Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

So I've never actually done one of these "year in review" posts, but I figure if I keep up this blog thing, I'll likely appreciate an annual summary a few years down the line.

If you're like, dude - I read your blog all year, why would I want a recap? Feel free to adios. 
If you're like dude, I read your blog intermittently, but I don't really care what else happened..feel free to adios. 
And if you're like dude, you still haven't really blogged about Australia... I KNOW I'M SORRY. 
(insert monkey covering eyes emoji)

Like I said, this little recap is for the Katy in her thirties and forties. :)

A lot can happen in a year, and a lot has happened in this one. I've done a lot of traveling, I lived on the other side of the world for two months, I've had some(what sorta kinda) clarity on what I really want to do in life, and I've just completed my last full year as a single woman. 

Lots in a year. 

I actually kick-started 2016 in Colorado when I survived was peer pressured into learned how to ski. I made a resolution to just be better, and then fell off the face of the planet into the trenches of busy season.


Ummmm. So apparently all I did in February was work. Jeff and I did finally make it to the Fort Worth Zoo (and took our favorite three year old along for the adventure), but that's about it. Oh, and then the day after busy season I hopped on a plane to escape to Napa with Kelsey's family. I switched from a cubicle with coffee to a vineyard with vino. So it was basically the #1 place to recover from two months of working. 

Do I get a little more interesting in March? Let's hope so. 

Okay, so in March I desperately tried to find a routine, and then shared my thoughts on how it was much harder than I thought. Spoiler alert: I actually never found a routine in 2016. Here's to hoping I get my act together in 2017. I read a few books (I always read more in the months I try to "adult" better), baked a LOT, and spent Easter weekend dying eggs with this little chocolate mouth covered hooligan :)

So I baked a lot in March, and then in April I started my Trim Down Tuesday series. Sounds about right. This month also brought back baseball season (hallelujah) and I officially announced my Australian adventure!

Guys. It's April and I'm still not very interesting. Why do (all six of you) people read my blog? Why do I even have a blog?!

Ohhhh good. May is an interesting month. I remember this one. Whew!

Well - so I kick off the month talking about the power of the positive three. Man, I struggled a lot internally in 2016! :) We celebrated my mom and my sister (May is just their month!), I also wrote to Dear Abby and owned some more crazy. And speaking of crazy - I wrapped up the month by making 8 flights in less than two weeks. Fool. Crazy. Fool. Phoenix, California, Chicago, and Pennsylvania. But in the Cali part of that jaunt, Dad and I took care of Games 4 and 5 of my {30} Before Thirty!

Woop woop! Birthday month!

June was actually a pretty big month. I took (what I thought was) my last trip to Boston (things with this eye just always keep you on your toes!), spent a weekend in Mississippi with my Grandmama, celebrated two weddings, went to Brooklyn's first dance recital, turned 28, did Father's Day/Game 6 in St. Louis, and moved all my stuff out of Kelsey's house and into a storage unit Jeff's spare bedroom.

July kicked off with a bajillion hour flight (approximately) to my new home of Australia! I still can't believe I lived there for two months. It was an experience I'll never forget, and one that I really want to document soon (so I don't forget any little detail). Honestly it's just a bit overwhelming TO document (and I have an obscene amount of pictures) - plus I don't want to do it injustice. Sydney will always and forever have my heart. As will its animals. 

Hi sweet Rosie!

While July was primarily filled with working in Australia, August was filled with traveling around Australia! I wrapped up work, Jeff came to visit, we hit up Cairns, Brisbane, and worked our way down New Zealand - where Kristie met up with us and we all jumped off a cliff into the world's largest swing. You're lucky I'm still here. Then Kristie and I headed back to Australia to Adelaide, Melbourne, and a few more days in Sydney. 

(Pretend there are links to fun posts about those places....)

See, that little paragraph made me sad. This is why I'm not ready to document those two months. I'd 100% absolutely positively buy another ticket over there. :)

Not much happened at all in September. I fought jet lag, got settled into my new apartment, ate my weight in Blue Bell (it was a long two months without it), celebrated both my parents' birthdays and.....OH YEAH!

Jeff asked me to marry him :)

Ah, the fourth quarter. My favorite quarter of the year. 
And my favorite quarter of a football game. #causethatmeansitsalmostover

October was filled with a Texas State Fair date night (one of my most favorite date nights of the year!), introducing Jeff to the wonder, and utter chaos, that is Baylor Homecoming (I mean hello our future children will be going there), and hosting my 2nd annual scarf exchange!

