Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

Merry Monday!

This is it…the final days before the big day.

We spent our weekend trying to create and soak up as much Christmas cheer as we possibly could.  Plus…both girls performed in their dance recital and it was OH SO CUTE!  This was Ashby’s first recital and she was SO EXCITED!  This weekend was such a blessing full of fun and good times…which was nice because as you’re reading this today, I’m at the hospital with Ashby as she has yet another procedure.  My heart is heavy.  We’re doing the right thing for her.  I know that we are.  But this mama is weary.  This is not how we want to spend the Monday before Christmas…but we’re doing the best we can and making the most of it.  She is tough, she is brave, she is strong, she is sweet…and she knows now what’s about to happen (this is our fifth month in a row), so please pray for her mental and emotional strength along with the physical.  xo

Okay…on to our weekend Christmas shenanigans…

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

On Friday night, we drove down to Addison and met the Slaughters for dinner before we headed over to see the lights at Vitruvian Park.  We started a “framily” night tradition a few years ago and it’s always one of our favorite things to do.  Two years ago, we rode the Polar Express Train in Grapvine and last year, we went to Ice at the Gaylord Hotel.  This year, we’ve planned two things and the first was seeing Vitruvian Park.  Please note the picture above at dinner.  Bowen has a HUGE heart for my youngest two girls.  We all know how much he loves Ashby…well, Madeley would be a close second in his heart.  There is a reason why she can say only a handful of words and “Bowen” is one of them :).

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

Two mamas enjoying the Christmas season!

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

We were in the parking lot trying to peer pressure Smith into pulling a tooth.  It’s like barely hanging on my a thread, so we were all chanting “Smith, Smith, Smith” and laughing really hard.  I took the picture right when Kensington jumped in his arms.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

So, we parked and walked down to the park to see the lights.  Now…I’m not going to lie.  We were disappointed.  I’m not saying they weren’t pretty…they just didn’t live up to the hype (especially when you live in a city with dozens of places to see pretty lights).  I’ve been told we did it wrong.  After we saw the lights, people said we should have gone on a Saturday night because they have food trucks and live music there (that would have been fun) and then some people suggested going after Christmas so that it’s not crowded (because it was crowded and I felt like all I did was count kids) and some people said we should have gone late afternoon and not at night so we could see our kids better.  So, yes, it was pretty, but no, I don’t have to ever go back.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

We are taking a selfie when we really should be counting children.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

And then this nice gentleman offered to take our picture after he saw our selfie.  The lights are very pretty in the background.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

The kids ran around for about 30ish minutes or so and were all ready to go home.  Because it was dark and so crowded, they had to stay near us, so after a while, they were done.  I was saying “girls, can I take a picture?” and this is what I got.  #christmasbreakcrazies

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

Miss Madeley enjoyed the people watching.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

And one big group selfie before we headed back to our cars.  Love these people so much.

On Saturday night, we bundled up and headed to dinner and to see the lights in my parents’ town.  I have been saving this sweater for a really cold day…

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

…I bought it in this black color but it comes in three others.  It’s so soft and so warm!

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

My big guy lost his tooth that morning.  Love this one so much!

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

We had made reservations at a restaurant on their town square and when we arrived, they put us in our own private room.  Hmmmmm…did the four kids on the reservation scare them?! Ha!  Either way, we enjoyed the room!

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

Daddy’s girl 🙂

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

After dinner, we all piled in my car and looked at lights.  I sat on the third row between my two big kids.

And then yesterday afternoon, these two girls had their Christmas dance recital…

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

…ahhhhhhh!  My heart was so full!!  This was sweet Ashby’s first recital and she was just so excited.  They were both so precious on stage and I couldn’t have been more proud.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

My little ballerina.

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

These two did awesome at jazz!

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Another recital in the books!

Whew!  What a weekend!  And then finally today…

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer

This month, What’s Up Wednesday will be THIS WEEK!  This month’s bonus question is: What is your favorite memory from 2016?  Blog it and link up on Wednesday!

Enjoy your Monday friends!

, Dancers, Lights, & Cheer
  • Leslie Z. December 19, 2016 at 4:43 am

    AHH! Ashby’s first recital?! She’s the stinking cutest! Also, Kensington and Ebby Lee look so much older with their little costumes on! K’s plaid dress is so adorable and I would 100% wear it if it came in an adult size! Cheers to making this last week before Christmas, count!! 🙂

  • Susan Jeffries December 19, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Prayers for your Ashby today. I wanted to let you know that I made your mini gingerbread trifle cups for a Christmas party Saturday and they were a hit! Cooking and baking have never come easily to me, so this is the first time I have attended a party and not been assigned to bring paper plates or a relish tray(: Thanks for helping me!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 19, 2016 at 5:42 am

    So many smiley faces! Your family is so cute. I love the Christmas lights!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Diana December 19, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Love, Love, Love your posts. Praying for your sweet Ashby and for Manda. I asked for your Eats cookbook for Christmas…fingers crossed! Have a wonderful Christmas break with your beautiful family.

  • Mary December 19, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Praying for Ashby! What color lipstick and eyeshadow do you have on? In the picture with the cream toboggan on.

