December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

A look at what 2016 has held for us...

We fostered 2 kids for the first 6 months of the year.

David started a new job in February and was converted to permanent in July.  It has been a great fit for him and he really enjoys it.

We had about 55 dates for our church's Save the Date challenge, including our 12 dates of Christmas.

I spent lots of time on projects around our house--both organizing and decorating.

We traveled to Oklahoma, Hot Springs, Boston and the Northeast, and Branson.  I also spent a few days in Austin visiting my friend Nicki.

We tried to explore new places in Dallas and in our neighborhood.

We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and spent time with family.  

We also spent a lot of time relaxing at home.

And of course, we found out Cooper is coming!

It's been a year of lots of highs and lows and lots of things we will remember and carry with us.  

What a year it has been!  Looking forward to all that 2017 will hold.

December 24, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve!

We've had so much fun with our 12 dates of Christmas, so I thought I'd link them all in one place so I can find them easily again.

It was a fun month and I'm glad we were able to have so much intentional time together.  We also spent a lot of time talking about Christmases to come and some of the traditions we want for our family and how we want to celebrate with our little family.  It was nice to have these talks now before all of the craziness of next year!

Now we're looking forward to a few fun days celebrating with family for Christmas before we wrap up 2016.

December 23, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Christmas Breakfast

Today was our 12th date of Christmas!  Today was a holiday for David's company, so since he was off for the day we decided to plan a Christmas breakfast for 2 for this morning.  I gathered some recipes and he helped me pick a couple to make and we set to work!

Set up with Pinterest up on my kindle so we could easily find what we were supposed to be doing!

 First up was Cranberry Orange French Toast Casserole.  David cut up the bread while I zested the oranges, then we combined everything together and got it going in the oven.
Next up were Sausage Cream Cheese Crescents.  While I did the dishes from the French Toast casserole, David cooked up the sausage.  Then we mixed in the cream cheese.

We worked together to roll up the crescent rolls and get them in the oven.  We ended up only using 1 package of crescent rolls (we used the bigger ones) instead of the 2 it calls for in the recipe, so we had a little bit of the filling mixture left over but it was a good ratio

While the 2 dishes were in the oven, we drank some orange juice and played Christmas Scattergories and talked through some of these Christmas Conversation Cards where we talked about favorite Christmas traditions, dishes, songs, and other Christmasy things.

We also wore our matching pajamas that my mom gave us at Thanksgiving.

We pulled everything out of the oven and ate breakfast while we watched The Holiday.  I've mentioned before that this is the movie we watched on our first date, so it's fun watching it every year at Christmastime too!

December 21, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Book Shopping

Last night was our 11th date of Christmas!  When I was looking at lists of ideas for Christmas dates, someone had put in the idea of buying Christmas books for their kids.  I thought this would be a fun date for us to pick out a few things to read with Cooper next year!

We had dinner together and then headed to Barnes and Noble for an evening of shopping

We found lots of cute books!  

We originally had a pile of 10 or so books and decided to narrow it down to 5.  We have really liked Little Blue Truck and the How do Dinosaurs... series so we got both of those.  David chose the 12 days of Christmas in Texas and we picked out 2 board books that will be good even for a little guy

After we bought the books, we went and drove to a different neighborhood to look at some lights before heading home.  It was a fun night together looking ahead to next Christmas and all the fun (and craziness) it will bring!

December 18, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Emporium Pies

 One of the things I thought would be fun this Christmas season was to try out a bakery we'd never been to before.  I'd heard lots of good things about Emporium Pies, so we decided to plan a trip there.  They have a couple in Dallas and 1 in McKinney, so we decided to try out the McKinney one yesterday.

We headed to McKinney for an early lunch and decided to go to our beloved Raising Cane's.  We usually split a 6 piece chicken finger meal and it is plenty of food for both of us!

After we ate, we headed to downtown McKinney.  We parked a little ways from the square and decided to walk for a while before getting dessert.  It was such nice weather yesterday morning (before the temperature dropped 40+ degrees in the afternoon!)

David got the Lord of the Pies (a deep dish apple pie) with a side of ice cream and I got the Smooth Operator (French silk chocolate with a pretzel crust) 

Both pies were very yummy! 

We enjoyed trying out somewhere new together.  Since David doesn't like most cakes, a lot of bakeries aren't the best for us, but this pie shop was perfect!

We ended the afternoon with a trip to the movies to see Rogue One and then curled up at home in the evening to avoid the cold weather!

