Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Celebrating 2011

We were blessed with an amazing season.  There was much joy and we really did slow down and enjoy our time together.

Santa came.
Christmas Morning 2011

Christmas Morning 2011

Christmas Morning 2011

Christmas Morning in moving pictures.

There was much family celebrating.
McCay Christmas 2011

McCay Christmas 2011

Brown Christmas 2011

Can you pick out the silliest kid in the picture? Because I can, and I don't believe he is a kid at all.
Brown Christmas 2011

And who doesn't play minute to win it games with grandparents for the privilege of opening  or stealing an amazing dirty Santa gift? {such as a copy of OJ's book}

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas 2011

I love receiving everyone's beautiful Christmas cards this time of year.  I appreciate the effort each of you makes to send out your well wishes for the holidays.

However, if you are looking for ours in return, stop looking.  One year I hope to send out cards, that year is not this one.  Sorry!

So here is your virtual Christmas card:

"...I came that you may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Praying that you find joy in The One who came as a lowly babe so that you 
might be joy filled in him this day, this hour, this moment!

Bonus Card: 


Christmas in the South.  There is nothing like it.

Because we are beyond pleased to be spending this special time with those we love so dearly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Loveliest Village on the Plains

Auburn is not a football team or a place on a map.  It is so much more than that.  Jason and I loved our time there and it will always be a part of how our family began.

It is a joy to take the boys to Auburn.  They have been a couple of times, but this was the first time we were able to take them into the stadium for a game.

We can check that off the life list.
Auburn 11.19.2011

Serious game watching.
Auburn 11.19.2011

Watching the eagle fly and eating a banana.

Watching the pre-game festivities. (Warning - people other than myself and my grandma (hi, grandma!) will find this to be the most boring video ever)

Zero boys looking at the camera.
Auburn 11.19.2011

I feel confident that at some point Colin will participate in a family picture, but not on this day.
Auburn 11.19.2011

As we were walking back to our friends' house Walker turned to me and said, "I want to stay in Auburn.  I like it here. Can we live here for a little while?" I told him we could arrange a 4 year stay, and he said that would be great.

War Eagle

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Fear No Road Trip

Trip to Atlanta 10.28.2011

My kids are great car travelers. Given the right mix of snacks, movies, music and restroom breaks they are quite the troopers.

So last Friday the kids and I headed to Atlanta to see my grandparents, with the right mix of the aforementioned necessities.

One of the great things about being on this side of the country is most of our family is just a day trip away. {don't worry great-grandparents not yet seen, the holiday season is upon us and your turn is near}

The entire way there we listened to music on my phone.  I was pretty impressed with the music on my iPhone.  I don't really look at what is there, but just load it to the phone or iPod automatically.  Well, Suri (you know, the swanky new iPhone assistant) couldn't understand what music I was asking for so she just played everything (what, a southern accent? me? really?).  Aside from one Shania Twain moment, the music mix was pretty good (if I do say so myself). And I actually have the boys saying Jimmy Buffet is "Pops' music," fantastic.

We looked at the pretty fall colors adorning all the trees along the interstate beautifully hung against a bright blue sky.

We discussed all the interesting road building equipment between Birmingham and the Georgia state line. {an aside: What exactly are we doing here? Just digging up the median and putting up cones all the way to the state line? I mean shouldn't there be some progress after the YEARS of this project?}

We sailed through downtown Atlanta and marveled at the sky scrapers and tunnels.

I love checking my rear mirror and seeing this:
When traveling you might have to find an alternate place to store your blankie on your head if your ands are full of snack and drink. #resourceful
When it is time for that on the road snack and drink, don't even think of putting down that blankie. It most definitely should be stored on your head for safe keeping.

Grandma and Grandpa's house was like my second home growing up. It warms my heart that my boys can feel the comfort of their home.

The boys measuring with grandpa.
Trip to Atlanta 10.28.2011

We pushed right through nap time and the littlest slept on my shoulder at Dairy Queen.  I know how rare these moments are becoming, so I savored it (okay I savored the ice cream, too).
Trip to Atlanta 10.28.2011

And here are some goodies Grandma has on display.
Trip to Atlanta 10.28.2011
(My grandparents kids - Uncle David, My Mom, Uncle Ken, Uncle Alan)

And here is a little gem of me.
Trip to Atlanta 10.28.2011
A pink turtle neck and a cotton headband, you're welcome. {and my grandma loves me anyway}

We made it home a smidgen past bedtime and started missing them immediately. {So, anybody have a great recommendation for a 55+ living community in the Birmingham area? We have got to get them closer!}

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Superhero Year {Halloween 2011}

Halloween 2011 was wonderful. Family, fun, food, and just enjoying the holiday for all the silliness it is.  This year (and maybe more to come) will be known as the superhero year.

