Everyone seems to have done the “Month of Thanksgiving” posts on Facebook/Twitter this year – you know, where every day you say one thing you’re thankful for. Well, for half of this month, I was in Peru…and the internet is shotty AT BEST there. So here is my list of 30 things I’m thankful for :)
- Jesus – Without him, I would have no life.
- Chad – He’s the best gift God could have given me! He’s so loving, patient and kind. He’s a truly genuine person – something that’s hard to come by these days. He’s never fake, never spiteful, never arrogant. He’s humble, a great leader, and my best friend. I could go on forever!
- Toilets and toilet seats – I told you I’d been in Peru for half the month! I peed in a hole and toilet seats were very hard to come by. I’m telling you, it’s the little things!
- Family – Between me and Chad, we seriously have some of the coolest relatives EVER. Of course, I love my own mother and sister to death, but I feel the same way about Chad’s mom, sister, brother and stepdad! And of course Payton and Lilly have special places in my heart :) Not to mention our amazing aunts, uncles and grandparents!
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card – Not that we need a credit card, but we put our monthly gas, groceries and some other expenses on this bad boy in order to earn frequent flyer miles. We went to Vegas for free in August, and we’ve earned two more round trip flights already!
- The gym – It always makes you feel better, even if you didn’t feel like going!
- Homemade meals – I love to cook, and I really love trying out new things. I’m glad Chad is open to eating what I make! And it makes me feel really good to cook delicious, healthy meals for us :)
- Pictures of corgis and dachshunds – We WILL be getting these dogs when we get our first home. Mark my words!
- Christmas decorations and music – Christmas is my favorite time of year, and seeing all the sights, hearing all the sounds, smelling all the smells and tasting all the foods of the season makes me SO HAPPY!
- Laughing – Chad and I are ALWAYS laughing – and if you ask me, there isn’t enough of that in the world! We’re even able to laugh when the times are tough, which is always great.
- Fleece-lined tights – Seriously. These things are great! They keep me warm in winter (they wouldn’t cut it in Chicago or somewhere with a REAL winter), and allow me to wear something besides pants every.single.day.
- Mexican food – I really don’t think this needs an explanation.
- Cuddle time – There is really nothing better than curling up on the couch with your husband, in your PJs or sweatpants and fuzzy socks, and watching TV. Promise.
- Football – How about the Texans this year?! AWESOME. And the Longhorns did better than last year…that’s about all I can say about that. But YAY TEXANS!!!
- Employment – In a time where so many are jobless, I’m very thankful to have a job that allows me to use my degree, talents and passion. The paycheck is nice too :)
- My charity/cause-loving friends – Every time I turn around, someone is raising money for a cause that is near and dear to their heart. That is so great. THANK YOU, friends, for dedicating yourselves to such worthy causes!
- G-chat – Because I live in another state, G-chat enables me to talk to some of my best friends almost every day. Whether they’re in Texas, New York or somewhere in between, it enables me to stay connected to their lives, despite the distance.
- White sand beaches with turquoise waters – Sadly, we did not make it to the beach this year. But that does not take the beach out of my list of loves! There is nothing like sitting under an umbrella with your toes in the sand, the wind in your hair, and the waves crashing around you.
- All things pumpkin and gingerbread – Are there better cold weather/holiday season flavors? I think not. My first attempt at pumpkin bread went AMAZINGLY WELL, so that is going to be a new tradition. Gingerbread lattes are like Christmas in a cup, and how could you not like that??
- The Walking Dead – I know, a silly thing to be thankful for. But we really do look forward to it Sunday nights! Plus, it gives us cuddle time, since it’s filled with scary and cringe-worthy moments. See #13.
- Elf – My sister and I watch this together EVERY YEAR. We can quote the entire thing, and sometimes do so via text. Until I got married, when I’d go home for Christmas, Kourt and I would share her room/bed (because the kids are in my old room) on Christmas Eve night. We would always watch that movie and then wake up together just like when we were little kids. TMI? Get over it – this is my blog!
- Coffee – It’s delicious. It’s a great way to start my day. And it’s always made and given to me by my amazing husband – BONUS!
- Your prayers – We’ve had so many people praying for us this year, through some really tough times. I cannot tell you how much this means to us, and how much it has lifted our spirits. There aren’t enough words to say how much we appreciate all of you and your prayers!
