Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Highlights of 2014!

As I sit here and ponder how the hell another year has flown by... I can't help but smile about all the good memories that were made! There are many great things that happened over the last year, so it's hard to narrow it down to just a few.. but these are a few things that come to mind!
 
Of course, our Bundle of Joy announcement tops the list! As well as our gender reveal!
 
We are so thankful for this little babe and we can't wait to meet her!
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Michael's Surprise 30th Birthday party!
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Michael surprised me with purchasing me my first bow! Therefore, it was my first year bow hunting!

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Attending the farewell concert tour for the King of Country - George Strait!
Check that off the bucket list!
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Attending a QDMA Deer Steward Course in Louisiana and being awarded a certification!
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While attending the DS course in Louisiana, QDMA took us on a rare tour of the Duck Commander Buck Commander Warehouse!
 
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We traded in our travel trailer and purchased a fifth wheel RV!
{Let's not forget...there was quite a story behind that purchase!}
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I did my first 5k and color run!
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Jeramie came home to visit! It's not very often that we see him two years in a row!

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Michael and I were featured in the QDMA Quality Whitetails Magazine {and a small article online} and I was also featured on several billboards throughout the Thumb area!
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 Last, but certainly not least... all the quality time that we were able to spend with our family and friends!
 
A few other things that I'm thankful for this year....
The friends I've met through the blogging world!
My husband getting a new job that doesn't involve traveling the country!
The new pickup that Michael bought us me. ;-)
Our health!
 
Cheers to a New Year!
 

 
 
 
 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 


 







Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Festivities!

Just like that... in the blink of an eye.. Christmas is over already! It's crazy how much we look forward to the holiday season, prepare gifts and food, plan and attend parties, and then bam! It's over... and to think it will be a new year in just a short few days is even more mind boggling!
 
The holidays are always crazy busy for us considering both our parents are divorced and my family lives 1-2 hours away {depending on which side we are visiting}.
 
It doesn't help that I always have to work around the holidays... I only get out 3 hours early on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day off. This year I also had to work Saturday. Bah hum bug. Luckily, I was smart and squeezed in a vacation day for NYE before anyone else requested it. 
 
*note: lots of pictures... also, don't be distracted by the scab on my forehead that looks like a face jewel or some nonsense. No, I'm not trying to start a new trend... :-/
 
Christmas Eve
As we have for the past 4 years {and many years prior to Michael coming into my life} we take a visit to my Dad's house. In the past, we go to their house for dinner and then rush back to where we live to make candlelight mass at Church. This year I told Michael we weren't doing that. It's just too much rushing around and I always feel like we are rushed to leave their house after dinner. Plus, I didn't think I could stay away through late mass. So this year we went to their Church. The only downfall is that they are Catholic and we are Lutheran so it's really not the same service. Michael of course had to act like a child about going to Church in the first place. Then he threw a fit about getting dressed. Then it was my fault that we were late because I didn't have his clothes laid out for him. Ugh. Men....
 
After Church we headed back to my Dad's and my step Mom makes an amazing meal of lobster and steak. She's a really good cook! My Grandpa Mason also joins us for dinner. Then we sit and bs, open gifts, drink beer/wine {n/a for me}, and relax.
Mason Family
 
For someone who hates cats... he was all about this lil guy
Brother & Sister 
3 generations of Mason men + Michael  

 
 
Christmas Day 
I tell ya, I've lived on my own for 3 years and it is still disappointing to not be able to wake up with Jasmine on Christmas morning. That was my excitement for 9 years. Now, I'm just thankful for facetime so that I can video her in the morning!
 
I of course woke up at the crack of dawn {new habit thanks to Baby Joy} and wasn't feeling good on top of not being able to sleep, so I got up and did some stuff around the house to prepare for some company. Michael stayed in bed until 8. Lucky dude.
 
Michael and I didn't exchange gifts this year, so we went right to having Jack and Sandy open their gift. Jack absolutely loves his new ball. Michael on the other hand hates me for buying it because it makes so much noise. Ha!


Sandy says okay okay, it's my turn now - where's the food?
Happy Jackass!
 
I made waffles and berry pancakes for breakfast. Rick {FIL} and Kelly came over to join us. We exchanged gifts and lounged on the couch for a while. We don't see them often so it was nice to just relax and visit for a couple hours.
All the girls chillin' on the loveseat ♥
 
Before we headed over to my MIL's, we attempted to snap a self timer pic = Epic fail.
Last years was much more successful.
 
