Friday, December 28, 2007

Basically, the month of December in ONE SINGLE POST!

Grab a drink and a snack and make yourselves comfortable, folks. It's gonna be a long one.

It's the post you have all been waiting for!! (Well, at least the post the grandparents have been waiting for...) CHRISTMAS!! Since I have been a total slacker over the past month when it comes to blogging, I am just going to post tons of pictures and let them do the talking. 'Cuz lets face it... the pictures are the best part anyway!

I'm going to do my best to get all this in somewhat of an order.

First, we had a party at my parent's house on December 16th. This was for my mom's side of the family. We all brought a covered dish and there was tons of seriously awesome food like Honey Baked Ham, turkey, rolls, green bean casserole, and my specialty...baked macaroni and cheese. It smelled soooo good... but I was so strong and resisted it all!!! Even the Godiva Chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory! And that my friends, took some friggin' will power if I do say so myself!! After dinner, the adults played a super-fun game we made up to hand out the white elephant gifts while the kids each got 'real' presents to open.

Here's Allie waiting as patiently as a three year old can wait...
After dinner she and Kate wasted no time and dug right in...
Here's Michael's look of 'yes, I do take a genuine interest in all things Care Bear' as Allie shows off the 25th anniversary bear and DVD she just opened. He was quite proud of himself since he was the one who picked that gift out for her. (Yep, she totally has him wrapped around her little finger!)
At first Wyatt thought he would rather cruise around the gifts than open them...... but after a little help from Cole he soon got the hang of it The result... one happy boy! He was so glad to get his first big boy toy. His baby toys were getting a little boring for his taste, and Allie's dolls and princess stuff are just not suitable options for guy who exhibits macho qualities, like himself!
Allie shows him how to work his new truck
My happy boys...
Next, Granny had a surprise for all the women. She gave each of us a beautiful wind chime that she had made herself out of silverware and beads. The silver belonged to both her and her mother, my great grandmother. They were absolutely beautiful and sounded so pretty. I can't imagine how long she worked to get them all made! I love anything handmade... especially if has sentimental value like the wind chimes!

Now off to Christmas day. Michael likes to be home Christmas morning so the kids can wake up in their own house. I guess it's kind of our tradition, but I think it's a good one.

Here's all the presents Santa left... Allie's loot......and here's Wyatt's. Turner made sure to give it a thorough inspection first. We added his truck in so it didn't look like all got was boring ole' clothes.
Next the kids opened their wrapped presents. Allie got some Care Bear pajamas, which I might add, are now a favorite and considered proper attire for all day wear. Sometimes we parents have to pick our battles, right???I give you the people's exhibit A. The p.j.'s went into immediate action and were paired with the pink guitar she had asked Santa for repeatedly for the last two months.
At this point Wyatt is an ole' pro at the whole present thing. He went straight to his stuff. Too bad I... er... 'Santa' was a total looser and didn't bother to read the box that said 'adult assembly required'. Dub was a good sport though and played with everything else while mommy put it together.
After all the presents were opened and each toy had its four minutes of glory, the madness of Christmas officially began. Both families live in Georgia, which is great... but makes holidays totally hectic.

My family is an hour and a half away form our house. Michael's is an hour away from my parents house, and then it's an hour from his family's house back to ours. To try to make things fair, each year we try to spend the majority of time with one family and then travel to the other family's house for a short visit. Then, the next year we switch. Ya still with me??? It's the best we can do. We try to stay on the same rotation as Michael's sister and her family who come every other year from Texas.

This year it was my family's turn for the 'biggie', so most of the pics are from their house.

