looking back over 2011

2011 may have been the quickest year of my life. Seriously, I blinked, and it was over. This year was such a great one! Here are the 11 most memorable moments of 2011...in order! 

  1. SNOW DAYS! We used 10 snow days last year and I loved it because they all happened right after my maternity leave ended. Snow days = more days at home with my baby! 
  2. The first week of January last year I had to report to jury duty. Instead of regular jury duty, I was selected to be a member of the Grand Jury...once a month from January - June. I'm the weirdo that was actually excited! I wish I could be a permanent member of the Grand Jury. I loved it. It totally fits my nosy, criminal tv show-loving personality.
  3. Ben and I went to see my favorite country star, Brad Paisley! My good friend, Brad, puts on a great show. It was such a fun concert! 
  4. I embarked on the adventure of baby food making when Grayson was about 6 months old. I really enjoyed making his food! He's so dang picky now & I miss the days when I could get him to eat those yummy vegetable and fruits!
  5. Grayson got to experience his first Spring Break! Not don't get all crazy, we didn't hit up Club La Vela, but we did have fun in Atlanta! 
  6. Grayson became a master artist. No big deal.
  7. We spent a really fun weekend in Oxford! Grayson got to meet his Aunt Whit and Uncle Matt & see our favorite small town for the first time!  
  8. I quit my job as a 1st grade teacher & became a stay at home mama at the end of the school year. Even though The Toddler can have his (terrible 2's) moments, I can honestly say that I have not once regretted my decision. I have made some great friends that also have little boys and I love spending so much time with Grayson. I love my my job title! 
  9. I left the mid-twenties and entered into my late-ish mid-twenties when I turned 26! Gah, I'm getting old! Oh? And my husband got MAJOR brownie points for giving me the BIGGEST DOUBLE DOOZIE CAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. oink.
  10. Ben made me do something on the 4th of July weekend that is so not me. Be spontaneous. Gets me all jittery just thinking about it. I'm a big time planner. We decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Oxford for the holiday weekend! Literally, we walked into Target, he said he wanted to go to Oxford, we made reservations for 2/3 of the dogs, packed, & 2 hours later we were on the road. I was a complete spaz (typical) but we had such a great weekend! My baby loves Oxford and that makes me happy. 
  11. Ben and I celebrated 3 years of marriage on July 19! I love this guy more & more every day. I'm a lucky girl. 
  12. We had our big Cheney family reunion in July! I look forward to this every 3 years. It was Ben's first time with my small family of 94 people and I loved that Grayson got to meet all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins! 
  13. We learned in August that Grayson is NOT a beach baby. Not yet, anyways. sad face.
  14. I gave in to peer pressure and joined twitter. How did people communicate before blogs, facebook, HeyTell, and twitter?!
  15. Grayson went to The Grove for the first time!  Yep, 3 visits to Oxford in 1 year! I hope we can keep this up. I didn't take G to the Ole Miss game, but he had a blast in the Grove. He looked so cute in his rebel wear! 
  16. My sweet little newborn turned ONE on September 19! I learned that I am not a party planner but we still had a fun Sock Monkey bash!
  17. Mama got her hurr did. I went from blonde to brunette!
  18. Our child morphed into the cutest garden gnome you ever did see on Halloween! Best costume, ever. He also loved following his friend, Gray, house to house to go trick-or-treating!
  19. That cute garden gnome? He got quite the dramatic pout. He still uses the pout on a pretty regular basis and I still have to turn my head so I don't laugh. 
  20. We found out we were having a BABY on Black Friday!
  21. We saw that sweet little baby yesterday...pretty good way to end 2011!
I am so excited for all of the fun & exciting things that 2012 will bring. A growing toddler who keeps me so busy AND a new baby this summer! Yep, it's going to be a great year. 


Christmas 2011 (aka: a picture dump)

We spent Christmas at home with both of our families. Everyone came up the afternoon of Christmas Eve & Grayson was spoiled rotten with attention! Ben had to work on Christmas Eve until 6:00, but everyone else went to our afternoon church service. It was so good and just what I needed to hear! After Ben got home from work we let G open some presents from his enormous extended family. 
Grayson had a big time opening his presents. Okay, he had a big time shredding all the paper from his gifts. 
This little guy was all sorts of wound up on Christmas Eve! 

