Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Sweet Saturday

Sadly enough, Shane heads back to work bright and early Monday morning. We've certainly enjoyed his time off and hate to have to send him out the door tomorrow morning. And even though the big boys still have a few days left on their Christmas break, it just won't be the same with out Shane here to hang out with us. He definitely holds the "cooler" parent status in this house;) 
So Saturday marked our last and final hurrah of our Christmas vacation! We decided it would be fun to take the kids out to breakfast and then had a little surprise planned for them. 
We got up and headed to our favorite "dive" called Johnny K's for their famous breakfast pancakes. We adore this little restaurant and have been going to eat here for many years. It's just a small family owned diner in our little town and most of the customers there are police men, fire men, and EMS workers. There's just something about sitting and eating at a table surrounded by people in uniforms that make my kids behave a LOT better than usual;)
After breakfast, we took the kids for a little drive and headed to a place called "Airport Lookout Park". 
It's a park close to the airport with a perfect view of the airport runway. 

You can easily see planes take off and also watch them land. 

It was a little chilly on Saturday, but it definitely would be a fun place to take a picnic when the weather is a bit warmer.
Hudson thought it was the COOLEST PLACE EVER and had a hard time leaving when it was finally time to go. 
He would cry and say "Just one more plane PLEASE, just ONE more..."
That night, the kids made their own pizza's for dinner. 
{Funny story...Riley couldn't find his Christmas pj's shirt so he wore last years. I even helped him look for it, but I couldn't find it either. I never noticed-- until I posted these pictures-- that Cor had Ri's shirt on all along...HA!}
My kids always eat a whole lot better when it's something they helped make;)
With lots of toppings to choose from, everyone put together their most favorite combination.
Once our pizza's were HOT and ready, we headed upstairs to enjoy a "pizza picnic" in the playroom. 
We watched "Lady and the Tramp" and did our best to savor one last quiet night at home before the hectic schedule of the new year begins again. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Rollin" through our Christmas Break

Christmas vacation is always such a sweet and welcomed break for our family. Shane usually takes  off the entire week of Christmas, so we can enjoy LOTS of together time. It's also such a treat to sit down to dinner together each night and not have to worry about Shane's work or travel schedule. We're all HOME, we're all together,  and I'm thankful.
And besides just hanging out at the house and playing with all the new Christmas "stuff", we've enjoyed getting out and about and having some fun together. 
Thursday morning, we decided to take the kids roller skating. We had purchased a coupon a while back which included skating, hot dogs, and drinks for 5... for only $10. 
Now that's the kind of deal our family can't pass up;)

Our kids LOVE to roller skate and do so in our neighborhood quite often. 
The BIG boys are quickly becoming pros at it...
 and the little ones are picking it up quite well too!
Of course, Daddy is still always close by to give a hand when needed.
How did Miss Addy-Kate do you ask?
Well, much like anything else she tries, she took to it like a CHAMP! With smiles and giggles, and squeals of delight, she held tightly to her Daddy's hands as she skated around the rink. She LOVED EVERY SECOND of it and thought she was quite THE stuff!

We had a total BLAST skating, but our fun on wheels didn't end there.  This time, however, our set of wheels took us off the rink and onto the Lowe's Motor Speedway for their "Holiday Lights Extravaganza"!!
We went with our sweet friends, the Howard's, and enjoyed a night of post-Christmas FUN!!!
After driving through all the Christmas lights, AND taking a ride on the super speedway, we stopped to tour the Christmas village.
A walk through Bethlehem and a visit with Mary and Joseph were THE high light of the night!!
Inside the village there was more fun awaiting us. 
We enjoyed a walk through "Christmas tree row",  and even stopped in for a visit at Santa's house.
The boys busied themselves in Santa's workshop and helped him build a few new toys.
And with a bag of blue cotton candy and a bucket of HOT powdered doughnuts in hand, I think everyone would agree that our night at the speedway was a "SWEET" success!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

CHRISTmas Day, 2012

Christmas morning dawned bright and (very) early at our house. By 5:15 am Corban and Hudson were both up, begging to go downstairs to see what Santa brought them. 

We did our best to hold them off for a while, but to be honest, Shane and I were just as giddy and couldn't wait for them to open up their presents as well.  Finally around 6am we gave in and let them go wake up the rest of the crew!
Everyone bolted out of bed and ran downstairs just as fast as their little legs could go!

