he kissed me at 7am and whispered, “happy snow day…”

Ahhh snow days. For me it means a surprise day of fluffy white beautiful I get to enjoy with our entire family, Daddy included. And normally it’s Daddy that takes the kids out in the snow and I might throw on my boots and venture out long enough to get a few shots before hurrying back inside to the warmth. But today Gray refused to go out unless we let him wear shorts so he and Daddy stayed inside while me and my girls went out.

And if I really loved you I would have made someone take a full-body photo of me in my all-in-one navy blue with red racing stripe snow suit that was my Grandma’s in the 70′s. But I don’t love you that much.

SO instead, before I pass out of the night, I wanted to share a few pics from our girl time outside!

Snow angels are a favorite.

16 months apart, best friends and the same size. I adore these girls.

We’ve been staying at my parent’s house this week while we get ready to travel to WI to visit my sister’s family. Terri, my MIL, got the stomach flu yesterday so we ran here to avoid getting it for the third time in a month. Three nights at my parent’s and then four at my sisters has been and will be a blast. It’s like we’re on vacation with a snow day tossed in for good measure! Pure bliss. Truly. I feel such comfort at “my” house. Familiar smells and feelings and sights and sounds. It’s just nice. And going back to the Allen’s will be nice. But buying our own home and going HOME? That will be amazing. I can’t wait until we have a home with OUR smells and sights and sounds. This in-between time is becoming harder. I want a home.

Anyway.

So since we’re at my parent’s house we didn’t have the Allen’s awesome hill and had to walk across the street to Ursaline Academy where we found the TINIEST sledding hill known to man but it was perfect for us today!

The girls decided to “go naturing like Aunt Abbie” and wanted so desperately to find an animal hiding in there! I kept telling them I had NO idea what could be hiding in there but if they could wait just a few days we’d be with Aunt Abbie and they could go “naturing” all they want!

We were SO cold by the time we got back and for some reason I just love this shot of PJ. Cold and SO ready to go inside!

And the last shot of the day thanks to Daddy! I practically had to threaten their lives to look even remotely happy but luckily Gray came to the door and was being silly enough they both started laughing… they’re obviously looking at him but I kind of love that they’re watching their brother and I’m laughing with C about our crazy kids.

I promise that while I’m sporting my SNOWSUIT in Wisconsin I’ll make Ab take a shot of me. Because you all will die!

Happy snow day!

Tonight there is a NEW Grey’s and it’s all I can do to not run through the neighborhood screaming I’m so excited!

I feel like this day is one huge countdown to 8pm when I get to check out and sit and just watch my show. I hate winter and summer when my shows go on hiatus! I don’t live for much so just give me good shows at night to edit to!

Grayson had a CAT-scan of his sinuses this morning and it went great! They prepared us for sedation and everything but then on a whim the tech decided to see if he’d lay still without sedation and my kid who sits still NEVER laid there like a champ! It went so much better than we could have hoped for! The radiation freaks me out a bit but ultimately we need to make sure there’s nothing wrong in there and we trust the doc. Results should come this afternoon or tomorrow!

I was asked for some advice in THIS article… love that publication!

Saw THIS incredible website on a friend’s blog and am counting my pennies to buy every color of bakers twine they sell! I’m in LOVE!

And OMG I have only bought ONE thing from an infomercial EVER but when I saw the WONDER FILE commercial last night it was all I could do to not order three immediately! I want one! I’ve taken over our bills in a major way and it would be SO nice to have everything in one place like that! And it fits in a kitchen drawer! LOVE! I also think the kids would love them!

I was listed as the favorite blog of 2010 HERE and that is insane. Especially since I feel like I sort of failed blogging this year. But THANK YOU Leilani!

So Chris is home with the kids after helping me with the CT this morning and I guess I should actually cross some things off my to do list while I have him!

Happy GREY’S DAY!!!

the one year old.

Happy birthday to my sweeter than sweet niece AVERY LEE!

Oh man I am smitten with this kid! Love her!

And on this cold day check out THIS!

My mom’s famous butternut squash soup recipe blogged!

Go check it out, make it and enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

the best $20 ever spent.

Every Christmas my dad buys “scratchers” for everyone’s stockings, it’s the one stocking gift we have come to expect and look forward to even though no one ever wins big. This year my dad ended up being the only winner and with his $5 bought more scratchers for the kids.

Bailey won $20 and was SO excited!

My dad gave her the $20 bill and she immediately told my parents that she wanted to put it in the bank for our house.

Do you need a moment?

Because I sure did.

My five year old, who just won the most money she’s ever had in her life, wanted to put it in the bank for our house fund.

I swear I don’t know how we got so lucky with this kid.

So today we went to the bank and I let her do all the work so she could add her $20 to our brand new money market account we just opened for our down payment.

And of course I brought my camera…


Proudest mom moment? Yes.

