Tuesday, December 31, 2013


To wrap up our Christmas celebrations we headed to Fairhope to spend a few days with Gramma and PopPop. Upon our arrival Gramma needed immediate help baking our favorite chocolate pound cake.  Elle was so excited to help her stir. I guess I can add Gramma's house to our short list that only really includes the donut shop where we get amazing smiles from Elle when we ask to take her picture. What the hay!!
Stirring the chocolate cake batter with Gramma.

After the cake was in the oven it was time to open some presents.  Honestly, Elle was still a little burned out from opening the first round of presents.  We were still opening presents the day after Christmas one by one.  Next year I think we will leave everything unwrapped.  
Opening a few presents.

The next morning Elle had her two bigger presents to open.  She was so excited when she opened up a princess power car thingy.
Not even three years old and learning to drive.
She loved loved loved this Christmas tree Gramma had out as decoration.  It played music and lit up.  And it was covered in glitter.  Subsequently she stayed covered in glitter the entire weekend. But look at that smile.

Kenny and I are always so lucky to get a really nice date night while we are in Fairhope.  Free babysitting! On this night we ventured out in the pouring down rain to see Saving Mr. Banks which I had to hold back the ugly cries during and then to a fabulous dinner to one of our favorite restaurants, Camelia Cafe.
Kenny's mom coerced us into taking a picture before we left.

We thought Elle needed to see Frozen one last time.  Okay, I didn't mind seeing it for the third time either. So Gramma came along this time.  We still can't wait for it to come out on DVD.
Waiting to leave for the movie.
Waiting for the movie to start.

After we got home we went for a leisurely drive.
And then for dinner at the yacht club.

On our final day Elle helped Gramma cook the spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight before heading to the park.
Cooking with Gramma.
"Don't touch. It is hot." Elle told me.
Another great smile.  Happy girls at the park.

It was a great Christmas spent in Fairhope.  Now to watch our Dawgs play and try to unwind just a little before the start of the new year!


Christmas Eve was spent baking sugar cookies for Santa, Christmas Eve church service, chicken enchiladas for dinner (can't remember a Christmas where we didn't have enchiladas on Christmas Eve), reading Christmas books and lots and lots of talk about Santa.  Lots!

My sister and mom were in town for all the fun.  I am not sure why my pictures don't document this fact but we were so happy to have them.

For the cookies I actually made the dough the day before and let it refrigerate overnight before using some Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then bake.  Last year I used premade sugar cookie dough and the dough just did not allow us to use cookie cutters.  This year they turned out a lot better.

We had a lots of fun getting creative decorating the cookies.  Kenny, never to be outdone had some amazing cookies considering I did not do a great job on buying things to decorate with. (next year!)
Decorating cookies!
The snowman, the pink reindeer and the pretty Christmas tree were all done by Kenny.  I told you he was the best.

Santa Claus came!

Elle was totally Santa Claus obsessed this year but she still didn't get some of the aspects of how Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went down.  She threw Santa Claus for a loop when while we were putting her to bed she started talking about how Santa Claus was going to come in her room and leave her presents under her personal tree.  Luckily Santa Claus had picked up the three Frozen dolls at the last minute and those were placed under her little tree to greet her when she woke up.  She was so excited.
So excited about her Frozen dolls!
Checking out the all the cookies and milk Santa ate and drank.  He must of been hungry.
This Minnie Pet Shop was the first thing she saw when she saw Santa came and she wanted to play with this  Completely ignored her kitchen until we encouraged her to go check it out.
Excited about her realistic groceries.  
Finally notices her kitchen and is so excited!
Making Daddy some breakfast.
I realized I had all the stuff to make this cinnamon roll breakfast casserole.  And yall! It was a-mazing.  So so so good and so easy.  Excuse me while I share and document this recipe so I will have it in my blog book for future Christmases. I did not use the maple syrup at all.

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Serves: 12
cooking spray
2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
2  teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (you can use more or less according to your liking)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces  in dish.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with syrup.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.
Drizzle icing over top.  If desired, spoon syrup over individual servings.

Okay back to Christmas!
Elle also received several princess outfits.  Here she is playing with her new doll clothes wardrobe in her Princess Jasmine outfit.

And checking herself out all decked out as Tinkerbell. Melt my heart.

It was a fantastic Christmas.  Kenny and I did not do a lot of gifts for each other.  I got him a tailgate tent and he got me an electronic accessory for my car and an overnight bag I had been eying. It was all about seeing the excitement of Christmas morning through Elle's eyes.

Monday, December 30, 2013


I know you are surprised we didn't go to see Santa again.  Believe me, Elle would have. We spent the final days before Christmas going to see Frozen twice, (Have you seen it? We are obsessed!) wrapping last minute presents, watching Christmas movies and decorating a gingerbread house. 

