Monday, December 24, 2012

What if we treated every day like Christmas?

The sick, the childless, the motherless, the fatherless. The poor, the unemployed, the ones who feel hopeless. The infertile, the brokenhearted.

Parents burying children. Children who are hurt and abused by their parents. Women and men who would give anything just to have one child to love.

The hungry, the thirsty, the impoverished.

So many hurting souls. So, so many who cry more than they smile.

The radio stations buzz with calls coming in to help the needy. Churches are flooded with toys and food for those without. Our hearts feel so full and blessed by the giving we do at Christmas time. Tis the season for giving, right?

And Christmas comes and goes. The radio stops it petition for giving and people quickly lose that desire to help those who are less fortunate...and I don't just mean the poor. I mean those who are deeply grieving...those who are heartbroken and feel hopeless. We may continue to count our blessings, but how quickly we forget to reach our arms out to those who are in anguish.

I feel so sad in the car. Listening to all these heart breaking stories...knowing that we are barely even getting a glimpse into the worlds suffering. Sad...because I know come January that most of these "Christmas wishes"  will all be pushed away.

Why do our hearts stop the day after Christmas? Why do we give less? Why don't we give sacrificially year around?

Jesus didn't have to come and save us. He could have just left us here. Left us without any hope.

But, He didn't do that. He came not because of who we are...but because of who He is. Because He loves us that much. Because He wanted us to be with Him forever in eternity. Because He knew before He created you that He wanted you...for forever.

If we are to be be the light in this dark world...then we can't leave those who are brokenhearted on their own.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

So when the Christmas music stops and we stop hearing the cries for help on the radio, let us not close our ears and eyes and hearts to the reality of this hurting world. A world that is desperately in need of a hope that can only come from the Savior. A world that we forget in our glorification of busyness.

Because He doesn't just show up in our lives around the holidays. He is still here. If you want Him.

Let Him continue to show you how He can use you in this hurting you can be a light for Him. 

...and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23 

Thank you Jesus. Because of you we are never without hope. Hallelujah. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The joy of having two sisters

Poor Jacob.

He is all boy and loves his trains and running and jumping. At the mere age of 2 years old, he already thinks burping is funny. His natural instinct is to push, shove, and hit...something we are not proud of and trying hard to stop...but, he is a boy. And boys naturally get these surges of testosterone.

However, when you are surrounded by ladies all day long, it's only natural that the boy gets a bit confused about his man card.

And when I was painting the girls nails the other day, he pitched a fit when I wouldn't paint his too. I had to draw the line on that one.

Oh Jacob. You do make an awfully cute Snow White.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I will always remember

People often say "I remember exactly where I was when..." when reminiscing on something tragic that happened in the world. I can remember where I was when the beautiful Princess Diana died. And of course I can remember exactly what I was doing on September 11th...just like it was yesterday.

Bad things happen all the time, all over the world. Most of the time, we are probably so completely unaware of most of this evil. We know it exists, but I don't think we know just how prevalent it truly is.

On Friday, my husband and I planned a 1/2 day family day. Of all the mornings, we chose December 14th to meet up for a few hours in the middle of his work day to take the kids to ride the Pink Pig (it's an Atlanta thing), see Santa, and have lunch together. We even ventured in a couple shops. We took pictures and laughed as the kids high fived Santa and wore their reindeer hats he gave them. Completely oblivious to what was going in the world at that moment, we had a very rare week day outing as a family. It was one of the best mornings I've had in awhile...morning where I actually just got to enjoy my sweet, precious little ones.

But, forever, my heart will think of this day differently when I look at the pictures below. Below is the picture of a family who was all together and enjoying the blessings that God has given us...each other. It is a picture of girl's dream to have a family of her own...and now she does. It is a picture of a dream come true.

But, now, I look at this picture and will always remember that at the moment this photograph was taken, too many innocent children were taken away from their mommies and daddies too soon. And my heart...oh how it aches for those families. Had those children gotten a picture with Santa this year? Did their mommies and daddies already have their gifts wrapped under the trees? Did those mommies and daddies have special days planned, like our day, full of Christmas activities for their little ones?

