Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa found us!!!

I have several new Christmas posts below...

So, Santa found us. He did. Addison was a VERY sweet girl this year. We said goodbye to our elf on the shelf (who is yet unnamed), left cookies for Santa, and then read The Night Before Christmas and the story of Jesus' birth before we went to bed.

Then some little elves got to work, and this is what they left.
Addison woke up saying "ho ho ho" and was very excited to see what Santa brought.

Her face when she walked through the door.

Saying "Hi Dora! Hi Boots! DaDaDaDaDora!!!" as she ran to her Dora items...

Giving her signature head-touch-hug to her new Dora bathtime doll...

Our pretty big-eyed girl sitting in her new chair the whole morning while she opened presents...

Hugging her new sock monkey with Daddy.

Even though this was Addison's 2nd Christmas, it was even more special for all of us. We enjoyed all of our festivities and time with family and friends. Most of all, we enjoyed being together, seeing our little girl's eyes light up with excitement at every little thing, and celebrating grace and peace thanks to our Lord Jesus.

And now, we are glad it is over. Bring on the new year!!!

Four Christmases: Volume 4

We ate Christmas dinner at Andrea and Mike's in Decatur. Andrea prepared a delicious meal composed of some yummy Paula Deen recipes--asparagus casserole, creamed potatoes, green bean wraps, and the most tender and delicious pork tenderloins I've tasted. After dinner, we exchanged gifts.

We spent the weekend with Patrick's family and enjoyed staying at the house with Andrea, Mike, and the girls. We went to visit his aunt and uncle's chicken farm in Moulton and enjoyed our family time. Our favorites were watching the girls play so well together, having late night conversations with Andrea like we were kids, and solving the world's problems with Steven.

Andrea helping Haley Beth pass out presents...
Addison so excited about her new Dora sippy cup from Bern!
Addison showing everyone her bellybutton... while sitting on top of her Dora tent from Uncle Steven...
Hanna Claire ready to open her first present...

Haley Beth helping Nana open her present...

Four Christmases: Volume 3

After we celebrated Santa's visit (will talk more about that in a later post), we headed to my parents' house for brunch. We ate delicious french toast, sausage egg casserole, a pumpkin roll, sausage pinwheels, and fruit and then exchanged gifts.

Afterward, we all took turns taking spins in Dad's new ride, played with the girls' new toys, and put the girls down for their naps. During naptime, we enjoyed Dad's famous homemade popcorn while playing Mexican Train. It was one of my favorite Christmases with my family as an adult.

Crawford family action shot...

Dad and Mom posing with his new chrome Auburn mug and coaster for his new car...
the girls playing with Savannah's kid compooter...

If one is being held, the other is too... That's the way they roll...
Meek family action shot...

Four Christmases: Volume 2

We spent Christmas Eve evening with my mom's family at my grandparents' house here in Franklin. Our meal traditions always include beef tenderloin as the main course and peppermint parfaits for dessert. This year I took a hashbrown casserole as a side, and it was gobbled up.

In the past couple of years, we have also adopted the Dirty Santa giftcard game, and Patrick and I struck gold again: Home Depot for Patrick and Barnes and Noble for me! Addison received a puzzle, book, and purse full of goodies. What a prelude to Christmas.
Addison continuing her obsession with Christmas trees...
Opening up one of her gifts with Daddy...
Singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" or "Jingle Bells" on the stairs with Savannah...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Night at the Hotel of Lights

{I've been updating like crazy--taking advantage of this naptime, so scroll down for more Crawford updates!}

Monday night, we met up with Lindsay, Daniel, and Savannah at Chick Fil-A {or Chick-o-weh, as Savannah calls it} for a quick dinner before heading out to see the sights of beautiful Opryland Hotel. The girls had a ball, and they were mesmerized by all the lights, the huge trees, the water show, and all the people.

Sitting with a rather scary looking elf... Addison doesn't look too sure of him...

The beautiful Meek family... with BABY BOY MEEK cooking in his mommy's tummy!One of the many beautiful Christmas trees!
Daddy and Addy stopped for a photo op.

Another pretty tree! We had so much fun. We had a fun sucker at Chick Fil-A tell us not to even try to get out there b/c traffic was so bad--apparently it took her daughter and some of her friends 3 hours to get there from Brentwood... but they went the Saturday night before Christmas. Luckily she didn't deter us, and we made the normal trek in a timely fashion.

Four Christmases: Volume 1

We celebrated with Dad's side of the family last Saturday night at Mom and Dad's with delicious appetizers and fun. We participated in our tradition of the Dirty Santa gift card game, and Patrick and I proudly teamed up and came away with Outback and California Pizza Kitchen cards. Date Night, here we come! We really missed Uncle Tommy this year, but the four young'uns kept us entertained. Best moment of the night: the entire room of 11 adults and 4 children making "Indian" noises. Priceless.

Reaching out for all the balls on the Christmas tree.

Playing with the lighting and focus on our camera as Addison circled the Christmas tree.

Grandmama and Granddaddy Dean soaking in all of the kids' energy.

Savannah ruling Dad's roost on the treadmill
Aunt Gail with Murphy

Addison and Savannah in Santa's sleigh calling all Indians.
The best we could get of the 4 kiddos: Addison, Mann, Savannah, Murphy

Year of 31

We celebrated my birthday at Cantina Laredo down in the Gulch. Addy-girl had an unbeknownst-t0-us double ear infection, but we enjoyed our delicious dinner complete with fresh guac and fried apple pie with cinnamon ice cream nonetheless. Thanks, Mom, Dad, Linds, Daniel, Savannah, and, of course, Patrick and Addison, for celebrating my life with me!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A borrowed holiday wish...

