Sunday, December 30, 2012

So much more...

This year Christmas morning meant so much to our family. It was our first Christmas in our new HOME. It would be the first year the kids would eagerly wait at the top of the stairs as I checked one last time to make sure everything was in place. It would be the first Christmas they would come barreling down to see what Jolly Old Saint Nick brought. And life never felt more perfect-two healthy, handsome boys, an incredible father and husband, & two fun-loving dogs. Blessed is the word that comes to mind most.

So on this magical Christmas morning the boys woke up and I'll admit it, as excited as I was to see their faces when they saw what Santa brought them, I stalled as long as I could. I wanted to get myself somewhat pulled together because I knew once we started opening, it would be a long while until I got to see the likes of a shower. So as I got "ready" the boys enjoyed their Christmas Fruit Loops and watched the Grinch that Stole Christmas.

I just knew that as soon as I announced it was time to come downstairs Kaden would come barreling down but nope, he decided that on this day of Christmas that he would walk backwards down the stairs--this kid.

but as he turned the corner he saw a huge surprise-Logan's jeep & he ran straight over to it before he even took a second glance. As he was getting ready to pull open the door it hit him--wait! where was my RED BIKE. He stopped instantly in his track and started looking around…

"My RED BIKE! Mom, look."

From there it was on. On like donkey kong. The boys sorted through their stockings-pulling out each little toy one by one and taking it in. But as soon as the stockings were emptied Kaden went straight back to his bike, his RED bike. Finally, after a little coercing, we were able to pry his little hands off the bike long enough to unwrap the rest of their presents.

The boys had a few hours to play with their new toys before the rest of the family would arrive and half of them took advantage of those few hours. The other half-well he was in desperate need of a nap. While Kaden rode his bike (in and around the house) Daddy took off to the kitchen to prepare our traditional Christmas day brunch-and it was delicious. Uncle Adam went back for seconds & maybe even thirds so that should tell you something.

The boys waited patiently while the rest of the presents were passed out and once again they dove into the heap of gift wrap. Colton got "what he had always wanted", Kaden and Logan got a new workbench for their playroom and we officially had more toys than we knew what to do with. All three boys were set & we could have opened our own ToysRus…

And when Grammy had asked what she could get Kaden I quickly responded with a helmet. If Santa was really going to bring a red bike for him, he would need a helmet to be safe. She came through and then some, she got him elbow and knee pads too. The kid didn't want to take them off for the rest of the afternoon. Certainly would have napped in them if we would have let him and had, JUST HAD, to wear the helmet to dinner the following night with the Johnsons. Luckily we convinced him that we had to leave it in the car so we didn't lose it but as soon as we opened the door to climb back in he made sure it was back on top of his head. Love that boy.

And before everyone left we tried for a few pictures with all three boys and just kept switching out people-suckers didn't even help for these!

Although the morning was truly magical with the boys beaming with joy, the afternoon was just as magical in its very own special & QUITE way. After everyone had left and the boys played with their new toys a little more, we had family nap time for a whole three hours. I am not sure when the last time Justin and I enjoyed nap time too...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hartley Christmas

I don't mean to be biased but my family has the BEST Christmas gathering. Maybe its the fact that I don't get to go home as often as I would like. Or maybe its because I don't get to see my neices and nephews as much as I would like. It could be the amazing food, the family naptimes, or the fact that my boys are spoiled rotten by their Papa Tom & Grandma Sara. Actually, it may just be ALL of these reasons.

Since this holiday fell during the week and schedules were a little tight we decided to have Christmas on Saturday evening-after Officer Hartley was off duty. It might not have been the most convenient for my brother but it allowed me and the boys to spend an extra 2 days at home, being waited on. Thanks Zack. Before heading off to my mom and dad's though we have a quick little mini-shoot with the boys in front of our Christmas tree.

--it may seem as though I have a number of mini-shoots with my boys and the truth is, I do. You just never know when they will cooperate so I try every chance I get--

And within a few snaps of the camera, I captured this.

and then in a matter of seconds, it turned to this...

and then Logan wanted his very own turn.

We then loaded up and headed home. It was a pretty long 2 hour drive-Logan wasn't tired & certainly wasn't wanting anything to do with his car seat. We went through a number of suckers, snacks and peek-a-boo games before we FINALLY pulled into my parents' drive. As we unloaded the gifts Grandma Sara took the boys for a little nature walk.

But the real fun came when it was time to open our traditional first gift-Christmas pajamas. Since we were doing Christmas a little different this year and opening presents up at night we decided to have all the kids in their pjs. What a lively bunch of kids we had too!

Its hard to believe that the oldest is now 15 and the youngest just 5 months old. I still remember when the big kids RAN to their Aunt Kayla with arms wide open ready to give me the biggest hug they had. They might not be running to me any more but they are still willing to give hugs.

After our VERY quick and not so great pj photo Kaden assisted Leah in handing out presents. Once all the presents were handed out the little kids took turns opening. Kaden was really excited when he unwrapped his new Spiderman house & Logan's eyes were HUGE when Grandma brought our his new four wheeler.

It didn't take too long and Logan found his place for the night-right next to his daddy. 

After all the kids opened their gifts and the wrapping paper was all picked up we spent the next few hours playing with all our new stuff. The gift of the year went to Blake, he got a super cools bow & arrow that shot out nerf darts. This was no ordinary bow & arrow, it was pretty high powered & I won't lie, it was a lot of fun to shoot. All weekend long we kept trying to one up each other as we vied for that coveted sharp shooter title & in the end, I didn't win. I think they all were plotting against me because every time I picked up the bow & arrow a kid would be attached to my leg!

