Finley Family Christmas

We did the Finley Christmas a little different this year and I think it was a HIT. When I was growing up, there were 10 adults and 13 grandkids for Grandma Katy to buy for and she shopped all year long in order to have it all done in time for Christmas. I cannot imagine buying for 23 people, let alone all the spouses and great grand-kids we've added. The past several years, she was buying for well over 50 people and it all just became too much. Understandably.

Grandma decided not to buy this year and we all encouraged her not too. She was worried about the little kids so we drew names amongst the second cousins. Instead of having it at the Pavilion, the place I've been going my entire life for Gma's Christmas, we had it at my cousins gym, The Launching Pad. Guess what? No one even noticed the lack of presents. We all got to visit, the kids got to play, and my cousin Casey got to show off his American Ninja Warrior skills.
Tylee and Brynna in the bounce house.
 I told Tylee we were going to a Gym and she should wear sweats and tennis shoes but she insisted on a dress and her cowgirl boots. The boots came off and her dress ripped within 5 minutes of being there but I couldn't keep my girly-girl at bay.
 We love you, Grandma!


Elks Kids Christmas Party

Typically, Tylee is very intuitive and doesn't let much by her but one thing that has surprised me this Christmas season is her whole-hearted belief in Santa. Usually the simplest things catch her attention or cause questions, but with Santa, they haven't. For instance, seeing multiple Santas. The Santa below was older and had glasses and the Santa for pictures was dark-skinned and didn't have glasses. Then we go to the mall and see a totally different Santa with a real beard and long straight hair and I really, really thought she would put it all together. I didn't get one question about it. She 100% wants to believe, and I love it.
The Elks Kids Christmas Party was our first encounter with Santa this year and she was so excited. She couldn't hardly make it through the magic show to give Santa the pictures she had made him.

He was thrilled and so nice about it.

Santa brought her a baby Lalaloopsy, which just came out and she hadn't ever seen so it totally blew her mind. This was definitely a great way to start our Christmas Season!


Gingerbread House

December, the most blogged about month of the year, right? I know that rings true for me. It is, by the way, the happiest time of the year. Lots to do, lots to blog!
Totally worth the $8 price tag at Wal-Mart, in case you were wondering.


Merry Christmas Card

I wasn't thrilled with our card this year, especially considering how great of pictures I had to choose from. I tried this concept a few years ago but it didn't work out as I planned. This year, Tylee was a total rockstar and I have photographic proof. See below:
The two above made the card and were my favorites but unfortunately, the sun glare didn't print well. I should've known better but thought she looked beautiful and couldn't pass it up. My second choice was the picture below, in which I think she looks really cute. Beautiful won over cute this year.  
On the day we took these, she had a pretty nasty cold so we couldn't use any close-ups because of the goop in her eyes.
Another "beautiful" nomination (above) but it isn't 100% in focus. It is rare that I nail the focus on the best picture of the group. That would be too good to be true, wouldn't it?
Although not my exact vision, I perfectly captured Tylee at 5-years old and our card is cute as a button. Can't ask for more than that!


O' Christmas Tree

In the past, TJ and I have made it a tradition to take Tylee to the Christmas Tree Farm to hand pick and cut down our Christmas Tree. I always look forward to going but unfortunately, the perfectionist in me hasn't been thrilled with the trees that we've brought home. Last year, we ended up at Home Depot buying the Fir Tree I'd been swooning over and Tylee never even noticed. This year, I took it a step further and bought a 9 foot fake Fir Tree that I found mid-October and couldn't stop thinking about. I have to say that I thoroughly thought through my decision and didn't have any only had a hint of regret once we got the tree up and put together. It is beautiful and seriously a dream come true, but the thought of not going to the tree farm or having those memories for Tylee did sadden me a bit. Not enough to take back my purchase, though. It is beautiful!!  
And only a little crooked. :-S
Another reason I wanted to ditch our tradition is because of the short amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Those real trees are pricey and to only have it up for 3 full weeks? No thank you.We've had our Christmas stuff up for a little over two weeks now and to say I'll be sad when it comes down is an understatement. The Christmas Season is one of my favorite times of year and I want to drag it out as long as I can. We didn't skip Thanksgiving but thus far I've already been Christmas shopping, decorated inside and out, made some wreaths swags, and are counting down 'till Christmas morning. I'm confident by Christmas day that I will have thoroughly soaked up the season, and will be ready for things to get back to normal.


