Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter Break

The college that David teaches at takes a very long break each Winter. This year, Dave was off from the week before Christmas until last Thursday.
I know.
In the past I've usually planned a fun trip for us, but we just hung around close to home this year, for several reasons. One being we didn't really feel like a trip was in the budget this close to Christmas, two, Dave had a minor surgery over the break that required lots of rest, and three, well, we're just homebodies =).
 
So we've spent lots of time, cuddled up under our new cozy blankets from Christmas, watching movies together...
 
It was really, really lovely.
 

Our kids just love it when we're all home together, and I notice how settled they become at home when we have days and days of it in a row.
They do things like choose to sit in the hallway and read Christmas books quietly, and are perfectly content to do this for a long while, just pleased to know we're around =)

 
 
Luke adores his Daddy, and getting to have him around so much had such a fun affect on Luke...one afternoon he even declared he wanted to cut his hair "just like Daddy's hair!"
We were shocked.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating; Luke is a super easy-going kid. Don't get me wrong, he can be incredibly passionate about many things, it's just that he rarely puts his foot down. Which is why when he was insistent that he wanted his hair long, we didn't fight it.  It's his head. The only rules were that he couldn't fuss when we had to brush it, and every once in awhile he had to let us pull it back so we could see his eyes =).
And he was thrilled.
So it seemed out of the blue when he insisted he wanted it shaved.
I was at work when he announced this and asked Dave to shave it. Dave (wisely) told him he needed to wait 24 hours, and if he still wanted it cut then, we'd do it.
Next afternoon, he was still sure.
Lo and behold...look at my baby boy!!

Not gonna lie, I didn't exactly love where his hair was at, and was thrilled when he wanted it shaved!! It was super adorable as it was growing out, but he'd reached this awkward helmet-mullet stage and it was always in his eyes and I just missed seeing his sweet little face!!!!! But I loved giving  him the freedom to make the choice about his hair, and I loved how happy his long hair made him.
But now I super love seeing his whole face again =).
 

This break is also the happiest I've ever been to have twins.
Sure, they argue and fight and don't share and hurt feelings and drive us and each other crazy need to be separated, but they are also best buds. They have a built in playmate to adventure and imagine with at all times, who is the exact same age. Pretty cool. 
(in the fort we made with the supplies Auntie Mem gave us for Christmas!)
 
 


(can you spot Luke's little face peeking out from under the kangaroo??)


We've loved ringing in 2015 with such an easy pace to our days, and we do not take for granted what a gift it is. Stephanie once wrote "We treat time as our most precious resource (because it is)..." and I completely agree.
We even spent some time on New Years Day reviewing family movies we'd taken throughout all of 2014. It was fun to see which things Abbey and Luke remembered from earlier in the year. 

I found these 2014 Year End Reviews on Pinterest. 
(sense a theme?? =) )
(oh and never fear, David already corrected my "Hans" error..."it's HAN, not HANS!" Noted.)
 

(I am in love with the way she currently makes her lower case "g" =) )
 
 
The kids and I did several cooking and baking projects over the last month, which is one of Abbey's Love Languages =).


 And if I had a dollar for every time this break that they made "Lovie Pile" (all their pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals in a big pile to then be climbed on top of) I'd have a zillion and two dollars by now...
 
I picked up several extra shifts throughout the break to make some extra money, and it is always so good for the kids and David to have all that time together, and David did tons of cooking for us, which I am a huge fan of =). I actually do enjoy cooking, but I'd been in a recipe rut and welcomed the break, and he loves the time and opportunity to be creative.
It's win-win folks.
 
 We also went on fun little outings around town together, like self-serve Frozen Yogurt...
 
 
 David was off work again today and the twins didn't have preschool (MLK day) and I don't go into work until 5pm, so we've been incredibly blessed to have another Home Day Together on a weekday. David got up with the kids and I slept until well after 10am (totally my Love Language) on a Monday! I work Saturdays and we have Church on Sundays, so I always treasure a day where we all get to just wake up slowly (well, as slowly as two preschoolers can ever wake up...) and hang out at home. Most of the time, we try to get our kids out of the house often, both to burn off energy and also to have changes of environment (fends off boredom), but I really feel it's also a discipline and a learned skill to be able to entertain yourselves at home.


(I love how he has his tongue out while concentrating. Classic Luke =) )
 
This morning they made a "bakery" for Dave and I to shop at and purchase goodies...


Loving my little family a lot today =).
 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Grandma Brown

In the week between Christmas and New Years, my grandmother passed away.
Grandma Brown - Verna - was my Dad's mom.
During my childhood and early adult years, she and my Grandpa lived about 4 hours away, and so we visited them a few times a year.
I have such fond memories of the way my Grandma would make those trips special...the tiny, fun, tasty cereal boxes she'd always get for us top the list for sure.

I was blessed enough to get to spend some time with her in the hospital the night before she passed.
There was my grandmother, literally on her death bed, smiling. And laughing, when she could. And even making the occasional joke!

As I left that evening, I told her what I believe to be true about her life...she was leaving behind a legacy of Love.
She and my grandfather were married throughout his being deployed, serving in the war, raising three children, and until death did them part in 2004.
What a committed couple.
And they had three amazing, loving children, who have all grown into wonderful adults...two of them now grandparents themselves.
 
 Here are some pictures of my Grandma Brown, meeting my babies for the first time...(June of 2010)...


 
One of the main reasons I've kept this blog going was because of her faithful reading and appreciation.
When we went to visit her a few year back at her retirement home, she dutifully took us down to the lobby to show us the communal computer, and showed us how she'd had my Dad put all our blogs (my sisters and I have all kept blogs at one point or another) in the "favorites" tab so she could easily locate them.
Before it became too challenging for her to write letters, she used to read my blog and then send me letters with her comments to my posts.
I will always treasure her love and dedication to my little family.
I will miss her here to be sure, but I'm grateful she believed in Jesus, and I will see her again someday.
 
