Thursday, December 31, 2009

The McManus Life 2009

Thought it would be fun to make a video of our year using just photos. Hope you enjoy!
song: "pieces" by aaron ivey

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas with Grand Daddy and Granny

This year Adam's parents came and celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas day with us. Enjoy some of our pics and great memories.
Going to see Austin "weird" Christmas light display.
Making cookies for Santa
It was a lot of fun "licking" the extra sprinkles!
Home from Christmas Eve Service! All the kiddos went to the service with us. I was so proud of all of them. They sang, sat quietly, and helped hold Granny and Grand Daddy's candles. Afterward they got to open 1 Christmas present.
It was buzzlighter footies!
WHAT? New Super Mario Brothers, how did Santa know?
I love his face! He was so excited about his new Buzz doll.
Baby Alexis joined us after sleeping in for a little while!
And did her best keeping Grand Daddy nice and warm.
The rest of Grand Daddy and Granny's trip was filled with lots of playtime!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jen's Santa Conspiracy

So this year we went and saw Santa at Cabelas. Ummm...yeah. Someone had told me the lines were non-existent, the pictures were free, and that it was awesome. They were right....kind of. We didn't have to wait in much of a line, the pictures were free, but awesome? I think not. That Santa was one of the saddest Santas I have ever seen. He had a fake, cheap beard, bad suit, camo boots and camo gloves. He barely talked and just kind of sat there. BUT, my kids loved it and even smiled for the pic. So, I should stop complaining too much (even though I just did). Our visit with ghetto Santa got me thinking. I imagined the many questions that came up on the way home, "Mom why didn't Santa talk? He didn't look right?" And, of course, the dreaded "Why is there a Santa at Cabelas and the mall and standing on the corner, how can that be?"
I already have my answer ready for that last one. I'll simply explain to my kiddos that the Santas at all the stores and malls are secert agent Santas. They work for Santa and email (times have changed and that will make sense to my kids I'm sure) the "real" Santa all the kid's gift wishes each year. They represent the big man and do their best to act, look, and be like the real Santa. Some are good at it, and some (talkin about you Cabela Santa) are not.

This got me thinking even more about the true DUDE of Christmas: Jesus. And, how we're supose to be "working" for Him. Sharing with others his words, hope, grace, forgiveness, glory, and love. Some of us are really good at it and some "not so much." So, join me for a moment and ask yourself, "How are you doing showing others Jesus' perfect love?" As you push your way through stores and hunting for parking spots, are you showing others grace, hope, love....heck a smile? How about your loved ones? Are you dreading spending time with them or looking forward to showing Jesus' perfect love and light to them? As you watch your kiddos rip through their presents are you taking a moment to remind them who the best gift of all is?

I'll be the first to admit that I want to be the best reflection of Jesus that I can and should do A LOT better. So this year I want to be different. Here are some of the ways I'm going to work on it.

*Invite someone over to dinner at least once a week. (neighbors, couples at church, co-workers, etc)

*Open the extra room in our house to someone who needs a little help

*Make a point to talk and invest in new friends at the gym

*Start a stay-at-home playdate with Mom's from my nieghborhood

*Whenever I shop at Target, look for "Mrs. Kay" (even though she is one of the slowest check-out ladies) and talk to her while she checks me out. I've had at least 3 good talks so far.

*Smile and really talk to those who are serving me; waiters, check-out and grocery baggers, childcare workers at the gym, nursery volunteers at church

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chrismas Q&A Video

I sat down with each McManus kiddo to ask them some questions about Christmas. (It will be obvious pretty quickly that I didn't help, encourage, or bribe them to say anything) It's all straight from the heart ENJOY!

Christmas Q&A from Adam McManus on Vimeo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas from Us

