Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas in Pictures

Anna in her Christmas dress in front of the tree. She is next to of the owl ornament we got for her this year. I picked it out for a couple reasons: 1) she is obsessed with a book called Owl Babies that has three little baby owls in it and 2) I also thought it was cute that there were two big owls with a little owl in the middle, just like our family this Christmas.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with Brad's family and started a new tradition this year. The entire family, including all the little ones, acted out the Christmas story. Everyone got into it, especially Micah and Kaila who had the leading roles.
It wouldn't be a Bruce Christmas without all the Bruce men playing their trumpets. Everyone jokes about doing this because it is the only day of the year that any of them play their trumpets. I always think they sound great!
Shanna and Anna crawled up on the piano and started playing it by themselves. Hopefully they will get their dad's musical abilities. :)
Anna playing with the puzzle that Appy and Grandy gave her.
A cute appetizer that I made out of cheese, fresh oregano, and grape tomatoes.
The tree at our house on Christmas morning before the mayhem began.
Three toddlers opening their presents.
My sis and I in matching aprons that our brother gave us. Can you believe this is the first apron I have ever owned!?! I feel so domestic.
Sweet hubby showing off the gift I gave him.

Uncle Michael with a new hat. This boy loves hats, no telling how many he owns.
Gigi acting overly excited about receiving a sun visor for her car. Hey, she asked for one! Don't worry, this is not the only present I gave her.
A never ending game of Risk. I heard that Brad was definitely on his way to winning if only there had been more time. :)
The cousins watching the sweetest Disney Christmas movie - Small One. Notice Lucas' hand on Anna's leg. He left it there throughout most of the movie...precious.
Just wanted to show a picture of the lights on our house this year because I think Brad did such a great job. There are 3 other neighbors surrounding us who put up lots of lights each year so we were inspired to put up more than just a couple strands.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It has been so much fun to go through the Advent calendar with Anna this year. Ours has little doors that she can open and some type of object is inside that represents our reading for the day. She cannot wait for Brad to get home at night. Almost right when he walks in the door she repeats "Advent calendar" over and over and she reaches for him so he can lift her up to open one of the doors. Of course, she is not as excited about sitting and listening to the reading and usually plays with something as we do that. I realize that at least for now, most of her excitement stems from getting to open and close the little door to see what is inside and not from preparing for the celebration of Christ's birth.

After witnessing this the first couple of days, I began to realize that I had been more focused on doing something neat for Anna's advent experience and had missed the point of it myself. I thought of how delighted God might be if I anticipated getting to read and reflect on the Advent verses and expressed as much joy in opening his Word as Anna did in opening each box. My sweet friend Jean introduced me to The Advent Door and A Holy Experience, blogs that have Advent resources that I have been using this year. Though I haven't done it every day, I look forward to finding some quiet time and seeing what the Lord wants to reveal to me. This year, perhaps because I am pregnant, the interaction between Elizabeth and Mary has really spoken to me.

I love it when I set out to teach that little girl something and God uses her to teach me an even greater lesson.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

If I Can Make This...

Anyone can make this Holiday is so easy! A few months ago, I saw this tutorial on a blog and made a wreath for fall. When I was buying the burlap (I buy it by the yard and cut it instead of buying the garland like the tutorial says), I noticed it also came in red and green so I decided to make a burlap Christmas wreath too. I really like the natural look and feel of burlap material.

Something I have discovered about crafting is that, depending on the materials, it isn't always cheaper to make something (who can compete with the Chinese!). The cost for all the materials of this wreath was only about $10 and even less if you use the coupons that Hobby Lobby and Michael's always offer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anna's Big Announcement

You heard right...Anna is going to be a BIG SISTER! We are all very excited about this news! I'm actually 17 weeks along so we have known for awhile. Here is how we told Brad:

Walking in the door from work...
Starting to realize what the pink and blue balloons mean...
Hugging the big sister...
This is what her shirt said...
Celebrating with a little family worship time...
This pregnancy is going by so much faster than the first one because we are so focused on Anna. I'm already feeling a little guilty that this little one is getting less attention than Anna did when she was in the womb (silly I know, but I'm a middle child so I think about these things). I am really looking forward to having a tiny baby again so I can hold them in my arms and cuddle them as long as I want! We find out in a month whether I will be cuddling a little boy or a little girl!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Uncle Michael

My brother just got done with a golfing stint in South Dakota and made it back to Texas. Our house was his first stop and it was so nice having him visit. He had not seen Anna for about 6 months so she really didn't know him. After the first day, she was asking for him when she woke up in the morning and after naps. He is one of those people that children are drawn to because he really gets on their level and plays with them. It will be nice to see him again in a couple weeks!

We went to see the Fort Worth herd "cattle drive". I felt so sorry for this longhorn with his horns down. I'm surprised the Aggies or Sooners haven't gotten a hold of him.

This was Anna's first time on a carousel and as Michael put it she was "white-knuckling" the pole. It wasn't that bad but she is always so cautious about new things. :)

My two favorite guys with my favorite little girl.

