The 2013 List

For the past couple years (2012 and 2011)  I have written about the goals I'd like to accomplish for the new year. This year I've noticed a trend. Instead of resolutions pick a word to live your whole year by.
A word of the year, that seems simple enough to do!
Since I find these two equally important, I am choosing two words.


This year I resolve to be consistent. Keep with a routine. Knowing what to expect will keep me sane (especially with a new baby) and keep my children sane. I used to be very good about keeping everyone on some sort of a routine but I just got lazy about it. Now there is a bit of chaos in the house and it's stressing me out and I know it's stressing the kids out. The hardest part will be figuring out a balance between keeping a routine and also allowing time to be spontaneous. I suppose if we make sure to eat lunch at 12 everyday we can still be spontaneous and eat our lunch as a picnic at the park.
I must be consistent! Not just with routine though, I must be consistent about allowing a set amount of screen time for all of us, what the rules of the house are,  figuring out consequences for certain actions, etc. Consistency is the key word this year.

This year I resolve to be calm. Ah, my life used to be so calm when my babies were 1 and 3, even 2 and 4! Now that they are 3 and 5 they are starting to push the limits of what they can get away with. Yes, sometimes it makes me angry. Instead of wanting to blow up at the kids I need to take a step back and breathe through things that upset me. Walking away from a situation until I can think clearly enough to come back and make a decision, remembering my children are still young, understanding that even they might not know why they did something, sometimes "because" really is the answer! I think (and hope) that when consistency comes back into our lives then calm will naturally come with it. 

So there you have it, my two words to live by for 2013. Since I told you all, I'm expecting you to hold me accountable!!!!

Are you making a list of resolutions or choosing a word to live by this year?


2012: A Photographic Review

2012 was an amazing year! At the end of every year I always seem to catch myself wishing we could have done more. I feel like I missed a lot of stuff this year because I was pretty sick for 3 months (even though it doesn't appear that way). Then, I do a post like this and realize we really do a lot, even on the years we don't do a lot. I love my life and I really can't wait to see what 2013 brings us!

We were still in the Greensboro area of NC at the beginning of the year. The weather was nice and mild for winter *LOVE* Travis had been working in VA all of December and finally decided he had had enough. Quit his job up in VA and made the decision to transfer his union card from 110 in VA to 421 which is based in Charleston, SC and covers all of NC and SC. For all of January Travis was home with us, unemployed.
February took Travis away from us once again. He was offered a job about 3 hours southwest of us in the Charlotte, NC area. We had our first (and only) snowfall in February, a couple days later we were back to wearing t-shirts outside. One good snowfall a year is all we need in this house! Charlotte learned how to tie her shoes in February, she was so proud of herself! Not to mention how proud I was of her, especially since it made getting ready to go places so much easier only having to tie one pair of shoes!

