The Nashville Zoo

We bought season passes before ever having taken Ivy to the zoo.
Ivy loves animals, so I was sure that if she could grasp the zoo concept of seeing them from semi-far away, then she'd enjoy it.
Once again, she enjoyed something 1 million times past my expectations.
I love when that happens!
She was OBSESSED with the zoo!
This was the petting zoo portion.
Oh man, she LOVED the goats.
She would run right from them, but had a bad habit of getting behind them. Being the awesome mom that I am not wanting her head to get a goat hoof through it, I explained that she doesn't want to stand behind them. Which she totally didn't understand, but it made me feel better about my mom-abilities.
She LOVED the red pandas. Gigi got her a red panda stuffed animal at the end of the zoo day that she loves, too. The animals were all really lively! We got a good show!

Love at first goat-sighting.
We like to par-tay.

More goat love.
"Seriously, Dad, that animal needs to be petted!"
There's an awesome kangaroo path where you can pet the kangaroos if they approach you! They were standing right by us, but never came to us, but Ivy was seriously trying to run to them. We had to have our hands around her the whole time. They were really cute with their little baby roos in their pouches!
We basically hiked through china.
This is only half as weird as it looks.
It was a baby kangaroo nursing. The brown ones are the boy sand the girl ones are gray. & the adult boys are about 3x bigger than the adult lady kanga's. So the momma & baby were about the same size & it was just weird. But Ivy got an up close lesson on nature.

Those red pandas were amazing!

She enjoyed all the chain linked fences!
She wanted to do all of her own walking. All of a sudden she thought one part of the path looked like a good resting spot and plopped herself down.
She's a nut!

Walking to the tigers!
Apparently she was confused by the tiger.
More kangaroo action!
"Seriously, put me down, I have animals to pet!"
She was in heaven.
Checking out the ENORMOUS cougars.
One of which totally stalked Ivy.
Ha..it  was so crazy. She did not want to be held and was walking back and forth along the board walk & the cougar got down low crouching & did not take it's eyes off her. hahah Thank heavens we don't live near cougars. She looks like a very tasty lunch! 
We had so much fun! Ivy loved it when Pops was the stroller driver, he's really fun!

She was a champ the whole day. She was so good & didn't shed one tear.
I'm seriously spoiled by her!


A Tender Tennessee Christmas!

Here are some pictures of our Christmas break!
We were able to have a few days with Weston & oh it did my heart so much good!
He'd been busy with school & work & I always craved more time, but encouraged him to work hard at those things that did occupy his time, because I know it is an important sacrifice he is doing for our family! It made those few days he had off of work & school at Christmas time so much sweeter!
And an infinity of thank yous to his coworker who switched Weston holiday shifts s he could have Christmas morning home with us for Ivy's first memorable Christmas.
We are so appreciative.
I am lucky to have my sentimental man that makes his time at home with Ivy & I really count. He is truly an amazing man & I loved every second of this Christmas season.
He baked cookies with me & then wel all brought our baked goods together & my entire family took them around to houses...we were going to carol..but it was raining & we're not that dedicated to our caroling. So, Spence ran them up to the doors like a champ!
It is SO fun having Spencer home from his mission. I love that brother of mine & I have missed him so much. He is such a joy to be around & truly a really fun person. Plus, he is so funny & keeps us all laughing 78% of the time, & the other 22% of the time he's hooking us up with amazing new computer & cloud systems in the house that I have no idea how to use!
(& then he patiently works through my techno-stupidity until I understand how to use 49% of it. Lots of stats today, people.)
This was our last Christmas with Chaser before his mission & oh I will miss that kid! He was in 4th grade when I went to college & so this past year being back has been so amazing! It is fun getting to spend his senior year with him! He is an AWESOME person & will drop anything he is doing to help someone else in or out of the family. He is a complete joy to be around & we will miss him so much but be so proud of him, like we were Spencer, when he is on his mission!
Ivy is extremely in love with her Uncle Chase & is warming up to her Uncle Spence! She loves the Spanish songs Uncle Spence sings to her & loves dancing with him & she loves being read to and playing with Uncle Chase!
I was given the sweetest brothers! I know one day they'll be married & have their own wife and family, so I'm soaking up the time I get with them now & it is SO so sweet.
We missed Danielle, Sean & Christians so badly. It was my first Christmas home without my sister being there EVER. It was really hard. Dani makes life so much more fun. She laughs at everything & then if it's not funny, she tells me that was dumb & not funny. She helps me be a funnier version of myself. I love her for it.  I'm dying to get my hands on her beautiful baby boy.  Figuratively and literally speaking I want to eat him. He's too cute. & it's a good thing he looks like a boy, because he's beautiful, & ain't nobody wanting a pretty boy...but oh, he's beautiful. & Sean is always up for a good time & brings a nice additional manliness to the fam! He is the one in the family that eats all the bugs or delivers them back into the wild. Oh, your family doesn't have one of those? Well, you really need one, because he's quite handy.  Except our bug policies are different. I'm more of the "Will you smash & get rid of that thing" philosophy & Sean is more of the "Either eat it for protein, or let it back to be in nature where it belongs philosophy." Despite our differences, I LOVE Sean. Man, I couldn't have typed up a better hubster for my sister. They make such an all-star team! 
I have loved living in close to my parents & Grandmother again!
It is so fun getting girl time in the evenings of the week with my mom & Gmo while my dad is in LA for work & Weston works the night shift during the week! It has been an incredible year & we all cohabitate really well! I will miss them & our companionship while Weston's gone & will miss it so bad once we've moved on for grad school!
Well, now that I've babbled on about all that, here's about 1,000,003 photos from our Christmas week. Enjoy! 

