Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Christmas'

Christmas Day for the Smith's is filled with three Christmas'.  
We start the morning, before even the sun is awake, at home.
 Buddy said Goodbye to the boys in a note.  Dear John letters stink...even when you're 4 and 2.  They were sad.  I was a little sad, too.  Thankfully, I can sneak some time with him in my closet, safely nestled behind a few shirts if need be.
  Santa Clause came and was very generous to Stinky and Stinkier. We've been working on thankfulness and realizing how blessed we are this week following Christmas. 

We left the comforts of home and traveled to our 2nd Christmas.  My parent's house.  The house I grew up in...I love that they still live there and all of the memories it holds.
 Yes.  He wore the Santa Hat all day.  Wouldn't take it off.  He's so much like his Daddy it is scary.
 My Mom goes a little overboard at Christmas.  We've tried to stop her, performed interventions...nothing works.
 This is my Dad...the Boys Granddaddy.  I love him so.
 I love this guy too.  I count my blessings one hundred times a day and then some more. Life has a strange way of coming to halt in an instance...God's way of reminding us what He has given us.
 This is my Mom.  The one that goes crazy at Christmas.  She loves her family more than life itself and we all think she's pretty amazing, too.
 Oh sweet Ryder.
 Our Emmy.  My younger sister by 7 years.  She keeps us young, makes us laugh, and is an awesome Aunt to our kids.
 My older less than 2 years.  We're very close.  Her name is Kara.  She teaches piano in Dallas.  Over the years she has worked with hundreds of kids (even Don Henley's kids).  Some of her kids she has had from kindergarten to graduation...sometimes by high school its more about the bond with each other than with the piano.  I love that she can mentor them, guide them, mold them a little...especially in that time of life when talking to your parents isn't cool.
Kara is married to Kevin.  He is an import from Arkansas.  They met at school while attending the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. 
 Oh sweet Ryder...I think I just said that...but he is sweet.
 Anna...aka...Nanners, Anna Banana.  Kevin and Kara's little girl. She is exactly 2 weeks older than Ryder. 
 This is Jon.  Uncle Jon in fact.  You may remember that he married Emmy last May.
Our newest family member.  Isn't she cute?  She even drinks a baby bottle.  She belongs to Rustin.

Our last stop on Christmas is at Matt's parents.  The boys have so many cousins on Matt's side of the family.  The food is delicious and the company is spectacular...a great way to end our Christmas every year.
 Matt, Rustin and Philip.  Philip is married to Matt's sister Kristie.  Ryder calls him "Uncle Fold-it".
 Matt's Mom.  The boy's Grandma.  They have the best Grandma anyone could ask for.
 Colby.  The first grandchild in the family.  Philip and Kristie are his parents.
 Matt's Dad.  The boy's Grandpa.  He rolls on the floor with them and takes them Man Shopping.  He's with Kristie and Keelie in this picture.  Keelie is Philip and Kristie's other child.
 Matthew.  He's awesome.  He is Matt's sister Mindy and her husband Ryan's, oldest child.
 ...and more Toys.  Rustin Walker you are stinkin' cute!
Keelie.  Sister to Colby.  Rustin loves her...scratch that...he pretty much worships her.
I missed getting pictures of the twins.  They belong to Mindy and Ryan.  Mindy is Matt's oldest sister.  Matt's Aunt Lori, her son Zack and the boy's Great Grandma were also with us on Christmas.  

The time spent with family was truly a blessing on this special day. The week leading up to Christmas left me feeling empty...clinging tight to those around me....I was hit with the realization that we can never be sure when God will call us Home. We pray that you found the blessings of Christmas this year and wish you the absolute best year in 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Few Last Minute Heartfelt Gifts

Scale a picture down and put it in an ornament.  The tutorial is here,

 Turn a box of chocolates into a money box.  This is perfect for the person you don't know what to buy.  I fixed this box up for the boy's 91-year old Great Grandma.

 Make a Brown Sugar Scrub from ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  The recipe is here.

When all else never does.  I love the Middle Sister line.  Most likely because I am the Middle Sister.  They carry this in a lot of stores and I always seem to find a good selection at Target!

Merry Christmas to you All! 

Luke 2: 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
   14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All grown up but sometimes I feel little bitty....

I'm 34 today.  All grown up by most standards, but there are still moments that I feel little bitty.  I was just finishing up a post yesterday, mostly pictures and not a lot of thought, when I received a phone call.  It was a friend of mine, who goes all the way back to our high school days.  It was a phone call nobody wants to receive.  I couldn't catch my breath.  My stomach immediately turned upside down and a huge lump formed in my throat.   I didn't understand, I couldn't believe and told her as much.  I asked questions and talked out loud, often repeating myself trying to make sense of things in my head.

