01 JanWelcome 2021

After a late night we slept a little later than normal for the first day in 2021. Leia and Lisa were the first two awake and able to snuggle watching Barbie and just talk for a little bit. Ivy woke up because her noise maker went off right as Chris was walking out to the den. Ivy came and climbed up in Chris’s lap to snuggle as she was still waking up. These are moments we treasure with both our girls home, snuggled up, and simply being together. Thankful to start this year off together. Praying it is full of love, joy, health, hope, prosperity, and blessings from our Lord and Savior 

It was a slow morning but midday we headed to Mimi’s for the traditional NYD food: greens, peas, and pork. The superstition says to eat greens for money, peas for luck, and pork for prosperity. It was nice to start the year out seeing our family in town. However the late night took a toll on all of us and we were tired. It was a early night for everyone with a early morning riding lesson the next day. 

Only picture of the day we snapped before leaving Mimi’s and the Rhoads had already left

This morning over breakfast we did talk about 2021 hopes/goals, which follows:
Ivy: we get a horse, we can go skiing, and school stays in traditional setting with good grades
Leia: we get to go to FL to visit family, we get a horse, Covid goes away
Lisa: Health over all our friends and family, spend time with family and friends, and neighbors and strangers loving each other the way God tell us to love each other 
Chris: first response was he was not willing to go after mommy said her’s …. more Catan wins against the Talley’s than in 2020, return to normalcy with Covid eradicated, awesome family and friend trips for 2021

Some of these are not going to happen (i.e. getting a horse) but it is nice to know each others desires 

31 DecWeek after Christmas Fun to NYE 2020

With Christmas over, decorations down, still living in a pandemic, and Christmas break still going we purposely tried to do at least one fun thing a day. Several options were tossed out each day, some options the girls were excited about and others they declined but there was a fun option everyday. There were some days we simply enjoyed doing nothing but being together. So grateful to have this break and get to spend some time with our little family, extended family, and friends to create fun, precious, memories together. 

Monday morning mommy slept in again. We enjoyed breakfast at Mimi’s once everyone was awake. Ivy opted to join Mimi and mommy for a walk around the neighborhood. Leia did not want to go so she asked to stay at Mimi’s. We all snuggled and watched TV and had a chill morning. 

Mimi asked us and the Rhoads’ about going to get pedicures mid morning. However, Leia declined and Stacy declined for her group. Ivy was excited about it though so Mimi took Ivy for a little pampering while Leia and Lisa hung out at Mimi’s. 

On their way back Mimi picked up Outback for lupper, the girls rode the golf cart afterwards, we chilled by the fire, and then Mimi took us home. 

Monday afternoon the girls got to play with the Sipes and Max then the Talley’s and us went to Habeneros for dinner before we all decided to call it a night. 

Tuesday morning, mommy was up cooking by 8. We had invited a couple neighbors over for brunch. Elizabeth missed the memo it was husbands too so suggested a time Charlie was working but the rest of us enjoyed yummy food and great fellowship



After brunch, daddy hung Ivy’s desk in her room while mommy cleaned and the kids continued playing until it was time to go to horse back riding. The girls have missed it the past couple weeks! They ended up staying through two lessons. 

When they got home we ate dinner, got baths, had a family Wii bowling and Mario Cart, played teacher, and watched TV … perfect ending to a great day
 

Wednesday, the girls did not want to go anywhere! We tried to talk them into Top Golf or bowling but one or the other declined. Ivy did play Wii bowling with mommy and daddy that morning. The girls had fun playing in the playroom and watching Flash most the morning. Daddy worked on his computer and mommy prepped food and ran errands. That afternoon, Piper and Silas walked over to play. Ivy had been asking about seeing her since we figured out they lived close by. Ivy and Leia gave them a tour of our house and went to get a tour of their house too. They all were excited to meet Buddy and enjoy a snack. Their friends headed home early afternoon. Lisa was outside blowing off the driveway so Ivy came out and we ended up played basketball. After an hour Leia and Chris joined us. We worked up an appetite and needed showers then settled in for the night and watched Soul on Disney plus. 

