Monday, January 25, 2016

Tis the Season

Not gonna lie - we didn't go ALL OUT for Christmas this/last year. We decorated, yes. We enjoyed the tree for a long time, yes. We had what I thought was a nice amount of decent gifts for the kid, yes. But when it came to big parties and get togethers and dinners, it just didn't happen. For a variety of reason but mainly because Taylor was recuperating from her tonsillectomy and then I got strep.

And I felt guilty. Sort of. Because I know there are only a couple more Christmases where Taylor will be in the house. And I want Tiny to love and enjoy the holidays. But some years there are other things that take priority. And I think it's ok for my kids to realize that we can put holidays and celebrations on hold or scale them and when they need us to.

Because - let's face it - Taylor was NOT going to make it through the upcoming major livestock season without being incredibly ill multiple times unless we got those tonsils out. It was time. And it's what was best.

All that being said, we tried to pack in some holiday goodness BEFORE her surgery. And I think we were pretty darn successful!

Tiny and I went to the Waco Christmas Parade while Taylor worked Waco Wonderland with the Sweethearts. I have an adorable photo of the two of them but it shows the baby's face so you'll have to imagine it for now.

Clyde and Dottie went to the Lorena Christmas Classic - a little jackpot show that we hit up each year in December.

Yes, he's grown a lot. And he's even bigger now. He just won't stop!

We had a fun night looking at Christmas lights around Waco that we kicked off with a live nativity at a local church. A super fun night that ended with cookie decorating. Tiny is a sprinkle master, friends.

We celebrated Nana's birthday and, because we were in the area, went to BLORA. Tiny loved Christmas lights and was amazed by this display. For the first 15-20 minutes. The traffic was so bad that it took 1.5 hours to make it through and she was just OVER IT by the time we were done. :)

Blue began his sweater collection and met Taylor in the Christmas version when she got home after surgery.

Even though she wasn't up to eating Christmas goodies, Taylor was intent on Tiny getting the full sweet effect of the holidays. So Tiny and I hit the grocery store early one morning to get all the ingredients.

The weather was kind of rough on Christmas Day so Santa brought Tiny's swing set a day early - just in time for Nana and Boppy's visit.

We finally got our star shower up a few days before Christmas. Tiny was enamored and just wanted to dance in front of the projectors.

Santa brought a chalkboard! Tiny loves it. I'm currently wondering how smart of an idea it was because she wants to chalk any and everything. Mainly furniture.

We had a lot of "discussions" about this tree. She wanted to redecorate it daily. And broke several ornaments in the process. But, at this very moment, she was truly just admiring it. And I totally loved it.

Clearly Taylor wasn't up for many photos and who could blame her? She totally rocked that tonsillectomy, though, and impressed her doctor thoroughly. That's my girl. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Annual Christmas Tradition

Shortly after celebrating Thanksgiving and Tiny's birthday, we took a trip north for our annual outing at the Gaylord ice exhibit. This year we changed things up a bit and decided to go up the day before, spend the night and enjoy some away time. 

We were super excited when we checked in and learned that we had been upgraded to the penthouse suite. It had quite a bit more room than our usual Embassy Suites room and it even had a walk out balcony. Soooo fun.

Our hotel was linked to Bass Pro Shops so we headed over to check out their Christmas decorations and activities. Tiny objected even more strongly this time around to the carousel than the first. In fact, she didn't even make it until they turned it on. 

Taylor and Hal did some window shopping while we got Tiny dressed in a fun holiday outfit so we could go out to dinner. We all acquiesced to Taylor's request and ended up at Chili's. Because she would eat there every single day if it was up to her.

We also drove through Downtown Grapevine and saw the lights from afar but it was SO CROWDED that there wasn't a parking spot in sight. The next morning we had breakfast and headed over to the Gaylord first thing. This photo was taken on the way out - when we found the only thing there that Tiny wanted to see...the trains. ;)

I pretty much insist that they take a pic next to this reindeer every year. Tay was NOT excited at all. But more on that later.

