Monday, December 19, 2011


Happy 22nd birthday to my firstborn.
Here's a shout out to cousin Lilian: 23 years ago, at Leslie's Christmas party, Andrew and I sat on Santa's lap (as is the tradition with newly married's) and when he asked what we wanted for Christmas, Lilian shouted out "a baby!"
About two and a half months later, Heavenly Father thought "Hey yeah. Let's make that Christmas wish come true! Let's give a baby to these people trying to go to college with no jobs and no health insurance! Great idea!"
Before the next Christmas rolled around, we had brought  our baby girl home from the hospital, stuffed in a Christmas stocking.
Thanks Lilian!
Thanks also go to Jillian, who allowed us to practice our non-existent parenting skills on her. She has been a source of constant joy. We love her more than we can express. Heavenly Father is a pretty smart guy :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


 Andrew is in England, so he called her to say Happy Birthday....
 About to open her iPod Touch.....
 I left work for a minute to take her flowers and give her a hug at exactly 9:28...the moment she was born.
 Did I mention that I LOVE our new tradition of Kneaders Cream Cheese Brownies instead of cake!?!?
Ended the day with her very first piano recital (she rocked it!) and then Ryan's Christmas concert...I'll try to upload movies of some of that later.
Happy 10th Year Gracie!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Today is Grace's 10th birthday...Andrew left for England again yesterday, so we celebrated on Saturday with a movie, and then our annual trip to the mall to buy her build-a-bunny a birthday outfit. If you look very close in the above picture, you'll notice the tears on her cheeks...her siblings were doing their job by torturing and teasing her until she cried. To be fair, Grace is incredibly sensitive and quick to tears...but still.

Sigh. You'll have to tilt your head to view this picture. Don't know why it won't load correctly. I took more pictures today: she had a piano recital, Ryan had a choir concert, and we barely ate dinner at 9pm tonight after it was all over, so I just frankly don't want to load those pictures on right now.
Our Grace.
Most of you know that we waited a long time for our Grace.  She is a gift, made even more precious by the things we learned waiting for her. Not a day goes by that I don't look into those brown eyes, and say a little prayer of thanks to a loving Heavenly Father who, after trying our faith, gave us this gift. I look forward to every day that I get to teach her, love her, and learn from her. Jillian enjoys playing the game "how long did I wait for a sister!?!?" with Grace...the answer: 12 long years of praying for her. Grace plays along good-naturedly, confident in her "miracle of joy" status.
"Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace..." - 2 Thessalonians 2:16

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Irish Dancing

Gracie started an Irish Dance class in October. They performed at the Festival of Trees on Friday night...super fun! She loves it, and has a real aptitude for it too. We're definitely continuing the lessons in January!

Days 5&6

Took the train from Nottingham to London...

 ...spent the rest of the night walking around.
 Called the kids from the bridge...
 ...spent the next day walking around some more....

...ended the day with Andrew's first real musical...Wicked!
 Goodbye England. Best trip ever!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 4....

 Still in up and walked right up to the castle. Saw this along the way...

Made it to the castle...

 Went on an official tour...and then walked around by ourselves....

 Then we walked over to the National Museum. For some crazy reason I did not take one picture of that. We spent time in there, then walked back toward the hotel. Of course, stopping in a number of touristy-type shops. Then it was back on the motorway heading toward Nottingham. We went a different way back, so got to drive by Leeds and Wakefield where Andrew's family is from...
...and this picture is of Sheffield where MY ancestors are from.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 3...along the way to Edinburgh!

We got up early and began our trek to Edinburgh...lots of lovely scenery along the way...
...stopped in Ardwick at this cemetery....

...then stopped completely on the A1 due to this accident by the Cat Inn. We waited for about 30 minutes, when the police finally started going car to car to say that it was going to be hours before they opened the motorway again. We turned around and thanks to my superior map reading skills, found another way to go.
Which led us to some lovely little towns! This is a cemetery/church in Ford....
Lady Waterford Manor.....

Etal Castle....
...and finally back around to the A1, above where the motorway was STILL closed....and on to Berwick upon Tweed!

We wandered along the wall  in Berwick, and a bit of the town....then on to....

Scotland! We got to Edinburgh, checked in, got the LAST of only 9 parking spaces at the Holiday Inn...and began walking about. We walked up to Princes Street...saw the Walter Scott monument, looked up at the castle, bought some junk for the kids, and had soup at Marks & Spencers.

We happened to be walking by a few minutes before a ghost tour of the some of the vaults was about to begin...something I really wanted to do! So Andrew humored me, and we went on the tour. It was awesome. The tour took about an hour and a half, but our guide was also a history tour-guide during the day, so had some great stories about the city. The vaults and the stories that went with them were horrible though...but super creepy and cool too :)
Then back to the hotel for the night. Day 4 is the castle!