Dec 31, 2012

Christmas Memories

I really wish I had done this post sooner to capture all the memories I wanted to....I'm sure I'll forget something now.  But, boy has life been busy this past week!  I believe I still have other things to catch up on, too, but for now, here's our Christmas recap.  

Jarrod had to work Christmas Eve, so our morning wasn't out of the ordinary; playing, cleaning, baths...  The kids then helped me get the tripod all ready for our annual self-timer family pic in front of the Christmas tree.  They crack me up.  Notice Gavin's 'scared' face below; it's his new favorite face to make.

 When Daddy walked in, we got the picture taken right away before the kids burst.  They couldn't wait to call Ohio on Skype and start opening pictures.  These always turn out good, but not great.  Still a little out of focus, but you can only get everyone to sit still for self-timer pictures for so long!

Then it was time for Skyping!  We love that we celebrate Christmas via Skype.  The kids love seeing everyone, everyone there loves watching them open presents, and this year, Riley was just fascinated with the computer!

We took a break and cooked our Christmas dinner and it wasn't long until Riley snapped.  Meltdowns galore!  She desperately wanted another bath, so I finally gave in and let her get in.  Then came another tantrum when it was time to get out.  Followed by ultimately, Gavin got to quickly open her pajamas that she was getting for Christmas from Daddy and me for her, I put them on her and she went to bed.  Before 6:30.  She didn't get to open her other presents from Daddy and me; we saved them for the next day.  She was a terror.

So then came bedtime, and Gavin was out like a light.  Too bad it didn't stay that way.  He woke up around 1 or so to pee, and never went back to sleep.  I kept telling him on the monitor to lay back down, I went into his room several times to rub his back and tell him he had to go to sleep so Santa would come, then we found him in the living room trying to sneak a peek... Finally around 3 I went in and went to sleep in his bed with him.  At 5:40 or so, he was shaking me away because 'It's Christmas Eve, mom!'  I explained that it was actually Christmas and that it was too early to go out, but that didn't work.  So, he came into the kitchen with me and we got the monkey bread started, coffee brewing, then woke Daddy and Riley up.

After a nice nap for all, we finished off Christmas day with the Faminis.  The kids played, we ate, we played a little times!  I'm going to miss them *tons* when California gets them back.  :(

Christmas time always reminds me just how lucky we are.  Our children are so incredibly lucky to be loved by so many people.  We all were quite spoiled this year.  Gavin even said that it was the best Christmas ever and he got everything he ever dreamed of.  It was awesome!  I'm not sure if our toy room can handle anymore Little People or Angry Bird things.  Jarrod and I got equally spoiled with things that we've wanted but haven't bought for ourselves.  To say we have a lot to be thankful for would be an understatement.  We love you all!

Dec 27, 2012

Preschool Christmas Program/Party

I haven't uploaded photos yet from the past couple of weeks, but I do have videos!  Gavin was excited about his Christmas program at school.  I think he was most excited about the cake... :)  He played Joseph in the Christmas story part and then they sang lots of songs.  Gavin, as I expected, didn't participate much.  He gets shy when he's up there.  But, he had a speaking part in one of the songs and he did great!  You can watch the videos on You Tube.  There are 5 total (and on my screen they're showing up in reverse order).  Look for '4 Year Old Preschool Party', 'Song with Gavin's speaking part,' 'More singing,' 'Finale,' and 'Pinata Time.' 

Dec 21, 2012

The Lights

Despite this being our third Christmas here, we hadn't yet made the drive down south to see the lights on the Fayetteville square.  It's not that far, but still, it is a bit of a drive at night when you have kids that go to bed early, etc.  But, this year, we did it!  And it was gorgeous!
But, this trip down was another perfect example for me of how I just HAVE to learn my camera better!  The photos from the night turned out awful.  Grrr...  It's hard to try to play with settings when you have two impatient kids.  I'm half tempted to start taking my tripod places, too.  I think that really would've helped here!  But, I recently read a blog post about how not every photo will turn out perfectly, but that's's about capturing the moment.  So, I decided to post these anyway, because seriously, I love this little girl and her new crazy faces.  So ignore the poor photos and enjoy the many faces of Riley.

And again, even though it's poor quality, I want to include this....because it's not always that Jarrod offers to take photos with me in them, and I love the ones I have of me and my babies.  :)

Dec 20, 2012


I know it's not even Christmas yet, but I've been thinking about resolutions already.  I went through my 30 Things list to see how I was doing and realized I really like the idea of creating a 'to-do' list for the year.  I'm also thinking about picking ONE thing to really focus on each month, or every 2-3 months.  Photography, for example, is something I've had on my 'list' for year or resolutions for years.  Since I got my camera, I'm sure.  But I still feel like I haven't accomplished that goal.  I get excited about it, but then get stuck on something or don't understand something and feel completely overwhelmed and take a step back.  There's a class on February 2 that I really want to take so I'm thinking it might be a good goal for me to really focus on getting better and understanding my camera more in January and February.  I really enjoyed making the capes for the kids, so sewing is another big task I want to focus on.  Our budget, coupon binder, etc. is another..  Plus, I really liked my resolution last year to make a new recipe each week.  I'm thinking I want to do that again.  My list gets longer every day.  What are you going to focus on in 2013?  Give me some ideas!

