The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear

December arrived in a huge rush. It’s, without any competition, the busiest month of the year for us. We are busy Every. Single. Weekend. Even weeknights. Of course, Josh will tell you that I could just plan less things for us to do, but here’s the thing: Christmas is my favorite. My absolute favorite. It ranks above my birthday and ranks right up there with my baby’s birthdays.

Christmas memories are some of my best childhood memories. The different color lights glowing. The cheerful music always playing. Home is all warm and cozy. The first real cold is in the air. All of it makes my heart swell with happiness. Adding the little faces all lit up in awe just makes it all so much better. And that’s what I want for my girls.

I want them to have so many precious Christmas memories stored inside of them that it magically illuminates every single year once December appears on the calendar. And to make lots of memories, you have to do lots of things.

So that’s where we are.

To start the month, Ellabelle’s school had an event called Holidays Around the World. There were lots of cute activities like crackers from England and playing the dreidel for Hanukkah. The girls got their faces painted and picked baskets to put our raffle tickets in. We didn’t win, but we did get to see Santa! Matilda was in awe that he was really there.

Cookie day is one of my favorite days of the entire year. It’s long and exhausting. It’s 10 straight hours on my feet measuring and mixing and refereeing children and telling them not to make a mess and cleaning up the mess that they made anyways. It’s also 10 hours of being in the kitchen with my mom and making memories with my girls.

In actuality, the girls spend most of the time playing and napping and sneaking cookie dough. Still, I want them to have a love of being in the kitchen. I want them to immediately think of these moments when they go to bake their own cookies sometime in the future. I want them to know firsthand that Oma’s spritz cookies are far superior to anyone else’s. I’m not as cool with them dumping flour and not listening to directions as my mom is, but I hope they continue to love cookie day and look forward to it as much as I do each year.

We aren’t raising the girls Catholic, but I was so Saint Nick still comes to visit every December 5 so that the girls can have full stockings on the sixth. Matilda got an “M” marquis light just like the “E” one Ellabelle has. She still calls it her “E light”, but we’re working on that. They were so excited about getting “exactly what I always wanted” from St. Nick, at least according to Ellabelle.

After work, on a Friday, we met Josh’s sister and her family and his mom at the Christmas Ranch out in Morrow. It’s a family‘s house that’s covered in Christmas lights. It was smaller than I expected considering the price, and it was also pretty cold out. The girls enjoyed it though which is all that really matters. They loved the music and the lights and spending time with their cousins. They also saw Santa again!

Maisy had to go to the vet to get an updated rabies shot so that she could get her hair cut. She did not enjoy the experience. She shook like crazy the whole time and kept showing off her Elvis lip.

Thankfully, she took getting the shot very well and later that week she was able to get all spiffed up again. I had missed my little bear.

Ellabelle has dance every Saturday and the school put on a Christmas show for us. Ellabelle got to wear a cute outfit and dance on a big stage in an auditorium. She totally ate up all of the attention.

Matilda asked “where Ellabelle?” every time a new dance class would come out on the stage. She also kept dancing during all of the songs.

We got Ellabelle flowers which she thought was amazing. While I was changing her in the bathroom out of her ballet outfit, Ellabelle looked at me and whispered, “This is the best day of my life.”

We had our hot chocolate picnic in front of the Christmas tree just like we did last year. Ellabelle was super eager to do it again this year. I had baked cookies that morning (because we hadn’t been back to Oma’s for a refill) and we all sat and listened to carols and enjoyed our cocoa.

The biggest damper on the month was Miss Ellabelle being sick. She had been a little under the weather for a few days and she crashed after her dance show.

She kept saying her throat hurt so I took her to the doctor. Sure enough, she had strep. She had to take anabiotics but she seem better within two days. She missed her nutcracker performance at school because of it, which broke both of our hearts, but we had to get her better.

We had a Christmas get together with our friends. Between the three couples, there are seven kids and they were loud and crazy and had a blast together. We did an ornament exchange and had a lovely evening talking to actual grownups for once.

