Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas with Tanja + Nick

We love getting together with Tanja and Nick for our annual Christmas celebration!  I didn't tell the kids until just before they came - they were so excited!  We ordered pizza so no one had to work hard in the kitchen :)  Here is everyone ready to dig in!
And our crazy crew!  Thank goodness for the self-timer and the mantle!  Odd lighting for sure, but still a sweet picture!
It is so fun to take a look at the pictures of Tanja and Nick with the kids through the years!
After dinner, it was time to rip into some presents!  That's exactly what the kids did - and they loved all their goodies!
Tanja and Nick!
And a selfie wearing my new hoodie from them!  The best part?  It has an inflatable hood (yes you read that right)...I can be ready for a nap at anytime!  HA!  I have worn it, but I took the inflatable piece out :)
Sadie was right in the middle of all the excitement - brave dog, for sure!
Tanja took this one - it is definitely a real life picture!  My whole crew doing their thing! Jack has actually been better about cooperating lately, while I think Ryan got the memo that he is two.  It isn't awful just yet, but whoa.
LOVE this picture!
And a picture with the Mister in front of the Christmas tree!  Not too shabby!
And we got Katie to stand on the chair to take a picture of the four of us - it turned out cute!
And two out of three isn't too shabby for a kid pic at the end of the evening!  Who knows what Ryan was trying to say - but his eyes are open and he is looking towards the camera!  I call that a win :)
The kids (and grown ups) had such a fun time hanging out!  Jack was OUT in no time...this is what I walked in his room to find when I went in to give him "ten kissies and ten huggies."
Can't wait for our next Christmas celebration -- there will be another sweet girl to join in the fun! Can't wait to love on their baby girl!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Season Fun

We love Christmastime at our house!  There are always such fun events with family and friends!  One of our favorite things to watch is Rudolph!  One night Brad had somewhere to go, so we had a picnic in the living room and watched it!
And of course putting their own trees up in their rooms!  Katie loves doing it - so proud! It is neat to look back at pictures and compare how much she has grown!  She used to be shorter than the tree!
And this was the first year Jack got to have a tree in his room!  He absolutely loved it - he felt like such a big boy!  And I love it too - it is a little taller than Katie's and just looks pretty...almost a rustic feel to it!
Ryan supervised as Brad went through the lights to make sure they were all working before we put them all up!  And by we, I mean Brad. :)
We did our annual Angel Tree shopping adventure...we pick three kiddos off the list and try to have them be the same gender and around the same age, that way our children can help shop for someone that may have similar interests!  It is always quite the outing and usually ends in me saying we are never bringing the kids to do it again.  And then each year we all venture out and do it together! 
Jack had his Christmas program at school and did a great job!  They always have such sweet programs and the kids absolutely love it!  Here he is with a couple of his buddies at school that day!
I think he was ready!
And of course the Santa visit!  We try to go in early December and we head to the mall directly from the bus stop!  This was the second year that we have gotten there and had literally zero people in front of us in line! So perfect!
Brad and I headed to an Ugly Sweater Party at some friends' house - so fun!  And we actually kind of coordinated...isn't that sweet? :)
I went with the Ministry Team from the boys' preschool to help set up a Christmas store for folks in a certain community who cannot afford to provide Christmas for their kids - they come into this room where all of these donated items are set up and they get to pick a toy for each child in the house, get a big bag of toiletries, a book, and an article of clothing.  It is always such a great time and provides so many blessings!
Brad and I went to the Christmas music program at our church - it was the first time we have been and it was quite the show!  We will definitely do our best to make it there each year!
I saw a post on Facebook or Instagram with a bucket of goodies set up for delivery folks and our mailman, and I did one!  They ate most everything - and the UPS man even left a thank you note! 
This was the sight in my foyer at one point in early December.  This is also exactly why I felt it would be nice to have something available to the folks that deliver all of this - I know I am not the only one that had stacks of delivered goods!
Katie and I got our nails Christmas-ready the week before Christmas!
And we headed to our neighbors' Christmas party - such a fun night!
Katie and I went to see The Nutrcracker with her Girl Scout troop - it was such a fun day!
Katie looked so incredibly grown up the day we went to see the show.  Goodness.
Love this sweet picture of my crazy ones.  I took this before school one morning - it was too cold for an outside picture, so the stockings hung up was the perfect backdrop! I plan to do a separate post of some of our Christmas décor - the stockings were definitely one of my favorite spots!
I had a doctor's appointment for my back so I wasn't able to go to Jack's class's Christmas party...this selfie when I took him to school worked though :) Love that sweet boy.
And Jenn and I matched on the last day of school before Christmas break! We got this picture before heading to the school for the kids' winter parties!
I am Katie's class's room mom, so I was wearing that cute headband so the kids could always find me.  Katie and I look oh so festive!
Jump for joy! Hooray for Christmas break! :) Love this!
The next day we had the annual Christmas lunch at Brad's office!  Here we were before heading to Daddy's office!
And a family shot!  Love this!  I think it is fun that his office hosts this lunch - delicious food (BBQ!) and family friendly!  They actually buy gifts for all of the kids in attendance!
We also decorated a gingerbread house as a family!  It was mainly Brad, Katie, and Jack that worked on it - I helped with logistics and setup and Ryan mainly ate icing!
The finished product!  This may be their best effort yet - I was so impressed!
Brad and I worked for a couple hours one night close to Christmas in order to get everything wrapped!  This is just about everything...whew!  I love seeing all of the "fruits of our labor" once we are finished!
It is so fun to go back and see these pictures - we really did have such a fun time gearing up for Christmas this year!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Traditions: Ornament Exchange + Trolley Lights Tour

