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Friday, January 31, 2014


Wow, we have had a fun and eventful January!  I keep telling myself that I need to blog about 2 or 3 of these things separately, but who am I kidding?  I never will.  And I want to remember all of these things, so here goes...
We had a fun and laid back New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with friends.  All the while, we were counting down the days until our trip to Pasadena.  After much discussion and debate (looking back, there is a small chance I over-dramatized the decision-making process:)), we decided to give each other the trip for Christmas and Heath's birthday, which unfortunately (though he truly doesn't seem to care) falls on December 28th.  

We ran into one of Heath's friends from work at the airport and he took this picture of us gearing up for our travels.  Luckily, afterward we ran into an old friend from Auburn and his wife and were able to eat lunch and wait for our flights with them.
Our sweet babysitter, Stephanie, sent me these pics while we were at the airport.  She and her husband took the kids hiking!  I love her...because I am 100 percent sure I would not have done that with them.  She is so fun!
Watching Mr. Hunter climb
Anyways, back to the adult trip.  We had THE. BEST. TIME!  I wish we were still there - I have said that all month.  I don't usually love January and February because they tend to be gloomy and cold, but California was just the opposite!!  We landed in San Diego and met Heath's dad and Tambry and his sister and her husband and drove to Anaheim.  I took this picture on a jog Heath and I took to Downtown Disney.  Ah, the freedom of a few days without children was so nice and we took full 
 On Sunday, our friends Mark and Jamie picked us up and drove us to nearby Newport Beach.  Mark is involved with a ministry that our church is also involved with, so he and Heath have become fast friends over the last year.  They were so gracious to come get us and drive us around.
 We took a ferry ride over to Balboa Island, where Mark and Jamie actually met.  We ate at a restaurant on the pier and soaked in the sunshine, 80 degree weather, and our view.  Ahhh!
Then, that night we met Heath and Tambry and Kelly and Jonathan and walked around Anaheim and found a delicious Hawaiian-infused restaurant.  We ate outside and every morsel was delicious!  We were pleasantly surprised!
 During dinner, I kept seeing a blue light flashing and flying in the air.  Kelly and I decided we needed to check it out.  They were these little helicopters.  We tried out our hand at shooting them.  Kelly was much better than I was...except for when she shot one in the air into oncoming traffic and it landed on an unsuspecting car.  Hilarious.
Later that night, I could barely contain my excitement.  We headed to Sur - a restaurant in Beverly Hills owned by Lisa Vanderpump, a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.  When Lindsey booked her trip to Pasadena in early December, she was smart enough to make a reservation for us.  Imagine Heath and Brandon's excitement:)  But they were troopers and let us stalk our Bravo network crushes.  Heath's exact words before we walked in were "Please act like you have been here before."  He knew I was a little too excited!
 Here we are with one of our favorites - Tom, a bartender at Sur.  We ended up seeing Kristin and Tom (if you know the show - which Heath definitely did NOT) as well, and Lisa and Ken and Jiggy were there, but they were on the restaurant side and we had to draw the line somewhere!  I considered stalking further, but I felt like Heath would have died of embarrassment, so I held off.
