Thursday, December 22, 2011

McGee Christmas Card 2011

My favorite thing in December is going to our mailbox and seeing cards and pictures of all of the people in our lives that we LOVE. Since our first Christmas as a married couple, Jon and I have sent out a photo Christmas card. I have all of the Christmas cards we have sent out over the years in a small book that we bring out each December. It is a great way to ensure that we have at least one family picture taken with all of us together each year. I love flipping through the book and seeing how our family has grown. The four people standing with me in this picture are the most treasured people in my life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas House

Before we got any of our Christmas things out the girls kept begging us to "make our house a christmas house." I thought that was such a cute way to put it. I've tried my best to make it feel magical in here for them. My favorite Christmas decorations: The fresh garlands, wreaths, satin ribbons and of course these reindeer pillows.
( how cute is my sweet little lily peeking through the banister...)

White Christmas

I had white linen stockings made for us this year. By next year I hope to have everyone's initials embroidered in them as well. I was worried the girls would miss their other stockings this year but the minute they saw these they were happy. I'm getting excited to see their faces on Christmas morning. There's nothing better than Christmas Morning with little kids. Nothing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Look Who's 5!

Today is my Gwennie's 5th Birthday. She had a Christmas performance at preschool which was fun and then when we were driving home I told her that the Birthday Fairy had visited our home. She could barely sit still she was so excited in the car. I put balloons, our birthday banner, a little pink stuffed elephant, and 2 coloring books out. It was so simple but she was BEYOND excited when she walked in the house. Her birthday crown from school today is my favorite part. Tonight for dinner she got to have a daddy-daughter date. We told her she could choose any place she wanted to go. She quickly said, "I want to go to the cake store that has stuffed animals". I was stumped. Jon figured it out...The Cheesecake Factory. She always admires those little teddy bears in the glass case in the front of the restaurant. Very Cute.
I have a feeling Jon may let her choose one tonight.
I love you my sweet, funny, smart and beautiful little girl.
Happy 5th Birthday, Gwen!!

Monday, December 5, 2011


For Thanksgiving we met up with my sister Megan and her family. Where did we meet...? In Riverside of all places. My sister told me to "trust her" and I am so glad I did! We stayed at one of the most amazing hotels. It is called The Mission Inn and it is BEAUTIFUL. It's a converted monastery and around the holidays the decorations and lights they put up can not be beat.
There was a big lighting ceremony complete with fireworks, it "snowed" each night through the hallways, and there was santa and his sleigh. This added together with my girls getting to be with their cousins = heaven. I also got to be with my sister, Megan which was my favorite part. It was a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good Girl

She's such a GOOD girl.
Each day after school when my Ellers hops into our car I always ask her to tell me how her day at school was by her facial expression. She turns her head around and then back to me and the majority of days she flashes me the world's largest smile. It's pretty cute. If she's had a hard day she'll turn her head around with a half smile or some tears and then we can talk about it. My heart is happy that most days her smile is big and bright.
I went to Elle's 2nd grade parent-teacher conference this past Friday morning. The teacher went through all of her academic progress which is right on track. She's a smart girl and works hard so I was happy to see that her class work reflected that. Her teacher then looked me in the eyes and told me what a good, GOOD, sweet girl Elle is. I'm sure she tells most of the parents this but it took me quite by surprise. I know she's kind and sweet but you never know what happens when they leave you. My emotions really caught me by surprise. The more she talked about my Elle's sweet personality the more my eyes started to well up with tears. I kept thinking, "oh no, don't do this amy...this is embarrassing!!!" but it was to no avail. The tears came. She went on and on about how Elle treats the other children in the class and how kind and caring and helpful she is. To me this is SO much more of importance than any of the other things on that report card.
As a mom I work so much with my girls and sometimes I just feel like it's going in one ear and out the other with them. And somedays I feel like I'm a completely lousy mom. There are so many ups and downs on this "mom roller coaster". I think that was what made me cry - all of the TIME and TALKS I have with them are paying off even just a little bit. You do your best with them and then you push them out into the world and hope for the best. It's scary and rewarding and somedays heartbreaking all at the same time.
Each day as Elle is walking down the driveway and hopping into Jon's car to go to school I give her a hug and say, "Work Hard AND...."
She then has to finish the quote.
She always, smiles and says
"...BE NICE".
I love my sweet Elle. I'm glad she's mine.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I love this picture - grainy and all.
It was a candid moment from my iPhone. We were trying to take a picture of all of us...(lily included) and then Gwennie said something funny and we all lost it. Lily ducked out of the picture but she was right there with us.
I love my girls so much.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mirror Makeover

