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Saturday, December 31, 2011

We had a really great time, as always, visiting with David's extended family in Canton.
Our family from Mississippi, Florida, and Virginia get a chance to catch up and have a delicious meal.

Here are a few photos from our day together.

The kids table

The gift exchange
Thomas loooooves this gift.  He has played with it for hours.  If you have a Lego fan in your home - I highly recommend it.


Nancy and Brennan

The cousins - Sara Brady, Thomas, Allison, Taylor, Brennan, and Ellie

Carolyn and Annie

Christopher and Amanda's wedding photos from 2 years ago

Love this picture

Group Photo

Brennan, Joe, and Nancy

Christopher and Amanda (expecting next year!)

Brennan, Elizabeth, Taylor, and Sara Brady

The girls with Bernie

Elizabeth, Sara Brady, Allison, and Bernie

My Christmas sweetie

A wonderful Christmas with family!

Christmas Part 2

We had a great time visiting with David's mom, sister and family in Mississippi for a couple of days before continuing our state tour to visit other family members. 

Christmas Eve service, Christmas dinner, and presents, presents, presents.

Taylor read the Christmas story from the Bible.

Everyone gave and received some great gifts.
See the lighted ornament tree I made from David's mom, Carolyn, a few years ago there in the background?!  I love that she loves it.

David's sister, Donna, gave him a very special gift.
It's a framed photo of David's dad that David had never seen.
We'll find a special place to hang it at home.

Great Christmas #2 - so nice to enjoy our time with family!

Christmas 2011

Excuse our hair in these photos.

Because school got out late this year, we decided to have our family Christmas on the 23rd, then jump in the car and drive south 10 hours - hopefully all during daylight.

Success - but we didn't bother to primp before opening gifts.

Brennan had a very Mario Christmas.
Every gift he opened (even his new belt and gloves) was very exciting.

I love that he still sits in my lap from time to time.

Wouldn't be Christmas without our mischievous elf reindeer.

Thomas was very excited about his coach-selected new tennis racket.

And of course - no Christmas would be complete for Thomas without multiple Lego-related gifts.

A great game from Aunt Jeanne.

You may laugh, but this book is a thrill. 
At one point in Mississippi 2 of my 3 were arguing over who got to read it before bed time.

Like I said - a very Mario Christmas for Brennan this year.

My sensitive son cried when he realized he'd eaten his chocolate frog from our trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando before I took a picture of him holding it.  So I surprised him with two more for Christmas - and took a photo this time.

My big boy was very excited because he got a new coffee maker.

It's pretty awesome.

Then we took off for a big trip to see family and sight see.

Here are the boys on our way home, 8 days later.
No lack of energy for these two!

We hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

2011 Favorites

Last year I captured some of my annual favorites, so I thought I would attempt it again this year!  Many bloggers capture their top DIY or craft projects, or recipes, or decorating projects and I love reading about them.  Mine are just more my own favorite things.

It was a fantastic year - even with turning 40! - and I'm very much looking forward to 2012!

1.  Favorite Book - this was tough because I read 55+ books this year.  It was great to have them all identified on goodreads.com so I could remember what all I read!  I'm going with the one that was the most surprising and entertaining of them all.  You can read my review here.  I would read it again, and I never do that.  I still don't know a soul who has also read it, but I'm waiting patiently because I want to dish :)

2.  Favorite Movie - This was also hard.  With my chick flick group I saw a few really good ones this year, and a bunch of not-so-good ones.  The one I liked the most this year was Crazy, Stupid, Love. 
Runners-up would have to be The Help and The King's Speech.

3.  Favorite Trip - We had a great time in Florida (Key West and Orlando), but my favorite trip this year would have to be our family trip to New York City.  Exhausting (lots of walking) but really fun.  And pre all the Occupy Wall Street insanity.

4.  Favorite TV Character - Kalinda from The Good Wife.  Do you watch it on Sundays?

5.  Favorite New Hobby - I didn't really take up anything new this year so I thought of changing the category, but I'm going with Cooking for the Family.  I took it up a notch this year with the new blog and have really enjoyed the meal planning/cooking process more this year.  It's been fun to get the boys in on the fun as well.

Wishing you a very happy 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anniversaries and a Concert

David took off Friday and Monday for a nice 4 day weekend.
While it wasn't planned this way, these days happened to coincide with a couple of our anniversaries.

On Friday, midday, I thought about the date and realized it was the 20th anniversary of the date we got engaged!

After we got engaged on 12/16/91, I had the date engraved on the back of a watch for David.
He pulled out the watch to show the boys.
So that was cool!

Then yesterday we celebrated the 19th anniversary of our wedding on 12/19/92.

We had a great day, getting things done that we needed to around the house and for our trip.
We went to lunch together, did a little shopping together, and went out for dinner with Brennan before Thomas's band concert.

I never did get a great photo of Thomas in the concert, but he's on the left side, about 8 kids in from the front playing his trumpet.  He saw us and waved and smiled a lot.

All the 6th graders who take band in the 10 local public elementary schools came together last night for a group performance. They played 8 Christmas songs and did a fantastic job.

After the 6th graders were done, the 7th graders from one of our two middle schools performed, and then the 8th graders.  Everyone did a beautiful job.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Events and Fun

We've had a really fun month, with lots of Christmas activities.  I wanted to share a few photos!

On November 29th we got an unexpected snow! Maybe 2 inches.  I took these photos on our way home from school - we got more later that afternoon.  Of course, phone photos just don't share the beauty.  It was really pretty that afternoon, and of course, the boys couldn't wait to get out and play in it, even trying out sledding!

Speaking of the sled, Brennan left it out for a couple of weeks.  When he and David were stringing Christmas lights recently I reminded him to put his sled away.  Lo and behold - this is what he found hidden underneath - a huge sled-shaped chunk of ice!

David suggested they throw it really high and let it shatter.
Of course, Thomas had to get in on the fun.

Standing back...

See it way up high?

Completely shattered.  Of course, the largest pieces are being preserved in our freezer for some future use.

Brennan and I attended a neighbor's Christmas party a couple of weeks ago.  He snapped this photo of their decorations along the wooden path to their home.

Their piano teacher gives her students homemade Christmas Crackers each year and it's quite a thrill.
The letter on the package reminds kids not to open them in the car on the way home :)
They are filled with confetti, small trinkets and candies, and of course, a crown.

Our church had its Children's Christmas performance last week and Thomas was a part of the choir, playing hand bells and percussion.
The children did a great job with their original play and great music.

Thomas's junior high youth group had its Christmas party yesterday, hosted by Evan's family.
I helped with food and had a great time.
Here's most of the group with youth Pastor Peggy, playing Apples to Apples.

Then instead of heading to the basement for video games they chose to head outside for a kickball game.

Then they had a gift exchange.  Everyone bough a $1 gender-neutral gift and they were able to trade off if they rolled doubles.  Thomas took a homemade Christmas songs CD.

We were thisclose to bringing home the air horn.  Unfortunately fortunately Eli rolled doubles at the last second and was the air horn winner.

A fantastic group of 6th-8th graders!

Hope you're enjoying the Christmas season!