Christmas morning was so much fun this year. We woke up at the crack of dawn (6:30) to see what Santa brought! 
 Well, in case you were wondering, Santa came! So did the grandparents. :)
Grayson has the best expressions...this is his "surprised" face. It's my favorite! He only does this when he gets really excited. Needless to say, we saw this face a lot on Christmas morning! 

The lawnmower was a pretty big hit. He chases Huddy around the house with it & cracks himself up. Poor sweet dog! 
Ben's family
my family

our little family! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!


Post-Christmas bullets

  • We had a great Christmas! It was so fun seeing it through G's eyes this year. He had a great time! Also? I'm convinced playing Santa is even better than believing in Santa as a kid.
  • It looks like the Little People warehouse exploded in our playroom. Farms, Amusement Parks, Bus, Airplanes, Zoos...you name it, we got it. 
  • The neighbors who ALWAYS park in front of our house? Still doing it. After I left two notes asking nicely for them not to park in front of our house 24/7? Still doing it. Do they still have an empty driveway? Of course. This girl? not happy. 
  •  I'm in the process of de-Christmasing my house. I never take all the decorations down this early. However, the toddler that keeps yanking ornaments off our trees is wearing me out. Those glass ornaments need to be hidden immediately. 
  • Grayson is so overwhelmed with all these new toys. I plan on buying plastic bins today and putting a lot of toys away and bringing out 1 bin a week. Any other tips mamas? I want him to actually play with his toys and enjoy them & not get sick of them. 
  • One of my besties, Kristy, is turning 30 this week. A few of us are throwing her an 80's Prom party this weekend. 1) It was SO hard for me to find a dress! 2) Ben may be more excited than me about the outfits. He has been an eBay fool. I can't wait to show you a picture of my husband circa 1986. 
  • That husband of mine? Well, he is a great gift giver. So much better than me. Mama got a KEURIG! It's my new bff. It's Grayson's new bff too, obviously.
I'll be back tomorrow with a Christmas recap...get ready for LOTS of pictures!


So What! Wednesday

I am very thankful that it is Wednesday. That means we only have 4 more sleeps until Christmas!! I'm pretty sure Christmas this year will be the best yet...I can't wait to see G's face when he comes downstairs in the morning! I got in trouble by some friends for not participating in So What! Wednesday last week so I had to make sure I got with the program this week. This week I am saying SO WHAT if...

  • our stockings are already full of goodies?? This is the one time when we can get away with it without Grayson noticing...I had to mark one thing off my list!
  • Those stockings include our dogs? Of course they have presents and of course I made a special Petsmart trip just for them!
  • I watch Teen Mom 2?? I never said I agree with anything on the show...it's just for entertainment purposes.
  • I laugh at all the dumb breastfeeding vs. formula battles AND football arguments on twitter? I simply laugh so I don't pull my hair out. Who cares how you feed your baby as long as he/she is FED?!
  • I told a man at the store today that G was saying "hiiiii" to him (repeatedly) so that he would actually speak back? It's hurts his little feelings when people ignore him and don't say hi!
  • I feel like I have been losing my mind this week? (read: peanut butter in fridge; milk in pantry) G has been waking up at FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING coughing his head off and I am so sleepy.
  • my child sat in timeout before 7am yesterday morning? These terrible ones tantrums are ROUGH.
That's all, folks. We are off to get the crazy toddler ragamuffin a haircut! Go link up with Shannon for So What! Wednesday!


Merry Christmas from our little family!

I wish I could send all of my blog friends a card this year! I've gotten several from girls I've gotten close to through blogging & twitter and Ben will look at their cards and ask "who is that?!" Ha!

We used Shutterfly for our cards again this year & I love how they turned out!



Merry Christmas! I hope you have time to slow down this week, enjoy your family, & remember the true meaning of Christmas!


