Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year (Eve)!

We have come to terms with the fact that New Year's Eve will be celebrated a little differently than we used to. I know it's a short-lived thing, and dare I say I kind of enjoy the low-key celebration? Someday the boys will want to stay up until midnight (or at least 11) and watch the ball drop. Maybe then we will have a bigger party. For now, we kept our celebration to us and another family from the boys' school who have two boys the same ages as Walt and Oscar.

When I say low key, I'm not joking around. We had Ben and Charlie (and their parents, Jason and Jenny) come over around 4 p.m. so the kids could play.  We had a yummy brisket taco dinner then orchestrated a "countdown" at 7:00 p.m.

These hooligans are ready to countdown to 2016! (Thank you, Netflix)

Walt looks like a party animal!

Charlie liked the bubbly apple juice

Oscar isn't one to turn down food or drink, so he enjoyed his bubbly too!

Not to be left out, Bentley reluctantly celebrated  too.
As always, we're super excited to see what the new year brings. We aren't ones to really make resolutions, but we certainly like to envision the year ahead and talk about what we'd like to happen.  I see nothing but good stuff on the horizon!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas, y'all!  I'll admit it! I love Christmas! I love the hustle and bustle. I love all the gift shopping. I love the decorating. And, now that we have kids, I just LOVE seeing Christmas through their eyes.  Don't get me wrong, I get overwhelmed like the best of us, but I truly try to keep things into perspective and savor this time of year.

 Let's start with our trip to Santa. We did this weeks ago (amazingly! usually this is a last-minute thought. In fact, it slipped past me until Walt was almost 3).
It was touch and go with Oscar. He was very timid, but saw Walt bolt up to the Big Guy and felt better about it. Not one tear was shed and he was happy to get a candy cane.

This year was our year to spend Christmas in Gilmer. Since we really want to the boys to wake up in their house on Christmas morning, we don't typically go until Christmas afternoon. This means we got to spend Christmas Eve at my parent's house, but not before we scattered some reindeer food (Thanks, Allens!)
Making sure Donner and Dasher (and of course Rudolph) get some nourishment. Oscar was so intrigued by this that he didn't want to come inside until he saw a reindeer

It was a Christmas miracle that we snapped this family-of-4 selfie right before heading over to Papa Ronni and Papa Chuck's.  We're all really excited! 
Once we got home and got everyone tucked tight in bed, Santa made his rounds.  Lots of presents with wheels and even Bentley got a surprise!
The last-minute "this won't take long to put together" toy -- followed by our C-batteries were corrupt.  Off to 7-11 on Christmas Eve!
Chistmas morning was awesome! We were able to contain Walt to the upstairs game room until Oscar woke up. He's such a stud!

Admiring the WORKING car track! (R2D2 helmet because safety)

Oscar patiently waiting his turn and opening his presents

After the madness of presents, we packed everything into my car and headed to Gilmer. Bentley was a game-time decision. We felt bad for leaving him behind on Christmas! Let's just say the car ride was really cozy!

The boys in their happy place in Gilmer - outside and playing with cousin Maddie

It wouldn't be a trip to Gilmer if Walt didn't get to play some golf. Unfortunately, it was so wet and rainy that all we could do was some practice drives in the driveway.  It didn't slow him down.

 We had so much fun getting to celebrate with our families and spending some extended days with the boys.  Mama is one happy girl!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Grammy Girl Christmas

I love how this time of year forces us to acknowledge all of our friends and family.  These girls. They are framily. They are the ones you can pitch your wildest ideas to: "Wanna go to Vegas to see Britney?"; "Wanna go to month??"; "Wanna Netflix and chill?"; or even something as simple as, "Hey, let's do lunch tomorrow!"

Our lives didn't start out the same and they sure haven't ended up the same, but the universe made sure our paths crossed and that the gravitational pull stayed strong.  There was a time when we were planning our weekends and vacations around each other. I mean, the group got it's name essentially from a girls' weekend (mind you, the most of epic of girls' weekends that repeated itself for 7 years and happen to take place AT the Grammy Awards). Even though it was over 10 years ago and we weren't married with kids, planning time together was still challenging. We were scattered in 3-4 cities at any given time, practically from coast to coast.

Little did we know, coordinating across time zones would be EASY.  As things go in life, we started getting married, getting more serious about our careers (sorry, I can't stay out until midnight on a Tuesday), changing our careers, having babies, but maybe most importantly - reconvening to our homes in Dallas. Yay! We were finally all back in Dallas!

I can confidently say, that despite the expected and unexpected turns in life, these girls are always rock solid.  Yes, we have a lot of fun together (like, seriously - so much fun), but we are also very serious about our friendships. We all bring something to the table. J Green is the realist. She can diffuse situations with ease.  Jess is the psychologist. She tries to understand why we are all feeling something. Stori is the empathist. She actually feels what we all are feeling. Jayne is the loyalist. She will drop anything to help out.  In fact, we'd all drop everything for each other. No doubt in my mind.

