Sunday, December 31, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Eve right before going to bed we exchange gifts amongst our family. Mikayla opens one gift from mom and dad and one gift from Drew, and Drew opens one gift from mom and dad and one gift from Mikayla. Craig and I also exchange our gifts (if we haven't already given them to each other which is pretty common around here)! Then it was time to leave milk and cookies for Santa, food for his reindeer, and hit the sack for "visions of sugarplums to dance in our heads"!On Christmas morning, we woke Drew and Mikayla up at 7:30 - Craig couldn't stand it any more! Here are some pictures of them looking at all that Santa left! Craig wakes Drew up by telling him to go get in the bed with Mommy. He comes running through the house and then stopped dead in his tracks to look around the living room!

Drew wakes Mikayla up and gets her to come see what Santa left - you can see at this point she's not too enthused to see her HUGE Play-doh kit, princess CD player/jewelry box (she wanted the princess TV, but Santa knew she already had a TV in her room), activity table, and Dora stuff!

Drew takes a ride around the living room on his scooter - this was one of his favorites!

Mikayla looks to see what Santa left her in this chair - a ballerina doll, Big Sister Dora, books, clothes, etc.

When Drew saw his basketball on the couch, he said "just what I've always wanted!" I thought how wonderful it was for a five year old to be thankful for a basketball - boy was he going to be surprised! We had to go outside to find what Santa left to go with the basketball. Drew was SO excited, he couldn't resist taking a shot - even in the rain!

Mikayla plays with her activity table. There is a place to store coloring books, crayons, paints, etc. and it also teaches through music. She loves it! In the background you can see her bouncing Tigger, and her ballet barre and mat. Santa knew she loves to dance!

Drew and Mikayla find out what Santa left in their stockings! In the picture above you can see some of Drew's things Santa left on the couch. I am mad at myself for not getting a picture of the covered couch, but Drew was moving all around the living room, never really staying in front of his stuff! You can see his board game, and power ranger toy. What you don't see is his Leapster and games, books, basketball, Legos, Nerf Target Set, etc.

After seeing what all Santa left at our house it was off to Mimi and Poppi's house again as Santa leaves stuff for us over there each Christmas too! Boy Santa must have thought Drew and Mikayla had been pretty good this year!

Happy Birthday Jennie

Christmas Eve is also my sister Jennie's birthday - another reason for our celebration at Mimi and Poppi's house on Christmas Eve! This year my sister turned 20 - my mom and dad have successfully "made-it" through the teenage years with all three of their children! Happy Birthday Jennie - we wish you many, many more!

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we always go to my mom (Mimi) and dad's (Poppi) house. We always enjoy spending time with my mom, dad, brother, sister, and Jessica. Our Christmas Eve tradition is to enjoy our supper together, and then we exchanged our gifts to each other!

Before going to Mimi and Poppi's house, I got these cute pics of Drew and Mikayla in front of our Christmas tree. They had each just gotten out of the bathtub and were in there pj's.
Drew and Mikayla each open one gift before supper. They both get Hess trucks every year from my mom and dad! This is a tradition that my parents started with my brother, sister, and I. Both Drew and Mikayla love getting these each year!Uncle Jonathan, Jessica, and Bailey get ready to open presents!
After supper, Drew gives Poppi one of his gifts - a cup that Drew and Mikayla decorated especially for him!
Mimi holds Mikayla as she opens her gift from Uncle Jonathan and Jessica!

Drew helps Mimi open one of her gifts - a cup Drew and Mikayla decorated just for her!

Mikayla shows off one of her gifts!

Drew and Uncle Jonathan get ready to play with one of Drew's presents! Jonathan always loves when Drew gets something he can play with too - haha!

Mikayla and Poppi play with Mikayla's baby that she received. She LOVES her babies!

My sister, Jennie, and Jessica check out one of Jessica's gifts - a make-up kit. Jennie and I received one just like it on Christmas morning!

Drew and Mikayla each take a turn "sword-fighting" Poppi with empty wrapping paper rolls!

