Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at Mimi and Hobby's!

After a short moment of rest at home, we headed over to Mimi and Hobby's for Christmas with them plus Gigi and The Woods Gang. I plopped into a chair for the day and enjoyed simply watching the hussle and bustle around me. The boys all received RC Cars from Mimi and Hobby, DS Games from their prospective Aunt & Uncle, and my three kiddos were given Guitar Hero World Tour Band from Gigi. The girls received gift cards to go shopping and a cool hoodie from Mimi and Hobby, blankets from us, and a Game for Brooklyn from the Woods.It was our first Christmas with Miss Adiah, and we enjoyed watching the delight on her face as she opened each gift! This is a progression of her opening our gift, a collection of Clifford toys, a cross for her room, and a luxorious Swankie Blankie! What a blessing!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at Nana and Grandpa's

Merry Christmas!
We flew in from our wonderful trip to Utah and drove straight to Nana and Grandpa's on Christmas Eve. We settled in for the night, opting to skip our traditional service at their church since I wasn't moving too well. Christmas morning was amazing. Santa had made stocking cones out of some wrapping paper we had laying around since I forgot to bring the kids stockings with us, he is quite ingenious you know! The kids got gaming chairs and new games for their DS's. Brooklyn received a magic Santa coin, redeemable for one mattress of her choosing at any store in town. I guess it would have probably taken up too much space in the sleigh, so the coin works much better! They also received Heeley's from Nana and Grandpa and fun games, toys, and books from their Aunt Becky & Uncle Kevin, and Uncle David. It was also our first chance to give presents to our soon to arrive baby nephew. Even though he's a Graham, he's got good Roots, so we outfitted him with Roots clothing, and a shirt and stocking set that I had embroidered to read, MY ROOTS ROCK! Becky is that perfect cute stage of pregnancy. Still comfortable, and oh so adorable! She's having a great pregnancy and we're all thankful for that. Can't wait for his arrival in April!!!
We had a great day playing their new games, Brooklyn especially loved Rumikub! It was a wonderful, Vicadin induced pain free day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

A Financial Snapshot

Ok, I can't do it. . . three words:


Monday, December 8, 2008

Home for The Holidays

October through December is such a busy time for us, we had all agreed that we wouldn't put up Christmas Decorations in the house because mom was gone at my shows so much, we have a new destructive kitty in the house, and we were going to be gone to Utah, and then at Grandparent's houses the majority of the time anyway, so it was decided it wasn't worth the trouble. But, you know, it just doesn't feel like Christmas when things don't "change" around the house, and I was feeling guilty about robbing the kids of a little bit of that holiday magic. So one day, I found myself with 2 hours where I didn't absolutely have something that had to be done immediately, (A RARE Thing this time of year) and so I decided to pull down just the essentials and decorate. Since I couldn't put out anything breakable thanks to Miss Meow Meow Julia, I decided to only go fun and funky. If it wasn't Lime Green, Black, Red and sparkly it didn't come down out of the attic! When the kids walked in from school, they were thrilled to death! Nathan goes, "WoW! It's MAGIC!" Score one for mommy, Mission accomplished!
The exception to the Lime and Sparkly rule was of course the kids areas, which I'll let Brooklyn blog about on her site. It didn't take long, as you can see from the pic of the tree, for Julia to be intrigued. Despite the water bottle spraying her down, my attempts at using tin foil as a deterrent, and all other extreme measures, she still managed to scale the tree daily and methodically remove each ribbon, and then each ornament from the tree over the next couple of weeks. She would grasp a Christmas Ball with both front paws and fling it backwards over her head until it would fly across the room. She would then leap out of the boughs and chase it across the room until I could catch up to her and retrieve it! Little Stinker! That's ok, I got her back. When we left for Utah we boarded her at the Vet and removed those claws and her girl parts too! No more tree climbing or couch shredding in her future! Score Two for Mommy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thankful Day

Good Morning! Before I head off to bed for a rare decent night's slumber for which I will be very thankful for, I wanted to wish all a very grateful filled Thanksgiving Day!

