Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Our first Christmas celebration was with the Joyner side the weekend before Christmas. Kinley and Ty were thrilled with the fun toys (Dorothy costume and a remote control car) from Aunt Jan and Uncle Jimmy.
  IMG_8821 IMG_8813 
 But the highlight was spending time with these angel twin girls. Kinley had a blast playing with them.
  IMG_8812 IMG_8810 IMG_8808 
On Christmas Eve our church had a snow slide and we were so excited about it. Kinley went down over and over and over but Ty was content to just watch.
The more friends at a snow slide with you, the better! 
IMG_8876 IMG_8884 IMG_8882 IMG_8874 
Then we went to Christmas Eve service with Honey and Boss at their church.

and afterward we participated in my favorite Howe family tradition after Christmas Eve service....Waffle House. We used to do this at midnight on Christmas..before we had kids. We had to adjust the time in recent years but, it is every bit as magical as ever. 
IMG_8891 IMG_8892 IMG_8894 IMG_8902 IMG_8901 IMG_8904 IMG_8907 IMG_8908 

Christmas morning we woke up to see Santa had come! IMG_4664 IMG_4663 IMG_4661 IMG_4665 
Kinley's favorite things were her new Frozen Elsa dress and her Hello Kitty karaoke machine. We heard "Let it Go" about 100,000 times as loud as possible. 
 What bliss... 
IMG_4670 IMG_4671 
Ty was content with a ring pop from his stocking.
Buddy the Elf went back with Santa that night but left us one final note with Santa's empty cookie plate and milk glass to remind us what Christmas is all about. 
We opened presents from each other and got ready as quick as we could and ran to Honey and Boss's for Christmas with our immediate family.
  IMG_4669 IMG_4678 IMG_4676 
Kinley...still in the Elsa dress....
What the what? 
Is that a second doll house for Kinley that stays at Honey's house? and a train table for Ty that comes home with us!? 
 (where is that going to go!?) 
 They were thrilled!!

Christmas Day was with the Howe side of the family. 
 We had lots of fun with lots of kids. 
 These two girls have 
IMG_8926 IMG_8931 
 Inie can't help herself but to check on the kids at the kids table. I guess its just second-nature after years and years of raising kiddos. 
 I made these little chalkboards for all the great-grandkids, currently 12, and my vision was a photograph of all of them with Inie and Bull holding up (or sitting near) their chalkboard with their name and their number. Ordered from oldest great-grandchild to youngest. But, my vision was totally busted when 4 of the 12 kids couldn't come. Bummer.
 Maybe next time. 
 It made for a couple cute pics anyway. 
IMG_4689 IMG_4694 
Time for posed family pics with Inie and's kind of a necessary tradition. 
 Here is a group pic with all the kids that were there. 
I love Kinley and Aubrey looking at each other in this picture.
I love that we planned months in advance for all the kids to have matching shirts and pajamas for pictures and never got one pic of them all in their matching clothes. Aubrey and Kinley in princess dresses...this is real life. 
How cute is Inie with these angel boys (Byron and Carter) who are the newest family members and only 3 days apart.
 The Howes IMG_4713
What a blessing and these people are in my life.  I am so thankful that we get to take time to celebrate the birth of Christ and the meaning of our lives here on earth through reflection on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ.  Each year I am reminded and humbled about how God used a tiny baby to change the world and save each sinner's soul.  It is a powerful time of year full of activities, family time and lots of love.
We still haven't even celebrated Christmas with the Harrison's yet.  It just all came and went so fast!  We left pretty early that day to go home and pack our bags for Costa Rica because we left the very next day after Christmas.  
More on that to come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

More December and Buddy the Elf

A little post about what we did the second half of december and what Buddy the Elf had up his sleeve for us each day. 

