Friday, December 31, 2010

The holidays were good to me.

Oh, they were good.

How do I know?  Two never-fail signs: 

1.  My trash can was overflowing with boxes, paper, and 5,685 plastic ties used to hold toys in boxes.  Why those toys are tied down like that I will never know.  It's a cruel trick to drive parents crazy.

2.  All the pants I own are a bit too tight.  Someone needs to get these leftover cookies out of my kitchen.  I also don't know how that entire bag of cherry cordial M&M's is almost gone.  Clearly someone in this house has self-control issues.

I thought I would share a few pictures (ok...a lot of pictures) of our holiday decor and of our smiling faces before the new year and all.  I work well under pressure.  Nothing like a huge lit-up ball dropping to make you feel like you have to accomplish some things. 

 Bella got us all in the Christmas spirit by performing a Christmas tap dance at her dance school.  Here she is doing a reindeer jump.  Notice the height on that jump.  She is a girl of many talents.

Bella and I made sugar cookies one evening.  From SCRATCH.  We used my Aunt Robin's delicious recipe.  They were delicious.  I was exhausted when we were done.

 I was so pleased with our holiday decor.  This is our second Christmas in this house and I really know how I like things to look now.

 My Christmas card collection.  I love it.

 We had MANY Christmas celebrations with family.  This was #1 on December 22 at Andy's Dad's house.  Dinner was almost too pretty to eat.
 Bella and Papi check out her puppet from Europe.
 Bella and Jason look at our picture calendar that is a Christmas tradition.
 Words cannot express how proud I feel...

 Christmas #2 was on December 23.  Grandpa, Mimi, Bella, and Hayes were ready for gifts
 Mimi and her sons and grandchildren.

 A Belle doll that sings...doesn't get much better than that. 

 Christmas #3 was on December 24.  Uncle Garry and Aunt Bitsey gave Hayes this car and he LOVES it. 
Grandaddy gets something good.
We play Skip-Bo at every holiday.  And as usual, "Team Grandaddy and Shene' " dominated.  We won all of the partners games.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. 
 Bella glued the final cotton ball onto Santa's beard.  It was time for him to come!
We left cookies, milk, and a carrot for Rudolph. Bella also colored a picture for Santa. 

 Santa brought this girl a robe just like she asked for!
 Hayes loved his Santa gifts too!  Is he not adorable in those pajamas?!?
 Christmas #4-We opened gifts on Christmas morning with my parents and one of my brothers.

 Beatrice loved being in the middle of it all.  Santa brought her a bone, which she took it out in about 10 minutes.  She lives life to the fullest. 

On Christmas night, we had Christmas #5 with my other brother and sister-in-law.  We like to celebrate around here. 
My fingers are tired from opening gifts on five different occasions, so I will simply close by wishing you a Happy New Year. 

May your 2011 be filled with joy.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I am not done with my Christmas shopping.  Not even close.

People keep bragging  posting on Facebook about how they are done with their shopping.  And that all of their gifts are wrapped.

I feel pressured.  I feel behind.

I just don't have it together.  I don't have a lot of things.  Let's make a list...

Things I Don't Have a Lot Of
1. Time to myself
2.  Money
3.  Expensive clothes
4.  Things on my DVR that aren't on Nick Jr.
5.  Toned muscles
6.  Date nights
7. Hours of sleep
8.  Christmas presents purchased

But I am not going to be discouraged.  Because I have this face to wake up to every morning...

 And that same face looked like this 8 months ago.  I cannot stand how fast he is growing.

And I had dinner with a princess just the other night.


So, the floor beneath my Christmas tree may be empty, but my glass is half-full.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Christmas is full of surprises, and I don't just mean the presents.

I have talked with a number of people lately, and read a few posts on Facebook, and I have found out that lots of people choose to not "do" Santa with their children.

Enter surprise.

I can honestly say, I was a bit shocked.  It never even occurred to me to not "do" Santa at my house.  My parents did it.  Pretty much everyone I know does it.  I will do it too.  And I guess that is exactly how cultural influence works, y'all.

Of course these people gave their reasons for leaving Santa out of their holiday plans.  Many didn't like to lie.  Many didn't want to disappoint their children when the truth came out.  I admire their conviction.  They can choose to celebrate how ever they see fit.

BUT, (you knew there was one coming, didn't you) I still feel totally comfortable with Santa being part of our Christmas tradition.  I want to explore why here on this lovely computer screen and then be on my merry (Ha!) way.

1.  Reason One:  We don't want our children to be devastated when they find out the truth. 
Devastated???  Really?  I just don't see this happening.  I doubt my children with need therapy over Santa, or the lack of him. 

I still remember when I found out.  I was in third or fourth grade (I am not ashamed that I was kinda old.  Good for me for having a childhood.) and I was reading a Parents magazine.  Yes, I loved to read and read everything.  I am sure I had just finished my Babysitters Club and moved on to the next thing of print I saw.  I read something that referred to Santa and his other friends, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, as a myth.   I asked my mom what myth meant.  There you go.  Truth hit.  And I was totally ok.

2.  Reason Two:  We don't want to lie to our children.
This has a little more merit, in my opinion, than reason one.  I don't thinking lying to children is right, either.  I don't put up toys that I don't want my kids to play with and say they are "broken".  I say, "I don't want you to play with this."  I don't tell my kids the candy is gone when it's not or that Dora isn't on when she is.  

Something about Santa doesn't seem like a lie to me.  It seems like tradition, culture, and childhood.  It's like when little kids really think puppets are talking.  Or how my daughter thinks the ladies we saw at Disneyland are the REAL princesses.   

