What a Difference

I’m back!  I enjoyed the past week with my family and spending some much-needed time away from work!  It was amazing and I am sad to be returning to work today!  The week went so quickly!  We were busy with family visits starting on Christmas Eve until Saturday night!  It was craziness, but such great moments.  We loved all of the time we spent with our family and were spoiled beyond words!  We are so lucky!

One of the highlights from our time off was a get together that we had with our friends.  All of the husband’s are fellow police officers and all of the wives were pregnant together – completely unplanned.  We all became good friends during this time and now the babies are friends as well!

We’ve made it a tradition to get all of our babies together each Christmas.  We decided it would be cute to put the kids in their PJ’s and to snap photos each year.  Last year, the babes were so young – from left to right – Brooklyn – 6 months, JoJo – 9 months, Kenzie – 7 months.

Look at how big they’ve gotten!  It’s amazing the difference a year makes!  Last year, JoJo had mastered sitting up, McKenzie was just starting to on a regular basis and Brooklyn was just at the very beginning of sitting up – someone propped her up and let her go just in time for us to snap the picture!

This year, they were moving targets and impossible to get all looking in the same direction or sitting still at the same time!  I love these pictures and look forward to this tradition for years to come!

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Here’s hoping you all had a lovely Christmas!

Tinsel – Our Elf

I debated long and hard as to whether or not we wanted to start the Elf on the Shelf tradition with McKenzie this year.  To me, she seemed too young to grasp the concept of a magical elf reporting back to Santa each night.

Then Halloween came.  We don’t have many Halloween decorations, but I thought it was important to be festive and put some out.  I made a mental note to buy more decorations for next year.

Since we didn’t have that many decorations, they are stored in a bin with the other various holiday decorations – Valentine’s Day and Easter.  As we were decorating, McKenzie found the bin – along with the ceramic white bunny.  That bunny became her best friend.  She brought us each to the spare bedroom to show us the bunny and would say, “Shh..bunny sleeping.”  It was hilarious!

Being the slackers that we are, the bin never made its way back to the attic.  It remained in our spare bedroom until the end of October.  Each morning, McKenzie would run from her bedroom to see the bunny.  She loved it!  The bunny became our best friend, as well.  It became the ultimate distraction technique.  Need to sneak out of the house in the morning to leave for work? Kenzie and Dad would go on a hunt to find the bunny.  She would bring her Cheerios to bait the bunny and feed it breakfast.  So cute!  Temper tantrum that just wouldn’t end?  “Shh….the bunny’s sleeping” would stop her in her tracks every time.

That’s when Brian and I decided that the elf was well worth it this year!  Even if she doesn’t understand the full magic of the elf, she loves searching for him each day and will circle back to wave to him and offer him snacks throughout the day.   We’ve been very aware of where we place the elf, as to not tempt her too much, but she has been surprisingly good about not touching him!

So with love, we welcomed Tinsel into our lives.  He joined our family the day after we set-up our tree – November 24th.  Brian was hesitant at first to start this so early, but then he realized that I may be more excited for the Elf than McKenzie.

There were in-depth conversations over whether or not we should have a boy elf or a girl elf.  Brian laughed hysterically at me when I told him that we had to get a boy elf.  In my mind, elves are boys and (I know…this next comment is going to sound so bad….) boy elves take behaving much more serious than girl elves.  Girl elves tend to give second chances and reminders.  Boy elves are going to present the straight facts to Santa!  See why he was laughing?!  It’s just how my mind works!

Once we decided on a boy elf, then came lengthy debates over his name.  We liked Jingle and Chip (short for chocolate chip), but ultimately wanted something that we thought McKenzie would say.  We chose Tinsel.  The name also pays direct homage to the grandmother’s – one who dislikes Tinsel and never allowed it growing up (my mom!) and the other who is the sole reason that Tinsel companies are still in business (Brian’s Mom).

Needless to say, we love the name and love even more when McKenzie yells  – Tin-Sell each morning as she runs to search for him.

We’ve had some fun with this!  Below are some of Tinsel’s favorite hiding spots!  As an aside: It’s our first year, so we’re excited.  Don’t hate because we planned out a calendar full of ideas a month in advance.  There were still nights we forgot to move Tinsel, but all in all, it’s been fun!