Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Snapshots of 2016

{Sici at 3 years and 2 months}

What a year!  I think we finally caught our breath with this whole parenting thing.  So far, age three has been a blast!  We all have grown and stretched this year - it's crazy to look back and see how far we have come since January.   We are just so thankful for another year to love each other and live each day to the fullest.  Here's our top ten snapshots of 2016!

1. I finished two Project Life albums this year!  I finished our first family album from 2015 and compiled all of Sienna's professional photo sessions into one album.  It makes me so happy to have both of these completed.  My next goal is to finish two more family albums this year, one for 2016 and one for 2017.  

2. We went on four trips last year: one was with Bryant's work and the others were just for fun.  I think we established that we love to get out of town three times a year: spring break, summer vacation and fall break.  Even if its just a day trip or an overnight trip, I love to get away each spring. Last March we took an overnight trip to Oxford and it was the perfect little getaway to welcome spring.  In May, we took an epic 17 day road trip to Sandestin and Walt Disney World.  And after a day and a half at home we threw our clothes back into the suitcases and headed to Knoxville for the week with Bryant's work.  We ended our trips for the year with a super fun fall getaway to Nashville.

3. I started the year off reading through a couple books a month and then slowed down after our summer vacation.  This coincided with the time that Sienna started devouring books so most of what I read now are children's books.  I'm still reading through the Steve Wiggins Bible Challenge with our church.  This is my second year to read one chapter a day from the Bible.  I love the slower pace and am excited that there is still an entire year left to go!

{My faves from 2016}

4.  Along with all those children's books we read, we started Homeschool Preschool!  I realized early in the year that Sienna needed more to keep her occupied, especially since she stopped napping and requires less sleep overall.  I ordered the Deluxe Preschool Package for three year olds from My Father's World and we began in May.  We took the summer off and started officially in August.  She absolutely loves it!  It has been so good for all of us to have some structured activities to fill our day.

{First day of preschool}

5. Sici got a new cousin this year!  This year was all about baby Sam!  We celebrated all year starting with his gender reveal party, three baby showers in the summer, and finally his grand entrance three days before Sici's third birthday!  August babies are the best ;)  We were all present at his baby dedication in the fall, and Christmas was extra special this year with two little ones to spoil.  Sam, we sure do love you! 

{Meeting baby Sam for the first time}

6. Sienna turned three this year!  Looking back at our Snapshots of 2015, I mentioned that she was constantly on the move.  Well this past year I felt like her brain was always on the move!  This little girl loves to learn and it is a joy to watch her grow, develop and challenge herself.  We celebrated her three years with a Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse birthday party.  We were still on a Disney World high so a character themed birthday party was a no-brainer ;)

7. After Sienna's birthday, we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary and both our birthdays.  Wow,  we really sound old.  But I love that we married young and am thankful for each year we have together.  Life is such a precious gift - it should never be taken for granted.  I sure do love this guy and our life together!  

{Daddy's "Grinch" cake}

8. Miles turned 9 this year.  My advice for those thinking of getting a pet: NOT during the little years!  Pets are great before you have kids, and I'm sure just as great during the empty-nester stage.  But oh my word, I don't need anyone else to take care of right now!  (Sorry, Miles, it just is what it is.)

9.  We joined a new Life Group this year at our church, and are really enjoying the people we have met.  For the class Christmas party, we had a progressive dinner at three houses and we hosted the first stop of the night.    

{Appetizer table}

10. Our family's word for 2016 was HARVEST.  My first thoughts on "harvest" were all positive.  Words such as joy, fruit, success, and abundance all came to mind.  But as the year progressed I realized that reaping a harvest takes a lot of work.  HARD work.  You reap what you sow, and sowing is active.  It takes effort.  You must do the hard work today, knowing that the harvest is future tense.  2016 was a year learning to wait patiently for the harvest, trusting that even on the hard pathways He is dropping fatness all around us.   

"You crown the year with a bountiful harvest, even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." 
{Psalm 65:11}

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Walt Disney World Trip 2016

{Railroad Selfie}

While I shared a few tips on how to save money at Disney, I wanted to share more specifics from our 2016 trip like our favorite restaurants and rides at each park.  This was our first trip to Disney as a family of three and our two and a half year old loved it!  We opted for a four day pass versus an entire week, and it was the perfect amount of time for us.  We spent about six hours each day at the parks and stayed off site.  I had wanted to go back one night to see the fireworks show, but it didn't happen on this trip.  This Disney trip was a spur of the moment add-on to our already planned family vacation so I am happy with the way it turned out even with last minute planning.  When our daughter is older we will be able to spend longer days at the parks, but for now I'm glad we were able to introduce her to the magic of Disney without it being overwhelming.  Better to leave wanting a little more!

