Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mema & Deda Highlights

Besides all of the Christmas festivities, here are a few other things we did while Mema & Deda visited:

After Christmas, they spent a lot of time in the backyard swinging on the swing set.

  I think she was having fun...

Then, we took in the new LED Christmas lights on the Riverwalk.  It was cool to see them wrapped around the trees.

While there, Greg experimented with the new camera.

AND--- We had dinner at Rainforest Cafe.

Mema & Deda also took the kiddos on lots of walks.  They went to the park & the construction site to see the sleeping machines (sleeping since they weren't moving).

And--- of course--- it wouldn't be a Mema/Deda visit without a little reading...

So glad they could come and have a fun Christmas with us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Oh Christmas!  The best thing I will remember about this Christmas is how it was the first Christmas Jared seemed beyond excited for the day to come.  We had been talking about it for a month and then it finally came!  I got a few videos before the present opening...

The first video is of us waking the kiddos up:

Then, we came downstairs:

While waiting for Mema & Deda to come downstairs, we opened stockings:

Then I took a video break during the present opening.  As you can see, we had a wonderful morning.

After the videos, it was classic present opening.  We all took turns watching each other open our gifts.  The kids got new toys, games and clothes.  (He did get the game he asked about in the stocking video).

We saved our Santa gifts until we had my side of the family on Skype, so it was one big Christmas minus the missionary.  Jared asked Santa for Star Wars toys, Annabelle asked for princesses, Gweg asked for a miter saw, and I asked for a new sewing machine.  I guess we were all good enough this year because they were under the tree.  Greg then surprised me with new kitchen pots, I had absolutely no idea.  While cleaning up, we thought the surprises were done, but Mema & Deda surprised Gweg & I each with a new Kindle Fire.  Crazy!

Another great part of the day was hearing my brother who's on a mission.  My parents were able to add me in on a conference call and it was so fantastic.  He called when we were in the middle of sacrament meeting, so I snuck away in a quiet classroom to chat with the family.  It was really neat to hear how much he's grown.  I'm really lucky to have three incredible siblings.

Soon-to-be four because Zak and his girlfriend have decided to get married right after Parker comes home from his mission in July.  So exciting!  They are really nauseatingly cute together and it's so great to see Z so happy.

After church, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing with new toys, including the new swing set Oba & Jiji got the kiddos.  They love it; I'm sure they'll ask to go outside every day now!

Christmas 2011 is in the books!  So glad I have a whole year to recover until 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Festivities

Even though we had family in town, we still wanted to do our annual Christmas Eve get-together.  It has become this WONDERFUL tradition and I hope we continue to do so, with whomever is in town each year.

This year, we decided since Christmas is already stressful enough, to not make the dinner stressful as well.  I really didn't want our evening to get all {Christmas Vacation} on us.  So, we donned our Texas hats and had a Taco Bar.  It was perfect and might even be included in on the tradition.  We also had a few fun activities...

Sharing Popcorn
While we got our house ready for the madness to come, Mema & Deda took Jared to see the new Muppet movie.  He came home talking about all the funny things the Muppets did.

As soon as he got home, though, he wanted to help with the preparation.

Christmas Helper Elves
Dinner ended up being fabulous and then it was on to our activities!  We had Minute-to-Win-It: Christmas Edition & White Elephant.  The white elephant was fun, and all, but the biggest blast was the MtWI.  Each family was in charge of bringing supplies for one game and we kept time on who was the fastest overall and that person won a prize (bag of Costco truffles--- so good, yet so bad for you).

We played a few games before the kids (and everyone else) needed to get to bed in time for Santa.

Gingerbread Man:  The object was to get the cookie in your mouth using only your face muscles.  I got the second best time, Greg got the third, and Edward beat me by a second!

Couple Bonding Time

Jared wanted to try it too.

Christmas Card Table:  The object was to get one of ten cards to stop at the edge of the table by just blowing it.  I was horrible at this game; almost everyone else got it and Edward beat us all again.

See... down to my last card...

more shanagians....