- Blake Shelton – He’s hilarious. He’s attractive. He can sing. Need I say more? The bromance between him and Adam Levine is hilarious on The Voice, and I’ve been a fan of his long before he became the megastar he is today.
- Our church family and friends – We’ve been so blessed to meet so many great people here in Little Rock, who have really taken us in as their own. These are some really genuine, loving people with servant’s hearts – and I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know them over the years! From inviting us over on a random Tuesday to letting us spend major holidays with you, we REALLY appreciate it!
- Immanuel Baptist Church – Our church is amazing. We unapologetically stand for what the Bible says and Jesus. My faith has been strengthened and I have spiritually grown so much, thanks to the teachings of Pastor Gary and the other leaders in the church.
- Loganberry Frozen Yogurt – It’s Chad’s favorite place, and I can always convince him that we need to go there for a guilt-free treat :)
- Old school Christmas movies – I love them all! Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty…you name it! And I’ve scheduled them ALL to record this year. JOY!
- Pastor Victor and Pastor Roger in Peru – These are two extremely hard working men, who face incredible hardships in their work every day. It was a pleasure to get to know them while on my mission trip, and I pray that God continues to use them to further His kingdom!
- YOU! – I have so many amazing friends, who fill my life with laughter, pride and joy every day. Thank you for always being there for me – whether I needed a sounding board, a shoulder to cry/freak out on, or a room to stay in while in town :)
Some of my beloved friends and blog readers have asked me “Where have you been?” lately, prompted by my lack of recent blog updates. I know, I know – I’ve failed you in your quest to stalk me to the highest level. I apologize.
But I’ve had good reason to be AWOL. You see, I went to Houston the weekend of January 13-16. During that time, I had two birthdays (Aunt Darla and Payton – who is now FIVE!!), Kourtney’s baby shower (baby Liliana should be here any day!) and a wedding (YAY for Christine and Nate!!) to attend. Clearly sleep was not on the agenda that weekend. I worked from mommy’s house all day Monday and then boarded the plane back to Little Rock. Both legs were delayed. Joy!
I returned to the office on Tuesday and had exactly two work days to get my stuff in order before hopping on a sunrise flight to Michigan to see my family-in-love for 5 days. After a brief stop in Chicago, we touched down in Michigan where the wind chill was a balmy -11. Y’all know how I feel about cold. Luckily, I had stocked up on winter weather clothing at the Houston Prime Outlets. It was a whirlwind of fun, including game playing until 2 a.m., delicious cooking, zumba, yoga, sledding, football watching and the Garneau family Christmas. Five days went by in the blink of an eye and then we were back on a plane to Little Rock, by way of Chicago. How none of the flights to/from cold weather climates were delayed yet the flights from Houston to Dallas and Dallas to Little Rock were, I will never understand.
Upon my return to The Rock, work has been out of control, Junior League class projects are in FULL SWING (I was elected co-chair!), Make-A-Wish wish grantings are being planned and Wednesday night Bible study has started back up again. Hence, the lack of posting.
And now you know where I’ve been!
For many of us, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are all about traditions. I know I had a few growing up, and Chad and I are working to put a few in place for our little family.
First – the decorations. They go up as soon as possible after Thanksgiving. Not before – Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday in and of itself and deserves its own decor.
Second – the Christmas lights. We have lights on our tree and going up the banister of our staircase. These lights are on when we are home and turned off every night before bed, except on Christmas Eve night – they stay on all night for Santa and so that they’re on when you wake up on Christmas morning and walk into the Christmas light-lit room full of festivities.
Third – the Christmas parade. Call me a child if you want, but I LOVE watching the Christmas parade. Same goes for Thanksgiving.
Fourth – the single gift on Christmas Eve. One present is always opened on the night of Christmas Eve, typically after the family has come and gone. It is usually new pajamas that you are to wear that night, and they will be in the Christmas pictures the next morning.
Fifth – cinnamon rolls. This one comes from Chad. Every year his mom made “homemade” cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. Naturally, I was nervous about having to live up to his mom’s amazing recipe. However, when I found out they were Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from a can, it was all good in the hood!
Sixth – Elf. It must be watched. Enough said.
Seventh – the Biblical story of Christmas from the book of Luke. Never did this growing up, but Chad and I are starting it this year!
