15 Toddlers on New Year’s Eve


When I got Wrenn out of bed on New Year’s Eve morning, I told her that we were going to have a big party at our house that night, and that all of her friends would be coming over to play.

“Will there be cookies? Candy cane cookies? With SPRINKLES ON IT?”

Girlfriend knows that anytime we have a party, there are dozens of unsuspecting people whom she can sweet talk into giving her cookies, sugar, candy, and all the things that I rarely let her have. She’s got the system DOWN.

Happy New Year to her.

We hosted 40 people at our house for a New Year’s Eve party. About 15 of those were under the age of four.

The pre-child version of me would have had a heart attack at the thought of so many littles running loose in her house, throwing her things across the room or hearing the random <<<<CRASH!!!!>>>> and knowing a bucket of something had just fallen off a shelf.

But mama Bethe barely noticed. Every time we heard a crash, all of us parents would pause mid-conversation and wait to see if it would be followed by screams, and when no screams were heard, nobody even looked in the direction of the crash. Because this is our life stage right now. It’s noisy, and messy, and if you don’t embrace it, it will send you straight to the loony bin.

Besides, there was a cheese tray and bacon-wrapped sausage (yes!) to munch on. So why worry?


It was really a wonderful party, that happened to be over by 9:00 p.m. We celebrated the new year at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00, so our littles had plenty of opportunities to cheer and revel in the celebration, and then moms and dads got them home and tucked into bed in time to not throw off their precious schedules entirely. (Although, Mr. Right and I stayed up all the way until midnight with another couple, having wonderful adult conversations that didn’t involve any toddlers screaming over us. It was bliss.)

The following morning, my house looked like we had hosted a fraternity party. For toddlers. Glitter, toys, and popcorn were everywhere. We found spare clothing items (all of the toddler variety) scattered throughout the house. Dirty dishes filled our kitchen.

It was so worth it.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions involves hosting a ridiculous amount of people in my home this year (nothing new for us… just want to kick it up a notch), and this was the perfect way to kick it off. Party on, 2016!

Our Plan B Christmas

Croup* stinks. For toddlers, and also for adults. I know this because I’ve had it for 10 days and STILL have a fever, a horrible cough that keeps me up all night, no voice, and a runny nose that not all the Kleenex boxes in all the world could handle.

Merry Christmas to me.

PlanBXmas1Gosh, I sound like such a Scrooge, don’t I? It really wasn’t THAT bad. I managed to take Wrenn on a few outings during my week off, but as the week went on, I felt worse. And worse. And worse. And then on Christmas Eve, I felt like death, and between my germs, Wrenn’s germs (she’s on the tail end of croup – she got a 4-day head start), and a tummy bug that attacked one of my relatives, Christmas Eve with Mr. Right’s family got cancelled.

And then I had to cancel Christmas Day plans with my family, since I didn’t want to expose my two baby nephews to my germs. I’m not sure what made me more sad – missing Christmas with my family, or missing a chance to cuddle my 3-week-old and 6-month-old nephews for a whole day.

It was a total bummer, y’all.


Since we hadn’t planned to spend Christmas at home, just the three of us, it wasn’t like we had planned something awesome to do. We had no fun food to cook, so we grabbed take-out fried chicken for our Christmas Eve dinner. Thankfully, Christmas night, both of our moms dropped off Christmas leftovers so we were able to eat a proper Christmas dinner, albeit it from the microwave on a plastic plate. It was yummy nonetheless.

I was super bummed at first about all our cancelled fun may or may not have thrown myself a pity party on Christmas Eve, but then we wrote a letter to Santa, set out cookies, and the magic seemed to come back a little. Wrenn was REALLY into Santa this year, and also totally confused about why he came when she was SLEEPING. So silly, if you think about it. Girlfriend wanted to HANG OUT WITH SANTA.


Christmas Day ended up being pretty wonderful. Wrenn loved opening presents, and we all played with her new toys, took long naps, and got to briefly see family that night as they dropped off food. Mr. Right was able to sneak in two bike rides in that beautiful 75-degree Christmas weather, and I got to spend the day relaxing – something I, well, rarely do.

