{Christmas Preparation}

Hi again....yeah, I'm still here and finally plugged back in! Never really seemed to solve the problem after two trips to visit the Geek Squad and countless attempts on our own...so we are now uploading straight from the camera as opposed to taking the memory card in and out and so far it seems to be working...who knows...we are just keeping our fingers crossed at this point.  Please bare with me as I back track a bit to get this little family blog of ours updated and caught up. 

The days leading up to Christmas were magical.  We had a lot of snow on the ground and that always helps to add to the Christmasy feeling.  Dave and the girls were part of our church's live nativity.  I think standing near a real honest to goodness camel was just a wee bit exciting for everyone.

After writing letters to Santa {pictures lost in the chaos somewhere....:( } We got our rolling pins and cookie cutters ready.

we had so much fun with all the sugary goodness

We tried something new this year for Christmas Eve dinner. We made a meal of appetizers and fondue.  The girls thought this was so much fun and clean-up was a snap.  
our handsome chef got to kind of take the night off...busy cooking day tomorrow...:)

all dressed up and ready for church
trying to steal a moment in the middle of the chaos
see Aubrey?
she keeps pulling Janey's headband off
and laughing
really hard

got that Christmas kiss after all
new jammies 

making sure the cookies are "ok" for Santa

finishing up last minute letters 
Riley left a box for Santa to draw a picture of himself and Janey asked the elves to do the same

reading The Night Before Christmas together
Do you have the Mary Engelbreit illustrated version?
It's our favorite.

Everyone eagerly jumped into bed around 8:30.
With visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads :)
Of course that's when the real work began.....


{Technical Difficulties}

Hi friends!
I hope your Christmas was filled with many, many blessings.
We had a very merry one that's for sure.
As I attempted to upload photos Christmas Eve, I thought I was having a memory card problem but after trying again with a new card I think our problem goes a bit further!! Sloan...is your hubby available??:) If not, I think we have to un-plug and get this baby to the repair shop.  

Perfect timing I guess...we are heading to Chicago tomorrow for an early birthday trip for Janey.  Hopefully the powers that be at Best Buy can work their magic while we are away and all will be right with the world when we return!  Fingers crossed...

Enjoy the day,



After taking a few great photos at home we headed to the mall for our annual Christmas portrait and Santa visit.
We have been taking a professional picture of the girls every Christmas ever since Riley was born.
We always get the mega package deal where you get like a gazillion pictures for $9.99.
It was quick and easy.
In and out and on our way.
On our way to see Santa that is.
This is a very important part of this holiday tradition.
They're already dressed up after all so why not.

We had seen Santa several times at the mall already this year.
We did the walk by and the wave, but I was really curious about what Aubrey would think.

I think it helped having big sisters there to help.
{Unless your big sisters were on the phone calling the North Pole that is!:)}

not looking so sure....

I'm outta here...

let's try one more time

back for one more look
I really wish I could have seen it from Santa's point of view!

nothing like that candy cane from Santa

I think I took about 50 pictures of them walking through the mall
Dave was so embarrassed
not really ...
but a little maybe
I even went inside the stores trying to get a cool window shopping shot
didn't quite work like I had imagined
see Dave over there pushing the stroller
trying to pretend he doesn't know me??!!:)

We had dinner in the food court
and then ended our mall adventure on the carousel
of course

this was a big night for Aubrey
first carousel ride

I think she loved it

ended this perfect evening on the sofa with these two little sweeties 
 the big sweetie behind the camera
a little sweetie sleeping soundly in her bed
and a big bowl of popcorn.


{More Fun}

Remember all the fun I had with my camera a few days ago?
Well, it continued when the big girls got home too.
We took a lot of picture.
I mean a lot....

I think holding that smile for so long was starting to effect their brains....
finally decided on a few 
and here is our Christmas card this year.....
drum roll please.....
We got them at Sams.
They were a pretty good deal.
Only $27 for 100!
It actually cost me more for the stamps then the cards!

I would love to do what Sloan did someday and take a walk down 
but...well...I'm feeling a bit too lazy to dig them all up...:)
but here is the one from last year at least!