We received a package of pictures today from Compassion International. There were 6 pictures of the most beautiful little children, all of whom are awaiting sponsorship so they can go to school, have a decent meal, clothes, medical attention, and a chance to know Jesus. We love our sponsored child Ligia and enjoy her letters and pictures. The children took 2 pictures each and taped them to their beds so they would remember to pray for them every night to find a family here in the US to sponsor them. With that, they understood better that their home, their school, their church, their dinner - those are all gifts for which they are to be grateful for. 2 of the 6 kids were born within days of Corban, which they all thought was so cool, and it made me appreciate him being in Kindergarten so much deeper for some reason. We are so blessed. I love this time in my kids' lives where they develop the skills to begin expressing themselves for themselves. I am always intrigued by what comes out of their little heads, and worried about what they'll regurgitate that I shouldn't have taught them too! Corban was so proud to bring home his Thanksgiving Feast mat. "I wrote it myself!" he proclaimed. You know me, of course I teared up. So sweet. I'm thankful my kids know what things are important, and that they are thankful for them. School, Snow, Dog, God, and Love. Me too Corban, me too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Give it up for Mimi!

Last week Jason and I both went to The Nutcracker show in Houston. My Mom stepped up big time for me with the kids. She still works full time in Downtown Dallas, and still agreed to live at my house for the week to take care of the crazy rooters. The night she came over to have everything explained to her, I could see a touch of panic on her face as she realized the enormity of packing lunches every morning, completing homework, taking care of Grandma's meds as well, making dinner, breakfasts, brushing teeth, and even a birthday party on Saturday! Yikers! She made it from Tuesday night through the next Monday morning and the kids were extremely well adjusted the entire time. Of course, Nathan had to try and eat the concrete which required an emergency front tooth repair the day we returned, a little blood and pain for Mimi to have to deal with, but she did remarkable. Kudos to the Grandma for stepping in and juggling her full time job and the full time job of keeping up with three crazy kids! We couldn't have done it without you Mom! And thanks Hobby Bill for giving her up for the week so we could have her! Hope you enjoyed your nights of snore less bliss! :)

Lessons from 4 Men during My most hellacious 2 weeks

So today I'm still busy as all get out and don't have but a second, but I have to record this for the history books. I just completed the two toughest weeks of the year for the Cup business I work and it was most especially difficult this year for a couple of reasons, but amidst it, four men taught me lessons I'll never forget and am grateful to have received. It's a little long but the last one's the most important.

1. Random Man at Shipley's Donuts

On the second day of our stay in Houston we decided to eat Shipley's donuts for breakfast. We walked in and there were two little Asian sweethearts standing at the door to the kitchen, the 3-4 year old was crying, the 18 month old having just caused her sister to cry was fine just standing there watching her sister fall apart. The scene made it obvious to everyone that the girls had been there since the wee hours of the morning, and this was probably an everyday event. Sitting there, keeping themselves occupied with a few toys and a pack and play. After about 5 minutes of the loudest crying ever, mom finally broke away from the busy counter and went to scold the girls and quiet them down. As we sat to eat, the girls were so sad looking just sitting there bored and reprimanded. And then Jesus walked into the building. He came in the form of a 50-60 year old Hispanic man and he was beautiful. He marched through the door and held coloring books and crayons up high in the air! I'm crying now almost as much as I did that morning over my donuts. He laughed and joked with the them. He went over her colors, her shapes, they read together, colored together, and he made jokes with her. He filled her morning with attention and love. The familiarity between them made it obvious that he was a frequent visitor. I know he was once just a frequent customer, who saw a lonely little girl, and chose to do something about it. You could see Jesus all over him, and I loved the Father more deeply for sending that man into the lives of those little girls. I don't want to see a situation and think "Oh that's sad." I want to be willing to do something about it like that man does when he walks in the room and brightens their lives with crayolas.

2. David the Hauler

We have a guy who works with us this time of year hauling our shipments of cups around the planet for us. He looks just like Pres. George Bush, hence his nickname, George. He's approaching 60 and is fit as a fiddle. He has one daughter who is a CIA agent in Washington D.C. and actually works with the president as part of his security team. He tells great stories about being saluted in Washington whenever he goes places, and the things people have said and done to him because they mistook him for ole W. Anyway, the man oozes with kindness and chivalry. He opens doors, pulls out chairs, tells amazing stories, kisses your cheek when he greets or leaves you, so kind. But what he taught me after two weeks of constantly being together is the gift of honoring people with your words. Up to this point I had never met his wife or his daughter, but I tell you what I love them and think they're the most amazing people on the earth just because of the way he talks about them. And he talks about them constantly. He brags on them every chance he gets and he notices everything about their spirit, their heart, their personalities, and he shares his love for them and who they are with everyone. He is so proud and not afraid to share it. Oh, and his mom too. He tells story after story about how awesome the three ladies in his life are. I can't imagine how he'll be if Tonya gives him a granddaughter some day! I want to be that way. Constantly building up the people I love, so that people who have never even met them think they're amazing and can't wait to meet them. I want my boys to grow up being kind and having that chivalrous spirit natural and constant in their lives. David made the week a pleasure, Jason enjoyed working with him, and came home with a few lessons of his own.

