December 2017

Our Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! Our Christmas weekend was jammed packed and filled with so much love & laughter. Hope the same for you & yours.

We kicked things off last Friday with Liam’s belt promotion ceremony at Victory Martial Arts. At this time last year, this was actually our very 1st belt promotion ceremony for him, so that was pretty cool to now celebrate a full year of earning belts. He moved up to Raon / Lion Decided.

We are so thankful for the leadership & guidance from his instructor, Mr. Johnson!

Saturday afternoon, we were beyond excited to attend the Orlando Ballet Company’s performance of The Nutcracker at The Dr. Phillip’s Center. This was the 1st time any of us had been to a real ballet show, so this was really cool. It was also our 1st time at the Dr. Phillip’s Center.

I would say that there are no ‘bad’ seats in the entire theatre, but we chose great seats. Here’s a view from where we sat. We were on the 2nd tier balcony….it was a bit higher that I would have liked & honestly made me a little nervous at first ….but we loved it!

The show was stunning & amazing! We were all enchanted & I would say this is definitely a new Christmas tradition for us. Liam’s favorite part was the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (2nd set of pics below). He also loved the Mouse King. Pictures weren’t permitted during the show, but here’s a few gorgeous shots posted from the Company’s social media.

Photo Credits: Michael Cairns ; Orlando Ballet Company
Photo Credits: Dr Phillips Center

Liam chose the Mouse King nutcracker as his souvenir from the show. We put him up at home next to the nutcracker I have from my Grammy โค

Sunday was Christmas Eve and we woke up to find Mr. Elf with a present for Liam, as well as his good-bye letter, his magic key to leave out for Santa & the reindeer food to put out that evening. Liam was very much so looking forward to hugging him for a few minutes, as we remembered he got to do that today.

Christmas Eve dinner was at the Bengel’s. We had Turducken ….a combo of Turkey, Duck & Chicken. It was surprisingly delish! It was a great evening with this group. Love them!

A little bit of SnapChat fun …..

When we got home, we got cookies & milk out for Santa …..

Christmas morning! Santa came ….excitement in the air ๐Ÿ™‚

Yah, it’s the ROBLOX set I wanted ๐Ÿ˜‰

LEGOS were a big part of what Santa brought. Liam is very into them right now (so is Daddy…lol). He was shocked to see he also got the LEGO Dimensions game for the PlayStation.

The aftermath…..his favorite was his skateboard & pads .

We knew a while back that it would end up just being us three for Christmas dinner. So, I booked us dinner at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had eaten breakfast there during our stay for Liam’s birthday & loved it. I knew dinner would be great. It’s a buffet restaurant & the food is sooo tasty! Not to mention how much we love the resort!

The Christmas decorations were gorgeous!

Dinner was delicious! It was a mix of traditional menu items, like prime rib, mashed potatoes & sweet potatoes, as well as African-themed dishes like kokonut rice, seafood gumbo, hummus & flatbread, plantain crisps,ย  and couscous. The desserts were Christmas themed, too. So yummy!

After dinner, we walked around the property & looked at the animals. It looked like it was dinner time for them, as well. The giraffes were super close to the lookout area out back, and there were two babies with the mama. It was awesome!

After that, we wandered about & looked around. In another area, they were having a s’mores roast. Despite being so full from dinner, still, we had to partake. It was too fun to pass up! ๐Ÿ™‚

We told him to stand still so we could take his pic & this is the pose we got …lol! What a little ham!

This was the sweet card Liam made us in extended day this year ….such a treasure โค

It’s been a great Christmas season this year, and we are so blessed. Love this little family of mine.

Until next time, friends!

December 2017

Countdown to Christmas!

The countdown is on! Just a few days to go, friends! ….are you excited?!?!

We are in full Christmas spirit around here. It’s been a busy month, so let’s catch up.

Right after Thanksgiving, Our scout elf, Mr. Elf, flew back from the North Pole. He brought Liam a Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar. It’s been really fun watching him open the door each day & see what new character he discovers.

Mr. Elf also brought a letter from Santa. Liam was able to read most of it himself this year, so that was pretty cool.

