Friday, January 23, 2015

Adaline Mae: 3 Months

My baby bug is three months old.

And I've already broken one of my 2015 goals for the year. {I do not create new year resolutions, but instead set casual and achievable goals or "try's" for the year.}

One of my "try's" was to live in the present. More specifically, I don't want to dwell on the fact that each passing day means that Adaline is one day older than the last. A day I'll never have again.

I can't help it. I love my babies as babies. But I've also learned, I love every other phase too.

Regardless. Call it the breastfeeding hormones, but I've been so sad and feeling extraordinarily sentimental lately. Maybe because Addie is no longer a helpless little newborn. She's getting stronger! And more socially aware! And she talks! Of course all of these things are what we want because they mean she's growing. But they also mean time is completely out of my control as the sand in the hourglass seems to be dropping much faster than it did with Lyla.

But then I always come back to Lyla's favorite book we gave her on her first birthday. {So favorite that we've had to tape it back together again several times}. If I Could Keep You Little. You've read this, no? Never mind the fact that I hold back the tears every.single.time. we read it, which is a lot, but it's such a good reminder to me. I often wish I could keep my babies little, but even more, I want them to grow and thrive and get older to experience life!

So. Adaline is three months old. And we're going to focus on all the exciting growth that's occurred.

Babies' first years are absolutely miraculous, I tell you.
  • I wish I knew how much Miss Addie-Mae weighed or how tall she is. The last check up we had was when she was 6 weeks old, and we don't have another until 4 months. Something tells me that appointment is going to be a shocker. 
  • This kid watches and observes everything. I swear I can see the wheels turning as she holds stare-downs with the pups, or as she carefully watches her big sister. She stared and smiled at her baby-buddy Carson for a solid 20 minutes this past weekend. 
  • I think the baby of the family may be the social one. Too early to tell? Wishful thinking? We still witness the saddest little bottom pout if we leave her alone in a room. I mean saddest. She lights up when she's around a big group of people, something Lyla-Bell never quite enjoyed.
  • We started music class again! Not only is Lyla thriving, but Adaline just loves it! She listens, watches all the big kids, kicks her legs with each song, and SMILES the entire class. 
  • Everyday she gets stronger. She may grunt and groan the whole way through and dislike it just like big sis, but she works hard during tummy time. Which, if I'm honest, tummy time is totally a check on the old to-do list. Mostly because she screams like a banshee the moment we put her down. My kids hate being on their bellies. 
  • Poor baby has cradle cap, which makes her look like a lizard, and she's got a glamorous bald spot on the back of her head where she sleeps. Quick. Where's the baby beauty pageant sign up? ;)
  • Baby girl is a TALKER. She just chats with everyone she meets. Lyla loves it too and gets so excited, runs into the room where I am and squeals "She's talking to me, Mama!" We've even gotten a few small giggles out of her. And by we, I mean Lyla. Because big sis is the funniest. 
  • That smile. This one smiles so big, all day long. Sometimes I worry it's going to extend out past her face. And unlike big sis was, she's generous with her smiles and gives them out to everyone she sees. *Lyla saved those big ones for family.*
  • Her favorite position is still the fetal. Just on the crook between my neck and shoulder. Oh that smell and warm skin when she's that close to my face. {Quick. I'm getting baby fever over here}.
  • She completely fills out 3-6 month clothes. And everyone who sees her says "She's so BIG" - first thing out of their mouths. Wrench my heart why don't ya?
  • When I go into her room in the morning, you'd think I was Santa Claus. The excitement is so palpable. She looks like she might explode with happiness. She sure lights up when Daddy shows her some attention too. 
These girls. They sure know how to wrap their dad around their fingers so tightly, he'll never be free. 

What joy the past 3 months have brought. We love you, sweet baby Bug!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

12 Weeks: Only the Beginning

Twelve weeks is such a pivotal baby landmark in my mind.

Lyla turning 12 weeks old stands out vividly, as it brings up a heap of emotions. It was that moment when I walked into her room and suddenly realized I no longer had a newborn. She had graduated from newbie to baby overnight.

