Friday, December 31, 2010

the best of 2010

Here's to a great year!  On the very last day of 2010, I wanted to share with you some of this year's highlights for our family.  While 2010 will definitely be remembered as the year of the weddings, there were lots of other great things about the year, too.  Here are some of our favorite memories and my favorite picture (0r two) from each month.

We celebrated the 2nd Birthday of our CCL with a family donut celebration and then a construction party with friends.  What a treasure this boy is!  We also caught our first glimpses of Lou's true personality, mourned the loss of my Grandmother, and tried to give our children some world-perspective as we grieved over the losses in Haiti.

We experienced record snowfall.  Our kids were afraid of it.  RRL and I "dated" in it.  We also made and delivered Valentines to some of favorite "loves".

RRL celebrated his birthday with Dr Pepper candies we made, we hosted the first (hopefully annual) DST picnic, and we had a quick visit with some of our favorite mentors from Abilene.

An extra busy month filled with Lou's baby blessing, multiple Easter celebrations, one of my favorite MMM activites: the obstacle course, a bluebonnet-viewing-trip to Ennis, and springtime fun at the park with friends

KJ turned four and we celebrated super-hero style, he had his last day of preschool for the year, we kicked off our "year of weddings" with two in one weekend (one of which took KJ and I on a trip to SLC, UT) and we celebrated mother's day.



We had lots of fun over the fourth of July weekend, we fed the turtles one morning before school/work, and we continued our tradition of celebrating "Cow Appreciation Day"

We said good-bye to some of our favorite people as our senior class graduated and went to college, I started running again and the whole family joined me on the weekends, RRL and I took the boys to their first movie on the big screen (TS3), the boys had meet the teacher, and I took pictures of princess Lou for our Alma mater.

My camera was broken an apparently so was my memory storage...all I can remember is that the boys started school together and RRL and I enjoyed a weekend away in Branson, MO.

I documented that there were three reasons why I didn't have more September memories, we went on a family-fun-field trip with KJ's class, amazing pumpkin patch pictures were taken AGAIN by the Schrimsher/Spillman team, dressed up for Halloween, went to Houston to visit our college roomies and their three children- where RRL and I ran a 1/2 marathon together for the first time.  I had an awesome Batman Birthday (and then an adult celebration later with some of my favorite friends)!

One of my favorite months!  I lost Cbug at the grocery store (not a favorite part), we spent the night on the farm (definitely a highlight), ran in the Turkey Trot- despite the cold & rain, KJ's friend "Kribagayle" first "appeared" at our house, were surprisingly blessed by our first Thanksgiving away from family, we learned so much about generous living through The Hills Greater Things campaign, had some miracle family pictures taken by RRL's cousin (Eden Hayes Photography) and counted our blessings (on leaves) all month long.

We learned that it would be better for girls to be Shepherds, the kids enjoyed their FOURTH wedding appearance where Cbug danced his heart out, we visited Christmas Village at Busch Gardens, we celebrated the second annual Thanksmas, had THREE awesome Christmas celebrations (Nashville, our house, and Denton), RRL and I celebrated NINE YEARS of marriage, and I spent way too much time getting caught up on this blog!

WOWZERS, what a year!  It definitely had its ups and downs, but overall 2010 was one of my very favorite years so far.  I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store.  May the Lord bless you and keep you and yours in this New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Part II: Tender Tennessee Christmas

While I do love to be in our little home for Christmas Eve/Day, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without at least some time in Nashville.

So even though the miles are long
(and it sometimes takes 3 babydolls, a purse full of fun, and a cell phone to keep us happy on the trip)...

It is totally worth when you know hugs like this are waiting...

...and you know you'll get to make memories like helping Nonna cook and helping Papa Jim put out all of the trains.


There will be museums to visit and tea parties to attend.

We'll enjoy celebrating with extended family, continuing years of tradition with a holiday meal at Mrs Bobo's boarding house.

No doubt, when Grandparents and Aunts & Uncles are involved there are sure to be PRESENTS you'll love.


And even when there isn't snow and even if it has to happen BEFORE Christmas, a tender Tennessee Christmas is sure to be so much fun you'll want to box it all up and take it home with you!


Christmas Part I: Christmas Village

We started our Christmas celebrations off in an incredible way!  While we were in VA for my cousin's wedding (#4 for the year for our kids to participate in) we got to go to Christmas Village at Busch Gardens.  It was SO very cold, but it was a Christmas wonderland and we all loved being with our family and watching our kids eyes dance in the lights of Christmas.

First, we saw the Sesame Street Christmas show.  A certain baby-sister was so excited she could hardly STAND IT.  And stand she did...through the entire performance.  ELMO, I SEE ELMO!!!!!  She loves him and it cracks me up.  Well, she loved him at a distance.  As soon as we went to meet him after the show, she wanted NONE. OF. IT.  Luckily we were the only ones left to meet the characters for the evening so she got to play a nice safe game of peek-a-boo with Elmo and Abby from a safe distance, loving every minute. 

And the boys enjoyed the park, too, because there were penguins and a train to ride (KJ loves penguins, and Cbug loves trains)

And on top of all of that there were other characters, too. 
Some that were cute and silly... 

       Some that were downright CREEPY...

And some that seem to make all your Christmas dreams come true!

But the best part about starting our Christmas off this way, was just being together!


 Hope your season was filled with the joys of celebrating with family, too!

2010: 4 Weddings and a Funeral

Of course there were lots of memories from 2010.  I'll post some of the year's best pictures soon- pictures of roadtrips, of family fun, of crazy kids, of birthday parties, and of adventures.  But if I was going to say how I will mostly remember 2010:  This was the year we lost my last remaining Grandparent and this was the year of weddings. 

