Monday, December 27, 2010

Great Grandparents

We were so blessed to have my grandparents at my parents' house for Christmas this year.  They made the 8 hour drive down here to spend Christmas with their great grandkids.  We're so fortunate they are able to get out and about.  Here they are with the boys on Christmas morning.

I have to say that one of the highlights of the weekend was seeing these two play the Wii.  My parents got a Wii for Christmas, and we were able to convince them to bowl with us.  It was so much fun, and they were really great sports about the whole thing.  Granddad got a strike on his first bowl.  Why didn't I take a picture?  Merry Christmas Grandmother and Granddad!


On Wednesday we were excited to have some company.  My aunt and uncle drove through with my cousin's beautiful girls.  Camden is four months younger than Clayton, and Emma is three months younger than Eli.  Meghan brought Lizzy over as well, and these kids had a great time playing together. 

This picture must have been taken before what will forever be known as the moment I almost had a heart attack.  My parents have this hot tub built into their deck.  There is a gap between the deck and the tub of about ten inches.  We've always been nervous that someone will somehow manage to fall through this gap, down to the ground.  It's probably less than three feet down, but it's still a drop.

I was sitting at the dining room table, just inside from this spot.  I looked up, saw Emma (the one on the hot tub) standing on the deck next to the tub.  Then I saw her wobble, and then that black curly hair just disappeared.  I just about had a heart attack.  My dad made it to her first.  Luckily she landed on her feet.  She was actually laughing as Dad pulled her out.  I can't remember the last time my heart beat so quickly. 

This is a little water fountain in the backyard.  Dad cleaned it out and turned it off a few months ago for the winter (I use the term "winter" loosely here).  For some reason all children that come into this backyard LOVE to dig out all the rocks in there. 

Aaron, Clayton, Eli, Emma, Camden, and Lizzy

Christmas Eve Pictures

 Merry Christmas!

Yes, this is the best picture we got at church.  It was either Eli not looking OR Clayton with his tongue stuck out.

Here we are at my parents' house in front of the tree.  Again, what's the deal boys?  In this picture Eli's not looking AND Clayton has his tongue stuck out.  We have about a hundred that are even worse than this one.  Let's just say that taking pictures was the last thing these guys wanted to do on Christmas Eve.

Meghan was able to get this sweet picture of my big boy.

I think Meghan was able to get some pictures of the cousins in their pjs that night.  Hopefully she'll share with me, and I can post some soon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Annual Visit to Santa

Mom and I took the boys to see Santa at the mall a couple weeks ago.  Clayton was so excited to see the big man.  For weeks he had been telling me he wanted a trash truck and a Toy Story notepad (his cousin Lizzy has one), and when Santa asked, he knew just what to say.  Eli was slightly apprehensive about approaching Santa.  He was agreeable to sit on his lap, but he didn't want any interaction.  Aaron was just along for the ride.

Santa in past years.  They sure have grown.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peanut Blossoms

They are my favorite holiday cookie.  I know they're really nothing special, but they are so yummy.  Yesterday I gave one to Clayton.  An hour or so later I looked over and there was a plain peanut butter cookie on the table.  That monkey had just eaten the Kiss out of the center and left the rest.  Thankfully, Eli shares my love of the entire cookie, or "key-key" as he has taken to calling them.

Serious cookie eater

He likes to eat the Kiss first too, but then he gets down to business with the rest of his "key-key."  Look at those deliciously fat fingers!  Looks like he's sampled a cookie or two in his day.

Frosty Does Not Live Here and Some Random Other Stuff

It's not really looking like Christmas these days.  I keep seeing snow storms blowing across the country, but they are not reaching us down here.  Yesterday was a record high of 84 degrees.  Today it was only about 75, but Dad still decided the hot tub was in order.  He added just a little heat, and he and the big boys took a swim.  They have a blast in this tub.  Eli is still a little hesitant about swimming, but Clayton can stand comfortably, and he loves it.  I think swim lessons will be in order next summer.  He's getting comfortable putting his face and head under water now.

My sister Meghan, Mom, and I have been busy baking up a storm the last few days.  All I can say is YUM.  Speaking of "baking up a storm," tonight at dinner I commented that Eli was "eatin' up a storm."  Clayton pondered this a moment and then said, "Mom, what does that storm thing mean?"  Hmm?  It means doing something a lot or with gusto, but why do we (or at least I) say that?  I don't know.

