Wednesday, October 24, 2018


This is the end of 2017!
We got to ring in yet another year as a family, which I just love!
When Brad worked in Law Enforcement, we never spent New Years together, but since he's been in the Navy, we haven't missed a single one.  I'm hoping there are many more midnight toasts & kisses ahead of us.

This year was, by far, one of the more challenging years for us.
Brad spent 5 months in Pensacola while the girls and I stayed at home in Texas before picking up everything we have known for the past 3 years and moving it to a new state and a new city.  A city that is taking a lot of patience and exploring to find the diamond in the rough.  We will probably never call Florida home, but we will use this time to set goals to return to Texas someday {hopefully sooner rather than later}!

If I'm being honest, I don't have the highest hopes for 2018.  I may have shed a few tears for the closing of 2017.
Brad will finish school this year and start his new career... I have a strong feeling he will deploy for the first time this year.  It will be a big transition for us... we made it through 7 years without a single one {completely unheard of} and I think our lucky streak will be coming to an end this year & will most likely be our trend for the next 4 years.  But, nothing is set in stone with that... we don't even know where we will be stationed when he gets out of school.  Anything can happen in the next few months, so I am going to try not to stress over the "what ifs."

As for the girls, I have high hopes for 2018.
Norah starts CCD at church this year & I'm so excited to see her grow in our faith.  I am setting a goal to get Piper baptized in 2018... it is beyond difficult to accomplish this milestone as a military family when you don't live close to family/Godparents, but I am hopeful that our new church will help us overcome these obstacles.

As for me, I have my everyday goals... they haven't changed with the new year.  They have actually been following me from Texas, but it's a matter of time and more solid answers from the Navy before I can bring them to fruition.  I also want to enjoy each day a little bit more, get my face out of my phone more, and enjoy the little things more.  I just want to be an all around better person, mom, and wife every day & enjoy my babies while they're still babies because I know I will blink and they will be starting their own New Years Eve traditions, but I hope they keep this little tradition of a sushi picnic on the living room floor.  It's Brad's family's {well, we tweaked it from Chinese food to sushi} and it's one of my favorites.



I remember, as a kid, my brother Justin was always the first one to wake up on Christmas morning!  Way before the sun ever came up, he was shaking us out of bed, so excited to see what Santa brought.  Norah reminds me so much of her Uncle Justin on Christmas mornings.  She has always been my great sleeper, often times sleeping past 9 {you know, before the days of school starting}, but on Christmas morning, she's is up before the sun, shaking her sister out of bed while Brad and I are shuffling towards the coffee maker.

Since we have young curious eyes and are living in a single story home this Christmas, we didn't want Santa to be scared away, so we decided to wrap the hallway with wrapping paper to keep little feet away from the tree.  The girls had a blast running through it like a high school football team, ready to charge!

The pickle ornament was hidden inside the tree this year... Bing, our elf, is a really good hider of things... we broke out the flash light and spent a solid minute searching for the pickle.  Norah was the first present opener this year!

As per usual, Santa was really good to us this year.  There were lots of American Girl Doll & Doc McStuffins toys.  Omah and Opah sent sleeping bags and tablets {which were the biggest hit}.
But, my favorite moment, was when the girls opened their really hard to find golden LOL Doll balls!  Norah's reaction was what makes Christmas so magical for me! 💓
And Santa's big gift to the girls this year was park hopper tickets to Disney & when we told Norah that her best friend from Texas would be there to greet her, all of the excitement boiled up!  Those smiles are worth everything!


Christmas Eve is, hands down, one of my favorite days of the year.
It is probably tied {if not slightly exceeds} Christmas Day for me.
I love baking cookies with the girls for Santa, watching Santa fly across the world and seeing where he is delivering gifts to, dance parties in the kitchen with Daddy, getting pretty for Christmas Eve mass, and arriving at home to find that Bing left all of us Christmas PJs.
But, my favorite tradition of all is Brad reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to the girls.  This was one of my mom's favorite books {we only inherited 100 different copies of it}, but this particular book was the same pop-up that Brad's family read each year.  I love watching the girls' little fingers pull the pop up tabs and open the paper windows throughout the book.  Each year they are more and more excited about what surprise is behind each page & every year my heart bursts a little more from the magic of Christmas that I get to witness through their eyes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


We took the girls to Zoo Lights & boy were they excited!
Brad and I haven't been to a Zoo Lights since we went with his family back in Arizona long before we had kids.  And since we were striking out with finding any great Christmas light displays, we figured this was as good of an option as any.

We haven't been to the Jacksonville Zoo, yet, but we knew from our Phoenix experience that the animals would all be tucked away asleep for the evening, but that didn't stop the girls from oohing and ahhhing over all of the activities.
The carousel was the biggest hit!  They could have rode on it 100 times had we let them.
Brad took Norah "ice skating."  The only thing is, it wasn't ice... it was really slipper wood slabs.  It screamed torn tendon & since I already played that game with my ankle a few years back, I figured this was all Brad's department.  Norah LOVED it, but as we watched one person after another slide onto their backsides, Brad knew to stay along the banister.
Anna & Elsa from Frozen paid a visit and the girls couldn't stop hugging them and loving on them {I had to experience all of that from the Hot Cocoa line, so I missed any and all amazing photos, but they were elated}!  The Florida "snow" was a nice touch, too!  Our girls sure are missing snow this winter {not that they had more than 3 days of it in Texas, but the chance of them seeing any here is slim to none}.  
We finished the night off with glow light cotton candy & petting the sting rays.
I would say Zoo Lights was a big hit.