Last night, Andrew and I were putting together the Barbie house my parents got her for Christmas. She will be so excited to see it as it is one of only two things she has asked for (that and a Mermaid Barbie). The entire time we were assembling it my heart felt so at how excited my girls will be to get this house...feeling blessed that my parents are always so generous...and then feeling the tears well up in my eyes while wondering if those mommies and daddies had toys already put together that they were so excited about giving their little ones.

To those little innocent children who are most definitely with our Lord and Savior, you will never be forgotten. For those mommies and daddies who will never fully heal and will always grieve this absolute nightmare, you must know that we will never forget you. We will never stop praying for you. And when I look back on this picture when I am old and grey, I will remember you and your little ones.

Our God is good. Our God is faithful. I do not understand His ways or why He allows such horrific things to happen...but, I know that He is the only one who can give these families strength to live.

"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."


We will always remember this day. God heal the broken hearts. God, make your presence known to these families. And Lord, please show us how to pray for them and how we can be of service to during the wake of this tragic day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

In the midst of what can often be a very monotonious job, I often find myself looking and searching for things to bring me joy and happiness. It's a terrible cycle that I think many stay at home mother's find themselves facing...we start feeling like the job of caring for children and our families is not enough. We feel like we should be doing more to contribute to the "status quo" if you will. My husband often teases me as I often come up with these grandiose ideas of something I am going to do...knowing good and well that my follow through is usually lacking. I've said it before and I'll say it again, being a college educated and career person and then becoming a stay at home mom has been humbling for me and a hard transition. My children were obviously very wanted and very planned, but I realized how much of my self esteem came from my career. So, the question is, how do I completely embrace and soak in this time with my do I find complete satisfaction with feeding, diapering, and wiping away tears?

That joy is right here. It is right in front of my face but I am constantly looking else where to fill that loneliness that I often have. It's my own internal battle of feeling like being a mom is not enough...that simply feeding, diapering, holding, and comforting my children is not enough. When did we, as women, start feeling like unless we are doing a daily craft and drilling the ABC's, that we are not doing enough?

But, this weekend, I had a sort of epiphany. It came at a completely unexpected time. It came when I took my children over to my parents house one afternoon for a visit and then took them outside for a little photo shoot. My parents have a large, woodsy outdoor space...perfect for little people to run around and explore. I grabbed my camera and decided just to follow them around catching the funny things they do. And they played. And I watched...partly through a little view finder window, but nevertheless, I watched.

I watched as they tumbled down an over grown grassy hill...laughing hysterically as they flipped and rolled...completely covered in grass. I watched as they took two pumpkins and used them as bowling pins...giggling as they watched them crash into a tree. I watched them throw leaves, fight over a tricycle, and dig in the dirt with a fallen tree branch. 

I found joy for a moment because I stopped trying so hard to be super mom and just let me kids be kids. I didn't have laundry or dishes to do because I wasn't at my house. And it dawned on me that every time my kids are playing well, that is when I seize the opportunity to clean and "be productive" know, so I can earn my keep for the day.

I realized that in my pursuit of happiness, that happiness is already here. It's right in front of me. But, I'm so busy proving to world how awesome of a mom and housekeeper I am that I don't even enjoy the gifts God has given me.

As 2012 comes to a close and I reflect on my desires for 2013, I am simply desiring to find happiness in my life right now...not in life once my kids are potty trained, not in the hope that things will get easier, but happiness in right now. It means that Thomas trains and Barbies will be everywhere and that's ok. It's ok because it means I wasn't constantly running behind them picking up messes...instead I was laughing with them while they made the mess. It means when my girls are dancing to the Nutcracker, I'm going to stop and watch...not use that time to empty the dishwasher.

I don't need to pursue happiness...happiness is already here. So when you come to see me in 2013, you'll have to excuse the mess. We're making memories...and I don't want to miss them.

*Editors note: Could these kids be any cuter? I am so, so blessed. What did I do to deserve such goodness? I so don't deserve so much goodness....but, thank you Jesus for it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'll never stop saying thank you

How easy it is to feel overwhelmed with the day to day life and get in the habit of pity parties. How easy it is to forget all that God has given us. How quickly we forget how much He has done when we get caught up in the American attitude of "we deserve."

But our Jesus is so merciful and forgiving. He knows our hearts can be filthy, but He still sees beauty. He created us for a purpose. He designed us before we were ever even conceived in our mother's womb. Sometimes I wonder what He was thinking...wanting us.

