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Thursday, December 19, 2013

T'is the Season to Be...

Merry, right?  Well, I was curious about the definition of 'merry' because I wasn't really sure if that is what I've been feeling this Christmas season.

I'll admit, I've been going back and forth between merry-making and stress, wondering what we should spend, if we should spend... when reading this definition reminded me that Christmas is a time that should be "characterized by festivity and rejoicing..." but rejoicing in what?

Jesus came to this earth as a brand new baby boy, born in a humble stable, and kept hidden from the evil king Herod.  But His purpose didn't stop in the manger, as many of the songs might have us believe.  His life on this earth culminated at His death on a cross, and His resurrection to the right hand of the Father - SO THAT we, so that I, would be reconciled to God.

That is truly the only gift I need in this life, let alone during the Christmas season.

And it's offered to everyone.  God's true gift of grace is offered in His Son, and when I accepted Jesus' offer of salvation, I received the amazing gift of God's love and friendship.

*  *  *  *  *

This year, the holiday season has certainly been different.  And for me, as I'm sure it is for most, different can be... difficult.  Change is never easy, even when lovely people are involved in the process.  But there is so much to be thankful for, and that is what I would like to share in this post.

We got to cut down our own tree at the Fourakre Christmas Tree Farm right here in Hampton!  It was nice to support a local business, and Miles had a blast that day!  He loved running all around the Christmas tree forest - even though it was humid as all get out... you'll see his sweaty boy head in one of the pictures.

"Oh!  Da tree is crazy!"

mad face
... just for fun

And he's off!
Miles is that tiny blue blur in the distance

"Wow, he strong!"

I love being my boys' Momma!

"What are we doing here?"

"Oh, being adorable?  Check."

My two JBs

"Garfield, look over there."

The boys & Dada

Super sweaty boy

We'll take this one!

It's a cypress tree!

"You want to help me?  Okay, grab it buddy."

Hauling the tree to the front

We're home!

That Sunday, we met up with the fam at the Lenox Mall to ride the Pink Pig and visit with Santa.

In line for the Pink Pig
in Atlanta at Macy's

"What is this place?"

Sweet Olivia

Miles & Uncle Spencer

Jasper waking to this pink madness

Woo hoo!

I love pink...
... but this is pretty crazy


Miles getting ready to see the big man

"Um, Legos and cannee."

Minion-Santa hat

We got to partake in lots of fun Christmas activities:

Miles loves the snow globe Nativity

helping decorate at Ammy & Grandpa Dave's

"Uncle Scotty, who dat?"

Wearing Grandpa Dave's flip flops with socks

smooches at home

Our tree!

Four of my fave ornaments:
1. Peacock Sam & I picked out for our brunch table
2-4. Gifts from JB

Gingerbread houses
... and a hand trying to destroy & eat them

"Mista Gwinch!"

Happy four month old Jubs!

I do have SO much to be thankful for.  Writing this really did help, and I pray that you and yours remember what this season is about.  Whether you are giving a lot of presents or a few, whether they are hand made or store bought, God have His only Son...

Freely I have received such amazing love, freely I should give.  May your days be merry and bright!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Updates

Miles' Current Events:

  • Watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory again - returning to his first love!
    • It's actually really fun to go through this phase a second time because this boy loves candy. Also, he sings along with the songs, which is adorable. 
  • His sentences are becoming more complex and he is able to express himself really well:
    • "Momma, you like to go in da  woods with me?"
    • "Oh no, that's slippery! The floor is too slippery!" (Wearing his socks on the wood floor)
    • "Oh, look, the doggies are eatin' the noodles pasta!" (Lady and the Tramp is back in the rotation as well)
  • It being December now, we showed Miles The Nightmare Before Christmas, and he is so into it, even though it scares him.  (I think it all started with the song "This is Halloween" because it's his favorite from Just Dance 3)
  • He also enjoys watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and he makes me sing the Who song, even though I make up the words
  • He seriously makes me laugh all the time
    • F'rinstance:  At Cracker Barrel the other night, he kept calling Dan 'Daniel,' which is his name, but we don't call him that!
  • He loves to play - even if he has to make his own hands talk to each other, he will
  • Songs I hear him singing:
    • "Jesus Loves Me"
    • "Thumbkin"
    • "Royals" - Lorde
    • "Roar" - Katy Perry
    • "Yellow Submarine" - The Beatles
    • "Cheer Up Charlie"

 The Latest Jasper Updates:

  • He has grown out of his 3m clothes, but isn't quite big enough for 3-6m
  • He is ticklish, especially on his right ribs
  • He didn't like the bottle James tried to feed him
  • He definitely recognizes me with my glasses on
  • He is a drooly boy - it's like a waterfall (my Mom says that he gets it from me)
  • Sometimes, he will stop nursing to just look up and smile at me, sweet boy
  • He can roll from his belly to his back (both ways), and from his back to his side!!

