Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Gift or Finally

Wanna see my Christmas gift?!

Well, actually, it was NOT a Christmas gift. 

But, it counted for a Christmas gift anyhow...

I am now sportin' on my left hand this beautiful ring!  Who would have thought, that after almost 8 years together (almost 7 living here) Bill would have changed his mind!  I was pretty sure that being married didn't matter to me... but I do admit that at play groups and story hours I often find myself looking at other women's hands...

Christmas Eve, as we were getting ready for Santa Bill paused the TV and wandered out of the room.  He came back with a box, and pretty quickly I surmised what might be in there...  "I didn't want this to be a Christmas gift" he said.  "It's much more than that" 

I opened the box, and stammered something about it being beautiful and thank you, and such... and then he did have to say "Yes, It's an engagement ring!"  I wasn't going to assume, but it sure did look that way to me.  So, it may be another 8ish years until it finally happens, but for now... I'll just wear the ring!

(for those who care about these things- it's a 3/4 carat marquis cut, yellow diamond set in yellow gold)

and, what is it about getting a new ring that suddenly makes you knuckles fat and hairy?!  

Christmas Rounds 2 & 3

Bill and I are so blessed to have family right nearby who love us (and spoil our children!) It makes the holidays that much more special to be able to spend time with everyone!  We went up to Grandma and Grandpa Houston's for brunch (Grandma made egg puff of course! and presents with them and Anna, Ed and Nic.  We got spoiled and had another round of great gifts to open and share. 

 Later in the day my Mom and Dad and Em, Kurt, Kaleb and Jayson came over to do Christmas round 3!  The kids got even more stuff, and were thankfully not too overwhelmed so everyone was appreciative and managed to keep it together!  Billy was very glad to get to show off his rats to the other boys!  I got some cool gift including the wireless printer I wanted!

Em and Kurt took the boys home (Jay had a bad cough) and then the rest of us went to Anna and Ed's for a big dinner.  It was a great day, but man was I ever tired after all of it!  Wes had never napped, and finally crashed (we borrowed a ba-ba) while the kids played on Auntie's new kinect.  Bill wasn't feeling too great, so we came home about 9 to crash.  The big kids were up much later laughing and playing upstairs with the rats.  I think all would agree that it was a great day!    

A Family Christmas or Christmas part 1

I have been looking forward to Christmas especially this year, since I anticipated that Westley would be really "into" it.  He was really a very good boy- didn't nap and was the only Houston kiddo who didn't cry at some point throught out the day!  The older kids woke him up, so he was sort of slow to start, but one he got going it was pretty exciting!
 He enjoyed his stocking, but only got about half way thru before he just wanted to play!  That was the theme for him... he very little attention span and just wanted to open and play with things!  We had a little Christmas race track set up, and he wanted to zoom those cars all around.  Once we started opening gifts he was in and out of the living room running all around!
 I thought Santa was very good to us!
 Bill was pretty shocked with the 22 I got for him.  I think it was the Christmas of unexpected gifts!
 Wes got an assortment of little odds and ends, no real "big" gift, but was happy with everything!  He even squealed at a pair of PJs up at Grandma Houston's!

 Savy's big gift was an i-pod touch.  She is all appled out as she just got an i-phone from Auntie and Uncle earlier in the week!  I think she will really enjoy the i-pod.  Her original one from many Christmas' ago was starting to die, and she really enjoys music.  I'm glad we got it for her!
 Olivia got an acoustic guitar.  She asked for one last year too... I'm not sure how she plans to use it... but I got her some DVDs with lessons... so we shall see!  She also got a nice wool dress coat too!
Billy- well, Billy got 2 rats.  I know I said "No, never!  Over my dead body!"  But, he has wanted them for a long time... and has done a lot of research and put a lot of time and energy into learning all about them.  He has been consistently helpful and responsible (even more so than the girls!) around the house; so we decided a pet (or 2) of his own was warranted!  I must admit, I'm still not thrilled about having them join the household- but he really deserves them... and they are *sort* of cute!

What did I get?  Well, that's a post of it's own!!

Christmas Cookies

We did our annual cookie party last week, but I was bad about taking pictures!  I took only 2, then started decorating!  Here are a few I took of our finished creations:

While we were cutting out cookies Olivia noticed that this little scrap looked like a shoe and asked me to bake it up along with the others.  So I did and she decorated it with the usual gingerbread men and Christmas trees.  I thought it looked great!
The only actual "party" pictures I took were of Wes... he was doing a good job sprinkling sanding sugar onto his cookies and then grabbed a whole jar of little sprinkles.  One upside-down shake and his whole plate was filled!  Oops.  Guess maybe ones with no lids shouldn't have been in his reach!  Oh well, he had fun though! 

Even though we didn't have many guest this year, it was still a great time.  This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I finally captured it:

This is what you get these days when you ask Wes to "Smile!"

ps. please excuse the spaghetti sauce face

Ginger Bread House

Last night we decorated our annual gingerbread house.  This is one of my favorite holiday activities... and I always look forward to the project!  I always buy extra candy since the ones that come with the kit are never very inspiring!  This year the kids all got one side to focus on, and they did a good job getting along and not fighting about the decorations! 
I'm not sure Wes put anything onto the house itself, but he sure managed to eat a lot of candy! 

