Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

We started off our Christmas celebration at Grandma and Grandpa's making cookies for Santa.


The tongue is essential for proper cookie making

After they were done with cookies Nana came to pick them up to take them to mass at church.

Once they got back our guests started to arrive. My mom let them open a present that kept them occupied for a while.

14 people all fit in here! I really should someday write about the history of our Christmas Eve celebration. It didn't always exist and it's had a few changes of venue. Oh nevermind, I just did some searching in past posts and found their first christmas post from 2007. It explains everything in case you're interested . And another thing I discovered is that Maddie and Jackson were wearing the exact same outfits last Christmas Eve.

I think everyone's favorite part is popping the crackers. I was in between Maddie and Chris and they BOTH got the bigger half so I didn't get anything :-(

Alyssa was loving Tillie!


Tillie says, "Really? You're just going to stand there and take pictures?"

We also do a grab that has a different theme every year. This year's theme was "eat, drink, and be merry". Raffe was happy to get hot chocolate and I was happy to get cosmo mix!


And the whole crew. This was our 5th attempt with the timer on the camera.

We left my parents' house around 9 and went to the O'Connell's house. Matt and Stacey were there this year with baby Henry. I got to snuggle him for a bit before they put him to bed. Maddie and Jackson were just two months older than Henry when we brought them to the O'Connell's for the first time.



We got home at 11:45. The kids had fallen asleep in the car but woke up when we brought them in. I was glad they woke up because I wanted them to see us put out the cookies and milk for Santa.
After they went to bed the big debate began. We hadn't wrapped their presents yet so we were trying to decide if we should wrap or leave them unwrapped. I was worried about not being able to get a good video of them if they were unwrapped since they would be facing the tree and not me. So we spent the next two hours wrapping presents. I got to bed around 2.

You'll see from the gifts that Chris is pushing Star Wars already. The red and white helmet is a replica of the Kick Buttowski (disney XD) helmet. Jackson LOVES that show. Chris bought the white helmet from ebay and uncle Stevie put the red stripe on it for us.


I didn't really get any pictures of them opening presents, just a bunch of video but here they are after hence the mess!


The one toy Jackson told everyone he wanted for Christmas was a "bike ride". We hadn't gotten it because we figured it would take up a lot of space in our tiny house. It's basically a game controller in the shape of a bicycle. It really was the only thing he wanted so Chris went out and got it on Christmas Eve. We told them it was for both of them. They were very excited. Maddie always said she just wanted to make cookies with mommy! How sweet is that??

After tearing them away from their toys we went to my parents house to open presents there. My mom got them a few gifts to open but she also gave them money so we could take them to do fun stuff like skiing/snowboarding.
Who would think their favorite toy would be a flashlight?




My dad also got them an ATV ride on toy. He got it for free on craigslist because it was broken but he was able to fix it. They were very excited about that.

After that we went to Nana and Papa's house. Courtney, Mike, Kristen and I gathered the kids before Thanksgiving and did a photo session with them for Eileen for Christmas. This is her opening the canvas prints.

We decided last year that Christmas would be in PJs. Not everybody participates but the kids and I do!
Sophia and Alyssa opening their presents from us.

Chris's Aunt Judy brought even more gifts for them.

This is Maddie walking around with one of the zhu zhu pets Judy bought for her. She loves them!


Apparently the kids decided to have a party under the table in the kitchen. Jim was invited.

Once we got home the kids got in their new snuggies and played with their new leapster explorers.
Daddy also put together the "bike ride" for them to play only to find out it needed D batteries which we had none of.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Early Christmas

Nana bought Madison and Jackson some rather large gifts for Christmas. The boxes were taking up half of her dining room so she gave them to them today. We got home around 5 and I immediately opened up Jackson's fire/police house. Basically a doll house but with boy stuff so as not to make him gay. It was mostly put together so he was able to play with quickly.


Maddie got a VERY large doll house. Chris got home around 6 and started to put it together. It wasn't done until 10! I kept joking that we needed a structural engineer to put the thing together. The kids weren't helping the assembly process because they were so excited to see it done. Chris has a hard enough time putting things together and following directions without the distraction of preschoolers.
This house is a good foot taller than Maddie is. She can't even reach the top of the roof. We let them stay up until it was done because every time we mentioned bedtime it was complete hysteria. She played with it for about 10 minutes then they went to bed easily.

This year Jackson wanted NOTHING to do with Santa. One day in November we went to the mall and walked by Santa's setup. I heard Jackson say "I don't want to see santa". I looked at him and he was actually walking with his hands covering his eyes so he couldn't see him. I didn't push the issue and really never made the effort to take them to see him. Skipping it wasn't an option for me though so I dressed them up yesterday and brought them. Jackson kept saying over and over that he didn't want to see him. I told him I would hold him and stay there with him and even that wasn't a comfort for him. We waited in a short line and Jackson warmed up to him right away. He hopped right in his lap and Maddie let me put her in his lap. I was in shock! But I ran back to the camera to help get them to smile.

