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Monday, December 26, 2011

Only 364 Days Until Christmas!

Warning:  If you have dial-up or a slow internet connection I suggest you take a break, go make yourself a cup of coffee, or build a birdhouse while you wait for this blog to load.  It is FULL of pictures.  Enjoy.

Let's take a pictorial trip through the end of November and the month December shall we.

In an effort to keep a tree decorated for the duration of the Christmas season I put up the (fake) tree mid November.  No ornaments, just the lights.  I thought perhaps if it stood in the corner long enough unadorned by the time the actual "decorating" of the tree took place Lily would have lost interest and left the ornaments and lights alone. Yah, no, didn't work. Well, ya know, "best laid plans" and all that.

We went to Picture Innovations in Virginia Beach for our family Christmas photos.  It was a terrible experience.  I don't know about other franchise locations, but I suggest families steer clear of this establishment.  They ran sooooooo late, and the photographer was soooooooo impatient.  There wasn't a single smiling picture of Lily in our entire shoot b/c the guy clearly had A. never worked with children and B. had never encountered a tired toddler.  When I made the appointment I scheduled it so that it was smack dab in between nap time and dinner time.  However, we had to wait over an hour for our session, and the place was so crazy overbooked that rescheduling was not an option.  So.  Here's what we got. 

Not bad, but who doesn't want a happy baby Christmas photo?

We tried our darndest to get her chipper for the photos, but this is what we were dealing with.

One tired baby.


We tried again at a different store.  The experience was much better.  We got some fabulous pictures.  Even some smiling ones.  I couldn't have been happier.  I guess you truly do get what you pay for.  Here's a happy Christmas baby.

Now that we have Miss Lily one of  my joys is dressing her up for the holiday.  Until she complains, *fingers crossed* it's not until she's 30, I'll continue to dress her up in gingerbread men and candy canes. 

Playing before church.
The joy of Sunday mornings is having Cayce around to corral Lily and take care of her so I can spend quality time actually primping.  Of course if she happens to make her way upstairs to our bathroom then all bets are off and it then becomes quality mother/daughter dress up time.  She loves helping mommy get dressed for church.

She has a skill with those Velcro rollers.

Cayce was very busy with Navy stuff this month.  He was gone for about 3 weeks.  While he was gone my mom came to visit.  Here's Lily on our way to pick her up from the airport.

I look so cool.....
One of the pluses to having Oma (mom) visit is free babysitting!  Cayce's ship had a Christmas party.  The event went until 11:00 PM, and while they had free childcare for the party the thought of making Lily stay up that late with complete strangers was not appealing.  So mom gladly watched Lily, and we enjoyed a carefree evening.

 After the party weekend Cayce's ship headed back out, and Lily, mom, and I headed to OK for a couple weeks.  Lily spent the frigid days running out the doggie door to commune with her goat friends.  I wished I had gotten a picture of this, but alas I was too busy chasing after her with her shoes, coat, hat, and gloves so she could be dressed appropriately to chat with her goat friends.  Directly behind the house Al has made a small manger pen for two pregnant goats.  I'm pretty sure Lily and the mamas spent their afternoons conspiring on how to get Lily through the fence and cuddled up with them in the hay.  Anytime they saw Lily heading for the fence they met her and just "talked."  Girl loves goats. 

After our time in OK we headed up I-35 to Kansas and spent some time with Marty, Don, and Randy.  There Lily got to enjoy her first 4 wheeler ride.

She insisted on steering.
After opening gifts, one awesome kiddie janitor cart and a singing broom (Catch a theme? Lily likes to clean) we continued up I-35 and finally got to be back with Cayce.  His ship was in port, and he took his Christmas leave.  He flew in from Norfolk to Kansas City.  There we spent a few days with family.  We enjoyed Christmas at Aunt Kay's home.  Lily was showered with a ridiculous amount of gifts. 

 Lily's favorite gift: a package of big girl underwear.  I kid you not.  She opened them and would not let them go.  Pretty sure she would have slept with the package if we had let her.


 Here she is feeding her baby doll.

Clearly she's ready to be a big sister.


