Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Singin' Sugarland

I uploaded my first video to YouTube. It was way quicker than uploading it directly onto Blogger. So, here it is ...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Louisville

We were glad to spend a long weekend in Louisville. Look at all those cute kids + their Grandmom! That's the serious version above. Things are a bit more normal (aka chaotic ...) below ...



Even at 5 months old, Jax has some class!

There's more! Lots more. But Blogger isn't cooperating for some reason. So go look at my Facebook album and see everything from the weekend.

More of Christmas Day

We enjoyed some time with Greg's extended family at his grandparents' house before heading to Louisville. You can see that Cate made herself comfortable with everyone, like usual.

There are more pictures of our Christmas festivities in my Facebook album.

Growing up ... at Christmas

I'm 29 years old and this is the first Christmas morning I've woken up without my parents there. Yeah, I know, grow up, Kristin. But, you should know, I'm not complaining as much as I am thinking about traditions.

It was nice waking up in my own house. With my husband. With my daughter. And doing our own thing. Granted, Cate is 19 months old, so our own thing is still developing. But this year was our start of something new.

We had a nice dinner Christmas Eve + then drove around looking at Christmas lights. Then Christmas morning we opened presents + ate cinnamon rolls.



We mostly just do stockings, but it didn't quite all fit in there. Cate was pretty good at unwrapping things ...

... and even knew to throw the paper away later. Notice she's still holding some keys, which were quite a hit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas: Hill Family

My brother, my sister and I thought we were being really smooth getting these family portraits taking when we all were in town for Thanksgiving. We almost slipped a few times, but we got through the weekend without telling Mom we gathered the troops + went to Sears.

But then my niece, who is almost 5, spilled the beans. Unintentionally. She asked Grandmom when she could see those pictures of all of us. Grandmom was confused. But Milla kept talking. Milla told Grandmom all about going to the mall, and how she behaved well. But Cate didn't. (Cate had a major breakdown ...) Milla even tacked on the detail "Even the adults were good."

At least it's a cute story. The poor girl just wanted to see the pictures. Now she has her chance!

Anyway ... so Mom wasn't surprised, but she did appreciate the gesture. And the pictures themselves were surprises. I think they turned out nicely.

She had been wanting a picture of the three grandkids. So we got that, despite this being right after the breakdown. The photographer snapped while the tears had momentarily stopped.

I can't remember the last time we had a siblings picture professionally. Cassie is 25 + Kevin is 26, nearly 27. Can you believe it?!

Oh, and, by the way, it's was the first time we've had Cate's picture taken in a portrait studio ...

I think I'll stick the candid shots at home after our experience there. The photographer kept trying to tell her to sit next to Milla, and I don't think Cate understood. Plus it was hot + crowded. And, to top it off, she hadn't taken a nap.

(These pictures are scanned versions of the prints. So they look much crisper in real life.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From New Mexico

Cate really got into unwrapping this one, tearing the paper into little pieces. And then she even helped me throw them in the trash. Thanks for the cute book, Holly!

Christmas with Friends

We had Christmas with the Tompkinses last night. We ate, exchanged gifts + played two games of Settlers of Catan. (I won once ... I'm inching my way back into contention!)

Yes, Cate is opening a gift while sitting in Norah's car seat.

Luke is opening his Little People construction site.

Then he "helped" Cate with her other one.

Cate decided she would check out what was inside!

A puppy! My kind of pet. A plastic one.

Norah wasn't completely sure about sharing her mama, but she made do. Look at the girls' cute sweaters. Cate's sparkles. And Norah is wearing my favorite from Cate's winter wardrobe last year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Christmas ... ALMOST!

Yes, I let Cate open another present that came in the mail. This one was from Kim + Bill (my aunt and uncle; Cate's great aunt and uncle). Spread it out, I tell you, then she can appreciate everything!

Have you all seen this book? It's adorable. I think it's even cuter than "Tails" by the same author. Apparently Cate likes it too!

Thanks, Kim + Bill!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lookin' cute!

Cate loves the hat her aunt Christine gave her for Christmas. (And so does her mama!) She wore it yesterday after she opened it + then again today to church with the coordinating dress.

Christmas: Taylor Family

We had fun celebrating Christmas with Greg's immediate family, which grows each year. This year we had John's new wife, Christine, with us. There are pictures of everyone in my Facebook album, but here are a few of Cate.

Here she is unwrapping some gifts from Gran Gran ...


... It's a baby! The baby even giggles!

And this is just my favorite from the day ...

Surprise, surprise. She's accessorizing!

Love, Aunt Jo-Jo

Cate's first Christmas present this year came from Jodi. I was anxious to see Cate open a gift, so I let her open it when it came in the mail Friday afternoon.


This little Santa is so cute. With the push of a button, he taps his feet to a couple different songs. And there's a reindeer one too (see below!) that taps to different songs. You can hook them together and they'll tap together to whichever song you choose.


Jodi sent a stuffed cow, too. Cate greeted the cow with a kiss!

Cate carried them around all afternoon! She had trouble figuring out how to carry everything she wanted!

Thanks, Jodi!

You know you're a grown up when ...

... you get meat in the mail for Christmas! But, seriously, what a great gift! Look at all those meat choices we have for dinner. And it's already in my freezer! Thanks, Rick + Melissa.

Thirty Days of Thanks: On Paper

Here is my Thirty Days of Thanks project as it is in the scrapbook album.


With 30 pictures, I ended up making two photo collages on my photo editing program so I could contain the month-long project in a two-page layout.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

around the house

Yes, I'm OK. And, truly, I haven't been up to much. Just to answer a couple questions I've gotten recently. Weird, huh? This isn't the time of the year that people, especially frequent bloggers like me who obsessively take pictures, go missing. But, really, that adage about no news being good news that I can still hear my mom quoting pretty much holds true. We're good.