Last year, Auntie Ang took Ellabelle to Entertrainment Junction. This year, her and Oma took both girls. They had so much fun and they saw Santa yet again! You’d think they’d have started acting better!

They went to Frisch’s afterwards and Mattie ended up putting a paper towel into the toilet and then pulling it out. 🙈

I’d been planning and moving and rescheduling our visit to the festival of lights at the zoo for almost 2 weeks. I felt my Christmas spirit dwindling due to stress and work and everything else. So I decided to just fix it. I told Josh, “Tomorrow we’re going. ‘ And we did. We got the girls after work and they knew we were going somewhere special. We were antsy as we sat in the long line to park. We let them have free reign with no strollers or packs. They loved the lights and the music.


here wasn't a lot of animals to see since it was night, but the few we saw the girls were excited about.


They also got to see Mrs. Claus, Elsa and Anna, and Frosty the Snowman.


llabelle was disappointed we didn't get to see the real Fiona, but we did get to see the light version.


hristopher Pop-in-Kins hung around til it was time to leave on December 23, and he was up to his usual antics.

Thankfully, Ellabelle finally moved her way back onto the nice list. She sat very borderline all the way up till Christmas.


quick visual biz update:


And now, the main event – CHRISTMAS!

It was a whole weekend – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – of holiday joy and fun.

Saturday was spent at Josh’s sisters house:


Saturday was Christmas Eve with my moms side of the family:


nd, they were super excited to see all the gifts Santa brought on Christmas morning:


hen we went and saw Mamaw and Papaw


November Business

We started our November with a Christmas gift as weird as it sounds. We had been planning on getting the girls a kitten as a gift. Our friends had gotten one from a party they went to and I saw the pictures on Facebook and asked her about them. She put me in contact with the guy who had the kittens. He had a few Russian blue and black kittens, and we had hoped we could maybe find a Russian blue after Christmas when we were planning on getting the kitten. He had one left, a little boy, and he agreed to let us have him free if charge. After going back and forth about names, we finally agreed we’d call him Mr. Business.

The girls were already set to spend the night at their grandparents that next Friday, and we figured it was best to get him in the house and let our current cats meet him before the girls did. So, we headed to Kentucky and got him. He was the shyest of the group but he seemed fairly ok with being put into Maisys dog crate in the car. He laid down and was silent the whole way home which is the complete opposite of how Jericho is in the car (he screams the entire time and pees everywhere) so it freaked us out. I kept checking on him, and he was totally chill the whole ride.

We introduced him to the boys at home and they did not take well to him (which we expected). Hissing happened but we settled him into the girls room and we made it through the first night no problems.

We went and got the girls the next day and I snuck in the house first and was ready for them. Ellabelle was shocked and thought we had borrowed our friends cat (who happens to be Biz’s litter sister). We clarified that he was ours to keep, and she has been over the moon since.

He’s settled in nicely with the girls. He’s so gentle considering he’s a kitten. He lets them snuggle him and carry his around. Like we could not have asked for a better cat.

The boys don’t hiss at him for just walking around anymore. However, they don’t have any problem hissing when he tries to play with them. Poor Bellini is his favorite and he wants nothing to do with him. Maisy growls at him when he comes near her too but he likes to try to play with her, and she’s a grumpy old lady.

So besides getting Mr. Business, our November has been pretty quiet. Josh and I were off for Veterans Day, and Ellabelle had school. So we went to read to her class and be “mystery readers”. She was so excited. She loved having us there and she got to leave early and be a car rider instead of a bus rider that day. The simple joys of being 5. She still asks when we’re gonna do it again.

Our 11 year anniversary happened on the 6th, and we got to go out the next weekend to celebrate. Ellabelle had her first birthday party for a friend at school. So after we dropped her off, we went to the hibachi with just Matilda. She actually ate some of the food, and she loved the show and the one on one attention she got with us.

We also went out for Oma’s birthday at Chuy’s. The girls were a pain because they had an audience, but their audience loved their antics.

