Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Boy is Gone...

We spent the evening before playing Settlers of Catan by the fireplace until late in the night, trying to spend as much time together as possible. But by morning, he was packed and ready to go and a little nervous.

David packed his sea bag, and I hope he can figure out how to get all that stuff back in there. The packing list was a mile long! Most of it fit in his sea bag, but he had to bring a garment bag for his uniforms and a backpack for his orders and a book to read on the plane. He can't call us except for when he gets in, and after he graduates.

I miss him already! I think this will be harder on dad than anyone. He kept monitoring the plane, letting us know exactly where the plane was as it flew over each state. He's missing his buddy I can tell!

But, we got a call from my Aunt Elaine and Uncle Dennis and so we met them for dinner at Cracker Barrel as they drove through town on their way home to Dallas. It was fun catching up with them, it's been too long!

I just hope the next 9 days flies by super fast. I really don't like not having all my babies in the nest!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day '12

We had a very low key, easy Christmas day! The kids tried to wake us up around 5am, but then crawled in bed with us and went back to sleep until about 8. We rebelled and stayed in bed until about 9am and then they just couldn't take it anymore so we thought we would go ahead and put them out of their misery!

They started with their Santa gifts. Riley got a 22 rifle (that's all I know about it!) and Regan got a horse for her new doll. Then she wanted David and I to open the presents she bought for us at her school fair. She has been wanting us to open them since the day she bought them! She did good, mine was a cute little snow globe with a penguin inside. She got David a little pen and notepad. She told him it was the only thing for a boy in her price range! That girl is too sweet!

Riley got some Navy gear, a new Xbox Live year long membership, a day of paintball (with a friend) a new battery for his phone, and a game. Regan got mostly stuff for her doll, a bed, horse, pony, dog, and a riding outfit, and a new book that she's been wanting.

Then the kids went to play, and I finished up some baking for the neighbors. And then did a million loads of laundry and spent the rest of the day packing Riley for boot camp. I can't believe he leaves tomorrow. I can't think about it, or I will cry!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

We had a candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve. We had attended the day before so we were all signed up to serve at the 3pm service. It was fun in Kids, we had games and carols and watched clips from "It's a Wonderful Life" and had a raffle for presents!

Then we headed to Pam and Dave's for Christmas with them. Regan got an American Girl doll, she wanted the one that looks like her, and it really does look a lot like her! She was so excited, she's wanted one forever. Riley got a new skateboard, he has been needing a new one, and this one is super cool, blood-skull-zombie boy type stuff!

We had a traditional Mexican Christmas dinner, with tamales, refried beans and corn salsa rice. Yum! It was nice with not a lot of clean up to do, and we spent time visiting and eating.

When we got home, the kids got to open their traditional Christmas Eve present (usually pajamas!) and surprise, footy pajamas! They looked so cute in them. They were in a hurry to get to bed, and were out cold by 10pm! I had all the presents wrapped, just had to get the stockings stuffed and let Santa work his magic!

Jingle's Watching Over Regan

Took Regan a while to find Jingle today, he was watching over her in her nest of stuffed animals! Today was Jingle's last day here. Now he goes back to the North Pole and we will see him again next December! Bye Jingle, it's been fun!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Domain

The Domain

Regan wrote a letter to Santa at school, so I told her we would take it to Macy's to mail it in the big red mailbox. She was very excited about it! So we took the kids to The Domain, and mailed her letter. At the last minute, Riley said he wanted to write a letter to Santa too, and he asked for a laptop and a hot girlfriend. Ha, good luck.

Then we walked around the new store, H&M, and looked at trendy clothes. Riley had fun trying on different things, he looked so cute and preppy! We found this teal sports coat and he said, "This looks like something Grandpa Don would wear!"  I did find a cute scarf, and told David to buy it for me for Christmas! Gotta be direct to get anything around here.

Then we went to The Steeping Room and had tea. It was a fun evening, we all love hanging out at The Domain!

Jingle Took a Tumble!