PlanBXmas3 Now Christmas has been put away, the pine needles have been vacuumed up (mostly), half of my decorations have been donated to Goodwill (yay for simplifying), and I’m in full-on New Year’s organizing mode. And I’m heading to the doctor tomorrow to beg him for SOMETHING to make me no longer contagious. I’m starting to get a bit lonely over here.

*I was convinced I had croup, but when I called my doctor today, he said croup only lasts about 5 days. He doesn’t think it’s croup – so it must be the plague. It’s the only other possibility.

Our Fourth of July – My Favorite Weekend in Years


Sometimes what you need – what your whole family needs – is a three day weekend filled with nothing but being outside, together, playing and making memories doing almost nothing at all. For me, this year’s Fourth of July was exactly that kind of weekend.

It started with a morning swim at my parents’ house (they were in Europe – lucky dogs), as well as a little swinging on their backyard playground set. My parents got all the cool toys after we grew up!

Have I mentioned that Wrenn LOVES the pool? Our fearless girl will jump in, slide off a mat head first into the water… just like in all other areas of her life, she wants to be independent and push the limits and experience EVERYTHING in the water. Thankfully, her little floaties allow her to feel like she’s swimming all by herself.


She had so much fun that she passed out on the way home. That evening we were scheduled to have friends over for dinner, but that fell through, so instead we washed our cars and cleaned the garage and got our bikes ready to ride. It was so good to just be outside, the three of us, and sweat and work and play.

We ended the night by taking a family bike ride and then running through the water hose.


Saturday morning, the fourth, we took it easy because we knew we would have a late night. Mr. Right built Wrenn a blanket fort in the living room and I finished up one of my quilts (stay tuned for proper pictures later… as soon as I take them).


Then we all took naps. I managed to fit in a nap every single day during our three day weekend. Bless.

Then we piled up in our car, along with just about everything we own (man, we stink at packing light), and drove over an hour away to our dear friends‘ house, where we sat out on a patio enjoying a country evening, and then walked to the old baptist church across the street and shot off fireworks for almost two hours.

Fireworks are one of my favorite things in the entire world, and much to my glee, little Wrenn loved them too. She kept saying, “Fireworks! Up High! Mickey Chair!” She’s still talking about it, two weeks later. They were going off right over our heads, and the sound didn’t bother her a bit. In fact, our little morning girl fell asleep in my arms about an hour in, and I relished an opportunity to cuddle with her sleeping against my chest. A rare treat.


Sunday Wrenn was so exhausted that she slept past nine (she’s always up by 6:30, so this was way out of character). We spent the day lounging and doing nothing productive. I so very rarely rest – why is that? It was so good for my soul.

Little Miss took a bit of a tumble head-first into our ottoman and busted her lip, so I treated it with her favorite thing – a purple popsicle. It’s amazing how quickly a popsicle can help heal a minor injury when you’re almost two.

Sunday evening we were back on our bicycles, enjoying a beautiful evening together. Wrenn has finally gotten brave enough to master her balance bike. We also hooked up a trailer to Mr. Right’s bike, as well as let her sit on dad’s bike rail (totally illegal, but childhood is about being dangerous every once in awhile). With the wind blowing her hair she would tilt her head back and scream “Weeeee!” as they rode together.

Oh, how I would love to live this weekend over and over and over.


My Mother’s Day Recap (Hint – I spent most of it in bed)

MothersDay2Here’s how Mother’s Day went down this year:

BFP (Before Food Poisoning): Mr. Right took me to an amazing dinner on Friday night at my favorite restaurant, Chef Point Cafe. They have the best patio in all of Fort Worth, and Wrenn and her cousin ran around in the outside garden area (which is fully fenced in) and were able to yell and chase each other while Mr. Right and I ate a leisurely dinner. There was a live band. The weather was gorgeous. It was the best night ever.


AFP (After Food Poisoning): Saturday I started feeling crummy, and by that afternoon I had what I think was food poisoning. So I spent Saturday afternoon/evening on my couch, binge-watching The West Wing and trying not to die while Wrenn played nearby (so much for no toddler screen time). After trying to go to Sunday School the next morning, I came home and went straight to bed, missing all of the Mother’s Day festivities we had planned with Mr. Right’s side of the family. I was so sad to miss out on the fun, but on the upside, I did manage to sneak in two good naps in one day, and I felt better by early evening and was able to hang out with Mr. Right for the first time since Friday. And eat a biscuit. Fun times.

