Wednesday, December 24, 2008


HO HO HO!!! Merry Christmas. The Alcala Family would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. We are very excited to have our first Christmas with Avery Alexander. We have already made so many memories with him during the holiday season that will probably be the start of many holiday traditions to come. Anyhow, we haven't updated our blog lately as we have been very busy. Mimi and Papa arrived safely from Illinois on Saturday, December 20th. Rico and Dad have been golfing nonstop.....doing exactly what they love, while Mom, Avery and I have been playing outside, catching some rays, baking and shopping.........doing exactly what we love.

Last night we hosted a holiday party at our house with some of our closest friends in the sunshine state. We had about 25 people at our house and the weather couldn't have cooperated more. We enjoyed great food, cocktails and good conversation with some great laughs by the pool.

Pat, Jadyn, Rico and Avery chillin while the females prepare the food.

Most of the chicks in attendance at the party. We all thought it would be a great idea to pose for a pic by the Christmas tree......yet, where's the Christmas tree.......hidden behind all of us. Great idea girls. This is what happens when you get a bunch of girls together drinking wine.....

My mom and dad chillin' by the pool, playing with Avery, waiting on the guests to arrive.
Well, cheers to a very Merry Christmas and most importantly Happy Birthday Jesus.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookie Monster

Today was the day for making those ever so yummy Christmas cookies. I had an excellent helper in the kitchen (see below) so they turned out fabulous. Next step is to deliver them to our neighbors. We are very fortunate to have AWESOME neighbors, so we want them to know how thankful we are for them. And, what better way to show them then by baking Christmas Goodies.

My Helper: "Mom, as you dirty the dishes, I'll put them in the dishwasher...after of course, I lick the cookie dough out of the pans."

Yes, he climbed up there all by assistance needed by mom.
A Fabulous Assortment: Sugar cookies, Chocolate Chip, Hershey Kiss Cookies, etc.

"After all that labor, I am EXHAUSTED. I'm gonna take a snooze while you finish, mom."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Well, the decorations are up and the house is ready for Christmas. We have some presents to wrap, but we are basically ready for Santa Claus to come fill our stockings.

This is my favorite part of the decorations....the lil' Christmas tree in Avery's nursery with the twinkling, colored lights. He loves to lay in his crib at night and sing out loud "Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree......."

And, the Alcala Family Christmas tree... a fake one, what a beauty!!! (And we didn't even have to drive to the middle of no where to pick it out)

Ah, how romantic....the lights and greenery above our headboard!!!

And, the outside lights. Didn't Clark do a real nice job, just a real nice job Clark!!!

Side Note: For those of you who don't know; the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is one of my all time I will be quoting it often during our Christmas blogs. If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend pouring yourself some eggnog (or a stiff Captain and coke) and renting it. What a great flick!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gettin' Ready for Christmas

It's that time of year when everyone is getting ready for Christmas by putting up decorations, shopping til they drop and baking those ever so yummy Christmas cookies. Well, the same is true for the Alcala family. We have been busy decorating the house, doing some shopping and preparing for family to visit for the Holidays. This truly is an exciting time and definately no need to get stressed about anything. This will be Avery's first Christmas and we want to make it very special (although he won't remember a thing, mommy and daddy sure will.)

Mom and Avery on "supervisor" duty while dad puts up lights on the outside of the house. Yes, we are decorating for Christmas in short sleeves and sandles!!! Notice our dog in the background... he even gets a say on the placement of the lights.

Clark, you be careful up there, we want those lights twinkling!!!

Brianna, the "neighbor girl," let Avery try on her Santa hat.
We will be finishing the last touches of the decorating tonight. So, look forward to more pics soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back home, safe and sound.

We are back!!! Goodbye to the cold, winter weather and back to the warm, Florida sunshine.
Avery and I have made it back home safely. We arrived Tuesday night in Tampa where Rico was there to meet and greet us. It was great to see him. Gosh, 3 weeks is a long time to be away from your hubby. But, I will say the time just flew by since we had an amazing time visiting family in Illinois. We are so happy that Avery is getting to see his extended family as often as he does, considering we live so far from everyone. We are back to our routine, while it does still feel like we have been away, Avery has adjusted quite well and all this traveling doesn't phase him a bit.

