Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Multitude of Christmases

Back when I was a little girl, Christmas included going to Nanny & PaPa's house on Christmas Eve to open our gifts, going to look at lights, going home to open ONE gift... then Christmas morning, all the Santa goodies, lunch at Nanny & PaPa's, and hanging out and playing with cousins. Wow... I thought THAT was a lot! My how times have changed!!

This year, Christmas began at my Auntie J's house where there were about 3 times more people than house to hold them, a ridiculously delicious turkey made by my cousin who is going to culinary school, and lots of re-introducing yourself to people because there were "newbies" and those you haven't seen in so long you couldn't remember their name... After that, several of us went to our Christmas Eve candle light service. It was beautiful as always, but this year - sharing it with Caleb for the first time - it was amazingly beautiful! (Even though he stared at the lit candle with saucer-sized eyes because this was the first time he had ever held something on fire!) After service was over, we went home to bake cookies and get things ready for Santa to make his big visit. This year was an absolute BLAST - both boys have a good understanding of Santa and wonder and excitement that it brings... to say they were excited is an understatement!
Getting ready for Santa:
Sportin' the Cowboy attire:
Connor's favorite gift:
Caleb's favorite gift:

After our Christmas morning, we went to Nanny's for lunch - the usual phenomenal turkey and dressing! *OH the dressing!!* We visited for a while, and then nap time called us all! Once nap was over, we went to my mom and dad's house (Granny & PaPa's) to have Christmas with them. The boys were excited to get a Cowboy's picnic table! Of course they ate dinner at it!

We had a day to rest, and then we started up again on Saturday... breakfast at Bill's dad and step-mom's house (Grandpa & Nana's), then gifts, watching the 6 cousins play, lunch of fajitas, and home for more napping!

The next evening was Christmas at Bill's mom and step-dad's house (Grandma & D-pop's) where we had a couple of different soups, breads, and other snacks before opening gifts and watching those same 6 cousins play yet again! (If you don't understand that scenario, you don't know my family very well! ;o)

At any rate... Christmas was full of hustle and bustle, filled with yummy foods, overflowing with great gifts, and surrounded by family.

Luckily, we know who to thank for all of these wonderful blessings, and we stopped several time to make sure to thank Him! If it weren't for that magical night when our Savior was born, we wouldn't be able to experience a blessing one... much less the multitude we are showered with each and every day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sea World Trip... One Last Birthday Hurrah!

Well, it all started with our vacation back in May. We bought 2 day passes to Sea World thinking we would do the shows/rides one day and the warter park the next. We ended up liking our resort so much that we stayed there - a LOT - and we had 3 left over tickets to Sea World... that expire 12/31. For the last month or so, Caleb has been talking incessantly about going to Sea World. So, we decided that would be his birthday present! (Besides, who in their right mind could let 3 tickets sit in a glove compartment and expire? Ha! Not is THIS economy!!) While is was tiring, I'm glad we went... lots of fun was had by all!

Santa swimming in the aquarium after the fish feeding:

Caleb being very brave this trip and feeding the dolphins... even though they were freakishly aggressive this time!

Getting ready for Polar Express 4D! It was coooool!!! So cool, in fact, that it SNOWED!!

Entrance into the park... it was "snowing!"

Bill & Caleb enjoying the Shamu Express... not sure who had more fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Caleb Jay!

I can't believe you've been a part of my life for 5 years now. I've been blessed beyond measure to have you as my son, my first born, my "best good friend." I can't imagine life without you - your smile, your silly sense of humor, your sensitivity, your beautiful hazel eyes, your freaky 6th sense, your scream-laugh thing that drives me absolutely bananas, and most of all your love. I watched you yesterday... having such a hard time believing that you. are. FIVE. I watched every smile, every frown, every goofy look you made, and I thanked God so many times that you're in my life. Thank you for blessing me richly every day. (Even when I seem to not be very happy with you...) And thanks for telling me every day that I'm your "best mom." I hope you truly believe that!

I hope your day was magical yesterday and that your 5th birthday always brings fond memories and warmth to your heart.

