Friday, January 25, 2013


We had our first snow of the new year on January 17th!

I took some pictures on our video camera, so they aren't as clear, but I just had to capture this moment. 
Greyson experienced his first snow day up in Pennsylvania when we were there for Thanksgiving...but this was the first time it snowed in Alabama & that doesn't happen very often. =)

He hasn't been walking very much but he took a few steps while reaching for the snowflakes. It was really coming down.
We had gone to a work lunch around 12:15 that afternoon; it was sleeting & wet outside. By 2pm I was seeing a few snowflakes & by 3 it was a full blown blizzard! It was a pretty wet snow so it was coming down pretty fast but some of the clumps were HUGE!

We finally had to come in because the snow was piling up on our heads & covering my video camera!! It lasted until the next morning...but most of it was gone by midday. Greyson really loved it, but it was too wet to really play in for us. Maybe when he's older, we'll get to make snowman. I really do love living in this part of the south so we can still experience ALL the seasons.

 I was used to living in cold weather 9 months out of the year & having snow about 4 months (give or take) out of that time. Living in Pennsylvania in the "snow belt" off of Lake Erie, will make you pretty accustomed to snowy weather & nothing would close unless the roads were super icy. That meant that even if there was 15 inches on the ground, but the roads were clear...we still had to go to school.

 However, it is the complete opposite in Alabama. We have WARM weather 9 months out of the year & a few months of cold...SOMETIMES it snows & when it does EVERYTHING shuts down. We laugh because schools will close at the mere mention of snow...but I will admit that I am very happy about it. Our town is not equipped with everything needed to make the roads safe & people aren't used to driving in it either so I would much rather have everything close down, than risk having an accident. 

I love that we have Winter, Spring, Summer (even though our temperatures sometimes reach record highs) & Fall & that our weather is beautiful 85% of the time! Minus the would almost be perfect year round.

We enjoyed our little piece of snow so far! 
~Stay Warm!~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mama Ritchey

For the past several months, my grandmother has been declining in her health.
It started with an emergency surgery (that she was not supposed to recover from) & ever since she has faced one thing after another. Just as she would work to get stronger, something else would set her back...she spent 8 weeks in the hospital! The Dr's have been amazed that she is still hanging on & have said countless times that the only reason she is here is because of the love of her family, being well taken care of & most importantly...God!
This was during one of my long visits to PA in September 2012. She was in the rehab part of the hospital. 

She has been one of the most godly influences in my life. She doesn't go away from a conversation without mentioning her faith in God & witnessing in some sort of way. She is a fighter...she LOVES life but she also knows what awaits her on the other side. 

Eventually she was put back in the hospital with another complication...she was so weak she didn't even want to eat...but guess who made her! My dad & Uncle are making sure she does everything she can to get well again. She finally made it out of the hospital & into a nursing home.

Our last visit to Pennsylvania was during the Thanksgiving Holiday. We were able to visit her in the nursing home & get a few pictures of her & Greyson.

She loves Greyson so much & is always so excited to see him. I don't know how much longer we'll have with Mama but we are thankful for the legacy that she has left with us in her life & the fact that she showed us all what it meant to truly be a Christian. She loves the Lord...that is evident =)

During Thanksgiving, we always celebrate Christmas with Mama. It has been a tradition ever since my grandparents became snow birds & left right after the Holiday to go to Florida over the winter months. My Aunt had signs made for everyone in the family of what we have deemed...Mama's slogan. 
As we opened the package & read the sign...I remembered hearing her say these words SO often over my lifetime. In fact, as I left her room in the hospital, during my September visit, this was the last thing I heard come out of her mouth =) 
"Snuggle up to Jesus" - Mama 

I love my Mama, & she is an inspiration! We have precious memories...& however long the Lord sees fit to keep her with us, we will continue to be blessed by her presence. 

This was the last photo I took of her with Greyson (to date). Her hands, holding his little ones. It is & will be a treasured photo for the rest of our lives. Her hands hold so much wisdom in the wrinkles they show, & Greyson's tiny, innocent, smooth hands...they haven't done much, they haven't been aged, but they have been held by an angel! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Greyson's Birthday Party

{Greyson's Birthday Party}
Held: December 27, 2012
At: Our Home
(photo Sears portraits- Adorable shirt by Shelly St. John...check out her face book & etsy site here)

Greyson's first birthday was Dec. 9th, 2012. Since Matt's family lives near us, we had our mini party for him on his real day, but his REAL party wasn't held until 2 weeks later (after Christmas) when more  of the family was in town. 
I don't think it mattered to him much WHEN it was, but having both sets of Grandparents here made it extra special. 

