Sunday, December 30, 2007

Aunt Hope

All 3 of my kids have a great relationship with my sister. She doesn't have any kids yet so she has enjoyed spoiling them. Taylor and Caleb always look forward to spending the night with her whenever they can. Taylor says she always gets to do what she wants when she is with Aunt Hope. Madison has yet to spend the night with Aunt Hope. There are many reasons to this. First of all Madison is very attached to me and it is hard to get her to go anywhere without me. Secondly she still sleeps in a crib which Hope doesn't have at her house. Maybe soon she can experience "spending the night with Aunt Hope." She enjoys getting to see Aunt Hope though and Matt got this cute picture of the 2 of them Christmas Day.

These are just a couple of pictures from the day. Taylor was so excited about her Paws Off Diary and Caleb went crazy over his remote controlled spiderman car that Pops gave him. He kept saying "it is what I have always wanted" however he had never even seen it before! Madison was playing with her pretend food that Nana and Pops gave her. She was lining them up in a row just minutes after we took them out of the packages.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trip to Whitehouse TN

On Wednesday we woke up and drove to Whitehouse, TN to visit Matt's brother, his wife Gabby and their 5 kids (Corey-13, Haley-10, Riley-7, Kelsey-4, and Shelby-2). Taylor, Caleb and Madison were so excited! They love getting to see their cousins. Getting them up was a breeze even though it was early (why can't it be that easy on school days?). It is about a 3 hour drive and all 3 kids napped on the way there so they were ready to play when we got there. The kids were eager to see what their cousins got and eager to tell (and show as we brought some of our presents with us) what they got. That afternoon we went outside and got to see our nephew's birthday present. He just turned 13 last month and got a 4 wheeler. The kids were excited about trying it out, well everyone except Madison who was terrified of it. Caleb wasn't as impressed as we thought he would be. Normally he is a daredevil while Taylor is more safe. Well the roles were reversed! Taylor loved it and went all over the fields with Haley while Caleb took a few short circles around the yard and was done. I even rode it! I stuck Madison in front of me and went for a ride. She hated it! (Cried the whole time, I think it was a noise thing for her b/c it is loud especially on little ears). Anyway the best thing about it was Taylor wore a pair of camo coveralls b/c it was cold but she wore them with her bright pink crocs! Gabby got a great picture of it and I can't wait to scrapbook that pages. My girly girl wearing camo and a helmet and riding around on the back of a 4 wheeler. Too funny. Madison had a blast paying with Shelby though and Kelsey. She talked about seeing them for days before going and is still talking about them. Caleb enjoyed getting to play with Kelsey (who is his best friend) and Riley. Caleb and Kelsey are joined at the hip we are together. We are so glad that they are closer to us now and we can make day trips to see them!

Notice the pink crocs in the below picture :)

Friday, December 28, 2007


Organized chaos! That is how I describe Christmas at our house. We always start at our house but then end up at my sister's house. After all the kids wake up and get to see what Santa brought and then play with it awhile we load every other present in the car along with the kids and head to my sisters to open them. My parents do the same with there gifts. So the kids have to wait hours to open their gifts every year. Okay maybe not hours but a little while at least. Christmas morning we finally opened gifts about noon. Everyone was thrilled with what they got. (Which was too much!) My parents really enjoyed shopping this year. Santa brought Madison got a kitchen which she was thrilled with. She actually just stood and looked at it for a full minute before going over to it. He brought Taylor a moon chair and puppy alarm clock (it barks to wake you up) and Caleb got a big wheel. Once we opened presents there was much more excitement! Taylor and Caleb got new Bibles. Caleb got 3 road rippers and a remote controlled spiderman car. The car was from Pops (and I think Pops liked it as much as Caleb). Madison got a new princess blanket and pillow. Matt got a new tripod/monopod (which I think is the only thing he cared about!) and a new book about Tony Dungy. I got scrapbook stuff (which is what I cared about) and clothes. The kids got a bunch of new clothes too. Anyway it was great. We also had an awesome meal, flank steak and for dessert chocolate fondue with strawberries and bananas to dip in it!! Yummy!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Is that Fudge?