It took almost the whole month, but fall finally showed up.

Ellabelle has been waiting to jump in leaves since it was put on our fall bucket list back in September. We had a big wind storm, and our big tree in back finally let go of it’s leaves. So daddy delivered on the leaf pile.

There’s the thing though, fall showed up just in time for Christmas. Our elf comes on thanksgiving night, and I like having the tree up for him. So the weekend before thanksgiving, we decorated. The girls loved it. The bottom of our tree is very ornament heavy, but I think that makes it extra special. They’re only little for such a short amount of time. Let the tree show how just how far they can reach. Mattie was so excited about all of it that she just kept jumping up and down, and yelling, “Kissmas! Kissmas!” I still catch her just examining the tree sometimes.

We had Thanksgiving at my Uncle Kenny’s as usual. I’m not a super huge fan of Thanksgiving. I like the message behind it, but, really, I’m thankful almost every day for what I have. It gets lost in the shuffle sometimes, but I have to constantly remind myself how lucky I am to have what I have in life. My job drives me crazy, but it’s a good job. I wish I had a bigger and better house, but I have a home full of love for my girls. My kids drive me to the point of insanity, but they are happy and healthy and I get the privilege of being their mom. I remind myself of this when I feel like everything hitting the fan (which does happen on a pretty regular basis). I don’t need a special day with turkey and trimmings. I do enjoy the company of my family, but the holiday shouldn’t be a once a year thing. I try to remind myself of all I’m thankful of and actually embrace the joy it brings every day.

We went and spent the night at Oma and Opa’s that night because Josh worked the day after. When we woke, we decorated her tree. It actually went better than decorating our tree because Oma was helping.

And, yes, Christopher Pop-in-Kins is back. He arrived at Oma’s house, and he’s been around since then being silly and hiding in funny places.

The month ended with poor Matz being sick. She had a fever and a cough. I had to take her to the doctor of antibiotics. The last weekend, Josh and Ellabelle ran up to see Mamaw and Papaw. When they got back, I had to run a few errands, so I took Mattie since she was finally on the mend. We went and grabbed Steak n’ shake for lunch, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed eating with just a two year old. She was funny and sweet and she actually ate her meal. The people around us just loved her too. She’s such a ham 🍖.

m so exited that we’ve finally entered December. The girls are counting down the days for santa. This time of year is always just so special and magical. We are super busy but in the very best way.

🍁Sept and Oct🎃


It’s November.

And, as expected, I haven’t been anywhere near here. I’m trying to be better. I really do have the best intentions of writing, but the best laid plans and all.

I should mention that the month started with me turning 30 🎉🎈 and while I have been slacking I did start writing this retrospective on turning 30 and how it feels to start a new decade and blah blah blah. Then I let Ellabelle type on my phone. And she deleted it. So I’m back to square one. But maybe it’s a better representation of what being 30 is to me than anything else. Sure I could’ve rewritten some nice thought provoking or inspiring post, but I have kids and I’m tired and most days I’m just trying to make it through and most days that’s what makes me happy. Not always, but it’s exactly what I had always pictured for myself. I have what will mostly be my forever job. I’ve got two beautiful little girls. I’ve got the puppy I always wanted. 30 isn’t as scary as everyone makes it out to be. I’m hoping my thirties will be my best years so far.

Ok, so, quick quick recap of both months.


My birthday party – surprise limo ride, hibachi dinner, surprise party surrounded by all the people I love. I was completely shocked and beyond grateful.

With my birthday money, I bought a new desk. It meant a trip to ikea, and it’s become a center point for our evenings, be it for my crafts or for Ellabelle’s homework

The girls spent the day with Lisa

Ellabelle started ballet at her new ballet school

We went and watched Alex play tennis

The Cincinnati Rollergirls started their fall season right up the street from us so, of course, we had to go (and dress for the occasion)

Our friends daughter, Mackenzie, turned 3 and had a Moana party complete with boat

We went to the Applefest. Parking was chaos and it was a glorified craft show, but the girls had fun.


