Five on Friday – Goals Edition

Hello my loyal blog followers, so basically hi Hubby, mama and steph ūüėČ ¬†I know I have said this before but I am just SO excited for 2017. ¬†I have never felt more driven and empowered before. ¬†I am making goals and actually sticking to them. ¬†right?! ¬†crazy talk. ¬†Here are some tips of things I have been doing to help me stay on top of my goals.

{one}

Be intentional. ¬†Make goals about things you are passionate about. ¬†When you have an internal drive towards something in particular it is going to help drive you externally to achieve these goals. ¬†For me I am being more intentional about saying “NO.” ¬†I feel like one of my weaknesses in life is that I am a people pleaser. ¬†I never say no. ¬†I have started guys and guess what. ¬†I am happier AND I am achieving more of my personal goals. ¬†Just because I don’t go on a playdate everyday doesn’t mean I don’t want to see my friends or that my kids are deprived, but the ones we do go have become more intentional and for that I am thankful. ¬†I have tried to apply this concept to all areas of my life and I truly am pursing my passions on the side this year instead of trying to do it all.

{two}

Make lists. ¬†I know, I know. ¬†This belongs in goal making 101. BUT it just holds so much truth. ¬†When you make a simple bullet point list to lay out your day before you, it forces you to become more intentional with your actions to get through that list. ¬†Put EVERYTHING on there that you want to get to done (quiet time, work out, laundry, make dinner, etc) and prioritize it if you can. ¬†Whatever doesn’t get checked off automatically gets floated to the next days list. ¬†I use the weekly part of my planner for my list making. ¬†I use my monthly part so I can see all my big things laid out at once (DR appointments, when I work, plans with friends, etc). ¬†This has been working SO well with me. ¬†The very first thing on my list every day is my quiet time. ¬†If I achieve nothing else on my list other than spending 5 minutes with the Lord then I will call it a successful day. ¬†And guys, this week, I have been surviving. ¬†Both my kiddos have been sick, so I have missed quiet time twice and gotten nothing else done on my list. ¬†But that’s ok, I still made a list everyday and I moved everything onwards to the next day that I wasn’t able to accomplish the day before.

{three}

Set yourself up for success. ¬†If your goal is to work out at 5 am, sleep in your workout clothes. ¬†If your goal is to wake up and have quiet time with a cup of tea, set everything out before you go to bed so you know its waiting on you in the morning. ¬†Be realistic and help yourself the night before as much as you can. ¬†One thing I have been doing to try to help this is to make sure my dishwasher is empty before I go to bed. ¬†Silly but for me waking up and not having a pile of dishes in the sink automatically makes my day better. ¬†I also have been making kids lunches the night before on school days and what a game changer that is. ¬†I am such a nicer mom on school days when I’m not rushing everyone out the door in a mad frenzy.

{four}

Accountability. ¬†Share your goals with someone. ¬†Put it out there on social media. ¬†Call your best friend and tell them. ¬†Write it down for people in your home to see. ¬†Make yourself accountable somehow. ¬†For me, one of my goals (since like forever) has been to finally lose some of this baby weight. ¬†My neighbor had the same goal. ¬†SO what we did we do? ¬†Made it a family affair. ¬†Husband/wife¬†teams. ¬†We set a start date and end date. ¬†We created a group within a workout app so we can see when the others are working out, we weigh in every Monday morning and send our numbers into the spreadsheet. ¬†It works. ¬†We are having fun with it – right ridge runners??? ūüėČ and it is holding us all accountable. ¬†Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition.

{five}

Give yourself GRACE.  In all that you do, give yourself grace.  God did not create us to be perfect.  He created us to be good.  Good people, Good stewards of our faith, good husbands/wives, good mothers/fathers.  No where in the Bible has God set up the expectation of perfection, so why would we burden ourselves with that expectation?  It is not possible.  We are human flesh, at the end of the day we will not achieve perfection, it is not within our reach.  So, step back and give yourself grace.  Be kind.  Look at people and smile.  Try your hardest to be the best you can be each day.

I hope to be back on my game with Friday link-ups, but if I fall off the wagon again, it’s ok. ¬†God willing I have MANY MANY more Fridays to live.

 

Enjoy your weekend friends!

