Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas 2010

I know I've said it before, but I love everything about this time of year. The cooler weather that gives us Floridians a break from the heat ... the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping presents ... baking ... family ... Christmas carols ... church ... you name it, I love it.

Our family had a wonderful Christmas. We had a quiet morning at home, opening the presents that Santa left for us. (yes, I said Santa) Abby didn't quite understand what was happening, but she did figure out how to open her presents rather quickly. She enjoyed playing with her new toys while Mommy and Daddy exchanged their gifts. It was perfect.

It was a beautiful day, a little warmer than it had been, so we decided to take a trip to the park. I used my new lens (birthday gift from hubs) and took way too many pictures! Some turned out pretty good, others not so much. After a much needed nap time, we had a nice dinner with the Piersoll Family and swapped more presents with each other. More memories were made to add to a very, merry Christmas!

It's times like these where Jim and I miss our families and wish they were nearby. So even though we couldn't be together on Christmas Day, we enjoyed our visit with my family the week before and we look forward to his family visiting us next month!

Since we took so many photos, I decided to put them in a slideshow for you all. That way you can see what our Christmas was like. Some of the pictures need to be edited ... either the lighting is off, the focus is unclear, or they may need to be cropped a bit. But one thing I've learned about photography is this ... it doesn't take a perfect photo to capture a memory that will last forever. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Birthday Gift needs practice ...

For my birthday the hubs gifted me with the camera lens I had been wanting for a while. I was totally excited about getting the new lens but a little apprehensive at the same time. To get the better photos, this lens requires you to do more manual adjusting to get the photo quality just right. Sometimes it's just easier to shoot on auto when chasing a toddler around but adjusting the settings can really make a difference in the photo you capture.

I've been practicing with the new lens a lot lately and still have a lot to learn! The lighting in these photos isn't the best, there are some shadows, but the clarity and detail is there. I hope to take more photos this week, but for now here are some photos of Abby from Christmas morning. I'll be posting a slideshow of our Christmas Day later this week ....

Abby lovin' the slide ...

... and of course the swing.

Already posing for the camera :)

Say "cheese!"

What better time to practice bokeh than with Christmas lights?!

I tried to get creative with custom bokeh ...
hearts for Mary, Joseph & Baby Jesus.

I borrowed the idea from
Kevin & Amanda ... check out her blog, it's great!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Santa, she's starting to like you ...

Well not quite.
But we did manage to get a photo
on this Christmas Eve!!

Second attempt = success :)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holidays = Family Time

There is nothing more special than spending time with family, especially during the holiday season. Being together, sharing old memories and making new ones, puts everyone in the holiday spirit. My Mom, Dad, and sister were here last week and we kicked off the Christmas season together.

Abby was sick on and off throughout the week with a cold and a fever, but we made the most of our time together. We had so much to do! Presents to be opened, cookies to be baked, shopping to be done.

Abby liked unwrapping her presents and playing with the wrapping paper. Of course, she liked playing with her new toys too. She got so many new things that Santa could take our house off his list this year! Just kidding... little girls are meant to be spoiled, right?!

Aunt Jenny gave Abby this new pair of shoes that light up. Abby loved them and wanted to wear them right away. I wonder where Abby gets her love for shoes? Wink, Wink....

Abby showed the fam all her new tricks ...
including her dance moves with Frosty.

Between all the shopping and baking, there was a lot of playtime. We played with Abby's new tent and tunnel, read books together, danced to music, and had a music parade. (I'm sure that was a sight to see, but kinda wish we had pictures of it)

Thank you Mom, Dad, and Jen for coming to Florida
to see us and visit our new home!
I only wish you could have stayed longer ...

Here's hoping you are able to spend time with
family this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordy Wednesday - 16 months

Abby turned 16 months old last Thursday and I swear she's changing every single day. It seems like each day she is surprising me with something new. Her newest words (and clearest) are "cookie" and "cracker." Abby still loves to dance and listen to music, but lately has taken a liking to coloring. Well.. she may like the crayons more than the coloring part of it. She is quite content to take the crayons out of the box and then put them back in. Over and over. It's always the little things that amuse a small child!

