Friday, December 30, 2011

Inch by Inch

I marked their height on the door frames yesterday.  Sawyer grew 2 inches in 5 months!  Tucker and Carter both grew 1 1/2 inches in such a short time.

Inch by Inch......they are changing.




They are changing too quickly.

I am powerless to stop it.

I am not sure that I want to stop it....

 yet accepting it is difficult.

Inch by inch....

The challenges of parenting change.

From temper tantrums, broken toys, and making messes


social acceptance,

broken hearts,


 bad attitudes.

Inch by inch as they grow,

I become more of a coach than an authoritarian.

I encourage good decisions and cringe over bad ones.

Inch by inch,

as the marks get higher on the wall....

I look at them in disbelief.

I am amazed by them.

In awe of the young man Tucker is becoming.

Impressed by the personality Sawyer has developed.

Encouraged by the self assurance Carter possesses.

Inch by Inch,

as they grow...

.....they are becoming what God intended them to be....
Inch by inch.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Report

I've been on a bit of a blogging sabbatical.  It is partly due to the fact that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are completely jam packed with family gatherings and I didn't have time to write.  And it's partly due to the fact that after Christmas day was over, I was enjoying spending time with my guys and wasn't inspired to write. 
But it's mostly because of this.....

My new toy.

I don't remember spending so much time with a new Christmas gift like this one since I was a kid.  I love, love, love my new Kindle Fire.

I gave so many hints that I wanted one, that I actually got two.  I got a Kindle from my Mom for Christmas and a Kindle Fire from my sweet hubby. 
I also scored some new shoes....since my pinky toes were sticking out of my old ones....and a super awesome North Face backpack, made for hiking.  I got several other goodies, too.

I am loved.

But enough about me.

Here is the our Christmas report 2011 via way of photos.....

Christmas at my Granny's came first.  My granny gave birth to 2 Mom and my Uncle Randy.
My Mom had 3 older brother (Jeffrey), me, and my younger sister (Jamie).  My Uncle Randy had 2 sons....Rodney and Ryan.

Between the five of us far, we have had 11 great-grand kids.
There is nowhere that my Granny would rather be, than to be surrounded by her greatgrands.

On Sunday night before Christmas, the kids had their Christmas program at church.  There is nothing more precious than toddlers and preschoolers portraying the manger scene.
My boys have outgrown the manger scene and are instead assigned speaking parts, but it's precious all the same.

My mother-in-law's Christmas came next.  Christmas at her house is always so casual with easy conversation.  Here the kids are wild, but it is somehow acceptable at Meme's house.

Christmas with our friends was next.  We have a long history with the Adams.  They are our oldest friends.  We have been celebrating Christmas with them since each of our first children were born.

It's hard to believe that these two.....
Now look like this.....

These friends deserve their own blog story.  I think I'll write one soon.

But for now....back to Christmas.....

The boys look forward to Christmas at Bradley's grandparents because of this......
The football tradition.

They call it "The Amos Bowl".

I reminded the boys before we arrived that we didn't swap gifts at Bradley's grandparents house.  Their reply was...

"Who cares about the gifts?  We get to play FOOTBALL!"

On Christmas eve, we spent the evening at my Mom and Dad's house.  It's my favorite part of Christmas.....except the part at my own house....with my own kids.
I love Christmas at my Moms.

The boys were pumped that they got new hiking boots from their Nana and Pop.  They are all set for our big trip out west next year.

On Christmas Eve, the boys were giddy with excitement.  They begged to open some of their gifts early.  But, I am hardcore.  I made them wait until Christmas morning.

Their pile from Santa looked small this year, because little things cost big money.  All the boys were thrilled to find Ipod touches under the tree, along with cases and chargers for them, some movies, flashlights, K'nex, and a football.
The Ipods have been hours of fun since Christmas morning.  They are a mega hit.

Everything else was wrapped under the tree.
It took all of 5 seconds for them to tear through all of their packages. 
This year, they had 7 packages each to unwrap.  Believe me....they kept an accurate count.

The Ipods definitely ranked as their favorite gift.  But each one of the boys have spent time with other gifts, too over the past couple of days.

Carter has enjoyed his real artist sketch pad.

Sawyer and Carter have both enjoyed the K'Nex sets.  They even connected the 2 sets and created one giant coaster.....with their Dad's help.  It's actually very impressive.

Tucker has spent most of his time on his Ipod, but he has also taken some time to read through this snake book.  He even altered his snake tank after reading about what would make the habitat better.