Growing up my parents used to do all this homemade baking around the Christmas holidays. My parents would fix up trays of the homemade goodies and give them out to neighbors and people at church. They were always a big hit. In fact my good friend Jennifer used to ask for fudge for Christmas! We haven't been able to give her homemade fudge in many years. (Next time we get together Jennifer I will have my mom make some fudge for me to bring to you.) Anyway in the last few years I have been doing this with my kids. In fact that is what their teachers at church get for Christmas and this year even their school teachers got them. Most of my mom's recipes I can duplicate with no problem but for some reason my fudge never turns out right. I think next year I am buying a candy thermometer and try that route. This year was no exception, everything but the fudge turned out great. Even after trying to harden the fudge in the freezer it still wasn't a cutting consistency. Well my kids found a great way to eat it....with a spoon or their fingers! It tastes great it just isn't in those cute square shapes. Oh well, next year I'll try again. (or maybe just go to the Fudge Factory in Pigeon Forge and buy some that they made!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pumpkin Bread at 6:30 AM

Our Friday morning started out as usual, or so I thought. I had just gotten Taylor up to get ready for school and went into the kitchen to get her breakfast ready. NaNa was up too making some pumpkin bread and the next thing I knew here comes Caleb! The next thing I know he is sitting on the island helping NaNa make pumpkin bread. Did I mention it is 6:30 in the morning!! He didn't have school so he could have slept in. Anyway it was very cute to see him sitting on the island in pjs cooking so I quickly grabbed a camera and snapped a few pictures. Then just a few hours later I again grabbed the camera and snapped this picture of him sitting behind Matt in the recliner watching cartoons. Too sweet!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So Much Fun!

Today was a great day aside from Madison waking up on the wrong side of the crib! She was cranky before we ever got to church and I knew there would be no nap as we had plans to attend The Nativity Pageant with some friends from church. I wasn't sure we would end up following through with this activity based on Madison's mood. It improved however. (Must have been the wonderful teachers she has on Sunday morning that put her in a good mood) She actually napped on the way home from church where we hurriedly changed clothes, wolfed down some lunch and got back in the car to head downtown. Upon arriving downtown we found our friends and got settled in some seats. The show was really good and Madison did great considering it was an hour long. (I have yet to find anything that will hold a 2 yr olds attention for more than 10 or 15 minutes) After this was over we decided to try to go see Santa again and get a picture since the first experience wasn't so great. (Madison wouldn't see him and when I carried her close to him she lost it!) Madison fell asleep on the way there so we laid her in Santa's arms and quickly for the other 2 in place. We actually ended up with a pretty good picture. Madison stayed asleep the whole time. (We joked that we hoped she wouldn't wake up in her arms b/c it would be a very traumatic thing for her) The older 2 loved it b/c this Santa has a sleigh and real reindeer. (Caleb commented that they reindeer smelled like poop!) That's my boy! Enjoy our Santa pics!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Caleb's Christmas Parade

Caleb's preschool had their Christmas Parade last Thursday. His class was wreaths. After the parade they went into the auditorium to sing a few songs. He did such a good job. He knew the songs and sang them so well. He informed me afterwards "that he sang loudly but didn't scream the songs like some of the other kids did!" Too funny. Anyway here a few pics of him.

Friday, December 14, 2007


If I could pick one word to describe this week it would be hectic! We have run non-stop. We had something special going on everyday. I had Bunko this week which I thoroughly enjoyed. I even won a gift (High score). Taylor had her Girl Scout part on Wednesday. This consisted of a pizza party and gift exchange right after school and then carpooling to Build A Bear to stuff some kind of animal. Taylor got a Rudolph whose nose really lights up. He is adorable. She got some pj's for him and a plate of cookies and glass of milk. Then we rushed to church and I mean rushed. The party was over at 6 and we had to fight mall traffic to get home and pick up everyone else to go to church. Thursday Matt had something going on with the guys so he was out for the night. And finally Friday was spent baking for our Small Group Christmas party. We had to bring a side dish and dessert. The food was wonderful and it was great to sit around and talk to other adults. Also the kids had a great time playing together. We had a gift exchange. We ended up with Cinnamon Buns body wash and a holiday dish towel and gingerbread cookie cutter. It was lots of fun. Tomorrow Taylor has to ring the bell at a Salvation Army spot with her Girl Scout Troop. It seems like we are so busy this time of year. Oh yeah, we also have the Nativity Pageant on Sunday. Whew!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brunch with Santa