My Gift: You know you’re a grown-up when you ask your husband for a screen door for Mother’s Day. We’re super practical gift givers (he installed a high-powered shower head for my birthday and I was ELATED), typically just telling the other exactly what we want, and this year the screen door will be our Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and every other holiday gift for the next few months. I’m so excited to be able to leave the back door open and let some fresh air into the house on pretty days. Our backyard has become my happy place.

It wasn’t the Mother’s Day weekend I was planning on, but one thing motherhood has taught me is to be flexible. No plans are set in stone these days, and I am thankful for the extra rest I got after a really tiring week last week (Wrenn had lots of nighttime asthma attacks, so I was way behind on sleep). And, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be Wrenn’s mama – it’s one of the greatest joys of my life. Motherhood is such a gift.

Christmas 2013


I have always loved Christmas, but there’s just something about having a child at Christmas that makes it 100 times better. The wonderment. The memory making. The squeals of delight.

Oh, and Wrenn liked it too.


I made a list of things I wanted to do this Christmas and Mr. Right kindly helped me cross every last one off my list. Put Christmas lights up on the house? Check. Visit the tree in downtown Fort Worth? Check. Drive around and look at Christmas lights while drinking hot cocoa and listening to Christmas music? Check. Take Wrenn to see Santa? Check. Watch Christmas movies? Check. Do some Christmas baking? Check and check and CHECK.


It was one of those wonderful holiday seasons that was just… easy. We did all of our shopping before December so there wasn’t any stress associated with that. Everybody was healthy, if you don’t count that week that Wrenn and I caught RSV… but we were sick during a huge ice storm so we couldn’t have gone anywhere anyway – we just watched Christmas movies and did lots of cuddling.

We spent a lot of time with family. We managed to keep a pace that was fun but still allowed time to rest. We didn’t overdo.


Wrenn had no idea it was Christmas, and slept through just about all the present opening, but she loved the lights and the tree and Santa. And she looked crazy cute in her hand-me-down Christmas dresses. I’ll save more Wrenn stories for another post, but she was 5.5 months this Christmas, and I’ve decided that this is the very best age for babies. She is just so much fun – she’s suddenly very aware of her surroundings, and loves people, and constantly smiles and shrieks and makes the funniest noises. And she cuddles (oh, the cuddles).

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We figured out a way to stretch Christmas into four days filled with big meals and a lot of family time. Little Wrenn was spoiled by grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and great aunts and uncles. And of course, her mom and dad.photo (6)



I spent the month being overwhelmed with thankfulness. Thankful for the gift of my Savior. Thankful for the gift of my husband and my daughter, for the extended family that traveled many miles (including two from England and one from Nigeria) to see us. Thankful for a new job for me and a booming business for Mr. Right. Thankful for a home and friends and a church we love. Life can be hard some time, but we are so, so blessed. And we know it.

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To you, all of my blog friends, I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and a 2014 filled with blessings and adventures.

Christmas Bunting – In the shop!


I’ve got brand-new Christmas bunting in the shop, and I’m offering free shipping for the next few days. It features some of my favorite Christmas fabrics without being TOO Christmas-y. I mean, nothing says Merry Christmas like a little gray zebra print, right?


This makes me so excited to decorate for Christmas. When do you start your decorating? I like to have mine up by the weekend before Thanksgiving, because that way I can enjoy Thanksgiving and my time off work and not run around working on things. I realize there’s those “nothing ’til after Thanksgiving” purists, but I’m not one of them. My biggest goal is to be able to relax and enjoy being at home with my family.


I keep thinking back to last year’s Thanksgiving. I found out I was pregnant the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – Nov. 20 – which was also just two days before my birthday. That week was so special (and stressful – I was high risk and in the ER the day we found out I was pregnant), and I keep reliving those moments over and over while staring at my beautiful baby girl. I knew all along she would be amazing, but really, I had no idea.

