Merry Christmas from our family to yours

It's Christmas Eve! I hope you are enjoying this time with your friends and family!

I just want to leave one final thought I have been wanting to share. This year I feel like I heard the lyrics to Little Drummer Boy for the first time. I think I have been distracted by the "pa rum pa pum pum" or something because I LOVE Christmas music and I am pretty sure I have heard the song a thousand times - anyway, I really listened this time and found there is so much meaning behind it if you really listen:

A poor little boy goes to see the baby Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He is humbled by the fact that he has no gift to bring ("I have no gift to bring that's fit to give a King") - and so he gives the only gift he has - the very talent that the Lord has given him. He plays his drum, a gift from the heart, a gift given to him by God...

How powerful this story is - every year we worry about giving the perfect gift or how much we need to spend on this person...and when you think about it, none of that really matters. If you give, give with your heart, give with love.

Even greater than giving is receiving what God has given us - the greatest gift of all, the gift of his son, born in a manger, born so that we might truly live.

May we always remember this is truly what Christmas is about.

So, to all of you - we send our love and prayers for a very, very Merrry Christmas from our family to yours.

Ryan, Heather, Logan, Cody + Cadie


Christmas Mosaic

Just a little mosaic of Christmastime events so far...

From getting the tree to making cookies, this has been a December to remember.

Oh, and I wanted to share this story I came across this morning....



And the winner is...

Katrina...by default!!!

You are the only one who responded to my blog from last Thursday -- so you win!

Your prize? A big fat box of chocoloates...and me to help you eat them :) Congrats and thanks for playing.

As for the rest of you - wha happan?????


Family Affair

So, last night was truly a family affair as we made our way to see Santa. We didn't really plan it that way, but after meeting Grandma and Grandpa there as planned, Aunt Stephanie decided to come, we caught Nana running into Dick's Sporting Goods and spotted Matt and Corey as we were waiting in line for Santa. You would think we lived in a small town and this was the only place to shop....

Anyway, I am so glad everyone could be there - it was quite a site and honestly, we all laughed pretty hard at little Logan's expense. One minute he was chillin with Grandpa and the next he's put in the lap of a strange man with a bushy beard...and he no likey.

So here is the first picture, taken as we are waiting in line (Ryan had just seen the price list)

We let Logan walk up to Santa, which he was ok with for about five seconds. We picked him up and tried to place him in Santa's arms and he started to flail, hands over his head, wiggling all over the place as if we had just put ants in his pants. Seriously, you could not help but laugh.

We finally decided we were just going to have to be in the picture with him, so we squished into the chair together [note the look on Mama + Daddy's face: get me outta here]. HA.

Grandpa took this picture:

...and this is the one we paid for...

Look at that face - priceless!

I felt bad that he was so scared, but he was over it as soon as we walked away (and let's face it, he had plenty of family members to calm him down)

I am already prepared for next year's plan -- duck and run...


Logan thoughts

Friday. 1:30. still no nap. cool.

I am sleepy, but MUST...stay...awake...!

Lunch will not be served in the highchair today.

I want to eat on the go and throw some of my chicken nuggets to the doggies because I love them and they should get to eat good food too...

These are my toys. You cannot have them. We are best friends forever and you are not in this club. I am sorry but some things just are.

You see this book? When I give it to you that means read it. So here, read it. Then read it again. and again. and again. oh and make those funny animal noises too...that oink oink part is my favorite.

Yes I see the ball. I see the puppy. Let's move on.

I do not want to eat the carrot wagon wheel. Yes, it tastes good but I like to carry it around for an hour, set it down now and then and come back to it later when I can devour it in peace and quiet. I will leave a small part on the carpet once you have forgotten where I have placed it. It's what I do, woman. Don't ask me why.

I am not blowing you any more kisses, mama. I did it for a while and then I noticed people get all googley eyed and talk in weird voices and I knew it was not a very manly thing to do. Maybe one day when no one is looking I will do it again but for now, fa' gettabowtit.

I can't stop touching the Christmas tree ornaments. They are too shiny and pretty. Pretty please, let me just pull on them a little....um...oops.

aaaah...all this talk is making me sleepy...maybe I will take a break...just not for long. Still have lots to do...plenty of daylight out there...


