Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas (x2) and Happy Birthday Jesus!

After spending all day the day before celebrating DH's birthday, it was time to celebrate Christmas and Jesus' birth! We had traveled to Dallas on the 23rd to visit DH's parents and 2 brothers and spent Christmas Eve Day tooling around town, touring each brother's house and then back to the parent's house for lunch and presents. The kids had an absolute blast hanging out with all of the family and both of them especially loved getting to spend time with Baby A, their one year old cousin:

After a yummy lunch and plenty of presents, we loaded up and headed back to East Texas, along with Auntie M, and got home just in time for our Christmas Eve traditions (except for going to church...we didn't make it in time for that!). The kids got back into their Christmas jammies (made by Mimi, complete with matching slippers and jammies for their Bears!), we read The Night Before Christmas, spread out some reindeer food, and left a note to tell Santa not to wake up K-girl when he arrived.

The next morning, they were up bright and early and were shocked to see that Santa had let Rudolph into our house and he made quite a mess! Daddy wasn't too happy with the reindeer food that Kitty Maddie munched on and then proceded to puke up all over the couch (there's nothing like cleaning up cat puke on Christmas morning!), but the kids were beyond excited to know that Rudolph AND Santa had been to our house!

K-girl reminded us all that we needed to put Baby Jesus in the manger (thank goodness I remembered where I hid Him!) and then we opened presents. Later, Mimi and Paw-Paw joined us and after that, Busha and Ja-Ja (DH's parents) arrived. We ate an awesome dinner, if I do say so myself, and I can brag like that, since I was the cook, and had fun with Marshmallow guns, S*illy S*ring, and new toys. And then, we had our birthday party for Jesus, complete with a cake, decorated by Auntie M and K-girl:

A beautiful cake, on a beautiful day...celebrating the birth of the tiny baby who brings hope, light and mercy to the world. Thank you God, for the birth of your son, and thank you for blessing us with wonderful friends and family. We love you and we are so grateful for your grace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DH Turns 40!

After much anticipation on my part (since I'm not turning 40 for FIVE more years!), DH had his birthday and finally made it over the hill to age 40! I really wanted to do something special for him, but he specifically told me NOT to plan a party and he threatened me within an inch of my life if I tried to do anything that combined the word "party" with the word "suprise." So, I put my thinking cap on and after some brainstorming with friends, I came up with the idea of "Brian's Top 40" throughout the day.

The basic premise was to have 40 different gifts throughout the day, each being the same amount as the number it was on the countdown. Hmmm, that was as clear as mud, right? Well, maybe it would be easier to understand if you see the list:

40- wakeup at 4:40am (not really a gift, I decided as we were going to bed at 12:30pm, so he just got a card that explained the Top 40 plan for the next day...and I told him to turn off his alarm clock that was set at 4:40am 'cause I didn't want to wake up that early!)

39 orange M&Ms (in honor of his OSU Cowboys...go pokes!)
38 golf tees
37 dollar Starbuck's card
36 pieces of his favorite gum

And right after we gave him the #36 gift, I also texted everyone in his cell phone address book and mine and told them that it was his 40th bday...he just couldn't figure out how so many people knew that it was his bday!!! It finally dawned on him after about the 15th text or so!

35 donuts from Round Rock Donuts (we heard about these donuts on the Food Network and Auntie M, DH's sister, offered to pick up 3 dozen and eat one on her way from San Antonio)

34 Dove Dark chocolates
33 ounces of his favorite club soda
32 mini marshmallows for our Marshmallow Guns
31 minutes of fun with a brainteaser puzzle
30 magnets for school
29 punch out hearts on cards from K-girl and Chooch
28 issues of T*me magazine (1/2 a year)
27 Christmas P*eps
26 rum balls (made by his mom)
25 new golf balls
24 Season 1 of the TV show
23- a cookie cake with 23 on it
22 new pens
21- a letter from his dad
20 new mints to try
19 chocolate covered potato chips
18- another letter from his dad about an incident when he was 18 years old! funny stuff!
17 gatorades
16 new pencils
15 dollars in iTunes
14 new pairs of underwear (not very glamorous!)
13 minutes of fun with 3 cans of s*lly S*ring
12 dry erase markers
11 years of marriage, a card from me
10- a present from his mom, he was born at 10:31am
9 pairs of N*ke socks
8 boys that he is molding into young men on his team (I had all of his players sign a bday card)
7th season of Se*nf*ld (we've almost got the complete set!)
6 tickets to a Houston Rockets game
5 brothers and sisters (cards)
4 parents (cards and gifts from my parents and his parents)
3 n*ke undershirts
2 beautiful children (a card) and
1 birthday cake (decorated with Kiss (the band) magnets...thanks to his mom!)

