Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It really is the most wonderful time, isn't it?  Every year I just want to grab it and squeeze it and enjoy every last drop of Christmas goodness.  But somehow each year it slips right through my fingers and before I know it it's behind us.  This year I was particularly lazy, and I hoped that a slower schedule would maybe help slow down time and let us hold on a little bit longer.  It didn't work as well as I 'd have liked, but it was a beautiful month filled with candy and cookies and Santa and family.  The perfect kind of Christmas.

We spent a week of our time in Denver, and missed Lyla's Christmas program at school because of it.  Worst planning fail ever on my part, and I cried real tears about this.  Luckily Lyla's teachers are the best ever and (without even the slightest bit of coercing them, I swear) they offered to put on my own private show on their last day before Christmas break.  It was the cutest!

We also attended the Life Time Fitness breakfast with Santa, which is a favorite every year.  This one was particularly good.  It may have had something to do with the Christmas bunny that showed up.  ;)  I also took the girls to the Macy's Santaland in downtown Minneapolis.  We heard it's their last year, so we snuck down on a weekday to avoid the crowds.  It was a fun little trip downtown...until I made Sis take a picture, anyways. 

A few days before Christmas Grandma and Pop drove into town and were a major help in getting the last minute details completed.  (Read: I made them roll out, bake and decorate ALL of the cookies).  I caught some kind of bug which only lasted until Christmas Eve night, thankfully, but they were incredibly helpful in letting me rest and recuperate.  Having grandparents around to help during those times is such a rare treat, so it was extra appreciated!

Everything about Christmas was so, so good this year.  We are at the peak of Christmas magic with Lyla and Evie all wide eyed with wonder about that old Santa Claus.  We always talk a lot about the real reason behind Christmas, read the Christmas story and play with our nativity scenes to make sure we don't lose sight of the precious gift we were all given that very first Christmas day.  Lyla learned a lot about it in her school too, and would "read" the Christmas story book better than the actual printed words, so she was nominated to tell the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  There's something so special about these babes and their love for Jesus.  But while focusing on the true spirit of the season, I can't help but hold a special place in my heart for the magic of Santa and his elves.  It just adds such a fun touch when you're laying in bed and talking about what he's doing and where he could be, and what he'll be bringing.  I can still remember driving home on a Christmas eve and keeping my eyes locked on the starry sky the whole ride home, hoping for a glimpse of santa.  I mean, I still kind of find myself wishing it all was real, so we'll be keeping it real over here for as long as we possibly can.

We hope you had the merriest Christmas, too, and that Santa treated you well!  ;) 

- K

Our little snow bunny and Lyla meeting Santa after a pancake breakfast!  (Which somehow mostly consisted of gummy worms.)

I think they buttered him up!

Lyla sent 3 letters to Santa this year, and even got one back!

That bag holds a snowman kit for both girls (hat, scarf, carrot nose, etc.)  I made a joke about the reindeer stealing their carrots, so Sis was on bag patrol.  She would not let that thing out of her grip!  :)

Wondering if she could sneak in a quick ride to the North Pole.  ;)

The next day we got some of our good ol' MN snow powder.  After making sure they could not actually build snowmen they decided to go ahead and just eat their carrots.

Another letter to Santa at Santaland!  She loves writing these days, and constantly asks me how to spell things so she can write it herself.

I decided that Evie can't always win when she doesn't want to take a picture and told Lyla to hold her still.  #bestmomever

Showing Grandma and Pop clips from Moana, the new favorite movie around here.

My little beauty, all dolled up for Christmas Eve church!

Sis warms up to the camera every once in a while.  ;)

I was so proud of us that night.  We were 30 min EARLY, even after taking a million pictures to try to get any decent ones.

The whole Chapman crew!

After church we had our traditional bagel and lox dinner and opened a few presents.  The girls both got handmade nightgowns from Grandma and they were in heaven!

Lyla is always our early bird, but our rule is she can't come out of her room until the first number on her clock is a 6 or 7.  Magically she almost appears right after that first number turns to a 6.  Christmas morning was no different.  :)

Evie was still a little slow to open presents, wanting to take each one out and play before getting to the next one.

Lyla, on the other hand, could hardly wait to open them all.  By the time she was done Evie still had a pile to open.  It was a hard lesson, letting her sister open her own presents without any help.  ;)

New cowgirl boots!  One of her most favorite presents.

We had to take a quick art break at some point, then resumed the present opening.  :)

This is my favorite picture series because my gift was a total shock and complete surprise from my sweet husband.  Crying happy tears here...

And BIG hugs, because...

he got us girls a new car!!  It's not exactly new, but a whole lot newer (and more beautiful) than I was ever hoping for!  Cheers to not needing to fill our antifreeze every 3 days and to having a little heat!!

