Monday, November 29, 2010

Annual Christmas Party at Jack and June's House

Today was Jack and June's Christmas party for all the kids in the neighborhood. lastyear's party was a huge success and June really outdid her self...until today that is-today she blew everyone away!

We started with snack at the kitchen table.
Then she had everyone sit in the dining room on the floor. She had all these shiny sparkly trees around the room but all the kids just figured it was part of June's decorations....that is until she said that everyone was going to get to take a tree home this year!!!!!!!!! YUP, everyone got to pick a tree!!!! The big girls were SO excited and the little ones squeeled- how fun!

They drew numbers and each got to pick their own tree and everyone got the one they wanted!
Then into the living room where she went around and around and around the room and let the kids pick special decorations for their tree....garland, ribbons...
string, ornaments, and more....the special treat was that she MADE dozens of little glass ornaments with paint inside that were stunning. Each child got to bring home FIVE to decorate their tree.
And if the trees and the decorations weren't enough, she got each child a small gift too...the biggest girls got necklaces...the medium girls got bracelets, and the little ones got puzzles. Everyone was excited.
I heard to big girls say how cool this was as they walked out of the house and it was...really cool!
Thanks June ( and Jack) for being the best neighbors ever! We love you!

Thanksgiving in Iowa

We left Galesburg and headed straight to Iowa City to see my family. As Bechtel Family tradition dictates, we went to the Amana colonies where the whole family tried to enjoy a meal while the 4 little ones ( Alaric, Amara, Veronica, and Jack) each took tuns melting down...ahh, the joys of young childhood!!!

Grammy didn't mind...actually- many of the other parents laughed at us some!
Home for rest time...what's cooler than getting to have rest time with your best friend and cousin!!!
It was definately the Thanksgiving of JACK and we all were SO very Thankful that he is in our lives and part of our family now. Everyone had the chance to hold him and get pictures!
He just started smiling and I love, love, loved holding him and making absolutely ridiculous faces and him for the tiniest of smiles- it made my day!
Grammy and V played Christmas songs on the piano
Friday night is our annual game night with friends of the family and this year, we also celebrated my cousin Woody's 50th Birthday!
Me and my sweetie!
These two LOVE spending time together!
All the cousins like playing doctor!
Especially this little one
Everyone left Saturday afternoon but The Fultons stayed one more night just to relax some and not have to rush! Saturday, Brad, Becky, Maddie, and Brady and Auntie Doris and us all went to see Tangled ( SO CUTE) then out for pizza! Here you can see true creativity. I pulled out a naked baby doll from my diaper bag to keep mara happy while we waited for food and my wonderful cousin made clothes and shoes for her out of napkins-BRILLIANT!!!
We have such wonderful families and we are so grateful for them and all the time we get to spend with them!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Galesburg

We arrived in Galesburg Wednesday night and headed to a local restaurant to meet Katie, Tyler, Tammie and Great Gram.

The kids LOVE Katie and Tyler and we love any chance to see them!

Back at home Great Gram and Mara catch up with a book!
Brian's mom has saved all of Brian's toys from when he was a little boy and it just so happens that our little boy loves all the same things...specifically Star Wars and Transformers right now! This was the first time Al got out the Star Wars stuff and for 2 days he was in heaven with all the the mint condition toys. He just sat and played by himself or others in perfect contentment
How cool is this big thing?
A boy and his daddy- priceless!
The cutting of the turkey!
Our our walk with Aunt Marcy, Uncle Dan, Luke and Alecia

