Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ellie's First Christmas

The end of December 2017 brought us Ellie's first Christmas, and we were excited to spend this milestone holiday at home with our friends and family.

Step One. Get a tree.
Step Two. Decorate the tree.
Step Three. Hang the stockings on the mantle and begin the picture-taking spree.
Step Four. Put baby under tree like the amazing gift that she is and take more pictures. 

Step Five. Take some time out of the busy holiday season to read and relax.

Step Six. Be sure to make time for friends, like the always adorable Avery.
Step Seven. Enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner prepared by someone else. In our case, Café Rio.
Step Eight. Bake delicious goodies "for Santa" that require plenty of taste-testing--
on his behalf, of course.
Step Nine. Don't forget the family photos!

Step Ten. Christmas morning is here! Open the presents!

Step Eleven. Invite your people over to celebrate with you. Abuela is so happy to be with her babies.


Just after Christmas, Ellie got to meet her Titi Ty and Titi Tovah who live it up in California with their awesome kiddos, Ari and Raya. We can't wait to head out west for a longer visit!

Ellie wishing she had shades as cool as Titi Ty's.
Raya was so excited to help feed the baby. Look at those curls!!

And then she was officially three months old.

Three months. Like a boss. 
Enjoying her new Christmas present from Momma & Daddy.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bittersweet Days in Pennsylvania

Not all of our trips are for fun. In mid-December, we got the news that Chris's uncle, Mike, was hospitalized in the ICU and they weren't sure what was wrong. It turns out that last-minute plane tickets in December are REALLY expensive--ha!-- so we piled in our car and drove up. Chris's mom joined us for the journey so she wouldn't have to travel up alone to see her brother. I did the driving so Chris could continue working from the passenger seat and not have to take any extra time off and Mimi helped out with the kids in the back seat. 
We definitely aren't in Florida anymore.
What?! I'm going to see my first snow?!
Ellie's face here is hilarious! She is totally unconvinced about this whole winter thing.
James, on the other hand, was thrilled to see snow again and just wanted to throw snowballs.
Spending time with Mimi in Philadelphia.

Children under thirteen are not allowed in the ICU, so unfortunately, it meant that James and Ellie could not go in and see Uncle Mike. Luckily, the waiting room had an aquarium that served to mesmerize them both at various times, and James is great at entertaining himself with books and his iPad. 

Beautiful girl all dressed up for winter.
Ellie gets to meet Aunt Alice, Uncle Mike's amazing wife.  
James already loved Aunt Alice and was super happy to see her again,
although, we certainly wish it was under better circumstances.
James and Ellie relaxing in the hotel. Love these kiddos!
Strange how calming a fish tank can be. Definitely a good choice for a place that is inherently stressful.
Snuggling with his momma while we wait for our lunch to arrive.
Aunt Alice getting some more bonding time in with little miss Eleanor.
He's always so happy to spend time with her. It makes my heart full.
James is explaining Minecraft to Aunt Alice. In great detail. Poor Aunt Alice. 
Look at this sweet face! She is such a gift! 
Ellie was engrossed in a video of Evie that Kerri sent. It was so cute!
Snapping a family photo for the Christmas card in Uncle Mike and Aunt Alice's front yard. Thanks for the scenery!

After a few days visiting Uncle Mike in the hospital, we had to get back to Florida. Unfortunately, Uncle Mike never regained consciousness and he passed away just after Christmas. He is missed so very much.

A collection of pictures from Mike's life that was displayed at his Celebration of Life service.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our times with Uncle Mike.

December 2011. He is down on the floor playing Jenga blocks and cars with James! I love it!!
Such a great picture of Chris and Uncle Mike. December 2011. 
Mike and Cindy sharing a sweet moment after their father's funeral. December 2011.
Happily watching James play with cars when we visited their home in May 2012.