Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Team Loves Lila

We're so happy to be a part of March for Babies again this year.  
To walk among other families and capture a glimpse of their story.  Some have triumphed, some have suffered unimaginable loss and some are still praying for a healthy child.  The love and bravery witnessed during the walk is inspiring.

For me, the hardest part of being a parent is the raw vulnerability of loving another being so much. The force of that realization hit me the moment I became a mother.  It shook me to the core of my soul.  And it's a permanent feeling.  It doesn't seem to subside with time like many feelings do.  It's probably because we don't really have much control.  Even from the beginning we can only protect our children to a certain degree.

The fragility of life seemed infinitely more fragile after holding each of my babies for the first time.  How  is it possible that they exist?   It seems beyond reason that such perfection could be created by two people who are far from perfect.  

I still kiss their tiny fingers and listen to their heartbeats.  Those ordinary wonders which started within me will remain a part of each of them for their entire lives. I often look at their sweet lips and count their long eyelashes and try to make sense of how complicated and miraculous creating life actually is.  A process so scientific, yet magical.

And when you really break it down...every healthy baby is a miracle.

That is why we're so happy to be supporting the March of Dimes and their efforts to find answers to the problems that threaten unborn babies.  

If you'd like to join us in supporting this great cause please click the "Donate Now" button at the top of the blog.  We'll be walking in memory of our sweet niece, Lila, who was born sleeping nearly eight years ago.

No amount is too small.

Thank you!
Max McAlister ~ born 2/13/10 ~ 7lbs 9oz
Sullivan Michael ~ born 8/6/11 ~ a healthy 10 lbs even.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


St. Pat's may be a secondary holiday to most, but it gets top billing in the Murray family :)   

In preparation for the holiday we hosted a "St. Patrick's Day Warm-up" playgroup at our house.

Max admired all of the snacks before his guests arrived...
He went around listing everything..".Lucky Charms, applesauce, shamrock chips..."
I think he approved of the spread :)
Can't resist those Lucky Charms marshmellows!
Got a little shy when Emerson showed up ;)
He got brave and decided to show her how to make the rainbow craft we came up with.
I asked the  kids to tell me why they feel lucky and wrote it on the cloud.  Max came up with this sweet answer on his own :) 
Building with Thomas.
 *Poor Sullivan wasn't feeling well and napped upstairs during the whole party.  

Another way we celebrated St. Patrick's "Week" was by blasting Irish music and jamming/dancing until we were exhausted.  We have a bunch of Irish music records from Billy's parents and, of course, every Elders track you can name.  

Max had a little jam session before nap time.  Using the wooden horse as a guitar.

It's a party when Dad's home.  I wish you could hear how loud the music was in these photos...

On Snake Saturday we walked in the Brookside Parade with the Brookside Mothers' Association and then had family back to our house for our traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.

It was a little chilly.
This is the look Max gets on his face when he's about to torment his brother :)
Sullivan can hold his own though!
Sullivan waving to his adoring public :)

After the parade...
Getting into all the food.
Lolli's Pinterest creation...Shamrock dip!
Speaking of Pinterest Max and I made these for the cousins to take home:

It was a fun color sorting game for Max (with CLEAN hands :) earlier in the week. Sullivan helped too and did a great job getting the Skittles in the right bowl.  Then we layered them like a rainbow...with gold on the bottom and a cloud on the other end!
Here's Max hard at work earlier in the week.

After we ate, we played a few games.  They were captivated by the game Nora was playing :)

A little Jenga with Een.
St. Patrick's Day breakfast {prior to our Quigley's breakfast with the Murray family}
Digging the marshmellows out of their Lucky Charms :)  They loved the bagels with green cream cheese too.
 Max didn't like the Shatto Chocolate Mint milk so I made him green milk.
Lots of food coloring being consumed here :)
I got the boys a little Lucky Shamrock kit from the $1 aisle at Target.  They had fun planting their seeds...