Our Christmas card and letter.....enjoy
Another year has flown by, and I can’t believe that2010 is right around the corner. Here’s what the McManus family has been up to.
U-haul moving truck, boxes, a new city, and a new house. In September, we moved to Austin, TX. It’s the tech capital of the south so Adam’s work at Alamofire ( fits in just perfectly. You have to check out their newest creation Gowalla (, a super-sweet iPhone app. We love Austin so far! Our new house is wonderful and we look forward to using it to help bless others. The love we have for all things outdoors is embraced full heartedly here. We have a forest right down the road, year round camping, parks galore, great cycling-friendly roads, family friendly restaurants, and a new church that we love ( We love having visitors to show around town, so book your vacation now at the McManus Hotel.
Sister, we have a sister! Alexis Grace was so excited to meet her big brothers that she surprised us all when she decided to arrive 4 weeks early. It is quite a story, especially the part where I drove by myself to the hospital because I thought I was just having bad back pains. She is a healthy, smiley little baby, and we are all getting used to the pink and purple explosion she brought with her. She can’t wait until she is big enough to play with her brothers and will give them a run for their money.
Talking is overrated! Or so Bryce thought. He turned 2 this year and decided to hold off on the whole talking thing. He preferred grunts, gestures, and sweet smiles. BUT all that has changed now. He is talking up a storm and sometimes gets in trouble for it late at night. His smile continues to melt everyone’s heart and we love watching him grow and mature. He loves playing any game Connor will play with him, holding his little sister, wrestling and reading his Bible with Daddy, and snuggling with Mommy!
I continue to do my best to keep everyone updated with all the awesome things our family is doing. I’ve taken my love of pictures and telling funny stories and have gone high-tech. Check out our family blog at
Nonnor (Connor Bryce-style) turned 4 in August and is thrilled that 5 is only one year away. He has embraced being the leader of the McManus kiddos. He loves teaching his brother new games even if it means a stern talking to from Mommy. His love for sports and all things boy continues, but this year he has discovered his skill in video gaming and singing. His heart for those who are hurting has continued to challenge his Mommy and Daddy and we look forward to seeing him grow more and more in his faith in God.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, Love The McManus Family

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Party

Last night we went to Adam's company Christmas party. And when I say "we" I mean the whole fam! How great that Adam works for a company that loves families and kids(there are 14 Alamofire kiddos 6 and under). This year we had the party at a bowling alley. At first I was a little worried. I mean a bowling alley?? Smoke, big drunk dudes, Frito pie, corn dogs, annoying teenagers, etc. BOY I WAS WRONG. This bowling alley was like the Hilton of bowling alleys. It was clean and beautiful and CLEAN. The food was fabulous! We were served a wonderful salad and pasta buffet by a super nice lady in a SUIT(Thanks Tanesha). The cheesecake bar for dessert was a highlight for me(I love me some cheesecake). We all had a great time hanging out with everyone until LATE. It was a blast! Thanks Alamofire/Gowalla.
(I forgot our camera so you have to enjoy iPhone pics)
Alexis, as always was a good baby all night (even though we were out way past her bedtime) She even got to sport her cute Christmas Pj's!!
Connor was SO excited about bowling and love it. That is until the boys(3 of them all Connor's age) discovered the arcade and played there the rest of the night. We never did give them any money, but they still had a blast "playing" the games.
Bryce had trouble getting that big heavy ball down the lane with enough speed to be able to knock over more than one pin at a time. But they had this great kid ramp that he could move around and then roll the ball off. He even got a couple strikes because of it! (I'm telling you this bowling alley was ABSOLUTELY awesome)

As the night came to a close the boys were tired enough to just play next to us, so Adam and I snuck in a quick game. Here are our two tweets after the game. (Do I have to mention that we are rather competitive?)

jenwpc: Bowled for the first time in 5 yrs against @amcmanus. Pulled a Denver Bronco and rocked the 1st half and CHOKED the 2nd. Adam: 155 Jen:143

amcmanus: Bowled for the first time in 5 yrs against @jenwpc. Let her stay close for awhile since she's uber-competitive. Adam: 155, Jen: 143

Alright I know that those are really SAD bowling scores, but like I said we haven't bowled in quite awhile. I was doing so good too and kicking Adam's butt, but lost it at the most crucial point of the game. I was totally bummed. Next time ADAM you're going down!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Alexis' Dedication

Today Alexis was dedicated at church. Dedication basically means we got up in front of everyone and promise to pray for our little girl, that she may know Jesus deeply someday. Adam and I promised to raise her to know who God is and that she experiences Jesus' love in our family. The church promised to help us as a family too. We had both boys with us today so they too could pray for their sister. I wasn't sure how this would go, but as always they surprised me. At one point each family gets a couple moments to pray together. So, Adam and I squatted down and Adam started us off. Then we asked Bryce if he wanted to pray for Alexis. We got "God, Bless Boo-Boo A-maam" Then I turned to Connor and asked him if he wanted to pray. (Thinking that that we would get the same thing Dear God, Bless Alexis Grace) Instead "Pastor" Connor prayed this; "Dear God, Please help Alexis ask Jesus into her heart someday. Take care of her so she doesn't get hurt and help her grow up big. Amen" (all while holding her little hand) It was too cute and even made me tear up a bit. Alexis, I pray that someday you realize just how much your big brothers, Mommy, Daddy, and your Savior love you! Here is the verse Adam and I will be praying over her throughout the years:
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1st Timothy 4:12