Only picture from the day was girls with friends enjoying snacks

Thursday rolled around which also happened to be last day of 2020, NYE. The girls and Chris spent the day at home again. The girlies played while Chris worked on his computer. Lisa ventured to Gardendale to see Mimi and get a massage. That afternoon we chilled out and had a few appetizers since we planned a late dinner at a friends house for NYE celebration. Looking forward to 2020 being in the history books and praying 2021 brings abundant blessings and health. 

Girls enjoying being at home while mommy visited Mimi and she waved good bye to 2020
 
Enjoying the afternoon at home

Party is ready

Hot tubbing

Games

Ringing in the New Year

NYE Spanish traditions … 12 grapes for 12 wishes

Pulling suitcases across the road for travels

Blessed to spend time with family and friends 

When we got home the girls got to do their balloon popper we forgot to take
 
Great ending and beginning to 2020
 

Favorite 5 from 2020:
Ivy’s: NYE @ Sofia’s, our girls trip to Helen, Gatlinburg with the Talleys, skiing for the first time, my new desk
Leia’s: Trips, holidays, my birthday, my birthday party, and going to friends houses
Lisa’s favorite from 2020: spending time with family, ski trip, beach trip, being able to work from home during a pandemic, getting outside more as a family and watching girls learn to ride bikes better
Chris favorite from 2020: Graduating with Masters in Computer Science, family ski trip, Gatlinburg trip with Talley’s, Catan wins, and having a awesome family to go thru Covid with together

27 DecGlow Wild: An Animal Lantern Celebration

Sunday morning was another lazy morning in our household. We did a little cleaning, listened to church online since they were not having in-service still, the girls played, and then Mimi came over to see us for a little bit before we went to lupper with the Rhoads at Pita Stop. After a good meal and sweet fellowship the Rhoads headed home while the rest of us headed to Glow Wild at Birmingham Zoo for a little festive fun. We headed straight to the train and then walked around looking at all the lights until we saw everything and was ready to head out. The Comfort ladies went home with Mimi for a girls spend the night party while Chris went home to watch Wonder Woman. On the way out Ivy declared that this was one of the best nights. Love the sweet memory and hearing the excitement in her voice. On the way to Mimi’s we drove by a few more lights then got baths and relaxed watching TV until bed time. Thankful for the evening with our Mimi. 


Light tunnel on the way to the train

Train ride fun


 
The light swings were a big hit! 




Ivy feeding the deer with her hand

Mimi and the monkey

Leia loved the arctic animal display


Group selfie walking around 





Photo op by the tree

Dolphin row on the way to the carousal

These little ladies have always loved a good carousal ride



Love bird selfie

        
   

26 DecDay after Christmas

The day after Christmas Grandpa picked up our traditional donuts for the day after Christmas / driving home day for them. Everyone was just sitting down as Lisa woke up which was unusual for her to be the last one to wake up. We all visited for a little bit after breakfast before they packed up. After a couple more cups of coffee the house un-decorating began while the girls played with their new toys. As we were putting up the last few things Max Talley rode up in his new monster truck that Santa brought him to show us his driving skills. We ended up planning an impromptu neighborhood game night. We turned it into dinner, games, and singing Happy birthday to Jesus which we use to always do when the girls were younger; nice to remember an old tradition that we let slip away and have some fun with neighbors and friends. 

The girls were excited to give each other presents and sweet Ivy did not want Max or Tay to be left out so she bought them a gift too

Tay and Mrs Elizabeth made Jesus a birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday then fanned the candles out to be Covid friendly 

25 DecChristmas 2020

Christmas morning was an early one in our household! Leia was up and down throughout the night opening the door to check the time since we told her she could not wake us until at least 5 am. There was very little sleep for two of the four of us with the excitement and doors opening/closing. Yet, we know that as the girls get older the excitement dwindles and eventually we will be the ones waking them so will take the early Christmas mornings for now and drink a few extra cups of coffee to power us through the day. Although the lack of sleep did not make for a joyful time all morning or day but it is the Christmas kind of exhausted. 

