Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter 2017:

So I started off winter with a lovely virus, turned into acute pneumonia. Bleh!

We went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio for their Christmas celebration!

We took our annual trip to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our perfect tree!

And visited Santa Claus!

Goose had a teddy bear tea party with Girl Scouts!

We attended a local winter festival, the Georgetown Christmas Stroll! It was so cute! Unfortunately we missed cookies with the Grinch and getting their hair Cindy Loohoo'd, but everything was free! They had a whole little town of Bethlehem, complete with workshops and a nativity show, plus a lovely arts & crafts sections full of booths and vendors selling their art as Christmas gifts. There was a swing set like at the fair, a barrel train pulled by a tractor and synthetic ice for ice skating! We had a lot of fun!

I took part in something called The Hanson Project, and in turn ended up recording a cover of "If Only." I feel like it turned out decently.

It snowed!! IN TEXAS!! It was amazing! It started small flurries when I was in the pick up line to get Goose from school. I only noticed because I'd had my window down to let in the cool air and it started to rain..until I realized it was staying on my jacket sleeve! I literally jumped out of the car and got out Rosalie and giggled like a school girl while the rest of the line looked at me like I was bat-s crazy. No worries! I literally ran inside and asked if I could check Goose out a few minutes early, and the principal say of course! So I checked her out so she could see the flurries. It had slowed down a little once we got home, but started back up a few hours later and came down much heavier! We played for probably two hours in the snow! It even settled enough that Rosalie made a snow angel the next morning! It was truly a magical experience!

We went to a few local parks and took our annual family Christmas pictures for our Christmas cards, but ended up hand making our cards after all.

Over the course of the month, Rosalie and I baked approximately 12 dozen cookies for our friends. Snickerdoodles, smores and of course my yummy Italian pizzelles. Despite still being sick, we ran around and delivered all the cookies!

After delivering cookies that day, David had us out in the backyard, when my parents decided to Facetime us. Next thing I know, when the screen pops up, I realize that the scene I am seeing if my front porch! I don't know how they did it, because my family as a whole is TERRIBLE with secrets, but they somehow secretly planned a surprise trip for my birthday/Christmas! It was a great surprise (despite my complete unpreparedness and massive mess of a house.)

While they were here, we had lunch with Goose at school, went through the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park and we decided to do a little day trip to Waco because they were both very excited as seeing the Magnolia Silos from Fixer Upper. They loved the property and the cupcakes from the bakery but were a little bummed to not see Chip and Joanna. Haha, I did warn them that in all the times that we've been there, we've never seen them so not to be surprised.

The next day we did a day trip to Johnson City to visit LBJ State and Historic Park as well as the National Park. We'd intended to do the tour of his ranch but my dad was feeling not too great so mom and I just got out so I could show her the property instead. We stopped in Fredericksburg at Wildseed Farms so they could take in the beautiful gift shop too. Unfortunately because it was winter, the fields weren't overwhelmingly beautifully covered in flowers as it normally would be, but was still a fun little stop. Lastly, we went to my favorite little candy store in Fredericksburg and bought all the yummies before heading home. :)

That weekend was my 33rd birthday, as well as our scheduled monthly "family dinner" parties that we put on each month, where we invite over our adopted Austin family and have a big dinner get together! It's been really nice, as it allows us to see our close friends and forces us to clean our house! It was an amazing birthday surrounded by friends and family! The best birthday gift came from goose, who while I was opening gifts, had run upstairs to make me the sweetest video in the whole world!

The next morning unfortunately, I woke up to a series of calls from my family in Canada. I wasn't given the full information but based on the parts that I got, was under the impression that my Great Aunt, Auntie Vinn had passed. Auntie Vinn was like a grandmother to me. She was one of the nicest, sweetest, most beautiful people I've ever met in my life. The last time we were there was when Sophia was about 10 months old, and learned to walk up there. My mom and I had JUST been talking about it the day before and how we needed to get back up there to see her again, as I really wanted her to meet Rosalie.

(This was my beautiful Auntie Vinn with Goose when she was 10 months old.)

I began mourning. A little while later, my dad came downstairs and I learned that I'd misplaced the information, that she hadn't yet passed but was taken to the hospital thinking she'd had a heart attack, to learn she had full body cancer and it was a matter of days if we were lucky. This broke my heart, but gave me home. We decided then and there that we needed to get to Canada as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, since this wasn't a planned trip, my parents' passports were home in Florida so flying wasn't possible. My sister in Florida decided she wanted to come to, so we arranged for her and my nephew to fly up to Georgia where we'd drive and pick her up and then drive together the rest of the way (she'd bring the passports.) Two or three states into our trip we found out that ATL's airport had a power outage and flights were canceled so we rerouted her to Nashville. An hour before we picked her up, we received the call that my Aunt did in fact pass. We questioned whether to keep going or not, but decided that either way, it would allow us to get closure and be support for our family. We got to my Aunt's house first and it was just wrong. It felt weird walking into this home left like she'd be right back from there store, smelling like her, looking like her. I broke down. A few hours later my parents arrived. It was hard staying in that house without her. It will likely be the last time we ever see that house again. I have so many great memories there. We did however come full circle. Sophia 5 years ago learned to walk on the rug in her living room, and this time, my nephew Donovan learned to crawl in the exact same spot, using the same old Duck toy as incentive.