Nutstacker: This was the game we provided.  10 nuts started on the candy cane and using the candy cane, you had to stack them on top of a plate you were holding in your other hand.  Greg & Josh got it to stay for a second or two, I needed just a little bit more time.

After those games, the kids got antsy, so we called it a night... but not before we attempted a family Christmas picture with the tree... apparently I'm possessed with the Christmas spirit. :)

A much better one...

With help from our friends, we were able to clean the house and get ready for the Christmas Eve present tradition.... Jared & Bellie were excited....

to open new jammies--- surprise!
 Then, we all selected down to read the Christmas Story in Luke & tried to prepare for the next morning...  Yay Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa's Ranch

Yesterday, our Christmas goal of the day was to hunt down some Christmas lights.  I heard from a couple Friends on Facebook that this place called {Santa's Ranch} in New Braunfels was a lot of fun to take the family too.  So, we packed up the gang, headed to a quick dinner at Chuy's and went off to find the mythical summer home of Santa & his gang.

Since it was on the left side of the highway, we had to pass it to get to it, and, it was not hard to find.  Just follow the Christmas lights glow & long line of cars (since it was the day before Christmas Eve, after all).  To help the kids get through the long line, we packed the DVD player and Christmas movies, so by the time we got to the gate, they were really excited to see the lights.

Here's the rundown (keep in mind this is all phone photography since we currently without a 'camera):

It's one huge loop.  The first part is the random hodge-podge of things to put lights on and then you see the planets.  It was super cool for Jared because I've been trying to get him excited about the Space Unit we'll be doing when I have my turn to teach preschool at the beginning of the year.

Then, after you see the planets, comes the Garden of Eden.  Seriously.  It goes through every major biblical story up until the resurrection (the empty tomb picture is in the collage).  After the biblical stories, you go through the big blue tunnel (seriously stunning) and enter the 'North Pole.'  There were lots of fun scenes there as well; the one above is a ski-hill scene.  Jared and Annabelle kept gasping every time they saw something new.  Then it looped back around to the hodge-podge.

It seemed like everyone had a great time; I kind of want to go back next year and see if they change anything or if it stays the same.  If we do, it definitely won't be two days before Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Visitors

Since it's the holidays, we've had some extra people around the house.

Last weekend, before she left for her trip, Gramma came down to have an early Christmas outing.  We decided to take the kids to see the Christmas Extravaganza at Bass Pro Shop.  The only bummer about the whole thing was that we had to get tickets to see Santa, which by the time we found out, they were already all gone for the evening.  I guess Santa is a popular guy this time of year.

Instead, the kids rode the Merry-go-round...

and did a little bit of Duck-hunting (with a little help from Daddy).

After, we enjoyed some games on Gramma's phone....

until our dinner arrived.  Annabelle's favorite... Mac 'n Cheese!

Then we had a few days break until Mema & Deda arrived for Christmas.

 Over the week, we'll have some fun doing all kinds of Christmas-y activities... maybe even find some Christmas lights to look at.  Yay for the holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Annabelle's Prison Break

Annabelle is now officially in a 'big girl bed.'  And by that I mean Jared's converted crib.  Lest you think it was too early, it was out of necessity.  Our basic parental necessity to keep our children 'safe.'

Last week, she figured out how to climb out of her crib, and, therefore, was able to spring herself from her room during nap time.  I put her back in her room, told her to stay and be safe.  I'm not even downstairs for 5 minutes and hear little feet upstairs.  She did it again.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep her in there, however she was getting out, so I put a child-lock on the inside of her door and she fell asleep... eventually.

When Gweg got home, we told him all about it and the first thing he said was, "I want to see how she does it."  So, we took her upstairs and, what every parent would naturally do, we took a video:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card Photo?

Yesterday, at our ward Christmas breakfast, there was a room set up for fun Christmas photos.  I'm thinking of using one of them as our Christmas card.  In no particular order:

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

We certainly have a pair of goofy elves. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Fun

The kids are having a great time doing our Advent Calendar activities.  I've been looking forward to this since I made the Advent because it's the traditions that they'll remember when they think of the holidays.

