Once upon a time (back in 2011) there was a boy. A very thoughtful, yet practical boy. He got his girl photography classes for Christmas so she could learn how to use their fancy new camera. The classes expired on December 15, 2012. Plenty of time. But, the girl became consumed with watching reality tv, taking daily trips to Kroger & avoiding cleaning at all costs, so she forgot all about the classes (although she still dearly loved her camera). Finally, the boy signed her up & she went one week before the expiration date.
Enjoy the merry happenings in the Carter house.
Sparkle close-ups courtesy of my new photography skillllz.
I hope your home is filled with merry things, too.
With the most important thing centered around this.
4:30, Wednesday, long day with the little people, tired, cranky.
Solution? This place.
I pull up, order my drink & get ready to pay when the male barista (love that name, by the way) kindly asks how my day was. I reply with, "Ok." I really just wanted my coffee & to go in peace.
His reply, "Well, how can I make it better?"
We lock eyes, then both look at the drink...and he knows I am going to say "a free drink." Barista smiles...and then says, "Besides a free drink." Of course. I then reply with - "Ok, you can do a dance." Smugly thinking he would never do a dance. Much to my surprise, he pulled out some running man moves right there in the drive-thru. And, some jazz hands. Extra points for jazz hands. Mission accomplished. He made my day better. I thanked him & went on my way.
I thought about him & our conversation all the way home. Often times when people ask others how their day was and they reply with "ok, fine, crummy" the natural response is to say, "I'm sorry" or "hope it gets better" & move on with their business. Because, let's face it...sometimes we ask how people's days were, but we don't really care. I've done it, I'm sure you've done it too.
So, next time try asking someone how you can help make their day better. I know I'm going to try it. While at the same time knowing that a hot Christmas-y drink can usually make anything better. And running man moves, too.
Its been awhile since I updated the 'ol blog. Sorry readers (or reader)...I have no idea who looks at this thing.
I've been busy putting up my one tree. And by one, I mean four.
Even our ball of fur has her own tree...complete with ornaments given to her by her grandparents. I can't wait to see what they do when they have grandkids that walk on two legs instead of four.
Also keeping me busy is this: a fun new December project...our Christmas Bucket List!
I have seen these floating around online that are seasonal related, so I decided to be a little different & make a Christmas one. All you have to do is:
*find a cute template online
*discuss ideas with your significant other and/or kids
*change or delete ideas from your significant other that you don't like (sorry, Dev)
*type in your list
*scramble around for an old frame to use
*complete the list!
I am most excited about driving to the Home Alone house in Chicago. I have been obsessed with this house since I first heard the name Kevin McCallister.
Dev is really excited about sleeping by the fire. Not. He has already declared that it must be on the coldest night in December. We'll see how long he lasts.
May your week be Merry & Bright...and full of sparkle.
A few weeks ago I decided to drop everything, pack a small suitcase & head to Springfield, Illinois for a weekend at Bernice's. Otherwise known as my grandma (mom's side).
Otherwise known as the originator of "diamonds are a girl's best friend."
Devin & his wallet thank her for passing that motto onto me. Not.
I need to do a lot of things better. And, spending more time with my grandparents, whether on the phone or in person, is towards to the top of the list. Also on the list? Not hitting snooze 50 times in the morning. After every alarm ring Dev replies (in his sweetest voice), "Honey, are you going to get up this time?" With which I reply (in my nastiest voice ever), "NO." Reason #34,987 why I love him.
I really will try to do better in the snooze department, DC.
Back to my weekend at Bernice's. After 3 1/2 hours in the car with my friends Nelly, MJ & Celine, 2 gas station/Polar Pop stops & lots of quiet thinking time, I arrived! My grandma & sweet step-grandpa were eagerly waiting at the door, decorated with balloons for my arrival. Something they didn't have to decorate is their amazing backyard view - Lake Springfield.
I wouldn't mind waking up to this everyday.
