Sunday, December 28, 2008

playing catch up again...

since i never posted about christmas there are several posts coming. we have so much fun at christmas and cram tons of family and fun into christmas day. i had to break the day into several posts (because it seems more organized to me) so if you are interested in hearing about all the "juicy details" of our christmas festivities scroll down and start with "twas the night before christmas...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

a precious gift...

when we arrived at home after a long day of celebrating with our families we got ready to put the kids to bed. mark and i were focused and just wanted to get the house back in order. as i was helping olivia into her bed i received the most precious gift of all... olivia said, "mommy, i think we should read the story about baby jesus before i go to sleep." my response was, "that is great idea olivia." i was thinking, "of course that is how we should end the day! how come i didn't think of this?" what a true blessing that my 3 year old, after a day filled with excitement and new toys, wanted to read about jesus. as we finished reading the story of baby jesus, i kissed her good night. i closed her door and i thanked god for the many precious memories that we had made that day, but i was most grateful for the precious heart of my little girl that reminded me of the real reason that we celebrate christmas- jesus!

Friday, December 26, 2008

to the grandparents house we go...

about 8:15 a.m. we loaded up the car and were headed to allen for christmas with the blanchettes. we opened gifts with mom, dad, brother, uncle mark, aunt chrissie, and grandparents. listened to christmas tunes on the radio. jack took an awesome morning nap. folded wrapping paper so my dad can recycle it (a new development this year). laughed a lot. ate a yummy breakfast. enjoyed being all together. we even found a little time to "play" with some of our new "toys" before our time was up.

there are a lot of us @ the blanchettes, but there are also A LOT of gifts.

uncle mark and jack liked hanging out and just watching all the chaos.

olivia used her "handy manny" tools to help open her gifts, then carefully folded the wrapping paper so gramps could recycle it! :)

around 1:30 p.m. it was time to load up again. this time we headed to the bowlins. more unwrapping. more laughing. more eating, but this time is was mexican food and dinner. more playing. another good nap for jack!! reading the christmas story. and we definitely love being together.

olivia all dressed up in her princess crown and earrings that she found in her stocking at b & pop's house. so pretty!!

jack still smiling and loving all his new toys!!

even though you can't tell based on the expression on olivia's face, the kids had so much fun with their cousins. b gave them all these cute christmas jammies.

about 8:00 p.m. we loaded up the car once again and this time head for home.

we had a super day. it was such a great day with family, gifts, and laughter celebrating our savior's birth.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

christmas morning @ our house...

here's a peek into our house on christmas morning...

7:00 a.m. wake kids. (yes, you read correctly we wake our children up on christmas morning.) we make our way to the living room to see what santa left.

"olivia wake up! let's go see what santa brought us!"

olivia was soooo excited that santa brought her a pink scooter, handy manny and his toolbox. she was not so sure about the tape measure he brought. she decided on christmas eve that it needed to be a purple tape measure. he didn't get the message in time and brought her the giant blue one. she wanted to be disappointed but decided to be grateful for what she had. (very mature and totally unexpected!!)

"look i got a pink scooter! handy manny! and his tools! AND a tape measure!!"

jack was totally over stimulated by his basketball goal. it cheers and makes all kinds of noise! he has played with it almost everyday and loves it now. his favorite toy christmas morning were the play keys that santa brought. they taste almost as good as mommy's real keys and make lots of noises.

after santa gifts olivia and jack looked in their stockings to see if santa left anything in there. he did! i think olivia was just as excited about the little mermaid toothbrush, pencils, and notepad as she was with her "big" gifts. jack found more to toys that are fun to chew on and some sippy cups, so he was happy!

the kids were perfectly content with all the gifts that they had been given, but there were a few more under the tree from mommy and daddy. these were fun because they were wrapped. olivia and jack LOVED unwrapping the gifts.

olivia and daddy with her "real tools." daddy looks great in the safety gear and if you look closely o is holding the hammer and screw drivers.

jack with more totally over stimulating toys which he now loves!!

we had a really great morning together and now we are off to the grandparents for more christmas fun!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

twas the night before christmas...

at the bowlin house. all the creatures were stirring after church and dinner at maggiano's.

the fam @ maggianos before dinner. o was not really in the mood for a family picture. :)

olivia left cookies, coco, and milk by the chimney with care. she also left carrots for santa's 8 tiny reindeer.

