Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Bliss

Family was here. LOTS of family. And we ate. And ate. And ate some more. The boys built a snow fort. The girls stayed cozy and warm inside and played with the babies. We played games, watched movies, went to church, and just spent quality time together. I could not have asked for more.

Santa did end up visiting even though I already had everything I could have possibly asked for. As I get older the more I realize that God has blessed me abundantly with an incredible family. And then on top of that I married a man who loves me and encourages me to be a better me. And he has a pretty incredible family, too. This Christmas there was an overflow of love and my heart is beyond full. My only hope is that you felt it, too, however you spent your holiday. And just remember to thank God from who all blessings truly do flow.

And since pictures say it better than I could ever put into words, here is just a glimpse of the past week. It truly was perfect.

I hope you had a merry Christmas, and just in case I'm too "busy" avoiding technology and spending time with those I love instead of posting, have a safe and happy new year. Blessings and holiday cheer to you all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Daze

On Sunday the weatherman was calling for a blizzard. We weren't necessarily going to get a lot of accumulation, but we had winds of 40mph+, below freezing temperatures, and blowing snow. After much debate that morning, calling other pastors, and hearing that a friend of ours got blown into a ditch out driving that morning, Josh made the decision to cancel services. When I turned on the news it looked as if almost every other church had decided to do the same thing.

So with an entire day of nothing to do ahead of us (which never happens), we watched movies, snuggled on the couch, and just enjoyed our time together as a family. But somewhere in the middle of the day we had the brilliant idea to cut Jake's hair. It had started creeping past his ears and down the back of his neck and there were a few pieces at the crown of his head that could be brushed forward almost to the front! I think they were his last two strands of original hair that I couldn't bear to trim the first time!

Armed with a bottle (which was advice from my sister Mindy) and the clippers, we set to work. Jake is such a wiggler, so I had to keep him distracted and Josh had to work quickly. At first glance upon finishing, we thought we had butchered his hair! From the side he looked like a friar with a weird bowl cut, but once it dried and fell naturally the look went away (thank goodness!). But with a haircut and some boredom we did have a little bit of fun at our son's expense... take a look!

In the chair at Mom and Pop's Barber Shop. I feel like if we opened one of our own, that's what it would be called... has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? We serve free drinks!

Jake's comb-over... looking just like his Great Grandaddy Bullen! (And no, he wouldn't mind me saying that... in fact, Great Mawmaw would have probably pointed it out to everyone anyway)

With it combed straight back, he's a baby version of Christopher Walken:

Yikes! Did someone stick their finger in the light socket?? This is one hair-raising do! This boy can pull off any look, can't he?

But we actually thought it was so darn cute that we left it that way for the rest of the day and took some pictures for our Christmas card (yes, I know we're behind). This is one of the out-takes so I'm allowed to post it... maybe I'll post the rest after our cards get mailed out because there are so many cute ones. Jake wasn't really having much fun, but this one makes me laugh because it looks like a totally posed fake-smile. How does my son know how to fake-smile at 9 months old? What a character! And if this is one of the out-takes I'm sure you're thinking that our Christmas card pictures much be really cute, right?? Right??? :)

We finally did get our cards ordered after I looked through all of them about eighteen times. Estimated date of delivery to our home? December 24th. Nice. I guess I should have ordered New Year's cards like my friend Kristen does every year... I should have known better considering that my nephew's birthday gift from October is sitting on our coffee table. Oh well... maybe next year. You live and you learn I guess.

I hope everyone who had snow had some fun in it! I know that next year Jake will think it's much more fun and we'll actually venture outside!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas

It seems as if I have a little catching up to do on the first 12 days of December in Mauneyland. So here is what we've been up to so far:
We searched for the perfect tree... (technically this happened in November, but I feel like it's appropriate to mention here):

Sadly we did not end up cutting down our own this year, but after searching through the fields (would it be a field of Christmas trees or something else?) we found this beauty in the barn:

We had some taller help to get her up:

And some smaller help to add the ornaments

He's a big fan of the unbreakable ones we put on the bottom for him

And although we're still partial to last year's tree, we did find another pretty one. We just realized that we're both fans of fatter trees as opposed to taller ones. This year the star actually grazes the ceiling!