Did I hold back tears the whole time we were there? Yes.

Did I save the deposit slip she wrote and gave the bank one I wrote so hers could be framed and hung in our new home one day? Yes.

Does this make our time saving and waiting to buy our first home worth it? Hell yes.

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Bailey… your kind heart blows us away and we couldn’t be more proud of you. I know you don’t fully understand why I was a blubbering mom-tog today at the bank but this moment in time is so amazing for me. Because you know what kid? I would have totally spent that $20 on crap and YOU wanted to save it. I love you more than you will ever know! Love you madly, Mommy

I’m not good with goals.

I never write down my goals. Even though some very successful people swear that by writing them down you’re more likely to actually accomplish them. So this morning after I cooked a big breakfast I surprised myself when I started explaining to the kids what goals meant. And I surprised myself even more when I got my journal and a favorite pen to write down all of our goals.

But I’m so glad I did.

Mine this year are simple. And huge. Bigger than huge actually.

1. Buy a home

2. Run the St. Patrick’s Day 10k with my friends Sharon Johnston and Julie Cleveland and Kim Weiss (and anyone else that wants to come!)

3. Be more intentional with my children

4. Take a family photo of all five of us at least once a month.

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Number One.

This one is a given. We are working our butts off right now to accomplish this goal and I know we will accomplish it. It is such hard work and taking such huge sacrifices though that it is certainly the first on my list. It’s the first on C’s list as well.

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Number Two.

Sharon just had little Mac days ago and this is on her list. She invited me to run with her and her sister, Julie, and I thought it might just be the motivation I need to get moving. Because DUDE I need to get moving. And running has always been my thing so running it is! When is St. Pat’s Day? I need to look at a calendar! HA!

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Number Three.

This fall has kicked my ass. Moving out of our own (rental) home and into my in-laws, while an awesome opportunity, has proved stressful. Stressful in that I also added a second job that takes me away from home almost 40 hours a week so things like cleaning, cooking and laundry have gotten super difficult. But this isn’t my house. So if we have a crazy busy week of work+school+coaching+shooting+late night editing I can’t let the house go completely, which I would have resorted to this fall if we were in our own home because I’ve never in my life been so busy. So there is this constant stress on my back and every item of ours that gets strewn around I notice and it eats away at me. If it was our own home I’d hire a cleaning lady and let the laundry pile up. ALL of this (not to mention that Fresh Art has sustained a constantly busy schedule much to our surprise and delight!) has left me no time or energy to BE with my kids.

And looking back at the last 3 months makes me sad simply because I hardly played with my kids at all.

I used to do art projects and make messes and play dolls or ball or play dough with them. I used to be a good mom.

Now I’m a stressed out, yelling mess of a mom. Wife too if anyone is counting.

So although it is listed at number three, this is my biggest goal of the new year. To somehow make time in my insane schedule for my kids again. All while balancing two full-time jobs, a huge house with lots of people, cleaning constant dog hair which freaks me out b/c of Parker’s severe allergies and the list goes on. But NONE of that is more important than INTENTIONAL time spent with my kids.

Kids I actually love spending time with! Making me one lucky mommy!

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Number Four.

I’ve seen other photographers do this and I thought it was silly until I went to find a photo of all five of us for our Christmas card (that still hasn’t been mailed out!) and found ONE from the last six months. ONE.

That’s insane.

So although it seems like a simple goal because we do spend as much family time together as we can, this might be hard to put at the front of my brain. But can you imagine how happy I’ll be next winter when I go to make our cards and realize I could include a full Allen calendar! HA!

And I got a decent start with this gem from today when we went to the high school for some play time…

None of us showered or clean. All coming off another awesome bout of the stomach plague. Sitting after running around playing kick ball, basketball and baseball. But together. Documented.

The funniest part to only me? Those damn keys that I purposely kicked aside as I was running to jump into position that still made it in the photo! HA!

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Number Not-really-on-the-official-list.

Blogging. I’m going to try harder at blogging this year. Blogging takes a whole heckova lotta time and I’ve slacked off in major way from my personal blog. But with intentional parenting, for me, comes more intentional blogging. Back when i blogged every single day I knew I had to find something that day to take a photo of so a lot of days when the last thing I wanted to do was break out the paints I would do just that. And if blogging, or anything, will help me get back into the habit of intentional parenting then so be it.

So blog. I hope you’re ready!

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Not on my list obviously but had to share my MIL’s beyond awesome January decorating idea! This is my favorite of all of her ideas, which is saying a lot because she’s a brilliant decorator.

Do you see all of those clocks? To RING in the new year? Love.

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Welcome 2011. I have a feeling you are going to rock my socks off!

Happy New Year from the Allen family!

(Also on the list will be letting the girls dress themselves more because today’s outfit choices totally cracked me up!)