One of my favorite things about the holidays is some of the traditions that come along!  This was our ninth year in a row to get together and catch up and laugh and eat and do an ornament swap!  We eat the same restaurant.  We sit at the same table.  But goodness how everyone's lives have changed over the years!  Marriages and babies and moves!  This was our group picture from our evening together in early December!
And here I was with the ornament I got as part of the swap!  We usually play Dirty Santa, but everyone is so nice!  Most years we play with steals :)  I love the ornament I brought home with me.
Another fun outing we have is the annual night out to look at Christmas lights!  It has evolved over the years, but now we head out on a trolley and see various displays.  It is so much fun! Everyone goes to my mom's house early to munch and visit and then we all hop on the trolley and head out.  Folks in the back sing Christmas carols (which my crew thoroughly enjoyed this year), so it is extra festive.  Love this picture of me and my bro - it really is his gig...he coordinates it and it is his gift for many of the folks he asks!  Gifting a "to do" is such a good idea!
And one of the favorite stops is this GIANT display that you can get out and walk through.  This year, Santa happened to be on site, so the kids got some extra time with him!  We also got a four generation picture with him :)
We also took ALL of the kids this year - I guess that's what happens with third kids...we certainly didn't take the other ones when they were two!  And this year the big kids did awesome...Ryan got a little impatient but we were able to keep him under control.  So that tells me it can only get easier, right? :)
And a family picture!  Love this.  I know the kids treasure this tradition as much as Uncle Will!
More Christmas posts to come - décor, other Christmas events, and Christmas celebrations with everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

November Recap

Ryan went through a phase where he wanted the "coloring thing" and he drew circles!  Ha!  He would always tell me to look at his circles, then he'd erase them, and then the cycle would start all over again!  Glad he likes to draw!
I still look back at these pictures and can't believe sleeveless tops were even an option in November!  Love this outfit!