Ivy rushed out to the den before any of us could say anything. She was looking at the goods Santa left excited to start playing with her horse trailer, pondering what the wall desk was exactly, looking at Leia’s backbend mat, and wanting to go outside but a little nervous since it was still dark out. Leia was patiently waiting on the go ahead as mommy walked back and asked if they knew Ivy was in the den. Leia rushed out too excited to see their gifts and surprises. Chris followed behind as it was early. Mommy and daddy got a cup of coffee and just watched as the girls played and thought about how early but what a sweet time it was with their excitement. Ivy braved the dark after about 40 minutes to find the basketball hoop she asked for out back; although, she did not play long with the chill of the coldest day of the season. 

Deedee came up about 6 to join in the excitement. She went to get Grandpa get up about 6:30 for the girls to open their gifts from us all. Leia got to open her own gifts while Ivy opened hers. We loved watching their excitement and expressions opening each gift. After they had opened all their packages Leia started playing with her new toys while Ivy happily helped everyone else open their gifts too. We were not as quick opening gifts this year as we took our time then we all sat down for a breakfast together. The girls snuggled and rested a little before we headed to Mimi’s mid morning.  

The Rhoads arrived slightly ahead of us to Mimi’s but we reminded us to take pictures again; thankful for the reminder. The Dobbs ladies started cooking brunch after pictures while the little ladies sorted presents. We all enjoyed brunch for lunch; one of Mark’s favorite Christmas traditions. After the table was cleaned we all made our way to the den to open gifts. The four little ladies opened their gifts first as the adults sat and savored the moments. We opened our gifts slow and simply enjoyed the time. 

That afternoon we had a low key afternoon. We all watched Hallmarks and sport games on the TV, Lisa played pool with Ivy, several of us played a few games of left, right, center dice game, a few of us went for a walk around the neighborhood, and Leia put her lego set together. We fixed appetizers that afternoon as people started getting hungry and continued enjoying the low key day simply fellowshipping and being together. Late that afternoon we went back home. The girls played tie up grandpa while mommy got her bath then we all watched a movie on Netflix, “Noel”. As soon as it was over we all headed to bed since we had been up early and everyone seemed to be a special kind of Christmas tired. 

Our house just the 4 of us
Ivy was the first one out to check out the goods Santa left, mommy grabbed Leia and she came in a flash





  
Enjoying coffee and a good view on this Christmas morning

Selfies with my girls

Ivy checked out the cookie plate to see how much Santa ate

Full blown play time in the house

DD and grandpa woke up to joined the fun


The love between sisters

Ivy helped them open their gifts too





Ivy’s note: 
i was so so so so so so so so so so excited for the airpods i screamed a said Leia you did not want them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ivy got so excited for her cotton candy.
Our sweet Ivy gave hugs for thanks

Yummy breakfast

The girls were crashing after a early morning so rested up and played some more before heading to 

We all made it to Mimi’s and got some photo ops

Photo from two angles …. Sara wanted to be taller






After photo ops the Dobbs ladies cooked and then we had brunch


The girls were excited to open presents after we ate


      
Ivy said no one was playing with her and she was sad so Mommy played pool with Ivy

Game time

Ivy joined uncle Mark and Stacy on their second walk then mommy and daddy headed out too

Game time and snuggles

Evening fun before we all enjoyed a Christmas movie and headed to bed

24 DecChristmas Eve 2020

Christmas Eve morning we woke up as we have for years getting dressed and gathering the things to take to Mim’s to follow our family tradition of going to Mimi’s with grandparents, cousins and friends. In the hustle and bustle though we did not reflect on the gift it is to be able to get to continue our tradition. We rushed into it and took this year for granted as we have every year. Even though our family has been impacted with the loss of many loved ones dying we press on and have not taken the time to savor moments together as the gift they are to each of us. 

This year even the uncertainty of a pandemic has robbed many of their traditions across the world. There are family units not getting to spend the day with extended families or parents in quarantine unable to spend it with their child. There are families that have lost jobs that are questioning how to buy Christmas gifts for their kids. There are people that are wishing for a Christmas miracle and longing to hug the neck of their loved ones. This reflection was not something that we discussed until after the Christmas festivities were done and decorations down but is a reflection that we hope to carry forward and in all our gatherings for friends and family. Time together with anyone you love is the best gift. 