We were having so much fun at Mimi and Poppi's house and we all hated to leave! We had to get home and to bed though so Santa Claus could come!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back to Christmas

Saturday night, December 23rd, we had our get together with my dad's side of the family at my grandma's house. Those of you who have been following my blog know what a HUGE family we have on my dad's side. We fill three (large) rooms in my grandma's house with more people outside. It is always nice to spend time with everybody, and it is especially fun for me to watch the children interact. Distance, work schedules, immediate family activities etc. often make it so that this is the only time of year we see some of them. It is fun to watch Drew and Mikayla play so well with their cousins. It makes me wish we saw everyone more often! We enjoy dinner together, and then watch as the children open gifts. It has been a long time since the adults exchanged gifts with each other - this is a tradition saved for the children and Grandma! I do remember as a young girl a few Christmases where the adults participated in the Chinese gift exchange where everyone brought a gift (ladies bring a "lady gift" and men bring a "man gift". The ladies start by drawing numbers to see who goes first, second, third, etc. All the gifts are laid out wrapped and the person with number one would choose whichever gift they wanted to unwrap. Then the person with number 2 could either take the gift away from number 1 if they liked it (making number 1 choose again), or they could choose another gift to unwrap. This continues until the person with the last number chooses, either one of the gifts already unwrapped or the last gift that is wrapped. After the ladies finish, the men begin their exchange by drawing numbers. It is funny to watch and even more fun to participate, especially when there is a "hot" item or a few "hot" items that everyone wants. There have been other years where the adults chose a less fortunate family to sponsor instead of exchanging gifts with each other. This year each family decided individually what they would do to help others. The children certainly had a fun time opening their gifts and playing with each other! Drew and Mikayla sit with their Mimi and Poppi.Mikayla sits with her Poppi as Keyleigh and Barrett play beside them.Daddy and Drew relax on the porch.Mikayla shows off her babies that she received.Drew shows off the remote control motorcycle he received from Poppi.

Saturday was also my aunt Karen's 50th birthday so my sister, Jennie, and cousin, Kathy, decided to decorate her car windows. All the windows on her Cherokee looked like this one except the front! Aunt KK took it all in stride!

Polar Express Day

I skipped ahead of myself on the last post. I was beginning to post about our Christmas, forgetting that I wanted to post pics of Drew wearing his pajamas to school. On Tuesday, December 19th, we had our annual Polar Express Day out our school. This is a school-wide activity where all the students (teachers too!) wear their pj's to school with a pillow and blanket too, and enjoy hot chocolate (or milk) and cookies. Each grade level takes a turn "boarding the train" (in the hall) to hear our Principal read The Polar Express. Our children also have an opportunity to watch the movie. It is a day full of fun learning activities! Here are some pictures of Drew in his pj's at school...

Drew watches the movie in his classroom.

After enjoying cookies in his classroom, Drew also had a snack of cookies at our school's after-school program.

Thanks to my sister who was at the school helping me in my classroom for getting these pictures. (She also works with the after-school program.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is almost a week-long celebration for our family. We started celebrating Wednesday night with our Santa Shop for the children in Awanas at church. I manned the wrapping station for that and had a ball doing it! Thanks to Ms. Cindy for her help or I wouldn't have gotten finished! The children enjoyed using their Awana bucks to buy Christmas gifts for their loved ones! I think it is a great way to teach our children the spirit of giving. Then instead of our usual service Wednesday night, we had snacks/desserts in the fellowship hall for our Christmas party to celebrate the birth or our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Since our last day of school before Christmas was Wednesday, Drew, Mikayla, and I went shopping on Thursday. I had been working to make bracelets and necklaces for all the little girls in our families since October, and I needed a few more beads. We also took some pictures to Kinko's to have calendars made for the grandparents and great-grandparents. Thursday night we went over to Mimi and Poppi's house. Poppi thought Drew and Mikayla needed to practice opening gifts (yeah right!), so he let them each open 3 gifts.

Mikayla and Drew tear into one of their presents! My mom gets so mad because we all have a hard time patiently waiting until it's time to give gifts. Her famous words are "It's not Christmas (or birthday or whatever) yet"!

Mikayla shows off what she just opened, as Drew is still busy opening his. She sure is thankful for her panties...the girl loves clothes!

