Highlights of 2014

Highlights of 2014

I looked back at my "Highlights of 2013" blog post {HERE} before publishing my 2014 post & this jumped out at me: "What a year it was for our family! The most notable events of 2013 for us were the addition of Miss Hadley Mae to our family, our first family trip to Disney World, & Derek's graduation from his residency program!" Last year was undoubtedly a big year for our family, but this year was pretty big, too! I guess life with small children/life in the military go hand in hand with lots of big changes! ;)  2014 marked the end of an era at Keesler AFB for us as we said our goodbyes to the Gulf Coast & relocated to San Antonio for Derek to embark on his fellowship in Allergy & Immunology. Here are a few other highlights from the year as seen on the blog....













2014 year was definitely a year of transition for our family as all four of us had to find our new normal here in San Antonio. Looking back, the move/transition process was definitely harder than we thought it would be with two small children in tow--but we made it to the other side & lived to tell about it! And for that, I'm pretty proud of us! ;)  And thankfully we've really found our rythym here in SA & it's starting to feel more like "home!" We're excited to see what 2015 will bring for our family! Happy New Year, Everyone!!


Christmas 2014: Our First Christmas in San Antonio

Derek had to work on Christmas Eve but got home just in time for us to eat a quick dinner & head to the Christmas Eve service at the church that Shelby's preschool is affiliated with. The church had a special candlelight Christmas Eve service especially for families with small children, complete with a birthday party for Jesus! It was perfect for our girls, they loved it! And Shelby was delighted to show us "her chapel." :)

After church, we came home & baked cookies for Santa!

Hadley inspecting our work ;)

After we finished the cookies for Santa, we told the girls it was time to go to bed so Santa could come & deliver their presents. Shelby looked at us so matter-of-factly & said: "But we don't need any more presents, we already have so many!" ;)  In years past, we've always opened presents at Grammy & Grampy's, BooBoo & Pop-Pop's, and Grandma & Granddad's. This was the first time all the presents were shipped to us & were under our tree all at once. After Shelby's comment, we let the girls open up a couple gifts before bedtime to space out the gifts a bit. What a rough life they've got! ;)

On Christmas morning, Shelby came downstairs to our room bursting with excitement that it was Christmas!! :)  We thought last year would be THE year where she would come bouding down the stairs to see what Santa had brought, but in actuality we had to go in & wake her up and coax her down the stairs disspelling confusion about what had happened. But this was our year!! :)  Thankfully, she was happily pacified to watch a Christmas movie with Mommy while Daddy & Hadley slept in a bit longer. When we finally heard Hadley waking up over the monitor, we told Shelby she could run up to her room.

Even though new presents were waiting downstairs to be opened,
the girls phyically cannot leave their room without a few stories in the morning ;) 
Opening stockings before breakfast :)

This was the best reaction from Shelby on Christmas morning.
She is opening up her new Mulan plush doll from Mommy & Daddy. :)

Of course we had to stop opening presents to read our new books! :)

This picture cracks me up--Hadley gave up on reading to play with Elmo, but Shelby just kept on reading ;)

Skyping with Emi & Chris while we opened their presents

After the girls opened all their presents, we told them we thought Santa had left them one more thing outside on the back porch...
they were delighted to discover a sandbox waiting for them!! :)

I got Derek a gift certificate to go golfing with a friend for his Christmas gift along with an electric blanket. Surprisingly, it has been a chilly winter here so far this season & our huge open staircase in our house keeps the upstairs nice & warm but leaves our main floor quite drafty which is problematic b/c our bedroom is on the main floor. Every night as we get in bed, Derek always fondly reminsces over his childhood days with his electric blanket....so I finally got him an electric blanket. ;)  My big gift from Derek was a new Roomba robotic vacuum, and I don't know which of us is enjoying it more, ha!! I'm loving the clean floors & Derek is loving the excuse of playing with a robot. ;)  Vacuuming is hands-down my least favorite chore. First of all, I just don't like vacuuming. Then there's the fact that as soon as I vacuum, the floors are almost immediately covered in crumbs again b/c we live with small children. And thirdly, there just is never a good time to vacuum! I can't vacuum when the girls are awake b/c they start arguing or it makes Hadley cry, but I can't vacuum when they're asleep either b/c the vacuum is too noisy. We had some friends get one a while back that liked it, and then when we visited Derek's dad & Eileen they spoke highly of theirs..so that sealed the deal for Derek! The Roomba is a totally unnecessary gadget that I would never buy for myself (which is exactly what a gift should be!!), but it's so fun & has made my life immensely easier already--I love it!! Thanks, Love!!

Christmas morning flew! Before we knew it, it was time to get the girls fed & down for their naps. When they woke up, we headed over to the Goins' house for Christmas dinner. So hard to believe, but this was our 3rd Christmas celebrating with their family! It is such a blessing to have them here with us in SA. We certainly missed our families, but it was a wonderful first Christmas here in TX!!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

The front & back of our 2014 Christmas card
It didn't photograph very well, but it says Merry Christmas at the top.
The word "Christmas" is in gold foil.


Here Comes Santa Claus!

I just re-read my post from yesterday and am feeling a bit guilty about whining that our Christmas feels so different this year. Instead, I should be focusing on how thankful I am that after 8.5 years in the Air Force, this will be our first Christmas truly apart from family! That is pretty amazing! And I'm super thankful that despite the fact that Derek is on call this month, we should have him home with us on the evening of Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (fingers crossed that nothing crazy happens!). That is a lot to be thankful for!

