A few pictures and lots of memories...

Twas early Christmas morning when three kiddos appeared
"Mommy! Mommy! Daddy!...Santa was here!"
Excitement and wonder filled their eyes 
As they ran to discover their stocking surprise

All on the nice list, that much was true
Scratch offs, art supplies and a GIANT beanie boo
They couldn't believe it when they looked towards the door
Could it really be? Santa left MORE?!?

Mom - look a teepee and a zipline too?
And how did Santa know we wanted that movie, part 2???

Laughter filled the room and loved filled our hearts
Seeing the smiles on those faces is always the best part

After working our way through Santa's many treats
We filled up our tummy's with my favorite eats
Doesn't look like much but it's heaven on a plate
Had this every Christmas since 1998

The food was quickly eaten and we all took our place
The gifts were sorted like at Hogwarts, each present in it's space
Once again I was reminded that Christmas magic is real
As a kid this day was amazing, as a parent, it's surreal

You witness joy come to life with each smile that they share
As if God himself gently touched your hand to show you that He's there
We try to keep it simple, not too much under the tree... 

A want... 

a need... 

something to wear...

and something to read... 

Gigi doesn't follow those rules much to Pops' dismay
A gift for everybody and a dozen more cause it's Christmas Day!
The grown-ups get spoiled too, I don't even know where to start
These kiddos lavished each of us with gifts straight from the heart

My favorite part of every year are the hugs that they share
When opening the special gifts they picked out with care
Radley got Pokemon, Landry Shopkins stuff
And Emersyn more accessories for Clarabelle - she wasn't tough

And then I put the camera down, I didn't snap one more pic
I savored every second of the day that flew by quick
I didn't take a picture of us in front of three
But I managed to snag each of these precious little 3

The moments we remember most aren't the ones that are posed
They're the ones etched in our hearts, the most beautiful I propose
The laughter and snuggles, the kiss that's snuck real quick
Cause in a flash they are gone like jolly 'ol St. Nick

Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year, too
Love, hope and laughter are my wishes for each of you!


Married Christmas to You...

We couldn't let our 10th married Christmas pass by without celebrating! I love the way these turned out - I especially loved walking down memory lane to some of our best memories over the years. Shoutout to 2008 where we literally could not think of one thing that we did. 

Looking forward to the next 10, 20, 30.... 

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

12 Days of Christmas (3, 2, 1)...

I'm laughing as I type this because, well... these last three days I didn't do a great job of documenting. But here goes...

Only 3 days until Christmas... Let's cruise around town and look at lights in THREE different neighborhoods!

They were actually really excited about this. My kids LOVE looking at lights (I mean, who doesn't) but we usually stick pretty close to home. I thought it would be a treat to go explore and see what other 'hoods are like. To make it even more fun, we had friends joining us. Amber and her crew came over and we all loaded into the minivan (because it fits EIGHT people) and were on our way. Everyone was super excited.... except baby Jacob.


Poor little man was MAD. Like super mad. Like "I am six months old and I will scream as loud as I want to" mad.

At one point Rad and Amber switched seats so she could nurse while we were driving up and down streets but as soon as she made her way back to the front seat... nope. He was not having it.

This was baby Jacob....

Rad did his best to make him happy but he wasn't having it.

Until we were done of course.

Basically a night we will never forget. I wish I would have attempted a pic of all of us in the car but by the time we got home, everyone was ready to be out of the car.

Only 2 days until Christmas - What's something fun YOU want to do?? Kids' choice!

Know what they picked? Pj day. Which was actually perfect since it was rainy outside. We ran a quick errand that morning and then headed home where we all lounged around, napped, started our annual Christmas puzzle and just enjoyed the merriment of the season. Gigi and Pops came into town early so as a special treat, we headed to our favorite restaurant for a yummy meal and amazing company. I think this may be our new "2 days before Christmas" tradition.

Only 1 day until Christmas.... Let's bake a cake for baby Jesus.  make meatballs and pumpkin cookies!

We started with KK's famous pumpkin cookies - the only cookies my kids will allow us to leave for Santa.

And then we got real and went in for the meatballs... 

We even had time to make a gingerbread village (thanks, Kayla!)

before we put on our Sunday best for Midnight Mass. 

and there was still more fun to be had.... 



12 Days of Christmas (6, 5, 4)...

And the countdown continued... I actually got a teensy bit creative these next three days and we tried some new stuff.

Only 6 days until Christmas... You've written letters to Santa... let's spread some joy to others, too!

Pen to paper is a lost art, so I thought it would be fun to write some "just because" letters to anyone of their choice. Y'all. My children always surprise me...

Radley wanted to write his to "the lady in white"...

Emmy wanted to let Santa and Mrs. Claus know that she's a fan...

