Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We had such a relaxed, fun, family day.  We woke up to the sound of rain and wind and snuggled up with Cody and fell back to sleep.  After everyone got up, I made orange rolls and we got ready.  Then we waited on Donna to get here.  She dropped off a variety of homemade treats.  Yum!  After she left, we headed for Huntsville.  The shirt we had picked up for Rosie needed to be exchanged but the Old Navy here didn't have the right size.  This worked out perfectly since we needed an excuse to go to Huntsville.  Bobby and I planned a surprise evening for the kids.  It's an annual tradition for us to hit Fresh Market and then go to The Galaxy of Lights and even though I know they suspect, I still like to believe they're surprised when we pull up to the entrance :)

First, we stopped at Moe's for some dinner.  It was SO good!  Several of our friends have said the one in Decatur isn't as good as the one in Huntsville.  I have to completely agree with them now.  We could all tell a difference.

Bobby bet Britney $5 that she couldn't eat this chip covered with hot sauce.  She did it and I videoed it.  That's one way to make 5 bucks.

The winner!
Then we were across the street to Fresh Market.  The kids load up a bag each of their favorite candies.

Cody's treasures
 And Bobby and I loaded up on our favorite's too...a pound of Caramel Macchiato coffee and a big ol' bag of chocolate covered malt balls.  Or Molted Chalk Balls if you're me and can't always speak properly.

Then we went to the Galaxy of Lights.  I handed out Britney's elf hat and Cody's Santa hat that I secretly brought along.  I also told them that I brought the thermos with hot water and plenty of hot chocolate and spiced tea mix.  Pretty happy kiddos!

They have a section sponsored by the Space and Rocket Center with reindeer and photo op with Santa.  We've never stopped before but decided to tonight.

The countdown!

Cody played a game where you use your body to smack snowflakes.  (Using a kinect) Bobby soon joined in.

Britney and Cody decided they didn't want their pictures taken with Santa so we took a couple pictures and moved on. 

Then we drove through the lights.  I usually take 487 pictures of the lights, but took all of four tonight.  It's the same stuff so I don't feel like I've let anyone down :)
Now we're home, in jammies and about to hit the hay.  The kids and I are going to Esther's tomorrow so we've got to get up and going in the morning.  I love these gatherings with our best friends.  I can't wait!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Forest

For a long time, I didn't quite understand the saying "Can't see the forest for the trees."  I mean, the trees are the forest.
I have a better understanding of it now as I feel like I've been living it.  I've been concentrating on the negative.  The bad that I see that's directly in front of me.  The troubles I have faced throughout my life.  Being angry at people who have wronged me.  Anger plain filled me up this past year or so.  It can be consuming if you're not careful and I wasn't.

The truth is, the forest, is completely full of wonderful things.  I have been blessed far greater than I deserve.  I have a husband who is a wonderful man and works hard for our family.  He loves us, that's for sure.  He loves me, even on days I don't deserve it.  I have these two absolutely amazing, intelligent, creative and beautiful children.  I have friends, really true friends.  A whole group of them that love me and my family.  They are my family.  I am so very thankful for them.

I can see the forest.

I can see it...the whole picture.  The goodness, kindness, generosity, and love.

I still see the trees but for now they are blurry, just brief glimpses in my peripheral.  However, I know there are decisions that have to be made that I don't want to make.  Situations and issues that have to be resolved.  Those blurry trees will soon be put into focus.  

But for now, I can see the forest.  

Rainy Sunday

The play is over.  It went so well!  I believe with every performance they did better and better and everyone loved it.  Britney is exhausted though.  That kid ran around like a maniac, moving sets and carrying furniture for each set change for every show.  I told her she can sleep as late as she'd like to today.  I will not wake her up.  She just smiled :)  Cody has been a little sick, so I imagine he'll sleep pretty late too.  He's so sinusy and dried out.  I'm fairly certain it's because the heat running in the house.  He also explained some pain he's having and after a peek in his mouth, it also looks like a molar is coming in.  I know those suckers hurt and could also explain some of his symptoms.

Dad and Rosie came up for the play, helped break down the set when it was over and then took us to dinner after.  I really appreciate them helping out.  They have wanted to take us to dinner after every play they've come to, but because of the day they come, there's usually a cast party and then another show to do.  This time, we were able to go!  They treated us to Olive Garden and it was delicious.  Bobby was even able to get off work a little early and get there in time to eat with us.  It was wonderful and I'm very thankful for them and their generosity. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Geminid Meteor Shower

The last meteor shower of 2012 was last night/this morning.  I walked outside around 11:30 and within 30 seconds I saw two scoot by.  They were so beautiful and bright.  It was a very clear night...perfect for sky watching.  I came inside and asked Cody if he'd like to join me for a few minutes.  Darn it was cold out!  I bundled that kid up and wrapped him with so many blankets, he couldn't walk or sit.  Brit had already gone to bed, but I knew she wasn't asleep yet, so I asked her if she'd like to go too.  There we were, the three of us, lying on our backs on the drive way, bundled up ooooing and ahhhing.  We talked about the meteors and constellations and connected the stars to make figures.  Cody wants to do some more research so I imagine we'll do that today while Britney is entertaining the masses.  We weren't out there long, but it was a great moment with my two.

"Little Women"

Tonight was opening night for Britney's 13th play "Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy"!  She has been working so hard on her role of Sallie Gardiner and did a fantastic job!  That sweet girl just shines on stage.  Absolutely beautiful!