Some families think having a big birthday party for the first one is a little over the top since they won't remember it. I made my decision based on the time of year Greyson was born & the fact that my family lives so far away. Since they (most likely) won't be in our area on his real birthday every year, this was really the only time I could plan to have it late (when it really wouldn't matter) & have the most people included & involved. It just worked better for us! The older he gets we'll still have nice parties & I'm pretty sure there will be a pony involved at one point...but in my eyes, this is the only party that will have this much work & details going into it. 

If we have more children I'll plan to do bigger, more details parties on the FIRST birthday & go easy on the rest. Makes my life a little less complicated in the long run! =) 

Theme: Sock Monkey's & Vintage Toys

I have always loved sock monkeys (we had one when we were little) but when I saw the newborn sock monkey hats, I knew I had to get one for Greyson's new born photos. Since then I always had this theme in the back of my mind & planned to use one of those photos at the party. With in that year, the sock monkey theme got so popular! It was easy to find lots of things out there to use for the party. 
I wanted something different than a cowboy theme, because that will come up eventually =) 
I also got another hat for his 12 month shoot & tied that in with his newborn photos. In addition to the sock monkeys, I had vintage toys that also reflected the theme of my baby shower up north! 

I had so much fun planning & making things for this party. I put some of my own special touches in the details & I absolutely loved how everything turned out!!! 

So without further is Greyson's party!

Smash Cake

 Candy "Bar" for the favor bags

Drink Table-  Coke & Root beer in glass bottles =)

 Hot Chocolate bar on a cold December evening! 
Peppermint marshmallow stirrers! 

Photo timeline banner (Newborn - 12 months) & gifts

 We did the gifts first so everyone could see him open everything instead of waiting till the end of the party. Plus, there is such thing as "too much birthday" & we knew giving cake before presents would be a disaster! 

Family & Friends at the party. We had around 25-27 people in attendance. Some friends were out of town, couldn't make it, or ended up sick...we missed them but it was still pretty full! I didn't get pictures of everyone but I'm so glad they all came =)

Sloppy Joes & BBQ ham on small dinner rolls
Jalapeno cheeseball & crackers
Deer Bologna, cheese & crackers (compliments of my dad bringing it from PA)
Sweet pickles
Macaroni & Cheese (made by Karen Blankenship...which is always amazing!)
Cocktail weenies in sauce
Chips & French Onion dip
Banana Pudding (made by my mother in's the best!) 
Chocolate & Vanilla cupcakes & smash cake (from Pell City Coffee Company...amazing!)

 Singing Happy Birthday! He was very quiet & looked around at everyone as I brought the cake out. He blew on his candle & kept blowing but had to have a little help to blow it all the way out.
He loved "smashing" his cake! He got icing everywhere, but managed to eat a good portion of his cake =) This one was less messy than his other birthday cake that had blue icing...-_-

The Kids favors (I had 8 total) 
Pencil pinwheels
Vintage toy- Small Wooly Willy game
Glow Stick

 The next day I took a picture of Greyson with his banner. Hence the PJ's!

Nana was leaving so we had to get a picture of Greyson sitting in his new rocking chair! 

{Special Thanks}
A HUGE Thank you to Richelle Ritchey (Aunt Chelle) for all of her hard work in making this day AWESOME! Not only did she take all of the pictures
(& spend an entire day or days editing them)
she also designed & ordered the Birthday invitations, ran errands for me, helped cleaned, wrote on all the notecards...etc. etc. etc!! She helped in pretty much every area to set up for the party. I could not have done it all with out her help. She is so talented & I'm so glad she was able to be here & be such a big part of Greyson's day. My brother (Uncle Brandon) also helped Richelle run the errands & watched Greyson part of the time =)

My mom (Nana) pretty much helped plan out the menu, helped me shop for everything, made almost all of the food & got it ready & set out. She also helped get things set up, picked up & watched Greyson while I was running around. Dad (papa) even gave Greyson his bath before the party & helped Matt move some of the furniture.

My best friend Emily Powell let me borrow what seemed like a never ending list of things from the high chair, to serving dishes! She helped with the set up, sprinkling of the cupcakes (among other things) =) & did a BUNCH of the clean up at the end of the party. She was a HUGE help all around & her husband, Matt, also helped carry & load all of these items as well as watched the kids & kept things "under control" haha for the most part =) 

Other friends & family helped with the food & also gave Greyson so many wonderful gifts for his party. We didn't have one thing duplicated all the way through Christmas & his birthday combined! 

