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Thursday, December 23, 2010

traditions ...

Christmas is here.
the lights are on.
the tree is decorated..... thanks to my girls.
the gingerbread houses are ready to eat... thanks to a dear friend who is my girls' adopted mother during the summer and winter break (she bakes with them!).

the poinsettia is amazingly still alive.... (thanks Mandi for the beautiful flowers!).

my little "applesauce/cinnamon" gingerbread men on the tree are still intact after 3 years

and the calendar shows Joseph & Mary is on day 23.....

my girls still amaze me with their eagerness that Christmas just isn't complete without this little homemade calendar. Baby Jesus is laid in the manger before we go to bed on the 24th.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

it's a chinese new year...

Last Friday the 3rd grade classes at Madison's school did a huge celebration of the Chinese New Year. They had a parade marching down through the entire school (all the classes were outside their rooms, cheering the 3rd graders on, while Chinese music was playing through the intercom system). Parents lined the walls snapping pictures.

There were acrobats, chinese dragons, children carrying lanterns... and I'm sure other things that I have no idea what they were... but it was all so incredibly awesome.

While the kids were marching around the hallways of the school, other moms were setting up the classrooms to have a party. We're talking chopsticks, chicken fried rice, chicken nuggets (not 100% sure why this was related to chinese food, but hey... the kids loved it!), egg rolls, and other yummy treats.

Here I told Maddie to smile, and I get a half smile. That little stinker.

Then the eating. OH, to watch the kids try to eat with their chopsticks!! TOO funny! For example...

What does a kid have to do to pick up chicken nuggets with their chopsticks?

Answer: stab it ...
Amazingly, stabbing the food works!

and last but not least, all the kids got two of these gel candy... I can't remember what they are, but I just remember my mom buying these in bulk at Sam's when my brother and I were teenagers. Some of the flavors had fruit in them, but in reality, they were just gross. Blech.
what is up w/ these peace signs that Maddie's holding up? And man oh man does her nails need to be cleaned!!

and that ... is the most perfect way to start a winter vacation for TWO weeks!!

Oh.. and I spied with my little eye the little boy that has a huge crush on Maddie. He is totally cute! Too bad Maddie doesn't think so. He said "he has too high of a voice". Whatever...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What happens when.....

What happens when you place an order on Shutterfly, and eagerly anticipate the package you order?

I mean... you DO hope they send you your pictures? RIGHT?! Or at least, did it ever cross your mind that you might NOT get your pictures or whatever you ordered? I have to honestly say it has never crossed my mind... until yesterday.

So yesterday I pick up my package by the door from Shutterfly! It's here!! Yay! Can't wait to see our cards! However... the little girl on the card doesn't look like my little girls. There's a slight big difference.

I mean... my girls are much blonder, and last I saw, I have two of them. At least, I think I have two of them. Maybe I'm seeing doubles..... plus they're much older. I think.

So, I called Shutterfly up and waited patiently for 20 minutes to speak to a "very hard to understand English speaking person". He finally said in a very thick accent "OK, we will reorder and send it out to you." So I said "I want it next day." He said "OK." My order appears to be coming on Monday. Today's Thursday. That's not next day.

I must give two thumbs up for that service, but two thumbs DOWN for the fact that I got another family's precious cargo... I mean, I'm not comfortable knowing who got MY cards, with the picture of MY girls!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

my highland dancer

My girls have been dancing Highland Dance (Scottish dance) for over 6 years. Katie for almost 7 years... Maddie has been dancing for 5 years. Granted, they took a year and a half off when we moved, but we have an amazing teacher here in San Antonio... who taught THEIR former teacher.

This wonderful teacher has an online store for all things Scottish. I offered my services for anything she needed to take pictures of for her online store. So one day we went out and about and I was able to get some great shots of Katie. The pictures of Maddie didn't really turn out very well (she was in an ornery mood), but I love the ones of Katie. It kind of turned into her own little photo shoot...

This is her posing for the sword dance.....

We also really want that kilt... which is also for sale. Katie outgrew her old kilt! STOP GROWING KID! Donations are accepted... :D Kilts are really expensive! But thankfully, if (and when) we buy this one, it will most likely be the last one we have to buy b/c it is a little long on her. Not to mention, it is a REAL kilt (not a kiltie! or a dance kilt!).

I really REALLY love this picture!!

and finally, when all was done & over, she took her blouse off, and she was quietly reflecting on whatever it was she was thinking about (see the first picture at the top), she looked at me, and gave me a cute little smile. Perfection!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My grandpa...

As I look back over the past week, I have so much to be grateful for.