Had Logan's pictures done last Thursday (the shoot did not go so well, but you would never know it to look at the results) and took a few of my own for D and family on Sunday.

Logan's picture will be going out on Christmas cards soon enough, I promise (just ordered them yesterday). All I can tell you is that they are really good and there is one I definitely want to blow up to poster size, or maybe something a little more modest :) ...either way...I absolutely love it and can't wait to get it up on the wall.

D - you and your family are so photogenic. Here are a few of my personal favorites from Sunday...

See what I mean?

Grandma, Grandpa and Nana Linder came to see Logan this week and he had a blast. We also went to the library and got some new books and had a playdate with Natalie and Russell. We have not been to see Santa or made cookies, but there is still time for that (I hope).

We have been pretty productive over here - got the second tree and decorated it (I think this is the biggest tree we have ever had but Ryan thinks otherwise - I promise you it just about grew to twice its original size once we got it in some water). Last night we got out the ornaments and I can honestly say that putting the ornaments on the tree is one of my favorite things to do at Christmas time. We always get an ornament from places we have traveled or to represent a certain event in our life...and then there are some that I have to get simply because they are pretty :) I love to look at each ornament and think back on the time that it represents.

here are a few of my favorites:

  • the ornaments from our very first tree (we started a tree when we were dating in 2001 for our first Christmas together)
  • ornaments handmade by friends and family members
  • a taxi cab from NYC
  • a beautiful red amaryllis from Germany (still my very favorite ornament - thanks Dad)
  • A little tray that clips on a branch with a miniature bottle of champagne and two glasses and a tablecloth with the words Our First Christmas (given to me by Marks Gray for my bridal shower)
  • New Home (little house that lights up)
  • Cody's First Christmas + Cadie's First Christmas (my mom actually made ornaments that look like our dogs - lol)
  • Buckingham Palace guard from London
  • A fish from our honeymoon
  • Baby's First Christmas (we actually have about 5)
  • A simple "L" ornament I bought last year
...and the list goes on.
I love the little reminders that they are.

What represents a special time for you? It can be an ornament, note, a photo, a ticket...Whatever it may be, leave me a comment and tell me a little bit about it. I'll do a random drawing a week from today for a little Christmas somethin' somethin' :)


it's Christmas time...

...and I had to give the blog a little "bling"

Still working on my Christmas decorations here at home even though I got started a week after our vacation (not sure what got into me this year that made me want to start so early...). We have the Christmas village all finished and one tree up and decorated (we're having two this year - one real, one fake and haven't gotten out to get the real one yet). Not too happy about this skinny tree and how you can see completely through it, but oh well, got it on sale last year after Christmas. The whole point was just to have a tree we could enjoy in the family room, so it is doing that just fine. Logan loves the ornaments. I figured he would, so I bought "shatterproof" ornaments for the tree...we'll see if they really are soon enough.

Lots of work to be done around here. Last night we were driving home from the library and got to see a lot of lights on the houses, reminding me that I need to hurry up and finish what I started out front. Once everything is up and looking good, I'll take some pics and post 'em over to the side.

So Saturday is December 1 (Happy Birthday, Chris) and I think it will really start to feel like Christmas knowing there are basically only THREE WEEKS until Christmas. ah!

Seems like there is always something needing to be done this time of year, but I enjoy having so much going on. This got me to thinking about all that I want and plan to do (not just have to do)...

* Get out and drive around to look at Christmas lights with Logan soon. Maybe we'll take out the stroller and get some exercise - that would be better except that I can't have a latte in my hand :)

* Bake some Christmas cookies.

* Hunt for the "perfect" tree, pray that it makes it home without flying off the roof of the truck, trek it into the house, spend half an hour trying to get it straight in the stand, fight with the lights, put on some Christmas music and decorate it up. Wow, doesn't sound like fun when you think about it like that, but I love the whole experience of having a real tree.

* Set a date with Santa - interested to see how that is going to go now that he can really experience meeting the jolly old man in the red suit.

I also hope to hunt down some PJs and continue that tradition of new PJs on Christmas eve *(thanks mom).

What traditions are you doing this year? :)

p.s. Found this quote this afternoon that I just love and had to share: Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth ... may we begin to see the world in the light of understanding you give us.


