Happy Tuesday! Mckenzie and I played dominoes this morning. I think she could have kept playing all day long if I would have let her! We picked up Abby's pottery this afternoon (yeah they were open!) and it turned out so cute! She has decided that the cupcake she made is now where she will keep her earrings. After running a few errands, the girls played outside. It is unbelievable to me that it is so warm the girls can run around outside in just a little jacket at the end of January. Crazy! We had church tonight and Mckenzie thought about singing with the choir, but she backed out at the last minute. Poor Abby gets so disappointed when Mckenzie decides to stay with me. Abby was talking to me about having a robot that could run errands for me today. She stated "You could build it. Well, Daddy could build it and you could use it." I asked her why I couldn't build it and she asked "Do you even know how to build a robot?" I had to stop myself from asking "Do you think your Dad could even build a robot?". I almost asked her, but she saved herself by saving I could help Scott build it. I guess that would work :)

016 Abby's plate

This is the plate that Abby's friends signed at her birthday party. I love this keepsake :) I hope that she will too treasure if forever!



Today was a quiet day. I managed to get a run in this morning while the girls were both at school. I feel like I am slowly improving. Someday I will be a runner. I just hope it is someday soon :)The girls and I went to pick up the pottery that Abby and her friends made at Abby's birthday party but the store was closed today. I was mildly annoyed that we drove well over an hour round trip to get them but we saved the trip by stopping at the Krispy Kreme for a doughnut. This is the only one I know of in the area. We are heavily populated by Dunkin Donuts so I was glad to see this little treasure. The girls loved their doughnuts. Mckenzie actually ate hers instead of just the frosting off the top it was that good. We stopped by the grocery store on the way home, what better time than when the kids are happily loaded up with sugar :) It was nice enough to let the girls play outside this afternoon so they enjoyed riding up and down the sidewalk before it got too chilly. When Scott got home, he was sweet enough to get the kids ready for bed alone so I could have a little down time on my birthday, or I guess I should really say on the anniversary of my 28th birthday :) We ate cake (as if I needed more junk food for the day!) and watched a movie. Today was the kind of day I like to have. I don't need a big birthday celebration, I just love spending the day with my family. Well, all the family that is close enough anyway. I loved all the calls and texts and facebook wishes. It really helps to feel close to those that live so far away:) 007 Mckenzie



I am feeling so spoiled and so blessed today. Scott and the girls made me feel like a princess and it isn't even my birthday yet :) I went for a manicure and a pedicure while Scott and the girls did some super secret stuff. After drinking a Starbucks and reading my book, I came home to my surprise. The girls made me close my eyes and they led me into the kitchen :) The excitement in their voices when they told me to open my eyes was just priceless. I just loved how happy they were to sing me Happy Birthday and watch me open my gifts. I love that Scott had the girls make me a card. Abby's drawings and Mckenzie wrote MOM on the card (I can't believe she can write so well already!), it was perfect! I am so blessed to have such a loving and sweet family. Scott spoiled me with a new lens and I can't wait to use it! We went out for dinner at the Olive Garden tonight and the girls were really good. Although, we can't take credit for it since they spent the entire meal watching a movie on my phone. Probably shouldn't do that, but it made for a very, very peaceful meal:) 006starbucks 011cake



Scott took Abby to work with him this morning while I took Mckenzie to dance. We met them on base afterwards and had lunch and worked out. It was nice that Scott had a little down time today so we could hang out together. On the way home, I decided that I wanted to get a photograph of a the C-17. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good one without all the fences in they way. Darn security! So, I settled on this one. I think it is the c-141 which was the precursor to the C-17. The girls asked me why I wanted to take a picture of a plane. I told them it was because they didn't like it when I took pictures of them anymore and all of a sudden, Abby has a renewed interest in being photographed. Guess I ought to try guilt a little more often to get what I want! HeHe! 002c-141



I decided to be brave and take Mckenzie to the Y with me this morning. She never likes to be left with people she doesn't know so I wasn't sure how she would do. I was surprised at how well she did at the drop in care center. She wasn't happy by any means, but they didn't have to come and get me off the treadmill either so, I think it was a success! This afternoon we delivered some Girl Scout cookies that we sold. At the first stop, both girls insisted they get out of the car to deliver the cookies, after that, they were over it and opted to stay in the car :) I can't blame them. It was rainy and windy all day. Yuck! Abby went to a movie night that was hosted by her elementary school tonight. The kids viewed Gnomeo and Juliet. She had a great time! It was a little awkward at first for her though, because one of her friends saved her a seat and Abby had already promised to sit next to some girls in her class. She had friends pulling her in two different directions and she didn't know what to do. Luckily, there was an extra seat so they could all sit together. When Abby got home, she looked like she had the best time. I imagine the look on her face tonight will be the same look I see when she tells me she is in love for the first time. That is how happy she was! She couldn't stop telling me about all the friends she got to see and how great the movie was :) I love moments like this!

