Thursday, December 26, 2013

{Christmas 2013 ~ Take Five}

Our final Christmas celebration was at my Grandma Vines...she wanted us all to come to her house this year since she will be 90 in a few weeks. I actually prefer Christmas at her's cozy and reminds me of my childhood.

 Olivia (almost 2) and Grandma Vines (almost 90)
The oldest and youngest celebrating Christmas together.

Grandma bought all us girls aprons. I thought it was funny that mine & Melissa's matched and Paige & Tiffany's matched....just like the old days when we received matching outfits for Christmas....and of course Grandma made us try them on and "model" them. Some things never change!

This has been the absolute best Christmas season ever...we stayed busy, but it was a good kind of busy. I didn't feel the usual stress that I experience and truly just enjoyed my family.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

{Christmas 2013 ~ Take Four}

Ahhh....finally...Christmas morning! 

I love the quiet of Christmas morning, before everyone wakes up, and there's just silence and the glow of the lights on the tree. It's like the chaos of the season finally settles on Christmas morning. Peace.

 I promise...Blake really does have an excited face...just not at 8am

 Ahh...the beginning of a smile. He knew he was getting hunting stuff (it was the only thing he asked for) but he wasn't expecting a Mojo. 

 Me & my boy on Christmas morning...this is my "just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-I'm-tired" look.

Blake, Quentin, & Oscar the Cat on Christmas morning.

We watched Blake open his gifts and then went down to Mallorye & Matt's to deliver our gifts to them and watch Olivia open gifts.

 She's not spoiled or anything....

 Oh to see Christmas through the eyes of a child...Olivia was so much fun this year, enjoying every moment.
 She conned Uncle B into pushing her in her baby doll's stroller...LOL
I think she may have him wrapped around her finger like she does everyone else!

Trying out her new Leap Pad Jr.. I'm hoping this will really help her doubt she loves books, now she can read them herself :)

We finished up the morning back at our house for Christmas breakfast before getting ready to head to my Grandma Vines' house. for lunch with the Vines side.

{one more celebration to go}

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Christmas 2013 ~ Take Three}

Christmas gathering number three was definitely the most unexpected of all of them. I've not written anything, but the most incredible thing happened on December 13th....

I have wanted to find my birth dad since I was a teenager. I've dreamt of the day that I would find him and for the past several years I've entertained the idea of seriously searching for him. A few years ago, when asked by Mallorye what I wanted for Christmas, I replied, "to find my biological dad." I don't think I ever really believed that it would happen.

{Insert "incentive moment"}
Olivia has had new developments in her health that have made it necessary for her to be referred to a genetic specialist. We knew that they would need a full family medical history, which for me, was problematic (since I didn't know my biological dad). I talked to my mom about trying to find him ...or at the least... the information that we needed. After a few phone calls.....

{Insert "climax"}
My birth dad called my mom....

On December 13th, two worlds collided, and my birth dad found out that he had a brown-eyed baby (albeit 40 years later) girl. I can't imagine what must've went through his mind. For me, it was emotional overload. I didn't return his call until the next day. I needed time to process, but once I did, there was no turning back. He came to Blake's ballgame a few days later with his wife, Susan, and my step-sister, Misty and we've talked every day since. 

I have so much more to write about meeting my dad and building a relationship with him...but for's about Christmas....

So....Christmas Eve 2013, was my FIRST Christmas with my dad :)
My Christmas wish come true (3 years after I wished for it)...proving again that one should never give up hope, no matter what the situation.

Grandpa Gary giving Olivia her "Olivia" bear that he made for her...complete with a beating heart and giggle box....perfect!

Grandpa Gary getting to know his great-granddaughter, Olivia. I think it's safe to say, he is smitten with this little girl who changed the course of so many lives ( and she doesn't even know it).

I think someone is wrapped around someones

Grandma Susan looking on as Uncle Jeremy dressed Olivia's new baby

Jeremy & Olivia hit it off ....the baby was a gift from Aunt Misty (I didn't get a picture) and was a huge success....a little girl can never have too many babies.

My gifts from Dad & Susan
One thing I've noticed about dad...he pays attention and I think "gifts" might be one of his primary love languages also...
A running desk calendar....a framed picture of him, his brother Roger, and my grandpa....a photo book of pictures of my dad growing up...and a beautiful diamond necklace called "Love Grows."

This was an absolute magical Christmas and I can't wait to see what 2014 holds....getting to know my dad and my newfound family. God's timing is always right on time and you just never know what he's going to use to accomplish his purposes.

