Monday, February 8, 2010

2009 – Year in Review

Since I know I have been so terrible at sharing photos this past year, I thought I’d start by sharing the highlights of our 2009, because there were many! You can click on these pictures to view them larger... Here we go:


January was a pretty uneventful month for us. I got a new camera for Christmas last year, so all our pictures from that month are of weird things that I shot just trying to figure my camera out. Like this one of bacon frying, which I realize is weird:



We started off February by celebrating Mimi’s birthday in Little Rock…Angela and Jeffrey drove down from Memphis, and Michael, Crystal, and Anthony drove over from Hot Springs. We had lunch, did a little shopping, and had a great time.

Later that month, we took Mattie to Memphis to see Playhouse Disney Live. She had a blast, of course, and insisted upon wearing her Minnie Mouse costume from two Halloweens ago. It was a little short, but she rocked it!

February is also the month that we found out we were expecting our sweet Presley…February 12 to be exact. I don’t have any pictures of the positive pregnancy test, or Matthew’s reaction, but there are some very sweet memories in my head of all of that.


March is a big month in our family, because Matthew, Mattie, and I all celebrate our birthday’s that month. I’ve learned, and so has Matthew, that our birthday’s mean very little now that we have kiddos, but we would have it any other way.

Here’s some from Mattie’s Party:

The party table. We didn’t really have a “theme”, other than just a color theme. I think this was the last year I’ll be able to get away with that with Mattie.

DSC_0155 The cake. I decided to once again make her cake, and why I do this to myself, I don’t know. This cake caused me some major stress.

DSC_0161 The Birthday Girl. Mom and I made her dress (admittedly, it was mostly mom, but I did do some of it). I still love that dress.

DSC_0168 Anxiously awaiting her guests…with a manicure.

DSC_0195 A little teased to be the center of attention. Yeah right.

DSC_0216 I had forgotten this, but she had to change into her new tinkerbell costume during the party. And she made us all watch “The Sound of Music” during the party (see the TV in the background). She might be a little bossy. Another memory from this party is I stayed up late the night before making cookies to give as party favors…they were so cute with pink and green icing, and they had her monogram on them. Not only did I not get a picture of them, I totally forgot to hand them out at the party, so it was all a big waste.

In late March, we finally told Mattie that she was going to be a big sister. She took the news just like we thought she would, and was thrilled from that moment on!


And we finally shared our news with family and friends as well. With both pregnancies, Matthew and I choose to keep our secret for a little while before telling anyone, even family (even my mother and sister, which I admit was difficult). It was hard both times, but also lots of fun to be the only two people that know such big news. I was almost ten weeks when we told this time, right after I went to the doctor and had this ultrasound:

At the very end of March, Mattie started going to First Baptist for daycare. The opportunity for her to start late in the year popped up very unexpectedly, but we went ahead and moved her thinking the adjustment would be better done then than in the fall when we would be dealing with a new baby. We had a rough start, but eventually she grew to love it. Here’s her first day:



In April, we got a visit from the Easter Bunny:


Mattie got her own gardening tools, which also doubled as microphones:


For some reason, I don’t have any pictures of Mattie in her Easter dress, or any of us as a family. It wouldn’t be because I was in that delightful stage of pregnancy called too-big-for-regular-clothes-but-not-big-enough-for-maternity-yet. I was feeling lovely that day, I’m sure, and avoiding the camera.

Late that month, we made a visit to Memphis to visit Gigi (Angela), and even let Mattie get in the freezing cold swimming pool because she just could not stand not to!:


Shortly after this picture was taken, she lost her balance, and face planted into the pool just from being on these steps, and Jeffrey had to jump in and save her. The water was FRIGID! It was pretty scary for all of us, and she still talks about how Free-Free saved her life!


May was pretty uneventful as well around our house. I know Mother’s Day was in there, but I can’t find any pictures…probably b/c I was still in that aforementioned pregnancy stage.

We did celebrate Memorial Day at Mimi and Papa’s house with Anthony.