November was filled with fall decorations, Canton trips, pumpkin muffins (or pumpkin everything, really), me crying my eyes out through the CMA Awards 50th Anniversary special, an Australian themed party (we missed it so!), and an eventful week with the fam for Thanksgiving :)

And hello, December. 

December kicked off strong with a weekend in Charleston, followed by baby showers, Christmas parties, Christmas decorations, Easton turning 1, an impromptu trip to London, adding a 3rd party to our annual Christmas cards, and a quiet little Christmas with my parents and brother that was honestly just good for my soul. It was my last Christmas as a "Reeves" and I soaked up every minute. I just love my family so good. 

And as I sit here (fittingly) on the very last day of 2016, I take note of two main things:

1) Internally, I probably struggled more in 2016 than I have in any other year in a long time. I never quite felt like I could "grasp" my life. I wrestled with who I was, who God wanted me to be, what path I was supposed to take, the struggle of the juggle (man that sounds like a blog post)... I just struggled. 

And 2) I still haven't figured it out. 

I still feel like I'm standing in one of those money machines where you're trying desperately to grasp hold of the cash - but it's just going too fast. I plum can't grab it. But people, look at that year. It's the end of the year and I still have trouble understanding that I don't need to be in control. 

I'm either stubborn or stupid - maybe a little of both.
Goal for 2017 - "be where your feet are, don't worry where they're going."
God has that already planned out. And if it's anything like 2016, I don't know that I could plan anything much better :)
May tomorrow be filled with an appearance at the gym, lots of vegetables, and the creation of a budget. Don't lie. We're all doing it. :)
Until 2017 --
Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Traditions: Christmas Village

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! 

My family just settled in after dinner for some boiled peanuts, chocolate covered strawberries, Blue Bell, aaaaaand James Bond movies. 

So Katy settled in for some boiled peanuts, chocolate covered strawberries, Blue Bell, and my blog. Which will be shortly followed by my Christmas book. 

Last week I shared with you my "little North Pole" - as in, my Christmas decorations around my apartment - but today I wanted to share a little more about one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Last year I shared my tradition of holiday dishes, and this year I want to share behind the "heart" of my Christmas village. 

Which really is called the North Pole. 

<in the dark with lights on>

<with actual lights on>

So here's the thing about this village. I have been collecting this village since I was 13 years old. THIRTEEN. Most girls that age were focused on training bras and Lisa Frank stickers, but I was begging my mom for village pieces. 

I mean I might be part elf.

I wish I would have done this on all pieces, but on a lot of the pieces I actually included the date. This is the oldest one I could find...

Tilly's Tiny Cup Cafe - back in 2001. 

I grew up with my mom putting out her Charles Dickens village (the woman has like 30 pieces), and I always loved "playing" with it. I'm sure my mom loved me playing with her fragile porcelain pieces, but I loved moving the villagers around and having them "visit" all the various shops and houses. Tiny Tim was my favorite :) 

Then my sister (who was graduating from college) wanted to start her own village, too. And I remember thinking, "if I start my village now, I can have so many pieces by the time I'm older!" So my sister started the Snow Village (50s theme), and I started the North Pole (all the elves, reindeer, and Santa your heart could ever desire!). 

I would ask for a NP piece every year for Christmas, and often on my birthday. And I LOVED going into old little Christmas stores when we'd go on vacations and finding new pieces. This little village became my hobby. 

One of my favorites. Babes in Snowland!! Heehee - gets me every time. It's funny how much I remember about who gave me what. For instance, I remember back when my village was a mere 4ish pieces (my mom would always let me put it out at Christmas), and my dad came home from work one day with three peppermint "roads." Still one of my favorite accent pieces :)

Actually, a lot of my pieces look like this - with the date and who gave it to me. Now I'll always remember that my sweet Grandmama gave me "Custom Stitchers" when I was 15 (because all elves need a tailor of course...). 

The reindeer barn :) And don't worry - all reindeer are accounted for. I made sure before I purchased. 

I currently have a little over 20 pieces. My dad actually built me a new table this year over Thanksgiving, but it still wasn't big enough. Sadly though, my village might stop here. I've done some research on the Department 56 North Pole series now, and they've completely modernized all the pieces. 