December 17, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Star gazing

One of our favorite things to do when we were dating and engaged was to go out to the park right by my apartment and put down a blanket and spend an evening under the stars.  We would talk about all kinds of things and it was a lot of fun.  Since we've gotten married we haven't done a whole lot of it, so I thought it would be fun to include it as a date this month

Of course pretty much the whole month of December has been frigid or rainy/cloudy.  So last night, when the skies cleared some and it was in the 60s we decided to try it out before the temperature drops to below 20 tonight!

It had rained yesterday, so the ground was still wet, so we set our picnic blanket up on top of a picnic table by our neighborhood school and camped out there for a while.

We watched the moon and some stars and the clouds move across the sky.  We talked about this Christmas and all of the exciting things ahead next year.  It was a great night with my guy!

December 16, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Christmas Lights

Last night was our 8th date of Christmas!

 We love to go and look at Christmas lights, so we that had to be one of our dates.  We found a list of the best places to look at lights in the DFW area and we have been to several of them, but we saw that one of the top shows is only about 15-20 minutes from us in Farmer's Branch so we decided to check that out.  We invited our friends Lucas and Yali to join us.
 We met up with our friends for dinner at hopdoddy burger bar.  Neither of us had been there, so it was fun to try to something new.  And everything was really good!

Then we got in our car, turned on our Christmas music and headed to Farmer's Branch.  Their light display starts right off the highway and leads you to their Historic Park where they have their big display choreographed to music.
The entrance to the light show!  It was a short drive, but everything was so pretty!

After we drove through the park, we headed back to the main street and found a place to park and walked around to look at some of the other displays outside the park.

They had this beautiful Christmas tree lit up as well as several other displays.

I made some hot apple cider before we left or dinner and we put some in our knock-off Yetis from Sam's Club and it was still nice and hot for our walk around to look at lights.

Such a fun Christmas date with friends!

December 13, 2016

Gender Reveal Scratch Off Cards

For a long time we had the plan to announce baby's gender via our Christmas card to a lot of our friends, but we knew we wanted a fun way to tell our families.  We were seeing both of our family's for birthday celebrations the weekend after our big ultrasound, so we started thinking about ways to tell our families.  We wanted a way for people to guess and I started seeing the idea for scratch off cards (on Pinterest of course).  I've made scratch off cards before, so we looked at several and David chose the design for a Thing Pink or Thing Blue Scratch Off card and I recreated it to give to our families:

At first, I followed this tutorial for making the scratch off part.  Basically you mix about 3 parts acrylic paint with 1 part dish soap and paint several coats over it.  Once it's dry you should be able to scratch it off.  Luckily I tried just one first, because it didn't work.  It completely tore up our cardstock and you couldn't read what was under it.

So after searching for a few more tutorials, I remembered that the last time I had made a scratch off card, I put clear packing tape down over the spot first and then painted on top.  And then paint over that with the same mixture of dish soap and paint and it scratches off easily.  While searching, I also found the idea of using contact paper and painting it all and then cutting circles out.  Because I was making so many of them and I already had contact paper, this is the route I took.  I painted several coats on the contact paper and then used my Silhouette to cut out the right size circles.  It ended up working out pretty well--although I do think it is a little harder to scratch the paint off the contact paper version than it is the packing tape version.  If I was making only a few scratch off cards I'd probably go with the tape version, but the contact paper one worked well for us!

And here's how they turned out!  I mounted most of them on blue or pink cardstock since we were giving them to our families as a group, but I also took one to Erin when I went to meet her precious babies in the hospital and I didn't want to sway her decision, so I used a gender neutral green for her.  :)  She, along with several of our friends and I think all of our siblings guessed girl.  David's parents and our nephew guessed boy.

The other part of our reveal to family was his name.  We've had a lot of people ask about the meaning behind or the decision process for picking his name.  Honestly, Cooper is just a name that we both really like.  We had made a list of baby names one day long before we were pregnant and Cooper was one we both liked then and has been at the top of our list since then.  And since we found out we were expecting, any time we've talked about boy names we both liked Cooper more than any of the other choices.  In fact, we had a much harder time settling on a girl name that we both liked and when I would bring up the name conversation, David would jokingly say "we don't need to worry about that because it's going to be Cooper" since we were both pretty convinced it was boy.  So once we found out he is a boy, we knew his name would be Cooper.  And his middle name is Paul after my grandfather who passed away last year.  We wanted to use a family name and considered several options, but really liked the way that Cooper Paul sounded together.  

The ornament with his name on it from our Christmas card is actually one that I made for my mom.  I made ornaments for both of our moms with his name on it for our name reveal.  I just held on to my mom's for an extra week so we could use it as a prop if we wanted to in our photo shoot.  And it ended up being a perfect tie in for a Christmas announcement!