The fourth trimester, as difficult as it was, was over in an instant.

That, and my maternity leave of course.

Oh to go back and read my thoughts from my last day of maternity leave two years ago. What a painful moment in time.

And now I'm experiencing some of those same emotions with Adaline. How is it that we brought our sweet baby girl into the world 12 weeks ago already?

Time is cruel and has a heart of ice.

However. This time around, I'm no longer looking at it as saying goodbye to my most-favorite-of-all-time newborn phase. Instead, I'm excited to be welcoming the next phase. The babbling, the endless smiles, and the eagerness to soak in the world. Oh the joy that comes with entering each phase!

The past twelve weeks have been some of the most high-quality, beautiful, and heart-expanding of my life.

And like that precious time with Lyla, my sweet "maternity leave" with Adaline is now complete. It is time to move onto the next phase. And I am ready. I welcome it with open arms, lots of excitement-nerves, and plenty of coffee to compensate for the late nights. {and now an annoying cold, that I somehow managed to avoid until this point}.

But I am abundantly thankful. Because this time, as I say goodbye to maternity leave, I do not have to say goodbye to my babies. I get to be home with them. And live up and savor these years that pass too quickly.

So dear friends, here I am... entering the realm of entrepreneurship. That's right, I'm a mamapreneur.

I am fast and furiously working away to prepare for the launch of a new resource for our community: Wichita Moms Blog!

I am incredibly excited to be part of a larger network and bring this resource to Wichita. I'm currently in the process of taking in all the information I can, while figuring out behind-the-scenes technology stuff {where I am horribly illiterate}, while networking, while building my site, while searching for other mamas to contribute as writers for the blog. 

It's a smidgen overwhelming, but also THRILLING.

I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me, and my hope is that I'm still able to find time to hang out in this little corner of the internet to document life and post plenty of pictures of my babes. For me. For my girls. 

- - - - - -

So, Miss Adaline Mae. Happy twelve weeks, my darling. Although I'm a bit sad this chapter of ours is coming to an end, there are no tears this time. Because I still get to pursue dreams and show you what it's like to work hard for those dreams, all with you swaddled right next to me. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Most of the time, blogging is my heart.

Usually it's a much needed, stress-releasing form of therapy and a really important memory-capturing creative outlet.

But sometimes I get in a rut, sometimes I put pressure on myself to blog even when I really don't feel like it, and sometimes I feel inadequate.

I've talked about it often. But blogging, and social media in general, can create this horribly false sense of who someone really is. Worse yet, it paints this picture that someone has the perfect life. With perfect children. Who dress in perfect outfits. Who live in a perfectly styled home.

Oh my goodness, it drives me CRAZY.

Of course like most normal people do, it's so easy for me to get caught up in this desire and portrayal of perfection. It can leave me wanting and wishing for more. But all it takes is a quick glance around to realize that my life has everything I could possibly ever want or need.

Besides, I find perfect quite boring really. {Ironic coming from the queen of perfectionism - a quality that is simply a defense mechanism I use as a crutch when feeling insecure, I suppose.} But I tend to seek out and connect with others who embrace imperfection. Not because it makes me feel better about myself. But because we put others at ease when we share who we really are. And I like that. I strive for that.

While being conscious of my family's privacy, I try really, really hard to portray reality here on my blog. In fact, anyone who knows me will tell you that it's near impossible for me to hide what I'm feeling. I'm the poster child for wearing my heart on my sleeve. And I thoroughly enjoy tracking, writing, and sharing what I am truly going through in every season of life.

It's just that this particular season, specifically after leaving teaching, starting a new job, and then deciding on permanent maternity leave after having baby#2, has been a really fabulous one. So my blog posts for the last year and a half have really been about how lovely life is. How much I'm obsessed with my babies. How I'm sickeningly happy.