xo,

j

A Christmas Roadtrip – Branson, MO

We just returned from our first ever Hooper family road trip and ya’ll – it was good {FREEZING COLD} FUN! ¬†When we first started planning our little winter excursion Nashville was the only stop on the list. Branson somehow made the cut and was our first {kinda first stop} on the way to Nashville. On our truck up to Branson we decided to boondock in the Winstar Casino parking lot and try our luck at the slots (well, Andrew‚Äôs parents and I did while he stayed with the kiddos). Well, we weren‚Äôt lucky but I did get a chocolate caramel candy bar and free coke out of the deal. It was a fun way to break up the drive. The next day we hit the road and drove uphill (or so it felt) to Branson. Driving {if we want to get technical riding ;)} was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. I LOVED seeing the country. It is just so beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how you can be driving through flat farmland one minute and be between mountains the next. I am just in total awe of God‚Äôs beautiful country and I have only seen 0.03895473% of it. Once we pulled into Branson city limits we found our quaint little RV Park, Shenanigans, and we were immediately greeted with open arms and welcoming smiles. The owners helped direct us into our spots, got us checked in, and helped us plan out some of our days! Side note: it was like 15 degrees outside when all of this was going on and they were still outside waiting for us to arrive. I cannot speak enough of how friendly and helpful the staff was at Shenanigans. We got settled and cranked up the heat BECAUSE IT WAS SO COLD. Like freezing. BELOW freezing. Abnormally cold for this time of the year was the quote of the trip. OF COURSE it was! We just had to laugh. The Texans venture out and the record cold temps hit. We froze. I didn‚Äôt think Corbin even knew what freezing meant but he used the word very appropriately in about every other sentence he spoke the entire trip. I reassured him that we were ALL freezing and it wasn‚Äôt just him ūüėČ Despite the cold we still ventured out and explored. The boys learned how to layer and what gloves and mittens are. The cold didn‚Äôt stop them ‚Äď they were still outside playing in the leaves running around. We went to the Wax Museum and Ripley‚Äôs Believe it or Not. They were both fun indoor, kid friendly attractions. The boys especially loved Ripley‚Äôs. We had the pleasure of seeing Dolly Parton‚Äôs Dinner Show, Dixie Stampede. It was a great experience and we are so happy we chose to go to that show. The Christmas theme was fun and festive and the live nativity was beautiful (my favorite part of the show). We attempted Silver Dollar City, but one hour in and a train ride later we had to call it quits. When Wyatt‚Äôs hands started turning purple UNDER his gloves we knew it just wasn‚Äôt worth it. As BUMMED as we were to miss the Christmas light parade we can‚Äôt wait to bring the kids back there. It seems like the most fun, genuine, clean little theme park that there ever was. It felt like a tiny Disney from the 1800‚Äôs( we got to watch a blacksmith at work and watch glass blown be made) with some good ‘ole fashion Jesus loving’ thrown in. Overall, Branson was great. The people of Branson are incredibly friendly and SO welcoming. The town is very faith-based (which totally caught us off guard in the best way possible). It was a bit touristy for my liking BUT I want to go back. Now that we have been I have an agenda. I have ‚Äúseen it and done it‚ÄĚ as far as ‚ÄúBranson‚ÄĚ goes and what people envision when they hear Branson. I want to experience the NATURE Branson has to offer. I want to hike and see things. AND go to Silver Dollar City again of course {because let‚Äôs face it I am a kid when it comes to rides}. So will we be back Branson? Bet your bottom dollar on it! We will totally stay at Shenanigans again and hit up Table Rock Lake and explore that Beautiful country side that Branson has to offer. See ya soon Missouri ‚Äď maybe in July this time ūüôā

my winnings for the night.
great little park we found to stretch our legs and eat lunch at in Oklahoma
Shenanigans at Shenanigans RV Park
corbin in his cave and goofing off in camper

 

wax museum fun

Ripleys Belive it or Not and IMAX adventure on State Parks. Very inspirational for the travel bug in us ūüôā
FREEZING at Silver Dollar City
Dixie Stampede Show
camper life
Billy Bob’s Dairy Land after we left SDC early. These burgers and brownie fudge sundaes made everything better.
Branson won the award for the most adorable fur trees lining the highways. I just wanted to hop out and cut down my own Christmas tree. I worked on addressing our Christmas cards while on the road

up next…..Nashville.

xo,

j

A Christmas to Remember

Y’all. ¬†I LOVE Christmas. ¬†SO SO SO much – LOVE IT. ¬†I LOVE birthdays too – maybe that is why Christmas is my favorite. ¬†It is like the ultimate birthday party for our Lord and King. ¬†I finally got the last of our decorations packed up and put away and I am feeling the post-Christmas blues. I am missing all the family time – guys we HAD an untold of amount of time off of work to just be together. ¬†It was the best gift of the season. ¬†My living room is looking pretty barren, I miss the soft glow of the tree lights, and I miss my boys turning them on and off 10934375 times a day and being equally amazed each time they would light up. ¬†I miss it. ¬†This Christmas also brought so much bittersweet emotion with it as well. ¬†It was our last Christmas in our first home and it was also my parent’s last christmas in my childhood home. ¬†So many lasts and so much excitement for the all the firsts to come next year. ¬†We really had fun digging into the family traditions with the kids this year. ¬†I know it is only going to get more special each year. ¬†We started with our annual polar express ride that you can read about here. ¬†My mom hosts cookie decorating for Santa every year on the 23rd. ¬†Once my kids reach the glorious age of FOUR I can drop them off and enjoy some momma time while they decorate but until they become of age to attend Nannie camp alone I get to go swimming in sprinkles and frosting and it. is. messy magical. ¬†Corbin actually totally surprised me this year and was totally into it. ¬†He took his time dumping the entire jar of sprinkles onto his cookies. ¬†I expected him to either not care, just eat the cookies or throw sprinkles everywhere and then lick them up. ¬†So, I was pleasantly surprised. ¬†Bubba on the other hand. ¬†He lived up to every expectation I had and then SO much more. ¬†He was in his happy spot. ¬†He claimed the jar of rainbow sprinkles immediately by licking the entire thing and then proceeded to eat cookie after cookie with and spoonfuls of frosting here and there and then would tip the sprinkle jar back like it was an ice-cold beverage and wash it down with rainbow sprinkles. ¬†I lost track of how many cookies he ate, but I am pretty sure he is still feeling the effects of the sugar high. ¬†We left with some pretty special cookies for santa.

this cookie front and center is a Christmas staple at moms. A york mint in the middle of chocolate heaven with frosting on top. Fights ensue over these cookies ya’ll. My mom’s tree is one of my absolute favorites. Every ornament has meaning and a story and I can’t wait until one day my tree is filled with treasures that tiny hands made….like this glitter star I made in kindergarten.
my most prized Christmas treasures. I would totally run into a burning house to save these…

