My 2015

I wouldn't trade any time with my kids, and already feel like they are growing up too fast. But, I am ready to bid farewell to 2015 and many things that came with it. Amazing things came with it, gut-wrenching things too. I enjoyed my kids more than ever. I really discovered my city and made it a priority to help my children do the same. Devastating expenses came in the first quarter of the year due to a flooded (finished) basement, a very sick dog, brake replacement, and a fall down the stairs on my tailbone. And July....I feel like my life ended and began in July.

Click on the links below...

I am looking forward to 2016, how about you?

Christmas 2015

It's a fact. As the family starts to leave and the house grows quiet, the last notes of Christmas music play on the radio, and the last running of A Christmas Story marathon finally shows, I want to cry. In fact, I have cried on many Christmas nights because I didn't want it to end. This year, Larkyn cried when I put her to bed. She is my girl. It was truly a special day, not without chaos and stress on a few occasions, but I can't wait to do it again a year from now!

 The kids slept in until 8, but it was still dark outside. She is opening her first Barbie. I was secretly happy that it has been ignored. I just felt it was kind of a rite of passage for a 4.5 year old?

 New flybike. But prefers 4 year old pink ball.

 Cavs tickets, baby!

 The big presents were in the basement, lovingly put together by mommy and daddy just hours before. 

 She says, "Come on, Rhys! Let's play 'People'!"

 I'm an idiot for cleaning this up three times. 

 He is OBSESSED with Nana's "pops". He even tried to climb the fridge to get them from their hiding place!

 I honestly think these shoes were her favorite gift. See the sparkles on the side? She's in Shoe Heaven. 

 My mom's face was priceless when she opened up the ornament with Dad's handwriting.

 Cake pop-face trying to figure out his sirens.

 Her new hangout to encourage independent play and relaxation. Actually when she is away, I plan to go in and relax for myself. Kidding?

I love the little hippie girls on horses!

 She's gotten frustrated with a lot of the games we have tried, but this one was a great match for her. She has asked to play it with me a few times. Of course, I NEVER get to be Elsa.

 Hmmm...I don't know how I feel about those bath toys, grandma. 

 But thank you for the train! Anything with wheels for this boy.

 Wooooo. We got an Easy Bake Oven. It was kind of exciting to use it, because I have never experienced the magic of an Easy Bake Oven....

All the ladies got in on the baking action...

 And the result...very PINK. And gave her some major tummy troubles that night. Luckily I have found about 400 homemade Easy Bake recipes on Pinterest. 

Paw Paw was with us at dinner. 

 And in this beautiful Christmas sunset. 

My mom got my siblings and I these memory stones and a matching ornament with my dad's name. A daily reminder of the man who loved going all-out for my presents as a kid...making sure I got THE thing I wanted and trying his best to pick out things I would like every once in a while. He loved sitting back and watching the kids (and whatever game was on TV) and eating a BIG Christmas meal. He never skipped my dessert. On Christmas, my heart hurt (a lot) when the kids were in bed and I happened to find myself with Christmas music on all by myself.

It was a beautiful day, but I do wish he would have been there. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Our Christmas Eve

Instead of having a big gathering outside our home on Christmas Eve, we really enjoyed some quieter activities around our own house as we prepared for the BIG day. We started a few new traditions and that really built up the anticipation for Larkyn this year. By the time we went to bed, we had a clean house, happy kids, time for some eggnog, and were all excited for the BIG DAY.

 Our neighborhood backs up to a cemetery and woods. The kids love throwing rocks off this bridge into the water!

 Heard 567 times, "Hey mommy, what's this?!" I do love explaining nature to her, though.

 "Get back on the path, you silly man!"

 Always leading the way.

 This rock size was much better than the first few (which were basically bowling balls)

Some major splashing went on...

 Before nap, we tried our hand at Spritz cookies. I absolutely loved using the press, but need to use a sweeter recipe next time (I used the recipe inside the OXO box).

 They are definitely the cutest cookies I've ever made. I dipped the others halfway in chocolate to add a little more flavor. 

 We hung up our new ornaments (made at Goodmakery). We didn't want Nana to see them, so we had to wait until Christmas Eve!

 My favorite ornament ever. And maybe my favorite possession. They took an emailed sample of my dad's story he was writing and his signature from a birthday card and engraved it. Love.

 Dinner!  We all love breakfast for dinner, so it was not hard to take what we already make and arrange it a new way. Although we were all hungry for 4th meal later on.

 I wanted ONE picture in front of the tree and caught a lot of heat for trying something so absurd. Finally, I added snacks, drinks, turned the TV on and got one.

 It's dark out! Time to sprinkle the reindeer food! (Oats and sugar crystal sprinkles)

 Santa Tracker on TV...obsessed. 

We hung up the Santa Key that my mom lovingly made for the kids. 

And Santa came as soon as the kids were in bed. Finally, bed time for Mama and Daddy...

Oh, just kidding. Because we bought a train table and a playhouse that we couldn't assemble until they went to bed. And these 3000 pieces did not come with instructions. It was a LATE NIGHT, friends. 

I'll post Christmas pictures later. It was a good one. 
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