This year Grandpa and Deedee drove over on Christmas Eve morning and arrived about 9:30. We all headed to Mimi’s shortly afterwards. The Rhoads were there when we arrived and had taken their family pics but reminded us to take ours too; something we have not always been good with remembering lately. We set up games in the basement so we could spread out a little more than normal. Kristi and Stephanie came shortly after we got there and got their family pics then we all headed outside for a big group picture in the chilly weather. We welcomed going back inside to the warmth of the fire then ate, did presents, and fellowshipped for a few minutes before Stephanie and Kristi headed home. 

Our four little ladies decorated their sugar cookies as their tradition has  been for years then the Rhoads headed home. We hung out with Mimi a little longer then we headed home ourselves to put away our goodies at home. The girls exchanged the present they bought each other and played a little bit before aunt Kelly Face-timed us for a little bit from their Christmas ski trip to SLC. We all enjoyed talking then the girlies picked out their cookies for Santa to put them on the fireplace before they headed to Ivy’s room for their movie and game night following Sara and Katie’s tradition they started doing last year too. Mommy did make them turn their TV down when we headed to bed in hopes we all would start dreaming of sweet, sugar plums soon.  

Girls woke up to a note from Cupcake that there was a funny trick on daddy … he had red and green toes

So thankful our family tradition continued this year and we gathered together with all the uncertainties. The photo ops are also a tradition … love looking at them throughout the year



Thankful to call each of these beautiful people family

Real life shot of the prep

Always great to fellowship with a great meal 

The kids exchanged while the adults played their traditional secret santa



After everyone left our little ladies decorated sugar cookies

Some of us took Christmas Eve naps … like father, like son 😉
 
We headed home and the girlies exchanged their present to each other


Aunt Kelly FaceTimed us. Our girls were excited to show her their daddy’s toes

Before we knew it the time had come to put out cookies for Santa and go to bed for the big man to make his deliveries

      

23 DecChristmas Eve Eve

Wednesday, we dedicated part of the morning to cleaning and straightening the house. Once things were in order, our little elves delivered Christmas cheer to neighbors. Mimi arrived as they were wrapping up for an afternoon of family craft time. We ended up going to pick up Sara and Katie since the Rhoads’ were having shutters hung and could not get away.

We all made sock snowman out of the supplies we bought for Leia’s class Christmas party; thankful we were able to put some of the supplies we could not cancel or return to use and that Sara had done them before to help facilitate it. Stacy left Mark in charge of the shutter guy and came over as we were finishing up our first craft to visit for a little bit too. Lisa helped get Sara and Ivy started on the next craft then we headed to relax by the fireplace while they made santa beads and the 11 year olds played games.

The Rhoads headed home not long after craft time was done to get ready for their dinner with friends while Mimi and the Comforts went to dinner at Farley’s. We had planned on going to the Zoo Glow afterwards but rescheduled due to rain. We could not talk Mimi into staying any longer with us since she was ready to head home. We spent the rest of the evening at home doing cocoa bombs, playing games, and watching a Christmas movie. Thankful for the sweet time with Mimi and the Rhoads today. 

Craft time with cousins and Mimi

 

They turned out so cute! 

Aunt Stacy made it for a little fellowship that afternoon

Ivy and Sara kept crafting as the rest of us hung out by the fire

Ivy pulled a uncle Mark and stood on a stool to be as tall as Sara in the pic
 
Christmas Eve Eve dinner

There was a pepper mishap … the bottom popped off … we like pepper but not that much

We rescheduled our Zoo Glow since it was raining but Ivy wanted to do a cocoa bomb. Love the simple things that can make our girls giggle and a milk bubble made Ivy laugh and spread joy throughout the house while our daddy played Mr Fix-it to a broken drawer. 
 
Tonight was Ivy’s night to poor the milk. Only Ivy and mommy sampled it this time though then we played Tanzi, Slapzi, and pictionary while daddy and Leia watched TV. Later that evening the girls played Mario Cart as mommy and daddy watched Hallmark

These moments are treasured ones!
A ordinary day with loved ones make the day extraordinary. 