So we had our annual brunch with Santa after Church today. It was lots of fun ans there was some really good food. Taylor and Caleb were so excited to see Santa and tell him what they wanted. We had already sent him letters but a few choices had changed. I told them they might not get the new gifts b/c Santa might have already had the Elves fill their order. (The Santa I tell my kids about is very organized and prepares things ahead of time). :) Anyway I knew Madison wasn't going to like Santa. She likes nobody dressed up with things on their face. How could I tell Santa to shave his beard for the day and then grow it back. I just hoped we cold get somewhere near him to get a picture of all 3 kids. Well the others went up when it was their turn and gave him a longer list of things while Madison hung back and just looked at him. He was giving out Candy canes and we tried that bribe that she could only get the candy from him. She wasn't buying that though. Finally she got close enough to reach out and take the peace offering Santa was handing her: 2 candy canes. She politely told him "thank ye" (that is how she says it) and walked away quickly. In a little bit she took one of the candy canes back to him and laid it at his feet. We guessed it was her "peace offering" so she would still get presents. We tried to tell her to ask him to bring her a kitchen but she wouldn't. Anyway here are a few pics from that experience. (Notice the very grown-up looking girl in blue. It is Taylor who without the smocked dresses and her new short "do" is looking very much like a big girl.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another Year Older

So I turned 31 on Friday and we celebrated my birthday with my family. We didn't do anything big though. I have kinda out-grown big birthday celebrations. My kids were disappointed in this. They thought I should have a party. I told them I was too old for party's. Ha Ha! This isn't true really. I am too old for a birthday party but not too old to party! It was a really low key celebration. My parents took everyone out to dinner and I got to pick the place. This is a big deal b/c it meant we could go somewhere without a playland! Just kidding, we hardly ever go to places with playlands b/c my kids won't eat anything in the happy meals but the fries. They would rather go eat at a real place preferably italian or mexican. We went to El Chico. I love to go there but we rarely go b/c it is on the other side of town from where we live. Anyway the food was great and the company not too shabby either :) I got new scrapbook stuff which included this awesome new paper cutter that I would never have bought for myself b/c it was expensive. Matt knew I wanted it so he got it for me. (He knows me well enough to know that I wouldn't have bought it for myself). The kids got me some stamping stuff also. My parents and sister gave me $! You can never go wrong with the green stuff! Anyway it was a great way to spend my birthday, with those I love the most!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tennis Anyone?

Taylor has been taking tennis lessons since May of this year. She is good and loving it. The only bad part is that is on Saturday mornings at 9:30. That is the only day she gets to sleep in so sometimes it is hard to get her up. Once up and there though she is fine. She has learned the basics and now is learning the fun stuff like serving! She is really good at tennis and we are glad she has found a sport she enjoys. For the last 4 years she has taken ballet and wasn't interested in anything else. Now we are starting to branch out and try new things though. Here are a few pics from her lessons.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The small details

Madison is into lining things up or making stacks of things or making rows of things. She doesn't care what it is either. Sometimes it is cars and trucks, other times it is these little cups from Caleb's Memory game and other times it is every toy in the toy bins! I wonder what she is going to do when she grows up? Anyway here are a few pictures I took of her a couple of different times doing this activity.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Taylor's new haircut

Over the Thanksgiving holidays Taylor decided she wanted to cut her hair in a short little bob. I was all for it seeing as how she is very tender-headed and combing her hair is one job I hate to do. I mean I try to be careful but it is hard to comb someone else's hair without pulling. So while Aunt Gabby was here for Thanksgiving she gave all 3 kids haircuts, and me too :) Madison and Caleb just got trims but Taylor went for it and it turned out adorable! Thanks Aunt Gabby!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas presents

I have a confession to make, I can't stand to have Christmas presents and not have them wrapped so normally we have a big pile of presents to put under the tree before the tree is even up! This year is no exception. We have no tree up yet (but do have a wreath on the door and our singing snowman and penguin from Hallmark on the the coffee table) but a huge pile of presents. I just had to wrap them. I love wrapping gifts plus I love watching the kids "fight over who has the biggest present under the tree right now (which Madison is winning this contest so far) and then trying to figure out what is in each one. Matt's mom said "we had presents in search of a Christmas tree." Hopefully we will have a tree soon. We are not getting our HUGE (not an exaggeration at all, the thing is 7.5 ft tall and so big around that all 5 of us try to stand around it holding hands and we need 2 more people to accomplish this) one out this year but instead getting a real one! I love real trees, there is nothing like the smell of pine. It makes me think of snow, which hopefully we will get this year!

