Wednesday, December 24, 2014

And I will run 500 miles...

I did it! 
I mean I've run two half marathons, but did I think I could run 500 miles in one year.. 
not really. 
But I did it.  
I ran my last 3 miles yesterday on my birthday. 
A beautiful way to end my 33rd year.  
On my usual route from our house, I have passed this faint 500 
spray painted on the sidewalk so many times.  
It was a constant reminder of the goal I had set for 2014. 
Something I thought was impossible, but I have recently pushed myself pass the unthinkable. 
500 miles. 

 I have to admit, many times I told myself to quit. 
My body said to quit.  It hurt, my body ached and still aches.
I have thrown up on this path to 500 miles. (a couple of times)
I've walked many of the miles, just because I didn't think I could run any more, but didn't stop. 
Strength isn't measured by what you can do though, 
it is all about conquering what you once thought was impossible! 

I'm ready for my 500 mile jacket. 
I did it. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent Countdown

2 more days until Christmas. 
We have been counting down the days here at our house. 
Last year, I made this Advent calendar with little brown 
envelopes that have special Holiday activities for each day. 
Some days are about reminiscing about Christmases past and
some days are about making new holiday memories. 

Last year we started ringing bells for the Salvation Army. 
It was a day with negative wind chills and snow on the ground. 
This year only 5 days before Christmas, the weather was much more pleasant as we 
rang bells to raise money for those who need it more. 
These beautiful smiles were just to cute to walk by without putting
a little something in the red box.  We also were given suckers, 
free cookies, and free hot cocoa from strangers. 
Ringing bells is always a great reminder to my kids 
on the importance of helping others. 
It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. -- Mother Teresa
 Of course we can't have Christmas pass us by without seeing Santa Claus.
Our Christmas list go to Santa in our stockings on St Nicholas day on December 5th, 
so seeing Santa in person just means we verify that one gift they really want.  
I was so proud of my son, who when I told him to think of something he wanted to ask 
Santa for... instead said that he didn't need anything really, but had a question to ask the big guy. 
His question was "Everyone tells you want they want for Christmas Santa, but what do you want?"
Santa answered, "Hugs!" 

 Popcorn and Movie day is one of my favorite and I have to admit we do this more than once 
over Advent.  This past Saturday was special though, because we went to the Putnam Museum 
to participate in the their Polar Express Pajama Party. 
 They had face painting, a snowman scavenger hunt, and we explored the museum in the 
dark with flashlights.  To end the night we watched Polar Express in 3D. 
It was so fun, and of course like every time I watch the movie... mommy cried. 
It has become a routine for the kids to watch mommy during 
sad parts of movies to see my tears. 
I think it's mean... they think it's funny. 
What can I say, I'm an emotional person! 

 We waited until the kids were on Christmas break this year to tackle the 
Christmas baking.  We made 6 different kinds of cookies, candies, and breads. 
 I love our Advent countdown. 
It takes even Bah Humbug daddy and turns him into a 
Holly Jolly Elf. 
We can't forget the true meaning of Christmas though.... 
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pinning
Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 
Fall on your knees,
O hear the angel voices!
O Night Divine,
O night when Christ was born!

I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite!

Okay, I am just sitting down to finally post last week's fun and excitement. 
Lil Miss had her very first school Christmas program. 
To say she was excited, is an understatement.  
She had asked us a million times, if everyone was going to be there.... because, well 
she was going to sing on STAGE. 
We might have a little performer on our hands.
Lil Miss walked right on stage giving her best Miss America wave.
Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist. 
As soon as she saw Daddy, she was blowing kisses and smiling from ear to ear.  
There is nothing cuter than preschoolers singing. 
What entertainment.  There's always at least one child who beats to his own drum. 
And that kid happened to be the one standing right in front 
She also had her winter program for dance last week. 
She just hates to be in the spotlight.... NOT.
They danced their hearts away to "Do you want to build a snowman?"
Every little girl's favorite song. 
The best part of the night was when the dance teacher handed out flowers to the little girls. 
So sweet. 
She has grown up so much in the last few months.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy December