It was so fun sharing our news with family and close friends after we found out we are having a boy.  Cooper is already loved by so many!  

December 12, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Movie at Home

This date was sweet and simple.  We were gone all day Saturday and on Sunday we had church, lunch with friends, shopping and a meeting.  So when we got home Sunday afternoon we were going through the list of remaining dates and decided for that evening that we would stay in.

So we ordered pizza, put on our pajamas, and put on one of our Christmas movies.  The Family Stone is one of my favorite Christmas movies.  David worked on his puzzle that he's been doing lately and I snuggled with Lily on the couch.  It was a great evening at home!

December 11, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: It's a Wonderful Life

Yesterday we headed to Cleburne to spend the day with David's parents and to see his sister in the play adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life.  We headed out yesterday morning and picked up lunch on our way in to town.  We were able to enjoy lunch with his family at his parents' house before we went to the show.

David's sister played Violet in the play and when we found out she was in it, we marked our calendars to make a day of it.  We've seen the movie several times, but it was fun seeing it in play version.  The cast did a great job and we really enjoyed it!

Snagged a picture by the Christmas tree before heading in to the show.

We had a great day seeing the show and visiting with family.  It's hard to believe that in 2 weeks we'll be back for Christmas--it'll be here so quickly!

December 9, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: A New Ornament

We had Thursday night free this week, so on Sunday we had looked through some of the date cards and picked a few to consider for that night.  Our options included watching a Christmas movie at home, driving around to look at Christmas lights and going shopping for a new ornament.  When David finished up working last night, we talked about the options and decided to go buy a new ornament and then come home and enjoy our cozy and warm house since it was such a cold night!

We try to get a new ornament every year, so we wanted to pick one out together for this year.  

We bundled up and headed to our closest Hallmark and perused the aisles.  There were lots of ornaments to choose from and several that we liked.

David ended up picking out this ornament with the Inside Out characters Joy and Sadness.  We both really liked this movie when we saw it last year and we have watched it several times since then.  When he saw the ornament, he was drawn to it and we thought it would be a fun one to have on the tree.

We got home and I hung it up on our tree.  Lily wanted to be in the photo opp too!

Hung on our tree.  In the original note, I'd said we'd pick out an ornament to represent 2016.  By the time we got to the store we were really just looking for something that we liked.  And we liked this one a lot.  But as we talked about it more, I also realized that it does kind of  represent our 2016 pretty well.  It's been a year of really high highs and really low lows--probably the most joy and the most sadness we've had so far in our years together.  I'm sure that will be a reminder to us as we hang it each year.  And it's just a fun one to look at!

After that, we heated up some apple cider and settled in to watch the winter finale of This is Us.  Since we were at the movies Tuesday night, we didn't get to watch it then, so it was nice to be warm and cozy and watch it together!

December 7, 2016

12 Dates of Christmas: Alamo Drafthouse Christmas Movie

For our 4th date, we headed to Alamo Drafthouse for one of their Christmas movie parties.  A few years ago, they opened an Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson and movies there are always a lot of fun.  They frequently do special menus for different movies and they have lots of special events during the year.  The last few years, we have seen some of their Christmas parties advertised, but had never been to one.  So when we made our list of ideas for the 12 dates of Christmas, this was one thing we both wanted to do!

We looked through the calendar for the movies to try to find one that interested us.  They have special showings of Elf, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, The Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life, Polar Express, Gremlins, Die Hard and Love Actually.  Even with all of the times and movies offered, there were only about 2 or 3 showings that we could make work with our schedule, so we decided on the Home Alone Pizza Party on a Tuesday night.

We got to the theater right as they were opening the doors for the movie.  They usually seat the theaters 30 minutes before the movie starts and during those 30 minutes they show lots of random clips of interviews and other shows that somehow relate to the movie that will be shown.  Last night's preshow included clips of Macaulay Culkin in interviews, trailers for other movies he had been in, music videos he worked on, and video game commercials related to Home Alone.  

As part of the promotion for this showing, our ticket price included all you can eat cheese pizza since that is one of the things he enjoys when all of his family is gone.  So we enjoyed our pizza and a fun night at the movies. 

It was a fun crowd for this movie.  There were several other people around our age there reliving their childhoods, but there were also a lot of younger kids seeing the movie with their parents.  Next to David was a dad and 2 little boys who all seemed to really enjoy the movie!  This was such a fun date and we look forward to trying out some of their other special events during the year and in Christmases to come!