 Buddy had us make some christmas craft ornaments one day and Kinley was a champ spelling out God-Love on her crosses and decorating snowflakes. 
IMG_8758 IMG_8759 IMG_8765 
Then, another day, Buddy told us to go deliver the crafts to a nursing home.
This was supposed to be a playgroup activity but because Kinley wasn't having the besst attitude, she had to miss out on Christmas playgroup. She was so, so devastated to miss out on the Christmas fun with her friends but was even more upset about not getting to deliver her ornaments. 
 It made such an impression on her last year
 I decided that punishing her from serving those sweet people was not a great idea so we just went by ourselves to deliver them.  I pray the kids both grow to love this tradition and gain servant hearts through experiences like these.
It was so sweet to watch the faces of the sweet residents light up when she talked to the, and to hear the questions they asked her.
  IMG_8638 IMG_8641 
One lady even asked for a hug.
 Remember the Grapevine Christmas Parade of Lights that was cancelled because of the ice storm
 Well, they rescheduled it and we went in droves this year. 
 My dad owns a building on Main Street and it is the perfect place to watch the parade from. We get there early enough before they block off the street and bring food and just hang out until the parade starts.
  IMG_8654 IMG_8647 IMG_8685 
Look at all those kids! 
IMG_8681 IMG_8666 IMG_8656 IMG_8657 IMG_8663 IMG_8686 IMG_8688

Buddy reminded us (from on top of the microwave) about pajama day at school and the kids wore their new Christmas jammies. 
IMG_8702 IMG_8692 
We literally can't get enough of silly faces 
IMG_8699 IMG_8696 IMG_8697 

 Buddy loves for us to do activities together. 
 So he had us color Christmas pictures one day. 
And one day buddy hid 10 candy canes around the house for the kids to find and eat (one). It made for a fun activity for them with Honey while I was at work one day. 

 Speaking of Honey...Buddy had another special surprise for us when he sent us to see Frosty the Snowman at Casa Manana with Honey! 
 It wasn't quite as good as Dora Live was but this time Ty got to go and it was a grand time for all.
  IMG_8609 IMG_8633 IMG_8622 
Ty didn't make it in his seat the whole time but didn't mind watching from the back of the aisle.
  IMG_8620 IMG_8619 
After the show we finally got to meet Santa and sit in his lap! 
 They were a little hesitant but at least they participated. 
IMG_8624 IMG_8625 IMG_8630 
The final Santa pic...Kinley wouldn't sit on his lap and Ty was saying the word "cheese" but his face says, he really didn't mean it. 

We had a couples Christmas dinner one night at Farina's on Grapevine Main Street. It is not often that we all get together without our kids and it was such a fun date night. IMG_8706 IMG_8735 Baby Payton got to come too and she enjoyed herself as well. IMG_8728 IMG_8730

The kids both had 'Red Day' and their Christmas parties the last day of school. This is the best pic I got of their red day attire. 
I busted out some saltine cracker toffee for the teachers. It may or may not have also served as my lunch that day. So good. 
We didn't get to go to Ty's party because they do it before naptime and the kids wouldn't want parents to leave and nap after they came for a party. But, I got to go to Kinley's. Donna is the best room mom and put together a great party in no time again. Kinley was especially thrilled because Ms. Jessie brought her new baby for the class to see. We love Ms. Jessie so much and can't wait for her to come back from maternity leave. 
IMG_8739 IMG_8751 IMG_8745 IMG_8748 

 Buddy brought this fun magnet nativity scene for the kids to play with on the fridge and they loved it. 
  IMG_8767 IMG_8768 IMG_8772 
He also reminded us to go see Cinderella Christmas at Arties! How many Cinderellas can we get in one pic!? 
Meeting the cast and Santa! 
IMG_8778 IMG_8779 

One of the best things about December is how much time Ben gets off work. This year he is off from December 19th through January 6th. It's amazing having him home and we had a fun family shopping day and all had lunch together. Really the only pics I have of that day though are of Ty being silly at lunch.  Love this boy.
IMG_8793 IMG_8796 

 Right before Christmas we had the most fun night with the Fogles who were in town from Illinois. Kinley and Eden were immediately the best of friends again and it was like they never had been apart. The whole night was magical and they ate up every minute.
  IMG_8846 IMG_8854 
 Eden even got to go to sleep over at our house and had a little bedtime reading together. IMG_8861 

And, baby oh baby, was December full of babies. But, I was thrilled beyond belief that Baby Shea came before Christmas and I got to go see her and meet her. She is perfect in every way and I can't wait for a lifetime of memories getting to know this precious angel.