Speaking of Clayton, the other night we were talking, and something was mentioned about the three kings in the nativity.  Clayton asked, "And what did they ride on?"  I was a little surprised by his question, and didn't really think about it before I told him I didn't know.  Then he informed me that they rode on a "Cam-in-all."  Of course!  I forgot about that.  Lately he's also been very into telling me that DaBid (David) threw a rock at Goal-I-ep (Goliath) and hit him in the head.  That's really all he recalls from the story, and I'm a little concerned we will have a rock thrower on our hands.  I'm picturing his first victim, Eli.

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas season.  We have a little company coming tomorrow, and then the Christmas crowd will be in on Christmas Eve.  Clayton is getting excited.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is Coming

I just wanted to share this shot of the big boy on the morning of his preschool Christmas party.  They had special treats and a book exchange.  Clayton doesn't understand the Christmas break concept, so he's still a little confused as to why we don't have preschool anymore for a while.

A December of Firsts

It's time for a little Aaron update.  December has been a month of firsts for the little man.

Aaron is rolling back to tummy and tummy to back these days, even when swaddled, which means he now sleeps mostly on his tummy.  Of course it makes me a little nervous with all the SIDS warnings, but there's really nothing I can do about it unless I stand over his crib all night.  I did remove the crib bumper because he likes to wedge himself in the corner of the crib, and that really makes me worry he'll suffocate.

This past week Aaron has had his first cold.  It's been no fun for either of us.  He was awake every hour last night, and I was completely exhausted by morning when the other two got up.  Lucky for me, Mom and Dad took the other two to church, and I stayed home with Aaron to try to get a little more rest.  It didn't really work out, but it helped a little.  So far he's doing a little better tonight. 

Last week Mr. Fussy was in full swing.  Sure enough, when I put my finger in his mouth, there was a little tooth in there.

Exhibit A

Remember the blue fruit snack incident?  Well, let's just say Aaron has added a new baby-inappropriate food to his list.  A couple weeks ago, I was home alone.  It was lunch time, I had Clayton and Eli eating, and Aaron was hanging out in a highchair.  I was feeling like the Mom of the Year, which in my definition means 3 kids awake and everyone silent.  I was feeling so happy about the situation, that I actually snapped a picture, just to remind myself that peace is possible in this home.

After taking this picture, I turned around in the kitchen for just a minute, and Aaron started crying.  When I looked back I saw Eli stuffing a fish stick into Aaron's mouth.  Yes, I feed my children fish sticks on ocassion, and yes, apparently Eli felt the need to share.

The moment of peace was quickly interrupted, and Aaron spent the rest of the meal like this.  Thank you Eli.

I'm sure there have been other firsts this month, but it's hard to remember them all.  Even with all the tooth and cold drama over the last two weeks, I sure do love this little man.  He's such a blessing in our family.  I love seeing his brothers interact with him each day.  They are big fans, and it's so sweet to see them entertain Aaron. 

We've been busy getting ready for Christmas around here, but all that will be for another post or two.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two and Loving It!

First Friday

Meghan and I took the kids downtown to First Friday the other night.  In the historic downtown they have street vendors and outdoor music on the first Friday of each month.  It's really fun to get out and walk around a little.  We took the kids to get pizza and then met up with Pamela and Payton.

These guys always have a great time together.  Everyone had a great night.  We love our family.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Haircut

Yes, it was finally time.  Eli was mistaken for a girl twice on our Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas, so that was it.  It was time to lose the ponytail thing growing from the back of his head.  The top didn't need very much work, but there were places on the sides and back that lost two to three inches of hair.  The lady was great, and Eli was amazingly cooperative.  I was expecting an all out meltdown, but surprisingly, he just sat on my lap and let her work.  Now my little boy has a neatly trimmed look, nothing too drastic, just nice and even all around.  It looks really sweet.


We travelled to Arkansas again for Thanksgiving this year.  My mom's family always has a big gathering, and it's usually the only time of the year I get to see a lot of my mom's cousins and their families.  The boys loved playing in Grandmother and Granddad's backyard which was covered in leaves.  In Oklahoma we only have one tiny tree in our front yard, so leaves are an entertaining treat for these boys.

