Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

A family in our ward, one that we totally didn't suspect, surprised us with the 12 days of Christmas. My kids were so excited to see what came every night. It helped to bring the spirit of Christmas into our home. I will protect the identify of the family, lest they hit your family next year. But thank you!

Sea World

The day after Christmas we headed to San Antonio for a little family vacation.
We spent one day enjoying the hotel, especially the pool. Our little mermaid couldn't get enough of the water. The next day we spent at Sea World.

Sophia was terrified of this ride, that shot up straight up and lowered us up and down many times before touching the ground.
Porter loved the spinning ride. I could only do it once. Blech!

The Log Ride

I'm a big kid now!

Doug and Porter did this ride, Journey to Atlantis several times. Porter is big enough to do all the rides except for one. However, he refused to try the big roller coasters.

The small roller coaster, however, was just scary enough. I went on it once with Sophia. She had a straight face the entire time. However, when we finished, she claimed it was fun.

The sharks. You can see Porter in the front.

Feeding the dolphins. So cool! We also fed the sea lions.

I didn't get any pictures of the shows, but they were , of course, the best part. All three kids watched in awe. My favorite show is the Viva Show, and I think that was Porter's favorite show too. He ooowed and awed and laughed through out the entire performance.


Santa visited our ward party. Porter must have been first on his lap, because by the time I made my way close enough for a picture, Porter had already had his turn, and refused to seat himself for a picture. However, as you can see, I did get a picture of Sophia. Just know Porter was there too... Preston is scared to death of Santa, since we're not into forcing the be friendly to big scary strangers option, he is also pictureless...


Reenacting the nativity scene as part of our Christmas Eve celebration.

Christmas Day

Following in the tradition of my parents, we planned nothing for the day except laid back together time....

Preston insisted on putting on the knee pads he found in the garage. They Porter's, but do they remind you of Grandpa Jack?

Our Merry Christmas

Sophia was the first one up... six am... she pitter patters into our room. "Let's get up, it's Christmas!" We tried to talk her into letting us sleep for 15 more minutes, it was a no go. She tried her next tactic, "Mommy, I'm hungry. I am so hungry, I have to eat right now." That combined with lots of squirming forced us to give up our quest for a few more minutes of sleep. Rather than wake up Porter, we went down with her to check out what Santa had left by the tree... then we repeated the process for Porter... and then with Preston.

The kids all got bikes. So fun! Porter graduated to a big bike, Sophia received her long anticipated and very overdue first bike, and Preston got his very own mini-big wheel, designed exclusively for one year olds.

Opening more treasures.

Ready to roll!

Thanks Grandma B!

Note the new Christmas jammies, we're trying to make it a tradition. Porter wasn't thrilled with the idea. He was hoping for something cooler than clothes. Sophia, on the other hand, adores clothing and was thrilled. :)

Silly String fight with loot from their stockings.

Discovery Green Park

We took one morning to explore a new park in downtown H*. The kids insisted on packing a picnic and away we went.

The park was complete with playground, ice skating rink, bocci ball court, fun sculptures, small pond, European type courtyard, and wide open spaces.

Where did we spend most of our time? On the hills, of course, they're such a rare find down here, and our kids can't get enough of one when we stumble upon one.

Preston didn't quite know how to roll himself down. This picture captures his many attempts. He would sit down, and then raise his head up looking expectantly around... like, now what... isn't something supposed to happen?

Porter and Sophia quickly mastered the fine art of rolling down hills.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As if last week wasn't crazy enough for me, my sweet neighbor knocked on my door last Wednesday. Her mother had gone into a comma and she had to leave right away. She needed a dog sitter, and I couldn't say no...

The problem is, I'm not a dog person, and I already had four extra children I was caring for...

But the next morning she brought over Maggie, a crate and Maggie's suitcase. Maggie is like her child, and Maggie made herself right at home, making it quite difficult for me to enforce ground rules, like, stay off the couch, and don't come upstairs.

