Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Day

If there is ONE thing to say about Christmas this year it's that we sure do feel very fortunate and very loved.  It was yet another amazing Christmas for one and all.  I posted on Instagram that "seeing Christmas through the eyes of your kids is pretty freaking awesome" and that is basically exactly how I feel about it.

It's such a magical time of year and while it's always busy and there is always a to do list or a grocery list happening somewhere, it's a time for being thankful, showing (and telling) people how much you love them and making family traditions that will live on for years and years to come.

Christmas has always been a fun time of year for us, but adding the excitement of the kids just takes it to another level.

Christmas in Freeport

Santa visited us AGAIN this year.  Actually, after I posted a picture online, Jamie texted me and asked why Santa was following us around.  HAHA!  My little girls sure were lucky to have the big man in red visit us so much this year.

As our families have grown, we've started doing "Ritterbusch Christmas" the weekend before real Christmas.  This year it worked our perfectly that it really was just a few days before real Christmas.

Hazel was still pretty reluctant but each time she saw the big guy, she got a little braver...but only from a distance!

The big girls were really excited to see him and even more excited to see what was in his big bag!

And, we even got a pretty near perfect family photo of us all!

Abby's Christmas Concert

Abby's school does a K-4 Christmas Concert each year and it was the sweetest little thing.  You'll have to excuse the pictures, we didn't have ideal seats so Ryan was able to snap these by standing up quick (blocking other's view) and snapping a few pictures before sitting back down.  At least we have some action shots!

Each year Ellyn gets Abby a sweet little fancy Christmas dress like this one.  It's perfect because I save them for Hazel and then both girls are set for events just like this one.  She just looks so grown up here in this picture!

And of course, the highlight of the night was the holiday sugar cookies Ellyn had tucked away in her purse for after the show.  As you can tell, both girls were pretty excited about them!

A Train Ride with Santa

Last year near Christmas Erin told us that they do a Polar Express thing out of Union Station (downtown) and we looked into getting tickets.  Apparently the sell out quickly so we didn't get them...but in researching that, we found out that the local train museum by our house did a similar thing...basically in our back yard and for a much lower price point.

So, when this year came around we snagged tickets early on and figured we'd give it a try.  All in all, I think it was perfect for the kids ages now...but I think we might try to do the REAL one next year.  It was perfect for the price point, but I was hoping for a little more pep and pizzazz!

Hazel was terrified of Santa, she wouldn't look at him.  She figured if she couldn't see him, he wasn't there.  HAHAHA!

Abby wasn't scared and she told him what she wanted (a unicorn cart...long story).  But, as soon as Santa left she told me "Mommy, I know that's not the REAL Santa".  
Me: "Why do you think that?"
Abby: "Because he was wearing gym shoes and the real Santa has pretty black boots."

I swear, this kid is too dang smart for her own good!  What am I going to do?

1 Family x 12 (Dec)

Tying up all the lose ends on the blog this week...get ready for a lot of posts. Merry Christmas from the McGrath's!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Tree Cutting

Tree cutting - a McGrath family tradition that has been around FAR longer than me...but I was adopted into the tradition when Ryan and I started dating and we've been doing it ever since.  When I was growing up we always had a fake tree so things like "watering the tree" often go undone if assigned to me.  This year, we gave the job to Abby and she woke us up the very first morning at 5:30 to remind us it was time to water the tree...that's what we get I suppose. 

What's interesting is how much the weather can differ from year to year.  We've had cold/snowy tree cutting trips, rain and mud or near t-shirt weather.  This year it hit almost 60 degrees the day after Thanksgiving so, as you can imagine, the tree cutting place was CROWDED! 

It was windy windy windy though and we were so thankful when we finally got inside Ms. Claus's house and away from the wind for a bit.  The kids were VERY patient...actually, more patient than me for once and super excited to see Ms. Claus.  That is, until Hazel ACTUALLY saw her...then it was all tears and "pick me up" and hiding her what I expected from a two year old.  Abby on the other hand, was super excited.  She wrote her and Hazel's names on the Good List and told Ms. Claus all about what they wanted for Christmas.  Apparently it's a car with a horse pulling it...which, I'm not sure if that's on Santa's list this year, we'll have to see. 

Maybe next year Hazel will be brave enough to stand and get her picture taken with Abby...but NOT this year!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gingerbread houses

The holiday season brings lots and lots of traditions around our house (and probably around yours too!).  For us, Gingerbread houses is definitely one of them. Joey and I started doing Gingerbread houses back with Danny and Stephanie when were kids...though I'm SURE Carolyn didn't get the pre-made, pre-assembled, pre-packaged kind.  I'm sure hers were home made and filled with love!

You can looks back and see pictures from over the years here 2015 and here 2016.  This year Hazel go her very own house to work on.  Next year we'll add Lincoln to the project table!

As always the decorating part is a little hectic with three kids, tons of candy and not enough adult hands to go around.  Somehow everyone needs something at the same time and then, in a blur its over and we have finished houses. 

The big kids are getting much better at listening to directions (like you can only eat one piece of candy) and Hazel was content just watching Ryan go to town on her house, sneaking her frosting when I wasn't looking.

These girls seriously are the sweetest and I can't wait to see how their creativity and personalities show in these houses over the years.  This is a tradition that is here to stay!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

1 Family x 12 (Nov)

I'm so bummed I have a snow flake right over my eye...but everyone else looked so cute that I just decided to go for it and make this our family photo for November.  Want to know what's REALLY cool about this picture?  Someday (in the not too distant future) that big tree behind us is going to be made into a dining room table for our dining room!!

First step, she's coming down.  This is a huge oak tree standing in my parents front yard.  Its dead and they've been delaying having it taken down, but it's time.  First step of many to get that tree into a table...but it'll be so worth it!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Halloween 2016

Halloween has always been one of Ryan's favorite holidays.  I blame Breakfast Club at Perdue and him getting to dress up outside of the traditional Halloween festivities but whatever the reason, costumes go over pretty big at our house.

In the past Ryan's always roped his Mom into making us some really cute costumes but this year it just seemed like one more thing nobody really had time to do, so we took the kids to Target and let the run wild.  Hazel picked (with a LOT of help from me) this cute little Llama outfit.  It was warm and snuggly and cute and I think she looked adorable.

Going into the store Abby was CONVINCED she wanted to be something super scary.  Last year she was a dragon (or a dinosaur...I cant remember which she decided she was) and some kid told her she wasn't very scary.  Well, she remembered that a full 365 days later and she was certain she was going to pick the scariest costume they had.  In the end, she picked a Unicorn (hahahaha!).

The kids made quite a haul this year because we actually ended up going Trick or Treating twice.  Our annual beer tasting weekend fell on the Apple Canyon Campground Trick or Treating so we got the kids all dressed up and let them run wild in the campground for a bit.  It was warm, sunny and the perfect fall day for it!

These kids and their faces.  Just wait til you see the one of Abby and I little farther down!

Bhahaha!  I mean, look at those eyes!

Two weeks later the weather had changed quite a bit and and we headed out for another round with some friends up in Crystal Lake.  If you've been to our house since we moved you know we don't have the ideal trick or treating situation (5 acres and a long driveway doesn't really say...come on up and get some candy) so we visited a cute little neighborhood with friends and it was perfect!!  Bethany and Patrick, make a note, we're coming back again next year!!

These two sweet girls have been friends since the day they were born...I hope that never changes!

It's too bad we already had an October family photo because this one would have been perfect.  Funny faces and all!

Oh, and...we even got a chance to do a little adult party the weekend before Halloween.  Ryan and I dressed up in a couples costume "Deer in Headlights".  It was perfect!!!