What a difference a year makes huh?

I must say it feels good to have the cards in the mail!
We are down to the fun stuff now...making cookies, decorating ornaments, remembering the real meaning of Christmas and just being together.  I must say, that after last weeks whirlwind Friday it feels like I have been away forever. But with Dave and the girls both on vacation, all I want to do is be with them and soak up every little thing this magical time of year has to offer. 

I hope you are soaking it all up too.
Every single minute of it...
Enjoy the day,


{A Bunch of Random and a Confession}

Hello friends
Happy Friday to you!
This day is finally here...I'm ready for it...and I'm so happy!

Today is party day.
I'm in charge of both classroom parties and what seems like hours of work and thought are packed up neatly in two little bags on the table, ready to go and it feels great.
Teacher gifts are wrapped and ready to deliver and Christmas cards are sealed and ready for Mr. Postman.
Can I hear a woo hoo!:)
Today is also the girls last day of school so vacation is near and the best part is, Dave will be on vacation too!
Ahhh...I can already feel the stress melting away....

So on to the random and the confession.
Let's start with the confession...
Remember that great check off routine system i had in place?
Well, it's no longer!
I should have known myself better then that I guess.  I have never been good at those things, even in the classroom.  I look at it as just one more thing to keep track of and who needs that?  I think it served it's purpose, it brought our attention to the many things that need to be done to keep our home running smoothly, and it served as a visual reminder (I still have a smaller non-checking version on the girls bathroom mirror).  In all honestly, the routines are getting done and there is little complaining, so maybe it worked better then I thought it did.:)  It just seemed like the sweetie that didn't need it was the one who always remembered to check it off and the one who did need it...well you can figure that out.:)  I'm sure the need to revisit the area of routines and responsibilities will rear it's ugly head many times and when it does, we'll be ready.

Now for the random...
A few weeks ago before our big snow fall, we got a little dusting.
The girls thought it would be fun to run to the corner before school and let me pick them up like a school bus. Is that crazy or what??? Made me laugh.  Who wants to stand on the corner freezing??

Since I had the camera with me I decided to take a picture of them at drop off.  It's funny how you never take a picture of the things you do every. single. day.  But really, those are memories and some of them are oh so sweet and I don't want to forget them.

Janey always turns to wave goodbye and looks back as she walks up the sidewalk for me to yell one more time from the window..."Goodbye Janey...I love you"

Aubrey in her jammies, 
eating a pretzel, 
waiting to give her goodbye waves.

Riley hops out
sees some friends 
and she's off.
I have to get all my "goodbyes and  love yous" in the car.
If she walks in alone I do get a secret smile and wave from the top of those stairs.
Third grade will do that to a girl I guess
She was the same as Janey just two short years ago...

Janey's class has been studying Holidays Around the World.  We had to make a collage of our family's traditions and customs.  She was so very proud of that thing and worked so hard on it.  That little sweetie has a very strong work ethic.  She gives her all to everything. She has passion. I love that.

Riley drew this picture of us a few weeks ago.
She drew us all with a passion.

I'm decorating with a Christmas ornament
Daddy has his University of Miami football shirt on
Riley has a soccer ball
Janey is singing
and Aubrey has Elmo.
Notice all the girls are wearing peace shirts?
love it

Janey had her first grade Holiday Show on Tuesday.
To say she was excited was a huge under statement.
She talked about it for weeks.
Kept all the songs a secret and was literally busting at the seams as we walked through the high school parking lot. 
I loved watching her scan the crowd for us.
She told us just where to sit so we could see her the best.
She kept yawning and looked very sleepy on the top step of those risers...late night for her I guess.:)

it was a great night 
way to go Janey!

More snow fell again yesterday.
It was so beautiful to wake up to that blanket of white.
It's especially beautiful when you see it freshly fallen
before any foot prints have touched it.
The girls loved it.
Dave and Janey worked hard.

Riley made a snowman

So there you have it
A post filled with a whole lotta random.

Hope you have a fantastic Friday!
Enjoy the day,