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!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Tree!

I attended a woman's get together where family traditions were talked about and shared a couple weeks ago. It got me thinking about family traditions and the ones Adam and I wanted to start doing with our kiddos since they are finally getting old enough to understand special days. We started with Thanksgiving. (I'll post about our new Christmas traditions later) We decided to make and decorate a McManus Thanksgiving tree. Daddy and the boys went hunting in "our" forest for the perfect branches for our little tree. I dusted off a wedding present we have never used and placed the branches in it. Then I traced the boys hands and spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME cutting out a million little hands.
I looked at Adam at one point while I was cutting little hands out. And said "There might be a year when I get lazy and our Thanksgiving tree is decorated with little leaf cutouts instead of little hands." But the boys LOVE IT! (By the way why don't I have left handed scissors I mean how long have I been left handed??!!! grrrrr)
We sit down every morning during breakfast and dinner and make a Thanksgiving hand. The boys decorate one side with crayons, markers, and every once in awhile stickers. Then I write what they are thankful for. We have been thankful for our beds, our toys, our puppies, our new house, etc. Simple things but they are definitely getting it. I look forward to the next years when we continue this new tradition.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I'm Reading?!

YES, I DO READ!!!! Well at least I try when I'm not being a Mommy or wife or cook(Ha that is just funny) or teacher get the point right??. Here is a little something about the two books I'm reading right now.
Adam and I are going to adopt one day soon. God has been doing a great work in both our hearts and we feel called as a family to bring another McManus kiddo in the mix. (And how awesome that this time I'm not gong to spend 9 months puking) I'm still learning about adoption and what it will look like for our family. But I know that God has a perfect plan and I'm ready to trust Him through this next journey. I'm halfway through this book and so far it's not what I expected. I was really ready for a book that would make me want to drop it, sell everything we can, and buy a baseball team of kids. It's not like that at all!! It's full of theology that has made me really think more about how I see Jesus and my relationship as a child of God. I'd also like to say that I'm proud of the author for stating many times that not every family is called to adopt and why, I didn't want to read a book that makes people feel guilty to adopt because of the wrong reasons. Check out some of these quotes and hold on....

"Adoption would become a priority in our churches if our churches themselves saw our brotherhood and sisterhood in the church itself rather than in our fleshly identities. For some Christians-maybe for you- it's hard to imagine how an African-American could love a white Ukrainian baby, how a Haitian teenager could call Swedish parents "Mom" and "Dad". Of course that's hard to imagine, when so many of our churches can't even get over differences as trivial as musical style." pg 39

"When we were still orphans, Christ became a substitute orphan for us. Though he was a son, he took on the humiliation of a slave and the horror of death (Phil. 2:6-8). Jesus walked to that far country with us, even to the depths of the hog pen that we'd made our home, and hung on a tree abandoned by his Father in our place." pg 45

"If the Spirit is drawing you toward adopting, think of the opportunity you'll have to share the gospel with your already-here children. Think of how you'll be able to involve them in the process....They'll see before their eyes the kind of welcoming gospel you pray they-and their children and grandchildren-will embrace." pg 108

This is book a fun read! Jen Hatmaker is a mother of 3, pastor wife, and an "Austin" lady with a great sense of humor. I have been really really really wanting to get into journaling and making my private Bible time more than a quick read and off I go. So I'm looking forward to learning a new discipline and I pray that it is one that I fall in love with!! Some quotes to get you thinking....

"God never intended for His Word to be tidy, hands off package with crisp edges and a wealth of mysteries that we set aside until Sunday morning. Unlike me, He's hollering at us, "Get in there! Turn My Word upside down and inside out. It's all for you,". pg 16

"For many of us, the problem with personal Bible study is rooted in fear. Trying something we have no skill at is intimidating and overwhelming-like the day I brought my first-born home and realized I was supposed to be a parent. What? Who thought I could do this? Does anyone know for sure that I qualify to manage another human? And why won't this baby stop crying?" pg 28

"God has always been orderly, and we are called to mirror His image. The Lord doesn't want our search for truth to be a shot in the dark. The study of scripture should be intentional. My pantry? Random. The socks I pair up because I don't want leftovers? Random. Bible study? Deliberate." pg 28

"We need to think about Bible study as a conversation. To fully understand it, we must respond to it. That's where the real exchange begins. God in infinitely willing to explain it to us, but are we ready to engage? After all, it can be complicated, and we need a Navigator who is smarter that we are. I want to mention something else, though it pains mw to do so. The books we buy at the Christian bookstore that are written by magnificent authors do not count as Bible study." pg 35

Austin "Wildlife"

