Project bathroom makeover is complete!! Well, its not completely decorated, but that will take me a loooong time, judging from previous projects. I don't like to rush decor. ( :  Its finished enough that I'm showing it to people now. I have to say, I am very proud of this room. Sometimes I just stand in the door way with a smile on my face and just stare at it. Yes, I am aware that is weird. It just looks so much better!

Before I continue, let's take a moment to remember what it looked like not too long ago...


I do not miss that ugliness at all!!

After several days of hard work, sweat, and getting accidentally high from paint fumes, I finally finished. When I first started painting the walls, I thought oh no, this color is hideous! I hate it! Luckily, after I finished one whole wall, I was in love. *whew* Once all the walls were painted, I loved it even more. Now that everything is back in place and the curtains are up, I can't even express how much I am in love!

Ahhhh. I moved the shelf to the other wall, since I couldn't reach it over the toilet. DH thinks its in the way here, but this is not *his* bathroom, so I'm not too concerned. It will be C's once she starts using a bathroom on her own (taking baths and stuff alone). Its also the guest bathroom, since its right off the living room. I doubt that mirror will stay there (it was originally behind the shelf), but we had it and DH painted it and I wanted something up there in that space, so for now its okay.

Next, I'll have to get a soap dish, toothbrush holder, and that kind of stuff. My intentions are to get clear glass containers to place on the shelf for holding cotton balls, q-tips, etc. I think that'll look pretty.

I'm not sure what kind of picture or art I want to do on the wall over the toilet. There's also a space beside the door, but its narrow. I'm searching for ideas!

I hate that you have to turn your head to see this one. Stupid blogger.

And see? Now the shower curtain looks like it belongs in here. It doesn't "match," but it "goes." Meaning, there are no stripes in there that are the color of the walls, but it blends well. Just like I envisioned 3 years ago when I hung it up! I love it. Its bright and cheery now. Almost makes me want to start using this bathroom instead of our master bath! ( :


Another bathroom update

Almost done! I worked really hard over Thanksgiving break. I am quite proud of myself, because I really didn't think I'd get anything done in there!

One night early last week (Monday or Tuesday night), I stayed up super late finishing the wall prep. I think I said before that DH did most of the mudding that had to be done, but he missed one wallpaper seam, and then I decided to take out the 4 anchors in that same wall, so they had to be patched up, too. (The anchors were holding the metal shelf, and it will be going back up, but not in that spot.) Anyway, I got that done and then the bathroom took a little break (haha).

Because Wednesday night I went to see Breaking Dawn Part 2! I am a total Twi-hard and I am not ashamed to admit that. It. was. awesome!! I can't wait for the DVD to come out so I can watch it again and again.... But back to the bathroom! ( :

So we had a really great Thanksgiving day. It wasn't nearly as hectic as I anticipated and we actually enjoyed the day. Late that afternoon, C went down for a loooong nap (like 3 hours!), and DH went outside, so I got to work again. I sanded down everything and spread out drop cloths. Then I got out the Kilz.

Word of advice: if you ever have to use Kilz in your house, do NOT buy the oil based one!! In other rooms, we used Kilz, but we got the water based. No idea how I managed to buy the oil based one this time, but I learned my lesson.

I noticed the smell immediately, but figured I'd get used to it. Well, I did, sort of. I painted for about an hour before I decided to step out and take a break. And WOAH. I was completely high. Everything was spinning, my eyes wouldn't focus, my head felt light....not good. I thought maybe a break would make me feel better, so I stayed outside for about 15 minutes. I was determined to finish that coat, though, so I went back and resumed painting. Then my head started hurting...I managed to finish all the walls with the roller, but of course there were spots I couldn't reach and had to use a paint brush. But I knew there was no way I could do any more that day.

It took me several hours to recover from the fumes. We all went to DH's mama's house for supper that night, and when we got back home the fumes were still terrible. I was worried about something catching on fire since we have gas logs, so I made C sleep in our room in a travel crib (which she thought was great - when I was setting it up she kept saying "thank you, Mama! I love it!" lol). Luckily, our room is at the other end of the house, so the fumes weren't too bad in there.