Dance class

This week at dance class was an observation day. I stay in the lobby during class so I hear all of the songs they play around to every week but it was so cute to see what they are doing during all of the songs. All of the kids did a great job especially knowing their family was watching. Miss Lisa said they were even better than usual!


Every week I hear Miss Lisa say "Here's your favorite part Jackson!" and this week I got to see what it was. There is a part of a movement song they "dance" to that is a racing car and they run around the room pretending to drive a car. Look how happy he is!!!


Miss Lisa tried to hold Maddie's hands but she said she wanted to do it on her own.


Nana Fitzy came to observe too

as well as my mom.

We found out that the song they'll be doing for the recital is "Going to the chapel" so the girls will be wearing white dresses and Jackson will be in a little suit and top hat!!!!! I am going to be the proudest mommy that day. I'm welling up just thinking about watching them on stage. It's not til the end of June though so I have a while to go.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thank you!

I wanted to make a special holiday video card for all of the people who helped my business grow this year. This video features one image from every single session I did in 2010. Be sure to look for people you know!

The beautiful soundtrack is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by local artist, Noel. She was gracious enough to let me use this song to accompany my images. I think they work perfectly together. Noel was on the ballot to be nominated for three different Grammy awards in 2011! How exciting is that?

Noel's music can be previewed and purchased at and her Facebook fan page is

I can't even begin to say how happy it makes me to be able to capture beautiful images of families who know the value of preserving a little piece of history.

I hope to see you all again in 2011 and that you are all sharing my name with your friends and family!


Auntie Mo's 60th Birthday

A couple days ago all the ladies in the family went out to celebrate Chris's mother's sister's 60th birthday. It had started snowing in the middle of the day but there was just a dusting on the ground so I wasn't worried about it. I got the kids ready to drive to my mother's house to drop them off there. It took me 15 minutes to get from my house to the highway which is max a 30 second drive. Once I got to the highway I saw from the overpass that both directions were complete gridlock. I had to be at Chris's mother's house in 20 minutes for the limo to pick us up! The roads were complete ice. After some illegal traffic moves I made my way through some back roads and was able to get there in an hour (a 10 minute ride normally)!


Eventually we made our way to Arlington to pick up Maureen who had no idea she was being picked up in a limo. Once she was in we popped the champagne!


We spent the next hour or more trying to get to downtown Boston (normally a 10 minute ride). We were an hour late for our dinner reservations at Maggiano's. The food was fantastic and the service was awesome.

This picture makes me laugh so hard!

This is the whole group before running out to the theatre to see Jersey boys. Three of us didn't go to the show though and we were able to have the limo drive us back to Lynnfield before he went back in to pick them up after the show.

When I got to my mom's to pick up the kids Maddie had written her name on the chalkboard. My god, it's perfect!

Then my mom asked her to write the alphabet. I have never taught her how to write any letter besides the ones in her hame. She knew how to write every single letter, the majority completely on her own and the rest just being shown an example.
Then I pointed to a letter and asked Jackson what it was and he said "I don't nenember". He doesn't know any letters or numbers. It's amazing how different their brains are!

Zoo lights

Our second attempt at going to see the lights at the Stone Zoo was successful. Our first attempt was not pretty. We were horribly late because of the hat Jackson is wearing in this picture. I ordered it at the beginning of November from for store pick-up. It had been a month and I hadn't gotten any notification of it arriving. So I called the 800 number in my order confirmation email. They said it was delivered to the store on the 22nd of november. I went to the store to pick it up. Meanwhile Chris and the kids were at home waiting for me to get there so we could go to the zoo. The guy at customer pick-up had no record of the order. I was there for 45 minutes while I went back and forth with him and a manager. Finally they came out with the hat. By the time I got home and we got the kids in the car and we drove to the zoo there was only 20 minutes until it closed. We didn't want to pay $20 to get in for only 20 minutes. We had to wrestle two HYSTERICALLY screaming 3.75 year olds back into their car seats. Maddie eventually calmed down but Jackson was crying so hard he was gagging. We had to promise ice cream which worked to some degree but Jackson was still crying. We told him he had to stop crying before he could have ice cream and his sobbed, "I don't know how!" I felt so bad that they were so upset. Once we got ice cream they were all happy. It was so exhausting though.

So anyway, we did eventually make it and it was fun. Although Jackson did cry again when it was time to leave.

The rides were $2 each and times two we had to seriously limit the rides!




they really had no interest in seeing the lights or any of the animals that were there.


They decided to walk around like this. So cute!

Not sure we'll do this again. It's so cold out that you don't really want to spend that much time there anyway. I'm glad we did it once though.