Mom (aka Moo-Moo) made us each a scarf and some mittens to match! Allie loved hers just a little bit!
Here we are showing them off...Here's Dad, as happy as a kid on Christmas!And now I have a confession. Well,... you see... my mom... well,... my mom is a hooker. A rug hooker, that is. She loves it and is very, very talented at it. She hooked my sister and I each a rug for Christmas. Here is Pam with hers...
And here's mine... it's a portrait of Turner! I took a picture of him with it so you can see how amazingly similar they are! Man, I LOVE ME SOME HANDMADE PRESENTS!!!
Yes, I realize this one needs some explaining...
Last year about a week before Christmas, the mail truck that delivers my parent's mail caught on fire. The mailman was able to save some stuff, but most was lost completely. The crazy part was that the USPS never bothered to tell anyone. They simply delivered the charred remains of letters and scorched sections of boxes. The gift that my mom had ordered for my brother-in-law was totally melted and black! It was only after my dad called to report it that they got the whole story. Way to go, snail mail! That's what I call dependability. So this year, my dad jokingly burned the packaging of Chris's present.

Next comes Michael's family.

New house... new presents to open!
Wyatt loved the singing , rocking puppy on a sleigh.
And Allie liked her new Doctor's Kit
She made Dr. Poppy test it out right away.Michael showing a little gratitude gangsta' style for his new ski hat. We can't wait to leave for that trip!!!
Sadly, this is the only picture I have of my poor Mother-In-Law. (Sorry Nancy!!) Things were hectic and We all were totally exhausted. I meant to take pictures of the kids with Nana and Poppy and Uncle Jon-Jon but my brain just quit. This picture was the result of Jonathan sticking two bows down on the ottoman right as Nancy went to sit. Classic! She had no idea!!
After she finally found out, she actually moved them to another choice spot a bit north of the belt... I tried to snap a picture of it, but I was not quite fast enough. Dang! It would have been for you, Katie and read a little something like this... "You like my bows? They're real. My bows." I'll be more on my game next year...

Finally, I leave you with this little jewel of a picture...

'What's a guy gotta do to get a little supervision around here?'
Yep, there's just no denying what happened here. It was one of those situations where I thought Michael was watching Wyatt, and Michael naturally assumed I was watching him. I knew there was trouble when I found Michael enthralled in a T.V. show and the house was eerily quiet. It was one of those quiets where you just know something is up. I dashed down the hallway and Michael bolted from the couch and we began the semi-frantic search for my mischievous little guy. We found him in Allie's room consuming the last of about 10 pieces of foil-wrapped chocolate from a goody bag her Sunday School teacher had given her. Yep, foil and all! Whoopsie. (Note to self: in the future, check kids rooms for hidden baggies of candy, food, or other consumables.)

Well, you've reached the end at last!! Sorry for the marathon-post. It took me days to type this little novel. And, to top it all off, Michael woke up with the Flu this morning so the interruptions were... um... slightly multiplied. I could say 'I told you so' and bring up the fact that he was 'just too busy to wait the fifteen minutes at the doctor's office' for the nurse to give him the shot, but me being a loving, caring, forgiving wife... well, I just won't even go there.

Oh, and tomorrow is my birthday!! WooHoo!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A little Post Christmas Dance Session

Hi everyone! I promise my hiatus from blogging is almost over. I'm going to try my best to post all of the Christmas stuff later tonight, but until then I wanted to post this little video. It's for Chris mostly... (you'll hear why) but I thought everyone might want to see what the kids were doing while Michael and I tried to find a place for all the new stuff Santa brought. Naturally I missed all of the really cute action while searching for my camera, but you get the idea.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Update (Chris... if you are the least bit nauseous you may wanna skip this...)

What??? A blog entry with no pictures??? TRUST ME, you'll thank me for it later.

Ah yes, the chaos of the season continues. I had to take Wyatt to the doctor Saturday morning ('cuz the kid can't seem to get sick during weekday office hours, mind you...) Anyway...the doctor said she thought it was Rota Virus or something equally as disgusting. I am completely and totally convinced that it is some of the nastiest funk a kid can possibly get. I mean AWFUL!! He's had about 10 to 12 huge, nasty poopy diapers each day and and 6 (count 'em, S-I-X major blowouts that involved entire outfit changes (socks included), carpets scrubbed, my comforter being washed, and his sheets being changed REPEATEDLY. And this ain't no ordinary poop either. This is some crazy, nasty, mutant-shizz that is the gnarliest smelling thing you have ever smelled in your life! Wowza!!!. To top it all off his poor little butt is so red and raw. Nooooo fun! I'm sure I don't even have to mention the fact that he has been just a touch whiny because of all of this. My poor, poor little boy! Oh well. I'm hoping we're entering the home stretch of this nastiness and that it is gone by Christmas.