Too often we rush children into reality, into being practical, into being adults.  I want the wonder to go on.

3.  Reason Three:  We want to have all the focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. 
By far, the best reason.   This really made me stop and think about my calendar of events this December.  It made me look around my home and see what I showcase as important during the holiday season.

I'm just not sure it has to be a Santa vs. Jesus mentality.  Santa started as a real man, St. Nicholas.  He loved. He gave to the poor.  He cared for "the least of these".  He did exactly what Jesus called us to do.

Santa, today, can be a fun bonus and Jesus can truly be the focus.  Santa can be used to promote giving and caring for others.  I think children follow our lead about what is the most important thing.  They will celebrate what we celebrate and love what we love.

That being said, I need to spend some time getting my heart ready for the Christmas season.

I need to take the time to really remember that the God of the Universe came down as a baby, in a barn, born to a woman who was probably half my age.

That this birth is what gives me my hope.  It is what saves me from death.

That the greatest gift is nothing that Santa will bring.  The greatest gift came two-thousand years ago.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Santa's not the only one with a list.

I have lists too.  That's right-lists, PLURAL.  I have Santa beat.

Lists keep me organized.  I feel better with them. I also forget things without them.  When I tried to pack for a trip to Colorado for my cousin's wedding without a list, it was a disaster.  I got through security at the airport with Hayes and then suddenly realized that I had forgotten the car seat base and pumped breast milk.  I cried.  No more packing without a list.

Here is my recent list that helped me pack the kids and myself for our trip to Corpus Christi for Thanksgiving.


I didn't forget a thing.  And, I get sweet satisfaction from crossing things off a list.  Sweet satisfaction, y'all. 

I remembered everything for our Thanksgiving trip and the week was wonderful.  The kids were great in the car.  We were able to see lots of family, eat good food, get family pictures made, and eat more good food.
  Bella helped Mimi in the kitchen.  Mimi (Andy's mom) is a great cook.  She did most of the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner. We are so grateful!

 Hayes enjoyed baby food for Thanksgiving. Next year will be better, baby boy. 

The beautiful table.  We had our Thanksgiving at our parent's church because we needed more space.  We had lots of people and it was wonderful!
 Before dinner, PawPaw, Hayes, and Uncle Scott played the piano.  I LOVE that we have holidays together with both sides of our family. 
Bella enjoyed her meal.  Note the turkey shirt.  We dress in theme, people. 

As you can see, it was a great holiday.  Now this week I have been recovering-unpacking, laundry, etc.

I had a plan for that too.  Don't worry. 

I use the weekly calendar to keep myself organized. (I bought it at Hobby Lobby.  Reason #438 why I love that store. ) On this weekly list was Christmas decorating.  Pictures of the beautiful decor coming soon!

Now I am off because the timer is ringing for my pork chops.  Don't worry, those were on a list too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why is this so hard?

Christmas cards are a big deal to me.  A big deal.  I love getting them.  I love sending them. I spend hours (Do not judge me.) planning this out every year.

It all starts with getting a good picture.  Y’all.  This is difficult.  Photographers, I have so much more respect for you now that I have two children.  Sit up straight!  Look at the camera!  Smile!  Mommy needs some eggnog just to recover.

Then after all of this outfit picking and yelling encouraging, no one EVER looks good in the same picture.  Ever.  

See what I mean?   

This year we had some professional pictures made, so I think I will use one of those.  The pressure has been lifted.

Then to make it even BETTER, Shutterfly is offering 50 free cards to bloggers.  That’s right.  FREE.  And to top it all off, I love Shutterfly.  I have ordered gifts and prints from them before and the quality is great.  I also love that their website is so easy to use and gives you so many design choices.  I like easy and I like choices. 

I mean, look at these designs!  I like this one:

And this one:

And this one too:
You had me at the monogram, Shutterfly.  You had me at the monogram.

If you have a blog, you should totally take advantage of this deal.  Sign up here:

I cannot wait to pick my final design and send them out!  There are so many good choices. 

Maybe this won’t be so hard after all. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

All things holiday

I am finally doing my Halloween post.  My computer at home has been unable to log onto/find the internet.  I don't know why.  I don't know how to fix it. hates me. So, I am at the mercy of waiting until Andy gets home to use his laptop.  Thanksgiving is next week and I have pictures with Santa to share, but I feel guilty doing so without doing Halloween first.

So, here it is.  Our Halloween in pictures:

Minnie and Mickey were ready for our church's Fall Festival!

Bella loved jumping.  Props to our church for having preschool bounce houses.  All rough 10 year old boys were avoided this way.

Bella also enjoyed the candy.  Hayes enjoyed my cell phone.

On Halloween we went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  We love that our church's event is not on the 31st, so we can enjoy Halloween the old fashioned way too. 

All that walking was obviously worth it to someone.  And yes, I have let Bella have some of the candy too. 

And now that I have given Halloween the attention it deserves, I can move on to...Santa!  I am normally very against doing Christmas activities before Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't say no when there was NO line for Santa.  We went to check out Santa yesterday (aka-Mommy needed to confirm that he had a real beard.) and the place was EMPTY.  That was enough to convince me to throw my "Thanksgiving has its place too." convictions to the side and go for it.  We got dressed up in our Christmas attire and went for our yearly visit. The results speak for themselves...

I know the quality if the picture is bad.  I had to take a picture of the picture with my phone.  But two kids smiling really makes up for it.