Friday, the fumes were still noticeable, but not headache-inducing anymore. When C went down for her nap that afternoon, I finished up the coat of Kilz with a paint brush. So, after all that torture, this is where I was:

Friday night I was really motivated. I got back in there after C went to bed and painted the walls GREEN! I think I was up until 1 or 1:30am, but it was worth it. I completely finished that part, but I don't want to post any more pictures until the bathroom is totally done. ( :

Saturday, I painted a lot of the trim, but then my friend in England called me on Skype, so I quit to talk to her. (Have I mentioned I love my new iPad?? Skype all around the house AND see my girl across the world? Yes please!!)

Yesterday (Sunday), I tackled the trim again while C took a nap. And I finished!! DH took all the hardware out to the shop to be spray painted. He got a coat of primer on everything, so now he just has to paint on the white. Hopefully that will happen tonight, and tomorrow night we can get everything hung up and put back together. I still haven't made up my mind how this place will be decorated, but I'm waiting until the shower curtain, shelf/mirror, and towel bar are up first before I make any decisions. I'm so excited and I can't wait to share the end result!


Bathroom progress

I am happy to report that I actually did what I said I'd do this weekend - I started on the bathroom! I didn't get quite as far as I originally planned, but that's okay. I'm super excited about this project!
I had planned to get a lot of the prep work done Saturday afternoon while C took her nap. But the day turned out differently than I imagined, and in a good way. C and I met up Saturday morning with my friend Ashley and her daughter, who is 4 months younger than C. C says Aubrey is her best friend. ( :  Anyway, we went to a church in town that was having a craft fair. I found the perfect hair bow to go with C's birthday/Christmas dress (since her birthday is December 21 we do a two-fer in the dress department), and I even bought myself some adorable bobby pins with fabric flowers on them. After that, we ran errands around town and ate lunch at a local Mexican restaurant - yum! We finally ended up at Lowes where I bought a sample of the paint color me and C chose and a gallon of Killz (to cover up the wallpaper in the bathroom). On the way home, the babies fell asleep, so Ashley and I sat in the car for a while talking. It was so nice! When the babies woke up, we went inside Ashley's house and let them play a while before C and I headed home. So C didn't take her super long afternoon nap at home like I planned, and I didn't get anything done in the bathroom Saturday, but that's okay because we had so much fun that day.

Yesterday when C went down for her nap, I got to work. DH helped me. I kept telling him I could do it and he didn't have to help, but I think he's more excited than I am that this bathroom is finally getting redone! Before I continue, here's some "before" pictures. You can see why the bathroom desperately needs a makeover!

Edited to add: Okay, blogger originally rotated these pictures and wouldn't let me rotate them back. So I did a search for how to fix this problem. Clearly, the solution did not work. *sigh* Now they look all distorted...but at least you can get the idea now without straining your neck!

That shelf thingy over the toilet...I'm trying to decide if I want to use that again. If I do, I'll spray paint it white. I might end up hanging it lower on the wall, and hang a picture of some sort above it. I'm not sure yet. I do like it because it can hold a hand towel, but do I really want a towel hanging over the toilet??
I also plan to have a mirror cut to go between the sink and the medicine cabinet. This will be C's bathroom and she won't be able see herself in that high mirror for years. I would love to do away with that cabinet completely, but that would require much more work than we need to take on right now, since the lights are wired into it....so we'll just deal with it. (Plus, I do like the extra storage.)

That patch of green on the wall will be the new color. I was trying it out Saturday. I may end up going a shade darker, though. That's awfully light!

Oh, and you can see the lovely purplish counter top again. I told you, they're in almost every room of the house!! Even the built-in bookshelves in the living room have that same ugliness. *sigh*

This closet holds towels mainly. It also hides my cat's litter box. Thankfully, the closet is already solid white inside, so I won't be doing anything in there. *sigh* of relief!

And this shower curtain actually goes with the color I want the walls to be. Of course, it doesn't match at all now, but I've used it for 3 years because I knew eventually it would match the walls...lol. 

Once we got everything off the walls, I realized this won't be quite as bad as I originally thought. There is quite a bit of open space on the walls in here, so it will be pretty easy to paint. Not at all like the master bathroom. I'm not really looking forward to some places, like around the toilet, under the medicine cabinet, and above the shower, but it won't be that bad.

Yesterday, I took a razor blade and cut off all the edges of the wallpaper that were rolling up. We were going to glue them back down, but someone told DH last week its best to cut them off. You have to mud over it anyway, so I figured we might as well not worry about workin with glue. After that, I sanded everything so it was as smooth as possible. Then DH went behind me and slapped mud over all the wallpaper seams and all the imperfections in the walls. I did some of this, but DH did the majority for me. That's all we could do yesterday. The mud has to dry over night. The next time I have a chance to work in there, I'll sand everything down again, and then we'll be ready for the Killz!