But I must say, although many of my recent posts have only focused on the blissful, I too have experienced quite the opposite. I've gone through my share of darker seasons. I can think of periods when I would wake up, praying for that particular season of life to be over. More recently, I look back at the time I returned to work after having Lyla, and I don't even recognize that person. For quite a many reasons, that was a very trying year. But it is only through these difficult seasons where we are shaped, become stronger, and walk out on the other side with a lot more confidence.

Because, after all, without darkness, there would be no light.

{And suddenly this post got a whole lot deeper than I ever intended it to be. Refer back to earlier paragraph re: my inability to hide emotions}.

I only bring all of this up to explain that my most upbeat and restful season has been desperately needed as it followed a much darker one. I have done a lot of reflecting, catching up, spending quality time with those who really matter, and detoxing things that created stress in my life. I have learned to say no. I have stopped over scheduling and focused more on my family. I have infused peace and simplicity into our home. I have thought about my role as a mom and what that means for my girls. I have realized that maintaining my personal identity is equally as important.

Then, we had Adaline. And while bringing home a new baby presents its own set of challenges, it also helps us to remember to slow down and breathe in the everyday. That it's okay to pick up takeout and leave the vacuuming of the dog hair for another day. And it's okay to stay in the same sweatpants two days in a row because you are too busy building a lego tower with your two year old in between nursing sessions with your newborn. That it's okay to hibernate and do not much of anything else but snuggle under blankets. {There are some definite advantages to having a baby in the winter}. And most importantly, it's okay to not focus on accomplishing but to focus on being. Being with these little people who will no longer be little much sooner than I'd like.

And that's exactly what I've done these blessed 10 weeks.

But, my friends, the seasons are about to change yet again.

The newborn haze has begun to lift, and it's time to hop back in the saddle. Admittedly a teensy bit nervous, I'm ready to begin a new venture and enter a season of a little bit more...productivity. One that will boost my need to create and build connections with others, while still focusing on what matters most. One that will require being strategic and intentional with my time. One that will motivate me to get out of my yoga pants and out of the house. I'm ready and very excited to get started on my next project. {I'll share specifics soon soon!!}

I truly feel that I've taken the time I needed to start with a fresh slate. I have a positive outlook, have had much needed quality time with my girls, and am ready to bring on some new challenges. Because in all reality, we only grow when we step out of our safety zone and face challenges head on. There will be plenty of hectic moments I'm sure, but my hope is to always return back to this exact moment where things are clearer than they've ever been.

That family is my number one.

More info on this exciting life change to come soon...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Little Christmas

Phew. The holidays always leave me feeling a bit like I just ran a marathon. Or gave birth. Or both.


It could be the fact that we go from one family event to the next for four days straight. Or it could be that we typically have company stay with us for a few days. Or that we have friends in town from all over the world whom we make every effort to spend quality time with. Or that we throw an annual Christmas party, inviting just about everyone we've ever gone to school with and beyond.

Even though all of the hustle and bustle still took place {minus the Christmas party - we settled for a very casual Wine Wednesday with a close group of friends since many would not be in town this year}, there wasn't a bit of frazzle in me this holiday season.

It only took 8 years of "Adult Christmases" {counting since I've gotten married} to finally get the hang of this whole holiday thing. where I finally have the right mindset and have learned to not sweat the small stuff. prep Christmas brunch the day before, instead of the morning of. be in search of great sales for gifts year-round, rather than wait until Black Friday when everything from my "saved carts" gets emptied. Only to begin back at square one in figuring out what to gift people. realistically accept the fact that we won't get to everything on our holiday bucket list. be okay with a dollar limit and find more creative ways to give. appreciate the fact that Gabe and I tend to give the gift of experiences over material things to one another. eliminate stress {as much as possible} and to embrace the sentiment of the holidays. stop creating memories, and let the memories create themselves.

That's right. Memories create themselves. Who knew?

I just can't help it. I'm a sucker for sentiment. I love all things that generate something special to look back on. And I especially like to capture those memories so I can go back and remember, relive even.

