Monday, December 12, 2011


"Believe"  Josh Groban

"To believe - is to have faith and confidence in the truth of something."

I've been thinking a lot lately.  About all that I believe in and where it has taken me.  About memories.  This month sure carries plenty of them.  The happy.  The sad.  The tough.  The my-cheeks-hurt-from-smiling-and laughing-so-hard ones.  Yea, we'll go with some of those cheery ones today.

Last Thursday night, was our annual "Christmas with the girls."
It's one of my favorite December traditions.
And it goes a lil' something like this...

  Jessica and I head on over to Kelly's house - bags and baskets of goodies in tow.  Unload said goodies.  Eat yummy food prepared by Chef Kelly.  Watch a few ravishing performances by Addison and her backup dancer, sister, Chloe. Sit down, get comfy, and watch as paper gets torn, bows get tossed and ribbon makes for great photo ops.  Addison and Chloe blow up the living room with Christmas spirit and us ladies- we take it all in. 
We get giddy.
All of us.

I look back on our past Decembers together and I know believe that this sweet tradition is one that will last through the years to come.

I started going through old pictures last week (one of my many late night obsessions) and was amazed at how much really DOES happen and change in 3 short years.  December 2008 started with sweet baby Addison discovering Christmas and all its wonder.

(cue "old" photos)

"Christmas #1" December 2008

Little Miss Addison about to open her first pretty and colorful present from Jessica.  If you haven't noticed in past posts - Jessica's got some major talent.
I totally would have gone for that one too, Addison.

Addison and I

"Let's be honest - I rock this hat like no other."

Laughing big after Kelly read my card to Addison. I knew she liked penguins. What I didn't know, was I purchased a card for a "little GUY."

Reindeer ducky

Merry Christmas, peeps!

Christmas Eve Day 2008


"Christmas #2" - December 2009

"So, Mom...whaddya say?! May I begin?"

Addison was ready to try out this opening gift thing. 
Sitting pretty and patiently with presents from Jessica.

Presents from Mimi
"Here, Mom...I'll help you."


"Ohhh, how'd you know I was eyein' these up @ Target last week?!"

Jessica embroiders a mean shirt.

Snowball head

Addison Kelly and Jessica

Addison and I making fishy faces - love it!

"Christmas #3"  December 2010

From - Jessica

From - Mimi

Miss Chloe joined the fun this year.
Jessica and tiny Chloe.

Beautiful Chloe sportin' her new and fabulous hat made by my friend, Kelly.

Me and Chlo Chlo.

Right before Addison discovered she was getting my old Blackberry as one of her gifts.

And after.

The end of Christmas #3 (Jessica and I did not plan our outfits, promise.)

and the beginning of...

"#Christmas #4"  December 2011

The kitties go nuts when the wrapping and tissue paper come out.  They have to be all up in my business.
Muffin was scopin' the goods.

As was Twinkie.

All finished.

Jessica's works of art.  I seriously want to hang these in our dining room.

Jessica and Chloe after a "bread party."

Addison politely borrowed my necklace and put on a show for us.

"I heard there are presents.  Is this bag big enough?"

We put the shiny ribbons and bows from Jessica's gifts to good use. 

Love the stripes, Kelly.

Princess Addison and I

Chloe says, "Christmas ROCKS!!  Dude, like totally!!"

         Ummm, adorable. Another masterpiece of Jessica's. She totally added those sweet flowers.

"Ohhh, this will look just splendid with my skinny jeans and kitten heels!"

She adored her new skirt from Jessica.

We tried for one of those "cute kissy face photos."  Chloe had the right idea.  Me - not so much.

I'm laughing out loud.  Poor Chloe just had a face full of Mimi's red lipstick.  And, I love Addison in the corner.

Jessica and Chloe showing me how it's done.  So sweet.

Hmm, I wonder who those kitty pjs are from?

Chloe says, "Don't stop BELIEVING!!"
(hold on to the feeeeeeeling)

Reading "The Nutcracker" to Addison before bedtime.
(Jessica helped me with the big words.)

We have Addison to thank for these lovely photos.  She even insisted her book would make a nice prop.

Whether crazy - silly...

or all smiles...

I'm totally in love with these girls.

"Christmas #4" was a charming one.
And I do believe #5 will be just as sweet - if not sweeter.

Every single one of them...

(Take it from Muffin...)
Get wrapped up in them.

Keep on Believin',


Judy Haughton-James said...

Hi Maria,
All these beautiful pictures have certainly helped to lift my spirit! Christmas is definitely near and I am glad to see that you are having fun times and also have wonderful pictures to remember the good times of times past. You all look great. Addison and Chloe are oh so cute! I see that Muffin is determined to have some fun too!:) Memories live on and continue to treasure the good times. You are blessed to have such wonderful friends. Take care and Lots of Love, Hugs and Best wishes to you. Happy Holidays to you, Steve, your relatives and friends.

{{{Kelly}}} XtOphY Design Studio said...

Ummmmm!!!!! Love love love this post! The pox are all so great and so funny! I love the missy pictures! Hahahahahahahhahahahaha! I admire you, Jess, and Kelly so much. I think it is awesome that you have remained friends through your entire lives. You are so lucky to have so many wonderful memories with them! You guys make my wrap jobs look SHAMEFUL!!!! MY GOSH!!!! aabsolutely gorgeous! Now, can you guys come to my house next week and make my kids gifts look this amazing? Hahahahaha

Anonymous said...

