Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksgiving day...

we spent with the bowlin side of the family. that means that there was a whole big bunch of us all gathered together at marsha and danny's new house. their house was a perfect spot!! there were almost 30 of us, 3 generations, lots of family- and to me that is what thanksgiving is all about!

the day in a nutshell...

cousins playing together...

some good ol' southern thanksgiving food!!

and the "kids table." every good thanksgiving celebration has one. :)

we have so much to be thankful for and i love that today i was surrounded by so many of the blessing in my life. happy thanksgiving!! count your many blessings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thanksgiving @ ccdc...

was a BIG deal this year. now that olivia is in her last year of preschool, it seems that holiday celebrations are "stepped up a notch." each year her class has done the traditional feast, but this year there was a little role play before the feast began and the parents were invited. of course we didn't miss the opportunity to see olivia or the photo op.

it was very simple, yet adorable. her class was divided into two groups- the pilgrims and the indians. (i know that is not "PC" but that is what they learned.) they had hats to help them get into character. first olivia was a pilgrim...

i think there was one confused little indian. :)
they acted out getting on the boat so they could go to the new world so they could worship god they way they wanted. while on the boat they got sea-sick (so funny!!) and were very happy when they arrived in the new world. then they met the indians who taught them about the land and how to plant and hunt. and of course they became friends!!
to be fair, they acted it out a second time so that everyone had the opportunity to be both a pilgrim and an indian. it was very cute and i love that olivia actually knows the history of thanksgiving.

oh, and jack made a very darling little native american hat too!! he doesn't have a clue why or what thanksgiving is, but he got to pick his feathers out and was very excited that they were baylor colors. :)


Monday, November 22, 2010

olivia takes the stage...

this time not as a darling ballerina, but in her first choir concert. olivia joined the 4 year old childern's choir this year and has been loving it. she has been going to rehearsals each sunday evening practicing songs and learning so much about music. she was just as excited as the rest of us to attend her first concert. our WHOLE family was there to support o-- nana, gramps, b, pop, rara, christman, abby, kk, and of course mommy and daddy. as mark says, "we leave a large footprint everywhere we go!" we might seem crazy to most people, but i love that we all support eachother in so many ways, plus it made olivia so proud!!!

olivia did a great job!! her choir (the 4 year olds) sang several songs. they sang all about the things that god has created and how we praise god with our voices.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the big boy bed...

is a HUGE hit with jack!!
thanks to my mom and some planning we were able to transition the long-time nursery (been the same room since o was born) into a big boy room in just two days!! with my mom all things are possible- at least that is how i feel with projects around my house. we painted, assembled furniture, moved out all the baby stuff, moved in all the big boy toys, and rearranged things. and here is how it turned out...

obviously the window treatments are missing, but other than that it is complete.
one of the most special pieces in his room- his shelf that uncle christman built for him for his first birthday. new paint on the shelves to match the the new color on the walls and some extra room on the shelves for the christmas toys that are just coming all too soon. :)

jack helped too! i wanted him to help with an art project to decorate his walls. he loved painting, but i didn't love the way it turned out so we didn't end up using the canvases. :( he did great, my idea didn't work out the way i envisioned.

well, now's the hard part... will he sleep tight and stay in the bed? we shall see!!
good news!! he is doing great and loves going to bed every night. he even does a great job staying in bed at nap time!! yay jack!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

cherishing family time...

my grandparents are amazing!! i have been so blessed to be close to them for so many years. i was thrilled when they moved from michigan to texas over 7 years ago so that my children would get to have a special relationship with them as i did. over the last year, my grandfather's health has been failing and it is getting harder and harder for him to get around by himself and care for himself. my mom has carried the burden of helping them for so long and a few weeks ago hired hospice to help since we are not sure how much longer he will be with us. when hospice was hired a precious lady, angie, was one of the many blessings that has come with hospice care. angie's official title, is director of bereavement counseling, or something like that, but to our family she is a friend and indescribable blessing. she bonded immediately with my grandparents and has loved them so well. she has been such a strong shoulder of support for my mom and i know that she will continue to be a source of wisdom and counsel as my grandfather gets close to death. angie decided that we needed to all get together and surprise my grandparents with a big family dinner at one of their favorite places, red lobster. it was an evening filled with precious memories, lots of smiles, and i know meant the world to my grandparents. here are some of my favorite pictures from that evening and our time together as one big family...

