Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Montly Musings

Maybe if I do it at the end of the month, I'll be able to keep up with the updating.  It's the time of year for resolutions.... so this I resolve!

Poor Luke hasn't been feeling well, so we went to the doctor.  It was the whole 'I can't do anything did it's probably just a virus' routine.  So, we wait it out and hope he doesn't get more sick.   On a positive note, we found out he's 14 lbs 5.4 oz.
The kids were at a friend's house the other day watching Toy Story 2.  They got to the part *spoiler alert* when Zurg reveals his paternal relationship to Buzz.  Apparently Jared stated laughing and said, "That's just like Star Wars."  Yep, the four year old got a cultural reference.  Hilarious.
Annabelle had her own Star Wars epiphany this week.  One morning she randomly turned to Jared and said:  "Jared, you can't like princesses because they're girls, but I can like Star Wars because of Princess Leia."
Christmas was a lot of fun.  Great memories and I've got a few things to write about.
Luke upgraded to his crib after our Christmas visitors.  So now the boy's room is actually the boy's room.  They are both adjusting well, so far.  Since Luke was a quiet, we adjusted just fine to having our room back.
Tonight we have the annual party at our neighbor's house, Italian style.  Should be a fun way to ring in 2013 a little early. :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Experimenting & Playdoh

The kids have been enjoying a couple sets they got for Christmas almost every day since:

The playdoh set...

and science experiments....

Both Jared and Belle have been asking daily to play with either ones... they've been having fun learning and creating. Woot.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Christmas was lots of fun this year.  Mema & Deda came out to celebrate.

Saturday & Sunday
We didn't do much, but the fun things we normally do with Mema & Deda: read, walk and enjoy being together.  Most of the time, they'd take the big kids out while I'd have to take care of Luke.  It was fun and peaceful. It's one of the fantastic reasons for living in South Texas--- the weather every other time of the year than summer. :)

With Greg's new calling, he left us on Sunday morning to enjoy getting the kids ready for Christmas Sunday. Since we had three adults to three kids, I was even able to finish the boys' Christmas ties in time for pictures and church.  Church ended up being wonderful and a great way to lead into Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Monday-Christmas Eve

Since the Baxters had family in town, they hosted our annual 'Family-ship' Christmas Eve dinner.  Potluck yumminess + new tradition of minute-to-win-it games + hand chimes = a memorable evening.  Jared was adamant on trying games this time; so he tried the game where you had to move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth without using your arms.  He tried his best, and it was definitely picture-worthy.  We didn't keep track of time, this time, which ended up being great.  We just tried the silly games and had fun!

After the games, Lon pulled out the hand chimes and his posters to go with it.  It was the pure definition of 'organized chaos' but I absolutely loved it.  The reason it seemed like chaos was because we needed everyone, including the little kids, to have their own chime--- which meant chimes would go off willy-nilly whenever they were accidentally hit.  Lon tried so hard to keep everyone under control, but to no avail, and it was still perfect. Perfect because we were together with ones we cared about.  Maybe one of these years, we'll be able to get my side down here as well, so it's completely with the ones we love.

Once the party was over, we had to head home for our own family traditions.  The kids have figured it out by now, and were ready for opening one present.  Jared and Belle both loved their new jammies; Jared head-to-toe Agent P and Annabelle with the Angry Birds.  Mema helped Luke open his and he was the cutest snow penguin around.  This year, I surprised Greg with our own new jammies; matching shirts I made for us to where Christmas morning.

Then, it was to bed, to wait for Santa to come.

Tuesday- Christmas

Jared was the first of the kids up, but we were still able to beat him and get the Monkey Bread started. I'm definitely enjoying the time before they wake us up at 5 in the morning--- I know it'll happen one of these years.  Once he was awake, it was hard for him to contain his excitement.  We had to pry Annabelle and Luke out of bed, so Jared wouldn't open everything without them.

The morning was then full of opening presents, huge smiles and lots of hugs and loves. Then, the rest of the day was full of playing with new gifts, and prepping for dinner.  We decided to have the missionaries over for dinner this year.  Greg and I both really like to have them over at least one holiday a year, and this year ended up being Christmas.  They brought a nice message about Christ and made me reflect on the many blessings we have.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Annual Report

 Just in case someone was missed on the list...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Preschool Fun

I really wanted to take my turn at teaching preschool during the holiday because I had a few ideas that I was just itching to do.  It ended up being overwhelming and chaotic, but hilarious and FUN!

We made marshmallow igloos...

A 12 Symbols of Christmas tree...

A Rudolph ornament...

AND we finished it off by having a party on the last day!  We made graham cracker candy house and listened to Christmas music.

Even though it can be crazy at times, I love making memories like this with the kids.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Random 12 Happenings from 12/12/12

In no particular order...