"Santa - you are special to be a good guy. You are going to be a happy Santa and be awesome today. And you too, Mrs. Claus...."

Landry was at a loss for words....

Only 5 days until Christmas... School is officially done, let's go grab some Spoons for an afternoon of fun... 

This was a sweet treat for this crew - they are always begging to go so it was fun to be  "yes mom"... I was kind of hoping we could even substitute it for dinner. ;)

Only 4 days until Christmas... The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear... Let's go see Sing!

They were in for an extra treat when they found out that their besties were joining the fun, too. The movie was darling and Josh and I kept things totally under control. We headed to the Munsons for an afternoon of fun and dinner and the day could not have been more perfect. They spent all afternoon raking every single leaf in their yard for a giant pile of fun. By the end of the day, they were ziplining into the leaf pile and I'll admit I was a bit jealous. 

They had so much fun, that they "convinced" us to let them hang out again. Cindy brought the girls over for lunch and more leaf piling. One catch - we don't have any leaves in our yard. But, no worries... they GOT LEAVES FROM OUR NEIGHBORS YARDS and brought them INTO ours. 

I'd be mad, but who can be mad at these faces?!?! 

And just like that, we were three days closer to Christmas.... 


Oh Christmas Tree...

Every year we put on our matching pjs... 

set the camera on the tripod...

play with the settings like we know what we're doing... 

and snap some pics in front of the tree.

The kids know that it's coming...

and they smile because they know it makes me happy.

One year I'll snap a clear picture...

but until then... these will do just fine. 

Feliz Christmakwanzakuh...

Monday brought in super cold weather (24 degrees!!) which made it the perfect day for some holiday party fun! I walked into Emmy's room and spotted her and the bestie in deep conversation. I love watching this friendship blossom.

I'm convinced that there is nothing cuter in the whole wide world than tiny children singing Christmas carols while wearing pjs. 


We were treated to 3 quick songs and then it was time to eat which is always my favorite part.

We didn't stay long because there was another group waiting to perform... 

These two were causing some trouble in the back... not really, but they were pretty cute laughing through some of the songs. 

Nothing better than seeing your kiddos happy.

She got to skip out on her party to watch Radley "perform"... 

The next day was the school sing along - I didn't video much because it was 45 minutes long, but I do love that they sing songs about lots of holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza were all represented - my favorite was Cray Cray Christmas.... Tis the season!



Here we go...

A few weeks ago I was down for the count with a horrible migraine and Holly came to the rescue and made us dinner. A village that shows up is one of life's greatest blessings. 

One of her friends got glasses so she has been wanting to wear her specs to school more and more lately. I really want a pair of these in prescription lenses. 

Alfie ate too much candy. This maybe was the best day ever for the kids. They laughed for a week. And wouldn't you know it... the next day when he moved there were 3 tiny chocolate kisses in that toilet. Gross. But funny.

I invite the FISH execs over for dinner every December. This crew is always the greatest part of my job. Photo cred: Radley

When did these babies become so big?!?! It was reindeer day at Emmy's school and I've held on to these dresses. Landry looked at it and said, "Momma, I don't think that's gonna fit...but I try." We made it work.... for one more year.

I gifted myself an evening of shopping alone. Miss Elizabeth came over to hang with the kiddos and I spent 4 hours in peaceful bliss making the rounds around town. 

Also. Have I mentioned that I have the greatest students ever? Kelsey picked the perfect gift to surprise me with, especially before a weekend away!

I was headed out of town for a conference for four days and one of my major concerns was Alfie. I already had a ton of people carting kids around, I wasn't about to throw an elf in the mix. So, well.... 

Meanwhile I was hard at work in Long Beach.

We really did have work to do - loved presenting with these amazing women. 

And while I was hard at work away, Ryan was hard at work at home. He managed to mail Christmas cards... 

take the kids to assist in bagging meals for 1500 local families... 

in COORDINATED outfits (that I didn't even pick out)... 

and get Radley to a birthday party.

I managed to meet a former student/lifelong friend for dinner along with his darling girlfriend, Michelle. She and I became fast friends. 

I made it home in time for Landry's last Christmas program... 

followed by a big celebration at a local jewel. 

Then it was back to the grind in College Station where the air was getting crisper which meant I could layer it up for 20 minutes a day.

And in case you're not completely convinced that my students are amazing ... one of them hand delivered a HOMEMADE coconut cream pie to my office. 

We had our holiday party one afternoon - my attire game was strong. I mean... A CHRISTMAS SKIRT?!?! Perfection.

The next day was PJ day for Landry and never before in my life have I wanted to be more like her than this day. She is awesome.

By Saturday morning, that smiling face was under the weather with a cold and runny nose. She just wanted to sleep and cuddle. I'll take it.

And that's us in an instant!