Saturday, January 10, 2009

Heavy sigh.....

This is a house we looked at today. We actually LOOKED at it. As in, walked inside, picked it apart, discussed the walls we would knock out, decided who would live where and contemplated how long it would take to get the pool fixed. We fell in love with the 6.45 acres and the amazing showers. I calculated how long it would take to remove the wallpaper from EVERY wall in the house. We tried to come up with uses for all SEVEN bedrooms and I estimated how many cans of scrubbing bubbles it would take to clean all 6.5 bathrooms. When we left we drove away and I had the greatest feeling. I was ready to make an offer....and so was Brian. I was already picturing Brian and I growing old together on that front porch and the kids and grand kids splashing away in the backyard. We made a phone call and were ready to offer full price for it (because it was an AMAZING deal) only to find that someone beat us to it just TWO short days ago! We were both pretty bummed, but we know that it just wasn't meant to be. The search continues....but I am still in love with that house. Just for the record.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Doesn't get aNIE better!

I was very excited to read that Stephanie Nielson (Nie Nie) will be back to blogging on the 16th! I LOVE her blog. She is a young mother of 4 who loves being a mommy and adores her husband. I, along with hundreds of thousands of other readers all over the world, prayed for months (and cried) as she and her husband fought to recover from a tragic plane crash. The pilot was killed but Nie and Mr. Nielson were spared. They were burned very badly, she over 80% of her body. Her story is just so incredible to me. We all watched her family rally around her and Mr. Nielson. They swooped in and took charge. Her older sister took 3 of her children to raise despite the fact that she herself was a new mother. Another one of her sisters took the baby and soon found out she was expecting her first child. The same sister purchased a house for her in Utah so she could live close to her family again while she recovered. This family is truly amazing to me. They are so committed to their faith and even though their beliefs are a tad different from mine, I stand in awe of the way they have handled themselves in the face of a true tragedy. Seriously, their story has made such a difference in the way I go about my daily life. Go to her blog. Read it. You won't be sorry. Oh I can't wait until the 16th!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WIDOCV (part 6)

We got some REALLY COOL gifts from Arizona this year! Thanks Mimi Debi and Poppy! We cheated a little and opened them early! The kids loved their new stuff...and so did mom and dad!
Here is the 2 SIDED art desk (a must have for two little ones who love to craft) and the new easel. The art easel has a dry erase board on the other side and came with some really cool art supplies! The aprons are going to be great for crafting and cooking!!! We were inspired by the art corner and FINALLY hung up the giant watercolors and paint brush we got a few months ago. Gotta love Pottery Barn CLEARANCE!!!
Claire was very excited about her cookbook with her very own measuring spoons! I'm serious, she was STOKED about the spoons!
They both couldn't wait to tear into their glitter glue pens. Claire made a great Thank You card for Mimi Debi and Poppy. Now, when I really get my act together....I will actually put it in the mail.
Check out these adorable aprons! For some reason, Claire decided recently that she loves the Texas Longhorns. We don't really know why especially since we come from a long line of Sooner fans! I suspect it is because her favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse. (The kid LOVES steak!) So imagine the excitement when she got this apron AND that night opened a pair of Longhorn crocs from Aunt Debbie and Uncle James!!! Within minutes of this picture being taken, the children turned their aprons in to capes and played superheros the rest of the afternoon.

What I did on Christmas Vacation (part 5)

We were all dressed and ready to go to cousin Jesse's school for breakfast with Santa. We were meeting Drew and Levi (and their parents of course) there and all four kids were VERY excited. The only problem, I had the wrong weekend. Ooops. So we ended up having breakfast with Drew and Levi. Let me tell ya, that's just as good...if not better!!!! Here's the kids that morning.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What I Did on Christmas Vacation (part 4)

One of the highlights of the Christmas season this year was watching the kids "perform" at their Christmas programs. Claire was just beautiful in her "Santa" dress and her pretty curls. As you can see by the video, she was VERY serious about her performance. Big shocker...she's in the back row with a little white bow in her hair.

Away in a manger

Feliz Navidad

Now, Cohen had a little performance the next morning during school. You will see why they decided to leave the little ones out of the evening performance. He's in the white shirt with blue stripes. Enjoy!

Jingle Bells.

We're going on a bear hunt!

What I did on Christmas Vacation (part 3)

Here we will discuss and view footage of the decorating of the family Christmas tree. We have a few trees in our house. The one in the living room is decorated with crosses, different bulbs, ribbon and white lights.

The tree in the bedroom is reds, greens and golds so it coordinates with our winter bedding.

The kids each have a little one that will be replaced next year with the ones I bought this year for REALLY REALLY cheap on sale. (I'm talkin' five bucks!)

Downstairs is the REAL tree. NO, it's not actually real. But I am considering a real one next year. It is the one with multicolored lights and all of the ornaments that actually MEAN something. See, growing up my mom picked out ornaments for my brother and I each year. She continued to do this until we were married. The summer I got married we had a bridesmaids brunch to thank my girls for being a part of my special day. My mom came out with a big white box. As I opened it I knew exactly what it was. What I didn't know was that with each ornament there was a note explaining why she picked each one. It was a gift that I will treasure forever. I put them up on our first tree and LOVED reading again about why she chose each one. I decided to take a picture of each one and make a scrapbook for her. It was fun to do and very much appreciated by my momma.

