take us to the beach

We’re the type of family that could live at the beach, literally, on the beach, in the sand all summer. I’d eat, sleep, and lay there on the burning sand soaking in the sun forever if I could.
 
We took a trip last year to Top Sail Beach ~ it was heaven.
 
The beach gives such a relaxing vibe. It’s peaceful. No where to be, nothing to do. It relieves all urgency, all worries, every care in the world is evaporated at the beach.
 
The sounds: the seagulls flying overhead, the breeze whistling through our hair, the ocean crashing onto the shore, the crabs scurrying across the sand, the laughter from children, the casual conversations of families, umbrellas flapping wildly against the wind, and ships floating slowly by with friendly guests.
 
The smells: coconut oils and sprays, sunscreens, fresh laundried towels, salty air, deliciously smelling shampoos as hair blows in the breeze and fresh everything.
 
The feel: crisp burning sun against our skin, soft warm sand sliding between our toes, rough seashells hitting our toes in the ocean, icey cold ocean water splashing against our skin, wind whipping across our faces and through our hair.
 
I hope my children grow to appreciate the peacefulness and calmness of the beach as I have. For there is nothing like making memories every summer with those you love.
I swear in another life, I must have been a mermaid. 
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…Christmas 2011 in a nut shell…

Call me a slacker..but I had to post about our Christmas….
then I’ll get back to the new year!
So, our Christmas in a nut shell…

We baked….LOTS..
we opened a present every weekend throughout December…
Our Elf on the Shelf…made himself quite comfy…
We enjoyed Christmas plays and songs….
We made new friends..
We went to holiday parties…
We went to our first ever Holiday Cookie Exchange Party…
(our favorite cookie was the Lactation Cookie, sounds gross but no they are NOT made with breastmilk, they only help you produce it..but anyone can eat them!)
We ate presents…and sucked on wrapping paper…
We got every Barbie we ever dreamed of…
some of us (eh-em, Reese) didn’t know what all the excitement was…
We played with hundreds of new toys…

We received AMAZING gifts…including a new glue gun!!
Read here for more on that…
some got stuffed into giant gift bags…
We visited family and cherished special moments…

We opened Christmas PJs per our Christmas Eve tradition…
Ofcourse we left cookies and milk for the big guy…
We enjoyed new Christmas morning faces…
We contemplated where to start…
We shared Christmas memories…
We got even more REALLLY cool Christmas gifts…

We spent quality family time…

We (I mean I, suffered through football season)…
and Mike enjoyed every. single. game. on his new flat screen TV, love moi…
We enjoyed sweet moments…
I loved on my angels…
and we never got enough of…stuffing babies in gift bags…
What a happy 2011..
now onto more fun in 2012..

haha, best. Christmas. pictures. ever.

Warning: the pictures below will make you laugh and most of all, miss stone wash jeans.
My mom kept every single Santa picture from my first Christmas until I was 10 and emailed them to me!
This is the best Christmas gift ever…
Although I believed until I was 12…my little sister let the secret out. Unfortunate.
Nonetheless, these pictures bring back sweet memories.
I definetly love Christmas.
I definetly love Santa.
I’m smiling in almost every single one…because Christmas is amazing.
1984…that Santa makes me smile, he seems so cuddly.
1985…I’m guessing Rudolph’s nose was so bright, this Santa needed sunglasses?

1986…purple puffy coats
1987..matching panda sweaters…

1989…I don’t know what’s cuter, my hand on my sister’s leg or the hair cut…just call me “bangs”

1990…you love these jeans right? how about the bangs….again? And where is Santa’s face?

1991…the jeans, the perm, the precious holiday sweaters..everything about this pic says awesome.

1992..I know what you’re thinking…”didn’t they have these same adorable holiday sweaters on last year?” well, yes, yes we did. But this year we have stone wash jeans with a fanny Christmas patch.
And my hair…it’s straight again!

1993…crimped hair. enough said.
jeans that maybe I bejeweled myself?
And is this the same sweater from 1991?

1994…rebelling against the traditional Christmas colors? yes.
but matching the socks with the sweater? always.
Hope your holidays are fun and full of special memories!

Christmas parades and marshmellows..