We tried Chuys out for dinner

We’ve recently discovered a newfound love for the library

I decorated Yo Gabba Gabba pumpkins

We visited a pumpkin patch

We had a monster mash party

Ellabelle was off school one Monday so Josh and her had a special daddy and Bee day complete with The My Little Pony Movie

We went to Blanchester to see Alex play in the band for her senior night

Our heater didn’t start as usual – so the girls and I had to go stayed with Oma and Opa one night

So now we move onto November – cooler air, Christmas prep, a special surprise for the girls. So much to be thankful for and celebrate.


How quickly it’s come and gone. I feel like I was just posting about how it was here, and now it’s literally September. I don’t feel like we really did much this month either. We spent a lot of time just hanging out at home.

Like seriously.

Lots of down time.


But maybe the month feels like it went so fast because the things we did do were pretty big all day events.

We had Ellabelle’s five year check up, and YAH 🎉 she’s finally gained some weight.

We also had to attack our trees. Our trees have never been trimmed in the 6 years we’ve lived in our house. Well, they needed a spruce real bad. Thankfully, my dad has a pole saw we could borrow and take care of it. Josh took care of most of it because I’m whiney and pathetic and I don’t like manual labor. He did let me cut some limbs though 😁 It was a huge process like multiple weekends worth of work.

The girls spent the weekend we did a majority of the tree work with their cousin Alex. The age difference between them (kindergarten and senior) has never seems to make a difference which I think is amazing. After we picked them up, we stopped to see the sunflower field near our house. The girls liked the flowers from the edge of the field, but they didn’t like the leaves touching them or the bees.

Maisy enjoyed the visit though cause she got to hang her head out with window.

Ellabelle had a special day with Oma and Opa before school started. She spent the night, got spoiled, and went an adventure the next day. She got to visit Great Oma and Opa, feed a deer, and played on a playground.

And, yes. Who could forget the most important thing that happened in August?


Ellabelle has been excited for probably months. So, when phase in day came, she was over the moon. We got to go meet her teacher and see her school. She threw a fit because she didn’t want to leave. We promised her she’s be back the following Monday and would get to ride her bus to school that day.

And then the big day came.

She got on the bus at the babysitters. Thankfully, the sitter was nice enough to take pictures for me. I didn’t take her myself because we didn’t want to mess up her routine already. Mattie waited with her for the bus.

When she got dropped off at the babysitters after school, little sister was super happy to see her.

As for how it’s going so far – Ellabelle likes it. She likes the playground and computer lab. She’s making friends slowly. She does complain it’s boring, but we’re hoping that will change as they start their actual subjects this next week. Overall, actual school is going well. Our kindergartener’s behavior leaves much to be desired. However, I think this has something to do with it:

I feel ya, kid. No naps are hard.

The rest of the month held a party with our friends who just adopted a little boy and a pool day with Auntie Ang and Oma.

Miss Matilda had her allergy panel test to see if she’s allergic to tree nuts like her sister. Thankfully, she’s not!

Since then she’s already helped me devour food with almond paste, almond flour, and pistachios. Ellabelle handles it all ok. We haven’t seen any issues with her like I thought we might. She understands that she can’t have nuts and Mattie can.

The day she had her test she came to visit me at work and everyone just swooned over her. She’s a ham so she loved it.

The month closed out with Oktoberfest. I always say: I took Josh’s name. He took my heritage.

And now we’re into September. We’ve got our fall bucket list made so we’re ready to go!

August is here!

I'm not sure why I'm excited it's August. August is kinda a lame month stuck between seasons. It's hot and sticky and it's the busiest month of the year at work. But still, I'm excited it's here.

Maybe it's the promise of fall, and all the wonderful things fall brings.

