Saturday, December 31, 2011

December # and a New Year

Well, we haven't gotten our official email update with our number but everyone else has so we know we are number (took this at Sea World yesterday as we found a parking spot right by our number!):

Can you believe that? Wonder how long we will be #13 but you just never know... we are expecting to wait until #1 because of our parameters so it will still be awhile. We couldn't be more excited about starting the new year being so close to single digits (well I guess we could be if we were actually in single digits but don't want to get greedy or ungrateful here!).

This month we haven't done much to get baby's room together. My mom was so sweet to think of us and him for Christmas and got the CUTEST Hungry Caterpillar quilt kit and will have it made the next couple weeks. I was a blubbering mess when I saw that it was for him. Made me miss him SO much... The girls got a rock painting kit for Christmas and have created many. They were so sweet to think of painting some for baby brother all on their own. They are sitting on one of his shelves:
With the close of 2011, we anticipate this to be the year we welcome baby #3 into our lives. It's hard not to hope and have an expectation so we will wait patiently to see his face sometime this year. God has taught us so much in the year of 2011 and I can't wait to see what He does in 2012!

Speaking of 2012... we had a wild and crazy party at our house tonight to welcome the New Year. You know, one of those parties that starts at 5 p.m. and people start leaving at 7:30 p.m.? 17 kids, 2 babies and 11 adults...My how New Year's Eve has changed with having kiddos =) It was actually a lot of fun to get together with our dear friends in life group to share food, catch up, have the kids play, do a mock countdown at 7:15 p.m. with hats and party blowers. So glad we had those over who could make it and missed those who couldn't be here!

Here was the kid crew for the evening! Look at all those boys (14 to be exact)!! We were missing a lot fo families but glad we had the Gibbins, Craftons, Millers, Lamars and Zimmers to help us bring in the new year!
Celebrating with Channing
Party hats, blowers, glow stick bracelets and sparkling cider
Linden, Ethan and Reef
My sweetheart
Crystal and Henry
The Millers stayed for a little longer and the kids were so cute playing together!
May God bless you this year and show you how He wants to use you to further HIS kingdom!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Today was a VERY special day I don't want to soon forget!! Claire got her ears pierced!! About a year ago she asked about it but quickly said she didn't want to to do it so I told her when she was ready to let me know. Honestly, I didn't think she would come back to me so soon but the last day of school she asked if she could get her ears pierced. Neil about flipped out!! After we talked about it we decided that Claire could get them pierced after she earned 7 stars on a chart we made together - Claire made her own boxes! We've been dealing with a lot of whining so it has been a great incentive for her to work on her self control - now to make sure she keeps it up!

So here is our momentous occasion in pictures! She was so brave - I could tell she was nervous but she just got up there, relaxed when they told her to, got a little teary after the count down, let me pick her up and then said she was fine! She didn't even cry and a lot of the other people commented on how brave and good she was.
She thought it was great to see her name everywhere in the store!
After!! She chose little pink stones - any surprise?
My baby is growing up! So fun to have this special day together just the two of us!
And of course we had to get a sweet treat to celebrate the occasion - this picture is just beautiful. Claire, sometimes you just take my breath away

One of the things I want to remember most about this day is that after driving around the mall parking lot literally for 20 minutes, Claire and I got out of the car and I savored holding my little girl's hand. Without hesitation she still takes my hand. She took it as we walked along the busy sidewalks of the mall and again as we walked back to the car after she braved her ear piercing. As cheesy as it sounds, I don't want to forget how her sweet, small hand fits into mine and how she proudly walks hand in hand with me. She seems to be growing up right before my eyes so I know it won't be long until it doesn't happen as often or even at all. No matter what, she will always be my baby.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Downtown Lights

Eden ended up running a 103 temp on Christmas so instead of us all staying downtown with my parents that night, Claire and I went to see the lights while Neil stayed home with our little sickie. I'm so glad we did because Claire was SO excited - she LOVES going downtown for whatever reason but with her love for Christmas lights, hot chocolate and her new camera, she was in heaven. What a fun evening to share! Wish Eden would've been well so we could've all been down there together.

Loving her hot chocolate on our river boat ride to see all the lights!
Cheers with Grandma!
Our budding photographer - she's actually pretty good! I love to see her wanting to capture things she loves, things she wants to remember, things she wants to show others...
What a memorable evening!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was spent with Neil's family as usual but we started for lunch this year so we could get to our church's service. We had a great lunch and opened gifts. Neil's mom wasn't feeling well and ended up in the hospital that evening and an appendectomy a few days later. Claire had just gotten over her 4 day fever and on the mend and little did we know Eden would have 103 the next day.... besides all the sickness we had a great time!