108 Mckenzie 107 Abby



Abby asked me to play piano for her today. So, we had fun singing some children's music. Mckenzie wasn't really into it, although in her defense, she had just woken up from a nap :) A neighbor girl came over to play this afternoon. Abby was happy because she hasn't gotten to see her in quite awhile since Abby doesn't ride the bus in the mornings anymore. Scott worked pretty late tonight which made the girls pretty upset. Neither of them wanted to go to sleep. I hope they adjust to this schedule soon. It seems to be harder on them than when he goes on trips.
087 Towels

I actually washed, dried, and folded THREE loads of laundry today. Yes, that must be some kind of record because usually, I leave it in the basket and take it from there when we need it!



It was my turn to pick up Abby and her friend from school today and bring them to their afternoon class. On days like today, it feels like the only thing I get done is chauffeur kids around! I am sure that chauffeurs gets paid a whole heck of a lot more than I do though... We had dance this afternoon and then our friends came over for dinner. The girls went crazy when I told them their friends were coming to the house. I wanted ear plugs. Seriously. It was so loud and filled with girly screams that I could hardly stand it. But, they had fun and that is what matters right? I tried Zumba tonight. It was a great reminder that I have two left feet and absolutely no rhythm. But, it was fun and nice to get in a second workout for the day. Makes eating those Girl Scout cookies a little less evil!

088 girl scout cookies



Mckenzie had a follow up appointment for the cyst she had removed a little over a year ago. I was a little worried that is was growing back, but the doc said it was normal for it to heal that way. Yeah. Glad I was just being an overprotective momma! A friend picked Abby up from school since I wasn't sure I would be back from Mckenzie's appointment in time. You just never know how bad the traffic in Philly is going to be! Since Abby was busy playing with her friends, Mckenzie and I went to the grocery store. It is so much easier with one than two, although she was a little crabby since it was close to lunch time. My bad! Abby had church choir tonight. She keeps telling me she doesn't want to go and then at the end, she tells me how much fun she had. I just wish she could make up her mind!
109 American Girl doll

Krisilla has been sick for a few days. Hopefully Abby will decide she is healthy one day soon!



The start of another week. At least Mckenzie was excited to go to class this morning. I am pretty sure the only reason she was happy was because we gave a couple of her friends a ride to class, but I will take it! I made it to the gym and I actually ran a couple of miles. Today was the first day I didn't feel like I was going to die after the first 1.25. I guess there is hope afterall that I will make 300 miles this year! 085 Mckenzie in the snow



Abby celebrated her birthday with her friends today. She had a pottery party (Scott's idea) and it was a lot of fun. I think she really enjoyed it because she was able to spend time with her friends and actually get to talk to them instead of just running around like in years past. She really is growing up! I just can't believe she is 6 years old already!!!! The kids all had a great time painting their own piece of pottery. I am looking forward to seeing the final products! Abby was ecstatic to see she had a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and Hello Kitty on the top. I don't think the cake could have been any more perfect! (No, I did not make it. Lord knows if I tried to make a cake with a picture of Hello Kitty on it, it would come out looking like a dog or worse!).  It took her forever to blow out the candles. I am pretty sure it would have helped had she actually blown air instead of spitting all over the cake! Good thing the frosting was so sweet that no one actually ate the top layer of frosting! It was a three layer cake and each layer of frosting was nearly as thick as the cake. Way too much sugar! We picked up Mckenzie from her friend's house (Abby's party was just for the big girls today) on the way home from the party. She had fun playing with her friend and didn't seem to mind that she wasn't able to be at Abby's party. We let Abby open her presents when we got home. She was like a tornado ripping through her presents. It was very hard to take any pictures of the little stinker! 073 Abby 059 Abby cake 034 Abby 076 Mckenzie Scott Abby 079 MCkenzie Barb Abby



