Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year in Review

2012 was a good year for the Browns.  We are thankful for so many things- three healthy kids, stable jobs, no MS relapses for Cory and wonderful friends and family.  Here are just a few of the highlights from this past year:

February- ski trip to Beaver Creek
 March- Parker started playing t-ball
 April- Parker turned 5
 June- celebrated our 14th anniversary in the Bahamas
 July- family trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado
 August- Parker started kindergarten
 October- Lily turned 2
 November- Eden turned 4
December- girls weekend in Washington DC
Is it just me or do the years seem to go faster the older I get?  As I look back at these pictures, it seems like just yesterday that we were skiing in Beaver Creek.  The kids are growing way too fast and every time I turn around, it seems like they are doing or learning something new.  I am trying to soak it all in because I know that time isn't going to slow down and before I know it we will have an empty nest.  I am so thankful for another good year and can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for our family. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas with Granna and Granstan

After we finished our family Christmas, we headed over to Granna and Granstan's for Christmas with my family.  We always start with the family pictures before the kids get uncooperative.  This year was a challenge but we finally got a good one.  We even got a pretty good one of the whole family, thanks to the blinking light on the camera.  There is something about that blinking light that mesmerizes the kids and makes them all look at the camera at the same time.
After pictures, we let the kids open their presents.  They were so excited about their new cameras.  I'm pretty sure I posed for about 461 pictures that day!  They were snapping pictures of anything and everything!
Eden has a very special place in her heart for her Aunt Emily.  She wanted to sit with her while we opened presents this year. 
 Ryan was so excited about his present!  I just love that sweet boy!
After they opened their presents, we let them watch a movie so we could open ours.  They just don't have enough patience to sit through it all yet.  After Ryan and Lily woke up from their naps, it was time for our first annual Christmas Story play, starring the kids and narrated/directed by Granna.  Aunt MerMer was the very important backstage coordinator.  This year Parker played Joseph, Addison played Mary, and Eden, Aubrey, and Lily played the angels.  Other than one of the angels getting stage fright (Aubrey), one angel getting nervous and biting her nails the entire play (Eden) and one angel hiding (Lily), the play went off without a hitch! Mary and Joseph confidently recited their lines and the entire thing was absolutely precious!  I can't wait for next year's play!
One new tradition that Granna started this year was Christmas Family Game Night.  We divided into two teams- TEAM SANTA (Granstan, Aunt Emily, Aunt MerMer, Daddy, Parker and Addison) and TEAM RUDOLPH (Granna, Mommy, Uncle Jon, Eden, and Aubrey) and played several Minute-To-Win-It type games.  The first one was tossing 25 marshmallows to see who could get the most in a bucket.  The kids all loved this one- even Eden participated without any tears.  Daddy talked a big talk but in the end got beat by Mommy!
Our next game was Musical Pass the Present.  Whoever was holding the present when the music stopped got to open it.  The fun part was that each time we opened it, we discovered another wrapped present!  In the end, Aunt MerMer opened the last present that was full of Chick-Fil-A gift cards for everyone! 
We took a break for dinner- a turkey and brisket that Uncle Jon smoked at the fire station on Christmas Eve.  It was so good and it was also nice that we didn't have to stand in the kitchen cooking all day.  By this time, everyone was worn out but we decided to try one more game- decorating Granna and Granstan to look like Santa. 
Team Rudolph had a little disadvantage on this one because Eden and Aubrey were too tired to participate, so Mommy and Jon (who was also holding a tired and fussy Ryan) had to decorate Granna all alone.  You can tell in the picture that if it hadn't been for Granna's red pants, she wouldn't have looked much like Santa at all.
 Ryan thought that Santa Granstan was so funny! 
And one final picture for the night!  The kids were exhausted by this point, so we headed home for bed.  It was a great Christmas with lots of fun memories.  We are so thankful for both of our families who made Christmas so special this year!

Christmas 2012

One of the best things about living close to both of our parents around Christmas is that we don't have to travel during the holidays.  Which means that we get to be home on Christmas morning.  Just the 5 of us.  It is such a fun and special time! 
For the second year in a row, Daddy ate some of our cookies that the kids made for Santa.  Luckily, I caught him after only one cookie, so we still had two to leave out for Santa plus the carrots for the reindeer.  The kids were tired from a busy day with family so it wasn't long before they were all asleep.  (Parker told me at bedtime that he was going to get up at 4am to see Santa. I love this age and the excitement they bring to this holiday!)
Parker and Lily were both up right at 7am but we had to wake up a sleepy Eden.  As soon as she heard us come into her room, she popped up and was ready to go see if Santa had come to our house.
Parker was excited about his new gun and Plasma car and the girls were thrilled about their new dollhouse.  (Although after overhearing Eden tell Lily to get away from HER dollhouse we had to intervene a little and make sure they knew that Santa has brought it for them to share.)
After opening stockings, we ate breakfast.  Last year I made one of my favorites- monkey bread- for Christmas breakfast and the kids wouldn't even touch it.  I decided to try it again and this year I got a better response.  Eden still wouldn't try it, but Parker and Lily loved it!  I definitely think it will become our traditional Christmas breakfast. 

After breakfast, we opened presents.  Cory really surprised me this year with new ski clothes.  I can't wait to try them out in a few months when we go skiing. 
Lily loved her new Hello Kitty hat!
Daddy got a new speaker that I've enjoyed just as much as he has!
It was a great morning and I felt so blessed.  Healthy, happy kids.  Loving, supportive husband.  Lots of smiles, hugs, laughter.  It was a perfect Christmas morning at home!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Eve with Grandma and Papa

This year we spent Christmas Eve with Cory's parents.  The kids were so excited to finally get to open some presents!  We let them open their stockings before dinner and they could hardly contain themselves.  Parker's new Transformer was the hit of the evening.  Even Eden thought it was pretty cool!
After a delicious lasagna dinner, we finally passed out the presents.  Lily was so excited about her new monkey.  She carried it around the rest of the night and even slept with it that night. 
 Eden got a new game and two princess dolls.  Perfect gifts for our little princess!
 And Parker got some books and a new baseball helmet.  He can't wait to wear it when t-ball starts up again.
 It was such a fun, relaxing evening with family...just the way I like it!