December 2016

Our Merry Christmas {2016}

Merry Christmas!

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With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, we had a whole weekend of fun-filled holiday goodness! Liam was out of school the week before, so he had a ball at winter camp with a few field trips & activities. Both Stephen & I had to work through the 23rd, and that evening, Liam had a very special celebration, but more on that soon! Once we wrapped all that up, it was full-on Christmas mode! I have been blasting Christmas tunes  everywhere I go since just before Thanksgiving, and this weekend was no different. I LOVE Christmas music and it really tickled me this year because we noticed that Liam now knows many of the words to the songs we play on the regular.carpenterschristmasChristmas Eve, Liam woke up to a special present from Mr. Elf. He also delivered his good-bye letter to him that included a note that he could hug & kiss him bye again this year for a few minutes without his Christmas magic leaving. Mr. Elf was set to return to the North Pole with Santa that evening. Last year, Liam was VERY sad to see his friend leave, so we were anticipating that again this year. However, it was not as bad this time around because of the gift he brought Liam. He had asked Santa for a stuffed Mr. Elf toy, and THAT is exactly what he got from Mr. Elf! He was ecstatic!!


That afternoon, we attended the Christmas Eve service at our church. Towards the end of service, there was a candlelight activity as we shared how Jesus is our light for the world ❤


Some of our family was unfortunately sick, so thwarted plans landed us out to eat. We chose Bahama Breeze, and it was a perfect dinner! We beat the crowds, and the weather was amazing to sit outside.


Liam was even able to play corn-hole while we waited for our food 🙂


Once we got home, little man helped me to make cookies for Santa! We even made them from scratch this year. If you know me, then you know that’s means LOT 😉 …I haven’t made this cookie recipe in years, and was honestly so happy to do it with Liam this year. They came out so cute!




After cookie baking, we put on jammies and put out the reindeer food in the front yard. Liam thought he kept hearing Santa’s sleigh ❤


Even though he knew Santa wouldn’t come until after he fell asleep, Liam was not happy about bedtime. When we put out Santa’s cookies & milk, I asked him to smile for a picture. This was as good as it got. Ha!


….and, once he was fast asleep — Santa arrived! ❤


Christmas morning, wee-man slept ’till about 7:00am. Stephen & I laugh because, as kids, we can remember waking up before dawn with excitement. Not our kiddo. He {like his mama now} loves his sleep, and has snoozed till early morning every Christmas so far. When he did get up, he came into our room to wake us, and said, “I got presents! There’s a big bag & that’s my drum set! Come look!


Daddy & Mommy picture courtesy of Liam 🙂


So, he went for the big gift bag 1st to open, as he was convinced that was the drum set he had asked Santa for on his list. It wasn’t {it was the castle in the pic below}. However, Santa did bring him that drum set, so he was stoked when he did finally open it!


Silly boy….


Liam’s BIG gift this year was one that we were SUPER excited for, as well — ANNUAL FAMILY PASSES TO DISNEY!!!!!

Liam had a special gold box to open with a few things inside to reveal the gift:

Santa wrote him a letter to explain that he was getting the passes & why.

A fun “ticket” that said, Liam is going to Disney! All by himself, he actually read it & that was awesome!!

A Disney autograph book to take to the parks.

Magic Bandits to put on his magic band once we get them.

His Mickey ears {fun fact: I found these in his closet from when we took him on his 2nd bday for his very 1st trip there, so this worked out perfectly. You can check out that post HERE}.

*special THANK YOU!! to everyone who helped make this happen ❤ *


His face as he was reading his ticket ❤


I would say that is the face of one happy, little man!


