Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winding Down

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We did. On Christmas Eve we went to the family service at church. Tons of little kids attend, so it's not a big deal if ours talked a little (although it makes James break out in hives). And Abby definitely did.

The kids were in bed by 8:30 that night. I remember when I was younger being up all night in anticipation of the big event.... not our kids. By 9:00 we checked on them, and they were all out.

Feeding the reindeer some fruity cheerios (as Austin promised in his letter to Santa)...

Anytime this princess nightgown is clean, Emily wears it. It doesn't matter how cold it is in our house (we very rarely turn the heat on). I will say it conveniently doesn't get washed every time we do laundry. It's pretty worn and sort of resembles a bad Halloween costume. Thankfully Santa got her some new princess nightgowns!

Katie giving Emily a pedicure. She loved it.

I didn't go picture crazy - we just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed watching the kids experience Christmas. They actually stayed in their PJs all day. We made sure to continue to tell the kids that the day wasn't all about Santa and presents. To some degree that's starting to sink in. Especially with Austin.

My parents came over a little later and we enjoyed spending Christmas with them.

Oh I meant to post this picture last week - Austin made this apron and gingerbread house at his school Christmas party. Too cute.

We look forward to this week. James is planning to take the whole week off (unless some big client stuff comes up) - yeah! Austin will be turning 7 and we are getting him new bedroom furniture. So we will be painting his room, putting up the Christmas decorations, trying to clean and get organized for the new year. We also need to take apart one of the cribs so it can fit through the door... should be interesting considering several years ago it took a whole day putting it together. I'm sure this was just the kind of fun James was hoping for on his week off.

And to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

We've had a fun week preparing for Christmas. Katie came in last weekend. Mom and Dad (who lives in Colorado) are coming over on Friday. The menu is planned, letters are sent, cookies are made, Christmas songs have been listened to over and over, presents are wrapped, parties are over. We are ready.

Everything has been quite festive, but we found out that Abby has pneumonia. That part hasn't been fun. Poor thing - she's had strep since mid-November and the antibiotics haven't been working. We were at the doctor all afternoon on Monday where she did a bunch of testing, blood work, chest x-ray, and finally the diagnosis. So now she is on the mend and is feeling much better. She's proud of her "battle scars" - a few shots on her legs.

Tonight we made our annual cookies for Santa.

Caught in the act. Ha! By the way, this is AFTER all of the cookies were made. We made sure to keep all of the hands clean during the process.

They all turned out pretty well, especially compared to last year. James had to make his annual Longhorn cookie...

and was a bit upset when the kids picked their 3 Santa cookies - Austin picked Katie's Texas Tech cookie. I picked the heart on top, and James picked the colorful Longhorn on the bottom (courtesy of Austin).

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I hope you are doing ok. Well Santa, I love you so much. I wish I could go to the gym with you Santa.

Love, Emily

May I please have...
a barbie
a pony
a unicorn
and a princess.

Dear Santa,

and I hope the reindeer are doing ok. I love you Santa. Whenever I see you can I ride your sleigh? May I please have...

a unicorn
a pony
and a puzzle


Dear Santa,

I have been so good! Would your reindeer like fruity cheerios? Well Santa, I am going to give you some cookies tonight. May I please have... Mario Galaxy World Wii?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All Aboard!

On Sunday we headed to Palestine, TX (which is a pretty long drive at 160 miles away) to go to the North Pole via the Polar Express. Passengers were advised to all wear their pajamas, but James and I thought about that one and decided against it for the two of us. There were some families that had matching PJs on - they were way cooler than us. There is no way we could have pulled that one off.

All the kids eagerly anticipated the arrival of the train, including ours.

Of course this is what our kids did when it finally came.

We boarded the train, and as we took off all the people in our car clapped for Santa.

Then we were served hot chocolate and cookies, while the story of the Polar Express was read aloud over the loudspeaker.

Austin's favorite part was when one of Santa's helpers was showing pictures of the book, and pointed to a picture of a male Santa helper and said that was her before they shaved her mustache off. He got a kick out of that one.

Soon we arrived at the North Pole where Santa boarded the train and everybody clapped and cheered. Not much snow on the ground, but lots of "yard art."

Here is Emily trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. Or maybe more cookies.

Santa and his elves finally made it to our car and handed out jingle bells to all the kids. By the way, jingle bells are great when you're celebrating - but with a 2-3 hour trip home, they nearly ended up on the feeder of I-45.

