Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas this year was a great success!

My mom has been dealing with a broken heel/foot surgery for the last few weeks. She got her stitches out on Christmas Eve, but still has a boot on. She always is just a buzz of activity around this time of year, but this injury slowed her down. She always makes Christmas cookies, cinnamon rolls and scones but this year, me and my sisters took over the tradition!
She got to spend lots of time with this little munchkin.
Cookies came out pretty good, if I do say so myself!
We had lots of treats!
Avery even decorated cookies for Santa!

Although, it wasn't so much decorating cookies, as much as eating sprinkles.

Avery was SOOO excited to spend time with her cousin Colbi! They both did so good the whole time.
We had fun making stuff. Working hard at the cinnamon rolls!
It made me so tired.
What a cutie in her I Love Santa PJs!

I think Gigi was in heaven!

I love this picture. Jason wanted to hold Colbi but she would have no part of it!

Lots of this going on, all weekend.
Cookies for Santa!
Avery got a hot wheels and some other cool stuff from Santa!
I got these ADORABLE boots for her! I swear she looks like she is 15.
Hope you had a great Christmas too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

First Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Someone had her first Starbucks hot chocolate while someone went to go look at Christmas lights.
Someone liked it.
It's almost Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Do Toy Guns Have A New Meaning Now?

Jason and I shopped for my step-son last weekend. He had asked for a new Nerf rifle to replace his old one. He does have several Nerf guns at our house. He also has a couple play guns. When we started shopping around, both Jason and I just didn't feel right buying Jordan a gun, toy or otherwise, for Christmas. So, he's not getting one. It's the only thing he asked for, but he isn't getting it. We got him some other cool toys instead. When he asks why, we will talk to him about why we probably won't be getting him another toy gun again.
I haven't seen the kids since Friday, so I have no idea what their thoughts are or what their mother has or hasn't told them. Who knows, he might not even want a gun anymore.
I think all boys have a certain tendency to be obsessed with guns. Obviously, just walk up and down the toy aisle for boys in a Walmart and it's literally covered in all types of weapons. I think certain boys gravitate more towards guns and weapons than others. I think some boys gravitate more towards war than others. Some boys become more obsessed with destructive video games than others. Do I think it's normal and in boys' nature to have these feelings about weapons and killing? Unfortunately, I do. However, you just never know, NEVER, what a ten year old boy, whom you think is fine in the head, is really thinking when he is playing those video games or role playing with those guns. Jordan has always loved playing with guns. I think all of us parents assume that it's innocent, just boys being boys. But you really just never know.
We are removing any video games from our home that feature shooting of a realistic nature. I mean, humans killing humans. He can have Harry Potter, Super Mario, any of those. But no Call of Duty, no Special Black Ops (or whatever.) There are no reason for those video games at all, in my opinion, but especially for people who are impressionable and young and who already tend to gravitate towards weapons and violence.
What do you think, do toy guns have a new meaning to you now?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Monster Cinderella

Jenn sent this to me this morning and said she was cracking up! Avery wanted to be Monster Cinderella, and was running around saying "Rawwwrrr!" I love that. This girl has quite an active imagination and I LLLOOOOVVVEEEE that about her.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun times....

Jason and I took a one night trip away this weekend to Granbury, TX. What a cool little town! I'd never been there, but that's what I asked for, for Christmas. One night away!

Believe it or not, it's only the second time we've stayed at a hotel since we've been together. Is that sad, or what??
We had a great time and are thinking of making this our annual Christmas tradition. We got to see some beautiful stores, do some Christmas shopping, and SLEEP IN! Thank you Mom and Dad for watching our little munchkin for some much needed time away!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cutie Patootie

My daughter is pretty funny, I must admit. She wanted her glasses on this morning, like her momma. So she got them!

No words are enough.

