Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Official. We're Addicted.

I would write more, but I'm too busy thinking about how I'm going to take all my family's ore this evening.

ruthlessly

take

all

their

ore

Monday, December 28, 2009

What Happens on the Farm Stays on the Farm

little boy + farm + three girl cousins = the cutest picture ever

Hope your holidays were spectacular.

We've refused to let ours end.

Enjoying some time away with our sweet family.

When Aaron goes back to work next Monday, someone will need to come over and hold me while I cry.

Could someone schedule my breakdown in to their calendar?

Please come over with chocolate in your pocket.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

picture taken my by fabulous sister-in-law, Lynsey

"Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, sing all ye citizens of heaven above."

Citizens of heaven.  Isn't that beautiful?

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ

Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas Eve Baby


Who said you could turn six my love?

It wasn't me.

It wasn't daddy.

So maybe you should have stayed five.

We've threatened to only use five candles on your cake

Send you to your room until you agree to stay five

Spank you if you get a year older.

I know you think there's not many forces stronger than daddy

but six must be awfully powerful

or else, you'd still be five.

It doesn't seem like it was six years ago

When we met you for the very first time.

It seems like it was yesterday

like you've played leap frog over the years

and landed too quickly on "big boy."

We love you punkin'.

How you're becoming your own person

with a pinch of daddy

a pinch of mommy

and tablespoons of your brothers.

You are as sweet as Fairfield peaches

and super silly

When I get onto you, you make a silly face and open your eyes wide.

I wonder if anything will ever be serious to you.

You make it hard for me not to stop and laugh at you...and at myself for how ridiculous we both can be sometimes.

Six years ago you brought home from the hospital a bag filled with "lighten up" and "It's not that big of a deal, mom."

We're all eternally grateful.

You have always been a comfort, child.

A snuggle bug

squeezably soft

And your love language is still cupcakes.

Pretty fitting since you're oh-so-sweet.

Happy Birthday Ashton

May you know how greatly you are loved!

We think you're pretty stinkin' spectacular,

and the God who knit you together loves you even more.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Jamie, Skye, Aedan, and Jesse


We know he's your husband

and you need him

to make you laugh

take out the trash

help with the hard parts of parenting

and witness those moments when it seems as though God has funneled every kernel of goodness in heaven straight into your home.

you need him

we know

we know

We know he's your daddy

and you need him

to make you laugh (until some real-live pee-pee falls into your undies)

take you on adventures

hug you till it hurts a little

and grin at a burp (when you can tell mommy doesn't think it's all that funny).

you need him

we know

we know

But you see, we just finished reading North or Be Eaten

and in the words of the man standing behind a lady price matching at Wal-Mart...

"We really are in a terrible spot."

We know you need your husband and your father.

We're trying to think of you.

We're trying.

But we're weak. We're human.. And so there are days, we're not going to lie, we wish your husband...your daddy would lock himself in a strander's tunnel for a few months and write us another book.

It's wrong.

But it's true.

The Best Christmas Story Ever

This book has become a Christmas tradition in our home.

Aaron's sweet mom bought us our very own copy the last time she was here. Usually I check it out from the library and keep it longer than I should.

It's a short book with only seven chapters.

When I get to lines like this one...

"Wanda Pierce weighed about a ton - she even had fat eyes," I have to stop reading and laugh.

And then I'll read lines like these...

"So the Herdsmans pretty much looked after themselves. Ralph looked after Imogene, and Imogene looked after Leroy, and Leroy looked after Claude and so on down the line. The Herdsmans were like most big families - the big ones taught the little ones everything they knew...and the proof of that was that the meanest Herdman of all was Gladys, the youngest.

We figured they were headed straight for hell, by way of the state penitentiary...until they got themselves mixed up with the church, and my mother and our Christmas pageant.
"

Those parts make my heart feel like it's filling up with hot chocolate.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recycled Bows


I saw these on Money Saving Mom's blog.

Gift bows made out of magazine pages.

Last night (in between games of Banana Grams) Sara, Crystal, Grace Anne, Megan and I tried our hand at these paper bows.

They turned out incredible!

