Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas with the Taylors

Each year Tim and I rotate holidays with our families. My older sisters already had a system in place for dividing their time equally between our family and their in-laws so I just hopped on. Last year we spent Christmas with Tim's family, so this year we spent Christmas with my family. On the years that we have Christmas with my family we still reserve a few days to celebrate Christmas with the Taylors too ~ we are blessed in that they are close enough to do so.
This was the first gift Kennedy opened from Nana and Pawpaw - how over the top is this dress up outfit?!
Check the shoes:
After we got it all on and the little shoes laced up, she then proceeded to open her other gifts while wearing it.
This was Avery's first gift opened and it was a hit!
The Taylors gave Kennedy her first doll house...BIG doll house. She LOVES it - it is complete with all kinds of furniture and accessories that function (tea pot, stereo, television, etc.) so it has kept her really busy! Here are some pictures of her the next morning after opening it - she is positioning things "just so"...she's totally my daughter in that way.
It even has a "Mom, Dad, and two babies".
We always enjoy going to their home church when we are there. Tim grew up in that church so the church family really does treat us like we are their family - it's really endearing. It's nice to hear his Dad preach and his message was especially touching that Sunday - just spoke to me where I was and I was thankful we were there. Here's a good picture I snapped beforehand of the girls with their Nana.
After church we had a traditional Christmas dinner and Great Aunt Kathryn and Grandma joined us. I'm thankful my girls are always loving with them. I can tell they just cherish those moments. Here's Kathryn holding Avery.
and Grandma
Both Grandma and Kathryn contributed "rooms" to Kennedy's doll house.

Each year I struggle with what to get them for Christmas. I mean, let's be honest - at that age you have most of what you need so anything else is just additional stuff. Sometimes we do pictures or calendars, candles or baked goodies, last year I did a plant for both of them but this year I really wanted to get Kennedy involved. My sister Catina taught us how to do knot blankets for my grandparents one year and so we decided to do that for them this year. They REALLY seemed to like them so I was glad.

I have so few family pictures anymore, so I was thankful with Rita offered to take some following church on Sunday. They turned out really cute.

Next up: pictures of my family Christmas...we were there for several days so I'll have to sift through the 300 pictures first. Oh my!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Finally! & The "JB Santa"

Christmas has begun for our family - we celebrated with the Taylors last weekend and left today for DC to celebrate with my family. The Taylors gifted our Christmas present early and I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE EXCITED about what they generously gave us this year! It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a passion for photography - I took photography in college, I'm a scrapbooker and pretty much the token picture taker at all events. The problem with all of that, is that until now I've not owned a very nice camera. Nowadays every average Joe and or SAHM has an incredible camera. Taking good pictures isn't as much of a skill or art form anymore because DSLR cameras are so awesome now they do a lot of the work for you. I can finally join the ranks of those camera owners as we now own a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR. I've been using it like crazy and trying to familiarize myself with all the lenses and functionalities, etc. I can already tell it's going to take me a while to get used to it - lots has changed since my film Canon Rebel. I have managed to get some pictures that just put my trusty ole powershot images to shame despite my lack of expertise with my new camera:


With this face, you'd never know that she is a neurotic head case of a dog who requires daily Prozac to live among us in a normal co-habitative state.
Why are baby bellies so cute? And on that note - why can't they be cute when we're in our 30's...just sayin'

Tim took the girls to have Breakfast with Santa this year while I was at work. As it turns out, every time we've taken Kennedy to see has been THIS VERY Santa. Kinda funny....

These dresses made perfect Breakfast with Santa attire - thanks to Nana.
Because I like to reminisce, here is Kennedy with "The Joseph Beth Santa" last year
and the year before...sniff, baby is growing up!
So, I'm happy that our VERY documented life will be documented a little bit more vividly now thanks to the Taylors. Hey, maybe one day I'll start taking pictures that are as amazing as the ones Jes Meeker takes for me. Ones like these 9 month shots she recently took of Avery.

