Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hanging with the girls

Alli is becoming more active every day and can even sit up for very short periods of time by herself. She and Lila are already starting to be able to interact and it makes me so excited for what's to come in the future. I hope they continue to love each other and keep each other entertained as they get older! We have been having so much fun with them in the evenings, especially when Lila shows us her silly side (which is most of the time)! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011



  [hohp]  Show IPA noun, verb, hoped, hop·ing.
the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
a particular instance of this feeling
grounds for this feeling in a particular instance
a person or thing in which expectations are centered
something that is hoped for

Today marks the first day of the advent season, and we celebrate by lighting the HOPE candle. The Christian walk is based on this HOPE that we will one day be re-united with our Father in Heaven. This site puts it well when the author says, "To walk in hope, as a Christian, is not simply to be optimistic. Instead, it is to live with a sense of purpose, knowing that we walk in the presence of the living God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ." (Cornwall, 2008).  I pray that this advent seasons brings you Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy in the anticipation of our coming Christ!
(image from edencandles.co.uk)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Visiting Santa Clause

Because last year was such a crazy experience (linked here), we decided to take the girls to visit with Santa early this year! It was so special this year, just like last year with Lila, because it was Alli's first time meeting Santa, and she was pretty indifferent towards him. She was just happy to be held and to be out of her car seat, so she was content with him. Lila loves Santa, mainly because of his beard, but this year, she even had a small conversation with him. The Santa at Baybrook is so sweet and acted genuinely happy to talk with her for the few minutes that she sat on his lap.  We even joked that he could keep Alli, and he said that he would be happy to and that he loved babies (I guess you'd have to in order to not go crazy with this job that requires tons of screaming babies to be forced to sit in your lap).  We've had such a productive and festive Thanksgiving holiday weekend and are ready to celebrate Christmas in the coming weeks!

We were looking back on Lila's Santa picture from last year, and I can't believe how much she has changed in one year! I also can't believe that this year there is another precious baby sitting on Santa's other knee that belongs to us!
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2011

Day After Thanksgiving

This is the earliest that we've EVER decorated for Christmas, and I think it's due to the fact that we will actually be spending the entire month of December here since we aren't able to go to Georgia for Christmas this year.  We are so excited to not have to travel this year and to be able to spend Christmas with our girls in our own home, that we went out the day after Thanksgiving to pick out the perfect tree as well as a few new lighted decorations for our front yard. We bought a pretty lighted angel as well as a golden retriever. I know that those two don't really flow together, but the golden retriever was so sweet looking and we can always use a lighted guard dog (although we all know that golden's make terrible guard dogs :) !).
 ready to pick out our tree
 checking out the lights in Home Depot
Once we got home, we put the babies down for a nap and popped the bottle of champagne to have mimosas while we decorated the tree and watched the LSU/Arkansas game.  I got the tree completely decorated as well as put out a few of the "baby-proofed" Christmas decorations that we have. Once Lila saw the tree decorated and all lit up, she was so excited and kept saying "OOooo" and pointing at it. We put it in the foyer, behind the baby gate, since I'm not willing to risk my nice ornaments being destroyed by Lila trying to pull the tree down! She seemed to enjoy it just as well from behind the gate!  Just the smell of fresh pine throughout the house made us all so excited for the holidays to be here and all the new traditions that we will start this year with our little family of four!
mimosas and tree decorating...what could be better?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This Thanksgiving was another great one and probably one of the best that we've ever had! It started off with a delicious buffet lunch at the Downtown Aquarium restaurant with the Millets and the Braseltons. My friend Ashley and her parents invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them at their house last year,  which was so nice since it was the first year that we weren't able to spend it with our own family, and we decided to make it a yearly tradition. This year, they decided to try out the Aquarium restaurant, and it was so delicious. Lila acted terrible at first, but came around and was actually not so bad in her high chair towards the end. We sat right next to a huge fish tank wall, which gave the girls something to look at and play around after we finished eating. Lila and Karsyn always have so much fun playing together, and I can't believe that they were only 9 months old this time last year!