On Monday, Abby had her 15 month well-visit (a month late). Abby may have a belly on her, but she is on her way to being a taller and leaner baby. She weighed 24 pounds, which puts her in the 60th percentile for weight. For the first time, Abby was in the 90th percentile for height, measuring 32.5 inches in length. It looks as though she'll be tall like her Mommy and Daddy. Abby has a mouthful of teeth now ... working on number 10! What a big girl!

Our whole family has been fighting a cold/cough for a month now it seems. It was perfect timing to have the well-visit appointment so the doc could make sure the lingering cold was getting better. Thankfully, Abby has been feeling better this week. It's time to get ready for Christmas! Lots of new photos to come soon!

Thank you Aunt Jenny for my new tunnel, I love it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Santa, I promise she'll like you one day.

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is the chubby old man with a big round belly and a white beard. I love how Santa is able to instill belief in the hearts of young children. The ability to believe in something so magical is such a memorable experience that children will never ever forget. At least I know I haven't. Like most children, I wanted to wait up and catch Santa putting presents under the tree or eating the cookies we had baked the night before. There is just something special about that man and how he spreads so much cheer with his deep belly laugh and "Ho, Ho, Ho."

Abby was four months old last year at Christmastime. She was in awe of Santa, his beard, and his quiet voice. But she was also such a small baby and was intrigued by everything around her. If you don't remember her photo with Santa, you can click here to see a happy baby.

Since last year seemed so easy, I was hoping that this year would follow suit. Wrong. Abby wanted no part of Santa. The odds were against though from the beginning. Abby wasn't feeling too great and it was nap time. I was hoping she would light up when she saw Santa and forget about the rest, but as soon as she turned the corner and spotted him, she let us know she was done. Screaming, real tears, kicking feet. Poor Santa. He tried giving her candy. Poor elf helper. She tried giving her a reindeer hat. Screaming, real tears, kicking feet continued. Needless to say, no photo opportunity with Santa. I just couldn't bring myself to force her. Poor Abby.

Fast forward to the next day and we are out with family at a local antique shop. I was holding Abby and she was happy as could be. She was looking around taking everything in. Everything. All of a sudden, Abby starts to cry... real tears. At first I had no clue what had happened. Then I spotted him. A man with a long, white beard. Great. Poor Abby thinks any bearded man is Santa. Here's hoping she enjoys Santa much more next Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday + Ornament Exchange

It's Thursday, almost the weekend, and my family is here y'all!! I'm thankful that we are able to enjoy the holidays together and celebrate Christmas a little early. We have plans to visit Santa, open our presents, shop a little, and enjoy a sunset at the beach. I'm thankful that the temperatures are rising and we'll be able to enjoy some time outside!

When I first saw that Shannon was hosting (along with Karen) their 1st annual ornament exchange, I thought it would be fun to play along. But like many things, time got away from me and before I knew it, I had missed out and didn't sign up in time. Then I got an e-mail from Shannon asking if I could do her favor and participate in the exchange because she was short one person. So I jumped right on it and went shopping for an ornament for my exchange partner, Steph. What fun!

Thanks to Steph for sending me not only one ornament, but a handful!! Such beautiful choices, stars that say "Joy" and "Peace," a heart, and an ornament with the word "Love." I love that these ornaments have sayings that remind us what Christmas is all about. Thanks Steph for the ornaments - they look so perfect on my tree! :)

If you haven't already, head on over to Webbisodes and Sharing the Pages of Life to visit these special ladies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Florida Freeze

"Umm, Mommy, what's going on here?"

"Oh I get it! This thing is a hat!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My newest obsession ...