So the pieces no longer have this "look." And quite frankly, I don't think they have the same charm. You can obviously find some pieces on ebay and such, so I may still grow it a bit, but it will never be the massive colony I once hoped (insert Jeff rejoicing here). 

This village just makes me happy. I love the colors, I love the detail that is put into each and every piece, and I love the fact that one of my pieces is a reindeer flight school that includes a reindeer "flying" in circles when you turn it on. This village brings out the kid in me. 

And it makes me think of the Santa Clause trilogy - which are by far some of my very favorite Christmas movies. #seriouslylovetimallen

It's also something I really hope my kids enjoy looking at and "playing" with. Just like I played with my mom's. :) 

And in the picture above you can see the flying reindeer! 

So yes, this village is filled with holiday memories for me. I love putting it out and looking at each and every piece. Yes, it gets a tad tedious, but it's oh-so special, just the same. 

I hope you are all having a WONDERFUL Christmas Eve Eve and that it continues through the weekend! I hope you have the merriest of Christmases, and I'll check back with you before the New Year :)

Until next time,
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Sooo..... the December instance of What's Up Wednesday makes me realize that 2016 is almost over, and that it completely flew by. And while that really makes me want to focus on what went down in 2016 - I'm going to try and save that for next week and focus on December today. 

So here we go. What's Up.

What I'm Eating This Month

This question is painful in December. I think we should just skip it. :)

What I'm Reminiscing About

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that last week I had to make a very impromptu trip to London (like, the England kind) for work. And while it was primarily filled with work purposes, I did find a chance to stroll through the Christmassy streets of London. So that's what I'm reminiscing about :) But it IS good to be home. There's just no place like home during Christmas.

What I'm Loving

Well, fresh on my brain, I'm loving our Christmas Card pictures. And if you're a frequent visitor, you're probably sick of them because I just posted about them yesterday. But we took them on Sunday, and ever since I just find myself scrolling through and smiling. 

I always love capturing these moments with Char (this is our sixth card!), and this year we added Jeffrey Daniel in the mix. So I'm loving what will forever be memories of our little family of three :)

If you are a glutton for punishment and want to see more (including the chaotic outtakes), you can check out my Christmas Card post HERE.

What I'm Dreading

I'm dreading what I dread every December...

...the fact that busy season is right around the corner, which in my profession, basically means I just fall off the face of the earth for 2 months and live in the office. Yay.

What I'm Working On

In 2017, I'm going to work on my "happy." Not sure entirely what this means or how I'll do it, but I'm sure when I figure it out I'll write a post about it :)

All I know, is I really have to do something differently in 2017, and I think it's not letting outer happenings steal my inner happy. 

What I'm Watching/Reading

Well this is a no-brainer. Hallmark and Christmas Movies.

I still have a few to watch this year considering my DVD player konked out this year (like it's extinct or something), so I'm just taking a lot of these down to my parents' house to watch to my heart's content. 

And due to the watching, there hasn't been much reading. Yet another thing I want to work on in 2017....

What I'm Listening To

This. On repeat. 

Even if you aren't a huge country fan, there is still a VERY good chance you'll like this album. I went out on a limb and bought it for my dad, and he has texted me several times telling me how much he's enjoying it. The whole album just has the 'big band' feel, and Brett just has this special croon to go with it. He's the country version of Michael Buble. And he's very very good. 

What I'm Wearing

Okay, so thou shall not judge this photo because I have most certainly not perfected the "blogger selfie" - maybe that's what I should focus on in 2017 - but I am OBSESSED with this shirt. 

It's ridiculously soft, the perfect thickness (not thin like a shirt but not bulky like a sweater), and goes with pretty much anything. I wear it with skirts to work (above), with jeans, with vests - and it comes in SO many different colors!

I can't find it online (sorry, I hate that), but I have definitely seen it in multiple Gap Stores. And everything at Gap is 50% off right now, so this little guy is less that $20. In fact, I think I need more. So if you go to Gap, you just might see me there. 

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Today I head home to the safe haven of my parents' house. I'm looking forward to a little escape from life. Plus my mom and I can focus on getting wedding stuff done because that "long engagement" I was having to get stuff done is getting shorter and shorter and shorter....

Plus - IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and finally...
Favorite Memory of 2016

BAM. The one where we got engaged. 

And that's a little of What's Up this month! Tomorrow I'm sharing a holiday tradition and then I'm taking a break until next week. I gotta have time to get my holly jolly on. 

