Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

As I traveled the roads today in my last ditch effort to get miles put on my van...not really, just had some people to see...I found myself reflecting on our year...between bathroom stops. Here are a few thoughts of mine or the girls ( they are funnier)...

1. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. My girls tell me frequently how pretty I am.

2. No one has ever been in my corner the way Steve is...he would always be my first pick unless we are playing Canasta, then he's OUT!

3. Olivia is not Jewish, even though she likes to proclaim she is, but her practiced southern drawl will crack up the most serious person.

4. I have the best bunch of friends a girl could chose, whether it is a face I see in person, or a friend who writes words that I read on a blog.

5. "Thinking of others first", "not having something to say if it is not nice", and "no snatching" are rules to live by.

6. We will most likely add another person to our family in the next year.

These are just a few of our thoughts...we are a blessed family and so thankful God takes care of us. We look with expectation to the new year, 2009, which holds a wealth of memories and a storehouse of blessings.
As you can see, our family likes to do it a little differently...so here it is 8:45 p.m. and we are toasting in the new year. CHEERS! to all of you! Now off to bed!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Grandparents

Steve's mother, Mickie, is always coming up with new patterns and ideas to make for the girls. Her efforts are appreciated by me, a fellow sewing-kinda-girl, but spent on most others. Stephanie and Olivia do their fair share of smiling in the camera when a new outfit is brought out, because everyone knows Grandma will want a picture. These "winter coats" were made with double collars and one is even reversible. The red is very pretty and the lining is extra warm. It is doubtful they will get much use here in sunny Florida, but it was a loving gesture.
Is it just me or does it look like Olivia is catching up with Stephanie in her growth? They both love being with their family, and Grandpa is always ready and waiting for the next story or little anecdote. They love sharing tales of their travels and school.

Horsing Around

Stephanie with Trooper and Olivia with Lady
When Steve's grandparents and Aunt and Uncle moved from their horse farm in Bell, the girls were so sad. They loved going and seeing the horses, feeding the horses and just plain running around.


Things have changed a little over the past year and now all of them live in Gainesville but we were able to go and visit five of the horses that came with them. They live nearby and the girls were so excited to see them again. Plans are being made to go stay the night so that some riding can be done. Yippppeeee-aaayyyy-eeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh.



It was so nice seeing everyone and visiting. Cousins and Grandma-ma and all the greatgrand girls got together for a pic. We have a great family.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Turning 8


My oldest love is eight today. She is one of the most precious, sweet young ladies I know. She KNOWS how to get dirty, but I have never had to ask her twice to take a bath when needed. She loves the Lord with all of her heart and is not shy about serving Him. She gives Him honor through her dance, friendships and talents. She loves to sing, dance and move.
I love her deep throated chuckle of a laugh.
No one can make her laugh like her sister. She is a great big sister and has always been. She is patient most days and takes after her Dad a lot. I am a better person for having her in my life. I love how God does that.
Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This was our first Christmas eve without any commitments and so we went out and saw the lights. It had been on Steph's todo list, but around 7:30, she started being concerned about getting home and off to bed. Well, that should have been my first clue...let's just say, she caught me off guard on this one.
An old tradition of mine was always opening up jammies on Christmas eve, so we have done it with our girls. It is nice for pics in the a.m...These lovely pj's were matching sets made for them by our sweetest sewing teacher Ms. Russ. We love her so much. There were squeals of delight and little did I know they would still have them on without ever changing, 24 hours later.

Before bed, the letter was written to Santa, cookies were left out and we had to go put out the reindeer treats in the lawn for Rudolph and his friends. Let me know if you need the recipe. They were a little disappointed that there was a little left on the ground, I just assured them how filling oatmeal can be.
We woke up this morning to both of the girls confessing before seven o'clock, that they had went out and checked on things in the living room..."WHAT?" I not so sweetly exclaimed..."WHEN?" They said about 4:00a.m....Yes, folks, I never saw that one coming. Shock! I gathered myself together, considered how our day would be with what, five hours sleep? And off we went. They tore into those stockings hung by the chimney (we don't have one, so it was the front door) with care, and oh the goodies they found. Notice, the huge presents behind them, looming, screaming, OPEN ME! They had to be reminded!!
And this is what we found...Doll beds. So precious. Surprised. In love. Fascinated. And see that Nutcracker in the middle of the floor. Yes, that was on Stephanie's list...It works. She loves it. Could be one of her top five. Cents people, cents!

