Thursday, December 31, 2009

Be back next year!

Between our Christmas celebrations, all my family coming in town, Tyler's birthday, the babies' blessings and sealing, fighting off colds, and now finding out those "colds" were RSV, well I've been a little busy. I can't even find the time to do a Christmas recap, let alone a 2009 recap. You'll forgive me right? I will be back when my life returns to some semblance of a routine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Today we are...

wrapping last minute gifts.

cleaning our house. (You know, Santa doesn't leave presents if it appears you can't take care of what you already have.)

cooking our Christmas Eve dinner. (Ham, potatoes, pretzel salad, green beans, spinach salad, and sugar cookies for dessert.)

tracking Santa. We can't wait for him to arrive at our house.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Finalization Day!

As of this morning, it's official. The boys are ours! Not only do they finally (officially) have our last name, but they are stuck with us. I can't believe how fast the last six months have gone. I can't wait to see where things will go.

The boys are doing well. They have hit 6 months and an unofficial 17 pounds. (We'll find out for sure next week.) We finally started them on solids, just rice and sweet potatoes so far. Brady decided to roll in one day, back to tummy to back to tummy the other direction, but decided once he COULD do it, he didn't really feel like doing it, and hasn't rolled much since. Carter, in his usual laid back fashion, is still waiting for the right moment to roll.

Brady's first meal

Carter's turn

I love it when they interact with each other,
so I sometimes try and push the issue.
Here, face your brother. Now, interact. Go!

Our adoption ride was quite a roller coaster, but I would take every hill and bump again to be right where I am today. I am so grateful to be the mother to all three of my amazing sons, and the wife to my sweetheart. I couldn't ask for a better Christmas gift.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Traditions 5


Like so many of you, we have a plethora of traditions surrounding food at Christmas.

Every year I make sugar cookies (and for other holidays too.)

A few years ago my sister-in-law gave me the recipe for these delicious nuts.
Spiced Pecans

1 pound pecans
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 Tbsp. salt

Beat egg white and water until foamy. Stir in pecans until well coated. Mix dry ingredients and add to pecans coating well.

Spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

My family has also made this cheese ball every year for as long as I can remember:
Cheese Ball
2 packages cream cheese
1 jar Old English cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. dry parsley
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Mix (and I mean get in there with your hands if you need to) and roll in crushed nuts.

We also have a nice meal on Christmas Eve, but haven't really set a traditional menu; it changes year to year. Maybe we will settle on a favorite, maybe we will keep mixing it up.

However, our Christmas morning meal has remained the same.
Fresh fruit
Breakfast Casserole
Breakfast Rolls

Here is the roll recipe:
16-20 frozen Rhodes rolls
1 pkg. butterscotch pudding mix (non instant)
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Place frozen Rhodes rolls in greased bundt pan. Sprinkle dry ingredients over rolls. pour melted butter over rolls. Let set out overnight. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Let stand. Invert over a tray or large plate. (My note: the tops seem to easily burn, so I usually cover loosely with foil as I bake these.)

Man, now I'm hungry.

Christmas Traditions 4

I didn't send out Christmas cards for the first few years we were married, but have sent out cards for at least the last 7 years. Most of those have been homemade, a few have been photo cards. I do include a short "newsletter" because I like receiving them. I have ordered photos this year to slip into an envelope with a little note. I sure hope I actually get to send them out because they still have not arrived. The snapfish website says they were shipped the 8th; I think it's time for some follow up with them.

Anyway, along with the sending of Christmas cards, I do a really silly thing. At the end of the season, I take all the cards we got and pack them up with my Christmas decorations. Then next year I read them all over again. Here is the stack I pulled out at the beginning of the month:

You see, I love getting cards. I love checking the mail; seeing how people have changed; hearing what is new. Sweet Dan knows this, and since he usually gets the mail, he always saves the cards for me to open. So by saving my cards, it's like getting Christmas cards all over again.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Traditions 3

I thought I would be better at getting more of our traditions posted, but December is, as usual, quite busy. As I have been thinking about traditions, and why they are so important to me, I found a post on a blog that resonated so deeply with me. Leah is no one I know in real life, but discovered her blog awhile back. She always writes so well, but her post on traditions really stuck with me. Go HERE to read it. Then come back and see what our next traditions is.

The Christmas Tree Ornament

That my friends is the first ornament I got when I was 1 in 1977. The paint is peeling, he once had a broom (I don't ever remember that, but I've been told), and he is obviously loved to pieces. My grandparents started the tradition. Each year they gave us an ornament. As we got older, it was one thing we really looked forward to. We would lay them all out--each one special in its own way. Here are some from my collection.

1978, my second. My grandma had made 4 carolers,
and my sister and I got to each pick one. She
was 7 and picked a pretty girl. I was 2 and
picked the boy with the slingshot and black eye.
Everyone always thinks this is such a funny story.

1981. Another one grandma made.

1983--All 3 sisters got these dolls.

1987. I was into a teddy bear phase and got
several bear ornaments over the years.

One of the last ones I received.

My mom has carried on the tradition with her grandchildren. Tyler now has 6 in his collection, and the twins got their first ornament this year.

I asked Tyler to let me take his picture of him with his ornament and the following is what I got:

And the twins got matching ones this year:

I just love my mom. You see, along with the ornament came a trim-the-tree party at Grandma's, and my mom has also carried on this tradition. Dinner, decorate grandma's house, crack a pinata, and get your ornament. We have lived away from her for most of our married life, but she doesn't forget us. The week of the party a box arrives at our house with our ornaments, gifts, and anything else that we would have got if we had been at the party. It makes it just a little easier being so far away.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I've been tagged

Ok Michelle, I am finally getting around to when you tagged me.

