Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Music

I've had the radio on the Christmas station for the last week. I have loved it and so has the family. Rock it Delilah! ...even if there are hundreds of songs to choose from and somehow Josh Groban gets tossed in every hour.
My mom and I were talking recently about how there are some Christmas songs that we connect to and love, and some that we feel the opposite about.
I thought about how much I don't like the song "Mary Did You Know?" at the same time my mom expressed how that is one of the songs she loves. Too funny. I am not a fan of the Drummer Boy song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", and any of the pop Christmas songs by 90's boy bands. Gag.
However --There is a lot of beautiful and fun music out there. I have loved hearing Tessa sing "Jingle Bells", "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" and "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer", dancing to "Jingle Bell Rock" with Cole, and listening to the crooner style classics. But my favorites that I connect to? "Baby It's Cold Outside" when Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing it makes me smile every time. There's something about Elvis' "Blue Christmas." And then, not so commercial, I love "Still, Still, Still", certain versions of "Oh, Holy Night", and what I've posted above --"Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This last song makes my heart swell with gratitude and my eyes well up just about every time I hear it.
I'm so grateful for this time of year when the whole Christian world pauses to celebrate the birth, life, and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. May we all spend the day tomorrow basking in the beauty of it.
Merry Christmas.

Can't Help It

Let's reminisce.
She knows the right words this year, along with several other Christmas songs --which is cute and fun in its own right, but it's just not the same. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flower Girl

Tessa has been one lucky girl. This is the second time this year she has been able to don a beautiful dress and sprinkle flower petals down an aisle. And, ooooooooh, the wonderful attention that comes from it.

Here she is making her way down the aisle in the actual procession.
Here you can see how economical she decided to be with her flower petals. She dropped only one petal every few feet, no more. And she was irritated with me as the wedding went on (she sat on the front row with me through the long-ish ceremony) because she wanted to go pick up the petals and get them back in the basket.
Brittany (who I have worked/read/recorded for for the past few years) and Phil had a full Methodist ceremony, which was new to me, but interesting. It was a beautiful church and, more importantly, a beautiful union of two very good people.
At the reception afterward. "Cheeeeeeese."
Tessa made a friend --Lydia. They became fast gal pals the night before at the dinner, and made this reception their own.

My dancin' queen:

Tessa's 4th Birthday

Tessa's friend Hudson gave her a craft project at her party. She loves to paint, so she was excited when on her actual birthday I let her loose on her work of art.

And then this kid.... you pull out the camera and he automatically shoves his chin in the air yelling, "Cheeeeeeesssse!" Cheese is right. :)

She had to wait until her daddy got home to open her gifts from us. Here is the long awaited, pined for kid umbrella:

Right after presents were opened, Tessa and I had to run to a wedding rehearsal and dinner. Tessa was asked to be the flower girl in Brittany's (my boss? The cute gal I read for) wedding.
The rehearsal ran late, and as a result so did the dinner, so Jake and Cole were unable to join us for that portion of the evening. It was nice to have a little one on one time with Tessa, and Jake admitted it was fun to have one on one time with Cole --since I sent them to get burgers together. At the dinner, they had a birthday princess balloon in Tessa's spot, and they even paused during all the wedding speeches, food, and fun to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. How sweet is that?! She was glowing. "They all know it's my birthday!"
This must have been taken the next morning by Jake. Tessa thought she saw some clouds in the sky and wanted to test out her umbrella.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Goooooo, Cheerleaders!

I was playing soccer with the kids one day when Tessa decided she'd take a break to cheer for us.

"Hun nana nana nana nana, right off the top!"


Tessa finally had her birthday party a few days before she turned four years old. After planning it out for so many months, I don't think she really cared all that much about what the party looked like. She just wanted friends to come have fun, eat cake, and to toss a couple of presents in there --and a pinata and some balloons.
We ate some dinner, made party hats (well, that was the plan. I see at least one in there...), played stick the nose on the clown (we soon went to a bandana blindfold after the kids were putting the nose in the exact same spot. When they had to redo, the big concern was, "But I can't see anything!" Uh. That's the point.), played freeze dance, pulled a ribbon pinata, ate cupcakes, and opened awesome presents.
That was an insane hour and a half.
Most importantly, she had a great time, and I think the other kids did too.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Making the most of it.

Jake had his work Christmas party on Thursday. They held it
at the Dallas Petroleum Club. Ooooooh, fancy!
I made Jake take a phone picture of me by the carolers in the downstairs lobby, while the night janitors wondered what in the world the crazy lady was doing --especially since I look shocked instead of like I'm singing.

We had a lovely time. It's amazing what one year can do in making you feel comfortable. Jake works with mostly really nice people.

Right as we left the party (name tag still on), I also made him take a picture of me in the lobby outside of the party. There were Christmas business parties going on all over the floor. It's a lovely place. I wanted to document it, since I don't get to eat a variety of cheeses or as many mini tarts as I want every day. Forget the dinner, bring on the tarts!
I don't know why Jake didn't send the picture I forced him to let me take of him. Am I the only one with the need to show off getting to eat cheese on the 39th floor at the posh oil and gas club once a year?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Even Better.