The helpers then handed out song books and we all sang Christmas carols.

Abby was the only brave child who danced in the aisle with one of the helpers.

We got off the train at 6:15 and made it home pretty late. Overall it was a pretty fun experience - not sure if we will make an annual event out of it or not. The Polar Express is ever so popular these days. Austin had Polar Express day at school last Friday, the girls have it at school this week, and they all had it last week at Kids Night Out. And just for fun, I think James should wear his PJs to work on Friday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This week

The girls have had a busy week at school preparing for Christmas. On Tuesday they made gingerbread houses - which was the cutest idea. We'll have to do this at home next year. They took a 1/2 pint carton and then covered the house in graham crackers using frosting as the glue. The kids then all got a cup of frosting with various sugary items and decorated their houses. So cute!

Unfortunately they didn't make it until 6:30 that night when James came home. Actually it didn't even make it to 4:00 when Austin got off the bus. So both the boys didn't see them.... but here's proof that they did exist for an hour or so.

Abby might have let me eat her chocolate door. And I might have really enjoyed it so she gave me a few other things. Good thing Austin wasn't around to give me a hard time.

Then on Thursday they had their Christmas performances. Both girls did such a good job... they stayed on stage and participated the whole time.

Here's a video - it is not the best quality. Emily is in green and Abby in red. I initially got their dresses in early November, but then realized last minute that they were a little too foo-foo. So we went to Kohls on Wednesday and found these much simpler dresses.

Tomorrow night James and I have a date! This does not happen very often. Our church is having kids night out, so we're going out to dinner and then hopefully we can finish our Christmas shopping. I shopped pretty early this year for the girls and bought various things along the way that they'd ask for. Then Austin helped them with their "official" list to Santa last weekend, and of course they are totally different and I don't have any of the items on the new list. Serves me right for being on the ball. They know that Santa is not getting them everything on their list, but I do need to get a few items. I know for a fact that Santa's elves are not making cupcake decorating makers this year. Abby will have to wait until she's 12 for that one.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Oh my. It's SNOWING!

Did you hear that?

It's s-n-o-w-i-n-g.

Oh my heavens.

I realize this isn't a big deal to most of the country. But it's a rarity where we live. It did snow one day last year for a few hours after Austin got home from school. It didn't stick or anything. But today it snowed for a good 4 hours or so.

Abby was extremely interested in playing outside, but when the word hot chocolate came out of my mouth Emily became interested in our snow day also.

Even Saffron joined in on the fun.

James came home early and had a snowball fight with Abby. Kind of. They were able to get some snow off the chairs in the backyard and make some mini snowballs.

Nothing stuck. By the time Austin got home from school it was completely finished. I was really hoping to make some "schney-mons" - Austin claims this is the German word for snowman he learned in school this week (I really have no idea if that's correct). Oh well - maybe next year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The tree is up!

I love everything about this season! It is important that the kids know "the reason for the season." I think this year Austin is really understanding that Christmas is about much more than just presents. We've been reading his children's bible and are shopping for some under-privileged families.

We got all the decorations out of the attic on Saturday, then blasted the Christmas music, and started the big job. Usually we'd make some hot chocolate, but considering it was 70 degrees outside it just didn't seem right. Most of my pretty ornaments are glass, so the kids weren't too thrilled they couldn't help with those. We actually only broke one so far this year. Unfortunately it was the one James' parents got us when we first married (they have since passed away). I almost had a meltdown (blame it on the hormones), but thankfully James was able to super glue it back together, and it's almost as good as new.

The girls were to go on their first field trip ever today - to a local Christmas tree farm. Abby was so excited she wanted to sleep in her shoes last night (and was very unhappy that she couldn't). Although I think in the middle of the night she went and put them on and went back to bed, because she came downstairs this morning in her night clothes and tennis shoes. We made it to school only to find out that the trip was canceled because of a threat of 5% chance of rain and the fact that it's 50 degrees outside. I'm sure the northerners would get a giggle out of that. Houston people cannot deal with the cold. And I really wouldn't want to be one of Abby's teachers today.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pregnancy thus far

