Jan 30, 2014


Last week #3 turned 17!
I can't believe just how quickly the years are going by.

We didn't do anything crazy special for it. 
I think January is a hard time to have a birthday. 
With Christmas taking the wind out of everyone's sails,
it being cold and dark so early, 
it seems that Barrett's birthday usually sneaks up on us.
She also was really loaded down with homework last week.

We were really happy that #2 was able to come home for four days from DC last week!
That was a great birthday present!

Barrett wanted to go to a local family owned Italian restaurant that we have been going to for years.
I think the first time we went, Barrett was in a carrier and sat on the table.

But first she opened her gifts.

(Bubbles was excited to see the boxes)

So what does this 17 year old get for her birthday?  
She got a purse (Kate Spade) that she saw and picked out before Christmas,
an Elsa blouse with elephants on it,
(she loves anything with with elephants)
a pair of shoes,
a monogrammed chevron patterned apron that I found on Etsy,
Ina Garten cookbooks,
a KJP bracelet, 
the Naked Three palette  
a new set of makeup brushes
some other doodads like jewelry, cookie cutters, replacement brushes for her Clarisonic
and so on…

I made her birthday cake.
I  picked the Sweet and Salty cake out of the Baked cookbook.

This cake was unbelievable!
It had three huge dark chocolate layers, salted caramel in-between each layer and then iced with a chocolate caramel ganache.
 Oh my goodness!
 My cake doesn't look like the one the website though.
My layers were so huge and soft the cake wanted to lean and slide around so I ended up putting
 dowels in it.  

Lola loves it when Brooke comes home.
She just kept sitting beside her and looking at her.

Happy Birthday Barrett!  

Jan 13, 2014


Well, now that the entire world has moved on from 
 the holidays, I guess I should post my Christmas pictures.
Hey, I am doing good,
at least it is still January!  

We had a great Christmas here at our house. 
It was different, but it was still a great time. 

Because #2 is a flight attendant, and a new one at that, her holidays were spent working
(or at least being on call). 
She had to be in DC on Christmas Eve and Christmas. 
That meant it was the first time ever that we were not together.
#2 did have Saturday and Sunday before Christmas off and so that was when we celebrated it.  
I thought it was going to be a little sad or not even feel like we had a Christmas,
 but actually it was great. 
Our family had a relaxing (mock) Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together just the five of us. 
Everyone agreed, it was one of our best Christmases because we got to stay home together for two days and stayed in pajamas most of the time!

So, here come the pictures of the entire holiday season….

Art wanted us (his family) to decorate his office building and so we spent an entire day there
one weekend getting it ready for the next Monday morning.  
Lots of hard work!

I love when our house is all dressed up!

Bubbles loves that there are a lot of boxes and containers around…

Barrett was exempt from exams and got a full three weeks break!
Her first day off, we jumped on a plane and headed to DC to see #2. 
(gotta love the airline employee  benefits)

It was a cold and windy day in DC
 but we still loved walking around and looking at all of the Christmas decorations.  

Once we got back home, Barrett worked on the gingerbread house ….

Brittany had a cookie exchange at our house.

The girls did a great job baking cookies, but I loved the North Carolina cookie the most. 
So cute!

A few days later, Barrett had her friends over for a cookie exchange. 

She baked these beautiful cookies….

Lola was right in the middle of it all and  wore her new Christmas bow!

A few days later, Barrett baked home made cinnamon rolls
for Art to take to his office for the company's Christmas breakfast. 

They were a hit!

There was a lot of baking happening in our kitchen!

The weekend before Christmas, Lola kept a look out for Brooke.
We were all so glad that she was coming home. 

We really miss not having her around.

Saturday was our Christmas Eve.
We did everything we normally do on Christmas Eve…had dinner…opened our Christmas pjs….
and watched a Christmas movie.
The girls still all sleep in the same bed on Christmas Eve. 
That tradition started many years ago when they all fit! 

Sunday morning was our Christmas morning.
We opened gifts…

and had our traditional sausage biscuit breakfast. 

Bubbles kept an eye on the shrimp for us!

That night we decided to do something special and went to the Angus Barn
I do not know how to even begin to describe this place to those who are not from this area and aren't familiar with its reputation. 
It was the most wonderful Christmas experience I have ever had.

There was wassail, hot chocolate, apples, banjos, jingle bells, Mrs. Santa Clause, reindeer, little elves skipping around, burning fireplaces, gigantic Christmas trees and even some ugly elves that photo bombed pictures….

Some of the little elves were handing out warm ginger bread men as we left.

On the real Christmas Eve we made homemade pizza…

and my grandma's chocolate pound cake to take to my dad's house on Christmas Day.

Brooke was working/flying…

and sent us this picture of Jamaica.

If you can't be home with your family for Christmas, Jamaica will do!