Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Marathon

 We feel very blessed that we're able to celebrate Christmas multiple times during the season, and this year was no different. I think the kids love that they can say they get to have four Christmas's hard to beat!

Our Family Christmas
 We let the kids open the gifts they'd bought each other the night of the 23rd, and I think it's safe to say they all bought well for each other. The hugs and "how did you know I wanted this" was the best. We celebrated our Christmas the morning of the 24th, and this year we did four gifts for each of us: a want, a need, something to wear, and something to read. Naturally Harper's favorite gift was her "something to wear"...that girl loves her sparkly shoes! Ethan seemed to spend most of the morning reading, and Owen was so excited for his "want" - a real leaf blower. He could hardly wait to get into the garage and blow leaves out.
After we enjoyed a leisurely morning of playing with our gifts, eating cinnamon rolls and lounging in our pjs, we packed up and headed to Oklahoma...

Dodson Christmas
This was the year for us to be at my parent's, and it was a full house with 8 adults and 8 grandkiddos (the 9th is coming soon)! The cousins loved playing with each other and the adults enjoyed being together and eating Mimi's food. 

Mimi started the tradition that the grandkids act out the story of Christ's birth while Papi reads it out loud. The last two years Jack and Ethan have requested the roles of the donkeys...I won't read into that one... Claire is Mary, Owen is Joseph, and Lily, Harper and Micah are angels. I think Henry was supposed to be baby Jesus, but he was much more content sitting in Mimi's lap. Needless to say, it's quite entertaining.

 Mimi always does such a good job picking out matching pjs for everyone...

 And the rest of the time we just enjoyed being together! The older kids were always in a fort, outside exploring or engrossed in Legos, so most of my pictures are of the little girls...

We were able to see Grandma while we were in Oklahoma and exchange gifts with her and Lynn. It was cute watching the kids open their gifts and be in awe that she knew exactly what they wanted. Even though the time with her was short, the kids managed to squeeze in some peach water and a meal at Ted's. Everyone was happy!

Paw Paw's
And last but certainly not least, we headed to Paw Paw's to celebrate with the "Southern Hoyles". The kids love running into his living room to see their gifts on his pool table, and as always he got them great gifts. He fed us all well per the usual and it was fun making memories with the cousins. 

Our marathon Christmas season really put a nice bow on 2013 for us. We feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. Above all, we're thankful that our Savior!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snows Days

 In case you hadn't heard, NWA was hit a massive blizzard that shut schools down and kept most people stuck indoors for almost a week. (And when I say "blizzard" I really mean 6" of snow...) The first two days of the snow we loved being warm and cozy in our house, letting the kids take 30 minutes to bundle up only to spend about 10 minutes outside, and eating lots of cookies and home-baked goodness.
By the third day cabin fever started in... Luckily we were able to get out and go for donuts and hit Wal-Mart for a few necessities. It's sad when those to things are huge for moral! By the fourth day we were all done. Ethan kept asking when it was going to be "swimming weather" and Harper flipped out every time she saw gloves and a coat. I think Chris and I were hitting our heads against walls... How do you Northerners do it all the time!?! 

Thankfully our buds, the Harrises, made the trek to our house and we spent the afternoon sledding and enjoying looking at new faces. By the time they left, we felt like new people again! Mr Jim Jim's delicious Sidecars might have helped that too... 

Life is slowly returning to normal. The city's plan of "lets just let the ice melt" is finally coming to fruition, and we even saw a road grader scraping ice off our street yesterday (8 days after the initial snow). The snow was fun for a bit, but this Southerner is already ready for spring! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bedlam...Such a Dirty Word

This year leading up to the Bedlam game was definitely more interesting than the few years prior. Ethan and Owen have firmly established who their teams are, and the trash talk flew all over the place. (I dress Harper, so she wore orange!) We had just been hit with 6" of snow, but we all dressed up in our colors and went for donuts to celebrate the upcoming game. The rest of the afternoon was less fun as the Cowboys yet again acted like little brothers who didn't believe they could win against the "big, bad Sooners". You'd think after 9 of the 10 years of losing this rivalry game, I'd be used to it now. I am not.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Christmas Season is Upon Us...