  • Yes, it was planned. James and I wanted a big family. I was never raised with any extended family around us. Even right now, the only family we have in Texas is my mom and one of James' brothers. Family is so important to us, and I want things to be different for our kids and their kids. This will be the last kiddo though - my tubes will be getting tied during the c-section. I know James is thrilled he won't be having to get the "snip, snip" procedure. :)
  • There is definitely only one. Thank God. This was a major fear going into it. My twins are natural fraternal twins, meaning I dropped two eggs. What's to say I couldn't do that again? Don't get me wrong - another two would be a blessing, but totally overwhelming at the same time. Also, my last pregnancy was not ideal - labor at 27 weeks and then strict bedrest at home with a terbutaline pump and 3 weeks bedrest in the hospital (the girls were born at 34 weeks and stayed in the hospital for 15 days). Needless to say, we are ecstatic there is only one!! And definitely hoping the problems last pregnancy had to do with the girls being twins.
  • I am 14 weeks along now. So far so good. The only symptom I still have is being tired - all the time (and occasionally a really bad headache). I was nauseous earlier on and dealt with all that nasty sickness I had, but now I'm much better.
  • I'm still going to the gym around 4-5 times a week. My doctor is ok with this and doesn't have a set heart rate for me to maintain (or not to exceed). I am having to modify some things and at some points I do have a hard time keeping my heart under 160 bpm (I wear a heart rate monitor when I work out), but it comes down pretty quickly when I stop. I really don't want to give this up, as I really enjoy the classes I take. It's very important for my sanity. :) I know I will probably have to stop at some point and just go to the elliptical/weights, but at the moment the classes are still okay and I am paying close attention to how my body feels.
  • I am at that awkward stage right now - where I don't know if it looks like I am pregnant, but it looks like I have been gaining some weight! I can't wait to have a big baby belly. With Austin, I gained over 100 lbs. Although most of that was water - I was a big swollen mess. With the girls I gained 50 - how much sense does that make - gaining 50 with twins and 100 with one? I'm really not worried about the weight gain, I know it will come off with time. We just want a healthy baby!
  • Ok, so I haven't been eating the healthiest I ever have, but some foods make me sick to even think about (the thought of turkey makes me want to hurl). Unfortunately Chick-Fil-A still makes me happy. I still try and get fruits and veggies in everyday, but I won't even tell you how far I drove to find a Long John Silver's for a fish sandwich. Pathetic.
  • We'll be finding out the sex in early January I think. We could care less what it is, but Austin is so laid back and not full of drama - just sayin' :)
  • This will be the first baby I stay at home with. With Austin and the girls, I went back to work after 8 weeks. So this will be a totally new and wonderful experience!
  • James and I sat the kids down about a week ago to tell them. Abby, at the time, had strep and really could care less (think it had more to do with her feeling sick). Emily was thrilled. Austin was very surprised and seemed happy at first. Then he had a mini-breakdown which totally surprised me. I'm not really sure exactly what was wrong, but James and I reassured him that we would always love him and that this new baby would not take his place. Since then, he has been extremely happy about it, and whenever he catches me eating something that is not the best choice, he informs me that it is not good for the baby. Needless to say I'm not sneaking anything around him anymore. Austin is such a good big brother, what other 6 year old would enjoy reading Cinderella to his little sisters? We are so blessed.

Ok, I think that just about covers all the pregnancy questions!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Red Caboose

One of our family's traditions is to pick our tree out at the Red Caboose every year the day after Thanksgiving. They have tons of trees that you can cut down - but we typically go straight towards the pre-cut frasier furs shipped in directly from North Carolina. This year they lost 1,000 trees to a fungus - yikes! I'm sure that accounted for the increase in prices. We'll continue to go - it's just more festive than going to the local garden center.

There's nothing better than picking out a tree in 65 degree weather! Next year we might need to take two vehicles to the farm... James' truck can only seat 3 kiddos!

For a second we thought it might be fun to try and lose the kids in the maze of trees. Maybe we could have done that 20 years ago, but times have changed.

Emily found this special tree that she liked... any tree you can cut with scissors is probably not a good choice.

The Red Caboose has a small barn full of animals - rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, llamas, parrots, doves, random tropical birds, peacocks...

"Mommy, this one feels like Saffron. But she's more stinky." These days, I'd call it a tie.

"You take the one in the blue shirt, I'll get the little ones..."

Strike a pose.

"That's it, I'm throwing you in."

Usually Santa is there every year, but he must still have a few things to wrap up at the North Pole. I think we will probably see him a few times this season. For some reason, he likes to visit the gym every year (maybe to partake in some needed exercising) and we plan on going to the North Pole via the Polar Express train ride in December. Fun times ahead!