A sweet friend of mine (Brenda) gave me a "time capsule" for one of my baby shower gifts. We have added special things to it all year...from his party we added all the cards he got & several of them had money in them. We plan to keep the money & cards in tact so that one day during another milestone of his life (we're not sure how old he will be, but MUCH older) we will give him the time capsule as a keepsake. 

I am so grateful for all the many friends & family that have added so much to our lives. Each one is special & means so much to us. We have been blessed more than anyone will ever know & praise God for all His goodness to us. This party wasn't just a celebration of Greyson's first year, but a THANK YOU to all those who have had a part in his life so far. From babysitting, to play dates & everything in between...we had a great year! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Day 2012

I've been so busy I am trying to catch up on all the activities we had over the holidays. 

We had our first Christmas up north over was SO fun having snow & getting to take our Christmas card photos then. 

Aunt Richelle took them of us & did some Christmas pictures of Greyson in his sock monkey hat. We needed to take some for his Birthday invitation & there were SO many good ones of him.

There was a lot of sickness & health issues during the month of December. We had to postpone or cancel a few events, but still got to do all our Christmas' with the family. Greyson got his first ear infection the week before Christmas. I was so glad I got him into the Dr. before she went out of Christmas Eve he was MUCH better =)

We had Christmas with Matt's aunt & uncle at their house. 
Greyson wore his Christmas PJ's that my bff Emily got him. She has gotten them these last 2 years to match her little boy Jace & we think this is becoming her tradition to buy the Christmas jammies! He looked so cute with his reindeer shirt & leggs. 
Uncle Ben read the Christmas story of Jesus birth...Greyson read a story too but were not sure what it was. He was excited about the presents! This is really the only present he really opened & was interested in. He loves his new walking toy & had to show mimi all the cool features!

This was Christmas morning at our house. Nana (my mom) brought stockings with her from PA because we didn't do that at Thanksgiving & she wanted us to open something on Christmas since they got to be there. First, we had our little family Christmas with Greyson...

Daddy showing Greyson all his presents under the tree =) He really liked his toys (that he didn't have to unwrap) but once it was time to open things...all he wanted to do was climb the stairs! 

These were our gifts to Greyson, each other, our stockings to each other & then we added our stocking items that Nana got us too! We are blessed to be able to give & receive when so many are not able to do so. It was more special this year because Greyson got to play with his toys. He was so tiny last year, there was just no comparison. 

Later that morning we went to Mimi & G'pa's house for the Crawford Christmas =)

Greyson got a lot more toys, but he still didn't want to unwrap anything -_-

I was surprised to get a Keurig from my inlaws. It was not something I had ever asked for or even thought about getting so I was very surprised!! Last year Ben & Jac got them but Matt doesn't drink coffee so we got something else. Lela remembered that I drink coffee but last year I was still working & usually drank coffee at work so I still never made it at home. I have used the one at their house too, but getting my own has been wonderful!! It was probably my favorite gift from them =) I have used it quite a lot these past couple weeks! 

Yes, this is a giant cow from chickfila...I gotta of the most unique gifts Greyson got was this guy! It makes me laugh & Greyson say's "moo" to it =)

We took lunch over to Gmama & Gdaddy's house because Gdaddy has not been doing very well. He has been too weak to get out so we went to them.

Uncle Jac read the Christmas story at their house & helped G with his gifts...& also entertained us while we were opening ours! On the way back home, poor Greyson was surrounded by gifts!

That evening, we hosted Christmas supper at our house & my mom made her amazing Paula Dean Recipe of Chicken Noodle Soup. It was so good on a cold night. 

We had an amazing Christmas with our family. I'm so glad we got to spend another one with my parents & Aunt Richelle & Uncle Brandon. They probably won't be coming to our house in the next couple years & we will probably go up there next year anyway. It was nice to have everyone in town & Greyson sure had a lot of fun! 

Jesus is the REASON for the SEASON!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

What a year we have had!! 
God is sooo good!
Through the ups & the downs, He has been there for us each step of the way. I can't wait to see what is in store for us in 2013. 
I know it won't always be easy...we are watching loved ones decline in their health not knowing what day will be their last, but we also hold the anticipation of new family members! Whether it be by marriage or new babies on their way...we are blessed. 

My favorite moment BY FAR (from 2011) was the birth of our son BUT 2012 held all of his "firsts" & the moment he learned to call me Mama =) What a fun year we had.

Here's a look at all 12 months
He sure changed so much over each one & time will only go faster

{Happy New Year}

I'm a CEO!