Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dear Santa

Merry Christmas! I know I'm running late on these posts but there were some great ones I couldn't help but document, so you're going to be getting quite a few holiday posts from me. So just bear with me. My camera was smoking today with pictures. I'm sure I'll still be posting about those around February.

We wrote our letters to Santa a couple of weeks ago. This was the first year that Campbell could "write" his letter.

And by write his letter, I mean copy my letters word for word, BUT it's in HIS handwriting and that still counts even if he has no idea what it spells. 

The amount of concentration that this took from this little 4 year old was intense.

I was so proud of him for sticking with it and the stationary I found online was perfect. He checked that he had been naughty (thank goodness he's truthful about it). So it was more or less a confessional. 

Nolan is a pro at Santa letter writing. I'm not even sure I helped him spell telescope.

I love this tradition of writing letters and it makes it so easy that we just send our letters with our elf, Pickles to the North Pole that very night for overnight delivery.

This one wasn't much into letter writing but she was into looking cute!

Luckily, Santa is such a sucker for cuteness.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas card 2012

This is what happens when you have an uncooperative 15 month old who was getting over croup while trying to take family photos. This is a composite of 5 different photos merged into one thanks to a really talented and crafty graphic artist husband.

And here's the back of our card.

I got the idea from Pinterest but I think the original lady had a much more cooperative bunch than mine. Oh well, it's the final product that counts, right?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Here comes Santa Claus

I'm pretty proud that we made it to see Santa downtown the first week of December. Usually, it's a oh-shoot-we-haven't-gotten-Santa-pics-yet kind of a thing.

Not too bad, I'd say. I mean Landry is looking down but what are you gonna do with a 15 month old, right? While she did fuss, it wasn't one of those screaming kid Santa pictures. I'll take it!

Looks like Landry loves candy as much as her mama does.

This is the first year that Campbell went right to Santa. Usually he's got a death grip on one of us.

 Probably because he knows that he better be sweet with all that naughty stuff he's been up to. No one can resist Campbell's big blue eyes and cute hugs. He's a quick learner.

I love downtown Fort Worth so much and especially at Christmas time. I know it's not NYC but our downtown turns into something so magical and heart-warming during Christmas time. It's like those little snow villages that you watch with wonder when you're a little kid.

Minus the snow. In fact, my poor children were sweating as we saw Santa on a 80 degree day. Sigh. One can dream of a white Christmas, right?

This picture on the left is my new favorite of my trio. Do you know how incredibly hard it is to photograph all three looking at the camera?

I made these shirts for the boys last year and I was so happy to see that they fit for one more year!

Many many years ago, I was an assistant buyer at Pier 1. They do an amazing light display and we took the kids to go see it. They love it every year.

Love our Santa pictures every year. I keep an album of each kid with Santa. Love this tradition and I hope my kids keep being good sports about it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's beginning to look like Christmas...

I've discovered that my love for decorating for Christmas has diminished over the years. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love enjoying the decorations when they're all put out on display. And I love love love Christmas music, but the actual process of decorating? Ugh.

My Norman Rockwell daydream consists of listening to Bing Crosby with a fire in the fireplace while reminiscing about each ornament we meticulously place on the tree. Hot apple cider aromas drift through the house and we all snuggle up on the couch and admire our masterpiece when it's finished.

Well, my house is the complete and total opposite that.

I guess that's the life with little ones. Tree decorating takes hours and all the breakables are put up top where little hands can't reach. The boys are throwing a football past a 9 foot tree loaded with sentimental and breakable ornaments. About half way through the process, I convince myself that there's no way that I'm putting out all of my Christmas decorations because that would be insane. And then I start wondering why I even did it in the first place.

But then I realize, this is it. This really is my true dream....to have a house full of kids being normal mischievous kids who squeal with excitement over the tree lighting up for the first time, who break snow globes because they just couldn't resist touching them because they look so magical.


So maybe we're not Norman Rockwell in the moment. In fact, I'm pretty sure I look exhausted, worn out and quite frankly, beat down.

But when I look back to the pictures, I don't remember how glitter was everywhere and it was a mess to clean up. I look at these picture and look at this and smile at that ridiculously cute pot belly on my baby girl and her adorable mushable bottom and wonder how I got so lucky I could cry.