I'm not a fan of bugs!!! They bite and sting and well certain types (spiders) I believe are simply demonic! Yeah I said it; DEMONIC! I give thanks that I was raised in Oregon where bugs aren't really a problem. Bees and mosquitoes are really it. No spiders as big as your hands or spiders that can oh I don't know KILL YOU! No ants that bite or sting or as Connor wisely states "blow fire". And no caterpillars has big as a hot dog!! This little fella was on our back porch the other day and scared me to death! I'm sure that he was perfectly harmless, but really who wanted to check. My boys spotted him too and were so excited to play with him. My (I'd like to call it rational) fear of insect creatures kicked in and I wouldn't let them. It was just too big and I had no idea if it was dangerous or not. Quite frankly I'd rather let my boys play with a snake or a rat. I did take a quick picture to prove that it was as big as I would later tell Adam he was. I've been living in the south for 7 years now and I'm still not used to insects that are as big as small creatures. I'll continue to try and be the awesome Mom who is cool about dirt and bugs, but I couldn't handle this THING!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bryce melts my heart

Bryce had for the longest time decided that he preferred to either talk like a caveman (using grunts and gestures) or just not talk at all. Like most Moms out there who worry about the stupidest(I know Connor "We don't say stupid, but well you can't read yet) stuff. I worried about his lack of verbal communication a lot comparing him and his small vocabulary to his older type A first born brother. I will do this a lot I'm afraid and hopefully each time will be reminded that each of my children are beautifully and wonderfully made AND are and always will be very different.
Bryce has finally decided to start talking and it's wonderful! Connor loves teaching him new words and Bryce loves giggling as he tries to say them. He has the cutest little high pitched voice and has taken a liking to using absolutely no verbs. Mommy, Bryce cup white milk drink, please! Nanner(How he says Connor) me stairs up socks(His socks are upstairs). He has also decided to call me Mommy and I couldn't be more thrilled. I love how he says Mommy well expect when he his whining, we don't whine in the McManus house!! Mommy just sounds so adorable and I never thought that I would love it as much as I do. Especially when my older child has decided calling me "Mom" like a 14 year old is how he would like to address me. If he starts rolling his eyes I might be back on here soon asking for some advice.
I look forward to hearing more from our littlest man!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Sadler Weekend

This weekend we had our first guests! Our great friends the Sadlers came down for a visit and stayed at the "Hotel McManus". Justin had passed his CPA earlier this year and the state ceremony was at the UT campus this last weekend. We had a wonderful time showing the Sadlers around town and eating out for every meal. (We ate outside each time we ate at a restaurant NOVEMBER!!!)
(Men just love it when you try to get a picture of them together)
Adam and Justin got to have a guy day on Saturday after the ceremony. (Amanda and I had to take the kiddos home for a much needed nap) They played Gowalla all afternoon and walked all over Austin downtown. We met up later with them and ate at a spectacular restaurant called the Iron Cactus. It is right on 6th street and we got a table on the roof. The food was the best and the 4 desserts we ordered.....well they were awesome! It was kind of funny because by the time we were getting ready to leave the "Saturday night crowd" had started showing up. Bachelorette parties, couples on romantic dates, and a class of 99 reunion. How funny did we look with 4 kids sitting two tables over?!!
Bryce abosulutly fell in love with Amanda and Justin's little boy Reed. I think he got a kick outta bossing someone littlier around. "Reed come here" "Reed play cars" "Reed no-no" -Bryce with his cute little high pitched voice. My camera batteries died during the weekend and I didn't get any other pictures. Guess the Sadlers will have to come down for another visit. DARN!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dream Big

When I graduated from High School I sang a little song at graduation and at church the Sunday before called "Dream Big". It was perfectly cliche and was meant to inspire my class to go out into that big ole world and well...."Dream Big". (Man if only I had a video of us singing that song it would be Youtube gold.)
Recently my heart has been restless and I have been challenged again and again to more. I don't mean more money or stuff or even more happiness. I have everything I have ever wanted or needed. A loving family, still head over heals in love with my husband, healthy kids, a roof over our head, food on the table, (and a TV to watch Glee). I'm extremely happy and love life, but there are so many out there who don't. That is where the more comes into play. I want to do more for others, change the world, show those who don't have hope the love of Christ, feed the hungry, and help the poor. I want to do big things for Jesus, but have no idea where to start. So today I'm making my dreams public hoping that this will push me to not only continue to dream big but to strive to complete some of those dreams. It's not going to be easy but I will trust that with the Lord anything is possible. Here is a list of just some of my big dreams.(not goals but dreams) Please pray for me as I journey towards making big dreams come true.

1) Foster kids whose family can't take care of them. Show them the love of Jesus while loving and providing for them. A whole house full!