mom with her mom and dad.
gram lois (my dad's mom) and olivia
gram millie and jack. they sure love each other!! jack was teaching her how to play him game on the iPhone. it was so cute to watch. :)
olivia getting some love from her biggest fan- papa.
then it was jack's turn. papa calls jack happy hooligan because jack always has a smile on his face!!
all of us, except sean. :( sean missing was the only part of the evening that was not perfect!

i am so thankful for the family that i have the constant love that i am surrounded by. there are many times when i may seem that i take it for granted and i guess on some level i do since i have never known anything else, but i truly cherish my family and all the gifts that they pour into my life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

all her 5 year old american girl wishes came true...

so i mentioned in one of the previous posts that olivia made the invitations to her birthday party this year and promised some juicy details about this anticipated event, here you go...

birthday parties are a hot topic around our house starting in august/september. as soon as school starts olivia knows that her birthday is coming "soon." (the word "soon" is relative ya know!) anyway, starting in about september she started thinking about what kind of party she wanted and she was pretty stuck on an american girl party. there were some moments where we thought an art party would be more fun, but american girl trumps art around here these days. i explained to her that in order to have the party at the american girl store that it would have to be a very small party with just a few friends. she was totally fine with that and decided that since her best friends are her cousins that it would be fun to invite the girls of the family to celebrate. we had such a GREAT evening. olivia had a blast, felt so special, and i am pretty sure all of her american girl dreams came true- i hope so anyway. :)

here is how the evening played out...

olivia and emily all dressed in matching outfits ready for the big night!! thanks to moonbeam for the personalized matching shirts. so cute!! abby and kk had them too!!

then it was off to the american girl store for some browsing, we had plans to shop later in the evening. the girls were so much fun to watch as they ran around with so much excitement oooing and awwwwing over all the clothes, furniture, and accessories.
then it was time for some dinner in the bistro upstairs. we had a great table by a big window and of course there were chairs and place settings for each of the dolls. emily had a special birthday crown too!
a birthday dinner wouldn't be complete without cake and ice cream AND the birthday song. olivia was beaming as they brought out her cake and sang to her. she LOVED having a BIG cake with 5 candles.
what else could she possible wish for?

one of the main reasons that olivia wanted to have her birthday party at the store was because she wanted to have emily's hair done. abby, kingsley, and olivia all took their dolls- emily, ella, and maryanna to the beauty salon and picked out pretty hair styles for their dolls.
olivia loved watching emily in the chair.
and even had to sign for her when her new duo was complete. (this place thinks of everything!)
and here she is!! looking just like olivia don't you think? well, except for emily's headband is not falling off her head. ;)

it was getting late, but we were still having too much fun for the night to be over, so a little shopping was in order. b gave olivia some money that she could use to buy some new clothes for emily. olivia had a great time running around and picking so many new things out for her doll.
look at all those bags!!! she was in heaven!!!

and to end the evening we took a group picture to remember this special night and all the memories that we made together.
(in the picture-- b, rara, nana, mommy, abby with maryanna, olivia with emily, and kingsley with ella)

it was a great way to celebrate olivia. i am confident that she will never forget this experience and will cherish that she shared it with the ladies who love her the most in the world. thank you to b, nana, rara, abby, kingsley, and ella and maryanna for making olivia feel so special on her birthday. it was a blast!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the REAL birthday day...

we had lunch at chuck e. cheese with the rogers...

