Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015 Part 1

We have been going non-stop since we hit the road last Tuesday night. We drove, and when I saw "we" I mean Adam drove through the night on Tuesday night and got to his parents home on early Wednesday morning. The next several hours are a blur as some of us went back to bed while others (the rowdy ones) went ahead and started their day. We all decided around 10 to get out of the house before it started raining ....little did we know it wouldn't really every stop...for the day. I went for a nice long run and some weight and then met Lolly, Captain at the park to feed the ducks. From there they went on the library while Adam and I went to Barnes and Noble to do some light reading. Lolly let me take over her kitchen while I was there and we ate Paleo almost the entire time....besides the kids and Adam eating some treats at the great grandparents home and some biscuts for breakfast. We ate lots of good fish, spaghetti squash, sweet potato fries, eggs, turkey, real bacon and roasted veggies and fruit. We even made Santa paleo muffins for Christmas Eve...we just knew he would enjoy something healthy for a change :).

The next several days were spent at great grandparents homes surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, grandparents, and friends. We were so thrilled that EVERYONE came to everything...the kiddos even got to meet cousins they had never met before. When they walked through the door Ribbit immediately recognized their little girls from Facebook and their Christmas cards..it was precious as they all immediately became friends and played together the rest of the time. As I always say I love how welcoming both sides of Adam's family have always been to me and my children...we have never been guests. We catch up right where we left off, I sit with the women and talk about children, fashion, food music, entertainment and laugh!!! Adam catches up with the men folk and talk about Auburn vs Alabama football, current political views, guns, hunting and whatever bowl games are coming up next. We exchanged gifts with everyone, the kids got a lot of fun toys and money...Adam and I got lots of household items, gift cards, money and some clothes. The food was overflowing and even with our new way of looking of food we had plenty of options!! The kids loved the pigs in blanket, grilled chicken wings, homemade cookies and biscuits and the carrots!!

We also got to spend some time dining and hanging out with friends from high school which is always fun.

We left for lower Alabama after church on Sunday and have been here for one full day...I will write about that in a separate post but so far two Christmas's have gone down and another big one is happening tomorrow with my moms side of the family. The only thing that could have been better this year is the weather. We are constantly HOT since I packed us all WINTER clothes, go figure and it has been in the 60s/70s. Its also been thundering/lightening plus add in some tornado warnings.Meanwhile back in Texas they are flooding, getting hail and set to get some snow.....what a weird Christmas as far as weather goes.

My kiddos favorites so far....
Goobers favorite things so far-Food at both grandparents and seeing the Star Wars movie
Ribbit-The big climbing tree at Captain and Lolly's and getting her beloved soft blanky.
Baby Boy-Playing the monster truck game on the iPad with Lolly, going to the big climbing tree
Daddy-seeing his friend Al, having all of the family together
Mommy-watching my kiddos instantly bond with cousins as if they hadn't been apart for at least 6 months and watching them build gingerbread houses

Favorite gift so far..
Goober-Cd Player and CDs
Ribbit-Soft Blanket
Baby Boy-Leap Pad 3
Daddy-Table saw
Mommy-Dixie Chick tickets

Fav Foods-
Goober-chicken wings at Nana's
Ribbit-pink biscuits that Lolly made
Baby Boy-Chocolate sea shells in my stocking
Daddy-Masala Tilapia that mommy made
Mommy-Tilapia on top of Asian salad

Here are some more pictures from our December...Christmas pictures to come later!!

Hanging the Advent Ornament as high as he can on the Jesse Tree!

A sweet childhood friend came to visit us in Dallas...she is a VERY TALENTED artist and helped my student work on their still life drawings.

We don't play when you announce that its a TACKY Christmas party!!!

Mommy look at my chapstick!!

All the kiddos drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies after caroling!

Learning how to be Daniels in a world that is just like Babylon.