Saturday, December 5, 2009

McManus Christmas Jar: A New Tradition

I promised that I'd share some of our new Christmas traditions with you, so here we go! I heard about this one at a Mom's get together(I also saw a facebook friend doing this too). You can call it your family Christmas Box or Jar. I found a cheap jar at Hobby Lobby so it became the McManus Family Christmas Jar.
I wrote little things we can do together as a family on little sheets of paper and place them in the jar. Every couple of days we pick something out of the jar and do it. For example: make Christmas cards, watch a Christmas movie in our pj's and drink hot chocolate, go see Christmas lights, make some cookies and take them to a neighbor, etc. We've already done a couple of the activities from the jar. I look forward to posting the rest as we do them. Enjoy!

Watch a Christmas movie
Make presents for Daddy's coworkers.
We made Gowalla coasters for everyone's desks (and some yummy puppy chow)
Go on the neighborhood hayride
(Waiting for the tractor to pick us up)
Read a Christmas book together.
Hang Christmas lights with Daddy
Alexis was a big help
Have a family game night!
Buy a present for someone who really needs one.
We bought presents for two boys in the Austin City Foster Care system. Connor and Bryce helped pick out the perfect gifts!
Build a Gingerbread House together.
Dude that was the first time I can remember building a gingerbread house. All was going well until the boys piled on 2 tons of candy on those little roof pieces. It is barely holding on and we'll see if it stays together.
Go see Christmas lights.
We did this while my Daddy and Shanni were in town. At a local park they put on a spectacular Christmas laser light show. We will go see it again!
Go see Christmas lights again.
I told you that we'd go see the show again. This time we went with a family from Adam's work. They have 3 kiddos; 5, 3, and 1. The kids had a great time, dancing, running, and playing on the playground. It was a fantastic night!
Make homemade Christmas cards.
(Alexis was a great cheerleader!)
Make snowflakes!
The boys couldn't have been more excited about unlimited amount of time spent with scissors and paper. And to be honest I had a blast making snowflakes too. I can't remember the last time I made them. (We also all had a blast making a complete mess!)

I'm loving these fun family activities and have decided that we need to do more random fun activities more often.

Austin SNOW?!

So it snowed in Austin! HAHAHA For about 3 minutes the littlest tiniest snow flakes fell from the sky. It was cute to see and read about all the Austinites going crazy. Connor was very excited because we had been telling him that in Austin it doesn't snow. I got a pic and I'm sure that you'll notice that you can't see any snow. Told ya it was small!
Alexis was not impressed!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm still reading!!

Dude I KNOW! Adam and I ordered a nice amount of new books a couple weeks ago and I'm blowing thru them. You'd be surprised to find out how much time you have to read when you move to a brand new city and are still in the process of making new friends and getting plugged into a new church. But enough whining, I get all this time to read!!
I'm only halfway through this book and I'm lovin' it. Adam and I have really been rethinking the way we did "church". This book pushes you to jump out of your comfort zone and reminds you what Jesus commanded us to do and how to do it. We want to love on our neighbors, open our house to those who need some help, foster kids who don't know love, and whatever else God will call us to do. Here are some qutoes that made me stop and think, check them out.....

“In order for us to change the incorrect assumptions that people have about God and his followers (their programmed responses), we’ve got to get to the point where they consider us one of them. To do this is not a matter of “evangelism” or “outreach” or “missions”. It’s a matter of living out like Jesus did.” (pg 125)

"Church is the place you go to, and attendees don't have to do much in the way of mission because the pros do it for them. We show up at church to get what we want ((which is feeding from a leader), not what we need (to feed ourselves and others). If we don't get what we want, we head to the place next door because that chaplain is better at giving us what we want." (pg 56)

"In order for us to change the incorrect assumptions that people have about God and his followers...we've got to get to the point where they consider us one of them."

Alright I'm not the only one reading this book. We're actually reading it as a family. Every night before the boys go to bed. They climb up onto Daddy's lap (in Daddy's special man chair) and listen to him read a story from this wonderful Bible. This Bible is exactly what the titles says it is; it's a love story about a God willing to give us His precious son Jesus. Each story ends with a little sentence or two that draws you back to the cross and God's perfect plan of grace and forgiveness.

