Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures

It is the simplest things that sometimes bring me the most pleasure.  Like finally finding a rug that doesn't get wadded up when you open and shut the front door.  Thank you, Mr. Costco, for this fabulous find!

This Christmas...the longest post ever!

The hustle and bustle of the season is over and it leaves me a little sad.  This Christmas was the Best Christmas for Matt and I as parents.  This Christmas, Ryder truly understood why we celebrate Christmas.  He was so excited for baby Jesus and his Birthday.

We read the Christmas Story almost every night switching it up with a book called Santa Mouse every now and again.  (Santa Mouse is a super cute book if you're in the market for new Christmas books next year!)

We started out the birthday celebrations at Ryder's preschool the week before Christmas.  It was a Birthday Party for Jesus complete with Happy Birthday Jesus decorations.  (Note: to anyone who would like to use similar decorations in the future...stock up early.  I found these at Hobby Lobby, a week before his class party (midway through December) and picked up the last few sets of plates and napkins they had.  I would suggest buying them in November if you know you need them! ) It was a Pajama Day, Pizza Party, Book Exchange.  I  took a zillion pictures, but couldn't make my boy smile.  He LOVES pizza and all he could do was shovel it in his mouth!  I think he would eat it every meal if given the opportunity.   He was excited I was there which always melts my heart and even more excited that I took him with me when the party was over and it was time to get out the napmats!

Matt spent the following weekend (the weekend before Christmas) hunting with his Dad and some buddies, so the boys and I went back home to my parent's house.  Ryder and I shopped with my Mom and Sister Saturday.  Ryder was a trooper and hung with us all day even without a nap.  I let him "Build a Bear" since he was so good and realized that it is not the end product he is interested in.  He just likes the building process.  He loves that he gets to push the pedal, he loves even more to blow the bear dry after its bath, he is ecstatic to push buttons on a computer...he doesn't care anything about the stuffed animal.  Basically, I paid $20.00 to let him play for a half hour.  Whatever makes him happy!

Rustin stayed home with my Dad and ended up getting sick.  I don't think it would be Christmas at our house if somebody wasn't sick.  I stayed up with him, literally, all night Saturday.  A week of breathing treatments and he is thankfully back to normal.

We celebrated my 30-something Birthday at Cowboy Chow.  I've cheered about them on my blog before...their Watermelon Sweet Tea is amazing!  That afternoon we took the boys to see the Trains at Northpark (a Mall in Dallas for those who are not in Texas)...which Matt had gotten complimentary tickets to.   In true Joy fashion, I couldn't find the tickets when we got there. We bought new tickets and then about 5 minutes after we left, I found the tickets in my purse.  I am trying to become better organized...and I've made some strides, but I obviously have not arrived yet!  No birthday pictures, since I am the annoying one usually snapping all of the pictures (Ryder runs the other direction when he sees a camera...not a lie.).

We made a trip to see Santa...Rustin was terrified and Ryder was confused about why Rustin was so terrified.  After all...if you don't tell Santa what you want how will he know what to bring you?

Christmas Eve we went to church and then came home to make preparations for Santa.

We sprinkled Reindeer food.  We made sure the fireplace was open and  then assured Ryder that Santa wouldn't be burned.  Seriously. We set out Cookies for Santa to eat.  Rustin found them before Santa arrived. 

Santa came and Ryder woke up Christmas morning shouting "Christmas is Here!".  He peeked into the living room and shrilled with excitement when he saw that Santa brought what he had asked for...a Train!

The best gift of the day was all of the time we spent with our families.  That is the story of our 2010 Christmas.  We love you all and can't wait to share our happenings with you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reindeer Treats

Its waaaaay past my bedtime and I have been sitting at the kitchen table making reindeer treats for Ryder's Christmas party tomorrow.  As I sat there, I thought about a post my sweet friend Heather made about  Good Intentions a month or so ago. 

