{Christmas Ornaments :: 2013}

we began this lovely Christmas ornament tradition of tara's last year.
i was a bit behind the game...which was just fine...so the girls got them on Christmas eve with their new jammies.
this year i was prepared and it felt great!!!
after a yummy thanksgiving breakfast the girls gathered on the sofa for their surprises.
i covered up the picture on the box so they couldn't see the ornament till they opened it.
 we also added a note to explain why we choose each one.


blurry...oh well

thanks again tara for the lovely idea!!:)
have a happy day,


{Happy Thanksgiving}

let's just pretend it's not already December...k?:)
after a fantastic thanksgiving at my brother's thanksgiving part two did not disappoint.
it was small and quiet and just us, and that was ok too.
daddy's famous pumpkin bread french toast style
this is how i found aubrey that morning.
yep, reading a thankful book all snuggled in her bed.
couldn't have planned that one better.
our weather was sunny and beautiful.
the girls played together so wonderfully all day.
coloring posters
american girls parties
calico critters
making thankful lists and hand print turkeys.
aubrey was in charge of crescent rolls again this year and riley made her famous cranberry compote.
janey helped daddy the day before with stuffing and mashed potatoes. sorry we didn't get a picture jane...but they sure were yummy!:)

and just look at that bird!

a picture perfect lip smacking meal from beginning to end.

after a quick clean up and a little play time we headed out to see the new movie frozen.
we have never gone to a movie on thanksgiving day before and i have to say it was fun!
we have been anticipating this movie for soooo long now.
the girls loved it of course...i was just so so...tangled was better!!:)

hope your thanksgiving was filled with thankfulness and lots and lots of love!
after we got home we started to drag up all the green and red!
Christmas decorations are here!!!
yep, we ate our pumpkin pie on snowman plates and i had my first of many readings of the night before Christmas.
it's here!!
it's here!!



we got the girls up at 3:45 and managed to be on the road by 4:31!
the weather was certainly not our friend this trip. dave powered through 12 long hours of rain and fog to get us there. thank you baby. (and 14 hours of rain/snow/sleet and ice to get us home!)

we made it with only 45 minutes to gulp down some dinner and change our clothes before emily's big dance night. she did an amazing job and blew us all away with her talent and poise on that stage. aubrey was so cute in the audience...each time a new act began she would say (rather loudly)..."is emily up there? is that emily? right there? is that her?:)" thank goodness the people in front of us had little ones of their own.

as usual, i spent way more time soakin up the love then standing behind the camera. but that's ok.

aubrey followed jessi around the whole time.
it was so sweet.


emily had a second performance at the tree lighting ceremony...we missed her in this shot.


::we will always remember::
silly yo mamma jokes and michael's infectious laugh
aubrey feeding charley ice
epic fail youtube videos
michael and the girls up till midnight almost every night
the movie free birds....super cute!!!
emily's choreography to footloose
jessi reading to aubrey and playing dolls with her...and riding everywhere in the car with her too

thanks so much for the best "pretend thanksgiving" ever.
we miss and love you guys and can't wait to see you again in may.


{Janey and Today}

this girl really does amaze me sometimes.
all my girls do actually, but today it's janey's turn.

she has such a tender, loyal, loving heart.
her bestest friend since day one of third grade is sad that janey will be out of school for the next few days. (trip to MD, more on that later) janey helped her come up with some things to do without her and games to play with other friends while she was gone. so motherly and caring don't you think? she wrote notes to put in her locker after school for her to find friday morning and we even took a late night trip to claire's last night to get her a bff locket. and she put the cutest little teeny tiny picture inside.

she is leaving her wrapped up surprise with her teacher to give her friday morning too. she was so concerned about her other friends seeing her special gift for kamryn that she thought the teacher could do it more discreetly.:)  all that concern for feelings and hearts just makes me so proud of her.
i love you so my sweet janey brooke.
feeling a bit frantic and whirly swirly today.
you know the feeling.
kind of like standing in a sea of spinning to-do's flying around you and you're either standing still watching it all spin out of control or moving in slow motion trying to make a dent.:)
either way = swirly whirly
found this selfie on my phone this am...
tomorrow we are going to see my brother and his family in MD.
my niece emily is dancing in a holiday performance and we can't wait to see her.
we are on a bit of a time crunch so we have to leave bright and early at 4:00 am to make it in time.
call us crazy and think of us when you see the sunrise.
so this afternoon i am finishing up
cleaning the house
cleaning the car
completing my Christmas card order
plus all the other things i do during the day.
but it's all good and i'm not complaining.
i feel happy and full and ready for a 12 hour car ride.
i love car rides actually.
everyone stuck together in one spot.
even when things get crazy and hectic, and they do and they will, we are still together.
so first i will unpack our overflowing library book bag, then turn on michael buble holiday on pandora. because i feel it...it's here...the holidays are a comin!!!:)
have a happy day,


{Photo Shoot Faves}

we did it!
managed to grab hold of  the only somewhat sunny-ish day this week and get some pics of the girls.
it really was fun.
they looooove it!
i looooove it...so why don't we do it more often!?:)

still learning this camera of mine.
i was tempted a few times to just pop it in automatic and go for it, but we stuck it out and i did it...in full manual mode. that alone is worth a woohoo!!

there are some shadows on faces and countless other things i wish i could go back and change (like dressing aubrey in white...i think it really threw off the color and i was this close to changing her dress at the last minute...argh!!) but those smiles. they melt me. i can see them in those shots. their little subtle looks and glances, i love every.single.one....all 150 of them!!:)

here are just a few of our faves.


every year janey begs us to do a fancy dress Christmas card photo.
and every year we end up goin casual.
kind of a toughie when not everyone wants to wear fancy dresses anymore.
ok...really just one person!:)
so this year we grabbed one of her fancy dresses out of the closet and did a presto change in the car.
i promised her i would enlarge one of these to include in the card for our family!:)
that made her somewhat happy....!!:)

Christmas card photos...check!
how's your list of holiday must do's lookin??:)
have a happy day,