Today I'm going to Lowes to buy the paint for the walls and the trim. Thank goodness I remember the name of the trim throughout the house (Betsy's Linen) because we have none left like I thought. I'd hoped to work in there tonight, but I just remembered that I'd planned to go to the La Leche League meeting tonight, so the bathroom will most likely be put off for another day this week. No worries. (I'm actually hoping that since C and I won't be home tonight, DH will jump in there and sand for me....hehe!)

So before I sign off, here's a pic I took this morning of one wall in there.

No, those aren't wallpaper seams running horizontally along that wall...at some point in the life of this bathroom, someone had something adhered to the wall there. The residue was left behind and I tried my hardest to scrape it off with the razor blade, but most of it wouldn't budge. If you look at the 2nd picture above you can see the brown line....yeah. Be kind to your walls, people. Someone else may have to deal with your mistakes someday!!


Master Bath Makeover

I actually did this several years ago. We purchased our home in 2008 and it needed a LOT of work/love before it was habitable, so from August 2008 to February 2009 (which is when we got married and moved in), we did a ton of work in there. Every room got a makeover, and I really wish I had taken "before" pictures of every room, but I just didn't think about it. Before the wedding, we managed to repaint every single room except the two bathrooms. I totally despise painting bathrooms, so I procrastinated there. For months after we got married, we used the smaller second bathroom off the living room. Its ugly in there but we ignored it.

Because it wasn't nearly as atrocious as the hot mess that was our master bath:

Hideous, right? It was even worse in person, trust me. When we moved in, I shut that door and didn't open it for several months. Seriously.

Now, granted, it didn't look like this all the time. When I took this picture I had already started working on it. I attempted to remove the wallpaper, which is why you see so many white patches in that picture. Whoever applied the wallpaper did it incorrectly, and no matter what I did, when I pulled off wallpaper, I also pulled off sheet rock. Not good. I tried every method I found on Google, and nothing worked. So finally, I gave up. I patched up the edges of the remaining wallpaper, painted Killz over everything, and got to work. Much easier.

I originally envisioned this bathroom looking kind of like a personal spa. I wanted it very light and airy (the complete opposite of what it was!), and I wanted very pale walls, but not white. I was thinking a blue-grey. It had to "go" with the vibrant blue walls in our bedroom. Well, when you have half-wallpapered walls, you have uneven walls, and any imperfection in a wall is amplified when you paint over it, especially with a light color. So I decided to do an old-school technique. I painted the walls a soft bluish grey color, then got a sponge and sponged a lighter grey color on top. That way, the walls looked textured and kind of hid the actual imperfections. It works, as long as you don't look too closely!

I was extremely pleased with the results:

Much better, huh? So much nicer than the dungeon that used to be the master bath! Oh, and to make it even more dungeon-y, there used to be a cabinet over the tub. Yep, right on that bare wall back there. I'm sure it would have been nice to have extra storage in there, but I just couldn't imagine taking a bath with a cabinet looming over my head....*shudder* Plus, it just looked so cramped. DH took that out for me.

That wrinkly white curtain (I did later iron it, just FYI!) hides the closet, which used to have annoying accordion-type doors. I like the curtain because its more airy and just goes nicer with the room.

I would love to replace the light fixtures (there's another sink at the other end of the counter), those awful medicine cabinets, the counter tops (hard to see here, but they're purplish - and all over the entire house, ugh), and the floor (you can't see it, but its a dark green, which matched the ugly "before" wallpaper perfectly), but I've been ignoring them for 3 years now, so I suppose I will continue to do so. At least for now! ( :

Eventually, I added a little decor to the room, but not too much. Now, I wish I had done something a little different, but this is okay.

I decided to go with a "Charleston, SC" theme, but not an obvious one. It probably only has meaning to me and DH. But that's okay. Charleston is where we went for our honeymoon and we go there almost every year. LOVE that place!

I made this little cutie myself. Just a couple of hydrangea blooms from Michael's, some opaque accent rocks, and a glass bowl.

I decided to use shells I'd collected over the years to hold soap. I still love that idea. (I also use a shell to hold hair accessories that I use a lot, like bobby pins and clear elastics.) I took that picture myself. Its of a tulip tree blossom in, you guessed it, Charleston.