As millions of other Americans this weekend, I held my daughter closer, stared at her longer, and appreciated her more than I did before (which was ALOT), in the wake of the horrendous tragedy in Connecticut. I also began to ask, "WHY?" Of course, as we all know, in matters such as this or any other extreme acts of violence, there will never be a definitive answer, or even one comes close to being one of fulfillment. The fact is, Satan is evil. God created us as complicated individuals, with brains that we will never fully understand. Satan knows this and uses it to his advantage every single day.
I've had a couple conversations about what happened with a couple of different people. I've heard people of Facebook, websites, and news channels who have different takes on this particular situation. I've heard people mention things like "gun control," "mental health," and "mass killing." I've questioned the media's role in playing into these people's fantasies of killing people and hoping for fame. I've questioned the reasons we give for our ability to obtain weapons we have no business owning, such as semi-automatic machine guns, despite our "right" to bare arms. I've questioned how a society, who is more than willing to put resources into welfare programs for able-bodied citizens, lacks the resources or ability to give help to those who truly need it and who truly cannot help themselves.
The fact is, though, none of those things, even if all fixed, will ever prevent someone with these types of violent scenes in his head from killing people.
I would love to blame mental illness as a cause, but it's been proven that while killers of this nature might suffer from extreme revenge fantasies or obsessive disorders, they are not necessarily considered mentally ill. I would love to blame guns for this type of high-victim shooting spree, but if you look at places like China, people of extreme mental illness will walk into a school using any weapon they can find and murder just as many, if not more, children than were killed on Friday. I would also love to blame recent factors such as video games or violence in our media for the increase in killings of this type. But evidence shows that mass killings such as these are not new by any means. In fact, the only difference between these killings and others is the weapon of choice, not the victim count.
Unfortunately, the only definitive evidence I seem to be able to use to explain these horrific events is that there is no explanation.
Does that mean that as a society, we shouldn't stop for a moment and consider some of these factors? That we shouldn't change gun control laws and alter them to fit in with our modern world? I hardly doubt that our Founding Fathers intended to give their citizens the right to carry the guns that we see today. Does this mean that we shouldn't change our perspective on how to deal with the mentally ill in this country? Does this mean that we shouldn't equip our citizens with the knowledge of how to understand and deal with red flags we might see, that would save lives? Of course not.
I've also heard "Where Was God?" Mike Huckabee gave a very compelling answer. However, I might also add that while we might have been asking God to leave our lives as a society for decades now, the murder of another person for no other reason than passion, jealousy and revenge goes back a little further than that. In fact, it goes all the way back to Cain and Abel, whom I might mention were some of the first humans to live on earth. It just goes to show that all humans are flawed creatures. We are all making choices, each and every day, about how we handle the injustices and unfairness in our own lives. We are all struggling to make it through, struggling to make sense of the unclear things that happen each and every day, trying to see the good in situations and not to focus on the bad. It's not always easy and sometimes it's not always possible.
For me, all I know, all that I say with certainty, is that I love my daughter and my family. Each day I receive with them is an incredible gift, given to me by my Lord and Savior. My God is in control of all things. I will not stop living my life or live in extreme fear for what others may do, even though it's incredibly tempting. I won't ever forget these victims or their families and what they must be going through, nor will I stop praying for the people struggling in this world, who are right now contemplating the same fate, to make a different choice. I will hug and kiss my family as much as I can. I will spend time with my family as much as I can. I will enjoy my family as much as I can. And I will do it because there are so many who can't, but who would give anything to able to do so again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avery Update

This little stinker!
I love Avery so much. This morning, man. She was being a little pill! But she pulled it together long enough to smile for the camera!
I haven't done an Avery update in a while, so I thought I would.
Avery is wearing 3T clothes and size 5 diapers. I will be off the week of New Years, so we are hoping we will take that time to get her potty trained. It's very much time. I have no idea how much she weighs or her exact height, but her head comes to halfway up my thigh, so she is pretty tall.
Avery is seriously one of the smartest kids I've seen at this age, when it comes to her memory of things and her language skills. I really think this comes from her loving to read books and her loving to listen to music. In fact, I know it is. She has always loved books and she has always loved music. We have about 4 main kids' music CDs that Avery listens to in the car, probably close to 80 songs, and you can turn any of them on and she will immediately know the song and sing the words. She sits in her seat and we will hear her try to sing every word, because she is memorizing it. She loves books, she loves to look at them, listen to us read them. If you do those two things from the moment they are born, you will have a kid who speaks clearly, who can recognize the ABCs, and who will memorize things very quickly.
Avery is speaking in complete sentences, which is astonishing to us. The other day, we were eating cake after lunch, and she looks at us, and as clear as day says, "I would like more of that." and points to the cake. She surprises us every day with the things she says. She is really starting to ask for people in her life now, so she will say, "Leslie, we go see her?" "Where's Gigi?" and randomly we will hear her say "Thank you God, Brooke, thank you God Dave..." and list all of the people, including Jenn and the kids at daycare. Sometimes, it's people she hasn't seen in a long time, so it's just funny to listen to that.
Avery has learned her manners, and will always say thank you, your welcome, and excuse me. Drives me nuts, though. Having big brothers and big sisters to teach you bad things is not always good! She is to the age where she will say, "I tooted!" and then excuse me, but she announces it and laughs because the kids laugh at her. Ugh, kids.
Avery loves Caillou, which is probably her most favorite thing right now. Calliou is whiney for sure, but I actually like that show because it shows a very successful, very involved family unit and the parents are in the picture. It's funny, but with Dora or Mickey Mouse you don't see parents anywhere! I actually like watching Calliou. Go figure.
Avery loves going to church and she is at the age now where she can remember what she learned and did while she was there. I love that she is bring home things she colored. I know you just end up with all kinds of papers after church, but I love seeing her "artwork."
Avery loves to play outside. When the kids are here, I send them all out in the backyard and she loves to play out there. I love that. It's a good thing to have kids who like to play outside, making up games, digging around for things. She is also very social, she loves people and loves having people over to our house. She is just like her momma in that way.
Avery has also really grabbed on to pretend play and role playing. She can play make believe, which is great, and I think is her sister's influence and Jenn (her babysitter). She will just out of the blue say, "Momma, I have popsicle! You eat!" and we will pretend eat it. She loves to play tea party and loves to play with her dolls. LOVES it. She and I also do this thing where we will turn the corner into our hall and I will say "on your mark, get set, GO!" and we will race to her room. I almost always let her win, and she is always looking back at me to see if I am gaining on her. I think she has a little competetive streak in her, which I love and would make her very much like her daddy.
She is just pure joy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why Rokus is legen...wait for it...ary!