There are days where my heart is so full of self-pity...days where I feel the overwhelming frustration of having a house on the market for almost 2 years...days where I feel tired and exhausted because my husband is gone 12 hours a day, 5 days a week to provide for our family...days where I feel ungrateful that that money he makes is stretched so thin.

And then I look at these pictures of my kids. Two short years ago, we did not even know if they would live. One year ago, we didn't know if Audrey would ever walk very well. Two years ago, we saw God's mercy in the greatest way.

So, every year on Thanksgiving, I reflect on how this time in 2008, I held two tiny bodies in my arms and prayed for God's mercy. And now I see them running, talking, laughing...thriving!!! And my heart begs for forgiveness for my ungratefulness.

How many times can I say thank you?

Looking at these pictures, I'd say I can never say thank you God and to all who prayed for us and these children. 

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. Thank you for loving me despite my ugliness and filth. Thank you for loving me through the good and the bad. Thank you for listening to my heart and not judging me. Thank you for helping me to continue to grow closer to Christ and for being patient and compassionate when I mess up. Thank you for being Jesus to me. May you have a day filled with Thankfulness. May you reflect and see all that God has truly done for us. And despite our challenges and struggles, that He continues to be faithful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dallas Cow Girl

Besides taking pictures of one of my nearest and dearest friends in Dallas last weekend, I also ate really, really well. You have not had real tex-mex unless you've been to the heart of Texas. We also ate at this fun and fabulous place called "Breadwinners"...oh my gosh...Eggs Benedict on a french croissant...I inhaled that dish!  I'd have to start exercising if I lived in friend fed me well!

Although I did not partake in any shopping on this trip, let me tell you...if you want to shop, Dallas has it all...and by all, I mean on every street corner there is a fancy schmansy mall.

Of course, you also find random fields with barrels of hay amidst this fabulous town:

What do you think? Do I look the part?

Yes, that is a piece of hay in my mouth. I like to embarrass myself as often as possible.

I'm officially adding Dallas to my "maybe live in the future" places.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Texas Beauty

My husband recently gave me the greatest gift ever...a plane ticket to go visit one of my absolute dearest friends in the world. I was totally blown away when he told me the news. The added bonus is that my friend is 35 weeks pregnant, so I got to give her a gift as well: a maternity photo shoot.

It was the greatest weekend I've had in a long time. She is a dear sister in Christ and we stayed up late all 3 nights just gabbing away. I love that I got to see her during a very special time in her life. This baby girl has been covered in prayer and her name sums it up: Grace.

Here are a few shots from our weekend together. She is seriously one of the most beautiful pregnant women ever.

Spending time with a friend in deep fellowship...sharing our deepest fears, our passions, our like therapy for the soul. It is a taste of Heaven. I am so thankful for those that have seen me at my worst and continue to love me anyway. Thank you Lord for the women you put in my life!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day dreaming of Paris

Back to your regularly scheduled program. A little eye candy. This is how I found Ella yesterday when I went to check on her during her "quiet time".

I showed her this picture when she woke up and she said "I wanted to look at the Sacré-Cœur while I was dreaming."

Yes, I've totally brain washed her.

And then I asked her if she knew how to read any of the words in the book and she said "well, I don't speak French." (The book is in English)

Funny girl.

She also told me when she grows up she's going to be a mommy and have a razor and shave her legs.

Oh dear. She is all girl I tell ya!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

London in a Bag

Doesn't every child need one of these?


And by every child, I really mean me.

I love having kids who have no idea what to ask for for Christmas so that I can buy them toys that I want to play with. 


I know. I'm ridiculous. It's the little things...literally.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Twas the Night Before Halloween

It's the night before Halloween and I still don't have a definite plan for the kids costumes...I know; so unlike me. We have so many random play costumes that have been handed down to us that I figured I'd just let Ella put on whatever she feels like. At the moment she says she is going to be "Tigger" (from Winnie the Pooh). I'm shocked she doesn't want to be a princess.

Apparently I don't have my act together this year. I do, however, happen to be the best and most productive procrastinator in the USA. Is there a costume for that?

