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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ending Our "101 Places to See"

Well, now that we've all reached 12 in this family, I think it's a fitting time to put the well-worn "101 Places" book away and call it a triumph.

We have visited 85 places since we found this book in February 2010.  It's informed the majority of our vacations and weekend excursions over the last 4 years.  Here is a link to the first blog post where I wrote about this book. 

As the boys and I talked about wrapping up this adventure, I asked them if they had a favorite 101 thing.  They both took the book and flipped through it where we had written the location we visited on each page.

I'm imaging #10 - A Faraway Island when we went to Hawaii.
Or maybe #19 - A Rock Art Site in Moab, Utah.
Or #12 - An Old Growth Forest when we visited Yosemite and Muir Woods in California.
Or #30 - A Marvel of Engineering - the Empire State Building in NYC.

Surprisingly, the boys said:

Thomas - Our Local Courthouse or A Farmer's Market
Brennan - Your Parents' Workplaces

Who knew?

This little book has traveled with us all over the US - Hawaii, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, DC, Virginia, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana, and Ohio.

I learned about places that I probably would not have thought to visit when we were traveling, like

A Peace Garden
(The Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro, CA)

Or, a U.S. Mint when we traveled to New Orleans

Or to trace our steps on Route 66 as we traveled through CA and AZ as part of "An Endangered Place".

The book has given us a lot of great memories!

Here are the places that we haven't made time to visit.  
Maybe we'll get to some one of these days, who knows?

A Working Farm (we have several right down the road)
A Swimming Hole (does a lake count?)
A Kooky Capital
A Crazy Dream House
A Geyser or Natural Hot Springs
A Wetlands (I hear there's one nearby)
A Pigpen (Brennan says no thanks)
A Sensory Garden
A Living History Museum (Thomas has been, Brennan hasn't)
A First-Rate Secondhand Store  (We have Second-Rate ones)
A Hall of Fame
An Artist's Inspiration
A School That's Different From Your Own
A Weather Spot
A Recording Studio

It's been an awesome ride, thank you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brennan is 12!

I finally, finally sorted out my blogger issues. Phew.

I've been wanting to share Brennan's 12th birthday photos from last week.

We can't believe he's already 12!

We had his party on his birthday at our fitness club.
This is the second time we've had his party here over the years and it's a great spot for a snowy winter day!

A few hours of swimming, some cake and ice cream, and cards for Brennan.

He collected canned goods for our food pantry instead of gifts so we delivered that on Monday.

He had a wonderful birthday.

So proud of our 12 year old!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas 2013 (x5)

We are blessed with a big ol' family.
Not only does Santa visit us a little early in Indiana, but we then get to see all of our extended family down south over the week.  We wouldn't miss it.  A few highlights of our Christmas(es).
I think Brennan likes the phone Santa brought him (boy David and Brennan are really representing the Hoosier state, huh?  Don't worry - we received lots of SEC apparel.)
Thomas had a Dr. Who Christmas for sure.

Look, the Tardis is hovering!

New boots - much needed since their feet are growing like crazy and we got another 5 inches of snow today!

Brennan LOVES his new bathrobe.  Loves it.

And was extremely excited about his V Sauce tshirt (it's a computer website that all the kids love these days).

Then we headed south.  Not sure you can see what I'm seeing here but David and his Mini Me are identical - got their ear buds and their iPhones.
We had a wonderful time with David's family celebrating Christmas.
Brennan (almost 12), Ellie (almost 9), Thomas (13.5), Taylor (12)

Ellie and Brennan read aloud the Christmas Story from the Bible with Grandma Carolyn

The fig tree

And we had a lot of fun hanging out with Grandpa Laroy and Grandma Nan!  We had Mama's famous gumbo.  Sooooo good.
Watching football, of course.

Here Grandma showed them a great app on her ipad to make the creepiest funniest faces.


Like this one.  See?  Creepy.
The backseat crew as we headed to Canton to celebrate with David's extended family.

We all got to spend time with Jane Marie - the first of the next generation.
The older cousins loved taking her for walks.

Jane Marie and her Grandpa Cary

Jeffrey and Me

David and Jane Marie - playing catch

Brennan's teaching Jane Marie the fine art of selfies on his iPhone

Again, Doctor Who for Thomas.  I'm not sure he's taken this scarf off since he got it for Christmas.

The cousins
Brennan (almost 12), Ellie (almost 9), Thomas (13.5), Sara Brady (almost 15), Jane Marie (18 months), Elizabeth (12.5), Taylor (12)

Then it was off to visit Shelly and family for our family Christmas.
The girls had friends over when we arrived.  They all had fun together.

Thomas is a true chick magnet.
Brennan too evidently
Danielle (7) and Brennan

We all had fun with visiting Baby Amilie, especially Brennan who loves a chance to hold a baby

Cousins impromptu dance party, led by Natalie of course
Thomas (13.5), Brennan (almost 12), Natalie (almost 10), Danielle (7)

I took the crew out to see "Frozen" which was a lot of fun and a sweet movie

I had to snap this when Danielle climbed in Thomas's lap during the movie

Then, one final stop on our Mississippi grand tour to see my extended family!
I forget how many boys we have in our extended family - lots and they all have a good time together - here they're showing each other their favorite games

Even the littlest ones had fun
AvaGrace and Audrey Beth

Brittney and me
My grandmother and her three children
Aunt Hilda, Daddy, Uncle Zack

And the great-grandkids

A wonderful, wonderful holiday with our families!!

December 2013 Photos

We had a great December that started with a huge snowstorm.  I fear for the length of our spring break since we've already had 2 snow days!  Here are a bunch of our December memories.
7 inches of snow one day

Our elf Quickly was up to no good this year

David and I got to celebrate the holidays with our good friends in the Wine Club at Lora's new home

David and I attended a number of holiday parties...
...and got to celebrate our 21st anniversary together
Brennan had one concert after another, starting with the children's Christmas musical at church.  See him below as Buffalo #1

The city children's choir performed with the Philharmonic and they did a great job.  This was Brennan's first real concert and it was a big one.

Performing with the Philharmonic in the background

We took him out to dinner afterwards to celebrate 

In addition to two other choir concerts he had two school band concerts playing French Horn
Thomas and friends were very excited to see The Hobbit second movie.  Thomas, of course, had to wear his dwarf beard.

Thomas had two band concerts as well. Here is his 8th grade band performing.

Once school was out we were able to enjoy some family time including a trip tot he movie to see "Saving Mr. Banks" (which we all recommend)

Watching a little football (go SEC!)

And of course, getting ready for Christmas.  Brennan was the lights director this year and took the whole thing very seriously.  They are GREAT decorators!

Christmas photos to come!
Happy New Year!