Around 11 is when we usually head over to my MIL's for dinner {aka lunch}. She cooks a feast! And she makes as much desserts as she makes for the main course! However, with my not feeling well/gastritis pregnancy symptoms in full force, the sugar police {aka Michael} wouldn't allow me near those desserts. Talk about depressing.
 
After dinner we all sit around and let our bellies settle. We usually play some Eurche, do a chinese gift exchange, and drink beer. Then around 6pm we have supper {aka dinner}. Michael's family is kind of backwards if you ask me... they call lunch "dinner". And that's the largest meal of the day. Then dinner they call "supper" and it's not as large of meal. Interesting aye?
 
Once the other family members leave, we exchange gifts between just us - Sharon, her boyfriend Rick, Aunt Joanne, and Uncle Chuckie.
 
We are extremely spoiled and forever grateful for all of the generous gifts we recieve from them! To say they go above and beyond is an understatement!

My ackward pregnancy pose... I mean seriously, what do you do with your hands/belly?!  
Aren't they adorable??! This is the one time a year that Tucker is allowed in the house!  
Annnnd a tired Christmas night cap photo! {notice the time in the background 10:10pm. I was exhausted!} 
 
Christmas Weekend
Last, but certainly not least, we drive south for my Mom's family gathering. Since I had to work this year, we didn't head down until the late afternoon.
 
Drinks and snacks is at my Aunt Starr's place. They live on the lake and have a nice bar room that is perfect for gatherings.
 
I made some festive dirt cake {with the help of my hubby}
 
And wore my Christmas party pants! ;-)  
 

 
Then, we headed back to my Mom's to exchange gifts with her, Greg, and Jazz. Jazz didn't want to come back home with us so we exchanged gifts with her on Sunday before we left.

Again, we were completely spoiled and got some really nice gifts from my Mom and Greg!

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Since we were down in the city, Ma and I went to do our baby registry on Sunday morning. Phew was that a lot of work! And I'm definitely not done yet... Yikes! {Notice my lovely scab has fallen off my forehead! Yahooooo!}

 
What a busy last week it has been! But it's been fun! Another group of Christmas Festivities are in the books! I hope you all had a great Christmas as well!
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekending: Hunting Season Wrap Up & Christmas Festivities

Even though I had a 3 day weekend, it stills seems as if it wasn't long enough!
 
I took the day off on Friday with hopes to spend some time with the hubs. But he wound up having to work. So instead I planned the day around getting my glucose test done and getting some shopping done. The idea of not eating/drinking for 4 hours before the test had me a little worried how I was going to survive. So I woke up bright and early Friday morning and got ready to go. My doctor/hospital is just over an hour away so I wanted to be sure I got to the lab before it got too busy and made my wait time any longer than necessary.
 
Luckily, I survived. {I get lots of anxiety about needles} The drink wasn't as bad as people say it is.
 
The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping, visiting my Mom's salon, and having lunch with a girlfriend, before I made the drive back home. The day flew by and I was exhausted by time I got home!
 
Friday was Michael's last day of work for the seasonal lay off. He was home by 6:30. I look forward to having him home on a daily basis! Even though I'm sure he'll drive me nuts! ;-)
 
Some other randoms from the rest of our weekend... in no particular order...
 
We went to family Christmas at the farm. Ate lots of good food and played lots of hands of Eurche - which I have zero pictures of. {fail}
 
 Michael won the battle with the bedding decision. Now for me to decide what colors to paint the room.... he won't allow me to have an all pink room so I'm thinking tan/brown and then one accent wall of pink. Thoughts?!
 
I got my hair cut. Mostly just layered and thinned up so it wasn't so weighted down and heavy. I feel like I lost a lot of hair but the volume is much nicer!
 
The hubs and I went out hunting for the last day of muzzleloader season. It was chilly but it was a beautiful winter day. Sun was shinning and there was minimal wind.
 
Luckily, I got another doe. Which we really needed for one of our QDMA events coming up. The meat is used for a meat and cheese tray at the event.
 
Along with the doe, I also got "scoped" due to the kickback on the gun.
After I shot and the smoke cleared, Michael asked if I could see the deer running. I said I don't effin' know! Why don't you look at my head because it really hurts! He laughed and snapped the picture on the left. Son of a.....
 