We decked the house out in our season’s best decorations. I have to say I am proud of how the front door turned out this year. I finally decided to buy fresh arrangements to display & am really loving it! Clearly, Timber is too ๐Ÿ™‚ย  — lol!

With Liam getting bigger, it was harder to lift him to place the star on the top of the tree, but he insisted. We did good with the tree staying nice & decorated for that first weekend. I actually thought that Simba was going to leave it alone this year. Well… I was wrong. On the 3rd day, as we were getting ready for work / school, I heard the jingle of ornaments. I came into the living room only to find him flying out of the tree at me. At this point, we’re just trying to keep it looking decent. No breakable ornaments were placed on it this year, so at least there’s that.

Toward the beginning of the month, we enjoyed a date night for a holiday party with all of Stephen’s work peeps — the Orlando Claims Association Holiday Gala. Always a fun time!

The next morning, we were all up early for Breakfast with Santa at Liam’s school. The theme this year was the Polar Express, so he wore his PJ’s & had hot chocolate. It was super cute!

We didn’t slow down that day ….in the afternoon, we headed over to the Bengel’s for our SEVENTH Annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This really is a great time with all our friends & the kiddos. Stephen & Lisa took their game up a notch this year & decorated a manor. They are crazy!!

We took time out during one of our busy weeknights to check out Light Up UCF. We have made it a point to stop by there the last few years when the reindeer come, so we didn’t want to miss it this year. We all think they are kinda magical in the true Christmas spirit ๐Ÿ™‚ ….and, Liam LOVES riding down the ice slide there!

Last weekend, my dad & stepmom (Papa G & G ma) came down & we headed to Animal Kingdom for the day. It was fun to show them the park for the 1st time, as they had never been, and also check out their holiday decorations. Stephen ended up getting pretty sick, so sadly, he missed out on the fun that day.

The safari ride is one of our favorite things of all the parks. I feel like you can always see something unique or different. That day, the elephants were so close & the hippos looked adorable sunbathing!

We finally rode on the Wildlife Express Train & discovered Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I’m not even sure how we kept doing it, but until this visit to the park, we kept completely missing this. So, this was our very 1st time back there. It is awesome!! The train ride is great, there’s character experiences and this petting zoo area is so neat! We will definitely be adding this to our itinerary for future visits.

Great weather & a great day โค

As we wrapped up this last week, Liam had his Winter Holiday Show at school. His music teacher, Mr. Mason, worked with all the kiddos to learnย  Christmas songs with choreography. We just love it!

On Wednesday, it was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day for Liam at school. I am normally not very crafty for making these type of things, but I tried my best based on what he requested. We planned it out & it took me awhile (& a few pin pricks..lol!), but I think it turned out pretty good…or pretty ugly, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last, but most certainly not least, we took our annual PJ pictures by the Christmas tree. We tried to get both Timber & Simba this year with Liam, but Simba (as you can imagine for a cat) was not cooperating. Actually, in Timber’s pic below, Simba is behind them….you just can’t see it. Haha! This pic of Simba is as good as it gets.

This year’s pic of these two boys is a little bittersweet. Timber sleeps a lot these days….we actually had to wake him up to do this pic, so he was pretty groggy in this one. He’s in great spirits, still, but he’s our little old man. His most recent visit with our amazing vet revealed he does have kidney disease now. We have been watching his numbers slowly go up in his blood work for a few months now, so it’s not a shock to us…but still is not the news we wanted. We are working with the vet to do all that we can to help him & give him the best for as long as we can โค

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 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 ย 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!!

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

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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.

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Liam was even able to play corn-hole while we waited for our food ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ …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!

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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 โค

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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!

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….and, once he was fast asleep — Santa arrived! โค

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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!

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Daddy & Mommy picture courtesy of Liam ๐Ÿ™‚

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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!

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Silly boy….

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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!ย 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 โค *

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His face as he was reading his ticket โค

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

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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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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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.
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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 —

2013

2014

2015

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Much love…

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December 2016

Merry Christmas Eve!

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Merry Christmas Eve!ย 

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Sharing some more of our family pics with Dawn Geraghty Photography that we did with a Christmas theme. LOVE these few with Liam & the vintage fire truck!