I want to make cute and fun things for Ryder (and one day Rustin) and their friends...but do they really care?  Probably and cupcakes will make them happy and they won't care where they came from.  None the less, I've spent three days making these little treats.  They did turn out cute and if you'd like the directions I can always post them!


For most people, just saying the word fruitcake, makes them want to vomit. It makes me think of my Granddad.  After he retired, he spent the holiday season working at the Collin Street Bakery, for extra Christmas money.  Collin Street Bakery's Deluxe fruit cake is world famous and has been a favorite since 1896.  My Granddaddy made one every year, even after he had quit spending his Christmases at the Bakery. 

Ever since he left this World in 2001, I've baked his fruit cake for our family.  Especially for my Dad.  I don't know if he likes the taste of the fuit cake or if it just brings a little bit of home back to him.  After Rustin went to sleep tonight, Ryder and I pulled the mixer out and got to making the annual fruit cake.  He tasted the batter and surprisingly enough said "Yum!". Little bit of that Nekuza blood is running through him...not sure there is any  other explanation for enjoying the taste of raw fruitcake batter!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Documenting Milestones

Just to document a few milestones here:

Today, December 13, 2010, Ryder accomplished driving his big wheel.  He can reach the pedals and pedal forward!  He was so excited!!!! 

A few Ryderisms:  We used the  "Micker" to make some Christmas Cookies over the weekend. 
This morning we got his "Pack-Pack" all loaded up for preschool.
Tonight he asked me to, "Mommy read you a story.".  We are working on You, I and Me...obviously.

Rustin went for his 15 month check up last Wednesday and checked out perfectly...except for the fact that he still doesn't walk.  No interventions are necessary until 18-months. Fingers crossed we'll be there by then. Here are his stats:
Weight: 21# 2 oz.
Height:  31.5 in.
Head Circumference: 18.25 in.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend in Pictures

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hmmm... has it been a week since I updated here?  Is your life crazy or is it just us?  I guess crazy isn't the best word.  We just have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Not complaining...just saying. 

Thanksgiving was delicious.  I ate way too much.  Ryder ate nothing. Well I take that back.  He ate some cookies.  No healthy foods for him.  He doesn't care...he'll starve before he caves in.  I ended up making pumpkin spice cake crumb balls.  Bobby Flay's recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding sounded wonderful...but too complicated for this mediocre cook. 

Black Friday = Me + Kohls @ 3a.m.  Crazy, I know.  But its so worth it to fight the crowds one day a year if for no other reason than to have fun stories to tell.  Kohls, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond all before 6:15 a.m. The mall by 7 a.m.  Lunch, rest, different mall until 9:30 P.M. Still not finished, but I've made a dent.

Sunday, after having to have my car towed from the park for the SECOND time, due to a lost key...Matt and I had a long talk.  My organization skills are terrible.  I've spent this week trying to take control of my schedule, duties, etc... In turn, that is really why I haven't updated in awhile.  With everything I have to do just to keep ahead or in the ballgame...I hardly have time to sit down at the computer.  This time the key loss was actually not my fault at all...someone snatched my bag from right behind me....but it was just a wake up call for me to pay attention to my surroundings and take control of everything that seems to spin out of control at times. 

We are all decorated for Christmas. I picked up RR's keepsake ornaments today.  I get them one each year and hopefully find one that fits their current likes.  Ryder LOVES Mickey Mouse & Pluto right now and I found the perfect ornament!   