I took these two pictures, too. They're of camellias. The camellia should be the official flower of Charleston. I'm in love. On our honeymoon, we visited Magnolia Plantation, which we decided should be renamed Camilla Plantaion because there were so many camellias in bloom there. It was beautiful! Anyway, I really need to paint that flower pot white, but I never remember to! On the shelves there are also some smaller shells and smooth rocks, all meaningful. They were all collected on fun trips with my husband. ( :

So that's it. Even though its been over 3 years, every time I walk into the master bath I smile because I remember how ugly it used to be, and I love how pretty it is now! No, its not perfectly decorated, and no, I never have found a curtain for the window, but I still love it. And like I said earlier, there's still some changes I'd like to make in there, but is a house ever really finished? I don't think so.

This room was not easy to redo. Not at all. I worked so hard on it, and I really don't think I'll ever forget that work. Which is why I appreciate it all the more now. And I love that I did it completely by myself. I told DH I wanted to do this one alone, and I did. Well, almost. He helped patch up some really bad places in the drywall, and he did some sanding, but that's it. I just love that accomplished feeling.

The reason I'm posting this is because now I'm finally motivated to do the other bathroom. You know, the one that is ugly but not so ugly we feel the need to keep the door shut. After completing the master bath, I was so tired that I just couldn't bear to think of doing another bathroom. And I knew it would be the same issues, because that bathroom is wallpapered, too. So I put it off....for 3 years. I know. But I did get pregnant and have a baby during that time, so cut me some slack. (And let's not forget also during that time, I lost my job, started a new one, and finished my graduate degree, so its not like I wasn't busy!) A few months ago, C and I picked out a color for the other bathroom. It will be a pale green. Our living room is a really awesome green that is extremely hard to describe. I'll post a picture soon. Since the bathroom is off of the living room, and you can completely see it, it needs to flow. So a pale green it is, with white trim to match the rest of the house. As far as decorations go, I am clueless, but I know it'll come to me eventually, so I'm not stressing over that.

Anyway, I finally feel ready to tackle another bathroom. Thankfully, this time I know what not to do. I'm not even attempting to take down the wallpaper. I have a plan. And I'm excited! The goal is to start the prep work this weekend (when C takes her naps in the afternoons), and then get the painting done next weekend (I'll be home 4 days over Thanksgiving). I'll post pictures of my progress to keep me motivated! Wish me luck! ( :



I'm sick. Again. Again! Haven't I been sick pretty much since the beginning of October??! (Yes, I have, actually.) Okay, the very last "sickness" was self-imposed (the colonoscopy), but I felt bad for days with that. My daughter had a cold the week before last, and it wasn't too bad, though she did run a low-grade fever a few nights. After her symptoms were gone for a week and I felt fine, I just knew I'd escaped the sickness.


To be fair, I can't say that I caught this crud from her. She just had a runny, stuffy nose and the fever a few nights. Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. That's a common occurrence for me, though, so I didn't think much of it. What bothered me was when I realized that as the day progressed, my throat was getting worse, despite the hoards of ibuprofen I was taking. I didn't do a whole lot that day, just mostly hung out with C, which was wonderful. By that evening, I was feeling pretty crummy. When I went to bed, I was having chills and just felt basically like I'd been hit by a bus.

I had fevers the rest of that night. I do not get fevers. I think the last one I had was 7 years ago or so. Its just not my thing. Lots of sickness, yes, but no fevers associated with those sicknesses. So I'm basically a big baby when I get a fever. Sunday morning I started sweating the fever off, but then it would come right back. I was absolutely miserable. I couldn't do a thing but lay in the bed. My throat hurt so bad I couldn't even open my mouth without pain, and forget talking. (I think DH enjoyed my silence, haha!) So DH took care of C all day, and when they were in the house she was really good about leaving me alone. She'd come up to me and ask, "Mama feel bad? Her feel better." And she'd pat me when I coughed. So sweet.

Last night was rough. C woke up at 12:30 with a nightmare (we guess - she was screaming and it took a while for her to calm down), so she slept with us, and she was fitful the rest of the night. Which means I didn't get any sleep again. When I had another fever early this morning, I knew it was time to see a doctor.