The weekend was packed full of my favorites: lots of life talk, coffee, shopping, pedicures, 4:30 restaurant dinners, & more coffee. She is a firm believer in using your best china at all times, & I agree. McDonald's for dinner? Serve it up on your Lenox, folks. There is no sense in your china collecting dust in a cabinet. Unless it's my cabinet - where her presidential collection china will be stored one day. I can't wait.
I left on Sunday with my tank full of happiness & love - something I always get from grandma...even if she doesn't understand my love for sweatpants and cloth headbands to hold my hair back. Another motto of hers - look your best at all times. Not going to agree with you on that one, though. I live for Sweatpant Saturdays.
Grandparents are so special, & I wish I would have spent more time with them growing up. So, that is going on the do-better list...along with not hitting snooze.
C is for Carter, carving, & competition. Ah, competition. My competitive nature started early when my mother decided to put me in beauty pageants at a young age. Yes, I was the Honey Boo Boo of the 80s. Y'all better redneckanize. I distinctly remember my sweet mom (she will deny this until blue in the face) saying, "Now Abigail, you won't win this pageant - but you will have a lot of fun & that is all that matters."Wrong. I strutted my stuff down the runway, blew a kiss to the judges & BOOM the votes were tallied. Abigail Vestile - Little Miss Regatta 1989. I still have the cubic zirconia tiara to prove it, & the memory of being queen for a day. Wait - what memory...I'm still the queen.
My competitive nature didn't stop there. From board games to dance competitions to neighborhood talent shows I didn't care what I was competing for...as long as I won. Field day with my kindergarten class? I have to refrain from making my kids run suicides weeks before in order to train, & I may or may not have jumped in as anchor before so they would win Tug Of War. Oopsie. Dev & I like to compete in things also. Whether that be road trip scavenger hunts, Christmas cookie bake-offs or a Carter favorite: The Pain Game. We pinch each other until someone can't take the pain anymore & yells stop. Very strange, I know. But, that's what you do when you have been together for 12 years, do not have children & run out of things to talk about. You can judge, it's ok.
This year we decided to hold a Carter Carving Contest. I thought it would be fun (& an easy win of course). We would choose our pumpkins, carve them & ask our Facebook friends to vote for their favorite. The loser would do dishes for a week. The winner would receive the esteemed Carving Contest #1 title. Cue action shots:
Finding a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch...or the store on the side of the road that sells them for cheap.
Setting the mood properly.
Guts. Act tired so that your husband scrapes for you.
Use the guts to make a skinny pumpkin smoothie.
Just kidding - really use Libby's canned pumpkin. Or canned gold, in my opinion.
The finished products. Let the voting begin.
After the votes were tallied, Pumpkin A received 26 votes & Pumpkin B received 17.
I'm embarrassed to admit that my pumpkin was B, therefore I lose.
This makes my blood boil.
I am a sore loser. With a poor personal appearance, apparently.
I can only blame that on teaching 26 five-year olds on Halloween.
I was not prepared for the loss & can only blame myself. Maybe my design was too hard, my pumpkin had too many ridges, or people just simply favor un-creative owls these days. You can better believe I will be back & better than ever next year though. Until then - these pots & pans are about to be my best friend for a week.
Except I won't be making friendship bracelets for them or passing notes back & forth in the hallway.
I said I wouldn't talk about anything sad on here, but this man needs at least a blog post dedicated to him.
James Levi Vestile, "papaw" to my brother & I, passed away last week after 89 years on this earth...68 of those years being married to my sweet mamaw. What an amazing life he lived, & an equally amazing example of what true love really looks like.
My papaw was a man of few words. So are my dad, and my brother...hmmm must be a Vestile gene. That one missed me though. However, when he did speak you listened. So, I'm keeping this post short & to the point - the way he liked things done. Some of the most memorable (& quite funny) things he taught us were...