1.  I worked on addressing Christmas cards.  Hopefully I'll get them out before Christmas.
2.  Multiple boxes arrived at our doorstep.  The kids were so excited; nothing says Christmas like getting to know the delivery people on a first-name basis.
3.  Jared and Annabelle were entertained by one of those empty boxes.
4.  Luke took a 3 1/2 hour nap.  Poor little sickie.
5.  We had dinner at Taco C.
6.  We started our second week of the preschool rotation.  This week we're talking about the letter J and doing Nativity stuff.
7.  It was bath night.
8.  Luke barfed all over me (nothing new).  A little different this time because he gagged on his medicine and so I had to give it to him all over again.
9.  Jared read.
10.  We went grocery shopping; Jared and I shivered all the way to the entrance because we didn't bring a jacket.
11.  Annabelle told me I don't know how many times that her best friend's birthday is tomorrow.
12.  Greg continued to train the kids in the way of Angry Birds.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Party Days

Just like any Christmas season, we had a lot of parties to go to...

First up was the ward breakfast party.  The RS was in charge of it again this year; this time I specifically was asked to help with a Hot Chocolate self-serve station.  The night before the party, we got all of the prep work done and ready for the party.  Too bad Luke and I wouldn't get to see how it went.  Late that night, Luke developed his first bout of Croup.  It was so bad I had to take him to the hospital just hours before the party.  I texted/called/sent Greg with instructions knowing full well that a trip to the ER meant I probably wasn't going to the party.  Just like his older brother, Luke needed a little bit of  medicine to calm his chest down and we spent the rest of the time being observed.  We ended up leaving just as the party was over, so we went home to have our own party of rest.  Greg told me later that the actual party was fun, but they were missing us.


Saturday was Greg's big family Christmas party at work.  Usually, they have it on a Sunday, so we don't get to go--- and that's what we were planning.  However, when we got the date in the mail, we both got excited to be able to take the kids this year.  They seriously went all out; it was held in the new fitness facility.  The gym had yummy treats and a huge inflatable movie screen with Christmas Classics on (it was also where the Santa line began).  Outside there were drinks, lots of Christmas themed games and crafts, AND three different inflatable activities.

We decided to hit up Santa first, just in case.  So, we grabbed a few bags of popcorn and joined the line.  It didn't take us too long to get to the big man himself, and we have a little bit of progress this year.  Jared was able to sit on his lap and tell him that he wants a tag reader; Annabelle didn't want to get hear him at first, but was able to get close for a family picture and then tell him from a far that she wants a Princess computer.  And, Luke, well, like the champ baby that he is, he slept through the whole thing.  After Santa, the kids each took a bunch of turns on the obstacle course; Annabelle, then, beat us all in a rousing game of Christmas Bingo.

We had a great time and I really hope that they'll continue to keep the party on Saturdays in upcoming years.


As if we didn't have enough fun on that Saturday, Greg and I had a extra special date night ahead of us.  Our little group of four had a birthday date planned AND we made it extra special this time and went to The Melting Pot.

Greg & I hadn't been there for a few years, and then it was just us, so it was on this date I realized that TMP is definitely a place for a group of people.  We were able to get more on the menu to try and had a little too much fun with the burner plates and stretching the cheese.  It was so good and so much fun.

Like always we had a wonderful time and, like always, I'm ever so grateful for the amazing friends we have here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekly Gems

*This week I did it!  I went to the store with three kids ALONE!  Desperation (in the form of preschool preparation) will do that to a woman.  The kids were great; apart from making sure they didn't run off because I don't have enough hands, everyone was happy, listened and no one had a meltdown.  I know that won't always happen, but it was nice to have it happen on the first time.

*Luke had his first hospital visit last night and early this morning; we had to miss the the ward Christmas party because of it.  Unfortunately, it seems as though Luke is susceptible to croup.  He had a really rough time breathing last night, so I had to take him to the hospital to get him to calm down.  Basically, the whole time was watching to make sure he was okay.  We did a couple breathing treatments and gave him steroids and he fell asleep.  Luckily, he slept through a lot of the visit, while I read on my Kindle.  The above picture is the sweet sleeping boy in my arms.  

*Like I said above, I'm teaching preschool this month.  The best part of teaching during the month of December is doing lots of fun Christmas crafts with the kids.  I was really worried about teaching and taking care of Annabelle and Luke, but they've been great.  Luke sleep right through it and Annabelle enjoys and participates in everything.

*Speaking of Annabelle, she's got to be one of the sassiest little girls EVER.  And I don't mean it in a bad way either.  During preschool this month, she's takes charge and starts bossing the other kiddos around--- even though she's almost two years younger than them.  "Guys we have to sit on the caterpillar for circle time," "Be sure to give me a job, Mommy," that kind of stuff.