Oh these sweet little faces!

I can dream about taking pictures like that...maybe one day! 

Y'all have a blessed and Merry Christmas! I hope you eat until you hurt and watch Elf enough times that you memorize some of it because it's just that funny!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tannenbaum & Advent

The first weekend in December we had a visitor - one of Kennedy's favorite visitors: Chelsea! She drove down to visit but also because there was a special occasion - Kennedy's first dance performance. We had such a good time but as usual it wasn't long enough and I HATED seeing her go. Kennedy still adores her as much now as she did when she spent every day with her as a little one and I love watching their relationship grow - it's just really special. Avery doesn't quite know her yet, but she will. In the short amount of time Chelsea was here she got some of the best belly laughs out of her that I've heard in her 9 months of life.

While she was in town - we drug her along on our annual Griswald-like family trek through the Christmas tree farm to pick out THE BEST tree for the season! We went to the same tree farm that we went to last year and I loved it just as much. It is owned by a retired UK professor and his wife and they are so sweet. She hands out candy canes and they have UK Ag students chop the trees down and tie them on your car. All around it's just a really cool experience. Because we'd been last year and they'd gotten our address then, we got a sweet little hand written note from them in November telling us what kind of trees they had and when they opened, etc. I mean...what more can you ask for: seriously!? Not sure why this posted sideways...but you get the idea:
When Chelsea is town I'm virtually non-existent so Kennedy pretty much did her tree searching with Chels.
I value Kennedy's opinion, but she picks out trees like this:
perfect size for her...not so perfect for our family tree. I found one Avery's size too...
~sweet little cheeser~
Posing by our tree...
I was pretty much in love with it, but Tim wanted to walk the ENTIRE tree farm to make sure it was "the one". We were there on their opening day so there were a lot of people walking around and I was a little scared someone would get it while we were walking around. Tim decided his hat was a sufficient marker for the tree while we "made sure" it was the one. Turns out...Momma knows best - this here tree is in our living room all lit up and fancy as I type this.
The girls were intrigued with the chopping down process.
And up it goes...thankyouverymuch nice little UK Ag student - we appreciate you!
After the tree was all decorated it was time to get Kennedy ready for her Advent Dance performance. I have loved Wilmore Christian Ballet - I love that they teach them to teach for Jesus and that they are little princesses of the King...precious! She was most excited about her performance, but you know how kids just never really know how they'll do.
We got a few quick snapshots prior to the performance:

~Pretty in pink~
~Daddy's little ballerina~
The performance was SO good - it was honestly moving. It told the story of Jesus' birth beginning with the Angel appearing to Mary to tell her she would be having the son of God and on through different periods in his life. The music was wonderfully powerful and just good! Kennedy played the part of a stable she is during the performance:
We were very proud because she did exactly what she was supposed to do and I was impressed because honestly there were SO MANY girls and her part was so small but she hung in there for the entire performance. We snagged her in costume to get a couple of pictures after the cast completed their bows. Clearly she was less than thrilled about this photo op - she was "itchy and hot and wanted the nose off her face" ha! 
Even though Nana had just been here for Thanksgiving she came right back for the performance - she didn't want to miss it and we were so glad she came.
Our neighbors from our old neighborhood are part of this studio too - here are the two Kennedy's after the performance. She was a star - so pretty.
I told Tim he needed to have her some flowers for after the performance and he delivered: pink roses! She wasn't as excited about getting flowers as I thought she would be, but I still say "Good job Daddy!"
She seemed to have so much fun with ballet this semester I just knew she'd want to do it again, but when I asked her if she wanted to dance again she said she'd rather try gymnastics again. I'm really surprised, because on any given day you can step into our house and witness a scene that looks a little bit like this:

I'm all about her doing what it is she wants to do, so if she wants gymnastics - gymnastics here we come...again.