Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Well, let me catch up with myself...we've been having some fun times around here!

Here are a few bits and pieces of what has been going on...

Christian and Carson blasting some fun Christmas music, and dancing up a storm! SO FUN!

A willing but slightly hesitant visit to see Santa...

A couple of days ago, our family spent a little bit of time Christmas shopping together on a very cold day (which makes it feel like Christmas to me!), and then settled in at Cracker Barrel for lunch. We love eating there when we have a little time on our hands...Corey and Christian play checkers in front of the fire, Caylie and I look around in the store, and Carson just enjoys playing with the little wooden peg game at the tables! :)

That evening, we all headed out (in the rain) to Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs to see the Christmas lights. Corey had heard that is was worth going to see, but that you had to get there early to avoid the big crowd, so despite the rain, and a car full of doubters...Corey was sure it would stop before we got there...we loaded up, and set out on the road.

Wouldn't ya know...he was right! By the time we got there, the rain had stopped, and as he had guessed, the rain had scared off the crowd!

It was a hit!!!

We had all gotten bundled up because we knew that it would be cold...Carson was so layered that he could hardly move! :) After we paid to get in, we headed over to get some of the complimentary hot chocolate and hot apple cider to carry along with us...YUM! We set out walking along the beautifully lit paths, and were all just AMAZED at much preparation and effort had gone into making it just MAGICAL! It was just the icing on the cake that we felt like we were almost the only people there! As we came to the end of the walking path, there was a great fire for warming up, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores! So nice and cozy! Oh, and can't forget round two of the hot chocolate and apple cider after we got back to the building!

We had a great time...and took lots of fun pictures! Take a look... Caylie is sporting her new fancy schmancy jacket that was her main Christmas gift...given a couple of days early just for this occasion! Christian got his a little early too...a new guitar!!! Can't wait to have my guy playing some great music for us around the house! He's been holding out for it for a year or two now! :)

We all decided that we need to make it a yearly tradition!

On Christmas Eve, we gave Carson his main Christmas wouldn't fit in the car! Here he is taking a test drive in his new ride...

After a little bit of a cram session trying to get last minute things taken care of, we loaded up, and headed to Corey's parents house for Christmas. We enjoyed a nice night together, as his sister and her family also arrived, and then we were blessed with little Carson sleeping through the night!!! (The last time we spent the night at Nana and Papaw's house, we had a VERY long night!) We didn't take it for granted!

Today we all got to start the morning with our traditional Christmas breakfast...Monkey Bread...can't beat that! Leaves the whole house smelling just like Christmas!

We all enjoyed opening some nice gifts and then watching the kids have fun playing with their new toys! Carson, however, didn't like that cousin Jackson got a plasma blaster, and he didn't....that didn't go over well at all, actually. Oh well, the little guy always gets the short end of the stick!

Here are a few pics from the morning...

After a YUMMY feast with way too much food, some took naps, while others played, chilled out, or went on walks...I was a napper! LOVED IT!

Finally, we wound up lots of good playing and visiting, and packed up again to head home.

While we always feel like Nana and Papaw are happy to see the whole crew come, after having such a full house...11 in all, with 4 loud and rowdy boys, I imagine that they must also sigh just a little sigh of relief when they wave goodbye to those two cars backing down the driveway!

Thankfully we all get to see each other very often!

Thanks Nana and Papaw for another special Christmas! As always, we enjoyed it! :)
Well, I think I am caught up now...better wrap this baby up!
Writing the Waves,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Uh Oh...!

Ok, I have made a very intentional effort this Christmas season to RELAX...and to be honest, I have done a pretty great job. I haven't stressed about decorating, gifts, Christmas cards, etc. I have not felt the overwhelming crunch of having to spend, spend, spend, and most days and evenings have found me right here at home with family...where I like to be. A much calmer and quieter Christmas season than I have known before...

Until Now!