Another sassy thing she did was this: one day this week, while the kids were playing she turned to Jared and said: Jared, you can't like princesses because they're girls, but I can't like Star Wars because of Princess Leia.  Oh, the logic of a three-year-old.

*Between preschool and running errands with my three amigos, we are doing lots of fun Christmas activities.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Self Portraits

Two goofballs that we know found the camera on my phone.  They've seen me use it as a camera and wanted to try it themselves WHILE I was taking care of Luke.  Hilarity (and a lot of pictures) ensued.

Suspect #1: Annabelle

Suspect #2: The Ceiling Fan

Suspect #2: ACTUALLY Jared

Eventually, I caught and took a picture of the culprits.

Look at how innocent they are.

No remorse whatsoever.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dear Santa...

We started our advent activities and the first one--- per tradition--- is a letter to Santa.  Since they don't write yet, I made them a special letter to draw.

Jared was so excited to write (he even addressed the letter).  He asked for a ball, a Tag reader, book, underwear, and a pretend Doctor set.

Annabelle couldn't wait to make all kinds of colors.  She asked for a princess computer & clothes.  She also drew pictures of reindeer, tents, and a tank top for Mommy (to remind Santa). :)

The kids had such a good time; it's so much fun to start traditions as they are getting older.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Luke: 3 months

or 12 weeks to be exact.  I can't believe it's been 3 months already.

SLEEP:  2 naps and sleeping through the night!  Yay for hitting that milestone!  It's so nice to have him sleeping through the night, we're able to enjoy the little boy in our family now.

FOOD: Same, but we might try cereal in the next month... he may not even care...

PLAYING/TOYS:  He's starting to grab for toys now.  He spends a little bit of time his jungle gym almost every day staring and listening to his music.  It's so cute; now that's he's entering the 'not-too-small-to-be-breakable' phase.

PERSONALITY:  He's still one of the chillest babies I've ever seen.  He's so easy going and is really hard to get upset.

MILESTONES:  11/3, Blessing Day *** 11/20, He laughed for the first time.  *** 11/21, Slept from 9 pm to 5 am.

RANDOM:  This is the baby transition time that I love.  He's going from a brand-new baby to a baby who realized there's a world around him.  We're trying to encourage him to roll-over but he doesn't seem to care because we all take care of him.  Ahead for him is his first holiday season and starting to grab things--- so much fun!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mostly Weekly Gems

*This week has been a hard week here.  Everyone came down with something--- we think Lukie might even be teething.  Jared was so sick, he even had to skip preschool and we had to go to the doctor to get a breathing treatment.  Jared's best friend, Mr. Nebulizer, returned.

*Jared had another moment when he proved to be just how grown up he's becoming.  He was looking through one of our church board books about Jesus and read a couple of the words on the page.  It was fantastic, but so hard to believe that he's growing up.

*One of my favorite things about the little baby phase is when Greg falls asleep with them.  It's so adorable.

*Since it's after Thanksgiving, we put up the tree.  And not just any tree... our new tree.  It's one of my favorite parts about the Christmas holiday because it's a symbol there the whole time.  The kids were so excited with each ornament--- especially the ones with stories or the Disney ones my folks just passed down to us.

*We haven't had a family picture taken since Luke's newborns, so we attempted to do so after we put up the tree... with interesting results.

Definitely an interesting week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Video: Laughing Luke

We finally got video of Luke laughing.  What was funny was what he was laughing about: Greg and I making fun of a certain male Canadian pop star and his ridiculousness.


Yeah, we think he's funny too, buddy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving was great this year.  In our little family-ship, it was my turn to host Thanksgiving, so we turned our downstairs in a banquet hall.  We had our H Street this year (Baxter & Ottleys were gone) plus another fantastic family in our ward to join in for the adventure.  Even though we only added one extra family, we doubled the kids--- which ended up being a lot of chaotic fun!  All we needed was a classic holiday card table for extra seating.

As usual, we had a great time.  We fried the bird & made sure Pumpkin Pie was in supply.  I'm pretty sure Greg gets a little excited every time he gets to use his deep-fryer.  Kim & Margaret took on the rest of the food--- which was divine.

My big project of the holiday was to make turkey placemats for all of the kids in attendance.  So, my grand total was 10... I may have been a little over-ambitious (Greg would say 'as usual').  But, it was all worth it when they realized that they could keep the placemats for future turkey holiday endeavors.

Our friendships here make the holidays even sweeter since we don't have many close relatives near by.  Over the years we've been here, they've turned into our pseudo-family and that is definitely one thing I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude Turkey 2012

Another year, another gratitude turkey.