Dec 18, 2012

Holiday 2012 Card

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Dec 17, 2012

Christmas Train

Back at the beginning of December, we surprised the kids with a ride on the Christmas Train.  I have to say, I thought it would be a bigger surprise than it was, but it was still nice.  Gavin was excited at first and then quickly started asking if he could use my phone to play games.  Sorry, son....let's just enjoy family time!

Riley, of course, was entertained with the snacks in the bag they provided, but we learned that day that Riley is NOT a fan of dressed up characters.  There was a snowman, a kangaroo (spokes-animal for a local bank), a dog, a reindeer, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and she was terrified!  Poor girl...

We took a ride down south about fifteen minutes and then put it in reverse and went back to the train station.  We sang Christmas songs and watched out the window, waving to the cars as we passed.  

We barely got this picture.  They passed us and Riley was panicked, while Gavin just politely said, 'No thanks' when asked if he wanted a picture with Santa.  Once they passed, they turned around and stood slightly behind me while Jarrod took a picture of me with Riley; she just didn't know that Santa and Mrs. Claus were also in it.  :)

Next year, I'd like to try the bigger train ride that's more like the Polar Express.  But for our first train experience, this one was good.  :)

Dec 15, 2012

Date Night!

On my list of 30 Things, I had a 'Mommy/Son' date.  I've been wanting to start these for a while; in fact, Jarrod and I have talked about how we want to do Mommy/Son and Daddy/Daughter dates with the kids, and I knew putting it on my list would be a good way to get them going.  I hadn't planned anything, but then a couple weeks ago, I won tickets to see Guess How Much I Love You from the local news station.  Since it was just two tickets, we decided this would be a great chance for our date!  

We were both so excited about our date.  Gavin talked about it all week, and we made it a big deal!  He picked out his bow tie, and helped me pick out my outfit.  And then, yesterday came...and tragedy struck.  The tears wouldn't stop as my babies were sleeping in their beds and I watched the coverage of the Connecticut school shooting.  I was going through the emotions as a parent, trying to imagine the immense pain those mothers and fathers were feeling.  And, I was going through the emotions as a teacher, thinking about my old classroom, imagining what I would've done had this happened in my school.  It was an emotionally draining day, and I couldn't pull myself away from the coverage.

But, then this little guy woke up, and I had to turn it off.  I was glad to turn it off and focus on him.  I pulled him into my lap and squeezed him so tight and told him how much I loved him and all he said was, "I can't wait for our date!"

When Jarrod got home, Gavin and I hurried into the car and headed south toward the theater.  It was rush hour, the highway was wet from the rain, and there was an accident tying up traffic, so we were late.  :(  But we made the most of it, looking at Christmas lights along the way and holding hands as we ran across the parking lot into the theater to catch the last 40 minutes or so of the play. 

For much of the play, Gavin sat on my lap.  I love that he's still so little that those seats don't work well for him; they still fold up on him no matter how hard he tries.  I held him so close and watched him, mesmerized by the puppets on the stage and listened to his questions and observations.  I had to wipe away tears a few times, because I just felt so darn lucky that I was spending the evening with such an amazing little guy.  

After the lights came back on and we were heading out, Gavin said, 'This is the best date ever!  Thanks for bringing me here, Mom.'  Seriously, I have the sweetest little boy.  We walked around the lobby and looked at the Christmas decorations, then headed outside to see the sculptures outside.  We giggled together as we had to crawl across the seats to get into our car because the car next to us had parked so close that we couldn't get in our side.  So many little things that made the night so memorable.  We ended our date at TCBY.... 

We finished up our ice cream and laughed together as we realized it had started raining again and were likely going to get drenched running to the car.  It was getting later and later, but I really wasn't in any rush to leave.  I was enjoying our night so very much.  I am the luckiest.

Finally, we arrived home a little before 9, and Gavin fell fast asleep!  I can't wait for our next date....I'm hoping to do these at least a few times a year now.  And I'm so excited for when Riley is a little older and Jarrod can start his dates with her.  Such special memories!

Dec 11, 2012

Tennis Star

Gavin wanted to take tennis lessons this time around at the fitness center.  I love how adventurous he can be!  After two sessions of Tae Kwon Do, he wanted something different, and tennis was what he picked.  He LOVES it!  We're so excited to give him his tennis racket for Christmas this year.  
 And we love watching him!