And this is what happens when something electronic does not work and your Dad writes help manuals, and instructions for a living. Read them people. It makes his heart proud. She just wanted it to work, and he wanted to FIND the answer and error. And of course, being up since four in the morning does not help when you are days from being eight and you just want your present to work.
Both girls got a personal journal from their Aunt Rhonda and there were more squeals. What does a five or eight year old need to write in a journal that needs to be locked by a secret password? I am just wondering. Olivia did not choose a secret code, she makes some alien noise, and poof, it opens. Scary!
But, one of the highlights to my day was having that young man next to Steve join us for Christmas dinner at the Gideons. He is my grandfather, and he gave up his own comfortable house, and joined us for the afternoon. I love him, and am honored to be related to such a man. This was only his second Christmas without my Grandmother, but at eighty-nine, he is doing just fine. What a incredible day. Hope you were able to bask in the treasure of family today.
And I must say, with what little sleep we all had last night, it was a well-mannered day. Of course, off they went tonight to bed at 7:00p.m., and I am still up thanks to that ice cold coke for dinner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas story

One of my friends posted about being a mother and how it changed her perspective of Christmas once she had a child. I agree. Songs like "Mary did you know?" (it is over on the playlist) meant so much more.

Simple things like presents under the tree and waiting with anticipation at what was in "that" box are more enjoyable with a little one. Or believing like Virginia did back in 1897 that "Santa exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know how they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy." so says Mr. Church, editor of the New York Sun.

Telling of the Christmas story is even better too. I love the idea of a hotel is equal to an inn. I think of angels coming to make the announcement of Jesus' birth, and how the shepherds followed the star and somehow that is like "the huge spotlights that are used to shine up into the sky and gather spectators." How "sleeping on a bed of hay could have allowed the baby to get bit by bed-bugs, cause in colonial times they had to beat the bugs out everyday." And how "the King was jealous of Him, and wanted to kill all the boy babies, that is just silly. Everyone knows there must be boys, so when they grow up ladies can get married and have babies."

This is just some of the great ideas I hear floating around this time of year. It is just fun.


One last project we had up our sleeve was to make figurines of the story. I bought this kit a few years ago and love the clay for projects. Sculpey is the brand and it bakes up really well. It will burn. Ours did a little, but it is still adorable.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

All dressed up...




What a beautiful bunch. These are just some of our God given family. Matthew, Kelley, Emma, Maddie, with Olivia and Stephanie. Our Christmas holiday would not be the same without having them with us to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Addictions



So I got a Christmas present from a friend today, it was this award for my blog. How fun. So let me take a minute or two to share with you some of my fabulous addictions.




1. Blogging. It is a connection I am making with people. I really got serious about it this past year. It was a way of keeping in touch with family that we only see at holidays. Then this summer I went to a Beth Moore conference in Texas, met a bunch of ladies who love Jesus and love to blog. New friends. Thus, blogging.


2. Teaching. I love my calling. It is a gift I do not take for granted and neither do I bury it. It is something I adore sharing with my girls, and my friends.


3. Carbonated soda. Pop for you northerners. Coke to you southerners. I love it. Cherry coke mostly. I drink water so that I get a reward of soda. Bad I know.


4. Reading. I love a good book. I will give up sleep,or folded laundry (like I HAVE to give that up), or even clean dishes. Most nights, I must read before I slumber and since I have a great flashlight, it does not bother my adorable husband who is snoring, I mean sleeping next to me.


5. Sushi and Thai food. Could there be a little Asian person in me just screaming to be known? I mean, there are times when there is nothing that will quench my craving like a dish of good curry seasoned food or a bite of soy soaked wasabi seasoned sushi. YUM!




