Tuesday, December 22, 2009


"there is an old man(woman) up there ahead of you that you ought to know... whether he(she) is miserable or happy, depends on you. for you made him. he is you grown old." -unknown

Monday, December 14, 2009

christmas ornaments.

so i really should be doing something else, but lola is taking a nap, so i'm taking a little break too....

my moms christmas tree is always so gorgeous. like she hired a decorator or spent a week putting it together... and somehow she still finds a place for all of the goodies from grandkids and homemade ornaments to blend in without looking silly or tacky. it truly is a sight to see. along with the way she transforms the rest of her house into the best & most magical christmas hangout ever.

i was noticing how the older i get the more my own christmas tree is starting to look like the hodge-podge style charlie brown christams tree. every year there are more ornaments to put on it. i haven't quite gotten the niche down on how to get ALL of the ornaments on the tree and to make it look great, but cody still loves it so thats all that matters. :) and lola enjoys ripping off anything within her 2 foot reach. the tree skirt looks ridiculous after she wads it up in a ball. she thinks its a blanket or something. after fixing it every 5 minutes i finally gave up. i wasnt able to put up as much as usual around the house this year.

ive been collecting special ornaments every year for each of us. mervs seem to always revolve around a music theme. this functioning kick drum is a hit every year when we pull it out of the box.

merv & i get a combo "Love" ornament. usually 2turtle doves.

...and cody gets what ever he likes. he especially loves this airplane and the trains.

and THE PICKLE!! if you haven't tested out this tradition, i recommend doing it pronto amigo. always a big hit, the kids (and grown ups) love it!! the tree sometimes gets destroyed by the big pickle seekers.
it is a quaint tradition that nobody wants to claim. i have no idea where it was started or much about it. kind of like the new years baby shoe tradition.... a pickle-shaped ornament is the last one hung on the tree on christmas eve. the first child to find the christmas pickle gets an extra special gift ...or so the so-called legend goes....

many, many old school from childhood ornaments. the baby jesus in a nutshell manger is codys favorite... i've had it since i was about 4ish? i remember picking it out on a trip to visit relatives in battleground i think??
this bell & pink bear came from my grandma they are both pretty special.

handmade with love by cody a few years back...
and i must say that codys got a pretty handsome nutcracker collection. it keeps growing every year. someday i want to get him one of the really big ones HE LOVES THEM! i think he looks at them like his very own army of soldiers or something. he told me that had to be up high this year so lola wouldn't touch them. they look lovely on the shelf.

and speaking of shelves...the new built in ones are fun to decorate.
my find of the year was this vintage angel for the top. i love her. merv calls her the kera angel, because her hair is awesome & looks like my very sweet friend kera's did before she dyed it brown again which is just as cute. (....meant with all love and respect of course....) kera-angels hair is fun to play with and comes complete with gold bows.

i guess i should have taken a picture of the whole tree maybe, huh?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


cody and lola at about the same age throwing gang signs... i would have to say that cody has her beat for sure with the 'strils...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

baby gnome.

lola joon @ 9 1/2 months.
loves: banana bits, jabbering, crawling, eating shredded cheese, baths, bedtime, and cody.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i am very thankful for...

this awesome little dude...... i love this picture of him skipping to the beach.
"look mom, i'm cross eyed."
this fat baby in the tub...

merv. (this is a great picture of his sister. i'm thankful for her too!)

and for being a mama, to name a few.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

twilight series.

please don't shoot me: if you remember this post then you know i'm not a huge fan... but i can appreciate the story and anyone that does love it! i only ended up with the first 3 and never finished the series... but they have been read by a ton of friends and family. i'm trying to clean out the ol' closet and am selling them on ebay! so hooray for ebay!!! and hooray for any of you nuts who want to buy them! ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

madeline james photography

been working like crazy to juggle "8OO million things" (i overuse this saying, merv tells me...) but finally feel confident enough to post about this.

so...... arah and i have both been occasional photographers of friends and family for years and have decided to take it a little more seriously and see where it goes. this little(HUGE) project has actually been in the works for quite a while. the website is still brewing, but upon many requests i have finally decided to just post the link to the makeshift site/blog on here.
the name alone took forever to decide upon. i think its sweet and pretty and dear to my heart. (middle name of both brinely and cody combined....) people always asking who madeline james is. i've even been called madeline a few times from customers assuming its my name...anyway, it is fun. and a good excuse to buy new lenses and equipment.

...this vintage camera, a gift from mervs mama.