They were so excited and couldn't wait to see all the loot Santa had left for them. 
Addy-Kate was a total hoot to watch as she opened each gift!  I think she liked her presents, but the BEST part to her was the actual opening.  I don't know if it really mattered as to what was inside, but she LOVED tearing into the pretty wrapping.
And most of the time the paper was ripped into a million tiny pieces.
Her new baby doll was probably her most favorite gift and it hasn't left her side since.
Sophie's favorite gift would have to be her new Rapunzel doll---which she had been eying at Target for a while now.
She also got a new outside ride on toy, and Rapunzel has already enjoyed several rides around the block;)
Sweet Hudson was all about the trucks and the cars this year. He got a new car to ride outside also and a HUGE Tonka dump truck.
The big boys were thrilled with their new scooters along with a few other fun "boy" things they received too.
 And, of course, we couldn't forget our sweet dog, Molly. 
She really, REALLY liked her new red frisbee and her gingerbread men raw hides;)

Breakfast was simple, but we tried to make it special.
While the kids played with their new toys, Shane and I busied ourselves in the kitchen.
We made sausage strata and I decided to try a new recipe out this Christmas...
It was REALLY yummy. I love the fact that both of these dishes could be made the day before, so Christmas morning I just popped them in the oven and they baked while we opened gifts.
After breakfast, the kids were BEGGING to go outside and play with some of their new toys.
Molly was excited to try out her new gifts as well! 
 The entire day was spent playing with new toys and having fun together.
That evening, we hosted Shane's family for Christmas dinner.
His family is much smaller than mine but our time together was just as sweet!
 Our evening was made complete as we lit a birthday candle and once again focused our hearts on the true reason for this wonderful season.

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!
 We celebrate BECAUSE you CAME!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Merry Christmas Eve, 2012

Just like I had hoped, prayed, and anticipated, this Christmas was SUPER sweet!  Having Addy-Kate HOME made it so very special and I did my best to savor EVERY minute. There were moments of mayhem, and moments of chaos.
 But there were also moments of togetherness, moments of laughter, and moments of pure JOY!
And just like Mary, I did my best to ponder it all and treasure it in my heart. 
Christmas Eve morning started bright and early as I met several of my neighbors for a "reindeer run" through our neighborhood. We dressed in our festive Christmas attire and at each of our houses, we stopped to carol to our families. 
My kids loved it and sang along with us as we serenaded them with a rousing round of "Jingle Bells"!

That afternoon, we got dressed in our Christmas finest and headed to church for the candle light Christmas Eve service. It's hands-down one of the most beautiful services of the entire year and it truly sets the tone for the rest of our Christmas celebrations. 
HE came! HE died! HE rose! HE lives!
The true and ONLY message of Christmas!
Immediately after church, we headed to my parents house.
And let me tell you, this is where the FUN really begins!
Christmas at Mimi's and Papa's is the BEST!
And this year, my brother (aka Uncle Steve) was HOME to celebrate with us! Sophie is totally smitten with Steve, and I have a hunch the feeling is mutual!
 With presents, paper, and people EVERYWHERE...our time together is NEVER dull!
It's crazy, it's busy, it's CHRISTMAS!!
 My Daddy and his four girls!

 And this picture I will treasure...FOREVER! My two brothers, three sisters, and my sweet Grandma! 
What a blessing it was for us to be ALL TOGETHER this year;)

 After presents, everyone got into their comfy Christmas PJ's!
Oh.My.Goodness y'all...can I just tell you how much work it was to get this one photo!
The mayhem going on behind the camera was...hilarious!!!
By the time we left my parents house and finally arrived home, it was getting late. 
The kids were getting excited and knew it wouldn't be long before the "big guy" made his much anticipated appearance.
They quickly got to work getting the house ready for his arrival. 
Peanut butter cookies and cold glass of milk was placed by the fireplace,
and, of course, we couldn't forget Santa's four-legged helpers.
With reindeer food sprinkled on the grass and driveway, we were finally READY!
It wasn't long before EVERYONE was snug in their beds and fast asleep--dreaming of the Christmas surprises that awaited them in the morning.....