I was worried I wouldn't have anything to do at night while we relaxed and watched Christmas movies since I got our Christmas cards out early.  So I decided to do little happys for Elle's class. I absolutely cannot take any credit for the idea.  Totally Pinterest.  I looked for something that looked easy enough and settled on these sweet reindeer made out Hershey bars.  They actually ended up being a little more time intensive than I originally planned but turned out cute.
Basket all ready to go with teacher gifts(gift cards) and friend happies.
Charlie had been doing some pretty uneventful things so one night he got into my wrapping supplies and this is where we found him when we woke up. 
Elle and I spent one morning at the park.  After going down the slide a few times we ended up roaming the bushes around the perimeter pretending to be Princess Sofia for most of the time we were there. So funny.

I bought a reusable gingerbread house a week or so before Christmas so we could make decorating it one of our out of school Christmas activities.  Buying all the candy kind of stressed me out.  I wasn't sure what we needed and what would work well and what wouldn't.  Thankfully the dollar store had enough good stuff that we managed pretty well.  Elle had a great time.  She was more into eating the candy and making sure I was keeping all the bowls stocked with decorating supplies.  Kenny on the other hand totally got into it. (as he normally does when we do these kinds of things)
House and bowls of candy ready to go.
Kenny spackling the house with a tub of icing and Elle sticking a few things on in between bites.
I swear I just got lucky and captured this picture.  I love it.  They are so much alike sometimes.
This is the ONLY picture I could get her to take with me.  Another selfie.  I will still 
take these pictures and post them on here to prove that I was present.
Finished product-Side 1
Finished Product-Side 2

Don't ask me what is going on with the lifeless Santa on top.  Elle insisted we put him there.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


We ended up in Memphis again one weekend and went out to eat to celebrate my sister's birthday.  We went to eat extra early because we made plans to head to Starry Nights afterwards and look at the pretty lights and hope to get Elle to bed at a semi decent time.

Dinner was great.  We swung by Starbucks for some hot chocolate and headed for Starry Nights.  And. then. we waited in line to get into Starry Nights for TWO HOURS!!!! Poor Elle was already feeling poorly and by the time we got really close she was so over it.  We took her out of her car seat to get a better view and immediately passed out in my lap.  We attempted to wake her up but she was a total grump.  She slept through the entire thing.  What a bust!!

After a busy weekend in Memphis we got on the road for Starkville early Sunday morning because Santa was coming to the Starkville Country Club for lunch and we knew that this was most likely the last time we would see him before Christmas. I know, I know, some kids might see him only once but she really loves him this year.  Of course she was so excited to see him again and ran up to him and hugged him. Told him the same thing she has said every time before.  "I would like presents and candy canes."

We ended up getting some fantastic pictures with him too!
Deep in Christmas conversation.
Sweet picture.
Time for dessert!

Monday, December 23, 2013


We had to break my no traveling rule to to go to Memphis for some doctors appointments.  But it was a good visit because we stayed with my sister and Elle got to have a play date with her bestie Loftin while we were at the doctor. They love each other so much.  It is so fun to see how they have grown from little babies to big kids.  Elle gets so excited to see him. And my friend Lindsey always gets the most precious pictures of them.  We always joke that she is preparing for the rehearsal dinner slide show.
Just some Christmas hugs in front of the Christmas tree.
Then he went in for the smooch.

After we picked Elle up from Loftin's we headed to Enchanted Forest. It is a Christmas tree display that also has little mechanical scenes, gingerbread houses, and the BEST Santa. Elle loved it last year and she seemed to enjoy it a lot this year too.
Why does she look 18 in this picture.  So much attitude!
Feeling more excited in this one.
Daddy and Elle watching the bears catch a fish.
The best picture with Santa to date.  This Santa actually helped us by holding her arm down a little because when she gets nervous she puts her hands in her mouth for pictures.  And almost have a little smile.  We loved this picture. And Elle loves this Santa because he had candy canes!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Since I have a couple more posts to do that involve Elle seeing Santa (yes she has seen Santa ALOT.  She loves him.) I thought I would break it up and post about our annual Christmas card photo session.  

Being new to Starkville and not having a photographer that I was familiar with, I kind of freaked out.  I started to think I completely dropped the ball.  Luckily a great photographer who was already booked for the season passed along Monica's name with Monica Allen Photography.  She was so great.  She still had some availability and so we met her out of the city limits for time outside and to hopefully get some good pictures.

I mean yall.  I have never been so stressed.  This photo session was STRESSFUL! Monica was fabulous.  But Elle.  Oh my goodness. She wanted nothing to do with this picture taking business.  If Monica told us to sit on the blanket Elle ran in the opposite direction.  If Monica asked Elle to give us a hug or let one of us pick her up, Elle ran in the opposite direction.  If we asked Elle to smile, Elle frowned. I was sweating by the end of it.  I knew Monica and her fast camera and being a great photographer would get some amazing candid and even a few posed pictures of Elle.  I was more worried that we would not get a Christmas card worthy pic because Elle wouldn't have anything to do with us.

A couple of weeks later when I got our cd with all of our proofs, I was so happy! Monica got so many great shots for us.  I was really pleased and kind of flabbergasted that she managed to get the ones she did.  It wasn't because I did not trust Monica and her photography skills it was just that Elle was all over the place.  

So, with all that being said.  Picture sessions with a two year old are tough.  I don't know how you do it it with more than one child.  But here are some of my favorite pics!