Sunday, January 27, 2013

Telling the girls...

Written on Thursday, January 17th......

Yesterday I told my seventh grade athletes about the big change.

There was a great big group hug and LOTS of tears.  Many more than I expected.

But enough to make me question myself and say "is this REALLY what I want to be doing?"

I held it together and tried to make my decision make sense to a group of teenagers who generally have no concept of doing what is best for other people.

They just know that I'm their "favorite" coach (on any given day....these are teenagers we're talking about) and they don't want me to leave.  They don't understand the conflict of motherhood, work and my desire to slow down life while soaking up my daughter's childhood.

Right now they sit in front of me coloring, listening to music, playing games and posting selfies to Instagram.  It's an exam day and I'm letting them relax.

Perhaps this is why I am their "favorite."

But in all seriousness, I told them about my prayers over the past few years.  I never bring up faith, God and spirituality with my girls because it's personal and I just don't feel comfortable injecting that into my coaching spiel.  Today though I put it out there so that they would have a greater understanding of where my heart is and why I made this decision.

I talked about my prayers for a new position but how when it didn't happen, I accepted the place God needed me to be in.  I told them how I put it in His hands and did His will until a new opportunity was presented to me.  I spoke of how heavy my heart has been for the past two weeks, carrying this knowledge around with me while they high five me in the hall and we joke in the locker room.

My voice cracked and I fought back tears while trying to help twelve-year-old children understand the very complicated issues of motherhood, career and finding the delicate balance between all of life's responsibilities and passions.  I wanted them to understand that this was both the easiest and most difficult decision that I have made in a very long time.  I wanted them to realize the impact they (and the six years of girls before them) as my athletes and students have had on my heart.  They taught me about motherhood before I gave birth.  They showed me how I can be compassionate, give grace and provide guidance without stifling individual freedom.

Making this change is infinitely harder than I ever expected it to be.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Force

Last night at Book Club a woman who I've known through teaching and social events around town mentioned how much she loves seeing Natalie pictures and stories on my Facebook feed.

"Thank you," I replied.  "She really is starting to get fun."

And then she said something that made me stop.

"You can just tell that she is a force.  Just a FORCE.  But with you and Craig as her parents, I expect nothing less."

A force.  May the force be with you.  A force to be reckoned with.

- The capacity to do work or cause physical change; energy, strength, or active power
- A person or group capable of influential action
- A capacity for affecting the mind or behavior; efficacy....and one that possesses such capacity

Yes.  I want my daughter to be a force.  I want her to be a leader, to fight for what is right and to change people's perception of the world.  Whether that is on a national stage or just within her local community....I want her to be a force for what is good, right and just.  But I want her to do all that with passion, COMpassion, grace and dignity.

I want her to be so much greater than me.  Stronger, braver and more confident.  I want to raise her in such a way that when she goes to college, it's more like I'm freeing her so that she can go and conquer the world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bread Crumbs

It's the little things.....

........being wait-listed at A&M and making the choice to attend UNT........

........the change from early education to mid-level education........

........student teaching in my current district and at my former school........

........having lunch everyday with a coach who was on her way out........

........the tragic circumstances of Craig's father's death and his subsequent move home........

........being placed in the same coaching office........

All along this path, I questioned and yelled at God.  I was angry because I saw (what felt like) ALL my friends pairing off, finding love and starting their happily ever after.  

But God was like Gretel....placing little bread crumbs along the path and even though I didn't quite understand the path, I followed along unsuspecting of who was REALLY in charge all the while hoping to find my fairy tale ending.

For the past few years as I have looked to get out of coaching and while Craig and I have debated the "second child" conundrum, I found myself once again following along that path of bread crumbs but this time I was ready and willing.

People kept asking me if I was disappointed or upset when a door would close on a certain opportunity to get out of coaching.  And when I answered that I wasn't because I had faith the right position would come along, they seemed surprised.

But it was the truth.

Whether it was true faith in God's plan, or my own personal survival instincts, I had to believe that I was kept in the coaching arena for a certain amount of time because that's where God needed me.  For whatever reason, I was supposed to be here and coaching these specific girls and putting my desire for a second child on hold for the time being.  

And now it's time to move on.  I feel it in my gut.  This is the right decision for me, for my family, the athletes and the school.