Our little family was to make the trip to Kansas City for the week on Friday after work. However, Mike's body had other plans. He had kidney stones that basically crippled him for a few days. He just didn't think he could make the trip. I had gotten sick earlier that week, and was REALLY sick. Everything was stacked against us .... but I had this feeling. This STRONG feeling that I needed to be home. Mike had gone to the doctor, who refused to let him go back to work for over a week, and the doctor said "hey.... go home to KC for the week, I'll give you some medicine to help you endure the car trip." So, away we left.

We arrived early in the morning on Saturday. Spent a few days with Mike's family. My cousin Kasey's father passed away, and his funeral was on Monday afternoon, but it was 2.5 hours away. I just didn't think w/ my horrible cough I wanted to make that trip, because I would've been riding with my grandparents. I was so worried I would get them sick. I went to the Minute Clinic that morning, found out I had a sinus infection. So, I was on the mend finally with some antibiotics.

By Tuesday morning, I received an email from my mom, telling me that my grandpa was in the ICU at the local hospital. He had pneumonia. By that afternoon, we were visiting him. The girls & I watched him breathe so hard..... he was in pain just trying to breathe. He saw me and said "hi sweetie!", and tried to talk to me. I hushed him and said "Grandpa, it's probably better if you don't speak because your oxygen level goes down when you talk." When we said goodbye, I gave him my cheek to kiss, but he always goes for the lips.....

We visited on Wednesday, he was improving. Thursday morning he was holding steady. No more rattling in his lungs. He had a face mask on by this time to get better oxygen. Many many years ago, he was in a fire caused by chemicals (he was a firefighter), and endured some health problems because of this fire. As he got older, he developed pulmonary fibrosis.... and eventually had to be put on oxygen (just the week prior). Pulmonary fibrosis + pneumonia isn't a great thing.

Thursday morning the entire family meets at the hospital (totally not planned, we just all showed up at around the same time). He was asleep. Doing great. So, we all go home to prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner. By 1:00 that afternoon, we head over to my grandma's house. Then we get a phone call from my cousin, who hadn't seen Grandpa until that day. The death of her own father still fresh in her own mind. His oxygen level suddenly dropped majorly. He wasn't doing too well. I left Mike & the girls at my grandma's house and left with my parents. My brother was called. The entire family headed up to the hospital.

He suffered a heart attack, and then his oxygen level tanked. The doctor said he didn't think he had much longer. Everyone was called in.... and we waited for my final cousin to come in so we could take the mask off and let him die peacefully. We all whispered little words in his ear. Told him how much we loved him. Cried on his chest. Kissed his cheek. Rubbed his hair that he just cut so he could look as he did in his teens. We said goodbye.

He did die peacefully. It was so painful. The hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I have never experienced death of someone so close to me. I was always Grandpa's girl. My favorite place to sit was in his lap. His strong arms surrounding me. Listening to him hum songs and play his harmonica. He had a beautiful voice.

I've been pulling all the pictures together for a video, plus making his program and display table. I'm so proud of my grandpa. He was a wonderful man. He lived a great life, despite his imperfections. But in my eyes.... he didn't have any imperfections.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Miss Maddie....

Just a few minutes old...

With the cutest smile...

Miss Maddie turns nine.

Nine is super fine!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's a fact!

Fact: I cut my hair. Had a rough few days with it. Finally had a good hair day on Sunday. I think I'll keep it as long as it keeps giving me good hair days.

Fact: Maddie doesn't move at all when she sleeps. Literally.

Fact: Katie goes to bed with her socks on. When she runs out of socks or when I change the sheets, we find all her socks..... at the bottom of the bed.

Fact: Just realized Maddie does the same thing.

Fact: I love it when my kids are asleep. They don't: roll their eyes, backtalk, become a smart allec (how do you spell that?), or fight with eat other. It's quiet! Just the way I like it!

Fact: None of us girls can't stop saying to Mike "so, did you catch anything?" when we ask him if he shot anything while hunting. The answer... yes, he "caught" a buck. Last Saturday. Finally, a good smiling picture of him. It has been brought to my attention that we finally have a good smiling picture of him with (of all things)... a deer. Not his kids (b/c he just sticks his tongue out at the camera), but a deer. A deer brings a smile to his face. ::rolling eyes:: Poor Bambi

Fact: I used to love it when my dad brought home a deer to slaughter. That meant I got to hold the head when they cut it up.

Fact: No one knew that about me... now they do. (again, thanks to my dad who spilled the beans first on my facebook page)

Fact: I hate venison. I told Mike to give the meat away to everyone he saw before he came home. He didn't listen to me.