After lunch, we took some pictures, let the girls run around outside for a bit, and then headed down to Galveston to meet our friends, the Disibios for Thanksgiving dinner at their house. John and Josh work together, and his wife and I get along so well. Their little girl, Elle, is only 7 months younger than Lila, so they enjoy playing together also. Unfortunately, they are moving to Missouri in July, so we are trying to get together as often as possible until then! John made such a delicious meal, and we had a great time visiting and watching the Cowboys beat Miami!

It was such a great day, and we are truly blessed with some amazing friends here that are like family!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! 11/24/11

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His court with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
-Psalm 100:4-5
Last year, I wrote a long post (linked here) about all of the things that I give thanks for in my daily life. My list this year remains mostly the same; however, I am able to be more specific about number 10 this year :) 

For the sake of time (having two under two doesn't lend itself to much free time!), I will copy and past most of my post from last year...so don't judge me for being somewhat unoriginal this year!

I am thankful for: 

1. A wonderful, supportive, loving husband who is such an amazing father and role model for our precious daughters.  I love it that we always have so much fun together no matter where we are or what we are doing!
2. Our beautiful baby girls: Lila Elizabeth (21 months) and Allison Neal (4 months).  They bring so much joy into our lives, and we have such a great time watching them grow and learn the world around them. Lila keeps us laughing  and on our toes quite often throughout the day, and Alli is blossoming into her own sweet personality and smiles all the time. God has blessed us with two great ones!!
3. Our families. Josh and I are blessed with amazing parents and siblings, who would give anything for us to move back home! (my mom has been trying to strike a deal with the Coast Guard to put a station on Lake Lanier for almost 4 years now) :)
4. Grandparents! We are so thankful to have 5 living grandparents between Josh and I that are healthy, happy, and able to play with our crazy Lila boo as well as hold and rock our sweet Alli. 
5. The Coast Guard. Even though they frustrate the heck out of me sometimes, if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be able to have lived in two great places (Destin and Houston) so far and have met so many new friends in these places.   I also appreciate that they have given Josh a great, stable job that provides us with awesome benefits and incredible insurance. 
6. Our Home (...well technically, two homes). In the midst of the recession and the housing market failure, I'm so thankful to have a roof over our heads, and not just any old roof.  We are so blessed to have a beautiful house that is a home!  There is so much love between these walls, and I just love the busy-ness of the day-to-day here with a crazy toddler, 4-month old baby, and a golden retriever that is three years old, but still acts like a new puppy. I am also thankful that even though our house in Florida hasn't sold yet, that we are able to afford to keep it on the market and are not in danger of foreclosure. 
 Texas home
Florida home

7. Our dog, Chevy! Sometimes I'm not so thankful for him when he scratches off the drywall, drags in clumps of mud right after the floors have been clean, or sheds his clumpy, yellow fur EVERYWHERE...but, we don't know what we'd do without him! He's such a sweet dog and puts up with all sorts of abuse that Lila gives him. He really loves these girls so much, and is the perfect family dog!
8. Our friends that are like family here in Texas. Between our old small group, the Jr League, playgroups, MOMs Club, MOPS, and my women's Bible study, we have met some pretty amazing people that are more like family to us here.  I have met some of the best friends, and it has been so much fun to watch our babies grow up together. They were also so supportive when Alli was first born, bringing us meals and gifts galore! Alli was born on July 13, and we had meals delivered twice a week until September 15th! These friends have been such a blessing to me since our family is so far away!
9. Lila's school: St. Christopher's Mother's Day Out. Without this school two days a week, I don't know how I would have ever gotten anywhere on my schoolwork for my master's degree. Now that I have Alli, it allows me to get more done in four hours than I ever thought possible! Running errands with only one baby (one that stays in her carseat no less) is MUCH easier than trying to get anything accomplished with a baby and a wild toddler! Besides selfish reasons :) , I know that Lila loves her teachers and her friends there and takes off running for her classroom the second we walk in the building. She is learning so much and building her creativity, as well, through the many art projects that she completes during each week. 
10. Our church and our faith. I'm so thankful for our Lord and Savior who gave His life so  that we can live forever in Him!! It is so amazing that he loves each of us so much that he was willing to die for us! I am also thankful that we have a place to worship Him and that we are free to do so in our country!


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