{christmas traditions}

One of my most favorite things about this time of year is {traditions}! I love the traditions we had growing up and now the ones Josh and I have started together. I can't wait for the ones to come as our little family has expanded to 3 {okay, sorry Finley girl, family of 4}! For the past couple of years, Josh and I {mostly Josh} cook a really big dinner on Christmas Eve Eve, then load up to go look at Christmas lights {of course listening to our favorite Christmas tunes}. This year, Finley girl will have to share the back seat with her little sister, Ella! When we get home, it's time for bed so Santa can make his special trip to our home a night early. We wake up super early the next morning {coffee in hand} and open presents. We then cook a big breakfast {still trying to come up with our signature Christmas morning dish} and lounge around the house until its time to pack up and visit family! Next year will be even more fun as Ella will begin understanding Christmas a little more!
Growing up, some of my favorite traditions were baking a birthday cake for Jesus every Christmas Eve night. The next morning, we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we opened any presents. I can't wait to do that with Ella! Another favorite is the York signature Christmas morning breakfast...Cherry Brunch Ring {I'll share the recipe one of these days}! I also love getting dressed up and going to church on Christmas Eve night ~ then heading to IHOP and Walgreens afterwards...haha! Let me explain....back in the day, the good 'ole days, nothing used to be open past 6pm on that night, except for Walgreens and IHOP! SOOOO....that's how that tradition began! :) But oh how fun the memories!
Christmas 2009
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2011 to come....
May your days be merry and bright as we enter this wonderful time of year!
Merry Christmas, everyone!

{happy 3 months}

Dear Ella,
Happy 3 moths, baby girl! There is not a day that goes by that I don't just stare into your beautiful blue eyes and thank our LORD for you! You're the best gift your daddy and I could have ever imagined. Your smile {still} melts my heart...in fact, it brings tears to my eyes. You have grown so much this month! Our favorites are the way you move your little mouth to try and talk to us, your very animated facial expressions, your cooes, and your smile (did I already mention that?)! You started sleeping in your own room 2 weeks ago (11 weeks old) and are starting to adjust! You slept 6.5 hours last night...we're praying this will stick! We're so excited to celebrate your very first Christmas is just 4 days! What an extra special year it is for you dad and I! Santa has already dropped your gifts off...he made a special trip just for you so we could take them to your Mimi and Papa's on Saturday. I pray this next month is just as good (or better) than the past month has been! There are no words to describe the love we have for you....well, all I can say is we love you to the moon and back! xoxo
Love, Mommy

{christmas card photo shoot}

Thanks to Mimi, we were able to take some quick pictures to get our Christmas cards made for this year! I debated on even making them since we had just mailed out Ella's birth announcements, but...I couldn't not do them for Ella's first Christmas!!! I think they turned out pretty cute! We tried and tried to capture Ella's big smile, but she was just too tired (mommy woke her up from a nap)! Here are a few of them...hope you enjoy!

{it's the most wonderful time of the year}

It's finally here! Christmas is right around the corner! I love all the sights, smells, food, decorations, Christmas music and performances, the hustle and bustle, and time with family and friends! We have lots of "firsts" this Christmas, but the most exciting of them all is of course it's Ella's very first Christmas! Let the picture taking begin (oh wait, I think that began a looong time ago)! :) My shopping has been a little different this year with a 2 month old. I'm learning how to do this "shopping online" thing...and I have to say, I'm loving it! How could you not love having to wait in long lines and spending an hour looking for a parking spot! Amoung the craziness the holidays sometimes bring, I've been reminded once again what this season is truly about while reading "The Purpose of Christmas" by Rick Warren. A must read during this special time of the year....it's short yet beautifully written. May we all be reminded...now, lets celebrate the season!

Our new Christmas tree (our old one flew out of the back of Josh's truck while moving)!! So, if you happened to be on 59 during late June, you might have seen it! HA!
It was so much fun getting to add Ella's stocking this year!

Decked out in her Santa shirt and red tutu!
Thank you Pinterest for the cute idea!

{what i'm loving wednesday}

1. Our Christmas stockings! (Ella and Finley's stockings are a tad bit different)!
2. Starbucks skinny gingerbread latte! Y-U-M!
3. Michael Buble's new Christmas CD!
4. Anything monogrammed!
What are YOU loving?