Right down the stairs. Good thing he was insulated inside the roll of toilet paper!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cirque du Jingle

Jingle decided to join the circus! He has some new tricks up his little elf sleeves.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Family Fun Day in San Antonio

San Antonio

I never realized how hard it would be to find Navy pants! And not just navy pants, but US Navy issue sailor pants. Fancy ones. Ones that go with the dress blue uniform. We've been all over, from Ft. Hood, Austin, and now, San Antonio, to find these pants. They are online for around 200 bucks, but  we were told we could find them at a military exchange in San Antonio for around 50. So we thought we would make a day trip of it, and take the kids to San Antonio, to celebrate the end of the world, right?!

So we started off at Juan in a Million, one of our favorite breakfast places. Riley and David had a side bet going that Riley could finish ONE breakfast taco! He was so close, about two bites away, when he got up to look at something and the waitress took his plate away! He was so bummed. But, he even said that was the most food he has ever eaten in his whole life.

Then we stopped at Cabela's. We're looking at guns, and man, they are sold out all over! The kids love Cabela's and we looked at all the animals and fed the fish and took pictures. Then we headed back on the road to San Antonio. The only information I had was Ft. Sam Houston, and the GPS took us to this huge cemetery which was very moving to see, but not the right place. We finally found the right place, drove around to find the store we needed, then spent some time looking for all the gear Riley still needed.

Then we surprised the kids with an early Christmas present, season passes to Six Flags! They were shocked and it was so cute to hear them as we tried to convince them we had just taken a wrong turn. It was nice, not crowded, not hot, we rode the big rides they wanted to ride, got hot chocolate and a funnel cake, and left early so we weren't getting home too late. Stopped at a really weird Rudy's because it was the only thing we could find open and then stopped at the new Buccee's that has the "world's cleanest bathrooms"! That place was huge and has everything. It was really nice.

Then home, around 10pm, so it wasn't a totally exhausting day, but I was glad we still had a Saturday to relax.

Click here for pictures.

Jingle got Impatient

Jingle decided he couldn't wait to open a present! So he tore into one of Regan's. Shame on you little elf!

Jingle didn't get into any mischief yesterday, must have been super tired from all his nightly activities, or, like Regan said, there must have been a blizzard at the North Pole and he couldn't get there. So, Jingle had a rest day. But today he's back to his shenanigans.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Before/After Haircut

I think the last time Riley had a short hair cut was when he was 4 and he tried to cut his own hair. I had to shave it down pretty close to the scalp so you couldn't see the chop marks he made. That was 10 years ago! He leaves for boot camp in one week and has to have a shaved head before he goes. David took him to his barber and he really enjoyed the neck massage and the hot towel. Maybe this will motivate him to keep it shorter now? I do miss his adorable curls, but he's the cutest boy in the world no matter how he wears his hair!

Christmas Break!

This is the teacher gifts we made this year. It's a cute bag with a bag of microwave popcorn inside, and a box of candy, and a note with a free Redbox movie rental code. I thought it was a cute idea that a friend of mine did, so I stole the idea! Apparently it was a hit, as Riley got this sweet thank you note from one of his teachers. He also got a really nice note about being a great example for the entire 8th grade! I'm so proud of him. Regan is at a neighbor's house making Christmas cookies, David and Riley are about to go get a father/son head shave for boot camp! And I have been working on my holiday baking list. Still have a few things to get for boot camp, but have to go to San Antonio for those. But can I just say, I am so excited that it's Christmas break! I love Christmas, I love break, I love being with my kids, and I'm going to miss Riley SO much while he's gone!

Jingle is just Hangin' Around

I think Jingle is getting tired. He wasn't into too much mischief last night, he just hung out in Regan's stocking. Maybe it's hard work getting to the north pole and back in time for breakfast and he just needed a day to curl up in a nice warm stocking and chillax.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jingle's Snow Angel

Jingle decided he was tired of Texas weather (80 degrees today) and he made his own snow angel! Hope he plans on cleaning up his own mess.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Girl Scout Christmas Party

I can't believe it's our 6th year in Girl Scouts! Tonight we had our annual Girl Scout Christmas party and we did something a little different than what we usually do. We met at Austin's Pizza and had dinner (they have really good gluten free pizza too BTW) and then they had a jewelry exchange. Then we walked across the street to the movies and saw "Rise of the Guardians". It was a really cute movie, the girls loved it. We got a lot more patches for her vest too. It's filling up, last few months to be a green-vest Junior, next up is the brown vest!