But I think I can, at times, get obsessed with sentiment. And quite possibly even try to create it. And when you try to create what's pictured in your mind as perfect memories with children, it more often then not backfires. Because children, if you haven't heard, are unpredictable. Especially during the overstimulating blur of the holidays.

So, I guess after a lot of practice and self-motivating talks, I've simply learned to plan ahead for the details that can cause stress if left until the last minute. And I've also learned to let memory-making details unfold naturally.

I've also tried my best to avoid stress and embrace simple. Not that we didn't do gifts or introduce Santa or decide last-minute the week before to sand/paint/and put together a new play room for the kids. Ha! I guess embracing simple, for me, was more of a mental shift. To focus on what really matters.

And let me tell you. It may have been simpler than years past, but this was the best Christmas I can remember. {Next to the Christmas where I woke up to find Malibu Ken, a set of Pound Puppies, and a pair of "high heels" under the tree, of course}.

This year sort of felt like a first. Maybe because it was Adaline's first Christmas. But also because Lyla was just so excited and really got into the holiday spirit. She couldn't wait to wake up Christmas morning to see if Santa did in fact put "lunch" under the Christmas tree like she asked.

We hear it over and over again, but it's just so true. Experiencing the holidays through your child's eyes is even better than when you were a child yourself.

And this year was so wonderfully special.

Even though Gabe and I didn't account for the fact that Lyla and Adaline's kitchen would take 4 hours to put together. Or that Miss A blew out her sister-coordinating Christmas jammies first thing when she woke up Christmas morning...and I didn't get a single picture of her in them. Or that Lyla wanted to open every single present's plastic packaging instead of opening the remaining presents under the tree. Or that we forgot to buy coffee for Christmas brunch, and so we had to use my stocking-stuffer.

It was still perfect.

The holiday started with Lyla and I baking and decorating Christmas cookies to take to our neighbors on Christmas Eve Eve. This recipe was extra special too - one of my sorority sister's lost her mom years ago, and to honor her, my friend sent out her mom's famous sugar cookie recipe. They were delicious, and I kept thinking how special it was to be part of the fun memories that were created year after year with this recipe. I can't wait to bake them again next year! #cookiesforpaula

While the girls napped on Christmas Eve, I prepped for the Christmas brunch we host each year. I was super bummed because we had to skip Christmas Eve service this year as Gabe had to work. Bah Humbug. But I still dressed the girls up before we headed to GiGi and Bots' house for our traditional chow-down on shrimp, cheese, mushroom soup, and fudge.

 Lyla is going through a new {hopefully} phase where she is nervous around the camera

GiGi and Bots sure know how to make a Christmas Eve spread. If only I had a picture of it. Luckily, I did get a picture of Lyla trying ginger beer for the first time. She felt sooo big because we were all drinking Moscow Mules and she got to drink ginger beer out of a fancy Fostoria glass. She has been saying "more ginger beer" ever since.

After rushing home to tuck in the kiddos, we got started on Operation Kitchen Project. It was 9:30, mind you. Four hours later, and thanks to the best husband and daddy of all time, we had a play kitchen! The girls slept until 8:30 Christmas morning, which was the best gift of all because I still had some dish-prepping to do. And even though it totally takes away from the romanticism of Lyla waking up and running out of bed to see what Santa put under the tree, we went in to get her {because she doesn't get out of her bed} and fed her pre-brunch breakfast first. I mean, she's two and wanted "lunch" for Christmas. Girlfriend has to eat. So after breakfast, we dug into the stockings and presents under the tree.

Wearing Mama's old holiday dress

And then the BIG REVEAL. Santa's Elves decided to finally complete the last room in our house. It only took 4 years. The trim and walls were painted and shelves were stocked with current toys to make a play room. {One that is not yet complete. Like, it has exposed outlets. But that's neither here nor there. Because I'm avoiding stress...remember?} And of course the four hour kitchen was revealed as well.

Then we topped off the rest of our four-day-Christmas-extravaganza with more family, food, and merriment.

And that is what I like to call a merry little Christmas.

