This past weekend made me so happy. We kicked off the Christmas season at my friend Amanda’s house. She hosts a Christmas caroling party every year (though this was our first) and it really felt the way Christmas should. Children, and laughter, and joy, and treats, and homemade eggnog!

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Walking into Amanda’s home is like walking into the biggest hug you can imagine- so you take Amanda, her beautiful family, and a piano with sheet music- you’ve got yourself a party!

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Do you see all of these little girls? They’re fans of music, princesses, and Christmas. I sang loudly- and I can’t sing at all. Amanda even added Do You Want To Build A Snowman into the mix and that’s when the kids lost their minds.

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I never wanted the singing and merriment to end. It was actually awkward for Amanda and her husband ( whose responsible for every picture in this post) when I came up to her afterwards and asked for a longer sing along next year…or next week. She’s working on it.

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We later had some adult fun at a friends home ( I have photos of this as I was too busy stuffing my face with sushi), followed by a special Santa party (on Sunday) at my friend Devon’s house.

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We’re pretty lucky because we know Santa personally and he makes his way to Devon’s house every year. The kids keep getting bigger and their toy request keep getting more expensive.

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I highly recommend festive friends. They make our holiday’s merry and bright. It’s just three weeks (or less?) before the big day- so I plan on posting lots of holiday pics between now and then. Stay tuned.

 

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That title sounds promising doesn’t it? Sadly I took very few pictures of all the fun we had. These are from Matt’s cell phone.

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We headed into the city for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We go every year and I love that it’s our tradition. I will save you the sob story of how happy living in NYC makes me- it’s a dream come true, I get giddy every time we approach the tunnel, times square still takes my breath away, the energy is palpable, and on, and on, I can go- but the coolest thing about NYC on Thanksgiving day is that NO ONE is there! You can take a picture dead in the center of Times Square.

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This year it snowed- so we went out for hot chocolate afterwards and my children spent a weird amount of time being babysat by the most lovely homeless New Yorker. And that likely sounds rude or like I’m being sarcastic- but I’m not. This man literally watched my kids as Matt and I buzzed around the Cosi fetching straws, napkins, more water, etc. He was so wonderful and I think of him daily and we did what we could to repay him.

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Doesn’t the Christmas Spirit just live in the hearts of children? Not mine exactly- but yours I bet. She makes the weirdest faces when you ask her to act like your not taking a picture of her eating.

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We had dinner at my best friend in Queens apartment. It was cozy and warm and lovely to be surrounded by the family that I choose 17 years ago. And the next day we headed to Home Depot and met bootleg Santa. He was fooling NO ONE!

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Sunny kept calling him Santa’s Fake Friend.

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On Sunday Sunny was treated to Disney On Ice by our Queens Family and she literally has never been more happy in her entire life. She dressed up for the occasion and refused to move off of the edge of her seat. Even when intermission approached she insisted on staying right where she was- they might get back on that ice!

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It was a wonderful Holiday weekend! I hope yours was just as festive.

 

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Every thanksgiving I like to give thanks for what I’m most grateful for. It’s a long list and you’re on it!

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I’m grateful for my health.  That’s a not a given.

I’m grateful for my family. All of them- even the crazy ones. Especially the crazy ones.

I’m grateful for my friends. I have so many wonderful and amazing friends. I have friends from coast to coast and most of them I have known my whole life. I wish you guys could meet and know my friends. They’re the best people on this Earth!

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I’m grateful for music so fun and loud that we’re all singing out loud and off key- and when we pull into the drive way we can’t turn off the car, because we have to listen to the full song. “your lips are movin, your lips are movin’ !” (and little boys who dance)

I’m grateful for dreams that come true & thoughts that became reality.

I’m grateful for the ability to love and receive love.

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I’m grateful for my husband and our children, and the life we’re living together. I didn’t want much, just the American Dream plus a few extras. I got so much more! I got my dream, and living this life has made me so happy.

I’m grateful for time with my children. I get to be with them 99% of the time and very few people will experience this.

I’m grateful for wine, that helps me be more grateful for all that time with my children. :)

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I’m grateful for each of you. You invest in our lives by being here and reading these words and caring about us. You support our family by checking in with our family. You’ve recommended my photography and video services to your friends and neighbors and you’ve made this tiny space a space that reflects positive thoughts and images. Thank you so much!

I’m sure you all have your own list of gratitude. I hope you’re holiday is filled with magical people and tons of hugs and love and warmth.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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Lately we’ve been feeling the effect of having an (almost) five year old in our home. There is a lot of eye rolling and “really”.  As in “really Mommy? REALLY.” To be fair she also has days were she is sweet as sugar- singing her holiday songs and asking me to color with her. I assume five will be an in between age; part toddler/part kid. I think this face says it all.IMG_1401This little man is like an atom, he never stops moving. The exact opposite of his sister, he asks to “nuggle” (as in snuggle) on the couch all day. Which is adorable. The issue of course is we have to take his sister to school and we’re running late, and I forgot to pack her lunch, and crap is it almost 8:30?????!!!!! And where is your brother? Find your brother!” That’s when I’ll find this little man laying on the couch, curled up with Duck ( his blanket) saying “Mama nuggle me peas! Peas Mama! Nuggle?” And then we’re late for school because I will never pass up a nuggle with my favorite little guy.

IMG_1428 IMG_1431I know someday they’ll compare notes. They’ll call each other and be like, “what’s wrong with Mom? Why does she always talk baby talk to me?”

untitled-1417It’s getting so cold out that indoor photos are a must. My new lighting kit came this weekend and I made asked my daughter kindly to allow me to photograph her. I did. We got about 5 shots before the teenage part of her walked off set. That’s my girl. Calling all my shots.

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When you live away from your family, you create a family with the people around you. We are very lucky to have my brother and JC just a few miles up the road, and we are luckier still to have JC’s parents and sister in the New York area. They come down to New Jersey for frequent visits; fixing what needs to be fixed, sharing a meal, stories, and the stress of planning a wedding. For Matt, myself, and the kids they are our family too; the  excitement of Jodi’s engagement is our excitement too. That’s what family is right? It’s the people who cheer the loudest, who share in your happiness, and who attack you with kisses and hugs when you walk through the door. They also happen to be the people you can be yourself with, without explanation.

untitled-8168 untitled-8174 untitled-8187 I was very lucky to photograph the energy that is my sister-in-law Jodi and her (soon to be) husband Adam. They make the worlds greatest cookies, give the worlds BEST hugs, and every time I see them I never want them to leave.

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untitled-8423 untitled-8442 untitled-8443 untitled-8446 untitled-8493 untitled-8506Matt helped me build my own photo booth. You need a guy like Matt on your team when you have a mind that moves as quickly as mine. I’m always coming up with off the wall ideas with no means to execute them. Matt will listen to these ideas and then he makes stuff happen. I love that about him. And I LOVE these confetti photos!

 

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