Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last Thursday after Chris picked Anna Kate and me up from the Nashville airport, we got to do something I've always wanted to do. We saved the two and a half hour trek back to Chattanooga for the next day, and stayed overnight at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. I've loved this place since I was a little girl. It is especially fantastic while decorated for Christmas. Our little girl missed her daddy while we were in CT! She was so excited to see him that night!

While there, we got quite the VIP treatment thanks to my friend Skip's wife Kate, who works at the Gaylord Texan. She got us an amazing room overlooking the waterfall in the Cascades section of the hotel. Absolutely beautiful! Can't say thanks enough Kate!
the view from the balcony in our room... (the picture does not do it justice)
While we were wondering around looking at the lights, we turned a corner and almost literally ran into our friend Brent (who recently moved from Chattanooga to Nashville). It was such a coincidence seeing him in such a huge place! It was so good to see you Brent and catch up a little.
This was waiting for us in our room when we returned... a sweet note and a voucher for breakfast at our favorite restaurant in the hotel. Thank you Brent! You are awesome!
Lights, lights, and more lights! Two MILLION lights are used to decorate the outdoors alone. Add two hundred thousand to decorate the indoors. It is quite a sight to behold. Anna Kate was fascinated. She spent the whole night pointing, smiling, and clapping.
The outdoor Nativity scene was stunning. We were told that is is the world's largest.
watching the fountain, light and music show...
This is no average fountain! It reaches 85 feet at it's highest!
This is their gorgeous Christmas tree stretching up 40 feet!

After a long day on a plane and quite an eventful night, it took us a while to calm our little "overstimulated" girl down. She had fun playing on big bed in the room.

still fascinated when she woke up the next morning...

having fun running down the long hallway after an early morning swim...
a walk by the beautiful flowers...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

If I had to wrap up our trip to CT in words it would be "simple but sweet." We did not have big plans nor did we do anything elaborate, but I would not have had it any other way. We passed the time just like we used to when we lived in the same town... playing and cuddling with our girls, eating lots of ice cream, staying up late talking until we were delirious, shopping, and just "being." That is what I love about our friendship. We don't have to "entertain" each other, and we pick right back up as if we've only been apart for a day or two.

Anna Kate on the plane... I am not going to lie to you- the trip was HARD. It was a very long nine hours with a sleep deprived baby. A clear, beautiful birds-eye-view of NY. (click on picture to see larger view)
I cannot even begin to tell you how this little girl melted my heart. It was a very long three and a half weeks of waiting to hold her. She is precious in every since of the word. I could not get enough of her!
Very sleepy Isabelle and Anna Kate on one of our outings. Anna Kate thought it was great to sit in the middle of her two little friends!
This visit was the first time that the older girls were both old enough to actually play together. It was so sweet!
eating "do-nis" that Isabelle's Grandma brought, and watching Elmo
l.o.v.e. those cheeks!
my favorite picture
Even though it was REALLY cold outside, we had to let the girls run around for a little while. Courtney's parents have amazing property.

This is the lake in front of Courtney's parents' house.
Most of the ice cream shops close for the winter months in CT, but Courtney found one that stays open year round! This was Anna Kate's very first ice cream cone.
such a cute little table that was a perfect size!
in ice cream dream land...
Isabelle taught Anna Kate how to the cone and all!
sleeping sweetie!
Sorry Emma! Anna Kate took your place in the double stroller for a few days... Isabelle and Anna Kate were tickled at the "new ride," and I am sure that Emma was much more peaceful alone in the other stroller.
"Goodbye" is always hard...
Can't wait to see you all again soon! Miss you tons already!

Anna Kate and I took a break from packing for our trip last week for a playdate with the Holland clan. It was a very warm fall day. We had fun just playing and taking a walk! Hope to do it again soon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I need help! If any of you have special holiday traditions, I would love to hear about them! I really want to start implementing some traditions with Anna Kate this holiday season. Even though she won't really know or understand what I am doing this year, I would love to start early in her life. It's fun to hear good ideas! Thanks!

On a side note... I will be back with some fun pictures from our Connecticut trip soon!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

get out

...and GO VOTE!
It's our right. It's our privilege. It's our duty.
As you go to the polls today, I hope that you remember to keep the future of our great country in your prayers. Remember... prayer is our nation's real hope. God is ultimately in control.
Daddy picked Anna Kate's toy to take with her to the polls. She did manage to carry her very subtle "paraphernalia" into the polls. ;o)
An "after the vote" self portrait.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Anna Kate got good use out of her Halloween costume this year. No, she did not actually wear it for a week straight, but she did wear it four times!
We started the "boo day" festivities last Saturday at her cousin Addie's annual Halloween bash. Unfortunately, the party was outside at night with kids running everywhere, so that resulted in me just chasing my one year old around... I had no time to take pictures.
On Wednesday, we went to Silverdale Baptist's fall festival with Ya Ya, Granddad, Aunt Brooke, Uncle Lee, Addie, and Little Liam.
Here is my ladybug snuggling with her pumpkin cousin before we left. They are so very cute!Addie was precious in her Dorothy costume! This little girl LOVES The Wizard of Oz! I am kicking myself for not getting a picture of her "real" ruby slippers! Guess that is what happens when you are trying to take pictures and chase a toddler!Anna Kate also loved Liam and Addie's cousin Katie's pink puppy outfit! Katie is such a sweetie!
ladybug on the loose...
some black and whites...

On Halloween, we took a mini road trip with Ashley and Jackson, and Brittany and Ada (we missed you tons Jessica and Reed!). We all piled in my mom's mini-van early in the morning. After a trip to Starbucks for some pumpkin spice lattes, we hit I-75 southbound. We stopped at a farm in Resacca, GA where we found some very cute animals to pet (including miniature horses and donkeys, llamas, ducks, chickens, goats galore, a chinchilla, a hedgehog, bearded dragons, sugar gliders, and a macaw) and a fun tractor ride! Unfortunately... lines got crossed somewhere and there were not pumpkins there like we all thought. We did find a cute pumpkin patch 15 mins. down the road in Adairsville, though.
My baby girl LOVES animals! We've not found one that she is afraid of.
The three amigos on the tractor ride!
After she fed the goats, Anna Kate proceeded to chase them around! All of the goats were very pregnant so they probably did not appreciate this! We literally watched one for ten minutes because she was so close to giving birth (there were physical signs going on that we won't discuss), and we wanted to witness it.
Ada (and her mommy) were not as sure about the goats!
Sweet Jackson just watched intently.
Anna Kate and the pumpkins... (she would not put her bag of graham crackers down!)
I love this smile.
We had a fun day!
We ended the day with a nice quiet evening at Granna and Granddaddy's. We have a tradition of spending Halloween night at their house because they get NO tricker-treaters. I know, I am a party pooper, but we get soooo many at our house that I really get tired of going to the door!