God kept me here and told my heart to be still.  And so I put it in His hands and waited patiently....repeating the mantra that whatever will be....WILL BE.  I was going to be teaching wherever He felt my gifts were most needed....and apparently it is time for those gifts to leave the athletic arena and re-enter the classroom.

I cried when my principal offered me this position because I saw the pieces of God's plan coming together right in front of my eyes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Taco Soup

Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner to share some soup recipes.  

Even though I live in Texas and could conceivably wear flip-flops for at least ten months out of the year without looking does sometimes get cold enough to warrant a hot bowl of soup.  

You know....when it hits 50 degrees or so.

But in all honesty, my family's favorite soup is definitely Taco Soup and I love it because it is easy, filling and makes for some great leftovers.

If you Pinterest "taco soup" there are all sorts of crock-pot versions but if you are like me, I'm lucky to leave the house having finished off a full cup of coffee let alone preparing a crock-pot for dinner.

1 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 onion, choped
1 pkg taco seasonings 
1 pkg dry Ranch seasonings
2 large cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can Rotel tomatoes (medium), undrained
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn

Brown meat and onion.  Drain and add seasonings.  Let simmer for awhile until meat is fully coated and seasonings are absorbed.
Drain beans and corn, combine with tomatoes in a large pot and simmer while the meat is finishing up.
Once meat is ready, pour into large pot and stir well to combine all ingredients.  

I usually let everything simmer together for a good ten minutes while the cornbread is cooking.  We top it with cheese and sour cream....and for a little bit thicker soup I toss some cornbread into my bowl.  I shared this recipe with a friend and he actually drained the tomatoes and made it less of a soup and more of a tortilla filling, which could be good option for leftovers as well!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moving On...

As of June 6th and if the current circumstances remain, my coaching career will cease to exist.

Next year I will forge ahead as a full-time 8th grade Math and Algebra teacher, my days filled with lessons, reviews, tests, tutoring and grading papers.  

This means no more early morning practices, late night games and weekend tournaments.

In general....this is a good thing.

I think.

I mean, when I graduated college coaching middle school volleyball was probably the furthest thing from my mind.  I was going to be a MATH TEACHER and that was that.  But the universe led me in a completely different direction and I found myself coaching middle school volleyball and cross country for what has ended up being the past seven years.  And for the most part, it has suited me well - I stayed involved in the age of athletics (middle school) that I loved the most, I got to mentor girls and hopefully helped them become strong young women.....and I even won a few championships along the way.

My life has been divided into sporting seasons since I was in third grade - the first year my parents signed me up for the city basketball league after a year of gymnastics didn't pan out.  Four years of city league led to three years of A team middle school ball and then finally onto the Varsity team in high school.  I headed up the intramurals athletics teams in my college sorority which culminated with a flag football league victory my senior year.  And then I moved on from playing to coaching....

But what now?

I always joke with my co-workers that sometimes I really get tired of hearing my name.
"Coach!  Look at this!"

"Hey Coach?  What time are we leaving?"

"I don't know what to do Coach!?"

"Coach, I need to call my mom!  I forgot my jersey!"

"Can I go to the bathroom, Coach?"

"Coach, do you like unicorns or narwhals better?" 
(Yes.  An ACTUAL question from an ACTUAL athlete.)

There might have even been a time when I told my volleyball players that the next person to say my name had to do ten push-ups because I was THAT tired of hearing my name attached to a question.


If I'm not COACH, am I now going to be a MRS.?  Yikes.

I think the title change is scarier than the actual JOB switch.

Things will be different.  Life will different.  I will have the luxury of leaving school if Natalie has a doctor's appointment, if there are errands that must be ran....or if I am flat out tired and ready to go home.

So why am I sitting here with tears in my eyes?  This is what I have wanted for several years - my principal coming into my room and presenting me with this opportunity was a the big signal from God as to where my life should be heading.  A slowed down life, spending time with Natalie and the even possibility of having a second child.

Yes.  Another baby.....not now, but sometime in the next year.

I had more or less resigned myself to the idea of Natalie being an only child because I didn't see an end to my coaching career given the economic and employment atmosphere in my district.  But this opportunity has presented itself and with Craig voicing his desire for a second child....I'm allowing myself to become excited, nervous and even a little starry-eyed about this next step in our life.