I love you,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookies & Milk with Santa

One of our favorite events of the year came today - Cookies & Milk with Santa at Shannon Hospital (to benefit the Children's' Miracle Network). For $5 per child, we go up to the hospital (where Bill works), watch Santa fly in on AirMed1, have milk and cookies in a room with Santa, and then the boys get to spend some quality time on his lap for pictures and a little talk about what they would like for Christmas. This is our 5th Cookies & Milk we've attended, and it's a tradition we will keep as long as they have it!

I was a little concerned about Connor. He's been VERY apprehensive about Santa and the whole sitting in the lap part this season. He keeps telling us, "Santa good guy." However, when we ask if he's going to sit in his lap and tell him what he wants for Christmas, he usually fusses and says, "NO! I no wike him!" Well, I think this helped things quite a bit... on the way to the room where cookies and milk are served, Santa stopped to say hi to Connor and give him a candy cane.

That, I think, led to him being quite anxious and excited to go see the big man in red! We were number 8 in line to see him, and while we were having our sugary snacks Connor kept saying, "I see Santa! I see Santa!" - telling us he was ready right then. We tried to explain that we had to wait until they called our number - number 8. So, he sat there a minute, and then he began calling out VERY loudly, "NUMBUH EIIIIIIIIIGHT! NUMBUH EIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!" He decided he'd just call out our number for us so that it would be our turn! And, when it was, I was SOOOO proud... he walked right up to him and hopped in his lap.
They had a good conversation - the three of them - about what would be nice for Christmas...

They even posed nicely for a picture.

And, when all was said and done, Caleb ever so gently yanked on Santa's beard... just to make sure it was real... and it WAS!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Cold, Drizzly Day... How SWEET!!!

The weather outside was frightful! Well, as frightful as it really gets in West Texas. It was VERY cold (that = 30 something), and it was drizzling. Yes, we would have loved for it to turn into the white fluffy stuff, but that's a very rare occurrence around here. At any rate, it was definitely a stay inside kind of day. Luckily, I bought a fancy-schmancy Gingerbread House Kit! I didn't mention it to the boys until it was time to build. They were SO excited! And, I have to admit, I was, too! ;o)

I pulled two chairs up to the island - one on each side. I had them assemble the pieces as I "glued" them together with icing. *That stuff is crazy-sticky!* Then I used the spackle, er, I mean icing and lined the edges of the house and did some scallops on the roof (following the indentations on the gingerbread, of course). The candy was ready in individual bowls, and I set them in front of the boys. With wide eyes they stared at the house. I told them to get started decorating, and it's like they couldn't believe I was going to let them handle that much candy and icing and sugary stuff! So off they went - decorating, getting oooey-gooey, and giggling. I loved the giggling. And I kept hearing, "Look, Mommy! Look what I did!" Of course, one side of the island sounded like, "Wook, Mommy, WOOK!!" They did a fantastic job - even though they did sneak a few pieces of candy here and there.

I have to brag on myself, though... just a little. I actually just let them do it. I didn't try to control where or how they arranged the colorful candy creations. I let them enjoy the process, and I have to say that I definitely enjoy the product much more knowing THEY did it with their own ideas and imaginations!

Afterward, they got to munch on big marshmallows - green Christmas trees and pink (?) stars. For some reason, that seemed more acceptable than candy bagged in a kit from Wal-Mart that was goodness knows how old! ;o) *Of course, I took the opportunity to check Caleb's patterning skills before he stuffed his cheeks with those fluffy snacks!*

Get ready:

Get set:


So proud of their work:

Caleb reading his pattern:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An "Award?" For ME? Thanks, Jill!!!