2) Adopting kid(s) I don't know how or when, but Adam and I will adopt. What a perfect picture of the gospel. Taking in a child who no one wants and making him/her a perfect part of our family.

3) Write a book. I'm not a writer, but it's a dream of mine.

4) Speak at children's camps around the country and the world. I have a passion for engaging the younger generations. Over and over again I'm blown away at what kids can do when someone challenges them to dream big. I want to be one of those people.

5) Start a program in my community that gives families an opportunity to serve others. A lot of people are willing to help others, but don't know how. I'm one of those people right now. I want to help, but don't know where to start or how to do it with young kiddos.

6) Go on a trip to a place where Jesus' name is not on every street corner as a family. We don't feel called to drop everything and become missionaries(although that sounds so exciting), but I want my kids to experience mission work outside of the United States sooner rather than later.

7) Provide a support organization for stay at home moms. Again I'm here. I yearn for a place where I can hang out and talk with other Moms. A place where my kids can play safely with other kids. More importantly I want this community of Moms to be ready to help each other and show other Moms the hope they can have in Christ.

Well there's my list! Whew I feel so vulnerable right now, but am excited about taking steps towards one or more if not all of these dreams. Watch out world here I come!!

What about you?! What are some of your dreams???

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 5th Month Birthday Baby Alexis

Baby Girl just turned 5 months old! She has been such a blessing to our little family. I can barely remember what life was like with just two little rambunctious boys. Now I can't picture life without this sweet little girl. Alexis we love you so much and can't wait to continue to see this beautiful little personality grow.

Alexis - 5 Months Old from Adam McManus on Vimeo.

Race Weekend

I grew up in a sport lovin' family. We watched most sports and a few very passionately. I have crazy memories of watching super bowls with various friends and there being so much yellin and cheering that we could hear it from outside. We loved and cheered on the Portland Trailblazers, the Denver Broncos, and even the Dallas Cowboys(a little). Big sporting days were holidays in our house and always included great friends and lot's of food. One sport I don't remember watching was Nascar. But in the last 7 years my Mom has become fantatic about the sport along with her sisters. My first experience with Nascar was when Adam and I lived in Alabama. I had never watched a race nor planned on it. But we lived a short drive from Talladega and my Mom wanted so badly to go. So we went together. I learned very quickly that not only is Talladega "the race" to go to, but it's like the red-neck-nascar-lovin-good-ole-boy "super bowl". It was a crazy experience and if you want to have a good laugh ask me about the stories sometime. Since then my family has become more and more crazy in love with Nascar. And now 7 years later we have been to Talladega, Las Vegas, Daytona (I missed that one) and Fort Worth races. This last weekend was our second time going to Texas Motor Speedway for the race. This year was particularly special because the true fans camped out at the track all weekend long. Here some pics of our Nascar weekend.
The first night we went and visited the ladies (my mom, my aunt; Diana and Cindy, my aunt; Darla and her daughter Jo) at the Nascar campsite. The boys had a blast and haven't stopped talking about going camping with the race cars. (What do you think Adam, family vacation at the track next year?)
Alexis and Aunt Nana (We have a picture of Nana holding me just like this when I was Alexis' age)
How funny is it that all of us forgot our cameras the day of the race. So sad because Jo made us all matching shirts! We did look super cute and super ridiculous at the same time. It was a great race and a great day. This is the picture Adam took of me right before I left. Here is what Adam said about the picture; "There are a few days each year that I take no responsibility for @jenwpc. Today is one of those days:"
Me and my beautiful cousin; Jo!
Bryce and his Gigi. We stayed at our great friends house. The ladies all came over one day and played with the kiddos.
On Monday we went to Cabellas and had lunch. Here's Aunt Darla, Jo, and baby Alexis!
The whole gang!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 09

Halloween was especially fun this year because both boys were so excited about wearing costumes and going trick or treating. It was also our first year enjoying Halloween in Austin. And Austin loves Halloween. I came down with some kind of horrible flu (I refuse to admit that it is pig related). So just the boys went to a party at the gym.
It looked like a fun party.
Mommy's little pumpkin!
So cute.
Ready to go trick-or-treating.

Our new neighborhood was packed with families all hunting for candy. I refused to miss this fun memory just because of a little flu, so Alexis and I joined the boys. We took a short trip around our block and got A LOT(both boys buckets were over flowing) of candy! There was a lot houses who went all out which was really fun. Just a little side note: Bryce was very excited anytime a neighbor let him pick what candy he wanted. So excited that he took a good 30 seconds each time. So funny watching him trying to make a decision. It was the most trick or treat traffic we have ever seen, we went through a whole bulk bag of candy from Costco. It was a fun night and Connor is already planning what he and Bryce will be next year.

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