December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Our Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope yours was a good one! We had a nice, quiet holiday, this year.

Mr. Elf made his last appearance on Christmas Eve by bringing Liam a bucket of reindeer food. While we tried to move him about once a day throughout this last month, we definitely didn’t go crazy with this little guy, as Liam was just starting to “get it” with him. Most mornings as we got closer to Christmas, he would ask where Mr Elf was, so I would say he enjoyed him. We also kept the whole experience with the elf fun & light-hearted, so I think that helped. For us, it was more about finding the elf everyday and not that he was “watching” Liam. I’ve actually felt a little bad these last few days, as he’s asked where he was a few times & I don’t think he understands that he doesn’t come back ’till next year. However, we did have a good time sprinkling the reindeer food out in the front yard before bedtime on Christmas Eve. My flash on my camera was being testy so unfortunately I didn’t get a good pic to share. I got the idea here from a pin off of Pinterest. I ended up finding the cute reindeer buckets at the dollar spot at Target the week before Christmas so it worked out perfect!

2013-12-24_Mr Elf_Reindeer Food 004

Christmas Eve, we just hung out at home & did a few fun things like putting up Christmas window clings & baking cookies for Santa.

2013-12-24_Christmas Eve Fun 003

That evening, we headed over to Stephen’s family for dinner. Liam got to visit with his aunt Heather & new baby cousin, Sierra — it’s her 1st Christmas πŸ™‚

2013-12-24_Christmas Eve

When we got home, it was PJ time, feeding the reindeer, and putting out milk & cookies for Santa. As soon as the plate of snacks were set out, we didn’t even blink before little man was helping himself to the treats! LOL …it was so cute that we just let him go…he enjoyed a cookie AND some milk!! I guess you could say that he wanted to make sure that tasted okay for Santa πŸ˜‰

2013-12-24_Santas Cookies and Milk 001

Once he was fast asleep…..SANTA.FINALLY.CAME!!

2013-12-24_Santa Came 003

Liam’s big gift this year was a tricycle. I spent a long time scouring over Craigslist trying to find one that we thought he would like. We knew we didn’t want to buy it brand new because (a) if you look hard enough, you can find great deals on Craigslist and (b) we weren’t entirely sure he would like the tricycle so we didn’t want to splurge on it, just in case. One day, literally a few months ago, I found this Schwinn blue trike & knew it was THE one. Best of all, the family we bought it from said their son never really liked it, so he didn’t use it. It honestly looks brand new still AND it still had one of the tags on it! Definitely a steal! It was so hard to keep this hidden for months!

When we heard Liam wake up and stumble into the living room, I peaked out of our room to see his expression. He walked up to his trike & looked all around it. Then, he walked to the side of the tree and checked out the presents.

So cute!!

When he walked into our room next, the 1st thing he said was, “I got my bike! …and my presents!” ….melt your heart!

2013-12-25_I got my bike 002

Going for a test ride right away!

2013-12-25_Christmas Morning 004

Little People Wheelies track — another fave from Santa

2013-12-25_Christmas Morning 007

Papa Murphy & family sent him a Rudolph jack-in-the box. This has been a huge hit. He calls it his reindeer music box. It plays the Rudolph theme song when you wind the crank to make Rudolph pop out.

2013-12-25_Christmas Morning 010

Great Mimi was so thoughtful to send him this teddy bear. As you can see, he gave it lots of love right away!

2013-12-25_Christmas Morning 014

One of his presents was the Fisher Price Medical Kit. Here he is giving Christmas Mickey (a present from Mimi & Papa D) a check up!

2013-12-25_Christmas Boo

There was so much excitement from the morning, we were all tuckered out. Especially Timber….as you can see πŸ™‚

2013-12-25_Christmas Bike Riding 003

I’ve been trying to get some good shots of Liam riding his tricycle, as we’ve taken it out for a few spins over the last few days. Here is one pick above from Christmas day. Below is a quick snippet of him riding yesterday. If you push him around, or, as in this video below, let him go down a driveway, he gets the concept of pedaling. However, we are still working on learning how to do it solo on a flat surface. That will take some time still & that’s ok!


We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, as well!!

