Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

As we get ready to ring in the new year I decided to steal this idea from Amanda's Blessed Life {my wonderful sister in-law's blog} for blogging about her top instagram moments of 2014. 2014 was filled with some amazing times, some really hard times, and then the ordinary times that fall in between. I was just remembering talking with Ryan on New Year's Eve last year and saying, "What if by next year we have another baby? What if we end up buying a house?" We really had no idea what 2014 would hold for our family or where we might be as we started 2015. That's so crazy to think about! Instead of blogging about the "highlights" of our year, I went through and chose an instagram picture that captured those an everyday moment. These are the moments that I might not have blogged about. They aren't holiday moments or even things like the day we bought our first home. They are just happy memories that made up the everyday of 2014.

January: Breakfast with Eva. Ryan was out of town this morning and we woke up to the transformer popping outside of our old townhouse. I love her messy hair and the fact that she was still in a high chair! We ate breakfast in the freezing cold dark, and then we went to see Frozen for the first time! 
February: Friends stopping by to hang out on a snow day. I think this is one of the first times we spent just hanging out with our sweet friend Malin, who happens to be one of the best babysitters in the world. 
March: Worshiping at Bara on a Sunday morning with my mom and Grandma Dede. I'm thankful they are both believers who wanted to join us at church that Sunday. 
April: Painting tiny toes for the first time. Scrapes and all, I love those little feet so much.
May: A day at Trophy Club beach with the husband. We laughed SO MUCH on our "hike" to the beach as we presssed onward through the Trophy Club jungle to finally make it to those sandy shores.
June: Finding the Easter bunny head in the back of Ryan's truck. Impromptu giggles are one of the benefits of having a daddy who is a crazy youth pastor.
 July: Playing in the rain at our new house.
August: Showing off baby bumps with one of my best friends, Ashley. How exciting to be pregnant at the same time!
September: Eva getting to pose with the Byron Nelson cheerleaders during the 3rd quarter. Anytime we would see her playing with these girls down on the field we would laugh and smile so much. She adores them and I'm pretty sure they adore her.
October: Our first real tea party together. 
November: Letting Eva get out of bed to come see the first snowfall of the season. The look on her face as she watched the sky was magical. 
December: Singing Christmas carols with our students. I love to sing with people and I also enjoy seeing how happy it can make others when we bless them with time and kindness.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Celebrations

Twas the week after Christmas and moms everywhere were finally recovering from all the Christmas spirit. Gift bags and tissue paper were being tucked neatly away, toys were making there way into their appropriate new spots and moms finally had a chance to sit down and blog. Happy Monday after Christmas! I am combining all of our celebrations into one blog because who knows when I will get to sit down and blog again. I LOVE the photo above that I got of Eva all dressed up on Christmas Eve. I got a new lens for my birthday and have been trying to convince myself that I am talented enough to use it....I'm really not talented enough but I need to try using it more anyway. On to the celebrations....
Tuesday night we went down and stayed the night at Nana and Papa's with all of Ryan's family. We got the Frozen Slides game for all the cousins to open early and get to play that night. {This may have been because I saw this gift and really wanted to play it myself....
As the night went on and the girls got tired Mallory and Eva cuddled up on the couch. Mallory was rubbing Eva's hair :) You would think that after a night of fun everyone would be ready for an early bedtime. Right? 
Wrong. I will admit, my child is the worst traveling sleeper ever in the history of kids sleeping places. She does not settle down, especially if she misses that magical window in which she is actually tired and ready to wind down. I love her to pieces, I do not enjoy taking her to sleep other places. Sorry family. God bless Nana for sleeping with her in the living room most of the night. I'm already praying that Jensen will be one of those babies who can sleep anywhere. {Seriously, I pray for that.}
But then it was Christmas Eve morning! Four beautiful, happy, well rested, excited girls!Bring on the presents!
 This is Eva's new silly cheese face. I'm not sure who taught it to her but it does make my laugh.
This was the first year that Eva really cared about watching other people open their gifts. She was interested to see what everybody got. And of course she was an old pro and opening her own presents! I didn't get any great pictures of Eva with her new gift but she loved her cash register and basket of play food from Nana and Papa. 
Finally a true Bradley! I got my own stocking this year filled with treats. 
After some good Christmas Eve naps it was time to head to church. This was our best family photo this year. 
We came home from church and somebody was excited for Santa to come! Oh wait, no, not excited...TERRIFIED. She decided that she absolutely DID NOT want Santa to come inside the house. She was so scared that we told her we would call him. She said to tell him to just drop her presents down the chimney. That would be a great plan...if we had a chimney! We just laughed and went along with it, and what to you know...the presents were all magically here on Christmas morning! 
Santa brought Eva a scooter! Such a classic sleepy headed, happy little kid on Christmas morning photo. 
She also got a Tangled doll, a Doc McStuffins doctor's kit, and a few other little presents from her Daddy and me. 
One of her most favorite presents this year? Bandaids. That girl LOVES bandaids. Luckily she got a few boxes and has probably already gone through half of them.
After opening presents we made Santa pancakes for breakfast. Not quite the Pinterst picture, but still yummy. Of course we gave a plain one to baby Jesus in the manger and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. PS The Aldi brand of pancake mix is awesome. 
We spent the rest of the morning playing and playing and playing some more! I really enjoyed relaxing with my little family, in my comfortable maternity pajamas and not feeling the rush to do anything or go anywhere. That was probably the best gift anyone could have given me.
Getting new toys at Christmas may be just as fun for parents as it is for kids! 
My family all game over that afternoon for more presents, games, and Christmas dinner. 
How precious are these two? My grandpa Hank is so handsome. 
When she sat on his lap and I said, "Let me see a big pretty smile," this is what I got. Such a cheeseball.
Ryan got his first pair of Converse shoes, so now he can officially be a cool youth pastor.  
Eva got Tangled, which we have watched every single day since she opened it. Good thing I like that movie too!
And she got a puppy guitar so she can be a rock star just like our good friend, Austin. 
Everybody gathered for Christmas dinner. I even got out my real china and used my late grandmother's crystal and silver. For a pregnant mama, fine dining is a rare occasion. And I lit the dinner candles. #bonuspoints
We wrapped up the evening playing some intense games of ping pong. I know I said it before, but really, my grandpa is just so cute. He was so sweet playing with Eva. He is 94 and she is 3, so there was a 91 year age difference between them but they had so much fun. I truly cherish getting to spend the holidays with all of our family. Ryan and I kept talking about how blessed we are to have such wonderful families, where everybody loves each other and gets along, and we live close enough to all of our family that we don't have to choose where to spend Christmas. It may be a few busy days and an extra long blog post but it is something that we love and really appreciate. On to the new year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Christmas Season