  • Julia Wierzbicki December 19, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Today is my birthday and I recieved your cookbook “Eats” from my mom and nephew for my birthday present! I was so excited and cant wait to eat and enjoy many recipes! Your amazing Shay! I start my morning every day before getting ready for work reading your blog! Like your younger two girls, I am adopted myself! I love your house, its so beautiful! I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Thank you for being such a inspiration for me! ♡

  • Holly Hopkins December 19, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Praying for you & Ashby right now. What a terrible time to need surgery. The girls look so sweet in their dance costumes and I love your cozy sweater.

  • Sarah December 19, 2016 at 6:27 am

    What a fun weekend!! Agree about the lights – darkness and crowds with kids is not my kinda thing at all!! Glad you kept track of everyone hahaha!!

    And YAY for Ashby having her first dance recital!! Your girls are so beautiful!!


  • Sheaffer Sims December 19, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Yay for losing a tooth Smith! Way to go girls for your performances! Already prayed for A, the doctors, and you this morning and will continue to!

  • Erika Slaughter December 19, 2016 at 6:53 am

    So many things to say this morning! 1. How many times do I say, “Bowen, get out of Madeley’s face?” Approximately 72? Or that’s how it feels? Either Madeley doesn’t mind or she’s about to start saying, “NO, Bo Bo”. Hahaha!! 2. I love our framily Christmas nights. No matter what we’re doing, we always have fun. 3. Ashby was precious in her dance recital yesterday. Absolutely precious! Praying for your sweet girl!

  • Narci December 19, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Looks like the perfect weekend! The girls were darling in their costumes! We will be covering our girl, Ashby, in prayer this morning!

  • Megan December 19, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Theirs dance recital pics are precious! My Q got tap shoes for Christmas so there may be some dance classes in her future.

  • jenny December 19, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Keeping Ashby in my prayers today.


  • Lindsay Webb December 19, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Wanted to let you know that I said a prayer for you and Ashby this morning… for your weariness and for her perseverance and strength. It’s a joy to see her blossom as you journal your life on your blog… hang in there! And Merry Christmas!!

  • Angela Banae December 19, 2016 at 7:50 am

    What a fun weekend!!! Always love seeing your pictures & hearing the fun things you guys do! Praying for Ashby!

  • Amanda December 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Starting off my morning reading your blog. It always makes me smile and want to have even more fun this Christmas with my family! Praying for you and Ashby….you both got this!

  • Katherine - Living Simply Normal December 19, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I love that you guys have a “framily” Christmas tradition! It’s so important to spend time with your friends during the holidays, this is a great way to do it! My husband and I like to take our dogs on a walk around our neighborhood to look at all the houses decorated with lights. Praying for your sweet Ashby today, hope everything goes well!

  • Caitlyn Keller December 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I’m at Childrens in Dallas now too, waiting to get a blood transfusion for my 7 month old. I found your blog about the time he was born and all of our health worries began and have been so encouraged by all your posts. I always thought that the Lord had called my husband and I to financially help others adopt, but Lord has completely changed our hearts. I now read all of your adoption posts to my husband and we are praying about what adoption looks like for our family. I’m sitting here praying for Ashby, you, and all of the other sweet babies and families in this hospital. For a peace that can only come from the Lord, to trust fully in his timing and plans, and for healing. Thank you for sharing your walk with Ashby and her medical journey with us! As a momma who has the same worries I am always so encouraged by you!

  • Deena December 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I always enjoy seeing your wonderful family & friends during the holiday season (and anytime really). The girls all looked adorable for their dance recitals. I love that Bowen is attached to Madely now also.

    Sending prayers for Ashby and you all.

  • Amy December 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Tip for keeping track of kiddos more easily at dark – I love dollar store glow braclets!

  • Hollee December 19, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Praying to Ashby today! Do you have a carriage company you recommend for riding around Highland Park and viewing the Christmas Lights? Merry Christmas!

  • Megan Butler December 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Love the dance costumes (is that the right word? #boymom) they just look so grown up!! And beautiful!

  • Angela Ellingson December 19, 2016 at 10:05 am

    What a wonderful weekend! Praying for sweet Ashby and your whole family this morning. My heart just hurts for that precious girl. Praying for major progress with each procedure!

  • Jin December 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    The Christmas lights look beautiful! It can be challenging to take little ones to something like that, but I bet the kids enjoyed the lights. Couldn’t have been that bad!!

  • Courtney December 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Prayers to sweet Ashby! Love the ‘framily’ night tradition. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with the Christmas lights; sometimes things are best when only done once!


  • cassie {hi sugarplum} December 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Just so dang cute!!! Love all those sweet faces, and good to know about vitruvian…it was on my list for this week!

  • Sarah December 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    You look gorgeous in every picture! And I love the candid shot with Erika laughing 🙂

  • Dorinda Doft December 19, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Kensington has her poses down, where does she learn those from? You are gonna have a handful with those beautiful girls when they are older.

  • Shelby December 27, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Finally catching up on your last couple of blogs- Kensington is so beautiful! Looks just like her mama!