Claire found the fish ornament on the tree so she got to open the first gift

Kyle and Justin
Maw Maw and Mary Ellen
Loves to paint even in the bath!

Shannon and Steve

Our church service went really well - I was a caroler in the drama and conducted our ensemble that prepared a gorgeous arrangement of "Coventry Carol" - we ended it with our traditional candle lighting and singing of Silent Night and Joy to the World. All went well and I was releaved =)

Mike, Heather and Pierce, my parents and Heather's parents were all there and it meant the WOLRD to me to have them there! How awesome to worship with so much family!
Isn't Pierce's Santa Coat cute?!
My mom and dad got to spend time with the Williams and my brother's family while we were with Neil's fam. Couldn't resist snagging this picture!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Staycation - La Cantera

This past weekend we were given an INCREDIBLE gift from a sweet couple at church - two nights at the La Cantera Westin Resort right here in town!! We love being tourists in our own city so this was the perfect staycation... one night alone (thanks to my parents) and one night with the kids. The girls were SO excited when we told them right before we took them back to the hotel to take part in all the fun kid's activities they have planned for the holidays. Our first night was divine... it's been a long time since we had an evening alone. We went to one of our favorites, Copeland's, for dinner, window shopped a little bit, went to the resort bar for a drink and some live music, sat by the fireplace with my favorite peppermint mocha - it truly was one of the best evenings we've spent together the past year or two!

The first stop with the kids was the snow blower aka.bubble blower! They just ran and ran through the bubbles with the other kids and had a blast!
Then it was off to decorate the gingerbread cookies and of course eat them!
Nothing like crafting for my girls! They each made a photo frame
Spending time by the fire place
Visiting Santa one last time - Eden wouldn't do it but Claire was all about it because she decided she was going to change what she wanted for Christmas. WHAT?! I already got squinkies and convinced her that a hoola hoop would be a great birthday gift =) She was ok with that
Our last stop was getting in our jammies and watching the Polar Express together on a projector in the Kids Club. We couldn't believe that they stayed up for the whole thing! It was all of ours first time to see it. They shortly looked like this around 10:15 p.m.

Thankfully they didn't get up until about 7:30 - woo hoo!! Sleeping in!! We got ready for church and walked around outside a little bit. Claire loved hanging out on the balcony!

The stay was magical... I know that sounds pretty dramatic but it was JUST what we needed. A little retreat and oasis away from the busy and stressful season (even though we had to get through my studio recital in the middle of it!) What a joy it was to make such a special memory with the girls! We were SO blessed to be given such a wonderful gift!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Parties here, Parties there!

Along with everything else we have had Eden's school program, Claire's class party and our 15th annual Christmas party!

Eden's class were the stars and they sang "Behold That Star" and boy were we proud! She was such a good girl doing the movements and singing as best as she could! I love this picture of her - it's a glimpse to me of what she will look like when she's older.

Here is the video of our little star!

Eden LOVES her teachers and can't wait to go to her red class! Here she is with Ms. Megan
And here she is with Ms. Myra. They are such a blessing to our family!
Eden and Mateo

Claire's class party was on the last day of school and I was able to go up and help out! They had a craft bell wreath, pin the nose on the snowman, a book exchange and a huge spread of yummy food!

We love Mrs. Lopez =)
Claire with some of her friends - Valeria, Maddie, Nina and Jasmine
Claire and her friend Connor ready for their book exchange
Most of her class!! Some were absent and some had already left
Then it was our 15th annual Christmas party that we host for our friends we grew up with and sang together in middle and high school. Can you believe it's been 15 years? The party has certainly evolved. We used to start late and go till the wee hours of the morning but now we start early and bring the kids (some of us still stay up way too late!!) Didn't get a picture of everyone but here are the ones I got!

Eric, Erin and Cora celebrating their first Christmas as a family of 3
Crystal and Julia
Kate, Jenny, Me, Beth n Lucy and Marie
The girls (Eden, Abbey, Lily and Claire) would come in every 15 minutes with a new fashion show! Lyla was there too but we didn't get a picture of her
Danny with Ali and Erin with Cora
Andy and Aubrey with Ali
Didn't get a picture of Tracy, James, Neil or J.J. but they were all there too! We missed those who couldn't be with us. It's so awesome to see that we are all still good friends even if we don't see each other all the time. We've started a playgroup this year which has helped some of us see each other more often and the kids to grow up knowing each other! We are so blessed with our long lasting friendships!