Monday, December 13, 2010


I am not a crafty person. My incredible mother is a professional seamstress and quilter. She paints, she decorates, she bakes--she can make anything. Really.
I, on the other hand, get frustrated by thinking about crafts. Past RS Super Saturday projects haunt the shadows of my closets, threating to expose me. Past sewing projects (save the one I'll post soon) have turned into tear-stained lumpy messes, and I've never baked a cake from scratch...ever.
That being said, I was inspired this year, to attempt to make Christmas Stockings for my two boys. The projects are beautiful sequinned affairs, all hand-stitched and darling but incredibly time intensive. I chose this gingerbread stocking for Benson and have another train stocking I'll do (next year) for McKay. Or at least, that was the plan.
Nearly every night since before Thanksgiving, after the kids have gone to bed, I've spent some time working on this stocking. I've cut-out, beaded, sequinned, appliqued, and otherwise labored over the project.
Well, Saturday night I worked on the stocking, then put it on the shelf and went to bed. Benson was sick and was up most of the night, so BJ spent the first half of the night up with him and I the second half. We were both completely exhausted by the time McKay greeted us at 7:00 am. He came in with his usual morning request to "watch a movie" and BJ, in bleary-eyed exhaustion put on an episode of Caillou and went back to bed. I was in Benson's room and heard none of this happen.
When Benson and I came out, BJ and McKay were sitting on the couch together. As soon as he saw me, McKay said, "Sorry I ruined your project Mommy". I mumbled, "It's ok honey", not having any idea what he was talking about but BJ said, "actually, it's probably not".
Apparently BJ went back to bed at 7 and fell asleep until 8:30 when he heard McKay next to the bed saying, "Daddy I found clippers" and then the distinct slice of scissors. BJ rolled over and there in McKay's hands was my beautiful project with slices around all the edges. Apparently he'd been cutting for about 40 minutes and boy does it show.

I have to admit, I was rather horrified that my hours of work had been sliced to pieces, but that fact that McKay followed me around the house kissing and hugging me and apologizing over and over again did help.
I'm still going to try and salvage the stocking but now it will be McKay's stocking and Benson will get the train stocking. And, every Christmas when we pull them out, we can tell the story about McKay and the "clippers".
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

An honest prayer

We continue in our attempts to help McKay learn to pray. Tonight we sat down at the table to offer a blessing on our Little Ceasar's (which might be asking too much to begin with). McKay was served first and already had a mouth full of pizza by the time we were ready to offer the prayer. Nevertheless, he launched into a meal prayer by himself and said his typical, "Thank you for Nana, thank you for Papa, thank you for Becky....pause....(usually this is where the promptings begin). I suggested "Thank you for the food" but instead of repeating as he usually does, from across the table with his mouth stuffed full of pizza I heard a hearty, "Mmmm-Hmmm"!

Yes, tonight we were all very thankful for the pizza.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Many Faces of Benson James

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Happy Thanksgiving 2010

For the Thanksgiving holiday this year, we took a trip down to Birmingham, Alabama to visit BJ's brother Damon, his wife Lety, and their two boys, Colton and Camden. Incidently, Camden is two days younger than McKay, so I'm sure they'll always be great friends. Indeed, all three boys had a great time and really seemed to enjoy playing together. Colton and Camden's Thomas the Train set was the hit of the weekend for McKay--thanks for sharing your toys, boys!

Homewood, where Lety and Damon live, is a lovely place. It's very lush and the weather was just perfect. The Alabama Coxes showed us a wonderful time, complete with a fantastic Thanksgiving meal, movies, treats, and fun activities with the kids. One of them was a trip to the cookie shop where the boys each got to choose their own sugar cookie. Colton's self-portait is above.

McKay loved this shop and had his nose pressed up against the glass of the display trying desperately to decide on just one cookie. It was pretty funny to see him try and decide between so many delicious options.

And Camden. Don't let that innocent look fool you. Upon closer examination you'll see a faint orange ring around his mouth. All three boys loved their treat.

I just have to add a small tribute here to my sister-in-law Lety who deserves some sort of medal of honor for supporting me in a Black Friday adventure that turned out to be a little more than we bargained for.

I've never done any Black Friday shopping. To me, the unearthly hours, tales of ridiculously long lines, and shoppers running over each other to get to the great deals was just NOT WORTH IT. Well, enter children. Now, all of the sudden, Christmas means buying toys and toys, it turns out, are expensive. So, I got this great idea that we should hit the Toys'rus sale, since I've been looking for months for a used train table for McKay with no success (they go like hot cakes on craigslist, just so you know) and Toys'rus was having a fabulous sale on one.

Lety agreed to go with me to the sale so, at 9:00 pm, off we went, thinking we'd waltz into the store at 10 pm when it opened, collected our few purchases, and breeze back out, home by midnight or so. HA! How could I possibly prepare for the scene of insanity we found as we entered the parking lot. There wasn't a parking spot within a mile of the store. The began at the doors and wrapped around the rest of the strip mall, seriously, we were about 15 stores from our destination when we began standing in line.

Then we found out that the fire marshal was only going to allow a certain number of people in the store at a time. Super. 10:00 came and went, still in front of the same store. 11:00 found us 2 stores up. 12:00 and we rounded the corner so Toyrus was actually in view which, up to this point, had not been the case. At 12:45 it began raining and at 1:00 am, freezing, exhausted, and soaking wet, we finally entered the store.

