Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas Playlist

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I'm not a big fan of traditional Christmas music, but thanks to Pandora I have been able to find Christmas music I do enjoy. :)

My Pandora station is Light of Christmas and the following songs have got a thumbs up...


Christmas This Year - TobyMac


Holly Jolly Christmas by Lucas Prata

Because It's Christmas by Sidewalk Prophets

Come On, Christmas by Matthew West

Christmas Forever by The Sota Boys



I Want Christmas Back by Everfound

Let It Snow by NVNZ

Shake Santa Shake by Zendaya


Need A Little Christmas by Eclipse

Beautiful Christmas by Big Time Rush

And my new favorite... Naughty List by Forever in Your Mind



What kind of Christmas music do you like?
What are your favorite songs?



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Traditions

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I'm not sure why or when I started my Christmas tradition... but I love it! And it all happens on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve is a day for family. Every year we buy a new family game and the kids get to unwrap it in the afternoon and we play. After we play the game they get to unwrap the new movie we bought. We watch the movie while eating appetizers for dinner.

At some point we also open our gifts that we got for each other. We give the kids each $30 to spend. They buy gifts for me, Mike and each other. It's pretty cute and they have a great time shopping and then opening their gifts!

It's all simple.
It's fun.
Everything is meant to bring us together as a family.

This year we are adding two more things. In the morning we will start a puzzle and work on it throughout the day. And then we will end our night by sitting together reading our books. (I keep seeing something on facebook about the Icelandic tradition of books and decided I needed to incorporate it!)

I'm really looking forward to spending the day with Mike, Liza and Jason and just being lazy around the house. Unfortunately Mike has to work till mid-afternoon... but at least he has a winter job and after tomorrow will be off until January, so I guess I can't really complain!

Christmas Eve is my favorite.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

On the First Day of Christmas...

About two weeks ago Awesome Neighbor dropped off The 12 Days of Christmas sacks for Liza and Jason and told us we could decide when we wanted to start it.

I made them wait. :)

Liza and Jason have been counting down the days to the beginning of The 12 Days of Christmas and they woke up super excited this morning because today was the day!!!

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They got their Christmas sacks and checked them out.

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Then they decided to pull out all the gifts so they could see the different packages and decide where to start.

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Decisions, decisions!

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They FINALLY picked their gift to open for day 1...

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...and tore into their packages!

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Stickers!!!

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Legos!!!

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My gift? Two kids who had something to do and were happy to get to it!

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

12 Days of Christmas

12 days of Christmas is a real thing in our house... at least for the kids. Awesome Neighbor loads two sacks with 12 gifts in each. One for Liza. One for Jason. And for 12 days they get to unwrap some fun. It's pretty fantastic and they are anxiously awaiting the start... which will be Saturday.

12 days of Christmas is also a song and that's really what I'm going to write about. My husband and kids wrote a new version while I was out at a PTO meeting last night. I really hope this 12 Days of Christmas comes true for me!

Get the tune in your head...

On the twelfth day of Christmas the Wick house gave to me...
12 days of vacation
11 clean rooms
10 clocks a ticking
$9,000,000
8 pairs of shoes
7 DVDs
6 lego sets
5 brand new cars!!!
4 fluffy pillows
3 dozen cookies
2 La-Z-Boy chairs
and a giant flat screen tv


That would be a fantastic Christmas!
Of course... the chairs really are coming... just not in time for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Netflix Rocks

Back when I first got Netflix I thought I wouldn't go beyond the free month trial. But I did. I found that I loved watching tv shows because I enjoy watching the same characters for hours and hours. It's kind of like reading a good book series. There are also a lot of fun things for the kids to watch.

My problem though is finding another good show to watch after I finish one.

We recently watched Prison Break.


It was intense. Kind of dark. But we liked it... although, after a while I started feeling like how much more can go wrong for these guys???




After we finished Prison Break we found Hart of Dixie and fell in love with the show immediately. It was a nice change after the intense PB. Hart of Dixie is light and fluffy and often leaves me with warm fuzzies.

Problem... we finished with the three seasons of the show that are on Netflix! I'm going to have to find a way to watch the episodes that aren't yet on Netflix.

In the meantime we are back to watching a new season of The 100 that has been added, but after that I'll be back to wondering what to watch again!

What  have you been Netflixing lately?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Togetherness

We just had five glorious days together as a family.
Really! They WERE glorious! I loved it all. We did a lot of fun things together and a lot of sitting around the house relaxing together. Liza and Jason played together. They used their imaginations. They had fun.

The house was filled with their giggles and there is nothing better than that!

Sure they had a few moments where they started to get on each others nerves, but with a little bit of direction and a reminder to work it out they were right back to laughing and playing nicely again.

I was a little bit sad about having to send them off to school again today because I wanted more time with them home.