Much love….the Murphy’s

December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Countdown to Christmas

The countdown is on! Just a few days to go πŸ™‚ …are you excited?!?! Having a child definitely brings that magical feeling from your own childhood back & we are finding ourselves wanting to start re-creating memories that we once did, as well as think of new & fun traditions to start.

During the week, we were pleasantly surprised with this awesome wine gift set from Stephen’s dad & family. It comes from out their way in New Mexico, so we’re excited to try this very soon!

2013-12-17_wine xmas gift set

On Thursday night, I put together a little gift for each of Liam’s teachers. He went shopping with me earlier in the week & helped pick out the soaps. He was cute. He clearly did NOT want to be shopping {I didn’t either, really…but I’m a terrible procrastinator}, and after we picked the 1st soap, he says, “Ok, are we done now?” LOL.

I found the tags off Pinterest from a free download here, and Liam & I had fun tracing his hand print to also put with the tag!

2013-12-20_teacher xmas gift

Friday, we brought the gifts to school, and he enjoyed a holiday party with his class. Later that day, when I asked him what special snacks he had from the party, he remembered, bananas & cheese πŸ™‚

2013-12-20_Christmas Party

This was the special Christmas handprint project he made for us that he brought home on Friday. LOVE IT!!!

2013-12-20_Liam Christmas Project

Saturday evening, we headed out to a Christmas party out at the horse stables where Mimi keeps her horses. Liam LOVES animals and really loves to see the horses, so this was great fun for him. I failed epically at taking a pic this time of him petting a horse, but we also had fun walking about the property checking out all the cool decorations.

2013-12-21_Stables Nativity

After we left the stables, we stopped by Light Up UCF to check out the Christmas lights. Liam is still too small for the rides & ice skating they have there, but it was fun to walk around for a few minutes.

2013-12-21_Light Up UCF

It’s almost Merry Christmas Eve, friends!! I am really looking forward to seeing little man’s excitement over these next few days!


Until next time…..

December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Holiday Magic

Where is this month going, people!?!? Good grief…I can hardly believe Christmas is in less than a week. So much happening in such a short time.

Last week, Liam had “Santa’s Workshop” at daycare {school}. This is the 1st time they have done this and to be honest, I questioned why it was even being done at his age group. I mean, I remember doing this in like, elementary school…taking a few dollars to school to buy presents for mom & dad. Realistically, there is no way a 2 year old is going to understand this concept of shopping for us on his own.

Buuut, me being me ….I didn’t want him to miss out on anything OR feel left out if others in his class went, so we sent him to school on the designated morning with a couple bucks. The report we got back was that one of the teachers helped him to shop & he enjoyed himself. When I asked him that evening how it went, all he remembered was that he ‘touched the tree’ …he LOVES Christmas trees this year, so he was thrilled to see the school’s tree set up in the workshop & apparently he got to touch it. That topped the shopping experience. Ha! Here’s a few pics the school took of it, though, so that was cool.

2013-12-10_Santa Workshop_2

2013-12-10_Santa Workshop_1

The 3 presents he bought us were wrapped & sent home with him. So cute! Now, the story gets more fun. In the spirit of the season, I placed them under the tree when we got home that night, and we began to go about our nightly routine. Let me pause to mention that there were no other presents under the tree. The way we’ve decided to work things in Casa de Murphy is similar to how it was for us growing up. Santa brought all the presents. {Honestly, as a kid, I thought that’s how everyone did it, but as an adult, I’m finding out everyone’s traditions are vastly different…I could write a post just on THIS topic down the road.} Anyhow, Liam was in the living room watching Mickey & we were in the kitchen chatting. Next thing I know, we hear…..riiiiip….’umm, what was that?’ ….RIIIIP …..Yeap, we look into the living room to find our little man sitting next to the tree TEARING OPEN those three little presents ….our three little presents that he bought us. LOL!!!

I said, “Liam, what are you doing?”

“I, open” — with a big grin

“But, those are what you got mommy & daddy for Christmas”

“No, for Liam”

So, we just laughed, and let him go. Stephen got a cute Christmas coffee mug. I got a gingerbread picture frame and a pretty fashion necklace that I will proudly wear to work.