Here's a pic of DH opening one of his many gifts:

I think he enjoyed the day, and the kids and I certainly enjoyed gifting 40 different gifts throughout the day...I just love giving gifts!!! It was a little overwhelming, though, and by the end we were giving 4 gifts at once, just so we could get through the list!

Many thanks to my mom, DH's parents, and his brothers and sisters for helping me complete the Top 40 list and fill in some of the missing numbers. And, a big Happy Birthday to my loving, sweet, amazing, dedicated, and hardworking hubby. I LOVE YOU!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Waiting for Baby Jesus...

The Christmas decorations came out in full force around our house a couple of weekends ago. While Daddy was out front working with the outside lights (aka, Clark Griswold) and Chooch was riding his bike, K-girl and I put on some Christmas music and decorated our living room. I love decorating for Christmas each year, and it's even more fun now that K-girl is out of the "Danger: Breakables Ahead!" phase. She had so much fun pulling out all of the knick-knacks and figuring out where to put each one.
The favorite decoration each year is our Nativity scene. I received it as a gift several years ago and the kids love it because each year that we put it out, I purposely don't put out Baby Jesus. It's an idea that I heard during my MOPS days...put out the Nativity scene and wait to bring out Baby Jesus until Christmas morning, the day of His birth. It really helps the kids (and me!) remember what the holiday season is all about. We also bake Jesus a birthday cake and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus on Christmas Day. Fun!

So, I found the Nativity scene box first and managed to pull out Baby Jesus and hide Him before K-girl noticed (note to self...don't forget where you hid Baby Jesus!). As soon as she saw the box, though, she was all over it, wanting to do this one all by herself. I wasn't quite ready to let her do the whole thing on her own, so I pulled out the pieces from the foam packaging, gave them to her and let her arrange the figures on the end table. I kept trying to give her decorating advice, but my little expert wanted nothing to do with my tips. K-girl wanted to do it all on her own. After several attempts of "K-girl, wouldn't the figures look better if you turned them around?" and "Look, K-girl, I can't see the angel's face", I gave up my advice and let her do the arrangements all on her own.

A few days later, while the kids were at school, I took a close look at K-girl's arrangement:
My first instinct was to rearrange the figures so that they would be in a semi-circle with the manger in you could see everyone's face and no one's back. But, right before I started rearranging, a thought struck me...Maybe this is how God wants US to be during the Advent season...Maybe we should all be facing the manger and waiting for Baby Jesus...Maybe we shouldn't be worried about how we look or the gifts we buy or the houses we decorate, but instead be focused on the coming of Christ and the gift of hope that He brings. WOW! What a powerful message to be thinking about here in the days before Christmas. And all thanks to my sweet K-girl's decorating ability!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pajama Day and Big Decisions!

Today was Pajama Day at K-girl's school and Chooch has his Pajama Day on Friday at his school (in 3rd grade, really?) so all the talk yesterday afternoon was about what jammies they wanted to wear to school. K-girl settled on her green flannels with the fairies on them and Chooch is thinking about wearing his Super Mario jammies. Morning arrived and K-girl enjoyed lording her morning of leisure over Chooch by constantly reminding us all, "I can go back to bed because I don't have to get dressed!" At the last minute, right before we were getting ready to walk out the door, K-girl realized that she was supposed to take a pillow today, too. So we walked (ran 'cause we were running late!) back to her room.

Well, the girl has way too many pillow choices, if you ask me, but I picked up the 2 that I thought she would want to go with her to school and said, "Which one, the Disney Princess pillow or the High School Musical pillow?" K-girl, without hesitating, said, "I want my Name Pillow."

Her Name Pillow is pretty self-explanatory (a pillow with her name on it!) but it's pretty special to us because it was made by Mimi using the hospital receiving blanket that baby K-girl came home from the hospital in. Chooch has one just like it and they have both had those pillows on their bed since the day they joined our family. So, although the Name Pillow is very sentimental, I thought for sure the Princesses or HSM would win out in the battle for Pajama Day. Mommy was wrong, though, so off we headed to the car.

We met Chooch in the kitchen and he immediately took offense to the pillow choice (A bit of history here...Chooch (with Mimi's help) made the HSM pillow for K-girl one rainy day that he spent with Mimi and Paw-Paw...and he was super proud of his efforts!) and this conversation followed:

Chooch, highly offended, "Why didn't you pick the High School Musical pillow, that I made you?"

K-girl said, "I don't want the other girls at school all over my pillow." (Huh?)

Chooch, in a slightly louder, more insistent voice, "But I made you that pillow and you love it!"