GWEG: Temple, Tums, Superman~, The Spirit, Habenero BBQ sauce, Mommy, our family, Jared, Annabelle, frosting, good job, The Highlander, nice co-workers, peace & quiet, soothing music, date night, doctors, friends, Mommy's smile, silliness, smiles, peanut oil

AMBO: Personal Revelation, Creamy Jalapeno, Goliath~, The Priesthood, Open Pits, Liberty, Technology, frozen yogurt, Daddy, Annabelle, military, music, hobbies, missionaries, working cars, date night, Luke, church, Jared, good deals, my body, friends

JARED: Playing with my toys, Family, Strawberry Spinning Ride~, Our house, FOOD, Preschool, Having fun at the Duck Park, playground, Texas, treats, good sleeps, playtime with Caleb, clothes, movies we have, grandparents, pictures we have, animals, friends, pictures in my bedroom, Jesus, Heavenly Father, flowers

ANNABELLE: Princesses, Star Wars, Log Ride~, Food, Mommy & Daddy, New ring, Tom the Turkey, nightgowns, bananas, birthdays, milk, swings, new movies, duck park, new purse, Luke, Jesus, family, pink blanket, peanuts, Texas, my body

LUKE*: burping, clean diapers, milk, Daddy, Comfy Car Seat, growing BIG, silly adults, nap time, car rides, warm jammies, car seat tent, sunshine, warm pants, Jared, Annabelle, Mommy, going pee-pee, ceiling fan, jungle gym, sleep, laughter, warm blankets

*The other four of us took turns figuring out what Luke was probably most grateful for that day.  If it were completely up to Annabelle, he would have been grateful for milk and poop all month.  She probably isn't too far from the truth.
~Six Flags Picnic Day

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly Gems

**In an effort to keep me caught up on the blog and not continually behind, I'm going to attempt to write down random bits from the week and publish them at the end of the week.  Anything's worth a shot to start a good habit up, right?**
At the beginning of the week, Caleb came over for a few hours to hang out while his folks spent quality sick time together.  Since I was severely outnumbered, we spent some of the time outside.  Caleb's ability to pump on the swings FINALLY motivated Jared to do the same.  Annabelle still doesn't want to do it, but it's awesome to hear Jared proclaim:  "Look Mommy, I'm doing it/swinging/pumping."

We also colored some Turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Notice how all three are not looking--- at least Bellie is trying.

Our most recent orders of diapers came this week.  275 size 2 diapers, to be exact.  So many diapers... we'll see how long they last....

Jared LOVES to be like his Daddy.  So much so, I caught this picture of them reading the paper together.  Priceless.

Took Luke and Annabelle for their Well-Kiddo Checkups.  Both are doing great.  Tall skinny kids with big heads; no surprise there.  Luke did great with his shots too (and he looked so cute in a hand-me-down from Jared).

Last but not least, I caught this picture of the boys yesterday morning.  Be still my beating heart.

Birthday Questions: Jared at 4 1/2

I already love how these interviews show so much of their personalities.  FYI... we've only played Mario Party ONCE with Jared... I guess it stuck...
  1. What are 3 words that describe you?  A Good Helper
  2. I'm really good at:  Helping Mommy and at preschool
  3. What makes you happy?  Feeling the Spirit
  4. What makes you sad?  Not going to Sea World
  5. What is your favorite animal?  Lions & Hippos
  6. What is your favorite food? Marshmallows, cookies and popcorn
  7. What is your favorite color? Green, orange and red
  8. What is your favorite part about church?  Having the Spirit in my body and learning things in primary
  9. What is your favorite scripture story?  Jesus visiting the Nephites
  10. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas & Thanksgiving
  11. What is your favorite treat? Candy Canes
  12. What is your favorite type of music?  Star Wars
  13. What is your favorite toy?  Star Wars figures and Millenium Falcon
  14. What is your favorite sport to play?  Basketball and Footbal
  15. My favorite books are:  ALL of my STAR WARS books
  16. What is your favorite movie?  ALL of the Star Wars  TV Show? Shaun the Sheep and Phineas & Ferb
  17. If I could go anywhere, I would go to:  Disneyworld & Disneyland
  18. What songs do you like to sing?  Star Wars, Trying to Be Like Jesus, and Child of God
  19. Best thing our family does together:  playing Mario Party
  20. If you could pick any pet, what would it be?  a dog
  21. When I was little I used to: cry and have accidents
  22. My best friend is: Caleb & Alex
  23. What do you like to do with Mommy?  play Mario Party
  24. What do you like to do with Daddy?  play Mario Party
  25. What do you like to play inside?  Mario Party
  26. What do you like to play outside?  Hide 'n Seek and Freeze Tag
  27. If I had one wish, it would be:  Santa to bring picture frames *it was at this point that Jared started to get really silly*
  28. Are you afraid of anything?  Dark, bees, wasps and spiders
  29. When I grow up, I want to be:  Pest Control Guy
  30. Who is the coolest person you know:  Mommy & Daddy & Annabelle
  31. *EXTRA*  My favorite memory is: Having playdates with Caleb.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Birthday Questions: Annabelle at 3

I saw this idea online and I loved it so much, I decide to do it with our kids.  Basically, it's the same list of questions and each year, you'll see how the answers change.

