Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Christmas

I thought I'd share some pictures of our Christmas...

At the beginning of December, an "Elf on the Shelf" arrived at our house. The book that came with him let us know that he was sent to our family from the North Pole. Each night he would fly back and report to Santa how the kids had been that day. He would then return to a different place in our house. Our responsibilities were to name him and never touch him. Pretty simple, really.
Meet our elf, Zephyr Zippy-Jet.He ended up in all kinds of places: the Christmas tree, stockings, the kids' closets, our car, kitchen cabinets, our nativity scene... he was all over the place! He went back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. We will miss him until he comes back next year.

We had a lovely Christmas morning. It started with the ceremonial underwear toss. When Pat was little, he would get underwear or socks at Christmas. He'd toss it over his shoulder and move on with the next gift. For the past few years, the first presents we open are underwear or socks. And all together, we toss them over our shoulders. It's sort of our opening ceremony for Christmas morning.

The kids each had 3 simple wishes this year....

A bathrobe. To this day it only comes off when we make him take it off and get dressed!

Money! Went straight to his savings account. He is laser-beam focused on saving up for a laptop. He's been saving up for about 8 months now.

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! Brough knocked Dad's block off!!

A pink iPod!! She was so excited!! You can see her pink Snuggie in the background. That was wish #2.

Becca asked for pink pom poms, and couldn't understand why Santa brought red ones. She eventually decided the red ones would work.

Becca's nest...

How much do I love that he was excited and enthusiastic about getting a dictionary?!!??

Bubble wrap is AWESOME!!!!

There's more to report, but I've spent about 2 hours on this post (I have serious issues with blogger's formatting program!), and have lots to get done. I'll post more in a day or two. Until then, I'll leave you with this...

Hope you had a Merry and Blessed Christmas!


Saturday, January 2, 2010


It is time to get back to the blog. I have been sidetracked by FaceBook for a year now. As part of my resolutions for 2010, I plan to blog a few times each week.
As I was looking back on 2009 and thinking about 2010, something occurred to me: The blog is really the best way for me to chronicle what our family is up to. I'm just not a scrapbooker (although I have about 3 bags of stuff that I've set aside to fill the adorable and empty scrapbooks I bought for the kids when they were babies). The blog allows me to record the day to day "stuff" that happens in our lives.

2009 was a great year for our family. It was a pretty good year for me personally, but I feel like there were some areas that I really let go. As we all know, the start of a new year is a great time to start fresh. So... here are my resolutions for this year:

Blog at least 2 - 3 times a week. I only list this first, because I'm writing it here... on my blog. I set the limit of a couple of times a week so I don't end up spending 20 hours a week on blogging, instead of accomplishing my other goals!
Go to church regularly. We used to go every Sunday, but for a multitude of reasons, we've gotten pretty lax in our attendance. It's time to make church a priority again.
Take better care of my family and our home. I am not a good housekeeper. There, I said it. But I resolve to do better. I let myself get overwhelmed, distracted, etc. Our house is really cute and has so much potential, but I've never put the work into making it all it could be. This is the year!
Continue excercising. I am proud to say that I finally started working out regularly in September. I have been sick off and on for the last 2 months, so I haven't been working out like I should. But I really miss it and am looking forward to re-establishing that routine.

This is the year I'm going to make my calendar my best friend. I'm going to get myself organized and stay that way. I'm not saying I'll ever be a Type A SuperMom (nor do I think I'd really want to!) But, I'm going to stop just floating through life like I have been.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Start of School

It's tradition at our house to take photos on the front steps before school on the first day. So, here are this year's:

This outfit should have been Becca's "1st day of school" outfit. Only problem is that the temperature was supposed to be 103 degrees. We'll have to save it for cooler weather. Maybe school picture time! But, I had to get a picture of her in it. She's such a good sport to put up with her crazy Mommy. I got her up, had her put it on, we went out front (it was still a bit dark), and took the pictures. Then she had to go back in and put on her actual outfit for the day - which of course we had to take pictures of too!!

Becca was starting Kindergarten. I was really quite OK with it. I seemed to do all my "grieving" last Spring, and cherished every one of those last moments of her being home with me. Sunday night, when I was tucking her in, we were talking about how exciting it was that she was going to be a Kindergartner. Then she said, "It's just really a bummer that I won't be here at home with you anymore. We'll never have just you and me time again." It was all I could do to keep the tears back. I hadn't really realized that she had a grasp on that. But I guess seeing her brother come and go every day for 4 years and not be home with us... she gets it. Ugh. That was hard.

Afternoon report:

Becca LOVED her first day of school. She said her teacher was beautiful (I agree, she's adorable) and that she made 2 new friends already. And she loved being able to finally ride a big yellow school bus.