**Oh. And I just want to give a special shout-out to my saint of a mother-in-law. Who spent her entire day-after-Christmas rummaging through bags upon bags of garbage to find an ornament we misplaced. Only to find it in the very last place she looked: the garbage bin at the curb ready to be picked up in the morning.

That, my friends, is what we call the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Post for the Littlest: 2 Months

My poor second child.

Every blog post I've written and many of the pictures I've taken since she's been born also includes her big sis.

{Word on the street is that's just the way the cookie crumbles.}

Your first gets everything: the attention, the royal treatment, obscene amounts of new clothes, and really worried parents who spend a large percentage of their days googling things like "does baby tylenol cause autism?".

The second time around, the kiddo is lucky to get a new outfit and at least one good solo picture...without big sibling highjacking.

Go ahead take a gander back at this ol' blog's archives for example: "Lyla firsts", "Lyla monthly updates", "Lyla weekly updates"{seriously?}.

It's just embarrassing.

When I got pregnant again, I wasn't naive. I knew I wouldn't have the time or energy for the upkeep of monthly, let alone weekly posts of my poor second babe. I couldn't even keep up before she got here! But before you go and feel too bad for my sweet Adaline, I am taking pictures of her {and just her} daily, tracking her firsts and stats using this photo journal app, and spending quite a bit more time cuddling with her than I did with Lyla. She's not lacking in the quality of life department.


But I do feel bad she isn't getting posts just about her. After all, that's one of the main reasons I blog. So my kiddos have something special to go back and read one day. So, I'm going to start {or at least try my very best} to write posts that highlight the goings on with my little bug. I'm not going to commit to monthly updates - because that creates a lot of unnecessary pressure that I'm so over. But I am making an effort to track special memories with Adaline. {Many of which, include her big sis. Again. That's the way the cookie crumbles.}

Here are some notable things that have happened this month...

... As of December 5th, girlfriend was 11.7 pounds, 24 inches {in the 99% for height!}. And that was 3 weeks ago - I can only imagine how much she's grown since then. Because seriously, she grows like a weed. A really cute weed, but still. But all of this growing so quickly has caught me off guard. She's already outgrown 0-3 month clothes and wearing things that Lyla wore at 4 or 5 months old. My mother-in-law told me Gabe was her biggest {and tallest} baby. She advised me to really hold onto this baby phase because Gabe seemed to grow up much quicker than the rest of her kiddos. Adaline is already doing the same. {you can find me in a puddle of tears in the corner}

... The only redeeming thing about the fact that my last baby grows at some genetically modified sci-fi speed, is that she is a cuddler. Thank you Jesus that my last baby likes to snuggle. I really needed that.

... She started making those adorable baby gurgles and coos this month. Sometimes, she lets out a funny little high-pitched "aahh" squeal. Lyla thinks it's hilarious and does her best to imitate it.

... This kid is the most laid back, happy-go-lucky little creature I've ever known. I mean, I really didn't know babies like this existed. It could be the fact that Lyla was the exact opposite, but the juxtaposition of the two is complete black and white. Oh. And she's been a naturally good sleeper from the first night we brought her home.

I'm sorry, come again?

... Awake time is so much fun now. I seriously love when babies start staying awake longer. Especially when that baby isn't screaming for hours at a time. She just looks at things so wide-eyed, shows interest in toys and the dogs, and is obsessed with watching her big sister. It's the most magnificent thing I've ever seen. She immediately stops crying or gets intently quiet when Lyla walks into the room. Adaline just watches everything she does and smiles. {insert heart burst}

... Speaking of smiles, I can't get over how social this kid is. She's just so happy and smiles all the time. Except for when she suddenly realizes that everyone else in the family is in another room...without her. Then the saddest little cries and lip puckers come out. But all we have to do is move her to where we are, and poof. Insta-happy.

... I'm breaking all kinds of rules this time around, and it feels rebelliously wonderful. And it seriously makes me want to go back and shake my first-time-around-new-mom-self. I mean yes, I had a difficult baby then. But was it really necessary to set alarms for feedings and always put my child down "when sleepy but not asleep"? I mean yes, we are in a routine with Adaline, but we are by no means following a rigid schedule. And I hold her all the livelong day. And I nurse her to sleep at night. And what do you know? She's still a happy, healthy baby.