(sadly, we did not get a picture of the plate of cookies, coco, and milk that o left for santa. it was very cute and all arranged by her. she left the carrots outside, no pic of that either. so sad!)

dressed in their jammies, olivia and jack. they soon settled in for a long winter's nap...

happy christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

cold, christmas lights, and cousins...

last night the fifers came over for dinner and to look at the christmas lights in our neighborhood. they also wanted to see our house decorated for christmas and we just love any excuse to get together and hang out. the girls had a great time playing and we had fun talking. after dinner we all bundled up, piled in the wagon and stroller, then went on a walk around the neighborhood to look at the christmas lights.

the girls are ready! jack got his own ride in the stroller.

here are the dads with the kids while on our walk. don't they look happy! :)

it was a little chilly (but it is supposed to be cold this time of year) and not quite as glamorous as a carriage ride through highland park, but the girls thought it was great (and so did i).

Monday, December 22, 2008

flower girl...

olivia was the flower girl in our dear friends, ben and katie's wedding. there were a few moments of doubt as to whether she would fulfill her role and actually make it down the aisle, but she did a great job. she was so pretty. even if the dress was a complete wrinkled mess by the time the wedding started.

getting ready...

practicing...(don't worry we ditched the owl bag for a flower for the "real thing.")

playing/filling time between pictures and ceremony, a.k.a. wrinkling the dress...


ben and katie, thank you for inviting olivia to be such a special part of your day. you both are very special to our family and we are thankful for your friendship and the love you have for our kids.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

jack is 7 months old...

it is also sunday so he was all dressed up for church. i asked mark to snap a few pictures before leaving for church because he looked so cute in his monogrammed outfit. thanks shawna for hte adorable outfit!
jack is such a joy. (i know i say that every time i write about him, but it is so true.) he is so happy and just makes us happy! he is now able to sit up all by himself. he can eat gerber puffs and can hold his own bottle. our little baby boy is getting so big!! he also continues to babble and make new sounds everyday. no sign of crawling, but i am very OK with that! the longer he stays still be the better for me.

seeing santa...

here is a look back at olivia with santa...

2005, she was great, but she was only 4 weeks old in this picture.

2006, screamed and cried, but she would at least sit on his lap.

2007, she literally shook in fear as soon as she laid eyes on santa. there was no way she was going to sit on his lap.
i was hopeful that jack would not be afraid of him and that this year would be different since olivia was the one that started talking about visiting him and telling him what she wanted for christmas. for several weeks we have been preparing for this "meeting." finally last week the time came. first we went over to the fifers. their grandpa, a.k.a. paw-paw, dresses up every year (he is the santa in all the past santa pics) as santa and comes over to the fifer house for pictures. it is great because paw-paw santa is so patient and kind with each child, no matter the amount of tears. this year mark had to take the kids and capture the event because i was out of town. in true jack fashion, he sat on santa's lap and smiled for the camera.

olivia, not so much. according to mark it took quite a while to convince her to sit with him, but eventually she too cooperated and mark was able to get a few pics.

a little nervous, but she made it!

after success with paw-paw santa my mom really wanted to take the kids to see the santa by her house. so once again we got them dressed in some christmasy clothes and they went to make another visit. again, jack just sat and smiled and olivia took a bit more convincing. she eventually felt comfortable enough to stand next to him. i think the picture turned out pretty cute.

so all in all, i am happy with our visits to santa this year. at least this year we are not screaming and both kids got close enough for a picture. we did not technically sit on his lap each time, but olivia did find enough courage to tell him what she would like for christmas...

"i would like a tape measure, a pink scooter, and handy manny's toolbox."

say cheese...

