Monday, December 29, 2008

First, Christmas, Then 36

We had such a wonderful Christmas. First, my immediate family came over for a pre-Christmas Christmas at our house. We had such a wonderful time, that we think it will be a tradition from now on. Evan, EG, and their cousins opened presents from their grandparents. We had the best time watching them. Oh, to be a kid again! Christmas Eve, we had Derek's family over to our house for lunch and presents. Then, we were off to my aunt's to celebrate with my Dad's side. Christmas Day we spent time with family at my sister's house. How blessed we are to have family and have them so close by. It really was a wonderful time.

As far as Christmas Eve, Santa and Mrs. Clause didn't get in bed until 3:30 a.m. It seems the little pink kitchen came with 21 steps and five bags of screws! The box wasn't very big, so who would have thought. We quickly realized that was why the box was so small. Ha! It was all worth it though. Evan and Ella Grace were so happy with their treasures left by Santa.

We took about 200 pictures, but I have picked some of my favorites to share. Out of all those pictures, can you believe we didn't even get one of the four of us together??? Oh well. We still have memories of a truly wonderful Christmas! I hope you and yours did, too.

I turned 36 the day after Christmas. Derek and the kiddos spoiled me rotten. All I can say is I'm a lucky girl (at 36 you are still classified as a "girl" right???)! I'm looking forward to reading all about your Christmases, too!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas!

Well, it's 1:34 a.m. and Derek is in his office putting together this little something for Ella Grace...

A pink kitchen.

I just finished making this, so all I'll have to do is bake it in the morning (well, this morning...ha)...

Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole - My mom ALWAYS asks me to bring this dish. It's her favorite.

We have had a fabulous time enjoying this Christmas season. I can't wait to share pictures of all the fun (when I'm not sleep deprived). We have had three of four family Christmases with our last one being tomorrow (well, today).

Right now, Evan's favorite toy has been Lincoln Logs he received from my Mamaw.

Ella Grace's favorite gift is this pair of princess shoes she got from my mom and dad. She is wearing them ALL the time. I have been awakened at 6:00 a.m. to the clip clop of these shoes and her little voice telling me, "Momma, wanna touch 'em? Aren't they purty?"

Love to all of you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

Today is my dear friend, Kelly's, birthday. If you haven't already, stop by her blog and tell her "Happy Birthday!"

Kelly, I hope you have a wonderful day! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boomama's Christmas Tour of Homes 2008

Boomama is hosting her annual Christmas Tour of Homes. It was happening on the 14th, yet here I am on the 16th just getting to it. :) This is the first time I have ever participated, so hopefully joining in a little late is accepted. :)

The weather outside is frightful (it really IS here in Arkansas, y'all... no school today), so come on in...

I LOVE decor mesh. I think it is one of the best inventions ever (besides the Slanket...ha!). I changed up my wreath this year by adding mesh and some ornaments. I also added mesh and decorations to some lighted garland to put around my door. It was fun to do.

Here is our tree. I got a new topper this year and I just love it. I thought it was whimsical and fun...

Looks like I need to get on that wrapping of gifts and getting them under the tree.
Oh, I love to wrap presents!

Here is our mantle. Stockings are ready to be stuffed. Derek was scared the kids would pull the heavy holders down on their heads, so we didn't use them this year. About one minute after he stated his concern, Ella Grace was busy pulling stockings down, so I guess it was a smart idea.

Every year I buy one new family tree ornament. I got a nativity one this year...

I love getting out my old favorites every year. These are two I look forward to most...

When I worked out in the "real world", one of the girls on my team gave these ornaments to me for Christmas one year, and they are still my very favorite. I always put them toward the very top of the tree. Jesus IS the reason for the season!

This cross also goes towards the top of the tree every year. I love how the mirrors reflect the light.

Evan and Ella Grace love these snowmen. They all play music and how fun when they are all going at the same time. That seems to be the way the kids like it! :)

I love this little tree I found at the Hallmark store. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE that place? LOVE IT! I wanted to get these little presents to go with it and went back the next week, they were all gone, so the tree looks kind of lonesome. I still love it though. It's glittery and fun!

I also got these place mats and napkins for my dining room table. With kids, I'm finding my style is going somewhere in the middle of whimsical and "homemade". It's fun.

One of my very favorite things about Christmas time is the Christmas cards. I look forward to getting the mail every day. It's like getting a present every day! I just LOVE it, and Derek knows how much fun it is for me. He never opens one and brings them all to me to open. :)

I want to look at them all season, so I display them here on my China hutch.

I don't have many decorations for the kitchen. My mom gave us this Santa plate when Evan was a baby and it is on an easel on the counter. I look forward to making cookies with the kids and leaving it out this year.

Ella Grace and I made this gingerbread house with some friends last week and it is also on display in the kitchen. It was a lot of fun. She tells everyone, "Look Ella made."

I did get this little spoon rest this year.

Well, that about does it. Thanks for stopping by. You can see more decorations at Boomama's site linked above.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Tunes

Our Christmas card. Evan and Ella Grace all snuggled in and ready for Santa.

One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is "O Holy Night." I can't hear it without crying. I just love it! One of my favorite arrangements is this one. Derek's dad has also sang this many times in church and he does a beautiful job. He has such a beautiful voice.