Now, we get to look forward to Mimi and Papa coming to OUR neck of the woods in exactly 2 weeks. Ever since we have lived in Florida we have been fortunate to spend every Christmas together under the sunshine and palm trees. In the next 2 weeks we will be busy decorating the house, Christmas shopping and preparing to make more great memories. Life is good for the Alcala Family.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Now that our Thanksgiving weekend is over, I must reflect on what a great weekend it was. We were fortunate to see so many people on both sides of my parents family that we haven't seen in what feels like YEARS. Thanksgiving day was a great, relaxing time. We ate lots and lots (who doesn't), played "Wii" and visited. Then, we did the "black Friday" thing, which was also a great time. There were tons of shoppers and long lines, but when you're prepared for it, it doesn't matter that you get elbowed by complete strangers and you have to fight for a table in the food court. Saturday we celebrated Nanny and Grandpa's 60th wedding anniversary. Nanny and Grandpa are my mother's mom and dad. Wow, 60 years of marriage. That is sure something to celebrate!!!

The 3 siblings pose for a pic. Erica, Ryan and Jessi

The entire "Pancoast" clan, minus Rico. From L to R: Phil (Erica's b/f), Erica, my Dad, my Mom, Ryan, Holli (Ryan's wife) Avery and myself. Then, down in front, the princess of the family, Rylie.

And of course, the guests of honor: Nanny and Grandpa. Congrats guys!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble Gobble!!!

On behalf of the entire Alcala Family, we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We feel as though we have a lot to be thankful for this year. Hope you all eat lots and get to spend some quality time with those whom you love. Our plans for this fun, holiday weekend include Thanksgiving dinner in St. Louis with the Pancoast side of the family on Thursday. On Friday, my mom, Erica, Avery and I are gonna load up and head back to St. Louis for some Christmas shopping. Can't wait!!! Finally, on Saturday, we are headed to Effingham to celebrate my Grandparent's (my mom's mom and dad) 60th wedding anniversary. What an exciting event. That is where we will get to see the entire Dunaway side of the family. So, needless to say we will get to spend some quality time with all kinds of family and this will be such a great opportunity for Avery to meet ALL of his extended family members from his Mommy's side of the family.

I must mention that we miss Daddy like crazy. He is back in Florida working his bootie off as this is his "crazy, busy" time of season. He will be working Thanksgiving Day, but rest assured, he will enjoy a fabulous meal...compliments of the country club. We will still miss him tremendously.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

As I mentioned earlier, Avery's cousin Rylie came to visit this weekend. She is very enjoyable to have around. She wants to help in any way that she can with Avery. She is super excited about her baby sister who is "on the way" and wants to practice by helping with Avery. She is now a pro at diaper changing and entertaining. We have kept super busy this weekend with Avery and Rylie. We did lots of baking, went to the mall, got Christmas pictures taken of the two of them, went out to eat, they took a bubble bath together in Mimi and Papa's big tub and we had a slumber party each night. (As for myself, I haven't felt this sleep deprived since I was 9 months pregnant.) Only kidding, we have had a blast.

Avery is now pulling himself up onto tables, his crib, Rylie's trampoline, climbing stairs, the list goes on.

He has made his way up onto Rylie's trampoline. He hasn't mastered the "jumping" thing yet.

Avery and Rylie taking a "bubbly" together. Neither of them were ready to get out.

At the mall. Avery is driving the race car while Rylie holds on for dear life.

Out to dinner.........shy all of a sudden.........not for long, though.

Eventhough Avery has been put to bed for the night, he will go to sleep when he's ready. He's trying to figure out how to open the window shade..........hmmmmm???

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just checking in from the ol' Midwest. Have I mentioned yet that it is cold as H*LL here? Well, it is, and I often ask myself "How did we ever live in this crap?" I will admit that there is about 1-2 days a year when I think "I would like to see snow on the ground," then, I wake up and realize......"nope, I don't miss the winter weather AT ALL." Avery is simply adorable in his winter jacket, but by no means does he want to wear it any more than necessary.

Anyhow, enough "cold" talk. We are going to pick up Rylie today and she is going to spend the weekend with us. Rylie is my brother, Ryan, and his wife Holli's little girl. She is 3 years old going on about 15 years old. They are expecting another little girl in early March. Watch out Ryan, you are soon to be surrounded by not 2, but 3 females. Your life as you knew it is DOOMED!!! Ha, just kidding. Looking forward to the weekend.

