For My Chattanooga Family

Dear In-Laws,

I finally got around to downloading our christmas photos.  I know this is January 10th and after December 31st, all christmas posts are considered late and irrelevant by Facebook standards…forgive me.  Hopefully seeing 89 photos of Will can make up for it :)

xo – k


Dear Non-In-Laws,

Please forgive me for posting the following as it is just one beast of an ode to Christmas and Will.  Eighty-nine photos is a lot to bear.  Just consider it part of your New Year’s weight loss resolution…your index finger is getting one heck of a workout :)

xo – kb


Now on to the commentary…

Before we left to visit family in Chattanooga, I went into CHRISTMAS MONSTER MODE.  You may know it.  My eyes turned red.  My hands were a tornado of wrapping presents, cleaning counters, transferring laundry, packing bags and setting tables.  I was not leaving home unless every SINGLE thing was ready for us to celebrate christmas when we returned.  Every gift had to be wrapped and under the tree.  Every bed had to be made.  Every dish in it’s spot.  Every. thing. had. to. be. perfect.

And then I realized that that was impossible to do it all.  and do it all on time.

Our 4 pm leave time got pushed back to 6 pm…then to 8 pm…then finally we left around 9:30pm.  I assumed that Will would sleep in the car.  Wrong.  He stayed up the entire 3 hour drive.  So that really taught me a lesson about becoming the Christmas Monster.

Will likes to fake cough.  It’s because Jer sounds like he is coughing when he clears his throat….so now Will fake coughs all the time.  At least he covers his mouth…except for that one time when I was making muffins :)

Jeremy turned 35 this past year.  He didn’t want any big-to-do about it…mostly because next year is the BIG ONE.  I say that with as much emphasis as humanly possible writing with all caps…next year he turns 36.  On 12-12-12.  See all that craziness?  Yeah.  I’ve been calling it the trifecta year.  We are gonna party like its 1999.  Except not – because that would ruin the trifecta business.  I need to start party planning, like, um, right now.

Anyhoo.  Nurse Vicki (Jer’s stepmom) made him this cake.  Personal note – this icing took a ridiculous amount of effort and was well worth it in the end.  Another personal note – this is Jer’s embarrassed face…he makes it when people are paying a lot of attention to him.  I love this face.  The one with the hand – not the attacking cake face :)


Nurse Vicki had these adorable snowman ornaments that lit up…Will was obsessed.  He would take them off the tree and then put it back on in a better spot.  I like to think he was redecorating…a la mini Nate Berkus.

Next year crafting will be more fun…this year, it’s more like don’t-eat-the-glue-toddler-time.

I brought a bunch of stuff with us to make cookies with Will.  He loves to cook.  I’ve mentioned that before.  And he was all about it.


Sugar cookies were the wrong choice.  They were way too hard to manipulate.


Thankfully Vicki had some gingerbread.  Those ones turned out adorable.

Sugar cookies?  Not so much.  They burned a little and turned into parallelograms…or quadrilaterals…or whatever.  Either way – total fail.

Decorating was the funnest part.  I love making holiday memories like these.  I feel like creating Christmas – well, it’s important.  Christmas can be just another day to adults…but to children, it can be pure magic….and as a parent, I feel like it’s part of my job to create opportunities for Will to feel that magic.  I want him to know that this holiday is special…and when things are special, we celebrate.  And sometimes celebration means SUGAR!  or cookies with sprinkles.


Peanut butter cookies with dark chocolate kisses….seriously addictive.


My reindeer cookie looks obscene.  He makes it very awkward for the gingerbread men.


Will helping put presents under the tree….loves to help…


Also loves to pull off your socks…which can be quite annoying…and cold.



I love this little outfit.  The too-small little-man cardigan with tie…so cute.  I swear that toddler girls have all the luck when it comes to clothing – soo many options – soo much cuteness….but when it comes to boys threads, it’s hard…and then there will be that one sparkling diamond in all that rough…and this is my little Christmas gem.