Baby Joy is at 26 weeks {as of Saturday!}
The hubs says "it's stupid when you wear shirts with patterns on it, you can't see your belly good enough" - Tough shit.
 
Sunday we took our annual trip to Frankenmuth! Michael of course is never enthused about going, but he's a trooper and sucks it up for me. I will admit, neither of us were too into it this year. I wasn't feeling the greatest {I've had a headache ever since I knocked myself in the head}. We didn't feel like walking down town and we really don't have the extra money to spend on stupid things we don't need {you know how it is when you go in all those cute little stores!}. So we just avoided the temptation, did our usual walk around Bronner's, picked out an ornament, picked up some gifts, ate some food, and headed  home. It wasn't even dark by time we headed home so we didn't even get to go on a Christmas light tour this year. Kind of lame, but it was still a fun day date with each other. ♥

 
Instead of a personalized ornament this year, we stuck with a cool designed one.
 
That about sums up our weekend! This week/weekend will be all sorts of craaaaazy busy! So in case I don't make it back, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!! ♥
 
 
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Card + Christmas Favorites

Technically it's Thursday night and I'm already hosting a pre-party for Friday Favorites. ha! But seeing as I'm off work tomorrow and I will be heading to the city for my lovely glucose test at the crack ass of dawn {the sooner I get there, the sooner I get to eat/drink again!}, I won't have any time to hop on the computer in the morning.
 
Without further adieu... today I'm sharing some Christmas Favorites - including our 2014 Christmas Card!  
 
Merry Christmas from the Joy's!
This year I used the photo's from our gender reveal photoshoot.
As I did last year, I made our card design on Picmonkey. I've spent so much time looking on websites for a template but I can never bring myself to pay the money. Instead, I just use the 5x7 design option on Picmonkey and then shop around for the cheapest printing prices. Last year I used Sam's club and just had them printed as photo's. They cost 35 cents a piece. This year I used a local print shop and had them printed on card stock but they were still glossy. I paid 38 cents a piece. No complaining over here :)
 
 
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Speaking of Christmas cards... as much as I enjoy sending ours out to friends and family, I especially love coming home to a mailbox of Christmas cards from them! Last year I hung them along our front bay window, but this year I decided to hang them above the fireplace. I love seeing all the creative ways people hang their cards up via Pinterest and Blog land!
 
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Annual trip to Frankenmuth! This weekend!!
One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is head over to Frankenmuth - which is basically the best Christmas town ever! Actually the Travel Channel just voted Frankenmuth the most amazing Christmas town in America! I especially love going to Bronner's - the World's largest Christmas store - to look around and pick out our yearly ornament for our tree. After we take a pit stop at Bronner's we usually make our way up town and walk the streets from shop to shop. I have to give credit to Michael to sucking it up every year and taking me to do something I love to do because I'm sure he could do without it. :)
Bronner's 2013
 
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Christmas Lights!
I just love seeing Christmas lights! Especially the ones that are set up on the radio and are tuned to music. Those are just simply entertaining. There is a really awesome light show near our house that we always go watch however this year they aren't set up due to some construction at the house. I'm super bummed! I wish I could find one just like it! Until then, I'll just enjoy seeing the light setups!
 
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FOOOOOOD!!! Pregnant or not, I just love Christmas gatherings and ALLL the food! Although this year I will really have to watch my face stuffing skills in order to prevent a future meltdown over weight gain. haha! One thing I especially look forward to making is holiday dirt cake! I mentioned how much dirt cake I ate over Thanksgiving weekend... and it's not a good sign if I'm already dreaming about it next week! I'll share the recipe soon!
 
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Along with food, I also enjoy holiday cocktails. Or just cocktails in general. Well... I used to anyways. ;-) For some reason, it just makes the holiday gatherings that much better! Lisa posted this amazing Christmas Sangria last weekend and I'm still drooling over it! I think I might even make it with my non-alcoholic wine!
 
 
Well, I'm off to enjoy a 4 day weekend! Yippie! {Minus the glucose test part of it... ha! Seriously though.. I already have anxiety about it. Not the fluid stuff... the bloodwork. I'm such a sissy.}
 
Enjoy your weekend!
 
 
P.S. These are not my only Christmas favorites... of course I am thankful for the true reason for the season and wish the big guy upstairs a Happy Birthday! I also love to see all of our families!