 So you can have your Norman Rockwell moments because those are boring, I'll be busy picking up broken snow globes and finding room on my mismatched tree for more handmade ornaments loaded with glitter, compliments of my tiny artists.

And next year, I'm sure I'll do the same and swear that I'm going to get out even fewer decorations. I talk a big talk but when it comes to seeing more of this, I just suck it up and deal.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thanksgiving-Incredible Hulk style

Hi there, I’m Andrea, your long lost blogger. Oh my, I don’t think I’ve ever been this bad about blogging and keeping up. Guess that’s the life of having three kids and working two jobs. Extra time is pretty much nonexistent in our house.

Thanksgiving was a busy week. Who am I kidding...like there aren’t busy weeks?! I had 12 photo sessions that week! Yes, 12 and I’m still editing. I’ve seen hours past midnight a lot these days. I’m grateful for the growing photography business but looking forward to a slower December when I promised my family no sessions so I could celebrate the holidays with them.

The major kink in our week was Landry coming down with croup. My amazing husband took care of all three while I went on a girls’ trip, and with Landry being sick. He is a rock star. After a week of not getting better and possibly worse, we went back to the doctor and they ended up putting her on steroids and an antibiotic. Within hours, we noticed that she began to sound better. Poor thing sounded like she had been smoking a pack a cigs. The bad news was that the steroids made my otherwise adorable and sweet baby girl turn into the Incredible Hulk. She seriously had ‘roid rage and it was a rough five days. Finally, the last day we couldn’t take it anymore and we didn’t give her her last dose. Suddenly, our sweet and happy girl was back. Glad she was back, but it was at a very tiring and frustrating cost.

Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without snuggling in bed and watching the parade. Well, the boys snuggled anyway.

Landry screamed holy terror and I almost didn’t get a picture of it. She wanted NOTHING to do with the parade. We managed to snap our annual Thanksgiving picture in the backyard with our beautiful sweet gum tree that perfectly turns the week of Thanksgiving.

The boys were working the Heisman pose like no other.


And this is the best we could get from Landry Kate during her 'roid rage. 

Next, we headed to my parents’ house. My brother came in with his kids and it had been June since I saw them. It was so great seeing my nieces and nephews. The boys loved playing football in the backyard with their big cousin, Warren.

The food was awesome, as always. I don't know what I'm going to do when they pass the torch for me to cook the turkey. That just seems too grown up for me to do.

My brother and his boys checked out the Black Friday ads and even were brave enough to go shopping.

I went Black Friday night when I discovered we were down to our last diaper. I was scared to go, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Target was a ghost town and I even bought everything that I saw that was a deal! Double score! The trick is go when everyone else is so exhausted from earlier Black Friday sales.

My nieces Madison was there and looked gorgeous as always so I wanted to get some pictures of her with the kids.

Isn't she beautiful? Love her sweet smile. She told me she wanted me to Photoshop a blemish on her face. I told her it was just easier to do this...

It was a hard "first" Thanksgiving without my sister, Tonya. I was pretty proud that I only cried once. I thought of her a million times that day. I thought about how we would be scouring the Black Friday ads and how in her last couple of years, we would go shopping and I would joke with her that her wheelchair was slowing me down and she needed to upgrade to a jazzy scooter.

But having Madison there with us helped heal the wound. I wish my other nieces could have been there that day too because being with them helps.

In the midst of playing in the backyard, we saw a butterfly. For those of you who don't know, my sister's middle name means butterfly. I'd like to think that was her celebrating with us on Turkey Day. I mean how many butterflies have you seen at the end of November?

Yeah, me neither.

There's still so much to be grateful for in our lives and this year has taught me more than ever that people mean the very most.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Superhero Halloween

I can't believe it. My children actually let me do a theme again for their costumes. I thought those days were long gone after last year when I had little to no input, on what they were.

But I knew that I might have a winner when I suggested superheroes. We wear capes around these parts like underwear. Some days, it's just capes and underwear, but that's just how it is in a house of two boys.

So superheroes is was...

Batman is the one with the "muscles". Cam is rocking the Superman curl, and Landry....need I say more about her Wonder Woman powers?

I think this is the cheapest I've ever gotten out for Halloween. Landry's costume cost me less than $10. I bought her onesie on eBay and made the rest compliments of tulle, and my Cricut to cut out the stars. 