4 days, friends. FOUR DAYS. 

Until next time,
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Cards 2016

Annual Christmas Cards! 

This is my SIXTH year to do Christmas cards. That's crazy to me. Most people start when they get married or have kids -- but I just really love my dog. 

We were supposed to take pictures last weekend, but my hair lady cut my bangs outrageously short. So then, we rescheduled for this weekend, not knowing (or paying attention to the fact) that the temperature had the intentions of dropping below freezing on the day we rescheduled. 

So THEN I considered just cancelling them altogether, but 1) Char pup is getting old, and I always love looking back on these pictures, and 2) this year I told Jeff that he could be in them (that may or may not be the only reason he proposed!) - and he was way too excited for there to be a cancellation. 

SO, we kindly asked our photographer (Lisa) to bundle up, we bundled up ourselves, and set out to take outdoor pictures.... in 25 degree weather. Bless. I have never so been so desperate for a pair of long undies. I have also never questioned my sanity more. 

Due to the fact that I just couldn't get my act together, I'm pretty sure I'm having a quarter-life crisis (that's a real thing, y'all), and it's December 20th - we sent out less than 20 cards between the two of us. So this year you all get a picture of a picture!! You lucky lucky dogs. 

And just like every year, or every year since I've started this blog, I post about the process and the outtakes. Because sometimes the outtakes are better than the ones that go on the card :)

And a huge shout out to this girl. We owe her for so many captured memories. This is the 4th year she's taken our card pictures, AND Jeff solicited her to hide in the bushes and capture our engagement. So we love her. We love her hard. And owe her a kidney. 

She also brought the wrong hat. She didn't intend to bring one with ears, but I'm oh so glad she did!

So, here's the thing. Before we went outside, I told Jeff he needed to be a constant. With the wind, my hair was going to be a variable, and Charlie is always a variable, so I told Jeff he just had to be a constant. And always look good. And y'all - out of 395 (yes) pictures, that sweet boy is smiling like a champ in about 370 of them. Lisa and I got quite the chuckle looking back through them. He was such a constant :)

....and Charlie was such a variable. 

We took pictures in the middle of a park, and while there weren't too many people out (a perk of frigid temps), the squirrels and rustling of leaves - so just overall NATURE proved to be quite distracting. 

And then he would often have an untimely yawn...

Or not understand that the blanket was supposed to go UNDER him...

And then you'd get head butted....

Or he'd just face backwards...

Require a mid-photo tummy rub....

Or make like BatDog and fly towards Lisa's camera.

So then we switched scenery, and this next spot proved to be quite distracting. Way too many things to watch. So this picture is a result of me telling Lisa to make a noise (you know, to get his attention), and Lisa starts CA-CAWING. Like...loudly. I lost it. I'm laughing now, too. That girl. 

And he still didn't look. 

So then Jeff just adapted. As most men do.  And most females don't.

I love this picture. I got some good lookin fellas in my life!

I posted this on instagram Sunday, but ever since Charlie was a puppy, I taught him to lick my face when I made kissing noises. So Jeff and I made kissy noises to see what he would do, and it may have resulted in my favorite picture ever.

We may have added a third party to the Christmas cards this year, but this sweet boy will NOT be squeezed out of his share of the spotlight!

Sun's out, tongue's out. 

And then we tried to kiss above him when he was laying down....
and got head butted. 
Yet again. 

Then Lisa just took the approach of feeding Char treats and getting artsy. Thou shalt never attempt to take pictures with a dog (or at least my dog) without a bag of treats readily on hand.

We adore him. Can you tell? :)

So those were the outtakes this year, and pretty much on par with the outtakes from last year and the year before that. But these three were my top favorites for the card!

Either way - posed or chaotic - I'm keeping all 395 pictures. Because I know that ten years down the road, when Char is no longer with us and Jeff and I are in who knows what stage of this crazy life, we're going to love looking back on the memories of this cold, cold day with just the three of us.

Okay, that's enough of that or I'm going to have tears in my coffee. 

SO - I'll end as I always do, with a little recap of years past:






Yep - this is one of my favoritest posts of the year! 

And if you yourself are on the fence about Christmas Cards - you should do them. And if you're doing them and I'm not on your mailing list - I want to be. There is nothing I love more than a fridge covered with Christmas cheer! 

Speaking of cheer...


Until next time,