Jason and I spent $59.99 on the best invention ever. It's called a Roku. And it's awesome.
When our Wii decided to stop picking up wireless signals and become useless, we were scrambling to figure out what to do because, you see, our Wii had become our Netflix streaming devise and without it, we just didn't know what we would do. So, I started asking around. I got two responses, either go with the Apple's version or Roku. Those were the best bang for your buck.
So I went to my Walmart, picked one up, and it's been amazing.
Netflix is only one of many things you can stream through this machine. It comes equipped with Pandora, Crackle (streams TV and movies for free, but not usually well known ones, but lots of cartoons), Hulu Plus, Disney, Netflix, Amazon and a couple others. They even have a new release channel, where the movies cost $3.99. Much better than a $5.99 pay per view. However, on their channel, you can download about a hundred others.
They have a free fitness channel with several types of workouts. They have a karaoke channel (which looks awesome!) They have games and apps, music, the list goes on and on.
And for those of you who've never had Netflix, they are putting on some great new movies, including their new deal with Disney which gives you access to Disney classics and new movies from Disney and Pixar after they come out in theatres. For $7.99 a month, it is well worth your money.
I just thought I'd give you my glowing review!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Kids' Christmas Trees

Good morning!
Well, for starters, for any of you Walking Dead fans, did that episode not turn your stomach, like, the WHOLE time? And what a great story line with Daryl and Merle. And the Governor, awesome! Now I gotta wait till February to find out what happens. Not cool.
Anyhoo, I felt like I spent all day Saturday shopping and then decorating the kids' trees. Just so you know, I do not normally get 6 foot tall white pre-lit Christmas trees for the kids' rooms every year. My mom was nice enough to give these to me, on loan, from the Cindy Tamplin Tea tree collection. I couldn't figure out what to do with their trees. I had an idea for Avery's, then inspiration struck for Jordan and Soph.
I tried using items they had alot of in their room, that they wouldn't miss being on a tree for four weeks. For Avery, she has tons of stuffed animals. Of course, she hardly touches them these days (more into coloring and tea parties than stuffed animals) but the second I put these on her tree, she wanted to take them down. We will see how long they last!
Photo: Avery's stuffed animal tree
The picture doesn't really do the tree justice, but it looks really cute.
Jordan doesn't have any big, fun items like the girls, but he has alot of army men. So, I decided to do a blue and green tree, and decorate it with his army men, and other fun toys he likes. Completed by Indiana Jones' fedora.

Photo: Jordan's army man tree

I bought each of the kids a special ornament for their tree this year. Avery got the cupcake that is by Minnie. Jordan got the Christmas Pickle. He loves pickles and when I saw this thing, I just laughed and knew he would like it. Apparently, back in Europe a long time ago, they would hide the ornament in the branches of the tree and the first one to find it got to eat the desert first. I think it's awesome and so does he! Sophia got a ballerina on her tree.

Sophia's tree is probably my favorite. This tree also inspired me for a decorating theme for her room, as I was looking in Hobby Lobby and came across the French boutique section, I just knew that she needed that. As I was looking through her closet, I realized she has alot of dress up clothes. So Sophia got a dress up tree! She has her play shoes all over it, purses, and her boas. It really is cute in her room.

Photo: Sophia's tree

There you have it! Our tree will go up this weekend and then we should be done for Christmas. I will show you pictures when it's done!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Photobucket, What Went Wrong?

I have to admit, I am pretty upset. I have used Photobucket for online photo storage for the last two years. One of the features I love the most about it is that I have a Photobucket app that automatically loads every picture I take with my phone within seconds of clicking. I am able to go to the Photobucket website, copy a URL, and post it on my blog within minutes. I despise (and never remember) to actually plug my phone in, upload pictures to my computer, load them to a photo sharing site, then onto blog. It's too much work for me. So, I was pretty upset in the middle of Avery's birthday party, when my pictures just stopped uploading. I keep getting error messages. I looked on their website and they are getting complaint after complaint of the uploading feature for the app.

I can't find another site/app combo that does this. Not one that is free and not one like this. I really don't know what to do do you upload pictures? Do you have a site that works like this?