The best part is when he opened the necklace, he goes, “OH, I LOVE IT!!” and put it on! That was the cutest ever. I managed to snap a quick pic of that moment.

2013-12-12_love it_necklace

Last weekend, we went down to see Grammy & Papa Rock. It was a really fun day for Liam. Grammy had surgery recently so we haven’t been able to see her in a while while she’s been resting, so we let the two of them spend some quality time together and he loved it….they both did πŸ™‚

2013-12-14_Santa Boots

Santa also came a little early this week for Liam from Grammy & Papa Rock. Since he has been quite the little chair stealer of Daddy’s lazy boy, we thought it would be fun to get him a little chair of his own. A few friends have this one from Pottery Barn Kids & I fell in love with it, so Liam is one lucky little dude to be able to have his very own, too.

2013-12-15_Anywhere Chair

2013-12-15_new chair

We have some fun things planned over these next few days. I hope to have some more posts up between now & Christmas for you!!


I know I need to take my own advice on this, too …but we should take time out from all the hustle & bustle of this crazy time and enjoy the MAGIC of the season …..enjoy your family & friends…those you hold dear & love.

December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Visions of Sugar Plums

Here comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus….yes, friends, last week we tackled a visit with the big man, himself. I have to admit that we were skeptical going into it as to whether or not we would find success, as last year was NOT a winner {there is no pic …MANY tears were shed}. Also, thinking back to his 1st Christmas in 2011, I wasn’t sure we could top that Santa pic ~ it was epic by my mommy standards & totes adorbs!! Here’s a look back on that one before I get to this year’s:


Back to this year’s adventure, we decided to go after work on Wednesday. My original plan was to see Santa at Millenia, but time is precious & since we’ve had luck with Oviedo in the past, we decided to give it another whirl there. Amazingly, no one else was in line when we arrived. Liam was in great spirits UNTIL we got up to Santa. Then, it was not fun & games. We didn’t want to be “those parents” who force a crying kid pic. HA! The photographer was super nice and since no other family happened to be waiting, she was able to work with us for a short time to get Liam comfortable to sit next to Santa. I want to note {in the most hilarious way} that Santa was NOT allowed to touch Liam. Snoopy even had to act as a safety barrier. Notice in these pics below that no part of Santa is touching Mr. Liam. LOL! We tried a few different poses but Liam caught on every time. Overall, I would say we had pretty good success and these came out really cute. Such the little man!


ok, Santa, you can read me a quick story….


impromptu family shot….


Next up, we had the super fun, 4th Annual — Bengel Gingerbread House Decorating Party!!

The 1st year I was just newly pregnant and I honestly don’t even think I realized it at that point. 2nd year, Liam was just a few months old and we were just there to have a good time πŸ™‚ …3rd year / last year, we decorated a house together but he had no idea what was happening. So, this year I was a little more excited to do it. I knew he still wouldn’t fully grasp the concept but could still have fun with it.

I have to say I was surprised that as Stephen & I began showing Liam how to decorate the house, and choose the candy that he wanted to put on it, he began TO.EAT.THE.CANDY — our child does not really like candy OR chocolate, so you can imagine our surprise when he began shoveling the M&M’s in his little mouth. HaHa! What a kid!

Let me also mention that little man had spied the Bengel’s super cool Polar Express Electric Choo-Choo Train that circles their Christmas tree when we walked into their house. Sooo, the whole time we did the gingerbread house, we kept hearing, “i wanna play choo-choo” …hahaha. Niiiice!!

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 001

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 012

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 014

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 015

train-tastic!! Now THIS is where Liam spent a LOT of time after we finished his house. While the adults chatted in the kitchen, we just kept hearing the whirling of the train going around the track πŸ™‚

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 017

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 019

Both sides of the Murphy’s finished house!!

