Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Obnoxious is the only word that could possibly describe me when it comes to Christmas. Oh yes, I'm one of those lunatics that starts listening to Christmas music when Thanksgiving hasn't even made its appearance. There's no doubt that I love Thanksgiving but there's not exactly a bounty of Thanksgiving songs out there on the radio.

My week off at Thanksgiving had me feeling like I was on speed. I was doing my best impression of the Tasmanian Devil. It was exhilarating getting so much accomplished with scrapbooking, finishing the playground, and painting. But decorating for Christmas takes a new level of energy. I'm so excited when I open the first box and then about half-way through it, I think to myself that it's entirely way too much work when we're usually the only ones that see it.

The best part was that Nolan really got into decorating the tree this year. Who cares if he hasn't exactly gotten down spacing out the ornaments and he puts them all on the same branch. I just love how when I unwrapped an ornament that I would hear a squeal followed by, "Oh, I remember that ornament! That one is my favorite!" I had this mom moment where I thought, "Oh my goodness, we're really making memories!"

Nolan actually stayed interested in decorating the tree at least 30 minutes. That's some good stamina for a 5 year old!


 Campbell was interested too. His attention span? Probably 3 minutes...tops.

Stockings were hung by the chimney with care. Target oh Target, why did you stop carrying these stockings? I'm still holding onto to hope that they'll go retro and start selling them again so we can get Campbell a matching one.

You remember so much about Christmas as a child. I wish to instill that same magic, that same love for all things good this time of year in my children. It's a lot of pressure!

So in the midst dealing with tangled lights, styrofoam, and sweat, my thoughts of "Why try?" are quickly answered when I see my childrens' faces. My 5 year old's face that already remembers ornaments from the year before, and I see my toddlers eyes light up in perfect synchronization when I turn on the Christmas tree lights. I look at their face and I simply say...THAT'S why.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Give thanks

Thanksgiving came at a really good time this year for me. This year it came to me in a new way. One of those we've-sure-been-through-a-lot-this-year-but-life-is-still-good kind of ways. Some of it I share with you, some of it I still hold onto.

I feel like this blog is a pretty good perspective of our life. I give you the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truth. But my biggest truth in our family is definitely love. There might be screaming, tantrums, tears, brief moments of sadness, and a messy house, but one thing that there is no doubt about is love.

The kind of love where little jammies and cold toes are welcomed in bed under the covers just in time to start the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The kind of love where you know that you can wear what you wanna wear and have all the self confidence in the world that you are the strongest man alive in boots. Who cares if they're technically girls boots?!


The same kind of love where you suffer through the bitter cold so your mama can get that stupid picture every year in front of the sweetgum tree that peaks perfectly on Thanksgiving day no matter when that day falls in November.


Speaking of suffering through more pictures, how 'bout these adorable hats made by Nolan?

The same love that no matter how much they may fight, they still love being around each other and are best friends.


The kind of love that has you driving over the river and through the woods....

A kind of love that only homemade food can convey-one that your belly full understands.


A kind of love that is shown not just by words but by action...even if it's sneaky.

Yea so it's been a rough year in the family health-wise but I'd say that the biggest blessing is that we're all here, we're all family, and most importantly...we've got a whole lotta love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Four LONG days

Good intentions. That's seems to be the ongoing theme in our lives since having kids. We have the best of intentions to finish projects, to do more, to be more. But after two kids I'm working on considering it a successful day if I can get dinner cooked and the kitchen isn't a wreck the same night.

So another good intention that we had back in March was to get a playground for the boys in our backyard. I remember the days of coming home and playing outside til it was dark and riding my bike when I was a kid. Now I feel like our children don't get that opportunity. I know, it's completely a different time and plus having an older brother and sister really helped. I just don't feel safe letting the boys play outside without me yet especially when I need to cook dinner inside. So a playground in the backyard seemed like the best solution.

Well before we knew it, it was June and the good Lord knows that no one in their right mind would  put a playground together in 105 degree heat. No thanks. So looks like we bought ourselves some more time to procrastinate.