Clayton loves playing with Granddad's beagle, Cap.

While we were there we had a little "pre-birthday" party for Eli.  Erika and Frank were able to come with their girls, and we were so glad to get to spend the evening with them.  We had enchiladas followed by a little hummingbird cake. 

We were a little rushed, so Eli still has enchiladas all over his face in these pictures.

We always have a great time with friends and family in Arkansas, and I am so blessed to be able to share my children with my grandparents.  I know we bring a lot of activity to their quiet home when we come, so I bet they're still recovering from all the excitement. 

Tomorrow night my sisters will be over to have a little birthday party for Eli, so we're looking forward to that.  I can't believe my baby will be two years old.  It seems like yesterday that I was busy preparing our house for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a new baby.  Now he's two.   

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Four Months Old

How is it that my baby is four months old?  Those who know me know I love having a newborn, and let's be honest.  Four months old is not really a newborn anymore.  Aaron has great head control, can sit for a long time in the Bumbo, wears 3-6 month clothes, and is really close to rolling over when he gets mad enough.  Those are not really newborn things.  I'm very sad about how quickly he's growing.  Soon he'll be wrestling nonstop with the other two and finding various ways to destroy my house and drive me crazy. 

Despite all the growing and developing, we definitely love this little one.  Eli is still Aaron's number one fan and takes every opportunity he can to literally smother Aaron with love and affection. 

Aaron is not quite the sleeper the other two were.  He's not terrible, but I know Eli was definitely sleeping a lot longer at this stage, and Clayton came home 100% sleep trained at two months (thank you feeding tube).  These days Aaron is nursing and usually going to bed between 7 and 8, I'm waking him at 11 or 12 to eat (or else he's screaming his head off by 1am), he's waking about 7 to eat, and then he sleeps until 9.  It's definitely not anything to complain about, but I know Eli was close to if not already sleeping 12 hours without nursing at this point, so it's hard not to compare them.  During the day he's eating at 7, 10, 1, 4, and 7, every three hours on the dot, and there is definitely no stretching it.  This boy has an amazing internal clock, and he knows when it's time.

I'm definitely still adjusting to life with three.  Clayton is getting better and better about walking places, as opposed to riding in the stroller, but he tires easily, and a short trip to the mall this morning nearly did him in.  Luckily we met up with my mom at the end, and I was able to carry him while Mom pushed the other two for a few minutes.  It goes better when I carry Aaron in the front carrier and push the other two in the double stroller.  It's just more physically demanding for me.  That's close to 80 pounds of kid, 40 pounds of stroller, and who knows how many pounds of diaper bag, purse, and survival toys and snacks. 

All in all we're all well, and we're all looking forward to the Christmas season.  Clayton COMPLETELY understands the whole gift receiving part of Christmas (thanks to Toys R Us inserts in the paper), and now we need to work on the meaning of Christmas and the joy of giving.  I picked up a book of Jesse Tree devotions today, and I am looking forward to starting those tonight.  If you're not familiar with a Jesse Tree, I first heard of it from Emily last year, and I knew it was something I wanted to do with my family.  Here's a link to her post from last year.  I hope you don't mind me sharing it, Emily.  I'm a few days late, but we'll squeeze it in.  I don't have my ornaments yet (bad planning), but I hope to really get moving on those in the next couple days, and for now, I have some printed paper ones we can use. 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stamps are not Stickers

This is what happens when you put your four year old down for a nap in his great granddad's office.  Yes, they're the sticky kind, and yes, they're all stuck together.  Sorry, Granddad!  I think we owe you a couple books of stamps.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lots of Love

I've been a little neglectful in taking pictures lately. I stay pretty busy just keeping people alive around here, but a few days ago I was able to grab my camera just in time to catch these boys having some fun on the couch. The big boys are so sweet to their little brother, and, when they're not tackling or suffocating him, he's often in awe of them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Boys

Why are baby toys so appealing to big boys and so unappealing to babies?

Bike Rider

It's official!  We have a bike rider.  We've worked and worked on teaching Clayton to pedal, and he's finally got it.  It seems like gross motor skills that involve both sides of the body present a challenge for Clayton, and bike riding has been no exception, but now this boy can finally ride.  