15 months

Grayson is 15 months old today!
The stats:
Height: 20lbs 10 oz -- 6th percentile
Weight: 31 1/8in -- 50th percentile
Diaper: 4
Shoe: 4 1/2
Clothes: depends on the brand, still wearing 12 & 18 months!
Grayson is starting to talk a lot more! He jabbers all day long, but here are his actual words:
Ja (Jack)
tee (tree)

He literally says "hiiiiii" to everyone he sees. I love that little voice!
Grayson is now officially only taking 1 nap a day! He started refusing his morning naps about a week ago & has been doing great taking one afternoon nap! He's been sleeping about 2-2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. I actually like this new schedule!
Grayson has 14 teeth now with the 15th poking through on the bottom! At the rate we are going, he'll have his 12 year molars tomorrow.
Grayson is actually not being quite as picky lately. Knock on wood. He's actually been eating peanut butter & honey toast! Add that to cheese quesadilla, cinnamon raisin toast, oatmeal, & chicken nuggets.
Some of G's favorite things right now:
  • playing outside
  • climbing on and off his train table
  • touching the Christmas tree, umplugging the lights, and stealing ornaments
  • hoarding random objects in his firetruck & dumptruck. If you come to our house & lose something, check in G's trucks.
  • throwing the tennis balls for the dogs
  • talking, talking, talking!
  • playing peekaboo
  • driving his 4 wheeler

Grayson is so much fun right now & busy, busy, busy! I feel like I chase him around the house or yard all day. I love this stage! It really does just keep getting better.

Happy 15 months, G!


weekend recap

We have had such a busy & fun weekend; I'm not ready for it to end! Ben had Friday & the weekend off so we decided we needed to do something fun with Grayson! On Friday we went to the Opryland Hotel because it is always decked out for Christmas. Ben & I went before we got married when we were up here looking for houses. It was so pretty! We went Friday morning with Grayson & he had the best time running around the hotel & saying "hi!" to everyone we passed.
The hotel has a river running through it...this was G's favorite thing to look at!

While we were there we decided to go the Madagascar Ice exhibit. Despite the 14 degree temperature & ridiculous toddler parka, Grayson had a great time!
Check out the parkas they give you! It felt like we were walking through a freezer. Not to mention the fact that those parkas add at least 30 pounds. Super flattering, right?
The ice nativity was so pretty!
Look at how tiny my little guy looks next to the giant Christmas tree!
Of course I forced G to wear antlers!
Grayson LOVED having his daddy home to play with!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!

I can't believe Christmas is a week away!


Oh What Fun It Is...To Make Memories!

'Tis the season to link up, right?! Well, today I am linking up with AP over at I Love You More Than Carrots (one of my faves...have you seen how cute her kid AND her dog are?!) to talk about our Christmas traditions!

I go to a womens bible study every other Wednesday morning. It is geared specifically towards being a wife & mama. One of the things people have talked about as we get closer to Christmas is how much fun it is to start your own traditions with your own little family. I couldn't agree more! Christmas was always really special for me when I was younger. We had special traditions for when we stayed home in Georgia & we also had special traditions when we spent Christmas at my Nana's in Louisiana.

Ben & I will never really get to travel much for the holidays because sometimes he will work & the times he has off, he just has the actual holiday off. One thing I want to make sure to do is to always make Christmas feel special at our house; even if it's just us. Grayson is too young to understand Christmas and traditions, but Ben & I have already talked about some things we want to do.

  • I want to make sure that Jesus is always the center of Christmas. Yes, we will do Santa. But, I want our kids to know the real reason behind Christmas. One tradition I hope to always do is go to our Christmas Eve service at church. When I was younger, we always went to the candlelight service & it was my favorite part of Christmas Eve. I think it is so important to hear the message of Christmas & to remember Jesus' birth.
  • I love the idea of wrapping 25 Christmas books as a way to count down! I will be collecting books throughout the year so that G can open a book a day next December. I think that is so fun!
  • Ben and I have also talked a lot about teaching our kids about giving. There are so many people, just miles away from us, that go to bed hungry. That amazes me. Every Christmas we have found ways to give. Whether it is a local food pantry, a can collection at school, or helping a ministry at our church that supports homeless men...we want to give back to people in need. I want our kids to look forward to helping a family/other kids in need every year.
  • I would love to start baking cookies with Grayson to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. He already loves to help & get messy, so surely he would love that! I loved leaving cookies & milk out for Santa and then checking for crumbs on Christmas morning!
  • I'm kind of sad that G is still too little for Elf on the Shelf. We have our little elf but I won't bring him out until next year. I can't wait to see what name Grayson picks out for our family elf! There are SO many cute ideas of what to do with your elf on pinterest....this may be more fun for mama! ;)
I'm so excited to start some new family traditions next year as G gets a little older. I want him to look back at his childhood and remember Christmas as a magical time, just like I do!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


Oh What Fun It Is To....Create! aka: a Pinterest-inspired Christmas

I am linking up with Meredith today over at the The Tichenor Family. She is way more creative than me, but I thought I would share a few of the things I've DIY'd this holiday season. First of all, let's be honest, I can't do much of anything without Pinterest. I have found SO many cute Christmas crafts and it's been hard not to make every.single.one.