(Canada Trip Days 1-3)

Our family was busy making arrangements and I felt terrible having made the girls be locked up in the car for 3, 12 hour days getting there, and then being told not to run or touch anything in the house...So we took the girls to Allen Gardens again, which is this gorgeous indoor garden in the middle of downtown Toronto. It's free, and in winter is just a spectacle! It's a tropical paradise in the middle of the frozen city. That night we took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese for a pizza dinner and game time. It wasn't much, but it's the only place that was open after like 5pm and they deserved to have a little fun. Thankfully, they loved it. The next day, we took our family to the Scarborough Bluffs, which is a beautiful cliffside on the water that my Auntie Vinn had taken us to 5 years prior. It was just as stunning as I remembered! Water iced over, snow all over, ducks, geese and swans hanging out, the water sparkling like glitter as the sun hit it just right. Truly beautiful. From there we headed to the funeral home for the wake. It was technically closed casket, but thankfully, they allowed it to be open for just the family so we could say our goodbyes. It was really hard, but I really needed that kind of closure. Unlike others I've been to, she looked perfect. Beautiful as I remember. Sophia insisted that she wanted to come see her as well. I warned her that this was just her body and she was no longer in there. She was still insistent. She's so sweet and filled with so much empathy. She sat with me and cried. Poor Rosalie didn't come in despite wanting to, but when she saw me crying, she said Grandma, please let Mommy she her Aunt, she's sad because she misses her. My sweet babies. I know I get frustrated with them a lot, but I truly am blessed to have two amazing and beautiful, incredibly smart and sweet little girls.

After the wake, we decided that we needed to start the trek home. We'd traveled three days only to spend two nights there to then turn around, but we needed it, and it was so worth it. We could have extended the stay but we would've missed Christmas at home, and that wouldn't have been fair to the girls. So we packed our things, said goodbye to the house and our family, and headed out on the road again. On the way out before passing on Peace Bridge, I had David stop in Niagra so the girls could see it now that they are older. We go for hikes a lot but they've never seen anything like this before (except Sophia at 10 months.) At Christmas it is all lit up, both the streets as well as the falls. It's incredible. It gives Disney a run for their money for sure! It was sooooo cold but so beautiful! We only stopped for a few minutes to walk over to the falls so we could get back on the road and get some driving under our belt before we'd need to stop for the night.

(Canada Trip Days 4-5)

I felt bad because the whole way up we saw snow and the girls kept asking if they could play in it and we'd told them no because we needed to get there. When we got to Canada, there was just a little bit of snow leftover from a storm before we'd gotten there, but not a ton to play in. I know they'd been disappointed about it. On the trip home, instead of going back the way we came, we decided to go a little out of our way (but take the same amount of days) and stop to see David's family whom we hadn't seen in more than two years. Along that trip, we went through Ellicottville, NY which is this super adorable, Gilmore Girlsy kind of town, that has a ski lift. I've never seen on in real life before! Anyway, the town was covered in a foot or more of snow, and was beautiful! We ended up stopping in the parking lot of their City Hall, suiting the girls up at 9pm and letting them play for 20 minutes in the snow! We probably looked insane to anyone who may have been passing by, but after the few days we'd had, we really needed that! I loved getting to make those memories with my girls!

(Canada Trip Days 6-8)

We stopped for the night in Clearfield PA, and got up the next morning to finish our trip to Stafford, Virginia to visit with David's sister, her husband and my three sweet nephews! We didn't have as much time as I wish we'd had, but they were kind enough to put us up for the night and it was wonderful letting the cousins play for a bit. The next morning we got up early and headed to Hoschton, GA to visit with his parents and his brother who'd flown in from Miami. It was really nice to see them as well, although we had even less time with them because we got caught in traffic from accidents the entire way down, and had to get up earlier to do a VERY LONG day of driving the next day to make it back in time. The next day we drove the entirety of the trek home from Georgia to Texas. Thankfully because it was Christmas Eve, the rode was entirely empty which made for a relatively swift trip home. We however forgot it was Christmas Eve, and was very confused as to why everything was closed when we tried to stop for dinner. Thankfully Red Robin was still open. We ended up making it home around 11:15pm on Christmas Eve. I was sooo tired, but I still had to wrap  a few things and get stockings stuffed for the next morning. Man it felt good to hit that bed though!

The next morning, we woke up to find it was Christmas! Santa had come to eat his cookies, and left behind goodies for the girls. :) We opened gifts in the morning and I started on Christmas dinner, which turned out amazing. Unfortunately, several of us picked up yet another sickness that would then stick around and bounce back and forth for weeks. The girls had ear infections and sinus crap and I had a sinus infection and bronchitis.

Unfortunately, we've pretty much stayed sick since then. Today the girls will be going to the Dr. because I've 99% positive they will test positive for the Flu. David had it last weekend and Goose's bestie got sent home yesterday from school with it. :/ Hoping that this new year will bring better things.

By the way, it's now 2018! What?! Good lord that went fast! I've been reflecting a lot of my life this past month or so and will be definitely making some changes. For one, my health. These past few months I've let it go, and have been disgusted with myself. I will be returning to pole as a student, since it's been months since I've taken classes. We have hired a personal trainer that I will meet with for the first time tomorrow to help me get my health under control. I am trying to get back on my healthier eating as well and making better food choices. In June we have a trip to visit our family in Jamaica and I was to be beach body ready. I want to feel good about myself again. I'd worked so hard to let it all fall.

While I've really enjoyed teaching pole when I've had classes, I'm feeling like I need to pull back from that, and pull back a little more from other things like PTA a little too because I feel like I've stretched myself too thin and have just put more unnecessary pressure and stress on myself and my mental stability has taken a beating from it. It's going to be hard to step away, but I feel like it's a necessary step right now in my self improvement. I still want to get going on my carrier business which got thrown to the back burner. I need to call a few places to see if I needed to renew my business things like my name and LLC. And then I will get started on making my two tester carriers to send in. I'm hoping this year for a new and improved me, both for myself, but also to be a better wife and mother. Here's to hoping!