After waking at 5:30am and spending a couple of hours at home with the boys enjoying our gifts, we got dressed and attended our Christmas Day church service.

(It wasn't actually snowing this year on Christmas.  This photo was taken last year on Christmas Day.)
Our Christmas Day service at our church is always especially meaningful.
The church was packed.  The music was sweet.  The message about the gift of Jesus was beautiful. And the communion portion of the service is always moving.

Christmas for me this year was perfect.  Everything about it.

I am certainly a summer time type girl. 
Winter is blah.  Everything is cold and dreary.
The daylight hours are short.
The school days are long.
Winter is my least favorite time of year.

But Christmas is the bright spot of the winter.
It's my favorite day of the year.

And this was one of my favorite Christmas' ever.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Hopes That Saint Nicholas Soon Would Be Here

 The stockings are hung by the chimney with care....

Well, actually, they are kind of precariously hung with tape, because I never went to the shed to get our stocking holders out.  And they won't hold up any gifts at all.  Santa will have to take them down and set them on the floor to fill them.  But they are least.

The reindeer have been fed their magical reindeer food (compliments of Nana and Pop).......

A Christmas Story has been watched.....

The cookies and milk have been left out for Santa.  Along with a note from Carter.....

I sure hope Santa poots his mark in the 'yes' box.


The children are nestled, all snug in there beds.....

In hopes that Saint Nicholas, soon would be here.

Merry Christmas to all....

And to all a good night.

Mrs. Claus

  I was raised by the most optimistic, selfless, joyful, kindest Mom in the world.  As a child, her joy absolutely oozed from every pore in her body during the Christmas season.  All of the holiday traditions seemed magical to me when Mom was around.

And she is no different today.  I called Mom early this year on the day after Thanksgiving.  She answered the phone with a gleeful "Merry Christmas!" instead of the typical "Hello?"  My Mom is the epitomy of Christmas spirit.  Her face lights up when a Christmas carol comes on the radio.  She does silly dances.  She likes to shake her gifts and guess what might be inside.  She does holiday baking.  Her house is decorated beautifully.  She is a very grateful recipient of gifts, yet she delights most in the giving of them.

  Her Christmas spirit is definitely contagious.  As I type this, the boys are getting dressed and ready to go to my Mom's house for our Christmas.  We are all so excited.  The kitchen table will be adorned with some sort of "theme".  The Christmas dishes will be set out.  There will be a display of some kind in the middle and we will each have an ornament at our seat that accompanies the "theme" for the year. 

We will have a spread of food that is making my mouth water just thinking about it.  Pancakes, bacon, sweet rolls, ham, sausage, gravy, biscuits, grits, eggs, jellies, and a variety of syrups.  We will each have our favorite soda waiting for us to drink and there will be all sorts of desserts.  We will walk away from the table stuffed to the max. 

  We will sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and the little kids will even blow out the candles on His birthday cake that she makes every single year. 

Gifts will be overflowing from under her tree.  Everyone will have several gifts to open that will be just the right thing.  Mom will sit back and watch and savor every single second of it before she opens her own gifts.  She will smile and giggle and even clap her hands.  She lives for this moment with her family.

My Mom has more Christmas spirit than Mrs. Claus herself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Forget the Sugarplums....Visions of Peppermint Bark Dance in My Head!

This recipe from heaven was inspired from another recipe on Pinterest.  I was looking for something yummy to make and I stumbled upon a set of recipes on Pinterest.  The first recipe I found was a peanut butter bark.  I made that one, too and it turned out to be Deee.....Lish!  As a matter of fact, Bradley liked it better than the mint one.

Basically, you can create all sorts of bark recipes with these basic rules....

You need something melted on the bottom.
You need something with texture in the middle.
Then, you need something different melted and poured on the top.

Here is what you need for the super, fabulous Peppermint Bark recipe....

First, you need to melt the chocolate mint chips. (You could also use Andes mints here)

Pour this minty, chocolate goodness into the bottom of an 13 x 9 dish.  I sprayed my dish with nonstick spray first.  I have no idea if you need to do this or not.  I never really read the other recipe, I just looked at the pictures.  I don't recall nonstick spray being used, but I did it anyway.  You can live dangerously and try it without the spray.

Next, you need the layer with texture.  I had planned on using chocolate graham crackers here, but the store was out, so I used chocolate animal crackers.  They worked just fine.

