Christmas + New Year's Day : Scenes

These past couple of weeks have been so amazing, so full of love and light, and celebratory!!! The girls winter break has flown by much too quickly for my liking.  Can't we have at least 2 full weeks?!  Who's with me?!  We've relaxed, and recharged our batteries all while having a bundle of fun together!  We've watched holiday movies, played games, ate delicious treats and had wonderful visits with friends and family.  The hubby and I revisited an all-time favorite, The Lord of the Rings movie marathon which includes at least 3 late nights together, where we compete to see who can quote more accurately from the movie (I think he won - this time!).  We found time to lounge and read and read some more.  I love breaks like this, don't you?!      

We made our traditional hike at Nolde Forest State Park today, New Year's Day -- all 20 minutes of it until our faces, fingers and toes froze in 16°F weather!  Crazy bitter cold!!  But we did it!  Now 2018 can begin!  

I've compiled some scenes from these past few weeks to share with you.  I hope you've enjoyed your holidays as much as we have!!  

Cheers to the New Year upon us!!  2018 here we come!  Much love to all!!!


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Merry, Happiest of Holidays to You and Yours

I want to wish you a magical holiday season filled with all things merry and bright!  I apologize that I haven't been blogging more these past couple of months since prepping for and then opening my portrait studio, but you all surprised me so incredibly much by keeping me on my tippy toes, my camera strapped to my neck and shutter-bugging like there's no mañana!!!  Whew... what an AMAZING fall photography season it was for me!  I simply cannot tell you all enough how much I appreciate your business, your kind support, your words of encouragement, your hugs and your smiles.  I feel incredibly blessed to have you all in my life and to do the work I do - showing you how beautiful you truly are!   

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Our Christmas/Holiday greeting card:  

Read from top left to right-  Kurt, me, Alanna & Emilia at Universal Studios Orlando (March 2017); the girls swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande beach (March 2017); the girls dancing in Disney's Magic Kingdom (March 2017); my models in the new studio (Oct 2017); Kurt and the girls as they entered Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando (March 2017); and Chelsea (27), Alanna (11 in the photos, now 12) & Emilia (8) on Mother's Day in our backyard (May 2017). 

I was so busy photographing my local families this fall that I didn't get a family photo for our holiday cards!  So, I fell back on our Mother's Day portraits together while Chelsea was with us visiting from Colorado.  A few months old, but, hey, it still works.  It's us.  And I love us.  :)     

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From my family to yours:  May light and love surround you this season; may the New Year ahead bring you a wealth of opportunities and good health, enough creative juices to inspire your soul and more love to overflow your heart with like never before!  With heaping amounts of gratitude, Thank YOU so wonderfully much!  Here's to all of us!!!  Cheers!!!  

Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year! 

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Christmas 2016

What a Christmas we've had!!  And we're not finished celebrating just yet!  

It's been challenging to get ready and prepare this year for Christmas.  We had sickness hit our girls - our Emmy was out of school this entire past week!  Ugh.  No fun.  There have been many a late night of shopping trips, wrapping and baking happening around here.  Through all of this, though, somehow, by the grace of a higher being I'm telling you what - we did it!  We - my guy and I - did it, together!!  

Christmas celebrations began with a brunch on Christmas Eve at my brother & sister-in-law's  home.  My SIL, JoAnne's raisin bread (something like the traditional Irish soda bread) is a coveted family treat that says "Love & Christmas!"  We enjoyed a relaxing morning with the family.  Thanks, Jeff & JoAnne!! 

Afterwards, I locked myself in my bedroom with wrappings a plenty!  This year Kurt and I wanted to try something a little different for our girls.  In lieu of a bunch of gifts - and More Stuff to contend with, organize, etc. - we chose to surprise them with an upcoming trip to Florida, including Disney World parks and Universal Studios of Orlando (and the wizarding world of Harry Potter)!!!  YAY!  The details and planning for this spring's getaway has been a year in the making!  I can't believe we were able to keep it from our girls - and a couple of times things slipped out by mistake, but we were able to divert attention and keep the secret safe.  We will be visiting with my sister and bro-in-law and their beautiful, amazing children in Miami.  Then we're off to Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast and Englewood area to visit with more family (looking at you, John & Kay)!  

Once we get a chance to see family, we are Disney bound for a whirlwind of park hopping, sight-seeing, and a chance for the four of us to soak up all things Disney related and Harry Potter-ish!  It's going to be a blast!!  The girls do not remember the last time we visited Disney (Alanna was 3 and Emmy was 8 mos.).  Now they are at a perfect age to enjoy the magic and make lasting memories, too!!

Getting back to the "wrappings a plenty," we were successful in paring down on the "stuff" for our girls, but there were some things that Santa just couldn't resist bringing!  Our Santa doesn't wrap everything.  Does yours?  We had a map of Florida to mark our stops and a countdown calendar with all the details drawn out to hang in the kitchen for the girls to check off the days in anticipation of the big trip to the land of sunshine!  We are all super stoked for the fun adventures to come!  This may just be our new go-to idea for Christmas!!  Our new family motto is "Less stuff, More EXPERIENCES."   

Christmas morning came, bleary-eyed and full of anticipation for the girls reactions!  As I suspected, there were shrieks of joy and lots of happy dancing!  Such fun!  

Later that night, we had a dinner party with my sister, Laura and her family: Kai, his girlfriend, Ana, Junah and Aria, who are visiting for the winter break.  And our dear friend, Woody was able to put us on his list of stops for the evening!  There were lots of games to play and legos to put together and loads of catching up to do!  It was a warm-hearted, wonderful evening with everyone.  I relish these times with my family and family-friends.   

These are the days to enjoy.  And enjoy we have!  How about you?  How was your holiday?  Do you have a similar motto to keep gift-giving pared down?  What was your favorite gift to receive or give this year?  I'm interested to hear from you!  

I hope you had a magical holiday with your own family!  Thank you for stopping by, friends!!