Giving Thanks

Not a day in her life has gone by that we haven't thanked the Lord for this little girl. I don't think I've ever been that consistent with anything! Anna is just one of the many things we have to be thankful for and I have no idea why we have been so blessed. I do know one thing though, we are blessed to be a blessing and cannot forget that.

We did something a little different at the Thanksgiving table this year that was a lot of fun. My sister put several questions about thankfulness in a bowl and we passed the bowl around and each drew a question. Some of the questions lead to really good discussion and people even started thinking of their own questions. Brad had a good one - "What teacher/mentor are you most thankful for and why?". So interesting to hear everyone's answers.

Side note: Anna and I made her shirt with our mom's group and she LOVES wearing it (I think because she helped make it). She constantly asks for her "tukey shirt" but I really don't want her wearing it now that Thanksgiving is over - I know I should get over that one and just let her wear it!

I was proud of her for trying everything and eating most of the food since she is picky these days.

She had so much fun with these two and loved playing with their cars and legos.

Shutterfly Bandwagon!

This is one bandwagon I am not ashamed to jump onto because we are talking free Christmas cards! You have probably already seen several blogs out there promoting Shutterfly's giveaway to bloggers. I'm a little late to the party and if you are too, there are still two more days to sign up here to get your free cards.

I love how so many of the designs are so simple and traditional and look like they are from an expensive stationary store. When I was deciding on this year's Christmas card, I looked at almost every other photo card company and Shutterfly definitely had the best selection. In my opinion Shutterfly also has the best quality, the paper they use is not as flimsy as some other sites. Their website is very user friendly which makes designing your card or photo gift quick and easy. Also, if you are in need of some Christmas gift ideas, Shutterfly has products like the Personal Desktop Calendars which would be great to give family members.

Here are just a couple of my favorite Christmas card designs from Shutterfly this year:

O.K., enough blogging I need to get going on my cards before Christmas is here!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Flash Mob

If you are not one of the almost 11 million people that have already viewed this youtube video, you must watch it! I just have one thing to say - Hallelujah!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UT Game

A couple weeks ago we headed down to Austin to relive our college days and attend a football game. Of course, we bought the tickets before we knew how bad this season was going to be, but the atmosphere of a UT game is fun no matter what.

It was especially fun because my college roommate, Cara, and her husband came down from New York and we got to hang out with them. Cara, Brad, and I were in a group at UT that went to all the football games together...such fun memories. In the 12 years that I have been going to games, I have NEVER seen so many empty seats! The highlight of the game was watching the Longhorn Band.

While we were in Austin, we tried out some of the food trailers we've been hearing so much about. These have gotten really popular since we left Austin and I love the concept. It gives the opportunity for all of the creative foodies in Austin to start up their own restaurants without having to take on massive debt.

The first one we tried was Torchy's Tacos. The tacos were gourmet and the queso was excellent, but don't expect fast service. That is just part of South Austin culture.

For dessert, we had cake balls from Holy Cacao which were delicious.

Our favorite mobile food vendor was Franklin Barbeque. We got to talk to the owner for a long time and he told us how he started by using friends as guinea pigs to try all of his recipes. Pretty soon, his backyard bar-b-que parties got so big that he had to get parking permits. He bought an old trailer and a smoker, fixed them up himself, and had his dad help him make picnic tables. Now he has a line of sometimes up to 60 people waiting to get his bar-b-que. You have to be quick because he is only open from 11 until the food is gone. Some of the best bar-b-que and sauce we have ever tried!

On the way home I said to Brad, "Maybe is is better we don't live in Austin...we would probably spend too much money going out to eat!".

Emma Jane

My newest niece was born on November 2nd weighing in at 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20.5 in. long. This is my fourth niece and the third one in the last 3 years. I see many slumber parties with the cousins in our future! Emma is so precious, sweet, and little. I know Anna was once her size but honestly can't imagine it without looking at pictures. Anna loves babies right now and will randomly say "Baby Emma" when she is thinking about her.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

18 Months!

This little girl is still growing up quicker than I would like but I feel like the milestones aren't coming quite as quickly and I get to enjoy each of them a little longer. She continues to bring so much joy to our home every single day. Here are some examples:

She was a bunny for Halloween and ever since, anytime the words bunny rabbit are mentioned she runs around saying "bunny rabbit" looking for her costume. Then, often times she starts saying "jumping" and heads for our bed (cute now, but this will have to stop at some point:).

She is my little shadow and wants to be where ever I am, doing whatever I am doing (poor thing needs a sibling). I've decided to embrace these moments and use them as opportunities to teach her, in hopes that she will take over some of these chores one day. :)

She loves loading the dryer.

She has to be up at the counter while I am making dinner and pushes the stool over all by herself.

She loves to pretend talk on the phone. Multiple times a day she will pick up the phone, say "hewow" and start babbling about who knows what.

She loves to see other children when we are out and if she is in a friendly mood will wave and say "hi boy" or "hi girl". The other day we went to the Veteran's Day Parade in Fort Worth and there was a 3 year old girl next to us. Anna started by waving and telling her hi, then started touching her soft jacket, and then reached over and held the girl's hand. Melt. My. Heart. Never loose this love for others little girl.