Monday, December 26

Christmas events

I'm still exhausted from all of the Christmas events and trying to recover! Whew! Just looking at the pictures and thinking about all that took place to write about is already wearing me out! We are so glad to be home and relaxing now.

We travelled to Nonnie & Duke's house to have a few days to spend with them before going to the Great Wolf Lodge and Gaylord Texan with Mark's side of the family. I did not take Dylan to see Santa and have his picture with him here in Lubbock before we went, so I needed to locate Santa in Dallas for him to go see while we were there. I have known all along how wonderful the Northpark Santa is and that people go stand in line for hours just to see him and have their picture taken with him. I wasn't sure I even wanted to attempt standing in a long line with Dylan since he is so squirmy and hates going to the mall, but we decided that we would try it out and see how it went. Mark left that morning while Dylan and I ate breakfast and got dressed to go get our special 'ticket' to see Santa. He spoke to one of the workers, asking for an estimate of about what time they thought we would need to come back and based on our number of 143 (at 8:30A.M., Mark was the 143rd person in line - geesh!) and they estimated that we shouldn't need to come back until about 4 o'clock that afternoon.

We took our time and around 2:30, we decided to get Dylan in his fancy outfit and head on out to go see Santa. We arrived and, of course, they had already called our number and made us stand at the back of the current line. It all worked out, though, because that line moved quickly and we were only about 15 minutes away from visiting Santa at that point.

15 minutes later, Dylan saw Santa. He was frightened to meet him for the first time, since he slept through the entire visit last year, and held on for dear life to me. Mark yanked him off and forced him to sit on his lap. Santa was so kind and spoke to all of us about how old Dylan was. They were so patient and were able to snap a few pictures of scared little Monkey before he burst into tears. His tears went away as soon as we picked him back up, though. I guess we might try to visit the same Santa next year, maybe...

Dylan posed with Nonnie & Duke for Christmas cards...

We opened gifts with Nonnie & Duke on Tuesday evening and it was so fun to see how interested Dylan was in opening things. The best gift of all was from Aunt Kristen! He got new shoes! Who knew that a kid would love new shoes so much? He immediately sat down and wanted to put them on his feet. As soon as they were on, he jumped up and started dancing in them. He loves them and literally points to them to show them off to anyone he sees when he has them on! 

On Wednesday, we headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine to spend a day of swimming with Mark's side of the family. In an effort to not worry about getting good pictures and just let loose and have fun with my baby, I left the camera in the hotel room. You mom's know what I mean, you are more worried about getting good pictures than having any fun yourself! So, I do not have any pictures of the water park area. I swam with Dylan in the little kid pool. He was scared of the water at first, but I think it actually might have been all of the other wild children running loose in there, rather than the water. He finally warmed up to it and had some fun.

We snapped a picture before we left. Yep, a picture. Just one.

Later that afternoon, we had some time to kill before going to check-in at the Gaylord Texan, so we went to see the new aquarium at Grapevine Mills Mall. It was fabulous!! Mark and I have been to the mall several times, but not since this new addition and we loved it! Dylan loved it, too! It wasn't too crowed and just perfect! 

Of course we had to go see ICE! at the Gaylord that evening we were there. Mark and I had been once before, but that was when it was only like the second year it even existed, so it had been a while. We remembered loving it and were really excited to go again. Apparently, things have changed quite a bit since the time we had been there, though. I think the event has become such a big deal that they had to make changes and it was nothing like the time we had remembered. It was just way too busy and overcrowded. There was line after line to get in and then line after line while in with the ice. Dylan was scared because of the crowd and cold (he hates wearing hats and since we made him put it on before we went in, it was all downhill from there, anyway.) I guess some people still love the event, but we were disappointed and actually felt horrible for making it sound so wonderful, dragging his entire family to it. They wouldn't even let us ride down the ice slides with the kids on our laps, so we had no sliding fun. I know the themes are always kid friendly, but I guess no fun for my little man. Oh well, live and learn. All was well after we got the kids to Rainforest Cafe and got food in every one's bellies! 