Ryan, Holli and Rylie pose for a family pic.

Here is Rylie and Avery in July 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. It will be interesting to see how they interact with one anther now that Avery is crawling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not so sure of this winter weather!!!

We sure are enjoying our time up north with family and friends but MY OH MY, we are not liking this winter weather. Avery just loves to snuggle to keep warm. This past weekend we helped (watched) Mimi put up their Christmas decorations while Papa went to the SIU football game.

Anyhow, a couple of updates I must mention about Avery. He is a professional crawler already. He is scooting all over Mimi and Papa's house as if it were his job. Way to go son.....keep Mommy busy. He also has started his very own vocabulary. He says "da da" very loud and clearly. He misses his Daddy, that's for sure. Last night we called Daddy on the phone so he could hear it. I think it melted his heart. Wow, whoever says babies grow fast...... they are CORRECT!!!

Avery and Papa snuggling........actually Avery is snoozing while Papa holds him

Getting ready to go to dinner with Mimi, Papa, Aunt Lana, Uncle Bob, Tom and Karen....gotta bundle up, its COLD out there.

Avery loves to play hide and seek. Yep, we found him....under the Christmas tree

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lunch with Megan

Yesterday was a fun-filled day. We woke up in time to see Mimi off to work, have breakfast with Papa, then see Papa off to work. After all that, we snuck in a quick nap....much needed after a full morning of breakfast and sending people off to work (tough life that Avery and I live.) Then, we got dressed and headed to Effingham to visit one of my bestest friends for lunch; Megs. Let me give you a brief history of Megs and I. We initially met in the Spring of 1998 during Spring Break in Florida. We then went to the Illinois State together, lived in the same dorm freshman year, joined Tri Delta together and have been close ever since. Megs and I both have alot in common and know pretty much everything about each other (sometimes I think we know more about each other than our husbands know about us)??? Scary, I know. Anyhow, needless to say, lunch was great and we got to chat and catch up while she entertained Avery at T.G.I Fridays.

"Now, that I'm a professional crawler, I've gotta get this standing thing down pat."

Avery and Mom relaxing after a nice lunch.

"Megs, you are great entertainment, will you come visit us soon?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 we are!!!

For those of you who don't know, Avery and I are visiting the midwest. We arrived this morning in St. Louis and are now at "Mimi and Papa's" house. (A.K.A. My parent's) For my birthday, I asked Rico to buy a plane ticket for Avery and I to visit friends and family in Illinois for "a few days" while he is tied up at work during his "busy season." Rico is the Food and Beverage Director at a private country club in Sarasota. Therefore, his busy time of year (A.K.A "season") is October - April. Within that busy time, his BUSIEST of BUSY times is the entire month of November. He is busy with several events including weddings, brunches, golf tournaments, dinners, etc.

Being the PERFECT husband that he is, he did just what I asked and bought us a ticket to Illinois.......during his "busiest time." With that said, Avery and I are here for 3 weeks. It will be awesome to see friends and family and let Avery meet several family members that he has yet to meet. On the downside, we are away from daddy for quite a while and saying goodbye at the airport this morning was.........well, let's just say........ not fun. Watching all 3 of us hug and kiss each other while crying had to have been a sight to see...... wouldn't want to do that everyday...... Anyhow, we have made it here safely. We'll be staying at mom and dad's house while making several ventures out to see as many people as possible. Avery was a trooper the whole day and a joy to travel with. We just talked to daddy on the phone to tell him good night. On that note, we are off to bed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our little Go Getter

Avery is becoming quite the "go getter." He had mommy and daddy all over town this weekend. We went to the park, to church, out to eat with Jamie and Jadyn, and to the beach. (1st time at the beach). He just loves to be around people. He really enjoyed swinging. He wasn't sure about all the sand at first, but quickly got used to it. We went to the Ale House for dinner where he enjoyed a full rack of ribs and a baked potato. (In other words, Gerber chicken and Gerber sweet potatoes) YUMMY!!!

"Faster, mom!!!"

"Oh, dad, you are just so silly with that camera."