Since the tree was up, we also made sure to deck the halls- inside and out
And went downtown to see Santa arrive in the
Christmas Parade

And we even had our first snow...
Just in time to celebrate Christmas with Pawpaw before he headed home
So needless to say, the Christmas spirit is certainly here in Mauneyland. It's most certainly my favorite time of year and we are enjoying the coziness of our home, lit by white lights everywhere. And there is nothing like sitting inside and seeing the snow fall outside... my love affiar with the Midwest continues. So these first 12 days of December have been perfect, and there is still so much more holiday fun to come!

And as for Jake? I haven't really done much of an update post on him lately, but he is still growing like a weed! Make this kid stop! He's been pulling himself up on everything, babbling up a storm, clapping his hands, and just making us smile everyday. Other milestones include...

Reading the menu when we go out to eat (seriously, can your kid do that???)

And dressing a bit like a snob at the country club
Luckily the bottle and the pacifier keep him from looking too grown up at these times! And in just 12 more days, we'll celebrate his very first Christmas as well as his cousin Adam's since he'll be in town. Oh how I just love December!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well it seems as if December is flying by and we have been nowhere to be found! As it turns out, we did ditch our laptops and cell phones for a few days and headed north for a retreat with all of the Crossroads' pastors and their wives. It's a rare occasion that we are all together in one place, so we just soaked it up and truly enjoyed the company. God did some amazing things to restore and refresh us all as we look forward to the new year and it was just what everyone needed.

On another note, the house that we stayed at was UN-believable! A very generous family allowed us to stay in their (very large) home and it was like stepping into the pages of Pottery Barn. And even though I meant to take more pictures of our beautiful abode, I guess I was too wrapped up in relaxing. Oh well. But I did manage to get a couple of shots of my favorite room in the house... how much would you love to be the kid who sleeps in this room???

And yes, those bunk beds are on both sides... 8 in total! I'm thinking my parents need to build this in their future retirement home when all of us kids bring our kids over for family vacations. Hint hint!
Our other favorite place in the house was the basement, complete with ping pong, pool, shuffleboard (kind of... I'm not really sure what the table version is called) and a play room full of toys that Jake certainly enjoyed. And while the boys played, I took the opportunity to have a little bit of fun with my camera!
Here's one way to look at this game...
And here's another, more fun way...
And here is where I had the most fun! We learned a group version of ping-pong where everyone circles the table and hits the ball, drops the paddle, and circles to the other side. You're constantly running around and around and everyone gets a turn. In a still frame it looks like this:
But I slowed down my shutter speeds and captured these:

Oh the things that entertain me! Anyway, that's my excuse... that's where we've been. And quite frankly, if I had my way, I'd go away like that at least once a month. Being disconnected in this ever-connected world sure is nice sometimes. And then I come home and blog about it! Ha!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday To-Do's

Well, we all know that the holidays are a big to-do, but along with that comes a growing list of actual "To Do's"! I am actually quite proud of the jump we have on ours this year... my shopping is 75% done, the gifts that I have already purchased are wrapped, the tree is up, the outside lights are lit, and the house is decked out with holiday cheer! Aside from a couple of presents to buy, packages to mail, cookies to bake, and a lot of raking (uh, we skipped that whole annoying part of autumn), the only thing left to do is Christmas Cards! And lucky for me I learned that Shutterfly is going to help us out with them by doing a special for bloggers! I have used the site before to order prints, calendars, and other photo gifts, but their Christmas card collection is uber-cute. I'm pretty indecisive so by the time I narrow it down to a favorite it might be New Years! But here are a few of my favorites:

I could put the many faces of little Jake on this one:

Or a cute family photo on this one:
I love how classic the black and white cards look:

And I love that this one ties in the true meaning of the season:

There are all kinds to choose from, some of them have pictures on the inside and out, and all of them are customized to your liking. Check out the entire collection here! As soon as we get our Christmas picture taken (another thing on that holiday to-do list) you better believe I will be placing my order! And to all of you bloggers, make sure you check out this awesome promotion, so that you can jump in on the fun, too! It's like an early Christmas gift to yourself!

Of all the "To-Do" lists that I have in my life, the holiday edition is definitely the most fun to complete!