But first, some exciting Crawford news!

Patrick accepted a new job on Friday right here in Franklin, Tennessee.

Yep, that's correct. Right here. No more travel. Hallelujah! Most of you know how hard this past year has been with him having to be away, and we are so thankful. We feel like a fog has been lifted, and we pray that God has used this year to keep us from taking things for granted. Addison is probably the most excited of all--this month of him being home has blessed her with an undeniable affection for her daddy. Merry Christmas to us!

Secondly, we are already enjoying our Birthday/Christmas present to each other--we purchased it early because we got a great deal, and we thought we'd like to start learning to use it so that we could maximize our Christmas memories. We have a long way to go, but after months of research, discussion with photographer friends, and negotiation (with each other and salesmen), we are excited about our new...
I am taking recommendations for photography books, classes, and any helpful tips. I'm far removed from my dark room days, and I want to use this product to its fullest potential. We've been trying out the 2 lenses we bought, and I'm anxious to test out some of my dad's Canon lenses. (FYI, did you know that Canon and Wolf broke up? Wolf doesn't even carry their products anymore, and they act strange when you even bring up "Canon" in camera talk... Fishy...)

Lastly, here are the words of a Christmas card that my favorite boss sent. You might remember her with my "gentle" post from this time last year. She has a way with words, and I hope you are as encouraged from it as I was.

Carried in the small card is a token of my deepest wishes for you and yours in this festive time of year.
I wish for you time with family and friends that warms you for the year to come.
I wish for you to feel the childlike joy that allowed you to believe in miracles and play in the snow.
I wish for you to know the power of mindful positivity over instinctual negativity.
I wish for you joy that fills up the empty parts of your spirit and helps you to see the goodness abounding around you each moment.
I wish for you to know the importance of rest over exhaustion.
I wish for you to find relaxation and refreshment that makes you feel your best self.
I wish for you celebration that flutters your heart and your feet.
I wish for you peace.

May this season provide you all that you wish!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A day without Christmas cards in December...

Is a sad day indeed.

Today my mailbox is empty, so I went through my last year's stash.

I love all things Christmas, but I have always loved "real mail," and I admittedly can't wait to get home each day to check my mail and read my Christmas cards. In a season whose popular mantra is "It is more blessed to give than receive," I do participate and agree, but I find it extremely blessed to receive cards every day in the mail. I have them displayed around door entryways, on my fridge, on my Christmas-tree-Christmas-card-holder, etc., and I love to look at them.

Since I came up empty today, I thought I'd research the history of the Christmas card. Pictured below is the world's first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Sir Henry ColeQueen Victoria issued official Christmas cards in the 1840's, and the trend caught on in America in 1875. Cards have always ranged from religious to secular, and in the 1900's, a handmade card surge became popular. The most recent trend is the photo card, which has gained popularity as families have tried to correspond with members both near and far.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Celebrations

With the craziness that the holidays ensue, Patrick and I have tried to simplify our merriment. For us, it's not about saying "no" to things, but saying "yes" to the things that matter. We opted out of our church's Breakfast with Santa to celebrate the Birthdays of last weekend. While our trek to Montgomery/Huntsville didn't exactly feel simple, it mattered.

This past week I've had the blessed opportunity to celebrate the spirit with 2 special groups of friends. My IHS work family refreshes me through the daily melodrama of high school. They are the recipients of email threads of vents, sarcasm, laughter, and delirium. They are the lunch bunch who I can be my true self with. They love my daughter; they love my husband; they support my dreams; they get my quirks. They are a gift. After school on Thursday, 6 of us with our kiddos celebrated by exchanging gifts, eating holiday snacks, and toasting our spiced cider to the end of another semester.

On Saturday, I attended my annual Christmas brunch celebration with my oldest and dearest of friends. I'm thankful that we get together numerous times throughout the year, but our holiday gathering is always one of my favorites. These girls know my history, and they love me for the girl I was and the woman I am. They are a true safe haven. This year we met at Andrea's newly renovated and new-to-her home. We celebrated the babies of 2009 pictured below: Kamry, Reese, Rylee, and Knox. And we can't wait for Baby Girl McCasland to make her appearance in March 2009. We missed Kristen (and Zac) for sure, we hope to see her on her Nashville tour after Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend of Birthdays...

We just got back from a 30-hour whirlwind of a trip to Alabama. We celebrated Birthday after Birthday. Despite the hustle and bustle, we were so refreshed from getting to spend time with "our people."

Stop 1: Montgomery, AL for Oliver Blackburn's Where the Wild Things Are 1st Birthday party.

We left from IHS at 2:30, braved through Birmingham traffic, and got in town to give the Hartzog family a hug before meeting Kevin, Brit, and Ollie for dinner at Cuco's. We enjoyed the delicious food and good company. After checking out the Birthday decor and letting the kiddos play in Oliver's new Cozy Coupe, we headed to stay at Hannah and Jeremy's to finally meet sweet Nolan and spend some good time with them.

We enjoyed the festivities of Oliver's party. Britani left no detail overlooked, and everything was perfect.

Stop 2: Huntsville, AL, for Eli and Caroline Stapler's 3rd and 1st Birthday party

After doing some quick Christmas shopping and driving by our old house, we headed North to Huntsville to celebrate with Eli and Caroline. We enjoyed seeing Amy and Scott's beautiful new home, and we are so happy they are so much closer. Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera out when Caroline dug into her smash cake. It was truly a sight to be seen--so adorable, and we felt so blessed to get to share in these special events in our special friends' lives.

We only wish we'd had the time to stop and see all of our beloved friends between our house and Monkey town, but we crammed every single thing we could into this 30-hour escapade.

Now, it's onto celebrating my birthday! YAY!