In other (not-so gross) news... Wyatt got his first haircut on Sunday!! We just buzzed the back and sides and left the top alone. He looks so cute and grown up!

We also went to watch Allie sing in her preschool's Christmas musical. It was adorable and the kids did great! I promise to post pics tomorrow. For now... I'm off to bed. I'm headed down towards Atlanta tomorrow to finish up some Christmas shopping. Michael is going to watch the kiddos, so I get to go alone! Like, with no kids! Like, TOTALLY by myself! No car seats, no strollers, no potty breaks, no falling asleep when we are 3 minutes from the store, no nuthin! Can you tell I am a little happy to get out???

Y'all have a great week!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

All I want for Christmas is some time to blog!

Well, that's not all I want, but you get the idea...

O.k., so just saying I have been 'busy' is the understatement of the year. Maybe even of the century. Things have been C-R-A-Z-Y around here. I have been working like a mad woman to keep up with my business, and the house, and the kids, and all the events going on at Allie's preschool. It's a madhouse I tell ya. So... my apologies for neglecting the ole' blog.

Anyhoo... each year the preschool hosts a fund raiser called 'Snack with Santa.' The name in itself is pretty much self explanatory, but it's where the kids get to go make Christmas crafts, eat tons of good finger foods, watch a puppet show, and most importantly, they get to sit ole' Santa's lap. It's tons of fun for the kids... well... at least for those not afraid of poor Santa.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures to go with all the fun and excitement the evening offers. (((((gasp!!!))))) But I do have good reason. Each year I get play 'Santa's little photographic helper' (minus the kickin' elf outfit) and take all the kids pics with the jolly old man himself. Just like that poor gal you see in the mall trying to get a decent picture all while the poor, terrified kid is in full hysterics. I kid, I kid. It's not that bad. I actually really enjoy it. I only had two screamers out of about 60 or so kids. Not too shabby. Anyway... here are a few pictures of the kids with Santa to hold you over until I get a sec to post.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

For the Love of a Bargain

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you all had a great day with your loved ones and got to enjoy some seriously good grub! We had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving ourselves, thanks for asking! We went to Michael's Grandmother's house and enjoyed a great dinner with his half of the family, though we missed his mom and dad who were visiting his sister and her husband and baby Hannah in Texas. While the day was fun, there was nothing that was necessarily blog-worthy.

My family on the other hand...well... they decided to shake things up this year. It all started when we were trying to decide the travel-lunch-travel-dinner schedule for this 'holiday'. See, almost all of our family lives in-state, close enough that we can drive to their houses for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but far enough from each other that we spend most of the day in the car getting to and from all the houses. It has gotten even more difficult now that we have kids. So this year we decided to do an early Thanksgiving with my side of the family to 'simplify' things. But that all changed when Chris's (my sister's Husband) flight schedule changed. So, long story short we decided to do our own thing for Thanksgiving and make up for it at Christmas.

So, where you might ask does the 'shaking things up' and the 'bargains' come in??? Well, right... about... here...

That's right my friends! As we speak my father, my brother, and my sister are camped out in the freezing cold at the local Best Buy. There, they patiently wait for it's opening at 5:00 am tomorrow morning. They have been there since 12:00 NOON today. All in the name of a great deal on laptop computers. And while part of me thinks they are totally freaking crazy for spending the night on the cold, hard sidewalk surrounded by strangers, the Bell in me wants to be there right beside them... hunting down that bargain.