The Sin of Adam and Eve "Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!" And he would. One day, God himself would come. (pg 36)

Abraham and Issac "Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his Father asked. He wouldn't struggle or run away. Who was he? God's Son, his only Son- the Son he loved. The Lamb of God. (pg 69)

Jonah and a big fish " Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message. Like Jonah, he would spend 3 days in utter darkness. But this Messenger would be God's own Son. He would be called "The Word" because he himself would be God's Message. God's Message translated into our own language. Everything God wanted to say to the whole world - in a person. (pg 168)

It really is a wonderful Bible and the boys are really enjoying it. To be honest, I'm really enjoying it too. I love hearing all the Bible stories I grew up reading year after year worded so beautifully and really look forward to hearing how the author brings each story back to Jesus. (I try to do this every week as a sit down to write the TKid's cirriculum I'm writing. It's so awesome that my kiddos are already understanding that the whole Bible is love story about a Father and His children who He loved so much.)

Quotes of the week

Connor: "When I grows up like Daddy I'm going to marry you, Mommy!"

Bryce: "Nonnor(Connor Bryce-style) no wait me stairs, no nice Mommy!"

Connor: "Connor: Jesus is in heaven getting it ready, He's blowing up all the jump houses. Me: There's jump houses? C: Yes wanna go? Me: Yes I do!"

Bryce: prayers at night "Dear God, Thank you day
Bless Mommy, Daddy, Nonnor, Bryce, Boo-Boo

Connor: "If you're not nice to your brother and don't obey Santa brings you cold rocks instead of presents."

Connor: (While having a very deep theological talk about accepting Jesus into your heart on the way home from prayer service.) Connor: And then you ask Jesus in your heart you won't be naughty anymore. Me: No everyone still makes bad choices, but when Jesus lives in your heart you are forgiven for all your sins and Jesus can help you make good choices the next time. Connor: OOOOOH Look blue lights over there. Look Bryce can you see the blue lights? (Adam and I just started laughing)

I need to remember to do this more often! Do you have any favorite kid quotes?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Weekend with Papa and Shanni

We got to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my Daddy and Shanni! It was their first time in Austin seeing us and the new house. We had such a great time! The weather was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed every second....
Bryce was so excited to see Papa again. He followed him around all weekend, like a little puppy dog.
Alexis and her Papa
Playing games on Shanni's phone!
Papa and his grandkids!
Daddy and his little girl! He kept coming in while I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner and messing me up. Our turkey could have been mouth watering good, but a certain someone decided to turn the temp up(It was still good but it could have been mind blowing good). He does make the BEST breakfasts EVER so we forgave him!
Shanni and I going through all the Back Friday sale ads and trying decide if it anything was worth getting up at 4am. There wasn't. So instead we decided to go to Zilker park and ride the famous Zephyr train.
Alexis and Mommy standing in line for the train tickets. It was bright out so Alexis borrowed Papa's hat!
The train was so much fun. It was a quick ride around the park and Town Lake. What a gorgeous day! It was funny seeing how everyone dressed. I have turned into a cold weather baby and was bundled up. Everyone else including my husband and Dad were in t-shirts.
Playing on the huge playground. It was so big that Daddy had to play too so we wouldn't lose anyone. Bryce couldn't have been more excited.
Looking at the beautiful swans by the water.
I have never seen trumpet swans up so close. I had to get a pic and made Adam take one with me. He loves me so much!We went to visit Adam's office downtown and had lunch across the street.
We had an early Christmas morning on Saturday before heading out on a big adventure. The boys got little "real alive" puppies. They love them so much and won't go anywhere without them.
Alexis was excited about the paper and that we let her eat it (so she thought)!
We decided to go and explore an underground cave. Here are the boys getting ready to get on the tram that took us down into the caves! Don't they look so cute in those helmets?Riding the tram down into the caves...70 feet underground.It got hotter and more humid the deeper we went. I had never seen anything like it in my life.
Inside on of the big rooms.
Saturday night we enjoyed our last night together. We had dinner one of our favorite restaurants that sits ride in front of a huge park with a playground and outdoor amphitheater. On the weekends during the Christmas season they set up a laser light show set to Christmas favorites. (Good Christmas music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller. Adam and Dad loved it) It was really well done and fun. We'll probably see it many times this year since it's minutes from our house and so family friendly. It was a perfect way to end our wonderful weekend.
The whole family!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...