Jingle Does Yoga (with some help from his new friends)

Every year we have a White Elephant party at a friend's house. It has become quite fun and very competitive! It's always a blast to see what kind of goodies people think up to bring, and what will be the gift everyone fights to get, and even better, the one that people fight to get rid of!

This year wasn't TOO bad, but the kids were with us, and they wanted to help us pick our gifts. So Regan picked for David and they got a box with a cute little toy bathtub full of Halloween candy! Candy corn even and those are her favorites!

But, she wasn't really prepared for the true spirit of a White Elephant party when another little girl stole her box of candy. The look on her face was priceless! But she got to pick again, and even though we warned her to stay away from the "biggest box" trap, she did it again, and ended up with these adorably funky gold Yoga Frogs. I have no words to describe these things. They are hilarious. What's even more funny will be the look on someones face when they open them at next years White Elephant party. Yes, I think that the Yoga Frogs will be the gift that keeps on giving...

Then it was time for me to pick, and Riley used my pick to steal a tool set that he had his eye on. Papa gave him a tool box for them too, so now he's set with his own little tool kit! He was very excited. It was a fun party, and even more fun was this morning when we found out Jingle must have needed some loosening up too...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Main Street Bethlehem

Main Street Bethlehem

(Click on picture to see all of the pictures)

Finally! I have wanted to go see Main Street Bethlehem for years! We made it. I knew Dad and Cathy would love it, so they met us out there after church, we got in line later than I wanted, around 5:45, and I thought it would take forever with all the people that were lined up. The line was wrapped around several city blocks. But once it opened at 6, the line moved pretty good. If we had gotten there right at 5 like I wanted, we would have been in and out pretty quick. Notes for next year!

But as soon as you walk through the gates, it's amazing. Everyone is in character, the dress, the city, the animals, everything looks very authentic (as authentic as I can imagine it looked back then!) There were people sitting around camp fires eating and talking about the Messiah that had been born. Telling us to follow the bright star in the sky. We saw people with geese and chickens selling them in the market place, blind beggars shouting for alms, a tavern where Roman soldiers were, a baker that was making the most delicious "Bethlehem Bread" and giving some to everyone (which had to be a TON of bread!)  We walked through the synagogue where the Rabbi was teaching a little boy about the walls of Jericho and they were blowing their shofar. We saw a carpenters shop, a woman weaving baskets in her shop, kids that were grinding corn, families in their homes eating dinner. It really looked like you stepped back in time. They were all talking about the prophecy, the tax collector's were collecting taxes and asking the people if they had participated in the rumors about the "Messiah". It was very fascinating. We all enjoyed it, even the kids, they thought it was really neat.

It was kind of like Ikea, you just go with the flow of people and you wrap around the town, and end up at the Inn, which is full of course, so you head out back to this giant cave where there were sheep, and you see Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, it was really awesome. Then you walk out and they give you free cocoa and cookies. And we ran into half the church!

It was great to experience, and I know we will go back again. If you are ever anywhere close by when they do it, you should certainly go. It really makes you think about the true meaning of Christmas.

Hide N Seek with Jingle

Today was one of those, Elf stayed out at a Christmas Party too late and was too tired to do anything fun kind of days. But, we found him playing Hide and Seek in the Christmas tree. Regan wasn't too impressed. Gotta come up with something better than that, Jingle!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grandpa Don and Khaki

We had a great visit with Grandpa Don and Khaki! They came in Saturday morning, we went to lunch at Regan's favorite Greek place, then drove around a bit, looking at old stomping grounds, showing off places we used to live, marveling at how much the area has changed and grown.

Then we had our Christmas with them at the house. The kids love having multiple Christmases, they get to spread the Christmas joy out over several weeks, they love it!

Jingle's Magic Seeds Part Two

I know you've all been waiting so patiently to find out what it was that grew out of Jingle's Magic Seeds! Here you go...