To recap the week so far ... We had some snow/ice/slush/freezing rain that has since washed away in slightly warmer rain that kept Cate + me inside the house Tuesday. I've been to Kroger + Wal-Mart, but, really, what's new? I bought the last few Christmas presents, which were stocking stuffers for my mom + mother-in-law. Everything is wrapped + under the tree.

Oh, and I've been watching reruns of LOST (the third season, to be exact).

So, today, I decided I'd take some pictures around the house. I was going to focus on Christmas decorations, but, first, Cate wanted to cheese ...

... with the Christmas-decorated mantle in the background.

Christmas cards are really one of my favorite parts of the holiday season ...

... and look at those cute snowmen that help hold cards.

I have a tradition (Two years makes it a tradition, right?!) of hanging a picture from the year on the tree in a new ornament. I may rotate them after a few years, otherwise, I'll have a lot of pictures on my tree. Anyway, this is the one for this year.

And while I was documenting Christmas decorations, Cate found this in her toy basket ...

And she clearly called it a pumpkin. She's a holiday off, but, hey, she's catching on!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'It will simplify your life'

So, really, Greg owes you all a confession that he is weak too. He was all excited about some Christmas present that he ordered me. "It will simplify your life," he boasted.

This mysterious present came in the mail earlier this week. He told me he wanted to go ahead and give it to me, but we had friends over for dinner + Settlers, so I told him that he should wait. I didn't want the glory of the gift to be overshadowed by everything else going on in our kitchen at that moment. So he waited ... but not all that long. Like an hour.

"It will simplify your life," he reminded me.

He gave me a remote control. But, I suppose it's not just any remote. Rather, it's a universal remote.

Among my first reactions: "Do you think I sit around all day and watch TV?"

He assured me he knew I did plenty of things (like parenting our 19-month-old daughter ...) during the day. But he tried to tell me that I used the TV more than him. I still am not so sure about that.

After all, at the top of Greg's agenda Saturday was programming the new universal remote. My universal remote. He has it working so it controls our television, stereo, DVD player/Media Center Extender and cable box. All he has to do is program our favorite stations. Well, rather my favorite stations. He did give me the remote for my Christmas present. (He has since told me that he got me two other things I didn't ask for ... I'm trying to refrain from being worried, but I can't help from wondering how much he'll benefit from my other mystery gifts!)

The remote came with two sheets of television channel logo stickers so I can choose my 10 favorite stations. I already chose my 10. Greg should just be glad ESPN + ESPN2 made the cut. I had one spot left, so I picked the Disney Channel for Cate. She doesn't watch much TV, but I figured one day she might like this channel. I can always change the sticker. And I wasn't giving Greg the satisfaction of ESPN Classic because I think that station is silly. I really do flip to ESPN + ESPN2 sometimes, as long as they aren't showing hockey or a dog show.

Why a remote you ask? Well, in addition to its power to simplify my life, it was marked down from $100 to $14.99 on Buy.com. In case you didn't know, Greg likes a deal.

So my life is simplified. We have one remote, instead of four. Or maybe I should really say: I have one remote. "Hey, it's my remote." You know, I think this gift will work out nicely when he thinks watching a rerun of a poker tournament of which he already knows the outcome is better than watching "Trading Spaces."

A beach baby, perhaps?!

I caught this moment while Cate was waiting for Daddy to give her a bath tonight. She got that hand towel down from the sink herself + decided to spread it out on the tile.

Christmas-y Weekend

We had quite a Christmas weekend.

It started with our date on Friday night. We went to see "Four Christmases" after we had dinner. I didn't realize I was really needing a date, so I'm glad we went, even though the movie was just OK. Speaking of Christmas movies, I watched "Elf" for the first time on Saturday morning. Greg had been teasing me about recording it, but I thought it was better than "Four Christmases." He seemed to think "Four Christmases" was slightly better. Although I'm not sure why we compared them because they aren't really anything alike. Just both holiday flicks. But at the top of my favorite holiday movies are "Love Actually" and "The Holiday."
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Saturday afternoon/evening was the annual Taylor Christmas Party. This is Greg's grandpa + two great uncles + and all the other relatives that come under them on the family tree. Cate mostly played with her second cousins once removed, if that gives you any indication of the variety of relatives present.

Here's a picture of Greg's immediate family + their families. And we're just part of the crowd. I believe there were 30 adults + 13 kids (meaning 13 years old to a baby who is just a couple of months old ...) there.

Other highlights from the party ...


The night was all about the kids, according to the organizers. They had toys for them to play with + even had an inflatable jumping thing. Dolls were popular toys + thankfully there were two strollers.

Among the toys were these snowmen who pooped little candy pellets into its hat, which was conveniently sitting upside behind him. All you had to do was push down the snowman's tall. Christine discovered if you pushed the tail up, the snowman played a song.
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Before we went to the party, I took some pictures of Cate by the tree ...



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Then this afternoon we went caroling with people from church. My in-laws actually organized the outing + provided the buses.

I've probably mentioned that Cate is all about chairs, even her car seat, which she calls a chair. Gran Gran conveniently has car seats, so she was putting this one in the bus for Cate. But first Cate needed to test it out.

And she wanted to drive the bus! A true Taylor.

Here she is caroling ... sort of.

Granddaddy was popular, as usual, with the kids. Cate + Elijah are enjoying him here.
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More party + caroling photos are posted in my Christmas album on Facebook.