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 022

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 023

Buuut….let us not forget…

After all the kiddos where done with their houses and playing in the house, I went back out on the patio and this is what we found:

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 024

Stephen & Lisa were decorating the leftover {pink} house and let me just tell you…it was INTENSE. Here’s what they came up with:

2013-12-07_Bengel Gingerbread House Party 021

These two are already planning next year’s masterpiece….sad or exciting? not sure yet …LOL


Always fun times with these crazy friends!! Love ’em

December 2013

Love You Always, Grammy

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since my Grammy left us. To be honest, I don’t even like to call attention to this day because it was honestly one of the saddest & hardest days of my life, so far …and it’s not one I like to remember. But, like any other person who has lost a loved one, you can’t help but remember that time. So, I am choosing to celebrate her today, as I do every day. There’s not a day that has gone by since her passing that I haven’t thought about her. And I know she would be pissed off at me if I spent today being sad….so I will do my best to not be.

Last night, I spent some time looking through photos. I can’t write a lot today or else I will cry, but I wanted to share some memories here with you….


I totes remember these pink snow boots πŸ™‚ …me & Bobby having fun way back in the day with Grammy. She loved us like we were her own babies, and for that, I will forever be grateful….



These are from our wedding in April 2002. She & Grampy LOVED to dance….and they were great at it. Like Fred & Ginger!



2013-07-03_baby and grammy

I don’t have a lot of pics from when I was pregnant but I am so glad I have this one. This was taken just a few weeks before Liam made his grand entrance.

2011-08-04_with great grammy

Here is Grammy holding & feeding Liam when he was just a few days old. Words cannot express just how thankful I am that she was able to meet him & spend the 1st few months of his life with him. It breaks my heart that he will never remember it, but I will have these pictures to one day Β tell him about her when he’s old enough. I take comfort in knowing that she is still with us in spirit & watching over us. I hope that she can “see” what an amazing child he is turning out to be. I know she would love him!

2011-10-01_with Great Grammy

This is the last picture I have of all of us together.

Grammy and Grampy Wedding Pic

This is my Grammy & Grampy’s wedding picture from May 3, 1952. And, this is the laminated copy that my Grampy carry’s around in his wallet. It’s the sweetest thing ever, PLUS it’s an awesome picture. Sorry this isn’t the best quality pic & my thumb is showing, but I literally took a picture of his picture…ha! Ever since I was a little girl, I admired their marriage & relationship. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect….no one’s is. They made it work, though…for over 50 years. I can only hope Stephen & I can have as many years together, as they had.


Love you, Grammy & miss you so much!!

December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Wonderful Christmas Time

No sooner did we put our forks down from our tasty turkey dinner, did we start breaking out the Christmas decorations. It seems like Thanksgiving was so late this year, and in a weird way, December feels like a short month so no time to waste!

In previous posts, I’ve talked about our obsession with Fisher Price Little People (now, the ‘old’ style, plump kind), so no surprise, this year’s new decorations involve the Little People Nativity Set (thank you to my mom!). It seriously is one of the cutest things ever! Of course, I set it up to display but Liam has had other plans and it’s a new fav toy. It actually works out perfect to help explain the real reason for this most magical season!! πŸ™‚ …hearing him say, ‘baby Jesus’ is totally adorable, too..can’t get enough of that!

2013-12-01_Christmas Time 005

We (correction “I”) decided it would be fun to have all 3 of us decorate the tree together on Friday night. Hahaha!!! …can we say, exhausting? …it was fun, but little man did not make it an easy experience πŸ˜‰ …happy to report, though, that no ornaments were harmed during this decorating process.

2013-12-01_Christmas 2013 Tree

Saturday morning, our very own elf made his 1st appearance in Casa de Murphy. As pictured above, he was waiting for Liam while perched in the Christmas tree. His book was positioned on Liam’s picnic table in the living room. Mmmm, let’s just say that we got more of a reaction out of the book than out of the elf. The naming process was pretty funny. Stephen & I ran through at least 10 different names from our top picks that we were sure Liam would like, but each one got a “no” response from him. Finally, he said “yes” to ……Mr. Elf.

So, there you have it.

Welcome to Casa de Murphy, Mr. Elf

2013-12-01_Mr Elf Debuts

So far, Liam & Timber both are loving sitting by the tree. Liam LOVES the Christmas lights, so I see us going to see some places with lights hopefully in the coming weeks. We hope to make a trip to go see the guy in the bid red suite soon but not sure if he’ll even go for it…last year was a no go. You’ll see it here, if he does πŸ™‚

2013-12-01_Christmas Love


Until next time, friends!