Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Things were semi-cold here last week. Like in the 40s, which is below 0 for Floridians. Luckily, one of my friends gave me coats for the girls to wear (which they never have needed to), and we busted those and their boots out and felt positively autumnal for about three days.

June's class had a Thanksgiving party for parents that day, and she was still wearing that coat even though it was during the last hour of school. I think she felt very chic.

I should back up. Dan's mom came into town for a long weekend, and we had such a glorious time with her. We went to Sweet Pete's, we met up with Dan for lunch, we went to the park, we went shopping, and we just did normal day-to-day stuff too, and it was SO nice having her around. She was super helpful and super fun.

On Sunday, after church, we headed to the beach to walk alongside the shore. We kind of forgot that there was this hurricane thingy here and the beach was all messed up and ugly and FREEZING and we only stayed 15 minutes, though it took us 30 to get there. Everyone else was a much better sport than I was. The second we arrived there, I curled up into a ball on a random tree stump until everyone said they had had enough too.

Kristi and I took turns wearing Dan's old letterman's jacket from high school and feeling really cool.

 Back home and getting cozy.

For Thanksgiving, we did something a bit different this year. We made reservations at a restaurant in Savannah and spent the day there.

Before heading out:

I forgot to take pictures at the restaurant, but we ate at the famous The Lady and Sons. I must admit that a few years ago, a friend of mine told me that her family always ate out for Thanksgiving, and I scoffed at her. Well friends, I'm an idiot. Eating out on Thanksgiving was awesome. Especially since I only have my little crew and I'm still preggy-not feeling well. We drove. We consumed. We left. We did not cook. We did not clean. We just gluttonized (new word) ourselves and were on our merry way. And the food was awesome.

Then we headed to Forsyth Park, and it was so big and beautiful, and the weather was great. The girls were so full of energy, and Dan and I were weighed down by creamy mac and cheese, turkey, and 600 hoecakes, so we were an interesting party.

They had the best playground ever, and we could have stayed all day. So we did.

Don't worry, I helped out by carrying my own purse for once.

In short, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Eating out for Thanksgiving was one of my fondest memories of 2016.

We spent the rest of the weekend with Dan doing some school work, but also being able to spend a lot of time together as a family. It was the best ever. We all whimpered Sunday night when we knew it was going to come to an end.

By far my favorite Christmas ornament. Dan tries to throw it away every year, but I love his little cross-eyed face. Adorable. And yes, my girls and he are triplets. They let me hang out with them every once in awhile. They're good people.

 Our tiny Charlie Brownish tree.

We were going to wait until Christmas, but Dan set up this trampoline for the girls that we got a steal of a deal on. They were excited, but I don't think you could beat our own excitement. The cool house has the trampoline, right? We are still in that mentality. Unfortunately, trampolines and pregnant bladders don't mix, I've discovered.

And now a thought on gratitude. I have a lot to be grateful for, but I'd like to mention three.

1. I'm grateful for this baby (who is a boy by the way). This pregnancy has thrown me for a loop and I'm still not 100%. I spend a lot of time on my back, no longer from nausea but from back pain. But still, he's healthy and I'm healthy, and we are excited to welcome him. His name shall be Zorro.

Not really.

2. I hate to list something material, but I'm going to. Every once in awhile, I'm working in my kitchen and see a van parked in our driveway and think "Oh crud! I better go get some real clothes on because someone's here!" And then I remember that this van belongs to us. Or it will in 58 more payments. Dan and I have almost always had cars to drive, but mine was getting especially old (like 15 years) and was pretty temperamental and too small for three kids. So we bought this baby, and I LOVE IT. I LOVE DRIVING A MINIVAN. I HAVE A WEAK BLADDER. I'M A MOM AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.

 3. The third thing I'm grateful for is a true story that happened to Dan in the month of October. He was in New Orleans for a job fair that his school (University of Florida) was helping to sponsor. He was going to network and talk business and hopefully land some interviews and all of those totally awkward things that I'm glad I'm not in charge of doing because I would tell people about my weak bladder in the first five minutes. Filter, I have not.

Anyway, the conference was in this really nice conference center downtown, and we wanted him to be close to the action so we booked this ridiculously expensive hotel across the street. The plan was that his friend was going to room with him and split the cost for the two nights. Well, his friend bailed, and we were looking at several hundred dollars for our hotel bill. We are definitely on a budget and trying to get through school and having kids come out of our noses, so this was a bit of a blow.

