If you've never been to Gruene, it is beautiful! It is picturesque, rustic, filled with greenery and almost always filled with people. Going there on Thanksgiving day was the best. We saw 2 other couples walking around with their dogs. I think we got so many great pictures because we had the place to ourself to take our time and the kids could run around easily!
I had fun trying out the white balance and ISO with my camera. Then, I spent lots of time in the post edits making them bright, subtle, cropped, etc. Kyleigh wants to be a model and had fun posing for us. She is honestly very natural. She would tilt her head and crack a small smile and it looked perfect!
Marcus forgot he had on sunglasses in this one!
This is Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. It gave us a great backdrop!
These are the super cool and old doors of Gristmill Restaurant. They are always open when the restaurant is open, so you'd never know what a great backdrop they make!
These windows along the side of Gristmill are awesome. I'd love them in a bathroom :)
We thought about going down these stairs on the riverside of the Gristmill, but decided we had plenty of great options without stairs!
The seated waiting area at Gristmill has big potted plants throughout.
The sun shining on this wall and the kids straight face makes this picture look 100 years old to me.
Our last stop was a rusty side of a shed across from Gristmill. I love the orange colors of the rush with the blue in Abby's hat. Kyleigh outgrew the hat just recently and gave it to Abby as we were leaving. It fit, she loved it and I love turquoise so it worked!
Everyone was tired at this point, so we were letting them have fun! Mad faces are easy to make during nap time- ha!
Abby will likely never have a sister, so I love seeing Kyleigh take care of her and Abby looking up to Kyleigh. It is important to me that Abby have someone like Kyleigh to love her, listen to her and support her as she grows up.
Our happy family!
I'm so glad my sister recommended we take pictures on Thanksgiving Day!
We have had a wonderful 4 day weekend! It included food, family, a date night, and lots of cleaning and organizing. I love weekends like this!
We drove to New Braunfels on Thursday for lunch at my sister's house with her family and my Mom. Since we were all together, we decided to use my Nikon D3100 camera and take some family photos. I spent Wednesday night reading up and trying to learn my camera. I've had it a year and hadn't done more than auto mode. It was fun to play photographer!
We took our pictures in the small town of Gruene. I'll share more of them soon- we got so many good ones! Since we were going to see my sister on Saturday again, we left Abby with her and my Mom and came back home solo! It allowed us to decorate for Christmas on Friday. I was up before 7 AM and got to work! Marcus had pulled all the tubs for me on Thursday night. Along with decorating, we did a little rearranging and posted a few things on Craigslist which sold on Sunday. I also spent every few hours prepping Abby's new bed- sanding, rust primer, pink paint, aging, glitter. Lots of fun stuff!
We finally showered on Friday at 4 PM to have a date night! After a little trip to Lowe's to research an upcoming project, we drove to Georgetown for dinner at Tony & Luigi's, an Italian place a friend had recommended. It was wonderful and they had a Frank Sinatra singer! The bruschetta was the best I've ever had. We shared it, along with lasagna and chocolate lava cake. Delish!
Saturday, we met back up with everyone at my Dad and Jacque's house for Thanksgiving, round 2. We taught Cohen how to play Skipbo and I beat the kids at Sorry. They were mad at each other for trading places and bumping back to start that they forgot about me :)
We worked on our silly faces for the camera! Oh the joys of kids!
We came home Saturday night with a very tired and stopped up little girl After 11 hours of sleep, she is doing better. Marcus went to church this morning and Abby and I stayed home to snuggle, watch Dora, and help her rest. We are hoping she is her spunky self again by Monday morning!
We took photos this weekend- my family, my sister's family and my Mom. We were all together for Thanksgiving and it seemed like a good time. The positive is that my sister lives near the pictureesque town of Gruene which was all ours on Thanksgiving afternoon.
The cons- we took them during nap time, with 3 kids jacked up on Thanksgiving desserts and hyper to see each other! We did get some fabulous pictures and I'll share them soon; however, this one really captures our afternoon. ha!