3. Jason - my amazing best friend

I learned a new respect and love for my husband this week too. He showed up big time for me. Supporting me like never before through some tough moments, and I saw a new turn in his life with some news about his employer that wasn't so great. In the past I've watched him get nervous and fearful, but this time, I could see his faith in the Father oozing from him. No timidity, no fear, only courage to keep going and knowing that God has it all in His control. I enjoyed his friendship our week in Houston, he worked his toes off and never complained. And then the second week he stayed home with the kids while I went to Austin. He did an amazing job. I came home last night to welcome home banners, fresh baked brownies, a clean house, clean laundry, and the shocker of all, clean dishes and stocked pantry and refrigerator. I just love that Man!

4. My Jesus

On top of all the stress of being away and working long hours in stressful conditions, I was also in conflict with a friend I have gone 11 years without fighting with ever! It was emotionally exhausting and I didn't know what to do or how to handle it without making it worse. Last night as I was driving I knew He wanted me to get it out in the open, and for me to initiate reconciliation. I didn't want to! I was so nervous! So I told Him, "If you want me to open up, and You promise me it's going to be better afterward and not worse, then I want You to give me a sign, let me see the number 11 next. And then I thought, "Or the number 33." So the NEXT billboard in blaring letters had a huge phone number, "***-***-3333." And I said to Him, "No, I just thought that as an afterthought, I didn't really mean that, or did I, oh, I don't know, maybe that's to vague of a sign for me. Ok, God, if you want me to open my mouth change the price of diesel on that sign there at that station." And then I thought to myself, "That's stupid, He's not going to change a huge sign on the highway," And so I looked up, and the darn sign which read $2.69 changed to $2.59! I thought that did not just happen, so I stared longer and no change, I looked backward, and I said to God, "Do it again." AND IT CHANGED AGAIN! and then as I left it I saw it change back to $2.69! You think that would be enough to open my mouth but I'm stubborn. So I said to God, "I asked for an 11." (You're saying, REALLY?) And the very next billboard said, Braums 11 miles, and the 11 was the largest text on the sign! So I said fine, and just when I opened my mouth to speak, she goes, Oh this is that song I was wanting to hear, and jacks up the volume full blast! Seriously? So, I said to God, if you want me to speak you're going to have to turn down the radio, and she suddenly picks up her phone to make a call and TURNS DOWN THE RADIO. She hung up and put the phone down in her lap, just as we passed by mile marker 311. Needless to say, we talked and worked it all out. I wouldn't have had the courage to open it up and be confrontational without Him there in the car with us. Huge numbers on gas station signs are nothing for the Lord. He shows up, and He assures us that when we listen, things work out for the better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A little squirmy wormy

Jason went to let the dog in at 12:30 this morning on our way to bed, and as he shut the door, this little guy tried to sneak in. The lights were off so if he hadn't shut it in the door, it would have come in and gone who knows where! My bed is only 10 feet or so from this door!! OMG! PTL! ;) (Just for you Amy!)

Jason the crazy snake wrangler!

It amazes me sometimes when I stop to think about all the things God protects us from in the course of a day and a lifetime. We only see the things that happen, we don't see the things that could have, or the extent to which things that did could have gone. Faith is knowing that the Lord loves you so much, He only allows things in your life that will bring you closer to Him and closer to being Christlike. The snake, He obviously felt that wouldn't serve either two purposes, this time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We always have so much fun on Halloween! The kids really enjoyed picking out their costumes this year. Nathan and Corban decided to be The Super Mario Brothers from Nintendo, and they were quite adorable. (Much better than the blood and guts costumes they were otherwise insisting on buying!) Brooklyn chose a Candy Corn Witch costume, which she made look downright precious. We spent pre-Halloween time at Mimi's to celebrate the October Birthdays together, and The Crazy Gang gave us a preview of their costumes. On Halloween day the kids wore their costumes to school for the annual Character Parade, and then after school we made a trip to Sonic, stopped by the Lee's to say Hi, and then joined the neighborhood party at the Bribiesca's. They went all out this year with magicians, great food, and cool door prizes. It was so fun to just hang out with our friends and enjoy the beautiful evening. Jason dressed up as The Geico Gecko and when he got home from work, (yes, he wore the costume to work), he joined the party in progress and delighted everyone with his unique dance moves!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Brooklyn's 10th Birthday Party