I'm lucky that I have a handful of girlfriends (even outside this group!) that I can count on, confide in, and depend on.  These GG5 just needed a bit of recognition.  With that -- Merry Christmas, Grammy Girls.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Code Red! We've got a bleeder!

Today was a day I had envisioned since the day I found out we were having a boy (let alone two). My sisters and I are not delicate flowers, but we also weren't in the ER all the time (unless you count asthma visits, and, don't worry, we are already gold card members of that program).

Back to the story at hand. Walt is not my daredevil. He never has been. He's not afraid of anything, but he's not going to try anything until he's certain he knows how to master it.  For example, he didn't walk until 15 months old, but the second he did, he did so with skill -- rarely falling or bumping into things. When it comes to sports, he observes others and then tries things. Making sure he can execute with confidence. (Oscar is another story, but this blog is not about Oscar).

So, today when I got a frantic call from the boys' school, I could only assume it was Oscar.  Soon after we dropped Walt off, the school called saying not much more than, "You need to come now! Walt hit his head and there's a lot of blood." Thank heavens we live just yards from the school and are able to run next door.  I let Chris run over as I was still finishing getting Oscar ready. Plus, I had no idea what we were dealing with and blood is not my friend.

I paced at the back window until I saw Chris carrying a VERY bloody Walt home.

This is a pic from the hospital, but you can see his shirt was a crime scene.
The story goes that Walt was playfully pushed into a wall by a friend of his (a girl, I might add).  He fell backwards right into the corner of a doorframe, so it truly was accidental and just a bad fall.  When Chris brought him in the front door, besides the blood, it was obvious he needed stitches.  So off they went to Children's while I took Oscar to school.  Side note, Oscar immediately picked up on the tension and was extremely concerned about Walt. He sobbed when Chris and Walt left for the hospital, mostly out of worry.  I reassured him that Walt would be just fine!

We have had nothing but amazing experiences at Children's Legacy.  Both boys have been for illness (Oscar likes to go more often just to make sure his favorite people are there).  This time was no different.  Here's how the visit went:

Walt actually thought the experience was super cool We kept telling him what to expect. He didn't seem nervous at all!

It was determined that staples would be the method used. Here's the nurse cleaning the area. The water was ice cold.  

The final product was 3 clean staples.  Turns out, the numbing gel didn't work so great and Walt felt all three going in. He cried a bit, but as soon as it was over (10 seconds later) he was fully recovered and ready to show off his war wound.

I couldn't help but compare Walt to Massive Head Wound Harry :)

As we were leaving, the nurses took us to the main hospital lobby because pilots from major airlines were giving away toys.  That's an understatement.  Walt walked away with 3 huge toys plus a pillow pet and a balloon. Not a bad loot for 3 staples. 

On the way home, the adrenaline began to wear off and Walt got nauseous. Not uncommon for my little weak-tummy boy.  He never threw up, but took a huge nap when we got home.

All in all, the experience was extremely smooth and only very mildly nerve wracking. Walt was a SUPER stud and as brave as he could have been. He gets his staples out in 10 days (Merry Christmas!) and then this will be a story for the books - or the blog :)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cypress Creek Montessori Holiday Program

Every year, the boys' school puts on a great holiday program.  The kids sing holiday favorites, while the teachers and parents mouth the words and mimic the dance moves in the audience. This year was no different.

We had an outdoor performance at the Villages of Fairview, which was a nice change of scenery from the super cramped gym at school. Our school has amazing classrooms and a gym for rainy days, but when there's an all-school activity, unlike a church or a bigger school, we don't have a good place to go. The outdoor arena was perfect as the weather was great (albeit a touch chilly), but the sun was shining.

Walt is an old pro at these programs and truly has no stage fright.  This is Oscar's very first stage performance and while he's our little animated comedian, the spotlight had him a bit paralyzed.

Oscar is 2nd from the left (red bow tie). He didn't move much from this stance.

Once Oscar got off stage and saw Daddy he BURST into tears. Poor buddy. But, he was super happy to see Papa Ronni there!
Still a bit traumatized, but heard rumors of candy canes

Now it's Walt's turn. He's on the top row just to the left of the black speaker... pointing at us. Even at 5, we're getting shout outs.

In an attempt to get more "family of four" pics, I forced this pic to happen when everyone was grumpy and hungry. This about sums it up (why am I holding Walt??)

Later that night we did some neighborhood caroling and Oscar's stage fright vanished. He requested we sing Frosty and Jingle Bells on repeat.

I seriously love this time of year for so many reasons. And yes, I'm one of those annoying people who love Christmas music. Hearing those adorable little voices sing-yell their way through Feliz Navidad and Rudolph just put me right in the holiday spirit. Well, that and the spiked hot chocolate :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bruns' Fall Recap

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas full steam ahead, I wanted to recap all the fun things we did this fall. I've blogged about a lot of amazing highlights like Vegas and Napa, but lots of other little stuff occurred and I don't want to miss those memories.

