Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

2010 was a fabulous year for our family. Everyone was healthy, we got to travel, Charlie continued to do well at work and we decided to move back to LA and are moving into a beach house! (A personal dream of mine!) So I hate to see the year come to a close. It really seems like it went by really fast.

I do love a new year, though! There is something about the new year that always makes you feel like you have got a fresh start. I always make resolutions, but hardly ever keep them. That is the great thing about a new year, though, I can be optimistic that this is the year I keep them!

So here are a few:
1. I plan not to worry so much about EVERYTHING. I worry and stress out about everything from major world events to what I am going to cook for dinner, so I plan to try and take things in stride more.

2. I plan to try an appreciate and enjoy the small things in life, but the best things in life. Play more with my kids, take walks on the beach and not just watch them build sand castles but get in there and do it too, appreciate the days we are at home as a family more, and really listen to every little thing my kids talk about and just enjoy family time more.

3. Cook more for my family. I love to eat out WAY too much. Along the same lines, get my kids to try new foods and by the end of the year be eating a least one new, healthy thing!

4. Keep in touch with friends more. As I get older, I realize the value of great friendships more and more. I want to keep in touch, get together more, and stay connected.

5. Pursue doing more of the things I love. Party planning, photography, blogging. Not sure what path I will take, but try to have the courage and discipline to try and make it happen. I have been wanting to start my own party planning business for over 5 years now, so maybe this is my year. Who knows....I will keep you posted.

I wish everyone a prosperous and healthy 2011!

Oh, and GO FROGS!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Time is A-Flyin'

I wish I could be one of those bloggers that blogged everyday, multiple times a day, but alas..I am not. I have so much to write about and I want to write about it all, but I just don't seem to find the time. Right now we have so much going on. Not only is it the holidays and the busiest social time of the year, but we have decided to go ahead and make our move to LA in mid-January. So between Christmas, New Year's and my daughter's birthday party, I have to pack up the house without it looking like I am packing up the house! I am also trying to purge while packing so I don't take a bunch of stuff with us that we don't need.

We are SOOO excited about our place in Hermosa Beach. My husband found it and I am finally going to get to live in a beach house! It has been at the top of my dream/wish list since I can remember and I am thrilled about it. I am so excited to raise my girls at the beach and we can't wait to get out there. I know my girls are excited about being there now, I just hope they don't get bored of it too soon and always love the location as much as we do. Since we are now going to be living that beach lifestyle, I for sure need to go through our stuff and down size. Everything is bigger in Texas and that is no joke.

So topics to look forward to once things get a little more settled:
My brother's wedding
Christmas posts: We have down so much this holiday and have more to come. Rudolph play, the Nutcracker, ICE at the Gaylord Texan, Santa pics, Dallas Symphony Choir, making cookies, last Christmas in our TX house, etc....
TCU and the Rose Bowl (I am not going :( .....but I will blog about it)
Sarah's 7th Birthday: Theme- Around the World
More Ireland/France vacation posts: Donegal (the family emergency we had there), The Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, Ferry ride to France, and so much more.....
Our beach house in Hermosa
Remembering our Texas home: It has been such a great home that we custom built back in 2004/2005. We have LOVED living there and will miss it dearly. The more I pack up the house, the more sad I get. What great memories we have!

Those are just some things I plan to write about. Maybe I will be able to sneak a few posts in before we move, just so it isn't February before you hear from me again!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day at our house

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving! I, of course, loved entertaining everyone. While the house was quite and peaceful early in the morning, I decorated 2 different tables for the meal.

The flowers and fall leaves were straight from my backyard.

The girls enjoyed watching the parade.

The turkey turned out great.

Peaches was most interested in what was going on in the kitchen.

I would have taken pictures of all the rest of the food, but I got all teary eyed in giving my thankful speech, that I forgot to.

She may not have ended up liking it, but at least Lauren tried the pumpkin pie!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


What a wonderful day this has been. We have so much to be thankful for in our house this year. Charlie and I are most thankful to have happy, healthy kids, to have each other, and to be living such a wonderful life. We spent the day with great family and we had such an abundance of food it was almost ridiculous. What more can you ask for than to have your health, your family, a warm house on a cold day, and such a feast. We are so very thankful!

My girls were thankful for no school, new people (the family) to play with, no nap for Lauren, and desserts! Deep down I know they are thankful for each other and the love from all their family.

Peaches was thankful for all the food that fell on the floor and all the attention she got from everyone. She is also thankful that the house still smells like roasting turkey and that it did not rain today causing her to get her dainty paws wet.

I will post a few pics tomorrow. Did not get as many as I would of liked because everyone was in a little bit of a downer mood. Why you may ask? One word....Cowboys. Thanks...thanks a lot. They are one thing I am definitely not thankful for.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Northern Ireland

One of my favorite parts of our entire trip this summer was Northern Ireland. I thought it was such a beautiful place with so many great things to see. The tip top part of Ireland has a rugged coastline, but has gorgeous, seemingly untouched water, stunning rock formations and views of neighboring islands. Even though I knew we were not at the most Northern part of the world, it certainly felt like it at times. The sun did not set until almost 10:30 at night and was back up again around 5am. In mid June, we needed jackets and ski hats. Well, my girls did anyway. I would love to go back one day and really spend time exploring the area. We did a quick whirlwind tour in 1 night and 2 days. Not enough time to soak it in, but enough time to fall in love with it. I would love nothing more than to have a little white sea cottage in Bushmills to spend my summers.