I got a new mirror for our family room. I still really liked our last mirror but wanted a change. I was driving with Jon and the girls to get ice cream and spotted this mirror in the window of a consignment shop. I begged Jonnie to stop and he obliged. The mirror was an ugly gold color. I really do love gold but this was just not a pretty gold. I knew it could be painted so that didn't deter me. When I got home and measured, I was thrilled to find it would be the perfect size. The pictures don't show the scale very well but it's huge...just over 5 feet tall. Our ceilings are vaulted so it works. The next day my friend came over and we spray painted it in my backyard. It still needs another coat of paint --I want it to be a flat white without shine. Jonnie bought a sprayer and I bought the paint so that's on our "not so important to-do list" which is really getting pretty long. I also have the prettiest chairs just sitting in our garage that I got at an antique store for almost nothing that also need to be reupholstered and painted. One of them will eventually go in the corner where our girls' little computer table is right now. Luckily I have a husband that puts up with all of this frivolous stuff.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

We had a fun Halloween. I must say though that this has been one crazy week. We are on day 8 of at least one person in our family having the flu. It's been non stop for me in the laundry department and I'm tired. I was so sick on Monday that I begged and bribed Gwen to not go to preschool. I may have even shed a tear. She however was too excited about her party and I don't blame her. I got her all dressed-up and also drove her there with my head literally on the steering wheel. It was a sight but she made it and had so much fun. Jonnie took the girls trick-or-treating last night in our neighborhood. Lily loved cruising in the wagon and Elle and Gwen ran from house to house. Our neighborhood is a fun one on Halloween night. Lots and lots of kids and parents running through the streets. It's adorable. The girls have already started talking about what they want to be next year. I love their ages right now. Every holiday is just magical for them. I know that will change someday so I am enjoying it so, so much right now. Now I need to figure out what to do with all of this candy in the house. I always forget how delicious kit-kats are. Seriously, so good. Here's to another fun Halloween and hoping that Jon (the last stand-out in our family) does not get sick. My fingers are crossed.
Happy Halloween!
(you can see this picture was taken after the 1st trip around the neighborhood funny is gwen's wig!?)

Strawberry Shortcake Gwen

The Wig. I mean c'mon it doesn't get any cuter.

Elle the 50's Pink Lady

The Glasses. They "made" her outfit and she LOVED wearing them. So cute!

Piggy Lily

The Black Satin Bow. That's what sold me on this costume. Adorable.

Where's Waldo?

Jon said that if there ever comes a time when I question his love for me all I need to do is look at this picture. So true. I told him Waldo never looked so good. Also very true.
Love him.

Friday, October 28, 2011


On October 1st, Gwen and Elle started begging that we get our Halloween decorations out. It's such a big deal to them that it makes it worth it for me. Yep, pretty much the same as last year. The girls think it's so fun to get all the decorations out and put them in the "correct spots". Lily is loving the Halloween Tree. The ornaments are taken off and on 100 x's a day. It's on our kitchen table and that doesn't stop her. She's a climber. The bird pillows are new. I got them at Z Gallerie of all places. Not usually a store I love but I happened to spot these and they're linen. They were bright which I didn't like but I knew if I washed them enough I could fade them. It worked. I brought them home and washed the covers 4x's in a row (without drying) and they were faded to my liking.
As for Halloween...we are super excited. Our theme is "pink" this year and I can't wait to dress my girls up...
( a very random FYI... check out the "villa mirror" at Z Gallerie. it is really great in person. If I had somewhere to put it, it would be in our home)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


You get just one guess what Lily is going to be for Halloween....

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Great Bike Swap...

Gwen moved up to Elle's bike (she is VERY excited) which meant Elle got a new bike (she too is VERY excited). On Saturday morning the girls woke up at 6:30 am and begged to go outside and ride bikes. I begged and bargained to have them stay inside to no avail. They were just too excited. Guess who heard all the commotion and woke up and felt left out? Lily. So by 6:45 am we were outside riding bikes. That's just wrong. I looked awesome in my pj's and uncombed hair cruising our neighborhood chasing after Lily and her run-away bike. The camera eventually came out and captured the whole thing. I'm just too tired to look through all of my pictures tonight but I did see this cute one of Gwennie lookin' good on her new ride. More to come...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sweet Lily

They don't get any sweeter than this little girl. I'm sure of it.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Although this looks incredibly posed, it was not. Jon takes Elle to school each morning and I went out to kiss her good-bye and she was riding her scooter while she waited for her daddy. That little face she is making is such an "elle face". I love it.
Last night was Back-to-School Night at the Elementary School. Jon and I were able to go and meet Elle's teacher and sit at her desk. It's now official. I want to be in 2nd Grade. She has the nicest teacher. I just sat there listening to all that they'll be learning this year and I kept thinking how grateful I am that she was put in this particular class. She's with her teacher about the same amount of time she is with me during the day. That's a a big deal. I can now see why she hops in the car each day with a big smile on her face. The best part of the night however was sneaking a note into her pencil box for her to discover today at school. I always LOVED finding those notes at my desk from my mom and dad.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


While your sisters are at school -
I'm loving my time alone with you, Lily.
I wish you could stay this little forever.

