meeting santa

Santa makes the rounds in Winter Park every holiday season; driving down the streets, waving at people, passing out candy and making a few stops along the way to visit with kiddos.  Since one of his stops was just down the road from us we decided to pack up the boys and meet Santa.  Both boys were pretty leery of actually sitting with him and honestly, Jay only did it after getting distracted by Charlie screaming but he did sit with him and told him that he would like some new books for Christmas- LOVE that kiddo!

Here are the photos in all of their glory- the lighting was horrible since we were standing in a dark parking lot but you can get the general idea and it has been documented for posterity’s sake ;)

Jay and Santa

Jay and Santa

Santa’s set up- a john deer tractor with a Rudolph head pulling a trailer with a sleigh attached


Santa's set up


we decorated our tree

Last year we didn’t decorate our tree… it toppled over once (because a certain little boy pulled on the lights) before the decorations were on it so we decided to just stick with lights to be safe. This year, after a bunch of deliberation Jamie and I decided that we would decorate our tree. I like having the decorations on it and all of the memories that are coupled with them; however to be on the safe side we only hung non-breakable ornaments. It was the first time that Jay helped decorate the tree and I love that we let him help. He had such a great time looking at and hanging the ornaments and I love how there are places with clumps of ornaments because he hung them so close to each other :)

Here’s photos from the decorating and by the way he does not have to be convinced to wear the holiday headbands at all; he loves them! He did last year too…

Jay offering Daddy a chair because he told him that he couldn’t reach to put the star on


On December 1 this little guy crashed at our place. If you aren’t familiar with the Elf on the Shelf (it’s fairly new) check this out for more specific details but here is the gist. Elves are assigned by Santa to children’s houses to watch and see if they are being naughty or nice. Each elf (named by the children/family) is magical and cannot be touched by the children without loosing their magic. Each elf flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa and then shows up in a new spot in the house every morning until Christmas- call it a modern “Santa’s Watching You” with a mascot. Surprisingly, the day before Ruby showed up at our place Jay was playing and asked me if I had met is elf friends- Ruby, Pinks and Sammy. So the name Ruby, which he came up with on his own, kind of just stuck…

Honestly, all of this is a little above Jay’s head. He can’t grasp that Christmas isn’t today and he is a little confused about Santa but that aside, it’s still fun and I can only assume that it will be more fun next year and each year after that. Kids add so much magic to the holidays :)

So here’s a sneak peek at Ruby and the super awesome breakfast that he (yes, Ruby is a dude) brought from the North Pole on his first morning visit…

Charlie REALLY liked his snowmen donuts!

love this next photo because of Charlie’s feet- he’s rubbing them together absent-mindedly

tree elves

Honestly, I am not exactly sure how it started or why but each year Jamie and I pick up Christmas Trees for most of his family. I think it may have started one year when someone asked us to grab them one after hearing how reasonably priced ours was going to be and then the last few years we have taken more “orders”. Let me preface this story by saying that I love the holidays, I love getting a tree and I love picking out trees for others too. Honestly, I usually have trouble sleeping the day before we pick out trees… I think it’s the excitement over the holiday season starting, I know it’s silly but so true…

It’s been a fun tradition. We pick out the trees, trim them up with Pepere’s chainsaw and then deliver them to our “patrons”. This is the second year that Maggie and Josh have tree elved with us and it was just as fun as it usually is :)

Also, I dug through some old photos to find past elfing adventures- it’s crazy how much can change in a year!



charlie’s blanket

Handmade gifts are things to treasure, things to hold dear and things to love on. This is something that our sweet Charlie knows very, very well. Over the last few months Charlie has become rather attached to his blanket; a beautiful blue hand knitted blanket made for him by Jamie’s paternal Grandma, Memere. If I look away for a minute and lose track of Charlie I can usually find him in his room pulling it out of his crib, I find it randomly all over the house these days- in the kitchen, in the office, you name it I have found it there. He loves to snuggle with it and bury his head on it and while he is sleeping or falling asleep he holds it in one hand and has his thumb in his mouth… sweet precious boy! The other day it desperately needed to be washed (after being drug through the whole house for days) so I tossed it in thinking that it would be clean and ready before his nap- man was I wrong! It was still damp so we tried putting him down with Jay’s blanket and he cried and cried until about 20 minutes later when it was dry I brought it in to him… he was fast asleep within 2 minutes of getting his blanket- stinker! I love that he loves it and I love that it was made for him by such a special person. Thank you Memere for taking the time to make such a wonderful gift- Charlie LOVES it! Oh, and Happy Birthday too ;)

I was finally able to grab a few non-phone photos of Charlie loving on his blanket (he tends to stop whatever he is doing to crawl over and see my camera- so candids can be tough) so here they are…

Coincidentally, the book he’s looking at in the next three pictures was also given to him by Memere and Great Aunt Odette

The only photo of Memere and Charlie that I can find right now. It’s from the day of his Baptism- he was SO chunky!

