family

cape cod vaca #4

this was our 4th summer spending the 4th in cape cod. our 4th 4th…  our golden 4th of july!?oooooooooh…

each year has been quite different… pre baby, new baby, with a one year old, and now with this maniac:

this year we had a house full of family- just how we like it.
sister em, her boyfriend quincy, and their sweet pup deliah were our first visitors to arrive. they came thurs. night and we had a lovely evening chatting over delicious vacation beers (don’t they just taste better on vacation?). it was pretty awesome to have a night alone with emmy because i don’t get nearly enough q.t. with her and man i just love this little sis to bits.

the 4th of july, as we know, was a total wash out. but the 7 of us (em, quincy, deliah, me, mike, dane & shakey), the adventurers that we are, got up early and headed to nickerson state park to do our favorite nature walk in the sprinkley rain to our secret beach spot on little cliff pond. we just love it here. since brewster is a jerk about not letting dogs on any beaches during the summer, this is shakey’s favorite place to swim jump around in 1.5 feet of water and dig for phantom clams.
riley, liz & the grandma arrived later that day. despite the storm, we had a wonderful time celebrating “america’s birthday” (i swear we’re not all naked in this picture).
this popping-the-balloons-full of-confetti game was supposed to be like indoor fireworks. riley, however was “traumatized” (my sister’s word) and was hysterically crying. which goes to show that some things that look wonderful on pinterest just don’t translate well to real life (tho dane was sort of into it)…

deliah and my mom were the last to rise saturday morning…

then we had a great big breakfast thanks to emily and quincy. we actually used our new-ish banquet style seating quite a bit over the weekend for the first time since the big kitchen redo!

..the boys’ morning indoor bike ride…

we got in a couple pretty perfect beach days during riley’s visit. the first day the tide was high so we swam, fished and boogie boarded the afternoon away.

the next morning we caught low tide. the weather was glorious. i could have stayed all day. so could dane and riley..
that is, if it weren’t for a very necessary thing called a NAP.

so we napped and regrouped… nonnie & pop joined the party and we had a picture perfect evening at veterans field in chatham where we brought take-out from lorino’s and scored a prime real estate picnic table for dinner.

the coolest part was, i actually knew the starting pitcher for the chatham a’s… i really love cape league baseball.

part of the reason chatham is our favorite cape league destination is the epic playground.
check out that glowing sun setting behind the trees… sigh…

… here with my family watching a little baseball while dane and riley go to town on the playground… white wine in solo cup… it does not get much better than this.

after the game i made mike swing in to alli’s beach where we watch the fireworks every year. because of the rain on the 4th, i knew there would be tons of fireworks along the bay the next couple nights. i was right. they were so good. poor dane was so sleepy. he eventually was like “mamma we go home now?” my sweet baby.. we headed home and crashed hard.

everyone cleared out monday afternoon. it was such a fun, fulfilling weekend. we were so sad to see them go but still pretty euphoric about the fact that our vacation had only just begun!

the rest of the week flew by. we hit up the beach every day. walked to the general store, to brewster scoop, to see trevor the juggler at the church. the camera didn’t come out as much as i wish it had…

casey, lich & chase visited thursday and we spent an awesome day in wellfleet at the beach and the beachcomber.

where both two year-olds successfully napped on the beach! #miracle
dane became a regular beach bum. the bay is so perfect for little guys (he wasn’t so fond of the surf in wellfleet). this reminds me… we also got to watch a bunch of world cup games on vacation. so fun.
as is always the case, we had to put some time into readying the house for renters on friday and saturday. during this time, dane may have spent a little too much time with bob the builder (a particularly intense episode pictured below).
but we feel like the house is better equipped than ever for summer renters. we hope everyone enjoys our house (and are very very kind to it!!).
an awesome week…  it always is. we’ll have to wait until labor day to be reunited with brewster. but its worth the wait!

daney dialogue

note: i began writing this, oh, a month or so ago.. its dated now, but pure gold for the memory books..