Christmas Eve we attended church, and by we I mean Andrew. ¬†The kids must have been experiencing some post sugar withdraws or something terrible because they were acting CRAY. ¬†straight crazy. ¬†It immediately resulted in us worshiping in the car while Daddy enjoyed church. ¬†After church we changed into our tacky Christmas sweaters for the annual Hoopers go tacky Christmas tradition we started a few ¬†years back and then headed to my parents for Christmas Eve. ¬†Christmas Eve is just so special to me. ¬†I LOVE being with my family and I know the kids will cherish these memories of running around with their cousins and getting their magical PJs from the PJ Elves before we leave Nannie and grandpa’s house. ¬†It is a night filled with red beans and rice, birthday cake and songs for baby Jesus, gifts, lots of laughs and lots of little kid squeals. ¬†It is perfect.

Hoopers go tacky 2016
PJ elves left urgent packages at the door and then the blurry excitement that ensued to put the PJs on ASAP
a handful of sweet memories from the night

Christmas day we will always spend at home. ¬†I want the kiddos to have that memory of going to sleep at home and waking up to Santa at their house. ¬†It was such a fun morning this year because Corbin was SO excited. ¬†I know next year will be even more magical. ¬†Santa was good to us and we are so blessed. ¬†Andrew spoiled me rotten and sent me on a scavenger hunt through the house to find my gifts (that we weren’t supposed to give). ¬†He is so creative and it really made me feel so loved and so special. ¬†I even got a Christmas poem with my final gift – an apple watch – eeeeeep! ¬†SO exciting. ¬†I am actually meeting Andrew for lunch tomorrow and we are going to pick it out!

One of my favorite memories this year. Bubba could care less about the presents but he was in HEAVEN when he saw some leftover cookies and milk. Cookies for breakfast. smart kid.

Mama getting spoiled. Not pictured was my fancy new die cutter(and lots of fun stocking goodies) – can’t wait to get crafty
Christmas Poem

December 2016

Tis The Season Of Giving

No Matter Which Form It Takes,

It Could Be A Simple Hug

Or Delicious Cupcakes

It Could Be A Trip

To A Place Near Or Far,

It Could Be A Nice Conversation

Over A Drink At The Bar

It Could Be Toys Galore

Or A Handwritten Letter,

But I Bet A Poem From Your Hubby

Makes This Season Much Better

I Know That We Said

No Gift Exchange This Year,

But Again I’ve Broken The Rules

Please Don’t Shed A Tear

You Make Me So Happy

And I’d Give You The World If I Could,

You Know That I’m Serious

And You Know That I Would

But As This Isn’t Practical

You’ll Have To Settle For This,

All I Ask In Return

Is One Helluva Kiss

The Present I Got You

Oh What Shall It Be,

I Hope You Like It

It’s To You From Me

Merry Christmas To You

My Sweet Loving Wife,

I Can’t Wait To Pass The Time

With You In My Life

Love Hubby

We headed to Andrew’s parents Christmas night and did Christmas with his family on the 26th. ¬†We all piled into his Grandma’s house and ate chili and stew and shared lots of laughs and lots of memories. ¬†The cousins LOVE exploring through all of grandma’s treasures and it so much fun to see them all together. ¬†We do a white elephant gift exchange and it is always so much fun. ¬†This year we did the oven mitt gift game. ¬†We had to open a gift with an oven mitt on while the person next to you tried to roll doubles with the dice. ¬†Once doubles were rolled you passed the oven mittens and gift onto the next person. ¬†Whoever opened the gift got to keep it. ¬†It was a riot and had us all laughing. ¬†Andrew’s grandma is an AMAZING baker and y’all she made PIES. ¬†Her pies are like heaven. ¬†No lie. ¬†They are just SO good. ¬†She gets her merengue like a foot tall and its heavenly. ¬†They are beautiful and they taste even better. ¬†We have the recipe for her chocolate pie and it lives in our safe – because it is just that good.

daddy and his mini-me

nothing more beautiful than the sunrise and sunset in the country

We spent the rest of the week at Andrew’s parents out in the country and it was nice. ¬†Andrew worked himself silly putting up fence and doing jobs around the farm with is dad. ¬†The kids ran themselves silly running around and breathing in all the fresh country air and chasing cows. ¬†It was a good week and a perfect way to wrap up the year.

LONG days and HARD work gets you a new fence
country fun. fires, wood collecting, leaf playing, tractor rides, cow calling…..
he’s an ole’ fishing pro now ūüôā
I know a good mechanic if you need one

 

hardest workers

I brought my fancy camera and had so much fun playing on it ūüôā ¬†I am a work in progress learning all the settings on it, but I am having fun.

determined
in his happy spot
honk honk
just hanging around
checking out the tractor tires
little worker
playing

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas.  Enjoy this year, next year will be here before you know it.