We had snow this morning! Not very much, but it was enough to cover the ground and make everything look beautiful! It won't last long though because it started warming up already. We went to a hockey game tonight and it was pretty cool. We hadn't been to a hockey game in years and it made both of us realize how much we missed it. It also made Scott realize how much he missed playing hockey himself. I wish he didn't have to work so much so he could find time to do the things he misses. Scott was given the hockey tickets as part of a military appreciation promotion that the Trenton Titans have. We even got rockstar parking and got to be on the jumbotron screen during the intermission. Scott was given a signed hockey stick and the girls got hockey pucks :) They love those hockey pucks!!! I just hope they don't start throwing them around inside the house!

112 hockey puck



I should know better than to not take my allergy medicine, especially when I am allergic to dogs and we have a dog! So, since I was a yucky looking mess from all the sneezing, the girls and I hung out at the house and played games today :) Here is a picture of the painting I did the other night with some friends. Not a masterpiece by any means, but it sure was fun :)
 111 painting



I had gotten Mckenzie a panda coat the other day and she does not want to take it off! She loves her new coat and wants to wear it all the time! Her teacher said she refused to take it off in class and had to have the hood up the entire time too! I just love her sweet little personality :)
113 panda coat



Mckenzie did better at drop-off this morning, only fussing a little bit when it was time for her to leave. I used my time alone today to get to the gym, Target, and the grocery store. The girls had fun at their afternoon class together. I am so glad I enrolled both of them so they can have a learning experience together. I just realized that today was the first time I have ever cooked a whole chicken. I should have taken a photo. Darn it! It turned out pretty good to if I may say so myself.



Abby didn't want to go to school until I reminded her she could bring cake pops to share with her friends to celebrate her birthday. After that, she was ready to go! Abby was excited that her principal wished her a happy birthday over the intercom system at school and that her class sang to her. Although, she was most excited because she is now the calendar assistant in her class. She said this was the job she has wanted all year long and she finally got it! Yeah Abby! Mckenzie and I hung out at the house. She didn't want to change out of the dress she wore yesterday and also to bed, so I ended up putting another dress right over the top of it. This kid does not like long sleeves. She would rather freeze and wear a tank top than have anything cover her little arms.

Today was a cold, wet day, but it gave me the chance to capture a photo that I have been wanting to take forever. I just love the way raindrops hang on bare tree branches. 001 raindrops



Happy Birthday to our sweet Abby! 6 years old already. It seems like just yesterday we were anxiously awaiting her arrival and now she is a school aged child! Crazy! We are so blessed that she is in our lives. Her spirit is contagious and she is so sweet and friendly. She is our social butterfly :) We took her to NYC to celebrate her birthday. We stopped at the American Girl store so she could pick out her own birthday present. She chose a crutches and cast set, a ballerina outfit, glasses (to look like her friend Jora), a swimsuit, and a pair of kittens for her doll. She had so much fun deciding what to get and I don't have a clue how she narrowed it down. That store is huge! Three stories of dolls and accessories. You can get a photo taken with your doll or have her ears pierced. Just about anything you can imagine, it can be done. We wanted to eat at the restaurant there, but unfortunately, I called too late to get a reservation :( Abby didn't seem to mind and we ate at a different restaurant. We visited Grand Central Station, which is amazingly beautiful, and the Toys R Us in Time Square. They have a ferris wheel inside and the girls and Scott got to take if for a ride. Abby had a great day in the city. I think it was the perfect gift for her. She just loves NYC. There are quite a few pics from today. I really wanted a picture of Abby inside American Girl because she is so in love with her doll right now. I mean she screams in excitement when the American Girl catalogue arrives and she looks through it over and over. But, she wasn't in the mood for pictures today :( Oh well, it's her birthday and if she doesn't want photos then that is what she gets :)
 007 grand central station 019 grand central station 020 mckenzie Abby scott 021 Mckenzie Abby Barb 025 grand central station 032 door in grand central station 037 American Girl store 054 Mckenzie Abby Scott 071 legos 073 Abby Mckenzie 075 Abby 6th birthday 085 Abby 090 Abby 097 Abby 094 American girl doll