But back to those tears in my eyes.  I love coaching in the sense of....I love seeing the girls work hard, improve and then that MOMENT when it all clicks for them and they are successful.  I love the close relationships that I form from hours spent in gyms, locker rooms and on a bus together.  Those are the moments that I'm going to miss and those are the memories that I'm going to cherish forever.

I haven't told my girls yet and I am dreading the day when they find out.  The 8th graders will be sad....but they will be moving onto the high school shortly.  It's the 7th graders I worry about.  I don't want them to feel like I am abandoning coaching them just wasn't good enough for me.

Because coaching them WAS good enough for me....until it just wasn't.

And this little curly headed girl is definitely a good enough reason to say good-bye.


This is ALMOST two.

It is a raspberry mouth at dinner.

It is a cheese face while clutching a beloved baby.

It is sheer joy and excitement.

It is pretending to be just like Momma.

It is staying in zebra pajamas for far too long on a Saturday morning.

It is still being little and falling asleep after a long day.

It is messy hands and a chocolate face.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Serious Conversation

8:15 on a Tuesday night.

The toddler is sleeping.

I head downstairs where Craig is laid out on the couch.

I mute the television and turn to face him saying, "we need to have a serious conversation."

He squirms and sits up straighter. "Um....okay?"

I scoot his leg off the couch and take a seat next to him while looking him squarely in the eye. "I have something to tell you. It's going to affect our budget."

More squirming while a nervous smile curls on his lips.

"I found a few gray hairs and pretty soon I'll have to start dyeing my hair. This could get expensive."

Then he had the nerve to laugh in my face.

But it's true. They're sprouting at record pace and I'm well on my way to becoming besties with Loreal and Clairol.

This is disturbing on many levels.

When I was growing up my mother's mantra regarding hair dye was.....this is the color God gave you, you don't think God's decision was good enough?

Nothing like a little Catholic guilt to keep you out of the hair salon.

But all it took for me to renounce the "work of God" was one bad break-up and I found myself at 23 sitting in the hairstylists chair saying, "cut it short and dye it black."

My mother does not have any pictures up in her house of me from this era.

Except for this brief dabble on the dark side, my hair has remained untreated and chemical-free. I wash, blow-dry and run a quick straightener through it....but only visit the salon every six months (or less).

I started life with a mass of black hair of which my mother was so proud....finally a child with hair to match her own.

My mother and her virgin-never-been-colored curly-ish black locks.

But her visions of a dark-headed little girl were ruined when my hair fell out, I was bald for two years and then THIS happened:

A strawberry blonde (and very serious) toddler.

Over time my hair darkened and by middle school I was a full-on brunette....except not quite.
In his youth, my daddy had that same strawberry blonde off-shoot from his auburn haired mother, I suppose. My dad doesn't talk about his mother much - I didn't know her all that well and the focus in my family tends to center around the generations of women on my mother's side. But he did tell me something one time that stuck with me - my hair reminds my dad of his mother's. On the surface a regular brunette but in the sun glittering full of natural gold and red streaks.

Perhaps because of this I stopped coloring my hair and just started relying on what God and genetics have gifted me with. I've got a thick horse mane of hair that straightens easily which, according to my 13 year old athletes is SUPER important.

So why mess with a good thing?

Why dye?!

I'm not afraid of getting older. In fact its quite the opposite - I'm excited about turning thirty later this year!

But the silver strands I found bother me.

But so does the idea of coloring my hair.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 14, 2013

iPhone Pictures

We didn't leave the house this weekend and it was all sorts of awesome. Some house rearranging happened and Natalie showed off her newfound somersaulting skills.

The many faces of an almost two-year-old.

The older she gets, the more I think she looks like me. And yes, I was very blond as a little girl.

Just taking a selfie with Momma.
Cooking dinner with Daddy while I sat on the couch and drank wine.

This creature is not nearly as neglected as she tried to look in this photograph.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Last year around this time Craig and I made a resolution for our family.  We chose a word to live by and we stuck to it.


2012 was the year that we existed.

But after the previous four years I needed one without any major life decisions.