Holiday festivities make us smile.
And so does…
Horses galloping.
cuddling up to stay warm..
ginormous parade floats/balloons..

post parade food devouring
ok, we attend Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights every, single, year.
Yes, its the same 2.2 million lights every single year.
Yes, its the same long line of cars waiting hours to get through.
But it’s a Christmas Tradition…
My sister and her hubs joined us for a fun filled evening of dinner and lights..

baby, its cold outside.
And my coat makes me look like I’m stashing 4 kids inside it. hmmph. not cool.
now all we needed was snow.
but marshmellows, hot chocolate and apple cider will do..
my family roasted marshmellows…
and for the first time ever in my life…I roasted marshmellows…
I’m not a good “marshmellow roaster”…(these babies have not a hint of golden color)
but Mike is a marshmellow burner…..yowza!
how Christmas-y and fun..
May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,

                                                  The gladness of Christmas give you hope,

                                                  The warmth of Christmas grant you love.                    

Christmas Tree Lighting…

Lil Bit started crawling on 12/17/2011!
Me and the little beauties went to see Disney Princesses on Ice.
It was a huge surprise for Rylee.

It was magical…
It was colorful…
It was pretty…
It was full of fun…
And the “floating lights” were amazing..
And the little girls left smiling…
Then we went to the Christmas Tree Lighting downtown…
I mean hey it’s not Rockefeller Center but it’s lovely..
And we enjoyed it..
 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Traditions…

O’ Christmas Tree!

We went searching for the perfect Christmas tree, as we and I’m sure many of you do each year.
We found a lovely little Tree Farm: Cobb’s Choose & Cut owned by Eric Cobb and his wife, Sandra.

They have every type of tree you can imagine…
White Pine, Scotch Pine, Va. Pine, Leyland Cypress, Blue Ice Cypress, Carolina Sapphire, Non-PricklyRed Cedar and Pre-cut (fresh) Fraser Firs...seriously, I didn’t even know so many variations of Christmas trees existed! But they do, and Eric’s sweet little wife, Sandra told me all about them.
This little Tree Farm also has: wreaths (plain or decorated), garland, bows, and tree stands
They offer all the following services: tree drilling, tree shaking, tree baling, cutting, loading, refreshments (mmm the refreshments!), and a nature trail.
We love Fraser Firs…and every tree was just so beautiful, I wanted to purchase a dozen.
And as always, I was beaming with excitement as I fell in love with each tree.

I had Daddy Mackey and the children stand beside a few trees for height decision…
hmmm, Rylee and I search around the Scotch Pines…
or would we love a blue ice cypress…
.
but in case you didn’t know this, these pine trees do NOT hold ornaments very well….
only Fraser Firs hold those heavy ornaments…and I have a family tradition of making holiday ornaments each year with my little ones, so I need a tree to hold them all…

Mike searches the trees, we’re just so picky…
Rylee checks the tree for diameter, if you will
hmmm….
is she dancing amongst the Christmas trees? Truly, my child.
ah, could it be? could it be, the tree?
The men prepare it for us, fitting it to our tree stand, shaking it out, loading it up on the car…
while we…
take advantage of the holiday treats inside…just look at Mrs. Cobb prepare us some hot chocolate..
And Mike scarf down a hotdog..
and me, sip hot apple cider…
And the barn filled with all sorts of holiday goodies…
Christmas tree shopping = success.
And we got this cheesy little photo too…Christmas card photo, perhaps?

So, now that we have the tree…we must “deck the halls”!
which is just what we did…
a little bit of this…crafted by me!
a little bit of that…
a fully decorated tree and fireplace mantle…
a little decorated village…
Christmas books galore for a family who loves “story time”…
And our Mr. Jingles …

Santa please stop here…we are sooo ready!

…Favorite Holiday Tradition…Elf on the Shelf…

Linking up with
Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge
to bring you my favorite holiday tradition…

My favorite Holiday tradtion that my family has adopted is: ELF ON THE SHELF

Seriously, why wasn’t this around when I was a kid? It’s the most adorable concept I’ve ever seen!
“Have you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice? The Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition is the very special tool that helps Santa knows who to put on the Naughty and Nice list. This interactive holiday hide-and-seek tradition is perfect for children and families of all ages.

The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year.
Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!
Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot! While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.
On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy.”
Our elf, Mr. Jingles,
 
made his appearance this past Monday night…sitting on our Santa’s lap up on the fireplace mantle…look at his sweet little face eagerly waiting to see our little Rylee and Reese…and he left a sweet little note from Santa for Rylee to read.
I love everything about Christmas…especially Mr. Jingles…