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Wishing you & your family Christmas blessings! โค

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May your holiday be filled with joy & laughter…

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…peace & love โค

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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 โค

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

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Mr. Mason, his music teacher ๐Ÿ™‚

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No stage fright for little man Murphy….

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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!

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

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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 โค

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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 โค

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As we waited in line to enter the exhibit, the staff member literally reviewed this with us. Seriously, this was hilarious!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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!!

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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!

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

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Charlie Brown & Lucy โค

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This was the ice slide room! Super fun!!

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Schroeder!!

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Linus …and he was holding a real blanket โค

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

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Once again, the last room was the Nativity Scene, and it was breathtaking โค

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Such a fun-filled family day!

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Until next time, friends!

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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 โค …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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!

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I might have bribed him to get this pic โค

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This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.

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Finished!

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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!

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

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.

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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 โค

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

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Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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 ย 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 onlineย HERE

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Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did โค
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Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.

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

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Can’t forget the outside decor, too!

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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‘.

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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!

ย Until next time, friends!

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December 2015, Latest & Greatest News

Our Merry Christmas

Our Christmas was filled with so much love & laughter. We could not have asked for a sweeter holiday. This little family of mine is blessed to have one another and those we love — both family & friends.

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On Christmas Eve, we kept things low key & hung out at home. Liam was hilarious because he took the iPad into his playhouse & watched Christmas cartoons while we were getting things ready for the day. You can’t see it in the picture, but he even had his crocs by the fireplace in there….so cute!

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We continued our tradition of baking cookies for Santa. For anyone who knows me, while I CAN cook & bake, I’m just not a huge fan & I’m all about shortcuts & time savers. So, yes, we did ready made cookies (aka, break & bake) again & I don’t feel bad about it. We have loads of fun decorating them after they bake ๐Ÿ™‚ …Liam’s a big fan of sprinkles!

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Being silly while making food for the Santa’s reindeers

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Cheese! ….this is how we do winter in Florida….shorts & flip flops!

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It’s Santa Boo ๐Ÿ™‚

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We went over to Mimi’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. Liam always enjoys running around (literally) with his cousin, Sierra. This was about a 2 second snap where they they both sat down together.

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When we got home, it was time to go out front & put the food on the lawn for the reindeer. This year, we did a mix of oatmeal, powdered sugar, and sprinkles ๐Ÿ™‚

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At bedtime, of course, we put out cookies & milk for Santa. This year, we started a new tradition of leaving a magic key for Santa. Mr Elf had brought it one day for Liam, as he had been asking this year how Santa got in our house since we didn’t have a chimney (such a smart one, he is, right?!?!)

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As you can imagine, Liam was more excited than ever this for Christmas. He definitely did not want to go to sleep, but we reminded him that Santa wouldn’t come until he was asleep, so that helped. I think it was close to 10pm, when he finally drifted off. It was hilarious, though, because Daddy was up before the rest of us in the morning out of excitement to open presents and/or see little man’s excitement. Liam, though, is like his mama and loves his sleep. Thus, he slept in until about his normal wake up time & came out of his room at about 6am. When he did come out, he was wide-eyed to see the tree filled up! He came running into our room & said, “Hey guys, I made it onto the nice list!!” ….THAT was hilarious!

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Here’s a few pics of the morning. The one gift he had asked Santa for was a Bumble Bee Transformer, so he was excited to open that one up.

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Daniel Tiger!

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His face in this picture was hilarious. At some point in the month leading up to Christmas, he started to ask for the Star Wars Imaginext, and the Millennium Falcon….and mind you, he hasn’t really seen any of the movies. Daddy (being the Star Wars super fan he is) has been over joyed of little man’s interest in Star Wars. I’m not sure who was more excited when he opened the Millennium Falcon up…Daddy or Liam ๐Ÿ™‚

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Liam had an awesome Christmas from all of his grandparents, too. He was so excited to get the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage, Legos, a super-hero play set and a big boy bike!! I’m sure we’ll have tons more pics of him playing with all these in the weeks to come ๐Ÿ™‚

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Happy Holiday wishes to you & yours, as well!

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