The animals were not left out of the morning, either. Santa brought them some treats. Timber snoozed most of the morning, though, while Simba raced around stealing bows & pieces of wrapping paper. Don’t be fooled by this cute pic….the tree skirt later was dragged half way across the living room! By Wednesday, this year, the tree was down. We have always waited to take our decorations down until after the New Year, but this crazy boy kept me on my toes just a little too much 😛


After a relaxing afternoon, we headed over to our good friends to have Christmas dinner. Plans turned into the three of us having dinner at home, but we are very thankful & blessed to have great friends who insisted we not be alone for Christmas dinner. We really had an enjoyable evening! Here’s a pic of Liam & James playing out back with James’ new boat.

We are so grateful & have full-hearts as we wrap up another magical Christmas season! We had a lot more fun throughout the rest of Liam’s winter break this past week, & I’ll be sharing more of that soon.

For a look back on our previous Christmas celebrations —






Much love…

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December 2016

A Winter Holiday Celebration

Little man has been busy spreading holiday cheer, and we are eating it up! Look at this super cute angel he made in art class ❤


Last week, I headed over to his school in the morning to catch his Kindergarten Winder Holiday Celebration. Each of the five classrooms performed a Christmas themed song. He had shared bits & pieces of his class’s routine with us at home, but he made sure to tell us that we had to wait to see the whole production in person.

This little smirk is what I get from him often ….sometimes it means he’s being shy (as he was a bit in this pic) and sometimes he’s up to no good 😉


The song his class had was ‘Groovin’ Elf” ….so, of course, they all came in dressed as cool little elves. LOVED IT!



Mr. Mason, his music teacher 🙂


No stage fright for little man Murphy….


At the end of the show, all of the classrooms got on stage together and sang — We Wish You A Merry Christmas

After the show, his class had their holiday party, and they made a few crafts. Last Friday was also Pajama Day at school, so he was stoked to wear those PJ’s to school!

The bell craft was fun, as it’s a countdown to Christmas. He gets to cut a ring off each night. He knows when it’s just the bell left….it will be Christmas!


A few weekends ago, we had also went up to his school for Breakfast with Santa ❤


The cafeteria was decorated so cute by the PTA. Liam asked if the real Santa was there or if this was a helper. {We tell him that the Santa’s that he sees out & about in the malls & stores are helpers that report back to the North Pole}. I told him this was also a helper, but he looked at this guy, and told me I was wrong. This was the real one ❤



Love this boy & all the holiday magic he brings into our home. It’s just THE best!

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December 2016

ICE! at Gaylord Palms ~ 2016

It’s become one of our family traditions at this time of the year to head over to the Gaylord Palms Resort and check out ICE! This is literally two-million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures that we can walk through to a different holiday theme each year. There are also ice slides and the whole scene tells a cute story. Not to mention, the attraction is kept at a super cool NINE degrees!! BBRR!!

You can see our fun from last year HERE.

We were so excited to go this year, as it featured A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is one of our childhood favorites, and of course, now one of Liam’s ❤



As we waited in line to enter the exhibit, the staff member literally reviewed this with us. Seriously, this was hilarious!! 🙂


The details in the ice sculptures are just mind blowing. While the chilly temps will literally, at first, take your breath away, lol….walking around looking at these beauties will, too! So, so pretty!!


While we laughed at being told not to touch the ice, little man kept asking to touch it…I mean, look at it….for a kid, even for us….you really do just want to reach out & touch it!


They did such an awesome job of capturing all of our favorites moments from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. LOVE IT!!


Charlie Brown & Lucy ❤


This was the ice slide room! Super fun!!




Linus …and he was holding a real blanket ❤


Both Liam & Stephen went down the slides (there were four). My hands were so cold that my phone didn’t register my fingerprints to take the video & it messed up (such a bummer). While I was waiting for them to slide down, another lady’s phone froze….THAT’s how cold it was in there! Really!! So, here’s a screen shot of when I tried to 1st start the video 🙂


Say cheese! …It’s the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!


We were seriously just so in love with all of these vibrant colors & details!




Once again, the last room was the Nativity Scene, and it was breathtaking ❤


Such a fun-filled family day!


Until next time, friends!