Fall always means back to school to me which I think is why I have this connection with fall and August. Kindergarten starts this month for my big kid. She's so excited. I'm excited for her but nervous about all the other things it means – riding the bus alone, making new friends, being in a classroom environment. She's blossomed and excelled in her preschool class so I'm hoping the change of scenery won't destroy her thirst for learning. Because of my fall and August connection, it totally blew my mind that I had to make sure she had shorts for school. I wore uniforms for 12 years so the whole public school thing is weird for me to wrap my mind around anyways. But I realized that I had to dress her like it's summer for at least a month of school. It's weird.

August also means football is finally back! And nothing says fall more than football. Training camp has happened and that means it's only a matter of time before my Sundays can be filled with hope and disappointment (I am a Bengals fan after all). I miss standing in my kitchen cooking with the game on. I miss watching Ellabelle scream and yell like she has any idea what's going. I know for sure Mattie is gonna get into games this year too.

We've also got Oktoberfest and hopefully cooler weather coming our way. Who am I kidding? I bet it won't be cool until October. Still, August promises lots of changing even if it is just a filler month til all the real fall fun actually happens. So I'm going to try and savor it. I mean once it's gone that'll mean I'm a 30 year old (😱) with a kindergartener. August can move slowly lol

Oh July

So the whole writing every day in July thing has failed miserably. But that's an ongoing problem I battle – setting the bar too high. Instead of beating myself up about it and quitting completely, I'm gonna keep trying to write things more often. Maybe just not daily. Plus I feel I can cut myself a little slack. I work full time and I've got two kids and our sleeping schedule has been off. Plus the poor puppy's been sick. But enough with the excuses.

So July. We're done with it now, aren't we? We've been busy, but not crazy busy. Like busy enough I'm not going crazy sitting still, but not too busy that we still get weekend naps.

I took the girls to the West Chester Touch a Truck two years ago. Ellabelle loved it and Mattie was too tiny to remember it. So when I saw it was happening on a Friday, Josh and I decided to take off a half day and take the girls. Well, it rained. 😕 So we came up with a backup plan. We took the girls to Dave and Busters instead. They had a ball even if they didn't totally grasp the games.

With the girls growing older, I know how important it is to give them each their own individual time alone with both Josh and me. I can always tell when Ellabelle feels like she's being neglected. She starts getting clingy and acting out. So, I planned a mommy bee date day. It wasn't anything super excited – just errands I had to run anyways. Buuttt if you tell her it's a special day and let her walk the whole time instead of riding in the cart, it as if you took her to see a unicorn.

We went to Target, Hobby Lobby, and Costco. I let her dance on shelves at hobby lobby. She got to look at all the toys at Target. She got to pick a special treat at Costco. She loved it, and I loved spending time with her. She's growing so much. She never stops talking, but she's also so smart. I'm very proud of the little person she continues to grow to be.

I had a horrible migraine for two days straight and ended up having to go to the doctor and get a shot to help with it. Because of that, we've spent a great deal of the beginning of July just hanging out.

I spent a lot of time working on finishing my wall project. I'm not 100% happy with it, but Josh assures me that it's perfectly fine looking.

The 4th arrived and, thankfully, this year it was warm and sunny. The girls loved the parade.

Afterwards, we went back to same place we went to last year and had the same horrible service. The girls and Josh napped back at Oma and Opa's. Mattie napped on me which was easily my favorite part of the day.

We stayed and watched the fireworks on tv, and it ruined our sleep schedule completely. That's what summer is about though, right? Staying up late and hanging with your favorite people.

On the 8th, Ellabelle got to do her first modeling photo shoot. It wasn't anything super glamorous, but she had a blast. It's for a little online boutique. The photographer was very impressed with her willingness to take pictures and not be shy which is what I was worried about. I can't wait to see how the pictures turned out.

Ellabelle has been so excited about it being July because she knows her birthday is this month. She also knows that there are two other birthdays first. She knows it has to be Auntie Ang's and then Mike's birthday. So when we hit Angie's, she flipped. "It's almost my birthday!"

So we went to dinner at The Cabana for Angie's birthday. The girls were so bad we almost didn't even go. Like they were that bad. Thankfully, they were well behaved during lunch.

