Home for Christmas

Because we had just returned from our trip to Disney World, nothing sounded better than just being at home for Christmas. 

Even though we stayed home, we were BUSY!!
Class Christmas parties

My new favorite ornament

Ava's First School Christmas Program

Gah- Too Cute!

Making Cookies - Christmas Eve Tradition
Christmas Eve
Santa came!!

Then it snowed a lot on Christmas day this year.  We made the decision to travel to my mom's ( an hour away) and brave the snow and ice (based partly on the fact that the only thing we had to eat here was a frozen pizza).  It turned out to be a really fast trip because it started sleeting the minute we got there.  We ate fast, opened presents fast, and then slowly drove home.  But then we got to spend the next couple days playing outside, drinking hot chocolate, making snow ice cream.  I remember this time now as being just heavenly and peaceful - enjoying my family.

Snow Days

Jack's First Snow

Little Bear

 One memory that I hope I never forget is simple, but it really struck me. After a day spent playing in the snow, playing games in front of the fire, snuggling, Ava and Sam were in their rooms asleep and I was rocking Jack to lay in his bed. From his room I can look out the window and this night the snow was lit up by the streetlights. I was just overcome with contentment. Our life is certainly not always easy, and there are a lot of times that I get overwhelmed with three kids, but in that moment it struck me that there is nothing better than this life. 


Disney Memories

Something we have been waiting on for a long time...our Disney trip.   We talked about, planned, researched this trip so much that we couldn't actually believe when it was time to go.

We originally planned on going before Ava started kindergarten, but then we found out we were having Jack.  Then we planned on going when he was little and leaving him at home, but when he was here I decided that I would never be able to leave him :)  We finally settled on going when Jack was around 1 and taking Grandma and Grandpa with us to help with him.  James was a little scared because he thought the kids were too little and would not have any memories of the trip.  He is right that they may not have many memories, but I am convinced that we took them at the perfect age.  Every part of the trip was magical for Sam and Ava, and we will definitely be going back when Jack is their age now.

Our favorite things-

Jack - watching the animals from our balcony at Animal Kingdom.  This vacation was not so much fun for him, but he could have stayed on that balcony all day.

Ann, Sammy and James - eating at Ohana.  Such a fun place with super yummy food!

Me - my favorite ride was Soaring - loved it.  But I have to say that my very favorite thing was watching the kids meet the characters and watch the parades.  I tell you - they believed.  They waved and talked to every character like they were the only kid in the room.  Magical is the only way to describe it.

Sam and Ava - I learned something about my kids that I did not know (and am a little disturbed about).  They are daredevils.  I had planned to ride all of the sweet, non-thrill seeker rides, but I was vetoed very quickly.  They loved Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad and really anything fast and scary.  Yikes!

Some highlights--

Meeting the princesses - Ava's favorites are Mulan and Pocohontas

Meeting Jake - This was a must and the only character Sam really wanted to meet

Watching the parades - I tried to freeze into my memory how they reacted watching the parades.  They were SO excited and waved and called to the characters- "Minnie hi!  I'm here!"  I wish I could bottle some of that up - so stinking cute.

Jack was pretty terrified of every character, but he loved Tigger- go figure. 

Eating at Chef Mickey's - this was our first night at Disney and was so special.  I think I had the biggest smile of the night because I knew in that moment that all of the money, planning, traveling were all worth it.

Adult Day-  Ann and Sammy were kind enough to watch the kids all day while James and I spent the entire day playing at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  My cheeks hurt from laughing so much that day.  I am so glad that I married my best friend!

Sam's Pluto hat - he wore this thing everywhere.  When I think of our trip, this hat is one of the first things I think of (and it makes me smile).

 Eating with the stepmother and stepsisters - this was such a funny meal.  The stepmother asked Sam to dance.  He was a little scared (so was I). 

 Firework cruise

 Sam and Ava got to dress up as a pirate and a princess.  Let's just say they were both very much in character.


 Although this is not a trip that we will do every year, it was definitely a wonderful splurge.  I have to admit that it was a little stressful to me because I was the planner, and some things just didn't go as I had planned - the control freak in me hates that.  But I feel like I learned a lot and some lessons that will make a difference when we go back.

Happy Day

Back in November we celebrated Jack's 1st Birthday! Somehow we all survived a year. :)

Because we had a Disney World planned right after Jack's birthday, we decided on a Mickey Mouse party. I think of birthday parties as not only a celebration for the birthday child but also as a family event - some that I hope make good, lasting memories.

We had our closest family and friends here to celebrate the day.

One thing about a third child is that they have to share the moment A LOT. He had a lot of help opening gifts.

And everyone's favorite part of the party - the cake. He did not tear into it like I thought he would. He kept looking at us looking for permission I think.

I love this boy so much. In some ways his first year seems so fast and a blur, and at the same time it seems as if he has always been with us. Before Jack, we didn't even know we were missing something, but now we know how much fuller and better life is with him in it.

Jack is very, very active. I cannot even remember a time when I was not chasing him. He was walking well on his first birthday, and climbing, and running.

He is strong - scary strong. When he grabs something I almost cannot get it out of his hands.

He is unpredictable in his social life. Sometimes he is very loving and wants to be snuggled, and sometimes he seriously wants to be left alone. One thing he has always done is hold his hands out to random people and just lay his head on their shoulders. I have wondered if he senses something - like maybe that person just really needed a hug.

I sometimes feel like I cherish him more because he is the last baby and at other times I feel like there is not enough time to give him all the attention he needs.

He says hi, mama, dada, and no-no.

Love, love, love him.
Happy 1st Birthday Jack!

Jack's First Halloween

I think I have said this before, but Halloween has not ever been my favorite.  Then I had kids, and now I love it!  I don't necessarily love dressing up, but I just adore watching the kids, and I get such a kick out of how much they enjoy dressing up.

Ava and Sam definitely have strong opinions about their costumes these days.  I believe the days of sweet little boy costumes are over for Sam - the meaner the better.  Oh well...I can hang onto that a little while longer with Jack.

Ava decided on Merida.  I liked it - brave, opinionated, strong - not your regular old princess.  I will say that the hair was a pain - never again! I remember looking at her that night and thinking what a beauty she is.

Sam eventually settled on Thor with a little coaxing (including the purchase of the Thor hammer).  He fought me a little, but he loved that costume. He made a great Thor, and the thing I remember most about Sam that night is that he just ran. He got out of the golf cart running to every door. Ava could not keep up. He was so excited. Precious.

And sweet Jack - my little lion.  My pictures don't do him justice; he was a cutie.  But really, he is just not at an age where Halloween is really enjoyable.  He was ready to get out of that costume. And man he would not sit still for a picture. Every picture is like a blur. It is scary how active this kid is - scary!

I took about 20 pictures of all three - impossible!

The funny thing about Halloween is that the minute we get home we start thinking about our costumes for next year. Let the planning begin!