I had a harder time finding one for Rustin, but I loved this 1...they have them up through 3 I think.
Love y'all!!  Night!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tomorrow's Dessert

Alright...I'm googling again!  I have to bring a Dessert to Matt's family Thanksgiving tomorrow and it can't be pumpkin pie.  I've totally procrastinated and have no leads after endless googling...any ideas??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Week

Went to a Wedding.  Matt's Best Friend was in town.  They took both of our Dad's to the Cowboy Game.  Put up the Christmas Tree.  Hit four stores with two toddlers in one hour looking for stockings.  Did some more decorating.  Baked cookies.  Tried to catch up on email and blogs.  Cleaned the Bathrooms.  Folded some laundry.  Realized Rustin is talking.  Really talking.  He says fun things like "What's That?" and "Tunk You (Thank You)".  He tells us all of our name's, including is own and Elmo's.  Thought to myself that I want to remember some of the cute Ryderisms right now like:  Micker (Mixer), Wakkle (Waffle), Chawlie (Charlie), and Funny Powder (Strawberry Nestle Quick). 
Its only is to a crazy week!  I ♥ Thanksgiving though....everything about, food, the parade, black Friday ads...bring it on!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, 1999

Bonfire Season.  It was the most wonderful time of the year.   Its been eleven years but in many ways it feels like last night.  I can still hear the eery sound of sirens going up and down the road as I slept.  I never fully awoke to find out their was in my dream.  Morning would bring answers.  I felt disbelief...until I saw it with my own eyes.  I felt shock, I felt sadness, my stomach was unsettled.  A tradition forever scarred by an accident who cost the lives of 12.  Twelve.  A number so significant to our school...God shows himself.    We cried for those we lost and gave thanks for the lives of those saved.  Please remember our fallen Aggies and their families today...November 18, 1999...a day that will always be remembered.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Shoe


When we take the long trek from the car, up the steps, through the long hallway and to my classroom on might want to look down and make sure I am wearing both of my shoes before sending me off to paint and eat yummy snacks like these. Thanks- Ryder

I had a Mom of the Year moment today.  I sent Ryder to preschool in one shoe. To put the topper on the cake, my phone didn't ring when they called to tell me. I didn't realize he just had one shoe until I arrived at pick-up. Thankfully they had spare shoes in his size just laying around the church. Who would've known?  I felt embarassed, sad for Ryder (although I'm sure he didn't care), scattered....and now its kind of funny to me.  Just had to share.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We've been MIA from the Blog which typically means we've been really busy.  Yes we've been doing all kinds of things like....

....riding on Daddy's Shoulders and Cheering on those Aggies.

We went for a play-date in Dallas with this silly, sweet girl...cousin Anna

She really does love her Ryder.

We've been practicing climbing even though we still can't walk.

We've been showing off that new haircut and flashing this smile A lot.

We welcomed Mr. Charlie into our house.  He doesn't replace our little Dix but he sure does distract us from thinking of her all the time.

We've played King of the Mountain.

We've been getting crafty and making things like these Name Place Settings for Ryder's Preschool Thanksgiving Feast next week.

It is definitely a busy season.  Just when I feel like things aren't ever going to slow down, I take a deep breathe and remind myself to be thankful for all of the blessings that keep us so busy this time of the year.  Hope you're all having an amazing week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treating

I learned a few things last night.  Trick or Treating Country Style is a lot different than in town. 
For starters, most people (in fact everyone except for us) didn't walk door to door.  Instead, they rode on flatbed trailers hooked to tractors and lined with hay bales.  Yep our wagon was pretty lame. 

You can go through A LOT of candy.  When trick-or-treaters come by the flatbed trailer-full, you end up giving it away pretty fast.

It is really dark when the sun goes down.  Next year we'll be armed with flashlights and glow-sticks.

No matter how many weeks you spend trying to make your 3-year old understand the Trick or Treat process and the good manners that should be used while going house to house bad things can still happen.  Like:  Incessant Doorbell Ringing, inviting yourself into a strangers house, barging the door to see a cute dog, grabbing a big handful of candy out of a neighbors bowl, and to top it all off  politely telling an older gentleman that you need a sucker rather than the chocolate you were given.  All courtesy of our Ryder.  I love that boy, but Seriously. 
Ryder with his Cousin Anna who hit the Country with us.

Running to the Door with our Neighbor's little boy.

