Sunday, January 20, 2013

January thus far...

Ethan's class took a trip to the Springdale Fire Department, and I don't know who was more excited...Ethan or Owen. The received a tour of the building, saw the fire trucks, and watched the firemen put on their uniforms. Owen has worn his fireman costume non-stop since then!

 Last weekend my friend, Amy, had the brilliant idea of going to a hotel and swimming. We split the cost of a hotel room and took the kids up after naps and swam the whole rainy and cold afternoon. The dads grabbed pizza and we ate in the lobby and then hit the pool for more swimming. Right before bed we threw the kids in the shower, put their pjs on, and then headed home for bed time. The kids had a blast. Thanks for the fun memory, Harris Clan.

It feels like we've spent a lot more time at home lately, and it never ceases to amaze me how the dynamic drastically changes when one kid isn't around. With Ethan at school, the house a lot quieter; Owen and Harper play really well together. I let Owen bring his grill in the other day, and they played happily together for what felt like forever. Those moments are priceless!

I just like this picture of Harper and her Papi. They're getting ready to celebrate their birthday together here pretty soon...

And lastly, my kitchen is starting to get an overhaul. Amy has educated me about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and after about having a melt down after learning what I was putting into my kid's bodies, I cleaned out my pantry and refrigerator. (This wasn't even what was in my freezers.) GMOs are in EVERYTHING. I really thought we ate relatively healthy, but after watching this video, "healthy" has a new meaning. I'm working at changing my mindset and making time to really think about and prepare food for my family. Shopping at one store really isn't an option any more either as I'm going to have to hit several of them in a week to get what we need. Being in WM land, we don't have a lot of organic options. Thankfully I have several friends who have pointed me in the right directions and given me several resources in the change. I think a garden in our back yard in our future. If this city girl can keep anything alive...

Monday, January 07, 2013

First Snow

We were geared up for a massive snow on Christmas day, but it ended up not producing like we'd hoped. Thankfully, when we got back to Arkansas after Christmas, we got about an inch. It was enough for the kiddos to make a small snowman and make a couple sledding trips down a hill before it turned to mud. Harper was real sure what to think of it, but the boys had no problem jumping right in. We're hoping we get at least one more snow this year...I'd like to get my moneys worth out of the snow gear I bought!!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Annual Christmas Party

We had our 4th annual Christmas party this past month, and it was a blast. It was "wear something festive themed", and we had everything from pajamas to blinking sweatshirts. (The blinking sweatshirt won "most festive" voted on by a panel of expert judges. Congrats, Alison..I know that ceramic cow you won will be a prized possession!) We played the Favorites game, and everything from scalp massagers to homemade bread to festive beer was shared. We ended the night with some Rock Band, and it's a miracle that our kids stayed asleep. There was some serious singing and jamming going on. We're so thankful for all the fun friends that came to celebrate with us!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! We have so much to be thankful for this past year... Chris and I were talking about our highlights of family trips, the health of friends and family, and watching our kiddos grow and become fun little people were at the top of our list. Chris and I both took on new jobs, Ethan started Kindergarten, Owen started gymnastics, and Harper has been a constant source of entertainment through it all! We feel truly blessed.

Our Christmas season was a whirlwind, and here is my best at re-capping...
 We decorated our Christmas tree after spending Thanksgiving in Oklahoma. I'd like to pretend that it was a warm and fuzzy evening spent as a family, but the reality was that the kids broke about 10 ornaments between themselves, fought with each other like crazy, our tree wouldn't light up, and nothing was going as I had planned, so I was cranky. There is a small dose of our reality for you. :) Ah, well...looking back at the pictures it looked like a really sweet memory!

 We celebrated our own family Christmas that morning of the 22nd so that we could have time for our own family traditions. It ended up being really nice for the kids to have time playing with their new things before we packed up for 5 days. I think Harper was most excited about her Chapstick, Owen has barely taken off his fireman costume since he got it, and Ethan was pretty excited about an art set. (I selfishly was excited to see what he did with it!)

The 23rd we headed to the Hoyle's Christmas-Eve-Eve party, and per usual, Kerri did an amazing job. The food was phenomenal and the Dirty Santa game was abnormally tame!

We woke up the morning of the 24th to a yummy Paw Paw breakfast. The kids could hardly eat because their Christmas gifts were in the corner waiting to be opened! Ethan was stoked about his swords (among many other things), Owen couldn't wait to put his wheel barrow together and wear his construction vest, and Harper could have been done with gifts after opening her "feed my baby dinner set". Thanks, Paw Paw for the great gifts and loving on us!

The afternoon of the 24th we headed to OKC to see Grandma and Lynn. Grandma had quite the spread ready for us when we got there. Debbie, that dip you made could be the death of me! Once our kiddos went to bed we played a game called "Brands of the World" (or something like that), and I'm pretty sure I haven't laughed that much in a long time. At one point I was crying...the Hoyles are quite the competitive bunch, but we manage to have a good time in the midst of the trash talking. (The girls won, btw.)
Due to the winter storm that was headed our way, Greg and family left early Christmas morning to avoid getting stuck. We opened gifts right after breakfast, and we were really sad to see the cousins leave. The rest of Christmas day was spent in our pajamas watching Christmas movies and the boy host wrestling matches in Grandma's living room. Harper joined in occasionally and it was quite entertaining. We made some sweet memories. Thanks, Grandma and Lynn, for letting us take over your house and for the fun gifts!

Our last leg of the Christmas marathon was spent at Mimi and Papi's. The St Louis Dodson couldn't make it, sadly, due to illness. So we Skyped them into our living room as much as we could, but it wasn't the same without them around. 
Mimi and Papi helped the kids put on a play of the birth of Jesus, and it was hilarious watching the kiddos dressed up. Jack and Ethan chose to be sheep instead of wise men - I'm not sure if we should be concerned or not... Mimi did a great job on the stocking stuffers, and all the kiddos loved their gifts. I think mostly they enjoyed the time playing together, though. It's fun to see their friendships form. Thanks Mimi and Papi for the great memories!

I think I need a nap after all of that. :)