Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Recap & a Very Happy New Year to You!

A little look at our Christmas, West Texas style...

my sweet parents, Gramommy & Pops, with Bear

making fudge at Mamaw's

spending time with precious nephews

Bear's big present from Gramommy and Pops

beautiful cousins, Jenna and Brianne

crowd surfin' with more sweet cousins, Braylie and Collin, and Uncle Ryan

Bear was worn out after the long roadtrip back home.
We hope you had the merriest of Christmases!

Every year on New Year's Eve, I get a bit emotional and nostalgic. This year it's especially bittersweet because Bear was born in 2012 (late November) and it's going to be 2014. That makes it seem like he was born so long ago and it only feels like a few months to me! Where has the time gone?

No matter how sad I get about our baby growing into a toddler (the "t word" really gets me), every stage of his little life just keeps getting more fun. He laughs, shakes his head "yes" and "no", plays independently, and runs like there's no tomorrow. I can't wait until he can communicate with us even more, throw a football with Daddy, and help Mommy bake cookies (by licking the beaters, of course). Oh, the excitement that awaits. 2014, you are surely going to be a thrill.

Happy New Year, friends.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We are still visiting family (and having the BEST time!) but wanted to stop in and say hello. I've never written a blog post from my phone so I'm struggling a bit...but just know there's lots of holiday cheer being sent your way! Hope you had the merriest of Christmases and a magical New Year awaits!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Bear and I had a cookie exchange party this morning and therefore spent the better part of yesterday evening in the kitchen gettin' our bake on. My little taste-tester thoroughly enjoyed trying out cookies and getting powdered sugar all over his clothes. I think he needs an apron for Christmas.
I've always wanted to make chocolate crinkles for two reasons: 1. They're easy. 2. They're chocolate. No other reasons necessary. Because they're a popular cookie, we decided to throw in Andes mint chips (the best part about Olive Garden, no?) for a little twist and turns out they were the perfect addition! I seriously can't quit eating them. Someone please come help pry the cookies out of my hands. Or, don't.

Think fudgy brownie meets Thin Mint cookie.

We'll definitely be making a batch again before the holiday season's over. This recipe is so simple and makes 6 dozen cookies, so it's great for handing out to neighbors and friends!

Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies    from Bear’s Kitchen


1/2  cup vegetable oil
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 (10 oz.) pkg. Andes Crème de Menthe baking chips

1. In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder, Andes chips, and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.
3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Happy baking, friends! And Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12 Months

I'm 12 months old already?!
Well how about that.
Height: 30 1/2 inches (72%)
Weight: 23.12 lb. (86%)
both taken at 12 month appointment

Things to Remember:
-You love Mexican food! Burritos, quesadillas...pretty much anything with a cheese & tortilla and you're happy.
-You run. Daddy has trained you to take off in a sprint and it scares Mommy to death. Be careful, big boy!
-You've perfected the fake laugh. Anytime other people are laughing, you want to join in on the fun and laugh the heartiest, yet fakest, chuckle. It's so funny!
-You love bath time. You have for a few months, but this month especially it's been harder and harder to pry you out of the tub.

-You are happiest outside. Which kind of stinks because it's been really cold the last few weeks and all you want to do is play in the leaves. We can't wait to take you camping and do all kinds of outdoor activities when it warms up!
-You are in size 4 1/2 shoes, 4 diapers, & 18 month clothes.

-You desperately need a haircut, but Mommy doesn't want that to happen :(. Not yet! Daddy does, though, and his case was justified when the lady checking us out at HEB today called you a "precious baby girl". Ummmm hello Cool Cuts. We'll be seeing you soon.
-You says "ba" (ball), Mama, Dada, and bye bye.
-You had two not so fun Santa Claus experiences; here's hoping you like Mr. Claus next year!
I'm in serious shock that our baby boy is a year old. Almost 13 months, actually (this post is late!). The past year has been the most amazing adventure; being this boy's Mommy is a dream beyond what I ever could've imagined. We have our rough days of teething, and our occasional 3am wake-up calls, but all of that fades away the second those blue eyes look into mine and say "Mama". Oh sweet boy, there is no greater joy that being your Mama. We love you, Bear Clayton.

