Wednesday, December 26, 2012

glory to our newborn king!

And then it was Christmas! A crazy day full of family and fun and food. Of wrapping paper flying everywhere and it seemed like every present was "just what I wanted!".  Four year old boys are into Imaginext, especially the Eagle Talon Castle, and into spy gear, and lots and lots of Legos. And for our seven year old girl, it was all about things for her American Girl dolls, Lego Friends, crafts and sewing projects (even a kids sewing machine!).

We spent the morning at Nanny and Papa's house with hubby's sister and brother-in-law, and with my parents. We stuffed ourselves with brunch casseroles and cinnamon buns and lots and lots of bacon. We celebrated Nanny getting a new knee for Christmas (replaced last week) and all of us being together and healthy. Papa gave our girlie a beautiful handmade armoire for all her American Girl clothes and accessories.

Then after I had a brief nap, and the kids worked on Legos and Hotwheels wall track installation with their dad, we headed up to my Aunt and Uncle's for dinner and another round of fun and crazy present exchanges. We see cousins and extended family at Christmas that it has often been a year or more since we were last together, and there is so much joy and laughter.  Here's the whole crew (wearing our crowns from our Christmas crackers):

 Photo: part of the family, at Aunt Sue and Uncle Bill's for Christmas 2012

And just to show that I come from a long line of cookie bakers, here are all the yummy cookies we had for dessert, I counted 14 varieties of homemade cookies made by 4 different families, plus the candy and petit fours. We were stuffed, but in a good way. 
 And we celebrated Christ's birth, and we rejoiced in being together, and while no Christmas is perfect, this one was so good I would repeat it again and again. I pray you felt the same as you celebrated.  Merry Christmas, friends!

as we approached Christmas

This will be the first in a few Christmas posts, just to break up the enormous number of photos that have been taken over the past week or two, and especially the past day or two. As we approached Christmas, we got busy with all the normal preparations, visiting Santa while at the BSO Holiday concert...

 baking cookies...

 making birdseed ornaments for teachers, bus driver, extended family and friends...

 and making our annual gingerbread houses (we use the Wilton kits, they make it so easy!).

 Presents were bought, wrapped and ribboned. Church services were attended and we worshiped our Saviour, come once to earth for us, and coming again. Christmas pajamas were opened and put on. Stockings were hung by the stairway (lacking a chimney) with care. And we admired the tree, and put ourselves to bed, awaiting Santa's arrival.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

san diego zoo

Have you heard that I love animals? Getting to go back to the San Diego Zoo was a joy (I last visited there when I was about 12 or 14). Their zoo really "gets it right" when it comes to having natural, engaging animal enclosures AND getting the animals up close to the people so we can enjoy them. We had a great day there last week (12.10.12) with my brother and his family, and I wanted to share some of my favorite animal photos with you!

this is one of the zoo's "Ambassador" animals...she wanted her photo taken.
in fact, she wanted it taken a lot...yawning...

just in case I forgot she was a wild animal...

very dignified.

view of the zoos baby panda with mom
smiling hippo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

adventure in San Diego

Last week, hubby and I took a trip to San Diego, CA, partially for me to attend a conference for work, and partially as vacation, celebrating our 10th anniversary (which was in October) and hubby's 40th birthday (which was on Dec. 7th). We had a lot of fun together during my time off, and while I was at the conference I was able to send hubby off on adventures he would enjoy (and maybe I would not...ha!).

We also were able to visit with my brother and his family, who recently relocated there with the U.S. Navy. So my pictures may be heavily slanted toward ones with my niece and those kids! Anyway, here are some photo highlights, heavy on the people, light on things like airplane engines and below deck spaces on the Midway. If you want to see more, you'll just have to come over and we will bore you entertain you for hours with all of them!

 On the San Diego Harbor cruise:

 This picture (based on the time we took it) is probably my brother flying the Seahawk helocopter! Pretty cool!
 This one I think is someone else but it was a great photo of the helocopter!
 How does a 40-year-old "kid" spend his birthday? At LEGOLAND, of course! It was so much fun, even for us old folks...
 Does this man look like he's 40?
 This is what over 200,000 Duplo bricks (those are the big ones) look like in a Christmas Tree:
 Hubby met my brother and his boys at the U.S. Midway on Saturday:

 And that night hubby and I enjoyed the Balboa Park December Nights festival:

My adorable 4 month old niece:
 My brother with the one who doesn't like having his picture taken:
 And this one is just a ham:
 On Monday, we all met up at the San Diego Zoo, which is truly truly amazing. We have good zoos here at home (Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and National Zoo in D.C.) but this one surpasses them all. In fact, I took so many fun animal pictures that I'm going to do a separate post later this week of just those photos!

 Finishing out our trip with sunset on the beach at Coronado.
All this... and I spent a full  2 & 1/2 days in conference sessions! We know how to pack our days full when on vacation...whew! But it was actually very relaxing, and good for hubby and I to spend some time together. Many many many thanks (probably should add a few more "many"s) to both sets of grandparents for holding down the fort at home, getting kids to and from school, keeping them fed and bathed and oh-so-much more! You are the best!