Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well, Christmas has come and gone and the year is nearly wrapped up.  I can not believe how fast it all goes.  I swear I remember thinking back in January that the year would fly by and if I'm honest, I had NO IDEA just how fast it would go. 

Abby's second Christmas was very different from her first.  Not only is she fully mobile, but she's got her own little personality and we can definitely understand what she wants.  By the time we got to our third round of presents on Christmas day she was finally getting the hint.  She walked right up to the Christmas tree at David and Corda's and started grabbing at presents.  "These are all for me right?!?!"  Poor peanut didn't quite understand that no, they weren't so that brought on some tears.  She was much happier when it was time for everyone to sit down and start opening (course, having a few of her own to open helped too). 

A month after getting our own tree up I sort of figured she'd be over pulling at the ornaments.  Nope, wrong.  Much to Ryan's chagrin, our tree came down the day after Christmas.  I'm so happy be done constantly reminding Abby that the ornaments are "pretty" and not to pull at them.  In fact, I told Ryan that I identified with the Christmas story the Grinch.  Hold on...let me explain.  In that story they say his heart grew two sizes that day (Christmas).  I told Ryan that I feel like the day we take down the decorations my HOUSE grows two sizes!  Don't get me wrong, I love to festivity of it all and I love how pretty the living room looks when it's lit by the lights of the tree....but I swear it's like you've got a whole new house when you finally take it all down!

Abby made out great this year!  She got a ton of clothes (which she could care less about but I love!) and toys to fill up a whole room.  She got a tractor, a bowling set, books, a bath frog (that is awesome by the way!), a fake iPad, puzzles, two baby dolls, a tool belt and a full workbench (so she can work like Daddy), a really cool wooden snail, some mega blocks, and a really cool fox sweater (that I can't find the link later).  I'm sure I'm forgetting some things because the house is packed and Abby is in seventh heaven but she loves everything and we are so thankful for family and friends that love us so much.  We are one lucky family!

**See, finally getting the idea of present opening :O)

Christmas was a long day for all of us (especially Abby).  She did great considering we drove over 150 miles and went to three houses in one day.  She got in a nice long nap at Dan and Ellyn's which I was SO grateful for.  I got to sit down and eat brunch slowly at my own pace and enjoy every bite instead of trying to feed her and rushing to finish to occupy her when she decided she was finished eating.  When she finally woke up from her nap she had her own personal brunch complete with french toast casserole, quiche and fruit. 

But, in typical baby fashion, no matter how many cool toys she got we weren't surprised that this one occupied her for a full 10 minutes.  Gotta love kids!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

1 Family x 12 (December)

Well, how can we take our family picture for December without Santa??

Can you believe it?  Santa came to visit Grandpa and Grandma's house on Christmas Eve!  Abby is one lucky lady...though, she was pretty scared.  That's ok.  Next year :O)

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Family Photoshoot

I already shared the pictures we took of Abby's Cake Smash but now it's time for some of the family pictures we took that day.  But, let's call it what it is, end of the year clean up.  At the end of every year I take all the posts I've done on the blog and print them out into a great re-cap of the year for our family.  I already have the last two and a half years printed and I can't wait to add a third book to my collection.  I can't wait to share all of these memories with Abby as she gets older!!

We took these pictures at a local apple farm and it was the perfect setting.  I'd originally wanted fall leaves as the background but our late September shoot date meant we got apples instead of orange and red leaves.

*This is one of my all time favorites from that day.

I also love who these unplanned last minute shots capture "life" as we lived it.  Naked baby and a Tinker Bell bag slung over my shoulder....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Letter - 2013

Christmas cards went out over a week ago now so I shouldn't be ruining the surprise by posting it here for those of you that didn't get one and are wondering what's been going on with us.  A friend commented that the Christmas letter is just like a mini-blog which made me laugh.  If you read the blog, none of this is news to you....just the picture.  Enjoy!!

As I started thinking about my Christmas letter this year I initially had a hard time remembering just what happened!  After 2012, the year of change, I feel like 2013 was been relatively quite.  Though, I think that is just want our little family and specifically “this girl” needed.  In the sleep deprived days of 2012 just after Abby was born, moving to our new house in Hampshire, and returning to work after maternity leave I felt like life would never normalize.  But now, a year later, I’m happy to say that things have slowed down a little and we’re enjoying just “being”.  All that being said, 2013 isn’t without its merits.

One of my favorite memories of the year was the 10 day camping trip that we took as a family in August.  We’d just traded up in the camper division and we loaded up the car, the dogs, and all the baby crap that goes along with a one-year old and embarked on an over 1,500 mile journey as a family.  We camped our way through Michigan, the UP, stopped off at the cabin in northern Wisconsin for a few days and then back home again making a big loop through the 3 states.  Let me just go on record as saying camping with a one-year old is hard work!  Abby had just learned to walk and she wanted nothing to do with being contained.  She wanted to explore and explore she did.  The first day or two I worried about her eating dirt or bugs and getting hurt but by the end we figured “she’s gotta learn somehow” and just embraced the fact that yes, she was going to be dirty.  I started calling her Mogli, from the Jungle Book, because by the end of the trip, she looked like a wild baby!  I’ve never been so grateful for running water and rooms with doors as I was when we got back from that trip.  Though, I’d do it again in a heartbeat and we’ve already started planning a similar trip for next year. 
How’s the progress with the house going?  Well, we finally finished the remodel of the master bath and I’m here to say that everyone should install heated floors in their bathroom!!  We did a ton of yard work including spreading 10 yards of mulch and getting the pool up and running (with was a feat considering it was literally black from the previous owners).  We gave the gazebo a huge face lift and started finishing the basement in the last few weeks.  We expect we’ll have it done around spring, complete with a guest bedroom, play area, bar, and at least roughed-in bathroom.  Goals for 2014 include new kitchen counters (good bye grouted tile counters!), a paver patio off the existing deck and more yard/garden work.
And finally, a Christmas letter just wouldn’t be complete without an update on our little Peanut.  Abby’s growing up so quickly.  She started walking around her first birthday and though she’s slow to get her teeth, she’s got 2.5 teeth now; I expect she’ll have 5 by Christmas.  She has a few words now like Doggie, Momma, Dadda (everything is Dadda…including Dadda himself), Pree (which means pretty.  Or, in other words, don’t touch that!  You’ll break it).  She says Cool in the funniest way and Woa when she falls down.  She loves to be chased and tickled and is especially funny when Grandpa is chasing her around the house.  She understands when I ask her simple questions like “where are your socks” and will bring them to me (this, my friends, is awesome and totally worth having children).  She loves her books and knows that if she wants me to stop and play with her all she needs to do is bring me a book.