This year's theme was Christmas Around the World and, to be honest, I had no idea what to expect and wasn't as thrilled about it as I had been some previous themes. But I was so pleasantly surprised. In fact, it ranks in the top three. And we've been going there for many years.

I mean...look at this!

A few (or more) pics from inside the exhibit...

...and my favorite part - year in and year out.

You'll notice that you don't see any pics of Tiny or Tonto. And that would be because the little one was not a fan of the frigid temps. Not even a little bit. So they did a quick run (literally) through of the exhibit and met us outside.

Unfortunately, my sweet teen woke up yet again the very morning we were supposed to have a ton of fun with an extremely swollen throat. Yet again. She was miserable throughout and barely touched her lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. We headed home immediately after lunch so she could crawl in bed and go to the doctor the next morning. 

She was diagnosed with strep - yet again - and this time it was just simply time to take some action. She'd had strep five times, several other bouts of pharyngitis and a tonsil abscess from February to early December. We dealt with the truancy officer (even with medical notes thanks to changes from the State of Texas) at school last semester and we were all simply DONE with her being sick all the time.

Thankfully we were able to get her into an ENT the following week and scheduled for surgery shortly before Christmas. As in three days prior.

Needless to say, it was a quiet holiday break at our house but she did EXTREMELY well - much better than we had been told to expect - and was such a trooper. We watched four seasons of Grey's Anatomy and I spent a whole lot of time with my girl. Which I absolutely loved. 

I also ended up with strep the week after she had surgery, which provided a large dose of irony, but we persevered and managed to rally a bit to celebrate the New Year. And by "celebrate," I mean we made homemade lasagna and made some cookies. :)

Sadly, Taylor had been so sick for so long that she never protested having surgery. Bless her little heart - hopefully she'll be illness free for the spring semester. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016


After quietly celebrating Tiny's birthday on Thanksgiving, we were excited for our families to join us the next day so we could continue celebrating and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. We most certainly did both. :)

Yes, she wore this hat for her first birthday but it matched her outfit perfectly because...

...she's so small that I was able to buy the same outfit from her 1st birthday in a larger size. Yes, I've done this with multiple holidays. It's one of the perks of having a preemie. :)

I'm not really sure she ever had much of her princess cupcake cake because she was obsessed with eating the icing off of the cookies. But, hey, it's her party and all...

...and, of course, there were more presents to open. She's a pro at it this time around and, as always, she didn't hate being the center of attention. At all.

We also belatedly celebrated sweet Taylor's 16th birthday on this day as well. I mean we had already partied it up but you just have to have cake with family to make it official.

Around this time she also competed with her besties in Ag Advocacy. They won the district competition and fell slightly short of advancing to state. So, so proud of them!

She also FINALLY (after a very long delay of a teen procrastinating, a dad who needed a few weeks for a ticket to fall of his record and several trip to the DPS where everyone wanted a different type of form) got her driver's permit. Look out world - she may be right around the corner at any time. :)

Time at home was a sweet, sweet way to close out a hectic November. Of course, December was right around the corner and that always brings its own set of challenges. But that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Let the Games Begin

Continuing in my quest to get (somewhat) caught up again, let's talk Thanksgiving week. This is always a much anticipated time for us because Midway's new school calendar gives them an entire week. However, that means ZERO days off from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. Which is SO HARD on the kids and parents. But the teachers are the ones who vote on the calendar so that's the way I suspect it will remain moving forward.

Hal, Taylor and I continued our annual tradition of seeing The Hunger Games and, sadly, I guess we'll have to find a different movie next year since this was the last in the series. Insert sad face here.

Of course, Thanksgiving week is an even BIGGER deal now because of Tiny's birthday! This year, it actually fell on the holiday (that Dave worked) so we put her big gift together a little early. She absolutely loves her trampoline and for a child who has endless energy, I'm all for toys that expend a bit of energy.