Mattie with her "dorothy braids" as she calls them:


The kiddos wanted to help Mimi cook, but the onions were just too much for them!




Can you tell Mattie is completely smitten with her cousin?



The most fun part of June for us every year is our beach vacation. Oh Beach, how I love you. We are already anxiously awaiting our vacation this year.

The *four* of us…23wks preggo w/ Presley in this pic.


These two were pretty tight the whole trip:

Mad about something:

Us. I spent a lot of time in my cover-up. Actually, that’s a lie…I rocked my maternity bathing suit all up and down that beach. It was only mildly scary, I promise.

Mattie was actually really into the ocean this year…last year, not so much. She played and played in the water.

Mimi, Poppa, and their grandkiddos:


The happy couple.


The adoring cousins.


The girls. We got a lot of sun that day!



July brought heat, which was not fun for this pregnant girl. Notice the fan in the background aimed straight at the couch…I spent most of my summer there : )

We did celebrate the 4th by going to see the fireworks display. Lots of fun…Mattie loved it, of course. She was not wanting her picture made here though:

I was hot, sweaty, and tired. Can you tell??

My two oldest kids:

In mid July, our church had it’s VBS. Matthew helped and Mattie got to go to the preschool class. They did a performance of all the songs they learned that Sunday in church. This was just a hoot:




August brought with it more heat. I continued to get bigger and bigger:

Mattie started 3 year kindergarten. She has done so well, and really seems to love her class, her teacher, and her classmates. So far, we’ve had a couple of timeouts, but no notes sent home, which is just a huge miracle. Here’s her first day, which was actually the second day b/c she was sick the first day.


In September, the misery of the end stages of pregnancy set in for me. But, I spent most of the month working fast and furious to get Presley’s room finished. I’m still in love with this room and how it turned out.


Mattie started taking dance classes during September. She has really loved this as well, and hasn’t missed a class yet. We’ll see how she performs in the recital in May, but I expect we’ll continue dance class next year.


Later that month, I had a very nice and fun baby shower at work. I was kind of “ehh” about letting them give me a shower, just b/c I know some people turn their noses up at mama’s having shower’s for second babies, but this was so sweet and fun, mostly thanks to my sweet friend Melissa and all her hard work on making it cute. And as it turns out, even if you’re having another girl, you don’t have everything you need the second time around.

Mattie came and helped Mama open presents. She got a few of her own to open thanks to a very thoughtful Mimi.

A very pregnant Ashley and my favorite 3yr old:

Ashley baby shower 002

My diaper cake…how cute is that?? Melissa worked hard to make this. We used every one of those diapers on Presley!

Ashley baby shower 009

My hands-on helper:

Ashley baby shower 012

One of my fave gifts….Matthew’s too! Presley’s all set with Wildcat gear.

Ashley baby shower 013

The outfit we brought Presley home in, courtesy of Mimi:

Ashley baby shower 016

The rest of the month we spent preparing to bring a baby home. Washing baby clothes, cleaning up all our old baby gear, and letting the realization that we were about to have two of these monkeys really set in. Wow…if we had only known!


The month we had been waiting on all year was finally here. I spent my whole pregnancy hoping and praying I would at least make it to October because I didn’t want another “early bird” baby. Well, I made it and was humongous by the big day which was Oct. 12.

This was right before we left the house to go to the hospital. All I can say is wow. This picture is so funny to me because I really had no idea how big I got until I saw this.


Waiting to go to surgery. I was calm, cool, and collected until the minute they came to wheel me to surgery, and all the sudden my nerves kind of hit me all it once. Mattie cried and cried when she had to leave the room, and that kind of got to me.


Matthew and I took my little camera into the operating room, and I have pictures of Presley’s first moments, Matthew holding her, the first time I saw her, etc (strangely enough, Dr. Ray, our pediatrician who was in the room with us and who has zero personality most of the time all of the sudden became our bff and took over our camera. He got some priceless shots for us!). BUT…I accidentally tore up the cord to that camera and have never gotten them downloaded. I will at some point because they’re very sweet.

