Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here it is!

A picture of my new HP Laptop. I'm so in love.... Is that wrong?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The 6 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my sister & brother-in-law gave to me...a box of 40 wadded up $1 bills :)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...half of his Christmas bonus to go buy my much-desired (and much-needed) HP laptop (which came with a free 3 in 1 printer and a $100 gift card) :)

On the third day of Christmas, my aunt gave to me...a basket full of 'Cocolotus' scented body essential from Ulta :)

On the forth day of Christmas, my mother-in-law gave to me...a box/can full of nicely rolled $1 bills - 50 of them to be exact!

On the fifth day of Christmas, Santa gave to early-morning wake up call with squeeling children and lots of hoopla and fun for everyone :)

On the sixth day of Christmas, my uncle-in-law gave to me...more money via a funny Christmas card :)

So, overall, I had a wonderful Christmas. Of course it wasn't all about me, but since this is my blog and I very rarely blog about myself, I decided to change things up a bit. I got more than the laptop, money and body lotions, but in order to make the 'theme' work, I had to choose only 1 item to mention. In addition to those items, I received warm (not sexy) jammies from Victoria's Secret from hubby (something I ask for every year and never get, so you can imagine my surprise and excitement!), a Christian novel by a favorite author (Karen Kingsbury), thimbles from Norway (for my collection from my SIL), a pink ribbon Christmas tree ornament (in memory of my mom), and definitely more that I'm not remembering right now.

Of course, the kiddos had a blast to, but by the 6th day, they were asking if Christmas was over yet! I guess having a birthday only 1 or 3 weeks away from Santa's appearance does make opening presents a bit of a chore after so many days.

Granted, the length of our Christmas celebrations isn't necessarily by choice, but more due to the distance we live from various family members, and the fact that we can't ever seem to get the entire family together, in one place, at one time.

So, here's hoping that you had a very Merry Christmas, received lots of the things you wanted or asked for, and that the weekend ahead will bring you a very blessed & prosperous New Year!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Alex's Letter

Today while cleaning up the house for Morgann's 4th birthday party tomorrow, I stumbled across this:

Dear Santa I wish For a two Wheeler scooter, and a toy shotgun and a Toy phone And a stufft Animel that is soft and please Stuffup my stoking well will you please Thank you Love Alex
(typed exactly as it was written)

Have I mentioned that I love this time of year? I hope my sweet 7 year old boy never outgrows the magic of Santa!!!

*Addendum: I talked to Alex last night about mailing his letter to Santa (which we never do; I keep them safely tucked away in one of my dresser drawers) and he informed me that this was his "practice" letter. He gave the real letter to his teacher. Hmmm...I'm hoping that said teacher will be kind enough to forward said letter to me for safe-keeping! At any rate, I love the fact that there was a "practice" letter written in the first place. Michael informed me that he actually saw the 1st part of the "real" letter and it started with "Dear Santa, How are you? How are your reindeer?" That's all he saw, but I'm sure it only got better from there :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tooting My Own Horn!

Just thought I'd brag a bit...I'm officially finished with my Christmas shopping!
(Cue Angels singing "The Hallelujah Chorus")

After no fewer than 6 hours of shopping with my 2 year old on
Friday, I officially took care of the last of our Christmas gift list. I think this is the first time in about 5 years that we've finished earlier than the week of Christmas - and one year, Christmas Eve! Michael even went shopping for me yesterday!!! It's such a relief to not have that hanging over my head any longer (just don't get me started on the wrapping that awaits!).

And, yes, I know that Christmas isn't about the gifts, but I do think that there should be some thoughtfulness in giving that special gift to that certain someone. Sure, a few of our family will be getting cold, hard cash, but that's what they've asked for. But, I also purchased them a little something that I thought they would enjoy. For me, putting thought and care into the purchase really matters. Of course, there have been years of desperation when I've been so tired, or crunched for time, that a good-old gift card has been the answer to my prayers, but this year, I started looking early, and managed to come up with a few gifts that I think are very clever, and, hopefully, appreciated by the recipients. I'll have to expound on that subject after Christmas since I have several family members that read this blog, but I have to say that I'm really excited about seeing them open their gifts, and am hoping for that special glimmer of joy & excitement when they see what they've been given.

I love Christmas and all that it stands for!!! The Reason for our celebration being the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the act of giving to others, be they strangers, with gifts to the local food pantry, or family during the holiday.

May God richly bless you & your family this holiday season! And, for those that still haven't conquered their gift list, I wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect gift...before Christmas Eve :)

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another attempt

I thought that I should try again at summarizing our trip last week. But, this time I've decided to take a different approach:

Sunday 11/19 - after several attempts, hubby finally (and successfully) packs up the van and we're off to College Station! There, we meet up with Michael's uncle and mother, who meet in CS every year to Christmas shop. After a chilly picnic on the Texas A&M campus, we meander through the Aggie Bonfire Memorial and discuss our memories of that horrible day. While there, we realize that we are visiting only 1 day after the 7 year anniversary! After saying goodbye to Michael's uncle who had to head home to Dallas, we take the kids over to the polo fields where they are placed into a huge Oak tree for pictures (taken by Grandma with her camera). After running ourselves silly, we say our goodbyes, then head to our friend's house for more fun, dinner and bed.