Anyone want to take a guess? It's not a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks or my new Bumble and Bumble shampoo. It's not a new game on my iPhone or a new song on the radio. Need a hint? Abby is wearing my newest obsession ... it's a little line of clothing called Matilda Jane. My sister-in-law first introduced me to MJ a few months ago and right away I bookmarked their website. I hadn't made any purchases on my own so Melinda was very generous to give Abby a MJ dress for Christmas. After seeing Abby in such an adorable dress, I'm totally in love with it.

After the holidays wind down and things become less chaotic around here, I plan on hosting a Matilda Jane party. I can't wait to order some more dresses, although I'm sure the hubs is not looking forward to it!

Strike a pose, Abby!

So sweet!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's all about family ... Tennessee style

You can probably tell from my lack of posting that things around here have been quite busy. Between traveling to visit family, my birthday, a sick baby, and the holiday rush ... I honestly haven't had a minute to update my blog. Thankfully things are starting to slow down ... baby is starting to feel better, Christmas cards are finally in the mail, and most presents have been bought and wrapped. Phew! I feel like I can breathe again. :)

So now it's time to play a little catch up. First things first. We had a wonderful time in Tennessee with Jim's brother, his wife, and their two sweet girls. The weather was a lot colder than here and we even saw snow each day we were there. Not enough to amount to anything, but still pretty to watch from the windows and stay warm and cozy inside.

Abby enjoyed watching the snow from the window, but wanted to go outside more than anything. It was just too cold for this Mama, so we found plenty to do inside.

The girls helped Uncle Chris make pancakes, Caroline did some homework while Abby colored, and of course there were lots of books to read together. Savannah practiced her dancing, Abby played with new toys, and Caroline and Savannah just loved their new Rudolph and Clarice. You can't go wrong with Build-A-Bear!

Our time spent with family is so important because it's not often that we get to all be together. So when we get together, we make the most of every minute. The girls shared a lot of laughs, the adults enjoyed an evening out without children, and new memories were made.

Abby & Caroline

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

We're headed to Nashville y'all!

Another trip ... a new destination! This time we're headed to Nashville ... and this time Abby is coming with us. We're so excited to spend time with family and celebrate a late Thanksgiving/early Christmas together.

We'll be busy while we're there ... family photos, celebrating the holidays, and a night out sans children. We're looking forward to it all! Pictures to come when we get back ... probably on Tuesday!!

Happy Friday y'all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blessings Counted and Thanks Given ...

Abby's 2nd Thanksgiving
November 25, 2010

We had a lot of firsts this Thanksgiving, even though it was Abby's 2nd Thanksgiving. This was our first Thanksgiving at our new home. Our first Thanksgiving without family, although we are very thankful for our friends who were able to share such a special day with us. You know the kind... the kind of friends that can make you feel like you are with family, even though they are miles away, scattered all over the country. It was also our first time to grill the turkey ... okay, I guess I should say it was the hubs first time to grill the turkey ... and he did a fantastic job!! With all these "firsts," we were able to pull off a wonderful meal and enjoy the day with some great friends!

It may have been Abby's 2nd Thanksgiving, but this was the first time she could indulge in the feast. And did she ever. She was just like one of the men! Abby ate turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade macaroni, and a piece of a roll. She wasn't too sure about the stuffing but loved the cranberries and of course pumpkin pie! There is no denying we have an eater on our hands ... and for this I am thankful. Abby eats just about anything, just like her Daddy. A healthy, happy eater equals a healthy, happy baby!

I had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, although I'm thankful for these things everyday. Family, friends, God, faith, health. Most importantly, I am thankful to have been blessed with this life. This life that makes me who I am ... a devoted wife and mother, who has faith in the Lord.

Abby & Max - Best friends.
(The only family picture of the day ...
how does that work out?!)

My sweet girl.

Managed to get a pic of the turkey.
Still no family picture. Ugh!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving ... spending time with family and friends, and taking time to count your blessings. The countdown to Christmas is officially on my friends! :)