Here’s Presley after she got to the nursery with Daddy.


Not a great pic, but this is the first time I held my girl. I was flying pretty high on my morphine drip by then…notice the button not far from my hand:


One of the first times Mattie held Presley.


Mmmm, brand new baby…nothing like it:


The above picture was in the hospital…I brought my own gowns for her to wear because I hate the little paper ones they put on them. Matthew put this on her, and we’ll just say he was quite a bit out of practice on dressing a baby. It took a while for him to get it over her head, get her arms in, get it all pulled down and situated. She was a screaming, hysterical mess by the time he was done. Funny memory for me!

Here we are about to go home. I was still on pain medicine…you can kind of see it in my eyes:


This was right after Mattie got home from school on our first day home. She had a very hard time with Mom staying in the hospital…I’ve never spent more than a night away from her up to that point. So we were all so glad to be together again. I have this picture on my desk at work because I just can’t get enough of that sweet look on that precious face, and that little hand holding that baby head close to her face. Melt my heart.


Me and my helper gave Presley her first sponge bath several days later. It’s funny how different some things can be with second babies. From the day we brought Mattie home, I bathed her every single day pretty much without fail. Presley, in her early weeks anyway, was lucky to get one every third day. Since we are now a little more settled in, we are bathing her daily (mostly):



The end of the month brought Halloween, and Mattie went as Supergirl. She LOVED this costume, with the boot covers and shiny skirt. Presley was a little mouse and pretty much slept through it all, only waking up to scream at the camera, which was a very good thing.



When Matthew put this shirt on, Mattie told me "My daddy is dressed as Supergirl Boy!!" . It thrilled her that he wore this, and he's all about thrilling his girl.



We spent most of Presley’s first 6 or 7 weeks trying to get her to stop crying. To say we were unprepared for the tiny little hurricane that hit our house when we brought Presley home would be an understatement. She was a pretty fussy/gassy/colicky/whatever you want to call it baby. She cried. A lot. And so did I. And it was hard on all of us. We switched formulas, we switched bottles, we swaddled, we rocked, we bounced, we leaned against the dryer, we paced the floors and wore the carpet in the hallway down...we did everything. She would have a couple good days in a row, but it always started back, and usually would last most of the day. But, sometime after Thanksgiving, around 8 weeks, she kind of started snapping out of it and now we have one of the happiest, smiliest babies I’ve ever been around. I’d be lying if I said the first two months was all rainbows and sunshine, because it just wasn’t. It was H-A-R-D, and when I think about some of the moments that are still pretty fresh on my memory, I want to cry. Matthew was so busy with football...practices and games, and this would be the year that the Wildcats made it all the way to the state championship, so football went all the way into DECEMBER (as it turns out, it was NOT a great idea to have a baby in the middle of football season! Huh, who knew?). My parents, particularly my mom, were the hugest help during this time and provided a lot of relief for me when I needed it, and helped so much with taking Mattie to do something fun, or to dance, or to choir or mission friends. We've come a long way, but I will say I have a new sympathy for mother’s who go through that because we didn’t experience ANYTHING like this with Mattie, and I mostly credited that success to Matthew and I being calm, laid back parents. I thought everyone could have an easy baby if they would just be calm and relaxed too. WRONG! If anything, we started out even more calm and laid back with this baby, although the anxiety and tension level rose considerably the more it went on. I think with babies, you can prepare and expect all you want, but you just never know what you’re going to get.

A happy Daddy:


Sometimes people give Matthew a lot of grief over the fact that he must have some disappointment over not having a boy…nothing in this world could be further from the truth. He took offense when we were expecting Presley and people “assumed” he wanted it to be a boy. I've found that it’s usually people that don’t have little girls that assume these things, and I kind of think unless you know just how special it is to have girls, you probably won’t ever get it. I think the look on his face in the picture above kind of says it all!