 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2014

We had such a fun holiday season this year, and I don't want it to get even a day further into the New Year without blogging about our Christmas =)
 
Christmas Eve David and I were both off work and blessed to have a family day at home together. We decided pretty early that morning that it might be a fun day to open the small, rectangular package under the tree for "The Whole Family."

Which was a How To Train Your Dragon game for the PlayStation!
A few months back, David ordered the kids a Toy Story game for the PlayStation, and showed them how to play it. They LOVED it and have had so much fun playing it. While Christmas shopping on Amazon, this game popped up on my feed and after a quick read of the reviews, Dave and I decided to order it. It's been a fun game for all of us to play together!

We all took turns, and it came as a surprise to no one that I am by far the worst player in the family. The kids got a kick outta watching Momma attempt to fly a dragon.

We hung out around the house all day, and that evening headed to our Church for a Christmas Eve Service, then back home to host some friends for dinner.

Luke assisting with the mashing of the potatoes...



 Aunt Mem spent a good chunk of the day with us, much to our delight =)
 
 
 
The kids all hopped up on Christmas Crazy after dinner on Christmas eve...






After our friends left that evening, Luke and Abbey each selected one present to open. They both chose the present the other had purchased for them...so sweet =).
 


They both picked out perfect gifts for the other. Abbey received a Toothless toy and Toothless lovie, and Luke got a Yoda, Luke SkyWalker, C3PO, and R2D2 toy from Abbey. They were thrilled. We have it on video, and it's just priceless listening to Abbey's voice get higher and higher as she becomes more and more excited.
And they both say "oh thank you!" to each other and hug so sweetly.
And I hold back the weeping.

 
We let them stay up late Christmas Eve, so that they could have some time playing with their newly opened toys. They were giddy with Christmas excitement...it was adorable!
 
 
We got them to bed, and set out their filled stockings and some gifts I'd kept hidden in my closet...




...had a glass of wine, and went to bed ourselves. 
For a bit.
For some reason (excitement? anticipation? nerves? too much wine? no idea.) I was wide awake around 4:30am, and could not go back to sleep. Around 5:30am, I quit fighting it, got up, started the coffee, and watched Christmas episodes of my favorite sitcoms on Netflix.
 Because if you're going to be up hours before your children on Christmas Morning, you're going to need coffee and Christmas merriment.
 
 The kids were so so so so so excited when they came out and saw new presents!!




Luke gets his LightSaber!

Our Little Jedi =)

The kids and I got David this book.
One of my favorite books to read to my babies is this one,  and I'd been looking for something similar for Daddies. This one was a hit!


At the very top of our Abigail's Christmas Wish List was a Viking helmet and axe, accessories from How To Train Your Dragon...her favorite movie, if you hadn't already sensed a theme here...
 
Love her.

Luke and his new Tie Fighter and Darth Vader (you may sense a theme to his gifts this year as well =) )



Dave was a total trooper being in charge of putting everything together...

And the kids just played and played and played...
 

...and David put toys together...
 
 
 
Sweet Dory seemed pleased with the bones she found in her stocking...=)
 
 
It was a great morning. The kids were so grateful for everything and kept saying "Thank you so much!" about anything and everything. We're definitely in that sweet spot at 4.5 years, where their expectations are low and their anticipation is high =).


They really seemed to love everything they opened this year, which made it even more fun. Favorites are the Toothless toy for Abbey (in hand, above) and the LightSaber for Luke...
 

He let Daddy try it out in battle...


Abbey getting Hiccup ready to ride Toothless around the house...
 
 I was so blessed to sit and watch all the excitement happening in my living room. This was the 5th Christmas we've been a family of four...our 11th as a married couple. God has been so faithful to us...shown us such favor. This Christmas, I'm grateful for so much...especially these three people...my Family.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas through the years

 2010
(9 months old)
 
 
2011
(21 months old)


2012
(2 and 1/2 years)
(I see the biggest jump between 2011 and 2012...they really grew up a lot that year!)


2013
(3 and 1/2 years)
(this tends to be what I think of when I think about how old they currently are...I wonder how long they'll be stuck in my mind as this age...=) )
 
 
2014
(4 and 1/2 years)
(...because THIS is what they currently look like!! Can you even believe it?! Me neither...)
 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zoo Lights!

One of my very favorite parts of the Christmas Season is Zoo Lights! I just love how bright and colorful everything is...it feels magical =).
It's a pretty popular attraction in our city, and it tends to be super crowded. Also, our zoo is up on a hill, so it tends to be windy. And cold.
So this year we were prepared on all fronts!
We picked a weekday where neither David or I had to work, and we left the house before 4pm to head to the zoo.
Dave made us some yummy hot chocolate for the drive...
(join me in pretending not to notice how trashed my van is, won't you?)

We got there while it was still light out, which afforded us a glimpse at some outdoor animals...



ZOO LIGHTS!!!






We saw a few more animals as we made our way to the train. I think I was more excited than the kids were! I LOVE the train ride around the zoo!












After the train ride, we wandered all around the zoo, taking in the pretty sights...


David was in charge of the bundling up this year, and he did a fantastic job. We didn't hear a single "I'm cold!!" all evening long, which is no small feat =). In fact, at one point Abbey asked if she could take her hat off because she was a little sweaty! Ha!  You may remember a few years back, everyone was freezing and cranky. Even the kids.









The kids were thrilled to see the baby elephant Lily was up!




Love my silly boys...