Oh well. We did Ella pick out a pumpkin and carve it...with a minnie mouse face. High five to the husband for his mad art skills.

Jacob looks pitiful in this photo because he had a random 102 fever that day. He slept in my arms most of the day. It's bittersweet when your kids are sick; I hate that they feel bad, but I do love the snuggles from my otherwise wild and high energy little bits.

Happy Halloween! Check back tomorrow and maybe I'll have a costume plan.

Or not. Ahem.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Twins-a newborn photo shoot; tips for taking pictures of newborns

I don't usually share photos I take of other peoples children on this blog, but these twin girls are just too sweet to not share. (And yes, I got permission from their momma first!)

I am by no means any Anne Geddes of Newborn photography, but I've learned a few things the past few years to be able to keep my creative side happy. I feel extremely honored when someone asks me to photograph their family. I wish I had more time and energy to really perfect my craft, but I always learn something every time I pick up my camera.

Here are a few tricks for photographing newborns. People who have experience with childrens photography will already know most of these things, but I thought I'd share them with those of you of who are either interested in learning more or simply wondering "how did she do that?"

1. Newborn photos should ideally be taken with the first 10 days of birth while they are still sleepy and all curled up. After ten days, they start having more alert time (aka-crying), baby acne sets in, and those little arms and legs don't want to stay curled up close to their body (like they were in the womb) any more.

2. Heating pad: NEVER lay a baby on a heating pad. But, I do use one to warm up my blankets right before I place the baby(ies) on them. Always check with your hand first to make sure the blanket isn't too hot to touch

3. White noise machine: It's loud inside the mommies womb and babies are very comforted by white noise. I typically take one with me to every newborn shoot.

4. Space Heater: Keeping babies warm is key to sleepy baby pictures. If it is a cooler month, I take a space heater with me (and I always wear a tank top...because I am going to be sweating by the end.

Oh, and those cute photos with babies propped up on their hands? That's actually a composite of several photos layered on top of each other. Hard and tricky...I have not gotten to this level quite yet.
Don't forget the greatest newborn accessory...the parents. They are especially wonderful when you have a newborn baby who is more alert or older and not as bendy anymore. It helps if the parents of the newborn look like Calvin Klein models like the picture below:

It's a rough life photographing beautiful people and their babies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do red heads have more fun?

I've been a light blonde for 32 years. It was time for a change. I was thinking of brownish low lights, like the picture below:

No, this isn't me. I didn't turn into a supermodel over night.

Here is the final result: It's more red/warm than the picture above, but I kind of like it.


What do you think? Strawberry blonde? Red head? I barely recognize myself! (For comparison, look at Ella's hair. That is my normal color)

Do red heads and brunette's have more fun?

By the way, Ella keeps asking me "when am I taking that hair off?" Ha!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Someone to Watch Over Me

Sometimes amidst the busyness of life, you will feel a little tap on the leg reminding you to slow down and savor the sweetness that is in front of you. Sometimes those moments are so sweet, that you have to write them down because you never want to forget them.

The children were happy playing today while I folded laundry in the bedroom. Pandora was playing in the background. And the moment Frank Sinatra's "Someone to watch over me" came on, I felt a tap, tap, tap on my leg. Looking down behind me was my precious little boy, with his arms up in the air, wanting me to dance.

And so we did. And the song and the dance partner could not have been more perfect. He smiled and held both my hands the entire song and swayed back and forth. And at the end, he applauded and went back to playing trains.

But me...I had to go wipe away a few happy tears.

That was definitely a moment I will never forget.

I will always "watch over you" my love. And when you get married, this is going to be our mother/son dance song. After today, it is officially our tune my sweet Jacob!

I couldn't have picked a better, I'm so glad you did!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas in October; kids version

Although Christmas is still a good 2 months away, we have started talking a little about my favorite holiday. I'm one of those people who will pull out a Christmas c.d. in the middle of summer. Ella was even dancing around the house singing Jingle Bells today. It's ok if you are rolling your eyes right now. We've never claimed to be normal people.

I may or may not have watched two Christmas movies in the past few days. I know. I'm ridiculous. This year I'm blaming it on the Eiffel Tower tree topper I saw at Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn's Travel Christmas collection is killing my "thou shall not covet" pledge.