Last week we graduated from the driveway and moved onto riding to the park.  Clayton did great, and I'm so proud.
Loading up to head to the park.  It takes some work to get these guys to park by myself, but now that Clayton is riding, it makes things a little easier.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I know, three posts in one night.  Get a life.  Anyway, I just wanted to share this.
Really?  That's how you choose to sleep?


Well, I'll begin by saying that I have some real issues with Halloween and trick-or-treating.  It's a little bit about the whole "Is this an activity in which Christians should participate" question, but it's actually more about the scary factor to me.  I don't like scary things.  Period.  I don't watch scary movies, and I really do not enjoy seeing people dressed up in scary costumes.  I am especially not a fan of some of the disgustingly gory costumes I've seen in the last several years.

All that said, I decided to let the big boys go trick-or-treating this year.  Their cousin and friends were going, and Clayton kept coming home from preschool saying he was going to dress up for Halloween.  I decided they could go early before all the big kids came out, and they could go to the houses on my parents' street.

I will say, they had a great time.  They loved dressing up.  Clayton completely mastered trick-or-treating, and Eli mastered holding up his bucket for people to deposit candy.  They both ended up with half a bucket of candy, which was plenty, and they were home around sunset.  Clayton was a puppy dog, and Eli was Elmo.  We don't watch very much Elmo around here, but for some reason everytime you ask Eli what his name is, he says, "Elmo," and gets this sly little grin on his face.  So when I saw the Elmo costume, he had to have it.

Getting ready to go.  They weren't too sure about what we were doing.

After trick-or-treating with Lizzy.  Note Eli eating a tootsie pop with the wrapper on.

Cute Little Aggie Boy

A&M hosted Texas Tech at Kyle Field this past weekend.  Crazy things happen when our Ags play Tech, but amazingly, it was a blow out in our favor. 

My mom and I took the boys down to the campus for some pre-game festivities, which was sadly, pretty much a bust.  I arrived three hours prior to kick-off, only to find my dad's reserved parking space taken.  I was forced to hunt for a spot elsewhere and hike it over to Kyle Field, which resulted in us missing most of the kids' gameday activities.  Oh well.  The boys were still able to get their faces painted, enjoy a little Chick-fil-A, and watch the Corps march from the quad to the field.  We had a good time, but if we go back next week for the Oklahoma game, we'll have to plan on arriving even earlier in order to squeeze in some more fun.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Texas Mushroom Festival

My dad and I took the boys over to the Texas Mushroom Festival in Madisonville today.  I didn't know what to expect, and I'm not really a mushroom eater unless they're cooked into something, but I'm pleased to report that we had a great time.  Surprisingly, mushrooms played a very tiny part of this festival.  It was a typical small Texas town festival, just the right size for a family with three little ones.  Sadly, it's still 90 degrees here, and the humidity was really high, but it could definitely be worse. 

The boys were excellent.  Clayton and Eli sampled their first corndogs.  I'm scared of corndogs, but finding a somewhat unmessy carnival food is nearly impossible, with the exception of corndogs.  They were huge fans, and both boys scarfed them down.  Scary.

I nearly had a heart attack when I saw they had several stands selling fried Oreos.  Some of our friends at Holloman AFB used to make fried oreos for us, and they were TO DIE FOR!  I know, it sounds strange, but trust me on this one.  I hadn't had any since then, and let me tell you, they're still just as good as ever.  Do not pass up an opportunity to sample some if you ever see them around.

And yes, it's game day.  And yes, our Aggies finally managed to win a conference game.  I won't even mention what happened in Austin today.  Lately we're accustomed to such things in Aggieland, but I know Krista and Jason are crying hard tonight.

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Day of School

Due to a lot of family circumstances, we've delayed starting Clayton in preschool this fall.  Yesterday he was finally able to go for the first time.  This year he is in a three day, half day program.  I got the name of his teacher from the director last week, and I knew that name was familiar.  Sure enough, his teacher is one of my college sorority advisers.  Then, to top it off, I was at Parent's Night tonight and saw one of my sorority sisters there.  Her twins are in the two day program.  Wow.  It's a small world.