Pastor Dad – another sparkling christmas gem :)

This photo cracks me up.  He got the hunting gear as gifts and we made him pose…we are good kids like that :)

The next morning we did Will’s Christmas….after teaching him how to operate Angry Birds.

and after an amazing breakfast – that included BACON!

Sometimes stepping on the gift is as much fun as opening it :)

Will was so excited about getting this truck from Uncle Torrey that he just pushed it around in the box.


So proud of his tool belt.  He walked around checking his pager.  I swear at one point he looked at it and went “UHRooo!” – you know…Tim the toolman Taylor style :)

Fixing the box where he stepped on it.

This truck cracked us up – it talked and launched balls. and danced.  because that is what trucks do these days.


We always seem to take too many photos.  It’s funny how it’s part of us now as a society.  Everything documented.  Everything captured.  I admit – I am the worst culprit…I’ve been drinkin that camera-kool-aid.

Oh did I mention that I made chocolate mustaches for us?  Yeah.  Because every family needs a stache.  I love how Will knew what to do…and Torrey looks good…kinda like a dectective :)

After we finished our marathon of photo-taking, we packed up and headed to Jer’s mom’s house for lunch and more christmas!

Will loved the birds on the tree.  Now that I think about it…it might have something to do with Angry Birds.

Torrey gave Jer a watch.  He had been walking around with a broken watch for about two years now…but it was habit to put it on and I never thought to have it fixed or replace it.  Duh.


Jer also got this cool mask and cape.

Not really – that was Wills…but he was a little scared of it :)


Will also got this suitcase on rollers for all his cars.  The kid is obsessed with cars.  I took it as a personal mission this Christmas to find him the coolest Matchbox cars made…which is really quite hard when it comes down to it.  Grand B went with the more-the-merrier approach….Willl totally approved :)


Will also got a Lightening McQueen and Francesco…he has yet to see that movie but I don’t think he cares.


Will was helping Uncle Torrey.  Actually he outright stole that sucker.


Sweet I’m sorry I stole your present kisses :)

Then it was time to go.  Too much to do and too little time…as always, right?

So we said our goodbyes and gave lots more hugs and kisses.


We loaded him in and ten minutes of driving later, he was out.  He hadn’t slept well the nights we were there…so I’m sure it was all catching up to him.  But that was our Christmas in Chattanooga…a whirlwind of fun….and memories…and family…and friends…I didn’t even mention the friends…and just plain goodness.



  1. Cindy W. says

    Will in that tie! I’m dying! No gagging here — I enjoyed every second of this post… well, except for that “reindeer” cookie and Pastor Dad’s mustache… HA xo

  2. Laura says

    I love your polka dotted sweater! (Old Navy, right?)

    And the picture of Will on the floor in the blue car pj’s with the paci … his side profile is so handsome! Looks like the boyfriend, a ton.

    I liked your Home Improvement reference too btw. :)


  3. says

    omg i die for will!!! he is too precious =) you are such a good mom… taking notes from you on how you seem to make every holiday for your family SPECTACULAR!!

  4. Staci says

    My DH and I celebrate our anniversary on 12/12/12 too! I told him he better be planning to take me somewhere REALLY cool since we never went on a honeymoon! Once in a lifetime CRAZY date to celebrate!

  5. Ofelia, México City says

    Pictures like that, never are enough. They are so nice and lovely! I like how looks your hair, so long and shiny, how do you care of it? What kind of shampoo or traetment do you use?

  6. Kathy says

    Will’s outfit is really cute, Katie. Also, I am interested in what you got for Christmas?
    Did the boyfriend get you some jewelry from Old Navy?
    I bet your Mom gives creative presents. Please let us know.

  7. Bob says

    I have to ask; for the side-by-side-by-side shots of Will in front of the Christmas tree, what camera settings did you use? You appear to have a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur on Will, while keeping the shots bright in a dimly lit room. Was there a flash involved?