Like my other seasonal recaps, we'll do this pictorially.

All of sudden, these two enjoy playing with each other. Not just in the same room. 

Cars are a big source of unity in our house. Look how Oscar lined them all up!

Fall mean FOOTBALL. Here's Oscar rooting for the nailbiting Bronco's with Papa Chuck.

The joys of a box 

Fall is a time of so many birthdays in our family. This one was celebrating Jameson and Uncle Greg

The fall weather in Texas is typically unbeatable (as long as it's not raining). We take advantage of lots of park time and inviting friends to play. Dylan and Walt are hilarious!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

For the first time, Chris and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. We were very excited to do this because it meant both his family and our family would be together for the holiday.  We also wanted an excuse to use our newly remodeled kitchen!

I can't even begin to explain how great the day was. In fact, it was so good that I didn't take but two pictures!  Chris and his dad owned the turkey. I made sure we had utensils and drinks (and a bonus side dish and egg-free dessert) and everyone else brought something. I'm a big fan of the potluck method. It reduces the burden on the host and everyone feels like they contributed.

I actually wish that I had a story to tell about something going wrong, because those usually end up being the things you laugh about. I got nothing.

I think in total we had 14 adults and 4 kids - so it was a pretty packed house. Just the way I like it!  The kids got to run around and even play outside a bit in the rain (it wasn't cold yet).  The food was perfection and the company couldn't be beat. Football was on TV  and the wine was flowing. I was so giddy with content that I sat on our couch the Friday after and just relished in how GOOD things are! We have so little to complain about. In short, we are very thankful :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Napa 2015

Turns out, we've spent a lot of hours and minutes in the air this year. Between my job, which sends me to California about once a month, and just a lot of travel opportunities, we were on the go much of 2015.

So, when I realized my company's user conference was in downtown San Francisco in early November, I thought -- why not tack on a quick trip to Napa?!  Chris and I were both a little hesitant because we HAD done a ton of travel this year.  But, we also know that opportunities to get away don't always present themselves and other than our own hesitation, there wasn't a glaring reason why we shouldn't go. A few phone calls to grandparents and we were booked!

What made the trip even better is we got to buddy up with two of our couple friends. Our friends Jason and Brandi (Jason also works at Guidewire, so he liked my logic) and Stori and Richard joined us for fun.

Chris met me in San Fran on Wed evening. We hung out with my work colleagues, then got up early Thursday morning and hopped in our Camaro convertible (WHAT?).  Hey, traveling a lot allows for accumulation of travel points!

We ate lunch at Gott's Roadside for a greasy and delicious hamburger (even for a Texas girl!)  Then we drove towards Calistoga where we had an amazing private tasting of the Spire Collection. Then we drove up Spring Mountain and had a great tasting with some gorgeous mountain scenery at Pride Wines.  We ended the evening in St. Helena at a lovely restaurant (aren't they all amazing??) called LMR Farmstead.  We stayed in a lovely little cottage like hotel called Villagio

Our super fun group! (It was a little bright out)
The girls :) Love them both!
From the Spire Collection tasting room. Grapes for days!

Sunset on Spring Mountain at Pride Wines

Seriously - you can't make this scenery up!

The next day was a full day. But not before Chris got a little work done. The day before he got a call from his agent that he was selected to be the voice for Indian Motorcycles.  The catch - they needed it recorded the next day! So a mobile recording unit came to our hotel room and Chris recorded while I got ready (quietly) in the bathroom.

We hired a driver since we wanted to squish as many wineries in as we possibly could. While a bit pricey (we got stuck in a 2-hour back up which made the price tag extra steep), it was totally worth it. Another great tip (that was passed along from Stori) was to have our conceirge set up the tastings.  Turns out, we got a free or discounted tasting at all these places.  We hit up:

Darioush was the epitome of opulence, but still amazingly gorgeous

There was a slight mix up with our tasting reservation so we got a tour of the Darious property. Simply gorgeous. 

At Alpha and Omega, we through a bunch of money at our driver and he got us sandwiches from Dean and Deluca (my fave!). This day was beyond perfect. I'm not sure the sky could have been bluer.

I wish we would have captured the tasting room at Hall Wines. It's floor too ceiling glass windows with no panes.  This picture makes me happy :)

We ended this night with dinner in Yountville (where we were staying) at Hurley's.  After drinking all day, we didn't have much left in us, so walked our full bellies back to our room.

On Saturday, it was just Chris and I.  We decided to make a quick stop into Sonoma before heading back to the airport. Lucky for us, one of the Hall Wines (Walt Wines) has a tasting room in Sonoma, so we got to enjoy some of that.

We spotted the shipping carts and absolutely wanted one. They give you anything if you join the wine club! :)
It was a very quick trip, but just the right amount of time to taste a bunch of wine, eat a ton of great food, and spend some time with great friends. We highly recommend taking friends to Napa. It's great to compare wines with other people, but most importantly, when you're a little buzzed at the end of the day, you have someone to share it with!