Thursday, December 20, 2012

Visit to Santa

In addition to choosing and trimming our tree, we also took the girls to see Santa this weekend.

  We made it a surprise until we actually got there, and then when she saw who was sitting in front of the giant Christmas tree, she said "I'm going to get to see Santa?!" and was gratifyingly excited.  Even more gratifying, was that she stayed happy and excited after meeting Santa.  She was a bit shy, but she was smiling!!  Kaylie, on the other hand, was just along for the ride, and perfectly happy to be there until we actually put her on Santa's knee.  Then, well, you see.

And, for comparison, here are the photos from the last three years.

It's interesting to see all these side-by-side.  I hardly remember Elora as an infant!  And they've both gotten so big.  Especially Kaylie.  She's as big now as Elora was last Christmas!  Oh, what am I going to do with those babbies?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

For the past several years, we've gone to Florida for Christmas, so we haven't bothered getting a Christmas tree of our own.  This year, though, we're staying home for Christmas and starting some of our own traditions.  

We went this past Saturday to pick out our tree and the girls had a blast running around, playing tag among all the trees.  There wasn't anyone else there, so I let them have at it (while I snapped away with the camera, of course).  The tree we chose was on the smaller side, since the "tree corner" by the fireplace isn't all that large, and we haven't accumulated all that many ornaments yet, anyway.

When we got it back to the house, Brandon set about getting it put into the stand outside and I worked at getting that corner cleared out.  The girls took advantage of the opportunity to play in the leaves out front--which still need to be raked up, by the way.

We ended up waiting until Sunday to do anything more than the lights and garland.  I coordinated the actual decorating, while Brandon ran back up and took pictures--which was completely fine with me!  Elora did really well, even with the more fragile ornaments.  (She dropped and broke the first one she tried to hang, but evidently learned her lesson and was very careful with them after that.)  It was obvious that she was loving every minute of it, and was exceptionally proud of herself.  

Kaylie on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the "safe" ornaments we gave her, once we broke out the glass "filler" ornaments.  We kept having to chase her away from them, and every time we took one away , it just broke her little heart.  She just wanted to help, like Elora!

Finally, we just put it all away until after the girls went to bed, and I finished up the tree and put out the rest of the decorations on my own--but not before using the timer on the camera to take a few family photos by the newly-decorated tree and the stockings over the lit fireplace.

Oh, I love Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Thanksgiving was wonderful!  Josh, Rebekah, baby James, and Rebekah's dad and stepmom joined us for the day.  

After Thanksgiving dinner (and Kaylie's nap) we finally got some good photos of the girls in their Halloween costumes.

It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 26, 2012


New Year's Eve, 2011, just a few months before they discovered the cancer.
My dad's long time girl friend, Daniele, was diagnosed with cancer early this past spring.   She lost her battle with that cancer this morning.  My heart is aching, but I know my dad's heart is breaking.  I can only imagine how her son is feeling right now. Our consolation is that she's not hurting any more.  Once again, any and all of your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My 2011 Scrapbook is Done!

Oh man, it feels good to be done with my 2011 book!  Of course, I haven't even started on 2012...but I'll worry about that after Christmas.  :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sea World!

Thanks to the Anheuser-Busch Here's to the Hero's program, we were able to take the girls to Sea World while we were in Florida.  Mom and Wade went with us, and they brought along the girls' cousins, Veronica and Cecelia, for the day, and we met up with my step-brother and his family while we were there.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  :)

And that concludes my coverage of our trip to Florida.  :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Surprise Party for my Grandmother

After the last family emergency, one of my cousins made the comment that we really ought to get together for fun, the way we used to, when my grandfather was alive, rather than gathering only when there's an emergency.  I agreed, and started the ball to rolling to turn my grandmother's birthday celebrating into a family reunion.
We came from all over for this shindig.  Zach came from Hawaii, I came down from Virginia, Aunt Monica came down from Ohio, and the rest of the family came from all over Florida: Orlando, St. Augustine, the Keys, and I don't even know where else.  This was the first time that she had all of her children in one place at one time in I don't know how long.  (All except my uncle Sherwood, who passed away just before I was born.)

Christine, Monica, Gramma, Kevin, (Kevin's wife, Linda), Siobhan (my mom) and Tex.
Uncle Kevin, the one who'd had that nasty stroke, was even able to come from the nursing home to be with us for a little while.

Just a few days after this, he left the nursing home for good, and is now back at home.
And I think it had been even longer since all of the grandchildren (my cousins) were together.

Clockwise from left: me, Nicholas, Heather, Merryn, Andrew, Alanna, Zachariah, and Gramma.
It had been a good five years, at least, since she'd last seen Zach at all.   

We got together as much of my great-aunt's family as we could.  I'm not sure about my grandmother, but for me, it had been a good fifteen years since I'd seen some of those people, and the rest of them I'd never even met!

There were so many people there, all come to reconnect with the greater family and to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday.  It was a surprise for her.  She'd been expecting just the normal gathering of local family, with the additions of my family and my Aunt Monica.  She was completely blown away when she realized what we'd put together for her.

I made the cake: double-layer, double-chocolate cake with peanut butter  and dark chocolate frostings.  What can I say?  I came by my sweet tooth honestly.)
I can't remember the last time I'd seen her so happy.

The party was a complete success.  Yay for family, and yay for reconnecting with the ones you love!