All in all, the McGrath family is doing great and we hope you are too.  Merry Christmas!  We love you!!


Sadie, Ryan and Abby

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cake Smash

Back in late summer we did a family photo shoot with a local photographer, Chrystl Roberge (if you are local and looking for someone you should defiantly check her out!!).  I wanted some family photos for our Christmas card which I'll share later, but I also wanted to do something special for Abby's first birthday.  Yea, yea, I know, her birthday was back in August and here I am posting pictures for it in December.  Call it the end of year clean up *smile.

After snagging a few family shots we quickly changed her into her birthday dress and staged these pictures.  It was getting towards the end of the day and we'd already done pictures for about an hour so Abby was pretty much over the whole process.  That is, until we brought out the cake!!!

Gosh, looking back on these pictures I can't help but notice how much Abby has changed in just a few short months.

I can't get enough of her baby blues!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Continued adventures in messy

*Check out that baby mullet!!

Let's be honest, if there is one thing that babies are good at, it's making a mess.  Abby's been in a particularly frustrating stage going on about 3 weeks now where she really doesn't want anything to do with any food that I've touched.  Forget about me trying to spoon things into her mouth, we're over that.  She doesn't even want it if I try handing her the spoon and letting her try.

It's instantly "No" in a tiny muchkin voice with a hint of whine behind it.  Then add exaggerated head shaking and hand flailing and you'll get a picture of what I've been dealing with these past few evenings.

So, we're onto food that she can feed herself....which only works part of the time (as witnessed here where she's got more food on her face then actually IN her mouth but at least she's smiling).  Of all the stages we've gone through this far, this one seems to be annoying me the most.  I worry about her not getting enough "real" food to eat.  Goldfish crackers, fig newtons, bananas and toast are about all I can count on these days.

I have found that she'll eat those squeezy packs of food that only cost about 3 times as much as normal baby food because she can hold them and feed herself, but other than that, it's a guessing game each night about what exactly she'll eat.  Please don't let me have a picky eater on my hands....please let this be a stage!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Tree Cutting 2013

Ryan's family has traditionally cut a real Christmas tree every year for the holidays.  So, when I joined the family, I joined this little tradition as well.  Want to see how much Abby has changed from last year?  Check out this post from last year.  She's still in a pack, but she's so much bigger!!!

It was a beautiful day for cutting.  Probably about 40 degrees outside and sunny.  After eating WAY too much stuffing on Thanksgiving (thanks Peggy!), it felt good to get outside and move around a little bit.

It didn't take us long to pick out the tree we wanted.  Next year we can go a little taller and I think I'll try to get one that's a little fuller but all in all, we're pretty happy with it.  That's one funny thing about not having a fake tree, every year it's just a little bit different.  Sometimes it's too tall, or too short....other times its too wide or too skinny.  It's so hard to tell how it's going to look in the house when you're standing outside and the sky is your ceiling!

How's Abby doing with the tree?  Well, the first night we put it up ended in tears.  She couldn't understand why she couldn't bang all the balls together or ring the bells on the tree (we put all the unbreakable ones at the bottom just in case), but what she had a really hard time with was understanding why there was a tree in the house.  She wanted to grab the higher up ornaments so badly that she'd get really close to the tree and try reaching up and would inevitably end up getting poked in the belly by the tree.  It's a little poky, but more than that, it's scary!!!  She'd instantly fall down and start crying wondering why this poky thing hurt her.  I have to admit, I laughed, and she learned.  Now, after having the tree up for about 4 days, she's less interested in it.  She still goes up to it and grabs a few of the ornaments, but mostly she says "preeeyy" which means pretty (and don't touch it because it's pretty and you'll break it), so that's a start!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

My how time flies

On Thanksgiving we took my Mom's family photo for the Christmas cards.  As I was downloading the pictures to my computer I realized the last time we had a family photo like this was back in June for Kayden's birthday:

Now, almost 6 months later we look like this:

Of course the snow makes a big difference, but check the babies.  Abby still really looked like a baby back in June but now, 6 months later, she's not so little anymore.  Well, that's a lie, she's still pretty little but she's defiantly more grown up.  My sister's also changed her hair color and I couldn't love it more.  Joey's been a blond for her entire life but this is a change I defiantly think should stay around.  Finally, the last change is pretty hard to see.  This picture was taken at my parents new house.  They  moved back in October to an amazing house/property just outside of Cedarville.  About 5 minutes north of the house that we grew up in.

I sort of wish I could pause time right here where we are, but I know that's never going to happen.  So, I'll continue to enjoy the moments while we're in them.  Life is good!