xo,

j

Stirring in the Soul

We are officially 9 days into the new year and I have never felt such a stir of emotion in my soul and energy as I have this year. ¬†My clean eating and exercise program is going pretty darn well. ¬†I have not missed one day of my daily devotional {that really is a big deal for me}. ¬†We had a crazy productive first weekend of the year that we will fondly remember as demo weekend. ¬†We are starting preparations on our house in order for it to be at its best market ready self when we re-list our home in April. ¬†We took the train down that ran across Corbin’s ceiling in his room (as much as we thought it was super awesome and fun, some people can’t look past that stuff when buying a house). ¬†We took down extra curtain rods and curtains that made rooms appear smaller. ¬†We smoothed down and spread a huge pile of dirt in the backyard. ¬†Let me clarify – when I see WE I really mean Andrew. ¬†He rocked it this weekend. ¬†I was the moral support and cooker. ¬†I also got all of our christmas taken down and put back into the attic. ¬†My project 333 wardrobe is THIS CLOSE to being complete. ¬†We have a garage sale pile the size of Mt. Rainer {and it feels oh SO good}. ¬†I have a feeling this is just the first layer for me as well. ¬†I am learning a lot about myself. I am very emotional and am having a harder time parting with THINGS than I thought. ¬†EEEEP. ¬†How embarrassing. ¬†Does this make me a stage 1 hoarder?! ¬†Maybe. ¬†Whatever it is I am ok with it. ¬†I am making progress and it is helping me to try to really step back and find the THINGS in my life that bring me joy. ¬†We are collectively trying to make 2017 more about friends and family than THINGS. ¬†Regardless, ¬†I am human and I like things. ¬†I am forever a work in progress. ¬†Amongst all these preparations on the home I feel like Andrew and I have had some MAJOR stirrings in our hearts and souls about where exactly is life leading us? ¬†What does God want us to do with out lives? ¬†80% of your life is spent working and that work needs to glorify HIM. ¬†If you aren’t happy with that work than are you really living life to the fullest potential? Are you really glorifying God every day? ¬†Some serious stirring of the souls going on over here. ¬†What I can say is I have a feeling this “journey” that we started envisioning in our heads 8 short months is going to be drastically and radically different from what we had originally planned out. ¬†Kinda scary – heck yea. ¬†Kinda exciting – oh yea. ¬†Keep coming strong 2017 – we are taking you and all your challenges on. ¬†I’ll leave ya’ll with an awesome poem Andrew wrote in about 10 minutes yesterday. ¬†He has such a talent for this and it amazes me with each poem he writes. ¬†Enjoy.

The Grind

I’m not happy with what I’ve become
Connected all the time
Putting in all the effort
For just the daily grind

Working for someone else
Is not at all fulfilling
And the thought of this long term
Is nothing short of chilling

Voicemails, Texts, and Emails
Never putting down the phone
Sometimes I want to shut it off
And leave myself alone

It’s ingrained in us at an early age
What success can truly be
But today I find myself
Wanting more than the corporate family tree

I’m tired of climbing the ladder
I’m needing some simplicity
It may be unconventional
But I think it’s what’s best for me

It’s great to have the raises
And a promotion here and there
But honestly in the grand scheme of things
I’m not sure I really care

I was able to buy the ‚Äúthings‚ÄĚ
That sit in the closet collecting dust
It’s what you’re supposed to do with money
It’s like an unwritten law that you must

Am I being selfish?
Thinking only of myself
Or am I turning the page
On my ‚Äúbook‚ÄĚ up on the shelf

Change is a scary thing
And taking risk is just the same
But what I’m doing as of now
Will soon drive me insane

I’m not expecting it to be easy
There will be bumps in the road ahead
But I want to say I’ve lived
Long before I’m dead

The American dream is true
But make it all your own
For you it might be the white picket fence
For others that seed is not yet sown

I’m not sure what mine is yet
That path I’ve yet to pave
But after I become successful
I’m sure it will be all the rave

Success is of course objective
It means different things to all
But you must take that chance in life
Even if you trip and fall

I’m not sure what’s next for me
And I’ll need to take my time
To make a fulfilling career
Outside of the corporate daily grind.

-Andrew L. Hooper

What has you stirring in 2017?  What is driving your happiness?  What change do you want to make in your life?  YOUR destiny is in YOUR hands. God has given you tools and talents in life to be successful.  If we each examine our hearts and souls to find these tools I think every one of us can be living the uncommon life.  The riveted life.  The one life you are given.  I challenge you; listen to your heart.  Chase your dreams.  You are never to old.  I am reading (really re-reading) The Cure for the Uncommon Life by Max Lucado.  It is a Christian based book to help you discover your sweet spot in life.  I am a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far.  Make it a good week friends and listen to the stirrings in your soul.

xo,

j

Hello, 2017

Happy New Years my faithful readers! ¬†I am wrapping up the final 30 minutes of the first day of the New Year reflecting over the last year {where did the time go?!} and setting out some goals for the new year. ¬†2016 was a good year but 2017 is going to be a riveting year. ¬†I have big goals for 2017 and I can’t wait to start achieving them. ¬†I am still in the process of writing out these goals, as I am trying to be very intentional and prayerful about each one of them and what result I am striving for. ¬†Tomorrow, however is the official start date of one of our goals. ¬†We are partaking in a couples weight loss/healthy lifestyle challenge with our best friends and neighbors. ¬†We are the Ridge Runners and plan on ending the competition finishing a race and going on a double date where the losing couple pays for dinner. ¬†I am super excited about this and so hopeful that it really does become a true lifestyle change for me. ¬†I am ready to have the energy of my marathon running days back {and maybe run another marathon or two}. ¬†Of course, another goal that is already firm on our list is to sell our house. ¬†We plan on re-listing early Spring and are setting out an action plan to make that as quick and successful as possible. ¬†Achieving that goal will rapidly lead to the achieving of our other goals, one being moving into our RV full-time. ¬†Some people still think we are crazy, some think we are awesome. ¬†I’m with the awesome crowd. ¬†I have devoted my entire day {on no sleep} to cleaning and organizing the house {starting to} so we can start clearing all the clutter and noise out of our lives. ¬†Andrew and I are both going to do the 333¬†project¬†with our wardrobes. ¬†I was hoping to go through my side of the closet today, but we will do it together when he gets home from the country with the boys. ¬†I think this challenge will help me with more than simplifying my wardrobe. ¬†I am hoping it trickles down through every other area of my life and I can then go through the rest of the house with a more eager spirit to let go. ¬†I had a harder time than I thought I would as ¬†I went through to boys closets and toys today. ¬†I was able to downsize some, but I plan on re-evaluating again in a few weeks as I know I have more work to do. ¬†It is definitely a learning curve, but I am excited to start. Andrew and I always talk about the simple life. ¬†I’m ready to stop talking and start achieving. ¬†We watched the documentary called Minimalism on Netflix the week before Christmas and were both inspired by it. ¬†I look forward to the LESS is MORE life. ¬†I look forward to living our life by doing things, not having things. ¬†Bring it on 2017 – the Hoopers’¬†are ready for you! ¬†What are some of your goals this year?!