I bought a bag of Cutie Oranges. 'Tis the season.
Jacob LOVES these things. So does Tessa, and as evidenced last night, Cole has happily hopped on that bandwagon.
photo c/o The Sewing Bunny
As both kids were munching on their Cuties last night, Tessa said to me, "Mom, you know what's even better than Cole?"
"What, honey?" I responded.
"No, Tessa. Oranges are not better than Cole. Cole is part of our family. We love Cole."
She paused and came up with something a little more acceptable.
"Mom, you know what's even better than guitars?"
"What, honey?"
I would say that's debatable, but I will happily take her opinion of guitars as inferior to oranges over her little brother. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"I Winned!"

I've got a competitor on my hands.
photo c/o
EARLY this morning I heard a frantic scream coming from Tessa. I forced myself out of the dream I was having and stumbled into her room. She was sobbing, so I put my arms around her to comfort her. "It's alright, Sweetie. You're okay."
"I have to tell you my dream," she got out with difficulty.
"Just relax and go back to sleep."
"No. I have to tell you my dream."
"Okay," I replied, realizing I wasn't getting back to bed until I heard the horror that currently racked her soul.
In between sobs she explained, "Dad and Cole were eating fast. And I was eating slow." She finished with a good cry as I hugged her and told her she was alright. She calmed down enough to go back to sleep for a little while.
That girl.
Everything is a competition. Usually it's a game no one knew they were playing until she's rubbing it in your face sing song style with, "I winned! You missed!" It's not pretty if I try to pull the same thing with a game she didn't know she was involved in. "I'm not playing that game!" There are also times when her drive comes out in an actual game.
She does not take losing well --most 4 year olds don't. But she makes it obvious that she wants to do it all faster than anyone else. Her father fully admits that she must get the competitive gene from him, because if any of you have ever seen me play a sport.... well, let's just say if I ever was competitive, I had to let that one go waaaaay back if I wanted to keep my self esteem in tact.
Tessa's Grandma M gave her Candyland for her birthday. She announced before every game that she was going to win, and the whining would start if she thought there was a possibility she wouldn't. After winning the first time, and then the second time, Grandma gave her a talk about what we do if we don't win. Tessa nodded and agreed that we shouldn't cry or be mad, but after a moment's hesitation she added, "But I always win." And, dangit, she does always win Candyland --fair and square. She might have her dad's luck too, but one of these days it's going to run out on Candyland and we'll see how it goes.
So, back to the "nightmare". What we find scary is relative to our own experience. I might not understand this one, but I remember a couple years ago hearing her crying in her sleep, running to find out what was wrong, and then hearing her sob, "My cookie." Someone taking my treat? --that's a nightmare I can relate to.
I'm learning that this competitive nature may be here to stay. I'm fine with that as long I can teach her how to be a gracious loser....and a gracious winner. One day she'll figure out how where she wants to channel this intensity. I'm excited to watch.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Can't help it.

On the way to an event Tessa was a part of, a Pink song came on the radio. Tessa started groovin' to the music and a minute later declared, "I can't stop dancing! It's just so easy!"
Some songs make it that way, don't they?

Fort Worth Black Friday

We spent our Black Friday hanging out in Fort Worth. First we ate at Joe T. Garcia's, which I would recommend to anyone in the mood for Mexican food.

Cheeeeeeese! This is the face we get lately when we pull out the camera --Bubs gives us an exuberant ,"Cheeeeeeeee".
After lunch, we took off for the Stockyards.
Pretending we can get a family picture in front of a big Christmas tree:

Our family visitors:
Grandpa and Tessa:

Honestly, I have no idea why this photo opp. is there (does it scream Old West?), but might as well take advantage of it, right?
Two rodeo clowns in a barrel:

Window shopping at the Stockyards:
If you want a buffalo burger, a cheap cowboy hat, an old Reba vinyl record, and a Southern cookbook from 1994, then this is the place to go.
There was an elderly gentleman country band playing, so Tessa spent some time dancing. I'll have to get that video up a little later since it's on Jake's phone.
Our pal:

Poor Longhorn Cattle. All the toughness gets wrenched out of you when you get decorated like a Christmas tree.
Fort Worth is a lot of fun. They have a main street with Western stores. You know, like with saddles, knives, hot sauce, fringe vests, and 4,000 dollar custom cowboy boots?
Later, back at the ranch...
Grandma brought the movie Annie for Tessa, so we hunkered down, had some Thanksgiving leftovers and cheesecake, and watched for a while.
Jake, Jonathan, and Darcy took off for a bit to the McKinney Dickens of a Christmas that evening, but not before Cole made himself comfortable:


I told myself I was actually going to take a picture of Thanksgiving this year --and I did it!
....And I realize looking at it that I really need to get some window treatments and something up on that wall. Beside the point? --isn't that usually the case with me?
I love getting out the fancy dishes, but mostly I love great company on a great holiday. We had all the traditional foods (after Turkey took a swim in our bathtub to defrost --I wasn't going to pay 99 cents a pound for a fresh turkey when I could pay 29 cents for a frozen one...two days before.) And, I'll tell you what I was most excited about. I made a double chocolate cheesecake. Oh my goodness. It was heaven. It's probably the most expensive dessert I have ever made, considering I had to go out and buy a new pan to make it (springform is new to me), but it was so worth it. It was the gift that kept on giving for four days.