 And then placing it in the window...  
 They're still waiting patiently for their lucky shamrocks to sprout!!

Lucky to have these lads in my life. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Real Life Moments: February

Wow, subtract Sullivan's half-birthday, Max's party, Max's actual birth-day and Valentine's Day and we're not left with many other "moments" in the short month of February.  That's ok though because February has gone from being my life-long least favorite month of the year to one of the months I look forward to the most now that these stinkers are here.  I think our whole family is coming down off of a celebration high.  
Or maybe its just sugar withdrawals.

Oh well.  We're getting hyped up for St. Patrick's Day and Easter!  Like I've said before...we're in a constant cycle of anticipation around here :)

Here are the days in February that didn't involve cake or chocolate...

Superbowl appetizer feast for toddlers.

Loving their picnic and a little football.  PB & Banana crackers, apples, yellow cherry tomatoes, cheese, grapes, chicken tenders and squeeze yogurt.  
Not sure if this is funny...or sad.  Sullivan kept using the bottle opener on his empty sippy cup and saying "more!"  He somehow thinks that this contraption fills up your drink :) 

Dinner at Blue Grotto for the JJ's fundraiser.  
This guy couldn't get enough of the fig jam from our fruit plate and ate it with his hands.

The new exhibit at Crown Center is "Funville" where kids can pretend to be a number of different professions within the town.  
Here's President Max Murray making an important call...
Surfer Sully and Lifegaurd Max.

 Sullivan has turned into quite the little Daddy.  He has many stuffed animals that he takes care of with devotion.  It's so sweet to see him make sure they all have a bite of his snack.
Love and snacks for Riffraff.  And a little snack for Tigre too.
An after dinner treat for Tigre.  He needs to be washed often ;)
And then there's Baby Bear who needs to be swaddled.  And carried around.  And then swaddled again.

Ok...this photo DOES have to with chocolate and cake.  I totally forgot about it until I came across it on my phone.  How sweet is this little gesture to me from Max on his birthday?  Billy took Max to get me a treat since his birth day was a little harder on me than it was on him ;)

Murray family bowling!  The boys had a blast.
1) Uncle Sean & Max.  2) Uncle Brenden and Sullivan 3) Keegan and Sully.  4) Cousin Brandon teaching Sullivan how to bowl.
That about does it for February!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stir Crazy

The enormous amount of snow we received in the past couple weeks had us house-bound like never before.  We literally couldn't get our doors open.  In a way it was fun...stocking up in anticipation of the storm, drinking wine with lunch as the inches piled up outside, feeling cozy by the fire with all of my boys.  It was a little vacation from our ordinary routine.  
I love how insulated and quiet everything seems when its covered in a deep layer of snow.
After a couple days, though, we were itching to get out as we had exhausted every indoor activity you can imagine...   

 We brought snow inside.

We looked outside.
Pretending to sled.  You can't tell from this photo but the snow was halfway up the door.
Offering the Easter bunny a snack.  The boys think its pretty cool he lives in OUR backyard ;)

We tried out the snow.
Poor Sullivan.  I couldn't find his mittens so I had to put wool socks on his hands.  One is now missing of course :)
We warmed our cold feet by the fire.

We painted.

We got out our albums from Ireland, Italy, Amsterdam and some of our scrapbooks.  Sullivan is looking at the scrapbook I made when Billy and I first started dating.
"Hmm...these people look familiar..."

We jammed to music.

We painted some more.

We ate every meal as a family.  Comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This was Billy's Bacon Mac & Cheese made from scratch.  I gained 10 lbs.

And things got a little crazy.  Being cooped up and wearing our pajama's all day during the "snow days" made us a little nuts.
Biggest boy, biggest kid :)
1) Sullivan decided underwear hats were an important fashion accessory.  2) Parachute play turned into wrestle mania.

In spite of the mess and the laziness (and craziness!)  I think this unplanned, uninterrupted time together as a family was good for us.

Side note:  Please don't judge the way my children are dressed in these photos ;)