Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015!

Just like that 2015 is gone! This has been quite a year too!

Snow days!

Disney World!

Racecations with Nathan!

Noah turned 5!

Noah started school!

Ryan turned 3!

Things I learned this year:

*I can do a lot. More than I thought. But it is ok for me to do nothing too. Learning to do nothing was a harder lesson than learning I can do more.

*Nathan is way better than I give him credit for. We are at such a great time in our lives - settled and enjoying eachother and raising our kids together. It all just seems to be more in place now than in past years and it feels really good.

*I learned I am happier in life when I exercise. I actually look forward to it.

*I learned how to travel with my kids. We went to Disney World and Branson a few times this year and each time was easier than the last on making it a great experience for us all.

*I learned that my kids are totally different when I am not around them, and dare I say better some times. I got to watch Noah at school and peek in on Ryan more at daycare and I got to witness that I am raising good, respectful children! They make like to give me a harder time than other people, but we all do that to those we love - just ask Nathan :)

*Losing a pet, even when it is long time coming and better for the pet, is really hard. (We miss Ozzie!)

For 2016 I have lots of wishes and hopes, but not many "resolutions" exactly.  Here are my predictions:

*We will be diaper free for the first time in almost 6 years!

*Noah will be reading me bedtime stories instead of me only reading to him.

*We will get to explore new places on some mini trips and a few bigger trips (Boston and a Disney Christmas maybe?)

*I will get to watch Nathan race again - which makes him happy, so therefore I am happy.

*We will take the kids camping for the first time.

*And of course lots more movie dates with the kids, four wheeler rides, trips to the park, swimming, and whatever else we can find to do. We love adventures!

Goodbye 2015, we were blessed throughout you and cannot wait to see how much better 2016 is going to be!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our Holiday!

We made a lot of memories this Christmas! As always, we had lots of places to go, but they are all spaced out enough that it really isn't bad. We have dinner with Nathan's parents every Wednesday so we just decided to do our Christmas with them on Wednesday since it was the day before Christmas Eve this year. So, we had some delicious chicken and dressing and then we all exchanged gifts. Ryan got lots of Frozen stuff and Noah got some Ninja Turtle things and a remote control helicopter. They were so excited! Nathan and I got some really nice things too - razorback shirts, gift card for dinner, scarf and tools - perfect for us!

We always do Christmas Eve breakfast at my mom's house. I LOVE this tradition because it is a little different from the normal - we do breakfast food and my stepdad reads The Night Before Christmas to all the kids. My mom gets all the kids Silver Dollar City season passes for our families - we love them and it is like getting gifts over and over all year when use them! Noah really wanted a lego set, and I am less than a lover of Legos because they ALWAYS fall apart. But, I knew Santa wasn't bringing him any so I let Granny be the hero and buy him a set (a 754 piece set to be exact!). Ryan got a Barbie that rides a horse that actually walks by itself - something she had seen on TV and was obsessing about. Another thing I love about this get together is my dad comes too. So, we are all together to celebrate for a little bit. After this party we went home and put together all 754 pieces of Noah's Lego set and watched Christmas Vacation and Elf and cooked for Nathan's grandmas party that evening.

Reading the Night Before Christmas

Listening to the Night Before Christmas

My dad listening to the Night Before Chiristmas

For the past 17 years we have went to Nathan's grandparents on Christmas Eve for a gift exchange and dinner. We play Dirty Santa and everyone buys for the kids under 16 years old. The kids got dry erase activity tables from Nathan's cousins, new body pillows (which were a big hit) and lots of other goodies! It was nice that our kids are finally old enough we can sit and visit some without having to worry so much about them. However, Ryan and her cousin Paxton always seem to find some trouble together and we did find them in Great Meme's closet with make-up and lotion all over them - ohhhh the memories! I got a really soft blanket and a snap bracelet (which I have been wanting to check out but hadn't gotten a chance to) and Nathan got a hand warmer for hunting. Before we knew it, it was 10:00 and time to head home so Santa could come! The kids finally fell asleep about 11:30, Santa came at 11:35 and everyone was asleep soon after :)

Opening their dry erase tables

The Brown Christmas!
Santa came!
The kids didn't wake up until 8:30 on Christmas morning - so glad they are not waking us up super early yet :) We watched them open their presents - which is one of the best things in the world to do. Their little faces get so excited, even over the smallest things. Noah got lots of Ninja Turtle and Power Ranger figures from Santa and Nathan and I got him an original Ninja Turtle Technodrome and some original figures. Ryan got some Disney Princess dolls, a Merida dress, bow and arrow and doll from Santa and Nathan and I got her a toy washer and dryer for her baby doll clothes :) I was pleasantly surprised with my gifts, especially since Nathan went shopping the day before Christmas Eve :) I got new pots and pans and bakeware, some Toms shoes I have been wanting, and 5 seasons of How I Met Your Mother - perfect! Nathan got the complete series of Walker Texas Ranger, a new wallet and checkbook, some bbq spices and sauces from a restaurant we liked in Kansas City, and some new clothes. It was nice and simple and it didn't feel like there was too much or too little - just perfect!

Ryan loves doing laundry in her new washer and dryer :)
Nathan flew Noah's new helicopter into a tree - but he climbed up and got
it and almost gave me a heart attack in the process!

Ryan now goes by "Merida" 90% of the time :)

That afternoon the kids and I went to visit my grandma and then my dad came over to watch the kids open gifts from him. He got Noah a big walking dinosaur and Noah kept screaming "I have wanted this my whole life" while he was jumping up and down! I think he was happy :) Ryan got Minnie's Fabulous Shopping Mall and a Barbie Camper - she has played with them non-stop since! It makes my dad so happy to get them things they really want, and I am happy he was there to watch them open them.

Before our elves Huckleberry and Merida left they gave us tickets for the circus and included Nathan's brother's family and mom too. So, the day after Christmas we all went to Little Rock to eat, do a little after Christmas shopping and watch the circus. It was all of our first real circus and it was awesome! The motorcycles in the dome was my favorite - even though my momma nerves were in full force while watching it! Noah belly laughed the whole time at the clowns and Ryan loved the acrobats and lions. It was such a fun day!

Now, Christmas is all over. I am back at work and Noah is getting to go back to Mrs. Lauries daycare with Ryan for the week and we are ALL happy about that. Sad to see the holiday season go, but so ready for new years and our normal routine.