We had so much fun making healthy gingerbread cookies for our Jewish neighbors. We even got Jewish cookie cutters!

Do you see the dreidel, menorah, scroll, star of David, shofar, and Hebrew letter? We had so much fun making these and delivering them!

Learning how to listen to God the first time and with full obedience!

An early Christmas present from our sweet friends. 

Waiting for the AWESOME show to begin!!! It really was fantastic, they were mesmerized the entire time!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What we are learning

We are learning a whole lot over here about how God intended for us to eat.

We are learning that He gave us everything we need to survive, nuts, fats, meat, veggies and fruits. We are learning that these things TASTE good and are super filling!!!
We are learning that we can eat and be full for 3-4 hours if we include protein in every meal.
We are learning that reading ingredients is key...not just calories like I had previously done...but ingredients, the smaller the list the better. A bag of peanuts should say "peanuts" for the ingredients, not sugars, syrups, salts..its crazy.
We are learning that meats should be vegan fed and very low processing. This means that meat only makes up a 1/4 of our meal since its expensive but then we fill up on roasted veggies, fats, fruits and nuts.
We are learning that processed food actually does have an addictive power to it and that we will crave it for a while.
We are learning that mommy can cook only one meal for everyone and we will all love it.
We are learning that our splurging will take place at birthday parties or when we are invited to other peoples home.
We are learning that every disease, skin problem, headache, chronic illness, etc starts and end with how you feed and treat your body.
I wish we would have known this sooner. I wish I would have been interested in our health and nutrition earlier.
My kiddos health is something they can't buy so I want them to know what being "healthy" looks like..not being skinny but being healthy and being able to know that God really does provide us with all we need to eat.

We are also learning a lot through advent.
We are learning that Habakkuk cried out to God over the sins of others, ...we should be mournful over our sin and the sins of others but know that Jesus is coming to rescue us.
We are learning that miracles are still all around us, as Advent reminds us of the small miracles in our life every day. Goober reminded us that our family being put together is a miracle, Yup! That lead to us reminding Baby Boy that he grew in another mommy's belly but then she gave him to us.....with a very serious look he responded "No, I don't think so".
We are learning that John the Baptist was like thunder in the desert, loudly proclaiming the coming of the Lord, and we should be doing the same.
We are learning that God saw a beautiful heart in Mary and we too should be more worried about our hearts than how we feel we look like on the outside.

Advent is such a great time of year, as the kids look forward to celebrating Jesus birthday and reading from the bible every night. I love that every story in the Old and New Testament points us to Jesus, it all reminds us of our deep ugliness and our need to be rescued. I love how our new Advent Book refers to Jesus as the "Son-King"...reminding us that he was both God and Man and that he was being obedient to the Father.

At a birthday party at Build A Bear..this little thing was in stuffed animal heaven. 

Hanging with Santa at the Roanoke Christmas Celebration

Having a Lion King moment with the newest addition to our Sunday School group!

An attempt to take a selfie while we were out caroling to neighbors with our Sunday School group.

Oh what talented kiddos! Ribbit had artwork chosen to represent our school in a local competition. Goober gave a Christmas concert as part of the strings group at our school!

A look at a day of Paleo meals.
Breakfast-real bacon, eggs with avocado on top, and half an orange
Lunch-Cabbage, Lean turkey, roasted veggies, homemade salsa and avocado on top
Dinner-Blackened tilapia, roasted asparagus, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes.
The kids ate all of this, never asking for ketchup or a snack in between to keep them full!

Mommy got to attend all 3 Christmas parties this year at school!

Daddy, I mean Buddy the Elf taking these kiddos on a light tour around our city. 

Adding the advent ornament to our Jesse Tree with advice from little brother.

Being tacky with my tacky bestie at a christmas party!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wrapping things up

We are wrapping up a lot of things lately....presents..mostly handmade this year:), school, teaching, fixing, cooking, finals...and looking forward to a long holiday in Alabama.

