Monday, December 29, 2008


We had our first Christmas with Hudson. From all accounts he loved it. We had a busy couple of days celebrating Jesus's birthday. We went to my cousins on Christmas eve for a couple hours. We finally got to meet the newest edition to the McCray family.....sweet baby Lilly. Then we were off to my in laws house for an evening with the Byrd family. Santa comes to their house every year & Hudson was very excited. Ravenna stuck like glue to her aunty Angela & Tiffany. We got back to my parents house (our parents only live about a mile apart...we are very lucky) close to midnight. We put the kids down & then we did what all parents do the night before Christmas. Hudson was the first to wake up, thankfully grandpa was already up. He said Hudson just looked at everything for about 10 minutes & then became mesmerized by Santa's 1/2 eaten cookie & orange peel he left. We all finally rolled out of bed & watched with complete enjoyment as my children took in the wonder of Christmas morning. I have a feeling it will be one of their fondest memories from childhood just as it was for me. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with friends & family.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nana in Montana

Nana (Stephan's mom) came to visit for a couple days. She took the train over from Spokane to visit her mom who lives in Bigfork. Irene went with us to the Conrad Mansion for santa pictures & a tour. Ravenna was not a fan of the big guy in the red suit. Year 2 where she won't look happy in her Santa picture. Hudson had no problem at all. We all ended up taking the train back to Spokane together. We had planned to drive back on Friday for the Christmas holiday & the weather changed our minds. The kids were thrilled to ride the train & I was thrilled to not have to drive over the snowy mountain passes.

Santa pictures at the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, MT.

Nana loves this Kirtland Cutter mansion.

Hudson & Ravenna with Nana.

Doing the last of our Christmas shopping in downtown Whitefish by sled. Fun!

Cold & snowy day!

The dining car.

Almost "nigh night" time on the train.

The sun was just coming up & we were following the Kootenai River. It was such beautiful scenery with all the snow. A great memory for our kids to take their first train ride with their nana.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


REALLY??? Does anyone else's window look like this? Yes, this is on the inside. It's cold!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peter Pan

We had a girls night out on Saturday. The mommies took the daughters out for dinner & the play Peter Pan here in Whitefish. We got dressed up & went to dinner at Mackenzie River Pizza Company then on to the play. Ravenna (along with all the other little girls) was a little disappointed to see Tinkerbell was portrayed by a little green light & not an actual person. However, there were lots of other characters she loved. It was a late night, but she did very well & I think really enjoyed it.
While we were busy with our girls night. Stephan took Hudson along with the other daddies to dinner in Kalispell & then to see Madagascar II. Hudson was thrilled as he got to have ribs for dinner, see a movie & Cash his cousin was there as well.

Elyse, Ravenna, Zoey, & Scout (making her fishy face)

Sitting with Julia & Elyse & another little girl who just wanted to be in our picture.

Most of the group except Meghan & Scout (they escaped the picture).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravenna's Gotcha Day, 2 years

Xu Mei Mei, 10 1/2 months old, and 14 pounds. December 11, 2006. An unforgettable and glorious moment.

Introducing Ravenna Kelly Mei Byrd.

How our lives have changed with the addition of this sweet, little dolly. We have had Ravenna for 2 years now and wonder where the time has gone. I think most parents feel the same way as we do & can't imagine life without our children. We will be eternally grateful to her birth mother & birth father for making such a life changing decision. We feel so lucky to have her as our daughter & hope that we can reward her in being the best parents we can be. So give your sweet little ones a kiss and tell them you love them. Here's to Ravenna Kelly Mei Byrd on her "Gotcha Day" December 11, 2008

Gotcha Day 2007, one year with Ravenna.

Gotcha Day 2008, two years with Ravenna.

Story time at the library today.

We all went swimming at "The Wave".

Then on to dinner & ice cream.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Tree O' Chirstmas Tree

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We went up to Hungry Horse to cut down Hudson's first Christmas Tree. As you can see there was plenty of snow & the kids loved it! On the way home we stopped by Uncle Gerard & Aunt Loretta's house. They treated us to lunch & a toasty house to warm up in. We are very fortunate to have family over here as well. We now have our perfect little tree in our "little condo". The kids had fun decorating & getting all the Christmas stuff out. They were most impressed with the Christmas videos.

You can click on the collage to enlarge it so you can see the pictures better.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Walk of Whitefish

The "Walk of Whitefish" was last night. Downtown blocks main street off and food vendors along with lots of people fill it up. The stores also stay open extra late. We met up with Grace & Steven Byrd (Stephan's cousins) & their 2 daughter's Elyse & Julia. Audrey (Grace's sister) & Marcus & some of their friends were there as well. We wandered around downtown till it got too cold. Then we headed to the Great Northern Brewery to warm up & let the kids run around. Did you know you can have your dog come in to a bar & the bathroom (if you choose to do so) in Montana? Truly, Ravenna & I were exiting a bathroom stall & the next occupant was a lady & her german shephard. Love it!
Another fun new experience for us in Montana!

The crew!

Grace & Ravenna

Sweet Elyse & Julia

Hudson balancing on the strollers.

Audrey & Elyse

The Great Northern Brewery upstairs.

Ravenna was holding Elyse's hand for pretty much 2 hours straight. New friends.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giving Thanks 2008

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Things I am thankful for:

Stephan, Hudson, Ravenna, my family (my parents & my McCray family as well as the wonderful Byrd family which I married into), living in the USA, a roof over my head, not being hungry, staying home & being a mom for my children, my friends, our lake cabin, and for all that is to come.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Walla Walla Wine Tour

We started the week of Thanksgiving off with some wine tasting in Walla Walla, WA. Our friend Dennis & Stephan's previous boss invited us down to stay with him & his girlfriend Lisa. Dennis has always been such a gracious host & our time in Walla Walla with him was no exception. He realized a dream of his & started his own vineyard 3 years ago & bought a fabulous home to stay at while he is in town.
Walla Walla has developed a name for itself among wine aficionados. There are now close to 100 wineries in this darling little town. This was our second time doing a wine tasting tour. We were able to leave for wine tasting from Dennis's house by 4 wheeler due to the wonderful location of his house. I must say I don't know much about wine, but that doesn't matter. We had so much fun. The crisp air, the 4 wheeler ride, being surrounded by vineyards, the mouth watering dinner, catching up with Dennis & Lisa, and being there for Dennis's first tasting of his Cabernet Sauvignon all made for such a memorable mini vacation. Thanks to Dennis & Lisa for hosting us, we will return the favor once we get you to Whitefish. We look forward to 10.10.2010 in Walla Walla. This may become a new past time of fun!