According to my friend Jill, I'm a Red Hot Smokin' Blogger... or something like that! Anyway, she gave me this award via her blog:

The translation for this award states:

This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships!These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I am excited and surprised to see this - I still have a hard time believing anyone actually READS my blog - much less think of it as deserving of any time of "award!" Thanks, Jill! I love ya, Girlie!! I enjoy reading your blog - reliving the (evil giggle) JOYS of building! Things are looking amazing, by the way! *smooches*

Here are the 8 I pass the award on to:

  • Sophie Sue and John Curtis, Too!
    Alyson is a great friend, and her kids are great friends of my friends. It's fun to share our blog stories - there are sometimes some uncanny similarities!
  • A Carousel of Thoughts
    Diane is "Nana" to my sweet boys, and it's a lot of fun to read the blogs she writes after spending time with them... always interesting to see them from another's point of view! (Even if a Nana's POV can be a little jaded! Tee hee!!!)
  • AprilMay
    Holy cow... she just makes me stinkin' LAUGH!
  • Bring the Rain
    Although not a personal friend of mine, her strength and faith amaze me.
  • monkeyturtle
    I love the nicknames for her kiddos - and that she NEVER steers away from them! Besides, I just think she's a cool chick!
  • These 12 Acres
    I like reading a blog that sounds bery much like a feel... trying to keep up but sometimes just can't! Love ya, Jenni!
  • La Dolce Vita
    I love reliving the precious first teaching moments through the short out-takes of my SIL!
  • Stephenson Six
    It's a secret as to why I like this one!!! *Mwah-ha-ha-ha* Dana understands!!!

Ok, Girls... pass it on!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Caleb's First Field Trip - Concho Christmas Tree Farm!

Caleb's first field trip with his preschool was a lot of fun! ABSOLUTELY FREEZING, but a lot of fun! It was the longest field trip I'd ever witnessed - lasting from (bus leaving) at 9:15 until 12:20... oh, and allow me to mention that his school is over at 11:45! Oh well - totally worth it!

They had so many activities to participate in while we were there! They split them into three groups - Elves, Snowmen, and Reindeer. The groups rotated around the farm to do various activities:

  • Pledge of Allegiance - we began at the center of the farm (in front of the cute yellow farm house) where a couple of children helped raise the flag so that we could start our day with the pledge. Very cool.

  • Dress the Farmer - the kids dressed a "farmer" made from a cross of 2x4's in a bucket of cement with a burlap sack noggin. They had to make an outfit from various clothes in some tubs and then vote on which farmer they liked the best.

  • Plant a Tree - the farmer took them and explained the planting process; planting a seedling at that time. He also explained about a nocturnal intruder "Mr. Porcupine" who was killing some trees.

  • Hay Ride - they got to ride around the farm and ring strands of jingle bells along the way.

  • Feed the Animals - they got to hand feed llamas and alpacas.

  • Story Time - one of the farmers read about a Christmas tree to kids who were sitting on a pile of hay.

  • Decorate a Christmas Tree - while the owner of the farm explained the Christian meaning of the Christmas tree, the children got to decorate a live tree just their size.

  • S'MORES!!! - They got to roast marshmallows around the campfire and make some yummy-to-your-tummy s'mores. What a sweet ending to our time at the Concho Christmas Tree Farm!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hanging of the Green... and Red, and Gold, and...

We had a great time decorating the Christmas tree this year! It actually went very quickly with two little helper elves bringing branches and hanging ornaments! The boys did GREAT - not one ornament broken or one hook stuck in a finger! :o) They were so proud of how their tree looked all decorated and lit. It was fun to see them so excited! They got a surprise after their bath... matching red and green footed jammies! (Caleb has worn his almost daily since he got them; dressing only when we have to leave the house! He even runs straight up the stairs when we get home to put them back on!!! I've never seen a kid love footed jammies so much! Is there a support group for his kind?)
Caleb filling in bare spots by using the ladder - "Only on the first step, Caleb!"

BUSTED! Are you going further than the first step, Caleb? Mmmmm-hmmmm...

Stopping to give Mommy some "Cheeky Wuv." Muh!

Daddy doing his thing - putting the finishing touch of twinkle on the top!

Proud of their new matching jammies!!

Warmin' up by the fire before turning in for the night. Sweet dreams, my loves!!

Catching Up...