The kiddos have been enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather. Almost everyday after school they have an hour of trampoline time....that has to be one of our best purchases ever. The sun is out and its been in the high 50s low 60s. They love jumping, playing games and shooting hoops from the trampoline. Baby Boy did fall and hit one of the poles thus chipping his tooth. The x-rays at the dentist show no root damage so we are good to go with Mr. Snaggletooth until it falls out. Thankfully, an early christmas present of a new net showed up on our doorstep and the trampoline is once again super safe!!

We have been enjoying lots of Christmas parties, which means the kids have had lots of babysitting. They LOVE babysitters. One because we always combine with other families which means lots of friends to play with and two because they always get to watch one Wild Kratt or Veggie Tale towards the end of the night. Most of the time when Adam and I come home they are not happy that the babysitters have to leave :).

We are going caroling tonight with our Sunday School group and I think the kids will really enjoy blessing others. We hope to visit several local friends and blast them with our spunky versions of christmas carols.

The weather has also caused some sickness in our home..its really hard to gauge what to wear too. My runs have been really frustrating as I am either DYING of sweat or NUMB by the time we are done. I always check the weather but the wind can really change how cold it feels. This past Saturday we did a 7.5 mile run and all of us were in shorts..I had on a tank top for crying out loud. It felt super weird to run through christmas lights (it was still dark for our whole run) in shorts while wiping away sweat. The up and down in temperatures has meant a lot of sinus problems for everyone and we are all sharing the Delsyn and cough drops. I have completely lost my voice which tends to happen at least once a year. I don't think anyone minds though that I am not so loud ;).

We have really enjoyed our new Advent book this year by Ann Voskamp. Not that we didn't enjoy the Jesus Storybook bible but we needed a new one after 3 years. I love that it has questions at the end and that its very descriptive and has beautiful illustrations. The kids KNOW exactly whose turns it is to hang the ornament and most of the time they know the story pretty well.

Big Girl is doing exceptionally well at school. I thought my heart may burst yesterday when she whipped out two beautiful pieces of art work. The first was a NUTCRACKER. Nutcrackers are by far my favorite way to decorate for Christmas....it floods me with memories of my Nana Dudgeon who decorated with teddy bears and nutcrackers. I even repaired one of my nana's nutcrackers and gave it to Micah and Chris to help them decorate for their first Christmas. Big Girl's nutcracker was beautiful and even Goober stopped and said "WOAH, that is a good nutcracker". The next piece of artwork was a big orange heart and underneath she had written "I LOVE YOU MOM"....in beautiful handwriting and spelled perfectly. This is a huge deal for our little one who struggled all least year with spelling and handwriting. She IS READING...she passes all of her sight word tests and she reads to us off of billboards, signs, the TV, anything she can find. We are constantly praising her because she mentioned to Adam the other day that she is still "embarrassed" in front of her friends who went on to first grade..breaks our heart.

Goober is a violin machine..I HAD TO MAKE HIM STOP PRACTICING the other night and go to bed. I mean the boy loves to practice and see how far ahead in his workbook he can get. He made us laugh so hard at his concert..he stood really close to his friend and I mean if he would have been a millimeter closer would have taken the boys eyes out with his bow. EVERYTIME he hit a high note that bow got super close to his friends eye and Goober was completely unaware. His grades are coming up gradually and he is taking initiative to show his grades instead of cramming them all in his locker or hiding them elsewhere.

Baby Boy is just our little snaggletooth crazy child. He is constantly making us laugh, challenging us, repeating us, asking for snuggles, asking for kisses as he stands under the mistletoe and shaking all of those curls. He is always amazed at the new "tricks" he learns and asks us to watch him open his yogurt all by himself, or button a button or spit into the sink and not on the countertop. He is actually starting to sleep through the night without waking up 2/3 times and yelling out. He is a good eater and will try just about anything.....but he wants a dessert after EVERY MEAL, including breakfast. His most common questions are:
Can I have dessert?   Can I play on the iPad?    Is today church or school day?    When is Miss Tootie gonna babysit me?    Can we snuggle?      Can I play with Bubba or Nolan?      Can I have some chocolate milk or hot chocolate?