Day 1 - Magic Kingdom

Lunch: Liberty Tree Tavern

Favorite Rides: Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Highlights: Meeting Cinderella and Rapunzel

{Prince Charming Regal Carousel}

{Cinderella's Castle}

Day 2 - Magic Kingdom

Lunch and Treat: Be Our Guest and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

Favorite Rides: Mad Tea Party, Under the Sea, Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan's Flight

Highlights: Meeting Chip and Dale, Tinkerbell and Daisy Duck

{Plaza Ice Cream Parlor} 

{Meeting Tinkerbell}

Day 3 - Animal Kingdom

Breakfast: Tusker House

Favorite Rides: Kilimanjaro Safari and Tricera Top Spin

Highlights: Breakfast with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy and Wishing Goofy a Happy 84th Birthday!

{Tree of Life} 

{Tracer Top Spin in DinoLand}

Day 4 - Hollywood Studios


Favorite Rides & Shows: Toy Story Mania, Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and Disney Junior - Live on Stage

Highlights: Lunch with Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny and Jake & the Never Land Pirates

{Toy Story Mania} 

{A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration}

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Nashville Fall Getaway


Since we all have the January blues over here, we've already started planning our next vacation.  Yay!!!  But first, I need to share about our super fun fall getaway we went on back in October.  We spent three nights in Nashville, which is the longest we've stayed in the city other than work trips, and we had a blast!  Nashville never disappoints since we visit a few favorites each trip like Cheekwood, and set aside time to explore one or two new places in the city.  And of course, since we have a little girlie girl in the family we made sure to visit the American Girl Bistro in Franklin before heading home.  

{Pumpkin House at Cheekwood Harvest}

{Pumpkin lined walkway}

{Cheekwood in October}

{Sici's favorite exhibit at Cheekwood}

{Lunch in The Pineapple Room 2015 and 2016}

{Picnic Dinner at Arrington Vineyards}

{Sunset in the vineyard}

{Feeding Jip dog food (chocolate sprinkles)}


{Pink ice cream in a flower pot - perfect ending to a perfect trip}

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Happy Halloween from Snow White

{Trick-or-Treat 2016}

Since this was Sienna's first year to go to Disney, I knew she would want to dress up as a Disney princess for Halloween.  I fell in love with the Snow White Deluxe Costume from the Disney Store and surprised Sienna with it.  The day it came in the mail she tried it on immediately and asked if it was Halloween yet.  Luckily, it was a Saturday night so we headed to Zoo Boo for the first time!  It's so fun to watch kids get all dressed up.  And it's even more fun when they have multiple opportunities to wear their costumes.  We had a fun Halloween season as Sienna was able to wear her costume four times during the month.  Snow White made an appearance at Zoo Boo, a Kindermusik Party, Scare on the Square and of course, on Halloween for Trick-or-Treating.  She received so many compliments on her costume, I have a feeling we'll be sticking with the Disney princess theme for a few more years!

{Trying on her costume for the first time}

 
{Zoo Boo}

 {Kindermusik Halloween Party}

 {Scare on the Square}

 {Halloween}

{Trick-or-Treating with The Prince!}

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse Bow-Tique Party


Since we went to Disney World a few months back, I thought it would be fun to have a Disney themed birthday party for Sienna's third birthday.  I gave her the option of having a Disney Princess party (which I was hoping for) or a Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck party.  She enthusiastically chose Minnie and Daisy which I can understand since they are pretty cute (especially to a three year old).  I wanted to keep the party simple this year so we only invited family.  I was surprised that I ended up spending a little more than last year's pineapple party, but that was mainly because we had a barbecue dinner catered for 17 people.  In lieu of a children's activity, I made sure to have plenty of decorations to add to the party's bow-tique theme.  I found bubble fabric on sale at a local fabric store which I used for the dessert table runner since it matched perfectly with the party supplies.  The Minnie Mouse Bow-Tique Paper Lanterns and Treat Bags I picked up last minute added a nice touch to the dinner tables.  The star of the party was undoubtedly the Minnie Mouse Air Walker Balloon that was taller than the birthday girl.  At 54" tall, she provided plenty of entertainment and photo ops for the whole family, and we were able to get our money's worth since she was still alive and well the following week for our daughter's actual birthday.  



 {Chocolate Chip Bow Cookies}


{Flower centerpiece}

 

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