And a few phone photos too… same PJ’s as above different day ;)

trying to walk with his blankie wrapped around his feet

the birthday boy

I really wanted to post a few of Charlie that I took throughout the day on his birthday- he was such a sweet boy the whole day and I want to remember it, so here it is.  And since I know that you all are probably getting tired of the birthday posts (especially since it happened almost a month ago) I will try to make this my last ;)

Opening presents from Mommy and Daddy in the morning. It was really hard for Jay to hold back, you could almost see him physically restraining himself- bless his heart.

Jay finally getting to help

Cake time… Charlie was hilarious with his smash-cake. Check out the video at the end (thanks Uncle Jeremiah for taking it) the photos don’t really do it justice. He smashed it and played with it for quite some time before actually taking a bite and when he finally did it was almost like he was saying “Hey guys this isn’t half bad!  Why didn’t you all tell me it was food before now?”

This photo reminds me so much of one of mine when I was a little girl. I am not sure if it was the angle or what but man do I think he looks like me when I was young here!

Getting hosed off after eating cake- yes, it was warm enough to be hosed off outside and yes, he loved it!

the cake smash video-

one year in flash (take two)

When I started thinking about Charlie’s first birthday party I was having a really hard time picking a theme that suited our family as well as Jay’s One Year in a Flash Party (original idea from here). And after thinking about it for a bit I realized that I could just do it again and I am so happy that I did- I really enjoy going through our photos to find a years worth of memories. We threw a One Year in a Flash Hot Dog Party (Hot Dog Party courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, recipe for crazy) and loved it.

Here are a few of the details from the party along with links to where I got things.

The invitation- I used Artboard to design his invitation, nothing special just a few cute photos of my sweet little boy and some party details.  We also did a time capsule for Charlie like we did for Jay and that info was sent along with the invite too.

 The drink table- We served sodas, the perfect complement to a hot dog in my opinion, and water. I used mason jars since I always have a ton hanging around instead of cups and got the paper straws from TJMaxx and amazon along with these really cute paper trays that we used instead of paper plates. We have a ton left over so I see them making an appearance at the next shrimp boil ;)

I used our big chalkboard to show off some of our month by month photos- I LOVE looking at these and seeing just how much they change in one year!

I saw a few chalkboard stats online (pintrest, etsy etc) and decided to doodle one for Charlie. I loved it so much that it’s actually still up but I will have to take it down soon…

I printed a bunch of photos using a coupon code at shutterfly to get all of these photos. I am pretty sure I only paid shipping for these which was like $4- yay!

The only other decorations that we had up were a one-year-old banner which I forgot to take a real photo of but here is one from my phone along with some framed photos. I printed the photos from mpix (my favorite photo printer) and used some frames that we had in the storage room to frame them.

Party favors- my go-to sugar cookies (I like edible favors since I don’t want to give someone something that they don’t really want anyway)

I printed the favor tags on my own, designed using Artboard (a Mac design program) and used the camera image that Nan designed for Jay’s party- thanks again Nan! (Check out her Etsy shop)

I wanted some chalkboard signs pretty desperately but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them so my lovely husband cut a bunch of shapes out of mdf for me (I drew what I wanted on the board for him) and I then I just painted them with chalkboard paint :)
here’s a phone photo of the progress and then one of the table where one was used

the food table… I used brown wrapping paper along with striped wrapping paper on the table (which was great to clean up) and made the cones for the popcorn out of the same paper. Our menu was hot dogs with all kinds of different toppings, including a Tulsa Dog and SoCal Dog, Mac and Cheese Bites, Strawberries, Caramel Corn (my Grandma’s recipe- it’s FANTASTIC!), and the best vanilla cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Icing.

It was a great party, many thanks to all that came. We can’t thank you enough for celebrating our guys with us!