It's my favorite time of the year! 
We are well into December and the Holiday fun has begun. 
Our Christmas Cards are on their way to our friend's and family's homes, 
the Advent calendar is up and the kids are reading off each days fun activity, and 
Tiki the elf has made an appearance once again! 
{our advent countdown}
Tiki has been at it again, popping up everywhere in the house. 
Some days he even makes quite a mess. 
{Tiki apparently likes to play Fruit Ninja when we are asleep!} 
The Christmas decorations are all up and we have been enjoying the 
Christmas light glow at night.  We have old and new decorations. 
We added a few new ornaments this year to our tree, my favorite being this little 
camper which is a reminder of our "Home away from Home".
 This tree is new too! 
This is a replica of my Grandma Aggie's Christmas tree that she always had lit up on her
stereo cabinet, we all got one last year and what a great reminder of her it is!  
The making of Christmas gifts are well under way. 
Gigi's new skill of knitting, has her making wonderfully warm gifts for everyone on her list. 
I've got quite the pile of unfinished Christmas gifts that I've been working on too, it's a good thing 
that I have 11 more days left. 
December also means giving to others who are less fortunate. 
One of my favorite things to do with the kids is pick out gifts for toys for tots and 
our Angel Tree recipients.  
Taking the kids to the store and telling them to get gifts for other children who might not have 
any toys or aren't as lucky as they are creates some absolutely wonderful conversations about 
giving and how it is so important to help others.  

When asked during an interview what is the one trait from your parents that you would like to 
pass onto your children?  My answer without hesitation was the love of giving to others. 
My parents couldn't have been more generous in their giving and I only hope that 
I am as good of example to my kids that my parents were to Nate and I.
 My son's favorite thing about the holidays is the dressing up.  
Yes, you read that son. 
He couldn't wait to get his suit out this week for the school's Christmas program. 
The kids looked so amazing all dressed up in their Christmas outfits on Friday. 
I did learn that I need to do a little shopping before Christmas for dress shoes that fit, longer dress shirt, and 
a pair of tights with no holes.  

But the important thing is from these pictures you can't see any of those things.  
Just the smile on their faces! 
I hope you are enjoying the Holidays as much as we are. 
Happy December! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Briggs {7 months}

Can anything be cuter than this?
 Look at those cheeks! 
And those baby blue eyes! 
While we were home for Thanksgiving, I took some shots of this growing baby boy. 
His baby pics can be found here and here

I was with Baby Briggs and his parents on Wednesday night of Thanksgiving, and 
the boy is one of the most layed back children I've ever met.  He just 
hung out with all of us adults and absorbed all the craziness that was going on.  
I hope they have lots of babies!  heehee

I feel honored every time they ask me to take pictures of their family because I am 
in no way a professional.  I make amateur mistakes and take photos just for fun, but 
when you look this cute it is hard to take a bad picture.  ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

May your days be merry

If I am ever in a bad mood, I only have to look at pictures of my nephews to 
get a smile.  These three handsome boys are adorable.  
A sneak peak into their family session.

{these boys and their daddy}
 {Santa, we've been really good this year}

These boys did so much better separately than trying to sit together and smile. 
Group photos of the three of them are always a little touch and go,but when I put them on their 
bed and told them to jump and play they did awesome. 
See -- pictures don't always have to be torture.  :-)
I think mommy and daddy are happy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life

So yesterday was my son's birthday.
He turned 9.  I am in denial, because every time I look at him I see this boy... 
my three year old, full of energy, happiest laugh ever boy.
But my mommy vision makes me blind to how much he has grown up. 
That smile hasn't changed though! 
 Since we have three birthdays in the family between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holidays 
seem to be extra chaotic.  Bubba thinks his birthday is the BEST because St. Nick arrives with presents
in the morning and he opens birthday gifts in the afternoon.  
Pretty special. 
When I asked Bubba what he wanted to do for his birthday his response was "play Xbox all day."
Oh how this made me cringe.  I even apologized to the boy's mothers who came over for the sleepover 
that their child may be playing a lot of video games. 
I did have to add my touches though, a basketball court on the floor and a chalkboard scoreboard.
My boy is not a cake lover.  I can't tell you how many birthday parties where he has declined cake.  
I learned early on that getting him a cake is not a treat for him. 
We've done ice cream, cookie cakes, and even sugar cookies.
This year I had my friend make basketball cookies and check out these Air Jordans.  
Coolest cookies ever!  
Bubba played his last basketball game for the month yesterday and birthday boy had a great game.  
 I whipped my phone out of my pocket really quick to snap this photo of his breakaway layup.  
And yes he made the shot. 

Birthday boy is sleeping now catching up on not much sleep last night.  
As I look at him all cuddled with the puppy on the couch I still see a little boy and can't believe he is 9. 
Bubba's birthday also means that my birthday is next, a harsh reality that mommy is getting older too. 
All in all, It's a Wonderful Life!