Last night while I was wrapping presents the kids watched "Shrek the Halls" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". I watched the Shrek the Halls which was hilarious. I hope it comes on again or we can find it on youtube. Anyway here is a picture of Caleb watching. He was glued to the tv. He loves How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We have it on video and he watches it year round. It is a favorite at my house. I couldn't resist snapping a pic of him wrapped up in his blanket watching the movie.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sick Kids

So last night at 10:00 pm Taylor runs out of her room yelling "Caleb has thrown up, ALOT!" I am assuming since Taylor is saying this and she added the "alot" part that it might not be as serious as she is saying. Sometimes she is dramatic, however not this time. Poor Caleb has indeed thrown up alot, and is just sitting there not knowing what to do. He had been asleep so he was just a little confused as to what was going on. Well after cleaning up him, which required a bath (how can someone so little make such a mess), stripping his bed and putting clean linens on the bed all while trying to keep Madison out of it (why she wasn't in bed yet at 10 pm is another story but let me say no more late naps) was exhausting. Matt couldn't be much help b/c he had been sick all day with the same thing. You would think that I could have passed out from exhaustion but no my mom mode was on and I wasn't able to sleep. I did doze some while laying on a blanket next to Caleb's bed but the "mommy" in me wouldn't let me sleep deep. This was good b/c our adventure continued through the night and now I had something to blog about!

Friday, November 23, 2007


I love Thanksgiving! I am sorry it is over in only 1 day. We had such a great time even though we didn't get to be with all our family. We celebrated Thanksgiving with Matt's family minus Daniel and Rachel (who we missed greatly especially since we were with them a year ago). We will celebrate Christmas with my family. This is the first year that I wasn't with my parents and sister. It was very different. We ate so much that I think I actually could have passed for a couple months pregnant, okay maybe I am exaggerated a little! Anyway the food was so good. It is amazing how 18 people can polish off a whole turkey and 3/4's of a ham. Anyway we have leftovers for a few days and that will have to tide us over for another year. Now I can be excited about Christmas! I do love this time too. In fact, I even did a little shopping this afternoon after all the crazy people had gone home. Got a few Christmas presents but I have alot already done. I definately have a few surprises up my sleeve though.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fall Family Pics

Okay, so yesterday we decided to try and take a family picture for Christmas cards. This was supposed to be done while we were at the beach this summer. It didn't happen there though b/c Madison wouldn't cooperate. (Looking back to that experience should we really have expected a 2 year old to do as we wanted?) I guess that was our mistake. So anyway back to the pictures, we got all dressed up in jeans and black shirts and set off to a beautiful park close to our house. The trees were still pretty and lots of leaves on the ground. (Thought being outside would work but little did we know that trying to keep up with a 2 year old who only wants to play in the leaves not sit and pose for pics would be so hard.) Anyway after much begging, bribing and threatening we were able to get all 3 kids (plus Matt and myself) looking at the camera and smiling. They actually turned out great. Matt needs to get into the professional photography business. His pics turn out great. We got some really awesome individuals pics too of the kids. As soon as I figure out how to post pictures on here I will get some up for everyone to see. All in all it turned out to be a wonderful outing with some great photos too!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Forgotten Holiday

I need to vent a little bit. I love Christmas! But I also love the holiday before it and it seems like it just gets blown by. (In case you are wondering which holiday I am talking about, it is Thanksgiving). I mean the 1st day of November the Christmas music starts. That is way too early. Before Halloween is even here the stores are moving that stuff aside to put out lights, trees, and ornaments. Give me a break, I need to get through one holiday before stressing about the next one. Plus I love Thanksgiving!! I mean, who can resist all the wonderful smells of all the foods that we only cook once a year. (Which by the way, why is it that we only cook some of our favorite foods once a year? I would be fine with having that meal at least every 3 months.) Anyway I just am ticked off that retail skips Thanksgiving. I know there isn't gift giving involved with Thanksgiving but there are other wonderful things that go with Thanksgiving. The most important thing: our wonderful family and friends!!! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

After much procrastinating I have finally started my blog. This is many months in coming. I have really enjoyed reading Jennifer's and thought it would be neat to have one so that our family and friends could keep up with our life. So here I go!