... Miss A does have a little bit of tummy issues just like big sis did. They're not nearly as severe. Either that, or she just doesn't complain like poor Lyla did. But this kid can spit up. And by spit up I mean spew chunks. We still go through about 10 burp cloths a day. And she gets pretty sad when she's gassy. Just like most babies. But with all of those darn tummy bubbles, she's still smiling through it all.

... Two month shots really sucked. I had forgotten how awful they are. First of all, we went in for a 6 week weight-check, and as I was getting her dressed to leave, I was told she was getting shots. I didn't even have time to process. She did fine at the appointment, just a few tears. But then, she woke up a few hours later crying really hard. In fact, this was the first time we'd really heard her cry. Girlfriend rarely cries, but when she does, she sticks out her bottom lip into a pout and streams real tears. She's had those since the day she was born. The nurses all said she'd break our hearts with those tears. They were right.

... I love watching and hearing her paci. It's so cute how it bounces up and down and sucks in and out. And then when she stops sucking so she can listen when I talk to her? I die.

... We decided to have Adaline in our room when we brought her home instead of sleeping in the crib right away like we did with Lyla. Mostly because I was sleep-deprived and it was easier. But, if I'm honest, it's also because I felt this desperate need to be close to her. But. We did put her in her crib at around 5 weeks. I just felt like trying it one night to see how she'd do. She slept beautifully. Although sometimes I miss having her really close while she sleeps. So, I just make up for it during the day. :)

... She's tracking things this month. Her eyes shift and follow things, and she can turn her head to watch. Especially faces.

... Oh how I love when she kicks those legs. It's sort of like a dog wagging its tail. It's her way of telling us she's so happy she can barely contain herself.

... She started taking a bottle this month. I try to pump every now and then just so we have some milk for bottles. But, oh my word, but it's so much easier to nurse. However, the last thing I want is to not be able to go anywhere for the next 6 months+ because my baby's gotta eat. So practice with the bottle will continue.

... My previous Lyla-mom self hates what I'm about to say. But this kid is sleeping through the night. And when she doesn't, she only wakes once. Which, really, she's been doing since she was a few weeks old. Again, I had no idea babies like this existed. But I like it.

... You know the infamous scene in the How the Grinch Stole Christmas? The one where his heart triples in size. I walk around feeling self conscious of my heart for fear it's going to start busting through my clothes. Just so in love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tis the season to be simple

Sometimes I surprise myself. Particularly with my reactions to things.

Or under-reaction, rather.

Like when things don't go as planned, and I don't hyperventilate. It surprises me. Or when I don't beat myself up for not hand-making a dozen sentimental Christmas presents for members of our family. It surprises me. Or especially when I don't have the time, energy, or creativity to construe festive holiday crafts or baked goods. It really surprises me.

I've lately caught myself asking {out loud} "Who are you?"

I just don't get rattled these days.

Being a mom to two littles has taught me many things. Most importantly, I've learned to be flexible. To appreciate imperfect. To say no. To seek out simple. To stick to my strengths. To let things go. All things, mind you, that go against the very nature of who I am at my core.

During one of our typical Saturday morning coffee talks, I was explaining these feelings to Gabe. How I, ironically, feel like a more relaxed person since we've had kids. {And since I began my journey of seeking balance, being okay with boring, finding myself, and purging anxiety-inducing thoughts, activities, and jobs from my life.} I no longer try to do it all or be it all. And most importantly, I try really hard not to want it all.

And goodness, it feels so great.

I can remember a time when I was striving to be the best at everything. Even things that I am not good at. Like the time I tried to take up sewing. Or the time I tried to become an expert graphic designer. Or the time I vowed to make dinner from scratch every night. HA. To all of it. Just, HA.