xo,

j

Five on Friday – Flashback Friday edition

I have been absent these past few weeks on the blog, but for good reason.  I was soaking up a whole TON of family time and eating my weight in pie and stuffing.  Pecan Pie.  Stuffing.  I think I gain a pound every time I even think about it.  No lie. Life since Thanksgiving has been pretty much a whirlwind going 90 mph.  We just got home from a 2,200 mile road trip which I will be recapping all next week on the blog Рso stay tuned!  Back to Thanksgiving Рwe had the blessing of having two Thanksgivings this year.

{ONE}

¬†Our first Thanksgiving we went camping at the old Rusk Train Depot. ¬†It was our second year to do this so I think we can officially call it a tradition. ¬†Rusk is hands down one of our favorite camping spots. ¬†It is BEAUTIFUL ya’ll. ¬†The spots are great, there is so much open area and woods for the kids to play in. There is a stunning a lake and a few playgrounds. ¬†PLUS – the tracks. ¬†There is nothing more magical than train tracks to play on {don’t worry they aren’t working tracks anymore so there were no trains coming through). ¬†The trees are abundant and the shade is perfect. ¬†We LOVE Rusk and highly recommend it to any campers! ¬†Andrew’s aunt and cousins that live near the area joined us, and it was SO nice to see everybody and catch up. ¬†It had been such a long time since we last visited with them. ¬†It was so nice to see the kids running around playing together as well. ¬†Really good memories right there.

upon arrival we were greeted by this group of stray kittens. Apparently Corbin is an animal whisperer – they loved him. Patches here and one of her sisters was rescued by Andrew’s mom, Nana. I am NOT a cat person, but little patches won my heart over.

{TWO}

Last year, the whole reason behind us camping at the Rusk Depot was to ride the Polar Express in Palestine, TX.  We rode again this year and it did not dissapoint. Corbin really enjoyed it this year and got up to dance and got SO excited when Santa came into our train.  Some of our best friends and their 3 kiddos joined us this camping and on the Polar Express and that made it extra special.  We got all the kiddos matching PJ sets and they looked adorable.  We even had a little cold snap come through on the weekend we were there, so it even felt a little more like Christmas outside and not the typical Texas 80 degrees in November.

signs of a successful day

{THREE}

We Celebrated actual Thanksgiving day with my family this year. ¬†I love the traditions at my parent’s house. ¬†When I was growing up all of our extended family lived in New York and we were the only ones in Texas. ¬†Because of that, I am used to very small quiet holiday gatherings and what not. ¬†Every year at my moms it remains just my parents and my siblings but we keep adding grand kids and spouses and the crowd is growing and it is SO much fun! My sister got married this past October and it was a joy to have her new husband and his parents join us this year. ¬†My mom always decorates the table settings so beautifully and it makes it feel just right. ¬†Every year when we walk in the door my dad is hovering over the turkey and all the smells just smell so familiar and good. ¬†I love that it is always the same.

snapchat fun on the ride to mom and dad’s house
Bubba eyeing the pies, Ubie teaching how dish duty goes and the beer pong tourney.

{FOUR}

My brother and I got into a heated debated back at our sister’s wedding about who was better at beer pong. ¬†Mature, I know. ¬†We decided to hold an official tournament to decide once and for all who wears the beer pong crown in our family. ¬†We held the practice round Thanksgiving night and the real tournament is on Christmas Eve. ¬†The loser has to keep the others kids for a weekend. ¬†A KID FREE WEEKEND is on the line folks. ¬†Lets just say during the practice round Andrew and I pretty much dominated. ¬†It has been years since either of us has played and apparently our skills are still fine tuned. ¬†It was such a fun, silly way to end the night and I look forward to round 2 come Christmas {and my kid free weekend}.

{FIVE}

We didn’t take official Christmas card pictures this year – fail. ¬†BUT, don’t worry we captured this gem of a photo when we were camping in Rusk and I just couldn’t resist turning it into our Christmas card.