The rest of the weekend we did more of the same. We played. We talked. We napped. We did family. The only negative to the entire weekend--besides Uncle Zack having to work and Daddy having to leave to go back to work--was the fact that it had to end. I could have easily stayed for another week or two-not sure my mom and dad would say the same when it came to cooking for all of us but boy did we have a good time. Makes me wish Christmas came every month, then again, if it happened monthly it probably wouldn't be as special as it is. And you know what, its weekends like these that make me want to have more kids-to be surrounded by all the noise, laughter, & most importantly the love.


I have a ton of Instagram and iPhone pictures to share and hope to have the all posted tomorrow as we start our End of the Year Adventure. Wish us luck, we'll need it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas.

The past four days have been wonderful & full of family time. I can't wait to work through each of our holiday celebrations but I just had to share a few pictures of Kaden and Logan from this afternoon. After all the unwrapping was over & it was just our little family of four, I asked for one last picture of them-posed that is. They came over, sat down & the silliness came out-I snapped away. These two little boys are what Christmas is all about.

and my favorite from their wrestling match…

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Catch-Up Post

The last few weeks have been busy, heck the last few months have been busy. And I most certainly haven't been the best when it comes to keeping this blog as up to date as I would like but if I haven't been playing with the kids, I have been up editing pictures (way past my bedtime) or wrapping presents to go under our tree.  It was nice not to feel the pressure of the blog on top of everything else but it does make me a little sad when I look back knowing I missed capturing some of our day to day fun. So here I am, playing catch-up...

I should also note that I haven't gotten my camera out as much while at home with the boys, I am trying to be more present and I can't always do that with a camera attached to my hip so I went with what I had-the old iPhone. It might not be as great as my Canon but it gets the job done & as an added bonus, Kaden gets to take his turn behind the camera!

This past Thanksgiving was a tough one for our family-we lost a dear friend & honestly, when I think of Thanksgiving, he is all that I think about. However, when I looked through my phone, I found a few more pictures that needed sharing.

We hosted Thanksgiving & we all know how LITTLE cooking I do so my contribution came in the way of decor. Kaden and I made a last minute trip to Michaels & while there we found Justin an apron. He is always talking about getting one so why not get him a festive one. That morning the boys colored it and Justin wore it proudly-so proudly that he wouldn't allow me to take a picture that included his face--only the apron Kayla!

My other contribution was dessert, more specifically, my Grandma Hartley's brownie dessert and by the looks of it, I did it justice!


Since Thanksgiving it has been go, go go. There is a lot to do when it comes to getting this family ready for the holiday season. We visited Santa & baked cookies. We celebrated Nanny's 98th birthday-98 as in 9-8 & man does she not look amazing for being two years shy of 100. She even managed to blow out all her candles, granted we only lit 9 and gave her a few extra tries but she got 'em.

We decorated the house for the Christmas holiday. We hung our ornaments-both old and new, strung garland around the staircase & the mantle. Eagerly waited for Christmas cards  to start arriving so they too could be hung with care--receiving Christmas cards easly makes my top 5 list of things I love about Christmas. This year opening the holiday cards was even more special & for more than one reason too--yes, I loved seeing pictures that I have taken being used but Kaden, well he loved ripping into each card and pointing out everyone he knew. I love that he gets just as excited, if not more so, than I do!!

We made treats for all the boys' friends at day care.

We had to make sure that the boys looked their best so of course that meant a trip to Sports Clips to get, as my husband would say, their wigs split.

We wrapped presents, well lets clarify that, I wrapped while they played. One might think they would play with their trucks, the new toys they got as early Christmas gifts, their LeapPad, the iPad or even just read a book but no-they play with paper towels. PAPER TOWELS. As odd as it may be, I love that their little imaginations are hard at work.


Speaking of hard at work, well hard work to be more specific. My colleagues and I met up one day & made over 50 fleeced blankets for the young patients at Children's Mercy. I am so grateful to work with such kind & caring people who this year put more love (& sweat) into our giving project than any prior year.

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." --Mother Teresa  

So there you have it. A little update on what we have been up to. Its hard to believe that 2012 is only a few days from being over and yet there is still so much celebrating to be had. Luckily it starts for us tomorrow as we head on down 71 Hwy to Papa Tom & Grandma Sara's. Our bags are packed but more important the presents are too…

And yes, that would be 15 presents in one bag, one amazingly HUGE bag that my SIL had made for me one year! Not only is it a great way to carry presents into the house but its great for carry all the gifts the boys receive home too!

Safe travels everyone & enjoy the holiday. I hope to be back with a few more holiday posts but if I not, just assume we are having too much fun…

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Wishing you joy, EVERY DAY.
This year I wanted to do something a little different when it came to our Christmas card-I wanted to show our day to day life. The boys doing what they do best-being their oh-so-cute-selves. We have had such a blessed year as a family-a new home, a new baby niece, Logan turned 1, Kaden turned 3, WE won our first baby show, and Kaden got potty trained. I couldn't have wrote out a more exciting and perfect year for us if I tried & I can't wait to see what 2013 has instore for our family of four.

Merry Christmas-The Souths.


Make sure to check out Bella Carta Boutique on Etsy, Jillian was such a joy to work with & her work-AMAZING!