Saturday night, after the Christmas parade, we came home and introduced the kids to Star Wars. They had been talking about it and said they liked it but they really had extremely limited knowledge of it. It was time for the movie. We made popcorn and they sorted their candy from the parade while falling in love with Star Wars.

By the end of the movie their glow sticks had become lightsabers.

They watched the movie a second time the following day.

On Monday they spent hours talking about the movie and planning skits to perform for me and Mike. The skits were all their take on scenes from the movie. It was adorable! And then in the evening, while I was out getting a massage, they started another Star Wars movie.

Mike showed me a picture this morning of Liza and Jason watching the movie...




It warmed my heart and all I could think was that after five days of constant togetherness they still liked each other enough to snuggle up close on the couch.

I  love their relationship!
I love them!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shopping for Furniture

I have been married and living in my own (shared with my husband and kids of course!) place for almost thirteen years. When Mike and I got married we were as broke as broke gets and neither of us was employed well (or at all). We were lucky to have any furniture at all... all of it second hand.

We were soooo grateful to have something to sit on that we didn't even care that the furniture was ugly and the couch cushions were flat making it feel like we were sitting on a board.

That was the furniture we had for a while... until someone else was upgrading and had a couch to pass on. Over time we were also given second hand chairs for the living room... and then those were eventually replaced with second hand again.

A few years ago we had the opportunity to purchase a really nice used couch for $100. We jumped on that opportunity and the couch has been amazing for us! But the chairs... the chairs... they are light in color and looking really really dirty.

Back in March, when I was visiting my friend Melissa in Louisiana, she took me to visit her mom and dad. They have a sun room and when I sat down in one of the chairs I decided right away that it was what I wanted for my living room.

Since that day I have been dreaming of the day I would be able to purchase those chairs.

The other day I realized I had more money set aside than I thought, so I looked up my chairs online. I saw that they would be on sale, $300 off, for the weekend. The time had come!!!

We drove to La-z-boy with our cash, ready to purchase two Fresco Swivel Chairs! It was supposed to be a great day. Unfortunately, being that I had never made a furniture purchase before, a few things caught me off guard.

First, I remembered how much I can't stand sales people when they are doing their job. I almost always go into a big purchase already knowing what I want. All I want from the sales person is the facts... no games and teasers and extras.

I picked out my fabrics, talked with the sales girl and she went off to price the two that I had narrowed it down to. When she came back she put two papers in front of me and pointed out the final prices. I wanted to cry. It was a lot more than I had thought and I didn't have enough for the fabric that I really wanted.

I wish she had told me upfront that there is a $99 shipping fee on ALL ORDERS. I told her we couldn't do the purchase today and we walked out.

I was angry. How had I miscalculated so much?

Turns out I didn't. When I got in the car and had time to calm down and think, I realized she had just added things on, like 5 year warranties, without ever mentioning it.

I went back in, told her to recalculate everything and not add in anything extra without asking me if I wanted it or not and then let me know what my new total was. Turned out that it left me at the high end of what I was willing to spend today!

We payed cash... cuz that's how we roll... and I watched as the sales girl seemed really confused as she tried to count it all out. People don't deal with large sums of money anymore.

Our chairs are ordered!!! And now I just have to wait 6-8 weeks for them to come in.

And that's the story of my first big furniture purchase and how it almost didn't work out.



Coming soon to the Wick living room!!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Photography Journey

Every morning I read through my facebook memories. It's interesting to look back and see what has happened over the years. This morning I realized that seven years ago today I got my first DSLR camera.

It was a long, painful wait to get that thing. I had to save up the money to buy it... and there are priorities in life and some things came up that needed to be paid for first. Oh! It was debt. I had to get out of debt first. THEN I could buy my camera.

While I was waiting to get my camera, I got to watch as others got them as gifts. I'll admit I got a little jealous from time to time, but I always got over it and kept working toward my goal... while wishing someone would gift me a camera. :)

7 years ago today I got that camera and I enjoyed it! Probably more so than I would have had I got it as a gift.

Over the years I read books and took online classes and took a million pictures. Truly... I took so many that I wore it out! I learned how to shoot in manual and started doing photo sessions, and eventually weddings.

This year I did a lot less business with my photography because it's just a lot of work. But I still LOVE taking photos and preserving all of our memories. And it's still a lot of fun to do a few sessions or weddings a year.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the years....

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The brides brother serves our country and was not able to be home for the wedding. Mom is holding the device and brother is watching through skype. So much going on in this photo!

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4th of July

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Home Improvements - Painting the Steps

When we bought the house, the downstairs and the stairs had dark green carpet. We left it and had it cleaned because we didn't have any money left to replace it.

Eventually the carpet had to go. We tore it up and had a good laugh at what was under it.

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The plan was to paint the steps to keep things cheap, but it took me over a year to actually get to it.