We all agreed...we should have had a big bow making party.

Next year...next year.

What a neat way to make your Christmas even greener.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tacky Tacky!

Have you heard of them...

The Tacky Christmas Sweater Parties?

We got wind that one was happening near us and invited ourselves to the party.

Yep. We're officially those people.

The Terrys hosted a Tacky Christmas Party at their house, and we practically begged to come.

We tackily invited ourselves to a tacky sweater party.

So thick with tacky irony.

So the gist of the party...

Find a tacky Christmas sweater and wear it.

This was one of those moments when I wished with all my heart that I never threw my clothes away. I had some of the best tacky sweaters in the 90's. Some required batteries.

Selah...calmly stop and think of how awesome the 90's were.

Okay...stop thinking about Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

So where did we find a tacky Christmas sweater present-day?

Goodwill was pretty picked over. Apparently this tacky Christmas sweater deal is extremely hot right now.

Because of this Tacky Christmas Sweater trend, during the month of December (perhaps for many years to come) there will be two sorts of people.

People who proudly wear tacky Christmas sweaters in real life.

And

People who need to grab one of these hilarious beauties to wear to a tacky Christmas sweater party.

When one starts the process of finding a tacky sweater, inevitably the question comes to mind...

"Who could we borrow one of these sweaters from? Who wears these things and would loan us one?"

Yes! Yes! Who can we borrow one from? Pictures of people you know in their tacky sweaters start popping into your mind. This is going to be great! If I can get my hands on one of those sweaters, I'm going to be the tackiest of them all.

Then quickly the next question arises....

"How do we ask someone who owns a tacky Christmas sweater and wears them proudly if we can borrow their clothing to go to a tacky Christmas sweater party?"

fizzle

Sort of like how I wonder what casting calls looked like for the Burbs. "Needed...the ugliest people on the planet. If that's you...come audition!" Or how about the casting call for Hurley? "Wanted...a really fat, sweaty man." Who jumps at that opportunity?

The answer to our sweater issue...

Maybe a little lying and deceit.

Perfect for the Christmas holidays, no?

You approach the secretary at your job and sweetly say, "I'm going to a Christmas party, but have nothing to wear. You know that sweater you wear every Thursday in December...that one with Rudolph..and his nose lights up with batteries...that sweater would be perfect for the party. Rudolph only has one eye, but that's okay. It's amazing how his red nose distracts from his deformity. Do you think I could borrow it? It looks so lovely on you, I'm hoping I can wear it and look half as beautiful as you do."

If you see Charlie around, ask him how he got his hands on the sweater Kirby wore to the party.

Aaron thought to ask his boss if we could borrow a tacky Christmas sweater.

When he mentioned her, I was confused...not only did I not want Aaron to get fired, I have always thought of his boss as trendy. Try as I may, I could not put a tacky Christmas sweater on her and it look right in my mind.

"But she taught for like 25 years or something."

Ah! Yes. Teachers! I think colleges hand out tacky seasonal clothing items when teachers graduate. "Here's your diploma and a turtleneck with ghosts on it"

I've always imagined teachers having this secret society...this secret place...like where Hagrid takes Harry Potter...Diagon Alley...minus all the cool wizard stuff and instead filled with seasonal sweaters and wooden jewelry.

So...we were going to ask his boss for the sweater.

But how do you ask for the sweater without saying, "I think you're tacky?"

We read and re-read the text. Will she know we don't think she'd ever wear one of these now? Will she know that when I grow up I want to be as cool and trendy as her?
Will this offend her? Will Aaron lose his job?

His boss was incredible. She wasn't offended at all...and mentioned that if someone has taught for 25 years they are FAIR GAME for asking them to borrow a tacky Christmas sweater.

So we got the sweater. I actually got two. A vest and a light coat.

I was able to layer my tackiness.

Aaron drove all over town looking for a Christmas sweater and never found one. He kept calling me...so annoyed. "I can't find anything...and yet there are old ladies all over Goodwill wearing the exact sweaters I'm trying to find. There's something so wrong with this!"

"Would it be wrong if I asked an old lady if I can buy her sweater off of her?"