I have loved the ornament wreath ever since Pier 1 started selling them quite a few years ago. However, I didn't want to spend the money because their wreath was not shatterproof and I always saw one in the store that was broken! Read: I'm clumsy & it would not last long.

There is my finished product! I took the tutorial from AP & Jennifer and I love how it turned out! I chose bronze & golds to match the bronze tree in the dining room. It was so easy to make & was pretty inexpensive. I'm hoping I can find some clearanced  shatterproof ornaments after Christmas in different colors so I can make another one!

I saw this idea on Pinterest too, but, that website is having some major issues this morning..sorry, no embedded picture! I had 3 empty wine bottles (don't judge) laying around & this looked perfect! I bought white spray paint primer & a shiny white spray gloss. I primed them, waited until they were completely dry, & then sprayed the gloss over them. I was going to spray paint some twigs red and gold to use in the bottles, however, I had some of these little things (what do you even call these?!) left over from a Hobby Lobby trip. Next up: trying to make another bottle look like mercury glass!
This is my favorite new thing I've done this year! Checking the mail is one of my favorite things to do in December. I love Christmas cards! I bought some cute ribbon at Target & wrapped it over the top of these cabinet doors. I taped it (with a ton of tape) on the back. I rolled the tape and put it behind the ribbon to hold it straight to the glass. I folded the ribbon about an inch at the bottom before I taped it. I just used small clothes pins that I already had to clip the cards on. I wasn't sure if the ribbon would stay on the door, but it is full of cards now & hasn't budged! I love getting to look at all of our cards!

I made this ribbon bow wreath with the girls in my MOPS group. It's a little more time consuming, but it was easy to make! We started off with just a plain wreath, 5 different kinds of ribbon (can't remember how many yards of each, but I can find out if you want!), and a hot glue gun. We made the bows first. After the bows were made we singed the edges with a candle. Once the edges are singed, they won't tear apart. Then you just glue your bows on! Easy!

I'm all crafted out! Go link up with Meredith & share your craftiness!


Oh what fun it is to cook!

I'm linking up with The Duchess of Fork today & can't wait to go back and check out some new recipes! Have you ever had the caramel pie at O'Charleys? It is good. Really good. I tried a recipe for this pie last Christmas and it was a big hit with the husband & the rest of our family. The kicker? It was the easiest thing I have ever made. Almost laughable it was so easy.

Totally stole from the interwebs of Google images...BUT, my finished product looks very similar.
The Easiest Caramel Pie Ever
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 graham cracker crust (chocolate or regular)
1 container of cool whip
Toppings if you want: chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, pecans, chocolate chips

Take the label off of the sweetened condensed milk can. Place the can in a large pot and fill the pot with water. Bring the water to a boil & continue boiling for 3 hours. Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the water is always covering the can. When the 3 hours is up, take the can out, and carefully open.  This is what it should look like:

 Amazing, right?! Take your caramel and spread it in the pie crust. Cover with cool whip & any other toppings you want. I just do a caramel drizzle on mine. I made 3 of these pies last year during the holidays...I think that says it all!

Happy cooking!