After waiting in the waiting room of the doctor's office for an hour, and then another hour waiting in the exam room, I saw the doctor for approximately 6 minutes, and he told me I have a sinus infection and bronchitis. Wonderful. So after 45 more minutes of waiting at the pharmacy, I finally got my antibiotic and made it to work. Where I am sitting here wondering why I didn't just go back home and get in bed....seriously. I sound terrible and of course the phone keeps ringing, and when I talk it gets me coughing. I hurt everywhere and I'm so sleepy....poor, pitiful me, right?

I'm sure there's a reason God's put all this sickness on me lately. And really, I should be thankful I haven't had anything really serious. I mean, I'm probably not gonna die from a sinus infection. I don't need hospitalization. So, it could be much worse, so I'm grateful its not. But there's still got to be a purpose for me to have to go through this. Maybe its to teach my husband how to do some of my jobs around the house, like changing C's diaper, cause he's certainly had to step up!

Or maybe its to teach me to let go of some things. Like sweeping 3 times a day. I kid you not, I am obsessed with sweeping. Ever since we ripped up all the carpet in our house and put down laminate floors (they look like hardwood floors) 2 years ago, I just can't stand to see a speck of dirt on the floor. I vacuumed Friday night (which is my normal vacuuming day), but on Saturday I think I swept 4 times. No lie. (I told you I'm obsessed.) Yesterday, with DH and C going in and out (it was a beautiful day), of course some dirt got tracked on the floors, not to mention the crumbs from C's snacks....a few times I almost grabbed the broom, and then I thought, you idiot, get back in bed, you can barely walk, don't worry about the floor!! Even this mornin, when I felt a little better, I was tempted to sweep but forced myself not to. There are more important things than obsessing over a little dirt on your floor. Like rest.

Whatever the reason for this, I pray that this antibiotic works quickly and I feel better fast. I hate that I missed out on a perfect fall day yesterday, and I hate the empty tank feeling I have. This, too, shall pass!


T: minus 47 days

I can't believe its almost Christmas again. Time seems to really fly by as I get older. And I'm only 29! It seems like every time I blink, its Christmastime. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Not because of the presents that I've always been fortunate enough to receive, but because we spend so much family time in the Christmas season. Growing up, I was blessed to live very close to several members of our family. My grandparents bought land and built a house on it, then gave land to each of their 3 daughters when they got married. (Their 2 sons chose to move elsewhere, though they've always been nearby.) So I lived on the same piece of land with my grandparents and two aunts. We started out in a single-wide trailer and my parents built a house when I was about 4, so I never really moved. I loved it. 

My husband's family is pretty similar. His parents' house is surrounded on both sides by DH's great aunts, and next to one great-aunt are the other two aunts, then his grandma. And a little bit further down the road is our own home. And all of this is 3 miles from where I grew up. To say we both come from close-knit families is an understatement! Our parents never lacked for babysitters when we were younger, and we always had cousins available to play with.

My point is that though DH and I both come from families that get together all the time (and were more often than not barging into each other's homes on a daily basis!), Christmas has always been special. At Christmas the whole family gets together, not just those that stuck close by. And we're all together at the same time for a big meal. I have so many fond memories of Christmas supper at Grandma's....When Papa was living, he made grape wine every year using grapes from his vines. That was some strong stuff! But so good. After eating a huge supper, we'd go to the living room, the adults would drink wine from tiny glasses, Mama would play the piano, and we'd all sing. I should stop typing in past tense, because this still happens, though now we use store-bought wine (preferably Duplin County wine!). Mama and her sisters always end up making up a silly song or two, which they sing for the rest of us with Mama accompanying on the piano. (We sound like a bunch of drunks, don't we? I promise, we're not! We act like that when there's no wine involved, too. We just like our wine on Christmas!)

At some point during the night, we exchange presents, but that's not the part I ever remember after the day is over. Sure, I enjoy getting gifts, and I love seeing someone open a present I picked out for them. But I really love (and crave) is the family time. Just being together, laughing, eating good food, enjoying each other's company. My family is not perfect, but we've always managed to put any differences aside at Christmas and have fun together. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if we all decided to skip presents this year and just hang out at Grandma's.

Which is the real reason for this post. One of the blogs I read recently posted about Christmas and mentioned something called The Advent Conspiracy. Of course I was intrigued so I looked it up. I encourage you to check out their website, but basically its just an informative website to encourage people to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and forget about all the hustle and bustle of gift-giving. Their video sums is up nicely. Every time I watch this video I get chills!

