Saturday, December 31, 2011


It has been one wonderful, wild, and crazy year for the Owens Family! I am so glad we have been able to fill this year with so many wonderful (and sometimes unexpected!) memories.

I tried to limit myself to one picture per month, but as you will see, I kind of lost my resolve about 1/2 way through.

But for January, here's my one and only:

After an unexpected White Christmas, we were even more surprised by the over 5 inches of snow that fell in January! It shut down everything for more than a week. It fell on a Sunday and public schools were out Monday - Friday! Even though most roads were passable by Thursday, JR's school was one of the only ones who went back. The public schools had to remain closed because the school parking lots were too dangerous for buses. JR's school has no buses, so they went back on Thursday (lucky for them because then they only had to make up 3 days, not 5!)

This is my favorite picture from February:

And from March - in front of the fountain after the first 'dying of the fountain.'

April came in like a lamb - my favorite Easter photo taken late in the afternoon:

But sadly, April did leave like a lion. We will never forget the April 27th tornadoes and the deadly path they cut across our state. It still takes my breath away - the devastation, even now, when we drive through those areas affected.

This was the line at the first gas station with power - over an hour and a half away! - when we got there on April 28.

And one of the reasons for more than one picture. I wanted to include one picture from each Disney trip this year.

We purchased our first Annual Passes to Disney this year. And used them well.

May was full of recovery efforts:

And then a trip to see a shuttle launch.

And of course a stop by Disney:

June was summer, summer, summer.

And a once in a lifetime trip.

First to Disney:

Then to a never before experience to celebrate my in laws 50th Anniversary:

Then back to Disney (by now it was July)

August was baseball. Trip to Atlanta to see the Cubbies.

September was football. Trip to Auburn for first game.

October was the only month I didn't blog. I was too busy!

Trip to Disney for JR's birthday, per his request.

It really was a neat trip. It rained almost the entire time we were there. One night JR and I went out to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic hours and it was POURING RAIN, but when we got there, there was NO ONE there! In two hours we rode Space Mountain 3 times, Buzz Lightyear SpaceRanger Spin 3 times (without ever getting off the ride!). We rode on the Teacups, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White and Dumbo ALL ALONE! Dumbo - alone! It was a once in a lifetime experience for me! So fun.

Regular October photo:



Goodbye 2011! Thanks for being so good to us! Welcome 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Decor

Time, once again, to put away the Christmas decorations. My house always looks so sad and lonely after all the Christmas decor has been put away. On the other hand, it's much easier to keep things clean when you're not constantly cleaning tree/ garland/ centerpiece needles!

Here are some of our decorations from this year:

I let the kids help with decorating/ putting on even the breakable ornaments this year. The lack of 'spacing' the ornaments about drove me nuts, but I managed to hold myself back from re hanging the ornaments. Ha!

Our family room tree was HUGE this year! Like, takes up 1/4 of our family room big. Once Big Daddy started cutting it down we realized it was either 2 trees that grew into one or one tree that split at the bottom. We loved it though!

This was probably my favorite mantle yet. Although next year I would like to add something behind the wreath.

I loved this grouping on the left side of the mantle (just the silver stuff, not the birthday Elf of course. :-)

I loved having a dining room table to display our nativity. Not sure if I'll do it exactly like this next year, but this was nice for this year.

This was ML's first year to have her own tree. She chose pink. Of course.

I made her pink and white tree skirt and let her decorate her own tree. Which led to some unusual groupings of ornaments.

Like this. (I spy with my little eye, a certain photographer reflected in a silver ball or two. Hello there blog readers!)

Even pink ornaments:

This was probably the third year for JR to have his own tree. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to making his tree skirt this year. The one he always used before was used on the new playroom tree (see below.)

This was JR's new ornament, and it was hysterical!


Oh, the groupings! How you bother my OCD. LOL. I do love that JR puts these ornaments on his tree though. This toy soldier was one of the ornaments my parents made when they first got married and didn't have any money to buy ornaments for their fist Christmas tree together.

This was my first year to use mesh. I really liked how it turned out on the breakfast room chandelier.

And finally, this was our playroom tree. We love Disney. We love Disneyworld. And we have acquired just a *few* plush animals from our trips. This year I came across another Disney lover who talked about her 'plush tree' and even though I knew it would be 'only playroom' worthy, I had to give it a try.

I must say I loved it. It was perfect for the playroom. The kids could take the 'ornaments' on and off to their hearts content. They could rearrange whenever they wanted and I could have cared less. Perfect!

It also went really well with Big Daddy's Pooh tree skirt from his childhood (previously used under JR's room tree.) AND with the Pooh animatronic my grandparents gave to me YEARS ago, that had never before seen the light of day.

Now I'm off to pack up all of this stuff. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Chicago

Just back from a whirlwind, fun filled weekend in Chicago! It was so awesome to spend Christmas with Big Daddy's entire family.

I posted this on FB, but seriously, I can't believe how different air travel is for us now. Gone are the days of strollers and diaper bags and car seats. Now the kids carry their own toys and roll their own carry on bags.

Sheesh - how big are they anyway?

Biggest landmark in, Park Ridge, Big Daddy's hometown - the Pickwick (Big Daddy dates himself by calling it the building where Siskel and Ebert walk in at the beginning of their old tv show, but it's known in our family as that building where they film the Disney show Shake It Up. They don't really film it there, they just show it on the show. :-) Our kids saw their first ever movie here. Princess and the Frog!

We arrived on Christmas Eve Eve and had dinner at the country club.

They were offering sleigh rides - so much fun!

But COLD! That wind!

On actual Christmas Eve I took ML and a niece shopping so that the kids would be (mostly) out of the house while 2 kids slept and the adults got ready for dinner. We picked up some boots for my niece and some last minute shopping for my MIL.

The kids had a ton of fun down in the family room with a puppet theater. This is JR doing the 'commercial' during the 'intermission' for the puppet show. He demonstrated a 'toy truck shaver, perfect for that little boy who likes to imitate his daddy." I thought that was pretty clever!

My in laws passed out a few Christmas Eve gifts. I love this picture of my MIL smiling in the midst of the chaos. She loves her family!

ML and her Grandpa Owens.

Christmas morning dawned bright and early and Santa was good to us!

Some of us (cough, cough) couldn't handle all the fun and had to regroup mid morning.

Isn't this neat? My MIL doesn't have a mantle, but has a natural stone fireplace. She needed a way to hang stockings, so she had these wood hangars custom made - I think they are amazing! She's been using them as long as she's been in the house - 45 years!

Christmas afternoon, it was time for even MORE presents at the aunts and uncles gift exchange.

What? More??? LOL

It was a fabulous visit! Didn't get to do any touristy stuff this time, but we are looking forward to that the next time! Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!