    The one on the left looks like he’s kneeling in prayer in front of the tree — Happy birthday Jesus. Love it. :)

    • says

      Sweet, huh? And no flash.
      I used my 24-70mm lens…so basically I put my aperature as low as it would go…at this it was 2.8, and my ISO as high as it could go – 6400…I also had it metered at a +2…and then just prayed that the camera and Will didn’t move too fast to capture the image. In the end the shutter was 1/50 (which definitely was slow enough for a big motion blur) and I had to lighten the image in post-processing…so there was some darkness…but it was the best I could do with the lens I had.
      Also, here’s a trick, sit on the floor and put the camera on your knee to steady it – that way you are eliminating some of the shake from your hand at least…
      happy shooting!
      xo – kb

      • Bob says

        Awesome, thanks for the details. Using the couch to steady the camera I got some ok shots on Christmas morning with similar settings, though I think I capped my ISO at 3200. Once the little blurs – I mean kids – woke up though… just wasn’t working! Too bad our tree is gone – I want to experiment a little more now.

        Thanks again!

  8. says

    Awesome! but I really think you need to ‘take a picture of the picture’ on the stairway wall so we can see Jeremy back in the day,

  9. says

    Umm… how adorable is Will with all of his little outfits?! TOO CUTE! and I couldn’t agree more that little boy outfits are about 10x harder to find than little girl. We are expecting a boy any day now and can’t wait to put him in few cute things we have managed to find!

  10. says

    love all the pics and never too late for Christmas posts! i may just get to mine next week, in blog world its not like white after labor day is it?
    love will’s Christmas tie, i will be scrounging up one of those for my little nugget next holiday season! will is my sons ryan fashion icon!

  11. says

    LOVED this post! Will’s outfit? – a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. My little guy thinks he’s too cool for cute outfits like that at this point in life…pssshhh…he’s only 5. ;-(. It is all about the under armour and whatever the big boys/athletes are wearing. And let me also say, I used to think that the girls had all of the luck with clothing…that was until I had one. Sure, there are lots of cute things for girls, but I find myself drawn to more of a “classic” look for her. I want her to look wholesome, sweet, pure, and innocent for as long as possible and that can be difficult to find. I used to think the little short shorts, halter dresses, etc… ( you know, big girl clothes in tiny girl sizes ) were to die for, but they don’t really match the look I’m going for now that I actually have a real baby girl to put in them! ;-)

  12. Sarah says

    I have one questions…is Uncle Torrey single? haha! (seriously though). I’m always on the look out for a great guy for my awesome sister, and your family seems like it would be such a fun one to join! :-) My sister is a teacher and one of the best people I know!! We love reading your blog and I told her that I was going to totally write you and see if this Uncle Torrey guy was single.

  13. says

    Will’s tool belt is too frickin’ cute! And I love little boys with ties! My nephew who is just about 18 months got a tool bench and it’s so amazing how kids know exactly what to do with it! He grabbed the screw driver and started screwing all the screws! Looks like you had a good Christmas with the in-laws!

  14. jamie says

    Love love your blog! We live in Ooltewah – just outside of Chatt, did not know you came here often! Your family (and home!) is beautiful and I am getting so much inspiration for things I will do when I have time, sigh….:) Just welcomed baby #2 into the world so home DIY is on hold for more important things like 8 x day nursing sessions! Oh how I forgot about those! :)

  15. says

    oh my gosh could Will’s outfits be any cuter!!! I can’t get over the striped cardigan, jeans and tie look- what dapper little man! He has a great stylist :)

  16. Stacie says

    Hi Katie, I was just on Pinterest because I am in search of an outfit for my son for his holiday pics coming up in a few weeks. I absolutely LOVE the outfit your son is wearing…the striped cardigan and tie with jeans is the exact look I was hoping for. My problem now is I can’t find a cardigan anywhere to replicate the cuteness. I know this was last year so the chances of me finding in the store would be difficult so I know this is an odd request/question but do you still have the sweater? If so, would you be willing to sell it to me? I know, crazy that I would ask but I just love it. My son Drew is 19 months old and he is on the small side so he can wear 12-18 or 18-24 months. Please let me know…thanks again.

    And great blog by the way :)

    Thanks, Stacie

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