I guess I'm feeling ultra sappy and pregnant tonight.  I hope you enjoyed all that sap-a-lap. Or else you're not even caring about this apology because you skipped right to the pictures..like I always do.

We took these pictures at Thanksgiving time & adore them. It was hard to keep her still! & with the settings I had put my camera on...this was pretty much the only crisp picture I was satisfied with & it made the whole little shabang worth it.
This picture is priceless to me!
I want to always remember every little rounded out part of her toddler body.
I love this baby so much it hurts!
This needed to be documented. Those piggies would have been sore in the morning!
 We took a trip to Hobby Lobby after a stop at our favorite Mexican food joint, Garcia's.
Spence was the only one who needed a cart. For his leftovers & his Hobby Lobby purchases. No joke, he had HL purchases.
 Mmm just because I love my time with her.
 I love when she carries that cup around like Captain Hook.
Here she fell asleep holding onto Cheerios.
 She & I both get excited for trips to Target.
& selfies of course
 hahah she carries her baby around everywhere by her undies.
 Nana loves when she is there for jammie time. I love this picture! Ivy adores her Nana & vice versa. I'm so lucky to be in the middle of it! I love these two!
 It's a good thing this girl is getting a brother soon, she is getting spoiled with so much attention!
 Christmas Sunday! I love these two so very much.
Christmas was seriously magical this year! 
 Awesomeness about winter in Tennessee?
You can take your naked baby outside & she won't freeze.
(of course it's been a warmer than par winter, but man it's been nice to thaw out after freezing my tush off in Utah for a few winters!)

 She loves peek-a-boo.
She plays many variances of it.
Hiding behind furniture, hiding behind furniture that don't hide her, hiding behind her hands, hiding behind her blanket, hiding behind pots and pans, hiding behind a bin lid.
She's a pro & I act so extremely surprised every time. I love it as much as she does.
Genuine excitement.

 Yes, we founda tiny ugly sweater & yes she wore it for Christmas Eve!

 Christmas 2014!
 Quality control.
 "Now let me spin thiiiiis one, yep, yep, it's good, too."

 My favorite part of Christmas time was my time I got to have with him.
 and the time we got to spend with her together!

 Santa Claus stopped by & V was traumatized. She came & fetched Nana to come sit with her with Santa.
It was so sweet. My mom is on her top fave list.
 She gives nervous kisses.
It's adorable & hilarious.
& she would not look at Santa.
 She wanted the book Santa brought...but did not want to go up to him to get it.
This precious babe.
 Reaching for Nana.
 4 generations on Christmas Eve!
 She is still mad about Santa. 
 My mom has this little guy hanging over a door knob & Ivy loved it the whole Christmas season! She'd say "Santa" & waddle to him & pluck him off the door knob as my heart melted.
 The gift of a Christmas ba-ba!
 Christmas morning sleepy-head!
 Curious about all the commotion!
 She could feel the excitement in the air!

 She loves her lamby rocker Santa brought her.
We'd been wanting a little rocking horse for her & couldn't pass this sweet lamb up!
 She wanted to show Nana her lamb.. & she thought the lamb was real. HA. So sweet.
 Petting "softly"

 She LOVES books.
Nana & Pops got her some awesome books!

 She carried them around everywhere.

 She was still a pro at unwrapping presents from her birthday & plus she always rips into everything anyway.

 This is a sweet book about Jesus that we ordered online & I loved it even more in person! She LOVES it, too!

 Loving her little book about Jesus!
 These two absolutely adore each other. We're all going to be missing him so bad when he leaves on his mission!

 So fitting!
 Showing Nana & Pops the book they got her!
 Helping Daddy get a chair!
 Opening Gigi's gift!

 Nana & Pops gave the coolest gift! She was & still is in love with this toy.

 Even the hardest partiers need to break for Cheerios!
 Except she'll throw the Cheerios on the floor & read books instead!

 Who peels the orange before eating it?
Ain't nobody got time for that!
 Post-nap toy time!

 She's such a good mommy!
 The men have been working so hard all winter getting this tree chopped up!
My amazing dad carved my mom beautiful side tables from the giant oak out back!
Before the carving began, it needed the inaugural PJ stump stomp!
 These three runners enjoy running together.
Unless it rains, then only 1 of them is still willing to go. Can you guess which one?
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