I read a great quote that said, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful." Well that is a relief for me!  If I was a perfect mom I would have probably taken way more photos this month and posted blogs multiple times a week to write about all the fun Christmas activities we have done this past month. If I was a perfect mom I would have planned out an advent activity calendar with something amazing for each day, like I have in previous years. But the reality is that I haven't blogged since my Thanksgiving post,  I've forgotten to take photos most of the time, and I didn't plan out 24 days of Christmas fun. But we've still done some WONDERFUL things this season.  I've tried every day to enjoy my 3 year old and to see Christmas magic through her eyes. I've read lots of stories about Jesus and Santa and Rudolph, hoping to keep the focus on celebrating Jesus. I've thought out special family moments, even if maybe I can't remember every one of those moments as I'm typing this. For this year I guess that will be good enough. So here is what we have done this past month:

1. We went to Southlake at night. We live close enough that going to Southlake itself is no big deal, but going at night during Christmas time is different. The big tree is so beautiful and they have fake snow machines. We even walked by the north pole station and waved at Santa.
2. We served at the Trophy Club Christmas event. We waited for Santa to pull up on the big fire truck and when he finally did Eva was so excited. And then too terrified to go near him. I actually let her decide this year and didn't make her sit on his lap.
This video is actually a good representation of our month: lots of running around. That's how Eva spends a good amount of every day. One of her favorite things to do is for me to put on a Pandora Christmas station while she runs in circles around the backyard. Easy enough.
3. We went Christmas caroling at a home for seniors. I LOVE going caroling. It is probably one of my favorite Christmas things to do. I told Ryan we could either go with our students or go just as a family to sing for people we knew. He made it a youth event :)
4. We made Christmas cookies with Mamy! If you ask me, the more sprinkles and frosting involved, the better.
5. We did lot of Christmas crafts! This is one where you use q-tips to paint dots that form letters for each page like "S is for Snowman." We used tons of paints, glue and glitter this season.
6. We finally saw Santa up close! Our church did an event called Growing Givers where the kids learn about giving. We even got to take a bike home to give to a little boy who didn't have one. Eva told Santa she wanted an "ice skater" which I'm pretty sure means a scooter. At least that's what I'm hoping it means on Christmas morning :) 
7. We made snowmen out of markers and styrofoam cups and "bowled" with a rolled up white sock that we called our "snowball." 
8. We made snow! I found a recipe using baking soda, shaving cream, and GLITTER!!!! Then we would roll up snowballs and pour vinegar on top of them which made the snow "grow" just like on Frozen. Very fun. Even messier. 
9. We went to the Galleria to see the big Christmas tree. There wasn't much to actually do at the Galleria but we did watch the ice skaters and get Starbucks. We had gone to Northpark the weekend before but I didn't take photos. Northpark is a way better kid mall than the Galleria.
10. We had a Christmas party with our small group and played lots of Minute to Win It games. Turns out I'm kinda awesome at Christmas trivia.
 11. We kicked off the Christmas week celebration with our Bradley/Emerson family!
All the little cousins exchange gifts and Eva got a Frozen board book set. I'm pretty sure she would be content if this was all she got for Christmas. She was seriously so happy to open these. It came with 12 books and we have read ALL of them at least 10 times. We've only had it for a little over a day. She also got a Pretty, Pretty Princess game that she was up and ready to play with early the next day. 
12. Our family surprised us with a showering of gifts for Jensen! Our little guy got some cute outfits and a nice stash of diapers. Thank you to everybody who surprised us! 
13. We've looked at Christmas lights. Alot. Our neighborhood kinda rocks when it comes to Christmas decorating so lots of nights we will just drive a few extra streets on our way home. We are the lame ones who don't have any wonderful lights out  - but you can see the strand we hung up on the inside of the playroom window when you drive by. Does that count? Maybe we can find some lights on clearance after Christmas. Regardless, I love looking at everybody else's lights. There is something magical about seeing beautiful lights on cold, dark nights. A few homes in our neighborhood even have lights timed to music stations which is always cool. I don't know that I would want to live next door to them but I sure enjoy driving by and seeing it.
We realized Monday night that this house even had an Olaf cutout that went along with the Olaf song. After we drove away Eva said in such a grown up voice, "That.was.amazing."

Merry Christmas to everyone! We have many family celebrations this week and I really am looking forward to enjoying every moment of it.