Life Lately - 2016 Holiday Season

There's been a few holidays since the last time posted about "Life Lately." I'm going to throw out a warning for this post: there will be lots of pictures!

This holiday season was a lot of time spent with family and friends and even though it was crazy busy, we enjoyed every minute.

On one of my Fridays off we made a trip to Birmingham and met a friend of mine for brunch and an afternoon at the zoo. I had a great time catching up with Kristen and the girls had fun seeing all the animals.
Raley feeding the flamingos. She thought it was so funny!

The big cats were our favorite and they were all out that day!

I let Raley walk and the two little ones sat in the stroller. This was a big step for her and she did very well.
Audrey ended up passing out like this. She was worn out! (Hadley was too. She's asleep in the back seat)

That night the girls finally got to open their December 1st boxes (just 5 days late). This is something that we have made into a tradition over the past 3 years. In their boxes they get Christmas PJ's, a Christmas book, and a Christmas movie.
Raley loves the Nightmare Before Christmas (she calls it Halloween). I saw this book with the original poem by Tim Burton with original illustrations and knew I had to get it. 
There have been a couple of nights this month where we have been able to get out and do adult things like hang out with other adults without kids. We love our children and love spending time with them but having some time to just socialize and have adult conversation is very refreshing sometimes.
Went with a group of girls from work to Bottle and Brush in Huntsville and did a little painting. I thought this would be very difficult but the instructor made it very simple and I think everyone's paintings looked awesome!
CVICU work Christmas party. I love the people I work with!
Tacky sweater party for our connect group at church. When we are together with this group  we are usually surrounded by our kids (we are the "Preschool Families Connect Group" after all) so when we all get a night to hang out as adults it is actually very rewarding. We're able to have conversations and connect a little better when we get time like this every now and then. We are very thankful to have this group in our lives.

We made a Saturday trip to Nashville, as we do just about every year, to see the Christmas decorations and do a little shopping. This year we had breakfast with the Grinch. He was a little creepy looking but Raley actually loved him!
The girls both liked Santa this time!
Audrey has grown so much just in the past month. Here, she was so proud of herself because she learned how to get on the toy by herself!
This girl loves to eat! Some days she eats more than Raley does. This was her first hotdog and she ate 3/4 of it! She has since done great with transitioning off of formula to table foods and whole milk.
December was such a busy month for us we didn't have a ton of time at home to do "Christmas things" that we like to do each year. Finally, over halfway through the month, we had a night off to enjoy some of these things. We watched Christmas movies, made a gingerbread house, made chocolate chip cookies, and had a dance party in the kitchen.
Raley loves helping me bake and I am so glad this is something we can enjoy doing together. I look forward to the things that we will make as she gets older.

We've made it a tradition to visit Santa's Village in Huntsville each year. We love walking around, decorating cookies, playing in the icicle maze, and seeing Santa Claus. This year Raley wrote a letter to Santa in their letter writing area. She asked for "a big pile of princesses" and "the Elsa Anna thingy that goes beep when you wake up and has lights and buttons and sings 'Let it Go.'" In other words she wanted the big pack of all the princess Barbies and a Frozen alarm clock.
We had to bundle up! It was a perfectly cold winter's night!

Poor Baby Audrey was running a fever just a few days before Christmas. Thankfully, it ended up being just a little sinus infection and nothing too serious. She was feeling better within a couple days! I sure did love those sweet cuddles though.
This is how we feel about Audrey's fever.
I changed up all my Christmas decorations this year. I typically do red, green and gold on my shelves and on my tree but I wanted to be able to leave my tree up and have it coordinate with Audrey's birthday party decorations. So I used her decorations for my entertainment center so that everything would match! I love that now I can switch it up every year and not have to buy all new stuff
This is my favorite section of the tree. I grouped all our ornaments from each year in this area. We have ornaments from our first Christmas as husband and wife, one from our honeymoon, one from our first house, ones from Disney World for each year we went, Raley and Audrey's first Christmas ornaments, hand made ornaments from school, and more. The others may be pretty but these are the ones that will always mean the most.

I love framing our pictures with Santa from each year and putting them up around the house
In this photo is Raley's very first picture with Santa at Under the Christmas Tree. She was barely a month old!

I had to work Christmas Eve and had a ton of wrapping to do when I got home. We ended up staying up until almost midnight wrapping gifts and playing Santa. I procrastinated big time on the wrapping this year. 

When I got home we got the girls ready for bed and set out the milk and cookies for Santa.
Playing Santa, drinking hot cocoa. Definitely had to drink some coffee first.
Playing Santa is fun! We couldn't wait for the girls to wake up and come downstairs.
This was basically her reaction when she opened them. This is pretty much all she asked for so of course Santa brought her a "big ol' pile of princesses." They are still her favorite thing to play with.
This little one didn't really know what to think about it all. She just wanted to play.
We had cinnamon rolls with green icing and sprinkles for breakfast and I had some delicious coffee in my new Grinchmas mug (which was found in my stocking!)
After opening presents and playing for a little while we went to church and then spent the day at my parents' house. The girls wore their matching smocked dresses that I found at two different consignment sales (how lucky was that?!)
Christmas day was a blast with this crew! I wish we all lived closer. (Also notice we're wearing shorts - this Alabama weather is crazy)
Raley and Payton building their gingerbread house

We spent the day after Christmas at David's parents' house. We had alot of fun playing games and relaxing. 
His parents surprised us all with a family cruise! We'll be going to Mexico in October. Can't wait!
Raley had a blast lining all her princesses up and giving them each a cupcake from a new game that she got.

We got back to our busy schedule the week following Christmas but thankfully we had an extra day off together the Monday after new years'. I had a little shopping I needed to get done before Audrey's party so I took Audrey with me and David took Raley on a daddy-daughter date to see Moana. It was good for them to get out and do something fun together, just the two of them. They don't get to do that often.

Well that just about wraps up our busy holiday season. I'm going to try to put out these "Life Lately" posts more often so that they don't end up so lengthy. I hope you all have a good Friday and a good weekend! 

I, for one am excited for the weekend because I found me a new "Bachelor buddy" and in the morning we are going to watch Monday's episode (that we recorded and reluctantly abstained from watching all week). I'm also going with some other friends to see La La Land on Sunday, which I've been wanting to see for a while! Super pumped!

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