 We stayed out entirely too late, but excitement and adrenaline and the sheer joy of a childless vacation made up for all of that!  We arrived in Pasadena hours and hours before the game, and it was a picture-perfect day.  The weather was in the 70s, not a cloud in the sky.  We walked around and took pictures of the Rose Bowl and tailgated and ate at food trucks and ran into friends and family.  So.  Fun.
The family - we were missing Jay and Kate.  They stayed back in Atlanta this time, but they are going to have a very exciting 2014 and we are all SO glad!!!
 Ran into Lindsey and headed back to tailgate with Mom and Dad
The family minus Derek:(
 So much fun with college friends
 We got to hang out with one of our favorite families, the Robersons.  William on the end was in my class - now almost 8 years ago - and his sister Sarah Beth is one of the kids' favorite babysitters.  That makes me feel very old!
Gross interruption.  Jami texted me this picture when Turner got to school that morning.  As we were preparing for the big game, our sweet babysitter and my friends at school got to deal with this.  YUCK!    Turner was playing outside on New Year's night and fell down the hill in our backyard.  We had been putting a band-aid on it.  But, that morning he kept complaining of it when he got to school.  When I got this picture, I had a panic attack (imagine that - possibly dramatic).  After a few phone calls, Stephanie assured me she had already made a doctor's appointment.  She took all 3 kids that afternoon to the doctor and while we were tailgating and flitting around, they confirmed it was a staph infection...which I had feared.  My saint of a sitter dealt with naptime (or the lack of) and the pharmacy,  washing clothes, separate baths, etc.  I am so thankful for her!!!
 To end on a better note, check out the view from the Rose Bowl!!!  AMAZING!!  This picture was from my mom's seat.  We were a section lower and a few over to the right.  We had fabulous seats and enjoyed a wonderful game.  In the end, we were sad Auburn didn't win, but so very proud of them for making it to the National Championship game.  I felt like Auburn had every chance to win it, but in the end Florida State fought harder and earned it.  The fans were great and we were proud for them.  There  were a few Auburn fans crying and angry, but most of us agreed with the guy behind us who yelled "People!!  We were 3-9 last year and just played in the National Championship!!"  We met Jonathan and Kelly at the car after the game, and she said "There are way bigger things in life than football."  We all agreed, especially after spending the last Big Game with Heath's mom, and realizing how fleeting life is.  We had a nice all-day flight home the next day, ending in delays in Atlanta and eventually we met my parents in the terminal and rented a car to Birmingham.  I was ready to see my kids!! 
Someone was about to turn 2!!!  We got back on Tuesday, and had a Chick-fil-A party for Collins on Saturday.  It was thrown together at the last minute (life of a third child), so we just had my parents and Heath's dad and Tambry and a few friends from church.  
We chose a Minnie Mouse theme because she loves her on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and we are about to meet her in a few weeks!
 We had chicken nuggets for our little nugget, a fruit tray, some ice cream and some cupcakes.  The kids were very sweet and played in the Play Place.  Reminded me of the McDonald's birthday parties of my childhood.
 She definitely loves her "Dad-ddddy"