Evie got a Sheriff Calie guitar, so had to get the whole ensemble on, complete with her new pink boots.  :)

Love them.

Our turkey ended up being rotten, but Ryan saved the day with some delicious grilled chicken, cordon bleu style!  Quite the man right there.

Lyla got her very own American Girl Doll, and is thrilled!

Playing with their new toys.  What a fun Christmas!

Grandma snuggles the day after Christmas.

We found a new (not rotten!) turkey!

Christmas feast #2!  Their favorite are the turkey legs.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Condo

Last week we took a little trip to Denver to see our condo one last time!  When we got engaged we searched out the perfect first home, and ended up choosing a little one bedroom condo in Uptown Denver.  We absolutely loved every one of the 725 square feet, it was the coziest little first home we could have asked for. 

We only lived there 2 years before we had to make our first move for Ryan's company, and then quickly outgrew it with the addition of one Miss Lyla Rose to our family.  But we held on to the condo and rented it out, and even talked about hanging on to it forever, using it as our downtown home after retirement.  But this year we decided to simplify our lives a bit, and with the booming Denver real estate market we ended up deciding to let go of our first home.  Which logically makes so much sense for us, but emotionally makes my heart break a little bit. 

We really hadn't been back to the condo since we moved out, so I knew we had to go see it one last time and show the girls our first home.  It was so fun and sentimental and emotional walking through the building and our unit for the last time.  It was only two years, but there were a lifetime worth of memories.  So many parties and celebrations thrown in our little condo or at the pool or in the beautiful lobby that held our rehearsal dinner after party, so many bridal showers, engagement parties, birthday parties, and more.

Our lives sure were different back then, but I wouldn't change our journey for anything.  We've exchanged late night parties for late night potty trips or late night figuring out my phone is missing and finding a certain 4 1/2 year old watching youtube videos in her bed.  At 2:45 in the morning.  Whatever.  But, having our girls at our first home was so special, a full circle kind of moment.  We'll miss that place so much and will always cherish the memories!

Here are some throwback photos from some of the parties in our condo, and from our very last trip with our girls.  :)

- K

This was our first ever party, Halloween 2008.  It was about 2 weeks after our wedding, and 2 hours after Ryan tore his patellar tendon playing rugby.  I'm not sure he actually remembers this party.

Our New Year's Eve party one year.  Pretty sure this will go down in history as my favorite NYE ever.

Jersey Shore, baby!  :)  I was going to say this was our last party, but then I remembered that we had a second Halloween party the very night before we had to be out of the condo to move to SLC.  We were not even close to fully packed.  Good decision making at it's finest!

I had to get a shot of the door to our very first home.  We'll miss you, 1605!!

Checking out the view with the girls.  So bittersweet letting go of our first place!!

The capitol building.  I'll miss that view forever!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Last Wednesday was Lyla's first official holiday break from school, and one of the funnest days we've had all year.  She woke begging to help make pumpkin pie, so before we even got to breakfast we were whipping up our favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  As soon as the pie was in the oven we had to head outside to play in the fresh snow.  It was the perfect snow weather - a rarity in MN - and the girls had a blast.  There were snowball fights and snowmen and snow angels, then we finally headed in for scrambled eggs and hot cocoa.  Pretty much the cutest start to a holiday break ever.

The next day we headed to the gym for our traditional Thanksgiving workout, which makes you feel just a little bit better about those pumpkin cinnamon rolls we eat afterwards.  :)  Joan and Dave came over for our Thanksgiving feast, and then we all headed to Moana.  It was the best Thanksgiving we've had in a long time.  There were no meltdowns, except when Ryan realized he hadn't bought enough oil for the turkey fryer.  For the third year in a row.  ;)  But the girls were so great, buzzing around the kitchen with us ladies, and playing outside with the guys and the turkeys.  It was just so simple and easy and fun.

We have so very much to be thankful for this year, even more than usual.  Ryan and I spend a lot of nights reflecting about just how amazing this year, and even more so these last couple of months, have been.  It's been a real season of trusting in God's path and provision for our family, and through it all his goodness and faithfulness have shone through.

So much love to our family and friends!  We are always and forever thankful for each of you.


- K

Grape eyes and a celery nose were the best we could do for this little guy.  :)

The Chapman snowman family!
Thanksgiving morning gym selfie.  :)

The best cinnamon rolls in the world.  The girls insisted on sprinkles this year.  :)

The cutest little pilgrim.

The only pic of the whole group from Thanksgiving.  Frying up turkeys on the driveway.  :)  Such a great day!!