Baby Doll

My lily is REALLY into baby dolls right now. She loves being the mama. I took these pictures of her this morning as we were heading out to take Gwen to preschool. Lily-pie is always carrying a dolly around these days and of course loves all of the accessories. All of my girls have used this little bag to carry around dollies in. It happens to not really be a bag but it is my Easter Basket from when I was a little girl. My mom had cloth Easter baskets made for each of us when we were little. Mine was pink, of course. I love that it still has lots of little chocolate stains in it from years of milk chocolate foil wrapped eggs being in it on Easter morning. All 3 of my girls have loved this little "basket". It fits around them like a purse and dollies and bottles fit perfectly inside. Lily takes it with her everywhere we go. Adorable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I've been calling my Gwen, Gwennie lately. She's named after my grandma, Gwen. We called her Grammy Gwen. Grammy's nickname growing up was Gwennie and she always told me she hated it. I personally think it's incredibly cute. Jon on the other hand has always called her Gigi. I called Gwen that the other day and she looked me square in the eyes and said, "Mom. ONLY DAD can call me Gigi." Alrighty then... I got it. My mistake.
Here's another picture from my phone. Elle's swim team practice is just steps from the ocean. This summer I would park and then Gwen, Lily and I would walk down to the beach. That's why we were there this day. It was unreal how pretty the sunset was this night. My little Gwennie looked so pretty in her sundress. 4 1/2 never looked so cute.

Secret Hide-out

Here's my sweet Elle. I love her so much. If I know she's sad and I can't find her this is the first place I look. She nuzzles in between the wall and the side of my bed. It's "her secret hide-out". She was upset the morning I took this picture because Gwen was being mean to her. I remember my secret hiding spot when I was little. It was in my closet. I had a really large closet so half of it was also used for storage. I would use the boxes to climb my way up and then I would sit on the top shelf. I wish I had a picture of me sitting up there sulking. It would be pretty funny now. With 5 kids in our family you didn't have much privacy so that is where I would go. This is Elle's spot and even though she's sad here, I still think she looks pretty cute. I love you, sweet Elle.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mama Bird

My camera is broken. That is the reason for me not taking many photos this summer. It's killing me too. I see things as photographs in my mind and not being able to capture them is the worst. My camera is being sent out today to figure out what the problem is. I am sooo anxious to have it back. I have had my camera on my iphone which is what I have had to rely on. That first image of the bird is not mine. I wish I knew who captured that picture. Isn't it the cutest thing ever? It melts me. That's exactly the stage of life I feel I am in. My little "birds" still under my wings. I know this season of life will change but I'm not in any hurry. When I saw that picture of the mama bird it reminded me of my little girls hanging on my legs. The picture above is of my lily-pie hanging on me. She's the sweetest little girl around. It's for real. I want to just bottle her up. I'll post some of my pictures from my phone from this summer. I don't want them to get lost on my computer. My little birdies are growing up too fast.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gwen's First Day of Preschool (again)

Gwen was super excited about going to preschool today. It's her second year (she's a December birthday and missed the kindergarten cut-off) so she was not nervous a bit this morning. She was VERY excited about her backpack and also that her hair is long enough now to wear in a pony tail. After I took these pictures Gwen asked if she could just walk across the street and back so that everyone could see how "bootiful" she looked. I couldn't stop smiling. Classic.

First Day of 2nd Grade!

Today was Elle's first day of 2nd Grade. She was sooo excited. She picked out her dress and of course her school bag. No backpack for her this year, she wanted a shoulder bag. The class lists came out last Friday telling her who was in her class and what teacher she was going to get. She hit the jackpot. An amazing teacher and a class packed full of her friends. We made it a family affair this morning walking her to her new class. She had the whole family at her send-off. I was just so happy to see how happy and excited she was as we waved good-bye to her from her classroom door. It's going to be a good year...I can feel it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Biker Chicks

We took Gwen's training wheels off again. I say "again" because she actually learned how to ride without them quite some time ago but Jon put them back on her bike to "slow her down". She's our daredevil and it was flat out dangerous. The training wheels are off now for good and she couldn't be happier. She really has no fear. It's scary and amusing all at the same time. Elle was her voice of reason and took her around the paths in our neighborhood this afternoon as they were waiting for lily to wake up from her nap and for me to load up the car. Every morning they put their bathing suits on in hopes that I will take them to the beach or the pool. We hit the pool this afternoon. Their outfits are crazy and I'm also just now noticing their little baggies of animal crackers they have with them- so darn cute.