Here's Tim & Dad waiting it out, fully prepared for the frigid temps.
Hats? CHECK!
Blankets? CHECK!
Gloves? CHHHHHHH... What the...???? Ummmmm, yeah. Those would be women's gloves my dear ole' dad is sportin'. When I asked him about them and commented on their lack of masculine features, he promptly popped his pinky finger up to add to the effect. I never knew my dad's love for a deal would drive him to cross-dress. He told me he couldn't find his and that my mom's just had to do. Well dad, as long as that's as far as it goes... At least Pam is still fashionably minded...Dad and some of the other crazy bargain huntersAnd finally, Pam and her line buddy James. They are all becoming like a big family there. Well, good luck guys! I love you all and I wish I was right there with you!!! There's always next I said... Bells can't resist a good deal!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a few new toys for the studio...

O.K., so the whole 'Babies-Babies-Everywhere' weekend got me thinking. NO, NOT THAT!!!! Two is all I can handle for now, thanks! I meant thinking I need a few new infant props for my studio. I typically shoot very simplistically when it comes to babies, but I wanted to 'spice' things up a bit. Change is good, right?!?! Anyway, I bought two new neutral pillows, 2 new blankets, a fur rug, and a new basket. Seeing as I didn't have access to a newborn at that very second, I was left with only one option when it came to finding a model for the new props. I don't think he minded a bit...

Here he is showing off his four new chompers, which were cut all at once I might add! This was an adorable full length shot but it showed... ummm... a bit too much. I'm sure that he will appreciate the fact that I cropped out 'Willie and his two nutty friends' one day, but for now... he has no modesty!

I finally added the diaper. I figured we were living on borrowed time anyway! This blanket is sooooo soft! I love the basket too!
Here he is on the furry rug. Love it! Found it at Lowe's of all places!

I couldn't resist this one...or this one...
or his eyes in this one...This blanket passes the taste-test...
And finally his Playgirl centerfold pose... tastefully cropped of course.
Eat your heart out, LADIES!!!
And he didn't even Christen any of the new blankets during the session! Such a good boy!

Also, I wanted to say congrats to Lori and Jennifer!! We all know all about the lovely Miss Jamie Marie, but Jennifer's baby Deegan was born this morning at around 2:00 am. He was 7 lbs, 7oz. and I've been told that he has more hair than both of my kids put together. Naturally, pics will follow in a few days...

Oh, and the baby week continues. My friend Ginger just found out (read: was totally, TOTALLY, shocked to find out) she's pregnant. With. Her. FOURTH!!! She's now preaching the word of 'NEVER TRUST THE MINI-PILL!!' LOL! Girl, I know you are still in shock, but congrats!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

...because all my friends are doin' it...

Since all my fellow bloggers seem to be in to this tagging thing... I guess I better do it to. In case you don't feel the need to snoop on other mean... read other blogs, I'm supposed to blog about 7 things I'm thankful for this season. I'm going with Chris's thought in thinking we're supposed to give 7 random things other than the obvious ones like my family, my friends, and my camera. (LOL!) So here it goes...

1. I am thankful for Photoshop! L-O-V-E Photoshop. Being the complete and total control freak that I am I can fix ANYTHING with the help of my trusty sidekick. Take my dear, sweet husband's family picture. Total freaks, right?!? I mean Michael totally looks like friggin' Sloth from The Goonies. But with a little Photoshop... they look totally normal! Oops... I mean... normal. See what I mean? But seriously though. It totally helps with my business and profits and all because I can take that drool off a baby's face, or snot out of its nose, or fix the scrape from where he ran down the driveway at full speed... cus' perfect looking kids equals more pictures sold, get it??? Cha-Ching!!

2. I am thankful for OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover. (The kind that comes in the blue spray bottle with the yellow handle) This Shizz can get out ANYTHING! It has saved many, many of the kids outfits from having to be trashed. Love it. If you have not tried it... you must.

