Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Mama

My mom came for a visit after Thanksgiving! We were so happy to get her for a few days to celebrate during the holiday season, and to have her here for Tessa's birthday. And because I'm awesome, the only picture I got of her while she was here is this one below that Jake took with his phone while Cole was getting his face painted. I tried to edit my children's eyes so they didn't glow demonically, but it made it even scarier. We'll keep the glow.We went to the Plano Dickens Festival one evening and had a great time with the music, Santa and Mrs. Claus visit, treats, a train ride, a short bell concert, a ghetto blow up slide in the dark, and a bit o' face painting. Tessa wanted a heart painted on her cheek, while Cole asked for a candy cane --and held still while getting it done.
The Clauses and the kids:
From Santa, Tessa made her Littlest Pet Shop wishes known, and Cole said he wanted Christmas, and I think maybe a cowboy. We had so much fun with my mom here and were zipping all over town together. Tessa loved having Grandma Lori here for her birthday and being able to hang out with her. Cole, likewise, kept her entertained and loved having her here. Baby girl did all kinds of jumping jacks in my belly for her to feel as an official introduction.
We were a little sniffly and stuffed up, like most everyone else, and immediately Mom entered the take care of us mode --especially Tessa who, I'm sure, woke her up at least once every night.

We were grateful Grandma could take the time to make her way our direction, especially at this time of year.

Bigger Ride

Her name is Cecelia.She's a little intimidating, but I'm getting more and more comfortable with her every day.
I had to say goodbye to my Escort. She was good to me and stuck by my side for about 10 years. She got me from point A to point B safely and regularly without many problems --something I had not experienced with my previous vehicles. I loved her. However, our soon to be two car seats and one booster in the back seat just wasn't happening.
But this new baby's got back. We'll fit in Cecelia.
Plus, I get to have power locks and power windows for the first time, along with a few other niceties. I feel so fancy. And loaded down with a car payment. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Jake's cousin Andy and his family came up from San Antonio for Thanksgiving this year. It was so fun getting to know them and spend time with them.
The kids first met the morning of Thanksgiving. They, of course, got along immediately and settled down to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade after breakfast:
The weather was mild, so the dads raked up a big pile of leaves and played Toss the Kids in the Leaves and Bury the Kids in the Leaves for a while. They loved it (the kids and the dads).
Our big tree is a hard one to resist:
Our families split up the meal responsibilities and came up with a wonderful dinner. I brined a turkey for the first time, and I think it was worth it. It was certainly the prettiest turkey I'd ever cooked. Amanda made the stuffing from scratch and produced the only stuffing I've ever really liked. Woot! We were both able to visit family via the web cam that day --we're definitely grateful for that technology. That evening after the kids went down, the adults had a great time playing games. I love playing games, especially on holidays.
The next day we ventured to McKinney for the Dickens of a Christmas Festival.

Caramel popcorn and a Christmas movie on TV. What a way to end the day!
On Saturday, we had a tailgate breakfast (first time for everything) at SMU. Hooray for free breakfast! It was morning and it was a little cold, so the undergrads weren't exactly out in full force, which meant more free t-shirts, chocolate milk samples, and shorter lines for us. The kids high-fived the SMU Mustang mascot on the way out, and we took off for Fort Worth.
The giant spur. Tell me you wouldn't mind having one of these babies in your yard:
It was so cold and windy!!!! We didn't explore as much as we would have had the weather been a little more cooperative, but we still made the most of it in the covered shops stockyard area.
Cowboy Santa was there:

AND there was free face painting. Cole was excited to see so much cowboy stuff and really wanted a cowboy hat. He is still talking about needing a cowboy hat.
We went to have lunch at Riscky's BBQ.
Our awesome guests: Amanda, Zach, Andy, Tyler, and Lizzie.
In my experience, two year olds don't usually play nicely with each other, but Zach and Cole were cracking each other up over the weekend. Cole adored "Zachy". We really had such a nice visit and were grateful to the cousins for taking time to come and spend Thanksgiving with us. It's now our turn to make our way to San Antonio when we can.
The videos always end up at the bottom of the posts. Here is Tessa dancing for a couple to the live musicians in the street at the Dickens Festival. I love how I could see in her eyes that she knew she was knocking out some serious Irish dancing moves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'm getting my grocery shopping list together and planning out my part of Thanksgiving. Yay! For fun! I'm getting a little daring with a certain recipe and I need to find candied ginger. I've never shopped for candied ginger before. I only need 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of it, so I wondered if I could find it in a bin/sell by the pound place instead of having to buy a bag somewhere. I googled Whole Foods. Why not? They got me with a side link to "twelve healthier seasonal favorites" with a couple beautiful pictures of salads. Yum! Well, when we click over to see the other "favorites", we get this in the mix:
It's called "Celebration Lentil Loaf", although exactly what would be celebratory about it is beyond me. The song "One of these things is not like the other..." is now in my head. I'm just curious to know exactly which favorite of yours will be replaced with this beauty this Thanksgiving and what your guests' reactions might be.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trunk or Treat and Halloween

