Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa's offerings...

Every year, on Christmas night, I start feeling the "winter blues." I look at our pretty tree and it somehow seems sad without the prettily-wrapped packages sitting beneath. The kids are no longer counting the hours, minutes, seconds until Santa makes his appearance. I am no longer frantically trying to bake the last batch of sugar cookies, wrap last minute gifts or help the girls create that one last Christmas craft. While December is by far one of the busiest months in our house (probably all houses really), and some days I tell myself to slow it down, I still feel completely let down once it's over. "I can't believe it's already come and gone...again," I whine to Doug. "You say that every year," he replies. "But it's true! Before you know it it will be summer all over again," I say. And I will get over it as I do each and every year. There are more fun traditions to look forward to that have nothing to do with Christmas. But saying that doesn't make me miss it any less.

Doug & his remote control helicopter (which by the way has shattered one of the bulbs on my ceiling fan in the family room. I sure wish I had foreseen that!)

How nice is it when your older sister cheers you on & knows it when you've landed one bad-assed present?!

Why..hello Barbie! I think she's kinda sweet on Doug...

Some of my favorite moments each holiday we celebrate is the girls helping me in the kitchen. They are both so eager to help & I soak up every minute of it.

Hadley, Mee-Maw, Delaney & Poppie

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"You could sleep in the stable for the night!"

Our precious little innkeeper

I know this is NOT a great picture but it does show Hadley at the mic saying her sweet line...

Roll out the red carpets & enroll my child in acting classes! That's right...Hadley nailed her line as the innkeeper in her preschool's very first Christmas program performed today. Mind you, she only had one line but she marched up to the microphone, with no prodding or shooing, and boldly announced, "You could sleep in the stable for the night!" When I say my heart burst, I mean it. I mentally high-fived my superstar and looked at Doug to see the same silly, sweet expression pasted on his face as well. That look that says it all. We have the cutest, smartest, best kid on the whole planet and she's all ours!

P.S. Sorry about the crappy quality of the pictures. There are few windows in the gym, where the play was held, to let in any natural light. And since I still haven't gotten the camera of my dreams, my little 'ole Canon Powershot will have to do the trick until then. Sigh....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Full of Life...

It's that time of year again. The time to write our family's Christmas story. Keep up with traditions that have been instilled over the years. And this is one of our favorites! Lights at Life College with our Cracker Barrel dinner. But to be fair, we usually eat at Spaghetti Warehouse in the "train" seating. Which is where we thought we were eating. Until we pulled into the dark deserted parking lot to find a for sale sign hanging in the window and no Spaghetti Warehouse. Damn recession....messing with our Christmas traditions. We drove a little further down the road and found another favorite; Cracker Barrel! Where I practically licked my plate because I had chicken 'n dumplings and by God they were so freaking good. Hadley ordered up her favorite pancakes and I gave Doug the look which made him roll his eyes (the look = Haha, I'm not the only person on the planet who eats breakfast for dinner).

Our elves....Hadley couldn't take her eyes off of all the action going on around us!

I could have scooped up this precious little pot-bellied pig. By far one of the nicest "petting zoos" we've ever witnessed.

You know this girl is a sucker for a bunny.

The chickens & roosters were all huddled together in obvious protest of all the "petting." As we were walking in the man working assured us all the animals are friendly. I had my doubts about the chickens.

You know we can't go anywhere where ponies/horses exist and not pet/ride/love them.

A little taste of the lights. They are all so beautiful!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Keeping with tradition...

The frosting we used was H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E and this kid sucked it up faster than a vacuum.

I love this picture. Hadley was whispering a secret, "Delaney, you're my BFF!" I love how even though Hadley tells her this secret 71 times a week, she still breaks into a silly grin and giggles like it's the first time she's heard it.

Notice another dark space in Delaney's mouth? Yep...she lost her other top tooth.

Don't you love how well Hadley matches her hair bows with her shirts? And because I am working on my "controlling my environment & people" problem I didn't even ask her to change it nor did I remove it from her hair for pictures. Who knows...maybe we'll use these pictures in our Christmas cards (no I have NOT ordered ours yet. See, it's like I'm totally transforming myself!).

Their finished product. The right window had a malfunction that I may or may not have caused. I'm telling you, this frosting was like frigging glue. Completely unforgiving...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driving, turkeys and a whole lotta scooter riding

This year for Thanksgiving, we packed up the Subaru and headed north. We drove for almost a 1,000 miles to the great state of Iowa to spend the holiday with our extended family. First family road trip to Iowa ever. And I was dreading it like I dread cleaning my bathrooms. Not because I couldn't wait to see our family. Because. I. Hate. Driving. That. Far. I can recollect all of the long drives we used to take as kids without all the bells and whistles we have now. Like the DS. Or Leapster. Or iPods. A promise is a promise though and I told my aunt & uncle we would come so by God, we came.

Our little Native American

Delaney sporting her new Razor Graffiti Scooter she bought with her birthday money

Hadley riding on her new Barbie Scooter (her sister's old scooter). She is thrilled because it's not slow like her Dora scooter. She's not even allowed to look at her Barbie scooter unless she's wearing a helmet (yeah, it's that bad).

This is what much of Iowa looks like.

The girls thought it was so cool that cows were just grazing everyfreakingwhere.

Bundle up girls cuz it's cold outside!

Hadley & Uncle Brian (who is by far one of the best uncles in the whole wide world).

Aunt Shelly with the girls

Family shot (side note: I was thinking of using this picture on our family Christmas card but Doug shot that down immediately after seeing it as our background on the computer).

Action shot

Yes, scooters are even fun for adults!

Shelly was a bit more nervous than Brian...

We're breaking all the rules in Iowa! We don't need no stinking rules...(calm down people, we were in a secluded parking lot in the middle of nowhere).

Sm'ores time!

No...Delaney didn't like her sm'ores at all.

I haven't even looked at this game since junior high at least. They really should put a warning on the box that you might wanna stretch your muscles before attempting to contort your body into harmful positions.

Cousin Jenni with the girls

After we left Delaney openly sobbed her heart out for 45 minutes. This was taken later in the afternoon. Poor poopskie. You can't cry like that without taking a siesta.

We had such a good time. I have been unable to stop dwelling on the thought that maybe we need to be closer to our extended family. Being around them all made me miss the whole good chaotic feel that holidays have when you're surrounded by the folks you have all this history with. I loved seeing my cousins because there are 1,000 memories of playing in my grandma's basement with them as kids. Our family has the one uncle who has consistently been playing practical jokes on everyone since as far back as I can remember. He did not disappoint me this time either. I love how everyone shows up with tons of food and we sit around and eat and talk and eat and talk. Most of all, I love how even though it's been years since I've visited, it's like we pick up where we left off as if nothing ever changed. All still held together by the thread of family. And it's nice that the girls finally can put faces to names. Until our next visit, I will have to replay this one over and over.