We started the year with Grandmomma's death, she passed away in January.  She had a severe stroke 3-years earlier so while we mourned the fact that she would no longer be here with us, we all felt like we lost her, the real her, long ago.  In January, we reallly celebrated that she was finally healed, that she was finally where she wanted  most to be- HOME.  We enjoyed our time with family, pouring over pictures and recalling memories.  It was bittersweet, of course, but I'll mostly remember the sweet.

The first two weddings that we participated in this year happened to fall on the same weekend.  One in our hometown- one in SLC, Utah.  Some might call it crazy, but when your children are asked to participate in the weddings of a sweet cousin and a dear friend- well, you make it work.  So KJ and I flew out for wedding #1.  The beautiful SLC wedding of my oldest cousin on mom's side.  Britt was a gorgeous bride, an amazing party planner and was a gracious hostess even amidst the craziness of her own wedding weekend.  She had asked KJ to be in the wedding and it was his debut as a ring-bearer.  He was PUMPED about wearing a tux, being with Dave and Britt and walking down the aisle... pumped at least until it was actually time.  He stood at the end of the aisle then was having NONE OF IT.  So, I ended up walking down the aisle with him.  AWESOME.  Still, though, he was quite the handsome ringbearer!  Sadly, I broke my camera on this trip, so I only have a couple of pictures.  You'll have to take my word for it- gorgeous wedding and bride!

Then we zoomed back in the knick-of-time (literally straight from airport to church, small tuxedo having been "spot-cleaned" in the hotel sink) for wedding #2.  This was an especially cool wedding for us because the bride graduated from our youth group and is so dear to our family as babysitter and friend.  The groom is from a family that we have loved for years, his aunt and uncle are some of our very best friends from growing-up.  So it was so cool to see the two come together.  They were so sweet to also include KJ as ringbearer.  After a little bribing to get down the aisle, he apparently lost all stage fright and quite entertained us all.  I was actually quite horrified at some of his antics, but this wedding was HUGE and I was at the very back, so there was nothing that could be done but watch.   The video below is a small glimpse of his "fun" game of throwing the pillow with the groom's parents and then completely laying on it on the floor.  AWESOME. 

Another favorite memory from this wedding was that KJ had the actual ring in his pocket.  He took this responsibility very seriously.  The plan was for him to wait until the minister asked for the rings and then hand them to the groom.  Instead, he went down the aisle, walked straight up to the groom and said Here Ya Go.  I must say, I was a little relieved that the rings were in "safe hands" so quickly.

Cbug was also in the wedding as a bellringer- announcing the debut of Mr and Mrs P for the first time.  He was supposed to walk with a group of children down the aisle past the bride and groom and then back up the center aisle, leading the way.  But when he got the bride and groom, both of whom he adores, he paused to wait for them.  So I love that he is in many of their "leaving the church" pictures, leading them out.  Precious boy.

All of the 2010 weddings were so special to us.  But I'm sure no one would fault me for saying that the day my brother was married to a woman I am so thankful to now call sister, was my very favorite.  My favorite day of the whole year, probably.  The wedding was wonderful, it was such a privaledge to stand beside them as they were united, and I am so excited to see what the Lord does in their lives as they begin this journey together. 

RRL and I were in the wedding party.  And KJ and Cbug were both ringbearers this time.  They  felt so big walking down the aisle in their shirts that matched the groomsmen.  M & S were so thoughtful about how they included the boys.  KJ marched down the aisle like a pro (this was his third ring-bearer-appearance afterall), but Cbug was a big more cautious.  He walked VERY SLOWLY, zig-zagging down the aisle to be sure he didn't step on any of the flowers that the flower-girl had already deposited.  They were both super handsome, and were fast asleep with Nonna and Papa Jim, long before the ceremony was over.  The picture of KJ below with M & S is just a small glimpse into why we are so thankful to call my brother's new bride "Aunt S".  She is so tender and attentive to our kids, even on her own wedding day.

KJ figured out that when people chimed their glasses, Uncle M and Aunt S would kiss.  He was all-over-this.  In the picture below, he climbed up into M's lap to kick-off the kissin' one more time!

The weekend was made all the much sweeter because my youngest brother left just hours after the festivities for his pre-deployment training. It would be the last time we would see him for about 9 months. It was great to be together as a family. The Lord's timing on Lt D's deployment could not have been sweeter.


A perfect way to end our year of weddings- a beautiful Virgina wedding at the beginning of the Christmas season.  My cousin Katie was also a gorgeous bride and her fun-loving personality made it a joy to spend the weekend celebrating with her.  She was EXTRA brave and asked all three of our crazies to be in her wedding party.  The boys were seasoned pros by now and walked down the aisle without a problem.  There was only one pillow for them to carry, a problem they solved by both walking side-ways down the aisle so all four of their little hands could work together to carry it.  They were too cute, marched up the stairs and handed the whole pillow (complete with fake rings) to the groom.  No one dared tell them that the groom didn't actually need the fake rings to give to his bride! 

Little Lou on the other hand wasn't too sure.  She insisted on carrying her large fisher-price purple purse with her down the aisle and stopped at each individual pew to glare at those sitting upon it, as if to say "Don't know you, don't know you, where is someone I know...." until she finally found her Nonna.

The kids had a blast at the reception after this wedding, and Cbug especially tore it up on the dancefloor.  If you didn't see the video in my earlier post, you should check it out.

What  fun year- thanks to all four brides (and grooms) for including us in your special days.  We are so happy for each of you and pray blessings on many years to come of marriages built on a firm foundation in Christ.  Love you all!!