She also volunteered to be a part of the stage crew and that poor kid was more worried about messing the sets up than she's ever been for a performance.  The couple of people who knew what to do during set changes weren't there tonight, so she was in charge!  I wish I could have videoed her taking charge of that group of people before the play started.  She explained scene by scene what needed to be moved and taken care of.  They seemed to understand, but darn if they didn't completely space on her.  She ran the entire first act by herself, moving tables and props without any help.  I think she put the fear of God in them during intermission though.  She had help after that!

Dressed for stage crew

I took Cody home before the show and missed the 1st act.  That boy was HONGRY!  We're (Cody and I and Rosie and Dad) are going to the Saturday show.  I decided to head back after Bobby got home from work and got there right at intermission.  I was excited to see so many of our friends there!  Ladies from church that we just love and of course of Roamies!  Thank you all for being there!

Our BEAUTIFUL girls!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The day

We have a tradition.  Each winter, close to Christmas, we pick a day when Bobby's off work and head to Target.  We grab our favorite Starbucks' hot, yummy drink and walk around the store.  We look at every single thing anyone wants to look at.  We're not rushed and we laugh like crazy.

As an extra treat, we took the kids out to dinner.  I kind of had my heart set on Mexican, but they decided they wanted Chinese.

Cody decided we wanted to try crawfish.  I'm pretty sure I ate this once when I was younger.  We visited my aunt who lived in New Orleans at the time.  I remember a seeing a big pot of them on the stove...but that's all I remember.

Not sure about this!

Bobby helped him open it up and get the meat out.  Honestly, that was...gross.  I thought Cody might chicken out, but he popped that sucker right in his mouth.

Thumbs up!

After dinner, we headed to Target. 


We looked at durn near everything.  Hats and gloves, shoes, electronics, toys, Christmas, sporting goods...

Had to get a shot of this.  I mean....that's just funny.

I started to head home after a very quick stop at Tuesday Morning when Bobby suggested we go to Walmart as well.  There were a couple things he wanted to look at there too.  So, off we went.

Things like this always happen in Walmart.
Nice, huh?

Bobby handed Brit a Zombie Hunter Destroyer Kit.  How fun!  She went on to tell us more stories about her airsoft outing at Heather's house.  She may have had a little bit of fun that day :)

I've looked at this picture probably 40 times and each time, I laugh.

We spent a good chunk of time in the sporting goods.  I looked mostly at the various day packs, water bladders and other hiking gear.  They have this nearly $80 pack that had me dreaming of hiking the Appalachian trail.  Seriously.  I want to do that.  It's on my bucket list.

Just call me Jayne

We got home and I think we were in the door for 2.3 seconds when Britney and I both saw something that reminded us of the 3D snowflakes Karen posted on her blog.  So we decided to make one ourselves!  HERE's a video if you'd like to make them too!  (Thanks Karen!) While I was squaring off the printer paper, Brit picked up the strip and started making a hexaflexagon .  She got REALLY into these not too long ago, but wasn't able to make one herself.  Not to her liking anyway.  She sat there and got it the first try!  She was GEEKED!  Hexaflexagons are so stinkin' cool.  Go check out THIS video to learn more!  Vi Hart has several videos and she's awesome!

My finished snowflake
After our crafty projects, we surprised the kids with Brave.  Bobby and I had secretly bought it while we were in Walmart and gave it to them as an early Christmas present.  We really enjoyed the movie.  Check it out if you haven't yet :)

Great day!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We Give Books

I was reading Gretta's blog, and just came across this post about We Give Books.  It is a FREE online library offering over 150 children's books for ages 0-10 years old.  You can access children's books and are supporting worldwide charities. All you do is create a FREE account, pick a book and start reading.  For every book read, a book will be donated to one of their various charity partners.

It looks like it's definitely worth checking out.  So...go!  Check it out!


Bobby had to work Thanksgiving night, but worked off that Friday morning.  We had made plans with Dad and Rosie to celebrate with them, so we were packed up and ready to leave when he got home from work.  That means I was up in time to watch the sun rise.  Can't go wrong with that.  Beatiful!

We got to Dad's around 9:30 and Bobby headed straight to bed.  The kids and I hung out with Dad, Rosie and Max.  I soon ventured outside to get some pictures, but honestly don't think I took any good ones.  Settings were just wrong on the camera...or in my brain.

Rosie had cooked so many delicious things.  She seriously made the best turkey I've ever had.  It was moist and so full of flavor.  Yum!

Max made this ridiculously tasty and very pretty cake.  It was fantastic!
HIGHLY recommend it!

Recipe...just in case you feel the need to stuff this in your face.

1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs

1/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped Diamond of California® Pecans, toasted

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar and remaining pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat layers three times. Drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans. Store in the refrigerator.
Seriously.  Go. Make. It. 
 It was cloudy for most of the day, so it was nice to see some blue out there for a bit.

Max also made chocolate cupcakes for the kids to frost with the peppermint cool whip he made.  
They had so much fun!

Especially Max :)

After dinner, dessert and a food induced coma, we helped them get their GINORMOUS Christmas tree up.

Bur first, the Christmas train for around the tree.
Cody really liked this thing.

See?  Ginormous. 13ft I think.

Then, Rosie began decorating the house.

Brit and Cody's stockings

We spent a couple days.  Bobby, Max and I took Britney hunting for the first time.  Bobby and I saw three deer but I later learned that Britney was literally freezing to death and never even saw them.  She will wear Dad's hunting gear should she go again.

We had a really great time.  I enjoyed watching Dad and Rosie making memories with the kids.  I walked in from hunting the second time, and Rosie and the kids were at the table putting a puzzle together and Brit was telling her all about the play.

And before we left, they all made two big batches of Rice Krispie treats together.  Good stuff, people.  I mean the time spent together and memories made, not the treats.  Although...they were pretty darn good too :)

Where we've been as a family