22 DecIce Skating and Christmas Lights

The second day of Christmas break included a last minute trip to the ice skating rink to meet up with the Bailey’s to glide across the ice. We arrived earlier than they did and was happy to run into the Luccasean’s too. It was fun all skating together! We all laughed and enjoyed a ‘normal’ activity and being with friends. Added bonus, the cold air made it bearable wearing the masks for the activity duration too; it might become one of our favorite indoor activities while the mask ordinance stays in place. We lasted about an hour and a half in skates before people started saying their feet were hurting and kids saying they were hungry. We all headed to “Margarita Grille” for lunch and a little more fellowship before parting ways and wishing each other a very Merry Christmas.

We started skating and ran into Luke Luccasean

The Bailey’s arrived and joined in on the fun too but Kala refused to skate

Fun time skating with these littles
 

 



 
 
Fun at lunch

After our midday fun we headed home. The girls called Alex to come play while Chris and Lisa enjoyed a Hallmark Christmas movie together. The afternoon passed quickly and Tuesday evening we decided to have a little family Christmas fun. Chris had picked up hot cocoa bombs while we were skating Lisa had ordered so we tried them then got the girls ice-cream and went looking at Christmas lights. It was a fun little Christmas outing. We loved the laughs and giggles from the little ladies. We are so thankful for the sweet time together and the sweet memory. 

First time doing hot cocoa bombs. It was fun watching it pop. 

The Comfort ladies all tried it but Chris declined and headed back to his office while we sampled it. 

Love that sweet Ivy said mom you get in a picture too
We all gave it a thumbs up and will have to do another one this season

We loaded up and got the girlies ice cream to enjoy while we all went looking at Christmas lights


21 DecChristmas Cookie Decorating

To start off our first official day of Christmas break we went to the Talley’s for our annual cookie decorating. This year we invited the Schlappi’s too. We made some cookies last night incase the littles lost interest but it turned out Tay was the one that hung in the longest. All the littles had fun cutting out cookies and playing with the trains Holly had set up. Once the cookies were baked and cooled the decoration could begin. Holly had every icing imaginable and fun decorating goodies too. Love this fun tradition with sweet neighbors and friends! Looking forward to continuing this tradition for years to come …

Supplies ready for cookie fun …

All hands on deck to make yummy cookies


Few photo ops


Getting instructions on cookie decorating 

The moms

Decorating fun

It is always to sneak a taste when your decorating


20 DecWeekend Before Christmas

Cupcake the elf is having fun playing around our house this year

Leia went to spend the night with Mimi Thursday night since she elected not to go to school Friday so mommy and daddy had a date night with little bit. Mimi gives the girls their choice when they have a one-on-one so Leia picked dinner and entertainment. Mommy and Daddy gave Ivy her pick of dinner too so we ended up at Waffle House, got lots of sweet snuggles, Ivy git ahold of mommy’s phone and took a ton of selfies, then we laid in her bed since she had to go to bed on time since she was going to school the next day for PJ day. 

 
Friday morning, Mimi and Leia sent us a good morning picture so we sent them one back before Ivy headed to school and Lisa/Chris started working

Friday evening we had game night with the Talley’s then the girls all got to have a little spend the night fun. 

Saturday, the girlies had fun playing until AA had to go home and we headed to Mimi’s for lunch and a little visit. That evening we came home and watched Hallmark then the 4th quarter the SEC champion ship to see Bama win. Sunday morning the girls woke up and searched for candy canes Cupcake hid.
 
Leia finally got to have her birthday party at the movie theater. We rented it out and the invited a few friends. Ivy did not want to go though so she had her one-on-one with Mimi

Ivy was in hog heaven with Mimi! She got a pedicure, nails painted, hair wached and styled, picked out lunch and dinner, rode the golf cart looking at Christmas lights, played games, and was in control of the TV control


Leia got to pick out dinner with mommy and daddy; her choice was Outback; the best part was getting to ride together and talk on the way and while we waiting on it. Daddy went to dinner with us but he was not feeling too hot so went to bed early. Aft4er we got home, Leia played Wii, we both got a bath, and then we cut out cookies for our cookie bake tomorrow then we watched a Christmas movie together.