Family Pictures

I didn't want to splash these all over social media and give away the Christmas card surprise, but now that cards have come and gone, check out the family pictures we had taken recently. It was just supposed to be a 11x14 framed family picture for 25 bucks as part of a school fundraiser, but those sneaky photographers know what they're doing and once I saw all the shots, I knew I had to buy the whole lot. It's been awhile since I got a good family shot so I had to take advantage!


Christmas Picture Dump

Dressed up for the Christmas Eve service. 
Brought our own safety candles!
Santa through the years (Annie flat-out refused this year).

Christmas morning play.

Santa brought a bike!

Silly faces at Grandma's house.

The Pigeon activity book.

Hours (seriously, hours) spent cutting paper.
Getting the band back together - presenting "Loafman"!

Twinkle Lights

Enjoying the lights (and the fact that I have a firm grip on both children). 

Every year we try to plan a little something fun to do when Matt's family is in town. In the past, we've visited the High Museum, the World of Coke, had fancy dinners downtown... but the age of my children has put a damper on sophisticated outings and forced us to look for something a little more family friendly. We figured seeing the Botanical Gardens all lit up might do the trick.

Several things I did not anticipate, however. It was really dark. (Okay, I knew it would be going in, but still.) It was REALLY crowded. It was two days post-Christmas, but I guess everyone wanted to take one last shot at the holiday spirit. Plus, it was such a mild night and actually NOT raining, so the entire city of Atlanta probably wanted to seize the opportunity to get some fresh air. But the crowds were seriously Disney World caliber. And finally, the third part of the disaster trifecta, was Annie's determination to not set butt in her stroller. Oh no, my friends, this child was going to walk. And run. Squeezing through people's legs and darting through my fingertips and running into the vast, uncontained spaces of the Garden. I was so busy keeping my eyes on her, it was hard to look up and actually admire the lights. It was enough to make me want to cancel our figurative future trip to Disney. When we finally forcibly strapped her into her stroller, Annie spent the rest of the visit straining at the straps and demanding "let me out!" to anyone in earshot.

So fun!


But really, it was nice to be outside. And it was very pretty. And sending the kids home with Grandma and Grandpa so we could have a calm, adult dinner made it worth it.

The reflection of a tree in a dark pool... very trippy.

The actual tree, against the dark night sky.

This mesmerizing display of lights set to music kept Annie still for a good three minutes - win!


Merry Christmas!

It's a Wonderful Life!

The Loughman Family

Christmas Eve

Watching Home Alone for the first time... but certainly not the last! 
We always celebrate Christmas Eve with the Fortunato side of the family, and this year we rocked it as we usually do. Presents were opened, food was consumed, merriment was made, and to all a good night!

Uncle Lukas came through with the best gift of the night... watch out boys! Violet is armed!
 This year we tried to do our traditional opening of the gifts - one at a time, youngest to oldest, plenty of time to ooh and ahh inbetween. Yeah, my girls are not the right age for it. It quickly spiraled into "let the girls open everything and start playing so the rest of us can take a turn!" which ended up working out fine. My mom and I combined forces to cook dinner, with most things made ahead of time, resulted in a fairly stress-free event.

Toy time.

Hello Gus.
After a decent night's sleep (Mimi was under strict instructions not to let the munchkins downstairs before 6 a.m.) we spent a low-key Christmas Eve, all culminating in our evening church service where both Matt and Lukas are taking the stage. Just have to remember to put out the cookies and carrots for Santa and his crew! Merry Christmas, everyone!


Breakfast antics.


Real jammin.

Nailed it.

Another Christmas Eve in the books!


Make Like a Tree...

It's a testament to how busy we've been this December that I just dug through my phone and these were pretty much the only pictures I've taken since Thanksgiving. Whoops! It's that time of year again. But the house is decorated, the cards have (mostly) been sent, the shopping is almost done, and in three days I'll be on holiday break! Three insane days filled with Snowman Parties grade level gift exchanges and Polar Express and grades and report cards and generally just surviving the craziness, but three days nonetheless.

So we had major drama with our tree this year. Honestly, it probably deserves its own post, but let's face it, I'll be lucky if this one even makes it out. So after our lovely Thanksgiving break, we were determined to end our time off with our tree. The past couple years we've had great success at a store that Shall Not Be Named but rhymes with Ike's. One nice thing about this said store is that the tree have tree stands already on them, and if you buy one, you can return it in January for store credit. So essentially - free tree stand!

Well, we went to our usual Ike's location, but none of the trees in our budget were any good. So we took our whining children home, dumped them on the neighbors, and set out for the other Ike's location. This time we found a great tree! Mind you, it was way bigger and fatter than we were planning on, but honestly I was just happy to pick one out. We waited foreeeeever to get the thing put on the car, but finally we had it home. The girls majorly stressed me out trying to "help" decorate it, but finally it was done, just in time for bedtime. Then we headed back to school after our break.

Usually I immediately forget to water the Christmas trees, but this year I was on it, giving that sucker all the water it wanted. Then on Tuesday as I knelt down to water the tree again, I realized that the towels we had place it on were wet. Completely soaked through wet. That stupid "free" tree stand had a leak!

So, friends, what do you do with a completely decorated tree sitting on a leaking tree stand? Options we really thought of:

a) try to lift the tree from the top while someone unscrews the tree stand at the bottom

b) take a saw to the tree trunk just above the tree stand

c) undecorate the entire tree once the girls go to bed, tip the tree in order to catch the excess water in a bucket, lay the tree down on the coffee table, unscrew the fj*$! tree stand, put a new stand on, attempt to tip the tree back onto its feet, silently curse the now broken branches and giant holes, redecorate the entire tree with decidedly less holiday spirit than the first time

So it's safe to say that while the tree is up and standing again, I feel no emotional connection to this thing. I'll just be happy if it stays upright through the holidays.

Gonna try to recapture the joy.

Run Run Rudolph!

Keeping it classy.

Winter Wonderland

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