Euchre is a fast game. And don't you dare trump your partner's Ace. Do whatever comes natural. A classic line. Whenever I would call & ask what he was doing, he would always reply with that. If you're going into education, you better choose administration. It's where the money is. (Devin is working on that one, Papaw.) Tell people you love that you are proud of them. Sometimes I would get calls from him out of the blue, just saying how proud he was of me. The calls never lasted over a minute each, but man did they make a lasting impression. Work hard. I've never met anyone who worked harder than he did. My dad comes in at a close second, though.
And finally, always tell the truth. At my wedding 7 years ago, my Mamaw & Papaw were called to the dance floor for being married the longest out of our 424 guests (thanks for fitting the bill on that one, Dad). When asked what advice they wanted to give us, he quickly replied with "Always tell the truth." My Mamaw then said, "Just love each other." Simple, easy, to the point.
Maybe if we could all just tell the truth & love each other, this world would be a much better place.
Growing up, I remember wanting to only do two things: be a teacher and get married. Done and done. I guess I have accomplished everything I wanted to do in life. Except for ride in a motorcycle side car (complete with goggles & a scarf blowing in the wind), hold a baby panda, & go fly fishing (with big tall rubber pants). Those things are on my "life list"...another post, maybe.
Marriage can be exciting. Like when you take a helicopter ride in Maui over a volcano.
Marriage can be romantic. Like when you go ice skating in New York City, in the snow, at midnight, on Christmas Eve.
Just kidding about the Christmas Eve part...but wouldn't that be ultra-romantic?
And, marriage can be boring.
Like when your husband has his face in the computer 24/7. Even Libby is thrilled.
So, in the boring times it's a good thing that we I am creative and like to come up with fun things to do to make marriage un-boring. It's also good that DC is laid back and doesn't care if I declare that we quote favorite lines or scenes from Jurassic Park one Saturday. I always act out the water shaking in the cup when the T-Rex is getting close. Creeeepy.
He always quotes the line Samuel L. Jackson says while trying to get Jurassic Park back online..."Hold onto your butts." Great line.
Anyway, a couple of years ago I created a "Date Bag" where we each came up with 3 dates (drive-in, picnic, walk on the canal, etc) put them in a bag, & then every week we would choose out a date and go have fun. Very popular in the "make marriage un-boring" category. Except for Devin didn't like my picnic date...he said he got too sweaty & didn't like having to sit on the ground. You win some, you lose some.
The other night I decided to create a traveling journal for us to start. I got the idea from another blog and tweeked it to my liking, of course. Here are the rules: Once a week we will take turns writing in the journal; anything and everything is fair game. Then, we will hide it in a place where the other person will be likely to find it. They can then read it, write a message of their own, and then hide it sometime the next week. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Instant marriage un-boring material.
I really took my time picking out the journal and spent $1.25 at Wal-Mart finding the best one possible. Hey - I'm on a spending freeze...my resources are limited. I picked this picture for the cover because it's the time when I remember being the happiest. It's from the night before our wedding. Nothing elaborate...no fancy editing or cropping. I think it was actually taken by my Mamaw's $5 CVS disposable camera, but goodness gracious were we happy. And, I can say that we still are which is a definite plus.
I am hiding the journal first, and it's your lucky day because I am giving you a sneak peek of the first message - and then it will never be seen again. Unless my housekeeper finds it. Oh wait, I have to re-hire a housekeeper. I fired her last year...depressing day. And, cleaning is NOT on my list of approved happy activities.
As you can see, the first entry is very deep.
Hey - I used all of my creative juices coming up with this idea, folks.
Now, I want to hear YOUR ideas on how you keep your marriage un-boring. Do you have a weekly dance party? Make crafts together? Cook new things for dinner each week? I love new ideas. As long as it doesn't involve watching ESPN or reading the newspaper. Yuck.
Now I'm off to do some hiding. I know exactly where NOT to hide it...the kitchen. No husbands allowed in the kitchen. Dev informed me that when it is his week I will probably find it hiding in the Starbucks drive-through or check-out line at Kroger. Cha-Ching!
Hooray for un-boring marriages. And, real-life Cinderella castles.