Luckily for me, other than that, Maggie is a very well behaved dog. I'm really surprised at how well she tolerates children, I don't think she's been around kids very much before. Preston sits on her, tries to ride her, chases her, feeds her, and she doesn't seem to mind, or at least tolerates it very well. You can see Preston, playing in her crate. This was right after I caught him pouring water from her dish into his cup, and drinking it. When I snatched the cup away, he proceeded to drink from the dish. His other specialty is mixing the water with the food and dumping it on the tile.

Porter and Sophia are equally smitten with her. Porter is constantly wanting to take her on walks, or he's chasing her around the house or the back yard. Maggie has slept with Porter the last two nights.

Sophia's teaching me. I put on my mean face and voice when I was trying to get Maggie to go down stairs. Sophia said "Mom, you can't talk to her like that, you have to be nice." I told her that she should show me how to do it.... and she did. "Oh Maggie, come on Maggie, let's go down stairs now." Of course, the dog followed her right down.

Maggie's owner told us Maggie doesn't really walk any more but I think Maggie hasn't had the incentive to walk, because we've seen her move very quickly chasing kids or being chased or running on the bike path with Porter or Sophia at the leash. We think Maggie is loosing weight.

Since we're in the spirit of dogs this week, we went to visit a new puppy belonging to our friends Janelle and Dustin... isn't Pheobe cute?

Daddy's Boy

Have I ever mentioned that Preston is a daddy's boy? To the extreme. With Doug home for the week (he's taking some vacation time) it's almost hurting my feelings. Preston prefers his dad in all circumstances. If dad's around, Preston is crawling out of my arms into his. If Preston comes into the room and I bend down with open arms, he runs right past me and clamors up his dad's leg. This is something I'm just not used to; my other kids preferred their mama. Doug is quite pleased with the situation. He enjoys being the preferred parent.

Christmas Parties

Porter's Christmas Brunch

Sophia's Pre-School Jesus Birthday Party

Sophia's Ballet Christmas party with ornament gift exchange.

Our busy week was made busier by three Christmas Parties for the kids ( and one super fun library story time complete with a visit from Santa and a performance of a bell choir).

Week Long Sleepover

Every night Doug tells my kids a buzz lightyear story, starring them, super powers optional.

We watched our friends four children for one week, last week. They will watch our kids for a week in the spring. Every day was ended with the traditional story. It's a great incentive to motivate everyone to quickly prepare for bed.

The week went well with seven children under one roof. They were such good kids. We were even early to school every single day (something I don't always accomplish with getting one child to school). I just started loading the car half an hour before school started, and was usually successful in departing 15 minutes in advance. The last morning, everyone was used to the routine, and it only took me eight minutes t0 load up, we were really early that day.

We had a 2nd grader, a 1st grader, a kindergartner, a pre-k, 2 pre-schoolers and Preston. Wow... my head hurt with all of the schedules. The only person I forgot to pick up was Sophia, and I didn't really forget, I knew I had to pick her up, I just miscalculated my ability to get there in time. It doesn't work to leave Sam's club at 3:15 when you have to pick up your child at the same time.

The most comical moment of the week for me, was when I picked up Elly, the kindergartner. She had two different shoes on, one big white sneaker and one small pink skecher type shoe. I just started laughing. How could I not notice something like that when I loaded an unloaded the car that morning? When I asked her why she wore those shoes, her reply was "I couldn't find the matches." What a sweet heart to not complain. I laughed all night about that.

Things went so well, but every night I was exhausted and anti-social. I had hoped to go to Enrichment and a going away party that week, but by the end of the day, all I wanted to do was retire for the evening.

I think the week was hardest on their youngest, a three year old. The first day he was so excited for the sleepover, and kept asking me when it would be bedtime. The second day, he asked me when his mom was coming to pick him up. I responded that the sleepover is going on and on, he completely melted down on me, insisting that the sleepover needed to be over.

All in all it was a good week.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sophia's First Ballet Recital

Our beautiful ballerina showing off her poses.

Sophia eagerly anticipated this big day! She was so happy that her dad and brother could come watch her debut. I heard no complaints as I styled her hair; she wanted to look her best!

Dancing to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

Practicing for the big day.

First position.

As you watch the video, you will see Sophia circle her chair over an over and over at the end. It wasn't in the choreography, nor had she ever done that before in practice. But it was cute...