So, first things first, where did we stay? We stayed at the Valley View Inn just southwest of Bushmills. It was a quaint little B & B complete with rolling green fields full of cows. Very Irish countryside. The rooms were all different, and ours was very accommodating for the 4 of us. We had a queen size bed and 2 twin beds in our family room. They took our order for breakfast the next morning and to Sarah's delight, pancakes were on the menu! I warned her they may not be like what she would get at IHOP, but they absolutely were. Even better. You even felt like the butter was freshly churned and the syrup came from a tree outside. Neither were the case, but the place just gave you that feel. I would stay here again if I wasn't so set by trying to stay by the sea next time!

Sarah trying to decide which bed was going to be hers. Looks like Lauren decided on the big bed. She did. Mommy and Lauren got the big bed.

SO when we arrived there the evening of June 6, the lady at the Inn recommended we go to Giant's Causeway that evening. Mind you it was a Sunday evening, it was already about 7pm, and I was worried that the girls were getting hungry for dinner and that the sun was going to drop soon and it would be freezing. Boy was I ever wrong. What a great suggestion she had. It was the best time to go. There were no crowds (we almost had it complete to ourselves) and it stayed light for us for hours. It was a bit cool, but oh how lovely it was to be there near sunset. If you are not Familiar with Giant's Causeway this is it...

It is an area made up of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Most of the columns are hexagonal. The legend of it is that an Irish Warrior named Fin McCool built the causeway to go fight his Scottish counterpart in Scotland. The geological history supports the legend because there are similar hexagonal basalt formations at Fingal's cave on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland. Giant warriors or not, it is a truly spectacular place. A sight not to be missed!

That night we had played around at Giant's Causeway so much that we did not start looking for a dinner place until 9pm. This was a problem because most places closed on Sundays at 9pm. We did, however, find a dive of a place that sold fish and chips called a Flash in the Pan. From it's cover it was a dumpy sort of place, but from the taste of the food, it was one great choice we were left with. (Charlie's mom had a different opinion, but that is another story for another post. Let's just say that having eaten at this place almost left us all wondering if we were going to need to cut the trip short by a couple of weeks and head home to the states. Stay Tuned) Anyway, the food was great and we headed off to bed late and got up early for our better than IHOP breakfast and to head out to the Carrick Rope Bridge.

So yes, I did bathe Lauren while on the trip...That brown above her lip is the first sip of Chocolate milk she had had in about 5 days. She was so proud of her "Chocolate mustache" and was in chocolate milk bliss.

Sarah was also in bliss, but hers was soda bliss. She didn't waste anytime sucking that one down. Gotta love vacations!

Carrick Rope Bridge: Another amazing stop. Quite a hike to get to it, a bridge I will never cross, but one gorgeous location. A must do (or at least a see) if you find yourself in Northern Ireland.

Our last stop as we jetted out of Northern Ireland that day was Dunluce Castle. We did not even actually pay or go into this attraction, but we took a stop and took a few pictures.

Then it was peanut butter sandwiches in the car and off to Donegal.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Be-lated Halloween

A little late on getting the Halloween photos posted, but most of my family friends have seen them all already anyway. We had a great Halloween. Perfect weather and the most perfect little witch and mermaid!

At the Pumpkin Patch

My little flying!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

McDonald Family Pumpkin Carving Contest

This is one of my favorite things throughout the whole year. It all start back in 2004. However, I do not have the pictures from that year. Each year the pumpkins have become so much more interesting and the number of entries has grown. The rules are that you can not stencil your design and you can only use the parts of the pumpkin on the final product. No outside props.



No Photo (Lost to a computer malfunction)

No contest due to Rob and Nina's Wedding


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Snow White Party

This year for Lauren's 3rd birthday I threw her a Snow White party. Back when I started planning, Snow White was her favorite princess. A few weeks out she switched to Ariel, but we decided to stick with our plan. I was so pleased with how it all turned out. It was a sweet little party. I was a little sad that not many of Lauren little friends ended up actually coming. Sarah actually had more of her friends there. I wanted to keep it small, though, and Lauren did have her BFF there, so it worked out just fine! Enjoy!

Theme: Snow White & Seven Dwarfs
Colors: Primary Blue, Red, and Yellow accented with Red w/ white polka dots
Apple Cupcakes: The Cakery in Southlake
Choices were Red Velvet, Vanilla, or Chocolate
Entertainment: Snow White (she was awesome! Even the 6 year-olds loved her!)
Food: Chick-fil-A and apple slices for the kids
Adults had spinach dip, spinach salad, fruit salsa with cinnamon pita chips, and nuggets, too!
Drinks: Witch's Poison Brew (Apple Lemonade)
Favors: Apple Letters and note pads/pencils for the older ones
Snow White gloves, apple purses and beads for the younger ones
Snow White Board book for the baby
Photography: Alyssa Maisano and myself

The Apple Cupcakes

Lauren and her BFF

Snow White entertaining the children

The Favors

My little 3 year-old princess!
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