So this year as I decorate for Christmas, I’m going to be extra thankful, and joyful. My little family has been so blessed.

Hello vacation!

1. Decorate my house for Christmas (including hanging outdoor Christmas lights like the independent woman I am).

2. Sew new ruffle garlands for my Christmas tree BEFORE decorating my house for Christmas. I’m crossing my fingers I threw last year’s ruffles in a box of Christmas decorations, but I think I remember telling myself I’d just make fresh ones this year. Stupid 2011 version of myself!

3. Eat and EAT and EAT.

4. Have a birthday. Eat some birthday cake.

5. Take a mini-trip to visit long lost friends.

6. Finish a quilt, then start and finish at least one more.

7. Design/print/possibly sew/stuff/address/mail Christmas cards. (PS- If you would like one of these Christmas cards, please be sure to send me your address!)

8. Make my Christmas presents. And try my hardest not to wrap them on Christmas Eve like I’ve done the past TWO Christmases. (organized planner FAIL)

9. Drink at least one cup of hot chocolate. With marshmallows.

10. Snuggle with Mr. Right next to a fire and watch a Christmas movie.

11. Spend quality time with family.

12. Relax. Like, REALLY relax for a change.

Another holiday, another party

In case you haven’t noticed, Mr. Right and I love to throw parties. Like, we are hosting FIVE different parties at our house this month. Maybe we’re a little crazy, but it’s one of our very favorite things to do together.

When I first met him, he was hosting a monthly dinner at his house that would easily draw 20+ people. And, well, it was nothing for me to have 30+ people at my house for Easter, or church functions, or well… I didn’t really need an excuse. We both plan events as part of our job, so for us, it’s a match made in heaven.

It doesn’t matter that we have a little house, we love nothing more than to fill it to the gills with friends, good food, and lot’s of laughter. Plus now we have a system – he cooks, I decorate and occasionally help with the side dishes. And socialize.
This week was no different. We decided to throw a little July 4th party, thinking we might convince 10 people to come. We had 40. 
It was so much fun I didn’t take any pictures. Well, I took a few as folks were leaving together to  watch the fireworks at the lake a few blocks from our house… so all of the pictures are of folks’ hineys as they’re scooting out the door. Between you and me, there were no blog-worthy pictures.
Our party involved a hotdog cookout, and our friends brought sides and desserts. Most of our friends went Pinterest-nuts that day and brought several dishes each, so we had PLENTY of food, much of it was red, white and blue and covered in sprinkles. I had a little of everything and let me assure you, I declared the day a Paleo-free holiday.
But for now, here’s a few of my little projects I literally whipped up the day of the party. Nothing like waiting ’til the last minute, huh?

This frame will soon be a chalkboard, but until we get around to taking it to the framer to be redone, I decided to hot glue burlap to the back and then I pinned the patriotic bunting I made with scraps leftover from my nephew’s quilt. Total cost – $0.

I hung bunting like this in several places around the house – with our red curtains in the living room it made the whole house look patriotic. (For those who have asked, my sister made the picture above our mantle, which we used as a decoration at our wedding reception – I adore it.)

I will never be too old, or too sophisticated, to eat marshmallows. Admit it, you love them too. I call these my Star-Spangled skewers.

I am thankful for friends, for days off, for air conditioning in this blazing Texas heat, and for all the men and women who have fought so hard to give me freedom. Happy Independence Day.

A White Christmas… and years past

Today was Dallas’ first white Christmas in 87 years. I could have sworn it happened one time back in high school, but my memory must be failing me. I hear that happens with old age.

We had an amazingly lazy Christmas Eve. I learned how to play Rummy Cube (and won two of three games), watched a couple of Christmas movies, knitted on my latest blanket, and ate a humongous dinner. Oh, and we played in the snow. My how beautiful it is.
But Christmas always makes me wax sentimental, so here are some memories from past Christmas blog posts:
Who could forget last Christmas, when I set my hair on fire at the candlelight service at church? (a personal favorite)
Also, a little Christmas video I threw together from last year.
There was Christmas of 2007, the year that I decorated cookies again. and again. and again. It turned out to be one of my all-time favorite Christmas memories, and yet… I also realized that I do not have a future as a professional cookie decorator. Man, it’s hard.
There was the Tacky Sweater Christmas of 2005. The one where we didn’t tell our extended family our plan, just showed up in tacky sweaters and never said anything about them. It was wonderfully awkward, the elephant in the room where nobody wanted to ask us about our tacky sweaters, for fear they were legit. I think this is one of the greatest things about my family–they’re not afraid to look stupid.
As I lie here in my old bedroom at my parents’ house, I’m recounting the many ways God has blessed me in 2009. I hope you and your family also experience, recognize, and give thanks to God for his blessings this Christmas season. He really is good, isn’t he?