Friday, December 13, 2013

To Santa or Not to Santa...

I think Bear says "not"...
Last weekend, we were driving around looking at lights and getting our "festive" on when we stumbled across a church choir singing beautiful Christmas songs beneath the most stunning, Whoville-like tree. Naturally, we had to stop and take in the perfect, Christmasy moment. As we made our way toward the music, we saw the sweetest Santa Claus taking pictures with kids as his elves jotted down each child's Christmas wishes. We couldn't resist; we're suckers for a good Santa. Even if Bear's first experience on the big guy's lap did go a little something like this.
The picture above was Bear's clear disproval of sitting on Santa a second time. No worries, he was snatched up five seconds after the picture was taken, given huge kisses by Mommy and Daddy, and handed a candy cane in which he went to town on. Santa Claus was very quickly forgotten.
I'm writing this post in an attempt to defend mommies and daddies, just like us, that end up with unhappy Santa baby pictures. I thought this was a completely normal thing, but since handing Bear over to Mr. Claus a couple times, I've heard several negative comments about making this choice.
"I just can't put my baby through that. It would break my heart".
"No way could I purposefully make my child cry. That's inhumane".
"Santa is just scary. No kid should have to get close to him".
Look, people. Bear is not a mistreated baby boy. Quite the opposite, in fact; he's showered with love, affection, and lots of playtime on a daily basis. No parent puts their child in Santa's lap hoping that he or she will have a meltdown. But, if a meltdown does occur, it's not the end of the world. Children are going to encounter lots worse than Santa Claus in their lifetime. And when that child is thirty years old, they'll get a kick out of their upset, pouty-lip Santa picture. Bet they won't remember that tragic moment, either.

Here's to Santas everywhere and the sweet babies that meet them; thank you for the memories! Bear will forgive you on Christmas morning :).
Ho ho ho! Meeerry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Christmas Card Display

For several years, I've been searching for the perfect way to display the beautiful Christmas cards we receive in the mail all through December. Our go-to in the past has always been the refrigerator, but it's just not feasible anymore. There are birthday cards, wedding invitations, and grocery lists that get in the way of our prized Christmas greetings.

Our mantle was looking a little plain; we considered adding some garland but, let's face it, garland's a tad bit boring. Isn't this much more fun and festive? :) 
We thought so too! Every afternoon, Bear and I run to the mailbox with crossed fingers, hoping for a new card to clip on the line. It's so much fun; I know he'll love it even more next year!
You'll need:
-jute twine
-mini paper clips (regular work too)
-your family Christmas card
-white card stock
-festive scrapbook paper
-hot glue gun

Cut cardstock about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your family Christmas card. It's going to hang in the center and needs to be the biggest!

Cut scrapbook paper slightly bigger than cardstock. Glue (or tape) both pieces together and onto Christmas card.

Take clothes pins and cut a small strip of scrapbook paper to fit on one side (you can do both, but I was lazy and just did one. The other side won't show!). Take a dab of hot glue and glue paper onto clothes pin.

Hang jute twine using tape or tacks and start clipping up those pretty cards!
We keep our stockings in the sitting room but if you hang yours by the chimney with care, there are plenty of other places for this banner! If we run out of room before Christmas, I'll put another one around our backdoor frame.

 We ordered our cards from Tiny Prints this year and are so pleased with the quality and design. I love showcasing our card in the center of the banner; I smile every time I look up and see Bear's sweet face jammin' out on the piano.

How do you display your Christmas cards? I'd love to hear!

Hope you're having the happiest of holiday seasons! Only 13 more days until Christmas Eve!!!!