Ideally, I'll start when they turn 3 (future Jared, sorry I missed a year).  I meant to do this in May with Jared, but summer, a pregnancy and big trip got in the way, so I interviewed them both yesterday.  Here's Annabelle's answers.
  1. What are 3 words that describe you?  A Sassy Pants
  2. I'm really good at:  Getting Marshmellows at the store
  3. What makes you happy?  Jesus and popcorn
  4. What makes you sad?  When Jared takes things away from me
  5. What is your favorite animal?  MONKEY
  6. What is your favorite food? Marshmellows
  7. What is your favorite color? Pink and Purple
  8. What is your favorite part about church?  Nursery
  9. What is your favorite scripture story?  Mary, Jesus' Mommy
  10. What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
  11. What is your favorite treat?  M&Ms
  12. What is your favorite type of music?  Popcorn Popping
  13. What is your favorite toy?  Princesses (little and big)
  14. What is your favorite sport to play?  Jungle Gym
  15. My favorite books are:  ALL of my Princess books
  16. What is your favorite movie?  Beauty & the Beast  TV Show? Shaun the Sheep
  17. If I could go anywhere, I would go to:  Sea World & Disneyworld & Disneyland
  18. What songs do you like to sing?  Popcorn Popping and Child of God
  19. Best thing our family does together:  Eat together
  20. If you could pick any pet, what would it be?  MONKEY
  21. When I was little I used to: cry
  22. My best friend is: Alex & Elise
  23. What do you like to do with Mommy?  Watch a show
  24. What do you like to do with Daddy?  Play games on his kindle or phone
  25. What do you like to play inside?  Princesses and Hide 'n Seek
  26. What do you like to play outside?  Hide 'n Seek
  27. If I had one wish, it would be:  Popcorn from Santa
  28. Are you afraid of anything?  Spiders and wasps
  29. When I grow up, I want to be:  I don't know... ummm.... Mommy!
  30. Who is the coolest person you know:  Daddy, the Pest Control guy and Mommy
  31. *EXTRA*  My favorite memory is: playing board games

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Luke: 2 Months

I'm a little late on this because of the craziness that was his blessing visit, but it's better late then never, right?

STATS:  13.2 lbs, 24 inches, 16 cm head circumference (all 75%)

SLEEP:  He sleeps really well for a two month old.  He only wakes up once and it's after a nice 6-7 hour stretch.  The biggest adjustment is getting my body used to him sleeping.  During the day, he fluctuates between two and three naps, I guess it means we might want to think about adjusting to two naps--- but that'll mean that he's growing up and it feels like he's doing that too fast. :)

FOOD:  Obviously, it's still all Mama-Milk.  It's about six times a day now.  Plus, we're still not having any problems--- let's hope it stays that way.

PLAYING/TOYS:  He's starting to notice things around him, but it's only looking around and such.  He's smiled at us, especially Annabelle.  We've put things on his carseat, but he hasn't started grabbing at them, only staring.

PERSONALITY:  Still a super chill baby.  He doesn't really cry, unless he's super tired or in pain.  Now that's he awake a little more, it'll be fun to see his personality come out.

MILESTONES:  First real smile--- first laugh --- holding his head steady--- noticing things around him

RANDOM:  Luke's personality has made adjusting to three kids easier than we thought.  Don't get me wrong, it's still hard, but the little happy boy makes it worth it.  He's totally got all four of us wrapped around his finger; I'm pretty sure the kids are just waiting for Luke to be aware enough to play with.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Annabelle's Birthday

Annabelle's actual birthday was very low-key because of the craziness of the days before.  She loved everything we did for the decorations--- all we really added were the streamers on the door, but they always seem to get a kick out of those!

When she came downstairs and saw what was waiting for her, it was priceless.  Bellie has always loved Jared's Batman Trike, so she's been asking for something similar.  Well, I found something like it at our semi-annual consignment sale--- a little pink bike!  She was so happy.  So happy, in fact, that she had to try it out before she even got out of her jammies:

We spent the rest of the day lazily getting our Saturday things done.  Annabelle picked the lunch menu (mac & cheese) and had a nice restful naptime.  After that, we decided to  going to Chili's for dinner (where she had mac & cheese AGAIN).  This dinner was rather amusing because Jared and Annabelle both decided to try Fried Onion Strips.  Greg and I both warned them saying that they normally don't like onions, but they can try them again.  Annabelle piped up, "but I'm three now, Mama, maybe I'll like it."  She's never had that attitude about trying new foods--- maybe it's a sign of growing up.... Anyway, their attempts at trying the onions were so funny--- we had to take pictures of it.