Christmas Eve, we loaded up the car(s) and headed back home to Lubbock so Dylan wouldn't miss Santa coming! ;) Nonnie & Duke wanted to watch him open Santa gifts, so they tagged along, too, but only for a day. I'd say little Monkey is quite loved! :)

Santa did good and apparently Dylan was a good boy, too! He loved all of his presents left for him and was so excited! He couldn't decided what to play with first and kept going back and forth from one thing to the other. I'll have to say, I think his shopping cart is his favorite. He pushes that cart around everywhere all day long! It's so cute! I am thinking he needs a little market to go shopping at now! "Monkey's Market"... I can see it now... ;)

Friday, December 16

Screen Printing Shirts

In an effort for me to be more like Allison Booth, one of the co-writer's of the Lullaby Lubbock blog, (seriously, I am obsessed with her and it can probably fall in the pathetic stalker category) I wanted to learn to screen print my own t-shirts. Mark has mentioned several times that he wants to contact her and pay her to spend a day with me as a gift, which would be really embarrassing, but I would totally be down with it - haha! Anyway, I ordered a Speedball Screen printing kit and watched the DVD that came with it about how to do a process called photo emulsion. Basically, you design something on your computer, print it off in black and white on transparency paper, then start the complicated process. You have to put a special emulsion liquid on the screens and let them dry over night in a dark room. Then, you pull them out, put your transparency design on them, lay glass on top of the design, then use a special light to let the image transfer onto the screen for a certain amount of time. Have you stopped reading already because the complicated process has already confused bored you? Yeah, well, you get the idea. It's complicated, but the good news is that once you do it, it is so easy and you will be able to do it again and again and it goes really fast once you figure it out.

I decided to give the screen printing my very first try by making special Rhoads Family Christmas t-shirts for everyone to wear on our little trip to Dallas. You would think I would try it first on like ONE t-shirt, but no, I decided to experiment by committing to like 20 shirts! They turned out good, I think, for my first time, anyway! I learned a lot and probably will not try to do such fine print, as some of the lines in the letters did not turn out, but you can still make out what it is supposed to say.

The adults have a small design in the front corner and then the big design I made on the back of their shirts, while the kid's shirts all have the big design just on the front. Hopefully, we will get a good picture of all of us wearing our shirts together next week!

Monkey('s) Tree

All of Dylan's monkey ornaments have arrived and they are the cutest things ever! I am so happy with them and his tree is the bomb! It's seriously the most adorable tree. I don't think the pictures do it justice, but here it is :) ....

Monday, December 12


It feels like I haven't blogged in forever! O.K., I haven't! I guess I haven't had much time with all of the holiday hustle and bustle going on. There really hasn't been much to create a blog post on, either. We've just had lots of little random things going on around here, I guess. Here are some things that we have been up to:
  • Mark got the Christmas lights put up on the house. We are one of two  houses on the entire street that have lights up this year. We have noticed it just gets worse and worse every year with people not decorating the outside of their homes. What's up with that? Laziness? Are traditions not important to people anymore?

  • Sent out Christmas cards and can't believe that we have only received two cards from others. I have noticed the same thing with Christmas cards as the outdoor lights. Why aren't as many people sending them out? I don't understand it. I'm sure people can blame all of it on the economy and things just being too expensive, but I'm just not buying it. I still think it is laziness. There would be no tree, lights, Christmas cards, presents, etc. around here if I didn't insist on it. No matter how much of an inconvenience it is, I still make Mark put lights on the house and I still buy presents, wrap them all pretty, bake goodies, decorate the house, and more, because I made the decision that I will force myself to do all of those things to make it special for my children (just Dylan right now). If we don't start the tradition of things now, then we will never do it. I do not want him being lazy and thinking that it isn't important.

  • Speaking of tradition, I hope that we didn't start a new one. Dylan has been sleeping in our bed with us for a couple of weeks now. We try to go in when he cries and rock him and put him back in his bed, but 10 minutes later, he starts crying again. If we put him in our bed, he stops, and goes to sleep. It is us being selfish, really, and wanting our own sleep. Mark wants to try the letting him "cry-it-out" but I can't do it. I can't just lay there with him crying. I'd rather go in his room, hold him, and rock him all night to sleep and then complain that I am really tired the next day, rather than letting him cry for us all night. Ugh.

  • I still have Dylan on half soy milk/half formula in his bottles. He still gets very runny diapers when he eats anything with milk in it and I am thinking he could be lactose intolerant. I am just trying to watch it closely. He loves his bottle so much, I am having a hard time not letting him have one. They calm him and put him to sleep, too. I don't want to eventually have a 3 year-old walking around with his bottle. I know, he is only 14-months now, but still. He did go yesterday with only one bottle as soon as he woke up and one bottle before bed because we were so busy running errands and being away from the house.

  • I know this might sound crazy to some people, but I think we will start potty training soon. Is that possible? Dylan understands when he is going no.2 and runs to a corner and squats down to go. I will ask him if he is going potty and he says, "ess." He understands that he is going potty, so I am trying to make an effort to talk about it with him right now to get him ready. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but who cares.