The girls slept in really late this morning. I guess that is a good thing considering it took them forever to fall asleep last night. They had a sleepover in Mckenzie's room and neither one of them wanted to settle down. After breakfast Scott and I took turns going to the gym as they don't offer childcare on Sundays. We celebrated Abby's birthday today with a cake as we plan to head to NYC tomorrow and probably won't have time for cake! She was so excited to get her chocolate cake with chocolate icing. The girl just love her chocolate! I went out with some friends tonight to a place that teaches you how to paint a canvas. It was a lot of fun and my picture, while not a masterpiece, turned out much better than I anticipated! 007 Abby 032 Abby 029 Abby



Scott was great and made breakfast for us this morning before Mckenzie's dance class. Scott stayed home with Abby while I headed to dance with Mckenzie. She was excited to go into her class today which makes me so happy! We met Scott and Abby at the gym after dance. We have never used the childcare there before so I was a little apprehensive about how the girls would do, but I was worried for nothing! Neither one cried and they said they had fun. We took the girls to Chick fil A for lunch (who puts a gym next to Chick fil A?!?) and let the girls play. One of Scott's coworkers stopped by the restaurant with his daughter and our kids played together for hours. Yes. We were at Chick fil A for at least three hours! Well, I checked out a little early to run a few errands. I made cake pops this evening for Abby to take into her class on Tuesday. I can't believe she is turning 6 already!

Scott so generously "volunteered" to be my hand model :) 053 cake pops



The girls were ecstatic that Scott made it home before dinner. We ordered delivery for dinner and hung out together. It was a really nice night:)



047 Mckenzie 043 Abby's nails

Abby likes to have every finger painted a different color. I don't think I can remember a time where I painted every nail on her hand the same color!



Mckenzie didn't want to go to school again today. I really hope she moves past this stage quickly! I met some friends for breakfast and it was nice to chat with them. I picked Abby and her friend up from school and after lunch, I took them to a class over at Mckenzie's preschool. They are starting a literacy enrichment program that we enrolled both girls in. Abby's friend came over after the class and I took both of them to dance after that. It was a long day, but the girls had fun playing together. Mckenzie was so tired that she fell asleep on my lap while Abby was at dance.



Oh my oh my. Abby was in quite the mood this afternoon. Who knew that asking her to get her own snack would set off such a tantrum. I had to stop myself from laughing so many times because her arguments about why she couldn't get her own snack were just too funny. She told me she couldn't get her snack because she didn't know where it was. Ok. all the food in the house in either in the fridge or the pantry. My guess is crackers are in the pantry. Next problem. "I can't reach them". Seriously? They were directly in her line of sight on the bottom shelf. "I don't know how to open the box!" Really? It went on and on. Her five minute time out was waaaay longer because she kept screaming about missing her movie that she had been watching. But, we made it through her tantrum and enjoyed some peace and quiet before heading to church for choir practice/dinner. Mckenzie almost went along with Abby to sing, but she turned back before getting all the way to the choir room :(



Mckenzie didn't want to go to class again today. She was super clingy and was crying when it was time for me to leave :( I felt so bad leaving her because the teacher's assistant was out and she is usually the one that cuddles with Mckenzie. Her teacher did say that she settled down pretty quickly but I still feel guilty for making her stay when she didn't want to.  The girls and I took down all the Christmas decorations today. I usually take them down on the first, but time seemed to get away this year. The girls were sad to see the tree go but they had fun looking through all the ornaments as we packed them away. Abby was really upset that Scott wasn't home in time to see her before bed. It has been really tough on her not seeing him in the mornings and only getting to spend a few minutes with him before bedtime. I hope she adjusts to his schedule soon.



Scott got up with the girls and made breakfast for us all. I am so blessed :) The girls were having fun playing with the new jogging stroller that we bought yesterday and couldn't wait to try it out. We all went for a run/bike ride and then played at the park when we were done. The girls really seemed to enjoy it and I hope we can do it every weekend.

042 Mckenzi

Playing Pretty Pretty Princess:)



I took Mckenzie to dance and Scott stayed home with Abby. Mckenzie didn't want to go into dance class and I had to walk her into the class and promise to watch her through the window. She has such a reserved personality and would rather stay at home. I see a lot of myself in her. I can tell she wants to have friends but she is just so nervous and cautious that it is difficult for her to put herself out there. I hope she is lucky like I was to find a few good friends and keep them for life. Abby has been asking for Chinese so we went out to lunch and then went shopping. We found running shoes for me and a jogging stroller for Mckenzie. I am really excited to get into running. I remember how accomplished I used to feel after running 5K's in Charleston and I want that feeling again. I think it will be great for the whole family to spend more time together and get some exercise while we do it.