When we got home, the kids spent time cruising back-n-forth down the street, practicing their new skills.

Jared tried to show Annabelle how to do it, but it's a little different on a bike and she really didn't want to listen to him boss her around--- especially on her birthday.  Luke spent this time chilling in the baby seat and making cute little coo noises every so often.  He's already getting so big!  Annabelle was apprehensive, at first--- for maybe a second, and then wanted to go full speed.  Since, I got the bike pre-owned, it has a few things to be adjusted, but she was in heaven anyway After the lesson, we ended the day with cake and friends.  Our little princess was happy the whole day and that's what matters.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Visiting Fun

Here's a couple highlights from the rest of the trip:

Hanging Out Fun

In general, we just LOVED being around our loved ones we hardly get to see.  It was extra special to see my Grandma & Grandpa because we see them MAYBE once-a-year.  The kids had fun convincing Gpa to get his iPad out for games; I had to gently remind them a few times to go do something else with Great-Grandpa.  It was also the first time since Z & K's wedding that we saw Parker--- so the second time in the last two years.  Since Deda was involved, there was lots of reading together; and Mema did some coloring & outside fun with the kids.  Plus, everyone had their fair share of baby Luke bonding.  Great Gma even got him to smile and I think it made her year.  It was adorable.

Dinner Fun

Another fun thing we did was go out to dinner.  The first night with all of the grandparents, we went as one big party to Chuy's.... mmmm... so good.  Since Gma & Gpa had never been to Driftwood, we spent the last night of their visit making the trek up to The Salt Lick for the best BBQ around.  Always so fun and always so delicious.  Gma's reaction to her first bite was priceless, plus, Luke needed to have his first visit.  It's just that yummy.

Duck Pond

After we dropped Gma & Gpa off at the airport, and Greg had to work, we decided to go to the duck pond--- because it's just THAT fun.  The ducks were particularly fiesty with each other and us this time... it might have something to do with us bringing tortillas to feed them... it's a bread-like...  Annabelle got so nervous, she had to take her normal perch on top of the chess table.  After we ran out of tortillas, we went & explored the actual playscape at the park.  The kids had a blast

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Luke's Blessing Day

The actual blessing day was very beautiful--- spiritually & physically.  Greg always does a great job saying exactly what the Lord wants him to say.  Mema usually writes the blessings down, but this time, she had a couple grandkids on her lap, so we had to record it.  I wish we would've done this with Jared & Belle, but that's what happens when technology gets better.. oh well.  Luke was good throughout the blessing and he had a blessing buddy named Leah--- every Star Wars nerd, be jealous. :)  Another unique thing about Luke's blessing is that Greg's second cousin, Christian, was able to participate. He and his cute little family have recently been stationed here (for now) and they were able to come & be apart of this special day.

After church, we went back to the house to have dinner and cake.  I say cake because we celebrated Great Aunt Cheryl & Annabelle's birthdays (Cheryl's was actually that day).  Annabelle even opened her presents from her grandparents.  She loved the dolls, clothes, and Minnie hair stuff that she enlisted Jiji to help her open them immediately.  It really funny because once she got her fake blowdryer to work, she brought it over to Luke and started to do his hair; she even tried to put clips in Jiji's & Deda's... super silly girl.  After Mema saved Luke from the perils of a big sister, the older kids took advantage of an empty Oba and had her read to them.

It ended up being a great day and, I know I've said this before, but Greg and I consider ourselves very lucky to have so many wonderful people in our family.  Even if some couldn't make the journey to Texas, we know how much they love us and the feeling is definitely mutual.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Annabelle is 3!

So hard to believe our little girl is THREE!  Today marks 4 1/2 years of Jared, 3 for Annabelle and 10 weeks of Luke!  I'm so grateful to be their mother.  It's definitely the greatest blessing and challenge of my life; I know Greg would say the same about being their Dad.  We're just keeping today low-key because of all of our fun visitors from last week.