{stay tuned....a few more celebrations to recap coming up}

{Christmas 2013 ~ Take Two}

Christmas Eve ... one of my favorite days :) My mom rocks at making holidays special and Christmas time is out of the park! One of my favorite traditions is Christmas Eve night. It's the only time of the year that I get to eat chocolate gravy (my fave!)

Table for (a bunch!) outdid herself on the table setting this year. I love eating off the fine just makes the day seem that much more special.

The tree trimmed with presents on and around!

Mallorye, Olivia, & Matt
This is what makes the holidays for me....smiles & laughter of my family.

Olivia has this obsession with lip gloss and Aunt Tiff was more than happy to indulge her.

Papa, Olivia, & Nannie

My sister Tiffany and her boys (family)
Dan, Daniel, & Caleb

Me & Q with our kiddos...I promise, we tried to get a pic that included Matt also, but out of 5 takes, not a single one turned out with everyone looking at the camera or not grabbing someone inappropriately. If you have me on can check them out there. LOL

Olivia .... the little girl who has stolen the hearts of everyone she meets.

Mom & Jack with Rodney & Angie and the picnic table that Rodney made for them. I think they were pleased...and surprised :)

Me & my sisters...Angie & Tiffany
Mom & Jack got all us girls (Alina wasn't there yet) a Diamond Ring candle...and we all agreed not to burn it until Christmas day. Each candle has a ring in it that ranges anywhere from $10 - $5,000 in value. Pretty neat gift.

Jack's masterpiece!! He made a toy chest for Baby Knox and it was absolutely stunning!

My nephews, Daniel & Caleb....tearing into some gifts from Jack & Nana

Blake...doesn't he look enthused? LOL. 

Rodney & Angie surprised Jack with this record player. 

My goodies from Mom & Jack...I love that they handmake our gifts. They made me a race sign I had seen on ETSY, a drying cloth, and Jack made me a necklace that I had seen on the candle and texting gloves that I can use when I run outside to work my apps :)

My race necklace Jack made .... each circle indicates a race distance that I've completed in 2013. One of my fave gifts for sure!!

Whew! Just a few more celebrations to go....

Monday, December 23, 2013

{Christmas 2013 ~ Take One}

Ahhh...and it begins. 

The Christmas season always brings a ton of family gatherings, food, the occasional gift, and a ton of laughs. 

We had our first family gathering tonight at my Aunt Liz's....complete with our ENTIRE family! Grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, sister, mom....everyone. It's always a little chaotic, but so much fun.

Aria & Olivia...these two are 3 months apart and the apple of everyone's eye. They're pretty hard not to adore and seem to have everyone wrapped around their little finger. I'm not sure Aria was too happy sharing the seat with Olivia though. LOL.

Matt & Mallorye enjoying an intense game of Bingo...who am I kidding? Every game is intense with our family...quite a competitive bunch.

Blake & Katelyn....her first true introduction to our crazy family.
{hope we didn't scare her off}

Blake put a question in each of Katelyn's gifts that the answers spelled out, 
"Will You Go Out With Me?"
I think he's a keeper...maybe Katelyn will think the same.

Aunt Dian made this adorable doll house for Olivia...I love handmade gifts.

Presents, Wrapping Paper, and Kids....EVERYWHERE!

Baby Jackson's very first Christmas present :)

"I didn't do it." 
She's just too cute too resist!!

Stay tuned for the remaining celebrations....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

{Ice Apocalypse 2013}

Oh my goodness! It is just down-right COLD here....thanks to Winter Storm Cleon that blew in Thursday night. Don't get me wrong, I realize that it's December, and that we should be expecting cold temps and snow....but do we really have to get ice?

A quick recap: Wednesday the temperature here was 73 degrees! I wore jeans and a t-shirt to work...I ran outside in my tank top and running tights. It was warm! Unseasonably warm. The weatherman was forecasting this horrid winter storm and I, along with the entire population of our town, stocked up and prepared as best as we could.....

Then Thursday happened. Hours and hours of freezing rain fell. They kept saying that snow was behind the freezing rain...but just more freezing rain...followed by sleet....but no snow!  {sigh}

It's now Saturday and I'm looking out my living room at a neighborhood that looks like an ice rink and apparently there is more precipitation moving in tonight. I know it's not even "officially" winter, but I'm so over it. I mean seriously, if it's going to be this cold, can we at least have snow?

I'm ready for warm temps, tank tops, and flip flops. 
I'm ready to be able to run outside and not worry about busting my rear on the ice.
I'm ready for the dog bowl not to freeze up.

I'm ready for ....summer.