Friday, December 27, 2013

A Very Merry Day

Can I just say that watching your kids love the magic of Christmas is magical?

This Christmas was a little crazy. We spent many hours looking at MLS listings, trying to find a home to buy in Austin, on the phone arranging moving details and generally cramming too much into a short period of time. Sounds like life, right?

 Christmas Eve anticipation!

Christmas morning anticipation is worse! But can I just tell you how much I LOVE spending special days with these three little people. They make life fun (and hard, and frustrating, but the fun is usually worth it).

This little Beanie Boo was special to Allison. She saw it at Michael's just a few days before Christmas and fell. In. LOVE. She had to have it, but we talked to her about how Santa had probably finished his shopping and was working on wrapping and packing the sleigh. But, he's pretty magic, so he managed to slip it in her stocking. She was so excited to find it there.

This is a pretty big stocking for someone with such little arms. But digging down was totally worth it. Lindsey came out of the deal with... 

 ... Princess figures galore! Santa must know this little girl pretty well... ;)

 I LOVE the look on Carter's face here. Legos: best thing ever. Happiness (and hours of occupied time that does not require screen or batteries) in a box! 

I love this picture. I think is sums up and awesome Christmas morning from a kids point of view: watching a movie, in a sugar coma, surrounded by new toys.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Cheer

Skaneateles is an adorable town in the Fingers Lakes region and they do a beautiful Dickens Festival every year at Christmas time. Knowing we were leaving NY, we decided that we could NOT miss the Dickens Festival this year. Can you imagine how jolly, festive and Christmas-y it would be to wander around the cute little village in the upstate New York snow with actors in period Dickens dress around?

We'll have to imagine too, becuase it RAINED on us. And hard. We were soaked! So soaked that these native Washintonians broke down and bought an umbrella, which is basically renouncing your Washington-ness {never fear, however. We did our penance of 3 rain dances, and ten 12th man yells. They let us back in the club. ;)}

In spite of the rain, we did enjoy ourselves. The kids saw Father Christmas (Lindsey was not so sure she wanted to see him), met Scrooge at the library during story time, wandered the town for sweets and found hot chocolate (and an adorable photo op) at the Mirbeau Spa.

She would NOT get any closer... 

Three, smiling kids... a Christmas Miracle!

A few days later, we upheld our family tradition of making Gingerbread Houses for display slowly eating. Each year the kids stage and personality show through when we do these. (PS: look at those pretty, pretty white cabinets! I painted those!)

Allison was very planned and meticulous in her house. She even drew a sketch of what she wanted it to look like.

Carter was a bit less planned, and more about getting as much candy and STUFF on his house as was humanly possible.

Lindsey, true to 2-year-old form, was pretty much just concerned with shoving as much candy in her mouth as fast as possible. Get while the getting's good, and before mom decides you've had enough!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Terriffic Two!

This little girl. Who let her turn 2?  Where did my baby go? Seriously, I need answers!

Pizza for dinner. Birthday crown courtesy of Allison. Because you can't have a birthday without a birthday crown!

Owl Cake. 

She makes the best facial expressions. The series of photos I have from singing happy birthday to her is hilarious. She LOVE to be the center of attention and LOVED having "Happy Birthday" sung to her.

I'm telling you... best facial expressions!

Happy birthday, sweet girl! Now please stop growing up! Love, Mommy

Monday, December 9, 2013

What a difference a year can make...

For some reason, I found myself skimming old blog posts a few weeks ago. I think it was so I could get a "before" photo of my kitchen. While skimming, I happened upon last year's "holiday decorating" post and I was struck with how different my home now looks one year later. I knew how much work had been done, because I did most of it all by myself (2 hours of preschool/nap every day has been so productive!). But when you work on a project that evolves slowly, you tend to forget where you started and how far you've come.

So here's my house, pieces of it anyway, before and after.
Entry 2012

Entry 2013
 front hall/staircase, 2012

Front hall/staircase, 2013

(MESSY!) Playroom, 2011

(Less messy) Playroom, 2013

 Kitchen, 2011 (its one of the few reasonable "before" pictures of the kitchen I could find)

 Kitchen, 2013

 Master bedroom, February 2013

 Master bedroom, December 2013

Huge differences, right? I took a minute to think about all the things I've done to this house JUST this year. Its huge! In 2013 alone: *painted all the trim white *replaced 6 closet doors *painted 14 interior doors white *painted exterior front door teal *painted interior of all exterior doors charcoal *painted master bedroom *painted both halls and stairwell grey *painted brick fireplace & mantle white *painted the stained concrete hearth grey *painted the chevron-ed half wall over the fireplace *removed all door hinges and knobs and painted them oild-rubbed bronze *painted kids' and half bath *painted the kitchen and back laundry hall *refinished kitchen cabinets to white *Re-painted Lindsey's room (cause the color I picked in 2012 was ugly) *made new window treatments for kitchen, half bath and master bedroom *purchased new window treatments for living, dining, Lindsey's and Allison's rooms *new over-the-sink light fixture *new front porch light fixture

I think that's it for "permanent" changes. Quite a year, huh? And on that note: anyone want to buy a beautifully updated home? Move-in ready! 'Cause we're moving to Texas in 4 weeks... :)