Weight: 35 lbs
Height: 39 inches
Hair: whispy strawberry blonde
Eyes: depends on the day--- dark to amber brown
20, she's finally got them all
Shoe Size: 7 to 8
Clothes Size:  4T/5T dresses, 4T shirts, 4T shorts/skirts
Nicknames: Belle, Annabellie, Bellie, Little Mama, Little Girl, Sissy, turkey, button
Luke, Jared, Daddy, Mommy, Pink Blankie, anything Disney Princess, anything girly/princessy, singing
Dislikes: anyone bossing her around (especially Jared), going down for a nap,
Favorite Food: If she could have her way, she would eat Mac 'n Cheese every single day for every single meal.  Her other minor favorite include strawberries, Hot Dogs, Japanese food
Favorite Toys: Princesses & the Castle and her baby dolls.
Favorite Books: All of her Princess books
Favorite Things to Watch: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, any Disney Princess movie, Shaun the Sheep, Curious George
Other New Tricks:  She was finally completely potty-trained just before Luke was born.  (Halleujah).  She's adjusting really well to being a big sister.  After the initial hesitance at their first meeting, Annabelle is my little helper.  She even likes to pretend being a mom herself with her baby.  She knows the letters in her name and knows how to write 'A'.  We'll work on the rest soon.
What's next: Learning how to ride her new bike, writing her name, Sunbeams in January
How she drives us crazy: She's still as stubborn as ever.  I'm trying to let her have as much independence (without hurting herself), however the more I give the more she wants.  She either absolutely LOVES Jared or does NOT; I know it comes with being close in age.  She's also currently trying to get rid of her nap, since Jared did... however, when she doesn't nap... *shivers* everyone knows it.
Why she's so awesome: She is such a SPITFIRE.  We all adore her (well, may not Jared) and she knows it.  Her independence and intelligence make her so much fun to be around.  She knows what she likes and tries to get everyone to like the same.  She's a princess, but very adventurous.  She's also very sweet and thoughtful (when she slows down).  She's definitely a challenge, and I worry constantly if our a-likeness is going to be rough when she's older, but then I try to remember she's three and full of love, spunkiness and fun!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Six Flags Fun

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the visit days was Greg's work picnic at Six Flags.  We really wanted to go because we had such a good time last year, so it was a matter of figuring out if we could have more than just our little family.

Mema, Deda, Oba, Jiji & Parker ended up joining us while the great-grandfolks spent quiet time back at home.  We had a great day filled with more rides than last year because we had taller kids and more adults to take turns watching the kids & riding the rides.

As a result, we finally were able to try out rides we hadn't been on before like the new Skyscraper--- which has amazing views of the city.  Another memorable one was Superman... as seen in the picture!  Luke was the only thing that concerned me about the day.  I worried he would get cranky fast, due to sleeping in the stroller and eating outside, but he was good until the end of the day.  I shouldn't have expected anything else.  He's such a good baby.

Just like last year, the favorite seemed to be Scooby's Shooting Adventure; we went on that ride a few times.  Another ride which seemed to be a new favorite was the Bugs Bunny themed Log Flume.  The kids went on it a couple times; once with each sets of grandparents.  This line was probably the longest we stood in; it may have had something to do with the fact that it was unseasonable warm that day.  Good ol' Texas; don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it'll change!

Everyone had a great time switching kid-watching duties and the kids even played a guaranteed winner game and both got a new stuffed Dino.  We stayed 'til mid-afternoon--- still had to finish getting ready for the next day and spend time with the grandfolks.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Luke's Blessing Visit

We had a great time with all of our visitors for Luke's blessing.  We were so busy the whole time; even though we had a lot of fun, we're grateful to have just the five of us again.

Wednesday, Halloween:
We had a great time with Great-Gma & Gpa.  I'm so glad they were able to come and visit just a little bit early and spend some 'alone' time with us.

Thursday & Friday, More Visitors Arrive:
Mema & Deda then arrived on Thursday and Oba, Jiji and Park arrived the next day.  We spent those days spending time together and prepping for Luke's blessing.  We even went out to dinner to celebrate Annabelle's birthday a little early.

Saturday, SwRi Six Flags Day:
Greg's annual work party happened to be the week we wanted to have Luke's blessing.  So, we asked everyone who would be in town if they wanted to go--- we also thought it would be fun as a celebration for Luke and an early celebration for Annabelle's birthday.  This day needs its own post.

Sunday, The Blessing Day:
This day was such a great day.  Greg did an amazing job and Luke was wonderful.  And, as per tradition in our ward, he wasn't the only baby blessed that day.  His blessing buddy: Leah.  Yep, that wasn't a typo--- Luke & Leah.  It may be spelled differently, but I can't wait for them to be in primary classes together.  Their cool teachers will get it.  The rest of the day will get it's own post.

We spent Monday through today saying good-bye and doing little things here and there. (Plus, I needed to get ready for a RS meeting tonight).  This needs it own post as well.

Like I said before, it was a fun and wonderful visit, but it's really nice to have things back to normal.  We're so grateful for all of the people who care for us.  We feel so loved and happy to share our family with everyone.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Luke's Blessing

Helotes Ward
San Antonio, TX
Taken from a recording by Oba

By the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood which we hold, we give this infant a name by which she will be known on the church records as Luke Paul....

