Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Bowling with friends

We had such a fun Christmas break!  David and I were both fortunate enough to be off from Christmas Eve until after New Year's Day and we soaked up that time with friends and family. Lazy days, fun days and in between.

It rained a lot during the break - there were two sunny days in the almost nine days that we were off. It called for creativity, something I don't have much of.  But thanks to smart mama friends like Allison Liles I don't have to reinvent the wheel - if she's got something that works, I'm going to try it. So bowling we did!

Caroline's first bowl


The kids loved every minute of it.  We met our friends, the Farrells, at the bowling ally and lasted two hours bowling!  We could hardly believe it.  Even the grown-ups had fun.  It was Catherine Ellis's second time to bowl and Caroline's first - they caught on quickly and we had fun - even if it was raining!

 Wyatt, CE, Caroline and Mary Ryan

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Cain Christmas

This year was the very first year we spent Christmas at home - it was wonderful!  Typically we spend Christmas Eve at home and then hit the road to see various family, also fun, but logistically difficult. Our big move made us want to stick close to home this year, so we invited Meme to spend the week of Christmas with us and the Cains to join us as we hosted Christmas day.  Aunt Betty and Uncle Chip dropped by too and it was a grand time!  Best Christmas yet!

Catherine Ellis was out of school the week of Christmas so she and Meme got to spend good quality time together working on fun projects - one of which was prepping for her role as a cow in the Christmas Eve pageant at church.  Meme is much craftier than I, but even with that, we're not master crafters.  A dear friend loaned me black felt and encouraged me to try the homemade route for her costume.  So crafty we got!  We did pretty well huh?

Caroline was a star and it just so happened that their were stars from the year before that we borrowed that fit the bill.  She and MB were the cutest stars out there!

The Christmas pageant is always a wonderful, chaotic time, but one that I look forward to each and every year.  They never disappoint.

We came home, ate dinner and made some yummy treats for Santa!  The girls were so excited about Christmas morning and ready to go to sleep so they could wake up and see what was left.  They get three gifts each - which is perfect since they have so many people that love them and spoil them rotten!.  They were thrilled they got everything they asked for (Santa was really listening this year).

Ready to go scootin'

Caroline's letter to Santa ... hahahaha

Santa even brought Meme a gift!

Santa must have liked his snack

The Cains joined us for Christmas lunch - I loved hosting - we're so thankful to have a home large enough now to host everyone.  It was a great blessing to all be able to sit at the same table and celebrate.  Aunt B and Uncle C stopped in for dessert and more present opening - it was a wild and fun time, that's for sure.

 Sweet Meme and her girls

 Christmas morning (pre-shower) family pic

 Mama was ready to scoot!

 Our first Christmas celebration in the new house

 Singing happy birthday to Jesus

The girls had more toys than they knew what to do with - it was super fun watching them get so excited about each gift.  It was a wonderful, peaceful, low-key Christmas with family. We are so thankful for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


We have many traditions in December that the girls look forward to each year - and all are with sweet friends that we have the joy of doing life with.  We're so thankful for our village!

Three years ago we became a part of a Brown family tradition that is so much fun - a gingerbread party.  But it's not the kind you think - we don't stand around making gingerbread cookies or houses - we destroy them!  The Brown boys grandfather and grandmother make the most fabulously themed gingerbread house you've ever seen - I swear they get better each year and then the boys host a party for their friends to join them in destroying it.  It's wild, crazy and tons of fun!  

Caroline taking her turn destroying the gingerbread house

Cat hammering away

A glimpse of the craziness

Mama scored herself a cookie!

Thank you Brown family for inviting us to join in on this fun tradition! As you can tell, these friends had a blast!

Skipping gingerbread across the driveway

The past two years we've done Zoolights with the Carmichaels - it's a roaring good time at the Zoo (though the only animals we see are in the petting zoo area).  It's filled with train rides to see the lights, merry go round rides, alpine slides, snow and thousands of Christmas lights.  I didn't get to join this year, but David and the girls had a blast with the Carmichaels.  It certainly gets you in the spirit!