A Day in the Life - November 2013

Time for another day-in-the-life post. I remember last year when I typed that post, I couldn't imagine how life could get much different in the years to come. Looking back, I barely remember life as it was back then! Here is our new normal, so when I come back and read next year, I'll have something to remember.
My alarm goes off every morning at 6am however, I'm normally awake and out of bed way before that. I have no idea why my internal clock is set so early but it pretty much sucks on the days when I do want to sleep in.
Merle and I crawl out of bed anywhere between 5am - 6am. If I don't wake him up and take him in the bathroom with me, he is scratching at the door mid-way through my bath. He is never quite ready to wake up yet so he makes himself a nest on the rug next to me and sleeps his way through my morning routine.
If I'm awake before my 6am alarm, I lay in bed and check Instagram and play Candy Crush until I'm out of lives. If my alarm wakes me up, I lay in the tub and get my fix until the first 7 minutes of the news is over. Then I better get to washing.
I'm out of the tub and have the basics done by 6:30, which is when I get started on my hair. If I'm not started by then, I know I'm going to be late. I'm done with my hair by 6:45 (when the Birthday's come on) and I go in Tylee's room to wake her up and turn on SpongeBob. Often times, she is already awake and we use this time to get her some breakfast. If I have to actually wake her up, it usually takes her awhile and this is her down-time before starting her day. Either way, after I deal with her, I get started on my make-up. 
At 7am, when the national news come on, I get her dressed and ready to go. She is ready to go about 7:10 and I give myself 5 minutes, give or take, to get dressed and spray my hair. I've usually halfway thought about what I'm going to wear whilst getting ready - so it doesn't actually take that long. We try to be out the door by 7:15/7:20.
TJ is usually around in the mornings but there isn't much for him to do. He usually camps out on the couch watching ESPN until we are gone and he can make his way into the bathroom. If him and Tylee are both awake at the 6:45 mark, I usually holler at him to make her breakfast.
Tylee rides to Altamont for school with me, and depending on our morning, she either A) Eats her breakfast at 6:45, B) Eats something easy in the car, or C) We grab something on our way through town.
This morning it was C. The girl loves her some Egg McMuffin.
I drop her off anywhere between 7:45 and 8:00 and head to work.
Work, work, work.
Lunch, lunch, lunch.
After school, a 5th grade girl walks Tylee to my office. They usually get there about 3:30, we get her a snack and drink, and she entertains herself for an hour while I finish up my day. She has a craft box with about everything you can imagine in it for her to do, as well as her iPad and the extra computer in the office behind me.

We head home at 4:30 and get home around 5:00. However, I'd say 3 out of 5 nights I have to make a grocery store run which puts us home later. Note to self: be a better planner. I cook dinner as soon as I get home and we usually eat around 5:30 or 6:00. TJ is a huge help in the dinner department so we either cook something together or he has something started before I get home and I'll finish it up while he entertains Tylee. Sometimes he lays on the couch while I do everything from start to finish but dinner is typically something we enjoy doing together. He happend to be gone the day I chose to document so that night, it was diet food for me and McD's for Tylee. (Twice in one day, I know.)
After dinner, we usually take care of Tylee's school business. She doesn't have homework yet but it seems like it is always something: book orders, fundraisers, sight words, library books, sorting through a weeks worth of papers, ect.
We usually do some sort of one-on-one activity each night. Some nights Tylee helps with dinner, sometimes we color while watching TV, and tonight we just happened to wrap a couple Christmas presents.
Between 7:00 or 7:30, TJ or I start Tylee's bath water and she gets in the tub. Somewhere along the way, she started a tradition of always getting a popsicle. I'm not really sure how that got started and I'm sure it isn't the healthiest thing ever, but hey, she is only young once. We usually wash her hair and then she lays in there and watches SpongeBob for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. She looooves her bath just like her Momma.
After bath, I usually help her get dressed and ready for bed. If she is really tired and wound up, she usually goes to bed around 8:00pm. If she is snuggling on the couch or doing something quiet, she stays up a little later. She gets water and a bedtime snack and watches SpongeBob in her room until 9pm, when her sleep-timer goes off. 99% of the time she is asleep before it goes off.
After she is in bed, I usually spend a little time with TJ in the living room and then hit the sack myself. I like to be in bed by 9 and watch the news until I see the weather. Sometimes I read for awhile but most of the time, I play my Candy Crush lives and am asleep by 9:30. TJ usually comes to bed around 10 and we get ready to start all over again the next day!


Happy Halloween!

From our little butterfly to you!