It is just now starting to dawn on me that I have spent so much time being relaxed about it all, that I haven't gotten things done! I still have about, oh...95% of my gifts to purchase and/or make, and wrap! I haven't done anything about Christmas cards, neighbor gifts are just now crossing my mind, and I have yet to take my 2 year old to sit in Santa's lap!


I've got to get my act together!

I'm going to try to stay calm.

Tonight I'll design a digital Christmas card (I have fun doing that!).

Tomorrow I'll force...I mean ASK...with authority, my kids to pose for a Christmas picture...should be a nice bonding time!

Friday is my Mother's Day Out, so I'll make out a list of what has to get done during that time. One store for Caylie's main gift, another store for Christian's main gift, another store for Carson's main gift, another store for craft supplies for some other gifts. Maybe the grocery store too.

Crafting and wrapping over the weekend.

That's do-able...right???

Monday morning we can take Carson to sit on Santa's lap at the mall...when it will not be a madhouse. Smart.

It's time to get this ball least I have a game plan!

Hmmm...any ideas about simple but nice neighbor gifts...haven't quite figured that one out yet!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow...Well...Ice Day!

The kids will take what they can get! Sure it would have been great to have some snow to play in, but if ice will get them out of school for the day, then... "Bring on the ice!"

With an unexpected free day on their hands, the kids both hooked up with friends, and had some fun!

Christian and a couple of his neighborhood friends were outside shortly after getting up and around. They were all bundled up, and slipping and playing in the ice that was everywhere.

Caylie had a friend come over to study, but on a "study break", they both ended up baking chocolate chip cookies and then starting their own blogs!

I was excited to see them starting blogs...I told them that they will be so happy to look back and read their blogs as time goes by...I should know. I've had mine a good month or so now, ya know! :)

Writing the Waves,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winding Down A Fun Weekend!

Well, it's Sunday night. I am about to head to bed for a good night's sleep...unless Carson decides otherwise! I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Caylie's party on Friday night was lots of fun. The house was as put together as I had hoped to have it before her guests arrived, despite a sick and fussy toddler hanging onto me for much of the day! :) I think the antibiotics are helping because although he still hasn't gotten his appetite back, and is fussier than usual, the fever is that!

The girls had fun, and Caylie said that she was so happy with how everything turned out! Yea! That's what a mom wants to hear! Take a look at some of the fun...

Gingerbread House Contest...they had so much fun with this...

And the results....

I guess they didn't get all of their creative energy out, because here is what happened to Carson when they got their hands on him...I don't think he minded though...he just loved having so many people fussing over him!

This was the scene the next morning...yes, there really are teenage girls in there somewhere!

After breakfast they had a LITTLE more life in 'em...

Christian just got back home from spending the night with Nana and Papaw. He always enjoys that, and while he is there, Papaw always finds something "outdoorsy" to teach him about that Christian finds so interesting. This time, Christian got to work on perfecting his fire lighting skills outside in the fire pit. He loves that stuff! Corey told Papaw that if Christian grows up to be an arsonist, that we will blame him! :)

Today Mimi did Caylie and me a big favor! Thanks Mimi! First of all, after church she took Caylie, Carson and me out for lunch (Corey was at real estate school, and Christian was with Nana and Papaw.), and then she took Carson to her house to give him a nap and let him play for a while, so that Caylie and I could have some girl time at the mall! FUN!!! That has been pretty rare for us lately, with Carson not being the ideal shopping buddy and all!

We spent the entire time in one store...Forever 21. It has great clothes and great prices! Caylie had her report card earnings as well as some baby sitting money with her, so she was armed and ready to go! We looked at everything...which in itself takes a long time at that store, and then she took the legal limit into the dressing room to try on!
In the end, she had to make the torturous decision about which things to buy, and which to say a sad goodbye to in the store! She decided on 4 great tops!

It was so much fun...I could do it again tomorrow...especially when she is paying!

Well, off to bed!