i am so concerned i won’t do justice to how adorable some of dane’s chatter has been lately. its all about the timing, his faces, his tone and definitely my motherly bias that he is the funniest 2 year old on the planet. he makes us crack up every single day. he catches us of guard with the funniest remarks and expressions. he is such a sponge! i want to start doing more posts like this to always remember this insanely magical age.

toothpaste –
dane will disappear for a minute or two and we will find him on his stool in his bathroom brushing his teeth. he became especially obsessed with toothpaste, specifically. one day in the car we asked him what he wanted for dinner and he said, “toofpaste”. we laughed so hard. he loves making us laugh. its been going on now for months… anytime we ask him about what he ate/wants to eat:
what did you have for lunch?
“toofpaste”
what do you want for dinner?
“toofpaste”
what do you want on your pizza?
“toofpaste pizza”
we still laugh every time.

singing and crib talk-
there was a stretch where we would hear him singing or talking to himself in his crib all the time. old macdonald most often. or “happa birfday”. one day mike walked in on him after a nap putting his socks on his hands saying: “i put dis mittin on an dis mittin on…”

trucks don’t fly –
we bought him a little wooden trash truck at tj maxx. mike was carrying him out to the car with the truck in the other hand pretending it was flying. dane swatted his hand down and said very seriously, “no daddy, trash trucks don’t fly”.

bedtime –
“i want to go downstairs and play a little while”… stalling  “just a little while??” in the cutest inquisitive voice. he is such a negotiator.. “i want a cracker!? … please just one?? i want boff a dem!?”

hide and seek –
he would play ALL DAY. he’ll tell me to hide and i’ll put a blanket over my head, or duck down in an obvious spot & he’ll get all excited & find daddy and say.. “daddy! daddy?! where momma be?”. he loves hiding under the blankets in our bed.. “don’t make a sound” he’ll say, even if we’re hiding from no one. “mom. hide. mom. hide.” he sounds so grown up when he calls me “mom”.

boo boos –
he has become very conscious of boo boos. he points out the tiniest little scrapes and spots on himself to show us his boo boos and asks if we have any.
i had lasik eye surgery a couple weeks ago, i didn’t really think he knew what was going on…
the morning after my surgery, he was standing up on lap and looked down at me and said “mommy, are da boo boos on your eyes feelin bedder?”

“happa birfday” –
after his 2nd birthday, he wanted to put candles in everything and sing happy birthday all the time. mike’s bday is a month after his, which we inevitably celebrated for a solid week bc dane was enjoying it so much. when his classroom’s butterfly broke out of its cocoon dane got his whole toddler room singing “happa birfday” to the butterfly.

baseball –
just the other day, dane was pitching the baseball to mike and said to him “keep your eye on the ball daddy”. so funny when he unexpectedly regurgitates the things we say to him. he is always listening!

fashion –
he literally has an opinion on what he wears already. he demands certain shoes and refuses to wear certain shirts/pants. “i don’t like that!”
much to my disappointment, he refuses to wear suspenders or hats (unless he decides to put the hat on himself… and always backwards).

“i’ll be right back” –
he says this all the time. its so funny. he holds up one finger and looks at you and says “i’ll be right back” and runs off.

“we there yet?” –
sitting in his car seat. he says it with such an attitude, like he’s 14. “go fast daddy”… we’re trying to change this to “drive safe”, so now sometimes its, “drive safe daddy!” from our little backseat driver.

his pacifier –
kid loves his paci. we are trying to limit it strictly to the car and his crib at this point, but he’s always asking for it. “i want my paci to make me feel bedder”.. the first time he said that to me i almost died.. how do you say no? as my brother put it.. when they can actually say that, they are probably too old for a pacifier! i know, but it really does make him feel better!
after a frustrating day of brewster handyman work, i said to dane, what can we do for daddy to make him happy? dane’s eyes light up & he says “a paci!”

shadows and spiders –
i think his thing with shadows came from that daniel tiger show. he is always pointing out shadows. he’ll say “i’m scared” or “i want it to go away”. stupid show made him think shadows are scary. same with spiders (all bugs, except ants, are spiders).. “i want it to go away!” “i don’t like that!”