Went out this weekend and took some pics of Corey + Matt [for Christmas]. I think this is my favorite, although I had to be careful about what I posted here so no family members get a sneak peek at the "real" pictures.

Love seeing them so happy together...


Welcome to the World:

Avery Burke Lore
November 21, 2007
9lbs 3oz, 22 in.

...yet another reason to be thankful



Allen Hunt made a list of 26 things he is thankful for, A to Z, and you can check that out here:


He inspired me to do the same...

A - Autumn
B - Black Friday
C - Cody + Cadie *(even if they do eat things they are not supposed to off the table)
D - Decorations for the season
E - Ears to hear, Eyes to see
F - Family + Friends
G - Gators (& Tebow)
H - Health
I - Imagination
J - Jesus
K - Kisses
L - Logan…Love…Life
M - our Military + all they do to serve
N - New babies...naps :)
O - Orange creamsicles
P - Pumpkin spice lattes…Photographs
Q - Quick easy meals
R - Remicade
S - my Salvation
T - Thanksgiving...and Target!
U - USA (and our freedom)...unconditional love
V - Vacation
W - Working home home (even with its challenges, it is a true blessing)
X - Christmas
Y - You + your friendship and love
Z - Zoo (Logan’s first trip)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.



I receieved this response via email from Target today -

Thank you for your positive comments about our Christmas and holiday advertising. We appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts and feelings about this issue. I'll be sure to make your views available to our executives.

We always welcome your feedback, so if there's ever any question you have about our products or service, please call our Target Guest Relations team at 800-440-0680. We also invite you to share your comments whenever you visit a Target store or on the Internet at

Thanks for shopping with us. We'll see you again soon at Target.

Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices


Get the word out

Last week we went to Target (at OakLeaf Plantation) and as I was checking out, I looked up to see the Christmas advertisements hanging from the ceiling. There in front of me were several colored cardboard ornaments with the words Merry Christmas. No Happy Holidays???

I contacted Target via email to let them know I appreciate this and encourage you to do the same if this is something that is important to you.

I am sure Target is only one of many stores who has done this - Dawn recently sent an email to Lowes about their "family trees" - to which they quickly responded to with an appology and are now recalling their advertisements and re-printing them with "Christmas trees" - and rightfully so.

This is no small issue for me. I feel that just as we should point out what we want changed, we need to be saying keep up the good work.

If you would like to contact Target as well, here is the link:


...and if you know of another retailer I should be supporting, please let me know...



Sorry no posts lately. Lots of yucky sickness around here since we returned home, but finally on the road to recovery. More soon, I promise...


home sweet home

We're home!

Vacation was all that we were hoping for - relaxation and a change of scenery. Seemed like we just took a drive and autumn suddenly arrived.

I was thrilled that the leaves were still changing. Ryan will tell you I probably took one too many "nature pictures" but I could have taken a thousand, it was so beautiful up there. We had a good time, but nothing beats your own bed! Just got my pictures downloaded and wanted to share a few of my very favorites. Hope you're having a great weekend.

at the aquarium...
i love the shots ryan gets with one arm...you cant help but to smile naturally when you're cracking up together

he loves his daddy (and mama is pretty ok too...)

looking up

first stop on our trek through the smoky mountains

wish we had drives like this in Florida...

he is growing up way too fast...

...had to dodge getting hit by oncoming traffic to get this pic, but i think it was well worth it


autumn inspiration

If you have not checked out flickr yet, please, do yourself a favor and head on over. I could sit and look through that site for forever - the talent is endless.
So glad it's finally Friday and time to hit the road.