I love getting the girls' picture taken with Santa each year, so here is a walk down memory lane over the past few Christmases & our 2014 picture!






Merry Christmas!! :)


A different kind of Christmas

Last week, as I was lugging five boxes into the post office while trying to push Hadley in the stroller & hold Shelby's hand all at the same time (thank goodness for kind strangers who are willing to hold the door for mamas with full hands!), it occurred to me that this was the very first time we've ever mailed Christmas presents home. Which then made me realize this is the very first Christmas where we'll be completely on our own. We've spent a few Christmases on our own before, but we've always celebrated with family in GA early or later after Christmas. But this is our very first Christmas just the four of us. I'm glad I didn't come to this realization any sooner, otherwise I would have been more sad! We've had so much fun already this month, and I'm really looking forward to this week...but it just feels really different. Since Derek is on call this month, we had to be here for Christmas. While it will be nice to have a quiet, low-key Christmas for a change we are really missing our families.

 Okay, before I start crying, here are a few pictures of our December fun over the past few weeks! 

The girls were with me in Target one day when I bought two rolls of wrapping paper. Who knew wrapping paper could be so fun?! They literally played with these two rolls for an entire week and complained when I finally had to use them to wrap. They were so creative with them, the rolls were horses, swords, slides, you name it! ;)

We're loving the mild winters here in SA! After 4 years in Biloxi and our time here in SA, I don't think we'll ever be able to live in a place that has real winters again!

Shelby's school had a gingerbread fundraiser one weekend this month, it was so fun!

The allergy clinic had a family Christmas party this year, and it was so fun! They had crafts for the kids, a great playground, Smores, balloon animals, and the hit of the night for Shelby--a chocolate fountain! She wasn't interested in dipping fruit in the chocolate, so one of Derek's attending doctors suggested she dip the chocolate bars from the Smores in the chocoalte fountain...Shelby was delighted with this idea & didn't leave the fountain for the rest of the night. ;)  You can see that Daddy created her a makeshift bib out of a paper napkin to help salvage her clothes!

Our first visit to the new SA aquarium!
As part of Jesus's birthday celebration at Shelby's preschool, the kids all wrote a note to Jesus at home & then the teachers attached each note to a balloon for the kids to release into the sky. This was Shelby's note. She was adamant that she had to fill up every single line on the paper for her note to Jesus. ;)

Hadley got upgraded from her high chair to a booster seat last week. She was pretty thrilled with herself. ;)

Blurry, but cute!

There are no words.

The Gallimores Christmas Party
We are incredibly thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas here in SA with friends who feel like family!

Shelby got a Frozen blanket for her birthday in September, and it's been a higly coveted posession. Hadley received a matching Doc Mc Stuffins blanket from Grammy & Grampy for Christmas. The girls are thrilled to each have a blanket! Daddy wrapped them up in their new blankets, they look like giant swaddled babies!

The hightlight of the past few days for the girls has been watching all of the packages roll in. They have loved opening up the boxes from grandparents and placing the presents under the tree, but their favorite part of all has been the bubble wrap!!! :)
Santa came through our neighborhood on a fire truck! I'm pretty sure Derek & I were more excited about this than Shelby! Apparently they do this every year in our neighborhood, but Derek & I had never seen this kind of tradition before!

Can't believe Christmas is just 3 days away!!


Family Pictures 2014

We had our annual family photos taken back in October with Sara K. Blanco Photography. We were so pleased with how they turned out! My friend Lauren from Keesler lived in San Antonio before moving to Biloxi & randomly remembered that Sara was the photographer for one of her friend's weddings in SA. I was so glad Lauren recommended to her to us! One of the perks of the military life is having connections all over the place. ;)

Here are some of our favorites from our photo session! :) 

Shelby's fake laugh ;)

This one cracks me up b/c it is so typical--Shelby being the sweet, kind, loving big sister & then there's Hadley ;)

Hadley usually takes a while to warm up to people. She's not one of those babies who will freely smile at strangers, you have to work for her smiles! So true to form, she was all about the stink eye throughout the photo shoot. But thankfully, the photographer was able to capture a few sweet photos of her! I love this one!

Shelby was balancing on a rock in this picture & was so delighted with herself!

Another classic "real life" picture ;)  The photographer wanted a cute, snuggly family shot--Shelby happily obliged, but Hadley just wanted her space!

I love this one of the girls! But it makes me laugh every time I look at it b/c I just think of Hadley being grumpy & wanting her own space. ;)  The photographer wanted Hadley to be right next to Hadley or right behind her, but Hadley wanted NOTHING to do with that. This was as close as she let Shelby get. ;)

Shelby was all smiles! Love her goofy grin!

One of my favorites!

This is another one that makes me laugh--Hadley was teetering on the edge of glee & melting down b/c she
only wanted Mommy to hold her ;)

Family photo sessions are never easy. The time & effort it takes to plan the coordinating outfits (I bought & returned two different pairs of shoes for the girls before settling on the ones they ended up wearing..ridiculous, I know!), coordinating the time of the photo shoot for optimal lighting for the photographer with the nap/meal times of two small children (to make sure no one is hungry or tired!), and then trying to get everyone to smile on cue--it's an experience to say the least! It's never fun while we're doing it, but we'll always be thankful we did it. We will treasure these pictures for years to come!