Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wild Weather

We spent the weekend after Christmas in Topeka with extended family, gathering together for dinner on Friday, and staying at Grammy M's Thorton Place over the weekend. Wendy had a reunion planning meeting with high school friends on Saturday, and braved the blizzard to be there while everyone else remained snugly indoors. We also stopped by to see the Bahr family: Lorelei and Brett played while Gryffy and his new buddy, Preston, got to hang out with their mamas.
The blizzard was quickly replaced by sixty degree temperatures on Monday, in which Lorelei got to test out her hula hoop, give tricycling another go, and get out her new, pink soccer ball. Gryffy just sat with Mommy and watched.
Tonight is Mark and Wendy's six-year anniversary. Grammy and BPop are going to babysit during our date at the local movie theater, which serves dinner and drinks during the show. We're hoping to see Seven Pounds. It's amazing how much our lives have changed since our wedding day: three moves, several jobs, and two amazing kids... and still I'm grateful every day that I get to share all this with my best friend, my husband. I love you, Mark.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Today we celebrated our first Christmas all together as a family: Mark, Wendy, Lorelei, and Gryffin. Lorelei woke us up bright and early, after Gryffy had kept us awake all night long (he's cutting his two front teeth). Lorelei, almost three, is this year just beginning to understand the true meaning of Christmas, and thinks the baby Jesus is "oh, he's so cute!" We can't deny that she's thrilled with the more commercial aspects of the season as well--the lights, the toys lavished upon her by Father Christmas, and the pink Christmas tree at Wal-Mart she tried to swipe from the forest of plastic, nearly toppling the whole lot--and yet, she too seems to sense the wonder, the magic, that is Emmanuel: God with us.

This December, Mark and Wendy had everything ready early: we celebrated Christmas in October with Mark's family in Canada, our Christmas cards were mailed in November, shopping for presents was done by the time December rolled in (until Lorelei had the sudden inspiration that Santa was to bring her a rubber duckie, but the request was simple enough), and Wendy hosted the cookie exchange on 4 December. The rest of the holiday was captured in moments together:
*the lights (Longview Lake, the Plaza, Christmas Place, Christmas Card Lane)
*cherished movies (The Grinch, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Rick Steve's European Christmas)
*decorating the tree (with the kids' creations and holiday cards from friends)
*good food (much of it from Wendy's grandmother Helen's recipes, and Mark's crepes)
*good drink (Mark's chai tea parties with Lorelei, Wendy's hot chocolate, eggnog)
*music (Silent Night by candlelight at church, Gryffy in his bouncy seat while Mark played carols on piano)
*gingerbread houses (a 4-generation tradition, with Grammy M)
*and our favorite tradition, unwrapping a Christmas book each night before bed as a family.
On Christmas Eve, after dinner (stuffed red bell peppers) and church, the elves had left presents for Lorelei and Gryffy under the tree: Christmas pajamas. Christmas morning, we unwrapped presents:

Lorelei: sparkly pink hula hoop (her favorite--she carried it around all day), dollhouse (from Great Grammy), lots of dinosaurs, pink soccer ball, dino books, Chutes and Ladders, several pairs of sunglasses...

Gryffin: crib aquarium, hanging pull toys, stuffed doggy rattle, bathtub bubble machine, kid Bible...

Wendy: a decked-out new computer (way to go Mark), a wreath of Lorelei's handprints

Mark: new coat, blender, shaver, shirts, and Gryffin's first utterance of "dada"

After presents, we visited Grammy, BPop, and Meaghan at noon for lunch (and the kids opened a lot more presents). And now Lorelei is napping, dreaming of dancing sugarplum fairies, Gryffy is playing with Daddy and his new penguin punching bag (from Grammy & BPop), and Mommy's on her new computer, beginning this, our first family blog.

