Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

1.  Be more grateful.  2012 has been a tough year in many regards.  The national news has inspired me to treasure each day with my family.  To cherish my children.  To value each and every day here on earth.
2.  Pray more.  Make it to mass more often.  Lead by example.  Sending my children to CCD and ensuring they receive all of their Catholic sacraments is not enough. 
3.  Be a better friend.  I would be nowhere in life without my friends.  I received a sweet gift from a close friend this year that read:
"Sometimes friends are family, too."
Amen to that.
4.  Yell less.  Laugh more.  Seems easy enough.  Not always the case.
5.  Travel and explore and show the world to my children.  Within our means, we will see and experience new things. 
New Year's Eve agenda? 
Work and then watching the ball drop in NYC on tv.
Beach visit tomorrow with Kelly and baby Beau!
Happy New Year, dear friends!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Post-Christmas, Lamby's Back and Zoo Lights

Christmas Eve was a beautiful night.
Our punks at mass.
Alert the media:  We all sat through the mass, IN THE CHURCH, from start to finish.
I called the local paper. 
We donated $26 for the victims of the Connecticut tragedy.  A small effort, but I hope our kids understood why.
Night Before Christmas followed.

And, each kiddo got to open one gift.

Time to prepare for Santa!

Little ones quickly fell asleep in my arms as Carter and Blake threw rocks on the roof to mimic reindeer and rang bells outside their window to sound like Santa.

Christmas morning!

And, a gorgeous Christmas sunset finished the day.
A day or so after, a special delivery was made to Laine.
Lamby, her beloved friend from birth.  Left in NYC.  We were all a total mess over this loss.
We called the hotel.  And, called.  And, called.  We were told "No" and still called.
FINALLY, they found it.

We were all in tears!

Zoo Lights at the San Diego Zoo were fun, as always.

 Christmas has come and gone.  I opened our store at 6am the day after.  Crowds were kinder than expected.
Little ones are busy with new Ipads.  Carter is even busier with his PS3. 
Here's to a quiet house and hopefully seeing them in 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Disneyland Christmas

Beattys were home with a sick baby, so we enjoyed Disneyland with the Davidge family. 7 kids and 3 parents. Blake took the night off to work on Christmas presents. It was wild, chaotic, unpredictable fun! The park was nearly at capacity. We headed to the back of the park and rode lots more than I was expecting.

Lainey and Ainsley.  She was a bitty baby when we reunited with the Davidges.  My, how time flies.

Sword in the stone!

Haunted Mansion!  Even Ainsley had fun.

The crew!

No lines for Splash Mountain.  And, you don't even get wet!  Love it.

Kooky, crazy Disney fun inside.  It's like the Six Flags of Texas Log Ride on steroids.  With animatronics!

Honeybears on Whinnie the Pooh!
Who doesn't want to take 6 kids on a ride alone?

Not even out of the parking lot and all 3 of my punks were asleep.

Merry Christmas to all, friends and family! 
Back soon with a recap of our fun holiday ahead.  Lots of surprises in store!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Starnes Family Traditions

With the big day approaching, I thought I would re-visit our holiday traditions.
Disneyland.  One of our new favorites.
Always best with friends.
This year with the Davidges and Beattys!

Christmas Eve Mass.
Every year.
Nothing is sweeter than hearing Silent Night.  I love it at Midnight Mass even more, but 3 children has made that nearly impossible. 
Just as happy with our hooligans at 6pm.
Some years we really dress up.  Others, not as much.  The Catholic Church accepts all kinds.

Elf on the Shelf. 
Usually well behaved.  Sometimes not, per Blake.

Reindeer food.  Oatmeal, sprinkles, spices and whatever else the kids come up with.

And, sprinkling it for the reindeer.

The Night Before Christmas.  This book was given to us on our first Christmas as a family by Pa.  We treasure it.

Food for Santa.  Just as important as the reindeer.

Time to look for Santa!
Bells on the door so we hear curious children.
Lots of work to do!

 We used to have snow on Christmas morning.  In fact, it will be a first this year if our kids DON'T run to the door looking for it on Christmas.  For a long time, they equated Santa with snow.  Not the case in sunny California!

All gifts opened on Christmas morning.
Santa brings one.
The rest come from us, family and friends.  It's a special time.

And, typically, time outside with new gear!
California Christmas is certainly different.  But, we've found the beauty in it like so many other things.
And, finally, The San Diego Zoo for Zoo Lights.
We've done it for the past two years.  Uncle Chris treats us to passes each year for Christmas.  Such a great gift!  Hope to keep going.
I think that covers it!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NYC Day 4

Last post! 

Tearing up a bit because it's over.  I want to go again.

Every year. 

Here was our view each night.  I insisted we sleep with the shades open to wake with the sun and see the Empire State Building glow in the dark.  Not a bad view from the 21st floor.


Our elf popped up here and there.  Tricky guy.

Empire State Building was up first on this last day.


The elf on top of the Empire State Building?

It was a Christmas miracle.

Kids were delighted.

I love this city.

Quick peak at the Flatiron Building.

Subway riders.

Losing their minds a bit.

World Trade Center.

I teared up just approaching the area.  It was too much.

We explained what happened - in the most simple and delicate terms - to Jack and Lainey.  Carter already knew, of course.

He was less than a year old when it happened. I'll never forget holding him that night, in our tiny apartment, waiting for Blake to get home to see what would unfold.  Newly married, with a new baby and the world was at war.  Such a scary time.

En route to Grand Central, we had some impromptu drummers on the Subway.  So cool.

Jack ran like mad.  Reminded us so much of Kansas City.

Cheers at Two Boots to a great vacation.

My little New Yorkers hailing a cab.

I could so live here.

When we moved to Denver eons ago, I nearly convinced Blake to buy a condo downtown to try city life.  He wouldn't budge.  Off to suburbia instead.

Flights home were long and exhausting.  As was work today.  I much prefer vacation.

I loved this trip.  It might be my favorite ever.

From the moment our kids learned we were going....and jumping off the couch to hug hearing the pilot wish "the Starnes children a very Merry Christmas" on our first seeing Laine stand on the Burger King high chair and mimic the Statue of Liberty........tea at The Plaza........walking through Central falling asleep with the view of the Empire State Building glowing blue outside our window.

It was pure magic.  I loved every minute.  I love our little family and all our adventures.

And, I love that Jack pays full attention to every detailed instruction during each flight's preparation speech.


Next up? Christmas preparedness! Shipping gifts out in two days after final wrapping tomorrow night. Disneyland for another holiday celebration with friends is in the works. Cards and more cards to send out. I have a list a mile long! Good thing we have so many elves around here to help. 

Thanks for sharing NYC 2012 with us.  

It was all I was hoping and more!