2008 - began dating and bought a house
2009 - became engaged and began planning a wedding
2010 - got married in March and pregnant in June
2011 - gave birth to Natalie and struggled with PPD

So yeah.....I think we deserved a year off to just BE.  We loved on our pups and watched our daughter grow.  We fixed up the house and celebrated all sorts of fun milestones with friends.  

But what about 2013?  What word are we going to choose for our family to embrace this year?  I'd love to think it was something along the lines of PEACE or SIMPLICITY....

Unfortunately, I just have this gut feeling based on recent conversations that it's going to be another year of CHANGE.

Little pieces are beginning to fall in place and a clear picture of what 2013 holds for us is starting to form.

Among other things, I'll be turning 30 and Craig will turn 40.

Natalie is in the midst of transitioning from babyhood to full fledged toddler.

There are a host of other things that are being put on the table for me professionally and for our family personally.

Usually I'm terrified about any sort of change and adjustment but right now, I'm peaceful and calm.  I'm sure there will be moments of panic and sheer terror, but overall....I'm okay with what seems to be coming down the pipe because it all seems so pre-ordained, if you know what I mean?!

There have been professional and personal goals that I've had for myself but it just never seemed the RIGHT time.  Things just didn't fall into place the way I hoped they would and I told myself over and over that when it was right, it would happen.

And it's all happening this year.

Buckle up.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Working Momma

Come Monday morning, our beautiful two week vacation for the Christmas and New Year's holidays will be over and I will drop Natalie off at day-care and return to school.  Being a working mother is always a tightrope walk; trying to balance a long day of work full of responsibility with nurturing, parenting and loving a child into adulthood.....sometimes when you're absolutely wiped and devoid of any spare patience.

These are a few personal "rules" that I have institued into my own life in order to find some sort of workable balance that allows me to invest myself into the education of my students at school without neglecting my biggest responsibility - love Natalie and being her mother. 

Just a disclaimer - this works for ME as a teacher whose contract hours during a non-coaching season are from 8:15 until 4:15 but during that time in the day I am very scheduled with no real room for running errands or going to appointments.  Since I've never been in the corporate world, I can't specifically say how these would work on that level, but hopefully you will all be able to find something useful nonetheless.

1. When you're at your work and when at home....BE at home.  It all goes back to what our teacher's told us during school - use your time wisely.  Do work at work so that when you get home, the computer can stay closed and you can spend time playing babies, trains and puzzles.  But for me it's more than just not bringing home tests to grade or creating lesson plans at 10:00 during Jon Stewart - it's the emotional aspect.  It's allowing a nasty email from a parent to weigh on my heart and mind which ultimately affects my mood and behavior at home with Natalie.  When we are together, Natalie deserves my loving attention and does not need to bear the brunt of my bad day at work - something that has nothing to do with her.

2. If possible, set a time limit and stick to it.  Even before I had a husband and child, I set this rule for myself - 5:00 was my usual deadline, with 5:30 if I had more papers or tests to grade.  I found that I worked more efficiently and productively if I imposed a time limit on myself by which I HAD to have a particular set of tasks completed.  It also helped me feel less overwhelmed by a large work load and instead with a time constraint I was able to focus and prioritize on what needed my immediate attention and what could be left until the next day.  Working repeatedly long hours wreaks havoc on your energy and psyche....and NO lesson plan or ungraded assignment is worth risking my mental health.

3. Plan ahead.  On Sundays Craig and I plan out our week - we sit down with the menu board and my planner and figure out what nights we will be home and what our commitments look like.  By doing this, I'm able to look forward and see when I will have to leave work early for a doctor's appointment or right at 4:25 to make it to Craig's basketball game on time.  This way I can more effectively manage my time at work and know when I need to have certain items prepared due to time constraints later in the week.  Sometimes parents get a bad rap at work because of the idea that we have to shirk duties due to an after school sports game or a sick child.  My thought process is that if I'm going to cut out early from work on one day, I better be making up for it some other time so that I am still being a functioning, competent and productive employee.

4. Designate a Family Night and make it a priority.  Sometimes between our school schedule, my personal volleyball league, Craig's select basketball practices and other social activities, our weekly calendar gets pretty jam-packed to the point where we haven't really talked until our heads hit the pillows.  Since MOST weeks our games and such are consistently on the same days, we are able to designate one certain evening as our Family Night.  Most of the time we don't do anything special - I cook a good meal, the television stays off for the most part and we sit up in the playroom and play babies, blocks, Legos, read books and pretty much whatever else Natalie wants us to do.  Even if you can't ensure that it's going to be the SAME night every week, try to pick one night a week where the outside world disappears and the only thing that matters are the people in your home.

