Monday, December 29, 2008

Scenes of Christmas

Photo Shoot:


Christmas Morning:

And Christmas Day:

Fun times!


A simply wonderful day.

Sometimes simple things become so un-simple with the addition of children. Take for instance, today. My day today is probably one that, for many people, is very normal. I got up, showered, dressed, straightened the house, and headed out the door to run errands.

By myself.

After running errands, I met this friend for lunch. A beautifully peaceful lunch.

By ourselves.

And now here I sit in Panera, enjoying free WIFI for the first time ever.

By myself.

My laptop has actually seen life outside the walls of my house. I cannot tell you how cool I am feeling right now! Sad? Maybe. But I'm okay with that!

Because like I said, there are just some things, some simple things, that aren't so simple with children in tow.

Right now I'm really wishing I could bottle this feeling of relaxation and contentment, so that it will last through the next two weeks.

Because this time next week I'll be at Disney World with the fam.

And as magical a place I'm sure it will be...I'm pretty sure it won't be as magical as this moment right now. :)

This magical moment was made possible by Grammie. Thank you Grammie! This is the best Christmas present you could ever give me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day gifts

Several years ago my grandma started a tradition for her grandkids. In the week leading up to Christmas she gave us all a small gift each day. Just a fun tradition that we looked forward to every year! My mom has carried on the tradition with my kids, and they love it!


Sunday, December 21, 2008


I love a good tradition. Some of my favorites are Christmas traditions, of which my family has many. They may not be the same as many families, but that's okay, that's the great thing about a family tradition, it's personal. For instance, one of my very favorite traditions comes the day after Christmas.

We go Shopping! It started with my Mom, Aunt, and Grandma, and sometimes my Uncle. I'm not sure exactly when I started to join them, but at some point I did. Then came my cousins, Lauren and Lane, whom I adore! :) When Jason and I got married, he joined in the fun too. He surprised me by wanting to go. For a few years that's how it stayed. A Suburban full of people, shopping bags, and a couple of boxes of treats to keep us going. We stock up on wrapping paper and decorations, and even buy each other birthday gifts for the coming year. Good good times! Now with three kids underfoot, it gets a little tricky. However, I still go, at least for a little while. I just have to!

Another thing I love is making New traditions. Traditions that start with me and my little family. One we've begun is Christmas morning at home. That is one that many people take for granted, but not me. Growing up we had many places to be on Christmas day. We would often travel to 2 or 3 different houses, for different "Christmases." That was fun in itself. I mean, what kid doesn't love getting gifts all day long! But I was an only child, and after we had Annie, I realized that hauling my family around isn't so easy! I craved time at home with my babies. Time to watch them tear into gifts with their jammies still on. And so, a new tradition was born! Now we spend the morning at home, and then go do a "big" Christmas with the rest of our families. Perfect.

And just today, I do believe we started another new tradition in our home...Donut Making!

Mmmm...can you smell them? They smell divine!

My wonderful husband, turned chef lately, got himself a fancy new deep fryer a couple of weeks ago, and he's been dying to try his hand at donuts. So this afternoon, after Austin went down for a nap (Because Austin + Hot oil = Imminent Disaster! :) Daddy and the girls made some Donuts!

Folks, I do believe this is a tradition that will stick! They are YUMMY! Thanks my love, for being such a great chef! And for your patience with your "helpers."

Next we're having the nieces over for a donut making night! They've been asking when they can come make donuts with Uncle JJ. And after tasting those delightful things, I'd say they can come make some very Very soon! Because I don't think this batch will last long!

Friday, December 19, 2008

She cracks me up.

We only had a dusting of snow today, but Ellie was determined to make a snowman anyway! :-)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas at the Studio!

Ellie danced in the Christmas dance show that her dance studio put on this year. She did a great job!

Here's the girls listening to instructions from Miss Jill. Olivia and Elaina danced too!

Here's Ellie dancing!

Ellie's clogging class! She loves it and having her cousins in it with her makes it extra special!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Parade!

We love the Adoration parade that our sweet town puts on every year!

This year it was pretty cold, but we braved it with layers of clothes and blankets!

The parade route this year started right in front of Nana and Papa's house, so we gathered early for dinner and then settled onto the front yard! Perfect!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What was I thinking?

Sometimes I lack good judgement. Like yesterday, for instance. When I KNEW were trying to cram too much into one day, and yet, I tried it anyway.

It was just one of THOSE days. The day when everything that CAN go wrong, did go wrong. Including...a disappointing "Breakfast with Santa", car troubles, fighting children, potty accidents, a grumpy mommy, an unexpected 2 1/2 hour wait to see Santa, and a trip to a local theme park on what I'm sure was their highest attendance day of the entire year.


The night ended with me and Jason fighting it out over "whose fault it was". Seriously.

With sleep comes perspective. I woke up, tired from the crazy of yesterday, but with a realization that some days, it just doesn't work. It doesn't necessarily mean it was someones fault. It just didn't work yesterday.

Austin woke up raring to go this morning, at his normal 7:30am time, despite his 11pm bedtime. For the sake of the girls, I snatched him out of bed before he could wake them up, and took him to Wal-Mart. He and I finished my Christmas shopping while daddy and the girls slept in.

See, I'm nice.

And then this afternoon, Jason took the girls to a movie, so Austin and I could sleep.

He's nice too.

Perspective. And a nap.

It's working today.

And I apologize to Janelle, and Michelle, for my bad attitude last night. I'm sorry I was in a bad mood, and I hope I didn't ruin your evenings. Next time we plan something like that, I'll schedule a "light" day for myself. So that I can have a good time too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Serious work

I sure do love these intense ginger bread house makers.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My little helpers

They are so helpful...

and silly! :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just like Daddy

They see the 4-Wheelers at Bass Pro, and within seconds...

