Our Boys!

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Christmas 2008

A rarity that the whole Elmlinger family is actually all together in the same room!!! Usually there is at least another city, state or country inbetween us all! Clockwise from Left: My mom, brother-in-law Mark, sister Melissa, brother Greg, hubby Shawn, me, Grant, cousin Kyle, Blake, Evan, & my dad.
The 4 and only cousins - together again!!!
Santa's little helpers!
2 peas in a pod - Kyle and Blake watching Wall E.
My cousins (so that would be my kids' 2nd cousins I think) from the Phillipines and London: Evan, Kristen, Morgan and JP
We have always said that Blake looks just like JP - if you put a picture of when JP was 4 next to Blake, you can't tell them apart - here is partial proof, that even though there is a 10 year age gap between them, they still look alike - guess those Lafferty genes run strong!
The girls! Morgan just turned 21 and is studying at Middlesex University in London and Kristen just turned 18 and will graduate soon from Brent International in the Phillipines. She's awaiting word on several universities here in the States to attend for college.
My Uncle Jim (top left on the couch with my brother Greg) has worked for P&G forever overseas - just in case you're wondering why my cousins have lived all over the world. The newest addition to the Lafferty clan is Kenji - he is the sweetest, most adorable little boy ever. He fit right in with Blake and Kyle too, playing cars!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!!
We've had a great few days, and more good ones coming up over the next week.

Shawn's mom, sister and brother-in-law came up on the 23rd and stayed til' the 24th. It was nice to spend some quality time with them.

I think this is the first year ever that we've spent Christmas Eve evening and Christmas day by ourselves - very different, yet very nice too! The kids had a blast as you'll see in the pics below.

We're excited to travel to Cincinnati on Sat. morning to have Christmas with my parents, my brother, and my sister and brother-in-law and little nephew. Should be a really fun weekend with all of us "kids" back together!

Then we'll cap the year off with our best friends, the Cassidy's, in Cincy - as we do every year! They don't call us the Lil'Cass crew for nothin - haha!

Once again, we failed to produce a Christmas Card this year, so hopefully you've been keeping up with the blog for updates. At any rate, we wanted to wish you and yours a very blessed Christmas and wish you much love, joy and peace in 2009!

Beth, Shawn, Evan, Grant and Blake Liller

Can't even believe I got a picture of this - this would NEVER happen on a normal day!!!

Grant putting out the cookies, milk and a little thank-you note to Santa.

Twas' the night before Christmas...

If you have boys, then I don't even need to tell you why they all got some "coal" in their stockings!

The "most wanted" on Evan and Grant's Christmas lists - Club Penguin games for their DS's.

Evan loves his Bakugan - so he got the official Battle Arena along with about 10 Bakugan figures.

Grant has been wanting an official Peyton Manning jersey for a long time - he's still wearing it now, but at least he finally put on some jeans with it (the pic below shows how he wore it all morning)! He really wanted it autographed, but I certainly don't have those kind of connections. He's convinced he's going to meet Peyton "in a few weeks" and "I'll just get it signed then" - ahhhhh, I love the optimism kids have!!!

Blake still loves Hot Wheels and race cars - so he got this great play rug and finally convinced Grant to play with him.

Yep, more race cars - he sat mesmerized watching them go up the track and spin down the track over and over and over and over and over - well you get the point!

Another hit was the Animal Crossing City Folk game for our Wii - I might even learn how to play this one, looks pretty cute!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well, after 2+ years of trying to "update" my blog, I finally found this site from this friend's blog and decided to give it a try once again.



So, I hope you enjoy the look of our new blog - this might become a common occurance now that it's been made easier (meaning, I don't lose a lot of my page elements whenever I try to change colors or whatever!!!)

Happy blogging!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Indiana Ice

So the first thing Grant says this morning after getting ready for school is "Come on Blake - let's go outside and we can play 'Don't Break The Ice' before my bus comes". Ahhhh, the imaginations of our kids! Actually, I thought that was pretty brilliant (they have the game and play it often). So they go outside and start chipping away at the ice on our front stoop and walkway. After a few minutes, Grant rings the doorbell and has a big chunk of ice in his hands. I'm thinking what the heck is he doing with that, and he tells me "look at this piece of ice mom" and I'm like "yeah, cool honey" and he says "but don't you know what it is?" and I obviously have no clue - so he goes on to say "look harder mom, it's kinda shaped like the state of Indiana!!!"