Yes honey...it would. Keep looking. You might have to lie to find one, but we're not mugging an old lady. We do have some scrupples. In that moment I heard that old saying..."Sin takes you further than you'd ever want to go." I had to laugh imagining Aaron on the news...a mugshot of him in a tacky Christmas sweater...and then shots of an elderly lady...very angry...shaking her finger while wrapped up in a towel. "Local Worship Leader takes the Tacky Christmas Sweater Phenomenon too far."

Aaron did find something better than a sweater...a puff paint poinsettia t-shirt.

When he was checking out with his fabulous find, the check out lady looked at the shirt...then at Aaron...then back at the shirt...then at Aaron and in her very thick African American way of speaking said..."You buying this for you?

Aaron hesitated...probably really wanting to get through this whole ordeal without harming the elderly or telling a lie.

Then the check out girl jumped back in with..."Wait...You buying this for one of those parties?"

Yes.

Only Aaron would wear something like this.


When he put it on, Anson came around the corner and saw his dad's clothes.

You should have seen Anson's face. We had purposefully not told him where we were going, or why we were wearing the clothes we had on. We wanted to see his reaction.

He looked at Aaron and very sweetly said...

"Dad...do I have permission to tell you honestly what I think about your clothes?"

I could not breathe I was laughing so hard.

Anson was not sure about going anywhere with his dad looking the way he did.

Aaron never smiled...he played it off as only he could. "What...you don't like my new shirt? Feel it...it's puffy."

The puffiness did not change Anson's mind.

Poor Anson. It was sad to watch our child look at his dad and wonder if his father had lost it.

"But dad...you look pretty dorky."

"No..." Aaron said. "I look cool. You've got to feel this shirt. It's puffy. Do you know what these are? They are poinsettias. Puffy Poinsettias!"

Every time Aaron said puffy, I found it hard to breathe.

____________________

On the way to the party I thought about how much potential there was to offend someone at one of these parties.

You see...some people don't wear tacky sweaters from Goodwill. Some people wear their very own tacky Christmas sweaters.

It happened more than once at the party where something like this went down...

(walk up to someone wearing a tacky Christmas sweater) "This is horrible! Where did you get it?"

(nervous awkwardness) "From my closet. It's mine."

Or

(very sarcastically) "Love that sweater!"

(unsure of themselves) "Oh...well..I didn't have anything else to wear...so I wore this...but I wear it in real life...as in, I wore it last Tuesday"

Lots of fun times at a tacky Christmas Party...but also a lot of the ol' foot in your mouth as well.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gingerbread Men

The other night we were supposed to go to downtown Bryan for First Friday.

But alas...

It was cold.

Way too cold for this winter hater. Good thing winter doesn't have an email address. I wouldn't get anything done during the day. I'd be at my computer sending hate mail to a season.

So we opted to stay home, make gingerbread cookies with friends and watch Jumaji.

I had never made a gingerbread recipe before.

It was the kind you have to roll out.

I am seriously inept when it comes to anything that has to do with a rolling pin.

Good thing one of the friends we invited over used to work at a pizza place.

Charlie is a pro at the dough rolling.

About halfway into the gingerbread making I started looking for my "man" cookie cutters.

Not in the drawer.

Probably in the playdough bucket.

Nope.

So...good thing the friend we invited over is also a graphic designer. He makes logos for people, surely he can make some gingerbread men.

Nothing like inviting friends over for gingerbread man cookies and then making them do all the work.



freehand gingerbread men





Come to find out...

Gingerbread is pretty gross (or at least the recipe I used was).

It was fun making the cookies and decorating them, but the kids could not eat them (and neither could we).

Ashton was the first to sample. He blurted out..."Mom, can I have a different dessert. This one is DISGUSTING."

He was just about to get a good talkin' to from his daddy for being so rude when I tasted one.

Barf.

They tasted like a black jelly bean gone worse.

We were tasting the cookies and gagging when we looked over at Hayden. His cookie was almost gone. I said, "Do you like them?" You could tell with all the commotion going on about how gross they were he was afraid to tell us he liked them. So funny. Very sheepishly he said, "Yes."