On Friday, my sister joined Drew, Mikayla, and I for more shopping. Since Craig had to work Friday I was going to take the opportunity to get his Christmas gifts. He surprised us, however, while we were at Walmart and almost saw some of his gifts. Drew and I managed to hide them, while he took MIkayla to shop with him. It wasn't long before he called me over to the jewelry counter to look at bracelets. He's given me 3 bracelets in the 7 years we've been together and I haven't managed to keep any of them. The first was a gold charm bracelet with charms that he gave me our first Christmas together. He ended up returning that one after I pulled it on something. The second was a gold X's and Os's bracelet that I broke after getting it caught on something. The third was a gold nugget bracelet that I lost. I don't have very much success with bracelets, so I was surprised that he wanted me to try on a few to see which ones I liked the best. We both picked one that we liked and he bought it right then and there. He put it on me right then, even with me protesting that he must wrap it and put it under the tree (those of you who know Craig know that he doesn't wrap presents - if it were left up to him all of our gifts would have been placed in bags)! It is a beautiful bracelet, and my goal is to keep it forever. I'll have to try to get a picture of it to post on here for all to see!

On Friday night we all went out to eat to celebrate my sister's birthday. Her birthday is Christmas Eve but fearing everything would close early on the 24th daddy decided to take us all out Friday night. Jennie picked The Flounder which was fine with me because I love that restaurant!! Mom, Dad, Jennie, Jonathan, Jess, Craig, Drew, Miki, and I all went to eat. We all had so much fun spending time together and eating out. Drew and Mikayla both had to sit beside their Poppi and Drew and Poppi played while waiting on their food. Mikayla was a little confused about not having cake. She said "this Jennie's birthday party, where's the cake?". We all got a good laugh about that. After dinner we all came back home. I had to finish some jewelry and wrapping for our get together at my Grandma's house Saturday night.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I guess some of you may be looking for pictures of Mikayla dancing at the grand opening of Food Lion last Saturday or her at the Bethlehem Walk. We went to the grand opening and Mikayla and I watched some of the other girls dance their routines for the audience that had gathered around. As soon as Ms. Andrea announced Mikayla's name, she turned around and wanted me to hold her. Ms. Andrea was going to give her more time so she called other girls to dance. By the time we left Ms. Andrea had asked Mikayla 3 separate times if she was ready to dance with her. Since Mikayla still did not want to dance in front of all the people (she was the only one there from her class - so it would have just been her and Ms. Andrea), Ms. Andrea asked all of the girls there to dance Mikayla's dance with her. Keep in mind this was the first time these other girls had seen Mikayla's dance. Mikayla still did not dance - she was being my shy little monkey! After she didn't participate at the grand opening, we didn't go to the Bethlehem Walk. Ms. Andrea had also said that she was worried she would be scared because of the real animals and all, so I thought it was best to wait until next year for that! I hope by then she will be over this "shy spell". On Monday and Tuesday dance this week Ms. Andrea said "I have thought and thought about what is different with these performances because she did so well at recital". The only thing she could think was that at recital they are kept backstage so they don't see all of the people. Then when you are on stage you can't really see them either because of the bright lights. Everywhere she has danced so far this year she's been standing directly in front of the people so she sees them. She said I wish you could see her dance in class - she does amazing. I'm beginning to think this is a stage she is going through - sort of like separation anxiety that infants go through. She is older than she was at recital and now she notices the people watching her. I'm not real sure why she does this, it really doesn't matter. All I know is that we couldn't be more proud of her. Not many children - or adults for that matter - get up in front of people (even small groups) and perform! She loves dance - that I am positive of - so I'm sure that it will get easier for her! Here are some pictures from her party on Tuesday - I didn't remember my camera on Monday!

They dance first, then they party. Check out how she holds her fingers when she does that ballet spin. So sweet!!

Kamree, Annabeth, Mikayla, Ms. Andrea, and Kimberly. Kimberly is not in Mikayla's class this year because she is taking hip-hop, but she was in Mikayla's class last year. She was making up a class on Tuesday.

A King is Coming to Town

Last Sunday morning at church, our children's choir presented their musical A King is Coming to Town! This is a cute musical with a special message. It is set in the little town of Rumor Mill, USA and of course everyone knows that a King is coming to town. The problem is nobody seems to know who this King is and why he is coming! It opens with the children singing Extra! Extra! Read All About it!, and a reporter questioning the residents about who the King is. The residents begin speculating about who the King is, and then the choir would sing songs that went with these speculations. For example, they sung Someone Special is Coming to Our Town, King of the Jungle, The King of Rock and Roll is Coming to Town, A Child Like Me, and A King is Coming to Town. The residents of Rumor Mill finally figure out that the King is Jesus - the King of kings! It was such a beautiful, moving performance. I am so proud of all the children for practicing so hard and doing a wonderful job!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Busy Week!

