Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Knocking It Out!

We have been getting quite a bit accomplished around here!

For the last few days, we have been tackling some little projects that seem to get lost in the shuffle at other times.

We learned this season that we will NOT be going the route of the "real" Christmas tree again. While we savored the experience of going to the Christmas tree farm, selecting, and then cutting down our own tree, boy, did it turn into a mess! By the time Christmas rolled around, despite regular watering, it seemed that more needles had fallen off of the tree, than remained on it! So, we broke a record this year by having our tree, as well as all of our other decorations taken down and packed away by the 27th! That freed up my mind to focus on some other things that needed to be done.

I have organized Carson's "preschool cabinet", so that it is now much more functional than it was before. This is an area where I keep his letter and number magnets, flashcards, educational games, puzzles, etc.. It is easier for me to locate what I am looking for now, and it will help me to make sure that we are using most all of the items on a regular basis.

Today, I asked Caylie to clean out the coat closet while I was getting some other things done. This hard-working area has a tendency to collect too many coats, backpacks, purses, etc., and so it doesn't take long for things to start getting way too crowded in there. Now, it is cleaned out, and ready for business again.

Also, I was sick for a couple of days on either side of Christmas this year, so although I had already purchased most of the necessary ingredients, we didn't get the baking done for our neighbors that we usually do. Today Caylie, her friend Elizabeth and I all had fun while spending several hours in the kitchen preparing some treats that we will deliver to our neighbors tomorrow.

We are planning to get together with our friends, the Harrod's for New Year's Eve, so tonight we also baked some sugar cookies to take to their house. The girls used icing to frost, and write "2010" on the cookies. We used regular icing, and I sooo wish that we had used royal icing, that would harden, and not be so messy, but we were already into it before I came to that conclusion...oh well. I guess I'll just have to find an excuse to make some more soon!

Tomorrow afternoon, we will prepare some "party sandwiches", as well as some hot spinach dip with crackers to take along as well. Both are new recipes that I have found online. Hopefully they will turn out well!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This was a pretty unique Christmas for my family.

My sister, Jeanna, spent most of December in the hospital with complications resulting from a damaged heart valve. On the 14th of December, she had open heart surgery, and we were all so grateful to have her leave the hospital, safe and sound on the 22nd. She was hospitalized here in town, so fortunately, we were able to be at the hospital often.

Needless to say, my mom and I had lots going on in December, and so some Christmas preparations that usually get checked off of our lists, didn't quite get done this year. We all decided that this would just have to be a very relaxed Christmas.

In addition to that, a couple of days before Christmas, I came down with the stomach bug. The first night, I felt horrible, and for several more days, I still felt wiped out, and not quite right, so the timing on that was less than wonderful.

But like I said...this was to be a very relaxed Christmas.

On Christmas morning, we were a little surprised by how late Carson slept. He had been so excited about Santa, that he had gotten up around 3am, and not gone to sleep again until 6!

Around 9am, Carson finally woke up, and my parents and sister arrived to open gifts. Carson had left cookies and milk for Santa the night before, and was pleased to see that Santa had not only enjoyed his snack, but had left a thank you note as well!

Stockings were first. Here, Carson is checking out the treats that he received in his stocking.

Mom got some pretty jewelry.

Christian's big gift was a Wii!

One of Caylie's fun gifts was a Vera Bradley tote bag.

Carson loved helping pass out the gifts, and saying, "Merry Christmas!" He would just squeal and jump up and down with excitement as he passed out gifts!

Corey received a much-needed new bible. His old one was very worn out!

Here is dad opening a new belt.

Jeanna got new pajamas, and didn't waste any time putting them on! Here she is hanging out in her comfy new pj's...

Carson got several new books for Christmas. Here, Mimi is reading one of his books to him after gift time was over, and lunch was in the works.

