January 28, 2014

A 7 Days Farewell

I'm so behind on blogging (are you noticing a theme?)...I wanted to do this DURING the final round of 7 Days but, as it happened over the Christmas holiday, there was really no time. I still need to go in and finish commenting on everyone's photos...sheesh.


7 Days is a project that I was invited to by a longtime internet friend.  It is was a group on Flickr in which, four times a year, members would take a self-portrait every day for 7 Days.  The creativity and ingenuity and just overall badassedness of this group of people welcomed me in with open arms and just-slightly-too-tight Internet bear hugs.

I participated for 3 years of the 7-year life span of 7 Days.  I got more creative with my photos.  I met some incredibly amazing people.  None of whom I have met in real life, mind you, but with whom I've become very close and of whom I've grown very fond.

I've mentioned them before.

I'm so glad for Internet friends, and for Twitter and Facebook, which allow me to keep up with them constantly, whether they like it or not!

Anyway...You can view my sets on Flickr here:

Spring 2011
Summer 2011
Fall 2011
Winter 2011

Spring 2012
Summer 2012
Fall 2012
Winter 2012

Spring 2013
Summer 2013 (unfinished because I was overly pregnant and OVER EVERYTHING)
Fall 2013
Winter 2013

And here are some of my favorites of all my 7 Days shots:

January 24, 2014

Holiday Traditions -- Christmas Baking

I know it's almost the end of January but, as it's still in the teens outside and I'm wearing multiple layers and snuggling with my loved ones to keep warm, I think we can forgive a post that references Christmas and the holiday season without being too random!  (Hey, at least I finally took my Christmas tree down...the weekend of Epiphany, as it should be!)

One of my favorite holiday traditions that I hope continues well into my life is the tradition that my sisters-in-law, Cristal and Rainy, and I have of getting together one Saturday in December and just binge-baking cookies and treats.  We started it on a whim back in 2008, right after my husband and I moved back to Texas and got married.  My stepmom gave us all funny, dollar-store Christmas aprons to wear, and we spent the day snacking, baking, and connecting with each other:


We decided to do it again the next year, and the next year, and the next year...

2009 (we still don't know why there's no photo! sad)

2010 (horrible quality photo, but documented the day!)
Each year, we dig out the aprons and the messy recipe cards/printouts and gather at my sister-in-law Rainy's house (it's always been at her house...God bless her for hosting every year!) and dig in for a long, productive day.

Rainy makes a darn fine pot of coffee.

We take turns and help each other mix, roll, sprinkle, fill, chop, etc., and someone is always watching or stirring our lunch (usually a warm, comforting pot of soup) on the stove or making an extra pot of coffee.

Prepping the soup! Zuppa Toscana this year! SO GOOD.

2013 was no exception!  We limited ourselves a little bit this past Christmas...we each only baked our "staples" and maybe only threw in one or two new additions (we've gone a bit overboard in the past...).  With busy schedules, the addition of little ones to the mix, and colds/stuffy noses, we wanted to make sure we still enjoyed ourselves!

The results were, as always, delicious and plentiful:

Sugar cookies
Andes Mint chocolate cookies
THESE from Bethany
Finished apricot cookies
Peanut butter cup cookies
FLOWER? Really, self?!
Cranberry almond biscotti

I love seeing how much we've changed (you can really see it when you look at my niece, Caitlyn, from year to year!) over the years....

I love this tradition because a) it's tradition! I love traditions! and b) I love these women, and I'm glad they're my sisters. I have always been known for pretty much thinking that my two brothers hung the moon.  They are fantastic, hilarious, pain-in-the-ass, smart men, and God gave each of them a woman perfectly suited to them...who will love them more than I do (which is a lot!) and put up with them and challenge them and make them into even better men.

I'm so glad this tradition started six years ago, and I can't wait to continue to add recipes and memories for years to come.

January 21, 2014

Z at Six Months

Well, the good thing about doing ALL of these monthly updates so late is that the pictures really are about a month apart...

Month six (and half of month seven) has been CRAZY busy!  We had ice days, Z's first Christmas and New Year's Eve/Day, and what seems like a million little changes to my baby boy every single day!

First of all...how is it that he's a half a year old? What happened to this guy?

Z is just such a joy in our life.  He's tempestuous, as is to be expected.   Most of the time he's smiling at any and every person he meets, belly laughing at peek-a-boo, and squealing with joy at his big sister Carmen. 

But he has his moods! If he doesn't like something or if he's teething or upset, watch out!

Speaking of teeth...

His bottom two teeth came in at the same time, and he was a sad little booger for a few days while they broke through.  Gone is his toothless, gummy smile that I loved so much!  He is looking more and more like a little boy!

He's such a funny little guy. He makes me smile all the time, even when I try to act frustrated that he's suddenly waking up in the middle of the night again like a newborn...

His first Christmas was so much fun...but also EXHAUSTING.  He was tired, we were tired...but he was spoiled by his many grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. 


He also came to the Sixth Annual Baking Day that I do with my sisters-in-law every December (which I fully intend to blog about I PROMISE):

He is rolling ALL OVER THE PLACE and will be across the room before you can blink your eyes.

He loves playing peek-a-boo and looking at his reflection in the mirror.

He has discovered his feet, and thinks that pulling his sock(s) off his HILARIOUS.

He is a new person every time I pick up him out of his crib in the morning, and it's both joyous and terrifying how quickly he is changing!

I love this happy boy more and more every day!