Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 in '11

2011 has been such a wonderful year. Finding the photos to best document our year was near impossible but I think I've got my favorites narrowed down but I could slip in another 30 or maybe even 100 easy.

I love this photo for so many reasons. I love how it shows what a hands-on dad my husband, Justin, is and how it perfectly captures how energetic and how much of a dare-devil our second son, Campbell, is.  

Love this photo of the final months of my pregnancy with my boys. It was such a hard pregnancy during a record-breaking heat wave in Texas and with it being my third, but I'd say it was well worth it. 

This photo was taken the same day and I just love how my oldest son, without us asking, posed like he's a natural model. This is right before he started kindergarten. He's such a sweet boy and says things that will absolutely melt your heart, especially his mama. 


And perhaps the biggest news this year was the addition our one and only baby girl, Landry. She is the sweetest and easiest baby. She was our Labor Day wild is it that I was in labor ON Labor Day? I love this photo so much and it's one that will definitely be in her baby book. What joy and happiness it shows the day that our family was complete. 

This was taken when Landry was only 7 days old. I took it while getting some professional shots done by a good friend. Hers were much better but I still love these that I was able to sneak in. Those lips are just amazing.

Landry is only 3 months now but knowing that she's my last just has me holding, snuggling and staring at her perhaps more than I did with any of them. It just makes me want to soak up every single second. 

The only other person who stares at her as much as me - if not more, would be my husband....who is putty in her hands. 

Every year we go to the pumpkin patch and every year I always get a favorite from the photos. The colors, the laughter, the feel of fall all make the perfect recipe for a great photo.

This was a photo tip I tried from Pinterest and I was just excited that it worked! I turned off all the lights in the house, maxed out my ISO, opened the aperture and used a slow shutter speed of 1/30.

I took this photo on Christmas Eve morning but this is a normal day. At least once a day I see the boys interacting with Landry in this way. I can't believe that they fight as much as they do but when it comes to her, they are unbelievably sweet. They call her "sweet baby girl" and will do anything to get a smile or laugh out of her. 

And here's our Christmas photo this year. The funny part is that we used a tripod and I had wireless remote shutter release in my hand to take this picture. My husband is insanely talented when it comes to Photoshop (he's a graphic artist) but I looked like I had a man hand so we decided to put a big "M" monogram to cover up my hand. Pretty resourceful, I thought.

Thanks for looking at my favorites this year and I can't wait to see what photos and memories our family will make in 2012!

Naptime Momtog 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twas the night before Christmas...

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not one person was out of their jammies until 4:00 p.m. Don't mistake that for laziness. We made time for a little bit of snugglin' but we definitely had a full agenda on Christmas Eve.

First on the list, make cookies for Santa. Lesson learned a few years ago to get that out of the way on Christmas Eve...maybe one year I can even get it done earlier. My fear is that if I make them too early, we'll eat them and poor Santa won't have any!

Landry was the happiest spectator there ever was. I can't wait for her to join in on the fun.

Note to self, put tape over all the holes of the sprinkle container except ONE! That is plenty! Those were the crunchiest iced cookies I've ever tasted. After hours in the kitchen preparing for Christmas dinner at our house and Christmas Eve at my mom's we finally showered and got out of our pajamas.

Next up, Christmas Eve service at church. It's ain't Christmas Eve without it.

Multiple times this Christmas I think back to last year and we weren't even pregnant and here we are with this adorable, beautiful baby girl and I'm amazed again at how blessed we are and how much our lives have changed in just one year. God is so good. Can I get an AMEN?

I'm a sucker for candlelight services. I'm the one that is choking back tears every year as we sing "Silent Night." Throw in my children singing with candles in their small hands, with the candle glow on their faces while I'm holding and staring at my beautiful baby girl, and I'm a blubbering idiot.

We usually get a picture in front of the tree at church, but our children Campbell was fading fast so we settled for the advent wreath. Aaaand this is the best we got.

 At this point, all I've eaten all day was breakfast and the few things I snacked on while cooking in the kitchen. My stomach was growling that embarrassing growl it does in church when you can only laugh because it's so loud. 

Next up, my parent's house for homemade Mexican feast....tamales, enchiladas, beans, rice. Let's just say that I made up for being so starving and won't divulge how glutinous I was. It's too shameful.

For the past two years, Nolan has dressed up like an elf. He's finally grown out of his 3T shorts...skinny bean pole. So this was the closest he resembled an elf this year. 

And I couldn't help but join in too. My dad sets up a Polar Express train under the tree and the boys literally sit and stare at it forever. They toot the horn and I just cross my fingers that they don't get that train off the track.

As an extra special treat, my grandparents came down from Amarillo and we got to spend the most time with them that we have in years. I loved that Great Grams got some time with Landry and Landry was so happy to be held and snuggled by everyone.

We finally made it home and my children were still going strong even though it was 10:00 at night!
I was so grateful to have happy children. Happy children = happy mama!

We let our kids open one present on Christmas Eve and it's always a new pair of jammies. This year I actually found some that matched! That's hard to do now that Nolan is in big boy size!

Landry even got a new pair of Christmas jammies and so did Justin. Could this picture be any sweeter? I'm running out of room on my walls because I have so many favorites now!