And a family picture we had taken at church!  They had a little informal photo booth set up and of course we took advantage.  Don't you know Brad and Katie were oh so excited...ha!
Katie climbed up in the tree!  I've never thought of her to be that adventurous, but I'm glad she thought it was fun!  I guess having those long legs makes it a little bit easier!
I was sitting on the stairs leading up to the deck and caught the boys playing with each other and with Sadie.  So sweet!
Katie had her first basketball practice! I was excited for her to start back up with basketball because she loved it so much last winter!
On a day off from school, Jenn and I took the kiddos out to the farm of an organization she works for!  It was fun to see it and let the kids enjoy some outdoor time!
First Elf viewing of the season!  It is never too early for that movie (or too late, depending on how long you watch it after the holiday - ha!).  And the kids loved the picnic!  Sadie loved it too because Ryan gave her lots of food!
One morning, I actually was up and dressed in real clothes with makeup and had all my kids ready for the day too! I call that a win!
The boys love sitting out on the front porch and waving bye to Brad when he is leaving for work.  Of course that isn't always an option, but when it is, they love it!
Katie also lost another tooth in November!  That makes a grand total of seven teeth lost!
Finally!  A morning that warranted wearing a fleece!
I happened to capture all three crazies bumping down the stairs on their hiney one morning.  I love it - I can just hear the squeals of delight and laughter as they bumped down together!
I made the mistake of making a dentist appointment for all three on a day that school was out.  At least Katie didn't have to be late to school!  And it got us up and out - I even made it to a workout class!  All three kids had a good report - and hopefully one day Ryan will like it as much as the other two!
That day happened to be pretty mild, so we were able to get out and have some fun!  And we remembered helmets for those that own them!
We even got the stomp rockets out that Jack got for the previous Christmas!  Oh, the beauty of waiting to open a few things and then finding them and it's like Christmas morning all over again!  They thought they were so much fun!
And this may be one of the best pictures of these two sweet girls together!  Sadie sure loves Katie - and I think it is mutual!
We also had a night out with Nunya and Nick :) Ryan prefers calling her Nunya these days - ha! Dinner at Local Taco and some ice cream...sounds amazing!
The next morning I let Brad sleep in and took the kids to get donuts and hot chocolate!  Oh, and I treated myself to some Starbucks :)
We had Thanksgiving lunch at Katie's school - always a fun tradition!
Hank and Jack likely up to no good one morning after the big sisters got on the bus!
One night Ryan was overly excited about taking a bath - he got in with all of his clothes still on!  He laughed so hard once we saw him in there!
We had our annual dinner out with Tanja, Nick, Meghan, and Clinton!  Love this Thanksgiving week tradition!  And the next time we might have to add a playdate for all of the babies and kiddos!! Yay!
We had the Auburn crew over to watch the Iron Bowl - here is the annual "kid pic" - such sweet kiddos!  And the group has grown! Love these kiddos!
Katie and I were matching :) Love these dresses!  And excuse the messy pantry - we probably should have closed the pantry doors!
The big girls!  Olivia, Katie, and Avery :)
Not sure why the pic looks cloudy - but here is a mama picture!
And Jenn came over for a while too! Hooray!  Her kiddos ran around upstairs and played for a while - so fun! 
We all love Jenn!  A picture of her and Brad! 
And we had a birthday dog in the house!  We picked out some fun new toys for Sadie - I promise Ryan was excited. Ha!
Some bedtime snuggles with my little man!  Love that special time with him (even though in the moment I often overlook it and rush it because I am EXHAUSTED by the end of the day)!
Katie's school has a Parents & Pastries event where we all go and have breakfast with her before she goes into her class!  They even had a photobooth set up this year!  Such a fun idea!  We loved our donuts and muffins and juice with her this year :)
That same day, I ran outside in a tank. With no jacket.  At the end of November.  Craziness!  I certainly wasn't complaining though!
This.  Be still my heart.  This is definitely one of my favorite pictures of the boys in a long time!  The picture was likely Jack putting Ryan in a headlock and trying to irritate him, but I happened to catch a sweet glimpse into their playful attitudes with each other.  They do play rough, but they also love each other!  Sweet brothers.