 I do love this little turkey...or chicken:)
Feeling the grandparent love
 Afterward we ate dinner with Pap and Tappy and headed home to open presents.  Easiest birthday party ever!!  
We were able to do her party 10 or so days before her actual birthday because Heath's dad was in town.  The next day he came to church with us and was able to be at the service where they ordained Heath as an elder at our church. We love you, Pap!  Thanks for being there!  
Here is John Burke's "baby" as he calls her on her real birthday, January 22nd
 We took donuts to her class and they loved them.  They showed off how they have learned to sit with their hands in their lap until everyone is served.  I love her class!!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!  We love you, Colley Wolley!!  If you ask her how old she is, she squints her eyes and says "Teee-ew."  She also is starting to talk more and more - she looked at Heath last night as she was going to bed and said "Kiss me".  And she loves to look at me and say "Tank tu" (thank you), "Love-oo" (Love you) and "Mone, Moma" (Come on, Momma - not sure why she says it with a long O)  She walked with me by Turner's classroom the other day while he was having school.  Before I realized it, she was grabbing his shirt and motioning him out the door saying "MONE!!"  His teachers asked if I was checking him out, and I apologized for Bossy Pants' intrusion!!  She is a piece of work, and I am thankful that God gave her to us!!
And, just as we thought January was eventful enough...Snowpocalypse happened!!!  So crazy!  Jami and I were out running errands on Tuesday morning.  Around 10, we stopped to eat breakfast at a place in Vestavia.  We got an email at 10:22 saying school was getting out at 10:30.  We had seen the snow, but like everyone else, had no idea it was going to stick!!  We kept eating, thinking it wasn't that big of a deal.  Then, we hurried it up as the texts and emails kept coming.  By 10:40, we were heading to the car.  We got stuck behind the City Center behind some cars who were wrecked in the ice.  So, we turned back and got stuck ourselves in some ice on a small hill in the parking lot.  A kind man poured salt down and we were able to pray her van out of the lot.  By that point, we got a message that her oldest son's elementary school had gotten out.  We had already called and made sure our kids were taken care of at church, so we headed to get Brooks and his friends.
We picked them up around 11:20 and had no idea we would spend the next 2 and a half hours with them to go about 3 miles.  God totally protected us as we ventured down the big hill by Brookwood Hospital in Jami's van, which was not 4-wheel drive, but drove us like a champion!  Looking back, Jami tells me I coerced her into going down that hill...I think the Moms in us were trying to get to our babies!!  We inched down the big hill and then sat by the Homewood YMCA for hours.  Finally we were able to park her car at some apartments and walk across Lakeshore with these 3 boys until we made it safely to church about 2:00!!!  Crazy!!
Heath works near our church and was able to drive part of the way, park his car at Target and then walk the rest of the way while I was stuck on 31.  After seeing all of the traffic, I had a pretty good idea we weren't making it home.  Several people wandered off of Lakeshore up to Covenant, and by the time I walked in the church the plan was already in action.  The wonderful ladies of the kitchen (who lucky for us got stuck at the church) made a spaghetti dinner and Heath and some guys (including our pastor) made signs on Lakeshore for people in their cars to wander up and have some food and warmth, which they did.  Some friends made it home to the top of 31, but our house is about 15 minutes from the church and we didn't want to attempt the long, winding road to get there.  After a delicious spaghetti dinner, we went to Target and were able to buy an air mattress, some sheets and pillow, some Pull-ups and milk, a phone know, the necessities.  We also bought an air mattress for our pastor.  He had just set it up when an elderly couple driving from Illinois pulled up as they saw our sign on Lakeshore.  They couldn't find a hotel anywhere in the area.  We welcomed them in - they were heading south on an extended vacation, so they had pajamas, blankets, etc.  But Bill Boyd gave them his air mattress.  It was so nice to feel such a sense of pride in the humility of our pastor that night, and I was so proud of how our church came together and just made it work!
We made the best of it and laughed and talked after the kids went to bed.  The dorm-lifer in me was secretly thrilled!  And I can tell my kids are mine, because the boys were crying when we had to leave the next morning.  They had so much fun staying the night with their friends!!
We were (and still are today as the roads are still icy) so glad that my suburban has 4-wheel drive.  I haven't needed it before, but wow it has come in handy!!  This was the sight on 280 on Wednesday morning around 11 as we were headed home.  We took a friend home to Inverness first, and witnessed the abandoned cars first-hand.  Such a surreal experience for our city - it happened so fast!!
We got home and immediately suited up for the snow.  I figured I needed to let the kids get it out of their system!  They lasted 20 or so minutes until all 3 of them cried at one point because of how cold it was!!