1. Bonne Nuit - Good Night, 2. Belle d'un Jour, 3. Softness '' Nature '', 4. Autumn Undergrowth, 5. A Nature Gift, 6. turtle refraction, 7. Fire and water, 8. Robin (Erithacus rubecula), 9. Moonlight 2, 10. Sanctuary Upshot Saint Mary's Studley Royal, Yorkshire UK, 11. Circles, 12. r e c l a i m i n g, 13. Berries, 14. Big Wheel, 15. jack, 16. Gazania, 17. figure 1. Ascophyllum nodosum, 18. Untitled, 19. Yashicamat/Xpro/Pylon 2, 20. Untitled, 21. leaf and lino print, 22. fire in the sky, 23. Future Bread (Vertorama), 24. Growth of Love, 25. KG11, 26. weighty, 27. seeds, 28. sEASONAL gREETINGS tO aLL mY fRIENDS, 29. ennerdalesq, 30. Autumn. October (2007)


halloween happiness

I came across this tough lookin' dude on Halloween...check out that sweet ride. He had a doo-rag but was quick to let me know "I aint wearin' that!" So, I backed off and let him do his thing and we sported a mohawk instead - and let me tell you, it rocked.

This little dude is also fighting a cold but he was one good sport. No matter how much he had to use a tissue, he made sure to stomp on it as if to say "aint no cold gonna hold me down." You da man, Logan, you da man.

The zoo was awesome - all lit up and decorated. Too bad my camera was being especially difficult and the dim light really hurt the photo quality. Sorry about that. Regardless, I thought I would share a couple of my favorites from the evening....

Nana and Papa gave Logan his first lollypop - absolutely loved it, although he was not a happy biker when it was gone...

Family photos are few and far between...

I cannot tell you how fun it was to see Logan be so excited to get to walk the pathway on his own, even though we had to "steer" him a few times, he was thrilled. Love seeing him be so independent. Way to go little dude...

Have a great weekend y'all.


vacation bound


Getting excited for vacation. Leaving on Friday to head up to the mountains in Tennessee and get a change of scenery. I am so excited to see the leaves in different colors up there and get some consistently chilly weather. Not sure what's up with the weather here - last night felt like winter and then we're back to the 80s today. Of course Logan and I have a cold (why do I ALWAYS get a cold when the weather changes?) and I am praying that we will be well before weeks end.

Got to see Tara and her beautiful new baby girl Avabelle today - forgot the camera, dang it. Katrina and the kids were there too and we had a rowdy and fun morning. Lots of learning to share going on today.

Tomorrow is Halloween - looking forward to getting Logan dressed up in his costume although I don't know how well he will put up with it. He's going to be a biker! :) So excited for his first "real" Halloween even though he has no clue what is going on. We're headed out to the zoo for Spooktacular. Fun Fun. Pictures to follow...

What are your plans for Halloween? Please share! I'd love to see your pictures. Lately I have been wanting to go dig through some of the old goodies from when mom dressed us up as an amazing cast of characters - the three of us were tortured year to year as everything from from old people to trees to the cast of Wizard of Oz. Good times.

If you dont have any plans, you should come join us at the zoo! Happy Halloween!


Pumpkin Patch

Finally made it out to the Pumpkin Patch today and had a blast


28 years ago...

Someone very, very special was born [10.26]
Katrina, you are such a blessing in my life. I am so thankful for you and continue to be enriched by your gracious heart on a daily basis. Thank you being my sanity in the crazy world of motherhood. Thank you for being as forgetful as I am and for loving me just the same. Thank you - for all of these things and a million more.

I love you, girl. Happy, Happy Birthday.


what is sexy?

Sexy: generally attractive or interesting
Pronunciation: \sek-sē\
Function: adjective

Or, in my case, the visual definition:

I know Ryan is going to kill me for this one. Can't help it; had to brag. Such a lucky girl am I.

Happy Friday.


hey mr.dj

Taking requests for songs to add to the good ole player (see bottom of the page if you want to see everything already listed.) I figure you're the ones coming here, maybe I should put on something you want to hear.

These songs should be playing at random, so you should be getting a variety. If you don't like the song that is currently playing, you can click on anything in the list and that one will play automatically.

If you have a song (or songs) you want to hear that is not listed, drop me a comment below. You can send me a list as long as you want but I cannot guarantee that it will make it on here. Some songs simply are not available in Mp3 format, but I promise I will at least try. (Trust me, I am missing some songs I would like to put on here too).

OK so since I have been asked - this blog is updated occasionally but at least once a week. I think there is a way where you can be notified via email every time I update it. If you are interested in that option, let me know.