3. I am thankful for TiVo. I cannot live without it. I just can't. TiVo is one of those things that once you have it you will not be able to exist without it. I still try to rewind things I heard on the radio. It remembers things I don't and lets me watch my shows in peace. When I want to. Love it!

4. I am thankful for BK Mocha Joes. Totally not healthy... but they are soooooooo yummy. And don't get the McDonalds Iced Coffee and think it is the same thing, because sista'... it just ain't!!!

5. I am thankful for my Hip Panda Baby Carrier. Wyatt is so clingy and wants to be carried everywhere and this has been such a blessing. If you are forced to carry a 24 pound baby on a 2 hour shopping trip to Wal-Mart I've found that this is the best way to do it.

6. I am thankful for my Day Planner. Without it my life just might cease to exist. I am one of those people who has to write down EVERYTHING or it is totally forgotten. It is so wonderful! It has a calendar with tons of lined spaces to keep track the kids activities, appointments, photography sittings, etc. AND a notepad for my lists (all 43,000 of them) I really would be lost without it.

7. Last but not least, I am thankful that my cat warns me before he pukes on my carpet. No, really... he does!! Now weather or not I can get to him before he does or not is another issue completely. But really folks, if there's one thing I hate doing it's cleaning anything off the carpet... especially that! Seriously though, he really does let me know. He rarely makes a sound on a daily basis, but right before he tosses his 'Friskies' he makes this strange 'meow sound thingy' for about 30 seconds... not gagging... just a long meow. You'd just have to hear it... it's totally unmistakable, even when it jolts you from a dead sleep at 3:00 in the morning. I can usually get to him and throw him outside just in time. Thanks again for the heads up, Turner.

O.k., that was fun. I realize that most of the things I was thankful for were merely possessions. All of course except #7... LOL! It was actually really hard to come up with things other than the usuals... family, health, home, sending your kid to preschool for a few hours of peace, (how do you do it, Katie?) etc, etc. that you are grateful for. It was kinda neat to think about the little things you just couldn't live without.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

For My Husband of Eight Years...

It was this date eight years ago that I married my best friend. As I sit here today, I am grateful beyond words that our friendship and love for each other has endured, and is as strong today as it was the day we started our journey as husband and wife.

The past eight years have truly flown by. It kind of strange to think back to the time when we were dating. Or when we were just newlyweds with no children and few responsibilities. I still remember the day when we got a kitten. And we thought that was a responsibility! I know it is such a cliche', but it seems like only yesterday. Where has the time gone?

These eight years have proven that I couldn't have picked a better husband. Michael is a provider and a constant companion. He loves me unconditionally, and in spite of my many idiosyncrasies. As a father, he is patient, loving, and understanding. I stand in constant awe at how naturally he takes to his role as a father. I remember seeing him hold Allison for the first time. His tears of joy were so genuine and heartfelt. He never once balked at changing diapers or cleaning spit-up off his shirt. He was never inconvenienced by reading 'just one more' bedtime story. Now... all of the sudden we have been blessed once again with a son and are now a family of four.

I know that I have truly been 'Blessed with Richs', not only with Michael, but also with the gift of our two precious children. I can't even begin to describe how much my family means to me and how proud I am to be a wife and mother. God has blessed our family in so many ways and I am thankful beyond words for my 'Richs'.

Here are a few pictures from our wedding day. Ironically... the weather today was just as warm and beautiful as it was eight years ago. It couldn't have been any more perfect!

From this...

To this...

Allie at 3 months Wyatt and Daddy through the nursery windowgoing home...Allie's first time golfing with daddy
My Boys At Great Granny's houseThey love listening to the Ipod
I love you so much Michael! Happy Anniversary sweetheart!

Oh, and see these gorgeous flowers??? They were a gift for my anniversary. Isn't Michael sweet? Uh, well... hmmmmmm. They actually were sent by my awesome inlaws, Larry and Nancy. Those are a few more 'Riches' I have been blessed with! Thanks so much for the flowers! They made Allie's day too!!!
(Don't worry... Michael brought Chocolate... so all is good in the world)