High School Musical 3 World Premiere!
Brooklyn will blog about her birthday party herself, so I don't want to spoil her thoughts, but here's a taste of the amazing time we had! We took 33 people, 24 girls, 9 Adults and siblings, to opening day of High School Musical 3! Each girl received a personalized gift tote worthy of any Hollywood Premiere Party, full of High School Muscial tshirts, water bottles, pens, pencils, folders, and a box of movie candy for the show! We played a movie trivia game, enjoyed marble cake, and then had reserved seating at the show. It was a F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S time!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nathan's 7th Birthday

Nathan had an AMAZING camping birthday party! We sat up the party in the open area behind our fence. We had tents, a fire pit, an outdoor movie theater, silly string fights, cooked weiners on sticks, roasted marshmallows for S'Mores, and froze some tooshies off.

The kids loved the silly string fight and afterward had a contest to see who could make the biggest ball out of the string for a prize, aka clean up the backyard! They look like snowballs!

Colton Herrold was absolutely hilarious trying to hold his wiener and get his bun on, I was laughing so hard!

Back in July Nathan and I found these cool telescoping forks at Target and bought them for his party. The boys loved them and got to take theirs home at the end of the party!

Corban and Paul Young braving the heat to roast their hot dog.

Nick and Zach Bloedow opting for the cold weiners instead!

Nathan isn't a cake lover so I had the bakery make him a brownie and ice it like a cake. They did an amazing job replicating his invitation, and it was super yummy!

The boys took their cake and snuggled in for a movie under the stars. It was so fun! I think the biggest hit of the party was absolutely the fire pit. The boys had a blast exploring through the brush to find sticks, trash, boards, anything that would BURN. They kept the fire burning for several hours, and the only two casualties of the night belonged to Nathan and Corban. Nathan grabbed a hot iron cover, and Corban tried to lick his roasting stick right after he'd had it in the fire for awhile. (Ouch!)

Several of the boys left between 9-10 but we had 6 that stayed over night in the tent, plus Bayley (Brooklyn's friend) The girls stayed all night in the girls tent next to the big tent with all the boys.

It was so cold on this night. We lost 4 boys during the night, they came into the house with me, bu three plus the girls survived all night outside with Jason. It's been hot ever since, but that night, and that night only, it was bitter cold!!

Everyone woke up early and finished the party with Donuts and Presents.

Nathan had a wonderful party and is the most amazing seven year old boy! His daddy and I are so proud of his tender heart, his knack for figuring out the world's complexities, and his dark side too that loves to stir up a little mischief in the house. Our family is blessed daily by our "Gift from God." We love you Nathan!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So you can laugh out loud too. . .

Yesterday Corban and I were sitting on the couch talking back and forth. Somehow we got on the topic of being kidnapped and what not, so we were practicing his phone number, address, spelling his name and his parent's names, etc. And then we went through what to do if someone tells him his parents never want to see him again, or that they've stopped looking for him, etc. I asked him what he would do everyday while he was gone if that were to ever happen, and he clapped his hands together and in prayer formation said, "I would pray everyday." and then he rolled back on his backside and clapped his feet together and said, "I would pray with my feet too!" So then after assuring him that he was safe, and he would probably never be in that situation if he stayed with who he was suppossed to and didn't talk to strangers etc etc etc, the conversation went like this:

Mommy: "What could you do to ever make mommy not want to be with you and stop looking for you?"

Corban: [very loudly] "Nothing!"

Mommy: "That's right! I'll love you forever and ever and always want you with me no matter what!"

Corban: "Well, someday I'll grow up and move away."

Mommy: "That's true! Won't that be fun to be all grown up!"

Corban: "Ya, someday I'll get boring and go to work."

Mommy: "Do you think you'll get married?"

Corban: "Yes!"

Mommy: "Do you think you'll have kids?"

Corban: [stops moving, thinks for a minute, shrugs his shoulders]

"Aww, I don't know, I might get her fixed."

And then here's our school picture disaster!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Beautiful Brooklyn

Crazy Corban

Nate Dog the Spectacular

Tripp the Magnificent

On top of the World (Or a huge bale of Hay, whichever!)Yes, be very afraid, they almost died on this horribly unsafe piece of playground equipment. Too bad we left with no broken bones or skull fractures, I could have seriously used some cash from suing the non-profit pumpkin patch.

Monday, October 6, 2008


We enjoyed an awesome dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse (A Family favorite) and then headed over to cheer on the Mavs!