Too country?! ¬†Maybe, but I don’t care. ¬†This is US. ¬†Merry Christmas ya’ll! ¬†Follow me next week as I remember our Christmas road trip!

xo,

j

A Break

And here we are. ¬†2 days away from December. ¬†33 days away from a new year. ¬†2016 has been a wild, crazy and fun ride. ¬†I have a feeling 2017 is going to be even better, more exciting, ¬†and filled with more and more change. ¬†Until then, we are on a break. ¬†We took our house off the market 2 days ago and let me tell you – toys are EVERYWHERE. ¬†It feels nice. ¬†So relieving to just be care free again and let the kids be kids without hooting and hollering about messes constantly in fear we might get a showing. ¬†Is this what we had envisioned in our grand plan? ¬†Heck no. ¬†But that’s ok! ¬†This is where we are at and we can either run with it or sit here and pout. ¬†We are running. ¬†We pulled out the decorations and have been filling this house with Hooper Christmas Spirit for one final time – what a special gift; a gift we didn’t even think about but man I am so happy we have it. ¬†I love Christmas and to able to celebrate a final Christmas in our first house we had together; the house we started our family in is the best gift this season. ¬†So now what? ¬†We enjoy our break. ¬†Our plan is to possibly re-list during the ‘prime’ season come spring time. ¬†Hopefully it will be quick and painless sell and we can finally start our grand RV adventure. ¬†I pray the offer will be the right offer and the right family. ¬†We have said from the beginning that if it is meant to be it will be. ¬†Now is not the time. ¬†God has made that abundantly clear to us. ¬†We aren’t going to push it. ¬†We look forward to having time to continue to sort through our items of keep/sell/donate and to spend time with our AWESOME neighbors. ¬†They are great neighbors guys. ¬†SO SO SO great.

Andrew took the kiddos this past weekend while I worked.  It was SUCH a blessing.  I enjoyed the quiet, got to nap, and relax.  I also binge watched the return of Gilmore Girls.  AND all I  have to say about that is there better be another season because I am just not ok with that ending.  The kids had an absolute blast in the country as always and seeing those pictures of them running free is such a drive for me to pursue this dream of ours even more.  I cannot wait for that piece of land, that barndominium.  Cannot even wait.

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Our very first Christmas in this house consisted of Andrew, I and our sweet brand spanking new puppy Shelby. ¬† I remember pulling out the artificial tree setting it up in the living room next to the fireplace and just looking at each other and busting out laughing. ¬†Our new living room ATE this tree up. ¬†It was tiny!!!!! ¬†It looked so perfect in our 600 square foot apartment downtown, but here it looked teeeeeny. ¬†SO we moved it into our entry and became 2 tree people. ¬†I never thought I would be more than a one tree person, but alas, life again fooled me. ¬†We trucked off to Home Depot in search of the perfect REAL tree. ¬†The perfect 12 foot tree. ¬†WHAT were we thinking? ¬†Good question. ¬†We were obviously very new to this whole space concept. ¬†We figured 12 foot ceilings and pretty much no furniture we could fit a 12 foot tree. ¬†Well, after chopping off a couple of feet from the bottom and trimming the whole back side off we did fit our 12 foot tree in to the living room. ¬†It was HUGE and it was BEAUTIFUL. ¬†I think this may have been the starting point of this crazy dream of ours – not that either of us realized it then. ¬†We decorated this tree with THOUSANDS {no lie} of lights and about the 10 ornaments we owned. ¬† Because lets be real…..after buying a 12 footer we couldn’t afford to decorate it :). ¬†SO it was a pile of sparkling pine perfection. ¬†As we sat on the couch admiring our tree, we talked about one day having a house with a sun-room in the front that during the winter would become a tree room. ¬†It would be big enough to put the largest tree we could imagine in there. ¬†This was the beginning of the dream. ¬†A tree room. ¬†We loved that tree, {and all the critters that snuck in on it} and shoving the largest tree we could manage into our living room quickly became a new family tradition – until a toddler entered our lives – END of everything right there. ¬†Our first toddler Christmas consisted of a Charlie Brown 2 footer {which barely survived the season}. ¬†The next year we graduated back to a real tree but a MUCH smaller real tree – like 4-5 feet in fear our little monkey child would think it was for climbing. ¬†This year, our final year I begged Andrew to have one FINAL 12 footer. ¬†Just one more big tree I thought would make it the perfect final Christmas. ¬†The more I thought about it, the more I turned from that idea. ¬†That tree is being saved for our FIRST Christmas in the tree room, not the FINAL Christmas in our first house. ¬†NO, the tree that deserves to be the FINAL tree in the FIRST house is the FIRST tree that has been here through it all. We spent all day yesterday digging our first tree out of the attic building and decorating it with shatter proof ornaments. ¬†It is perfect. ¬†AND best part – it doesn’t even look that small. ¬†That first year our house swallowed it up – but this year – nope. ¬†It was as if this tree was made for this house; made for us.¬† The stockings and the chaos we have added to the house over the past 5 years have made it the perfect space for this little tree of ours.¬† No tree would have been the best option considering the status of our children right who think that anything round is a baseball {hence that shatter proof ornaments} but that wasn’t an option. ¬†So much of the magic of Christmas to me is in the tree. ¬†Every tree holds a special story and brings back such a unique set of feelings from my childhood, my Christmas’ growing up. ¬†I want my boys to always have special tree memories as well; and so far I think we have nailed that part.¬† It also seems that one day many Christmas’ from now I became a tree per room person. ¬† Insert shocked face here.¬† As I wrote this post I envisioned bringing our first tree with us and putting it in our master bedroom.¬† After all, it will always be our tree.