PLEASE!!! i begged and bribed both olivia and mark to take a family picture for our christmas card. since i am so behind on my blog i am sure most of you have received the card, but here are a few extra pics from the 20 minute photo shoot.

this was the winner!! i hate that jack is not smiling but it was the best one of all of us.

this was the runner up.

cute one of jack and o.

i love olivia when she is giggling.

jack and his cute self.

oh, and here is olivia our family photographer. don't tell her that her camera doesn't actually work.

a special thanks to aaron for sharing his time and AWESOME camera with us.

it's christmas time in the city...

and i can't get enough of it!!

the first weekend in december we took at trip to NYC with mark's parents and sarah and christman. just the six of us, no kids. the trip was planned to celebrate marsha's birthday, but i think we all appreciated and enjoyed the trip. what a treat to be in the greatest city at christmas time!

marsha (the birthday girl), me, mark

i love NYC. i love the hustle and bustle. i love riding the subway. i love all the people. i love the christmas decorations EVERYWHERE. i love central park. i love the theater. i love the yummy food (yes, even the street food). i just love the feeling you get when you are in the middle of it all. all that said, i was so excited to be back in the city. we had a super fun time, well i did anyway!

we ate some delicious food...

my favorite dessert @ sea grill on the rockefeller ice skating rink

macy's. it is the BIGGEST store ever and it was soooo crowded. christman bought a really fun pair of shoes here.

rode the subway and a carriage ...

all over the city.

through central park.

went to see the rockettes...

at radio city.

had fun just being together...
all together at dinner our last night.

and even got to experience the snow...

the last night while we were at dinner in rockefeller center. it was beautiful.

mark and i also had the chance to visit our sweet friends, the sullivans, while we were in town. i loved hearing all about their life in city. it made me want to move there. even though they live an adorable apartment a quarter of the size of our house. it seemed just perfect to me! we also got to see wicked and then go to a fun dinner. the show was AMAZING, the best i have ever seen!! the restruant was recommended by our friends and it was WONDERFUL!

it was a great trip. thanks danny for a FABULOUS trip filled with lots of memories.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

sweet kingsley

today is kingsley's birthday. happy 3rd birthday KK! i have been so behind in blogging, but i must take time to post about one of the most precious little girls in my life. kingsley, or KK, as she is more often called, is my adorable niece. i have the priviledge of getting to spend lots of time with KK. she is a special little girl to me. i love her with all my heart and would do anything for her. when i think about kingsley i just smile. i smile when i think about holding her on her "birth" day and admiring every inch of her little tiny face. i smile when i think about the way she has always been able to make anyone smile with her priceless grin. i smile when i think about the precious little sister that she is to her sister abby. i smile when i think about how she can melt her daddy's heart with a single look. i smile when i think about the special bond that she shares with olivia. i smile when i think about how she can make her mommy laugh with her adorable personality. i smile when i think about her jumping on the trampoline at "jump- jump." i smile when i think about how much comfort she can find in holding her "na-na" and sucking her thumb (adorable). i smile when i think about how funny she is while performing her latest "trick" in her living room in front of an adoring audience. i smile when i think about KK!! she has the biggest heart, gives the best hugs, and can make any day better with her smile. she is my wonderfully made niece that is lovable, hungry, artistic, hiliarious, sensitive, super duper baylor fan, musical, and precious.

here are a few (well several) pics of KK and her smile...

kk's visit to the pumpkin patch her first halloween. she loved the straw. it made for a cute pic.

see told you-- she melts her daddy's heart!

this pic is so KK to me. well baby KK. i love the look and how she is sucking her thumb.

kk first birthday party. i thought she was so big, now she is three and turning into a little girl! so sad, yet such a blessing that i get to be apart.

i love this picture because it shows the funny side of KK.

i love this picture too. like the thumb pic, this is soooo KK to me.

kk at "jump-jump." she loves it!!

she also loves her cousins, jack and olivia...

kingsley, i love being your T. i cherish all the special memories that we get to make together and i can't wait for what is still to come. i hope your day is as special as you are. i love you so much. happy birthday sweet girl!