December 31, 2012

Twenty Twelve

2012 was pretty major.  In February our lives and family changed with the addition of Baby Girl. What a sweet and extraordinary blessing Cole is! It's hard to imagine that a year ago she wasn't yet a daily part of our lives and two years ago she wasn't more than a passing thought, just a hope and dream Peter and I shared. Time certainly flies. Now I get to hang with my animal-loving, determined little miss every day.  In years prior, I could never have imagined being content as a stay-at-home mom but I am. Speaking of jobs and professional things, Peter finished his MBA this year, just a few weeks ago actually, bringing the degree count in this house to four, which, for the foreseeable future, is where it will stay. Oh, what a year it has been!

Here is our 2012 in review, just a picture from each month or so: 

December 30, 2012

Early Christmas

Since we surprised my family for Christmas, we decided to celebrate in Memphis before we left.
We were overwhelmed by the amount of gifts Cole received from our friends and families.
The packages completely covered our buffet. (Our tree and gifts had to be off the floor this year because of someones increasing mobility.) 

After a family breakfast of spiced banana pancakes we opened gifts.
Peter and I decided to get Cole a Raggedy Anne doll a few months ago.
During the exact week she realized how fun pulling hair can be. It was a hit!

She got the hang of opening gifts right away. And gave it her greatest effort.
Cole is a go getter so she really got after it. 
Now she has a camera just like mine. Kind of.

Cole's largest gift was a Rody horse with a rocking base.
She gave Rody a thorough veterinary examination before indicating her approval.
I have a feeling Rody and I are going to get to know each other pretty well. 

Our early Christmas in Memphis was quiet and simple. It was the perfect way to kick off our Christmas vacation. 

December 28, 2012

A Tip

My sister-in-law has tips on a range of different subjects.  During our Thanksgiving vacation she gave me a photography tip: When in doubt, use black and white. Her tip paid off.

Here we have an original, unedited, Smurf-ish picture:

And here is the half-decent black and white version:

Thanks Lisa!

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry, Merry Christmas! Come Thou long expected Jesus! 

Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art      
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
-Charles Wesley-

December 24, 2012

A Christmas Surprise!

Peter and I decided to surprise my family by coming to Maryland for Christmas after telling them we were staying in Memphis. My brothers were in on it but everyone else was in the dark. My sister teared up. My dad stopped in in tracks. And my mom, well, she was a bit more dramatic. One of my brothers took video of my ma as she walked in the house and saw Cole.

It's pretty classic:

December 23, 2012

A Very Memphis Christmas

Memphis has so many neat holiday traditions: Enchanted Forrest Festival of Trees, Snowy Nights, Zoo Lights, Starry Nights, Clark's Christmas Dinner.
Being that neither of us is originally from here, we have to explore to discover which local traditions will be part of our family traditions.
Since we have a baby in tow, this Christmas we decided to give the Enchanted Forrest Festival of Trees and Snowy Nights a whirl.
Clark's Christmas Dinner, I'm coming for you in 2013! 

The Enchanted Forrest Festival of Trees at the Pink Palace seemed tried and true. Also, old. Admission for our family was $12.
I can imagine if it were part of my own childhood, taking Cole would have been really special.
I did like how Cole was able to walk around. The rail was just her size.

The Christmas tree display was pretty cool but weak compared to Valley View Farms.
Same with the train display. It was quaint compared to the Keniworth train garden. Clearly, childhood in Baltimore spoiled me.
For a bit more cash, Cole could've visited with Santa at the Pink Palace. His set up there was pretty cozy.
If she hadn't already met the big man at Bass Pro we may have splurged. 


With our membership to the Botanic Garden, our family got into Snowy Nights for $10.
Santa was making an appearance the night we went so we snapped Cole's picture with him. For free.
There were tons of activities and free cotton candy included with our admission. For a bit extra we could've purchased s'more supplies. We opted out.

Cole was mesmerized by the lights. There were just enough.
Snowy Night is contained within My Big Backyard which meant we didn't have to walk too far.

Next year, we'll go back to Snowy Nights. Cole may be able to participate in some of the activities by then which would be fun.
Even if she can't, it's a nice holiday family activity and worth the cost of admission. 

December 21, 2012

The Yard

Oh, the yard. What a time it's been. This was our lovely yard in September, prior to any work. We had to plans to put in a patio when we learned one of the trees was dead and needed to be removed. 

Here's the yard after the tree was removed. Devastating. I could get into it, but I won't. After a short conversation, the company agreed to regrade and sod our yard since the damage was excessive.

Here's the yard now. There were two days between the sod and the patio installation. I didn't take a picture. We opted to go with a stamped concrete patio from Batlz and Sons. What a dream they were to work with! All in all the yard looks pretty good now. It'll look great once the sod starts to spread and turns green. 

Here's a close up of the concrete. I suppose it looks as good as you'd expect a picture of concrete to look. I'm excited to use the space once it warms up a little. I'm going to start keeping my eye out for some patio furniture- not that our tailgate chairs aren't perfect.

December 19, 2012