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December 2016

Priceless Memories ~ Family Pictures 2016

Last month, we got together, once again, with our favorite photographer, Dawn Geraghty, for our annual family pictures session. As always, she did not disappoint with the amazing shots  & moments she captured of our little family.

We love working with the natural light & elements outdoors, and Dawn does a fantastic job of capturing that vision. We are also just absolutely blown away by how much Liam has grown since last year. That is one of the main reason’s why I ensure we do these pictures annually because our little man is definitely changing right before our eyes. I want to capture every moment that I can ❤


You can contact Dawn at: // facebook: Dawn Geraghty Photography //


We were anticipating this would be a fab session, so while we had his Kindergarten pics taken with his school, we really didn’t invest in a package with them. Instead, Dawn captured this image & it really show’s Liam’s true personality…..


Total silliness but LOVE it ❤


And, some more gorgeous updated shots ….




Here is a look back on the family pics from the last few year’s:

2014 \\ 2015


Until next time!

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December 2016

It’s Christmas Time!

As we wrap up this 1st full week of December, I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit all around. Maybe part of it is because decorations have been out in the stores since August….#kiddingnotkidding

No, but really, we were completely excited to break out the holiday decor as soon as we wrapped up Thanksgiving. It was a busy weekend after coming home from my dad’s for Turkey Day, so it took us a bit longer than I had planned to get everything up, but the house is looking festive now ❤ …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.


Last week, we kicked off the season with our annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This is always a great time with our friends. A few of us girls gathered together a couple nights before the party to put all the houses together & have a few laughs 🙂


Liam was excited to get to work on his house. It was hard to even snap some of the pics this year because almost every time you asked him to stop and ‘say cheese’…he would reply with “I can’t, I’m busy.” …hilarious!


I might have bribed him to get this pic ❤


This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face 🙂


He wanted to spread the icing himself this year and he picked out all the candies. He’s getting to be so big and he’s very creative. He also knows exactly how he wants things to be & look.




And, of course, as soon as the kiddos wrapped up, the big kids jumped in. Lisa & Stephen have gotten very serious about their joint decorating adventure over the last few years. It’s quite amusing!


We joked around this year that this party is going to turn into the kids just playing & only the adults decorating houses. Hahaha!


I have to say that their house turned out pretty amazing! They were impressed with themselves, too, as you can see from their pic below 🙂


The Bengel’s neighborhood has a cool Santa that comes by, and the night of our party was actually the night he came! It was SO exciting for everyone.


We grabbed all the kids really quick and headed out front. Santa came up the driveway, greeted everyone, and gave each kiddo a little box filled with small trinkets & candy. It was so sweet ❤


Afterwards, we headed inside & had our gift exchange for the kids with a few of our friends.


Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too 😉


We’ve really enjoyed attending our new church home this past year, as I’ve mentioned in past posts. It’s such a blessing to share a deeper learning and understanding  of the Advent season with Liam.

We had a guest speaker, Brad Gray, last Sunday for the 1st of a two-part series about the meaning of Advent. Let me tell you ….it was so good!! He covered so much education & history about the Bible and what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth. I honestly had no idea. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message this weekend!

It’s called the Fullness of Time and I highly recommend you take a listen, as it’s available online HERE


Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did ❤

Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree 🙂


It felt good to finally have the house decorated by the end of the week. This pic is kinda dark, but the living room looks so cozy with just the glow of the Christmas lights & the fireplace.


Some of our other decorations….and Christmas cookies about to bake!


Can’t forget the outside decor, too!


And, this gem! If you read my last post, you know we went to see the big guy last month, so I’ve been saving this for awhile now. We LOVE our Santa at our local mall. Liam was a little nervous again this year, but he went up to him without any forcing. He asked him for Hot Wheels. Afterwards, you could see the excitement in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘that wasn’t bad at all‘.


We have a lot to look forward to this month & much to share! This is truly a magical time. Especially when you share it through the eyes of a child. Hope that your Christmas season is off to a fantastic start, as well!

 Until next time, friends!

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