Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Enjoying traditional Mexican food dinner on Christmas Eve Day. Mmm, chips and salsa, enchildas, mmmm!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Visit to Santa

Right after school one day, we got Beth home and changed then off to see Santa at the mall. The letters had been written, with their biggest wishes.

All the way there, Jacob talked about what he would tell Santa. But, as we got there, he chickened out. There was nobody else in line, so Beth got some great chat time with Santa.

I tried to get Jacob to at least hand his letter to Santa, but he wouldn't have it. Since there was nobody waiting, Santa walked with the kids over to the special letter delivery system. They put the letter in a slot and pushed a button. Then, there were lights and sparkles as the letter poofed into his big bag.

Even if Jacob wouldn't chat with Santa, I'm glad they had the extra time with him. Beth made sure Santa knew her wishes and that she'd been a good girl. Maybe next year Jacob will be ready.

5 more days to see if their wishes come true!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Elf Shennanigans

Tinsel, our elf on the shelf, joined us in 2009. He's been pretty good about keeping a close watch on the kids. The first year, we thought he was a goner when Kevin accidentally shot Tinsel with the marshmallow gun. Thankfully, he still had his magic and made it to the North Pole that night, returning to us the next year. This year, however, Tinsel has been getting into a little trouble.

Looking around and hearing stories about other elves, it seems that they must be talking when they go back to the North Pole. There seems to be more mischief from the elves than the children!

These little things, moments of Christmas magic and joy, make Christmas so much fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meet Joy

Wednesday night for AWANA, Beth had to dress a piece of fruit for "Fruit of the Spirit Night". We remembered about 30 mintues before we had to leave for church. I think we did pretty good for finding things in the craft supplies at the last minute. Turns out, Beth won 2nd place!!!! Certainly brought lots of joy home that night!

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

By having Jesus in our hearts, these are the qualities Christians aim to exhibit. Some days some are easier than others. When we fail in these fruits, God still loves us. I am glad to serve a merciful Savior!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The joy of the season

So I'm really stinking at this blog thing. I would say that thanks to Facebook, my family is all caught up on the daily cuteness of the kiddos, but I haven't updated pictures there either in a while.

Well, for now, enjoy this little peek of our Christmas season joy.
My folks came up Thanksgiving weekend, arriving after my 10 hour shopping adventure with friends + a 3 hour nap. We enjoyed more shopping, playing games, decorating the trees and relaxing by the fire.

I'm looking forward to more enjoying the moments of the season soon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

American Wish List

I decided that instead of just thinking things in my head, I would "write" down a list of places in America that I'd one day like to visit. I'm a bit of a nerd, so many of these places are educational. This list is in no particular order, and I reserve the right to edit it many times over.

1. Grand Canyon
2. Alcatraz
3. Washington DC- all the presidential monuments and such, including the White House
4. Smithsonian museums
5. Ellis Island
6. Statue of Liberty
7. various Civil War historical places- homes, battlefields, museums
8. Hawaii- Pearl Harbor, great beaches, volcanoes
9. Mount Rushmore
10. Williamsburg
11. weird and strange mueums
12. supposedly haunted places
13. Niagra Falls
14. Wyoming or Montana- the great expanse of land
15. homes of historical or otherwise famous and notorious people

For now, that's all I can think of. I know I've mentioned several places, if just to myself, over time.
Any suggestions for must-sees?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interesting statistics

Being the math nerd that I am, I enjoy reading statistics. This month, Parents magazine had an interesting article about the changing households in America. It was interesting and thought provoking enough to me that I thought I'd share.

Just in case you need clarification on what these really mean (I did):
Millennials are basically the kids (now adults) born in the 1980s and 90s.
GenXers are those born in the 1960s and 70s.

~Millennials (53%) and GenXers (57%) are less likely than older generations (75% of those over 65) to say a child needs a home with both parents.

~44% of Millenials says marriage is obsolete, 37% of those over age 30 think the same

~21% of households are married couples with children compared to 43% in 1950.

~23% of homes with a stay-at-home mom (for married couples with children under 15)

~10% of children under age 18 live in a home with a grandparent. Of those, 22% don't have a parent in that same household.