The lovely Miss Charlotte took it upon herself to give her sweet sister a haircut. See her bangs!? What a hack job, luckily her bangs kinda blended in with the rest of her hair so I didn't have to do anything drastic to make it even. Charlotte also cut her own hair, she wasn't as lucky as Lexi, I had to take her to a salon to get her hair cut. It turned out really cute, but all those beautiful curls at the ends of her hair were cut off and haven't been back. Since Travis left in February the girls and I spent a lot of our time hiking and going to parks together, just keeping ourselves busy.
April brought nightly evening walks in the wagon and daily visits to the park. We were lucky enough to find a gem of a park that had just recently been opened. It was a multimillion dollar project specifically designed to be accessible to handicapped children with multiple sensory stations for children with special needs. The sad part about the project is that the park was ALWAYS empty, they built it kinda out in the boonies, it took us about 20 minutes to get there but it was worth the drive, we usually packed a picnic lunch and could stay there for several hours at a time. Granddad came down to visit us in April and we enjoyed a trip to the zoo to see dinosaurs! NC has a very nice zoo but it is right in the middle of the state making it a day trip. The zoo is one thing I miss about VA, it was so nice to be able to go to the zoo everyday. Easter was also in April and Travis had fun hiding eggs everywhere for hunting, it was cute to see the girls working together to get the eggs.
Travis's job was going great down in the Charlotte area with several other jobs popping up in the area we decided to make the move down to the Queen City. What a beautiful city it is! We absolutely love it here and plan on staying as long as Travis has work here. He goes where the work is and we follow him. Currently there is plenty of work around for him to stay for a few years. There is a mountain practically in our backyard, the hikes we've done up to the peak have been great. The views are amazing. I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy it together as a family.
June brought more hiking and more exploring the area around us. We went to a food festival in Charlotte. Ugh, so much good food. I can't wait to go again in 2013. Charlotte was chosen by a street performer to be his assistant, she did an amazing job. She wasn't shy once and really blossomed when the crowd cheered for her. She's a little performer at heart.
We actually got to watch fireworks this year!! Last year we moved the first week of July so we missed the fireworks. We started the 4th by going to Charlotte for a parade, we watched fireworks in our local downtown and the girls got to use sparklers for the first time. They really liked them. I love and hate that fireworks are legal to buy in NC. The neighborhood shows are great but fireworks all night, not so much. July wouldn't have been complete without more hiking. We ended up at a state park about an hour north of us. Best. Park. Ever. We love it and went several times in July. At the end of July the girls had completed their very first summer reading program at the library. The prize was their own book totes to fill up at the library every week. Well earned!
Auntie E came to visit us in August!!! We did SO much stuff! Botanical gardens, amusement parks, museums, etc. It was such a fun visit. We were so happy to see her and sad to see her go. We went back to our favorite state park and brought Oreo with us, she had a blast. She is crazy about water. We had a hard time getting her out of the water so we could go home. We took the girls canoeing for the first time. We've been kayaking with them before but with two kayaks, we were able to use one canoe and took a nice tour around a small lake in our area. After a bit of instruction the girls were able to paddle us around by themselves! In mid August we found out we are expecting an addition to the family. I had to snap a picture right when I found out, behold the 4 week bump.
In September we went to Travis's aunt and uncle's house for Labor Day. It was a fantastic visit like always, so nice to lounge by the pool and enjoy great company. The girls really love seeing their cousins, not sure how much the cousins enjoy it since they are in the preteen/teen age but if they were annoyed by a 4 and 2 year old they did a great job hiding it! This year we started off Charlotte's first year of official homeschool. It's not official through the state yet (not until 7) but I'm still keeping records. Alexis turned three! AHH! We had a huge dead tree cut down in our backyard, woodpile heaven. The guy never came back to finish the job so we still have tons of wood in our yard. Can't decide what to do with it, especially now that the cutest little chipmunks have taken up residence in the piles. They are adorable to watch running back and forth between piles. We found a great homeschooling group in our area and enjoyed park dates and field trips including one to a small zoological park with several exotic (and some farm) animals.
Somehow after our trip to Travis's uncle's house I misplaced my camera charger so October was seriously lacking in pictures. Especially some pictures that I'd really love to have. Our local natural history museum had a free day so the girls and I went to that, they got to ride horses and see dinosaur bones, two happy girls. We went on a field trip to an apple orchard in Hendersonville, they had the most amazing apple cider doughnuts. I'm not even going to tell you how many I ate (more than one). We picked several pounds of apples and used apples in everything, mini apple pies, applesauce, apple muffins, etc. After being on a waiting list for a few months I got an email saying Charlotte was accepted into a Girl Scout troop. It's a small group but is growing week by week. She really really adores the Girl Scouts and I'm so happy to get to be part of it with her. Also in October we found out that trick or treating is very scarce around here. By the end of the night we discovered the secret. About 20 minutes away there is a street called Elm St. where everyone goes. It's a huge street that they shut down complete with police officers and road closed signs. One pass down that street will get you enough candy to last a year, now we know for 2013.
November started out with huge leaf piles in our front yard, luckily we have mild weather in November! The girls were out there in the leaves everyday! Charlotte turned five! Half a decade, yikes! We stayed home for the first time in at least 10 years for Thanksgiving. Travis had been working a lot of overtime so we ended up having a belated dinner but it was still delicious! On Thanksgiving day we went to a parade in Charlotte, it was fun to watch but a bit long, over two hours. Thank goodness they were selling funnel cakes (because that's what everyone needs at 9:00 am) or I wouldn't have lasted through the whole thing.
My birthday is in early December and I got the best present ever. We found out we are expecting a baby boy. What an exciting thing to find out on a birthday! We added a new addition to our family. A sweet little Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix that we named Cocoa. She was meant to be part of our family I think. After searching several shelters we decided to check Craigslist and there she was needing a home. The whole family loves her, especially Oreo! We did several Christmas crafts, made cookies, went to a homeschool Christmas party, went to a Girl Scout Christmas service project and also a Girl Scout Christmas party. Finally, we took a break long enough to head up to Grandma's for an early Christmas. Travis ended up getting sick with what we think was the flu(?) so he didn't come with us to Grandma's. Just me, two girls, and two dogs traveling 5-6 hours in the snow and through the mountains. I think I'd rather fly next time...We made it home from Grandma's on Christmas Eve with just enough time to send the girls to bed and set out the presents. Granddad surprised us by being there when we got home so we were able to spend Christmas Day with him. 2012 ended with me being 24 weeks pregnant, we can't wait to meet our little guy in 2013!

So, you can see we had an amazing 2012 and really couldn't ask for anything more. 2013 is going to be even better!
Hope you all had a great 2012 and wish you a healthy prosperous 2013!

Curious about 2010 and 2011's review?
 Find them here