Brown Fam Stuff:
We went to get our Christmas tree today!  There is a local tree farm that is just 2.5 miles down the road from us.  James snapped a lot of pictures, so I will post them soon.  The tree isn't decorated or anything yet, but we'll be working on that tomorrow, or Saturday, I'm sure.  I am excited to get the Christmas decorations out.

We don't have any travel plans for the holidays.  Of course, I wish we could see our family and friends in California at Christmas time. 

James has been playing lead guitar and singing with the worship band at church for the last few months, which has been great.  It gives me joy to see my hubs serving God this way.  He's just so good at it!  I'll admit, I wish I could be up there, too, but the logistics of having both of us involved would include some kind of childcare for the band practices during the week and before service, so it just gets complicated.  Maybe it'll work out someday.

I'm trying to get back into the habit of exercising regularly, but with two little ones, that is a challenge for me.  I still love doing Zumba, and would love your prayers regarding teaching again.  I'm just trying to find the balance, I suppose.

November is Over Already?

Sheesh that month flew by!  Well, it's time for me to catch up via photos.  Here we go!

Collecting Nature in our backyard

This boy loves to be held
Out on a chilly November morn

Miles and Jasper are so blessed because we got to visit with their Auntie Bethie, Uncle Clayton, and Grandpa, who drove out from Missouri to celebrate Thanksgiving with us!  When they got in, we ate dinner at Longhorn.
"Taking Pictures"

Jasper's giant eyes

"Uncle Clayton, can I have a bite?" 

Bubs and Grandpa watching 
football at the bar 

Thanksgiving Day! 

Delicious meal prepared by Salli - YUM! 


Even Jas needed a nap after that meal!

Friday, we got started with an early lunch at Antico Pizza.  It's an experience that I would love to have in my life a lot more often!  When you walk in, it seems like a tiny restaurant that doesn't have enough seating - there's a fridge for soft drinks and a small bakery window (pictured below) that shows the varieties of cannolis they have.  But then you step into the back (which we thought was just the kitchen), and it is a large room with long benches and no plates - just rolls of brown paper towels.  The pizza comes out on a huge baking sheet, and you grab a piece in a paper towel, fold, and eat!

They blast Italian opera music, and you see people working in the dough room, and then over on the other side, they're tossing pizza, and cooking them in the wood burning ovens.  Amazing!!!!!

Back in Atlanta on Black Friday 

Having fun in the back room 

Oh man, it was amazing 

Beth and a sweet, hot pepper 

Mark, don't do it!
(They weren't too bad, actually)

Jubs is drooling... that's normal.

This guy is defs up to something. 

I seriously would've been happy hanging out at Antico all day, but we headed over to the Georgia Aquarium.  We've gotten really good use out of our passes.  This is our third visit this year!  Sadly, JB and I missed the Star Spinner in the dolphin show, but it was a great day.

For dinner that night, we ate at the Atlanta Fish Market - very tasty!  Bethie & Clayton got some pictures, but I think James and I were so into eating our dinner that we forgot.

1, 2, 3, WHEE!

Grandpa and his boys 

"Um, I liiiike the dolphin." 

Merry Christmas! 

Visiting the Georgia Aquarium
River fishies 

We see penguins
(and Tobias Funke's reflection)

Jasper loves his Grandpa

"No, no, don't speak.  There aren't any words..." 


There's one right there!

"What? AHHH!!!"

Double chin dude 

No Neck Joe!

 Assisted sitting?  Check.
P.S.  It's all about PLEs now

Celebrating James the Sunday after Thanksgiving

Watching the steam... 

... from the Low Country Boil
mm, mm, mm

"You need help with that cookie, Dada?" 

"I can definitely help with that."

The cutest kids I have the pleasure to know
all attend our community group!

James, jamming on his new Schecter
(birthday present from his fam!)