The tree is up! We had fun decorating it as a family. Harper was particularly entertaining as each ornament she picked up she oo-ed and ah-ed over how pretty it was. The boys just seemed to break every other one they had...why do they make kid ornaments glass anyway?!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


We told the boys they could choose one sport each semester to participate in, and for the fall/winter Ethan chose wrestling. We're not entirely sure why; he's never known anyone that has wrestled or been to a wrestling match! He started practice about a month ago, and he had his first scrimmage last week. It was definitely an eye opening experience... His first match he wrestled a kid that clearly had been wrestling for a year or two. The second match he wrestled another kid that one of the experienced parents said "was one of the best". After getting pinned two times in a row, major tears ensued. After much encouragement and prayers(!), he pinned the next kid. But for the 4th match he wrestled the same kid he had the second time. Ethan almost lasted to the end w/o getting pinned but he lost. My poor melancholy son was very emotional and decided that wrestling was the worst sport known to mankind. He's since stted that it may not be the worst but that he still hates it... We told him initially that he was committed till January, so hopefully with a few more practices under his belt he will be a little more confident come the next tournament... Man, this parenting thing is only going to get harder and harder, huh?!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

 This was our year to spend Thanksgiving in Mulberry, and I think it's safe to say everyone had a great time. As always, Kerri had an amazing meal prepared on Wednesday night (because Alex had to work Thanksgiving day). We all stuffed our faces and had to be rolled out the door.
The kids had a blast playing with their cousins. The boys followed Adam around and took turns wrestling him. They also loved riding the tractor, feeding the cows, getting eggs, and soaking up farm life. I got to sneak away with Kerri and watch "Catching Fire", and then all the kids met us to watch "Frozen". I've never done two movies back to back at the was kind of fun!

Harper was attached to Alyssa pretty much the whole time. Alyssa busted out all her old American Girl dolls for Harper to play with, and Harper was in heaven. If Harper wasn't attached to Alyssa, she was attached to Paw Paw. She loved putting his Carmex on and chatting him up. In fact, she enjoyed her time with him so much she crafted this song about him on the way home...

We were even able to see Grandma briefly this trip which was fun. The kids enjoyed chatting with her and Lynn and filling them on life. 

We have so much to be thankful for! The Lord has truly blessed us more than we deserve...

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Wrapping Up November...

My father in law pointed out to me that I had only one entry for November...I'd done so well in October. Where did time go?!? November was busy. Chris planned a men's retreat for the church, he traveled to Chicago and Seattle, I worked a Boutique Show, we had two "small" groups at our house that consisted of around 40 people, we started wrestling in full swing, we went to Silver Dollar City, and then wrapped up the month with Thanksgiving in Mulberry....
 We also managed to make it "down south" to see our friends, the Crawfords. Once every couple weeks is not enough seeing them! The kids and I also did our first ever Zumba class at the YMCA with a few of our other's was comical to say the very least. Ethan was all about it until we walked into the studio room; he hid behind the weights the entire class. I kinda wanted to do the same!

Mimi made all the grandkids robes just because, and she pretty much made my kid's month. They've worn them non-stop. Owen wanted red for OU, and Ethan wanted an orange one for OSU. Bedlam is going to be fun this year!

I couldn't help but post this picture...such a sweet face!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Halloween 2013

We had another fun Halloween last night! We had a few friends over and managed to have fun in spite of the rainy afternoon and soggy ground. The kids jumped on a bounce house in the garage, we all ate well, and the trip up and down our street was just enough trick or treating for us all.
We managed to find two flight suits so that Chris and his friend, Matt, could fulfill their Top Gun dream. ;) I do have to commend Matt for his commitment to the part...two weeks of growing out the stache really payed off! I was Rosie the Riveter, but I don't have a great picture of me... Harper was a ballerina (a moody one for awhile), Ethan was the Hulk, and Owen was Wolverine.

Darth Vader showed up half way through trick or treating, and he was a HUGE hit with most of the kids. Poor Harper was terrified of him...

We had a great time and are thankful for all the friends that came!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The 1st Soccer Season Under Our Belt...

We officially wrapped up Owen's first season of soccer, and it was very entertaining to say the least! I don't think I've laughed that much in awhile. Owen's team as a whole was more interested in chasing their shadows, wrestling, shooting imaginary bad guys and rolling around in the grass than actually playing soccer, but they definitely had fun together! It will likely be Chris' last time to ever coach soccer, but I know he made some fun memories... 
We had some last minute fans come and cheer Owen on, and he loved having an audience. Thanks for everyone for coming and loving on Owen! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Silver Dollar City

We got to celebrate two of our buddies birthdays at SDC this past weekend, and we all had a great time. It started out a little chilly, but as the day went on it was pretty perfect. Owen and Sawyer, being the same size, were able to spend the day on the smaller rides and in the kid's "tree house". Harper and Ember were able to ride a few rides too and seemed content playing wherever. Ethan was actually able to ride the bigger rides this year, and I had a blast getting to ride some roller coasters with him. (my back may say otherwise...) After riding a few smaller roller coaster, we all decided to try the Powder Keg. It's pretty legit, and Ethan couldn't decide if he loved or hated it. I think we'll have to go again to help him figure it out!

