Thursday, January 5, 2017

T&L Christmas Party

Dec. 5
Jared's work (Tate & Lyle) has a children's Christmas party at the children's museum every year.  And we usually try to go because the kids have a great time!  This year was no different!  We had pizza and cookies, got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus and played in the museum!
Atley spent a lot of time grocery shopping
Ethan spent a lot of time making this design on the light board
And Nora was everywhere!
Chatting with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Margo's Baby Dedication

Dec. 4
My sister, Abby, invited us to come to their church for the dedication service for Margo.  And I was happy that we were able to go.  The church service was nice and it was so special to witness Abby and Alex's public dedication that they will raise Margo to know Jesus.  I love being an aunt to sweet Margo and can't wait to watch her grow and see what her future holds.
Margo and 1 other little boy were dedicated
Margo and all her cousins that were present!
And Margo is done!  Too much crazy on that couch for her!
I can't wait to see the relationship between Margo and Altey grow!  We are going to make them be best friends ;)!

Christmas Tree Decorating

Dec. 3
Once again, we picked out our tree from the Boy Scouts and brought it in to decorate.  The kids love to help decorate the tree and I love that it's a fun family tradition we have!  It's such a special time to me as I remember years of getting excited to decorate my family's tree growing up.  Some people have department store worthy decorated trees (and they are amazing!) but I love the mismatched, special memory, handmade ornaments that fill up our tree!
My 4 favorites in one picture :)!
Atley enjoyed helping this year instead of napping like last year
This is one of my favorite Christmas pictures ever!  I love how they are all doing their own thing around the tree.
Reaching up high!
Nora is such a happy helper!
Atley's first time to put the star on top.
The entryway table and Christmas sign I made
I forgot to take an after picture of the tree and I forgot to take pictures of all my decorations around the house.  But I loved how it all turned out this year!  Christmas is my favorite time to decorate.  And now that we're past New Years, all the Christmas decor has been taken down and put away until next year.  *Sigh*

Christmas Parade

Dec. 3
The Mt. Zion Christmas parade was held at the beginning of December.  Ethan's Cub Scout pack walked in the parade, so we bundled up and went out for the festivities.  It was short and sweet with donuts and hot chocolate afterwards at the fire station.  Including pictures with Santa! I just love our small town!
Atley was excited that the parade was starting!
These girls were ready to collect some candy!
Ethan- throwing out the candy!
Nora with Santa coming in the background!
Neighborhood girls enjoying some hot chocolate and donuts 
Ethan and Zach after a couple donuts :)
Picture with Santa- Atley wasn't sure she wanted to go up there without me!

Sunday, January 1, 2017


We enjoyed 2 wonderful Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving and lots of fun family time!
We spent lunch with Jared's family and a huge spread.  And dinner was at my parent's house.  Yummy!
Ethan was ready to eat!
Atley enjoyed her meal too
Nora enjoyed dessert ;)

Since several cousins were in town, we took all the kids to see Trolls!
Popcorn and Drinks
Lots of game playing at Pop and Grandma Terri's.
Battleship for Daddy and Ethan
Don't Wake Daddy with Pop
This is how Pop found Atley after her nap 🙈!
Jim and Abby stole my phone!  Aren't they cute?!

Nora loves her Uncle Jim!

San Diego

*Long post ahead*
Nov. 16-19
Sometime in October, I was chatting with my mom and she said that she and my dad were flying out to San Diego to meet up with my brother and his family (they live about 3 hours from San Diego).  I sweet talked her into letting Ethan and I tag along!  It was last minute and a ton of fun!
We flew from St. Louis to San Diego on Wednesday (Nov. 16).
Doing all his homework on the way there :)
Mountain view from the air
On the way off the plane, the pilot invited Ethan into the cockpit to help him out with some post landing stuff.  He told Ethan which buttons to push at what time.  It was pretty cool!
Ethan in the cockpit
After getting our luggage, and rental car, we were off to meet up with Jim and family.  It took a while to get our lodging figured out.  After getting into our rooms we headed to dinner and then bed.

On Thursday (Nov. 17) we were planning to go to Sea World, but it didn't open until 10am, so we decided to fit something in beforehand!  I had been researching and wanting to see the La Jolla sea lions/seals (I'm not exactly sure the difference or what we saw), so off we went!  We found a beach/boardwalk first and looked around a bit and then made our way to the "Children's Pool" to see the seals.
Checking out the pacific ocean
Paige, Ethan and Josiah found a cool tree
Jumping from the cool tree
View of the "Children's Pool" from above
Ethan and a seal
We could have walked up and touched them! (But the signs ask you not to)
Waves crashing over the sea wall, startling the sunbathing seals :)
Ethan and I- having a great time!
Grandma Terri too!
The whole group
Enjoy a video of the scenery!

Ethan and Josiah had so much fun trying not to get wet...or maybe they were really trying to get wet, who know?!  I didn't get much on the video, but you get the idea ;)!

After we had spent a decent amount of time watching the seals, we headed to Sea World!

We were the only 3 brave enough to sit in the "Soak Zone" for the Shamu show! (and we didn't get a drop!)
So neat!
Josiah and Ethan- right next to the tank and a whale
We got a special- behind the scenes- opportunity!  We were able to go on top of a sting ray tank and feed them.   I was thankful that no one fell in!
Ethan and the ray food 🐠
Petting a dolphin
Riding the rides, was by far Ethan's favorite part of Sea World!  Especially "The Manta"!
We were so fortunate that the park was pretty slow the day we went.  There were no lines for anything!  I think we rode this ride 6 or 7 times!  And some were back to back without getting off!
Loved his first real rollercoaster
We had to buy this one of the boys on the ride!
Leaving the park with Ethan's killer whale stuffed animal he picked out!
We basically closed the park down!  What a fun, exhausting day!  That night I had Ethan and Josiah in my room, and they were out as soon as the lights went out!

On Nov. 18 (Friday), we went to see the USS Midway, a retired Naval Aircraft Carrier.  It was really really cool, and might have been Ethan's favorite part of our trip!
Walking up to the ship
Ethan and Josiah as the "Boss" and "Mini Boss"
View out of the "tower" windows (where the Air Boss and Mini Boss work)
Steering the ship
Waiting on the flight deck
Flipping all the switches and pushing all the buttons :)
Ethan being a "shooter" on the flight deck
Just hanging out in a jet engine, no big deal!
Ethan and Josiah earned their wings while onboard the USS Midway 
After we had spent the morning on the aircraft carrier, we grabbed a delicious sea food lunch.  Then headed to Mission Beach.  We didn't plan to swim or get wet, so we didn't bring suits/towels.  Turns out...we should have!  The kids had a blast running into the water and back on to the sand.  They were soaked (and cold) by the time we were ready to leave.  
He was having a blast :)
Ethan and Josiah with the pacific ocean and a pacific sunset!
I LOVE this picture
San Diego beach selfie with mama
Saturday, Nov. 19, was the day we had to fly home.  We said goodbye to Jim and family as they drove home.  Our flight wasn't until the afternoon, so we had the morning to do a little more sightseeing.  When we went to the Midway, we drove past some other ships (all sorts: sailboats, submarines, fishing vessels, etc.) and decided we would check those out.  
The deck of the first boat we walked through.  You can see a submarine and a couple other ships in the background that we went on also. 
This is inside a Russian submarine (the black one in the pic above).  I found this one very interesting as we crawled through to each part!
Pop and Ethan in a control room on the sub
At the bow of the ship with San Diego in the background 
 We had an amazing time and can't thank my parents enough for letting us come along!  It was so special to have some one on one time with my biggest.  It's a trip we will both remember for a long time :).