Monthly Archives: December 2011

Merry End of 2011

Well, here we are on the last evening of the year. Kids are in bed and Mark’s getting the fire pit going.  It’s really mild weather for being New Year’s Eve so we’re looking forward to sitting by the fire…

In some ways it was a hard year.  Lots of changes – adapting to two children, Mark’s job transition (and a good amount of other drama thrown in) that brought a fair amount of growing pains, heartache, and tears (I’ve cried a lot this year, course maybe I do every year…). But in all those things, we learned so much about ourselves and about life. We have grown closer together as a family and while there are still days that we struggle to get it right, we know that it’s ok.

So really, it’s been a good year.  Yes, there were some significant bumps in the road.  But I like where those bumps have landed us.  Yes, two kids keep us busy.  But oh, how they fill our days with laughter and awe. And I think about all the other fun stuff that was thrown into this year and know that it was good. I think we’re ending 2011 stronger, wiser, happier.

And now, we have a fresh new year staring down at us.  I’m sure there are a fair share of bumps and chaos waiting down the road, but I also know how much opportunity, freedom, and joy can come out of those moments.

Thank you to all of you who walked through 2011 with us.  Here’s to a great 2012.


Christmas Fun, Texas Size

We always have a great time with family in Texas.

We get to see Uncle Jeff and Aunt Liz in Dallas and that’s always a treat.

Mia was really into them this visit.  I think she’s getting to the age where she gets the fun uncle and fun aunt thing.

Finn likes them, but I suspect mainly for their dogs (sorry, guys…). LOVES those dogs.  He would crawl after them and if they turned and went the other way he would just put his head down and cry.  Big tears cry. Bailey, the older dog, was so great and let him hug her. It was sweet to see him stand up next to her and put his arms around her and just put his head down on her.  Precious.

Do I have any pictures to prove any of this?

One.  How’s that for lame? Guess it’s more fun to be there then to take pictures…


Jeff was out with the dogs and Mia ran up to him and then just stayed there. Guess she just wanted to be near him.

Then, it was 2.5 hours south to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Cousins were waiting when we got there and the kids couldn’t be more excited.

Mia had so much fun with those boys.  They were great with her and she cried when she woke up from her nap and realized that they had gone back home (she walked all over the house and into the room where they had been looking for them…it was so cute – we did make sure that she had said bye, but it doesn’t really hit until they’re gone, I guess).




Yep, she really did love being around those cousins…


She was the only girl cousin there (well, except for the twin 8 month old babies, but they were napping during this picture). I can’t tell what her face is saying, but I could imagine lots of things.


Uncle Matt came ready with great entertainment.


Finn having a sweet moment with Aunt Missy.

Christmas Eve, the kids get their “to wear” and “to read” gifts: new pajamas and a new book.  All Mia had really asked for this Christmas was a pair of Cars footy pajamas. She was thrilled when she opened and saw them.  But she was even more excited when she saw Finn’s.


Matching pajamas.  I never match them – not as easy when they’re boy and girl –  but we just couldn’t resist. And the look on their faces makes it all worth it and helps make Christmas that much more special.


 Luke was so great and read to her.


Mark reading to Cody and Finn.

Grandma and Grandpa got a tent and tunnel out and the kids had a great time playing in that.




So cute of Mia with Great Grandma.


 Finn, bonding with Grandpa.  Probably over football.


And just like that, it was time for us to head back home.  The kids did really well in the car, thanks to lots of snacks, toys, and movies.  The state of our car after the 9 hour trip back was pretty scary.  Of course, this kind of thing didn’t help.


Awesome, Finn.  Good work.

Thanks, Texas family, for a wonderful week.  We love you and miss you.


Christmas Fun

Before Christmas, we made a list of 12 fun ways we wanted to celebrate Christmas.

That was such a great thing for us.

  • Great for me, because I love planning and I love lists.
  • Great for Mark, because all my thoughts on family events are not swimming in my head and then coming out at 3:30 in a text and surprising him (he’s so good about being spontaneous, but I think knowing ahead of time that I’m going to want to get in the car and go look at lights is helpful).
  • Great for Mia because she’s part of the planning and thinking of fun things to do.
  • Great for Finn because…..well, it’s great because he gets to come.

And labeling it as our 12 Funs of Christmas was so right.  It was FUN.

We bundled up and went to our small town’s parade:


Our little monster. I think this is such a cute little picture of him.


The best picture I got of Mia all night. She was too busy taking it all in to stop and appease her Mom’s little blogging heart.



Dark, but you see Mia’s little hand – in the brown coat – waving at Santa, riding on top of the fire truck.  She was SO excited to see him.  We don’t even really play it up big or do Santa gifts at all….but she still thought it was pretty cool.



We went to a movie for the very first time as a family (The Muppets):


For a little girl whose favorite snack is popcorn, this has got to be a dream come true!



I love Finn eyeballing the popcorn….



Fist pump of excitement?

Both kids did pretty well. There was only one other mom and son in the whole theater, so when Mia had to stand up and walk a little of her wiggles off, it was fine.  Otherwise, she sat through most of it.  Finn likes puppets and songs, so he was also engrossed for much of it. We had to get up and walk with him a few times, but really a lot better than I expected.


 We sat by the fire and had s’mores:

Mark added this one to our list and I thought he meant the fireplace.


Ha. He had already found a great deal on a fire pit and had bought it for our Christmas gift.



 This is not a great picture of me, but I like Mia’s wide eyes (and mouth) and the fact that as I’m enjoying mine, I’m keeping my eye on her hot melty marshmallow to see where it ends up.  Can you ever turn the Mom thing off?

We waited until Finn was in bed to break out the fire…shh, don’t tell him.

We got in our jammies, made hot chocolate to go, and went and looked at the lights:


 Again, no pictures of Finn. He was there, in his car seat, but he was out before we left the neighborhood, I think.

We made gingerbread houses (or as Mia likes to call them – gingybell houses):



We had a happy birthday party for Jesus:






And not on the list, MORE FUN – wrestling, decorating, opening gifts, and just hanging out as a family… (here is a random assortment of pictures to round things up):


These kids love nothing more than wrestling.


If Finn sees anyone on the floor, he thinks it’s wrestle time.  You’ve been warned.


Totally random picture, but he just looks so different.  More and more like Mark everyday?


Decorating the tree.


Finn, supervising.  I went and bought all non-breakable, non-ball ornaments. Because if it’s round, it’s meant to be tossed.


More huge cart fun.


Climbing is way more fun than stockings. If you’re 1 and you’re Finn.


 Best.stocking.stuffer.ever. Finn played with those for so long and we took them in the car and he was so happy when he was playing with them.



 These last two pictures…are they siblings or what?



Helping each other open gifts.