Happy New Year!

We rang in the New Year here at the McResidence with McDaddy’s two brothers, his sister and their families. In all, there were 19 of us sleeping in this house last night. Twelve of those people were under the age of 11.

We partied like rock-stars until well after midnight.

Or something like that.

This is my sister-in-law, Michelle and I (and the cute cowl she made for my 40th birthday!) just before midnight.

All the while, the kids were going nine kinds of crazy just behind us with blow-horns that I got at the Mart of Walls. [Have you ever had the joy of hearing TWELVE blow horns at one time? If not, you most definitely should.]

Anyway, a few days earlier, I saw a picture on Carrie Ann Innaba’s Facebook page that included a box of envelopes, along with members of her family holding cash money. (If you’ve ever been to a party at my house, you know that I am a sucker for games and prizes, so I am always on the lookout for a new game AND this one seemed fun!)

First, I bought a box of envelopes and a gift card.

Then, I searched my house over for flat items that would fit inside of the envelopes.

(And this is where I should include a picture of those items, but I got over zealous and placed the items in the envelopes before taking a picture.)

I randomly placed 20 coupons for a free frosty at Wendy’s (which I bought for Halloween treat bags and THEN FORGOT ABOUT), six gift cards for free games of bowling (which the boys received months ago when attending a birthday party at the bowling alley), three packets of Kool-Aid (we get wild and crazy up in here, folks!) two bookmarks, a ten-dollar bill and a five-dollar bill in the envelopes.

We sat in a circle (kids and adults) and passed the box of envelopes, pulling one envelope at a time until all the envelopes were pulled. It was so much fun and even the youngest child (3 years old) caught on pretty quick. The even funnier part is that the envelope box fell to the floor as it was being passed and the envelopes spilled out all over the floor. We ended up placing the envelopes in a basket to finish the game out.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you should go HERE right now and watch our nephew, Noah FINALLY picking a winning envelope after several rounds of picking an empty one. (I’m hoping the link works!)

And of course we ate. And ate. And ate some more.

It was a wonderful way to ring in the New Year and we all had a great time together.

I am looking forward to a wonderful 2014!

2013 Year In Review

When I saw on Facebook today that Jo-Lynne was hosting her annual Blog Review, I knew I wanted to participate again. I love to look back on our year, and remember the fun times we’ve shared as a family. (For that reason, I won’t be posting What I Learned This Week, but, I am adding a linky, so that you can link up your end-of-year posts, too.)

For years, I scrapbooked 73% of our lives. Sadly though, life happened and it became more important to live it, than it did to scrapbook it, so I haven’t done that since 2008. I recently decided to start making photo books on Shutterfly, so hopefully I’ll get caught up that way.

Until then, I’ll have to rely on my Year In Reviews here on the blog.

January

Our year started off with a bang, when my sweet little family had the privilege of meeting TobyMac and Matthew West.

Also in January, I signed up to compete in a Biggest Loser Challenge.

February

With the exception of exercising daily for the Biggest Loser challenge, the month of February was pretty calm… Until the 26th of that month, when my mom left work because she was dizzy. That was the last day that she walked unassisted, and the start of life-changing events for my family (which is also the reason my daily blogging became more like weekly blogging).

March

With only ten blog posts during the month of March, there’s not much to write about, except that McDaddy passed a very important test required for military promotion

and that I spent A LOT of time trying to trust and clinging to God’s promises. OH, and how could I forget that March was the start of a whole string of kidney-stone related problems that would take me FOUR FRIGGIN’ MONTHS to get over.

April and May

I ended up losing 8.2 pounds in the biggest loser contest, but lost 20 more pounds after that thanks to the flu, the kidney stones, and worrying about my sweet momma.

AND! I could barely kuWait to share the news that came this month, after finding out that one of McDaddy’s co-workers was selflessly taking the six-month deployment to Kuwait originally assigned to McDaddy. Folks, it felt like we hit the lottery, because that meant that this guy

would be with us for all of our birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and Valentine’s Day.  So yes, you could say EXCITEMENT!

June

My sweet ten-year old baby boy graduated from Elementary School because our stupid school board thought it was a grand idea to send our fifth graders to our Middle School four years ago.

But I’m not bitter.

Our other sweet boy, Alex decided to be baptized.

And how could I not mention the one year anniversary of bringing my dream car (THE SATURN SKY) home from Kentucky.

July

July?

July, was a doozie.

I had a whole slew of medical problems that I turned into a medical mini-series and I briefly contemplated turning this family fun blog into a medical blog because OH MY WORD, THE MEDICAL PROBLEMS!

Plus, there was the whole “Alex made ALL-STARS” thing” that was so friggin’ exciting, you would’ve thought my kid was playing for the Yankees.

August

My heart ached as I watched my sweet boy walk into Middle School for the first time.