Eli started it all with his Batman phase. {which is still going strong}
Halloween 2011

And Walker has all the sudden discovered the Transformers, so Optimus Prime it is.
Halloween 2011

And since I kind of get to pick out Colin's costume, I choose another adorable superhero. {which he instantly fell in love with and made is own by adding the Batman mask} Halloween 2011

And some superheros still need their blankie. {mommy approves}
Halloween 2011

And we trick or treated with two adorable Dorothys. {benefits of being on this side of the country}
Halloween 2011

And trampoline jumping in costume. {now, that is talent}
Halloween 2011

The youngest was all about the candy collecting.  {He would not skip a house}
Halloween 2011

Even if Bat-Superman needed a little assistance to keep up with the group. {thanks pops}
Halloween 2011

And pumpkins. {this was fun}
Superhero Pumpkins. Here to protect the city and the universe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Key to the World

Walker's First Library Card

My first library card was blue paper with a metal plate in the corner with raised numbers on it.  The librarian would take a carbon copy rubbing of it in an old style credit card machine each time I used it.  I felt so grown up having a card with my name on it.  I carried it around in my velcro wallet with pride.

Last week it was Walker's turn.  One has to be five years old and able to write your first and last name. He practiced all morning (just to make sure) and then off we went to receive his first official library card.

Walker's First Library Card

His first selections:
Walker's First Library Card

I know you're shocked. Never could have predicted these selections. Nope, not a chance.

The whole experience was a bit nostalgic for me, but as with everything the times they have changed.

Most notably, checking the web address at the end of the book.
Great train book with website reference. Guess what we've been doing for 30 min? (All Aboard, A True Train Story(Kuklin))

Look at my big boy.  Hard to believe.

And just for a bit more mommy nostalgia, his first story. My, my how far we have come.
Learning about rainbows

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Week Home

Home for a week.  It is wonderful and weird.

It is wonderful to be with our family and friends. Being with our people, being able to give real hugs, has fed my soul in ways only these relationships can.

It weirdly feels like we have bought the same house for the second time. At times it feels like we were never gone, and I don't like that feeling.

The Lord is teaching me so much of letting things go of this world.  While I still find too much comfort in these familiar places my attachment to this place, this "home" has faded over our time away.

But, Colin has (finally) escaped the pack n play.
Home 10.12.2011

And, it's like Christmas morning with all the toys that were left un-played with for the summer.
Home 10.12.2011
(Halloween costume preview)

Thankfully, the dogs and boys have started off a much better relationship this time around.
Home 10.12.2011
I think having boys beds on floor level has helped.  It is much easier to make friends with a dachshund if you provide a comfy nap spot.

And still lots and lots of this...
Home 10.12.2011
And more to come when (if?) the moving truck ever arrives.

Still settling in to the comfort in this very comfortable place.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saying Good-Bye to San Francisco

Golden Gate Photo Shoot

We have been just a short drive from the fair city of San Francisco for over four months.  We have made the trip into the city several times. We have gone over the Bay Bridge a few times.  But, we had yet to make it to the Golden Gate Bridge.  We rectified that Saturday evening.

We finally made the trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.  All of us.

Look, ALL NINE OF US in a picture.
Golden Gate Photo Shoot

And just for good measure on of the five us. Almost as rare.
Golden Gate Photo Shoot

Now, all five kids plus the Golden Gate, plus the city, plus Ben.
Golden Gate Bridge

This, this is photo shoot gold.
Golden Gate Photo Shoot
Now, it didn't feel like gold when we trying to get the pictures.  It felt like we were tying to wrangle 5 kids right at dinner time while trying to catch the last few minutes of daylight, but the pictures - worth it all.

Can't think of a more appropriate adventure for our last weekend in California.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ice Cream and Swimming

We found ourselves in nice Southern California with weather too cool for both swimming and ice cream eating, but you know we did both.

Disneyland Day 1

Disneyland Day 1

Disneyland Day 1

Note: he is laying down in the water to avoid the chilly wind.
Disneyland Day 1

So, after everyone's lips turned blue and there was an appropriate amount of shivering we toweled up and headed in.
Disneyland Day 1

Cut to another day.  On one side of the camera we have the boys enjoying their frozen treats.  On the other side of the camera we have mommy and daddy with nice hot cups of coffee.
Disneyland Day 3

Disneyland Day 3

Disneyland Day 3

Although, it was really nice to stand in line without having to deal with the heat.  So, this is not a complaint, just continuing the theme of things being colder than we expect in California.