"Jadyn, are you hiding my socks from me? I can still see them."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Beware, the Dark Knight strikes for the first time. Avery's first Halloween!!!!! This was an absolute blast. We got to dress Avery up as............... you guessed it.............BATMAN. We loaded up the Bat Mobile and headed to a friend's house for some cocktails and trick or treating. Avery had a great time. He cruised along the neighborhood in his Bat Mobile (aka, the stroller) and just soaked it all in. There were kids galore and of course, candy galore.

Avery in his "Bat Mobile"

Daddy and Avery after a long night of Trick or Treating

Mommy pushing Avery in his "Bat Mobile"

Gettin' ready to hit the streets. Can you say "Trick or Treat"

And the Dark Knight prepares for take off!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, clear the air....the Dark Knight prepares to strike

Up, Up and Away we go........................................... TO BED!!!! Goodnight

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Day at the Marina

Living in Sarasota enables us to enjoy some fabulous scenery year-round; the ocean, palm trees, beaches, you name it. One of my favorite places to hang out while having "75 and sunny" weather is at the marina. Whether it be taking our dog there (before Avery came along) or taking Avery there for a nice walk in the stroller, it's always enjoyable. Today, Jamie, Jadyn, Avery and I loaded up a picnic and went to the marina. We walked for a bit along the waters edge, then enjoyed a picnic while "people watching." What a great day.

Avery and I right after lunch enjoying the beautiful weather and gorgeous view.

Jamie and Jadyn pose for a quick photo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Lunch Date

Usually about once a week the girls and our babies get together for lunch. This week it was at the Ale House. Notice the sweaters, sweatshirts and warm clothing..... it has been in the 60s here. Ouch!!! But, kinda neat to get a "taste" and only a "taste" of winter weather. Below is (clockwise) Avery, looking at something other than the camera, myself, Jamie, Jadyn, Carol and Janelle. Going to lunch is always a treat since we never run out of things to talk about and always end up with a laugh or few. It is "interesting" to see how are lives have changed over the years. This is the same group of girls who used to go bar hopping together EVERY weekend and now we all sit around and talk about our children over a glass of iced tea. But, don't kid yourselves, every now and then we squeeze in a girl's night and those "iced teas" turn into "long island iced teas." However, I must mention, Carol is expecting baby # 2, so we are lucky to have ourselves a D.D who can (fortunately for her) have just as much fun sober.

Lunch at the Ale House

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As Will Ferrell would say...

In the famous words of Will Ferrell himself, "We had (another) nice, little Saturday planned." Since we were given this AMAZING weather we MUST take advantage of it. So, we started our Saturday with breakfast at a little cafe in downtown Sarasota. Then, we headed to Jamie's soccer game. Next, we went to the outlet mall to see if we could catch some good deals; and of course, we did. After all this running around, we worked up a GREAT appetite, so we ended up at home for a nice "Surf and Turf" dinner, a couple bottles of wine and creme brulee. What a perfect finish to a great day.

Avery and Daddy ready to "hit the stores"

Jadyn at the soccer game, "Is it time to go? I'm gonna go ahead and load myself in the stroller."

Avery and Jadyn playing together while we watch the soccer game.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meet "The Bresters"

Allow me to introduce you to our awesome friends Pat and Jamie. We spend lots of time together, so you'll definitely be seeing many pics of them for years to come! We have a lengthy history together that dates back to our more(innocent) college days at Illinois State University. Since those boring and uneventful days of sobriety, we have all moved to Sarasota, Florida where Pat met the love of his life; Jamie! We have experienced life's most rewarding moments together; our engagements, weddings, vacations and the births of our children to name a few! I recently had the wonderful treat of watching their beautiful daughter, Jadyn. She is a very well behaved child, too bad the same can't be said about her parents! Avery and I both enjoyed having her over, but I must confess, the flirting has already begun.

Here's Jadyn explaining to Avery the intricacies of the exersaucer!

Jadyn & Avery having a disagreement...Jaydn eventually won of course!

Avery awakening from his nap and wondering where his girlfriend ran off to???

"Is my mom here yet? Avery has wore me out."

"I'll go ahead and get in the car seat." ("eventhough its not mine and I am too old for it")

And.............Here's a pic of the infamous "Pat and Jamie" @ Hard Rock Casino in Tampa (about 4 years ago.)