We didn't get any pictures of our Christmas dinner, but it was delicious. We usually have a very similar meal for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, so when Mom made Thanksgiving dinner this year, she froze extra portions of many things for us to have at Christmas. It helped us so much, because this year, "easy" was they key word!

Caylie helped Carson decorate a birthday cake for Jesus. She had given him a tiny cup of sprinkles, hoping that he would sprinkle them around the cake, but he went the route of dumping the whole cup of sprinkles in one spot instead!

Oh well...it's all about the experience, not the end result when you are 3! Caylie just went with the flow, and they had a fun time decorating Jesus' birthday cake together!

We used 3 candles...no specific reason for that, but Carson placed them and removed them several times before deciding where they should stay...see the extra candle holes?!?

Carson was very proud of the finished product!

There are very few things that Carson loves more than singing "Happy Birthday", so he was all smiles when it was time to sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus".

It was a a very relaxed and easy Chrismas this year, and we all still had a great time.

We are so thankful for all of the blessings in our life, and are excited to see what the new year will bring!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Christmas Pageant Ever

A couple of weeks ago, Caylie was in a play with our local homeschool drama group. She played the role of Mrs. Bradley, in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. There were lots of lines to memorize, and she did so well!

Unfortunately, Corey was out of town on business, but his parents, his sister and her family, my mom, and my sister were all able to come! She had her own little cheering section. :)

Here are a few pictures from the day..

Caylie (Mrs. Bradley) talking on the phone....

Mrs. Bradley reading from the Bible while teaching the kids about the meaning of the Christmas pageant...

Caylie with Nana and Mimi after the show...

There was a reception after the show with cookies and punch for the cast members and guests to enjoy.

It was a neat experience for Caylie, and she is looking forward to participating in the spring musical that the group is planning to do!

Way to go Caylie! We are so proud of you!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

The Christmas Tree Farm

Last year, we realized that our artificial tree had seen it's better days. It was falling apart, and the attached lights were no longer working.

It was HUGE, and took up a lot of storage space that we wanted to reclaim.

After we took it down, it left our living room for the last time.

We made a decision to go with a real tree this year...for the first time ever!

Today we went to a local tree farm to find and cut down our first real tree. The kids had lots of fun searching for a nice looking tree, and Christian even got on the ground to cut it down!

The tree farm was a neat place. It had a play area for the little guys...

and free hot chocolate and hay rides for everyone to enjoy.

Here is a cute picture of Carson that Caylie took during the hay ride.

When we got home, Carson was so tired that he fell asleep in Caylie's arms.

Doesn't she look cute in her mask? :)

It has been a fun day, and we are going to put the tree up tonight.

More to come!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's Been Going On Around Here

Caylie asked me the other day to just be straight with her.

"Mom, just tell me, are you ever going to blog again?"

I assured her that I would.

But here's the thing...

With 3 or 4 months of homeschooling under our belts now, I can say that we are really enjoying it! I love it so much, and have frequently said that I wish we had started earlier! I am so happy that we made the decision to give homeschooling a try, but I've just not quite found the balance between getting all of my responsibilities taken care of, and still having time to do things like...blogging!

It's getting easier as I get the hang of things. I tweak things that need tweaking, and find ways for things to run more smoothly. Hopefully I will find more and more moments to sit down and blog. I really DO want to have a place where our family memories are recorded, and since I have decided to let blogging replace scrapbooking, I DO need to make it a priority...at least more so than I have been! :)

So here's the latest...

Corey has been out of town this week at broker classes, and so I have had my hands pretty full trying to juggle all that goes on around here. Corey is great to help me with shuttling kids around when he is able to, and without him here, I have been in and out of the house a LOT...which makes it even more challenging to get everything done!

Caylie has been preparing for a play with our local homeschool drama group. She is playing the role of Mrs. Bradley in "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever". The performance will be on Saurday morning, so this last week or so has been pretty focused on getting everything for the play taken care of. All of the actors are responsible for getting their own clothing together for the show, so that was on our "to do" list, and I am on the committee that organizes food and decorations for the reception, and that has needed some of my attention as well. Today she has dress rehearsal all afternoon. I am really looking forward to the play, and will try to post some pictures soon!