“strawbellies, bluebellies, and blackbellies” –
i die.
maybe my favorite things he says. i don’t want him to ever say it right, so i’ve started calling them “bellies” too

the serious face –
hilarious. i don’t know when it started. its been going on for a while. usually during dinner we’ll just ask him to make a serious face. sometimes he won’t which makes it even more fun when we catch him in the right mood and he gives us all sorts of serious faces.
man this kid is so much fun.

dane’s 2nd birthday

i blinked and my baby was a 2 year old. his actual birthday was on a school night, but we still wanted to celebrate, so we invited the neighbors over for pizza and cupcakes. they got him some celtics gear, a cool truck and this ridiculous singing, marching donald duck-dressed-as-bunny that he absolutely loved.   bday number 2 was off to a strong start!

shakespeare gets a little jealous of dane’s toys.

this is what one little year can do. it turned my baby into a little person. so crazy.

2013

saturday was party time. the gale fam, auntie emmy, uncle chris and aunt michelle, nonnie, pop and grandma along with his buds dylan and chase were all in on the fun. what a lucky little man to have the best friends and family around. it was a casual, unscripted event, but here is my photo-heavy recap attempt:

this is pretty much the extent of my decorating. we picked up some more pizza, put out some fruit and veggies, chips and dip and called it a day. we would be lost without pizza.

i told the boys to hold up two fingers for this picture…

eventually dane produced this (we’ll have to work on that)..

i tried to get a good picture of him in his funny little birthday shirt but he was always on the go. i asked him to show me his belly & this is what i got.

i filled a cow pinata up with little toys and stickers from the dollar store.

it was cute until dane had a major meltdown when it was someone else’s turn. the terrible twos are for real.

little progress was made until uncle chris stepped up to bat.

we had a lot of helpers when it was time for gift opening. dane got so many fun new toys.. everyone was so generous and dane was on cloud-nine.

the melissa & doug birthday cake was a big hit with the little guys. they were blowing out the candles and couldn’t quite grasp the fact that it wasn’t real!

they all attempted to eat it at least once… just in case…

finally the big toy grill was revealed.

dane has been playing with this every night since the party… “makin steak” and “makin food warm”… then we pretend to eat & he says “dee-licious” and we die….

the gloomy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon and everyone got some outside play time before the cake. early april is an iffy time of year, but we have really lucked out for dane’s past two bday parties.

why i left the cake up on the stand, blocking his face, i do not know. but you can still see that loves blowing out candles and all things cake!

this was his first ice cream cake encounter and he was clearly caught a bit off guard. haha.

ultimately, the dairy queen blizzard cake was a big hit. 

later, the party began to disburse. most everyone was back downstairs watching the final four, while these three got a 3-way tubby session.

i will be so sad when they are too big to wear these footy jammies. i plan to buy them for him straight through high school.

dane is so happy when he wakes up to find his cousin riley is still here. the next day we got to play a little more before the vineyarders had to pack up and head to the ferry.

its becoming more and more clear how much trouble these two will be causing some day.

and i kinda love it.

dane,
you have changed everything. it has never been more clear to me what matters and what doesn’t. i don’t know what i did to deserve you. i miss you every single second we are not together. you are so smart and funny and so so sweet. the more i get to know you, the more i love you. you make me LAUGH and smile. i swear i am not being biased when i say you are freakishly good at hitting a golf ball off a tee.. like borderline two-year-old tiger territory… but no matter what you choose to do in life, i will always be your biggest fan. keep growing and thriving, but slow it down, would ya??!!

love,
mom

invitations for the big #2

was this really TWO years ago? i can’t believe i’ve been a real life mom for two full years.
 
at the same time, i can hardly remember life before dane. he is pure joy… all i think about and almost all i care about. he’ll be two in just over a week [wimper].
 