You girls are like professional gift wrappers. My gifts never look that good! Fun times! And great pics as always!

Cami said...

This post is so very special :) Thank you for sharing it with us :)

<3-Cami from First Day of My Life

Stephanie @ Blonde Highlights said...

LOOKS AMAZING! And look at those beautiful little babies all growing up!!! And I love this Josh Groban song - it's amazing!!!! I have been sitting here with your blog up just playing it on repeat - LOL!!! I'm such a dork!

So glad things are so happy for you right now! Been thinking of you and Steve! XOXO

Krystyl said...

found you VIA Lots of Lovin' blog hop
check me out at if you get a chance, I'd LOVE another follower <3
PS. we're having a blog hop this weekend said...

Super fun pictures! I wish we lived in the same state because I can tell you make everything so much fun!!!

JennRox said...

This is so cute! It just warmed my heart.

Stephanie of Gumdrop Pass said...

I love that you and your friends have this tradition! It's so special, isn't it? It makes me miss my friends -- but also makes me excited because I get to see them soon! We have a similar tradition with the presents and food. :) We also have been decorating this tiny tree (that has grown through the years) on the busiest street in our neighborhood since we were 16, lol. I hope my girls did me proud this year! ;)

I LOVE all of the pictures! It's so fun to see the progression -- it's great to have great friends, isn't it?

I hope your week and holiday season continues in happy spirts like these! :)

<3 Stephanie

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful! Every single word, every picture, every expression and all the love in the room that no box could every hold! Huggers. Tammy

Ashley said...

How fun! I love the kissy pictures! That is how all my photos seem to turn out. With really silly expressions! What a fantastic tradition to have with your friends.

Have a great rest of the week!

Mrs. G said...

Love the song and the pictures. You have a beautiful family. I am a new follower from the blog hop. God bless you.


blackheartbetty said...

Very sweet pictures. Babes grow up too fast.

Mrs. E said...

Awww those little girls put a huge smile on my face! So glad you have such happy memories to think about at this time of year--I know it must be a mixture of emotions. Thinking of you and really, really hoping my new phone gets here soon =)xoxoxo~~

ps: Did you notice that your blog kinda matches Jessica's presents? I agree, she's got some major talent!

Maria said...

How wonderful is this? Those gifts are almost a shame to open! And how funny that you got a card for a little guy! May this Christmas bring you the peace and clarity you need for a most wonderful 2012!

KERRY said...

Hi Maria!! You sure have some beautiful friendships, your pics and memories are just awesome!!
Look at the gorgeous wrapping on all of those gifts, who would ever want to tear into them?!
Have a wonderful day, I'm off to catch up on your other posts, I have really missed reading...xo

Amee said...

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aliciamarie911 said...

What beautiful pictures, and what beautiful girls (the from the smallest to the tallest!) I love looking over old pictures. There's nothing like sweet memories to relive!

Shanda said...

Precious girls! I'm your newest GFC follower from the blog hop. I hope you will come visit me sometime at

waitingforarainbow said...

My kitty picture made you pop!! YAY! Maybe one day I will have one that makes you pip pippity pop :) That's so cute and funny that you and Steve do that!! Every couple has their cheesy things they do.

Thank you for your nice comments, it's good to know that someone understands me! I feel so weird and wrong about something that I should feel happy about! But it's hard when there are ladies out there like you who deserve their dreams to come true too. I guess that makes me REALLY selfish in a way, for not being totally happy with what I have, and wishing that others could have it with me.. to make me SUPER happy. Is this even making sense?!

I was all "ooo" and "aaaah" when I saw the beautiful presents you posted!! I wouldn't even want to open those! They're GORGEOUS! You should see the presents I try to wrap hahaha. Too much tape, folded weird, bulky areas that make no sense. *sigh* I should just hire you ladies to do it for me... you all really have a gift! (oh jeez.. extremely cheesy pun right there.)
It's so nice to have such awesome girl friends, and have these nice traditions! I wish I had traditions like that! How cute was it that you posted pictures from over the years?? (and the presents were always just as fabulous) I always realllly enjoy your posts. Sometimes when I am reading them, Ryan sees me and hes like, "Why do you have such a big smile on your face right now?" Haha.. because I am reading Maria's blog.. DUH.

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

I love that you have these traditions. I love all the pictures- I love watching them grow every year! What great memories you all have. The gift wrapping is so good- want to come wrap my gifts-lol. I love reading your blog- you make me smile whenever you write! I can't see what your future Christmas have in store for you. I also love the kissy face. TOo cute!

virginia said...

So you're like best present wrapper ever, huh? Amazing!! Love your excitement, all the pictures, and your blog. XOXO

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Wonderful memories! I don't look back enough--sometimes it makes me want those days back! And other memories-- not as much.

I'm glad you've already had some magical moments this year. I love the cat sleeper. And all of those presents are amazing!

Camille said...

:) love pictures. you have such good ones!

cheers. & merry, merry christmas!

Erin said...

You live a rich and blessed life full of love and grace!! Thank you for sharing these pics! I love the kissy face ones.
I'm sorry I haven't been by your blog in a while. I've been battling pneumonia and I'm so weak that it's a chore to even type, sometimes.
You are a blessing to all who know you!

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