Christian recently started his basketball season with the homeschool team here. He has made new friends, and is enjoying it. He's been having some problems with his heel though. Whenever he plays basketball, he says his heel hurts, but then the pain goes away after some rest. We have an appointment this afternoon for him to get it checked out with an orthopedic doctor. Hopefully, whatever is causing the pain, can be quickly treated, so that he can play basketball without having pain!

Yesterday, Christian and Carson both had appointments for check-ups. The doctor said that both boys were just fine. Christian did have to get 2 immunizations, but he didn't mind too much. Carson, we were told, is in the 92% in both height and weight! We were kind of surprised to hear that. Caylie and Christian were always high on the charts as well, but we had always thought of Carson as smaller than they were at that age. Caylie is 5'7 now, and Christian is VERY close behind.

Well, that's the scoop on what is going on at our house!

Hopefully, I will check back in soon!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homeschool Volleyball Nationals!

We recently returned from the National Homeschool Volleyball Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. It was so much fun!

Two of Caylie's friends team mates were traveling with our family, and when we stopped in Kansas City to spend the night, they did their own little photo session in their pajamas! They did silly hair and make up, and had so much fun.
Cute girly stuff!

Our first stop after we arrived in Omaha was Spaghetti Works downtown. We met up with the rest of our group for a big lunch together. The food and the company were both great!
Here is a picture of the girls outside, before we went into the restaurant.
And inside, a few of the girls hanging out together...Caylie played around with this one and made it black and white.

Caylie had a great group of girls on her team. Here they are getting started at the tournament...

Let's play some volleyball!

Corey's parents met us in Omaha for the tournament. They watched and cheered Caylie's team on for some of the matches, and helped us out by babysitting Carson for other matches! We really appreciated that, because it is hard to pay close attention to a game while also entertaining a fidgety 3 year old! :)

Here is a picture of Caylie and Nana before one of the matches.

Nana took the good action shots of Caylie for me to put on the blog. My little camera is way to slow to get any action shots!

At night, the girls would have dinner in the hotel, and then visit in the lobby. Here they are hanging out in front of the nice fireplace. Sorry you can't see the fire!
One morning, Nana and Papaw were hanging out with Carson and Christian (while we were at games), and Nana had a little photo session with the boys. She got some good pictures!

I can't believe how big Christian is getting! He has grown up so much in the last year.

And my other sweet guy...little Carson!

There is a huge sporting goods store in Omaha, called Scheels. There is even a Ferris Wheel in the middle of the store! Everyone rode it, but I can't find the memory card that contains those pictures! Aargh!

Caylie had been needing new volleyball shoes, so while we were at Scheels, we let her pick out a new pair.

Here she is posing with Nana as she picks out her new shoes.

Here is the group shot of Caylie's team that was taken at Nationals.

The competition was really tough, and the girls were a little disappointed with their postion at the end of the tournament, but mostly, everyone was sad that the season was over. The girls had a little party after the last game for the seniors on the team, and as the coach went around and complimented each girl on what they had contributed to the team, there were even a few teary eyes.

We all hated to see it end.

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carson's Quote Of The Day

Today, as we drove past a cow pasture, Carson asked, "Mom, do cows have middle names?" :)

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arkansas State Fair

The Arkansas State Fair has been going for the last week or so, and Friday morning was Family Day. All of the rides were free for the younger children that morning, so we decided to take the kids.

Here is Caylie helping Carson walk across a bridge in the Fun House.

Both of the big kids are so good about participating in things with Carson. He loves them sooo much, and is blessed to have such a loving big brother and sister!

Christian took Carson on this little ride...