The second morning Dan was there, he called me bright and early. "GREAT NEWS!" he exclaimed. "The front lobby's computer system shut down last night, and the clerk accidentally assigned my room to another lady, and she walked in on me changing my clothes last night and now we get a 50% discount!!"

Yes. Only the Jolleys would be excited about getting walked in on while you are in your underwear, but excited we were. I told him to try to get it to happen again and get the whole thing free. HAHA.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We are surely blessed, but most of all because we have a Savior who paid the price for our sins so that we can be with our Heavenly Father again. Love you!

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Toward the beginning of October, I started to feel a little bit better. I still have really rough days, but one Sunday, toward the beginning of the month, I was feeling brave and showered and put on nice clothes and make-up and went to church! I received so many compliments from Daniel on how pretty I looked, which I know really meant, "You look much less corpse-like today!"

Dan came to church dressed for the hurricane clean-up taking place after Sacrament Meeting. Lucky!!

This was the first year June really understood Halloween, and it was so fun. We celebrated all month long. My girls LOVE scary things (read: skeletons and witches, NOT Freddy Krueger).

We went to the Jacksonville Fall Festival for kids with special needs one Saturday.

We were lucky to get Gwen in her costume that day. She has worn it several times throughout the year, but decided this October that she was OVER IT and cried a lot about wearing it. She finally put it on for the fair because June wanted her to (note: not mom or dad), but refused to wear it for our ward trunk or treat or for regular trick or treating, thereby ruining our family costume idea (note: never doing that again).

All throughout the festival, I couldn't stop exclaiming such deep thoughts as, "We are hanging out as a family!!" or "We are having fun!" Between Dan's full-time work, school and church and my Pukey McPukerson self, we haven't done anything fun for months. I felt like a lifestyle blogger!!

 To top off the day acting as impostor people who have perfect fall days packed with autumnal-themed activities, I put on a Halloween-themed movie for the girls when we got home, and I did my annual tradition of making pumpkin chocolate chip bread for our friends and neighbors. I made about a dozen loaves this year. If Dan hadn't had to give us a shot of reality by leaving to do a bunch of school and work-related stuff, I would have thought we were all alien-abducted versions of ourselves.

Lifestyle blogger or food blogger? You tell me.

 Gwen is very discreet when she snitches some.

 June also had a very big week at school this last week. It was red ribbon spirit week AND she was named Student of the Month from her class.

I arrived at the school with about ONE second to spare. They called her name as I entered the room. I zipped across the room to where June was sitting and scurried her up to the stage. I understand my own mother a lot more now that I am one.

Meanwhile, Gwen kept running away and we didn't stay for any of the other awards.

I kind of laughed when the teacher told me June was receiving an award. She does get a good behavior report most days, but she bit a kid a week before this ceremony happened. It is not lost on me that there are 8 kids in her class and 8 months or chances to receive this award.

Catching a natural smile on June for pictures is a hilarious attempt at the impossible. For being such a smiley girl, she is stiff as can be about pictures. Or she jumps a lot.

I actually helped June participate in the Spirit Days this year. She loved it.

Tuesday was Career Day. I made her this beautiful chef's hat from a youtube tutorial out of tissue paper. (Craft blogger?)

I made one for Gwen too because I knew she would throw a fit if she didn't get one. Then of course Gwen was insulted that I expected her to wear one and refused to wear it. Which caused June to have a meltdown walking into the school. Moms just can't win.

Thursday was Red Day. June LOVES red and she loves rules, so she loved pointing out all of the people who weren't wearing red and informing them of what a disappointment they were to her. While checking her into the front office, another little girl came up to me and asked me if I knew what Red Day was for. Playing dumb, I told her that I did not and asked her if she would tell me. She told me it was "Congratulations to Drugs Day". Something I can totally get behind.

Friday was the Character Parade, and June's class dressed as pumpkins to go along with some pumpkin book they were reading.

A word about my emotional state while pregnant. I cry. A lot. I cried through this whole parade. No clue why. Let me tell you how many other parents were crying--zero. I also have cried singing along with "We are the Champions" on the radio. Things just get to me these days.