 

 

first tree, downtown apartment
first tree, downtown apartment
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first HUGE tree in the house
huge, fat tree year
huge, fat tree year
my favorite tree
my favorite tree
Charlie Brown tree year, teh 2 footer
Charlie Brown tree year, the 2 footer
Wyatt's first real tree, normal size
Wyatt’s first real tree, normal size
the FIRST and FINAL tree
the FIRST and FINAL tree

I hope this Christmas Season brings you all wonderful memories and special moments.  Capture them up, you will never have Christmas 2016 to do again.  Make it a good one.

 

xo,

j

 

Five on Friday – Election week edition

It’s Friday and it’s cold!¬† Well, cold for Texas anyways ūüôā¬† I hope everyone had a great week.¬† We have a had a few house showings this week and I am trying not to get too hopeful but I am continuing to pray that we get an offer sooner than later if this is God’s will.¬† Having your house on the market is exhausting – ask Andrew.¬† Bless his heart.¬† Almost every showing we have gotten notice as I am going into work for the night.¬† He has totally rocked all the cleaning and organizing¬†by himself so I can just wrangle the kiddos the next day and get everybody out of the house in time for the showing!¬† I could not do this life without him by my side.¬† I had lunch with a dear friend and was telling her my frustrations and shared with me this quote that her friend shared with her.¬† So much truth right here.¬† Finding the beauty in our wait.

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{one}

Trump wins.¬† I get it.¬† I do.¬† Some people are scared/angry and some people are happy/celebrating.¬† Regardless of the side you are on I think this election has {or needs to in some cases} taught the American people some important lessons.¬† One – God has been on control since the beginning.¬† As much as the polls and experts said otherwise – HE knew.¬† And, personally, I think that is awesome.¬† We voted, but ultimately he chose.¬† As I prayed with my boys in carpool line before drop off on Tuesday we ended our prayer with that whoever God willed to be in office would win.¬† I am at peace with that.¬† If it had been reversed I would have been at peace as well.¬† Why?¬† Because we can only TRUST HIM.¬† End of story.¬† No rioting, no worrying, no name calling is going to fix anything nor give the other side what they want.¬† Two – Love wins.¬† OR does it?¬† It seems to me that some of the large groups of people that preach from the rooftops that Love wins are the ones sending death threats and filling the streets with riots and hate towards Mr. Trump and his family.¬† I am all about Love wins.¬† Regardless of my beliefs and values I try not to judge others, that is not my place.¬† I don’t care what color you are or what you believe in if you are behind me I am going to keep the door open for you, if your tire is flat and you are stranded on the side of the road I can guarantee you my husband will the first one to flip a U-turn and offer you assistance – regardless¬†if you have a¬†Trump or Hillary bumper sticker.¬†¬†WHY?¬† because we are all humans and it is our duty to treat EACH AND EVERY other human¬†with respect.¬† So to the crowds out there throwing¬†up their arms in hatred and anger – why don’t you try loving?¬†¬†After all, love wins.¬† Right?!¬† Matthew 22:37-40 reads “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.¬† This is the first and greatest commandment.¬† A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.¬† The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”¬† NEWFLASH: Trump is your neighbor, Hillary is your neighbor.¬† We ARE¬†ALL neighbors.¬† Let’s try love friends.¬† If you do nothing else, I dare you to try and step out of your comfort zone.¬† Say hello to every person you make eye contact with, hold doors open for people, start a conversation with a stranger.¬† As I waited {an hour} in the voting lines I got to talk to the person behind me and ahead of me and I really enjoyed our conversation.¬† I enjoyed their company to help the hour pass.¬† Did¬†we¬†ever¬†once talk about who we were voting for?¬† nope (and one¬†of them was wearing a shirt for the party I was not voting for).¬† And guess what –¬†it didn’t matter.¬† We laughed.¬† They played with my son and made him laugh.¬† They helped me maneuver the stroller through the tiny door spaces into the voting lines.¬† Hillary and¬†Trump are just as much your neighbor as they¬†were mine.¬† Show love.¬† Natalie Grant’s¬†song King of the world was my theme song last week.¬† This week I am choosing Tim McGraw’s song Humble and Kind.¬† I pray¬†that the American¬†people can show kindness towards Mr. President Trump.¬†¬†I also pray that Mr. Trump can stay Humble and {grow in his ability to be} kind.¬†¬†We all have room to grow in ourselves; let’s stretch that ability.

 

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Now, Let’s put all of these political wars aside and pay tribute to our veterans. THANK YOU!. ¬†Each and every person and their family that has sacrificed their time {and lives} in order to serve our country. ¬†Let’s make them proud and continue to make America great.

veterans-day-20131

{two}

Corbin got to vote at school.¬† I talked very briefly with him about the election and Wednesday morning we talked about the President that had won the election.¬† His response to me was “but I wanted chocolate and chicken nuggets (his vote at school).”¬† My sweet, sweet little boy.¬† Hang onto that innocent soul forever.

file-nov-10-10-07-44-pm

{three}

I just discovered the best¬†little coffee and lunch spot¬†in my hood.¬† literally right¬†down the street from house.¬† I felt super trendy there¬†with my husbands laptop, my iced green tea, and actually being dressed in real people’s clothes.¬† I think I found my new kid free alone time hide out {which means I’ll be there maybe 3 times a year ;)}.¬†¬†swoon.

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{four}

I am almost completely done with our Christmas shopping lists.¬† Once our Amazon points hit our account all I have to do is¬†click buy, wait, and wrap.¬† I am feeling super on top of it right now and so excited to wrap gifts and have Christmas everything pouring out of my soul ūüôā¬† I get Christmas isn’t all about presents but gift giving is one of my languages of love so that part of the holiday I just LOVE.¬† I love wrapping presents, I love watching my family open them.¬† I just love it.