Friday, November 13, 2009


what a nutty week...it went like this:

-during the mad morning dash to make it to codys bus stop by 8:16, i locked myself out of house with out keys... or a phone & we miss the bus to boot. ran across the street to neighbors & waited for merv to save the day and race cody to school.

-repeat the scenario the next day. yes, i locked myself out again. thankfully bundled lola in her snow gear for walk to bus stop and grabbed my cell phone the second time. called grandma and waited. (WAY to embarrassed to knock on neighbors door again... i'm pretty sure that they already think we're wack-o's as it is.)

-ipod bites the dust at the gym -running not so fun without i pod. dug out old radio arm band. and wow, that dinosaur is such a piece of crap. boo. what happens when your ipod stops working anyway? do you ship it off for a new battery? do you just by a new ipod??

-go see christmas carol movie with merv and kids. super good!! one of my favorite stories...a little dark for kidlets. -brinley covered her eyes for at least 1/2, but lola was a champ and only jabbered a little.

-merv goes out of town. (although i'm sure he is secretly rejoicing to get to hang out at night and watch movies in a fancy bed.)

-pretty sure that my wallets been stolen so i cancel cards.

-oops! false alarm wallets found 1/2 hour or so later... writing checks is no fun!

in other news...

-lola sprouted some new teeth for a grand total of 3!

-thanksgiving is coming and we love thanksgiving!! and christmas!!

-cody is hilarious and won't shut up about the roman empire (ya, don't ask), and roman columns and warriors, and hurricanes and tornadoes... his latest obsessions. he tells me everything he reads about like he's the first to discover it and he LOVES to read. its cute.
these pictures have no relevance what so ever to anything that i wrote. when i get stressed out i look through old photos and these made me smile.

i love codys feet in this one..
this was a portrait kelsey made of her grandma. strong resmemblence i think. don't you?
if they weren't cousins i think these 2 would get married.

Monday, November 2, 2009

food for thought...

"Are you "there" when you're there? Listen closely if your child says he misses you. Perception is reality for sevens.

If you're spending a lot of time around your child but he senses that your mind is somewhere else, he's picking up on the disconnect. This is a real risk in our computer- and cell-addicted culture. Consciously step away from your laptop after a certain hour. Turn off the pager if it's not critical. Put away the Blackberry when you're playing a board game.

In addition to creating "poor quality" quality time, you're setting an example that your child will naturally want to follow. Before long the whole family will be sitting together in the same room night after night, each person absorbed in his or her own screen. Sound far-fetched? It's happening all over the country right now — and the impressionable, curious, and lively age of 7 is too soon to get sucked down that road

Sunday, November 1, 2009

baby bee, obe wan kenobi, mrs.witch and mr.awesome.

halloween 2009:
8 or 900 parties, events, carnivals...and my wonderful mom being the sport of the year by donning her historic witch costume for the class party ...getting into character with the her notorious witch cackle and all...if you have had the privelage of hearing her, it's the best!! (...i may get kicked out of being codys classroom mom by letting her suprise the class party and scare the crap out of a few children...) i'll post pictures if i can get my hands on them.

us getting ready to head out for our final round of 2009 halloween goodness...

"quick cody!! the infant bee is escaping!!"

me:"and you are?..."

him:"mr awesome, of course."

me:"of course."

Monday, October 26, 2009


we've been super busy. party season is here. we went to a birthday party and then to the phelps annual halloween party saturday night. no pics. bummer.
dressed lola up as an old man bear
took cody as my date to see merv play a live show (don't worry. it wasn't at a nasty old bar.... and grandpa jim chauffered.)
overheard by cody, " this song sure makes my feet rumble."

went on the boy scout haunted hike with a big group of friends and fam. the thriller zombie reinactment was my favorite part.

the scariest thing was this freaky stache merv dug out of the halloween dress up box.

...got dressed up in our fanciest lounge around the house clothes and took a cranky baby for a hike. we bundled her way up. she liked it. we went down on the new paved part of fish lake trail, just down the hill from the house. i highly reccommend checking it out. cody loved it.

dad and cody hiked up to neato cave.

checkin the veiw & the train.

fresh pebbles.

the tradish dreamy self timer family shot

the end.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

lola: 8 months.

she loves when cody gives her rides in a basket. she pretty much loves cody all of the time and he loves her too. excpet when shes in his room.

shes crawling everywhere.

love real peas (not baby food type...) cheerios & grape bits.

weighs about 18 1/2 pounds. i believe she is now the fattest of the 3 baby cousins, and the youngest. we've been passing hand me downs to cousin sarah.

we love her and we'll keep her. even when shes cranky from double ear infections....:(