May your Christmas be as merry, as magical, as blessed as ours, and may its meaning be carried with you the whole year through. Happy first Christmas, Gryffy! Merry Christmas, Lorelei. We love you so much!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Couch Potatoes

I just caught a few candid shots of my boys on the couch.
Gryffy loves hangin' out with Daddy.
Oh no! Am I interfering with Daddy's USA movie? Too bad!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santa Shots

In keeping with tradition, the kiddos get their pictures taken
with "Santa" (BPop) for our annual Christmas cards...
Gryffin's first Christmas.
Cousin Meg hopped in for her Santa shots, too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Outdoor/Indoor Play

The air is crisp and the leaves are crunchy. The kids
love being buried in leaves and jumping off piles!
Gryffy's inherited Lorelei's bouncer. He loves bouncing
to Daddy's piano music!
And Gryffy loves his Exersaucer--see his happy smile!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mr. Gobbles

We enjoyed a Thanksgiving at home and with Grammy, Bpop, & Meaghan. And, in keeping with tradition, we erected our giant inflatable turkey, Mr. Gobbles, in the front yard.
Mr. Gobbles helps us track the kids' growth each year...
...on the rare occasions the kids actually sit nearby him without being frightened away! Brave boy, Gryffy.
Lorelei's not so sure about Mr. Gobbles. She gave him a reticent hug, then bolted away. It's a love-hate relationship.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

The kids joined Mommy at the voting booth on Election Day.
We like to keep our voting preferences private, however,
and will not divulge our pick for President...
At the voting booth (Gryffy's in the stroller).
Lorelei knew all the big names--
Sarah Palin, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and That One.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en 2008

Our cute little bunny and carrot are two of a kind.
Here are the kids in their other costumes--Lorelei got this super cool dragon costume from Grandma and Grandpa Connelly and her cousin, Tyler. Gryffy's wearing a hand-me-down lobster costume from Lorelei.
We went to a pumpkin festival across the street from our neighborhood. The kids loved riding on a hay ride and watching a clown make fun balloons.
Lorelei & Mommy at the gym's Halloween party. Mommy made Lorelei's bunny costume this year.
Daddy admired the design Lorelei picked to be painted on her cheek.
Sweet heart.
Our boy's all smiles. His open-mouthed, uber-cute smile reminds me of his sister's when she was his age. I'm so proud of our adorable kids.
Lorelei's scraping out ooey-gooey pumpkin seeds! She loved piling them in her hair and making a mess, and isn't that what it's all about?
Gryffy's a happy boy about pumpkin poking and carving.
We carved one pumpkin and made the rest Mr/s. Pumpkin Heads. The kids told us where to poke in each part.
Gryffy's first Halloween!
Mommy coordinated another Totley Crew visit to the old folks at Rose Estates. They love seeing the kids in costume!
Our annual Halloween party, just before trick-or-treating. Poor Gryffster missed out--he was fast asleep, and we couldn't bear to wake our little dreamer. He did make the party, though!
It was a beautiful night for trick-or-treating! The kids paraded all the way up and down the cul-de-sac.  The neighbors loved it (as we robbed them of all candy).  I think the kids earned it, though.  So cute!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canadian Thanksgiving

Did you know the Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on Columbus Day? We spent this October "Thanksgiving" in Canada with Mark's side of the family.
The weather was brilliant--there were no layovers, iced-over bridges or snowed in travelers--and we had a fantastic time playing outdoors. We especially enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch!
Niagara Falls at night. The colored lights glowing off the water were spectacular. Our camera didn't capture any of it.
Cousins Tyler, Kayla, Lorelei & Gryffin
Since we traveled in fall this year, we celebrated a very early Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Connelly's house.
Lorelei loves her makeup.
Aunt Michelle and Cousin Jessica made Gryffy this pirate bear.
Cousins Gryffy, Jessica, Lorelei, Kayla & Tyler
Aunt Michelle
Uncle Mike
Grandma Barb
Grandpa Ralph
Story time with Daddy.
We are thankful for our family!