At this time we'd like to give you a blessing.  We'd like to bless you with all things your Heavenly Father would like to give to you.

We'd like to bless you with health & strength so that your body may be able to withstand the sicknesses that are in this world.

We'd like to bless you with faith in your Heavenly Father's plan & in your Savior, Jesus Christ.

We bless that you will be able to gain a strong testimony that you may be able to be a light unto others.

We bless you that through your faith, you will be able to serve an honorable full-time mission & be able to share your noble testimony with the people that you meet.

We bless you also that you will be able to go to the temple one day & take a worthy young woman to be your wife.

We bless you that you will be able to be a peacemaker in your family, among your friends & those your meet.  That they may see your kind example & know that Heavenly Father loves them, as well.

We bless you with these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween was EXTRA fun this year because GREAT Gma & Gpa came to visit.  When we planned out when to bless Luke, we realized that we wanted to do it the first weekend in November.  This meant we had the potential to have lots of visitors for Greg's work picnic the day before (on Saturday) and maybe even on Halloween (just a few days before).  My mom's parents, G-ma & G-pa, were the only ones who capatilized on Halloween and came out to Trick-or-Treat with the kiddos.

However, before I picked them up, I had to figure out what Greg and I were going to do (I already had the kids long done and since there was no family theme, we had to figure something out). After we dropped Jared off at preschool, Bellie, Luke and I found the perfect costumes.  It may have been a little last minute, but it worked out.

Between finding the costumes and the Trunk-or-Treat we spent the day enjoying the grandparents.

The time approached to get ready...

And then it was time for the big reveal:
Our Happy Halloween Family

Mike Wazowski (aka Luke):  Since I made Jared & Belle's first Halloween costumes, I had to keep up the tradition and do the same with Luke.  However, since I just had him two months ago (yay for being two months old), I didn't want to pressure myself into a time-consuming costume.  I knew Jared's would take a bit of time, so I didn't want to add more stress to a fun holiday.  ENTER the Mike Wazowski onesie.  I bought a green onesie and then appliqued & hand-sewed the eye and mouth on.  He had another costume done the same way, but it was way too warm of a night to put him in it.  I'm sure I'll post about it in the winter (when's he's big enough to wear it).

Snow White (aka Belle):  It's no surprise to anyone that our little princess LOVES princesses.  So, after being forced into theme costumes the past two years, she and Jared really really wanted to pick their own costumes.  She kept telling me she wanted to be Belle, Aurora or Rapuzel for Halloween.  When Mema came to visit a couple weeks before Halloween, she brought with her a Snow White dress.  Annabelle was sold the minute she saw it.  All I had to do was cut some red ribbon for her hair and she was done.

Shaun the Sheep (aka Jared):  One of Jared's favorite cartoon shows is {Shaun the Sheep}.  If you don't know what it is, look it up... hilarious.  I asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween about a month before Luke was done (just in case I had to get some ideas going), it was a good thing because the first and only thing out of Jared's mouth was Shaun.  So, we found a black turtleneck and pants and I made the fuzzy sheep fur and head.  He LOVED it.  When he tried it on a couple nights ago, he started running around and singing the song.  That reaction is one of the many reasons why I love to create.

Jem & Rio (aka Gregbo):  So, that left Greg and I.  Luckily, I have a WONDERFUL husband because this was all my idea.  When I was a little girl, I absolutely LOVED the show, {Jem & the Holograms}.  I had all the dolls and everything.  I may have even dressed up as Jem for Halloween when I was Jared's age (and by may, I mean did).  So, the whole Halloween season, I tried to tell Greg it would be fun to dress up like Jem and her boyfriend, Rio.  He would not go with it, until the last day (and maybe too much badgering from me).  So, I found my whole costume, Greg's AWESOME pants and tie at Spirit.  Then, we finished it off with some things around the house and TRULY OUTRAGEOUS 80s make-up.  It was so much fun; only one person the whole night knew who we actually were (a couple people thought I was Lady Gaga.... um.... no).  It was still a blast and I can't wait to wear them again.

We had a great time.  Our annual ward Trunk-or-Treat actually fell on Halloween this year, so, the plan was to do a little bit of both.

Greg and I were able to man the Trunk while Gma & Gpa took the big kids around the trunk block a couple of times. I had to sneak in the back of the van to feed Luke, so having the extra adults was really nice.  After they made the rounds, Jared helped hand out candy and then we headed back home.  Annabelle was so tired after the activity, she didn't want to do any more houses.  Jared lasted about a half-a-block before he and Greg came back home.  They counted their loot and then went off to bed, ready for more adventures!


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