Proof of his Doorbell Ringing...I was taking this picture and then realized what he was doing.

We were home bathed and in bed by 8:30 last night...Matt was still making the teenage boys squeal like girls until a little after 9:00.  He waits for this night all year!

Hope y'all all had a fun and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Dress Rehearsal


We had a Dress Rehearsal last night and hit the town festival with the whole Smith family.  We went through every costume in the house and the only one Ryder would have was this "Treasure" outfit.  It was borrowed from one of his little friend's for a pirate birthday party earlier this month.  Thank you Danielle! 

Seeing each other all dressed up for the first time.  Melts my heart!

A Pirate and a Puppy
Keelie, Madison and our Pirate
Grandma and our Puppy watching a Puppet Show

 Lots of candy, bounce houses and a super fun puppet show made for two tired boys and now to do it all over again tonight!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jack-O-lantern Oranges

Here is a last minute Halloween food idea.  These are Navel Oranges carved to look like Jack-O-Lanterns.  You can fill them with anything from chocolate pudding to fresh fruit.  I chose apples and grapes since Ryder will be taking them as snack for his preschool friends today.

 Simply cut the top off of the orange and scoop out all of the insides.  Place the guts in a container and you can eat them later.  (It will be a messy eat at best though.)  Use a sharp knife to carve out your Jack-O-Lantern face. It is a super fast process since the orange skin is so thin.  I carved 10 oranges in 30 to 45 minutes.  Stuff these little guys with whatever filling you decided on and you're done!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dinner Update

Update:  Y'all gave me some great ideas!  I walked away from the computer after typing the post and stood in front of the freezer.  Since I hadn't seen any of your suggestions yet, I decided to pull out a package of buffalo.  If you haven't tried this, I really recommend it.  Buffalo is  much leaner than ground beef but it essentially tastes the same.  You can find it at Whole Foods and Central Market for sure.  I even lucked into some at Target last week.  So here is the concoction I came up with tonight:

1lb. Ground Buffalo (or Beef)
1 Jar of Ragu
1 Package of Cream Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Boil water and cook spaghetti according to package.  While spaghetti cooks, brown your ground meat.  I always use my Pampered Chef Mix'N Chop to brown my meat.  It does an amazing job at get it all separated and finely ground.  Just put it in the pan and give it a little twist with your wrist.

 After the meat is brown and no longer pink, add the Ragu and cream cheese (softened).  Stir it all together and add the spices.  As much or as little as you like.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  Drain your spaghetti.  Spray a baking dish (I used an oblong shaped deep baker).  Pour a little sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Add a layer of spaghetti.  Alternate sauce and spaghetti ending with sauce on top.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Your end result will be a "Spaghetti" Lasagna.  Garlic toast goes great with this!

Ryder helped me mix up some Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread for dessert.  He felt so grown up to be using the mixer.  He worked so hard on this bread and it was a huge treat to have a piece before bedtime...and then he didn't even like it.  He is such a picky eater..sigh...I assume he will grow out of this one day.

Thanks again for all of the ideas!!!  I am going to make one of them tomorrow night!


I have no ideas for dinner tonight.  I don't have very many ingredients either.  Chicken...think chicken.  Feedback is always welcome!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hello World Series

We never sat down, cheered until we lost our voices, gave high fives to people we had never met, and had beer splattered all over us.  It was a night I will never forget.

To the Texas Rangers....We have always been your fans, winning or losing because let's be honest.... it's really all about the Nachos and they taste the same either way.  Congratulations to the Texas Rangers and Good Luck at the World Series! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ryder's Friends

These are Ryder's friends.  Are they not the cutest little people you have ever seen?  They all took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday at Preschool.  

The cutest little scarecrow lady read them a story.

It was a really good story.

Then they each picked a pumpkin.

And took turns petting a pretend crow.

Rustin tagged along and hung with the big kids.

It was a magnificent morning!