Here they are drawing pictures and writing letters to Santa.  Jared mentioned Star Wars toys & Annabelle mentioned Princesses.  Sounds about right.

This technically wasn't our advent activity for the day, but the kids were able to build 'Gingerbread houses' with Jared's preschool class.  Jared was really particular in putting every type of candy on the house.  Annabelle ate the decorations as soon as they got to her plate.

Jared & his creation.

Annabelle & hers.  Notice the lack of outer additions.

Another day was 'Christmas Art Project.'  So, we took our Christmas cookie cutters and they used some washable fingerpaint to create pictures.

Lest, we forget who Christmas is about, we're also reading from this book I created.  It's our scripture book for the month.  {HERE} is the link on my craft blog, if you want one too.

Other than that, I'm trying to take videos and pictures, when I can remember, but it's hard since I'm relying only on my phone.  A new camera is definitely on my list to Santa. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Other November Happenings

Here are some other reasons November was fun:

Green Peppers:  We apparently can grow them.

As one of our Thanksgiving activities, the kids made TP-Handprint Turkeys.  They turned out so cute and I've now stored them with our Thanksgiving decorations.

Jared ALWAYS loves to help.  We redecorated our powder room and Jared decided he wanted to help.  Quickly, he ran upstairs.  We asked why he was leaving, if he wanted to help.  His response: "I need to get my tools."

Daddy & Son both passed out half-way through our movie yesterday.

The kiddos, all ready for Thanksgiving festivities.

We had Thanksgiving at a friend's house, this year.  In preparing for the meal, we heard they had never experience the wonder of deep-fried turkey.  So, they invited us over and we hijacked the turkey.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it... especially Gweg.

Annabelle and Alex especially enjoyed making faces on the door.

and sitting together.

This is actually the last picture our camera took.  Soon after, Annabelle tossed it onto the ground, while it was still on which busted the lenses.  So right now, this may be the last good-quality picture until Christmas comes. 

I guess a new camera was just added to our Christmas lists.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Turkey: 2011

Our turkey tradition continues, however, there were two things fairly significant this year:
  1. Tom the Turkey finally has a home. No more falling on his turkey face while trying to figure out how to get him to stay still.
  2. Everyone in the family was able to participate & give answers. It made for some pretty funny answers.
I guess #2 is a little more significant. Annabelle was adorable the first day. When it came time to ask what she was grateful for, her eyes kind of glazed over as to say, 'why are you using that big word we use in prayers?' So, we changed our tactic a little and asked, 'Bellie, what makes you happy?' Without missing a beat, she said, 'Jared.' Something more me to remember when they get into little scuffles... they love each other.

Without further ado, here's this list:

GWEG: cupcakes, bedtime, projects, my kiddos, my Job*, advil, Amber, 7-up, new toys, books, *wink, wink* (he is male, after all), choices, gasoline (spoken like a true engineer), kisses, Oba & Jiji, special treats, telephones, mud****, good examples, scriptures, my mission, the temple, Jesus Christ
AMBO: baseball, skin, strollers, Hot Chocolate, Daddy's Job, ibuprofen, silly kiddos, Greg, my parents, prayer, Hobby Lobby, family & friends, music, scriptures, discounts, education, movies, subway sandwiches & thoughtful friends****, pianos, skype, internet, happy memories, Jesus Christ
JARED: food (remind me NOT to use food as a reward---yipes), pictures, Daddy, neighbors (specifically Alex & Caleb), Daddy's job, people, cars, clocks, medicine, hospitals**, restaurants (yipes, another food one), parties, balloons, Mema & Deda, books, lions, cheese, lights, hair, juice, lemonade, Thanksgiving, Jesus
ANNABELLE: Jared, pants, Oba & Jiji, Daddy, Daddy's job, hands, plates, kitchen, brushing teeth, birthdays, Princess Belle, Minnie & Mickey**, see-saws, noses, drinks, my mouth, new dollies, Bergens****, poops (I shake my head at this one), play time, Mommy, slides, Jesus

*We all put Daddy's job on the day we went to {Six Flags}.
**{Croup hospital visit} :(
***Day of {Birthday party}
****Day of the {Warrior Dash}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

What is the {Warrior Dash}, you ask?  Only one of the craziest races you'll EVER do!  I don't even know where to begin with this bad boy... other than IT. WAS. AWESOME.  Besides me almost passing out... but that's skipping ahead...