so we have a very special birthday party to plan. unlike last year’s first-birthday-bonanza, we are keeping things low-key this year. the invite list is just family and a couple close friends.



 
i pondered over a theme. there were the obvious choices; trucks, trains, farm animals, sports… i thought about dane’s true passions… while he is certainly into all of the former, dane’s happy place is with a big sippie of milk in-hand. or “mooks” as he called it up until recently (it is so bittersweet when your toddler starts pronouncing things correctly). “i want mooks pease mommy”.. i could never say no. kid drank way too much mooks.
so we are having a milk party. not to be confused with a “milk & cookies” party (i’ve seen this done via pinterest) just a milk party.
 
tiny prints invitation contenders were as follows:
 
i love the chalk board look of this template… the mustache fit the theme (you know, like a milk mustache). below is the photo i chose… my little goober with his cow happily chugging his milk… the “antique” photo filter option in tiny prints works nice with the template.

with less than a dozen invitations to go out, i thought i’d have some fun with them. so i came up with the idea of sending them on milk cartons.

milk cartons painted with cow spots, obviously.

i used left-over (no voc) white interior wall paint we had laying around & chalk board paint for the spots.

 

then stuck the invitation lengthwise on the front w/ packaging tape.

 

i made mike take them to the post office (impossible for me with my current work schedule) he was thrilled. it was fun to get the feedback from everyone once these arrived in the mail (mostly positive aside from one person who “thought it was a bomb”)….

i ordered a few decorations for the party from oriental trading, but otherwise am planning to keep it simple. i generally struggle with ‘simple’, but with everything that is going on, i think its the only way. i will of course have plenty of party photos to share after the big (simple) day.

atlantis with a toddler

we spent last week on paradise island in the bahamas. it was, in a word, glorious.

atlantis. go there. if you have kid(s) of any age, go. we bounced around many different destination ideas before planning this trip. traveling and vacationing with a toddler is tricky no matter where you go and we decided on atlantis because it felt like one of the more (if not, the most) little-kid friendly options.

we had a pretty easy direct flight (about 4 hrs) out of boston early saturday morning. mike’s parents joined us which made the trip that much more fun.

we stayed in the beach tower. the most economical (read: cheapest possible) place to stay on atlantis property.

 i read many, many beach tower reviews before the trip and they were very mixed. lots saying the place was a dump and many saying it was just fine and the best bang for your buck. i tend to agree more with the latter, however, mike & i agreed that next time we will definitely stay somewhere different. especially if we still have littles. this opinion is more for geographical reasons than anything, although we did have a few issues with our room (busted towel rod, tv malfunctions, a broken curtain pull thingy). these little annoyances were really not a big a deal to us. my biggest complaint is that the beach tower building sits right on the beach, but there is no direct/easy way to get there. its really weird. you have to leave the back of the building and walk through a cave (a good 5 min stroll) to get around to the beach entries. the location is basically convenient to nothing aside from the sea turtle pond (which is actually quite awesome).

this was the first resort i have vacationed at that was not all-inclusive. one of the points all the reviews agreed on was that everything is super-expensive. food, water, services, excursions. this made me nervous since the price tag of the trip (even in the cheapo beach tower) was already enough to make me gulp. you can buy a meal plan for $80/day. it includes breakfast and dinner and NO alcohol. what? i don’t think we ever spent that on food in one day and if we did, its because a good 40% of it was on drinks… as in booze such as the most amazingly rumtastic pina colada i’ve ever had.

so i planned my brains out for this trip to be sure we made the most of it. to save money, i packed as much travel friendly food as i could.. bread, lara bars, toddler pouches, oatmeal, cereal & trail mix. i ordered some groceries from foodstore2go which worked out great (fruit, organic whole milk & a bunch of beer & wine). we gave dane breakfast in the room every morning (banana, ezekial cinnamon raisin bread or rice cake w/ peanut butter and other misc. fruit was the standard mix). then aside from a couple sandwich/chicken nugget-type lunches we shared, the only meal we really ate out for was dinner. it was a nice little routine to pick a place and go out to dinner, all 5 of us. we ordered something for dane most of the time even tho he would have been fine eating the bread and random bites off our plates (which is basically what he did and saved his dinner for lunch the next day).