Six months after our original good intention and after one month of it sitting in our garage, we finally pulled the trigger and put the playground together. And when I say "we", I really mean mostly Justin. I just took one look at all those pieces and parts and it looked like my worst nightmare.

Day one mostly involved making sense of the 15 gazillion pieces and organizing it all. Day two we had one of Justin's co-workers, Phil, come over to help. He was so wonderful to come give up his Sunday afternoon with his family.

Justin's feelings were a little hurt that I only got pictures of Phil doing the labor. So I had to make sure that I went back to show his hard work. The boys loved getting into Justin's tools and work junk while their daddy worked.

The slide was the first thing done and it's amazing how much a slide can provide entertainment!
Well after two more days of labor, this stupid playground is done! Thank you Jesus! The boys were already on the swings before Justin could even anchor the playground to the ground. Man, do these boys love to swing. Nolan shared in the duties of pushing Cam. Poor guys legs are too short to pump them anytime too soon.

All I can say is that after four long days, these boys better play with this playground until they're 30! So far, it's a huge hit.
Let's just hope that they newness doesn't wear off anytime soon.

I'm so thankful that my handy husband was able to figure out the world's worst instructions (or constructions as Nolan calls them). Thank you Justin for being such a great dad!
It looks like we're safe from the newness wearing off anytime soon.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bilingual Boy

We were headed home from my parents' church after trunk-or-treat and Campbell busted out counting in Spanish. I had no idea he could do that in English much less Spanish. We don't watch Diego at home, so I guess my money is working at school.

My mom is bilingual and I so wish that she would have taught me Spanish, but I'm convinced it was her language that she used to communicate with my grandmother and great-grandmother for "grown-up talk." Nevertheless, I was so amazed that he knew how to do this.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New York state of mind

I did something pretty scary last week. Well, scary for my extremely sheltered life. I left the boys home with daddy and headed to New York City by myself. I mean I met up two of my best friends there but there was probably about 5 hours where I was traveling all alone. The thought of this naive girl going to NY by myself, going through the airport, getting a cab at 10:00 at night, and making it to my friend, Beth's place almost made me go into a fetal position and cry. That sounded WAY too grown up for me to handle. Back when Beth lived in Dallas, it felt like 'country comin' to town,' much less NYC!

But seriously, I even surprised myself. I was envisioning being mugged right outside the airport or the cabbie taking me to a dark alley and dropping me off...too much tv, I know. The cab ride wasn't dark alley kind of scary but it was holy-smokes-put-on your-seat-belt-and-say-a-prayer-scary for sure. 

Beth and I have known each other since 5th grade church camp. We bonded instantly. Later we were in the same youth group in high school, we went to TCU together our freshman year. Then, we still couldn't get enough of each other and we worked at Pier 1 together for 6 years. In high school, she introduced me to Courtney and because she and Beth got along so perfectly, how could I not love Courtney as well?

Beth's husband swapped places with us and flew to Texas for a wedding while we visited her and her precious daughter Lilly Anna. Yes, it was our own version of Sex and the City. Lilly Anna was definitely Carrie since she was in charge of us. This is our closest rendition of the girls.

Our adventure started out at Rockefeller Plaza. You know the famous ice rink? 

Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral...


Within 30 minutes of touring NY, I was afraid I might just not have enough memory on my camera to capture it all. Beth and Lilly Anna ventured home to take a nap. Oh, did I mention that Beth is due with her second in a month and is such a trooper taking us all over her city.

Courtney and I ventured off by ourselves with stops at FAO Schwarz...
One of Courtney's other friends moved to NYC as well and was running in the New York marathon while we were there. She was able to invite her to a luncheon which meant me by myself again in New York. But I was on Broadway and it was 3:00 in the afternoon and I loved every minute of it. It was so much fun to stop and shop and just take it all in.

And you can't go to NY without going to a show. We went to the Broadway show Memphis. I watched it with such awe and admiration and it took everything in me to not want to jump on that stage and dance and sing with them. But that is coming from a girl who was so obsessed with the movie and musical Annie as a little girl that when my record broke, there were some serious tears and drama in our house that night. Meanwhile my mother rejoiced and did the happy dance that she didn't have to hear that record one more time.

