Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

We've enjoyed a wonderful, fun filled Christmas Day.  
We kicked things off with Christmas Eve mass and then a yummy dinner last night.  
This morning we woke Gracie at 7:00 and squeals of "Samantha" could be heard as soon as her feet hit the bottom of the stairs.  She was so excited to see the doll she's been wishing for.  We've all had a great time trying out all the exciting things Santa brought, playing games, opening gifts and hanging out in our P.J.'s all day.  
As always, the family time has been priceless.  Thank you God for loving us so much. You sent your son into this world to save us all.  We share in these blessings through your love and grace.  Thanks be to God!  Merry Christmas!
Lily Grace and our newest family member, Samantha

Thank you for my special bracelet Gracie and Daddy!

Very surprised to open up a gift from mama and daddy and find the Elsa costume she circled months ago in a catalog.  

It gets so cold in IN.  Daddy is always talking about cold feet so Lily and I were excited to surprise him with something he would never think to get for himself.  Enjoy your toasty toes daddy!

Molly kept busy with her own new toys.  

Blessed!  And yes, P.J.'s all day!!!!!!!  The best!

Getting into some new books

Picture speaks for itself

Yes, we have heard Let it Go several times compliments of LG.

We added a ping pong table to our play room and it has gotten a good workout today.  Matt and I get a little carried away.  
Bob Elf left us a four person Mancala game on Christmas Eve before he left.  We have really enjoyed playing.  Let me just say, LG is a fierce opponent and has skunked Matt and I more than one time.  

Worn out...these two took a break.  Yes, LG even managed to get that long dress inside that sleeping bag with her. Clearly, she's not going to Let it Go.  Ha!  
Look at these two cuties all ready for bed in their new matching American Girl Samantha pajamas.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Windy City Nutcracker

 We have been very blessed with the opportunity to live by two major cities, New York and Chicago (both only 2-3 hours away).  I have to say, I think Chicago is our favorite and over the weekend we enjoyed a trip to the windy city for the Nutcracker.  
This year marked our 6th year to see the Nutcracker with Lily Grace.  Chicago marked our 4th state to see it in.  
We had the best time!!  Shopping, eating, mass at a new church and of course the Jeoffery Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker. 
One word...magical!  It's our family favorite out of all the performances we have seen.  The stage props, costumes and our seats were all amazing.  
We look forward to a return next year and to the family tradition that continues to bring us so much joy and cherished memories.  

We woke to this before leaving for Chicago.  Lily Grace asked Bob to watch the house for us.  
Yes, my child travels with a hand me down briefcase from her daddy.  Too funny!
The hotel decorations were beautiful.

The city was lit up and festively decorated as well.
We got in a little shopping at Nordstrom where Lily Grace fell in love with these cowgirl boots.  She wore them right out of the store with pride.  I do mean large and proud.  Matt and I got the biggest laugh.

Of course we had to stop into American Girl where Lily Grace found Samantha.  She is so hoping Santa brings Samantha this year.  

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a treat by the fire.  Oh yes!  And those boots!

After church on Sunday- and yes!!! those boots!  I have to say, I nearly flipped out when she asked with the most sincere face to please wear these things with her adorable, dress.  According to her it would be so fashionable.  Now while I was standing there trying to figure out what to say and contain my surprise, I could see Matt laughing out of the corner of my eye in the other room. I know the expression on my face had to be saying what I was really thinking however,  I took a deep breath and said okay.  And let me just say, she "wore" those boots.  Smiles and pride are all I saw

Her requested "kick up your heel" shot.
This year's Nutcracker

This is really how our family behaves out in public.  ha! ha!
Gracie had to get a picture of the orchestra and in particular the strings.

2014 Christmas Card Out-takes

Always one of my favorites....looking back at our attempts to get the perfect Christmas card picture. 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Molly!

Molly is such a good girl.  She brings so much joy to our family.  While she does:

*shed way to much 

*worries the life out of us when it gets close to     
  meal time 
*doesn't realize how big she is 
*is useless as a guard dog because she's way  
  too friendly and eager for a good rub  
*blocks the back door making it hard to leave 
  without bringing her along for the ride
  (especially to take and pick up Lily Grace  
  from school)

At the end of the day- this big 68 pounds of fur is loved to pieces!!!  Happy Birthday Molly!

Winter Recital

Lily Grace performed in her Winter Recital over the weekend.  She did a great job.  She played Minuet 2 for her solo piece and as part of a string ensemble performed Silent Night.  She looked quite adorable too!  Daddy and I so proud of you Gracie Cakes.  

Notice this melts me.  You see, any time that Lily Grace performs in front of a crowd, she always looks for me.  Once she finds me, she always gives a little smile and most often a wink.  It's too cute!!  This is right in the middle of her performance of Minuet 2.  While that bow is quickly moving, she has her eyes fixed.  The girl is full of confidence.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Special Weekend

This weekend brought with it a very special guest.  Our elf, Bob made his return.  
Lily Grace was beyond excited to wake Saturday morning and find Bob downstairs.  He had set a festive breakfast table and left us a large Gingerbread kit.  Bob had woven himself into our dining chandelier and Lily Grace thought it was hilarious.  According to her, 'Bob expertly wove himself in there."  
Bob didn't stop there.  He really dazzled up the kitchen sliders with bows everywhere.  We also found a wonderful story, The Sparkle Box.  It's a beautiful story about the true meaning of Christmas and serving Christ by serving others.  
Saturday not only marked the arrival of Bob, but also marked the end of the 6 week period Lily Grace had to wait to change out her earrings for the first time.  She was beyond excited.  Daddy and I surprised her by letting her open two boxes from under the tree.  Each contained a new pair of earrings.  She picked the butterflies and we changed them out.  
Bob even got in on the earring action Sunday morning when we woke to find him in our Christmas tree wearing a most colorful pair of earrings.  Too funny!  He also left something for Gracie that she's been looking forward to, her letter from Santa.  
What a special weekend with memories made.   These are the times I cherish.  

The smile says it all and absolutely melts my heart.

She was so worried about not being able to change out her earrings because she didn't have any.  She couldn't figure out why daddy and I weren't more concerned or understanding of this fact.   Little did she know that Matt and I were just as excited for her. We already had two new pair that we purchased shortly after she had her ears pierced.  

Her first pair of real earrings- butterflies 

We had several laughs decorating this house and several candy spills along the way.

Our colorful creation- complete with tons of icing

Now those are some colorful earrings

Letter from Santa