there is so much to do and see on the massive campus that is atlantis. the smartest thing i did was bring our radio flyer wagon. yes, i check a big red wagon on our jet blue flight. dane is not a happy camper in strollers and the wagon allowed us to cruise around with him under his little umbrella and tow our bags at the same time. we got SO many comments from everyone we walked by. i guarantee dozens of people bring them on their next trip after seeing us (atlantis would make a killing with a “rent-a-wagon” stand. i should pitch this on shark tank). dane went everywhere in this wagon. it was a god send. we did sooo much walking.

our daily routine was this:
wake up around 7 to dane standing in his crib saying “mommy, daddy, i pay in wadder!?” take him into bed with us and hope it will buy us another 15 mins. it doesn’t. make coffee on little single serve kuerig-esque coffee maker (i packed coffee just in case.. coffee is extremely important to me.. but they give you two regular and two decaf starbucks pouches each day, which was nice). feed dane. dress and pack and hit the road for the pool or beach. by far the worst part of the week was putting sunblock on dane. he freaked out every time. it was brutal. we came back and put dane down for a nap after lunch, then mike & i ran off and explored for a few hours. after dane was up, we got dressed and went out to dinner together. a few nights we had fancy dinners and a few nights we did johnny rockets, pizza, etc. we were pretty much all in bed by 9 every night. completely wiped. (watching the olympics!)

there were so many pools to sample. our favorite was fairly close to our hotel. it had a zero entry shallow end that dane could run right into.

the atlantis beach was very nice. beautiful, bright turquoise water.

dane wanted nothing to do with the ocean water.. he was intimidated by the surf, but played for hours in the sand.

the cove is another little beach which was further from us, but protected by some rocks (it was a cove.. aptly named) so a little calmer and dane-friendlier. this was my favorite spot, but we only got one day there since it was pretty far away and dane ended up loving the pools so much.

the marina was by far our favorite (and pretty much only) evening destination. we ate at restaurants here almost every night.

the huge yachts were dane’s favorite. “big boats mamma!”

there were fun little bands and activities in the streets most nights. it was a really lively area. one night (that i didn’t bring the camera out) there were all these drums and shakers for kids to play with. dane was so funny playing all the instruments and dancing. so so fun.

easily the #1 highlight of the whole week for dane was a random little car in the ben & jerry’s. he requested this car every night. which resulted in us eating ice cream. every. night.

the water slides and splash park pools were pretty awesome. because dane & his nonnie like to nap together, mike & i were able to run off and do fun things sans baby every afternoon. we did almost all of the water slides and used the fitness center a couple days.

dane was a little too small to really enjoy the kids’ pools, but we climbed around the aquaventure contraption together one day and he went down the little slides and said “again!” every time. cutest.

bonus entertainment was the wild cats that ran around the property. dane got a kick out of chasing them.

what i found most impressive about atlantis was the amazing sea creatures and endless tanks of exotic fish, sharks, sting rays, huge sea turtles, jelly fish, everything. dane is going to think the boston aquarium is a snoozefest after everything he saw at atlantis.

last but not least. swimming with the dolphins. really expensive. really fun.

i mean, i think i’d pay the $135 just to see dane wear this adorable wet suit ($135 per person INCLUDING dane. ugh).

meeting the dolphins and seeing all of their tricks was seriously priceless. i didn’t know how it would go with dane. he could very well have been completely petrified of the dolphins, but he was totally cool. he even puckered up and gave one a kiss with me.

i know he won’t remember all of this, but we went all-in and paid for the full cd of pictures from the day. life is short.. this was worth it.

this isn’t the type of vacation you take to read a book by the pool. we were non-stop go go go most of the week. it was an adventure and it was so. much. fun. the best part was just spending every waking hour with dane. i can’t get enough of this little guy. i seriously just want to eat him with a spoon.

