds.

That's over a quarter of my ultimate goal in right at eight weeks, and I can definitely feel the difference.  Clothes are looser, my face feels thinner, and I've got more energy than I've had since before I got pregnant.  Plus, the degree to which my thighs rub together when I walk has decreased substantially.  Can I get an amen to that?

While it hasn't been a cake walk (ha!), it's also not the hardest thing I've ever done.  Not by a long shot.  I'm obviously allowing myself some indulgences, and I'm definitely eating more cheese than I am technically allowed.  (Which is none, in case you were wondering.  How would one survive without cheese, I ask you?).

But I'm really, really proud of what I'm accomplishing.  And I have every faith that I'll be able to cross #18 off my 30 Before 30 list before August 2015 rolls around.

Because I truly am trying to adjust the way I approach food.  Though I know I will always harbor an unadulterated love of all things delicious, I'm attempting to see food as a means to an end, rather than the end in and of itself.  For me, that's working for now.

Thanks again for being such amazing cheerleaders for me on this journey.  I know that a big part of the reason things are going so well is the support and encouragement I find here every day.  You gals are amazing. :)


This picture. 

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She was actually doing really great at first, but then Santa pulled his beard out of her hands and she turned into the spawn of Satan.  Because obviously beards are for pulling.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation.

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I've been a fan of MAC and BareMinerals foundations for years, but I had been hearing great things about this foundation, and I decided to give it a whirl a few months ago.


There are no words to adequately convey the depth of my love for this foundation.  The coverage is great, the finish is flawless, and they have a zillion shades, so you should definitely be able to find one to match your skin.  Plus, it stays put.  At least as well as the MAC Pro Longwear that I've been using.  Consider me an official convert.

After trying it out in the store and finding my shade, I've been buying it online from Sephora or Ulta (yay, free samples!), but if you buy direct from Tarte, they've got it on sale for 30% off right now!  If I hadn't just ordered two more tubes last week, I'd definitely be taking advantage of that.

And if any of you find that you're a Light Honey, let me know.  I bought that one and used it for a few days before realizing that it was the WRONG color for me.  I'll send it to the first person who comments that they want it. :)

Pandora's Peaceful Holidays Station. 

Amen.  That is all.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish.
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This came in my very last Birchbox (I suspended my subscription for awhile), and I fell in love the first time I tried it.  This is, by far and away, the BEST face cleanser I've ever used.  It's a thick, creamy cleanser that you massage onto dry skin.  Once you've massaged it all in and loosened up the makeup/oil/etc., you take the muslin washcloth that comes with the kit, run hot water over it, and then buff it over your face in small circular motions to gently exfoliate and cleanse.

I'm telling you guys... my skin has never felt softer.  PLUS, the other products I use on my face seem to work much better now that I'm applying them to a more uniform surface.  My acne has subsided, and my pores look smaller, and it's all just very, very good.  It's pricey-ish ($24.50 for the starter kit that comes with the waschloth, and then $21.50 for the cleanser thereafter), but you don't need much, and for me it's just worth it.  I have normal to oily skin, though, and a friend with dry skin wasn't in love with it.  So keep that in mind.

Rewined Candles. 

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These are "wine"-scented candles poured into recycled wine bottles, and they're just so much fun.  Plus, they smell fabulous.  I'm a fan of the Riesling and Champagne scents.

So those are the things that are floating my boat right now.  What are you guys loving lately?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


If you live in a part of the country where you have to deal with actual  inclement weather in the winter, I feel sure you think all of us down here in Texas are total wimps.  Because 'round these parts, we shut the whole metroplex down when there's a teensy bit of ice on the roads.

After I finally got off the plane in Dallas on Thursday afternoon (after delays in both Charleston and on the tarmac in Dallas), I did my best to navigate all the insane drivers who, in anticipation of Iceageddon 2013, had to rush around buying all of the bread and milk and eggs and blankets at rush hour and prolong what had already been a very exhausting trip home.  

But after two hours (my commute is normally 25-30 minutes) I finally made it home just in time to put Gracie to bed (after not seeing her for three whole days, I couldn't get enough of her sweet little face!).  And then we did, indeed, get a dusting of sleet/freezing rain (some parts of the area got a fair amount of snow) and a whole lot of icy roads that night.  So most of the schools and businesses shut down, and my sweet little family had a day of cuddles and PJs.  

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Thankfully we didn't lose power like many others did after the poor, wimpy Texas trees buckled under the weight of the ice and knocked down the power lines.  We did miss my firm's Christmas party (which is usually a ridiculously fun spectacle of extravagance), but I really just didn't want to be out on the roads at night.

We mostly just continued the cuddling on Saturday and Sunday, although we did have to venture out for food a few times, which was nice.  I was getting a little stir-crazy...

Oh, and can we talk about what else happened this weekend?

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Um, yes.

I sat her down in her crib just for a second while I gathered up her clothes for the day and picked up her room a bit and turned around to this.  I about had a heart attack.  Looks like we will be lowering the crib just as soon as possible...

So things are still unusually cold here, but everything seems to be thawing out for the most part.  Hope you guys are all staying warm and enjoying this incredible time of the year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A little 1992...

Hi there, loves.

It's 11:00 p.m. in Charleston.  I am curled up on this comfy bed in my gorgeous hotel room, and I was suddenly overcome with a desire to drop in and say hello.

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Why yes that is me there in the mirror... and I totally am signing I Love You—because I do, in fact, love you guys—even though that's totally 1992 of me.  My valley girl ponytail is pretty 1992, too, but anything that is cool enough for Kelly Kapowski is cool enough for me.

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I mean, am I right?


So, yes.  I am in Charleston again.  It really is becoming one of my very favorite cities, but dadgum, y'all.  Being away from my pretty girl and handsome man is rough!  And the four hours of sleep I got last night preparing for today's hearing does not make for a restful getaway....

Plus, we went out to dinner tonight to celebrate a semi-successful outcome in the hearing, and I blew my diet out of the water.  Like waaaaaay out of the water.  As in, I had at least six bites of caramel bananas foster cake and nearly an entire plate of lobster mac and cheese.  (They were absolutely as delicious as they sound.)  I had actually done pretty decently over Thanksgiving, so I'm not feeling too guilty about a splurge, but I'm always scared to cheat because it reminds me of all the delicious food I'm missing.  Ha!  Quick, someone tell me how yummy celery sticks really are!  Except don't, because then you'd be a big, fat liar.  Or maybe a skinny one?

In other news, I'm co-hosting my sister-in-law's baby sprinkle at our house this weekend, and I've been reminded at how terrible a party planner I am.  That gene is completely lacking in my double helix, and no effort on my part to transform myself into Martha Stewart has been successful thus far.  Oh well, I guess.  There are other, arguably more important, things I'm not terrible at.  Like eating cake.  I'm pretty good at that...

Alrighty, friends.  I'm going to slip under the covers and shut my eyes and hopefully dream of things other than the creepy book I'm reading.  (For the record, I do not recommend that you read this book while you're alone in a hotel room.)  Sweet dreams, y'all.

My kid is cute...

Like, stupid cute.

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(Her little teeth.  Kill me.)

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... aaaaaaand I'm officially dead.  
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