In 2011, it is one of my resolutions to stay connected with family and friends and share important moments in our daily lives with each of you... hopefully this will give you a glimmer into our home, see our children grow, and be involved in our journey during the year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Week in the Life

I have decided to participate in this project by Ali Edwards called a "Week in the Life". I think this will be a lot of fun and a great way for me to document a real week in the McGraw house before things get hectic here and Cory leaves for Afghanistan.

I will be excited to share with you little things that happen here during the week of July 25th. I am sure between the four boys we will have plenty of stories to tell! You can click on the link above to get an idea of what we are in for...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Evergreen State

Last week, Uncle Ervin came into port at San Pedro, so the boys and I went down to visit. They had a great time playing on the ship in the control room, sitting in the captain's chair, and seeing Uncle Ervin's room. They didn't want to leave to go to dinner.

We went over to California Pizza Kitchen and the boys had pizza of course. We had a great time and they are still talking about how big the ship was and going to back to visit. I was glad we were able to see Uncle Ervin especially since the boys have not seen him since we went to Maine for their baptism 3 years ago. It was a great visit!

Missing Cory this Week...

So this week we are definitely missing Cory. He left on Sunday for a two week trip to Afghanistan and we are ready for him to come home. He has called twice and unfortunately we have missed his call both times. Tonight the boys kept asking me to replay the voicemail he left so they could hear him. It was so sweet. He should be back on July 1... we can't wait!

This week has been pretty quiet... Knox has not been feeling well. He has a sore throat and an awful cough that has kept him up the last few nights. Today Chase kept poking him and squishing his face. He kept pushing Chase away and he just did not get the hint. So finally Chase poked him again and this time Knox bit his finger. It is the first time that Knox has bitten so hopefully it will not be a trend, but Chase did leave him alone after that. Here is a picture of Knox playing with one of his favorite toys. It lights up and makes noise.

Chase had to have blood work done on Monday for his appointment tomorrow. He always does really well, but poor thing has bruises on one of his arms since the nurse could not get it done the first time. She had to keep fishing in his arm to get it. I felt horrible. Finally I asked her to try the other arm or let someone else try. He was a little trooper though it did great! Here are a few photos from the waiting room.

I also wanted to share a few photos from the last week of school. Wills went to the park with his class and he had a great time!

Mini Album - I Believe in Family

I haven't done a mini album in a long time, but last night I was looking over these pictures and I wanted to put them in a book. I really love how it turned out. We had such a great time Memorial Day weekend and I definitely want to share those moments. I am so glad that Dad and Aunt Georgia were able to spend the week with us.

Here are the inside pages.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Last Day of School

Well today is officially the last day of school for Riley and Wills. They are so excited about summer starting however they will miss their teachers and friends!

Wills had his Kindergarten Promotion this morning... He was so cute. I cannot believe how fast time goes by. I feel like he was just a baby and now we is moving on to first grade. They sang two songs in the cafeteria for everyone. Here is their school song, "I Want To Be an Eagle" and it was written by their music teacher, Mr. Lawhead.

This song is "I Am Ready For What the World May Bring".

Riley and Wills helped me make these cute teacher planners for the end of the year gifts. Both Ms. Davis and Mrs. Fisher loved them. We also got them cute borders for the bulletin boards and a small clutch from my favorite store, Coach.

Here is a picture of the boys and their teachers today.

Here are a few more pictures from this morning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Times Have Changed...

Times have definitely changed since I was little. I can still remember how excited I would be when we opened a new box of crayons. Now with technology they don't even need crayons to color pictures. Check out the lemon tree that Wills drew today.

Last month we bought a Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless tablet. I thought it would be great to use for scrapbooking. It didn't even cross my mind that the kids would be using it all of the time. Wills and Riley ask almost everyday if they can use it to color on the computer using a program called Adobe Illustrator.

They love to use it to draw pictures and if they make a mistake they just click undo. Since you use a pen instead of a mouse, it is just like drawing with a crayon. Then I just turn the file into a jpg and we are able to email it out to everyone or print it to hang on the fridge.

I am amazed at how quickly they learn to use the program. It is almost intuitive for them. Absolutely AMAZING! I wish it would have come to me as quickly. I guess that is the difference between generations. I wonder what technology they will come up with next.

We love our Wacom tablet... worth every penny!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Layout from Grandpa's Visit

Last night I did a little scrapbooking and created this fun layout with one of my favorite pictures from last week. THe boys had such a great time with Dad. They can't wait for him to come back out.

Journaling: Dad had a great time with Knox at the beach. I wish we lived closer so they could see him more. THey love spending time with him. It's amazing... it feels like yesterday he was playing with Charisse and I on the beach and now have children of our own.

Albanian Cooking - Gjelle

Today is a cloudy, cool day in southern California. I thought it would be perfect for a stew to warm things up. Nana used to make this for Charisse and I all the time when we were growing up. When Aunt Georgia was here last week, she gave me the recipe. I thought I would share it with you.


  •  4 Quarter Lamb Chops, cut into chunks
  • 1 T Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt / Pepper to taste
  • 1 TSP Oregano
  • Handful of String Green Beans
  • 1 TSP Tomato Paste
  • 16 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Saute onions and minced garlic in olive oil. Saute lamb until brown. Add tomatoes, salt/pepper, oregano, and water. After washing and removing the ends of the green beans, add to the stew. Simmer for 45 - 50 minutes.

Well I hope you enjoy the recipe... it warms my heart to know that I can now share this recipe with my little ones. It definitely reminds me of Nana and my childhood memories.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Star Wars in Concert... AWESOME!

So the day finally arrived for us to go to the Star Wars in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The boys were so excited and could not wait! Dad, Auntie, Cory, and I took Riley and Wills into LA earlier in the afternoon so that we could catch up with Matt and Rachel. We met at the Grove in the farmer's market. The food was great!

This was the first time I had seen Matt and Rachel since the boys' baptism three summers ago. Rachel brought the pictures from their wedding this past fall and we had a great time with them. We are hoping they will come out and visit more this summer!

After dinner, we headed over to the concert and it was amazing. The Hollywood Bowl is an open amphitheater that seats about 18,400 people and the event was sold out. I have not seen so many people in one place since football games at Virginia Tech!

The concert was nothing short of extraordinary! The music was flawless and the light show was amazing. They had the actor who played C3PO narrate the show. Everyone was surprised to see John Williams there and he conducted the last song!

There were quite a few people dressed up in costumes and they looked so realistic.

So while we were there... I noticed just a few seats in front of us was Michael Welch, an actor from Twilight. It was my first super star sighting since we moved here! So of course the tourist in me took a picture...

A Few More Days with Family

We have had a wonderful time visiting with Dad and Aunt Georgia. I will be sad to see them go tomorrow. However we really enjoyed the time we had. We went to Geoffrey's in Malibu on Thursday night... what a great experience! The view was gorgeous and food was excellent. I am not the biggest fan of mussels however the appetizer that they prepared were delicious. The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway was just beautiful.

On Friday, we spent the evening with Brian and Joanie Malley... We were excited to see them. Brian was my Uncle Paul's best friend growing up and Aunt Georgia was over joyed to see them. Dad hadn't seen them since Aunt Georgia's 80th birthday. It was great for us to connect with close family friends so that we will have support and friends in the area. Today we went over and for a barbecue and to go swimming. The boys had a great time in their pool and hot tub! We can't wait to catch up with them again in the next few weeks!