Answer the following 5 questions, and then tag 5 people.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was a newlywed, getting ready for finals in my last semester of classwork.

2. What are 5 things on your to-do list?
1. Shower. No, seriously.
2. Hit Target.
3. Clean my bathroom.
4. Finish vacuuming downstairs.
5. Get Tyler's haircut.

3. What are snacks you enjoy?
What snacks do I not enjoy. Right now I am especially into Peppermint Bark. Yummy!

4. What are the places you have lived?
I have lived in various cities in the following states: Utah, Texas, Arkansas

5. What are 5 things you would do if you became a billionaire?
1. Build my dream home (It's already a vision in my head)
2. Pay off mortgages of family
3. Save
4. Make sure the kids have schooling money and money for a down payment on a house
5. Go on a big shopping spree for me and my house with no guilt.

I hate choosing people to tag, so anyone can play along that wants to.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Traditions 2

We have started another one of our Christmas traditions--the Christmas books.

This started in 1994 when my mom gave each of the kids a Christmas book on Christmas Eve. I got The Littlest Angel. Every year since then, she has given each kid/family a new book. The year you get married you get The Gift of the Magi. Once children are in the mix, many of the books are geared to them. Last year, we finally got How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I had to tell her we didn't have it, because she thought everyone had received that one.

For the second year in a row now, I wrap all the books from my mom at the beginning of the month. I add in a few more that we have collected along the way to get to 24. Then I number the packages, line them up under the "small" tree (we have 2), and we read a Christmas book each night before bed.

I love it. Not only is it fun to have presents under the tree, but it is a fun way to countdown to Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

mom and dad

This special post brought to you by Tyler.

mom and dad you are funny. I like you. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! I like the way you take care of the babies and me! I like when you play games with me. You are very kind to me and Brady and Carter. I want to hug you and kiss you.


Twin Update

Carter (left) and Brady
sporting their Christmas outfits

It's been awhile since I did an update on the boys. We sailed right on past their 5 month mark, and now we are half way to 6 months. I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. We also found out right before Thanksgiving that we are on the docket. We, actually the agency in our behalf, will appear before a judge on December 21 where our adoption will be final. We have been waiting for this day for a long time.

Carter is still the more laid back baby. He seems to be about 2-3 weeks behind Brady in hitting milestones. Lately, he has turned into the most smiley baby. For awhile now, both babies have loved sucking on their hands; just this week Carter has totally found his thumb. We will see if we have a thumb-sucker. He also has pretty good control of his head, he shuffles and scoots all around his crib, and he is in the first stages of learning to roll. He sleeps so well--up to 12 hours at night! Naps are still not as regular as I'd like them to be, but they are getting better.

Brady is still feisty. He still wants to be held a lot of the time. He "talks" to us by making this noise like a growl at the back of his throat. He can roll from his back to his stomach, almost. He gets stuck on his shoulder still, but it's only going to be a few more days before he can. He also eats. We tried to up his volume, but it led to more spit up. Our pediatrician recommended waiting on solids until 6 months, but I think Brady is ready. It's odd. They can go up to 12 hours overnight, but heaven forbid I make Brady wait more than 3 hours between feedings during the day.

All in all, they are doing great. We love them; we love watching them grow and develop; we love that they are part of our family.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let it Snow!

To many people, there is nothing exciting about snow. However, when you live in Houston, and experience record breaking snow, it is a big deal.

What records were broken you ask?

It was the earliest snowfall ever recorded. And the first time ever Houston has experienced measurable snow for two years in a row. (Remember last year?) In fact, since 1895, it has only snowed in Houston 33 times, so snow is a big deal.

I got a call from Tyler's school yesterday, and they were letting the kids out early. So of course, he just came home and played in the snow.

Just home from school, when it was
still just a snowy rain, or would
that be rainy snow?

Back out for the second time,
after some snow had accumulated.

Ah, what better way to get into the Christmas spirit. But don't you worry; we're supposed to get back up to 70 by Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Traditions 1

It's been a busy week at our house as we moved from one holiday to the next. Our Thanksgiving was nice, minus the 8 hours Tyler spent in the bathroom Friday morning (not sure where it came from; just glad it didn't last or spread). We spent our weekend eating, playing, and shopping. I am so thankful that I married into such a wonderful family.

December has come quickly, and I am so happy. I love December. I love Christmas. I love tradition. I thought it might be fun to share with you some of our Christmas traditions.

So I present, Christmas Tradition 1: Pajamas

Like many other families, we always get new Christmas pajamas. From the time I was about 6 we opened up a present on Christmas Eve, found pajamas, and had something cute to wear for pictures the next morning. We have always done it this way with Tyler, but this year we tweaked the tradition just a little.

Last Monday for Family Home Evening, we started our Christmas season. We talked about keeping our focus on Jesus. We decorated the tree. And we let the boys open their pj's. We didn't plan on doing it early, but when we found the so cute baby sleepers, I really wanted the twins to be able to wear them all month.

It was a great way to start the month. I don't know if we will open pajamas on Christmas Eve or at the beginning of the month next year, but we will definitely get pj's. After all, it is a tradition.

Dad with Brady (who looks so startled)

Mom and Carter

My boys!

Tyler and Brady

(notice how smiley Carter is lately? I love it!)

Scooby-Doo is big at our house right now.
I personally think Tyler is getting old for these
types of jammies, but he sure doesn't.

I could NOT resist the reindeer bums.
I LOVE them!