5. Be flexible and enjoy the moment.  I'm definitely a person who revels in a schedule.  Bedtime with Natalie starts around 8:00 and involves jammies, putting her babies to bed, reading a book with Craig and then being rocked for about ten minutes before being placed in her crib.  And believe me....there are certainly days when we are counting down the minutes until we can kick off her bedtime routine just because it's been THAT kind of day.  But then there are the evenings when she is delightful and neither Craig nor myself are quite ready to put her to bed when 8:00 rolls around.  So we let her stay up a little later and enjoy her presence, forgetting the time and schedule.

Working and being a mother is always going to be tricky.  There will be sacrifice and there will be some sort of guilt.  But it can be done....and the family unit can thrive.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 In the Books

A few of my personal highlights from the past year....

In January we rescued a purebred black and tan dachshund named "Jax" but in keeping with the family tradition (Angie, Annabelle and Andy) we renamed him Ajax.  He is the perfect companion for my Angie - calm, sweet, gentle and the biggest lovebug.  Ajax is most certainly a Daddy's boy and is incredibly protective of Natalie....and he also puts up with her shenanigans.  The other day I walked into the playroom and Ajax was sitting patiently on the couch while Natalie "fed" him with a spoon from a saucer that belongs to her play kitchen.  He has been the most perfect blessing to our family.

Natalie turned one on March 8th and we had a small family oriented "St. Patty's Day" themed birthday party to celebrate.  It wasn't just a party honoring our little girl, but also a momentous achievement for Craig and myself - we survived the first year as parents.  I SURVIVED the first year as a mother.

And with any momentous occasion, it had to be documented and we bravely decided to take family pictures with Natalie and the two pups.

We did have my mother on hand to corral Angie, Ajax, Natalie......or Craig......depending on who was acting up at any point in time.

I swam through mud and jumped over fire........after running three miles.

I allowed my picture to be taken looking like this.

In April my sister-in-law (named Laura as well) and I completed the Warrior Dash together.  We made a good team - she was great on the obstacles while I was the runner.  We had some great chats along the way and encouraged each other the entire time.  It was a milestone for me because it felt like some sort of "reclamation" of my former self.  Even though I am Natalie's mother I am still ME and can do fun (and challenging) things.

Summer vacation this year was MUCH more fun than in 2011 when Natalie was an infant.  She was on a specific schedule and able to go and do lots of exciting things. 
 Somewhere along the way, she also developed a personality.

We discovered her love of the aquarium.....or maybe it was just her parent's love of air conditioning?!

We took our very first REAL vacation to San Antonio with some friends who have a daughter close in age to Natalie.  We hit up Sea World two days in a row and stayed a great resort that was hidden in the hills surrounding the city.

Happy to be on vacation and enjoying our little family.

The fall brought our annual trip to the State Fair and this year my parents joined us.  We were lucky enough to see Big Tex before the inferno.

This picture was taken on Halloween and it was the first time I saw the BIG girl that Natalie was quickly becoming.  Perhaps it's the way I dressed her....or maybe it's her body language but I realized at this point that we were rapidly exiting the baby stage and hurtling towards little girl-dom.

And the things that weren't photographed.....

Craig and I had a rough fall....there's no doubt about that.  Between a spontaneous, Natalie induced house remodel and numerous illnesses which culminated in an emergency surgery, there was a lot of stress that could have ignited some pretty intense fights.  But we buckled down and drew upon what is our greatest strength as a couple - our ability to function and work as a team.

I had a FABULOUS group of both 7th and 8th grade athletes this fall.  My seventh graders came to me with LOTS of previous volleyball knowledge and we were able to upset a few teams...namely my old school!  My eighth grade girls might not be the most technically proficient volleyball players but they are RUNNERS and despite a nasty flu virus eliminating two of our best runners, my girls were still able to hang onto a second place finish (out of fifteen schools) in the district cross country meet.