picture dump

I've taken about 400 pictures since November & am too lazy to compile lots of different posts. You, my friends, are about to get a picture dump! Here is what we've been up to recently...
 Grayson LOVES to carry his baseball & footballs around. Right now, those are his favorite toys. Such a little athlete!
 The weekend before Thanksgiving we had 2 birthday parties to attend. Gray is our next door neighbor & one of G's best friends! She turned 2 and had a Minnie Mouse party. These 2 are so funny together. They love racing down the hall together. They came over to hang out a week ago & Gray wore Grayson out....he slept until 7:30 the next morning! I told her mama, Leslianna, that we need to hang out every single night-ha!
This is the other birthday girl, Ruby Jane. Ruby is so cute and I am kind of obsessed with the fact that she has on skinny jeans. I've said it once, I'll say it a million times...we are in BIG trouble if we ever have a girl!
We started our Thanksgiving week off by going to Atlanta for a couple of days. My grandparents, uncles, aunts, & cousins came over for dinner the night we got there. My cousin, Blakely, has 2 boys (3, 16 months, AND is pregnant with #3) and G had a blast playing with them! Grayson pushed Ashton & Collin around on his firetruck all night...good exercise! :)
 Here are the 3 cousins together...next year there will be 4 boys! Collin (16 months), Ashton (3), & G.
Grayson loves anything he can ride on or push. The firetruck does both...double win! He thought it was so fun to push it to the top of my parents driveway and have somebody push him to the bottom...it was like a mini rollercoaster!
While we were in Alabama, we took a trip to the river. This is my favorite spot in Florence. I couldn't wait to take Grayson to play there! This was his expression when he saw all the boats in the water. He loved it!
Perhaps my favorite:) We have been on the hunt for rain boots & snow boots. Both which were nearly impossible to find in a size small enough for G. However, we went to Academy Sports and found cowboy rain boots and I had to have them. They are so funny! Grayson loves them but has the hardest time walking in them. It's pretty funny!


So What! Wednesday

It's Wednesday, people! Time to link up with Shannon to say SO WHAT! This week I am saying so what if...

  • I gave Ben a high five last night when he reminded me that Teen Mom 2 was starting again? I was SO excited...huge guilty pleasure. JENEEEELLLLLLLEEEEEE!
  • Ben & I have eaten at Panda Express three times since it opened a few weeks ago? oink.
  • there are 3 pairs of my pants "drying" on our bar stools? Apparently it has taken 3 days for them to dry. hmmm...
  • I have been SO STINKING TIRED every single night by 8:00 yet never go to bed before 10:00? so much to do (ie: read blogs, tweet, & heytell), so little time.
  • I want to hoard all of the yummy holiday coffee creamers before they disappear in January? Gingerbread? Warm sugar cookie? Peppermint mocha? YES, PLEASE!
  • my garage reeks of spray paint from all of the holiday crafting I've been doing?
  • I went to Goodwill last week & left feeling the need to shower? Just looking at the bin of used and dingy stuffed animals makes me cringe & feel itchy.
That's all she wrote. Happy Wednesday, friends!


deck the halls!

Well, it was a lot harder this year, but our house is finally decorated..inside & out! I started getting things out before Thanksgiving and finished on Friday. Ha! Here are some pictures of our house all prettied up for the holidays:)
This is the newest tree in our house! I have been collecting gold & bronze ornaments from post-Christmas sales for 2 years! I finally bought a new tree for our dining room this year and I love how it turned out. I think these colors are so pretty!

I finally found a lantern at Hobby Lobby for 50% off...holla! This is our dining room. I still have to put out the place settings but I am so happy to finally have a lantern to put ornaments in!

I loved having a buffet to decorate this year! That is a MudPie platter, a DIY wreath, wreath holder from Zulily, & painted wine bottles. You know I have plenty of those lying around!
Our red & silver tree in the front of our house & my first attempt at deco mesh. meh. Harder than it looks.

This may be my favorite thing I've added this year. Usually I put all of our Christmas cards in a sleigh basket on our bar. I saw this on Pinterest & loved it! We've added lots of new cards & I love being able to see them. I just taped the back of the ribbon to the glass doors; easy, easy!
Okay, I also love the new Little People nativity set. It is SO cute! Sadly, it has to be kept up high because a certain dog *cough HUDSON cough* already ate the arm of a wiseman. 
Our slanted ladder shelf with the Santa pictures. Yep, I framed the screaming one.
Our mantle. I've had a few questions about the dog stockings...I bought them from Ballard on clearance after Christmas 2 years ago. I don't know if they still have these, but they make a lot of cute ones! I'm not sure what we will do when we add more kids to the family...there is no more room for stockings! ha!
This is the entry table in the foyer. I used my sleigh this year to hold some pinecones. I spraypainted pinecones gold for the fall & then repainted a few of them red to add in. I already had pinecones & spray paint...love a free project!
We always get a real tree for the family room. I love the way a real tree smells & the tradition of going the first week of December to pick it out.

I'm so glad to be finished with the decorating. Is it bad that I want to keep everything out for a few months?? I love Christmas!