Yesterday I dropped him off rested and perky and picked him up completely worn out and cranky.  It will definitely take a couple weeks to get used to the routine again.  It's amazing how just a few hours of school can wear this boy out.  Luckily an after school trip to Chick-fil-A was just the thing to perk him up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weekend Part 2

On Saturday we had to leave all the fun in Fredericksburg a little early to make it to more fun back in College Station.  Ryan's corps outfit was having a reunion over the weekend, and the boys and I really wanted to attend.  I had a goal departure time of 10am.  Well, with a yummy breakfast (omlette in a baggy... I'll explain later) and lots of good family fellowship, 10 turned into 10:45.  The drive used to take me just over three hours in college, but these days, the kids really drag me down.   I needed to be in College Station by about three, and it worked out just about right. 

We headed straight to Kyle Field for the B-Co post-game tailgate party.  Lucky for me, my dad has a parking permit he loaned us, which happens to be very near the stadium, so we didn't have to hike too far.  I showed up with Clayton and Eli in the double stroller and Aaron in the Ergo carrier.  I was quite a sight which really worked in my favor because a lot of people took pity on me and stood in line to check me in and get my food and food for the boys.  I had a great time catching up with almost all Ryan's buddies and several other people from the outfit I remembered.

The boys were absolutely filthy after the tailgate in the park, so afterwards I raced by Mom and Dad's, threw the big boys in the tub, and raced over to a great class party hosted at one of Ryan's classmate's parent's home.  We stayed until about nine, and then the boys could be social no longer, so we headed home for the night. 

The next morning I (with enormous help from my sister Pamela) hosted a little brunch at my parent's house.  So many people came, and the kids all had a great time playing in the backyard together.  I had so much fun catching up with all the wives.  It's a really wonderful group of people, and I hope we make this a yearly event.  We wish Ryan could have been here with us, but I was definitely glad I was able to be here.

I know there are lots and lots of pictures from this weekend, but I was just too busy managing three little boys to get any with my camera.  If you have any pictures you'd like to share, please send them my way.

Weekend in Fredericksburg

The kids and I spent the first part of the weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas.  We love heading to Uncle Tom and Aunt Linda's place out in the hill country.  There is so much room for the kids to roam and wander.  They have a blast.  This weekend we had a crowd.  My parents came, along with Meghan and her family, Meghan's in-laws and their daughter and son-in-law, and two of my cousins and their families.  Of course Clayton is still obsessed with Uncle Tom's John Deere Gators.  He thinks riding Gators is the entire purpose of the trip.

It's hard to get a lot of pictures when you're toting a baby around, but here are a few from our trip.
 Eli had a great time climbing on and off of this Gator.


 Clayton- great at pushing the pedal, but steering... not so much.  I begged Eli to hang on tight.

 Eli couldn't quite figure it out.  Thank goodness!

 The kids, minus Caleb, the oldest, who was out on his new dirt bike.
Camden, Luke, Sydney, Clayton, Eli, Aaron, Lizzy, and Emma

Luke is the youngest in his family.  We were so lucky to spend Friday with him before his older siblings arrived.  He was a GREAT babysitter, and Clayton was completely in awe of him.  Obviously Aaron was pretty smitten as well.  Look at that smile.  Lukey sure is growing up. 

Apparently our family HEARTS Honda.  Yes, mine is the least cool of the four.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Revisited

Last year my mom, Meghan, and I attempted to take Clayton, Eli, and my niece Lizzy to a great pumpkin farm.  Unfortunately, it was so very cold and windy, and no one had a good time.  We couldn't get home fast enough.

I wanted to go back to the pumpkin farm this year on a pleasant day.  Mom and Dad were in town for the weekend, and the weather was nice.  It was supposed to be 85 degrees, but after last year's experience, I just couldn't imagine letting the boys wear shorts.  I dressed them in pants and short sleeves, and we headed out.

We had a great time, and Meghan, believe it or not, we were actually hot this year.  In fact, we left a few minutes earlier than I had planned because Clayton was getting a little too warm.  They had pony rides, a petting zoo, lots of animals, tricycles races, swings, slides, a tractor ride, and more.  It was such a great little place, and I look forward to going back next year.

And now, some last year/this year pictures.

And a few extras from this year.

Happy Fall!