Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Dragon Flower


My Christmas Cacti true to their name only bloom once a year, right around Christmas. This go around, my youngest cactus has the biggest bloom on it. I have been waiting weeks for this behemoth to open up. Checking on it every morning and watering it ever so delicately.

A few days ago, as I typing out my morning emails, I heard Archer excitedly exclaim, "Look Mommy! It's a dragon flower!"

He had picked the pampered bud off by its stem, and was holding it out to me with a huge grin.

My response was not so awesome. I could feel my heart fall into my stomach and I said something like, "Oh no, Archer!! We never even got to see it open up!! Those flowers aren't for picking!"

Of course, his face crumbled and he cried, "But mommy, I picked it for you. It's so beautiful. It's the biggest dragon flower I've ever seen!"  Oh boy...

So, I put the flower in a jar of water, placed it in a sunny window, and crossed my fingers.

After weeks of waiting, it finally opened.


"I knew it was a dragon flower, mommy! I just knew it!"



Even torn and broken, dragons always open up to the dawn.

... Even if it takes weeks of waiting and a few tears along the way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Getting Our Christmas Tree 2014!!

So we got a Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago. We went to our beloved Belmont Christmas Tree Farm. It is seriously everything you want in a Christmas Tree Farm. It has fainting goats, hot chocolate and cider, hot dogs, friendly cats, a workshop where people make wreathes, free cookies for the kiddos, one- on-one time with Santa (no strings attached), and a few acres of christmas trees. You even get a discount if your child colors a picture from their website!







 
 Archer loved "fishing" for koi.



They sell all the wreathes they make here and they are beautiful!

They even had a station where you can write and mail letters to Santa!


After a briefly checking the workshop and koi pond out, we headed off to see the fainting goats.


None of the goats fainted. This one silently judged us, though.


So, we said Merry Christmas and goodbye to the very- much- not -going- to- faint-judgey goats and we headed off in search of our tree.

We had a blast! J and Archer inspected and shook every tree, while Zoot ran around like a crazy person screaming and collapsing with giggles. I also ran around like a crazy person trying to capture everything in pictures.

Also: giggles.




 

Archer took this job very serioulsy. After awhile, though, he just wanted to go back up the hill and fish. Priorities, yo.





Finally, J and Archer found the tree!



Oddly enough, the morning started at a crisp 38 degrees and by the time we left (noon-ish) it was a balmy 55 degrees! Classic Virginia.

 
This year, J remembered to bring his reciprocating saw. Which made everything so much easier.


That's Zoot's "Cheeeeese!" Face.

We trekked back up the hill and exchanged pictures and cash for our wonderful tree. The boys were getting sleepy and I was getting hungry.



Then we ran into...


SANTA!!

There was no line. No expectaions. Archer happily chatted with Santa about the tree, preschool, and the blue Ironman and Batcave he wants for Christmas. It was a perfect surprise ending to a great morning.

I love Christmas!




Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Turkeys And Our Latest Guest

No Spend November was amazing. We enjoyed lazy weekends hanging out with each other, planning our future, and prepping for the holidays. I can honestly say, this is the first year in my adult life where I feel like I'm ahead of the game. I have 90% of my Christmas shopping done, my Christmas cards are almost ready to go out, and we have made well thought out decisions on what we will and wont be attending/doing this year. No more saying yes to every invite or opportunity that crosses our path. We are all about quality v.s quantity. It feels amazing!

Anyway...

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Great friends, a job I love and can grow with, a warm community I feel like my family is a part of, and of course my three turkeys...

Here are two of them.



Yep, Archer still fits into that shirt I made him last year.  He also fits waist-wise in 18 month pants. Crazy, eh?

Here's last year's picture:







I made two pies this year. I am obsessed with The Pioneer Woman's "Dreamy Apple Pie." It's such a game changer! I also made two pumpkin pies out of our Halloween pumpkins. The circle of life and all that $hit.




Sportsball!




This is our first year doing Elf On A Shelf. I'll probably regret it in 3 years, but for right now it's so much fun!

Archer has named him Rudolph. The first night he appeared, he brought the boys matching elf jammies from the North Pole. 


The second night, he printed out coloring pages from Belmont Christmas Tree Farm's website! If your kiddo colors a picture and brings it to the farm you get $5 off of your tree! I figured it was perfect timing since we were getting our Christmas tree the following morning. Mommy win!


Then, of course... 


Not everyone is a fan of our house guest, I'm afraid. Be brave, Rudolph!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Spend November

October was a marathon. A fun marathon, but one that left us panting and red faced at the end. In fact, this whole year has kind of felt that way.  It has been a year full of travel, and celebration, and adventure. I mighty wonderful problem to have if you ask me.

A couple of weeks ago, as we were in the throws of Halloween festivities, J and I looked at each other from across the pumpkin laden dining room table and laugh-yawned. We were spent. Or energy, and time, and money. Just... Spent.

So! We have decided to have a No Spend November. Or as J likes to call it, "No Fun November." We aren't going anywhere unless it's an event we've previously RSVPed for. We're not spending any money we haven't previously set aside to spend (i.e: Christmas presents). We are gracefully declining parties and mindfully driving past Starbucks.

November is now our time to reflect, slow down, save a little money, prepare for winter, and just relax into each others company. We are only a few days into the month, and mannnnnn does it feel nice. Kind of like soaking sore muscles in a hot bath.

I'm thinking this may just be my new favorite holiday tradition.

Image from this fantastic tumblr. Seriously, check it out and become deliciously lost!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween: The Fun Never Ends!

Halloween may have been the most adorable, yet. We trick-or-treated with our buddies The Acors again this year and I'm pretty sure all the little boys had a blast! It was cold, but man are those Crunch bars worth it!


Well, maybe I should start at the beginning. First, Archer had his Preschool Halloween party. Naturally, I forgot to take any pictures. A fellow mom sent me this one. Cute!


The weekend before Halloween, we went Trick-Or-Treating Downtown as a family. I LOVE that our town does this. Such a nice way to meet business owners!







Participating stores posted this sign so we knew where to trick-or-treat!



We even ran into Pouches the Fred Parent kangaroo! She had allergy-friendly treats in her "teal" pumpkin.


On the morning of Halloween, we went to the costume party and parade at the Library! It was AMAZING. The ladies did such a great job reading stories and singing songs. I've never seen Zoot laugh so much!

 

We also ran into Archer's best friend, Grayson!


Fast forward too.. trick-or-treating!







In my book, any night that ends with good friends, a full belly, and a pile of candy is a good night!


I think Archer agrees.


Happy Halloween!