It's fun to watch my children pick their favorite Christmas songs. Evan and Ella Grace have surprised me this year. I thought they would love "Rudolph" and "Frosty the Snowman." However, so far, their favorite song has been this one by the Chipmunks. We listen to it constantly (and I mean constantly) in the car. They think it is a riot! Ha! Evan also really LOVES this one. So funny! Evan and EG also sing "Jingle Bells" really well. :) I'm loving everything about this season!

Ella Grace has also really enjoyed the Precious Moments nativity scene. She has carried baby Jesus around quite a bit, and now we can't find Him. It is so sweet to hear her calling, "Baby Je-sus. Where arrrrre you?" If you ask her where He is, she says, "I dunno." We have turned the house upside down looking for Him. Hopefully He will turn up before His birthday.

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Good Gift

My good buddy Meagan just blogged about things she thought made an excellent Christmas gift. Well, I had to share THIS ingenious creation. Girls, the NEST (see #2) just got better. Introducing...


Y'all, it's a throw blanket with sleeves! Oh my goodness. Is this real? Is this really happening to me? It is perfect, and I would personally like to thank the inventor. It is definitely a must have for any nest lover on your list. It comes in lots of colors (mine is above) and they even make them for kids (my kids would never be still long enough to nest...ever). Santa says mine is on its way! Woo Hoo! I just love Santa (and he is the one who found it)!

To get your very own Slanket, go here. Happy nesting!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Busy Bees

We have been busier than usual around here. I mean, we always seem busy, but between Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, and wrapping gifts (I LOVE to wrap gifts) it has been hopping around here! I am SO in the Christmas spirit this year, that I am loving everything about the season...even the busyness.

I did make the Christmas ornaments Kelly (thanks, Kelly) showed on her blog. They were so much fun to do and I'm going to give them to Evan's teachers. I just can't decide if I want to put their initial on them or their first name. Any suggestions?

I also made one for all of us for our tree.

Speaking of being busy, this girl of mine has been VERY busy lately. She is in to EVERYTHING! Her latest activity is COLORING ON THE WALLS! Oh my stars! I didn't realize that crayon does not just wash off walls. I ended up getting on the internet to find a solution. The suggestion was taking a hairdryer on the lowest setting, blowing the warm air on the crayon marks for a few seconds and then wiping it clean. IT WORKS, y'all! I also read that Magic Eraser works, too, but some people wrote in that the crayon was gone, but the marks from where they had used the eraser were showing. I don't know that you could get that off, so I opted for the hairdryer and it worked beautifully. The only problem is the "artwork" keeps popping up, even though I have moved the box of colors to the top shelf! Hmmmm! I'm thinking there must be a secret stash. Also, while I worked on the masterpiece left in Evan's room, Ella Grace decided to help out cleaning the one she left for Mommy and Daddy in their room. She used Oil of Olay to get that one clean. Oh, yes she did. I haven't had a chance yet to see if anyone has a remedy for Oil of Olay on a wall, so right now I have a lovely purple smudge on my wall! :)

This is her newest creation yet to be cleaned. I'm kind of impressed that it appears she has drawn a star. Could that be???

Oh, and our third and final try of picture taking for our Christmas card went a little something like this...

Derek's arms are in 90% of them trying to get them to pose. Yeah, right.

And, yes, there were tears shed (almost by the parents, too).

After all the hard work, we only had three to work with. Two of them being these. The ONLY one I got of them together is going on our card.

I could not resist this shirt. "Santa, I can explain." Hilarious!

We are looking forward to another busy week of school, doctor appointments, therapy, play dates, gingerbread house making, more shopping, and working at church. It's busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmases Past

Edit: How could I forget 2007???

I am on my third try of getting Christmas card pictures of my two children. Who would have known this could be SO hard??? Ha! It got me thinking about the Christmas cards we have had in the past, so I got them out to look at them. I had the best time looking at my babies. My how they have grown!

2002 - Evan was 9 months old. This was the rocking truck from his nursery. I just love this picture. Little nubbins!

2003 - This was our first try at a professional Christmas card. Evan was scared of the polar bear in the background scene, so all she could get was an action shot. He still looks cute as a bug!

2004 - This is my all time favorite picture I have ever snapped of Evan. He is almost three. This was taken before we had a digital camera. This was the 24th shot on a 24 exposure roll of film! I adore this picture and have it framed and in my kitchen so I can look at it all the time.

2005 - One of my favorite photographers took these shots. I ordered all of the pictures she took from this session I think. :)

2006 - This card is bittersweet to me. We had this taken when Ella Grace was two weeks old to the day and the day before Derek was to return to Iraq. We decided to do this on the spur of the moment. I really wasn't thrilled about having my picture made post-maternity, all chubby and swollen, but I am so glad now that we did it. I wouldn't take a million dollars for this picture now. We were so happy together. I LOVED those little ballet shoes Ella is wearing. So sweet. I had the photographer add the words at the bottom.

Edit: 2007 - Derek's first Christmas home from Iraq and his first Christmas ever with Ella Grace. It was a wonderful time.

Well, I'm off to try again. Now, I'm remembering why it is best to go to a professional. My children do much better for them. It's like they know Momma just wants the perfect picture and they are in cahoots to not let it happen. Hee hee hee! Wish me luck!