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Abby became an official Daisy today. Her troop leaders held a ceremony where they pinned the girls as Daisies. The girls recited the Girl Scout Promise and sang a song. It was really cute. Scott was disappointed he couldn't make it, but with his work schedule these days, he just can't leave:(
013 Abby

She really was happy about her ceremony. She just didn't look like it in this photo.



Mckenzie was back to school today and she was not happy about it. She cried and told me she didn't want to stay. It breaks my heart when she gets so sad. On a good note, I made it to the gym. And, I actually got up the nerve to run. I wish I looked graceful while I ran, but I am pretty sure I am nowhere near that! But, at least I ran. Abby had dance and other than that, it was pretty quiet around here.



Back to school and work today. Well, at least for Scott and Abby. Mckenzie and I got to take it easy :) We went to church this evening and as usual, Mckenzie wanted nothing to do with the choir. I think she was tired from travelling because she was super cranky tonight. Asleep in the foyer waiting for Abby to come home from school.

002 Mckenzie



We got to spend a little extra time in Florida than we had anticipated. Our flight was canceled due to weather but luckily we were able to get on a direct flight in the evening. So, we went to an aquarium and out to lunch with our friends. The aquarium was small and the alligator was smaller than the ones in our friends's backyard but the kids had fun. They got to touch a stingray, well, Abby did. I dont' think Mckenzie ever actually touched one. She stuck her fingers in the water, but she always pulled them away as the stringray swam by. Abby was scared at first, but she finally worked up the courage to do it. Lunch was tasty, but Mckenzie was super crabby which kind of negates the lunch. It was hard to say goodbye to our friends. It had been two years since we hung out, but it felt like it was only yesterday when we last saw them. Abby was so sad to leave her friends. She sobbed all through checkin at the airport, through security, and throughout most of our dinner. She finally settled down after a phone call with her friends.  Both girls were so good on the airplane. Mckenzie fell asleep about 10 minutes before touchdown so she wasn't too happy when I had to wake her. 462 shark feeding



2012. I can't believe a new year is upon us.  As I look back to 2011, I can't complain. We all made it through Scott's deployment and grew as individuals and as a family because of it. Was it difficult? Heck yeah. (pneumonia, ear infections, a foot of snow to shovel without a snowblower, broken furnace, MICE, etc...) Do I want to do it again? No (although, as a military wife, I know that isn't my choice to make) Would I wish to go back in time and have Scott stay at home instead of deploying? No. It is a part of our life. We were lucky it wasn't longer and even luckier he returned home safely. There are many that can't say that and I am forever grateful and indebted to them for their eternal service. The rest of the year was cake compared to the first half. We managed to get in some traveling, we watched our oldest graduate preschool and move onto Kindergarten, and we saw our youngest start to blossom in dance and school. I think 2011 was just the way it was supposed to be. Not all the moments were perfect and I can't say I enjoyed every tantrum or meltdown, but that's ok. I don't think God ever intended for anyone to enjoy every moment of every day. That is impossible. But, it is possible to be thankful for the good moments and look back on them fondly.

Anyway, onto 2012. I have a few goals in mind for the year.
1. Be a better mom and wife. There is always room to improve here, although if anyone asks Scott, he had better say I am the best wife/mom ever ;-)Become a better photographer. I am lucky enough to have an amazing camera. Now I need to learn to take photos that are worthy of it.
2. Be more organized. This may or may not happen. If we move, then yes. I always seem to get organized before a move. If we don't move, I can't imagine this will happen.
3. I want to run 300 miles.
4. Become a better photographer. I am lucky enough to have an amazing camera. Now I need to learn to take photos that are worthy of it.
We took the kids to a park this morning and let them run around for awhile. This afternoon was a pretty quiet one. Scott and Ben did a little fishing and gator watching :) They caught a few fish. The kids bounced around on the trampoline for awhile. I think it was a great way to start off the new year.
420 Florida

Gator watching!
414 Mckenzie gator watching 412 Abby gator watching 434 Scott fishing
And here is the gator. The picture is terrible. Sorry, I couldn't get any closer and I forgot my zoom lens.
438 gator