Mommy, interested in the pillow choice as well, asked "What do you mean you don't want the other girls all over your pillow?"

K-girl, very matter of factly, "Well, the last time I brought something High School Musical to school, all the other girls wanted to touch it and hold it, and I don't want that this time."

Ah, the truth comes out...the Name pillow isn't the sentimental choice, it's the practical keep all the other girls away!! That's my K-girl, practical with a touch of self-interest!! That apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The History Behind the Stink-Bug Park!

So, how did the Stink-Bug Park earn its name? It's not an overly hilarious story, but it's a bit of family history, so I might as well add it to the Blog! One afternoon when we had first moved to East Texas, DH decided to take the kids (then ages 5 and 2) out for an adventure. The first place he came upon was a city park just 3 minutes away from our rent house, so they stopped and enjoyed the play equipment for a short while. Everyone was having a great time until Chooch spotted a stink-bug on his swing chain, dangerously close to touching him. He let out a great yell, jumped at least 10 feet in the air, and hightailed it away from the swings. All of the hollering scared off K-girl, too, and neither of them would return to the swings, no matter how much DH tried to convince them that stink-bugs were harmless! Because of the stress, the park trip ended soon after, but the nickname, "The Stink-Bug Park" stuck with us and the park hasn't been called anything else since then!

Pics at the Stink-Bug Park

Every other year, we do a 'family' picture all together around Christmas-time. In the past, we've always gone to the mall to have the pics taken and, although the results have been great, I was really wanting to do things different this year and get some more relaxed shots of us being a family together outside. So, I called my friend, who has a sister that's a photographer, and we set up a time to meet at the local park that we affectionately call, 'The Stink-Bug Park.' (more on how the park was named in my next post!)

It was a beautiful fall afternoon when we met and the resulting pictures were AWESOME, to say the least! Our photographer, Charity at did such a great job of putting all of us at ease, and I just love how 'natural' all of the pictures look.

She was especially great with Chooch and K-girl and they enjoyed being models for her! The task of picking out our favorites to order as Christmas gifts and use on our Christmas card was NOT easy because there were so many great shots. I'm sure you will agree! Leave a comment if you want to see more of the great shots...Charity has uploaded the best of the pics to her website and I can send you the password. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whinos or Rhinos?

The other day, K-girl was talking to DH and trying to explain something about a 'Whino.' Poor Daddy couldn't figure out what she was talking about and she kept having to repeat herself. The conversation went something like this:
K-girl: "You know, Daddy, a WHI-NO."
Daddy: "What's a whino?"
K-girl, repeating herself louder this time: "A WHI-NO."
Daddy: "I hear what you're saying, but I don't know what you're talking about!"
K-girl, trying to sound it out with the wrong first letter sound: "Daddy, a v-v-v-v, WHI-NO."
Daddy, laughing: "What?"
K-girl, getting really exasperated: "You know, the thing with the horn on the top of its head?"
Daddy, laughing even harder: "OH, a RHINO, like a rhinocerous?"
K-girl: "YES!"
Phew, thank goodness he figured it out! We love that she doesn't pronounce her "R" sound and usually don't correct her because it's so darn cute. It has been a source of amusement at school, too. Her kindergarten teacher pulled me aside the other day at school and told me that when they were talking about the letter 'W' in class, and she asked for ideas of words that started with a 'W', K-girl excitedly raised her hand and said, "I know, a WOSE!" Teacher held back the giggles and didn't have the heart to correct K-girl and let her know that the flower actually starts with an 'R' not a W!! I know we'll miss that cute way of talking very soon because K-girl is growing up so quickly these days...

Snow (Ice, really) in East Texas!

My kids were so excited this morning! They woke up to a backyard fleeced with snow (ice) and just couldn't wait to outside and play in it. Actually, K-girl couldn't wait to go outside and eat it! She told Daddy last night, after Chooch spotted a few flakes falling from the sky, that it was really good to have snow because, "You can just eat the snow when you are thirsty. You don't even have to come inside and get just eat the snow!"

You know she's right, because it is such a LONG walk to come inside and get a drink of water when you're busy playing!! Anyhow, as soon as they got dressed, they rushed outside so they could play in the snow (ice) and before I could get my camera, K-girl scooped up some snow (ice) from some plant leaves (at least she didn't get it from the ground...yuk!) and proceded to eat it. I don't think it was very appetizing because she didn't try to eat anymore after that!

They were both most impressed with the trampoline and Chooch couldn't wait to get home and jump on it with all the snow. He didn't quite believe me when I told him that it probably all be melted by the time he got home. While the kids were busy tromping around the backyard, DH was busy trying to pry open the doors to the cars. They were frozen shut!!