Monday, January 7, 2019

The Holiday Review | 2018

Welcome back, y'all!!  I feel like I've been gone so long!!  

We are preparing to get back into our normal groove around here.  And I am so ready.  Well, I'm ready for these kids to go back to school, that is.  Not necessarily ready for all the rest. Up until last week, I was under the impression that the boys would start back to school today.  Yeah...not so fast.  Teachers go back today.  Kids go back tomorrow.  


One more day, y'all.  ONE.MORE.DAY.

So today we're getting some much-needed haircuts for the boys, digging out backpacks and lunchboxes, making sure we know where shoes are (Lord help us, they can never find both shoes), eating a normal dinner at a normal time, going to basketball practice, taking showers and then getting into bed EARLY.  Whoop whoop!  Vanderpump Rules and the Bachelor premiere are on tonight so I'm going to need kids in bed ASAP.  ;)
When you watch chicks embarrass themselves on The Bachelor Will you accept this rose, Bachelor Ben
(I love that this meme combines my love of Bravo and the Bachelor, by the way.  #vices)

But we really have had an amazing Christmas break.  We kicked it off with Christmas parties at school...

...and when we got home, the boys threw their backpacks down and headed outside to celebrate two weeks of freedom with the "bicycle mafia" as we moms like to call them.  haha

  The next morning, we drove to Longview (about 3 hours from Mckinney) to celebrate Christmas with my dad's side of the family.  My cousin, Michael and his wife, Erin, have a gorgeous house that is perfect for big family get-togethers and is always a fun time.

Matthew and Mason headed straight for the backyard.  They asked for a trampoline for Christmas but Craig and I decided that was a big fat no.  We have SO MANY boys in our neighborhood and I know they'd always be on it...and I just didn't want that liability.  #pleasedontbreakyourlegatmyhouse

So they were super pumped to see this one and get it all to themselves for awhile.

Erin does an amazing job with the Christmas decorations every year.  It is decorated from top to bottom in every room.  So is the outside.  It's like Santa's workshop.  It makes me so happy.

Nana (my mom) took her boys on a little walk around the property and sent me this sweet picture.

And when they came back, Matthew wanted to show me the dock because there were dead fish down there which he obviously thought was super cool.  I'll spare you the dead fish pics though.  ;) 

When we were waiting to be called in to eat, my mom snapped a few pictures of us on the porch.

My dad has 4 sisters and is the only boy.  They are all so close and I have loved having all these sweet women cheering me on throughout my life.

It's always so fun getting to see this side of my family.


The next day, on Christmas Eve Eve, we decided to dive into the world of gingerbread houses.  Messy, a little frustrating but fun.  Look at that sweet smile!  #totallyworthit

Matthew was very methodical in his decorating approach. 

After we finished the gingerbread houses, we piled into the car in our jammies to look at Christmas lights.  We traditionally do this on Christmas Eve but decided to try it the night before this year and I think it worked out so much better.

This house was synced up to music and was amazing!  I think I have a video of it in my "Holidays" highlights on Instagram. (@amandanall)

The next morning, I snapped pics of their houses after they had dried but before little fingers started coming by to steal candy off the roof.  ;)

We headed to church for the Christmas Eve service which was beautiful as always.

(My leather jacket is HERE I love it so much!  Currently on sale for only $52!!)

When we got home, the boys each got to pick 1 present to open and then they were eager to get upstairs and get to bed!  As a way to try to keep them from leaving their rooms and sneaking downstairs to see what the elves were up to in the living room later that night, I decided to use painters tape to help keep them contained.  I knew they would think this was funny, which they did, and since they are both big rule followers, I knew it would least for a few hours.

Next year, I'll be sitting our elf outside their rooms with a note that says "No Peeking".  Not sure why I didn't think to do that this year but I know for SURE they wouldn't disobey their elf!