Day two in the city...picture the most perfect fall day where you're bundled up in a sweater and cozy jacket with leaves turning the perfect shades of auburn, gold, and the wind blowing your hair so gently that you feel like maybe you're on movie set and you just might be the star. Yep, that was exactly how it was like.

I can't believe that we could top the day before but we did...we really did. Something about New York makes you want to buy a hat. Yes, partly because of the cool weather but mostly because you just think they're all so darn cute! Lilly Anna was definitely the cutest though as we made her model all the hats.

And we joined in on the fun too. I think we look like some New York misfits...either that or some characters from the Wiggles.

For living in a concrete jungle, New York has definitely figured out how to do a park the right way. Beth lives right smack dab in the middle of Central Park and Riverside Park.

First park visit of the day...Riverside Park right along the Hudson River.
It was just chilly enough for a hot chocolate stop with gobs of whipped cream.

Next park stop? Central Park, of course!

My mom, a 1st grade teacher, had only one request from my trip and that was to get her leaves from Central Park to show her students. Not a problem, there was an abundance.

So this is what fall is like. See here in Texas, fall is about a week long. We go from wearing shorts one week to the leaves changing and suddenly they've been blown to someplace like Louisiana and then the following week ice comes. But New York does fall right. No wonder so many movies are filmed there. 

And fate was definitely on our side that day. So we walk to the New York marathon with NO problem which we find out later is extremely hard to do and 20 minutes later just happen to see Courtney's friend running in the marathon. Seriously, how many million people are in New York City during the marathon?

Final stop before leaving back to Texas the next morning. I needed a full dose of Times Square.

This was probably our scariest part of the entire trip. We hadn't even stepped into Times Square from the subway when we saw a man passed out from either a seizure, intoxication, or a drug overdose. Not really sure but since he was handcuffed and the cops were rather nonchalant about it, I don't think it was a seizure. Wow, not exactly something you see everyday.

Talk about sensory overload. I feel like I like to stand on every street corner and just stand there for 10 minutes just to take everything in.

There truly is something magical about New York. I'm so amazed that Beth lives there was her family and handles the city so well. And I'm so thankful that I have two amazing friends that we just pick up right where we left off like we saw each other yesterday even though we live in three different cities. This is a trip that I will never forget. I'm already hooked and I'm still in my New York state of mind.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Promise it's the last one

Ok, I'm sorry to make you suffer through one more Halloween post. But I spent hours (literally) editing these photos. So like it or not, you'll have to suck it up and suffer. But really how much are you suffering when you're looking at this?

Oh my CUTENESS. My best friend of over 20 years, Angi, came over to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. She has boy/girl twins. There was some serious love going on between her daughter, Reese, and Campbell.  Angi and I are just alike...scrapbookers, bloggers, and she even coordinates her kids Halloween outfits. See, I'm not the only crazy out there. Tucker and Reese were sporting the cutest Grease Lightnin' outfits I've ever seen.

Reese's grandma and my mom helped make costumes this year. Do our mom's have serious talent, or what?

The love fest continued through the rest of the evening. Reese McDonald...has a great ring to it. Glad I'm not the one paying for the wedding!

Nolan's tank was a hit and everyone asked where we got it. Justin was beaming with pride when he could say that he made it with a 2 liter coke bottle and a visit to Home Depot.

 Angi was impressed with our neighborhood and how jam packed it was. There is some serious decorating going on. My favorite quote of Nolan the entire evening was, "That guy is wearing a scary mask, but I'm being very brave." It was too cute and my oh my how things have changed. I still remember the night terrors from last year on Halloween night.


It was so much fun knowing that 20 years ago Angi and I were trick-or-treating together and here we are taking our kids. It's one of those dreams you talk about when you're 13 and then you realize it's come true. It was so much fun, that I hope we can do it again.


I have no idea who this little spider girl is but she sure is stinkin' cute and it looks like Campbell thought the same thing.

Ok, promise last costume post! I know what you're thinking...ALRIGHT, enough already with the Halloween pictures. Thanks for putting up with me!


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