I was so happy that our ward's Trunk or Treat was NOT on Halloween. Then we could celebrate two days and not feel like we were missing out on other things we wanted to do on the actual holiday. This results in too much candy, but a lot of fun.
I did not think through dressing the mom and dad up this year. I didn't have the energy for it like I did last year. I had the kids basically covered weeks ago, but I stopped there. One thing is for certain, though, and that is that we, the parents, DO dress up. No matter how lame. No matter what. It's Halloween. So, we scrambled.We've got our cute pirate and witch. And then we've got me, the ninja with a pregnant belly (I wish I would have staved off the coming trunk or treaters a little longer and done a ninja pose for the camera.) Best of all, in my opinion is Jake. He was a grown up Harry Potter. We laughed so hard the night before about it. All he had to do was draw a scar on his head and make a wand. We laughed about how now Harry has gained a few and works a desk job like so many others since he defeated evil way back in the day. The glory days back in high school. I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face. So, even if no one else appreciated it, I appreciated Jake's sense of humor and willingness immensely.
Halloween Night! I use the word "diva" sparingly, but with the pose she chose, I've got nothin' else for ya.
My pirate. Cole kept his hat on for candy. Good kid.

Jake took the kids into Dallas to the home/neighborhood of a coworker's. She loves Halloween and wanted to see our kids and basically spoil them. Jake made his way home from work, took the kids trick or treating down our street where a whopping two doors actually opened for us (our good friend across the street bought candy specifically for our children and after we left, she shut off her light and left), and then he took off for that neighborhood that actually likes holidays and children. Imagine that! We live in a safe and polite neighborhood, but our next home will be in a neighborhood where people want neighbors....who talk to them....and who actively care about what's going on around them. I took on passing out candy duty that night, and I think my door ended up getting knocked on 5 times during the night (my porch light was the only one on on my street and I had my door open. I tried so hard to be inviting, but no one was out around here!). When the kids got home, Jake told me about their experience with the friendly dressed up adults handing out candy with such fun decorations and overall enthusiasm He said kids were everywhere and it's just what Halloween should look like. He was sad I didn't see it. I was sad I didn't see it. I will one day live it. :)
The most important thing is that my kids had a great Halloween this year. They had several opportunities to party, play, and enjoy the fun. For that I am so grateful!
Now on to Thanksgiving!

Pumpkins and Panther Preschool

The Tuesday before Halloween was our designated jack o lantern night. Jake did one, with Cole helping to scoop out the guts, and then Tessa and I worked together. She drew the face on the pumpkin, and I carved it out. She was so proud.
You can't see the details that I loved the most, like the eyelashes and earrings.

Tessa had a Fall Festival at her school where they dressed up, played games, and paraded around for treats from some of the faculty at the high school where she attends school. Here she is listening to story time before the party got started.
These are all of the kids in the AM classes mixed together for one party. After the group pictures I was done with the camera. Keeping Cole from running through the school was my main focus.
One set of the teen teachers were having their last day with the kids, while another set came in to help and become acquainted for their own upcoming teaching time.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Could this possibly make you smile as much as it makes me smile?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grandpa R comes to town

We love company! My dad came to see us for a few days. The weather was gorgeous, fun things were going on, and the kids LOVED spending time with one of their grandparents.
First up, we went to pick up Jake after leaving the airport so we could go straight to the fair. You know how I adore the state fair.
Here is Dad, me, and Big Tex:
One can't miss place is the petting zoo.

We also hit the Doberman Dog Show, the car shows, the arts and crafts display (my favorite), and a few other places. We made sure to try a couple of state fair treats. We chose fried Autumn pumpkin pie and fried lemonade. I'm a sugar lover, but my tongue is still smarting from the thought of the intense amount of sweetness from the fried lemonade. Here we are in a small corner of the auto show with some antique cars:

We left the fair to get dinner at JG's Hamburgers --which is always a hit.
Another day we headed off to the Heard Nature Museum in McKinney. Tessa was so excited to see the rocks, minerals, and fossils (really?) and ran back and forth making sure we all saw them as well.
Both kids were great with the small dinosaurs that started the Dinosaur Nature Trail, but once they got bigger, Cole didn't want much to do with them.
These dinosaurs moved and made noise. Even the eyes moved, which was really cool. Tessa knew the name of this particular dinosaur. (Cryolophosaurus???) Thanks again, PBS.

Neither of the children wanted anything to do with the T-rex. Size may have had something to do with it.
That same evening we went fishing over at Bethany Lakes Park. Cole was ready to rumble with his Cars fishing pole and his fishing hat. Man, this kid's cute:

Once we moved to a different location and were ready to call it quits, suddenly we found the hot spot. In a speedy amount of time we caught a total of 5 or 6 six fish. They weren't very large, so we threw them back. But it was fun to catch them.

Tessa caught the biggest one, which happened to be a Big Mouth Bass. Here's his big mouth:
I think she was really pumped that it wasn't a catfish. She is a little terrified of catfish and was not happy when we went to look around at Cabela's because she knew those ugly things were swimming in the tanks at the back of the store.
We had picnics, yummy Mexican food, World Series watching, more fishing, shelf building, and overall just a really nice visit. Thanks for coming, Dad!