There were three, nut free, cookie choices and it was hard for all of us to decide. I offered Alaric all four cookies for an experiment of which one was best dipped in milk. He took my challenge and we had so much fun listening to his play by play....peanut butter was totally totally awesome and the
sugar cookies with sprinkles were awesome. The chocolate white chocolate ones were just good! Mara shows Uncle Tommy her doll, Emma!
No popsicles in the living room. The kids didn't want to miss out on any fun since we were all playing games so they sat right on the threshold to the living room and ate up!
After games and hours of talking, Katie ( a junior) decided to try on Anita's prom dresses. This one didn't fit however it did fit Amara...seriously, I'm pretty sure it would have fit my 4 year old neice if she had been there. Doesn't it just SCREAM an Arial costume from the Little Mermaid?
This was Anita's senior prom dress and Katie loved it. She actually took it with her for an option for homecoming next year.
Anita had to try it on too....not bad for 18 years later!!!!
What a super fun, wonderful time in Galesburg!!
This video is TO DIE FOR! Mara knows Christmas songs but never actually sings them...just dances around and says one or two words if you stop talking. G-ma and Mar were in the den playing the piano and she flat out asked Gma what she wanted to hear and then went into this amazing rendition of Jingle Bells ( goes to show she IS listening, she IS obessed with anything her Bubba says, and if you are quiet and let the girl shine, she will...OH SHE WILL!!!!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank You Lincoln Staff

Throughout the year, I like to give little tokens of our appreciation or cards and notes and such to some important staff at Alaric's school. We always do his two teachers and his principal and I also like to include the secretaries as they are the real backbone of any school ( and these ladies and the principal just helped Al in his asthmaattack last week)

This time I made recipe cards with a "recipe of thanks. I put a different picture of Al on each card with the personalized recipe and then Al signed each one and hand delivered them

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our 4th Annual Thankgiving with friends

Tonight was our 4th annual ( is it weird that I can't remember the very first one 4 years ago) Thanksgiving Dinner at our home with a group of friends we've gotten close to over the years because our kids were all born at the same time.

While we were tired from our antics the night before and hated all the prep and cleaning for this event, we LOVE this party and having everyone out to our home in Monticello! The group is ever changing as two dear families have moved away but it's always growing too..this year there were two women pregnant. This year, 19 friends sat in our living room together to share a meal and give thanks for each other!
I call this battle of the pony tails- love it!
The basement was taken over by children and toys and we just did our best not to step on anyone
Yum- TONS of food to share!

I had sticker books made for the children out of fall napkins and tons of fall stickers to keep them busy
Everyone loved it...
But not as much as the garbage bag of dress up clothes I dragged out of the back room-look at these cuties!
And these heros!
The kids ( not bad, only one crawled away)
Our wonderful friends. Check out what we looked like last year HERE or the year before HERE
Thanks friends for being such an important part of our lives!

Samantha sings us a Thanksgiving song at dinner!

A Big Lesbian Wedding!

Last night was our first Holy Union ( which is kinda surprising since I've been going to a more light church now for 32 years) It was amazing! Our friends, Laura and Amy got married and it was so filled with love and so attentive to all the details. They did an incredible job including their 3 children and their family and friends and making it one of the most touching ceremonies I've ever been to!

Laura wore this stunning dress as her son, Lucian walked her down the aisle.
Amy looked hot in her suit with her son Roger and Laura's daughter, Luna!So sweet!
Instead of a cake, they had cupcakes and the cake topper were two cars from the game of Life- so creative!
The first dance was a family dance where they all rocked out with dancing and balloons.
There were lots of McKinley friends, including my friends Jeanette and Kelly
Laura was a riot when she did a costume change and spent the rest of the light in her Lady Gaga outfit.
Brian and I love weddings!
We met some great people towards the end of the night and immediately became friends. Michael (the taller one) actually dressed Amy and helped her put her whole outfit together. They became friends during the process and he and his partner came down for the weddingWe hit it off so well that we went to a gay bar after the wedding with Michael and Kieren and stayed out until 2:30AM!!! What fun!
We almost forgot we had kids until we realized we left them at my parents house and would have to shack up there so we didn't have to drive back to Monticello.
Nothing like church the next morning when you've only slept a few hours! But look how cute Mara looked!
Sometimes if we arrive at church early, we'll head over to the Bechtel Family Labrynth to walk it and run it and play some before we head inside. It was a nice way to start the day...a long day and we were tired!