We got into this through two other couples.  My friend, Michelle, mentioned how she was thinking about doing the race and she talked to Kim and then they started talking to me.  They also mentioned they were trying to get their husbands in on it, as well, so it ended up being 3 couples and 2 more lady friends.  Seriously, the craziest but best group date EVER.
The group minus one (we made our shirts)


Our morning started off nuts.  We figured the Warrior Atmosphere isn't the best for small tykes, so we lined up one of the best women I know (and her fantastic family) to spend the day with Jared & Annabelle.  They were so excited to spend a day with them and didn't notice when we left.  However, getting everyone ready to leave at the right hour in the morning proved to be challenging.  Greg & I got everything for the kids, but failed to get everything for us... more on that later.  We carpooled with one of the other couples and spent the next couple hours pumping each other up for the race.


Climbing over cars
We figured right with the kiddos, the place was a little to crazy to keep kiddos occupied for a certain amount of time.  The race took place in the heart of Texas Hill-country on a fantastic piece of land full of hills and open valleys to turn into mud pits. 

Actual Race & Obstacles
Basically, the race is a 5K with 12 or so obstacles in the way.  Obstacles included lots of mud pits, walls/cars/tires to climb over, army crawling under logs and barbed wire, fireman's pole, 20 ft tall cargo net, and one last large mud pit you HAD to swim through because of the encouragment of barbed wire above your head.  I KILLED the obstacles, but not the running--- never have been a runner. 

Greg & Josh at the top
Luckily, one of our friends brought a waterproof camera with them, so we were able to take pictures and video along the race.  The three couples did the race together, which is why it turned out to be an awesome group date.  Kim put together a highlight reel, the longer versions are on my youtube page, if you really want to view them, I can send a link.  My favorite is Greg proclaiming at the end, "I hate mud."  Silly Gweg, the race was mostly about MUD!

Amber, Kim, & Josh over the Cargo Wall
I need lunch?
So, in our rush out the door, Greg & I completely forgot to pack a lunch for us.  I wanted to get a turkey leg there for after the race, but I wasn't thinking about snacking before.  I only thought about it when I noticed our friends had packed pre-race snacks for them, but then brushed it aside, thinking I'd be okay.  Big mistake.

After a couple of obstacles and through our first mud pit, I started getting light-headed.  To the point where I had to put my head between my legs because I was about to pass-out.  We all knew I needed food, but where to find it in the middle of the race?  Luckily, Josh was able to find a volunteer who just happened to have his newly-acquired lunch, a Subway sandwich.  Josh convinced him of my dire condition and I happily refueled my body while walking to the next obstacles.  I'm so grateful for wonderful friends.  I felt so embarrassed about the whole situation.  I should have known better; I consider myself an 'athletic' person and I was the one to almost pass out.  However, my great friends encouraged me, didn't make fun of me, and swore up-and-down it could have been any of us.  After my lunch break, we were all good to go, and finished the race.


Oh, the mud
It took us 1 hr 18 minutes to finish at our leisurely pace WITH my 'almost-passing-out' incident.  One of women who came with us finished in under 30 minutes, so cool!  Our whole group finished every obstacle, even the most challenging ones.  We all want to do it again next year.  Personally, I want to see the kind of time I can get without the 'break' in the middle.

Because of the last pit, we were all COVERED in mud.  It was the strangest sensation.  So we had to mosy over to the water-tanker they provided for us to hose off.  Can you tell by my expression that the water is COLD?

Our whole group of WARRIORS!

{THIS} is next year's race.  We all really want to do it again... however, it is on Annabelle's birthday... what a way to celebrate our daughter turning three, right?

Here's the rest of the pictures:


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