I usually shop early because I like to actually just enjoy the month of December and not be focused on finding gifts. There are so many other fun things to do in December and it is a relief to get the shopping done. We don't exchange too many gifts, so it's pretty easy to finish early.

Currently, we are on the prowl for an indoor tent for the kids. Basically, this would be their "Santa" gift. I've been calling all over America trying to find this particular one at H&M. Bonus points to you if you find it and pick me up one. (I'd reimburse of course)

Ella has been obsessed with "The Nutcracker" ever since I took her last year to see the ballet. She's already asked about going again this year. Since she also really loves Barbies, I scored these below on ebay. Note: You can't get these in stores. It's an older Barbie movie, so any products have to be found on ebay or something like that. (We will also take her to see the ballet again; our church has a ballet program and they put it on for less than 10 dollars a ticket. Perfect place for little ones to experience this ballet)

She and Audrey are also getting these Holiday sisters Barbies. Another ebay purchase. I would like to point out that before I became a mom I said we would not get into the whole Barbie thing. We say a lot of silly things before we become parents. You know why we love Barbie? Because it provides hours of creativity and make believe...and that's all I care about.

Besides a few books, here is the last thing I purchased for all of them. Even Jacob loves to play kitchen/tea party. The wooden cupcakes we have are one of the most played with toys in the house. So, I decided to add these play macarons to their tea party:

I've also had this Madeline doll sitting in my closet for over a year thinking Audrey would like her own Madeline doll at some point. I think this will be the Christmas she will get her own. Again, another ebay purchase:

That pretty much covers the girls. I have a couple books for each child.

Then, there is Jacob. Since his main (and really only) interest is in trains and sometimes cars, I guess we could buy a few additions to the train set. I did buy him a green double decker bus because he plays with the red one so much. I couldn't find a picture to show you. Again, another ebay purchase (are you seeing a trend here?)

I'm also trying to decide which one or two of these to get to add to our Geotrax. Yes, of course that's Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Do you really expect anything different from me at this point?


To me, that really seems like a lot. I know it probably does not compare to what some kids get, but we still try to be careful. It's not even so much about the money as it is that when kids get too much, many toys will just get pushed aside and never played with. We try really hard to only invest in things that we feel like will really be played with a good deal.

How do you all do Christmas? At the moment, we are thinking of saying only one thing from Santa. Ella understands that things cost money, so I don't want her to get in the habit of asking for multiple things from Santa thinking that it is "free".

We are so excited about Christmas this year!!! It is going to be a magical one this year and for a few years after.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The ten year plan

One of the things I love about my husband is that he is always up for an adventure. I love that we share the same dreams and that we both don't feel that just because we have children that our dreams stop. I think in those first ten years of marriage, there is so much focus on starting a family. And although family is what is most important to us, it doesn't mean that our desires, career goals, and our sense of adventure has stopped.

We've spent a lot of time this past week talking about life and where we feel like we are being led.  And although we have no immediate plans for the next few years, it was good to talk about where we see our lives possibly headed.

It could very possibly include this:

Do you think the Queen could spare a few rooms for a family of 5? We'll even bring our own furniture!

This is also a possibility:

Skiing anyone?

It will almost positively include this:


And then in 20 years, a very real possibility is this:

And even if life turns out to be living the rest our lives in the Southeast, USA...or you start hearing my kids say Parlez-vous français?, my home will always be this:

And, no I didn't put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on here. That's more in the retirement plan. But, hey, if opportunity starts knocking, my bags are already packed!!!

Happy Monday!

(If you are wondering my husband is a transportation engineer. His specific interests are in mass transit. I only mention that because it explains why we are interested in the places above)

Friday, October 12, 2012

A little Nostalgia: Raggedy Ann and Andy

I thought I'd share what Ella and I are reading together these days. I recently expressed my need to find a good chapter book to start with Ella. We still love all our Angelina Ballerina Books, Ella Bella Books, and Katie books, but I was really desiring to start reading a more chapter type book with her. I read somewhere that it is good to start doing that with your kids when you notice that they have a little longer attention span (usually around Ella's age...age 4) so that they stop relying so much on pictures and start learning to just listen to a story and get a picture in their head. A friend of mine suggested the old Raggedy Ann stories (these started in 1918 people!!!). I am so, so glad she did because they are the perfect transition into chapter books.