we flew back a week later, right into a blizzard in boston. brutal.

we will definitely go back to atlantis some day!

keeping it together

there is a lot going on in my world. we have the basement project… 2, 5, 10 guys coming and going during the week and on saturdays drilling and banging and all those decisions and the communication involved in the process…
we’ve had a few health related set-backs over the past couple weeks. first, there was something going around dane’s daycare that gave him a bad cold and mild fever for a few days, then i got a miserable stomach bug toward the end of last week. dane tripped and hit his face on a table at daycare wednesday… he’s ok, but has a fat, sore lip… 
we have our family vacation coming up the week after next, which just takes a lot of careful planning since we’ll be traveling out of the country with a toddler. meanwhile, i’m trying to be extra productive at work and of course cramming in extra workouts whenever i can in light of the aforementioned vacation that will be taking place in tropical (read: bathing suit) weather. i’ve really been hustling the past couple weeks and i feel pretty good about my hard work.. aside from some of the time at the office i’ve had to miss to be with dane, but i can’t beat myself up over it.

we made it to the boston childrens museum sunday with our besties the colantos, and this weekend we are heading to killington vt to party with more of our very best friends (where dane will be the only little.. wish us luck!)

photo cred to lizzy

ditto

now where am i going with this? i don’t know, but i need to start getting into the basement progress.. there has been a lot!

the only fun purchase i have made so far is this moravian star pendant for the bottom of the stairs leading into the main room. this “aged tin” star only ran me $96.

 
i’ve admired them for so long in hallways or foyers like below, but never had a place to put one until now.
via

there were canned lights down in the basement already since it was originally somewhat finished. a bunch of them. all wired into the dropped ceiling which was the first thing mike tore down in preparation for the re-do.

an electrician came by and told us that the lights were not made to be built into a ceiling and could even be a fire hazard (yikes) so they couldn’t be salvaged. we had to buy and rewire all new lights. so that’s done. and that’s sort of all there is as far as lighting goes.
the other phase 1 decisions we have made are as follows:

1. lighting
2. ceiling
3. fireplace
4. built-ins
5. paint
6. carpet

so i’ll get to each of these over the next week or two with a little vacation recap in the mix 🙂


the latest from martha’s vineyard

just a few photos my sister sent me from last weekend’s visit to the island (is it seriously thursday already? i guess thats a good thing).
it was an extra special visit because we went to an island off an island! (chappaquiddick). 
 
three sisters and two (big) baby cousins..
s
 
after a surprise brunch feast for liz’s bday, we walked down along emily’s back yard which happens to end at the atlantic ocean. it was a dreary saturday, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the coast and enjoying the ocean air. 
riley picks up the remains of a sea creature, shows it to dane and says “a horse shoe crab”. no big deal for this 2 year old son of a fisherman.
 
scaling the rocks

emily’s boyfriend made a gluten free carrot cake that was out of this world.
i love dane in this pic. kid loves food.

this was our first trip to visit my sisters without mike or shakey. we took the ferry from woods hole and sat up in a window booth by the snack bar, just the two of us. it was a really fun little adventure. the highlight for me: when dane popped up in his packnplay in the middle of the night and i pulled him up into bed with me until the morning (which was 6 am. “riley”. “toys”. “riley”. ” UP TOYS!”).

 
finally, cake number two of the visit. the richest gluten free chocolate cake you could imagine. i don’t remember why riley isn’t wearing clothes at this point, but it seemed completely normal at the time.
 
visiting my island sisters is like a little vacation every time. i’m so lucky!

