Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Round 2

We decided a few years ago to have "Christmas" with Yaya and Popi separate from the other gifts, so the kids wouldn't be too overwhelmed. It was a smart decision! This year, the kids opened gifts from Popi and Yaya on Christmas Eve morning. We also let them open their gifts from Aunt Diann and Uncle Buddy and Nanny (Yaya and Popi brought these up). What fun! Presents from Aunt Casey and Unlce Jordan had to wait until Christmas morning because they were buried somewhere under the tree.

Jacob loved his new "MO!!!!!!" (Elmo) dvds from Aunt Diann and Uncle Buddy

Beth thought her new tutu from Aunt Diann and Uncle Buddy was divine (and totally Beth, too)

Yaya and Popi got Jacob his very own boy baby doll. His name is "Dude", and he got lots of hugs. Once in a while, Jacob will show me Dude's eyes, ears, shoes, and mouth.

We made sure Beth slowed down long enough to read on the tag who it was from, so she could thank them after she opened it.
The piggy bank from Popi and Yaya was a hit too!

Beth wanted to put on her jommies from Nanny immediately- they had a tutu to wear over the pants. Fabulous! Thank you Yaya and Popi for all the fun gifts for the kiddos. They're enjoying them!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Betty Crocker and a helper

We've been some busy girls in the kitchen this Christmas season, and it's been lots of fun. While, post-Thanksgiving shopping, I found Beth and I matching/coordinating aprons. She was so excited!

We made Oreo balls for the Hale gathering. Very messy, but very yummy!
1 package double stuffed oreos, ground up into oreo dust
1 package cream cheese
1 package chocolate chips, melted
1 package white chocolate chips, melted
Mix oreo dust with softened cream cheese. Roll into balls. Freeze for about 20 minutes until hardened. Pour melted chocolate over balls, or roll the balls in the chocolate. Freeze for about 20 minutes. Drizzle melted white chocolate over the balls. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Try not to eat them all.

A while back, Beth's Hilights magazine had a recipe for pretzels from scratch. I thought, "we can do this". Another messy recipe. We had fun rolling the dough and making shapes for pretzels. They were just okay-tasting. Beth was so proud of them!

On Christmas Eve day, it was time to make cookies for Santa. Kevin and Beth had seen a recipe for Farmhouse Chocolate Cookies. ANOTHER messy one. Hmm, what's with that?! These were ok tasting, but I'm still eating them. I wonder if using a different chocolate, other than unsweetened, would make a difference. We started these in the morning and had to finish them at night since the dough had to be refrigerated for a while. This time, we had lots of "helpers", and Yaya helped finish them.
For Christmas dinner, we made tacos. While that was being made, Beth made/wrapped some little piggies in a blanket. There was no shortage of food in our house this season!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We love grandparents!

Yaya and Popi arrived Tuesday evening, so Kevin and I quickly escaped for a date night. A much needed date night, just the two of us. We went to dinner at Applebees and then to see a movie- The Day the Earth Stood Still. What a rare treat for us! It was really nice to spend time together without worrying about kids or about Kevin needing to get back to work on school stuff.
Meanwhile, Popi and Yaya were having a blast playing with and watching the kids.

By the time we got home, the kiddos were asleep, and more presents had been piled under the tree. It was a great night for all! Too bad it'll be a long while before they'll be back to babysit so we can have another date.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Shack

If you have not already, spend time with this book. It's so worth it! Some parts are a little tough to stomach, others can't be read when you're on the verge of falling asleep (they do require some processing), but the book is great! It has affirmed my faith in an amazing God. At the same time, it has challenged me to strive for better relationships- with God, my husband, my children, my family, my friends. I'm trying not to reveal the plot because I want you to find out for yourself. I am awed by this portrayal of God, our Papa, a loving, giving man, a true Father who gives us, His children, the opportunity of independence because he loves us, though he knows the consequences of some of our choices won't be good. (That was a horrible sentence, but it's just spilling from my heart to my fingers).