Wednesday night at church Drew had children's choir practice. They perform their Christmas musical this Sunday morning! (Look for lots of pictures Sunday night!) There will be about 21 children participating, ages 3 to 11. Mikayla is not participating this year because she was to participate in the youth's Christmas drama. When the youth drama did not work out our children's director said that Mikayla could participate with the children, but she had not been practicing with them. Also, with this shy stage she is going through, I wasn't sure she would do it anyways. We look forward to next year when both she and Drew participate together!

Last night we went out to dinner and then did a little more Christmas shopping - we are still not finished! This is my favorite time of year, but it sure is hard trying to come up with the perfect gift for some in our families!!

When we got home Craig debated about whether or not to go to his brother's house in Inman to spend the night. He was scheduled to leave at 4:30 this morning to go duck hunting with his brothers, and he didn't want to wake me and the kids that early. He decided to stay here because he thought he would get more sleep - yeah right! So this morning he left at 4:30 with instructions to call me at 5 to make sure I was up. I usually take Drew with me every morning since he goes to school now, but Craig usually takes Miki to daycare before he goes to work (he doesn't have to be there as early as we do). This morning I was to take them both, so I needed to get an earlier start! Craig called right at 5 as instructed, but I had already been up about 10 minutes. I got myself ready, got Drew and Mikayla up without incident (which is something short of a miracle at our house), and left the house early enough to stop at Hardess for breakfast! Amazing or so Craig would say - haha! He knows how long it usually takes us in the mornings. Craig seemed to have a wonderful time hunting. He is on his way home from Chris' house right now, and we can't wait to see how successful they were. Four guys in two boats - surely they were able to get a few at least! We shall see!

Tonight, it's out to dinner and time for MORE shopping (will it ever end???). Then we will probably go by Mimi and Poppi's for awhile. Tomorrow will be spent shopping and wrapping as well! There was a message from Ms. Andrea on the machine when we got home. She was inviting Mikayla to dance at the grand opening of a grocery store here in town tomorrow. I called her back to let her know that Mikayla would love to - add one more to our list of things to do! I really don't mind it though, Mikayla is loving this dance and it gives her another chance to get over her shyness! Then tomorrow night she will be part of "Bethlehem Walk" at another church in our community with her dance company. Look for lots of these pictures tomorrow night. Weekends = rest! Says who??

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Basketball Practice

You may remember from an earlier post that Drew has basketball practice every Monday. Yesterday was his third practice but it was the first one that I got pictures of! He loves basketball, and he is doing a really good job even though this is his first year playing organized basketball. I love the Upward program - as if you couldn't tell from my earlier post. I even heard today from one of my parents that a church in our community may start Upward football next year. That would be awesome because Drew has been wanting to play football, but this was the first year he was eligible because of his age. We didn't sign him up this year because I had some concerns. With the Upward program I think those concerns would be put to rest. It is not so focused on the competitiveness as much as it is teaching teamwork and such. I think that is more important for children this age. Save the competitiveness for high school. Don't get me wrong - Drew is a very competitive little boy, but we want him to realize that there is more to the game than winning and being the best. It's doing your best that matters! We are very proud of him and all he is learning!

Drew takes a shot over his teammate Bryson. They are best buddies - I am so glad they are on the same team!

Breanna, Mikayla, and Claire play while their brothers practice basketball. Mikayla and I come directly from dance each week - hence the dance clothes.Drew takes his turn to shoot. He has pretty good form don't ya think?
Devotion time - Drew's coach is absolutely wonderful with these kids!
At the end of practice Drew takes another turn to shoot!

This wasn't the end of our fun. After practice, we went to eat with the Mitchells and the Hansmans! Bryson and Blake are in my class this year, and their moms teach at the school with me. Drew is good buddies with them - even though he isn't in the same class, they all get to play together after school! We wish Bryson, Drew, Blake, and Garrett (another little boy from my class) were all on the same team! We had so much fun going out with them. We took up two tables and a booth at the restaurant. It was nice though because we were able to put the three boys (Bryson, Blake, and Drew) on one side of the booth and the girls (Breanna and Mikayla) on the other side. Little Hunter looked on as though he was thinking just give me time! The adults enjoyed some great - often times hilarious (thanks to Richie) conversation, and the kids didn't get too wild! I don't think we ran anyone off, and I think we all agreed that we would do it again! Who knows?? - This may become a Monday night tradition!

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