Monday, December 9, 2013

December To-Do List

I am always a wee bit crazy when it comes to holidays; I love to soak up every festivity and celebration each season has to offer. We take the "Christmas curve", especially, in overdrive. Gingerbread houses? Definitely. Rudolph socks? Daily. Zach sporting his Santa suit and scaring innocent neighborhood children? Don't ask. We'll never tell.
Without further ado, here is our December check list! A few items have already been crossed off, but we still need to get busy busy busy! (Frosty reference, anyone?)
1. Drive around looking at lights in our pajamas.
2. Decorate a gingerbread house.
3. Put up the tree and all decorations.
4. Go ice-skating.
5. Shop 'til we drop!
6. Watch a Christmas movie together in bed.
7. Go see a Christmas movie in the theatre.
8.  Adopt a Salvation Army "angel".
9. Read a Christmas story to Bear each night before bedtime.
10. Attend a Christmas Cookie Swap.
11. Try a new dessert recipe.

12. Visit Santa Claus.
13. Send Christmas cards.
14. Kiss Z underneath the mistletoe.
15. Roast marshmallows.

So many things left to do! This is truly the hap-happiest time of the year :). Hope you are having the sweetest Christmas season!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ho Ho Noooo

Just a quick, sleepy, Saturday night hello.
Today was pretty laid back around the Fullwood house and consisted of some Christmas movies on LMN, football games, present wrapping, Rudy's BBQ, and a trip around the neighborhood to look at lights. Perfection.
We took Bear to meet Santa for the first time last night and it didn't go so hot (as we expected); this was the best of four photos taken. You would've thought Santa was a rattlesnake given Bear's reaction in the other three pictures.

We also had to block off the tree this year; little paws like to grab ornaments and get into presents.

We hope your days are very merry & bright! Our days are merry, but our nights haven't been so blissful due to teething. Here's hoping Little Man has some relief tonight!

We're going to Yo Gabba Gabba Live tomorrow and could not be more excited; hopefully Bear will love it as much as he loves the TV show! I must admit, I love it a little, too.
Enjoy your Sunday! :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Easy DIY Christmas Card Centerpiece

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
And you know what that means; skipping to the mailbox each day to find a handful of beautiful Christmas cards. You come in, happily display the cards on the fridge, but something seems to be missing. That special card that you spent hours carefully deciding on and creating is lost in the shuffle, barely peeking out from underneath the Jones' slightly inappropriate Santa boxer-short photo card. That's a problem.

We have this frustrating situation happen every year; we are so proud of our Christmas card (especially this year as a family of three!), but it's never displayed properly in our own home. It is, after all, something to be proud of.
We survived another year! Thank you Jesus. And coffee. Thank you, Jesus, for making coffee.
We ordered our cards from Tiny Prints this year and could not have been more pleased. You can't fully appreciate the quality of the paper until you hold it in your hands; the thickness and texture is unmatched. I spent many hours scouring their website, unable to decide on a design because I loved them all. But in the end, we're very happy with our card and found a way to proudly display it in our home.

Behold, the Christmas Card Centerpiece. Perfect for a mantle, coffee table, dining table, or wherever you want to spread a little Christmas cheer. We move ours around because we are indecisive people. And because Bear's a little ninja. But luckily we love the display anywhere, so it's all good.
The centerpiece is very simple to create and has a subtle yet special effect anywhere you place it.
We took a glass vase (bought at Target last year for under $10) and filled it with pinecones and Christmas ornaments. We had all of this on hand; use what you've got! Candy canes or Christmas lights would be cute, too.

Insert your card in the vase. Depending on the width, it should bend slightly to fit and tape/adhesion isn't necessary. Ours stays perfectly.
We found some greenery at Hobby Lobby for $5 and wrapped it around the vase.
Viola! A beautiful way to display your family Christmas card.
You'll smile every time you walk by!

Do you have a favorite way of displaying Christmas cards? Do tell!
Tiny Prints has a Cyber Week sale going on now...30% off any order! If you love their Christmas cards you'll definitely want one of their photo mugs. A few of our family members may just be getting one in their stocking :). They've all been pretty good this year.

Hope you are having the merriest of holiday seasons! Stay warm!