Our happy, blue eyed brown hair 10 week old! We love you, Ella Victoria!

{thanksgiving update}

Josh and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with the Dearmore side of the family! It was my first year in 29 years not to be with my family. While I was sad we weren't with them, I couldn't have ask for a better family to celebrate with! I'm so blessed! This year was extra special celebrating with Ella! We ARE thankful!
McCain and Ella...our favorite little "turkeys"!
"Mom, I'm tired of taking pictures already"!
Thank you Aunt Jessi for my Thanksgiving dress! I love it!
I'm so thankful for daddy.
Just mommy and me!
"Mom, please tell me we aren't going shopping on black Friday"! :) (and no, we did not)!
Hope you and yours had a blessed Thanksgiving!

{2 months}

Happy 2 months to our baby girl (November 21st)! She is continuing to grow and grow. As you can see by the pictures, Ella is quite "healthy" these days! :) She is very alert, loves to smile, tries to "talk" to us, and enjoys bath time (not so much at first)! She continues to bring so much joy to Josh and I. We're blessed!

{give thanks with a grateful heart}

I don't even know where to begin. I have so very much to be thankful for and what an amazing year it has been for our family! God has truly answered many prayers {in His perfect timing}. Josh and I had been trying to sell our house since July 2010 and when we found out we were expecting, we knew then we were really under the gun. Our prayers were answered {again, in His timing} and we moved into our new home 5 months ago. Thank you Lord for teaching us patience, even when things didn't make sense to us at the time. You are faithful.
On September 21, 2011, the Lord gave Josh and I the most perfect little gift {there are no words to describe}, Ella Victoria. Thank you Lord for this beautiful, healthy baby girl. What an unbelivable journey we have walked since the day we found out we were expecting. I'm so thankful for our doctor who made our experience even more enjoyable and relaxed. Thank you Lord for showing your unconditional love for us through this tiny little baby. Her smile, bright eyes, tiny fingers and toes remind us of your awesome creation.
Thank you Lord for blessing me with a husband who loves his family so much. I've loved getting to see Josh become a daddy {as I knew he would be great}! His smile in all our pictures says it all! His heart is officially melted! :) I couldn't imagine walking this journey called life with anyone else! Thank you Lord for teaching me to others as you do through Josh. I love his big big heart!
Thank you Lord for our families! I don't think we could have done it without them. I'm so thankful for parents who love you and love their families more than life itself. Josh and I are so blessed to have parents who have been married over 30 years and grandparents 59+ years. What a great example they have shown us {and are continuing to do so}. I couldn't have picked better grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for Ella. I don't know how I could have been more thankful prior to Ella, but somehow, I am! Wow...I totally get it now! All those times, "this really hurts me more than you" or "I'm doing this because I love you so much"...yep, they were right! :)
I'm so thankful for friends! I feel so blessed to have best friends all the way back from 5th grade, college friends, grad school friends, work friends, church friends...We've all walked these exciting journey's together! From graduating, to mission trips {and matching outfits}, to proposals, to weddings and babies!
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! Psalm 100

{it's that time again}!

It's that time of year again! Time to take Christmas card pictures and find that perfect card to send out! This year will be extra special for Josh and I as we get to add one more little body in our picture...maybe 2 if Finley girl can cooperate! One of my favorite things to do during the month of December is to go to the mailbox! I can't wait to see who we'll get a card from that day. I love getting to see all the cute pictures and creative card ideas. Here are some favorites I've found while browsing for ours!

tasty tuesday {sweet potato bake}

Yes, it has been way too long since I've done "tasty tuesday". With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I would share my very favorite Thanksgiving dish...Sweet Potato Bake (thank you Paula Deen)! My favorite part is it's considered a side dish, so that means you can still eat all the pies you want, right?!?! {Tastes much more like a dessert than a side dish...hint hint}!
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Mix together with fork; sprinkle over top of casserole.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for cream. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream; mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish (1 1/2 quarts). Add topping. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Here are our favorites from Ella's newborn session at 10 days old. I love looking back and seeing how much she has changed since then. Stop growing so fast my baby girl!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139: 13-14