Here's a link to the website: http://theshackbook.com/index.html I bought my book at Mardels, and I have seen it for sale at Target. I was going to loan mine to my mom, but she bought her own. If you live close and want to borrow it, let me know!

Please let me know if you've read it or if you do. I'd love to know what you think.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monkey Fall Boy

Well, that little monkey has gotten himself a little boo-boo.
The scene of the accident:
He climbed on Beth's bed. For whatever reason, the nightstand drawer was open. He fell off, headfirst into the drawer. When I heard him crying, I ran in (Kevin and I were chatting in the office) to find him halfway in the drawer with his legs still on the bed. Beth was standing with her hands over her ears because of the crying.
The aftermath: I was really expecting a couple black eyes, so this isn't too bad.
At least his jommies were appropriate!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Round 1

The first round of Christmas was lots of fun. Beth was SOOOOO sad to leave, as in full on drama. We went to the Hales for the weekend. This has made Christmas so much easier, so nobody is traveling Christmas day. Once we'd all arrived- us and the LaBlues (Kevin's sis and fam)- Beth and Gracie (her 5 year old cousin) could hardly stand waiting to open gifts. These are some seiously loved kiddos, let me tell ya.

The first gifts the girls opened were their favorites, the ones they played with until they fell asleep that night and played with first thing in the morning- Beth's Leapster 2 and Gracie's Nintendo DS.

Emily (2 year old cousin) and Jacob were happiest with the first toys they opened but then they checked out each other's treasures.

Maw, Kevin's 89 year old grandmother, was there too. She can't see or hear well anymore, but she just loves having those kiddos around. She told Kevin the story she told me on the phone the other day. I've heard it at least 10 times, but Kevin swears he hasn't (really, he just wasn't listening all the other times). But, ya know, being 89, you can tell a story as many times as you want.

After the kiddos had opened gifts and said thank yous, Maw, Grandma and Grandpa got to open theirs. They got plenty of treasures too! And had lots of helpers (of course Jacob caused more trouble than help).
Finally, all the presents opened and trash cleaned up. Whew! It was time to chow down on tooooooo much food- chili, gumbo, boiled shrimp, chips and dips, and of course lots of sweets. While we waited for the kiddos' pizza to arrive, Jacob and Emily followed each other around with their new suitcases.
The kiddos all got matching Disney Christmas jommies with their names on it. Of course, we dressed them for the picture. You know, little/no naps, eating patterns off, nearing bed time, the photo shoot wasn't great. Still, they're darn cute!
Carolers came by the house. Emily danced her heart out, and the girls thought is was great. So great, that they even caroled at a door!

A long night of a terrible Cowboy game, girls who couldn't hardly settle down to sleep in the tent, Jacob who was out of his element and normal routine, a COLD front that blew through, an early Sunday morning, lots of whining.... It was time to go home. They were both asleep after about 15 minutes of driving. I fell asleep shortly after.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Secrets are hard to keep, especially when they're not yours to tell. Thankfully, the secret I've been so careful to keep is finally out. Whew!

Kevin has been working his tail off for the last 4 semesters. He's taken 3 classes a semester, including summer. Seems like every sememster, we've had a major life event- Jacob was born, we moved to a new house, Kevin started a new job. Still, through it all, he's managed to keep a 3.4 GPA. Only one semester did I have to dredge up from the back of my brain some calculus to help him out- ewwww. So now, my smart hubby (looking even smarter with his new glasses), has earned his Masters of Business Administration through University of Houston- Clear Lake.

I am SOOOOO proud of him! And, I'm so excited to have him back. Our lives have been so focused around his school work. I look forward to spending time with him again instead of being in different rooms while he studies. Way to go, Babe!

Friday, December 19, 2008

15 months

December 2007- 3 months December 2008- 15 months

Jacob is 15 months old. My, it has gone by fast! At his doctor visit today, the pediatrician was very pleased with his weight gain, especially since it was such a struggle in the beginning thanks to the reflux. He weighed 23 pounds 12 ounces (50th percentile). He's 31 1/4 inches long (80th percentile). At first, he was very upset when I sat him down to be weighed and didn't like the doctor peeking and poking. Once she was finished, he talked to her and shared his goldfish. She was quite amazed at his chatting and signing- most babies this age have about 5 words (Jacob has 80 that I've counted). I didn't like that she said we should start getting rid of the paci. Nope, not ready for that. I'll work on it when he's closer to 2. When she walked out, he asked where she went. So sweet. Poor thing had to get 3 shots, and boy was he mad about that.