This may not be the exact video that's on AC's website, but I don't think they change it much every year. The idea is the same. When I first watched the video and visited their website, I was completely on board. I talked to DH about it, and I really pushed for doing something meaningful, like donating our money and time to charity, at Christmas instead of buying a bunch of presents for everyone. He likes the idea, but he's realistic and knows that this is so hard to do.

Since we got married, every year at Christmas we make a loooooong list of people we "need" to buy presents for: our parents, siblings, my sisters' children, grandmothers (neither of us have grandfathers living), and each other. And then there's the "extras:" our bosses, DH's co-workers (I don't have any co-workers), a few friends and special cousins, and then one of my siblings usually has a significant other at Christmas that I feel compelled to buy for. We set a limit for each person, and of course different people have different limits. I am really good at sticking to the "Christmas budget" and I am an excellent sales-shopper. DH, not so much. He absolutely loves buying things for other people. Which tends to make him go overboard. We say every year that our limit for each other is $100, but he has never stuck to that limit for me. (I don't either anymore, because I felt bad he was spending so much more on me than I was on him!)

Usually, DH gives me the money (he's a great saver and saves all year for Christmas, while I am terrible at saving money - mainly because it takes everything I make to pay my half of the bills and my student loans! - and never have any at the end of the year - boo) and sets the budget, and I do all the shopping. He's a great shopping companion, but I am so much quicker than him. I usually know beforehand what I want to get for each person, so when I get to the store, I just pick it up and go. DH is a "browser." So when he does go with me, it takes twice as long, though we always have fun shopping together. He's also great at being a careful listener in the weeks before Christmas, so he knows what people want without having to ask them. So our system has worked well for us for years now.

Except its so wasteful. There are people that we buy presents for that we only see maybe 3 times a year. We don't know them well enough to have any idea what type of things they like, or even what size clothes they wear. So they get gift cards or generic gifts. Of course, who doesn't love a gift card (you can buy exactly what you want), but there's no love in a gift card. Or some stupid little something we randomly picked up because we didn't know what else to get you. We just end up buying something for the sake of having a present. And what happens to that present? Most likely it goes unused. Completely wasted. I know I receive gifts like that, I have no idea what to do with them because they are completely not "me," and then I feel guilty for not using them. (Because what if the gift giver sees you later on and asks how you like the gift?!) SO much stress! Unnecessary stress.

My proposition to DH was to cut back on the amount we spend on each person. Find truly meaningful gifts and not buy stuff just for filler. No one should be keeping up with how much others spent on you. Right?? And for the "extended" people on our gift-giving list, I plan to propose we don't do gifts at all, just get together and have a big meal and just spend time together. Which is what we do anyway. When we get together for Christmas with my sisters (step-sisters, actually), we all have so much fun together that if it weren't for the younger kids pushing us we wouldn't get around to opening gifts. And I think the main reason we do presents at all is because of the kids. But now my youngest nephew is 12, so they're all old enough to understand you don't need a ton of presents. (My daughter will be 2 by Christmas, but she hasn't yet learned that Christmas is a time of presents, so she wouldn't miss it.) I hope to talk to my sisters this weekend to get their thoughts and suggest we eat supper together as usual, and maybe do something fun afterwards (or before), like go ice skating in Raleigh or go see lights somewhere. I have a feeling they'll both be on board.

I also proposed to DH that we tell our parents not to buy me and him anything. Honestly, we don't need anything, and I'd rather they save their money. I'd like to set limits for them buying C presents, but I doubt that'll go over well. He thinks it'll make his parents feel too bad if we say don't buy us anything, like we're doin it out of pity or something. So I doubt that happens. I'd be perfectly happy, though, if no one bought me anything. C's birthday is a few days before Christmas, so she'll get plenty of gifts then, and really she doesn't need many Christmas presents either. But like I said, everyone wants to buy her stuff. (Maybe that'll change one day if we have more children!)

My final proposition is this: For the people we absolutely are buying presents for, we should purchase stuff from local businesses. Like Mary Kay reps (and conveniently, I am one, haha), local bakeries, local specialty stores, etc. That way we're not supporting Target and WalMart, but local people. And the gifts will have more meaning because it took more thought to get them. I'm really digging this idea! (It wasn't my idea, though; I saw a thing on facebook about it and shared the photo.)

So wish me luck on Operation Put CHRIST Back In Christmas around here! Maybe we'll gradually cut back and eventually not buy presents anymore. Whatever happens, I vow to make this Christmas less stressful and more fun and more Christ-focused. ( :