We left Abby Lu with my Mom and sister and will have her back tomorrow when we do Thanksgiving with my Dad and stepmom. Today, Marcus and I are finishing Abby's new big girl bed (sanding, painting, etc.), decorating for Christmas, and having a date night! Oh, and a little Black Friday shopping as Marcus waited in line at 4 AM to get us a new flat screen for our bedroom. Hooray!
Happy Thanksgiving blogging friends! Abby wasn't so sure about having her picture taken- a true little turkey on this festive day!
We are really casual at Thanksgiving our family of three has a nice lunch with just my Mom. It is so easy, we even buy sliced turkey from the local BBQ place the day before. No fuss- we stay in our jammies, watch TV, play games and plan our Christmas shopping.
We'll celebrate with my Dad, stepmom and sister and family with a potluck on Saturday. Sometimes a small or spread out family is nice!
Abby doesn't have school or dance this week so it is a slow week at our house. We have made trips to Hobby Lobby, HEB and Lowe's. We have done fun crafts and cleaned out her room in preparation for the big girl bed coming soon. And, today, we went to Happy Feet Two.
We were supposed to meet our friend Michael, but he got sick. It is probably for the best because the loudness of the movie scared Abby and we ended up leaving after about an hour. It is a cute fun musical movie, but there is also some darker parts with abandonment, injury, and death.
Abby did really well staying seated- I brought her booster from home and it really helped!
Tomorrow, we are cooking and chilling at home all day!
Have you heard of Elf on the Shelf? I have wanted an elf for a long time and Abby is finally at the age where we can have an elf! We named her Holly. Abby gets to pick her name per the little book that comes with her and she first told us she was a girl and then her name was Mommy. We asked her if Molly would work and she didn't jump on it. They, I recommended Holly and she said that was it.
Essentially, Holly watches Abby all day and flies back to Santa each night to report on how naughty or nice she was. She then shows up the next morning in a new place and Abby gets to find her. Her magic is gone if Abby touches her!
We have talked about Holly all day and even mentioned being good so that Holly could tell Santa. Speaking of, Abby hasn't asked for anything for Christmas. She doesn't watch much TV and seems to have everything she wants. So, I told her to tell Holly what she wanted and she would tell Santa. She said she wants "balls" and "presents". ha!
I got to spend lunch with this cute girl today! She had a Thanksgiving lunch at school and I got to be that Mom that came to a school activity in the middle of the day in casual clothes! I took her to school at 8:30 and spent the morning at Starbucks doing website work and then shopping at Academy for soccer gear since Abby starts in early January. Shin guards for a 3 year old are tiny!
Aren't her new boots the cutest! I typically dress her like a toddler, but her jeggings and Ugg boots made her such a teenager today!
They made cute little pumpkin place settings for everyone and had a fancy lunch of rolled up turkey, chunk cheese, pretzels, carrots, fruit and cookies. It was fun to see her interact with her little friends.
Abby just loves her teachers- Ms. Nicci and Ms. Yvette. We love them and her little school, too!
We bought a new car this week! Marcus' truck was nearing 100K miles and was no longer practical for our new budget and his job. We had been talking about a new car for months and over the past month Marcus had begun narrowing it down to what we wanted. It came down to a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry.
We went with the Camry- it just cost less. He loved the Accord, but in comparison this one made more sense. It is a 2011 that we bought used with less than 30K miles. Marcus is excited to visit the gas tank less, have a trunk for storage and have some newer features in his car than his 2008 truck had. Abby calls it the quiet car since he had a loud truck.
And, in case you need a closer look, that bearded man in the new car really is my husband! ha!
We took this decision more seriously than we ever have with a purchase before. It was always about what car we wanted and this time it was really about what we needed. We used the equity in the truck and reduced our payments by over $100. That makes us all happy!