I wanted to share this cool website with you that I came across: http://greendimes.com/
If you're looking to stop getting all that junk mail and help the environment at the same time, this is an awesome way to do it. This website not only decreases the amount of junk mail you get, but trees are planted for you! How cool is that? Anyway, just wanted to share in case you are interested because I think it is such a cool idea.

So what do you have going on this weekend? We're jam packed. Trying to fit everything in that we can before we go on vacation - including a very expensive tune up on the car. I am hoping we can make a trip over to the pumpkin patch. If we do, I promise to post pics next week.

Have a great weekend!!!


just a little reminder

So many people just going through a rough time right now. (You know who you are...)

Just wanted to take this time and be thankful for you, my family and friends. Feeling so blessed to have you in my life. I know I don't say it enough, but thank you - I love you.

Some days are just harder than others - some days you just need that little reminder that someone out there is hearing you -- today I am hearing you. thinking of you. praying for you.


Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment - this day - is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day - each moment of this day - a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity. -- Dan Custer

Here are just a few things that make me smile...


...and the winner is....

CONGRATS and thanks to all FOUR of you who entered....regardless of how many comments or technical difficulties, your names were all entered and D's was picked at random this morning. Since you now know your chances in the future are probably one out of four, I strongly suggest you try again next time :)

So, how was your weekend? We've been busy fixing up our front yard. It was eaten alive by chinch bugs and was in desperate need of repair. THANK YOU Dads for coming out and helping --- it looks soooo much better.

I downloaded some pictures from the past week and wanted to share a few I thought you might get a laugh out of...hope you enjoy.

um...I can explain this

Am I in trouble? Let me put on my sad face for you...

Oh, you mean this is cute? Ok well let me get back to eating hangers....

and these I like to call "ravioli madness"...Logan loves to make meal time a challenge

Have a great week everybody.



Comments are not being moderated at this time - which means it should be easier for you to comment. Sorry if this was a problem before!


fall goodies

This is my favorite time of year, no doubt. What is not to love about the cooler weather (ok, so in Florida this means 85 instead of 95 degrees), dressing your kids up in costume, the changing of the leaves, much needed VACATION (the mountains of Tennesse in November), and of course, that special day reserved just for spending time with family, eating as much as you can, and passing out in front of the TV?!?

In the spirit of this great season I have compiled a list of 10 questions. I will pick (at random) one person's responses and send the winner a bag of chocolates. I will pick the winner one week from today and post that name up here on the blog. To submit your answers, simply "comment" (see link below). There are no right or wrong answers. Good luck! :)

1. If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world (at no cost to you), where would you go?
2. Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?
3. What is your favorite book (childhood or current)?
4. Which color: Blue or Green?
5. Favorite Halloween costume (this can apply to you or your child)?
6. Top three pizza toppings?
7. Was was the worst/least exciting Halloween treat/item you received trick-or-treating or at a fall festival,etc?
8. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
9. Do you eat pumpkin pie?
10. Sweet tea, coffee or a glass of milk?


yay for Logan!

Yesterday I asked Logan if he wanted some juice (which is what I call everything that goes into the cup, regardless of the contents) and he said "ju..sss". I sat there for a moment, not sure if he said what I thought he said and then I said it again, unsure. "Juice?" (No reply).

Fortunately I wasn't loosing it - he said it again later in the day and was grinning ear to ear when I told him he was such a smart boy. We called Daddy and of course there was no talking going to happen over the phone. So when Daddy came home we tried it again...and sure enough, "ju...sss"

I told Ryan he should feel really good, considering both "Dada" and "juss" came before "mama" :) Regardless, I am one proud mama today...


Sunshine for a Rainy Day

Normally I love rainy days...but when it rains consisently for several days in a row it starts to get a little depressing. Yesterday I tried to make it to Target and left the house when it had stopped raining (here) and by the time I got there, just 12 minutes later, it was storming. I debated going back home...the rain was that bad...but instead decided to wait it out a few. We waited and waited. The rain wasn't slowing down, it was raining even harder. So, I climbed into the back seat, unstrapped Logan from the carseat, perched him up on my hip and we made a mad dash through the pounding rain...and he laughed hysterically the entire time.

I guess I'll take that as a simple reminder that life is what you make of it. So today I am thinking about the blue skies and sunny weather we had last week and these pictures I took after Logan and the dogs had a ball running around...