Of course, the highlight of the month was that my best friend, Linz, came to visit me. It's our tradition for her to come for "Heatherween", a combination of Halloween on Oct. 31st and my birthday on November 1st. We had a lot of fun even though I was upchucking on my birthday (woe is me). We shopped, we watched movies, we sang "Jessie's Girl" at the top of our lungs. We are similar in many ways. However, there is a key way that we are opposite. Linz has a science/engineering mind, and my brain pretty much refutes the idea atoms even exist. I don't like figuring things out or really working with my hands. So Linz always offers to do things for me that I am not into, like carving a pumpkin. 

I just enjoyed taking pictures of her face of concentration throughout. The finished product? No pictures. (Photography blogger?)

And no pictures of Halloween! Gwen ended up being a princess instead of a bee, and we went strong for about an hour until Gwen was pretty much comatose in the stroller and June was dragging her bucket of candy and saying things like "It's soooooo dark outside" and "This is sooooo hebby (heavy)." Kids are wimps. I could have gone for hours.

And now we are looking forward to another fun-filled holiday month!!! (Not our yard, but we take lots of pictures in other peoples' yards!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Do You Remember Dancing in September?

A smattering of recent activity in the Jolley household:

1. I'm pregnant. If you are surprised, that makes three of us! Dan was so surprised that all he could manage to sputter was, "How did this HAPPEN?" He will be attending a local fifth grade classroom presentation to learn about this topic later in the year. Though we are surprised, we are grateful to welcome this baby into our home sometime in April. June never acknowledged that I was pregnant with Gwen, even when I brought Gwen home from the hospital. This time, she's getting it. She told me that the baby shall be called "June" and she has told her teachers several times that her mother is "really big."

I'm sure you're dying to know how I'm feeling. I'll spare you the literally juicy details by saying--I've finally lost the last ten pounds I gained with Gwen!! Luckily, my mom came for a visit and relieved me for a few days. Moms are the best, especially my mom. 

2. June had her first primary presentation. And it was to-die-for awesome. I had to really work to get myself to church that Sunday, but I'm so glad I did. We worked on her parts for four weeks. June is the most visual learner on the planet, so I knew I would have to make her parts into a picture-story in order for her to learn it. I came up with something that actually worked. Revelation is real!

She had four pages like this, and she hit it out of the park. I was a bit nervous going in to the presentation though, because the primary president told me that every time they practiced, June did her part, but always added a little something "extra" and it was always something different. One day, she went off about Wilbur the Pig, another day she would sing, etc. On the big day, June walked up to the microphone with her toy giraffe in hand (she has to have a wiggle toy to help her sit through primary stuff), and yelled into the microphone "TESTING! TESTING! 123! 123!" Dan and I were laughing so hard we cried. I have no idea where she learned to say that. But she delivered her first part perfectly! And then laughed really hard into the microphone at the end.

Though we practiced the songs quite a bit and June is a great singer, she just doesn't get how to sing in a group setting. So instead of singing along with the rest of the primary, she played with her giraffe on her teacher's lap. Fine by me.

Her second part contained several references to the Savior, and when she would get to the part where I had put a picture of Jesus, she would yell, "Hey! It's Jesus Christ! YAY!" and then say the rest of her part. It was a good day. What was the best part was all of my fellow ward members cheering her on. Dozens of people came up to Dan and me afterward and told us how proud they were of June for doing her part. People are good.

3. June had her first homework assignment. AKA I had my first homework assignment to do for June.

4. Gwen has a favorite dress. Understatement of the year. This dress gets worn, clean or dirty, cold or hot, day or night. June used to wear it too, and it's the rattiest, grossest dress ever and is way too small for Gwen. So we just put a pair of pants underneath.

Playing ring around the rosies:

At the end of the song, during "we all fall down!", June helps a sister out and just pushes Gwen to the ground.

Older sisters. Sheesh.

5. My girls have already decided what to be for Halloween this year and it may seem familiar.

 Isn't June just a natural when it comes to smiling for pics?

There's that dress again. 

June has it in her head that Halloween = ladybug for her and bumblebee for Gwen, and I'm not fighting it. I love keeping things easy. This will be her third year in this costume and Gwen's second.

Since I spend most of the day in bed being sick, I appreciate Gwen's ability to make herself her own breakfast, lunch and dinner. She just dumps a whole cereal box in her trick or treat bucket and grazes on it throughout the day.

I should probably rename this post--Parenting isn't my strong suit. Nah, too much work. Back to bed.