Last week I finally got around to painting. Mike was a big help. We repainted the walls and banister to freshen things up. And then I took a few days to get the stairs painted. My only bathroom is upstairs and I painted the landing at the top, so once I painted I had to leave for the day. Two days of that was enough. I'm so glad to be done and I LOVE the final result!

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The only thing left to do is to paint the small piece of trim on the middle of the wall upstairs... but it might take me a year to get to that. :)

We found the treads at Home Depot and they work perfectly with the colors we have in our house. I just need to staple or tape them down.

In the end it turned out to be a nice, cheap update. ($70) I'm going to see how the paint holds up. If it lasts and doesn't get all scratched up, I will also paint my bedroom floor. We'll see!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PLSD

PLSD = Post Lice Stress Disorder.

If it's not in the books, it should be! I totally have it!!! I think my kids do too.

It's no secret that two summers ago I found lice on Liza's head... two days before she was flower girl in a wedding. I broke down and cried, called a friend to find out what I needed to do, and then went into full freak out mode.

I treated heads, combed forEVER, vacuumed everything... twice, did a gazillion loads of laundry, ate far too much chocolate and didn't sleep for two weeks.

I'm itching my head as I write this. Are you itching yet??

Lice has turned me into a paranoid person.

I check Liza's and Jason's heads several times a week.
When I see kids I always glance at their heads looking for signs. I can't help it!
I still give hugs but my mind is always certain that a lice bug is crawling onto me as I do.
I know it's all in my mind but I just can't. make it. stop!

It's bad guys.

My scalp is irritated all the time because I am always itching it. And then itching it makes me think I MUST have lice. And so I itch some more. It's a vicious cycle that seems impossible to break.

I have PLSD.
It's a real thing... and I hope you never experience it!!

Stop itching your head!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Changed

What a year! It was around this time last year that I learned that the school board wanted to close the school across the street. At first I didn't really care... because I hadn't really thought it through. Once I started thinking beyond things like kids only having pavement for a playground or long bus rides (those things didn't get me fired up because that's what I had when I was in elementary school) and started thinking about how closing our school would impact my community and the people who lived there... that's when my heart got sucked in.

And once my heart got sucked in... I was all in.

I remember talking with people about how consuming the issue was. I would wake up thinking about it and fall asleep thinking about it. I often had sleepless nights as my mind wrestled with all the things that were wrong with closing our school.

I wrote speeches and stood in front of the school board and sometimes several hundred others trying to get them to understand the importance of our school to our community... and how closing our school would be devastating and destroy the kind of community we had.

But they closed our school anyways... and everything I pointed out in my speeches is happening.

Our community will never again be as big and strong as it was with a school.
It's harder to get to know people beyond my next door neighbors.
Everything feels disconnected, divided and different.

The saddest part...
I used to see so many kids and families during the week because of school and seeing these kids and families made it possible for me to find needs that others could help with. People were always contacting me asking who and how they could help. Just the other day I received an email from a friend looking for a family to bless this holiday season, and I wanted to cry as I sat there thinking and coming up blank.

I no longer see the kids and families. I don't know what their needs are... and therefore can't connect those who want to DO with those who have a need.

My community has lost so much more than a school.

At tonight's board meeting they will vote to accept a bid from a buyer for the building across the street that used to be our school. As far as buyers go, this one wouldn't be horrible. It's an organization that offers services for people with special needs. The problem is that everything is a step down from having a school there. Nothing will bring our community together like the school did. So it's hard to be happy about having a buyer.

And I may be a little depressed about the fact that having a buyer means it will never again be a school... which means my community will never be able to recover what was lost.

I'm still trying to figure out how to do the things I used to... differently. I'm not sure how to find the needs like I used to and I miss the joy of easily helping others.

When the school closed, my community changed...
Life changed...
I changed.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Family Time!

I come from a big family.
I am one of six.
Second oldest.

Two weekends ago my youngest brother, baby of the family, last of my siblings still single... got married! The family has grown once again and we are so happy with the latest addition!

It was fun to have everyone home...even though it can get a bit crazy to have a gazillion people in a small house!

I took lots of pics of the family and very few of actual wedding stuff. It was nice to just enjoy the time and take snap shots instead of always thinking about how to get the best photo possible. I enjoyed watching my kids and all their cousins play together like no time has gone by since they last saw each other.

It was just a really nice time. :)

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We are dorks...

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...that aren't very good at pulling off serious. :)

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The cousins...

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My mom looks AMAZING!!!

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Jason was a big hit on the dance floor! He kept dropping into splits. It was pretty amazing. My heart was proud of his awesomeness.

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It's pretty much a guarantee that during a reception a Michael Jackson song will be played and my brother Dave will think that he is as cool as MJ was. It's pretty entertaining.

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It's always fun times when the family gets together!


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