Cayce's Grandma Mautino came to the Eads' family Christmas.  She brought dolls a plenty for Lily.  Including Lily's Holiday Barbie, which is perfect, b/c I guess as an *almost* 30 y/o I'm too old to be getting the Holiday Barbie for Christmas anymore. :-P But that's okay I have every one from the mid 90's up until 2009.  Lily's Great-grandma gave her the 2010 last year and also this year's.  So as long as Lily gets them each year it's *like* I'm getting them right? She was also given Belle, the Disney Barbie (which much to my chagrin she was allowed to take out of the package and play with), and 5 or 6 Hallmark Barbie ornaments.  Can I tell you how excited I am about these??  So excited that I went out and bought the small purple Christmas tree at Walmart so starting next year Lily can have her own Barbie Christmas tree.  Squeeeee!  So excited!  This is why little girls are fun...just when people tell you you're too old for girlhood joys you have someone to keep those traditions going! (No, I will not be putting her in pageants and living vicariously through her...just so you don't have to worry about seeing me on TLC one day.)

Great-grandma Carolyn, Cayce, an Elf, and me.

Back at Pamaw's (Cayce's mom) Lily enjoyed the Lily's sized recliner she received for Christmas.  She also got this kickass Princess castle tent.  I have a feeling it will be her hiding place of choice.

Just chilling with a peanut butter sandwich.

Hugs from Pamaw.

Pamaw, Princess, and Grampa Dave.

 After enjoying our time in KC we had to head back south to pick up the dogs from mom's and head out for VA.  During our short stay we stopped at the park in Cleveland, Billy Vessel's.  Lily had a blasty-blast!


So much more fun with Daddy!

"Agh la la agh agh agh la la!"

We seeeee you, Daddy.

They should charge admission for that thing!  It's one serious slide! Clearly.


We made the 23 hour drive from OK to VA in 2 days.  It was uneventful and loooooooooooong.  You have never met three people and two dogs more happy to be home.  We were able to enjoy Christmas in our home together.

The tree has so far survived the Lily's sized terrorist, but the ornaments have all migrated north out of her reach.

Rockin' the Dora nightgown ready to tear into some gifts.

 Lily received her first Cabbage Patch Doll and a Barbie car from Cayce and me.  She also got some sweet "light-up" Sketcher tennis shoes.  There is no walking softly in this house anymore.  She must stomp to ensure the shoes light with each step. 

Paying with Belle in her convertible, complete with "vroom vroom" sounds.

Meet Apple.  (that's her name)

Kisses for Apple. I can feel the anxiety in my stomach just looking at that mess.
 Lily's big gift this year was a collaboration gift from Cayce's dad, my mom, and us.  We made the jump to a big girl bed.  A super, princess sized, big girl bed.  Lily LOVES it.  We actually found it accidentally because we were at the furniture store looking for a new couch and just so happened to venture into the bed section.  Lily bee-lined it for this beauty.  She climbed in and laid right down.  We felt if she was that attracted to the bed perhaps making the switch would be easier.  The switch has been phenomenally awesome.  *knocks on wood* Nap time is even going smoothly. The only thing we are holding off on are the bedrails to raise it up off the floor.  We'll let her get a little bigger and then lift it up, but right now it's easy for her to get in and out.  The rails for the "carriage top" act as a crib like feature so they keep her protected from falling.  The bed will grow with her.  Once she inevitably, sad face, thinks she's too cool for Cinderella's carriage bed the top can come off and it will just be bottom scrolls. We had to rearrange her room and do some redecorating to accommodate the behemoth (changes not in the photo), but the room actually looks better now, and the shocking pink color isn't so "shocking" anymore.  It's as if the room was made for it. 


Cayce and I also had a good Christmas.  The best thing was my Nook.  I finally caved and asked for an e-reader.  After being a traditional book hold-out I made the choice to get one.  The big deciding factor for me stemmed from my experience nursing Lily.  I was never ever able to read while nursing.  I could hold a book, but the second I turned the page, oh no, that was it, fuss-central.  I'm a HUGE reader.  I absolutely love to read, and not being able to read while sitting peacefully really sucked. It was with that in mind that made me decide to get my well researched Nook.  So, in other words, I've gotten over my fear of having another baby, and we are officially working on baby #2.  So, once the next blessing comes along I am well prepared for nursing sessions with my Nook.  :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Halloween 2011 (about a month later :-) )

Baby Elephant

As you can see Lily was a super cute elephant for Halloween.  Totally appropriate for our planned Halloween outing. We enjoyed Norfolk's Zoo Boo for our Halloween celebration. Zoo Boo was held the Sunday before Halloween. It was packed with all kinds of super cute kids dressed for the occasion, and  the zoo also had different activities for the children and visitors.  The most notable change for the holiday was the pumpkin eating.  Many of the animals were given pumpkins to play with and eat.  We took our time, and meandered.  Overall it was an enjoyable afternoon. 