Almost Christmas and other stream-of-consciousness

It’s almost Christmas and there’s so much I still haven’t done. I haven’t wrapped ANY presents yet. That’s right, not a one. I haven’t driven around to look at Christmas lights. I haven’t decorated Christmas cookies. I haven’t watched very many Christmas movies. I haven’t worn all my red sweaters. I haven’t even eaten a single candy cane! (although I’ve got one swimming around the bottom of my purse, waiting for a weak moment when I will cave and devour it, most likely right before supper, thus ruining my appetite and yet making me quite content).

But I’m not that worried about it. The gifts will be wrapped… soon. The cookies will be made… although it might be January. The lights may not get seen. But I decided that this year, I’m not going to stress out about what needs to be done for Christmas. I’m just going to enjoy spending time with my family, continue to catch up on sleep, and relish the fact that life will go on if I don’t check every item off my to-do list.
As my family likes to say… “good enough.”
I am quite excited about my other Christmas tradition though–using my time off from work to lie around my house and breeze through novel after novel, catching up on the wonderful stack of books that have been calling my name for months. I’m a good ways into Wuthering Heights, and I love it, but I’ve got a Pat Conroy novel waiting in the wings, and a Barnes & Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket.
I should save that candy cane for one of my leisurely reading afternoons.
In other news…
The number one question I get, now that I’m finished with grad school, is “Now what?” Apparently the proper thing to do after one finishes a masters degree is to change jobs. Nobody wants to hear my answer: “I don’t know. I sure do love my job. I love my boss. I find my work to be incredibly interesting. I love the enormous amount of vacation time I get. I love that I get to help people. And I love that my commute is super easy. So yes, someday I may change, but I’m quite content where I am today.” I’ve decided that I’m extremely A.D.D. when it comes to hobbies/projects/after-school activities, and yet when it comes to my job and my church, I am loyal and enjoy the stability that comes with staying in the same place for several years (6 years at one, 5.5 at the other). I’m not sure what that means… the psychoanalzation will have to continue for a bit longer. But I do wish folks would stop asking me the “now what.” That, and the “What do you want to be when you grow up” question. Because I honestly don’t know. I have some inklings, but telling someone you want to stay home and write novels while sitting on your back porch in your pajamas, drinking coffee out of a giant thermos, sort of sounds frivolous.
I had a blind date tonight. I really shouldn’t go on these, as they never turn out, but blind dates are a gold mine for funny stories that I can tell for years to come. Tonight’s was disappointingly uneventful–other than a giant pimple that popped up on my forehead about three fateful hours before the date, there was no drama, no tragedy, no humiliation. It was simply a nice dinner, some pleasant conversation, and the quick realization that there would be no need for a second date. But I did have the most AMAZING flour-less chocolate cake for dessert. So totally worth it.
I am officially in half marathon training mode. I squeezed in a run tonight between work and the date. I should know by now that even after I finish running, my face will continue to look like a red, sweaty tomato for several more hours. Yet I so easily forget this minor detail, so I was still a tad red/sweaty for the date. I’m clinging to the hope that my redness was mistaken for a tan… and not some horrible disease. I guess in either case, it really doesn’t matter. Oh… but did I mention that chocolate cake? (sigh)
I’ve got a month off from teaching Sunday School, so I have time to study something that’s just for me. I’ve decided to hang out in Hosea for awhile, and let me tell you, my Bible Commentary is definitely my friend. This book’s a challenge, but challenges are good.
Off to bed… Christmas Eve launches in just a few hours, and I have some wrapping to do! Merry Christmas, and God bless.