As I was cleaning out Abby's closet, I pulled out her cute winter hats from last year! I am so grateful this ivory hat still fits for 2 reasons... I love it on her and I'm glad her head hasn't grown much in the past year! It is a girls hat, not a little girls hat. She loves to wear it to be like Daddy!
We also have new leg warmers for dance class. It is a little chilly in the mornings before we go and these help! Don't tell Abby, but Santa is bringing her a few more pair this year! You can find cute leg warmers inexpensive on eBay!
We had a great time at dance class last week and did almost everything the other girls did. She regressed quickly when we were asked to go in the room and watch the girls to acquaint them with an audience. We'll work on that next!
While we were in Abilene last weekend, we visited the zoo. Marcus took me to this zoo when we were dating and I was excited to take Abby. It is the 4th zoo we have visited in 10 months. I think we are zoo people :)
It was a little chilly when we first got there, but the wind died down and the sun shined brightly just after our arrival. It was the perfect afternoon to be outdoors!
This is a classic family photo that we'll recall years from now. It looks old with all the browns! Abby looks like such a diva in her pink and her sunglasses! We visited the zoo with our cousins and friends, Kailin, Gavin, Mikey, and Brandon.
Mimi along with a few other family members joined the kids for the zootime fun! This is inside the bird area which was stinky! Rest assured, we may be zoo people, but we are not bird people.
This is the highlight of a trip to the Abilene Zoo- I remember it so clearly from when Marcus and I were dating. You walk up this bridge and can purchase crackers to feed the giraffes.
You are about a foot taller than them and can lean down and hand them crackers.
They will gladly stick out their long tongues and take that cracker. I can't imagine how these giraffes aren't overweight!
We had such a great weekend meeting family members we hadn't seen and spending time at the zoo!
We spent the past weekend in Abilene visiting Marcus' Mom Carol and her side of the family. They don't do reunions often, so it was nice to see everyone. Both of his grandparents are gone and we were only missing 1 cousin.
They all stayed at a hotel in Abilene and we spent the night with Carol in Marcus' hometown, about 15 minutes away. We all met for lunch on Saturday, a group of us did the Abilene Zoo and some stayed back to play dominoes and swim at the indoor pool, and then we did Gattiland for dinner and games. We said our goodbyes over the hotel breakfast on Sunday morning.
The siblings- Brian, Bruce, Carol, and Linda
The cousins- Stephen (Brian), Donna (Bruce), Jason (Linda), Nathan (Brian), Kevin (Bruce), and Marcus (Carol). They were missing Shawn, Linda's oldest son. Don't you feel for Donna growing up with all those boys! Maybe it was God's will since she has sons of her own now.
Here are the cousins with their loved ones added in! Kevin is the only single one... know any good Christian girls in San Angelo? He is a good guy!
Why didn't anyone tell me this would all happen so fast? ;) This little girl is my favorite person in all the world, but she isn't my baby anymore.
I spent this afternoon going through the baby clothes that I held back in case another miracle arrived. We are taking a few to the resale shop and giving most of them to our friend Natalie. It was hard to imagine how little she was. I kept a few significant pieces of clothing- her first day at daycare, our 6 month photo shoot, her dress for her cousin's wedding, her birth announcement shirt, her Thanksgiving dress. They were all fun to see. I won't even tell you how many shoes that little girl had!
We are taking a few things to the resale shop in hopes to pay for two new big girl things coming... her twin bed and booster seat! We took a road trip this weekend and realized Abby is getting too long for her car seat. She is well over the weight requirement for a booster seat which comes next. We are going to check in with her pediatrician and make sure we are ready for the next step.
While traveling this weekend, we came across an antique shop in little Santa Ana, Texas. They had a vintage metal bed on the side of the road in a twin size. I've always wanted a metal antique bed for Abby and couldn't ever find a twin at a reasonable price. We found it this weekend. With a little sanding and painting, it'll be perfect! We have all of her bedding from her birthday last year when I thought she was ready, so now we only need a mattress. Amazed at how expensive a twin mattress is!