The Monday of Fall Break a dear friend and myself took our brood of 5 kids to Abilene to go to the zoo and Chuck E. Cheese. And, yes, this was their "bribe" so that we could shop a while! ;o)
Feeding the giraffes:

Chasing his namesake:
Connor saw Santa walking down the mall:
Connor rode this one over and over and over...
Here are pics from Thanksgiving - not many - we were all too busy stuffing our faces!! :o)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday Night Fun

Friday night. It's becoming our thing. And I like it. Although Caleb is under the weather, he had a good couple hours of energy and feel-good time. And we took advantage of it! The boys were playing in the floor where it looked like Geoffrey Giraffe had thrown up the entire contents of Toys R Us. I was cleaning up from our meal of homemade chicken and dumplings (my first attempt - not too bad). *Caleb ate 2 helpings!!!* It was then Bill got the urge for some tunes. Since we have Dish Network, we have Sirius radio on the TV, which can then be pumped throughout the house thanks to Bill's big boy toys of speakers and sound zones to cover each room. *rolling eyes* Anyway - he found a 90's station. My heart is fluttering this morning as I think about it again. I never realized how much I LOVED THE MUSIC OF THE 90'S!!!! The memories that flood back from just the first few notes or the guitar riff in the middle of the song... *sigh* Luckily, the boys thought the music was pretty cool, and they danced. And they danced, and they danced, and they DANCED!!! And Bill and me... we giggled. We moaned sighs of "Yes!" when a new song would start. We bobbed our heads in sync to Beck's "Loser." At one point, I was in the kitchen preparing some dessert when I was swept up by my crazy husband, and we were suddenly dancing to a familiar tune. And, if memory serves, it wasn't really a song for couples to dance together to... But - who cares - we were in our kitchen dancing away. Wow. It was a good time.

We wound the evening down with some fall leaf pastries that I made: leaf-shaped pie crusts stuffed with butterscotch morsels and orange/cinnamon flavored pecans... baked to a golden brown and sprinkled with green, red, and yellow sugar to look like fall leaves. You know - the big, beautiful ones we don't really see in our neck of the woods! We all chugged our glasses of milk and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. We definitely had ourselves some Friday night FUN!!

That's about the time Caleb's coughing, sneezing, and stuffiness returned with a a vengeance.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Caleb's Preschool Pics

And I thhink they turned out fabulous!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Turkey in Disguise!

Caleb brought home a "project" that we were to do together called Turkey in Disguise. We were supposed to disguise our turkey so that it wouldn't get eaten for Thanksgiving Dinner... well, we disguised ours, alright. And I think rather fittingly!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We Had a Wonderful Weekend!

The funny part is - the weekend didn't turn out as planned, but it turned out GREAT!
Connor and I stopped off Friday before picking Caleb up from school to grab some movies. Friday evening came around, and I got the boys showered and into some comfy jammies (football jammies, of course!). We came back down stairs and I popped some popcorn for the boys and put in Nim's Island. (Caleb LOVES that movie!) They were clean, comfy, had their OWN bowls of popcorn, and were ready...

While Connor made it through about 8 1/2 minutes of the movie, Caleb was glued to the big screen from beginning to end. Bill and I relaxed in our love seat while Connor entertained himself at the workbench - snacking on a popcorn or two every now and again. I started wanting something sweet, so my sweetie made homemade Mexican Wedding Cookies for me!! I sooooo love him!

I wish I could say we all got to sleep in Saturday morning, but that wasn't the case. We did get to cuddle in bed with Connor for a little while (to keep him quiet) until he started begging for "break-set." We all ate breakfast and got dressed and remembered the Veteran's Day Parade was downtown at 11:00. We had plenty of time, and the weather was fantastic, so we headed downtown. I was embarrassed when I realized that my kiddos had actually never attended a parade before!

I'm so glad we went!! They. Loved. It.

The boys standing in awe as they watched our men and women in uniform parade in front of us.

Caleb playing his "instrument." He LOVED the bands!!
Only in Texas do you have saddled longhorns as the finale!!
We had a great time at our Veteran's Day Parade!
Sunday was great, too. We had a great sermon, enjoyed a fabulous lunch - just the four of us, had some nice nap time, and just enjoyed one another's company. *Big sigh* What a great weekend!