Monday, January 04, 2010

Over the Holiday...

We had a wonderful Holiday Season. We were so busy with all the activities that I definitely did not have time to catch up on our blog.

Where to begin... Well, Avery finished up her soccer season with a bang. They won all their games except for one which was a tie game. Yay Denison Ponies! Hopefully everybody will be back on the same team for the Spring Season. Abby will start playing soccer, but is unfortunately too young to be on Avery's team. Uncle Blake and Aunt Katy got the girls a soccer goal for Christmas so they will have a lot of time practicing by themselves or with Daddy (who played all the way through college).

I wanted to share a cute little story that happened a while back. It's about Abby who continually cracks us up with her dances, facial expressions, and sayings. Before we went to Cancun, Avery was feeling a little sad and was even teary eyed about us leaving. I tried to console her and tell her how much fun she would have. I also mentioned that someday when she had kids she would want to take a trip with her husband and leave the kids behind. I told her I would be happy to keep her children for her. Abby piped up and said, "I am going to leave my kids with Lexi!" Leave your kids with the dog, Abby? Seriously? Ha!

Abby has enjoyed reading Bob Books lately and keeps surprising us with all the words she is learning to read. These books are full of short easy words and are great for helping beginning readers gain confidence and learn to read. Thanks Sybil for sharing yours with us. I also found some more sets on Ebay if anyone else wants to look for them.

Abby and I at her preschool party.

Avery took another STAR Reading test back in October which showed that she reads at a level equal to that of a typical fourth grader after the fourth month of the school year. She now has to pick out library books on the third and fourth grade level. We are so proud of her and are thrilled that both girls love to read!

One of the things we have been focusing on lately with our youth group is serving and helping others. One Sunday night we headed to the Grayson Shelter here in town to serve. We brought dinner to the people, made some crafts with the children, and took some of the adults to see Christmas lights. It was neat to see our youth interact and serve the people at the shelter. It warmed my heart and made me quite proud. The girls enjoyed helping a few of the kids there do the crafts and they made some of their own. My prayer is that we touched those people's lives and showed them Jesus' love.

The Christmas Season brought about all kinds of fun activities. One Sunday night we took the youth Christmas caroling. We sang to some of our church's shut-ins and to some older people from our congregation. We had a large group that piled onto the church bus and rode from house to house. The youth did a great job and brought a lot of joy to the people we sang to. We got a lot of joy out of it too, and some great hugs and yummy cookies. At one particular house we sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Abby automatically chimed in with all the add ons (like Pinocchio, like Monopoly, etc.) No one had told her to or anything, she just did it. It was pretty cute. You can see it here. So after that we let her have her solo at each house. We tried to get Avery to do it, but she wouldn't do it. Either she thought she was to cool for that, or maybe she was just too shy.

I am so thankful that the girls got to take part in all of these activities with us. I want them to understand that the world does not revolve around them. I want them to learn early that they can serve and encourage in big and small ways even as little children.

We also had our annual middle school and high school Christmas parties. We always play fun games, eat, and have a Chinese gift exchange. The middle schoolers exchanged ornaments and the high schoolers exchanged gift cards. It is always a hoot to watch people steal each others gifts.

We invited all our college students who had graduated from our youth group over for a Christmas party. It is neat to see everyone when they come home for the break. We had a blast catching up on each others lives, singing lots of karaoke, playing, and what party is complete without some yummy food? They really got into the karaoke. I wish I would have video taped some of it. Wes is a real pro at it! I think he knows every song.

Earlier in December we had a fun game night at our friends Royce and Carrie's house who had a karaoke machine. Each couple took turns singing, or making fools out of ourselves. I wish I would have gotten some video of our friend Barry singing, "Man, I Feel Like a Woman". I am thankful that we have such good friends here that we feel comfortable enough around to act totally stupid in front of them. All our kids got a kick out of it to, since they are usually the ones performing for us.

Our preschool had a Christmas production before school let out. During the whole thing Abby was very animated and really sang out. It was pretty funny to watch. I think she would love being in plays someday.

The girls and I made Christmas cookies and decorated them with icing and sprinkles. This is a tradition for us and it is always fun seeing their little creations. This year we also made some other goodies to go along with the cookies and bagged them up to give to some elderly friends of ours, Mr. Cobb, and Grandpa and Gina.

The girls and I also made these stepping stones for Nana and Paw Paw for Christmas. The girls enjoyed doing it but were pretty reluctant to help stir the cement mixture which Abby said looked like poop and smelled funny. I guess she will not go into construction work.