~More than half of moms say their kids have a better lifestlye than they themselves did growing up

What does all this say about our society? What does this mean for the future of our families? Is giving our kids a "better" lifestyle than we had growing up worth the destruction of the basic family structure? What values and ethics are being taught? Is a committment valuable anymore?

I know what I think. Tell me what you think about it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The longest birthday celebration ever

I have never seem someone so little extend their birthday celebrating out so long!

Birthday day- celebrating Disney World style! He wore a button that let everyone know it was his birthday. Just about everyone (employees and other guests) told him "happy birthday". He wasn't sure at first, then kindly said "thank you". Both lunch and dinner, the waiters noticed the birthday pin and brought Jacob a dessert complete with a candle and a song. Pretty special! Just so the rest of us didn't feel left out, we were often told "happy un-birthday" in true Disney style.

When we got home- opening presents from Mommy and Daddy and Beth (and a few that arrived in the mail while we were gone). As you can see, he was quite wowed by the Green Lantern game he got from Beth. His new Geotrax Batcave was a hit, too. We sure enjoyed just hanging out at home and playing with the new toys.

The next weekend- birthday party with friends then presents and fun at home with Grandma and Grandpa. We had his party at Peter Piper Pizza on a weeknight. That was absolutely the way to go! We nearly had the place to ourselves. It was just perfect! They had a great time playing together, ate plenty of pizza and cake, and played games to their hearts content.
Back at the house with Grandma and Grandpa, Jacob got to open more presents. An awesome Batcave got the response "It's just what I wanted!". Jacob is totally into superheros this year and now has lots of fun stuff to play with! It was fun to have Grandma and Grandpa stay to watch the Cowboy game and spend the night, too.
the NEXT weekend- Popi and Yaya came for a visit. We had so much fun just hanging out with each other. Jacob opened the last of his presnets- a trove of scurvy pirate goods!
So, now, two weeks after he turned 4, we have finished celebrating! Whew! We are so blessed to have friends and family with which to celebrate such a precious part of our life.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To my sweet 4 year old


Poof! Time passed so quickly, and now you are 4 years old. According to your pediatrician's office, you are 40.5 inches tall and 34 pounds, both measurements just about average. But, anybody who knows you knows you are far from average!

You are very much an average, normal boy. Oh my, are you without a doubt a little boy! From the minute you wake up, you are full speed ahead. I don't think you know how to walk- you run, skip, jump, slide, etc everywhere you go. Unfortunately, you have your momma's lack of grace. You fall, run into things (because you don't pay attention) and have bruises all over your legs, but they don't seem to phase you. I get tickled because most of the time, you don't even notice when you hit something. Your hearing test at your check up showed that you have great hearing, but it seems to be "boy hearing". Too often you are so engrossed in what you are doing that you don't hear what we tell you. About the time that I say "nevermind", you acknowledge what I said. Silly boy!

You have such a big personality! You make me smile every single day with your sense of humor! We are quite convinced that you will be a salesman one day with your charming smile and twinkling eyes. You're so much like your daddy in this!

I love watching your wonder and you observe and learn new things. You get so excited when it's time for a "lesson". I am just amazed that you are in the early stages of learning to read. You know your letters and their sounds. You try so hard to sound out words, but so often those words don't fit the "rules" you know for sounds. You'll get it soon, I'm sure! The moments you slow down long enough to watch something, you are so observant to details- the colors, sizes, shapes of things. What amazes me more than anything is your joy in learning Bible verses. You are so proud of yourself, and rightly so, when you memorize a verse. Recently, you memorized John 3:16. What a big verse for a little boy! I hope you will always hide God's Word in your heart, and one day truly understand those verses and put them into practice.Of course, you have moments of attitude and temper. You are stubborn and bullheaded (I'll say like your daddy, but I know some is from me too). You don't like being told "no". You're trying so hard to be independent and determine what's best for you. I know it's hard to not get your way, but I promise I'm just trying to teach you and keep you safe. Despite those moments, you truly do have a tender, sweet heart. You love to snuggle, you worry when someone is hurt or upset. Every kid you meet is your friend. The moments that you say "I love you" or share a hug or kiss, all without prompting, are the best.Oh, my sweet boy, I cannot believe you are already 4. You have given us so many adventures, and I know we have so many more ahead. I look forward to them all!