Here’s the only pictures I took at Thanksgiving:


My silly girl insisted on sitting in the highchair that had been unused for about two years.


Some of the early smiles I was trying to catch on camera


Mattie and Presley with their cousins Lex and Brett sometime in late November. SO CUTE!!



I have about a bagazillion pictures from December. We started the month by getting to introduce my brother Michael and nephew Anthony to Presley. Here’s these three monkeys together for the first time.


Does anyone else have to take a silly shot of their kids to get them to do a serious shot first? WE DO. ALL THE TIME! Here’s the silly shot immediately after:


I very reluctantly started back to work in mid December, and in an effort to maximize our time in the evenings, started bathing the girls together. We still do this most nights:


Bedtime stories in Mattie’s bed. We still do this together some too:


Presley wore this outfit that had belonged to Mattie to church one Sunday and looked as cute as I’d ever seen her.



Mattie gave her sister a bottle for the first time:


Presley thought it was funny:


I took a picture of this dimpled booty resting on my arm before a bath one night because I want to remember it forever:


My sweeties in their Christmas dresses before our Christmas Eve service:


And finally, after much waiting and worrying, and list making, and letter writing, it was finally time for Santa to come. We left him some tasty cookies, which he (she) ate (and later regretted the calories):


“Santa” hard at work.


He brought a bike for Miss Mattie and a fancy new mobile for PK.


Right after Mattie woke up…I wonder if she’ll still be toting her blanket by next Christmas. I hope so (tear!)


Santa Baby:


Mattie loved Christmas this year because she got to open all of Presley’s presents for her.

We had lunch at my parent’s and opened gifts. Mattie got her American Girl Bitty Baby that she had so longed for from my parents.

Earlier in the week, Mattie had been to see the Alvin and The Chipmunks movie with Anthony and Mimi. She LOVED it, so at Christmas, mom fashioned her a shiny little outfit to wear out of scarp fabric so she could sing “All the Single Ladies” for us like the Chipettes. My girl is a nut!


Later that night we went and had Christmas with Matthew’s family.

These two played so nice together : ) Look at those interlocked arms:


And so did these two:


We ended our year by heading to Memphis to spend New Year’s with Gigi and FreeFree (what Mattie calls Angela and Jeffrey : ) We took everything we own for the trip. See:


My girls on New Year’s Eve:


Matthew and I, and Angela and Jeffrey went to the Liberty Bowl. I cannot express in words how cold it was. Miserable doesn’t even describe it. Never in my life have I been that cold. I’m not even sad to say that Angela and I gave up during the 4th quarter and headed to the car to thaw out, and our idiot/football fanatic husbands stayed and watched what turned out to be a pretty exciting finish.

Here come the Hogs!:

Here's Kickoff:

Two cold girls! Early in the game (our smiles hadn’t faded from the cold yet)

And finally, before we left Memphis, I had Angela take a picture of the whole family because we didn't have a single one of all four of us. I don’t love this picture, mainly b/c Presley is sleeping, and I couldn’t be bothered to put on lipstick, but at least we’re all in it, right?


And for the silly shot:


And there you have it, our 2009 in pictures. It took me a really long time to put this post together (a week!), but I’m really glad I did. Because looking back over it, I realize something that I know, but sometimes forget or take for granted: God has blessed our family in mighty, mighty way! We are happy, healthy, together, and we laugh often, and what more could you really ask for?


  1. Ashley, this is great! I am so glad that you decided to start blogging. Everything you write sounds just like you, so reading this was like catching up about the last year. Your girls are too cute and Matthew will have his work cut out for him several years down the road! They are going to be knockouts! Mattie is getting so big, and you all around are a beautiful family. Even though we don't talk all of the time, at least once a day I see or hear something funny that I know we would have had a laugh about or reminds me of you! I am your first follower and so excited to keep up with y'all. I still, however, will compose a list of 10 reasons why you should be on me it is entertaining!

  2. I love the pics....can't wait for updates!