On Christmas Eve Aaron, Janet, Mylen, Aivlyn, Grandpa, and Gina all came over for the day. We opened presents together, played some games, and had fun watching the kids play with their new toys. It began to snow while they were here. Yay! Yes, we had a white Christmas. I was pretty excited. We all went to sing to sweet Mr. Cobb, an elderly gentleman that Gina and now Dad have really helped out a lot. They, with the help of their small group, have fixed up his weathered house in huge ways. Dad and Gina constantly help him. His health is failing and they have really blessed him.

Gina helping the girls get saddled up the horse they got them. They have had so much fun on this toy. It neighs and wags its tale.

Uncle Aaron being cheesy!

Looking a little tired. These lucky bums got to go to Wales the next day.

Mylen and Aivlyn opening their gifts.

Later that night we headed up to church for our annual Christmas Eve candle light service. It is always special to sing Christmas hyms together and stand around the whole auditorium with candles in hand. This year it was especially neat because some of the elementary kids had practiced "Here With Us" to sing for everyone. Avery even got to hold a microphone. If you haven't heard that song it is pretty moving.

The snow was still coming down hard after the service, but it didn't stop us from our tradition of leaving a snack out for the reindeer. Believe it or not, reindeer love oats mixed with red sprinkles. We also left a homemade cookie and some milk for Santa. We opened our family gifts and had a short time to play before heading to bed.

The little singers at our candle light service.

I surprised Wes by making him a photo book for Christmas.

How do you like our "jazz hands". I am preparing them for Sing Song at ACU. The girls are showing off their new boots and I am showing off my new gloves, hat, and scarf.

The girls and I leaving reindeer food out on our lawn.

The next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland (ok, so a winter wonderland Denison style). The girls were great about coming to us first before going to discover what Santa had left them. That way we get to enjoy their reactions. They got to play with their new toys for a bit then we bundled up to go outside to play in the snow. It didn't take too long for us to get really cold. We headed inside to pack up to spend a couple nights in Arlington with Wes' family.

The first thing Abby wanted to do in the snow was make a snow angel.

The girls on top of their snowy playground.

I hope it snows some more. We didn't get near enough play time in it.

We had a great visit in Arlington with all our family. We played games, watched the kids play with their new toys, and drove around a neighborhood that had some spectacular Christmas lights. We even got to see some friends from Pleasant Ridge (where Wes grew up going to church) that we hadn't seen in a while. Wes and I also got to go on a date while Nana and Paw Paw watched the girls.

The girls showing off their new umbrellas and rain boots. Thanks Granny!

This year for New Year's Eve, we hosted 3 of my best friends (& their families) from middle school, high school and college (and their families)! There were 11 kids and 8 adults. We had a house-full and had a GREAT time! We started the afternoon with Taco Bueno, a favorite of several of us. We took all the kids to Jumpin' Land, (blow up slides and trampolines, games, and a huge play set). We watched some movies, ate dinner and some treats, celebrated Ryan's 10th birthday, played some board games ... "Things in a Box" and "Battle of the Sexes", and just enjoyed catching up with each other until 2:00 in the morning! The next day came too soon, but we were glad everybody got to hang around until midday so the good times could keep going. I am so blessed to have such great friends and I am glad we have stayed so close through out the years. (21 years for some of us - Yikes!)

The girls and Cole dancing to "Down" by Jay Sean

Alexis and Ashley

Jeff and Amy.

Jason and Lauren.

Do I look tired? It was hard beating everyone in the Things in Box game. Ha!

Ryan, the birthday boy.

Go for it, Avery!

Emie, did you feed your stuffed animal some too?

I really enjoyed holding sweet baby Kendall. She is a doll!

We hope your holidays were equally blessed and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Girl Time!

As you know, I am way behind on my blog. What can I say - we have been pretty busy and I just haven't made time for blogging. Back in November, I got to spend some time with my wonderful friends Lauren and Amy who I have been friends with since middle school. Alexis did not get to join us because of plans she had with her extended family. We sure did miss her.

Amy had this to say about our time together on her blog. She put it so well, I thought I would copy it. Thanks Amy!

November 23-25, 2009

It's always nice to get away from "the real world" and your everyday responsibilities. It is even nicer when you can get away and spend it with your best friends.

Monday I picked Lauren up in Dallas and we headed to Naomi’s house in Denison for 3 days.

Monday: Lunch at Taco Bueno (a real treat for Lauren and I since we don’t have TB in our towns)

Dinner at Olive Garden

Movie at the theater

We were looking forward to sleeping in. How pathetic that we all woke up at 7:00 and couldn’t go back to sleep!
All day shopping at the Allen Outlet Mall
Dinner a Mexican restaurant
Video at Naomi's house

We had a great time catching up, remembering things from middle school through college, and laughing a ton! I love these ladies (and Alexis) and feel so blessed to have them for friends.