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sorry (and a little treat)

I know, it's been SOOOOOO long since I blogged. Life took over, and we've been super busy. I assure you that the blog posts coming soon will be fun!

Until then, enjoy a few I found on Beth's camera- silly brother, silly Beth and silly friend

Friday, August 19, 2011

2nd grade

Well, my big girl is a 2nd grader. Today completed her first week, and she loved every minute.

We ordered uniforms and picked up some at a local store (limited choices). I bought size 8/10. She's so tall- the long legs she got from me! She's starting the school year at 52 inches tall and 64 pounds. We got some new shoes- size 1 and 1.5 (thanks for the sparkly ones, Popi and Yaya). We got all the supplies on the list (Jamie, shop the sales and use coupons!). We got Beth's hair cut. Mrs. Ashley cut 5 inches off and thinned it out some. I think that's only helped Beth's wave and fullness come out more.

About a week before school started, we found out she would have Mrs. Archer as her teacher. Previously, Mrs. Archer has taught PreK4, so this was a big change, but we were pretty excited. All but one student from last year has returned. Beth is still in a combined class of 1st and 2nd grades, a total of 13 kids. We went to Meet the teacher night last week, and Beth was just giddy with excitement to be heading back to school. I love that joy in her!!!

So, day 1 of second grade. She woke up early, tried a couple things for breakfast, I packed her lunch, we rolled her hair, and she put on her new uniforms. She really wanted to wear her pants the first day, but it's still over 100 degrees, so I knew she'd be too hot. I think she looked adorable! Jacob also got new shoes, so he wanted in the picture too.

We all took her to school together. She was so happy to sit in her desk for a picture. She's right up front for now. Then, she was into the chapel for morning assembly as we left. She was so excited that she didn't so much as look back.

Jacob was so ready for me to go pick up Beth when school was out. He'd sure missed his sister! She was a tired girl, but had a great day. They had 3 recesses and learned about the rules and stuff. To celebrate the first day of school, Beth chose dinner at Peter Piper Pizza. We all had fun playing games and spening time together.

Already this week, her class had visited the library, started review seatwork, and had lots of recess (inside and out). Next week, she's already looking forward to "Mexican Monday" in the cafeteria.

Time is sure flying by fast! It won't be long before Jacob will be starting school. In the meantime, I'll keep teaching him things at home. While he gets bored and distracted easily, he does love to do "lessons". I hope that joy of learning stays with him.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The reason you have kids

is so they can do the chores. Or, at least that's what I teased my mom about when I was growing up and doing chores.

I decided I had to suck up my type A personality and let the kids start some real chores around the house. Best thing is, they love it (for now)!

Jacob has been setting the table for a while, but now he gets to put away clean silverware. Cleaning up toys and his room are also on his regular chore list. He likes to help me clean the floor, but I don't count on that being a complete job. Now, if I ask Beth to do something, he asks if I have a chore for him.

Beth, being older, has more that she's expected to help with. Most recently, I've handed over the unloading of most of the dishwasher. I will also let her load the dishwasher. Her other chores beyond cleaning up her room and toys- getting drinks ready for meals, clearing the table, recycling the cans/bottles. Occasionally, she'll help clean the floor and dust.

They will sometimes help with laundry as well, if they're around when I am working on it. I know it's important to teach them how to take care of a home and themelves so they can one day be responsible adults. I count my blessings that they enjoy helping Mommy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" ~Picasso

One of my plans for the summer was to take the kids to a couple of the phenomenal art museums in Fort Worth. I wanted to encourage Beth's love of art and take Jacob along for the exposure. My cousin, Tessa, lives close to Dallas, and we don't take enough chances to get together. Well, wouldn't you know it, they're moving to Houston at the end of the month. We planned to get together before they left, so I invited her to the Kimball Art Museum with us. Oh, Tessa just happens to be an elementary art teacher, too.