There were people everywhere, chasing madly through aisles, climbing displays to retrieve toys. It was madness. But, thankfully and miraculously, there were 3 train tables left! I literally grabbed one and sat on it, lest someone come along and rip it out of my hands. Then I discovered you could take a nifty little slip to the front of the store and load it into your car. So, we stood in yet another ridiculous line in order to check out. But at least this time it wasn't raining.

We finally got home around 2:30am and fell into bed.

So, thanks Lety, for sticking with me. And I hope you're still speaking to me. :)

Airplane Museum

While in Birmingham, Damon and Lety took us to see this really great airplane museum. It had lots of real planes, some from the Vietnam War and WWII as well as many others. The boys loved the ones they could sit in and fly themselves. Here is Pilot McKay, preparing for take-off.

And little Boo getting a free ride on the diaper bag, courtesy of Dad. It was the day of the big BYU-Utah game, so we had our little Cougar all dressed up. Too bad it didn't help.

McKay and Daddy both in the cockpit! McKay did the stearing while BJ manned the gums, uh, guns. :)

And here they are again. That blur of a hand is McKay waving to me as they prepared for take-off.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Grandma Gravy's Visit

Just before Thanksgiving we had a wonderful visit from my Grandma Brady. She has planned to come visit us since we moved to Kentucky and it all finally worked out! She came the weekend of the Transylvania Singers concert, so she was here to watch me conduct the women's choir. That meant so much to me. A singer herself, she has always been a big supporter of my musical aspirations, so it was a joy to bring things full-circle by having her attend this concert.
McKay and Benson loved having her here too. The day before she came, I was telling McKay that Grandma Brady was coming for a visit. He was very excited and spent the rest of the day asking when "Grandma Gravy" was going to arrive.

While she was here, we celebrated her 84th birthday! We had a nice dinner at home and carrot cake, one of her favorite desserts. Then BJ watched the kids so that she and I could go and watch the new Harry Potter movie. It was great!

We were so delighted to have Grandma be able to come and visit us. We're grateful she's still strong and able to travel and be a part of our lives. We loved having her stay and will always be grateful for the memories of her with us here in our home. Love you Grandma Gravy!
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Friday, December 3, 2010


We are in the process of potty training with McKay. We've decided to take a more casual approach. We talk about going potty, we have a little potty, we have pull-ups and cool underwear AND we have the potty man. He is a little jar with a face on it that holds "potty man treats". When McKay uses the potty, he gets to choose a treat from the potty man--a big highlight. Well, in the last few days he's turned a corner and is suddenly using the potty so often that we ran out of potty man treats. Grandma Cox is here and part of her errands the other day was to bring home some new treats. Among other things, she brought home a bag of gummy worms which McKay has never seen before. When I told him the potty man had gummy worms he excitedly said, "I go potty and I get some gummy beans". Yum.

This week BJ and I have been in dress rehearsals and performances of a rather spectacular version of the Messiah, with the Lexington Philharmonic and some internationally renowned soloists. Anyway, the pressure was on, so I spent some time really getting dressed up, complete with a real hair-do and make-up. I walked out into the family room where McKay was sitting after getting ready and he looked at me and said, "Mommy, you're an angel". He got a big hug for that one.

McKay has a cold, again. He gets really frustrated with colds now because he doesn't like to have a runny nose. It really bothers him and he's constantly saying, "I need a tissue to wipe my nose." This morning at 5:00 AM he came creeping into our bedroom. He went right up next to BJ's face, held out a small square of tissue about the size of a dime and whispered rather pitifully, "Please you wipe my nose?"

Little Benson Boo is about the sweetest thing ever. He now sits up by himself and loves to play with toys. He'll sit contentedly for long stretches just handling the toys within his reach. Today we were at the children's museum and I sat him in front of a big mirror. He just started giggling at himself. He laughed and laughed like he had just found his best friend. He is an absolute delight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fall Photo Shoot

Our boys are growing so fast; I wanted to get some pictures of them both before too much time passed. These are Benson's 6 month pictures and McKay's 2 year (and some) pictures. I took the boys by myself to get these photos done one day. How bad could it be, I thought. Well, after chasing McKay pell-mell through JC Penny multiple times and trying desperately to get one decent shot of the two of them (and we literally only got the one you see) I realized my error. In the future, this will definitely be a "family" activity--got that Beej? Anyway, it was well worth the craziness, as now we have these rather darling fall shots. Have a look. :)

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Part III

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Trick or Treat II

We had three nights of Trick or Treating around the area so on Friday night we attended a church party and Saturday we did some door to door Trick or Treating. We went with McKay's good buddies Max and Sam Lassen and Matthew Darby. Below you'll find a Toy Story Invasion!

Buzz Lightyear showing the Woodys a thing or two.
All the boys!
A Cowboy isn't a Cowboy without his hat!
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or Treat Part 1

Hooray for Halloween! Last evening we Trick or Treated to our neighbors houses before heading off to our annual Ward Chili Cook-off and Trunk or Treat. McKay is sporting the Woody costume, complete with handmade vest (thank you Nanna), bandana, and boots. Yee-haw!
We stopped by Dave and Vickie's and Jim and Carol's where the boys were showered with candy, stuffed animals, and their very own buckets of snacks, juice, and even books! We sure love our neighbors!
And here's preppy dad holding the cutest pumpkin I've ever seen!

Mom was sporting the orange and black striped tights and the orange and black polka-dotted eyelashes. Spooky!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Woody in a Pumpkin

Our Pumpkins carving pumpkins.
It's hard to see but McKay is introducing Woody to the finer points of pumpkin-carving. Once the pumpkins were cleaned and carved McKay thought they were great...especially for stashing toys.

Three guesses on who McKay will be for Halloween. :)
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