Just like daddy. :-)


It's a good thing she's only four years old...

My sweet Annie Grace has a way about her. A way of making me want to buy her the moon, and even a few stars just for kicks. She's just so sweet. Like when she holds my face in her hands to tell me something. Or like this morning when she woke up a little cranky, but cuddled into me when I picked her warm little body up, and said...Mommy, you're just the best mommy in the world. Mercy she gets to me!

We have had one little challenge lately though. Even though she was potty trained pretty well, oh I don't know, like A YEAR AGO, for the last few months she's regressed. Why? I have no idea. We haven't had any more babies or anything! Anyway, so we've struggled a lot with this, rarely making it through a day with no accidents. We've tried sticker charts, candy, money, name it, to get her motivated. Nothing has stuck. So imagine my excitement when she asked a few weeks ago if she could earn the Barbie Princess Alexa (that would be from Barbie's latest hit movie "Barbie and the Diamond Castle" for all of you who don't have preschool girls) for keeping her panties dry. Never mind the fact that she was already getting Alexa, and her friend Liana, from Santa for Christmas, of course she could earn her!!! Anything that works! I'll find something else Santa can bring.

For two weeks she tried, but didn't make it more than 2 days without an accident. I honestly wasn't holding out much hope that she'd make it by Christmas. However, 5 days ago, something changed. For 5 days she's kept her panties dry!!! I'm praying we have a breakthrough, but also trying not to be too hopeful. SO, this morning I went to Wal*Mart to find something that Santa could bring, since it's looking more and more like she might actually EARN those princesses after all! Oh, and yes, she's now earning BOTH princesses. One the first week, and one the second. I couldn't help myself when she looked at me with her big brown eyes and asked me soooo sweetly if she could pleeeaaase earn both. Well yes, of course, because your mommy's a sucker.

At Wal*Mart I found what I was looking for. The Barbie Diamond Princess Horse and Magical Carriage. And Yes, it is as wonderful as it sounds. :) I knew she'd love it the moment I pushed the button and it played the beautiful theme music I've come to know so well. I bought it, put it in the back of the suburban, and went to pick her up at preschool.

After preschool we ran a couple of errands, picked up Austin from daddy, and headed home. After we pulled into the garage, I took a moment to shuffle through the mail before unloading everyone. Annie unbuckled, and talked to me for a minute, before climbing into the back to play. I, of course, had completely forgotten by then that Santa's big gift to her was back there. That is until I heard...Mommy! What did you buy me!!!

Oh crap.

My mind raced. What do I say? What do I do? I stuttered for a second, saying something like, Oh honey, you weren't supposed to see that...Then it came to me! And I said, You know how we sometimes buy toys for other kids who don't have much? Well, see, Mommy was thinking this would be nice for a kid like that. And all of that is true. We do buy gifts for other kids, and it would be a nice gift for any child. Right? Okay, so I feel slightly guilty since I don't actually plan on giving it away, but what's a mommy to do? And it worked. She said, Oh, okay. But mommy, can you get ME one? One JUST LIKE THIS. PLEEEAASE!!! I said I'd think about it. :) And then I said, Maybe you can ask Santa for it! And she said, YES! That is what I'll do!


And it works out well, because she honestly couldn't think of anything to ask Santa for when she gets to see him this weekend. And now I'll be returning to Wal*Mart and buying a couple of barbies for kids who don't have much so I don't feel so guilty. And her utter belief in Santa is still in tact. I'm just grateful that she's only four, and she still believes every word I say. Otherwise I'd have had to give her that, AND find something else from Santa! Which, in four year old girl world, is like getting the Moon, the Stars, AND the Sun.

Even I draw the line at the sun.

At least until the next time she tells me how wonderful I am.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who doesn't want a shiny pair of staples for Christmas?

We all know it was just a matter of time.

And today was the day.

Austin is sporting a new "look". Two shiny staples in the back of his head. I'd take a picture, but it would be blurry. He won't hold still for more than half a second.

This morning he woke up, ready to take on the world as usual. His sisters were still sleeping soundly, and I tried to keep him occupied with quiet activities.

Yeah, right.

Eventually he broke away from me, and ran into the living room. He quickly began making as much racket as possible by throwing toys at the wall. He knew. I know he knew what he was doing. The sly grin, the glances towards his sisters room. He wanted them up. I grabbed for him as he went to throw a toy. I caught his arm in mid-throw. I was unprepared though, for the recoil effect. He flew backwards, and slammed his head on the coffee table.

I held him as I always do. He cried, he screamed. This is a scene that repeats itself daily. He gets hurt, I cuddle him, he's fine. Only today, not so much. Today there was blood. As I examined his head, the realization sunk in...We're going to the hospital.

It isn't too bad, but did require two shiny staples. The worst part for him was the board thingy, a papoose they called it, that they strapped him down with. I, however, considered for just a moment asking where I could get one. :) It was over quickly, and for that I am very grateful. He's just now waking up from a 4 hour nap. I hear him talking and playing. He's just fine.

A new experience. One that I knew was coming. With his adventurous spirit, it was just a matter of time. I just wonder...what's next?!

Monday, December 1, 2008


So much to be thankful for...

This year we celebrated at Dean and Denise's home. Good food, fun times! A couple of favorite memories are teaching the girls how to read the sale ads, and seeing them have fun making wish lists!

And this picture makes me crack up! My sweet husband couldn't keep his eyes open for a picture, so this is him trying not to close his eyes...

Too funny. Happy Thanksgiving!!!