Tessa talked about the art with the kids, asking them if a statue was a boy or girl, what colors they saw, the tools they used, etc. It was great for Beth, who wanted to read every description for Tessa.

The front desk had some great things for the kids to make the museum more interesting. Jacob had a ring of laminated photos of various art in the museum. His job was to look for them. He was so proud to find them. I tried to use the back of the card to ask him some of the questions about the art, but he wouldn't go for that. Beth got a hand-held device. Some art descriptions had a family picture and code number for her to punch into the device to hear some fun facts about the art. What seemed most interesting to her was when an artist would paint a family in clothes and surrounding that weren't their reality because the family wanted to appear wealthy.

When we got home, the kiddos were busy wanting to do artwork. Jacob drew a picture of our family and proudly showed it off,

Beth first drew a self-portrait, wearing clothes different that her own. Then, she made this colorful artwork (on the left) and signed the back. She said it was ancient, and one day, when she was dead, somebody might come to our house and see her picture and know that it was famous. Too funny!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My how they've grown

WAY back when, we lived in another city, just the two of us. When we were expecting Beth, we attended good ol' Lamaze classes. In that class were lots of other first time mommies. After the babies were born, a bunch of us started a playgroup. Even when the kids couldn't really play with each other, we moms sure needed it. The comraderie, being able to talk openly about the struggles of this first time mom thing, developing friendships. It was fantastic! Eventually, the kids started playing by each other and then together. Our first gathering was when the babies were 4-6 weeks old. We got together about every other week for a couple years, including Daddies for special events.

June 2005- They were around 1 year old

Over the years, as the kids have grown and headed off to school, as some moms went back to working, as some moved away, as families added 2nd (and even 3rd) babies, we have stayed in touch. We have encouraged each other through job losses, big moves, job changes, loss of parents and miscariages. Recently, an extended stay with my folks provided an opportunity to get together with our old playgroup. The kids jumped right into playing together while we moms sat and reminsced about the early days and the treasure of our friendships.

Beth may not remember them, and Jacob certainly doesn't have a connection, but they will always be precious treasures in our life.


Our kiddos have been growing by leaps and bounds. Did you notice the pictures of them riding bikes- nearly eating their knees. Well, we were planning on bikes for Christmas, but then we decided to surprise the kids early. They had absolutely no idea. It was priceless! Kevin got home from a work trip, ran to pick up Beth's bike. I had picked up Jacob's about a week earlier. Kevin got them ready and set in the garage, then we had the kids go out to see "something strange". Beth was first out of the door, and she was speechless. Let me tell you, that's really saying something. Then Jacob saw his and couldn't get his shoes on fast enough. He was beside himself that it was just what he wanted. He'd tried one out at the store just a couple days before.

We tried them out in the garage, adjusting seats and handles a little. We taught Beth how to use the kickstand and Jacob how to "ding" his bell. Jacob learned that pedaling backwards is a brake. Beth had to learn how to get on the bike safely. She was so tall for her other one that she easily swung her leg over- this one, not so much. After all that, we headed over to the park where the parking lot is flat and big enough to practice.

It was a tough start, getting used to the size and weight of the new bikes, but it didn't take long. Jacob wanted to make sure I took a picture of his bike seat. He's super proud of his Lightning McQueen "Kachow Kick-a-pow" bike. Beth is pretty proud of her not-pink (it's purple), bigger bike. I'm proud of her for riding a two-wheeler.

After we were back home, cooling off, Jacob said he couldn't believe it that they got new bikes. Beth was still grinning, then asking for dinner. They were both very thankful and appreciative. I'm thankful we were able to surprise them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What a day!

Today, Kevin and I are celebrating 11 years of married adventures.

Today was the last day of swimming lessons. We have swimmers! Big progress in the two weeks! They can both swim unassisted!

This morning, while I went to exercise, Kevin took the kids to practice bikes at the park. After a little lesson and encouragement, Beth is riding two wheels with confidence! She's grown a lot and will need a new bike soon, but it worked great for today! Jacob, of course, is Jacob. I got to see all the fun for myself this afternoon (when it was 99* outside!)

Kevin is currently grilling steak and potatoes. We're looking forward to a great evening as a family, celebrating our life!