Thanks for the award. Hope you know more of me now.

MOSI

Steve almost got stuck posing on the platter of food. He was always adds so much to our outings, he is fun to have with us. We watched three IMAX movies in one day and played and played in the kid section and even hit the store for some good buys.

Emma played all the instruments she could find and wrote a few songs too. That girl has some talent.

Maddie made her dent on the Publix sponsored kid grocery area. She was driving the truck for deliveries, but I think her favorite was the shadow room.

Stephanie found some drums and gave them a work out. She beat them and found her a rhythm. The sounds were so cool.

Olivia and Aunt Sam had a wooden block building hayday! It was a shakey, boomin', gigglin' time over at the table. We called it a tie, and both towers won. When they were done some boys saw their chance and hopped on in. With all the new fangled electronics, it is funny to see how wooden blocks can still be so much fun.


A giant slide was a way to spend a few bucks and scream a little. It was a new addition to the KIDS IN CHARGE area. Click on this photo and check out that funny face!

December activities

Making sugar cookies and decorating them at Raelynn's house was another successful event. Ma Ingalls, aka Dawn Moses is a woman who is incredible. She is a great friend and so resourceful! The kids were so happy to be making cookies for Santa and a few to eat before hand. We all sat around and shared another year of memories. We are a blessed group of people to have friends such as these.









This was one of the best crafts of the season. We made salt dough ornaments (thanks Xandra). Once we painted them they were so "kidified", colorful and so pretty. It was even more fun to share it with Emma and Maddie.

Kay Kay helped build one the the cutest gingerbread houses. We loved the sprinkle walkway. With our warm weather, some little bitty ants thought it was their new home. NOT! So, it already has gone on to decorate the city dump. But it sure was fun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"I want to be..."

Today during our school time, Olivia must have really been enjoying math. She was counting money and telling time to the hour and she turned to me and said, "When I grow up I want to be just a PLAIN OL' MOM!"

Trying to hold in my gasp, I asked her what she meant. She said, "You know, I want to get married (yeah, that is always nice when it is mentioned first), then have two kids, and teach them school."

I was so glad that she did not mention my appearance (since I had not yet brushed my hair or changed out of my pjs), I asked her, "What makes that a PLAIN OL MOM?"

She said, "Mom, I want to cook, clean and do all the regular things that mom's do!"

Another sigh of relief from me, without her knowing.

Yes folks, I hope she can "take the good and take the bad" (hey, is that a line from a song from my childhood...is it ringing any bells?) and be happy some day. Isn't that what all of us parents want ?

So if you are now humming a tune to that song I mentioned, leave me a comment of what you think it is and I will have a little christmas gift for the first correct answer.

And the winner is...Jeanne McDonald...Good job. Just a side note, all the females who answered got it right. It was "The Facts of Life" theme song. Your restaurant $25 gift card will be available after you email me and tell me which one you prefer.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Dance

Shepherds aka Stephanie and friends walk in to the tune of "What Child is this?"
Olivia concentrates so hard, sometimes she forgets to smile. I love her seriousness.


They all remembered their parts so well, and looked so pretty.

Alma was a beautiful Mary. She danced so gracefully.
Our annual Christmas program was filled with song and dance. We laughed more than ever, and it felt like a BIG family crowded into a living room. We even had a year in review of pictures on the big screen. Cookies kept us fed, and we all left feeling loved and blessed. It is so great to be a part of a church family where you go and can be yourself, accepted and loved.



Great book

Here is a great one to add to your family library. It has pretty pictures and the story is fantastic.

On a side note, this weekend when we were retelling the christmas story of Mary and Joseph, Olivia was sharing the part when they are searching for a place to stay. The question of "what is an Inn?" came up, she perked up when she realized it was like a hotel, she does love her some hotels. Then she said "Mary burped the baby," but what she really meant was Mary birthed the baby. Oh we got a few good laughs out of that one.

