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 ❀

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 πŸ™‚

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

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,Β  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! πŸ™‚

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 ❀

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 πŸ™‚Β  — 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 πŸ™‚ ….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 ❀

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 learnΒ  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? πŸ˜‰

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 ❀

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

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 ❀

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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 πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 ❀

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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 ❀

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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 2014, Latest & Greatest News

Our Merry Christmas 2014

How many times have I used the word “fun” in 2014? I have lost count, but I will tell you that having a 3 year old at Christmas time has been FUN πŸ™‚

While we kept things pretty low key around here, we did enjoy ourselves by visiting some family and partaking in a few of our family traditions last week.

On Christmas Eve, we baked some yummy cookies for Santa. Liam really enjoys helping in the kitchen. We love to cook and bake with him ❀ …..look at those little hands using the cookie cutters!

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After cookie time, we headed over to Mimi & Papa D’s to have dinner and celebrate the holiday. We also got to spend some time with Aunt Heather & baby cousin, Sierra.

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Liam got to open some presents and it was awesome to see his excitement. He had mentioned a few times over the last few months that he would like the Mickey Mouse Club House, so he went bananas when he opened this. He actually said, “Oh, I always loved this!!” ….I mean, really….how hysterical is that?!?!

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Last year, he took FOR-EVER to open presents, as he very carefully unwrapped each one. This year, we explained to him how fun it is to “tear ’em open” and he quickly got it…and loved it! He was going through his presents like a champ! Opening each one with great enthusiasm! That continued on into Christmas day, so it was super fun to watch πŸ˜‰

We have quickly become fans of Imaginext toys from Fisher-Price. This gift below from Mimi & Papa D, as well as the loot from Santa have given little man quite the super hero collection πŸ˜‰

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Once we got home, it was time to get ready for bed…..but 1st, we had to sneak outside to feed the reindeer! Mr Elf had left Liam this cute bag of food on his last morning with us. We also said bye to him, as he headed back to the North Pole that night, & put out Santa’s cookies before heading off to sleep. If you recall my recap post about Mr Elf, I had mentioned I had wanted a good bye letter from him to Liam….we ran into some time difficulties & that didn’t happen this year {unfortunately}, so I’m saving that for next year.

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Christmas morning was a flurry in our house! Little dude woke up before the sun and was a joy to listen to as he snuck up to the tree to check out what Santa brought. He was so excited and happy……from our room, we could hear him whispering to himself — “Look at all the presents! I love you, Santa!” ❀

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In the months leading up to Christmas, the only thing Liam would say he wanted for Christmas was a Mickey Choo Choo Train. Naturally, you can imagine his excitement, when he opened just that! He said, “oh, I got it! I love it!

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After a nap time, we headed down to Grammy & Papa Rock’s and shared Christmas dinner & celebrated the day. Santa came for little man, there, too….by that point, I would say we were on toy overload. Definitely a blessed little dude πŸ™‚

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We have been seeing Liam ride a trike at school & wanted to get him something he could also enjoy at home. He still has the trike Santa brought last year, but it seems to be very heavy in weight & a bit hard to pedal. It wasn’t hard for us to brainstorm on this Original Big Wheel, which has recently made a comeback.

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It was so nice to also have my Grampy at my mom’s for a bit. Love spending quality time with him! Liam gave him a great big hug & it was so special!

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Liam was not smiling in this pic because we made him take it before he could open presents….LOL!!

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It was a great holiday, and I would say, our most fun with Liam, thus far! Hope you all enjoyed, yours, too! Merry Christmas!!

~H

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:

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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!

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

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impromptu family shot….

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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!!

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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™‚

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Both sides of the Murphy’s finished house!!

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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:

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

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

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