I love the more mature and eloquent language in these books as well as the storyline themselves. The virtues and values are timeless and presented in a much "classier" way than some of the silly stories you will read in modern books. If you are a lover of the classics and classic language, these are a must for your bookshelf. I really just can't say enough good things about them.  Start with the "Ann" stories. (In all fairness, we haven't started the Andy book yet, but if it is even half as good as the Ann one, it's sure to be a hit!)


 Ella also has a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll set that her great grandmother (the one who Audrey's middle name came from) had made for her when she was just a wee little babe growing in the womb. Sometimes after we read the stories, we use the dolls to reenact the story.

So, if you are feeling a little nostalgic or ready to read something on a slightly higher level to your children, I would recommend starting with these.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My new Parisian BFF

It's true. I have a new best friend who recently moved here from Paris. (If you have known me for more than one nano second you will know that I am only slightly obsessed with Paris and London. I may or may not be eyeing that Eiffel Tower Tree topper in the Pottery Barn Christmas catalog).

OK. That's not really true. But, I did meet a lady from Paris about my age the other day when we were at the train museum. She was there with her husband and 2 year old little boy. (Yes we are that nerdy that we spend Saturdays at train museums and such while every one else watches football.)

She said she moved here because they wanted to be able to have a house and because of the climate. Of course I really wanted to say "SERIOUSLY?!?! You left Paris and the best place you all could come up with was Georgia?" Instead we talked a little about our kids and I listened to her barely two year old son speak both French and English. He got double cute points for that.

Anyway, I was going to pull out the whole "hey, we should switch houses like in the movie 'The Holiday', but decided that might be slightly creepy. So, I was going to settle for being BFF's (best friends forever), but it was our turn to climb aboard to the train.

Maybe next time.

The twins and Ella with Daddy. Such a rare treat to have a picture with everyone actually looking at the camera)

My beauty queens and the little engineer

My kids seriously have the most awesome dad ever. They are so lucky. (He's a pretty fabulous husband as well)
Anyway, I was soooooo close to getting that much closer to moving to Europe, but it looks like we might be sweltering in the South for awhile longer. Le Sigh.

I'm currently taking donations for this tree topper ;)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Olympic Themed Birthday Party-Audrey and Jacob turn TWO!

If you can't go to London for the Olympics, then the next best option is to just bring the Olympics to you. For the twins SECOND birthday, we had our own little Olympics complete with a bean bag toss and ring toss. There were gold medals for everyone.We had it up at my in-laws lake house with big plans for swimming events, boating events, etc. but, we kept it more low key. Of course, I still had little details to make us feel like we were there. See Audrey and Jacob's t-shirts below? (Audrey is wearing one with a little girl holding a UK flag/Union Jack Flag and Jacob has one with Olympic rings, Big Ben, and other London sites on it. I got these on sale at the Gap after the Olympics for a steal!)

Audrey and Jacob turn TWO!!

You would never know these two were born so early!

One of the cupcakes: little royal guards! So cute!

Bottom of those cupcakes

I got these bears on ebay for a steal! There was supposed to be Scottish Bagpiper and a Beefeater, but they didn't arrive in time. Aren't the Bobbie and Royal Guard Bear's from Harrod's so cute?

These were the second cupcakes; UK flag

And the best part: the cupcake toppers!! Big Ben, London Taxi, Royal Guard, and our favorite...the Double Decker bus!

Ella in her matching t-shirt giving her Uncle Ernie his first Gold Medal! Yes, we had "gold" medals. My brother wore his Swiss T-shirt. Way to have Olympic Spirit! Ella LOVES him. He's a pretty awesome uncle!

Our tradition of releasing balloons to heaven; two balloons for two years!

I wish I had some pictures of the rest of my family. I usually am better about that. It's hard to visit with people and take pictures. Sometimes I feel like I just have to put the camera down and enjoy the day. My dad has some more pictures on his camera.

Wasn't this such a neat party theme? I can't believe they are two. Maybe one of these days we can actually take them to Europe and show them all these cool places and things! I did see a really cool travel nurse position in London for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I tried to sell Andrew on the idea...let's just say he needs a bit more convincing. Can you imagine what a fun adventure??