Pinterest and Instagram just make things look so easy. But social media, as brilliant and helpful as it can be, can also spread lies by telling only half-truths; just a sliver of someone's story. And it often used to make me feel like a subpar mom/teacher/person.

But these days, I stick to what I know, the things I am naturally good at. Which is not being the Martha Stewart, the creative-genius photographer, or the sous chef. Yes, I may be a stay-at-home-mom, but I'm certainly no homemaker. No really. I don't have a domestic bone in my body.

And I can actually say that without one bit of shame.

Because all it really comes down to for me is just one simple thing. I want to be the very best mom to my girls. A mom who is wholly and completely present in every sense of the word. And you don't have to be domestic {or perfect} to be a good mom. You just have to love your kids. A lot.

But for me to get to this conclusion meant going through the painful process of letting go.

And let me tell you. Letting go of perfect can be quite excruciating.

Yet oh-so exhilarating!!!

The real test of my "process of letting go" has always been the holidays. Because the holidays especially bring out the need to be perfect by creating-baking-and-memory-making. Nevermind the frenzied bombardment of perfectly-crafted Pinterest Advent calendars or the ever-present reminder of how Grinch-like I am because we don't partake in elf-on-the-shelf.

But I just don't have the time or energy with a new baby this year to even care.

And care, I do not.

But I promise I haven't been a complete Scrooge. We've been creating plenty of fun memories and carrying out some of our favorite traditions.  It's just that simple seems to be the theme this year.

And, what do you know? My girls are still thriving.

Imagine that. Thriving on simplicity!

The fact that I haven't broken out into hives because this is Lyla's third Christmas, and she has yet to get a photo with Santa? That right there folks is a surefire sign of letting go.

This past weekend was one of the best we've had since Adaline's been born. Because we spent the majority of time at home together as a family, and there was no pressure. Pressure that I typically put on our family to squeeze all the typical holiday activities in before December 25th.

Admittedly, my easy breezy attitude was probably kick-started by our first night out sans baby with Gabe's company Christmas party. The evening was filled with live music, unlimited wine, a photo booth, and two party animals never wanting to leave the dance floor.

Oh, wine how I've missed you.

But like I mentioned earlier, I've learned many things since becoming a parent. I forgot, however, to mention the biggest lesson of all: We are old. Mostly too old to stay out past 10. And definitely too old to drink more than 1 glass of wine. I'm pretty sure I stayed on the couch drinking coffee until 2 pm the day after mom and dad's big night out.

Lucky for us, we had nothing on the agenda the next evening. So we decided to uphold the one tradition that I will never, ever rid of. We had our annual watch Christmas movies- drink hot cocoa-sleep by the Christmas tree extravaganza. Although this year, we made a couple minor changes. We added a pizza picnic {because we didn't have the energy to get dressed to go out to dinner.} And we didn't actually sleep by the tree per se. {See the aforementioned lesson of "We are old". And with old comes the deep desire burning from within to get a good night's sleep.}

But oh-my-word did we have a good time. We started this tradition the very first year Gabe and I were married, when we lived in a 700 sq. foot apartment in Dallas. But this year was extra special, for two very obvious reasons. But it's the two year old who makes this whole process of traditions so much fun. Because she understands how special they are: Eating in the living room, consuming sugar that isn't usually kept in our house, and staying up way past bedtime watching movies.

Of course the perfectionist part of me wishes the photos I did catch were much better quality. But then I remember what's important. And I'm able to look past the grainy iPhone quality and terrible lighting to see the magical memories we created.

And I'm not sure who felt more spoiled: the girls or the pups!

Someone was pretty excited about the idea of a pizza picnic. 

Movie and hot cocoa time!

Then we rounded out our already perfectly-simple weekend with the annual Christmas Cantata at church. Complete with mother-daughter matching{ish} outfits. Which, by the way, was an accident. I know I don't have the best track record for accidentally matching. But I'm predictable. And it happens.

Perhaps the biggest testament to a new, anti-stress me? I didn't google how to photoshop out the Stanley canteen mug out of the background of this photo. :)