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{five}

We are heading to a Christmas Market near our house with some of our best friends this weekend.¬† This has been a tradition for us for 6 years now.¬† My friend that we go with was actually my wedding coordinator at the facility we got married at and¬†I was secretly hoping we could stay friends after I got married ūüėȬ† She invited Andrew I to dinner and this market with them¬†a few months after our wedding.¬† As much as the boys were thrilled to go shopping with¬†us –¬†it really was a great¬†night and it has become tradition ever since.¬† AND they are some of our best friends now and their kids and¬†our kids are best friends.¬†¬†So pretty much its perfect.

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Have a great weekend friends.  Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away!!!!!!

friday link up

 

xo,

j

It’s FRIDAY {and} NOVEMBER

It is NOVEMBER guys. ¬†I can’t even. ¬†I love this time of year. ¬†I love the cooler temps (or envying of people who actually get them), I love all the hustle and bustle and I love planning family time! ¬†I have been working on the boys Christmas lists and trying to keep in mind camper living (limited space) and it is harder than I thought. ¬†Wyatt is still at a pretty easy age but Corbin is a bit trickier as he has grown up and matured so much the past few months and I am looking forward to growing up his toys as well! I am having a hard time choosing just a few ūüôā

{one}

My sweet friend found this door mat and it needs to be in my life – like yesterday. ¬†SO anybody wanting to buy me a Christmas gift, this is it ūüėČ

file-nov-04

{two}

I ordered my 2017 planner (May Designs for the win – AGAIN) and I can’t wait for it to get here. ¬†Something about having an empty fresh clean planner in front of me makes me all kinds of giddy and happy. ¬†I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a busy and exciting year for us!

{three}

Amazon.  Everyday.  All day.  All the time.  The end.  But seriously, customer service is awesome, prime is awesome, Amazon is just life saving.  #truth.  If you are a prime member and have little boys at home I highly recommend the free Prime Series called Stinky and Dirty.  It chronicles the life of a trash truck and a construction truck that are best friends and it is seriously adorable.

amazon

 

{four}

Bible art journaling.  I am so intrigued by this and totally want to get started.  Small problem.  I LOVE my falling apart small little Bible I can throw in my purse or my work bag.  It does not leave much room for journaling.  Solution Рuse one of my 3784523 empty notebooks to art journal the passage I am reading.  Everybody else hoards cute empty notebooks too, right?!  Totally normal.  Sometimes I think I was meant to be a teacher.  School supplies make me way too happy.

2016-02-19-11-38-57-1

{five}

Andrew took Corbs to the country for the weekend and I have bubba with me for the weekend. ¬†I LOVE that the kids are getting some solid one on one time. ¬†I’ve only had just Wyatt for one afternoon by myself so far this stretch and I am wondering what I was ever so stressed about with just one kid, ha. ¬†We have had so much fun and I am so looking forward to all the snuggles and spoiling that is going to happen this weekend. ¬†I already miss my big boy though….sigh.

Have a great weekend friends!

friday link up

xo,

j

Yogi Bear Jellystone Halloween

We spent our weekend at Yogi Bear Jellystone RV in Waller. ¬†We have camped at this RV resort before, but this was our first Halloween experience there. ¬†It was a BLAST! ¬†It was so much fun to just be surrounded by family and friends all weekend and to watch the kids play and ride bikes/scooters until their little bodies just couldn’t take anymore. ¬†We played hard…and we ate lots of candy {perfect weekend}. ¬†I recommend Yogi camping for sure. ¬†If you don’t have an RV they have cabins to rent. ¬†We usually tend toward the state parks without all the activities and hustle and bustle but the kiddos sure do love this place. ¬†They have water slides, pools. a lazy river, a train, fishing in the lake, outdoor movie, a HUGE play-set. ¬†I mean from the eyes of child this place is basically heaven on earth ūüôā I would say overall the park amenities can be updated a little bit, but overall this is one of our top close to home go to family fun spots. ¬†We already pre-booked Halloween for next year. ¬†Let the tradition making begin!

yogi1

yogi2

picmonkey-collage-3

trickortreat2016camping

We had a washer and dryer unit installed for when (hopefully sooner than later) we go full-time.  I was nervous to use it, but man I love it!  A little dude gave us a very special first load when he decided to get sick in the middle of the night-that was fun.  BUT it worked like a charm and Andrew and I were feeling especially grateful at that moment.

2016-10-29-09-59-18

We had our annual RCR Halloween party. ¬†Pizza, treats, friends, pictures and trick-or-treating. ¬†One of these years our clan will get it together. ¬†Last year we were struck with a hand foot mouth outbreak and this year the moo-cow¬†child of mine decided to lose his dinner right as we walking out the door and the little sheep made it to 3 houses with our crew before he promptly chucked his candy bucket across a yard and threw a fit because I wouldn’t let him eat EVERY piece of candy as it was put in his bucket. ¬†It was awesome. ¬†I have a feeling next year will be our year – except we will have to loan a house on RCR to host our bash at because HOPEFULLY we will be full-time by then – any volunteers {ahem, misty?} :).

snapchat filter fun and goofball brothers
snapchat filter fun and goofball brothers

rcrhalloween

haloween2016
Corbin chose our farm animal theme this year and assigned us costumes!

Hope everybody is enjoying their post candy crashed kids today ūüėČ

xo,

j