Brough, on the other hand, did not have a great day. Our district rezoned last year, and we're at another school now. All of his buddies are still at the old school. He said, "I don't really like any of the kids, this school smells bad, and we didn't even do any multiplication! We just reviewed addition. I hate reviewing!!" aaaah... the struggles of a math whiz! :-)

We had plans to get together with our friends for ice cream in the afternoon. We've always done something after the first day of school since the boys were in Kindergarten. They became friends in pre-school when they were 3.

Brough and Stratton

Becca and Hays
(the younger siblings)

Brough needed to see his old friend that afternoon. It was good for both of them.

Brough's bad attitude continued into Tuesday. He could think of not one good thing, and had no interest in ever returning to that school. He's always loved school and it broke my heart to see him like this. He and his sister had been bugging me to take them to the Dollar Store. So, I told him I'd give him a dollar for every truly good thing he could tell me about school that afternoon. Not just that they had lunch, or that the day finally ended at 3:00, but truly good things. I figured he might come home with 4 or 5, but that afternoon, he told me 10 good things that happened that day. And he was smiling and enthusiastic! Yay! He's been back to himself since. Whew! Oh, and I suggested that he take his 4th grade activity book he'd been working on this summer and ask his teacher if he could work in it when he was finished with his addition problems. Thankfully, she said yes, and he is now able to work multiplication and division on his own instead of "just boring addition review". (I don't think I ever tried to seek out harder math problems!)

All seems to be well now. The kids are getting into the groove of school, and I'm enjoying a silent house during the day. Now, I just need to get myself into a good groove of getting busy on all my projects and getting off the computer....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ready for School!

One last little bit of extra summer fun? Check.

School supplies ready to go? Check.

Backpacks loaded and hanging on their hooks? Check.

Clothes for the week put in the bins? Check.

(my new "brilliant idea" for this year)

Mom ready to send her kids to a new school, and more than that, send her baby to Kindergarten???

umm..... I'll get back to you tomorrow!
I took the summer off from blogging, but now I'm ready to start back up.
We had a fantastic and very busy summer, which I will be sharing in the coming weeks.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Waffle House

I grew up in Alabama and Georgia, home of the Waffle House. They are few and far between here in Texas. However, there is one near the Austin Airport. It has become a tradition for the kids and me to stop and eat there whenever we have to take Patrick to the airport.

He left today to go to London... well, Surrey to be exact. He was acting all mopey about it, but I don't feel too bad for him. He's staying at Pennyhill Park Hotel, which is a 5-star property offering such unique activities as shooting clays and archery. Also, in the directions for how to get there, they list coordinates for those arriving by helicopter. Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's going to be just fine!!

So, we said good-bye...
I think Pat was giving Brough the "you're the man of the house while I'm gone, so take care of Mom and Becca" speech.

Bye, honey!! Love you!

And... off to the Waffle House.

I don't know what to tell you, the place just makes me happy. From the way it's laid out so you can watch all of the food being prepared, to the signs on the wall, to the yummy, yummy waffles... It's just a good place to be.

It wasn't very busy in there this afternoon. I guess 5:30 is not prime time at the Waffle House. The kids wanted to sit at the counter and watch all the food being prepared. Plus, it's just good fun to swivel in those tall stools.

The cook and the waitress were so nice to the kids. The cook would talk to the kids as she was fixing everything. The kids decided to order 2 different things, and share with each other. The cook overheard them, and went ahead and made up their plates with the food already divided up. Awesome!!

Then, my waffle arrived. Let me tell ya, if you've never been to a Waffle House, you cannot comprehend the bliss that is sitting on this plate...

Yes, that is butter pooled up in all the little waffle squares, and, yeah... I ate the whole thing!!

After she finished eating, Becca went over and checked out the juke box.

And, it just wouldn't be a family outing without one of the kids being weird. So, here is a picture of Becca... who figured out how to use her dress as a cup holder. What can I say? She's creative.

It's All Good For Me Too!!!

My two blogging/Emmaus buddies, Jen and Catherine both have really cute signs that say, "It's All Good" in their yards (both signs have made appearances in each blog). I think maybe they bought them together. Or one of them bought one for the other. I can't remember the story now.

Well, my friend Barbara gave me a dish the other day that says, you guessed it....

And guess what? It came filled with chocolate!! I had to eat it all so you could see what was written in the bottom of the dish, dontchyaknow!!!
Woo Hoo!!

Too Hard

I've not been writing for awhile. My grandfather died a couple of weeks ago, and I want to write something special for him. But I just haven't been able to do it yet. And it felt weird to do silly, frivolous blog posts before I wrote that one.

However, I have decided it's OK to post some other stuff. I will post something about him soon. It's OK to take a little extra time, that way I'll do it right. And maybe by writing other stuff, it will make it a little easier to write his.