Candy Canes! One of the elves food groups! Regan was very excited to see what had grown.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jingle's Magic Seeds

Jingle left a cup of rice and some magic "seeds" with a note to plant them and see what happens. Hmm...I wonder what we will find growing tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

S'mores for Jingle!

Jingle wanted s'mores last night! Funny thing was, around 3am our smoke detectors went off, waking everyone in the house. The kids were freaked out but once we realized there was nothing on fire, we all went right back to sleep. Then this morning Regan walks in the kitchen and goes, "THAT'S why they went off last night! Jingle burnt his marshmallow!" Well played Jingle, well played.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rockin' Lights

There is no church on Wednesday nights for the rest of the year and we are so used to being out on Wednesdays, so we took the kids to start, hopefully, a new family tradition! We started off at Star Coffee, a local Round Rock cafe, got everyone a hot chocolate, and then drove to the new Rockin' Lights display. It's $15 per car, but I think it was worth it. They had some really cute lights, and at the end was this tunnel that you drive through and it makes you feel like you're going through a black hole, the kids called it a "worm hole".

At the end of the trail is a little carnival in the parking lot of the Dell Diamond, and it was more for smaller kids, but you get a free ride when you pay for the trail, so the kids rode the spinning strawberries, and slid down the big slippery slide. It was cold, so it actually felt like Christmas! It's hard to get into the spirit of things when you're sweating in shorts! It was fun, and the kids really enjoyed it!

Jingle Goes Zip Lining!

Jingle decided to have a little fun last night and went zip lining to the Christmas tree! He sure has a lot of fun after we go to bed.

And here's Monty, he knew Regan wasn't feeling well so he was cuddling with her! He's so sweet and cuddly these days, especially when it's cold out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sittin' On the Dock of The Bay

Today Jingle went fishing! Guess he was getting hungry from all his travels.

Got a call from Regan's school yesterday that she was running a 101 fever. I'm across town running errands, but start heading back and not 5 minutes later got a call from Riley that he's throwing up! So, after dropping them off at home, making a run to the store for medicine and sick-kid-food, had a lazy rest of the day at home. Riley is better and at school today, Regan was fine by last night, but kept her home today because of the 24 hour rule. So, tomorrow we should be back in the swing of things.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chillin' With St. Francis

I think Jingle got cold last night, since the cold front came in with a vengeance! Found him this morning all huddled up with St. Francis. Either that or he was whispering his ideas for future mayhem!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Austin Animal Center

Our Girl Scout troop has been working hard on earning their very first Journey! They have worked on this for months. They chose an animal shelter and several of the girls talked to their school principals about putting out donation boxes at their schools. And then they used some of their fall product money to buy material and made blankets for the cats and dogs. Today we got to go on a tour of the new Austin Animal Center, and bring them all of our donations. They were very happy to receive them, especially since a big cold front is coming tonight, and they said all the blankets would be put to use immediately!

They had a volunteer take us on a tour and show us all the pet areas, they have really nice indoor and outdoor areas and it's all very "green" with solar energy, native dog-friendly landscaping, and lots of nice kennel areas.

The hard part was leaving empty handed. They had too many cute animals and it was so hard to see those cute little faces and keep on walking. But, if you are ever in the market for a pet, that's a great place to get one.

Graffiti Jingle

It's kind of hard to see, but Jingle got a hold of my Dry Erase markers and wrote messages on the kid's bathroom mirror! He wrote "Merry Christmas" and "Be Good" but his B was backwards (I told Regan that Jingle might be dyslexic too) she liked the idea of that. There are also a few snowflakes. I can't wait to see what Jingle gets into next!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Milky Jingle

Silly elf turned our milk green! Elves love green milk!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Volunteer KiDS Party

Regan and I had a great time at the church KiDS volunteer party. David was taking Riley to Ft. Hood for Drill weekend, so it was just me and the girl. They had Chuy's cater fajitas for dinner and we played Minute to Win It games and trivia, and had photo spots set up, and a TON of desserts! It was fun, the kids had pizza and then came over for pictures.

Each week in December has a different movie theme, the first one was "Charlie Brown Christmas" and this week is "The Grinch" so we had Grinch decorations every where, and it looks so cute! (I can say that since I helped decorate!)