Fact: I will only eat meat from the following: chicken, turkey and cows. No, not fish, or anything that swims or lives in water. Nor anything else that moves. It's a mind thing.... I blame my dad. He wouldn't eat it, and since daddy's know best, I did the right thing by following his example.

Fact: I get really nervous every time I do a photoshoot. I always think my pictures aren't going to turn out.

Fact: My rooster's name is now Brewster. Thanks Dad for the suggestion. Even if he's not really a rooster.

Fact: I think Bill Engvall is the funniest guy ever. Here is one of my favorites of him... my girls and I laugh over & over & over again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My sleeping beauties

Friday night I couldn't get sleepy.

I let the girls stay up and watch TV...

Finally at 10:22 p.m. I started to get sleepy, and called out to the girls to get ready to hit the sack.

No answer.

I peeked around the corner, and this is what I find....

Sweet Dreams my sweet girls....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just Mommy & Maddie

Last weekend, Katie & Mike went to our property and went hunting for 4 days. Pure bliss, they tell me. OK... if sitting in a tree for 3 hours in the cold is bliss, then whatever floats their boat, y'know?

However, Maddie & I? We had a blast together. This kid talks... a LOT! She's normally a very quiet little gal, but take away her sister and you'll see that she talks nonstop. I was a little rattled. But I loved it!

Since Halloween was last weekend, and I had that picture shoot for our church on Friday night, we made up for our lost time on Saturday. So, we did what any other girls do. GO SHOPPING!

But first.. we had manicures. Well, it actually started that Maddie wanted a manicure. I was against it. "It's a waste of money... " {she was paying for it, not me} But, it was going to go w/ her Halloween outfit, so I said "OK..." While she was getting hers done, I decided "wow, that looks like fun!". I had never had a manicure done before, so before I knew it, I was sitting in the chair with my fingers in a bowl of water with rocks. ROCKS?! Why rocks? I dunno.... But now I'm sold on manicures! My nails & cuticles look... so awesome!

I had to choose between a million colors. Geez... finally I decided to step out of my element and go for something I've never gone for before. Dark brown. Chocolate brown. DELICIOUS! I have to say, that I LOVED it! I shot a picture of our nails (Maddie chose purple), and I got the reply back from Katie "uh, why did you pick that color?" and "Dad wants to know if you're going Goth now".

Later that night, after enjoying a salad at Wendy's and a Target shopping trip, Maddie got ready for our church's annual Trunk or Treat activity. Basically, kids walk in a parking lot to all the people we know, who are standing at their trunks of their vehicles, and they ask for candy. Then we go home, and it's over in 45 minutes. LOVE IT!

One thing about Halloween is that I refuse to spend money on costumes. $40 costumes, to be exact. We've always tried to do homemade costumes, or at least, use things at home and if I have to go to the dollar store to help it out, then I will. So Maddie went as a Spa Princess. We had an unfortunate time trying to find blue or green face paint so she could have a mask, so I decided that she could just put on makeup since rich people get the spa treatment all the time... and they all get fancy. {maybe not true, but for the sake of this story and for my little girl who wasn't all that thrilled w/ how her costume was going, the thought of wearing makeup was enough to get her going}. She got the full treatment in makeup. Happens only once a year.

And as usual, we had a short 5 minute photoshoot with her Halloween outfit... she definitely looks like a mini-socialite! I love her expressions. Which are NORMAL for her!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Picture Fun

At church, we have a group for us wannabe photographers. We call ourselves "Pic Chicks". It's a great group! We have a lot of fun together! My great friend Mandi hosted this month's gathering... and we did a Fall Harvest theme, but with kids! She had a yummy display of soups & rolls, and everyone brought a yummy fall treat. She bought everything to create a display of hay bales (which by the end of the night, I started calling them "hales"), flowers (b/c my loser mums died on me a week ago... didn't I tell you I just can't keep flowers alive?!), Indian corn, and fun pumpkins. I had a cute apple basket and bought apples along. We set up a gorgeous fall setup.

Then we took pictures.

The point was to take pictures of our kids, especially if we didn't get school pictures (like me). Problem? Kids are having TOO much fun playing.

Maddie was a big ol' party pooper for me. But, I managed to grab a few cute pictures. Editing isn't done just yet, but I'm kind of tired of editing for the moment.

Since the idea behind the whole night was for us photographers to practice our skills out on other kids (or our own)... AND let the parents take pictures of their own as well, here are a few other cute ones I captured.

Mandi ordered this amazing huge balloon... but sadly we hardly got ANY pictures with it! This is the ONLY picture I have. Course... one little boy played with it, and promptly let it go and awwwwayyyyyyy it went to outer space.

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