My precious Jacob, here are 15 things I love about you
1. How you are interested in books now, backing up into someone's lap once you've picked a book.

2. How you adore Beth, that she's the first thing you ask for when you wake up from naps, that she's who you talk about in pictures.

3 How proud you are of yourself when you climb onto the furniture or up the stairs.

4. I love that contagious smile. The way you cheesy-grin at us, the smile you have for strangers who can't help but smile back at you.
5. Your love of Elmo "Mo!", signing and saying "pees" for me to turn it on tv, even though you won't stay to watch it.
6. The way a spoon "poon" is just as important for you to have as a paci, that you even have to hold one to go to sleep now.

7. How you freely give hugs and kisses to us
8. That you'll give Daddy a hi-five when you're not quite ready to hug him after waking up
9. How you nod your head so big that you almost lose your balance when we ask if you're hungry.
10. How you dance nearly every time you hear music.
11. That you've learned to use words and signs to get what you want instead of screaming. Ok, so most of the time, anyway.
12. How you get jealous if I'm holding Beth.
13. How you sign touchdown and try to say Cowboys when Daddy watches football.
14. How you love shoes as much as Beth and I.
15. How much you are becoming a person and a part of our family. I love you, sweet boy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I love Christmas!!!

I found this on someone's blog (that blog ADD is kicking in), so I thought it would be lots of fun!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, totally! I don't care what odd shape it is, I will wrap it up! I don't use those cheap sticky bows. I once in a while tie a bow with ribbon. Why? Because without them, I can fit more presents nicely under the tree. It's all about how it looks under the tree- right?

2. Real tree or Artificial? We usually alternate years for real and artificial. I love the ease of using artificial, especially with the kids. BUT, I love the smell of a real tree. This year, we put up the fake tree. I meant to get a candle for the tree smell (Yankee makes a great one), but never got around to that. I'm hoping that next year, we can go to a tree farm and cut down a tree. Great scrapbooking opportunity with that!

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, we put it up the weekend before Thanksgiving since the kids and I would be out of town over Thanksgiving. The tree only took a couple hours. It's all the other decorating that took at least a week, since I had to wait for Jacob to be sleeping.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime close to New Years day. I love the tree and decorations, but it starts to lose the fun once the presents have been distributed instead of being all pretty under the tree.

5. Do you like eggnog? nope!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Not sure. I can remember sneaking in to see things the year I was 7- got a fake birthstone jewelry set and a knock-off easy bake. My favorite childhood memories are more about the traditions. Casey (my sis) spent the night in my bed every Christmas Eve, and we would play games until we were allowed out of our rooms, once Mom had makeup on and Dad had coffee going. One year, they covered the door to our hallway in wrapping paper, so there was no way we could get out. I'm thinking about doing something like this for Beth this year :)

7. Hardest person to buy for? My in-laws. They don't really need a thing, and we try to think of things beyond the usual candle or tool.

8. Easiest person to buy for? The kids, without a doubt. I keep finding things I'd love to get them.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, though not as many as my mom. We have a little people toys one for the kids to play with. I also have a nice one I got from my Aunt Audrey before she moved to a senior living apartment. No telling how old it is, but it's cute.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Oh, mail, without a doubt. Since the cards are usually the picture type, I at least make it a point to hand address the envelopes. I have a spreadsheet with who we/I sent cards to, and if they sent one back. This year, everyone may be getting "Happy New Year" cards if I don't get to the post office soon!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Stuff obviously from garage sales from some family members. I think one year I got a gaudy gold bracelet with someone else's name engraved on it. Not that is was terrible, but one year my parents only got us gift cards. Each card was wrapped in some disguise- like with a bag of rice. Fun stuff, now that I think back on it.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The old movies- Holiday Inn, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th, It's a Wonderful Life

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? We try to start in July or August. This year, we didn't start until October. That was tough, but we've done ok. I have one more to get for Kevin and then a couple odds and ends. The big shopping is DONE!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Possibly, most likely for white elephant gifting, probably some of that garage sale stuff

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Breakfast fritatta, Grandpa's peanut brittle- It's one of those precious memories associated with Christmas. He taught me how to make it, and I even have his special pan now, but I can't seem to get it right.