2014

so what is UP with 2014? its a blizzard, its warm, its FREEZING… come to think of it, my eating patterns are emulating the weather. i drink green juice all day, i eat three cupcakes the next (technically it was one cupcake plus 2 cupcake tops)… i won’t bore you with a belated list of resolutions, but the bottom line is, i am trying to clean up my act. with mixed results. more on this later.. (lets just say i got a nutribullet for christmas and i want to tell you all about it).
any who, here are some adorable pics of baby dane:

so silly.
oh, remember that little teaser i threw in at the end of the finished entry post? well, we have gone from this:

to this:

i am taking baby steps to a whole new level. can the finish-project-fairy please swing by and hang these frames for us please? thanks. notice the christmas decorations are down? that is an accomplishment in itself.

joking aside, we have been very very busy on the home improvement front. busy planning and demo-ing mostly. we are officially REfinishing our basement over the next month or so. not US, someone we hired.. but we plan to be very involved in the process.

(demo (read: destroying) is his specialty.. )

so this will basically become the finishing my basement blog for the unforeseeable future. its all so exciting. a little overwhelming and a little stressful (its a big investment and a lot of faith in our contractor).. but mostly exciting.

the before pictures could not be any more terrifying, so this should be a very serious “before and after of the century” candidate!

i lied when i said i would only be talking about the basement project. i have a lot on my mind. i think i am going to get more random than ever in the coming weeks. till next time!

this christmas

first things first…
dane had been hearing a lot about this guy santa and just wanted to check him out before letting him creep around his house christmas eve. i thought this was a reasonable request, so we took a train to the north pole. the only train to the north pole…
 

the polar express!

we went to edaville in carver, ma where they have a big holiday light festival, carnival rides, and a train ride to hear the story of the polar express and meet santa claus. dane is really, really into trains, but at first he was very cautious and quiet..

taking it all in as we boarded.

when we arrived at the “north pole”, he was still a little shy.

but soon enough, he was totally on board with the santa thing. the night made for a really nice memory of dane’s first santa encounter. way better than waiting in a line at the mall. he was so cute waving and pointing.. genuine excitement.

in the end, i think the cookie trumped santa.

fast forward to christmas eve.
pure magic.

christmas eve is my favorite. this is how i wish my living room always looked.. a couple guitars, a couple dogs, a fire (and buffalo dip)…

i stayed up late setting up the scooters (from santa), cleaning and clearing the house for the impending christmas morning chaos. when i finally went to bed, i was so giddy with anticipation. i just wanted the morning to come.
 
everything else i have to say about christmas this year is really trite…
the pitter patter of little feet, the wide eyes and big smiles. i seriously forgot christmas could feel like this.
shakespeare was the first to open a gift..

then these two quickly became pros at dismantling gift wrap. they worked efficiently and methodically until every toy was exposed.

aw. just look at the gale family.. i love capturing these moments!

when dane woke up from his nap, much to his dismay, everyone was gone (“yaya?…YiiiiYAA!??!” (that’s how dane says riley)). he got over it pretty quickly when he saw his new train village and then we had a very peaceful christmas evening, just us four.
i didn’t realize quite how special the holidays would become with these little people around. the next few years will only get better. i must give a shout out to emily for handling all the food and cooking. i was able to be the biggest slacker-host ever. thanks davis – fatz family for the best christmas in a looong time! xo

holiday card 2013

a little holiday talk (before i divulge perhaps the biggest cosmetic update to our house yet…)
this year’s christmas card! a simple message of peace & joy, because that’s what i feel when i’m with these two.
2013
have you seen a rounder, more kissable cheek in your lifetime? or a cuter doggie bum for that matter? your answers are no and no WAY.
and now the cards of holidays’ past:
2012

2011

2010

2009

i can’t believe how many we already have in the collection. the years are zipping by!

photo sessions with these two guys are straight up cardio workouts these days. one of us just snaps away while the other corrals the models. it is definitely a two-man job, and yes, there is sandwich meat in the back of the coup.

i chose one of the more candid, artsy photos for the card (there was some really cute stuff we passed up!)

this was the runner-up..

then this happened and our photo shoot was a wrap.

then he befriended a reindeer and everything was ok.

i love our holiday card tradition. i use tiny prints, but there is so much good stuff out there these days for photo cards, they have come such a long way.