Monday, November 28, 2011

Anna's Baptism

Our beautiful baby girl was baptized yesterday! We are so proud of her and her decision to be baptized. It was such a blessing to have both grandmas with us for the big day and they were even asked to participate...Grammy Joan gave a talk on baptism and Grandma Nichols gave the opening prayer. I'll probably go to hell for taking a picture in the chapel, but this moment between Tony and Anna was too priceless not to capture.

About a week ago, I went digging through my bin of things from when I was younger and found the baptism dress that my mom made for me when I was baptized (all the way back in 1982). On a whim, I had Anna try it on and it fit her just perfectly. We had a little chat while she had it on and I told her about my dress and how it would mean so much to me if she wore it when she was baptized and then she could keep it to remember her special day. I'm so grateful that she thought it was a brilliant idea.

Because Sam is a boy, he got to prepare for his actual baptism with Tony and I had to sit with everyone else. But this time, Anna was the only girl getting baptized so she and I were all alone in the dressing room and we got to share a sweet minute that was so precious. I am grateful to have had that time with her.

Anna is an amazing little girl. Tonight, she gave the dinner prayer. She forgot to bless the food, but she did remember to ask for help so that she could make good decisions because she had been baptized.

What a good example and a wonderful reminder to me.

We love you, Anna!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


First of all, Happy Thanks-giving! We are so grateful for our family, our friends, and our freedoms. We are indeed surrounded by many, many blessings.

With my mother-in-law and my mom both is town for Anna's baptism and Thanksgiving, it was fabulous to have two extra sets of hands in the kitchen! We also played host to a couple of guys that are here at Maxwell for OTS and couldn't go home for Thanksgiving. We borrowed a big table that everyone would fit around and feasted!

The aftermath.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Goodies

Josh and I spent an afternoon last week making snicker-doodles as Thanks-giving treats for my primary class and for the kids' teachers. We put them in goodie bags in a couple of cupcake papers and added a tag and ribbon. Yummy!

Moms are both coming in tomorrow for Thanksgiving and Anna's baptism!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Go To Church

On I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham. Gotta love the Bible Belt. Pretty much the best billboard ever.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


...or in other words, "How to keep your kids from getting beat up during Iron Bowl tailgate parties." That's right. The annual Auburn/Alabama knockdown is the weekend of Thanksgiving. And because the kids have all next week off, that leaves this week for the Autauga County school district to tailgate. Seriously. Our family has tried very hard to stay Alabama neutral so as not to immediately alienate half the state (or the other half) with the official McIllece family backing. Today for Anna's tailgate party, I made her a cute, generic football shirt. And she decided to wear Auburn blue & orange in one pigtail and Alabama crimson in the other. And notice the darling new glasses!

We also got some great news last week. We will be staying in Alabama for at least two more years after Tony graduates from ACSC in the Spring! He was offered a staff judge advocate job here at Maxwell...a great opportunity for him. I'm thrilled. We waited to tell the kids that we would be staying until everything was finalized. We thought they'd be excited. Instead, we were met with silence. And then Sam said, "What does that mean, exactly?" That's what you get when you have a 5th grader who has attended 5 schools. Geesh.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

McWane & A Parade

ALL the students in our house had Veteran's Day off so we decided to do some exploring! On Friday morning, we drove to Birmingham and spent the day at the McWane Science Center. It is four floors of science delight right in downtown. The highlights included digging for dinosaur bones, the awesome train display, laying on a bed of nails, butterflies landing on our shadows, and making fabulous family portraits on the push peg boards. But the best part of the day was touching REAL.LIVE.SHARKS. And rays.

About halfway through the visit, we went outside and watched the Veteran's Day parade go by. It is the longest running and largest Veteran's Day parade in the United States...right there in Birmingham. And I must say, they sure love the military here. There were so many flags and cheering and was such a wonderful thing to be a part of.

After the day in Birmingham, we made a quick stop North of town to see the temple and then headed on to Huntsville for another adventure on Saturday...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Just another reason to love Alabama. Who could imagine heading to the parking lot after church, shooting the breeze with friends, munching peee-cans off a real peee-can tree. In November. I'm gonna shell a bunch and use them in my Thanksgiving pie this year. I love Alabama.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Anna's Literary Genius

I go to Anna's classroom once a week for a couple hours to read with the kids. Last week when I got there, Anna's teacher asked Anna to show me her writing journal. The class had read a story about animals and the journal assignment was to write 3-5 sentences describing an animal and then the class would try and guess what animal they were describing. In the few minutes that the class had to write, "this animal has feathers" or "this animal lives in a barn", Anna whips out this masterpiece of literary genius:

"I like to drink milk, and eat lots of food,
Whenever you try to touch me, I'm in a bad mood.
I think yarn is fun, I have a good clean dish,
The only treat I'd like is NICE FRESH FISH!
My eyes are super yellow, they are sometimes scary,
I sometimes live on a farm, where cows make dairy.
My fur is really soft, my nails are really sharp,
I will fall asleep if you play music on a harp.
My tail is skinny, any pattern, spots, or shade,
If you like this animal, you may not want to trade!"

What am I?

Seriously? I almost died. She's in 2nd grade, people!

This kid is gonna make me millions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Cookie Cutter Visiting Teaching Gifts

I was at Michaels the other day and all their Fall stuff was on sale. I did a little digging and found a set of nine Wilton cookie cutters...three nesting cutters of three different designs. I split the box up into 3 sets so that each set had one of all three designs (two leaves and an acorn). I tied them all together at the stems with ribbon, added a tag and Bam! said the visiting teaching lady.

"The greatest oak was once a little acorn who held his ground." --Old Proverb