Santa and this girl...


We were able to do another tradition that has become quite special. For the last three years, we have taken Emma to see Santa at the North Park Mall in Dallas. First of all, I think this really could be Santa. He is so nice, so sincere, so good with kids and he looks like Santa! He is the real deal!

We had to wait our turn...our time to see Santa was SEVERAL hours after we got our ticket. Lots of kids there to see him each year. We went to his story time, shopped a bit, ate lunch, watched a puppet show, watched a choir and a band and through it all, Emma was so precious and sweet. She would ask ever once in a while if it were her time to talk to Santa but was so patient!!

Precious. She marched right in, climbed up in his lap and proceeded to check out his digs. It was pretty funny, because he was trying to talk to her but she was busy looking at all the things in his room but then she finally came back around to him and gave him her full attention. He read her letter, they discussed if she had been good and all the while I was snapping pictures because she was so sweet looking at his face...as if she wanted to never forget every detail of it.

Letter in hand...patiently waiting in line.


She was really ready to get down, but she said her goodbyes and he gave her a picture of him...and boy did she hang on to that the rest of the day!

Love this tradition with my girls. Love. Love. Love.

Christmas 2012

Yep, it is almost Spring 2013...and I am writing about Christmas 2012...to say I am a little behind is putting it lightly. Nonetheless...I trudge on and try to catch up on all my journal entries....

This was our "Off" year as we call it. Off in that our kids are with their other families on Christmas Day so we have our Christmas either early or later in the month. This year we had it quite early. The first weekend in December. We have some dear friends that let us use their River House for our get together. It was fun to be in a different place!

Larry and I arrived on Thursday morning, got all the groceries bought, found a little tree to decorate, did a little decorating and hung the stockings then waited for the kids to all arrive!

Zach and his family arrived around 9 pm that evening and Ashley and her family arrived around 11 pm. As stated in my last post, the first order of business was to find out what the sex of the baby Snow would be! They had found out earlier in the day. Thankfully Ashley had let us know by text that all had checked out great and the baby was HEALTHY. Prayers answered. That is all that really mattered to us, finding out the sex was just icing on the cake.

After we celebrated, we all went to bed. Everyone was pretty tired and we knew our weekend would be full so we needed to rest up!

Friday morning we woke up, had breakfast and begin to make homemade ornaments to decorate our little "Charlie Brown Tree". We decided to have an old fashioned tree...where we all made ornaments out of foil, pipe cleaners and pop corn and cranberries. It was a fun morning, all in our pj's, making our little tree look festive while playing a simple game of Christmas Trivia questions while we worked! (Thanks Meg for bringing the fun game!).

We then got ready and headed to Boerne for lunch and a little looking around. The men brought the kids back to the River House while Meg, Ashley and I got to shop in Boerne for about 2 hours ALL alone. It was so fun to browse around!
Then we headed back to the River House and got things ready for supper. Tonight's meal is our traditional "snacky supper" though a different menu than normal. Larry and I have been quite crazy busy at home with Larry's dad being in the hospital and Marie living with us through out the ordeal. So...cooking and baking our favorite foods for this "Christmas Eve Meal" just didn't happen. Thanks to Sam's we got a lot of fun things to try out and no one starved! :)

While we were cleaning up the kitchen, I looked over and saw this...be still my heart!

After supper, we celebrated with some of our favorite traditions:

First" I read our annual Christmas book, while we passed little boxes around the circle everytime the word "Santa" was read. Then we opened our boxes to see who got the prize of a big whopping $5 bill! Everyone gets candy...but one lucky person finds money attached to their candy! Always fun and the kids love it!
Then we did our annual traditional Christmas Eve Hunt, where the little ones have to work as a group, following clues around the house which finally concludes with them finding their new Christmas PJ's and a game or book.
 We of course like to make things a bit challenging for them, so each round while looking for the clues they had to do something as well...such as ring jingle bells and sing...
 Or put on their reindeer antlers while searching....
Emma and Clay found the hidden Santa's!!!
 Sometimes those Santa's can be tricky to find!
 Or maybe do all three together....which brought lots of laughter!
 Mission accomplished! They not only found all the hidden clues but also a package!
 A new book and game
 Emma checking out her Hello Kitty Book and also a new game!

 Owen and Clay checking out the new camping book
Then the "big kids" had to write the next chapter to our Christmas Story using the list of words that Larry and I have come up with to make the story interesting. They always amaze us how creative and funny they can be!

Always fun when I can read Christmas books to the kids. My mom had a collection of wonderful Christmas books, so we always try to find time to read a few. I sure do love reading to them!

We had fun playing with their new games, visiting and then it was time to get those cute little ones in their fun new jammies tucked into bed. After the little ones were asleep, Bud and Honey got stockings stuffed and "Santa" gifts to big to wrap placed "under the tree".  Normally we wrap all the gifts but this year Larry and I got Ashley's dollhouse out of the attic, made by Larry many years ago. We stripped it down, repainted, put in new flooring, made new curtains and valances and updated the outside a bit. It was SO fun to work on it together.  Then for the boys, we made (HA...Larry made, I just was moral support!) a race track for their Lego vehicles. They love to make race cars with their Legos and race them. Then it was off to bed!

"Our Christmas Morning"
I love Christmas morning. I love the excitement in the kids faces. I love watching them delight over their own gifts and get just as excited over what their cousins get. Nothing much sweeter. Cousin love is the best!
Emma (3 years) Will (5 years) Clay (6 1/2 years) and Owen (8 years)

After they tore into their gifts, we had a big breakfast and had fun opening our traditional ornament boxes. Larry and I try to purchase or make an ornament based on what our "big kids" did this year. This year Ashley & David's was based on their trip to Honduras & Zach and Meg's about their big trip to Colorado. Then the kids, as tradition has it, is a ornament that reflects the birthday party theme.

After breakfast we enjoyed stockings and then spent the rest of the morning and afternoon playing with all the goodies and just hanging out together. So fun to just hang out!

We also took pictures of our best Christmas Gift...4 sweet kids under the tree!

Then we got ready, drove into San Antonio for a very yummy dinner. David's younger brother, Blake, lives in San Antonio so we invited him to join us for supper.

The next morning, Zach and Meg and the boys had to pull out early so we said our goodbyes to them, enjoyed just a bit more time with David, Ashley and Emma before they left for Mansfield. Larry and I then began to clean up, wash up all the linens and came home early the next morning. It was a wonderful sweet time with our family and we are very grateful that everyone makes time to for us to gather as a family, re-connect and build memories. We realize life can get so busy and hectic with activities but we hope and pray that our family will always find time to be together.

So with laps literally full of love, we had another wonderful holiday with our sweet family!