first things first, find a great table and eat some pizza with friends. then...
say "cheese"!!
have private dance party with chuck e.
check out all those tickets just for dancing with chuck e!!
and don't forget about kenzie and jack. they had lots of fun too! they loved the merry-go-round and especially liked riding it together. :)
this might have been the best birthday lunch ever!! we basically had the whole place to ourselves. mari and i were able to sit, talk, eat, and sip on coke all while our kids were spending loads of tokens, earning tons of tickets, having a dance party with chuck e. himself, and walking away hours later with handfuls of cheap toys (i am pretty confident all ended up in the trash before the day was over) and smiles on their faces. success!!! :)

then dinner with nana and gramps at benihana...
the birthday girl with nana and gramps before going into dinner.
blowing out the famous birthday budda candle after being serenaded by the lovely japanese birthday song. gotta love benihana!!

this is our second year to celebrate miss o (as my mom calls her) by going to dinner at benihana on her real birthday. i think it can officially be called a tradition and one we plan to continue for many years to come. we all had a really great time. our fun chef/cook (whatever you call him) made our experience so much fun and we all agreed that the food was really great. yummm!! again, success!!!

so that sums up the real birthday!! what a fun day celebrating our sweet olivia! now on to the birthday party- that's this friday night. (i admit, it is ridiculous that she is doing anything else to celebrate, but that is how we do birthdays around here. the fun is never ending!!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

she's five...

i can't believe it, but my baby girl is five today!! there is so much celebrating ahead, but our day started with olivia's favorite breakfast- cinnamon rolls with orange juice and then creating her birthday party invitations with emily (that's her doll) by her side.
she was so excited to make them all by herself. :)

she's a pretty good designer, don't ya think? her daddy would be proud! ;)

*more details on the actual birthday party coming in a future entry. stay tuned!!*

birthdays cause me to reflect on the past and dream about what the future holds. as i watched olivia sitting at the kitchen table this morning i thought about how i elated i was the first time i laid eyes on her five years ago, about how proud i was each time she uttered a new word or performed a new trick, about how much fun it has been to experience so many things through her eyes- visits to the pumpkin patch, playdates with sweet friends, sitting on santa's lap, trips to the zoo, and the list goes on and on. what a blessing these five years have been. i am overwhelmed that god has given me the privilege to love, care for, and be called mommy by this special and precious little girl. as i dream about the future, i think about taking her to kindergarten next fall (i can barely imagine it and it will be a reality all too soon), i think about the incredible big sister and role model she will continue to be for her little brother, i think about how she will continue to challenge me in ways i never knew were possible and how all the lessons she will teach me, and i also pray about what she will be passionate about and what gifts god has given her and how she will use them to glorify him. oh what a gift i have been given in her!! thank you god for her life and for trusting me to be her mom.

happy birthday olivia!! i love you soooo much!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

these girls...

are super special to me. (we missed you, shannon!!)

it was such a treat to get to spend a couple of days with these girls. we used to spend almost ever waking moment together while we were at baylor together, but now with husbands, kids, jobs, and grown up lives it gets harder and harder to find time to all be together, but we managed to find a few days to get away and be together. it was a low key weekend. we opted to stay in dallas, but were able to stay at my in-laws new beautiful house so that was a treat. we lounged around in our jammies most of the weekend and talked or watched twilight movies in the media room, all while snacking on junk food. does it get better? not to me!! we did get out for an afternoon and went a on a little tour of homes...
we went to see ashley's house in mckinney. it was so fun to see the baby's nursery. baby daniels is going to have the cutest (most handsome) room. he is going to be a lucky little guy!!
then it was on to erin's new house. it was really far north (wink, ;), but worth the drive to see the wassermans new neighborhood and their darling new home.
erin's favorite part of the lot was this tree and tire swing that the neighborhood kids put in the tree. now it is in their backyard.

then we had some celebrating to do...
erin's birthday was a few days after our weekend, so we had to have some cupcakes to celebrate her. happy birthday e!!

these girls have all played such an important role in my life and i am thankful that over a decade later i can still call them all dear friends. love you girls!! can't wait until next year! :)