  • I spent two long days and nights working on a photo book of Dylan's first year about a week ago. I went ahead and forced myself to complete it because I was sent a coupon for 50% off by a certain date. I needed that 50% off! lol Anyway, the book came in the mail today and it is GREAT! I love it and could not be happier with it!

    Two days after I submitted the book to get printed, I receieved a letter from the company editior asking for permission to use my book design on their website, photos, etc.:

    "Dear Kari,

    Congratulations!  Your recent creation and photos have been selected by MyPublisher's distinguished photo editor, Karen Mullarkey, for potential publication on our website.  Because Karen feels your design and your photos are such beautiful examples of customer-created memories, we hope to feature them on our website to help inspire other customers as they create their own projects.

    Karen is one of the world's leading photo editors.  She has had a long and illustrious career as an award-winning photo editor of such major magazines as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Look and Sports Illustrated.  She also has been photo editor for more than 70 internationally recognized books."

    I was proud of myself. I wonder if they just send that email to everyone, of if my book really was that great. You can view the book online by clicking here.

Friday, December 2

My Christmas Decor

I do not have very much Christmas decor, according to me. I would like to have more, but I am pretty picky when it comes to decor in my home. I also only buy decor when it goes on clearance after the holidays. I don't think that there is any point to spend full-price on it when you know it will be half-off on December 26th.

I don't go too over-the-top with holiday decor, but like to have small touches around the house.

Our Christmas tree was purchased at Target a couple of years ago when it was on sale. It isn't too big because we only have 8ft. ceilings in this old house.  It is mostly decorated with ornaments from Restoration Hardware. They are very fragile and all glass. Of course, I bought them on clearance after Christmas. They actually have some of the same ornaments for sale on their website right now full-price again! The tree skirt and stockings are from Pottery Barn. They have had the same style for years  now, which I like, because we were able to just add Dylan's to the collection and it matched. They always put these on sale after the holidays, too!

This happens all day long. He likes to clink the glass together, but is very gentle and smiles, then walks away. He hasn't actually pulled any ornaments off yet. He does, however, find the little red berry sticks interesting and likes to pull them off and hand them to me, looking so proud of himself. :)

Dylan has quite a few special ornaments on the tree, but the 'Little Monkey' is his favorite. I have had to move it towards the bottom of the tree in the front so he can see it and point to it easily, saying, "Monn!"

This year, I found some cute hand-painted ornaments of animals and Hurley and Chiko now have their own ornaments on the tree, too...

Dylan loves to look at the kissing ball hanging from the archway and give kisses underneath it!

Thursday, December 1

Our House: Master Bedroom

I just remembered that I hadn't finished posting pictures of our house! Here is the master and you will pretend that you do not know anything about the big mess of clothes/shoes I threw into the closets and hallway before I took the picture.

I recently got new bedding. If you had seen pictures before of the house, I used to have a really pretty silk Pottery Barn duvet. I loved it, but duvet covers and down comforters, no matter how lightweight that they claim to be, I get way too hot in the bed next to Mark and end up sleeping on the couch. In an effort to get me back into our bed, I bought a vintage-inspired white chenille bedspread. It is super lightweight, like a blanket. I like it a lot, but I am wanting to add some color in the room and to the bed, just haven't done it yet.

Yes, our master bedroom is incredibly large and we are even in shock at how big it is. When we moved in and ripped up the carpet, we could tell right away that this room was added on to to make it bigger. It's nice to have it so big!

The white couch is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. Not only because I use it as my bed quite a bit, but because you can't find pretty furniture like it anymore. It was Mark's grandmother's that she didn't want anymore and I was eager to take it!

The coffee table is one that was on clearance at Target a couple of years ago as a bench. It was only $18.00, and I have a bad habit of collecting furniture that is a great price, because I might use it or paint it to use it somewhere. I think it works well in the room.

The vertical canvas was a gift that I made Mark on our 2nd wedding anniversary. It has a cute quote on it that I saw somewhere and liked. It was an intense and stressful project. Now that I have Pinterest, I have seen so many ways that I could have done it better and much easier. Oh well, sweat and tears went into it! :)
Excuse the ugly torn-up chaise lounge in the corner. I love this chair and will not part with it even though all of the upholstery is ripped up on it from when Hurley was a puppy. That is why there are blankets draped on it. I plan to recover it. I will not trash any furniture, remember. It will be fabulous once it is redone! :)

We have a ways to go in the room, to me, still. We still need crown molding and some new furniture. Not to mention, the closets will be completely redone, along with the master bathroom when that project kicks off, or when we win the lottery.