So the tree we have downstairs holds these ornaments as well as the ones we pick for the kids each year. We also pick a family ornament that is dated. The kids love to look at all the ornaments and sometimes they even get them on the tree! This video is a little blurry for some reason, but you will get the idea of how much we all enjoy decorating the tree. Oh and you also get to see my stellar disciplinary action when Cohen tries to tear the box apart. I'm fierce. A pat on the back goes to the first person to guess how many ornaments Cohen breaks in this short clip.

This is a clip of Claire dancing and Big Daddy's size 17 foot.

Here are some pictures of our fun night.
Me with Bride Barbie.
Dancing to Christmas music.

Claire and her "1st Christmas" ornament....well one of them anyway!
My big helpers!
We topped off the evening with popcorn and a few of our favorite Christmas movies! It was as good night!

What I Did on Christmas Vacation (part deux)

Many of my holiday memories were made with our Oklahoma family that I talk about so often. I remember just a FEW Christmases and Thanksgivings that we weren't together. But, as I have said before, we are all multiplying and it makes it VERY difficult to spend holidays together. This is really just a fact of life. BUT it doesn't mean that we are willing to go the WHOLE holiday season without seeing at least a few of them! So I decided to invite myself and my crew to Dana's house for the first weekend in December! We got there Friday night after a short and long overdue visit with my best friend Monica and this little guy! (And her husband too!)

Short rant: What is UP with the road situation in Oklahoma? I have to PAY to drive on roads that are bumpy as all get out! Seriously folks. Then, I come upon this.

Shouldn't we get a discount? Just wondering.
When we arrived at our destination they were all decorated and ready for Christmas! We played for a bit then snuggled in for some much needed sleep. We got up on Saturday and made the kids pancakes. They ate and played the rest of the morning while we actually got to have quiet conversation! We couldn't believe how well the kids played. They were truly enjoying each other! We went to McDonalds for lunch. Not exactly fine dining but we hoped that the kids could play on the indoor playground. HOWEVER, they had closed it for a birthday party! WHAT?!? How unfair is that? But, it worked out great because the day was beautiful so we headed to a park nearby. It was a really cool playground made all from wood. I would love to show you pics but I left my camera behind! I did take a few with Claire's Fisher-Price camera but the kids deleted them before I got them uploaded. By the way, if you want to feel totally awesome, take your kids Fisher-Price digital camera to the park and take pictures. It is really cheesy and makes a really loud sound each time you snap a pic. Plus it has two eye holes (like binoculars) so you look like a complete dork. All that for nothing. Oh well.
Then we went to Bass Pro so the boys could look at manly stuff and the kids could ooooh and aahhhh over all of the animals. (stuffed and alive) Then it was home for dinner and the OU vs. MU football game. The kids exchanged gifts had a great time playing with their new toys.

We ate at IHOP the next morning and headed out. We revisited IHOP a few hours later just outside of Claremore when Claire tossed it all over the backseat and the DVD player! Mmmm Mmmm good. We will be working on cup training** for our little princess who had to follow in my footsteps and get carsick. I just feel so awful for her because I know how it feels!
**Learning to toss ones cookies (or whatever was digested that day) directly into a cup while traveling at high rates of speed in a vehicle.**

What I did on Christmas Vacation (Part I)

Sorry if this is boring to my readers. I am documenting Christmas in order for it to be in my hardbound copy of my blog I intend to have made each year. I don't plan on selling it because I seriously doubt anyone would really want to read my ramblings more than once. (I am shocked at how many people actually read it the first time!) But I am very excited about the thought of my grandchildren reading about what their mom or dad did on a daily basis! What I wouldn't give to have stories about my parents in the words of my grandparents. So, here it goes.

We started the holiday season with Thanksgiving at Auntie Carla and Uncle Steve's lake house. OH MY is it beautiful! We had a wonderful meal with Grandma and Grandpa D., Grandma Connie, Uncle Chris, Auntie Scotti, Bill, Sandy, Greg, Spencer, Ryan, Melissa, Chad (Melissa's boyfriend) and of course our hosts Carla and Steve!

We played a fun Christmas song game and then the boys headed out for a Thanksgiving stroll. The girls stayed behind and had a fun little gift exchange filled with Christmas decorations that really got us into the spirit! Claire was very excited about her gingerbread house decoration that she got! The boys came back and we jumped into the pile of sale ads and planned our attack for the morning!

The next morning I was up before the sun and headed to Target. Only this year I headed south to Branson instead of my usual Springfield locale. I met Ashley and Rachel there and fought a serious crowd! But guess what? By the time I left kids Christmas was DONE! That, my friends, was a Christmas miracle. I really enjoyed a day with my sister-in-law. Who, by the way, I am more thankful for each day. I TREASURE our relationship and I realize how truly blessed I am that she and my brother found each other! I got home and my family was still at Grandma D's making Christmas cookies. A tradition that started when Big Daddy was young!

I came in and changed into my new sweatpants that I bought, cranked up the Christmas music and started getting the house in order so we could drag out the Christmas decorations.