This is a good time to work out your frustrations.  Get you a wooden spoon and put those little animals in a baggie and pound the life outta them. 

Sprinkle the animal the soft bed of minty chocolate goodness.

You should probably get a manicure if you plan to take a photo of your hand while you are doing this step.  I forgot that part.

Now, just melt the peppermint chips.

Pour this on top of the first two layers.

After that, I didn't like the way it was just solid pink, so I melted one little square of White Chocolate Almond Bark and drizzled it over the pink mint, just to add some lovely contrast.

Pop the dish into the freezer to help it set.

Take it out whenever you finish your laundry or vacuuming the floor.

Let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes before you try to break it up in pieces.  You can go fold the clothes or make the beds.

Take a butter knife or a metal 'pancake turner thingy' and with all your strength, poke it down into the bark.  You gotta use some muscle to get a crack started.  After that, it will break apart into little pieces of minty deliciousness.

Too bad the first batch is all gone.  This photo is making me salivate.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Status of My Christmas Readiness

  We had a play today at school performed by some of our students, therefore, we had parents buzzing around.  At the end of the play, I was leading my kindergarteners back to class when a parent met me in the hall.  He smiled and casually asked,

 "So, are you ready for Christmas?"

I wasted no time in my negative answer...

"No way! Not at all!"

But then, it dawned on me that the man that had asked me the question was a new minister in our community, and my answer might have come out wrong. He could have taken my snarky remark the wrong way. So, I tried to fix it.  I was backpedaling, big time.

"I mean.... I love Christmas!  I really like it.  It's not that I'm not ready for it.  I mean....ummm....I'm not finished shopping.  And wrapping. And, It's not that shopping is the most important thing about Christmas, but.....I.....uh......"

I sounded like an idiot.

It was a very simple question, after all.  He probably didn't expect a novel about the status of my christmas preparedness.  So I tried to wrap it up....

" mean, I just still have a lot to do."

And I smiled.  And pretended that I hadn't just blabbed on and on like a moron.

Here is what I was trying to explain.....

My tree is up, but the only decorations on it are some ribbon and the ornaments that Carter made at school this week.  Nothing else in my house is decorated.  The village isn't out.  The lights aren't up outside.  We have no stockings.

These are the gifts that were bought on Black Friday.  They are still under a blanket....not wrapped.  And not all bought.

This is how far my holiday baking has gotten. 

So....there you have it.  The status of my Christmas readiness is a big, fat flashing



Uhh.... I mean....
It's not that I don't like Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Holiday Style Rules

  I was scrolling through some news stories on MSN.  This headline caught my attention.

"The New Holiday Style Rules"

 I decided that maybe I should check it out..... You make sure that I am stylish.

Um....according to the Harper's Bazaar article....

I am defintely not....
nor will I be at any time during this holiday season.

Here are some of the new rules for you......just in case you wanna get stylish.

1.  White Feels Right - This rules says that you should wear white from head to toe, including white diamonds and white spiked heels.  And that you should wear lace and let your pretty lingerie peek through.

You think maybe this would at least count as partially stylish?

Rule #2.  Peplum is the new black.

I do not even know what that means....but this is the dress they showed for this rule.......

 so I'm not interested in 'Peplum'.

3. High Speed Lace - This rule says that it is a good idea to pair a biker jacket with neon lace. 

I guess I will be sticking with a more "low speed lace" the holiday season, because I am pretty certain these pants aren't made in my size.  And if they are.....they shouldnt be.

4.  Nude Awakening - The makers of these "new rules" say that you should wear a slip dress like this to holiday parties.....

If I wore THIS dress to a party....there would be an awakening all right.  Eyes would pop open!  This dress twernt taylored for those of us who breast fed three babies. 
Oh, and P.S......cellulite probably doesn't hide well in a nude colored slip dress.

#5. Festive Fetish - This one says that "When the invites for festive attire come pouring in" have fun by paring fun fabrics like these PVC shorts with more traditional fabrics.

There are two problems for me with this rule.  #1...I do not have party invitations pouring in so much that I need to be creative with my 'festive attire'.  #2....I had no idea that PVC was used for anything aside from regular old plumbing.

I am guessing that my footprint snowman shirt wouldn't be exactly the type of 'festive' they had in mind.

Although, I could pair this cotton sweatshirt with a fun fabric like, say denim jeans, and be spot on with the fashion rules!

Now, all I need are some white diamond spiked heels and I will be set for the season!