Yep, kids - I wish I could still see things through their eyes, with a little more innocence, imagination and belief. Kinda like the Polar Express where the kids can hear the bell ringing but the adults can't.

May you all have a very blessed Christmas and New Year - and may we all be able to believe, not necessarily in the things we can see, but in the things we can't see!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bongo Boys Community Drum Circle

Last night we went to this awesome, FREE drum exhibition! Every Thursday night from 7:15 to 8:30 pm, the Bongo Boys Music School puts on a free community drum circle. Basically that means you get to go, take your kids if you want, hang out and bang out some frustration on a bunch of drums! We went after spinning last night with some friends (thanks for finding this Sandra!!!) and took the kids - they had a BLAST!!! I'm sure we'll probably go every Thursday now - the kids can't wait to go back! They're located in Castleton off Bash Rd. If you want more information, you can copy and paste this link:

The instructor had a great time with the kids - and the kids really responded to his spunk and love for the drums. This video is truly a drum "circle"!!!

Blake, Max (Evan's friend), Evan and Sierra banging away.

Evan and Max - having a great time!

Daddy, joining in with Trasan, Grant, Evan and Max

The kids' drum circle: L to R: Laura, Grant, Blake, Max, Evan and Trasan

Blake doing a little solo action.

Grant was loving the set of 3 drums.

Daddy was just tryin' to keep up.

I was shocked at how much rhythm the younger kids had! Maybe this will be the instrument of choice for Blake - he was so serious and "into" it!

Max, Evan and Trasan had some game of their own!

Merry Christmas Cookies

Every year, the boys LOVE to make - well, maybe not make, but they love to EAT the homemade Christmas cookies I make (my great-grandma's recipe I believe, I just know them as my mom's cutout cookies).

They always start out doing a great job helping me, but by the time the first batch is done baking, they're MUCH happier eating them!!! Here are a few shots...

My "baby"

Well, I just had to put this one on here b/c it clearly shows how my "baby" really isn't a baby anymore. He fell asleep on the couch when we got home from working out (which is why I look so hideous), so I picked him up and he fell back asleep on me - how could I resist the chance to snuggle with him while he slept! I just wish they wouldn't grow up so fast!!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

First snowfall of 2008!

Nothing like some good packing snow for the kidlins! They had a blast during our first real snowfall of 2008. Creative little munchkins they are!!!

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

"Look what we're making"!!!

All 3 boys and one of their friends jump in to make more stuff in the front yard.

The finished products: According to Grant, they are as follows from L to R: A very large bird, a frog, a jack-o-lantern and a snow ghost. Ahhh, straight from the imagination of babes!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The end of November

Today, I have a lot of things on my mind as we come to a close on the month of November. A lot has happened this month - good and bad. Today I finished reading the book The Shack. Honestly, I never had much intention on reading it, even though most of my church had read it a few months back. I guess I don't have a lot of time lately to do much of anything other than doing the "mom" thing - I've also been in a spiritual rut for awhile now. Anyway, I was at my parents house for Thanksgiving and I saw this book on my mom's desk. I started reading it the night before we left and really couldn't put it down. I can only encourage you all to read it if you haven't already - it has totally changed my outlook on my relationship with God/Jesus/Sarayu - you'll understand it and come to your own revelations should you choose to read it.

Anyway, a lot has happened this month. My baby turned 4 on the 4th which was also election day. I pray that Obama turns out to be a great leader - whether he was your choice or not is irrelevant now - but we can all pray that he makes good choices in leading this nation of ours. Prayer can be powerful, even in the face of adversity.

We have faced more obstacles than I ever thought fathomable with Evan this month. I won't go into detail, but parenting a child with any kind of special need is beyond comprehension sometimes - I just ask that if you are a believer, that you pray for us if we ever come to mind as we tread through life with him. I believe there is a purpose in what we are going through - although I don't know when or if we will ever understand it in this lifetime.