And then came the question about the sheperds following the star. "Mom, did the star move around the sky like the moon does when we are driving. Sometimes it is on my side and then it is on sister's side, and it can be really confusing. Do you think the sheperds ever got confused when they were following it? I know they did not have a car, so they could not look out the window, but if they rode a donkey, could it still move around? My oh my, her little mind does try to sort it all out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Easy-Bake oven Chefs

It was a girl's night in and Dad was gone and we had some bakin' to do. These two are always helpful in the kitchen and FOOD Network is one of the top five channels in our house. Supplies ready, we got started.

Olivia was head chef, and made sure all was kept fair. She picked the lemon cake and Steph had picked the vanilla icing. I was left to the choice of sprinkles.

This girl knows how to crack an egg ! She had made up some jokes today that cracked me up almost as much.

Stir, stir, and stir. Get that oven ready, batter's up!


Cakes were out, cooled (oh the hardest part of all!) and now came the icing. The end was near!


These are the masterpieces before they were gone lickety-split quick! One of my fondest memories is cooking with my Mother and Grandmother. It is nice to even in this "Easy-bake" way to share some with these two girls.


Delicious!!!!!!!!!!!! And so proud too!

Non-traditional decision

In hopes of not becoming a faux pau to everyone in my life, we have decided to fore go sending traditional Christmas cards this year. I was sure that all of those who know and love our family had a beautifully decorated house and did not need to display a card of some sort for a few weeks and read about our "doings" over the past year. After all, I figured those who cared had been reading this blog. So, in an effort to cut-back, and not spend the $150.00 on cards and postage, we are sending this.

We love our time in North Carolina in the snow, eating icicles, making snowballs and sliding down a hill. Another event we fell in love with this year was visiting EPCOT and listening to the story tellers share about Christmas from their different countries. It was tremendous! If you can ever go, you really should make the effort.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Watery wonderland

I don't want any of you fooled by our magical wondrous Christmas celebration.

We know how to pull it together in the knick of time, but there are days like today where there is nothing better than a good batch of tears. Uncle Brant, it is just the girl in us, you will never understand. Olivia has had three rotations of sobbing and a time of cradling in my arms while being rocked back into "it's okay" world. I am not sure what is going on around here. Snuggles, hugs, kisses, motivational speeches, referee, teacher,nurse, cook, maid and techno-savy chick...Whew, what a day. It is just one in this life of ours.



So with the gift giving, cookie baking, carol singing, present wrapping, book reading, advent opening times, take time for a few tears, if that is what will work for you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Johnny 'Ol St. Nick

videoGo Gators! SEC Champs!

Stephanie is following in her Father's footsteps and always making changes to some song to make it her own. Her latest is "Jolly ol St. Nickolaus", but Olivia calls it "Johnny" so cute. She is becoming quite the song writer. This is just the original first verse, but her own is verse three. They both really help us love life even more than we could have dreamed.

The Grand Gingerbread house

This is the Grand Floridian's gingerbread house. It is so beautiful and it makes the hotel smell so good. We were so mesmerized with the whole gingerbreadness, I spent $17.00 on a small bag of gingerbread sampler cookies. I must have been high on the aroma of gingerbread to do that !

















Decorating these two got us in the mood for bigger and better things...Disney style.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here and There

Could she be any more adorable? Both girls left their nighttime "lovies" in Maryland, so they did not have them for the whole week. They slept with their dolls, but Olivia said "she is not squishy like my blanket." They were waiting at home in a care package, thanks Faith.
We found an old general store up Dillsboro, NC with an ice cream shop that had sodas and malts. Yes, we took the time to have a little afternoon snack. It is never to cold for ice cream.

Stephanie once again was able to visit the Pottery Tree House store in Dillsboro. This guy is so nice and willing to have the kids come back into his shop and watch. Steph was in her element. She did not get to sit down and have a spin at it, but I could see the passion in her eyes. She would have loved to get a hold of that clay. His pottery is really great and beautiful.

Down the road from the house we stayed in there is a great creek and a great place to explore. Thank goodness for Daddy, he was willing to take them on a few walks without me, since my knee was givng me trouble. But it is on the mend, guess I twisted it wrong in our travels. How pretty was the sun shining down upon them.