Monday 11/20 - Our friends have school & work, so we say our goodbyes to them, then head out the door for breakfast. After a yummy hot breakfast at our favorite diner, Denny's, we hit the road for a 3 hour trip to Ft. Worth. Once we arrive at our hotel, we have the fun task of unloading and getting everyone & everything up to the room. After a quick clean-up, we head over to Michael's Grandmother's apartment for a long visit. Around 5PM, we meet up with Michael's aunt & uncle for a yummy Tex-Mex dinner :) Alex & Morgann decide to stay the night with Gma, so Ian, Michael & I head back to the hotel for bed.

Tuesday 11/21 - After a yummy breakfast at the hotel, we load up the van (for the 3rd time now) and head over to Gma's apartment to pick up our crew. From there, we go over to Uncle Joe & Aunt Kathy's for more visiting and fun. We first head to the nearby park for basketball, and lots of climbling, swinging & sliding. Shortly thereafter, we head back for lunch by the pool, then around the front of the house for a rousing game of baseball. When the kids (and the adults) are sufficiently tired-out, we say our goodbyes, then head over to Grand Prairie for a visit with my Grandmother. Upon our arrival to her new apartment, we get the grand tour, then unload the van (again). We decide on grabbing take-out burgers for dinner, so out the door Nana & I go. After dinner, we sit around & visit, then get the kids to bed. To unwind, we watch the movie "50 First Dates".

Wednesday 11/22 - The kids & Nana have breakfast while Michael & I work on getting all of the luggage repacked. Once we are all dressed, we head out the door to see about finding a valance for Nana's living room window. Once purchased, we head to a nearby park for more playing and visiting in the crisp autumn day, with sun & temps in the mid 70's! When tummy's start growling, we head over to a nearby restaurant for lunch, then back to Nana's apartment to hang her valance. We say our goodbye's then head out to the van for another re-load. On the way out, Morgann & Ian have a screaming match over who will 'push the buttons' on the elevator. When Ian wins, Morgann breaks down and begins this squeely, loud sob. All the way through the lobby, both kids are squeeling, screaming and running at break-neck speed to reach the next button - the automatic door opener. Ian wins again, and Morgann melts down one more time. At this stage, Michael's nerves are shot and I am mortified at it all. I drop my bags and head back to scoop up a child while Michael pushes the other one out the door. After loading both luggage and kids, we stop for a quick prayer with my grandmother before heading out for McKinney, which is North of Dallas. An hour & a half later, we arrive at Cori & Chuck doorstep, where we stay for 2 nights :)

Thursday 11/23 - Thanksgiving Day with all the fun & trimmings that entails. The kids (with Cori's assitance and my highly-honed stapling skills) all create their very own Indian costumes, complete with brown-paper-bag vest and construction-paper headbands. Once we've cleaned up our mess, we all head downstairs. The men take the kiddos to a nearby park while Cori & I tackle the task of cooking and organizing our meal. Skipping much detail...... After eating way too much, and enjoying a little wine with our meal, we clean up, then collapse on the floor of their living room to rest (that would be sleep - and that would only be me) or chat. Once the younger kiddos wake up from their naps, we head over to another park for, you guessed it, more playing! We stayed until it got dark, then headed home for baths, a dinner of leftovers (or sandwiches for the kids & Michael), then bed.

Friday 11/24 - My family is beginning to drag, but the kids are still up at the crack of dawn. I finally make it downstairs to see that Cori has already conquered breakfast with the kiddos, so I sat around in my jammies for a bit. When we finally manage to get everyone dressed, Michael & I spend the next 45 minutes attempting to pack our suitcases and locate every missing sock & stuffed animal. Then it's time to pack the van again! While we worked on getting our stuff loaded, Cori spent the better part of that time fixing a yummy picnic lunch - you guessed it, another stop at another park! The weather was awesome during our entire trip, can you tell (and by awesome, I mean highs in the 70's with no clouds, sunny blue skies and only a breeze every now & then)! Anyway, on our way to the park, we make a pit-stop at a local Christian bookstore, where I end up buying way too much stuff, including Christmas cards which I had just told Michael I wanted to send out this year :) We eventually make it to the park, eat our yummy lunches, then hit the playground for about 30 minutes. From there, we're off again, heading back to College Station for another 2 night-stay. The trip was nice & quiet - all 3 kids and myself got a nap while hubby made the drive with only the quiet of his thoughts, and his iPod to keep him awake!

Saturday 11/25 - Our morning begins slowly, but we're finally out the door by 11ish for lunch and another park! We first find a huge Christmas tree where we attempt to take family pictures for our Christmas cards. We end up spending about an hour & a half at the park where the younger kiddos played on the playground, while the boys all played a hard game of touch-football. All-in-all, a very productive fun day :)

Sunday 11/26 - We're up early and heading for home by 10AM! By this point, we're exhausted and ready for our own beds. The kids sit quietly playing in the backseat, while Michael & I attempt to de-compress. Once home, we unpack the van for the final time, then it's up to me to unload the bags, get laundry done, hit the local Target then grocery store to stock up the house, cook dinner, clean up from dinner, and hit the sack!!!

So, there you have it! A long-short version of our 8 days away. We had a wonderful visit and captured special moments on film. That said, we've made our visits and will not be leaving town again anytime soon!!!! If you want to see us, get a map and make the trip :)