Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry New Year!

Some friends joined us at our house to help us celebrate New Year's Eve with a relaxed night of pizza, drinks, and good company. Most of us even made it to midnight--unbelievably Jack asked to go to bed while all his best friends were still here (definitely our early bird). When Brooke asked Ella what the grownups should toast to with their champagne, she said, "Merry Christmas and a Merry New Year!" So, here's to a merry 2010! We're certainly thankful for a great 2009, and for all of the wonderful friends and family who made it an amazing year.

Thanks for the pictures, Brooke! Mine either weren't as good or didn't include Noah.

More great pictures from Brooke:

Ella made a heart with her fingers and then said, "Brooke, take a picture and send it to Baden."


Ella's Godmother and my college roommate, Lauren, came to visit with her husband and daughter today. Zoe, now 2, has always been pretty shy at our house, clinging to mommy most of the time. This time, however, she and Ella were best buds, having tons of fun playing with dolls and the new cardboard house Santa brought the kids. When it was time for Zoe to leave you could hear her yelling "Bye, Ella! Bye, Ella!" from her car seat all the way down the road as they drove away.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Ella had to try out her new easel and paint set while wearing her "artist hat". I truly hope the passion for art this girl has stays with her well into adulthood. And, if Jonathan's hat size is any indication (he can easily fit Jack's hats), perhaps this pink beret will still fit then, too.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lights Before Christmas

On our way back from Florida, we stopped in Columbia for the Riverbanks Zoo's Lights Before Christmas (and yes, it is still called this after Christmas). It was a fun last hurrah for the Christmas season--nearly a million lights, hot cocoa, and Christmas music. We even had a chance to see some animals including the lions sleeping, the snoozing gorilla, and some cuddling goats. Actually, the usually quiet reptile house was hopping and the petting farm was open for visitors. We had a fun adventure!

New rule: Don't eat the fake snow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Grandma June

We always love our visits with Great Grandma June, my paternal grandmother. When my parents came to visit a few weeks ago they brought along an old book of my grandmother's that I'd heard her refer to for decades. This book, written in 1943, is a family tree of my grandmother's lineage and she'd always told us that it traces us back to the Mayflower. Now that I'm older and finally interested in my own ancestry (and had come across a Mayflower passenger listing in one of the kids' Thanksgiving picture books, piquing my interest more), I wanted to find out exactly to whom on the Mayflower we can trace our ancestry. So my mom sat down with me and helped me follow my grandmother's line generation by generation through this book (it was actually pretty complicated) until we made it to our distant relations who had traveled to America on the Mayflower in 1620, William and Mary Brewster. We're related to the Brewsters through their daughter, Patience Brewster.

All Smiles...Well, Mostly

Ella and Jack had a great afternoon at only the best playground ever with their cousins Jacob and Noah. It's pretty hard, but see if you can find the one frown...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Makin' News

We almost missed it because we were out of town, but luckily the folks at the Mint Museum mailed us a copy--Ella was in the Charlotte Observer today for her holiday art contest win.

A Williams Family Christmas

Our Williams family Christmas this year, hosted by Chris and Chrissy, involved some Polish cooking, present opening, some serious Wii playing, and some hanging out fun times.

This is apparently a potato grater, a must for potato kluzki.

Chris in his "onion goggles", obviously very pleased to see my camera out...

Uh, Aunt Chrissy, I think Jack liked his new Power Ranger costume--thanks for all of the great gifts!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Engagement

We headed down to Florida early today as part of a special surprise for Jonathan's sister, Jacqui, that was all part of a master plan coordinated by Randy, Jacqui's boyfriend of 4 years. Jonathan's parents, his brother and family, Randy's mom, and the 4 of us were all on hand to be a part of the big moment we'd all been hoping for--Randy asked Jacqui to marry him. Jacqui said yes and there were cheers and congratulations all around. What an amazing night!

I love Jonathan's mom's expression in this picture.

Our kids, of course so excited to see their Aunt Jacqui, ran in to try to be a part of her moment. Luckily they cleared out so Randy could do his thing.

Some of the co-conspirators: Jonathan's brother, Chris, and his wife, Chrissy (or, as Ella and Jack like to call them, Uncle Chrissy and Aunt Chris).

And look at that ring!
Smiles all around...Ella, Jack, Jacob, and Noah have already started calling the groom-to-be Uncle Randy.

Congratulations, Jacqui and Randy! We couldn't be happier for you guys.