16. Lights on the tree? This year, they're colored. Next year, we're switching to white. Kevin does the lights. I want so badly to go behind him and "fix" them or add more. But, I'll keep working on subtle hints instead.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "O Holy Night" by Martina McBride (gives me chills)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? We travel every other year to the ILs, the weekend before Christmas. My parents come up for Christmas Eve and morning. I'm pretty insistent that we are at home for Christmas morning, for the kids' sake.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We've had an angel the last 7 years, but it finally gave up. I found some gorgeous angels, but the 4 year old insisted on a star. Kevin insisted on one with lights. I will say it looks nice and will look better next year with white lights on the tree.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both. Santa delivers new jommies for everyone on Christmas Eve, all wrapped in a box. The kids open presents from my parents Christmas Eve, so they're not too overwhelmed on Christmas morning. Christmas morning- gifts from each other, our gifts from Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad's gifts from us, Santa gifts (though they're not wrapped). I LOVE having my parents here on Christmas morning to share the magic of the day through the eyes of the kids!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People who get grumpy and forget to ENJOY the short Christmas season. Oh, and the darn Salvation Army bells!

23. Favorite thing? All the magic, the sights, the sounds, the time with family... I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

24. What theme or color are you using? traditional, hodge podge of stuff and colors everywhere

25. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Fajitas

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? A new camera, more time together as a family, more time to myself- this seems more like a new years resolution list.

27. Who is most likely to blog this? Anige, if she's up late with the new baby
28. Who is least likely to blog this? Casey

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I love the flexibility in Kevin's job! He stayed home with the kiddos while I got my eye check up and new contacts. Then, off to the mall to see Santa and try to finish shopping. Thanks to the blackberry, he was still able to answer emails and phone calls.

We got there at just the right time- they closed the line for Santa behind us. The line only had 2 families before us. Yes! Jacob just stared at Santa, quietly said "ho, ho, ho" and didn't want to get near Santa without a tight grip on me. Beth was brave to sit on Santa's lap, but she was shy talking to him. She was just flabergasted that she couldn't remember everything on her list. She did manage to tell Santa plenty (scooter, cat toy, leapster) and some things Jacob wants too (balls, cars, Elmo). Santa was so nice and patient as the grumpy photographer snapped a picture and walked away, Santa was released for his lunch break then called back so we could get a picture with Beth's eyes open.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas card, take 2

Oh my goodness! Not a good idea to try for a Christmas picture when one kid didn't get a nap, the other one didn't get enough nap, there's no helper for keeping them focused, the stupid camera is WAY too slow..... This is only a small sampling of the "no" pictures. I got some darn cute "yes" pictures, though (to be seen AFTER the cards get mailed out)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas, Christmas everywhere!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME!!!! I have decorations everywhere!!! Enjoy!
The entry table- little mailbox for card we get from friends

My Christmas village

The tree and fireplace- not a great shot, but I wanted to see the lights, not a crazy flash. I need to work on night shot skills.

The stockings were hung with care. See those extra two- they say "Popi" and "Yaya"

The art niche is pretty handy

The view of the living room from the upstairs landing
The kiddos' bathroom- more treasures on the other side of the counter
I couldn't get a good picture of the gameroom without tired-pants Beth whining when I turned on the light. There are more decorations in the guest room, too.
I LOVE Christmas! I love decorating for Christmas! I have 14 big ol' rubbermaid tubs of decorations and dishes. I'm sure I'll have to buy another bucket this year for my new treasures.