Sweet girl also got her first haircut the day before her 2nd birthday. This is kind of a miracle because she was almost bald until just a couple of months before this day. Like most things where Tiny is concerned, once she takes off...she really TAKES OFF. {See also crawling, walking, talking, etc.}

The morning of her birthday, she and I spent a chunk of time in the kitchen getting ready to host the holiday meal with both our families the following day. Someone decided they wanted popcorn for breakfast and who was I to argue? :)

That night we had a yummy meal and a celebratory apple pie. Unfortunately, sweet girl just couldn't wait and NEEDED some ice cream first. Again, who was I to argue? She gazed at the candles while enjoying her treat.

Have I mentioned how much she LOVES sweets? {And really any type of junk food.}

After a quick wardrobe change into pi's, we opened a couple more gifts.

And she REALLY got into the whole opening of gifts this year, which was a lot of fun.

I love celebrating our girls with our families and friends but I try to have at least a special home cooked dinner where just the four of us celebrate. As the years quickly wind down that I'll have both at home {don't mention it to my face, though, because I might tear up}, I'm intent on carving out special time for our family. Even if it's FFF - Forced Family Fun. ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Yes, I'm still here. Yes, we're fine. Yes, it's been a while. No, there's no explanation or apology for the long absence. Why? Because 2015 was just a bear. And not a good Baylor type bear. One of those bears that you eventually overcome but it takes everything in you to do so and then you just have nothing left to talk about. And you may or may not end up lounging on your couch for almost two weeks during Christmas break.

But I digress.

Because I've missed almost a semester's worth of posting, let's hit the highlights and then fast forward to Tiny's birthday and Christmas with a little one. 

Taylor is a high school sophomore - whaaaaaat? How did this happen? Seriously, though, this photo was taken in our rent house back in August and that seems like a lifetime ago. This sweet girl had a rough, rough semester as she continued to suffer from strep/pharyngitis/tonsillitis almost constantly. 

Her first flare was last February and she suffered to the point that her tonsils were removed on December 22. She did remarkably well during recovery and will be released back to working and showing her animals at the end of this week. 

Through it all, she continued to show her animals regularly (and they did really well almost everywhere they went) and earned 5 A's and 3 B's (two of which were 89) for the semester with an overall A average. So proud of her for fighting through adversity over which she had no control.

We wrapped up summer shenanigans with a little trip to Hawaiian Falls with Tiny. She's a huge of almost all things water and I'm absolutely certain she'll be even more in love with the pool next summer.

We, of course, spent some time at McLane Stadium last fall cheering on our Bears. It was such a frustrating season because of a rash of almost unheard of injuries that - at one point - left us with no QBs. As you may already know, they put on quite a performance at their bowl game and finished strong. Ready to see them back on the field next season. With Seth back at the helm.

Tiny also went to the rodeo for the first time and watched her sister participate in the calf scramble. Which, though not successful, was incredibly fun to watch!

This sweet girl also spent many hours (right at 100 to date) volunteering as a Sweetheart at events throughout the area. She had a blast and I kind of love seeing her dolled up in Western wear sporting a sash. She even asked for a felt hat as a Christmas gift and she looked awfully sassy working the Circuit Finals last weekend.

Tiny celebrated Halloween. As a garden gnome. She was absolutely adorable, is a huge fan of candy, and is greatly appreciative to her sister for teaching her all about trick or treating. :)

Miss Taylor joined her good friends Em, Hal and Calvin on the Ag Advocacy team and they were very successful. Love all of them like they're my own. Seriously.

This was a new team for her this year and she's decided to switch things up again this spring. My little birdie is just swooping out of the nest these days, y'all.

So that's the brief run down on the fall. I just have to post separately about Tiny's 2nd birthday and Christmas because I have lots of pics to share. 

Because 2015 was so brutally busy and hectic, I'm committing to the word REST for 2016. I honestly just want to slow down long enough to enjoy our new house - which is almost fully decorated - my girls, their activities, and just being. We accomplished a lot in 2015 and were extremely blessed (remind me to tell you some time about how I almost lost my mom in October; like, she had an 8% survival rate) but I am praying with everything in me that this year will be a bit slower paced, a whole lot more healthy and more enjoyable overall.  :)