We told them they weren't allowed to leave their rooms until at least 6:45am and that they could play with their toys from Santa and check out their stockings.  Then they could wake us up at 7:00.  I heard them jump out of bed at exactly 6:45 (Mason's room is directly above ours) and run downstairs.  Yes, I wish I'd seen their little faces when they saw what Santa brought but that's another thing I've let go of.  They like to run into our room to tell us everything that Santa brought them while we fumble for light switches and stumble out of bed.

I whipped up this sign for the boys' bathroom the day before after I saw something similar on Pinterest.

Our living room looked like a Christmas tornado had hit.  And we always have A Christmas Story on in the background while we open gifts.

Mason loved his Ralph Breaks the Internet hoodie from Mimi and I loved my Muk Luks slippers my mom gave me from Jane (after a little hint on the post in my Facebook Group...haha).

Every year, Craig sets up the video camera on the tripod and records our Christmas morning from start to finish.  We've also learned to bring in the big ugly trash can because it makes clean up go so much faster.

The aftermath.  Sigh.

Later that afternoon, after we got the majority of the mess cleared away, Matthew and I played a game of Guess Who while Mason played his new Nintendo Switch.  I stayed in my PJs the whole day and loved every single minute of it.

Matthew asked for a Mike Trout bobblehead from Santa which I thought was an odd request but Santa found a very cool one on Amazon.  I snapped a picture of him after tucking Matthew in later that night.

It was the perfect Christmas Day.


The Saturday after Christmas, we headed to Texarkana to have Christmas with my mom's side of the family.  We always go to my granddad's house and it is always loud, chaotic and FULL of kids!  But so much fun.

Every kiddo gets one gift.  The boys got Nerf guns because you can never have enough.

After we ate yummy BBQ and opened presents we all headed outside to play with new toys, swing, and ride the trolley that Granddaddy built.

How cute is my daddy in his little beanie?  #daddysgirl  :)

We made sure to get some good family pictures when the boys stopped shooting each other long enough to stand still for 2 seconds.  

(My pullover is an Abercrombie dupe from Amazon and is crazy soft!  It's got a cult-following.  It's that good. ;)  You can find it here for much cheaper than the Abercrombie original.  I'm wearing a medium.)

I really do have such an amazing family on both sides.  I'm not sure we got so lucky but I sure am blessed.

When we got home from Texarkana, it was time to get our New Year's Eve party prep started!  That meant shopping, cooking and cleaning.  Not my favorite things to do by far but I knew it would be worth it.  We host a family-style NYE party every year and some years there end up being 20 kids running wild throughout the house and some, like this year, it's a little quieter with just 4.

I did a terrible job at taking pictures but managed to snag a couple of good ones.  One of my bestie, Dani, came with her family and thank goodness for that or the boys would have been out of their minds bored.  Dani's daughter, Sydnee was in Matthew's preschool class when they were 2 which is how we met.  Love this pretty lady to pieces. 

And these girls are part of the original Culdesac Crew. We've been celebrating New Years together for 10 years!

(My shirt was a Jane find...shocker, I know.  It's not currently available but if it comes back, I'll definitely post it in the group.  Make sure you've joined!)

The adults always gather in the dining room for a game and this was our second year to play What Do You Meme?.  It's hysterical and ridiculous and crass and most definitely an adults-only game but we love it!  It's definitely one where we have to whisper certain words or wait until the kids run back upstairs before we can proceed.  ;)

And then New Year's Day started with this.  One sick kiddo.  His whole body was hot, his cheeks were flushed and he could barely swallow because his throat was hurting so bad.  But for some reason, the thermometer wasn't showing a fever at all which I always find so weird.  He CLEARLY had a fever.  I don't know.

Anyway, he laid around all day and after some Motrin, things definitely started to look up.  I had plans to take him to the doctor the next day if he wasn't feeling better but he was almost back to normal the next day and by the third, he was good to go.

And that ended our holiday season!