Zoolights Train Ride

And last but not least, we started the Nutcracker two years ago with our sweet friends the Solomons and Coco. Allison started the tradition with her oldest when she was two years old and they've been attending every year since.  Last year we scored tickets to the Alabama Ballet's performance and asked them and Coco to join - it was such a good time!  So, we continued the tradition this year, but instead chose to attend the Alabama Youth Ballet's performance and even got matching Nutcracker dresses.  It was so cute and it seemed to keep the girls attention since many of the children were their age.  Meme joined us, as did Allison's Mom, Mimi and Coco and her nieces - a wonderful time spent together watching a magical story unfold on stage.

 Cat and Coco

 All the sweet girls ready for the Nutcracker

 Aren't their dresses the cutest!?

 The two wildest wees of all

 My favorites

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hosting the Posada

This will test your Spanish language knowledge - who knows what posada means?  If you don't know, it means "inn" in Spanish.  For Catherine Ellis and Caroline, it is a new tradition that our parish has begun for the children in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

The posada is made of up stuffed "dolls" that are Mary and Joseph.  The first Sunday of Advent the Posada leaves the church to spend Advent with many different families before returning home on Christmas Day.

Mary and Joseph came to spend the night with us the first weekend in our house - we were in full decorating mode so they joined in.  The girls loved making them a part of their traditions and routine. We talked about what it must have been like to be away from home and family and ultimately settle in a barn to have a child.

Such a neat experience to think about the time that Mary and Joseph spent waiting for baby Jesus to be born.  We can't wait to do it again next year!  Thank you St. Mary's.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cutest actress ever

Caroline's school had their annual Christmas program and as usual, it did not disappoint.  Caroline is quite the budding actress, so we couldn't wait to see what she'd been working on for weeks!  Her class was so cute and they all did so well.  Lots of budding actors and actresses in that group.

They did a little act about a Christmas tree - and it was so cute!  Caroline was a red bird and did her part so well.

Sweet little class

It was short and sweet - hard to get three-year-olds to focus longer than two-three minutes right? These teachers know their stuff.  We ADORE Ms. Octavia and Ms. Quetta...they are angels in disguise, for sure.  So much patience and love for our wee ones.

 The wee Christmas tree

 Caroline flapping her red bird wings ...

Caroline was loud and clear and knew her part perfectly .... a huge surprise to us since we couldn't get a peep out of her about her play.  She likes to string us along!

 Taking over the show

Catherine Ellis was upset that she couldn't see Caroline perform, therefore we promised a video.  Of course our phone died right as we got to Caroline's part, but you can see a wee bit of her cutest:

 Our sweetest wee

It was a great program - always bittersweet to see our babies grow up so fast.  I can't believe we have one more Christmas program at Rushton before both girls are in elementary schools.  I'm so thankful for technology so we can cherish the sweet memories.  

 Cutest Pre-K III class ever!

Love these ladies so!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookies with the Carmichaels

We have a fun traditional with our sweet friends the Carmichaels during Christmas - cookies!  It never disappoints, even if Amanda and I end making most of them!  Its such a fun time for the kiddos to get together and play and hopefully precious memories as they grow up.

Amanda and Caroline working hard

The Carmichaels also moved this year - in September - so it's still super fun to go visit because everything is "new".  In addition to moving, they added another precious wee one to their family - Mills.  Y'all, is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen?  The girls and I sure think so!

Caroline and "my baby Mills"

I could hardly let him go!

We can't wait for Mills to be old enough to join in the fun next year!  A big thank you to the Carmichaels for such a fun tradition!

The motley crew of cookie makers

Love these four so much!

Monday, December 15, 2014

O Christmas Tree

The girls were almost to the point of begging for a Christmas tree - we moved the first weekend of December, which meant that if we didn't get the tree the next weekend, Christmas might be treeless. Not okay!  

Catherine Ellis would ask me every evening when I picked her up from school as we wizzed by houses all decorated and lit up "Mama, is Christmas going to happen at our house this year?"  Yes, indeed, my child.

Since we were a week before Christmas the pickins' were slim, but the Boy Scouts lot in Vestavia didn't disappoint - it was our last stop after dismal results of finding "the tree."

Yay for Boy Scouts and the biggest Christmas tree in our family ... yet!  Topping out at 10 feet, she was a beauty!  Good things come to those who wait, thank goodness.