Something terrible has happened to one of our friends.  Its been almost 24 full hours since I received that phone call and I still can't wrap my head around the news.  I still can't understand. I still feel little bitty.

I have always been in awe of the McClenahans.  If you haven't or don't follow their blog, I encourage you to.  The author inspires me.  She has persevered through times that would've driven me into a hole...a dark place far away from outside world.  Instead, Jess has stayed forever positive and faithful...she never doubts God or His purpose.

I know my sweet friend doesn't doubt His purpose either.  It is o.k. to question "why?".  It is o.k. to be heartbroken and weary.   Faith will carry us through.   Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you."

I wish I could make everything better....but I can't.   I wish I could comprehend why terrible things happen to good people....but I can't.  Psalm 34:18 says:  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  and  Psalm 63:3 says: "Because Your loving kindness is better than life, My lips will praise You."   May these words provide comfort when it seems impossible.

I PRAY for healing.  I PRAY for strength, love, answers.  I PRAY for peace.   You're not alone, forever surrounded by love.... on the minds and in the hearts of many my sweet friend.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Treats and the Elf

 This week we fixed up some donuts with antlers and carrot noses.  Introducing the Reindeer and Snowmen we took for Rustin's Christmas Party.
 We couldn't forget those reindeer that will be burning lots of energy guiding Santa's Sleigh.  We packaged up some Reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve.
 Ryder's Teacher, who is his right arm and he will be truly lost without next year (this is his 2nd year with her), celebrates a Birthday this week.  All of us in the class pitched our money together for this gift basket.
 I used M&M's to hold the gift cards...
...and then attached at Poem about the colors of the M&M's.  You can find the poem here.  Cute idea for Teacher Appreciation week this Spring.
 Our Elf, Buddy, has been making himself at home when not at the Northpole.  He took a hot chocolate bath.
 He flew a toy helicopter into the Christmas tree.
He brought a special treat all the way back from Mrs. Clause.
Last we checked, he had gotten into Rustin's crayon stash!  Alright...I'm off to enjoy my last few hours of being 33 years of age...night y'all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

It's that time of year.  The time of year when I pull the big pink rolling pin out of the cabinet.  The Red and Green Sprinkles come out of the Pantry.  Fresh Nutmeg is ground into a jar. Christmas Cookies are one of my favorite things about this season.  I absolutely love them.  The boys and I floured up the counter last night and went to town. 

We rolled out dough, cut cookies, rolled out dough, cut cookies, rolled out dough...o.k.  You get the idea.  Now time for the recipe...ahem...and I can't share it.  I'm so sorry, really I am.  I would be excommunicated from my husband's family.  No.  I really would.  Not kidding.  But, I will share one of my other favorite cookie recipes!  They are easy and festive and oh so tasty! 

Christmas Snowball Cookie Recipe
adapted from Betty Crocker
Prep Time: 1 hour  Cooking Time: 10 to 10 mins
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven 360 degrees. Mix butter,  1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in mixer.  Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set but not brown. The best way to tell if they are done is to pick one up and see if it’s slightly brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool slightly on wire rack. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar.  Then, do a second coat by sifting powdered sugar over cookies. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Picture of Christmas

We went to Grapevine on Tuesday to see the Gaylord Ice.  I detoured through downtown Grapevine to show the boys the Polar Express Train and Oh. My. Word.  If you've never been to Grapevine at Christmas, and you live in North Texas, it is well worth your visit.  It is gorgeous and beautiful and wonderful and the picture of Christmas.  Go!  If you don't go anywhere else this Christmas...go to Grapevine!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Program

Our boys are very fortunate to attend an amazing Preschool, that is not too far from our house.  Ryder enrolled in the program right before his 1st Birthday and it truly feels like a second home to him.  It is such a blessing to have a safe place where they can grow and learn spiritually, socially and academically.

The Preschool's Annual Christmas Program was yesterday morning and it was awesome!  I am in awe of Mrs. Geer, the music teacher, who orchestrates the entire program.  It takes a very special person to pull something like this off, especially when you're working with children who age from 6 months to 5 years.   I think I'd pull all of my hair out.  No really... I mean every single strand.  Instead, Mrs. Geer is animated, joyful, and all the while stays put together and beautiful.  A huge Thank You to her!

Rustin..He took the Little Drummer Boy very serious!
He never cracked a smile...straight up concentration.  That is his personality to a "T".
Oh my word...I do love this boy! 
Miss Reese.  Her Momma (Jennifer) and I met in the OB's office while we were pregnant with these little monsters.  She is one of my best friends.  Ryder and Reese (aka Reesie) were born 4-days apart, delivered by the same Doctor, and have grown up together since they were babies!
Spitting Image of his Daddy right here...especially the mouth.

Oh Avery...she is a heart-breaker!  Love this little girl and her entire family! 
You were awesome little Man!  We were so proud of you and Mrs. Junell and Martin's entire class!