Once we had everyone in their jammies, we made a mad dash to get cookies, milk and reindeer food out. Notice how Campbell took the opportunity to sneak in my sprinkles before putting them on Santa's plate.

Final bedtime for the boys? 10:30.  Then we had to make sure they were really asleep before getting everything out. We had everything set out and then discovered at midnight we had another bag in the closet that hadn't been wrapped yet. 


Thank goodness for gift bags and stockings. The rest of the things were thrown into the Santa pile (Santa doesn't wrap in our house). 

My favorite part of the night (besides the candlelight service, of course) was on our way home from my parents house, we were on the lookout for Santa and Rudolph. I saw a red blinking light in the sky and did my best Academy Award winning acting about it being Rudolph. The boys were eating it up, going nuts and even talking about how they could see it moving. Guess they were just falling for the illusion of our car moving. 

Little did I know, that blinking light was getting closer and closer as we traveled. As we got closer, Nolan says, "Hey, that's just a tower!" RATS! Campbell starts somehow thinking that Nolan tricked him so he says, "NOWAN (as he lovingly calls him), STOP tricking me!" It was such a funny moment and I just loved how magical these years are. 

I don't think I've ever been so exhausted after Christmas as this year but again...Christmas didn't disappoint. I'll catch up later on sleep....someday long from now. But these memories? They're what feeds my soul.

More Christmas coming soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas smorgasbord

I'm about to give you a full dose of our Christmas month of celebration...better known as Christmas smorgasbord. You know, kind of like when you have the most random meal ever known to man with leftover mashed potatoes, spaghetti, chicken noodle soup so that you can go one more night without cooking. Yea, just like that.

In an effort to not post Christmas pictures until February, I'm giving you a glutinous portion whether you're ready for it or not. Hope you've got elastic pants on and that you're in a Christmas mood because there's not room for any "Grinchiness" over here. Because when it comes to Christmas, we go full throttle.

We trimmed our tree Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, it took two days. But I'm pretty proud of the fact that it ONLY took two days. With the amount of Christmas we put out, hearing "I'm hungry" every couple of hours and nursing the baby every 3 hours, I'd say that's pretty darn good.

  I gotta say, Landry looks like she's gotta fit right in lovin' her some Christmas.

And I can't believe that the tree has been left alone this year. Well, I take that back. Nolan makes ornaments almost daily (out of the most random materials). I'm proud to say I'm embracing the fact that our tree isn't "showroom" ready but it's definitely a showroom of our children.

I absolutely love the movie Elf. I'm not sure if my favorite part of this picture is the fact that they're captivated watching Elf or that they're snuggling while they're watching it.

Next year, I have a feeling a certain Miss is going to have her hands all over that tree. And in case you're wondering how many ornaments a baby needs to commemorate her first Christmas....we're at three and still counting.

The house and tree weren't the only things decorated around here. Nope, Landry was equally trimmed. I'm pretty sure she has an outfit for the 12 days of Christmas. 

We've had a lot of fun with Pickles, our elf. I see all these posts on Facebook and Pinterest with all these elaborate mischievous things that others have their elves up to. We hardly have time to move the darn thing. One night we even forgot and had to do some major covering. And, my boys are mischievous enough as it is...I don't need to be giving them any ideas. 

The elf is great but not as great as the big man in the red suit downtown. This was our second attempt to see him after seeing a line that was way too long and in the bitter cold. 

Waiting really was half the fun. I think the kids thought they were in Candyland.

 I'm so glad we waited. He beats any mall Santa any day. 

Although, Cam looked like he could have waited a little bit longer...

My favorite part of this picture is that Campbell is surely thinking, "I got my eye on you, Santa."

Landry was such a trooper even though she could hardly see with her little crocheted hat. The things we put our kids through for the cuteness factor.

Grandma and Granddad joined in on the Santa fun and like always, we discover it's a good thing that they're coming for backup until we keep working on fine tuning our zone defense now that we're outnumbered.

 Santa visit...check!

You know Santa has a lot on his plate and so we decided we better write him a letter just to make sure that he knew what the boys wanted. (And we had to get this down on paper...Christmas lists were changing way too much for this mama trying to get shopping done). 

Yeah, my baby is reading. We grow geniuses in our family.

And we definitely grow sweet big brothers...well to their sister, at least.

I'm amazed at Nolan's ability to write nearly all of his letter. He has come so far from last year. We only had to help him with a few words but he was deep in thought over that list. We have the boys narrow it down to three things because the wise men brought Jesus three gifts and he has so many other children to deliver to. The rest will be up to us or the grandparents. 

Campbell was able to draw what he wanted with a little help from his artistic older brother. 

Pickles was watching the whole time from an ornament in the tree. So it was really convenient that he could just take the letters with him to the North Pole on his way.

But my favorite moment after all the craziness of seeing Santa, wrapping presents, and shopping are the sweet moments like this that no present can even compare.

I sometimes feel that all this "Santa is watching you" and accidentally touching the elf that causes a meltdown about his magic being gone might land my kids in therapy. I really hope not. I want my kids to look back at Christmas knowing the true reason we celebrate it, that giving is better than receiving and that their mama loved her some Christmas and did her best to make sure that memories were made.


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