Thankful for being home, a shower and a good tooth brushing and long nap for everyone!!  I know now why I am usually a Scrooge about the snow and January in general!  But, God blessed us through it all and we have had such a fun month, Snowpocalypse and all!!
New fun app called Waterlogue - we have had plenty of time to discover apps this week:)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christmas 2013

Wow...Turner's birthday party (almost 2 months ago) was so fun, but I couldn't look at the invitation on this blog any more!!  I got a new phone before Christmas, and I couldn't get my photos to upload to my I didn't want to blog without them...anyway, now I have finally fixed it at the Apple Store and it is almost a month after Christmas!  Ugh!  Catch up time for memories' sake!!
We started off the season with a picture with Santa from our trip to Reynolds Plantation at Thanksgiving
Then, in mid-December we put the kids in their Christmas pajamas and headed out to the Train Depot in Calera to meet friends for our second annual North Pole Express train ride.
The boys waiting on the train
So fun!
Our calm family waiting to see Santa and Mrs. Claus
Eating cookies helped pass the time
The boys were so excited...Collins not so much:)  But Santa and Mrs. Claus were vary gracious and the boys loved every minute of telling them what they wanted (which was funny...they both wanted the same one thing "Pirate Island" from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Santa thought that was easy enough...and we didn't tell them they could ask for more:))
These 2 crazies helped me cook and bake lots and lots for this Christmas.  A new thing we added this year were these fruit Santa hats that I served when I hosted Christmas Bunco.
Festive and you can't mess fruit up:)
We also got crafty in our time off from school.  Mostly for John Burke's sake...that boy loves to draw, cut, paint, anything crafty.  So we made these handprint gift tags.  They used their thumbs and pinkies and then I went back and added a few touches.  I thought they turned out pretty cute and were very easy!  My kind of project.
A couple of nights before Christmas our wonderful neighbors Ken and Helen had us over to celebrate.  My children are obsessed with them, and I know why!  They indulge their every story and play with them whenever they knock on their door.  We are grateful that they are so kind and patient!!
Best picture I got of Helen - look how the kids are surrounding her
Neighbor love
The boys modeling the clothes Mr. Ken and Mrs. Helen got them.  Of course they gave them fun toys to open as well.  We are spoiled by them!  Here is Collins with the baby doll they gave them

Later that night Mrs. Helen helped me wrap the rest of my gifts.  Look at those bows!

On Christmas Eve we attended our church service at Covenant.  This year the boys sat in the service with us, and they did pretty well.  Not ready for every Sunday yet, but it was a good start and neat to have most of our family together to sing Silent Night and worship.  They were mesmerized by the candlelight service, and still needed one-on-one as they almost knocked over the candles more times than I could count.  Not my most serene Silent Night experience, but it was worth it!
Then we headed to our friends' house.  Joy was our hostess and John Burke shamelessly cuddled up to her...of course:)
We had a great meal and then Amanda's husband played some Christmas songs and we were able to sit and enjoy before the madness of the next day.  What a blessing!
The next morning Heath and I had to wake the kids up at 7:30.  It was so nice and probably the last year that will happen.  Here are the brothers excited and anxious to walk downstairs and see what Santa brought them.
Pirate Island!!  Thank you, Santa
And more girl toys are finally arriving into our home
Enjoying the toys

They were at SUCH a fun age to watch them marvel in all the toys and magic of the season.  I also love what a great job their school and our church did at casually down-playing Santa and making it about Jesus' birthday and birth.  It made it easier for us to keep re-directing to Christ, and I know this will get harder as they are older.
Heath and I gave each other a trip to Pasadena for Christmas (next blog to catch up on), and I teased him when he still gave me this.  However, it is fabulous!!  Random, yes.  But I highly recommend.  It keeps towels, bath robes, etc. so warm and cozy - like pulling out of the dryer.  Win for Heath!
After breakfast we got dressed and headed to my parents' house for Christmas lunch with the family
Fun times with cousins and aunts and uncles and Uncle Derek even brought his puppy to share

View of the kids table
Cousin Caylen with Abby and Holder's dog - two puppies made John Burke's day!
And we all got special time with my grandmother, Nanny
Love her!
Then we headed down to Andalusia for Christmas dinner - here are Pap and Tappy with Ellie, Cameron and my three
Spoiled with even more presents!!  
And Princess Collins got this surprise!  A pink mini Cooper.  Luckily she has a helpful brother!
We were thankful for all of the gifts, but enjoyed precious time with family the most this Christmas.  On a tractor ride with Uncle Jay the next day

Sweet Ellie taking care of Collins...
In the back of the blue "tractor".  Fun memories!
Merry Christmas Recap!!