Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back at 2012

It's hard to believe another year is coming to an end.
 I thought it would be neat to choose a picture or two from each month to look back at our year. (It was really hard to choose only a couple!)
It was fun remembering all the things we did in 2012. 
This has been a great year for our family!
We had some big changes and new experiences. I look forward to 2013!

We started the year in January by going on a hike and enjoying the outdoors. Also, our nephew Lucas was born on the 12th and I watched him enter this world. Such an amazing experience! In February, we took the kids to a local children's museum in Tampa and Max started playing t-ball. Damian was the asst. coach. In March, we spent lots of time with family and friends at parties and also went to many t-ball games. In April, we celebrated Easter with our families. May was Mother's Day and winding down another school year. Max finished up Pre-K4 and Emma first grade.

In June, our ballerina Emma had her recital and Damian and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in Savannah. We also wrapped up another school year and began our summer vacation. July brought days at the splash park and packing our home up to move to Kissimmee. It was a big month in our house! In August, I turned 35, we took a trip to Tradewinds in St. Pete beach, and we continued to get settled in our home. August also brought the first day of school for my second grader and kindergartener. Max turned 5 at the end of the month and our new niece Abigail was born the day after his birthday. My uncle also passed away this month so it was a sad time for my family. September was busy with birthday celebrations for many and Damian turning 35. In October, we visited the pumpkin patch and kept busy with school and work.

In October, we cheered on our Florida Gators, celebrated Emma's 8th birthday with a sleepover spa party and a trip to the Magic Kingdom. November brought busy Wednesday afternoons: dance for Emma, basketball for Max, and Faith Formation as Emma prepares for her First Reconciliation in January and First Communion in April. Every Saturday morning we cheered Max on at his bball games. We also celebrated Thanksgiving with our families. This December, Max was a ringbearer in his cousin's wedding, Emma performed in Flakes and did a fabulous job. We visited Hollywood Studios, and we have been enjoying every single minute of our Christmas vacation.

Here's to a new year filled with many happy memories and experiences!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Day

Here are some pics from our Christmas day at my parent's house. We had a terrific time spending the day together. It's always fun to have the cousins together, a little loud, but still very fun!
It was a little hectic so I didn't get many pics.
I know the first one is blurry, but it's a little glimpse into our sorting of the gifts. My brother in-law had to work in the afternoon, so we got started right away. About 2 1/2 hours later we finished opening everything. Then, we feasted on a delicious meal made by my parents. The kids played for a few more hours and enjoyed their new toys.
 This year my nephew Lucas and niece Abigail celebrated their very first Christmas.  
One of my favorite memories of our day was while Max was waiting to open his gifts he told my sister, "I don't know what I'm getting, but I know I'm going to love it!" 

Christmas morning

On Christmas morning, I woke up super early(before 6) and began to cook breakfast. I hoped that the smell of pancakes and bacon would wake everyone up. My hubby and kiddos just kept sleeping.
 I couldn't wait anymore, so I ended up waking them up at 6:15.
They came running into the family room to see what Santa had left. They checked out their stockings and all of the other goodies.  They must have been very good this year!
Then, they opened their gifts from Damian and I. They were so sweet and appreciative of everything. 
 After a fun time unwrapping and lots of excitement, we sat down to our breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and cinnamon rolls. I lit the candles on our advent wreath and after our prayer, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. We then got ready for church at 10:00 a.m. It was a very memorable Christmas morning with my sweet family!

Max asked Santa for a race track and Emma asked for an art set and doll clothes. Santa brought those things and many more surprises.
 I love that my kids get excited about clothes and books!
We chose to give them four gifts this year.
 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, and 1 thing to read.(of course I saw that on Pinterest) It worked out really well. We were a little stuck on what to get them because they really didn't know what they wanted. We ended up getting Max an air hockey table and Emma a Nook. They were so surprised. I loved it! They are still thanking me for their gifts and it's been a week!
 We gave them money to shop in the wish store at school and Max was so excited about the orange scarf he picked out for me, the black socks for his Daddy, and the hair bows for his sister. Emma gave me bubble bath, a screwdriver for D, and a racecar for Max. The kids also made pictures for Damian and I and wrapped them up. It was so sweet! I always want them to remember how great it feels to give to others.
 These smiles were on their faces all this!
We tried to get a pic before we left for church. This is the best we got!
Next up, Christmas Day with my family at my parent's house.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve began with the kids and I sleeping in while Damian worked. Poor Daddy!  He came home around 11 and we started to prepare lunch for our friends who are family, the Basilicatos. After a mexican fiesta we shared gifts, played Headbanz the game, and enjoyed each other's company

We then headed to Damian's sister, Veronica and her family's home. We were the first to arrive and enjoyed visiting with everyone and feasting on delicious appetizers and spiked egg nog. The kids wasted no time playing with their cousins Abbe and Charlie.
After eating our dinner, we listened to Abbe play Jingle Bells on her guitar.  Emma also sang her songs from her play. Then, it was on to our traditional Kris Kringle gift exchange. 

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and enjoyed the laughter and good times.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

cousin pics

Every summer we take cousin pictures. It began when Emma was a baby and it was just her with her cousins Nathan, Joshua, and Hannah.
Through the years our little family has grown by leaps and bounds!
We are truly blessed!
This year we decided to wait until our sweet Abigail was born so we put off the pictures until the fall, which turned into December. We quickly realized that we had better get this year's picture taken before it was 2013! We typically go to a portrait studio at the mall, but our family has outgrown that setting and we opted for pictures at my brother and sister in-law's neighborhood park. Of course with 12 kids not everyone was looking at the camera and smiling but it is what it is. Pretty much everyone over 2 cooperated and everyone under 2 wanted nothing to do with sitting with their cousins.
I still think they turned out pretty cute.

This is the best group shot...poor Noah was not happy! I should show some outtakes too where Noah and Benjamin are running in opposite directions.

Our sweet girls did a fabulous job!

 Our handsome boys(some of them had enough of the camera)
 Max and Emma looking cute

I can't wait to see how our family grows in 2013! Fun times are ahead!

gingerbread house

A couple of weeks ago the kids decorated their very own gingerbread house. I let them do everything themselves and they had a ball putting the icing and candies on the house. I'm pretty sure they had even more fun eating their masterpiece.


My dad's birthday is December 14th and we always celebrate with a family dinner(this year we had a brunch) and a trip to Hollywood Studios to see the Christmas lights. As usual, we had a great time and enjoyed the spectacle of dancing lights.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cookies with Cousins

On Friday, we had a cookie decorating party at our house. My mom, my brother and his family, and my sister and her family came over for a lasagna dinner and decorating. Thankfully, my mom baked a couple of batches of cut-out sugar cookies for the kids to decorate. It was pretty chaotic and I may or may not still be cleaning up sprinkles from under my table, but I love making these sweet memories with my family!


We had another fantastic Christmas eve and day with our families. We are so blessed and still have smiles on our faces from all of the fun and festivities!
I have a few family events from December I wanted to share before I get to our Christmas pictures.
First up...
 Our nephew Aaron and his new bride Tarah's wedding on 12-12-12.
Max was asked to be the ring bearer and was thrilled with the role. He did a great job and took it very seriously. He was his usual sweet, funny self! And he looked pretty adorable!
We had a great time with Damian's family. It was held at a beautiful horse ranch and the kids had a ball playing outside with their cousins.