I think it came out pretty good!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever- Year 2

Savanna was in the school play again this year, and it was once again the "Best Christmas Pageant Ever!"
 This year she was Edna McCarthy- and older church woman.  She had several lines and did a really good job being an "old" woman!  The crowd was cracking up with her impressions!

Savanna really seems to like being on stage, performing is certainly part of her nature!  Maybe next year at the Middle School we will get to see/learn a new play?!

Cub Scout Cookies

The Cub Scout Pack meeting for this month was a cookie decorating party!  The kids had fun with their cookies, and then made a really pretty snowflake craft.  Afterwards we went down to an assisted living facility in town and the boys sang Christmas carols in the community room. I happen to stand next to an older woman for a while and noticed that as the Scouts sang she was getting misty eyes.  These really are good boys- it's such a great group for Billy to belong to.  It was a very sweet way to spend the afternoon~ another activity with plenty of holiday cheer!

A Shower for Krista and Brad

Krista and Brad are expecting their first (and much anticipated!) baby in March.  We hurried to have a shower before Grandma Houston headed back to Florida.  We chose a panda theme as a jab at the new World of Warcraft characters.  We added in some trains to make it a more traditional boy theme and away we went!  Anna and Beth and I had fun planning and purchasing everything, and we hosted at the beautiful Stage Neck Inn in York. 
 It was mostly family (on both sides) so smaller and more intimate.  We really enjoyed the time with Brad's side and it was fun just to all get together.  Krista and Brad got some fun presents and we had a yummy lunch and played some quick games.

I really hope they enjoyed the shower, and I can't wait to meet their baby boy!

Holiday Concerts

We seemed to have a rush of evening activities these past few weeks!  With all three older kids in different schools, why we had concerts and plays galore!  I made a major oops and Bill and I missed Billy's band production the other day though... the date had been changed (they were doing a show during school since the beginner band didn't feel ready to show at the big holiday concert) but I didn't realize the time had changed as well.  So, at 2:30 we show up with camera in hand only to have the school secretary inform us they had played at 9:15 that am.  I felt awful... Billy had been sad not to see us in the audience but understood... We made the girl's concerts though:

Savanna plays percussion in the 6th grade band and they did a really nice job the night of their holiday concert. I was really impressed with how well the kids all blended together- these 3 town schools have only been as one for this school year. So, in 3 months the band director got them all going in the same direction and they actually sounded great! Not the typical "school band" music I was expecting to hear!

Olivia sings in the choral at the high school (she is in the vocal excel program as well) and their concert was beautiful!  All the high school singing groups were that night, and it was such a treat to hear them!  Wes had been having a hard time with all the sit quiet and behave activities we had to do that week, and Bill had to head out with him early... which was sad, but I was thrilled to hear them sing!  They did a beautiful number with the lights out and little glowing candle- it was so pretty!  All these festive activities really helped to get me into the holiday spirit!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Puttin' up the Tree

We made a big family outing of picking the Christmas tree- Grandma and Grandpa Houston, Anna, Ed and Nicholas as well as Jon and Mary Leeke all piled into the trucks and went out to find the perfect specimen.  We missed the tree farm we usually go to, they had sold out for the season and we were sent over into Springvale.  We will go back to the regular guy next year (and tag the day after Thanksgiving) 
 It was a pretty long hike out to the trees, and while there were loads of them... not many were up to our high standards.  Some too big, some too small.  Lots with bare/thin spots from growing close together... Wes toured for a while from the back of a sled.  It was pretty cold and getting close to dark so we had to hurry and make our pick!
 We settled on this one- slightly bigger than I normally pick... but the closest to perfection in my eye!
 We did Grandma and Grandpa Houston's last night, so waited until today to decorate.  Wes did really well, and hasn't been too bad about taking off the ornaments.  I did pick up a bunch of unbreakable balls last year in the after holiday sales... so no glass bulbs for us.  I also made sure all the trucks and trains and airplanes are up out of his reach (and candy canes too!)

It takes the whole corner and wall under the stairs, looks pretty and makes the house feel festive.  Now hoping Wes can keep away from the decorations for the next 2 weeks!  For now, though- it's up... Bring on the presents... fill 'er up!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It Didn't Take Long

It only took Wes 2 days to figure out the advent calendars!

Not figure them out per-se, as I'm not sure the concept of time is among his strong suits... 2 days to figure out how to help himself to the treats!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nearby to Santa

Olivia's High School Chorus group sang christmas carols at the town tree lighting ceremony on Saturday.  Jon Leeke was here visiting, so we all went downtown to participate in the festivities.   
 We really wanted to get Wes' picture with Santa.  However, just a few seconds after we arrived at the mill field, we had a diaper accident.  He was napping when it was time to leave the house, so I changed him carefully as he slept...and I guess I didn't get the snaps tight enough.  He was standing looking as Santa thru the gazebo when he peed all down his leg... he soaked his pants... so I walked back to the car... but, when I left for shopping Friday I had thrown the diaper bag into the truck... an never grabbed it back.... so.... no pants for Wes! 

Even with the familiarity of Poppie's beard, Wes wanted nothing to do with Santa.  Mrs. Claus' goodie bags, however were temptation enough to get near  Santa!


Bill got my stall doors on!  I am so happy with the barn right now.  I am waiting on the door handles/latches so for now they just slide closed and the stall guards are still up inside... but, they are up and functional! 

Halter hooks, blanket bars... it's almost like a "real" barn now!