I found a post from 2010 noting 40 things I’d like to do before I turn 40. It was fun to revisit that post and provide an update.

September

Oh look, it’s another medical issue.

McDaddy celebrated 22 years as a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

October

October was a crazy, busy month.

I met my long-time bloggy friend, Heather at an Extraordinary Women conference.

In true dramatic Julie fashion, I came *thisclose* to losing my life when the drive-shaft fell off of the Jeep while driving down the interstate.

By October, my mudroom was slowly coming together.

SQUEAL!!!!!

And it just dawned on me that I haven’t posted a picture since we got the new flooring down.

[NOTE TO SELF: DO THAT!]

It became evident in October that I was having trouble sleeping (which also translates to McDaddy said I was keeping him awake snoring.) My family Doctor prescribed a sleep study and it was off the hook.

A few days later, McDaddy and I enjoyed a Jeep Jamboree weekend in Williamsburg, Kentucky with friends.

 

November

The craziness continued in November.

First, (and on the first) our sweet Alex turned eight.

For my 40th birthday, McDaddy took me on a surprise trip to New York City.

But McDaddy turned 40 before I did. We celebrated by giving him FORTY gifts.

 

December

After months of dreading it, I finally come to terms with and embrace TURNING FORTY. And my sweet boys hosted a 40th birthday party for me.

 

And the next day, Stevie turned 11.

Christmas is always a fun time around here.

We are so very blessed.

Tonight we look forward to ringing in the New Year with our family (lots of them!) here at the McResidence.

While I have no idea what is in store for my family in 2014, I am sure of God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Happy New Year!!!

——-

Wanna link up?

It’s simple.

2013 Blog Recap Carnival

1. Publish your 2013 recap post on your blog.

2. Link to your actual 2013 recap blog post, not your blog’s main page.

3. Somewhere within your post, please link back here at From Inmates To Playdates so everyone can join in on the fun.



A Little Christmas Tour

Even though Christmas is over, I have decided to leave my Christmas décor up another week. I have heard that taking your tree down before New Year’s is bad luck, but I don’t believe for one second that my luck for the upcoming year has anything to do with when I take our beautiful, rotating, nine-foot pine down and cram it into a box. It makes me smile even though 1/5 of the lights decided they were on strike this year. (A big thanks to McDaddy for pulling several strands out of the loft because you know, I HATE TO WAIT on anything!)

My favorite thing is that when it’s dark, the tree shines in three windows all at once, our bay window, the huge window behind the tree and our sliding glass door behind our dining room table. I love it!

Here is the bay window – full of snowman – with the tree reflecting so that you can get the full effect.

And since we’re talking about my tree, have I mentioned that after years or research, shopping and searching I found a snowman tree-topper at Cracker Barrel?

I just can’t explain how cute it is.

As you can tell by my bay-window, my tree, and 80% of the Christmas décor in the McResidence, I love snowmen.

And I might have already mentioned this (and shown you, too!) but every year McDaddy’s parents buy us (and lots of others) a white-house ornament. The ornaments are beautiful and delicate and I just love them.

After seeing McDaddy’s great aunt’s white-house ornament tree in Florida last year, I started on the hunt for one. She bought hers at Pier One and probably paid an arm and a leg for it. I’m actually quite fond of my limbs, so I was delighted to find one in a magazine for the low-low price of $14.99.

It’s not as tall as I would like, but like I said, I enjoy all four limbs, so….

Instead of piling pictures of my boys with Santa over the past ten years on this sofa table, I decided to do this instead:

I just love the way it turned out. (Obviously I’m talking about the table and not the horrible photographic evidence.)

I had no idea this post would turn out to be a tour of my Christmas décor, but while we’re at it, I want to show you the lighted garland I bought for my loft this year. It is so fancy and beautiful that sometimes I just turn the lights out and stare up at it.

I will be so sad when it all comes down next week. I’ll be even sadder to have to do the work it takes to get all this stuff put away. But I’ll worry about that next week.

Just a few more days in 2013. Make ‘em count y’all.

Christmas At Our Place

We had a wonderful Christmas here at the McResidence. Here’s what Christmas was like at the McResidence….

We ate too many of these,

We said good-bye for another year to our elf, Louis Hamilton,

We watched this (and Home Alone) approximately, 419 times.

I watched this beautiful tree spin around and around night-after-night in amazement, because I am a like a little kid when it comes to all manner of Christmas.

These two were wishing and hoping for an Xbox 360.

Santa came and brought this stuff,

Which means that these two got what they were hoping for,

And I spent about five hours last night signing [next year's] Christmas cards with this beautiful array of awesomeness which McDaddy had packed carefully in my stocking.

And once I again, I was privileged to spend Christmas with these three beautiful people. I love them to the moon and back.

And that, as they say, is that.

A Christmas Greeting

From our home to yours, we wish you a very MERRY CHIRSTMAS and a blessed New Year!