Carson climbed up the ladder, and slid down the Super Slide all by himself!

video

Papaw always enjoys the fair, so he drove into town that morning to take it all in with us. Caylie loved getting visit with her Papaw.

Carson was very interested in the animals. He even got to feed them, which he thought was a lot of fun!

Here, Christian is feeding a zebra!


Later in the day, Corey's sister, Kinley, and her family joined us. We all ate lunch together....even shared some fried Oreos. They were actually pretty good!

After lunch, Caylie and I had to leave so that she could get to play practice, but the rest of the group stayed for hours longer! Here Carson and Jackson ride one of the fun rides together.


In the past, I had only gone to the fair at night, and was NOT a big fan. The last time I went, I said that I didn't care to ever go again, but this year, Corey convinced me to give it a try during the day. It was a much different environment...less crowded, and just a better feel in general.

I don't know if I will ever be one to do the marathon, full day trip to the fair, but I think that I will probably go for part of the day again. It was much better than I had remembered it being!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

This weekend, we visited a pumpkin patch that we had never been to before. We had seen an ad for it in a local magazine, and thought that it looked like fun, so after church on Sunday, we made the short drive to check it out.

As we pulled into the area, we couldn't believe how many cars there were! There were sooo many people, but it really just added to the fun!

Our first stop was the pony rides. Carson was a happy camper as Corey placed him up on the horse, and they started walking around.

Anyone know why I can't center this video on the page like the pictures...driving me crazy!

video

After the pony ride, the kids posed for me in front of a little area that had been created for photo ops. The owners had really gone to a lot of effort to create a fun experience for the visitors.

I tried several times to get a cute shot of the kids in the corn, but this was the best one that I was able to get...Carson was ready to move on to the "fun stuff" again!

This was more like what he had in mind...jumping! He loved it!

Unfortunately, after this picture, my camera died, and I missed getting pictures of the other fun stuff that was going on.

There were playground areas set up for the kids, including one that had tons of corn kernels for the kids get into and play with. It was like a sand box...only with corn kernels! This is a picture from the website. I don't know who these kids are...just imagine that you see Carson playing in there! Isn't he cute?! :)

While Carson was playing in the corn, Corey and the older kids went into the gigantic corn maze and played for a while. Corey would take one of the available tall bicycle flags into the maze, and then come back to the entrance and tell Christian and Caylie that the first one to find the flag would win a dollar. They did several rounds of this, and really had fun! Here is an aerial picture of the corn maze from the website! Pretty amazing!


Hayrides are also available, but by the time we left, we had been going strong for a while, and were already pretty worn out, so we decided that the hayride would have to wait until next year.

They have a party area that people can rent for birthday parties, etc. I think that would be so much fun, but we don't have any October birthdays in our family! On the day that we were there, this area was available for people to sit and drink their hot chocolate and cider.

It was a fun day, and we all had a good time. Carson wore himself out playing, so of course, he was out like a light before we even got out onto the main road!

We will have to plan on going again next year...only with a fully charged camera!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Last Stop Before Heading Home

Before heading home today, we made one last stop.

Often, when we go to Northwest Arkansas, we stop by a pizza/entertainment place that the kids really enjoy.

When we arrived, Christian headed straight for the bull ride! He gave the bull a run for the money, but eventually the bull won!

Carson found a school bus ride that was more his speed. I'm not sure where his shoes went between walking into the building, and getting on the school bus!

Corey is still a pretty mean shot when it comes to basketball!

And Caylie is not so bad herself...

A friendly race.

Caylie was old enough to ride alone, so it was Caylie against the boys. She is sticking her tongue out. Hmmm...does that mean that she is a sore loser?

Carson and I were the cheerleaders/photographers.

Back inside again, Caylie goes to town on the jump rope game...

Told you!

Christian got in on the action too!

After the kids turned in their tickets for prizes, we loaded up and headed home.

It was a great weekend!

Writing the Waves,
Christi

 
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