All in all it was a great day and we were thankful to celebrate with the Crawfords!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hay Bale Sculptures

Crystal Bridges just put up several hay bale sculptures in the open field where the future Children's Museum is going to go. We decided to go check it out, and the kids had a blast climbing on everything. This is the kind of art Owen really can get into!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catching Up...

September flew by and October seems to be doing the same. We've enjoyed the mild weather in spite of missing the pool life. The kids and I have been enjoying some trails close to our house; we feel really blessed to be so close to so many good ones!

It's these days that I am so thankful that Ethan is home more than he's not. I love seeing his friendship with his brother and sister grow. Harper loves it when he plays with her, and of course Owen loves it when he has a buddy to wrestle.

We've been grilling out a lot too and having some fun and crazy friends over to join in on the fun.

There is a fun ice cream shop down on the square that we've probably frequented too much lately too! They have tiny cones that are perfect for little hands, and Ethan LOVES the vintage cartoons that they play on the tv.

 Owen and Harper have a typical love/hate relationship, but when they're loving each other it's really sweet. They play house together, soccer and fire station together. I've started getting asked if they're twins...thankfully Owen is completely oblivious to the fact that she might be catching him in height...

 My brother got us free VIP (yeah, baby!) tickets to the Lumineers a few weeks ago, and so we made the drive to OKC to watch them play again. We had fun getting eating great food and being SO close to the band as they played. Thanks, Jon, for the hook up!

The kids are cracking me up in the car these days. We've made several late-night trips home, and they're personalities come out on the night drive. Owen will promptly announce he's tired and going to sleep. He'll be out cold in seconds flat, and nothing can wake him up. Ethan fights it a little harder but eventually gives in. Harper, however, has had too much to say lately and will not stop talking long enough to go to sleep! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I'm in a little bit of shock that September is almost over. I've had a couple of people ask what we've been up to, and I am at a loss on what to say. I know we've been doing something!
Probably the bulk of our time has been spent at the pool. We have loved swimming this summer... Harper has absolutely no fear and would be in the water all day if I'd let her. She can swim pretty well, but she still makes me incredibly nervous as she still hasn't quite grasped the concept that she could drown. Owen has turned a corner this summer too, and he's enjoyed getting more and more comfortable in the water. Of course Ethan has been a fish for the last couple of years, and that hasn't changed. 

Over Labor Day weekend we had a cousin's reunion with Chris' mom's side of the family. With Nanny gone, it's been hard to see everyone. I think everyone enjoyed hanging out and eating wonderful food. 

 My wonderful middle-brother got us tickets to the Gentlemen of the Road festival in good 'ole Guthrie, Oklahoma a couple weeks ago. In true Oklahoma fashion, it was freaking hot, but we still had a blast. The first night we saw Willy Mason, Justin Townes Earle, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The following day started at noon, and one of our favorite bands, Bear's Den, opened. So we sat in 100 degree weather singing our hearts out. :) Chris and Jon held our super close seats during the blazing heat so we could be close when Mumford & Sons came on. I think they would say it was worth it... Alabama Shakes was phenomenal (she gave me chills), and Mumford & Sons of course were amazing. Guthrie did a great job hosting all 30,000 people, and we owe my parents big time for watching all 7 grandkids for two days!

 Owen started playing soccer this fall, and he has loved it. Every day he wakes up asking  if it's a "soccer day". Chris volunteered to coach the team, and it's been fun watching them do soccer together. I wouldn't say their team is good...but what they lack in talent, they make up for in enthusiasm...

 This summer Ethan has really been missing his buddy, Xander. The boys were able to spend almost an entire day together this last week, and it was so sweet hearing them play together. They seem to be able to pick right back up where they left off...a sign of a great friendship.

Harper is fulfilling her role as the baby of the family quite well. She's always looking for a laugh and thinks that saying "bottom" and "poop" are HILARIOUS. Can you tell she has older brothers? She also ran off one day yelling "See ya suckas!" Oh, my. She's become obsessed with ballerinas and wore her tutu for 2 days straight. She keeps asking to go to a ballerina class...we'll see. And we tried transitioning her to a "big girl bed" by taking down the side of her crib. After 3 not so great nights, we gave up and put the side back up. Only to have the crib side break for good. We took the crib apart yesterday, and now she's on a twin mattress on the floor. It only took her 3 hours to fall asleep last night...and an hour to fall asleep for her nap's to hoping it gets better....