What about you? What are your Christmas traditions? I’m sure I left some off of here, but I’d love to hear more!
Apparently, Chad and I don’t know the meaning of the word “budget.”
This Christmas was to be a “budget” Christmas. We got married 5 months ago, moved into our first place and are saving for a big mission trip to Peru next year. Budget.
Today, I counted the presents under our tree. 28. TWENTY-EIGHT! That doesn’t even include the stockings! Or the presents I sent my mom home with over Thanksgiving! Or the ones we shipped! This is the exact OPPOSITE of budget!!
What can I say. We’re givers.
They say old habits die hard. Today, I affirmed that statement. First, the back story.
Every year, my mom hosts the HUGE Cochran family Christmas. Anywhere between 20-60 people show up, depending on who’s in town and if it’s their year to do Christmas with the Cochrans or the other side of the family. Needless to say, I got the holiday hosting/cooking gene from my mom. Cochran Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, and the individual families enjoy a more intimate Christmas of their own on Christmas morning. During Cochran Christmas, there is tons of food (usually 2-4 turkeys, both oven roasted and deep fried, and 1-2 hams, plus more sides and desserts than we could eat in a year), a white elephant gift exchange for adults and little kid present opening, and the dice chance game LCR. The white elephant and LCR games sometimes get violent–just go with it, we are a competitive people.
With all these festivities, the host house must be spotlessly clean and well decorated. This is where my sister and I come in. We always spent Christmas Eve Eve, December 23, cleaning and baking.
Now, today. Today is Christmas Eve Eve, and as I’ve done my entire life, I cleaned the house from top to bottom and cooked. Except this year, no one is coming over. It’ll be just Chad and me. White elephant and LCR wouldn’t really work with 2 people, and 27 pies would be more of a waste than normal.
Like I said–there was. I reason for the OCD cleaning and the 6 dozen cookies…but old habits die hard :)
In my imaginary world where I am a housewife and we don’t have to worry about money and we live in a bubble of perfect happiness, I bake a lot. In fact, in this world, all I do is work out, clean, cook, volunteer, read and play with my angel children who can do no wrong.
Like I said, it’s my imaginary world.
But today, part of that imaginary world came true. I’ve both worked out and baked today – it’s been a good day! Chad LOVES chocolate chip cookies, so I got the ingredients for yummy homemade ones. I really wanted to use my Christmas cookie cutters and to use some icing and sprinkles to decorate, so I got sugar cookie ingredients, icing and red sprinkles. Let the fun begin!
Today was my first time to use my Kitchen Aid mixer – another sign I’m married and Southern. (Seriously – you’d be hard pressed to find a married Southern woman without a Kitchen Aid mixer.) Here’s a little tip for first time KAM users – don’t turn it on past level 4 if you have only dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. The result is somewhat similar to if you turn the blender on without the lid. Flour and sugar EVERYWHERE.
Another helpful baking tip – make the cookie dough thick when using cookie cutters. Otherwise the shapes will tear before you can even get them to the cookie sheet – which will make you very frustrated.
I had an idea of how I wanted to decorate the cookies (they’re in the shape of Santa heads), but it got boring after a few, so I had to mix it up. Some Santas had white icing on the cotton puff on their hats and as their beards. Some had it all over. Some have random squiggles. Some have smiley faces. One has a B and one has a C. And then 5 spell SANTA. It kind of looks like a 3 year old decorated them, but they are SUPER delish! 33 cookies is too many for just Chad and me, so I’m thinking the Fox 16 kids and our Sunday School class will be receiving sweet treats this weekend :)
Check out my masterpieces!!
I may be biased, but I think my nephew is the cutest kid in the world? Don’t agree? Keep that to yourself :)
The other day, I watched a video from Jimmy Kimmel that resulted from his asking parents to give their kids really bad Christmas presents. (He also did the same thing on Halloween, where parents were asked to tell their kids they ate all of their candy.) Go watch the Christmas video now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Needless to say, after I saw the video I had to share it with my sister – and encouraged her to do the same thing to Payton. Today, she did just that – and sent me the video :) You KNOW you want to see this!
Wasn’t that ADORABLE?? He is so sweet and smart – he knew his mommy was tricking him :) I love you, little guy!