And Wonder Woman's super power? Why it's insane adorable cuteness, of course! Don't let Justin fool you that he was "helping" her carry her bucket. I think he just went so it was acceptable for him to eat up her candy. I mean I might have helped him out a little, too.

Right before it was time to trick-or-treat we discovered that Campbell had a low grade fever. Nothing like doping your kid up on Motrin so he can go trick-or-treating. That's called quality parenting right there, folks. 

Our neighborhood is pure insanity on Halloween. It's sometimes hard to find room on the sidewalk and people go all out with their decorations.

Check out my dad's "sleeves". If you know my dad it's hilarious to even think that he would consider wearing these. His tats didn't seem to scare Landry away.

But I guess I better back up a little. The Sunday before Halloween, my parents' church had their annual Trunk-or-treat after church. My mom's favorite holiday is Halloween so she can throw together a myriad of difference trunks with all her Halloween decorations. 

Any excuse to get one more use out of that costume sounds good to us. 

I seriously can't get over how my favorite part of Campbell's costume is his curl. 

It wasn't all smiles. Superheroes have rough days too, you know. 

Halloween is just better with kids. Period. I feel like I'm living vicariously through them all over again.

Seeing my superheroes downtown "saving" the city had me hoping that maybe just maybe I can talk them into another theme next year.

And maybe they're not the only ones who enjoyed dressing up this year. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

20 year high school reunion

Now before you go and thinking that I'm that close to 40, let me clarify, that this was my husband's 20 year reunion!

Justin moved to Shreveport, LA his sophomore year of high school and went to a small private prep school there. Their claim to fame is that they are the ONLY school that has Snoopy as their mascot.

We packed up the kids and headed to Louisiana for the weekend. The boys favorite thing ever is to spend the night in a hotel room. They think it's the coolest thing. We, however, get the worst sleep ever, but we're making memories, right?

Of all weekends, the weather was freezing while we were there and we had an outdoor event planned for everyone to meet each other's families.

My children didn't seem to complain about the weather. And Landry is quite the rule breaker when it comes to the grass.

Later that night we had a grown up night. It was great to see everyone again. Most of them I hadn't seen since their 10 year reunion. There is one thing about people from Shreveport, they are some really sweet people.

The boys are already missing the hotel and keep asking when we get to go back to a hotel. I didn't realize how fascinating hotels were!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

The pumpkin patch...it's something that is just party of our schedule. Who cares if we have soccer games, we've been out of town, or  if I've had 7 photo shoots in 8 days while working full time.

Pumpkin patches are a priority status when it comes to scheduling. No matter how exhausted I am, we make sure to squeeze it in because that are my favorite pictures of the entire year. The kids don't even have to be looking and they're still my favorite because of all the fall colors.

 I have a slight obsession with all things fall related.

Don't EVEN get me started on pumpkins. If it even looks like it could be made of pumpkins, chances are that I've probably tasted it.

We have an frozen yogurt place called Orange Leaf WAY too close to our house and right now they have Pumpkin pie frozen yogurt. It's quite embarassing how many times I've been in there in the past couple of weeks and even more embarrassing how many times I tell myself Do not be tempted, Do not be tempted, as I drive by.

 But I digress. My best friend Angi has wanted family pictures and I thought the perfect background would be the pumpkin patch and maybe I could even get someone to snap a few of my family.

My kids always love the pumpkin patch and that's why it's so easy because when I'm busy snapping pictures of one of them, the others are off running and having a blast.

We piled all of our kids in the back of the old pick up truck. Dang, I wish I had this truck for some photo shoots. Too bad, this one is only available during October.

I was a procrastinator and waited way too long to order Landry an embroidered pumpkin shirt so I took a crack at it and made one. Don't look too close at the stitching but I still think it turned out super cute. It's probably the cute girl wearing it that makes it look even cuter. Here is she is with her bestie, Rylan.

The boys were sporting their ties that I bought for them. I actually learned how to make those too but these were bought, I went the easy way.

It was so much fun to get together with Angi and her sweet family. The funniest part of the evening was that we decided to go out to eat afterwards and agreed on Mooyah's Burgers. Well apparently, there are two Mooyah's Burgers within minutes of each other and we went to separate ones. Oops. Can you tell that we've got a lot on both of our plates?

I love looking at the pictures through the years of our little ones at the pumpkin patch and love even more that it's become a tradition. 


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