I turned 38 just a few days ago. Guess that's not too old by most standards, but I feel like I've aged a lot recently. In the past few days - especially with Thanksgiving the day after my birthday, I've thought a lot about where I want my life to go (and yes, The Shack has opened my mind and heart to this task). I'm also extremely appreciative of the family and friends around me - the people who I know are TRULY in this walk of life with me - the people who are really there for me NO MATTER WHAT (you know who you are!!!) I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart - I can be pretty hard to love sometimes. To my parents and my husband especially, there aren't enough words of gratitude.

This morning, as I left early to sing at church, it was snowing. There was about an inch already on the ground and it was so peaceful to drive in. For me, it was a time of reflection. Maybe the snow was a visual cue, the cue I needed to wipe the slate clean and start again on my outlook on life - to stop seeing so many things as negatives and try to focus on the positives (those who know me well know I'm a "the glass is half-empty" type person).

Maybe this post is too sappy for most of you, but I just want you all to know that I'm thankful for each and every one of you. A new month begins tomorrow!!! Every ounce of pain and joy builds our character, the scars are reminders. December is usually a month of hope, so I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.

I promise the normal and "funnier" posts will come soon! ;o)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Girls Cruise Week Nov. 8-13, 2008

This year, my girlfriends and I all met up for a Carnival Cruise to Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico out of Tampa, FL. It was a full 5 day cruise and it was AWESOME!!! We had a great time - I have a gazillion pics from all of our adventures, but kept it to about 15 or so for this post.

Believe me, I have some great blackmail photos - but I'll just stick with the "what happens on the cruise stays on the cruise" motto! hahaha!

I'm looking forward to going back next year and I know that whatever we decide, it will be a great time with great memories! Thanks girls, it was just what I needed!!! Love you all!

From one of our dinner pics, this is the whole group of us! Back row from L to R: Me, Eloisa & Linda. Bottom row from L to R: Jill, Cathy, Cheryl & Gina

The Lido Deck Pool where we hung out during the day. Sometimes we laid out right in front of the pool on the upper deck, but mostly we laid out near the railings on the water side - it was a GORGEOUS view!!!

Guess we could've brought our kids. This was an amazing little splash park with a huge water slide for the kids - I almost went down the slide, maybe next year!

Gina and Jill (who are the organizers of the trip) gave each of us these awesome coozies that said "Mexico Girls Week 2008" and a cute little tote bag for all our sunscreen!

A pic of us from the formal dinner night.

My best friend Linda and I after dinner at the club.

This guy was such a cheesball, but Gina wanted his hat - so he had to get in the picture too.

And now he's everywhere. Here he is with Linda and Cathy.

Due to the Hurricane hitting Grand Cayman a few days before our arrival, we had to dock in a different port. So since the water was more shallow, they had us get on these tender boats that would drive us to the docks. Despite the water being a little rocky, you couldn't really see any damage anywhere. The taxi driver who drove us into town said it wasn't a bad hurricane at all.

And here is the proof - the beach we laid out at was absolutely beautiful - and the water was so clear and blue and amazing!

I had to get in the water - not only because it was so unbelievable hot, but because I love the surf!

This was just a cool pic of the water I took before we got back on the tender boat to take us back out to the cruise ship - I might frame this one.

I took this at the port in Cozumel. Now I haven't been to Cozumel in 9 years, and let me say is is a massively huge difference from the last time we were there! Just beautiful!!! I didn't have fond memories of the last time we cruised here, but I do now!

Two of the guys we met were engineer officers on our cruise ship, we saw them as we were getting off the boat to go into Cozumel and Antonio was wearing a Michigan shirt, so of course we had to get a picture of it - I mean come on, we're OHIO STATE FANS for cryin' out loud. Should've known they were no good from that moment!!!

The Cozumel girls! The mexicans weren't wanting to barter much, but I still got my tanzanite ring at the last moment - guess they wanted to sell us something after all before our ship set sail!

One of the bars we visited was Senor Frogs, we also went to Carlos and Charlie's - 2 of the more notable mexican hot spots.

This was a great sunset picture right by our ship outside Fat Tuesdays bar.

"Say hello to my little friends" - the towel-made animals our cabin steward made for us nightly, along with the coconut monkey bank I got for Blake (don't worry, I drank all of the pina colada first before transporting it back!!!)

Me & Linda at dinner on the last night.