3 days left until our official Christmas Vacation begins!!

One of my new favorite meals. Spaghetti squash, spinach, turkey pepperoni and light alfredo sauce.

Some of the many creative Advent Calendars by my awesome 8th graders this year. They LOVE using handtools!!!

Logic Honor Society serving at Operation Christmas Child

Advent Begins!

Many more advent projects...I love the ones that are personalized for the family!!

Our best bud Kason..just eating cheese pizza after school

We couldn't help ourselves. We know how Super Ribbit is so we wanted to really celebrate her turn to be Super Kid at school. She and I worked hard on her beautiful poster.

They all want to hang the ornaments as high as they can!

My latest painting party was for all the faculty/staff at our school. 60 participants and many beautiful takes on an ornament!! WHAT A FUN NIGHT!!

On our tippy toes!!

My lunch almost every day is a sweet potato, apple and craisins...SO YUMMY!!

Someone got an early Christmas/Birthday present...and someone else is getting her kitchen remodel finished a lot faster now :). WIN WIN

Running at least 7.5 every Saturday as we prepare for more races in Feb/March!

Cheesing it up at Breakfast with Santa!

This may be our 4th year to eat pancakes with Santa...we skipped last year but I'm so glad we went back. The food was great, pictures were cheap and fast and the friends we went with were FUN!!

Later on that night we went to the Christmas Parade in Roanoke. Our adopted white brother came along :). WHAT  A FUN NIGHT!!

After the parade the boys spent their time in the bounce houses, my little artist designed a beautiful bracelet!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thanksgiving Recap in Pictures

On our way to Arkansas, we stopped in Oklahoma and took a look around at a rest stop.

We met at Hammon Trees and ate some awesome grilled cheese..Ribbit is showing you her BIG OLIVE!!!

Cheesing it up with Aunt Micah

We found this cute little alley way in downtown Rogers and had a little photo op.

I kept up with my running but staying on very busy, well lit roads for my morning runs. Great time, even with two killer hills.

Razorback stadium

Football Museum

We came upon the colisuem accidentally and snapped a few pictures before being asked to leave ...woops!!

Hiking later on that day on Mt. Sequoyah

We met one of my former art students later on for lunch...MISS HER SWEET FACE!!

Let the wrestling with Uncle Chris begin!

I woke up early on Thanksgiving morning and told myself to run until the kiddos woke up. Well 10 miles later I decided it was enough :). Helped get me ready for my wonderful Thanksgiving meal later on though!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with hot chocolate for breakfast...after a dip in the pool that is!

This is how we roll, swim suits and hot chocolate!

Our beautiful hostess and cook!

Checking out some football after Thanksgiving dinner.

Face timing with grandparents back in Alabama.

Right before our meal.

The next day we headed over to the Amazeum..what a cool place for the kiddos!!!

I love this picture, each person is cracking me up!

At the miniature Wal-Mart inside..Ribbit checked out 2/3 times..after shopping for everything she needed, including 5 types of cheese. 

I love that face "hmmm, what to buy?"

Ribbit finally told me I was too big to be in the painting room...after I drew  a turkey and a "War Eagle" :).

Our last morning there we headed into downtown Bentonville for some great coffee at Onyx!

Then over to Crystal Bridges to view and make artwork!

What an awesome collection!!

My bubba and I with my kiddos....sweet family time!

Baby Boy thought playing puppets with Daddy was stinking hilarious!

Making bracelets with Uncle Chris.

One of many meltdowns when we got home and she began to miss her Aunt Micah and Uncle Chris...poor thing..as I have said before "she loves hard and misses hard".

We can't wait to go back!!!