So...everyone but Hayden thought they were nasty.

Next year...

We'll make snickerdoodle men and decorate them (unless someone has a kick butt gingerbread cookie recipe that does not taste like black strap molasses and actually has some sweetness to it).

I think I need a new "man" cookie cutter in my stocking this year.

Good thing I had also made caramel popcorn.

It was my first time to make that as well...but it turned out great!

See that "servings" section on the recipe?

I didn't know you could change that. So I made enough popcorn for 28 people.

There were only 10 of us.

We're still eating caramel popcorn a week later.

Made any new yummy desserts or Christmas candies yet? I'd love to try your recipe!

Made any new Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear them!

Hope your advent season has been one of joy and sweet time with your family and friends!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Hayden and His Hip Hop-y-ness

Hayden's first hip hop video debut below!



Several sweet friends came to the park in the freezing cold weather to see Hayden perform his hip hop moves. I love Ashton's eyes in this picture. He was not happy about the crazy coldness. He gets that from one of his parents.





Every time I look at this kid I smile.

Our friend Reese was dancing tonight as well. Such a cutie!

I have to be honest...I had no idea my child could dance this well.

I dance like this in my imagination, but Hayden does in real life.

I was in awe!



Did you see him totally break it down in the middle?

Where did we get this kid?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Snow!

It's snowing!

Kids are bundling up.

Snow in this part of Texas means a time to set spelling tests aside and CELEBRATE!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Get Your Grooveshark On!


I know this is like beating a dead donkey, but seriously...Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb CD is our first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth favorite Christmas CD.

If you don't have this treasure you are missing out.

I have heard this album a billion times and still get choked up while listening to it.

All other Christmas CD's are competing for ninth place in our book.

Coming in at a strong number nine is...

I know...maybe I'm bipolar or something.

Mariah's CD is NOTHING like Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb, but it's still my favorite non Behold the Lamb Christmas CD.

I have loved this CD since I was in high school.

My high-school, girl crush, Mariah inspires me to sing into a wooden spoon, belt out songs like I'm not white and shake what my mamma made me all over the downstairs of our home.

Hudson and I can get down to this CD.

My little buddy baby can get his cute little behind shakin.

Want to listen to this CD for free?

Remember Grooveshark?

Aaron made an entire Christmas playlist for our family on Grooveshark for FREE.

Run on over there to Grooveshark.

When the site loads, type in:

Jesus What a Wonderful Child

It's by Mariah.

If you're at work or in a public place...be warned. You may stand up and start dancing.

If you'd like to know how to make a playlist, I'll tell you in the comment section. I don't mind writing the how to's up...but only if someone actually wants a free Christmas play list.

Some of our favorites on the play list are:

Mariah's Christmas Album
Destiny's Child's Christmas Album
Harry Connick Jr.
Bing Crosby
Jackson Five
Whitney Houston

If you find other great Christmas Albums on Grooveshark, or other great Christmas songs, let me know! I want to add them.

Is there anything better than a house filled with music?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sseko Sensation

I had a great time last night with some
sweet ladies at the sandal shindig.

They braved the cold and the rain to come hang out.



Cameron taught us so many beautiful ways to tie our Ssekos.


If you want to buy Ssekos, but you're worried you won't know how to tie them, all the neat ways we learned to fashion our shoes are online.

I could not believe how many cool ways there are to tie these shoes. One of the girls last night said something along the lines of..."Its like getting 10 pairs of shoes for the price of one!"

So true.

It was fun to look around my house at the group of lovely women...but also to see so many sandals all over the room.

Ssekos are more than just shoes to me.

Think about this: Just One Fair Trade purchase from every American churchgoer this Christmas would lift one million families out of abusive poverty for one whole year. Let’s make sure that when gifts are given, they speak of the sort of world that Jesus came to show us — one where the last is first, where the poor are included, the sick are healed, and the captive is set free. - www.tradeasone.com

My heart is flooded with hope when I think that just one fair trade purchase this Christmas could change someone's life for an entire year. I don't know - but that - that feels like Christmas.