And in between all the BIG events were the seemingly inconsequential moments....the times we were just sitting around our house watching Natalie develop the ability to create and imagine.  Or seeing her relationship with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family friends blossom and grow - she is so genuinely excited to visit and play with all our loved ones.

Craig and I were also able to introduce Natalie to our love of all sporting events - from teaching her how to cheer on the swimming and track events during the Olympics to watching her run around the gym during volleyball practice while trying to shag all the balls.  She has developed into such a well-rounded little girl - she is equally excited about playing babies as she is throwing the ball around or playing with her cars and trains.  Reminds me of another little girl I used to know.

Because of Natalie's interest in flushing paper down the toilet, Craig and I got a spontaneous remodel on our living room and several rooms upstairs.  Of course she chose the best timing and did the damage during the first week of school, right smack dab in the middle of volleyball try-outs.  As most things do, it turned out to be a great blessing in disguise seeing as how I ended up being able to completely redecorate our living room which I had been yearning to do for some time.

And some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Another year in the record books and a year in the life of La La blogged onto the interwebs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bye Bye Baby

I've got an "end of the year" wrap-up started in my head but finding the time (okay....the motivation) to put it onto paper...uh....the internet is a little exhausting right now.  But what's easy is to look at the growth of my little girl over the past year.  

We've graduated from baby bottles to sippy cups.

From onesies with socks to leggings and boots.

From crawling to walking to running and galloping.

My what a change in one year.

Delighting in her rocking horse last year and her pop-up play area this year.

Teeth and curls have grown in but those blue eyes and big grin are still the same.

She sits with purpose and strength....and is fully aware of what awaits her wrapped in those packages.

The bottle might have disappeared but Daddy's lap is still her favorite seat in the house.

Mega Christmas Round-Up

First off I'll start with the picture of Natalie that was sent out with our Christmas cards.  I'm still old school.....I buy actual cards, stick in a picture of Natalie and sign all our names on the inside.  Actually, I'm more cheap than old school because I buy all our Christmas cards for the next year the day after Christmas when they are mega discounted.


Here she is three months away from her second birthday.

And a few outtakes of our little photo session:

This one looks like a mugshot.

Here she is mauling Santa while Angie gets her nose in the picture.

And the new toddler "cheese" face she has debuted recently.

And here we are close to the end because she is juuuuuust about DONE with Momma taking pictures of her.

Christmas Eve Cookie Decorating

Craig and Natalie ready to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Santa.  Craig *might* be more excited about this activity than Natalie.

And when I say *might* I mean........Craig was SO pumped for this.  Seriously.  It was pretty adorable.

My big girl.

Lots of different kinds of fun sprinkles.

While the cookies were cooling all three of us got to decorate an ice cream cone to make into a Christmas tree.  Mine is in the back, Craig's is on the left and Natalie's on the case you couldn't tell which one was decorated by the almost two year old.

Serious dedication and concentration.

On a related note....a little tip for baking and decorating with small children?  Put a big beach towel down over the table or countertop before the activity starts.  That way all the mess lands on the towel and when you are done, just fold up the towel and shake the mess into the trashcan for super easy clean up!  

Oh.  And have two ravenous dogs roaming the floor so all the dropped pieces get cleaned up too.

The finished products!

Sitting by the Christmas tree for the requisite Christmas Eve photo-op.

And by the other tree in the living room.  I took SEVERAL of these photos and in every single one.....she had her little hand gripped tight around the branch of that tree.  Not sure why.

And we always have to leave a letter for Santa thanking him for his kindness.  

She does have impeccable handwriting if I do say so myself.  

Cookies and milk for Santa under the tree!

A little Christmas book reading before bedtime.

And then the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

And this is the BIG gift that Santa brought Natalie!

Christmas Day!
A happy girl with her big surprise.

All the loot that Santa packed into her stocking.

The biggest hit of Christmas....the baby furniture.

And my personal favorite - Olivia and the Fairy Princess.

And then a Christmas to remember.....SNOW!  It started sprinkling down just a bit in the morning while I was making a breakfast casserole.

But by the time we made it to my parent's house at 3:30 the ground was completely covered.
Angie and Ajax frolicking in the snow.

Natalie checking things out.  She was very upset when the snow got on her shoes.  Can't blame her.

All four pups out exploring....all with the appropriate winter wear of course.

Merry Christmas everyone!!