Writing the Waves,

Friday, December 12, 2008


Help! Wouldn't you know...tonight is Caylie's sleepover birthday party...and Carson is sick!

He has been kind of off for a couple of days, and just when we think it's over, he starts feeling bad again. I have been counting on having today to get everything done since Carson has Mother's Day out on Fridays, but I realized when he had fever yesterday and then woke up fussy today, that we were going to have to call the doctor.

So after spending over an hour of my coveted party prep time at the doctors office, we discover that he has an ear infection. Hopefully the antibiotic will get him back up and running pretty quickly.

In the mean time, I get to shift into super high gear so that I can get Caylie's cake made and decorated, clean the kid's bathroom, declutter the dining room craft mess, etc. before all of the the fun begins at 6:30!

Pray with me that the little guy sleeps through the night with a house full of giggling girls downstairs!

Gotta go...wish me luck!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Did It!

We did it!

Tonight our family took a BIG step into the kind of easier, more relaxed Christmas that I described in my last post! I told my crew that this year was going to be different in a good way...I was not going to spend two days overwhelmed, and wading through Christmas stuff spread out all over the living room while I made it my mission to create a work of art with the tree (and the 3 million or so ornaments, etc. that we have accumulated!), on the mantle, on various tables throughout the house, etc...I was officially shifting gears.

Nobody believed me...Corey didn't think I could do it. He teased that once we started, I wouldn't be able to help myself, but I was determined!

To begin with, we only brought down about half of the Christmas boxes that we keep stored up in the attic...that alone made a BIG difference. Christian helped me get that part done, so it was pretty fast and painless.

Then, I let Corey and Christian choose how much (or how little) to fluff the tree branches...a job that I usually spend FOREVER doing.

Next, Corey and Christian chose how many (or how few) lights to put on the tree, and how to space them out...and I didn't tweak them even a little bit! I did have to remind myself to just let it go, and enjoy this new, relaxed kind of Christmas that I am working toward! I knew that it would be worth it!

While the guys prepped the tree, Caylie and I puttered around setting out the stockings, and the nativity scene (or as Carson said, "the tivity"), and a few other things. Little Carson didn't know what we were up to exactly, but he kept a big smile on his face. He knew that whatever it was, it was fun!

When it was time for the ornaments... everyone put whatever ornaments they wanted to put, wherever they wanted to put them! (GASP!!!) Yes, I told you I was serious about all of this! Take a look at the end result...thank goodness I have one willing victim volunteer to be in all of my Christmas decorating pics!
Corey and Christian moved the action into the yard to put up the yard trees...wherever they chose to...and I hung the window wreaths...and I didn't fluff much at all I might add!

After only about 1 1/2 hours, we were putting the boxes back into the attic, and winding things up. Unbelieveable...I don't think it has ever been so pleasant and easy! No hot apple cider to sip, or wrapped gifts under the tree tonight, but maybe next year I'll pull that part off.

I headed to the den to see Carson watching the Dancing Santa with great facination. Papa gave Santa to Caylie and Christian years ago, and they have just loved him! He does a funny little dance to "Jingle Bell Rock". Carson tried to copy the hip action that Santa has going on. Where is the video camera when you need it??? Here is a pic of Carson with his new favorite toy...
Caylie sat on the floor and read Carson some of her favorite stories from our Christmas book basket. The book basket is one of our most treasured items that we pull out each year. It is a basket (always the same one) of probably 10 or 15 Christmas books that the kids have read and enjoyed since they were very little. It comes out every year, and always gets LOTS of attention...even as the kids have gotten older. They love it because of the memories they have of each of the special books. Caylie says that even the smell of many of those books has become special and familiar to her!

I didn't get a picture of the two of them together unfortunately, but here Carson is beside the book basket later....
That's what I'm going for with this change...slowing things down enough to be able to stop, watch, and appreciate the special moments that are happening all of the time...and in the process, maybe teaching the kids to do the same.

It was just a good night all around!

Writing the Waves,

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