Saturday, July 29, 2017

"Winter" Roundup

January and February may be winter months, but here in Florida, they definitely do not have winter weather, hence the quotation marks. Here is a bit of what we did in those couple months leading up to James' birthday. 

James celebrating a traditional New Year's Day.
In the dirt hole he dug himself. In a tank top.
Jill, Patrice, and Kim. Love it when we can get together, even if it's just a quick weekend visit!

Unfortunately, in early January, our beautiful goddaughter, Evie, who struggles with HLHS became critically ill and was rushed to Primary Children's Hospital in SLC. The news wasn't good and we were all terrified. Thankfully, I have the flexibility in my life and schedule that James and I could immediately fly out to Utah to help take care of the other girls, so that Chris and Kerri could stay at the hospital with Evie around the clock. We tried to maintain some normalcy for them keeping up with school and friends' birthday parties, as well as celebrating Maddie's birthday while we were there. Their friend, Mark, had flown in to help as well, and he and I made a pretty good team for two people who had never met prior to this adventure. I still don't understand how our little rock star baby did it, but she managed to pull herself off from the top of the heart transplant list to being able to go back home in just a few weeks. She is the toughest girl I know and I couldn't be more proud of her! Chris and Kerri are unbelievable parents as well and I know that plays a huge part in her ability to fight as she does. It's inspiring to see such love and strength and I'm so grateful to have all of them in our lives. 

Mark and I rolling in the minivan like bosses; utter chaos in the back!
What's an adventure without some ice cream treats?!
James got to tag along to one of the birthday parties at a trampoline place.
He believes his new calling is as "American Ninja Warrior".
Maddie's 5th birthday party was at Discovery Gateway Museum and it was SCIENCE! 
Science experiments are AMAZING!
Chris and Kerri were able to leave the hospital for a couple hours to celebrate with Maddie, which was awesome.
Making a plane in the playroom basement, which he loves!
He still complains that we don't have a basement in our house. In Florida. 
I love his creativity! Turning packing peanuts into a sword and an alligator. 
Made it back to Florida in time for Monster Jam!
Gravedigger is one of James' favorites!!
Enjoying a day at Animal Kingdom with Uncle Corey's girlfriend, Ms. Kim. She and James are best buds!
Mostly, we just wanted to see the new baby elephant, Stella. SO FREAKING CUTE!
Checking out a cool leaf bug. Because science!
Sporting a new do. He looks so big!!
Hanging with Unca Dave while Uncle Matt plays at the House of Blues.
I don't even know what this is. But I wanted it preserved here for posterity.
Enjoying a day at the Mt. Dora Art Festival with Uncle Kai.
Epcot silliness with Tia and Danielle.
Chef James is learning how to cook and bake. He loves spending time in the kitchen.
"Pardon me, sir. Do you have any Grey Poupon?"
Having his own "monster truck" experience on our annual trip to the Florida State Fair.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Christmas in July

Well, not really. This was Christmas in December, but you get to read about it in July! 

Our little family had a great Christmas at home this year and tried to focus on time together with fewer presents, feeling that this is what we would like the holidays to be about for us.

December in Florida=picnics in the backyard
Chris lights up our amazing old oak tree. It's my favorite decoration now.
We found a Florida snowman! Made out of plants. At Disney World. 
Leo, clearly getting into the Christmas spirit.
(This may be my favorite picture of him. Ever!)
Treats out for Santa on Christmas Eve. James' note reads, "Dear Santa, This cup is full of eggnog not milk. Hope you enjoy it. Love, James."
A Christmas Eve tradition, reading The Night Before Christmas together.
Santa obviously enjoyed the treats.
His first look at the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
Santa brought the pogo stick he asked for and Chris is helping him try it out. 
I love how excited he gets about each gift!
Catching sight of his new awesome RC truck from Mom & Dad.
Enthusiastically thanking Dad for the truck. He almost knocked Chris over with this hug!
Leo is pretty psyched about his Christmas present, too! He just shows it differently.
Shenk Family Selfie on Christmas morning 2016.
Already starting in on one of his new books. Love that he loves to read!
My contribution to the Shenk Family Christmas dinner this year was a 5-layer red velvet and cheesecake cake.
This may have been my most ambitious baking endeavor yet.
The finished product decorated with fondant Christmas trees and snowflakes on top.
Pretty and delicious, if I do say so myself! 
"Helping" clean up the icing...
Getting the hang of that new pogo stick at Mimi & Papa's.
Chris on bass. Corey on ukulele. Taylor in the middle wondering how she got stuck there. :)
Enjoying a post-Christmas visit with Abuela.
My heart. Love this amazing man!