For the past week, it's just been a whole lot of this.  And when I say "this", I mean pictures of the boys looking like all they wanted for Christmas was a haircut and they didn't get it.  ;)  Haircuts happening TODAY.

They are obsessed with the Don't Step In It game (currently cheapest at Walmart) and yes, Mason looks like he's auditioning for Bird Box.  (Have y'all seen that?!  I had to stop watching it one night and finish it during the day. #wimp)

And then more Nerf wars with the bicycle mafia.  I think there were about 8 of them playing Capture the Flag/Foam Sword.

So yes, it has been a great little break.  In between the celebrating I've painted a room (ok, I've painted one wall in Mason's bedroom and still need to finish the rest...), I've cleaned out both boys' closets, given away 4 garbage sacks full of old clothes, thrown away 2 sacks of old toys, organized my own closet, cleaned out the refrigerator and reorganized the laundry room.  Those projects are work for sure but they are my FAVORITE kind of work.  I love nothing more than to feel productive!

But today, it's back to my REAL work.  I'll be posting deals in the group AND the deals blog today.  I totally slacked on the deals blog during the break.  My bad. I know there are those of you who prefer that so I promise I'll get back on track.  And Etsy orders will start shipping this week!  Lots of "word of the year"/"one little word" signs have been ordered!

I'll also be finishing up the last part of my Disney World series with our day at Magic Kingdom.  It's taken me forever to finish this series because it hit right in the middle of the holidays where my motivation to blog was very low.  But I'm back now and will get it finished for sure.

If you missed my other Disney posts, you can find them here:

PART 1Prep Work
PART 2Travel, Resort Check-In, Disney Springs
PART 3Hollywood Studios 
PART 4Animal Kingdom
Part 5: Epcot

I hope you all had a great break!  Now let the Spring Break countdown begin!  (Just kidding.  I'm good letting the teachers have them for awhile.  Ha!  Sorry, teachers!  Y'all are amazing!!!)



  1. Hahahahaha!! That last bit made me laugh...NOT ready for Speing Break just yet! ;). Your pictures of Christmas break were all great and I still think it’s crazy we were in Longview on the same day!

  2. Amanda! So many wonderful pictures!! I'm so glad you guys had a great Christmas!!

  3. What a fun break! I love how you all got to spend so much downtime together, just playing and relaxing and visiting family. Do you ever get to visit Craig's family for the holidays or do they live too far away?

    1. They live about 5 hours away so with our work, school and sports schedules it's much harder for us to get down there than it is for them to come here. But they visit a lot! We see them many times a year. We had just spent a week at Disney with both sets of our parents over the end of Thanksgiving break though so we didn't see his parents again before Christmas. (Normally, they come spend the week of Thanksgiving with us here in Mckinney and we don't see them again until after the new year.) Craig's brothers both live much closer to his parents and one of them has 2 little girls that they go visit a lot too. We are really blessed to have 2 sets of amazing grandparents for the boys.

  4. What a fun Christmas! We have a trampoline and I totally understand your feelings. When we have the neighborhood over it can be a little scary...especially with the boys (why do they all have no fear?). What a great Christmas for you and your family. Happy Monday!

  5. It looks like you had a fabulous holiday. And now back to routine...thank goodness. ;) Happy New Year!

  6. What a great break! You laugh about counting down to Spring Break but I already know we are only 61 days away! haha - bring on Summer!

  7. Anonymous5:01 PM

    A little trick I learned this year with Gingerbread Houses... hot glue the big pieces. Then, decorate with icing and candies. That way the kids don't have to wait for the icing to dry hard enough to hold up the house while decorating. Game changer.

    1. Genius!! I accidentally bought one that was already formed and one that needed to be put together. (I thought I was getting two that were already put together.) So Mason got to decorate his right away but Matthew had to wait a few hours. I will absolutely be using the hot glue trick next time! Thank you!!

  8. I have the ever Abercrombie dupe and love it except I wish it had pockets. Especially when I wear leggings.


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