Lily's new best friend the orangutan. 

Riding along in the wagon given to her by her aunts, Marty and Randy (she LOVES this thing).

with mommy

Lily, Daddy, and a rhino. 
 Halloween day Cayce and Lily continued their tradition of pumpkin carving Halloween night.  This time instead of taking it to the back porch this task was completed in the comforts of the living room. :-/

Everyone including the dogs was there to help Cayce.

Festive decor

Finished product

We stayed in this year, and had a grand ol' time handing out candy to the children.  This place was BUSY!  I bought 3 bags of candy, and had to run to the drugstore and grab one more b/c the kids were still coming and we were down to 4 pieces.  There was a Chiefs game on so in lieu of dressing up in her elephant costume Lily wore a Chiefs wind suit and fire hat and was the "Chiefs' Fireman" (as opposed to the Jets' fireman). 

With daddy

Lily with her Lily-sized pumpkins, and her Minnie Mouse slippers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Patches? We don't need no stinkin' patches!

Name that movie......

Troop Beverly Hills!!

It's been a busy few months here.  Lots of traveling for everyone.  Cayce's been going in and out with his ship, family trips around the region, and finally one loooooong trip home for Lily and me.  Now we're all home, and going to live a slowed down life for a while... as slow as the holiday season allows that is.

One of the things we've done recently is make a trip to DC to visit friends and meet their super cute new baby, Kyrie.  On the way home from said visit we made a family stop back at the Queen Anne Farm in Mitchellville, MD.  Last year we made this very same trip, and loved the pumpkin patch.  So while we were in the area we thought we would try to capture some of that joy again. 

It was a whole lot different this year.  The torrential rains the east cost experienced this summer drastically cut down on their crop.  They raised their per lb price to help make up for the loss, from .49 cents to .59 cents a lb.  A totally justifiable price hike.  The staff at the farm were just as pleasant and friendly.  The only big complaint was that we apparently showed up a week early because they didn't have their sheep there or the pumpkin houses set up, yet.  :-(  It was still fun, and Lily loved running through the knee high (on her) grass.  Smiling, posed pictures are so hard to get of Lily, as friend also mentioned in her blog.  At this age (17 mos at the time) stopping and standing (anywhere) is just not an option.  Lily being a late bloomer to the walking world apparently has created an intense drive to run and explore everything.  In other words:  enjoy the action pictures. 

We stayed at the same hotel on Andrews Air Force base.



"Lily, don't you want to pose with a sunflower like you did last year?"


Look, standing still, smiling, and with mommy! BONUS!

"Alright, enough of this I'm out of here!"

"Is she still following me??"


"Can I sit on this one?'

"No!" Did I mention she's not a fan of hand holding?

Off again!

"How can I get all these home?"

While Lily and I made our trip home we went with the family to another pumpkin patch.  Growing up we always went to Carmichael's patch in Bixby, OK.  I can still see myself climbing all over the piles of pumpkins hunting for that perfect gourd.  I wanted to take Lily to play and share that tradition with her.  The operation has grown a bit since my childhood.  What was simply a roadside stand with mountains of pumpkins and a few petting zoo animals is now something closely resembling a county fair.  While pumpkins were to be had we focused on the animals!  Lily is the biggest animal lover.  She has no fear of them, and must love and cuddle them all.  We have to be very watchful of her with strange animals, but the joy she gets from interacting with the animals is worth any anxiety on my part.

Llama Llama Red Pajama with her cousin Benny. (my goal is to convince Al to add a llama to the barnyard at home)

"Hey sheep, how can I get in there with you?"

"Ooooh goats.  You're friendlier than the one's at Oma's and Grampa's house."

Hungry. With Great-Aunt Randy taking a picture from the other view.

Benny'll help ya.

The trip to Carmichael's had a dramatic beginning.  We stopped at the original road side store first, and crossing the parking lot Lily fell and skinned her face.  It was pretty bad.  She actually got over it quickly, but mommy didn't.  Once it all got settled and got to the right place it was fun, and Lily loved the animals.  Lily and Benny got pumpkins and, this little experience was great for me to share with Lily.