We went to the park next to the cabana and had Angie's fruity pebble cheesecake for dessert. The girls played on the playground for a little bit.

Ellabelle pretended she was on American Ninja Warrior. And of course Mattie wanted to too.

When I found out I was having girl, the first thing I started dreaming about was soft pink and ballet slippers. It seemed like forever into the future, but here we are. Ellabelle started her summer ballet class, and I finally have a little ballerina to call my own.

She's just so pretty in pink.

Since this is just a summer class, it's only three weeks twice a week, but she'll start her really class in September which will last all year.

We ended up spending one of our Saturday mornings in Hamilton for Superhero Saturday. The girls were dressed as Batgirl and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman didn't make it very far before she started shedding her pieces – her lasso, her crown, and her sandals ended up in the diaper bag before the end of the day.

The girls seemed to have fun. They got cotton candy.

We watched a few Christian wrestling matches that were part of the day. Mattie was very upset everything someone hit the mat. It was hilarious watching her watch wrestling.

That Sunday, it was national ice cream day, and graeters had ice cream on sale for $1.47. Before we made our way there, we took the girls to the water playground at Winton Woods. I was worried about Mattie since she seems to have such an aversion to water in any form, but she loved it. Neither wanted to leave.

After was ice cream time and they were even happier.

That week, I had to take Mattie to dance with Ellabelle and me, and that was a mess.

We got there fine and everything was ok until big sister went into the room and the door shut behind her with little sister left outside.

Thankfully I was able to distract her and keep her from crying the entire time. These two girls are monkey see monkey do in every aspect. If Mattie does something we think is funny, Ellabelle does it too. And of course Matilda wants to do everything Ellabelle does.

So, we reached Ellabelle's birthday weekend, and we started it off with both girls helping me make Ellabelle's birthday cake. Ellabelle cracked the eggs. Mattie added the butter and milk.

I ended up icing it without Ellabelle (even though she begged to help), but she forgave me once she saw it.

That Saturday was Ellabelle's birthday. She opened presents. I made pancakes. Then we headed out for a mommy and bee day. We got matching manicure and pedicures at a kids spa.

We got school supplies at target.

We went to Kenwood and hit the Disney Store, Lush, and Justice.

After that, we went to Mamaw and Papaw's house. The girls love playing with Trent and all the attention they get from their grandparents. Mamaw even made special cupcakes for the girls.

It was bathtime when we got home because of course they had to try out the new bubble bar Ellabelle got. Afterwards, Mattie helped my make the blueberry pie for Ellabelle and Opa's birthday breakfast the next day.

On Sunday, we went to the Original Pancake House. Ellabelle was a brat because we couldn't let her have all the syrup that her and Mattie had to share. We went to Oma and Opa's afterwards and opened presents. The birthday girl is definitely a spoiled little girl.

We had another pretty quiet week. Ellabelle finished her summer dance class. On Friday, we took the girls to their Mamaw and Papaw's for the night. We were supposed to go to Potterfest, but we ended up deciding against it since it was such a long drive. We hit the flea market instead on Saturday morning and took the girls to go see Spider-Man. It was Mattie's first movie. She loves Spider-Man so we thought it would keep her attention.

She lasted til the last 20 mins. Neither of the girls liked the fight scenes though. We had ice cream in the park at Liberty Center. Ellabelle threw a fit about wanting a cone, but they were so cute walking around together.

On Sunday, we went to Kentucky for some of Josh's side business. We stopped at Smale on the riverfront and let the girls enjoy the water before heading home.

Neither girl napped on Saturday so we thought for sure they'd pass out on Sunday at naptime. Ellabelle did not. 😒 So, we had a very cranky 5 year old on our hands Sunday evening.

And today is Monday. It's the last day of July. Tomorrow it'll be August and that means my baby will be starting kindergarten this month. Shes more than ready. I'm not so much. At least I have this little monster to call my baby for a little bit longer.